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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 17, 2000

Aired March 17, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Hi, we're closing out the week here on NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining us. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. We have got lots going on today: the elections in Taiwan, our tribute to women's history month.

BAKHTIAR: We have that interesting story from Africa.

HAYNES: That's right, let's take a quick look at what's coming up.

BAKHTIAR: In today's top story, tension mounts between China and Taiwan. Officials in Taiwan say they won't allow threats from China to influence Saturday's presidential elections.

HAYNES: In "Editor's Desk," Shakespeare is timeless, but not rhythmless. Romeo, Romeo, where rap thou Romeo?

BAKHTIAR: We head to the heart of Africa for "Worldview," where art imitates life.


MAKUMI MWAGIRU, UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI PROFESSOR: There is a risk of trivializing, because genocide is not about entertainment.


HAYNES: Then, we continue our tribute to women's history month in "Chronicle," with a look at the first African-American woman to head up the U.S. Weather and Exploration Agency.


REAR ADM. EVELYN FIELDS, NOAA: And as I look back on my childhood years, I've really come to appreciate more and more some of the things that my parents were very insistent on.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYNES: We've told you a lot about election 2000 in the United States. Today we focus on Saturday's election in Taiwan, which four years ago swore in its first democratically elected president. As U.S. candidates talk about gun control and education Taiwan's presidential candidates find themselves talking about the possibility of war.

This man is Beijing's worst nightmare. He stands a decent chance at winning Taiwan's election this weekend, and believes Taiwan should permanently break away from China. Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji has warned that if Taiwan elects a pro-independence president, it could mean war.

It was out of war that Taiwan was sprung. A civil war in China in 1949 ended in victory for the Communists. Communist leader Mao Zedong defeated Chinese nationalists and established the People's Republic of China. The nationalists, who were defeated, went into exile in what is now modern-day Taiwan.

To this day, China considers Taiwan a renegade province, and wants it to return to China. Rebecca MacKinnon looks at how weekend elections could play out in Taipei-Beijing relations.


REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 1958, the United States sent military reinforcements to Taiwan's outlying islands to ward off a major push by communist China to retake what Beijing considered a breakaway province.

Today, the Chinese beach across from those same Taiwanese islands is peaceful. Military bunkers are empty. But in 1996, before Taiwan's last presidential election, the guns were fired up again as a warning against Taiwan independence.

(on camera): Four years ago, the People's Liberation Army conducted live fire missile tests off the coast not far from here. Four years later, Beijing's threat to use military force against Taiwan if its next president fails to resume unification talks appears to be getting genuine support from people on this side of the Taiwan Strait.

(voice-over): Judging by the people we talk to both on and off camera, locals seemed unanimous that Taiwan must one day return to China.

"As a resident of Xiamen, I am concerned about the Taiwan election," says this young man. "We don't want to see Taiwan destroyed, but if it does seek independence, I think everyone here would support the use of force."

But with 24 billion U.S. dollars of Taiwanese money now invested in factories all over mainland China, people who live right across from Taiwan know their prosperity depends on peace.

DENG LIPING, XIAMEN UNIVERSITY (through translator): Economic development between the two sides has improved a lot recently. Taiwan invests in our Fujian province, and Xiamen benefits from it. Political conflict would affect the economy.

MACKINNON: Cutting off the money from Taiwan would also affect life here in other ways. This thriving Buddhist temple in downtown Xiamen was renovated and expanded with the help of donations from Taiwanese investors who come to pray side by side with the residents of Xiamen, praying for prosperity and peace.

Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Xiamen, China.


HAYNES: And this quick footnote: Many Taiwan voters have no idea which candidate is likely to win the presidential election, since the government has banned the release of public polls. Coming up next Tuesday here on NEWSROOM, we'll take a closer look at how the polling effects the U.S. election process.

BAKHTIAR: We're also following another big story in today's news. That's the unprecedented point-gain for the Dow Jones industrial average. The Dow is the leading economic indicator for the U.S. economy. Investors buy and sell Dow stocks on the New York Stock Exchange. Based on the mood of those investors, the Dow fluctuates daily.

Its average is measured in points and is determined by the closing price of 30 key stocks known as blue chips. The Dow's 30 blue chip stocks are considered barometers of the U.S. economy.

