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Quick Guide & Transcript: Astronauts tackle an array of issues, Teens propose 'alcopop' tax hike

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(CNN Student News) -- December 14, 2006

Quick Guide

A Difficult Mission - Discover how Discovery astronauts dealt with difficulties in space.

Listening Tour - Learn why the president may not heed some advice from the Iraq Study Group.

"AlcoPops" - Check out one young group's legal efforts to curb underage drinking.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to CNN Student News! Broadcasting from Atlanta, I'm Monica Lloyd. In the skies above, astronauts overcome challenges in upgrading the International Space Station. But when part of a tool is dropped, don't expect it to turn up again! In Sacramento, California, Some teens say it's time to cut down on underage drinking by hiking up the prices of certain drinks. And in the Middle East, a fish story that needs no exaggeration. Find out why this fresh catch, really isn't much of a catch for a Gaza fisherman.

First Up: A Difficult Mission

LLOYD: First up today-- A story that's truly out of this world. Space Shuttle Discovery's seven astronauts are finding out that things don't always go smoothly in space. You can lose tools out there, just like you can in the garage. And even if a job sounds simple, like upgrading part of the space station like you might upgrade your car. Miles O'Brien shows us how some assignments are easier said than done.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN REPORTER: They're trying to fold's tantamount to having a map that's been unfolded for six years, and now it's time to fold it up. And take a look, look what's happening. Take a look at these crinkly lines here. This is a solar array. It extends out about 110 feet. They are trying to retract it in. These things are doing just fine so far, but they've been a little worried about this as they've been trying to pull it back in, it's getting all messed up, like the shade I have in my bedroom.

O'BRIEN: What happens is, as they sat out there in the sun, for six years...These arrays were not supposed to be out for 6 years. They were supposed to up temporarily for a short period of time, and then moved, and not baking in the sun for 6 years in space.

O'BRIEN: Here's the big picture here. Retract these arrays because these rays are conflicting with those. Right? So these are the new ones that are about to go online when they rewire the station, now they're going to take these that have been providing temporary power, retract them. Eventually, they'll go down back over here. So it's kind of a little bit of a shuffle.

O'BRIEN: So right now, what they're trying to do is this simple procedure. But, because it's been out there 6 years, plus, they're not cooperating so well. So you can see they aren't retracting very well.

O'BRIEN: If things go really bad, they have some space walkers, that'll be out there anyway, and one of their tasks will be to manually pull these shades. They'll be looking for the cord, I guess.

O'BRIEN: They were able to attack an important piece of the girder like structure, the spine of the international space station.

O'BRIEN: This is the pistol grip tool. That's a $15,000 Makita there. And he's trying to put on the extension that you would on a ratchet set. He's got it tethered, you see right there it's tethered. OK, he's supposed to, before he pulls the tether off, pull on it. He didn't. Watch what happens now. As he moves, he's looking somewhere else right now, and off it goes.


LLOYD: The good news is, astronauts were able to bring in the old solar array. They just gave it a little bit of slack until the creases straightened out, and then it folded up as they hoped it would. The bad news: as far as the tool goes, well, don't hold your breath. Two more spacewalks are planned...One today, and another on saturday...To hook up the new solar wings.


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! How many crew members aboard space shuttle Discovery have never flown a shuttle mission before? You know the drill! Is it: A) Five, B) Four, C) Three or D) Two? Three seconds -- GO! This is the first shuttle mission for five of Discovery's crew members! And for pilot Bill Oefelein, and mission specialists Nicholas Patrick, Joan Higginbotham, Christer Fugelsang, and Sunita Williams, it's a trip they won't soon forget. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Listening Tour

LLOYD: Still no word from the White House on what the next step will be in Iraq. But President Bush says it'll be more than a military operation, involving political and economic elements as well. The Iraq Study Group, which released a report last week, advised not to send more troops to the Middle Eastern country. Ed Henry explains why the president may do that anyway.


