(CNN Student News) -- February 25, 2011
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NASA ANNOUNCER: Two....one...booster ignition...and the final liftoff of Discovery.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Of course, we will have more on that for you in today's show, but we are getting off the ground in northern Africa. My name is Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now!
AZUZ: There are roughly 6,000 Americans in Libya, and the U.S. government is trying to get them out. A ferry that was chartered to take hundreds of U.S. citizens from Libya to Malta was held up for a while yesterday. U.S. officials said everyone onboard was safe. They said the delay was because of the weather.
Meanwhile, Libya's leader, Moammar Gadhafi, is blaming the violence in his country on young people. He says they're taking some sort of pills and being manipulated by the al Qaeda terrorist group. But during a speech earlier this week, President Obama said what's going on in that part of the world has nothing to do with outside influences.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So let me be clear. The change that is taking place across the region is being driven by the people of the region. This change doesn't represent the work of the United States or any foreign power. It represents the aspirations of people who are seeking a better life.
AZUZ: Looking around that region, starting next door to Libya in Algeria. The country has lifted a 19-year-old state of emergency, and what that means is that people there have greater freedom of speech and assembly now. Moving south to Cameroon, where protesters are demanding that the country's president step down. He's been in power for nearly 30 years and is running for re-election this year. Finally, Yemen, where eight lawmakers resigned to protest violence against people who are demonstrating against the government. One of the lawmakers said, "I resigned because there's been no respect by the government for human rights."
Is This Legit?
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The space shuttle Discovery is named after sailing ships. This one's true! The shuttle is named after two ships that explored the world.
AZUZ: The space shuttle Discovery has made more trips into space than any other craft. All together, the shuttle's spent almost a full year in orbit around the Earth. Yesterday, Discovery set out on its 39th and last mission, delivering equipment to the international space station. This was Discovery's first launch, back in 1984. And these launches aren't cheap. NASA estimates that every time a shuttle takes off, it costs nearly half a billion dollars. After Discovery's current mission, there are just two launches left for the space shuttle program.
AZUZ: We've been reporting on this controversial budget bill in Wisconsin. You can check our transcript archives for details on that. Now, it was scheduled to come up for a vote yesterday, but only in the State House of Representatives. Things are not moving forward in the Wisconsin Senate. And that's because Democratic senators have left the state in an effort to try to block any vote on the bill. You can get the latest details on this situation at CNN.com.
AZUZ: Our latest Teachers' Lounge blog asks for your opinions about a controversial budget decision in Detroit. The city's planning to close half of its public schools. And teachers, we want to hear your thoughts on this. Enter the Teachers' Lounge from our home page: CNNStudentNews.com!
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Bozic's world geography class at Cypress Creek High School in Houston, Texas! Willie O'Ree was the first African-American to play in what sports league? Was it the: A) MLB, B) NBA, C) NFL or D) NHL? You've got three seconds -- GO! Willie O'Ree made his debut in the National Hockey League in 1958. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Willie O'Ree paved the way for other African-Americans to hit the NHL ice. As we continue our commemoration of Black History Month, we're taking a look at the diversity on the Atlanta Thrashers' roster. Richelle Carey sat down with the team's four African-Americans to talk about life as a minority pro hockey player.
RICHELLE CAREY, HLN ANCHOR: I want each one of you to tell me what you like about hockey. Sell me on hockey! Sell me!
EVANDER KANE, THRASHERS LEFT WINGER: Hockey is the fastest, most physical sport there is.
JOHNNY ODUYA, THRASHERS DEFENSEMAN: The teamwork, too. I would say a total package sport.
ANTHONY STEWART, THRASHERS RIGHT WINGER: I just like skating fast, ever since I was three.
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN, THRASHERS DEFENSEMAN: I guess it's just something about being on the ice that I enjoy. It's just me being out there, having fun and enjoying the people around me.
CAREY: What's the biggest misconception or false assumption that people make about you?
BYFUGLIEN: This guy can't stand on skates.
ODUYA: Maybe in Atlanta, you tell people that you're a hockey player and they don't believe you.
CAREY: What do you think?
ODUYA: I don't know. Maybe basketball or baseball, I have no idea.
CAREY: Who here knew that they were going to be a professional hockey player? Anybody here know that?
STEWART: I knew probably when I was in grade one. We had an assignment to say what you wanted to be when you grew up. And I said, "Hockey player," and she said, "Pick something else." And I said, "No, I'm going to be a hockey player," and I stuck with it.
CAREY: Did anybody try to steer you to something different, because you don't look out on the ice that often and see people of color? Did someone say this isn't the right fit for you?
KANE: No, I think, honestly, it was almost the opposite. My dad really instilled that drive in me to battle through that kind of stuff, battle through adversity, and that's what made me so successful.
CAREY: Anybody else feel that they were steered in a different direction for racial reasons at all?
STEWART: I grew up sort of in an urban neighborhood and, you know, a lot of my friends are playing basketball and sports like that. I'd go play a little bit of basketball, but after an hour I'd get bored of it, so I'd say, "I have to go play hockey now." And they would go, "Uh, naw, you're not going to make it in hockey, so you might as well play basketball" or something like that. But I had some support from my parents. That helped me a lot. All my close friends to date were minor hockey players, and their support helped get me to where I am today.
CAREY: We always hear about hockey as, it's an expensive sport for kids who want to play. And often, maybe, that's why minority kids don't get into it. Explain, why is it so expensive?
STEWART: I think when you have to pay $500 for a pair of skates as opposed to a $20 basketball or $50 pair of soccer shoes, it makes a lot more sense to play those sports. But there's a lot of community initiatives right now in the NHL helping urban kids. And with the Hockey Is For Everyone program that's helping not so fortunate kids play, they're making good strides.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Finally today, with the space shuttle program winding down, we're looking back at the 132 missions that have come before. And just for fun, we're gonna do it in 132 seconds. Start the countdown.
[VIDEO PACKAGE OF ALL 132 SHUTTLE LAUNCHES]
AZUZ: Seeing all that video can leave you feeling spacy! Before we launch into the weekend, we thank our fans on Facebook for all of your "likes" at Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews. And we're working on a new video for you, so be on the lookout for that next week. Hope you all have a great weekend. I'm Carl Azuz.