While We Were Out - Winter 2017

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Coast Guard ice breaking

  • Video: PBS LearningMedia, PBS Newshour, Ice in the Great Lakes | Follow the crew of an icebreaker in the last polar vortex winter.

Andrew Jackson White House tree

Olympics torch

Ivory

Net Neutrality

Read the script:

WE’VE GOT A LOT TO CATCH UP ON SINCE OUR WINTER BREAK.

LET’S CATCH UP ON WHAT HAPPENED… WHILE WE WERE OUT.

OKAY SO THIS IS STILL COLD RELATED, BUT THE U.S COAST GUARD HAS BEGUN ICE BREAKING ON THE GREAT LAKES, INCLUDING THE WESTERN SIDE OF LAKE ERIE. HERE YOU CAN SEE A HUGE ICE CUTTER SHIP DRIVING THROUGH THE ICE IN WISCONSIN’S GREEN BAY.

YOU MIGHT WONDER ‘WHY BOTHER’? WELL BREAKING THE ICE IS AN IMPORTANT WINTER TASK FOR THE COAST GUARD. IT KEEPS PORTS LIKE CLEVELAND ACCESSIBLE FOR SHIPS CARRYING GOODS FROM FAR AWAY AND IT KEEPS THE WATER OPEN FOR EMERGENCY CREWS.

OF COURSE WHILE WE WERE OUT THE NEW YEAR RUNG ON IN. TAKE A LOOK AT THE BIG CELEBRATIONS ACROSS THE GLOBE.

CHECK OUT THE FIREWORKS EXPLODING OVER THE FAMOUS SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE IN AUSTRALIA.

OR THESE, AROUND THE LONDON EYE IN ENGLAND.

OR THE ONES OVER SAINT BASIL’S CATHEDRAL IN RUSSIA.

OKAY, OKAY, ENOUGH EXPLOSIONS.

A BIG CHUNK, OR RATHER TRUNK, OF HISTORY HAS BEEN CUT FROM IN FRONT OF THE WHITE HOUSE. ARBORISTS ARE CUTTING DOWN THIS HUGE MAGNOLIA TREE. AN ARBORIST IS A DOCTOR FOR TREES. THIS SPECIAL TREE WAS PLANTED FROM A SEEDLING, BROUGHT THERE BY PRESIDENT ANDREW JACKSON, WHO LEFT OFFICE IN 1837. HE PLANTED IT IN MEMORY OF HIS WIFE RACHEL, WHO PASSED AWAY SHORTLY AFTER HE WON THE ELECTION IN 1828.

THE TREE HAS BEEN GROWING OUTSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE FOR NEARLY 200 YEARS, BUT HAS RECENTLY FALLEN INTO DECAY. FIRST LADY MELANIA TRUMP REQUESTED THAT THE WOOD FROM THE TREE BE PRESERVED, AND THAT A SAPLING FROM IT BE SAVED, LIKELY TO BE PLANTED IN THE SAME SPOT ON THE GROUNDS.

SOMETHING ELSE THE GOVERNMENT WON’T BE SAVING ANYMORE – YOUR TWEETS. THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, THE WORLD’S LARGEST LIBRARY AND HOME TO RESEARCH DONE FOR LEGISLATORS, HAS DETERMINED THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY TWEETS TO KEEP THEM ALL.

THE LIBRARY ANNOUNCED THAT IT WOULD KEEP EVERYONE’S TWEETS IN ITS ARCHIVES IN 2010. SINCE THEN THOUGH; WITH THE GROWTH OF THE PLATFORM AND THE EVER GROWING NUMBER OF TWEETS, THE LIBRARY DECIDED IT WOULD END ITS CONSTANT COLLECTION WITH THE NEW YEAR.

AN EVEN BIGGER INTERNET DECISION WAS MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT WHILE WE WERE AWAY.

THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION IS IN CHARGE OF MAKING RULES ABOUT TELEVISION, RADIO, PHONES AND THE INTERNET.

