(CNN Student News) -- June 1, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: The first week of June kicks off our last week of the school year. Also happens to be the 30th birthday of CNN, so happy birthday to us! Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend. I'm Carl Azuz. Let's get started.
First Up: Oil Spill New
AZUZ: First up, short-term and long-term solutions to try to stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, it is still going. The long-term solution is a relief well. BP is working on that now, but that won't be ready until August. So far, all of the short-term solutions have failed, including the top kill process we told you about last week. The next attempt could get going soon. Now, we're talking about a special cap that would go over part of the leaking oil well. The plan is to cut part of the lower marine riser package, or LMRP. That is going to release more oil into the Gulf until the cap can go over the LMRP. BP officials point out that the seal on that cap won't collect all of the oil. Sandra Endo now has more details about what's going on down on the Gulf Coast and how people are reacting to it.
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This image says it all: another failed attempt by BP to stop the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
BOB DUDLEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BP: We're disappointed the oil's going to flow for a while, and we're going to redouble our efforts to make sure it's kept off the beaches.
ENDO: Saturday, BP officials announced the so-called "top kill" procedure, which pumped heavy mud into the well, didn't plug the leak. Now, BP is preparing to contain the spill by cutting off the riser from the well and capping it off.
DOUG SUTTLES, BP CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: This operation should be able to capture most of the oil. I want to stress the word "most," because it is not a tight mechanical seal.
ENDO: All that spewing crude will eventually end up somewhere, much of it heading straight for the coast. This beautiful, seven-mile beach is usually packed with people for this Memorial Day weekend, but it's empty, closed to the public. And all you see now are cleanup crews trying to get rid of the tar. Many in the Gulf Coast region say this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the economic effects which will likely be felt for a long time to come. BP says it has already paid out more than $35 million in damage claims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that the people in the lower parishes who do make their living down there, fishing and whatnot, that it's just going to ruin a lot of things. It's going to put a lot of people out of work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's heartbreaking. It's just sad. That's all you can think, is how sad it is.
ENDO: In Grand Isle, Louisiana, I'm Sandra Endo.
AZUZ: Yesterday was Memorial Day, a time for all Americans to remember the men and women who lost their lives while serving their country. Ceremonies took place around the U.S., including at Major League Baseball stadiums. Maybe you saw one of them. Games were scheduled to pause at 3:00 p.m. to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.
At Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, Vice President Joe Biden took part in the traditional wreath-laying ceremony. He also visited the cemetery's Section 60, where many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are laid to rest. During a speech he made earlier in the day, Vice President Biden talked about how Memorial Day is a mixture of sorrow and incredible pride, and how those who have been lost will never be forgotten.
U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: To those who have lost a loved one in the service of our nation, I recall a famous headstone in Ireland. And the headstone reads as follows: "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal." No one can steal the memory from you.
Word to the Wise
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
flotilla (noun) a group of boats or ships
AZUZ: A global controversy has erupted after Israeli forces attacked a flotilla that was bringing aid to Gaza. What we know is that nine people who were on those ships are dead and seven Israeli soldiers are wounded. What we don't know is what exactly happened because the two sides are telling two very different stories.
Some quick background here. Gaza is one of the areas that's at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's run by Hamas, a Palestinian group that the U.S. government considers a terrorist organization. When Hamas took control of Gaza, Israel put up a blockade in the Mediterranean Sea to control what goes into Gaza.
This flotilla was trying to break that blockade. There were six ships in the flotilla. They were carrying tons of aid for Gaza; food, medicine, construction materials. Around 4:30 on Monday morning, Israeli soldiers stormed the ships. People on board five of the six ships agreed to let the Israelis search their goods for possible weapons. But what happened on the sixth ship is where the stories separate. The groups that organized the flotilla claim that the Israeli soldiers dropped onto the ship and immediately opened fire on unarmed civilians. Israel says the soldiers were deliberately attacked and argues that they were defending themselves when the nine people were shot and killed. Reaction to the incident came in fast and furious from all over the globe, with some countries calling for an immediate investigation.
Tropical Storm Agatha
AZUZ: The Atlantic Ocean hurricane season starts today, while some of Central America recovers from the first named storm of the Pacific season. Tropical Storm Agatha slammed into the region over the weekend, hitting parts of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Guatemala seems to have been hit the hardest. Look at some of the damage here. Mudslides destroyed homes and buildings. More than 90 people were killed in the country, and more than a dozen people died in neighboring Honduras. That nation's president declared a state of emergency on Sunday. Officials in El Salvador, where nine people were killed, said things were improving there on Monday. But with the possibility of more rain in the forecast, they were keeping a close eye on things. After it hit land, Agatha lost strength and was downgraded.
AZUZ: Our daily e-mail is a great way to keep up with CNN Student News. You can sign up for it on our home page. And for all you teachers who already get the e-mail, there is no need to unsubscribe over the summer. The daily e-mails will be suspended while we're on break. When we come back on August 16th, the daily e-mails will too.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Radomski's social studies classes at Westerly Middle School in Westerly, Rhode Island! What city is home to the National Zoo? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it in: A) New York, B) San Diego, C) San Francisco or D) Washington, D.C.? You've got three seconds -- GO! You'll find the National Zoo in the nation's capital. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: The National Zoo was created by an act of Congress in 1889. Today, it's home to around 2,000 animals representing 400 different species. It's open almost every day of the year. But if you can't get to D.C. to visit it in person, there's always the internet. In fact, you can check in on some of the animals any time you like.
DENNIS KELLY, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ZOO: For us, it really started with pandas. What we found with pandas was an intersection of cameras on pandas when the Internet came about. A huge interest in watching pandas 24/7.
Our pandas have about 38 different cameras feeding two different web streams right now, so there are all kinds of views we can get of our pandas; indoors, outdoors, different angles. One of my favorite cameras is the naked mole rat camera, because it gets right down into the home of the naked mole rat. It's at an eye level; you are eye-to-eye with a naked mole rat. And in the wild, that would be five or six feet underground.
TAMSEN DEWITT, INVERTEBRATE SPECIALIST: This is Octavius our octopus, and he just loves this camera. He's always on it. Someone's gonna get a blackout right now because he's gonna be all over it.
KELLY: The black-footed ferret is one of the great success stories of the National Zoo because, at one point, there were only 18 black-footed ferret on the planet. The folks on the world wide web can see what the scientists see, and it's the only place in the world where you can see black-footed ferret in a habitat where they are growing and thriving and breeding.
MICHAEL THORPE, NATIONAL ZOO WEB SPECIALIST: The camera is inside the bear den, and it's a special camera that we selected because it's basically gonna be in a bear den at head height and had to be very, very strong and very secure. And we selected a camera that was designed for use in prison cells.
KELLY: We find often that our webcam fans come to the zoo more often because they are more interested in seeing the three dimensional and smelling the animal and hearing the vocalization in stereo that they miss on the world wide cam.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, a man with a singular focus. Tristan Bates is on track to wrap up his uni-thon later this week. He's riding more than 400 miles, and he's doing it all on one wheel! The goal of Bates' trek is to raise money for cancer research. He's been riding a unicycle for 6 years. And when his dad was diagnosed with cancer, Bates came up with the uni-thon idea: One Wheel, One Cure.
AZUZ: It's certainly a uni-que plan, and we wish him the best of luck with it. Although after 400 miles, he's bound to be one tired cyclist. As for us, wheel be back tomorrow for another cycle of CNN Student News. See you then.