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CNN Student News Transcript: January 7, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Learn what challenges the U.S. Congress faces as it begins its new session
  • Hear some students' views about the economy's possible impact on their future
  • Find out how hackers gained control of some high-profile Twitter accounts
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(CNN Student News) -- January 7, 2009

Quick Guide

Congressional Controversy - Learn what challenges the U.S. Congress faces as it begins its new session

Class in Session - Hear some students' views about the economy's possible impact on their future.

Twitter Over Twitter - Find out how hackers gained control of some high-profile Twitter accounts.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 -- not 2008, as we had yesterday -- and you've found your way to CNN Student News. Glad to have you with us. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Congressional Controversy

AZUZ: First up, there's a new Congress in town, and it comes with a little bit of controversy. The country's legislative branch kicked off its 111th session on Tuesday, but a couple seats in the Senate are still undecided. Monday, we mentioned some of the concerns surrounding Roland Burris, who's been picked to fill President-Elect Barack Obama's Senate seat vacancy. You might remember there's also an unresolved election night contest from Minnesota. Samantha Hayes has all the latest details.


SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN REPORTER: First, the formalities: For the last time, outgoing Vice President Dick Cheney called the Senate to order, swearing in new senators and the man who will soon take over his duties: Vice President-elect Joe Biden. On the other side of the Capitol, Nancy Pelosi is re-elected as Speaker of the House.


HAYES: But as the new Congress gets to work, Democrats, who now hold a larger majority, face enormous expectations. The top priority is the economy, an emergency spending bill and middle class tax cuts that could cost $775 billion.

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: We've got to act boldly and we've got to act swiftly.

HAYES: Democrats also promised to withdraw troops from Iraq and expand healthcare. All this while membership in the Senate is unsettled. In Minnesota, incumbant Republican Norm Coleman is challenging the recount naming Democrat Al Franken the winner by only 225 votes. He was not sworn in today. And in Illinois, Democrat Roland Burris, appointed by embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich, was turned away from the Senate.

ROLAND BURRIS, ILLINOIS SENATE NOMINEE: Advised that my credentials were not in order, and would not be accepted.

HAYES: The sticking point is the signature of the Illinois secretary of state, who is against Burris's appointment by Blagojevich.

SEN. HARRY REID, (D) MAJORITY LEADER: A court case in Illinois is pending to determine whether the Secretary of State, Jesse White, is obligated to sign this certification. We are awaiting that court decision.

HAYES: Also on the docket, confirming Obama's Cabinet nominees, including Senator Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and Timothy Geithner as secretary of the treasury. In Washington, I'm Samantha Hayes.


Is This Legit?

CHRIS MOZINGO, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The legislative branch of government is the first one mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Totally true! Article I is all about Congress.

Blog Report

AZUZ: Switching gears now. It's gonna get worse before it gets better; that seems to be how most of you feel about the year ahead. From our blog at Sean asks, "Who could be shocked about how bad the economy is? This has been creeping up on us like Godzilla with a nasty head cold, in other words, not very quietly." Kailie says she's been unable to find a job out where she lives because of the way the economy is. But Lacey writes, "I don't really feel the effects from the economic issues because I got my first job back in July, and all of us are getting a pay raise," she said. Jenny is an optimist: "I think with the new leadership, and hopefully the cooperation of all of society, we can eventually make this country's current situation better." And Jon writes, "Although we aren't in a good situation right now, it's not like we haven't been here before. There is no doubt in my mind that we will make it out of this just fine."

Class in Session

AZUZ: A few of you commented that you liked hearing what students had to say about all this in Tony Harris's report from an Atlanta-area high school that we aired on Monday. Well, you're in luck, because class is back in session with Mr. Harris, as those same students discuss their futures.


DEMARIUS "DJ" WALKER, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I can strongly attest to the fact that not having money makes you a lot more creative. And this country, I think, is going to get really creative.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Because we have to?

WALKER: Because we have to.

