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Today, we examine the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and tension on the Korean Peninsula, and we hear about the benefits of chess for some Philadelphia students.


President Obama`s Middle East Visit; Will Cyprus Get a Bailout?

Aired March 22, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome. As are you for spending for part of your Friday with CNN STUDENT NEWS. We talked a lot this week about President Obama`s trip to the Middle East. He`s talked about a lot of issues during his time in the region. Yesterday, he was mostly focused on one issue - the possibility of a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict between those groups goes back decades, and there are two areas kind of at the center of it: Gaza and the West Bank. In recent years, the fighting has involved Israelis air strikes and Palestinians rockets. In fact, two rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel, the group that took credit for that said it fired the rockets in response to President Obama`s visit. Negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have been on and off for years. One suggestion that`s got a lot of attention is called a two state solution. It`s something that Palestinian and Israeli leaders say they support.


MAHMOUD ABBAS, PRESIDENT, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (through translator): I hereby assert again that we are ready in order to provide for the requirements of launching the peace process and achieving the two state solutions.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Let me be clear: Israel remains fully committed to peace and to the solution of two states for two peoples.


AZUZ: This week, President Obama pushed for peace negotiations to get going again. He supports the two states solution also. Yesterday, he made his case for it. First, to Palestinians, then to Israelis.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Like people everywhere, Palestinians deserve a future of hope that their rights will be respected, put simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own.

The only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.


OBAMA: That is true.


AZUZ: We also talked this week about Cyprus. It`s an island nation in the Mediterranean, it`s having serious economic problems. Cyprus is part of the European Union, the E.U. That group is responsible for some of its members` economic policies, so Cyprus asked the E.U. For help. The group said sure, but as part of the bailout, the E.U wanted Cyprus to raise nearly 6 billion euros. That`s nearly $7.5 billion. The first idea - attacks on bank deposits didn`t go over well. Cypriots started pulling their money out of banks, and the country`s government voted against the idea. So, onto the next plan: that also involved a bank deposit tax, but not on as many people. There are some other factors involved as well. What happens in Cyprus could have effects across the European Union and other countries. So, right now a lot of people are watching how the situation unfolds there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The island of Guam is an independent country. Nope. It`s a U.S. Territory in the Pacific Ocean about 5800 miles west of California.


AZUZ: There is a U.S. Military base on Guam that`s strategically important to U.S. Operations in that part of the world. Certain ships and planes launch from there, like these B-52s, U.S. Bomber planes. This week, some of them have been flying over South Korea as part of a military exercise between South Korea and the U.S. North Korea doesn`t like this. There`s been a lot of tension, especially recently between North and South Korea and between North Korea and the United States. Some of that has to do with disagreements over North Korea`s controversial nuclear program, and some of that goes back decades to the war between North and South Korea. Yesterday, the North warned the U.S that the American military base in Guam and U.S. Bases in Japan are within North Korea`s striking range. One day before that threat, investigators in South Korea were responding to a cyber attack. It targeted banks and broadcasting companies in South Korea. 32,000 machines were damaged, system slow down or shut down altogether. South Korean officials haven`t said who they think is behind this, but the south has accused North Korea of similar attacks in the past. The north denies it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. Bambach`s and Ms. Procida`s classes at Charles DeWolf Middle School in Old Tappan, New Jersey.

In chess, what is the only piece that doesn`t move in a straight or diagonal line? Here we go, is the rook, knight, bishop or queen? You`ve got three seconds, go!

During the game of chess, the knight moves in an L shape. That`s your answer and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: All right, chess may not be the first thing that comes up when you`re talking with your friends about your favorite games or sports. It wasn`t the first thing that came up for a lot of students in a Philadelphia chess club. But once they started playing, they discovered that the game was just the opening move to all sorts of opportunities. Check out this report from Sarah Hoye.


SARAH HOYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A group of Philadelphia chess champions are heading to Tennessee to compete in nationals this April. If they can find enough money. Most students can`t afford to travel to the tournament. They are among nearly 40 percent of Philadelphia`s children who live in poverty. A city with the worst homicide rate of America`s largest cities, with African Americans making up 85 percent of the victims.

