(CNN Student News) -- March 4, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: What happened to the capital of Kansas? What is the capital of Kansas? Both answers, part of the next 10 minutes of commercial-free headlines. I'm Carl Azuz. This is CNN Student News. Let's go.
First Up: Health Care Proposal
AZUZ: First up, President Obama offers his final proposal for a health care reform bill. He says this new version, which costs nearly a trillion dollars, combines the best ideas from both Democrats and Republicans. He released it yesterday, urging Congress to vote on the issue in the next few weeks. Republicans have argued that the president's plan won't control rising medical costs. They've pushed to start over and create new legislation. But according to the president, there's a lot more on the line than just one bill.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem. The American people want to know if it's still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future. They are waiting for us to act; they are waiting for us to lead; and as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership.
AZUZ: In order to pass a health care bill, Democrats have considered using reconciliation, a procedure that doesn't allow anyone to try to block a vote with a filibuster. The president says he supports that idea, but it is a controversial one. And one GOP leader says that if it is used, the reaction won't be what the president expects.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Now, I appreciate, we all do, the president's call for a bipartisan approach. But where we're headed, through the use of reconciliation, means that the only thing that will be bipartisan about this proposal is the opposition to it. It is abundantly clear that the president and the Democratic leadership are calling upon their members to ignore the wishes of the American people.
Word to the Wise
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
fatwa (noun) It's an Arabic word for a legal opinion or order made by an Islamic religious leader
AZUZ: A Muslim scholar in London is issuing a fatwa against terrorism. Some Islamic leaders have used the teachings of the Koran, Islam's holy book, to justify terrorism and suicide bombings. But this cleric we're telling you about today says that idea is totally false. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri explained this fatwa earlier this week. He's studied the religious writings and says that violence is never justified by the Koran. He also criticized the idea that anyone who carries out a terrorist act would be promised an afterlife of paradise. Some officials have come out in support of ul-Qadri's fatwa. They say it might not stop suicide bombers, but it could encourage younger Muslims to reconsider joining extremist groups. Some of those groups use the Koran to try to recruit young members to commit violence. But ul-Qadri says the holy book is very clear on that point.
MUHAMMAD TAHIR UL-QADRI, MUSLIM SCHOLAR: Terrorism is terrorism. Violence is violence. It has no place in Islamic teachings, and no justification can be provided to it on the basis of any kinds of excuses.
AZUZ: Back in the U.S., a lot of cities are looking at ways to cut costs. And unfortunately, as you know, that sometimes means cutting jobs. In Lathrop, California, 11 people were being laid off during a city council meeting on Monday. But then something really interesting happened. Patricia Overy, whom you're about to see in just a second, stepped up to the podium. She wasn't one of the 11 people losing their jobs. But she volunteered to give her job up so that someone else could keep theirs! City officials are praising Overy's selfless act. Why did she do this? She says she hopes she can cope with losing her job better than some of her coworkers might have been able to if they lost their jobs.
AZUZ: Some of you have seen changes at your schools because of the rotten state of the economy. Lulu commented that "her county is considering going to a four-day school week." We've told you this is one way schools are trying to save money. Abby told us that "the price for lunch at her school went up 50 cents" and that her "school takes half-days once a month, which for students is fun, but might be a cost-saving plan." Grace says her school's been lucky: "its programs haven't been cut, and it hasn't lost any teachers." Same for Shiraz: "no field trips canceled, class is not getting bigger and nothing's really changed because of the economy." But from Aramis: "In my school, teachers have been teaching more kinds of classes than what they might've been trained for. Our classes are also getting larger; sometimes, there aren't enough seats for students." And Mia writes, "I think it's ridiculous that schools have to put up with the budget cuts. As Americans, education should be one of our top priorities for the next generation." We always welcome your comments on our blog at CNNStudentNews.com.
MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to the Nelson teachers' social studies classes at Citrus High School in Inverness, Florida! What is the capital of Kansas? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Kansas City, B) Lawrence, C) Topeka or D) Wichita? You've got three seconds -- GO! The state capital of Kansas is Topeka. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Topeka is a Native American word. It means "a good place to grow potatoes." Topeka's mayor says the city's proud of its name; has no intentions of changing it. Except for this month, when Topeka, Kansas will be known as Google, Kansas. Yes, you can now find Google on a Google map. The mayor of "Google City" says they're having fun with the whole name change. But there's a reason behind this beyond what's fun. Google -- the company -- plans to install new Internet connections in random cities around the U.S., giving residents faster Internet access; up to 100 times faster, in fact. Topeka's mayor hopes that calling his city Google might make it a tempting testing ground for the program. But so far, Google hasn't commented on the city adopting its new name.
AZUZ: Whether it's speeding up Internet access or just creating the Internet at all, advances in technology can have big impacts on our lives. When it comes to some new devices being installed at airports, the goal, as you know, is to increase security for travelers. But are these new technologies really making us safer? Paula Newton explores the answer.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, LONDON: Going through airport security now is as close to a full body strip search as you can get without actually stripping: belts off, shoes off, excess clothing off. For some, there's the pat-down. And for others, still more, the virtual strip search that can literally see right through you.
Full body scanners, you're going to see a lot more of these in the months and years to come. More sophisticated screening techniques. But the real question is, are they making us any safer? At issue now with body scanners in place, whether bombs can be swallowed or hidden. It's led to some passenger skepticism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PASSENGER: For me, this is not the solution which will make flying really safe.
ANDREW MCCLUMPHA, FORMER TRANSPORTATION SAFETY REGULATOR: A perception I can appreciate from passengers, but I think it's fundamentally wrong.
NEWTON: The reason: Extensive testing at airports around the world has proved that most of the time, scanners detect the most dangerous items, even when they are disguised. Airport security officials insist the system isn't quite fool-proof, but almost.
What is it?
CLIVE BEATTIE, HEAD OF THRUVISION: What you're seeing is a concealed handgun on that individual.
NEWTON: But now, new technology that isn't as invasive, that you may not even know is trained on you, is piquing the interest of governments. And it's already being deployed by some private businesses.
This is just one example. The Thruvision camera claims to work, in some cases, from more than 70 feet away without anyone knowing they're being scanned. The image works by using a passive camera or detector. Your body gives off a specific kind of energy; anything else you're concealing or carrying will be spotted.
UNIDENTIFIED AIRPORT SCREENER: Just show me what you have in this pocket, please.
MCCLUMPHA: That additional level of security does provide a significant contribution to the overall level of detection and deterrent capability.
NEWTON: And that capability includes, experts say, better trained security personnel, some with sniffer dogs who have proved to be as important as high-tech gadgets. The key here: Security for a potential terrorist will become more and more unpredictable. Paula Newton, CNN, Manchester, England.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we leave you today, a high school athlete becomes a local legend. Here's the situation: High school basketball tournament. The clock's winding down. The team's losing. One last chance. Look at this: He nails it! Boom! It was from beyond half court! The team, as you can see, just goes nuts. Turns out, this was that player's fourth shot of the night. The first three were air balls. The shooter said he just needed to find his range, which apparently was more than half court. The buzzer beater moves the team one step closer to its ultimate goal.
AZUZ: Netting a championship. The clock's running out on us, too, so no chance to cry foul about that pun. Back tomorrow to close out the week. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.