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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 2, 2000

Aired March 2, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And welcome aboard as NEWSROOM pulls into the station for our Thursday edition.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Our itinerary is jam-packed: We'll follow the race to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, make artificial skin...

WALCOTT: Take a cyber-safari and then hang out with a guy who's managed to skate his way around the pitfalls of drugs and alcohol.

JORDAN: But first up: Democratic contenders in the U.S. presidential election continue to lock horns.

WALCOTT: In "Science Desk": a new development some animal activists think is cool.


MARTIN STEPHENS, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE U.S.: The approval of Corrositex means that thousands of animals won't be used in the coming years for corrosivity testing.


WALCOTT: We roll into "Worldview" with an easy and inexpensive way to take an African safari, all at the click of your mouse.


JAMES HATTORI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-four hours a day, continuous live images and sounds are transmitted in 30-second intervals via remote cameras placed in South Africa's natural wildlife reserves.


WALCOTT: Then in "Chronicle" we'll introduce you to Andy MacDonald: skateboarder, athlete, role model and drug free.


ANDY MACDONALD, SKATEBOARDER: People used to be like, you skate too much, you don't party. I'm like, how dumb does that sound, you know, like, yes, I'm skating, this is my high, this is what I want to do. I don't want to ruin it by getting drunk or high, stoned, you know.


WALCOTT: Today's top story takes us front and center to the latest Democratic presidential debate in California. The leading contenders, Vice President Al Gore and former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, squared off in Los Angeles Wednesday night. The 90-minute debate, co-sponsored by CNN and "The Los Angeles Times," took place at the newspaper's headquarters. It was the only scheduled debate in California before next Tuesday's high-profile primaries in 11 states, including California and New York.

And it was Bill Bradley's last chance to prove to party members that he's still a viable option to Al Gore. The vice president has won every Democratic contest so far and in the process has picked up 42 delegates. Bradley has 27.

Tuesday's debate featured a decidedly-polite tone and focused, among other things, on some of the issues facing the Supreme Court.


VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Both of the Republican candidates have pledged to overturn Roe v. Wade, and Governor Bush went into a private meeting with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and when they came out both patted him on the back and said, well, we heard everything that we wanted to hear. Both Governor Bush and Senator McCain are as anti-choice as you can get. So I think it's awfully important that we have a president who will appoint justices to the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution in keeping with America's tradition.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I were going to select someone for the Supreme Court, I don't think that I could select that person if I thought there was one doubt in my mind that the person would turn the clock back on civil rights. The court throughout our history has played a very negative role from time to time in moving our civil rights forward, in other cases a very positive role, so I'd have to have that answered for myself before I made the appointment.


WALCOTT: The candidates also took up the question of guns in schools.


BRADLEY: What we need to have here, is we need very tough gun legislation, registration and licensing of all handguns, gun dealers out of residential neighborhoods, trigger locks, background checks and banning Saturday night specials. But above all, what we need is a leader who's committed to this every day he's in office. Otherwise, you'll never beat the NRA.

GORE: We need child safety trigger locks. We need to ban junk guns and Saturday night specials. We need to require a photo license I.D. for the purchase of a new handgun. We need to reinstate the three-day waiting period under the Brady law. We need to also deal with drugs; that was part of this problem. We need more psychologists and guidance counselors in our schools and more teachers with smaller classes so they can keep track of these students and their family situations and so much more.


WALCOTT: Another debate takes place tonight, this time between the Republican presidential hopefuls. Again, co-sponsored by CNN and "The L.A. Times," it will be broadcast live right here on CNN, beginning at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

JORDAN: Well, Shelley, that Republican debate, of course, leads up to next Tuesday, when a major chunk of the 1,034 delegate votes needed for the Republican nomination are at stake.

Religion continues to play a key factor in the ongoing war of words between George W. Bush and John McCain. Bush took issue with McCain for characterizing him as a, quote, "an anti-Catholic bigot." McCain has been denouncing what he calls the intolerance of the religious right. So far, Bush leads with the delegate count at 208, McCain trails with 104, Steve Forbes has two, even though he's dropped out of the race, Alan Keyes is still in and has one.

