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Quick Guide & Transcript: Afghan women's rights activist slain, Mona Lisa gets a 3-D scan

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(CNN Student News) -- September 27, 2006

Quick Guide

Afghan Affairs - Hear the tragic story of an Afghan woman who paid for her principles with her life.

Saddam Hussein on Trial - Find out what led to the ejection of Saddam Hussein and his six co-defendants from an Iraqi courtroom.

A New Look - Discover how a new view of the Mona Lisa could indicate that she was a new mother when painted.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Glad to have you along for CNN Student News! I'm Monica Lloyd. Afghanistan's president meets with President Bush. The gratitude he expressed to the U.S. And the Taliban threat he's facing at home. New findings about art's most mysterious woman. How scientists were able to take a new look at da Vinci's masterpiece. And this old house is going up river. How a Victorian went from condemned to home free.

First Up: Afghan Affairs

LLOYD: We begin today's show in Washington where President Bush is hosting Afghanistan President Hamad Karzai. Mr. Bush expressed support for Karzai's government during a news conference yesterday. A government that's facing a resurgent Taliban. The fundamentalist Muslim group ruled Afghanistan from 1996 up to 2001 when it was routed by U.S. forces. The U.S. still has some 20,000 troops stationed there. The Afghan leader met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld two days ago. During that meeting he credited U.S. forces with liberating his country from "tyranny, terrorism and oppression." The Taliban's rise is being particularly felt in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. It's seen numerous shootings and bombings. The Muslim ultra-fundamentalists want to roll back the rights afghan women and girls now enjoy. Tim Lister details an attack that killed a champion for change.


TIM LISTER, CNN REPORTER: She defied the Taliban and was a leader in the campaign to liberate Afghan women and girls...and in a dusty corner of Kandahar Safia Amajan paid for her principles with her life.

Her husband says he heard the shots, but by the time he reached the street she was dead. Amajan knew she was a target. She'd received death threats after opening six schools for women in Kandahar - she'd met western officials... here the French Defence Minister.

The Taliban's strategy is to make Kandahar ungovernable - attacking NATO forces and anyone linked to the government in Kabul. Shootings, even suicide bombings, are becoming more frequent. Visiting Washington, President Hamid Karzai said Ms. Amajan's murder was part of that Taliban strategy.

PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI: The loss of Afghan women and children, the burning of our schools, the burning of our mosques, the attack on our children go to school, and the killing yesterday in Kandahar of the director of the women's affairs department. It is the continuation of relying on radicalism as an instrument of policy.

LISTER: The Taliban has attacked schools where girls are taught. Earlier this year the United Nations said that hardly a day passed when a female teacher was not attacked or girl's school burned down. At stake - the progress toward emancipating women in the five years since the Taliban government were overthrown...progress that President Karzai is keen to highlight:

KARZAI: Today, 35 percent of all the 6 million Afghan children and teenagers that go to schools and universities are girls.

LISTER: The idea of girls learning music would have been unimaginable five years ago - even now a school like this one in Mazar e Sharif is a rarity.

Today, thousands of Afghan women are politically active - 68 are members of Parliament and one is a provincial governor. International aid has helped establish better health care and education for women in some areas. But one women's rights activist says the limited gains made so far are now at risk as the security situation deteriorates, and she predicts that Safia Amajan will not be the Taliban's last target among Afghanistan's women. Tim Lister, CNN Atlanta.


National Intel Estimate

LLOYD: President Bush said its "naive" to think the war in Iraq has increased the terrorism threat. Mr. Bush is also de-classifying a secret intelligence document that made that point. He made the announcement yesterday. Earlier this week, parts of the National Intelligence Estimate were leaked. The document concluded the Iraq war has created a new generation of terrorists. Mr. Bush said he divulged the information so Americans can read the document for themselves.

Word to the Wise

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: A Word to the Wise... divulge (verb) to make known or make public

Source: www.wordcentral.comexternal link

Saddam Hussein on Trial

LLOYD: In Iraq, order in the court has recently meant ejecting Saddam Hussein. The deposed Iraqi leader's genocide trial has been marked by chaos. Two hours into yesterday's proceedings, the defendant returned to his disruptive ways. After a shouting match with the judge, he got the boot. It was his third expulsion this week. Awra Damon is in Baghdad watching the trial.


