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Two Dallas Cowboys Players Involved in Lethal Car Crash; U.S. Economy Adds 146,000 Jobs in November, CDC: Flu Season Arrives Early

Aired December 10, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Some significant events happened on December 10th. 143 years ago Wyoming gave women the right vote. 114 years ago the Spanish-American war ended, 111 years ago the first Nobel Prizes were awarded and about 15 seconds ago you started watching CNN STUDENT NEWS.

Our first story on this Monday edition of our show: every 48 minutes someone in the U.S dies in a car wreck that involved a driver who is either drunk or in some way alcohol-impaired. It works out to more than 10,000 deaths every year. Police say Jerry Brown Jr. is one of them. He was the linebacker on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad who was killed in a car crash early Saturday morning. Brown was a passenger. Police say the car he was in hit a curb, flipped and caught on fire. Officers believe alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash. Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was behind the wheel. He`s been arrested on suspicion of intoxication- manslaughter. Brent and Brown were teammates in college, too. Brent pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in 2009 while he was in school. The charge he is facing now could lead to a $10,000 fine and a potential prison sentence of two to 20 years.

Every month the U.S government reports on the national unemployment rate and the number of jobs added or lost. For November, 146,000 jobs added. Unemployment at 7.7 percent. That`s a drop from the month before. And it`s the lowest the unemployment rate has been in nearly four years. These numbers can be a little tricky. The unemployment rate only counts people actively looking for a job. Experts say that`s the main reason the rate went down, is because some people just gave up and stopped looking. The big number to keep in mind - 12 million. That`s how many Americans were counted as unemployed in November.

The state legislature in Michigan is getting ready to vote on a right to work law. A big part of this story has to do with labor unions. Right to work laws say that workers don`t have to join unions or pay union dues. People who support these laws say they can make a state more attractive to businesses and can bring in more money for the state economy. Critics of the laws say that they make unions weaker and can keep wages lower for workers. On this map, the states in blue have a right to work law. There are 23 of those, including Indiana, which just passed its legislation this year. Poppy Harlow got the perspective from both sides of the debate over the possibility of a right to work law in Michigan.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A labor representative told me this legislation is anti-worker, saying that it gives workers less of a voice. What do you say to that?

GOV. RICK SNYDER (R ), MICHIGAN: That`s backward. This is about being pro-worker. Again, giving workers the choice, the freedom to choose - that`s fundamental.

JON HOADLEY, WORKING MICHIGAN COALITION CAMPAIGN MANAGER: So, Governor Snyder`s legislation is anti-worker, it`s going to end up, you know, being a devastating blow to the middle class here.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The flu virus is pathogenic. Absolutely. Being pathogenic means that the virus causes or can cause disease.


AZUZ: And there`s a lot of that going around this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the first time in almost a decade, the CDC says flu season has arrived early. The region hardest hit so far has been the Southern U.S. You can see how flu activity is spreading on this map, and you`ll notice the first states to turn red are in the south. The CDC recommends that people protect themselves by getting a flu shot, a vaccine that helps you avoid catching the flu. But how effective is the vaccine and how can you the flue in the first place? Those are a couple of questions I recently asked CNN`s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


AZUZ: All right, you know, students -they are touching the same desks, the same door knobs, the same books. How easily communicated is the flu through touch?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not as easily communicated as if you have direct contact with somebody, but it still can be. There are some, you know, bacteria out there that they basically when they hit the air, they die. With the flu virus, oftentimes, it can live on a surface for a period of time. So, doorknobs, for example, a big area of concern. Desks, as you mentioned. Areas where people touch their hands a lot. You got - I mean these areas need to be cleaned.

AZUZ: All right. Is it simple as washing your hands to get the virus off of them?

GUPTA: Yeah, you know, it sounds almost ridiculously simple, when you put it like that. But, yeah, I mean washing your hands can basically protect you from not only transmitting it to yourself, touching your hand to your own nose, but also, you know, giving it to somebody else. It goes a long way toward doing that and the more times you wash your hands is better.

AZUZ: All right, let`s say you and I are in journalism class, and you start sneezing and saying you are not feeling well. I`m sitting right next to you. How concerned do I need to be?

