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New Hope for Greece

Aired February 22, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Well, whether you`re observing Ash Wednesday, George Washington`s birthday or just marking the midpoint of the week, we are glad you`re doing it with CNN Student News. I`m your host, Carl Azuz, bringing you 10 minutes of headlines, no commercials.

New hope for Greece: the country that`s been struggling with severe debt is getting another bailout from other European countries. This is the second deal that Greece has gotten in two years. The latest one is worth $172 billion, and it`ll help keep Greece from going bankrupt.


AZUZ (voice-over): You`ve heard us talk about Greece before. In order to get money from other countries to stay afloat, Greece has had to make deep cuts in government spending, what it pays government workers and how much retirement money they get.

In the short term, Greece will be able to pay some of its debts which have been reduced by the deal. But some analysts are saying this is just a quick fix. It`s not going to help the country in the long term, and if Greece`s economy eventually goes completely under, it could significantly hurt other economies throughout Europe. They`re interconnected.


AZUZ: Well, here`s an example of how a headline you hear on our show can directly affect you. Oil prices are going up worldwide. It`ll likely mean higher gas prices, and part of the reason is the action recently taken by the Middle Eastern nation of Iran. Tommy Andres explains how it factors into what we pay at the pump, and how high gas could get in the months ahead.


TOMMY ANDRES, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Cuts in Iranian oil exports are raising fears that the already rising price of gas could go up higher than first expected. Oil prices surged after Iran announced it`s cutting exports to Britain and France.

ANDRES: This is largely a symbolic move because Britain hasn`t been buying oil from Iran for over a year. France buys only a modest amount. And the reason oil prices spike is because there`s so little spare capacity in global oil markets right now that oil prices spike on the smallest headlines.

ANDRES (voice-over): Iran`s decision was made in retaliation against new sanctions over its nuclear program. Most of the oil the U.S. imports comes from Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. But because oil is an internationally traded commodity, Iran`s decision is increasing prices everywhere.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York says the U.S. needs to take steps now to prevent the rising cost of oil from affecting gas prices.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The Saudis in the Gulf states ought to pump more oil immediately. And that`s what our government ought to do. It ought to tell the Saudis, you know, we`re trying to keep Iran in line by squeezing them economically, but they ought to pump more oil so the price doesn`t go up.

ANDRES (voice-over): Already some states are seeing gas prices above 4 bucks a gallon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s outrageous, but I mean, I guess it is what it is, you know, you got to just keep working harder and hopefully it`ll go down and fluctuate as it does yearly.

ANDRES (voice-over): Analysts say the price of gas could rise on average more than 50 cents a gallon by this summer. That means some states could be looking at as high $5 a gallon gas.

I`m Tommy Andres reporting.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the Shoutout. Which of these Middle Eastern countries is Yemen? If you think you know it, shout it out. Is it, A, B, C or D? You`ve got three seconds, go.

On this map, the letter A represents Yemen, located between the Red Sea and the nation of Oman. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Yemen`s government is categorized as a republic, and what means is that its citizens vote for people to represent them. But until last November, the country had had the same leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, for decades. He resigned after months of protests.


AZUZ (voice-over): And on Tuesday, voters streamed to the polls to decide who to replace Saleh. There was one name on the ballot, that of the country`s former vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a worker with Yemen`s interior ministry was optimistic, calling this a people`s election.

But Hadi became vice president in 1994. So some of Yemen`s citizens are skeptical about whether he`ll be able to fulfill his promises of making Yemen safer and creating more jobs there.


AZUZ: Well, one side effect of the violence going on in Syria, food and medical supplies aren`t getting to the people who need them. Fighting between government forces and the groups opposing them has killed an estimated 9,000 Syrians since last March. Now CNN can`t independently confirm that because the Syrian government has limited what journalists are allowed to do inside the country.

