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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for February 21, 2000

Aired February 21, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: We're cruising into a new week here on NEWSROOM. Thanks for hopping on board. I'm Shelley Walcott. We begin with U.S. politics, and the race to the White House.

Our top story takes us to the United States, where the Republican presidential battle heads west to Michigan, while the Democratic heavyweights hit the trail in upstate New York.

In our "Environment Desk," the growing and changing face of the U.S. population.


ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whites, now about 72 percent of the population, will fall to about 53 percent in the year 2050.


WALCOTT: We head to France for "Worldview," where crude oil is washing up on the shores of Brittany. Is bio-confetti the solution?


PATRICE STENGEL, SCIENTIST (through translator): Our process works simply with cold water and leaves the sand with just 0.001 percent of traces of oil.


WALCOTT: And we continue our tribute to Black History Month in "Chronicle": the beauty standards that plague our society and influence the self esteem of teenage girls.


YAKINI PRESCOTT, AGE 15: Black people have been ignored for so long that I think we just adjust to it, so we don't try to fight for black people to be on covers because we're not usually in the spotlight.


WALCOTT: In today's top story, the next big hurdles in the Republican presidential race come tomorrow in Michigan and Arizona. Candidates are already crisscrossing Michigan in search of votes. Fresh from his victory in South Carolina, Texas Governor George W. Bush says he's confident he'll win the state. He says he'll continue voicing his message of "compassionate conservatism" to Michigan voters.

Arizona Senator John McCain says his loss in South Carolina has not doomed his campaign. He told hundreds of supporters outside Detroit that Bush's victory gives each of them one major win. McCain won New Hampshire's primary earlier this month.

Meantime, Alan Keyes, the third Republican candidate campaigning in Michigan, says the media is trying to shut him out of the race by not giving him much air time. Keyes says he plans on staying in the presidential race until the very end.

With more now, here's Jonathan Karl.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush, the front-runner once again.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Laura and I are honored and humbled by the huge victory we had here in South Carolina. It is the victory of a message that is compassionate and conservative, and it is the victory of a messenger who is a reformer with results.

KARL: With a commanding victory here, Bush hopes to make his New Hampshire primary loss a distant memory.

BUSH: Tonight, in this great state of South Carolina, we have ignited our cause and united our party. We ignited a record turnout from Republicans all across the political spectrum.

KARL: The double-digit loss caught John McCain by surprise, but he says the battle has only just begun.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, my friends, you don't have to win every skirmish to win a war or a crusade.

KARL: Making more a call to arms than a concession speech, McCain says his main rival won't have much time to savor his South Carolina victory.

MCCAIN: I congratulate Governor Bush on his victory here and wish him a happy celebration and a good night's rest. He's going to need it, my friends.

KARL: McCain has sworn off negative advertising for the duration of the campaign. He said defeat here would not change that. MCCAIN: I'm going to fight with every ounce of strength I have, but I'm going to keep fighting clean, I'm going to keep fighting fair, and I'm going to keep fighting the battle of ideas.

KARL: McCain faced an unrelenting negative assault in the final days of the campaign here, attacks by Bush and by independent groups sympathetic to the Texas governor. But in the end, a majority of voters blamed McCain, not Bush, for the negative tone of the campaign.

(on camera): A disappointing performance in South Carolina behind him, McCain is off to Michigan, where he hopes he can change the subject from a loss here to a victory there on Tuesday.

(voice-over): But with a big victory here, Bush hopes to again look like the Republican who can win.

BUSH: There are only 263 days more until the end of Clinton- Gore.


WALCOTT: And the Democratic presidential hopefuls have been courting the African-American vote in the state of New York. Vice President Al Gore spoke at a predominantly black church in Albany on Sunday, where he was joined by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

On Friday, Bill Bradley spent some time answering questions from students at a middle school in Harlem.

Later today, Gore and Bradley will debate in New York City at the Apollo Theater. CNN plans live coverage of the debate, which begins at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. And you can also tune in to CNN for full coverage of tomorrow's GOP primaries in Arizona and Michigan.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: In the "Headlines," we head to the Middle East, where a record number of voters turned out Friday to support candidates promising major economic and political reform, reform from the rigid rules enforced by the ruling party, which came to power after the Islamic revolution ousted the shah of Iran in 1979.

Until President Khatami's election in 1997, people felt that the elections had little credibility and thus voter turnout was low. But all that changed when Iran's hardline ruling clergy approved the candidacy of the then virtually unknown Ayatollah Khatami. Khatami's landslide victory three years ago set in motion a reformist juggernaut that is all but sweeping hardliners out of parliament. Early results from Friday's election show reformers carried the day in Iran's parliamentary elections.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Votes are still being counted at Iran's Interior Ministry. Results phoned in from all over the country are slowly tallied by hand on the big board. But people already count on a major victory for candidates promising to reform the strict Islamic laws that dictate every aspect of their lives.

