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CNN Student News Transcript: October 19, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Follow a massive assault in Pakistan involving tens of thousands of troops
  • Keep an eye on a major hurricane swirling in the eastern Pacific Ocean
  • Marvel at the magnitude of what will be the tallest building in the world
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(CNN Student News) -- October 19, 2009

Quick Guide

Pakistan Offensive - Follow a massive assault in Pakistan involving tens of thousands of troops.

Hurricane Rick - Keep an eye on a major hurricane swirling in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

World's Tallest Building - Marvel at the magnitude of what will be the tallest building in the world.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi. Hope you had a great weekend. We're ready to get started with a new week of commercial-free CNN Student News. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Pakistan Offensive

AZUZ: A peace deal with the Taliban? Not an option. Those are the words of a Pakistani military official as the country launches this massive operation against the militant group. This is not the first time Pakistan has tried this kind of large assault, but that same official says this is the most important because it's aimed at what he says is the Taliban's main area of power in Pakistan. Reza Sayah has more on the assault and its impact.


REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, ISLAMABAD: Showdown in Pakistan: 28,000 troops move into South Waziristan to take on the Taliban on their turf. Soldiers now locking horns with Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud and up to 15,000 of the region's most hardened Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.

PERVEZ HOODBHOY, PAKISTAN DEFENSE ANALYST: At this point, I don't believe that the Pakistani state has a choice.

SAYAH: Defense analyst Pervez Hoodbhoy and military officials call South Waziristan "the headquarters of the Taliban and al Qaeda," a safe haven where they are free to train and plan deadly suicide and guerilla attacks.

HOODBHOY: Waziristan is very important in the assertion of Pakistan's sovereignty. Furthermore, this is where the Taliban have their nerve centers.

SAUYH: Hoodbhoy says the Taliban know the severe and unforgiving terrain here well and will use it to their advantage. The much anticipated ground offense follows a recent wave of militant attacks in Pakistan that killed more than 150 security personnel and civilians. In several brazen assaults, armed militants humiliated security forces by penetrating the most sensitive police and military compounds.

HOODBHOY: What we have seen is that suicide bombings have spread into all our cities. We have seen the extremists become stronger and stronger day after day. And that nerve center lies in Waziristan. We have to go for it now.

SAYAH: With troops moving in, tens of thousands of local residents are packing up and moving out. For weeks, they have seen Pakistani jet fighters bomb militant hideouts in preparation for the ground offensive. The U.N. says 80,000 people have already registered for relief aid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE [TRANSLATED]: There's war, and we have to take care of our children. That is why we left the area.

SAYAH: Washington will watch the battle closely. The Obama administration says insurgent attacks in Afghanistan are often planned and launched from South Waziristan. They've long pressured Pakistan to get tough on militants here. Three times the Pakistani army has launched military offensives in South Waziristan. All three times, they failed. The Pakistani army now with a fourth opportunity, one it can ill afford to lose.


Troops in Iraq

AZUZ: Okay, we're heading to Iraq now, which is where 3,500 U.S. troops won't be going. They were scheduled to deploy to the Middle Eastern nation in January and to replace a National Guard unit that's serving there right now. But the military says the troops aren't going to Iraq and the National Guard unit is still on schedule to return home. It's all part of the U.S. plan to gradually decrease the number of American forces in Iraq.

U.S. combat troops are scheduled to be out of the country by next August. And all American forces are expected to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. That schedule is based on the ability of Iraq's security forces to take control of the country. But it could be affected by ongoing violence. The latest example: Four Iraqi soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb over the weekend. However, Chris Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, says the plan for American forces is still on track.

CHRIS HILL, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: As for our schedule of troop withdrawal, we've been pretty clear about when the troops would be withdrawn. We've been working very hard with Iraqi security forces. So, our plan is to draw down the troops as we've said we're gonna do.

