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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 13, 2000

Aired March 13, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We're starting a new week here on NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining us. I'm Tom Haynes.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Here's a look at what we've got lined up for you today.

HAYNES: In our top story, a plea for forgiveness for those wronged by the Roman Catholic Church.


POPE JOHN PAUL II (through translator): For the use of violence in the name of truth and for the attitude of indifference and hostility taken towards other religions.


BAKHTIAR: In "Environment Desk," we'll explore the relationship woe of love-birds.


SCOTT SWENGL, INTERNATIONAL CRANE FOUNDATION: Lance has been married before to a male that she didn't really care that much about. And Moda, tried to be -- he wanted to get married to this one really strong female. But she didn't want to marry him.


HAYNES: We head down under, in "Worldview," to cover a quiet war that's been killing entire species.


JENNIFER SKIFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has become the biggest native wildlife recovery project in the world. Its goal is to get 30 species off the endangered list.


BAKHTIAR: Then, in "Chronicle," CNN Student Bureau introduces us to the latest young gun to blaze a campaign trail.


JAKE DAVISON, CANDIDATE: I think if people our age really knew that the people who are making decisions are the people who are, you know, 35 to 80, you know, I don't think -- if we really pointed that out, I think young people would get more involved.


HAYNES: In "Today's News," we traverse centuries of human history for the Roman Catholic Church. In what could be one of the most significant acts of his papacy, Pope John Paul II called on Jews, women and others to look at the church and say: "I forgive."

It's the first time in the history of the Catholic Church one of its leaders has asked for this kind of pardon. Just over one billion of the world's six billion people were Roman Catholic as of last year. Catholicism dates back to Jesus' time when tradition holds that he named Saint Peter the first leader of the Catholic Church.

The church believes the pope is the successor to Peter and holds sacred roles as the bishop of Rome and supreme leader of the Catholic Church. He's also the sovereign of the country, The Vatican, where Roman Catholicism is based.

This pontiff is taking the historic step of offering a plea for pardon. We have two reports beginning with Jim Bittermann at The Vatican.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Riding a special mobile platform, Pope John Paul II led his followers in penitential procession up the main aisle of St. Peter's Basilica and toward a sweeping confession of the church's sins.

Never before had the Vatican repented for such a broad range of errors committed in its name. Lighting lamps to signify each of seven general categories of wrongs the church has committed, the pope prayed for forgiveness.

POPE JOHN PAUL II (through translator): We are asking forgiveness for the divisions that took place among Christians, for the use of violence in the name of truth, and for the attitudes of indifference and hostility taken towards other religions.

BITTERMANN: Still, in confessing to everything from the Crusades to the Inquisition, the forced conversion of non-Christians and anti- Jewish acts, modern Catholics may wonder why they should repent, and non-Catholics may wonder why the pope was not more specific about the church's sins.

(on camera): Within hours after the mass here, homosexuals were claiming the pope had ignored them, and Jewish leaders were expressing disappointment that he had not specifically mentioned the Holocaust, hoping he will have more to say about it when he travels to Israel just over a week from now.

(voice-over): Those who worked on the confession expected criticism, but believe other religions may eventually follow Rome's lead.

CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER, PREFECT OF CONGREGATION OF FAITH DOCTRINE (through translator): We have a new situation today in which the church has greater freedom to return to the confession of sins and invite the others to their confession and, therefore, to deep reconciliation.

BITTERMANN: For church historians, the timing of the Vatican's act of penitence seemed right.

REV. MARK LEWIS, CHURCH HISTORIAN: I think any organization that lives or tries to live by certain ideals has to take account at times of the fact that we don't live that way. We make mistakes, we commit sin, and so in this jubilee year, which is a year of conversion, of preparation, it's a very logical time to take stock of our past and see what we need to ask forgiveness for of whom and so forth.

BITTERMANN: As logical as it might be, in confessing its sins over the past 20 centuries, the Vatican has taken a step few other institutions would dare.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Vatican City.



JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Intense preparations in full swing for Pope John Paul II's historic holy land pilgrimage. That the way to the visit was paved by the pope's day of pardon mass was well received by Israel. Israeli government secretary Isaac Herzog was in the Vatican last week to prepare for the landmark pilgrimage.