"In this election, we chose the people we really liked, and I think we'll have a better future with them in parliament," says this shopkeeper.

A record 83 percent of the voters turned out and just as they did nearly three years ago, it was the young and the women who overwhelmingly endorsed the freedoms and social changes promised by President Mohammad Khatami.

"In Mr. Khatami's words we hear all our aspirations," says this young student. "That's very important for us, because up until now, no one would talk to us this way."

Two thirds of Iran's 63 million people are under 25 years old. They want a more open society, they want jobs, they want a future. Many Iranians take on more than one job to make ends meet. The official jobless rate is 15 percent, but it's estimated to be twice as high.

President Khatami has proposed privatizing the economy, 80 percent of which is government controlled and devastated by years of cronyism and corruption. On the street, expectations are enormous. Rescuing the economy may turn out to be the true test of reform.


WALCOTT: For most of human history, population grew slowly. But during the last 200 years, the increase snowballed. There are three main reasons for this: humans developed the ability to expand into new habitats and climate zones; humans increased the carrying capacity, that is the number of people who could safely live in their existing habitats; and human populations sidestepped many limiting factors such as disease and shortage of food.

These factors and others are behind the soaring population around the world. And as the population grows, its makeup shifts too. Today we explore those changes in the United States. With more on the population demographics, here's Anne McDermott.


ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More and more babies and more and more immigrants are making the United States of America more and more crowded. In fact, by the time the next century rolls around, Times Square might look like this every night. Well, maybe. And that's because the U.S. population, now about 275 million, will more than double by the year 2100, or so the Census Bureau says. Compare that to 1900, when we had a piddling 76 million.

What's different? Well, more and more immigrants, who tend to be young, and the young tend to have babies. Right now, the Hispanic population is about 12 percent of the total population, and in just 50 years it's expected to double. The African-American population will make modest gains, but whites, now about 72 percent of the population, will fall to about 53 percent in the year 2050. And what of old people? Well, Their numbers will go up, and soon, too, because baby boomers start turning 65 just 11 short years from now. Yep, the one time rock 'n' rollers will soon become oldies but goodies.

So, what'll this mean? Well, aren't our freeways crowded enough? Will we be crashing our flying saucers into one another as well? Well, one authority says we'll just have to a cue from the Japanese.

PROF. DAVID HEER, UNIV. OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: I think if we look at people who live densely, they have to become more polite, and you develop more rigid rules of etiquette.

MCDERMOTT: On the other hand, maybe it won't be all that bad, the United States is still a pretty big country, and even with all those people squashed into it by the year 2100, it will still be a lot less crowded than, say, Great Britain is today. And besides, we're talking about something happening 100 years from now; we've got a century to savor in the meantime.

Anne McDermott, CNN, Los Angeles.


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

WALCOTT: We examine the environment in "Worldview" today. We'll get the scoop on a new way to deal with oil spills, a problem that plagues nations around the globe. We travel to France for one such disaster to check out the latest innovations in cleanup. And we'll head to the seashore to learn about the great bodies of water that cover our planet: the oceans.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: The world's great oceans contain 97 percent of the Earth's water. The continents divide this huge body of water into three major parts: the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. But they all form one great, connected body of water. If you look at the globe, you'll find the Pacific Ocean is the largest. It covers nearly a third of the Earth's surface. The Pacific, by itself, contains about half the water in the overall world ocean. The Atlantic Ocean lies on the other side of the Earth from the Pacific. It's about half the size of its counterpart. And the Indian Ocean comes in third in size. Each ocean contains smaller areas of water known as seas, gulfs or bays.

Some geographers argue there are also smaller oceans called the Arctic Ocean and Antarctic Ocean, while others refer to them as seas instead. By any name, these waters of the world are critical to our survival. Most scientists say life began in the ocean. And it's still a source of life. It's an important resource for food, energy and minerals. It helps keep the Earth's climate stable and it helps maintain the oxygen and carbon dioxide balance of our atmosphere. Many see the ocean as the next frontier, a vast, uncharted realm. And today in "Worldview," we set sail to learn more about this mysterious and amazing place. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB BALLARD, UNDERWATER EXPLORER: We have explored very little of our planet. Most of our planet is unexplored, particularly the Southern Hemisphere where most of the world's oceans are situated. We haven't even done the Lewis and Clark expeditions in the deep sea that we did on land in the 1800s. In fact, the next generation of ocean explorers will explore more of Earth than all previous generations combined.

