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Strike on Syria?; `Invisible` Bicycle Helmet

Aired August 30, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: In our last show of August, we`re talking economics, science and a couple of legal cases, but we`re starting with the possibility of countries taking action against Syria. Rather than acting on their own, nations are more likely to try to form a coalition and work together. Several governments are building a case for a possible strike on Syria. In the United Kingdom, British Prime Minister David Cameron says it`s highly likely that Syria`s government used chemical weapons. But some members of parliament are unsure about approving military action.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The question before the house today is how to respond to one of the most of horrid uses of chemical weapons in a century, slaughtering innocent men, women and children in Syria. It is not about taking sides in the Syrian conflict, it is not about invading, it is not about regime change, or even working more closely with the opposition. It is about the large scale use of chemical weapons and our response to a war crime, nothing else.

ED MILIBAND, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The weapons inspectors are in the midst of their work, and will be reporting in the coming days. That is why today couldn`t have been the day when the house was asked to decide on military action.


MILIBAND: For this happen, is surely a basic point. Evidence should precede decision, not decision precede evidence.


AZUZ: President Obama was planning to brief some members of the U.S. Congress yesterday on his plans regarding Syria. Other lawmakers have signed the letter, urging the president to lay out his case to the entire Congress and to the American people about whether the U.S. should get involved.

Teachers, for the latest developments on Syria, look for the link on the resources box at


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The federal minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 per hour.

It`s true. That means by federal law, most employees can`t be paid less than $7.25 an hour.


AZUZ: Some workers in the U.S. food industry are pushing to make more than the minimum wage. Yesterday, they walked off the jobs to speak out about their demands. Fast food workers in 60 cities went on strike yesterday. The median pay for a fast food worker is just over $9 per hour. That works out to $18.5 per year. It`s higher than minimum wage, but below the poverty line for a family of four. The workers are asking for a minimum of $15 per hour.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These people that work at fast food restaurants should be able to afford basic living costs, like everyone else, who is working for the public.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think people should have fair wages. I`m not really sure what that would be, but I mean I think it`s definitely something that should be brought up and they have reason for concern.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think it should be 15. At least like nine or ten, but not 15.


AZUZ: Fast food industry representatives say, if they raised employees` salaries, restaurants would probably have to raise their costs for the customers. They might be forced to cut workers.

Legal fight between a different group of employees and employers could be over. This one involves the National Football League. Recently, the NFL has taken steps to try to decrease the chance of traumatic head injuries like concussions, but a group of more than 4500 former players sued the league. They accused the NFL of hiding evidence about the risks of head trauma for decades. Yesterday, news broke that the league and retired players had reached a deal. The NFL will pay $765 million towards things like medical exams and medical research for retired players. A judge still needs to approve this agreement.

You`ve heard it many times before. Don`t text and drive. It`s illegal in 41 states. Now, you might have to consider whether the person you`re texting is behind the wheel. This goes back to an accident that happened in New Jersey. A couple on a motorcycle both lost their legs when they were hit by a teenager who was texting while driving a pickup truck. They sued him and his girlfriend, the person texting him, even though she wasn`t with them. She said she was distracting him and therefore, she was partially responsible for the crash. The couple settled with the driver. They lost their initial lawsuit against his girlfriend. But this week, a panel of judges sided with the couple. The appeals court said that if the person sending text messages from somewhere else knows the recipient is driving, then the sender can be held legally responsible for a potential accident.

Before there was storm trackers super viper Doppler weather XLT, there was the Farmer`s Almanac. And though that might sound like comparing a Ferrari to a minivan, the almanac certainly has an advantage and experience. It`s been around for 197 years.

It`s also forecasting well ahead of your local weather man saying this winter is going to be cold, piercing cold, bitterly cold, biting cold, cold in all caps. You know that thing called the Super Bowl. It`s going to be outdoors in New Jersey in February. And the Farmer`s Almanac says it`s going to be -- guess what -- hit by a massive winter storm, give or take a day or two.

Whether or not you believe all of this, it`s certainly more than a five day forecast. And the Almanac claims it`s accurate 80 percent of the time.

CNN affiliate WFAA fact checked out, at least for north Texas and they found that yeah, the Farmer`s Almanac was pretty darn accurate. So, how does it work? It uses a secret formula, like Coca Cola, or KFC, or Twinkies. But the Almanac is based on mathematics, astronomy and tides, which many modern meteorologists usually ignore. I guess if we`re in the two thirds of the country that this forecast predicts will freeze, the Almanac can at least say, we were warned.

For as long as there had been bicycles, there had been people falling off of them. Sure, you can and should wear protective gear. But how do you wear helmet and still avoid helmet hair? Two designers in Sweden worked up an answer. Wear the helmet around your neck until you need it. Diana Magnay handles the explanation here.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anna Halp (ph) and Theresa Alstein (ph) designed the device in 2005, after Sweden introduced a law making it compulsory for children to wear helmets when cycling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That triggered a great debate in Sweden and in the media on whether or not that law should be extended to adult cyclists as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We went out in the cities, asking people why they didn`t use traditional helmets. And they said they weren`t -- they -- they felt geeky, they couldn`t -- they destroyed their hair, they felt stupid and the cap couldn`t fit underneath. And they wanted something that was very discreet, invisible if possible.

MAGNAY: The hood is made with ultra-strong nylon fabric. It absorbs shock and covers a much larger area than a traditional cycle helmet. Anna and Theresa reenacted thousands of cycling smashes using stunt riders and crash test dummies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been developing the trigger mechanism for many years in order to develop an algorithm or mathematical method that can distinguish accidents movements within the cyclists from normal cycling.

MAGNAY: Hovding is on track to become a commercial success, and it`s also already won the pair many accolades, including an Index award in 2011.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s -- it felt like we had won the Nobel Prize in design.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me design is about improving people`s lives.

MAGNAY: Well, I`ve enjoyed my ride minus the helmet hair, and nobody could argue with the device if it saves lives. But at roughly ten times the cost of a regular bike helmet, it does seem quite a high price for vanity. Diana Magnay, CNN, Malmo, Sweden.


AZUZ: OK, today`s roll call filled with NASCAR to take us across land, air and sea, so let`s see who is watching CNN STUDENT NEWS. First up, we`ve got the Panthers at McKinley Senior High in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Then we`re going to fly like an eagle to Commerce City, Colorado, home of the Eagle from Adams City High, and the Beech High Buccaneers from Handersonville, Tennessee -- big thanks to all of you.

Now, it`s time for the roll call to set sail.

Four college students walked into a store recently. The door was open and the lights were on. So, why not? It turns out, the store wasn`t supposed to be open -- the lock malfunctioned. Students called out for a clerk, but no one answered, so they figured out how much their stuff cost, left the money counting out the change. It was all captured on surveillance cameras. Store manager says they are role models. One of the students says he hopes it`s a lesson that you shouldn`t judge people. Makes a lot of sense. And thanks to this video, it`s an idea that could really register. We`re talking about this on social media. If you`re on Facebook, if you`re on Twitter, come find us and talk about it, too. There will be no show on Monday because of Labor Day. So, we hope you enjoy the long weekend. We look forward to seeing you back here on Tuesday.