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CNN Student News Transcript: September 3, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Explore the impact of severe weather taking place around the globe
  • Make cents of how coins might help kick-start a struggling economy
  • Consider a school's controversial policy involving student passwords
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(CNN Student News) -- September 3, 2009

Quick Guide

Severe Weather - Explore the impact of severe weather taking place around the globe.

Small Change, Big Money - Make cents of how coins might help kick-start a struggling economy.

What's Your Password - Consider a school's controversial policy involving student passwords.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: On our blog at, about 80 percent of you are saying there should be a law against texting while driving. We've got another story we'd love to hear your opinions about. That's coming up later in today's edition of CNN Student News!

First Up: Severe Weather

AZUZ: First up though, rescue workers are searching for victims who might have been trapped by an earthquake that struck Indonesia on Wednesday. The 7.0-magnitude quake killed dozens of people and left hundreds of others injured. This is the same part of the world where a massive quake claimed more than 200,000 lives back in 2004.

In California, the Station Fire has driven thousands of residents out of their homes. Imagine a football field. Now imagine 140,000 of them! That is how big this blaze is. Fire officials said it was about 22% contained yesterday afternoon. There is a forecast for thunderstorms, which you might expect to be good news. But experts say that lightning could actually cause even more fires.

And Hurricane Jimena has hit land. The eye of the storm slammed into Mexico's Baja Peninsula Wednesday. Jimena weakened to a Category 1 storm before it made landfall. It had been a Category 4 the previous day. Authorities say that as the hurricane moves up the peninsula, it could cause dangerous flooding along the coast line.

Swine Flu

AZUZ: Meanwhile, many waiting rooms across the U.S. are filling up with people concerned they might have the H1N1 virus, or swine flu. But according to some medical experts, you don't necessarily need to head to the hospital unless you're experiencing certain symptoms. If you're having difficulty breathing. If you're dehydrated; if you're vomiting and can't keep fluids down. Or if your energy level doesn't increase in between fevers. Doctor Sanjay Gupta did a full report on this issue. You can check it out at

I.D. Me

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a body of water joined to the Atlantic Ocean. My deepest point is about 17,000 feet below sea level. I'm surrounded by Cuba, Mexico and the United States. I'm the Gulf of Mexico, and I'm home to large supplies of petroleum and natural gas.

Oil Deposit Discovery

AZUZ: Those supplies make up a big part of America's oil needs, and companies have been drilling in the Gulf for them since the 1940s. Now, one oil giant says it's discovered one of the deepest oil deposits ever. British Petroleum, or BP, is the largest oil and gas producer in the Gulf of Mexico. That company puts out 400,000 barrels per day. This new well that it drilled is about 35,000 feet deep. It's actually BP's second big discovery in the same area of the Gulf. The company says it will have to do some more research to figure out just how valuable the well is.

Small Change, Big Money

AZUZ: Some financial experts think there's value not just in how you spend your money, but in what money you're spending. They believe change can help kick-start a struggling economy. We're talking about the kind you find between your couch cushions. Andrew Stevens makes cents of the issue with International Business Editor Kevin Voigt.


ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Kevin, just explain how does small change kick-start a big economy in times of a recession?

KEVIN VOIGT, CNN.COM INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS EDITOR: Well, if you think about an economy like the U.S., the biggest in the world. According to estimates, there's $10 billion worth of spare change just lying around; it's not in circulation. A lot of people are interested in capitalizing on that. There is however, evidence that people in times of recession around the world use change more. They're more free with their change.

STEVENS: They'll spend lower denominations.

VOIGT: Exactly, exactly.

STEVENS: Why is that?

VOIGT: I don't know. I mean, let's think of it this way: If I, here we go, I got a 100 bucks and five twenties. Which would you rather have, do you reckon?

STEVENS: I'd probably rather have the $100.

VOIGT: True, but you'll spend this faster, research shows.

STEVENS: And that's a fact?

VOIGT: That's a fact. Yeah, researchers have found both in the U.S. and also in China. They did a study with housewives in China and gave them a week's worth of salary in large notes and small notes. They spent the small notes faster.

STEVENS: Now, is it the businesses other than retailers who get an advantage here as well?

VOIGT: Yeah, there's one business in particular, a business called Coinstar in the United Sates, which has one of the best performing stocks in the U.S. this year. It's up 70%.

