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CNN Student News Transcript: May 8, 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • See the effects of a volcanic eruption in one South American country
  • Hear why help is being delayed to many victims of a cyclone in Myanmar
  • Learn how the euro is holding up a decade after the currency's premiere
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(CNN Student News) -- May 8, 2008

Quick Guide

Volcano Awakens - See the effects of a volcanic eruption in one South American country.

Myanmar Relief Effort - Hear why help is being delayed to many victims of a cyclone in Myanmar.

The Euro: 10 Years - Learn how the euro is holding up a decade after the currency's premiere.


Don't Miss


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi. I'm Carl Azuz, and this is CNN Student News. From South America to Southeast Asia, we've got stories from around the globe in today's program. So, let's get right to it.

First Up: Volcano Awakens

AZUZ: First up, we're heading to Chile, where 50,000 acres of land are covered in ash from an erupting volcano. This is taking place about 750 miles south of the country's capital of Santiago. According to a group from the Smithsonian, the volcano had been dormant, or inactive, for thousands of years. Not anymore. The eruptions started late last week, forcing residents to flee the area. Amaro Gomez-Pablo has more on the details surrounding this natural disaster.


AMARO GOMEZ-PABLO, CNN REPORTER: A postcard landscape in southern Chile is now quite literally a giant ashtray. Huge columns of debris have been spewing out of the Chaitén volcano nonstop, covering a wide area with ash.

PERSON ON THE STREET: This is very bad. The animals, we don't know what's going to happen to them.

GOMEZ-PABLO: The government ordered more than four thousand people evacuated because of a growing fear of toxic gases and falling debris. The small city of Chaitén is now a ghost town. A government spokesman told CNN en Espanol boats and helicopters helped get some of the people out. The eruption happened with little warning: first tremors, then the volcano began erupting Friday; scientists say the first time it has come to life in 9,000 years. Satellite images show clouds of smoke spreading east as far as the Atlantic Ocean. Chile is one of the most active volcano countries on Earth, but this is the worst eruption in 75 years.

JERSY MARINO, PERUVIAN MINING AND GEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE: Well, we are already monitoring, but now it will be more intense. It has already given us plenty of ideas about what's going on and what could happen.

GOMEZ-PABLO: Chile's President Michelle Bachelet assessed the damage on the ground.

MICHELLE BACHELET, CHILE'S PRESIDENT: We are going to work very hard to meet the needs of the people. We understand that, under these conditions, it is very hard to work and to be productive.

GOMEZ-PABLO: This part of Chile is one of the most coveted international destinations in the world for adventure tourism. Right now, the people here whose livelihoods turned to ashes are left to wonder when they can return. Amaro Gomez-Pablo for CNN, Santiago, Chile.


Fast Facts

GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for some Fast Facts! Chile is located on South America's western coast, bordering the Pacific Ocean. The country stretches about 2,700 miles from its northern border with Peru to the southern tip of South America. Chile is a land of geographical contrasts, from deserts in the north to subantarctic climates in the south. Volcanoes aren't the only natural disasters that affect the country. It's also experienced earthquakes, tsunamis, severe winter storms and summer droughts.

Myanmar Relief Effort

AZUZ: Turning our attention to Myanmar, where the deadly impact of Cyclone Nargis seems to be getting worse every day. According to the country's government, more than 22,000 people have been killed. But one U.S. official in the region says that number could end up over 100,000. Aid workers are trying to get help to the victims, but many can't get permission to enter the country. Ralitsa Vassileva has more on the relief efforts.


RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN REPORTER: It's been very frustrating, as you mentioned, for aid workers who are waiting in long lines at Myanmar's embassy in Bangkok just to get the paperwork to enter the country. They're ready to help, but they're stuck, while storm survivors are going yet another day without basic needs. And neighboring Thailand is the main staging ground for disaster operations to Myanmar, and the United States is among those with supplies there ready on standby. As you can see, three U.S. Navy ships are in a holding position in the Gulf of Thailand, waiting for permission to join the disaster effort. The U.S. has also flown in helicopters into Thai air bases, as well as C130 aircraft.

And this is where they will be headed, if they are let inside the country of Myanmar. You see the Irrawaddy Delta here on your screen, that's where the disaster struck. The worst hit area you see there in that square, that's where all the flooding, where all the people who are suffering, the homeless, the dead. All of them are there in that area. But what's holding them up is the lack of visas. So, we talked earlier to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. He explained what is behind this hold-up.