Thursday's point gain was the biggest in Dow history. It gained almost 500 points to close at 10630.

Don Knapp has more on the market feeding frenzy.


DON KNAPP, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two human emotions, fear and greed, have long played a role in stock market ups and downs. Now another human trait helps fuel the market's wild ride: a willingness to gamble on what many consider house money. That is, stock market winnings.

DON PHILLIPS, CEO, MORNINGSTAR INC.: And a lot of people that have bet on the market over the last several quarters, several years, probably have a lot more in equities today than they anticipated having. So I think because of that there is a bit more of a gambling attitude out there.

KNAPP: When the tech-oriented Nasdaq is up, it seems, the industrial-oriented Dow is down, and vice versa. Analysts now talk of two economies: the old mainline businesses of the Dow and the new technology businesses of the Nasdaq. And new technology is changing the rules.

DAVID GALE, PACIFIC STOCK EXCHANGE TRADER: I heard this morning that one of the buildings here in town, half the space is rented to companies and their rent is zero, and in exchange they get options on their stock when it goes public.

KNAPP: Pacific Stock Exchange trader David Gale says high-tech fever worries him.

GALE: People have borrowed against their stock portfolios. The margin debt is as high as it's ever been. And some of that is to buy stocks, but a lot of it is to do things -- to buy a car, to buy a new addition to your kitchen. And if those stock prices go down, that all gets reversed out of the economy.

KNAPP: Wide stock price swings scare the traders. But long-term investors needn't worry, says Morningstar's Don Phillips.

PHILLIPS: These big swings give you the opportunity to buy low and to sell high. But it can be very disconcerting. The key thing for the investor is to focus on meeting your long-term goals. You don't need to play this day-to-day market game. That's for the professionals.

KNAPP: Echoing the advice of the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who warns unless investors truly understand both the opportunities and the risks, too many may fall victim to their own wishful thinking.

Don Knapp, CNN, San Francisco.


BAKHTIAR: To be or not to be, that's the question in today's "Editor's Desk." Actually, it's more like how to be or not to be, when it comes to Shakespeare's writing because some college students have put it to rap and it works. After all, Shakespeare was the playwright of the masses.

Back in his time, his works were popular entertainment. So, without further ado, here's Cynthia Tornquist with our story.


UNIDENTIFIED PERFORMERS: The way it came out sequentially. One to the two the three the four. His heart skipped a beat and he almost hit the floor.

CYNTHIA TORNQUIST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Shakespeare, the rap version.

UNIDENTIFIED PERFORMERS: Two big healthy boys with two little ruts.

TORNQUIST: It started with five guys in New York University's arts program. It was a senior project. They rewrote Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," set it to rap music, and called it "The Bomb- itty of Errors."

It was a campus hit. And now it's moved to off-Broadway.

GREGORY QAIYUM, CO-CREATOR, "THE BOMB-ITTY OF ERRORS": When we started, it wasn't like we're going to go, we're going to be off- Broadway. It was like working and go in the school studio until 5:30 in the evening, coming back for 6:30-7:00 rehearsal until 11:30 p.m., meeting on the second floor at 11:30, and hiding in a studio until the security guards left...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... kicked us out at 2:00 in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED PERFORMERS: So welcome to a new world that you never been in. Enough rough stuff to make your mind start spinnin'.

TORNQUIST: For the rap-impaired, this tells the story of the separated quadruplets who, when they meet up 20 years later, cause mass confusion.

UNIDENTIFIED PERFORMERS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by their father's comb. And he combs himself from the hip-hop history. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that was filled with misery.

ERIK WEINER, PERFORMER: Shakespeare lended itself so well to hip-hop just because the rhythm of the words and like, you know, just the language of the -- the music of the language.

JASON CATALANO, PERFORMER: And the fact is that in the play, he rhymes a lot.

TORNQUIST: The project earned Gregory Qaiyum an A+ and caught the eye of an off-Broadway producer.

DARYL ROTH, PRODUCER: They took the Shakespearian text and put it into this modern-day hip-hop speak. It's just entirely unique and very fresh.

TORNQUIST (on camera): Once "The Bomb-itty of Errors" opened at this downtown theater, the cast needed a way to get the word out about the show, so they went down under into New York City's subways.

