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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for February 10, 2000

Aired February 10, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: It's Thursday, February 10, here on NEWSROOM. I'm Andy Jordan.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Thanks for joining us today. We have a great mix of stories lined up: religion, astronomy, and our drug series.

JORDAN: That's right, First, we start with dot.coms that have been dot.hacked.

In our top story, just point, click, and nothing! Hackers take out some of the busiest, high-profile Web sites.

BAKHTIAR: In "Science Desk," astronomers unveil the brilliance behind those elusive black holes.


RICHARD MUSHOTZKY, NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER: They may very well have been one of the very first things created in the universe. They may have been, if you will, the seeds which caused other things to happen.


JORDAN: In "Worldview," the controversial teachings of Falun Gong.


JAMES RANDI, MAGICIAN: If it's only a religion, I have no problem; if it's only a philosophy, I have no problem; but the minute that they begin to claim that they have supernatural healing powers, or any other kind of supernatural powers, I think it becomes very dangerous.


BAKHTIAR: We continue our series: "Drugs: Perceptions, Realities" in "Chronicle." How big of a role do parents play in your decisions? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL MODZELESKI, DIR., STATE AND DRUG-FREE SCHOOLS PROGRAM: Parental involvement is absolutely critical and essential if we're going to prevent young men and women from using alcohol and drugs.


JORDAN: In "Today's News," not your garden variety crime story. Gone are the days of stagecoach holdups and pirates patrolling the seas. In the year 2000, cyber-criminals are the foe to be reckoned with. They're such a threat to Internet commerce, that the U.S. Justice Department is leading the investigation into recent cyber attacks.

The FBI is looking for one or more computer hackers, someone who uses computer expertise for illicit ends, like gaining access to computer systems without permission and tampering with programs and data.

Some of them managed to infiltrate some of the world's most popular Web sites, including Yahoo,,, and the E*Trade Web site. And the FBI means business when it comes to cyber crime.

We have two reports beginning with Pierre Thomas.


PIERRE THOMAS, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This warning from the attorney general to computer hackers threatening the emerging Internet economy.

JANET RENO, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We are committed in every way possible to tracking down those who are responsible.

THOMAS: The FBI, trying to figure out who flooded popular Web sites such as Yahoo! and eBay with thousands of messages, blocking customer access to millions.

RENO: At this time, we are not aware of the motives behind these attacks, but they appear to be intended to interfere with and to disrupt legitimate electronic commerce.

THOMAS: The FBI's special computer crime center is on high alert, and agents and computer experts have been dispatched to work with the affected companies. Investigators must now sift through millions of messages flooding their service providers during the attack and try to trace them back to the source. But there are daunting challenges. For example, the programs used to conduct the attacks are widely available on the Web.

RON DICK, FBI NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION CENTER: You can download them, and it doesn't take any particular technical knowledge by which to utilize them. THOMAS: In addition, the cyber-criminals could be jamming the Web sites from anywhere in the world, and the FBI has not ruled out international cyber-terrorism.

Another complicating factor: The cyber-criminals launched their attack by remote control, forcing perhaps hundreds of other computers to swamp a Web site.

MORGAN WRIGHT, COMPUTER SECURITY ANALYST: The way these attacks work is that you compromise a large number of computers that act as the slaves, and then a master control unit sends out a signal to these slaves, and they launch the attack.

THOMAS (on camera): Law enforcement officials fear this is just the beginning of an new wave of cyber-crime. Because the criminals can hide and even erase their electronic tracks, it's very possible they may never be caught.

Pierre Thomas, CNN, Washington.



BRUCE FRANCIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): They once were hackers. Now they're computer security consultants. The experts at @stake say the current attacks aren't the work of expert hackers with top skills.

"SPACE ROGUE," @STAKE: They're just going to be considered vandals. There really isn't going to be any elevation of, oh wow this is a great, superior act, or what have you, because it's not. It's old technology.

FRANCIS: Old or not, the Feds now says that they are on the trail. So are consultants who basically use two tools. They can trace the digital trail, information left behind on the victim's computer, and they can mine databases of previous hacks and hackers for matches to the current case, a practice known as hacker profiling.

