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CNN Student News Transcript: February 9, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Learn about the damage caused by deadly wildfires in Australia
  • Explore a controversy involving one of baseball's biggest stars
  • Consider the increasing role of women in the American workforce
  • Next Article in Living »
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(CNN Student News) -- February 9, 2009

Quick Guide

Aussie Wildfires - Learn about the damage caused by deadly wildfires in Australia.

Baseball & Steroids - Explore a controversy involving one of baseball's biggest stars.

Gender in the Workplace - Consider the increasing role of women in the American workforce.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Monday, but at least you won't have a quiz for the next 10 minutes while you're checking out CNN Student News! From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Aussie Wildfires

AZUZ: First up, deadly wildfires blaze a destructive path across the Australian state of Victoria. "An absolute feeling of helplessness," is how one resident described the situation. Flames roared across the region over the weekend, claiming more than 100 lives and scorching nearly half a million acres. Back in 1983, this country suffered through something similar in the so-called "Ash Wednesday" fires. But as Peter Morris of Australia's Seven Network reports, the toll from these blazes is much worse.


PETER MORRIS, SEVEN NETWORK CORRESPONDENT: They said it was going to be worse than Ash Wednesday, but nobody ever imagined it would be like this. And we never believed so many homes would be destroyed, let alone lives lost. The small community of Pheasant Creek near Kinglake is all but gone, razed in what looks like a nuclear holocaust from the air. While on the ground, home after home is now a twisted smouldering mess, entire streets destroyed.

MAN: It's devastating; it's heart wrenching.

MORRIS: The level of the destruction here is slightly overwhelming. In scenes reminiscent of what was left in Canberra when the bushfires ripped through there, houses, cars, virtually everything in front of me has been destroyed in a wildfire locals say couldn't be stopped. It won't be known for days, perhaps weeks, exactly how many homes have been destroyed.

JOHN BRUMBY, VICE PREMIER: We've got thousands of Victorians this morning who've got up to a new day, and they've lost houses, they've lost family, they've lost friends, they've lost neighbors.

MORRIS: But it was the enormity of what had happened which was hard for everyone to comprehend. There had been a time when it seemed the dire predictions may not have been warranted, with just a few puffs of smoke to be seen. But after lunch, the state sprang alight in an instant. It seemed spot fires were starting up everywhere as winds stronger than anyone had seen carried embers for kilometres and put more and more communities under threat.

WOMAN #1: And you've lost everything?

WOMAN #2: Everything. Everything we own.

MORRIS: In the state's west, thousands of hectares were burned out in Coleraine and also at Horsham, as police and fire crews check the wreckage of homes destroyed in what's to become the state's worst fires in modern history.

CHRISTINE NIXON, CHIEF COMMISSIONER, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA POLICE: Please just stay out of those areas until we can actually get in, make sure it's safe, and deal with some of the consequences and certainly some of these very sad deaths we have seen.

MORRIS: Peter Morris, Seven News.


Fast Facts

GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for some Fast Facts! Some athletes abuse anabolic steroids to help build muscle mass. But here are some of the side effects they're risking: liver damage, cancer and severe acne. In addition, men who abuse steroids may become infertile and develop breasts, and women may grow facial hair and experience male-pattern baldness. Steroids are also known to keep young people from reaching their full height if the drugs are used before adolescents hit their growth spurts.

Baseball & Steroids

AZUZ: Unless you have a prescription, it's illegal to use steroids. The same is of course true for Major League Baseball. The league's drug policy banned the substances in 1991. But there weren't any penalities for using them in the league until 13 years later. Larry Smith explores how reports of a positive steroid test during that time period are now shining a light on one of the sport's biggest stars.


LARRY SMITH, HLN SPORTS ANCHOR: The headline on said it all: According to four sources, Sports Illustrated reporters David Epstein and Selena Roberts wrote that in 2003, Yankees star Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids while he was with the Texas Rangers.

SELENA ROBERTS, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED REPORTER: I presented him with the evidence that we had, that he had tested positive for primobolan and testosterone in 2003, and his response to me was, "You'll have to talk to the union."

SMITH: That was a much different answer than the one he gave to Katie Couric in a 60 Minutes interview 14 months ago.

KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance enhancing substance?


