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  • Happy Saint Patrick`s Day. Welcome to our March, 17th edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz.

  • First up, voters in Crimea went to the polls yesterday and overwhelmingly chose to become part of Russia?

  • The local government is sending a delegation to Moscow to apply for that.

  • Russia welcomes the vote and will likely be willing to redraw its borders.

  • But Ukraine, the European Union and the United States, all say the vote doesn`t count.

  • But Ukraine, the European Union and the United States, all say the vote doesn`t count.

  • That a region of Ukraine can`t just break away from the rest of the country and become part of another one.

  • Ukraine`s been divided over whether to forge closer ties with Europe or Russia.

  • Its former president favored Russia, but violent protests in the capital led to his ouster last month.

  • Now, with the U.S. and European Union supporting a unified Ukraine and Russia supporting Crimea`s secession, the country`s political future is unclear.

  • There`s still no sign of a Malaysian Airlines plane that vanished in mid- flight more than a week ago.

  • But U.S. intelligence officials think the captain and copilot might have had something to do with the disappearance, that it was not an accident.

  • Part of the reason, the plane stopped transmitting information at what one official called the perfect place to disappear.

  • Investigators have taken a flight simulator from the captain`s house.

  • They are examining that for clues. The search now includes 25 countries, the area is tremendous.

  • Take off from Kuala Lumpur 12:41 a.m. local time last Saturday, Flight 370 headed north along its planned route to Beijing.

  • But then, two communication systems stopped working within minutes of each other.

  • And investigators now believe someone almost surely turned them off.

  • At 1:07 a.m., near the East Coast of Malaysia, the system known as ACARS stops transmitting information about the plane`s operating condition,

  • and that was before the last radio transmission. All right, good night indicating everything was normal.

  • 1:21 a.m., the transponder, which identifies the aircraft on radar, stops transmitting.

  • Was someone trying to hide the plane? We also now know blips then seen on Malaysian military radar were in fact Flight 370 headed west,

  • and authorities say there`s every indication someone was in control.

  • Up until the point, at which it left military primary radar coverage,

  • this movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.

  • Still unclear, whether it was a pilot or a hijacker.

  • CNN has confirmed, the plane made erratic changes in altitude. It was flying what officials describe as a strange path.

  • At one point, it appears to have climbed to 45,000 feet, well above its approved altitude, then descending to 23,000.

  • Now, a new analysis of satellite information shows the plane kept flying more than seven hours after takeoff, much longer than previously thought.

  • A satellite searching for operational data from the plane, detected the aircraft every hour in a so called handshake, but no data was transmitted.

  • Its last contact, 8:11 a.m., somewhere along this arc that stretches as far north as Kazakhstan and as far south as the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

  • Got some pretty tough sounding mascots in our first Roll Call of the week.

  • Who`d want to mess with the (INAUDIBLE)?

  • They are watching from Monache High School, the (INAUDIBLE) are in Portville, California.

  • Then, what better mascot for the desert than the desert shields? They are keeping shy in high school.

  • Awesome, in north Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • And you won`t find these guys near a bird feeder: the War Eagles.

  • Waynesboro, Mississippi, glad to see you watching in Wayne County High School.

  • Around this time, three years ago parts of Japan were reeling from a catastrophic earthquake tsunami and nuclear disaster.

  • The tremor that started it was the fourth largest earthquake on record.

  • And while the effects of all this can still be seen in the coastal damage and debris floating in the Pacific Ocean, a symbol of hope is still standing.

  • A 9.0 magnitude earthquake strike the coast of northern Japan, unleashing the largest tsunami in the country`s history.

  • Traveling as fast as the jet plane, the wave reached an astounding 132.5 feet high.

  • That`s roughly the height of Rio`s Christ the Redeemer`s Stature.

  • Over 18,000 people lost their lives. Coastal communities were decimated, and the most serious nuclear crisis since Chernobyl ensued.

  • In one town on Japan`s northeast coast, only a handful of buildings remained standing when the water receded.

  • A forest of 70,000 trees, trees that have protected the town for hundreds of years were lost.

