(CNN Student News) -- December 19, 2007
Price of Pop - Learn why the mayor of San Francisco wants to tax some soft drink sellers.
Big Rat - Get a peek at a new species of giant rat that was discovered in Indonesia.
Teen Hero - Meet a student whose quick thinking is being credited with saving a life.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz. We're halfway through the week and you have landed on CNN Student News. We're going to kick things off with a delicious definition.
Word to the Wise
JOHN LORINC, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
fructose (noun) a very sweet, easily dissolving sugar that is found especially in fruit juices and honey
AZUZ: San Francisco's mayor wants to charge some vendors that help you get your fructose fix. Now, different parts of the country have different names for carbonated beverages. But whether you're drinking from a 12-ounce can of soda or a 2-liter bottle of pop, there's a good chance that you're chugging down some fructose. And Mayor Gavin Newsom thinks that large stores that sell it should have to pay a fee. Jeremy Lee of affiliate KRON explains why.
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JEREMY LEE, KRON REPORTER: A fee on soft drinks in San Fransisco? The mayor says the sugary drinks are responsible for diabetes and weight gain amongst kids, so he's going after the big box stores that sell them. Mayor Newsom says the city could fund campaigns against high fructose drinks.
MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM, SAN FRANCISCO: Which disproportionately are increasing the number of people that are obese and overweight in the United States. A quarter of all San Franscisco kids are obese or overweight, and that is driving healthcare costs to the tune, in San Franscisco, of $192 million.
LEE: The mayor says he will try to levy a fee against the big box stores that distribute the beverages, but not from mom-n-pop stores like this one on Ellis. Eric Diluzio goes to a high school down the street. He says he doesn't drink soda pop, and he wouldn't at school even if he wanted to, because of the lack of vending machines selling soft drinks.
ERIC DILUZIO, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Yeah, they took them away about two years ago. We have a new thing, "Fitness for Life"; educates kids to eat healthier.
LEE: Those are the kinds of programs the mayor wants to fund with money the city would get from the fee. But Eric Diluzio doesn't think it's fair to punish the middle man.
DILUZIO: I don't think neccessarily you should tax the stores, 'cause they're just doing their jobs by selling the product. They should take it away from the brand name like Coca-Cola or Pepsi.
LEE: How much will the big stores have to shell out if the mayor gets his way?
NEWSOME: The cost of calorically sweetened beverages as it relates to obesity in our city is about $54 million. We're looking at a much more modest fee: 1.7 million, as high as 7 million.
LEE: In San Francisco, Jeremy Lee, KRON4 News.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: One thing we should point out, fructose isn't just limited to soft drinks. It's part of some sauces, snack foods, even some cereals. Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us a little more about this sugar, and explains why you can find it on the ingredients list of so many foods.
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DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No doubt you are going to hear a lot about the San Francisco mayor's new plan to tax a lot of these sugary sodas. At target, really, is a substance known as fructose. It is a high-calorie, low-nutrition substance that is corn syrup. It is in just about everything. That's the first point. This stuff is absolutely ubiquitious, and it's not particularly good for us. It doesn't provide nutritional value whatsoever. Those are the two points to keep in mind, which is why the mayor actually believes there is a connection between these sugary drinks and the obesity problem in his city, and really around the country. That's harder to prove -- that there is in fact a link -- although a lot of people believe that there is one.
If you target even further back, you'll notice that we subsidize corn in a very big way in this country. There is a lot of excess fructose going around, which is why it's everywhere, because of the corn subsidies which can date back years, if not decades, in terms of how we actually look at these products. Now, whether or not to tax food or whether or not to tax sodas, that is obviously a more controversial issue. People will say it's very different than a tobacco tax. Tobacco is something we simply don't need, whereas food, whether it's fast food or whether it's sugary food, it's something we consume on a daily basis. This is going to be a subject of great controversy for sure. Keep in mind as well, the overall tax will eventually trickle down to us as consumers, eventually offsetting all those corn subsidies that make these products cheaper. They may actually go up in price because of taxes like this one. Best bet, really, is to try and avoid sugary foods as much as possible. Keep in mind that fructose is in so many different products that you actually look at the labels, turn those labels over, and read them. And if you see fructose in the first couple of ingredients, that may be a product that you want to avoid, if you can. Good luck this holiday season. Back to you.
