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Congress Holds Hearings on Benghazi Attacks

Aired November 16, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is (inaudible) middle school, Indiana, welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS. Launch (ph).


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: A big thanks to Mr. Merrill students for getting things started today, we have a packed show, so let`s go ahead and get to it.

First up, hearings on Capitol Hill. Now, you are not going to see any pictures from these hearings, and you are not going to hear anything that was said in them, either. That is because these are closed hearings. That means no members of the media, no members of the public are allowed in.

We do know what they are about, though. This -- the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya. It happened just over two months ago, the members of Congress who are running the hearings have questions about how the attacks happened and what happened afterward. And they are hoping to get answers. Martha Shade has more on who`ll be at the hearings and what issues are expected to come up.


MARTHA SHADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Several of Washington`s power players will be on Capitol Hill, expecting to be grilled about the deadly consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the September 11th assault.

Former CIA director David Petraeus is scheduled to address this Senate House Intelligence Committee, his testimony was in question after his sudden resignation last week.

REP. PATRICK MEEHAN, (R ), PENNSYLVANIA: He is necessary, he understands and was there during the time when the Benghazi events occurred.

SHADE: Some Republicans have been going after U.N. ambassador Susan Rice. After the violence, she said intelligence pointed to a spontaneous, not pre-planned attack. Senator John McCain said Rice was deceptive, while Lindsey Graham just doesn`t trust her.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R ), SOUTH CAROLINA: And the reason I don`t trust her, is because I think she knew better, and if she didn`t know better she shouldn`t be the voice of America.

SHADE: President Barack Obama had a message to the senators in Rice`s defense.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me, and I`m happy to have that discussion with them.

SHADE: The senators oppose Rice possibly being nominated to secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton, and say they will do whatever they can do to block it.

Senator Rand Paul says he is no fun of Rice, but there are bigger issues at play.

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R ), KENTUCKY: But I think the more important question is, why were there no Marines guarding our ambassador.

SHADE: Who made that decision, is likely to be discussed during these hearings. I`m Martha Shade reporting.


AZUZ: Next stop, we are looking at a fine, not just any old fine, the largest criminal fine in U.S. history: it`s $1.2 billion, and the company that`s paying it, is BP. You might remember this: an explosion in 2010 in a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. A massive oil spill that leaked more than 200 million gallons of oil into the water. And the serious environmental problems when some of that oil washed up along the U.S. Gulf coast. Yesterday, BP reached the settlement with the U.S. government. The company will pay $4.5 billion. That includes the record fine, and it covers other criminal charges and government penalties. BP has already agreed to pay 20 billion to cover damages from the spill, and nearly 8 billion to private victims. For perspective in a two year since the oil spill happened, BP has made $43 billion in profits.

You`ve heard this talk about this fiscal cliff. It`s a series automatic government spending cuts and tax increases that could hit Americans next year, if Congress and President Obama don`t figure out a way around them. Here is a look at how the fiscal cliff could impact education: school districts nationwide would have less money, so after school programs, enrichment programs, sports could be cut. More teachers could lose their jobs or get paid less. And many schools wouldn`t be able to make needed repairs, upgrade computers or get new textbooks. Because so many schools have been struggling with less money after the recession hit, this fiscal cliff could make things worse: and that`s why so many people in education are paying attention to what happens as Congress and the president try to find the solution.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, if you can ID me. I`m a country that`s been around for centuries, but I established my current Communist form of government in 1949. I`m one of the world`s largest nations in size. And I`m the largest in population.

I`m China and I`m home to more than 1.3 billion people.


AZUZ: There`s been a change at the top of China`s Communist Party. In the U.S., presidential candidates are out in public all the time. That`s not how things work in China. When that country`s leadership goes through a transition, it all happens behind closed doors. These seven men are those new leaders. They make up the most powerful committee in the Chinese government. And the one who is front and center, is Xi Jinping, he is the new head of China`s Communist Party and is expected to lead the country for the next ten years. A lot of other nations are wondering, what to expect from Xi in this committee. That`s because in addition to having the world`s biggest population, China also has the world`s second biggest economy. That means it has a lot of influence on the world`s economic issues.

Back into U.S., 13 deaths have been reported to the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration. The reports say that those 13 people died after using a supplement called "5-hour Energy." The FDA launched an investigation, it`s required to by law. But it also says, that a report by itself doesn`t mean that a product is responsible for health issue. So far, connection between the deaths and 5-hour Energy hasn`t been established. One thing the FDA is likely looking at is caffeine. One 5-hour Energy has 207 milligrams of caffeine. To compare, a cup of coffee can have anywhere from 95 to 200 milligrams. A regular can of Red Bull has about 80 milligrams. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is CNN`s chief medical correspondent. He was talking to a colleague recently, and this other doctor brought up an issue that he described as the biggest manmade epidemic in the United States. He was talking about accidental death from overdoses. But not from illegal drugs, from prescription drugs. Accidental overdoses are the number one cause of accidental death in America. We talked to Dr. Gupta about ways to prevent this, and some of the surprising numbers associated with the issue.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carl, I think the statistics that gets everyone`s attention here, is that every 90 minutes in this country, someone dies from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. You keep that in mind, and I think that tells you a large tale. And also, if you look at the world, and you think about young people and old people alike, 80 percent of the world`s pain pills are taken in the United States. We prescribe enough to give every man, woman and child a doze every 4 hours for three weeks. So, look, we are talking a lot about this, but best advice: if you have pain pills in your medicine cabinet, get rid of them.

People have a preconceived notion of who this people are that are dying, but oftentimes it`s your friends, your families, your neighbors, it`s not people who you would think of as addicts. There are people who have legitimate pain that need to have those pain concerns addressed. Don`t misuse these pills, and ask yourself, every time you are given a prescription, do I really need this? Hopefully, that`s going to help a lot of people, Carl. Back to you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. Love`s journalism technology student at Sandpoint High School in Sand Point, Idaho.

Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics o which of these songs? You know what to do, is it "My Country "Tis of Thee." "America the Beautiful," God Bless America" or the "Star-Spangled Banner." You`ve got three seconds, go!

Key wrote the lyrics to the "Star-Spangled Banner" during the war of 1812. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: You might expect to hear the "Star-Spangled Banner" before a sports event, that tradition is connected to some controversy in part of Pennsylvania. The commissioner in charge of high school hockey emailed teams and suggested that they not sing the anthem. He says it`s not a question of patriotism, it`s a concern about costs.

High school hockey rents ice time for games, so every game is carefully timed. When time runs out, the game ends, even if the clock hasn`t hit zero. If the singer takes longer with the national anthem, it eats into that game time. Some people aren`t happy with the idea of skipping the national anthem. They`ve suggested extending the time for the game or cutting time somewhere else. One person suggested using a pre- recorded rendition of the anthems, so you always know how long it will be.

Tile, linoleum, marble, carpet, hardwood, there are a lot of types of floors. But the owner of this business in Pittsburgh went a different route: she paid pennies for her flooring, actually, she didn`t pay them, she used them. 250,000 pennies took her and some volunteers about 300 hours to lay it all down, but she said it`s actually a lot cheaper than paying for tile. So, how do you make a floor from all these? I guess, you lay the pennies down and then start linking them together.

Suppose, if you don`t want to be ordinary that`s certainly on the way to change. You imagine when the customers walking and see it, though. They are going to be floored. They might not be able to make sense of it, but I know just how to ask them for their opinions. Penny for your thoughts? All right, that`s all the puns we can handle for now. I hope you have a great weekend.