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  • Welcome to our last edition of CNN Student News for 2015.

  • I'm Carl Azuz, and Fridays are awesome.

  • For the past few days, our year in review series

  • has looked back at some of the stories that made headlines since January.

  • Teachers, you can find all of our shows in the archive section of cnnstudentnews. com.

  • After discussing US news, politics, and weather,

  • we're turning our attention to international headlines today.

  • And we have an update on last month's terrorist attacks in Paris, France.

  • Investigators are saying for the first time

  • they believe the attackers used encrypted applications to plan the assault,

  • and to keep their messages secret.

  • Cell phones recovered from the crime scene had encrypted apps on them.

  • They aim to protect the privacy of text messages,

  • and they're hard for law enforcement to decrypt.

  • So that's brought up a debate about whether the applications' developers

  • should create a way for investigators to see certain messages.

  • Andrew Spencer now brings you a broad view of this

  • and some other major topics of the year. Go, go!

  • An earthquake hit Nepal in April.

  • With a magnitude of 7. 8, it devastated areas in and around Kathmandu,

  • killing more than 8, 000 people.

  • Terror attacks rocked Paris and the world on Friday, November 13th.

  • Three groups of attackers armed with guns and suicide vests

  • hit six spots in and around Paris including a concert venue and a soccer stadium.

  • The attackers killed 130 people and injured hundreds of others.

  • The November attacks were also a grim reminder of what had happened

  • in January when two gunmen forced their way into the offices

  • of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo,

  • a publication which had often lampooned the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

  • Images of a young boy whose body washed ashore in Turkey

  • drew more eyes to the flood of refugees trying to enter Europe

  • through whatever means they could find,

  • many of them among the 4 million Syrians fleeing the war

  • in their country and the violence at the hands of ISIS.

  • Russia began conducting airstrikes in Syria in September

  • as the US- led coalition had done.

  • But tensions grew quickly as the White House accused Russia

  • of launching strikes at non- ISIS targets, including US- backed rebels.

  • In November, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet

  • the Turkish government says violated its airspace.

  • Russia denied that claim.

  • A German Wings jetliner crashed into the French Alps in March,

  • killing all 150 people on board.

  • Investigators believe when the captain stepped out of the cockpit,

  • the co- pilot intentionally crashed the plane.

  • FIFA's governing body faced an international investigation.

  • The FBI charged multiple officials with racketeering and wire fraud.

  • A Swiss probe also looked at a potential corruption

  • into the bidding process for future World Cups

  • to be hosted in Russia and Qatar. The White House celebrated

  • what it saw as two huge diplomatic successes in 2015.

  • The first, normalizing relations with Cuba

  • and reopening the US embassy in Havana for the first time in 54 years.

  • The second, helping negotiate an historic deal with Iran

  • to start lifting the sanctions and to curb the nation's nuclear program.

  • Meanwhile, Great Britain celebrated the birth of another heir to the throne,

  • as the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to her second child,

  • Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

  • I'm Andrew Spencer, reporting.

  • We've covered a lot of geography in our Roll Call.

  • Can you name the capital of Ecuador?

  • It's where we're happy to see our viewers at Colegio Americano de Quito

  • and it's at the Ecuadorian capital of Quito.

  • Next, we've got some panthers on the prowl.

  • First, the Cats of Rugby High School. Hello to everyone in Rugby, North Dakota.

  • Panthers are also stalking around Yazoo City. It's in Mississippi.

  • Great to see Yazoo County Middle School.

  • If you live in the US, Canada, or Europe, you might be gearing up

  • for the Star Wars premier this weekend.

  • And it's not a spoiler alert to say the movie will have lasers in it.

  • In medical science they could be used as scalpels.

  • In industry they could be used to cut and weld.

  • In entertainment, laser light shows. But how close are they to being used as military weapons?

  • The US Air Force Research Laboratory told CNN

  • it hopes to demonstrate a fighter jet laser as soon as 2020.

  • It really is a national tipping point where we see the technology

  • evolving and maturing to the stage where it really can be used.

  • This year, the Air Force, the Pentagon research arm DARPA,

  • and Lockheed Martin successfully tested a laser turret

  • that would allow near- supersonic planes to surround themselves

  • with a 360- degree defensive laser shield.

  • The Air Force lab has already built working lasers

  • that can destroy aircraft from the ground,

  • like this laser shoot down of an unmanned plane in 2009,

  • which was a precision breakthrough.

  • At sea, the U. S. Navy already has an operational laser weapon

  • aboard the USS Ponce.

  • But hitting moving targets from a fighter jet

  • flying hundreds of miles an hour is a lot harder.

  • A successful laser weapon can burn through strong materials

  • remarkably fast with virtual silence.

  • Pilots could use it to defend against enemy planes,

  • threats from the ground, and incoming missiles.

  • No need to reload because ammunition is electrical power, not bullets.

  • To be effective, fighter jet lasers will have to be smaller

  • and lighter than ground- based lasers.

  • They'll have to be accurate despite the g forces, vibrations,

  • and speed that come with air combat.

  • In addition to fighters, the commander of Air Force Special Operations

  • says he wants defensive high energy lasers aboard huge AC- 130J

  • Ghostrider gunships by 2020.

  • Experts say it'll be the beginning of a new era

  • as laser weapons are poised to exit science fiction and join missiles, guns,

  • and bombs in the real world.

  • Tom Patterson, CNN.

  • You may know mistletoe is a plant, but did you know it's a parasite?

  • Mistletoe can be bad for oak, poplar, and apple trees

  • and it can be toxic if people or animals eat it.

  • So if you find yourself under the mistletoe with the wrong person

  • this Christmas just share that fun fact because no one finds a parasite romantic.

  • Now that's random.

  • All right, we've shown a lot of amazing basketball shots on CNN Student News.

  • Usually they're by a player, not a mother.

  • And usually they're not made granny style.

  • This half- court shot was worth half a tuition payment

  • at a private high school. The mom says she said a prayer and chucked it

  • with her eyes closed. Nope, but yep. Yes, you saw that,

  • though the mom apparently didn't. The ball bounced once

  • then arched into the basket, swish. Now she gets it.

  • Yes, it counted. She had three chances to make it.

  • This was her last one. It'll save the family $ 4, 000

  • and give them a memory money can't buy.

  • So of course it was worth the shot.

  • The result was nothing but net. Even with the swish she totally banked it.

  • It was a hot shot, a shot at funding, a shot in the arm for tuition.

  • I know it's almost time for us to bounce up court,

  • our staff at CNN Student News wishes all of you a merry Christmas,

  • a happy Kwanza, happy holidays.

  • We hope you had a happy Hanukkah and we thank you

  • for another wonderful calendar year,

  • look forward to seeing you on January 4th, 2016. I'm Carl Azuz.

Welcome to our last edition of CNN Student News for 2015.

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