ISAAC HERZOG, CABINET SECRETARY: Undoubtedly it is historic, the feeling that the Vatican itself is leading the way to all of the believers all over the world of changing the attitude toward Judaism and Jewish people.

KESSEL: Jews recall that in Catholic liturgy it's only three decades since the phrase "perfidious Jews" was eliminated, and Catholics instructed to cease what was called the "teaching of contempt" which stemmed from the accusation that Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.

But this pope is seen by Jews as having gone much farther than any in serious reconciliation overtures and in seeking penance for centuries of persecution of Jews by Christians, underlined by the pope's prayer "we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the covenant."

But, there's also some disappointment that the church's condemnation of the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews was not specifically mentioned, nor the Vatican's controversial role during World War II, especially that of the wartime pope, whom Jews accuse of shameful silence, but for whom the Vatican is considering beatification, the final step leading to sainthood.

CHIEF RABBI YISRAEL LAU: The pope of that time, Pious XII, is not mentioned in the forgiveness of the pope of today. His silence, his standing on our blood without saying one word to prevent the bloodshed, this has to be condemned.

I wait for the second chapter of the forgiveness.

KESSEL (on camera): The response suspended say many until it is heard what Pope John Paul will say on the wartime horrors when he visits the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial here during his holy land pilgrimage.

Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Jerusalem.


BAKHTIAR: We turn our attention now to U.S. politics and the race for the White House. Over the weekend, several states held primaries and caucuses. On Friday, both George W. Bush and Al Gore easily won primaries in Utah and Colorado. Saturday, Democrats voted in the Minnesota and Michigan caucuses with Al Gore winning both.

In Arizona's Democratic primary Saturday, voters cast their ballots over the Internet for the first time.

With the race between Bush and Gore intensifying campaign fundraising is becoming a hot topic. Will Al Gore be able to shake allegations of inappropriate fundraising techniques from the 1996 campaign?


KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vice president has admitted making mistakes while raising money during the 1996 presidential campaign but got specific Sunday, citing this visit to a California Buddhist temple, telling "The New York Times," quote, "I made a mistake going to that Buddhist temple. I made a mistake in making telephone calls from my office. And I have learned from those mistakes."

Those comments drew a swift response from Texas Governor George W. Bush's campaign.

KARL ROVE, BUSH CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: He tries to pass this off as a minor little boo boo. It isn't. It's potential violations of law and actual violations of law with people going to jail.

WALLACE: Republicans say they welcome Gore's plan to make campaign finance reform a centerpiece of his presidential race.

SEN, MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: We're looking forward to showing commercials featuring the vice president at the Buddhist temple.

WALLACE: The Gore campaign fired back, saying in a statement, quote, "George W. Bush and his fellow Republicans have no message. They have avoided an agenda and lack a vision." Further, Gore's supporters say he is the one committed to real reform.

BILL RICHARDSON, ENERGY SECRETARY: He has said to the Bush campaign, I challenge you. I am ready to ban soft money. I am ready to eliminate 30- and 60-second ads. I'm ready to have two debates a week. And we're yet to hear back.

WALLACE: The battle over campaign finance reform is in part a battle for the McCain voters. Bush hopes a McCain endorsement gives him the edge, but the Arizona senator wants a commitment from the Bush team to embrace his reform agenda.


BAKHTIAR: For more political news check out NEWSROOM tomorrow for our weekly "Democracy in America" installment. And you can expect full coverage of the March 14 primary right here on NEWSROOM.

In our "Environment Desk" today, we do a bit of match-making in the interest of preserving an endangered species. Siberian cranes are fading fast and captive breeding is difficult. In the wild, the lengthening daylight periods at the Arctic Circle trigger breeding in the spring. The International Crane Foundation uses floodlights to mimic light conditions of the 24 hours of daylight found in this bird's native range. Some flocks of Siberian cranes migrate 3,700 miles from Western Siberia to either India or Iran for the winter. Sandhill cranes migrate even farther -- all the way from Siberia to Mexico.

While the cranes are going to great lengths, so are scientists. They're even providing a dating service of sorts, as Mary Pflum explains as we head to Wisconsin.


