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Following the Iowa Caucuses; Examining the International Dateline; Iran`s Nuclear Ambitions

Aired January 4, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Last week an entire day vanished somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean. You`re going to find out why in the next 10 minutes. I`m Carl Azuz, this is CNN Student News, the Iowa caucuses, the big U.S. political story this week, yesterday, Republican presidential candidates made their final push for support.


FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was going to get everyone back to work. He was going to repair the nation and repair the world. Extraordinary promises -- but there`s a huge gap between the promise and the delivery.

FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At the election level, I think I`m the only person who can take on Obama`s billion-dollar campaign and defeat him head-to-head in debates in a decisive way.

GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This election is about stopping a President of the United States and his administration that is abusing the Constitution of this country, that is putting America on a track to bankruptcy. And, folks, we are going to take America back.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I want to do, too, is bring down the price of a gallon of gas. Gasoline was $1.79 a gallon the day that Barack Obama became president. We can get it back to that again because the United States is the number one energy resource-rich nation in the world.

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If liberty is the most important issue, the most important responsibility of government is to protect liberty, and not to be the policeman of the world and not to have a runaway welfare state.

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president is the most dangerous commander in chief we`ve seen since Jimmy Carter. And that`s why this election is not just about the economy. It is about the security of our country, and we need a leader who understands how to make that security for each and every one of you.


AZUZ: All right. That`s what the Republican candidates were doing yesterday. But what about the voters? What happened when they gathered for those caucuses? Tom Foreman explains how this process works in Iowa.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): When the Democrats do it, there is debate, horse trading, a real raucous caucus. But the Republican caucuses all around the state are much more low-key.

Step one, show up. Any voter can take part as long as he or she is already a registered Republican or willing to become one at the door.

Step two, listen up. After the Pledge of Allegiance, caucusgoers hear speeches from people representing the candidates. They can be from in- state or out, big names or small town folks. They make a quick pitch for their pick.

Step three, mark it up. Pieces of paper are passed out, attendees write down a candidate`s name and the ballots are collected. It is more or less a secret vote, depending on the formality of that caucus site.

And step four, count them up. The votes are added and a winner is declared.

FOREMAN: That`s about it. Delegates to the national convention will be chosen later, and they`re not bound to the results of the caucus. So it`s really more like a high-powered poll. And yet many political analysts say it really does matter.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Because candidates who finish at or near the top are often given credit for having stronger organizations, more solid core support and better chances at winning in other states down the line -- Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


AZUZ: Well, as you can see, it is a busy newsroom behind me. And when we recorded today`s show, the Iowa caucus results hadn`t come in yet. To get them, go to, check out the "Spotlight" section and click on "CNN Election Center." That`s where you can see the results, find out how the candidates did, and you`ll hear us discuss that tomorrow on CNN Student News.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this legit? The Strait of Hormuz is located off the southern tip of South America.

Not legit. The Strait of Hormuz is in the Middle East between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.


AZUZ (voice-over): Straits are narrow passageways that connect two bodies of water. The Strait of Hormuz connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman. That land to the north? That`s Iran.

AZUZ: About 20 percent of the world`s oil goes through the Strait of Hormuz. U.S. Navy also uses it to move ships through the region. American officials have dismissed a threat from Iran to close the strait. It`s part of the recent tension between the countries that Chris Lawrence covers in this report.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Iran test-fired a new radar-evading missile Monday and announced a step forward in its nuclear program. Some say it`s Iran`s way of firing back at President Obama`s new sanctions, which could make it virtually impossible for Iran to sell its crude oil.

KARIM SADJADPOUR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: Iran is trying to say that outside pressure isn`t going to soften its behavior. It`s going to --

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Analyst Karim Sadjadpour has interviewed dozens of senior Iranian officials and clerics. The missile test followed Iran`s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, where 20 percent of the world`s oil passes. It also announced it had produced its own uranium fuel rods, all as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to visit Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba.

Some Republican contenders see a direct threat in Iran and its surrogates forging ties in the United States` back yard.

SANTORUM: I`m very concerned about the militant socialists and their -- and the radical Islamists joining together, bonding together.

ROMNEY: Right now, Hezbollah, which is working throughout Latin America -- in Venezuela, in Mexico, throughout Latin America, which poses a very significant and an imminent threat to the United States of America.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): But some analysts say there`s little appetite for Iranian ideology in South America.

SADJADPOUR: We unnecessarily exaggerate the extent of Iran`s global influence.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Sadjadpour says Iran doesn`t have the naval ships needed to blockade the Strait of Hormuz. And it needs those shipping lanes as much as anyone. He sees Iran as more bluster than battle-ready.

SADJADPOUR: But there is a concern that the hardliners in Tehran will try to provoke some type of military attack on themselves for domestic political expediency, and that`s a trap which the United States and Israel should be careful about walking into.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. McClain`s students at St. Joseph Regional School in Summers Point, New Jersey.

Where would you find the International Date Line? You know what to do. Does it run through the Atlantic Ocean, China`s Gobi Desert, the Pacific Ocean or the Sea of Tranquility? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The International Date Line runs through the Pacific Ocean. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Some interesting facts about the International Date Line: one, it separates days on the calendar. Cross the line, it`s a different day. Two, it`s made up. Officials decided where it should go in order to sync up time with the movement of the sun. And, three, it moves, like it did this weekend. You know how we feel about Fridays here on CNN Student News.

AZUZ (voice-over): One Pacific Island nation was willing to sacrifice a Friday and hop over the International Date Line. All it took was a little time -- about 24 hours.

Samoa: a Pacific Island nation about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand just skipped an entire day. The tiny nation jumped right from Thursday to Saturday. Here`s why: it switched sides of the International Date Line at midnight last Thursday. So at 11:59 pm on Thursday, Samoa was east of the date line. And then at midnight, it switched sides. So at 12:01 am, it was west of the date line, and it was Saturday morning.

The Samoan prime minister says the move puts the nation on the same side of the line as its key trading partners in New Zealand and Australia.

TUILAEPA MALIELEGAOI, SAMOAN PRIME MINISTER: We can now have five working days a week to continue and sustain our economic and commercial contacts with our business partners in New Zealand and Australia, China and Japan, and vice versa. Very simply before the change, we`d only have four working days out of seven days a week.

AZUZ (voice-over): In 2009, Samoa switched from driving on the right side of the road to the left to further align itself with Australia. So as of Saturday, Samoa was just three hours ahead of Sydney instead of 21 hours behind.


AZUZ: Before we go, surfing on waves is cool.


AZUZ (voice-over): Surfing above waves is awesome. This guy calls this device a flyboard. The water comes from a jet ski and then goes through a hose to a platform he controls with his feet. He added the hand jets for better stability, kind of like Iron Man.

He`s hoping to start selling these things later this year, but this was just a one-man demonstration. So if anyone lined up to give it a try, well, they got "hosed."

AZUZ: We`re sure once the flyboard does go into production it`ll make a big splash, or least it`ll cause some waves in the extreme sports industry. Well, it`s time for us to jet. We`ll see you tomorrow on CNN Student News.