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US Troops to Leave Iraq by Year`s End; Earthquake Hits Turkey; Baseball Mulls Chewing Tobacco Ban

Aired October 24, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to CNN Student News. It`s Monday the 24th, and we`re glad to have you along as the month of October winds down.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After nearly nine years, America`s war in Iraq will be over. Over the next two months, our troops Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home.


AZUZ: There are 39,000 U.S. troops in Iraq right now. And on Friday President Obama made that announcement, a plan to bring almost all of the home by the end of the year. About 150 troops will stay to help.


AZUZ (voice-over): Meeting that December 31st deadline was a promise that Obama made when he was running for president. It was originally part of a deal that former President George W. Bush made with the Iraqi government.


AZUZ: There are some concerns that when U.S. forces leave, Iran might have a bigger influence on Iraq. These two countries are neighbors, and Iran`s been accused of supporting militias that have killed U.S. troops in Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Iran over the weekend. She said America`s commitment to helping Iraq isn`t ending, and that Iran shouldn`t use this as an opportunity to build its influence in Iraq.


AZUZ: The reaction to President Obama`s announcement has been mixed. Shelby Lin checks in now with the details.



SHELBY LIN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Nearly nine years after President George W. Bush declared the start of the war in Iraq, President Barack Obama announced that virtually all the remaining troops will return home by the end of the year.

OBAMA: In Iraq, we`ve succeeded in our strategy to end the war.

LIN (voice-over): It`s a move that the Obama administration adds to its list of national security accomplishments, which includes killing Osama bin Laden, killing American Al Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and aiding the NATO-led mission that culminated in victory for the Libyan rebels against Moammar Gadhafi.

While there`s been positive reaction to the announcement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s wonderful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no better feeling in the world to know that you`re fixing to go back home and, you know, just get to reconnect.

LIN (voice-over): . there`s also been criticism from GOP presidential candidates.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The thing that I wouldn`t do that the president is doing is telling the enemy how many troops you`re going to bring out and when you`re going to bring them out. I don`t think that`s a good strategy.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The last thing that you want to do is put those men and women`s lives in peril. And I think that`s what the president`s done.

LIN (voice-over): Senator John McCain said Iran would be the beneficiary while Iran`s president said the move was long overdue.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): I think we should have done it sooner, maybe seven or eight years ago, and they could avoid killing so many Iraqi people or Americans as well.

LIN (voice-over): President Obama said leaving Iraq would allow greater focus on the economy. I`m Shelby Lin reporting.


AZUZ: Rescue efforts are going on in another one of Iraq`s neighbors. We`re talking about Turkey. A powerful earthquake hit that country on Sunday. It`s the strongest quake there in more than a decade, and it was followed by at least seven aftershocks.


AZUZ (voice-over): Rescuers and citizens brought out flashlights and shovels to look for survivors in the rubble. Dozens of apartment buildings collapsed. A student dorm and part of a hospital did, too.

Turkey`s used to earthquakes, but this one had a magnitude of 7.2. And one analyst said it`s considered a major event. Offers of help have come in from other countries.


AZUZ: Military forces from several nations, including the U.S., U.K. and France gave help to Libya`s citizens during that country`s civil war. They were all part of a NATO mission, but now that war is over, NATO`s planning to end its mission in Libya by the end of this month.


AZUZ (voice-over): Meanwhile, Libya`s new leaders declared yesterday a day of liberation following the death of long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Officials say Libya is now united, and they ask for honesty, patience and tolerance as the country rebuilds. Part of that process will be to hold elections for a new government. Plans for that could happen some time in the next eight months.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Members of the European Union are required to use the euro as their currency.

Not legit. In fact, 10 out of the 27 countries in the E.U. don`t use the euro.


AZUZ: They might not all use the currency, but they`re all working on ways to support it. Representatives from the 27 European Union nations are meeting in Brussels, Belgium, to talk about solutions for Europe`s debt crisis.


AZUZ (voice-over): One idea is to get more money to banks across the continent. One way to do that would be through a mechanism known as the European Financial Stability Facility. Basically, it`s this giant bailout fund, and it could give money directly to whatever country is in need.

