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  • Returning from the Memorial Day weekend,

  • we`ll recap the holiday for you today on CNN STUDENT NEWS.

  • First up, wide areas of the South Central U.S.

  • were under a flood watch or warning last night.

  • After tremendous amounts of rain over the weekend,

  • 24 counties in Texas were declared emergency disaster areas.

  • That helps fast track money and recovery resources to affected areas,

  • places like Hays County near Austin.

  • As many as 400 homes there were washed away.

  • In some cases, only the slabs they were built on were left.

  • Two main bridges were lost, more than 1,000 homes were damaged.

  • In hours, the Blanco River went from being about five feet deep to more than 40.

  • It was one of several rivers to overflow.

  • During severe weather,

  • officials warn people not to drive on to a flooded roadway or through flowing water.

  • This is why -- fortunately, the man whose car got caught in this survived.

  • Parts of Oklahoma also flooded.

  • Oklahoma City set an all-time rainfall record for a single month.

  • More severe weather is in this week`s forecast for the region.

  • It`s a three-day weekend -- the unofficial start to summer,

  • a time for family get-togethers and road trips.

  • But there`s a solemn aspect to Memorial Day

  • that distinguishes it from the Fourth of July and other U.S. holidays.

  • It`s a day of remembrance for all American servicemen

  • and women who gave their lives in conflict.

  • The nation`s president takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony

  • at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

  • And families gather at Arlington National Cemetery in tribute

  • and memory of their lost loved ones,

  • a decade`s old tradition called Flags In is when the 3rd U.S.

  • Infantry Regiment places flags at the grave sites.

  • Next today, we`re reporting on the Patriot Act.

  • This is a U.S. government program

  • that expanded the powers of America`s intelligence

  • and law enforcement agencies. The goal: to prevent terrorism.

  • The Patriot Act is controversial.

  • Supporters say it`s critical to America`s national security.

  • Opponents say parts of it go too far, threatening Americans` privacy.

  • It expires on June 1st.

  • The House of Representatives has passed a bill that keep in place

  • and President Obama has pushed for the program to be renewed.

  • But its extension was blocked in the Senate on Saturday.

  • And if the Senate doesn`t pass it on May 31, the law could expire.

  • It took just one month after the events of 9/11 for the Patriot Act

  • to zoom through Congress and get signed into law by President George W. Bush,

  • giving law enforcement and intelligence agencies sweeping powers

  • to thwart terrorist plots.

  • It will improve our nation`s security,

  • while we safeguard the civil liberties of our people.

  • It would do much more. Americans didn`t know it at that time,

  • but the law would give the NSA

  • access to the private information of millions of U.S. citizens.

  • I think it`s unconstitutional. The courts have not held that,

  • but I think this is exactly why the Constitution

  • and the Fourth Amendment was written to prevent that.

  • But it was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden

  • who blew the debate wide open in 2013,

  • when he leaked a trove of classified documents

  • that revealed the extent of the NSA`s dragnet surveillance programs.

  • Under Section 215 of the Patriot Act,

  • the NSA collects cellphone data on every single cellphone in America.

  • Who you called, when you called, what phone number you called from,

  • what phone number you called, how long you were on the phone.

  • You can take pieces of information and piece together a lot of information about somebody.

  • They can discern their age, their sex, their religion,

  • their level of political activity, their political leanings and so forth.

  • They can know, for example, whether an American called a psychiatrist

  • three times in 36 hours twice after midnight.

  • That is a lot of private information.

  • How does it work? By petitioning a secret court known as FISA,

  • the NSA can access the records of large phone companies such as Verizon.

  • Revelations sparked public outrage,

  • setting off efforts to rein in the government`s broad power.

  • When I asked that one of our rare open sessions,

  • whether the government collected any type of data at all,

  • the director answered falsely.

  • Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions

  • or hundreds of millions of Americans?

  • No, sir. It does not. Not willingly.

  • President Obama pledged to reform the agency

  • but has stopped short of ending the NSA`s collection of bulk data.

  • And for our intelligence community to be effective over the long haul,

  • we must maintain the trust of the American people and people around the world.

  • Instead, he passed the buck to Congress, where reform efforts are stalling.

  • The House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan reform bill,

  • but Senate opponents are citing terror threats to keep the Patriot Act intact.

  • The expiring provisions of FISA are ideally suited for the terrorist threat we face in 2015.

  • That`s despite the fact that multiple reviews haven`t found any instance

  • where that program alone thwarted a terror plot.

  • Well, now, the tug of war between national security and civil liberties continues.

  • State nickname trivia.

  • What is known as Old Dominion and the Mother of Presidents?

  • It`s Virginia. And in Manassas, the Raiders kept Stonewall Jackson High School.

  • Nearby in the Diamond State of Delaware, we`ve got the Senators online.

  • They`re at Central Middle School in the state capital, Dover.

  • And in the Golden State, at the city of Oceanside,

  • hello to all the Wildcats watching from El Camino High School in California.

  • Can animals predict earthquakes?

  • Anecdotal evidence like dogs barking,

  • or rats deserting cities, chickens not laying eggs,

  • that`s all been reported for centuries.

  • Scientific evidence is harder to come by.

  • Still, one researcher studying elephant says

  • they do have the ability to pick up the signals to the ground,

  • signals for day to day communication.

  • Have you guys seen the elephants?

  • A behavioral ecologist looks for patters in nature

  • that are explained by environmental influences or social influences.

  • I was hired by the Namibian government to understand

  • how they use the environment and how they move.

  • When I`m in the field, most of that action happens at night after dark,

  • when there`s no win.

  • The air is cool. So, it`s perfect environment for sound propagation.

  • Seismic communication is the study about animal communication

  • with vibrations through the ground.

  • This is the first time that we`ve been able to show a large mammal

  • actually communicates seismically.

  • Over the course of the studies that I`ve done on elephants,

  • we`ve been able to show that elephants

  • can detect their own vocalizations on the ground.

  • I started to see patterns to this freezing behavior that they would do.

  • They would lean forward and press their front feet into the ground

  • and then press their trunk on the ground.

  • Then I realize that they were doing it just before the arrival of another family group.

  • These vocalizations are in the ground

  • and elephants are equipped to detect them in the ground.

  • But could they actually interpret them as meaningful signals?

  • So, we did a whole series of playbacks of anti- predatory

  • calls and familiar calls, unfamiliar calls.

  • I`ve run all of my sounds placed out near the water hole.

  • They, in fact, not only detected a meaningful signal,

  • but discriminated between one individual

  • that they know versus the individual that they didn`t recognize.

  • The risk of being attacked by kangaroo is pretty low.

  • Even in Australia where there are kangaroos.

  • But folks in an Australian suburb don`t want to tangle with this fella.

  • He`s six feet six inches tall, 209 pounds.

  • He`s also swore and has a distinctive tear in his left ear.

  • It hasn`t really caused any trouble yet besides

  • maybe intimidating some folks and smaller kangaroos.

  • Most say they aren`t afraid of him but if he crosses their path,

  • they should probably give him kanga-room and they want to hop to it.

  • Animal that size can pack a pouch, and you wouldn`t want to roo the day,

Returning from the Memorial Day weekend,

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May 26, 2015 - CNN Student News with subtitle

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