(CNN Student News) -- April 12, 2011
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Carl Azuz, and this is CNN Student News! We don't need 80 days. We're taking you around the world in 10 minutes. Asia, Europe, North and South America. But we're starting things off in western Africa.
AZUZ: The civil war that's been raging in the nation of Ivory Coast seems to be coming to an end. In fact, a United Nations representative said yesterday that while there are still some small signs of resistance, to his knowledge, most of the fighting has stopped. That is because Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast's former president, was arrested on Monday. This is Gbagbo, and this is the hotel that he was taken to yesterday. It's the headquarters of both the U.N. group in Ivory Coast and of Alassane Ouattara, the man who defeated Gbagbo in last year's presidential election. Gbagbo refused to step down despite having lost the election, and that is what led to the violence. Hundreds of people killed. Thousands fleeing from the country. Now that Gbagbo's been taken in, one U.S. official said Ivory Coast can start to return to normal.
Libya Civil War
AZUZ: Moving northeast across Africa, we come to Libya. That country's government and military, led by Moammar Gadhafi, have been fighting against rebels who want him out of power. The African Union has come up with a plan to end that fighting. They're calling it a "road map." What it would do is immediately stop the fighting and help bring humanitarian aid into Libya. Colonel Gadhafi has signed off on the plan. But the rebels who are fighting against him haven't. The plan doesn't force Gadhafi to step down from power, so he could continue to lead Libya. And while rebel leaders say they're open to ideas, they say Gadhafi leaving power has to be included.
AZUZ: In Japan, rescue workers briefly stopped their search yesterday as the nation paused to remember the victims of the deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit exactly one month earlier. Special ceremonies, moments of silence paying tribute to the more than 13,000 people who were killed and the more than 14,000 others who are still missing. Just a short time later, Japan was hit by another earthquake. There have been hundreds of these aftershocks since the quake on March 11th. Yesterday's had a magnitude of 6.6. It caused landslides that trapped several people in one city. It also caused a temporary evacuation at that troubled nuclear power plant where engineers have been trying to cool down nuclear reactors.
Just the Facts
STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Just the Facts! Burqa is an Arabic word that dates back to the 1800s. It is an article of clothing that covers someone's face and body. Burqas are often associated with Islam, as they are worn by some Muslim women.
AZUZ: In France, it's illegal to wear a burqa according to a new law that went into effect this week. Two women who were protesting the ban were arrested on Monday. Police say they weren't arrested for wearing burqas, but rather for being part of an unauthorized protest. French officials say burqas pose a security concern and affect the dignity of women who wear them. But critics of the ban say it violates European human rights laws. Atika Shubert is in France. She has more on this new law and the reaction to it.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A highly controversial law has gone into effect, and it's the talk of the country, as you can imagine. In fact, I'm going to hold up just a section of Le Parisien newspaper here. The headline is "the full veil is banned on the road." It actually has a small diagram here to show exactly what is allowed and what is not allowed in France now. The burqa, which covers the entire face, is banned. The niqab, which covers everything but the eyes, is also banned. But the hijab, which covers the head but leaves the face unveiled, is allowed.
Now, the nuts and bolts of this law: Basically, it is now illegal for anyone to wear a full veil covering on the streets of France in public. And in public, it means anywhere on the streets, in a public office, such as a post office or a train station, even in a cinema, it is not allowed. Really, the only place where the full veil is allowed is in a car, the private vehicle, or in the privacy of your own home.
There are only an estimated less than 2,000 women in France that actually wear the full veil, so it won't impact that many people, but it is highly controversial. Now, CNN did have the opportunity to speak to one woman who is wearing the full veil and says she will continue to wear the full veil even as this law goes into effect. And she told us what she thinks of this new face of France.
HIND AMAS, VEIL WEARER IN FRANCE [TRANSLATED]: In all honesty, I'm just sad. I'm just sad and disappointed, because quite frankly to get to this point, I think it's very revealing about many things. And thankfully, thankfully, not all of the French population think like the politicians who voted this law.
SHUBERT: Now, even though this only affects a small portion of women here in France, this law is very popular. It was passed with an overwhelming majority in France's parliament. And in the most latest polls, more than 80% of French respondent say they support the law. Atika Shubert, CNN, Paris.
AZUZ: To North America, Washington, D.C.: the U.S. Congress just finished up one round of financial debate. There are several more of those to go, and one of the big ones coming up soon is about the U.S. debt ceiling. Now, that is the legal limit for how much money the U.S. can borrow. Congress has about a month to work on this. But with a two-week spring break coming up, that doesn't leave a whole lot of time. So, what is the current debt ceiling? How close are we to it? And what are the options facing Congress? Ali Velshi is here to help break it all down.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The real fight, the one that's getting started, is over the country's debt limit. By law, the amount that the U.S. can carry, the amount of debt that the U.S. can carry, is $14.294 trillion. It's a credit limit that Congress sets. Now, that's what they can borrow.
Here's where we stand right now. The actual current debt of the United States: $14.208 trillion. The difference between the two is $86 billion. Now, the U.S. is going to exceed this limit by May the 16th, based on current spending. The government can pull a few tricks and get away with being over the limit until about July 8th. But not increasing this credit limit is going to create some problems.
Now, there are two scenarios for what could happen if Congress doesn't raise that debt limit by May 16th. Neither of them are good. The government can cut spending or it can raise taxes. They need to raise $738 billion to keep the country running until the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30th.
But Democrats oppose cuts and oppose increasing taxes, so if they don't do that, the U.S. could default on its loans. That could create a big problem. That could send the dollar plummeting. It could send oil prices higher. It could hobble an already delicate economy, which is why this, this debt ceiling, is going to become the focus of our attentions for the next month.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Kelleher's computer class at Wesleyan Middle School in Norcross, Georgia! Fort Sumter was where the first shots were fired in what war? You know what to do! Was it the: A) American Revolution, B) War of 1812, C) Spanish-American War or D) U.S. Civil War? You've got three seconds -- GO! The shots fired at Fort Sumter marked the start of the Civil War. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
Civil War Anniversary
AZUZ: Those shots were fired exactly 150 years ago today. The Civil War, also known as the War Between the States, killed more American troops than any other U.S. war. And it all started here: at Fort Sumter in South Carolina's Charleston Bay. Confederate troops opened fire on the fort. The Union commander surrendered the next day, and the Civil War had begun. Many Civil War battles are played out today in re-enactments like this one. You might've seen one nearby where you live. The Civil War lasted four years, with the South ultimately surrendering in April of 1865.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Well, we promised you five continents at the beginning of today's show, and that can be a tall order. But so is this. In fact, when it comes to towers built out of Legos, this is the tallest. It took 6,000 people working on this -- and, yes, they needed a crane -- in Sao Paulo, Brazil to put it together. 500,000 Legos stacked up more than 102 feet high. Something like this takes a lot of planning, a good strategy. So, no matter how fast the finished product comes together...
AZUZ: ...We are sure they were toying around with the idea for a while. Will that tower be a building block for future world record attempts? If you ask me, for those builders, the sky's the limit. But for now, we'll "lego" of this story. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. We will look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Bye bye!