(CNN Student News) -- November 17, 2008
California Wildfires - Witness the destruction caused by raging wildfires in California.
Breaking a Brass Ceiling - Follow the career path of the top-ranked woman in the U.S. Army.
College Credit Crunch - Consider the impact of the financial crisis on college campuses.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi! Thanks for checking in as we get the week rolling here on CNN Student News. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.
AZUZ: First up, wildfires rage across parts of southern California, forcing more than 10,000 people to leave their homes. These fires broke out over the past several days and they've scorched more than 20,000 acres. As authorities search for victims, firefighters are battling the flames and the weather. That is because strong winds have played a major role in fueling these blazes. In fact, look at this area we have spot-shadowed right here. That's a whirlwind of fire. These flames have destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. Kara Finnstrom examines the destruction from Sylmar, California.
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AUGUSTINE REYES, FIRE VICTIM: This is all I have left of my house; this is it.
KARA FINNSTROM, CNN REPORTER: Augustine Reyes says his family lost everything they own. So did his neighbors, in home after home. The fire blasting through Oakridge Park decimated about 500 mobile homes.
CHIEF MICHAEL BOWMAN, L.A. CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT: That's exactly what they were dealing with; a blowtorch type of effect. You've got gusts of 60 mph, the fire was laying down. You had, again, zero visibility; the smoke was extremely hot.
FINNSTROM: The fear of firefighters bringing in search dogs next: not everyone may have gotten out. And emergency crews are still facing a fire out of control, a fire moving so rapidly, instead of evacuating everyone from this hospital, firefighters protected some patients inside while structures all around burned. Firefighters here have staged one massive fight to beat back the flames. What you see behind me here, this is one of the child care centers on the campus of the hospital, and they have been working here to contain these flames. The devastation is hard to comprehend, and even harder, Augustine Reyes says, to explain to his young son.
REYES: He is seven years old and he's autistic, and he doesn't do well with change. So, uh, this is going to be very hard to explain to him and bring him; it's going to be very hard.
FINNSTROM: In Sylmar, California, Kara Finnstrom for CNN.
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AZUZ: Another natural disaster shook parts of Indonesia on Sunday, as a powerful earthquake jolted the island nation. There were no immediate reports of causalities or damage following the 7.5-magnitude quake, but there were brief concerns about a possible tsunami. Experts warned that the earthquake could trigger one, but they canceled a tsunami warning a few hours after the initial tremor.
Word to the Wise
GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
tsunami (noun) a large ocean wave that's caused by an earthquake or undersea eruption
AZUZ: "An important first step." Those were the words of President Bush, describing this weekend's summit on the global economy, where world leaders got together to discuss how to fight this current financial crisis. The meeting brought together representatives from a group of leading economic nations.They're known as the G-20. They've agreed to try different methods to boost worldwide, economic markets, which, as you know, have been getting hammered recently. This group plans to meet again by the end of April.
Iraq Security Pact
AZUZ: The Iraqi government is looking at the calendar as well, as it considers a plan for when U.S. troops could leave the Middle Eastern nation. On Sunday, the country's Cabinet approved a timetable that would see American forces withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns by the end of next June, and leave the country entirely by the end of 2011. According to the Iraqi constitution, the country's parliament has to vote on this agreement for it to become final. One official said that could happen by next week.
AZUZ: General Ann Dunwoody is responsible for making sure that U.S. soldiers in Iraq get the equipment that they need. When she first enlisted, Dunwoody only planned on serving for two years. Now, she's the first female, four-star general in U.S. Army history. Jamie McIntyre examines her trailblazing service.
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MILITARY OFFICIAL: She is therefore promoted from Lt. General to General.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN REPORTER: The four stars pinned on the shoulder of Gen. Ann Dunwoody carry with them the heavy burden of a historic first.
GEN. ANN DUNWOODY, U-S ARMY MATERIEL COMMAND: I didn't appreciate the enormity of the events until the tidal waves of cards, letters and e-mails started coming my way. And I've heard from men and women, from every branch of service, from moms and dads who see this promotion as a beacon of hope for their own daughters.
MCINTYRE: The Army Dunwoody entered right out of college 33 years ago was a far cry from today's largely integrated volunteer force. Mired in World War Two thinking, women were still WACs, in the separate and decidedly unequal Women's Auxiliary Corps.
