CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Carl Azuz, and this is CNN Student News! We don’t need 80 days. We’re taking you around the world in 10 minutes. Asia, Europe, North and South America. But we’re starting things off in western Africa.
First Up: Ivory Coast Crisis
AZUZ: The civil war that’s been raging in the nation of Ivory Coast seems to be coming to an end. In fact, a United Nations representative said yesterday that while there are still some small signs of resistance, to his knowledge, most of the fighting has stopped. That is because Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast’s former president, was arrested on Monday. This is Gbagbo, and this is the hotel that he was taken to yesterday. It’s the headquarters of both the U.N. group in Ivory Coast and of Alassane Ouattara, the man who defeated Gbagbo in last year’s presidential election. Gbagbo refused to step down despite having lost the election, and that is what led to the violence. Hundreds of people killed. Thousands fleeing from the country. Now that Gbagbo’s been taken in, one U.S. official said Ivory Coast can start to return to normal.
Libya Civil War
AZUZ: Moving northeast across Africa, we come to Libya. That country’s government and military, led by Moammar Gadhafi, have been fighting against rebels who want him out of power. The African Union has come up with a plan to end that fighting. They’re calling it a “road map.” What it would do is immediately stop the fighting and help bring humanitarian aid into Libya. Colonel Gadhafi has signed off on the plan. But the rebels who are fighting against him haven’t. The plan doesn’t force Gadhafi to step down from power, so he could continue to lead Libya. And while rebel leaders say they’re open to ideas, they say Gadhafi leaving power has to be included.
AZUZ: In Japan, rescue workers briefly stopped their search yesterday as the nation paused to remember the victims of the deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit exactly one month earlier. Special ceremonies, moments of silence paying tribute to the more than 13,000 people who were killed and the more than 14,000 others who are still missing. Just a short time later, Japan was hit by another earthquake. There have been hundreds of these aftershocks since the quake on March 11th. Yesterday’s had a magnitude of 6.6. It caused landslides that trapped several people in one city. It also caused a temporary evacuation at that troubled nuclear power plant where engineers have been trying to cool down nuclear reactors.
Just the Facts
STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Just the Facts! Burqa is an Arabic word that dates back to the 1800s. It is an article of clothing that covers someone’s face and body. Burqas are often associated with Islam, as they are worn by some Muslim women.
AZUZ: In France, it’s illegal to wear a burqa according to a new law that went into effect this week. Two women who were protesting the ban were arrested on Monday. Police say they weren’t arrested for wearing burqas, but rather for being part of an unauthorized protest. French officials say burqas pose a security concern and affect the dignity of women who wear them. But critics of the ban say it violates European human rights laws. Atika Shubert is in France. She has more on this new law and the reaction to it.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A highly controversial law has gone into effect, and it’s the talk of the country, as you can imagine. In fact, I’m going to hold up just a section of Le Parisien newspaper here. The headline is “the full veil is banned on the road.” It actually has a small diagram here to show exactly what is allowed and what is not allowed in France now. The burqa, which covers the entire face, is banned. The niqab, which covers everything but the eyes, is also banned. But the hijab, which covers the head but leaves the face unveiled, is allowed.
Now, the nuts and bolts of this law: Basically, it is now illegal for anyone to wear a full veil covering on the streets of France in public. And in public, it means anywhere on the streets, in a public office, such as a post office or a train station, even in a cinema, it is not allowed. Really, the only place where the full veil is allowed is in a car, the private vehicle, or in the privacy of your own home.
There are only an estimated less than 2,000 women in France that actually wear the full veil, so it won’t impact that many people, but it is highly controversial. Now, CNN did have the opportunity to speak to one woman who is wearing the full veil and says she will continue to wear the full veil even as this law goes into effect. And she told us what she thinks of this new face of France.
HIND AMAS, VEIL WEARER IN FRANCE [TRANSLATED]: In all honesty, I’m just sad. I’m just sad and disappointed, because quite frankly to get to this point, I think it’s very revealing about many things. And thankfully, thankfully, not all of the French population think like the politicians who voted this law.
SHUBERT: Now, even though this only affects a small portion of women here in France, this law is very popular. It was passed with an overwhelming majority in France’s parliament. And in the most latest polls, more than 80% of French respondent say they support the law. Atika Shubert, CNN, Paris.