(CNN Student News) -- January 7, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: This Thursday, January 7th, CNN Student News is reporting on some shifts in the Senate, a frosty forecast for Florida, and a massive man in danger of melting. All of it's ahead. I'm Carl Azuz. Let's get started.
First Up: National Security
AZUZ: First up, six charges, including attempted murder, are filed against the suspect in that failed Christmas attack on an airplane. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison. This attack has brought up concerns about security on flights, as you might expect. And it's gotten the U.S. government to change some of its policies, including how much information is required in order to put suspicious people on a no-fly list. That means they wouldn't be able to fly into the U.S. For example, the decision could now be based on one reliable source. In the past, it required multiple sources. The suspect in the Christmas Day plot was not added to a no-fly list under the old standards. Under the new ones, he wouldn't have been allowed on the plane.
Officials have said that some of these new policies do come with additional costs. But Janet Napolitano, the head of the Homeland Security Department, believes this is an important issue because it affects a wide range of people.
U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY JANET NAPOLITANO: This is something that affects all of us. It's not just Americans who are traveling internationally. It's not just Americans who are on these planes. We want to have an environment where everybody who is traveling is protected.
AZUZ: Math and science: a couple subjects you deal with on a regular basis. They're areas where President Obama would like to see some improvement. That's why he has announced a new program aimed at boosting the nation's math and science scores. He talked about this at an event yesterday. The program will cost around $250 million. That'll come from public funding and private donations. The goal: to train thousands of new math and science teachers over the next five years and to help support the development of more than 100,000 current teachers. Compared to other students around the world, Americans currently rank 21st in science and 25th in math. That's a position the president's concerned about.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So make no mistake, our future is on the line. The nation that out-educates us today is going to out-compete us tomorrow. And to continue to cede our leadership in education is to cede our position in the world. That's not acceptable to me, and I know it's not not acceptable to any of you.
AZUZ: Two long-time senators are retiring when their current terms run out. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, on the left there, and Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota -- both Democrats -- have announced they won't run for re-election this year. Dodd has served in the Senate for almost 30 years; Dorgan for close to 20. Both men were facing potentially tough campaign fights. Their decisions to retire could also impact the political balance in the Senate. There are 37 Senate seats up for election this year.
Is this Legit?
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Water freezes at zero degrees Fahrenheit. Not legit! On the Fahrenheit scale, water's freezing point is 32 degrees. It's zero degrees on the Celsius scale.
AZUZ: That is something a lot of folks are seeing first-hand right now, with massive cold spells hammering the U.S. According to a CNN meteorologist, the overnight temperatures in parts of Florida are the lowest that anyone has seen in 20 years. And as John Zarrella explains, that could be bad news for the state's fruit farmers.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF AND CORRESPONDENT: There is plenty of sunshine in Florida. The problem is, right now, it's not throwing much heat. For folks here not used to sub-60s, it's downright miserable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #1: I've got layers. A layer. I'm freezing!
ZARRELLA: The brisk air has a tendency to get people moving at a brisker pace. For the most part, the beaches were empty, although there is always someone who wants you to believe it's really true, the water is warmer than the air. Of course, everything is relative. If you're in town from Iowa for the college bowl game, this is like summer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: You Florida people don't know cold.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #3: Don't know cold. It's minus-3 in our hometown of Sheraton. So, it's still 60 degrees warmer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: Exactly. We love it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #3: Sixty degrees warmer here. We love it.
ZARRELLA: Yes, and when you leave, take the cold with you. The state's farmers and growers would like that more than just about anyone.
Still have a heck of a lot of fruit that can be damaged.
LOUIS SCHACHT, SCHACHT GROVES: Definitely. I mean the honeybells, this is the prime time of year for them. People love to ship them north.
ZARRELLA: Louis Schacht's family has been growing citrus in Vero Beach for 60 years. It's a small family operation. They've done what they can to protect the crop. Flooding the ground between each row of trees will keep the temperature up a couple of degrees. That's all it might take to save the fruit.
