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CNN Student News Transcript: April 14, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Explore the reasons behind political unrest taking place in Thailand
  • Consider the challenges of fighting pirates off the coast of Somalia
  • Hear why a baseball stadium's corporate partner has some fans crying foul
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(CNN Student News) -- April 14, 2009

Quick Guide

Thailand Protests - Explore the reasons behind political unrest taking place in Thailand.

Fighting Piracy - Consider the challenges of fighting pirates off the coast of Somalia.

A Name Game - Hear why a baseball stadium's corporate partner has some fans crying foul.



Teachers, we ask that you please preview the Rescuing the Captain segment, as it discusses the details of how the pirates were killed.

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: What's in a name? For a new baseball stadium, controversy. We'll explain in today's edition of CNN Student News. Hi everyone, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Thailand Protests

AZUZ: First up, political chaos in the nation of Thailand, where protesters are clashing with government forces. The issue here is the office of the prime minister, the country's leader. The protesters, who are called "Red Shirts" because of what they wear, want the current prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, to resign. And they want the former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, back in office. He fled the capital city of Bangkok last year while facing trial on corruption charges. Abhisit has refused to step down. He says resigning won't solve any conflicts. He's also declared a state of emergency in the Asian country. Dan Rivers reports on the violence taking place there.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT, BANGKOK: Well, you can see that the soldiers now have control of this intersection, and the traffic is slowly beginning to return. It's been pretty much deserted of cars all day, and this has been where some of the fiercest clashes have been earlier in the day. We've seen soldiers like this using their M-16s to fire volleys of shots into the air above the heads of protesters. The protesters, in turn, have responded with bricks and stones and petrol bombs, and even hijacking buses and send them careening down this road and smashing into the army line.

Finally, though, the army appears to have the upper hand. They appear to have control, certainly here and other key intersections, but thousands of anti-government, red-shirted protesters remain camped outside Government House, which is the official office of the prime minister. His army spokesman is insisting that they do have a grip on the situation and that they are restoring order. You can see columns of soldiers move through the city here as the darkness begins to fall and the army tries to tighten its grip on the key locations in Bangkok. Dan Rivers, CNN, Bangkok.


I.D. Me!

ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm part of the U.S. Navy. The first teams of my elite, military force were assembled in 1962. My name stands for the elements sea, air and land. I'm the Navy SEALs, and my military training is often considered to be the toughest in the world!

Rescuing the Captain

AZUZ: That training is part of the reason why Captain Richard Phillips is safe and unharmed. As we've reported, Phillips was rescued after being held hostage by pirates for days. The tense situation came to an end when Navy SEALs shot his captors at night, in choppy seas from 75 feet away. Chris Lawrence explains how all this happened. This report discusses the details of how the pirates were killed, so teachers, we ask that you please preview it.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: President Obama authorized lethal force on Friday night. Just 13 hours later, he issued a second order to an "additional set of U.S. forces" who had joined the rescue.

VICE ADMIRAL WILLIAM E. GORTNEY, U.S. NAVY: Their authorities came directly from the President.

LAWRENCE: The Navy had been using a boat like this to bring supplies to the lifeboat. But as Saturday wore on, the pirates became more agitated. A defense official says shots were fired and the pirates were demanding ransom.

GORTNEY: And to make their point, they were threatening throughout to kill the captain.

LAWRENCE: Out of fuel, the lifeboat was now being towed 90 feet behind the U.S.S. Bainbridge. Early Saturday night Eastern time, one of the pirates was shuttled to the Bainbridge for medical treatment. He'd been stabbed during the initial scuffle with the Maersk Alabama's crew.

GORTNEY: And we were working with him in the negotiation process.

LAWRENCE: Captain Phillips was tied up in the lifeboat, but in one of their last communications, the Bainbridge crew read him a letter from his wife.

GORTNEY: The note said, "Richard, your family loves you, your family is praying for you."

LAWRENCE: At one point, a Navy SEAL team had parachuted in and took up positions on the back deck of the Bainbridge. As the weather got rougher, negotiations broke down.

GORTNEY: And the snipers' position on the fantail of the Bainbridge observed one of the pirates in the pilot house and two pirates with their head and shoulders exposed. And one of the pirates had the AK-47 leveled at the captain's back.

LAWRENCE: The on-scene commander believed the pirate was about to fire, so the Navy snipers shot first. A defense official says each pirate was shot in the head. Then, the special ops team shimmied along a tow rope to the lifeboat, made sure the pirates were dead, and took Phillips back to the Navy ships nearby.

CAPT. RICHARD PHILLIPS, MAERSK ALABAMA: Thanks, guys. Thank you very much!


