(CNN Student News) -- May 11, 2011
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: You might have seen this kind of technology before; you might have even used it yourself at home. But how much is it worth? That's one of the issues we're exploring today on CNN Student News!
AZUZ: First up today, some positive news for people dealing with flooding from the Mississippi River, finally. The river began cresting yesterday. That means it reached what experts think should be its highest point. But the cresting was only happening around the city of Memphis, Tennessee. Now, officials are focusing their concerns on Louisiana and Mississippi. The river isn't expected to crest there until next week.
These floods have some people looking back more than 80 years. This is newsreel footage from 1927. Same river, the Mississippi. It was the worst flooding it had ever seen. 600,000 people forced from their homes. The floods caused the equivalent of nearly $624 million in damages. Those record floods led engineers to build a system of levees, the barriers designed to hold back floods. They're hoping those levees will keep the flooding happening right now from getting as bad as it did in the 1920s.
Back north in Memphis, experts are saying that while the river might not get any higher, it might not get significantly lower for a while, either. Rob Marciano's on the scene, telling us about the timeframe.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Officially, it's cresting. That's going to be the theme, I think, going forward, is how excruciatingly slow this water has risen and how slow it's going to go down. How much it's risen, that's indisputable, and that's painful as well. Typically, it would be about a half a mile wide. Now, it's three miles wide. This is Riverside Drive. Should be just a road. Now, it's part of the river here across parts of Memphis. We're on the western edge of town, obviously. We're also at the western edge of Beale Street, which comes into an intersection with Riverside Drive. That's flooded. The famed night spots and blues establishments a little bit further east are untouched. Graceland, untouched. And for the most part, in downtown Memphis, it's business as usual.
But you go to some of the surrounding areas in the outskirts of the city where the tributaries are feeding into the swollen Mississippi, which, really, the river is just not allowing any more water coming in, that's where we're seeing most of the flooding. We've got over 900 homes that have been affected by this flooding. Over 400 people are in shelters across the area, and there's still evacuations that are underway.
And the river is going to take, well, heck, it's going to take a full five days before this river in this spot goes down just one foot. So, we're going to be in major flood stage here for at least a week, if not two weeks.
I spoke with Colonel Reichling, who is the man in charge here in Memphis with the Army Corps of Engineers. He says the levees are holding up pretty good. They have got some weaknesses, some leaks that they have had to patch along the way. But for the most part, things are going according to plan. But what's not in the plan is to have this type of historic flood up and down the Mississippi, with that historic rainfall we saw further upstream. And seeing the rivers rise like this is certainly something to witness. If you're part of the flood, you certainly don't want any part of this history-making event. And it will be two, three weeks before this water gets down into the Gulf of Mexico.
MICHELLE WRIGHT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm located in Texas on the Rio Grande River. I'm the largest border city between the U.S. and Mexico. Translated from Spanish, my name means "the pass." I'm El Paso, and I'm just across the border from Juarez, Mexico.
AZUZ: El Paso's location on the border with Mexico makes it an interesting setting to talk about immigration. That's what President Obama did during a visit to the Texas city yesterday. He wants reform in U.S. immigration policies, but he's also said he doesn't plan to act on his own. He wants Congress to be part of this. Immigration is an issue that stirs up a lot of emotions, and the president says he understands why.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The truth is, we've often wrestled with the politics of who is and who isn't allowed to come into this country. Because these issues touch on what we believe, touch deeply on our convictions about who we are as a people, about what it means to be an American, these debates often elicit strong emotions.
AZUZ: One of the biggest issues in that debate is over the country's border with Mexico. Some Republican leaders say they won't consider other immigration policies until that border is under better control. President Obama is pushing for tighter security, too. But in a recent speech, he said he wants to make sure that security is focused mostly on criminals. Rafael Romo is in Arizona, along a different part of the U.S.-Mexico border. He gives us a look at the agents responsible for patrolling it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we've got two approaching the ravine again. Make that three.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: The call comes in and we rush to the scene. It's dark and the agents know they only have minutes to find the suspect.
