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CNN Student News Transcript: October 22, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Assess the problems that Afghanistan faces in assembling a runoff election
  • Find out how public settings help germs spread from person to person
  • Examine the rising costs of college and how some students are paying tuition
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(CNN Student News) -- October 22, 2009

Quick Guide

Afghan Runoff Problems - Assess the problems that Afghanistan faces in assembling a runoff election.

H1N1 Response - Find out how public settings help germs spread from person to person.

College Costs - Examine the rising costs of college and how some students are paying tuition.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: On HLN, online, on iTunes. However you're watching us, thanks for checking out CNN Student News. Bringing you today's headlines, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Terror Charge

AZUZ: First up, authorities have charged a man in Massachusetts with planning to provide material support to terrorists overseas. The U.S. attorney for Massachusetts says Tarek Mehanna tried to get training from the Taliban and hoped to attack members of the U.S. government. The official added that those people were never in any danger. The U.S. attorney claims that Mehanna, who you see in this file video, was involved in this conspiracy that lasted for about seven years. If he's convicted on the material support charge, Mehanna could face up to 15 years in prison.

TARP Report

AZUZ: A new report says last year's $700 billion could cost the government more than just money. Neil Barofsky, who oversees the program for the Treasury Department, says it could damage the government's reputation with taxpayers, and there's also a risk of rewarding companies that took big chances. The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was passed following last year's financial crisis. Its goal was to help struggling banks and companies. So far, about 17 percent of the loans that were given out as part of TARP have been repaid.

IAEA Talks

AZUZ: Iran has signed off on an agreement to send some of the uranium it makes to other countries for further enrichment. This was the result of talks between Iran, the U.S., France, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran says part of the reason it accepted the deal was to prove that its nuclear activities are only for peaceful purposes. Other nations have accused the Middle Eastern country of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Afghan Runoff Problems

AZUZ: President Obama says that the U.S. will continue to work with the Afghan government no matter who wins that country's runoff election next month. As we told you about yesterday, the leading candidates from August's election are going to take part in the runoff on November 7th. But as Chris Lawrence explains, there are some potential problems in putting together an election that soon.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Afghanistan is trying to pull off an election on little more than two weeks' official notice. And these are the problems it's facing: logistics, lack of awareness, fraud and fear.

DR. ABDULLAH ABDULLAH, AFGHANISTAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people of Afghanistan were threatened. They lost their fingers in the last round of elections.

LAWRENCE: Ink-stained fingers were proof of voting, which made them targets of the Taliban. But a U.S. defense official says there are more American and Afghan troops in place now than in August. And a U.N. official says they're reducing the number of polling stations so security teams won't be spread so thin. On Thursday, the U.N. is launching TV and radio spots, trying to make voters aware there is another election. It's not a given that people know; less than 30% of Afghans can read.

Downloadable Maps

A high turnout and a safe election. Those are fine goals for politicians and officials to have. But what about the Afghan people, the ones who may be risking their lives to come out again to cast their vote? We found mixed opinions in this crowded Kabul market.

MAN ON THE STREET: We want to build up our country. So despite the problems, I will go to vote in the next election.

LAWRENCE: Officials threw out more than a million votes because of suspected fraud. And now, a European Union official says there will be far fewer election monitors for the runoff because the EU can't deploy them all on such short notice.

LAWRENCE: Do you trust that your vote will be counted fairly?

HABIB HAKIM, KABUL RESIDENT: Uhhh, I don't think so.

LAWRENCE: And Habib Hakim can't see how President Karzai or his challenger will improve security.

HAKIM: And I'm not sure Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will be able to stop the insurgency in Afghanistan, or at least to limit the level of insurgency in Afghanistan.

LAWRENCE: At the least, they want to limit the reach of that insurgency on election day. Chris Lawrence, CNN, Kabul.



