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Dow Drops Nearly 400 Points

Aired September 23, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: It`s Friday. I`m Carl Azuz, and you`re watching CNN Student News.

The economy leads off today`s headlines.

Some financial experts think the U.S. economy isn`t growing fast enough, that it`s not growing very fast at all, and that news is not going over well with investors. The stock market is one thing people look at to see how the economy is doing.

And the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a collection of 30 major stocks, is used to determine how the whole market is doing. The answer yesterday: not good. The Dow dropped nearly 400 points. At one point during the day, it was down more than 500 points.

One thing that seemed to spook investors and trigger this drop was action taken by the Federal Reserve, and you hear a lot about the Fed. Who are they? What do they do?`s Paul LaMonica is here with some answers.


PAUL LAMONICA, CNNMONEY.COM: Thanks, Carl. The Federal Reserve is the nation`s central bank, and its main job is to try and keep the economy afloat by doing two essential things.

One, it tries to make sure that inflation doesn`t get out of control so that you don`t have to be paying a lot more for things like gas and food. And then what it`s also trying to do is make sure that there are the most amount of people working as possible. It wants to try and keep unemployment low.

And how the Federal Reserve does this is it manages interest rates. It has a key interest rate that it can raise or lower that is very important because it helps dictate how much consumers pay for things like student loans, mortgages and credit cards.

The problem the Fed has had in the past few years is that it`s lowered this key rate to zero, pretty much zero in December of 2008, because of the financial crisis a few years ago. So it`s had to try a bunch of other kind of quirky, creative things to get rates even lower than where they are now.

And a lot of people think that the Fed, really, is just grasping at straws, they don`t have much left that they can actually do to help the economy, because rates were already low. It`s not as if people are complaining about high rates on their mortgages or student loans.

They can`t get that much lower, and a lot of people in the financial markets think that the Fed just can`t really do much to help the job market at this point.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just the facts: capital punishment means to be put to death for a crime. It`s also known as the death penalty. Capital punishment has been carried our for centuries, and in U.S. prisons since the 1800s. The U.S. Supreme Court suspended the death penalty in 1972, and reinstated it four years later. Today, capital punishment is legal in 34 U.S. states.


AZUZ: As we speak, there`s a lot of international attention focused on the death penalty. Two executions were carried out in the United States on Wednesday night. One was for this man, Lawrence Russell Brewer. He was convicted of murder in 1998.

It was a racially motivated crime, the brutal killing of the man you see here, James Byrd. Law officers who visited Brewer before his execution said he showed no remorse.

It was a different story in Georgia, though. That`s where Troy Davis was put to death on Wednesday, just after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal. Davis was convicted in 1991 for killing Mark MacPhail.

MacPhail was a police officer who was off duty and trying to help a homeless man when he was shot several times in a parking lot. For 20 years, Davis said he didn`t do it. And that`s what he told the victim`s family again before his execution on Wednesday night.

The murder weapon wasn`t found, there was no fingerprint or DNA evidence that tied Davis to the killing, and since 1991, several witnesses to the murder changed their story, some saying later it wasn`t Davis who killed Officer MacPhail.

There were protests against the execution in several different cities and countries. Pope Benedict XVI and former president Jimmy Carter were among the leaders who tried to get Davis` execution stopped. But though many doubted Davis` guilt, the court system didn`t.

All of Davis` appears were rejected. A district judge said new information Davis brought last year was not credible, and the district attorney in the case said the verdict was the right one.

Davis was also convicted of another shooting earlier the same night that Officer MacPhail was shot, and the bullet shell casings in the earlier shooting matched the ones found near the murdered policeman. After Davis` execution, Officer MacPhail`s mother said justice was served.

At, we want you to share your opinion on capital punishment. Are you for it? Are you against it? And why? Give it some thought, then log on to We`re looking forward to reading what you have to say.

All right. When you post something on Facebook or Twitter, you know your friends will see it, maybe your parents, too. But there`s another group of people you might want to keep in mind: college admissions officers.

According to a recent survey, more than 80 percent of admissions officers said they consider social media when they`re recruiting students. Now this doesn`t necessarily mean that what you post online will be part of the decision about whether or not you get into a certain college. But it does mean that more admissions officers are checking out social media to learn more about applicants.

One expert said this can actually work to students` advantage, for example, using a blog or social media site to demonstrate a talent, or to make a video application that could help you stand out from other applicants.


Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mr. Williams` Texas History classes at Canyon Vista Middle School at Austin, Texas. What mythology does the word "hero" come from? You know what to do. Is it Japanese, Greek, Norse or Egyptian? You`ve got three seconds, go.

These days a hero is anyone who shows great courage. But the word originally came from Greek mythology. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: CNN Heroes is a program that honors ordinary people who are making a difference in their communities. Special tribute airing in December will name the hero of the year. You can cast your vote and learn more about this year`s nominees at the CNN Heroes box on our home page.

Before you do that, though, Robin Meade has this year`s top 10.


ROBIN MEADE, CNN HOST: I`m Robin Meade. Let me get to the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011 in alphabetical order by first name.


MEADE: Amy Stokes from Yonkers, New York: she`s using the Internet to redefine the word "family," matching hundreds of teens lacking role models with caring adults from around the world.


MEADE: From Anaheim, California, Bruno Serato: when he learned just how many motel kids in his area go to bed hungry, this chef began serving up a solution, one plate of pasta at a time.

DERRECK KAYONGO, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: Those are clean. That`s very good.

MEADE: From Lawrenceville, Georgia, Derreck Kayongo: turning trash into treasure, he collects tons of discarded hotel soap and reprocesses it to save lives in impoverished communities in nine countries.

Diane Latiker from Chicago, Illinois: surrounded by neighborhood violence, she opened her home and invited gang members in. Today, she`s turned a building next door into a safe haven for hundreds of teens.

Eddie Canales from Schertz, Texas: after his son was paralyzed playing high school football, he devoted his life to supporting other young players sidelined by spinal cord injuries.


MEADE: Elena Duron Miranda from Bariloche, Argentina: after watching children dig through trash for scraps to eat or sell, she moved mountains to offer hundreds a way out of the dump and into school.


MEADE: From Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Patrice Millet, diagnosed with incurable cancer, he sold his business and started living his dream, providing free coaching, food and life lessons to children from Haiti slums.

ROBIN LIN, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: Hey, baby, how are you?

MEADE: Robin Lin from Bali, Indonesia: since her sister`s death from pregnancy complications, she has helped thousands of low-income women have healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries.

From Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Sal Dimiceli.

SAL DIMICELI, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: I know right now it`s tough for everybody.

MEADE: . call him the "Dear Abby" for the down and out. Each year, he keeps hundreds of the working poor afloat, providing food, rent and basic necessities.

TARYN DAVIS, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: There`s no judgment on how to do this.

MEADE: And from Buda, Texas, Taryn Davis: devastated at 21 by her Army corporal husband`s death, she`s built a sisterhood for a new generation of American war widows, celebrating love, survival and sacrifice together.


AZUZ: In one New Mexico town, politics has gone to the dogs, and the horses, the alpacas, a donkey, even a chicken.

They`re all running for mayor of Corrales, New Mexico -- well, pet mayor, but don`t tell that to the candidates. This special election is a fundraiser for a local charity. Each vote costs a dollar.

Despite weeks of campaigning, we don`t know who might be the favorite in this "horse race," but I would put money personally on the horse, because after all, she`s got experience as a "mare." Hopefully, the losers won`t be too "pet-ulant," and, hopefully, you`ll join us Monday for more CNN Student News.