(CNN Student News) -- December 1, 2009
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: December 1st, 2009: This is CNN Student News, welcoming viewers from around the world to 10 minutes of commercial-free headlines, for the classroom. It starts right now!
First Up: Afghanistan Strategy
AZUZ: The orders are in place -- President Obama making a move as commander-in-chief of the U.S. military, deciding America's next steps in Afghanistan. Thing is, we don't know them yet: The president's scheduled to announce the plans to the public tonight. What we do know is that he's spoken with his top officials, in addition to leaders from around the world about the decision. The main U.S. commander in Afghanistan asked for 40,000 more U.S. troops. President Obama is expected to send some -- if not all -- of that number. One thing to keep in mind, though: The president makes the order, but Congress has to approve the money to pay for it. And that's not a done deal, with some Democrats strongly against sending any more troops to Afghanistan.
AZUZ: And you've heard there's also been a lot of disagreement in Congress on another presidential priority: How to change the nation's health care system. Republicans generally want a step-by-step approach to reform instead of a major overhaul, as the president and most Democrats want. But even within that overhaul idea, as Jim Acosta explains, agreement may be further away than a Senate deadline.
BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: You are hereby pardoned.
JIM ACOSTA: If only the President could get a pardon for health care reform, his signature initiative that's in danger of being plucked to death in the Senate. Already calls to delay the bill are coming in, including one from a key Republican, once a close colleague of Mr. Obama's in Congress, who argues there are more pressing issues to tackle.
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR, (R) INDIANA: The war is terribly important. Jobs and our economy are terribly important. So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year.
ACOSTA: Democrats are staring at their calendar with dread. After hoping to wrap up their work by December 18th, less than three weeks from now. Congressional leaders are warning members they may work weekends right up to Christmas fearing any delay on health care will kill the bill.
SEN. JACK REED, (D) RHODE ISLAND: We have to go ahead and conclude this debate. To stop now would be stopping on the edge, I think, of significant reform, which is so important for the country.
ACOSTA: Any amendment could drag down the bill in the Senate from anti-abortion Democrats who want to restrict spending on abortion to party conservatives who want to water down the public option. Some Democrats aren't even sure the bill lowers health care costs, one of the president's chief objectives.
And with time winding down health care will have to share the spotlight. There are congressional spending bills to keep the government running. An upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen. And unemployment; the one issue many Republicans hope to ride right into next year's mid-term elections.
Now that the debate is moving forward, Democrats will need 60 votes to stop it and schedule a vote. The political obituary for health care reform has been written before. And Democratic leaders have had plenty of chances to leave it for dead. But there are no signs they are backing down now. Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.
AZUZ: The Central American nation of Honduras officially has a new president. The question is, will he be accepted? Here's the candidate who won Sunday's vote: Porfirio Lobo Sosa. He barely lost Honduras' last election to Jose Manuel Zelaya in 2005. President Zelaya, kicked out of office this summer after he was accused of abusing his power. Some countries didn't think that was right -- that Zelaya should still be president. So even though the U.S., Colombia and Costa Rica say this man, Lobo Sosa, is in charge... Argentina, Brazil and Spain say this doesn't solve the problem.
Is This Legit?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is This Legit? HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, targets the central nervous system. Not legit! HIV takes aim at the immune system, which could leave the body defenseless against infections.
AZUZ: AIDS was officially identified in the United States back in the early 1980s. The first "World AIDS Day" was held in 1988. And 21 years later, you'll see events, religious services and red ribbons worn today to symbolize attempts to end HIV/AIDS.
AZUZ: Every year, the United Nations marks December 1st as World AIDS Day - a day to raise global awareness about HIV/AIDS and the efforts to fight the disease.
HIV stands for "Human Immunodeficiency Virus." It attacks T-cells of the immune system -- the exact system that is supposed to protect you from diseases. When the T-Cell count is too low, a person is considered to have AIDS: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
The U.N estimates that 2 million people around the world died from the disease last year, so fighting HIV/AIDS remains a priority. One way to do that: drug therapy.
