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CNN Student News Transcript: May 7, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Learn why Washington cares so much about Afghan and Pakistani stability
  • Observe how a new face has dramatically changed the life of a U.S. woman
  • Find out why thousands worldwide are jealous of a British charity worker
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(CNN Student News) -- May 7, 2009

Quick Guide

Why It Matters - Learn why Washington cares so much about Afghan and Pakistani stability.

Face Transplant - Observe how a new face has dramatically changed the life of a U.S. woman.

Best Job Winner - Find out why thousands worldwide are jealous of a British charity worker.


Teachers: Today's second story is about a face transplant and contains images some students may find disturbing. We encourage you to preview it before showing it to your class.


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: No more applications. The best job in the world has been filled, and we are going to introduce you to the lucky winner. I'm Carl Azuz. This is CNN Student News.

First Up: Why It Matters

AZUZ: First up, President Obama meets with the heads of two countries whose security, he says, is linked with America's. We're talking about Pakistan and Afghanistan, neighboring nations in Asia. Representatives from both governments gathered in Washington yesterday to take part in talks about how to stabilize their region. At the White House, the country's presidents met with Mister Obama to discuss strategies for how they can work together to achieve that goal.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We meet today as three sovereign nations joined by a common goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their ability to operate in either country in the future. And to achieve that goal, we must deny them the space to threaten the Pakistani, Afghan or American people.

AZUZ: This part of the world has been in the news a lot recently; you've seen it on our show. How is its security connected to America's?


AZUZ: Afghanistan and Pakistan are half a world away. Why does it matter if President Obama meets with their leaders? Well, you've heard about the Taliban expanding its control in Pakistan. They used to be in control of neighboring Afghanistan. This is a group that didn't allow women to get an education or even show their faces in public. What are considered misdemeanors in the U.S. could mean a fatal beating under Taliban rule. There was no music, no TV, the most basic civil liberties didn't exist. And it was the Taliban that allowed the al Qaeda terrorist group to set up shop in Afghanistan, getting armed, getting trained, and planning events like the September 11th attacks. So, you can see why it's important to the U.S. that the Taliban doesn't ever gain control in Pakistan, which also happens to have nuclear weapons.

And what about Afghanistan? Didn't the U.S. lead an effort to strike back at al Qaeda and kick out the Taliban in 2001? Yes. But today, Afghanistan is anything but stable. Like Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is considered by many political analysts to be weak and unpopular in his home country. President Obama is sending 21,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan to help prevent the spread of militants there. And he's sending American civilian workers and billions of dollars to both Afghanistan and Pakistan in hopes of strengthening stability in the region.


Word to the Wise


graft (noun) human tissue that's transplanted between people or from one part of a person to another; also, the surgery in which this transplant is performed


Face Transplant

AZUZ: Five years ago, a violent attack left Connie Culp unable to smell, speak or even breathe normally. But after a marathon surgery involving multiple skin grafts, that has all changed. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains some of the details of this historic medical procedure. This report includes some images that students might find disturbing, so teachers, we encourage you to preview it before showing it to your class.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: A shotgun blast five years ago blew this woman's face to pieces, a 46-year-old mother of two. In a moment, her identity gone. This was the end result: Connie Culp no longer had a nose, could not eat solids or drink from a cup. She had a hard time breathing. She lived in virtual seclusion.

DR. FRANK PAPAY, CLEVELAND CLINIC: Little children would shy away from her and actually be scared of her.

GUPTA: Then, after years of waiting, Culp was matched with a donor, a face donor. Even as a doctor, I had never seen anything quite like it: the most extensive facial transplant ever. Before, after. It took 22 hours, 8 surgeons. 80% of Culp's face -- her palate, upper lip, nose, eyelids -- replaced with that of a donor.


GUPTA: And here's how she got it. First, graft skin from the face of a donor who had just died, doctors careful to preserve arteries, veins, nerves. The next hours are critical. Using powerful microscopes, doctors married the veins and arteries from donor to recipient, and then grafted the donor's skin onto Culp's face. The only indication it worked: the veins and arteries began to course with blood.

PAPAY: You have to wait and see if it clots and make sure it continues to flush. For that initial five minutes, you know you've done your job.

