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CNN Student News Transcript: May 1, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Follow the historical path that has driven Chrysler to declare bankruptcy
  • Hear how one school district is hoping to control a spreading virus
  • Check out a printing press that publishes products unavailable in print
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(CNN Student News) -- May 1, 2009

Quick Guide

Chrysler Files Bankruptcy - Follow the historical path that has driven Chrysler to declare bankruptcy.

School Closings - Hear how one school district is hoping to control a spreading virus.

Books On Demand - Check out a printing press that publishes products unavailable in print.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Friday, awesome! It's the start of a new month, awesomer! And you're tuned in to CNN Student News, awesome-est! I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Chrysler Files Bankruptcy

AZUZ: First up, Chrysler, one of America's biggest automakers, files for bankruptcy in the face of serious economic struggles. This does not mean that the company's going away. In fact, Chrysler is combining with a European car company, Fiat, in order to stay in business. But it is shutting down production while it goes through the bankruptcy process and completes that deal with Fiat. So, how did Chrysler reach this point? Maggie Lake traces the company's history.


MAGGIE LAKE, CNN WORLD BUSINESS TODAY ANCHOR: The long, storied history of Chrysler began with Walter Pearcy Chrysler, at one time one of the richest men in America. And in 1928, Time Magazine's "Man of the Year." Many of the iconic Chrysler brands Americans have grown up with got their start in those early years: Plymouth and Dodge.

DODGE COMMERCIAL: Dodge prices start just a few dollars more than the lowest priced cars.

LAKE: And it was Chrysler who financed and built the iconic skyscraper in New York City that still carries his name. The Chrysler Corporation, a patchwork of various smaller car companies, began operations in 1925. It survived the Depression thanks in part to the fact that their products were cheaper than the competition. And in post-war America, Chrysler overtook Ford as the nation's number two carmaker for a time.

But the company's troubles began in the '70s. The OPEC oil embargo hit hard, tastes in autos began to change, and Japanese automakers were becoming a formidable force. By the end of the decade, Chrysler was facing bankruptcy, forced to turn to the federal government for help. The U.S. threw the firm a $1.5 billion lifeline, at that time a huge amount of money. The loan, controversial at the time, was a landmark in the relationship between the U.S. government and corporate America. And for many years, Chrysler was back, thanks in part to the leadership of the charismatic Lee Iacocca, with the fuel efficient model K-car a big seller. In recent years, Chrysler had its finger on the pulse of American drivers craving larger, roomier vehicles. But new troubles lurked around the corner:

PROFESSOR JOSEPH FOUDY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: It got lucky in a way, or smart, in that it was able to pioneer first the minivan market and then the SUV market, and so it was able to earn a substantial premium for a number of its cars. What's happened though over time is all of those markets have been attacked by foreign competitors, particularly from Japan, who have come out with their own compelling products.

LAKE: Renewed competition from Asian auto giants and skyrocketing gas prices hit Chrysler hard. The firm's much heralded merger with Germany's Daimler Benz fell apart. And in 2007, Chrysler was taken private by investment firm Cerberus. In recent months, the global financial crisis delivered a devastating blow. Those who follow Chrysler call it a case of tragic missed opportunities.

FOUDY: If they had restructured more aggressively earlier, got their debt under control, focused in on new products that they thought consumers want, I think it would be a much stronger company today.

LAKE: Today, Chrysler remains a storied, icononic company with a highly uncertain future. Maggie Lake, CNN, New York.


Saudi Bride

AZUZ: We're updating a story in Saudi Arabia, where a court approved a very young bride's divorce. If you don't remember the specifics on this, the groom is 47 years old; the bride is eight! The marriage was arranged; the girl didn't even know she was married. Previous divorce requests were denied, but the judge granted it after several officials made pleas to the husband. Saudi Arabia's justice minister is working on a law that will protect young girls from arranged marriages.

Is This Legit?

GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The official name of the current swine flu virus is "2009 H1N1." Legit! The H1N1 virus, what's commonly called swine flu, is actually a combination of human, bird and swine strains of influenza.

