CNN Student News Transcript: December 1, 2010
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Welcome to the last month of 2010. I'm Carl Azuz and you're watching CNN Student News! 10 minutes, no commercials, delivering headlines from around the world to your classroom. Today, we start in Washington, D.C.
First Up: Slurpee Summit
AZUZ: It's been called the "Slurpee Summit" after the frozen drink. But yesterday's meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders was a chance to talk about how they might work together after a midterm election season that got pretty tense. As a result of the midterm elections, Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives in January; Democrats will still control the Senate. During the meeting, President Obama and Republican leaders said that even though they hope to work together, they have some pretty big differences about what they think is the best way forward. One thing they do agree on: moving forward will involve everyone.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The American people did not vote for gridlock. They didn't vote for unyielding partisanship. They're demanding cooperation and they're demanding progress, and they'll hold all of us -- and I mean all of us -- accountable for it.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER-DESIGNATE: We had a very frank conversation, and it was interesting that both Democrats and Republicans, and the president, understood what the American people had to say on Election Day, I think, pretty clearly.
Food Safety Bill
AZUZ: That wasn't the only thing happening in Washington yesterday. The Senate passed a food safety bill that would give more power to the Food and Drug Administration. The House passed a similar bill more than a year ago. The goal of the bill is to help make the country's food supply safer. This comes after recent recalls on things like lettuce, peanuts and eggs. In some of those situations, the recalls were voluntary and had to be done by the companies that produce the food. With this new bill, the FDA could order the recall directly. Some critics think that the bill is unfair to small farmers. They argue that since most of these recalls are from big companies, the smaller farmers shouldn't have to be held to the same standards.
AZUZ: Another issue in front of Congress: unemployment benefits. This is the money that people get from the government when they've lost their jobs. And for a lot of folks, the last check is in the mail. That's because the deadline to file for extended unemployment was yesterday. About 2 million Americans are expected to stop getting checks in December. Congress could extend the unemployment benefits, but they haven't decided whether or not they want to do that yet. Part of the reason might be the price tag. One proposal to extend unemployment into next year would cost more than $56 billion.
AZUZ: You lit up both our Facebook page and our blog with comments about the proposed DREAM Act we covered yesterday. From Facebook.com/cnnstudentnews: Deanna says what she doesn't like about the dream act is that it's pricey, and she asks where we'd get the money to pass it in a tough economy. Roscoe says the Act could possibly take American students' opportunities away, and asks if the immigrants are trying to get in the military or a college degree, why stop them? Darryn says pros include the chance for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship; cons include filling up college space for people who are already U.S. citizens. You might see a pattern of pros and cons. A lot of people are torn on this. Now we're gonna take you to the blog and McKenna, who writes, "The girl on Tuesday's show was trying to make the world better by going to medical school, and officials are proposing to send her back over. Why? She has every right to stay." And Shae is also on the fence on this one: having a problem supporting illegal immigrants through federal taxes, but seeing everyone as people who should be allowed to follow their dreams. We are getting some excellent comments on our blog. Please keep them coming.
World AIDS Day
AZUZ: Today is December 1st and it's also World AIDS Day. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and it killed nearly 2 million people in 2009. World AIDS Day aims to turn that number around. The event is designed to raise awareness about this disease and how it can be treated and prevented. World AIDS Day also involves events like this one where people visit the AIDS Quilt, a memorial to some of the victims who lost their lives to AIDS.
Is This Legit?
MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The Atlantic hurricane season lasts through the end of the year. Not legit! In fact, it ended yesterday, November 30th.
AZUZ: One thing we want to be clear about: that doesn't mean there can't be any more hurricanes this year. The hurricane season is just when they're most likely to show up. This year, a lot showed up. 12 hurricanes formed in the Atlantic Ocean during 2010. That's the 2nd most ever, and five of those became at least category three storms. 19 storms got names this year, the 3rd most ever. You don't have to be a hurricane to get a name though. Storms are named when they develop into tropical storms. Even with the hurricane season being that busy, not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S. The average is about two of those per year.
AZUZ: Checking out some ups and downs in the U.S. economy. First up, cyber Monday. That's the Monday after Thanksgiving. And on this Cyber Monday, sales were up almost 20 percent higher than last year. That helped make Monday the biggest shopping day so far in 2010. Next, home prices are down. They had been slowly increasing since early 2009, but during July, August and September, prices dropped 2 percent. One analyst says the biggest reason -- you guessed it -- is the struggling economy. Compare that to consumer confidence, which is up. This is a measure of how optimistic people are about the economy. The number is the highest it's been since June. Experts say consumer confidence is still pretty low in general, but the increase might be a hopeful sign.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. McCarthy's and Ms. Pouliot's classes at Westwood Middle School in Blaine, Minnesota! The city of Lagos is found in what African country? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is it: A) Cameroon, B) Chad, C) Egypt or D) Nigeria? You've got three seconds -- GO! Lagos is in Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Most populated country in Africa, and 8th most populated country in the world. That population -- currently more than 150 million -- is getting bigger, especially in Lagos. But the country isn't expanding. In fact, in some spots, the land is actually disappearing. Nima Elbagir looks at one idea that could help solve both problems.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Makoko Slum in Lagos lagoon. At the heart of Nigeria's financial hub, houses on stilts and wooden canoes are a floating home to the thousands who flock here every year to make their fortune.
The Lagos Metropolitan area is spread across a series of islands, which altogether make up around 300 kilometers square. The Lagos' population is around 15 million, and by 2015 it's estimated to hit 25 million. And the obvious question is, where are all those people going to go?
Victoria Island, along its Bar Beach coastline, is some of Lagos's prime real estate. And it's about to get even more upmarket.
DAVID FRAME, EKO ATLANTIC, MANAGING DIRECTOR: It's reclaimed land.
ELBAGIR: It's here that David Frame, the Managing Director of Eko Atlantic, thinks he's found the answer to Lagos' land woes, at least for those who can afford it.
FRAME: Unfortunately, there's just not enough land available for development in Lagos. Eko Atlantic is, in essence, a reclamation project. It evolved from a desire to find a permanent solution to the erosion of Bar Beach and the threatened flooding of Victoria Island.
ELBAGIR: Nigeria, with its population of 150 million, is Africa's largest market, a consumer powerhouse that looks set to overtake South Africa as the continent's fastest growing economy. All that growth is currently being squeezed by the legendary traffic jams and overburdened infrastructure of the country's financial center. Eko Atlantic, ambitious as it is, is only a start.
FRAME: So, this land that we're reclaiming today will be meeting the demands. But in reality, we need more projects like this because the population of Lagos is expanding rapidly.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, what happens when your parents are awesome at building stuff? They can turn your walls into a playground! This is really really cool to look at. If you check it out, it's kind of a complicated idea from the looks of this YouTube video. But as far as we can tell, the marbles move through all sorts of obstacles as they make their way around the room. Some might say that anyone who took the time to set this all up -- and you can see it all the way around the room -- someone's obviously lost his marbles.
AZUZ: But if it makes you happy, it seems like a marble-ous idea. And it definitely rounds out today's show. A marble puns; always smooth. Time for us to roll out. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. See ya later.
CNN Student News Transcript: December 2, 2010
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: How can a video game of sorts help train you for real life? That answer's coming up in this Thursday edition of CNN Student News. Hello, everybody, and welcome! My name is Carl Azuz. Let's get started.