Fighting Piracy

AZUZ: Two Somali pirates are vowing revenge against the U.S. following that incident, saying they'll kill any American sailors they take hostage in the future. A dangerous environment on land, as well. Shots were fired on a plane carrying a U.S. congressman during takeoff from an airport inside Somalia yesterday. No one was hurt, and the plane landed safely. But Josh Levs heads back out to sea to explore the difficulty of fighting pirates in this part of the world.


JOSH LEVS, CNN REPORTER, ATLANTA: A big part of the challenge to fighting piracy in this region is how big and expansive the waters are off Somalia's east coast. Let me show you how big that area is. Here's Somalia along here. Now, it's in this area, east of the country, that this incident took place, and there have been a lot of piracy incidents in here. Military officials say it's very difficult to patrol this whole area because it's so big. It's a little bit different up here. This is the Gulf of Aden, and it's more compressed. They say they've had a little bit more success fighting pirates in this area. But over here, it's so difficult to get a ship to another ship that's in trouble.

In fact, we have some geography to show you. We're going to zoom over to the United States. I'm going to show you what a military official said helps you understand this. Take a look at this. Draw a box from Houston over to Chicago, then over to New York, then all the way down to Jacksonville and back over here. This entire area is what we're talking about when we're looking at that east coast of Somalia. It's a huge region. You can imagine how difficult it would be to patrol this entire area. Factor that size into the water. That is the challenge that we're talking about. Back to you.



NIVISON: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these is NOT the current home of a major league baseball team? Is it: A) Tropicana Field, B) Dolphin Stadium, C) Citi Field or D) Forbes Field? You've got three seconds -- GO! Forbes Field is the former home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who now play in PNC Park. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

A Name Game

AZUZ: You might have noticed a pattern with some of those answer options: Tropicana, Citi, PNC. Corporate naming rights, businesses paying for the opportunity to put their name on a sports stadium. It's been going on for years. Citi Field is one of the latest examples, but the stadium has some baseball fans crying foul. Richard Roth steps up to the plate with the details.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK: It was a countdown to controversy that few saw coming. The U.S. economy wasn't buried when Citigroup bankers and New York politicians broke ground on a new baseball stadium for the New York Mets back in 2006. But times have changed.

PERSON ON STREET #1: As a resident of New York, I am outraged.

ROTH: Outraged because Citigroup agreed to pay $400 million over 20 years for the right to call the Mets' stadium Citi Field. The same Citigroup that needed $45 billion in U.S. taxpayer money after the financial meltdown.

PERSON ON STREET #2: I think it should be changed since they got bailed out of the whole mess here.

PERSON ON STREET #1: The ballpark, with its high price tag, it's really being subsidized by we the taxpayers.

ROTH: This Mets fan paid a lot less to purchase naming rights for his family on a brick outside Citi Field.

PERSON ON STREET #3: A lot of people pay for advertisement every day. We shouldn't be ashamed of it. Taxpayers' money goes to waste on a lot of other things. Let's go Mets, I say!

ROTH: Earlier this year, a congressman demanded, but failed, to get the Treasury Department to cancel the deal.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH, (D) OHIO: It is great advertising except for one thing: The American taxpayers have now invested heavily in these banks, and the bailout fund should not to be used for this purpose.

ROTH: Citigroup denies taxpayer money will be used for the Mets' stadium, and the bank told the Mets it will honor the naming rights agreement.

PERSON ON STREET #4: A contract is binding. I have no problem with it.

ROTH: Nevertheless, senior executives from the bank will not throw out the ceremonial first pitch or sit in the luxury boxes of the stadium for the opener. The Mets declined official comment. One of their stars didn't want to make any errors.

ROTH: How do you feel? You're playing for the taxpayers, in effect?

DAVID WRIGHT, METS THIRD BASEMAN: You know, I don't, you know, comment on things that I don't know about. I'm a baseball player, so I go out there and worry about my swing.

ROTH: In the end, the only numbers many fans will care about in Citi Field are the Mets victory totals.

PERSON ON STREET #5: I think it's beautiful, it's absolutely beautiful.

ROTH: Richard Roth, CNN, New York.


Before We Go

AZUZ: And finally, this show is about to go completely downhill. Kind of like these guys! Of course, they had to provide their own transportation to do it. It's San Francisco's annual "Bring Your Own Big Wheel" race! The crowds came out to watch these drivers show off their skills, or whatever this is, as they barreled down the street on the tiny toy trikes, or just barreled over backwards. A lack of permits nearly stalled this year's race.



AZUZ: But city officials stepped in to make sure the wheels didn't come off. Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday.

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