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  • One start today with a nod to my friends at Lamkin (ph) County High School

  • who visited CNN Center yesterday. It`s great to see all of you.

  • Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS.

  • First up this Thursday, December Fourth,the Syrian town of Kobani.

  • You`ve heard us mention it before. It`s right by Syria`s northern border with Turkey.

  • It`s been targeted for months by the ISIS terrorist groups,

  • which controls about a third of Iraq and Syria.

  • But ISIS hasn`t been able to take total control of Kobani.

  • It`s been hit by U.S.-led airstrikes. American and Syrian officials disagree about

  • whether these airstrikes have been effective in stopping ISIS.

  • But the terrorists have also gotten strong resistance in Kobani by Kurds and other ethnic groups.

  • All this has taken its toll on the border town.

  • Some areas are just hips of rubble.

  • Previously, we could only show you fighting there,

  • from our journalists who were across the border in Turkey.

  • Now, with the help of some of those who are fighting ISIS,

  • we are able to show you what it`s like inside Kobani.

  • We`ve been taken down these streets towards the eastern frontline behind

  • those curtains they have put up to protect them from snipers by Barfi (ph) and Media (ph),

  • two of the female YPG fighters escorting us down there.

  • And this is their - the eastern front where there is much more

  • intense fighting in the past three or four days.

  • And while we get different figures from whoever you speak to hear about

  • quite how much of the city is controlled,

  • and you see here quite remarkable devastation caused by the explosive used.

  • What`s quite clear is that ISIS are far from giving up on this fight.

  • In fact, trying to take ground every day.

  • They moved towards the official border crossing three or four days ago.

  • That was a substantial advance they tried.

  • They were beaten back, but each night, particularly last night,

  • we had very intense clashes further down the street towards the eastern frontier.

  • You can hear the - you can see the absolute devastation here.

  • As we get close towards ISIS`s positions here to the northeast of the city.

  • Some of these caused by airstrikes, but some, too, from the daily constant,

  • sometimes every five minutes thump of mortars, some home-made by ISIS.

  • They have been pounding onto Kobani for months now.

  • We can see Turkey eventually just behind us. But here they are - through this wreckage,

  • closer and closer to the places where ISIS are trying to push forwards.

  • Time for the Shoutout. Which of these constellations was named for a mythological hunter?

  • If you think you know it, shout it out.

  • Is it Aries, Orion, Pegasus or Leo? You`ve got three seconds, go.

  • One of the easiest constellations to find on winter nights, Orion.

  • It`s named for the Greek mythological hunter.

  • That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

  • It`s also a name of NASA`s newest space capsule,

  • which is scheduled for a test flight today.

  • This Orion costs $370 million.

  • It`s prepared to launch from Florida`s Kennedy Space Center.

  • The stakes are high, even though Orion isn`t carrying any astronauts.

  • If this test flight fails,it could ground NASA`s longterm goals

  • of transporting people well beyond the Moon.

  • We could soon be one small step closer to humans landing on Mars.

  • This is Orion, NASA`s first deep space capsule since the `70s.

  • Why is this the time to do this?

  • It`s a great time because we have a design,

  • and it`s time to actually put the design into practice.

  • Mark Geyer, Orion`s program manager says Thursday`s launch

  • will test critical technologies like the heat shield and re-entry system.

  • Orion may look a lot like the Apollo capsule evolved,

  • but it`s hoped this vessel will go beyond the Moon

  • taking astronauts to an asteroid and eventually to Mars.

  • And as in the past, private companies are playing a big role.

  • United Launch Alliance is providing the rocket. Lockheed Martin designed the spacecraft.

  • So, we are trying to bring the best of all the world`s together.

  • Are there any concerns about not having full control over the mission?

  • Well, we are - no, again, because we put the right people in the right place.

  • The Orion launch comes on the heels of two spaceflights that went horribly wrong.

  • On October 28, an orbital sciences rocket headed to the International Space Station,

  • burst into flames moments after liftoff.

  • Three days later, the Virgin Galactic Spaceship II

  • exploded during the test flight killing one of the pilots.

  • You know, it just brings to forefront again that it`s a risky business,

  • and everybody is doing their best to minimize that risk.

  • No one will be on board the Orion while it spends 4.5 hours traveling some 3600 miles.

  • It`s expected to orbit the Earth twice going through the Van Allen belts,

  • an area of extreme radiation.

  • If all goes well, Orion will parachute into the Pacific Ocean

  • where it will be recovered and loaded onto a Navy ship.

  • The seventh state to achieve statehood achieved statehood in 1788.

  • It`s Maryland. And Hagerstown, Maryland is on today`s roll

  • where the Hubs are watching in North Hagerstown High School.

  • Just east in New Jersey, the city of Trenton is where you`ll find Grace A. Dunn Middle School.

  • The charges are here, and over on the West Coast to Snohomish County Detention Center.

  • Thank you for watching in Everett, Washington.

  • We know many of you really like our puns and some of you really don`t.

  • But in China, they would be illegal.

  • It`s a Communist country.

  • Its citizens don`t have the same freedoms of speech and press that Americans have.

  • The government controls the media.

  • And it says that puns could be misleading to young people

  • and make it harder to promote traditional Chinese culture.

  • The bank will have an impact, at least in the short term.

  • The Chinese language has a lot of homophones,

  • words that sound the same but have different meanings.

  • So it`s ripe for puns. Critics are calling the ban Orwellian,

  • in reference to the George Orwell book "1984" saying the ban`s another way

  • to keep people from criticizing the government.

  • Erik Weihenmeier lost his vision at age 13.

  • It didn`t` stop him from learning to skydive solo.

  • It didn`t` stop him from climbing Mount Everest.

  • He says learning to paddle through whitewater rapids was the scariest thing he`d ever done.

  • With the guide in the separate kayak behind him,

  • Weihenmeier took on the Colorado River.

  • My name is Erik Weihenmeier. And this is what it`s like to kayak the Grand Canyon blind.

  • Grand Canyon is a real iconic beautiful place in the world,

  • and even though I can`t see it,

  • I can still experience it, you know, with my hands

  • touching the rocks and experiencing the sound of the Canyon so where they echo.

  • Amazing rapids that you are right in the middle of feeling them under your boat,

  • just throwing you in every direction, sometimes smashing through them.

  • You get plunged into absolute chaos and you have to react in a very short amount of time.

  • You are trying to process so much information.

  • You know, I mean you are trying to read the river just by the sounds

  • you are hearing and what you are feeling under your boat, you know.

  • And a rapid has a pattern that you can kind of figure out.

  • You`re trying to listen to the waves and the pour overs that you can start to identify that as a blank kayaker.

  • I thought, you know, it would be really intriguing to see

  • if a blind person could sort of flourish in all that chaos.

  • It sort of feels like you are an astronaut going into space,

  • in a lunching to the Moon or something.

  • Four different colors, 3,000 people, two win the title of one Guinness world record.

  • It`s the biggest human Christmas tree.

  • You see it shaping up here as it did on December 2 in the Central American country of Honduras.

  • This has been attempted before in Thailand and Argentina,

  • but Honduras won the record by more than 1,000 participants.

  • The country`s president called the official record officially amazing.

  • Too bad Brenda Lee is not here to see.

  • Folks record a record rocking around the Christmas Tree.

  • When the plant was planted the trim trimmed the form formed,

  • the tree was guarantrim (ph) to succeed in record form.

  • I`m (INAUDIBLE) Carl Azuz for CNN STUDENT NEWS.

One start today with a nod to my friends at Lamkin (ph) County High School

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December 4, 2014 - CNN Student News with subtitles

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