ARWA DAMON, CNN REPORTER: Today's courtroom drama actually began an hour and fort-five minutes into the proceedings when Iraq's former president, Saddam Hussein stood up and interrupted the chief prosecutor. This led to a shouting match between Saddam Hussein and the judge, and tempers really began to flare.

JUDGE: You are a defendant and I am a judge. You have to respect the courts. We should not allow you to speak. The court decided to remove the defendant Saddam. Shut up! no one is allowed to speak!

DAMON: Saddam Hussein was removed from court. After he was removed, the defendants began to argue with the judge. This led to the removal of Saddam Hussein's former minister of Defence. And then all of the defendants were removed one by one. When court resumed after a short recess, there were no defendants present in the courtroom, but we did hear witness testimony. The judge then deciding to adjourn court until October 9th. This was because of a request made by the defendants to have more time with their defense team, with their privately appointed defense lawyers, or to appoint new lawyers. However, this request has been made before of the court and has been rejected. Perhaps now even the judge looking for a break. Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.



AZUZ: Time for the Shoutout! Who painted this picture? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) Leonardo da Vinci, B) Vincent van Gogh, C) Michelangelo Buonarroti, or D) Pablo Picasso? You've got three seconds--GO! The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci sometime between 1503 and 1506. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

A New Look

LLOYD: It's a smile that's mystified people for centuries. And ever since da Vinci created his "Mona Lisa" masterpiece, art lovers have looked for the secret behind the smirk. A team of Canadian scientists used sophisticated 3D technology to unearth clues behind the riddle. Danny Globerman reveals what they found when they peered through the layers.


DANNY GLOBERMAN, REPORTER: The Da Vinci Code phenomenon teased us with the notion that all sorts of great secrets lie hidden in the artist's work. Well, now we've learned, they do. And they're hidden no longer.

But the secrets announced at the National Research Council have more to do with art than religious conspiracies. In October 2004, an NRC team jouneyed to the Louvre for the most extensive physical the Mona Lisa has ever received. There were x-rays, infared and ultraviolet photos, and thanks to the Research Council's world leading technology, a state of the art, 3-dimensional laser scan.

FRANCOIS BLAIS, NATL. RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA: Now, we have very precise information about the thickness of the layers. We know how the painting was painted, with very very thin layers of painting. That's one of the things we couldn't see by the naked eye and that technology brought us.

GLOBERMAN: All sorts of elements not visible to the eye are now known. A bonnet, a full veil, a waistband. They're all there, you just can't see them.

JOHN TAYLOR, NRC SCIENTIST: It just doesn't get any better than this, because great art and great science.

GLOBERMAN: John Taylor is one of the NRC scientists who took part in the project. He says while the Mona Lisa has now given up many of her secrets, he's still amazed and baffled by one of them.

TAYLOR: In this painting, there are no signs of brush strokes anywhere on the painting. That includes the very fine details of embroidery on the dress, the hair. This is the "Je ne sais quoi" of Leonardo, the genius. We don't know how he applied it.

GLOBERMAN: Beyond the mysteries, this project gives and accurate and highly detailed snapshot of the painting's current physical condition. That will allow conservators to know if anything changes in the painting over the years. And while the wood panel on which she rests is warped, the experts say Mona's ailments are all under control and should be for some time to come. And for art lovers, that's truly something to smile about.



LLOYD: Been to our website lately? If not, you should. Teachers, we're the place to go for the latest information on your field. When education news happens, look for it at

Before We Go

LLOYD: Before we go, a house avoids the wrecking ball by floating up a river! This house boat is actually a 1910 Victorian home perched on a barge. Developers in Palmetto, Florida, wanted to tear it down. To save it, new owners paid $1 to close the deal and then paid a bit more to transport it across Tampa Bay yesterday. The old home was heading for its new home of Ruskin, 25 miles to the north.


LLOYD: Safe at home means we're out of time. Thanks for watching CNN Student News, I'm Monica Lloyd.




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