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Quick Guide & Transcript: Discovery heads to space station, Top headlines from around the world

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(CNN Student News) -- December 11, 2006

Quick Guide

Successful Launch - Follow an American shuttle on its course through the night sky.

Prepared for the Worst - Get tips on how you can stay alive if disaster should strike.

Electronic Vampires - Find out what kinds of appliances can be a drain on your wallet.



THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to the week's first edition of CNN Student News! I'm Thomas Roberts at the CNN Center. Up, up and away: The Space Shuttle Discovery shoots toward the stars. Find out what astronauts did on their first day in space. An unparalleled honor: A bank founder takes home a Nobel Prize. Learn how he's helping people cash out of poverty. And don't just "stand by"-- If you're pinching pennies, you'd better shut down your appliances. Discover how they can drain your cash.

First Up: Successful Launch

ROBERTS: A yellow-orange fireball soared through the Florida sky Saturday night -- it was the Shuttle Discovery, headed for a rendezvous with the International Space Station. This is the 33rd mission for discovery, and NASA was using radar and cameras to keep a close eye on the ship as it got off the ground. Brianna Keilar tells us why and introduces us to some folks whose office, is in orbit.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN REPORTER: Countdown .. 'and lift off space shuttle Discovery.' After two days of weather delays ... shuttle discovery headed for the international space station where the astronauts will conduct three spacewalks, rewiring parts of the ISS to accommodate new solar panels and and make way for new scientific modules. This was the first night launch since shuttle Columbia's 2003 launch when foam fell off the external fuel tank, damaging thermal tiles and ultimately dooming Columbia's 7-member crew.

Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator, NASA Space Operations: When the main engines' plume kind of expand, there's some pretty good lighting and you can get to see some pretty good views underneath the orbiter. No results in terms of anything we saw from a damage standpoint.

KEILAR: Only two of Discovery's seven astronauts have been in space before - Commander Mark Polansky and Mission Specialist Robert Curbeam. Sunita Williams, who will stay at the international space station for the next six months, is one of the five rookies.

SUNITA WILLIAMS, ASTRONAUT: The first time opening the hatch and seeing the Earth with just my visor being the window between me and Earth and I think that's just gonna be totally amazing. So, I'm really looking forward to that.

KEILAR: Also on this Discovery mission, Christer Fugelsang, the first Swede to go into space, and Joan Higgenbotham, only the third African-American woman to do so. At Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I'm Brianna Keilar.


ROBERTS: The Discovery astronauts spent their first day in space yesterday inspecting the shuttle for damage. They used a robotic arm to get a close-up of the wings and nose cap, just to be on the safe side. NASA says inspections like this are routine since the Columbia accident. Today, astronauts are scheduled to dock with the ISS at about five o'clock.

Around the World

ROBERTS: Now for a check of some international headlines. Former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet has died. He led the south american country from 1973 until 1990. You see him here at his retirement ceremony. Pinochet is widely criticized for human rights abuses. He's accused of killing thousands of people during his regime. His funeral is scheduled for Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of protesters in Lebanon demonstrated against the country's government. The protesters were led by Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim political party and militant group that has ties to the neighboring country of Syria. And in Norway, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an economist from Bangldesh. Muhammad Yunus founded a bank that's designed to help people escape poverty. Yunus called ending poverty the best way to fight terrorism. The Nobel Prizes are presented each year to honor Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel.

Is this Legit

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is This Legit? Alfred Nobel invented gunpowder. This one's false. Gunpowder was on the scene long before Nobel was, but he did invent dynamite.

Prepared for the Worst

ROBERTS: He was on a mission to find help for his family, after their car got stuck in an Oregon blizzard. But even though he walked 16 miles, James Kim died of exposure last week. His wife and two daughters were rescued. The story has raised a lot of questions about what to do if you're ever stuck in a similar situation. Kareen Wynter has some tips that could save your life.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN REPORTER: They're weather conditions and natural disasters so extreme, encountering these harsh elements can be a matter of survival. From severe flooding and snow storms to killer tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes...experts say it's easy to protect yourself, even in the worst of weather--but only if you're prepared.

JOYCE HARRIS, L.A. CO. OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: The emergency supplies you have on hand, when something happens, could, like you say, make the difference between life and death.

WYNTER: Joyce Harris is with the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management. All of these products we're seeing here, everyone should basically have these if you find yourself stranded in a car or stuck inside your own house this is essential...

