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EDUCATION with Student News

Quick Guide & Transcript: Sago Mine disaster hearings, Bolivia nationalizes natural gas


• Rebuilding: Vital signs
• Gallery: Landmarks over time
• Storm & Flood: Making history
• I-Report: Share your photos

(CNN Student News) -- May 3, 2006

Quick Guide

Sago Mine Hearings - Find out what the relatives of some Sago mine victims want to know.

Preparing New Orleans - Learn what New Orleans plans to do if it's threatened by another major hurricane.

Gas Price Education - Discover why some Tennessee schools had a "snow day" without any snow.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Monica Lloyd. Thanks for tuning in to CNN Student News. Reliving a nightmare: Relatives of some West Virginian miners, demand answers about the Sago mine tragedy. Taking a day off: What undoubtedly pleased many students, also helped a Tennessee school system save a few bucks on gas. And how well do you know the world? A new study suggests some young Americans could use a brush-up course on their geography.

First Up: Sago Mine Hearings

LLOYD: A panel of lawmakers and mining officials is trying to find out what went wrong at West Virginia's Sago mine earlier this year. An explosion that officials think was caused by lightning, trapped 13 miners in January. Only one survived. Now, family members are asking how such an accident could happen, and what's being done to ensure it never does again. Tara Mergener takes us inside the hearings.


PEGGY COHEN, DAUGHTER OF LOST MINER: We all miss him so much.

TARA MERGENER, CNN REPORTER: Choking back tears, relatives of the 12 miners killed in January's Sago mine disaster are demanding answers.

RUSSELL BENNETT, SON OF LOST MINER: There's many things that went wrong, rescue efforts, or should I say recovery efforts, the response time was unacceptable.

MERGENER: Several family members shared memories and clutched photos as they addressed state and federal lawmakers and mine officials at a hearing in West Virginia. They want to know if lightning caused the blast, why it took 11 hours for rescuers to start searching for the trapped crew and how the false news spread that the men were were still alive.

VIRGINIA MOORE, FIANCEE OF LOST MINER: Without Terry there is half of my heart gone because he made it whole.

MERGENER: Only one miner, Randal McCloy survived. In a letter to victims' families, McCloy said at least four crew members' air packs failed, forcing them to share what little oxygen they had as the mine filled with smoke and carbon monoxide.

GOVERNOR JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: As a result of the horrible tragedy at Sago, we have already strengthened our mine safety laws at the state level and we are in the process of conducting a very thorough evaluation of our mine safety and regulatory rules.

MERGENER: The investigation should wrap up sometime this summer. In Washington, I'm Tara Mergener.


Preparing New Orleans

LLOYD: Can you guess what's less than a month away? For some of you, it's summer break. But for everyone on the east and gulf coasts, hurricane season blows in on June 1st. That's when Atlantic hurricanes are most likely to form. New Orleans has a new plan to protect its residents during a major storm. And as Rachel Lee tells us, it doesn't include emergency shelters.


RACHEL LEE , CNN REPORTER: Mayor Ray Nagin unveiled his hurricane preparedness strategy for New Orleans. If an emergency is declared, everyone must leave.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS: Read my lips. This is a plan for getting people out of the city. There is no shelter of last resort.

LEE: Amtrak trains will transport the elderly and disabled. There are special considerations for families living in FEMA trailers.

NAGIN: We know where all the locations are for FEMA trailers. We will have the reverse 9-1-1 calls going out to them individually to let them know where the shelters are and how we can get them there.

LEE: Nagin said 80-percent of the city's protective levee system has been reconstructed.

NAGIN: The levee systems are being rebuilt to better, higher, safer standards than we've ever had in the history of this city. Those levees will be, the ones that were damaged, as high as 20 ft. high.

LEE: At a news conference in Florida, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff encouraged people to take charge of their own safety.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, SECRETARY, U.S. DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We're looking at the plan, we're working with the mayor, with the emergency manager, we will step in to fill the gaps, but I want to underline something again: This is not an invitation for people to abdicate their responsibility.

LEE: For CNN Student News, I'm Rachel Lee.


Word to the Wise


abdicate (verb) to give up power or responsibility formally

Source: www.dictionary.comexternal link

Gas Price Education

LLOYD: The head of America's largest oil company says people should use less fuel. That could decrease demand for it, which may in turn help control prices. You've probably heard your parents complain about the cost of filling up. But with a perfect example of how high gas prices directly impact students, here's Amy Catcher of affiliate WTVC in Tennessee.