Those are the candidates. What about the issues? Jim Moret looks at how the contenders are addressing the issues important to the youth of America.


JIM MORET, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember the youthful enthusiasm of the '60s? The leading presidential candidates should. They're all part of the Baby Boom generation, a group that changed American politics forever. But have these candidates forgotten what its like to be young?

(on camera): As a group, how many of you feel that the candidates are speaking to younger voters?

LIZ GEYER, UCLA STUDENT: I don't think really think speaking to us, like taking us seriously or really listening to where we're coming from. It's sort of just what they picture, and assume and spin as, like, what young people care about.

GREY FRANDSEN, UCLA STUDENT: The disconnect here is between the students who find that these, say, four presidential candidates really represent almost zero of their interests.

MORET (voice-over): The candidate who does connect with America's 18- to 24-year-olds could potentially claim a political prize of 25 million votes. But it will be a challenge. Only one- third of the nation's 18- to 24-year-olds voted in the last presidential election, considerably less than the general population. Most young voters have no party affiliation, so those candidates perceived as outsiders, like McCain and Bradley, appear to have the best chance of winning young votes.

MICHELE MITCHELL, POLITICAL ANALYST/AUTHOR: You have to be willing to say some things that may not sound pretty, because this is an age group that does not believe in any great political myths. Those have been destroyed for us repeatedly over the last 30 years.

MORET: Since 18-year-olds first won the right to vote in 1972, voter turnout has gradually decreased every year, until 1992, when almost 200,000 additional young people went to the polls for the first time.

Rock the Vote, a nonprofit political organization, played a part, so did President Clinton's campaign tactics.

ALISON BYRNE FIELDS, ROCK THE VOTE PROGRAM DIRECTOR: There's a candidate that was marketing himself as being a youth candidate, and I think that had a great effect.

MORET: MTV started its "Choose or Lose" election coverage that same year, and continues to offer its viewers a forum for election news.

GIDEON YAGO, MTV REPORTER: Nobody is really focusing on the issues that are important to young voters. Nobody is talking really about cutting the costs of financing a higher education. Nobody is talking about the environment. Nobody is talking about violence in high schools. These aren't big presidential issues.

Why do you think a first-time voter should vote for you?

MORET: One team of MTV reporters traveling with the candidates suggests it's not that politicians are failing to talk to young people, they just aren't resonating with them.

ERIKA TERRY, MTV REPORTER: If you get up there and you give the example of the elderly woman who needs prescription drugs as the only example of somebody who is having an issue with health care, what does that do to the, you know, 22-year-old intern who is just starting out. and doesn't have health coverage and is trying to make a mark for themselves.

MORET: Meanwhile, these students, all of whom plan to vote in November, are still watching and waiting.

(on camera): How many of you believe the candidates will speak to you before the end of the election?

FRANDSEN: There's the hopeful.


JORDAN: In our "Science Desk" today we check out a new way to test how safe products are. Instead of using animals, a controversial practice, this technique involves a kind of artificial skin.

Ann Kellan has the details.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: What do we want?


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: When do we want it?


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Animal testing has been controversial for years, even though industry and government contend it's often the best way to assess product safety. This new test could change that. It's called Corrositex, and a panel of government experts say it works to test certain corrosive chemicals to help determine how they should be safely handled and stored.

DR. WILLIAM STOKES, VETERINARIAN: In the household these would include things like oven cleaners and drain cleaners, which would have either strong acids or bases as a component.

KELLAN: The test replaces the rabbit's skin.

STOKES: The animal test that is traditionally used to determine whether a chemical causes corrosive damage to skin involves shaving the back of a rabbit and applying the chemical in multiple sites and then observing that to see whether there was permanent damage to the skin.

KELLAN: Corrositex, on the other hand, uses an artificial membrane called a bio-barrier that acts like a layer of skin. The scientist drops the chemical on the membrane. If the chemical is corrosive, it will eat its way through the bio-barrier, react with the underlying solution and turn it a different color.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that worked through within 28 seconds, which is a very bad test article. That's something I wouldn't want to get on my skin.

