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CNN Student News Transcript: January 30, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Discover the outcome of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment trial
  • Examine the impact of the "Black Thursday" workers' strike across France
  • Find out why a Florida couple turned to cloning to replace a beloved pet
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(CNN Student News) -- January 30, 2009

Quick Guide

Blagojevich Removed from Office - Discover the outcome of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment trial.

France Strikes - Examine the impact of the "Black Thursday" workers' strike across France.

Cloned Dog - Find out why a Florida couple turned to cloning to replace a beloved pet.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's the most awesome day of the week! Thankyou for getting it started with CNN Student News. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

Blagojevich Removed from Office

ROD BLAGOJEVICH, FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: I'm gonna keep fighting to clear my name. I'm disappointed in the state Senate's actions because they deprived me of an opportunity to bring witnesses and prove my innocence. I wanted to do that sooner rather than later. I guess I'll just have to wait until I have my day in court. But again, to the people of Illinois, God bless all of you. Thank you for giving me a chance to represent you. I want you to know I haven't let you down.

AZUZ: Former governor Rod Blagojevich there, reacting to last night's vote by the Illinois Senate to remove him from office. Blagojevich is now the 8th governor in U.S. history to be impeached and removed from his position. Blagojevich, who was arrested in December on federal corruption charges, insisted he did nothing illegal during a closing argument at his impeachment trial. But the speech didn't seem to help, as the Senate voted 59-0 to convict him.

France Strikes

AZUZ: Moving to France, where workers have wrapped up 36 hours of demonstrations against their government's response to the global economic crisis. Auto workers, transportation employees, bankers, even teachers: They all took part in yesterday's strikes. The event was called "Black Thursday," but according to officials, the results looked more like "Gray Thursday." Jim Bitterman examines the impact of yesterday's protests.


JIM BITTERMAN, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: It might have looked like the workers of France felt themselves immune from the world's financial crisis. President Nicolas Sarkozy's economic platform once again brought them into the streets in a familiar protest with a familiar agenda. And while the day's work stoppages and demonstrations were as dramatic as dozens of previous ones, there is at least some doubt about how much real impact the protests will have.

Sarkozy's government enjoys a solid majority in the parliament, and there is little unity on the other side of the political aisle. The demonstrators say they have no choice against such a powerful president.

JEAN POIRER, RETIREE: He has everything for him and he has the police, so we cannot oppose him normally. We have to get down in the streets.

BITTERMAN: It is a measure of the divisions in the opposition here that demonstrators brought every kind of demand to their afternoon of protest, everything from better wages to better job security to less work on Sunday. If there was one thing that united them all, it's an anger over the Sarkozy government's reforms and doubt about its ability to handle the global economic crisis.

But that last issue is the one thing that has changed since previous occasions when transport workers, teachers, students and pensioners stopped working here. The global economic situation has not tempered their demands, but it has made people more fearful that a government which has ignored them until now will pay even less heed as the economic situtation weakens worldwide.

"Billions for bailouts," said some in the crowd, "but nothing for the people." There was no comment from the presidential palace and no hint that President Sarkozy took notice of the nationwide protests, demonstrations that in France are always colorful, but not always meaningful. The strike is meant to end Friday morning, but some in the crowd said it shouldn't stop there.

MARIE DOMINIQUE FRONTIGNY, LIBRARIAN: One day won't be enough. We should fight much, much more.

BITTERMAN: As if she was heard by the demonstration's organizers, they plan a meeting for Monday to decide whether to take continued strike action, something that in the past has had impact on governments here. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


The Athlete's Brain

AZUZ: Shifting gears to science now and the impact of concussions. We're talking about his on our blog, too. As we mentioned in yesterday's program, these injuries can be caused by any bump to the head, and they temporarily interfere with how your brain works. Yesterday, Dr. Sanjay Gupta explored the long-term effects of concussions. Today, he examines the possible consequences for young athletes.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Lacrosse was once the center of 18-year-old James Orrigo's life, until the game when he suffered back-to-back concussions.

GUPTA: When's the last time you had the chance to pick up a lacrosse stick?

JAMES ORRIGO, SUFFERED BACK-TO-BACK CONCUSSIONS: Probably over a year ago now. It's pretty weird. It brings back some pretty vivid memories. The other teammate comes up, this is a kid from the other team, and he crosschecks me to the throat, which had so much force behind it that it lifts me in the air and I smashed the back of my head off the ground. So that was the first concussion, and then the same kid, he comes and hits me on the side of the head and I wasn't ready for it, and just boom, snaps my neck down and I go right down.

