(CNN Student News) -- January 12, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Well, it is Tuesday; I'm Carl Azuz; this is CNN Student News! Thank you for taking 10 to check out today's show. We're going to get started right now.
First Up: Frozen Oranges
AZUZ: First up, the ongoing cold spell in the southern U.S. could mean serious problems for Florida's citrus farmers. The industry makes about $9 billion per year. Right now, the citrus harvest is at its peak, but the winter weather is wreaking havoc. One official said that some of the state's groves suffered substantial damage over the weekend. Here's the problem: If the temperature goes below 28 degrees and stays there a while, it can damage or destroy citrus crops. And with this extreme cold, parts of the state have dropped into the 30s and lower. You might notice the impact of the situation on your breakfast table. Florida produces three-quarters of the U.S. orange crop, snd the state is responsible for 40 percent of the entire world's orange juice supply.
AZUZ: Members of Congress are returning from their holiday break this week. One of the biggest items they're going to be working on is a health care reform bill. You heard all about that last semester. Both the House and the Senate have passed different versions; they did that last year. The next step for them this year is to combine the two versions into one final bill. But as Brianna Keilar tells us, that may not be an easy process.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: After months of hearings, raucous town halls...
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: You want to be let out of here, you're welcome to go.
KEILAR: ...Rowdy protests, a vote during a snowstorm and another on Christmas eve, one year and several versions of health care reform later, here we are: one House bill and one Senate bill with big differences.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA, HOUSE SPEAKER: All the Senate thinks theirs is fair; we think ours is. We'll see which mirror cracks.
KEILAR: One major sticking point: whether or not there should be a government-run insurance plan, the so-called public option that would compete with private plans. The House has one, but moderate Democrats succeeded in cutting it from the Senate bill. Because of that, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no longer insisting on a public option, though she is demanding health care be affordable for low and middle income Americans.
PELOSI: There are other ways to do that, and we look forward to having those discussions as we reconcile the bills.
KEILAR: Pelosi is pushing for more government subsidies to help people buy insurance. And how will the government pay for health care reform? The House bill has a tax on the wealthy. The Senate bill taxes high-end health insurance policies, those so-called Cadillac plans. House liberals are concerned it will hit labor union members.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS, (D) MARYLAND: The last thing that we want to do is penalize people who have managed to negotiate -- however they've negotiated for themselves -- good health care.
AZUZ: Moving from bills to baseball and an admission from one of the sport's most famous sluggers. Mark McGwire says that he used illegal steroids during the 1990s, and that includes the 1998 season when he broke the record for the most home runs in a season. In a statement, McGwire, who was recently named the St. Louis Cardinals' hitting coach, said, "I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize."
Word to the Wise
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
trace (noun) a small or barely detectable amount of something
AZUZ: Machines that can find trace amounts of potentially dangerous materials are one of the technologies being considered to help out with airline security. Another: full-body scanners. In a recent CNN poll, about 80 percent of people were in favor of airports using those. Yesterday, we looked at some of the challenges facing security personnel. Today, Brian Todd explores some of the technologies being developed to help them.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When President Obama said this...
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: ...to develop and deploy the next generation of screening technologies.
TODD: ...This is what he meant. You're looking at what one Homeland Security official calls an electronic dog's nose. It's a trace sensor device, one of the technologies being developed by the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security to protect passengers from terrorists. The trace sensor can sniff explosive traces on a person's hands, possibly near a body cavity. It can smell minute odors, even from sealed containers.
SUSAN HALLOWELL, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY LABORATORY: There is enough vapor coming from around that sealed bottle to use detection devices to find it.
TODD: Another device called a MagViz is just for luggage. It's a low-strength MRI machine that can tell which liquids might be explosives. Harmless liquids get green dots. A potential liquid explosive gets a red one. A Homeland Security official says they are also looking at thermal imaging technology that can distinguish between the temperatures of skin and foreign objects. As we reported last spring, the Pentagon's developing this to interrogate prisoners for signs of stress, highlighted in the red areas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, Brian, tell me how you like working for your boss.
