(CNN Student News) -- November 5, 2009
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: A very warm welcome to Ms. Gould's creative carvers at Annandale High School and to all of our CNN Student News audience worldwide. I'm Carl Azuz, let's go!
AZUZ: A few headlines from the financial world seem to offer a mixed view on how the U.S. economy's doing. First, a new report says U.S. companies cut just over 200,000 jobs in October. Obviously, job cuts: not good news. But this is the seventh month in a row when the number of cuts was lower than the previous month.
However, the number of Americans filing personal bankruptcies went up about nine percent last month. About a third of those were Chapter 13 bankruptcies. That's when the individual is put on a five-year repayment plan.
And finally, the Federal Reserve, the country's central bank, decided not to change a key interest rate which affects things like credit cards and home loans. In the past, the Fed had lowered the rate to try to boost the economy. So, the decision to leave it where it is might indicate things are getting better.
AZUZ: President Obama is pushing for some big reforms in U.S. schools. In Wisconsin yesterday he talked about the "Race to the Top" program. Now it's local and state governments that make decisions about education policies. But the federal government can give money to states, and that's what "Race to the Top" is about.
The program is a fund of more than $4 billion. States would be able to apply for some of that money, and whether or not they got any would be based on if they met certain guidelines. For example, achieving certain educational standards, recruiting and keeping successful teachers, and finding ways to measure students' success. Some testing experts have expressed concerns that states might use just one test to determine students' and teachers' success.
MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for some Fast Facts! In the late 1970s, Iran was politically unstable. The shah, Iran's leader, pushed for reform. But his critics rallied around Ayatollah Khomeini, a religious leader. In 1979, the shah left Iran. And on November 4 of that year, about 500 Iranian students took control of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. They held 66 embassy workers hostage. The students demanded that the shah be sent back to Iran from the U.S., where he was getting medical treatment. The Ayatollah assumed full power of Iran's government, and some of the hostages were released soon after. As the crisis intensified, Iran canceled military treaties with the U.S., while America cut diplomatic ties with the Middle Eastern country and ordered that Iranian money in U.S. banks be frozen. Eventually, the U.S. and Iran signed an agreement to release the hostages and free up the Iranian money. And on January 20, 1981, 444 days after the crisis started, the remaining 52 hostages were released.
AZUZ: Iran actually celebrates November 4th, the day that hostage crisis started, as an official holiday. Thousands of people showed up at the former U.S. embassy yesterday to hear anti-American speeches. But Iranians who oppose the country's government took the opportunity to express their criticism. Thousands of protestors took to the streets, ignoring warnings from Iranian authorities to stay home. Witnesses reported that there were clashes between the protesters and police. Similar demonstrations took place back in June over the disputed results of Iran's presidential election.
Is this Legit?
BRENDAN GAGE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Every 10 years, the government is required to count every person living in the United States. True! It's called the census, and it was established by the U.S. Constitution.
AZUZ: And it's coming up next year. The census helps determine how many seats a state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives, and how billions of dollars in federal funding are spent. The census ins't long, it's just 10 questions. But some lawmakers want to add an eleventh. And as Carol Costello explains, that request is raising some eyebrows.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a few months, the 2010 census form will arrive by mail at every U.S. household. It will ask how many people are living in this house, and what is the person's sex, age. What it won't ask is this: Are you a U.S. citizen? Republican Senator David Vitter says it should. He's pushing an amendment to force the Census Bureau to add that question to the 2010 census.
SEN. DAVID VITTER, (R) LOUISIANA: It simply says, sure, count everybody, but ask if this person is a citizen or a non-citizen, so we simply know what we're dealing with.
COSTELLO: The Constitution says the government must count the whole number of persons in each state. It's important the census get an accurate count because it determines how many lawmakers represent each state. Vitter, who represents Louisiana, says his state is projected to lose one of its seven seats in the House of Representatives after the 2010 census. He says it's because Louisiana has few illegal immigrants and states like California have a lot. He says that's not fair.
VITTER: We don't put the population of France into the count or the population of Brazil, so why would we factor in non-citizens in determining how many U.S. House members every state gets?