GUPTA: James didn't know it yet, but within minutes he'd suffered two concussions. If he had suffered a third...

GUPTA: What would have happened?

KAREN ORRIGO, JAMES'S MOTHER: Well, he probably would have died or had severe brain injury.

GUPTA: A new study suggests the risk of brain injury in young athletes with concussions is real. I recently spoke with one of the study authors, neurologist Dr. Ann McKee.

DR. ANN MCKEE, BEDFORD, VA HOSPITAL: This is a case of an 18 year old who played multiple sports in high school and sustained several concussions.

GUPTA: The brown tangles seen here, evidence of brain damage.

MCKEE: It's not just a few tangles, it's actually a lot of them.

GUPTA: This new evidence of tangles in an 18-year-old brain echoes evidence McKee and colleagues already found in the brains of seven former NFL players who suffered multiple concussions.

GUPTA: So, what is the significance of this?

MCKEE: Well, we think this is how chronic traumatic encephalopathy starts.

GUPTA: Were you surprised to see this degree of change in an 18 year old?

MCKEE: Shocked.

GUPTA: Are you back to normal?


GUPTA: 100 percent?

JAMES ORRIGO: Just a few headaches, but that's only if I do too much working out, getting these guys. Besides that, it's good.

GUPTA: James no longer plays contact sports. Instead, he plays the guitar and he educates other young athletes about concussions.

GUPTA: You must watch sports on television; you're probably gonna watch the Super Bowl. What goes through your head now when you see someboy get, as you say, laid out?

JAMES ORRIGO: I see it all the time happening in these games. What gets me the most angry is everyone is saying, "Oh, it's just a concussion. He'll be back in to play" or something like that. It's just scary to think about there's no real urgency.

GUPTA: As you can see, we know more than ever about the vague term "concussion," and more importantly, what happens deep inside the brain. But this is just the beginning. Over the next several years, they're going to look at hundreds more brains and hopefully get more answers. Back to you.



GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Parga's 8th grade social studies classes at Ruth Musser Middle School in Rancho Cucamonga, California. What was the world's first cloned mammal? Was it a: A) Bear, B) Rat, C) Giraffe or D) Sheep? You've got three seconds -- GO! Dolly the sheep was born in 1996, the first mammal to be cloned from the cells of an adult animal. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Cloned Dog

AZUZ: Animal cloning might have started with a sheep. But since Dolly, scientists claim to have cloned mice, rabbits, pigs, even a horse! And one Florida couple recently turned to the technology to replace a member of the family. Terri Parker of affiliate WPBF has the details.


TERRI PARKER, WPBF REPORTER: Ed and Nino Otto are beaming with pride at their 10-week-old pup. He's the spitting image of their adored former lab Lancelot. Maybe because Lancelot Encore, as he is called, is an actual clone of the original Lancelot. The Ottos loved Lancelot so much they started thinking about cloning him five years ago.

NINA OTTO, CLONED PUP OWNER: And I said, "Well, you know, it wouldn't hurt to have his DNA frozen," and that's what we did.

PARKER: The Ottos gave Lancelot's DNA to a California company which cloned him in Korea, putting Lancelot's DNA inside the egg of a Korean dog. The result: this puppy, who so far...

NINA OTTO: He looks like him, he looks like him.

PARKER: The original Lancelot died of cancer last year. And even though the Ottos have nine other dogs, they decided to pay $155,000 to have Lancelot cloned. No one's going to deny that Lancelot Encore is simply adorable, but you might be wondering why would his owners shell out $155,000 dollars for this pup clone, especially when so many dogs are euthanized each year?

ED OTTO: He was a very, very, very special dog to us. And we've given a lot more money to the Humane Society than we've ever spent on this project.

PARKER: The Ottos say they can't be sure that Lancelot Encore will have the same personality as their original Lancelot.

ED OTTO: We hope so. But we do realize if he's different, we're not going to love him any less


Before We Go

AZUZ: And finally, dashing through the snow on a one-cat open sleigh. This furry feline looks to be having a good time, making paw prints in the snow and enjoying the offer of a snack from this nice young lady. Wait a minute, what's goign on here? Kitty did not sign up for this! But she takes the sled ride in stride. She takes a second to gather her courage and then actually heads back up the hill for another run.



AZUZ: Why not? She has at least eight more lives to spare. Not a second more to spare for today's show though. You guys have a great weekend. I'm Carl Azuz.

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