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EDUCATION with Student News

Quick Guide & Transcript: Solar eclipse inspires awe, Italy grants asylum to Afghan Christian

(CNN Student News) -- March 30, 2006

Quick Guide

Total Eclipse - Take a seat for a celestial show you won't want to miss!

Issue of Faith - Find out what's next for an Afghan man who was on trial for changing his faith.

Protecting Your Head - Learn how a helmet can make all the difference when you're out to play sports.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Glad to have you along for CNN Student News! I'm Monica Lloyd. The dark side of the moon: may you didn't have the best view of the total eclipse this week... But you will today! When MandM's become enriched uranium, you know you're watching an explanation on Student News! Get the latest on Iran's controversial nuclear program. And if you've ever said you'll only do your homework "when pigs fly"... Now's the time to get busy!

First Up: Total Eclipse

LLOYD: A celestial show plunged millions into darkness yesterday, at least for as long as the moon blocked out the sun's light! It was a total eclipse. And it's a pretty rare event, because the sun, moon, and earth have to be lined up just right for it to happen. Now maybe you're asking, why didn't I see it? The way the world was spinning, the best view of this eclipse was on the coast of Turkey. But Diana Magna has your front-row seat, right now.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN REPORTER: A solar spectacular. The world paused on Wednesday as the first total eclipse in years swept across the globe. From Brazil to Mongolia, witnesses gathered to experience the blackout, with so called astro tourists traveling thousands of miles to see it.

ECLIPSE VIEWER: The total eclipse of the sun is a very rare and awesome event, and you're changed after you've see a total eclipse.

PROF. PAUL MURDIN, ASTRONOMIST: Its literally a hair raising experience, its really eerie. Not only does the moon cut out the sun's light, but it cuts out its heat as well. So there's a sudden chill in the air as the sun goes out. And it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and on your arms. You feel like you're really in the presence of some mystic power.

MAGNAY: Governments warned sky gazers against staring into the sun without eye protection; others were more concerned with the superstitions traditionally associated with an eclipse. In India - newspapers urged pregnant woman to stay indoors and in Turkey - scientists tried to quell fears of an earthquake. The last total eclipse was in 2003, but most of the world only saw a partial blackout. This time, it passed over populated countries, with Libya boasting the best view; it hailed the eclipse as the greatest tourism event in its history.

MURDIN: In any one place you can see an eclipse once every 350 years. It gives you some idea of the rarity of them. This particular one was quite a long one, lasts 4 minutes and goes over interesting places. I'm sure the people who were there were whooping, punching the air with their fists.

MAGNAY: With the next total eclipse expected in 2008, astro tourists should begin planning now. Diana Magnay, CNN London.


Is this legit?

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: Is This Legit: During an eclipse, there's a superstition that people holding sharp objects will cut themselves. This one's true! Other superstitions include the fear that earthquakes will happen at the same time and that food cooked before the eclipse suddenly goes bad.

Iran/U.N. resolution

LLOYD: The United Nations has a strong message for Iran: you have 30 days to quit trying to enrich uranium. That's a process that could be used to make a nuclear weapon...Though the middle eastern country says it only wants to use the technology for peaceful purposes. There's no way for the U.N. to make sure of that, because Iran has kicked out U.N. inspectors. So, the Security Council is demanding Iran to stop uranium enrichment, and let inspectors back into the country. A few weeks ago, our reporter Miles O'Brien used M-and-M's to show you just how uranium is enriched. You can check out that explanation at our web site, on today's transcript page.

Issue of Faith

LLOYD: Iran's eastern neighbor, Afghanistan, is getting some criticism from the U.S. The country had sentenced a Muslim man to death for converting to Christianity. But Abdul Rahman's been allowed to travel to Italy, where he'll probably live for the time being. Mary Snow explains why some American leaders see the case as a bad sign, for religious freedoms in Afghanistan.


MARY SNOW, CNN REPORTER: Abdul Rahman's release from Afghanistan should have given leaders in the west a sigh of relief; instead, there is growing alarm that more Christian converts could be persecuted in Afghanistan's emerging democracy

ALEXANDER THIER, LEGAL ADVISER, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE: The constitution is not a secular document. It's an Islamic constitution and there are things within that constitution to indicate that judges have the ability to interpret Islamic law.

