CNN Student News 04/04/2013

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CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Lots of stuff happening in and around northeast Asia right now. It`s all connected to tensions surrounding North Korea, and it`s where we`re starting today`s show. Some of this has to do with North Korea`s controversial nuclear program. Back in 2008, North Korea volunteered to shut down one of its nuclear facilities. It blew up this cooling tower as a symbol of its cooperation. Now, the country says it`s planning to start the nuclear reactor back up again.

Yesterday North Korea threatened a nuclear strike against the United States. Now, most experts say the Asian country does not have the technology to carry out that kind of strike, and that it won`t for years. North Korea also blocked hundreds of South Koreans from going into an industrial complex the two nations share. The complex is usually seen as a symbol of cooperation between the countries. North Korea threatened to shut it down.

The U.S. is taking some action here too. It moved a radar system, like to this one, closer to the North Korean coast. The U.S. is planning to send a missile defense system to Guam to defend against possible North Korean missile launches.

Tom Foreman has more on the military force in that region, starting with North Korea.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Talk about their ground forces, 1.1 million active troops in North Korea, almost 5 million in reserve. That`s an simply an awful lot of people for a small area; 605 combat aircraft, 43 naval missile vessels. These might be very limited if they came out and tried to do anything, but when you combine it with all the artillery there they actually have a somewhat fortified position. South Korea, for example, look at this: 30,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea. Some F-22 Raptors were sent there just yesterday. If you go to Japan over here, a very strong presence ever since World War II, 3,800 U.S. troops there. A second early warning radar system has been put there to keep track of the missile attacks coming from North Korea. And of course down here, Guam, you have 5,700 U.S. troops and this is one of the most important naval bases in the world for our long-range bombers.

So there`s a lot of force that could respond to North Korea here, but what you`re going to have is a push-pull between all of these forces trying to get in from all these different places if it came to that , and the conventional flow out of missiles from North Korea, if indeed you move to a conventional war.

Of course everyone hopes it doesn`t go that way, but that`s a bit of how the lay of the land would be if it did.

AZUZ: A lot of you play sports. You know that different coaches have different ways of motivating players, but one coach`s methods have cost him his job. Mike Rice, the head basketball coach at Rutgers University was fired on Wednesday, after videos were released from team practices. The videos, which were broadcast by ESPN, show Rice physically and verbally abusing his players. Here he`s seen throwing basketballs at different players, sometimes at their bodies, in one instance at a player`s head.

MIKE RICE, FORMER RUTGERS HEAD COACH: There`s no explanation for what`s on those films, because there is no excuse for it. I was wrong.

AZUZ: Rice apologized to his players, his family, the university, and its fans. Former player says the behavior in the videos did happen, but he said it wasn`t the norm at practices. Initially, the Rutgers athletic director gave Rice a three game suspension, a $75,000 fine, and a requirement to take anger management classes. State officials said that wasn`t a serious enough punishment. Yesterday, Rice was fired.

Some coaches may use tough love with their players. Even Mike Rice says what he did was wrong. Where do you draw the line on this? That`s the question up on today`s blog, and teachers don`t forget to share your feedback on today`s show. The link is up all at

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s shout out goes to Mr. Seals` U.S. history classes at Chattanooga Central High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

New York City has the largest population in the U.S. What city is second? You know what to do. Is it Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Houston? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Los Angeles ranks second with more than three and a half million residents in the city itself. That`s your answer, and that`s your shout out.

AZUZ: Four hundred seventy square miles, millions of commuters, infamously ranked as one of America`s worst cities for traffic. What`s Los Angeles to do? The latest idea, synch up more than 4,000 stoplights in the metropolis. The method, hundreds of cameras, sensors on roads, a computer system that keeps track of it all. That sounds like a project? You`re on the right road. It costs the City of Angels a sky-high $400 million to do this.

