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CNN Student News Transcript: April 24, 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • Get a take on the race for the White House from some first-time voters
  • Learn about a space capsule's rough re-entry and the people who survived it
  • Discover some of the reasons behind the current increase in food costs
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(CNN Student News) -- April 24, 2008

Quick Guide

League of First Time Voters - Get a take on the race for the White House from some first-time voters.

Today's Headlines - Learn about a space capsule's rough re-entry and the people who survived it.

Ri$ing Food Co$t$ - Discover some of the reasons behind the current increase in food costs.


Don't Miss


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: We are kicking off a brand new Thursday edition of CNN Student News. Glad to have you with us. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Race for Delegates

AZUZ: The votes are in, the polls are closed and Pennsylvania is in the rearview mirror. But before we leave the Keystone State, let's break down the results of this week's primaries and see how they affected the overall race for the White House. Hillary Clinton came out ahead for the Democrats. She rode the wave of momentum all the way to Indiana, which is hosting the next round of presidential contests. But Clinton is still trailing in the all-important delegate count. Barack Obama leads there with 1,719 delegates to Clinton's 1,586. It takes 2,025 to win the party's nomination. As for the Republicans, John McCain won the Pennsylvania primary and is currently campaigning across the country. And delegates? Done! McCain wrapped up his party's nomination earlier this year. His sights are now set on the general election.

League of First Time Voters

AZUZ: Every time an election rolls around, whether it's a presidential primary or a regional referendum, a new group of voters gets the chance to cast ballots. It's not an exclusive club. All you have to do is turn 18 and register. That's how you join the League of First Time Voters. Rick Sanchez sat down to talk with some of this year's new members.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN REPORTER: You guys are the first ones to talk to me about health care and say, "This is a priority. This is important for this country." Why is that?

FIRST-TIME VOTER: I've grown up the majority of my life without health insurance, so I know how costly it is to go to the doctor, to go to the hospital and not have any backup. You never want to see somebody get rejected or think they shouldn't go to the hospital because they can't afford it. I think that's inhumane.

SANCHEZ: She calls it "universal healthcare." Republicans say it's "socialized medicine." Is that a fair criticism?

FIRST-TIME VOTER: I think there are certain situations where government should step in and put in certain programs that are gonna help overall. You need some kind of overall...

SANCHEZ: So, you think the government should be relied on to do some of these things?


SANCHEZ: Just to do it better?


SANCHEZ: (to others) Agree?

FIRST-TIME VOTER: I think it goes beyond government. If we're a community, if this country is everything that we say it is, I think it's our responsibility, our civic duty, to take care of one another.

FIRST-TIME VOTER: I live, like, 20 minutes out of Scranton, and it's just so poor. There are so many people who are not covered and who can't go to the hospital like Steph is saying. They can't live up to their potential because they don't have insurance or because the school systems are so poor around here.

FIRST-TIME VOTER: I think there's a difference between taking a socialist idea and working with it, as opposed to taking socialism and putting it into the country. And I think that's the core difference between what Hillary's doing and what Barack is planning on doing, and what people are saying they are doing.

SANCHEZ: We're looking like we're gonna be spending something like a trillion dollars in Iraq. Money well spent? Raise your hand if you think we ought not to have gone into Iraq, that it was a mistake? (4 raise hands)

FIRST-TIME VOTER: If we were to pull all of our troops out and take them home, I feel that would be more disastrous.

SANCHEZ: You guys believe this country needs change.

FIRST-TIME VOTER: We shouldn't be at war, and John McCain is going to keep our troops at war.

SANCHEZ: What makes you think that Hillary or Barack Obama will be any better?

FIRST-TIME VOTER: He doesn't talk about his policies. He just talks about how everything needs to be changed.

FIRST-TIME VOTER: The young American public is getting really caught up in his campaign because all he speaks of is change. They hear him speak and they're like, "Yes, change. Change." But they don't really know what he wants to change.

FIRST-TIME VOTER: Right. He's a good speaker. Words come out of his mouth and people like to hear them. They don't think about the implications of what those words mean, though.

SANCHEZ: Do you believe the next president of the United States will be a Democrat? Raise your hands. (5 raise hands) All but one. Thanks, ladies.


Is This Legit?

GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this Legit? In 1971, the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. Right year, wrong amendment. The 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18. The 25th Amendment actually deals with presidential succession.

