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CNN Student News Transcript: October 7, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Consider the U.S. government's approach to the war in Afghanistan
  • Discover which items ended up on a list of the 10 riskiest foods
  • Find out how a young activist raises awareness about global issues
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(CNN Student News) -- October 7, 2009

Quick Guide

Afghanistan Talks - Consider the U.S. government's approach to the war in Afghanistan.

Risky Foods - Discover which items ended up on a list of the 10 riskiest foods.

Youth Activist - Find out how a young activist raises awareness about global issues.



AYESHA TEJPAR, CNN STUDENT NEWS: On HLN, online, and on iTunes, this is CNN Student News. Sitting in for Carl Azuz, I'm Ayesha Tejpar.

First Up: Afghanistan Talks

TEJPAR: The future of the war in Afghanistan. That was the focus of a meeting yesterday between President Obama and members of Congress. Republican leaders urged the president to act quickly as he considers whether to send more troops to the region. One Democratic Senator said that everyone in the meeting, both Democrats and Republicans, agreed to support whatever decision the president makes. Sandra Endo has more on the government's position on the conflict.


SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: A crystal clear message from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT GATES: We are not leaving Afghanistan

ENDO: And he noted Taliban insurgents are showing their strength.

GATES: Our inability, and the inability, frankly, of our allies to put enough troops into Afghanistan, the Taliban do have the momentum right now.

ENDO: But President Barack Obama is still trying to determine the best course of action in Afghanistan as the U.S. approaches the eight-year anniversary of the invasion. The president met privately with Secretary Gates. Yesterday, the bipartisan meeting with top congressional leaders who would have to sign off on any increases in funding for the troops. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has indicated tens of thousands more troops are needed to battle the Taliban. It's one proposal top cabinet members say the president is still considering.

U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: We are going to come up with the best approach, but the goal remains the same.

ENDO: While the president mulls over strategy with his national security team, U.S. military officials say it's not helpful for that decision-making process to be played out in public.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, U.S. ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF: It's important for the military leadership of the country to provide their well thought out and clear military advice, under which falls the health of the force, directly to the president, and to do it privately.


North Korea Nuclear Talks

TEJPAR: Meanwhile, North Korea says it's willing to rejoin negotiations about its nuclear program. It walked away from talks back in April when the United Nations spoke out against the country's nuclear tests. The shift came after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, seen here on the right, visited North Korea earlier this week. Despite the country's willingness to talk, North Korea said in a recent letter to the U.N. it's moving forward with its nuclear program.

Turkey Protests

TEJPAR: Moving to Turkey, police clashed with protestors yesterday in the capital city of Istanbul. Authorities used tear gas and water cannons to break up the demonstrations. Protestors were smashing windows of shops and banks as they marched through the streets. They were speaking out against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The two organizations are meeting in Istanbul to discuss ways to avoid a repeat of the recent global economic crisis.

Word to the Wise


food-borne (adjective) carried in or contracted by eating a contaminated food, as in a food-borne illness


Risky Foods

TEJPAR: A new study ranks the top ten riskiest foods based on concerns about food-borne illnesses, and you might be surprised about what ended up on the list. It was put together by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen gives us the top ten.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They started off with the top three riskiest foods in terms of number of illnesses that these foods have caused since 1990. Leafy greens topped the list. This group says that leafy greens have caused more than 13,000 cases of food poisoning. Eggs are next at more than 11,000 cases, and then potatoes at 3,600 cases. Rounding out that top ten list are oysters, berries, tomatoes, cheese, ice cream, tuna and sprouts. Now, to put this sort of in a national context, there are 76 million cases of food-borne illness every year in the United States. And those cause 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths.

TEJPAR: As you might imagine, not everyone agrees with the study. Elizabeth Cohen has some reactions and some tips on how to cut down the risks.

COHEN: Let's look at one response that we got from the produce folks. They said, "It's never in consumers' best interest to scare them away from the very foods that we should all be eating more of." And this was interesting from the cheese industry: "The cheese examples in this report mostly concern consumption of raw-milk products, which neither the FDA nor the dairy industry recommends." In other words, what they're saying here is, yes, you can get sick from eating cheese made from unpasteurized milk, but you're not supposed to be doing that anyways.

