(CNN Student News) -- May 26, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Today's show goes out to the students at Beebe High school in Beebe, Arkansas who stopped by the CNN Center in Atlanta this week. We hope you, and everyone who's watching, enjoy today's show. I'm Carl Azuz.
AZUZ: We begin on Wall Street with a look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average. A lot of people use this thing to gauge how well the economy is doing. Over the past three months, the Dow has been on a roller coaster. It gained more than 600 points during March and April. But so far in May, it's dropped nearly a thousand points!
Some argue that this slump in the Dow has a lot to do with the financial crisis in Greece. That country has a huge debt. Investors are worried that it might not be able to pay it off. And since experts believe that different countries' economies are connected, Greece's problems could affect other nations in Europe. If Europe's economy slows down, it would be hard for America's economy to grow.
Gulf Oil Spill
AZUZ: Imagine this scenario: Your teacher leaves you in charge of your class, says it's your job to make sure everyone follows the rules. Then, your classmates offer you gifts, maybe even money. Could you still maintain discipline? That is a question for the U.S. Interior Department. It's in charge of overseeing oil drilling. And according to a new report, members of the department accepted gifts from the industry that they regulate. The head of the Interior Department is trying to clean it up. But this is all coming out as the spill in the Gulf of Mexico shines a spotlight on the oil drilling industry.
This thing has been going on for 36 days now and counting. You know the story: Oil leaking out of a well that's a mile beneath the surface of the water. The spill threatens wildlife and the environment as it moves toward land. You can see it in this video, which was taken miles off the Louisiana coast. BP, the company that owns the well, is working on the "top kill" process we've been telling you about, pumping a special kind of mud into the well to try to clog it up. They were running tests on the process yesterday. If those went well, the plan was to try the top kill this morning. It's worked in the past, but that was with oil wells that were above ground. It's never been tried on the ocean floor.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I was born in London in 1926. I'm the great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. I ascended the throne when I was 25. And I've had one of the longest reigns of any British monarch. I'm Queen Elizabeth II, and I'm the first British monarch to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
AZUZ: Queen Elizabeth II is doing something similar back in her home country this week, addressing the British Parliament. Parliament is kind of like our Congress. The government of the United Kingdom is what's called a constitutional monarchy. That means it has a ruler -- in this case, the Queen -- but the ruler's rights and responsibilities are outlined in a constitution. One of those responsibilities is to open new sessions of Parliament. That's what Queen Elizabeth II did yesterday. Sasha Herriman takes us through some of the traditions of this event.
SASHA HERRIMAN, CNN ANCHOR, LONDON: It's that time of year again. The State Opening of Parliament. A big ceremonial affair. This may be the 21st century, but this ceremony dates back to the 16th. And here in the UK, we do this every year. 84-year-old Queen Elizabeth II does the honors, making the short trip from Buckingham Palace to Westminster, accompanied by the household cavalry to officially start the new parliamentary session. She gets to Parliament, pops on the crown and parliamentary robe and processes to a throne in the House of Lords. That's the unelected chamber of the UK government. Another bit of ceremony then: An official known as "Black Rod" calls the elected MPs from the House of Commons. In a unique symbol of their independence, they shut the door in his face and won't reopen it until he's knocked on the door with his staff three times. Once he's done that, they all follow him into the Lords to listen to the Queen. She then delivers the speech to both the members of the Lords and the Commons. In it, she'll outline what the new government plans to do.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, UNITED KINGDOM: My government will take foward policies to respond to the rising aspirations of the people of the United Kingdom.
HERRIMAN: Oh, and it's worth pointing out that even though it's billed as the Queen's Speech, it's entirely drawn up by the government. Confused? Don't worry, it's just tradition. Sasha Herriman, CNN, London.
AZUZ: Interesting stuff. Remember when we told you yesterday how South Korea is cutting off trade with North Korea and taking some other steps against the country? The North has responded. It's cutting all ties with South Korea. No communications. No access to airspace or water. And North Korea says it considers the accusation that it sank a South Korean ship as a declaration of war!
