(CNN Student News) -- August 18, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: From under the sea to up in the air, we are going in-depth to bring you today's headlines. I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now!
AZUZ: We begin down in the Gulf Coast. This oil leak we've been talking about might be capped, but it's still causing problems. First off, food. The fall shrimping season started this week, and a lot of fishermen and shrimpers are eager to get back out on the water. While the oil was leaking, authorities closed off big parts of the Gulf of Mexico. Some of those areas have been re-opened, but a major environmental group wants the government to run harder tests on what is caught to make sure that the seafood is safe to eat.
A couple of new reports are also looking at the long-term effects of the oil spill. One of them is focused on how much oil is still in the Gulf. The other study examines the impact on the underwater ecosystem. Ed Lavandera has more on those findings.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the Weatherbird II, a research vessel that has been used by the University of South Florida for the last 10 days investigating the oil spill. Some 13 scientists have been on board, and they're just now coming home to St. Petersburg.
So, what's in these containers right here?
DAVE HOLLANDER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA CHEMICAL OCEANOGRAPHER: Water in here has been, was collected from 50 meters.
LAVANDERA: David Hollander was one of the lead researchers on the mission.
Did you feel like you were kind of on the verge of really getting a better understanding of what's going on underneath the water?
HOLLANDER: I think we're adding to the puzzle. We're adding to the pieces of the puzzle.
LAVANDERA: Hollander and another expert on the journey, John Paul, sat down with CNN for an exclusive review of their findings. The USF scientists say they found toxic levels of oil and dispersants infecting marine organisms just 40 miles south of Panama City, Florida. The organisms, called phytoplankton, and other microscopic bacteria in the ocean are the foundation of the food chain.
PROF. JOHN PAUL, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA MARINE MICROBIOLOGIST: What feeds and fuels the ecology of the ocean. And if those guys are in trouble, then the ocean is in trouble.
LAVANDERA: So far, federal government scientists have downplayed the impact of microscopic oil making its way up the food chain. This is what the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said earlier this month.
DR. JANE LUBCHENCO, NOAA ADMINISTRATOR: Fish will degrade that oil and process it naturally. And so, it doesn't bio-accumulate. So, it's not a situation where we need to be concerned about that. Over time, it will be broken down.
LAVANDERA: USF scientists tell CNN that is a short-sighted view of the danger. NOAA officials haven't responded to these latest scientific findings. BP officials tell CNN, "we want to know everything that everyone wants to know," and that they've dedicated some $500 million to study the long-term impacts of this oil spill. The scientists here in St. Petersburg will continue to analyze the evidence they brought back over the next few weeks and are planning a return trip to the Gulf waters in September. Ed Lavandera, CNN, St. Petersburg, Florida.
AZUZ: Thousands of you already know about our blog at CNNStudentNews.com. It's called "From A to Z" with me, and it's where you can talk to us about a number of subjects, including yesterday's report about an Islamic center with a mosque being built a couple blocks from Ground Zero, the New York site of the 9/11 attacks. Keith wrote: "I think that the First Amendment should always be upheld, and therefore the mosque should be permitted to be built. Islam didn't attack our country, terrorists did. It is unfair to connect religion with terrorism. Accept the mosque as a good addition to New York City." Different viewpoint from Dave: "The builders should realize it would be the best thing to build elsewhere and generate goodwill by doing so and showing understanding for why so many oppose it. By thumbing their nose to others' sensitivities, they further alienate American sympathies to a religion that needs goodwill." Strong opinions, as you'd expect. Come on over and add yours! Our blog is always open at CNNStudentNews.com. We accept first names only!
Just the Facts
STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Just the facts. Cancer is a general name that describes a group of more than 100 diseases. It occurs when abnormal cells form in part of the body and grow uncontrollably. In some cases, these cancer cells can spread and destroy body tissue. Experts estimate that 50% of all American men and more than 30% of all American women will develop some form of cancer. If it's not treated, cancer can cause severe illness and death. In fact, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the country.
