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Quick Guide & Transcript: Immigrants launch nationwide boycotts, Student robotics competition

(CNN Student News) -- May 1, 2006

Quick Guide

Day Without Immigrants - Debate the possible nationwide effects of "A Day Without Immigrants."

A Different Anthem - Discuss the controversy surrounding a Spanish-language version of the national anthem.

A First Step - Discover the impact that a robotics competition had on young engineers.



VIRGINIA CHA, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Welcome to a brand new month and its first edition of CNN Student News! From Atlanta, I'm Virginia Cha. It's "a day without immigrants," at least as far as some businesses are concerned. But why do some say the protests could backfire? Oh, say can you see, en Espanola? Critics say a Spanish-language version of the national anthem, just doesn't translate. And head to the Georgia Dome for the super bowl of robotics, where the competitors have to stay in gear.

First Up: Day Without Immigrants

CHA: Monday's scheduled to be a day of protests, marches and boycotts nationwide with the goal of getting Washington's attention. Leaders are currently debating ways to reform the country's immigration law. Millions of illegal immigrants want a way to stay legally in the U.S. and eventually get citizenship. Peter Viles reports from Los Angeles, to explain why today's demonstration is being called "a day without immigrants."


NATIVO LOPEZ, PRESIDENT OF THE MEXICAN AMERICAN POLITICAL ASSOCIATION: Brother and sisters, I ask you to join me in the Great American Boycott on May first!

PERTE VILES, CNN REPORTER: The goal of Monday's boycott is to prove the economic power of recent immigrants. And to pressure congress to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

LOPEZ: We're going to see something that's never occurred in the history of this United States -- a day in which immigrants withhold their labor, withhold their consuming power, they don't go to school, they don't go shopping, they don't go selling.

VILES: No one knows how widespread the boycott will be... In Los Angeles, American apparel, the region's largest clothing factory, will not open, nor will the central produce market.

PEDRO ASTORGA, PRES., 7TH ST. MARKET ASSN.: We are distributors to over 3,000 small businesses and markets, 4,500 restaurants and about 15,000 retail buyers.

VILES: Truckers are threatening to disrupt traffic at L.A.'s massive ports. Already, some are warning those tactics will backfire in Congress.

SEN. TRENT LOTT, (R) MISSISSIPPI: I do think that these big demonstrations are counterproductive, and they hurt with a guy like me. To encourage people not to go to work, or children not to go to school, is counterproductive.

VILES: In Los Angeles, the boycott has divided those who organized the half-million person march for immigrant rights earlier this spring.

GABINO ZAVALA, AUX. BISHOP OF LOS ANGELES: We are asking that students and workers use May first to go to school and work, and use that time to appreciate the dignity of work, the value of education.

VILES: Last week, L.A. Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Schools Chief Roy Romer sent this letter to parents saying quote, "missing school is not in the best interests of our children." A similar message from some immigrant groups: Don't lose your job over this.

WOMAN FROM THE COALITION FOR HUMANE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS OF LOS ANGELES: If there's any way you think you might risk your job that day, don't do it.

VILES: Compounding the mixed messages from public officials on this issue... The state senate in California voted to endorse the boycott, calling it, quote, "the great American boycott of 2006." Peter Viles for CNN, Los Angeles.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: Time for the Shoutout! Who wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner"? You know what to do! Was it: A) Betsy Ross, B) Patrick Henry, C) Francis Scott Key or D) Benjamin Franklin You've got three seconds--GO! Francis Scott Key was inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1814. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

A Different Anthem

CHA: So now you know when "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written. It officially became the national anthem in 1931, when Congress adopted it. A British music producer has just released a Spanish-language version of the song. And that's sparking fighting words, among some folks. John Zarrella explains the differences in the lyrics, and the debate.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN REPORTER:Does it make a difference whether the National Anthem is sung in Spanish? With very different "In fierce combat, the sign of victory." "The struggle a-blazing, at the sight of liberty." It appears to be making a big difference. The notion of a Spanish version is raising so much controversy, even the President weighed in.

REPORTER: Mr. President, a cultural question for you. There is a version of the national anthem in Spanish now. Do you believe it will hold the same value if sung in Spanish as in English?

U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No I don't. Because I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English. I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.

