(CNN Student News) -- June 3, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Our penultimate program of the school year includes a mission to Mars that will never get off the ground. The explanation's coming up. I'm Carl Azuz. You're tuned in to CNN Student News!
First Up: Oil Spill Disaster
AZUZ: First up, BP officials are hoping to get to the "cap" part of the "cut and cap" plan today. This is the latest attempt to try to fix the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Before they can put the cap in place, they needed to cut part of the well so that they have a smooth surface to put the cap on. Yesterday, the "cut" part of the plan hit a snag: The blade got stuck in one of the pipes. This video came in later in the day. You see that yellow thing that looks kind of like a box? That's the blade. And the fact that it's moving around is a good thing; it means the blade got unstuck. BP expected to start cutting again sometime yesterday.
Meanwhile, some of the oil is washing onto shore in more places. These balls of tar and patches of oil started showing up on beaches in Alabama and Mississippi yesterday. Forecasters say that shifts in the weather could affect where the oil that's out in the Gulf is going. Chad Myers has more on that.
CHAD MYERS, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: The weather pattern is in fact shifting. High pressure is now in control in the Gulf of Mexico. This reduces the threat of hurricanes, but it also moves the wind to be in this direction. The direction that the people here, all the way back from let's say Apalachicola all the way back -- which is just a rich oyster bed right through there -- all the way back along Fort Walton Beach, in through Destin and all these areas that people know of these white sand beaches. That's where the water is going to be pushed next because of this high pressure that's just not going to move for many, many days.
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm an Asian country that was founded more than 2,500 years ago. I'm made up of thousands of islands, and I'm home to more than 126 million people. My capital city is Tokyo. I'm Japan, and my government is run by a prime minister.
AZUZ: Well, right now, Japan is looking for a new prime minister. Yukio Hatoyama, who took over the job less than a year ago, is now stepping down. In Japan's government, the prime minister comes from the party that has the most people in parliament. Another member of Hatoyama's party will take over for now. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for July. Having your country's leader resign after such a short time in office might seem a little strange to us. But in Japan, it's not that unusual. At least, not recently. Kyung Lah explains what we mean and examines Hatoyama's path from candidate to former prime minister.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, TOKYO: Yukio Hatoyama lead a political upheaval. Japan's voters, sick of political business as usual, were reinvigorated by Hatoyama's Obama-style message of change last fall, ousting a ruling party that held control for almost 50 continuous years. Japan's new prime minister and his party, the Democratic Party of Japan, pledged major government reform and economic recovery. But the euphoria didn't last long. The world's second largest economy continued to struggle, weighed down by deflation and a ballooning national debt.
Then this anger from Okinawa: Candidate Hatoyama promised to move a U.S. Marine base off the island. Prime Minister Hatoyama couldn't keep that promise, as he came under pressure from the U.S. The issue overshadowed Hatoyama's entire agenda and helped drive his approval ratings into the teens.
Hatoyama is Japan's fourth prime minister in less than four years. Shinzo Abe resigned exactly one year after he took the job. Yasuo Fukuda didn't quite make it a year. Neither did the next prime minister, Taro Aso. And now, Yukio Hatoyama, on the job months short of a year. As Japan faces critical economic challenges and the fastest aging population, it must once again put those issues aside and once again focus on finding yet another leader.
AZUZ: Moving to Afghanistan, where a gun battle broke out outside of a peace conference. Afghan President Hamid Karzai was leading the event. He was speaking when rockets and explosives started going off outside. Incredibly, he finished his speech! But he left immediately afterward. The Taliban, the militant organization that used to control Afghanistan, said it was responsible for the attack. Ironically, President Karzai planned the meeting to talk about including members of the Taliban who turn their back on violent attacks like this one. All of it happened in the capital city of Kabul. The fighting kept going after President Karzai had left the area. Two people who were described as suicide bombers were killed in the violence. Another person was arrested.
AZUZ: Parts of Central America are recovering from Tropical Storm Agatha. It hit the region last weekend. One of the countries that was hit the hardest was Guatemala. More than 150 people were killed there. The storm triggered mudslides, destroyed homes, caused more than a dozen bridges to collapse. It also caused this! Looks like someone drilled straight into the earth. It's a sinkhole. This one's about a hundred feet deep, more than 60 feet wide. It swallowed several buildings; there are buildings down there! Fortunately, no one was injured by the sinkhole. Experts say sinkholes can be caused when water dissolves minerals in certain kinds of rocks. They can also be caused by different kinds of construction. One official thinks that might have contributed to this one.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! In Roman mythology, who was the god of war? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Thor, B) Mars, C) Saturn or D) Kratos? You've got three seconds -- GO! Mars was the god of war and one of the most important gods in Roman mythology. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Of course, that's whom the planet is named for. Mars is the second closest planet to Earth, and scientists have talked about going there for years. Today, a group of explorers is doing it. Except, not really. It'll be like they're going to Mars, though. These guys have volunteered to take part in a simulation, spending the next year and a half in a fake spacecraft. Imagine a reality show, but in space. The goal is to find out what the 520-day trip to Mars would be like, how the isolation and cramped spaces would affect people. The crew will conduct nearly 100 experiments and even fake a Mars landing. The volunteers can walk away any time they want.
AZUZ: We've talked a lot about how the recession has impacted your education. Teachers are affected, too. We've seen layoffs; we've seen budget cuts. Considering all of the challenges that teachers face, it raises the question, why teach? Well, recently, we asked educators to send in iReports and tell us why they do it, what they love about their jobs. Take a listen to some of their replies.
OMEKONGO DIBINGA, WASHINGTON, D.C.: I became a teacher because there is a quotation that says children are the messages that we send to a future that we just don't know. And I thrive every day with the possibility that I can help shape a positive message for the future.
JASON GATSON, FORT WORTH, TEXAS: I believe in knowledge and I believe that very few professions offer you the chance to influence the future like teaching does. Granting somebody the gift of knowledge can lead them to a better life that they otherwise would not have had.
W. J. O'REILLY, NEW YORK CITY: If, as a teacher, I can supress my own egotistical idea that I know the truth, then I give my students the chance to test their opinions and follow those intellectual threads inward to their own self discovery, with guidance of course. This is inner-motivation, and it's why I call myself a teacher every day.
AZUZ: Well, teachers, we welcome your iReports, but teachers aren't the only ones who can send them in. Students, you can too! In fact, you can send us one about how you're spending your summer break. It's as easy as this: You make the video. Go to the Spotlight section which you see right now on CNNStudentNews.com. And you click the iReport link. And once you're on the page, what you do: scroll down just a bit and click where it says "share your story." That will get your video to our staff. You fill out the information you see there, and we will have what we need to take your iReport. Now, there is one rule you have to remember: You have to be at least 13 years old. The address again: CNNStudentNews.com.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, you get 10 seconds to shoot a free throw in the pros. So, how many do you get to shoot 50? Bob Fisher's going to take one minute, which ties his own world record. 50 free throws, one minute. He also holds the title for the most free throws in two minutes. He set both of the records at the school where he's -- you guessed it -- a shooting coach. A local reporter challenged fisher recently. The reporter only netted 20.
AZUZ: We probably wouldn't do much better, but it'd be worth a shot. I mean, if it's free, why not throw your hat in the ring? Those puns were foul. Thankfully, just one more day to go. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.