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CNN Student News Transcript: November 3, 2009

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CNN Student News - 11/03/2009

(CNN Student News) -- November 3, 2009

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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: How can a ship's structure have symbolic meaning? We're gonna explain that in just a bit. I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now!

First Up: Karzai wins

AZUZ: First up, Afghan president Hamid Karzai is set to serve another term as the head of his country. On Monday, election officials declared him the winner of Afghanistan's presidential race after they canceled a runoff election that was scheduled for this weekend. As we told you about yesterday, Abdullah Abdullah, who would have been Karzai's opponent in that runoff, dropped out of the contest. The election commission said it could have held the runoff with just one candidate, but it decided to just cancel it because of concerns about security and money. Some observers say the challenge now will be to see how President Karzai handles his second term in office.

CIT Bankruptcy

AZUZ: Another story to tell you about, the CIT group. It's one of the nation's leaders in helping to give funds to small and medium-sized businesses. But it has been facing some financial struggles. And Sunday, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This doesn't mean that CIT is going out of business. Chapter 11 is a type of bankruptcy that allows a business to re-organize in order to try to become profitable again. This is the fifth largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, but the company says it won't affect the million or so businesses that it helps fund, like Dunkin' Donuts and Eddie Bauer. However, CIT got about $2.3 billion from last year's federal bailout, and officials say most, if not all, of that money probably won't be paid back.

Off-year Elections

AZUZ: And around the U.S., voters are heading to the polls today, taking part in local elections for city councils, mayors and governors. Some people think that the results could offer a preview of what might happen in next year's congressional elections. Samantha Hayes explains how.


SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: Come Tuesday, New Jersey voters will make their choice in a closely watched governor's race. And in northern New York, voters will send a new representative to Congress. But the voters may do something else in these local races: send a signal ahead of next year's mid-term elections. In both, third party candidates are having an impact. In New York, the moderate Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava dropped her bid and endorsed the Democratic opponent Sunday, after a swell of support for self-described "conservative party candidate" Doug Hoffman, who received endorsements from influential Republicans like Sarah Palin. The race highlighted a GOP divide. House Minority Leader John Boehner says for some Republicans, Scozzafava wasn't conservative enough.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This is a pretty unusual situation. You had seven county chairmen who chose Dede to be our nominee. And clearly, she would be on the left side of our party.

HAYES: In two races for governor, President Barack Obama has stepped in to help struggling Democrats, campaigning last week for Creigh Deeds in Virginia, and in New Jersey Sunday, where Democratic Governor John Corzine is fighting to win re-election. Corzine is facing opposition from two candidates, a Republican and independent Chris N. Daggett, who resists charges that his third party candidacy may end up spoiling the race for Republicans.

CHRIS DAGGETT, (I) NEW JERSEY GOV. CANDIDATE: Democracy is about the exchange of ideas and figuring out who has got the best ideas and voting for the best person. I keep saying in the debates it is never wrong to vote for the right person.

HAYES: These elections come one year after President Obama won the White House, and Republicans see an opportunity to make a statement about their own party and the standing of the president. For CNN Student News, I'm Samantha Hayes.


Is this Legit?

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? When referring to the name of U.S. Navy vessels, USS stands for United States Ship. Legit! The USS prefix is used for ships that are in active service.

USS New York

AZUZ: One of the newest USS's, the USS New York, made an appearance in New York yesterday. About 13 percent of the crew is from the state. But that's not why the assault ship's arrival was marked with ceremonies. It's because of the unique materials used to build the ship and what they represent. Heidi Collins sets sail with the details.


COLLINS: She's more than 25,000 tons, as long as two football fields, and will eventually carry hundreds of U.S. sailors and Marines into battle across the globe. But it's the bow of this new ship that sets her apart.

ENSIGN TIMOTHY GORMAN, U.S. NAVY: Of any ship in the Navy, this is one ship where you can really be proud of your mission and remember on a daily basis of why we're here and why the ship is so special. The steel in the bow. We're very mindful that we're representing the families of victims of 9/11 and the victims, the people who died that day.

