(CNN Student News) -- November 17, 2009
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NASA MISSION CONTROL: Three... two... one... zero. And liftoff of space shuttle Atlantis on a mission to build, resupply and to do research on the international space station.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: The space shuttle Atlantis taking off, and so is this edition of CNN Student News. Here to pilot you through today's commercial-free headlines, I'm Carl Azuz.
First Up: Obama Town Hall
AZUZ: Dining with dignitaries and town halls about Twitter? Part of President Obama's time in China. Today, he's scheduled to hold official meetings with the country's leader, President Hu Jintao. But yesterday, President Obama was in Shanghai, where he took part in a town hall meeting with local university students. During the event, he said that while the two countries sometimes disagree, they don't necessarily have to be at odds with each other. He also took questions from the audience. One of them about Twitter. A student asked if Chinese residents should be able to use the site freely. China -- a communist country -- has routinely blocked its citizens' access to certain Web sites. President Obama used his answer to talk about censorship and said that he believes when information flows openly, it makes a society stronger.
AZUZ: In America, General Motors says that better results might help it pay back government loans sooner rather than later. But "better" is the key word here. From July, when GM came out of bankruptcy, through the end of September, the company's North American operations lost 651 million dollars. Still, that's better than the $2.1 billion it expected to lose. GM has received a total of $50 billion dollars from the U.S. government since the end of last year. Some experts ask how much of that money will ever be repaid.
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for some Fast Facts! The Hajj is an annual journey to the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Islam requires all Muslims who are able to make the journey at least once in their lives as it's one of the five pillars, or requirements, of the Muslim faith. The Hajj includes five days of ceremonies and rituals and takes place two months and ten days after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. More than two million Muslims take part every year.
AZUZ: There are some concerns about this year's Hajj and how it might help spread the H1N1 virus. Think about this: millions of people gathered together and the possibilities of a contagious flu. Saudi Arabia says it won't turn anyone away, but it's encouraging other countries not to let people in high-risk groups -- for example, pregnant women, anyone under 12 or over 65 -- make the ritual pilgrimage. It's suggesting that people who do travel to Mecca for the Hajj get the H1N1 vaccine before they come and to wash their hands regularly once they get there.
AZUZ: The town of Thomson is about 150 miles away from Chicago, Illinois. And that is one reason why some people are against a proposal that would move Guantanamo detainees into the town's prison. We're talking about dozens of suspected terrorists that are being held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One U.S. congressman argues that moving them to Thomson would turn metro Chicago into "ground zero for terrorist plots." Officials toured the Thomson Correctional Center yesterday. Elaine Quijano talked with some of the town's residents about this idea.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: At the Maximum Security Thomson Correctional Center in Northwest Illinois, federal officials from a host of agencies poured in. Representing the departments of Homeland Security, Defense and Justice, and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, the officials got a close-up look at the 1,600 cell jail that could one day house dozens of Guantanamo terror suspects.
Tara Kleckner can see the Thomson Prison from her backyard. She understands the security concerns about the increased threat that would come with having terror suspects in her home town. But she insists the community's 600 residents deserve a chance at the prison jobs that would also come if the detainees are moved here.
TARA KLECKNER, THOMSON RESIDENT: If they can boost our economy and give our people the opportunity to prosper and make more money and make a better living for their families, I think the risk is worth it.
QUIJANO: Both the Democratic Senator and governor of Illinois agree.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D) OF ILLINOIS: We have a chance to bring more than 2,000 good-paying jobs with benefits to this region.
QUIJANO: Yet Illinois House Republicans, like Congressman Donald Manzullo, who's district includes Thomson, warned that bringing terror suspects to U.S. soil would invite a terrorist attack.
REP. DONALD MANZULLO (R) OF ILLINOIS: That's all we need in northern Illinois, is to be known as the Gitmo North. The place that replaced Gitmo.
QUIJANO: While Thomson resident Randy Stricker likes the idea of jobs, he wonders at what cost.
