(CNN Student News) -- April 30, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Arbor Day is awesome! Especially when it falls on a Friday. To celebrate, we are branching out into a bunch of topics in today's show. I'm Carl Azuz. Let's get to it.
AZUZ: The federal government will use "every single available resource" to help contain that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The secretary of Homeland Security declared it an incident of "national significance." What that means is that resources from other parts of the country can be used to try and control the spill. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal already declared a state of emergency to help free up resources for the effort. Yesterday afternoon, the oil was about 16 miles off the Louisiana coast and headed toward shore. When it does start hitting the coast, it could threaten hundreds of species of wildlife: birds, shrimp, crabs, otters. In fact, the entire Gulf Coast fishing industry could be affected.
Yesterday, we told you that the Coast Guard was going to try and contain part of the spill by setting it on fire. They did; you can see the smoke from that fire right here. They were hoping to set another controlled burn yesterday, but the weather wasn't cooperating. Some authorities think this spill is getting worse, much worse. At first, the estimate was that the spill was leaking out about a thousand barrels of oil per day. Now, the Coast Guard is saying that's increased to as many as 5,000 barrels. That's more than 200,000 gallons per day.
AZUZ: The Senate is ready to debate a financial reform bill. When you hear the word debate, you mighty think of people being on opposite sides of something. This time, everyone agrees! They all want to debate. Republicans and Democrats had been working on this bill in private sessions. They disagreed on some parts of it, and the Republicans -- plus a few Democrats -- blocked it from moving forward until those differences could be worked out. Late Wednesday, they changed their minds. Every senator, Republican and Democrat, voted to start debate.
AZUZ: The Senate's looking at taking up another controversial issue: immigration reform. Some Democratic senators were planning to release a new proposal late yesterday. It would increase the number of border patrol officers and make it tougher to hire illegal workers. Plus, it outlines a process to legalize the millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S. One Republican leader says the proposal is just an attempt to get voters out for November's midterm elections. He says there's no chance that immigration reform will move through Congress. Some Democratic sources say the same thing, that the odds of this passing the Senate this year are pretty slim.
Word to the Wise
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
calorie (noun) a unit of energy or heat that is often associated with food
AZUZ: Your body needs calories for energy; they fuel everything you do. But if you get too many of them or don't burn them off with exercise, those calories can turn to fat. Lawmakers in part of California say that some fast food kids' meals have too many calories. They believe one way to discourage kids from wanting those meals is to ban the toys that come with them. So, the new rule in Santa Clara, California: kids' meals with more than 485 calories get no toy. Kids' meals with less calories can still include the toy. There are also limits on fat and sodium, or salt. One lawmaker says this will help fight childhood obesity and "breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes." But the California Restaurant Association thinks the rule goes too far, and some critics say parents should be responsible for what their children eat.
AZUZ: This led us to consider a question that's kind of like the video game question we asked the other day: Who's responsible here? Who should decide on calories? Is it the government? Should restaurants be responsible? Should parents be responsible? Go to our blog, tell us your opinion. The address: CNNStudentNews.com.
This Day in History
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April 30, 1789 - George Washington is inaugurated as first president of the United States
April 30, 1803 - Negotiations conclude on Louisiana Purchase, which doubles the size of the United States
April 30, 1975 - South Vietnam surrenders to the North, ending the Vietnam War; remaining Americans are evacuated from Saigon
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to everyone whose parents serve in the U.S. Armed Forces! What branch of the U.S. military was founded first? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it the: A) Army, B) Navy, C) Air Force or D) Marines? You've got three seconds -- GO! The U.S. Army was established first, way back in June of 1775. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: The Month of the Military Child pays tribute to people whose parents serve in all branches of the military. 1.7 million American kids have a parent who serves, and this month recognizes their sacrifices; for example, when your mom or dad is away for months at a time. Sandra Endo shows us how the military is helping families stay in touch.
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: So, where's your daddy at?
AMARI LUNN, MILITARY CHILD: On a ship.
ENDO: On a ship?
ENDO: Three-year-old Amari Lunn can't wait for daddy to come home.
FAINA LUNN, MARRIED TO U.S. NAVAL OFFICER: I have to explain to him that daddy's working. But he's like, "But when is daddy coming home?"
ENDO: Daddy is Navy Chief Gary Lunn, currently on the USS Dwight Eisenhower, deployed in the North Arabian Sea. Lunn has been deployed for six months; his family eagerly awaits his return.
F. LUNN: Where do you see daddy? Do you see daddy on the TV?
A. LUNN: Yeah.
ENDO: This is Lunn's 9th deployment. But this one is different thanks to a program his kids affectionately call the "Daddy Show."
F. LUNN: Press play. Back up so you can see daddy.
ENDO: Through a non-profit program called United Through Reading, deployed service members can choose a book and record videos from their base to read aloud to their children.
CHIEF GARY LUNN, U.S. NAVY: Today, I'm going to read, the book is called "The Ear Book."
A. LUNN: "The Ear Book!"
ENDO: Programs like this one that help keep families connected are becoming increasingly popular in the military. When service members with kids are deployed for long stretches, psychologists say it's the children who feel it the most.
LYNETTE FRAGA, ZERO TO THREE: Some children may withdraw and you have a difficult time talking about their experience. Or some children are very aggressive and you might see them crying a lot or having trouble sleeping.
ENDO: But with these videos, smiles often replace tears, especially for the Lunn family.
ROMELLO LOVINSKY, MILITARY CHILD: It's, like, better because I get to see him and he'll get to talk with me and stuff on the videos.
ENDO: Do you see a difference in your kids?
F. LUNN: Yes, yes. Now, he thinks daddy's around more.
ENDO: It's also a major morale boost for the parent serving far away.
G. LUNN: I know it's helping me out a lot, especially knowing the response that's coming from it. Just mentally, calming me down and enabling me to stay focused at my job.
I love you. I love all of you. Muah!
A. LUNN: Muah!
ENDO: With the country engaged in two wars and many service members facing multiple deployments, the military is expanding and promoting programs which help ease the strain on families. Sandra Endo, CNN, Norfolk, Virginia.
AZUZ: Okay, at Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews, a student named Adrian called our attention to the Month of the Military Child. He told us about his experience as one -- the service and the sacrifice -- and we asked for your experiences as well. Cory described it as an adventure, just by moving around and making new friends along the way. Ryan says it can be hard to keep friendships with the frequent moves, but that he's grown up learning respect and flexibility. Nate says the hardest part is the time his dad spends away from home, but that he couldn't be any more proud as his son. And Kevin says it's hard because his family makes sacrifices, but it's for a big cause. We thank and salute all of you military kids out there for your sacrifices.
Before We Go
AZUZ: And before we leave you today, you've heard of electronic music. This would be the literal version: a mechanical marimba player. He's not just banging out some pre-planned tune, either. This is jazz, and he's improvising, learning what his fellow musicians are doing and then adapting to it. At least, that's what they claim. Now, before any of you get worried about robots ruling the music industry, the point here is the interaction: man and machine working together.
AZUZ: And that sounds just fine to us, because do you really think a robots-only band would play jazz? There's no chance. They'd totally be metal. Sunday starts National Teacher Appreciation Week. So, while you've got some time over the weekend, why not send us an iReport with a Shoutout to your favorite teacher? You, and I mean you, could be featured on our show! Find out how to send us an iReport at CNNStudentNews.com. We'll see you on Monday. Have a great weekend.