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HHS Secretary Apologizes for Rollout; Spying on Germany

Aired October 31, 2013 - 04:00   ET



CROWD: We are Spartans (ph) from (inaudible) Junior High. Roseville, California. Take it away, Carl!


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: I will. Big thanks for an awesome introduction to our Halloween edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`ll have more of your impressive pumpkin prowess later on, but we start today with the Affordable Care Act, which is usually known as Obamacare. The site where people can sign up went live at the beginning of October. But the launch didn`t go smoothly. One person described the experience of using the site as miserably frustrating. And that was the person who is charge of it. Kathleen Sebelius is the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary. Her department is responsible for different parts of Obamacare. That includes the enrollment Web site and the problems that have come with it.


KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: I`m as frustrated and angry as anyone. With the flawed launch of So, let me say directly to these Americans. You deserve better. I apologize.


AZUZ: Secretary Sebelius faced hours of questions during that Congressional hearing yesterday. Democrats and Republicans in Congress talked about the problems with the Obamacare Web site. But that isn`t the only controversy surrounding the new law. There is a big debate about the health insurance plans that Americans already have. Most Americans who have health insurance, get it through their employers or government programs like Medicare. But more than 15 million Americans have individual health care coverage. When this law was proposed, President Obama and his administration said many times, that Americans could keep their health care plans. But people who work in the insurance industry, say most of those Americans with individual plans will see changes or even cancellations.


ANNOUNCER: Just the facts: the Cold War was a historic period that started after World War II. The main opponents were the United States and the former Soviet Union, although other countries were involved as well. The Cold War included spying between countries, but it never developed into a direct military conflict. But it was over by 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.


AZUZ: One of the biggest symbols of the Cold War was in Germany, the Berlin Wall. It split the city and the country in half. Separating communist East Germany from Democratic West Germany. The wall came down in 1989, and Germany reunited the next year. Now, Germany says it`s the victim of Cold War tactics: spying. And German officials want answers.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: NSA field station, Berlin Teufelsberg, a relic of U.S. espionage in the forests around Berlin. Now, a (inaudible) for graffiti artists and backdrop for some of the best kite flying in the German capital.

From this vantage point, right on top of the tiny island that was West Berlin, every -- which direction you looked, was East, the Eastern Block. This was one of the most important surveillance posts of the Cold War.

Now, if the allegations made in Germany`s "Der Spiegel" magazine are true, the United States has used an even more conspicuous location from which to gather intelligence. Though this time, on its friends. That`s its own embassy roof, a stone from government cultures. Germany`s interior minister has promised to expel any U.S. diplomats proven complicit in spying operations. Including alleged eavesdropping on the chancellor`s personal mobile phone.

Germans are especially sensitive to the dangers of state surveillance, and the destructive nature of the society, which spies on itself. The federal commission for the Stasi records, the secret police force of the former East Germany understands, perhaps, better than most, why intelligence gathering needs controls.

DAGMAR HOVELSTADT, FEDERAL COMMISSION FOR THE STASI RECORDS: We have a very direct historical link to what it means if the state doesn`t respect the boundaries of privacy and the rights of its own citizens. So, the shadow of the past kind of lingers always when something as seemly not so dramatic to an American like a wiretapping of a cell phone happens.

MAGNAY: Delegates from the European parliament are already in D.C. demanding an explanation. Germany`s top intelligence officers are set to follow. Trying to establish a mechanism whereby intelligence agencies operate within acceptable international frameworks, while it`s holding to account counterparts who`ve reportedly failed to keep faith with the allies. Diana Magnay, CNN, Berlin.



ANNOUNCER: It`s time for "The Shoutout." Who was the captain of the Queen Anne`s Revenge? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Was it Edward Teach, John Paul Jones, Francis Drake or Jack Sparrow? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The Queen Anne`s Revenge was captained by Edward Teach, also known as Black Beard the Pirate. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: In the early 18 century, Black Beard terrorized the waters along the Virginia and Carolina coasts and out into the Caribbean. He was eventually killed in a battle with British troops. Black Beard`s legendary treasure has never been found. But his ship, which sand off the North Carolina coast, has been a treasure trove for archeologists. On Monday, divers recovered five canons from the wreckage. The guns weighed 2,000 to 3,000 pounds each, including this 20 canons have now been salvaged from the ship. They`ll probably be in the exhibit of artifacts from the Queen Anne`s Revenge. So far, there are more than 280,000 items in that exhibit.

It`s Halloween, and for many retailers, business is boo-o-oming. Average spending maybe down a bit from last year, but consumers are still expected to spend about $6.9 billion dollars on all things sweet and scary. Here, five things you might not know about the business side of Halloween.

First up, the average Dracula is expected to spend about $75 on the holiday. That includes money for decorations, costumes, candy and having some fun, according to the National Retail Federation. All those fixed spider webs and tomb stones add up. If you break down decorations alone, retailers estimate that the average person will spend 21 bucks on them. That makes Halloween second only to the Christmas season in decorating. The candy of choice -- according to a National Confectioners Association Survey, people want to sink their fangs in the chocolate. And by a wide margin, 72 percent. Chocolate makes up about three quarters of a trick-or- treater`s candy bag, which makes cavities excited, too.

And second place in the candy market, there is the time honored fall classic, candy corn. It`s the sweetest corn. The tricolored confection was invented in the 1880s. What is now the Jelly Belly candy company has made it pretty much the same way since 1900. Using mostly sugar, corn syrup and marshmallow. Here`s and odd fact, though: Some think there is a right way to eat candy corn: 47 percent of those surveyed said to eat the whole thing at once. 43 percent said to start with the narrow white end first. Only ten percent said to start with the wide yellow part, because who`d want to do that.

Let`s see. That covers decorations, candy. Now, costumes. Consumers will shall out about 2.6 billion on costumes this year. Overall, witches and Batman seem to be most in demand for adults, while kids often planned to dress as princesses, animals or Batman. So, Batman forever! And this is kind of scary! A good chunk of what consumers spend will be on costumes for their pets! Retailers expect that humans will spend $330 million to totally humiliate Fito (ph) and Fluffy for their furry photo ops. Awkward pet photos or first (inaudible) problems. Either way, it`s frightening.

We`re doing it out big today. We have a hipping, helping of Halloween "Roll Call." The theme for today`s mascots, what else Halloween? There are some demons from Greenway High School out in Phoenix, Arizona watching. Wouldn`t it be Halloween without ghosts? Kaukauna, Wisconsin, is home to the galloping ghosts from Kaukauna High. How about Goblins? We have those two. The Harrison Goblins from Harrison, Arkansas. And the Blue Devils get a mention. Gull Lake High School in Richland, Michigan, spooking of devils will close things out with the Red Devils from Erie High School, Eerie high School in Kansas.

We asked for your pumpkin creativity, and you delivered -- some Red Sox love from students in Banger High School in Maine. We got this carving of Totoro from a Japanese exchange student. Little mascot mastery from the Hox (ph) out in Huma. Next up, a sugar scull. The I-Reporter said it took her three hours to paint this. Time well spent. This wolf designed awesome. One group of I-Reporters sent us a picture of their triple pumpkin display, and finally, a carving that`s close to our hearts. Thanks to everyone for sending in your I-Reports.

If you want to brag about them on Twitter, you have our permission to go trick or tweaty. We hope you have a very happy and save Halloween. For CNN STUDENT NEWS, I`m Carl Azo-o-oz.