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NEWSROOM for March 22, 2000Aired March 22, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: NEWSROOM takes a turn into Wednesday. Glad you're here. I'm Shelley Walcott.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Here's the look ahead.
WALCOTT: In today's top story, a federal judge in the United States hands down a ruling on Elian Gonzalez, the latest twist in an international tug-of-war for the Cuban boy.
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SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez, it's been a political, legal and familial maelstrom.
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HAYNES: Next, in our "Business Desk," the CIA takes on a tight job market. We'll tell you why the top secret spy agency in the United States needs new recruits.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could be the next James Bond.
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WALCOTT: From dwindling numbers to impressive gains, "Worldview" examines America's booming Hispanic population.
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JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Latino population of Los Angeles County grew from one million in 1970 to four million last year.
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HAYNES: Then, in "Chronicle," why teen drivers might want to think twice before getting behind the wheel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of them might have the tendency to show off. They have loud music, where they can't hear anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALCOTT: In today's news, the decision that aims to send a Cuban boy back to his homeland. In Miami, Florida, yesterday, a federal judge cleared the way for Elian Gonzalez to be returned to his father in Cuba. The judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the boy's relatives in Miami, for him to remain in the U.S. The judge says U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno has the last legal say in the matter, and she says Elian should be reunited with his father.
The boy's fate has been hotly debated since he was found four months ago clinging to an inner tube off the coast of Florida. His mother and 10 others who were with him drowned when their boat capsized. Elian was one of three survivors.
Now, in an attempt to keep Elian in the U.S., his Miami relatives filed a notice to appeal the decision. They say the boy will be psychologically affected if he is sent back to Cuba.
More now from Susan Candiotti.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The government and Elian's Florida relatives went head to head March 9th over whether the youngster deserved the right to apply for political asylum.
BARBARA LAGOA, GONZALEZ FAMILY ATTORNEY: A child, Elian Gonzalez, regardless of the fact that he is six years old, has a right to file a petition for asylum. That's it.
CANDIOTTI: Citing both international and U.S. law, the Justice Department insists no one but the boy's father can make legal decisions for a child so young.
PATRICIA MAHER, DEP. ASST. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Parents have the right to speak for their children.
CANDIOTTI: In Cuba, Juan Miguel Gonzalez says he wants his boy home.
JUAN MIGUEL GONZALEZ (through translator): It's simply a matter of fact. He is my son and he belongs to me.
CANDIOTTI: In Florida, Elian's life has settled into a daily routine: going to school while ever-present photographers track his arrival and departure.
The boy remains a poster child for Cuban exiles. They've made him a mythical figure and a symbol of defiance against a communist regime. Fidel Castro has also made the boy a symbol. Criticizing the U.S., as he says it, for cow-towing to the Cuban exile mafia. There have been sideshows, lots of them. Showering the boy with expensive gifts. Taking him to Disney World. Parading the boy with a congressional subpoena that never panned out. Uncovering a drunk driving record of the great uncle where Elian's been living. There was the visit from Elian's grandmothers at the home of a Catholic nun. Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin agreed to provide a neutral setting, then lobbied Congress for the boy to stay in the U.S. She reportedly said a grandmother told her Elian's father wanted it that way, then said she was misquoted.
For 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez, it's been a political, legal, and familial maelstrom, a scenario that appears a lot to bear for a child of such tender years.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.
WALCOTT: Yesterday's ruling is a major setback for Elian's relatives in Florida. They say sending him back to Cuba could cause him psychological harm. In the meantime Cuban officials are responding cautiously and say they're not overly optimistic about his return.
But is that return imminent? Not if Elian's Miami relatives can help it. Mark Potter reports.
MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The federal judge wrote that each passing day is another day lost between Elian Gonzalez and his father in Cuba. Siding firmly with the U.S. government, Judge Michael Moore threw out the lawsuit filed by Elian's Miami relatives. They wanted the court to order a political asylum hearing for the boy. But the judge ruled: "The determination to grant asylum is a matter within the discretion of the attorney general. She has decided the issue of who may speak for plaintiff."
All along, Attorney General Reno has said the ultimate decision belongs to Juan Gonzalez, the boy's father in Cuba. He wants his son home.
