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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 23, 2000

Aired March 23, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Welcome to your Thursday NEWSROOM. I'm Tom Haynes.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. We get things started by catching up on the news from around the world.

HAYNES: Topping our agenda, U.S. President Clinton greets India with a word of caution.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In a nuclear standoff, there is nothing more dangerous than believing there is no danger.


WALCOTT: Our "Science Desk" finds us in the science lab checking out the future of medicine inside this tiny little chip.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's called a bio- chip.

JOHN NGAI, UNIV. OF CALIF. BERKELEY: It's allowing us to do experiments that we, in the past, couldn't even dream of doing.


HAYNES: The cyber travels continue in "Worldview," as we drop in on some Thai students having a virtual experience.


LORRAINE HAHN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Industry analysts say revenues from e-commerce could rocket from just $32 million in 1999 to more than a billion this year. And graduate students at Thailand's Assumption University hope to be part of that boom.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WALCOTT: And in our "Chronicle" segment, we try a little prognosticating.


PATRICK MARR, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): NOAA still has not been able to pinpoint the exact behavior of any particular La Nina. Most previous ones lasted less than a year. The current one, however, is longer than normal.


HAYNES: U.S. President Clinton's visit to India is the focus of today's top story. During a stop in the capital city, New Delhi, yesterday, the president addressed the Indian parliament. Mr. Clinton is urging India to forgo nuclear weapons and resume a dialogue with neighboring Pakistan, despite bitter tensions.

A little background information on India. It's the second most populous country in the world, after China, with more than 984 million people. That's about one-sixth of the world's population.

India has been in a bitter feud with Pakistan over the state of Kashmir since 1947. Both countries control parts of the territory, but neither is happy with the terms of ownership. Their skirmishing has raised fears that the countries could be headed for a nuclear exchange. That's because both India and Pakistan have proven nuclear capabilities.

President Clinton's pleas for nuclear restraint have, so far, been rejected by the Indian government. John King has details.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A moment of reflection with his daughter in the shadow of the Taj Mahal, a chance, if for just for a few seconds, for the president to put aside the pressures of a high-stakes diplomatic journey.

CLINTON: I wanted to come here all my life, so I'm very happy.

KING: But an earlier speech to parliament was a reminder this new beginning in U.S.-India relations is hardly free of tension and disagreement. Mr. Clinton suggested that India's rush to improve its nuclear weapons program is outdated in the post-cold war world.

CLINTON: Most of the world is moving toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. That goal is not advanced if any country, in any region, moves in the other direction.

KING: The president insisted he was not here to lecture.

CLINTON: I say this with great respect. Only India can determine its own interests.

KING: But there is no disputing the tension. India's president used a state dinner toast to chastise Mr. Clinton for calling South Asia the world's most dangerous region. The president's response:

CLINTON: In a nuclear standoff, there is nothing more dangerous than believing there is no danger.

KING: There was applause when the president promised to urge Pakistan to show restraint in Kashmir. But he also told India's leaders the test of a great democracy is its willingness to make the tough choices necessary for peace.

CLINTON: Engagement with adversaries is not the same thing as endorsement. It does not require setting aside legitimate grievances.

KING: Lawmakers crowded to touch the first U.S. president to visit India in 22 years.

Then it was on to Agra. The Taj Mahal is threatened by pollution, and Mr. Clinton came here to offer help.

(on camera): The president's day offered a glimpse at not only one of the world's wonders, but also at how, in the post-cold war world, economic cooperation and environmental protection are as much a driving force in U.S. international policy as security concerns.

John King, CNN, Agra, India.


HAYNES: During his visit to India, President Clinton's words of warning were not confined to the dangers of nuclear weaponry. He had this to say about man's impact on the environment and our surroundings.


CLINTON: Pollution has managed to do what 350 years of wars, invasions, and natural disasters have failed to do. It has begun to mar the magnificent walls of the Taj Mahal.


HAYNES: Later, in our "Worldview" segment, we'll visit the Taj Mahal and see for ourselves the toll pollution is taking. But before we get there, we have a little brain teaser for you guys. How many years and how many workers did it take to construct the Taj Mahal? Look for the answer later in "Worldview."

WALCOTT: Today's news also has its sights set on the pope's journey to the Holy Land. In the Palestinian-controlled town of Bethlehem yesterday, Pope John Paul II visited the traditional spot of Jesus's birth, a stop he says was at the heart of his visit.

Later in the day, he stopped a refugee camp and raised the issue of Palestinian statehood.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there was any question about Pope John Paul II's reluctance to address political issues on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, it was put to rest at a refugee camp in Bethlehem, a camp that is home to 10,000 Palestinian Muslims. Some have lived here for more than a half century after losing their homes in Israel as that nation was being created.

At a boys school in the camp, a Palestinian official introduced the pope.