COLLINS: Beam by beam, they sifted through this pile of wreckage and twisted metal, the devastated debris from the tower of World Trade Center to salvage 7 1/2 tons of workable steel. More than 1,000 workers then melted, poured and reshaped that steel into what would become the bow of the USS New York, now plying the waters as a mighty symbol of all that was lost on that day more than eight years ago.

HOWARD LUTNICK, LOST BROTHER ON 9/11: We lost 658 employees, my brother, my best friend, all my coworkers.

COLLINS: Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, is adamant the memories of those he lost never be forgotten and their survivors always be protected.

LUTNICK: I really like the idea of people going out and avenging what happened to us and protecting us so it should never happen again. Because the pain that we went through, we would want no other family to ever have to go through.

COLLINS: The ship will be a memorial for Lee Lelpi, too. His firefighter son Jonathan bravely went into the towers on 9/11, but never made it out.

LEE LELPI, LOST SON ON 9/11: What better way for our young men and women that are going to be on the USS New York to feel that spirit of our country than to have this ship have that steel in the bow and represent not the bad, the good of our country.


I.D. Me

RICK VINCENT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a European structure that was built in August of 1961. I was more than ten feet tall and around 100 miles long. I divided a German city in two. I'm the Berlin Wall, and I was a symbol of separation between Eastern and Western Europe during the Cold War.

Where was the Wall

AZUZ: Communist East Germany on one side, Democratic West Germany on the other. And in between, the Berlin Wall. It wasn't just a symbolic barrier. It was a literal one, and nearly 200 people died trying to cross it. It's been 20 years since it came down. Fred Pleitgen looks at what remains from one of the world's most infamous walls.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the things that people who come here often ask me is, where was the Berlin Wall? And it's true, you really don't see much of it anymore. However, you can still find remnants if you have the right guide. Today, I have Andreas, who offers bike tours through Berlin to see where the Berlin Wall used to be. So, that's what we're going to do now, right?


PLEITGEN: Let's go. It was nearly 100 miles long and heavily fortified. For nearly three decades, the Berlin Wall divided the city and served as a symbol of a division of east and west. But now, you have to look hard to even notice what's left.

This is something that you don't find very often in Berlin anymore: This is an original piece of the Berlin Wall hidden here right next to these railway tracks. And as you can see, it's not in a very good state. You have the metal bars coming out of the concrete and plants growing all over it. Certainly, it doesn't look good. But this is one of the few pieces that's still left. After the wall came down on November 9, 1989, people began chipping away, turning the iron curtain into souvenirs.

Our bike trip is like a ride back into time. Along streets divided on August 13, 1961, when East Germany closed the borders to West Berlin; where people risked their lives jumping to freedom and even border guards made a run for it. Thousands fled communism, hundreds died trying, as the regime kept refining and perfecting the walls' fortifications.

This is one of the few places in Berlin where you can see the wall the way it used to look. This is what you would have seen if you would have looked at it from the west side of Berlin; the actual wall is only part of it. Behind it you can see further barriers: you have a sand pit and a second wall.

We have another photo here which is from the '60s or '70s. As you can see, this is where the wall used to go. And right here, this house, you can still see it, it's over there.

Andreas was one of the first East Germans to cross over when the checkpoints were opened November 9, 1989. Trying to flee in Berlin, he says, was all but impossible.

"There were fences," he says, "signal fences, guard dogs, water obstacles, anything to stop people from fleeing. And the guards had shoot to kill orders" at one of the fiercest borders ever devised by man.

In most parts of Berlin, however, all you can see is those little bricks right here. That's all you see of the Berlin Wall. Really almost nothing at all. It's almost completely disappeared from this town. Fred Pleitkin, CNN.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Alright, some world records are tough to swallow. This is one of them. You're looking at the world's biggest meatball! The mega mound weighed in at a whopping 222 pounds. And yes, it's been verified by the guys at Guinness. The New Hampshire restaurant owner who cooked up the idea looks to be having a ball at the weigh-in. But you have to feel a little sorry for the previous record holder.


AZUZ: After all, losing a food title has to be hard to stomach. We're serving up more tomorrow, see you then.