RANDY STRICKER, THOMSON RESIDENT: Kind of leery a little bit, I guess. It makes you nervous. Yeah a little bit.
MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Miss Hill's social studies classes at Madison County Middle School in Comer, Georgia! If you want a Shoutout dedicated to your class, have your teacher send us an iReport. How much trash does the average American generate in one day? Is it: A) .5 pounds, B) 2.1 pounds, C) 3.3 pounds or D) More than 4 pounds? You've got three seconds -- GO! The average American creates more than 4 pounds of garbage every day. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: All right... but once we toss it, where does all that trash go? And I don't mean just some landfill somewhere. That was a group a group of researchers that wanted to find out exactly where trash goes. So, they're tracking it down, from the time it gets tossed until it reaches its final destination. As Patrick Oppmann explains, the goal of the project is to get people thinking about what they throw away.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN ALL-PLATFORM JOURNALIST, SEATTLE: The waste of our lives: newspapers, empty milk cartons, plastic bottles. Many people throw out an aluminum soda can like this and never give it another thought. But if you knew how far this can will travel and the cost involved, you might think twice about what you're throwing out. Call it tracking trash. That's what a group of MIT researchers are doing.
ASSAF BIDERMAN, MIT SENSEABLE CITY LAB: When you throw it away, it sends a message. It gets picked up by the truck, it sends another message.
OPPMANN: They are attaching 3,000 electronic trackers like this one to the trash of people who volunteered for the study.
BIDERMAN: What would it be like to live in an environment where every object is addressable? You know what it is, you know where it is in real time. Can we create a situation of minimum waste?
CARLO RATTI, MIT SENSEABLE CITY LAB: Today, we know a lot of things about the global supply chain. And that's how everything comes together on the planet. Goods are moved and they come together; are produced, assembled and sold. But we know very, very little about what you could call the removal chain; and that's about trash.
STEPHANIE CHANG, STUDY VOLUNTEER: Steel can, old ziplock...
OPPMANN: That removal chain starts on the houseboat of study volunteers Ethan O'Connor and Stephanie Chang. Researcher Malima Wolf shows them how to put a tracker on their trash where it won't be seen or fall off.
MALIMA WOLF, MIT SENSEABLE CITY LAB: We don't want to put it right on the fold. We want to put it kind of near this fold. So, let's tape it in there.
OPPMANN: So, there's a strategy element in all this.
WOLF: Yes, absolutely. I mean, you do have to think it through with each piece, unfortunately. Some of them you're not going to have a lot of choice. Like this metal pipe. If we want to tag this, we're just going to have to tape something on the outside. And unfortunately, it's going to look like you taped something to a metal pipe. But with this cardboard box, we can actually hide it on the inside.
OPPMANN: The study isn't complete, but the tracking technology shows the couple's trash has already traveled tens of miles. Some may end up in landfills, some in recycling plants, some even thousands of miles away. Tossed in the trash, but not forgotten. Patrick Oppman, CNN, Seattle.
AZUZ: Your favorite Web site has a new look! And it is awesome. Check it out: Head to the U.S. page on CNN.com -- we're off the U.S. page now -- scroll down to Student News, and just click on through. Or, you can always type "CNNStudentNews.com" into your browser. And once you get there, that link for your teachers to send us an iReport Shoutout request is right in the Spotlight section.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Well before we go...
CHRIS PARRY, MARKETING MANAGER, MORSAN FARMS: When you look at Missy, she has a lot of style, a lot of presence. She knows she's pretty.
AZUZ: Oh sure, the kid's cute and all, but coming up right here is one fine looking cow! Beauty may be priceless; Missy the cow sure ain't. She went for more than a million dollars at an auction over the weekend. Now you might be asking yourself why. According to the bovine genetic index, Missy might just be the world's most perfect cow.
AZUZ: Which truly makes her a rare breed. We're gonna mooooo-ve it on out of here. For CNN Student 'Moos,' I'm Carl Azuz.