ASSAD ABDUL RAHMAN, DHEISHEH REPRESENTATIVE: The Palestinian refugees are determined on a dignified and honorable return to the land of their ancestors with the full restitution of their rights.

BITTERMANN: The pope responded with a strong plea for justice for Palestinians and ended by squarely siding with them.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: The church through her social and charitable organizations will continue to be at your side, will continue to plead your cause before the world.

BITTERMANN (on camera): Visiting a refugee camp where there are no Catholic faithful and speaking out on Palestinian rights hardly seemed part of a personal pilgrimage, but the Vatican spokesman found no contradictions in the pope's mission.

(voice-over): There were more obviously spiritual parts of the pope's day, especially the time he spent praying in the grotto marking the spot where it's believed Christ was born.

And another memorable moment, never before seen during a papal mass, when the worship service in Bethlehem's Manger Square was put on pause at the end of the pope's sermon, while Muslim leaders at a mosque on the same square called their faithful to prayer.


WALCOTT: Scientists are mapping the human genetic code. And information from this ambitious project has sparked an explosion in biotechnology. In today' "Science Desk," the latest giant leap, a project providing important information in the world of medicine and beyond. It involves biochips and testing for diseases.

Rusty Dornin explains.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Looks like a computer chip, acts like a computer chip, but forget integrated circuits: This chip contains thousands of actual DNA fragments. It's called a bio-chip.

JOHN NGAI, UNIV. OF CALIF. BERKELEY: It's allowing us to do experiments that we, in the past, couldn't even dream of doing. And that is to really get a global sense of what makes different cells different from each other, what happens when a cell goes from being normal to pathogenic or cancerous.

DORNIN: Out with the mammogram and in with the genetic test of the future. DNA from a swab taken from the inside of a patients cheek is then tested against 100,000 variants of the gene that causes breast cancer stored on the chip.

TITO SERAFINI, UNIV. OF CALIF. BERKELEY: And depending upon which variant a woman has, this increases or decreases her likelihood of getting breast cancer.

DORNIN: Bio-chips are sparking a revolution in drug testing. This one contains proteins made by genes, proteins that might be involved in causing diseases. Bio-chips allow hundreds of thousands of chemicals to be rapidly tested against them.

DANIEL KISNER, CALIPER TECHNOLOGIES: The pharmaceutical industry is attempting to find chemicals, potential drugs, if you will, that interact with these proteins in some way, either modify their effect or slow them down or destroy them.

DORNIN (on camera): Ten years ago, researchers could only do hundreds of experiments per day, testing chemicals against proteins produced by genes. In this laboratory, that number now is 40,000, and by the end of the year it could shoot up to 100,000.

(voice-over): Today, decisions about what drugs are used to treat a patient are often based on educated guesses. In the future, researchers say the bio-chips will help produce safer and more accurate therapies.

NGAI: Because we are genetically different, in some cases this means that one person may respond better to a drug than another, one person may have a bad reaction to a drug, and another -- whereas another wouldn't.

DORNIN: Customized bio-chip testing for a customized bio-tech cure.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Mountain View, California.


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

HAYNES: Time for more bits and bytes in "Worldview" as we head to Asia. We're all about the Internet as a vehicle for communication and commerce. And after that, we'll check out dots, but in dominoes. You'll see an amazing demonstration. We'll trek to Thailand to find out how students are zeroing in on making money, and making the grade in class. We'll also travel to China where controversy rages over the control of Internet information. And we'll journey to Japan, the first stop in our Web adventure.

WALCOTT: Japan is an island country in the North Pacific Ocean. It's also one of the world's economic giants. In fact, its total economic output is exceeded only by that of the United States. The Japanese manufacture a wide variety of products ranging from cars to television sets. The country is also home to a new generation of Internet entrepreneurs, many of them located in an area called Bit Valley, Japan's answer to the American state of California's Silicon Valley.

Marina Kamimura explains.


MARINA KAMIMURA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Change is afoot in Japan. To see how, look no further than Takafumi Horie. The 27- year-old started up an Internet company four years ago, all with a $60,000 loan. Livin' on the Edge is now worth 100 times that. Horie says it's no coincidence that his firm boasts a Bit Valley address.

TAKAFUMI HORIE, CEO, LIVIN' ON THE EDGE (through translator): A lot of people, especially venture companies, have rushed to start their businesses here because this is such a handy location and known for being fashionable and creative.

KAMIMURA: Bit Valley loosely applies to a group of neighborhoods surrounding Tokyo's Shibuya district. Long considered a hotbed for the young and fashion-conscious, today the area is also developing an international reputation as a mecca for Internet startups.

(on camera): Physically, Bit Valley hardly resembles its California cousin. But nestled here among Shibuya's rambling alleys and narrow streets are hundreds of fledgling Internet companies.

