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Charles Taylor Sentenced to 50 Years; Mitt Romney Officially Wins GOP Nomination

Aired May 31, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET




GROUP: CNN Student News starts now. Take it away, Carl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t forget our Shoutout.



CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: How could I after that awesome iReport? Thanks to Mr. Wybul`s (ph) class for that introduction, and thanks to all of you for spending this last day of May with CNN Student News.

First up today, a 50-year prison sentence for Charles Taylor, the former leader of Liberia. Taylor was found guilty by an international criminal court last month. He`s the first former world leader since World War II to be convicted of war crimes.


AZUZ (voice-over): Taylor was president of the African nation of Liberia from 1997 through 2003. during that time, he was accused of being involved with the civil war in a neighboring country, Sierra Leone. The charges included murder, slavery and forcing people younger than 15 to fight in the conflict.

A special court in The Netherlands handed down Taylor`s sentence yesterday. The judge says Taylor was responsible for, quote, "aiding and abetting some of the most brutal crimes in human history." The former Liberian leader is appealing his conviction.


AZUZ: International anger about what`s going on Syria is growing. The United Nations Security Council is looking for ways to pressure Syria`s government to stop the fighting that`s gone on for more than a year now. Thousands of people, most of them civilians, have been killed in this violence.


AZUZ (voice-over): There`s anger inside Syria as well. This protest was in the city of Houla. That`s where more than 100 Syrians were killed last Friday in what some people describe as a massacre. One big question is what the international community can do about this.

No country is openly pushing for military action. Some have spoken out against the idea. Others say it should be an option. Some officials say right now the situation in Syria is at a tipping point.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s first Shoutout goes out to Coach Ivy and Coach Guerra`s civics classes at Manor High School in Manor, Texas.

What city is hosting this year`s Republican Party National Convention? Is it Charlotte, North Carolina; St. Paul, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado or Tampa, Florida? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Tampa is hosting the Republican National Convention at the end of August. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: During that convention the Republican Party will officially name its presidential nominee. That is now almost certain to be Mitt Romney. This week the former Massachusetts governor unofficially won his party`s nomination, thanks to the Texas primary. Governor Romney has been winning delegates and primaries and caucuses since January.

Tuesday`s win in Texas put him over the so-called magic number of 1,144. That`s how many delegates it takes to win the Republican nomination this year.

One of the people who offered congratulations to Mitt Romney, his opponent. President Obama called Governor Romney about the milestone yesterday. The president will officially be named the Democratic nominee at that party`s national convention. That`s taking place in Charlotte in September.


The states hosting those conventions and others along the U.S. East Coast are dealing with rain and wind from Beryl. This is the same severe weather system that we reported on earlier in the week.


AZUZ (voice-over): Wednesday evening, Beryl was no longer a tropical depression, even though it was losing strength, it was still raising concerns, though, because in addition to the wind and the rain, Beryl was also causing dangerous rip currents.

One person was swept away in Florida on Monday. Around 170 other swimmers had to be rescued from the surf over the weekend. Forecasters said rip currents were a threat along the coast from Florida up through North and South Carolina.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for a Shoutout Extra Credit.

What city has the largest subway system in the United States? You know what to do. Is it Boston, Chicago, New York or Washington, D.C.? Put another three seconds on the clock and go.

New York didn`t have the first U.S. subway system, but it definitely has the largest. That`s your answer and that`s your Shoutout Extra Credit.


AZUZ: New York City is in the process of making that subway system even bigger. It`s adding a new line as part of the city`s first major subway expansion in 50 years. New York transportation officials say once it`s done, the new line will help reduce overcrowding and delays. But that`s doesn`t happen quickly and that doesn`t happen cheaply. Ali Velshi looks at what`s involved.


ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: Backhoe excavators that can cost $700,000 apiece, manlifts that sell for up to half a million bucks, see that hydraulic drill jumbo? They can go for 800 grand a pop. These are the machines of modern-day civil engineering. New York City has them working full speed ahead on its new Second Avenue subway line.

