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Japan in Aftermath of Vongfong; Protests in Hong Kong; Disappearance of North Korean Leader; New NASA Drone for Spaceflight

Aired October 14, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: From Asia to America to space, CNN STUDENT NEWS is taking you all over the map this Tuesday. I`m Carl Azuz.

First up, the Japanese mainland has been lashed by Vongfong. At one point, this was a super typhoon. A monster storm, the biggest of 2014. Vongfong

weekend, before it hit the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, it`s still blasted the area with powerful winds and heavy rainfall, things made worse

by the fact that the storm is large and it moved slowly. By the time it reached mainland Japan about 400 miles to the North East, Vongfong`s wings

had died down considerably. Still, it`s expected to bring more than 15 inches of rain to the country.

The government ordered 100,000 people to evacuate ahead of Vongfong`s arrival. As of last night, at least 44,000 had no power. This is just one

of several powerful storms to hit Japan this year.

More than 1,000 miles southwest to a special administrative region of China. Hong Kong has seen weeks of protests. Thousands of people, mostly

students, have occupied parts of the city`s business district. The issue - China allows only candidates it approves of to run in Hong Kong`s

elections. The protesters want total choice over their candidates.

But not everyone in Hong Kong supports the student protesters.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Demonstrators have embarked on another furious round of barricade building using bamboo. And using even plastic

wrap. And this after police launched a peaceful incursion earlier in the morning on Monday, ripping down some barriers, and then after - anti-occupy

groups came in and had more violent, more angry confrontations with some of the demonstrators, and then some of those - not only were people

(INAUDIBLE) expletives and insults back and forth, but some fists were flying and the police actually had to intervene to protect these barricades

and these pro-democracy demonstrators from their critics who included a taxi drivers union that tried to plow through some of the barricades, angry

taxi drivers saying that their earnings, their revenues are down as a result of the fact that some of the main highways running through Hong Kong

have been occupied and shut down now for two straight weeks. The demonstrators saying these are the sacrifices that Hong Kong`s residents

have to make if they are to win concessions and more Democratic elections in 2017. The Hong Kong government standing firm saying that this is all

illegal, these actions, and that they are not going to get the demands that they are asking for. One of them notably, a demand for the top man in Hong

Kong, C.Y. Leung to step down. He said, no way, so the test of wills continues, and if you can draw any conclusion from the tensions that we`ve

seen on Monday, it`s that when forces used against these young demonstrators, it tends to attract more supporters to their encampment.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


AZUZ: Now, to North Korea, a communist country run by Dictator Kim Jong- un, also a very secretive country. There`s no freedom of the press in North Korea. The government controls the media, radios and TVs are preset

to government stations, and it`s illegal to listen to foreign stations if the government hasn`t jammed them. So, if something`s wrong in that

government or with its leader, and if officials don`t want the people to know about it, they simply won`t tell them.

That`s why it`s so hard to get information about Kim Jong-un when he`s missing from the public eye.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s Kim Jong-un`s longest absence from public view since he took over the country when his father, Kim Jong-

il died in December of 2011. Kim Jong-un`s public persona has been a highly crafted piece of propaganda ever since.

The 31-year old military strongman is a near constant theme. Kim riding a horse complete with galloping sound effects mixed in. Kim seemingly

operating a tank. Saluting columns of North Koreans soldiers at a parade, overseeing military exercises, all in an effort to project both the

strength of North Korea`s military and the military`s own devotion to their supreme leader.

Their public appearance is not just to reflect strength, but also benevolence. Here, Kim bends down to meet a bowing toddler, taking her

hands in his, more daunting uncle than ruthless dictator.

And then, there`s a turn to the surreal, the baby-face leader giggling on a ride of the opening of an amusement park in Pyongyang. And of course, the

controversial visit by former NBA star Dennis Rodman.

But it`s this video of Kim clearly limping on stage in July that`s getting a lot of attention and has fueled reports that he is ill. The North Korean

state media released this other video two weeks ago, also it`s unclear when it was shot, acknowledging Kim is suffering from "discomfort." Theories

range from a case of gout to ankle problems because of ballooning weight.

Since his last public appearance, some believe his little sister Kim Yo Jong could be running the country or even that he`s been deposed in a coup,

but nothing has been confirmed.

To North Korea watchers, Kim`s absence from two high profile events and the silence about his whereabouts is deafening.

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN": To skip an event which honors your father and your grandfather is a serious breach of protocol. Unless

there are some really good reason. I think right now that Kim Jong-un is suffering under not only a physical disability, but a political one as


COOPER: Anderson Cooper, CNN.


AZUZ: It seems everybody`s got a duffel bag. But why duffel? How to get that name? Well, check it. Duffel is a town in Belgium. It produced the

cloth that came to be used in the bags, hits duffel bags. Now, that`s random.

There`s nothing random about where we find request for our "Roll Call." It`s the transcript page at We are flying with the

Eagles today in Lyndon, Utah, hello to everyone watching it, Alpine Transition and Education Center.

We are growling with the bulldogs in Bald Knob, Arkansas. Great to see you all at Bald Knob High School and we are sparring with the Spartans, Indian

trail North Carolina is on our roll with Sun Valley Middle School.

The U.S. government sets aside about $17.5 billion a year for NASA. The National Aeronautic and Space Administration.

The money goes for missions, measurements, satellites and test flights. One unmanned vehicle, a drone, called more fears. It`s about the size of a

Chevy Suburban. It had a nasty crush on its first flight, but it`s taking off since then.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDNT: Getting to space is pricey. Astronomically so. Since NASA as established in 1958, the U.S. has spent

hundreds of billions of dollars on space-related activities.

On top of that, it`s dangerous. More than 20 people have died in space- related missions.

Enter Project Morpheus. One of NASA`s latest projects. Project Morpheus is an autonomous vehicle designed to go into space. Carrying gear capable

of conducting experiments. Project leader say the cost is just a fraction of what the space agency spent on previous shuttle missions.

Since it began in 2010, the project has cost just roughly $14 million. But the engineers behind this huge fee, a group of Purdue University

engineering students. The work began as a senior design project in 2010, and a propulsion course. Topped by Professor William Anderson, a

(INAUDIBLE) school of aeronautics and astronautics. The chief innovation- Morpheus is capable of a vertical takeoff and landing. And it`s powered by

a lightweight engine that uses liquid methane and oxygen, gases that the team could be manufactured at space, allowing the vehicle to refuel itself

and move deeper into the unknown.

Morpheus also has a new navigation system that allows it to take off and land more easily, and avoid obstacles. The project is in testing right

now, on Earth. But with dozens of successful test flights under its bell, Project Morpheus may soon be ready to blast a ride off into space.


Not coming back down to earth just yet. NASA has released a view of the Sun. It looks - well, kind of like a Jack-o-Lantern, just in time for

October. NASA says the bright strickish areas you are seeing where some of the more active regions of our nearest star when these pictures were taken

earlier this month. You couldn`t see it with the naked eye. Wouldn`t recommend you try, NASA used a view of the sun in two separate wavelinks to

capture this effect.

Some might call it startling, some might call it sensational, some might be son-impressed. But it brings new meaning to the word star-gazing, and they

probably didn`t even plan it.

I`m Carl Azuz for CNN STUDENT NEWS. Come on back Wednesday.