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CNN Student News Transcript: November 24, 2009


(CNN Student News) -- November 24, 2009

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Lincoln University



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: In our last show before we break for Thanksgiving, we are talking about shopping safety, friendly food farmers and a treacherous trek for a turkey. I'm Carl Azuz, and this is CNN Student News!

First Up: Philippines Abduction

AZUZ: First up, an election for regional governor leads to shocking violence in the Philippines. Ismael "Toto" Mangudadatu planned to run for governor of Mindanao, a region in the southern part of the country. He'd been threatened with kidnapping if he filed his nomination papers, so he sent his wife and sisters to do it. He thought women might have better protection. They were part of a group of about 40 people that army officials say was kidnapped by a hundred gunmen who killed at least 21 of them, including Mangudadatu's wife and one of his sisters. The Philippines' government called the attack "a gruesome massacre of civilians." The country's military is working to track down the people who did it.

Home Sales Increase

AZUZ: In the United States, some hopeful signs in the housing market. Sales of existing homes -- homes that were already built, not brand new ones -- jumped more than 10 percent last month. The number is now at its highest point in more than two-and-a-half years. Experts think the increase might be because of a tax credit that's available to first-time home buyers, and some economists have warned that this spike may only be temporary. But the jump in sales is one of the reasons why the stock market did well yesterday. The Dow Jones average closed at its highest level in more than a year.


AZUZ: 18 hours, 27 minutes. That's how long NASA astronauts on a mission to the international space station spent outside of it. The crew wrapped up its third and final space walk yesterday. This one lasted a little less than six hours. The shuttle is scheduled to be back on the ground on Friday, and one of these guys will get to meet his new baby daughter, who was born after his mission took off last week.


MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Allensworth's social studies classes at Concord High School in Concord, North Carolina! In the business world, what color is associated with making a profit? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Red, B) Black, C) Blue or D) Green? You've got three seconds -- GO! When a business is "in the black," it means that it's making a profit. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Black Friday

AZUZ: Okay, the day after Thanksgiving, referred to as Black Friday because it's when retailers expect to start making a profit. If you've ever braved a mall on Black Friday, you know the crowds can be huge. Susan Candiotti looks at what's being done to keep shoppers safe.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The mad dash for bargains can be funny to watch, but last Thanksgiving weekend in New York, it was horrific. A Long Island Wal-Mart security guard was trampled to death in a stampede on Black Friday, arguably the biggest shopping day of the year.

EMMANUEL MOULTRIE, BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPER: People screaming, people coming in the store, passing out, falling out. It was a horrible site.

CANDIOTTI: Emmanuel Moultrie took us back to that Wal-Mart. He says when the doors opened at 5:00 a.m., an hour later than expected, the crowd surged forward, glass shattered and guard Jimmy Demoura was caught in a human steamroller.

MOULTRIE: I mean, you had at least seven to eight people on top of each other. You didn't even see him. And it was on top of him, and they were stuck because they were squished, compacted in there.

CANDIOTTI: Moultrie says he felt like he was swept up in a tidal wave, trapped against a vending machine.

MOULTRIE: I said I will not hit that ground. If I hit that ground, it would have been, I couldn't even get my arms from my side.

CANDIOTTI: Wal-Mart avoided criminal prosecution by agreeing, among other things, to improve crowd control at all New York stores. The giant retailer says it's also voluntarily instituting changes nationwide this week. Wal-Mart declined a CNN interview. Instead, the company provided a pre-taped statement that said sports and entertainment crowd control experts gave them help.

DAPHNE MOORE, SPOKESPERSON, WAL-MART: We're committed to looking for ways to make our stores even safer for our customers and our associates this holiday season.

CANDIOTTI: Changes may include snaking lines outside and inside stores -- similar to airport checkpoints -- and scattering sales items. Some stores will remain open 24 hours starting Thanksgiving Day through the weekend, so when Black Friday sales start at 5:00 a.m., shoppers can already be inside, possibly avoiding chaos. For shoppers up before dawn for door-buster deals at any retailer, this safety advice from police:

JOHN TIMONEY, CHIEF, MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: If you see pushing and shoving, arguing for no valid reason, you know you have a potential problem right there. And if that's the case, I walk to the end of the line, let them all go in.

