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STUDENT NEWS

Illinois Presidential Primary Preview; Snowstorm in Arizona

Aired March 20, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: The end of winter brought a huge snowstorm to one U.S. state, but probably not a state you associate with snow. That story`s coming up. I`m Carl Azuz. This is CNN Student News.

First up, voters are casting ballots in Illinois today as that state holds its Republican presidential primary. A lot of experts are describing this as a showdown between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the front-runner, and former Senator Rick Santorum.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Governor Romney just enjoyed a win in Puerto Rico on Sunday. He got more than 80 percent of the vote in the primary there, so he won all of Puerto Rico`s 20 delegates.

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AZUZ: There are 54 delegates up for grabs in Illinois today, and it takes 1,144 delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination. Here`s how things stack up right now.

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AZUZ (voice-over): The latest estimates from CNN shows Governor Romney with 519 delegates. Senator Santorum has 239, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has 138 and CNN estimates U.S. Representative Ron Paul has 69 delegates.

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AZUZ: One thing all the candidates, including the president, have been talking about recently -- gas prices. If you or your parents drive, you know they are on the way up. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline has been rising every day for more than a week now.

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AZUZ (voice-over): It`s currently $3.84. That`s the average. It`s actually more expensive in some places, and cheaper in others, because of the cost of oil, taxes and distribution. The record price was $4.11 in July of 2008.

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AZUZ: Rick Vincent now show us how gas prices are fueling political fire.

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RICK VINCENT, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Prices at the pump climbed steadily beginning March 9th after a few days of slight declines. They rose on the back of soaring oil prices. President Obama put a spotlight on the issue in his weekly address. He outlined his energy policy and knocked Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for campaigning on a promise of $2.50 gas.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices. There just isn`t one. Anyone who tells you otherwise, any career politician who promises some three-point plan for $2 gas, they`re not looking for a solution. They`re just looking for your vote.

VINCENT (voice-over): Campaigning over the weekend, Rick Santorum said high gas prices are leading to inflation, and he says it`s only going to get worse.

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s going to have a ripple effect if $4, and in some places now, $5 a gallon gasoline, and they`re talking $5 and maybe even $6 in some areas.

VINCENT (voice-over): Right now, the highest price nationally is in Hawaii at an average of $4.48 a gallon.

Mitt Romney said the president is not the right person to tackle such problems.

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president learned about the economy by reading about it --

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: -- not by living it. Twenty-five years in business taught me how jobs come and how they go.

VINCENT (voice-over): I`m Rick Vincent reporting.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Coach Streiffert`s economics classes at Waccamaw High School in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. What is the state nickname of Arizona? Here we go. Is it the Land of Enchantment, Desert State, Last Frontier or Grand Canyon State? You`ve got three seconds, now go.

Arizona gets its nickname from its most famous natural feature, the Grand Canyon. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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AZUZ: You might think of Arizona as the Desert State. Its usually warm weather is a big draw for tourists. Not this past weekend, though. While people all over the central and eastern U.S. were enjoying early spring temperatures --

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AZUZ (voice-over): -- parts of Arizona were dealing with this: massive snowstorms. The city of Flagstaff got 10-14 inches of snow over the weekend. Officials were worried about dangerous driving conditions, especially in some of Arizona`s mountain regions.

Around 180 miles of one major interstate was shut down because of the weather. One resident talked about the major shift in temperature, saying, quote, "The other day it was 65 degrees. Next day it`s snowing. It`s crazy."

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The Amazon is the largest rain forest in the world.

Totally true. The Amazon takes up more than 2 million square miles. That`s more than half the size of the entire United States.

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AZUZ: The Amazon takes up about 40 percent of Brazil, which is one of the largest countries in the world. You probably studied rain forests; you`ve learned about how they`re rich in plant and animal life. But that same land can be used for farming as well. Shasta Darlington looks at how Brazil is trying to find a balance between economics and the environment in the Amazon.

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SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN REPORTER: From up here, you can really get a view of the difference between these massive soybean fields and the natural Amazon forest right next door.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): We flew over the native Xingu Park and neighboring farmlands to get a better perspective of a battle that has pitched environmentalists against farmers and ranchers.

Over the last six years, Brazil has cracked down on clearcutting, reducing the rate of deforestation by 80 percent. But some say environmental gains will be undermined by a controversial forest code being debated in Congress.

"It`s a setback without the precedent, after the 23 years of progress we`ve made," says former Environment Minister Marina Silva. The bill eases limits on deforestation and extends an amnesty to some who`ve cut down trees illegally in the past.

The rural lobby in Congress thinks it doesn`t do enough to protect growers who`ve helped turn Brazil into an economic powerhouse. Unable to forge a consensus, the government has repeatedly delayed voting, but it wants the law passed before June, when Rio de Janeiro will host Rio+20, the 20th anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit.

Back in Mato Grosso, farmers like Saulo Cunha are largely supportive.

"I think the forest code will solve a lot of problems," he says. "It`ll legalize producers, who are illegal not because they want to be, but because of external factors."

Under the new code, farmers who broke the law won`t have to pay fines. They can get legal by replanting native trees.

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AZUZ: Well, in the country of Nepal, dozens of kids live in jail. They haven`t done anything wrong, but because of the nation`s poverty levels, when the kids` parents are arrested, kids have to go with them.

One woman saw what was happening and decided to do something about it. That`s why she`s one of this year`s CNN Heroes. Here`s her story.

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PUSHPA BASNET, CNN HERO: In Nepal, when parents have been arrested by the police and the children don`t have a local guardian, some children go to prison with the parents. Before (inaudible) I visited the jail, I was starting my bachelor in social work. I saw a small girl, who just grabbed my shawl and she just gave me a smile. It was really hard for me to forget that.

My name is Pushpa Basnet, and my mission is to make sure no child grows up behind prison walls. In 2005, I started a daycare where the children can come out from the jail at morning and they can go back to the jail at the afternoon.

We have children who are from 2 to 4, and they have coloring, reading, starting five days a week. We started the residential home in 2007. Currently, we have 40 children living out here, mostly above 6 years old.

I don`t get a day off, but I never get tired. The children all call me Mamu. It`s a big family, with lots and lots of love.

When I started this organization, I was 21 years old. People thought I was crazy, but this is what I wanted in my life. I`m giving them what a normal child should have. I want to fulfill all their dreams.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Well, you know about our Shoutouts. But if you`re looking for another way to get your school mentioned on the show, get in on our social media question. If you`re on Facebook, look for it at facebook.com/cnnstudentnews.

We post a new video with a new question every week, and this week it`s about time. Give us the right answer, plus the name of your school and city. You might hear it mentioned on CNN Student News.

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AZUZ: Before we go, how many turtles does it take to set a world record?

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AZUZ (voice-over): The answer? Eight hundred thirty-six. They can`t be regular turtles; they`ve got to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or at least people dressed up like them. That was the goal of this raucous reptilian rally. Everyone who showed up to participate was given a free mask and shirt. It did set a new world record for the largest gathering of Ninja Turtles.

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AZUZ: But if you ask me, that many ninjas in one place sounds like a "sword-ed" affair. I just feel bad for the old record holders, because after losing the title, they`re probably just a shell of their former selves. That`s all the time we have for now, but we will "turtle-ly" be back tomorrow with more CNN Student News. See you then.

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