2011-01-30 07:30
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome! Just like the students and teachers at Ron Clark Academy, where I had the privilege of speaking yesterday. I'm Carl Azuz, bringing you 10 minutes of headlines, leaving out the commercials. Let's go ahead and get started.

AZUZ: The financial crisis -- the one that sent a shockwave through the U.S. economy and led to the Great Recession -- it could have been avoided. That's what the final report from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission says. This group was put together by Congress in 2009 to try to figure out the causes of the crisis. It held hearings, it interviewed hundreds of people, and released its findings yesterday. The main conclusion: the crisis was avoidable. Some political and financial leaders have argued that there was no way to see this crisis coming. But the commission says there were warning signs and those warnings were ignored or underestimated.

The report puts part of the blame on major corporations, saying they didn't run themselves properly or take into account the risks of some of their business plans. It also blames government policies under both President Bush and President Obama, and some of the actions taken by the Federal Reserve as well. These conclusions come from the majority of the commission. Three members wrote a dissenting, or opposing report, though. They say the majority report doesn't study the causes of the crisis, that it's just a list of things that went wrong. The dissenting report also argues that even if the government had gotten involved sooner, it might not have prevented the crisis because it was a global problem.

AZUZ: Some of you who live in Florida or California might wish you could see snow more often. Some of you live in Florida or California because you don't want to see snow more often, and we're guessing that a lot of people in the U.S. Northeast are sick of it. That region is dealing with yet another strong winter storm. Dangerous traffic conditions, canceled flights, closed schools. Sandra Endo reports on just how much snow is falling and just how bad everything has gotten.


SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: Paralyzing roads and bringing bone-chilling winds, another winter storm has dumped more than a foot of snow in New York's Central Park.

NEW YORK CITY MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: When the snow stopped falling at about 4 a.m., the official reading in Central Park was 19 inches, breaking a record last set in 1925.

ENDO: In Massachusetts, the weight of the snow caused a partial roof collapse at this garage.

JUDITH KENNEDY, LYNN, MASSACHUSETTS MAYOR: There were about 15 people inside the structure when it collapsed. Most of them have made it out under their own power. Thank God everybody seems to be OK.

ENDO: Officials say there was three feet of snow on top off the roof.

JAMES MCDONALD, DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF, LYNN, MASSACHUSETTS: We've had a lot of snow and we're gonna get more. Buildings like this don't get shoveled off, and we are just at the mercy of the construction of the buildings that people are working in.

ENDO: Airports across the Northeast are still trying to get back up to speed after hundreds of flights were cancelled. Airports were shut down for hours while crews worked to clear runways Thursday. And with schools closing in D.C., Maryland, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, this storm pushed snow removal budgets over the limit. Reporting from Washington, I'm Sandra Endo for CNN Student News.



TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Vernon's social studies class at Margaret Pollard Middle School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina! This man is the leader of what African country? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is it: A) Egypt, B) Sudan, C) Libya or D) South Africa? You've got three seconds -- GO! This is Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Unrest in Egypt

AZUZ: President Mubarak is the leader of a country that's in the middle of a political uprising. Protests against the government have been going on all across Egypt, and experts think there could be a lot more demonstrations starting today. The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest group of protesters, is speaking out against President Mubarak's government. It's telling its followers to protest in the streets after today's weekly Muslim prayers end.

In some cases, protesters have fought with police officers. They've thrown things at the security forces. And those forces have used tear gas to try to break up the crowds. At least three protesters and one police officer have been killed this week. Social networking is playing a role in all of this, too. A lot of the protests are being organized on blogs and sites like Twitter and Facebook.

This Day in History

AZUZ: Focusing on a single event in our "This Day in History" segment. On January 28th, 1986 -- exactly 25 years ago today -- the space shuttle Challenger exploded less than two minutes after liftoff, killing all seven people on board.

AZUZ: One of those seven people was Christa McAuliffe. She wasn't an official government employee, like most other astronauts. She was a teacher. And she was picked from a group of more than 11,000 people in the field of education to journey into space. John Zarrella shows us how, 25 years after McAuliffe's tragic death, she's still inspiring young people.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF AND CORRESPONDENT: The fifth graders at Francis Scott Key Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia know quite a bit about space.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: I want to be able to drive rovers on Mars.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: I just recently learned from my brother that the constellations have moved, which is very interesting!

ZARRELLA: There's a good reason. A picture of Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space, sits on a cabinet in the classroom. The kids know who she is not so much from history books, but from their teacher.

MICAELA POND, TEACHER: The woman moaned. This tooth must come out.

ZARRELLA: You see, their teacher Micaela Pond is connected to McAuliffe in a way that simply cannot fade over time.

POND: I feel very lucky to have known her, and I try very much to inspire my students. Whatever your dream may be, it's possible.

ZARRELLA: A quarter century ago, Pond babysat Christa's kids and knew McAuliffe from Sunday school. A junior at Concord High in New Hampshire where McAuliffe taught, she sat in the auditorium with other students that January morning.

POND: And then we heard, "Roger, go with throttle up."

NASA ANNOUNCER: Challenger, go with throttle up.

POND: And that phrase, "obviously there's been a major malfunction."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation, obviously a major malfunction.

POND: I think the realization hit us quite quickly that this isn't good.

ZARRELLA: Seventy-three seconds into the flight, McAuliffe and the six other astronauts perished when Challenger exploded. The accident was caused by bitter cold combined with a faulty rocket booster seal. But the tears that fell that day soon turned to a river of inspiration, leading Pond and many others to follow Christa's path.

POND: I think Christa would be very proud of the legacy she's left. I think she would be ecstatic to know that her students went on to be teachers and were inspired by her.

ZARRELLA: McAuliffe called her flight the ultimate field trip.

CHRISTA MCAULIFFE, TEACHER-ASTRONAUT: I don't think any teacher has ever been more ready.

ZARRELLA: She never got to teach her lessons from space. But today, Pond is one of so many who teach because of Christa McAuliffe. John Zarrella, CNN, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


Blog Report

AZUZ: Excellent and very inspiring story. Well, I thought most of you would've been against the idea of making it illegal to text while walking. And many of you were: just under 70 percent. But almost a third said this isn't such a bad idea. On our blog, Victoria wrote, "there should be a law because if you're walking across the street and not paying attention, someone could pull out and hit you." But from Jeremy: "Really, it's the fault of the driver. Drivers should keep their eyes on the road to see hazards like pedestrians." Shawn said, "it's a good idea to have in bigger cities, but not for smaller towns, where there are few people and less drivers." And over at , Brekiaa thinks "the idea of pedestrians not being able to text is crazy. People are responsible for their actions and should be prepared for any consequence." And Maria writes, "I believe the proposal is fair. Maybe instead of a law, there should be a three-count rule. Get caught three times, then you get a ticket."

Before We Go

AZUZ: Okay, remember that mysterious island piano in yesterday's before we go segment? Let's play it again, sand. The mystery is solved! A teenager says he's the one who parked the grand piano out on this sandbar, with a little help from his friends and dad. He claims it was an art project for his future college applications. One man's trash is another man's art. In this case, it just happens to be the same man.


AZUZ: Authorities aren't planning to take any action against the piano prankster, so it's nice that this grand mystery ended on a positive note. Okay, today's sign-off line from ? It came from just too many of you to count. But to you, from your anchorman: You stay classy, students! Wish I had a moustache for that; that'd be really awesome. We want you to send us your sign-off line this weekend at ! And we'll see ya Monday. Bye bye!