MARY PFLUM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Guada (ph) and Beeler (ph) may be common cranes in scientific circles, but to romantics they're love birds, happily married over 30 years.

SCOTT SWENGL, INTERNATIONAL CRANE FOUNDATION: Cranes could live to be 80 years old in the zoo. They could live to be 30 or so in the wild, and they could be paired with one crane their whole life.

PFLUM: This tendency to form lifelong relationships poses a challenge to the Baraboo, Wisconsin-based International Crane Foundation. Not only do researchers have to examine DNA in efforts to prevent inbreeding among the often endangered birds, to produce precious eggs, they need to warm hearts in frigid temperatures.

(on camera): Springtime may be the official breeding season for cranes, but wintertime is a key time as well here at the International Crane Foundation. It's a time in which the dating game is played and in which passions are kindled.

(voice-over): If cranes are genetically suitable, they're introduced through nets. That was done in January with Lance (ph) and Moda (ph), Siberian cranes on the rebound.

SWENGL: Lance has been married before to a male she didn't really care that much about, and Moda tried to be -- he wanted to get married to this one really strong female but she didn't want to marry him. She wanted to kill him. But this is a really good match because Moda has somebody to defend.

PFLUM: When marital spats break out, as recently happened with this blue crane couple together ten years, behavior is monitored and marriage counseling techniques are applied.

SWENGL: I think that, mentally, she's probably a little bit stressed by the way he's constantly pestering her. We try to figure out ways to give her a place to be.

PFLUM: Another matchmaking technique: making the male boss.

GEORGE ARCHIBALD, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRANE FOUNDATION: If the female is dominant over the male, she doesn't lay eggs. And if we have a pushy female, we tie her wings so that she can't open them. That stresses her, and then the male can exert his dominance.

PFLUM: In reality, researchers say the dating game is no game at all.

SWENGL: If you want to breed these rare cranes, they have to be paired with each other. And the happier they are paired, the more they breed. It's really neat.

PFLUM: These love birds agree.

Mary Pflum for CNN, Baraboo, Wisconsin.


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

HAYNES: "Worldview" today is all about the environment. We'll pinpoint pollution, poison and pests. You'll get a taste of some creepy crawlies in Thailand, but it's a snack you might not be able to stomach. From bugs to bilbees meet some of the unusual creatures who call Australia home. We'll tell you about efforts underway to help that country's native animals.

First stop, though, Papua New Guinea, where we explore a river once a source of sustenance, now a source of controversy.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: We begin our environmental odyssey in Papua New Guinea, a nation in the Pacific Ocean. A constitutional monarchy, the country gained independence in 1975. Known for its thick forests, high mountains and volcanoes and humid climate, its economy is based primarily on agriculture. But copper is an important resource and a chief export. Copper is one of the first metals known to people. It was used in ancient times because it could be easily beat into tools. It's also the best low-cost conductor of electricity.

But while copper mining has been a boon for Papua New Guinea, it's also caused some problems, as Gary Strieker explains.


GARY STRIEKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's an ecological disaster in this remote area of Papua New Guinea. The victims are a river and these people.

BLAISUS IWIK, CHURCH LEADER: Environment for people is life. People depend on the land, on the river system, for their living, for their survival.

STRIEKER: But there could also be other casualties here: an entire town, and possibly even the cause of it all, the copper mine.

ROGER HIGGINS, OK TEDI MINING LTD.: The best solution, from a purely environmental point of view, would probably be to close the mine.

STRIEKER: No one disputes what has happened here. For 16 years, the Ok Tedi copper mine, one of the world's largest, has discharged a steady flow of waste rock and mill tailings, some 90 million tons a year, into the Ok Tedi River. Experts say there's no evidence of serious toxic pollution, but the sediments are carried hundreds of miles downstream, building up on the river bed, causing flooding and smothering of vegetation over large areas, a catastrophe for people who live along the river.

BARNABAS UAKO, VILLAGE LEADER: The people will not be able to live the livelihood they used to live before because much of the environment and much of the marine life has been spoiled.

STRIEKER: The mining company says it was not meant to happen like this. The original plans called for the tailings to be contained here by a dam destroyed by a landslide before it was finished.

WEP KANAWI, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: And it has admitted that it has made a blunder, and they say that the blunder has been a lot larger than they originally anticipated.