GUPTA: The likelihood, still, even in the situation like that, is still low, thankfully, that you are going to get the flu. But, you know, it`s higher than if you hadn`t been exposed at all. So, you know, this is a message I think certainly for people who are sick and are potentially contagious to stay home and that`s a big thing. And also, for people, who are in those situations, to make sure they are, again, washing their hands often.

AZUZ: With what symptoms should a student stay home? Like you wake up, you are not feeling well. At what point should you say I`m not going to school?

GUPTA: Yeah, you know fever is going to be one of the things that`s going to be a hallmark, and usually when you talk about a fever above 101.3, 101.4, that area, that`s really a true fever. If you have some of the classic symptoms including sore throat, but also specifically muscle aches or something that distinguishes flu from a regular cold. You should probably stay home with both, that`s when you can tell the difference.

AZUZ: How effective is a flu shot?

GUPTA: Flu shots can be very effective, you know, there`s numbers that vary every year, but it`s in the 70 to 80 percent range, and it`s not a 100 percent, but it is - it is pretty good and really the best thing that we have.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I`m an award that was first given out in the 1930s, I`m named for a former director of New York`s Downtown Athletic Club. I`m considered the most prestigious award in college football.

I`m the Heisman Trophy. And some of my most recent winners include Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III.


AZUZ: Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore. Newton and Griffin were both juniors, and a lot of seniors have won it over the years. Now, if we were doing the story last Friday, we would have said that no freshman had ever won the Heisman Trophy. Then, this guy came along. Johnny Manziel, quarterback for Texas A&M University and this year`s Heisman Trophy winner. He is the first freshman ever to win the award. Manziel, whose nickname Johnny Football, took home the trophy Saturday night. He passed and ran for a combined 43 touchdowns this season and accounted for 4600 yards of total offense. That is the southeastern conference record.

Next up, the python challenge. It runs January 12th through February 10th in Florida`s Everglades National Park. Grand Prize is $1500. All you`ve got to do is find these snakes and kill them. Florida wildlife officials say they`re turning to the public for help because they don`t have a good strategy for the python problem. The contest, which is real, involves an online safety training course. Organizers suggest some human ways to deal with the snakes. They also say the contest isn`t just about killing snakes, they also want to educate people on how the python is affecting Florida. Now, John Zarrella explains exactly what kinds of problems these snakes are causing, and how they got there in the first place.


JOHN ZARELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In his laboratory Skip Snow keeps in plastic bags what you could call "the kill:" alligator claws, the hoof of a deer, a great blue heron, all found in the stomachs of captured Burmese python.

SKIP SNOW, EVERGLADES NATL. PARK BIOLOGIST: And it may take us a long time, years, if not decades, before we fully understand what the nature of the impacts of Burmese pythons are in the south Florida.

ZARRELLA: What`s already clear is that some Everglade species are disappearing, and disappearing quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raccoons were such a problem that we actually had to put a policy in place to try to manage them.

ZARRELLA: No policy needed now. A study shows pythons, which simply aren`t supposed to be here, are likely responsible for nearly wiping out several creatures. There may be as many as 100,000 pythons slithering through the Glades. How did they get here? Bought as pets, when they got too big, owners got rid of them.

No one would have guessed just a decade ago, snakes in this river of grass might upset the balance of nature here forever. John Zarrella, CNN, Everglades National Park.


AZUZ: We are going to be honest: today`s Before We Go segment may not pass the sniff test, but it depends on how hungry you are. That`s a bottle of perfume, and yes, you are reading that right - it`s made by Pizza Hut. Smells like it, too, supposedly. Piquant pepperoni, malodorous mushroom. Mostly just smells like a dab of dough. The company is making a limited supply, free bottles for around 100 people. If they decided to make more, they`ll probably just manufacture it down at the old factory. You may think oh, the pizza sounds odious, or you may think this perfume idea makes sense -- who knows for sure. If it becomes a big seller, everyone`s is going to want a piece of that pie. For CNN STUDENT NEWS, I`m Carl Azuz, have a great day.