(CNN Student News) -- May 4, 2009
Flu Defense - Consider whether influenza H1N1, or swine flu, is more panic than pandemic.
Changing of the Guard - Note why a retirement is unlikely to yield new harmony at the Supreme Court.
Protesting the Taliban - Lend your ear to a chorus of Pakistani voices raised against the Taliban.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Coral Springs Middle in Florida; Mrs. Johnson's class in Bassett, Nebraska; Abington Junior High in Pennsylvania; East Coweta High in Georgia; Dixie Heights in Kentucky. We welcome everyone to CNN Student News!
AZUZ: First up, officials in Mexico say that the outbreak of H1N1, or swine flu, is on the decline in the country. The World Health Organization has confirmed more than 800 cases worldwide, although some of that increase is based on testing medical samples that were already collected, not from new cases. Here in the U.S., part of the fallout from this flu is affecting you! About a quarter million students are out of class, and as Kate Bolduan explains, education officials are concerned about the impact on learning.
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KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Obama administration is trying to stay on top of this ever-changing flu outbreak.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We, for example, are working with the department of education to provide clear guidelines for school closures.
BOLDUAN: With another hundred schools closed, Washington is now doubling the recommended time affected schools and day care centers should close their doors.
ARNE DUNCAN, U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: The CDC recommends you strongly consider closing school for up to 14 days.
BOLDUAN: Education Secretary Arne Duncan stressed Friday student safety is priority one. However, teachers and parents alike need to start planning now to minimize the disruption of the school year as more schools are likely to close.
DUNCAN: Have assignments ready to keep them busy and engaged for up to a week or two, including handouts or books that students can take home so that learning continues.
BOLDUAN: The education department says more than 430 schools are temporarily shut down, including Rockville High School in Maryland.
DR. FRAN PHILLIPS, MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEPUTY SECRETARY OF HEALTH: The goal here is to stop or at least slow down transmission in the community.
BOLDUAN: School nurses on the frontlines are on high alert, even holding hand-washing demonstrations to drive the point home.
PERSON ON THE STREET: You can see how the germs have traveled from one person to the next person.
BOLDUAN: One small victory: that message is, at least, starting to trickle down.
REPORTER: What are you doing to be careful?
STUDENT: I'm washing my hands 24/7.
BOLDUAN: We're also told of five colleges with reported or confirmed cases of H1N1, schools like Northeastern University in Massachusetts, has asked students and faculty to avoid shaking hands during this week's graduation ceremony because of it. Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.
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More Panic than Pandemic?
AZUZ: Another fallout: hospitals being flooded with people who are worried they have the virus. If you have flu-like symptoms, certainly, you should get checked out. But some people argue that concerns about this flu are being blown way out of proportion.
REP. RON PAUL, (R) TEXAS : It's overblown, grossly so, and I just wish people would back off a little bit, stop and think for a minute and not panic, people. There's too much hysteria in the country and, so far, there hasn't been that much great danger. So, the sooner we get calmer, the better I'll feel.
GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the shoutout! Whose job is it to nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices? Is it the: A) Chief Justice, B) Attorney General, C) Speaker of the House or D) President? You've got three seconds -- GO! Article two, section two of the Constitution says the president picks the Supreme Court nominee. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: The Senate has the power to confirm Supreme Court nominees, but picking them is one of the biggest jobs a president has, and it's one President Obama is gearing up for right now. Jonathan Mann explains why there's about to be an open seat.
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JONATHAN MANN, CNN YOUR WORLD TODAY ANCHOR: Insiders at the U.S. Supreme Court say Justice David Souter is stepping down. Souter is 69 and one of the younger and healthier members. But he famously hates Washington, D.C., and is likely to retire to his native New Hampshire within months. What does that do to the rest of the High Court? Souter is regarded as a liberal, and President Obama is likely to replace him with another liberal. So, the fiercely divided Supremes will probably be turning out the same kind of tunes without any new harmony.
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AZUZ: Okay, on to Pakistan now, where the country's military has launched an assault against a region being controlled by the Taliban. We've reported on the militant group's growing influence in Pakistan. Last week, Ivan Watson explored how the Taliban gathers support from some rural Pakistanis. Today, he looks at the public outcry against the militant group in the country's cultural capital.
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IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, PAKISTAN: Another angry protest in Pakistan, but this time the crowd is demonstrating against the Taliban.
