(CNN Student News) -- January 5, 2009
Strife in the Middle East - Explore the current incursion taking place in the Gaza territory.
Richardson Withdraws - Learn why a presidential Cabinet pick is withdrawing his nomination.
Class in Session - Hear some students' opinions about the state of the U.S. economy.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Happy new year! Hope you had an awesome break and you're ready for our first show of 2009. I'm Carl Azuz.
AZUZ: First up, international representatives are scrambling to the Middle East to try and end an Israeli incursion in the Palestinian territory of Gaza. Israeli troops launched a ground assault into the territory over the weekend. This came after a week of air strikes by the Israeli military. Officials say the attacks are aimed at stopping militant groups from firing rockets into Israel. According to Palestinian medical sources, more than 500 people, both militants and civilians, have been killed in the attacks. Around 2,600 other Palestinians have been injured, mostly from those air strikes. Josh Levs gives us a closer look at where this violence is taking place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH LEVS, CNN REPORTER: Here's what I want to do. Let's zoom in on this board. I want to show you some basics about Gaza and talk to you about these Israeli ground troops. Israel is not saying exactly where the troops are going in. Here's one thing we do know: This section right up here is one major concern Israel has. This is an area that Hamas militants have used to fire rockets northward toward Israeli cities, and also eastward toward other Israeli cities. This is one of the big concerns.
Now in this entire strip, it's just twice the size of Washington, D.C., this area, Gaza City, is one of the most populous areas. There's 1.5 million people total. But let's go to Google Earth imagery now that shows you Gaza City. And as we go in, what you're able to see here is how incredibly dense the population is in that area. We don't know if the Israeli troops are there. We do know that because of the dense population of Gaza City in general, wherever the Israeli troops go, it's quite possible that they will be near some civilian areas.
Let's go to a second Google Earth video now, because I want you to see from Gaza how close Ashqelon is. And you can see from there it's only seven miles away. And that's one of the several cities that Israel says has been hit by rockets during the time that Hamas has been firing rockets out of Gaza.
Now one more map I want to show you. Take a look at this. This is a map of Israel. This light beige area right here marks Israel. And this down here, that tiny little area is the Gaza Strip. This right here is Ashqelon; that's one city we were showing you. But look up here to Ashdod. That's another city that's been hit by Hamas rocket fire. Also over here to Beersheba. So, Israeli officials are saying hundreds of thousands of people could be in the paths of those Hamas rockets. Now, as any details break about the presence of Israeli troops, where they are, also fresh attacks on either side, we'll bring them to you right here. Back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for some Fast Facts! Gaza is no stranger to strife. Today, it's one of two areas that's been at the center of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians; the West Bank is the other. Gaza is located on the Mediterranean coast, right where Israel and Egypt meet. The territory was occupied by Israel for 38 years, but the Israelis withdrew in 2005, leaving control to Palestinians.
AZUZ: Checking out a couple other stories now, starting with a change among President-elect Barack Obama's cabinet nominees. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is withdrawing his nomination as commerce secretary. An investigation is looking into possible ties between Richardson and a company that was awarded contracts in New Mexico and also made contributions to the governor's causes. Richardson says he's acted properly, but he didn't want the investigation to be a distraction in the nomination process.
Senate Seat Controversy
AZUZ: And in Illinois, Governor Rod Blagojevich has named former State Attorney General Roland Burris, on the left there, to fill President-elect Obama's senate seat. There is a problem with that. You might remember that federal authorities are accusing Gov. Blagojevich of trying to sell that seat for his own gain. Senate Democrats have said that they won't let Burris be seated when the Senate starts its new session on Tuesday. One source says Burris will meet with leading Democrats later on this week.
