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CNN Student News Transcript: December 4, 2007

  • Story Highlights
  • Learn how a proposal to abolish term limits fared in a Venezuelan election
  • Find out how a controversial legal case has reached a conclusion in Sudan
  • Tally up the total cost of the items on the "12 Days of Christmas" gift list
  • Next Article in Living »
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(CNN Student News) -- December 4, 2007

Quick Guide

Venezuela Vote - Learn how a proposal to abolish term limits fared in a Venezuelan election.

Teacher Freed - Find out how a controversial legal case has reached a conclusion in Sudan.

12 Day$ of Chri$tma$ - Tally up the total cost of the items on the "12 Days of Christmas" gift list.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Tuesday, and you've found your way to CNN Student News. We're on Headline News, online, on iTunes and we're in your classroom. Hi, everyone. I'm Monica Lloyd.

Word to the Wise

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...

term limit (noun) a legal restriction on the number of times someone may be elected to and serve in a particular office


First Up: Venezuela Vote

LLOYD: First up, voters in Venezuela shoot down a proposal to end term limits in the South American nation. On Sunday, more than 9 million people voted on a controversial amendment to Venezuela's constitution. It would have allowed President Hugo Chavez to stay in power for as long as he is re-elected. But when the votes were counted, the amendment failed by a slim margin: 51 percent to 49. Harris Whitbeck has more on the election results.


HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN REPORTER: Monday morning, and happy opposition students were still out on a Caracas street corner, waving flags and greeting passing motorists. They had much to celebrate. The no vote in Sunday's referendum to lift limits on how long Hugo Chavez could serve as president was one they say they did not expect. When Venezuela's electoral authorities announced the no vote won Sunday's referendum on the proposed changes to the constitution, the opposition students, who had spent weeks battling police as they protested on the streets, erupted in cheers. The night had been spent in agony as hours went by without results. After their razor-thin victory was announced, opposition leaders said this now has to be a time of national unity.

JUAN ANDRES MEJIA, STUDENT LEADER: This is not a moment only for students; it is a moment for the whole country. It is time for us to start walking the same path to walking together, and I think this day could be the start of a new republic of a new Venezuela.

WHITBECK: President Chavez also spoke of unity, but warned the opposition that he would not abandon his plans to further consolidate socialism in the country.

HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT: None of this complex proposal will be withdrawn. I will continue proposing this to the Venezuelan people. The proposal is alive. It is not dead.

WHITBECK: The leaders of the political opposition said they now face new challenges.

LEOPOLDO EDUARDO LÓPEZ, MAYOR OF CHACAO, CARACAS MUNICIPALITY: We now have to go build a country that has space for us all; new alternatives, for we are all equal under that law, where there is equality and opportunities. Where we can tackle the problems that address society as a whole.

WHITBECK: The opposition now sees a chance to regain some of the political terrain that it lost when Chavez came to power nine years ago. And Chavez will now have to rethink some of his strategies. He himself had said he considered this referendum the most crucial one his government had ever faced. Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Caracas.



AZUZ: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these African countries is Sudan? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A, B, C or D? You've got three seconds -- GO! A is Sudan! You can find that and all these countries on our free map of Africa at!

Teacher Freed

LLOYD: The teacher at the center of a controversial legal case in Sudan is back in Britain. We've been following the ordeal of Gillian Gibbons since she was arrested in the African nation last week. Yesterday, the president of Sudan officially pardoned the 54-year-old, who was in the middle of serving a prison sentence. And just hours after her release, Gibbons was on a plane and headed home. So what offense led to the teacher being jailed? Emily Chang fills us in on the background of the situation.


EMILY CHANG, CNN REPORTER: Gillian Gibbons was convicted last Thursday of insulting Islam and sentenced to 15 days in jail. She had asked her students to name a class teddy bear. They picked the name "Mohammed" after the most popular boy in the class, a violation of Sudan's laws. Since the verdict, angry protesters filled the streets calling for a harsher sentence, some even calling for Gibbons to be executed. But supporters, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, maintained she simply had made an innocent mistake. In a statement read by one of the British lawmakers, Gibbons apologized for any distress she caused and said that she was sorry to be leaving Sudan. She says she never intended to "knowingly offend anyone." Emily Chang, CNN, London.


