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CNN Student News Transcript: February 13, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Discover how some businesses are succeeding despite the current recession
  • Hear about a congressional investigation into a deadly salmonella outbreak
  • Celebrate achievements of famous African-Americans in dance and literature
  • Next Article in Living »
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(CNN Student News) -- February 13, 2009

Quick Guide

Recession Busters - Discover how some businesses are succeeding despite the current recession.

Salmonella Probe - Hear about a congressional investigation into a deadly salmonella outbreak.

Black History Month - Celebrate achievements of famous African-Americans in dance and literature.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It is the most awesome day of the week! Thank you for checking out this Friday edition of CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz. We're kicking things off today with a look at the headlines.

First Up: Today's Headlines

AZUZ: Scientists are examining the possible impact of some extra-terrestrial trash. It's the result of a collision between Russian and American satellites that slammed into each other while traveling at about 6 miles per second! One NASA official said that with space getting more and more crowded, it's lucky this kind of impact hasn't happened more often.

A Pakistani official says that "part of the conspiracy" behind last November's terror attacks in Mumbai took place inside its borders. India has accused a Pakistani terrorist group of carrying out the plot, which claimed more than 160 lives. Yesterday's announcement marks the first, formal acknowledgment by Pakistan that the militants were trained inside the country.

And the economic stimulus bill could come up for a vote in Congress today. The House and Senate, as you know, reached an agreement on the issue Wednesday, but lawmakers wanted some time to read the newest version of the bill. Concerns about it, though, have led Republican Sen. Judd Gregg to withdraw his nomination for commerce secretary. Senator Gregg said that he and President Obama "are functioning from a different set of views." The White House said that it regretted Gregg's "change of heart." Gregg is Obama's third Cabinet nominee to withdraw.

Recession Busters

AZUZ: Of course, the goal of that stimulus package we've been telling you about is to get the country's economy back on track. For months now, the headlines have not been good: Home prices are down, job losses are up, and many companies are closing their doors. But as Carol Costello explains, despite the current recession, some businesses have found ways to succeed.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN REPORTER: Don't even think of mentioning the "R" word here. Fishs Eddy, a dishware store that plays to your sense of humor, will laugh you right out of the store. Winks, smiles, even laughter: they're requirements at staff meetings here.

COSTELLO: How is business doing?

DAVE LENOVITZ, CO-OWNER, FISHS EDDY: Great. The numbers are through the roof. It couldn't be better.

COSTELLO: And that is one secret to their success: making people forget the doom by plastering their windows with "spit in the face of recession" signs.

JULIE GAINES, CO-OWNER, FISHS EDDY: People definitely come in and do a double take.

COSTELLO: Who wouldn't? It says Fishs is having a "Not Going Out of Business" sale. They play kooky music like "Woolly Bully" and sell whimsical, more affordable fare alongside more expensive items, something for everyone.

JERRY GOLDMAN, FISHS EDDY CUSTOMER: I think it's the right attitude, because things have to get better. A place like this brings you back to the good old days of having a few laughs.

COSTELLO: Of course, humor isn't the only weapon in Fishs Eddy's arsenal, and it's not the only company thriving in bad times either. Over on Long Island, P.C. Richard and Sons Electronics is too.

GREGG RICHARD, PRESIDENT, P.C. RICHARD & SON: I guess it's kind of simple. Four generations, we've been doing this for 99 years.

COSTELLO: Note he said "simple," as in the customer comes first.


P.C. RICHARD AND SONS ELECTRONICS CUSTOMER #2: They work with you when you come in.


COSTELLO: And P.C., like Fishs Eddy, also employs common sense. Both stores chose to control their growth and their debt, even in the boom times, unlike Circuit City down the street, which expanded itself right of out of business.

RICHARD: We don't make our decisions based on short-term profitability. We could grow 50 stores next week if we wanted to. That's not the right thing to do because we know our customers would not be taken care of the way they expect.

COSTELLO: The lesson here: Hey, maybe there is a way to beat the recession. And you don't even need a bailout.



GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's first Shoutout goes out to Mr. Blanton's world history classes at Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Which constitutional amendment states that you don't have to testify against yourself in court? Is it the: A) 5th Amendment, B) 7th Amendment, C) 12th Amendment or D) 18th Amendment? You've got three seconds -- GO! The 5th Amendment says that "no person... shall be compelled... to be a witness against himself." That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Salmonella Probe

AZUZ: Congress is investigating that salmonella outbreak that's triggered one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history. The president of the Peanut Corporation of America, the company at the center of this controversy, appeared at a hearing on Wednesday, but he didn't say much. That's because he invoked that 5th Amendment right not to testify against himself. Louise Schiavone has more on the hearings.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN REPORTER: Another death in the latest salmonella outbreak, and still no answers from the company at the center of the storm.

REP. BART STUPAK, (D) MICHIGAN: The food poisoning of people, is that just the cost of doing business for your company?

STEWART PARNELL, PRESIDENT, PEANUT CORPORATION OF AMERICA: Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, on the advice of my counsel, I respectfully decline to answer your question based on the protection afforded me under the United States' Constitution.

SCHIAVONE: Now facing criminal charges, there was no testimony from company big wigs, but Peanut Corporation of America documents uncovered by the committee revealed a history of salmonella findings going back at least three years. In response, the company ordered re-testing of its products, with instructions by Parnell to "...turn them loose...." and an overriding concern that, salmonella outbreak notwithstanding, "[We] desperately at least need to turn the Raw Peanuts on our floor into money..."

The Food and Drug Administration charges the Georgia company's policy of making sales, no matter what the science, may well have caused nine deaths, more than 600 recorded illnesses, but probably many times more cases than that, according to the Centers For Disease Control. But what about the FDA, which had not undertaken a formal inspection of Peanut Corporation of America since 2001?

REP. JOHN DINGELL, (D) MICHIGAN: I find the leadership lacking, I find the resources lacking, and you are driving me to the conclusion that, perhaps, maybe Food and Drug is not as dilligent as it should be, because it might not have the resources. Now, what is your response to that?

STEPHEN SUNDLOFF, FDA: Well, obviously we need to be inspecting more frequently.

SCHIAVONE: Congressmen Dingell, Stupak and others are crafting a major overhaul of the FDA, even as one of the most fundamental foods in the American diet has now become one of the most feared.


AZUZ: Breaking news last night about the Peanut Corporation of America's plant in Plainview, Texas. The state government has ordered it to stop producing and distributing food and recall any product ever shipped from the plant. This is based on a health inspection that found multiple violations. We should note, however, that the order does not indicate that authorities have found salmonella at the facility.

Shoutout Extra Credit

RAMSAY: Time for a Shoutout Extra Credit! The event that eventually became Black History Month began in what year? Was it: A) 1918, B) 1926, C) 1963 or D) 1976? Another three seconds on the clock -- GO! Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926. It was expanded to a full month 50 years later. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout Extra Credit!

Black History Month

AZUZ: Around the same time when the event began, the African-American community was going through a cultural period called the Harlem Renaissance. It was an artistic expansion, specifically the creative arts, and it had a major influence on future writers and performers. Those are the fields we're looking at today, as we continue our celebration of Black History Month with achievements in dance and literature.


MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Katherine Dunham became interested in dance at a young age, but she earned her degree in anthropology. Dunham would go on to combine her interests, revolutionizing modern dance by incorporating African and Caribbean styles of movement that she studied while working in the West Indies.

Savion Glover burst on to the dance scene before he turned twelve, and his unique style of tap dance, called "hitting," renewed interest in the art form. His 1995 production "Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk" earned Glover a Tony Award for best choreography.

Langston Hughes is considered one of the most influential writers of his time. He published novels, short stories and plays, but it was Hughes's work as a poet, and specifically his portrayals of black life in America, that earned him worldwide recognition.

And Maya Angelou has worked as a dancer, director and civil rights activist, but she is best known as a renowned poet and author. Her work has been nominated for numerous national awards. And in 1993, Angelou was asked to perform an original poem at President Bill Clinton's inauguration. Celebrating achievement in the arts this Black History Month.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, we have a tail of a real scaredy cat, and with good reason! This freaked out feline got stuck on top of a six-story pillar underneath a Texas freeway. The kitty cried for help -- or meowed for it, more likely -- and luckily, someone answered! Blake McGee said it took him a while to realize the cat call was coming from above him! Once he did, he notified authorities, who got the furry guy down safely.



AZUZ: And avoided a real cat-astrophe. We'll be off on Monday for President's Day. You guys enjoy the long weekend. Have a happy Valentine's Day, a happy Presidents Day. We'll see you again on Tuesday.

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