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President Obama Holds First News Conference Since Election Day; Underwater Museum

Aired November 15, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: You`ve probably been to a museum, but you probably didn`t need scuba gear to get there. That`s one of the stories we are diving into today on CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz.

First up, we are looking at President Obama`s first news conference since he was reelected to a second term. The president took questions from the media for about an hour at the White House yesterday afternoon. One topic that came up, the so-called "fiscal cliff". It`s a set of spending cuts and tax increases that could go into effect soon. The president and congressional leaders are considering ways to avoid that cliff. President Obama was set to meet with business leaders after yesterday`s news conference to talk about the issue. He said he wants input from everyone.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I`m open to new ideas, if Republican counterparts or some Democrats have a great idea for us to raise revenue, maintain progress, make sure the middle class isn`t getting hit, reduces our deficit, encourages growth, I`m not going to just slam the door in their face. I want to hear idea - I want to hear ideas from everybody.


AZUZ: We are going to leave Washington now and head over to the Middle East, specifically Gaza, one of the territories at the center of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The violence between those two groups has been increasing recently. Yesterday, Israel launched air strikes against what it said were terrorists targets. Palestinian officials said there were at least 35 strikes in an eight-hour span of time. At least nine people were killed in the air strikes, and that includes the leader of the military wing of Hamas, that group controls the Palestinian government and the U.S. classifies it as the terrorist organization.

Israel said its air strikes were a response to increased rocket attacks from Gaza. One of those rockets hit a shopping center in southern Israel yesterday. Both sides, Israel and Hamas, say they are defending themselves against attacks from the other side.

Finally, we are going to head all the way over to Australia. Some people made their way to the northeastern part of the country this week, and they went there to see this: a total solar eclipse that was visible over Australia`s northern territories. According to NASA, this kind of thing happens on average about every 18 months. But that`s in different spots around the world. This parts of Australia might not see another full solar eclipse for 375 years. So, what exactly is going on in a solar eclipse? It has to do with orbits and shadows. Solar eclipse happens when the Moon, while it`s orbiting the Earth, passes directly in front of the Sun. That casts a shadow on the Earth surface. In the outer part of that shadow, the penumbra, part of the Sun, is blocked. In the inner part, the umbra, that`s where the eclipse is total.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today "Shoutout" goes out to Ms. Chapman`s English class at Daniel J. Savage Middle School in Modesto, California. Newton`s first law, which says an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force, describes what concept?

Is it inertia, gravity, acceleration or thermodynamics? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Newton`s first law of motion is sometimes known as a law of inertia. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: An everyday example of inertia: you are driving a car down the street, and another one stopped in front of you. Your car will stay in motion unless an outside force stops it, so either a break or the other car. Now, there is some new technology out that could help avoid the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board says this new technology should be required on all vehicles. It could help prevent some accidents, it could also drive up the cost of a car. Sandra Endo now takes a look at how this technology works.


SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what federal safety officials want to avoid.

Oh my gosh! Ah!

A new technology could help. I got behind the wheel at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to see how collision avoiding systems work. This car automatically brakes when it comes too close to the car in front.

Wow! That is freaky! And it completely braked on its own.


ENDO: The sensors and cameras installed in the vehicle can detect more than just cars: at a faster speed, watch what happens.

ZUBY: And a pedestrian out in front of us.

ENDO: Oh my gosh! A! Oh my gosh! I hit him!

ZUBY: You hit him!

ENDO: Oh no!

ZUBY: But not too hard. He probably just fell over.

ENDO: Oh, I didn`t.

ZUBY: And at a higher speed, we wouldn`t -- we wouldn`t avoid the crash, and that would be a crash, but because of the braking, the crash would be at the lower speed then it would be without the system.

ENDO: The National Transportation Safety Board Wednesday added collision avoidance technology to its list of most wanted safety improvements. It wants states to mandate these systems, now available in luxury cars in all cars.

