(CNN Student News) -- January 14, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Today, we are exploring the connection between your education and your community's economy. Thank you for spending part of your Thursday with CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz. Let's go.
AZUZ: Massive devastation, severe loss of life, uncertainty about what to do or where to go: That is what is facing survivors of Tuesday's deadly earthquake in Haiti. The Caribbean island nation is home to around 9 million people. The Red Cross says that one out of every three of those residents was affected by this quake.
Yesterday, Haiti's president told CNN that it was too early to know how many people had died in the tremor, although he had heard reports ranging from 30,000 to 100,000. To make matters worse, he said it's difficult to help people who have been injured because many hospitals were destroyed by the earthquake. Several Haitian officials have said that all of Port-au-Prince, the capital city, is either damaged or destroyed. The quake struck about 10 miles from the city. One CNN reporter on the scene described the devastation as "horrifying and disturbing." In downtown Port-au-Prince, he said, "block after block after block, there is not one building."
The country's president is calling on the international community for aid, saying, "We need doctors, we need medicine, we need medical help." The U.S., along with nations from Europe, Asia and South America, as well as global relief agencies -- all of them have already begun sending relief workers and assistance to Haiti. President Obama has pledged that America will have a major role in the relief efforts.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief: the food, water and medicine that Haitians will need in the coming days.
AZUZ: Haiti is part of the island of Hispaniola, along with the Dominican Republic. And that island has a fault line that runs along its southern side. That's why scientists have warned that Hispaniola was at risk for a major earthquake. Haiti itself is a little smaller than the state of Maryland. It's the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. 80 percent of its population lives under the poverty line, and that economic situation might create additional challenges as the country tries to recover from this natural disaster.
Impact Your World
AZUZ: That recovery process: likely to be long and difficult. We've already mentioned that several countries and agencies have launched relief efforts. But if you want to get involved, head to the Spotlight section at CNNStudentNews.com and click on the "Impact Your World" link. You're going to find a list of organizations that can use your help.
Word to the Wise
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
censorship (noun) the act of deleting or restricting something
AZUZ: Google has been practicing self-censorship for years in China. When the Internet giant first started operating in the communist country -- that was in 2006 -- China's government demanded that some search results be restricted. Google said okay, arguing that it was providing at least some information to Chinese citizens. But now, the company is changing its policy. John Vause explains why and what it might mean for Google's future in the world's most populated country.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, BEIJING: After all the self-censorship, the government Web crackdowns, after compromising its own stated ethics, Google, it seems, has finally had enough of doing business the China way.
JEREMY GOLDKORN, DANWEI.COM: Google has been subject to inordinate amount of harassment in China over the last year.
VAUSE: The tipping point, it seems, is what the Internet giant calls "sophisticated" cyber attacks originating from within China, targeting gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. None were breached, but the company says the attacks "...have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China," and it's "...no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn.".... "This may well mean having to shut down Google.cn and potentially our offices in China."
GOLDKORN: I imagine the Chinese government's reaction is going to be well, if you don't like our laws, get lost.
VAUSE: Within hours of the announcement, the self-censorship was being rolled back. Search results from Google's China server showed images of the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square. So too, the Dalai Lama and the outlawed religious group Falun Gong. For a company with "don't do evil" as its motto, this defiant new stand one praise from supporters of free speech, who in the past have been critical of Google for agreeing to government censorship as a condition for setting up shop in China.
ROSEANN RIFE, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: They've revisited the idea of censorship and are now saying that the price they're paying is perhaps too high.
VAUSE: If Google really does pull out of China, it could come with huge financial cost. This country has more than 300 million Internet users, more than any other, and the Internet advertising market here is seen as one of the most important and fastest growing in the world. Google has not directly accused the Chinese government of being involved in the cyber attacks and says it will seek negotiations with Beijing over the next few weeks to see if it's possible to continue to operate here. Chinese government officials declined to comment when asked by CNN. Meantime, all Beijing Google staff are now reportedly on paid leave. John Vause, CNN, Beijing.
AZUZ: In Washington, D.C., a commission set up by Congress is investigating the U.S. financial crisis. They're looking into what caused it and hopefully how to avoid another one in the future. As part of that investigation, the commission has been talking with some government officials. And yesterday, it met with the chief executives of four of the country's biggest banks. The head of the commission said he wanted to hear the bankers talk about their companies' roles in causing the crisis. The executives acknowledged that their banks had made mistakes, but said they didn't realize how bad those mistakes were at the time.
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What percent of American students earn their high school diploma? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) 50 percent, B) 70 percent, C) 85 percent or D) 95 percent? You've got three seconds -- GO! Only 70 percent of students earn their high school diplomas. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Okay, that number may surprise you. Another thing you might not realize is that getting your high school diploma can help many more people than just you. A new study looked at how communities would've benefited if more people stayed in school. Take a look at what it found out.
AZUZ: Soaring unemployment, states trying to avoid running out of money: Could students dropping out of high school actually make this worse? Absolutely, says the Alliance for Excellent Education. The group's been analyzing the effects that dropouts have, not only on themselves, but on the places where they live, and they found that just getting a high school diploma can dramatically affect communities.
Here's how the study worked: An estimated 600,000 students dropped out of the class of 2008. The Alliance figured out how the country could've benefited if just half of them, 300,000, had gotten their diplomas. It estimated they would've earned a combined $4.1 billion more money in an average year. Then, they could've spent $2.8 billion more and invested more than $1 billion more.
So what? Well, all that additional spending could've supported 30,000 more jobs; you know we could use them now. And down the road, these hypothetical graduates could've bought homes valued at $10.5 billion more than what they'd have spent without diplomas. And they'd probably have the money to spend $340 million more on cars. With the taxes that come with all that spending, the Alliance estimates that states and communities would be pulling in an extra $536 million a year. And the point? To show how getting a diploma doesn't just help students, it helps the country.
SUSAN LISCOVICZ, CNN BUSINESS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Right now, there are 7,000 kids, estimated, that drop out of school every day. The Alliance president says this report underscores the notion that the best economic stimulus package is a high school diploma.
AZUZ: Another reason why all this means so much.
AZUZ: All right, when you get home today, we want you to go to Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews. We've got a new video up. You're going to love it. You've got to check it out. It's at Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews. And if you're not a fan of our show, that's where you can click the button to become a fan. We'd love to have you. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, a couple who's trashing their wedding plans, 'cause that's how they plan to pay for the big day: with trash! Cans, to be specific. The bride-to-be said she got the idea in the middle of the night: collect 400,000 aluminum cans, recycle them, and then use the money to cover the cost of the wedding. They've collected more than 10,000 so far, with a Web site and Facebook page helping the cause.
AZUZ: We're sure they can meet their goal. If not, they can just postpone the wedding for a while and recycle the idea down the road. A fresh CNN Student News with a fresh pun is coming your way tomorrow. I'm Carl Azuz. We'll see you then.