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Mixed Jobs Report; Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony

Aired February 10, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Economics, the food supply, the Olympics - all subjects covered this Monday on CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz. Welcome to the show.

First up, U.S. unemployment and jobs numbers. The government usually releases this info on the first Friday of every month. It`s important, because it can indicated how the economy is doing. Latest numbers are a mixed bag. On one hand, the unemployment rate ticked down one tenths of a percentage point to 6.6 percent in January. That`s the lowest it`s been in five years. But it only measure people who are actively looking for jobs, and many Americans have given up. The economy added 113,000 jobs in January, economists call that weak. They were expecting 178,000. The United States national debt is $17.3 trillion and counting. It`s the highest level of any country in the world. The debt limit, or ceiling was created during World War I. It was intended to limit how much the government spent. But Congress has always raised it when it was hit. And now that we`ve hit it again, that`s what Congress is expected to do again.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s back in town, the debt limits circus. But the juggling isn`t the conventional kind you might find in the big top. This juggling uses special accounting rules and billions of dollars. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has some experience juggling. In fact, he`s a pretty good juggler, after all. He had to do this last fall. But like the movie "Groundhog Day", we`re back at the same place. Effectively, the Treasury can`t borrow more money to run the country, because we`ve reached the legal debt limit. That`s right. To run the country, we have to borrow some money to do everything we`ve promised. Lew now has to use accounting tricks to keep the U.S. solvent, but he can`t do it for very long. He`s already warned that if a deal isn`t done by the end of the month, America risks a default on some of its obligations. And the smart money bets, Congress comes up with the deal in the next few weeks that we avoid a market meltdown, a global panic, spiking interest rates.

House Speaker John Boehner already saying that even getting close to a default isn`t an option this time. And after last fall`s government shutdown, Republicans and Democrats don`t seem to have much stomach for a standoff. So, the juggling has begun for now and investors can watch Jack Lew pull off more daring moves to buy time to keep the U.S. from fiscal freefall until Congress gets a budget deal, but it needs a deal soon. Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


AZUZ: The Obama administration is taking another step in support of same sex marriage. It`s expanding how the government recognizes it. What this means: same sex couples will get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples do wherever the U.S. government has jurisdiction. So, this will apply in court cases, prison visitations and when it comes to spousal benefits when a police officer or a firefighter is killed on the job. This doesn`t legalize same sex marriage in all 50 states. Currently 17 states allow that. But it means that same sex couples who get married in a state where it is legal will get government benefits even if they leave in a state where it`s not. The U.S. Attorney General says this will change countless lives of same sex couples for the better. Some critics say the government is going too far. The National Organization of Marriage says "It undermines the authority of states to make their own decisions about how marriage is handled under law."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, if you can I.D. me. I`m a U.S. government agency that dates back to 1862. In the president`s cabinet I`m represented by Thomas Vilsack. Part of my job is to oversee the U.S. farming industry. I`m the U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA and I work to ensure America`s food supply is safe.

AZUZ: One way the USDA does that is by inspecting the companies that produce food. If a company breaks the law by not getting those inspections, it may have to recall the food it makes. That`s what`s happening with the Rancho Feeding Corporation. It`s recalling 8.7 million pounds of beef and veal, because it wasn`t properly inspected by the USDA. The government says some of the meat came from animals that had diseases or that weren`t safe for human consumption. The meat was sent to places in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas. We don`t know yet if it was sold in markets or restaurants. But the USDA says that so far, no one has reported getting sick from eating it.

OK, separate story about sickness. The most common stomach bug we can get is norovirus. 19 million or more Americans get it every year in crowded places like nursing homes, daycare centers or cruise ships. In fact, almost 900 people on two different cruise ships have gotten norovirus so far this year. So, why isn`t it more common on Navy ships?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pick it up! Pick it up!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.S. Navy prides itself on being ready to fight. Whether it`s a fire on the flight deck like this drill on the USS Iwo Jima, or in the ship`s bowels where they battle an unseen enemy: germs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Command is cleaning stations.