KELLAN (on camera): For industry to feel comfortable using these new tests, they need the government's stamp of approval. A new government committee made up of 14 agency representatives, including the EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation, evaluates the new tests. Corrositex is the first non-animal test to get the committee's endorsement.

STEPHENS: The approval of Corrositex means that thousands of animals won't be used in the coming years for corrosivity testing.

KELLAN (voice-over): And the humane society's optimistic that there's now a system in place to encourage the use of more non-animal tests.

Ann Kellan, CNN


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 online 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.

WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, we go hunting for animals and UFOs. Get set for adventure as we head to Asia, Africa and Europe. We take a safari to South Africa, where the wide world of animals is as close as the Worldwide Web. Then cast your eyes skyward. In China we'll join the search for extraterrestrials. And from aliens to alienation, we check out the tension still smoldering in Yugoslavia.

JORDAN: "Worldview" gets started in an area of the world known as the Balkans. Last summer, we all watched as Serbia, the largest republic in Yugoslavia, tried to rid its Kosovo province of ethnic Albanians who make up the majority of that land. When the international military alliance NATO staged strikes to force the return of those ethnic Albanians, many Serbs fled. But some have remained, along with what was supposed to be about 5,000 NATO officers who would keep the peace. Some of those NATO peacekeepers have left, but still many Serbs left in Kosovo say even NATO troops cannot stifle lingering tension between the ethnic groups.

Nic Robertson reports.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tihomer Markovic, a Serb, opens up his store the day after unknown assailants fired a rocket into it. No one was injured because it failed to explode. He blames the attack on ethnic Albanians he says are trying to intimidate him.

TIHOMER MARKOVIC, STOREKEEPER (through translator): Something has happened that shouldn't have happened, and it's happening every day to the remaining Serbs in Kosovo.

ROBERTSON: Security following this attack has been stepped up, but almost every day peacekeepers are told of harassment of Serbs living in Kosovo.

"They should do more for us because we have no freedom of movement," Tihomer's neighbor Zlata (ph) says.

In fact, most Serbs in Kosovo now live in NATO-protected enclaves with check points at their boundaries. CPT. PATRIC MAGNUSSON, SWEDISH BATTALION, KFOR: I don't think we could pull out now because there is very high tension between the Albanians and Serbs, and there will be trouble between them again.

ROBERTSON: Serbian churches, often the target of attackers, also have NATO guards. The increase in security has led to fewer attacks in recent months, but has also begun to institutionalize the province's ethnic divisions.

FATHER SAVA, SPOKESMAN FOR SERBIAN CHURCH IN KOSOVO: Unfortunately, Kosovo is a completely segregated society in which non- Albanians, especially Serbs, live in strictly defined areas in which they usually don't live with Albanians.

ROBERTSON: Recently, in recognition that Serbs cannot travel safely, the United Nations promised to provide schools and health care facilities in the enclaves. Privately, many Serbs in these isolated communities say they live in fear of attack, and if they could sell their homes they would leave Kosovo.

(on camera): It is not known exactly how many Serbs have fled Kosovo since the ethnic Albanians returned last summer. The Yugoslav Red Cross says that more than 200,000 have registered for aid outside of Kosovo, but the United Nations estimates that the number of Serbs who fled is close to 100,000.

(voice-over): Approximately 100,000 remain. But if the situation does not change, leaders fear more may go.

SAVA: If the people -- young people who remain here don't get jobs in their hands, I'm sure they would leave. And so it is possible that, now, the remaining population of Serbs in Kosovo might be even dwindled by the next years.

ROBERTSON: NATO is committed to protecting even the most isolated Serb hamlets, but Serbs and Albanians here know NATO cannot be everywhere all the time.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Caglavica, Kosovo.


ANNOUNCER: "Communication Transformation."

WALCOTT: We journey now to South Africa, a land of deep valleys, broad plateaus and rolling grasslands. It's at the southern tip of a continent known for its native wild animals. Our safari begins with a hunting expedition for Internet sites. So strap on your pith helmet and put your trigger finger on the mouse.