AMY CATCHER, REPORTER: Well it probably is a good idea right now. Considering gas prices are so high. That's probably one way they can save money. Tenika Mason agrees with Rhea County's decision to close schools for the day.

TENIKA MASON: Kids in the county school system get an extra-long weekend, as school was canceled to save money on gas.

CATCHER: Several months ago, our superintendent Dallas Smith was over in Nashville, and through some conversations he had over there, the indication was given that we could utilize some of our remaining snow days to conserve some fuel costs. This sign may best say why the superintendent and school board decided to use this option now.

BIMBO MCCAWLEY, CHAIRMAN, RHEA CO. SCHOOL BOARD: Well, if they're using up snow days that was already accounted for, I don't see that it's a problem.

CATCHER: Administrators hope by grounding this fleet they'll help out that fuel budget.

MCCAWLEY: We utilize anywhere from 2 thousand to 25-hundred dollars a day for our bus transportation system.

CATCHER: That can shave between 4 and 5 thousand dollars off the budget's bottom line. But Charles Kaylor doesn't think closing school is the right way to save money.

CHARLES KAYLOR: They need to improvise somewhere, because education is the future of the children...And without education, what is our future?



AZUZ: Time for the Shoutout! What's the name of this country? Here's a hint: It's in South America. If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Chile, B) Argentina, C) Paraguay or D) Bolivia? You've got three seconds--GO! You're looking at Bolivia, a country of almost 9 million people. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Bolivia Energy Takeover

LLOYD: Let's say you make $60 bucks a week mowing lawns. Then, community leaders get together and take over your mower and all the lawns. And you can either agree to their terms and payments, or get another job. It's kinda like what's happening now in Bolivia. The government there is nationalizing, or taking control, of the country's natural gas fields. Ralitsa Vassileva has details.


RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN REPORTER: Soldiers now guard Bolivia's natural gas fields and refineries. The country's president sent the military to 56 locations -- including gas fields tapped by foreign companies. President Evo Morales gave foreign firms six months to sign new contracts or leave the country. The move comes a day after Morales signed a decree nationalizing the country's energy sector.

EVO MORALES, PRESIDENT OF BOLIVIA (SPANISH): The property of this oil and natural gas passes from this moment into the hands of the state of Bolivia under the control of the Bolivian people.

VASSILEVA: The move fulfills an election pledge that helped mister Morales win power in January. He promised Bolivians greater control over natural resources.

EVO MORALES (SPANISH): Your vote, the Bolivian people's vote was not in vain. That it why this historic day of nationalization of gas and of natural resources arrived.

VASSILEVA: Bolivia's actions echo moves made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Bolivia --- where 70 percent of the population lives in poverty --- has the second-largest natural gas reserves in South America after Venezuela. Under the new rules, foreign energy companies must turn over most production control to Bolivia's cash-strapped state-owned oil company.

MORALES (SPANISH): This is the solution to the social and economic problems of our country. It is the end of the looting of our natural resources by multi-national oil companies.

VASSILEVA: Mister Morales has said that nationalization will not mean a complete state takeover -- because Bolivia lacks the ability to tap all its natural gas on its own. Foreign companies have invested more than three billion dollars in the last decade, much of it in gas exploration and production. Brazil and Argentina are Bolivia's biggest natural gas customers. Companies from Spain, France and the United Kingdom -- with heavy investments in Bolivia's natural gas industry... expressed concern. President Morales, meanwhile, says this is just the "beginning" --- and promised to also nationalize his country's mines, forests, and land. Ralitsa Vassileva, CNN, Atlanta.



LLOYD: Teachers, we do our best to tailor our show to your needs. And you can tell us what those needs are, by taking our 2006 survey! It arrived in your e-mail inbox a couple weeks ago, and if you haven't responded, please take a moment to fill it out!

Before We Go

LLOYD: Before we go, here's a little geographic trivia for you: Name this country. If you're stumped, you're not alone: A new study found that 63% of Americans age 18 to 24 didn't know this was Iraq, despite all the media coverage it's been getting. Try again-- see if you can name this U.S. state. Out of 510 young Americans surveyed, one-third of them didn't identify this as Louisiana.


LLOYD: The point is that many young Americans don't know their geography. So be sure to study up to stay ahead of the curve; inside or outside the classroom. For CNN Student News, I'm Monica Lloyd.

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