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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 7, 2000

Aired March 7, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: It's Tuesday here on NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining us. I'm Andy Jordan.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Life is full of struggles, and today we focus on some of them.

JORDAN: The struggle to survive, to fit in, to make a difference.

In today's top story: Mozambique, inundated with more than water, the struggle to fight disease and the race to deliver food and medicine to those in need.

BAKHTIAR: In "Health Desk," the not so healthy desire to be thin.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was hurting myself, and I knew I was hurting myself but there was no way of stopping it.


JORDAN: We head to the Balkans in "Worldview," where we visit innocent victims of a tragedy born years ago.


DR. ANA CULCER, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: We have lots of young mothers, students, or gypsies, like this baby, and we have a lot of social problems, a real impossibility to take care of a baby at home.


BAKHTIAR: Then in "Chronicle," the race to the White House won't be won without the help of women.


KIKI MOORE, GORE STRATEGIST: When you have households headed by women and women who are really driving and are responsible for a large part of the economy, you're going to find women paying attention to what candidates have to say on those issues.


JORDAN: Our top story today takes us to flood-ravaged Mozambique. The scale of humanitarian disaster in this southern African country is hard to convey using numbers. More than a million lives have been affected by weeks of unrelenting flooding.

Hundreds of villages have been swept away, thousands have died. As a multinational force of helicopters and boats fans out over Mozambique, the threat of more rain looms. Officials are worried another deluge of rain today and Wednesday could reverse relief progress that's already been made, especially along the Limpopo River Valley, which rose to record levels last week. They're also worried about how the floods will affect efforts to recover from a violent civil war that ended in 1992.

Now there's concern that all the concern might be too little too late. Catherine Bond reports.


CATHERINE BOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The rescue mission, mostly over; the relief effort has only just begun. Relief is arriving in Mozambique: British and French helicopters in the south. U.S. helicopters are expected to help further north.

But Graca Machel, the widow of Mozambique's first president and now wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, says the help should have come much quicker.

GRACA MACHEL, NELSON MANDELA'S WIFE: You know, it may sound ungrateful, but I think it came too late. We could have saved much more lives if we had had this kind of support from the beginning.

BOND: It was neighboring South Africa, which first helped out when the Limpopo River Valley flooded. Half a dozen military helicopters lifting more than 10,000 Mozambicans to dry land.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why the South Africans were alone here for so many, many, many days, when the images were quite clear, the appeal has been made, everybody was aware of the human tragedy which was happening here. Why so late?

BOND: Almost everywhere that's still flooded, help is urgently needed. In the yard of Graca Machel's country house, near the Limpopo River, are several thousand people.

(on camera): So even Graca Machel's Mozambique home has become a camp for people who can't go back yet because their houses are still under water.

(voice-over): It may be dry right here, but otherwise there's nothing.

"People have come here," says her bodyguard Georges, "because they have nowhere to go. We don't know when they're going to go back."

This isn't relief food, only what they saved, and some of that has to be dried out.

"The children are going to get ill," says Emelina. "The drinking water from the lagoon is dirty. We don't have blankets. We don't even have clothes. We don't even have medicines."

In Mrs. Machel's village, trapped bodies of those who drowned near their houses. No one really knows the total number of lives lost in Mozambique's disaster.

"The country is very big," says Philemon, "and four people in my family died. So I don't know how many people died in the whole country."

Where it has dried out, families are cleaning out their homes. Much of what the floodwaters destroyed, like these cassettes, they won't be able to afford to replace. But for now, their priority is food.

"We picked this corn cob from out of the water, but it stinks," says Rosalia.

Beans they had stored are sodden. And in every village effected by the flooding, the situation is more or less the same, with almost everything washed away, it's not just food that people need; it's something to cook it with.

ANDREW COLLODEL, JESUS ALIVE MISSION: Pots, we are desperately short of pots, tents, I need at least another two choppers to do the logistics.

BOND: Logistics, handled here by Mozambican and Malawian troops preparing to deliver food in central Mozambique, an area that's received no other help so far. The area where U.S. helicopters are most likely to join the relief effort.

Catherine Bond, CNN, Chilembene, Mozambique.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: We turn now to U.S. politics, where it is make-or-break time for presidential hopefuls. Roughly 39 percent of the American electorate will participate in primaries and caucuses in 16 states. Today's voting is crucial, because it could settle political contests for both Republicans and Democrats.

Among Republicans, the voting could lead to a big win for front- runner Governor George W. Bush.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Monday polls bode well for him in Tuesday's contests and he likes the rustle he hears from California's grassroots. GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The phone banks are ginned up and people are enthused about going to the polls.

CROWLEY: And in his talk there are sounds of a general campaign shaping up. Sharp talk about Al Gore.

BUSH: The man must have amnesia when he's talking about campaign funding reform. He must have forgotten that he went to a Buddhist temple.