QAIYUM: The way Shakespeare did his plays back then was, you know, they traveled around, they went -- they saw a space, they just did it that night, and it wasn't anything that was in the hands of the elite. It was for the people. It was like bawdy and it was raw.

TORNQUIST (voice-over): The guys are toying with ideas for sequels.

QAIYUM: "Jamlet." Definitely.

TORNQUIST: Cynthia Tornquist, CNN Entertainment News, New York.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news. HAYNES: Well, we move from rap in today's desk to rock, or, more specifically, rocks. Now, if you dig geology, wait till you see these giant stones. Our journey takes us to New Zealand where one man has achieved a monumental task. We'll also learn about an ancient Japanese art form, and we'll meet a young artist whose inspiration and imagination are making marks on paper and in her community. And we'll travel to Rwanda, site of a movie that recalls a terrible time in African history.

It was the scene of one of the worst acts of genocide in the entire 20th century. In 1994, the tiny central African nation of Rwanda was ripped apart by a bloody civil war. Members of the majority Hutu tribe are blamed for killing an estimated 1 million of the minority Tutsis and other more moderate Hutus. While the fighting and killing there has largely subsided, Rwanda remains a land with deep emotional scars. Now, a new movie attempts to document the bloodshed.

But as CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh reports, there's disagreement over whether the genocide is appropriate material for the big screen.


ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are not many films set in the heart of Africa. Fewer still that attempt commercial success based on a horrific event: human extermination. Titled "100 Days," this feature centers on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, where as many as 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu tribe citizens were killed in little more than three months.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We are going to kill them all.


ERIC KABIRA, PRODUCER, "100 DAYS": Basically, it's a testimony from the people who witnessed the killings.

VAN MARSH: Some of those witnesses were cast in the film, a film set on the very earth where blood flowed and, some argue, unlike Kosovo and East Timor, where the international community did too little to intervene. The location was too real for this Rwandan staffer. She was setting up for a shoot when the crew found a mass grave. She lost two brothers in the genocide. Their bodies were never found.

Filmmakers struggled to keep the graphic brutality of genocide real without subjecting viewers to gratuitous violence. The story is told through two families trying to survive.

KABIRA: We just portrayed it as dramatic -- chilling dramatic film whereby every human being can be affected by the kind of pictures, by the kind of emotion, by the kind of fear and anger someone sees by being betrayed. VAN MARSH: Betrayed, too, may be those who fear a Hollywood- style film could cheapen the massacre, argues Nairobi University professor Makumi Mwagiru.

MAKUMI MWAGIRU, UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI PROFESSOR: There is a risk of trivializing because genocide is not about entertainment.

VAN MARSH: Unlike a Hollywood film, producers say they had just three investors, less than a million-dollar budget, and more than half the cast caught malaria.

(on camera): Making "100 Days" wasn't easy, but producers say what's more important than their hardship is the finished product, a film documenting the most brutal and quickest mass killings known to humankind.

Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, Nairobi.


BAKHTIAR: Next stop, New Zealand, an island country in the Pacific Ocean. It's part of a large island group known as Polynesia. New Zealand is independent, but it was once part of the British empire. English is the official language, however. Other British influences are also in evidence.

Perhaps you've heard of Stonehenge in England. It's an ancient monument built of huge stones set in a circle. It's believed to have been a tribal gathering place, and today it's a major tourist attraction. Now New Zealand has its own version of Stonehenge.

We have more on this report from Heather Shields (ph).


HEATHER SHIELDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A millennium project designed to last well into the next and for many after that: a Celtic stone circle and astrological calendar steeped in meaning.

GAVIN MCLACHLAN, STONE AGE MASON: This is a great opportunity to mark the millennium, which also coincides with my family's arrival in New Zealand 150 years ago.

SHIELDS: But there's more to these imposing limestone boulders gathered from a nearby quarry than just a round circle. The 12 stones have been strategically placed high on Gavin McLachlan's farm in the Wairarapa to mark winter and summer solstice points.

MCLACHLAN: The sun will come right across the top of this stone and touch the center stone on the shortest day.

SHIELDS: It took 18 months of planning and $3,000 to build New Zealand's first Stonehenge. Similar circles in Britain are recognized by some as power centers where people pay homage to the moon.

MCLACHLAN: When you come in here in the quiet of day when all is still and just stand here and think about the circle, you do actually get a bit of a tingling up the back of your neck.

