(CNN Student News) -- April 4, 2011
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Carl Azuz and this is CNN Student News! It's the first full week of April, and we have a very full show for you today, starting things off in Japan.
AZUZ: Workers there have figured out how radioactive materials are leaking out into the Pacific Ocean. Last week, there were tests that showed high levels of radiation about 360 yards offshore. As you could probably expect, it's coming from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and that was damaged by Japan's earthquake and tsunami last month.
The exact culprit is the crack you see right here. Doesn't look very big, but that is how the radioactive water is getting from inside the plant out into the Pacific. A Japanese official said one theory is that the water they were pumping into the reactor to cool off the nuclear fuel rods inside, somehow leaked out. Engineers are trying different ideas to plug the leak. At first, they tried to use concrete to seal it up. Didn't work. Yesterday, they tried a chemical compound that's designed to expand as it sticks.
Ivory Coast Violence
AZUZ: From Japan, we move to the African nation Ivory Coast, a country that's seeing violence and political chaos. It's been going on since a disputed election back in November. The international community has recognized Alassane Ouattara as the winner. But the man who has been president, Laurent Gbabgo, refuses to step down. The fighting between the two sides has been deadly. Hundreds of people have been killed. One million people fled the capital, Abidjan, that's been the focus of some intense fighting recently. There are about 9,000 United Nations peacekeeping forces in Ivory Coast. The International Crisis Group says the situation there is as "urgent as any facing the international community right now."
Protests in Afghanistan
AZUZ: Our next story starts off in the state of Florida, where a church in Gainesville announced recently that it had burned a Quran, the Muslim holy book. The Dove World Outreach Center said the Quran was "found guilty and a copy was burned." The announcement caused anger and outrage in Afghanistan, a Muslim country. People took to the streets, speaking out against the Quran burning. During three days of protests, more than 20 people died. That includes seven United Nations workers who were killed when protesters stormed a U.N. building in one Afghan city. Top U.S. officials in Afghanistan have condemned the Quran burning, calling it "hateful, intolerant and extremely disrespectful." The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan added, though, "that to attack and kill innocent people in response to the deplorable act of one individual is outrageous."
STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a U.S. government department that was created in 1913. My current leader is Hilda Solis. I'm responsible for promoting the welfare of U.S. workers. I'm the Department of Labor, and one of my agencies is the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
AZUZ: One of the ways that the Labor Department keeps track of how workers are doing is by measuring the country's unemployment rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announces that rate every month. And for March, it was 8.8 percent. That's down .1 percent from February. It's also the lowest that the unemployment rate's been in two years. So, things seem to be heading in the right direction. But we want you to keep this in mind: Experts say the job market needs to gain about 250,000 to 300,000 jobs every month in order to make a significant impact on the unemployment rate. In March, the economy gained 216,000 jobs. The unemployment rate's a big factor in a budget battle on Capitol Hill. Megan Cloherty has the details for us.
MEGAN CLOHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: Could the federal government really close its doors? Congress is negotiating a budget, but so far, House Speaker John Boehner says they are far from a compromise.
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER, (R) OHIO: There is no number, there is no agreement on a number. We're going to fight for the largest spending cuts that we can get. I'm hopeful that we'll get it as soon as possible.
CLOHERTY: Time is running out. Both chambers need to pass a budget by mid-week to avoid a shutdown Friday. Until now, a series of short-term spending measures has kept the federal government working. The White House says President Obama is prepared to make tough choices. Speaking to Maryland workers Friday, the president used the stage to cast perspective on the political landscape, with a nod to both success in employment numbers and the hard work that lies ahead.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Given the encouraging news we received today on jobs, it would be the height of irresponsibility to halt our economic momentum because of the same old Washington politics.
CLOHERTY: Negotiators are looking for an additional $23 billion in savings from the federal budget. Some in the Tea Party say that's too little, while some Democrats say it's too much. They fear that with unemployment at 8.8%, steep budget cuts would leave many Americans already out of work without the programs they rely on. In Washington, I'm Megan Cloherty for CNN Student News.
Proposed Labor Bill
AZUZ: All right, we're gonna stick with labor issues, but ones that are specific to folks your age. A state representative in Maine is proposing a bill that would establish something called a "training wage." This would affect workers under the age of 20. They would get paid $5.25 an hour. That is less than the state's minimum wage, which is $7.50. And the training wage would last for 180 days. The representative who's proposing this bill says it'll help teens because businesses might have more opportunities to hire them, so there's a better chance that you'd be able to get a job. But critics argue that the bill actually devalues young workers and tells them that they aren't worth as much.
AZUZ: So, it's a hypothetical question, because this isn't law at this point, but would you be willing to make less money per hour if it could mean you'd have a better chance of getting a job? Or would you stick with your same chances of getting hired to be paid the full, minimum wage? Take it to our blog at CNNStudentNews.com.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Jensen's language arts classes at Tonaquint Intermediate School in St. George, Utah! Which of the following events occurs in April? You know what to do here! Is it: A) Flag Day, B) Financial Literacy Month, C) Teacher Appreciation Week or D) National Flower Month? You've got three seconds -- GO! April is National Financial Literacy Month. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Financial Literacy Month is all about getting a better understanding of economics and how they work. Specifically, how they work in your personal life. Jean Chatzky is an economist and author of "Not Your Parents' Money Book." It aims to help young people make better sense of economics. Ben Tinker joins us now with Jean Chatzky. Ben?
BEN TINKER, CNN MONEY: Hey there, Carl. We want to start off today talking about the basics. Basic number one: you have to earn money.
JEAN CHATZKY, AUTHOR, "NOT YOUR PARENTS' MONEY BOOK": And you want to start earning money when you're young and keep building to a point where you've got enough as an adult to live comfortably.
TINKER: And you never know when that paycheck is going to stop, so it's really important, you say, to save as much money as you can.
CHATZKY: And you want to aim for 10%. If you can get yourself from the time that you're babysitting or washing cars or bringing in money through PowerPoint presentations that you're making for somebody else, to put away 10% of whatever you're bringing in and just not touch it. And do that throughout your lifetime, until you get to the point where you're putting away 10% in savings, you're putting 10% in your 401(k). By the time you get to retirement, which I know is so far off that you can't even think about it, can't even conceive it, you'll have enough money to get you through.
TINKER: And once you do save enough money that you're comfortable, you need to take some of that money that you don't spend, and that you're not putting into a regular savings account in a bank, and invest it. Why is that so important?
CHATZKY: Because the money that you've got in a bank account, although it's safe, you're not going to lose the money you have in the bank, isn't going to make you very much money. So, we put our short-term money, our money for emergencies and the money that we might need in up to the next three years, in a bank. Everything else we want to invest in stocks, in bonds, in real estate, in precious metals, lots of different things that you can invest in. But you have to be careful, because there are risks in investing.
TINKER: Sure. And Carl, there you have it. The basics: you have to earn money, you have to spend less money than you earn, and you have to invest some of that money that you don' spend so that it can go to work for you in the long run. Carl?
Before We Go
AZUZ: All right, before we go today, we don't usually report on fights, but this one seems safe enough. Maybe. It's International Pillow Fight Day! And this is just one of the places where participants pelted their pals with pillows. People got together in cities around the world for the chance to let loose some steam and watch the feathers fly. If they got tired from all the fighting, it'd be easier to just lay down and take a nap.
AZUZ: But of course, if you lose that pillow fight, you'll be down for the count. And if you win, maybe you get the feather-weight title. It's gonna put today's show to bed. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.