(CNN Student News) -- March 2, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Satellite phones, mobile bridges, field hospitals and kitchens: all of these on the list of things that Chile needs as it tries to recover from a powerful earthquake. I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now!
AZUZ: It is the worst natural disaster to hit the South American country in more than 50 years. Saturday's earthquake destroyed or severely damaged eight hospitals, and that's making it hard to get medical access to parts of Chile. But the World Health Organization says that everyone who needs medical assistance is getting it. And other countries and groups are helping too. The United Nations says it will provide some of those satellite phones. Argentina is sending at least two field hospitals. Sandra Endo has more on the aftermath of this quake.
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.:Cutting through the rubble, rescue workers are trying to find survivors after Saturday morning's 8.8-magnitude earthquake, which left a trail of devastation throughout Chile and killed hundreds of people.
PRESIDENT MICHELLE BACHELET, CHILE [TRANSLATED]: We are in front of an emergency that has no point of reference in the past, in Chile's history.
ENDO: More than a million residents are without power. Chile's government is struggling to get supplies to people in need. Meanwhile, looting is becoming a problem, especially in the city of Concepcion, one of the hardest hit areas, closest to the epicenter. Officials imposed an overnight curfew and the Chilean military is using tear gas and water cannons to deter looting. Some are scavengers who say they're just trying to stock up on essentials to get by.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE [TRANSLATED]: People are desperate. They're desperate. And the only way to survive is to come and get what you need.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE [TRANSLATED]: We don't have anything. We don't have water. We don't have food.
ENDO: The U.S. and the United Nations stand ready to help. Chile's president-elect, slated to take power in less than two weeks, says rebuilding the country will take some time.
SEBASTIAN PINERA, CHILEAN PRESIDENT-ELECT [TRANSLATED]: We will have to carry out a great effort of solidarity and cooperation to face the consequences of this earthquake.
ENDO: But some say the damage and death toll could have been much worse.
VOICE OF PAUL SIMONS, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHILE: The Chilean government has really done an outstanding job in these first 48 hours assessing the magnitude of this tragedy.
AZUZ: Over in Europe, several countries are recovering from the effects of a severe winter storm. You can see some of the impact in this video: heavy flooding that was caused by strong rains, especially in parts of France. That country's prime minister declared a national catastrophe. Authorities say at least 50 people were killed by Xynthia. That's the name of this storm. It came up the western coast of Europe on Sunday, hitting parts of Portugal and Spain before it moved on to Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. But France seemed to get the worst of it. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, you see him in this video, visited some of the areas that were hit the hardest. Hundreds of people had to be rescued from their rooftops because of rising floodwaters. And at least a million people lost power over the weekend.
Word to the Wise
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
grant (noun) as a noun, grant describes a gift -- for example, money -- that is used for a specific purpose
AZUZ: A purpose like education. The U.S. government is offering "school turnaround grants." These are designed to help about 5,000 schools that might not be performing so well to improve over the next five years. President Obama has set aside $900 million in next year's budget to help pay for this program. One of the things that these grants will help fight is dropouts. The White House says roughly 1.2 million students drop out of school every year. During a speech yesterday, President Obama said that it's a problem that affects the country and the economy, and it's one that the government should have a role in fixing.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Government has a responsibility. Government can help educate students to succeed in college and a career. Government can help provide the resources to engage dropouts and those at risk of dropping out. And when necessary, government has to be critically involved in turning around lowest performing schools.
AZUZ: All right, you know the president and Democratic leaders have been trying to advance their health care reform plans. We've been hearing this word "reconciliation" a lot lately with regard to health care reform. Ali Velshi has that covered.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: Now that the Democrats don't have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, they might turn to something called reconciliation. That's where the Senate takes the bill and then tinkers with it a little bit, and then decides to pass it using reconciliation. Now, reconciliation only needs 51 votes to pass. You can't filibuster, which means one person can't hold it up by talking or continuing to say no to something. It was originally designed to deal with budget matters, to reconcile legislation with budget rules that controlled spending.
Now, let me tell you what reconciliation has been used for in the past. Back in 1989, it was used for the Medicare overhaul for physician payments. In 1996, it was used for a welfare overhaul. And in 2001 and 2003, it was used for the Bush tax cuts. Let me show you who has used reconciliation in the past. It's been used 22 times in the past. Under a Republican-controlled Senate, it was used 16 times. Under a Democratic-controlled Senate, it was used six times. So, the bottom line is everybody has used reconciliation in the past. Whether or not this is the right use for it, well, that's for some folks on Capitol Hill to debate.
AZUZ: And here's what a couple of them are saying: Republican Senator Mitch McConnell says he doesn't think something of this magnitude of health care reform should be jammed through by reconciliation. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez says without a bipartisan agreement, reconciliation could help the country move forward on health care reform.
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Shanahan's social studies class at Desert Star School in Goodyear, Arizona. Which city served as Georgia's first state capital? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Atlanta, B) Augusta, C) Rome or D) Savannah? You've got three seconds -- GO! Savannah was the state's capital until 1786. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: A church in that former state capital is educating its members about a government program that really counts. We're talking about the census. The first one of those, taken in 1790. Savannah's First African Baptist Church was actually open back then, but its members didn't get a full representation in the census. As Tony Harris explains, that's why church leaders think it's so important for them to get involved now.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: For more than two centuries, this church located in Savannah, Georgia has been a cornerstone of support for African-Americans, who in this nation's early years literally did not count.
REV. THURMOND N. TILLMAN, PASTOR, FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH: If we knew our history, that at one point in history we were only counted as three-fifths of a person, and that's all you could be counted was three-fifths of a person.
HARRIS: And now, with the 2010 Census, First African Baptist Church has a mission to make sure they are counted. Built in the 1800s by slaves, the church claims to be the oldest black Baptist church in North America.
KAREN WORTHAM, HISTORIAN, FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH: The country here is 233 years old. First African is 232 years old. And on the side of each of the pews you can actually see written in a language of cursive Hebrew.
HARRIS: Karen Wortham has been telling the history of the church for seven years.
WORTHAM: And beneath the floor is where slaves hid as part of the Underground Railroad.
HARRIS: Today, it's a place where many African-Americans gather to work for change. Pastor Thurmond Tillman is keeping in step like the pastors he's followed, working with the Census in 1990, 2000 and now in 2010.
TILLMAN: This is a bedrock for getting everything else done. This one really makes a difference because when people fill those forms out and send them in, that determines the amount of money that comes back to their community and it also determines representation.
HARRIS: Many church members also get the message of this decennial census.
ALFRED MCGUIRE, CHURCH MEMBER, FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH: The pastor has done a tremendous job of educating us about the census and allowing us to become informed. So that way, not only are we informed, but we can go out and tell others.
ATRICIA ROBERTS, CHURCH MEMBER, FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH: If you opt out and you don't participate, it's going to be another 10 years before you get to be counted, before your voice gets to be heard. That's going to have an impact. It's only 10 minutes. Participate, be honest, be accurate and stand up and be counted.
HARRIS: With this church's rich history, it is no wonder that its latest mission is to make sure every African-American is counted.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, some people just can't turn down a challenge. So, when the Bailey family was dared to build a bigger snowman, they went for it. Okay, it doesn't look like much just yet. But give them a break. It takes a while to build a 20-foot Frosty! Especially when your tools are a pulley made out of a rope, a ladder and garbage can. That's old school. Still, a story about a family working together in the snow?
AZUZ: Man, that kind of thing just melts your heart. Okay, we deserve the cold shoulder after that pun. But we'll thaw out some fresh ones for you tomorrow. We'll see you then.