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  • A very warm welcome to our viewers worldwide. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

  • Today's show starts with news involving the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

  • U.S. President Barack Obama is traveling to the Middle Eastern monarchy this week.

  • The two countries governments have been close allies for decades.

  • The U.S. has benefited from having a reliable source of oil

  • and a stable trade and military partner in the Middle East.

  • Saudi Arabia has invested in U.S. companies, bought U.S. weapons

  • and received security from the U.S.

  • But the relationship has had its problems.

  • For example, last year's controversial nuclear deal

  • between Iran and six other countries led by the U.S.

  • Saudi Arabia and Iran are enemies.

  • The Saudis were initially furious over the deal.

  • Another strain: the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

  • Fifteen of the 19 terrorists who hijacked American planes were of Saudi descent.

  • And part of a congressional report on those attacks

  • remains classified in the U.S. government.

  • Analysts suspect that the 28 secret pages could reveal foreign support,

  • possibly Saudi support for the hijackers.

  • In fact, there's a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Congress right now.

  • It would allow families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks

  • to sue Saudi Arabia in federal court.

  • If the bill passes, President Obama has threatened to veto it.

  • Part of the reason, timing.

  • The issue of the 28 pages in the 9/11 Commission

  • come at a very, very sensitive time in U.S.-Saudi relations at the moment.

  • President Obama about to arrive here.

  • Intense mistrust between the Saudis and the United States,

  • that's been developing through President Obama's presidency.

  • So, the issue right now, the Saudi saying that

  • they would pull $750 billion of investments in the United States

  • if these 28 pages were made public.

  • These 28 pages, we don't know what they contain,

  • if there was smoking gun in there that says

  • the Saudi government somehow knew or supported or funded the 9/11 hijackers.

  • Does it allude to the fact there perhaps just

  • rich Saudis offered and gave their support for that attack?

  • It's not clear.

  • But at the moment, the Saudis distrust the United States

  • because they don't think the United States is reliable ally in the region.

  • They formed their own Sunni Muslim coalition, 34 nations.

  • They have massively ramped up their defense and security spending,

  • now the third largest defense and security spender in the world.

  • So, this is a tough time in that relationship.

  • From the Middle East to the Far East.

  • Our next stop is in North Korea,

  • a country under a series of penalties or sanctions for its nuclear program.

  • The international community wants North Korea to quit developing and testing nuclear weapons

  • and the missiles that could carry them.

  • As it's been moving forward with the program,

  • the United Nations has issued new sanctions on North Korea.

  • The goal: to try to keep the country from being able to pay for nuclear weapons development.

  • A CNN reporter recently visited the communist nation's capital,

  • to get a sense of whether these penalties are being felt yet.

  • Something unusual happened while driving around the North Korean capital,

  • we got stuck in traffic.

  • Even in the last year and a half that I've been coming here,

  • there's a noticeable increase in the number of cars on the streets here in Pyongyang.

  • The North Koreans will say they have more traffic than they ever have.

  • And so, even though there are some of the strongest sanctions

  • that have ever been in place against this country, here in the capital city,

  • North Koreans say they're not feeling the impact, at least not yet.

  • Tough U.N. sanctions intended to stop North Korea from developing dangerous weapons

  • seem to be having little if any effect on life in Pyongyang,

  • at least the parts we're allowed to see.

  • The sanctions follow this year's satellite launch and claimed H-bomb tests,

  • actions condemned even by North Korea's most powerful friend and trading partner China.

  • Chinese state media says the sanctions will begin to hurt within a year.

  • A CNN crew in this Chinese border city last month could not independently verify

  • if cargo to North Korea is being inspected as the sanctions require.

  • A long-time diplomat and former ambassador who now runs the Pyongyang think tank

  • believes sanctions won't hinder North Korea's military or economy.

  • "We built a socialist country under U.S. sanctions ever since our liberation," says Ri Jong Ryul,

  • "under our beloved comrade Kim Jong-un's lead, everyone is working hard."

  • He is ordering more weapons tests, including a recent apparent failed missile launch.

  • "We assert the U.S. is the real culprit of the aggravated situation in the Korean peninsula," Ri says,

  • referring to eight weeks of U.S. and South Korea military exercises.