GUPTA: Face transplantation is new territory, conferring tremendous risk, especially for a procedure that, unlike liver or heart transplanation, is not life-saving. Add to that, face transplant patients require high doses of immune system-suppressing drugs for life, so that the body does not reject the new face. I interviewed Dr. Maria Siemionow, who led Culp's operation, before the transplant.

You are talking about a long operation with a foreign tissue, that is going to require a lifetime of anti-rejection medications. It may not take, and the person, their life could be threatened. How do you reconcile those two things?

DR. MARIA SIEMIONOW, CLEVELAND CLINIC: Those people are not just coming with such a commitment because they want to be beautiful. They want to be normal. They just want to come back to society as anybody else. And I think they have a right to decide about it.


Is This Legit?

RAMSAY: Is this legit? The Great Barrier Reef is located off the Australian state of Victoria. Right country, wrong state. It's located off the coast of Queensland.

Best Job Winner

AZUZ: That is why that state, Queensland, is home to what's being called the "best job in the world." You might remember us running down the responsibilities a few months ago: You have to live on the beach in a free house; go sailing, snorkeling, and kayaking; and the blog about the experience. Yes, I'm jealous. Max Foster introduces the new, and incredibly lucky, island caretaker for the Great Barrier Reef.


BEN SOUTHALL, WINNER, "THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD": Hi, I'm Ben, or otherwise known as the adventurous, crazy, energetic, one; and there's only 55 seconds left to tell you why!

MAX FOSTER, CNN TODAY ANCHOR, LONDON: It wasn't the most conventional application video, but then it wasn't for a conventional job. This is the applicant who eventually won out.

SOUTHALL: Tragically, I've finished my sell!

FOSTER: For the next six months, Ben Southall will live here, on the Great Barrier Reef. His arduous task will be to explore, make friends and produce an online diary of his experiences as the new caretaker of Australia's picturesque Hamilton Island. Ben was one of about 34,000 people from 200 countries who responded to this ad placed by Tourism Queensland. These were some of the other hopefuls:

APPLICANT #1, "THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD": I always wanted to swim with dolphins.

APPLICANT #2, "THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD": I'm trying to think.

APPLICANT #3, "THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD": G'day. My name's Eric Winder. I'm from the United States. I live in Jacksonville, Florida.

APPLICANT #4, "THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD": Hamilton Island, sea and blue sky land. Bushwalking, snorkeling, scuba and me.

APPLICANT #5, "THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD": I love adventure.

APPLICANT #6, "THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD": Take me to the island. Set my spirit free. It works out perfectly with my biology degree.

FOSTER: Sixteen finalists were eventually invited to Hamilton Island to undergo a not-so-rigorous selection process.

FINALIST, "THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD": Here we go baby. Let the games begin!

FOSTER: They were tested on their swimming skills and their ability to blog. Tensions ran high as the winner was announced.

SOUTHALL: I hope I can fill the boots as much as everybody is expecting. My swimming, hopefully, is up to standard, and I look forward to all of the new roles and responsibilities that the task involves.

FOSTER: Ben now gives up his job as charity fundraiser in the U.K. to become a caretaker in Australia. Although the weather will be better, and so will the pay. He will receive $110,000 for his troubles. The job also comes with a three bedroom beach home, a swimming pool and a golf cart. This is Max Foster, for CNN, in London, unfortunately.


Teacher Appreciation Week Blog Promo

AZUZ: Well, I don't know. London isn't so bad and neither is Atlanta. You can't blog about the Barrier Reef at our Web site, but you can talk about your favorite teachers! It is Teacher Appreciation Week, and we're offering you guys the chance to give 'em a shoutout and share why you think they're doing a great job. You might even see your comments on our show! You know where to go:!

Before We Go

AZUZ: Every day, we try to find something unique for our Before We Go segment. That'll do. This guy isn't planning to put on a show, although he seems to have an audience anyway. He's just hungry, and looking to do a little dumpster diving in search of sustenance. Wildlife experts say it's bad he seems comfortable around people, but it looks like the furry friend just picked up on our habit of eating junk food.



AZUZ: What, you thought the pun would be about the animal? C'mon, that's bear-ly a challenge. We'll be back tomorrow to close out the week. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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