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STUDENT NEWS

US Budget Presented; Greek Economic Crisis

Aired February 14, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET

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


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GROUP: Welcome to CNN Student News from Mr. Law`s seventh grade social studies class at Wapakoneta Middle School, the hometown of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Have a fun time.

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CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Home of Neil Armstrong. We want to take one small step and thank Mr. Law`s class for that introduction before we take a giant leap into today`s headlines. I`m Carl Azuz. This is CNN Student News.

All right. You`ve had experience making a budget at some point in your life. You planned how much money you`re going to spend, how much you`re going to save. The U.S. government has to work with a budget, too. President Obama released his budget proposal yesterday. Total price tag on this one: $3.8 trillion.

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AZUZ (voice-over): The president`s proposal would make cuts in some areas of government spending. It would also spend money on education and infrastructure, things like roads and bridges. Plus, it would raises taxes on some wealthy Americans. President Obama says there isn`t room in the budget for everything.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do we want to keep these tax cuts for wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep investing in everything else? Education, clean energy, a strong military? Care for our veterans? We can`t do both. We can`t afford it.

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AZUZ: All right. Now Republican leaders have been against the idea of raising taxes on the wealthy. They say that will not help the American economy. They also argue the country should be spending less, not more, and they President Obama`s budget proposal could actually hurt the economy.

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SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Well, this is a very sad day, when the President of the United States fails to keep his promises to the American people once again, and rather than treading water, he actually makes things worse.

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AZUZ: One thing to keep in mind in all of this, the budget proposal is just a proposal. The president doesn`t actually set the country`s budget. That`s something that Congress does.

Well, next up, Greece is in the middle of an economic crisis. It`s been going on since 2010. You probably heard us mention it several times on our show. Other European countries have offered bailouts to Greece. But in order to get them, Greece`s government has to make some spending cuts.

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AZUZ (voice-over): That means cuts to workers` salaries and their retirement, their pensions. Many Greek citizens aren`t happy about this.

Thousands of people gathered in front of parliament over the weekend. They were protesting against the newest cuts. Those protests turned violent with crowds throwing rocks and firebombs at police. Officials say 106 officers and dozens of civilians were injured in the fighting.

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AZUZ: Matthew Chance filed our next report today about the impact that this crisis is having on different generations of Greek citizens.

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MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN REPORTER: Well ,this is just a part of the aftermath of that terrible violence that we witnessed on Sunday night here in Athens. This is a building, obviously, in the center of the Greek capital. It actually housed one of the city`s most historic cinemas.

And there`s a lot of people in the city who are reviled, disgusted at the fact that the protesters torched this building and left it in this state. But even though most people here don`t, you know, approve of the violence that led to this, I think it`s pretty clear that it was an expression of a much wider anger and frustration amongst Greeks about what`s happening to their country.

OK. Well, one of the groups that`s most affected by the crisis in Greece are people between the ages of 16 and 24. Official statistics say unemployment in that age group is a massive 48 percent.

Young and old affected by this economic crisis, some pensioners say they`ve already endured a 25 percent cut in their monthly income, and now they`re going to have to face more cuts with these new austerity measures that are being implemented.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s the word? It`s the place on the Earth`s surface directly above the focus of an earthquake. Epicenter, that`s the word.

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AZUZ: You probably remember the massive earthquake that hit Japan last year. The epicenter of that was out in the ocean, more than 200 miles away from Tokyo. But scientists in the island nation are considering the possibilities of another major quake, one whose epicenter could be right in the heart of the country`s most populated city.

Kyung Lah looks at how Japan and its people might prepare.

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KYUNG LAH, CNN REPORTER: Is it a matter not of if, but when?

LAH (voice-over): "What I`m saying is that sooner or later the earthquake will happen," says Professor Shinichi Sakai (ph). He`s not talking about just any earthquake, but the big one, epicenter Tokyo.

Sakai (ph) is with the Earthquake Research Institute at Tokyo University, the agency of record when it comes to earthquakes in Japan. And the institute believes there is a 50 percent chance that in four years a massive magnitude 7.0 will strike Tokyo.

Ominous words not lost on any of Tokyo`s 12 million residents. Thousands took part in this nationwide drill for when that big one hits.

The earthquake institute says since March 11th, quakes have hit Japan at five times the normal level. In essence, say researchers, the entire country`s ground structure shifted, making a massive quake centered on Tokyo much more likely.

LAH: Tokyo is built to withstand a massive quake, but it`s not these modern high-rises that concern city leaders. It`s the older houses, where people live in the city, structure collapses and building fires -- that`s what researchers say will kill an estimated 10,000 people if a magnitude 7.0 strikes here.

LAH (voice-over): "It`s scary," says Setsuko Morita. "There are so many quakes lately." She adds, "I don`t know what any of us can do about this."

"All you can do is prepare and go through the motions of an actual disaster," says Tokyo resident Kenji Isono, logging into the practice disaster site via his mobile phone. He also bought a hand-operated phone recharger just in case of a quake.

LAH: Why do you think more about disasters now?

LAH (voice-over): "Because I feel so many quakes all over Japan," he says, "even though the huge quake centered on Tokyo hasn`t struck yet, we`re more aware."

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this legit? Mt. Kilimanjaro is not part of a mountain range.

It`s true. Kilimanjaro is a freestanding mountain that`s surrounded by forests.

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AZUZ: Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, and it`s one that Kyle Maynard can look down on. He made a successful climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro this year.

You might remember Kyle Maynard. We`ve had him before on CNN Student News. He`s a quadruple congenital amputee. His arms and legs end at the elbows and the knees. He was here at the CNN Center recently, speaking with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about why he took on the challenge of Kilimanjaro.

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DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: First of all, is that right, 19,336 feet?

KYLE MAYNARD, MOUNTAIN CLIMBER: Yes.

GUPTA: You must have the number memorized, seared into your brain.

MAYNARD: It`s definitely -- the experience is seared in, that`s for sure. It was on up top, that 19,000 feet, you`re looking at half atmosphere. So that`s half the amount of air that we have here at sea level.

GUPTA: It`s -- the images are behind you here, Kyle, of what it looked like a little bit. And first of all, I`m just so inspired and excited to have you here, and thank you for coming.

Where does this -- the -- where did this idea come from, and just the mental fortitude and just the idea that, I mean, this is what you want to do. You want to do something that`s -- is frankly seemingly impossible. How did -- how did it all come about?

MAYNARD: You know, our purpose behind this from the beginning was really just to have this vision to help other people go and say, that, look if you are unsatisfied with, you know, whatever condition, circumstances are in your life, then you have the choice to be able to go and create a life that you want, and to be able to go and make the decision to go and do it.

And things aren`t going to be perfect when you start. But just to go and choose that, you know, say that, hey, like I`m capable of living more.

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AZUZ: That`s great stuff.

Well, before we go, even though I`m not wearing the colors, today is Valentine`s Day.

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AZUZ (voice-over): This holiday has really gone to the dogs. At least it has in a town in Ohio. It`s the annual Valentine`s Day social.

There`s a costume contest, a kissing booth and if anyone falls in puppy love, the canine couples can head to the corner chapel and get hitched. Here comes the bride, all dressed in -- fur. We assume they write their own vows for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish --

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AZUZ: -- till death do us bark. That brings us to the -- I like that pun. That brings us to the tail end of today`s show. We hope you have a very happy Valentine`s Day. And for CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for the Shoutout. If you think you know it, then shout it out. You`ve got three seconds, go.

That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to

You know what to do.

You`ve got three seconds, go.

That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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AZUZ (voice-over): On this day in history,

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