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CNN Student News Transcript: February 23, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Get the details about a deadly blast at one of China's biggest coal mines
  • Discover how the new U.S. secretary of state links celebrity and diplomacy
  • Dial up the 411 on a new policy that could signal a revolution in the air
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(CNN Student News) -- February 23, 2009

Quick Guide

China Mine Blast - Get the details about a deadly blast at one of China's biggest coal mines.

Being Diplomatic - Discover how the new U.S. secretary of state links celebrity and diplomacy.

Mobiles in the Air - Dial up the 411 on a new policy that could signal a revolution in the air.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Back from the weekend. I'm Carl Azuz, this is CNN Student News! Hope you're ready to kick off this very last week of February. Let's get right to it.

First Up: China Mine Blast

AZUZ: Our first story takes us to a coal mine in northern China, where a deadly blast has claimed the lives of dozens of miners. This happened early Sunday morning, local time, at one of the largest coal mines in the Asian country. More than 400 men were working when the explosion took place. Yesterday evening, officials reported that more than 70 people had been killed in the blast, with more than a hundred others hospitalized. China has the world's deadliest mining industry, with more than 3,200 deaths reported last year. Chinese authorities say that the country is working to improve its mine safety.

Downloadable Maps

I.D. Me!

GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1947. I was the first first lady to be elected to the U.S. Senate. My husband served as the nation's 42nd president. I'm Hillary Clinton, and I'm currently serving as U.S. secretary of state.

Being Diplomatic

AZUZ: In that role, Secretary Clinton serves as President Obama's chief adviser on foreign policy. She's also responsible for diplomatic issues, negotiations between the U.S. and other countries. Secretary Clinton just wrapped up her first trip overseas since taking over the position. She visited Japan, Indonesia, Korea, and China and addressed issues like the global economy and the environment. Jill Dougherty went along for this week-long trip across Asia, and she gives us a look at the new secretary's diplomatic style.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN REPORTER: On a popular youth TV show in Jakarta, Indonesia, she confesses what her favorite music is.

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It's the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

DOUGHERTY: At a women's university in Seoul, South Korea, she tells young students the meaning of love.

CLINTON: How does anybody describe love? I mean, poets have spent millennia writing about love.

DOUGHERTY: In Beijing, China, she tours a clean-energy power plant, then shakes as many hands as she can. Welcome to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's new world diplomacy, campaign-style. On her first international trip as secretary, Mrs. Clinton, in Asia, did what top diplomats usually do: she met with government officials and spoke at news conferences. But, with reporters struggling to keep up with her, Secretary Clinton also toured a crowded Jakarta neighborhood, highlighting projects funded by the U.S. government.

America's top diplomat also is one of the world's top celebrities. Being a celebrity, she says, is an asset in making people more receptive to American ideas. And she's promising to reach out to people in what she calls "non-conventional ways." So, with Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, get ready for more town-hall meetings, more hand shaking and more TV shows, as she campaigns for American diplomacy around the world.

CLINTON: All of these people, if I start to sing, they will leave.

DOUGHERTY: Jill Dougherty, CNN, Beijing.


Israel Update

AZUZ: All right. We're going to move from Asia to the Middle East now, with a follow-up about a recent election in Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu has been chosen to form the country's next government. Israeli president Shimon Peres, on the right there, chose Netanyahu to form a coalition of Israel's political parties. If he succeeds, Netanyahu will become the country's next prime minister. But it won't be his first time. He served in that role from 1996 to 1999. Now, Netanyahu says that he hopes the country's political parties will be able to find common ground. He has six weeks to bring that coalition together. If he can't, the process starts all over again.

Blog Report

AZUZ: There seemed to be two main reactions on Friday's story about an Iranian woman whose attacker blinded her with acid and then was sentenced to being blinded himself. There were responses like Michael's, who said, "I believe that she should get the satisfaction of an eye for an eye. The attacker should feel what he did back on him." And there were reactions like Jackie's, who quoted, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Then there was Robert, who says, "I think that justice will be served if the attacker is executed instead of blinded by acid, because to me, what he did was a crime against humanity."

