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CNN Student News Transcript: May 5, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Consider the potential pros and cons of proposed changes to corporate tax laws
  • Go inside the CDC's nerve center to follow the fight against a flu outbreak
  • Log on to a controversy that seems to pit privacy against professionalism
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(CNN Student News) -- May 5, 2009

Quick Guide

Corporate Tax Crackdown - Consider the potential pros and cons of proposed changes to corporate tax laws.

Inside The CDC - Go inside the CDC's nerve center to follow the fight against a flu outbreak.

Privacy vs. Professionalism - Log on to a controversy that seems to pit privacy against professionalism.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: How did online gossip preportedly cost a pair of employees their jobs? We will download the details in CNN Student News!

First Up: Corporate Tax Crackdown

AZUZ: First up, President Obama wants to close a few loopholes that affect how some U.S. companies pay their taxes. Specifically, we're talking about American corporations that do business around the world. By working in other countries, these companies are able to pay less in taxes. But President Obama says the system shouldn't reward businesses for moving jobs and profits overseas.

So, he's looking to do a few things. First, the president wants to change the rules around how and when U.S. companies pay taxes on their overseas businesses. Second, he wants to offer a tax cut for companies that conduct their research in the U.S. And third, he wants to make it harder for companies to take advantage of the tax breaks that they get from working in other countries. The president says the goal of this proposal is to create jobs here in the U.S. and to make the tax laws more fair.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We will stop letting American companies that create jobs overseas take deductions on their expenses when they do not pay any American taxes on their profits. And we will use the savings to give tax cuts to companies that are investing in research and development here at home, so that we can jumpstart job creation, foster innovation and enhance America's competitiveness.

AZUZ: Now here's the other side: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the current laws are not loopholes; they were created with "full knowledge and full discussion." And critics argue the president's plan will actually discourage companies from investing money here in the U.S. Congress would have to approve some of these changes, and one tax expert says it might be a tough sell to Republicans and some Democrats.

Is This Legit?

ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? You cannot get the swine flu virus by eating pork. This is true. Properly cooked pork products don't transmit the virus.

Back to School

ST. FRANCIS PREPARATORY SCHOOL STUDENT #1: I'm not that nervous. Everything's clean.

ST. FRANCIS PREPARATORY SCHOOL STUDENT #2: I'm a little bit nervous, I'm not going to lie. Scared. I know they sanitized the building, but I'm still a little nervous.

ST. FRANCIS PREPARATORY SCHOOL STUDENT #3: I'm definitely confident that I don't think anyone's sick, and I'm glad we're back in school to see each other again.

AZUZ: Some mixed emotions at New York's Saint Francis Preparatory School as students head back to class this week. The school had the first confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, in the U.S., but the principal says Saint Francis has been completely sanitized.

Inside The CDC

AZUZ: Health officials are trying to learn everything they can about this virus to figure out how to fight it. Doctor Sanjay Gupta, who's been tracing the origins of the outbreak, takes us inside the U.S. organization that's figuring out the next steps in facing this flu.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: After five days in Mexico hunting down the first cases of the swine flu virus, I'm back in Atlanta. If there's a place where every bit of news about swine flu is converging, it's here: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before they would let me into the main control center, a check-up here in the medical clinic to make sure I wasn't sick. They tell me I'm fine.

So, now we're ready to take a look at the nerve center of the CDC, something known as Emergency Operations Control. Take a look over here. Hundreds of people have been in here working day and night for over the last week. And take a look at those screens up there. Those screens monitoring cases as they come in, trying to put it all together, trying to piece it all together, trying to get control on this outbreak.

TOBY CRAFTON, OPERATIONS MGR., CDC EOC: Everybody you see in here is here because of the outbreak.

GUPTA: What else do we have over here?

CRAFTON: Each one of those regions that you see on that map right there has a team of epidemiologists and folks that are working on making sure that they track each one of those cases in that region. So, they are literally down there getting calls from all those states, talking to the state health officials, talking to the epidemiologists in each state and tracking the numbers.

GUPTA: Tracking cases, looking for clues, sending out investigators. The guidelines on those Fort Worth school closings, they came from here. But today, the focus seems to be shifting: What if this spirals into a full-fledged global outbreak, and what if we need a vaccine?