STEVENS: What do they do?

VOIGT: They basically take change, they do a number of businesses, but their core business is they take big cans of change and they change it into dollars or into debits to spend in the store.

STEVENS: Which gets it back out into circulation.

VOIGT: Exactly.



JONES: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these social networking sites launched first? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Friendster, B) MySpace, C) Facebook or D) Twitter? Of these sites, Friendster was the first on the scene; it launched in 2002. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

What's Your Password

AZUZ: Something all those sites have in common? They require a password. Most folks, like you and me, tend to keep those private. But a new policy at a school in South Carolina could force students to give up their passwords based on what they might be doing off campus. Fraendy Clervaud of affiliate WJBF in North Augusta downloads the details.


FRAENDY CLERVAUD, WJBF NEWS CHANNEL 6 REPORTER: Doctor Edward Martin, Jr. is the principal at Victory Christian School in North Augusta. He says all students are required to follow their Biblical curriculum.

DR. EDWARD MARTIN, JR, PRINCIPAL, VICTORY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL: We don't expect perfection, we expect compliance.

CLERVAUD: It's compliance to a new school policy that's turning some heads. If an administrator suspects a student of unruly behavior, that student could be required to give school leaders their password and username to their Facebook or MySpace account.

MARTIN: Several years ago, we had a student with, I guess MySpace, and he was bragging about the alcohol he drank on the weekends. He was telling everybody that he went to our school.

CLERVAUD: Dr. Martin says this policy is in place to protect the sanctity of the school, and it's not an invasion of privacy.

MARTIN: We are looking for families that agree with this philosophy, and if they don't, that's fine. There's plenty of schools they can choose to go to.

CLERVAUD: Attorney Robert Mullins disagrees.

ROBERT MULLINS, ATTORNEY: It's basically an invasion of privacy, and if they were doing the conduct at school, on a school computer, that would be one thing. But if they are doing it at home on a home computer, that's a totally different thing.

DEBORAH RYUFUKU, PARENT: If the student insists on using Facebook or MySpace at school, which I think should not ever occur, then I think the school does have the right to monitor it.

TIFFANY DUKES, PARENT: On the other hand, I agree with the school, I mean if it's a Christian-based school, they don't want anything in their school that isn't appropriate.

CLERVAUD: And Martin claims to have backing. He says the school is following the advice of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools.



AZUZ: Yes, this is the story we mentioned at the start of the show. We know you're gonna have opinions on this one, and we want to hear them. Head to our blog at and weigh in with your opinion, and only your first names.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, we're heading to the drag strip! But it's not just muscle cars tearing up the track. Electric racers are making some noise... or not. Poppy Harlow is off to the races.


TOM JAMISON, TESLA OWNER: People love their gas cars. All of the noise and the smoke and the flames and everything, people love that stuff. So, they're not going to go away.

VOICE OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE OVER LOUDSPEAKER: Right now, I need the Warrior Pontiacs to lane one, please. Warrior Pontiacs to lane number one.

JAMISON: I think electrics are here to stay as well.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Instead of putting gas in here, you put a plug in.


HARLOW: And that used to be the gas tank.

COVER: That used to be the gas tank.

HARLOW: What got you hooked on electric cars?

COVER: The fact that my kids will have to inherit the world we live in, and I wanted to make it a better place for them. We needed a change. This is the brains, and this is the brawn.

HARLOW: We think of Porsche, and we think expensive. All in, what'd you buy the car for, and how much money did you put into it?

COVER: I paid $2,500 for the car. I put less than $10,000 into the project all together.

HARLOW: Less than $10,000?

COVER: Less than $10,000.

HARLOW: But then there are some pretty impressive new electric cars made by Tesla. The pickup in this thing is amazing. They're very expensive, about $100,000.

JAMISON: Nobody came out and said, "Let's do a really high end sports car and make it electric" before the Tesla guys.

HARLOW: And who thought, even a few years ago, you would be drag racing here in the middle of Maryland in an electric car? We're used to these kind of drag racers right over here. What's about to happen is two electric cars are going to drag race against one another right here. The difference between them and all of the other cars here, it's absolutely silent. Take a look. I'm not kidding when I say you can even hear crickets right now.




AZUZ: As quiet as crickets, as slow as molasses, or at least that's what it looks like to me. We'll meet you back at the starting gate tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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