JANET RENO, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It has been four months since Elian was separated from his father and lost his mother. It is time for this little boy who has been through so very much to move on with life at his father's side.
POTTER: But attorneys for the Gonzalez family in Miami have filed notice, they will appeal.
SPENCER EIG, GONZALEZ FAMILY ATTORNEY: We all feel very strongly that Elian's life will be destroyed if he's sent to the custody of Fidel Castro in Cuba. That's why we intend to use every legal means in our power, asking the court to reconsider, appeals if necessary, in order to protect this child.
POTTER: Miami immigration attorney Ira Kurzban urges Attorney General Reno to return Elian swiftly to his father.
IRA KURZBAN, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Well, the attorney general is the custodian of this child, and I think she would be totally irresponsible if she didn't act immediately.
POTTER: Ms. Reno says U.S. officials in Washington and Miami are discussing what to do next.
(on camera): The case of Elian Gonzalez is not over yet, but it may be winding down now that the judge has handed a major victory to the Justice Department and to the boy's father in Cuba.
Mark Potter, CNN, Miami.
HAYNES: We start today's "Business Desk" with news about the U.S. economy. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve, that's the country's central bank, raised its federal funds rate. You're probably asking what that means for you?
Well, the federal funds rate is a good indicator of general interest rates, that is, the amount you or your parents pay to borrow money for things like school loans and even buying a car.
So many things are related to a healthy economy. Take unemployment for example, the subject of today's "Business Desk." In the U.S. this year, unemployment rose a bit. The Labor Department this month released its figures for February showing unemployment rose slightly to 4.1 percent.
Part of the blame for this is weather-related. Bad weather means less demand for construction workers. Even with the weak numbers, it's still a job hunter's market, especially if you have technical skills. And if you have the right spy-stuff, the CIA wants you.
David Ensor takes us inside the Central Intelligence Agency.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Log on to the CIA's Web site on jobs, and you are offered "innovation" and "intrigue." The top-secret spy agency is looking, it says, "for the extraordinary individual who wants more than a job."
GEORGE TENET, CIA DIRECTOR: CIA is now engaged in our biggest recruiting drive since the end of the World War II. We face major competition from the private sector.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are selected for that...
ENSOR: At a high-tech job fair at Georgia Tech, the CIA finds itself up against many others competing in the tight job market for new blood.
For the clandestine spy service, you must be under 35; speak or be ready to learn a foreign language, Persian or Arabic a plus; women and minorities encouraged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could be the next James Bond. I actually never really thought about it seriously.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, DEPUTY CIA DIRECTOR: We're looking for people who have high energy, people who want to serve their country, people who want to make a difference, people who aren't daunted by challenge and ambiguity and uncertainty and potential for surprise and danger.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, boys and girls, welcome to your new home for however long it takes.
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ENSOR: The agency even cooperated on a Hollywood movie. staged a first showing at the CIA, all part of an effort to make the idea of working there attractive to young people.
But, in this era of high-tech espionage, the CIA is not just looking for agents. An aggressive print ad campaign seeks a whole range of skills.
MCLAUGHLIN: We're looking for engineers who can help us understand missiles and what goes on inside of them.
ENSOR: It's unclear whether new blood can restore the luster of an agency rocked in the last decade by its biggest double-agent scandal, Aldrich Ames, and by errors like the targeting of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
But the recruiting campaign is achieving results.
(on-camera): Job applications to the CIA roughly doubled to around 39,000 in the last fiscal year, and they are expected to increase significantly once again this year.
David Ensor, CNN, at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
HAYNES: And while we're on the subject of business: 23-years-old and running your own business -- a bank nonetheless. Can you imagine that? It's true. Proof Friday when we profile Rebeca Romero as part of our coverage of Women's History Month in the United States. Look for that in Friday's "Chronicle."
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.
WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, we hopscotch from Africa to North America. We'll head to the United States to find out about -- you guess it -- living la vida loca. Hispanics are a booming part of the population and we'll give you a taste of this trend. We'll explore a communication revolution in Zimbabwe where cell phones are selling big time. And we'll check out some camps in Burundi. But these camps aren't for fun. They're a somber side effect of an enduring conflict.
ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: "Worldview" gets started in an African country about the size of the U.S. state of Maryland. The history of Burundi is largely one of conflict. On one side are the Hutus who migrated to Burundi some time before the 11th century. The Tutsis followed about 300 or 400 years later. While there have always been more Hutus than Tutsis, the Tutsis have held most of the political and economic clout. The tension between the two tribes has led to regroupment camps outside the country's capital.
Catherine Bond takes a look.
CATHERINE BOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A regroupment camp in Burundi. Last September, the Burundi Army forced more than a quarter of a million men, women and children to leave their rural homes close to the country's capital city and build camps like this one.
"It's the authorities who made us come here to protect us against rebels," says this young man. "But the authorities don't live here with us; they live in village centers, and it's us who have to live in these regroupment camps."
The camps may have improved security for the Burundi military, but many here argue they've made malnutrition and disease worse for civilians.
DAVID ROTHROCK, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: I've got 330,000 people in about 53 camps -- people without shelter, without warmth, without sanitation. It's a miserable condition.
BOND: So miserable and so controversial that the U.N.'s secretary-general, Kofi Annan, has called the Burundi government's regroupment measures "inhumane and illegal."
Burundi's mostly Tutsi army justifies regrouping, saying Hutu civilians are more likely to be mistaken for Hutu rebels if they stay in their homes. Burundi's government says it plans to close the camps, but only once the countryside is secure.
CERILLE NDAYIRUKIYE, BURUNDI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): It is a temporary measure taken in certain situations. We know that the people should not have to be in regroupment camps, and we will do everything to make sure that the people will return to their homes.
BOND: Despite appearances, residents of Burundi's capital beside Lake Tanganyika say, here, too, the civil war has worn them down.
"All we want is a peaceful solution," says this man. "We are tired of living like this in a time of displacement and unhappiness. We do not want war. We want peace.
After almost seven years of armed conflict, most Burundians desperately hope that fresh efforts by South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela to mediate peace will somehow succeed. Catherine Bond, CNN, Nairobi.
HAYNES: Next, to Zimbabwe, where an unprecedented communication transformation is under way. For much of Zimbabwe, telephone service is a luxury. In many parts of the country, people don't even have access to a phone. So you can imagine the excitement over the establishment of wireless communication. You got it -- cell phones. They're making inroads in all parts of Zimbabwe thanks to the efforts of an innovative telecommunications company eager to invest in the country's communication market.
Bob Coen reports, making that investment is paying off big time, but it wasn't easy to accomplish.
BOB COEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are everywhere -- on the city streets, in dusty small towns, even in far-flung rural areas. Cell phones are revolutionizing communication in Africa, and nowhere on the continent is the technology spreading faster than in Zimbabwe, thanks in a large part to one of the hottest technology companies in Africa, Econet Wireless, founded by entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa.
STRIVE MASIYIWA, CEO, ECONET WIRELESS: I mean, we cannot even attempt to meet the demand at the moment.
COEN (on camera): Zimbabwe is one of Africa's most developed nations, but there are still only 200,000 telephone land lines countrywide. In the few years since cellular service was introduced, there is an equal number of cellular phones in use today.
(voice-over): Econet has managed to gain control of more than half that market in less than two years, but it hasn't been easy. In a bid to protect the state-run cell phone network, Zimbabwe's government refused to grant Econet an operating license. But Masiyiwa fought back, and after a five-year legal battle was awarded a license. He says that moment marked a new era for the continent.
MASIYIWA: Change can't be stopped. And, then, Africa would be left behind.
COEN: Econet's greatest impact may be on the lives of people in rural Zimbabwe who have never had direct access to telephone communication, like Samuel Gogodo (ph), a small-scale farmer, and Simon Philp, an exporter of fruit to Europe. After years on an unreliable party line shared with 12 other subscribers, Philp can now talk to his clients in Europe directly, use e-mail, and track market prices on the Internet.
SIMON PHILP, FARMER: It's a huge benefit. I never thought it would happen in a million years.
