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Quick Guide & Transcript: School siege, Week in Review, Exploring Mars

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(CNN Student News) -- September 29, 2006

Quick Guide

School Siege - Hear a report about a Colorado school shooting, and take note of some tips on how to stay safe during school emergencies.

Week in Review - Review the week's top stories, including a campaign by Pope Benedict XVI to mend fences with Muslims.

Life on Mars? - See new photos from a sturdy Mars rover that has surpassed its mission by more than two years.

Teachers: Please preview the School Siege story, as it may not be appropriate for some students.



DANIELLE ELIAS, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Before you get away for the weekend, let us fill you in. This is CNN Student News! I'm Danielle Elias.

ELIAS: Tears and fears in Colorado. A gunman shatters a community's peace. Details behind the school shooting. And, steps you can take to stay safe. Three heads of state confront terror head on. Washington diplomacy is just one stop on our Week in Review. And... Red rover, red rover, send those cool pictures back over. A NASA robot "phones home." How it might help discover life on mars.

First Up: School Siege

ELIAS: First up: An update on the school hostage story we told you about yesterday on CNN Student News. Students at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado, are home today. Their school's been closed for the last two days. Wednesday, a gunman took six female students hostage in a classroom. He released four of them. A fifth escaped. When SWAT police stormed the classroom, the gunman shot the remaining hostage when she tried to escape. The gunman then killed himself. The girl later died in a hospital. Police identified the man as Duane Morrison. He was 53. He had no connection to the school and had no known motive. The Park County Sheriff ordered the SWAT team in when negotiations with the suspect broke down. Like many in the small mountain community, the shooting touched him personally.


SHERIFF WEGENER: Being a sheriff in a small community, knowing all the parents, knowing the kids... My daughter graduated last year, my son's a junior here. It is very difficult. Because I'd want whoever was in my position to do the same thing, and that is to save lives. That's the only reason I became sheriff, is to save lives.


ELIAS: Now here are a few tips that can help you and your teachers stay safe at school: First, make sure your school has updated emergency plans, and find out what they are. They should include a "lockdown" strategy, as well as a "reverse evacuation" plan, in case students are outside and need to get inside. Also, make sure local authorities-- police, firefighters, and first responders --also know about your school's emergency plans. It's a good idea to have your parents check in with your principal about how they should manage a crisis. There should be a contact person they can call to keep the lines of communication open. You can find more tips at, and at

Week in Review

ELIAS: In the last five days, Iraq's seen courtroom drama and felt more violence. In Thailand, a coup sinks in. In Europe, the pope reaches out. Closer to home, we've had Iraq war debates and of course, new concerns about school safety. This is the Week in Review, in sights and sounds.


Today's Week in Review brings your class the images of stories that made headlines this week. Included here is a brief description of each topic:

The people of Thailand are waiting to find out who will be their next leader. The country's military recently seized governmental control in a bloodless coup, stripping former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of his power. Besides an increased public presence of tanks and soldiers, however, CNN reporter Dan Rivers stated that life was getting "back to normal" for many Thai citizens.

Some Iraqi merchants are noticing a lull in Ramadan shopping. Markets that are normally bustling during the Muslim holy month are seeing fewer customers, as the fear of violence has kept many would-be shoppers indoors.

Pope Benedict XVI said this week that he wanted to "consolidate the strong ties of friendship with the faithful of all religions and with particular respect for the dialogue between Muslims and Christians." The pontiff hopes his recent apology and meeting with Muslim envoys will help quell Muslim anger over a recent speech in which he made comments seen as offensive to Islam.

Americans are now allowed to carry certain liquids aboard airplanes. The Transportation Security Administration relaxed some carry-on rules this week, legalizing travel-sized containers of medicine or toiletries aboard flights. The items must be visible through small, zip-topped bags. Passengers may also bring aboard drinks purchased inside the terminal.

President Bush ordered that some parts of an intelligence document on the worldwide terror threat be declassified "to stop all the speculation." The report stated that the Iraq insurgency had shaped a new generation of terrorists, but it also said that fewer jihadists "will be inspired to carry on the fight" if they fail in Iraq.

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has repeatedly been kicked out of the courtroom for disrupting proceedings in his genocide trial. His most recent eviction happened on Tuesday after a shouting match with the judge. Hussein's six co-defendants also were ordered out of the courtroom. The trial has adjourned until October 9.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai joined President Bush for dinner at the White House. The two leaders have blamed each other for a recent upsurge in violence by the Taliban, Afghanistan's former rulers. President Bush hoped the dinner, which was described as cordial, would encourage cooperation among the leaders "to make the world a more hopeful place."