Hurricane Rick

AZUZ: And the National Weather Service says people in southwest Mexico and Baja, California -- which is actually part of Mexico -- should keep an eye on Hurricane Rick. Yesterday, this storm reached category five status with top winds around 180 miles per hour. That made Rick the second strongest hurricane in the eastern Pacific Ocean in more than 10 years. Sunday morning, the storm was about 500 miles south of Cabo san Lucas, Mexico. Forecasters expect it to move north and get closer to the Baja Peninsula later this week, although they do predict it's going to lose strength between now and then.


AZUZ: From the Mexican coast to the Middle East, spots around the world to cities in the U.S., you can always pinpoint locations in the news using our downloadable maps. These geographic guides are free and they help you find out where headlines are happening, and you can find the free resources every day at your favorite web site,


NINETTE SOSA, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! In what country would you find Dubai? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it in: A) Saudi Arabia, B) Yemen, C) Bahrain or D) United Arab Emirates? You've got three seconds -- GO! Dubai is one of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

World's Tallest Building

AZUZ: The Sears Tower. Taipei 101. The Petronas Towers. All of these are some of the tallest buildings in the world. But there's a new one in Dubai has em 'all beat. Imagine running a half mile. Now imagine going that distance straight up. Stan Grant looks at the company and the country that are behind a towering accomplishment.


NEIL ARMSTRONG, NASA ASTRONAUT: That's one small step for man...

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: The year, 1969. Now, 40 years later, here on Earth in a city in the Middle East, man is again reaching for the stars.

KYE HO KIM, SR. VICE PRESIDENT, SAMSUNG CONSTRUCTION: This is kind of a project like the first exploration to the moon, ok? Nobody can challenge it.

GRANT: The Burj Dubai translates in English as Dubai Tower, and it certainly towers over what is already a massive Dubai skyline. Kye Ho Kim is senior vice president with Samsung Construction, a division of the giant, Korean multi-national company that is rewriting construction records with this building.

KIM: It's really very scary.

GRANT: Why? You can see down?

KIM: Yeah! Just the bottom, we can see right through the bottom.

GRANT: Oh my goodness! The whole way to the ground?

KIM: Oh, yeah!

GRANT: What a list of firsts: When completed and opened, it will be the tallest building in the world at more than 800 meters; that's about half a mile high. It will be the building with the greatest number of floors, the world's highest and fastest elevator. When finished later this year, after five years of construction, the cost will top out at more than $4 billion. And on it goes.

KIM: They have 1,200 units of residences and hotel rooms. Think about just one building, one single building. We have one town.

GRANT: It's a source of pride for a company whose success is a symbol of Korea's development. A country once devastated by war and still divided between North and South, it has rebuilt itself, emerging as a modern capitalist democracy and launching global companies just like Samsung.

KIM: I think Korean engineers are very diligent, I think the most diligent people in the world.

GRANT: You're very proud!

KIM: I'm very proud.

GRANT: Proud of this building, proud of Korea?

KIM: Yeah, yeah.

GRANT: Well, Dubai is all about firsts; it's all about what is the biggest and what is the most impressive. I'm just leaving Dubai Mall now; that is the biggest shopping mall in the world. And if you walk down here and take a look behind me, here is the biggest building in the world, or it will be when it's open. Now, if you speak to the people who are constructing it, this is not just a building, it is a symbol: a symbol of Korea and what Korea's been able to achieve and indeed, a symbol for all humanity.


Before We Go

AZUZ: That thing is huge. Now, before we go, one of life's hugest mysteries: Who let the dogs out? Apparently everyone, based on this pooch parade in Ohio. The canine costumes included cops, so naturally, you had some crooks, as well. Dressing a bulldog up as a bull seems like the natural choice. Although this jester doesn't seem too amused. Some pups wore top hats and tail while others played it cool. And this little guy is just bee-yond cute.



AZUZ: Dressed up dogs, always a pup-ular choice for a Before We Go segment. It's time to paws for now. But CNN Student News returns tomorrow. So we look forward to seeing you then. I'm Carl Azuz.

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