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CNN Student News Transcript: April 7, 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • Learn about an act of piracy that took place off the Horn of Africa
  • Hear what two world leaders discussed in their last meeting as presidents
  • Check out some of the rules concerning cash for presidential campaigns
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(CNN Student News) -- April 7, 2008

Quick Guide

Modern Pirates - Learn about an act of piracy that took place off the Horn of Africa.

Final Meeting - Hear what two world leaders discussed in their last meeting as presidents.

Talking Democracy - Check out some of the rules concerning cash for presidential campaigns.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: We're kicking off a brand new week of CNN Student News, and we're glad to have you along for the ride. From the CNN Center, I'm Monica Lloyd.

First Up: Modern Pirates

LLOYD: First up, pirates attack a cruise ship off the east coast of Africa. You might think these maritime marauders only exist in the movies or in history books. But they're still around today, and they're still very dangerous. Around the African nation of Somalia, piracy is a serious problem, and over the weekend, a group of them took control of a French vessel. David Ariosto fills us in on the details.


DAVID ARIOSTO, CNN REPORTER: Pirates stormed the French luxury yacht Friday as it cruised the Gulf of Aden's high seas. There were no commercial passengers, but a crew of 30 mostly French and Ukrainian sailors have been taken hostage. A multinational naval force is now steaming in close pursuit of the hijacked vessel. The French Foreign Ministry says military officials are surveying the situation on board.

FRANCOIS FILLON, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (TRANSLATED): It is a textbook case of piracy. Defense and Foreign Ministries are mobilized to act as fast as possible, I hope in the minutes or hours to come, in order to secure the release of hostages.

ARIOSTO: But the pirate problem off the Somali coast is nothing new. The International Maritime Bureau documented 31 pirate attacks in 2007 and suggests travelers to stay more than 200 nautical miles away from Somali coastlines. Without a formal navy, Somalia has little to prevent rogue gangs from prowling the open seas in heavily-armed fast boats. Targeting U.N. supply ships and luxury vessels for ransom, pirates often use automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers to stop the vessels. There is no word on how the pirates wrestled control of this vessel, but hanging in the balance is the fate of 30 sailors who were heading home. David Ariosto, CNN, Atlanta.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What area of land lies between the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Horn of Africa, B) Cape of Good Hope, C) Sahara Desert or D) Gold Coast? You've got three seconds -- GO! The Horn of Africa separates the Gulf of Aden from the Indian Ocean, and it includes the countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

London Torch Protest

LLOYD: We told you about the start of the Olympic torch relay in China last week. Well, the flame found some drama when it was in London yesterday. That extra security you can see surrounding the torch there was definitely needed, as one protester tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher! Officials helped steer the runner around a demonstrater lying in the street. And if that wasn't enough, one guy actually got close enough to make a grab for the torch! The runner said there was no way she was letting go.

KONNIE HUQ, OLYMPIC TORCH BEARER: I wasn't going to hand him the torch. I wasn't going to help him. I was carrying the torch because of the Olympic ideals and to represent the U.K. But I can see why people are protesting. I'm not alone. I know a lot of other people that are taking part in the relay and taking part in the Olympics agree. Who would condone China's behavior? It's a no brainer.

LLOYD: Why are they protesting? A big reason is Tibet, an autonomous region of China. You can see several Tibetan flags there in the crowd. There have been violent clashes in China between government forces and demonstrators calling for a free Tibet. These protesters in London are blaming the violence on the Chinese government, but Chinese officials say Tibetan leaders are to blame.

Final Meeting

LLOYD: The Olympic torch will eventually make its way to Sochi, Russia. The city's hosting the Winter Olympics in 2014. But this past weekend, it hosted a meeting between President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. With both men leaving office in less than a year, it's actually the last time the two will get together as the leaders of their countries. Elaine Quijano tells us some of what was discussed during their final meeting.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN REPORTER: At their final appearance together as presidents...

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's a little bit nostalgic.

QUIJANO: President Bush and outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to put the best face on their stark differences.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (TRANSLATED): Here in Sochi we have adopted a declaration on strategic framework. Of course, it does not provide any breakthrough solutions on a number of issues.

QUIJANO: But it was after their first meeting in 2001, the president had high hopes that he could do business with Putin.

BUSH: I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.

QUIJANO: Yet seven years later, that trust has not led to resolutions on the issues that have divided them: NATO expansion and missile defense.

