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Chavez Reelected President of Venezuela; SpaceX Rocket on Its Way to International Space Station

Aired October 9, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz, and this is CNN STUDENT NEWS. Today we are going to be talking about a presidential election, but probably not the one you are thinking of. Ten minutes of commercial free global headlines start right now.

The polls are closed, the votes are counted, and we know who will be the next president of Venezuela. The same person who has held that title since 1999, his name is Hugo Chavez. Chavez was reelected over the weekend, he`ll serve another six year term as the leader of Venezuela. He became the youngest president in that country`s history when he was first elected back in 1998. This election was the closest for Chavez since he first came into power. And there was a huge turnout. Election officials in Venezuela say more than 80 percent of voters went to the polls. Chavez is considered controversial. For example, Venezuela`s biggest trading partner is the United States, but Chavez speaks out against the U.S. a lot, and criticizes American policies. His own policies, especially as economic ones have raised some questions of their own. Chavez is a firm believer in socialism. That`s when the government controls its country`s businesses. He wants to use the money that his country makes from oil to pay for social programs. Venezuela is one of the world`s biggest oil producers, but 35 percent of the country`s population lives in poverty. And as Paula Newton shows us, things could get worse.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does not look like the kind of place that`s about to go broke. Venezuela is the biggest producer of crude in the Western hemisphere, people here roll up and fill up for literally pennies a gallon.

And as the price of a barrel has increased in the last decade, even poor Venezuelans have shared the wealth. Buying up, moving up and logging on. But some economists warn, this is a country hanging on by a fiscal thread.

DAVID REES, CAPITAL ECONOMICS: It really reached the point where the current situation can`t continue.

NEWTON: The problem? The socialist government of Hugo Chavez has been spending and borrowing money at record amounts on everything from building new homes like this behind me, even things like new refrigerators, cheap gas, microwaves, all to give to the poor and the needy of this country.

But the spending binge using petrol profits and foreign loans could live Venezuelans worse off in the long run. Inflation is rampant, and the mighty bolivar may have to be brought down to size, in other words, devalued again.

And for a country that relies heavily on imports, that would likely fuel more inflation already running at 30 percent. On the street, they know that means struggling more to buy less.

Paula Newton, CNN, Caracas.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The International Space Station was built exclusively by the United States and Russia.

They were involved, but they weren`t the only ones. 16 countries helped build the ISS.


AZUZ: There is a rocket on its way to the International Space Station right now. It doesn`t belong to any of those 16 countries. It`s owned by a private company called SpaceX. This isn`t SpaceX`s first trip to the ISS, it won`t be its last. This was Sunday, when the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket made what mission control called a picture-perfect launch. On top of that rocket is a capsule called Dragon. It should link up with the ISS on Wednesday and deliver about a 1000 pounds of cargo. Food, cloths, computer drives, things like that. It`s scheduled to come back to Earth later this month. SpaceX ran a test mission up to the space station earlier this year. NASA is paying the company $1.6 billion to make it dozen re-supply trips up to the ISS. Starting with this one.

Next up, we are heading to the U.S. Supreme Court. Tomorrow, the justices will hear a case about whether race should be a factor in college admissions. Here is the background on this: Abigail Fisher, who is white, wanted to attend the University of Texas, but she didn`t get in. She sued the school saying its admission policies unfairly favor African-American and Hispanic applicants. The case centers on an idea called affirmative action. That`s when a school or a business makes specific efforts to give minority groups better educational or professional opportunities. The University of Texas defends using race as a factor when it makes admission decisions. It says the policy is designed to make the campus more diverse, which it believes improves the level of education. But other groups argue that using race in admission decisions is stereotyping. They also say that having a diverse student body doesn`t guarantee that students will get a diverse experience. The Supreme Court has looked at this issue before. The ruling on this case isn`t expected until some time next year.

But as far as the issue itself goes, what are your thoughts on affirmative action? Specifically, do you think race should factor in the college admissions? We`d love for you to tell us on our blog at We can only publish first names, though. So, any comments that have last initials or schools will not get on the blog, they`ll not get on the show.

Yesterday was Columbus Day. Today is Leif Ericson day. Both named after explorers, and kind of for the same reason. Leif Ericson was a Viking, and around the year 1000 he landed in North America. Leif Ericson day pays tribute to the Viking explore and to the ways America has been shaped by the Scandinavian culture he came from. Some people mark the event with sailing demonstrations like this one, October 9th was picked because that`s when a group of Norwegian immigrants landed in America in 1825.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today "Shoutout" goes out to Ms. Nichols` history classes at Legacy High School in north Las Vegas, Nevada. 86,400 seconds equals one what? You know what to do. Is it a day, week, month or year? We`ll give you three seconds to figure it out. Go!

60 seconds times 60 minutes times 24 hours equals 86,400 seconds in a day. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.


AZUZ: All right now. Cesar Kuriyama isn`t keeping track of all 86,400 seconds. He is just focusing on one. Recording one second every day for the rest of his life. And one second might not sound like very long. We have actually been talking about this story for around 15 seconds now. But Cesar is hoping that by stringing all of these individual seconds together, it`ll help him look back and remember.


CESAR KURIYAMA: This project is about looking back on the days where I made a mistake, right, did something wrong. Or I feel regret. And learning from them. And I find that if -- if without a project like this, I`ll not learn from my mistakes because I`ll so easily forget them.

The one second every day project was something that originally started out as the way for me to chronicle my year off from work. But really quickly after I started, I realized that it was helping me in many more ways. It was allowing me to realize that I could remember every day that I`ve lived, it was allowing me to give it a zoom out from -- from the past month and realize oh, wow, like I, you know, I set around a lot this month.

The first three months were kind of discovery, kind of figuring out the project and realizing what it was doing for me, and there was a couple of moments where I forget to record the video, and that made me realize that the reason I forgot was because I wasn`t really doing anything interesting that day. And if you are not doing anything interesting, you just kind of -- don`t think about maybe taking a photograph of that moment, or taking a video of it.

I learned from those mistakes. Those two mistakes are painful to see on screen, but those two mistakes let me basically never forgetting to do this ever again, because I can remember how it felt at that moment. And that`s -- that`s what this project is about. I instantly decided to do it for the rest of my life, and realized that the benefits were far greater than the amount of work I needed to put into it.

It`s a very powerful project for me, and I really do think that putting something together like this for your own personal life, not necessarily again to show other people what your life was like, but so you yourself can remember what you`ve done over the years, is -- it could be very beneficial to anyone.


AZUZ: Before we go, some would say, it`s a little early to be talking about Halloween costumes, so we won`t because these get ups got nothing to do with trick or treating. These panda imposters are actually panda trainers. They train to move one of the real bears from a nature reserve in China out into the wild, but in order to catch the big guy, they have to trick him by dressing up like his bear buddies. You think there`ll be a way for them to avoid all this deception, but I guess situation just isn`t black and white.

We`d better hope he doesn`t find out while he still has a chance to run, though, because that could turn into sheer pandemonium. Have we got time for one more pun? Just barely. That`s all for CNN STUDENT NEWS, we`ll see you tomorrow, bye-bye.