(CNN Student News) -- March 24, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz. It's a new day; we have a lot of new stories to cover on CNN Student News. Let's go ahead and get started.
First Up: Health Care Signed
AZUZ: First up, President Obama made it his top priority for the country. Now, a health care reform bill is law. During a ceremony at the White House yesterday, he signed the legislation. It passed in the Senate last December, in the House on Sunday night. President Obama used 22 pens to sign the health care bill. You can see him here switching out the pens as he signs. This tradition goes back decades. The pens become a kind of historic artifact, and they're given away to people as mementos. After the signing ceremony, the president offered his gratitude to the people who supported the bill.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The main purpose here is to say thank you. Thank you on behalf of the American people. After a century of striving, after a year of debate, after a historic vote, health care reform is no longer an unmet promise, it is the law of the land. It is the law of the land!
AZUZ: Of course, reaction to this vote has been split. Democratic leaders are celebrating. Republicans are vowing to try to repeal the law. In a Quick Poll on our blog, we asked if you think the health care reform bill is a milestone or a mistake. As of yesterday evening, 59 percent of you said it was a mistake; 41 percent called it a milestone. Another group describes the health care bill this way: unconstitutional. Officials from a number of states are filing lawsuits against the legislation. Jim Acosta has more on that.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Obama, meet Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia's Republican attorney general who is vowing to take health care reform to court.
KEN CUCCINELLI, (R) VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: We believe clearly that the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to order every American to buy health insurance.
ACOSTA: That individual mandate to most Americans to buy insurance will not only be tested in Virginia. Attorneys general in roughly a dozen states, all Republicans, are also filing lawsuits.
BILL MCCOLLUM, (R) FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: There was no, no politics involved in this whatsoever. This is something I would do whether I were attorney general or not. This bill is wrong.
ACOSTA: And that's not all. Thirty-six states, in fact, are considering new laws to block an array of health care reform measures. Many of those states point to the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which says, "Powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states." But there's a problem: the clause in the Constitution that declares laws passed by Congress as the supreme law of the land. That supremacy clause has stood the test of time.
PROF. CAL JILLSON, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY: We've got a very conservative Supreme Court. But they're not about to overturn 200 years of constitutional history and interpretation, and declare that the supremacy clause is no longer in effect.
ACOSTA: Do you believe in the supremacy clause?
CUCCINELLI: I believe in God. I read the supremacy clause and it is effective law in America.
ACOSTA: The White House argues bucking the law at the state level would be a waste of time.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: My advice from counsel is that we'll win this. We'll win these lawsuits.
ACOSTA: President Obama once opposed mandates during the campaign.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What really they're saying is they mandate, they will punish you in some way if you don't buy health care.
ACOSTA: Now, the mandate is what opponents of reform want to use to tear the whole thing down.
You do hope that, that what you're doing will bring down the entire statute?
CUCCINELLI: The goal is to bring down the individual mandate. That's the goal. Stepping into a legal analysis role, I rather expect that that means the whole statute will fall.
ACOSTA: Republicans in Congress are also talking about repealing health care reform, but that won't be easy either. A law to scrap health care would require a signature from the president. Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Who's the prime minister of Israel? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Ariel Sharon, B) Benjamin Netanyahu, C) Shimon Peres or D) Ehud Barak? You've got three seconds -- GO! Benjamin Netanyahu is serving as Israel's prime minister for the second time. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Prime Minister Netanyahu is in Washington this week. He met with President Obama at the White House yesterday. The U.S. and Israel are allies. But lately, that relationship has been kind of tense. The reason: settlements in Jerusalem. That city is a sticking point between Israelies and Palestinians. Both groups argue it belongs to them. Israel wants to build new settlements in Jerusalem. Palestinian leaders say they won't take part in peace talks until Israel stops constructing settlements. The U.S., which is trying to negotiate a peace deal, has urged Israel to stop building settlements in Jerusalem. In a speech to a pro-Israel group Monday night, Prime Minister Netanyahu made his position on the issue pretty clear.
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement, it's our capital.
AZUZ: Yesterday, the day after Google announced it would stop restricting its search results in China, access to those results was kind of spotty. Part of Google's plan is to reroute its Chinese users to the company's Hong Kong site. Kristie Lu Stout explains what's behind that decision.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT, HONG KONG: If you pull up Google's Hong Kong Web page, you'll be welcomed to "the new home of Google search in China." Hong Kong is almost 2,000 kilometers away from Beijing, but that is not how it escapes the "great firewall of China." It's a special administrative region with its own lawmakers. So, while a part of China, Hong Kong has a separate set of rules, including freedom of speech and expression. In fact, mainland Chinese dissidents have been able to speak freely in the territory. It's known as "one country, two systems," and that's why Internet content accessed here does not have to follow guidelines set by Beijing.
KAISER KUO, TECHNOLOGY COMMENTATOR: I think it was a very elegantly rendered decision. It's a good solution to this. Hong Kong, of course, is close in proximity to China, so it's going to be able to serve mainland Chinese customers with a minimum of delay. Speed won't be a terrible issue. And of course, because of the "one country, two systems" system, it's able to do this without really breaking any laws.
STOUT: But that doesn't mean Google is in the clear. China's cyber censors can choose to block the Google.com.hk domain name or Internet protocol address, though that doesn't appear to be the case just yet. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
Is this Legit?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. are required to have air bags. Legit! The requirement was part of a law that took effect in 1998.
AZUZ: Probably no surprise that airbags have changed over time. Newer ones can calculate how much you weigh, how fast you're driving, and then use that information if they're deployed in a crash. What might surprise you are the results of a new airbag safety study. According to this research, newer airbags aren't as good as older ones at protecting people who are wearing seatbelts. The study, done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, says one explanation might be that airbags are designed to deal with people who aren't wearing seatbelts. That changes how the airbags deploy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who sets the rules for airbag testing, says it's surprised by the findings and plans to continue studying the issue.
Space Test Flight
AZUZ: It's one small step for man, one giant leap for space tourism. Virgin Galactic announced on Monday it had successfully completed what it called a captive carry flight. The VSS Enterprise -- you can see it attached in the middle there -- is designed to take ordinary people into the final frontier: space. Monday's test only went up about 45,000 feet, and the spaceship stayed connected to the carrier the whole time. Eventually, it'll be released and fire its rockets to take tourists into space. Those trips will cost around $200,000. The testing is expected to continue through 2011. The head of the company behind all this, though, called this week's test flight "a major step along the road."
AZUZ: Do you think Sunday's passage of a health care reform bill will end the national debate on this issue? This is a question that could get great discussions started, and this is where you can find a list of questions like it. At CNNStudentNews.com, check out our Daily Discussion. You will have a great excuse to talk in class!
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, some people are just wired for danger. And Nik Wallenda is one of those people. The daredevil went out for a stroll late last week nearly 400 feet off the ground! That wire he's on, less than an inch wide. So, he's literally walking a fine line. Nik has no fear of heights. He boasts that as long as you have the confidence and the ability, doesn't matter how high you go.
AZUZ: But we know those tight-rope walkers, they can be pretty high-strung. You also know we always end with a pun, so "wire" you groaning? We'll be back tomorrow. I'm Carl Azuz.