First Up: Debt Panel Report
AZUZ: First up, it's "The Moment of Truth" for some ideas about how to lower the country's debt. Right now, it is gigantic; the U.S. owes nearly $14 trillion. President Obama put together a commission of 18 people to come up with ideas about how to lower that debt. This group is made up of Democrats and Republicans, so it is bipartisan. Yesterday, it released some ideas in a report titled "The Moment of Truth." These ideas include things like cutting spending, changing some taxes, and maybe even holding a one-year income tax holiday. The commission says these proposals could lower the debt by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
Here's the thing: they might not be too popular. Politicians who tend to be more liberal usually are against spending cuts. Politicians who tend to be more conservative might not like some ways it proposes to increase revenues. But just because the commission suggests something doesn't mean it's going to happen. In fact, the commission can't officially make a recommendation to Congress unless at least 14 members vote for it. A lot of experts don't think that's gonna happen, since these ideas are controversial. And even if the recommendations do get made, Congress doesn't have to take them. If they become law, none of the ideas would start until at least 2012.
AZUZ: President Obama seems to be changing his mind about drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Back in late March, he said he was planning to open up the Gulf region to oil and natural gas drilling. Now, he's saying he won't allow any new drilling in parts of the Gulf for at least seven years. A big reason for the change: this, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. It's forcing the government to reconsider safety standards in the drilling industry. This new ban isn't good news to some officials and people who live around the Gulf, though. They say it'll hurt oil and gas workers in a region that's already suffering.
AZUZ: Parts of the U.S. are cleaning up after severe weather brought heavy rains and floods this week. It stretched from the Southeast all the way up to New York and into New England. At least two people were killed. And here in Georgia, roads were closed, trees and power lines knocked down. Officials confirmed that a tornado ripped across the metro Atlanta area. It did the most damage in a town called Buford. That is where Jacqui Jeras is to check out the impact of this storm.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fifty-six homes have been damaged, and this is the worst of it that we've seen. I mean, take a look. This is the roof of the house. This whole thing has just been pushed over and picked up. It's just amazing. If you look over here, you can see there's some clothes that have been fallen over on a clothes rack. This is parts of the roof here. Trees are down. There you can see a desk, as well as a TV monitor. Thankfully, nobody in this house was home at the time. But the dog, the family dog, was stuck in this rubble overnight and was rescued this morning. So, a little bit of good news out of this, in addition to the fact that nobody was injured. Now, living next door, right here in this house -- check out all the damage here -- is Linda. And Linda is the homeowner. And you were actually home during the time of this storm yesterday, Linda. Tell us what your experience was like.
LINDA PEZZANITE, HOMEOWNER: It was just raining, and then it rained harder, and it sounded like, I don't know, just like something, a real major noise. And then I heard a "boom," and I think that was Matt's house. And a board tried to come through the wall, and that's when I took off running into the laundry room and just hung out in there.
JERAS: I'm sure those were some very frightening moments for you. At first, it didn't look like the damage was that bad.
PEZZANITE: No. It wasn't until I actually went upstairs, and then the entire office is gone; the walls, the roof. And then the guest room; the ceiling's gone, the roof's gone from there. Water was running through the electrical outlets, the light sockets, and they're filled with water now.
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Sorenson's social studies classes at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota! What Jewish holiday is known as the Festival of Lights? Is it: A) Sukkot, B) Hanukkah, C) Passover or D) Yom Kippur? You've got three seconds -- GO! Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, lasts for eight days. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: And today is the first full day of Hanukkah. The Jewish holiday began last night at sundown; it runs through sunset next Thursday. Hanukkah is also called the Feast of Dedication, and it celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. One of the most recognizable symbols of Hanukkah is right here: the menorah. This is one that was lit at the White House last year. It holds eight candles -- and one more to light them -- that represent the eight days that the oil lasted during the rededication of the Second Temple.
This Day in History
[ON SCREEN GRAPHIC]
December 2, 1804 -- Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned as the emperor of France
December 2, 1942 -- Enrico Fermi creates the first nuclear chain reaction
December 2, 1988 -- Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Pakistan's prime minister, becoming the first female leader of a Muslim nation
What's the Word?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: What's the Word?
It's a machine that can help train someone by imitating real-life conditions
That's the word!
Simulators Get Real
AZUZ: A lot of you know what to do when you're behind the wheel of an automobile. But do you know how to fly a plane or steer a ship? Some experts think you might be better prepared if you've spent some time on a simulator. Jim Bitterman shows us how these virtual realities can offer some benefits in regular reality.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is the fifth annual simulator exhibition at the Air and Space Museum outside Paris. And while on one level these are games, on another, in order to be here, they have to have a purpose; virtual reality with real applications.
Alain Renier, for instance, was demonstrating a stripped-down version of a ship's bridge used to teach future ship captains how to run everything from a super tanker to a tug boat. Who knows how many petroleum barges could be saved from destruction by keeping unskilled hands off the tiller until they have had a little practice on a simulator. Of course, the most familiar simulators are those used to train pilots. And while virtual flying is a lot cheaper than real flying, a former Air France captain says the real value is in safely learning to confront dangerous conditions.
JEAN GERRY, FORMER AIR FRANCE CAPTAIN: It's extremely important because you can have a situation which is near the crash.
BITTERMANN: So, it gives the chance to sort of push the limits?
BITTERMANN: But these days, simulators are not limited to just aviation. Increasingly, they are being developed for training use just about anywhere. French police say motorcycle drivers with simulator training have far fewer accidents and are, in general, safer drivers than those who don't go have it. And diving instructors say it's much easier to reduce fear about descending into the depths by first taking students into a swimming pool with a SCUBA diving simulator designed to recreate the sights and sounds of the open ocean.
But the more complex simulators aren't cheap. Machines that come the closest to imitating flying, for example, can cost as much as a quarter of what operating a real aircraft might cost. That's why there was much attention paid at this year's gathering to the less expensive but still very real simulators which are dual use. Gaming that is becoming more and more serious as simulation gets closer to reality. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.
AZUZ: Cool! All right, you know we always like hearing what you have to say. And at CNNStudentNews.com, we have a couple different ways for you to say it. Students, you know you can log onto our blog, From A to Z. I've got a new post up for you today. And teachers, spend some time in the CNN Teachers' Lounge. We can't wait to hear from all of you. Hopefully, very soon.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go today, bowling three games in a row is called a series. Bowling three perfect games in a row is called amazing! That's what this guy did. Matt Latarski rolled a perfect 900 this past Saturday. Once that score gets verified, he'll be only the 17th person ever to bowl a perfect series. His previous best was an 814. With that kind of obvious talent, rolling a perfect game...
AZUZ: ...you could say it was right up his alley. The accomplishment certainly bowled us over. No more time to spare though, today, but we'll be back tomorrow to strike up a new show. You can pin your hopes on that. Oh my goodness! It's a good thing we don't use more bowling stories, because I think we pretty much worked out every single pun we could come up with. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. Have a great afternoon!
CNN Student News Transcript: December 3, 2010
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome on CNN Student News! And on this Friday, we're talking about sports; we're talking about politics; we are doing it all with absolutely no commercials. I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now!
First Up: Tax Cut Extension
AZUZ: First up, tax cuts from 2001 and 2003: Should they stay, or should they go? When they were passed, these cuts lowered everyone's taxes. But the debate has been whether these cuts should be extended for everyone. Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to extend the tax cuts, but only for families that make less than $250,000 a year. If you make more than that, your taxes would go up. Democrats argue that the government can't afford to continue the tax cuts for wealthy Americans. Republicans say that not extending those cuts could hurt the economy even more.
Even though the vote happened, the debate still isn't over. The Senate has to vote on this, and sources have said that both parties -- and the president -- are trying to work out a compromise that could mean an extension of the tax cuts for everyone.
How Bad Could it Get?