SCHACHT: If it stays just above freezing, it can really help sweeten the fruit and be fine and really tie the season a little bit farther for us. But it, you know, it's a fine line to walk. If it gets too cold, then you can definitely have some damage.
ZARRELLA: The feared number is 28 degrees. Below that for more than four hours would freeze the fruit right on the trees and could wreck Florida's $9 billion a year citrus industry. Strawberry growers are not in a good place either. The fields have been watered to allow an insulating coat of ice to form over the tender berries.
VICKIE BECK, ANDREW'S SOD AND STRAWBERRY FARM: Nothing you can do but try to do your best and protect them and make the best out of it and say a few prayers to watch over them and keep going.
ZARRELLA: Perhaps a lot of prayers. Even colder temperatures are expected by the weekend.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! In Lexington, Kentucky, it is illegal to carry what in your pocket? Is it: A) Makeup, B) Cell phone, C) Musical instrument, or D) Ice cream cone? You've got three seconds -- GO! Believe it or not, in Lexington, it's illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket. That's cold! But that's your answer, and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Lexington wasn't worried about people crushing their cones. This actually goes back to horse and buggy days. The concern was that the animals would try to eat the cone out of your pocket. It's far from the only interesting law on the books. And with the start of a new year, there are some new additions.
AZUZ: There'll be less tanning in Texas! If you're between 16-and-a-half -- don't ask why the "half" -- and 18 years old, you'll need a parent's permission if you want to get bronzed at a tanning bed. That's just one of more than 40,000 new laws taking effect in the new year. No matter which state you live in, something's a-changing. No more texting and driving in Illinois, New Hampshire and Oregon. They're joining many other states with a ban on that. No more smoking at bars and restaurants in North Carolina, which happens to be the country's biggest producer of tobacco. Restaurants in California are gonna have to limit trans fats to no more than one-half milligram per serving. Trans fats help foods stay fresh and taste less oily, but they're bad for your arteries and cholesterol levels. And if you're under 16 in Oregon, you'll have to wear a seat belt whenever you're on an ATV or in a car on public property. Motorcyclists without helmets will get smacked with a fine of $720.
Some of the new laws might seem a little random. In New Hampshire, if you're a physical therapist, you'll be able to get a certificate to practice on animals. In California, you'll no longer be able to chop off a cow's tail unless it's medically necessary! And if you pre-pay for your cell phone in Louisiana, the state's gonna charge you some extra money. In fact, money's at the heart of a lot of these new laws, mainly because states need it. In the words of a spokesperson for the National Conference of State Legislatures, "Money is the starting and stopping point for any state program."
AZUZ: Would you report something you knew was wrong if doing so put you at risk? That was the question in my first blog of 2010, and Kaylee answered: "It depends on the situation. If somebody is getting really harmed, then I would report it. But if it was a problem where somebody was cheating, I wouldn't really bother." Chase says, "I'd keep quiet because if it was a serious crime, then the criminal might come back for me." From Sheryl: "I would keep quiet because I wouldn't want to be part of the situation." From Marissa: "If a friend or family member was in danger, I'd report it. If someone I didn't know was in trouble, I wouldn't report it because maybe this person was on drugs or something. I wouldn't want to be caught up in a mess like that." But Brett wrote, "When I see fights or something that is wrong at school or anywhere, I would report it because I'll know it's justice. I wouldn't let words like 'snitch' hurt me since I did the right thing."
Before We Go
AZUZ: Excellent comments on that blog. Before we leave you today, what happens when you combine a lot of snow and a little imagination? This! At 25 feet tall, I don't know whether to call him frosty or "sir." Your typical snowman is built by hand. This one takes a snowblower and a hay elevator. And the usual coal for buttons or carrot for a nose? Forget all that. It's tires and a traffic cone. The same arctic architect built a 17-foot snowman a couple years ago.
AZUZ: So we're guessing this year's creation was just snow big deal. One more day to go 'til the weekend. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.