RUDY GARCIA, U.S. BORDER PATROL AGENT: He jumped the fence and, you know, he didn't stop. He just kept running.
ROMO: Agent Rudy Garcia finds the men hiding underneath a platform in a backyard.
GARCIA: You have to search every little crevice and every crack because, you know, they can hide anywhere.
ROMO: The migrant says he comes from southern Mexico.
LEONZO LOPEZ, MEXICAN MIGRANT [IN SPANISH]: My family and poverty in Mexico... I want better. I just want a job to support my family.
ROMO: Not far from there, seven more would-be immigrants have been arrested, including this 32-year-old man.
CAIN MEZA AGUIRRE, MEXICAN MIGRANT [IN SPANISH]: Back to Mexico with my family and never come back. That's what I want.
ROMO: Before the night is over, agents say they will detain more than 300 people. This is Nogales, Arizona, a battlefront in the fight against smuggling organizations.
GARCIA: They like to try and operate under the cover of darkness, because they think that they're not going to be seen.
ROMO: From a nearby control room, infrared technology gives agents eyes in the dark. Daylight reveals other resources, like surveillance towers, vehicles, and an agent force that has more than doubled in the last 10 years to more than 3,400 for just over 250 miles along the Arizona border. Agents say they're fighting a new enemy.
DAVID JIMAREZ, U.S. BORDER PATROL AGENT: The whole smuggling organization has changed. It's not your mom-and-pop shop anymore. Now, everything is organized crime.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Kussy's social studies classes at Payne Junior High School in Chandler, Arizona! What is the largest software company in the world? You know what to do! Is it: A) Electronic Arts, B) Nintendo, C) Sony or D) Microsoft? Start the clock at three seconds -- and GO! Microsoft tops the list as the world's largest software company. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: Looks like Microsoft is about to get bigger. The company is buying Skype, the internet phone service you saw me using to introduce today's show. In order to make that purchase, Microsoft is shelling out $8.5 billion, a price one analyst called "slightly expensive." Skype, as a lot of you might know, offers real-time video and voice communications. Microsoft said it plans to incorporate that technology into things it already owns, like the Xbox or Microsoft Office. Another expert called this a good move, but he pointed out that Microsoft has a mixed record when it comes to buying other companies. He said that could mean bad news for Skype.
AZUZ: Technology's also a topic of conversation on Capitol Hill. Executives from Google and Apple were asked to meet with a Senate subcommittee yesterday to talk about privacy concerns on smart phones and other mobile devices. This was in response to recent reports that some apps track and store their users' locations. Senator Al Franken, the chairman of the subcommittee, said he likes using technology to look up maps or the weather. But he says there needs to be a balance. The technology company executives explained why their devices gather the information. They also pointed out that users can turn off tracking options or deny them by refusing to give consent.
AZUZ: We want to get your thoughts on this, though. Go to our home page, CNNStudentNews.com, scroll down 'til you hit our blog. That's where we're asking about your opinions on this idea of your phones, or other mobile devices, being able to track your location. Major problem? No big deal? Share your thoughts -- and only your first names -- with us at CNNStudentNews.com
Before We Go
AZUZ: When it comes to some vehicles, sometimes things are more than meets the eye. For example, runaway SUV? No, one that just doesn't need a driver. Look, mom, no hands! You've heard of smart cars. This might be the smartest. It's a robotic vehicle. You just plug in the route, put it in neutral, and let it go. Speed limits, rules of the road, knowing when to switch lanes. This thing can do it all, thanks to lasers, computers and cameras.
AZUZ: This auto 'bot might transform the way you look at vehicles. Or it could just drive you crazy. If you don't know what to think, we guess you're neutral. Just make sure you don't give the car a phone, because it's bound to make some crank calls. We're having a gas with all these puns, but it's time for us to hit the road. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz. And we will see you tomorrow.