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Government Shutdown Continues; Tracking Tropical Storm Karen

Aired October 4, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: It`s Friday. I`m Carl Azuz. This is CNN STUDENT NEWS. Today, we are going from the Gulf of Mexico to the Persian Gulf, and from marine mischief to feline follicle follies. First up, though, shutdown. No budge in the government`s budget crisis on Thursday. The president and Democrats are on one side, Republicans on the other. Wednesday evening, congressional leaders from both parties met with President Obama at the white House. The result -- no result. This partial government shutdown has to do with different views on government spending. But anger about the president`s health care reform law, commonly known as Obamacare is involved here, too.

There`s another potential battle looming in Washington. The country`s debt ceiling is the next subject, and the dead line for that is getting closer.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Now, let`s take a look at the next big hurdle, a debt default. It is really critical that the United States continue to pay its bills on time. When you don`t pay your bills on time, what happens: your credit rating goes down, it costs more to borrow, money, it costs more to service the debt you already have. If the U.S. were to default on its bills, because come October 17th, it`s got 30 billion cash on hand, and many, much-much more than that coming in terms of bills due. If the U.S. were to default, interest rates would skyrocket, the stock market could slide, it would hurt job creation again -- again, at a very fragile time, many economists say it could throw the economy right back into a recession.


AZUZ: There`s a storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. Just recently formed between Cuba and Mexico`s Yucatan Peninsula. When we put the show together, the system was a tropical storm, Tropical Storm Karen. The forecasters were saying, it was almost certain it would strengthen to a hurricane. Its projected path shows it headed to the U.S. Gulf Coast, likely making landfall somewhere between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. That could happen Saturday night, so if you live in that area, please keep an eye on your local forecasts.


ANNOUNCER: See, if you can I.D. me. I`m a country in the Middle East. I`m a peninsula in the Persian Gulf. I`m hosting the 2022 World Cup Soccer Tournament. And I`m the only country whose name starts with the letter Q. I`m Qatar. Home to just over 2 million people.


AZUZ: When the World Cup rolls around in 2022, that country of 2 million people could be the focus of billions. The World Cup is considered the world`s most widely viewed sporting event. Nearly half the people on the planet watched the last one. The tournament usually happens during the summer. In Qatar, summer temperatures can climb above 120 degrees. Some folks are worried about how that could affect players and fans. So, international soccer officials are considering moving the world cup to winter. European groups voted in favor of that, but it could mess up scheduling for Europe`s regular soccer season.

The international officials are also considering complaints connecting to World Cup construction projects in Qatar. Some workers claim they are being abused by their employers. One report alleged that dozens of workers died during the summer. An official from Qatar says the country is taking steps to make sure its labor rules are being enforced.

There`s another shutdown for us to tell you about. It happened in Sweden and it has nothing to do with the country`s government. It was a shutdown of one of the country`s nuclear power plants that provides around ten percent of Sweden electricity. One of the water intake points was invaded by jellyfish. A bunch of spineless sea creatures were all grouped together in the cooling water intake. The plant`s owners said they shut the reactor down manually as the safety precaution. This isn`t the first time, though, that gelatinous jokers have messed with the power facility. It`s happened in the U.S., Japan, Israel and the Philippines. Media outlets reported the reactor in Sweden was back up and running on Wednesday.

In the past few days, we`ve had reports from exploring conservationist Philippe Cousteau. His Earth Echo expedition is looking at how to preserve and maintain waterways around the Washington D.C. area. Teachers, you can get more on the earth project from the resources box on our homepage.

Today, Philippe Cousteau takes us inside a facility that`s designed to clean up waste waters, so it won`t harm people, animals or the environment.


PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I`m Philippe Cousteau for CNN STUDENT NEWS on Earth Echo expedition. I`m here with James Wonneberg from D.C. Water. He`s resident engineer. We`re actually standing in a watering shaft 140 feet down for a brand new world class revolutionary and state of the art waste management and storm (inaudible) system here in Washington, D.C. What exactly is going on here, James?

