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  • This is CNN STUDENT NEWS.

  • I`m Carl Azuz at the CNN Center.

  • First up in today`s commercial-free coverage,

  • the U.S. Army has charged Sergeant Bo Bergdahl

  • with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy

  • when he left his post in Afghanistan.

  • Sergeant Bergdahl is expected to be court-martialed,

  • meaning he could be tried in a military court for his alleged crimes.

  • If convicted, he could be dishonorably discharged and imprisoned.

  • Bergdahl was the longest held U.S. prisoner of war

  • since the conflict in Vietnam.

  • Securing his release was a top priority for President Obama,

  • who said the U.S. does not leave its soldiers behind.

  • But the way the Obama administration

  • secured Bergdahl`s release was controversial.

  • It didn`t notify Congress about it 30 days in advance,

  • as law requires. It exchanged five Taliban prisoners

  • held at Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl.

  • U.S. intelligence reports have suggested

  • that one of these former prisoners had since contacted the Taliban.

  • The night Bo Bergdahl disappeared from his post in the summer of 2009,

  • he was 23 years old.

  • The Army sergeant`s gun, bullet-proof vest

  • and his night vision goggles were all found in his bunk.

  • From that moment,

  • the U.S. military would spend almost five years

  • looking for and negotiating for Bergdahl`s release.

  • Our commanders are sparing no effort to find this young soldier.

  • It`s a saga that still isn`t over for the soldier who is now 28 years old.

  • When Bo Bergdahl disappeared,

  • he was stationed at a U.S. military outpost in Paktika Province,

  • in Southeastern Afghanistan.

  • He was supposed to be on a guard shift that night.

  • This was his first deployment as a U.S. soldier

  • and he had been in Afghanistan less than two months.

  • Other soldiers in his unit have described Bergdahl

  • as a deserter and a traitor to his country.

  • I think he just wanted to go on an adventure

  • without having anybody to answer to,

  • without having anything to worry about.

  • He wanted to be able to go out

  • and see Afghanistan for himself without,

  • you know, the Army stopping him.

  • Bergdahl would end up in the hands of the Taliban.

  • Intensive efforts to find Bergdahl in those early days

  • of his disappearance failed.

  • And before long,

  • Bergdahl`s captors would start showing off their prized

  • capture in propaganda videos.

  • In the propaganda, that the Army grounded us in,

  • in fact, this is exactly why we are hated not only by the afghans,

  • but by many people in the world.

  • The U.S. government believed Bergdahl

  • was then passed around between Taliban captors

  • and members of what`s called the Haqqani Network,

  • which would have taken him into Pakistan at some point.

  • For Bergdahl`s mother and father in Idaho,

  • these videos would be the only proof of life they`d see of their son.

  • Get me to be released.

  • Frustrated by the slow progress in finding his son,

  • Bob Bergdahl grew out his beard as a sign of solidarity

  • with Bowe and started teaching himself to speak Pashtu,

  • the language of his captors.

  • Bob Bergdahl would later receive scathing criticism

  • as a Taliban sympathizer for growing the beard.

  • A father does not leave his son alone on the battlefield.

  • Then in May of last year, after several years of negotiating,

  • the Obama administration agreed to release five Taliban prisoners

  • held in Guantanamo Bay for Bowe Bergdahl.

  • He was brought to this field in a remote area of Khost Province

  • and handed over to a U.S. Special Forces unit.

  • One of the soldiers told Bowe Bergdahl on the chopper ride out,

  • "We`ve been looking for you for a long time."

  • Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.

  • Heinz probably makes you think of ketchup.

  • Other Heinz brands include Nancy`s, Ore Ida, Poppers,

  • Bagel Bites and Smart Ones.

  • Kraft brings to mind mac and cheese.

  • Other Kraft brands include A1, Capri Sun, Cracker Barrel,

  • Kool-Aid and Miracle Whip. According to "USA Today,

  • " 98 percent of American households

  • have some kind of Kraft product in them.

  • The two businesses are planning to merge,

  • forming the Kraft Heinz Company.

  • We say planning because the merger

  • must first be approved by the U.S. government,

  • whose anti-trust laws aim to prevent monopolies.

  • The Kraft Heinz Company would allow the businesses to grow,

  • to cut down on costs and to better accommodate

  • the changing tastes of consumers as more Americans

  • look for fresh local foods over processed and shipped products.

  • Kraft Heinz would be the world`s fifth largest food

  • and beverage company.

  • A lot of you are dreaming of going to the beach this summer.

