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May 30, 2008

National News for May 17 - 30

by Alisa Lu, Online News Editor
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from the Washington Post and CNN. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

May 25 The Mars Craft Phoenix successfully landed on Mars, and is ready to begin looking for signs of life on the planet. Using a parachute and thrusters in place of the typical protective air bags, Phoenix was the first such successful landing using this technology since the Viking Missions in 1976. Designed to stay in place, Phoenix will use a robotic arm to dig into the soil and ice and search for organic material and other signs that life exists, existed or could exist on Mars. Because Phoenix landed further north than any previous missions, scientists think the lender's accessibility to frozen water on or near Mars's surface will tell if the minerals and organic compound needed for life are or were present on Mars.

May 26 - The Department of Transportation announced that data from March show the steepest decrease in driving since 1942, mainly due to record-breaking gas prices. During the Memorial Day weekend, gas prices around the country averaged $3.936 for regular gas, compared with $3.23 last year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). Public transportation has become more popular paritially due to the high gas prices and increased 2.1 percent in 2007, said the American Public Transportation Association.

May 28 Child obesity rates have plateaued among children in the United States, according to federal health officials. A recent government survey found that the percentage of overweight children from ages two to 19 may have stopped rising for the first time since 1980. To determine if the rate really has stopped rising, the government will need to collect more data, according to Cynthia L. Ogden, who analyzed the data. Ogden also noted that the high number of overweight children is still troubling and alarming.

San Francisco, CA
May 21 After the Supreme Court of California declared same-sex mariage legal on May 16, a Los Angeles Times poll found that 54 percent of California residents would support an amendment to the state constitution that allows gay mariage. The ruling will tentatively take effect on June 16, but opponents are asking the Supreme Court to delay its final decision until the November election. Opponents are currently writing and finding the needed signatures to include the amendment on the ballot so voters can either support or oppose the amendment, which if passed, would override the Supreme Court Decision.

Arlington, VA
May 26 - President George Bush honored troops on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetary. Despite widespread dissapproval of the war, the President's motorcade met few protestors during the ride from the White House to the cemetary. Bush eulogized those who died in the Iraq War and followed the tradition of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.




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