AZUZ: Another big issue facing Congress is the federal debt. That is how much money the U.S. government borrows to pay its bills. Earlier this week, a bipartisan commission announced some of its ideas about how to cut the debt. We reported on that yesterday. But what if nothing happens? What if the debt just keeps getting bigger? Mary Snow examines some of the possibilities.
MARY SNOW, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As European countries are roiled by spending cuts to stave off bankruptcy, the focus turns to U.S. debt. With a bipartisan panel commissioned by the president warning, "If the U.S. does not put its house in order, the reckoning will be sure and the devastation severe." At stake: a national public debt of nine trillion dollars. Panel member David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, spells it out like this:
DAVID COTE, CEO, HONEYWELL: So, to put it into perspective, if you had spent a million dollars a day since Jesus Christ was born 2,010 years ago, you would still not have spent a trillion dollars.
SNOW: While there's debate over what and how to cut, to do nothing carries the risk of a collapsed economy requiring an international bailout like what happened recently in countries like Greece and Ireland. The question is, could the same thing happen to the U.S.? Even leading fiscal experts say it's impossible to predict, but...
MAYA C. MACGUINEAS, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: The whole world is watching right now. And the folks on Wall Street and who lend the U.S. money from around the world are watching what we are doing and seeing if we get our fiscal house in order.
SNOW: And Maya MacGuineas, the head of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, says the U.S. doesn't have a lot of time to act. The risk is tied to U.S. dependence on foreign lenders, especially China. If those lenders don't see the U.S. as a safe haven, they could pull back. But Greg Ip, U.S. editor of the Economist, says the rest of the world has no interest in seeing the U.S. collapse into bankruptcy.
GREG IP, ECONOMIST: In the case of the Chinese, they're not buying treasury bonds as some charitable act. They're doing it to prop up the U.S. dollar because that actually makes it easier for them to export stuff to the U.S.
SNOW: Bottom line is, it affects everybody. If the U.S. has to pay more to borrow money, it trickles down to higher interest rates for everything to mortgages to business loans. And ultimately, that hurts economic growth. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Herman's social studies classes at Marion High School in Marion, Iowa! Which of these terms is a form of political punishment? Is it: A) Gerrymander, B) Reconciliation, C) Censure or D) Filibuster? You've got three seconds -- GO! A censure is an official reprimand of someone who's done something wrong. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
Rep. Rangel Censure
AZUZ: Might not sound that bad, but in political terms, a censure is a big deal. Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to censure New York Democratic Representative Charlie Rangel. Rangel, whom you see here, has served in the House for nearly 40 years. Last month, he was found guilty of violating House ethics rules, including failing to pay some taxes. He apologized, but says he hasn't done anything corrupt and asked the House for fairness before it voted on the censure yesterday. As part of his punishment, Rangel has to stand on the House floor while the censure against him is read out loud.
World Cup Hosts
AZUZ: All right, kicking it over to sports, now. Who is going to host the World Cup, the world's biggest soccer tournament? We already know it's Brazil in 2014. As for the one after that...
SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: ...organized in Russia.
AZUZ: Russia will play host to the tournament in 2018. It'll be the first time that the country is home to the World Cup.
BLATTER: The winner to organize the 2022 FIFA World Cup is Qatar.
AZUZ: And the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar will be host in 2022. It'll be that country's first time hosting, as well. Soccer officials said one reason they chose Qatar was because they're trying to help soccer grow around the world.
AZUZ: From futbol to football, American football. What a player did during a Washington state high school playoff game is getting a lot of attention. Check this out: Ronnie Hastie followed up this touchdown run by kneeling for a quick prayer and pointing to the sky. But then a flag comes flying in. The ref said it was unsportsmanlike conduct for excessive celebration. Ronnie's done this same kneel-and-point after every touchdown this season. Never gotten a flag before. But the rule is that players have to give up the ball immediately after a touchdown, and they can't draw attention to themselves. Ronnie says he wasn't; he was drawing attention to Jesus. But he also says that the refs are in charge, and he isn't planning to point to the sky after future touchdowns, at least on the field.
AZUZ: What a story, what a controversy, what an opportunity for you to sound off on our blog. Do you agree with the penalty? And if this had happened to you, would you have stopped praying after scoring touchdowns? Our blog at CNNStudentNews.com is anxiously awaiting your comments! I am anxiously awaiting the chance to report on them!
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I was built between 1792 and 1800. I have two wings and 132 different rooms. I'm located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I'm the White House, and I've been home to more than 40 families!
First Family Decorations
AZUZ: Well, they say there's no place like home for the holidays, even when you live in one of the most famous houses on the planet. The White House is decked out in Christmas decorations, and an estimated 20,000 people will be invited to events there during this holiday season. First lady Michelle Obama opened up the doors at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to give everyone a look.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: In many ways, this is really what the White House is all about. And I say this all the time, it is the people's house. It's a place that is steeped in history, but it is also a place where everyone should feel welcome.
Here at the White House, we have 19 Christmas trees in every corner of the White House. We have a giant bow made out of pipe cleaners. We have 350 pounds of gingerbread house that you'll get to see, that took our wonderful pastry chef Bill Yosses and his team an entire month to create. Over the last few days, nearly 100 volunteers from all over the country have been working so hard. They've been making all of the ornaments, they've been hanging the lights and transforming these rooms into breathtaking works of art. That spirit of kindness and generosity is really what the holiday season is all about. And it was the idea behind this year's theme, which is Simple Gifts, because in the end, the greatest blessings of all are the ones that don't cost a thing. The time that we spend with our loved ones, the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, and the joy we feel from reaching out to those in need.
AZUZ: Knock, knock. Who's there? Your principal, and he's here to check on your homework! Doctor Steve Perry, a high school principal, is dropping in on one family to try to whip them into shape. It's a special program called Education Makeover, and it airs tomorrow at 2:30 and 4:30 Eastern on CNN. Check it out!
Before We Go
AZUZ: Finally today, you know that expression "bend but don't break"? This little lady is finding out exactly what that means. The doorstop she's fighting ain't going nowhere! Yeah, it's an adorable animal YouTube video. And you have to give the puppy points for persistence. Emma is displaying some dogged determination here, even if her opponent in this epic battle seems lifeless. We'd suggest that the bulldog take on a doorstop her own size.
AZUZ: But it's possible that she'd just recoil in fear. We've reached the tail end of our show, but we'll spring back with more CNN Student News next week. Hope you have a great weekend. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.
CNN Student News Transcript: December 6, 2010
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENTS: Welcome to CNN Student News with Carl Azuz!
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Now that is how you get a show poppin'! Thank you gentlemen very much. Welcome, all of you, to a new week of CNN Student News! I'm Carl Azuz, and we thank all our viewers from all over the world for tuning in.
First Up: Unemployment Report
AZUZ: The first Friday of every month, the U.S. government usually announces the current unemployment rate. Bad news: This past Friday's announcement came as a surprise; the rate went up to 9.8 percent. It had been 9.6 percent for several months. Some experts were predicting it would stay the same. More than 15 million Americans looking for work, not good news. But there are some people who are actually encouraged by the increase. The unemployment rate only counts people who are actively looking for jobs. So if the rate goes up, it could mean that Americans who'd stopped looking think they have a better chance of finding work, so they're back on the job hunt. Still, analysts say it is disappointing the overall job market hasn't gotten better.
AZUZ: President Obama is back in Washington after a trip to Afghanistan. He made a surprise visit there on Friday, meeting with thousands of U.S. troops. This is his second trip to Afghanistan since he became president. Dan Lothian has more on the president's time in Afghanistan and why it didn't go exactly as planned.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was a secret trip the White House says was in the works for more than a month; flying into Bagram Air Base for a little more than four hours to salute the men and women who are carrying out the administration's stepped-up strategy in Afghanistan.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This part of the world is the center of a global effort where we are going to disrupt and dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies, and that's why you're here.
