(CNN Student News) -- March 16, 2009
Changing Lifestyles - Hear how some businesses are booming during tough economic times.
Tips for Buying Used - Get some tips on what to look for when you're buying a used car.
Before We Go - Meet a flight attendant whose rhyming reputation is taking off.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Back from the weekend, I'm Carl Azuz and this is CNN Student News! We've got a lyrical safety lesson a little later on today, and some headlines coming at you right now!
First Up: Headlines
AZUZ: We begin in Northern Ireland, where police have arrested nine people in connection with the recent killing of a police officer and two British soldiers. Rioting broke out near the city of Belfast after one round of arrests, although there were no reports of any injuries. Two militant groups have claimed responsibility for the deadly shootings, but one law enforcement official says that these groups are small and disorganized, and only make up about 300 people in a population of 1.75 million.
Moving to Afghanistan, where the Taliban is threatening foreign aid workers. In a phone interview with CNN, a top Taliban commander says that the group is gathering information on these workers; it plans to execute them as spies or hold them in exchange for the release of Taliban fighters. He also repeated a pledge to keep girls out of public schools. Many girls have been victims of violent attacks recently; according to Afghan officials, more than 600 schools didn't open this year because of security concerns.
And back in the U.S., some White House officials and members of Congress are seeing red over bonuses being paid out by AIG. You might remember that the government has given the insurance company around $170 billion to help keep it afloat. AIG intended to pay out $165 million in bonuses. Company officials say that they're legally required to make some of those payments, but they are planning to lower 2009 bonuses by about 30%, and some of the highest-paid employees will be severely cutting their salaries.
Word to the Wise
GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
barter (verb) to trade goods or services without using money
AZUZ: With lots of people looking for ways to save right now, bartering might sound like a good idea. A new study says Americans are spending less because of how much they've lost during the current recession. But that's the reason why some businesses are actually booming. Candy Crowley looks at some of the companies who benefit during tough economic times.
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CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There are new faces at this Shopper's Food Warehouse in Virginia, and the regulars buy differently.
ELIZABETH "BETTY" RILEY, VIRGINIA RESIDENT: Before, I browsed, shopped and bought way too much of stuff that I didn't really need. So now, I'm more specific. I make a list and I follow the list.
CROWLEY: It is the return of "penny saved, penny earned." Shoppers, armed with lists and coupons and budgets.
TOM MOWERY, VP, SHOPPER'S FOOD WAREHOUSE: One of our markdowns for the month of March is iceberg lettuce.
CROWLEY: People are buying a lot more chicken, flocking to store brand merchandise and picking up loads of frozen dinners.
MOWERY: I suppose that's because of the restaurants losing that business, customers can come here at a cheaper price and buy those things.
CROWLEY: It's not just five-star restaurants hurting. Domino's Pizza took a hit in the 4th quarter, domestic sales off 3%. As Americans cocoon against a harsh economy, Netflix, delivering DVDs to your door, TV set or computer, is blowing off the roof. Ten million subscribers, including a net pickup of 600,000 since January.
TED SARANDOS, NETFLIX CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER: It kind of defied gravity. And in this down economy, I think people are cherishing the value a little bit more than they have in the past. The net result is very fast growth.
CROWLEY: The sale of DVDs, by the way, was down 32% in the 4th quarter of '08.
DIANE KRESH, DIR., ARLINGTON CO. VIRGINIA LIBRARY: It's free; everything is free.
CROWLEY: For DVDs, books, children and adult programs, Internet, computer training and job search resources, it's hard to beat free. These are boom times for public libraries.
KRESH: We are really about helping people manage their lives.
CROWLEY: In the past couple of months, Diane Kresh at the Arlington County, Virginia library has seen a 7% increase in foot traffic and traffic jams at the computers.
KRESH: When we open in the morning, people make a beeline and these terminals are generally full.
CROWLEY: Borders Books posted an 11.7% sales decline over the holiday period. Postings on Craigslist also tell the tale of changing lifestyles: nationwide, garage sale ads are up 100%; ads for roommates, up 65%; "for sale" postings, up 75%. And a doubling of barter offers, like this musician wanting to swap a four-hour gig for dental care. In this economy, you do what you gotta do. Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
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AZUZ: Another group doing well during this recession: auto mechanics. More people are looking to repair their current cars instead of buying new ones. Any of you who are planning to purchase your first car might look to save some money by buying used. Josh Levs checks in with some expert advice from Consumer Reports about what to look for when it comes to used cars.
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JOHN LINKOV, CONSUMER REPORTS: Right here, we have a Nissan Maxima. This is one of the vehicles we recommended throughout, because it has really good reliability. You can pretty much pick up a Nissan Maxima within the last eight to ten years. They've had stellar reliability and...