STRIEKER: The company is trying to minimize the damage by dredging sediments from the river.

HIGGINS: We've done a great deal of work, environmental work, study work, dredging work, on the river, and we're really disappointed that we haven't come up with a better environmental solution to the problems that we have.

STRIEKER: It also pays compensation to hundreds of people affected by the flooding, but no one seems satisfied. MENESAH KAMBONG, PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT: We need adequate compensation. What will the BHP Ok Tedi do to compensate the people is the biggest concern that we have.

STRIEKER: And many worry that growing environmental liabilities could force the mine to close down, dooming thousands of jobs, this company town, and the economy of this whole region.

HAROLD PETER, HOTEL MANAGER: We fear that if anything happens to the mine, then this place will close and then every one of us will be looking for jobs, as well.

STRIEKER (on camera): So now there are two choices: Keeping the mine open means spending millions to minimize continuing environmental damage to this river. Closing the mine would shut down a major source of government revenue and cause serious economic and social hardship to thousands of people who depend on Ok Tedi.

(voice-over): The majority of Ok Tedi shares are owned by big Australian and Canadian mining companies. Papua New Guinea's government only holds 30 percent, but it has a lot more at stake in deciding the future of this mine.

Gary Strieker, CNN, on the Ok Tedi River, Papua New Guinea.


HAYNES: Next stop, the land Down Under. That's Australia, mates. It's the only country that's also a continent. Are you ready for some more factoids? Well, it's the smallest continent and the sixth largest country. The name Australia comes from a Latin word meaning "southern." Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere. It's very sparsely populated. In fact, it averages only about six people per square mile, or two people per square kilometer. But it has plenty of animals. Some scientists say, at one time, all the Earth's continents were part of one huge land mass. When Australia got separated about 200 million years ago, its animals developed differently from those in other places. Think of the kangaroos, koalas or wombats. And don't forget about the platypus.

Today, Australia is battling to save its native species, as Jennifer Skiff explains.


JUNE BUTCHER, WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR: Won't you sit up a bit and show them how beautiful you are? Come on, right up.

JENNIFER SKIFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): June Butcher is a wildlife rehabilitator who has joined a state program called "Western Shield" to protect native species from predators. Her job is to breed endangered animals like these bilbees, while conservation officials lead what they say is the biggest campaign ever to eliminate nonnative predators from a country.

BUTCHER: Well, if we don't do it, we're going to lose all our endangered animals. I think time's running out very quickly.

SKIFF: The battle against the predators is being fought with poison. Meat baits are laced with a substance that occurs naturally in a native plant called the Poison Pea.

JOHN CARTER, CONSERVATION LEADER, "WESTERN SHIELD": It's a natural poison. The native animals around this environment have a tolerance to this which they've built up over thousands of years, but those animals that were introduced, like foxes and cats, haven't built up that tolerance and that's why it's such a useful tool.

SKIFF (on camera): Since the program started in 1996, it has become the biggest native wildlife recovery project in the world. Its goal is to get 30 species off the endangered list. To do that, officials bait nearly 10 million acres of land a year.

(voice-over): Most of the baits are dropped from the air, five over every square kilometer. A global positioning system directs the bombardier. The goal is for all bait to land on posted, government property. But that doesn't always happen, and the result is that domestic cats and dogs are dying, some estimate by the hundreds.

CARTER: It's a big Quenda.


SKIFF: Despite its controversial method of attack, the "Western Shield" program is working. Three species have come off the endangered list in three years.

ROGER ARMSTRONG, SR. ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER, "WESTERN SHIELD: Nowhere else in the world has anybody ever been able to achieve that sort of result in such a short period of time, and with a relatively small amount of resources thrown at the problem. To save one species in Africa, it costs you millions and millions of dollars, and you've got to have people with shotguns walking around with them, you know. We've been able to do the same thing in Western Australia for three species in two or three years with a couple of million bucks and the help of some very kind people.

SKIFF: Within the next three years, conservation officials hope to take 13 additional species off the endangered list. It would be a result never before achieved in such a short period of time anywhere in the world.

Jennifer Skiff for CNN, in Western Australia.


