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CNN Student News Transcript: September 12, 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • See how Americans marked the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
  • Examine the cause and impact of a fire inside an undersea European railway
  • Learn why emergency personnel from across the U.S. are gathering in Texas
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(CNN Student News) -- September 12, 2008

Quick Guide

Remembering 9/11 - See how Americans marked the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Fire Under Water - Examine the cause and impact of a fire inside an undersea European railway.

Ike Eyes the Gulf Coast - Learn why emergency personnel from across the U.S. are gathering in Texas.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN Student News on the very best day of the week! I'm Carl Azuz broadcasting from the CNN Center.

First Up: Remembering 9/11

AZUZ: First up, Americans pause to recall the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 and pay tribute to the people who lost their lives in those terrorist attacks seven years ago. President Bush declared it "one of the worst days in America's history," but he vowed that the country will "always honor the heroes of 9/11." That's exactly what many people did yesterday at ceremonies across the U.S. Ninette Sosa has the details on this day of remembrance.


NINETTE SOSA, CNN REPORTER: A day to remember and to honor those who were killed: the seventh anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks. That day, terrorists hijacked airplanes to crash them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Another plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field. In New York, twin beams of blue light were projected into the night sky in memory of the fallen Trade Center Towers.

SOSA: More than 2,700 people died there; their names were read aloud at Ground Zero.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: Today marks the seventh anniversary of the day our world was broken. It lives forever in our hearts and our history.

SOSA: Presidential candidates Senators John McCain and Barack Obama both visited the World Trade Center site. At the Pentagon, there was a ceremony to dedicate a memorial to the 184 victims killed there.

DONALD RUMSFELD, FMR. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Today, we renew our vows to never forget how this long struggle began.

SOSA: President Bush and the First Lady were also there.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: On a day when buildings fell, heroes rose.

SOSA: And in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, there was a ceremony to remember the 40 passengers and crew who died when their hijacked plane went down in a field. For CNN Student News, I'm Ninette Sosa.



GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Morales' students at Carver Middle School in Monroe, Georgia! The railway known as the Chunnel runs between France and what other European country? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Germany, B) Italy, C) Spain or D) United Kingdom? You've got three seconds -- GO! The Chunnel runs beneath the English Channel, connecting France and the United Kingdom. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Fire Under Water

AZUZ: Since that undersea tunnel opened in 1994, it's made it a lot easier for people to travel between the UK and mainland Europe. But not yesterday. Officials put the brakes on all traffic running through the chunnel after a fire broke out inside the aquatic avenue. Jim Boulden explains how the blaze began and examines the shutdown's impact.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN REPORTER: The alarm was raised just before 3pm London time Thursday. British emergency officials called a fire inside the Channel Tunnel "a serious incident." Train service was halted on the French and England sides. It quickly became clear the fire was aboard a freight train under the English channel. These trains shuttle trucks through the 14-year-old tunnel.

The fire appears to have originated from a truck carrying the toxic chemical phenol, once known as carbolic acid, that according to French officials. The tunnel was safely evacuated, with only a handful of the truckers sustaining minor injuries, such as smoke inhalation.

Some two thousand passengers were on trains heading to or from London, Paris and Brussels on the Eurostar service when the fire was discovered. Thankfully, there were no Eurostar trains taking the 20-minute journey through the tunnel then. But service was suspended, leaving thousands more stranded in train stations.

STRANDED PASSENGER: We only spoke to one guy and we don't have any real information about the plan.

STRANDED PASSENGER: So, we're back in London having missed our connection over in France. And we don't know what to do. We're just trying to find out what's next, basically.

STRANDED PASSENGER: We're on our honeymoon and we're trying to get home to Canada, and we're trying to get to Frankfurt to take our flight.

BOULDEN: Eurostar told passengers there would be no more trains on Thursday.

SIMON MONTAGUE, EUROSTAR: Our concern tonight has been first to deal with those passengers who are either en route between the three cities, or indeed were stranded here at the stations. We've dealt with that situation and people have been able to make their way back home or find accommodation or alternative travel.

