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CNN Student News Transcript: March 15, 2010

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CNN Student News - 3/15/2010

(CNN Student News) -- March 15, 2010

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New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut
British Columbia, Canada
Washington, D.C.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: You can beware the Ides of March, but there's nothing to fear about today's broadcast of CNN Student News. Reporting from the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Health Care Push

AZUZ: First up, President Obama postpones a trip overseas so that he can stay in Washington and work on health care. He's called it the top priority for the U.S., and the president, along with Democratic leaders in Congress, all think it's important for him to stay in the U.S. to help rally support for the health care reform bill being considered by lawmakers. A House committee is scheduled to hold a vote on it today. Republicans are against President Obama's health care plan. Some want to scrap it and start over. Yesterday, on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley, a top Republican in Congress talked about why a health care bill hasn't passed yet, and President Obama's top political adviser discussed why it might pass now.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) MINORITY LEADER: They tried to do this in June and July last year. If they had the votes, then it would be law. They tried to pass it in September, October, November, December, January, February. Guess what? They don't have the votes. The American people don't want to take the step toward government-run health insurance. It's a dangerous step, because we do have the best health care system in the world.

DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: We're very optimistic about the outcome of this process. I think people have come to the realization that this is the moment, and if we don't act now, there'll be dire consequences for people all over this country.

Severe Weather

AZUZ: Heading up the coast to the northeastern U.S. now, where some areas are recovering from severe storms over the weekend. And we mean huge storms. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania: all of them hit with heavy rains and hurricane force winds gusting over 70 miles per hour. The storms knocked down trees, affected air travel, left more than half a million people without power. One official said part of the reason the trees and utility poles fell over is because the ground was so wet from all the snow that the region's been hit with this winter.

The force of nature also being felt on the other side of North America. An avalanche struck a snowmobile competition in British Columbia, Canada on Saturday. As of yesterday afternoon, authorities said two people had been killed and 30 others were injured.

USNS Comfort

AZUZ: The USNS Comfort is on its way back home after spending nearly two months helping out earthquake victims in Haiti. The Navy hospital ship is expected to arrive at its home pier in Baltimore, Maryland by the end of this week. Saturday, the Comfort pulled in to Norfolk, Virginia. It had been in the harbor of Port-au-Prince since January, a base for medical care for victims of the catastrophic quake that hit Haiti. Staff on the Comfort performed more than 800 surgeries during the mission. There were times when 10 different operating rooms on the ship were all running simultaneously.

Female Football Coach

AZUZ: Natalie Randolph, whom you see right here, is a science teacher at Calvin Coolidge Senior High in Washington, D.C. Science teacher, though, is not her only title. Randolph is the school's new, head varsity football coach. She's been an assistant coach at other schools and she's played women's professional football. It is extremely rare for a high school football team to have a female coach, and some women's groups are calling this announcement historic. Randolph says history is not her focus.

NATALIE RANDOLPH, COOLIDGE HIGH SCHOOL HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: Some people will undoubtedly want to focus on my gender, and they'll focus on the historical meaning of this day. But I would much rather focus on something that all dedicated coaches already know: I'm here to give these young men, these student athletes, these wonderful students, the best opportunity and guidance to succeed in the classroom, make good decisions at home, and perform well on the football field. And while I'm proud to be part of what this all means, being female has nothing to do with it. I love football. I love football. I love teaching. I love these kids.


AZUZ: It is your favorite Web site; you know it! This week we're going to be highlighting some different parts of our site, like the Spotlight section. You see it right here. If you want to learn more about the stories covered in our show, head to the Spotlight section; that's where you will find more info. It includes links to our free curriculum materials, and that includes our Women's History Month Learning Activities. That's what you're looking at right now. They're totally free, like everything at We also have links to special programming like the CNN Challenge and our weekly Extra Credit segment. So log on, see what's in the Spotlight today!


TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Struna's U.S. history classes at Stone Middle School in Melbourne, Florida! You may know that the first 3 digits of pi are 3.14. What is the fourth digit? Is it: A) 1, B) 3, C) 5 or D) 7? You've got three seconds -- GO! 3.1415926... and so on, is the more expanded number. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Education the World

AZUZ: Pi is irrational. Celebrating pi? Maybe a little odd. Celebrating pi by eating pie? Now you're talking! That is just one way that people participate in Pi Day. March 14th. 3.14. That's why. The holiday has been gaining steam recently as people around the world pay homage to pi on Pi Day. We don't know whether Sal Kahn did anything special yesterday. What we do know is that Mr. Kahn has a gift for numbers, and he's sharing that gift with the world. Dan Simon explains how.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, SAN FRANCISCO: Sal Khan lives in California outside of San Francisco. Sara Shadid, halfway around the globe in Dubai. Their lives are interconnected, but Khan doesn't know it. This is a story about how one man is helping to educate the world, but has never seen any of his students face-to-face.

Where does this passion come from?

SALMAN KHAN, YOUTUBE CALCULUS TEACHER: You know, I think I have always enjoyed teaching.

SIMON: It is about a man who gave up a lucrative career in Silicon Valley for what might look like a boring desk job.

KHAN: Right now, I'm cash-flow negative.

SIMON: But it was never about money. And with his drive and education, Khan could have made millions. He was valedictorian of his high school with a perfect math score on the SAT. Then came MIT; Bill Clinton handing him his diploma. Next, Harvard Business School. He was lured into hedge funds and did well. But Khan, who has a wife and son to support, gave it up.

KHAN: A lot of people thought I was kind of crazy. Obviously, you know, when every waking hour you have, you would sneak into a room and make math videos and put them on YouTube, people kind of questioned what's up.

SIMON: Here is what is up: Khan's YouTube videos.

KHAN: Let's do a couple more examples and I think you might get it.

KHAN: They have been clicked on more than nine million times from users around the world. The topics range from math to chemistry to economics.

SARA SHADID, CALCULUS STUDENT: From every curriculum, we can use the videos. He's really helpful.

SIMON: One of his users: 19-year-old college sophomore Sara Shadid in Dubai. She says that the videos made all of the difference in helping her conquer calculus. This gigantic virtual school originates from the smallest of places, from a tiny converted closet inside Sal's master bedroom. This is where he is able to reach an estimated 80,000 knowledge-seeking users a month.

It all started a few years ago when a cousin wanted some online math tutoring. Pretty soon, other relatives started asking for similar help. Suddenly, people he didn't know started watching. It is now called the Khan Academy. The videos are short and simply produced; only his voice with a simple black background and graphics.

KHAN: There are a lot of people who need help with their math, science, whatever. And I think they find these YouTube videos as kind of the ideal nuggets to fill in their gaps.

SIMON: Whatever you call him or his teachings, the success of his site has validated that decision to walk away from hedge funds. Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.


River Going Green

AZUZ: The Chicago River is going green! It has nothing to do with envy or the environment. This switch in shade is all about St. Patrick's Day! Every year since 1962, Chicago residents have come out to watch the city's river get a dye job. Organizers say the bright green color only lasts about five hours nowadays. When the event started back in '62, the river stayed green for five days.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, we have another story about waiting for nature to run its course.

ROBERT ROSIN, JEWELRY STORE OWNER: And you saw Soli go for the diamond. Gobbled it up. Tried to pull it out of his mouth. Couldn't get it. Gone.

AZUZ: This is Soli. And that diamond he gobbled up is worth $20,000! The vet said the only thing to do was wait for the diamond to reappear. After three days of hand wringing and probably a lot of hand washing...


AZUZ: ...Everything came out all right in the end. That story is just flush with pun-tential. But we will keep it clean. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.