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Armstrong Admits Doping; Biden to Present Gun Violence Report

Aired January 16, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: After years of accusations, a famous athlete is coming clean. Plus, we`re going to check out how a snake hunt is going in the national park. I`m Carl Azuz, welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS.

This is U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. His task force has come up with a list of recommendations on addressing gun violence in the U.S. It`s giving that list to President Obama, we should know some time today what his next step will be. There are a couple of different paths the president could take. One would be to encourage Congress to change laws like banning assault weapons or requiring background checks on buyers at gun shows. But not everyone in Congress would support that, and the National Rifle Association is working to prevent any new restrictions on guns. There`s something else the president could do, though, give an executive order.


AZUZ: U.S. presidents have been giving out executive orders since 1789. Why? Because they can. An executive order is a law made instantly with the president`s signature. The advantage for a president is that it doesn`t have to go through Congress. The disadvantage, say critics, is that it doesn`t have to go through Congress. And some critics say, use of executive orders may violate the Constitutional separation of powers. In fact, the term "executive order" isn`t in the Constitution. What is in Article II, Section 3, is that the president shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. So, if a president feels that Congress isn`t faithfully executing the laws he wants, he can issue an executive order.

They do have their limits, though. Executive orders can`t use federal money, for one thing. So, a president couldn`t use one to cut taxes or build a bridge, for examples. The orders can be overturned by a court, and the next president can get rid of a previous order. Presidents ain`t shy about giving new ones, though. According to the National Archives, two term President Bill Clinton gave 364 executive orders. Two term President George W. Bush gave 291, President Obama is on the same pace having given 144 in his first term. President Roosevelt holds the record -- he gave over 3700 executive orders, though he did have longer than everyone else in the White House. Bottom line, love him or hate him, we all have to live under them, at least for a while. Why? Well, that`s an order.



LANCE ARMSTRONG: I`ve said it for seven years, I`ve said it for longer than seven years -- I have never doped. I can say it again, but I`ve said it for seven years, it doesn`t help. Why would I then enter into a sport and dope myself up and risk my life again? That`s crazy, I would never do that, that`s -- no, no way.


AZUZ: That was Lance Armstrong in 2005. He spent more than a decade saying things like that. Denying that he cheated during his cycling career. This week, he said something different. According to reports, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong admitted to doping, to using performance-enhancing drugs. That interview was airing later this week. The reaction on social media was fast and a lot of it was angry. One person said, "This guy is a loser and a liar." Another post, "He had the opportunity to be honest from the beginning, winning was more important." Why is this news getting such an intense reaction?

Well, the answer might come from looking at how Lance Armstrong got here. Right as his cycling career was taking off, Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer. It spread to his lungs, stomach and brain. After surgery at late 1996, he was told he was cancer free. The next year he helped create the Livestrong foundation, its goal is to benefit cancer research and cancer patients. You`ve probably seen people wearing the yellow wristbands, you might have worn one yourself. Armstrong`s efforts helped that foundation raise millions of dollars. In 1999, less than three yeas after he beat cancer, Armstrong won the Tour de France. Then he won it again, and again. A cancer survivor winning cycling`s most famous race seven times in a row. And despite accusations, always denying that he cheated to do it.

Then last year, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report. It accused Armstrong of being at the center of a very sophisticated doping program while he was winning his Tour de France titles. In the report, former teammates admitted to doping and ways of beating drug tests. The International Cycling Union then stripped Lance Armstrong of all seven Tour titles and banned him from professional cycling for life. Armstrong denied the allegations to all of it until this week.

Well, this is something we`re talking about on our blog, in a court of public opinion, Lance Armstrong is in deep trouble, and the question we`re asking is, will the public ever forgive him? Do you think the public ever should forgive him? You could check it out on our blog, you`ll find it on our home page


REP. SCOTT TIPTON, (R ), COLORADO: No person except the natural born citizen or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the office of president, nor there shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained the age of 35 years, and been 14 years a resident within the United States.


AZUZ: That was from Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Yesterday, members of the U.S. House of Representatives read the whole thing. It took them a little more than an hour, as members took turns reading different parts. The people who organized the reading said the point is to focus on the country`s founding document, and that`s what we are going to do right now. Pop quiz style, you`re going to love it.

Question number one, which U.S president was called the "father of the Constitution"?

That nickname belonged to James Madison, the fourth U.S. President because he was so involved in the debate during the Constitutional Convention.

Next up, it took two thirds of the states to make the Constitution the law of the land. Which state was the first to ratify it? Delaware, sometimes called the first state because it was first. All right, last question, you know that the first Ten Amendments make up the Bill of Rights. How many amendments are there total?

Your answer: 27 Amendments. The most recent one was ratified in 1992.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. Donagriche`s English classes at Central Middle School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Which U.S. State is home to the Everglades National Park. You know what to do. Is it California, Florida, Hawaii or Louisiana? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Everglades National Park covers 1.5 million acres in Florida. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: The Everglades are home to some rare and endangered species, one of them is in danger and on purpose. It`s the python challenge, and it started last weekend. Officials say, tens of thousands of Burmese pythons are in the Everglades. They are devouring other species. And when authorities ran out of ideas, they turned to the public and offered cash prices to people who wanted to hunt the snakes down. John Zarrella has more on how the hunt is going.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nobody is quite sure how many are out here, there may be up to 100,000 in the Everglades, they have no natural enemies, they are non-venomous, but they are constrictors, and they`ve been seeing out here and caught out here up to nearly 20 feet. And you can see behind me right now. We`re at a University of Florida research facility. The first snakes that were caught during the first day of the competition have been brought in. They have seven of them total. This one is about nine-ten feet, maybe, in length? And Frank Mazzotti, wildlife ecologist, University of Florida is with me, and Frank, you know, we were talking, this is not just about catching and killing snakes, is it?

PROF. FRANK MAZZOTTI, WILDLIFE ECOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: That`s correct. In fact, for us, this event is really all about science. And we`re going -- we take advantage of the python challenge to ask questions that we`ve not been able to do before. This is going to give us our largest single one-time sample, most snakes over the biggest area that we`ve ever been able to collect. And we`re going to be able to ask questions about contaminants, things like mercury, genetics, can we identify new individuals from the core population? Or diet, and help us address the very important questions about what impacts these species have on our native ecosystem.

ZARRELLA: In other words, what are the creatures--


ZARRELLA: ... eating.

MAZZOTTI: Because we will know what is inside of the critters.

ZARRELLA: Plus, you`re going to do necropsies, right, here on site.

MAZZOTTI: We`re going to do necropsies, that`s correct.

And how big is this one, guys? You`ve got an ...


ZARRELLA: Which is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About nine feet.

ZARRELLA: Nine foot. That`s a pretty good size snake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a pretty good size snake.


AZUZ: When you work in news, it`s a good idea to know when the camera is on. Take this guy. He`s making some touchups before he goes live, strengthening that tie, brushing off his jacket there. There`s only one problem: he`s already live.




AZUZ: The anchor in this next Youtube video is supposed to be on camera, not the student spot shotted (ph) behind her. A valiant attempt to duck out of sight not fast enough. Slip-ups can even happen here, at CNN.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So, here at this point on the show, we`re usually doing much different, much -- much -- much some different, much more different. What? Oh, hey, sorry, I didn`t realize we were on the air.


AZUZ: Yeah, no, I`m ready to wrap this thing up, as soon as we finish this Cooper thing, and somebody can help me think of a pun to go with -- wait -- what?