NEWSROOM for February 9, 2000Aired February 9, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Hey, it is Wednesday, February 9 here on NEWSROOM. I am Rudi Bakhtiar. Thanks for tuning in.
We start with a serious situation unfolding in the Middle East. In "Today's News" violence erupts in Lebanon, where Israeli forces tangle with Hezbollah guerrillas. Will this latest incident affect the Middle East peace process?
Wednesday means info from the "Business Desk." Today, we head for the U.S. stock exchange to discover the meaning behind Wall Street jargon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MYRON KANDEL, CNN FINANCIAL EDITOR: So what do bulls and bears have to do with stocks and bonds?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAKHTIAR: From "Worldview," we explore the future of Russia, if the current acting president is elected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VYACHESLAV NIKONOV, OPPOSITION PARTY SPOKESMAN: For me, Putin is the question mark, the big unknown, a big black box.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAKHTIAR: And in "Chronicle," what is all the rage?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, I love you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAKHTIAR: We'll tell you why teens are going crazy in New York City's Times Square.
In today's top story, will there ever be peace in the Middle East? For those who have been involved in the torturous process of the Middle East negotiations, recent events could hardly be less auspicious. Over the past few days, Israeli bombs fell on southern Lebanon, hitting three power plants and the headquarters of Hezbollah militants.
The air raids, which left seven civilians wounded were in retaliation to recent attacks by Hezbollah on Israel's self-declared occupation zone in Lebanon. The conflict in old, bitter and convoluted.
Israel first invaded southern Lebanon in 1978, to try to drive out Palestinian terrorists who had been attacking Israel. Another large-scale assault by Israel in 1982, led to the withdrawal of most Palestinian forces from Lebanon.
And in 1985, Israel withdrew from Lebanon, except from the so- called security zone, along the Lebanese-Israeli border. Ever since, Hezbollah guerrillas have been fighting to oust Israeli occupation from the buffer zone. They cite a United Nations resolution passed in 1978 calling for Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon. Peace between the Israelis and the Lebanese hinges on Syria, the main power broker in Lebanon, and Syria has its own agenda, specifically the return of the Golan Heights, a region captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
We have two reports beginning with Beirut bureau chief Brent Sadler.
BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In striking at Lebanon's power plants, Israel delivered a clear and costly message: if Hezbollah goes on killing Israeli troops, Lebanon could pay an even higher price for supporting the guerrillas. The Lebanese government interpreted those threats as a sign Israel is ready to strike at more civilian targets and has abandoned a four-year-old internationally- supervised understanding meant to spare both Lebanese and Israeli civilians from the conflict.
SALIM HOSS, LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER: To say that this is of no concern to them anymore means that they want to hit civilian targets, which is unjustified under any circumstances.
SADLER: Hezbollah was clearly expecting Israel's overnight raid Monday to hit Lebanon hard. Hezbollah's own TV camera recorded the sounds of attacking Israeli warplanes and a strike on one of Beirut's main power stations.
The government here claims half the population is now affected by electricity shortages. Generators in the city's main Hamra (ph) Street were widely in use. But after experiencing decades of conflict, in one form or another, the Lebanese seemed able to cope with renewed hardships.
In the southern suburbs of Beirut, Hezbollah's leadership said they were holding back from firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel, as has often happened in the past. This Hezbollah member of the Lebanese parliament denounced Israel for triggering the escalation, saying Hezbollah was still considering its appropriate military response.
(on camera): Hezbollah says its fight with Israel over south Lebanon will not ease up, and that Israeli threats of even harsher reprisals make no difference to the guerrilla campaign.
Brent Sadler, CNN, Beirut.
WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Israeli attack on Lebanon through the nose cone camera of a jet -- crisp, surgical, an electric power station destroyed. The war the Lebanese view, a country largely defenseless against the Israeli Air Force.
SALIM HOSS, LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER: This is certainly a very grave aggression by Israeli forces, which is very counterproductive in terms of the peace process.
