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Recovery Efforts in Turkey; Elections in Tunisia

Aired October 25, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I`m Carl Azuz. Today on CNN Student News, we`re talking about elections in Tunisia, the price tag on political uprisings, and a push to fight bullying. But we`re starting with recovery efforts in Turkey.

Thousands of emergency workers are in the nation`s eastern region. They`re trying to find victims of Sunday`s earthquake. As we told you yesterday, the quake that hit Turkey had a magnitude of 7.2. It killed hundreds of people and at least 1,300 others were hurt. Nearly a thousand buildings demolished in this.


AZUZ (voice-over): Rescue workers are trying to make their way through that rubble to find any survivors. They`re using heavy machines, shovels, in some cases they`re even using their bare hands. The military is also part of search and rescue operations.

Medical supplies and food are coming into the region by truck and by plane. The rescue workers and survivors are having to deal with temperatures that are near freezing. That makes the process that much harder.

There are ways for you to get involved here, to be part of the recovery efforts in Turkey. If you go to the Spotlight section on our home page,, and click the "Impact Your World" link, you`ll find information on the relief organizations that are already working in Turkey, and you`ll find information about how you can make a difference for the victims of this natural disaster.


AZUZ: Officials in the North African country of Tunisia are expected to announce final election results today, but no matter what the outcome is of these elections, they`ll still be historic, because this was Tunisia`s first national election since it became an independent country back in 1956.


AZUZ (voice-over): More than 80 percent of the country`s registered voters went to the polls on Sunday -- more than 80 percent, huge turnout. They were casting ballots for political representatives who will write a new constitution and design Tunisia`s new government.

The polling sites, as you can imagine, were packed on Sunday. Many Tunisians waited hours to vote. CNN`s Ivan Watson caught up with one, who explained that the freedom to choose his own leaders was more important than the long lines.

IVAN WATSON, CNN REPORTER: And you waited three hours to cast your ballot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something like three and a half hours, but we didn`t feel it (ph). I mean, it was like five minutes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we were very, very happy to be inside there.


AZUZ: Tunisia`s holding elections because a revolt there threw the long-time ruler out of power. It was the start of what`s called the Arab Spring. And by Arab Spring, we`re talking about this series of uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. The protests and revolts came with a price, a literal one. Leone Lakhani looks at the cost of the Arab Spring and how much it might take to rebuild.


LEONE LAKHANI , CNN REPORTER: The Arab Spring has changed the political landscape in the Middle East, but it`s also come at a heavy economic cost.

LAKHANI (voice-over): The worst affected countries, including Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, have stacked losses of nearly $56 billion in terms of income and extra spending. They`ve also seen a drastic reduction in revenues, because for many of these countries, their economies are at a virtual standstill. Yemen, for instance, has seen its revenues fall sharply, down 77 percent.

Libya has seen revenues drop by 84 percent. Funding for the recovery process for these countries is needed urgently. And in September, the international community, including the G-8, some of the wealthier Arab countries, and institutions, like the World Bank, promised $38 billion in financing for Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan.

LAKHANI: Countless other pledges were made at a G-8 meeting back in May, but despite the promises, much of the money has yet to be delivered. And the IMF says the cost of recovery for those North African economies is more than $160 billion over the next three years -- Leone Lakhani for Marketplace Middle East, Abu Dhabi.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s the word? Someone who officially represents his or her country to another nation. Ambassador -- that`s the word.


AZUZ: Ambassadors usually live in that other nation, but the U.N. Ambassador to Syria isn`t in Syria right now. He`s back in the U.S. because of what American officials have called credible threats against his personal safety. There are plans for him to go back to Syria at some point, no announcement about when that might happen.


AZUZ (voice-over): This is Ambassador Robert Ford with President Obama. Ambassador Ford has been speaking out against Syria`s government for using violence against protesters in the Middle Eastern nation.

Last month, the ambassador himself was attacked by a mob that supported the Syrian government. The U.S. and Syria have a tense relationship right now. And that`s in part because President Obama has called for Syria`s president to leave power.



