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STUDENT NEWS

Syria: Israel Attacked Our Military Research Facility; Rebuilding After Hurricane Sandy

Aired May 6, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET

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


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Teacher Appreciation Week. We certainly appreciate all of you, teachers starting the week out for CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`re going to jump right in today with news from the Middle East.

That happened yesterday in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Syria says its military research facility was attacked by Israel. Syrian officials called it a declaration of war, U.S. officials say, Israel launched an air strike against Syria late last week. Israel hasn`t confirmed or denied either claim. What Israel will say is that will take steps to stop weapons being transferred to terrorist groups like Hezbollah. Hezbollah is based in Lebanon. That country, Israel and Syria, all share borders with each other. And Hezbollah and Israel have fought against each other in the past. Israeli officials say, they`ll target any weapons movements that may threaten their country.

Now, let`s move across the Atlantic to the Central American country of Costa Rica. President Obama made his first trip there last week, he met with President Laura Chinchilla. The two leaders talked about ways to help the region`s economy grow. They said, one way to do that, is to focus on security issues, things like violence and drug trafficking. President Obama may only have visited one Central American country, but he met with the leaders of all seven Central American nations and the Dominican Republic. They talked about some of those same economics and security concerns.

In the United States, the First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech. So, for the most part, we can say whatever we`d like. But in some countries people don`t have that right. Saying what`s on their minds or writing about it on a blog, for instance, can have severe consequences. Atika Shubert reports on three bloggers from countries where that`s how things are.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A desperate struggle for freedom of speech, by women living in some of the world`s most restrictive countries.

A sign of our times, but also the subject of a new film "Forbidden Voices."

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S .SECRETARY OF STATE: Yoani Sanchez from Cuba couldn`t be here.

SHUBERT: Yoani Sanchez`s blog gives a critical portrayal of Cuban life under its current government. It receives up to 14 million hits per months from around the world. Much to the anger of the official media in Cuba. Farnaz Seifi is an Iranian blogger and journalist living in Germany. Her role as a women`s rights activist in Iran has prevented her from returning home.

FERNAZ SEIFI, IRANIAN BLOGGER: So, you learn to censure yourself from a very early age in countries like my country.

SHUBERT: Zeng Jinyan blogs about human rights abuses in China. In a country where Internet access is strictly censored, her online activity and her marriage to human rights activist Hou Ja has kept her under house arrest.

BARBARA MILLER, DIRECTOR "FORBIDDEN VOICES": These three women are extremely courageous. I was really interested, I was really fascinated about their way of being political, the real road from really personal point of view. I think this is really a way women are telling stories, and how women try to change the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That must (inaudible) everything in Iran.

SHUBERT: These women have paid dearly for their stories, suffering violence, they say, harassment and detainment. As Iran, Cuba and China continue to restrict dissident voices, blogging gives a rare taste of freedom, but it comes with the price.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. O`Brien and the students at Warrenton High School in Warrenton, Oregon.

Which president established the U.S. Department of Labor? You know what to do? Was it George Washington, William Taft, Franklin Roosevelt or Bill Clinton? You`ve got three seconds, go!

President Taft established the Labor Department in 1913. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: Every month that Labor Department releases numbers about the U.S. economy. They help give us an idea of how the economy is doing. First number, 7.5 percent, that`s the national unemployment rate. It`s been going down slowly, but it`s still relatively high. Before the recession hit, that rate was 4.5 percent. Next labor number, 165,000, that`s how many jobs the U.S. economy added in April. The biggest gains were in retail and restaurant jobs, there were cuts in government jobs and the construction industry. Last number, 15,000. This one isn`t from the Labor Department, it`s from the stock market. The Dow Jones average temporarily hit 15,000 on Friday for the first time ever. It didn`t end the day there, but experts say it`s a sign that investors feel more positive about the U.S. economy.

Back in December, we introduced you to Ryan Panetta. The 13-year old helped save his family when their house started flooding during Superstorm Sandy last year. Storms long gone, its impact in the struggles that families like Ryan`s face in recovering, can last a longer time. When Poppy Harlow reported on the Panettas in December, they were working on rebuilding. Months later, that`s turned into a much longer process.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He didn`t just lose his home on that day. His school was so damaged, he had to move to a temporary one. A lot to deal with at just 13.

RYAN PANETTA, 13-YEAR-OLD STORM SURVIVOR: When something brings you down, you`ve got to get up.

HARLOW (on camera): You`re OK, buddy? What makes you so sad?

PANETTA: I honestly don`t know.

HARLOW: Everything.

PANETTA: It`s everything.

HARLOW: They worked long hours, determined to rebuild. The one thing that gave them hope. But six months after Sandy, the Panetta family could only stand and watch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God.

HARLOW: After all that work, they were told the foundation was shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is where all my babies call (ph) home too, and to watch it just being broken down like this is tearing me up.

PANETTA: Tough to go through, just watching my house just come down.

HARLOW: Their home gone in an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 17 years ago, this is everything we`ve ever done, this is our whole life here.

HARLOW: They`re still paying the mortgage on a home that`s no longer there. Their fight right now is over insurance. They say they will rebuild, right here. They`ll have to build higher and get approval from the city.

I think a lot of people would ask, why rebuild here? It could happen again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no other way for me to explain, other than we love it here. We love it here.

HARLOW: That`s one thing Sandy could not take away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve grown closer together as a family.

UNIDENTIFID FEMALE: As long as we all have each other, it`s going to get us through everything.

HARLOW: Poppy Harlow, CNN, Broad Channel, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Calories measure the weight of food. Not true. Calories are measurements of heat or energy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: Guess what`s on the menu? Calories. Literally. Part of President Obama`s 2010 health care reform law says if a restaurant chain has more than 20 stores nationwide, they`ve got to show the calories in their food items. In practice, though, this hasn`t led many Americans to make lower-calorie choices. They are still ordering what they want regardless of the calories listed. So a new study tried something different. It took 300 men and women between the ages of 18 and 30. It gave all of them menus showing the same food and drink options, but some of the menus had no nutritional information; some of them showed the calories the food had; and some of them showed the amount of exercise needed to burn off the calories in the food. The menus with exercise times led people to order and eat fewer calories, but there was no difference in eating when the calories alone were listed. So the meat of this study, get it, is that it may be more valuable for people to see what calories mean in terms of exercise, than just seeing numbers next to burgers.

We said at the start of today`s show, it is Teacher Appreciation Week. We`re going to be giving you chances to talk about your favorite teachers, with different questions throughout the week on our Facebook page. For today, we kept it simple. Who`s your favorite teacher and why? Casey talked about Mrs. Legrand`s (ph) dedication and how she makes sure students understand everything. Joseph said Mr. Van Rensberg (ph) inspires him to be a better person. Liza`s favorite teacher, Mrs. Bathoon (ph), because she`s taught me to be confident in everything I do. And Darren (ph) shouted out Mr. Wilson, saying he enjoys the humor and learning when he`s in class.

If you`re on Facebook, head to Facebook.com/cnnstudentnews, tell us what you appreciate about your favorite teacher. Our last story is from Truckee, California. You might think it involves a truck, but can you see through the windshield? There is a bear behind the wheel. How can this be? The truck`s owner says the cub somehow opened the door, got inside, closed the door, and then got trapped, and this thing wanted out. Eventually, authorities came along, helped release the animal, but it left its mark, trashing the truck. So in the end, no people or animals were hurt, but when it comes to vehicles, the story was just grisly. Yes. That`s kind of an easy pun. We figured it was the bear minimum. We`ll be clawing back tomorrow with more CNN STUDENT NEWS.

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