ED HENRY, CNN REPORTER: President Bush wrapped up the public phase of his listening tour at the Pentagon, with a direct message to U.S. troops wondering about his next move in Iraq. Declaring that despite the public pressure, he's not bringing them home anytime soon.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: You have my unshakable commitment in this important fight for the long-term. We're not going to give up. the stakes are too high. consequences too grave to turn Iraq over to the extremists who want to do Iraq and the American people harm.

HENRY: With even his incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying the U.S. is not winning in Iraq, the president tried to reassure the nation that military commanders insist progress is being made.

BUSH: In the months of October, November, and the first week of December we have captured nearly five thousand nine hundred of the enemy.

HENRY: But amid criticism his administration has downplayed the sectarian strife, the president was brutally frank.

BUSH: The violence has been horrific. Scores of innocent men, women and children are being brutally killed by ruthless murdered.

HENRY: The president revealed he delayed his speech unveiling a new strategy because he does not want to be rushed into a snap decision.

BUSH: I've heard some ideas that would lead to defeat and I reject those ideas. ideas such as leaving before the job is done.

HENRY: People close to the deliberations say one idea the president is giving consideration to is sending more troops to Iraq on a short term basis in order to stabilize the situation. A controversial move, but some conservatives say it may be the best, last chance of victory. Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.


Is this Legit

AZUZ: Is This Legit: Alcohol is a stimulant, which means it speeds up your nervous system. Totally false. Alcohol is actually a depressant, which means the opposite: It slows your nervous system down and can affect your emotions, hearing and sight.


LLOYD: Whether you call it soda, cola, pop or a soft drink, it has to be alcohol-free for you to buy it. At least, until you're 21. But some young people in California say the sweetened alcoholic drinks that come in pop-like bottles, are too tempting for teenagers. Chris Riva of affiliate KCRA tells us what they want to do about it.


CHRIS RIVA, REPORTER: Sweet, flavored alcohol drinks. They're often referred to as "alcopops." In the bottling, it's hard to tell which of these are alcoholic products and not. Root beer. Malt beverages. Strawberry soda. And another alcoholic drink. What the teens say is that these alcoholic beverages are packaged and marketed just like the sodas giving them an instant introduction to drinking alcohol.

STUDENT: Like we said, a gateway drink, because it's so sweetly flavored. It allows you to transfer to those harder liquors.

RIVA: Those local teens took their fight to the state Board of Equalization. They want a tax increase on these products, making them much more expensive.

ELIANNA YANGER, CALIFORNIA YOUTH COUNCIL: It's reality that youth are drinking these things today. And we feel if it's taxed correctly, it will decrease the accessibly of those drinks.

RIVA: What they ran into was a big political fight within the beverage industry between hard liquor sales and beer sales. Board member Claude Parrish blasted the proponents of the new tax.

CLAUDE PARRISH , CALIFORNIA BOARD OF EQUALIZATION MEMBER: It's just as disingenuous and just as dishonest as this whole charade is using school children to do your dirty work, when in fact what you are trying to do is eliminate a product.

RIVA: The board did vote on the tax motion. It failed. But the kids from the California Youth Council vowed to continue their fight.

STUDENT: That's not the end of it. We're going to continue to keep fighting, no matter what, until it's finally address. Until this issue is addressed.



LLOYD: Teachers, if you'd like to go more in depth on today's stories...Just point your browser to Our teaching staff has put together ten great discussion questions to get the conversation started. And this Friday, be sure to test your students' knowledge of current events with our weekly news quiz. You can find it all at!

Before We Go

LLOYD: Before we go, any of you who go out fishing know how a three-pound catch can weigh 12 pounds when you tell the story. These guys don't need to exaggerate! A Gaza fisherman netted a 22-hundred-pound "ocean sunfish" this week. He actually had to use his car to drag it from the sea! Unfortunately for him, though, it is not good eating. Ocean sunfish are mostly bone, and feed themselves on jellyfish.


LLOYD: That's our last catch of the day! For CNN Student News, I'm Monica Lloyd. More Headline News is straight ahead.


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


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