(CNN Student News) -- November 6, 2009
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: We're wrapping up the first week of November, and we're glad to have you along for the ride. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.
First Up: Fort Hood Shootings
AZUZ: "A horrific outburst of violence." That is how President Obama described yesterday's deadly shooting at a military post in Texas. A gunman opened fire on a soldier processing center at Ft. Hood, killing at least 12 people and wounding dozens of others. According to military officials, the alleged gunman is in custody. Authorities said there was no immediate information about a motive behind the attack, but the Army has asked the FBI to help look into the suspect's background. You can get the latest details on this developing story at CNN.com.
AZUZ: Back in the nation's capital, the debate over health care reform is ratcheting up. The House of Representatives might vote on its health care bill this weekend. And yesterday, that bill, which has been backed primarily by House Democrats, picked up the support of two big groups: AARP and the AMA.
AARP is the country's largest organization of older Americans. The group's head says the house bill meets AARP's goals when it comes to health care reform. The AMA, or American Medical Association, is one of the nation's most influential medical groups. It said the bill doesn't represent its views perfectly, but it's close enough to earn the AMA's support.
Many people, including most House Republicans, are opposed to the $1.1 trillion bill. Yesterday, they held a rally at the U.S. Capitol to speak out against it. One of their main criticisms is that the public option that's included in the bill is basically a government takeover of the country's health care system. Republicans have offered their own proposals, but they've been rejected by Democrats, who are in the majority in the House. Yesterday, leaders from both parties spoke out against each other's plans.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This weekend, the House of Representatives is likely to vote on Pelosi-care. This bill is the greatest threat to freedom that I have seen in the 19 years I have been here in Washington. Taking away your freedom to choose your doctor.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: Anything you need to know about the difference between the Democratic bill and the Republican bill is that the Republicans do not end health insurance companies' discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions. Let that stand. That's scandalous, the fact that it exists. I don't understand why we have not heard the American people who have said that pre-existing conditions should not be a source of discrimination.
AZUZ: The House has passed a couple of economic measures that could help out two groups of people: the unemployed and first-time home buyers. The first part of this legislation extends the amount of time that people can collect unemployment benefits, something that millions of Americans are depending on right now. In all states, people who are out of a job could continue getting unemployment for an additional 14 weeks. But in states with an unemployment rate higher than 8.5 percent, the benefits would be extended for 20 weeks. The second measure is also an extension. This one is for an $8,000 tax credit that's available to people buying a home for the first time. The Senate passed this legislation on Wednesday, and President Obama is expected to sign it into law today.
Tribal Leaders Summit
AZUZ: Yesterday, he took part in a White House conference with Native American leaders. During his speech, the president said that the U.S. government was guilty of mistreating Native Americans in the past, but he wants to build a new relationship between tribal leaders and the government. In order to do that, he's ordered federal agencies to offer ideas on how Native American tribes can take part in government decisions. There are 564 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. About two-thirds of them were represented at yesterday's conference.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Who is the current secretary-general of the United Nations? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Kofi Annan, B) Kurt Waldheim, C) Ban Ki-moon or D) Boutros Boutros-Ghali? You've got three seconds -- GO! Ban Ki-moon became the 8th U.N. secretary-general on January 1, 2007. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Last week, Ban Ki-moon said that the U.N. is determined to carry out its mission of helping the people of Afghanistan build a better future. The statement came after an attack in the Asian country which claimed the lives of five U.N. workers. The United Nations is making some changes to its security measures in Afghanistan. Sara Sidner explains how.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After the targeted attack on U.N. staff members here in a guarded guest house in Kabul that left five U.N. members dead, the United Nations has decided to make some changes. They are, for right now, sending out about 600 foreign workers here, and they're going to assess right now the security situation for their staff.
They're sending those workers out for about three weeks, and then intend to bring some of them back. But first, they want to figure out how to beef up security here.
Now, we understand though that the U.N. is very, very adamant that they are not pulling out of Afghanistan. They are simply looking at the security situation, obviously, after that traumatic time where five of their colleagues died. We should also mention that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is asking for about $85 million to beef up security here. Sara Sidner, CNN, Kabul.
AZUZ: Some U.S. forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq may be getting their H1N1 flu shots soon. Just like with civilians, the military has a priority list that says who should get the vaccine first. But as Barbara Starr explains, there are some hang-ups in getting the doses out, even to the people at the top of that list.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: As Americans wait in lines across the country to get the H1N1 vaccine, the Pentagon this week finally began shipping limited vaccine supplies to troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Under Pentagon guidelines, tens of thousands of troops on the front line and those headed to war are the top military priority to receive the vaccine. Even so, supplies are severely limited. Only half of what is needed is now on the way.
GEOFF MORRELL, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: Right now, we don't have enough to even take care of all of them.
STARR: The Pentagon is defending plans to offer the vaccine to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, as well as those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prisoners are considered to be high risk, but a lower military priority than troops, health care workers and civilian personnel.
STARR (Question): I haven't heard an assurance that detainees will get it after civilians in this country.
MORRELL: Barbara, Barbara, Barbara, Barbara, you are presuming that I have the knowledge or the wherewithal to tell you the protocols that are being used for the general population. All I can do is speak to what the priorities are in this department.
STARR: Troops at home also a priority because they will be called upon to help in towns across the country if the crisis grows. The military's top homeland defense commander has teams that could move into action.
GEN. GENE RENUART, COMMANDER, U.S. NORTHERN COMMAND: It would be to provide things like potentially logistics, movement of supplies, maybe additional health care providers that could assist in immunization.
STARR: The Pentagon stopped counting the number of troops that have come down with H1N1 back in July, when world health authorities declared a global pandemic. But privately military officials say the number of cases continues to grow, and recently, Defense Secretary Robert Gates received his vaccine. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
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AZUZ: It's gotta be the shoes. Marcus Jordan, son of basketball legend Michael Jordan, wanted to be like Mike. He wore Nike "Air Jordan" shoes during an exhibition game Wednesday night. Not surprising, but Marcus plays for the University of Central Florida, and that school had a deal with Adidas, getting free uniforms, equipment and shoes, but only if Central Florida players wore the Adidas brand. When Marcus wore his dad's Nikes, Adidas reportedly backed out of the contract, possibly costing central Florida as much as $3 million. A university official says they're still trying to work this out.
Before We Go
AZUZ: You know we're talking about this on our blog, we'd like you to head to our redesigned home page and share your thoughts. Finally today...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your mark, get set, go!
AZUZ: Okay, a race isn't that interesting. But what these guys are racing is: hospital gurneys. It's part of homecoming week at an Alabama university. And apparently, it's one of the school's oldest traditions. We can only imagine the conversation when all this was first started. It's like one guy said to the other, you wanna race hospital beds?
AZUZ: Yeah, that would be sick! Aw yeah. Well, that raps us up for the week. We hope you have a great weekend and return with us next weekend. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.