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CNN Student News Transcript: January 6, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Learn about the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Travel to an ancient battlefield that was recently discovered in Germany
  • Hear how one man's "no excuses" motto has helped him face big challenges
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(CNN Student News) -- January 6, 2009

Quick Guide

Gaza Crisis - Learn about the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Battlefield Germania - Travel to an ancient battlefield that was recently discovered in Germany.

No Excuses - Hear how one man's "no excuses" motto has helped him face big challenges.



U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I know people are saying, "Let's have a cease-fire." Those are noble ambitions. But any cease-fire must have the conditions in it so that Hamas does not use Gaza as a place from which to launch rockets.

First Up: Gaza Crisis

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz. You just heard President Bush there discussing the situation in Gaza and the possible conditions for a cease-fire in the Middle Eastern territory. But neither Israeli nor Hamas leaders seem to be thinking about an end to the fighting. The Palestinian organization's military wing has warned that rocket strikes will continue "for many months." Hamas militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel yesterday from Gaza, as Israeli forces continued their air and ground assault on the territory, leading to heavy fighting in Gaza City.

Transition to Power

AZUZ: As the current president focuses on foreign policy, the president-elect is setting his sights on the economy. President-elect Barack Obama is scheduled to give a major speech on the issue Thursday. Yesterday, he was on Capitol Hill, meeting with congressional leaders, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to discuss his plans. One official says the president-elect will propose about $300 billion in tax cuts. However, some lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, have raised concerns about the plan.


ERIC GERSHON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these countries is Germany? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A, B, C or D? You've got three seconds -- GO! On this map, "B" is Germany, a country that's a little smaller than the state of Montana! That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Battlefield Germania

AZUZ: A group of archaeologists has uncovered evidence of an ancient battlefield in Germany that seems to indicate that a famous fight scene from an Oscar-winning movie was more fact than fiction. But more importantly, the findings, which date back more than a millennium, could lead to a rewrite on history. Fred Pleitgen digs into the details.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Roman legions against Germanic barbarians: the opening scene of Ridley Scott's movie "Gladiator"; a merciless onslaught. This is what the battlefield might have looked like. German archaeologists say that right here in this forest, they've made what could be one of the most exciting finds in recent decades. For weeks, archaeologist Petra Loenne and her team have been searching this area with metal detectors, pulling hundreds of ancient Roman weapons out of the ground.

PETRA LOENNE, ARCHAEOLOGIST (TRANSLATED): We believe the Germans ambushed the Romans here, but the legions quickly fired back with catapults and archers. And then it came to a massive, man-on-man onslaught.

PLEITGEN: The objects are so well maintained the scientists can already retrace some of the battle lines, and they paint the picture of a highly organized, technologically superior Roman army. This is an arrow head for a Scorpio, an awesome, long-distance catapult, something like ancient artillery, says Henning Hassman of Hanover's archaeological institute.

HENNING HASSMANN, LOWER SAXONY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AGENCY: That shows us Roman weapon high-tech. With a very high speed on a very long distance, about 300 meters, you can hit a very precise target.

PLEITGEN: And there's much more, like this combat horse shoe, spearheads and coins like this one, depicting Commodus, the evil Roman emperor played by Joaquin Phoenix in "Gladiator." Scientists date the ancient battlefield to about the third century A.D., showing the Romans maintained a massive military presence in northern Germania much longer than experts had believed.

LUTZ STRATMANN, SCIENCE MINISTER, LOWER SAXONY: We have to write our history books new, because what we thought was that the activities of the Romans ended at nine or ten after Christ. Now, we know that it must be 200 or 250 after that.

PLEITGEN: And the archaeologists in the forest say they have just begun to scratch the surface.

LOENNE (TRANSLATED): We hope we might find foritifications and, if we are lucky, maybe even battlefield graveyards.

PLEITGEN: By the way, the scientists tell us the movie "Gladiator" seems to be pretty historically accurate. The wars in ancienct times may indeed have looked a lot like this. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Hanover, Germany.


