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Quick Guide & Transcript: Students killed in school bus crash, Lawmakers debate the draft

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(CNN Student News) -- November 21, 2006

Quick Guide

School Bus Crash - Find out what kind of lead police have as they investigate a deadly school bus accident in Alabama.

Returning to the Draft? - Consider how an effort to reinstate the draft may be more of a statement than a probability.

Russia - The Terminal - Hear the story of an Iranian family that has been trapped for months inside a Russian airport.



SHANNON COOK, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Welcome to this Tuesday edition of CNN Student News. I'm Shanon Cook with today's stories. An after-school ride becomes a tragedy. Find out what witnesses saw before this bus plunged off an Alabama highway overpass. With wars overseas and depleted ranks, is it time to re-instate the draft? Why one congressman wants to force some of you into military service. And imagine being stranded at the airport. For six months! The reason this family's doesn't want to catch a flight any time soon.

First Up: School Bus Crash

COOK: First up today, a fatal bus accident in Alabama that comes just before a holiday break. There's little joy today at Lee High School in Huntsville. At least three of its students were killed yesterday when their school bus plunged off the side off a highway overpass. 43 students were on board. 33 were injured. Teachers, we encourage you to preview this report by John Lorinc.


KEITH WARD, HUNTSVILLE CITY SCHOOLS: It's a very serious bus accident. It's obviously shocking to all of us in the Huntsville City Schools family.

DUSTY UNDERWOOD, HUNTSVILLE FIRE CHIEF: The bus fell approximately 30 feet and fell on its front and top. And so naturally those people toward the front of the bus had more serious injuries.

JOHN LORINC, CNN REPORTER: 43 students were on the school bus, traveling from Huntsville's Lee High School to a technology center for classes, when the bus plunged off the side of a highway overpass in the northern Alabama city.

DR. SHERRIE SQUYRES, EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR: I mean, you can imagine, in severe motor vehicle accidents, collisions, you, you... we've got head injuries, we've got lacerations, we've got fractures, one child had a spleen injury and kidney injury, another had a pelvic fracture, I understand, so we're seeing just a little bit of everything.

LORINC: Police are trying to figure out what caused the crash, and they have a lead--a witness has said they thought a small car hit the school bus. For CNN Student News, I'm John Lorinc.


Word to the Wise


conscription: (n) a required enrollment of people for military service; a draft


Returning to the Draft?

COOK: All you young men, listen up. When you turn 18, Uncle Sam wants you To sign up for the Selective Service. It applies to 18 to 26-year-olds. It's the pool of about 14 million names the U.S. would turn to in case of emergency. But from 1948 to 1973, the country had a draft to fill the ranks of the Armed Forces. With America still involved in Iraq, One congressman now wants to return to the draft. Kyung Lah caught up with some politicians and generals. They give us the pros and cons of conscription.


KYUNG LAH, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: With the United States at war in Iraq and facing challenges in Iran and North Korea, New York congressman Charles Rangel is again calling for a reinstatement of the draft.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL, (D) NEW YORK: I'm saying if you have to go to war, don't just let the poor that come from these communities of high employment be in harm's way. Let everyone go, or look to diplomatic solutions to these very serious problems.

LAH: The next Speaker of the House says she gets Rangel's point.

SEN. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: It's a way to make a point about this war...

QUESTION: But could you say if you support Chairman Rangel's call for a draft?

PELOSI: No - no.

LAH: The current Republican Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said serious consideration of the draft is not on the table.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, (R) CALIFORNIA: I think that ethic of patriotism is what drives this country right now. And it's not something that needs to be impeded by a draft.

LAH: As things stand now, however, military commanders say they could not maintain a bigger U-S force in Iraq than what is currently there.

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, CMDR., US CENTRAL COMMAND: When you look at the overall American force pool that's available out there - the ability to sustain that commitment, it is simply not something that we have right now with the size of the Army and the Marine Corps.

LAH: The congressman says he'll introduce a proposal to reinstate the draft early next year. Most lawmakers say it has no chance of passage. In Washington, Kyung Lah, CNN Student News.