Paco noted, "The attacker should know what it feels like to be blind. He should also feel the pain he gave Ameneh." Jourdan feels, "There is a better way to serve justice. What good would having another blind person in the world do?" But Brittnee and Princess write, "People are saying this isn't a fair punishment, but if you got acid thrown in your eyes and you could never see again, you would think differently."

Is This Legit?

RAMSAY: Is this legit? Strokes are the third-leading cause of death among Americans. This one's true. Strokes can happen when your brain doesn't get enough blood and is deprived of oxygen and other nutrients.

Fast Food & Strokes

AZUZ: The good news is, strokes can be treated, and these days, they claim fewer American lives than they did, say, 20 or 30 years ago. Now, several factors can increase your risk of having a stroke: smoking, obesity, having high cholesterol or blood pressure. But there's a new study that suggests there might be an unsual connection between strokes and fast food. These findings showed that the risk of a stroke for people living in a neighborhood went up by 1% for every fast food restaurant in the area. The lead researcher pointed out that the study does not indicate whether fast food increases the risk because of its content, or whether fast food restaurants are just a sign of unhealthy neighborhoods. The National Restaurant Association, though, says the report is "seriously flawed," in part, because it doesn't offer any information on the eating and exercise habits of the people who took part.

Mobiles in the Air

AZUZ: Well, turning to technology now, and a new idea taking flight on some European airlines. That rule about having to turn your cell phone off before take-off? Not anymore. The companies say they are making the move to meet customer demands. But will in-cabin calls be a benefit for frequent fliers, or will the extra noise just be a nuisance? Jim Boulden dials up the details.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This may seem like a typical flight aboard Ryanair from London to Dublin. After take-off, time to close my eyes for a bit. Then this happens.

RYANAIR FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Ladies and gentlemen, also aboard this afternoon's flight you are also able to use your mobile phone.

BOULDEN: Anyone on this plane can now make, or perhaps more annoyingly, receive, a call on their own phone. On this flight, only phones that can connect to the O2 service will work. This one does, so let's give it a try. Ryanair says it's the first low-cost carrier installing the service across its entire fleet. How does it sound to you? A slight delay perhaps. But that didn't deter other journalists invited on board to test the service.

BOULDEN: Do you think passengers are going to really want this? Is this going to be successful?

CAHAL MILMO, THE INDEPENDENT: I am not entirely sure. I think it will work with a degree of novelty value for the initial period. Obviously, it's going to have benefits for business travellers. And I imagine at the end of the day, that is going to be the core market.

BOULDEN: And it wasn't long before phones started to ring and interrupt my interview with an executive from the company providing the technology.

STEPHAN EGLI, ONAIR: You couldn't have picked a better moment, because I'm standing in front of a camera with CNN. It's exciting. All right, bye.

BOULDEN: A bit of an unexpected...

EGLI: It was my office calling, actually.

BOULDEN: Is that your first call ever?

EGLI: The first inbound call, yes.

BOULDEN: A number of other airlines are rolling out GSM service on board, including British Airways and Royal Jordanian. Emirates started providing it last year, though in the United States the use of cell phones on airplanes is still banned. Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary says it's an obvious way to make extra revenue. Passengers are charged by the minute for voice calls; there's also a fee for e-mail and sending texts.

MICHAEL O'LEARY, CEO, RYANAIR: Once we have fitted the entire fleet of 170 aircraft, and we are carrying a hundred million passengers a year, a very small proportion of revenue per passenger will result in very large revenue flows to our partners, OnAir and Ryanair.

BOULDEN: OnAir says in the next five years, the majority of airlines will be kitted out, along with many private jets.


Before We Go

AZUZ: I've gotta get a cell phone suit like that guys had. Well, before we go today, a renowned scientist helps study feelings. It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, even on a robot! This mechanical mimic you're about to see, does he ring any bells? It's not Mark Twain. It's famous physicist Albert Einstein, and researchers are using his familiar face to study our emotions. He's designed to read facial expressions and react accordingly. Researchers say it works perfectly, even if it does look kind of creepy. So, how much does it really look like Einstein?



AZUZ: We have some theories, but it's probably all relative. We hope you enjoy the rest of your day. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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