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Puerto Rico Primary; Women`s History Month

Aired March 19, 2012 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A woman was elected to the U.S. Congress for the first time 96 years ago. Today, you`ll meet the woman who`s served the longest on Capitol Hill, as our Women`s History Month coverage rolls on.

First up, though, we`re looking at Puerto Rico as it gets some time in the U.S. political spotlight. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. The people who live there are U.S. citizens. They don`t get to vote in U.S. presidential elections, but they are part of the nominating process.


AZUZ (voice-over): Yesterday, Puerto Rico held its Republican primary contest. There were 20 delegates up for grabs, and there`s an interesting rule about how they get awarded. If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, he wins all of those delegates. No one gets at least 50 percent, then the delegates are awarded proportionately based on how many votes each candidate gets.

The results from Puerto Rico`s primary were still coming in when we made this show yesterday. You can get the latest details by clicking on the CNN Election Center link, and you will find that in the "Spotlight" section on our home page.



AZUZ (voice-over): U.S. time zones: we have them because on this day in history in 1918, they were established by the Standard Time Act.

In 1932, the Sydney Harbor Bridge opened in Australia. More than 150,000 vehicles cross it every day.

In 1953, the Oscars were broadcast on TV for the first time. Now tens of billions of Americans watch the show every year.

And in 2003, a coalition led by the United States launched the first bombings of the war in Iraq.


AZUZ: Officials in Pakistan are considering how their country works with the United States. Pakistan`s parliament is set to start debating this issue on Tuesday.


AZUZ (voice-over): After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Pakistan promised to work with the U.S. to fight terrorism. That included fighting the Taliban, which was based in Afghanistan, Pakistan`s neighbor. There`s been some tension from both the U.S. and Pakistan lately, though. U.S. and coalition forces have raised concerns about terrorist activities and the growing Taliban presence in Pakistan.

Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan, and Pakistani officials have spoken out against airstrikes carried out by coalition forces in their country. Last November, 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by one of those airstrikes along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.


AZUZ: And after that, Pakistan set up a special committee to come up with some recommendations about how Pakistan should interact with the U.S. Those suggestions are what the Pakistani parliament will start debating tomorrow.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Holt`s classes at Westbrook Walnut Grove Schools in Westbrook, Minnesota. Who was the first woman elected to serve in the U.S. Congress? Here we go. Was it Shirley Chisholm, Hillary Clinton, Jeannette Rankin or Condoleezza Rice? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Jeannette Rankin was elected to Congress in 1916 and then again in 1940. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Jeannette Rankin served four years in Congress, two years each time she was elected. Barbara Mikulski has been elected to national office 10 times, five times in the U.S. House of Representatives, five times in the U.S. Senate.

Dana Bash caught up with Senator Mikulski recently to talk about her experiences as the longest-serving woman in Congress.


DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Democrat Barbara Mikulski came to the Senate in 1998, there was only one other woman, a Republican.

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: The hemline is a little different, the hair color. That`s when there were two --

BASH (voice-over): The two forged a bond across party lines. Now there are 17 female senators.

MIKULSKI: We have five Republican women, 12 Democratic women.

BASH (voice-over): Mikulski is now becoming the longest-serving woman in congressional history. To mark it, she invited three other women across parties and generations to her Capitol hideaway to talk to us about what Senate women call their zone of civility.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: She hosts a dinner every quarter of all the women senators and obviously those dinners are highly confidential, but we talk about --


BASH (on camera): Just among us girls --


GILLIBRAND: Well, we talk about our families and our concerns and our lives, and sometimes we talk about what we`re working on. But it`s a very collegial setting.

BASH (voice-over): This subject is especially poignant for Olympia Snowe, leaving the Senate because it`s so polarized.

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R), MAINE: We`re all a team as women. We may not always agree on every issue, but that`s not the point. We knew how to work together and the give and take of it to achieve results. And that`s what frustrates us, I think, many times when we get together for dinner. One thing we can let you in on --

BASH (on camera): Spill it.

