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STUDENT NEWS

Myanmar Elections; Observing Earth Hour

Aired April 2, 2012 - 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: It`s already April, no fooling. And we`re ready to kick off a new month, a new week and a new day of CNN Student News. I`m Carl Azuz. Let`s get to the headlines.

First up, we`re looking at parliamentary elections in Myanmar, a country also known as Burma. There were 45 seats up for election on Sunday, and one of the candidates who claimed victory was Aung San Suu Kyi. That`s the activist and Nobel peace prize winner we mentioned on Friday in our Women`s History Month report.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia. The country`s government has been run by an oppressive military group for 50 years. Lawmakers who are connected to the group still hold more than 80 percent of the seats in Myanmar`s parliament. So Suu Kyi`s win won`t be a change in the balance of power.

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AZUZ: But it is a symbolic victory in a country that`s promised to make some major changes. Paula Hancocks was in Myanmar for Sunday`s election. She filed this report on the mood of some voters.

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PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The polls opened this Sunday morning at 6:00 am. And since then, we`ve seen a steady stream of people coming to the school, which has been turned into a polling station behind me.

Now in the tiny village of Wa Thin Kha , which is part of the Kawhmu Township, which Aung San Suu Kyi is running for. And it is a special place, because this is where the opposition leader decided to visit first. She stayed in this village overnight and she came to visit some of the supporters and those voting for her earlier today.

Now many residents here actually seem quite hopeful about this by- election. I spoke to one 18-year old, who said it was her first time voting, and she was very happy she got the chance to be part of a democratic process.

We also spoke to a 95-year-old woman who would have been through the British and the Japanese colonization, and also through 50 years of brutal military regime. And she was hopeful that after this vote there could be change, and it could be positive change. She was hoping for a better life. But of course, there are some problems.

Aung San Suu Kyi said it`s not a free and fair election, that there have been voting irregularities, but it is still important to be part of this process. She is the most internationally recognized candidate in this election, but there are 17 parties that are part of this election.

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AZUZ (voice-over): How can you see a major environmental event when everyone keeps turning out the lights? It`s easy. The darkness is the event. It`s Earth Hour, and it happened on Saturday. Thousands of cities were involved. Homes, businesses, landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building, they all pledged to go dark for one hour to raise awareness about energy usage.

An astronaut on board the International Space Station blogged about Earth Hour as he watched the lights go out around the world.

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AZUZ (voice-over): On this day in history, back in 1513, explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida and claimed the territory for Spain.

In 1792, a new law established the first U.S. Mint. It was the first public building constructed at the direction of the U.S. government.

In 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British colony. British troops eventually fought back and regained control.

And in 2005, Pope John Paul II passed away after serving nearly 27 years as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

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AZUZ: When you go to apply for a job, there`s a chance that your online profile could be checked just as thoroughly as your resume. Reports and studies show that some companies look at applicants` social media pages like your Facebook, like your Twitter, before they make hiring decisions. Others are asking for even more direct access. Mary Snow reports on the controversy that this is causing.

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MARY SNOW, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Imagine being on a job interview and an employer asking you for your Facebook login and password. That`s what Robert Collins says happened to him at the Maryland Department of Corrections.

After taking a leave of absence, he says he had to go through another vetting process in 2010, and was stunned when his employer asked for his Facebook password. Collins says he complied because he feared for his job.

ROBERT COLLINS, JOB APPLICANT: I`m like, so what exactly are you doing? What are you looking for?

"Well, I`m looking through your messages and through your Wall and through your pictures and through your posts to make sure that, you know, you`re not flashing any gang signs or are involved in any illegal activity."

I was just mortified. I mean, I just thought that that just crossed the line.

SNOW (voice-over): Collins has since left that job, but his complaint to the ACLU prompted change. Maryland`s Department of Corrections` new policy states candidates will not be asked to share their log-in and/or password information. But job applicants to Maryland`s Corrections Department are asked to log in to Facebook voluntarily as an interviewer looks over their shoulder.

The department argues that kind of screening is useful for public safety and law enforcement jobs. CNN legal contributor Paul Callan --

SNOW: Is this legal?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: As shocking as it is that employers would ask you for this very, very personal thing, a Facebook password, in most states, it`s absolutely legal.

SNOW: It`s unclear just how many employers are asking job applicants for passwords. It`s Facebook`s policy to prohibit anyone from soliciting the log-in information or accessing an account belonging to someone else. But lawmakers in Maryland are considering a bill to make it illegal for an employer to ask for passwords.

And a Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act is on the table in Illinois after a state lawmaker received complaints from constituents.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Today`s Shoutout goes out to Coach Francis` class at Saint Paul`s High School in Covington, Louisiana. Which of these observances happens in April? Is it Clean Air Month, College Savings Month, Youth Leadership Month or Financial Literacy Month? You`ve got three seconds, go.

April is Financial Literacy Month, a time to learn about economic principles and practices. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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AZUZ: Well, here`s a quick economic explainer. The difference between value and cost: in Canada, the value of a penny is one cent . But the cost to produce that penny is 1.6 cents. The country`s government says that math doesn`t add up.

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AZUZ (voice-over): So it is pitching the penny. People can still use them, but starting this fall, the Royal Canadian Mint will stop distributing new pennies. The government says it`ll save about $11 million per year. Some stores are worried about the possible effect on their business. For example, one store owner said something that costs $7.99 looks cheaper than something that`s $8.

We won`t offer a penny for your thoughts on this, but you can still go to our blog at cnnstudentnews.com and vote in our Quick Poll. Does making cents make sense? Tell us what you think.

Also, if you`ve got a question for me you`ve always wanted to ask, send it to us in an iReport, and I may answer you personally. You have to be at least 13 years old, get in front of the camera, record yourself asking a question, and then upload your video, using the link in the "Spotlight" section at cnnstudentnews.com. The deadline: April 13th.

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AZUZ: This is when today`s show goes to the dogs. The incredible dogs -- canine competitors and their owners came out to Centennial Olympic Park here in Atlanta over the weekend. They showed off their skills in diving, hurdles and relay events as part of the Incredible Dog Challenge.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready? OK.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running, nice, clean start.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go, go!

BRANDI BRUNEAU (PH), DOG OWNER: My name is Brandi Bruno (ph) and Apollo (ph) and I are competing in large dog agility. Apollo (ph) and I have a really close relationship. When you run agility with a dog, it`s not only trust, but also, you know, they have to give their heart and soul in every run so you can get the best performance out of that.

TONY LAMBERT (PH), DOG OWNER: My name is Tony Lambert (ph), and Baxter (ph) and I, my dog, are competing in duck diving.

Go, go, go, go, go!

MONA KONISHI (PH), DOG OWNER: My name is Mona Konishi (ph) and my dog is Leica (ph). We came here to compete in freestyle flying disk. She`s very active dog, and ogish (ph). And she loves to play, so I enjoy playing with her and I`m so proud of her.

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AZUZ: Well, the dog in today`s "Before We Go" video seems to have forgotten some of its training.

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AZUZ (voice-over): He`s got the sit part down, but not the stay. It`s hard to blame this boxer for rule-breaking when he`s just excited to see his owner. Chuck (ph) -- that`s the dog -- is going nuts because Nick (ph), the owner, is home from an eight-month military deployment. This YouTube video of the great greeting has turned into a viral hit.

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AZUZ: We guess people just like watching an enthusiastic boxer get punchy.

(LAUGHTER)

AZUZ: We`ll be back for another round of headlines tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.

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