(CNN Student News) -- October 18, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hello! My name is Carl Azuz. Welcome to CNN Student News. A breakthrough in Switzerland! Teaching with technology in Canada! But we start things off with some trail talk right here in the U.S.
AZUZ: We're talking about the campaign trail for this year's midterm elections, coming up on November 2nd. Quick recap on those. U.S. House of Representatives -- all 435 seats are up for election. U.S. Senate -- 37 seats up for election. Plus all sorts of local and state elections, too. President Obama, he's not up for re-election this year. But he is out on the campaign trail trying to help other members of his Democratic party get elected, and talking about what might happen if they don't.
U.S. PRESIDENT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This election is a choice, and the stakes couldn't be higher. If they win this election, the chair of the Republican Campaign Committee has promised to pursue the exact same agenda as they did before I took office. And we know what that agenda was: You cut taxes, mostly for millionaires and billionaires; you cut rules for special interests; and then you cut middle-class families loose to fend for themselves.
AZUZ: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is doing some campaigning too, but for Republican candidates. And she's taking aim at some of the Democratic leaders in Washington, especially Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Former Governor Palin says it's time for them to go.
SARAH PALIN, (R) FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: So, what do you do with employees like that who aren't doing their job? You fire them! You fire Pelosi, retire Reid, and their whole band of merry followers. And we get back on the right track.
AZUZ: Right now, the Democrats have a majority in both the House and Senate. A lot of experts have been looking at this midterm election wondering if Republicans can win enough seats to take control of either house. They are expected to make some gains. Jeanne Meserve looks at whether the youth vote could play a part in all this.
GROUP: Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
OBAMA: Thank you.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Young people put the oomph in the Obama presidential campaign two years ago. And with midterm elections now just weeks away, the president is trying to reignite their passion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President.
MESERVE: But as Obama appeared on MTV, young Republicans countered on Twitter, part of an aggressive GOP push for young voters.
DOUG HEYE, RNC SPOKESMAN: In this election cycle, certainly, there are going to be a lot more students wearing "Fire Pelosi" buttons and pins and stickers on campus than there were last cycle. We welcome that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No doubt that this is a game-changer congressional election.
MESERVE: At American University in Washington, a forum on the midterms. On this campus, college Republicans believe they are making inroads.
STEPHEN LAUDONE, PRES., AMERICAN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE REPUBLICANS: Several people I know who are going to, at the very least, split their ticket this year, whereas 2008, it was all Democrat. So, I definitely think there's a shift.
MESERVE: Many of the students at this gathering identify as conservative and Republican, and say the economy is the reason why.
JOSH KAIB, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY STUDENT: When we look at the economy, we're going to be graduating in a few years. Can we get a job? Are our taxes going to go up?
MESERVE: FreedomWorks, an activist group influential in the Tea Party movement, credits tech-savvy young people for its success and says its focus on fiscal issues like government deficits and debt continues to draw them in.
BRENDAN STEINHAUSER, FREEDOMWORKS: This idea of, kind of, leave us alone and let us live our lives. And I think that appeals to young people.
MESERVE: But polling tells a different story. It shows the Tea Party is weakest among young people. And Republicans?
KEATING HOLLAND, CNN POLLING DIRECTOR: We've not seen any evidence that Republicans are making a lot of inroads among young voters.
MESERVE: Polls indicate about 40 percent of voters, 18 to 29, intend to vote Republican in the midterms; about 50 percent Democratic. And young voters are one of the few groups who still give President Obama a thumbs-up.
OBAMA: Thank you, sir.
MESERVE: The effort to woo young voters this year may be of little value. They vote in presidential elections, but historically, their turnout in midterms is lousy, accounting for only 6 percent or 7 percent of the vote. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.
Is This Legit?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The nation of the Philippines is located in the Pacific Ocean. This is true! The country is made up of more than 7,000 islands, and it's located to the east of Vietnam.