My Space Update

LLOYD: A Missouri prosecutor says he won't file charges in the case of Megan Meier, a 13-year-old who took her own life after being criticized online. He says that someone is certainly to blame for the events that led to the girl's death, but no one can be charged because no laws were broken. However, Megan's town has responded to the incident by making online harassment a crime. Using any kind of electronic communication to bully someone is now punishable by a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Bush to Congress

LLOYD: And in Washington, President Bush is calling on Congress to wrap up "unfinished business." Lawmakers are in back in session for a few weeks before the holiday season, and Mr. Bush has a long list of things he wants addressed. One of his top priorities is funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's also pushing for action on nearly a dozen bills that involve financing daily government operations. The president pointed out that the clock is ticking down on 2007, but said that doesn't mean he'll automatically sign any bill that Congress sends him.


U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Congressional leaders need to do their job and pass the remaining spending bills in a fiscally responsible way. If they send me an irresponsible spending bill, I will veto it.



LLOYD: And speaking of fiscal responsibility, some of you might be starting to do your holiday shopping. Well, we've put together an activity that will help you learn a bit about budgets. You can plan how much green you've got for giving gifts, and compare what you actually spend against how much you budgeted. Check it out at

Shoutout Extra Credit

AZUZ: Time for the Shoutout Extra Credit! In the popular holiday tune, what is NOT given on any of the "12 Days of Christmas"? You know what to do! Is it: A) 10 daughters dancing, B) 6 geese a-laying, C) 11 pipers piping or D) 3 French hens? You've got three seconds -- GO! There are nine ladies dancing, but there are no daughters whatsoever in the "12 Days of Christmas." That's your answer and that's your Shoutout Extra Credit!

12 Day$ of Chri$tma$

LLOYD: So, what is on that lyrical list? We won't make you sing it, but you probably knew a few. There are lords, there are ladies and there's a whole flock of fowl. But if you actually plan on giving all these gifts, we hope you saved up. Carl Azuz totals up the tally on the "12 Days of Christmas."


AZUZ: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a trust fund. That's what I'm gonna need to buy her everything on the list of the famous holiday tune. Now, I'm not sure who in her right mind wants a partridge in a pear tree. But add that to seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtledoves...You're gonna need an aviary! Plus about about $5,400!

According to the PNC Financial Services Group, which takes time each year to calculate the "Christmas Price Index," 2007 will be the most expensive year ever for the collective gifts of the "12 Days of Christmas." Short on cash? Blame Congress! The eight maids a-milking are on minimum wage, and since Congress had to go and raise that and all, they'll set you back $46.80 per hour, and even more next year. Gold is up in part because the dollar is down, so you'll shell out 395 smackers for the five rings. And your two biggest expenses will be for the nine ladies dancing and the ten lords a-leaping: more than $9,040 bucks total. Music, like your mother told you, is a less lucrative career choice. Twelve drummers drumming and 11 pipers piping come in at just over $4,600, roughly half of what the dancers and leapers cost. Either way, you're gonna have to be a rock star to afford all of this stuff, because the grand total is $19,507.19. That's an overall 3-percent increase from 2006. And it probably won't score you points, 'cause all she wants is jewelry anyway! Carl Azuz, CNN, Atlanta.


LLOYD: That's what it would cost to buy everything on the list once. But if you really followed the song and bought each item every time it's mentioned, those 364 gifts would total up to $78,000! And if you think shopping online would be cheaper, think again. Total tally: $128,000. But then again, how can you put a price on your "true love"?

Before We Go

LLOYD: Before we go, a big game draws a crowd in Colombia. These people aren't gathering to watch a soccer match. In fact this isn't a sea of spectators; it's a pack of participants. So what kind of game has this many players? Bingo! Last year, Colombia's biggest supermarket chain organized the world's largest bingo game. But why stop at just one? They turned it into an annual event. And last weekend marked the new attempt to bring Bogota another bingo bounty. Officials are still confirming if this year's game set a new record.



LLOYD: And that gargantuan game was the last square on our card. So, it's time for us to head out. Have a great day, everyone. I'm Monica Lloyd. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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