Word to the Wise

GERSHON: A Word to the Wise...

perseverance (noun) to continue or move forward despite challenges or discouragement

No Excuses

AZUZ: We're six days into 2009, which means many New Year's resolutions, like that popular one to hit the gym, have already been broken. But if you're looking for sympathy for skipping your workout, you won't get any from Kyle Maynard. His motto: no excuses, and it's helped him persevere despite some pretty severe obstacles. Kyra Phillips sat down with Maynard to discuss his accomplishments.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Kyle Maynard was actually born a congential amputee, yet he can lift more than 400 pounds, he played football, he was on the high school wrestling team, he even types 50 words a minute. He's written a bestselling book -- it's won national awards -- and is now opening his own gym, called, of course, No Excuses Athletics. Kyle joins me now to give us a little bit of New Year's inspiration. Great to have you with us.

KYLE MAYNARD, CONGENITAL AMPUTEE: I appreciate it. Thank you for the opportunity.

PHILLIPS: How young were you when your dad said, "OK, we're going to start building your muscles, we're not going to look at you any differently"? And he started actually strapping weights to your arms, right?

MAYNARD: He brought me in the weight room when I was in sixth grade. I was 11 years old, going in to play football. I had ropes around my arms originally, and then ended up getting stronger and stronger. By the time I was in high school, I had broken the ropes. Got chains after that, and got stronger. It was actually two-and-a-half pounds that I used to start lifting with. What I try to teach people is that there is always a place to start. Because I was always kind of self-conscious, with people looking at me in the weight room with two-and-a-half pounds on my arms. I didn't know what they thought about it. And then all of a sudden, like you said, being able to lift 400 pounds by the time I was 19 years old.

PHILLIPS: OK, interesting. You were self-conscious about a little weight, but not about your condition?

MAYNARD: My parents, they raised me to always believe that I was normal, and that I didn't have any type of disabilty. And that's my career and passion, has been in motivational speaking. When I speak, I try to teach people that really, we are all disabled in some way or another. We all make excuses, but it's just about our perspective and how we look at those things and how we can overcome them that really matters.

PHILLIPS: And from what I understand, back when you were wrestling, that you were losing every match. And then you thought, "Forget this. I gotta figure out a different technique." And then you started winning all your matches. Tell me what happened.

MAYNARD: It was a turnaround in confidence. When I was in sixth grade, I lost every match I competed in. And my goal was to not be pinned, and I wasn't, so I stuck with it. My dad convinced me to come out, mom and dad together. In seventh grade, I came out and the same thing happened again. After that season, I hadn't won a match. And it got until about halfway through that year where I finally realized it was just a fear that was built up inside me, and I had to let go.

PHILLIPS: How did the kids respond to you, whether it's your classmates or kids you're speaking to now? What do they come up and ask you? What's the most common question?

MAYNARD: You know, I think probably the most common question that I get from any group is if I had the opportunity to go and meet God and change the way that I was made, would I? And I think the honest answer is no.


MAYNARD: I feel like I've been blessed to be able to go impact the people that I have. After I released my book, "No Excuses," there were people e-mailing me telling me that the story stopped them from committing suicide.


MAYNARD: So now I kinda want to go and have the same impact that I have had with the gym, now that I've been led to with the speaking in the past.

PHILLIPS: Why a gym?

MAYNARD: It's really my mission in life, what I feel compelled to go and do, is to just go and try and use my story to help others. And I feel like in this way, I can go and touch people in a unique way on a daily basis. And people that come and train with me can know that I care about them and want them to succeed and that, frankly, it comes back to that. If I can do it, then anybody can. It's that type of attitude.



AZUZ: No hands, no feet, no excuses. An incredible story, and that motto goes for you, too, because we want to read your opinions about Kyle and his accomplishments on our blog! So, head to and share your thoughts today. No excuses!

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, just taking a little spin in my weekend car. OK, not really; Ferraris cost more than my house. But believe it or not, sales are smokin', even as the country idles in the pit of recession! A Tampa Bay dealership that opened just a few weeks ago is scrambling just to keep them on the showroom floor, even with the starting line price at $100,000!



AZUZ: What a lot of folks would call "wheel" expensive. We will weturn tomorrow with more CNN Student News! I'm Carl Azuz.

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