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CNN Student News Transcript: May 11, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Discover how an anniversary is connected to a show of Russia's military might
  • Debate whether there's a future in charging readers to view news content online
  • Depart the Earth's surface for a maintenance mission needed in outer space
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(CNN Student News) -- May 11, 2009

Quick Guide

Russia Victory Day - Discover how an anniversary is connected to a show of Russia's military might.

Charging for Content? - Debate whether there's a future in charging readers to view news content online.

Final Visit - Depart the Earth's surface for a maintenance mission needed in outer space.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Monday, I'm Carl Azuz, and this is CNN Student News! Thank you for joining us. We're gonna start things off with a quick check of some headlines.

First Up: Headlines

AZUZ: Fierce battles are still raging in northwestern Pakistan, where the country's military is waging an assault against Taliban forces. Officials say as many as 200 members of the militant group were killed in a single day over the weekend. CNN can't confirm that information, because journalists aren't allowed in the region. The United Nations is concerned about this impact on civilians. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis are leaving the area to try and get away from the violence.

And in California, firefighters are getting some help from the weather as they battle that blaze in Santa Barbara. Authorities say low winds and increased humidity are helping to keep the flames under control. The fire, which had destroyed or damaged about 80 homes, was at least 55 percent contained by Sunday.

Russia Victory Day

AZUZ: And Russia is celebrating the end of World War II with its 64th annual Victory Day. The occasion, which took place on Saturday, marks the date in 1945 when Nazi Germany officially surrendered to the former USSR, which Russia was part of at the time. As Matthew Chance shows us, the weekend ceremony gave Russia an opportunity to show off its military might.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the biggest show of force in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Columns of tanks and missile launchers thundered over the cobblestones of Red Square in the center of Moscow for these Victory Day celebrations, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany but also reflecting the Kremlin's efforts to revive Russia's armed forces and global power. Well, opening the parade, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev told spectators that Russia's military is ready to respond to any aggression, and he referred obliquely to the country's brief war with the neighboring former Soviet republic of Georgia last year.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (TRANSLATED): Now more than ever, it is clear a safe world is possible only where international law is strictly abided by. And that is why our country has initiated a new treaty on European security. Security based on safe arms control and reasonable sufficiency of military construction for the broadest cooperation of states and the exclusively peaceful settlement of conflicts. And we will firmly pursue the execution of these principles.

CHANCE: About 9,000 troops took part in a display of military equipment which, for the first time, included state-of-the-art S400 air defense missiles, which the United States and others is concerned may be sold to Iran. Russia also rolled out its new Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles, a stock reminder that this fast country remains a formidable nuclear power. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.



ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I first appeared in the United States in the late 1600s. I'm a printed item that's usually published daily or weekly. I've been a major source of news for millions of people around the world. I'm the newspaper, the answer to that old joke, "What's black and white and read all over?"

Charging for Content?

AZUZ: Except newspapers aren't being read as much these days. In fact, at least 120 of them have closed in the U.S. since January of 2008. One reason: Readers are getting their news for free online at sites like But a major media tycoon who just happens to own some newspapers, says the days of free, online content could be coming to an end. Jim Boulden covers the unfolding issue.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rupert Murdoch has floated the idea that some of his general newspapers, like the New York Post, the London Times or The Sun, could follow the model of his Wall St. Journal and charge readers for online content. But with content free for so long, will people pay?

WOMAN ON THE STREET #1: No, probably not. You can find almost all the same information somewhere.

WOMAN ON THE STREET #2: No. I would look somewhere else.

BOULDEN: Though Mr. Murdoch will be happy to hear this man would pay for his London Times online.

MAN ON THE STREET #1: Just because it's quicker and easier to get it online when you are at home.

BOULDEN: Still, some don't even bother to view the free stuff.

WOMAN ON THE STREET #3: Newspaper.

MAN ON THE STREET #2: Actual physical newspapers.

BOULDEN: Many news sites, like the New York Times, ask users to register for free. That information can tell potential advertisers who uses the site and for how long. The New York does charge those who don't get the physical paper for a little bit of premium content. Others, like Reuters, hold back a lot.

