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STUDENT NEWS

GOP Nomination Race; US Unemployment; Helping a Wayward Sea Turtle

Aired December 5, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Hey, I`m Carl Azuz and this is CNN Student News. This Monday we`re reporting on a story that spanned the Atlantic Ocean twice. We`re starting, though, with a look at the U.S. economy, specifically a look at the U.S. unemployment rate.

This is something that a lot of people use to measure how the overall economy is doing. On the first Friday of every month, the government announces the current unemployment rate. So that came out this past Friday. The U.S. has been at around 9 percent unemployment for most of this year. In November, that number dropped to 8.6 percent, so that`s good news, right?

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AZUZ (voice-over): Well, experts say it`s more like maybe. Yes, the unemployment rate is the lowest it`s been in nearly three years. And, yes, part of the reason for that is because more Americans got jobs. But another reason the rate decreased is because a lot of people stopped looking for jobs.

And when you do that, you`re not included in the unemployment rate any more. During the financial crisis, 8.8 million jobs were lost. So far, less than a third of those have been recovered.

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AZUZ: Next up, a group of people who are all competing for the same job: Republican presidential nominee. You`ve seen the candidates out on the campaign trail. Now we`re less than a month away from the first contest of the primary season.

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AZUZ (voice-over): It`s in Iowa, it`s on January 3rd, and it`s actually not a primary, it`s a caucus. That`s when groups of people get together and decide whom they want to support.

The "Des Moines Register," a newspaper, took a poll recently, asking which candidate like Republican voters in Iowa would support for the nomination. First place was former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich; second, U.S. Representative Ron Paul; third, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

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AZUZ: Another candidate, businessman Herman Cain got about 8 percent in this poll, but he announced on Saturday he`s suspending his campaign. So Iowa is first on January 3rd, then it`s New Hampshire on January 10th, and South Carolina on the 21st, as the political calendar heats up.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today`s first Shoutout goes to Mr. and Ms. Byklum`s social studies classes at John Adams Middle School in Rochester, Minnesota. Which of these rivers flows through Germany? You know what to do. Is it the Seine, Thames, Volga or Rhine? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The Rhine is the only river on this list that makes its way through Germany. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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AZUZ: The water level in part of the Rhine is at a record low. But that`s not what our next report today is about. It`s about what was found in the river when the water level dropped.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Bombs. Two of them. Plus a fog device that were all leftover from World War II. These things sat under the surface of the river for 65 years, and they might have been old, but they were still very dangerous. So experts had to come out and defuse them. Officials said that has been taken care of, so things are safe now. That means the 45,000 people who had to evacuate can come back home.

The bombs were found in the city of Koblenz. Half the population had to leave because of concerns for their safety. Volunteers helped evacuate hospitals and senior citizens` centers. One local reporter said this kind of thing, believe it or not, is just part of life for some Germans.

HANNAH CLEAVER, JOURNALIST, THELOCAL.DE (voice-over): The people in Germany are generally stoic about it. I mean, the danger is there. It`s been there for ages. And now it`s been discovered, the danger is going to be put aside, and then they will be able to go home. It does happen a lot here. The Koblenz bomb this weekend is an exception, because it`s so big and so many people have had to move.

But it does happen in Germany from time to time. People have to leave for an afternoon for, you know, maybe a morning when a bomb is discovered near their homes. And then it`s generally taken care of, usually without any massive danger, although sometimes things do go wrong and people do get hurt. But, generally, it`s part of life in Germany, you know, even so many years after the end of the war.

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AZUZ: The results are in from the first round of elections in Egypt. Citizens in that country went to the polls last week to cast their votes for members of parliament. This is Egypt`s first election since long-time president Hosni Mubarak was forced out of power. That happened during a political revolution earlier this year.

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AZUZ (voice-over): The Muslim Brotherhood is a group that was active in that revolution, and the group`s political party got the most votes in this round of elections. It got 40 percent. The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt`s oldest and largest Islamic organization.

The strong showing of religious groups was a trend in these elections. Voters cast their ballots for Islamist parties more than they did for secular or non-religious parties. This was the beginning of an election process that has a lot of steps. The voting for president won`t happen until some time next year.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for a Shoutout extra credit. Which of these animals can live the longest? Here we go. Is it the Siberian tiger, sea turtle, kangaroo or Gila monster? Another three seconds on the clock: go.

Sea turtles can live up to 80 years, the longest in this group. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout extra credit.

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AZUZ: And you can cover a lot of ground -- or water -- in 80 years. One sea turtle has already packed a lifetime`s worth of adventure in just a few years. He went for a swim back when he was 1, and turned up 5,000 miles away. The first transatlantic trip was a bit of a workout, but he`s making his way back home in style -- first class style. Ralitsa Vassileva breaks open the travel journal for this roaming reptile.

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RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): They call him Johnny Vasco da Gama at Zoomarine in Portugal, a four-year-old sea turtle that`s already made a lot of travel adventures. Three years ago, the endangered Kemp`s Ridley turtle lost his way from his natural habitat in the Gulf of Mexico and ended up all the way up in the chilly waters around the Netherlands.

He nearly died because of the cold. Rescue workers eventually sent him to Portugal, where he`s been recovering. This week, Johnny finally got his big lift back home, nonstop, Lisbon to Miami. TAP Airlines gave Johnny special seating in the cabin, not quite first class, but definitely a first for the airline.

JOSE ANJOS, V.P., TAP CARGO: We had to take away from the aircraft a full row of chairs, and then find a way to fix the box to the floor.

VASSILEVA (voice-over): Over the nearly nine-hour flight, Johnny`s temperature had to be kept between 22 and 25 degrees C., about 71-77 F.

ELLO VICENTE, MARINE BIOLOGIST: We`re warming the water just to raise the temperature inside the box, without raising the temperature inside of the cabin.

HAYLEY RUTGER (through translator): My first reaction was to think that this was totally crazy, to carry a turtle inside a plane with passengers? But after thinking about it, I figured that it`s a noble act for the preservation of the animal species.

VASSILEVA (voice-over): Kemp ridley turtles are critically endangered species and the rarest of all sea turtles. So the effort to bring him home is worth it for the caretakers. Johnny looks exhausted, unaware he will soon return to the sea. For now, it`s into another tank, this time in Sarasota, Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When it`s determined that Johnny`s ready to go, we`re going to take Johnny down south of here, probably, and give him a nice release into a habitat off of southwest Florida, where he can forage and grow.

VASSILEVA (voice-over): Johnny`s been lost for most of his life. Soon he`ll be found in his natural habitat, back in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico -- Ralitsa Vassileva, CNN, Atlanta.

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AZUZ (voice-over): You might not have done as much as Johnny, but you can always use our downloadable maps to track down some of the locations we visit in our show. These resources can help you expand your geographic genius. They`re totally free. You can find them everyday on our website. That`s cnnstudentnews.com.

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AZUZ: And before we go, we`re bringing you one schoolyard fight.

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AZUZ (voice-over): But no one is going to get hurt, except maybe a world record. It`s the world`s largest marshmallow fight, or at least that`s what the students and teachers at this middle school hope it is. The fast, furious, fluffy faceoff happened last Friday.

Everyone spent 15 minutes getting gooey as they flung 140,000 marshmallows at each other. Certainly proved one thing, trying to set a world record can be a sticky situation. But in winter, it`s a marshmallow world.

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AZUZ: I`m Carl Azuz, and we hope you`ll come back for "s`more" CNN Student News tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your Monday.

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