(CNN Student News) -- April 8, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Bringing you 10 minutes of commercial-free headlines from across the U.S. and around the world. I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now!
First Up: Coal Mine
AZUZ: "The rescue teams are prepared. They're charged up and ready to go." That is what the governor of West Virginia said yesterday as efforts got going to reach miners trapped by an explosion. The plan was to drill multiple holes down into the mine to help clear out dangerous gases. But later in the day, an official said that samples taken from inside the mine showed that those gas levels were still too dangerous to allow rescuers to go inside. 31 people were working in the Upper Big Branch South Mine when Monday's blast happened. At least 25 were killed; two were hospitalized; the other four may still be trapped. This is, of course, a developing story. To get the latest details on it, head over to CNN.com.
AZUZ: Well, the predictions are in for this year's Atlantic hurricane season, and the forecast: above average. The season starts on June 1st, lasts through the end of November. Here's a look at the prediction for this year versus an average year. Storms are assigned a name when they reach a certain intensity. Experts are forecasting that we'll have 15 named storms. A typical season has 11. Of those 15, the prediction is that 8 will turn into hurricanes, and four of those will become major hurricanes. An average year has six hurricanes, including two major storms. Now, the people who make these predictions point out they are just preliminary. Another one is scheduled to come out on June 2nd.
AZUZ: Over on the west coast of the country, the city of Los Angeles is facing a major budget problem. In fact, one official called it the most urgent financial crisis in the city's recent history. L.A.'s mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, has an idea to help.
ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, LOS ANGELES MAYOR: I'm asking the CAO to develop a plan to shut down all general-funded city services, with the exception of public safety and revenue-generating positions, for two days per week beginning the week of April 12th.
AZUZ: That means this plan could go into effect on Monday. The mayor said there are no simple ways to solve the budget crisis. But he added, "we can no longer wait. We must act now." As you might guess, some people are opposed to the mayor's plan, including a company that represents thousands of city employees. It says the plan would threaten services and people's lives. In its current financial situation, Los Angeles is facing a possible $10 million deficit by the start of May.
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a country that's located in Central Asia. I was part of the former Soviet Union, but I gained my independence in 1991. My capital city is Bishkek, and most of my people speak Kyrgyz. I'm Kyrgyzstan, and I'm home to nearly 5.5 million people.
AZUZ: Some of you might not have heard of Kyrgyzstan. The country is an ally of the United States. In fact, the U.S. has a military base there that's an important part of getting supplies to Afghanistan. That's part of the reason why the U.S. is paying attention to what's going on in Kyrgyzstan right now: protests against the government. They're taking place all across the central Asian country, and some of them have turned violent. You can see one in this video that was posted on YouTube. The government has declared a state of emergency. According to reports, fighting between demonstrators and police in the capital city of Bishkek caused at least 40 deaths. Around 400 other people were injured.
Kyrgyzstan has experienced a lot of political tension for years. Some of these protesters are pushing for anti-government leaders to be let out of jail. A few have been released and were reportedly going to meet with government officials. Other nations and groups, including the U.S, United Nations and Russia, are urging both sides to settle the situation peacefully.
AZUZ: A somewhat similar situation is happening southeast of there in Thailand, where protesters are speaking out against that country's government. These demonstrations have been going on for weeks. The country's prime minister declared a state of emergency there yesterday, sent a helicopter to pick up some officials after protesters broke into Thailand's parliament building. They stayed there for a few hours and then regrouped at their usual meeting spots. The demonstrators -- they're called "Red Shirts" -- they're supporters of Thailand's former prime minister. He was removed from office in 2006 and left the country in 2008 while he was facing corruption charges. The Red Shirts want him back, and they want the current prime minister to call for elections. The country's leader says these protests are a violation of Thailand's constitution.
AZUZ: North Korea has sentenced an American citizen to eight years of hard labor for entering North Korea illegally. Back in January, Aijalon Mahli Gomes crossed over the border from China to North Korea. That's why he was arrested. Crossing the border without permission is against the law there. The United States doesn't have any official relations with North Korea, but some people are asking the U.S. government to try to get Gomes released.
AZUZ: Moving over to South America now, where firefighters in Brazil are trying to rescue victims of this: mudslides and severe flooding caused by heavy rains. Almost a foot of rain fell on Rio de Janeiro in one day. Nearly 300 people had been rescued by Tuesday, but officials said the severe weather had killed more than 100 others, and there are some people who are still trapped.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Dendrology is the study of what? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Trees, B) Caves, C) Teeth or D) Living rooms? You've got three seconds -- GO! A dendrologist studies trees. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: The city of New York is on a mission to plant a million trees over the next decade, and some folks your age are helping out. It's not training them for a career in dendrology. But as Richard Roth explains, the potential benefits of taking part in the program could help these teens branch out in the future.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK: Bronx teenager Fabian Vasquez comes home after a day of hanging with his friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Headache! Headache!
ROTH: They were hanging sixty feet in the air. It's all part of New York City's Million Trees Training Program.
ADRIAN BENEPE, NYC PARKS COMMISSIONER: It's an effort to take kids known as disconnected youth, connect them with employment possibilities, connect them with the environment. So in essence, it's a combination environmental program and jobs program.
ROTH: More than thirty young adults participate, learning urban forestry and nature restoration. New York City branching out with with non-profit groups and agencies for funding and instructors.
MARK CHISHOLM, TREE PROFESSIONAL: My rule of thumb is four times whatever this diameter is, is what you want.
ROTH: Fabian is learning the ropes from a world champion climber and tree professional.
CHISHOLM: When you start dealing with the trees, you gotta know species of trees, how to identify hazards in a tree, determine whether it's safe to climb at all or work in, what the tree may need. There's just so many different avenues that they have to become proficient at, that I find that most people really enjoy the fact that they never get bored with it.
ROTH: And while tree climbing is physically demanding, it's the mental and emotional challenges that initially need to be overcome.
BESHION BAILEY, MILLION TREES TRAINEE: I was scared, I was scared. I told them I couldn't do it. That's the one thing they kept on saying: "Stop saying you couldnt, stop saying you couldn't, you can." And that's what they did, is take me out of my comfort zone. And look at me now, going up, how much, eighty, ninety feet.
ROTH: They have to stay alert on the streets of New York, and especially ninety feet up.
FABIAN VASQUEZ, MILLION TREES TRAINEE: Limb walking, especially right now with this weather, it's kind of windy and stuff, you be limb walking on a limb and it would be shaking and stuff. It is really easy to fall, so you have to be careful where you put your foot at. Any slip, you could just fall so, you always have to be concentrating on what you are doing. You can't be thinking about the stuff outside work. To do this, you always got to keep your mind on this. Everything else is just going to mess you up.
ROTH: But does a city known for its asphalt jungle need to train its citizens for green jobs?
BRIAN AUCOIN, NEW YORK PARKS DEPARTMENT: Our city parks department manages nearly 30,000 acres of parkland. 12,000 of those acres are undeveloped and naturalized. And with our Million Trees initiative, you know, planting a million trees we need a skilled workforce.
ROTH: Climbing trees, a first step to rising to the top in a green career. Richard Roth, CNN, New York.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, a tasty tradition for baseball's opening day. It is Milwaukee's annual sausage race! The mascots are all different kinds of sausage, but this relay links them together. It's kind of nice to see that kind of teamwork. I mean, no one's being a brat. They all deserve a pattie on the back. Of course, all this entertainment is for the fans. They really get into it, especially when the last guy crosses the finish line.
AZUZ: I mean, seriously, you never sau-sage a cheer. Hot dog! You guys have a great day. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.