CNN Student News 25/03/2013

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CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz, and this CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`re going to start this new week with some signs of spring including two annual religious observances. Yesterday, was Palm Sunday, and it was the first one for Pope Francis since he became the head of the Roman Catholic Church. You can see him here taking part on the Palm Sunday service in Vatican City.   For Christians, Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, which concludes next Sunday on Easter. The observance commemorates Jesus Christ`s arrival in Jerusalem when palm leaves were laid out in front of them. In some churches, the palms that are used on Palm Sunday are saved and burned into ashes for Ash Wednesday.

The other religious observance starts tonight, it`s the first night of Passover, a Jewish holiday that celebrates when the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt. Passover is also called Pesach. The name comes from the story in the Bible about ten plagues, during one God killed the Egyptians first born sons, but passed over the houses of the Israelites. According to the story, when the Jews fled from Egypt, they didn`t have time for their bread to rise, so during the week-long Passover holiday Jewish people only eat unleavened bread called matzah. One thing you don`t expect to see in spring is this: it doesn`t look like the weather is paying much attention to the calendar. Eight states were under a winter storm warning yesterday, the National Weather Service predicted six to ten inches of snow from Missouri all the way to Ohio, so much for spring. The storm started out in the Rockies and it`s been making its way east.  There was a World Cup qualifying match in Colorado on Friday, look at that. You don`t see soccer played in that kind of weather very often.

There was something else that happened this weekend: a worldwide event that was just lights out.

Lights out, in Paris. Lights out, in London. Lights out, on landmarks all around the globe. Earth Hour was this past Saturday. When it hit 8:30 local time, people flipped the switch to go dark for "60 Minutes." Organizers started the idea to raise awareness about climate change, they estimate millions of people in more than 150 countries got involved in this

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today "Shoutout" goes out to Mrs. Scott`s world studies class at Stillwater Middle School in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Which of this space objects is also known as a minor planet? Here we go now? Is it an asteroid, dwarf planet, comet or quasar? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Asteroids are also called minor planets, and most of them are in orbit between Mars and Jupiter. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout".

AZUZ: So, what happens when one of this minor planets enters our planet`s atmosphere? It`s happened last month, a meteor exploded in the sky over Russia. One thing is for certain: it wasn`t quiet.

Scientists say they`re getting better in identifying threats from space. Asteroids that are big enough to cause serious damage if they hit the Earth. But the process of doing that, of identifying them isn`t cheap. During a congressional hearing last week, experts said, it would cost billions of dollars to actually prevent a potential catastrophe. But they also said the likelihood of that kind of thing happening is pretty slim.

GEN. CHARLES F. BOLDEN, ADMINISTRATOR, NASA: These are very rare events from the information that we have on - on asteroids that we`ve discovered of all sizes, we don`t know of any that will threaten the population of the United States, you know, in three weeks. And we`re trying very diligently as I said before with the president`s budget, to put ourselves in a position where we advanced the technology sets that three weeks will not be something that causes us to panic, because we will be able to respond.

The answer to you, is if it`s coming in three weeks, pray.

AZUZ: Well, if experts spot an asteroid that`s headed Earth, what can be done about it? Tom Foreman looks at some of the possibilities.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The one that blew up over Russia was really about this big. What we`re worried about are things like the asteroid that passed the same day which was really about this big, much, much, much bigger. If one of these things were tumbling toward Earth right now or one bigger, yeah, this could wipe out a city, it could wipe out a state, it might wipe out a small nation, if it hits. Let`s reset here and talk about the plans for one might do about such a thing. The simple truth is, rule number one is, you don`t blow it up. If one of these things were coming in toward Earth right now, the simple truth is, if you blew it up, if you try to hit this with some kind of big explosion, all that would happen is that it would spread out into a whole bunch of much smaller asteroids, basically on the same orbit, and they might hit a whole lot more area. So that`s off the table.

