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CNN Student News Transcript: September 25, 2007

  • Story Highlights
  • Find out what happened when Iran's president spoke at Columbia University
  • Visit a famous high school on the 50-year anniversary of its desegregation
  • Meet some senior citizens who are staying sharp by playing video games
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(CNN Student News) -- September 25, 2007

Quick Guide

Controversial Visit - Find out what happened when Iran's president spoke at Columbia University.

Little Rock Nine - Visit a famous high school on the 50-year anniversary of its desegregation.

Geriatric Gamers - Meet some senior citizens who are staying sharp by playing video games.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi there, it's Tuesday, September 25th, and you've found your way to CNN Student News. We're happy to have you with us. I'm Monica Lloyd.

First Up: Controversial Visit

LLOYD: A controversial speaker at New York's Columbia University leads off today's program. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed a packed room at the school on Monday. He talked about broad topics, like peace and humanity, and took questions from the audience. Now, if you were with us yesterday, you know there's been a lot of heated discussion leading up to this event. And as Kyung Lah tells us, things didn't cool off when it got started.


KYUNG LAH, CNN REPORTER: A throng of protesters surrounded Columbia University, comparing the president of Iran to Hitler and urging the campus to turn Mahmoud Ahmadinejad away.

PROTESTER: I think this is hate speech.

LAH: Inside, a crowd of 600 politely greeted the man who calls the Holocaust "a myth," but then burst into applause as the university president, speaking first, took the Iranian leader to task with a list of charges committed by the regime.

LEE BOLLINGER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.

LAH: Ahmadinejad called the charges untruths, unfriendly and mere insults. He reasserted Iran's nuclear pursuits are peaceful and the nation is a victim of terrorism. Ahmadinejad then fielded questions from the university crowd, from the existence of the Holocaust to homosexuals in Iran.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (WITH TRANSLATOR): In Iran, we do not have homosexuals like in your country.

LAH: From the floor of the Senate, strong criticism of Columbia's decision to give Ahmadinejad a voice.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KENTUCKY), MINORITY LEADER: Think of the irony. Columbia University, home of the core curriculum that prizes an in-depth understanding of Western civilization and the free exchange of ideas, is bringing to its campus a state sponsor of terror.

LAH: Respectful applause ended Ahmadinejad's appearance. Tuesday, he heads to the United Nations where more fiery comments and protests promise to follow. I'm Kyung Lah, CNN, Washington.


Your Opinion: Ahmadinejad

LLOYD: So what do you think? Should President Ahmadinejad have been invited to speak at Columbia? We're weighing both sides of the issue in our blog. So log on to, check it out and reply with your opinions on the situation.


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these states is Arkansas? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A, B, C or D? You've got three seconds -- GO! On this map, Arkansas is represented by the letter "C"! It's called the "Natural State," and its capital is Little Rock. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Little Rock Nine

LLOYD: Today is the 50th anniversary of an historic moment in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and it happened right in Little Rock. A group of black students entered Central High School there and helped desegregate U.S. public schools. Half a century later, two filmmakers visited Central High to see if it's still a school divided. Charles Crowson of affiliate KTHV has the report.


CYNTHIA MCHOMES, TEACHER: I believe that Central is two schools; I believe it's a black school and it's a white school.

CHARLES CROWSON, REPORTER, TODAY'S THV: Thoughts expressed during an open discussion at Central High between Cynthia McHomes and her students.

STUDENT: But everything is not to keep the black man down. Everything is not meant to make the black man look bad.

CROWSON: Their clips are from a new HBO documentary "Central High Fifty Years Later," a film airing September 25, 50 years to the day since the Central High desegregation crisis.

BRENT RENAUD, FILMMAKER: You know, for a lot of the country, even the world, Central High and what happened there with the crisis of 1957 is synonymous with Little Rock.

CROWSON: Fast forward to 2007, and filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud returned to the school hoping to examine how it has grown since those dark days.

RENAUD: With the 50th anniversary coming, we thought it would be important to come back and make a film inside the school today, something a little bit different that hasn't been done before.

CROWSON: They say their findings from interviews with those who walked the halls indicate race is still a dividing line today as it was 50 years ago.

RENAUD: There are still these issues between advanced placement and regular classrooms. And there is division in the school, in which kids tend to get separated. And there is not one reason for why that happens, but Central High really does provide us an opportunity to really look at those issues.

KEN RICHARDSON, CITY BOARD OF DIRECTORS, CENTRAL HIGH CLASS OF 1984: Boarded construction, vacant lots...