RICK VINCENT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Who is the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Kathleen Sebelius, B) Thomas Vilsack, C) Janet Napolitano or D) Timothy Geithner? You've got three seconds -- GO! Kathleen Sebelius heads up the Health and Human Services Department, which is responsible for protecting Americans' health. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

H1N1 Response

AZUZ: And that puts Secretary Sebelius in charge of the U.S. response to H1N1. Sebelius, who was recently treated for skin cancer above her eye, talked to a Senate committee yesterday about some of the differences between H1N1 and the seasonal flu.

U.S. SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: Half the hospitalizations for flu-like illness are for people under the age of 25; very different picture than seasonal flu. Nearly 90 percent of the deaths from H1N1 are among people under 65. Again, a very different picture than seasonal flu, where 90% of the deaths year in and year out are for Americans over the age of 65.

AZUZ: The World Health Organization has classified H1N1 as a pandemic because of how far this thing has spread around the world. CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen shows us how germs like the H1N1 virus can transfer from person to person.


ELIZABETH COHEN, SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's pretend that you and I are going to get on the subway. We stand in line at this kiosk, and let's say I'm sick. I go like this, I touch this, you're right behind me, now it's your turn.

DR. RHONDA MEDOWS, GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY HEALTH: And I'm not so happy with you right now. What happens is, and commonly it happens every single day, is that people who have different illnesses, different symptoms, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sinus infections, whatever, do the same thing you just did without even thinking about it.

H1N1 virus can live on an inanimate object for 2-8 hours. This is a virus that our bodies have never seen before, so all those people who have touched it, if they have H1N1, they have no immunity and neither do you. And this is where the adventure actually starts

COHEN: So, we are now standing behind a whole bunch of people. If one of them were sick and sneezed, could we get sick?

MEDOWS: Yes, we can.

COHEN: Even at this distance?

MEDOWS: It's less than six feet. So that spray, the air droplet spray, could actually come into your being. You're inhaling, you're breathing respiratory droplets.


No More Fountains

AZUZ: A few moments ago you heard Secretary Sebelius mention it. The H1N1 virus seems to be affecting large numbers of people your age. In order to keep it from spreading, some schools have temporarily shut down, while one Kansas school district is planning to shut down drinking fountains. Students are being urged to bring their own water to class. School officials are even propping doors open to try and keep the handles and the students germ free.

Word to the Wise


tuition (noun) a charge or fee for instruction, specifically at a private school, college or university


College Costs

AZUZ: You know you have to pay tuition when you go to college. But universities get money from alumni and states as well. And when that money decreases, due to a recession, for example, the tuition you pay can increase. For a lot of people, what you can afford is a big part of determining where you're gonna go. And right now, tuition costs are higher than ever.


AZUZ: Higher education is coming with a higher price tag. Unlike housing in America, college is a serious seller's market.

PATRICK CALLAN, NATIONAL CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY & HIGHER EDUCATION: Both the cost and price of higher education have gone up faster than almost anything else in the American economy for 25 years.

AZUZ: So, how much money are we talking? According to a new survey by the College Board, if you're planning to go to a public, four-year university in your own state, you're looking at a 6.5 percent increase to around $7,000 dollars per year just for tuition and fees. Public schools in another state: 6.2 percent increase, or more than $18,500 tuition. Private schools: 4.4 percent increase, more than $26,000 per year, tuition. I keep saying "tuition" because room and board in each of these categories is also going up, making the yearly totals even more expensive.

There is a silver lining, though. About two-thirds of full-time students are getting help in the form of financial aid. And that doesn't have to be paid back. Fine. But what about the third that doesn't get financial aid? Student loans often come into play here, and not surprisingly, borrowing went up five percent for the '08-'09 academic year.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go today, we're talking about video games. They're not just for young people. This bowling tournament is strictly for seniors and it's all about the Wii. About 600 older rollers took to the virtual lanes at this tournament recently in Texas. The goal of these gamers wasn't just to set a world record -- which they did. The event was also designed to encourage seniors to stay fit in order to avoid injuries.



AZUZ: Plus, it looks like everyone had a Wii-ly good time. Aw yeah, that's how we roll. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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