RODGERS: Increased Israeli casualties in its self-proclaimed security zone in Southern Lebanon and pictures be like these incensed Israeli public opinion. Hezbollah guerrillas fighting to throw the Israeli army out of Lebanon have become increasingly effective, and there was a chorus of calls in Israel for revenge. Prime Minister Barak decided Lebanon had to pay, too.
EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I'm determined to make whatever it will take to protect the citizens of Israel, its armed forces.
RODGERS: Protections for tens of thousands of Israelis living near the Lebanese border meant another night if bomb shelters, people fearing Hezbollah would fire Katyusha rockets at them, retaliation for Israel bombing civilian targets in Lebanon.
Israel's bombing of Lebanese power stations appeared to violate agreements aimed at minimizing civilian casualties, but Mr. Barak says, Hezbollah broke the rules, firing at his soldiers while hiding in Lebanese villages.
BARAK: Israel is not ready to accept unilateral violations of this agreement.
RODGERS: The Lebanese see it differently.
HOSS: What are the Israelis doing on Lebanese territory? I think the Lebanese have the right to resist that occupation.
RODGERS: Besides the dead, another possible victim of Lebanon where Syria and Israel have vital, if not conflicting, interests could be the stalled Israeli-Syrian peace process.
EHUD YAARI, ISRAELI ANALYST: Sometimes a military crisis can be helpful in getting the parties talking to each other again. I don't believe this is the case now.
RODGERS (on camera): Syria's state radio said Israel's bombing actually struck at the Middle East piece process. Prime Minister Barak declared he will do whatever it takes to save Israeli lives. All suggesting the constituency for peace on both sides now is pretty small.
Walter Rodgers, CNN, Jerusalem.
BAKHTIAR: In our "Business Desk" today, a menagerie of money terms. We'll meet bulls, bears and pigs. When the stock market is strong, it is called a bull market. When a turndown forces shareholders to sell, it is a bear market. And while you can be bullish or bearish, you don't want to be greedy. There is an old saying on Wall Street: Bulls make money, Bears make money, Pigs get slaughtered.
We'll have more on that in a minute, but first, a brush-up on the basics in the stock market. Stock is the shares of a company or corporation. When you buy shares of a corporation, you assume part ownership and some financial risk, as well. Stocks can go up or down, and that makes your shares worth more or less.
It can be tough to out-fox the market. Myron Kandel has some advice and some animal antics.
MYRON KANDEL, CNN FINANCIAL EDITOR (voice-over): Bears look perfectly at home outdoors. And you wouldn't want to invite these guys home for dinner. So what do bulls and bears have to do with stocks and bonds? And how did they get into the jargon of Wall Street?
One answer goes back to London in the 1700s. An old English proverb says: Don't sell the bearskin before the bear is caught, referring to hunters who collected payment for bearskins before they even went after the bear. Sometimes, they never came back.
Early short-sellers, investors who sold shares they didn't own hoping to replace them later at lower prices, were said to be selling "bearskin." They became known as "bearskin jobbers," and the falling markets that favored them were called bear markets.
No one is certain how the bull came running on to Wall Street. Some say it's the bull's habit of rearing its head, which made traders think of a market on the rise. It made a nice companion to the bear, which can pull its victims down from a treetop.
(on camera): Perhaps the best known bull of all is this one on lower Broadway in New York's Financial District. New Yorkers, tourists, even some brokers keep rubbing it for good luck. In recent years, that's really worked.
(voice-over): But some bears, who've been out in the stock market wilderness for many years, say their turn is coming.
For now, though, the bull run on Wall Street is still going very strong.
Myron Kandel, CNN Financial News, New York.
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.
BAKHTIAR: Today in "Worldview," we spotlight Russia. Yesterday, the Communist Party chief became the first candidate approved for the country's upcoming election, but the polls showed him behind acting President Vladimir Putin. While in the former Soviet Union, we also look at the challenges facing businesses there in this new century, and we'll check out the man currently at the helm of the government.
You may recall that Boris Yeltsin stepped down as Russia's president at the beginning of the year. Since that time, Vladimir Putin has been acting president. Russia will hold new elections March 26, and Putin is considered the likely successor to Mr. Yeltsin. The new leader's tough stance on Chechnya has made him Russia's most popular politician. But what does he stand for? What is his vision for the future?
