(CNN Student News) -- April 20, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: In this Tuesday edition of CNN Student News, we are diving into the world's most expensive bowl of noodles. Mmm. Hope you're hungry for some commercial-free headlines. I'm Carl Azuz. Let's go.
First Up: Ash Cloud Update
AZUZ: First up, officials are planning to re-open the skies over Europe -- at least partially. The problem has been ash from a volcano in Iceland. It's stranded millions of air travelers. Experts are concerned that this ash could cause problems in plane engines. Authorities say they're not going to compromise anyone's safety, but they feel comfortable starting to get air travel back to normal. Meantime, the UK is getting a jump on helping out stranded passengers. It sent the Royal Navy to get them! Ships are expected to arrive in Spain this morning to pick up service members coming home from Afghanistan. This ash has been heading east from Iceland toward Europe. Now, some of it is heading west, back across the Atlantic ocean toward North America. Chad Myers explains what's behind the shift.
CHAD MYERS, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: We talked about the jet stream, how it was coming up and over the volcano, pushing it down, and that's how it got into Europe. So, you're saying, "How in the world did it get the other way? How did it get west? I thought the winds blew this way?" But when you have a high pressure here and a low pressure here, the jet stream came down, spun around, and then went back up through the Straits of Gibralter for a while over the last week. Like Thursday and Friday of last week. Some of that ash got caught up in the lower levels and got pushed by the west winds, from the east to west winds, here across the Atlantic Ocean and into Newfoundland and some of the other Atlantic Canada provinces.
AZUZ: Toyota is going to pay the biggest fine ever for a single violation. The U.S. Transportation Department claims that the company took too long to tell the U.S. government about a "sticky pedal" problem in some of its cars. So, it fined Toyota $16.4 million. The company has agreed to pay that, but it denies the government's accusation, saying, "We could have done a better job of sharing relevant information... but we did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem." This fine is less than one-tenth of one percent of the amount of money that Toyota has on hand.
AZUZ: We want to take some time now to mark a tragedy that happened 11 years ago today. Two students at Columbine High School in Colorado opened fire inside the school, killing 13 people and wounding 23 others before they took their own lives. The attack shocked the country. And every year since, people have taken time on April 20th to remember and pay tribute to the victims. The Columbine Memorial, which opened in 2007, is located near the school. It serves as a place for people to reflect on the tragedy and on the lessons that were learned from it.
Is this Legit?
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Wall Street is an actual street in New York City. True! The phrase is used to describe the investment community as a whole, but the actual Wall Street is also where a lot of investment companies are located.
AZUZ: Later this week, President Obama is planning to go to Wall Street to give a speech about Wall Street. The issue is financial reform. There's a proposal in the U.S. Senate right now that looks at ways to avoid another economic crisis. The House passed a similar bill back in December. The debate over the Senate version is getting ready to start, but Republicans and Democrats are split over some of the plans that are in it. And as Sandra Endo explains, tension between the two sides is heating up.
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: A showdown is set in the Senate over financial reform. Republican lawmakers say the Democrats are proposing a plan which would give the federal government too much control over the financial industry.
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: We want to make sure that we don't set up a system whereby we empower the government to continue to do what it has been doing: running banks, insurance companies, car companies. We have now seen them nationalize the student loan business, which will cost 31,000 jobs. The American people are saying we don't want another bailout, but they also don't want a kind of perpetual government, massive interventions across the board, running private businesses.
ENDO: Republicans are taking issue with the Democrats' proposal to have banks set aside funds in case of a bankruptcy. But Democrats say their plan would set up an early warning system to spot another financial meltdown.
SEN. MARK WARNER, (D) VIRGINIA: What I would love to hear from the Republican leader is not these broad brush critiques. We have spent well over a year trying to get this to the best place possible. The one thing those of us on the committee have been working on, is we realize if we mess this up, it could have huge implications downstream. We want to get it right. This should not be a partisan issue.
ENDO: The president says Congress should act to pass new regulations quickly.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If we don't change what led to the crisis, we will doom ourselves to repeat it.
ENDO: Let the filibuster begin. Senate Republicans say all 41 members will vote against allowing debate to begin on the current proposal. Behind the scenes, Democratic leaders and White House officials are trying to sway some Republicans to get on board with their plan. In Washington, I'm Sandra Endo.
National Park Week
AZUZ: It's time to continue our tour around the country as we celebrate National Park Week. We started out West. Today, we're heading down South to Florida and the Everglades National Park. Down in the southern part of the state, the Everglades are the largest subtropical wildnerness left in the country. It was officially established as a national park in 1947. The park's area has been expanded several times since then. Right now, it takes up more than 2,300 square miles. The Everglades are home to all kinds of animals: amphibians, reptiles, dozens of species of mammals, and hundreds of different bird and fish species.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Money Word is deflation. It's a general decrease in cost levels, and it can be caused by reduced spending. Put that in your word bank!
AZUZ: For example, let's say you're like a lot of folks, and you just can't spend as much money dining out. Restaurants need customers to stay in business. And in order to get you in the door, they might drop some of their prices. That's one effect that deflation is having in Japan. But as Kyung Lah shows us, one chef is taking things in the opposite direction.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, TOKYO: What does a $120 dish look like? Like a cheap dish. Ramen, that is.
LAH: I'm being served chef Shouichi Fujimaki's audacious response to Japan's sluggish economy: the world's most expensive bowl of noodles. About $3 a bite. Maybe $4.
SHOUICHI FUJIMAKI, CHEF [TRANSLATED]: "Yes, everyone thinks I'm crazy," says the chef. The 10,000 yen ramen, equivalent to $120, is the only dish Fujimaki serves at his gourmet ramen shop. You have to order it three days in advance. I don't think I've ever had anything that's cost $120 in just one bowl. And while it's the best bowl of noodles this reporter's ever eaten...
LAH [IN JAPANESE]: Mmm, oishi!
LAH: ...the fact that he's still in business after opening in January is a sign that not all is lost in Japan to deflation. On the other end of the spectrum is this: This entire bowl of ramen costs just $3. In deflation-gripped Japan, it's proven to be one of the top sellers for this restaurant chain.
YUTA WATANABE [TRANSLATED]: "I'd never spend 10,000 yen on a bowl of ramen," says Yuta Watanabe, who says ramen is supposed to be cheap. This restaurant started selling the bowl for $4, then dropped it to $3. The cheap bowl now makes up 30 percent of its sales. The downward trend has followed the deflation spiral in Japan, that the Bank of Japan is fighting with low interest rates and quantitative easing. But it remains one of the main threats to the country's economic recovery. In this unprecedented recession and deflation, the cheaper the price for meals, the better, says the restaurant chain's president. Not so, says Fujimaki.
"I want Japan to be energized," he says. "We have to dream big to get out of this bad economy." One man's answer, where so far, economic policy has failed.
LAH: Delicious. [IN JAPANESE] Gochisosama deshita!
LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.
Before We Go
AZUZ: It's certainly food for thought. Now, before we go, we want to share some prix historic video. Not what you were expecting, was it? This is a grand prix. And what makes it historic: It's the first ever electric grand prix. Purdue University in Indiana hosted the inaugural event. Racers didn't start their engines, they just kind of powered them up. But there were spills and thrills, just like a normal grand prix.
AZUZ: And there was plenty of excitement in the air. I mean, you could feel it. It's electric. We're gonna let you track down the source of that pun. Some of your teachers might be in the background, saying "boogie woogie woogie." I'll let them explain that 'cause I don't want to. We'll meet you back here tomorrow for more CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz. We'll see you then.