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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for January 17, 2000

Aired January 17, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Hey, it's Monday, January 17, and this is NEWSROOM. I'm Tom Haynes.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar, thanks for joining us. Here's what's ahead.

HAYNES: In today's top story, the United States honors Doctor Martin Luther King, as President Clinton calls for tougher laws to fight hate crimes.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mr. Clinton announced what he calls the largest investment ever in civil rights enforcement: $695 million, a 13 percent increase over last year.


BAKHTIAR: In today's "Environment Desk," an irony of nature. How a devastating volcano paved the way for a lush new forest.


CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can still see the rim of the extinct volcano in mountains circling the ranch, home to abundant wildlife, trout streams, and one of the nation's largest elk herds.


HAYNES: Next in "Worldview," the United Nations declares war on polio, and sets up its frontlines in war-ravaged Somalia.


ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One casualty of civil war is Somalia's health care system, some of its youngest victims are children, stricken with polio.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BAKHTIAR: From a disease of the body to a disease of the soul, our Martin Luther King Junior Day edition of "Chronicle" looks at the history of hate in the United States.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Slavery was our original sin; race remains our unresolved dilemma.


HAYNES: Today's top story looks to one of U.S. history's most prominent figures. In fact, today is a national holiday honoring the life and work of Martin Luther King Junior. The late civil rights leader would have been 71 Saturday. His vision for America is proving to be timeless.

Supporters of that vision came together at a service and summit in Atlanta. His widow, Coretta Scott King said the America her husband envisioned comes closer to reality, "every time someone reaches out to help someone else."

But King's dream of civil harmony is up against some tough numbers. The U.S. government says there was a huge increase in job bias complaints between 1990 and 1998, and the numbers more than doubled for overall civil rights complaints during the same period.

U.S. President Clinton is using the King holiday to renew his call for Congress to pass a strong hate crimes bill.

Kelly Wallace reports.



KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One hundred-year-old Charlotte Filmore entered the White House through the front door on Saturday for the first time. She worked at the White House during the Eisenhower years but entered through a side door because she was black. President Clinton used her example to highlight progress in civil rights but said more needs to be done to end discrimination and fulfill the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Dr. King taught us that the most important civil right is to provide every citizen with the chance to live the American dream.

WALLACE: Mr. Clinton announced what he calls the largest investment ever in civil rights enforcement, $695 million, a 13 percent increase over last year. And the president urged Congress to pass hate crime legislation, recalling the dragging death of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas, the brutal killing of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student in Wyoming, and the shooting at a Los Angeles Jewish community center. CLINTON: Such hate crimes leave deep scars not just on the victims but on our larger community.

WALLACE: The proposed legislation expands the federal hate crimes law passed after Dr. King's assassination in 1968 to include violence based on gender, disability and sexual orientation. Congress failed to act on it in 1999, and many Republican lawmakers still oppose it.

REP. BOB BARR (R), GEORGIA: The best way to attack hate crimes or any other crime is simply strong, consistent, aggressive enforcement of existing laws. That's what we need, not more laws and not huge increases in budgets.

WALLACE: But administration officials charged with enforcing civil rights say without a stronger hate crimes law, many criminals may go free.

BILL LANN LEE, ACTING ASST. ATTY. GEN. FOR CIVIL RIGHTS: If civil rights protections mean anything, they mean the sanctity of person. But yet we in the civil rights division can't prosecute many cases that need to be prosecuted.

WALLACE: President Clinton escorted Mrs. Filmore out the same front door she entered.

(on camera): An aide says Mr. Clinton drew a lot of inspiration from meeting Mrs. Filmore, and this aide says the president wants a new hate crimes law before he leaves office. And that's a point Mr. Clinton is expected to hammer home in his final State of the Union address less than two weeks away.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, the White House.


HAYNES: NEWSROOM's coverage of Martin Luther King Junior Day continues in "Chronicle." We'll look at race relations in the United States today. Bruce Morton checks out how far we've come, and how far we have to go. That's coming up later in "Chronicle."

BAKHTIAR: Imagine a volcano spewing out its fiery magma. Then, imagine the tons of volcanic residue it leaves in its wake. When a volcano erupts, it can decimate everything for miles. In today's "Environment Desk," we look at the aftermath of one such ancient eruption.

We head to what is now New Mexico, in the United States. Eons ago a volcano that destroyed everything in its path paved the way for a lush new forest there. Scientists say volcanic soil is the very best for growing things. It has just the right among of phosphorus and nitrogen, the main ingredients in plant foods.

Now wait until you see what has grown in the million years since that eruption. Charles Zewe takes us on a tour.


CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eagles and red- tail hawk soar in crystal-blue skies. Cool winds rustle golden aspens, and the elk are mating. It's fall at the Baca Ranch, 95,000 acres of rolling grasslands and evergreens, poised to become America's newest national forest.