SYLVIA EARLE, EXPLORER IN RESIDENCE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY: We've learned more about the ocean in the last half century than during all preceding history, and yet, during the same period of time, more change has been brought about in the ocean, and change not really for the good, because of what we've been putting in and what we've been taking out. There's real cause for hope, but only if we take action right now.

The biggest problem comes from the commercial-scale taking of large factory ships that, all together, take hundreds of millions of tons of wildlife from the sea over the past several decades. Actually, the total catch for a single year, presently, is nearly a hundred million tons. How this affects us, ultimately, of course, is an open question. But one thing is for sure, to the extent that we influence and alter the nature of the ocean, we're monkeying around with our life support system.

It's not just water, although water is critical to life -- it's the single non-negotiable thing that life requires -- and most of it on this water-blessed planet is in the sea, but we have changed the chemistry of the oceans through what we have allowed to flow into the sea. You know, we treat the ocean as the ultimate sewer. We think if we don't want it on the land, then let's put it in the ocean. And the illusion has been, the feeling has been, that the sea is so vast, so resilient that there isn't much we can do to harm it. We're learning otherwise right now, and that represents a turning point.

We're beginning to see it as astronauts have seen the Earth, as one small, mostly blue planet, and that the connectedness, the way that we all are tied together and that we are tied to nature, and that nature has its roots in the ocean.

If we destroy or undermine the health of the environment, and that means the ocean environment most fundamentally -- it's where most of the environment on Earth is, after all -- then we are undermining our own future. And we are beginning to understand the relevance of the ocean to our everyday lives; and what we do to the ocean, we do to ourselves.


WALCOTT: More on the environment as we head to France. Late last year, the Maltese registered tanker Erika broke up and sank off the coast of Brittany in northwest France; 115,000 tons of crude oil polluted several hundred kilometers of coastline, and the cost of cleanup has been estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. The oil spill will take months, maybe even years, to clean up. It is slow, back-breaking work, and with every tide comes the chance more oil will be washed ashore. But a new process may be effective in dealing with such pollution in the future.

Peter Humi has the story.


PETER HUMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Now, a company from the South of France claims it's developed a new method to help deal with such ecological crises.

PATRICE STENGEL, SCIENTIST (through translator): The difference, I would say, is that all other methods can't clean as efficiently as ours. Our process works simply with cold water and leaves the sand with just 0.001 percent of traces of oil.

HUMI: Stengel and a small team of fellow scientists set up a makeshift demonstration on the polluted shores of Le Croisic. Sand caked with oil is mixed with activating agents, their makeup a heavily guarded secret. Then so-called "bioconfetti," a small polystyrene- like substance, is added. Acting like a magnet, they draw off the oil and float to the surface. The confetti are placed in a centrifuge and the crude oil is siphoned off.

In theory, the process produces sand, water and oil that are uncontaminated. If representatives of the oil industry were impressed, they didn't show it.

MICHEL FONTAINE, TOTAL-FINA (through translator): We'll need to compare this method with others. There is such a variety of pollution here that different methods might be needed. We'll need to see the factory process before we can make any decision.

HUMI: A refinery in southern France has been built to repeat the process on an industrial scale: 300 tons of sand and oil can be cleaned and separated a day, say the scientists.

(on camera): The inventors themselves admit that this is no miracle cure. They estimate it would still take about six months, even using their methods, to clean up the pollution caused by the sinking of the Erika.

(voice-over): The sand would still need to be collected, as now, and taken away for treatment.

"Look," says Stengel, "this beach, it's been cleaned, allegedly. But below the surface, there are still lumps of crude oil."

Rocks can also be cleaned using a derivative of the bioconfetti, called, in French "Biofeathers."

Whether the process is eventually adopted is up to the French government and the big oil companies. What's certain is that it comes too late for the 45,000 sea birds that are known to have been killed, and too late to help dozens of resorts like Le Croisic. Peter Humi, CNN, in Brittany, France.


WALCOTT: This is Black History Month across the United States, and we continue our series about issues and topics of special interest to African Americans. This week, we examine how the mass media has affected the African-American woman's beauty ideal. Black women, for the most part, aren't prominently featured on television, magazine covers or big budget movies, so we decided to take a closer look at how this has affected the African-American woman's self image.


(voice-over): They are the images that bombard us almost daily: seemingly perfect models staring from print ads, their carbon copies on the big and small screen; all thin, most with silky hair, the vast majority white. This is the beauty standard that prevails in our society, primarily aimed at women, and difficult for most to live up to. So imagine the isolation felt by those whose genetic makeup is very different from what the mass media defines as beautiful.

(on camera): For a long time, African-American women were all but ignored by the mass media. In fact, many of them say they've felt invisible. So how has this affected their self-image? The results of one study on that question might surprise you.

