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CNN Student News Transcript: March 30, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Weigh the possible U.S. response to a rocket launch from North Korea
  • Consider a Florida school district's decision to put ads in public schools
  • Venture into a virtual world where medical students get real-life training
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(CNN Student News) -- March 30, 2009

Quick Guide

Targeting a Rocket? - Weigh the possible U.S. response to a rocket launch from North Korea.

Ads in Schools - Consider a Florida school district's decision to put ads in public schools.

Second Medical School - Venture into a virtual world where medical students get real-life training.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Bringing you stories from around our world and inside a virtual one, this is CNN Student News. Hello, everyone. I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Targeting a Rocket?

AZUZ: First up, possible plans to shoot down a rocket that's scheduled to be launched next month. The launch is set to take place in North Korea sometime in early April. That country says this isn't any kind of military attack; the plan is to launch a commercial satellite on top of the rocket. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes there is little doubt that the goal of this launch is to enhance North Korea's military capabilities. Barbara Starr has the details on how the U.S. might respond to the missile launch.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This is the latest satellite image of what the U.S. says is a long-range missile on a launch pad in North Korea. The White House worried enough to keep U.S. warships at the ready. Pyongyang says it will launch a commercial satellite on top of this ballistic missile sometime between April 4 and April 8. When North Korea launches, the Obama administration may have as little as five minutes to decide whether to shoot it down.

ADMIRAL TIMOTHY KEATING, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND: I know we're ready to defend our territory and our allies.

STARR: The missile's anticipated route would take it over Japan in seven to eight minutes. If deemed threatening, it could potentially be shot down by U.S. Navy warships in the Sea of Japan or the Pacific Ocean, or if the missile keeps traveling, by ground-based missiles shot from Alaska or California. The Navy has already cancelled a port call for the USS Hopper. It will remain off the Korean Peninsula. The Navy says it has other ships positioned the area, equipped with the latest technology for shooting down ballistic missiles.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We believe that such a launch would be provocative, and that such a launch would be in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

STARR: But if it's a commercial satellite, is it a threat? U.S. officials say the satellite is a cover for Pyongyang's efforts to perfect that missile. If the launch is successful, North Korea will have gained valuable experience in missiles that could someday reach the U.S. The U.S. does not have a policy of shooting down commercial satellites, and North Korea knows it. Pyongyang may be backing President Obama into a tight corner. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


Word to the Wise


provocative (adjective) tending to incite or purposely stir up an action or feeling


North Dakota Flooding

AZUZ: Back in the United States, the National Weather Service says that the level of the Red River is getting lower in North Dakota. The flood waters got up to 40 feet, over 40 feet before they began declining on Sunday, but officials say they're still being very careful about this situation. One of our iReporters explains how his community came together as it prepared for the floods.


DAVID DIEBEL, FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA IREPORTER: College students out there were an incredible resource for the efforts to save the city and the neighborhoods in Fargo and Moorhead. We put in about three or four hours every single day, starting on Monday until Thursday. A lot of the work was being in a line, passing sandbags from one person to another person just to try to get it to the location where they needed to build a dike. Some of them, I spent a lot of time on the back of a semi, just unloading the sandbags into people's hands, just grabbing them up as fast as we could.

I've talked to a few people while I was sandbagging in the lines trying to build those dikes, and they were coming from miles around, people who hadn't even been into Fargo-Moorhead before, where they were there trying to help out. Places in Minnesota, all the way to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. I've met a couple of people from there. People were extending, welcoming people into their houses from outlying communities. So, it was really just inspiring to see all these people coming together to try and help out.

It seems like there is still a bit of tension, but we are being cautiously optimistic about the whole situation. We worked really hard and at this point, we kind of have to sit back and just see what happens. Hopefully, my house is still safe. I didn't get a chance to grab a lot of my possessions. I mean, I got my clothes and my computer and my camera. Definitely a chance to capture history in the making.


National Weather

AZUZ: North Dakota isn't the only part of the country struggling through severe weather. A blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow on parts of Oklahoma and Kansas, prompting the governors of both states to declare a disaster. That will free up resources to take part in the recovery process. At least two deaths are being blamed on the storm.