According to a new U.N. report, more than 33 million people worldwide are living with HIV. That's more people than ever before, but it shows how drugs that fight the virus that causes AIDS are working, enabling people to live with it.
Also in the U.N.'s report: The number of people with new infections - down 17% since 2001. The number of deaths - also down.
Still, the millions of people living with HIV face challenges ahead, much as basketball star Magic Johnson had to face after he was told he was infected in 1991.
MAGIC JOHNSON, NBA PLAYER LIVING WITH HIV: I'm doing great, because I''m taking my meds, and I'm working out. There's 26 drugs that can take care of you now, so it's not a death sentence like it used to be.
CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can ID Me! I'm an international competition held every four years. Brazil has won my championship more than any other country. My first tournament in 1930 was organized by a group called FIFA. I'm soccer's World Cup, whose main event is played among 32 national teams.
AZUZ: ...or could it be 33 teams this time around? Ireland is hoping so. They did not make the top 32 who'll play in South Africa next year at stadiums like this one. Ireland was knocked out by France. But it was the way they lost that's the hitch. Those of you who play soccer know: Your hands don't touch the ball, unless you're throwing it in, or you're a goalkeeper. In their match against Ireland, France scored the winning goal on a kick set up by a player who illegally used his hands. The replay showed it. But soccer doesn't have "instant replay"; FIFA rules say that all referee decisions are final. Some are calling for a rematch between Ireland and France; others just want Ireland -- who've never won a World Cup -- to have a shot in South Africa. And some say this is all just part of the game, and Ireland is out.
AZUZ: Whether or not you've ever played the world's most popular sport, you can talk to us about this: Are referee errors or oversights just part of it all, like they can be in many sports? Or should the flags with the green, white and orange stripes -- the flags of Ireland -- fly next year in South Africa? Kick off your thoughts on this at CNNStudentNews.com!
AZUZ: New Zealand is celebrating its first rocket launch into orbit but not by a government organization like NASA. A company run by a man named Mark Rocket -- yes, really -- Mark Rocket -- sent the Southern Hemisphere's first privately built rocket up just recently. In this report by Jack Tame of TV New Zealand, you'll see how everyone from the spectators to the sheep, felt about it.
UNKNOWN: Three, two, one.
JACK TAME,TVNZ REPORTER: In a puff of smoke, Atea-1 accelerated to five times the speed of sound, leaving Great Mercury Island for the great unknown. At day break the weather conditions had been perfect for lift off. The rocket sat center stage while the man who paid for it, Mark Rocket sat in the paddock above.
MARK ROCKET, ROCKET LAB: There's a lot of adrenaline in the system we have been working hard to this point.
TAME: As the rocket scientist worked from a special underground bunker, a crowd of onlookers gathered together.
Because of the safety reasons, this is as close as anyone as anyone's allowed to the rocket, they call this the stonehenge area and if anything goes wrong the spectators here will have to shelter behind these rocks.
But at the last minute the rocket final check didn't check out.
ROCKET: We are scrubbing the launch for three hours.
TAME: Three hours became seven but with an emergency flight to the mainland, a replacement was found for the rocket's jammed valve. They fueled up for round two.
MOS: Boy it took off. I think it was hard to comprehend it could go so sast.
SIR MICHAEL FAY, OWNER, GREAT MERCURY ISLAND: It just disappeared. It hit the afterburners before the top of the tree branches, I reckon.
TAME: We filmed as the rocket's chief designer radioed in.
UNKNOWN: I hope that was the best cheque you ever wrote Mark?
ROCKET: Yes fantastic effort Pete. That was just incredible.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Okay, don't ask us why someone would spend $1,200 on toothpicks, just roll with it. What looks like a vehicle more commonly seen a century ago was actually constructed over the last 15 years of toothpicks: about one-and-a-half million of them and who knows how much glue? It's on its way to a museum. The owner says it can be broken into 25 pieces for transport, or if things don't go well, one-and-a-half million.
AZUZ: But the question: Why a stagecoach? The guy saw a small replica somewhere, and decided he "wood stick" with the idea. We are going tooth-pick up the show again tomorrow! I'm Carl Azuz -- see you then!