CANDIOTTI: Emmanuel Moultrie, who received a settlement from Wal-Mart, says he won't be burned again.

MOULTRIE: If you reach to a store and you see that's not, that that behavior's not being demonstrated, you need to leave, fast. Leave fast.

CANDIOTTI: As part of this agreement with prosecutors, Wal-Mart paid nearly $2 million to a victim's fund and a community grant. OSHA cited the retailer for exposing its employees to danger when it should have known better. Wal-Mart says in a statement safety is always a top priority. Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


Word to the Wise


BMI (noun) This stands for body mass index, which is a way of estimating a person's body fat based on height and weight

Course Controversy

AZUZ: At Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, any student with a BMI over 30 has to pass a fitness class in order to graduate. And about 80 seniors only have 1 semester left. To pass, you just have to show up and participate; you don't have to actually lower your BMI. But some students say the policy discriminates against them, and that they came to college to learn, not be lectured about their health. Officials at the private school say they're trying to help students stay healthy and avoid medical problems later in life.

Blog Report

AZUZ: We figured you might wanna talk about this. Our blog at is the place to go! You had a lot to say about another subject there: Should the government consider a tax on sugary drinks? Michael says "sure. It'll help fight obesity and give more money to our government to help the cause." But Chris argues soda, candy and sugary items in general aren't the cause of obesity. "It's the person's lifestyle that causes it." Yevgeniy writes, "It'll help the government because some people will still buy soda with or without the tax, and it'll bring in a lot of money." But Devinne says, "It might bring in money, but the government gets enough from other things, and people don't need to pay even more for soda at a time when money is scarce." John says, "It'd just add more trouble for middle- and low-income families, anger the public, and hurt stores." From our quick poll on that blog: 35 percent of you'd call a national tax helpful. Almost half say it'd be harmful. 17 percent have mixed feelings.

Harvest Giveaway

AZUZ: Well, Thanksgiving is just a couple days away. A lot of families have their own traditions around the holiday, whether it's what they eat or how they celebrate. Out in Colorado, some farmers have started their own tradition of giving, one that's earned the thanks of thousands of local residents. Ana Cabrera of affiliate KMGH fields the details.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Opening the farm up to the community is a beautiful gift to the community.

CHRIS MILLER, FARM OWNER: We were brought up, you know, what goes around comes around.

ANA CABRERA, KMGH REPORTER: If that's the case, Chris Miller has a lot of good coming her way.

MILLER: We got wiped out with hail in the last part of July, so there's not as much stuff left, but people still need food.

CABRERA: And hundreds seized the opportunity to gather fresh food for free: potatoes, carrots, even brussel sprouts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fresh vegetables; we make a lot of soup.

CABRERA: For the second year in a row, the Millers opened their farm, a way to give back to the community in tough times.

MILLER: We asked the people to come out who were really in need of the food.

CABRERA: People like Steve Rivera.

STEVE RIVERA, RECIPIENT: Past couple of years, actually, have been real bad. I've been laid off several times from different jobs.

CABRERA: Rivera brought his family to pluck and pack barrels full of potatoes to take home.

RIVERA: Some of this stuff, you know, is in really good shape.

CABRERA: And not just for themselves.

RIVERA: As big as theses potatoes are, I'm not going to keep that much.

CABRERA: Rivera plans to pass this gift on to others.

RIVERA: I will probably help at least six families that I know of. Whoever needs it, you know, I'll have it there and I'll say if you need it, take it. So, it doesn't go to waste.

CABRERA:From the Millers to the Riveras, it's the spirit of giving, turning soon-to-be empty fields into full bellies.


Cross Country Race

AZUZ: No doubt, it's a great story. But not every tradition is heart-warming. In fact, this one seems down right cold! That is what contestants expect in Iowa's annual Living History Farms Off-Road Race, which kinda seems like a fancy title for a jog through the woods. A lot of the 7,000 people who took part showed up in costume. Because for some reason, wearing silly clothes always helps you run better. First place prize: a frozen turkey! Second through fifth, they just get a chicken.


AZUZ: But it seems like the whole race is for the birds (turkey gobbles). All right, I was going to do that sound myself; my producer nixed it. But either way, it gobbles up all our time for today. We hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving. CNN Student News returns on Monday. We're looking forward to seeing you then. Meantime, thanks for being such a great audience. Take care.