John Vranesevich has worked with the FBI on previous hacking cases.

JOHN VRANESEVICH, ANTIONLINE.COM: Then people start monitoring the underground, the hacker community, and going to their sources there, and seeing if we can find out if anyone that fits that profile is currently bragging about it or appears to be acting suspiciously.

FRANCIS: But right now, security expert Alan Brill says he can't tell his clients who have been hacked that the criminal will be caught.

ALAN BRILL, KROLL ASSOCIATES: Would I like to say that? Absolutely. Can I say with confidence we're going to nail this person? I can't do that. I'd be lying to them. FRANCIS: Investors aren't waiting for indictments though. In an otherwise down market for tech stocks, Internet security stocks soared.

JORDAN KLEIN, WARBURG DILLON READ: It really raises the awareness of the fact that the, you know, e-commerce revolution, Internet security is going to play a critical role. I mean, these companies that are providing this type of Internet software are really not viewed anymore as just purely software vendors, but really key enablers for e-commerce.

FRANCIS (on camera): The good guy hackers at @stake say that Intel, Microsoft and Cisco, should open up their technologies more so that experts can develop more solutions, but that raises the risk of more sophisticating hacking tools as well.

Bruce Francis, CNN Financial News, New York.


BAKHTIAR: Light is a form of energy made up of atomic particles. These particles are called photons. Now visible light energy makes up only a small part of the energy spectrum. Most electromagnetic frequencies are too high or too low for us to see.

But now scientists are getting a new set of eyes, with the help of a new telescope. And that could provide us with a totally different picture of the universe, as Ann Kellan explains.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Super massive black holes that suck in and swallow stars and objects that get too close may exist in every major galaxy, scientists finding black holes they never knew existed before.

This news comes from a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Atlanta about observations made from the Hubble and a relative newcomer in space, Chandra. This telescope orbits thousands of miles above the Earth and detects X-rays, high energy light the human eye can't see.

RICHARD MUSHOTZKY, NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER: It's like driving at night in a fog, where you don't see very far. But imagine you had X-ray eyes, and those X-ray eyes are seeing right through the fog.

KELLAN: Chandra has not only helped scientists see these giant black holes, it has helped solve a mystery about a strange glow in space detected almost 40 years ago.

MARTIN WEISSKOPF, CHANDRA PROJECT SCIENTIST: The first observation in 1962 saw this glow everywhere. And ever since then we've been trying to figure out what it is.

KELLAN: What Chandra allowed scientists to see is the glow taking shape, many shapes. Some are so far away they're still unexplained, but others are coming into focus. Scientists now know some of that intense radiation comes from deep inside galaxies.

WEISSKOPF: Now if you go down into the center of the galaxy, we see that there's a super-massive black hole there that's shining brightly and producing lots and lots of radiation.

KELLAN: The radiation of a hundred million to a billion suns.

Scientists say a super massive black hole lies dormant in the center of our own Milky Way.

MUSHOTZKY: And they may very well have been one of the very first things created in the universe. They may have been, if you will, the seeds which caused other things to happen.

KELLAN: Including the formation of all the stars in a given galaxy.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Atlanta.


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

JORDAN: Well, there are a number of religions around the world. And many of them offer a message for the millennium. Today in "Worldview," we seek out that spiritual story as we journey to countries around the globe. Our travels take us to China, where a controversial group is under attack. And we head to countries like the Vatican City in Italy, and Russia, to find out about various faiths and their followers, and what beckons in their futures.

"Worldview" gets started in a country that may not come immediately to mind when you think of European countries. The Vatican City is the world's smallest independent country, with only about a thousand inhabitants. While it is the spiritual center of the Roman Catholic Church, it also has a government, with the pope as its leader.

Vatican City has been considered an independent country since 1929. But its history goes considerably back in time, and its impact will stretch into the new millennium.

It was on this sight that the famous "Vatican Council II" was held in the 1960s, which gave the Catholic Church its most far- reaching reforms in a thousand years. As it faces a new millennium, the Catholic Church is chiming in, along with other faiths.