SMITH: In 2003, almost 1,200 players were tested by Major League Baseball to see if regular drug testing was needed. SI says Rodriguez is one of the 104 players who tested positive. Based on those tests, the league instituted a program for the 2004 season. The article reports that in September of '04, Gene Orza, the COO of the players' union, gave A-Rod a heads-up about an unannounced test he was supposed to have later that month.

ROBERTS: That situation is disturbing, because it basically, it sort of creates the image that everybody was sort of in cahoots here, that Gene Orza, who is the second highest-ranking offical in the players' union, would go about and try to tip guys, really does show that maybe there was something more systematic going on here.

SMITH: When contacted, the players' union issued a statement denying the improper tipping of players in 2004. Rodriguez signed a new 10-year contact with the Yankees in 2007, guaranteeing $275 million dollars, with incentives for becoming the new home run king. Barry Bonds, who currently holds that record, has been plagued for years by allegations of steroid use.

LARRY BOWA, FORMER YANKEES COACH: If this is true, he's just got to come forward and say, "You know what? I tried this." I think Andy Pettitte did it, Giambi did it. If you're going to sit there and deny everything, you're going to be in a world of trouble.

ROBERTS: I think it's really up to him about what the sort of the image of his legacy is going to be. And a lot of that has to do with coming forward and talking about the truth.

SMITH: Throw in allegations that Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire used steroids, and you now have arguably the four biggest stars from the last 15 years embroiled in steroid controversy, not a good thing for baseball with spring training just around the corner. Larry Smith, CNN, Atlanta.


Blog Promo

AZUZ: Alex Rodriguez may not be commenting on the issue, but that's exactly what we want you to do: sound off on steroids! Do reports of their use affect your opinions about individual players or the entire sport of baseball? How about home run records? Should they stand? Step up to the plate and share your thoughts on our blog!


RAMSAY: Time for the Shoutout! What 1940s character symbolized women joining the U.S. workforce? Was it: A) Susan B. Anthony, B) Rosie the Riveter, C) Betsy Ross or D) Wanda the Welder? You've got three seconds -- GO! Rosie the Riveter was used to encourage women to join the workforce during World War II. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Gender in the Workplace

AZUZ: Rosie did her job well. From the time when the U.S. got into the war until the time when it ended, the number of women in the workforce jumped 50 percent! And it's been increasing ever since then. In fact, the struggling economy could place women in the majority when it comes to work. Tom Foreman examines the issue.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Women may soon outnumber men in the workplace. For the first time in American history, about 68 million women are on the job, just under half of the workforce. Women like Janet Borgeson, at this Minneapolis hospital, who says many families can't even consider mom staying home like she once did.

JANET BORGESON, ABBOTT NORTHWESTERN HOSPITAL: I think it's become less of an option. Everyone I know feels like they have to keep their jobs and are working very hard to do that.

FOREMAN: In addition, women are catching up, because male-dominated industries, such as manufacturing and construction, are being hit very hard in this recession. Men have lost more than three million jobs in the past year. That's 74 percent of all jobs lost. That means more families are relying on women to be primary breadwinners, and that's difficult.

HEATHER BOUSHEY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: In the typical married couple family, where both spouses work, he brings home about two-thirds of the family's income. So if he loses his job, the family's lost that big chunk of income, and are left with living on one-third of what they had before. It's super tough.

FOREMAN: The shift has been a long time coming. In the early 1940s, as World War II began, women made up a quarter of the labor force. But as millions of men went to fight, the female share of the job market started growing, bringing new opportunities, new aspirations. It's never really stopped.

JONI REDFERN-HALL: I'm better off than my mom was at this age.

FOREMAN: But neither has the soul-searching by men and women over precisely what this means to our views about gender, at home and on the job.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go today we're bringing you the next big thing in yoga. The centuries-old practice includes poses like the cobra, the cat and downward dog. But there's a new animal on the scene: the beluga whale! The Georgia Aquarium is giving students the chance to stretch in front of the great white whales. Although if you ask me, it looks like they're just floating through the class. Instructors say the whales' energy fits in perfectly with yoga's slow and smooth exercises.



AZUZ: And they certainly are experienced at making fluid movements. That poses the end of today's show. I'm Carl Azuz.

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