SNOW: Interpreting the law --in Rahman's case --meant a death sentence. Now in an ironic twist: the U.S. Congress is considering a resolution condemning the new Afghanistan, not the old one led by the Taliban .

REP. TOM LANTOS, D-CALIFORNIA: Christian soldiers, Americans and other members of NATO are dying to create in Afghanistan a civilized and open and democratic society.

SNOW: Congressman Tom Lantos wants Afghanistan to ensure religious rights.

And with an estimated 22,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan four and a half years after September 11th, the White House is reminding Afghanistan of its investment.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: The president has made it clear that we expect people's religious freedom to be protected. And so we'll continue to make that clear to the government of Afghanistan as they move forward.

SNOW: But, legal experts say as the government of Afghanistan has moved forward, tensions over western influence have grown, as made dramatically clear in the Rahman case.

THIER: In some way, ironically, it is only under the new government, the post Taliban government, that we've actually seen these sort of cases.

SNOW: Mary Snow, CNN Washington.



AZUZ: Time for the Shoutout! What kind of government does Afghanistan have? You know the drill! Is it: A) Parliamentary democracy, B) Islamic republic, C) Communist state or D) Socialist republic? You've got three seconds--GO! According to the Central Intelligence Agency, Afghanistan has an Islamic republic. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Moussaoui Trial

LLOYD: Closing arguments have wrapped up in the first part of Zacarias Moussaoui's death penalty case. The jury's first assignment is to decide whether the al qaeda conspirator is eligible to get the death penalty. Later they'll decide if he gets it. Prosecutors say Moussaoui had a hand in the September-11th attacks because he knew about them, but didn't warn investigators. Defense attorneys say only in his dreams, was Moussaoui a part of the September-11th plot.

Protecting Your Head

LLOYD: Maybe you know to wear a helmet when hopping on your bike or hitting the football field. Part of the reason the experts tell you to do this, is because so many people get head injuries while playing sports. In fact, it's estimated more than 300,000 such injuries happened in 2004. Rachel Lee explores how you can use your head, to stay safe.


RACHEL LEE, CNN REPORTER: Bicycling, skateboarding, riding scooters; all common activities for children. And according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, three pursuits that send thousands to emergency rooms with head injuries -- sometimes fatal.

HAL STRATTON, CPSC CHAIRMAN: Choosing the right helmet can save you or your child's life.

LEE: A recent study in the new England journal of medicine said wearing a bike helmet while cycling can reduce the risk of head injury by 85-percent and the risk of brain injury by 88-percent.

DICK BUTTON, BRAIN INJURY SURVIVOR: The Lance Armstrongs of the world all wear helmets. They wouldn't be caught alive without one of those.

LEE: You may recognize dick button as an Olympic gold-medal winning figure skater and long-time TV commentator. Button suffered a brain injury while skating in 2000. He says it's important not just for children to wear helmets during potentially-dangerous activities, but also for adults, like him, whose bodies can't do everything they used to. Button says using a helmet is common sense.

BUTTON: The use of helmets is not only to protect yourself, it's to keep you aware of when you're in a risk situation. It's like putting a seat belt on.

LEE: The Consumer Product Safety Commission stresses the importance of wearing the right helmet for each sport and making sure the helmet fits your head -- or that of your child -- properly. That means level, comfortable and snug. I'm Rachel Lee, reporting from Atlanta.



LLOYD: Are teens getting enough sleep? How's the well-being of most American children? These are just a couple of headlines you can find on our web site, which features the latest in education news as well as components to our show. Visit us today at!

Before We Go

LLOYD: Before we go... "when pigs fly" isn't just an expression anymore! They did it, or at least tried to do it, before splashing down into a 1200 gallon pool in Washington state. These porcine performers each weigh about 40 pounds. And as you can see, they showed no fear when it came to belly flops. We guess this answers the question, "can pigs swim?" But the diving probably takes a little extra training!


LLOYD: And that hogs up all our time for the day! For CNN Student News, I'm Monica Lloyd. There's more headline news coming right up.

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