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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for February 8, 2000

Aired February 8, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: We're cruising into Tuesday here on NEWSROOM. Glad you're on board. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: I'm Andy Jordan.

In today's show, the threat to human lives, whether by our own hands or the hands of nature.

BAKHTIAR: But first, we're in the U.S. for that ongoing race to the White House.

In today's top story, campaign 2000 is heating up in the U.S. and we're hot on the trail of the presidential candidates.

JORDAN: In "Health Desk," the threat of chemical and biological warfare is higher than ever, but are we ready?


DR. JOSEPH BARBERA, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: I think there is a general consensus among emergency planners and among the health care community in the United States that our health care preparedness for catastrophic chemical terrorism is not where we want it to be.


BAKHTIAR: Then in "Worldview," it kills two million people a year in Africa.


AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United Nations was created to stop war. Now we must wage and win a great and peaceful war of our time: the war against AIDS.


JORDAN: And in "Chronicle," playing the Reagan card. In our "Democracy in America" series, we'll tell you which presidential candidates are using "The Gipper" for political leverage. BAKHTIAR: We're back on the campaign trail for today's top story. It's nine months before elections in the United States, and candidates are making the rounds. Today's focus: a group of six men hoping to be the next U.S. president.

On the Republican front, Delaware party members are voting today for the man they want to represent them.

Candy Crowley has that in the first of two reports tracking all the presidential campaign pavement.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New placards, new energy, new attitude.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In this race, there's only one person who can stand up and say, "I'm a reformer with results."

CROWLEY: Campaigning for Delaware's 12 delegates up for grabs in Tuesday's primary, George Bush aimed at the core of John McCain: the title reformer.

BUSH: He is the person who is Mr. Chairman. He's been in Washington for a long time. He's been in there so long that he's now the chairman of a very important committee. And chairmen of very important committees have got the capacity to call people up and say, I'd like your help.

On the one hand, he preaches campaign funding reform; on the other hand, he says pass the plate.

CROWLEY: Bush flashed his own credentials in Texas: tax reform, welfare reform, tort reform, education reform.

In search of Reagan Democrats to help in Michigan's February 22 primary, McCain was defensive about his reform credentials.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We had almost no money when we were using the corporate jets. I could not get around from one place to another and meet my campaign schedule without it. Now we have a lot of money thanks to the Internet and our successes, and we're able to charter a jet.

CROWLEY: And coolly dismissive of Bush's credentials.

MCCAIN: I understand that Governor Bush is now a reformer. If so, it's his first day on the job.

CROWLEY: As McCain spoke on a bus in Michigan, his campaign put up a zinger of an ad in South Carolina, complaining that Bush has broken a promise not to go negative.


NARRATOR: Do we really want another politician in the White House America can't trust?


CROWLEY: No one will be surprised to know that Bush feels McCain is the one who went negative.

BUSH: It's kind of Washington deal about, you know, saying, well, we're not going -- we're going to handshake, and in the meantime run ads. That day's ended.

CROWLEY (on camera): Though one was in Michigan, and the other here in Delaware, the increased tension between the two is palpable. Bottom line here: No more Mr. Nice Guys.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Wilmington.



BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vice President Al Gore, who would like the wrap the nomination up quickly, campaigned for labor votes in New York at an Upper West Side construction site and before a big crowd of District Council 37 of the State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 124,000 city workers.

Gore stressed good economic times under Bill Clinton and promised more of the same.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You ain't seen nothing yet. We have just begun to fight. We've just begun to prosper. We've just begun to fight to keep our budget balanced and pay down our debt and keep that prosperity going.

We have just begun to fight for the Social Security and the Medicare that you have worked for and that you have coming to you.

MORTON: And he attacked Bill Bradley for knocking the Clinton record.

GORE: I want to describe to you one of the big differences between myself and my opponent in the Democratic primary. I don't believe that you can run for the Democratic nomination by running down the progress and achievements of the Democratic Party over the past seven years.

