Skip to main content

CNN Student News Transcript: January 23, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Explore the history of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • Consider the pros and cons of nationalizing the U.S. banking industry
  • Head Off the Beaten Path to find some edible inaugural indulgences
  • Next Article in Living »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN Student News) -- January 23, 2009

Quick Guide

Detention Facility Closing - Explore the history of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Saving Banks - Consider the pros and cons of nationalizing the U.S. banking industry.

Off the Beaten Path - Head Off the Beaten Path to find some edible inaugural indulgences.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: You've found your way to CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Detention Facility Closing

AZUZ: First up, an executive order to shut down the detention facility at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Yesterday, President Barack Obama ordered that the facility be closed within the next year. The detention center has housed detainees in the War on Terror since 2002. But critics say that many of those detainees have been held at Guantanamo indefinitely. Some lawmakers are opposed to closing the facility, because moving the detainees to U.S. prisons could be risky to national security. But President Obama says it will help the U.S. regain the moral high ground in the war on terror.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The message that we are sending around the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism. And we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively, and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals.

AZUZ: Okay, so how did a U.S military base end up in Cuba in the first place. CNN's Kyra Phillips and Josh Levs talked about that issue and the history of the detention facility.


JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Okay, I want to show you where this is. Let's zoom all the way down to Cuba. And while were here, a few things to take a look at. We're going to get into this area here: Guantanamo Bay. In this section, you can see why it's called a bay. Now, look at this: There are two things that we talk about; sometimes we mix the terms. You have all of Guantanamo Naval Base, and then you have this, which is the prison area there. And within this -- I'm going to get out of the way here -- Camp Delta, one of six camps at the prison base there at the prison that are used to hold onto many of these terrorism suspects.

Campa Delta you hear a lot about. In fact, we have some video I want to show you here from Guantanamo Bay. It includes some video from Camp Delta. Now, the cells are about eight feet long, seven feet wide, eight feet high. And no one is allowed on the base without U.S. permission. So, the video we have often comes from the military or is screened by the military. And I have some facts for you here. Now, you mentioned before 250 detaineees now. But at its peak, there were actually 750. Five have died in U.S. custody. And you talked earlier about how long they've been there. The first ones from Afghanistan and Pakistan arrived in January of 2002. So, it's about exactly 7 years ago. And obviously, as we know, we just saw in that piece there, the prison has been a tremendous source of controversy. A lot of questions raised about the treatment of detainees there, Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Alright, well as we know, the background here; if you look at the history of the U.S. and Cuba, we haven't had dipolomatic relations. So, why a base there?

LEVS: Yeah. You know why? Because it goes way back to before any of that happened. Way back as in more than a century ago. Let's give you some dates here. In 1903, Cuba leased that area to the United States. And then what happened was that in 1934, Cuba and the U.S. signed a perpetual lease, and it can only be broken by mutual consent. So, that is what has to happen there. The U.S. continues to pay. It's been sending, lately, checks for $4,085 a year. Actually, Castro didn't even cash them. The Cuban government still does not. The Cuban government says that the lease is illegal. But if you look at that lease, it has to be ended by mutual consent. So, unless the United States wants to end it, Cuba can therefore not do it on its own. And that is why this prison has been there, and that is why the naval base has continued to exist even with no diplomatic relations with Cuba.


Word to the Wise


nationalization (noun) government ownership or control of something, like a business or industry

Saving Banks

AZUZ: With the country's economy struggling, there's been talk about the possible nationalization of the U.S. banking industry. It's happened before in parts of Europe and Asia. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn't. But is this the right move for the U.S.? And if not, what in the world is? Mary Snow examines the issue of nationalization and explores some alternative solutions.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Despite the air of optimism in Washington, Wall Street is increasingly worried about the banking industry. With banks racking up billions in losses, many economists say the Obama administration needs to act quickly. But options are few. Britain is moving towards nationalizing some banks, leading to fears the same might happen in the U.S.

CHRIS MAYER, COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL: That idea that the government just takes over the banks entirely, I think, is not only dangerous politically -- that is, we don't want the U.S. government running our entire financial system -- but also I think it's likely to be ineffective.

SNOW: Some economists point to success in Sweden. Back in the 1990s, it nationalized banks to deal with its financial crisis. One former FDIC commissioner notes, while it worked, Sweden had fewer banks to take over.

