(CNN Student News) -- September 23, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Old McDonald had a farm. And if you could text about that fast enough, you might have won 50 grand! Today, you'll meet the teenager who did. I'm Carl Azuz. Welcome to CNN Student News!
AZUZ: First up, leaders from around the world are coming together for a meeting in New York City. It's the United Nations General Assembly, and it gets together every year. The group is going to talk about world issues; different leaders will make speeches. President Obama is scheduled to address the assembly today.
So what? Why does it matter that a bunch of leaders are having a meeting? Well, the United Nations General Assembly is made up of 192 countries. And when we say they're talking about world issues, we mean big subjects, like poverty and security, and specific things, like the war in Afghanistan or Iran's nuclear program. They can't create new laws. But the decisions that they make and the policies that they come up with can have a big influence on what goes on in the world.
Health Care Provisions
AZUZ: In the health care reform bill that you see President Obama signing over my shoulder here, that might've been his biggest victory of his first two years in office. And parts of that law go into effect this week. For example, you can stay on your parents' health insurance until you're 26, and insurance companies can't turn down children with medical conditions that exist at the time they apply for insurance. Some people were and still are against this law, though. For one thing, it can cost a lot of money. Plus, critics don't like the idea that people have to get health insurance. That part of the bill goes into effect in a few years.
What's the Word?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: What's the word?
the sector of a country's economy that isn't run by its government
That's the word!
AZUZ: Running a business in the private sector means risks and rewards. You can set your own prices, but there's no one to really fall back on if things don't go so well. Shasta Darlington looks at what's in store for thousands of Cubans who are about to lose their government jobs and make the shift into the private sector.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, HAVANA: A tall order in communist Cuba: finding jobs for half a million laid-off workers in the private sector. Here in Old Havana, not everyone is celebrating this capitalist notion. Like it or not, employees at this barbershop around the corner are being pushed off the state payroll and handed the shop. They'll be able to set prices and keep earnings, but they'll now have to pay taxes and rent, and there's no longer the guarantee of a fixed income.
GERARDO, HAVANA BARBER [TRANSLATED]: "I've been working for the state for years now and I'm not interested in going private," says Gerardo. "I want to keep working for the state."
DARLINGTON: Cuba plans to shed ten percent of public sector jobs over the next six months and allow more private enterprise to absorb the unemployed. A dramatic attempt by President Raul Castro to reshape the sputtering economy. He says the state simply can't afford a bloated and unproductive workforce. But don't expect American-style big business. Cuba's new entrepreneurs will be encouraged to start small operations, maybe driving taxis, laying bricks or perhaps repairing toys. Now, to get an idea of what's in store for them, we're talking to some of the people already working in the country's miniscule private sector.
Emilio Mendoza was laid off during Cuba's last major economic crisis in the '90s. He bought a government license and set up a cobbler's shop in his driveway. He says Cubans should see this as an opportunity. Isidro, a taxi driver, says it depends on how much the state charges its new entrepreneurs in taxes and licensing fees. They all agree, the days of getting paid by the government, whether you work or lounge about, are over.
Still, the state controls about 90 percent of the economy. These modest proposals aren't likely to radically shift that balance, but they will give life to a new class of small businesses that could change the face of Cuba.
STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which one of these is the flag of Chile? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A, B, C or D? You've got three seconds -- GO! Option C is Chile's flag; its design was influenced by the U.S. flag. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: The 33 men who are waiting to be rescued from a mine in Chile are experiencing things most people never will and most people hope they never will. Take something as simple as time. We can check our watches, our cell phones. They can do that too. But when we look outside, we can see the sun, we can see the moon, we can sort of estimate what time of day or night it is in some cases. They can't do that. Karl Penhaul shows us a day in the life when you are trapped underground.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT, CHILE: A new dawn breaks. 33 miners face another day trapped half a mile deep. Rescue workers say the men never lost their notion of time.
MIGUEL FORTT, CHILE RESCUE COORDINATOR [TRANSLATED]: The miners have cell phones, so they had a calendar. They knew perfectly what day it was and what time it was. The only thing they didn't know was what the weather was like.
PENHAUL: It's 8 a.m. on the surface. Far underground, day shift is starting. They're working to help rescue themselves.
FORTT [TRANSLATED]: They have eight hours of rest, another eight-hour work shift, and eight hours to play games, read, write letters, jog or have a walk, because they have access to about 2.5 km of tunnels.
PENHAUL: Time is marked by meals sent down in metal tubes rescuers call carrier pigeons. Nurse Mabel Rios is supervising.
MABEL RIOS, NURSE [TRANSLATED]: About 7:45, we send them breakfast. At 10 a.m., a milkshake. At 12, we send them lunch. At 4 p.m., another milkshake. And around 7 p.m., we send them their dinner.
PENHAUL: First job of the day: check air quality. By midday, paramedic Yonni Barrios has checked all the miners' vital signs and sent the data to doctors above. Around the clock, miners help with the rescue effort, clearing debris from the drills now boring an escape shaft. At 4 p.m., day shift ends. Miners play games, listen to music, and work out on the orders of a personal trainer far above.
FORTT [TRANSLATED]: Because they're sitting down all day, they have a personal trainer to help them cut down their waistline so they can fit in the rescue capsule.
PENHAUL: Work or rest, the miners spend their day wandering up and down between the workshop, refuge or camp. But until the day one of the drills finally rescues them, those 33 lives must stay on hold. Karl Penhaul, CNN, at the San Jose Mine in northern Chile.
AZUZ: The CNN Heroes program honors everyday folks who find ways to change the world. This year's top 10 CNN Heroes are being announced today. You can go to CNN.com to find out who they are and learn about what they do.
Teacher's Lounge Promo
AZUZ: And teachers: the CNN Teachers' Lounge is open! You can find it in the bottom right corner of our front page, that's CNNStudentNews.com. The Teachers' Lounge is a place for you teachers to sound off on issues in education. This week, we want to know what advice you have for new teachers.
AZUZ: We're not sure we have any advice for Brianna Hendrickson. At least not when it comes to texting. The 13 year old took first place in the National Texting Championship. The final challenge: type out a modified version of "Old McDonald." Brianna nailed it in just 60 seconds. The prize: $50,000! She won $50,000 for texting and the chance to compete again. Win that one, and she might get another 50 grand, plus get to pick a charity that'll get a $50,000 donation.
Before We Go
AZUZ: That's a lot of dough. We're cooking up a different ingredient for today's Before We Go segment: corn! You probably can't tell from this high up, but that's what this is. It's actually a corn maze. The annual Idaho attraction is opening up this week. The designer says it took him two days; he does it all by hand. Can you imagine spending two straight days out in the fields making this?
AZUZ: That's a guy who really gets lost in his work. We're back tomorrow. We hope you'll lend us an ear then! You'll find many kernels of knowledge! It's gonna be cobs of fun! Whoo! We could do corny puns all day but, shucks, we're out of time.