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CNN Student News Transcript: May 8, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Hear about some proposed budget cuts in our recap of the headlines
  • Explore the struggles of Pakistanis caught in a military crossfire
  • Launch into a report on the pricey potential of space tourism
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(CNN Student News) -- May 8, 2009

Quick Guide

Headlines - Hear about some proposed budget cuts in our recap of the headlines.

Truce Withdrawal - Explore the struggles of Pakistanis caught in a military crossfire.

Space Tourism - Launch into a report on the pricey potential of space tourism.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: From Mrs. Bumgardner in Brunswick to Mr. Conors in Seneca and Mrs. Wagner in Highlands Ranch, today's show goes out to all you teachers out there. I'm Carl Azuz. We're starting with some headlines.

First Up: Headlines

AZUZ: President Obama is proposing some potential cuts in the federal budget that he says could save $17 billion. His plan would cut funding for programs that he says is being spent "inefficiently and ineffectively." This proposal has to be approved by Congress, and top Republicans say the cuts won't have much of an effect on the country's deficit. $17 billion may sound like a lot of money, but that's out of a $3.5 trillion budget. Basically, if the entire budget were one dollar, the proposed savings would be about half of one cent.

Moving to the other side of the country, firefighters are battling blazes in southern California. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate, as the flames scorched a destructive path through Santa Barbara County. As of yesterday, at least 20 homes had been destroyed and thousands more were threatened. The fire, which began on Tuesday, is drawing strength from high temperatures and low humidity. One official said it's hard to control the blaze because of how fast the thing is moving.

And down in Mexico, the country is lowering its alert level for the H1N1, or swine flu virus, from orange, or elevated, to yellow, which is medium. More than six million students are returning to class there, as thousands of businesses reopen their doors. The Mexican government closed schools and many businesses last week to fight the spread of the disease. The World Health Organization says there are more than 2,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

Truce Withdrawal

AZUZ: And in Pakistan, the government has launched a major offensive against the Taliban, after dropping out of a peace agreement that it says the militant group broke weeks ago. Thousands of troops are involved in this military action. Ivan Watson explores the impact of the fighting on Pakistanis who are trying to just get away from the violence.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, PAKISTAN: Expect to see more scenes like this in the days to come: A family of 18, tired, scared, confused, trudging into one of the new refugee camps sprouting up across northwest Pakistan. A guard shows them an empty tent and they move in.

SALAR KHAN, PAKISTANI REFUGEE [TRANSLATED]: "We left this morning. Our village was being mortared," says one of the men of the family. "A big piece of shrapnel almost pierced my child's leg."

WATSON: Five days ago, this was just an empty field. It is filling by the hour, as tens of thousands of Pakistanis flee south to escape the fighting. Meanwhile, columns of Pakistani troops are headed north. This conflict is escalating; an already existing humanitarian crisis is getting worse. These are the ruins of what up until a few years ago was a camp for refugees from neighboring Afghanistan.

The Afghans are gone, but officials say now more then 49,000 Pakistanis live here. They are just a fraction of the more than half a million people uprooted by the war between Pakistani soldiers and Taliban militants over the last six months. The natives at Jalozai camp are getting restless. They are angry because the monthly distribution of food aid is a few days late.

PAKISTANI REFUGEE [TRANSLATED]: "Our houses have been destroyed," this man explains. "All we have now are the clothes on our back."

WATSON: It takes a few bags of flour to calm people down. The United Nations predicts this camp's population will nearly double when the next wave of displaced Pakistanis arrive.


Bank Stress Tests

AZUZ: Back here in the U.S., the results are in on that financial stress test. If you remember, officials gave the test to some of the country's biggest banks to see if they had enough capital in case the economy gets worse. Capital refers to a company's available resources, including money. And the answer is mixed. Ten of the 19 banks that were tested failed, which means they need to raise capital, about 75 billion dollars' worth, to withstand the recession. This includes Bank Of America, Wells Fargo, GMAC and Citigroup. But nine banks passed the stress test. Ones like American Express, Bank of New York Mellon, JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, they look to be in good shape.


ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's first Shoutout goes out to Ms. Langley's classes at Divide County High School in Crosby, North Dakota. How many games are in a Major League Baseball season? Is it: A) 146, B) 154, C) 162 or D) 170? You've got three seconds -- GO! The boys of summer take the field for 162 games. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Ramirez Suspended

AZUZ: Los Angeles Dodgers star Manny Ramirez will miss 50 of those games, nearly a third of the season, after being suspended for violating the league's drug policy. Ramirez, who says he won't challenge the suspension, responded to the situation in a statement, saying: "Recently, I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy, that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I've taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past 5 seasons."

Teacher Appreciation Blog Report

AZUZ: Well, it's time to appreciate some teachers! Stephanie thanked Mr. Walker, "the best teacher ever," for the "best year ever." How do you top that? Shelby, Spencer and Jordan all kicked a shoutout to Mrs. Chapp. Zane wants to recognize Mr. Denzer and Mr. Lawrence as great American Studies teachers. Mr. Perez's fans have been blogging praise for days. Christian says, "Mr. Samiljan is as cool as Carl himself." Thank you, Christian, but I'm sure he's much cooler. Kaitlyn asks if Mr. Zimmer's happy that she posted a comment about him. Nick and Taylor say Mr. Bluedorn is as awesome as my puns. Is that a compliment?

Mrs. Guptill's hatching baby chicks! Well, her class is watching them hatch. And a lot of her students send a shoutout. Cory has learned so much from Mrs. Samford and wants to thank her. Olivia is homeschooled and wants to thank her mom. And Melissa uploaded a video on Facebook, thanking her teachers as well as teachers nationwide. You can see that and our new Facebook video by searching "CNN Student News Official."

Shoutout Extra Credit!

NIVISON: Time for a Shoutout Extra Credit! Who was the first person in space? Was it: A) Neil Armstrong, B) Yuri Gagarin, C) Alan Shepherd or D) Vladimir Remek? Rewind that clock and GO! Armstrong was first on the moon, but Yuri Gagarin was the first person in space. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout Extra Credit!

Space Tourism

AZUZ: Many people, including all of those other answer options, have followed Gagarin's path into outer space. For the most part, they've been involved with a country's official space program. But sometime soon, anyone might have the chance to boldly go where many men and women have gone before. But as Deb Feyerick explains, this trip won't be cheap.


JOSHUA BUSH, "SPACE" AGENT: Yeah! That feels good!

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK: By the looks of it, Joshua Bush is going to space. But he's not in a spaceship, at least, not yet.

NASTAR CENTER TRAINER: Just relax and enjoy the ride right now.

FEYERICK: When Bush takes a spin in this "human centrifuge," one of the most realistic flight simulators in the world, he feels the pressure of powerful g-forces on his body and even a brief moment of weightlessness. For about $6,000, almost anyone can get a similar experience at the National Aerospace Training and Research Center, called NASTAR.

GLENN KING, NASTAR CENTER: It's realistic. The same forces that will happen during a real flight happen here during training.

FEYERICK: But for Bush, this isn't just a thrill ride.

BUSH: One of the reasons why I am here today is to gain a better understanding of the NASTAR Center and how their products can relate to my clients.

FEYERICK: Bush is an intergalactic travel agent, selling tickets for Richard Branson's newest out-of-this-world adventure. For $200,000, you can get high-tech training and a front row seat on the world's first spacecraft designed specifically for tourism.

BUSH: So, it's going to be almost an eerie but calming silence as you look out one of the huge portholes at the curvature of the Earth, the edge of the atmosphere, and you'll be floating.

FEYERICK: Building and testing are underway now. If all goes according to plan, the first space tourists will be soaring by 2011. Deborah Feyerick, CNN.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, check out a dancer who's a real bird brain. Hey, we warned you. Actually, I don't know if you can really call it dancing; he's only got two moves. Although the fact that he stays on beat is pretty impressive. We don't really have to make any jokes here; you can just watch it. As you can imagine, the boogying bird is burning up the Internet.



AZUZ: Which means it's just a matter of time before we see some parrot-ies. You guys have a great weekend. I'm Carl Azuz.

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