COEN: Today, Econet employs more than 500 people. Its share price has shot up 2,000 percent in 18 months. International investors have also noticed and are lining up to buy. Some believe Econet's performance could attract more investors to this part of the world.
JOHN NIEPOLD, EMERGING MARKETS INVESTOR CORP.: I think it could open their eyes. I think it could bring some companies to people's radar screens in Africa.
COEN: But Strive Masiyiwa has an even greater vision.
MASIYIWA: We don't believe that entrepreneurship is just a thing of the industrialized world. And if we are going to get there, we're going to have to get there without political patronage, without power politics, without shady deals, but straightforward, hard work, gaining the respect of the world.
COEN: Masiyiwa believes he is part of a new generation of Africans bent on reshaping the economy of a continent, in his case one phone at a time.
Bob Coen, CNN, Harare, Zimbabwe.
RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: In case you hadn't noticed, there is a certain cultural revolution under way in the United States. As we reported in our special series last fall, "Viviendo en America," Hispanics, or Latinos, are on the verge of becoming the largest minority group in the U.S. The Census Bureau estimates there are about 30 million Hispanics living in the country. the cultural revolution is most obvious in Los Angeles, home to the largest Latino population in the country.
As CNN's Jim Hill reports, a new survey taken among Hispanics offers some surprising results.
JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For three generations of Castros, the story of Hispanic-American success is all in the family. With successful, college-educated son Armando Jr. and daughter Anna, Armando Sr. rose from a Nicaraguan immigrant 40 years ago, working menial jobs...
ARMANDO CASTRO SR., RESTAURANT OWNER: Cleaning windows, washing cars.
HILL: To now have one of 208,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in Los Angeles County that together generated $16 1/2 billion in 1998.
A. CASTRO SR: It's very simple: hard work.
HILL: The figures from a United Way survey also show the Latino population of Los Angeles County grew from 1 million in 1970 to 4 million last year, making Hispanics the ethnic majority.
PROF. HARRY PACHON, CLAREMONT MCKENNA COLLEGE: Los Angeles is Los Angeles, and it's very easy for somebody to come here not knowing English and be able to get a toehold on American society.
HILL: The survey shows toeholds have become steps up the socioeconomic ladder, with 10 percent of Latinos earning college degrees in 1999, up from 6 percent in 1990.
ANNA TENN, CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: Education was always an emphasis. There was no question as to what we would do after high school. It was understood that we would go to college.
HILL: According to the survey, Latino buying power has surged, with FHA home loans to Latinos jumping 700 percent in the last decade.
ARMANDO CASTRO JR., RESTAURANT MANAGER: It's very encouraging and it puts a smile on my face -- really, it does; makes me proud to be Latino.
HILL: Voter registration among Latinos is growing at 15,000 to 20,000 each year.
(on camera): The survey also includes some challenges: 40 percent of Latino families with children still don't have health insurance. Roughly half of Latino public school students are not proficient in English, and for every 147 Latino students, there is only one Latino teacher. Problems, to be sure, but the survey also shows Latinos are optimistic about their future.
Jim Hill, CNN, Los Angeles.
WALCOTT: Before Jim Hill's story, we mentioned the CNN NEWSROOM special, "Viviendo en America," that aired last fall. We got such a good response to that series that we're giving those of you who missed it a second chance. So look for the return of "Viviendo en America" on NEWSROOM starting May 1.
It's a rite of passage many U.S. teenagers look forward to: getting that driver's license. But this source of excitement for teens can also give your parents some sleepless nights. That's because auto accidents are the number one cause of death for teens in the United States. And a newly released report on teen driving provides even more cause for worry.
Mike Boettcher explains.
MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Parents and police always suspected it was a dangerous formula: more than one teenager in a car equals risk. Now, however, there is proof. The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health analyzed accidents involving teens from 1992 to 1997. What they found was eye-opening.
JULIE ROCHMAN, INSURANCE INSTITUTE FOR HIGHWAY SAFETY: If a 16- year-old driver has one passenger with them, the risk of dying in a crash is about 39 percent higher than a 16-year-old who does not have any passengers. If they are carrying two passengers, it's over 80 percent higher.