DAVE SIMON, NATIONAL PARKS AND CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION: The Baca Ranch is at the top of the list of gifts the American public should give itself for the 21st century.

ZEWE: The panoramic spread was created by a volcanic eruption more than a million years ago. You can still see the rim of the extinct volcano in mountains circling the ranch, home to abundant wildlife, trout streams and one of the nations largest elk herds.

ANDREW DUNIGAN, BACA RANCH OWNER: We've got a lot of memories here.

ZEWE: Andrew Dunigan, whose late father bought the ranch in 1962 for $2.5 million, now hopes to sell it to the federal government for $101 million.

DUNIGAN: The prospect that the American public might have the opportunity to benefit from and enjoy this property as we have is very gratifying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what the Baca land grant number one is.

ZEWE: Like these college science majors, the closest most people have gotten to the pristine solitude of the Baca has been a highway turnout overlooking the ranch's vast Valle Grande.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They spend money on worse things.

ZEWE: The U.S. Forest Service predicts the Baca will attract anglers, hikers and campers in summer and cross-country skiers in winter.

The Baca also would remain open to small groups of hunters, willing to pay $10,000 apiece for the chance to shoot a trophy elk.

(on camera): Under a proposed plan, a board of trustees would operate the Baca as a working, self-sufficient ranch. Hunting would also continue to be allowed. But that plan is controversial.

(voice-over): The worry is pressure to be self-sustaining could lead to clear-cutting the Baca's lush forests.

SIMON: We should not be managing the Baca Ranch for money. We should be managing the Baca Ranch for memories and resource quality.

ZEWE: If Congress signs off on the deal, the public may get to experience the ranch's beauty and serenity within two years.

Charles Zewe, CNN, Sandoval County, New Mexico.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops and neither does the news.

HAYNES: In "Worldview" today, we touch down in Europe and Africa. We'll check out the creative efforts of today's animators, as we explore an animation festival in Spain. Also, efforts in the medical field, as we spotlight the push to stamp out polio in Somalia.

But we begin in Germany, where secrets from the past still haunt Germans today. Ten years after the collapse of communism, it's all too easy for some to forget the Cold War era. There are new things to worry about.

The "Iron Curtain" walls and fences are down and mostly out of sight. But still there are things in shadow that maybe ought to be aired. A border police post in former communist East Germany is the next stop on our "Worldview" tour "beyond the iron curtain."

Richard Blystone takes us there.


RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is not one of those historic sites that dot the old Iron Curtain. Just the skeleton of a border police post in what was communist East Germany, where the old regime's most diligent servants hunted its most unwilling inmates. Somebody seems to have had scores to settle here. Nothing to make you want to linger, while imagination rolls a sinister film with a cast of specters.

(on camera): If this has the power to frighten you now, think what it had then...

(voice-over): ... when there were real Alsatians in the kennels, real prisoners in the cells. Now, just as all along the old Iron Curtain, the movie's over and the theater's dark, but not empty.

There was a person behind the finger that squeezed off the shot that killed West German journalist Kurt Lichtenstein here in 1961. And somebody planned and planted the robot gun that cut down Hans Frank in 1973, one of the 191 who died trying to flee East Germany.

Many of those who killed or gave the orders have been found and brought to justice. But the Stasi, the secret police, had 200,000 informers whose work was sometimes just as fatal.

And as we retraced the Iron Curtain we asked: Where are they? First, Norbert Koop (ph), a West German moved East.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a question for me, too. Where are they? But nobody is interested in this question.

BLYSTONE: "Knowing wouldn't do any good," says schoolmaster Uwe Schmidt (ph). "It doesn't interest me."

Stasi files are open now, and thousands of Eastern Germans have unearthed the past to learn who was reporting on them. Many more would rather plow it under. Like Pastor Friedemann Schubert (ph), who fears he might find he was betrayed by friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now it's better to let it be, and live now.

BLYSTONE: A village barbecue in Galene (ph), just east of the old line. Ursula Bucholdt (ph) says she saw her file, but there was nothing much there. Doesn't know anyone else.

"You did?"

"Yes," says Norbert Schmall (ph). "I didn't find anything significant, but I did have a file because I served a year and a half on the border."


"Did I say something wrong? I didn't volunteer; I was just a conscript soldier."

Another East German floats an idea.

"People who reported to the Stasi probably thought it was the right thing," says Echardt Kunitzer (ph). "I don't know of anybody who was harmed."

Not so, Arndt Schaftner (ph):

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my own files, I found an uncle of me was an informant of the Stasi, you know. And when his wife knew about it, his marriage was just broken, you know.

BLYSTONE: The city of Plauen commemorates the day it stood up for freedom, October 7, 1989. As organizer and a known dissident, the Reverend Thomas Cutler (ph) knew there was a file on him, and he wanted to know who filled it.


