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STUDENT NEWS

U.S. Troops Leave Iraq

Aired December 16, 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: Welcome to CNN Student News where Fridays are awesome, and that is especially true for the students at Boonville (ph) high school in Boonville (ph), Indiana, because someone there correctly answered our social media question of the week.

This is our last show of 2011, and we`re going to do a lot of looking forward to next year. But we are starting with an ending.

More than eight years after it began, the U.S. military mission in Iraq is officially over. During a ceremony yesterday in Baghdad, American troops lowered the flag of command that flew over the Iraqi capital. One American official said that it`s time for Iraq to look forward, and he added, quote, "We owe it to all of the lives that were sacrificed in this war not to fail. Jonathan Mann looks back at the history of this conflict.

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JONATHAN MANN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): What began with shock and awe and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein has now ended quietly with the casing of the colors. Eight years, eight months and 26 days after it began, the U.S. officially ended its mission in Iraq. On Thursday, U.S. troops in Baghdad lowered the American flag for the last time. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta presided over the symbolic ceremony.

U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: You will leave with great pride, lasting pride, secure in knowing that your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people begin a new chapter in history.

MANN (voice-over): More than 4,500 hundred Americans have been killed since the conflict began, while it`s estimated that more than 100,000 Iraqis have died.

JAMES JEFFREY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: We look back at the sacrifices made by so many Americans and so many Iraqis. But we also look forward to an Iraq that is sovereign, secure and self-reliant.

MANN (voice-over): But nearly nine years after the war began, some current and former U.S. military brass questioned if U.S. troops are leaving too soon.

GENERAL MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY (RET): In my judgment, we could have used the next few years training and developing the Iraqi security forces so that those hard-won gains that our soldiers have achieved would be permanent and not speculative.

MANN (voice-over): Of the 5,500 U.S. troops still in Iraq, almost all must leave the country by December 31st -- Jonathan Mann reporting.

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AZUZ: In Washington, lawmakers are trying to reach some compromises. Congress is scheduled to go on its holiday break after today. That means this is the deadline for action on a couple pieces of legislation.

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AZUZ (voice-over): The first is the payroll tax cut we`ve told you about. It`s set to expire at the end of the year. Congress is considering extending the tax cut. If they don`t, it could mean higher taxes for working Americans next year.

The other piece of legislation is a government spending bill. If this doesn`t get passed, there could be a partial government shutdown. On Thursday evening, the White House and leaders from the House and Senate said they were making progress on both of these issues. But you can get the latest developments on what`s happening with them at cnn.com.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to all CNN Student News viewers around the world. Which of these events from 2011 happened first? Was it final space shuttle mission, royal wedding in England, U.S. credit rating downgrade or Tunisia`s long-time leader flees? You`ve got three seconds, go.

After 23 years in power, Tunisia`s president fled his country in January following weeks of political protests. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

And to test your knowledge on more events from 2011, check this out.

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AZUZ: Teachers and students, we have a great way for you to give and get some extra credit. Check it out. It`s our 2011 end-of-year news quiz at cnnstudentnews.com. Now you`ve seen us cover the headlines. We want to see what you`ve learned and this will be interactive or you could do it the hard way. We`ve got questions without answer options. It is available as a PDF, though I wouldn`t recommend it. It`s really tough.

All right. I`m going to go ahead and answer one of the questions here. Which African country split into two on July 9th to form the world`s newest nation? I`m going to say Sudan. And I`m going to be right. Oh, man, what a feeling of awesome. You can get that, too. You`ve got nine more chances. See how well you do at our news quiz, cnnstudentnews.com.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for a Shoutout Extra Credit. What world capital is hosting the next Summer Olympics? You know what to do. Is it Paris, France; London, United Kingdom; Beijing, China; or Moscow, Russia? Another three seconds on the clock: go.

Athletes will head to London for the next Summer Olympics. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout Extra Credit.

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AZUZ: Those Summer Games happen next year. They`re one of the things we have marked on our calendar for 2012. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ (voice-over): The Olympics will last from July 27th through August 12th, and the torch relay will start in the middle of May. Eight thousand people are expected to carry the Olympic flame as it travels 8,000 miles across Great Britain to the Olympic stadium.

Another big event happening in 2012, U.S. presidential election. Primary season starts with Iowa caucuses on January 3rd. That`s when we come back on the air. Primaries and caucuses will help determine the Republican nominee, who will face off against President Obama, the likely Democratic nominee, in the general election.

The primary calendar will have an extra day in it, because 2012 is a leap year. It`s not just on our calendars, it changes our calendars. We add the extra day so that the calendar year lines up with the solar year. This idea goes back to 1582, when Pope Gregory made February 29th the official date to add during leap years.

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AZUZ: . although it creates an interesting issue for people who are born on February 29th when there`s not a leap year.

Well, there`s one date next year that`s getting a lot of focus, but for something many people hope doesn`t happen -- the end of the world. You probably heard about this. The Mayan calendar supposedly predicts that for December 21st, 2012, the world could end. But a lot of experts have shot that theory down.

Well, those are some of the things that have marked our calendar for the new year, but we asked you to send us iReports and share what you`re looking forward to in 2012. The response was great. Thanks to everybody who sent something in. Check out what y`all said.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Stuart`s (ph) first period class at Salisbury High School is looking forward to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Olympics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meeting Carl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Summer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soccer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Getting my license.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Getting my state red (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Race to the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Spring break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tennis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The end of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basketball.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finding my way out of this locker.

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DARATHAT (PH): Hello, my name is Darathat (ph), and I`m a senior at High School of Engineering and Science (ph) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (ph). And what I`m looking forward to in the year 2012 is my senior graduation, as well prom and training for the Marines (ph).

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MR. CONNOLLY (PH), HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY TEACHER: Hello, my name is Mr. Connolly (ph), and this is my second year teaching 11th grade U.S. history at Kenwood (ph) High School in Baltimore, Maryland.

In 2012, I`m looking forward to seeing my first students as a teacher graduate from high school.

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KENDALL (PH): Oh, hello there. My name is Kendall (ph). What I`m looking forward to in 2012 is getting my braces off.

TREVOR (PH): Hi, my name`s Trevor (ph), and this is what I`m looking forward in 2012. I`m looking forward to high school and more CNN News.

EMILY (PH): I`m Emily (ph), and I`m looking forward to being in more triathlons and running a half marathon.

MAX (PH): My name is Max (ph), and in 2012, I am looking forward to watching more Carl Azuz.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: . love.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: . Carl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) in 2012.

GROUP: Whoo! Bye.

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AZUZ: Well, if you didn`t get a chance to send us an iReport, you can still post on our blog about what you`re looking forward to in 2012.

Before we go, it`s time to take out the trash.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Well, maybe we should let this guy finish whatever he`s doing first. This black bear climbed on top of a garbage truck in Vancouver this week. Officials think he was Dumpster-diving for food when the Dumpster -- bear and all -- got turned over into the garbage truck. Authorities were able to tranquilize him and take him away.

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AZUZ: But after the ordeal, he might have been a little "em-bear- assed," and that`s just because his friends probably thought it was kind of trashy. It would be a waste of your time to try to get an interview. He`d just "refuse." We`re getting into garbage time as the clock winds down.

We do want to thank all of our viewers for making CNN Student News part of your school year. We wish you a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a happy Kwanzaa and a happy new year. Whatever you celebrate, we hope it`s wonderful. We look forward to seeing you on January 3rd, 2012.

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