CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS. We bring commercial free current events to middle and high school classrooms and today, we are kicking off our 2014-2015 school year. Awesome. My name is Carl Azuz. Let’s get you some news.
There’s been a lot going on over the summer, including conflicts, plural in the Middle East. One involves Hamas and Israel.
Hamas is a political party, and what the U.S. and some other countries consider a terrorist group. Hamas controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza. It’s been blamed for firing numerous rockets into Israel. Israel has launched air strikes and a ground operation to destroy Hamas’s secret tunnels. Officials estimate that hundreds of Palestinian militants and even more civilians have been killed. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three of its civilians have been killed.
The two sides accepted a temporary ceasefire yesterday, but previous ones have fallen apart.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even seasoned Middle East experts and diplomats I talked to say that crisis in the Middle East now is the worst they’ve ever seen, and one of the reasons is that there are multiple crises happening at the same time.
Let’s start with Israel and Gaza. This is, of course, a years old, a decades old conflict, but there are new complications. One is, economic desperation inside Gaza, in part because of the economic blockade, the blocking of smuggling tunnels, really no money is coming in there, no trade, and that puts Hamas in a desperate position, which some believe makes it have much less to lose with a military conflict, even when it’s outmatched by Israel.
More broadly, a lot of the traditional mediators in this conflict just don’t have the same influence they used to have in the past. The U.S. with somewhat less involvement in the region than in the past, but also Arab nations, for one, Egypt much less sympathetic to the Hamas cause, same goes for other Arab leaders who in the past might have been much more publicly critical of Israel’s offensive there. This time they haven’t been, because they are so much against Hamas. So, who is going to broker a peace deal? It’s difficult to find mediators who all sides consider trustworthy.
While Israel is facing Hamas in Gaza, several other countries in the region, at the same time are facing ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which now calls itself simply the Islamic State. It, of course, started in Syria as one of the several rebel groups that was fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, but then from there it spilled over into Iraq and now it’s making enormous progress there, taking over virtually a third of the country, the north and west of the country. As it expands, it’s threatening other countries. It has reached the border of Turkey, the border of Jordan, the border of Saudi Arabia. And these countries are very concerned about spillover.
Saudi Arabia sent 30,000 new troops to its border with Iraq to keep ISIS out, and we even saw ISIS expand into Lebanon, taking over a town there.
AZUZ: ISIS or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria concerned so many people in the region, partly because it’s a brutal terrorist organization. It aims to kill anyone who doesn’t practice its strict interpretation of Islam. ISIS has been accused of murdering hundreds of civilians including children throughout the Middle East. The U.S. is particularly concerned about the situation in Iraq. The last American combat troops from the U.S. -led war there left in 2011. Now, the American military is once again involved in Iraq.
President Obama has authorized air strikes against ISIS targets. The intent is to protect civilians, including Iraqi minorities and Americans in Iraq from ISIS. The Obama administration blames a weak Iraqi government for the quick advance of ISIS in the country. The U.S. wants to see political reform in Iraq.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They think Ebola comes from forested areas like these ones that you are looking at now. Pathogens living inside of animals that somehow get into humans. And it’s so scary because Ebola is a swift, efficient and very bloody killer. In fact, in some cases nine out of ten people who become infected, actually die from this.
It can take anywhere between two and 21 days for someone to start to get sick after they’ve been exposed. That’s called the incubation period. And during that time, they can travel, they can travel around the country or even between countries. That’s the concern.
But here’s a little bit of good news, and that is that you’re really not contagious. You are not going to spread the virus to other people until you’re sick yourself.
That’s when the virus is in your bodily fluids, and you are going to actually be able to spread it. But when you’re sick you’re down. You are unlikely to be moving around, you are unlikely to be getting on a plane. But even after you’ve recovered in some cases, you can still transmit the disease for a period of time after that for up to six weeks.
AZUZ: The World Health Organization says there’ve been almost 1800 cases of Ebola in the latest outbreak. It’s the worst one in the 40 years that scientists subtracted. And almost 1,000 of those who’ve gotten the virus have died. The hemorrhagic fever, meaning it comes with severe bleeding started earlier this year in West Africa.
So far, it’s spread between Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and it’s infected some of those who came to help. For example, a doctor and an aid worker, both Americans who worked with Christian charities. They were flown to Atlanta, Georgia, earlier this month after getting Ebola in Africa. The transfer has been criticized with some fearing the disease could spread in the U.S., but doctors at Emory University Hospital are confident that won’t happen.
GUPTA: This is the CDC’s emergency operation center. Think of it as the nerve center of its response to the Ebola outbreak. Just a few minutes after I walked in, phones and BlackBerries started buzzing everywhere.
While we were here, the activation level just went up to level one. Just in these last couple of minutes. What does it that mean?
STEPHAN MONROE, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: What that means is just more people and more resources dedicated to the response.
GUPTA (voice over): In that room, you could feel like quiet determination and a sense of urgency.
What you are looking at, is what the CDC looks at, a map of the world, trying to figure out what infectious diseases are happening and where they are happening. As you might imagine, a lot of focus on Ebola right now. You are tracking that as well, real time. They’ve been doing it since March, take a look in here. This really jumped out at me. Mid-May, they thought things were basically under control. But then look what happened in the beginning of June. Everything takes off. This is on its way to becoming the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
Dr. Stephan Monroe is helping lead the CDC Ebola response. Not an easy task at all.
Were there mistakes made? I mean is there a reason why this outbreak is worse than any other outbreak in history?
MONROE: The initial event, the lightning strike, if you will, was right in this corner between three countries in a very remote part of each of those countries. And so, it quickly spread across the borders.
GUPTA (voice over): Here in the United States, different questions: for example, if Ebola is not airborne, then why were there such extraordinary precautions taken for Dr. Kent Brantly and Ms. Writebol? It turns out it was more an abundance of caution, rather than a necessity.
MONROE: We are pretty confident that any large hospital could handle an Ebola case, if one were to show up at their doorstep, using traditional isolation rooms with negative pressure room and with traditional droplet and respiratory precautions.
And while I suited up in multiple layers when I was in Guinea just earlier this year.
MONROE: That can be worn - worn by healthcare workers when they come into contact with patients.
GUPTA: The CDC says a mask, goggles, face shield, a protective gown and gloves can provide all the protection you need for most situations.
I should point out that the World Health Organization also declaring this now a public health emergency of international concern. That’s going to have an impact on airline travel, and also screenings at airports. They are also advising all the nations where they have Ebola currently to declare a state of emergency.
AZUZ: So, we’ve got this segment called "Roll Call." It’s a chance to have your school announced on CNN STUDENT NEWS. There’s now only one way to submit a request, and you need to be at least 13 years old. Go to cnnstudentnews.com. Click words says "Roll Call" and leave a comment at the bottom of our transcript page. We’ll pick three schools from each day’s transcript. You can make one request every day, but spanning will not help you. Please tell us your school name, city, state and mascot. Good luck.
We are going to leave you today with the cattle call. It seems some bovines have also heard that song "Royals by Lord" and for a Kansas farmer, the tune is instrumental in getting the cows to come home. Well, that and the molasses they get is a sort of royal treat. Watch this and count on us being back tomorrow.