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CNN Student News Transcript: April 17, 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • See how the Virginia Tech community marked the anniversary of a tragic day
  • Take a tour of a new baseball stadium that's a hit with environmentalists
  • Celebrate the Year of the Potato with a look at the venerable vegetable
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(CNN Student News) -- April 17, 2008

Quick Guide

Remembering Virginia Tech - See how the Virginia Tech community marked the anniversary of a tragic day.

Going, Going, GREEN! - Take a tour of a new baseball stadium that's a hit with environmentalists.

Year of the Potato - Celebrate the Year of the Potato with a look at the venerable vegetable.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: You're just two days away from the weekend and two seconds into this edition of CNN Student News. From the CNN Center, my name is Carl Azuz.

First Up: Remembering Virginia Tech

AZUZ: First up, Virginia Tech honors the victims of last year's deadly attack on the college campus. Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of this tragic event, when a gunman killed 32 people at the university before taking his own life. Members of the Virginia Tech community gathered to mourn those who were killed. And at a memorial ceremony on the Blacksburg campus, the state's governor reflected on what's truly important in the wake of this kind of tragedy.

GOV. TIM KAINE, (D) VIRGINIA: If we realize how short life is, how brief all lives are, we will focus on the things that are important. We will not worry so much about the kinds of things that can preoccupy us that aren't important, but we will instead focus on the things that really matter: faith, relations with family and friends, dedication to great causes and principles, service to others.

AZUZ: Kate Bolduan talked with one student who wasn't on campus the day of the shooting. But she had been there a few days before, visiting Virginia Tech as a high school senior. The way this community came together after April 16th is why she decided to attend the university.


HALEY FREKING, CHOSE VIRGINIA TECH: I mean, just look around. It's a great school.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN REPORTER: Haley Freking, one of Virginia Tech's 5,200 freshmen, fondly remembers her campus visit one year ago.

FREKING: The people here are incredible. And it was just like everybody was really, really, really friendly, and that's really nice.

BOLDUAN: But it's what happened just two days after her college tour that Freking and the world will never forget: 32 students and teachers killed in a shooting rampage in what seemed like an instant. The shooter: a Virginia Tech student himself.

FREKING: I was really sad for the people on campus. I'm, like, I remember crying when I got back home, like, watching all the stuff on TV.

BOLDUAN: Freking's experience was even published in an essay titled "My Decision To Attend Virginia Tech." "I was given a chance to see a school that went through so much pain, only to rise above it," she wrote. "I chose to attend Virginia Tech in the hope that, one day, I will be as strong as those people."

FREKING: I was really proud of the fact that everybody was so united.

BOLDUAN: It's that unity, known as the Hokie Spirit, Haley says was the deciding factor in choosing Virginia Tech, a feeling apparently shared by many of her classmates. The university's vice president of student affairs says they welcomed a record number of freshman last fall.

ZENOBIA HIKES, V.P. OF STUDENT AFFAIRS, VIRGINIA TECH: We actually were oversubscribed for our first year class. We had to buy back beds, as it were, from some of our upper class students in order to house our first year students.

BOLDUAN: Now, looking toward her sophomore year, it's the fighting Hokie Spirit, not that fateful day, that defines Haley, her classmates and their university. Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.


Is this Legit?

GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Pope Benedict XVI is the first pope to visit the White House. Not legit! He's the second. Pope John Paul II visited the White House in 1979.

Coming to America

AZUZ: Pope Benedict XVI's White House welcome is part of his first trip to the U.S. since being elected pope, and he actually got to visit on his birthday! More than 13,000 people turned out on the South Lawn yesterday to welcome the religious leader and of course sing happy birthday. Afterwards, President Bush and the pope met in the Oval Office and discussed topics including immigration and poverty. This was the first official event of the pope's six-day visit, and he offered his thanks and blessing for the U.S.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: As I begin my visit to the United States, I express once more my gratitude for invitation, my joy to be in your midst and my fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and its people in service of justice, prosperity and peace. God Bless America.

Going, Going, GREEN!