ADMIRAL TIMOTHY KEATING, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND, COMMANDER: We've been watching this through our command center as the storm came ashore over the weekend. We began moving forces very soon thereafter. We've been in extensive dialogue with our defense leaders and listening as the department of our state leaders and our president himself have implored Myanmar/Burma to let us come in. And it has been several days now, and we do not, as yet, have permission.

VASSILEVA: Washington has pledged three and a quarter million dollars in aid, but it says that it could do much more to help those in need if only it is allowed in.


Impact Your World

AZUZ: The groups trying to get aid to the cyclone victims can use your help, too. You can donate food, clothing, money, supplies; everything counts. Log on to to see how you can make a difference. And if you'd like to, you can share your thoughts on this disaster on our blog at


RAMSAY: Time for the Shoutout! What's the symbol for the euro? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) £, B) ¥, C) F or D) €? You've got three seconds -- GO! Option D is the correct choice here. The other symbols represent the pound, the yen and the franc. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

The Euro: 10 years

AZUZ: When it showed up, the euro actually replaced the French franc, along with currencies from other members of the European Union. These days, about 320 million people use the euro, and it's one-and-a-half times as valuable as the U.S. dollar. Not bad for an idea that a lot of people thought would crash and burn. Mallika Kapur celebrates this single currency's anniversary.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN REPORTER: There was great fanfare in 2002 during the switch to the euro. But even before the coins and notes went into circulation, the forecast for Europe's single currency wasn't bright. Back in 1998, the year EU leaders formally endorsed the group of 11 EU nations to launch the euro, critics predicted a quick collapse. This currency analyst says, they got it wrong.

DAVID BLOOM, HSBC: The Anglo Saxon dream was that the whole thing would fall apart, but of course this did not happen.

KAPUR: Now, few doubt the single currency has been a success. Analysts point to its performance over the last 6 months. The credit, says analyst David Bloom, goes to the European Central Bank.

BLOOM: This whole credit crunch has been a test for the euro and the ECB. I think they are a very credible central bank at the moment and have been seen to be so. But this was not the case when first they started out, don't forget. There were a lot of question marks over the ECB. And I think they are walking around with their heads high, and the euro has come out of this smelling like roses.

KAPUR: In contrast, it's been difficult for the dollar. Seven interest rate cuts in seven months by the U.S. Federal Reserve have left the dollar near record lows versus global currencies, including the euro. Looks like the dollar is not just down; it's also out of fashion. Rapper Jay-Z flashed a wad of euros, not dollars, in this music video! The euro's strength, though, is not without costs. Many European exporters complain that a strong euro is hurting them.

ZEB BHAM, CORPORATE FX: If we look at both auto car makers and also the airline industry, like Airbus, having a cost base in euros and having to sell their products in dollars is affecting them massively. When we've seen a ten percent currency re-valuation in the last 6 months, their costs have almost tripled.

KAPUR: Some people in Italy say the euro hasn't made much of a difference in their economic lives.

MAN ON THE STREET: If I think about the change, I should be quite middle class. But in effect, I am lower class.

KAPUR: Other countries are in line to adopt the euro. Next year, Slovakia will become the 16th country to use it. Mallika Kapur, CNN, London.


Lose the Penny

AZUZ: Ever hear that saying, you have to spend money to make money? Well right now, it costs more to make some coins than they're actually worth! Producing a penny takes more than a cent. And a nickel will run you more than seven-and-a-half cents. Not a good deal! It's because copper, zinc and nickel have all gone up in price in the last few years. That's why Congress is considering changing the contents of the coins. One solution: steel!

Before We Go

AZUZ: And finally, some car engines purr, but we've got a story about one that growls. It's all thanks to this guy! A California man went out to do some work on his truck Tuesday morning and found this pit bull hanging out under the hood! Apparently, the dog started out underneath the car, then worked its way up and got stuck around the engine. Eventually, the dog wiggled free. But not before chowing down on some wires and forcing the truck into the shop for repairs.



AZUZ: That's where we put the brakes on for today. We'll see you again tomorrow to close out the week. Have a good day. I'm Carl Azuz.

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