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CNN Student News Transcript: September 17, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Consider a new proposal's impact on the U.S. health care debate
  • Visit a Chinese laboratory to see how an H1N1 vaccine is produced
  • Test your knowledge of some facts found in the U.S. Constitution
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(CNN Student News) -- September 17, 2009

Quick Guide

Health Care Debate - Consider a new proposal's impact on the U.S. health care debate.

Making the Vaccine - Visit a Chinese laboratory to see how an H1N1 vaccine is produced.

Constitution Day - Test your knowledge of some facts found in the U.S. Constitution.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: A big day for democracy. The reason why is coming up in today's edition of CNN Student News. Hi, everyone. I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Health Care Debate

AZUZ: We start in Washington, where the release of a new proposal is giving a boost to the debate over health care reform. Senator Max Baucus, who heads up the Senate Finance Committee, unveiled a long-awaited plan yesterday after months of negotiations. Check out some of the details: It would cost $856 billion over 10 years, and it would require that every American have insurance coverage by the year 2013. It does not include a government-run insurance program, the so-called "public option." Instead, it focuses on the idea of health care cooperatives, which would give coverage to members. This is just one of the proposals that's been offered by lawmakers. You can compare some of them by checking out our home page, Sen. Baucus thinks his proposal does have the best shot at getting passed.

SEN. MAX BAUCUS, (D) MONTANA: No Republican has offered his or her support at this moment. But I think by the time we get the final passage in this committee, you'll find Republican support.

AZUZ: That might be a challenge. House Minority Leader John Boehner said the proposal "is the wrong prescription during these tough economic times." Some Democrats are split on the plan as well. One said the proposal "takes real steps to bring down the cost of health care." But another argued that any plan that doesn't include the public option would be considered "dead on arrival."

Blog Report

AZUZ: Your voices now. Last week, we asked you after the president's health care speech -- and the Republican response -- to weigh in on this debate. Kirby believes that "public health care should be as much a right for every citizen as education and the ability to vote." But Brittany writes that "the money for reform would be coming out of people's taxes, and in the end, that means we're the ones paying for everyone else's health care." From Steve: "Many Americans don't have the money to pay for good health insurance. President Obama's address gave Americans an idea of how a government health plan could help alleviate the stress of dealing with insurance companies." From Nicole: "There are people out there that don't work and don't care if they have any health care. Making the hard-working, middle-class people pay taxes to cover those people just isn't fair." Strong comments all around, y'all!

Is this Legit?

MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Japan's prime minister is usually determined by the country's parliamentary elections. This one's true! Japan's constitution requires that the prime minister be in charge of the majority group in parliament.

Japan's Prime Minister

AZUZ: And since a recent election changed which party is in power, the country has a new prime minister: Yukio Hatoyama, whose Democratic Party of Japan claimed a huge victory in last month's vote. This win marks the first time in nearly half a century that control of Japan's government is changing hands. Hatoyama, who was officially named prime minister yesterday, promised change during his campaign. He says he knows he is taking on an immense responsibility. Japan's economy is coming out of its worst recession in decades.

Downloadable Maps

Afghan Vote Recount

AZUZ: Heading to Afghanistan, where current President Hamid Karzai appears to have won more than 54 percent of the vote in last month's presidential election. We say "appears" because, while the votes have been counted, they haven't been certified, and that means the results aren't official. The Afghan Electoral Complaints Commission threw out 200,000 votes. And an outside group of observers says more than a million others, most of which are for Karzai, are suspicious. Karzai has criticized the outside group for making the announcement. He says it's not their responsibility to address electoral complaints.

Making the Vaccine

AZUZ: From votes to vaccines. We've reported on the government's efforts to produce one for the H1N1 virus and this week's news that it should be ready sooner than expected. However, the U.S. isn't the only country preparing to fight a potential outbreak. A lab in China is already developing doses of the H1N1 vaccine. Emily Chang takes us through the process.