JAMES WONNEBERG, PE WATER AND SEWER AUTHORITY, DC WATER: Currently, we`re inside of the dewatering shaft about a 140 foot below ground. We`re standing on a temporary slab, and we`ve just launched the tunnel boring machine named Lady Bird. The tunnel boring machine is about 300 feet in right now, and we`ve got about 4.5 miles of tunneling to dig as part of the first phase of the clean rivers project.

COUSTEAU: 4.5 miles. It`s going to take a year and a half. They are digging a 23 foot diameter tunnel with a huge boring machine and this is going to be absolutely critical to creating a healthy and safe storm water treatment and waste water management system. State of the art. I can`t even tell you how amazing it is, to stand down here in this tunnel. We`re about to go in. It is honestly one of the most incredible engineering projects I`ve ever seen in my life.

We`re actually in the tunnel now, we`ve come down a shaft 140 feet in the tunnel, about 75 feet ahead of us is actually a drill bit, that`s going to drill 4.5 miles (inaudible) a huge tunnel to store the combined waste water-storm water treatment, so that in high storms when there`s too much water, for the system -- current system to handle, they don`t have to dampen it to the river. Those are the big slabs that they actually use a suction, hydraulic suction cup to move in the place around the tunnel (inaudible)- what do you say?

WONNEBERG: A couple of times each.

COUSTEAU: A couple of times each. It`s a remarkable fit of engineering and technology.


AZUZ: Getting close to covering all 50 states in our roll call. Today, we are adding three more: The first new addition to the map is from Minnesota. The MacCray High School Wolverines in Clara City. We wrangled up some wranglers out in Wyoming: Pinedale High School puts that state in our map. And all the way over in the Northeast, the Lawrence High School Bull Dogs become our first "Roll Call" school from Maine.

We`re going to head back to Minnesota for this next report from Dave Berggren. It`s about a high school senior. He led his team onto the field for the homecoming game last Friday, but the bigger moment happened earlier in the day at a pep rally. That`s when this student brought down the house by taking a stand for school spirit.


DAKOTA FORNESS, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: The biggest day of my life!

DAVE BERGGREN, CARE 11 NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Victories in life look different to all of us.

FORNESS: Very few people know about this. They are going to explode.

BERGGREN: For this is his day to win.

FORNESS: Thanks, Ms. Larkin.

BERGGREN: Coon Rapid senior has lived his whole life with cerebral palsy.

FORNESS: I hate to say it, but the wheelchair gets me noticed a little more.

BERGGREN: Noticed -- maybe, but what he`ll be remembered for is about to change.

FORNESS: I`ve had these plans since the end of last year.

BERGGREN: As Coon Rapid students filed into the field house for the homecoming pep fest Friday, it was a flurry of cardinal red and white, then ...

FORNESS: Here we go!

BERGGREN: Dakota`s turn.


FORNESS: You don`t have to play a sport to be in a school activity to achieve victory, the road to victory starts in your own life, setting your own goals. I guess what I`m trying to say, is when you`re a cardinal, you`ll never stand alone.


BERGGREN: So with that support behind him, Dakota stands. Something they`ve never seen him do. Take one step at a time. Mission accomplished.

Celebrity-like attention on two feet followed the pepfest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m so proud of you!

BERGGREN: But all Dakota wanted was to live his mark.

FORNESS: Jonathan always says on your feet for the school sunk (ph), and for four years, I have not been able to be on my feet until today.

BERGGREN: He did that, and more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was pretty amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll never forget this moment.

FORNESS: I have achieved victory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re a hero to a lot of people right now.

FORNESS: That was the ultimate goal.


AZUZ: It takes some folks years to find a stylist who knows how to do their hair just right. Others get lucky with their very first groomer. This video raises a few questions: why did the cat start licking the kid`s head? Is that a licensed cosmetologist or is this just a side job? Can it still be called the calic (ph) if it`s done by a cat, is that a cat-lick? The kid doesn`t seem to have any questions. Check out that look to the camera -- it`s like yeah -- cat`s licking my head, so?

Thankfully, the kid didn`t want any hair products. Can you imagine what would happen if that style session included muss? It might have started out with bed head, but it seems like that problem`s been licked. As for the cat, perhaps, it`s working up to grooming adult humans and this was just a baby step. It`s time for us to step away. Have a great weekend.