James Hattori takes us along on this African adventure.


HATTORI (voice-over): Fancy an African safari? How about a virtual safari without ever leaving home? Just log onto Africam's Web site and instantly be transported into the heart of the African bush. Twenty-four hours a day, continuous live images and sounds are transmitted in 30-second intervals by remote cameras placed in South Africa's natural wildlife reserves.

PETER ARMITAGE, CEO, AFRICAM.COM: What we're providing is a real immersive experience, where everything that you see is live and credible and true, and it's, you know, the animals in their natural environment.

HATTORI: There's Hyena Cam outside a family den, Eagle Cam with a bird's-eye view, and various other cameras set up around watering holes where you can see elephants, rhinos and giraffes come in for a drink.

And like any good safari, there are game drives, in this case virtual game drives, where actual safari rangers mount cameras on top of their Land Rovers and go out actively looking for animals. With six full-time rangers and some 15 cameras in place, chances are about 50-50 that you'll see beauty and a beast or two when you log on.

ARMITAGE: We think, at some point in time, we've caught almost every animal in the African bush. I don't think you can ever really lay claim to that, but certainly some really great sighting, things that people can spend a lifetime not seeing. We've had a python eating an impala, and we've had a zebra giving birth. And -- but I think what people really enjoy the most is the lion cub.

HATTORI: If you miss a live sighting, you can view highlights from previous days. Get face-to-face with lions, stare a Nile crocodile in the eye.

KIM ZETTER, ASSOC. EDITOR, "PC WORLD": Africam is perfect for the armchair traveler, and it's an example of what the Internet does really well because it closes the geographical gap and it transports you to a far-off locale and brings images to you that you wouldn't ordinarily have access to or be able to see.

One of the things that I like best about the site is the commentary that they provide.

HATTORI: The site is loaded with information about the animals and the environment and has forums for virtual safari-goers to share their experiences with each other.

Africam is also following the making of a leopard movie, and they're working on perfecting the first remote underwater shark cam.

Still dreaming about that trip to southern Africa? Try going to and let Africa come to you for free.


JORDAN: Are we alone in the universe? That's a question many wonder. Some say yes, that life only exists on planet Earth. Others point to UFO sightings as evidence there is extraterrestrial life. But are UFO sightings real? If you're one of the skeptics, this next story may interest you.

A UFO is defined as any aerial object or optical phenomenon which is unexplainable to an observer. Today we head for China where some insist they've observed UFOs flying overhead. Are the reports legit?

Rebecca MacKinnon investigates.


REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Late last year, this strange floating object appeared above Shanghai. This one was videotaped in the suburbs of Beijing. Scientists interviewed on local television said there must be some earthly explanation but were puzzled as to what those, well, unidentified flying objects might be.

Nationwide excitement over recent UFO sightings has even hit a small mountain village called Pusalu (ph). Villager Li Shiyuan (ph) says he saw two glowing orange lights floating above his pheasant coop one evening in December.

(on camera): Exactly what people here really saw is a matter of much dispute, but there are many people in China who take the idea of visitors from outer space very seriously.

(voice-over): Sun Shili is president of the China UFO Research Association, membership 50,000, many of whom are scientists.

SUN SHILI, UFO RESEARCH ASSOCIATION (through translator): When I say that we believe in UFO's, I don't mean that we do so lightly. Rather, we conduct practical investigations and search for theoretical and physical evidence.

MACKINNON: People from all over the country send him pictures of glowing orbs and saucers. Members inspect sites where trees and grass were mysteriously flattened overnight and interview people like this farmer who claims aliens flew him to Shanghai.

As for the peasant farmers of Pusalu who still struggle to make ends meet, the local Communist Party secretary sees a silver lining under every UFO sighting.

"Some think it was a Buddhist omen, others thought it was aliens," he says. "I don't think it matters as long as it brings tourists."

His teenage son is already working on an Internet Web site, hoping rumors of aliens in this picturesque mountain village will attract curious earthlings with money to burn.

Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Beijing.