TOM GLOCER, CEO, THOMSON REUTERS: The high grade, the high octane stuff we really reserve for our professional customers. So, they've always paid on a subscription basis and we never make that content free, because it's vital for people to their jobs.

BOULDEN: The Financial Times also charges for anyone wanting to go beyond the basics. It currently has 110,000 paid subscribers. Managing director Rob Grimshaw wants to enhance its charging model.

ROB GRIMSHAW, FT.COM: I am very, very interested in exploring some of the possibilities around micro payments, either for individual articles or for access to the site for a shorter period of time. And I think we ought to have a pricing model which actually suits how each individual user wants to access the site.

BOULDEN: The FT points out that it can count on subscriptions and focus on increasing those with advertising eroding, something sites that don't charge can't fall back on. That is why Murdoch's News Corp. empire is keen to see if people will pay to play.



TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! When did the Hubble Space Telescope send its first pictures back to Earth? Was it in: A) 1980, B) 1985, C) 1990 or D) 1995? You've got three seconds -- GO! Hubble has been taking pictures since 1990, although initial problems caused its first images to be fuzzy. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Final Visit

AZUZ: Despite some early setbacks, the Hubble Telescope has revolutionized the field of astronomy. Earth's atmosphere, look up and you'll see it, makes it difficult for astronomers on the ground to get a complete view of things in outer space. But from its orbit outside the atmosphere, Hubble has a perfect spot. NASA is getting ready to upgrade the telescope. John Zarrella explains how they plan to do it.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For nearly twenty years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been sending back breathtaking images of galaxies and stars and planets. It has transformed how astronomers and cosmologists view the universe and our place in it.

JOHN GRUNSFELD, SHUTTLE ATLANTIS MISSION SPECIALIST: Where do planetary systems, where do stars come from? Hubble has been a tool to answer these fundamental questions that get right at the heart of who we are.

ZARRELLA: Now, a team of astronauts will make the fifth and final visit to repair and upgrade Hubble. The objective: extend the telescope's life at least another five years. It won't be easy. The pressure on the shuttle Atlantis crew, immense.

SCOTT ALTMAN, SHUTTLE ATLANTIS COMMANDER: We know there's nobody coming after us to do anything we don't get done. This is it. We either get it done or it doesn't happen.

ZARRELLA: 350 miles up, Atlantis will chase down and grab hold of the telescope. For five consecutive days during five seven-hour spacewalks, astronauts will perform the ultimate high-wire act. They'll change out gyroscopes and batteries, repair and replace cameras. They'll change circuit boards, remove dozens of screws and delicately cut through aluminum.

GRUNSFELD: It's almost as if I'm not doing it. It's kind of a Zen thing, and once we finish the task and I climb back out of the telescope, I'll look around and go, "Wow, we're in space."

ZARRELLA: Hubble has been such an incredible watershed of knowledge, the dark days right after its launch in 1990 have largely been forgotten.

JEFFREY HOFFMAN, RETIRED SHUTTLE ASTRONAUT: There was a time when Hubble was a laughing stock. You know, the "techno turkey." You know, pictures in editorial cartoons, denounced on the floors of Congress, ridiculed in late night television programs.

ZARRELLA: The telescope's primary mirror was flawed, not quite the right shape, off a measly 1/50, the thickness of a sheet of paper, but just enough to blur the images from space. The first servicing mission fixed the problem, saving the Hubble program. Now, 19 years later, the last visit.

HOFFMAN: That's been the wonderful thing about the ability to service Hubble, is that we don't just repair it. We leave it a new telescope every time we come back.

GRUNSFELD: It's impossible not to give it some human characteristics and feel sadness when we see it floating away.

ZARRELLA: If all goes well, scientists expect the new and improved Hubble will soon wow them and us with discoveries perhaps beyond our dreams. John Zarrella, CNN, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.


Before We Go

AZUZ: We're gonna end this show with a bang! Instant replay! One more time! After all that excitement, let's cool off with some soda. That's why you don't shake it up first. Now it might be hard to swallow, but this is actually part of the world's largest physics lesson, with more than 7,000 students taking part in the scientific spectacle.



AZUZ: Makes sense, using exploding soda bottles to study fizz-ics. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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