SNOWE: -- is that you know we like to get results.

BASH (voice-over): They differ on everything from taxes to energy policy, but generally agree on women`s issues. Ironically this dean of the Senate women learned from an old boy`s network that no longer exists here: get to know each other personally, work better professionally.

MIKULSKI: I won`t always be here. But I hope the legacy of civility that I`ve worked with the other women to create will remain.

BASH (voice-over): Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.


AZUZ: Now about last Friday`s story on a school that`s going without technology --


AZUZ (voice-over): Emily says, "most kids these days only rely on technology -- this is a great idea because it gets kids to think a lot harder."

Hamzeh writes, "without technology, it will be better for students to learn or do research -- they`ve gotten used to technology; you can`t just take it away."

From Brooke, "The way it used to be done worked very well, and I don`t see why society demands that we change it. It would save the school money, and the physical activities would allow students to become more active."

Sammy said, "The 21st century school needs to prepare kids to work with computers and other technology -- in this day and age, we need to teach kids how to succeed in the future, not how to succeed in the past."

Catherine argues, "kids now are way too reliant on technology. Students would have to actually pay attention to the lesson and not just wait `til the last minute and look it up."

And Steve writes, "We have created technology to interact with it. We have it to make life easier, not to ignore its abilities."


AZUZ: Good comments, y`all.

Well, Steve should enjoy this next report. It`s about a robotics conversation in France that features technology designed to make different aspects of life easier. In fact, in order to be part of this show, a machine has to be able to provide a service. Rosemary Church has the details.


ROBOTHESPIAN: Welcome to the stupendous, the tremendous, the greatest show on earth.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): This humanoid robot was one of the stars of the show, singing, even reciting Shakespeare.

ROBOTHESPIAN: To be or not to be, that is the question.

WILL JACKSON, ENGINEERED ARTS LIMITED: Robothespian moves in a human way. He has facial expressions like a person and makes eye contact with you, so you feel engaged with him.

CHURCH (voice-over): Increasing human interaction was a refrain at the robotics summit in Lyon, France. InnoRobo is a conference of mainly European companies showcasing the latest robots, the military, industrial and domestic uses. This one had artificial skin for sensing touch.

GIORGIO METTA, Italian INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: The robot is not only interacting with the fingers, for instance, but can interact with the entire body. And this --

CHURCH (voice-over): Military applications included this Hercules exoskeleton, designed to help soldiers carry heavy loads over difficult terrain. Group Intra (ph) developed this industrial robot that can withstand high radiation levels and other dangerous environments.

And this mechanical arm from Canadian maker Kinova can pour liquid from a flimsy plastic bottle, which is usually tricky for a robotic hand to do. It was designed to help disabled people with basic manual tasks.

FRANCOIS BOUCHER, KINOVA: Imagine, for example, you have a spinal cord injury. You`re now just able to move slightly your neck to control your electric wheelchair. Well, now with the arm, you`re now able to drink by yourself, feed yourself, so that`s really giving back a lot of autonomy to the disabled persons.

ROBOTHESPIAN: "What a glorious feeling, I`m happy again."

CHURCH (voice-over): Rosemary Church, CNN, Atlanta.


AZUZ: All right. It`s normal for basketball fans to suffer a little March Madness this time of year.


AZUZ (voice-over): But the Internet is going absolutely crazy for this video. These guys want to shoot a few hoops, but they needed their friend to bring the ball. Luckily, he`s ready to drop it off from 192 feet -- and he makes it. From that height, the ball is moving up to 100 miles per hour. Talk about an up-tempo game.

How did they get the helicopter to hang around long enough for them to make the shot? Probably had to jump through a few hoops.


AZUZ: Totally worth it, though, because the net result was awesome. All right. I know an air ball when I say one. You enjoy the rest of your Monday. We`ll see you tomorrow for CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.