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Quick Guide & Transcript: 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin dies, Al Qaeda official captured

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(CNN Student News) -- September 5, 2006

Quick Guide

Goodbye, Croc Hunter - Pay tribute to an internationally recognized wildlife expert who died doing what he loved.

The Fight for Iraq - Get the latest on an apparent setback for al Qaeda and a new message from the terrorist group.

School's Still Out - Find out why there were no lessons taught on the first day of school in some parts of the Middle East.



SHANON COOK, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Tuesday and time for CNN's Student News. I'm Shanon Cook. Glad to have you along. His work with animals brought him international fame. Hear how people "down under" are coping with the death of the "Crocodile Hunter." On Labor Day, the president assigns some national homework, including some for schools. Hear what he says will help the economy. And some short four-legged friends say: "yo quiero" run really fast! Hear why these Chihuahuas are running, and what the top dog got to take home.

First Up: Goodbye, Croc Hunter

COOK: "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin was as fearless as he was entertaining. The Australian, who popularized the word "crikey",gained international fame as a wildlife expert on his popular "Animal Planet" series. Irwin was killed in a freak accident yesterday, while taping an underwater documentary off the Australian coast. He leaves behind an American wife, and two young children. As John Vause explains, Irwin's sudden death is causing shock and sadness in his home country.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN REPORTER: For many Australians, it just doesn't seem real . . . the man who built a global reputation wrestling crocodiles and playing with deadly snakes . . who courted death with enthusiasm and a broad smile, seemed invincible.

MAN ON THE STREET: oh my god.

MAN ON THE STREET: it's an absolute tragedy what happened.

MAN ON THE STREET: he died doing what he loved, didn't he?

Even harder for many - the way he died. Swimming in shallow waters on the Great Barrier Reef, not far from the resort of Port Douglas in northern Queensland. He was filming a segment for a children's TV show he was making with his 8 year old daughter Bindy - she wasn't with him at the time. But those who were say Irwin was killed by a stingray, normally a defensive animal, which rarely attacks.

STAINTON: He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart. It's likely he died instantly when the barb hit him.

VAUSE: Irwin's support crew made a 30 minute dash to a nearby island and a waiting medivac chopper. But no one could save his life, making this the third known fatality in Australian waters from sting rays.

JOHN HOWARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well I am quite shocked and distressed at Steve Irwin's sudden, untimely and freakish death. It's a huge loss to Australia. He was a wonderful character, a passionate environmentalist. He brought joy and entertainment and excitement to millions of people.

VAUSE: It's little consolation for his family, friends and admirers, but those who know him best say the man who turned "Crikey" into a catch phrase and spent a life time trying make crocodiles and snakes loveable, died doing what he loved best. John Vause CNN Brisbane, Australia


Your Opinion

COOK: Irwin stood out with his khaki shorts, peppy personality.. and thick Australian accent. Now we'd like to know how you think the Croc Hunter should be remembered. Go to Share your thoughts by clicking on the 'contact us' link, then 'your opinion.' We'll share some of your thoughts right here at the end of the week.

Spoken Word

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We honor those who work because in so doing we recognize that one of the reasons why we are one the economic leader in the world is because of our work force. And the fundamental question facing the country is how do we continue to be the economic leader in the world.

Labor Day

COOK: President Bush there, sounding a Labor Day theme. Mr. Bush visited a merchant maritime training center, in Maryland, to mark yesterday's holiday. He pushed for stronger schools, to teach the skills needed to get a job in a competitive economy. And he called on Congress to make his tax cuts permanent, which he said promote economic growth. He also stressed nuclear energy as an alternative to foreign oil.


