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CNN Student News Transcript - August 19, 2011

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CNN Student News - 8/19/11

(CNN Student News) -- August 19, 2011

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New Hampshire, Illinois and Texas



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome on CNN Student News! So is a story we have coming up on a U.S. Army officer. Hey, everyone. I'm Carl Azuz. We're starting today in the Middle East.

First Up: Syrian Conflict

AZUZ: Pressure is increasing for Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, to quit his job. We've talked this week about the violence going on in Syria and the protests there against the country's leader. Yesterday, U.S. officials explained why they believe the Syrian president's got to go.

U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: The people of Syria deserve a government that respects their dignity, protects their rights, and lives up to their aspirations. Assad is standing in their way.

AZUZ: The United States also announced new sanctions -- new punishments --against the Syrian government. Those include limiting access to assets that Syria has in the United States. President al-Assad is also facing heat from European leaders. France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the European Union: all of them calling for him to step aside.

I.D. Me

JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a stock index that was established in 1896. Most people use me to measure the overall U.S. stock market. I was founded by Charles Dow and Edward Jones. I'm the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and I'm made up of 30 high-profile stocks.

Economic Concerns

AZUZ: The Dow is highlighting concerns about the U.S. economy. Yesterday, it dropped more than 400 points. At one point during the day, it was down nearly 530 points. That came after Morgan Stanley -- this major investment bank -- put out a prediction that was pretty negative about economic growth around the globe.

So the Dow took a big drop. So what? What does that mean? Well, the Dow indicates not just how major companies are doing, but how investors feel about the economy in general. And if that is dropping, that means investors are pulling money out of the market. They're not feeling confident in it. And this doesn't just affect the U.S. There's a global economy. What happens in one country affects other countries. And that's what we're seeing. Stock markets in Europe and Asia took a hit yesterday, as well.

Battle for Jobs

AZUZ: The stock market is one way people determine how the U.S. economy is doing. Another is the national unemployment rate. Right now, it's just over nine percent. Everyone wants to create new jobs. But President Obama and the Republican candidates who are hoping to be the next president don't agree on how to do that. Holly Firfer has more on that.


HOLLY FIRFER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wrapping up a three-day midwest tour in his home state of Illinois, President Obama held a town hall meeting at a production facility, where he focused on jobs while fighting to keep his. He said by starting with basic ideas, like building the nation's infrastructure, the economy will move in the right direction if Congress does not get in the way.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: These aren't radical ideas. I mean building roads, when did that become a partisan issue?

FIRFER: Many feel political bickering in Congress is taking focus away from the real needs of the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've lost our rating as far as being able to borrow money. It's pretty concerning.

FIRFER: Meanwhile in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney claimed the president's inexperience was responsible for the economic crisis and subsequent standstill in Washington.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As far as I can tell, he didn't lead a business, didn't lead a state, didn't lead a city. He didn't have leadership experience and therefore didn't know how to work with Congress.

FIRFER: Also campaigning in New Hampshire, GOP hopeful Rick Perry continued to tout his record of job creation as governor of Texas and criticized the president for what he called his inability to manage the economy.

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We spent the last 2.5 years in a grand experiment with the American economy, and it has been a terrible, terrible disaster.

FIRFER: According to White House officials, President Obama will address job growth and the nation's debt with a new economic plan some time after Labor Day. In Washington, I'm Holly Firfer.


Billion Dollar Disasters

AZUZ: Talking 'bout the weather. So far this year, we've seen some extreme weather events: floods, blizzards, tornadoes. You hear a lot about the lives that are lost, the damage that happens. But there's a cost to all that damage, too. Chad Myers is here to take us through some of this year's costliest weather events. Chad, can you start with the total?


CHAD MYERS, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Carl, believe it or not, NOAA now estimates $35 billion -- with a b -- in lost revenues, lost crops, just basicaly lost money over the U.S. from severe weather alone this season. Let's take a look at the top nine.

The first one, $9 billion: the tornadoes that rolled through Alabama, especially Tuscaloosa, just north of Birmingham and even into Georgia that night. Seven billion dollars from the tornadoes that hit, including Joplin, Missouri, that leveled part of that town; $7 billion and 177 people dead. Five-and-a-half billion dollars just because of the droughts in the Southwest, especially Texas and Oklahoma. Some spots drier than the Dust Bowl. Four billion dollars with the spring and summer floods of the Mississippi River, all the way down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico.

And then a couple of them all rounded up here, from the Midwest tornadoes, that's including parts of Alabama, Texas and even into the Carolinas. And then April 11, $2.2 billion, no deaths, but that was the North Carolina event there. Tornadoes through the Midwest. The Groundhog Day blizzard: two feet of snow in parts of Chicago. Then the upper Midwest flooding, that's in the Dakotas. In fact, that's still going right now. Hard to believe, $35 billion in losses, Carl.


Texas Drought

AZUZ: Thank you, Chad. One of the things you heard Chad mention was the drought in Texas. This has been going on for 10 months. It was made worse by a blazing hot Summer. Officials are looking at some of the industries that will feel the biggest effects of this. Number one: livestock. Producers have lost an estimated $2.1 billion. Cotton, next on the list. Around $1.8 billion lost there. This drought is affecting people who produce hay, corn and wheat, as well. The state's agriculture commissioner said the numbers aren't good. But he added that Texas farmers and ranchers will adapt and overcome the drought.


MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! In the U.S. Army, what is the official name for a one-star general? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it a: A) Brigadier General, B) Major General, C) Lieutenant General or D) General of the Army? You've got three seconds -- GO! All of these ranks are addressed as "general," but a brigadier general wears one star. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Marcia Anderson

AZUZ: That's the rank General Marcia Anderson holds right now. But she's been nominated to get another star and possibly be promoted to major general. It's impressive for someone who, back in college, never thought she'd go into the military. General Anderson sat down for CNN's "Red Chair" interview series to talk about how she got to where she is.


BRIGADIER GENERAL MARCIA ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY RESERVES: My husband would say that I could talk to a pole, and I do tend to make friends in movie lines buying tickets.

When women enlist in the military, I think they should expect to be challenged. They are going to put you in charge of some people besides yourself. They are going to make you responsible for resources. You are going to have to mentor those people.

My nomination and hopefully my confirmation to major general, I will be the first African-American female in the Army to have achieved that rank.

The biggest pivotal moment in life: the look on my dad's face -- and I'm going to get a little teary here -- the look on my dad's face when he got to promote me to brigadier general. He served in the Korean War at a time when they just were integrating the military. I know he could have been anything, but because of that time, perhaps he didn't get to achieve as much as he could have.

I think the biggest "a-ha" moment was when I graduated from high school. The world just seemed really bright and I just kind of felt as if anything was possible.

I just wanted to be the kind of person that, when I passed away, people would say, "she tried to treat people the right way." That would leave me with a really good feeling and I think a really good legacy.


Before We Go

AZUZ: A valet parks your car. But at this golf course, the valet might bark at it, too! Just another day on the job for Kaleigh. She's a six-year-old dog who helps out the golfers. When they finish a round and drop off their carts, they leave the keys with Kaleigh and she brings 'em back to the clubhouse. So, if you call the person who carries your clubs a caddy, what do you call the dog who gets your keys?


AZUZ: A retriever, of course. She just does that all day long; doesn't go out to the holes. She puts the cart before the course! We look fore!-ward to seeing you next week for more CNN Student News. Have a good one.