EMILY CHANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT, BEIJING: This is Sinovac headquarters, the first company in the world to successfully complete clinical trials for an H1N1 vaccine. They've taken our temperatures, we've been asked to wear these lab coats and shoe covers, and we're going to go into the production line and see exactly how this vaccine is made.

This is the very first stage of the process. Every day, tens of thousands of fertilized eggs come in. They're incubated for a certain period time, then they are inspected, and then they are infected with the H1N1 virus. After three more days, the virus is then extracted and used to make the vaccine.

All of the infected eggs come in on a conveyer belt. They are sliced open and then the virus is harvested. The virus is then rendered inactive and stored for the next part of the process. Inside all these jugs is the H1N1 virus.

At this stage, they're collecting the virus and preparing it for purification. And here is the final product. Inside this vial is a vaccine for the H1N1 virus. It's a one-time vaccine. And right here, they are being bottled and labeled and boxed. All of the vaccines will be sent in refrigrerated trucks across China to fulfill government orders. They do need to be kept at a certain temperature, between two and eight degrees Celsius. So far, millions of vaccines have been ordered, and there's more on the way. Emily Chang, CNN, Beijing.



WRIGHT: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Shadid's U.S. government class at Clark High School in Las Vegas, Nevada! About how many people live in the United States? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) 276 million, B) 307 million, C) 368 million or D) 412 million? You've got three seconds -- GO! There are an estimated 307 million people living in the U.S. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!


AZUZ: Believe it or not, that's about the same number of people who are on Facebook... give or take a few million. Holy cow! The social networking site announced that it crossed the 300 million mark this week. It added that about 70 percent of those users actually live outside the U.S. Even bigger news: Facebook has turned a profit for the first time in the company's history. It didn't expect to do that until 2010. Pretty impressive for a Web site that started out just for college students.


AZUZ: We're not up to 300 million fans -- yet -- but our Facebook page is growing, and it's all thanks to you. If you haven't had a chance to stop by recently, head to

Constitution Day

AZUZ: "We the people." Simple words, but they're the start of one of the most important documents in American history: the U.S. Constitution. Who can be elected to office, how laws are made, what rights we have as citizens: This thing is basically the guidebook for our government. And today is its birthday. To celebrate, we're giving a pop quiz.


AZUZ: The U.S. Constitution turns 222 today, so we should all know it pretty well by now. Let's find out just how well!

First up: Which part of the Constitution gives all lawmaking powers to Congress? Article II, section I; the Second Amendment; Article I, section I or the Tenth Amendment? It's the first section of the first article that gives legislative powers to Congress and establishes the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Here's another shot: What's the minimum age of the U.S. president? 21, 26, 30, 35? Article II, Section I says you've got to be at least 35 years old.

Who has the power to set and collect income taxes? The president, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, Congress? It was the 16th Amendment that gave Congress the power to tax, though those taxes were a lot less when that amendment was ratified than they are today.

When does the Constitution say that court judges will hold their offices? After working as lawyers, during good behavior, while in good health, in even-numbered years? Article III, Section 1 says that court judges "shall hold their offices during good behavior."

Okay, last one! Which of these phrases doesn't actually appear in the Bill of Rights: "separation of church and state," "cruel and unusual punishments," "unreasonable searches and seizures," "right to a speedy and public trial"? The phrase "separation of church and state" doesn't appear in the Constitution; it was how Thomas Jefferson described the First Amendment.

That completes your Constitution Quiz!

Before We Go

AZUZ: But it doesn't complete our coverage! Head to to check out our Constitution Day Learning Activity. Finally today, go fly a kite. That's what these guys did. It was part of an attempt to break a world record last week. The event was open to all ages, obviously. Organizers say more than 2,500 people showed up to help set the new mark for the most kites in the air at one time.



AZUZ: With that many participants, setting the record should be a breeze. That blows through all our time for today. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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