CNN Student News Transcript: May 21, 2010

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR:We know that Fridays are awesome, but you know what today's show could use? A mascot! And we've got one coming up for you in about eight minutes. I'm Carl Azuz. Let's get to it.

First Up: Gulf Oil Spill

AZUZ: First up, top kill. It sounds like something pretty bad. Officials are hoping it'll do something good, though: stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. The top kill -- it's also called a "dynamic kill" -- is something we mentioned earlier this week. You basically clog up the well with a special kind of mud. BP, the company that owns the well, has been trying a bunch of ways to deal with this leak. One strategy is using dispersants, chemicals that help break up the oil. The Environmental Protection Agency is worried about the specific kind of chemical that's being used. It's ordered BP to start using a different dispersant in the next couple days.

The Minerals Management Service is part of the U.S. Interior Department. It's in charge of regulating offshore oil drilling. It's gotten some criticism lately for being too close to the industry it's supposed to oversee. There've been accusations of improper gifts or improper behavior. Ken Salazar is the secretary of the interior. He's in charge of the Interior Department. He says he's working to clean up the Minerals Management Service, and he's keeping an eye on the different strategies to clean up this oil spill.

KEN SALAZAR, SECRETARY OF U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: If something doesn't work, you need to immediately fall back to other alternatives. We, every day, are on top of BP, relative to the different work streams that they have going on. This particular work stream that they call the dynamic kill is something that should come, according to their schedule, in play on Sunday. That will be an effort to essentially kill the well through the insertion of mud. We're doing everything we can to hold BP accountable, and we will hold them accountable on behalf of the American people.

Blog Report

AZUZ: You've been talking about what you think the worst part of the oil spill is; most of you have discussed its impact on marine life. Listen to what Keenan says: "The thing that will be affected most is the fishing industry. If oil spilled near my town, it would ruin the economy because about 90 percent of it is fishing." From Tara: "Our seafood will become more expensive, and I'm not ready to cut back on my favorite food just yet." Brian says "this spill is becoming eerily similar to the Exxon Valdez spill back in 1989. Once we get this cleaned up," he says, "we're gonna be reluctant to build another oil rig." Aaron thinks "we should get neighboring countries to try to help us in such a bad ecological crisis." Carley notes that "ocean life is the base of the food chain; when we pollute the oceans, we are affecting ourselves too." And Jonathan says "it's obvious the fishing industry is taking a hit. The disaster will damage hundreds of years worth of marine life and the ecosystem."

Economy Check

AZUZ: We have a quick look at some economic headlines for you now, starting with a drop in the Dow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 376 points yesterday. Not good news; the Dow indicates how the whole stock market is doing. Some experts argue that the debt crisis that's happening over in Europe is making investors nervous, and that's causing some of the declines in the U.S. market. Next up, jobless claims. We're talking about the number of people who are filing for unemployment for the first time. The number went up last week for the first time in a month. And finally, a Wall Street reform bill is moving forward in the U.S. Senate. Yesterday, they voted 60 to 40 to end debate and have a final vote on the bill. That could happen within days.

Korean Tensions

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The Yellow Sea is off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Not true. Actually, it's next to the Korean Peninsula. The Iberian Peninsula is in Europe.

AZUZ: It's the Korean Peninsula that's getting a lot of attention right now because of something that happened in the Yellow Sea back in March. A mysterious explosion tore a South Korean warship in half. The ship sank. 46 sailors were killed. It was near part of the Yellow Sea that both North and South Korea say belongs to them. Several countries -- including South Korea and the U.S. -- investigated the incident. The results point the finger at North Korea, that a North Korean submarine launched a torpedo that sank the South Korean ship. The North denied the accusation. The South vowed to respond. Here's why all of this is important. The U.S. has an agreement with South Korea to defend it against any aggression. So, if a military conflict breaks out, the U.S. will have to get involved.

The tension on the Korean Peninsula goes back decades. The Korean War, fought from 1950 to 1953, killed millions of people on both sides. When it ended, the Demilitarized Zone -- or DMZ -- was established as a kind of barrier between the two countries. Eunice Yoon takes us there now.


EUNICE YOON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're on Freedom Highway driving towards the Demilitarized Zone. It splits the North from South Korea, and it's been described once by former President Bill Clinton as the scariest place on earth. After the Korean War, a line was drawn at the 38th parallel, two-and-a-half miles wide, cutting 155 miles across. The DMZ was set up as part of a truce in 1953, but no peace treaty was ever finalized. So, the two Koreas are technically still at war. Here, the Cold War lives. This is the joint security area in the truce village of Panmunjom. This is a very highly controlled part of the DMZ, and only certain soldiers and military officers are allowed here.

This is one of the conference rooms where the United Nations command led by the Americans would meet with the North Koreans, and they would discuss all matters regarding the border and the armistice. These mikes record everything in this room, and they also happen to be right on the demarcation line. So, if I cross over here, I'm in North Korea.

There are reminders of the hostilities. This is the Bridge of No Return. Over there is the North Korean side of the demarcation line. And the prisoners of war, after the Korean War, were brought here and told to choose a side. Once you cross this bridge, you could never go back.

This is the only place where you're going to see South and North Korean soldiers staring each other down. The South Korean soldiers are chosen for their stature, so they look more intimidating. They also are highly trained in martial arts, hence the Tae Kwon Do stance.What's so surreal about this place is that it's become a tourist attraction for both sides. We were just with a tour of U.S. war veterans, and over here, the North Koreans are holding their own tour. And 60 years on, we're still waiting for peace.


Address to Congress

AZUZ: Mexican President Felipe Calderon wrapped up his trip to the U.S. with a speech to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress. On Wednesday, he and President Obama talked about some of the issues that affect both of their countries. President Calderon brought up those same concerns in his speech yesterday. He pointed out the benefits of working together.

MEXICAN PRESIDENT FELIPE CALDERON: Mexico and the United States are stronger together than they are apart. Together, we can renew our partnership to restore stronger and faster economic growth on both sides of the border. A stronger Mexico means a stronger United States.


STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Bisom's intervention class at Fourth Avenue Junior High in Yuma, Arizona! In what city would you find Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and part of the River Thames? You know what to do! Is it: A) London, B) Athens, C) Moscow or D) Vancouver? You've got three seconds -- GO! London, the capital of the United Kingdom, is home to all of these famous landmarks. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

London Mascot Unveiled

AZUZ: London is also home to... these. They're the mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. We promised you a mascot; we never said it'd be recognizable. London is hosting the 2012 Olympics, and it unveiled the face of the games this week: Wenlock -- that's the thing on the left -- and Mandeville. The designer that came up with these guys says they were inspired by the steel that was used to build London's Olympic stadium. He designed them specifically for kids, and says he hopes that the mascots will help connect young people with sports and the legacy of the Olympics.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Well, before we go, you've heard of the leaning tower of Pisa? This is the leaning press box of Giants Stadium. That's leaning pretty far. Don't worry about it; it's not a disaster. It's a demolition! The stadium's being torn down, or pulled down, in this case. The Giants and Jets are moving into a new home next door, and the old stadium's spot is being turned into a parking lot.


AZUZ: So, you've got demolition, you've got a parking lot. Sounds like it requires car-ful planning. You guys keep standing tall; the weekend's just hours away. We'll see you on the other side of it. I'm Carl Azuz for CNN Student News.

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