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Occupy Movement Enters Third Month; Chess in Azerbaijan

Aired November 18, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Friday`s are awesome. We appreciate you spending part of yours with CNN Student News. My name is Carl Azuz. I`m coming to you from the CNN Newsroom here in Atlanta, Georgia.

First up, Occupy Wall Street heads into its third month of protests.


AZUZ (voice-over): Back in September, organizers urged people to gather in New York City for a couple months of protests. Now the movement has spread to other cities around the U.S. It doesn`t look like it`s ending any time soon.


AZUZ: Even though we`re two months into these protests, we still don`t know what the protesters` demands are. They`re speaking out against the U.S. financial industry. They`re also speaking out against a lot of other things. And there`s no one leader, either. Christine Romans gives us some idea of what this whole Occupy Movement is about.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN REPORTER: This has lasted much longer than any other protest I`ve ever seen on Wall Street, and I`ve seen a lot of sit-ins and protests and marches. This is definitely -- one has more legs than any that I`ve ever seen.

ROMANS (voice-over): Occupy Wall Street has been trying to raise awareness of this growing income gap, this growing opportunity and wealth between the richest people in America and the rest of us, the 99 percent, they say.

They`re protesting inequality, lack of opportunity, a jobs market that`s not working for everyone, too much student debt, and kind of they feel like they`ve been sold a bill of goods.

ROMANS: . that they`ve taken out all this student debt for a place in an economy that`s not giving them a job that`s going to help them pay off that student debt. What they`re protesting, they`re protesting business as usual.

ROMANS (voice-over): . in Washington and business in -- as usual on Wall Street. Both of those two big institutions, two big power structures in America.

ROMANS: . that they think have conspired to make the wealthy wealthier, and not serve the middle class and poor people.

When you talk to them, they say, we`re not going to draw up a specific list of demands.

ROMANS (voice-over): We`re here to draw awareness to the numbers that don`t lie, that the rich are getting richer, the middle are barely holding on and the poor are getting poorer.

ROMANS: . and that there are just fundamental unfairnesses that have to go with greed in banks and greed in Washington that make this continue.

The richest 1 percent of Americans made $343, 000 last year or more, according to the IRS. That 1 percent has seen its income triple from 1979 to 2007. At the same time, the middle class has seen its income up about 40 percent, and the poor, the very bottom of that income, has barely seen it move. So you`ve seen a widening income gap, the biggest, widest income gap we`ve seen in this country in 70 years.

More than punishing the 1 percent, what they`re saying is we are the 99 percent. What about us?

ROMANS (voice-over): We are a bigger group. We can be strong.

ROMANS: We can stand here and occupy some place and show you and raise awareness that your policies are not benefiting everyone. They`re only benefiting a few. So rather than indicting the top 1 percent -- and there are those who do that -- but they`re really trying to turn the focus on the 99 percent, who they say have been left behind.


AZUZ: Yesterday was the two-month mark since the beginning of Occupy Wall Street. Organizers called for people to make it a mass day of action. Before it got started, New York officials talked about balancing the protesters` rights with the need to keep things under control.


HOWARD WOLFSON, NEW YORK DEPUTY MAYOR: The Occupy Wall Street movement has said that this is going to be a massive protest. There are going to be tens of thousands of people in the street.

Now this is New York. We will be prepared. We are always prepared. This is a place where we honor the First Amendment, where people come and protest all the time. And we`re going to make sure that if people want to peacefully protest, they`re going to have the right to do that. If people break the law then, obviously, we`ll deal with that.

AZUZ (voice-over): And it was a massive protest. Hundreds of people went back to the park that Occupy Wall Street used as a home base before they were kicked on Tuesday. They marched through the streets near the New York Stock Exchange. Fights broke out between protesters and police. At least 175 people were arrested. Police said several officers were also injured during the day.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this legit? The day after Thanksgiving is known as Green Friday.

Not legit. It`s called Black Friday, because it`s when stores hope to make enough sales to get "in the black," which means to make a profit.


AZUZ: If you`ve been brave enough to hit the mall on Black Friday, you know just how crowded things can get. The National Retail Federation estimates that more than 150 million Americans will go shopping over Black Friday weekend.


AZUZ (voice-over): Stores are trying to get a jump on making those sales. Target, Best Buy and Macy`s are planning to open at midnight. And the day before Black Friday, Walmart will let shoppers in at 10:00 p.m. It`ll be 9:00 p.m. for Toys `r` Us.

The day before Black Friday is Thanksgiving, and that`s not going over so well with some of these stores` employees. At least one started a petition to try to get his store to open later so that employees can have more time with their families.

Some shoppers are on board with this Black Friday backlash as well, but these early openings can also mean big business, and other customers consider shopping part of their Thanksgiving holiday tradition.

So, shopping might be the answer for some of you on our blog question today. We`re asking about your unique Thanksgiving traditions. Running a turkey trot? Hitting the mall at dawn on Black Friday? Maybe guessing how much stuffing you can gobble up? The holiday`s less than a week away now. So we know it`s on your mind. Share your favorite traditions at



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Durgin`s social studies classes at Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro, Maine.

Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue are all famous for what? You know what to do. Is it climbing Mt. Everest, directing movies, winning Pulitzer prizes or playing chess? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The three are known for their accomplishments in chess. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: So here in the U.S. many of us dream about playing baseball or football. But in the Asian nation of Azerbaijan, many young people dream about following in the footsteps of their fellow congressman, Garry Kasparov.

Azerbaijan is smaller than the state of Maine, but it`s making a name for itself in the world of chess. Check out this report from Jim Boulden.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Taking notes, learning to think two and more moves ahead, talking tactics with friends, these young women dream of becoming chess grand masters.

In a country where older citizens enjoy backgammon, the younger generation have focused on chess. Remembering Baku-born Garry Kasparov, who dominated chess during the dying days of the Soviet Union.

And soon a new chess palace, a place for the country`s prodigies to gather, to learn and look for new ways to say "checkmate," like this 22- year old. She represents Azerbaijan against the likes of Iran, Russia, Georgia and Turkey.

BOULDEN: Why do you like chess? Why do you think people in this country play so much chess?

NERGIZ UMUDOVA, CHESS PLAYER: Because it`s interesting game, wonderful.

BOULDEN (voice-over): Grand master Gadir Guseinov is currently the fifth-ranked male player in Azerbaijan, and just out of the top 100 in Europe. The men`s national team was European champions in 2009, and is currently ranked 10th in the world. And Azerbaijan`s youth teams are showing plenty of promise, too. In early November, its under-16 boys finished fourth, just after Iran in the World Olympiad.

Becoming the kings and queens of the chessboard is a matter of pride for Azeris -- Jim Boulden, CNN, Baku, Azerbaijan.

AZUZ: Before we go, we are bringing you a unique dog with a unique skill.


AZUZ (voice-over): Oh, sure a lot of dogs love water. But Bob`s (ph) aquatic adventures make you look beneath the surface. This spiral dive is how he gets there. Bob (ph) works his signature spin move to get his favorite toy from the bottom of the deep end. His owner discovered the skill when Bob`s (ph) toy accidentally fell in, and the dog didn`t want to wait for someone else to get it for him.


AZUZ: So we guess he "pooled" his courage and just dove in without "paws." Thanks for that special stunt. Bob`s (ph) "tail" is sure making a splash, but we`re going to stop before these puns spiral out of control.

We hope you have a great weekend. We will be back on Monday. CNN Student News will be broadcasting next Monday and Tuesday. So we`ll see you then, either online, on TV or on iTunes. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.