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CNN Student News Transcript: October 1, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Understand how seismic events, like the Samoan quake, can spawn tsunamis
  • Hear the International Atomic Energy Agency's stance on Iran's nuclear program
  • Consider the potential pros and cons of a plan to extend the U.S. school day
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(CNN Student News) -- October 1, 2009

Quick Guide

Samoa Earthquake - Understand how seismic events, like the Samoan quake, can spawn tsunamis.

Iran's Inspections - Hear the International Atomic Energy Agency's stance on Iran's nuclear program.

Longer School Day - Consider the potential pros and cons of a plan to extend the U.S. school day.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Kicking off a new month of commercial-free news, I'm Carl Azuz and this is CNN Student News! Glad to have you with us.

First Up: Indonesian Earthquake

AZUZ: We begin in Indonesia, where officials are working to determine the full impact of a major earthquake. The difficulty is that the tremor, which struck around 5 p.m. local time yesterday, caused widespread power and phone outages. Initial reports did indicate that the quake killed at least 75 people. Officials believe hundreds more may be injured and thousands may be trapped. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.6; that's what classifies it as a "major" quake. It struck about 33 miles from the capital city of west Sumatra. Scientists said they couldn't speculate on whether it was connected to another deadly quake that struck in the Pacific the day before.

Samoa Earthquake

AZUZ: That deadly tremor took place in the Samoan Islands. Officials say it claimed more than a hundred lives and flattened entire villages. President Obama has declared the situation a major disaster to help speed up aid efforts. Some of the damage was caused by three tsunamis created by the quake. Chad Myers explains how that happens.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: What happens is that the earth moves under the water, and when the earth moves, you start to push up or push down that part of the earth, eventually there's going to be a wave get caused by that movement of the earth. There's where it was. There's American Samoa right there. It's kind of an ugly mess. Here's how it happens: Literally, there are two plates -- well, a number of plates -- but there are two plates that really were affected here in parts of American Samoa yesterday. Gonna rewind you all the way back here, and I'm gonna play it for you, and here it goes. One plate, the subduction plate, one plate on top begins to get crunched, and then kind of separated, and then all of a sudden, it's that energy that is released all at one time. And it's like the inverse of throwing a stone in a pond, but you get the same waves coming out of the middle.

Downloadable Maps

Fast Facts

BRENDAN GAGE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, was created in 1957. Its mission is to push for safe and secure nuclear technologies. Part of the way it does that is by setting standards for nuclear safety and by inspecting nuclear facilities to make sure they're being used for peaceful purposes only. Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei leads the IAEA, and in 2005, the agency won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Iran's Inspections

AZUZ: Doctor ElBaradei is weighing in on Iran's controversial nuclear program. He says the country doesn't appear to be making nuclear weapons, but it did break the law by not telling the IAEA about its newest nuclear facility before the thing was built. This all comes before today's scheduled meeting where several countries, including Iran, are discussing the program. Reza Sayah has the latest.


REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, ISLAMABAD: Mohamed ElBaradei's comments about Iran's controversial nuclear program much more tempered and even-handed than what we've heard coming out of Washington and Tehran these days. The head of U.N.'s nuclear watchdog coming out and saying two significant things. First off, Mr. ElBaradei saying that indeed Iran did break the law when it did not disclose this uranium enrichment facility earlier. Mr. ElBaradei saying Iran should have disclosed it during the planning stages. But he also added that the IAEA has yet to find any evidence that indeed Iran is going after nuclear bombs. So, he basically gave both sides in this nuclear debate something to work with going into Thursday's talks in Geneva. Here's what Mr. ElBaradei had to say in an exclusive interview with our sister station, CNN-IBN.

DIRECTOR GENERAL MOHAMED ELBARADEI, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: I don't think, based on what we see, that Iran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program. Whether they have done some weaponization studies as was claimed by the U.S. and others, this is one of those issues that is still outstanding. But I haven't seen any credible evidence to suggest that Iran is having an ongoing nuclear weapon program today. I hope that they are not having one.