OVER OUR BREAK, OFFICIALS OPTED TO END A POLICY KNOWN AS NET NEUTRALITY. THEIR REMOVAL OF THIS LAW HAS SOME PEOPLE CONCERNED THAT THEIR INTERNET MIGHT BECOME SLOWE R TO USE.

YOU SEE, NET NEUTRALITY MEANS COMPANIES THAT ARE IN CONTROL OF GETTING THE INTERNET TO YOUR HOME, OR SCHOOL, MUST PROVIDE THE SAME SPEED TO EVERY WEBSITE.

WITHOUT NET NEUTRALITY - SOME PEOPLE ARE AFRAID THAT THE COMPANIES WILL CHOSE FAVORITES WHEN IT COMES TO WEBSITES. THE COMPANIES MIGHT SLOW DOWN NETFLIX OR SPEED UP HULU FOR INSTANCE…. DEPENDING WHO THEY DO BUSINESS WITH.

ON THE OTHER HAND, THE INTERNET COMPANIES THINK THAT WITHOUT NET NEUTRALITY, THEY WILL BE ABLE TO COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER BETTER – SO THEY’RE GLAD TO SEE IT GONE.

EITHER WAY, EXPERTS SAY IT WILL PROBABLY TAKE A WHILE BEFORE WE SEE CHANGES TO OUR WEB SURFING.

NATASHA CHEN: A REPUBLICAN-MAJORITY ON THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION VOTED TO REPEAL AN OBAMA-ERA RULE TODAY - THAT HAD SO FAR STOPPED INTERNET PROVIDERS FROM SPEEDING UP OR SLOWING DOWN SITES AT THEIR CHOOSING.

"THE CHAIR VOTES AYE, THE ITEM IS ADOPTED."

THEY ARGUED THAT REPEALING THIS RULE ALLOWS COMPANIES TO EXPAND AND INNOVATE.

BRENDAN CARR/FCC COMMISSIONER: "AFTER A TWO YEAR DETOUR, ONE THAT HAS SEEN INVESTMENT DECLINE, BROADBAND DEPLOYMENTS PUT ON HOLD, AND INNOVATIVE NEW OFFERINGS SHELVED, IT'S GREAT TO SEE THE FCC RETURNING TO THIS PROVEN REGULATORY APPROACH."

BUT OUTSIDE THE HEARING - PROTESTERS SAID THE PLAN JEOPARDIZES A FREE AND OPEN INTERNET.

RIGHT AWAY - DEMOCRATIC SENATOR ED MARKEY OF MASSACHUSETTS DRAFTED THIS RESOLUTION - IN ATTEMPTS TO STOP THE RULING FROM GOING INTO EFFECT.

UNDER THE CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW ACT, LEGISLATORS HAVE 60 DAYS AFTER A FEDERAL AGENCY RULES ON AN ISSUE - TO SUBMIT A RESOLUTION OF DISAPPROVAL.

MITCHELL BAKER/ MOZELLA CO-FOUNDER & CHARIWOMAN: "THESE RULES ALLOW A SMALL SET OF COMPANIES AND A SMALL SET OF INDIVIDUALS TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT THE COMMUNICATIONS PLATFORMS FOR ALL OF US."

MITCHELL BAKER OF MOZILLA SAYS YOU MIGHT FIND A WEBSITE THAT'S SLOW TO LOAD - NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR CONNECTION - BUT BECAUSE THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THE SITE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY THE INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER FOR A PREMIUM EXPERIENCE.

MITCHELL BAKER/ MOZELLA CO-FOUNDER & CHARIWOMAN: "AND BY REMOVING THE REGULATIONS, IT MEANS JUST A VERY SMALL HANDFUL OF PEOPLE ADN THE BUSINESSES AND THE MOTIVES THAT MOTIVATE THEM ACTUALLY DETERMINE THE COMMUNICATIONS TAHT'S AVAILABLE TO ALL THE REST OF US."