BOETTCHER: Currently, only nine of 50 states have laws that restrict how many passengers a 16- or 17-year-old driver can carry. According to the study, teen drivers with passengers under 30 years old tend to exhibit dangerous behavior.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eighteen, did you signal and check for traffic on the way out?
BOETTCHER: Automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Despite that, a majority of states give teens full driving privileges after a driver's education course. But the study recommends all states should switch to a graduated license program, one that gradually doles out driving privileges.
KAL KELLIHER, DRIVER'S ED TEACHER: The restrictions that we have right now basically aren't very restricting. A student, right now, can have three other people in the vehicle with them.
BOETTCHER: New restrictions don't sit well with beginning drivers counting the days until their 16th birthday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think 16 is the ideal. That's cool. Everybody looks forward to being 16.
BOETTCHER: But this teenage passenger has witnessed the hazards that a carload of teens presents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of them might have the tendency to show off. You know, they have loud music where they can't hear anything, can't hear no other drivers, don't hear the horn, don't hear kids.
BOETTCHER: The conclusions presented in the Johns Hopkins report are expected to help launch a nationwide push for graduated licensing laws, not good news for new teen drivers. But according to researchers, it's a solution that will save lives.
Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.
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: Often, a national or state flag is a symbol of pride. But in the United States, the Civil War-era Confederate flag is often a symbol of controversy. For some, the flag is a proud representation of their Southern heritage. For others, it's a painful reminder of slavery and racial inequality. Recently, some Georgia college students gathered to make known their opinion on the topic.
CNN Student Bureau was there. Here's Jason Friedman with that report.
PROTESTERS: What do we want? A new flag. When do we want it? Now. What do we want? A new flag. When do we want it? Now.
JASON FRIEDMAN, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Students at Atlanta's Emory University threw off their backpacks to take part in a campus protest. The issue: the Confederate battle flag present on the Georgia state flag and flying over places like South Carolina's state capitol. The organizers considered the event a success. More than 100 students and the local media turned out to cover the rally.
(on camera): Far from spontaneous, this event grew from weeks of careful planning. A corps of dedicated students worked behind the scenes to piece together this camera-ready campus protest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, get them fired up. Get them, you know, riled up.
FRIEDMAN (voice-over): Weeks before the event, these students met for a series of late-night meetings. They planned strategies and discussed details that would ensure a successful rally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to be thinking about our media shot where they can get a picture or a video where they've got a nice angle with the person speaking and the flag behind or in front.
FRIEDMAN: To create the look of a protest and help get their message out, the organizers gathered to make posters. Though the subject was serious and the students had already logged many hours planning the event, the mood was light.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tried, I tried, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We appreciate your effort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, yes. Oh my god, that's great. I really like that. That is awesome.
FRIEDMAN: The day before the protest, the students gathered for a dress rehearsal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that good? That's my normal voice.
FRIEDMAN: They decided where to hang their flags and how to position themselves to attract the biggest crowd. The morning of the protest, the organizers took their message to the classrooms. Less than an hour before the rally:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention, Emory students: Don't forget about the rally today.
FRIEDMAN: The planners were getting others excited and making the final touches. The rally:
PROTESTERS: One state, one flag. One state, one flag. One state, one flag.
FRIEDMAN: And in less than an hour, the crowd disappeared. But the organizers stayed to tie up loose ends, congratulate each other, and start planning the next protest.
Jason Friedman, CNN Student Bureau, Atlanta.
WALCOTT: CNN Student Bureau is the way for student-produced reports to reach a worldwide audience. For more information, on the Web, head for turnerlearning.com. Or in the United States, call 1- 800-344-6219.
HAYNES: Listen: While we're on the subject of student protest, it was almost 30 years ago, May 4, 1970, when an event occurred which is synonymous with student activism. On that date, a student protest against the Vietnam War at Kent State University in Ohio turned tragic. Four students were shot and killed by troops of the Ohio National Guard. On the 30th anniversary of the tragedy, May 4, 2000, our Joel Hochmuth will examine the legacy of Kent State and the state of student activism today. Look forward to that.
WALCOTT: And we look forward to Joel's report.
That wraps it up for us here today. We'll see you back here tomorrow.
HAYNES: Take care.
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