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CNN Student News Transcript: March 12, 2010

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CNN Student News - 3/12/2010

(CNN Student News) -- March 12, 2010

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Kansas City, Missouri



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Finally Friday -- it's awesome! We're glad you're spending part of it with CNN Student News. Reporting from the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Aftershocks

AZUZ: First up, three powerful earthquakes strike in parts of Chile causing significant damage to at least one city -- and all of this during a presidential inauguration. With magnitudes of 6.9, 6.7, and 6.0, these are the strongest after-shocks since a devastating 8.8 magnitude quake hit the South American country last month. All of yesterday's tremors struck within an hour of each other. Some areas were evacuated; no immediate reports of any deaths or injuries. One official said the biggest concern was about damage to homes. The first aftershock hit before noon, local time. Its epicenter, located about 90 miles away from this! You are looking at Sebastian Pinera, the new president of Chile, being sworn into office lss than an hour after these quakes began. The inauguration went fine, but afterward, Pinera visited the region affected by yesterday's tremors. He said he's declaring the area a catastrophe zone, the new president saying he "doesn't want to alarm anyone", but adding that, "we have to take precautions when there are human lives at risk."


CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's first Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Hildebrand's world history classes at Powell High School in Powell, Wyoming! Kansas, Illinois and Arkansas all border what U.S. state? You know what to do! Is it: A) Indiana, B) Iowa, C) Missouri or D) Nebraska? You've got three seconds -- GO! Missouri is what you'll find in the middle of these states. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

School Closings

AZUZ: All right, on our blog, we've been asking what you would cut or save if you were in charge of a school district that's facing budget problems. Sean said he would cut field trips. Robert suggested starting later in the day to cut energy costs. And Ardyss proposed cutting back a little on a bunch of different programs, but not eliminating anything entirely. Well, a local school district in Kansas City, Missouri, is facing the same tough decision. Its plan is to close some of the district's schools. It's a decision that the superintendent says is difficult, but necessary.

SUPERINTENDENT JOHN COVINGTON, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI SCHOOL DISTRICT: No one likes closing schools. It's hard. It's tough on families and it's certainly tough on our community. Closing schools and making the remaining schools much stronger academically is unquestionably the right thing to do. We were operating far too many schools.

AZUZ: Here's what he means by that. Student enrollment in the district has dropped in half over the past 10 years. And the superintendent says most of the schools there are only about 60 percent full, at the most. Officials who are in favor of the plan to close 26 schools and move students around say it will help save the district, which is facing a big budget deficit, $50 million. But the plan is controversial. And some students and parents are upset about what it'll mean.

PRINCE JONES, WESTPORT HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: I feel like I have nothing. I don't even have a high school legacy at all. I have nothing. I have nothing to go back to.

DENEICIA WILLIAMS, PARENT: I have an eight-year-old and a six- year-old that will be going to school with a 12th grader and I find that to be very inappropriate. Very inappropriate. I don't feel like my children will be safe.

Arkansas Twister

AZUZ: Moving south from Missouri to Arkansas, where three tornadoes ripped through the central part of the state on Wednesday night. You can see some of the damage in this video. Trees uprooted, others full of debris. The twisters killed one person, injured several others and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes. Scientists say on average, tornado warnings can go out about 11 minutes before a storm hits. But one Arkansas resident says in this case, that wasn't enough time.

UNIDENTIFIED ARKANSAS RESIDENT: I was inside the house listening to the NOAA radio and by the time I heard what was going on, the electricity went off and I heard it. I mean, here it comes. I didn't have time to go to the storm cellar.

Tomato Shortage

AZUZ: And severe weather down in Florida having an impact on one of America's favorite sandwich toppings: tomatoes! You might have noticed that some fast food restaurants are out of these. That is because Florida provides about 75 percent of the country's tomatoes. And unusually cold winter weather wiped out 60 to 70 percent of this year's crop! That is why the price on them is up, assuming you can find tomatoes at all.

