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CNN Student News Transcript: February 4, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Hear some arguments for and against the idea of "buying American"
  • Learn how an island nation is said to be sinking beneath the seas
  • Celebrate Black History Month with a look at some famous aviators
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(CNN Student News) -- February 4, 2009

Quick Guide

Buy America - Hear some arguments for and against the idea of "buying American."

Drowning Islands - Learn how an island nation is said to be sinking beneath the seas.

Black History Month - Celebrate Black History Month with a look at some famous aviators.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: From an island seemingly sinking into the sea to famous aviators taking flight, we've got highs and lows in today's edition of CNN Student News. Thanks very much for taking 10 to join us. I'm Carl Azuz reporting from the CNN Center.

First Up: Who's In, Who's Out

AZUZ: First up, a check-up on President Barack Obama's Cabinet nominees, as the confirmation process rolls on. Former Senator Tom Daschle, though, is no longer a part of it. He withdrew his nomination as health and human services secretary yesterday after questions were raised about unpaid taxes. Daschle said he recently paid back what he owed in full, but he didn't want to be a distraction to the new administration.

His withdrawal came just hours after one from Nancy Killefer. She had been picked as President Obama's chief performance officer, but withdrew her nomination yesterday as well over a different sort of tax issue. Some positive news for the administration: Eric Holder has been sworn in as the new attorney general. He becomes the first African-American to hold that office.

Word to the Wise


tariff (noun) a tax or fee that a government places on imported goods


Buy America

AZUZ: One way to avoid paying tariffs is to buy American, and that idea might be built into the economic stimulus plan. The aim would be to create jobs by requiring that the U.S. government use U.S. products when it procures, or gets, materials for all the projects in the plan. However, as Bill Tucker explains, some officials are concerned that "buy American" could backfire.


BILL TUCKER, CNN REPORTER: It sure seems like a patriotic requirement in the economic stimulus plan.

SEN. BYRON DORGAN, (D) NORTH DAKOTA: In the context of creating legislation that would put people back to work, the question is are we going to spend American taxpayers' money and purchase foreign products in order to make these repairs and build these projects? I hope not.

TUCKER: But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it is a dangerous idea. In a letter to the congressional leadership, the chamber warns of dire consequences should it happen.

JOHN MURPHY, U.S.CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The concern of the chamber is that Buy American provisions in the stimulus package could have the effect of costing American jobs, causing retaliation from our trading partners overseas as they raise protectionist barriers against our exports.

TUCKER: The Chamber doesn't hesitate to warn that the protectionism of the 1930s contributed to a depression. And even though no one is talking about raising any trade tariffs this time around, only creating a preference for American-made steel, iron and manufactured goods, fear is a substantial part of the chamber's argument, an argument greeted with outrage by groups who believe the Buy American clauses are appropriate, necessary and legal.

LORI WALLACH, GLOBAL TRADE WATCH: There are a handful of very large multinational corporations who don't think of the national interest, they don't think of the public interest. And in their self-interest, what they are trying to do is gin up horror and fear of almost any policy that doesn't suit their own needs.

TUCKER: The chamber claims we are the largest exporting country in the world, but according to analysis of trade data by the Economic Policy Institute, Germany and mainland China exported more than America in 2007. We are the number one importer, however. Buy America is hardly a new idea. Congress passed the Buy American Act in 1933 for the procurement of federal goods. In 1982, Congress passed the Buy America Act for transportation-related procurements. Bill Tucker, CNN, New York.



NIVISON: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these would you find in the southern Pacific Ocean? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it the: A) Aleutian Islands, B) Tuvalu, C) Falkland Islands or D) Madagascar? You've got three seconds -- GO! You'll find Tuvalu in the South Pacific, where it was first settled around 2,000 years ago. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Drowning Islands

AZUZ: But sometime soon, you might not be able to find Tuvalu at all! That's because the island nation, which is tiny -- it's only about one-tenth the size of Washington, D.C. -- looks like it's slowly going under, disappearing beneath the waters that surround it. But people are paying attention. One photographer, in particular, is working to raise awareness about the situation. Kyung Lah details his efforts to turn the tide in Tuvalu's favor.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORESPONDENT: Imagine a place in harmony with nature. The people live off the sea and the soil and produce few emissions. This is Tuvalu, a group of nine tiny islands in the south Pacific. Some 10,000 people live here, and their way of life is dying.