JUGNU MOHSIN, NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER: I'm a journalist of 20 years' standing.
WATSON: And you're scared?
MOHSIN: I will fight them to my last breath and to last drop of blood in my body. I'm not scared. I want the army to protect us; that's what they're here for. I want the government to protect us. I want them to free every inch of Pakistan from the scourge of the Taliban.
WATSON: It's a small rally in Lahore, one that's not very well organized.
PERSON ON STREET #1: Let's give out banners. Whoops!
WATSON: But these writers and intellectuals say it's about time someone stood up to the Taliban's campaign of violence and intimidation.
PERSON ON STREET #2: They're lunatics. They're psychotic. They want to change the way we exist.
PERSON ON STREET #3: If Taliban take over, then I'll be on the road getting flogged by one of them like they did in Swat, and I don't want that.
WATSON: Lahore is the cultural capital of Pakistan, a city famous for its music, dance, poetry and theatre: art forms the Taliban has brutally repressed in areas the militants control. Though Lahore is hundreds of miles away from the Taliban's strongholds in the mountains of northwestern Pakistan, security forces here have adopted a siege mentality as militants have extended their reach. A heavily-armed escort accompanies Police Chief Parvez Rathore even when he walks just outside the walls of his headquarters.
WATSON: How many people have you lost?
PARVEZ RATHORE, LAHORE POLICE CHIEF: Last year, we lost 39 people in acts of terrorism, and this year we have lost 17 people in Lahore alone.
WATSON: Just in Lahore?
RATHORE: Just in Lahore.
WATSON: In March, militants swarmed a nearby police academy, killing seven cadets. They've also bombed cinemas and theaters in Lahore and ambushed a visiting cricket team from Sri Lanka. The police say these attacks would not be possible without local support.
JAMAL RAHMAN, MUSICIAN: They're here in Lahore. Little groups of the Taliban are going around and intimidating people, causing fear, telling women to cover up and if they don't, they'll shoot them.
WATSON: Jamal Rahman and his cousin Aider are members of a Lahore-based band called Lal.
RAHMAN: We want to try to get people aware, and try to get them activated and motivated to fight against this militancy.
WATSON: On television and in concert, these politically-active musicians have been trying to rally society against the growing threat of the Taliban. Is this the beginning of a mass movement of moderate Pakistanis against the Taliban, or is it the swan song of a wealthy urban elite who could be the first to leave if the suicide bombers and insurgents succeed in further destabilizing this country? Ivan Watson, CNN, Lahore, Pakistan.
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Send In Your iReports
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Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, a young lady in Britain breaks into a pretty exclusive club: Mensa. The group has about 100,000 members, and you have to be pretty smart to find your way in. The only qualification: a high IQ. David Harrison introduces us to Mensa's newest member.
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DAVID HARRISON, ITN REPORTER: Well, here in an ordinary back garden on an ordinary street in Edmonton, North London is quite an extraordinary young lady. Elise is two years, four months old and the youngest-ever member of Mensa. Dad, Ed, how clever is she?
ED NOSEGBE-ROBERTS, FATHER: She just shocks us every day. She always comes up with something new. She just really bowls us over every day.
HARRISON: And what was her first word?
ED NOSEGBE-ROBERTS: Dada.
HARRISON: How proud are you both of Elise?
ED NOSEGBE-ROBERTS: Oh, extremely. We let her do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. When she doesn't want to do something, she just doesn't do it. We don't force her to do anything. We just love her to bits.
HARRISON: Let's put her to the test. Elise, can you tell me, you can count in Spanish, can't you? How do you do that?
ELISE TAN-ROBERTS, 2 YEARS OLD [SPANISH]: Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.
HARRISON: And what about capital cities? How about France?
ELISE TAN-ROBERTS: Paris.
ELISE TAN-ROBERTS: London.
ELISE TAN-ROBERTS: Washington.
HARRISON: I assure you that's unrehearsed.
ELISE TAN-ROBERTS: Spain, Madrid.
HARRISON: Spain, Madrid. I should point out that Elise's parents are very keen to stress that they are not pushy parents. They want Elise to grow up as an ordinary, happy child.
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AZUZ: An ordinary, happy, incredibly brilliant child. We're sure that's what they Mensa. Alright, we'll see you again tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.