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STUDENT NEWS

Sequester Cuts Take Effect Today

Aired March 1, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Hello, Mr. Feniz. Great (inaudible) humanities class.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: And we are from this international school in Bangkok, Thailand.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: At CNN STUDENT NEWS.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Take it away, Paul. Wow.

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AZUZ: Fridays are awesome. I love starting with I-reports like that one from Ms. Tiffany`s class. I`m Carl Azuz. This is our March, 1st edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. It`s also a deadline for the U.S. government. About $85 billion were set to be eliminated from the federal budget, unless Congress and the president can agree on the way around these automatic spending cuts. That`s not expected to happen, even though none of the politicians really likes these cuts. Here`s the basic problem: the government spends far more than it takes in. But neither the executive branch, nor the legislative branch has total control over what the government spends money on. And they disagree on how to tax and how to spend. So, these cuts are set to kick in the lower government spending, and one big question is, are most Americans going to notice?

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TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you would listen to only the White House, you would have the sense that we are going to a sequestration nation pretty soon, and that everybody would be hit in all these different areas: food safety and education and our tax returns or national parks - everything - and this seems to be true. If you are the right person doing the right thing, you in fact may see an effect here. For example, if you are in a military town, and you rely on military business, you might see an impact fairly soon. If you are at the airport waiting for the right flight at the right busy time, you might have a delay. If you are waiting on unemployment benefits and the check comes in lighter than, you expect, that would also be a real effect on you fairly soon, but notice I`m talking about specific groups of people doing specific things. The broader picture of the whole country may be different, and to address that I want to talk about one of the hardest things that came up today, Eric Holder speaking up, and he had this point to say in the middle of today where he said, look, we will be less safe, if our budget adjusted (ph) cut next year from 27 billion by 1.6 billion, to 25.4 billion. If these cut happens the nation will be less safe These are his words. And this is why he says that: because he says, there will be furloughs at the FBI we`ll have fewer people looking into crimes and trying to prevent crimes. ATF inspections of things like gun permits, all of that, will be knocked down a little bit, there will be fewer people to man the prisons, so prison will spend more time on lockdowns, there will fewer grants for local law enforcement. All of this will make things less safe in the country, according to him.

This is the budget, if it gets the sequester. $25.4 billion for next year. That`s much it would get. But look at this; this is a graph of funding for the Justice Department for the last 11 years. And if you`ll notice, when you look at this graph, in fact, that line would be right about here. So, in fact, for the past 11 years only the past three years has the Justice Department had more money than they would have under the sequester. So, does that mean that all these years we were less safe? When the national crime rate was steadily moving down during that period of time? These are the tough challenges out there, because in many ways, as Democrats in the White House say, all these cataclysmic things are going to hit if the sequester comes in. I think Republicans maybe betting on the idea if a few weeks pass, a couple of months pass, and the public doesn`t notice it, because of things like this, then they are going to be able to turn around to the White House and say, you were just trying to scare us. You said a lot of things, and we haven`t seen it come to pass.

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AZUZ: At 2:00 Eastern, yesterday afternoon, the doors of a papal retreat closed. It signified the official end of Pope Benedict XVI papacy. And it followed a day of good byes. In this last public appearances, Pope Benedict said he was a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on earth. In his last tweet as pope, Benedict wrote, "Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ in the center of your lives. This is historic, in part, because it`s the first time in 600 years that a papacy has ended in retirement rather than death. At cnnstudentnews.com, we posted yesterday`s explainer on how the Catholic Church will choose its next leader.