(voice-over): Anthropologists at the University of Arizona found that 77 percent of African-American teenagers showed high self-esteem when it came to body image. By contrast, only 10 percent of white teens were happy with their bodies. Researchers say white women are highly influenced by the images of perfection they see on television, in magazines, or in the movies. But they say African-American women, who rarely see images of themselves in the mainstream, create their own barometer for beauty.

We spoke more about this with a group of black teenagers in Atlanta: Yejide (ph), Yakini, Sharifa and Nyamezela (ph), 15- and 17- year-old girls with some very careful observations on the world around them.

(on camera): When you do see black women in magazines, how do you think they look, for the most part?

YAKINI PRESCOTT, AGE 15: Light eyes, straight hair; for the most part, light skin. You know, as close to Caucasian as possible.

SHARIFA LUMUMBA, AGE 17: I think it's because of the media and what they portray as beautiful -- the TV, you know, magazines. And what people see, you know, that's what they're going to want to be.

PRESCOTT: Black people have been ignored for so long that we just adjust, you know, to it; so we don't try to fight for, you know, black people to be on covers because we're not usually in the spotlight. WALCOTT (voice-over): But there are women working to have that focus readjusted. Hariette Cole is a best-selling author and image consultant. Veronica Webb is a world-renowned model and journalist. And Mikki Taylor is the beauty and cover editor for "Essence" magazine. We asked them about the type of pressure black women feel to conform to the mass media's beauty ideal.

HARIETTE COLE, IMAGE CONSULTANT: The irony is that as many African-American women are working so hard to straighten our hair and have that eurocentric ideal of what hair should look like, European women are looking to curl their hair and make their hair look like ours. So there's a schizophrenia in this country.

VERONICA WEBB, MODEL: When I first started modeling, you know, lots of times, I mean even, you know, just stuff like hair was always a big thing, you know, because it was always about getting your hair straight. And your hair didn't look pretty if it wasn't straight; and being humiliated by hair dressers who couldn't do your hair or people who made comments about your hair or clients would make comments about your hair like, you know, you look like a -- you know, the hair looks like an old poodle, or, you know, this is not the beach, this is not Africa; I don't want the hair this way in my runway show; I don't want the hair this way, you know, at my shoot.

MIKKI TAYLOR, BEAUTY EDITOR, "ESSENCE" MAGAZINE: I don't think that black women are waiting, though, to get the OK to return to natural hair or to wear braids or locks or any other style that they choose to in the workplace. We are affirming and reaffirming ourselves in that which really speaks to us and speaks to our beauty.

PRESCOTT: It depends on the community that you're raised in because a lot of times you find someone that was raised in a, you know, predominantly white neighborhood and, you know, what they see, for the most part, may be skinny, you know, and so that's what they go for. And if you have a little bit of hip, you know, or just a lump in your stomach, oh, she needs to work out. Why doesn't she run or something? But at the same time, in a neighborhood that's predominantly black, you'll probably find, oh, where's your meat at? you know. So it just depends on what kind of environment that you're raised in.

COLE: Many African-American women have fuller bodies, fuller hips, you know, a little bit more meat, just naturally. We need to know that that's beautiful. But it means that we have to create our own standard of beauty.

TAYLOR: Love these voluptuous bodies and these round behinds, if I may be so bold. And that's the thing we're working toward: How to make them rounder, fitter, firmer, not how to get rid of them.

WEBB: And then feeling, you know, very awkward about body type, you know, having like a little bit more behind and, you know, stronger thighs and stuff, and not really fitting in clothes; and having nothing to do with being fat, just having, you know, just a different genetic body shape. And it took me a long time to not feel awkward. I think it's hard for girls when they look at magazines because they feel like if you don't look like a picture, right, then you're not beautiful. And if you can't achieve what the picture looks like, then there's something wrong with you; you're flawed, you're not good enough. And I always try to tell people, well you know what, anybody could look that way if there's somebody chasing you around with a hairbrush a powder puff and, you know, a light perfectly positioned for you at every single solitary moment. I think that a lot of fashion is perceived more as reality rather than as entertainment.

TAYLOR: Well, you know, I don't promote that any woman try to look like someone who's on the cover of a magazine, on the front of a hair color box, or what have you, because I, like our editor -- like our publication director, Susan Taylor, I believe that each of us is a divine original, and it's always about what you're bringing to the scene as opposed to trying to look like someone else.

COLE: You have to be able to stand in the mirror and look at yourself naked and love who you are. And that's really about being conscious of who we are and loving who we see.


WALCOTT: Some good advice for everyone.

Next week, we'll take a closer look at the history of the blues. We'll introduce you to some folks in the Mississippi Delta who are working to keep what's called the soul of America alive.

We leave you with a sneak preview. Have a great day.


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