LOTHIAN: But ahead of a mid-December review, what is being called a comprehensive assessment to possibly tweak the president's policy there, challenges remain. There's rampant corruption in the Afghan government, highlighted by leaked state department cables in which Ambassador Carl Eikenberry is said to be concerned about "how to fight corruption when key government officials are themselves corrupt." And then there is the continued Taliban threat.
OBAMA: You're going on the offense. I'm tired of playing defense. Targeting their leaders. Pushing them out of their strongholds.
LOTHIAN: Mr. Obama had planned on flying to Kabul to meet with President Hamid Karzai and visit U.S. embassy employees. But a storm rolled in with high winds, dust and low cloud cover, so his helicopter trip was canceled, and the Karzai meeting became a 15-minute phone call. The president did visit wounded troops at a base hospital, awarding five Purple Hearts, and met with members of the 101st Airborne Division who lost six members in a deadly attack earlier this week.
OBAMA: There are going to be difficult days ahead. Progress comes at a high price.
LOTHIAN: Thirteen hundred U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the war began. This year was especially deadly. The Obama administration plans to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July 2011, and a stable, reliable government there is key to meeting that deadline. As for whether or not those WikiLeaks documents could cause more problems for the Obama administration, one top aide says that they've weathered these kinds of revelations in the past and that there's no secret about the challenges they're facing in Afghanistan, especially when it comes to corruption in the government there. Dan Lothian, CNN, the White House.
Tax Vote in Senate
AZUZ: Moving to the legislative branch of U.S. government and the debate over some tax cuts we've been talking about recently. These are cuts that were made under President George W. Bush. They are set to expire. If they do, it means Americans' taxes will go up. Everyone seems to be in favor of extending the cuts for families who make less than $250,000 a year. The debate is over extending those tax cuts for families that make more money than that. Saturday, the U.S. Senate voted not to extend the cuts for anyone, but Democratic and Republican leaders are hopeful they they can still work out a compromise.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Study's social studies classes at Shallotte Middle School in Shallotte, North Carolina! Which of these words means a fee that countries have to pay when they import something? Is it: A) Default, B) Inflation, C) Subsidy or D) Tariff? You've got three seconds -- GO! The fee or tax on products that are imported is called a tariff. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
Trade with South Korea
AZUZ: A new deal between the U.S. and South Korea would get rid of a lot of tariffs. President Obama announced the plan on Saturday. Over the next five years, it would eliminate 95 percent of the tariffs on industrial and consumer products that South Korea imports from the United States. The president says this agreement will mean billions of dollars in American exports and support 70,000 American jobs. Other folks don't see it that way. In fact, they argue that this trade agreement will actually cost U.S. jobs. The president had hoped to finalize the deal with South Korea when he was in that country last month. There were some disagreements about specific details that caused the delay.
AZUZ: Albania is a country in southeastern Europe. It's a little smaller than the U.S. state of Maryland, and it's home to about 3 million people. 12,000 of them have had to leave their homes because of this: massive flooding caused by severe rain. You can see some of the damage in these photos sent in by an iReporter. Huge areas of land are underwater. Thousands of homes have flooded. Officials have declared a state of emergency, and troops and police are helping out in the rescue efforts.
AZUZ: Israel's cabinet has promised speedy relief to victims of a deadly wildfire in that country. The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, says he wants the people who were affected to be able to go back to their homes or to alternative housing within days. The fire broke out on Thursday. It's killed at least 40 people and injured at least 17 others. As of Sunday, it was still burning in a few places, but authorities said the major sources had been extinguished. Israel is getting help from other countries, including the U.S., Egypt and Jordan. And Palestinians -- a group that's often at odds with Israel -- are helping out here too.
TRENT MITCHELL, SHORECREST HIGH SCHOOL VIDEO TEACHER: You will see the kids walking, you know, kind of looking down and texting away, when there's 50 kids around them they could be talking to.
NICHOLI WYTOVICZ, SHORECREST HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I Facebook after I get home from school, and then I do my homework, and then I Facebook some more.
MARA HARRIS, SHORECREST HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: I'm not on it 24/7, but I could cut back. I know my mom would love it.
AZUZ: All right, if that sounds familiar, we're all guilty of this at some point or other. As you can see from our stack of smartphones and cell phones right here, technology and social networking are everywhere. But for one week, there's a school district in Washington state that's going unplugged as part of a social experiment. And this is what we mean by unplugged: More than 400 students, teachers and staff have promised to give up texting, Twitter, Facebook and cell phones! The teacher who came up with the idea says people are losing the ability to have face-to-face communication. Students have been promoting the experiment on Facebook. Go figure. All of it starts today. The students who are taking part are on the honor system, but they've given their cell numbers to teachers who will use "spies" to try and test them.
AZUZ: We're covering this on our blog today; you probably guessed that already. But about Friday's blog on a high school football player who got flagged after praying in the end zone, Rebecca says she would not stop pointing to the sky after scoring. She would let go of the ball first, though, since that's supposedly what triggered the flag. Laurie's class agreed with dropping the ball first, writing that "people of faith should be able to show it, but they still have to follow rules." Salicia, like several of you, talked about the First Amendment and said "the player had every right to say a prayer." Look at this: 93 percent of you thought Ronnie Hastie should not have been penalized for what he did. Jackson says it's offensive on the ref's part because it's like he's saying "no following religion on a football field." Ryan says "the player wasn't celebrating; he was thanking God. As a football player myself, they should get rid of that rule altogether." Quick reminder for you: We only publish comments with first names; we only read first names on the show.
Before We Go
AZUZ: All right, today's Before We Go segment is about someone who's just a giant baby. A giant panda baby. Well, he's kinda cute now. He only weighs about 2 pounds. Just wait 'til he's full-grown and weighs 200 pounds! This little guy is just a month old. We'd like to tell you his name, but he won't get that until he's 100 days old. That's a tradition in China, where pandas are from. This check-up was to make sure he's healthy, in good shape, and eating well.
AZUZ: You know, all the bear essentials. That about cub-bers it for today's program. We hope you have a great day. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.
CNN Student News Transcript: December 7, 2010
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: A frosty forecast, an out-of-this-world vacation, and an unbelievable finish to a cross-country race. All of it's coming up this Tuesday on CNN Student News. Hi, everyone. I'm Carl Azuz.
First Up: Nuclear Talks
AZUZ: First up, a series of meetings in Switzerland that are happening behind closed doors. The subject: Iran's controversial nuclear program. That Middle Eastern country is on one side of the table. On the other side are the U.S., the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany. It's been more than a year since the last time representatives from these countries got together. Both sides are bringing up some of their concerns. Iran wants to talk about attacks on two Iranian scientists last week. The other nations want to put the brakes on Iran's nuclear program. They're worried that Iran might be trying to make nuclear weapons, a concern the international community has had for some time. Iran denies that. It says it's just making nuclear power. The talks started yesterday.
One day before that, Iran announced that it doesn't need anyone's help to produce nuclear fuel. The country says it is producing its own yellow cake. That's a substance that's required for nuclear programs, whether they're peaceful or military. Officials can't verify that Iran is producing yellow cake, but American authorities said they weren't surprised by the announcement.
South Korean Security
AZUZ: Things are getting more tense on the Korean peninsula, and the U.S. is getting involved in a couple ways. First, Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is heading to South Korea. He's going to reassure that country's military that the U.S. supports it. Back in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was offering a similar message when she met with South Korean and Japanese officials yesterday.
Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court is investigating some alleged attacks by North Korea on South Korea. Those include an attack on a South Korean island and the sinking of a South Korean warship. For its part, the North is blaming the South for all the tension in the region.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to the students and teachers at the Stockton Borough School in Stockton, New Jersey! Which of these DOESN'T measure temperature? If you think you know it then shout it out! Is it: A) Celsius, B) Doppler, C) Fahrenheit or D) Kelvin? You've got three seconds -- GO! Doppler doesn't, but the rest of these are all measures of temperature. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Doesn't matter how you measure it, right now it's cold! Temperatures have been 5 to 15 degrees lower than average up and down the East Coast. This winter weather is hitting everywhere, from Chicago all the way down to Florida. We are feeling it here in Atlanta. But what you're looking at here is Buffalo, New York. Parts of the city getting up to three feet of snow last week. Three to five inches in Madison, Wisconsin. More than five inches of snow in Chicago. Up to 10 inches in parts of Indiana. Experts think there's more snow on the way.
Prices at the Pump
AZUZ: Temperatures are going down. Gas prices, unfortunately, are going up! Right now, the national average for a gallon of unleaded is $2.91. A new survey says that average could hit three dollars very soon. Part of the reason is demand. Countries like China and India need more fuel as their economies grow; as more people start to drive in some places. Carter Evans breaks down some other reasons for the increase.
CARTER EVANS, CNN MONEY MATTERS CORRESPONDENT: We're talking about the national average. All of the places in this country, when you look at gas prices, the low prices and the high prices, averaging more than $3.00 a gallon by Christmas. The national average right now is $2.91 a gallon. They're already seeing $3.00 a gallon on Long Island, here in New York; in Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco. And here's why: oil prices are at their highest level in two years, more than $89 a barrel today.
And one of the reasons for that is the weaker dollar. The dollar got a whole lot weaker when this quantitative easing that the Fed put in place a couple of weeks ago went into effect. That weakened the dollar a bit. Essentially, when you're printing money, it makes the dollar worth less. There's also strong demand for oil right now because it's winter time and people are trying to heat their homes. So, a lot of people right now are trying to strategize so that they can drive less.
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT FRANKLIN. D. ROOSEVELT: December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy...
Pearl Harbor Attack
AZUZ: An infamous date because it marked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. And one day later, the United States would declare war on Japan, officially entering World War II. The Pearl Harbor attack happened early that morning; the Japanese wanted it to have the greatest element of surprise. They got it. More than 2,300 Americans were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than a thousand others were injured. And it was a major blow to the U.S. military, destroying nearly 200 American planes and sinking or damaging several ships. At the time, some people blamed the military for not being prepared enough for this kind of attack. But many historians point to Pearl Harbor as the event that united America and led the country to join the war.
America's New Space Hub
AZUZ: Moving from the past to the future now, a lot of you are probably getting ready for the holiday break. Maybe you're planning a trip to the beach, the mountains. If you're willing to wait a little while, though, you could add another vacation destination: space! But as you might guess, it ain't gonna be cheap. John Zarrella looks at how this idea could get off the ground.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF AND CORRESPONDENT: Southeast of the Elephant Butte Dam, tucked away in the middle of the New Mexico desert, right there. You see it, rising up from the scrub brush? This is where the future of space travel has taken root: Spaceport America. It is still in its infancy, growing with each steel beam, each pounding of the dry dirt. Funded by taxpayers and private industry, this $200 million facility will be the world's first commercial spaceport.
RICH HOMANS, SPACEPORT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: I pinch myself sometimes and say, how often does one have the opportunity to be part of a project that is so historic. This is the birth of the new commercial space age.
ZARRELLA: The vision: private companies will launch cargo and humans from here, perhaps to orbiting hotels. That first vacation in space you take might start right here.
CAROLYN WINCER, VIRGIN GALACTIC ASTRONAUT SALES: If you're gonna have commercial operations taking tourists into space, safety has to be your guiding star all the time.
ZARRELLA: Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic company has taken the lead. A year or so from now, a mother ship will roll down this runway, liftoff, at 50,000 feet, release a space plane. The six passengers and two pilots will reach 350,000 feet and weightlessness for four minutes.
WINCER: Our flight is not as aggressive on the stomach as you would think, because it's straight up, over the top and straight back down again.
ZARRELLA: When you're back on the ground, your wallet is, well, $200,000 lighter, the cost of the ride. By next summer, the three-story, center piece building should be completed. On the first floor, the civilian astronauts will get ready for their flight. The second floor will be mission control. And on the third floor will be an astronaut lounge where they can hang out and wait for their flight. For New Mexico, the venture is risky. How many companies will see commercial space as smart business, and how soon? Will this place be a thriving hub of space flight or the outpost of a dream born before its time?
AZUZ: Time will tell. Next up, we have this incredible story for you. This is the kind of thing we love to talk about on CNN Student News. This happened at a high school cross-country race out in California. You're looking at a runner named Holland Reynolds. All she has to do is cross the finish line for her team to win its eighth state championship. But then, Holland collapses. Her legs just give out. Later on, Holland said she didn't even remember falling. Now, you see an official running up to see if she's okay. But if he helps her in any way, she'll be disqualified. The official said she didn't have to get up. So Holland crawled. It took Holland more than 20 seconds to go those last two yards. But she made it across the finish line and helped win for her coach, who's fighting a serious illness.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Really amazing stuff there. Before we go today, we are bringing you thousands of people raising their voices in an attempt to break a world record. The goal: the most Christmas carolers in one spot. It was anything but a silent night in Boston, Massachusetts! Around 3,200 carolers combining to spread some holiday cheer. No need for them to be pitch perfect. All that was required was some seasonal spirit. Now ufortunately, they didn't end up breaking the record.
AZUZ: But there's just no way you could deny the event was noteworthy. And we hope you'll tune in again tomorrow for more CNN Student News with Carl Azuz. We'll see you then. Have a great day!
CNN Student News Transcript: December 8, 2010
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENTS, EAST COWETA HIGH: Police lettuce watch curl aye Zeus. [Please let us watch Carl Azuz.] Take it away! We are ECHS! Go Indians! Woo!
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Awesome! Thank you to the students at East Coweta High School for getting this show off to a punderful start. I am "Curl" Azuz, and this is CNN Student News!
First Up: Proposed Tax Deal
AZUZ: We have an agreement on extending those tax cuts we've been telling you about. But it's not between congressional Democrats and Republicans. It's between Republicans and President Obama.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Because it's a big diverse country and people have a lot of complicated positions, it means that in order to get stuff done, we're going to compromise.
AZUZ: This compromise is over the debate to extend tax cuts passed several years ago under President George W. Bush. Republicans wanted to extend the cuts for everyone. Democrats wanted to extend them for everyone except for families making more than $250,000 a year. Under the deal between President Obama and Republicans, the cuts will be extended for everyone for two more years. According to estimates, this compromise would cost between $600 and $800 billion. And the deal doesn't say anything about raising money to pay for it, which suggests it would increase the U.S. deficit.
The old tax cuts aren't the only part of this deal. It also includes a new tax cut, one that would lower payroll taxes during 2011. Also, it comes with an extension of unemployment benefits. Not the amount of time that people can collect unemployment, but Americans who have lost their jobs will be able to file for extended unemployment for another 13 months.
This whole deal only goes into effect if congressional Democrats vote for it, and some of them aren't happy. They think the president gave up too much in order to make the deal. If Congress doesn't pass some kind of tax deal by the end of the year, though, those old cuts will expire and everyone's taxes will go up.