Next up today, a bit of bad news from the Governors Highway Safety Administration: driving death among American teenagers apparently increased in 2012. The jump was almost 20 percent over the year before. Researchers aren`t sure why, but they`ve known for years that moto-vehicle accidents have been the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers. The overall rate is still lower than it was five years ago, according to the researcher who led this study. But if the goal is to decrease the number of driving related death every year, this is a setback. Different states have different laws and limits on driving ages. Would you accept stricter teen driving laws, if it meant the possibility of fewer accidents? If you are on Facebook, tell us what you think at Facebook.com/cnnstudentnews.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Todays` "Shoutout" goes out to Ms. Colizzi`s students at Maple Valley High School in Vermontville, Michigan. What event is celebrated every year on March 8? You know what to do, is it International Women`s Day, Saint Patrick`s Day, Flag Day, or Teacher Appreciation day? You`ve got three seconds, go!

it International Women`s Day has been celebrated on March 8th, for nearly a century. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout".

We`re still one week away from International Women`s Day, but today marks the start of women`s history month. In fact, one led to the other: International Women`s Day goes all the way back to the early 1900s. The idea came up at an International Conference of Working Women as a way to raise awareness about issues affecting women around the world. So, fast- forward to the 1970s. Women in the United States were planning a new event to celebrate the accomplishments of American women. They picked March because well, that`s when the international celebration was already taking place. Believe it or not, women`s history month didn`t start up as the whole month. At first, it was women`s history week. In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to the entire month of March. Every year, the national women`s history project picks a thing for women`s history month. This year, it`s women inspiring innovation through imagination. It`s specifically honoring women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. But women`s history month is designed to honor women in all walks of life. And that`s what we`ll be doing throughout March.

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AZUZ: Teachers, your turn? How are we doing? We`re looking for and considering all of your comments at cnnstudentnews.com. Please, swing by today, tell us what you think of this show.

First known use of the word "robot" in 1920 in a play. First use of the word "robotics", 1942 in a story. The actual machines are used all over the map today in science, industry, medicine, war. But up until now, anyway, they have mostly featured moving metal parts. Say hello to Saul Griffith, and what could be the next generation of robots.

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SAUL GRIFFITH, CO-FOUNDER, OTHERLAB: If you think about everything, all of the consumer products, every machine the humanity has ever made, it`s, you know stiff and rigid. There`s a completely grained space of soft machine. Robotics industries are most concerned with the number of degrees of freedom.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right.

GRIFFITH: And how much it costs for each degree of freedom.

Here`s a way that we could really transform the cost of robotics. We`ll eliminate all the (inaudible), we`ll eliminate the pins and the bearings and the joints. And we will sew you a robot out of fabric, and use pressurize fluids to make it work. And it will reduce the cost of robots a hundred fold, and it will make them (inaudible).

The gray (ph) behind me, for example, weighs one or two pounds. Yeah, it is the size of your and fully pressurized than I couldn`t, you know, lift a human an arm`s leg.

GUPTA: Wow.

GRIFFITH: There`s no hinges and bearings there. It`s all done in this tensile fabric, so it`s really built like a lot of biological systems that are - this works much more like a fish or a shark than it does like a robot.

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AZUZ: We`ve talked recently about a couple of snowstorms that have hit several states in the U.S. Here`s some I-reports from a student in Iowa: drifts and shovels. Look at both the beauty and the work, associated with winter weather. A teacher from Texas sent us another one you probably haven`t heard about, that`s herd as in cattle, some of them got loose, possibly when snow covered over their fences, and they just mooed on down the road.

And a look at the fun side of snowstorms comes from Kansas where some high school friends spend four hours building a 13 foot Franken snowman. And it`s all pretty good, but this last I-report today is the icing on the snow cone. Some students at Wale (ph) University in Texas apparently made the most of their snow day, building, shaping, slicing and sculpting a miniature at Mount Rushmore. The glasses detail are Mr. Roosevelt. Snow problem, when someone volunteered his own. It`s enough to make fans of U.S. history melt. And never did George, Thomas, Teddy and Abe look so cool. Of course, it`s neither as permanent nor as detailed as the real one. That sculpture rocks. But as long as the snow stuck around, people thought it was pretty chill. And the fact that George Washington had wooden teeth might have kept them from chattering in all that cold. That`s all for CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m sorry, we`ve run out of time. In the future, I`ll just have to rush more. See you..

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