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  • This is CNN STUDENT NEWS, current events for middle and high school classrooms with zero

  • commercials.

  • I`m Carl Azuz.

  • Today`s show starts with coverage of a threat. The Al-Shabab terrorist group, which is based

  • in Somalia, is telling terrorists to attack shopping malls in the U.S., the United Kingdom

  • and Canada.

  • Al-Shabab is linked to the al Qaeda terrorist network and it carried out an attack at a

  • mall in Kenya in 2013 that killed dozens of people.

  • This latest statement from Al-Shabab reflects the new phase we`ve evolved to in the global

  • terrorist threat, in that you have groups such as al-Shabab, ISIL, publicly calling

  • for independent actors in their homelands to carry out attacks.

  • We`re beyond the phase now where these groups would send foreign operatives into countries

  • after being trained some place. We`re now at a stage where it is all the more important

  • in our counterterrorism efforts that we have a whole of government approach.

  • But despite the threat, the FBI says al-Shabab`s in a weakened state. Its previous leader was

  • killed in a U.S. air strike last year. And while U.S. law enforcement says al-Shabab

  • might want to attack an American mall, there`s no specific real threat against one.

  • And officials say while shoppers should be vigilant, no one should avoid malls because

  • of al-Shabab. The bigger danger, according to the FBI, is that the threat might inspire

  • homegrown extremists already in the U.S. to try and attack.

  • But the FBI has a program to improve mall security in addition to what the malls themselves

  • already do.

  • Truck and bus drivers get ID checks. There are swab tests for explosives, pop-up barricades,

  • bike patrols, undercover behavior detection officers, hundreds of surveillance cameras

  • and bomb-sniffing dogs.

  • Security for the Capitol, the Pentagon, the White House?

  • Nope. This is security at Minnesota`s Mall of America, one of the largest enclosed shopping

  • centers in the country, visited by 42 million people each year.

  • I think that if you`re looking for 100 percent safety, you should probably wrap yourself

  • in bubble wrap and never leave home. But when you look at the size of this place and what

  • goes on here, yes, I think -- I think it`s a very safe place to be. I do.

  • The mall even has something many government facilities do not.

  • This is a drill. Mall of America is now going into lockdown.

  • Seek shelter in the nearest store and stop walking (INAUDIBLE) this is a drill.

  • Twice a month, the mall, its tenants and its customers participate in a lockdown drill,

  • practicing how to shelter in back rooms of stores to try to minimize casualties in an

  • attack.

  • If something bad should happen here, we don`t want our response to start with and law enforcement

  • will be here and they will protect you.

  • We want to know what can be done until law enforcement gets here.

  • The FBI has repeatedly warned that soft targets like crowded malls could be a tempting terrorist

  • target.

  • It is the life that we live right now. And we can prepare. And if you can do it at the

  • Mall of America, it can be done anywhere.

  • Northeast of Anchorage, Alaska, is the city of Palmer. And that`s where we start today`s

  • Roll Call.

  • Shout-out to the Moose, the mascot, not just the animal. They`re watching today at Palmer

  • Junior Middle School.

  • In The Magnolia State of Mississippi, we`ve got the Trojans online today. Hello to New

  • Hope High School in Columbus.

  • And The Granite State rocks. That`s New Hampshire. It`s home to McLaughlin Middle School in Manchester,

  • where you`ll find The Cougars.

  • In January, there was a dramatic drop in the number of new Ebola cases in West Africa.

  • But people are still catching and spreading the incurable virus. And last year`s outbreak

  • is anything but over.

  • Still, some students in some of the worst hit countries have something to look forward

  • to.

  • It is challenging for Americans to have their children stuck await home during this seemingly

  • endless winter weather. So imagine just how arduous a nationwide half year school hiatus

  • would be, all while battling a deadly epidemic.

  • This week, thousands of children returned to school in Liberia for the first time in

  • over six months. Classes were back in session in some places once hands were washed and

  • temperatures were taken, of course.

