(CNN Student News) -- May 13, 2009
A Return to Music - Hear how some Afghan students are moving to a new beat.
Connection Obsession - Explore how text messaging can threaten safe transportation.
War on Salt - Consider concerns over meals with excessive amounts of salt.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: When it comes to a favorite food seasoning, is there such a thing as too much? We're serving up that story on CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz.
AZUZ: We begin in Afghanistan, where the latest attacks by the Taliban have claimed at least nine lives. The fighting raged on for more than six hours yesterday in the city of Khost. A local police chief says ten Taliban suicide bombers were killed during the violence, which involved clashes between the militant group and U.S. forces. The Taliban says 30 of its members were involved in the attack. Khost is located in the eastern part of Afghanistan near the country's border with Pakistan. It's an area that the U.S. military describes as a hotbed of Taliban activity. The group used to control much of Afghanistan, and under its strict rule, music was silenced in the country. But as Stan Grant shows us, in the capital of Kabul, that tune is changing.
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STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a small classroom in Kabul, Afghan students are moving to a new beat. They're helping bring music back to a country where music itself has been a battleground. School is in session at Kabul's only college for music. Smiles are back on young faces. All around, a cacophony: violins competing with guitars; pianos drowned out by saxophone players; students spilling out of classrooms in corridors and outside, some taking lessons in makeshift tents. So different from the days of Taliban rule, when music abruptly stopped.
"The Taliban were fanatics and prejudiced to music," this girl says. "They did not want the promotion and development of music. They wanted to force their ideas on us."
17-year-old Nelofar Alokazai is studying guitar. It is her dream someday to play professionally, a dream that would have been impossible under the Taliban. The Islamic militants declared music blasphemous. Anyone caught playing an instrument faced severe punishment. The fall of the Taliban saw musicians emerge from their underground hideouts. Now, at places like Kabul's music street, instruments are freely sold and played. Ahmad Shah Ayoub runs a store passed down from his grandfather.
AHMAD SHAH AYOUB, MUSIC STORE OWNER: We hope that there should be no war in Afghanistan. All the people are very kind people. They like their music.
GRANT: Music, they say here, is the fruit of life, life slowly returning for these young kids. Stan Grant, CNN, Kabul.
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Is this Legit?
ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? It is illegal to send text messages while driving in some states. Legit! 11 states and the District of Columbia have banned the practice for anyone who's behind the wheel.
AZUZ: Nine other states have that same ban for beginner drivers. Federal safety organizations say crashes are the number one cause of accidental death in the U.S., and they've also found that 80 percent of those crashes are related to drivers being distracted by things like using a cell phone. Bill Tucker explores the science behind the dangers of texting while driving.
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BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 25 people died, 135 were injured in this crash. Investigators say the engineer of the Los Angeles commuter train was texting moments before it happened last September. In Boston last week, 49 people were injured when the driver of this trolley rear-ended a stopped trolley. The driver was texting his girlfriend. This San Antonio bus driver is texting as he drives into the rear of an SUV. There were no deaths, but the driver, 2 passengers and the driver of the SUV were injured. All of these accidents were easily preventable.
DAVID TEATER, NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL: 38,000 die every year on roadways. Virginia Tech and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have estimated about 80% of accidents and near-accidents are caused by driver inattention, and the number one driver inattention is mobile device use.
TUCKER: One trillion text messages were sent in just the United States last year. Text messaging is part of our supposedly multi-tasking way of living. Even under the best of circumstances, though, researchers at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research say our brains don't deal well with more than one thing at once. Texting behind the wheel of a couple of tons of steel moving down the road is a bad idea.
ROBERT DESIMONE, MIT, MCGOVERN INST. FOR BRAIN RESEARCH: Texting while driving would be the perfect storm of attentional problems. You are using your visual system for 2 things at once. So, this is the worse situation to be in, texting while driving.
TUCKER: 26 states this year have considered, and are still considering, laws to ban texting while driving. 11 states already have laws banning texting: Alaska, California, Washington, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Minnesota, Utah, Virginia, Arkansas and the District of Columbia. Bill Tucker, CNN, New York.
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AZUZ: It doesn't take a genius to recognize the dangers of texting while you're behind the wheel, but the question is, why do some people still do it? That's what we're asking you to blog about today. We want to hear your thoughts on the issue. So, head to CNNStudentNews.com, click on "From A to Z," and share your ideas.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! When it comes to food, I'm measured in milligrams. I'm a well-known mineral that's often used as a preservative or seasoning. My chemical formula is NaCl. I'm salt, and I'm an essential part of your diet!
AZUZ: But according to a lot of medical experts, too much salt can be a bad thing. That is why they recommend that we limit how many milligrams we have each day. The vast majority of salt in our diet comes from eating prepared or processed food, and as Mary Snow explains, some meals contain what might be considered a serious overdose.
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MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What some restaurants tout as "specials," the food police call "toxic" for their salt content.
MICHAEL JACOBSON, CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: What we found was shocking, even for people like me who've been immersed in this issue for 30 years.
SNOW: The non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy group, tracked meals at chain restaurants, finding some contained more than three times the amount of salt that's recommended on a daily basis. The Red Lobster Admiral's Feast of lobster, mashed potato, ceasar salad, a biscuit and lemonade totaled just over 7,000 milligrams of salt. Chili's Buffalo Chicken Fajitas, with tortillas, condiments and a Dr. Pepper, almost 7,000. Olive Garden's Tour of Italy Lasagna with a bread stick, family size garden salad and dressing and a Coca-Cola? Over 6,000 milligrams. And the report targets kids' menus. The Red Lobster chicken fingers with a biscuit, fries and raspberry lemonade has about 2,400 milligrams of salt, roughly two days' recommended intake of sodium for kids.
DR. NIECA GOLDBERG, AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION: Salt is pretty dangerous, because it can lead to high blood pressure which leads to heart attack and stroke, and it also can worsen the condition of people who have heart failure.
SNOW: The American Heart Association recommends adults have less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, which amounts to a teaspoon. For African-Americans, middle aged and older adults and people with high blood pressure, the recommended limit is 1,500 milligrams.
Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Chili's did not dispute the findings, but told CNN they offer options to people watching calories and sodium intake. A restaurant trade group supports listing nutritional information, and says restaurants have been cutting sodium levels.
ELIZABETH JOHNSON, NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION: We need to recognize that people go to restaurants for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it's for convenience. Sometimes, it's an occasional indulgence, and it's not something they would consume every day.
SNOW: Some restaurants say they list nutritional information on their Web sites. There are some efforts to post sodium levels on menus. But here in New York, the city is going a step further: it's pressuring restaurants to cut salt use. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
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Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go today, we are crying fowl and you're about to see why in this story from Texas. Specifically, this guy! Don't walk away, we're talking about you pal! Making him famous! The wild turkey likes to wander about the parking lot of the Parks and Wildlife Department -- no, we're not kidding. He scrounges for any scraps he might find on the ground. You might think that makes him an easier target for hunters, hanging around in a parking lot, but he's been there for so long that the Wildlife Department has officially put him under its protection.
AZUZ: So, believe it or not that bird brain may be smarter than we think. Either way, it gobbles up all our time for today on CNN Student News. We'll look forward to seeing you right back here tomorrow. I'm Carl Azuz.