CAPTAIN JIM MCGOVERN, IWO JIMA COMMANDING OFFICER: Serious outbreaks of ten or 20 individuals being sick are taken very seriously and we, you know, we attack those outbreaks.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: I`m the United States sailor ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With 3,000 sailors and Marines on board the Iwo Jima, you might think outbreaks of illness would be common. Norovirus sickened nearly 700 people on the cruise ship last month. But the Navy never lets it get to that point. When illnesses like Norovirus break out, sailors are quickly isolated.

VICE ADMIRAL MATTHEW NATHAN, SURGEON GENERAL OF THE NAVY: We either restrict them to medical, we restrict them to their quarters, we do not allow them to traverse to the food stations, to the galleys, to the library, to the gym.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And ships are cleaned around the clock.

JOHN CANEVARI, IWO JIMA CREWMAN: Every day at 07:30 we basically do a clearing station of the ship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From stem to stern, every sailor sweeps, scrubs and swabs.

DANA GORDON, IWO JIMA EXECUTIVE OFFICER: All of our sailors out cleaning from over here, it`s the decks, the (inaudible) all the way down to the decks.

JAKEILA OWENS, IWO JIMA CULINARY SPECIALIST: It`s important to keep this area clean, because cross contamination is a big factor in food borne illness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Outbreak or not, the galley is inspected by the ship`s medical stuff constantly, looking for everything from dirt to expired food.

AARAON FERGUSON, IWO JIMA PREVENTIVE MEDICINE TECHNICIAN: We go through every day, two to three times a day during meal periods, after meal periods for the cleaning. So that way, we know that their practices are safe for the crew.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s military discipline that makes the difference, the Navy surgeon general says.

NATHAN: If you have a ship whose main center of gravity is social gatherings, food places, dancing areas and swimming pools, all those things that sailors wish they had, but don`t have on our Navy ships, then I think it`s much more challenging environment to control the spread of a highly contagious virus.


AZUZ: If you`re watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on Friday, you saw some huge and technologically advanced visual effects. It was part fireworks show, part movie making, part Russian ballet, and part remembrance of Russia`s complicated and controversial history. It brought together projection and reflection, but you couldn`t quite call it perfection.


RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As competition continues here in Sochi, so does the controversy. This time, the focus is on the opening ceremony. At the beginning of the ceremony, a stage manager gave a bad direction to the crew, and one of the electronic snowflakes that was supposed to transform into an Olympic ring, well, it didn`t. American viewers saw that, and so did most of the rest of the world. But not here in Russia. Russian TV actually admitted that when they saw the mistake, they had to broadcast - cut to rehearsal video of the ring functioning properly. And the director also seemed to think that was no big deal. Take a listen.

KONSTANTIN ERNST, SOCHI 2014 CEREMONIES PRODUCER (through translator): When we understood because we had headphones communicating with all the technical people, we were in contact with them. Just a few seconds before we understood that the rings were not opening, we ordered the production booth, which provided the Russian national signal that we were taking the ring opening from the rehearsal. That was the only piece that we used.

NICHOLS: So, in Russia, the mistake never happened. It`s a good reminder here that the official narrative doesn`t always match real life. In Sochi, I`m Rachel Nichols, CNN.


AZUZ: Titanic, how you could describe today`s CNN STUDENT NEWS Roll Call. Why? Because it`s about the titans at Grand Terrace High School in Grand Terrace, California. It`s about the Titans at Papillion La Vista South High School in Papillion, Nebraska. And guess what? The Titans what? Davidson Middle School in Southgate, Michigan. Thanks for watching you all.

There are only snow many times you can build a snowman before the coolness wears off. So, what do you do then? You take it up a notch. Or in this case, many notches. From a place that`s quite compatible with cold, Chicago, Illinois, the annual Snow Day Sculpting Competition pits 27 teams against ten foot blocks of snow. Given them the chance to shape a wonderland out of the long cold winter. Some of these teams practice all year using sand. So there`s a bit of grit to it: it takes more than a grain of talent. I know that shapes up another edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`ll bring you more cutting edge stories tomorrow. We hope you can carve back ten minutes for the show.