TAYLOR FULTON, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Two things are going to happen. One, teenagers are going to start caring more, and two, adults around the world are going to realize that "we messed up." I was born in this year, which sets me up to be where I am now. But our parents made these decisions, and our leaders, our past leaders made these decisions. And it's not me blaming them, it's me taking what they've done and saying, "I'm going to fix it later." And every teenager in the world who's going to have to fix it later is going to finally say, "I'm going to help fix it."

HARRIS: How many of you are concerned about your education choices moving forward, to finish up high school? Perhaps you had a vision of where you'd like to attend college, and how many of you are running into the reality now?


HARRIS: Really! Really! That your first choice may not be the choice any longer?

FULTON: Every senior in this room.

STUDENT 1, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I used to want to go to Georgetown.

STUDENT 2, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I used to want to go out of state.

HARRIS: Every junior, every sophomore.

LAUREN SCOTT, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I've liked New York University for a while, and my sister wants to go to a fairly expensive college as well. And my mom just kinda laughs when we talk about it. And she's like, "Well, you know, scholarships; kinda hard to get."

MICHAEL ROBINSON, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: What had become a college education in this country was just also another example of American profligate spending. Because, like, you look at people who would go to these expensive schools that were way beyond their means and leave with $50,000 worth of debt. I mean, that's not sustainable.

POWERS: I know a guy that went to Harvard, and still 40 years later and even with the higher-skilled job that he got from that, he's still paying off his college debts.

HARRIS: Any one else rethinking college choices because of these difficult economic times?


WALKER: She's standing in her ground.

FULTON: I refuse. I mean, I'm not going to give up the opportunity to attend a prestigious college where I know I want to get this really good education because I can't afford it. I'm going to do everything in my power to do every other alternative to make sure I can go to that school. I'm sorry. I've wanted to go to an Ivy League school since I was seven and I'm not, I know that times are different, but that doesn't change my aspirations later. I'm going to do whatever it takes. I will write as many college essays. I will do whatever I have to do to get the education, you know?


A Word to the Wise...

MOZINGO: A Word to the Wise...

twitter (verb) to utter a group of quick, excited sounds; also, to tremble with excitement


Twitter Over Twitter

AZUZ: Of course, most of you are probably familiar with a different kind of Twitter, the social networking site that lets users post groups of quick, excited words to talk about what they're doing. But some hackers recently got into the system and sent out some nasty tweets from high-profile accounts. Josh Levs explains how they did it and who was affected.


JOSH LEVS, CNN REPORTER: It hit the incoming leader of the free world...

OBAMA: Good morning.

LEVS: The world's most downloaded pop star, and right here at CNN.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: There is news out there that our Twitter account was either hacked or phished, we're not quite sure yet.

LEVS: Twitter, the online system millions use to communicate and to get the latest messages from their favorite stars or broadcasters, had been hacked. The hacker got into 33 accounts, including those of Britney Spears, Rick Sanchez and Barack Obama, who doesn't use his anymore. The hacker posted fake messages, including some that were very inappropriate, even disturbing. Twitter acted quickly and posted a message online.

SANCHEZ: "We immediately locked down the accounts and investigated the issue. Rick, Barack and others are now back in control of their accounts."

LEVS: So, how did this happen? Well, Twitter says these accounts were compromised by an individual who hacked into some of the tools their support team uses to help people. They say, "We immediately took the support tools offline and we'll put them back only when they're safe and secure." Josh Levs, CNN, Atlanta.


Before We Go

AZUZ: And finally today, a Chinese celebration that's quite cool. It's the annual ice festival! The event takes place in Harbin, one of the coldest locations in China. It includes incredible carvings and sculptures, even rides fashioned out of the frosty material. Although sliding down a slope of ice might be more frigid than fun. There's also an icy impression of Disneyland; you could call it Disney on ice. It's there to welcome the thousands of tourists who are expected to visit the festival.



AZUZ: With so much to do, let's just hope they have some time to chill out while they're there. That puts this show on ice. You guys have a great day.

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