One E.U. official said all of the members might be asked to contribute to the fund, even if they don`t use the euro. The problem is some countries who are on it, like Greece, have huge debt issues. And since so many countries use the euro, if one of those economies collapses, it could send shock waves across all of Europe.


AZUZ: Germany`s space agency is tracking part of a satellite that reentered the earth`s atmosphere this weekend. Officials said about 30 pieces of space debris could hit either land or water. So here we go again.


AZUZ (voice-over): The satellite was launched into orbit in 1990. The German aerospace center says the largest part is probably its telescope mirror, which could weigh nearly 2 tons. Experts say it`s not too likely that anyone would get hurt from its reentry. More than 21,000 objects have reentered Earth`s atmosphere since the first satellite was launched in 1957.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mr. Loftus` humanities classes at Stoller Middle School in Portland, Oregon.

Who`s the commissioner of Major League Baseball? You know what to do. Is it David Stern, Bud Selig, Gary Bettman or Roger Goodell? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The home-run choice here is Bud Selig. He`s been the MLB commissioner since 1998. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: There`s something some lawmakers and Commissioner Selig want to ban from the sport: chewing tobacco. A group of U.S. senators is pushing for this. They think it`s a good time to make their case since the World Series is focusing so much attention on baseball right now.

Some players argue they should get to make that decision about whether or not they use the tobacco during games. Mark McKay looks at the impact of chewing tobacco across all levels of baseball.


MARK MCKAY, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Baseball and the use of smokeless tobacco have seemingly gone hand-in-hand for decades.

DANNY HALL, GEORGIA TECH BASEBALL COACH: It`s not just baseball players. I mean, there`s a lot of people that do it throughout our country and but baseball is the one sport that it`s very visible in.

MCKAY (voice-over): For 18 seasons, Danny Hall`s been the head coach here at Georgia Tech, one of the top college programs in the country.

MCKAY: Hall believes more education on the dangers is necessary.

MCKAY (voice-over): Towards that end, he once invited Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey to address the team.

HALL: He had gone through a tremendous battle of chemo and radiation because of smokeless tobacco use and had throat cancer. So he came in and literally brought the mask that he had to wear to do his radiation, and gave a nice talk to our whole team. We, I think, need to do more of that.

MCKAY (voice-over): In addition to college, smokeless tobacco is also banned in professional baseball, but only in the minor leagues, not in the majors. That`s something Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig would like to see changed.

FREDDIE FREEMAN, ATLANTA BRAVES FIRST BASEMAN: It`s better for kids that watch the game, you know. No one wants to bring a child to a game and see this brown stuff come out of a player`s mouth.

You know, someone looks up and their kids might look and say, what is that, and obviously it`s not good for you, cause cancer and all that stuff.

So, you know, it`s a -- I think -- I think they did the right stuff in banning in the -- in the minor leagues for -- to try and weed it out of baseball. But, you know, it`s trying to get rid of the whole thing, it`s going to -- it`s going to take a lot.

CHIPPER JONES, ATLANTA BRAVES THIRD BASEMAN: Certainly you don`t condone the use of smokeless tobacco or any kind of tobacco. But like I said, I pay my own bills and I should be able to do what I want.

MCKAY (voice-over): Any major league rule against using smokeless tobacco would have to be approved by the players` union, which could be difficult.

HALL: I think the sad part is that you see a lot of youth coaches that do it, probably even youth players that do it, and how it`s acceptable to do that when, you know, no coach would advocate, you know, letting his players smoke cigarettes out here during a game.

MCKAY (voice-over): Mark McKay, CNN, Atlanta.


AZUZ: Usually you make a reservation for a seat at a restaurant.


AZUZ: But if you want to order this behemoth, you gotta make a reservation for the food. It`s a 350-pound burger, and they`ll really make it for you if you give them 72 hours` notice, though the owner says no one`s ever finished one. I mean, come on. This burger`s piled high with fixin`s but it`s also packed full of calories, 540,000 of them.


AZUZ: So while it might be tasty, if you`re trying to eat healthily and considering ordering it, you might be biting off more than you can chew. We know some of you find our puns hard to swallow, but you just can`t have a "beef" with that one. We`ll "meat" again tomorrow for more CNN Student News.