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Quick Guide & Transcript: President Bush in China, Gamma spares Cancun


(CNN Student News) -- November 21, 2005

Quick Guide

President Bush in China - Travel to the Chinese capital, where President Bush recently addressed topics ranging from Iraq to piracy.

Tropical Storm Gamma - Discover where the latest storm in a record season meandered in the Caribbean.

Zoos and Bird Flu - Observe how birds in the nation's zoos could help keep tabs on the spread of disease.



JUDY FORTIN, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN Student News! I'm Judy Fortin, and this is the first of just two shows we'll have for this Thanksgiving week. President Bush spends some time in China with problems from home still on his mind. Another storm stalks through the Caribbean, drenching some areas and narrowly avoiding others. And nestled atop their perches in local zoos, could birds be bellwethers of the spread of disease?

First Up: President Bush in China

FORTIN: The debate over the Iraq War went far beyond the capital this weekend, when President Bush addressed the issue from Beijing, China. He was there as part of an eight day trip to Asia and on Sunday, the president made his first direct response to a congressman's call to pull U.S. forces out of Iraq. Last week, Democratic Representative John Murtha said U.S. forces should leave because they've become targets for Iraqi insurgents. Afterward, republicans in the House of Representatives brought up a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces. It was defeated 403 to 3. House Republicans say the resolution illustrated that Murtha's call was not an important one, since so many opposed it. But House Democrats called it a cheap political stunt.

Almost 7,000 miles away from Washington, President Bush weighed in on the argument Sunday. Dana Bash takes us to China's capital, for his response and a wrap of his trip to the communist state.


DANA BASH, CNN REPORTER: In China for intense talks, the president dove into the debate in Washington over Iraq. Unsolicited -- he called an influential Democrat who wants US troops home from Iraq a good man, but wrong.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I know the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by Congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position.

BASH: Growing doubts back home about the Iraq have distracted Mr Bush throughout he tries to focus on monumental issues in this region - especially in China. The president spent Sunday morning church in one of five sanctioned, and censored, by the communist government. A move used to press Chinese leaders for more religious freedom.

BUSH: My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly.

BASH: Later Mr Bush took the call to broaden rights for China's 1.3 billion people to its leader -- President Hu Jintao. But with reports of a pre Bush visit crack down on dissidents...the Secretary of State expressed dismay, not progress.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We've certainly not seen the progress that we would expect and we'll have to keep working on it.

BASH: The president spent much of his talks poring over economic differences with the Chinese powerhouse that puts the U.S. at a huge disadvantage...He won concessions for action on China's undervalued currency, or expected 200 billion trade deficit. Bush Aides did report some promises from China's Premier about another major issue: piracy.

BASH: Counterfeit products sold freely at markets like this in Beijing and exported around the world cost an Americans an estimated 750 thousand jobs a year, and American business 250 billion dollars. Experts say China makes the bulk of pirated copyright material. After a series of tense talks, the president shed his suit for a pair of shorts.


BASH: And met up with 6 Chinese Olympic hopefuls...a little time out...for his favorite sport.

BUSH: "Just getting warmed up"

BASH: Dana Bash CNN Beijing



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these is China's flag? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it A, B, C or D? You've got three seconds--GO! If you said A, you got it! The country is the world's most populous, with an estimated 1.3 billion people! That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Tropical Storm Gamma

FORTIN: Just because the Atlantic Hurricane Season ends November 30th, doesn't mean mother nature has stopped breaking records. "Gamma," the 24th named storm of the season, weakened to a tropical depression yesterday, but not before soaking Honduras and threatening part of Mexico that's still recovering from another system. Karl Penhaul goes somewhere Gamma decided to avoid.


CARL PENHAUL, CNN REPORTER: Cancun's revolution day parade goes off without a hitch...Tropical Storm Gamma had threatened to batter this vacation hot spot but instead veered out to sea and lost steam.

CANCUN RESIDENT: We're a lot calmer now. Its one worry less. A little while ago Hurricane Wilma hit and to have another one right now would have been tough.


MARIO STOUTE, DEP. DIRECTOR OF CIVIL PROTECTION: At the moment there's no risk because its not headed this way, its curving toward Cuba.

