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Violence in Mexico; Eating Insects

Aired November 29, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Like me, some of you may love hitting the gym, for others it might seem like a chore. But what happens when police use pushups as a punishment? We`re going to work out the details today on CNN STUDENT NEWS.

President Obama, members of Congress, corporate executives, small business owners -- all of them involved in meetings this week, they are all talking about the same thing -- the fiscal cliff. Yesterday, we said what could happen if the government goes over that cliff, so to speak, on January 1st. Taxes would go up for all Americans, government spending would be automatically cut for different government services. What we didn`t mention, is that the government set this thing up when they couldn`t work out a deal to lower the U.S. debt, lawmakers and the president came up with this idea for this automatic spending cuts. Everyone involved agrees that the debt needs to be reduced. They don`t agree on how to do that. So for now, the clock is ticking.

The person you`re looking at here is Maria Santos Gorrostieta. From 2008 to 2011 she was the mayor of a town in Mexico that was plagued by violence from the country`s drug war. The mayor herself was targeted by attacks twice. She survived both times. This month, Gorrostieta was kidnapped. Her body was found last week. The drug war and the wave of violence that`s part of it have dominated Mexican politics for years. It`s something that the outgoing president, Felipe Calderon has faced, and it`s something that Mexico`s next president, Enrique Pena Nieto will face as well. Brian Todd examines their approaches.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deploying the Mexican army and Marines as never before, Calderon fought the cartels head on, took out several kingpins. But during his six-year term, the streets of Juarez, Tijuana, Sinaloa flowed with blood. At least 50,000 Mexicans were killed. Many of them innocent civilians. That`s far more than the American death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Homicide rates in those areas have recently plateaued. And a Mexican official tells us, civilians there are telling them they do feel safer now. Tourism is bouncing back. Analysts say President-elect Pena Nieto will continue to confront the cartels, but in a more nuanced way.

ERIC OLSON, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: With the United States, he is going to ask for more intelligence sharing from the United States. There`s been intelligence sharing, it`s been in a little more limited way. They would like to see that expanded. So that Mexican authorities, police, army, Marines have more information and can go after the bad guys with that intelligence.


AZUZ: Today`s first "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. Oswald`s class at Craver Middle School in Colorado City, Colorado.

Who was the first American to travel into space? You know what to do. Was it Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Alan Shepard or Buzz Aldrin? You`ve got three seconds, go.

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard entered the history books as the first American in space. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."

Shepard`s historic flight lasted around 15 minutes. Captain Scott Kelly is going to be in space a little longer than that. 365 days longer. Started in the spring of 2015, U.S. astronaut is set to spend an entire year in space. Kelly and a Russian cosmonaut will be up in the international space station, orbiting the earth, while the planet does one full orbit around the sun. Officials at NASA are hoping that this mission will help them learn more about how extended time in space effects the human body. And that might help plan for future missions to an asteroid or even another planet. Kelly has spent a total of 180 days in space, but that`s been spaced out over four previous trips. Going for a year straight, that would set a new U.S. record.

Scientists create new technologies and give them artificial intelligence. The machines take on a life of their own, rise up against their creators and destroy the human race. It sounds like a plot of a sci- fi movie, and it has been. But some researchers wonder, if it could happen in real life. Scientists at a university in Great Britain say it`s reasonable to predict that machines could have independent intelligence, sometime in the next couple hundred years. They suggest it would be dangerous to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising. So they are going to spend time studying it. The potential dangers from biotechnology, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology.

It`s time for a "Shoutout" extra credit.

Shrimp, crickets and scorpions are all members of which of these groups? Here we go: are they all arthropods, vertebrates, cephalopods or crustaceans. Put another three seconds on that clock and go!

Shrimp, crickets and scorpions are all arthropods, the largest phylum of animals. That`s your answer and that`s your Shoutout" extra credit.

So, you might be like me and that you are more used to seeing shrimp on a plate than in the wild. It turns out, any of those arthropods could be served as food, though, the idea of crunching on a cricket or scarfing down some scorpions might make your skin crawl. These bugs aren`t just edible, though. Some experts are saying they are healthy. Dr. Sanjay Gupta dishes out the details.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Silkworm larvae stir-fried with soy, sugar and just a dash of white pepper.

The silkworms have -- have texture of like popcorn, and they have a creamy center. Bon appetite!

Typhoon restaurant in Santa Monica is one of a handful of restaurants right here in America that serves patrons bugs on purpose.

Chilly-pepper seasoned crickets. Even scorpions on shrimp toast.

KEVIN OH, TYPHOON RESTAURANT: Scorpions still have the stinger in them, but they are dried, so the poison is neutralized.

GUPTA: Scorpions are just one of 1,700 bugs that are safe for people to consume.

It`s still a novelty here in the States, but insects are part of a daily diet in most of the world. Earlier this year the United Nations held their global conference on the benefits of eating insects, even suggesting it might be a good solution to world hunger.

OH: I don`t know why the United States doesn`t eat insects, when they are actually very healthy for you.

GUPTA: And he is right: insects are high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol. Take a cricket, for example. A six-ounce serving of these crunchy bugs have 60 percent less saturated fat as the same amount of ground beef.

OH: And now the ants.

GUPTA: These string potatoes aren`t complete without adding some dried ants.

OH: They taste a little sour, tangy, and they have a hint of black pepper to them.

GUPTA: They also have 14 grams of protein per serving. With the growing population and rising costs of food, the rest of the world just might be on to something.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Santa Monica, California.


AZUZ: If you can stomach it, eating some bugs might be healthy, but you know not to go dig in around your yard for dinner. Bugs in the wild, they could be poisonous, they could be coated with chemicals. So you need to make sure that you only eat bugs -- if you eat bugs -- that come from certified sellers or restaurants.

We didn`t expect to see people doing pushups in here. But on the side of the road after getting in trouble with police? That`s what got an investigation going in Rhode Island. Police say, a group of people between ages 15 and 18 vandalized the mailbox. And the video is blurry, but you can barely see them here doing pushups. That`s what officers made them do instead of arresting them or filing a report about the incident. But now the police are being investigated.


MAYOR CHARLES LOMBARDI, NORTH PROVIDENCE, RI: We are not going to tolerate juveniles coming into town and knocking out mailboxes. And at the same time, we are not going to allow our police officers to take the law in their own hands.


AZUZ: One of the accused vandal`s mother said this: "the cop did wrong, but I`m glad he tried to teach my son a lesson. Personally, I don`t think he should be suspended."

Our affiliate spoke to some residents of the area, many of whom seem to support the pushup punishment. Do you think police went too far or that justice was served? Talk to us on our blog at, but please, use only your first name.

And finally, a gym in Orlando, Florida specializes in helping certain family members keep fit. The four-legged ones. Fat cats and portly poodles might seem cute and cuddly, but doctors say the extra weight could be taking years off the pets` lives. Part of the problem is how much they eat and one solution for that: hit the gym. This one`s got a pool, treadmills, Pilates equipment.

This dog`s owner says he`s lost six pounds in four months. It takes some effort to shed those extra pounds, but if it makes your pets healthier, it could be well worth the weight. Yeah, just a couple of puns today. We really had to scale it back a bit, but we know many of you find them uplifting, so we`ll work out some more and have them ready tomorrow when CNN STUDENT NEWS returns.