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Election Results from France and Greece; Shaquille O`Neal`s Favorite Teacher

Aired May 11, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET




SHAQUILLE O`NEAL, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Hi, I`m Dr. Shaquille O`Neal, and you`re watching CNN Student News.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: You know, Friday`s are awesome when I get to name-drop somebody like Dr. Shaquille O`Neal at the beginning of the show. He is going to be passing along some more information later on, but first up today, we`re looking at some economic options.

We started this week with election results from France and Greece. Both countries are getting ready for a shift in political power. They`re not the only ones.

More than half a dozen other European nations have had some change in government recently. And a lot of it has to do with how those countries` leaders have handled economic struggles. Ali Velshi breaks down two different ways the governments can try to turn things around.


ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: Growth is a very tricky value-laden word right now. Every economy wants and needs growth. But there are many ways to get there. Stimulus can produce growth. Austerity can produce growth. Cutting taxes can produce growth. It`s very tricky and not every example is the same.

It`s hard to compare. Some people hold austerity out on one side and stimulus out on the other, when in fact, most solutions probably lie somewhere in the middle.

Austerity is a program where a government cuts back on its spending. It either cuts back on benefits or payments to its citizens or payments to its businesses in order to get its debt under control. Governments don`t typically like to impose austerity, because voters don`t like austerity.

Voters, citizens, like getting money. They like getting benefits from their government. They like to have retirement kick in at some point. So governments don`t tend to impose austerity until it`s absolutely necessary. But in many cases, it`s to show creditors that a government has discipline. In many cases, it`s to balance the budget because no more money is available.

In many cases, it`s about paying down debt because it would take too long to pay that debt down if austerity measures weren`t brought in.

Stimulus is when a government gets involved to transfer money or things like money to its citizens or its businesses to stimulate the economy. An economy works because there`s demand. People work. They earn money.

With that money, they go and buy things. With the money that they use to buy things companies expand, hire more people. Those people have money. They go out and buy things. That is the virtuous circle of demand. Well, the way you stimulate that is if people have money. That is stimulus. Austerity is not stimulus.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Obando and all the students and teachers at Rachel Carson Middle School in Herndon, Virginia.

What city hosted the first modern Olympics? You know what to do. Was it London, Rome, Athens or Cairo? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the ancient Olympics, hosted the first modern games in 1896. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Greece is always the starting point for one of the traditions associated with the Olympic Games.


AZUZ (voice-over): The tradition? The lighting of the Olympic Flame. This ceremony yesterday marked the start of a new Olympiad. It was held in the ruins of an ancient temple in Greece, with an actress playing the part of the traditional high priestess.

After the flame was lit, it hit the road. The torch relay will wind its way toward the United Kingdom over the next week. Then it`ll go on an 8,000-mile journey around the country before it eventually arrives in London for this year`s Summer Games.


AZUZ: In 2011, the unemployment rate for U.S. military veterans who`d served on active duty in the past 10 years was 12.1 percent. That`s higher than the overall U.S. unemployment rate, which is 8.1 percent. A new CNN documentary, "Vets Wanted," looks at some veterans` efforts to find jobs as they come back home.

It airs this Sunday at 8:00 pm Eastern on CNN. We have a curriculum guide for it in the "Spotlight" section on our home page. Check out this preview of the special.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve been watching you for the whole year, the whole time you knocked it out of the park over there. And we`re so proud of you and glad to have you home. So let me hear one more big Georgia hoo- ah.

All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming home and finding work, that`s what`s on everybody`s mind right now.

J.R. MARTINEZ, ACTOR AND VETERAN: A federal law called USERRA protects the jobs of National Guard soldiers. Those who had jobs before they left can go back to them but half the soldiers in the 877th are coming home unemployed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you left your job you were supposed to let them know that you were going for military service. Did you all do that?