Subways are expensive. Just to give you a sense of perspective, way back when the first subway in Manhattan was 21 miles, and it cost $35 million. This one, about a mile and a half, for about $4.5 billion. That`s more than a billion dollars a stop.

And that`s just for phase one. We went digging 10 stories below Manhattan to find out what goes into the bottom line on a new subway line.

MICHAEL HORODNLCEANU, PRESIDENT, MTA CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION: It`s a bargain. (Inaudible) a bargain, $800,000 a pop.

VELSHI: The most massive piece of equipment used is the tunnel boring machine. The last time New York built a subway it used the cut-and-cover method, digging from street level. Boring is much more efficient and it disrupts life above ground a lot less.

TOM PEYTON, PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF: The one that did this is 22 foot in diameter, a little over two stories tall. It can go on average about 50 foot a day.

VELSHI: One of these things costs $12 million and requires 20 people to operate it. At 50 feet a day, boring two mile-and-a-half tunnels takes a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this is a linear project.

VELSHI: Right.

HORODNLCEANU: You must do the tunnels before you do this.

VELSHI: And highly specialized laborers are the ones doing that. Sandhogs or urban miners work alongside operating engineers who drive and maintain the machinery.

PEYTON: On average, we pay a guy about $1,000 a day, and that`s base salary plus benefits.

VELSHI: It`s putting people to work in a tough economy. The Metropolitan Transit Authority expects phase one of the subway -- that`s 31/2 stops and a tunnel and a fourth stop -- to create 130,000 jobs with an economic impact of almost $18 billion over the nine years of construction.

New Yorkers keep asking why this takes so long.

HORODNLCEANU: It is normal.

VELSHI: It is what --

HORODNLCEANU: It is normal. It is what it takes.

VELSHI: All the while, Americans are footing the bill, no matter where they live.

HORODNLCEANU: Second Avenue, right now, $1.3 billion come from the federal government and the rest of $3.15 billion comes from New York.

PEYTON: And in 2016, when we swipe our card and ride their first train, it`s going to feel real good.


AZUZ: All right. It`s time to have a little fun. Several works ago, we asked you to send us iReports of any questions you had for me. We had a great response to this. The full interview is up and ready to watch at You`ll find it in the "Spotlight" section. If you want to know who comes up with all the puns, go there. If you want to see a sample of what this is all about, watch here.


MEGAN RINKE, IREPORTER: Hi, my name`s Megan, and I`m wondering, is this really what you wanted to do when you grew up? I mean, as a kid, did you really want to be an anchorman? Or what else did you want to do?

AZUZ: As a kid, Megan, I had no idea what I wanted to do. At one point, I thought I might want to be a milkman, just delivering milk and saying hey to everybody -- not very lucrative these days.

So when I started working in news, I thought my first career goals were to be a writer and producer, which I eventually became. But after doing that for a while, I started thinking to myself, I don`t want to be the guy to just write what`s going on in the news and have somebody else tell you about it.

I`m a talker. I spent time in detention for talking when I was in school. I want to be the person to tell you guys what`s going on in the world. So it was really after I started working in news that I really started focusing on becoming an anchor.


AZUZ: All right. Before we go, where does a large bear go to cool off?


AZUZ (voice-over): Just about anywhere it wants to, like a family`s Infinity pool in California. Two sisters spotted the ursine intruder in their back yard, and they decided to start shooting video -- from a safe distance, of course. They said they weren`t too worried since the bear wasn`t causing a commotion. In fact, at one point, it just sat on the pool`s built-in stools and just seemed to enjoy the view.


AZUZ: Why a pool? Well, you might have expected a bear to hang out at the "maul." The sisters said they expected to just drink the water, you know, take a few laps. The family could try to sue the animal. They`d have, of course, to file a bathing suit.

Not sure how the bear would hire a lawyer, though. It would have to pool its resources. The "pun-tential" of this story stretches to infinity but we "bear-ly" have anytime left. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz. Have a great day.