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CNN Student News Transcript: February 20, 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • Get the latest on the resignation of Cuba's controversial leader
  • Watch presidential candidates duke it out from Washington to Hawaii
  • Hear how investigators found two stolen masterpieces in a parked car
  • Next Article in Living »
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(CNN Student News) -- February 20, 2008

Quick Guide

Castro Resigns - Get the latest on the resignation of Cuba's controversial leader.

America Votes - Watch presidential candidates duke it out from Washington to Hawaii.

Art Heist - Hear how investigators found two stolen masterpieces in a parked car.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi. You've made it to the middle of the week! Thanks for tuning in to CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz.


MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN: See if you can ID Me! I'm where you'll find the U.S. Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Try this on for size: I'm just a little smaller than Pennsylvania. A famous fact: I'm an independent country located just 90 miles from the U.S. I'm Cuba, my capital is Havana, and I'm the largest country in the Caribbean.

First Up: Castro Resigns

AZUZ: There's been a big shake-up on that island, and it's what's first up. After almost 50-years in power, and outlasting nine U.S. presidents, Cuban leader Fidel Castro has stepped down as the country's leader. He made the announcement in a letter published in a Cuban newspaper, where he also resigned as commander-in-chief of Cuba's military. His brother, Raul Castro, was publicly named as the country's leader when Fidel got sick 18-months ago. But Cuba's parliament will choose an official successor on Sunday. James Mates has more.


JAMES MATES, ITV NEWS: A simple announcement on Cuban television, a headline in the state-run newspaper and a leader that now fewer than nine U.S. presidents have wanted to see the back of stands down of his own volition and on his own schedule. For 49 years, surrendering neither the revolutionary rhetoric nor the combat fatigues, Castro came to define his people and their seemingly eternal struggle with their giant neighbor the United States.

ARCHIVE FOOTAGE: Castro buys the loyalty of the peasants.

MATES: It was he who toppled the pro-American Batista regime, who repelled the U.S.-backed counter revolution at the Bay of Pigs, and then allowed his Soviet ally to park nuclear missiles right under the noses of his tormentors in Washington.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We regard any nuclear missile launch from Cuba as an attack by the Soviet Union by the United States.

MATES: Neither invasion nor CIA plots could remove him. In the end, he simply succumbed to the ravages of time. Eighteen months ago, emergency stomach surgery left him gravely weakened. His brother and fellow revolutionary Raul even then took over effective control. In Washington's eyes, Raul promises to be little different from Fidel.

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: So, I view this as a period of transition and it should be the beginning of the Democratic transition for the people in Cuba.

MATES: Among the Cuban exiles in Miami, non of this means that they will soon be heading home.

CUBAN EXILE: Only if they turn the whole thing upside down, and the bring Democracy and free elections and everyone of them is out of Cuba, nothing has changed.

MATES: The European Union says it is now prepared to reassess its relations with Cuba under Raul. In the middle of a presidential election, the U.S. is unlikely to do the same in the short term. Aware that while the days of Fidel are over, the Castro regime may have a while to run yet. James Mates, ITV News, Washington.



AZUZ: Fidel Castro is hailed as a revolutionary by some people and called a tyrant by millions of Cubans who feel they were forced out of their country during his revolution. Many of those Cuban exiles now call the U.S. home. Find out why people some people admire him and some people despise him, in our Learning Activity. That's at

America Votes

AZUZ: Democratic presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton faced off in a Wisconsin primary and a caucus in Hawaii. By CNN's estimates, before yesterday's contests, they were separated by just 49 delegates, so every vote mattered. All this was going on, as Republican front-runner John McCain tried to extend his lead over Mike Huckabee in primaries in Washington State and Wisconsin.


AZUZ: When the smoke cleared in Wisconsin, where Republican and Democratic primaries were being held, it was Arizona Senator John McCain for the GOP.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you Wisconsin for bringing us to the point where even a superstious naval aviator, can claim with confidence and humility that I will be our party's nominee for President of the United States. I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change.

AZUZ: Mike Huckabee took second place in the northern state, as well as in Washington state, according to CNN projections. But it was clear Tuesday that Republican voters nationwide, were rallying around McCain.