SAYAH: That was Mr. ElBaradei, saying he hopes Iran is not going after nuclear bombs. But it is the position of Washington and European leaders that they can no longer afford to hope. They need to be certain because they say Iran's leaders have lost credibility when it comes to the nuclear issue, and the only way they can be certain is if Iran curbs uranium enrichment and grants access to all its facilities throughout the country, whether they've been declared or not. Look for that to be a focal point in these landmark negotiations in Geneva on Thursday. Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.



MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Renker's geography classes at Cresthill Middle School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado! Who is the current U.S. secretary of education? Is it: A) Margaret Spellings, B) Arne Duncan, C) Kathleen Sebelius or D) Rod Paige? You've got three seconds -- GO! Education Secretary Arne Duncan is responsible for overseeing the government's education programs and policies. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Longer School Day

AZUZ: The Education Department oversees those policies, but most decisions are actually made by state and local officials. That's why Secretary Duncan is going around the country trying to convince those officials to get behind a plan that President Obama is pushing, which would change how long you guys spend in school. Alina Cho looks at the potential pros and cons.


STEVE GALLAGHER, PARENT: So, we get an extra day!

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's 3:00 in the afternoon, and Steve Gallagher has just picked up his 10-year-old daughter Sammy from school, right in the middle of the work day. A longer school day for Sammy, what President Obama wants, means a more convenient day for dad.

STEVE GALLAGHER: It kind of works into our personal schedule. For example, I can then have the ability to pick my daughter up after school, as opposed to cutting my work day short.

CHO: The idea is gaining steam. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is touring the country with unconventional allies -- the Reverend Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich -- encouraging local districts and states to embrace the idea of longer school days and a longer school year, saying the current system is outdated, a century old, when kids needed summers off to help on the farm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. This is the right word.

CHO: Duncan says students who thrive are in class longer.

ARNE DUNCAN, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Guess what? They're in school nine hours a day, they're in school on the weekends, and they're in school over the summer, and, you know, this is not a new idea.

CHO: American students have one of the shortest school years in the world: 180 days, versus 195 for most European nations and 200 for East Asian countries. And U.S. students spend fewer hours a day in the classroom; 35 hours a week. Swedish students are in class 60 hours a week. The nation's largest teacher's union says more seat time is good, but after school programs at school? Better.

RANDI WEINGARTEN, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: We have them for mediation, we have them for enrichment, we have them for sports, we have them for art, we have them for music. Those are really good things.

SAMMY GALLAGHER, STUDENT: Four times four is 16.

CHO: Steve Gallagher is all for longer school days, but summers off?

CHO: Some might argue longer school day, longer school year, could work to our advantage.

STEVE GALLAGHER: I agree with that, but it's difficult to make that cultural shift within our country on just an edict from the president.

CHO: So, what does 10-year-old Sammy think about the president's proposal?

SAMMY GALLAGHER: Well, longer school days usually means more homework, and for a lot of people homework can be very overwhelming in a way.

CHO: Something else that could be overwhelming: the cost. The National Taxpayers Union, a conservative group, says yeah, it all looks good on paper, but there are hidden costs involved, like potentially more money for teachers, higher electricity bills when you keep schools open longer. And who's going to foot the bill? Probably taxpayers. Alina Cho, CNN, New York.



AZUZ: One day you definitely won't be in school: Thanksgiving! So, after you've gobbled up all your turkey, tune in to CNN Heroes! The special program celebrates ordinary people who are working to make the world better. Voting for hero of the year begins tonight after the top 10 heroes of 2009 are announced. You can find more information and our free educator materials "In the Spotlight" section at your favorite Web site,!

Before We Go

AZUZ: Finally, how can a car wash get away with not guaranteeing a clean car? When the washer weighs a couple tons! It's all part of a new exhibit at a zoo in Oregon. Sure, he does a good job with the water, but this has to be the world's worst detailing job. Come on! The sponge isn't even touching the car! The beastly buffers are thorough in their jobs. They hose down the entire car...



AZUZ: ...From hood to trunk. That was so bad, we should probably just pachyderm it in. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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