Police in Colorado are still searching for a motive in a deadly hostage standoff at a Colorado school. Officials say a 53-year-old gunman with an arrest record took several female students hostage at Platte Canyon High School. When SWAT officers stormed the classroom where the gunman was holed up, he shot and killed one student before killing himself. The school's classes were canceled Thursday and Friday, and crisis counselors were on hand to speak with students.



ELIAS: That was video from the week's top stories. And teachers, if you're looking for details on each of them for your class, we've got you covered. Go to and click on the "Transcripts" link. There you'll find a synopsis of each of the stories from Week in Review.


STAN NURNBERGER, CNN: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Carr's Current Issues classes at Starr's Mill High School in Fayetteville, Georgia! On average, how far away is Mars from Earth? If you think you know the answer, shout it out! Is it: A) 20 million miles B) 55 million miles C) 102 million miles D) 140 million miles? You've got 3 seconds! GO! On average, Mars is 140 million miles from Earth. In 2003, Mars and Earth came the closest they have in 60 thousand years, when ithey brushed by just 35 million miles apart. That's your answer and that's your shoutout!

Life on Mars?

ELIAS: Life on Mars? Scientists might soon know if it ever existed, thanks to a dependable "Opportunity" that's lasting a lot longer than anyone thought. Opportunity is one of a pair of NASA rovers on the Red Planet. Opportunity and its sister rover Spirit have been there for three years. And as Andy Flick reports, their longevity is enabling scientists to see never-before-seen images.


ANDY FLICK, CNN: The Mars rover Opportunity reached a milestone wednesday when it arrived at the rim of the Victoria Crater, sending back these black and white images from the red planet. You can see the crater's rocky interior walls and its sand-rippled floor in the photos. Victoria is five times the size of other craters the rovers have explored - half a mile wide and 230 feet deep.

JOHN CALLAS, MARS ROVER PROJECT MANAGER: Victoria is like a giant time tunnel. Because of its size, it allows us access to deep within Mars so we can go back in time by going down into the crater. :34 ---track---

FLICK: Opportunity is steered remotely by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If they can maneuver it into the crater, it will spend months trolling layers of rock for clues about Mars.

CALLAS: We have found evidence in the geology of surface liquid -- water -- on Mars. And that's important because with liquid water you know that Mars had to have had a thicker atmosphere and it had to have warmer temperatures...So it was more Earth-like.

FLICK: NASA believes Mars has much to teach us about our own planet.

CALLAS: And, of course, the great question is: Was there life on Mars or is there life there today?

FLICK: If life did exist on Mars millions, maybe billions, of years ago, what happened? And, could it happen on Earth? For those answers, NASA will have to wait. I'm Andy Flick, reporting from Atlanta.


Off the Beaten Path

ELIAS: Before we go, Carl Azuz takes us "Off the Beaten Path" for some unusual headlines from the animal kingdom!


CARL AZUZ, CNN: Oh deer. And we mean it: That's what these guys are trying to sound like in imitating the call of the wild. The competition is fierce. The indigestion. The audience...riveted. But it's gotta be tough to get dates -- at least, human ones -- by imitating male deer. So I guess it's no surprise if they all go "stag."

AZUZ: If you're the type to be bugged by insects, be glad you missed this! It's an event to celebrate the creatures that no one wants in their house.

DR. MARCEL DICKE, ENTOMOLOGIST: Without insects, the world would not be as it is now...

AZUZ: Nice glasses! But think about it: camping, gardening, and summertime would all be tolerable.

DICKE: ...and we would not be here.

AZUZ: Aaah, details. Anyway, these folks love bugs so much that -- Well, you know that expression, you are what you eat? Forget popcorn. Next time you're at the movies, sink your teeth into a nice cup of worms!

AZUZ: And finally, a tail of success. This Golden Lab named "Noah" was once as big as an ark, weighing in at more than 170 pounds! Here's the "before" photo. Now, with a couple tweaks to his diet and exercise habits, Noah has shed 60 pounds in four months, giving him a new leash on life. (bark) That's dog for, "I did it without Ephedra." And that's a wrap for today's trip Off the Beaten Path. I'm Carl Azuz.



ELIAS: Have a great weekend, guys, but please be safe. We'll see you next week for more Student News. Until then,I'm Danielle Elias.




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