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Primaries in Michigan, Arizona; Dow Hits 13,000

Aired February 29, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: It`s February 29th, and we are ready to leap into today`s headlines. Hi, everyone, I`m Carl Azuz, coming to you from the CNN Newsroom in Atlanta, Georgia.

First up, the race for delegates. In order to win the Republican Party`s presidential nomination this year, a candidate has to get 1,144 delegates. Here`s where things stood before Tuesday`s primaries in Arizona and Michigan.


AZUZ (voice-over): Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had 127 delegates, 38 for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 37 for former Senator Rick Santorum and 27 for U.S. Representative Ron Paul.


AZUZ: Different states award delegates in different ways. Some of them, like Arizona, have a winner-take-all primary. Others like Michigan`s give out delegates proportionately, proportional to however many votes candidates get.


AZUZ (voice-over): There were 59 delegates up for grabs on Tuesday. The results came in after we produced today`s program, but you can check them out in the "Spotlight" section on our home page.

The Dow Jones industrial average gives investor and analysts an idea of how the entire stock market is doing. When trading ended yesterday, the Dow was over 13,000 points. It was the first time in nearly four years that the Dow has finished a day above that mark. It`s not technically significant, though. It`s more of a psychological milestone for the economy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this legit? A Geiger counter measures the intensity of earthquakes.

Nope. Geiger counters measure radioactive materials. The devices are named for their inventor, nuclear physicist Hans Geiger.


AZUZ: Radioactivity has been a main concern in parts of Japan after the meltdown to the nuclear power plant almost a year ago. The government set up a mandatory evacuation zone around the plant. It was 121/2 miles in every direction.

Kyung Lah was one of the journalists who was allowed a close-up look at the plant recently. Here`s her report.


KYUNG LAH, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): A year after these reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant exploded in a triple meltdown, reporters were reminded this is still one of the most hazardous places on the planet.

We wore head to toe protective gear: full facial respirators and hazmat suits. And then we drove up to the world`s worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

LAH: This is our first look on the ground at the reactors. This is the heart of the nuclear problem in Japan. What you`re seeing over my shoulder are the reactors. There are four of them. The two that you see over my right shoulder, those are two of the reactors that exploded in the early days of this disaster.

When you take a look at the reactors, you can see that they have a long way to go. This is a year after this disaster, and you can see that the force of the explosion crippled those buildings. You can understand how so much radiation spewed from this point when you`re standing here.

LAH (voice-over): An army of 3,000 workers are now work daily in shifts to control the melted nuclear fuel and contain the further spread of the radiation. Inside the onsite crisis management building at the plant, a control center monitors their progress and safety 24 hours a day.

"The highest risk we see still is if something goes wrong with the reactors" says plant manager Takeshi Takahashi. The plant is in cold shutdown, but the nuclear fuel needs constant cooling, and the situation is far from over.

TEPCO says the plant won`t be decommissioned for at least 30 to 40 years. The challenges -- evident as we drive around the Fukushima plant. Debris, still mangled from the tsunami, sits untouched, because of radiation concerns.

These blue tanks and these larger gray ones hold water contaminated with radiation. TEPCO is continuously challenged with finding more space for the water. Work conditions and safety, while they`ve improved since the early days of the disaster, remain a constant concern -- Kyung Lah, CNN, at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mr. Berey`s modern world history class at Grandview Preparatory School in Boca Raton, Florida.

Julian, lunar and Gregorian are all examples of what? You know what to do. Are they calendars, comets, sharks or orange juice? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Julian, lunar and Gregorian are all types of calendars. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: The Gregorian calendar is named after Pope Gregory XIII. He`s the reason why we have 29 days in February this year. He made the rules for leap years; even came up with the name leap year. As for why we add the extra day, we`ll let Karin Caifa handle that.


KARIN CAIFA, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Every four years, these guys get an extra day of spring batting practice.

And these guys get an extra day on the campaign trail.

Well, why do we really need February 29th on the calendar this year? The answer is partly in our manmade calendar, and partly in the way the Earth moves.

GEOFF CHESTER, U.S. NAVAL OBSERVATORY PUBLIC AFFAIRS: It goes around the sun once in 365 and almost a quarter day. Almost, but not quite, so in order to rectify this, we have to periodically add an extra day to the calendar.

CAIFA (voice-over): Geoff Chester is with the U.S. Naval Observatory, the country`s ultimate arbiter of date and time. He says the leap year dates back to Julius Caesar and the Romans. The idea was to keep the summer and winter solstices and the spring and fall equinoxes close to the same day on the calendar each year.

Without an extra day every four years, the seasons would gradually shift, and after enough time, throw our calendar completely out of whack.

In Washington, I`m Karin Caifa for CNN Student News.


AZUZ: Black History Month honors the achievements and contributes of African-Americans, wraps up today. But we asked you to be part of our coverage by sending in iReports on famous figures in African-American history. Here`s what some of you had to say.


WAYLON: In July 1844, Allen was given his license to practice law. And he practiced law until he died at age 78.

MATTHEW: And she helped over 300 slaves evacuate (ph) from their owners. I think that`s great. Harriet Tubman is certainly a part of our rich history.

ETHAN: In 1838, when he ran away from his master and changed his named from Frederick Bailey to Frederick Douglass, because he didn`t want anyone to know that he was a runaway slave.

RYAN: Well, (inaudible) in 1955, Emmett Till was kidnapped (inaudible). This cruel murder opened the eyes to how bad racism was, and he gave (inaudible) testify against his murderers.

JINHUI: I want to talk Rosa Parks, the mother of the Civil Rights movement. She`s an example of courage and fortitude, strength that one`s person`s route can change a road.

RAVEN & BRENDA: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought peacefully yet tirelessly for the betterment of all people, especially minorities.

And hearing impaired is a population that is a minority.

ABDIKAR: Earl Caldwell was a famous journalist that was born in 1935. (Inaudible) documented many things, like the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

KATIE: Katherine was an anthropologist and a dancer. She studied African history and culture and incorporated it into her dances, creating a completely new style of dance. She appeared in numerous movies and directed and choreographed many dances.

COACH CATES` CLASS: Sidney Poitier was one of the most influential and successful African-Americans in black history. He paved the foundation of success for many black actors to come. His acting career started in Broadway and later moved to films.

MYRANDA: He was the first African-American mayor in a white-dominant town. He helped inspire many people to strive for their goals, no matter how impossible they seemed.

AVERY: Guy Bluford was the first African-American up in space. He`s been in space over four times. He clocked in at 688 hours, or 28 days, 16 hours and 33 minutes in space.

JAMES: Mae Jemison was one of the first African-American ladies to go up into space. She was a good inspiration for many people, and she helped a lot of people reach for their dreams.


AZUZ: All right. Before we go today, you`ve heard of "Kung Fu Panda."


AZUZ (voice-over): This is his less well-known cousin, Kung Fu Bear. Not quite as skilled with a staff. It takes him a while to get going in his attempts to twirl the thing around his neck. And at one point he just smacks himself in the head. There you go. It`s got to be a little embarrassing, but he doesn`t let it rattle his cage, just picks the thing right back up and starts over.

He might not have this Kung Fu thing down perfectly --


AZUZ: -- but he`s definitely going to stick with it. Right now he has to do all the work himself, but if he gets famous because of this video, he might have to get a staff. Not a large one, though, just the "bear" necessities. That`s all the time we have for now. Hope you`ll bear with us tomorrow. I`m Carl Azuz.