Shuichi Endo captured these images. The waters around Tuvalu are rising, he says, because of global warming. Erosion of the shores, farmland destroyed, Tuvalu is drowning. No point on Tuvalu is higher than four-and-a-half meters above sea level. The government and many experts believe the islands could one day disappear under rising water.

Endo, once an architect, was so moved by Tuvalu's plight he ditched his 9-to-5 job and started taking pictures. The goal: to shoot 10,000 pictures, mainly of Tuvalu's people, bringing the plight of a small island nation to a global audience.

SHUICHI ENDO, ACTIVIST [TRANSLATED]: "Global warming's impact is distant to us," says Endo. "The goal of the 10,000 Project is to destroy this distance. For example, look at this boy," says Endo. "His name is Peach. He's 13. His house floods regularly. He dreams of a future without the rising waters."

LAH: Endo says Peach and the thousands of other Tuvalu residents pay for this: the waste and the emissions produced by nearby Japan and other developed nations. Endo hopes by seeing the faces and hearing the stories, people will think twice about the cost of their livestyles to the environment.

ENDO [TRANSLATED]: I want to save the people of Tuvalu, but I also want to preserve the future for developed nations. Just saving Tuvalu isn't enough. I'm doing this project to protect my future and your future. When I complete both, I will feel I've accomplished something.

LAH: Preserving the future one small island at a time. Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


Black History Month

AZUZ: February, as many of you know, marks Black History Month, when America celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of famous black Americans. You'll find Learning Activities and a One-Sheet on the event on our Web site, and we'll be airing special Black History Month reports on our show throughout the month, beginning on today. Our coverage takes flight with some famous firsts in the field of aviation.


KEN NELSON, CNN REPORTER: Even though Eugene Jacques Bullard was born in Georgia, he couldn't serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps because he was black. Instead, he joined the French Flying Corps, becoming the first black military pilot in history and the only one in the first World War.

Then there was Bessie Coleman, another American who had trouble getting off the ground because of her race and her gender. So, she also went to France, and on June 15, 1921, Coleman became the first black woman on the planet to get her pilot's license.

The Tuskegee Airmen soared into World War II history as the U.S. military's first African-American flying group. One of these pilots, Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr., eventually became the Air Force's first African-American general.

And Guy Bluford went about as far as you can go in aviation. In 1983, he became the first African-American to soar into space. And believe it or not, that wasn't the original goal. He said he just wanted to make a contribution to the program. Honoring the aerial achievements of African-Americans this Black History Month!


Facebook Promo

AZUZ: So, we launched our official Facebook page and asked you to sign up as fans, and man, did you guys respond! Over 500 in one day alone! That's awesome! And you've been leaving some great comments on the wall, too. We posted a new video on the page. It's a thank you for signing up, and it includes my response to some of those wall posts. So check it out, and please, please, please keep coming back. We'll be putting up new content on a regular basis. But we also want to know what you guys want to see, so tell us your thoughts. And if you haven't signed up yet, get on it! Log on to Facebook and search for "Carl Azuz, official." Official is the key. Thanks again for making this a success. We'll see you online.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, a Minnesota man gets a running start on his birthday. On second thought, maybe it's more of a walk. But you have to pace yourself when you're spending 24 hours straight on a treadmill! B.J. Van Beusekom decided to celebrate his 30th and raise some money for charity with this extended workout. Yeah, that definitely beats cake. But he did get one present when his 80-mile journey came to an end.



AZUZ: Somewhere to sit down. Well, like him, we're gonna take a hike. I'm Carl Azuz. See you soon!

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