  • "We must defend our supreme leader's dignity,

  • our republic's sovereignty and our people's right to live," he says, "at any cost."

  • The U.S. calls it a path to further isolation and hardship.

  • North Korea calls it the only way to survive.

  • Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang.

  • Making one request a day at CNNStudentNews.com, that is the way to get on our "Roll Call".

  • We're starting in the South American nation of Ecuador,

  • the capital is Quito and the school is Alliance Academy International.

  • Hope you're all safe and well. Leesburg, Virginia, is up next.

  • Our friends at Belmont Ridge Middle School are watching.

  • Their mascot, the River Hawks.

  • And from the city of Burlington, Iowa, it's tough to keep up with the Greyhounds.

  • Burlington High School is on the roll.

  • If you think Mars would be a cool place to visit, you are right.

  • Its average temperature is negative 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • And just like in the movie "The Martian",

  • NASA is trying to see if they can grow potatoes in Mars-like soil.

  • It's also spending about $1 billion a year to develop a spacecraft

  • that could one day take people to the Red Planet. We took a seat inside.

  • Space has never been more accessible.

  • There is a growing appetite for space tourism.

  • And private programs like this one at the National Aerospace Training and Research Center

  • can get pretty much anyone with money and good health ready for a ride to space.

  • But that's just a quick trip up and down to what's called suborbital space.

  • If we want to get to deep space, that's a whole other challenge.

  • A human hasn't been there in over 40 years.

  • But NASA is looking to change that.

  • It will stand taller than the Statue of Liberty, longer than a football field.

  • It will be the most powerful rocket ever built,

  • capable of going into the deep space or anywhere else you want to go.

  • They're talking about space launch system or SLS, NASA's new heavy lift rocket.

  • The dawn of Orion and a new era of American space exploration - -

  • Together with the spacecraft Orion, which will go on top of the rocket,

  • humans could explore our solar system deeper than ever before.

  • There's only two of us right now in here --

  • -- and you're saying the thing could fit up to six.

  • And we got an inside look at what that new spacecraft looks like.

  • Could we even survive 21 days just the two of us inside of --

  • Yes, it would be a wild, yes.

  • Orion will take up to six astronauts into deep space for 21 days.

  • Is there any way we can get inside these chairs here, do you think?

  • Yes.

  • How was Orion outfitted to get us to deep space?

  • State of the art heat shields to protect the crew on entry.

  • Parachute systems.

  • A very lightweight system, so Orion is, you know, over 40 percent composites,

  • which means it's light. One of the things special about Orion is the size.

  • So, four people in 21 days gives you a lot of capability

  • whether it's exploring an asteroid or on the surface of a planet.

  • Why 21 days?

  • Well, 21 days -- it gets you really into this high orbits around the moon,

  • which allows you to either do missions at the moon

  • or do transfers on to asteroids around the Mars.

  • So, it's about the right duration.

  • For a journey to Mars, the crew would have to transfer from Orion to a larger habitat.

  • If you're going to go to Mars,

  • which is somewhere up to a year and a half to three-year mission, you need more volume.

  • You need bigger head module, more food.

  • Orion still doesn't have an exact destination.

  • But whether it's the moon or Mars, it's going to take a powerful rocket to get it out there.

  • NASA has already spent approximately $7.3 billion on the SLS program

  • and each rocket will only be good for one mission.

  • A later model of the rocket will be even more powerful and could take us to Mars.

  • Space launch system is our path to Mars.

  • Is it our only path?

  • Right now, it's our only path.

  • NASA is testing the engines and they've already sent Orion on a flight test.

  • The first manned Orion SLS mission is set for 2021.

  • It was a bittersweet moment for a California father.

  • He'd taken his 4-year-old daughter surfing before,

  • but his time, he says, she wanted to go solo.

  • So, he set her up off the coast of Southern California, give her a push ahead of a wave,

  • and she handled the rest like a veteran surfer many years older than four.

  • Even after the ride ended, the girl described as a daredevil got back on the board herself

  • and tried to catch another wave.

  • It seems her small size is the H2-only thing holding her back.

  • If time and tide won't stop the surfer girl,

  • the sport could be the wave of her future,

  • where an ocean of possibilities awaits.

  • I'm Carl Azuz, thanks for hanging ten minutes with us for current events.

A very warm welcome to our viewers worldwide. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

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