Shoutout Extra Credit

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout Extra Credit! Who was the first, female attorney general of the United States? Was it: A) Janet Reno, B) Condoleezza Rice, C) Hillary Clinton, or D) Sandra Day O'Connor Another three seconds on the clock -- GO! Janet Reno become the country's first, female attorney general in 1993. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout Extra Credit!

This Day in History

AZUZ: In fact, she was sworn in 17 years ago today! Reno was the country's 78th attorney general. But, as we said, the first woman to hold the job. Her time in the office did include controversy. But when she left the position in 2001, it was as the longest-serving attorney general of the 20th century. It's not today's only significant milestone in women's history, though. The Girl Scouts of America, founded on this day in 1912. The organization aims to build courage, confidence and character. When it started, there were just 18 members. Today, more than three million. And according to the group, more than 50 million American women were members of the Girl Scouts when they were growing up.

Women's History Month

AZUZ: Women's History Month is a time to learn about and celebrate the achievements of women in all aspects of American life -- history, government, the military. We have discussion questions and Learning Activities that can help get you started. Head to Go right to the Spotlight section. That is where you'll find these free resources.

30-Hour Famine

AZUZ: According to the World Food Programme, hunger and malnutrition are the number one risks to worldwide health. More than a billion people around the globe don't have enough to eat. There's a program that tries to fight that by raising money and raising awareness. The way it works is for teens who aren't hungry volunteer to go hungry. Brooke Baldwin has more on the effort and on one participant's experience.


ALEX FERRAND, PARTICIPANT, 30 HOUR FAMINE: I guess it's going to look like a giant cardboard palace.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Empty boxes and duct tape. Not exactly your typical building materials, but that's precisely the point. To give young people like 16-year-old Alex Sparerand an idea of what it's like to be among the poorest in the world.

FERRAND: This will be very high quality because it's giving you a shelter. But right now we're just basically creating someplace to spend the night.

BALDWIN: Alex is nearly one of a half million teens participating in World Vision's 30-Hour Famine this year. It's an annual event that raises money and awareness to help fight world hunger. Participants do not eat for 30 hours while collecting donations and performing community service. Katie McPhee is the group leader.

KATIE MCPHEE, 30-HOUR FAMINE GROUP LEADER: This is a great experience for us. But for other people, this is a way of life. They don't know when their next meal is coming or if it's coming.

BALDWIN: Since 1992, famine participants have collected more than $130 million. That money then goes to relief efforts in countries like Haiti, areas where children experience extreme poverty every day.

FERRAND: I think it looks pretty nice.

BALDWIN: Inside his cardboard shelter, Alex tells us participating in the famine has given him some time to reflect.

FERRAND: I'm happy for the things I have and the friends and the family.

BALDWIN: That night, we gave Alex a camera and asked him to record the rest of his experience.

FERRAND: The time is 11:00. It's really cold out here. I'm starting to get a little hungry. The temperature is probably going to keep on dropping. Hopefully we'll warm up and get through the night.

BALDWIN: After about an hour in 30-degree weather, the famine group leader decided to take the teens indoors. It was just too cold. Not an option for many of the world's poorest people.

FERRAND: So far, we've been out here about 30 minutes.

BALDWIN: The next morning, the teens took to the streets, planting a fork for every child that dies from hunger. Thirteen thousand in all, hoping to match each one with one donated dollar. That's the daily amount World Vision estimates will feed and care for a child.

Finally, the fast is over. It's time to chow down. After 30 hours, these teens have a better idea of the hardship others live with every day, and they realize they are the lucky ones.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Well, before we go, you can lead a horse to canvas... but can you make it paint? Wonderful! Apparently, it is: These equine expressionists are a big draw in Florida. Some of their work has been displayed in art galleries. A few of the paintings have sold for as much as $3,000. The animal artists' human assistant, also known as their owner, said she just sets up the canvas and lets them go to town.


AZUZ: After all, there's no sense saddling them with restrictions. We put that pun to a vote. The neighs had it. But we wanted to trot it out for you anyway. Remember to set your clocks an hour ahead this Sunday. We'll all be tired on Monday. Have a great weekend. And we'll look forward to seeing you next week.