MORTON: In Florida, Bradley stressed race, blasting the state's governor, Jeb Bush, for canceling affirmative action programs.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I strongly oppose the action taken by Governor Bush, because I believe that justice is one of the most enduring and abiding principles that makes up the promise of America. And I believe that when opportunity is taken away or snuffed out, justice is denied and progress is brought to a standstill. MORTON (on camera): Race has been a major theme of Bradley's throughout his campaign, but it's hard to imagine it gaining him much ground. Polls have consistently shown African-Americans favoring Vice President Gore by a wide margin, and they are a group which voted heavily twice for Gore's boss, Bill Clinton.

Bruce Morton, CNN, New York.


BAKHTIAR: Here's a quick look at what's ahead in the presidential nomination process. The next big day for Republicans is February 19, when South Carolina holds its primary. Three days later, Michigan and Arizona Republican voters head to the polls.

March 7 is a huge day in the campaign, with 13 Republican contests and 15 Democratic contests. Two chief primaries that day are in California and New York.

And coming up later in "Chronicle," how a U.S. president from the past is figuring into this year's election.

JORDAN: Terrorist attacks pop up in the news from time to time. Over the past few years, you may have heard about the bombing at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the release of nerve gas in a Tokyo subway.

Biological and chemical warfare are big concerns around the world. Biological warfare uses disease-producing microorganisms or organic biocides to destroy livestock, crops or human lives. Biological agents include things such as anthrax, botulism and cholera.

It's scary because bacteria and other live agents can be contagious and reproductive. That means they can multiply so they can become more dangerous over time.

Then there's chemical warfare, which uses chemicals, especially irritants, asphyxiants, contaminants, poisons and incendiaries as direct weapons.

Are hospitals equipped to deal with such disasters? It's a concern around the world. In our "Health Desk today, Dr. Steve Salvatore examines U.S. readiness.


DR. STEVE SALVATORE, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 20th century ended with a heightened concern about terrorism. Bombs are usually thought to be the terrorist's weapon of choice, but now more than ever the perceived threat of a chemical or biological attack against civilian populations is high.

The question is, are we ready?

DR. JOSEPH BARBERA, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: I think there is a general consensus among emergency planners and among the health care community in the United States that our health care preparedness for catastrophic chemical terrorism is not where we want it to be.

SALVATORE: Experts say, biological and chemical attacks shift a large part of the burden away from police and firemen toward hospitals and health care workers. According to an article in this "Journal of the American Medical Association," hospitals need new disaster plans.

Today, about 25 percent of hospitals are at some stage of readiness for a chemical or biological incident. And most of those are in major population centers, where such attacks are most likely to occur. That's according to a statement from the American Hospital Association.

One facility that is ready is New York's Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Neal Flomenbaum heads up the emergency department.

DR. NEAL FLOMENBAUM, N.Y. PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: We had to consider our proximity to areas that might likely be involved, the logistics of decontaminating large numbers of patients, the likelihood that after a period of time the ground floor of the hospital could become contaminated.

SALVATORE: And large quantities of antidotes and antibiotics are being stockpiled in case of a bioterrorism attack.

(on camera): Experts say, there is no guarantee of protection against a biological or chemical attack. When you live in a free society such as ours, it's a risk that we all take. However, they say, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be well prepared.

Dr. Steve Salvatore, CNN, New York.


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

BAKHTIAR: Coming up in "Worldview," what's the most popular pet? we'll fill you in, as we catalogue the categories. And we'll head to France For a feast. We'll meet chefs who are blind, but quite insightful when it comes to cooking.

But first, as you learned in our "Health Desk," bioterrorism is a global concern. So is another health risk, one that threatens people of all ages, races and genders. The United Nations took up that problem recently.

The United Nations is an organization of countries that works for world peace and the betterment of humanity. There 185 member nations. The U.N. was established on October 24, 1945, shortly after World War II. As the war drew to an end, Germany, Italy and Japan decided that such a war should never happen again. So representatives from those countries met in San Francisco in April of 1945 and worked out a plan for an organization that would help keep peace in the world. Two months later, in June, 50 nations signed the charter of the United Nations. They were the first U.N. members.

Since then, more than 100 other nations have joined. Each member sends representatives to the U.N. headquarters in New York City where they discuss and try to solve problems in the world like famine, AIDS and war.

Richard Roth reports on the latest efforts of the U.N. to combat AIDS.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): AIDS kills two million people a year in Africa, 10 times more than those who die in war.