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AZUZ: We want to know what you think. Is it fair for San Fran to charge a fee for fructose? If the tax does pass and then gets passed on to consumers, would it affect how much soda you swig every day? Head to our blog at CNNStudentNews.com and leave us your comments on the issue.
Student Giving Report
AZUZ: All right, we've been asking what you guys are doing to celebrate the spirit of giving this holiday season, and we've gotten some excellent responses. Mrs. Lewis in Las Vegas, Nevada, heard about military officers who were asking for mail for their soldiers. So, her Geography classes have adopted a unit with the 101st Airborne, which is currently serving its 3rd tour in Iraq. The 8th graders put together care packages filled with letters and Christmas cards that they wrote to the men and women in the unit. Out in El Mirage, Arizona, Mr. Johnson's World Cultures classes are collecting money for mosquito nets. These are used in underdeveloped African countries to help fight against the spread of malaria. The students are working hard this holiday to try to help save the lives of others. And in Phoenix, one of the clubs at Cordova Middle School, the Klassy Ladies, is holding a sock drive. They've put a collection bag in every classroom where students and staff can donate socks for the homeless and less fortunate around the community. We want to thank them, and everyone who sent in e-mails about their holiday activities.
LORINC: Time for the Shoutout! What is this? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it a A) Possum, B) Squirrel, C) Rat or D) Chinchilla? You've got three seconds -- GO! You're looking at a newly discovered species of rat! That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: And you thought Rodents of Unusual Sizes only existed in "The Princess Bride." Well this isn't a fairy tale or "An American Tail." Researchers came across the voluminous vermin during an expedition to Indonesia back in June. According to scientists, the giant rat is about five times the size of a typical city rat. Discovering a brand new species is pretty rare, so just imagine the surprise when this curious critter wandered into the middle of camp.
AZUZ: Switching gears and species now. When we see something dramatic or unexpected happen right in front of our eyes, it can be a normal response to have no response, to be stunned into inactivity. Well, Joel Fryer of affiliate KARE tells us about one Minnesota teenager who did just the opposite, and how her quick thinking might have helped save someone's life.
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JOEL FRYER, KARE REPORTER: It's a common complaint among high school students that stuff they learn in the classroom doesn't have much real world value.
LINDSEY PARADISE, SAVED REF'S LIFE: The transformation factor is the number you'd multiply with this to get that.
FRYER: Last Thursday night, 16-year-old Lindsey Paradise poked a serious hole in that argument.
LINDSEY PARADISE: I was sitting up about section 5 right here.
FRYER: Lindsey and her mom were among those packed in the Fridley gym, watching the boys basketball team take on Simley. With five minutes left, one of the officials, 49-year-old Dale Wakasugi, fell to the floor.
JIM MACDONALD, TEACHER-COACH: We've had officials blow out a knee or twist an ankle. You see them taken off on a cart, but never, never this.
FRYER: The ref had suffered a serious heart attack. Lindsey ran onto the floor, and with help from three adults and CPR training she'd just finished up in health class, she went to work.
ALYSSA PARADISE, LINDSEY'S TWIN: This is crazy. Like at first, when I saw her run down there, I was like, "Get out of there." But then I realized, oh, she knows what she's doing, she can do it.
FRYER: When three rounds of CPR failed to revive him, someone grabbed one of the school's automated exterior defibrillators. Lindsey ran thru the steps and pushed the button.
LINDSEY PARADISE: I could see his stomach going up and down after that, so I knew he was coming around again.
DALE WAKASUGI, LIFE SAVED BY DEFIBRILLATOR: God sent her to be at that place at that time for a reason.
FRYER: Dale Wakasugi left the hospital knowing he owes his life to a simple yet amazing machine, and a teenager who was not afraid to use it
WAKASUGI: So many things had to happen for me to be alive, and they all fell into place.
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Before We Go
AZUZ: And finally, from a teenager who did the saving to one who needed saving. Navy officials say a 14-year-old girl is expected to make a full recovery after she had emergency surgery at sea over the weekend. The girl and her family began their trip on a cruise ship to Mexico, but she arrived back at the mainland aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. Her appendix ruptured during the voyage, and the Navy ship was the closest vessel with a hospital facility. So, when the distress call went out, it jumped into action.
AZUZ: And that tale of maritime medicine is where we sail out of here for today. But we'll be back tomorrow with more CNN Student News. We hope to see you then. I'm Carl Azuz. E-mail to a friend