The Automatic Traffic Surveillance and Control System, doesn`t exactly roll off the tongue, but it is helping cars roll on the road, somewhat. "The New York Times" monitored L.A.`s progress. While driving five miles used to take about 20 minutes on city streets, it takes just over 17 minutes with L.A.`s new system. The average speed used to be 15 miles per hour, now it`s a little over 17 miles per hour.

Is this a game-changer? For many drivers, probably not, but a subtle difference can save a little time, a little money on gas, a little wear and tear on cars, and give people a little more time to work. Could this work in places like New York or the nation`s capitol, which a Texas A&M study ranked as having America`s worst traffic? We don`t know yet, but these cities are certainly watching L.A.`s results because after all, that`s where the rubber meets the road.

All right now, from L.A. we`re going to West Virginia. Authorities there say carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for the death of three people. One of them, Shain Gandee, star of the MTV show "Buckwild." Officers discovered Gandee, his uncle, and another man inside the family`s SUV earlier this week. The vehicle was out in the woods, partially submerged in mud. The muffler completely below the mud`s surface so carbon monoxide couldn`t be released through the truck`s tailpipe. Authorities have labeled the deaths as an accident.

Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, so people who are exposed to it might not realize it. The symptoms can start with a headache or nausea. Prolonged exposure can ultimately cause death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Bees help in the production of about one-third of the foods we eat. It`s true. Their pollination helps develop fruits, vegetables, nuts and all sorts of field crops.

AZUZ: So, concerns about getting stung aside, bees play a big role in our lives. That`s why some scientists are concerned about what`s happening to the U.S. honeybee population. It`s disappearing. In fact, some experts think as much as half the country`s honeybees have died this year.  The name for this kind of thing is colony collapse disorder. You look at a hive one week, there are a bunch of healthy adult bees. Look back a week later, and poof, all the adults are gone. Experts don`t know why this happens. They say there could be several factors all working together. But they`re worried about the impact this could have on the country`s food supply. Fewer bees to pollinate means fewer plants developing. That could ultimately mean higher prices for fruits and vegetables, since there aren`t as much of them available.

We`re going to wrap things up today with a report from CNN`s Jeanne Moos. In order to get into the spirit for this story, you`re going to have to put on your dancing shoes, except how do you put shoes on flippers?

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you think this is the only way a sea lion moves, watch her groove.

VOICE OF PETER COOK, RESEARCHER UC SANTA CRUZ: Ronan`s favorite song is definitely "Boogie Wonderland" by Earth Wind and Fire.

MOOS: And fired up is what researcher Peter Cook is.

COOK: She did not do this spontaneously. It took a lot of training.

MOOS: After almost a year and a half of study, researchers at Long Marine Lab, UC Santa Cruz, have published "A California Sea Lion Can Keep the Beat," even to the Backstreet Boys.

MOOS: Now, you probably think, big deal. Any idiot can keep a beat. Scientists used to think only humans could keep a beat, but then a cockatoo named Snowball wowed the web, bopping to the Backstreet Boys. Research on Snowball showed birds with a talent for vocal mimicry are also able to keep the beat -- birds with a capacity for complex vocal learning.

But now, Ronan the sea lion, with no talent for vocal mimicry is getting down to Earth Wind and Fire. Of course, Ronan needed fish as a reward and had to start by bopping to the click of a metronome. Eventually she learned to find the rhythm buried in music. And though Youtube is awash in dancing animals like Lucky the elephant and Stuart the salsa dancing dog, even walruses dancing to Michael Jackson, the difference is they`re likely responding to cues from a trainer or simply swaying rather than keeping the beat. Alone with nothing but music at stimulus, and fish, Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

AZUZ: I can`t get over that dog. Now, let`s not dance around the obvious, that`s the kind of story that can`t be beat. And if she gets other animals on board, she can be in charge of an entire groove-ment. Of course, she could change her mind too, she is kind of a big flipper.

It`s time for us to boogie. I`m Carl Azuz, enjoy the rest of your day.

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