BLYSTONE: "The truth will make you free." But the pastor thanks God his Judases were few.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And nobody else was near to me; no other pastor, no friend, and therefore I was glad.

BLYSTONE: Recalling the past is not the same as discovering it. The truth can make you free, or it can burn you.

Richard Blystone, CNN, Plauen, Germany.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Polio has been eliminated in most countries. Known as poliomyelitis, the disease can cripple and even kill. It destroys vital nerve cells in the body's spinal cord, cells that control the ability to use your muscles.

Today, thanks to the development of easy to administer vaccines, polio has been virtually eliminated. Still, in countries like Somalia where these vaccines aren't readily available, polio affects tens of thousands of people each year. But there's an effort underway by the United Nations to wipe out polio worldwide early this year.

The U.N. has been working hard to try to achieve this goal, as Alphonso Van Marsh explains.


ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Somalia is one of the most unstable regions in all of Africa. Warring factions have been vying for control since the fall of Somalia's central government in the early 1990s.

One casualty of civil war is Somalia's health care system. Some of its youngest victims are children stricken with polio. The United Nations hopes to eradicate the polio virus. The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, recently offered polio vaccinations to children in a remote Somali village.

LIEVEN DISOMER, UNICEF: We are planing to reach 1.7 million. This includes all regions of Somalia.

VAN MARSH: It takes just two drops of the polio vaccine followed by another drop of glucose to provide lifelong immunity against polio -- a simple solution and message that seems to be getting through.

"We are in a remote area, and it's important to have my children vaccinated against polio," says this mother.

Important, but not easy. To gain access to local communities, aid workers must develop relationships with their Somali war lords, or find ways to bypass them. UNICEF's polio eradication goal would seem near impossible.

Back in Nairobi, Kenya, UNICEF's Somalia representative says access to most, not all Somali children, may be enough.

GIANFRANCO ROTIGLIANO, UNICEF SOMALIA SUPPORT CENTER: Whenever we are close to 80 percent, 85 percent, there is a public health effect, a mass effect, which help us to achieve the goal.

Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, Nairobi.


HAYNES: Before the turn of the century, French filmmaker George Melies had demonstrated the possibilities of stop motion photography, a frame-by-frame technique which was the precursor to the animated films of today. Animation is the process of giving the illustration of movement or life to cinematographic drawings, models or inanimate objects. Now with the rapid advancement of computers, computer animation is reaching extraordinary heights. An animation festival in Spain spotlighted the creative achievements from animators throughout Europe.

Freida Ghitis has the story.


FREIDA GHITIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Did you ever wonder how the ocean waters became salty? Here's a modern version of the legend Norwegians use to answer that question, presented at this year's European Animation Festival in Cordoba, Spain.

While animators used a variety of techniques, their common purpose was old fashioned story telling, like in this story, "Crocodile Tears," a humorous tale of a street sweeper and a thief by Belgian animator Eric Blesin.

But the animation that stole the show had a profound, almost disturbing theme: a variation on the myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun.

CONSTANTIN CHAMSKI, ANIMATOR: The idea, basically, is a statue -- a stone statue -- which is in a -- how do I say -- a dictatorial town and who is looking at the sky. And in the sky, there are these migrating birds and the statue is looking at them and wants to join them.

GHITIS: The judges said they found this animation breathtaking.

AIDEN HICKEY, FESTIVAL JUDGE: This fascist-type city that he created, and the tragedy of the would-be escapee, I think it was wonderfully done for someone so young. I think it's truly impressive.

GHITIS: Chamski says he was inspired by another medium's innovators.

CHAMSKI: I really tried to do something that nobody had done before, and so I really thought about the surrealism movement which was very interesting to me. And I think those surrealist painters would have loved computer graphics.

GHITIS: The judges in Cordoba loved Chamski's work enough: They gave him the Cartoon d'Or, the top award in the festival.

Freida Ghitis, CNN.


BAKHTIAR: He had a dream, a today all over the United States, Americans are honoring the man who'd been to the mountaintop and beyond. As leader of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. awakened the black masses, turning protests into a crusade and translating local conflicts into moral issues of nationwide concern.

Through tactics of active non-violence, he helped bring down the walls of segregation, but in his short lifetime could not erase the scars of racism.

Bruce Morton looks at racism in the United States.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The riot zone in Watts continues to be the scene of the most disastrous and the worst riot in the history of Los Angeles County.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I remember covering the Watts riot in Las Angeles in 1965.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyone found in the streets in the curfew areas will be subject to immediate arrest by police.


MORTON: I'd been to wars in other countries, but I'd never seen an American city burn. And I remember going up to a group of black men on a street corner and asking, in effect: How did this start? They talked about police abuse and poverty, but one man got to the heart of it. This fire, he said, has been coming for 400 years, coming since before there was a U.S.A., when the first African Americans were loaded off slave ships in chains to stand on the soil of the British colonies and be sold to the highest bidder.

