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  • The Middle East, Europe and East Asia

  • are three of the places we`re headed today on CNN STUDENT NEWS.

  • I`m Carl Azuz. Glad to have you along.

  • First up, the president of Afghanistan,

  • Ashraf Ghani, traveled to the U.S. capital yesterday.

  • He spent part of his day with President Obama.

  • A big focus of their meeting, U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

  • There are currently just under 10,000 American forces in Afghanistan.

  • The Obama administration had planned to reduce

  • that number to 5,500 by the end of this year.

  • But Afghan President Ghani believes

  • that could cause problems for his country`s troops.

  • With support and training from U.S. forces,

  • the Afghan military is fighting the Taliban,

  • Afghanistan`s former rulers,

  • as well as the al Qaeda terrorist group.

  • So he wants U.S. troops to stay longer in Afghanistan.

  • After their meeting yesterday,

  • President Obama announced

  • that there would be no reduction this year

  • in the number of U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan.

  • Less than a week from now is a deadline for the U.S.

  • and some other Western countries to reach a deal with Iran

  • over its controversial nuclear program.

  • The U.S. wants Iran to put that program on hold.

  • Iran wants sanctions, the international penalties on its economy, to be lifted.

  • Israel, a U.S. ally whom Iran has threatened in the past,

  • has warned the Obama administration not to agree to a deal with Iran.

  • Did Israel spy to get info on the deal?

  • here are two parts to this story, two main allegations.

  • The first is that the Israeli government spied on the negotiations with Iran.

  • The second is that the government then used the information

  • they gleaned from inside those negotiations

  • and used it to influence Congress.

  • The Israeli government, the administration here,

  • from Benjamin Netanyahu, denies the first of those allegations,

  • that Israel ever spied on the negotiations to begin with.

  • They issued a very strongly worded statement.

  • That statement reads, "These allegations are utterly false.

  • The state of Israel does not conduct espionage

  • against the United States or Israel`s other allies.

  • The false allegations are clearly intended to

  • undermine the strong ties between the United States

  • and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share."

  • At the same time, we know that Benjamin Netanyahu

  • has used words from our understanding of the negotiations,

  • so it`s clear that they believe they have inside information

  • on what`s happening inside these deals,

  • although they`re being now vague about how they got that information.

  • And what we`ve seen here over the past few weeks

  • is a shift in strategy from Benjamin Netanyahu.

  • At first, he was trying to use the information

  • to affect and influence the White House,

  • to try to get them to either stop or block the negotiations.

  • Now, we`ve seen Netanyahu shift his focus to Congress,

  • to try to influence the Republicans,

  • his strongest ties in Congress, especially House Speaker John Boehner.

  • So the question is,

  • what is the biggest story that will come out of this?

  • What are the real effects of these allegations?

  • And that`s where we`ll see the effects on the negotiations,

  • or, rather, the relations between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu.

  • They`re already strained.

  • They`re already troubled.

  • We`ve heard over the last few weeks that they`re at all-time low.

  • And yet, with these new allegations,

  • his new back and forth we`re now seeing,

  • those relations are getting even worse.

  • French President Francois Hollande says

  • it`s unlikely that anyone survived the commercial plane crash, Tuesday in the French Alps.

  • German Wings is the budget carrier of Lufthansa.

  • One of its flights with 150 people on board

  • was traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany.

  • Officials say its crew did not issue a distress call.

  • Air traffic controllers did after they lost radio contact with the plane yesterday morning.

  • The crash happened in a remote part of Southeastern France.

  • It`s hard to access because of mountainous terrain and bad weather.

  • Wreckage stretches for hundreds of feet.

  • Officials were able to recovery one of the plane`s flight data recorders,

  • which could give some answers about what happened.

  • There`s one place we look for Roll Call requests.

  • It`s our transcript page at cnnstudentnews.com.

  • From yesterday`s transcript,

  • Fort Cobb Broxton Middle School is on the Roll.

