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CNN Student News Transcript: May 19, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Hear why a virus outbreak remains a concern for health officials
  • Celebrate a historic moment that marked "a giant leap for mankind"
  • Learn about one woman's decades-long wait for her college degree
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(CNN Student News) -- May 19, 2009

Quick Guide

Worldwide Update - Hear why a virus outbreak remains a concern for health officials.

Space Age Exhibit - Celebrate a historic moment that marked "a giant leap for mankind."

Diploma Decades Later - Learn about one woman's decades-long wait for her college degree.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Possibilities for a Middle East peace plan, an outbreak update, and a delayed diploma ceremony. A lot to cover today, so let's get right to it.

First Up: Obama, Netanyahu Meet

AZUZ: First up, President Obama meets with Israel's prime minister for the first time since both men have taken office. You might remember that Israel's president, Shimon Peres, met with Obama at the White House a couple weeks ago and discussed possibilities for a Middle East peace plan. But Peres isn't in charge of his country's government. The man who is, Benjamin Netanyahu, visited the White House yesterday. He and Obama discussed some of the issues facing both their countries, like Iran's nuclear program. The U.S. and Israel believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons, although Iran denies it.

But the biggest subject that came up during yesterday's meeting was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the possibility of a two-state solution. At the center of this conflict: Gaza and the West Bank. Israelis and Palestinians both have claims to these regions. A first round of major fighting lasted from 1987 to 1993. A second round erupted in 2000. U.S. presidents and other world leaders have tried to move the peace process forward for decades. One idea that's picking up support: the two-state solution. It would establish a Palestinian state alongside the nation of Israel. President Obama supports it; so did former President Bush. But Prime Minister Netanyahu has not endorsed the plan.

Word to the Wise


virus (noun) a microorganism that can cause disease in plants, animals or bacteria

Worldwide Update

AZUZ: Like the H1N1 virus. You might know it by its more common name: swine flu. This virus dominated headlines following an outbreak that began last month in Mexico, but you haven't heard too much about it in the past couple weeks. So, it must be gone, right? No! And as Elizabeth Cohen explains, that attitude has health experts worried.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: In Mexico City, actors urge people to return to the theater after weeks of being closed because of swine flu. In New York City, students at St. Francis Preparatory School return to class after an H1N1 outbreak there sickened at least a thousand people. It seems like life is back to normal, swine flu no longer on the radar the way it used to be.

ANDREW PEKOSZ, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: The public and media attention has really dropped off over the past week to ten days or so.

COHEN: And that worries public health experts. H1N1 cases are still on the rise in the United States, with more than 5,000 cases and six deaths, the latest one Sunday in New York City. In Japan, there was a surge of swine flu over the weekend, with 117 cases reported.

PEKOSZ: So, where this virus can gain a foothold, it seems to then become entrenched and spread in the population rather easily.

COHEN: Why, then, has public interest decreased? Some experts think it has something to do with, well, the drama of it all. On April 29th, World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan declared that "all humanity was under threat" from H1N1. And when, in the proceeding weeks all humanity didn't crumble, many lost interest. But experts warn you should still be diligent about washing your hands, still be diligent about staying at home if you're sick.

PEKOSZ: I think we should be as vigilant as ever.

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.


Ear Bud Users Beware

AZUZ: Sticking with health, and some new research that you'll want to hear. Experts say MP3 players could be threatening our hearing. This study focused on teens, sorry y'all. Doctors say tend to listen to music at a much louder level. Sensors in our ears can only take so much before they suffer potentially irreversible damage. Some ways to avoid that: listen at lower levels, and consider wearing ear plugs when you attend loud concerts.


TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Most people know that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon. Who was the second? Was it: A) Edwin Aldrin, B) James Lovell, C) Gordon Cooper or D) John Glenn? You've got three seconds -- GO! Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin was the second man to set foot on the moon. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Space Age Exhibit

AZUZ: Today, space exploration might not seem like that big a deal. We've sent probes across the solar system, there's a permanent space station, and astronauts just upgraded an orbiting telescope. But 40 years ago, when Aldrin and Armstrong walked on the moon, it was called "a giant leap for mankind." A new exhibit celebrates the historic milestone and the president whose vision helped make it possible.


FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: Man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not. And it is one of the greatest adventures of all time.

STACEY BREDHOFF, MUSEUM CURATOR: We're here getting ready for the opening of a special exhibit, "Moon Shot - JFK and Space Exploration."

PERSON ON THE STREET #1: We always connected JFK with the space program.

BREDHOFF: Well, we couldn't have any rockets in here, but we're hoping people will get, at least, a flavor.

PERSON ON THE STREET #1: JFK was an inspiration, really.

PERSON ON THE STREET #2: That time in history changed our whole country.

PERSON ON THE STREET #1: It was an exciting time to see these young men go up and just hope that they succeeded.

BREDHOFF: We're hoping for people to re-visit those memories in some cases, and we're hoping for younger people to, to hear the message, to hear what President Kennedy was saying.

KENNEDY: We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

BREDHOFF: President Kennedy set this challenge in 1961. It seemed impossible.

KENNEDY: And its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again.

BREDHOFF: By the time he finishes speaking, you just want to get on board with this project. There's a certain nobility in reaching for something that is so difficult. It speaks to something in the human spirit that we want to reach that high.

KENNEDY: As we set sail, we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.


Diploma Decades Later

AZUZ: Okay, from exploration to education and an event taking place at schools across the country: graduation! It might feel like it takes forever to get that diploma, but some students at the University of Puget Sound really have been waiting a while: 67 years! Matt Markovich of affiliate KOMO in Washington state explains the reason for the delay.


MATT MARKOVICH , KOMO REPORTER: It's graduation day for 84-year-old Michiko Kiyokawa.


MARKOVICH: Mitch should have donned her cap and gown more than a half century ago. But on Dec. 7, 1941, her life changed. She was 19, a freshman at the University of Puget Sound, when the U.S. decided to round up all the Japanese on the West Coast and put them into internment camps. Even then, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt made a special trip to UPS, voiced her disagreement. It didn't help. Michiko was pulled from school, never to return again.

KIYOKAWA: We figured what the president says has to be, and we have to follow orders. I think this is our Japanese trait.

MARKOVICH: It's now 67 years later, and Michiko has returned. Cherry trees were planted in their honor right after the students were taken. This is the first time Michiko has visited her tree, now fully grown.

KIYOKAWA: I've never had anything named after me.

MARKOVICH: The school has decided to give Michiko and the 35 other Japanese students that were attending UPS in 1941 honorary degrees.

RON THOMAS, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF PUGET SOUND: We felt this year was a good time for us to actually complete the circle and provide them with the degrees they should have earned in the 1940s.

MARKOVICH: And while the class of 2009 filed into the stadium, Michiko, class of 1944, took the VIP route and sat with the only other living member of the now famous group of 36 that chose to attend. Michiko got her honorary degree, with no bitter feelings, just gratitude the university didn't forget.

KIYOKAWA: I think you can never right a wrong, because that has happened. But this is a big effort and the college being broadminded to recognize and honor us.



AZUZ: Just a couple weeks left this school year, but you can keep up with us all summer long on Facebook! We will be updating the official CNN Student News fan page while we're off the air. Right now, we're asking about your summer plans. Vacation, staycation or paycation? Check it out and keep checking back throughout the summer.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, what does it sound like when you set off a hundred pounds of explosives? Like that. After that big a bang, you know you're gonna see something awesome. Wait for it... patience is a virtue. It took more than 20 seconds for this domino to fall, when a Pennsylvania company took down a 600-foot tall, coal-fired chimney!



AZUZ: Oh what a crash. Chimney crickets! You can blame our producer for that winner and our audio operator for the sound effects. We will see you tommorow.

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