(CNN Student News) -- February 10, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Wednesday, I'm Carl Azuz, this is CNN Student News! Thank you for taking 10 minutes to check out today's show. Let's get right to it.
First Up: Job Creation
AZUZ: First up, political leaders from both parties think they can work together to create a new jobs bill. This came out of a meeting at the White House yesterday. President Obama got together with top Republicans and Democrats to talk about ways to lower the country's unemployment rate. You hear a lot about the two parties -- Democrats and Republicans -- always criticizing each other. During last month's State of the Union speech, the president said he wanted to hold monthly meetings with leaders from the Democrats and the Republicans to try to break up that tension. It's something he thinks can help the country.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think it's fair to say that the American people are frustrated with the lack of progress on some key issues. And although the parties are not going to agree on every single item, there should be some areas where we can agree and we can get some things done, even as we have vigorous debates on some of those issues that we don't agree on.
AZUZ: The bill that Congress is working on is designed to create jobs, and it might include benefits for businesses that hire new employees or spending money on government projects. But there are concerns about how some of that would be paid for. The senate's top ranking Republican, Senator Mitch McConnell, said his party could support the bill, but he wants to make sure it will achieve the right goals.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MINORITY LEADER: We're certainly open to it, and there's a chance we could move forward on a bipartisan basis. We hope it's not just another stimulus bill; we hope it is truly a job generator.
AZUZ: Well, this same group of political leaders is scheduled to get together later on this month to talk about health care reform.
AZUZ: Another story today: According to a medical study, the number of overweight Americans between 6 and 19 years old has tripled since 1970. President Obama calls childhood obesity "one of the most urgent health issues facing the country." That's why he's created a task force to fight it, and here are some suggestions that task force has come up with: First, making labels on food and drink packaging easier to read. The Food and Drug Administration is set to start working with companies on this by the end of the year. Next, making school lunches healthier. More fruits and vegetables; less sugar and fat. But doing this costs money, and the president has asked for $10 billion over the next 10 years to help pay for the change.
He's not the only member of the first family who's talking about the issue of obesity. First lady Michelle Obama kicked off the "Let's Move" campaign yesterday. The program's goal: to reduce childhood obesity within a generation. Mrs. Obama says it's not "about inches or pounds," but "about how kids feel."
More Winter Weather
AZUZ: Some people in the country's Mid-Atlantic region may not be feeling too happy right now about this week's weather forecast. After digging out from last weekend's blizzard, there's another massive snowstorm ready to pound the area. The National Weather Service says 10 to 20 inches of snow could fall on parts of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. If that happens, it would make this the third major storm to hit the nation's capital in less than two months. And to give you an idea of what it's been like recently, Washington's Dulles Airport had a record of 32 inches of snow last weekend. With this new storm on the way, airlines have canceled flights, school has been called off, offices have shut down. It's left a lot of people in the area just frustrated at the ongoing frosty weather.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1: Insult to injury, I think, is the term that comes to mind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #2: It's very frustrating, you know. If we run out of baby food, you know, we can't do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I fell and may have fractured my arm. I'm not entirely sure, but of course, my doctor's office isn't open to tell me that.
AZUZ: What's now a familiar forecast for parts of California: mud triggered by heavy rains. It's why officials ordered residents of more than 500 homes to evacuate yesterday. This same area was hit by mudslides over the weekend. So, just to keep track, they've gone from being told to evacuate on Saturday, to an "all clear" that they could return Saturday night, back to evacuations on Tuesday. The problem is that this area was scorched by a huge wildfire last year. So when the rains come down, there's no plant life to stop or slow down the mudslides. Experts say that, for now, residents might just have to evacuate any time there's a threat of severe weather.
Word to the Wise
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
offensive (noun) As a noun, an offensive describes an assault or attack; for example, a military offensive
AZUZ: In Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan troops are getting ready for a major offensive against the Taliban. That is the militant, Islamic group that controlled the country before being overthrown by coalition forces in 2001. This new offensive will take place in Helmand province, and that's where there's been intense fighting between coalition forces and the Taliban for two years. Fred Pleitgen explains the goals of the assault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S., Afghan and British forces are gearing up for what could be one of the largest military operations against the Taliban since the war in Afghanistan here started in 2001. Now, the operation is called "Mushtarak," a word that means "together," and that's one of the things that the U.S. is trying to showcase with this military operation: mainly that the Afghans are going to play a major role in what's going to happen. And in fact, in many operations, Afghans are supposed to take the lead.
Now, there are several goals that America wants to accomplish with this offensive. On the one hand, of course, it wants the main town in that area, the town of Marjah, back from the Taliban. It wants to show that the Afghan government can set up shop there and effectively govern the area. And of course, the area is also very important because it's right smack in the middle of poppy-growing land in southern Afghanistan. And that poppy has been a major source of revenue for the Taliban in the past couple of years. And they use the money from selling the poppies -- which are used to make heroin -- to buy weapons which are then used against U.S., British and also Afghan soldiers.
We expect this offensive to take place very shortly. The U.S. government has not said when exactly it's going to happen, however, it is one that has been majorly publicized in the past days. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kabul.
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TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What did California's famous Hollywood sign originally say? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) Hollywoodland, B) Hollywood Hills, C) Hollywood Town or D) Hollywoodville? You've got three seconds -- GO! The Hollywoodland sign went up in 1923. It was shortened to just Hollywood in 1949. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: The sign was actually built to advertise a real estate development. And it's thanks to the struggling real estate industry that the view of those famous letters won't be disturbed. Here's what we mean by all of this: Part of the land around the sign was set to be developed for new homes. But when the housing market dropped, so did the price of the land. So, another group snagged the rights to that land. They believe that if any houses are built in the area, it would ruin the view of the Hollywood sign. So, if they can raise enough money by April, they'll own the land; they'll keep any homes from being built.
AZUZ: When the Saints go marching in, they'll be Super Bowl champions! That's why the city of New Orleans is going nuts right now. A massive crowd turning out for the team's victory parade yesterday. You can see how full the sidewalks are. The traffic shut down streets for miles. Students were let out of school early, a lot of people got off of work; all so that they could help celebrate the Saints' first NFL championship. Players rode through town on floats that were donated by local Mardi Gras krewes. And with that celebration starting today, some people expect the party in the Crescent City to keep on going straight through the rest of the week.
AZUZ: After Tuesday's Black History Month segment, we asked if you know anybody in your community who's making a positive difference. Katherine says the things her aunt does to help the environment shows a lot. "She tries to plant trees, she tries to recycle, reduce and reuse. The little things she does can be a big help." Rachel's brother has had a big and inspiring impact on her life. "He is nice to everyone and makes everyone smile," she says. Courtneay writes that "teachers, police, firefighters and volunteers make a difference, no matter what, all around the world." Zach credits his dad with inspiring him to work out more and get more in shape. And T.J. says his teacher, Mr. Lance, "makes a difference because he takes time each day to show the latest CNN Student News program." Don't know if Mr. Lance will give you extra credit, T.J., but we do.
Before We Go
AZUZ: One more blog comment before we go. Rhea says she wouldn't pay 50 cents for this, but somebody thought it was worth something. The sculpture went for more than $104 million recently, making it the most expensive piece of art ever sold at an auction. Even the auction house, which said it was "probably one of the most important sculptures of the 21st century," didn't think it would go for that much.
AZUZ: We guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the wallet of the wealthy. How much art you willing to pay for a favorite piece? You can answer that on our blog. For now, have a great day, and we'll see you tomorrow when CNN Student News returns.