Walter Rodgers reports.


WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are taking up the cross and the call of the millennium. Pope John Paul II calling on Christians to celebrate the millennium, the 2000th anniversary of Jesus' birth, in Jerusalem and in Rome. In his apostolic letter, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, the pope declared 2000 a jubilee year. More than any single person, John Paul II has shaped the millennium's religious celebrations, promising forgiveness of sins to those who make pilgrimages to Rome or Jerusalem.

MSGR. PIETRO SAMPI, VATICAN NUNCIO: A pilgrim coming to the land of the Lord, he will be touched by the grace of the Lord, and let me say it will save his life.

RODGERS: In other faiths, the orthodox, for example, the millennium holds less theological significance.

METROPOLITAN TIMOTHY, GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH: We are not trying to impose the Christian teaching on any human being, we are just witnessing of our faith.

RODGERS: The optimism that ushered in the turn of this past century for orthodox believers was nearly extinguished for millions persecuted under Lenin and Stalin. So while the Western church may look forward this millennium, many of the Eastern Orthodox Church see this as a time to look back and to reflect on the horrors of this past century in Russia under the communists.

LEONID KISHKOVSKY, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH: The religious faith of the people was assaulted by government policy. Thousands of monks and nuns and priests, hundreds of bishops were liquidated, killed in the Gulag. Tens of thousands of churches were confiscated, closed.

RODGERS (on camera): Still, for nearly everyone, 2000 is a turning point, a moment to pause and reflect not only on where the world has been, but also where it's headed. Besides, human beings seem to need anniversaries, birthdays, centennials, millenniums.

REV. JOHN ANTHONY, LUTHERAN MINISTER: We need a sense of history, a sense of where we came from. We need to know what happened in the past so we can understand what's going on right now.

RODGERS (voice-over): For many churches, understanding the future means cultivating greater spirituality. But if the millennium celebrations are to have a spiritual dimension, what is it and where is it found?

REV. PETRE HELDT, LUTHERAN MINISTER: According to my tradition, it is a Protestant tradition, I would say it is in the heart. If you have a pure heart and you seek the Lord in your heart, then it is that you are close to him.

RODGERS: Many seek spirituality in ritual, others in images, still others in prayerful contemplation, simple piety.

ANTHONY: We are celebrating an historical fact. The world is celebrating what happened. Where do we get this 2000 anyway? We got it from the birth of Jesus, the son of God.

RODGERS: And so the believers, the faithful, come as they have for two millennia, answering their personal callings. But what of those who cannot make the pilgrimage?

HELDT: If you can't come you can sit and pray because I am convinced that what Jerome said, what Martin Luther said is very true: the Holy Spirit is wherever you are.

RODGERS: Perhaps for those who believe God is eternal, a certain amount of mystery and imprecision can be forgiven in these millennial celebrations. Technically, the 21st century does not really begin until after the year 2000. Besides, most historians say Jesus was more likely born 2004 years ago. Not even the pope contends this is the real 2000th anniversary of Jesus' birth, but that does not dampen the Christian church's message of enthusiasm.

SAMBI: You are saved. Have hope, not despair. Have confidence you are not alone. God is with you, Emanuel.

RODGERS: A message engraved on the hearts of millions coming to where it all began.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, Jerusalem.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: China is a huge country in Eastern Asia. It is the world's largest country in population. More than 1 billion people live there. That's about one-fifth of the world's people. China is also the third largest country in area. It covers more than a fifth of Asia, and it has the world's oldest living civilization. It's written history goes back about 3,500 years. The Chinese people are proud of their extensive heritage. They were the first people to develop the compass, paper, porcelain and silk.

Over the centuries, Japan, Korea and other Asian nations have borrowed from Chinese art, language, literature and technology. The Chinese government has long encouraged the study of science, politics and the arts, but the ruling communist party discourages religion, though it officially recognizes Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism.