AZUZ: As you can figure out from that information, cancer affects millions of people. You might have a family member or friend who's been diagnosed. Many forms of cancer can be treated, and the chances of surviving the disease are continually improving thanks to advances in cancer screening and treatment. But there's another aspect to this: an economic aspect. According to a new study, cancer costs the global economy almost $900 billion per year! That's based on how much money is lost when people get sick or die from the disease. Not as many people are working; there's not as much money being spent. The $900 billion figure: that is more than any other cause of death. And it doesn't include medical costs to treat cancer patients. Some experts think if you add that in, it could double the total cost of cancer.
Silver Stars Awarded
AZUZ: The Silver Star is the third highest honor the U.S. Army awards for bravery. This week, seven soldiers got the medal for their service in Afghanistan. One of the Silver Stars was awarded posthumously. That soldier lost his life during the battle that earned him the honor of the Silver Star. These awards were based on the troops' actions in five different battles that took place in Afghanistan over the last three years. Many of them helped wounded soldiers while under fire or persevered while being outnumbered during intense fighting. We honor all of our troops here at CNN Student News.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the first Shoutout of the school year! 9.8m/s2 is a formula related to what? If you think you know the answer, then shout it out! Is it: A) Volume, B) Gravity, C) Torque or D) Inertia? You've got three seconds -- GO! That's the formula for the acceleration of gravity! It's also your answer and your Shoutout!
AZUZ: People have been trying to defy gravity for centuries. Orville and Wilbur Wright got the idea off the ground back in 1903. Today, stunt pilots take flying to an extreme. If you've ever been to an airshow, you know it is awesome to watch. And we're gonna be honest: that's part of the reason why we're about to show it to you. This is a behind-the-scenes look at some of these aerobatic aviators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah baby, rock 'n' roll.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's pretty intense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They push the envelope to the limit.
SEAN D. TUCKER, AEROBATIC PILOT: My name is Sean D. Tucker, and I'm a 21st century barnstormer.
DEBBY RIHN-HARVEY, AEROBATIC PILOT: My name's Debby Rihn-Harvey. I'm the current U.S. national aerobatic champion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
TUCKER: Which is the greatest aerial spectacle above the earth.
RIHN-HARVEY: My passions are aviation. I probably think about it 24 hours a day.
TUCKER: I like to dance in the sky. I like to take my airplane and tumble it and twirl it and spin it.
RIHN-HARVEY: I'm not a full-time air show pilot. I'm a full-time airline pilot. I do air shows and competition for fun.
TUCKER: Three hundred miles an hour, diving into the arena, it is a phenomenal experience.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're amazing, man.
RIHN-HARVEY: Most people go to an air show and they look up and see this airplane tumbling through the sky, they really think it's some guy doing that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really enjoyed that.
RIHN-HARVEY: Well good. Well, thank you.
TUCKER: I try to feel the audience's energy.
This is serious business. This is not something that I take lightly. I'm not allowed to have a bad day.
RIHN-HARVEY: We practice. We emphasize safety.
TUCKER: I absolutely wear a parachute. Absolutely wear a parachute.
RIHN-HARVEY: I take aerobatics very seriously. It's absolutely, thoroughly enjoyable.
TUCKER: You see these little kids and their eyes are so big. You see the incredible joy. It's a wonderful feeling.
That was fun. That was really fun.
Before We Go
AZUZ: I love that quote: "We're not allowed to have a bad day." It's like, we know! If that last story didn't make your stomach do flips, maybe this one will. It's the Jack Rabbit roller coaster. It's turning 90 this year. You might say it's over the hill. But the coaster isn't the star of this story. That would be the guy you're about to see in the blue t-shirt. Vic Kleman is his name. He's been riding the Jack Rabbit since 1959. And Sunday, the 78-year-old rode the thing 90 times. That brought his lifetime total rides on the Jack Rabbit to 4,000!
AZUZ: Roller coaster -- awesome! 90 times in a row -- either boring or nauseating. But all in all, it sounds like a real up-and-down experience. And it's where today's show pulls into the station. Have a great day.