WALCOTT: On the Democratic side, Vice President Al Gore also looks ready to sweep today's contests.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the Republicans continue their pitched battle, Gore is beginning to sound the themes of a general election message.

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republican candidates for president have been hampered by an agenda that is rooted in the past.


WALCOTT: And today's elections could sound the death knell for the campaigns of underdog candidates, such as Bill Bradley.


BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Don't listen to the polls and pundits, go to the polls and vote your convictions, vote your heart, vote for the future of this country. If you share my dream, make it your dream, and help me make it our dream.


WALCOTT: Big losses could also seriously wound Senator John McCain's campaign.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is John King with the McCain campaign. The surprise candidate of campaign 2000 hopes he hasn't run out of luck.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm the only one that can beat Al Gore and you know that.


WALCOTT: Stay tuned for more "Democracy in America" coverage in "Chronicle." BAKHTIAR: In our "Health Desk," today we look at body image and the role the media play. Eating disorders are becoming more common. In fact, there's even an organization in the United States called the National Eating Disorder Organization. It says North American models weigh 23 percent less today than the average female.

But in some magazines are out to change that. Christine Ferrari, managing editor of "Teen People" magazine says, "We're using regular teens instead of fashion models in our fashion stories. We're committed to showing a wide range of body types, because we believe there's no such thing as an 'ideal' physique."

It's more than a fashion statement. It can also be a matter of health, as Doctor Steve Salvatore explains.


DR. STEVE SALVATORE, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We see them all the time on television, in the movies and magazines: actresses like Helen Hunt, Calista Flockhart, and super model Kate Moss. They're attractive, well dressed, and unusually thin.

Marnie Greenberg knows all about the desire to be thin. She suffered from bulimia as a teenager, and easily identifies with women on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think everybody wants to change their self image. It doesn't matter who you are, you always going to want to be that someone.

SALVATORE: Marnie is not alone. According to a new study in the "Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine," teenage body image is greatly influenced by friends and the media.

DR. ALISON FIELD, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL: One of the questions we asked them is how much effort are they making to look like females they see in the media, and we found that to be a very strong predictor of starting to use vomiting and laxatives to control weight.

SALVATORE: Bulimia is an eating disorder in which a person repeatedly binge eats, then uses self-induced vomiting or laxatives to prevent weight gain.

DR. STANLEY HERTZ, LONG ISLAND JEWISH HOSPITAL: At least it begins with teenagers, sometime during that time, and then it goes on to, of course, the adult population.

SALVATORE: Marnie's teenage years were pretty rough. She was surrounded by friends who were totally consumed with their appearance. She did everything she could to lose weight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was hurting myself, and I knew I was hurting myself, but there was no way of stopping it.

HERTZ: The average American model is five-foot-10 and 107 pounds. The average North American woman is five-foot-four and 143 pounds. So what we show is not what we really are.

SALVATORE (on camera): Experts say the best weapon against eating disorders is self-esteem, something teenagers desperately need, and they emphasize young girls need to evaluate themselves in ways other than their weight and realize the images they see in the media are both unhealthy and unrealistic.

Dr. Steve Salvatore, CNN, New York.


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

JORDAN: Well, today's "Worldview" is all about choices: families choosing to love children a world away and a man teaching kids how to make good choices of their own.

BAKHTIAR: Henry David Thoreau once said, "be not simply good, be good for something." Well, our next story is about a man who seems to have taken that to heart. He's lost so much, but through his loss many are gaining. A word of caution: his story is intense but inspiring.


DAN DAVIDSON: How you doing today? Great to see you.

We are going to the Collier County Drill Academy. Some of them are career criminals. And I am to speak to them about choices, because I am one of them.

UNIDENTIFIED ACADEMY GUARD: He's going to explain a little bit about mistakes that he made in his past, what he's done to correct that. So I want your full attention and you understand.


DAVIDSON: Thank you very much, Commander Bloom.


DAVIDSON: Have you ever made a choice that didn't turn out anything like you thought it would? A choice that spun 180 degrees and blew up in your face? I am here today to share with you the results of my choices.

This is what's left of my hands. This is now my left leg. This is now my right leg.

Five years ago, I lived in Chicago. I was involved in a lot of illegal activity. One night, when I was high on cocaine, making angels in the snow, I slipped, I cracked my head. I was exposed for 13 1/2 hours at 40 below wind chill. My eyes were frozen solid. My fingers and thumbs were just black. I had put myself in a lot of bad positions before: gun fights, car chases, all be kinds of gang activity, always came out smelling like a rose. This time, I knew I wasn't going to get out. So, I decided to die.

I thought about what a liar I was. I thought about what a thief I was. I thought about my daughter and how she will live the rest of her life knowing that her father, stoned out of his mind on cocaine, froze to death.