BOULDEN: The Channel Tunnel is actually three tunnels: two for trains, while the middle service tunnel is used for just such an incident. Rescue personnel can travel in the service tunnel and there are cross passages for the truck drivers or passengers to reach safety in the middle tunnel if necessary. The shuttle train itself also has an area to protect passengers.

COLIN BROWN, INST. OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS: The actual booths where the people are travelling are hermetically sealed. And I believe, although it's yet to be confirmed, that the area where the people were initially held has a 5-hour ability to withhold smoke from outside. During that time, the service tunnel can be opened and people can run across a relatively short gap to get into the clear air of the service tunnel.

BOULDEN: The tunnel was shut in 1996 by a serious fire with damage to the tracks. It took months for services to get back to normal. With hundreds of trucks carrying goods already stacking up on both sides, the chaos this time has already begun. Jim Boulden, CNN, London.


Spoken Word

GOV. RICK PERRY, TEXAS: My message to Texans is that in the projected impact area, finish your preparations, because this is a storm that could have extraordinary impact on them, on their personal belongings. And it's on its way. If your local officials tell you to begin to evacuate, follow their instructions and follow their instructions closely.

Ike Eyes the Gulf Coast

AZUZ: Texas Governor Rick Perry there, talking about Hurricane Ike. This storm has pounded parts of the Caribbean and now it's barreling toward Texas. As you just heard, officials are urging residents to get out of the way. On Thursday, Ike was a Category 2 storm, measuring about 700 miles across! That's almost as wide as Texas! But forecasters are expecting it to pick up strength before it hits the state tonight or tomorrow. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 3.5 million people live in the potential impact zone. Many of them are stocking up on supplies to prepare for this storm. But as thousands of people evacuate the region, others are heading toward it. What? Aubrey Mika Chancellor of affiliate WOAI in San Antonio reports on emergency personnel from across the country who are helping out in Texas.

First Responders

AUBREY MIKA CHANCELLOR, REPORTER, WOAI: First responders come ready, armed with pillows and suitcases. This group just arrived from Nebraska.

RAFAEL AVILES, PORT SAN ANTONIO: We're just happy to help out and do our part.

CHANCELLOR: Port San Antonio is the staging area. We've seen this place fill up three times just this year, but this time it's different. There are more buses, more ambulances and mobile command units from all over the country.

AVILES: With all the weather reports we're seeing on all y'all station is that this one could be the one where these guys could actually be called into action.

CHANCELLOR: Some buses have already been called into action. Only News 4 was here as hundreds of buses left Port San Antonio, and all heading for Corpus Christi. Others are still here waiting to find out where they'll go.

MIKE MINCHEW, ALABAMA PARAMEDIC: We drove about 13 hours to get here. That's 720 miles.

CHANCELLOR: Mike Minchew drove his ambulance all night from Alabama. He, like so many others here, is hoping to get some sleep before he gets his deployment orders.

MINCHEW: We're home right now and waiting to be dispatched out to wherever we may need to go.

Off the Beaten Path

AZUZ: Finally today, a quick trip Off the Beaten Path before you're off for the weekend!


AZUZ: So you're out having fun with the family and this thing comes along: a six-foot long Nile monitor, a.k.a. lizard, big enough to kill pets and hurt you pretty badly. What do you do? Two Oregon men did what Chuck Norris would do: They grabbed the thing, wrestled it into a large, metal dog cage and transported it to the local pet shop!

This next guy we're showing you has not wrestled lizards, but he has wrestled with tough editorial decisions over the last six years, lovingly producing CNN Student News! From putting the show together to putting up with me to putting together bloopers reels that I'm finally getting revenge for, Gerald Smith has been patiently shaping the program you see today since you were in elementary school. But a new job with is calling, so Mr. Smith will be trading in studio shots for hook shots, late-breaking news for fast-breaking plays. The show will go on, but on behalf of all of us at CNN Student News, we're gonna miss you, buddy.




AZUZ: And miss you we will. Now that's kind of, as I said, my revenge for all the times Gerald pulled little blooper reels on me. That's sort of my way of getting back to him. Now, we are talking about this on our blog. If you'd like to wish Gerald well, you're welcome to do so on Hope you guys have a great weekend, and we will see you again on Monday. Bye bye now.

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