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CNN Student News Transcript: October 1, 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • Learn about a deadly stampede that took place at a religious temple in India
  • Discover what foods now require a label indicating where they were produced
  • Consider one Florida school district's proposal to stop naming valedictorians
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(CNN Student News) -- October 1, 2008

Quick Guide

Stampede in India - Learn about a deadly stampede that took place at a religious temple in India.

COOL Labels - Discover what foods now require a label indicating where they were produced.

No More Valedictorians? - Consider one Florida school district's proposal to stop naming valedictorians.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's the start of a new month and the start of a new day of CNN Student news. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Stampede in India

AZUZ: First up, officials are investigating the cause of a deadly stampede in India that killed more than 140 people and wounded dozens more. This took place around dawn yesterday, when tens of thousands of worshippers were making their way to a temple for a religious service. The building is located on top of a steep, narrow pathway, and authorities say that when the stampede started at the top, the momentum carried it quickly down the slope. Mallika Kapur reports on the aftermath of this tragic accident.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN REPORTER: A temple visit turned tragedy: a stampede at a Hindu temple in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. Victims are being treated in hospitals in the historic city of Jodhpur.

KIRAN SONI GUPTA, LOCAL OFFICIAL (TRANSLATED): An extra team of doctors has been put on duty, ambulances have been mobilized, private hospitals have also been mobilized.

KAPUR: Police are investigating what caused the stampede. They deny it was caused by rumors of a bomb.

GULAB CHAND KATARIA, HOME MINISTER OF RAJASTHAN (TRANSLATED): A huge crowd was there at the slope and people were in a hurry, and that is how the accident happened.

KAPUR: Thousands of worshippers had gathered at the Chamunda Temple to mark the first day of Navaratri, a nine-day holy period in the Hindu calendar; usually, a time for celebration, not for tragic scenes like this one. Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.


Spoken Word

U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Our country is not facing a choice between government action and the smooth functioning of the free market. We're facing a choice between action and the real prospect of economic hardship for millions of Americans. For the financial security of every American, Congress must act.

What Next?

AZUZ: As President Bush calls for action from Congress, digital activity forced some congressional servers into inaction. The system got overwhelmed when a ton of people logged on to read the bailout bill and e-mail their representatives about it. Administrators had to install a digital "traffic cop" to handle the overload. It's the first time that's ever happened. Atia Abawi reports on the current status of the bailout negotiations on Capitol Hill.


ATIA ABAWI, CNN REPORTER: One day after a major financial bailout plan failed to get the necessary votes in the House, President Bush tried to reassure Americans and urged lawmakers to keep pressing on.

BUSH: I assure our citizens and citizens around the world that this is not the end of the legislative process. We are in an urgent situation and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act.

ABAWI: The bailout bill was supposed to rescue Wall Street and, in turn, help Main Street Americans. But aspects of the legislation have congressional leaders divided. Those who opposed the bill argue more needs to be done to protect taxpayers. On Tuesday, a small group of Democrats proposed revisions.

REP. MARY KAPTUR, (D) OHIO: We want something that will really work. We don't want to reward bad behavior; we don't want to saddle the tax payer.

ABAWI: Admitting the bill is not perfect, those in favor of it say it's more than necessary.

SEN. JUDD GREGG, (R) NEW HAMPSHIRE: This doesn't solve the problem. This proposal, this puts a tourniquet on a patient who's been severely wounded, and hopefully that stops the bleeding long enough so that we can get that patient to the hospital and get them fixed up.

ABAWI: Some lawmakers on both sides say they remain confident a rescue plan is possible. Still, experts warn Americans shouldn't take the situation lightly.

SUZE ORMAN, FINANCIAL COMMENTATOR: You've got to stop charging things on your credit card. You've got to stop spending money on things you don't need. You know, you've got to understand that this is very serious, people.


AZUZ: There was some good news on Wall Street yesterday, as stocks rebounded after Monday's historic drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average -- it indicates how the overall market is doing -- added 485 points. That's the third-largest, one-day point gain in the history of the economic indicator.