HARRIS: This is essential you need to have these basic supplies so you can survive on your own for up to a week.

WYNTER: Simple items such a survival blanket, a whistle to blow for help in case you're trapped, a first aid kit, packaged food bars, water, and of course...a portable radio.

WYNTER: And this is important because?

HARRIS: That's important because after a disaster happens all of your power will go out and so you need to know what's going on around you. So have a radio so you can turn to your local stations so you can get the information that you need.

WYNTER: Another must-have: Flashlights and light sticks.

WYNTER: This could also serve as a beacon for help.

HARRIS: It certainly could yes. This is especially important if you're in your car because you want to stay in the safety of your car but you might want to signal for help as well.

WYNTER: Harris says you can find most of these vital items at your nearest supermarket. And it doesn't cost much.

WYNTER: Once you're in an emergency, it's too late, you can't go out and get any of this stuff.

HARRIS: That's right you can't go out and get it because the roads may be damaged the power is out you may not be able to call 911 for help so it's real important you have all these things so you can survive on your own for at least a week.

WYNTER: Precious time that could make all the difference until help arrives. Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles.


Word to the Wise:

AZUZ: A Word to the Wise... consumption (noun) the amount of something that is used up

Source: www.dictionary.comexternal link

Electronic Vampires

ROBERTS: Imagine life without a DVD player, microwave, washing machine or heaven forbid, a computer. You probably think all these things do is make your life better. But you're probably not in charge of paying the power bill. And for your parents, modern conveniences can turn into financial vampires. Gary Nurenberg explains how they take a bite out of your wallet.


GARY NURENBERG, CNN REPORTER: The holiday run on big electronics purchases may have consumers thinking Halloween instead of Christmas. Think vampires.

ALEXANDER KARSNER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF ENERGY: All devices have the potential to be vampire devices in the sense that it's really the characteristic of sucking extra electricity while they're in standby mode.

(Washing machine beeps as it powers up.) ALAN MEIER, LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY: That's power.

NURENBERG: This washing machine, for example, needs power to keep the electronic key pads ready to go, even when it looks completely off.

MEIER: It draws about two watts in standby.

NURENBERG: Alan Meier has been studying vampire electronics for years.

MEIER: Each home now has anywhere from 10 to 50 of these products so that adds up and represents as much as a month of your electricity bill.

NURENBERG: Plug this DVD player that isn't even playing a DVD into a watt meter and it shows consumption 11 point-three-two watts with the power on.

MEIER: But, I've turned it off and now its drawing six watts.

NURENBERG: Because with the demand for "instant on, " off doesn't really mean off. Even Meier can be surprised.

MEIER: These electric toothbrushes don't consume much power.

NURENBERG: But plug in that watt meter.

MEIER: Oops, well, I was wrong. This electric toothbrush draws about one point eight watts constantly. So, it's about two dollars a year in energy consumption.

NURENBERG: Meier's home computer---just standing by.

MEIER: It's drawing 65 watts.

NURENBERG: You know those two little dots on your microwave?

MEIER: Those two dots are responsible for three watts.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We expect our agencies to be ridding themselves of these vampires.

NURENBERG: President Bush ordered the federal government to buy products that use no more than one watt in standby. California outlaws the sale of devices that use more than three watts, but, nationally:

KATHERINE KENNEDY, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: The federal government isn't setting standards for those yet and we're going to need some new laws to make that happen.

NURENBERG: Manufacturers argue that would increase the products' cost. Energy experts recommend simply unplugging appliances, or using the 21st century equivalent of garlic or a wooden stake: a powerstrip that can turn several vampires off at the same time. It can take a substantial bite out of your electric bill. Gary Nurenberg, CNN Washington.



ROBERTS: Here's a quick way to save a coin-- Download our podcast to your MP3 player, and then shut down your computer. The big machine will get a much-needed rest, and the little one can carry our show, wherever you go! Check us out at I-tunes today.

Before We Go

ROBERTS: Before we go, it's been called a classic example of English eccentricity, but we can't think why. After all, who hasn't run through an obstacle course carrying a tray-full of pudding? More than a hundred competitors dove into this dessert dash. But it wasn't just about playing with their food. The event focuses on raising money for cancer research, and it turned out to be a delicious success.


ROBERTS: Well, that's all we have cooked up for you today! For CNN Student News, I'm Thomas Roberts.



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