WILLIAM SEIDMAN, FORMER FDIC CHAIRMAN: We have a couple of hundred big banks and thousands of small banks. And obviously, the government doesn't want to take all of those over.

SNOW: Another idea? Some economists say the government should create a so-called "bad bank." Simply put, the government would buy toxic assets from struggling banks and segregate them.

SIMON JOHNSON, FORMER IMF CHIEF ECONOMIST: You want to take them out of the picture so the government is buying those assets from the banks. It's giving them cash or treasury securities in return.

SNOW: One major challenge? Putting a price tag on those troubled assets. One economist doesn't see any of these options really working.

MAYER: I think we have to keep the banking system alive. And there really isn't much of an alternative to doing it other than injecting capital and trying to generate some private capital, and then working to fix the housing market in a serious way.

SNOW: Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner was asked during his confirmation hearing about creating a so-called bad bank. He acknowledged the idea was under consideration, but also difficult to get right. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.



RAMSAY: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Bailey's 10th Grade world civilization classes at Fairdale High School in Fairdale, Kentucky. Who was the first U.S. treasury secretary? You know what to do! Was it: A) Benjamin Franklin, B) Aaron Burr, C) John Adams or D) Alexander Hamilton? You've got three seconds -- GO! Alexander Hamilton served as the country's first treasury secretary from 1789 to 1795. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

A Witness to History

AZUZ: Hopefully you were paying attention, because that question is on our weekly Newsquiz. You can find it at Another issue likely to turn up on the test: the presidential inauguration. Student iReporter Corey O'Quinn gives us a ground-level perspective on this moment in history.


COREY O'QUINN, iREPORTER: Corey O'Quinn here for CNN Student News. We're walking about downtown D.C. a couple of hours after the inauguration. As you can see, there's not as many people here. Everyone is trying to clear out and be on their way. But earlier in the day, it was a completely different story.

This was the scene early Tuesday morning in our nation's capital, as millions of people made their way into the city to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. I've never before seen so many people in one place. We were all being herded around the city like a bunch of cattle obediently following our shepherds. But the mood was joyous. Everyone was smiling, yelling, and chanting as they made their way to their destinations. Even I couldn't contain my excitement.

O'QUINN: Feels pretty amazing.

PERSON ON THE STREET: Pretty amazing?

O'QUINN: Yeah, it's awesome. Can't wait.

O'QUINN: After making my way through the herds of people, I found a spot in front of the jumbotron next to the Washington Monument to watch the ceremony. After waiting several hours in the freezing cold, I finally witnessed President-elect Barack Obama become the president of the United States.

Even though I had to watch on the TV screen on the National Mall, I still feel blessed to have had the opportunity to become a witness to history.


Off the Beaten Path

AZUZ: Fridays are awesome! Especially when we get to take a trip Off the Beaten Path. This week: some inaugural indulgences you could actually ingest!


AZUZ: Forget about what the Obamas were wearing on Inauguration Day. We wanna know what they were eating, and if it included any edible Obama indulgences offered amid inauguration enthusiasm! That's a mouthful, and so are these cookies: iced with an edible, executive image, even infantile eaters enjoyed an allotment!

WOMAN: We worked 24 hours a day for two days.

AZUZ: ...So they could stay fresh for the fresh new leader. Well, if you're more into image, these cookies actually come with a presidential picture, also, they say, safe for the stomach. But if it seems like a compliment to have your face on a cookie, consider this: someone would bite off your head. Still flattered? Either way, you're gonna need something to wash it down. And not to be outdone by its cookie counterparts, we give you "Barack-O-berry" soda.

MAN ON THE STREET: It symbolizes change. It has a different taste, a different flavor.

AZUZ: Hmmm, "different." But does that mean it's good? Winning the election was probably pretty sweet, but this commemorative cola's supposedly even sweeter.

ROB METZ, OWNER, AVERY SODAS: Mister Obama happened to be on vacation in Hawaii at the time. We said, "Let's add some pineapple to the blue raspberry just for his Hawaiian heritage."

AZUZ: Whether you'd go for it, or if you would've preferred a sample of John McCream, this trip Off the Beaten Path has fizzled out.




AZUZ: A lot to digest there. You guys have a great weekend. I'm Carl Azuz.

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print