North Korea is also accusing South Korea's navy of trespassing into its waters in the Yellow Sea. The North is threatening to retaliate with military action. If that happens, it means American troops would probably get involved. President Obama has ordered U.S. military commanders to work with South Korea against any kind of aggression from the North.
Word to the Wise
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
tuition (noun) a cost or fee for instruction, especially at a private school or college
AZUZ: If you're heading off to college in the fall, or if you've started looking at schools, you've probably spent some time studying up on tuition. Public versus private universities. In-state versus out-of-state. As you've found, different schools charge different amounts. Alina Cho explains how, for a lot of people, where you go depends entirely on how much it takes to get there.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Liam Coffey is a college admission officer's dream: valedictorian, varsity hockey, honor society. His pick of schools. He got into Boston College, was wait-listed at Brown and Cornell. But his choice: TCNJ, The College of New Jersey, a state school.
LIAM COFFEY, FUTURE TCNJ STUDENT: Four years of TCNJ is less than one year of Boston College. That right there is the point that sold me.
CHO: Especially now.
DENNIS COFFEY, LIAM'S FATHER: But I think that with this economy, it is a lot more real to the kids and the parents, because the money is just not flowing the way it used to.
CHO: The reality is, in this economy, kids can't find work. So, in growing numbers, they are going to or staying in school. Seven in 10 high school grads now go straight to college. That's a record. But they are also paying more. Average cost in a private institution, including room and board, is more than $35,000 a year. At a public school, it is $15,000. That's why the buzz word these days is value.
Liam's school, where applications are up 8% this year, even has a value comparison calculator on its website. Prospective students can click on any number of schools in competition with TCNJ and see just how much money they will save over four years. In some cases, it is more than $100,000.
LISA ANGELONI, DEAN OF ADMISSIONS, TCNJ: We do say that this is what you are going to get for that dollar.
ANGELONI: That's right. And it is comparable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am able to sit back and relax, you know. At the end of the day, I have a little extra cash, you know, to go out on the weekend or see a movie or something that, you know, just...
CHO: Have a life?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CHO: Other institutions like Manchester College in Indiana are offering three-year bachelor's programs as a way to save on time and tuition. Cost-conscious community colleges are bursting at the seams. But what about the prestige of an Ivy League education? Doesn't a Harvard degree mean something?
JACQUES STEINBERG, NY TIMES EDUCATION REPORTER: We still live in a world where these institutions do open doors. It's not the only way into some of the finest companies and graduate schools in this nation, but it is still a way.
DENNIS COFFEY: There you go. There is your college list right there.
CHO: That is still entree, right? You don't ever think about that?
DENNIS COFFEY: Well, I am not going to lie. We wrestle with that a lot. And I think that there is a lot of peer pressure to say, among his friends and our friends, to say wow, why aren't you going to Boston College, or, you know, why didn't you more aggressive in going to one of the Ivys?
CHO: For Liam, first in his class, it is a choice that makes dollars and sense. He is planning to go to medical school and wants to start in the black.
AZUZ: Boston College or TCNJ? College choices in tough times. I'm looking at our blog right now at CNNStudentNews.com and seeing that a majority of your college plans have been affected by the recession. Check it out and tell us where things stand for you. The address: CNNStudentNews.com. The rule: first names only!
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Which means this is either a puppy or he's been surfing for years. He's actually one of more than 60 dogs who hung ten -- or 20 -- at a recent surfing competition in California. If we had to predict what kind of dog would win, we would have gone with a boarder collie. But it turns out the real answer was just as pun-derful.
AZUZ: The title went to an Australian kelp-ie. Just let the waves of humor wash over you. Maybe you had to surf-er through that wipeout, but we just want to make sure you're on board. And for all of you who say my puns need work: you're right. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.