  • According to Reuters, the Ministry of Education in Liberia hopes all schools will open in

  • March.

  • The children`s return to school is encouraging. But the world has not yet seen the last of

  • the largest Ebola outbreak in human history.

  • But as you can see from these charts, the number of Ebola cases in the most affected

  • countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, has declined, though some worry that the rate

  • of the drop has stalled recently.

  • According to the WHO, a total of 128 new confirmed cases were reported this week, with only two

  • in Liberia.

  • On this side of the world, President Obama announced that all but 100 U.S. troops deployed

  • to fight Ebola in West Africa would come home by the end of April.

  • The president stressed, however, that America`s mission was not yet complete, saying that

  • while Ebola simmers, it remains a threat.

  • Every case is an ember that, if not contained, can light a new fire.

  • The troops are heading home and the children are back to school, so when will West Africa

  • and the world truly be out of the woods?

  • Experts say the number of Ebola cases must be zero for 42 days, twice Ebola`s incubation

  • period, or this terrible epidemic could reignite.

  • See if you can ID me.

  • I`m a round object found in space. I`m considerably smaller than a planet, but I`m not a moon.

  • I orbit the sun, but I don`t have enough gravity to clear my orbit of smaller objects.

  • I`m a dwarf planet and my most famous example is Pluto.

  • Whether or not you agree that Pluto should have lost its planetary status -- it was demoted

  • to a mere dwarf planet back in 2006 -- NASA is hoping to get a new look await the rock

  • this summer.

  • Since 2006, a spacecraft called New Horizons has been heading Pluto`s way, traveling at

  • a million miles a day. It will finally pass near Pluto in July, capturing details that

  • even the Hubble space telescope cannot see.

  • But Pluto isn`t the only dwarf planet out there and New Horizons isn`t the only mission

  • to one.

  • Dawn, another NASA spacecraft, is about a week and a half away from Ceres. It`s located

  • between Mars and Jupiter. In fact, scientists say it`s the largest object between those

  • two planets that`s not officially a planet.

  • NASA`s solar system page currently lists dwarf planets, including Pluto and Ceres. The planet

  • you`ve probably never heard of, NASA`s Dawn spacecraft was launched back in 2007 and it

  • will soon start obtaining Ceres.

  • But it`s already sending back crisp, clean pictures. Newly released images were taken

  • when Dawn was 52 miles from Ceres. The images show craters and what NASA calls mysterious

  • bright spots.

  • Ceres is the largest body between Jupiter and Mars in the main asteroid belt. And it

  • has a diameter of about 590 miles.

  • Ceres is not a new discovery. In fact, it was found in 1801 -- 129 years before Pluto

  • was found. Originally, it was called a planet, then an asteroid and now a dwarf planet. I

  • mean that will trigger an identity crisis.

  • The mission director calls Ceres a giant mystery. Some scientists think it used to have a sub-surface

  • ocean and that it may still have liquid water beneath its icy surface. Scientists say they

  • hope to solve that mystery and others when the tractor-trailer-sized spacecraft moves

  • in.

  • So how many planets are we up to now?

  • NASA says there may be hundreds more worlds in our own solar system.

  • For several days last week, temperatures at Niagara Falls hovered in the single digits.

  • The result?

  • Crusty clouds of ice frozen as they billowed over the water. The river still flows underneath

  • them. For a view of what this looks like at night,

  • check out the illumination of the falls. This colorful tradition has been going on for generations.

  • Another winter of extremely low temperatures has added ice to its beauty that`s not expected

  • to melt any time soon.

  • It`s crystal clear why people falls for that kind of thing. No matter the season, they`ll

  • tell you what a rush it is. Its beauty always current, because, after all, a river runs

  • through it, y`all. You`ve just got to go with the flow.

  • I`m Carl Azuz for CNN STUDENT NEWS.

  • We`re back tomorrow.

This is CNN STUDENT NEWS, current events for middle and high school classrooms with zero

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