BAKHTIAR: On to Thailand, the only nation in Southeast Asia that's never been ruled by a Western power. The first Thai nation was established in 1238 but was called different names. For example, one was Siam. It became known as Thailand in 1939, a name which means "land of the free." Now, you may have eaten at a Thai restaurant. The Thai people take great pride in their cuisine. Rice is eaten with most meals and favorite foods, including curry or spicy stews. But today we look at more unusual fare.

Sachi Koto serves up our story.


SACHI KOTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mmm, yummy. Just imagine fixing your kid a little after school snack consisting of a bowl of worms and a big fat scorpion. A majority of Thai people get past the insects' looks and eat them regularly as a tasty snack and appetizer. Bugs have long been part of the Thai diet for two reasons: They're cheap to harvest and they're also a great source of high protein. Thai chefs have mastered many insect dishes by boiling them or serving them fried. Oh, and for a savory treat, don't forget to salt the scorpion before you dig in.

Many customers are looking for a different taste other than the traditional dishes featuring crickets, maggots, scorpions and beetles. This man has been bug dealing for seven years and says it's difficult to keep up with customer demand.

KUM BOUJAN, BUG DEALER (through translator): People like to eat bugs. There are more and more customers asking for different types of bugs. It's hard for us to supply all of them because we have old customers who come first and who have to be taken care of.

KOTO: To keep up with demand, some of the bugs are being shipped in as far away as Japan. Many people claim bugs are dirty and poisonous and shouldn't be eaten. While researchers say insects are a healthy snack, they also warn that some are not edible.

JITKASEM LAMSAART, RESEARCHER: The bugs are full of protein and other healthy ingredients. But if chemicals are being used in the fields where they have been collected, then they can be quite dangerous.

KOTO: So decide for yourself. If you can get past the thought of eating the creepy crawlers, you may have discovered a new health food.

Sachi Koto, CNN.


BAKHTIAR: We're back on the campaign trail for "Chronicle," but this time it's not for the race to the White House. This time we're following a campaign for a member of the new generation of politics.

Our CNN Student Bureau traveled to Michigan and caught up with Jake Davison who's getting a jump start on his political career.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JENNIFER WINGATE, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Jake Davison is just a junior at Michigan State University, but he is already working hard to land a job. To get it, he will shake thousands of hands and knock on hundreds of doors. Davison is running for a seat on the Lapeer County Board of Commissioners.

JAKE DAVISON, CANDIDATE: I've always been a big history buff. I've always been interested in history and reading history, and my friends would say, you know, Jake, you ought to be a history teacher or a history professor. I'd say, well, that sounds good but I'd much rather make history or at least be there when history happens, and I think politics really offers that opportunity.

WINGATE: Jake is worried that too many people his age don't bother to vote.

DAVISON: I think if people our age really knew that the people who are making decisions are the people who are, you know, 35 to 80, you know, I don't think that -- if we really pointed that out, I think young people would get more involved because they're just letting, you know, other generations make decisions that are going to affect them. Democracy is not a spectator sport, I'm sorry.

WINGATE: Decades ago, another young Michigan State student ran for public office. He is now Michigan's governor, John Engler. He has advice for Davison:

GOV. JOHN ENGLER (R), MICHIGAN: Work hard, work very hard. Talk to the voters. And we did that: We went out door to door, talked to people, talked about what we were for. I mean, that's important: Why are you running? Why should people vote for you? You better have some ideas.

WINGATE: This is advice Davison is following.

DAVISON: The county commission district consists of about 10,000 registered voters. A district that size doesn't really take a lot of money, just takes a lot of elbow grease. Although I might not have been around as long as some other candidates, I can more than make up for that with my energy and determination.

WINGATE (on camera): Jake's energy and determination may send him to the county commission seat or perhaps even the state capital and beyond.

Jennifer Wingate (ph), CNN Student Bureau, Lansing, Michigan.


HAYNES: Well, if you or your school would like to participate in the CNN Student Bureau, point your mouse in the direction of

BAKHTIAR: You can also pick up the phone and dial 1-800-344- 6219.

And that'll do it for our Monday the 13th edition of CNN NEWSROOM.

HAYNES: It sure will. We'll see you right back here tomorrow. Take care.



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