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Three Appointments by President Obama Rare Intersection of Three Branches of Government; West Virginia Water Pollution; State Department`s Warning to People Who Want to Visit the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia

Aired January 14, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz. First up today on CNN STUDENT NEWS, a rare intersection of the three branches of the U.S. government. This doesn`t happen every day. At the center of this story three job appointments made by President Obama. You know from civics that for certain government jobs, the president can`t simply appoint whomever he wants. He nominates people for them. And the Senate gives the president advice and consent by deciding whether to approve his nominations. The Founding Fathers wanted to keep anyone branch of government from having too much power over the others. What`s known as checks and balances?

But what if the Senate`s not in session, and the jobs aren`t filled? Well, the president can make recess appointments, temporarily filling the jobs until the end of the following year unless the Senate decides to approve them for longer. Well, over the Senate`s holiday break from 2011 to 2012, President Obama appointed three people to the National Labor Relations Board without Senate approval. The president`s stance - these were recess appointments that he could make temporarily without advice and consent as some of this predecessors have done. But the Senate wasn`t technically in recess, it was in pro-forma, and what that means, it wasn`t passing laws or conducting official business, but it was technically in session. Formally convening and then immediately adjourning. Some senators set this up to prevent President Obama from making recess appointments.

Now, for the third branch - the judicial one. Yesterday, The Supreme Court took this up, it could decide whether President Obama`s appointments were appropriate or if they violated the constitutional principle of advice and consent. It really come down to how the high court defines the Senate`s recess.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." Parts per million is commonly used as a measurement of what? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: digitization, buoyancy, pollution or radiance. You`ve got three seconds, go!

When you are talking about small levels of pollution, you`re likely talking about it in terms of parts per million. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: Officials in West Virginia say as far as the certain chemicals concerned, one part per million is a low enough level that the water is safe for drinking. But after a recent chemical spill, it spiked as high as two to three parts per million, and officials put a ban on tap water for days. And the state`s largest city schools were forced to shut down, restaurants had to close, no washing dishes, no showers. Residents were told to use tap water only for flushing toilets and fighting fires. Pollution levels are now decreasing allowing some folks to start flushing out their waterlines. But they`ve had to be creative to get by without running water.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the state of emergency, you do whatever it takes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Firefighters in Charleston, West Virginia come to the rescue with water, bottles of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least 600, 700 cases, probably more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The lines to collect keep growing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`ll be just a minute, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 300,000 people have been forced to get by on bottled water since Thursday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s when a chemical leak was found to have tainted the water supply. Schools are shut down, water samples are being tested around the clock for signs of improvement.

EARL RAY TOMBLIN, GOVERNOR, WEST VIRGINIA: I believe that we are at a point where we could say that we see light at the end of the tunnel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there is still no specific timeline for lifting the water use ban, it`ll happen in phases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are anxious because they don`t have certainty about what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Officials now believe as many as 7500 gallons of a chemical used to clean coal leaked into the water supply from a one inch hole in the underground part of a storage tank. The problem was discovered around 8:00 Thursday morning, when someone reported smelling the scent of licorice. Freedom Industries, which owns the tanks says it became aware of the leak around 10:30.

TOMBLIN: I think there should be a thorough investigation of what happened and why this incident happened at Freedom Industries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Investigators say, it will take weeks to determine whether the leak could have somehow been prevented and just how quickly it was detected. For another day, people in West Virginia are left high and dry.


AZUZ: The U.S. State Department is warning Americans that large scale public events like the Olympics are attractive targets for terrorists. This doesn`t mean they`ll try or successfully carry out an attack. Olympics organizers in Russia say next month events will be the safest and most secure games ever. But the U.S. officials are telling travelers to take no chances.


NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The State Department has issued a travel warning for people heading to Olympic Games in Sochi, barely four weeks away now. They say that they should be - (inaudible) leave their surroundings that they should be aware in the region there have been a number of terrorist attacks over the past decade or so targeting government buildings, travel hubs, schools, all sorts of buildings. But the State Department says they don`t have a specific terror threat they are aware of for the Olympics. However, Russian officials over the weekend have arrested two groups of people, one of those groups, six people, they say, were responsible for a car bombing in the region just north of Sochi a couple of weeks ago. They say that group of people admitted under questioning that they were planning to carry out another big attack. So, Russian officials say that they moved just in time to fought an attack by that group of six, and another group of five people they arrested in another region just north of Sochi again, the police there saying that they, that the five people there arrested had weapons and a homemade bomb as well containing about five pounds, 2.5 kilograms or so, high explosive TNT.

So, the security efforts in the region still high. The State Department alerting anyone traveling to the Olympics to be cautious, to look out in their surroundings. And also saying that because the medical facilities in Sochi haven`t been tested for high numbers yet, and because medical facilities in Russia, the State Department says, don`t necessarily match what people would expect in the West, they are advising people traveling to the Olympics to get medical insurance and repatriation insurance as well in case they need to be flown out to - for some medical injury. So that advice coming over the weekend from the State Department. Nic Robertson, CNN, Moscow.


AZUZ: Today`s "Roll Call" involves ramblers and stingers, but it has nothing to do with Georgia Tech. We are talking about the Ramblers of Lafayette High School. They are watching today from Lafayette, Georgia. And then the Stingers of Martin Behrman Charter School, they are located in New Orleans, Louisiana. And lest we forget my bulldogs, we`ve got those too. Folsom High School in Folsom, California. This part on our "Roll Call" is for you.

Susan Holcombe is a mom of resident of South Carolina and a proud Clemson graduate. Something happened recently involving her son that made her even prouder of her alma mater. He`s one of only 15 students accepted into a college program for young people with intellectual disabilities. Now, you can see how he reacted.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 20-year old Rion Holcombe. Rion has Down syndrome. But he doesn`t let that hold him back, a point he made here as part of his video application to college. Clemson University knows that far too many people like Rion get left out of a college experience, so they`ve actually designed a program for students like him and just the other day Rion got a letter from Clemson. Watch the reaction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please to inform you of your acceptance into the Clemson LIFE program for the fall of 2014 beginning August 17, 2014.

RION HOLCOMBE: They say yes!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said yes. What do you say?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this! Sweatshirt says college!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Rion! A college education is the good stuff and you are going to get it. Now, remember .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s still stunned .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, he is. And so are so many who are going to hear this story, because why, when you think Down syndrome, you think limitations. But now you see that limits are only what you make them, and Rion is proving that on the very grand scale. Congratulations!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Way to go Clemson, for a program like that.


AZUZ: Teachers, please visit us at, if you are already here, stay a while, we have a podcast, a transcript of each day`s show, daily discussion questions, all available from our front page and all for free. You can see every show we produce this school year by clicking on our archive. It`s all commercial free. It`s all at

Mosaic - noun, a decoration made by putting a whole bunch of smaller pieces together. But there`s something fishy about this one. It`s made of sushi. More than 100 sushi chefs, say that three times fast, rolled up their sleeves and their lunch. They covered more than 400 square feet in an event in Hong Kong to set a Guinness world record for largest sushi mosaic. More than 20,000 pieces, and to keep it all fresh, they did this in a really cool skating rink.

Of course, some fingers like the food were raw from all the effort, but what a raw accomplishment! Those chefs were on the roll, putting their sushi skills to the taste, getting in to swim of a record setting succulence all to the tuna international recognition. I`m Carl Azuz. And I`ll sushi you tomorrow.