JOSH LEVS, CNN REPORTER: Even ten years old?
LINKOV: A ten-year-old car really can be good, but what you need to know is the history of the vehicle. This is called a vehicle identification number (VIN). If you are buying a car from a private individual, you can take that VIN number, go to the dealership of that brand, say, go to a Nissan dealer, and say, "Look, I'm looking to buy this car. Can you at least tell me what the service history is?"
LEVS: That's great advice. I didn't realize you could take the VIN number to the dealer.
LINKOV: You can. They may not feel comfortable doing it. It's a hit-and-miss type of thing, but its better than doing nothing.
LEVS: It's worth a shot.
LINKOV: It's definitely worth a shot.
LEVS: So, what's the biggest mistake people make when going to buy a new car?
LINKOV: They go out to the dealership and they get in the car, and they do a test drive, they really don't pay attention to the vehicle and they kind of get taken in by what the salesperson wants. They're lowering the windows, they're talking a lot, and they make a really short test drive. Instead of taking it on the roads that they're used to doing, they take it on a loop that the dealer really likes because it shows off the attributes of the car, but it hides all the negative aspects.
LEVS: If you're buying a used car, should you be looking at the doors for something, should you be looking at this section?
LINKOV: If you're really looking at it, you want to wonder why a car that might be three or four years old is going to have four brand new tires on it, because that might hide an alignment problem.
LEVS: Sounds a little bit CSI.
LINKOV: Well, you know, it is. It's doing your investigation. It's taking that weekend of doing research and thinking about what you want to ask. And actually, on our Web site, we have a checklist for used and new vehicles, and you want to go through it and look at certain things. You actually want to bring your iPod, or bring your mp3 player with you, plug in and try the stereo out, because you don't want to get home and find that the jack doesn't work.
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AZUZ: All of CNN, including CNN Student News, is focusing on the economy this week. The topic includes some words and concepts that you might not be familiar with, but you can find many of them in our Financial Glossary! The extensive vocabulary list is in the Spotlight section at CNNStudentNews.com, so check it out!
Is this legit?
RAMSAY: Is this legit? Will Smith won the first Grammy in the rap performance category. Totally true! Back in 1988, Smith was performing as The Fresh Prince along with DJ Jazzy Jeff. The duo won the category's first award for their song, "Parents Just Don't Understand."
AZUZ: It won't win any Grammies, but one rap performance is getting attention because it's drawing attention to some details that most people probably ignore. Walt Maciborski of affilite KDAF In Dallas, Texas introduces us to the artist whose rhyming reputation is really taking off.
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DAVID HOLMES, RAPPING FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Good evening folks, welcome aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 372, service to Oklahoma City.
WALT MACIBORSKI, KDAF REPORTER: When David Holmes used to give the pre-flight instructions, the passengers would tune out and glaze over. Not anymore.
HOLMES (ON FLIGHT): We're gonna shake things up a little bit.
HOLMES: I take them by surprise. I usually don't tell them that I'm going to do it.
MACIBORSKI: And to do it...
HOLMES (ON FLIGHT): You guys with me? All right, give me a stomp, clap, stomp, clap.
MACIBORSKI: David needs a little audience participation to pull it off.
HOLMES (ON FLIGHT): There you go! Keep that going. This is Flight 372 on SWA, the flight attendants on board serving you today: Teresa in the middle, David in the back, my name is David and I'm here to tell you that...
HOLMES: The first time I did it, it's really just because it was just a fun thing to do.
HOLMES (ON FLIGHT): If you have a seat on a row with an exit, we're going to talk to you so you might as well expect it. You gotta help evacuate in case we need you. If you don't want to then we're gonna reseat you.
HOLMES: I didn't know how they were going to react. I was in a good mood, and I like to have fun at work, but then people starting getting off the plane telling me, "That's the first time I ever listened to the emergency instructions."
HOLMES (ON FLIGHT): Before we leave, our advice is put away your electronic devices, fasten your seatbelt, then put your trays up, press the button and make the seatback raise up.
MACIBORSKI: David was discovered by a passenger who recorded his rap on her cell phone and said she was going to put it on YouTube.
HOLMES: I said, "I dare you." And two days later she did it, and two days after that it was already over 2,000 hits at the time.
MACIBORSKI: Now David is a YouTube sensation, and he's been doing the rap ever since to rave reviews.
HOLMES (ON FLIGHT): Sit back, relax, have a good time.
ERIC WOODROOF, PASSENGER: Never experienced a rapping flight attendant. It's pretty awesome. And I don't like rap, but I really like that; that was pretty good.
HOLMES (ON FLIGHT): Thank you for the fact that I wasn't ignored. This is Southwest Airlines. Welcome aboard!
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AZUZ: That's a wrap! At least for this show. Have a great day. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.