Fact Check: The Draft

DAVE KIRSCHNER, CNN REPORTER: The slaughter of tens of thousands of troops on the battlefields of the civil war gave birth to the nation's first military draft. The South first implemented the draft in 1862. The North followed with its own a year later. Opposition triggered violent riots in New York, which were violently stamped out by regular army troops. When the U.S. entered World War One in 1917, Congress past the Selective Service Act, which created the system of local draft boards. All men aged 21 to 30 could be called up to serve. Before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt created the nation's first peacetime draft. The military also resorted to the draft during the Vietnam War. The system was altered in 1969 with a lottery system. Generally, the higher number assigned to a person's birthday meant a lesser chance of being drafted. More than 200,000 men were accused of violating draft laws during the Vietnam War. Anti-war protests were often marked by men burning their draft cards. An estimated 100,000 draft resisters fled the country, the vast majority to Canada. According to one estimate, 25,000 draft resisters still live in Canada, although some experts believe that number is high. In 1973, the draft ended and the U.S. implemented an all-volunteer military. Four years later, President Jimmy Carter declared an unconditional amnesty for draft resisters. Special restrictions applied to military deserters and those who went AWOL.

Russia - The Terminal

COOK: If you've ever missed a flight, maybe you were stranded for a few hours. In Russia, one family's been stuck in Moscow's airport for half a year. The three are Iranians seeking asylum. Countries grant this "safe refugee" status to foreigners in its territory. So far, attempts to get this status have been grounded. Ryan Chilcote has more.


RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN REPORTER: Moscow's Sheremyetovo Airport has plenty of duty-free shopping, but all of that gets old pretty quick. Just ask the Kamalfar family. They've lived in the airport for the last six months. They agreed to an interview -- away from security -- in the back booth of terminal cafe.

ANNA KAMALFAR, AIRPORT REFUGEE: Nobody can stay here for one day, We sleep on the floor. Here is very cold, we can't sleep. Everybody go, come, go, come, and we can't take shower. Every night, we go to toilet and we take shower in the toilet.

CHILCOTE: Zahra Kamalfar, her daughter Anna, and son Davood live on the floor. But they prefer the floor over a plane back to Iran, where Zahra Kamalfar fears jail -- or worse -- awaits her.

ZAHRA KAMALFAR, AIRPORT REFUGEE: Please -- I don't know who is listen when I speak. But people, Russians, good Russians, and have kind heart. Just, I tell President Putin please help me, help me, just for deporting me.

CHILCOTE: CNN could not verify Kamalfar's claim she was jailed in Iran for her opposition to the government, or that she fled Iran while on furlough from jail. A spokesman for the Iranian government told us it is unaware of her case. And the United Nations determined they do not meet "refugee criteria."

CHILCOTE: The Hollywood blockbuster "The Terminal" - modeled on the real-life story of an asylum-seeker in a Paris airport - inspired improved conditions for refugees in airports around the world. But the UN says conditions in Moscow got worse... Not better. 12-year-old Davood has now been in the airport long enough to teach himself a little Russian.

DAVOOD KAMALFAR, AIRPORT REFUGEE: "I just ask people what things are called and memorize it," he says.

CHILCOTE: This week, an American law firm began applying for political asylum on their behalf. In the meantime, the Kamalfars take another lap around the terminal. Ryan Chilcote, CNN, Moscow


Programming Note

COOK: Just a reminder everyone, today will be our last show of the week. CNN Student News will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, and we'll return on Monday, November 27th.


AZUZ: This special, Thanksgiving Shoutout goes out to Ms. Hildebrand's 10th grade U.S. History class at Powell High School in Powell, Wyoming! Which president proclaimed the last Thursday in November a national day of Thanksgiving? You know what to do! Was it: A) Abraham Lincoln B) Bill Clinton C) Chester Arthur D) Dwight Eisenhower You've got three seconds--GO! Gimme an "A" for Abraham! He wanted to promote the union of the country during the Civil War, so he proclaimed the Thanksgiving date back in 1863. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!


COOK: And that's a wrap on this week's last edition of CNN Student News! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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