(CNN Student News) -- December 14, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: A federal judge has something to say about the health care reform law. You're going to find out what in today's broadcast. I'm Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now!
AZUZ: First up, though, the federal government will have more of a say in some of the foods you get in school. President Obama signed a new law yesterday that will overhaul child nutrition standards. This is part of first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" program, which aims to fight childhood obesity. During the signing ceremony at a Washington-area elementary school, the president said this law is about "giving our kids the healthy futures they deserve."
Here's some of what's in the new law; the ingredients of it, if you will: The government will have more authority to set standards for what's sold in vending machines on school grounds. Schools will have to meet government health guidelines. And poorer areas will get more money to help pay for free meals. All told, this bill comes with a price tag of $4.5 billion. Some Democrats didn't like the bill, because part of the money to pay for it was going to be taken out of other programs that help provide food to poorer Americans. There was also some concern about schools being able to pay for healthier foods. They'll be getting more money from the government in order to help make up those costs.
Health Care Ruling
AZUZ: Meanwhile, a federal judge says that a main part of President Obama's health care reform law is unconstitutional. This is about the "individual mandate." What is the individual mandate? It's the part of the law that requires most Americans to buy health insurance by 2014, and if they don't buy it, they could be fined. This federal judge says "an individual's personal decision to purchase... health insurance... is beyond the historical reach of the U.S. Constitution." President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law back in March, and a lot of people say it's the biggest accomplishment of his time in office. Other judges have ruled that the individual mandate is constitutional, and the government is planning to appeal this week's ruling. The case could end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
AZUZ: Cold, snow and lots of it. That's the forecast for a lot of the U.S. this week. The storm that's been blanketing the Midwest is moving east, with high winds and low temperatures stretching from New England all the way down to Florida. That's caused some problems for travelers, as you might imagine. More than 1,700 flights were canceled Sunday, leaving people stranded. Officials said there were fewer delays yesterday. In Washington state, the precipitation isn't frozen, but it's still causing serious problems, as you can see. The area is fighting through mudslides and also flooding from heavy rain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has offered to help out with all of this.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Merel's social studies classes at Carter G. Woodson Middle School in Chicago, Illinois! What type of calendar is used by most of the Western world? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is it: A) Arabian, B) Gregorian, C) Julian or D) Hippocratic? You've got three seconds -- GO! We use the Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory XIII. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Well, this Gregorian calendar year is coming to an end. Before that happens, though, some of our reporters are looking back at some of the biggest stories of 2010. We kick things off with Diana Magnay.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT, BERLIN: I'm Diana Magnay, and in May 2010, I was in Greece while European leaders finalized their bailout to rescue Greece from its debts. When rocks and riot police dictated the course of the financial markets. And where the real impact of speculation in government debt could be seen on the faces of the people on the streets.
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, ISLAMABAD: I'm Reza Sayah here at JINNA supermaket in Islamabad, Pakistan. The biggest story here this year, not even close: the floods. The worst natural disaster anywhere in recent memory. Weeks of monsoon rains covered a fifth of Pakistan. Twenty million people affected.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, BERLIN: I'm Fred Pleitgen, and in April 2010, I reported from Poland, where a tragic plane crash killed the country's president, the first lady and much of the political leadership. In this time of crisis, this nation that endured so much over the years showed great sorrow, but also great character.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA: I'm David Mattingly, outside CNN Center here in Atlanta. By far, the biggest event that I was a part of this year was the Gulf oil spill. And I had a front row seat covering many of the devastating days that came with that spill. One of the most memorable was when the oil first hit the marshes in Louisiana. That was truly an upsetting day because it meant the end of so many livelihoods for that season. Then the oil hit the Gulf beaches in Pensacola, that was also a very strong moment, as we saw hundreds of people come down to the beach. They stood at the edge of the waters where the oil had hit . No one was talking, people just looking. It was like there was a death in the family, and that is a sense of loss that I know so many people will not easily get over.
End of Year Promo
AZUZ: No they won't. What do you think were the biggest headlines from 2010? Don't tell us yet. We're gonna be looking at more top stories on Friday. So make your guesses, then tune in at the end of the week to see if we picked the same ones.
Is This Legit?
STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The word "privacy" does not appear in the U.S. Constitution or its Amendments. This is true, although courts have ruled that, in some situations, people can expect to have privacy.
AZUZ: That expectation of privacy applies in certain places, like your home. But what about the internet? The courts are still figuring out how to deal with privacy online. The internet, I've heard characterized as the Wild West. There is one thing that's certain: Every time you log on, you leave a mark on the cyber world, and other people are watching. Chad Myers explains why and why some folks are concerned about it.
CHAD MYERS, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Did you know that companies you never heard of track every website you visit and keep a record of everything you do online? That's right, everybody who visits the internet has a "digital fingerprint," a unique profile that's built by these specialized companies.
PETER ECKERSLEY, SENIOR STAFF TECHNOLOGIST, ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION: We actually don't really know who their clients are. So, they may be selling this technology to banks, they may be selling it to online advertising companies, and that's the bigger concern.
MYERS: Peter Eckersley is a technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties group that defends people's rights on the internet. He says digital fingerprinting is a violation of every aspect of your privacy.
ECKERSLEY: You should have the right to read what you want in private without someone looking over your shoulder reading along with you. As you pick up a magazine to read it, you don't want the magazine to be reading you.
MYERS: Recently, the FTC weighed in on this issue, calling for a "Do Not Track" system, like a "Do Not Call" system. But Eckersley says the technology is already there to put this button on your browser. But he says that won't happen until Congress creates a whole new set of rules to protect the consumer.
DON JACKSON, DIRECTOR OF THREAT INTELLIGENCE, SECURE WORKS: I think the scary thing is people don't understand what is out there about them personally that's linked to their online digital fingerprint
MYERS: Don Jackson, the director of threat intelligence for Secure Works, says digital fingerprints are used for personalized marketing and advertising campaigns and customized political messages. But he says there's also a danger they will be used with malicious intent.
What if I'm at a wireless place like this, and people are just everywhere, and everybody's logged in. Can that guy right there be tracked?
JACKSON: And he is being tracked right now. So, everything you do is online. If you are using a public website or any kind of online service, they are tracking everything that you are doing.
MYERS: Can data be wrong? Can people get something incorrect and is it a big deal?
JACKSON: Yes. So, your fingerprint can be manipulated by criminals, that's just one way it can be wrong. Another way it can be wrong is that it's been cross-linked. There's really no mechanism to correct that; you can't remove the information. There's currently no channel, no way to file a complaint.
MYERS: Security experts are concerned that, right now, there is no practical way to stop companies from using this technology. And that as scary as that is, the best defense is to be aware that everything you do online is being watched.
JACKSON: Keep your antivirus up to date, keep your computer up to date. But for the most part, once the information leaves your computer, at least one person, that's the website that you're visiting, can track it.
MYERS: Chad Myers, CNN, Atlanta.
Before We Go
AZUZ: We talked earlier about the cold temperatures around the country. Doesn't sound like the perfect time for a swim. But these frosty folks are freezin' for a reason. It's the annual Polar Plunge, and it raises money for the Special Olympics. Participants had to get a hundred bucks in pledges and be willing to at least dip a toe in the water. The idea might sound chilling to some people, but it's a great way to help others.
AZUZ: And a special memory that is frozen in time. Such an ice story. We are going to chill out for a little while. We will be back tomorrow with more CNN Student News. And we hope to see you then. Bye now.