Race runs through all history, of course, but race in America goes back, in fact, about 400 years. Presidential candidate Bill Bradley says slavery was our original sin; race remains our unresolved dilemma.

Slavery was our original sin. Thomas Jefferson wrote the declaration which started this country, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." But Jefferson meant white men -- he owned slaves. The revolution was fought to make white Americans free of Britain. African-Americans weren't free -- period.

Listen to Frederick Douglas speaking on the Fourth of July, 1852: "The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. The Forth of July is yours, not mine." And that stayed true. Americans North and South fought the Civil War, which began over states' right to secede, but became a war about slavery. Abraham Lincoln said, "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy."

If he had lived, much might have been different. But he was murdered, the presidency passed to Andrew Johnson, who wanted to welcome Southern whites back into the union. He was impeached, his opponents imposed a harsh reconstruction on the South. But it didn't last. The Ku Klux Klan appeared, and the white South reimposed legal segregation for almost the next hundred years.

It began to crack after World War II. It began to crack when Rosa Parks wouldn't go to the back of the bus. It began to crack when freedom riders, like now-Congressman John Lewis, integrated bus lines and lunch counters. It began to crack when a minister named Martin Luther King Jr. preached non-violent resistance to segregation.


DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I will not rest until we are able to make this kind of witness in this city so that the power structure downtown will have to say, we can't stop this movement, and the only way to deal with it is to give these people what we owe them and what their God-given rights and their constitutional rights demand.


MORTON: Because King preached non-violence, it was blacks who bore the pain, blacks and white sympathizers who were beaten at the Edmond Fetters (ph) Bridge at Selma, Alabama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This march will not continue.


MORTON: Whites, like Birmingham's Bull Connor, used fire hoses and dogs. Four black schoolgirls died when whites bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. Segregationists shouted:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to keep the whites and the blacks separate.


MORTON: Alabama's George Wallace:


GOV. GEORGE WALLACE (D), ALABAMA: And I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.


MORTON: But black Americans did go to the University of Alabama. A Southern president named Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the walls of legal segregation came tumbling down.

And did that end it? No, of course not.

Before he was killed, Dr. King had begun to shift his attention to economic issues. Clearly, blacks were coming off centuries of inferior education, limited opportunities. America isn't about everyone ending up with as much as everyone else, but it is, in theory, about every child having an equal chance at success. But many whites resist that. Busing is not a popular remedy; Affirmative Action isn't either.

Of course, there are successes: Lots of African Americans hold elective office; lots of African Americans are successful middle-class or upper-class achievers.

The black stockbroker has probably experienced racism trying to buy a house, say, or join a club, but he probably has more in common with his white colleague than either does with the black teenager in a public housing project, whose job choices might be flipping hamburgers or selling drugs.

But what about that teenager? What about the fact that one American child in five is officially poor and that blacks are poorer than whites? How do you reach into the projects, the single-parent families, the 15-year-old moms and make sure those kids have an equal chance?

George W. Bush campaigns a lot in Hispanic communities and almost always says (SPEAKING IN SPANISH), "The American dream is for everyone." But it isn't, of course; not yet. The issue, now, isn't just race, but race and class all mixed up together.

"Ain't going to let nobody turn me around," civil rights marchers used to chant; "going to keep on a walking till I get to freedom land."

(AUDIO GAP) march today, and we seem uncertain of where freedom lies and how to make it real for all our people. The old dream is still unrealized. We live in what Langston Hughes, the poet of the Harlem Renaissance, once called: "America, the land that never was and yet must be."

I'm Bruce Morton.


HAYNES: An international competition to design a memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is underway. A panel of architects will choose from nearly 2,000 entries and will announce their decision in June. They say the winning design must express Dr. King's message of non-violence and brotherhood. The King memorial will be constructed in Washington, D.C. on a four-acre site near the Jefferson Memorial. It also isn't far from the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech. Martin Luther King Jr. will be the first African American honored with a memorial on the mall.

All right, and we want to remind everyone that February is Black History Month in the United States.

BAKHTIAR: That's right. And each Friday next month, we'll be exploring issues of interest to African Americans especially, but to Americans of all races as well. And among other things, we'll look at the influence the blues has had on American culture. Is this once- thriving African-American art form making a comeback?

HAYNES: But first we'll take a look at the debate over so-called Afro-centric education, something that seems to be growing more popular in some African-American neighborhoods.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what African-centered education is: It provides a window from which a world view is presented.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Afro-centric education substitutes one form of racial discrimination and bias, like white supremacy, for another, which is Afro-centrism.


BAKHTIAR: And that does it for us right here.

HAYNES: Yes, we'll see you again tomorrow.


HAYNES: Take care.


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