LIBERTINE AMATHILA, NAMBIAN HEALTH MINISTER: As long as the HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to grow, political stability and peace will be affected.

ROTH: World peace is traditionally the job of the U.N. Security Council, but the diplomats have steered away from ever scheduling a health issue, such as AIDS, in the chamber. That all changed under U.S. urging. Vice President Al Gore chaired a Security Council speech session on the virus.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United Nations was created to stop wars. Now we must wage and win a great and peaceful war of our time -- the war against AIDS.

ROTH: Gore proposed $150 million in additional investment by Washington for AIDS prevention and education, while conceding the U.S. has not done enough against the virus. Will $150 million be enough to help 23 million Africans who are infected?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: The resources available are obviously not sufficient to deal with the dimensions of the problem yet, but this is a big step forward.

ROTH: U.N. AIDS officials liked hearing of new funding, but liked even more having an AIDS debate inside the prestigious Security Council.

DR. PETER PIOT, EXEC. DIR., UN AIDS: You've got to fight for every dollar for any health problem -- program, but not when it's a security problem. Then, suddenly, millions, if not billions, will come. And I think that's the value added of this debate at the Security Council.

ROTH (on camera): Ending taboos, such as discussing AIDS inside the U.N. Security Council, may prompt African nations to do more and encourage other nations to increase funding to combat AIDS.

Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.

(END VIDEOTAPE) JORDAN: France is home to many treasures of the world. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre are just a few of the obvious. France has also given the world amazing art, literature, fashion and haute cuisine. In fact, the French are famous for their gourmet cooking. Their delicious breads, appetizers, sauces and desserts are copied by restaurants around the world. And some chefs in France can even cook up a storm with their eyes closed.

Peter Humi explains.


PETER HUMI, CNN PARIS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Slicing vegetables like this is how the professionals do it. Try it wearing a blindfold. Thierry Po (ph) knows what that's like. Since he was 19, his sight has been seriously impaired.

Interested in cooking since his youth in Cambodia, Po has acquired most of the culinary skills that all chefs rely on: smell, hearing, taste and touch.

KEN ATKINSON, CORDON BLEU COOK SCHOOL: This right here is soft, so that means it's rare. This right here is a little bit firmer, so that means it's medium, and here it means it's well done, and that's how he could tell that salmon was done, as well.

HUMI: Gilbert Charriere has been totally blind for more than 30 years.

"Measuring out liquids and weighing things was very hard," he says, adding, "when I started, there was a lot mess and I needed help."

Special measuring cups and utensils are available to the blind. And now a cook book, too.

(on camera): Impressed by some of the blind cooks they've witnessed in action, the Cordon Bleu Cookery School has helped publish these: two volumes of recipes in braille, prepared by the blind for the blind.

(voice-over): The idea was to encourage other visually handicapped people to take up cooking. And on a similar culinary theme, a restaurant in Paris this summer invited the public to experience what it was like to be blind. In complete darkness, customers had to grope and fumble their way around furniture, cutlery and their food and drink. Thousands experienced it.

Olga Herlem has to live it.

"I live alone," says Mrs. Herlem, who is 99 percent blind. "And you know," she continues, "when my daughter tries to help me, she moves everything around in the kitchen and then I don't know where I am."

For the record, Mrs. Herlem produced a Piedmontese salad. Thierry Po, a fried salmon with Belgian endives, and Gilbert Charriere, poached pears in red wine sauce.

"It's good," he says. But then he added, "I knew it would be."

Peter Humi, CNN, Paris.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: From time to time on "Worldview," we tell you about the plight of endangered animals, or about the conditions of working animals around the world, like the elephants of Thailand, for example. Well, today we focus instead on animals in your own backyard, or your home, the animals you know and love. You guessed it: your own pets. Pets, it seems, have a long and cherished tradition.

Anne McDermott has our animal tale.


ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Did you have a good day, Sparky? How about you, Fluffy?

According to a recent poll, when we get home from work, more of us greet our pets than our spouses. But then do our spouses love us no matter what? There are about 235 million pets in the U.S. That's almost a pet a person.

