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Search for Disappeared Malaysian Airlines Plane; Edward Snowden Addressing Americans from Russia; Frozen Lake Michigan; Drought in California Continues

Aired March 11, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: What caused a passenger jet to disappear in Asia? There are a lot of theories, but so far few answers. That mystery leads of today`s edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 took off early Saturday morning from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was carrying 239 people to Beijing, China, but had vanished from radar and tracking records at around 35,000 feet. There was no distress signal, the weather was clear. With nothing found as of last night, rescuers expanded their search area. They are looking for clues in the Gulf of Thailand, between Malaysia and Vietnam. As they are searching from air and sea, Interpol is investigating on the ground. This is an international organization with ties to police from more than 180 countries. And it`s investigating whether people on the flight with stolen passports might have had anything to do with its disappearance.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s one of the biggest mysteries in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. How in a post 911 world did two passengers board an international flight with stolen passports? Even more surprising, they were in plain sight, among the names listed in Interpol`s lost and stolen travel documents database. One, since last year, the other, since 2012. Both stolen in Thailand. And it appears the two passengers who used the passports of an Italian and an Austrian citizen, bought their tickets together.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: When you book your ticket, the airlines isn`t able to actually make an inquiry with Interpol or even the local police about whether you`re wanted or whether the passport has been reported stolen. The country - the government does.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And according to Interpol last year alone, passengers were able to board planes without having their passport screened against Interpol`s databases more than one billion times. The database and Interpol headquarters in France contains an astounding 40 million records of stolen travel documents.

FUENTES: You know, the member countries, the 190 members that belong to Interpol are not charged a fee for accessing any of those databases. So, if the country has sufficient resources and technical capability to wire into - to Interpol`s virtual private network that`s running 24 hours a day. And, you know, they certainly would be able to access that database and check it - it`s just up to the wheel of the country to set it up and do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said, now we have a real case where the world is speculating whether the stolen passport holders were terrorists, while Interpol is asking why only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care to make sure that persons possessing stolen passports are not boarding international flights.


AZUZ: Edward Snowden says he has no regrets about leaking classified government information to the public. Yesterday, he asked people at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, to help fix U.S. government surveillance. Snowden is a controversial man. He`s a former worker for the National Security Agency, the NSA. He`s now living in exile in Russia because the U.S. government wants him to face felony charges back home. It says Snowden broke the law when he leaked secret information about the NSA. Specifically, that the spy agency collects American citizens phone and Internet information. The U.S. government says its programs help protect Americans by preventing terrorist attacks.

Snowden supporters see him as a whistleblower who`s protecting Americans rights to privacy. His teleconference yesterday was the first time he`s directly addressed the American public since he fled the country. He asked developers at South by Southwest to make secure networks for users, so that no one including the government can easily access Americans information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m one of the Great Lakes of North America. In fact, I`m the only one located completely within the U.S. I`m connected to Lake Huron by the Straits of Mackinac.

I`m Lake Michigan, and I border that state as well as Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

AZUZ: And almost anywhere you look at Lake Michigan, you`re going to see ice, more than 93 percent of the lake is covered. That`s the most ice Lake Michigan has seen since 1979. All the Great Lakes have had a winner like this, and the snow and cold have helped their water levels, which have been below normal in recent years. But one downside - how do you get boats through this? Lake Michigan is important for shipping, everything from grain to coal to iron ore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are onboard the Mobile Bay, which is a Coast Guard cutter and an icebreaker and check out this ice. It is absolutely incredible. They are trying to open up the shipping lanes for the Great Lakes shipping season, which is just getting under way this week, and you could see the chunks of ice. They are just incredible. And this is an area actually - that you`re looking at right now that they`ve gone through already and broken up. It refreezes. They break it. They refreeze it. Commander John Stone is with us. And Commander, you`re saying in some areas you`re looking at four feet, which is just an incredible amount of ice. Even this thing is having the tough time getting through.

