(CNN Student News) -- August 19, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Well, you've made it to Thursday. I'm Carl Azuz. This is CNN Student News! Your hearing: Listen up, 'cause we're gonna be talking about that in just a bit. We start off today, though, in Pakistan.
AZUZ: Severe flooding has left 20 percent -- one fifth -- of the country underwater, and officials are worried about the threat of disease. A lot of the victims are walking through dirty flood waters, and that can lead to the spread of things like cholera or typhoid. Experts are estimating that as many as 3.5 million children are at risk of getting sick.
Of course, the most immediate concern is aid: food, medical supplies. The United Nations has asked for $460 million from the international community. Only about half of that has been raised so far. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announce today that the United States will be sending more aid to Pakistan. Sara Sidner has more on the relief efforts.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're here off the shores of Karachi on the USS Peleliu with the Expeditionary Strike Group 5. It is their whole mission to make sure to be available when there is some sort of disaster. They patrol these waters, and they were in the area to help those in the flood zones in Pakistan. They've been able to get about 5,000 people out of those flood zones, rescuing them with helicopters. They've also been able to drop about a half million pounds of aid. They say they will be here for as long as it takes. There are more helicopters coming in; there are more ships coming in. The U.S. says that it has a humanitarian commitment that they're going to make to Pakistan. They've already given about $90 million in kind. But the U.N. continually saying that there is simply not enough aid being offered to this country.
South Africa Strike
AZUZ: More international news for you now, our next story taking us to South Africa, the country that hosted the World Cup this past summer. If you watched any of that, you saw huge crowds of people. And the nation's streets are crowded again. This time, it's with South African workers who are on strike. People who work in the public sector -- hospital employees, teachers, federal workers -- walked off the job all across South Africa yesterday. Organizers have threatened that this strike will go on indefinitely. They want the government to give them more pay and better benefits. South African officials say those demands just can't be met right now. They're worried about the impact of this nationwide strike, though. They claim it could end up hurting the entire country, including the very people who are protesting.
What's the Word
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: What's the word? a man-made item from an older time period
It's an ARTIFACT.
That's the word!
AZUZ: Artifacts aren't always big or spectacular. Sometimes simple items, like a button or fork, those can be important, too. They can offer clues about a culture, a civilization we didn't know much about before. In fact, some scientists think a huge collection of artifacts that was recently discovered in the state of Georgia could offer clues about what life was like in a Civil War prison camp. Camp Lawton: If you haven't heard of that, you're not alone. It's not very well known because it was only open for six weeks. But recently, a group of college students found it, and they found hundreds of artifacts from prisoners there. Buttons, bullets, coins, a pipe. Some of these artifacts will go on display soon. And the reason why experts think this finding is so significant is that the site barely seems to have been touched. A lot of Civil War sites get torn up by people hunting for relics; not so at Camp Lawton.
Is This Legit?
APRIL WILLIAMS, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Your ear is part of your olfactory system. Not legit! It's part of your auditory system, your sense of hearing.
Hearing Loss Study
AZUZ: Well, that sense may be getting worse, especially for you all. And as somebody who played the drums in middle and high school, I sympathize with you. There's a new study out about 12 to 19 year olds. It found that the number of teens who suffer from early signs of hearing loss is going up dramatically. We want you to look at these statistics; they're pretty surprising. Back in 1994, around one in every 20 teens had some kind of hearing loss. By 2006, that number was up to one in every 5. That means about 6.5 million teens experience hearing loss. So the next question is, why? What is causing this increase? Researchers say that's what they need to focus on in the future. One of the authors of this study, though, was asked if technology might be part of the reason.
DR. JOSEF SHARGORODSKY, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL: Is it the iPod? From our study, in specific, it is actually -- we cannot say what the cause is of this increase from our data. Of course, the world around us is getting louder. You can stand in a busy intersection in New York, for example, and get sound levels that are dangerously high if you are exposed to it for a prolonged period of time. You can also get it from driving in a convertible on the highway. And so, of course, teenagers are using headphones and are using portable music devices now that they have not been using previously. And so, that's certainly one possibility.
New Orleans Rising
AZUZ: Five years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina slammed into America's Gulf Coast region. "New Orleans Rising" -- a new CNN documentary -- tells the story of one neighborhood's struggle to rebuild after the storm. The program airs on CNN this Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern. And CNN Student News has put together a teacher and parent guide to go along with the show. You can find them in the Spotlight section at CNNStudentNews.com.
AZUZ: When the power goes out, a lot of times it's because of that huge lightning storm outside your window. If lightning hits a power line, you're in the dark. But there are times when it seems like blackouts happen when there isn't a single cloud in sight. Allan Chernoff sheds some light on why some of us could see more days in the dark.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK: Sizzling temperatures as much of a strain on the power system as on the public. Why does the power system always strain when the temperature soars? It's our electricity grid system, which was not designed for today's demands. Matthew Cordaro, a former chief executive of two power companies, warns that the system is at risk.
MATTHEW CORDARO, ENERGY EXPERT: We are nowhere near where we have absolute certainty that we can avoid a major outage or a disturbance. It's not that it will happen every day, but indeed a strong possibility that that could occur.
CHERNOFF: When the heat is on and air conditioners are on full blast to fight it, power demand can overburden circuits and transformers that allow electricity to travel from power plants across transmission lines and into your home.
ARSHAD MANSOOR, ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INST.: The circuits and the transformers, they don't have the time to cool down, so they get overloaded. An overloaded circuit could cause an outage.
CHERNOFF: President Obama, aware of the problem, last year committed $3.5 billion in stimulus money to modernize the grid. But it is only about two percent of what the power industry would have to invest for a smart grid. And much of the government money has yet to be spent. New York's Con Edison recently put off a plan to install smart grid equipment in part of Manhattan. It's a disappointment to a Massachusetts company that supplies high capacity power cables, superconductors that can protect against dangerous power surges.
JASON FREDETTE, AMERICAN SUPERCONDUCTOR CORP.: Superconductors are a key component of those smart grids in Korea, in China. And here in the U.S., we need to do the same thing, and we urgently need to update our grid.
CHERNOFF: Smart grid technology would allow utilities to see precise, real-time demand from every customer, so they could take action to minimize the risk of an outage. But most power companies have only just begun such an upgrade. In fact, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation says that two regions are especially vulnerable: Colorado, suffering from drought conditions that are reducing power output from the Hoover Dam power plant; and south central Louisiana, where transmission lines need upgrades to improve reliability.
Before We Go
AZUZ: And finally today, we're gonna go ahead and call in the B-team. Yes, that is a pun. All 50,000 members of the B-team. You know they work well together; you've had honey before. This time, they teamed up to trap a police officer inside his car for 3 hours! Officer is totally fine. But can you imagine being trapped in your car by bees in the summer heat? You know that's gotta be swarm. Eventually, some experts came out to box up the bees and free the deputy.
AZUZ: Which put an end to this arresting development. Arres-sting: That's a two-for-one! You can't beee-at that. Next time, they should just call out the swat unit! Okay, we'll buzz off. But just 'til tomorrow. If you watched CNN Student News last year, you know that Fridays are awesome. I'm Carl Azuz. We will see you then. Thanks for joining us.