WALCOTT: We're high in the sky for this "Worldview" footnote. Balloonist Kevin Uliassi is heading into day 10 of his journey around the world. He took off in his hot air balloon in Rockford, Illinois, last month. He's looking to become the first balloonist to circle the world solo. So far he's made it about 10,000 miles, or about a third of the way around the globe. Yesterday, he was crossing Saudi Arabia at speeds reaching 118 miles, or about 189 kilometers, per hour.


KEVIN ULIASSI, BALLOONIST: I just crossed the border from Algeria into Libya. We're getting into faster-moving air now. We've been in fairly slow-moving air, we're accelerating now. And we hope that if we get it into the core of the jet stream that we can get back around the world before our fuel runs out and get this done.


WALCOTT: The next obstacle will be the Himalayas in India, the tallest mountains in the world.

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

JORDAN: We conclude our series, "Drugs, Perceptions, Realities" today in an unlikely place: the skate parks of San Diego, California. It's where you'll find one of the hottest young athletes in the U.S. strutting his stuff and setting an extraordinary example, not only in his sport but in the way he lives his life. We caught up with Andy MacDonald on his home turf and learned about his concept of getting high.


MACDONALD: My name's Andy MacDonald, and I'm a professional skateboarder.

We are at the Mission Valley YMCA Skate Park in San Diego, California. Beautiful, sunny day as usual.

I was 12 years old when I picked up my first skateboard.

Skateboarding's my passion; this is what I do for a living. I'm one of the lucky few that, I think, that can say I love what I do for a living. I wake up and go, I'm going to go skate today, all right.

It was kind of more of a rebellious sport when I started doing it. It wasn't as accepted by the mainstream as it is today, but it's still just as fun as it ever was.

In life in general I'm motivated by my family, my girlfriend. In skateboarding, I'm motivated by the progression of it. I see the sport constantly evolving, constantly changing.

In skateboarding there aren't very many rules, so you can do whatever's fun, and you're only limited by your imagination.

A lot of adults tend to view kids that skateboard as drug users, and more and more we're kind of fighting that stereotype. That was a battle for me, especially being that I didn't do that stuff. I've, you know, never done drugs, drank, smoked, anything, and yes, I ride a skateboard. Crazy. Imagine that, you know. Luckily, I guess, I was exposed to skateboarding before I was exposed to pot, and I was already so into skateboarding I didn't -- I was like, I don't want -- I don't want pot to even get in the way of my skating. All I could see it doing is hindering my performance, you know. It slows down your reaction time. How am I going to react to my board flipping underneath my feet if I'm stoned?

I'm just living a positive, drug-free lifestyle and hoping that kids follow suit, you know. I'm not going to preach at them for sure, because I think that's the first thing that turns kids off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, Public Service Announcement)

My name's Andy MacDonald. I ride a useless wooden toy for a living.


MACDONALD: So I teamed up with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and we did a public service announcement. I was the first athlete that they'd ever used.


Or take somebody that's not going to be afraid to fall down a lot, because you definitely will fall down. You're not a failure until you refuse to get back up. Drugs are only going to hinder what I'm trying to do. That right there is my idea of getting high.


MACDONALD: Shooting the ad was, I mean, it was great. It was definitely time well spent. It just felt like, here's an opportunity for a skateboarder to give back to the community, you know, and on national television, you know. What better medium to get the message out?

It's an awesome experience just knowing that I've -- even just one kid, you know, just having a kid even bring it up, you know, knowing that they saw it. Regardless of what decisions they've make, they know the decision that I've made, and if they look up to me maybe they'll make the same.

Everyone's their own person, you know. Everyone has -- can make their own decisions and maybe sometimes just need someone to point them in the right direction.

All right, that's it. I broke a nail.


JORDAN: Well, we've covered a lot of ground in our series on teens and drugs. If you missed any part of it, you can always turn to the NEWSROOM archive on the Worldwide Web. Check the dates of February 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th. To get to our archive, point your browser to, then click on "archives."

We will click our heels twice and see you back here tomorrow.

WALCOTT: See you then.



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