AZUZ: The Democratic race has been less certain, and more contentious. In Wisconsin, CNN made the early call for Senator Barack Obama, who extended his delegate lead over Senator Hillary Clinton.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We also have a caucus in Hawaii tonight. Its too early to know how that will turn out. But, it's too early to know, but we do know this, we do know this Houston: The change we seek is still months and miles away and we need the good people of Texas to help us get there.

AZUZ: So on Tuesday, the numbers changed, but the lineup pretty much stayed the same: McCain leading Republican candidates; Obama in front for the Democrats.


AZUZ: And, for all of today's results, including those out of Hawaii, we've gotcha covered. Log on to Not only will you be able to see who won, you'll also be able to get the latest delegate counts, and find out how many more delegates a candidate needs in order to snag their party's nomination.

Pakistan Elections

AZUZ: "Heavyweights knocked out." That's a newspaper headline out of Pakistan, after parliamentary elections were held there. President Pervez Musharraf's party admitted defeat and early results showed big wins for the parties of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. Musharraf has been a key U.S. ally in the war on terror. He says he'll work with whatever government takes shape.

Black History Month

AZUZ: As we've been telling you, this month is Black History Month, and today, we're taking a look at John Lewis, a man who's taken an active role in the civil rights movement; from his early years fighting racism and segregation in the 1960s, to his current role as a Georgia congressman.


MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS: John Lewis has often challenged the status quo. As a student at Fisk University in Tennessee, he helped organize sit-ins at segregated lunch counters to change the Jim Crow laws of the day. In the early 1960s, he was a "freedom rider," fighting to integrate bus terminals across the South. And, in 1965, Lewis and hundreds of other marchers demanding voting rights protection were beaten after they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama; an event known as 'bloody Sunday.' It put a national spotlight on the civil rights movement, and soon, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed. Born the son of a sharecroppers, living a life challenging the status quo, and now serving in Congress for more than twenty years, we honor John Lewis, this Black History Month.


Art Heist

AZUZ: Last week, we told you about paintings by world-famous artists Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas and Paul Cezanne, all stolen from a gallery in Switzerland. Today, we have some good news. Two of those paintings, the Monet and the van Gogh were found in a parked car, in good condition. As Mallika Kapur explains, the search is still on for the other two paintings.


MALLIKA KAPUR. CNN REPORTER: The recovery; almost as bizarre as the theft. Two of four paintings stolen in a daring heist ended up in this car, abandoned in front of a mental hospital in Zurich, just a few hundred yards from the private museum where they were snatched February 10th.

MARCO CORTESI, ZURICH POLICE: We are especially interested in information regarding the whereabouts of passengers and any noticeable passengers of the white Opel car.

KAPUR: It was a daylight robbery. In just three minutes, armed robbers made off with four masterpieces by Van Gogh, Degas, Monet and Cezanne, worth $163 million. The Van Gogh and Monet were found in the white sedan in good condition, say museum officials, and still under the glass behind which they were displayed in the museum.

LUKAS GLOOR, CURATOR , COLLECTION BUEHRLE: I am appealing to anyone with information. We want witnesses to come forward if anyone knows anything about who was driving this car.

KAPUR: Most stolen paintings by the world's greatest artists take years to be found; if ever. Swiss police say they have received tips about the stolen paintings from all over the world. They say they're checking to see if there is some connection to other art thefts in Switzerland and elsewhere, but so far, there's no sign of who stole the priceless paintings by Degas and Cezanne and where the thieves and the painting are. Mallika Kapur, CNN, London.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, believe it or not, this lightbulb's reportedly been glowing for 81 years and counting! It's inside a fire-house in Oklahoma, right were firefighter's sleep! There are markings on it, maybe in a vain effort by firefighters to dim the light in order to sleep better. But the bulb has stood the test of time and of patience. In case you're wondering, it stays on, because it's hard-wired, so there's no light-switch. And, get this, this is the third-longest-glowing bulb, which means two others have been on longer!



AZUZ: That lightbulb may have power to spare, but, right now, it's "lights out" for us. We've gotta recharge, but we'll see you tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in to CNN Student News and have a great day. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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