School Closings

AZUZ: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed more than 100 cases of H1N1 around the U.S., but you don't have to be infected to be affected. Around 170,000 students are out of school right now because their schools are closed. Ed Lavandera shows us the steps that one school district is taking to fight the spread of this virus.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT, DALLAS: Eighty thousand students at more than 140 schools in Fort Worth, Texas have been told to stay home, stay away, as district officials have decided to cancel classes until at least May 11th. This is the district's way of getting ahead and trying to control the spread of the swine flu virus. This also comes on the heels of the news that one student was confirmed to have the virus, three others, they say, probably have it. So district officials have told the students and teachers to stay away. As that is going on, cleaning crews have been brought in to disinfect the buildings and the schools in hopes that will help control the spread of this virus as well.

DR. MELODY JOHNSON, FORT WORTH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: What we're doing is sanitizing every room in every building in the district. We'll clean everything that people touch, and especially children touch. Keyboard keys, that's what I was talking about when we came in. We can't forget anything or overlook anything that there is consistent hands-on in our schools, so its obviously desktops, computer keyboards, the whiteboards that we are using now in all of our schools.

LAVANDERA: School district officials here in Fort Worth say they are sensitive to the criticism that this might be perceived as an overreaction. They say that they have been torn between overreacting and not reacting at all, and in the end, they felt better that this would be the best way to take care and protect the safety and health of their students. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Fort Worth, Texas.



RAMSAY: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Corn's classes at Kenneth Henderson Middle School in Garden City, Kansas! Who invented the printing press? You know what to do! Was it: A) Leonardo da Vinci, B) Thomas Edison, C) Johannes Gutenberg or D) Eli Whitney? Three seconds on the clock -- GO! Renaissance-era documents reveal that Johannes Gutenberg constructed the contraption. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Books On Demand

AZUZ: Gutenberg's invention set the standard for centuries, cranking out about 250 single-sided pages per hour. Which wasn't bad, back then. But there's a new printer that can publish an entire book in less time than it takes to watch this show! And that's not even the most impressive part. It's creating copies of products that aren't available in print! Don Riddell thumbs through the details.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR, LONDON: Buying a book is supposed to be fun, but it can easily turn into a frustrating experience if the one you want is out of stock or out of print. Out of luck? Not necessarily, says this London bookstore.

JULIAN COTTRELL, BOOK FAN: Anybody off the street can go in and get a book published in 5 minutes. Isn't that just amazing? What an amazing thing!

RIDDELL: This is the Espresso book machine at Blackwell book store. It prints, cuts and binds while you wait. Right now, the Espresso offers around 400,000 titles, but pretty soon, they'll have access to a catalogue of a million books. Well look at that, this book was out of print for decades, and here it is. It took just five minutes to make it. It looks like a book, feels like a book, smells like a book. It's a bit warm and a bit tacky to the touch, but there you go.

Is this revolutionary?

MARCUS GIPPS, SALES MANAGER: I think it is. I mean, suddenly this bookshop is effectively now ten times the size it was last week. Just in terms of what we can keep on the shelf and what we can give to the customer that comes in, it changes everything.

RIDDELL: Blackwell claims to be the first store in Britain offering this service to the public, saying it's the most significant development since Guttenburg invented the mechanical printing press back in the 15th century. Such is the excitement about the machine that for some bookworms, the sales manager, Marcus Gipps, has even become a celebrity, signing one of the first books to be printed. It can be economical for the consumer. Out-of-stock books are sold at the publisher's price, while out-of-print copies are produced for a downpayment of $15 and then three cents per page. And the Espresso also means that unpublished authors can now see their works in print.

MARY CADE, UNPUBLISHED AUTHOR: I saw this machine, I went, "Oh, how wonderful, a wonder machine for new authors. I must go straight to Blackwell's." I rushed down here and there it was. And I immediately thought, "How fantastic!"

RIDDELL: The Espresso costs $175,000, and Blackwell thinks it'll pay for itself within just six months. It may not be long before there's a "wonder machine" at a bookstore near you. Don Riddell, CNN, London.


Watch Us On The Web!

AZUZ: Well, you don't need a book or even to be in school to check out our home page, That's where you can find our program and blog open 24/7.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go today, a lost-and-found tale that will blow you away, kind of like what happened to this little lady! She was out with her owners last weekend, when powerful winds literally swept her up and flung her into the woods. That's what you get for owning a five pound dog. We're just kidding. Incredibly, Tinkerbelle, as her name is, was not hurt. Although it did take a couple days to find her.



AZUZ: We're just glad Tinkerbelle's story has a fairy tail ending. You guys have a great weekend. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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