The Spera family, for example, has quite a few -- cats and rabbits and Brittany (ph) and Bear.

CHRISTINA SPERA, AGE 12: Bear, and we call her Gummy Bear now because she doesn't have any teeth.

MCDERMOTT: They also have pet chickens.

AMANDA SPERA, AGE 9: This is Buffy. She's really kind.

MCDERMOTT: But pet historian Harriet Ritvo says menageries such as this were not always the norm.

HARRIET RITVO, AUTHOR, "THE ANIMAL ESTATE": Pet keeping as a widespread practice is only a couple hundred years old.

MCDERMOTT: Before that, dogs and cats were for the rich and royal. Rulers in old England, for example, put pets in their portraits. This is what's known as a top dog.

The royalty of ancient Egypt were feline fanatics, but they were also fond of their fish, which they sometimes adorned with jewels.

And in her book, "Reigning Cats and Dogs," Katharine MacDonogh writes that early emperors of China decreed dogs look like this. And to obtain that look, they would pull pups' tongues to lengthen them and,...

KATHARINE MACDONOGH, "REIGNING CATS AND DOGS": They also broke the noses to get them flatter.

MCDERMOTT: Most animals, meanwhile, had to work for a living. But that began to change with the emergence of the middle class in the 19th century. Average folks had more leisure time, more money, and suddenly luxuries like Labradors were within reach. And no one needed working dogs anymore. Oh, sure, some are still involved in volunteerism, but most of them just hang out and go for rides these days.

For the longest time, dogs were the most popular pets and the pride of presidents, from FDR to WJC. But these days, cats are...

RITVO: Cats are...

MCDERMOTT: Well, cats are slightly more popular these days, having clawed their way to the top.

But exotic birds are becoming increasingly popular. And so are turtles and lizards -- ooh, lets see that again -- lizards, even pigs. And, yes, pets all have to eat all different kinds of things.

MCDERMOTT (on camera): Do fish eat carrots?

DANIEL KIM, PET SHOP OWNER: Carrots, carrots? I don't think so.

MCDERMOTT (voice-over): Well, think again.

Mass produced pet food began to take off in the '20s. Why, explorer Richard Byrd even took some Purina to the pole with him. And today people spend plenty on pets -- more than $20 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Now, that includes clothing, though pets themselves seem to prefer the natural look.

But natural may be on the way out. Meet RoboDog. Well, it'll never replace the Chia Pet, and nothing will ever replace the real thing.

Face it, it's the only way on Earth most of us will ever get...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unconditional love, boy.

MCDERMOTT: ... unconditional love and absolute obedience. Right, boy? Now, stay.

Anne McDermott, CNN, Los Angeles.


ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segments that fit your lesson plan. Plus, there are discussion questions and activities, and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day, find hot links to other on-line resources and previews of upcoming desk segments. It's all at this Web address, where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy, it's free, it's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops, and neither does learning.

JORDAN: Well, of course, every Tuesday here on NEWSROOM, we track the U.S. presidential election in our series "Democracy in America." This week, we're focusing on the political rhetoric so intrinsic to the campaign process, especially between liberals and conservatives.

Now, liberal is defined as anyone who's an advocate of political and social reform, like expanding government control of the economy or proposing more laws for the protection of consumers. Conservatives, on the other hand, adhere to a political disposition that tends to prefer the status quo and accept change only in moderation.

Now there's one conservative who's on the tip of the tongues of Democrats and Republicans alike.

Bruce Morton on why "the Gipper" is making a comeback on the campaign trail.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His presidency ended more than a decade ago, but politicians -- Democrat and Republican -- still talk about Ronald Reagan.

Al Gore has an ad noting that in Congress he opposed the Reagan budget cuts. He says that because Bill Bradley was one of 36 Democratic senators who voted for the cuts.

Gore doesn't point out that Bradley also voted against the popular Reagan tax cuts, and that it was the tax cuts that piled up those enormous deficits -- the snowballing national debt.

And that's just Democrats.

Republicans all say good things about "the Gipper." Bush says his proposed tax cut is in the Reagan tradition. John McCain campaigns under the Reagan banner as well.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think that anybody can paint me as being anything but a proud conservative, as I am in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and my favorite, Theodore Roosevelt.