A similar situation in Texas on Friday, where heavy winds and temperatures in the teens created white-out conditions in the city of Amarillo. But in a truly weird twist, just 650 miles south of there, the city of McAllen registered a record high of 101 degrees!

Discovery Returns

AZUZ: And the space shuttle Discovery is safely back on Earth after its 13-day mission to the international space station. The shuttle and its seven member crew landed on Saturday. During their time in orbit, the astronauts helped install the final parts of a power system that will allow the ISS to double its full-time crew from three to six.

Ads in Schools

AZUZ: Shifting gears now, from astronauts to advertisements. These things are everywhere: TV, the radio, the Internet. And soon, students will be able to see them in the hallways and cafeterias of public schools in Florida's Miami-Dade County. The school board says the ads have to be age-appropriate and they have to stick to school policy: no junk food or swearing. But as Natalia Zea of affiliate WFOR reports, some people think ads and education shouldn't mix.


MATT BROWN, GLOBAL MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES: We can reach a targeted audience of students.

NATALIA ZEA, WFOR REPORTER: Matt Brown is asking the Miami-Dade School Board for a contract to put these giant cell phone and laptop chargers in schools.

BROWN: We have two advertising elements on our machine: a 17-inch LCD screen and a static backlit billboard.

ZEA: Christina Ostergaarde has already submitted a proposal to install backlit signs scrolling 15 different ads in every high school in the district. She says they'll help the kids.

CHRISTINA OSTERGAARDE, ACTION ADS: These are advertisements that are for their benefit. This is nothing that would detriment them in any way, shape or form.

ZEA: Why would the district allow schoolchildren to become a new way to boost company sales? This new policy will generate millions of dollars for athletics and extracurricular activities in a time when the basics are even tough to fund.

KATIE CONDON, STUDENT: Really, the budget is hurting right now, and we need to do whatever we can.

CHRIS FISK, STUDENT: I think it's a great idea. I think we need the funds. Why not?

ZEA: But Michelle Rivero says her young son's attention shouldn't be for sale at school.

MICHELLE RIVERO, PARENT: I don't think they should advertise to kids. It's not good. It should just be school; they come to learn and that's it.

ZEA: And some students feel the advertisers should be very careful with younger students.

FISK: They should limit or restrict what they advertise in elementary schools.


I.D. Me!

RAMSAY: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a well-known community whose residents never die. My official unit of currency is the Linden dollar. My entire population is made up of avatars. I'm Second Life, an online virtual world where users do whatever they can imagine.

Second Medical School

AZUZ: That means being able to do anything from building your own business to fighting a dragon! Well, the Imperial College of London has ventured into this virtual world to create a hospital, and it uses the fake facility to offer real-life training for medical students. Becky Anderson explores the benefits of this new dimension of learning.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Imperial College London in real life, and this is Imperial College London in Second Life, an online community located in the virtual world. These medical students are checking on patients in this online hospital's respiratory ward.

IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON PROFESSOR: Don't talk to each other here in the physical world.

ANDERSON: Students roam the hospital wards as digital characters called avatars. Once inside, they act just like real doctors in a real hospital, washing their hands before seeing patients and checking x-rays.

IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON MEDICAL STUDENT: Then, you can order the tests and it just puts it all together nicely.

ANDERSON: This program takes medical training to another dimension, quite literally.

PROF. MARTYN PARTRIDGE, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON: This sort of research is vital if we're going to make sure tomorrow's doctors are as well trained as you and I want them to be.

ANDERSON: For now, it's not part of the official curriculum, and the program isn't meant to replace face-to-face training with real patients, but it does offer an interesting diversion on the road to a medical career.

JIEXIN ZHENG, MEDICAL STUDENT: I hope it's a bit like playing a game and less like learning.

ANDERSON: Becky Anderson, CNN, London.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, an illuminating idea to raise awareness about climate change. You're looking at the bright lights of New York's Times Square. But this is what they looked like for an hour on Saturday during an international event called Earth Hour. Even the Empire State Building extinguished its lights as part of the event. Similar scenes from cities around the world, like San Francisco's City Hall, as millions of people took part in the global lights-out.



AZUZ: Sounds like a bright idea. That's where we dim the lights on today's show. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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