(CNN Student News) -- August 27, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's the most awesome day of the week, and we're glad you're spending part of it with CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz. You're in for 10 minutes of commercial-free headlines starting right this second.
AZUZ: First up, a proposal that could be the biggest overhaul of food safety laws in the U.S. in about 70 years. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of this bill a year ago. The Senate is expected to start looking at the issue when it comes back in session soon. A lot of this has to do with the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration. Brianna Keilar gives us a look at what's being considered.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: The House and the Senate bill are different. But overall, here's sort of what it does. It would give the FDA direct recall power. You may not realize the FDA doesn't have this. The only thing they can directly recall themselves is baby food, and then they have to have industries go along with recalling their own stuff.
It would also put in place more food inspections. Right now, FDA inspectors may inspect a food producer only once every several years. It would increase that. And also, there would be better tracking of food-borne illness, but also contaminated products so that they could come off the shelves more quickly. All of these things, I know consumers are probably looking at and going, "OK, I see how that affects me." But the House bill is a lot harder on the industry when it comes to oversight and enforcement. The Senate bill is a little softer. So, there are some big differences here that would still need to be reconciled.
What is Salmonella?
AZUZ: All right. If the Senate passes its version of the bill, it would still need to be merged with the House's version before it could be put to a final vote. This legislation though is getting some momentum from the recent egg recall that has caused a lot of concerns about salmonella. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains more about that.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I want to break down exactly what this is. It's a type of bacteria. It's common in the environment, and it can be on different types of food. This strain specifically, Salmonella enteritidis, is found in chickens. They can carry the bug or even pass it onto their eggs without getting sick themselves. They can be sort of carriers.
Now, if you get salmonella through contaminated eggs or meat, the bacteria goes to the lining of the small intestine. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and mainly it's going to be G.I., or gastrointestinal symptoms: cramps, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting. It can also cause fever and cause severe headache. One possible long-term complication, it can get into the joints and cause arthritis, and that can linger for months or even longer.
Mild or severe, most people are going to recover fully. Complications can be serious. Older people, young babies and people with immune problems are going to be most at risk.
In the worst case, the bacteria can get into the blood stream and cause a severe infection called sepsis. That's life-threatening, although with treatment, the fatality rate is still pretty low, about less than a tenth of a percent.
Salmonella makes about 1.3 million people sick every year. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's neck and neck with campylobacter, another bacteria, the second most common food-borne illness. The most common, by far, is norovirus. That makes about nine million people sick every year. Big numbers. By contrast, E. coli only makes about 40,000 people sick. And botulism -- we talk about that a lot -- only causes about 50 or 60 cases total every year. Of course, those tend to be more severe, sometimes even deadly.
AZUZ: This egg recall might bring up other questions. Questions about safety, about how eggs get from the farm to your plate. CNN's Eatocracy blog can point you toward some answers. It features an egg safety egg-stravaganza. And you can find a link to it on our home page, CNNStudentNews.com.
What's the Word
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: What's the Word?
a strong wind or season, especially in southern Asia, that usually brings heavy rains
That's the word!
AZUZ: In Pakistan, that season lasts from late June until early October. And this year, it has caused a lot of problems. Monsoon floods started a month ago, affecting millions of Pakistanis, claiming at least 1,600 lives, and they left 20 percent of the country underwater. With more rain in the forecast, officials are warning 500,000 people in part of Pakistan's southern region to leave their homes to try to avoid possible flooding. Some officials are calling this the worst humanitarian catastrophe in Pakistan's history. Organizations from around the world are helping out with the relief efforts.
AZUZ: Scientists are keeping an eye on a pair of storms out in the Atlantic Ocean. Early Thursday afternoon, Danielle -- we told you about Danielle earlier in the week -- it was a category 2 hurricane. And about 1,400 miles behind Danielle is Earl, which was a tropical storm on Thursday. Experts predicted that both of these storms would probably pick up some speed. Danielle could become a category 3 hurricane; Earl could strengthen into a category 1 hurricane. But those experts don't think that either one of these storms is going to be much of a threat to land.
AZUZ: Well, it was five years ago today that Katrina became a category 3 hurricane. Two days later, it did hit land. It might not be the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history, but FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, calls Katrina "the single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history."
Most of you probably remember Katrina. You might not remember just how devastating it was. More than 1,700 people killed, most of them in Louisiana and Mississippi. More than a million people from the Gulf region were forced out of their homes. Katrina caused more than $81 billion in damages. And it affected an area of 90,000 square miles. That's nearly the size of the entire United Kingdom. In New Orleans, things got even worse when levees, barriers that were made to prevent flooding, failed. 80 percent of the city flooded. The population of New Orleans dropped by more than half following Katrina. In July of 2005, around 455,000 people lived there. In July of 2006, it was around 200,000.
Katrina - 5 Years Later
AZUZ: In the five years since the hurricane hit, some parts of the Gulf Coast have been rebuilt. Others remain unchanged. "Katrina: Then and Now" is a photography project. You see some photos from it right here. It was put together by CNN photographers and iReporters. It offers a "past meets present" look at some of the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. You'll find a link it, it's called Katrina: Then and Now". We've put it in the Spotlight section at CNNStudentNews.com.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What U.S. state is known as the First State? Do you know it? Then shout it out! Is it: A) Massachusetts, B) Pennsylvania, C) Virginia or D) Delaware? You've got three seconds -- GO! Delaware is known as the First State because it was the first one to ratify the U.S. Constitution. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: One school district in the first state is thinking about paying people to attend school events. Don't get too excited though, we're not talking about students. The district would pay parents. Here are the details. The district is getting about $5.5 million in new federal funding. This idea would use $15,000 this year. The plan is, if a parent goes to certain school events, like an open house or parent-teacher conference, they would get money. But it wouldn't go in the parent's pocket. It would be put into a college savings account for the student. So, essentially, your mom or your dad could earn you money for college by going to school events. The reaction to this? It's mixed. There are a lot of experts who agree that when parents are involved, students do better in school. But some folks think that paying parents to attend school events sends the wrong message.
DR. MICHAEL THOMAS, CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT: With the involvement of parents, kids, they achieve higher in school, they attend school better, they participate in all activities better. Behavior is generally better. They're just a more effective student in school.
RICK BARNES, PARENT: I think it's absurd to even consider something like that. Parents have to rise up to the challenge. If you really feel like you want your kids to succeed, you'll do your part.
AZUZ: We love to hear from you on stuff like this. Do you think it's okay to pay parents to get involved in your education? Or is this something they're supposed to do anyway, without pay? Tell us what you think on our blog. You'll find that at CNNStudentNews.com. We have one rule we want you to pay attention to: it is first names only. So, please just include your first name.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, you know that show about teenage moms? This ain't it. First of all, Susie's a chimpanzee. Second of all, she's 56 years old. She is a mom though, and a fairly new one. She gave birth to a baby girl this week, which means Susie is the oldest chimp to have a successful birth. Sure, it makes for cute pictures right now. But just wait until that kid becomes a teenager.
AZUZ: Their house is gonna be a total zoo. We were hoping at least some of you who appreciate our puns would go bananas for that one. Either way, hope you all have an excellent weekend. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. We'll see you Monday.