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Latest on Libya; Affect on Oil Prices

Aired August 24, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Five years ago today, Pluto got a planetary downgrade and our solar system officially went from nine planets to eight. In today`s show, we`re going to talk about some other significant events that happened on this day in history.

First up, though, we`re headed to Libya.

The war is not over yet, but it`s close. That is how one NATO official described the situation in Libya on Tuesday. NATO is an international organization made up of troops from various countries, including the United States, who contributes troops and money to NATO.

This group has been launching airstrikes in Libya against the forces of long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi. A lot of those strikes have targeted Gadhafi`s compound in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

And this was the scene inside that compound yesterday, rebel fighters and other residents walking around. Rebels took control of the compound after a battle with Gadhafi`s military forces that lasted for hours.

No members of the Gadhafi family were inside the compound, but some reports on Monday, that three of Moammar Gadhafi`s sons had been captured by rebels, turned out not to be true.

One of them, whom you see in this video, turned up late Monday night at a hotel where international journalists are staying. At the time, he said his father was safe and that Libyan troops had broken the backs of rebel fighters.

These conflicting reports show you how the situation in Libya is changing. Make sure to check out or to get the latest details.

Meanwhile, some people are considering the possibilities of what could happen once this war is over. Mary Snow is looking at one angle for us.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the Gadhafi regime falls, one of the big questions is what happens now to one of Libya`s biggest assets, its oil. Libya supplied about 2 percent of the world`s oil until civil war broke out in February, bringing production to a virtual halt.

Before the war started, Libya was producing about 1.6 million barrels of oil a day, and it has one of the largest reserves in Africa. It exports most of its oil, and it`s biggest customers are in Europe. Italy gets about 28 percent of its oil from Libya. France is its second biggest customer.

While Europe will feel a bigger impact than the U.S., since the U.S., doesn`t use Libyan crude oil, one energy analyst drivers everywhere could wind up paying less at the pump.

PETER BEUTEL, CAMERON HANOVER: It will have an impact on worldwide gasoline prices, and that will end up helping U.S. consumers by about 4 to 6 cents a gallon, I predict, over the next month or two.

SNOW: That timetable is up for debate. What`s unknown is how much damage has been done to refineries, pipelines and oil wells. And then there`s the political question.

HELIMA CROFT, BARCLAYS CAPITAL: If we don`t have a stable security environment in Libya, if you have the sense that you`re looking at a protracted political and security power vacuum, western companies are going to be reluctant to go back in.

SNOW: There are predictions it could take 18 months to three years for Libya to restore its oil production to full capacity. But analyst Peter Beutel doesn`t see western countries allowing that to happen.

BEUTEL: Here`s an opportunity for them to help a struggling democracy stand on its own two feet. If that means every single oil expert, from Texas to Rotterdam, is suddenly on a place to Libya to get their oil up and running, I think there`s a chance that that could happen.


AZUZ: Here`s something you don`t hear about too often, an earthquake in Virginia. As you can see from this shaking chandelier, one hit yesterday. It sent shockwaves up and down the East Coast.

New York, D.C., Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, reports came in of tremors in all of those locations. Officials say this quake had a magnitude of 5.8. That makes it the strongest tremor to hit Virginia in more than a century.

Lots of buildings evacuated, a lot of safety precautions went into effect, including at nearby nuclear facilities. There were some minor reports of damage; luckily, no reports of any injuries.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the Shoutout.

Which of these words best describes Hispaniola?

If you think you know it, then shout it out.

Is it a country, peninsula, island or isthmus? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Hispaniola is an island, where you`ll find the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

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


AZUZ: And that island is feeling the effects of Hurricane Irene. The storm`s working its way through the Atlantic, and forecasters predict it`ll pick up strength along the way. You can see its projected path from this graphic over my shoulder here.

One U.S. government official said that Hurricane Irene will affect a large area. He warned the entire east coast of the United States to get ready for Irene.

When the storm hit Hispaniola, it brought heavy rain and winds with speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Forecasters estimated that Irene could drop up to 15 inches of rain on some parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and there were concerns about flooding and mudslides as well.

On this day in history, August 24th, back in the year A.D. 79, Mount Vesuvius began to erupt in Italy. The volcano completely wiped out the city of Pompeii.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, British troops took control of Washington, D.C., and burned the White House.

In 1989, Pete Rose, baseball`s all-time hits leader, was banned from the game for life for gambling on the sport.

And in 1992, Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Florida. The storm was one of the most expensive disasters in U.S. history, causing nearly $25 billion in damages.

On our blog at, we`re starting to get your input about another significant date in history that`s coming up soon, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Today, we want you to share your thoughts on why you think it`s important to remember the 9/11 attacks. Head to our home page. Tell us what you have to say.

If you started planning for college, you might also be trying to figure out how to pay for it. We hear a lot of concerns about the cost of getting a higher education. These concerns span the globe. Yesterday we talked about college costs in China, the U.K. and Israel. Today, our reporters check in from three more countries.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I`m Kyung Lah in Tokyo, here on the campus of the University of Tokyo. This place as knows as the Harvard University of Japan.

Despite that moniker, one of the most pressing problems for this university`s future, along with all the colleges in Japan, is how to keep the classrooms full. Japan has one of the world`s fastest aging populations, with one of the world`s lowest birth rates. In the near future, there will not be enough students filling the colleges.

So the University of Tokyo, trying to fight that trend, announced next year it will launch a track to teach all courses in English, hoping to draw international students. Twelve other universities in Japan already have similar English-only programs. The big selling point here to the global student is that you can still get an Ivy League education, albeit in Asia, but for a third of the cost of going to Harvard.

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN REPORTER: I`m Rima Maktabi, coming to you from the American University in Dubai. The educational system in the United Arab Emirates is a very interesting one compared to countries in the rest of the Middle East.

There`s a very high rate of literacy here. We`re talking about 91 percent. The government makes it so easy for students to enroll in universities and schools, especially that 25 percent of the government spending goes to education.

The faculty here teaches an American curriculum in Arabic language. The aim is to prepare solids (ph) and deep experts to compete in the market. So for this oil-rich country, education is crucial.

REZA SAYAH, CNN REPORTER: I`m Reza Sayah in Islamabad. Here in Pakistan, most people live on roughly $2 a day. So the biggest issue facing students like Abdul (ph) and Mohammed (ph) is how can I afford a college education. Oftentimes, the best degrees are in the U.S. and Europe.

You guys would have preferred to study abroad, right?

But at tuitions of at least $10,000 to $20,000 a year, for many in Pakistan, studying overseas is impossible. Inside Pakistan, the tuition is roughly $1,000 a semester. May not sound like much to you, but remember, if you`re living along the poverty line, that`s still a lot of money.


AZUZ: Before we go, what happens when you combine man`s best friend with a girl`s best friend? You get a canine case of disappearing diamonds.

This little guy belongs to a Georgia couple that owns a jewelry store. But when one of the owners went to wait on a customer, the conniving canine jumped from floor to chair to counter, and ate $10,000 worth of diamonds that were sitting out. The stones were eventually recovered, and the owner says he`ll be more careful about where he leaves his chair. We`re just glad everything came out all right in the end.

I`m Carl Azuz. This is CNN Student News.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible). Sit. (Inaudible).