  • The sea, sand, sun and swimming -- hopefully not with these.

  • A massive school of sharks, likely black tips and spinners,

  • was recently spotted near the Louisiana coast.

  • Experts say it`s normal.

  • They typically migrate north as the weather and water warm up.

  • It may be a little early this year, though.

  • And while black tipped sharks aren`t likely to eat you,

  • they do account for about 16 percent of the shark attacks in Florida.

  • They`re relatively small sized. Black tips usually weigh

  • between 40 and 55 pounds.

  • That means the bite wounds people sometimes get from them are pretty minor.

  • Time for the call of the Roll.

  • Let`s see who`s watching

  • and requesting a mention at cnnstudentnews.com.

  • East Windsor High School is in Connecticut.

  • And it`s The Panthers who are stalking

  • CNN STUDENT NEWS from East Windsor.

  • Paducah Tilghman High School is in Kentucky.

  • Its mascot is the tornado and it`s whirling our way from Paducah.

  • And in Central America, in the capital of Guatemala,

  • hello to the students at Colegio Interamericano at Guatemala City.

  • Between the nations of Israel and Jordan

  • is a landlocked body of water

  • whose shores are more than 1,300 feet below sea level.

  • It`s The Dead Sea,

  • which is actually a lake. It`s called dead

  • because it`s so high in salt and minerals that fish

  • and plants can`t live in it.

  • Water levels in this lowest lake on Earth are getting lower.

  • This is The Alito Hotel (ph), built on the shores of the Dead Sea.

  • No one was around to see King Herod`s view,

  • but many middle-aged Israelis remember walking

  • through this once swank lobby and right into the waves.

  • The Dead Sea is way, way down there.

  • My goodness, are you serious? So where -- the water line was where?

  • The water line was actually right at the steps.

  • The demise of the Dead Sea is completely manmade.

  • This is not climate change.

  • You know, this is not an act of nature.

  • The demise of the Dead Sea is taking place under government license.

  • He shows me a mural of an old crusader map of the Jordan Valley

  • and it`s a great way to get our bearings,

  • to understand that it all begins in the Sea of Galilee,

  • where Jesus took that famous walk across the waves.

  • That is the main source of the River Jordan.

  • And for centuries,

  • it flowed into the Dead Sea with enough force

  • to keep up with rapid evaporation under that scalding sun.

  • But in the last 50 years, warring neighbors began draining the Jordan.

  • Israel took half of the River Jordan,

  • another quarter from Syria and another quarter from Jordan.

  • So there is no one villain in this manmade disaster.

  • It is a simple equation of too many people and not enough cooperation.

  • As we drive down, down, down below sea level,

  • ears a popping, we see a liquid victim of all that conflict

  • -- a lake unlike any other, smooth as blueberry yogurt.

  • Just imagine the elation of ancient travelers seeing it for the first time.

  • Water! In the desert.

  • But then they got close and crunched across a bizarro beach of salt.

  • And instead of cool refreshment,

  • found a thick mineral soup that stings the eyes and burns the tongue.

  • No wonder that for centuries, the Dead Sea filled visitors with dread.

  • They say that splashing any of the Dead Sea in your face

  • is a sensation not unlike being pepper-sprayed

  • -- or salt and pepper-sprayed I suppose.

  • And so one must ease into the warm and viscous water,

  • which feels like 90 degrees and almost slimy.

  • But the floating, amazing.

  • You need a bit of core muscle to keep from flipping over,

  • but otherwise if not for the blow torch sun,

  • you could almost nap out here.

  • Now, getting out brings the instant urge to shower.

  • So for most, this is a been there, done that kind of experience.

  • But for hundreds of thousands of people a year,

  • this is not entertainment, it is medicine.

  • From the lowest lake on Earth to its largest known cave.

  • Son Doong Cave was discovered in 1991,

  • located near the border between Laos and Vietnam, it`s gigantic.

  • It has a jungle inside of it. One of its chambers is three miles long.

  • And thanks to a number of cave-ins, it has its own skylights.

  • A photographer used a drone to capture these images of Son Doong.

  • Ryan Deboodt says it took him eight days

  • and involved a lot of near misses with rocks.

  • That`s easy to see.

  • You stalagmite destroy your drone flying it through such stalag-tight spaces.

  • But it would be kind of spelunk-headed not to cave at the opportunity.

  • I`m Carl Azuz and I am done droning on for the day.

This is CNN STUDENT NEWS.

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March 26, 2015 - CNN Student News with subtitles

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