Some of our soldiers are going on multiple deployments because they don`t have employment in the civilian sector. Others where they work is going out of business so the protections that are in place aren`t applicable. Sometimes they are getting terminated against the protections that are in place.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Ph.D. stands for doctor of philosophy.

Totally true. It`s an educational degree that`s also called a doctorate.


AZUZ: You know, it`s not just philosophy. You can get your doctorate in all sorts of subjects, like English or sociology. A Ph.D. is the highest degree that`s given out by graduate schools.


AZUZ (voice-over): And this Ph.D. might be one of the biggest. Remember at the beginning of today`s show, when Shaq introduced himself as Dr. Shaquille O`Neal? This is why. Last weekend the NBA superstar graduated from Berry University with a doctorate degree in education. His specific focus is on organizational learning and leadership.


AZUZ: Our associate producer, Tomeka Jones, sat down with Shaquille O`Neal earlier this week. She asked him about his new Ph.D., his views on the importance of education and his favorite educators.


TOMEKA JONES, CNN ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and we all know that, at this point, you have had your fair share of encounters with teachers and professors. So can you tell us about the teachers who have been an inspiration to you?

O`NEAL: My favorite teacher, this year recently passed away. Her name was Ms. Swann (ph). I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent, was always in trouble. But she always used to pull me in the room after school and be like, "Baby, you can do it. I know you`re just being silly. I know you`re just wanting attention."

And she would help me with my school work. And then after that, I went to the fifth grade, same high school, Horsman (ph) Elementary in Hinesville, Georgia. And it was a Ms. Davis (ph) there. Now those teachers really showed me the way, really showed me how to study and made me believe that I can do it.

JONES: So tell me like how does it feel to receive a Ph.D. and why is education so important to you?

O`NEAL: Well, one, I did it because, one, I wanted to continue my education and the second reason, I wanted to challenge myself.

And I have six children and, you know, being a professional athlete and making a whole lot of money is fun, but I also wanted to stress to them that education is important. So you know, now when I go to the faculty meeting, it`s not Shaq, the ex-basketball player. It`s Dr. O`Neal. So I just wanted to set a good example for them.

JONES: So education is so important to you, how do you take that on the road with you and encourage other students?

O`NEAL: I like to give them simple slogans. If Shaq can do it, you can do it. The time is now for children to take advantage of learning, because we learn every day. You know, everybody can`t get a scholarship to go to college. Everybody can`t afford to go to college. But there`s trade schools and there`s stuff that you can do online. It`s all about learning and about educating yourself.

JONES: Go back to when you were in middle school and high school and, you know, you come across a bumpy road. You maybe failed a test or somebody upset you. How did you handle that?

O`NEAL: One thing that changed my life from being a bully, I threw a spitwad on a boy one day, and this kid ratted me out. So I beat him up. And then he had a seizure in the middle of the street. He almost died. If it weren`t for this guy that come and saved him, put the pen in his mouth, he probably would have died and I probably wouldn`t be here today. But from that day on it -- that changed me.

JONES: What do you believe are the keys to success?

O`NEAL: To me, the keys of success are just dreaming about it and accomplishing it.


AZUZ: Well, this last story today will get your tail wagging.


AZUZ (voice-over): When these two animals` owner couldn`t afford to keep them, the shelter where they went couldn`t keep them apart. Separated at first, the two "baa-st" friends pined and pawed away for each other until they were reunited. The shelter says whoever adopts them better have plenty of yard space, and they`re not "kid-ding." After all, they`ve "goat" to have a place to run around.


AZUZ: You could call them "beast" buddies, but have you ever heard of something like that? Most people wish they could get their paws on that kind of friendship. The story certainly hit the "bark," and then we`re milking these puns for all they`re worth. It`s time to take the weekend by the horns. We`ll see you "bark" here on Monday, if you don`t dog out on us.

Last thing we`ve "goat" to mention, congrats to Bellevue (ph) High in Washington on your social media trivia win. Bye-bye.