IN WASHINGTON, I'M NATASHA CHEN, REPORTING.

RICK: NOW, HERE’S AN UPDATE CLOSER TO HOME. REMEMBER WHEN WE TOLD YOU ABOUT THE PIT BULL BAN IN LAKEWOOD, OHIO? YOU WROTE US SOME GREAT LETTERS ABOUT WHETHER YOU THOUGHT PEOPLE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO OWN DOGS THAT ARE CONSIDERED TO BE VICIOUS. LIKE THIS ONE FROM LINDSEY AT OLMSTED-FALLS INTERMEDIATE. SHE WROTE:

I SAY YES, EVERYONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HAVE ANY TYPE OF PET.  I THINK SO BECAUSE DOGS ARE ONLY MEAN AND AGGRESSIVE IF THEY ARE ABUSED OR IF THEY ARE TRAINED TO BE MEAN OR AGGRESSIVE. IT'S NOT FAIR TO BAN A WHOLE BREED OF ANIMAL BECAUSE SOME ARE MEAN, WHEN OTHERS ARE KIND AND FRIENDLY!”

WELL IT TURNS OUT THE PEOPLE IN LAKEWOOD AGREED WITH LINDSAY. THEIR CITY COUNCIL HELD A FIRST READING ON REMOVING THE LAW THAT BANS CERTAIN DOG BREEDS. IT WILL STILL TAKE SOME MORE READINGS, AND AGREEMENT FROM THE COUNCIL TO GET THE LAW OFFICIALLY REMOVED, BUT THIS IS THE FIRST STEP IN THE PROCESS.

ANOTHER STEP IN THE PROCESS OF HELPING ANIMALS IS GOING ON ACROSS THE GLOBE. IN CHINA THE COUNTRY HAS SHUT DOWN ALL OF ITS COMMERCIAL IVORY FACTORIES AND SHOPS. IVORY IS A MATERIAL FROM THE TUSKS OF ELEPHANTS, WALRUSES AND NARWHALES. OFTEN THESE ANIMALS ARE HUNTED AND KILLED; JUST FOR THEIR TUSKS AND HORNS. IT’S BELIEVED NEARLY 30,000 AFRICAN ELEPHANTS ARE KILLED ILLEGALLY; EVERY YEAR.

TO STOP THESE KILLINGS, CHINA AND AMERICA AGREED TO SEVERELY CUT DOWN ON IVORY SALES. AMERICA BEGAN DOING SO IN JUNE 2016, BUT CHINA’S BAN BEGAN THE LAST DAY OF 2017. CHINA EVEN DESTROYED IVORY OBJECTS LIKE CARVINGS AND TRINKETS JUST TO SHOW HOW SERIOUS THEY ARE ABOUT THE BAN.

ALRIGHT, ONE LAST THING THAT HAPPENED WHILE WE WERE OUT AND THAT WE CAN STILL LOOK FORWARD TO – THE OLYMPICS ARE ON THE WAY!

FOR EACH SET OF OLYMPIC GAMES, A TORCH TRAVELS ACROSS THE WORLD AS A SYMBOL OF GOOD WILL. THE JOURNEY BEGINS IN OLYMPIA, GREECE - WHERE THE GAMES FIRST BEGAN IN ANCIENT DAYS, GOING TO THE FINAL DESTINATION OF THE CURRENT GAMES. THIS YEAR; THAT FINAL SPOT IS IN PYEONGCHANG COUNTY, SOUTH KOREA.

HERE YOU CAN SEE THE FLAME BEING CARRIED THROUGH THE HISTORIC HAHOE VILLAGE IN SOUTH KOREA. THE TOWN IS KNOWN FOR ITS TRADITIONAL HOUSES, AND IS AN IMPORTANT HERITAGE SITE.

THE FLAME WILL ARRIVE AT ITS FINAL DESTINATION FEBRUARY 9TH FOR THE START OF THE 2018 WINTER GAMES.

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