AZUZ: Last Tuesday, we reported on a website called WikiLeaks. This is a site that leaks secret information anonymously. And right now, its founder, Julian Assange, is sitting in a jail in England. The 39-year-old has been accused of sex crimes in Sweden. Assange, whom you see here, turned himself in to police in London yesterday. A judge there denied him bail. The court has to decide whether or not to send Assange to Sweden. He calls the accusations against him retaliation for his website leaking those secret documents. The judge in London says the case is not about WikiLeaks, but about the serious allegations against Assange.
AZUZ: In the United States, some Florida farmers are worried about how this cold weather could affect their crops. They made it through Monday night okay, but there were hard freeze warnings in effect last night for most of the Florida panhandle. More warnings stretched all the way down to South Florida. It was 40 degrees in Fort Lauderdale yesterday. That's a record low for that date. Might not sound too bad if you're living in the Northeast or the Midwest, which are also getting hit with this severe winter weather. But for Florida, it's freezing.
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! John Lennon was a member of what rock band? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) The Rolling Stones, B) Green Day, C) The Beatles or D) Led Zeppelin? You've got three seconds -- GO! We'll "Help" you out with the answer: John Lennon was one of the Beatles. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: And the Beatles were one of the most successful bands of all time. They had 20 number one singles in the U.S. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame says that the group's impact can't be overstated. And with his outspoken social and political views, John Lennon was an icon in culture, as well as music. That's why this date, December 8th, is a sad one for Beatles fans. On December 8th, 1980, Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York City apartment. He was 40 years old.
AZUZ: We have more to share about the field of journalism now. Our associate producer, Tomeka Jones, is here to tell us what's up in Career Connections.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: We're going from behind-the-scenes to on air, Carl. So, when did you decide you wanted to be an anchor?
AZUZ: Well, I started as a writer, and I decided after awhile, I didn't want to just write the news; I wanted to be the person to tell people about it.
JONES: Joe Carter decided when he was in college. He's a reporter and a weekend sports anchor for HLN. Joe says a lot people want to be on air, but they don't realize it's a lot of work.
JOE CARTER, HLN ANCHOR/REPORTER: An anchor is somebody who basically is in the studio the entire time. You can anchor out of studio, but I've never anchored anywhere but in studio. You're in studio, you've got the TelePrompTer, you've got your notes. It's a sterile environment, it's more controlled. Your reporters are out in the field. You're telling the story that's happening in the field.
Sports reporting, we're obviously talking about sports, talking about the game, talking about the passion, the emotion. News, same type of thing. You're looking at both sides of the story. You don't want to be biased; you want to make sure you're on both sides and you get everyone's account.
I'm Joe Carter and this is HLN's Views from the Street...
Before we go shoot, we usually put together between five and six topics. And when we put together the topics, we have to find out the sourcing, make sure we're not going out there with any improper information or misleading information. So, then we find the topics, we make sure we have all the sourcing for the topics, and then we put the questions together. Once we have that, then it's time for me to go home and do homework, because then I have to start reading into the topics that I know because I don't take paper with me. And it's basically, I'm going on to the street with five topics, and I have to have a nice fluid conversation with you.
I started as a reporter. I was bad at first; I was terrible. When I go back and look at college stuff, I think, "Oh my lord, I was terrible." But you have to start somewhere. I also did audio, I did graphics, I was a floor director, I did tapes, I was an editor, I was a photographer, I was a producer, and I was a sports director. All in a matter of four years. So, I got a chance to do it all.
You have to have passion in everything you do. Doesn't matter if it's at work or at home or at school, you have to have passion. You have to come with energy and excitement. Persistence, because there is another person willing to take it from you if you don't keep pushing forward. Patience, which is it doesn't all come in the beginning. It takes time, actually, to get where you want to be. It doesn't happen overnight. And positioning. So, every day you wake up, you have to think about how you can better yourself for tomorrow.
AZUZ: Well, if you didn't get a chance to learn about Video Journalists -- those are CNN's entry level positions -- or find out what it takes to be a producer, you can check out all of our Career Connections segments here on our home page at CNNStudentNews.com. Scroll down and look for the Career Connections box. You're gonna love it.
AZUZ: How long could you stay unplugged? I mean no Facebook, Twitter, texting, none of this. Erik has an interesting point. He says "it'd be easy if everyone stopped at the same time. If you were the only person to unplug, you'd get out of the loop." Emily asks, "How do you think people made it without cell phones and texting? They went outside. People these days are so addicted that they have zero face-to-face communication." But Michael had another perspective: "The only thing unplugging from our lives does effectively, is waste time. The technology we have today is constantly evolving; we should embrace it." Amanda calls unplugging hard at first, but "after a week or two, you start to enjoy it." She's unplugged for a month at her summer camp. Christine says she wouldn't last a day. Some of her friends moved and Facebook is the only way she can keep up with them. Of course, the great irony here, as a student named Katie pointed out, is that we got these comments from our blog and our Facebook site.
A Twist on Saggy Pants
AZUZ: Well, we usually don't talk too much about fashion here on CNN Student News, but we're gonna make an exception for today's Before We Go segment. You might think your friends look like fools with their pants on the ground, or at least hanging low. Well, Kontji Anthony of affiliate WMC in Memphis, Tennessee shows us how one school's solution to sagging comes with a twist.
KONTJI ANTHONY, WMC REPORTER: Westside Middle School principal Bobby White had a problem to solve.
BOBBY WHITE, WESTSIDE MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: How do we stop the sagging of the pants?
ANTHONY: So, he put a twist on his "no saggy pants" policy.
WHITE: Everybody who possibly needed to be Urkeled, they were Urkeled.
ANTHONY: A staff member suggested fighting pop culture with pop culture.
JADARIUS WALTON, 7TH GRADER: I thought it was a joke until I got Urkeled.
ANTHONY: The school staff turned to "Family Matters" TV character Steve Urkel. His style of dress is now a verb at Westside Middle.
ANTHONY: What's it like to get Urkeled?
KELDRION VANN, 8TH GRADER: It's pretty embarrassing.
ANTHONY: Staff members walk the halls with zip ties. And if they see saggy pants, students get Urkeled.
SHAKA GREENE, COMPUTER LAB TEACHER: You slide it over, take out the remaining slack, and it's almost impossible to get it off.
VANN: They can put your pants as high as your chest, and they can put as many as three or four on you.
ANTHONY: They even have an Urkel photo board for all to see.
WALTON: All the girls will laugh and they'll tell you how ridiculous you look.
ANTHONY: Teacher Shaka Greene is the reigning Urkel Award champ. He started Urkeling up to 80 students a week. In five weeks, it dropped to 18.
GREENE: We're talking about over an 80 percent drop in the number of students that we actually have to put a zip tie on.
WHITE: There's something about looking right, acting right, beginning to think right.
WALTON: If you keep your pants up, it has you looking like a proper young man.
VANN: The students know to strap up or to get strapped up around here.
AZUZ: The thought of getting Urkeled probably made some students buckle. We've reached the end of today's show. But we don't want you to let your spirits sag. We're gonna be back to belt out more headlines tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.
CNN Student News Transcript: December 9, 2010
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: What you are seeing right here could launch the U.S. into a new era of space travel. It might just lead to a day when you or I -- well, you could go on ahead; I'm gonna hang out down here -- but you could take a trip to space one day. That story's coming up in just a few minutes. My name is Carl Azuz. CNN Student News is getting off the ground right now.
