(CNN Student News) -- November 30, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Glad to see you've tuned back in to CNN Student News! My name is Carl Azuz. We are broadcasting from the CNN Center in Atlanta, G-A! Today's first story has to do with information that was never meant to be seen by the public.
AZUZ: It was leaked. Like a book of American secrets shared with everyone, all over the internet. The organization that's publishing this information is called "WikiLeaks." This is an international, not-for-profit website that posts material, often secret material, that it gets from anonymous sources. They believe the public has a right to know what their leaders are saying. What WikiLeaks is publishing this time around are hundreds of thousands of documents -- communications between Washington and U.S. embassies around the world. They contain classified -- secret -- information about U.S. diplomacy: how American government officials interacted with -- and in some cases felt about -- the government officials of other countries. So why does any of this matter? Well, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose interactions with other officials are included in some of these documents, calls their publication illegal. And she says it could threaten U.S. national security and put lives in danger. Plus, it's embarrassing. And it could cause other countries to doubt America's ability to keep secrets. Jill Dougherty delves into the content and criticism surrounding the leaks.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. government has been in damage control all weekend long. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally phoning the leaders of eight different countries: Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, France, Afghanistan, China and Canada; assessing the potential impact on relations.
The government has been roundly condemning the leaks. There are 250,000 of them, and not all are out at this point. They are on a wide variety of subjects, and some of the most interesting ones deal with the reaction of Arab countries, a critical reaction toward Iran and its nuclear program.
Also, "The New York Times" reporting that State Department personnel in some cases were asked to provide information from foreign diplomats about things like frequent flyer numbers and credit card numbers. P.J. Crowley, the spokesperson for the State Department, saying in a tweet, our diplomats are that, they are diplomats, they collect information. They are not, as he put it, intelligence assets.
Now, what could be the potential damage? Well, one U.S. official telling me it could be hugely damaging to the United States, but some of that will depend on what other governments, governments around the world, will be saying. And I have been speaking with some embassies here in Washington. They are saying that they are still studying the documents, and we can certainly expect a lot more.
Federal Wage Freeze?
AZUZ: U.S. government workers, like Secretary Clinton, President Obama, FBI employees and park rangers, may not be getting a pay raise for the next two years. That's a proposal from the president himself who says this is about getting the government deficit under control and that the sacrifices made would have to be shared with government employees. The government's deficits -- how much more money it spends, than it takes in -- are expected to exceed nine trillion dollars over the next decade. So how much would freezing government wages save? About 60 billion over the next ten years. Not a significant amount of money when compared to the overall deficit. But one analyst called the proposal a "psychological first step." It's also not set in stone; Congress would have to approve this before it could take effect.
Back in Session
AZUZ: And that is one of the many things the lame duck Congress started considering as lawmakers got back to work yesterday. One major decision they're facing this week: the federal budget -- what to spend where, in order to keep the government operating. Some other things they'll have until year's end to decide: Will the government keep taxes the way they were after President Bush cut them? Will the government extend benefits to people who've been without jobs? And it will be interesting to see what sort of compromises are in the December air because things are changing in January: The new House will be controlled by Republicans, while Democrats will maintain a slim lead in the Senate.
CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Thompson's 6th grade classes at Philomath Middle School in Philomath, Oregon! Which of these countries borders North Korea to the north? Is it: A) China, B) Thailand, C) Mongolia or D) Vietnam? You've got three seconds -- GO! China shares most of North Korea's northern border. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: China is also North Korea's closest ally, which is why China factors in to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. It's calling for an emergency meeting of six countries, to discuss the best ways to ease tensions in the Korean region. But the U.S., one of those six countries, says a meeting is no substitute for North Korea changing its behavior. North Korea is furious over military exercises being done by South Korea; in response, North Korea attacked a South Korean island last week. South Korea says if the north attacks again, it will respond firmly. On Sunday, the U.S joined South Korea's military exercises in the Yellow Sea.
Climate Change Conference
AZUZ: There are 194 countries represented right now in Cancun, Mexico for the latest United Nations Climate Change Summit. They're hoping for an international agreement on reducing carbon emissions. These are released into the air when we burn gas, oil or coal. And many scientists blame carbon emissions for affecting the Earth's climate, though others say humans have little or no effect on the climate. Hard to say if there'll be any breakthroughs at the summit. Not much came out of last year's meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. And part of the reason for that: Different carbon limits are suggested for different countries, and not everyone agrees on what those limits should be.
Is This Legit?
CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is This Legit? To live in the U.S. legally, you must be a U.S. citizen. Not legit! The U.S. government offers people ways to legally work and live in the U.S. without being citizens.
AZUZ: But those who are in the U.S. illegally may face deportation: being sent back to their home countries. An interesting sticking point in the debate over illegal immigrants, is this: What happens to their children? Not those who were born on U.S. soil; they're citizens. But those who were brought here as kids: Should they be allowed to stay? Susan Candiotti illustrates why there's so much disagreement over this question.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For 19-year-old Joanna Kim, America is home. Her parents moved to New York from South Korea when she was eight.
JOANNA KIM, COLLEGE STUDENT: My first memory was when I first came here and my dad took me on a ferry here near where the Statue of Liberty is, and we went around. And it was snowing that day so it was extra beautiful.
CANDIOTTI: It was 1999. The World Trade Center is seen over her shoulder. But from the time she was little, she was told to keep a secret. Her family was in the U.S. illegally. The college honor student is now fighting deportation. Her status is tied to her divorced father, who's had no contact with Joanna and her mom since moving back to South Korea years ago. Her only hope is the DREAM Act. Tossed around like a football in Congress for a decade, it would allow students such as Joanna to become permanent residents if they came to the U.S. as a child, attend college or serve in the military and are of good character. Joanna Kim's undocumented status prevented her from getting into Ivy League schools but she's attending a state university on scholarship.
KIM: I'm still working on a career that I want, to go into medicine.
CANDIOTTI: DREAM Act opponents are urging defeat in a lame duck Congress.
WILLIAM GREEN, AMERICANS FOR LEGAL IMMIGRATION: Illegal immigrants aren't supposed to be rewarded with citizenship, voting rights and college educations and financial aid paid for by me and my family and my grandparents. Illegal immigrants are supposed to return home.
AZUZ: Tell us what you think of this story on our blog! It's live at CNNStudentNews.com. Also, teachers, if you wanna get your students talking about the DREAM Act or many of the other stories we cover, we offer free discussion questions at CNNStudentNews.com! You see them on your screen right there! These questions are written by educators like you; and they're designed to help you get the conversation started with your students. All you have to do is visit our front page and scroll down to Daily Discussion!
Before We Go
AZUZ: Forecast for Saint Paul, Minnesota: High near 24; low in the teens. Just how do you keep your upper lip warm in that sort of weather? You grow a sweater for it! This was characterized as history's hairiest hockey game. Two reasons for this moustache mayhem: One: "Movember" -- a group that encourages moustache manifestation in November to raise money for cancer research. Two: Try to set a record for the most moustaches in one place.
AZUZ: Some of those guys say moustaches are a must, so don't you give them any lip. Others wanted to shave as soon as possible: You know, hair today, gone tomorrow! We're back tomorrow, and we always shave off commercials. So be sure to join us then! For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.