The Chinese government recently banned a spiritual group called Falun Gong. The movement, which has more than 2 million followers, is a combination of meditation, breathing exercises and Chinese mysticism. It is often referred to as Chinese yoga. Chinese authorities say followers of Falun Gong belong to an evil cult that threatens social stability. Thousands were detained and imprisoned during a six-month crackdown of the group. It's part of China's enforcement of its so-called anti-cult laws.

Rebecca MacKinnon has more from Beijing.


REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Sima Nan is trained in the ancient Chinese breathing art of Qigong, but he's out to show these seemingly supernatural skills are little more than parlor tricks. SIMA NAN, DEBUNKER: Hog nonsense.

MACKINNON: That's how he describes the Qigong-based teachings of Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi, now living in exile in New York, who claims to have special healing powers. Last April, more than 10,000 Falun Gong followers demonstrated outside the government leadership compound in Beijing, demanding an end to official persecution.

NAN (through translator): Li Hongzhi wants to turn himself into a god. He's trying to trick people.

MACKINNON: To back up his point, Sima Nan teamed up with American magician James Randi, offering a million dollars to anyone who can prove without question they do have supernatural powers.

JAMES RANDI, MAGICIAN: I'm very alarmed at the growth of Falun Gong because if it's only a religion, I have no problem; if it's only a philosophy I have no problem. But the minute that they begin to claim that they have supernatural healing powers or any other kind of supernatural powers, I think it becomes very dangerous. I prefer, rather than legislation, education.

MACKINNON: According to government figures, tens of thousands of Falun Gong followers have been detained since the group was banned as a threat to social stability last summer, a tactic Sima Nan says is counterproductive.

NAN (through translator): The government bans them, but they make trouble anyway because they believe in it. You can only help them by treating them as psychological patients. They should be respected and treated humanely.

MACKINNON: He says televised trials of organizers and reports on state-run television condemning Li Hongzhi just give Falun Gong credibility.

NAN (through translator): The result is that people say, this Li Hongzhi must really have something, otherwise why would the government talk about him every day?

MACKINNON (on camera): But Sima Nan's appeal for education instead of intimidation appears to have fallen on deaf ears. According to human rights groups, arrests and trials of Falun Gong members have continued into the new year.

Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Beijing.


BAKHTIAR: In "Chronicle" today, the high cost of education. Now you might think we're talking about lost sleep or less time to fiddle with your PlayStation, but tuition prices at U.S. colleges and universities are up 3 to 4 percent over last year. In fact, public university tuitions have gone up 51 percent over the last 10 years. They're 34 percent greater at private four-year colleges than 10 years ago. Bill Delaney has the story of one college that's bucking the trend and passing a buck to students in the process.


BILL DELANEY, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): In mid- winter, the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts is just about always frozen. The difference this year is that tuition, and room and board will be frozen too, not to go up for at least a year.

CARL VOGT, PRESIDENT, WILLIAMS COLLEGE: We've had enormous good fortune in our endowment. It's grown 29 percent in one year. We've been the beneficiaries of this wonderful economy and good market. And what we're deciding to do is spend some of that money in lieu of asking families to pay.

DELANEY: Families still will have to pay about $31,000.

Still, with college costs rising an average 4 percent a year, double the rate of inflation, a step few other colleges say they can afford.

Boston University Provost Dennis Berkey points to soaring costs for high-tech labs, not to mention increasingly high-tech dorms.

B.U. costs go up next year 3.9 percent.

DENNIS BERKEY, PROVOST, BOSTON UNIVERSITY: The investment has to be weighed against the gain. And we think the value of the experience in this kind of institution is a very good return for the investment that we are asking.

DELANEY: Still, Williams President Carl Vogt worries about families too well-off to qualify for financial aid who still can't afford to pay for college.

VOGT: Well, I think we're losing. I think all schools like Williams are losing people in that range that we would like to get.

DELANEY: In fact, some of those students are getting out of the U.S. altogether.

(on camera): Just a few hours drive from here in Northwestern Massachusetts is the Canadian border. There are some terrific colleges and universities there that cost a lot less than schools this side of the border. McGill University, for example, in Montreal saw a 37 percent increase in U.S. students in its freshman class last fall. Tuition at McGill? About $7,000 U.S.

