(CNN Student News) -- December 1, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Welcome to the last month of 2010. I'm Carl Azuz and you're watching CNN Student News! 10 minutes, no commercials, delivering headlines from around the world to your classroom. Today, we start in Washington, D.C.
AZUZ: It's been called the "Slurpee Summit" after the frozen drink. But yesterday's meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders was a chance to talk about how they might work together after a midterm election season that got pretty tense. As a result of the midterm elections, Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives in January; Democrats will still control the Senate. During the meeting, President Obama and Republican leaders said that even though they hope to work together, they have some pretty big differences about what they think is the best way forward. One thing they do agree on: moving forward will involve everyone.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The American people did not vote for gridlock. They didn't vote for unyielding partisanship. They're demanding cooperation and they're demanding progress, and they'll hold all of us -- and I mean all of us -- accountable for it.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER-DESIGNATE: We had a very frank conversation, and it was interesting that both Democrats and Republicans, and the president, understood what the American people had to say on Election Day, I think, pretty clearly.
Food Safety Bill
AZUZ: That wasn't the only thing happening in Washington yesterday. The Senate passed a food safety bill that would give more power to the Food and Drug Administration. The House passed a similar bill more than a year ago. The goal of the bill is to help make the country's food supply safer. This comes after recent recalls on things like lettuce, peanuts and eggs. In some of those situations, the recalls were voluntary and had to be done by the companies that produce the food. With this new bill, the FDA could order the recall directly. Some critics think that the bill is unfair to small farmers. They argue that since most of these recalls are from big companies, the smaller farmers shouldn't have to be held to the same standards.
AZUZ: Another issue in front of Congress: unemployment benefits. This is the money that people get from the government when they've lost their jobs. And for a lot of folks, the last check is in the mail. That's because the deadline to file for extended unemployment was yesterday. About 2 million Americans are expected to stop getting checks in December. Congress could extend the unemployment benefits, but they haven't decided whether or not they want to do that yet. Part of the reason might be the price tag. One proposal to extend unemployment into next year would cost more than $56 billion.
AZUZ: You lit up both our Facebook page and our blog with comments about the proposed DREAM Act we covered yesterday. From Facebook.com/cnnstudentnews: Deanna says what she doesn't like about the dream act is that it's pricey, and she asks where we'd get the money to pass it in a tough economy. Roscoe says the Act could possibly take American students' opportunities away, and asks if the immigrants are trying to get in the military or a college degree, why stop them? Darryn says pros include the chance for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship; cons include filling up college space for people who are already U.S. citizens. You might see a pattern of pros and cons. A lot of people are torn on this. Now we're gonna take you to the blog and McKenna, who writes, "The girl on Tuesday's show was trying to make the world better by going to medical school, and officials are proposing to send her back over. Why? She has every right to stay." And Shae is also on the fence on this one: having a problem supporting illegal immigrants through federal taxes, but seeing everyone as people who should be allowed to follow their dreams. We are getting some excellent comments on our blog. Please keep them coming.
World AIDS Day
AZUZ: Today is December 1st and it's also World AIDS Day. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and it killed nearly 2 million people in 2009. World AIDS Day aims to turn that number around. The event is designed to raise awareness about this disease and how it can be treated and prevented. World AIDS Day also involves events like this one where people visit the AIDS Quilt, a memorial to some of the victims who lost their lives to AIDS.
Is This Legit?
MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The Atlantic hurricane season lasts through the end of the year. Not legit! In fact, it ended yesterday, November 30th.
AZUZ: One thing we want to be clear about: that doesn't mean there can't be any more hurricanes this year. The hurricane season is just when they're most likely to show up. This year, a lot showed up. 12 hurricanes formed in the Atlantic Ocean during 2010. That's the 2nd most ever, and five of those became at least category three storms. 19 storms got names this year, the 3rd most ever. You don't have to be a hurricane to get a name though. Storms are named when they develop into tropical storms. Even with the hurricane season being that busy, not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S. The average is about two of those per year.
AZUZ: Checking out some ups and downs in the U.S. economy. First up, cyber Monday. That's the Monday after Thanksgiving. And on this Cyber Monday, sales were up almost 20 percent higher than last year. That helped make Monday the biggest shopping day so far in 2010. Next, home prices are down. They had been slowly increasing since early 2009, but during July, August and September, prices dropped 2 percent. One analyst says the biggest reason -- you guessed it -- is the struggling economy. Compare that to consumer confidence, which is up. This is a measure of how optimistic people are about the economy. The number is the highest it's been since June. Experts say consumer confidence is still pretty low in general, but the increase might be a hopeful sign.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. McCarthy's and Ms. Pouliot's classes at Westwood Middle School in Blaine, Minnesota! The city of Lagos is found in what African country? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is it: A) Cameroon, B) Chad, C) Egypt or D) Nigeria? You've got three seconds -- GO! Lagos is in Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Most populated country in Africa, and 8th most populated country in the world. That population -- currently more than 150 million -- is getting bigger, especially in Lagos. But the country isn't expanding. In fact, in some spots, the land is actually disappearing. Nima Elbagir looks at one idea that could help solve both problems.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Makoko Slum in Lagos lagoon. At the heart of Nigeria's financial hub, houses on stilts and wooden canoes are a floating home to the thousands who flock here every year to make their fortune.
The Lagos Metropolitan area is spread across a series of islands, which altogether make up around 300 kilometers square. The Lagos' population is around 15 million, and by 2015 it's estimated to hit 25 million. And the obvious question is, where are all those people going to go?
Victoria Island, along its Bar Beach coastline, is some of Lagos's prime real estate. And it's about to get even more upmarket.
DAVID FRAME, EKO ATLANTIC, MANAGING DIRECTOR: It's reclaimed land.
ELBAGIR: It's here that David Frame, the Managing Director of Eko Atlantic, thinks he's found the answer to Lagos' land woes, at least for those who can afford it.
FRAME: Unfortunately, there's just not enough land available for development in Lagos. Eko Atlantic is, in essence, a reclamation project. It evolved from a desire to find a permanent solution to the erosion of Bar Beach and the threatened flooding of Victoria Island.
ELBAGIR: Nigeria, with its population of 150 million, is Africa's largest market, a consumer powerhouse that looks set to overtake South Africa as the continent's fastest growing economy. All that growth is currently being squeezed by the legendary traffic jams and overburdened infrastructure of the country's financial center. Eko Atlantic, ambitious as it is, is only a start.
FRAME: So, this land that we're reclaiming today will be meeting the demands. But in reality, we need more projects like this because the population of Lagos is expanding rapidly.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, what happens when your parents are awesome at building stuff? They can turn your walls into a playground! This is really really cool to look at. If you check it out, it's kind of a complicated idea from the looks of this YouTube video. But as far as we can tell, the marbles move through all sorts of obstacles as they make their way around the room. Some might say that anyone who took the time to set this all up -- and you can see it all the way around the room -- someone's obviously lost his marbles.
AZUZ: But if it makes you happy, it seems like a marble-ous idea. And it definitely rounds out today's show. A marble puns; always smooth. Time for us to roll out. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. See ya later.