And then I chose to live.

So, a lot of what keeps me going is the thought that I can help other people. I strongly believe that if I can do it, anybody can do it.

What kind of candidates are you guys? Are you seriously trying to change your life, or are you just playing the system? If you are, that's your choice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we tracking?


DAVIDSON: It's been my pleasure to speak to you today. I will be at your graduation. Thank you.

I feel that if I would have been caught and placed in a program like this, I never would have went down the path that I did .

TIM WALL, CNN VIDEOGRAPHER: Now you've accomplished a lot in five years.

DAVIDSON: Thank you. You know, when you're in this to help people and help, you know, provide a life of service, that does a lot. You know what I'm saying?

Your life is a game. It's the World Cup. It's the World Series. It's the Super Bowl all wrapped into one. If you're the president of a company; or if you're a quad amputee, you can take full responsibility for putting yourself there. And I often say that it was the best thing that ever happened to me. And I feel I'm richer today than I've ever been.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Romania is a republic located on the Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe. Until 1989, it was controlled by a communist government. The successful Romanian Revolution transformed Romania into a free, democratic society. But as the transition was made from communism to democracy, many of Romania's orphans were left behind. Images of malnourished and mistreated Romanian children prompted families from outside the country to adopt them. Still, Romania struggles with the problem.

Elina Fuhrman reports from Romania's capital, Bucharest. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELINA FUHRMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This baby fell asleep without love or lullabies. She will stay here at the University Hospital in Bucharest for another couple of months, until her papers are finalized. Then this girl, like all the other babies here, she has no name, will be transferred to one of the hundreds of orphanages in Romania.

DR. ANA CULCER, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: We have a lot of young mothers, students or gypsies like give little baby, and we have a lot of social problems, a real impossibility to take care of baby at home.

FUHRMAN: These children are the latest victims of a tragedy that first came to light 10 years ago with the fall of communism in Romania. Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu banned birth control and abortions and encouraged Romanian women to have as many children as they could. The state, Ceaucescu said, needed workers, and he promised that if their families could not raise the children, his government would. Now, the lost children are all that remain of Ceaucescu's bizarre dream.

When the story hit the front pages, there was no lack of Western couples anxious to adopt the children.

PATSY SCHNEIDER, PARENT: And look how teeny, tiny he is.

FUHRMAN: Patsy and Karl Schneider went to Romania in 1991 to adopt Billy.

P. SCHNEIDER: There was this little, two-week-old, 10-pound -- five-pound kid wrapped up in a four year old T-shirt and a two-sizes- too-large diaper that he'd been in all day long, and I cried all the way home.


FUHRMAN: But not all babies came from orphanages. Some parents, unable to care for a new baby and desperate for cash in Romania's ruined economy, sold their children directly to middlemen: baby brokers. The government called a three-year halt to all international adoptions while it tried to establish an orderly system. The moment the doors opened up again, the Schneiders returned to Romania in 1995, this time to adopt a girl, Laura.

KARL SCHNEIDER, PARENT: It was different.

SCHNEIDER: It was different. That's what I was going to say: it was different.

K. SCHNEIDER: You had -- you had more of a controlled atmosphere, because agencies had entered into the market, the laws had changed...

P. SCHNEIDER: The Romanian laws had changed. Our laws were the same. K. SCHNEIDER: The Romanian laws had changed.

FUHRMAN: The new laws were meant to streamline and control the adoption process. Responsibility for the orphans was taken from the state health department and given to a more progressive child protective agency. International adoptions were allowed only if a suitable Romanian family cannot be found. Emphasis was placed on family care as an alternative to the orphanages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mommy's the best mommy.

FUHRMAN: But the Schneiders say that in reality the new laws, coupled with a much-higher price tag, left potential adoptive parents in a bureaucratic limbo.

K. SCHNEIDER: They had to be in an orphanage for six months under Romanian law before they were even adoptable.

P. SCHNEIDER: There are so many people around the world who want to adopt these babies, and where are they getting the money to pay for the food, the milk, the staff, the clothes, the diapers, you know, the laundry detergent? It just seems so shortsighted to me.

FUHRMAN: The new laws may have eliminated the outrage in the world's headlines and improved conditions at the orphanages, but the cribs are as crowded as ever. Some Romanians are concerned that the problem is being exaggerated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, you get some mothers which abandon their kid, but you can't say that Romania is still full of abandoned kids or the orphanages are not good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't look at just the bad side, look at the good side. Look at all these mothers which they do care about their kids.

FUHRMAN: And there are plenty of them, holding their babies and praying they will have enough money to raise their new child. But there are many more babies abandoned by their parents, imprisoned in their cribs.

FUHRMAN (on camera): This baby who doesn't have a name yet spent the first three months of his life in the hospital.