However, in many cases, there is something you can do to prevent getting food-borne illness, and here's a couple of pointers: First of all, cook poultry, meat and eggs thoroughly. Separate raw and cooked foods. If you use a knife on a piece of raw steak, don't use that knife to eat something like a salad. It sort of stands to reason. Also, wash your hands before and after preparing foods.

H1N1 Vaccine

TEJPAR: And sticking with health issues, the push to prevent the H1N1 virus is underway. The first vaccines against the virus were given to health workers in Tennessee and Indiana this week. How can you avoid H1N1? What happens if you get it? Carl Azuz sat down with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta to talk about it. That interview's coming up later this week. In the meantime, test your H1N1 knowledge with an interactive quiz at


MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Jernigan's 8th grade world affairs class at Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn, Alabama. Which of these agencies is focused on the global protection of children's rights? Is it: A) UNICEF, B) FEMA, C) MSF or D) WTO? You've got three seconds -- GO! The United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, was founded in 1946 to help young people impacted by World War II. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Youth Activist

TEJPAR: UNICEF gets some help in its mission from the agency's goodwill ambassadors. Usually, they're celebrities who can draw people's attention to issues affecting young people. But TJ Holmes introduces us to one activist who's getting attention because of his work and his age.


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: This 12 year old from Toronto is on a mission...

BILAAL RAJAN, UNICEF AMBASSADOR: My goal is to inspire a million people over the next three years to make a difference in the world.

HOLMES: help poor children across the world. Bilaal Rajan has been working on humanitarian causes since he was four. His father says he was inspired to a call of service in 2001, after seeing newspaper photos of bodies buried under rubble following an earthquake in India, his family's home country.

AMAN RAJAN, BILAAL'S FATHER: We said, "OK, well, what would you want to do?" And he was eating a clementine at that time, and he said, "OK, I'm going to sell these." We had a box of clementines in the fridge, and we took those out and we started making a poster, and "Help, please help" and away he went.

HOLMES: In April, he went barefoot for International Volunteer Week to raise awareness of the millions of children living without shoes worldwide.

BILAAL RAJAN: As long as there are problems in the world, whether it be through poverty, through children's rights, the lack of education and really any crisis facing the world, I'd be glad to help.

HOLMES: Raising nearly five million dollars for causes around the world, from children living with AIDS to tsunami victims, he's now UNICEF's youngest ambassador, and says he has traveled to more than 20 countries teaching kids the value of volunteering.

NIGEL FISHER, PRESIDENT, UNICEF CANADA: When they see somebody their own age who's already engaged, already making a difference, I think it really poses a question in a youngster, an 11 year old, a 12 year old, saying, "Wow, I can do something too."

HOLMES: In his book "Making Change: Tips From An Underage Overachiever," Bilaal outlines ways for children to become activists, spreading the message of equality and fairness. Inspired by other activists like Harry Belafonte, Desmond Tutu, and the Aga Khan, a leader of his Muslim faith, and also Mahatma Ghandi, he recently met with another of his heroes, Nelson Mandela.

BILAAL RAJAN: It was a great, great day. Started off with a bang, was able to meet Nelson Mandela, who's an amazing man. We really had a lenghty discussion, about half an hour, about really the world itself, what inspires him, what keeps him going and, really, how I can be a better philanthropist.

HOLMES: Bilaal's belief that young people can become the great leaders of tomorrow pushes him to help others. His goal is to encourage children to find their passion and take action. And although he spends a lot of time traveling the globe and tackling serious issues, he still makes time to just be a kid.

BILAAL RAJAN: I do hang out. I really do all the other things that 12 year olds do. Just the difference between me and others really is and has been is that I take action. As one person, I know I can make a difference. But as a group of people, we can definitely change the world.


Before We Go

TEJPAR: Before we go, football fans can find interesting ways to show their support, but this might be taking it a bit far. Anyone who stopped by this pooch playground in Minnesota on Monday was asked if they were pulling for the Packers or the Vikings in that night's game. And then their pup was dressed accordingly. Luckily, the rover rivalry didn't cause any canine chaos. Some people might think forcing your dog to be a fan is cute.



TEJPAR: For others, it's just unsportsmanlike conduct. Well, if you thought no Carl meant no pun, you were barking up the wrong tree. For CNN Student News, I'm Ayesha Tejpar.

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