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STUDENT NEWS

U.S. Considers Military Action Against Syria; Dolphin Virus

Aired September 4, 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: It`s Wednesday. I`m Carl Azuz. Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS. The U.S. government is considering taking action against Syria because of the suspected use of chemical weapons in that country`s civil war. Syrian officials deny using of chemical weapons, but President Obama says there is doubt the Syrian government is responsible. He wants to launch a military strike against Syria. And he has the power to order that, but last week, he decided to ask Congress for approval. Congress isn`t in session until September 9th, before then the president is meeting with congressional leaders and making his case for an attack. Today, we are focusing on some of the key players in the debate over possible U.S. military action.

When it comes to Syria and the U.S., the focus is now on Congress, especially leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who can influence other members of their parties. Speaker John Boehner leads the U.S. House of Representatives where his Republican Party is in the majority. The speaker presides over the House and has certain line to the presidency. Boehner took over that job from Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker is now the House minority leader, the highest ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.

Balance of power in the U.S. Senate is the reverse, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans. Senator Harry Reid is the majority leader there, responsible for deciding which issues the Senate takes up on a day to day basis. Reid has served in Congress since 1983, and has been a senator since 1987. Senator Mitch McConnell is the Senate minority leader. And its highest Republican. McConnell has been serving the state of Kentucky in Congress since he was first elected to the Senate in 1984.

The senator is responsible for confirming members of the president`s cabinet, and two members of President Obama`s cabinet played a large role in the discussion of Syria. John Kerry became secretary of state in February of this year, as the head of the State Department. Secretary Kerry is the president`s chief advisor on foreign policy, and he`s responsible for carrying out the president`s policies with regard to other nations.

Chuck Hagel, head of the U.S. Defense Department, which oversees all branches of the U.S. military as Defense secretary. Hagel advises President Obama on military issues and is responsible for carrying out approved policies.

General Martin Dempsey is the primary military adviser to Secretary Hagel and President Obama. General Dempsey is chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and the senior ranking member of the U.S. Armed Forces. Leaders in Congress, members of the president`s cabinet and military leaders, will all have a voice in the debate over whether the U.S. takes action against Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for the "Shoutout." Which of these animals are members of the order Cetacea? If you think you know it, then shout it out. Is it crabs and shrimp? Dolphins and whales? Lions and tigers? Porcupines and hedgehogs? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The order Cetacea is made of aquatic mammals, like whales and dolphins. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: Officials and researches are examining (inaudible) is called cetacean morbillivirus. Showing up in dolphins along the U.S. East Coast. It`s kind of like measles, it doesn`t affect humans, but it spreads the same way between dolphins as a virus would spread between people, through direct contact or through the air. Susan Candiotti has more on how it`s affecting dolphins.

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SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bottlenose dolphins, known for their graceful moves, so highly intelligent the U.S. Navy trains them to pinpoint mines, are under attack by an invisible enemy that doesn`t discriminate.

LAWRENCE HAJNA, NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: There is no pattern, really, to, you know, either geographic or age or sex. It really seems to be an equal opportunity killer.

CANDIOTTI: In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie is paying a state laboratory to speed up necropsies, and stepping up air and sea patrols.

Here off the Jersey shore, it would be very hard to see a dolphin that is dead or dying, because they lie so low in the water, but if the state fishing and wildlife patrol does spot one, these guys will tow it to shore for testing.

In July and August, 404 dolphins have died from New York to North Carolina, the highest numbers in Virginia and New Jersey, which has scientists wondering how long this will go on. And whether the dolphins will develop an immunity.

