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CNN Student News Transcript: April 17, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Hear how President Obama plans to bolster U.S. relations with Latin America
  • Examine protests and polls involving the political hot topic of taxes
  • Listen to a symphony of international artists orchestrated entirely online
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(CNN Student News) -- April 17, 2009

Quick Guide

President Obama in Latin America - Hear how President Obama plans to bolster U.S. relations with Latin America.

Tax Protests - Examine protests and polls involving the political hot topic of taxes.

YouTube Symphony - Listen to a symphony of international artists orchestrated entirely online.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome! And so are you for spending part of yours with CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: President Obama in Latin America

AZUZ: First up, President Obama takes part in the Summit of the Americas, a meeting of leaders from around the Western Hemisphere. The goal of the conference, which is taking place this weekend, is to discuss the countries' common concerns. On his way there, the president stopped in Mexico, where he addressed issues like the drug violence raging along the country's border with the U.S. Suzanne Malveaux fills in more details about the trip.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Obama's goal: to forge a new relationship with Latin America.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We are ready to turn the page and write a new chapter in this story.

MALVEAUX: Now, he says it's time to re-engage our southern neighbors. His first stop: Mexico, to show support for its President Felipe Calderon, who's taken on his country's violent drug cartels. Here, Mr. Obama will reiterate what his attorney general and secretaries of state and homeland security have said visiting this side of the border: the U.S. shares the responsibility and blame for the deadly flow of drugs and weapons across the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: Our demand for drugs is what motivates these drug gangs.

MALVEAUX: Immigration reform, which collapsed under President Bush, will be another hot button issue. Friday, Mr. Obama heads to the twin-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago for the fifth Summit of the Americas. There, he'll be one of 34 world leaders addressing the summit's official agenda, which includes the global economic crisis, the environment, energy, democracy and security. But many political analysts say Mr. Obama's most important task will be to reconcile a bruised and neglected relationship with the Western Hemisphere.

PETER DESHAZO, DIRECTOR, AMERICAS PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: That's the key, the key factor there: a desire to work with the United States just as the United States is going to demonstrate its desire to cooperate with the countries in the region.

MALVEAUX: Aides say the president's approach will be similar to the one he used in Europe last week: to listen and learn, as well as lead.


Tax Protests

AZUZ: Now, we're following up on those tax day tea parties we told you about yesterday. One Republican leader is pointing to the events as evidence that Americans are angry with "wasteful government programs." A new poll indicates that a majority of Americans approve of how President Obama is tackling the issue of taxes. Candy Crowley has more on the political hot topic.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: April 15th is not the best time to ask Americans whether they think taxes are too high, but it's a perfect day for the President to remind them they're a little lower.

OBAMA: We've passed a broad and sweeping tax cut for 95% of American workers.

CROWLEY: He's talking about a reduction in withholding that comes out to an average of $10 to $13 a paycheck. While the president talked up his tax policy, protesters across the country gathered for tea parties meant to echo the Boston Tea Party tax revolt. In some places, they showed up by the thousands, gathering in cities like Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C.

LAURA INGRAHAM, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And regardless of whether the media covers this or not, I think the people are beginning to wake up.

CROWLEY: The message was broader than taxes. It was about the trillions of dollars being spent to bail out banks and stimulate the economy, and about the huge debt being racked up.

PERSON ON STREET: Your children will be here, your grandchildren. I am 76; I won't get to see the worst of this, but you will.

CROWLEY: Less spending, lower taxes and smaller government is essentially Republican Party orthodoxy. Sponsors and organizers were by and large fiscally and socially conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity, a political group promoting limited government and free markets

TIM PHILLIPS, AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY: The Republican Party, frankly, is too disorganized and too unsure of itself to pull off stuff like this. This is a grassroots uprising that's telling elected officials in both parties, "Hey guys, there's too much debt."

CROWLEY: Most elected national Republicans kept a low profile, which doesn't mean they aren't watching. For the GOP, this day was a bit of a testing ground. If this is a growing movement instead of a one-day wonder, it could be just the sort of issue the GOP can wrap itself around to rebuild a party in tatters. And perhaps there is fertile political ground here. According to the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, more than 60% of Americans do approve of the way the president is handling taxes. But a recent Gallup poll found that 46% of Americans still think taxes are too high; 48% think they're just about right. Though on tax day, those numbers may be a little bit different. Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.



GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Olivo's World History classes at Dr. Cigarroa Middle School in Laredo, Texas. Which of these words best describes the practice of combining sounds of different instruments? Is it: A) Dissonance, B) Orchestration, C) Syncopation or D) Tuning? You've got three seconds -- GO! The art of orchestration plays a big part in the sound quality of music. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

YouTube Symphony

AZUZ: Performing at New York City's Carnegie Hall is a musical milestone for any artist. But when a hundred musicians took the stage on Wednesday night, it marked a historic moment for music, period. The orchestration of this event started online, with performers from around the world auditioning exclusively on YouTube! And it sounds like the concert, and the concept, really struck a chord.


MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS, CONDUCTOR, YOUTUBE SYMPHONY: Welcome to an evening that is definitely the meeting of a lot of different worlds.

ED SANDERS, YOUTUBE MARKETING MANAGER: It was great to see something that started with one small seed grow into a big tree.

TAN DUN, COMPOSER AND CONDUCTOR, YOUTUBE SYMPHONY: When I was conceiving this work on the streets of New York, London, Beijing, Shanghai, I heard the street noise, then I thought, "My God, this is the spirit beyond. This is the spirit of today."

JENNIFER LINDSAY, YOUTUBE SYMPHONY: I've been to Carnegie Hall before. I sat in the audience and watched performances. I dreamed about being on stage, and I never thought it would happen at all.

DUN: The whole world tonight is Googling around what's happening in Carnegie Hall.

KURT HINTERBICHLER, YOUTUBE SYMPHONY: Once you've made it to Carnegie Hall, you've really made it.

SANDERS: To have finalists of almost a hundred musicians from over thirty countries, it's a great example of, already, of how YouTube really extends right around the world.

HINTERBICHLER: I probably won't know what it means until ten years down the line when I look back at it.

SANDERS: It brings people closer together and lets them collaborate, transcending geographical and linguistic boundaries.


Facebook Promo

AZUZ: You've got questions, we've got answers, and you can hear them in our newest wall report! The video's up on our official Facebook page. We'd love for you to stop by, check it out, maybe write something on the wall. And if you haven't seen our site yet on Facebook, all you have to do is log on and search for "CNN Student News, official." "Official" is the key. And you will find us on Facebook.

Off the Beaten Path

AZUZ: Sometimes, folks get cold feet before a wedding. But instead of a fear of commitment, it's the method of matrimony that might have just caused plain old fear for some couples getting ready to take the plunge recently. Secure your safety harnesses, we are headed Off the Beaten Path.


To have and to hold on; for higher, for lower; in motion sickness and in health. They say love is a roller-coaster, and 15 couples made vehicular vows while riding the rails at the Mall of America. Hopefully for them, it's not all downhill from here.

But if coaster commitment isn't your speed and you're tired of the daily rat race, why not schedule a rat-dezvous with Spalding University? The animals do the racing themselves at the annual Running of the Rodents! The theme this year is Celeb-rat-ty. It features such furry favorites as Hannah Ratanna, BoRat, Ratalina Jolie and Rat King Cole. It's unfortunate that looking ratty isn't restricted to racers! But everyone here is rat-ther harmless.

Unlike these turkeys! The fowl-tempered, feathered ruffians frequently go postal on the postman.

DOUG CODY, HARASSED BY WILD TURKEYS: I said, "Hey, I'm up on this porch, and these turkeys aren't letting me leave!" And there was silence there for a second, and then she heard them in the background. She laughed so hard I think she just dropped the phone.

AZUZ: But the turkeys weren't turning tail. And while the Postal Service trains its employees to deal with dogs, there's nothing about taking on turkeys. So, the postman in this town walks softly, carries a big stick, and looks forward to Thanksgiving. That gobbles up another report from Off the Beaten Path!




AZUZ: Being barricaded by belligerent birds? That's just fowl. You guys have a great weekend. I want to give a special birthday shoutout to my mom, who is celebrating this weekend. She's a teacher as well. So, she's watching our show and I want to wish her a very happy birthday. All of the rest of you guys, have a great time. Be safe. We'll see you on Monday. I'm Carl Azuz.

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