  • A forest of 70,000 trees, trees that have protected the town for hundreds of years were lost.

  • A forest of 70,000 trees, trees that have protected the town for hundreds of years were lost.

  • It became known as the miracle pine, a symbol of hope for the devastated community.

  • When salt water threatened its life in 2012, the 270-year old, 88 foot tree was cut down, hollowed out and preserved.

  • It was then erected in the same spot, now serving as a memorial to the tsunami victims.

  • Radioactive water from Fukushima is still said to be periodically leaking into the Pacific.

  • 100,000 people are still living in temporary housing,

  • and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this week, he would not let the disaster fade from memory.

  • This tree won`t let it.

  • In the Southwest area of Lake Superior, part of the natural border between the U.S. and Canada, there`s a pristine chain of 21 islands.

  • They are called the Apostle Islands, the jewels of Lake Superior.

  • It`s a national park, rich and everything from human history to natural history.

  • We recently showed you how a bitterly cold winter crusted over the caves and ice. Now, we are stepping inside.

  • Over the past few months, more than 100,000 people had journey to the northern tip of Wisconsin, marching over ice covered Lake Superior for more than a mile each way, in a bitter cold.

  • All because of what lies ahead.

  • This is crazy!

  • Dozens of ice caves, stretching for over a mile along the coast or giving people an experience of a lifetime.

  • That`s really cool. It`s like walking into the Holy ..

  • While some of the caves are massive like this one, which is called the garage, others .

  • It`s kind of claustrophobic. Require some crawling.

  • Getting into the little one. It`s well worth it.

  • Getting into the little one. It`s well worth it.

  • Inside each cave houses, a unique icy masterpiece, all courtesy of Mother Nature.

  • That`s a really weird pinkish hue.

  • The colors in there are really weird.

  • The caves which kayakers flocked to every summer, are made of sandstone.

  • They are overlaying by a wet soil.

  • There are springs and sips.

  • And so, these rocks actually have little cracks in them. And so, there`s a lot of water that is coming down through and over the rocks and forming into ice formations.

  • The ice is starting to melt away in some spots.

  • This is the first winter in five years the caves have been accessible and there`s no way of knowing when we`ll be able to see them again.

  • See, if you can I.D. me. I`m a nation that`s about the size of West Virginia.

  • I`m a Republic located in Western Europe.

  • y national holiday is today.

  • I`m Ireland, whose population is just under 5 million people.

  • But around 34 million Americans say they have Irish ancestry, and that`s part of the reason why today Saint Patrick`s Day is celebrated so extensively in the U.S.

  • Here`s a by the numbers look at the holiday.

  • Five, as in fifth century - that`s when St. Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.

  • 16. According to the census, that`s the number of places in the U.S. named Dublin, like Ireland`s capital.

  • 22.6, the percentage of people in Massachusetts who claim they have Irish ancestor.

  • 17.62 - the year of the first Saint Patrick`s Day Parade in New York.

  • About 2900, the number of snake species in the world, none of which are found in Ireland.

  • 133 million, the number of people in the U.S. who plan to celebrate St. Patrick`s Day and finally, 83, the percentage of those celebrants who say they plan wear green.

  • It`s like soccer, but it`s on a bigger field. It`s like golf, but with a bigger ball.

  • It`s foot golf.

  • It`s foot golf.

  • And if you haven`t heard of it, it might be because only a couple of thousands folks in the U.S. are estimated to have played it.

  • The head of the American Foot Golf League says it`s a lot like golf.

  • The winner gets the ball in the hole with the fewest kicks.

  • And since it`s got to be a FIFA number five soccer ball, the hole is bigger than the golf cup.

  • That`s what a hole in one looks like.

  • With less running than soccer and less frustration than golf, it`s no wonder why folks want to join that club.

  • To give it a sporting chance to put their feet to the four, to get a kick out of going green and to say, they spent an afternoon just kicking it.

  • We`d love to see you tomorrow with CNN STUDENT NEWS return.

Happy Saint Patrick`s Day. Welcome to our March, 17th edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz.

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