MORTON: Steve Forbes notes that Reagan picked him to lead Radio Free Europe, which, a Forbes ad says, helped play a role in the fall of communism.

Alan Keyes always notes that he worked in the Reagan administration.

Clearly, for all sorts of candidates in all sorts of ways, "the Gipper"'s legend lives.

What kind of president was Reagan? First, a president who won big and therefore arrived with a mandate. He'd run promising to boost defense spending and cut taxes, and the Democratic Congress, looking at the votes, said, OK, and went along.

Did he end the Cold War? He helped, certainly. But presidents of both parties followed a policy of containing the Soviet Union, and that's what finally brought the Soviet Union to its knees.

Socially conservatives loved Reagan, even though while speaking eloquently to their issues -- abortion, school prayer -- he never did much about them. Maybe his real achievement was that he made America feel good again. After all the cynicism bred by the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, here was a happy optimist proclaiming "it's morning in America, that shining city on a hill."


RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She still stands strong and true on the granite ridge and her glow is held steady, no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom.


MORTON: And if facts -- yes, the U.S. really did trade arms for hostages -- sometimes got in the way, he'd simply forget them.

Reagan really was the boy who just knew that with all that manure, there had to be a pony somewhere. And he got the rest of America to smile and believe again, too.

I'm Bruce Morton.


BAKHTIAR: Now, we usually talk about numbers here, and those statistics often have compelling stories behind them. In the time since today's show started, one person has gone on the list of people waiting for organ transplants, and another name will go on that list 18 minutes from now. The more people who donate organs, the more patients who are treated.

Today, what those numbers have to do with a young man named Nick.

Here's Eileen O'Connor.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This summer, 14-year-old Nick Breach's biggest concern was how well his high school football team would do this season, until he discovered the opponent he thought he'd beaten had returned. Now Nick is dying of an inoperable brain tumor.

Bloated by drugs, instead of giving up on life, Nick decided to give life to others by donating his organs.

RICK BREACH, FATHER: Nicholas (ph) had started counting the number of organs that he had that he could donate, and he basically started, you know, saying heart and lungs and liver, and that type of thing. And he basically came up with at least six organs that could be donated.

O'CONNOR: Nick, says his mother, Kim, has always been a helper, tutoring at an elementary school, serving at church.

KIM BREACH, MOTHER: He realized that he's still going to be with us because he's going to be helping other people.

O'CONNOR: As it turns out, many more than he originally thought.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your choice of donating your organs is the most admirable decision I've ever heard and has inspired the two of us to donate our organs as well.

O'CONNOR: Their letters to Nick say it isn't just his decision to donate his organs that is making students at the Camp Hill Middle School think about their own lives, it's the way they say Nick has lived his life.

AARON SAMSEL, STUDENT: When you're faced with a problem like that, you really have to stick your, you know, chest in the air and, you know, walk -- you know, just face it, march toward it, and I really think Nick's done that.

O'CONNOR (on camera): Is this the tumor here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is an MRI scan.

O'CONNOR (voice-over): Nick's doctor, Alan Freeberg (ph), says he's never seen a terminally ill child like Nick make the decision to donate his organs, but by doing so, he will live on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a wonderful chance to -- he can save more lives than I can. There are many people who're -- who have heard his story, and because of that, I'm sure there will be other people who will donate.

O'CONNOR: Nick, his parents say, wanted even in these final days to be able to talk about his decision himself, but it is a struggle.


O'CONNOR (on camera): So giving help is what you wanted to do?

(voice-over): His family says his decision has helped them.

R. BREACH: He is a hero, and a lot of these kids are now looking up to him.

K. BREACH: He's taught us all a lot about courage and how God wants us to live our lives.


BAKHTIAR: What a true hero. JORDAN: Inspiring, and telling an example to us all.

BAKHTIAR: Absolutely.

JORDAN: Well, if you'd like to donate an organ, there's a day dedicated to finding out how to go about doing so. National Donor Day is coming up Saturday in the United States.

BAKHTIAR: And you can also head to our Web site,, and click on the NEWSROOM icon. There, you'll find resource material on organ donation.

And that does it for us here. We'll see you back tomorrow.



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