(CNN Student News) -- September 22, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz, and welcome to this Wednesday edition of CNN Student News. We ask you guys a lot for your opinions on our blog. Today, we're gonna share some of what you've had to say and ask for your thoughts on another story we've covering.
First Up: War in Afghanistan
AZUZ: Well, first up today, we're going to Afghanistan. U.S. and coalition troops have been fighting in that country for nine years. They're battling the Taliban, the militant group that used to control Afghanistan and that refused to turn over Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States. Right now, there are around 100,000 American forces in Afghanistan. And for them, living and operating in what can be a very violent setting, safety is no guarantee. A sad reminder of that fact yesterday, when a helicopter crash claimed the lives of nine U.S. troops. Officials are trying to figure out what happened. There were no reports of enemy fire when the helicopter went down. During this year, 2010, the coalition has suffered more losses than any other year since the troops arrived in Afghanistan in 2001.
AZUZ: We want to tell you about another military operation now. This one took place in 1968, during the Vietnam War, in the southeast Asian country of Laos. A group of Americans was running a radar post on top of a mountain in Laos. The North Vietnamese attacked it, and nearly all of the Americans were killed or wounded, except for one: Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Richard Etchberger. He fought off the enemy, loaded the wounded men onto a rescue helicopter, and then climbed in. That is when a single bullet hit him, and Sergeant Etchberger died in the helicopter.
He was recommended for the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award. But he didn't get it. You see, U.S. troops weren't supposed to be in Laos during the Vietnam War, so Etchberger's heroic act was a secret for decades. Not anymore. Yesterday, during a ceremony at the White House, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Master Sergeant Etchberger's family. The president said that the Medal of Honor pays tribute to Sergeant Etchberger's courage, and it reflects the gratitude of the entire country.
What's The Word
APRIL WILLIAMS, CNN STUDENT NEWS: What's the Word?
the study of traits that are passed down from one generation to the next
That's the word!
AZUZ: Genetic engineering is when you use technology to take a trait from one thing and put it into something else. You might have seen that in a science fiction story somewhere. But could you see it on your dinner table? That is what the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, is considering. The agency is deciding whether or not to approve genetically-engineered salmon as food. You can see the difference in it. The modified salmon is twice as big, and it'll get that big in half the time. The company that's making the modified fish says this could help make the fishing industry more efficient and help make more food. But one big question: Is it safe to eat? Some critics argue that there hasn't been enough testing to see how this kind of genetic engineering will affect people or the salmon's ecosystem.
Blog Promo and Report
AZUZ: So, would you eat it? CNN.com took a vote on this: About 17 percent of readers said they'd eat genetically-modified salmon "in a heartbeat." Almost half of them said "not on your life." You can comment on our blog at CNNStudentNews.com.
It's the same place where you're talking about the recession, which the National Bureau of Economic Research says has been officially over since June of '09. Here's what you say: No, the recession isn't over, according to 78 percent of you. Now, these numbers were yesterday when we recorded the show; they might've changed a bit. Fifteen percent of you think the recession is over. Seven percent say they don't know.
Dolly says "jobs aren't improving, and it seems like prices are getting higher in food, gas, insurance. If the recession were over, there'd be more people with jobs and not so many struggling." Markus says in his community, "there's always at least one house with a foreclosure sign in the front yard," and that before the recession, he "didn't have a clue that foreclosure existed." Saying the recession is over isn't accurate to Kenni, though that's what the economic studies say. Kenni would like to "see more data behind the facts." Some of you, like Mary, say things are getting better. She writes that "jobs are bouncing back and doing well, and that with time, unemployment and home sales will improve." But another student named Mary says the worst may be over, but she asks "how many budget cuts have been made since June of 2009? We still have a long way to go," Mary writes.
This Day In History
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September 22, 1789 -- The U.S. Congress makes the position of Postmaster General part of the new government
September 22, 1862 -- President Lincoln issues the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, setting a date for the freedom of U.S. slaves
September 22, 1961 -- President Kennedy creates the Peace Corps, an organization of volunteers to work in underdeveloped nations
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What is Ray LaHood's job in the U.S. government? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is he the: A) Secretary of Transportation, B) Secretary of State, C) CIA Director or D) Federal Reserve Chairman? You've got three seconds -- GO! Secretary LaHood is in charge of the Transportation Department. That's your answer and that's your shoutout!
Distracted Driving Summit
AZUZ: Part of Secretary LaHood's job is to make sure that the U.S. transportation system is fast, efficient and safe. That last part is what he's focusing on right now. Yesterday, Secretary LaHood kicked off a meeting about distracted driving. The meeting was in Washington, D.C., and this is an issue that we've talked a lot about; it's one that you've discussed on our blog. Last year, we asked if you think the government should ban texting while driving. Nearly 80 percent of you said yes. Well, more than half the states agree. Right now, it's illegal to text when you're behind the wheel in 30 states. The transportation department is looking for other ways to cut down on distracted driving. At this meeting yesterday, Secretary LaHood announced new rules banning train operators and some bus and truck drivers from texting on the job.
AZUZ: Every year, people pitch in to help clean up Alabama's beaches. It's a project called the Alabama Coastal Cleanup. Usually, these volunteers are just picking up trash. This year, though, as you might guess, they have to deal with oil that has washed up on the beaches from the spill out in the Gulf of Mexico. It creates some challenges, and it creates some opportunities. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPENCER RYAN, EXECECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, ALABAMA PALS: I think this year's been a little unusual year, with the oil spill and that type of thing, having to address those issues.
APRIL BOONE, ORANGE BEACH, ALABAMA ZONE CAPTAIN: We do have an information sheet today that is about oil and what to do if they encounter it, which is basically to leave it alone.
RYAN: This year, we are expecting probably the numbers to be a little bit down, especially as far as amount of litter picked up, because of BP's work, you know, cleaning the beaches for the last several months.
MIKE FOSTER, VICE PRESIDENT, ORANGE BEACH, ALABAMA TOURISM: I think the people here have had a feeling of frustration, because there really wasn't anything that they could do. They couldn't do anything about the oil. They couldn't do anything about the tar balls. This is something that they can do to help us come back.
LUCY ANN BUFFETT, OWNER, LULU'S HOMEPORT, GULF SHORES, ALABAMA: It was a really rough going, but we have come through it like we do. We're coastal people. We live in the hurricane corridor.You just get up and you deal with it.
AMELIE MONTJOY, VICE PRESIDENT, THE OCEAN CONSERVANCY: It's particularly good to be here this year and to see the energy and momentum and dedication of the people in Alabama to ensure that their beaches are cleaner and more productive than ever before.
FOSTER: People want us to be OK, and they want to hear somebody say it's OK, and we've had a lot of signs that are saying that. The fishing is now re-opened.
MONTJOY: What's wonderful about having children participate in these cleanups is that they are our future. And it reminds us adults that we have a legacy to leave to them, an environmental legacy, because if what we have now is not protected, they and their children and grandchildren will never have the opportunity to enjoy it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Before We Go
AZUZ: Okay, finally, you know how your parents told you not to play with your food? They might make an exception for this art project. It's called canstruction, and it's on display at a mall in California. Each sculpture is made entirely out of canned goods. Creative and consumable. It's actually part of a fundraiser that's trying to fight hunger. After the exhibit ends, all the cans go to a local food bank.
AZUZ: The goal of the project: to show that everyone can make a difference. You might've seen that coming. Either way, it's all for now. CNN Student News is back tomorrow. We hope you'll join us then. Bye bye!