PUTIN: This is about the substance of the issue. I would like to be very clear on this: Our fundamental attitude to the American plans have not changed.

QUIJANO: Putin remains firmly opposed to U.S. plans for a missile defense system in eastern Europe, seeing it as a threat to Russia's security.

BUSH: This is an area where we've got more work to do to convince the Russian side that the system is not aimed at Russia.

QUIJANO: With nine months left in office, President Bush is looking ahead, trying to set the tone for the future of U.S.-Russia relations with Putin expected to step down in May and become prime minister.

BUSH: Thank you for meeting with me and my delegation.

QUIJANO: President Bush met with Putin's chosen successor, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, calling him a smart fellow.

BUSH: I was impressed and looking forward to working with him.

QUIJANO: Once inaugurated, Medvedev will be in charge of foreign policy. Putin said he would be handling domestic issues as prime minister. In this last meeting, as Bush and Putin remained far apart on policy, the White House released photos of the two leaders strolling in the sunset of their presidencies. Elaine Quijano, CNN, traveling with the president in Sochi, Russia.


Is This Legit?

AZUZ: Is this legit? Russia is the largest country on the planet. Legit! When it comes to total area, Russia is tops in the world, taking up just over 10.6 million square miles! That's nearly two times the size of the U.S.!

Talking Democracy

LLOYD: Jumping on the campaign trail now, if you want to be president, you only have to meet three qualifications: be a U.S. citizen, be at least 35 years old and have lived in the U.S. for 14 years. It might not take much to qualify, but it sure takes a lot to run. We're talking money, and there are rules around that, too. Carl Azuz covers some of the basics of campaign cash.


AZUZ: It takes dough to run a presidential campaign, millions and millions of dollars for commercials and conventions and conferences and commuting all over the country! But should the amount of money you have determine your chances of becoming president?

Well, let's say you're trying to get your brother elected to public office, but your neighbor is doing the same thing for his brother. You put up a hundred dollars for your brother's campaign; your neighbor puts up a million. His brother can buy more commercials, travel more, basically have a better chance of winning. Not exactly an even playing field. So, in the early 20th century, President Theodore Roosevelt and Congress got rolling on campaign finance reform. Yikes! Sounds complicated. They wanted to make it so that no matter how much money you have access to or which big company supports you, everyone would have a fair shot at the White House.

Fast forward to 1971, and poof: the Federal Election Campaign Act. This laid down new rules for campaign contributions, and it later created an enforcer: the Federal Election Commission. There are three main goals of the FEC: One, keep tabs on money used to pay for federal elections. Two, make sure candidates publicly say, or disclose, where their money came from. And finally, regulate, or control, how public cash can be used to pay for campaigns. For example: You can personally give money to a political candidate, but only up to two thousand bucks per candidate per election. Also, businesses and unions can not give money directly to a political candidate; that would be like buying an election! However, there is a sort of loophole here. Political Action Committees, PACs, are organizations that represent interest groups and try to get someone elected or keep someone out of office. Businesses, and you for that matter, can create PACs and give them money. And that's controversial because some critics think PACs have too much influence. But the FEC requires PACs to say how much money they raise and spend. So you see, it all comes back to cash and keeping track of it. Because in Washington, money talks, and the commission wants to keep it honest. Carl Azuz, CNN Student News.



LLOYD: Campaign finance is our "Talking Democracy" topic for April, which means we've got it covered from all angles. We've got a One-Sheet that gives students some more background on the issue, and a Learning Activity that lets them examine the pros and cons of campaign finance reform. You can find both resources at!

Before We Go

LLOYD: And finally, they say age is just a number.Yeah, well so is the speed limit! Gordon Miller cracked the century mark on both at the same time! Let's throw it in reverse for a second. Gordon's wife, Margaret, is a bit of a worrier. So, when their son came up with a stunt for dad's 100th birthday, she wasn't too thrilled. But when he flew down the road at 100 miles per hour, even she admitted it was pretty exciting. Gordon wasn't done yet.

GORDON MILLER, 100 YEARS OLD: What's it do? 140? Well, we're not going to go that fast.

LLOYD: Yup, he hopped in a boat and floored it again! 100 years old, 100 miles an hour by land and by sea.



LLOYD: Sure beats blowing out 100 candles. That's where we speed out of here. Have a great day. I'm Monica Lloyd. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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