CNN news 2014-05-24
Midway through the week, welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS. I'm Carl Azuz. Thank you for making us part of your day. A first report involves martial law. This is when military forces take over a country, usually in an emergency. And this is what's happened in Thailand. Tensions there had been building for months. People are strongly divided over Thailand's former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister, current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. A coup kicked Thaksin out of power in 2006. He is now living in exile. Many of those who oppose Thailand's government think Thaksin is still calling the shots through his sister, but there are many who support him and want him back in power. And these two sides have been fighting each other in violent protests.
Well, after a lawsuit brought by senators who oppose the current leadership, Yingluck Shinawatra was removed from government earlier this month. The instability that followed is why the army says it imposed martial law. It says this could last a few months until things come down, but it also says this is not a coup. That the military is not forcing a change in government and that people should continue business as usual.
Yesterday, in the town of Moore, Oklahoma, a bell, a prayer, a remembrance of 24 people killed by a tornado one year ago. It was an EF5, the most powerful classification of twister. It was a mile wide in some places, and it left a 17-mile long gash in the landscape. There were scenes of unbelievable destruction. Block after block where only foundations were visible. City officials had to make new street signs so rescuers knew where they were going. 353 people were injured. A school, a medical center, businesses were lost, but for those who've chosen to stay, ground has been broken and rebuilding has begun.
Today is the public opening of the 911 Memorial Museum in New York. It centers on remembering a dark chapter in American history and honoring the ways Americans overcame it. But that's not the only thing that distinguishes it from some other museums. Unlike the Smithsonian, for instance, the 911 Memorial charges a fee for the general public to get in. And another source of its revenue, which is accepted at other museums, is controversial here.
Praise for its beauty and dignity, there is growing criticism of high admission fees, $24 to get in, and the sale of souvenirs at the gift shop.
I think it's a revenue generating tourist attraction.
Jim Riches shares the same sentiment shown in these "New York Post" headline titled "Little Shop of Horror." On sale, items such as silk scars with images of the Twin Towers, bracelets and stuffed animals. It's not the way Richard says his son Jimmy should be remembered, a firefighter killed on that day.
Basically, to make a money off my son's dead body, I think that's disgusting.
What we know is it's the right thing that when visitors come here, they want to take a keepsake away.
Joe Daniels is president and CEO of the September 11 Memorial and Museum. He had spent the last eight years developing the site, which will cost an estimated 65 million per year to run.
The museum receives no government funding and relies on donations, revenue from tickets and money from that gift shop.
Should you be extra-sensitive about what you sell there?
You know, the truth is this is the United States of America, and the number one thing is, if you don't like what we are selling, don't buy it. The number one seller in our gift shop is a book called The Place of Remembrance, which talks about the building of the memorial.
Do I expect to say that everything we've done here is absolutely, 100 percent right? There's always bumps in the road.
Lee Ielpi lost his son Jonathan who was a firefighter here, and while not perfect, Ielpi says the 9/11 Memorial Museum is like the USS Arizona Memorial in Perl Harbor or the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, which are also located at sacred sites and have gift shops.
Somebody has to pay for these things, regardless how powerful it is. For Ielpi, feeling he has for his son when he sees his name at the reflecting pool, far outweighs any controversy.
It's reflecting absence, it says as if their souls are falling into the water.
A fitting tribute for Jonathan?
For all of them. Yes. Absolutely.
Jason Carol, CNN, New York.