AZUZ: When you put all those islands together, the Philippines is a little bigger than the U.S. state of Arizona. And some of those islands are being threatened by a massive typhoon. That's what a hurricane is called in this part of the world. This video you're about to see right here was taken over the weekend. You can see how strong the rain was already. The typhoon, which one expert described as a monster, was expected to hit the Philippines today.
Flooding in Russia
AZUZ: From the Philippines, we're moving over to Russia now, where severe weather led to deadly flooding over the weekend there. This happened in the southern part of Russia. Huge downpours on the mountains caused rivers to overflow, and more than 20 villages were flooded. There were reports that 13 people were killed, another 12 missing. By Sunday, some of the 300 people who had to leave their homes because of the floods were starting to go back.
SHELBY ERDMAN, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Roler's students at Daniel Wright Junior High in Lincolnshire, Illinois! Switzerland is home to part of what mountain chain? You know what to do! Is it the: A) Alps, B) Andes, C) Himalayas or D) Urals? You've got three seconds -- GO! The Alps run through Switzerland. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: And this is what it looks like when you drill a giant hole through the Swiss Alps. Why would someone want to carve out part of a mountain? To go through it! Officials say this hole will be the world's longest railroad tunnel. 34 miles long, it links up northern and southern Europe. The company that made the tunnel says it'll help cut down on travel time between certain cities. They expect that if everything stays on track, this tunnel should be up and running by the end of 2017.
AZUZ: A lot of you probably do not have your cell phones out right now. Many schools don't allow them in class; some schools don't even allow them on campus. But Steve Fischer of affiliate CBC shows us why one teacher up in Canada doesn't want to ban certain gadgets from the classroom. He wants to use them as a teaching tool.
STEVE FISCHER, CBC NEWS REPORTER: Christmas came early for students in this grade 11 math class.
ROBERT TANG, LISGAR HIGH SCHOOL MATH TEACHER: Use your iPod Touch and get that out of your way.
FISCHER: Every student has been given one of these: not only to use during class, but to keep for the semester.
TANG: So, as you can see, mine is too small, but just by pinching it...
FISCHER: Five years ago, Robert Tang arranged to get the first SmartBoard in the school. He decided equipping the students with handheld devices was the obvious next step.
TANG: When we fixed....
FISCHER: Tang found a private sponsor to pay for the pilot project.
TANG: When I grew up, it was desktop computers. Then, it went to laptop computers, and now it's the handheld generation. And I think that's something that we can tap into, and the devices such as the iPod Touch is something that really lends itself well to the educational field.
FISCHER: After initially banning cell phones and other handheld technologies, school boards across the province are rethinking their policies. They certainly can be a distraction, but they also offer up a World Wide Web of educational opportunities. It didnt take Tang's students long to embrace the technology.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE STUDENT: It's really helpful, 'cause when he shows stuff on the board, you can look at it on your iPod Touch, and it's easier to see things, and it's interactive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE STUDENT: For example, I can get the math textbook and Mr. Tang's schedule, all on this little device.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE STUDENT: If I have any questions to ask, her screen pops up. I can see her face-to-face, ask her face-to-face, and see her work.
FISCHER: School officials say if the results are positive, they may consider expanding the program to other classes. Steve Fischer, CBC News, Ottawa.
AZUZ: Canada, Switzerland, the Philippines. We've taken you all around the globe today. If you want to relive the journey -- you know you do -- head on over to CNNStudentNews.com. That is where you will find our free, downloadable maps. They help you pinpoint locations in the news. Come expand your geographic genius!
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go today, we've got a big proposal for you. Actually, it's for Sarah, and it's not from us. A guy named Ryan decided to step up his game and use a local baseball field to propose to his girlfriend. Most guys propose with a diamond. Ryan might have gone over the top. He rented out the whole park, painted the message into the outfield, then took Sarah on a helicopter ride right over the park. Obviously, this took a great deal of planning.
AZUZ: So you can't say the idea just came to him out of left field. Did Ryan strike out? Of course not; Sarah said yes! And now they have a great story whenever they field questions about how they got engaged. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.