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Under which U.S. president did Labor Day become a national holiday? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) Chester Arthur, B) Millard Fillmore, C) Rutherford B. Hayes or D) Grover Cleveland? You've got three seconds -- GO! It was in 1894 that President Grover Cleveland and Congress made Labor Day a national holiday. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

The Fight for Iraq

COOK: He's being called al Qaeda's "number two man" in Iraq. And Friday's arrest of Hamed Jumaa Al Saeedi is being billed as a major setback to the terrorist organization. But an umbrella organization of extremist groups released a statement to dismiss the importance of the arrest, saying he wasn't so senior. Brianna Keilar is in Washington, with more on the capture and on a new al Qaeda video, directed toward the American public.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN REPORTER: Hamed Jumaa al Saeedi - has been arrested. U.S. officials say Saeedi played a direct role in February's mosque bombing in Samarra - an attack that galvanized the sectarian violence plaguing Iraq.

KEILAR: His arrest is the second success for U.S. And Iraqi security forces this summer, following the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi - killed in June by a U.S. air strike. Zarqawi's death did not quell attacks by al Qaeda in Iraq ... But Iraq's planning minister says Saeedi's capture sends an important message.

BARHAM SALIH, IRAQI PLANNING MINISTER: I hope that this will be a powerful signal to people that the government of Iraq, with the help of the international community and multinational forces, will not relent in the fight against terrorists.

ZAWAHIRI: Americans and westerners to convert.

KEILAR: But al Qaeda will not relent. In a new video, Osama bin Laden's deputy - Ayman al Zawahiri - urges Americans to convert to Islam. Most of the video is an address by "Azzam the American", a 28-year old Californian who has delivered other al Qaeda messages.

ADAM GADAHN, AL QAEDA: We invited all Americans and believers to Islam, whatever their role and status in Bush and Blair's world order.

KEILAR: Experts say the call to convert could be a warning of a possible attack. Osama bin laden made a similar appeal in 2002 shortly before an al Qaeda bombing in Bali killed nearly 200 people. In Washington, I'm Brianna Keilar for CNN Student News.


Fast Facts

AZUZ: Time for some Fast Facts. Hamas is a major organization of Palestinian Islamic militants. It came to power in the late 19-80's and aims to establish a Palestinian state in place of Israel. The U.S. calls Hamas a terrorist organization. Over the years, it has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on Israelis while providing extensive aid to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. In January, the group ran in Palestinian parliamentary elections for the first time, and it won a landslide victory that gave Hamas a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

School's Still Out

COOK: In one part of the middle east, school is out and no one's happy about it. Over the weekend, school teachers across the Palestinian territories walked off the job on the first day of school. The teachers say they are owed months of back pay. As Paula Hancocks explains, their walkout is part of a larger problem, facing the Hamas-led government.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN REPORTER: Thousands of schools across Gaza and the West Bank remain closed as a weekend of strikes by unpaid teachers drags on. Many of the teachers say they haven't been paid for six months. This headmaster from Hebron says it is our natural right to request our paychecks, the government should be paying us in a normal way. But since Hamas came to power in March, the Palestinian government's coffers have dried up. The West is still holding back millions of dollars of aid until Hamas renounces violence and accepts Israel's right to exist. Many children who did turn up to school were told to go home. Those who were allowed to stay, weren't being taught.

HANCOCKS: Alomari's children now just sit and watch television, her eldest daughter is not here. Her school's private, so it's open.

ANAR ALOMARI, STUDENT: I see my sister go to school, I go to my mum and I say I want to go to school and I feel bad.

HANCOCKS: The strikes in government-funded schools started Saturday, the main problem for the parents is they have no idea when they will end. Depending on who you talk to, it could be days or even weeks. This open-ended strike by civil servants is the first of its kind since Hamas took power. It's widely seen as a challenge to the government's authority by the rival fatah movement, which strongly backs the strike. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Ramallah, West Bank.


Before We Go

COOK: Before we go, what has four stumpy legs and covers plenty of ground? It's "America's fastest Chihuahua!" This tiny terror is "Tiger". Winner of a national competition held Sunday in San Diego. The California pup beat six regional champions, from New York, Chicago, Miami and other cities. Tiger won a $300 gift certificate from Petco and a year's supply of Chihuahua food. His owner says tiger chases animals on the family ranch and "thinks he can herd cows."


COOK: Time flies, just like Chihuahuas. So that ends this edition of Student News. We'll see you again tomorrow. I'm Shanon Cook.


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide


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