(voice-over): He's one of many thousands of infants who are the victims of a dictator's dream, Romania's economic troubles and the heavy hand of bureaucracy.

Elina Fuhrman, CNN, Bucharest, Romania.


BAKHTIAR: Today, our "Democracy in America" focus is on the race for the White House and issues affecting young people. When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, he took his campaign to MTV to reach young voters. On CNN's "TALKBACK LIVE," yesterday, MTV political reporters and first-time voters laid out important issues for young Americans in this presidential go around.


GIDEON YAGO, MTV CHOOSE OR LOSE: Financing the cost of a higher education is really a big concern in this election and for the future. But you know, people are always worried about issues like violence in high schools, handgun control, the abortion debate.

ERICA TERRY, MTV CHOOSE OR LOSE: Young people are concerned about health care, and a lot of kids may say, look, I don't know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, but I do want to make sure that when I intern and I don't get paid a lot of money just starting out, you know, out of college that I am going to be able to have affordable health care.

BRITTANY: I think that the candidates, you need to look at their morals as well as the issues, because you don't want to be, you know, worried about scandal in your country. You want to be worried about what the issues are, and they're representing you and you want somebody to represent you who is very morally upright.

YAGO: people who are going to be voting for the first time, young voters, really get the feeling that politicians are talking at them and not to them and that's really a shame because there are so many issues that young people really kind of spearhead or take under their wing that are -- that get ignored, that don't really get discussed on the presidential level.

TERRY: I was really impressed with how much young people were paying attention not only to the issues that are being put out there, but also to how the process works and feeling as though, gosh, if this were a simplified process, then it would be a lot easier for people to get involved.


JORDAN: Well, we continue our "Democracy in America" coverage with a look at another important voting group: women. Women in the United States worked hard to gain the right to vote back in 1920, and ever since they've been showing up at the polls to exercise that right, even out-numbering their male counterparts.

Wolf Blitzer looks at these women who have a lot at stake in the 2000 presidential elections.


BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: Women represent the most powerful political groups in the country.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush's mother is doing it, so is Bill Bradley's wife.

ERNESTINE BRADLEY, BILL BRADLEY'S WIFE: I had not expected so many wonderful supporters.

BLITZER: Candidates are rallying the women's vote and they're conspicuously tailoring their message.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm the person who coined the phrase: compassionate conservatism.

BLITZER: That's because gender often determines the way Americans vote.

ANDREW KOHUT, PEW RESEARCH CENTER: Women care more about, you know, candidates who are compassionate, who are willing to compromise. And there are some really, very big value differences.

BLITZER: Appealing to women voters who've outnumbered men in every presidential election since 1964, can be the difference between success and failure. Four years ago, seven million more women voted than men.

KOHUT: Men and women differ in their political values, the issues that they stress, the qualities they're looking for in presidents. I mean, their gender differences are now as important as socioeconomic differences, racial differences.

BLITZER: In 1996, more than half the women voted Democratic; and president Clinton captured 16 percent more of the women's vote than Bob Dole. In contrast, among men, the split was almost even.

Mr. Clinton had the support among the so-called "soccer moms" and the waitress moms, who focused on "bread and butter" economic issues.

KIKI MOORE, GORE STRATEGIST: When you have households headed by women, and women who are really driving and responsible for a large part of this economy, you're going find women paying attention to what candidates have to say on those issues.

BLITZER: George Bush would like to reverse that Clinton trend.

KAREN HUGHES, BUSH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think women are concerned sometimes about the hard edges of a conservative philosophy and they like his approach of explaining that a conservative philosophy is compassionate.

BLITZER: Polls routinely show women are more interested in the environment, health care, gun control, and education; issues often identified with the Democratic agenda. While men want strong leadership and tax cuts; bottom-line Republican issues.

Bill Bradley, well known by men from his basketball days has a challenge in rallying women.

E. BRADLEY: You know, a politician always has to conquer new ground again. You can't build on the laurels of a past existence. And you really need to plead your case again and again to new generations, young generations, women as well as men.

BLITZER: Al Gore would love revisit Mr. Clinton's pass successes. So far, during the primaries this year, Gore has done better among women than men. And in recent polls, that hypothetically place Gore against both Bush and John McCain, the vice president also does better among women than men.

Bush too is trying to negotiate that tricky common ground, attracting one gender without alienating the other. So far, he's meeting with mixed success.

(on camera): One wild card in all of this: a woman running mate. The only other time there was one was in 1984: Geraldine Ferraro. That generated some excitement, especially among women, but there's no evidence it affected the outcome.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Washington.


BAKHTIAR: For the latest on the primaries, stay tuned to CNN.

JORDAN: Extensive coverage begins tonight at 7:00 Eastern; that is 4:00 Pacific.

BAKHTIAR: That should be pretty exciting.

JORDAN: Yes, big day. We'll see you back here tomorrow.



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