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U.S., European Central Banks Team Up to Support Global Economy

Aired December 1, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET



GROUP: We`re the seventh graders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: . coming to you from Kentucky to Georgia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We used everyday school supplies to make window art.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: . dedicated to CNN Student News.

GROUP: It`s all yours, Carl.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Awesome art and an awesome way to start our shot, thanks to those students and thanks to all of you for spending part of your Thursday with CNN Student News.

First up today, we`re looking at a combined effort to try the support the global economy. The Federal Reserve -- the Fed -- is the United States central bank. That means it`s the country`s main financial authority. It`s responsible for printing up money and setting financial policies.


AZUZ (voice-over): Yesterday the Fed announced a plan that involves five other central banks from around the world. They`re teaming to make it easier and cheaper for banks in any country to borrow U.S. dollars and other global currencies.

Sometimes banks need to borrow money in order to keep doing business. That`s especially true when there`s a financial crisis like the one happening in Europe right now. So this plan might sound like good news that could help the European economy. It seemed to go over well with investors. Global stock markets went up yesterday.


AZUZ: But some analysts are saying this plan isn`t actually good news, that it won`t solve Europe`s debt crisis. They believe it just shows how worried these central banks are about the crisis getting worse and possibly spreading to other parts of the world.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Government employees work in the public sector.

This one`s true. The public sector is a part of an economy that provides basic government services.


AZUZ: Those services can be different from country to country, but some examples of public sector jobs might include police officers, some transportation workers or public school teachers. Those were some of the folks who walked off the job yesterday in the United Kingdom.


AZUZ (voice-over): Strikes swept across the country. The employees stopped working to protest government plans to reduce their pensions. Those are the benefits that workers get after they retire. The British government said the strikes didn`t have much impact on public services, though more than half of the country`s schools were closed because of the strikes.

Dan Rivers looks at the buildup to this dispute between the government and workers.


DAN RIVERS, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): In Britain the age of austerity is getting increasingly bitter and acrimonious. First, the students fought battles over the rising cost of education. Now the protests are spreading, this time over pension reform.

From closed schools, where teachers won`t turn up, to chaos at airports, border agency staff are also walking out. Even some non-urgent operations at hospitals are being canceled as staff strike, all in protest at government plans to cut state worker retirement plans. Unions are likening it to a general strike, such is its scope and potential effect.

The phrase general strike evokes echoes of the 1926 action that crippled Britain. 2011 won`t be as bad, but it will still cause major disruption.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Everyone should be clear that there is going to be disruption. And the reason for that disruption, the responsibility for that disruption, lies squarely with the trade union leaders, who`ve decided on a strike even while negotiations are ongoing. I think that is irresponsible, I think it is wrong. People should know who to blame.

RIVERS (voice-over): The unions blame the bailout of the banks for the current wave of cutbacks. Just a short distance from the glittering financial quarters of Canary Wharf is one school that will close for the day.

Pupils at George Green`s may be smiling at the thought of an extra day off lessons, but it will cause headaches for parents.


RIVERS (voice-over): Headteacher Kenny Frederick is going on strike for the first time in her 37-year career.

FREDERICK: Never been on strike, and I was a teacher through the `80s when every second day seemed to be a strike, but I don`t really believe in striking. But I just don`t feel there`s anything else that we can do.


AZUZ: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is doing something that hasn`t happened in 50 years, a U.S. Secretary of State is visiting the country of Myanmar.


AZUZ (voice-over): This is a country that the U.S. government says it knows the least about. The Southeast Asian country is reclusive. Myanmar, which is sometimes called Burma, tends to keep itself apart from the rest of the world. But Secretary Clinton is hoping to learn more about it during her two-day visit there.

She was met by officials when she landed in the country`s capital yesterday. A military government ruled Myanmar for nearly 40 years, and reportedly used harsh policies against its people. The country has a new government now, and it`s been making some reforms. Secretary Clinton said she wants to see how serious Myanmar is about those changes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. McCarthy`s and Ms. Pouliot`s American studies classes at Westwood Middle School in Blaine, Minnesota.

How long does the Atlantic hurricane season last? Here we go. Is it three weeks, two months, six months or all year? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The official Atlantic hurricane season spans the six months from June through November. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Now that doesn`t mean there can`t be any hurricanes until next June. These storms can still form any time outside of that six-month window. Before the season starts, experts make predictions about how many storms we`re going to have. Chad Myers is here to tell us how those predictions worked out this season.

Chad, what was the final tally for this year?


CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Carl, 2011 hurricane season is over. There you go. Three landfalling storms, only one landfalling hurricane. That was Hurricane Irene. Very few people will forget that up the East Coast from Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, parts of North Carolina which did get a direct hit there by the storm.

But Irene will be remembered as flood maker, not so much as a wind maker. We had 18 named storms altogether, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Most of them didn`t hit anything. That`s the good news.

On an average year, you should have 11 named storms. We had 17. You should have six hurricanes. We had seven. And you should have two major hurricanes. We had three.

And then the forecast actually, right along what we have here, and NOAA`s forecast right exactly in the middle, a perfect forecast from the NOAA in the August forecast for them. We made it all the way from Arlene through Cindy and Gert, all the way up to Sean.

If your name is Tammy, you didn`t get your hurricane this year. Most of them, other than Irene, will probably be used again. They rotate these names every six years. So if your name`s Tammy, maybe six years from now you have another chance.



AZUZ: Thanks, Chad.

Well, this date, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and it`s caused by human immunodeficiency virus.


AZUZ (voice-over): Your immune system can clear most of the viruses out of your body. But HIV and AIDS attack the body`s immune system and make it vulnerable to other infections. According to the latest estimates, more than 33 million people are living with HIV or AIDS worldwide. The disease has killed more than 25 million people since the first cases were diagnosed in the early 1980s.

World AIDS Day has three main goals to it: to raise awareness about the fight against this disease, to support the people living with it, and to honor the memories of those who died from it.



AZUZ: We want you to send us your iReport. You could do it on practically any digital video camera. We did this on a phone. Tell us in 20 seconds or less what you`re looking forward to in 2012. It could be graduation, getting a driver`s license, or voting.

The only thing is, you`ve got to be at least 13 years old and we only want to hear you talking, so no music or anything like that. The deadline for this is Thursday, December 8th. Send us your iReports in the "Spotlight" section at


AZUZ: All right. Before we go today, one of these things is not like the others.


AZUZ (voice-over): Jet, jet, Jetman -- this dude is wearing a personal wing-end engine, and he`s flying in formation with a pair of actual jets. Cruising speed for the personal jet wing is 137 miles per hour. Now that`s the fastest that Jetman can fly, but it`s almost slow enough for the real jets flying near him to stall. The winged warrior has shown off his skills before, flying over the Grand Canyon.


AZUZ: What will he do for his next stunt? Probably just going to "wing" it. Clock says it`s time for us to "jet." I guess time "flies" when you`re having "pun." Back tomorrow to close out the week. We`ll see you then. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.