(CNN Student News) -- November 18, 2010
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JOYCE JOSEPH, CNN STUDENT NEWS: That paper airplane can only mean one thing: It's time for a new edition of CNN Student News! Carl is at an anti-bullying conference this week. I'm Joyce Joseph. First up today, the halls of Congress.
JOSEPH: The 112th U.S. Congress won't start until January, but it's picking its leaders this week! These are the men and women who will guide the members of their political parties.
In the Senate, things will look very familiar. Democratic Senator Harry Reid is the current Senate majority leader. He'll hold onto that title. The Democrats lost some seats in the midterms, but still have a majority. On the other side of the Senate aisle, Republican Mitch McConnell, who is the current Senate minority leader, will continue on in that role.
Control of the House of Representatives changed hands in the midterms; the Republicans will be in the majority when the new session starts. They unanimously picked Representative John Boehner to continue as their leader. He's now in line to be the new speaker of the House. Democrats voted for the current House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to become the House minority leader. But not all of them. Of the 193 House Democrats who will be part of the next Congress, about 25 percent voted for someone other than Pelosi to be leader.
JOSEPH: That's not the only thing Congress is doing this week. A Senate committee is talking with the head of the Transportation Security Agency about security checks at airports. This is something you've been talking about on our blog: the advanced scanning machines and security checks. The holiday travel season is almost here, so this is getting a lot of attention. The question is, how do you find a balance between privacy and security?
SEN. GEORGE LEMIEUX, (R) FLORIDA: I'm, frankly, bothered by the level of these pat-downs. I've seen them first hand in airports in Florida. I also understand that you would like to do everything possible to keep American people safe, but there are limits. There has to be a balance here. What can we do to right this balance? I think we've gone too far afield.
JOHN PISTOLE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: We know that there are additional things that we could be doing to detect things. And we know, based on pat-downs and AIT, we have detected dozens and dozens of, let's say, artfully concealed objects that could pose a risk to aviation.
New Home Construction
JOSEPH: Let's talk about the economy for a second. Experts look at a lot of things to figure out how it's doing. That includes the stock market, unemployment numbers and the housing industry. A new report just came out about housing starts. That's the number of new homes that are being built, and it's down. During the month of October, housing starts dropped nearly 12 percent. In fact, they're at their lowest level in 18 months. Analysts expected the number to fall, but they were a little surprised by how much it dropped.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Macias's 6th grade humanities class at Michael E. Fossum Middle School in McAllen, Texas! You're looking at the island of Hispaniola. It's made up of Haiti and what other country? Is it: A) Barbados, B) Dominican Republic, C) Jamaica or D) Trinidad? You've got three seconds -- GO! Haiti takes up about one-third of Hispaniola; the Dominican Republic takes up the rest. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
JOSEPH: The Dominican Republic is under a maximum health alert. We've talked about the cholera outbreak that's going on in Haiti. Well, Dominican authorities have been worried it might spread to their country, and it looks like it did. Cholera doesn't work like the cold or flu; it usually doesn't get passed from person to person. But officials say a Haitian who works in the Dominican Republic brought the disease back over the border after he went home to Haiti recently. He's the first confirmed case of cholera in Hispaniola's other nation. Back in Haiti, the cholera outbreak has led to violence in one town. We reported on that yesterday. Ivan Watson went there to check out the situation.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Roads leading into the city blocked by burning tires, torched cars and even a coffin. Machete-wielding locals patrol the streets. Scenes of chaos less than two weeks before Haiti is supposed to hold presidential elections. We've seen some crowds of young men out on the street. We're told that they're protesting against U.N. peacekeepers. They want them to leave Haiti and Cap Haitien. They blame them for the cholera epidemic in this country. The peacekeepers can do little more for now than put out fires and face off against an angry population terrified by the deadliest cholera epidemic to hit Haiti in more than half a century.
MOSES VALCY, TAXI DRIVER: We got so much people sick right now, so the people very, very, very, very scared about cholera right now.
WATSON: The U.N. peacekeepers are effectively under siege, targeted by angry locals who almost went after us. The protesters are mostly armed with rocks and bottles. They clearly control most of the streets right now. As the sun set on a second day of riots, tear gas and smoke from dozens of fires continues to rise, over Haiti's second largest city.
JOSEPH: CNN Heroes: everyday people who are changing the world. Tune in for the all-star tribute on Thanksgiving night. That's one week from tonight. It airs at 8 p.m. Eastern on CNN. Before that, head to CNNStudentNews.com; look for our Spotlight section. You're seeing that right here. That's where you'll find our CNN Heroes Teacher and Parent Guide. It has questions and activities that help students identify heroes in history and in their own lives.
What's the Word?
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: What's the Word?
it's an adjective that means relating to or about a city; it's also the opposite of rural
That's the word!
JOSEPH: According to the United Nations, more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas. If you live in a city, you know there's a lot going on, a lot to keep track of. What you might not know is that all of that could affect your brain. Doctor Sanjay Gupta explains how and what you can do about it.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Life in the concrete jungle, that's what they call it. And if you live in a city, you are probably used to something like this. Problem is, with so many different distractions, it's very hard to focus on one particular thing. It's called controlled perception, toggling back and forth between so many things. And it can leave you feeling mentally exhausted.
There's no question that living in a city has a lot of advantages. Shops are open all hours of the day, you can buy things, there are also lots of cultural attractions. But what we're finding more and more is that all of that comes with a price. There's an impact on the brain, as well. In fact, here in Japan, it's a big topic of discussion. They are talking about the fact that mental illness is one of the biggest health problems here, and they attribute it to this complex, high-tech environment.
The thing is, more people live in cities than ever before, and they are living in cities longer than ever. So, all of this is expected to get worse. And here's why: All that stimulation, well, it can cause spikes to the stress hormone known as cortisol. And as a result, it can be very difficult for the brain to hold things in memory, reduces your self-control, dull your thinking, it may even speed up cognitive decline. Just from living in a city. Think of it as your brain more rapidly aging.
But here's the part I like in all this: Getting away from the stress associated with the chaos in a big city can be as simple as finding a place like this. In fact, recent studies have shown that just glimpses of green areas can make a huge difference in your overall cognitive function. Makes you less distracted, less stressed, and more relaxed. In fact, just a few minutes away from bustling Kobe, Japan, we found this place: a very old park. A lot of people come here for a few minutes a day. There are shrines, and there are good opportunities to find green space, and that really seems to be the key: find green spaces in your city and make sure to use them as much as possible.
Before We Go
JOSEPH: Finally, have you ever sat in math class and wondered: when am I gonna use this? Well, this is when. Check out this incredible video from Gawker TV. If she makes 128 shots in 60 seconds, how many shots does she make per second? Around two. Let me say that again: She's making two shots every second! And in case you hadn't noticed, she doesn't miss a single one. You might call her a show off.
JOSEPH: We think she's just a hot shot. Here's my question: Since she's doing this in an arcade, do you think she had to pay for the game, or did they give her a free throw? You might call that pun a foul, but we'll bounce right back with more tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I'm Joyce Joseph.