  • The Mustangs are charging through Fort Cobb, Oklahoma.

  • From South Dakota, we`ve got The Patriots watching today.

  • Thanks to everyone at Hitchcock-Tulare Middle School in Tulare.

  • And in Hong Kong,

  • hello to everyone watching at Independent Schools Foundation.

  • Great to have you along this Wednesday.

  • Staying in Hong Kong for our next story,

  • more than seven million people live there.

  • Officially, it`s a special administrative region of China

  • and has one of the highest population densities on the planet.

  • What helps keep it all organized and moving?

  • Step aboard the MTR, the Mass Transit Railway.

  • Nine lines around the city, a light rail system, an airport express line.

  • The MTR moves almost three and a half million people per weekday.

  • But the people who keep it moving are largely unseen.

  • Their work is done while most everyone else is asleep.

  • Did you ever wonder how they keep the subway trains moving?

  • We`re here on this maintenance car

  • and we`re about to see how the Hong Kong Metro functions.

  • Basically, these workers hard at work late at night,

  • early in the morning while everybody else in the city is sleeping.

  • This crew is now cutting away a 60 meter long

  • stretch of subway rail because it`s worn away over the last 20 years,

  • about 15 millimeters.

  • So the team is going to lift this up

  • and replace it with a brand new stretch of rail.

  • They can replace one of these 60-meter long

  • stretches of rail in just about two and a half hours.

  • And they have to move fast,

  • because the subway is only closed for a few hours in the early morning.

  • Here`s the fascinating final step in the process.

  • They have just forged a link between the old rail

  • and the new to ensure that they fit snugly together

  • and that the subway trains glide smoothly down the tracks.

  • And as they wrap up their work here,

  • rush hour is rapidly approaching

  • and soon hundreds of thousands of people will be teeming

  • through this subway station, beginning their own working day.

  • Doctors don`t know exactly what causes Coats` Disease,

  • but they know what it is and what it does

  • -- an abnormal development of blood vessels

  • that can lead to severe eye problems,

  • including blindness, usually in one eye.

  • The Half Helen Foundation, named for Helen Keller

  • and established by a CNN Hero,

  • is helping children keep their eyes and ears healthy.

  • All right, Chelsea.

  • I was a very active child. Anything I could see,

  • I grabbed. I was barely four when I lost my vision in my left eye.

  • The following years, I was so angry.

  • This was an irreversible change.

  • Twenty-five percent of children ages

  • five to 17 have a vision problem -- 25 percent.

  • How can you fully embrace all the opportunities available

  • if you can`t see them?

  • OK, keep looking right at the light for me.

  • Our program provides free vision screenings

  • to all school age children in Maui County.

  • You`re all done. Thank you.

  • We actually use advanced technology

  • which allows us to test in seconds.

  • Had this device been around when I was four years old,

  • it could have saved my vision.

  • After the screening,

  • we deliver referral reports to the school health aide

  • and for low income families,

  • we provide access to an eye care professional

  • and financial assistance to cover the costs of corrective wear.

  • The castle was sparkling clean. My daughter loves books.

  • We never thought something was wrong.

  • So when I got the letter, we were caught off guard.

  • Hi. Riley (ph) reminded me a lot of myself.

  • We both turned out to have pretty severe conditions.

  • Riley is only four years old.

  • And because they caught it early, we can help her.

  • Just seeing her even today,

  • with glasses knowing that her vision

  • is going to be completely fine because we caught it, that`s what we do.

  • An Argentinean newspaper once wrote that Pope Francis,

  • the leader of the Roman Catholic Church,

  • usually eats pretty healthfully -- chicken, salads, fruit.

  • But when asked what he misses the most since becoming pope,

  • he said it was going out for a pizza.

  • Well, a pizza maker in Naples, Italy,

  • where the pope was visiting, heard about it.

  • He baked up a pie, waited for the pontiff to come by,

  • ran up and handed it over.

  • He said the pope smiled and thanked him.