With more on the man who could be leading Russia in the new Century, here's Eileen O'Connor.
EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vladimir Putin says he is a man with a vision for Russia, that he sees a strong Russia with a strong government, a government that is for the people and not for itself.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, ACTING PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): But I'm absolutely convinced that if we abide by the principles that have become the cornerstone of our development -- a liberal economy, free market, human rights, respect for our neighbors and respect for our partners all over the world -- well, then Russia will be able to occupy a prominent place in the future community of nations. In the next century and in the next millennium, I'm sure that Russia will be a democratic country.
O'CONNOR: All the right words, but what in Putin's past ensures that he will match word with action.
VYACHESLAV NIKONOV, OPPOSITION PARTY SPOKESMAN: For me, Putin is a big question mark, a big unknown, a big black box. I don't know what's inside that box.
O'CONNOR: Being unknown plays to his advantage. Critics say he is an empty vessel Russian voters can fill with their hopes and expectations. But in terms of policy, they say there is no way of knowing which direction Putin will take. VIKTOR KREMENYUK, POLITICAL ANALYST: Three months ago, no one cared about Mr. Putin, no one knew about Mr. Putin. He has come from nowhere and he has become a popular hero within a few months.
O'CONNOR: At 47, married with two teenage daughters, his youthfulness alone make him different and desirable for a country tired of watching an aging, failing president unable to find the strength to reform a corrupt system into a workable democracy. Boris Yeltsin, his aides say, saw those differences as the ultimate political advantage.
DMITRY YAKUSHKIN, KREMLIN ADVISER: I can firmly say that Mr. Yeltsin didn't choose Mr. Putin because he saw some kind of a copy of him. The wisdom of Mr. Yeltsin -- that's also proof of his wisdom that he has the courage to acknowledge that this man is different and this man is not like him. This man is much more modern, much more active.
O'CONNOR: An action man is the way Putin is portrayed in the media, a media controlled by Boris Yeltsin's, and now Vladimir Putin's, supporters.
But Vladimir Putin's resume shows he is a product of perhaps the most threatening aspect of the old guard: the KGB.
OLEG KALUGIN, FORMER KGB AGENT: Unfortunately, his mind set, as I understand it, is that of an old KGB officer.
O'CONNOR: Oleg Kalugin is a former KGB agent. While Kremlin officials boast Putin's KGB credentials show he is well-educated and well-traveled, Kalugin says Putin was not exposed to the West in his position as a counter-intelligence officer in communist East Germany in the '70s and '80s. And Putin's admiration for former Soviet leader and KGB Chief Yuri Andropov is telling.
KALUGIN: Mr. Andropov represents the old Soviet school which simply proclaimed that, without tough discipline, without order, without tightening the screws, we shall never survive. This is not the answer to Russia's economic and social problems.
O'CONNOR (on camera): How important is his KGB past as an indicator of what...
GRIGORY YAVLINSKY, YABLOKOV PARTY: I think it may be important. It may be important because it's a type of thinking.
O'CONNOR (voice-over): Grigory Yavlinsky is leader of the reformist, pro-democracy, Yabloko bloc. He will run against Putin for the presidency. He says he is less concerned about Putin's past and more concerned about Russia's future.
YAVLINSKY: The main question is whether he's going to continue to support, to develop criminal system, nomenclature of criminal system, which was created by Yeltsin; to what extent he will be a real political successor. O'CONNOR: For it is a break with that past that Russians say they want. They blame Boris Yeltsin for a corrupted privatization process that divided Russia's vast natural resources among those left in power at the break up of the Soviet Union.
Putin plays to people's desire for change, but sounds more like the intelligence officer he was than the lawyer he was trained to be when he talks of the need for a stronger government.
PUTIN (through translator): I think that even the man on the street has come to understand that with the development of the free market, democratic institutions, freedom of speech, freedom of press, we don't also need a weakened government, but instead a strong government that will take responsibility for the rights of the individual and that will care for society as a whole.