SHIELDS (on camera): No one knows for sure who built the famous Stonehenge in England many thousands of years ago or how they built it. Maybe in 3,000 years time the same mystery will surround this, New Zealand's first Stonehenge.

From Television New Zealand, this is Heather Shields for "CNN WORLD REPORT."


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Japan is a land of ancient traditions and art forms. For centuries, painters there have been inspired by Mount Fuji and other breathtaking landscapes. But what happens when the ancient techniques of the Far East take on modern subjects from the West? As one young artist in Northern California is proving, the results can be beautiful.

CNN's Don Knapp reports.


DON KNAPP, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dru Kataoka's passion is a demanding 2,000-year-old Japanese art form called Sumi-e.

DRU KATAOKA, SUMI-E ARTIST: When you take the ink-loaded brush to paper and you're waiting to release the brush stroke, you know that it is final, when it -- the ink is indelible. You can't remove or take back anything.

KNAPP: Kataoka saw her first Sumi-e landscapes in a Tokyo museum when she was five years old, and earned her master signature stamp at the age of 17.

KATAOKA: The rowers are abstracted into their most essential forms and are completely synchronized in their movements.

KNAPP: You're not likely to find a traditional landscape in Kataoka's portfolio. She'd rather paint sports.

KATAOKA: What I was thinking about in this painting is the explosion of women in sports and what a positive thing that has been for all of us. Every time I'm painting a subject, I search for the underlying kinships: the swish of the brush, the swish of the hoop, the crack of the bat, the wailing gesture of a jazzman's horn.

KNAPP: Kataoka loves music and loves to paint anything with music in it. But it was the sounds of history that inspired her painting of Stanford's commemorative poster of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

KATAOKA: I tried to distill sounds just beneath the black ink and think about the rhythm of the tired feet marching towards freedom, the layered voices of call and response.

KNAPP: Long before the brush meets the paper, Kataoka studies her subjects. Stanford basketball star Kate Starbird:

KATAOKA: I just tried to watch her, the reverse lay-up over and over again, and then tried to create the brush strokes that had that same kind of motion and release and dynamism to them.

TARA VANDERVEER, WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: When people look at like a Kate Starbird and that was the move that she made, and they remember it.

KNAPP: Kataoka's commemorative posters have raised money for athletic scholarships and charities. And at 21, this master Sumi-e artist has her eyes on history and leaving her artistic footprint in brushed black ink.

Don Knapp, CNN, Stanford, California.


HAYNES: Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are ending a journey of a lifetime. They're celebrating the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. This year, more than 2 million people traveled to the Saudi Arabian city. The Hajj is a duty of the Muslim faith. All able-bodied Muslims are required to make the journey at least once during their lives.

Riz Khan has more.


RIZ KHAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At sunset, they streamed out of the desert Plain of Arafat, a little over 20 kilometers from Mecca, any space on any vehicle a blessing after a day in the sun.

For the rest, it was a trek along the dusty road towards the tent city of Mina, and then onto Mecca. On the way, the Richa of the Gemarat (ph), the pillars representing Satan. Pebbles cast at these pillars symbolize rejecting evil and all its temptations. Although there are further rituals to complete for these Hajjis, as they're now known, it's time to enjoy the celebration of Eid ul-Adha. It's essentially the biggest occasion on the Muslim calendar marked by everyone, not just those on the pilgrimage.

A senior imam, or religious leader, conducts the eve sermon, broadcast on television throughout the country. This day of celebration is meant to mark a time when Muslims reaffirm their commitment to their religion and family, and count their blessings.

Merchants are also making the most of it in Mecca. The pilgrims, overjoyed at having completed the Hajj, look to buy gifts for loved ones back home.

(on camera): And so it's the end of a mission of a lifetime for so many of the 2 million-plus pilgrims who flooded into Mecca just a few days ago. They return to all corners of the globe holding their heads high, knowing the next time they pray and turn towards the great mosque that they were actually there, in the house of God.

Riz Khan, CNN, Mecca, Saudi Arabia.


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.

BAKHTIAR: In today's "Chronicle," the latest installment of our series for Woman's History Month. Today, a profile of Rear Admiral Evelyn Fields. She's the first African-American woman ever appointed to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA is the U.S. government agency in charge of charting and mapping the nation's weather and waterways. In addition to her work there, Rear Admiral Fields has also been lauded for charting a new course for African-American women.