JOHN LORINC, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which of the following is NOT a type of fruit? Is it: A) Rambutan, B) Arugula, C) Lychee or D) Kumquat? You've got three seconds -- GO! The only option here that isn't an exotic fruit is arugula. It's an herb. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

COOL Labels

AZUZ: Those fruits may not be part of your normal diet, but you'll have some extra info if you're shopping for them or more familiar fare. That's because a new law requires stores to tell consumers where certain foods come from. Given recent health scares like the tainted milk scandal we told you about in China, this might sound like a good idea. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the details on it.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're called the COOL labels, country-of-origin labels. Pretty good name for something that's been a long time coming, a lot of people would argue. This idea of knowing where your food comes from is something that's gained a lot of momentum, especially with a lot of these recent food scares. So, I want to tell you specifically what foods we're talking about overall here: meats, cold cuts and ground, as well as fish and shellfish; some of those have been labeled for some time already. Fruits and vegetables, nuts and even some supplements, as you see there as well.

But if you take this a step further, and I think it's important to do this, you'll recognize that not all foods are labeled, and that leaves some pretty big loopholes in the entire system. For example, I went to the grocery store here, take a look at this chicken. A raw chicken like this, this would require a label. But if it's cooked or processed in any way, it no longer would require a label, so this chicken over here would not. Even something like raw peanuts, peanuts over here, you would have to have a label which country these peanuts came from. If they're roasted though, they no longer require a label. And the thing I think perhaps is most concerning is when it comes to fruits and vegetables. For example, this cantaloupe has a "product of the USA" label on it already, but if it's cut up in any way and put into a fruit salad, it no longer requires a label.

Now, this is important because a lot of the food scares, for example, have come from specifically processed foods. Now, if you want to get your lamb specifically from New Zealand or your grapes, specifically Chilean grapes, you're going to be able to do that more likely than before, and these labels are going to come in all forms: little stickers, little twist ties, little signs. But, keep in mind that some of the most recent food scares as in the United States have come from within the United States. For example, the E. coli scare in spinach that came from California. So, this is a good move, but doesn't quite go far enough yet. Stay tuned. Back to you for now.


No More Valedictorians?

AZUZ: Thanks, Sanjay. Moving from groceries to grades now, and something most graduating classes have in common: a number one student. Getting top grades often earns the title of valedictorian. You guys know that. But a Florida school district is considering doing away with the honor, because officials are concerned it promotes too much competition in the classroom. Scott Johnson of affiliate WJXT in Jacksonville reports on the controversial proposal.


SCOTT JOHNSON, WJXT REPORTER: For many students, it would be the ultimate accomplishment, but for most, it's never a possibility: to be number one in the class, the valedictorian, a title the St. Johns County School District may be eliminating.

MARGIE DAVIDSON, ST JOHNS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT: The high school principals met as a group last year. They felt that it creates such a competitive atmosphere that it's not always healthy among students.

JOHNSON: Margie Davidson works for the district and says this is a divisive issue among district officials. Some think having a valedictorian is important.

DAVIDSON: They felt that in some cases, students are very competitive, but it is a good kind of competition. It's kind of real world. there is somebody that's going to be first.

JOHNSON: Faith Villanueva was number one at Nease High School last year. Now, she's a freshman at Duke.

FAITH VILLANUEVA, FORMER VALEDICTORIAN: I didn't feel stressed, like, competing for that spot. I was just trying to do my best in high school, and I just kind of ended up in that position.

JOHNSON: She says as long as the district keeps grade-point rankings and only gets rid of the title, being valedictorian isn't much more than giving a speech.

VILLANUEVA: It wouldn't be too big of a deal if they did do away with it, but I know that it's important for other people. Personally, for me, giving that speech at the end of the year wasn't a big deal, but I know for some people it's really important for them.

JOHNSON: One concern is that students are taking courses that are a little easier just to get the better grade and skipping out of courses they may need. If the district does decide to do this, it won't be immediate.

DAVIDSON: They don't feel fair to do it to kids who are already well along in their high school career. It would probably happen at the freshman year. So, we are still several years out from making a blanket decision.



AZUZ: Before it makes any decision, the district says it wants to hear some opinions from the public. And so do we! Should schools stick with these kinds of student rankings or toss the titles? Head to our blog and tell us what you think.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, a beastly battle with an unexpected outcome. Despite the bandage, this terrier actually triumphed over a shark! During Jake's daily swim last Friday, a five-foot shark decided Jake would make a good snack. When the dog was dragged underwater, his owner dove in, gave the shark a smack-down, punching the thing in the back of the neck! The shark let go, Jake popped back to the surface, and dog and owner both swam to safety.



AZUZ: No meal for the shark though, not even a doggie bag. Oh! Cheesy, but awesome! That's where today's show reaches shore. We'll see you tomorrow.

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