AZUZ (voice-over): President Obama is visiting Nevada, California and Colorado this week, and he`s mixing presidential business with campaigning. He`ll talking about some of his plans designed to help the economy, like his jobs bill that`s already been rejected by the U.S. Senate. The president will also go to campaign events. Remember, he is running for reelection next year.


AZUZ: And some critics, including some Republican presidential candidates, say the president is focusing more on getting reelected than he is on helping the country`s economy. Nevada and California have high unemployment rates.

So you can understand why the president might be there to talk about the economy. But Nevada and California are also swing states. That means experts think they could be important in next year`s election.


MEGAN GIMSON, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: The kids nowadays, trying to have like the power to stand up to bullies, I don`t feel like it`s been helped like that much. Just because always those kids who don`t feel like they have a voice, you know, who don`t feel like they can like stand up to the bigger bullies or the older people.


AZUZ: That is the reason why National Bullying Prevention Month was created. The goal here is to give victims the power to speak out, and to try to put an end to the issue of bullying. It`s also the same goal of something called "The Kind Campaign." It focuses on a specific kind of bullying. Don Lemon introduces us to the two young women who run this campaign and to their efforts to give bullying victims a voice.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to kill myself because everybody kept me from me (ph).

DON LEMON, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): These bullying stories struck a nerve with the documentary`s creators, Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson, both victims of mean girls in grade school.

LAUREN PARSEKIAN, PRESIDENT/COFOUNDER, THE KIND CAMPAIGN: Actually, in seventh grade, I was bullied pretty badly. And the effect of that left me just so alone and really just questioning myself at the age of 12, 13 years old.

LEMON (voice-over): So after meeting in college and graduating, the friends hit the road, driving cross-country to document the effects of girl-on-girl violence. "The Kind Campaign" was born.

MOLLY THOMPSON, VICE PRESIDENT/COFOUNDER, THE KIND CAMPAIGN: You hear, you know, heartbreaking stories from girls about their experiences and even women recalling experiences from when they were younger or, you know, currently dealing with things in the workplace.

DR. SUSAN MAY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, the kids are growing up feeling as though it`s normal, as though it`s acceptable. If you look at YouTube or Google fights and people are uploading things, and kids at school are saying, "Did you see that one?" And they misperceive being bullying or intimidating as somehow being strong and powerful.

LEMON (voice-over): That`s what Molly and Lauren hope to change. They`re on their third tour so far, more than 300 schools and organizations.

PARSEKIAN: Your current experience in school is not your entire world. There`s so much more ahead of you.

LEMON (voice-over): One mission: not only changing lives, but saving them -- Don Lemon, CNN, Atlanta.



AZUZ (voice-over): Taking you back to, if you go to the Spotlight section on our home page, which we`re scrolling to right here, and you see on the right side of your screen, you can click on the link for "Stop Bullying: Speak Up." This is a program in conjunction the Cartoon Network. And this link to this program will take you to a bunch of resources and videos on the issue of bullying.

Also if you are 13 years old or older, the Spotlight section is where you can send us an iReport. We`re looking for your creative Halloween pumpkin carvings. We`ve gotten a few, including one of yours truly. It`s really classic. You`re going to love it. You have less than a week to go, so get on it. We`re looking forward to your pumpkins.


AZUZ: Before we go, you`d think most people would be careful with an award trophy.


AZUZ (voice-over): But when Will Ferrell won this year`s Mark Twain prize, he dropped the ball and the prize. The award for American humor is a bust of the famous writer. But Ferrell`s butterfingers didn`t make anyone bust out laughing. The funnyman then tried to put a good face on the ad-libbed accident. He promised to take very care of his broken prize. Turns out the whole thing was planned from the beginning.


AZUZ: Ferrell`s real award was safe and in one piece. So, all in all, the prank was a smashing success. And that`s a good thing, too, because if he dropped the real award, I don`t think he could have just laughed that off. We`re going to bust out more headlines for you tomorrow, CNN Student News, we`ll see you then.