COSTELLO: Some Democratic lawmakers say Vitter's effort is unconstitutional and immoral.
REP. BARBARA LEE, (D) CALIFORNIA: So we cannot allow lawmakers to use divisive tactics to scare people into not participating in the 2010 census.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 1920, and census time in the United States.
COSTELLO: Counting all people has long been a struggle for the U.S. Census Bureau. Many minorities, legal and illegal, mistrust the government. This urging minorities to participate came out in the old news reel days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Census taker checks citizens of Japanese extraction, and somewhere else, the Chinese population is added to totals.
ROBERT GROVES, DIRECTOR, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU: A lot of the forms are already...
COSTELLO: Dr. Robert Groves heads up the U.S. Census Bureau.
But would you object to that question on the 2010 census form?
GROVES: We can't do a census with that question.
COSTELLO: Not because he necessarily objects to it, but because 425 million 2010 census forms have already been printed up. Groves says Sen. Vitter's request comes too late.
GROVES: My problem is we have an April 1, 2010 census date. We can't meet that deadline with a change in the questionnaire.
COSTELLO: Still, the senator is not giving up, even if it will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to add that simple question: Are you a U.S. citizen?
AZUZ: Speaking of counting, we have a tally on that poll we posted on our blog yesterday. We asked what you would do if you found a lost, diamond ring in your Halloween basket. So far, 73 percent of you say you'd return it. 19 percent say you'd keep it. And 9 percent say they're not sure what they'd do. Keep the comments and votes coming.
Test your Knowledge
AZUZ: There's probably someone in your class who thinks he or she owns our Shoutouts. Someone who regularly plays trivia and brags on the score. I'm calling you out! We've got a new challenge for you, online, and it's anything but easy.
AZUZ: So, we're here at the CNN SmartBoard to illustrate the CNN Challenge. You can get to this one of two ways: Go to CNN.com and click on either the Entertainment or the Living page. And that way you can get there; you'll see CNN Challenge near your right rail here. Click on that bad baby, and away you go.
Now, the first thing you do in the Challenge is to select your anchor. Now, I'm not one of these folks, but this is a slew of our anchors here at CNN. I usually select Wolf Blitzer because he says he trimmed his beard for the occasion, and I'm all about looking your best. So, we'll go ahead with Wolf and move forward here.
Gameplay: pretty simple stuff. It's multiple choice; they give you a question, and they give you a timer. Now, the faster you answer that question, the more points you're going to get. So, just to illustrate -- got a question coming up here -- and that will be -- cool animation, too -- "Where." We have different kinds of questions: who, what, when, where, why. This is a "where" question. Which was the first nation to give women the right to vote? It's New Zealand. I know that not because I'm smart, but because I played it earlier.
So, we go onto the next section here. And after you have two rounds, both with timers, multiple choice questions -- the second round you have less time to answer the questions, but they're worth more points -- you go to the lightning round. The lightning round is fast and furious. Part of the reason for that is not all of your options are multiple choice. You have some that are fill-in-the-blank, and that can get really tough, where you just type it on your keyboard. You try to get it done again within a time period.
And once you've wrapped up, what's really cool is you can go to the top right, you're going to see newsbin, leaderboard, and challenge others. This is a chance for you to see how well your friends' scores stack up against yours. You can see what the top scores of the day are on the leaderboard. And in the newsbin -- this is kind of cool, too -- it has links to stories that the questions are about. So, the CNN Challenge not only quizzes your knowledge of the news, but it increases your knowledge of the stories that are in the news.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Right now, it's probably a bit cold to go out and swim. Best to do it indoors, like this four-legged fella! For about 15 minutes, this deer managed to get in some laps at a pool in North Carolina. Officials weren't sure how it got in, then they looked up. The animal jumped from a balcony, through the glass roof, and took a dip until a maintenance supervisor grabbed a net and herded it out of the pool.
AZUZ: Dangerous? Of course. But we've known animals like that to occasionally be a little deering. That's your pun and show for the day! I'm Carl Azuz for CNN Student News.