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CNN Student News Transcript: March 16, 2011


(CNN Student News) -- March 16, 2011

Download PDF maps related to today's show:

Japan: Disaster-affected Areas
Toronto, Canada



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Advertisements in school: Should they be there? You're gonna hear what one school board in Canada says. I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now.

First Up: Disaster in Japan

AZUZ: First up, officials say the situation at a nuclear power plant in Japan is getting worse. Now, we're gonna help you understand some of the problems there. But first, we want to go through how this plant works.

In this kind of a power plant, the electricity comes from fuel rods made from a radioactive element called uranium. Inside the reactor, those rods go into the core. And then, control rods help with a process called fission. That breaks up the radioactive atoms, causing heat and releasing steam. The steam goes out of the reactor. It spins turbines. And those spinning turbines generate electricity. Another important part of the process is the pump. That pushes water into the reactor. Fission creates a lot of heat, so you need that water to cool down the fuel rods.

That's where the problem has come in at this plant in Japan. The tsunami flooded the back-up generators, so they were not able to pump water into the reactors. The water that was in the reactors burned off and left those radioactive fuel rods exposed and heating up. The big concern now is about radiation getting out of the plants and into the atmosphere.

But one thing to keep in mind is that we all encounter small amounts of radiation every day! There's a unit of measurement we're gonna use. It's called a millisievert. Americans typically get about 3 millisieverts of radiation every year. This can come from ultraviolet rays from the sun, cosmic rays from space. The Earth's atmosphere does a great job of protecting us, though. There are small amounts of radiation in the air through radon gas, and tiny amounts in the ground, like carbon-14 that scientists use for carbon dating and uranium. But though three millisieverts a year is average, you can get a bit more radiation from flying, 'cause you're above a lot of that atmosphere that protects us from radiation. Chest x-rays can give you one-tenth of a millisievert, or 10 days' equivalent of the radiation we naturally get. And a chest CT scan can give a dose of 8 millisieverts, or three years' equivalent of natural radiation.

But keep in mind: While you do get more radiation from these things, the levels are still not considered dangerous, so there's no need to worry if you've recently had a CT scan. Radiation exposure is possible for the workers at the plant in Japan, though. And we're talking serious exposure. Officials have been evacuating people from the area around the plant. And meanwhile, rescue workers, still searching for victims from the quake and tsunami. Doctor Sanjay Gupta has one survivor's story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The images are tough to watch. But as I learned, the stories are even harder to hear. You see those cars being tossed around like toys? Well this man, Iyabashi, was in one of them, and he lived to tell about it.

So, you were looking out your windshield and you saw the water coming?

He tried to escape, but it was too late.

IYABASHI [TRANSLATED]: "Over and over I was hit," he said, and then his car flooded.

GUPTA: Mr. Iyabashi doesn't know how he was saved. The next thing he remembered was pulling up in the ambulance to Saka hospital.

As you might imagine, triage is a big deal at a place like this. Here at Saka Hospital, they basically categorize patients into four categories immediately. Green if it was a relatively minor injury; yellow if it was more serious; red if it was very serious; and black if the patient had died. When Mr. Iyabashi came in, he was considered a red. Critically injured, his life was now in the hands of Dr. Takanori Sasaki.

It's important to point out that Dr. Sasaki, he's been here since Friday. He never left the hospital since the earthquake occurred and has been taking care of these patients, has headed the emergency room.

Day after day, Saka Hospital stayed open with Dr. Sasaki in charge, taking care of hundreds of patients. In Japan, near drownings and cardiac arrest are the most common serious injuries seen, followed by head and crush injuries.

Now, Dr. Sasaki has been here since Friday, and I want to give you an idea of just how busy the busiest hospital has been after the earthquake and the tsunami. Six hundred patients seen here over the last several days. 79 patients remain; 13 patients have died.

Watching Iyabashi closely, it is clear he is haunted by what happened to him. The tsunami robbed him of just about everything. In fact, you're looking at all he has left. But then, a rare smile. And he tells me, almost in disbelief, "I am still alive."

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Shiogama City, Japan.


Economic Impact

AZUZ: The earthquake and tsunami are also having an economic impact, and not just on Japan. Stock markets around the world are taking significant hits because investors are worried about the financial impact of this disaster. That includes in the U.S., where the Dow Jones was down more than 100 points during the day on Tuesday. The Dow gives an idea of how the whole U.S. stock market is doing, And in Japan itself, the Nikkei, which is kind of like that country's Dow Jones, had one of the worst single-day drops in its history on Tuesday.

Blog Promo

AZUZ: We know a lot of you might be wondering how you can reach out to the victims of this disaster in Japan. One way: our blog. You can go to and leave some words of encouragement for your fellow students in Japan. And our Teachers' Lounge gives educators the same kind of opportunity. You can share how you're presenting information about this disaster to your classes and talk about some of the teachable moments in this story. The blog, the Teachers' Lounge: both at

I.D. Me

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a Middle Eastern country that's going through political unrest. I'm an island nation that's located in the Persian Gulf. And my capital city is Manama. I'm Bahrain, and I'm home to around 1.2 million people.

State of Emergency

AZUZ: Bahrain is under a state of emergency right now. It will be for the next three months! The nation's king announced the move this week after weeks of protests against the government. He also asked for help from nearby countries, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who sent troops to Bahrain to help get the situation there under control. The Bahraini government says these outside forces will "protect the safety of citizens." Many of those citizens have been involved in protests like this one. There were reports yesterday of fighting between protesters and security forces. But the reports indicated that the security forces were Bahraini, not from one of the other countries we mentioned.

Honoring WWI Veteran

AZUZ: The American flag at the White House, and flags across the country, were flown at half-staff yesterday. This was done in honor of Frank Buckles. Buckles, whom you see in this video, was the last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I. Later in life, he pushed for the creation of a World War I memorial in Washington, D.C. to honor his fellow veterans. He died last month at the age of 110. Buckles was laid to rest yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors. But before that, Buckles lay in honor for public viewing at Arlington so visitors could pay tribute to the last of a generation. One U.S. senator said it was a fitting way to say goodbye.


STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Batalon's social studies classes at Aldrich Jr. High in Warwick, Rhode Island! Toronto is located in which Canadian province? Is it: A) British Columbia, B) Quebec, C) Ontario or D) Nova Scotia? You've got three seconds -- GO! Ontario is where you'll find Toronto; it's also Canada's most populated city. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Ads in School?

AZUZ: And Toronto is where you'll find the school board that we mentioned at the beginning of today's show. The issue again is advertisements in school, and a vote on whether or not to expand a test program that would put those ads in front of students. Four Toronto-area schools had these video boards installed in the hallways. They show announcements, educational information, even how much time you have to get to your next class. Expanding the program would put the video screens in 70 schools and have them run advertisements on them one-third of the time. The schools would get money for allowing the ads. But the school board voted against it, with some members saying students don't go to school to see ads. Supporters say they'll try to bring up the proposal again in the future.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, if any of you guys think you're too tough for scented candles, say hello to the Man Can! An enterprising 13-year-old from Ohio came up with the idea when his sister was selling candles for school. He thought, hey, how come there are no manly scented candles? Now, we don't mean like sweat. He made some that smell like pizza, campfire, grass, bacon. He makes them out of old soup cans -- donates the soup -- and since Thanksgiving, when he started up the business, he's sold 500 candles!


AZUZ: That is the sweet smell of success. Sounds like someone has a nose for business, and the drive to come up with a company that makes a lot of scents. We'd come up with some more puns, but they wouldn't hold a candle to that last one. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.