DEBORAH HERSMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: We know that hundreds of lives can be saved, and hundreds of thousands of injuries can be prevented if the technology improves and you can avoid these runoff the road, rear end and also the side departure, the lane departure collisions.

ENDO: Other safety systems on the market include blind spot indicators, directional headlights and an alert when a driver drifts out of the lane. The insurance institute says, the automatic breaking system is effective. The lane departure warning system hurts rather than helps. But it`s unclear, why.

ZUBY: They don`t seem in this earlier data to be preventing crashes, which is a disappointment. Transportation safety officials say, once the kinks are worked out, the technology could further reduce the number of fatalities, which has been decreasing from year to year.

ENDO: Oh my gosh!

Despite the increasing number of drivers on the road.

ENDO: Wow! That was scary!



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Coral is an example of an igneous rock.

No, in fact, it`s not a rock at all. Coral is alive and it`s a type of animal.


AZUZ: Coral is a living species, it`s also an endangered species. And a museum near Cancun, Mexico is trying to help out in a couple of ways: The art work is designed to help develop new coral: and the artist who created it is hoping his design will pull some of the attention away from existing coral, to kind of give those reefs a rest. Nick Parker has more on a green project beneath the dip blue sea.


NICK PARKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome. To an underwater world and mysterious figures frozen in time.

This unique museum off the coast of Cancun has nearly 500 sculptures sunken in up to ten meters of water.

A growing tourists attraction, it`s also a vital frontline in conservation as it diverts divers from Mexico`s fragile coral reefs.

It`s a labor of love for British artist Jason De Caires Taylor who began the project in 2009.

JASON DE CAIRES TAYLOR, SCULPTOR: I was a diver, and I`ve been diving around the world in various places, so I had this vision that I always wanted to create this underwater sort of seascape, and I was also looking into the conservation element of it that it could be used to create an artificial reef, started off like a pilot project in Grenada. It started off quite small, we just had a few pieces, and slowly grew.

PARKER: The project called "the eye" of Cancun`s Marine Park officials who were trying to restore the region`s reefs damaged by 2005`s Hurricane Wilma.

JAIME GONZALEZ, NATIONAL MARINE PARK: And we thought that by implementing this project, will become an icon for Cancun.

PARKER: Taylor has staggered the deployment of the statues over a few years, so there are some that cleaner than others.

The visual evidence of nature gradually taking over, he has titled "silent evolution." Crucially, the statues are made from a ph-neutral material to attract fish and coral. And the cement is high grade, to withstand strong currents.

TAYLOR: The world`s coral reefs are facing extreme pressures from all sides. Issues to do with water quality and global warming are, you know, some of the biggest problems. This project, obviously, can`t combat that. But what it kind of help to do is raise some awareness about the state of our reefs and draw people`s attention, to, you know, the underwater scene.


AZUZ: All right, we are going to wrap things up today with a little museum matchup. Guess, which one is real, and which one`s a work of art. OK, it`s easy to tell them apart. They do look eerily alike, even this guy`s girlfriend was a little freaked out by the resemblance when she ran across this painting during a visit to a museum.


NIKKIE CURTIS, MAX GALUPPO`S GIRLFRIEND: I`m giggling like crazy, and it`s dead silent in those museums -- and I go, do you see this guy?

MAX GALUPPPO: I`ll be honest, at first I didn`t -- I didn`t think it looked like me.

I feel goof for 450 -- I`ve got to-- I`ve got to admit.


AZUZ: The painting was made 450 years ago, I guess when you are waiting for your long last twin to show up, you have a lot of time to just hang around. And while the guy might have tried to brush off the resemblance at first, eventually, he had to come to grips with the art truth. Of course, the whole thing has gone viral. So, if he was looking for a little online attention, this is a big twin. And while sometimes it`s difficult to come up with the pans at the end of show, with art stories, they just come easily.

That`s all for CNN STUDENT NEWS. I hope you`ll paint us back into your schedule on Friday.