ZARRELLA: The song called "Nuestro Himno," or "Our Anthem" features Latin Pop artists and a Haitian-American star, Wyclef Jean. Its release is timed to coincide with Congress' return to Washington and the renewal of the debate over immigration reform. Adam Kidron, president of the company that handled the project, says it's definitely meant to sent a message.

ADAM KIDRON, BRITISH MUSIC PRODUCER: We' are trying to give the undocumented immigrants a real expression of patriotism.

ZARRELLA: It's not only sent a message, it's hit a nerve.

NEAL BOORTZ, A CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They've already published magazine articles in Mexico saying Los Angeles is ours. Now our National Anthem is theirs also!

ZARRELLA: In New York, the epitome of this nation's melting pot culture, there was, as you might expect a mix of opinion.

MAN ON THE STREET: I think it's great. Where can I hear it?

MAN ON THE STREET: I'm torn because my parents are immigrants.

MAN ON THE STREET: It's about America so we should keep it as is.

ZARRELLA: The producers say it's everybody's song. And critics say everybody should sing it in English. John Zarrella CNN Miami.


Word to the Wise

AZUZ: A Word to the Wise... spangled: (adjective) decorated or covered with small, sparkling objects

Source: www.dictionary.comexternal link

A First Step

CHA: Student teams from the U.S. and other countries converged in Atlanta over the weekend to compete on a playing field with robots. A program called "First Robotics" aims to inspire an interest in science and technology, and teamwork's the name of the game. Three teams, from schools in New York, Michigan and Canada, won the championship event. Reynolds Wolf reports on this "first step" toward scientific success.


REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN REPORTER: It's one of the biggest events of the year for high school science students; "FIRST" - which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition Of Science And Technology, gives students the chance to strut their science know how.

COMPETETORS: Red team ready, blue team ready!

REYNOLDS: The students, under the guidance of mentors, design and build robots from materials in a kit. They run about 17 thousand dollars a piece, but students only have to pay entry fees and travel costs.

REYNOLDS: How did you guys get here? I notice a lot of big sponsorships.

STUDENT COMPETITOR: A lot of little things, the only two semi-big sponsors we had were the Perkins Foundation and the Annenberg Foundation, everything else is individual fundraising, our parents.

TABITHA BARRON, DEVIL DUCKIES: Salsa sales, bakes sales, car washes, we do a 30-30 program where we send 30 letters out for 30 dollars and we get 2 dollars up to a hundred dollars back.

REYNOLDS: So instead of one big corporate sponsor it's a real community effort. Founder Dean Kamen says one goal of the 15-year-old competition is to break stereotypes.

DEAN KAMEN, FOUNDER, FIRST: If we can find the Shaquille O'Neal of engineering and put that person in the same fun environment as these world class young athletes. And if these kids go back to school with a little bit of passion and a little bit of thought "maybe that engineering and science is worthwhile," we're going to dramatically change the outcome of their decision making as they choose careers.

STUDENT PARTICIPANT: People say they want to be an engineer but they don't know what being an engineer involves.

CATHY WARNER, CYBER BLUE TEAM 234:It's not really something you can take in high school as a class to see what it is, it's helped to see what the engineers really do.

REYNOLDS: For the final match, top seeded teams pick and choose other robots to form alliances; and the right choice, will lead to victory.

STUDENT COMPETITOR: We met at another competition, we had a tough time against them. We knew they were an awesome robot so we had to pick them.

STEVEN D'ALESSIO, ROBO WIZARDS: Everything is teamwork, without them we would never have gotten this far, without us they would have never gotten this far.

REYNOLDS: The journey that began for these teams back in January is now over, for seniors, well, they'll have their memories, for freshmen, sophmores and juniors, there's always next year. Reynolds Wolf, CNN, Atlanta.



CHA: So what exactly does an engineer do? That's pretty hard to pinpoint because the field is so broad. We've put together a free learning activity to help you investigate the many different facets of engineering. Head to, and check it out today!

Before We Go

CHA: Before we go, take 150,000 people, throw in some dancing, drumming, singing and crafts. And you have the makings of one big pow-wow! Folks came together for a celebration of native American culture and history, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, over the weekend. This was the 23rd "gathering of nations" event, attracting native American groups from the U.S., Mexico and Canada.


CHA: We're all out of time for CNN Student News! Thank you for joining us this Monday. I'm Virginia Cha.

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