(CNN Student News) -- February 24, 2011
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: You've been talking on our blog about one student athlete's decision not to compete. Today, we're sharing some of your opinions on it. I'm Carl Azuz. This is CNN Student News!
AZUZ: Evacuation attempts, the international response, and the impact on oil. Those are the latest headlines related to what's going on in Libya. First today, we're tackling the evacuations. Governments around the world are trying to get their citizens who are in Libya out. They're setting up flights and ferries to try and make that happen. The U.S. chartered a boat to take Americans from the Libyan capital of Tripoli to the nearby island nation of Malta. That ship wasn't able to leave on Wednesday because of bad weather. It was expected to head out from Tripoli today.
Then, the international response. Protests like this one are still raging in Libya. Reports are that the Libyan government has responded with force, and some officials estimate that up to 1,000 people might have been killed in the violence. The United Nations says "those responsible for brutally shedding the blood of innocents must be punished." The U.S., promising that Libya's government will be held responsible for acts of violence against protesters. And the Arab League suspended Libya on Tuesday.
Finally, oil. Production plants in Libya are shutting down because of the violence. Yesterday, that caused oil prices in the U.S. to jump higher than $100 per barrel at one point. It's the first time in more than two years that oil prices have been that high.
New Zealand Quake
AZUZ: In New Zealand, people are holding on to hope as rescuers search for survivors of Tuesday's devastating earthquake. The powerful tremor hit Christchurch, one of New Zealand's biggest cities. At least 75 people were killed. Hundreds of others are missing. And rescuers are digging desperately through the ruins of toppled buildings in parts of Christchurch. Scenes like this one from Tuesday are providing small glimmers of hope. Here, you can see one of the victims of the quake, someone who'd been trapped in a building, being carried out by relief workers. Around 30 people were rescued yesterday.
Is This Legit?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The U.S. federal government decides the budget for each state. Not true! Each state determines its own budget!
AZUZ: Some of those state budgets are struggling because there's not enough money coming in. With their states facing shortfalls, governors are looking to make cuts that might help make up the difference. But some of their proposals are being met with protests. Crowds packed the state capital in Ohio for the second week in a row. They're angry about a bill that would put limits on collective bargaining. That's when unions negotiate on behalf of workers. We've talked about a similar proposal in Wisconsin. Ohio's governor says this bill isn't designed to destroy unions, just to get the system back in balance. But critics say the bill would hurt workers and that it won't fix the state's budget problems.
Union rights are a big part of this debate at state houses across the Midwest. In Indiana, while protesters filled the capital building, House Democrats used the same strategy as state representatives from Wisconsin: they walked out so that there wouldn't be enough people there to vote on the bill.
AZUZ: It's not just states that are battling budget issues. Many cities across the country have to deal with this. Detroit, Michigan -- one of them -- hit really hard by the recession. This city's school system is looking for ways to lower its $327 million deficit. And Detroit's school chief got approval for a radical plan. Listen to this: Detroit will be cutting the number of schools in its district in half. It'll be closing 70 schools! And you know what that means for class sizes? They're going to be going way up! As many as 60 students in each high school class. School officials say they know there's a chance that this idea could cause some problems. But they also say they're required by state law to balance the budget, even if that means a negative impact on education. Officials added they're still working on long-term solutions.
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Shea's social studies classes at Berkshire Junior/Senior High School in Canaan, New York! What is the name for the study of the kidneys? You know what to do! Is it: A) Cardiology, B) Nephrology, C) Herpetology or D) Phrenology? You've got three seconds -- GO! Nephrology is the study of the kidneys, which help your body get rid of waste. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Tom Walter's kidneys -- or at least one of them -- has been getting some news coverage lately. Walter is the head baseball coach at Wake Forest University. And when one of his players -- one who hadn't even played a game yet for Wake -- needed a kidney transplant, Coach Walter stepped up to the plate. In fact, he said the decision was a no-brainer. It's not the first time he's overcome adversity to help out his players.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA: How are you feeling right now?
TOM WALTER, WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY BASEBALL COACH: I feel pretty good. My energy kind of comes and goes.
MATTINGLY: He's a little thinner, walks a little slower, but Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter says donating a kidney to an ailing player isn't the toughest thing he's ever had to do.
Which is easier, recovering from a hurricane or recovering from a kidney transplant?
WALTER: Oh, recovering from a kidney transplant, without question.
MATTINGLY: Almost six years before making headlines going "above and beyond" for one of his players, Walter had to fight for his entire team at the University of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
UNIDENTIFIED PLAYER 1: We were trying to search for people that we knew.
MATTINGLY: You didn't even know if everyone was alive?
UNIDENTIFIED PLAYER 2: Yeah, the phone definitely, you couldn't call anybody.
MATTINGLY: These former players tell me when their lives were turned upside down, Walter was the one who gave them hope.
UNIDENTIFIED PLAYER 3: You don't know what's going on, you don't know what's going to happen. He was there saying we're going to play.
MATTINGLY: And it's not like Coach Walter didn't have his own problems. After Katrina, his house was flooded and he lost almost everything. It would have been so easy for him to say, "That's it, the season's over." Why didn't you?
WALTER: The players. Out of respect and loyalty to the players. It never occurred to me to give up on those guys.
MATTINGLY: So with nowhere to live, nowhere to practice, he took the New Orleans team to New Mexico for the semester. Then, for months after, he lived in a trailer on campus, working constantly to keep his team playing and his program together. No one who knew him then was surprised to hear about him donating a kidney to a player.
And less than two weeks after the operation, he was on the field for his team's season opener and a standing ovation before the game. Admiration for a coach who shows everyone what it takes to be a winner. David Mattingly, CNN, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
AZUZ: At a tournament in Iowa, Joel Northrup said he had respect for Cassy Herkelman, but it went against his religious beliefs to wrestle her. 61 percent of you said you agree with Joel's choice. Just under a third disagreed; 8 percent couldn't decide. Julia could. "This country prides itself on religious freedom," she writes. "Joel had every right not to wrestle Cassy if it's against his religion. Who are we to tell him he's wrong?" Brill said, "They both have strength and skill, so why can't they wrestle each other? Religious beliefs are important to one's life, but I don't think this situation counts." Toria thinks Joel showed courage. "How many guys would quit a match against a girl and have the guts to face their friends afterward? And girls should admire Joel too." From Rebecca: "When you enter a wrestling competition, you enter it to wrestle. Fight anyone else who makes the cut." Johnny called this a lose-lose situation for Joel. "If Joel loses, he's made fun of for losing to a girl. If he wins, he gets accused of beating up a girl." And Richard called Joel's decision brave. "It takes a real man not to hit a girl and to back down from the opportunity to hit a girl, despite the chance of being mocked and ridiculed for it."
AZUZ: Our blog is one place you can talk to us. Our Facebook site is another. The address is Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews. And I wanna give a special shoutout today to our Facebook fans in Asia. We've got thousands of you in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea! And we wanna hear from you! Click "like" at Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews and talk to us on our wall!
Before We Go
AZUZ: And finally, we're sprinting toward the finish line, and so are these folks. Ida Keeling, she's the runner in pink, didn't cross the finish line first. But when she did cross it, the 95 year old set a world record: 60 meters in less than 30 seconds. That's the fastest time ever for someone in her age group. Ida didn't start running until she was 67. So if anyone asks if you're ever too old to try something like this...
AZUZ: ...You can give a definite answer of Ida knows. Today's sign-off line from Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews comes from Lizel. "It's been nearly 10 minutes, but I have to go." I'll be back tomorrow with more CNN Student News, though. Look forward to seeing you then.