(CNN Student News) -- September 20, 2007
Typhoon Wipha - Learn about the damage that a massive typhoon caused in parts of China.
Meteorite Mystery - Hear why some Peruvians are claiming that a meteor made them sick.
Saving Siberia's Tigers - Explore some of the growing threats faced by the Siberian tiger.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, everyone. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz. And today, we're hitting the road. This globe-trotting edition of CNN Student News is all over the map. We're bringing you stories from around the planet and even one from the digital realm. So settle in and get ready to take off on our trip around the world.
AZUZ: We're heading to China for our first story today. The Asian nation is roughly the same size as the United States, but it's the world's most populated country, home to more than 1.3 billion people. And many of them are recovering right now from the effects of a massive typhoon. That's what hurricanes are called in this part of the world. John Vause fills us in on how officials prepared for the storm and the damage that the typhoon caused.
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JOHN VAUSE, CNN REPORTER: With Typhoon Wipha on a collision course for Shanghai, authorities prepared for the worst. But this sprawling city of close to 20 million people was spared a direct hit, as the storm made landfall some 240 miles to the south in Zhejiang province. As hurricane-force winds swept across the coast, hundreds of homes collapsed. Officials estimate hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in damage. But somehow, no deaths, no injuries reported here, even though authorities described Wipha as a super typhoon, potentially the most devastating to hit China in a decade. Officials took no chances. Around two million people were forced to move to safer shelter; according to state media, the biggest mass evacuation this part of China has seen since the communist revolution.
"The company we work with evacuated us to this school. We came here around 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon," says this man. Many went to hospitals, government office buildings and schools like this. "We have to be careful and take good care of these people. As to when can we let them go back, we need to wait for the advice of the government," says the headmaster of the elementary school.
Severe winds meant air travel was severely disrupted, while huge seas sent ferries back to port. More than 40,000 fishing boats were forced into harbor or further out to sea. Wipha is now slowly losing steam as it heads north up China's mainland. While the winds are slowly starting to ease, there is still the fear that heavy rainfall might bring widespread flooding. John Vause, CNN, Beijing.
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AZUZ: On what continent would you find the Andes Mountains? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) North America, B) Australia, C) Asia or D) South America? You've got three seconds -- GO! The Andes stretch thousands of miles from South America's Caribbean coast all the way down to the tip of the continent. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: We're leaving China and hopping across the Pacific Ocean now to Peru. It's home to part of the Andes Mountain chain. And last weekend, a meteorific makeover gave the South American nation a new landmark: a giant crater! Witnesses say they saw a fiery ball fall from the sky on Saturday. Now, the meteor didn't hurt anyone when it landed. But as Juliet Bremner explains, many people are sick to their stomachs over what it left behind.
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JULIET BREMNER, ITN REPORTER: This large hole filled with foul-smelling water has become a curious sort of tourist attraction. It appeared over the weekend in a town close to Lake Titicaca in Peru. Local people are convinced it was caused by a meteor. This man says, "It exploded and knocked me back." But they also complain that the crater is giving off strange gases which are making people feel ill and contaminating water needed for cattle. A woman explains that her throat and head are hurting and she can't sleep. But British experts are puzzled by these symptoms.
PHIL BLAND, PLANETARY SCIENTIST: Meteorites are either lumps of iron metal or stone, so there's not much there in the way of toxic chemicals that's going to do you too much harm. Unless it's gigantic, in which case you have problems because of the size of the explosion. But this is not nearly that big.
BREMNER: Scientists from Peru's Geological Institute are on their way to examine the site. But a chemistry student claims he's already carried out his own tests and has found nothing more sinister than silicon and boron.
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Is this legit?
AZUZ: From something geological to something geographical. Is This Legit? Siberia is an Asian country. Actually, Siberia isn't a country at all. It's a region of Russia that's located in Asia.
AZUZ: Our next move on the map takes us from Peru to Siberia. You can find mountains, swamps, even forests in the Russian region. And those forests are home to the largest tigers in the world. Siberian tigers can grow up to 13 feet long and weigh more than 600 pounds! Now you might think an animal that big doesn't have anything to worry about. But as Matthew Chance tells us, threats against the large cats are increasing.
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MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN REPORTER: Few animals have such awe-inspiring beauty as the majestic killers of the Siberian forest. But these are just cubs, still barely a year old. Ferocious as they seem, if it weren't for this tiger sanctuary, they'd never survive. The man who runs the rescue center told me there is a worrying increase in the number of orphaned tiger cubs being brought to his door.
OLEG GRINENKO, TIGER INSPECTION: Two of our tigers were found by timber truck drivers lying on the road, starving and helpless. Another cub forced herself inside a small kennel as she was trying to kill a dog. When an old lady came to feed the dog in the morning, she found the tiger stuck there.
CHANCE: Despite decades of protection, Russian conservationists say the Siberian tiger is very much under threat. Each animal, they say, needs more than 500 square miles of forest in which to live. Incredible as they are, these magnificent beasts are still fighting for their survival. Destruction of their habitat through logging and forest fires is taking a terrible toll on Siberia's tigers. But poaching is an even bigger threat.
We drove deep into the Siberian forests, where anti-poaching authorities say as many as 40 adult tigers are killed every year, mainly for use in traditional Chinese medicines. A small team of unarmed rangers has responsibility for policing this vast region. But the chief ranger told me his men, who number less than 80, are under-resourced and virtually powerless to make a difference.
STANISLAV FADEEV, RANGER: Our group is trying to exterminate poaching, but in fact it is impossible with our equipment and our laws. If we catch a suspected poacher, in order to inspect his car, we have to have witnesses. Where do you think we can find witnesses in the woods? It is practically impossible.
CHANCE: There have been high-profile successes against poachers in the past. This undercover operation by environmentalists and the Russian police used a hidden camera to expose a tiger and leopard fur-selling ring operating in the country's Far East.
The trader was arrested and prosecuted. But for most poachers, conservationists say escape is far too easy. And one of Russia's most precious and endangered species may eventually pay the ultimate price. Matthew Chance, CNN, Vladivostok.
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AZUZ: Siberian tigers are just one of the more than 1,000 types of animals on the Endangered Species list. Species loss is one of the environmental issues covered in Planet in Peril, a CNN investigation premiering in October. CNN Student News is taking part in the special event. We'll have videos and curriculum materials on some of the key issues facing our planet.
Before We Go
AZUZ: We're winging our way to Pennsylvania for our final stop today: an Internet icon's anniversary. 25 years ago, a professor at Carnegie Mellon put together three pieces of punctuation and came up with... this! You're probably used to seeing it sideways, but you sure know what it means. The emoticon! Now, if this retro version just makes you L-O-L because it looks so O-L-D, check out some of its contemporary cousins. That's the look of I-D-K. And this person must be having a bad day. You might send this one to your B-F-F. Avoiding a stern look is probably best. There are emoticons for when we're under the weather. And ones for when we're feeling much better.
AZUZ: That ends today's trip. So T-T-F-N, or ta ta for now. But we'll B-R-B with more CNN Student News tomorrow. Have a great day, everyone. I'm Carl Azuz. E-mail to a friend