(CNN Student News) -- December 9, 2010
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: What you are seeing right here could launch the U.S. into a new era of space travel. It might just lead to a day when you or I -- well, you could go on ahead; I'm gonna hang out down here -- but you could take a trip to space one day. That story's coming up in just a few minutes. My name is Carl Azuz. CNN Student News is getting off the ground right now.
AZUZ: All right, in Washington, D.C., the debate rages on. This is over extending tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush. We reported yesterday that President Obama and Republican leaders have come up with a plan that would extend those cuts for all Americans, keeping taxes where they are. This is a deal that Republicans hope everyone can agree on.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MINORITY LEADER: I'm very hopeful and optimistic that the large majority of members of the Republican conference will find this proposal worth supporting. And I'm hopeful that Democratic leaders will be able to convince their members as well that this is the way to go forward.
AZUZ: But right now, many Democrats aren't on board with this compromise. In fact, some are pretty angry with the president for making it.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, (D) NEW YORK: I also think there is this general sense that we need the president to be the leader of our country, to be the leader of our party, to be the leader of the values that we believe in. And he seems to go from zero to compromise in 3.5 seconds.
AZUZ: President Obama has said that he doesn't think the deal he worked out with Republicans is perfect. But he wants his fellow Democrats to understand that the process isn't over.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: To my Democratic friends, what I'd suggest is let's make sure that we understand this is a long game. This is not a short game.
AZUZ: Meanwhile, Congress could vote on the DREAM Act this week. This is a bill that, if it passes, would give young immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally a way to become citizens. And they would do that by attending college or serving in the military. Members of President Obama's Cabinet held a press conference yesterday urging Congress to pass the DREAM Act. They say that it could help America's education system and economy. But critics argue that some illegal immigrants could cheat the system, and they say the DREAM Act could put illegal immigrants ahead of U.S. citizens.
Now, you've talked a lot to us about this on our blog and on our Facebook page. I think between the two of them, we've gotten close to a thousand comments, comments like this one from Noy, who writes, "I think the DREAM Act is a good proposal because kids had no involvement on the decision to come here illegally." Noy writes it was the parents' decision, so the kids shouldn't get punished for their parents' wrongdoing. But on the other side of that, we have this argument from Nicole. And Nicole is telling us, "I think that it would be wrong if an illegal immigrant got a spot at an American college, when Americans are fighting for that same spot." Very divisive issue. You're welcome to add your voice to this chorus at CNNStudentNews.com or at our Facebook page; that's Facebook.com/CNNStudentNews.
Is This Legit?
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? In a republic, people elect their political leaders. Legit! The elected representatives then vote on laws.
AZUZ: One example of a republic: Haiti. The country recently voted to elect a new president. None of the candidates got more than 50 percent of the vote, so there's going to be a runoff between two of them. But some Haitians are angry about the election results. They claim the election was rigged. And that anger exploded in violence on Tuesday night. Thousands of protesters were out on the streets of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, throwing rocks and lighting fires.
The current president, Rene Preval, went on the radio yesterday asking people to be calm. The anger is about who is in the runoff. A candidate who is supported by Preval just barely beat out a popular entertainer for the second spot. Before the results were announced, though, the Preval-supported candidate was said to be in third place.
Message to China
AZUZ: The U.S. is putting some serious pressure on China to get more involved in the growing tension between North and South Korea. China is one of North Korea's main allies. And Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff who was visiting South Korea this week, says the relationship between China and North Korea is why the Chinese government should take on a bigger role.
ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: China has unique influence. Therefore, they bear unique responsibility. Now is the time for Beijing to step up to that responsibility and help guide the North, and indeed the entire region, towards a better future.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Miller's class at Laingsburg Middle School in Laingsburg, Michigan! The word "language" can be traced back to what language? You know what to do! Is it: A) Aramaic, B) Greek, C) Latin or D) Farsi? You've got three seconds -- GO! "Language" ultimately comes from the Latin word "lingua," or tongue. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: According to a new survey, more and more students are studying different languages in college. The report from the Modern Language Association, or MLA, looked at how many people were enrolled in language classes other than English from 2007 through 2009. Enrollment in foreign language classes went up more than 6 percent over that time. Officials think that's a response to what's happening in the world and students wanting to learn languages that could help them in the future. The number one studied language is Spanish. French and German are numbers two and three. But Arabic had the biggest jump in enrollments since the last MLA survey. It went up 46 percent. Korean and Chinese had big increases too.
AZUZ: NASA has been sending shuttles into space for nearly 30 years. But the shuttle program is scheduled to end soon, and that means U.S. astronauts will have to hitch a ride with the Russians. That is, unless... Remember that rocket launch from the start of today's show? It splashed back down after three hours up in the air. Officials are calling the test flight a success. What this could lead to is a new era in the space story, one with private companies behind the wheel. John Zarrella explains why the plan comes with some risks.
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: First stage engine sequence initiated...
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral earlier this year...
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Falcon has cleared the tower.
ZARRELLA: ...The successful test flight was huge for the lean 1,200-employee upstart company called SpaceX. In the control room: Elon Musk. Billionaire, former PayPal co-founder, and now the intense hands-on man at the top. He sees SpaceX as his David versus Goliath, those big aerospace companies.
ELON MUSK, SPACEX CEO: They're just waiting for one misstep to say, "I told you so." And, you know, it's to be expected.
ZARRELLA: Expected, because SpaceX and other new commercial companies are promising safer, more reliable space flight for less, a lot less money. SpaceX says it could fly an astronaut to the international space station for $30 million less than the Russians. But is this new industry mature enough yet to deliver?
ALVIN DREW, SHUTTLE ASTRONAUT: I think that we'll get there. I just don't know how long it's going to take, what it's going to cost, and not just dollars, but possibly in lives and in aspirations.
ZARRELLA: NASA is banking on SpaceX and other companies to replace the retiring shuttle for flights to the space station. That would free up NASA to develop new technologies to get humans to Mars and the asteroids. But it's a risky plan. An accident could set the fledgling commercial industry back for years.
ALAN LINDENMOYER, NASA COMMERCIAL CREW AND CARGO PROGRAM: It would be a bad day to have a, you know, a major problem with any of these companies.
ZARRELLA: Because it's out in front, much of the pressure is on SpaceX. The company has signed a $1.6 billion contract to fly a dozen cargo flights to the station starting late next year. Musk is confident he'll be carrying astronauts soon after.
MUSK: We believe firmly we can send astronauts to the space station within three years of receiving a NASA contract.
ZARRELLA: Whether you believe him or not, Musk says, while he wants his company to be profitable, he is not in this for the money.
MUSK: We want to make space accessible to everyone.
ZARRELLA: How soon that happens depends in no small part on companies like SpaceX living up to their promise. John Zarrella, CNN, Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Favorite Before We Go Category
AZUZ: We're getting close to the end of the year. We want you to help produce part of our show. The question: What's your favorite kind of Before We Go segment? Could be animals, world records, maybe stunts. Vote now on our front page, CNNStudentNews.com. And if you want to rewatch before you vote, check out our transcript archives for old shows.
Before We Go
AZUZ: This next Before We Go segment could end up being one of your favorites. But it's probably not a favorite moment for these ducks. When the wind hits, it scatters the whole family. Even the big one -- look at that! -- even the big one goes rolling over. Ducks in the wind. All they are is ducks in the wind. And thanks to this YouTube video, we can see the fowl play. Ack! Luckily, all of them manage to get back on their feet. Seems like everyone's ok.
AZUZ: Which is a really good thing, because when a duck goes to the doctor, it can end up with a pretty big bill. Or maybe it goes to a bad doctor. You know, a real quack? Whoo! We hope you'll "chick" in with CNN Student News again tomorrow. Have an awesome day. See you later.