(CNN Student News) -- September 21, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Weather and warrior. Those two things might not seem like they go together, but they will by the end of today's show. Hello, everyone. I'm Carl Azuz. Welcome to CNN Student News.
AZUZ: The National Bureau of Economic Research says the recession is over and that it ended in June of last year. The stock market was happy with this news. It hit a four-month high yesterday based on the announcement. That group that we mentioned, the National Bureau of Economic Research, is the only one that officially declares when a recession starts and finishes. One question: Why are they just announcing it now? The NBER usually takes a while to declare when recessions start and end. This one started in December '07; the group didn't announce that until a year later. They wait because they want to make sure that economic changes are going to last. Poppy Harlow is breaking down what goes into the decision. What do you have for us, Poppy?
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Carl. Well, yes, the recession officially over. That coming to us on Monday morning from the National Bureau of Economic Research. This is a group of economists, the only group that can say whether this country is in or out of a recession. They said that we fell into a recession in December 2007, and they say that recession ended in June 2009. That makes it officially 18 months long, the longest recession in this country since World War II. Actually, the longest recession since the Great Depression; that's why it is called the "Great Recession" now. They say that June 2009 is when this economy hit rock-bottom, and they saw recovery after that. They do everything from measure GDP in this country, to salaries, to income, to employment, to industrial production to gauge whether or not we're out of a recession.
Now, they did say the economy is sluggish, the recovery is sluggish since then. If they do say there is a double-dip, or another recession, that would be considered a new recession, not a continuation of this recession. But I'll say, a lot of people don't feel like we are out of a recession, and here's why. Take a look at these numbers: When the recession officially ended in June 2009, the unemployment rate in this country was 9.5 percent. It is now 9.6 percent, so the jobs picture hasn't gotten any better. And the housing picture hasn't gotten any better either. Take a look at these numbers. When you look at median home prices in 2007, when we fell into the recession, we were about $219,000. In 2009, when we came out of the recession, they were $172,000 or so, and now they are just mildly higher than that.
So, you have still a housing crisis in this country, a jobs crisis as well. That's why many Americans don't feel like this recession is officially over. A lot more details to explain it all for everyone out there. You can check them out right here on CNNMoney.com. Carl?
AZUZ: Thanks again to CNNMoney.com's Poppy Harlow for that report. Hundreds of you have talked to us about how the recession has affected you, your families and your schools. What we wanna know now is if you agree or disagree that the recession is over. The place to tell us is our blog at CNNStudentNews.com. You'll find the link on the lower right side of the page.
Is This Legit?
STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The United Nations Security Council has 192 members. Not legit! It's the U.N. General Assembly -- the main body of the United Nations -- that's made up of 192 member countries.
U.N. Meeting in N.Y.
AZUZ: The General Assembly is getting together at U.N. headquarters in New York this week. On Thursday, the group will start its annual debate. That's when member nations discuss global issues and what they might do about them. Before that starts, though, the U.N. is having another meeting. This one is about the organization's Millennium Development Goals. The man speaking at the podium is Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the leader of the U.N. He wants the member countries to keep pushing toward the development goals they set for themselves a decade ago. Those include finding ways to fight poverty, hunger and disease. The concern is that, because of the global economic crisis, countries haven't been able to put as much money toward fighting those issues.
AZUZ: The recession affected how we spend money. According to a new survey, it affected what we use to spend money. Talking about credit cards. In 2007, 87 percent of the things we bought -- our purchases -- were made with plastic on credit cards. In 2009, it was down to 56 percent. Some experts think it could drop to 45 percent this year. Analysts have a few different reasons why. One: People aren't spending as much. Two: More people are using debit cards. Those usually don't let you spend what you don't have. And three: New laws are making it harder for young people to get credit cards.
What's the Word?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: What's the Word?
the U.S. state that is home to Salt Lake City
That's the word!
AZUZ: Officials in Utah feel pretty sure they've gotten a handle on a wildfire that's been burning across part of the state. Four homes were destroyed by the flames. The state's governor says that's "remarkable;" he was worried up to 100 houses might be lost. This happened around 30 miles south of Salt Lake City. You can see some of the smoke and flames in this iReport. It's being called the "Machine Gun Fire." Apparently, it started from ammunition that was fired at a nearby National Guard camp. Authorities say that's not unusual. The problem here is that strong winds picked up the fire and helped it spread so quickly.
Igor Hits Bermuda
AZUZ: Parts of Bermuda are cleaning up and drying off after a visit from Hurricane Igor. No reports of any serious damage or injuries on Bermuda after the storm hit, although some officials estimated that two-thirds of Bermuda lost power. Igor is still out in the Atlantic and making its way north. It's been losing strength. Yesterday, it was just barely still a hurricane. But Igor is still pretty big. Experts don't think it'll hit the U.S., but it could cause some dangerous surf conditions along the East Coast.
AZUZ: Picture someone who studies the weather. Is that person wearing camouflage? Well, believe it or not, there's a whole group of the U.S. Air Force whose job it is to figure out how weather can affect military operations. These troops are SOWTs, S-O-W-T. It stands for Special Operations Weather Team. Rob Marciano takes us out on a training mission with some of them.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: There's less than 100 SOWTs in the Air Force. From World War II to Afghanistan, they've deployed on the battlefield, working with the likes of the Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and other special forces. Their weather call and environmental recon are key to a mission's success. Today is jump day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SOWT MEMBER: Sound off for equipment check.
AIRMEN: Sound off for equipment check.
MARCIANO: They rehearse on the ground what they'll do in the air. So, we're on the tarmac now and they've got all their gear, typically, that we bring on a real mission. This is the plane; this is the plane they're getting on. Lieutenant Colonel Joe Benson commands the Combat Weather Squadron. How important is what you guys do to the overall mission?
LIEUTENANT COLONEL JOE BENSON, COMMANDER, 10TH COMBAT WEATHER SQUADRON: Well, most of what we do is the collection part of weather. In other words, we go out into places that are either hostile, inaccessible to other troops, and we go and we collect weather observations. We'll go and we'll assess a river condition, we'll do terrain.
MARCIANO: Sometimes getting there requires a parachute. So, this is the main.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SOWT MEMBER: Yes. Don't, please don't pull that.
MARCIANO: Don't touch. What's this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SOWT MEMBER: That's the reserve.
MARCIANO: Loaded into the back of this C-130 are 18 Special Operations Weather soldiers. If you want accurate forecast of the battlefield, sometimes you've got to jump out of a plane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you guys ready back there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're ready.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
MARCIANO: One minute before they go out the back door. I legally can't jump. I'm not disappointed about that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All clear, six jumpers away.
MARCIANO: With the static line guys out at 2,500 feet, we climb higher and the spotters eye the next drop zone. Six weather jumpers left; we're at 10,000 feet now. These guys are going to free fall. They can go as high as 30. If we need weather data, the forecast behind enemy lines, they are the ones to do it.
You guys rock.
What comes next is an adrenaline-filled minute falling as fast as 200 miles an hour. Deploy the chute, and get on the ground ASAP.
Before We Go
AZUZ: All right, that looked really cool. Now, before we go today, we're bringing you pictures of a dog with a little something extra. What you're looking at is a Norwegian Lundehund. What makes it so special are those: one, two, three, four, five, six toes -- on each front foot! Might look a little weird, but these dogs are actually bred to have the extra toe. It helps them climb up mountains in Norway. It also helps them stand out in a crowd at the local dog park.
AZUZ: So, is it a freaky feature or distinctive digit? Six of one, half-dozen of the other. Either way, we think it's paw-sitively, toe-tally awesome. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.