But the International Red Cross has called for a cease-fire. It called for that on Tuesday. And what the Red Cross wants is just a two- hour stop in the violence so that humanitarian aid can be distributed in Syria. CNN`s Arwa Damon illustrates why that is so incredibly crucial.


ARWA DAMON, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): The men call out names, carefully counting out and distributing baby diapers to families huddled in a bunker. Everything here is carefully rationed, including food, which is running short.

Sheikh Amin (ph), who leads the humanitarian effort in Baba Amr tells us that in the last two weeks nothing has come into the neighborhood. Some of what they`ve gathered comes from shops and homes or is salvaged from stores hit by artillery.

"We take the products to distribute so they don`t go to waste," Sheikh Amin (ph) explains. "We keep track of everything we took to reimburse the owners." Moving the staples is an elaborate process.

DAMON: Even an operation like this one, bringing in these basic supplies that residents here so desperately need, has to happen under cover of darkness. They also have to be as fast as possible.

They`ve been quickly calculating exactly what it is that they need to take out for the time being, and they`ve been loading things like babies` diapers, cracked wheat, lentils. But then someone called out, saying, "Oh, should we put cooking oil on the truck?" Well, they`ve run out of cooking oil. In fact, this is pretty much all that they have left.

DAMON (voice-over): All they have left for the thousands trapped in Baba Amr.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

DAMON (voice-over): "There is no food. There is only cracked wheat and rice," this woman at a bunker laments, showing us what bread she has left.

"Look at it. Look at what we are eating," she cries. The shortages are not just confined to Baba Amr. On the outskirts of Homs, there are entire networks in place, just to deliver bread and fuel. War brings out the worst in people, but also the best.

DAMON: Abu Fadi (ph), here is one of the many people who is trying to help others out, by making runs to Damascus to get things like bread, gasoline, cooking oil.

DAMON (voice-over): "But even that takes lengthy planning and great risks," he tells us. "We have people there that we are working with to gather the products," he says, "but it takes time, and the road is very tough. We have to go through the farmlands, getting shot at, just for a bite of bread and a bit of fuel."



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? In the U.S., there`s an infinite amount of capacity to provide cell phone service.

Not legit. Wireless experts do not know exactly what the limit is, but they do agree there is one.


AZUZ: We can`t see the wireless spectrum, but we will probably see the effects of hitting its limits, and that could happen as early as next year.


AZUZ (voice-over): We wireless users can expect more dropped calls, slower data and Internet on our phones, and possibly higher service prices, too. The reason is the skyrocketing demand for video, email and apps for mobile phones. Compared to an old school cell phone, some smartphones use up to 24 times the amount of wireless spectrum. Tablets can use 122 times as much.


AZUZ: With more and more Americans using these devices, capacity for wireless service is simply running out. The good news here is that there are ways to extend the wireless spectrum limit. The bad news is there are no quick fixes to this, and all of those fixes that are available are expensive. So higher service prices could be inevitable.


AZUZ (voice-over): There`s a big debate tonight between the Republican presidential candidates. It`s cohosted by CNN and the Republican party of Arizona, and it`s not only the last debate for the next round of primaries and caucuses, it could be the last GOP debate of the season. Tune into CNN tonight at 8:00 pm Eastern to hear the Republican candidates make their cases live.


AZUZ: And before we go today, how often do you meet somebody who holds an official world record? Not often.


AZUZ (voice-over): That`s why a 16-year-old Vermont high school student made this, what is likely the world`s longest staple chain. He was bored after finishing his science test, so he started a small staple chain, and then he looked up what the world record was. Guinness said that was 422 feet of staples. So the student just went for it. He spent his summer stapling, stringing along 750 feet of heavy metal.


AZUZ: It`s not exactly a strength record, but you could still call him the Man of Steel. Having the patience alone to do that would test anyone`s "metal," but the end result is definitely off the chain. I know. You might be groaning, but the puns are a CNN Student News staple. For now, we`ll clamp it and stamp out a new show for you tomorrow. I`m Carl Azuz.