(voice-over): Most U.S. students do still pay less than $4,000 a year for college. When it comes to the more elite, expensive schools, though, some families aren't waiting for a freeze. They're already heading for the frozen north.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Williamstown, Massachusetts. (END VIDEOTAPE)

JORDAN: Well, we continue our series,"Drugs: Perceptions, Realities." Today, we focus on the important role of parents in your life. In this case, perception and reality might be the same. Kids who have parents involved in their lives and activities say they're less likely to use drugs and get into trouble.

Our Tom Haynes introduces us to a San Diego teen whose dad made all the difference in her life.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST (voice-over): When you think of San Diego, warm weather, ocean breezes and bright California sunshine might come to mind. But there's a dark side to the city few people see.

This is Encanto, one of the roughest neighborhoods in town. For many teenagers, gangs, drugs and crime are facts of life. Yet 16- year-old Tamera Grey moved here to turn her life around. She spent half of it living with her mother in Oakland, California. There, she was headed for trouble.

RICHARD GREY, TAMERA'S FATHER: Her mother dropped out of school in the 9th grade, was pregnant at 16. Yes, that's what I fear, that she would repeat what her mother would do.

HAYNES: Looking back on her days in Oakland, Tamera says she knows why things went wrong.

TAMERA GREY, AGE 16: My mom wasn't hardly home, she was always working so I felt like I was alone, you know. I just felt like I didn't have nobody there for me.

HAYNES: Tamera's story is common among troubled teens. Experts say parents who take an interest in their kids lives can make all the difference.

BILL MODZELESKI, DIR., STATE AND DRUG-FREE SCHOOLS PROGRAM: Parental involvement is absolutely critical and essential if we're going to prevent young men and women from using alcohol and drugs, and that parental involvement has to start very early in life. You can't wake up when your son and daughter is 13 and 14 to begin to discuss this issue.

HAYNES: To help his daughter, Tamera's father moved her to Encanto to live with him. At first, she says, things were tough.

T. GREY: I was mixed up in the wrong crowd when I had first moved out here for like -- for the first three or four months. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd.

HAYNES: Her father played a big part in turning things around.

R. GREY: It seemed to mean a great deal to her that I cared about what her grades were. And it just took the slightest suggestion that, you know, she could do better and, you know, her ambition took over and, yes, she just took off.

HAYNES: Tamera was lucky that her father stepped in. Sometimes outside intervention is needed to bring kids and parents closer together. The Juvenile Diversion Program at San Diego's Boys & Girls Club is a good example.

(on camera): So they're at a pivotal moment in their adolescence. What makes the difference?

MICHAEL LANDRY, PROJECT COORDINATOR, BOYS & GIRLS CLUB: Parents, positive programs for them to be in, some structure, some positive way they can take pride in doing.

HAYNES (voice-over): On this night, a seminar called "Options to Violence."

AMIR RAHIM, PROGRAM INSTRUCTOR: It gives them the idea that somebody's behind them. I know that a child looks at their parents as I did, and remember that, that support, if they give me the go-ahead then I'm going. If the parents encourage their kids to come here, then they will come.

GLORIOUS LAWSON, PARENT: Without that involvement, without me knowing, and they know that I know what's going on, can I help them? Because as long as I don't know, then I can't help them.

HAYNES: For Tamera and her father, a strong relationship is paying off.

R. GREY: She's doing well. I couldn't be prouder. It's just a few years off and I hope to see her go to college, as I do all my kids.


JORDAN: Well, experts say it's just that kind of parent/child relationship that may help steer kids away from drugs.

BAKHTIAR: Next week, our series, "Drugs: Perceptions, Realities," the CNN Student Bureau profiles a 19-year-old who gave years of her life to drugs and now lives every day aware of her choices from the past. That's next week here on NEWSROOM.

JORDAN: Well, one more, then the weekend. We'll see you back here at the big Friday show tomorrow.

BAKHTIAR: We'll see you then. Have a great day.


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