PENHAUL: Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula were hammered by Hurricane Wilma just last month. Alejandro Robeldo sells "I survived Wilma" T-shirts for five bucks - but he's the first to admit Cancun couldn't afford to weather another storm like that.

ALEJANDRO ROBLEDO, T-SHIRT SELLER: Cancun trembled again because there's still a lot we haven't repaired and we feared Gamma would wreck what was left.

PENHAUL: But as the U.S. Thanksgiving break approaches tourists - like Rick and Pat Schwarzburg from Chicago -- are back.

RICK SCHWARZBURG, TOURIST: You see the spirit of Cancun, it can't be broken and it's a wonderful thing to see the city revived.

PENHAUL: At least three people died along this coastline during Wilma - the resort was wrecked. But now Authorities say some 10,000 visitors, Mexicans, Americans and Europeans are back in Cancun. Small armies of workers are still fixing hotels hit by Wilma's 145 mile per hour winds... Other buildings like this popular nightspot called Senor Frog's, are still in ruins.

KARL PENHAUL, CANCUN, MEXICO: That leaves some tourists like these young British sun seekers disappointed. They may feel a little cheated, but this weekend Cancun residents breathed a collective sight of relief that Gamma had spared them. And they vowed once they recover from Wilma the show will go on.

PENHAUL: Karl Penhaul, CNN, Cancun, Mexico.


Word to the Wise

AZUZ: A Word to the Wise...

sentinel: (n) part of a population at risk of an infection


Bird Flu in Zoos

FORTIN: Researchers at Purdue University have been monitoring pets around the country, as they could be sentinels on how diseases like bird flu spread. Now, some residents of your local zoo could be playing a similar role and that's important at a time when early detection could be key to saving lives. Gary Nurenberg explains.


GARY NURENBERG, CNN REPORTER: With the deadly bird flu now blamed for dozens of deaths in Asia, American health officials said Sunday the United States isn't prepared to protect its citizens from a wide-spread outbreak.

MICHAEL LEAVITT, SEC. OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: It will be three to five years before we have vaccine manufacturing capacity to deliver 300 million courses of pandemic flu vaccine. We simply lack the capacity to do it as rapidly as necessary.

NURENBERG: That makes essential early detection of flu that could potentially cause a pandemic. And some scientists think great places for early detection are. American zoos.

DOMINICK TRAVIS, LINCOLN PARK ZOO: The fairy blue bird is actually an Asian bird that lives in the range that influenza is in right now

NURENBERG: Dominick Travis is trying to coordinate national efforts from Chicago's Lincoln park zoo.

TRAVIS: Zoos are incredibly well-suited for that because to be A good sentinel you need to have a stationary population of susceptible animals and you have to have the infrastructure and the resources to watch the health of those animals.

NURENBERG: The Department of Agriculture also watches animals closely, and thinks zoo guidelines issued Friday for bird flu detection could be helpful.

JOHN CLIFFORD, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: Its a a very good and excellent step in the right direction that would tie in well with the national pandemic plan

NURENBERG: Local authorities sprayed to prevent West Nile Virus several years ago after zoos helped detect that disease. Those protocols for quickly notifying human health authorities are already in place.

TRAVIS: It's not to scare you but it is a little scary

NURENBERG: The bird flu hasn't yet developed the ability to spread consistently from human to human in a way that could cause a pandemic. But that remains a possibility...A reason health officials want to know immediately if it reaches the United States.

TRAVIS: the point is by implementing good surveillance you have a chance at early detection and therefore a chance at early response.

NURENBERG: And now, if it is introduced, zoos may well be the first places to find out. Gary Nurenberg CNN Washington


Before We Go

FORTIN: Before we go... How many people your age actually enjoy the game of dominoes? Many would argue that lining 'em up and knocking 'em down is much more fun. In the Netherlands, record-setters spent more than two months carefully arranging more than four million dominoes... That came tumbling down in a mere hour and a half!


FORTIN: And ten minutes flat is all the time we have for the day! So we'll see you tomorrow, online or on headline news.

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