(CNN Student News) -- September 14, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: From Cuba and Canada to Hong Kong, we are bringing you headlines from around the world. I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right this second!
AZUZ: First up: Congress is back in session. Members of the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives have about a month to work on legislation, because we're coming up on the midterm elections. Now, we've got a quick reminder for you on those. Voters will cast ballots for all 435 members of the House of Representatives, plus, around a third of the seats in the Senate. Primary elections have been running for months. There are more than a half-dozen of those today. The general election is on November 2nd.
Congressmen and women are looking at all sorts of issues, from the economy to food safety and military policies. But some analysts don't think much is gonna happen on any subject, because they think members of Congress don't want to get into controversial debates before the big election. One issue that Congress probably will get into, though, is a set of tax cuts. These were passed under former President George W. Bush. They'll expire if Congress doesn't vote to extend them, meaning taxes would go up. The big debate here is what to do about the tax cuts for America's wealthiest citizens, people who earn more than $250,000 a year. President Obama and most Democrats don't want to continue those cuts. They say America can't afford it, because the government needs the revenue that it would make from the taxes. Most Republicans -- and several Democrats -- do want to extend the tax cuts, though, even if it's just temporarily. They argue that the government shouldn't raise anyone's taxes while the economy is in rough shape.
Taxes were on the minds of some Tea Party members over the weekend. They got together for a rally at the U.S. Capitol building and to protest against what they see as out-of-control government spending and too many taxes by the U.S. government. The name of the rally -- "Remember in November" -- was a reference to the upcoming midterm elections.
AZUZ: Firefighters are battling a pair of blazes in the West. This one you see right now is in Colorado, near the city of Loveland. It started Sunday and spread fast. No reports of any injuries as of yesterday afternoon. Investigators are looking into what started the fire. A local official said he hopes to get a handle on the situation "very quickly," though he added that "very quickly" probably means a few days. The other wildfire is out in Southern California. This one broke out on Sunday, too. More than 300 firefighters and emergency personnel are working to get it under control. But the weather is going to play a part in that. If the winds kick up, they can spread the flames.
Is This Legit?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Cuba is a communist country. True! This means that Cuba's government controls the country's economy.
AZUZ: We're talking everything from factories and gas stations, to plumbers and ice cream shops. Like a lot of countries, Cuba's economy is struggling, and the government is planning to lay off at least half a million workers over the next six months. The nation's president says that some of those people could find work through private companies, ones that aren't run by the government. Cuba plans to allow more private businesses. Some people think this might be a good thing, because they'd be able to set their own prices or salaries. But, since Cuba controls 90 percent of the country's economy, finding new jobs could be tough.
AZUZ: It's time for your "no kidding" headline of the day: Americans aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC. Now, this is interesting: The percentage of American adults who eat enough fruit has actually decreased in the past decade! In 2009, around 32 percent of adults ate fruit at least twice a day. In 2000, it was 34 percent. The government wants that number at 75 percent! For vegetables: About a quarter of American adults ate vegetables at least three times a day. No real change from 2000. The government wants that number at 50 percent. So, why aren't we eating enough? The CDC thinks there are two big reasons: One, it's not as easy for everyone to get fresh fruits and veggies. Two, they're not as cheap as other foods.
Illusion of Safety
AZUZ: Here's a question for you to chew over: If you were driving near a school and a young girl ran into the street, what would you do? A YouTube video might help out with the answer. There's the street. There's the girl. And that's what this whole thing is designed to prevent. It's not a real kid. It's a 3D illusion. The group that's behind it says the point is to get drivers to slow down in school zones. They put it out on the first day of school in Vancouver, Canada. Some critics are worried that the image could cause accidents if scared drivers swerve or slam on the brakes.
This Day in History
September 14, 1901 -- President William McKinley dies of an infection 8 days after being shot
September 14, 1984 -- Joseph Kittinger begins first successful solo flight across the Atlantic by balloon
September 14, 1994 -- The Major League Baseball season is officially canceled after a players' strike
AZUZ: Earlier today, we talked about how Cuba's economy is struggling. It's not the only one, as all of you know. The U.S. economy, still trying to make its way out of the recession. One of the effects of a down economy is that it can be harder for people to find jobs. Well, harder to find them in America. Pauline Chiou looks at why some Americans are seeking opportunities overseas.
ROXANNA BLANCO, AMERICAN: How do we say it? Picture. Good!
PAULINE CHIOU, CNN CORRESPONDENT, SEOUL: Roxanna Blanco considers herself lucky to have this job as an English language tutor. Even with a degree in international business and marketing, the American could not find a job for an entire year. Finally, she told her mother she was going to take a bold step.
BLANCO: I think I just want to move to China. I think I'm going to go to China. She said, "Are you crazy? You're gonna go to China?" "Yeah, China. That's where I'm going to go."
CHIOU: Roxanna says she sensed the opportunities were in Asia. So last year, she applied online for English teaching jobs in China and got three offers. Roxanna's pull towards Asia is not unusual these days. Hays Recruitment firm says its Asia office has handled a 30% increase in job applicants over the past six months. Most job seekers are from the U.S., UK and Australia.
EMMA CHARNOCK, HAYS RECRUITMENT: There's a feeling of frustration that they wanted to kickstart their careers again. They've had a tough 18 months, and simply, the general attitude is they've had enough.
CHIOU: Emma Charnock says banks are hiring again and casting a wide net for top talent. But are the salaries the same?
CHARNOCK: Good question. We've certainly seen at least a 15% increase on base salaries.
CHIOU: While the bulk of the jobs here in Hong Kong are in banking, finance and law, on the mainland, a lot of sectors are hiring. China needs industrial engineers for its high speed rail, also urban planners and architects for stimulus projects. On the mainland, recruiters report an upswing in overseas Chinese returning for jobs. Charnock says she's also noticed an interesting spike in demand for math and science teachers at international schools on the mainland, perhaps as a result of more ex-pats moving to cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Some schools are even offering relocation and housing allowances to attract teachers.
BLANCO: Do you wear rainboots?
CHIOU: Back in Hong Kong, Roxanna plans to eventually return home to California. But with the U.S. unemployment rate at 9.6%, she's not rushing to buy her plane ticket.
BLANCO: Actually, I'm very nervous to go back. We're talking about going back in a year or so, and I still don't know if I'll find work.
CHIOU: Until then, it's a waiting game until the time is right.
BLANCO: Not "u," not "o." "E." Good job.
AZUZ: We the people of the United States will celebrate Constitution Day this Friday! It is the 223rd birthday of our country. And to help celebrate, we're offering you teachers free Constitution Day materials. We've got your back! They'll be up later this week on our website, CNNStudentNews.com.
Before We Go
AZUZ: You've already had your fruits and veggies. Now, it's time for dessert. Hope you saved some room, 'cause this confectionary creation could fill a lot of stomachs. It's the world's biggest chocolate bar. Sweet! This thing weighs in at nearly four and a half tons. That's around 9,000 pounds of championship chocolate. It was manufactured in Armenia, but the beans for the chocolate came from Ghana. So, the bakers had to blend everything together...
AZUZ: ...Into a cocoa-phony of flavor. Some people chocolate of our puns up to bad taste. We think they're the best, bar none. Quick heads up for you. President Obama is scheduled to give a back-to-school speech today around 1 p.m. You can check that out and we'll have more info about it in tomorrow's show. That's all for today. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.