(CNN Student News) -- August 27, 2007
Vick In Court - Learn about the plea agreement that Michael Vick made with federal prosecutors.
Youssif's Story - Hear about the support being offered to an Iraqi boy after a violent attack.
Children of the Storm - Listen to one teen's story about how Hurricane Katrina has impacted her life.
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TEACHERS: Please preview today's program, as it contains content that may not be appropriate for some students.
MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: We're glad to have you with us for the start of a new week of CNN Student News. I'm Monica Lloyd. Teachers, please preview today's show, as it contains content that may not be appropriate for some students. The NFL forces Michael Vick to the sidelines, suspending the star quarterback without pay. We'll explain the plea he's making in a Virginia court room today. This Iraqi boy was the victim of a horrible attack, but he's headed to America to get medical care. We'll tell you about the enormous support he's received. And much of New Orleans is still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. We'll hear one teen's account of how the storm impacted her life.
LLOYD: First up, a football star is out of the game, with no idea when he'll be allowed to return. Michael Vick has been suspended without pay indefinitely by the commissioner of the NFL after admitting to his involvement in an illegal dogfighting organization. The quarterback is in court today, entering the details of a plea bargain that he worked out with federal prosecutors last week. Drew Griffin has more on the legal proceedings.
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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN REPORTER: Michael Vick, who months ago was thowing for touchdowns as the star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, now has thrown himself before the mercy of a federal court, admitting in court papers to dogfighting. The one count plea, to be entered by Vick in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday, charges Vick with conspiracy, a charge that could bring as much as a five year prison term. Responding to a possible plea deal earlier this week, one of Vick's defense attorneys indicated the agile quarterback couldn't run from his past.
DANIEL MEACHUM, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He's accepting responsibilities for those charges and he's trying to pick up the pieces of his life back together, and asks that you pray for him and forgive him for any wrongdoings that he may have been involved in.
GRIFFIN: Three co-defendants have already pleaded guilty and all three gave graphic details about how Vick's Virginia property was the headquarters of Bad Newz Kennels, that dogs were raised her to fight, that Vick not only financed the operation, but took part in gambling, and that Michael Vick personally killed underperforming dogs by drowning and electrocution.
In his plea agreement, Vick's lawyers appear to be trying to minimize the damage, specifically saying while Vick financed the operation, even put up money for purses, he did not bet on the dogs. He did admit, however, to agreeing to the killing of six to eight dogs that did not perform well in so called "testing" sessions. The dogs were killed by various methods, including hanging and drowning.
And the summary states: "Vick agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of the collective efforts of (his co-defendants Purnell) Peace, (Quanis) Phillips and himself, Vick."
Neither Vick nor the prosecution had anything to say about the plea deal beyond the court filings. Once the plea is entered in court Monday, a federal judge will decide whether to accept it and then set a sentencing date. A source familiar with details of the case says prosecutors will ask the judge to send the star quarterback to prison for no less than 18 months. Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.
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LLOYD: A lot of the news that you hear from Iraq is about the military or insurgency. So when you hear about the country's citizens, it might be difficult to imagine the kind of environment that they live in. But there are some stories that seem hard to comprehend even by Iraq's standards. Carl Azuz tells us one of them, and explains how an outpouring of support will hopefully give a happy ending to one family's tragedy.
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: That any good could come out of what happened to this 5-year-old boy is a testament to human compassion.
One day in January, Youssif was playing outside his Baghdad home when he was brutally attacked by masked men. Police haven't made any arrests; they don't even know why someone would do this. Youssif was burned, left disfigured and his family couldn't afford medical care to help restore his appearance.
But once his story appeared on CNN.com last Wednesday, emails came rushing in, like this one from Jessica: "This kind of thing breaks my heart... How could someone do this to anyone, let alone a child?" Brian, another viewer, wrote in, "CNN, if you put this on for us to read, then you should allow us to donate."
The amazing thing was, no more than a day later, we had a follow-up. The Children's Burn Foundation would give Youssif and his family an all-expenses-paid trip to the U.S., where all of his medical care would be covered, free of cost.
BARBARA FRIEDMAN, CHILDREN'S BURN FOUNDATION: The response has been overwhelming. We received over 3,000 responses on our Web site.
AZUZ: And they've set up a place where you can donate, at the Children's Burn Foundation Web site. When CNN Reporter Arwa Damon first told this story, she said Youssif's mother just wanted to see her son smile again. When the boy found out help was on the way, Youssif ran around the house saying, "Daddy, daddy, am I really going to get on a plane?" A step closer to making that smile last. I'm Carl Azuz for CNN Student News.
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Impact Your World
LLOYD: Bad things happen in our world every day. But as you just saw, good can come out of it, and one person really can make a difference. Log on to CNN.com/impact and find out how you can impact your world.
GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. me! My nickname is the Crescent City. I'm considered by many to be the birthplace of jazz music. Floods from Hurricane Katrina devastated me in August 2005. I'm New Orleans! And while I'm Louisiana's largest city, I'm not the state capital. That honor goes to Baton Rouge.
LLOYD: This Wednesday is the anniversary of Katrina. The deadly hurricane destroyed more than 90,000 square miles of land and caused more than $81 billion in damages. With numbers that large, it can be hard to think about the individuals who were affected. But CNN teamed up with movie director Spike Lee and gave young people in and around New Orleans the chance to tell their own stories about their lives and their city in a program called "Children of the Storm." In this segment, Soledad O'Brien introduces us to Amanda Hill.
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AMANDA HILL: This is my mother's grave. She died seven years ago, and we don't even have a name plate for her. All it is is a square cement that I write on with a sharpie. "We love you mom."
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN REPORTER: Eighteen-year-old Amanda Hill's mother died of cancer. Since Katrina, she's lived in a FEMA trailer with her 66-year-old grandmother, Delores. Amanda has been using the video camera she got in January to tell us about the debt they piled up after the storm and the toll it's taking on her grandmother.
DELORES: Our bills are more than I can handle. I'm very, very, very depressed about that.
AMANDA: Are you ever happy?
DELORES: I used to be, but not no more. Not ever since Hurricane Katrina got a hold of us.
AMANDA: Before the storm, we struggled, but we made it. We were fairly comfortable. Now she is so far in debt and so stressed out I can physically see what it's doing to her.
DELORES: I'm all dressed for work
O'BRIEN: Delores had trouble finding work when she returned to St. Bernard Parish. The job at McDonald's was the only one she could get, and she doesn't make enough to pay all the bills.
AMANDA: She told me she doesn't know how she's going to pay the bills this month and it's enough to make someone to want to commit suicide. All I could say was it's going to be ok, when in my heart I don't think it is.
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LLOYD: "Children of the Storm" gives students the opportunity to share their voices with the world. And if you want to hear more of Amanda's story and how she's turned her life around, watch the program when it airs on CNN this Wednesday at 8 PM.
Before We Go
LLOYD: Before we go, a longtime Texas resident gets a change of scenery. This oak tree has stood its ground in Austin for 100 years. But it's been said that you can't stand in the way of progress, so when construction started on a new hotel, it was out with the oak. But the jolly green giant isn't headed for the wood chipper. It's putting down roots on a bike trail just four blocks from its old home.
LLOYD: That's the last branch of today's show. But we'll be back tomorrow with more CNN Student News. Thanks for watching. I'm Monica Lloyd. E-mail to a friend