Mike McManus has her profile.


MIKE MCMANUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration is known for tracking weather and plotting hurricanes. But last year, the agency was recognized for something entirely different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rear Admiral Evelyn Fields, whom we honor today, received confirmation.

MCMANUS: Evelyn Fields, a 27-year veteran of NOAA, was appointed to the top spot responsible for projects and research involving the sky, land, and America's waterways -- ironic because years earlier the admiral wasn't even aware of the agency.

REAR ADM. EVELYN FIELDS, NOAA: NOAA had been here in the Norfolk area for years. I didn't have a clue they were here.

MCMANUS: Fields grew up just blocks from the NOAA Atlantic Marine Center in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. Her strong suit was math and science. In the fields family, money was tight but her parents knew a good education was important.

FIELDS: My mother and my father had pretty much ingrained in us that education was important, and so off to college after high school, that was the way it was going to be.

MCMANUS: She attended Norfolk State College and graduated in 1971 with a degree in mathematics. Following school, she applied to NOAA.

FIELDS: It looked pretty interesting so I ended up being hired as a cartographer and worked as a cartographer for a year and a half.

MCMANUS: Following her work as a map maker, she was soon promoted and became one of the first women at NOAA to spend time in a research vessel at sea, something very new to females at the time.

FIELDS: The idea of women being on ships and being at sea was supposed to be bad luck. And so they were not real -- sailors, being superstitious a group, were not really thrilled about that idea, but they also knew that it was something that was changing.

MCMANUS: Fields was the first African-American women to join the corps, the first woman to command a NOAA vessel, and the first black woman to hold the agency's top spot. Being number one in many capacities at NOAA has been a challenge for Fields. And according to her boss, Commerce Secretary William Daley, that's what makes her such a success.

WILLIAM DALEY, U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY: The people in NOAA respect her because they know the job she's done while she's been in NOAA. So she's worked her way up. They're comfortable with her.

MCMANUS: Along with managing a government agency full of experts on weather and the environment, Admiral Fields is also active in schooling future scientists.

FIELDS: I spend a lot of time working with school kids or going to career days and trying to make sure that not just the young men but the young women understand that there are all kind of avenues out there for them, it's just a matter of taking hold of it.

MCMANUS (on camera): The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is known for tracking weather. But according to Admiral Fields, it was the TWA 800 and EgyptAir plane crashes that helped put her and her agency on the map.

FIELDS: Their job is to find things on the bottom so that they can report them for safe navigation so that ships don't have to worry about running into them. The fact that that equipment can then be used to help out in some of these disastrous situations is a plus because we are skilled to do that; but also enable folks to understand the capabilities that we have. And I think that that's the kind of thing that puts NOAA into the mind's eye.

MCMANUS (voice-over): Admiral Evelyn Fields has taken NOAA in a new direction, and it's something the commander-in-chief as well as well, as her employees, are very proud of.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank and congratulate Rear Admiral Evelyn Fields, who has done such a great job. She started as a cartographer and went on to chart a new course of opportunity not only for African-American women, but for all women. LT. CMDR. JAMES VERLAQUE, NOAA: We strive to do as much as we can for her under her direction. She definitely has a way of managing that we all like.

FIELDS: To make our jobs easier, to give my guys the things that they need in order to be able to do the best job that they can do is the way -- if I can be remembered that way, I will feel pretty good.


BAKHTIAR: The NOAA is made up of both civilian and commissioned officers. Rear Admiral Evelyn Fields holds the highest rank among those commissioned. She's in charge of more than 11,000 agency employees worldwide.

Next week in "Chronicle," more of our Women's History Month coverage. We'll have a profile of 23-year-old Rebeca Romero. When people say "green" in reference to this woman, they're not talking about inexperience, they're talking about money. Romero is a bank president and CEO, the youngest person to hold those titles in the United States.

And that courtesy of our very own Tom Haynes.

HAYNES: Twenty-three years old.

BAKHTIAR: I can't believe it.

HAYNES: Can you imagine running a bank at that age?

BAKHTIAR: I cannot believe it. How amazing was she?

HAYNES: Oh, she's very impressive. We'll tell you how she got there next week. So check it out.

And speaking of next week, have a great weekend. We'll see you back here Monday.




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