CROWSON: Issues Ken Richardson, a 1984 Central High grad, says must be addressed for true equality to be achieved, not only at Central, but nationwide.

RICHARDSON: I think this documentary will clearly show you a reality of what's going on here at this institution, a reality that's going on at other institutions throughout the country. And I think it's going to be an eye-opener for a lot of people.

CROWSON: But not everyone who has seen the film agrees with its message.

NANCY ROUSSEAU, CENTRAL HIGH PRINCIPAL: Some of them don't realize or understand what the opportunities are here.

CROWSON: Central High principal Nancy Rousseau said of the Renaud brother's work, "The filmmakers' approach overlooked the unique character of today's Central High that was shaped by the people and events of a half a century ago. Had the filmmakers only looked deeper, they would have produced a far more compelling story."

CRAIG RENAUD, FILMMAKER: People who have seen the film have actually commented on how refreshing it is to see people having a candid conversation about these issues. People were very open about these topics.

CROWSON: The brothers say the responses to screenings of their film have been favorable, and they believe the work could go a long way in the healing process, now 50 years in the making. Charles Crowson, Today's THV.


Word to the Wise

AZUZ: A Word to the Wise...

geriatric (adjective) relating to aged people or old age; (noun) an aged person


Geriatric Gamers

LLOYD: PlayStation, XBox, Wii. There's a vast variety of video game systems out there, and the people who play them are just as varied. But if someone asked you to describe a gamer, how many of you would use the word geriatric? You might think the gaming world is just for kids, but Alphonso Van Marsh introduces us to some granny gamers.


ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN REPORTER: This is how seniors keep alert at the Sunrise Community Living Center, playing video games that react to body movement. From age 80 to 103, they're setting the walkers aside for something more competitive.

BARRY EDGAR, VIDEO GAME ENTHUSIAST: It's probably a great help to us in coordinating eye sight and body movement and that sort of thing.

VAN MARSH: Card games and a cup of tea are still on offer here. But after a staffer brought his kid's game system into the center last month, many of these experienced hands prefer to reach out for the wireless handset, playing tennis and bowling on a big screen.

VAN MARSH: Triple strike!


VAN MARSH: 82-year-old Irene Peach is so good at making her on-screen bowler move to her whims, she regularly scores triple digits.

VAN MARSH: So that makes you the official champion.

PEACH: Yes. Yes, oh my, I am the champion!

VAN MARSH: Sunrise administrators say the games are so popular, they're buying the $400 units for all of their centers in England.

RICHARD GUY, SUNRISE SENIOR LIVING CENTER: It's so important that every day our residents get the opportunity to use those joints and use those muscles that, perhaps if they sat down reading a newspaper, they wouldn't do.

VAN MARSH: Feisty 87-year-old Gladys Harrington doesn't sit anywhere for too long. But today, she's taking a back seat to offer me some bowling tips.

VAN MARSH: This is my first time with the game console. Fortunately, I've got an excellent instructor. But it seems with my talent and abilities, my new nickname is: Gutterball.

I can't get a break?! These geriatric gamers may no longer golf the back nine or serve an ace on court, but this hi-tech entertainment designed for a younger generation is providing physical and mental challenges for the young at heart. Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, Edgbaston, England.


Be Prepared

LLOYD: From the young at heart to the just plain young. Be prepared. That's the motto of the Boy Scouts of America. And according to one troop's leader, following that rule helped keep a group of Scouts safe when they got lost during a hike in North Carolina this past weekend. Drew Griffin has more on the search and its happy ending.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN REPORTER: They were supposed to just spend two nights in the wilderness here in the Smoky Mountains. But when they didn't show up yesterday afternoon, it sparked a search for Troop 217. Eight boys, ages 11 to 14, and their three Scout leaders just did not show up and did not call in. After an all-night search, one of the Scoutmasters followed the power lines to a road and was picked up by a meter-maider. You can credit the meter-maider with the rescue. Asked if they were really frightened or worried about their children, one of the Scout leaders, whose 14-year-old son was on the trip, said "not really worried," sort of.

SCOUTMASTER: I was concerned; I was not worried. I knew they would do what they were supposed to do, and that's hunker down.

GRIFFIN: Not only well prepared, but the boys had just earned their Wilderness Survival patches. They just weren't expecting to use their skills so quickly. They are now on their way back to Raleigh, presumably back to school. Drew Griffin, in Caruso, North Carolina.




LLOYD: That's where we sign off for today. But don't forget to visit our blog on and send us your opinions on President Ahmadinejad's speech. Have a great day, everybody. I'm Monica Lloyd. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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