CNN Student News – Transcript for March 15th

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UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Hello, this is Mrs. (inaudible) senior government class from Rapahoe, Nebraska.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: And I`m from Sweden!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I`m from (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s not be corny.



CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Let`s not be corny! Don`t you know who you`re talking to? That introduction was awesome, just like Fridays, to kick off this Friday, we`re looking at two new leaders and how they set the tone for the more than 1 billion people that follow each of them.

First up, China. With more than 1.3 billion people it`s the world`s most populated country. China also has one of the world`s largest economies. So, that`s one of the main issues that the country`s leaders focus on. But during the meeting of Chinese officials this month, things like health care, food safety and water quality came up. This is the man who will guide the government`s policies on this issues. His name is Xi Jinping. He joined China`s Communist Party in 1974, and he`s held a bunch of different jobs in that party over the years. This week, he officially took over the top spot: China`s parliament elected Xi Jinping as the country`s new president yesterday. The vote was unanimous. It was also kind of a foregone conclusion since Xi became the head of China`s Communist Party four months ago.

Our other new world leader is the chief of state for Vatican City. You probably know him better by a different title: pope. The leader of the world`s 1.2 billion Catholics. And as we told you yesterday, there is a new pope, Pope Francis. We`ll get back to that name in a second. But before he took it, he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1936, before he became a priest, Bergoglio studied to be a chemist. He was ordained in 1969. Became a cardinal in 2001, he was supposedly the runner up to become pope in 2005. This year he was one of the oldest papal candidates. He chose the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. A catholic who was famous for his work with the poor. A Vatican expert said the name choice is very significant. He said it shows the new pope is focused on rebuilding the Catholic Church. During this mass service yesterday, Pope Francis talked about moving the Catholic Church forward. He`s already made history as the first South American pope. Tom Foreman looks at the numbers involved in his election.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To understand just how astounding this election is, you have to consider the collision that occurred between the 115 cardinal electors in this room and the 1.2 billion Catholics all over the planet. Look at where they are. If you go out to places like Oceania and Asia, out there you`ll get relatively small numbers, 9 million in Oceania. You move it to Asia, you get about 130 million, over the Africa, 185 million. And then Europe, with 285 million. That has always been the place where popes came from. But look at what has changed. Here is North America, the United States and Canada, we are talking about here, with 85 million Catholics, and then comes the powerhouse. All of Latin America with 501 million Catholics. That`s almost half of the world`s Catholic population. And bear in mind, over here in North America, one out of three Catholics says, he is Hispanic. So you can see the tremendous power here. If this were democracy, no question, this is the kind of pope who would be elected.

But it`s not a democracy. So, look at what happened in this room, that`s so astonishing. Consider Italy for a moment. This is one country with just under 56 million Catholics. Compare that to Latin America, that I mentioned before, a whole region with 501 million Catholics, but now look at the cardinals who were in this room to vote on all of this: Italy, as small as it is, had 28 cardinals voting in this room whereas Latin America as huge as it is, only had 19, and only two of those from Argentina. The only way this election happened was for more people in this side to finally say, the world really is changing for the Catholic Church after 2000 years. It really is changing. And the church has to answer to it. And this pope is the result.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Ms. Khalili`s REACH Stars at the Perry Township school system in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Which state is highlighted on this map of the southeastern U.S.? You know what to do, is it Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana or Mississippi? You`ve got three seconds, go!

That`s the Magnolia State, Mississippi, which is home to nearly 3 million people. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: Mississippi state lawmakers have been talking about a ban on a sale of certain sizes of sugary drinks, like the one that almost happened in New York City. In Mississippi, the legislation passed, but it`s not a ban on those drinks, it`s a ban of the ban.


TONY SMITH, MISSISSIPPI STATE SENATOR: It`s more about government intrusion into a business, and putting regulations in place that could be detrimental to the business. Our bill is all about protection to the free right to operate a business.


AZUZ: Sen. Smith is the bill`s author. He is also a restaurant owner. He says this bill is about avoiding what he considers unnecessary regulation. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed for the ban on certain sizes of sugary drinks in his city. He says it`s a health issue.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: If we are serious about fighting obesity, we have to be honest about what causes it and we have to have the courage to tackle it head on.


AZUZ: Whether it`s health, business or anything, what role do you think government should have in your life? If you are on Facebook, talk to us about it at


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I`m a U.S. Government organization that was created in 2001. I`m not a part of the Transportation Department, even though the world transportation is in my name. You often see my agents when you go through airport security.

I`m the Transportation Security Administration, and I`m part of the Department of Homeland Security.


AZUZ: There is a big difference between what the TSA will let you carry on a plane with you and what you have to check for storage in the belly of the plane. Large knives, hammers, spear guns, cattle prods. You either check them, or the TSA takes them away. But if you have to leave that stuff at security, where does it wind up? Rene Marsh follows some heavy metal.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s the final dumping ground for the items you`re not getting passed the TSA. A spear, nunchaks, ax, heavy marble rolling pin and lots and lots of knives. Every month an average of 425 pounds of stuff ends up in TSA`s hands at each of the nation`s largest airports. The TSA boxes it up and ships it out to states that want to make a buck by selling it.

(on camera): This was right off of the truck.


MARSH (voice over): CNN goes behind the scenes in Pennsylvania, at one of the largest receiving centers. Buckets and boxes of your personal belongings from major mid-Atlantic airports like LaGuardia, JFK and Newark, all here.

(on camera): Now, would you say that of all the things that you`re getting here in all of these huge bins, majority of them, knives, things of that sort?

THOMPSON: Yeah, I would say – I would say that they are knives, when they go through the TSA security checkpoints, they have the option of either, you know, sending those items home, voluntarily surrendering them so they can get on the plane.

MARSH (voice over): Well, Pennsylvania is turning this cold heart steel into cold heart cash. In the past nine years, they`ve made nearly $900,000 selling all the items you couldn`t get through TSA security.


AZUZ: In the middle of women`s history month, we asked on Facebook, if you have a female role model. For Jordan, it`s Gabby Douglas. I`m a gymnast, and she inspired me to keep working hard to achieve a certain goal. Shanna mentioned social studies teacher Mrs. Blue. "She always understands me and helps me." Olivia wrote, "Missy Franklin, because she inspires me … no matter what age you are, you can always do something amazing or important." Preston pointed out Jen Ledger. She is a drummer for the band Skillet. And the best drummer Preston knows. As the former drummer, I can appreciate that, Preston. Audrey said, Bethany Hamilton. She finds the good in everyone and every situation. And a number of you like Beaty mentioned their mothers, which I thought was really cool – Beaty`s has been there no matter what, "she`s got to be the strongest woman I know." Taylor`s mom has inspired her to do so much and to go so far, and Theresa says, her Aunt Emmy is loving, caring, one of the greatest people in the world. Lots of good comments from our Facebook site.

Our last story today is from Vanderbuilt University. Bill Joel, Rock- n-roll Hall of Fame member Billy Joel was there for a Q&A session in January. The Youtube video captured this question:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My favorite song of yours is the New York and I was wondering if I could play with you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would accompany you, that is.





AZUZ: It only took 15 seconds for them to work out the arrangement, I guess they are really in tune with each other. The student`s confidence was probably key as he scaled that opportunity. But if you want to perform with the famous musician, just asking is one way to do it. We are not going to put together a string of puns, but teachers, we hope you note the opportunity to give us feedback on today`s show. OK, time to put the pedal to the metal. I hope you have a great weekend.