So let`s reset and go back to rule number two. Rule number two is, remember physics. The collision of something like this and Earth is really too very tiny items is the vastness of space, so all you have to do is slightly change one of them in its fight, and that would be the asteroid. You can do that by either pushing it with some kind of spaceship, or pulling it with some sort of spaceship. If you move it just a little bit, it could go right by Earth, the key is you have to know about that early enough.
What really you`re talking about years to make something like that work under the current scenario, and that`s not unheard of, because we do track some of the bigger asteroids from quite a distance out. If you get much, much closer to Earth, though, then you do start talking about the idea of maybe using a nuclear weapon to blow up near it in space and make it move, but a lot of scientists don`t like that idea for a lot of reasons, including it could be fraught with a lot of uncertainty. You might see one headed toward the United States, blow it up in space, or blow up something near it to nudge it, and just nudge it over into France or into Iran, or into China, and those countries could have a big complaint about that.

AZUZ: To all of you, high school seniors, there are just a couple of months left in the year, and we`d love for you to introduce CNN STUDENT NEWS before you graduate. You know you want to do this, this is awesome. Send us an I-report. An To all of you, teachers, we`d love to hear what you think of today show. The place where you can tell us -, the very same address as our blog, where we asked students what their education means to them.

From Corbin, "When I see people say they hate school, it really makes me think how fortunate I am to be able to get such a great education."

Engracia says, "Whenever I`m frustrated and think I can`t learn any longer, I think of Malala and others like her. That makes me work even harder."

Alec writes, "I`m just concerned about going to school and learning what I need to learn to get a job.

From Luke, "An education means just something I have to do, not something I want to do."

Maddi told us, "An education is definitely a priority in my life. With my mom being a teacher, I want to show her what a good daughter she has."

Women`s history month honors the accomplishments and contributions of women in American society. Melissa Stockwell has represented the U.S as a soldier and as an athlete. In fact, one of those things led to the other one. Three weeks in her deployment to Iraq, something happened that changed her life. It inspired her to change the lives of the others. Robin Meade has got more.

ROBIN MEADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: April 13th, 2004 is the day Melissa Stockwell will never forget.

MELISSA STOCKWELL, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: It was the last day I ever stood on my own two legs. I was part of the U.S. Army and it was a routine convoy through the center of Baghdad, ten minutes into the ride, and this big explosion goes off. As soon as I was told I didn`t have my leg, I just kind of had this almost peaceful feeling that it`s going to be al right.

MEADE: While recovering, Melissa was inspired to fight for the United States on a new battlefield, the Paralympics.

STOCKWELL: I dreamed to go into Olympics as a gymnast when I was younger, and now it`s almost like I had a second chance. So, I decided to trying the sport of swimming. It was easy for me to swim, I didn`t have to wear a prosthetic foot.

MEADE: In 2008, she became the first Iraq war veteran to be chosen for the U.S. Paralympic team.

STOCKWELL: The feeling that just everything was supposed to happen how it did, and the whole journey the streets of Baghdad and now it`s going to be in the pools of Beijing, and this made me feel just alive.

MEADE: Now, Melissa is helping others through a triathlon club that she co-founded two years ago. Dare to Try provides adaptive equipment and coaches for athletes for disabilities in the Chicago area.

HAILEY DANISEWICZ, CANCER SURVIVOR: It`s let me re-identify myself as an athlete and just giving me so much confidence that`s carried over into every other aspect of my life.

STOCKWELL: Seeing them cross out finish line, it`s a very special moment for all of us.

AZUZ: All right. Here in Atlanta, there is a part of town called the Beltline. They might want to change its name to the Feline, because these little kitty is quickly becoming the area`s most popular attraction. People leave messages in her mini mailbox, when they come out to visit the drainpipe she lives in. Sometimes they bring food or other gifts. The cat is named Piper, go figure. She even has her own Facebook page and Twitter account. All that attention can be a real drain. There are probably some days when she just wants everyone to pipe down. You know, when she`s not feline up to visitors.

That`s all the time we have for meow. I hope you enjoy the rest of your Monday. We`ll catch back up with you tomorrow for more CNN STUDENT NEWS. Bye-bye.

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