(CNN Student News) -- May 4, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Today's show is serious business -- most of it. You're gonna see what makes me hesitate in just under 10 minutes. I'm Carl Azuz. You're tuned in to CNN Student News.
AZUZ: First up, BP will "absolutely be paying for the clean-up operation" of a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company owns the oil rig that sank in the Gulf last month, causing the spill. The thing is still leaking out more than 200,000 gallons of oil per day. That's making things hard for the area's fishing industry, as you might imagine. Officials have banned fishing in part of the Gulf for a while. Some local seafood restaurants are worried about being able to get the food they need to sell. The industry brings about $2.4 billion to the Gulf Coast.
This spill is threatening parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. CNN estimates that the overall area that could be impacted by the oil spill is almost as large as the state of Delaware. Officials say they're fighting the spill in three ways. One: They're trying to cap the well that's leaking the oil. Two: They're trying to stop the oil before it reaches land. And three: They're getting ready to clean it up if it does make landfall. Jacqui Jeras looks at what makes this such a tough fight.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Well, there have been a lot of questions as to why it's been over a week now and, for some reason, no one's been able to get down there and stop this leak from going any further, unfortunately. Now, there are a lot of reasons why it's been such a difficult challenge, and some of that has to do with the location of it and how deep this is.
The BOP, which is what we know as the blowout preventer, is where the main leak is coming from, and it sits about 5,000 feet down on the ocean floor. So, that's nearly a mile, where it's very, very dark; and the pressure is very, very intense. Now, a blowout preventer, or BOP, is actually a series of valves, and it's designed to stop a leak like this. We've got a picture to show you of what it looks like. It's very large and it's very heavy. Here you can see it; it's about two stories tall, and you can see those series of valves here. Now, the type of BOP it is, it's called a ram BOP, and that means there's a series of plates, two different plates, that will come together and push together, and it will seal off, hopefully, any leak. And it sits right on top of that well. Now, there are three different ways that you can turn this thing off, and unfortunately, none of those ways have worked so far.
So, in the meantime, what officials are doing to try and stop this, two different things. One: They're putting dispersant down near the source, down near the BOP, to try and hold it in that area. The other thing they're doing, is that they've got these little roving vehicles, or ROVs, or submersibles. And they've got robotic arms on them. And so, they're going to use those robotic arms to try and manually turn off that valve. So far, none of those things have worked very well.
So, we're looking at a long-term solution. And there's only two ways that officials tell us that can get done. One way is to build a type of tent to cover it up. The second way is to drill another hole into the well, and then put cement or other type of coagulator in there to block it up and hope that that will seal it. Well, we've just heard now from BP officials that they're going to try the tent option. And they're building three rectangular boxes which are made out of steel, and they each weigh 73 tons. These boxes are going to go down to the ocean floor, cover up those leaks. And then what they can do, is they can attach a pipe to the top of it and divert that oil wherever they want it to go. For example, perhaps, a ship, where they will collect some of that oil.
So, this is a long-term process. Officials tell us it could take up to three months. In the meantime, best estimates tell us that 5,000 barrels of oil continue to gush out of it every day.
AZUZ: Up in the sky. It's United... It's Continental... It's... Uninental? Maybe Conti-nited. Either way, the name's not right, but two of the country's major airlines are planning to merge together. United and Continental made the announcement yesterday. For the record, they'd keep United's name, so the company would be called United, but it would have Continental's logo. If the deal does go through, it'll make the new company the world's largest airline. That's an "if" because this merger has to be approved by the government. One of the possible concerns is whether the merged airline would have too much control over prices. One expert says it might not affect the cost on flights to major cities, but it could impact international flights or flights in and out of smaller cities. The airlines argue that prices are determined by a lot of factors, but not by individual companies.
This Day in History
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May 4, 1961 - The Freedom Riders start their trip through the Southern U.S. to protest segregation.
May 4, 1970 - Four students are killed at Kent State University when National Guardsmen fire into a crowd of protesters.
May 4, 1979 - Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female prime minister of Great Britain.
Times Square Incident
AZUZ: Okay, moving from the past to the present, authorities are looking for clues in that failed bombing attempt in New York City over the weekend. One of the things that they're checking: security cameras. There are a bunch of those all over Times Square, where it happened. This is one of the first videos released by the police. Now, you see the man in the spotshadow on the right of your screen. He's changing his shirt. Officials are trying to figure out who he is. He's not a suspect; he's just someone that they want to talk to. Authorities say it's too early to know who was involved. But Attorney General Eric Holder -- the top law enforcement official in the country -- has promised that whoever is responsible will be brought to justice.
AZUZ: We're gonna stay in New York and move over to the United Nations building for a meeting about nuclear weapons. That is where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, was yesterday. This meeting is designed for countries to discuss ways to cut down on the number of nuclear weapons around the globe. Of course, some countries, including the U.S., argue that Iran is trying to make nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program only has peaceful purposes. During his speech at the U.N. yesterday, President Ahmadinejad blasted several nations, especially the U.S. and Israel. He argues that those countries want complete control over nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Several delegates walked out during his speech.
AZUZ: Heading over to Boston, Massachusetts, where nearly 2 million people are waiting for officials to run tests to make sure that the water is safe to drink. This might look like good video; it is a serious problem: a water pipe that broke over the weekend and sent millions of gallons rushing out of the pipeline. It happened about 12 miles west of Boston, but it affects around 30 communities in the region. Welders have repaired the pipe, but authorities have to run a lot of tests to make sure that water is safe. And until those tests are finished, you have to boil the water before you can drink it or use it to cook.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! The Socratic method is used in what field? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Engineering, B) Teaching, C) Painting or D) Aviation? You've got three seconds -- GO! The Socratic method is a version of teaching, and on this National Teacher Day, today's Shoutout and show are dedicated to all of you teachers out there!
AZUZ: And so's this next segment. Teachers, here's what your students are saying about how you've inspired them. Gracie thanks Miss Freeman for giving her the courage to go out and be the best person she can be. Megan says Mr. Fish gave her the confidence to get in front of people and speak. From Ningxia: Mr. Zhu opened the door of "why and how" and taught the importance of thinking. Miss Wang shared the joy of painting. Cole says Senorita Gandara and Senora Gregor helped in math. Trevor notes that Mr. McGowan makes the whole class laugh. And Melvin thanks Mrs. Betty and Mrs. Schoeck for helping him control his attitude. Tell us how your teachers help you! CNNStudentNews.com is the address; share your comments and first names only, please.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, they say that laughter is the best medicine. But this...?
[VIDEO OF PEOPLE LAUGHING]
AZUZ: That is kinda creepy. I don't care if it was World Laughter Day. World Laughter Day; that's not a joke. It's an annual event that's charged with chuckles, giddy with giggles, chock full of chortles and governed by guffaws. These jokesters seem to be taking the theme pretty seriously.
AZUZ: For them, it's no laughing matter. You thought we'd let that go without a pun? Please, don't make me laugh. All right, listen. On a serious note, I wanna give a Shoutout to the students of Bridgewater Middle School; specifically, their band. Thank you guys for stopping by CNN Center last week; it was good seeing you. On that note, we are done for the day. Please make sure to tune in again tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.