RAMSAY: Time for the first Shoutout of '09! What's the nickname for the U.S. generation born immediately after World War II? You know what to do. Is it: A) Lost Generation, B) Baby Boomers, C) Generation X or D) Millennials? You've got three seconds -- GO! People born between 1946 and 1964 are called Baby Boomers. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Every generation faces different challenges, for example, the current economic crisis. It's affecting everyone, but you guys are the lucky ones who will get to inherit it. Tony Harris sat down with a group of Atlanta-area high school students to find out what they think about some of the biggest issues confronting you and your classmates, starting with the state of the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Is there anyone surprised by the financial news right now, to find out that we're in the situation that we're in now?
MICHAEL BARLOW, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: You can't really grasp the concept of it. You take a country like America and a society such as ours in that kind of trouble. I think it caught everybody by surprise
MICHAEL ROBINSON, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: There are, like, fundamental issues with the economy right now. I mean, we have to give the banks a $700 billion bailout so that they can keep spending. I mean, the way the financial sector is functioning and the way our entire government is functioning, with such high levels of debt and such high levels of risk, it's so unsustainable. And I think that in the long term, we will suffer the consequences of this.
HARRIS: Do any of you believe that the debt that has been accumulated in this country right now, that the responsibility for that debt is going to fall on your shoulders?
AKURE, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: To be honest, I don't think my generation really grasps the fact that this may fall on our shoulders. Because even for me, even though you're saying that that may happen, I'm like, "That's not going to happen. This problem is going to get taken care of."
CAROLINE MCKAY, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Our generation in America, in the future, is going to have to have a decreased standard of living. We're going to have to spend more carefully, not spend as much. But I think that's just the natural cycle of things.
ROBINSON: I feel like it's going to fall on us, and I feel like the previous generations of this country, especially the Baby Boomers, have really left us with a nasty pile of something to deal with.
HARRIS: A nasty pile?
BARLOW: People look at the new administration, President-elect Obama, like he instills that idea of hope in people that he will be able to lead us out of this economic crisis. But when you face reality, it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
HARRIS: You believe that?
BARLOW: I do.
HARRIS: All of you?
MCCAY: I think that we've weathered things like this before. And to say that the sky is falling and that the streets are going to be filled with people rioting is a little dramatic. We've faced...
HARRIS: 1.2 million jobs...
MCCAY: I know, I know. I don't think the sky is falling.
HARRIS: 53,000 jobs to be cut in the coming months by Citigroup.
MCCAY: Over the past what, 250 years this country has been in existence, I think we've gone through lots of hard times. I think that with the amount of people we have, the size of our economy today, it's a different situation. It's on a lot larger scale.
TAYLOR FULTON, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: People say it's not dire, but last week I listened to my aunt talk about how she invested $20,000 in the stock market and watched it; she lost it. She could've paid the last payment on her mortgage with that $20,000.
HARRIS: DJ, is it?
DEMARIUS "DJ" WALKER,GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: That is my name, great job.
HARRIS: Why thank you, sir. I do this for a living.
WALKER: I was talking with my little brother the other day, and we were talking about how every weekend we used to go out with our father. And we'd go out to dinner and we'd spend a whole day, nearly every weekend, having fun and doing things, and gradually how that's changed. And gradually how there's less family time, because parents have to work more and there's less money to actually do things. It's more of a real thing now.
HARRIS: How old are you?
BARLOW: I just turned 16 Sunday.
HARRIS: So, you gonna get an SUV?
BARLOW: Probably not.
HARRIS: What are you going to get?
BARLOW: A skateboard!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: It's a new year, so we want to know what you think are going to be some of the biggest issues that we face in 2009. The economy, might be tops on that list. But what else? Our blog is up and running at CNNStudentNews.com. So head on over, check out what other people are saying and leave us your thoughts.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, an 11-year-old who fought the law and won! It's all because of this little guy. You see, Judson King loves Sonic the Hedgehog so much that he decided he wanted the real rodent as a pet. Unfortunately, his town had a law banning the animals. So, Judson spent three years putting together his case and convinced the city commission to rewrite the animal code. And for Christmas, he finally got his long-awaited gift.
AZUZ: Hedgehogs are one thing. Let's just hope Judson doesn't set his sights on any bigger game. That wraps up our first show of the year! We'll see you again tomorrow.