MIKYEIL EL-MEKKI, COACH, PAUL ROBESON CHESS CLUB: There is something wrong there, in the place that would be labeled as a peace zone there is more violence than in a war zone.

HOYE: Chess club is an unlikely bright spot for students living in what is supposed to be the city of brotherly love.

RICHARD MARTIN, PAUL ROBESON CHESS CLUB: I`m Richard Martin, and I`m in eighth grade, and I`m part of Paul Robeson Chess Club. Chess changed my life. Because my neighbors are not doing so great, they get in trouble a lot. They fight teachers, fight each other. This is not a great sight to see, so I keep myself away from them.

Before the chess, I used to be a C student and after chess, I`m straight A student. Playing chess for six years now, and the reason why I like chess is because it just gives me opportunity to do great things in life.

HOYE: Coaches say chess gives students skills that reach beyond the board.

EL-MEKKI: We teach them how to deal with each other, we teach them how to meet new people, we teach them how to cope with failure, disappointment, unexpected challenges, hidden opposition. You name it, it`s there in the game.

PERNELL JORDAN, MINOR THREATS CHESS CLUB: My name is Pernell Jordan, and I`m in sixth grade, I`m 11 years old, and I play for Minor Threats. So the kids my neighborhood play different sports. They don`t play - they don`t play chess. Just because I play chess, people don`t pick on me and sometimes people don`t care. I practice every day because if you want to get better, you need to practice. The thing I love about chess is that it challenges me to work harder.

HOYE: One high school junior says, when it comes to chess, there`s more than meets the eye.

ALEX WALLACE, BELLA VISTA CHESS CLUB: I`m Alex Wallace, I go to Academy of Columbo (ph), and I`m in 11th grade. When you`re playing a game of chess, there is nothing coming in from the outside, it`s just everything you`ve already learned. The biggest misconception about chess players is that we are all just nerds and not do anything, but we`re normal people, it`s not like you just live in a cave and study chess all your life.

HOYE: For many students who never leave Philadelphia, chess offers them a chance to travel, and come April, the five clubs that make a Philadelphia`s Chess Society will hopefully be headed to Nashville for the nationals.

EL-MEKKI: Our students deserve a chance to be able to make their dreams come true.

HOYE: Sarah Hoye, CNN, Philadelphia.


AZUZ: Well, it`s music in our school`s month, and there is a significant musical anniversary going on. A March 22nd, 1963, exactly 50 years ago, young Rock-n-Roll band named the Beatles released their very first album in Britain. It was called "Please, please me" and a song by the same name became their first major hit in their home country. Throughout the rest of 1963 their fame spread in the U.K. It started among young music fans, but then it grew so much that it wasn`t limited to any particular age or social group. It went far beyond what we know today as Beyonce or Bieber fever. It was something that British reporters summed up in the word "Beatlomania." And the year later, it jumped over the Atlantic and splashed into the United States. The British invasion had begun. Of course the Beatles don`t please please me. I`m more of an Elvis fan. I mean, honestly, how can you argue with hair like this? Emma on Twitter thought, this was the reason why, Emma may be right. On our blog, we have a quick poll where you can tell us Elvis or the Beatles. And let us know which of your favorite artist do you think would stand the test of time. Teachers, if you got a moment, we`d love to hear what you thought of today`s show. You could do all this at

I`m just going to be honest, our last story today stinks, y`all. Luckily, I didn`t have to report it in person, so I wasn`t all olfactorially offended by the contestants in this rotten sneaker competition. A student who was there described one entry as " repulsive." It`s like chicken poop and wet dog and dog poop. And she was talking about her own shoes. You might have some funky footwear, but when your shoes require four bags to staunch the stench, you know you`re bound to be the sole champion. I mean she really was just a shoe -in. One thing for sure, if you wear these things, you`re bound to get noticed. No chance of being a sneaker. But the judges did slip her $2,500 bucks for the win. So at least, there is that. Five puns, can`t accuse us of being loafers. Have a great weekend, y`all, bye.


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