GEN. GEORGE W. CASEY JR., U.S. ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF: The number one job at 1975 that the officers and enlisted men and women of the Army thought was appropriate for women was cook. Fortunately, for Ann, also on the list was parachute rigger.
DUNWOODY: I couldn't believe they were going to pay me to jump out of airplanes.
MCINTYRE: Dunwoody's stint in Airborne school turned into an unexpected career of trailblazing, in part because of an accident of timing. The Army was opening doors just as Dunwoody was ready to march through.
ROBERT GATES, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: History will no doubt take note of her achievement in breaking through this final brass ceiling to pin on a fourth star. But she would rather be known and remembered first and foremost as a U.S. Army soldier.
DUNWOODY: From the first day that I donned my uniform, soldiering was all I ever wanted to do.
MCINTYRE: Dunwoody is a fourth generation Army officer, and her family is living testament to the strides woman have made: Her sister was the third female helicopter pilot after the Army opened those jobs to women in 1993, and her niece flies A-10 attack planes for the Air Force. But technically, women are still barred by Congress from serving in frontline ground combat units, a distinction seemingly disconnected from the reality of modern warfare. The fact is, American women are fighting and dying alongside men both in Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars with no front lines. Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.
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Word to the Wise Extra Credit
RAMSAY: A Word to the Wise Extra Credit...
lame duck (noun) an elected official or group that holds office between an election and the inauguration of a successor
AZUZ: Congress is holding a lame-duck session this week to consider a proposal to help out U.S. automakers. As we mentioned on Friday, the industry has been hit hard by the financial crisis. When we mention this issue, the struggling economy, that might be what you think of: industries in trouble, people losing their jobs. But as Kate Bolduan explains, many college students, especially ones counting on student loans, are feeling the heat, as well.
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KATE BOLDUAN, CNN REPORTER: In August, Frostburg State University in Maryland was unexpectedly hit by the country's economic crisis.
ANGIE HOVATTER, FINANCIAL AID DIRECTOR, FROSTBURG STATE UNIVERSITY: We received notification that one of our lenders was not going to have money available for our students; they were not going to be dispersing.
BOLDUAN: Not dispersing the financial aid 200 Frostburg students were expecting the very next day.
HOVATTER: We decided that we could do book vouchers for students who need to receive books. We wrote letters to landlords letting them know this was in no way the students' fault.
BOLDUAN: Students like junior Sarah Massie were left scrambling to make up the difference.
SARAH MASSIE, UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT: If I didn't get approved for this outside loan, I wouldn't be able to come back to school.
BOLDUAN: Unfortunately, Massie and Frostburg State aren't alone. Colleges, both public and private, across the country are finding their balance sheets in limbo amid the credit freeze and the economic downturn.
JEREMY LAYMAN, GRADUATE STUDENT: It's sort of a ripple effect that eventually trickled down to students, to students like me.
BOLDUAN: States from coast to coast are facing serious budget shortfalls. At least 17 have already slashed funding for public colleges and universities, according to the American Council on Education.
TERRY HARTLE, AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EDUCATION: Cutbacks are the order of the day in most state capitals, so many public colleges and universities are going to be having less money for operating support from the state government than they did a year ago.
BOLDUAN: New York Governor David Paterson recently proposed a $600 annual tuition increase for the state's public universities to help repair a $1.5 billion deficit. And while private schools don't rely on government dollars, they're feeling the pinch through a drop in alumni donations and philanthropic support. The hard times facing students and schools have meant perhaps an understandable jump in people lining up for federal financial aid. The Department of Education reports as of the end of July, 800,000 more students had applied for the well-known Pell Grant than the same time last year. Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.
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Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go today, a quick trip that should only take about 2,000 years.
ANNOUNCER: Step into the world of Tutankhamun, the golden king, and the great pharaohs.
AZUZ: He's not kidding about that "golden king" business. These Tut trinkets are covered with it! Coffins, masks, a big bird necklace, even some sandals. And they're all on display as part of a massive museum exhibit. The famous pharaoh may be the headliner, but this show includes items from two centuries of ancient, Egyptian rulers.
AZUZ: And just like them, visitors are dying to get in. You had to see it coming. Did you see it coming? I'm Carl Azuz. We'll see ya tomorrow.
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