TODD: I love it. It's the most fulfilling professional experience I've ever had. Uh-oh. It looks like I'm spiking.
There is some skepticism. Homeland security expert Randy Larsen says he's all for research and development, but...
What are the big drawbacks of some of these things in development right now, some of these technologies?
COL. RANDY LARSEN (RET.), INST. OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, some things work really well in the laboratory in a very controlled environment, when two or three people are going through a system in an hour. At an airport, where we've got a million people going through, we have 2,000 screening lanes just in U.S. airports. Actually, about 2,200 screening lanes. So, we have to buy a lot of them, and they're very expensive.
TODD: In response to that, one Homeland Security official says cost is a huge component they're factoring in. He says that MagViz machine, for instance, is not too far away from being deployable, but he says MRI technology is expensive. You can't place that in every airport right now, and they're figuring out ways to do that. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What is the world's most expensive city to live in? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Dubai, B) London, C) Tokyo or D) New York? You've got three seconds -- GO! Mercer's 2009 Worldwide Cost of Living survey found that Tokyo is the world's most expensive city. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Nothing new there. Tokyo has been at or close to the top of that list for 15 years. With lots of people struggling financially right now worldwide, some residents of the world's most expensive city have had to downsize where they live to a space that's a lot smaller than your bedroom. Kyung Lah has the details.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, TOKYO: Satoshi Miura steps into his home for the night. He crawls because there's no room to stand.
SATOSHI MIURA, TEMP WORKER [TRANSLATED]: "It's a comfortable place to stay," says Miura. "There's a shared bath and a place to sleep."
LAH: This is a capsule hotel. The rooms are boxes about the size of a coffin. These capsule hotels were once the sign of prosperity. Businessmen, working too late or partying too late into the night, could find a safe place to crash. Now, for that purpose, this small space does have everything you need: a bed, a television, a radio. They were never intended to be lived in for an extended period of time. But just costing $700-$1,000 a month with no deposit, a housing bargain in Tokyo, the working poor are increasingly calling this home.
Miura is part of the working poor; he goes from job to job as a part-time, temporary worker. The work is low-paid and not steady; hired and fired at will. Temporary workers were fired en masse in Japan's recession. Many lost their homes.
Japan may have the image of a modern, egalitarian society, but the global economic slowdown has hit this country hard. Unemployment is at an all-time high at 5.2 percent, and the poverty rate is one of the highest among developed nations. State support, once you're fired, is thin at best, says labor rights activist Makoto Kawazoe.
MAKOTO KAWAZOE, YOUNG WORKERS' UNION [TRANSLATED]: "The biggest problem in Japan is when you're jobless, you drop right into poverty," says Kawazoe. "Housing is so unaffordable," he says, "that temporary workers can never make enough to pay the deposit on an apartment or make rent."
LAH: Japan's new prime minister, in his first news conference of the year, promised to change that.
YUKIO HATOYAMA, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN [TRANSLATED]: "I want everyone in Japan to have basic living rights guaranteed by our constitution," says Prime Minister Hatoyama. "People want a place to live, they wish to work, but there's no where to work. I want to build a government this year that supports workers and protects their lives."
MIURA [TRANSLATED]: "Japan is not a rich country," says Miura from his capsule. "There are rich and poor, and a great gap between."
LAH: But on this night, Miura is feeling a bit more upbeat. He has a day job tomorrow that will pay him enough for another night indoors, making it one more day in the world's most expensive city. Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.
Before We Go
AZUZ: All right, before we go, we want to share an award-winning recipe for hummus! This stuff. It's a kind of dip. If you want to make four tons of it, which these folks wanted to do, you're going to need two-and-a-half tons of chick peas, one-and-a-half tons of sesame paste, and a vat of garlic. We don't know how it tastes; the award is a world record for the biggest hummus serving. You might wonder what kind of dish to serve it in.
AZUZ: In this case, it was a satellite dish. I think that was pretty tasteless. It's also where we end today's show. We will see you tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.