CMDR. JOHN STONE, U.S. COAST GUARD: That`s correct. So, on the Great Lakes, we are seeing over 90 percent coverage through all the lakes this year, and in some places, upwards of over five feet fitting this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are out today the way they do it when they get into the really thick areas as to stop, go backwards, stop go backwards - like when you get your car that stuck, it`s just rolling back and forth.

STONE: That`s correct. The ship can break about 2.5 feet of ice continues, but once it gets over that, we are (INAUDIBLE) through the ice.


AZUZ: You didn`t need to see all that to know about the impact this winter has had - the snow, the cold, the ice. It hasn`t hit everywhere. California still baking under drought conditions, and the weather hasn`t helped much with that. But it has helped in the eastern part of the country where some farmers are hoping the precipitation will keep falling as temperatures rise.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Through all the bitter cold and blowing snow, through the misery and madness, the long running winter has brought long-awaited water. And the head of the Maryland Farm Bureau, Chuck Fry says after some dry years that`s a big relief.

CHUCK FRY, MARYLAND FARM BUREAU: Whether it`s a dairy farm on the East Coast or whether you live in D.C. or whether you live your food comes from the farm, and it`s all hedged upon that water.

FOREMAN (on camera): And winter water counts .

FRY: Absolutely counts.

FOREMAN (voice over): As a rule, every 20 inches of snow will melt into just one inch of water and that may not seem like much, but a year ago well over half the country was in drought conditions. Now, the dry spots are down to around 35 percent, and that`s mainly in the west, places like California.

BRIAN FUCHS, NATIONAL DROUGHT MITIGATION CENTER: They are not going to even get to normal by the time the wet season ends later this spring.

FOREMAN: In simple terms, it comes down to this: with enough snow and enough rain, a farm like this can more than double its output of corn and soybeans and so much else.

So, as John Sewell prepares for planting .

JON SEWELL, FARMER: I hope it does this in the summer time. Not snow, but precipitation.

FOREMAN (on camera): If this keeps up.

SEWELL: Yes. If this keeps up that`d be fantastic. That`s what we all hope for.

FOREMAN (voice over): I hope amid the high waters that winter is leaving behind.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Tuscarora, Maryland.


AZUZ: When you`re traveling through the Wild West, you`ve got to be on the look out for Bandits like the ones at Clear Creek middle school. That`s where the Bandits are online in Buffalo, Wyoming. Right next door, in the bee-hive state of Utah, the buzz is all about the Warriors, happen to be party a day at Weber High School in Pleasant View. And over onto East Coast, beware of the Buccaneers - Allatoona High School in Akward (ph) Georgia, you guys are piratical.

Here are some seriously old news: scientists say it`s a 150 million years old. This could have been the largest predator ever to roam Europe. It was discovered in recent years in Portugal, but just identified as a new species. It was named Torvasaurus Gurneyi. It is thought to have been 33 feet long, about four or five tons and it had a set of at least 11 teeth that could have chewed through just about anything smaller.

It`s believed to be a little older than the well-known Tyrannosaurs Rex, not quite as big. And if you`re wondering how it wandered over to Portugal - many scientists believe all land was once connected on a supercontinent named Pangea. In theory, dinosaurs might have been able to just roam wherever.

AZUZ: OK. This probably won`t revolutionize the way you order pizza. But it looks kind of fun in this YouTube video. Pizza Hut and a design agency baked up this idea. It`s a concept meaning it`s not in full production yet. It`s basically a touch screen table. You sit down, play around with everything from sized to crusts to toppings, place your order and maybe play games while you wait. It`s still a table, so it might be tough to keep it working and to keep it clean. Some might think the idea is cheesy, others might call it weak sauce, or maybe half-baked. The idea maybe a pie in the sky, but it`s kind of fun to see the process "Pizza by Piece." We`ve been on the cross of this technology for a while. You know what - for something your order and as far as Pizza Parlor innovation goes - it`s topping (INAUDIBLE). I`m Carl Azuz. I`m going to lunch. We`ll see you tomorrow.