O'CONNOR: Critics like Yavlinsky say that is missing the point, that Russia needs strong laws, a presidency controlled by the people, not the elite, for grass-roots democracy to flourish.
YAVLINSKY: Strength is not enough. Strong doesn't mean smart. But to solve Russian problems, it's necessary to be, first of all, smart. If you would ask me what Russia needs, strong hand or strong head, I would say strong head.
O'CONNOR: Yavlinsky also points to Putin's campaign in Chechnya as telling of the man. Putin says he is fighting terrorists, but he relies on military strength which is affecting the civilian population as well. That and his tough talk worry the West. So Vladimir Putin takes great pains to reassure.
PUTIN (through translator): At critical points in world history, we've always been together, we've always been allies. Quite often, we hear that Russia has imperial ambitions, but this just isn't true. Russia has only one ambition, to be respected by other nations, and will surely achieve this. I think that everyone is interested in this, including our partners in the West, because the world has to be well-balanced.
O'CONNOR: Balance, stability -- for Russians, it doesn't seem much to ask, but it has been so difficult to achieve.
Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Moscow.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: More now from Russia as we dig deeper into a nation in economic transition. The sudden change at the top of the government earlier this year is giving business around the country hope -- hope that a more energetic leadership will improve their competitiveness. How will that leadership help take care of business?
Alessio Vinci has our report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Soviet times, the Alset (ph) turbine factory in Novosibirsk, Russia's third largest city, used to employ 5,500 workers and was 100 percent subsidized by the state. Then, in 1991, communism collapsed and the plant was privatized. The new management laid off 80 percent of its workforce, created a marketing department, and improved the quality of its products, which are designed to power heating plants.
Within a few years, the plant starting turning a profit, selling turbines for hard currency to China. It was this hard currency that kept the factory running during this decade of economic and political instability.
NIKOLAI KANISKIN, FACTORY MANAGER (through translator): Whether the crisis was political or economic, our factory functioned because we concentrated our production in the energy sector; that is to say, the sector where there was money.
VINCI: The manager of the plant now says that the biggest challenge is to remain competitive on international markets. Large European competitors are backed by their government, he says, an advantage Russian firms don't have.
KANISKIN (through translator): Our products meet world standards and, at the same time, are a bit cheaper. Sometimes Western firms include us in their tender bids, but generally they don't. And it is very complicated for Russian firms to go it alone. We don't have the experience.
VINCI: Russia's economic recovery will also depend on the ability of the new leadership in Moscow to create the right atmosphere for new investments. Analysts say investments will invigorate the economy, people's purchasing power will increase, and Russian firms will have to start producing more in order to satisfy the demand for domestic goods, since most imports are unaffordable for many. And with the economy back on track, Russian firms would have a better chance to compete. And at the Alset factory, management is already planning to improve the lives of its workers.
(on camera): The manager of this factory plans to double salaries in the year 2000. In a country where workers may go months without pay, this could be a sign of better times to come.
Alessio Vinci, CNN, Novosibirsk, Russia.
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BAKHTIAR: Now, most of you are probably pondering about your futures and what kind of career you'd like to pursue. Some of you may have even considered the medical field. But a growing number of students are turning away from medicine as a career choice because becoming a doctor doesn't seem as financially lucrative as it once did.
Casey Wian has the story from Los Angeles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A couple of clues is if the patient's 54 years old, that tells you something right away.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These second-year medical students have already made it through what's traditionally considered the toughest part of med school. But for many, their biggest battle lies ahead after graduation, trying to make ends meet. With medical school costs rising and managed care squeezing the incomes of doctors, many potential future physicians are choosing different careers because the numbers don't add up.
DR. CLIVE TAYLOR, SR. ASSOCIATE DEAN, USC MEDICAL SCHOOL: There's a perception among medical students and among practitioners of medicine that the career structure of medicine has changed, and probably for the worst.
WIAN: Nationally, applications to medical schools dropped 18 percent from 1996 to 1999. At USC in Los Angeles, applications fell 7 percent last year alone.
