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Examining the Latest Unemployment Numbers; One Years Since Tucson Shootings; A Million-Dollar Penny

Aired January 8, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Next time your parents tell you a penny saved is a penny earned, you can tell them, not always. We`re going to tell you how much more one penny is worth a little later on today. I`m Carl Azuz. Welcome to a new week of CNN Student News.

First up today, we`re talking about the U.S. unemployment rate, which is the lowest it`s been in almost three years. In December, the rate dropped one-tenth of a point to 8.5 percent. One expert says that a sign that the country`s economy is heading in the right direction, but some analysts say temporary holiday hiring could be part of the reason.

More than 13 million Americans don`t have a job. Emily Schmidt looks at some of the very different political reactions to what`s happening on the jobless front.


EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Before the holidays were history, they gave one last gift: the Labor Department reports 200,000 new jobs in December, especially in manufacturing, health care, education and construction. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009. President Obama says it`s progress.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re creating jobs on a consistent basis. We`re not going to let up, not until everybody who wants to find a good job can find one.

SCHMIDT (voice-over): Jobs numbers give plenty of room for political interpretation. On one hand, the economy`s added 100,000 or more jobs six straight months. Democrats say they could do more with Republican help.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CA.: Where are the jobs? Where are the Republican?

REP. XAVIER BECERRA, D-CA.: Can you imagine what would happen if we had Republicans working with the president to create jobs?

SCHMIDT (voice-over): On the other hand, less than one in three of the 8.8 million jobs lost since 2008 have been gained back. Republican presidential candidates blame Mr. Obama.

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He failed to put American back to work.

SCHMIDT (voice-over): Newt Gingrich says in a statement, "There are still 1.7 million fewer Americans going to work today than there were on Obama`s inauguration day.

Rick Santorum says this:

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think there might just be some optimism that maybe Republicans are going to take the White House, and maybe that`s spurring people to start taking some risks.

SCHMIDT (voice-over): Different political reads, one economic reality, 200,000 newly employed workers cashed paychecks they did not have one month earlier. In Washington, I`m Emily Schmidt.


AZUZ: Many people in Arizona are remembering a tragic anniversary. One year ago yesterday, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was meeting with some of her constituents at a supermarket parking lot. Police say she was the target when a gunman opened fire. Six people were killed; 13 others were wounded, including Representative Giffords, who was shot in the head.


AZUZ (voice-over): Vigils and memorials, like this one from last year, took place around Tucson yesterday to mark the one-year anniversary of the attack.

Representative Giffords has been recovering in Houston, but she was back in Arizona for the memorials. Her chief of staff said Congresswoman Giffords wanted to be back in Tucson for this emotional weekend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this legit? The Latin root word, mare, refers to horses.

Not legit. It refers to the sea, and it`s how we get words like marina and maritime.


AZUZ: We have two maritime headlines for you now. The first one happened in the Arabian Sea. It involved two countries that don`t have the best relationship. We`re talking about the U.S. and Iran.


AZUZ (voice-over): The smaller ship you see here is an Iranian fishing boat. The larger one is a U.S. Navy destroyer. It got a distress call from the fishing boat, saying that pirates were holding the 13 Iranians on board hostage.

Now in this video, you can see a U.S. Navy team approaching the fishing boat. They boarded the ship, freed the Iranian hostages and took 15 suspected pirates into custody. Iran has been angry about U.S. ships operating in that part of the world, but the Iranian government welcomed the rescue and called it a humanitarian act.

Here you can see one of the fishermen embracing the U.S. forces. American officials offered the Iranians food, water and medical care. They said they made sure to treat the fishing crew with kindness and respect.


AZUZ: Well, next up, we`re heading to the coast of New Zealand, where a cargo ship ran aground when it hit a reef back in October. Hundreds of tons of oil have leaked out. One official said the spill is the most significant maritime environmental disaster in the history of New Zealand, and it could be about to get worse.


AZUZ (voice-over): Bad weather pounded the ship over the past couple days. Yesterday, officials say it split in two. That sent debris all over the place. And it means there could be a new oil spill. Yesterday authorities said there hadn`t been a significant release of oil, but they said one was likely. They were getting teams ready to respond in case anything started to wash up on shore.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to the students and teachers at Jefferson Middle School in Villa Park, Illinois.

The study of historic cultures and activities is called what? You know what to do. Is it cartography, ornithology, physiology or archeology? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Archaeology is the study of historic cultures, especially the artifacts that they`ve left behind. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: We`re talking about anything from stone tools to complex machines. A lot of times archeologists have to dig in order to find those artifacts. Not the researchers features in our next report from Nick Glass. They`re using modern technology to try to learn about ancient cultures, and they`re making discoveries without ever disturbing the ground. Watch this.


NICK GLASS, CNN REPORTER: This is obviously a visible Roman monument. But our story is about the invisible, what`s below ground, and a new form of archeology, which reveals it in sensational detail.

GLASS (voice-over): Austrian farmland lying fallow half a kilometer square, a small tractor heads towards the horizon and trundles back again. Up and down, up and down it goes. The white box at the front is ground- penetrating radar. The whole system costs $300,000.

There are 16 separate antennae in there, collecting data, enough data for a 3-D image to a depth of two meters. This is instant bone-shaking archeology without the need to excavate.

WOLFGANG NEUBAUER, LUDWIG BOLTZMANN INSTITUTE: I was -- I was just looking on this animation of the radar data, going up and down in the subsurface, when this circular feature came up. I said, wow, this is a sensation.

GLASS (voice-over): This perfect circle was crucial. What we are looking at is a gladiator training ring circa 100 A.D. And the tiny dot in the center was a clinching detail, a posthole.

NEUBAUER: So this was the main feature of a training arena.

GLASS: And what do they use there? They slash their swords against it or --

NEUBAUER: Yes, they draped it like an enemy, and then they trained with the different -- with the different weapons.

GLASS (voice-over): It`s not a question of just imagining what the amphitheater and the gladiator school looked like, but of rebuilding them in virtual reality. The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Vienna, or LBI for short, exists, in its words, for archeological prospection and virtual archeology. And its work seems surgically precise.

The gladiator school was 2,800 square meters. It served 50 gladiators and their indoor training hall had underfloor heating. All this technology was first developed in the 1950s and `60s by the military, by the oil industry. But archeologists have adapted it and refined it -- without breaking ground, they`re finding new ways of investigating the story of man.


AZUZ: Before we go, when is a penny saved not a penny earned?


AZUZ (voice-over): When someone`s willing to pay more than 100 million pennies for it. That`s how much this one-cent piece went for at an auction recently, more than a million dollars.

It came from a collection that included one example of every coin ever produced by the U.S. Two reasons this coin was so valuable. First, it was from 1793, the first year the United States started minting its own currency.

Second, it was in great shape with almost no sign of wear.


AZUZ: In fact, you could say it was in mint condition. Now you might think spending more than a million bucks for one coin doesn`t make a lot of "cents." Maybe you can`t make heads or tails out of this whole story. But if you want to hear the buyer`s explanation, it could cost you more than a penny for his thoughts.

We have exhausted our "cash" of puns for today, but you can bank of us having more tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.