Scientists acknowledge there is no easy way to fix this problem, no vaccines, no medications, no a practical way to administer them. But there is a reason to understand why so many dolphins are dying to try to prevent this from happening in the future. Susan Candiotti, CNN, Asbury Park, New Jersey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AZUZ: There is a battle going on for smartphones, not just to get them, but to get control of the market. As more people buy these things, there is more money to be made for their manufacturers and software makers. Microsoft wants to be both, so it`s buying the Finnish cell phone company Nokia for a little more than $7 billion. Microsoft is known for its Windows software. It also wants to be known for hardware, the devices that run it. Thing is, there is tough competition in the smartphone world. Apple and Google control 86 percent of the smartphones market. Microsoft`s Windows phone system has less than four percent. Nokia is not a top maker of smartphones, but it is a major cell phone manufacturer. Microsoft says it`s buying Nokia in part, because it doesn`t want to let Google and Apple get complete control over smartphones, apps and prices. Time will tell, if its decision will be the right call.

Roll Call: Time to check out some of the schools that are checking out CNN STUDENT NEWS. First, the Indians at Mount Gilead High School in Mount Gilead, Ohio. Thank you for watching there. Over in Callaway, Nebraska, the Bears and Bobcats from Callaway public schools make today`s Roll Call. And finally, we are pointing out the East Union Lancers, out in Manteca, California. I hope you all have a great day.

Teachers, go to cnnstudentnews.com. You can find out how to get your school in the running to be mentioned on the CNN STUDENT NEWS Roll Call.

And why you`re there, teachers, check out the summer recapped videos in the resources bin. We`ve recapped some of the big news stories from while school was out. They`re right there at cnnstudentnews.com

Student news has student views. Your thoughts on the issues that matter to you. We put them together in a segment called the CNN STUDENT NEWS viewfinder. This time, we asked a group of high school juniors and seniors to talk about what they see as the biggest challenges facing teenagers today.

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MYKEL SKINNER, HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR: The pressure of being accepted by society. Today you think that you need to fit in with the certain group, and I think that we need to realize that diversity is, you know, it`s good to be diverse, , it`s good to be different, and not everyone should be the same.

ROMA PARIKH, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: I think in age where everyone`s a bit disconnected or maybe has a lot of prejudice and judging going around, people don`t always feel comfortable around others, and it makes it harder to be themselves.

AMAYA CARR, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: Society. We don`t know where to fit in, we don`t know who we want to be, there is puberty, you know, different types of people, what clique we want to be in. It`s hard finding ourselves.

MARILYN PRIMOVIC, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: Juggling school, friends and sleep.

BROOKE JOHNSON, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: Judgment from other people, like personally I know that I`ve had self-esteem issues, and so like girls and stuff, how they judge you and stuff. That really gets so (ph) personally.

GORDON CLARK, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: It`s getting noticed. There are so many great people around doing so many wonderful things. And it`s hard to stand out, but I think if you really apply yourself and be yourself, it really shouldn`t be too much of a challenge for you to get noticed.

NICK MUSEY, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: I think that a lot of teenagers don`t. You know, they just go through a high school thinking, you know, with the whole YOLO, you know, attitude, not really caring what they want to do and then, when they actually get to the point where they have to make decisions what they want to do, they don`t know. So, I think they are more than anything, it`s just figuring out their plans for the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: That`s what they said, what do you say? We`d like to know. If you are 13 or older, you can go to our blog at cnnstudentnews.com, talk about what you think are the biggest challenges for teenagers today. Or, if you`re already on Facebook, you can talk to us there, too. The address for that is Facebook.com/CNN STUDENT NEWS.

Just anyone who plays basketball will tell you a free throw worth one point, field goals, two or three points. How many points is it worth when you`re shooting from the top of a skyscraper?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERS)

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AZUZ: Who cares. Just made a basket from on top of a skyscraper. That`s Rotterdam`s Euro mast in the Netherlands, and the guys in this YouTube video are taking aim for more than 320 feet off the ground. It took 62 tries before they got one in, but it was definitely worth looking at.

(CHEERS)

AZUZ: Because as long as you make one, it still qualifies as a towering achievement. Yeah, I know, that was kind of painful. Maybe next time, they should pick a spot on the other side of the world, than they could shoot for the Pacific Rim. It`s going to be tough to rebound from all that, we`ll give it another shot tomorrow, we`re looking forward to seeing you then.

END