(on camera): Tuition here at the USC School of Medicine is about $32,000 a year. That means students often graduate with debts approaching $150,000. It's a tough nut to crack on a first-year resident's salary.
JESS THOMPSON, USC MEDICAL STUDENT: As opposed to some other professional schools where you can graduate from school and then go right into a pretty decent-paying job, in medical school, when you graduate, you then have to go into a residency program where you'll only be making roughly maybe $30,000 a year for the next three to even five years.
WIAN: According to the latest figures available, the average doctor's income fell about $2,000 a year to $164,000 in 1998. Though pay varies widely according to specialty, on average, managed care has held doctor incomes flat for a decade. In Southern California, which doctors say is dominated by managed care like nowhere else in the nation, salaries are under even more pressure.
MARIE KUFFNER, PRESIDENT-ELECT, CALIFORNIA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: There are many physicians that make under $100,000 a year. I know of physicians that make $50,000 and $60,000 a year, particularly in the primary care fields, the areas of pediatrics, family practice, psychiatry. We're in the most prosperous time we've known in our history. Economically, everybody sees this great boom, except for physicians who see it tumbling the other way.
WIAN: While a growing number of students are turning away from medicine, USC still receives more than 5,000 applications a year, and admits only 3 percent of those.
Casey Wian, CNN Financial News, Los Angeles.
BAKHTIAR: Now, the size of the U.S. population may fluctuate and the country's economy can move through periods of growth and recession, but one thing that has stayed the same in the United States for over four decades is an increase in teen spending. In fact, a recent Rand Youth poll finds teen spending increased every year from 1953 to '96, and is expected to rise as high as $136 billion by next year. The survey finds teens are spending the bulk of their cash on clothing, food and entertainment.
Well, one place sure to be seeing a lot of teeny-boppers and their money these days is Times Square in New York City.
Jeanne Moos explains.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It used to be if you heard a blood-curdling scream in Times Square...
... you figured someone had been mugged. But these days, it's probably just kids mugging for the cameras.
The new Times Square is plastered with ads and stock tickers and giant TV screens. It's teaming with pedestrians and pigeons and -- teenagers?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Times Square is the best place in the world. I love this place.
MOOS: And the epicenter for teenage eruptions is outside the MTV studios.
(on camera) You guys are a scream.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MOOS (voice-over): Hundreds of teens gather every time MTV features a famous performer or group -- in this case, five guys called 'N Sync.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love them. It's not fair (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
MOOS (on camera) I think she's crying, yes, she's overcome. Are you crying? Oh my God, you are crying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're so fine. I love them.
MOOS (voice-over): The MTV show "Total Request Live" uses the crowd as a backdrop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TOTAL REQUEST LIVE")
CARSON DALY, HOST: I know I'm not supposed to be walking over here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: The police have asked MTV to keep the talent away from the windows so the crowd outside doesn't get whipped into a frenzy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My God, I love you.
MOOS: Screaming teenagers have become a regular part of the landscape.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are they yelling like that for?
MOOS (on camera): Well, they're excited.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't even hear myself think.
MOOS (voice-over): The scene outside MTV sort of makes things look tame just across the street at "Good Morning America," though the other day the anchors ventured outside for a snowball fight and Diane Sawyer ended up laying anchor.
Bystanders helped stand her up.
If it had been the boys from 'N Sync on the ground...
... their fans would probably have thrown themselves on top of them.
A few lucky teens allowed inside the studio actually got to touch 'N Sync.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hugged Justin and Joey. We were, like, flipping out. We touched all of them.
MOSS: But those on the outside had their view blocked by a moving truck that wasn't moving.
Apparently Times Square is anything but square these days.
(SCREAMING) Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BAKHTIAR: Before we go, a quick heads-up: Tomorrow, we continue our series, "Drugs, Perceptions, Realities." This time, our Tom Haynes focuses on the role parents can play when it comes to kids and drugs. Be sure to check that out.
In the meantime, have a great Wednesday, and we'll see you back here tomorrow. Bye.
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