AZUZ: Today, the pope is leading Mass for tens of thousands of people at Nationals Park. The new baseball stadium opened this year with a lot of green features, and we don't just mean the field. Miles O'Brien gives us the grand tour.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN REPORTER: The grass is always greener at the old ballpark, isn't it? But at this new one, that's not all that is green. Environmentalists say Nationals Park, the new home to baseball in Washington, D.C., is a big hit. Let's start with the power-stingy lights that are...

SUSAN KLUMPP, PROJECT MANAGER: Projected to save 21% in energy consumption during the course of the year.

O'BRIEN: The stadium sits right on the Anacostia River, so designers focused much attention on filtering things like peanut shells out of the water runoff. They even planted greenery on the roof of the concession and restroom facility. And inside, they installed some dual flush toilets, and there are water-stingy faucets.

KLUMPP: Estimating 3.6 million gallons a year in water savings.

O'BRIEN: Security and utility vehicles are electric. Valet parking for bicycle riders. And the stadium, built with a lot of recycled materials, sits right near a Metrorail station. So, even if the Nationals can't turn things around on the field, their home is surely a diamond in the rough. Miles O'Brien, CNN, Washington.


Climate Change

AZUZ: Back over to the White House now, where President Bush is calling on Congress to take the lead in addressing climate change. After the pope's visit yesterday morning, the president turned his attention to the environment. He announced that he wants to put a stop to increasing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions - those are thought to play a part in global warming - by the year 2025. Congress is scheduled to consider several environmental bills this year, and Mr. Bush is urging lawmakers to avoid tax increases and offer incentives to businesses that develop new ways to approach the issue.

U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I am confident that with sensible and balanced policies from Washington, American innovators and entrepreneurs will pioneer a new generation of technology that improves our environment, strengthens our economy and continues to amaze the world.


RAMSAY: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these is NOT made from potatoes? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Mash, B) Chips, C) Grits, D) Hash browns, E) Latkes or F) Tater tots? You've got three seconds -- GO! Grits, also called hominy grits, are actually made from corn! That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Year of the Potato

AZUZ: Grits may not be on the list of potato products, but there are lots of other ways to enjoy a savory spud: baked, boiled, even julienned. Potato possibilities are endless and in high demand. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 350 million tons of tubers are consumed worldwide each year. Mallika Kapur digs into the popular product.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN REPORTER: When there's an ode to this venerable vegetable on Youtube, it's time to take the spud seriously.

JANE CLARKE, NUTRITIONIST: The potato has a lot going for it.

KAPUR: The potato is being hailed an unsung hero of the vegetable world by the United Nations. Apart from its nutritional value, it's cheap and easy to produce. It can grow in different climates and heights, requires little water and matures quickly. In areas where food prices are soaring and crops are being cultivated for biofuels instead of food, the potato is a practical solution, says Britain's leading nutritionist.

CLARKE: You can do a lot with it. Add milk powder to make something like mashed potatoes. You could actually incorporate some essential nutrients to that mix which I think a lot of palettes would enjoy.

KAPUR: Chef Theo Randall says the idea that potatoes are fattening is a myth.

THEO RANDALL, CHEF: Potatoes can be good for you! Depends on how you use them, if you use olive oil instead of frying them, and just boil them and just dress them in some oil or some lemon or something. It's when you start using oil or any kind of fat. That's when it becomes unhealthy. Like chips, for instance. Deep frying, that's the worst thing you can do to a potato.

KAPUR: Or the best, say some, especially if you follow this advice.

MAN ON THE STREET: Best way to eat chips? Probably out of a newspaper, I think. Newspaper, bit of salt and vinegar is probably the best.

KAPUR: There's no doubt about it, the Brits love their chips. Some even call it a national treasure! In fact, one out of every four British potatoes is made into these, an all-time favorite. The U.N.'s food arm has declared 2008 the Year of the Potato, saying it wants to raise global awareness about the tuber. These singing and dancing potato heads on YouTube may help them do just that. Mallika Kapur, CNN, London.




AZUZ: That singing spud is where we sign off. But before we go, a reminder to send us your Talking Democracy iReports! This month's topic is campaign finance. You can learn all about it and find out how to send in those iReports at Have a great day, everyone. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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