Today's Headlines

AZUZ: Now, on to some more headlines this Thursday. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he wants General David Petraeus to start moving on up to take over U.S. Central Command! Petraeus is currently serving as the top U.S. commander in Iraq. If the Senate approves the new assignment, his responsibility will expand to include nearly 30 countries. Secretary Gates is asking the Senate to sign off on the move by Memorial Day.

A three-person crew of international astronauts is safely back on Earth. But they faced some serious danger on the trip home from space. Check this out: The Russian capsule they were flying in entered the atmosphere facing the wrong direction! To make matters worse, it landed about 260 miles off-target. Amazingly, no one was hurt in this wreckage, but officials are checking into what went wrong.

Up in the sky. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... What is it? That's what some Phoenix-area residents were asking when they spotted these red lights earlier this week. But the truth is out there. One man claims he's the cause. He says he attached road flares to balloons to create the eerie effect. We're guessing, just for the heck of it.

Ri$ing Food Co$t$

AZUZ: All right, let's turn our attention to the economy, where some important numbers are heading in opposite directions. Oil and gas prices are up, and the dollar is down. That adds up to tough economic times. Another addition to the "up" side of the equation: food costs. Ali Velshi explains why those are on the rise.


ALI VELSHI, CNN REPORTER: As the housing market continues its plunge and stock markets gyrate, one market, the market for commodity futures, stays red hot. In the past year alone, corn futures have spiked more than 60 percent, soybeans over 90 percent and rice has more than doubled. Hedge funds and other pools of big money are pouring billions into commodities. They want a better return than real estate, the stock markets or the U.S. dollar can give them. Why do you care? Because this speculative fever is finding its way here: to the checkout line.

LAKSHMAN ACHUTHAN, ECONOMIC CYCLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: When we get the momentum in a market going one way, smart people can make money doing that. And that is what their job is. What is happening now is that this is showing up and impacting, you know, people very much on Main Street and on their dinner tables.

VELSHI: Now, to be fair, these high prices aren't just caused by speculators. Bad weather has caused the price of food grains to spike. And growing demand from emerging markets like China and India and the weak U.S. dollar is also playing a part. But as futures markets rally, companies that buy crops to make food must swallow higher prices to guarantee future delivery of the raw goods that they need. And that's driving prices even higher.

KENDELL KEITH, NATIONAL GRAIN AND FEED ASSOCIATION: It ultimately adds to the cost in the marketplace of merchandizing and marketing grain.

VELSHI: Bottom line: At least some of the price boom appears divorced from the laws of supply and demand. Proof, say some economists: Easily traded commodities like corn and wheat are showing historic gains, while commodities that are not widely traded, like rubber and burlap, are up by a much smaller amount. Others say that connection is tougher to make.

VIC LESPINASSE, GRAINANALYST.COM: It's very difficult to say exactly how big of a role speculation has played. I think it is relatively minor. The speculators are not setting the trend, they're just following the trend.

VELSHI: Traders say the fundamentals play a much bigger role than speculation. Drought in wheat-growing Australia, for instance. And they say don't forget higher oil and gas prices that make it more expensive to produce and transport food. Now, you'd think farmers here in the U.S. would be happy about these high prices, but even some of them are complaining that all of this speculation has thrown the whole market out of whack. They say they're not feeling the full benefit of the price increases, and they're asking the U.S. government to somehow limit speculation in food markets. Easier said than done. But speculation in commodity markets is provoking "food rage."

ACHUTHAN: When you have, you know, your milk price double or your bread double or something like that because of some financial gyrations, and you say something is wrong here. And I think that's what people are really reacting to and are feeling right now.

VELSHI: It may be wrong to some, but a global market is a hard thing to stop. Ali Velshi, CNN, New York.


Word to the Wise

RAMSAY: Two Words to the Wise...

supply and demand. These are the keys to determining price. Supply is the amount of a good or service available, and demand is the amount of that good or service that consumers are willing to purchase at a certain price.


Before We Go

AZUZ: And finally, a crime-fighting team you just don't find every day.


ALLAN KIETA, SAVED BY DOG: She was acting like she was scared, and she's an excellent alarm dog. Yes, she is. She is very good. (Dog growls)

REPORTER: She's telling you something now, right?


AZUZ: What Bella was scared of was a suspected intruder in her house. So, she woke up her owner Allan, probably using that same growl. This is where we should probably mention that Allan is visually impaired. Didn't matter. He found the source of the disturbance and fought him off for 30 minutes!



AZUZ: That is a smack down. We hope to see you again tomorrow to close out the week. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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