First Up: Tax Debate
AZUZ: All right, in Washington, D.C., the debate rages on. This is over extending tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush. We reported yesterday that President Obama and Republican leaders have come up with a plan that would extend those cuts for all Americans, keeping taxes where they are. This is a deal that Republicans hope everyone can agree on.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MINORITY LEADER: I'm very hopeful and optimistic that the large majority of members of the Republican conference will find this proposal worth supporting. And I'm hopeful that Democratic leaders will be able to convince their members as well that this is the way to go forward.
AZUZ: But right now, many Democrats aren't on board with this compromise. In fact, some are pretty angry with the president for making it.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, (D) NEW YORK: I also think there is this general sense that we need the president to be the leader of our country, to be the leader of our party, to be the leader of the values that we believe in. And he seems to go from zero to compromise in 3.5 seconds.
AZUZ: President Obama has said that he doesn't think the deal he worked out with Republicans is perfect. But he wants his fellow Democrats to understand that the process isn't over.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: To my Democratic friends, what I'd suggest is let's make sure that we understand this is a long game. This is not a short game.
AZUZ: Meanwhile, Congress could vote on the DREAM Act this week. This is a bill that, if it passes, would give young immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally a way to become citizens. And they would do that by attending college or serving in the military. Members of President Obama's Cabinet held a press conference yesterday urging Congress to pass the DREAM Act. They say that it could help America's education system and economy. But critics argue that some illegal immigrants could cheat the system, and they say the DREAM Act could put illegal immigrants ahead of U.S. citizens.
Now, you've talked a lot to us about this on our blog and on our Facebook page. I think between the two of them, we've gotten close to a thousand comments, comments like this one from Noy, who writes, "I think the DREAM Act is a good proposal because kids had no involvement on the decision to come here illegally." Noy writes it was the parents' decision, so the kids shouldn't get punished for their parents' wrongdoing. But on the other side of that, we have this argument from Nicole. And Nicole is telling us, "I think that it would be wrong if an illegal immigrant got a spot at an American college, when Americans are fighting for that same spot." Very divisive issue. You're welcome to add your voice to this chorus at CNNStudentNews.com or at our Facebook page; that's Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews.
Is This Legit?
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? In a republic, people elect their political leaders. Legit! The elected representatives then vote on laws.
AZUZ: One example of a republic: Haiti. The country recently voted to elect a new president. None of the candidates got more than 50 percent of the vote, so there's going to be a runoff between two of them. But some Haitians are angry about the election results. They claim the election was rigged. And that anger exploded in violence on Tuesday night. Thousands of protesters were out on the streets of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, throwing rocks and lighting fires.
The current president, Rene Preval, went on the radio yesterday asking people to be calm. The anger is about who is in the runoff. A candidate who is supported by Preval just barely beat out a popular entertainer for the second spot. Before the results were announced, though, the Preval-supported candidate was said to be in third place.
Message to China
AZUZ: The U.S. is putting some serious pressure on China to get more involved in the growing tension between North and South Korea. China is one of North Korea's main allies. And Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff who was visiting South Korea this week, says the relationship between China and North Korea is why the Chinese government should take on a bigger role.
ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: China has unique influence. Therefore, they bear unique responsibility. Now is the time for Beijing to step up to that responsibility and help guide the North, and indeed the entire region, towards a better future.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Miller's class at Laingsburg Middle School in Laingsburg, Michigan! The word "language" can be traced back to what language? You know what to do! Is it: A) Aramaic, B) Greek, C) Latin or D) Farsi? You've got three seconds -- GO! "Language" ultimately comes from the Latin word "lingua," or tongue. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: According to a new survey, more and more students are studying different languages in college. The report from the Modern Language Association, or MLA, looked at how many people were enrolled in language classes other than English from 2007 through 2009. Enrollment in foreign language classes went up more than 6 percent over that time. Officials think that's a response to what's happening in the world and students wanting to learn languages that could help them in the future. The number one studied language is Spanish. French and German are numbers two and three. But Arabic had the biggest jump in enrollments since the last MLA survey. It went up 46 percent. Korean and Chinese had big increases too.
AZUZ: NASA has been sending shuttles into space for nearly 30 years. But the shuttle program is scheduled to end soon, and that means U.S. astronauts will have to hitch a ride with the Russians. That is, unless... Remember that rocket launch from the start of today's show? It splashed back down after three hours up in the air. Officials are calling the test flight a success. What this could lead to is a new era in the space story, one with private companies behind the wheel. John Zarrella explains why the plan comes with some risks.
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: First stage engine sequence initiated...
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral earlier this year...
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Falcon has cleared the tower.
ZARRELLA: ...The successful test flight was huge for the lean 1,200-employee upstart company called SpaceX. In the control room: Elon Musk. Billionaire, former PayPal co-founder, and now the intense hands-on man at the top. He sees SpaceX as his David versus Goliath, those big aerospace companies.
ELON MUSK, SPACEX CEO: They're just waiting for one misstep to say, "I told you so." And, you know, it's to be expected.
ZARRELLA: Expected, because SpaceX and other new commercial companies are promising safer, more reliable space flight for less, a lot less money. SpaceX says it could fly an astronaut to the international space station for $30 million less than the Russians. But is this new industry mature enough yet to deliver?
ALVIN DREW, SHUTTLE ASTRONAUT: I think that we'll get there. I just don't know how long it's going to take, what it's going to cost, and not just dollars, but possibly in lives and in aspirations.
ZARRELLA: NASA is banking on SpaceX and other companies to replace the retiring shuttle for flights to the space station. That would free up NASA to develop new technologies to get humans to Mars and the asteroids. But it's a risky plan. An accident could set the fledgling commercial industry back for years.
ALAN LINDENMOYER, NASA COMMERCIAL CREW AND CARGO PROGRAM: It would be a bad day to have a, you know, a major problem with any of these companies.
ZARRELLA: Because it's out in front, much of the pressure is on SpaceX. The company has signed a $1.6 billion contract to fly a dozen cargo flights to the station starting late next year. Musk is confident he'll be carrying astronauts soon after.
MUSK: We believe firmly we can send astronauts to the space station within three years of receiving a NASA contract.
ZARRELLA: Whether you believe him or not, Musk says, while he wants his company to be profitable, he is not in this for the money.
MUSK: We want to make space accessible to everyone.
ZARRELLA: How soon that happens depends in no small part on companies like SpaceX living up to their promise. John Zarrella, CNN, Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Favorite Before We Go Category
AZUZ: We're getting close to the end of the year. We want you to help produce part of our show. The question: What's your favorite kind of Before We Go segment? Could be animals, world records, maybe stunts. Vote now on our front page, CNNStudentNews.com. And if you want to rewatch before you vote, check out our transcript archives for old shows.
Before We Go
AZUZ: This next Before We Go segment could end up being one of your favorites. But it's probably not a favorite moment for these ducks. When the wind hits, it scatters the whole family. Even the big one -- look at that! -- even the big one goes rolling over. Ducks in the wind. All they are is ducks in the wind. And thanks to this YouTube video, we can see the fowl play. Ack! Luckily, all of them manage to get back on their feet. Seems like everyone's ok.
AZUZ: Which is a really good thing, because when a duck goes to the doctor, it can end up with a pretty big bill. Or maybe it goes to a bad doctor. You know, a real quack? Whoo! We hope you'll "chick" in with CNN Student News again tomorrow. Have an awesome day. See you later.
CNN Student News Transcript: December 10, 2010
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Of course, Fridays are awesome! But so are Ms. Spoto, Ms. Richardson and Mr. Koczot. They know why. We welcome all of our viewers to CNN Student News on this Friday. We have some updates for you on a few stories we've been following this week. First up though, we are headed off to Europe.