I want to show you something that very few people get a chance to see. We're in the back hallways here at the CDC in a laboratory area. And look through this window over here. That woman is working on the swine flu virus. A lot of those samples come here. What she is doing underneath the hood, she is obviously protecting herself, is to try and check to see if the swine flu virus is sensitive to antivirals. What I can tell you, the early testing shows that it's quite sensitive to Tamiflu.

DR. MICHAEL SHAW, ASSOCIATE LAB DIRECTOR, CDC INFLUENZA DIVISION: This particular virus with this particular combination of genes we have never seen before in humans or animals. It was totally new.

GUPTA: Michael Shaw runs the lab.

SHAW: Are we making a vaccine?

GUPTA: Yeah?

SHAW: We're all learning right now. We're doing as much as we can as fast as we can, which is the message we really want to get out. We're working day and night trying to get this done.

GUPTA: Here's how it works: The scientists here at the CDC provide the virus for the vaccine. After that, it is in the hands of the manufacturers, the big drug companies.

Is a vaccine being recommended now?

DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAM, CDC: No, we're at the stage where we're trying to understand the situation. We're trying to characterize the severity and the epidemiologic characteristics.

GUPTA: If history is any guide, over the next few weeks, H1N1 is likely to fizzle down. But come fall and winter, it could come back, making a vaccine that much more important and keeping the hundreds of people in this room just as busy. Dr Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.


I.D. Me!

NIVISON: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a Web site category that's used by tens of millions of people. I offer users the chance to create their own space, wall or tweet. One of my sites includes the official online fan page for CNN Student News! I'm social networking sites, like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

Privacy vs. Professionalism

AZUZ: A lot of what people post on social networking sites, whether you're updating your status or writing on a fan page, is meant to be public. These sites are all about sharing information. But what if you're talking privately with your friends? Alina Cho explores a controversy involving an online chat that allegedly led to a couple of employees losing their jobs.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did you ever think in your wildest dreams that making a comment like this on MySpace would get you fired from your job?

DOREEN MARINO, FIRED FOR COMMENTS ON MYSPACE: Absolutely not. Never in a million years would I have thought this was going to get me fired.

CHO: It did. Doreen Marino says she was blindsided when, in 2006, her boss at this Houston's restaurant in Hackensack, New Jersey fired her. Not for bad performance or calling in sick, but for allegedly making derogatory comments about one of her managers in a private discussion group on MySpace. Members only, password required, created specifically so she and other co-workers could gossip.

You wanted to vent.

MARINO: Better to vent there, in my opinion; take it somewhere where no one is going to hear you.

CHO: Marino was wrong. She says managers at the restaurant got hold of the password, didn't like what they saw and, as a result, according to Marino, fired her and another worker.

Did you feel like that was a violation of your privacy?

MARINO: Absolutely. They weren't invited. They were not members of the group. In my opinion, I felt they had no business being there.

CHO: She's so mad she and the co-worker are suing the owners of Houston's for invasion of privacy. The parent group of Houston's would not comment about the lawsuit, but in a statement to CNN said...

"This is not a case about 'cyber-snooping,' the First Amendment or privacy. It's about two staff members who were let go for unprofessional conduct," including, says the company, "disparaging comments about our guests and sharing a product knowledge test before it was administered. This misconduct was voluntarily brought to light by a member of the online group."

Is it really reasonable to expect that if you're writing things on MySpace someone is not going to see it?

MARINO: I mean, where do we draw the line? We have the right to say what we want in a private environment.

CHO: Or do they?

NICHOLAS THOMPSON, SENIOR EDITOR, WIRED MAGAZINE: Technology is changing faster than the law, faster than our social norms. So, the law and the courts don't really know how to handle this, and it's not like they'll catch up.

CHO: Marino says she's hoping to set a precedent.

MARINO: There has to be something, some sacred space in our lives where we can feel comfortable speaking our minds.

CHO: That is at the heart of the debate. One Internet expert says there are no laws on the books to deal with this. The problem is that the Internet is changing faster than the laws can be written. The expert says today there is a lawsuit on MySpace, tomorrow there will be a similar case on Twitter. The norms, he says, have changed. Alina Cho, CNN, New York.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Interesting report there. Before we go today, how do you really drive home the point of a senior prank? Well, you can always park your car around the flagpole. And we mean around the flagpole! These seniors actually cut out part of the car so they could slide it around the pole, then welded the thing back together. There's no punishment for the pranksters, who decided to confess.



AZUZ: And that's probably a good thing, since their getaway car wouldn't have gotten too far. That's all we've got for today. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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