First Up: Tuition Protests
AZUZ: Violent protests in the streets of London over a vote in parliament -- that's Britian's government -- about college tuition. The UK has a limit on how much universities can charge students. This vote raised that limit nearly 10,000 dollars. It was around 4,700 originally, nowthe limit is around 14,000j dollars. People who support this plan say the country needs to cut its deficit. But the protesters argue that the increase will price some people out of a college education. Dan Rivers was in London yesterday when the protests turned violent. He has more on this situation.
DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, LONDON: It's going to result in a trebling of student tuition fees, something that in the U.S., perhaps, people are more used to. But here, there is just no culture of leaving university with $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 worth of debt. And clearly, this is part of major austerity measures to try and rein in this huge deficit we have here. But this is the result of it: bitter anger and violence on the streets, with the police struggling at times, really, to contain the crowd.
This will impact students. Not those who are currently at university, but those who will go to university. I was talking to one student yesterday who said, look, this isn't going to affect me, but for my 13-year-old and 11-year-old brothers, it will have a massive impact. And she was from a lower-income family and was saying her brothers probably won't go to university because they're so worried about mounting up these massive debts.
Now, the government says if you go to university, you're going to get a better job and you'll only have to pay this money back when you're earning over about $35,000. And therefore, this is a fair way of doing this, and there are safeguards to help lower-income students get into the system.
AZUZ: Very difficult situation there. Well, you've heard of "deal or no deal". Right now in the U.S. Congress, there is no deal. The compromise on extending a set of tax cuts in the U.S. -- not happening. At least it's not happening now. Democrats in the House of Representatives have refused to vote on the agreement that President Obama worked out with Republicans. They said the deal is "not acceptable." But the debate isn't over. Those House Democrats say they want to keep working with the president and with Republicans to come up with a plan. That could mean changes to the current deal. The Obama administration had warned Democrats that trying to make changes could lead to no new deal at all. That would mean everyone's taxes would go up.
AZUZ: And it looks like the DREAM Act won't become a reality this week. Democrats in the Senate decided not to vote on that bill after they determined that they didn't have enough support. Dream would have given some young illegal immigrants the chance to become U.S. citizens by either going to college or serving in the U.S. military. The House of Representatives did vote on the DREAM Act on Wednesday, and it passed in the House by a pretty slim margin. It was 216 to 198. But this is a bill. It needs to go through the Senate too. And without approval in the Senate, it won't become law. Senate Democrats have said they might bring it up again next week, or it could roll over to the next Congress, which starts up in January. So, you'll be hearing more about this too, likely.
AZUZ: Some people who support WikiLeaks, the website that reveals secret information, are taking on companies that they see as hostile toward the site. And they're doing that where else? Online. Yesterday, WikiLeaks said it's not associated with the people who are doing this. Brian Todd has more for us now on the details of this cyber assault.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Protesters take to the streets, an uprising against perceived injustices from huge corporations. Imagine an online version of this. That's what seems to be happening to a group of major companies who have made moves against WikiLeaks or its founder, Julian Assange. Experts say a group of unknown online activists operating under the name "Anonymous" are coordinating so-called Denial of Service attacks against companies who have stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks.
Visa is one of those companies. On a Twitter page called Operation Payback associated with Anonymous, one tweet says, "We are attacking www.visa.com in an hour. Get your weapons ready." The weapon isn't hacking, but simply flooding a website with computers trying to access it all at once. Visa is not the only target.
I'm with Mark Rasch. He's a former Justice Department cyber crime prosecutor. He also helped the hacker who is in touch with the alleged leaker, Bradley Manning, get in touch with U.S. authorities to investigate all of the leaks. Mark, first, we're going to show this Anonymous Twitter page. They're basically saying that we're glad to tell you that mastercard.com is down and it's confirmed. Let's try to get to the MasterCard website.
MARK RASCH, FORMER JUSTICE DEPT. CYBER CRIME PROSECUTOR: Sure. What's happening is these people are using Twitter to try to communicate with each other. And so, if you go to the MasterCard web page and hit enter, what you're going to get is this, which is that they cannot open the web page.
TODD: Officials at MasterCard and the online funds transfer service PayPal tell CNN their websites were recently flooded within a day or two of their decision to stop processing donations to WikiLeaks. The sites either slowed down or temporarily shut down as a result. They won't say if they believe the perpetrators are WikiLeaks' supporters, but listen to an official from the Swiss Bank PostFinance, which also got attacked.
ALEX JOSTY, POSTFINANCE SPOKESMAN: The reason is a simple one: because PostFinance closed the account of Julian Assange. And that was the reason, because of the Internet community around him decided to start the "Operation Payback."
TODD: PostFinance says they closed Assange's account because he falsely told them he lived in Switzerland. They say no other accounts were affected. As for the credit cards...
A lot of people are asking, "Is my credit card affected by this?" If you're a MasterCard holder, especially now during the holidays.
RASCH: People's credit cards are not affected. Their credit isn't affected. The ability to buy things with the credit card is not affected.
This Day in History
[ON SCREEN GRAPHIC]
December 10, 1898 -- The Spanish-American War officially ends
December 10, 1901 -- The first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden
December 10, 1948 -- The United Nations adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Nobel Prize Ceremony
AZUZ: Well, you saw it just now on This Day in History, the first Nobel Prizes were awarded on this day in history. And over my sholder here, this is Alfred Nobel. He's the namesake of the Nobel Prizes that are being awarded today. The ceremony for the prizes in chemistry, medicine, physics, literature and economics is happening in Stockholm, Sweden. But the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is in Oslo, Norway. And this year's peace prize ceremony will feature something interesting: an empty chair. That is because this man, Liu Xiaobo, won't be there. He's serving a jail sentence in China. Liu won this year's Peace Prize for his efforts to fight for human rights in China. But China considers him a criminal and the Chinese government has criticized the Nobel Committee for picking Liu. The committee says the empty chair isn't a protest against China, but it is meant to support the struggle for human rights in China.
AZUZ: If you are not sure how to send us an email or an iReport, check this out. We've got ya covered. It's in the "How Do I" box at CNNStudentNews.com! So, not only do we give you a place to do it, we tell you how to do it. You just scroll down the page like you saw us to do -- you see it on the left-hand side there. It covers all sorts of things, like how to get a Shoutout -- we know from our Facebook page that's something a lot of students want to know how to do and it's something a teacher in Nevada already knows how to do.
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to the history students at Del Webb Middle School in Henderson, Nevada! Who is currently on the U.S. $10 bill? Is it: A) Alexander Hamilton, B) Thomas Jefferson, C) Benjamin Franklin or D) Andrew Jackson? You've got three seconds -- GO! Hamilton, the first U.S. treasury secretary, is on the $10. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
Before We Go
AZUZ: You won't see Mr. Hamilton in today's Before We Go report. This $10 bill features former President William McKinley. And it could be worth a lot more than 10 bucks. The guy selling it on eBay says it's worth 50 grand! The rare bill was printed more than a century ago for a bank in Colorado. The big question and what would help determine its value is: is the thing real? Experts say it's possible. And the guy selling it certainly thinks so.
AZUZ: If someone's willing to break the bank to meet his price, he'll definitely cash in. Of course, if you can't pay up front, maybe he'll just send you a bill. I mean, that would make cents. Our writer, Jordan, went crazy with those puns today. And something tells me we're gonna pay for all of them. Quick reminder: Head to our home page and vote in our Quick Poll. We have a Quick Poll up. We want to know your favorite kind of Before We Go story. The last I checked, I think "Stunts" was in the lead. One more week before we go on break. So, we'll look for your votes and we will see you on Monday. Hopeo you have a great weekend. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.