(voice-over): Like their Silicon Valley counterparts, residents of Bit Valley say key to their success is networking; not just in cyberspace, it turns out, but at monthly get-togethers, where those like Horie share their secrets, exchange business cards, and do the fast-paced wheeling and dealing made famous by their U.S. cousins.

"For those of us studying economics and management," he says, "being here feels like being a high school baseball player dreaming of the big leagues."

Hard to say how many entrepreneurs there really are at recent Bit Valley meetings, with many just coming hoping to see living legends, such as Softbank's Masayoshi Son.

KIYOSHI NISHIKAWA, BIT VALLEY VETERAN: Oh, it's incredible. Actually, last year when I started, it was only 30 people gathering.

KAMIMURA: But like just about everything else to do with the Internet today, no one wants to be caught missing out.

Marina Kamimura, CNN, Tokyo.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: China has long been a battleground over human rights. The most famous clashes in recent history came during the government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. At least several hundred protesters were killed. Many more were imprisoned. Today, disputes are still going on not so much in the streets as in cyberspace.

As Rebecca MacKinnon reports, with more and more Chinese having Internet access, there's a new battle going on; this one over words and information.


REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cyber- revolution has come to China. Now the Chinese government is trying to keep that revolution from becoming a threat to its power.

New regulations ban the publication of state secrets on the Internet. Chat rooms, news groups and bulletin boards need government approval to operate. All Web site information must pass a security check and violators will be punished.

These new controls are similar to those already imposed on China's print and broadcast media.

ZHU BANGZAO, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): Recently, we have seen the rapid development of the Internet in China, and the measures we have taken in this regard are very positive. I think that any country would adopt necessary policies in terms of protecting state security.

MACKINNON: Authorities here first awakened to the power of the Internet after the now-banned Falun Gong meditation group used e-mail and Web sites to help organize a massive protest outside the government leadership compound last spring. Lately, Chinese Internet chat rooms have been full of gossip about Beijing's communist party chief, whose wife is said to be under investigation for corruption in Southern China. Authorities publicly deny such reports.

JIM MCGREGOR, DOW JONES CHINA: It's a new thing. It's got the security people scared. It's got the propaganda people scared. So every ministry is trying to regulate their little piece of it right now, and it's complete chaos.

MACKINNON: Efforts to control information on the Web won't stop here. Sources tell CNN authorities plan to set up an official government body to regulate and monitor all Internet content in China. But efforts to block information coming in from the outside have been only partly successful. Those who want to read Web sites like this one on human rights can always find a way.

Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Beijing.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Most of Thailand's 59 million people live in villages and make their living as farmers. But Thailand's urban areas are growing as more people move to the cities seeking new educational and employment opportunities. One avenue of opportunity may be e-commerce. Though Thailand's e-commerce sector is still in its infancy, e-business is looking up, and one Thai university is sending its students into cyberspace to get some virtual business experience.

Lorraine Hahn has more.


LORRAINE HAHN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): E-commerce is set to take off in Thailand. Industry analysts say revenues from e- commerce could rocket from just $32 million in 1999 to more than a billion this year. And graduate students at Thailand's Assumption University hope to be part of that boom. As part of the course, they're setting up cybershops in a virtual mall created by school dean and chairman of Thailand's largest Internet service provider.

SRISAKDI, DEAN, THAILAND ASSUMPTION UNIVERSITY: Thailand has been very slow in e-commerce so we need stimulus. And this is the stimulus because all the students are supposed to have targets.

HAHN: That target is annual sales of more than $26,000 U.S. which each student in business administration and computer studies must clock up to get an A in the subject. And to make those grades, students are selling everything from gifts to pets online.

KAJORNWAN HUTACHAROEN, STUDENT: I think there's enough Internet users that are pet lovers -- enough for me -- that's enough for me because most pet lovers that I know, to be honest with you, if they have money to buy these pets, they have money to have a computer and to use the Internet.

HAHN: And for these budding owner/managers, low overheads are an added incentive. Just $24 U.S. a month gives them access to the software they need to set up shop in the cyber-mall.

SRISAKDI: They have to pay 900 baht a month, which is really low, to become owner and manager. And a lot of people are excited about it because I told them that 10 percent of those who get in may become millionaire. They like that idea very much.

HAHN: Even for those who don't make it into millionaires row, students say it gives them some real life lessons on how to survive in the new and growing world of e-commerce.

Lorraine Hahn, CNN Financial News, Hong Kong.


HAYNES: Dominoes is the name of a game and the tiles it's played with. Dominoes were probably invented in China and were first introduced into Europe back in the 1300s. They can be made of bone, wood, ivory, or even plastic, and there are 28 pieces in a set. The simplest domino game is called "Block." Each person matches a section of a domino with an identical section of an opponent's domino. There's also the fun of domino-toppling. Well, a group of 50 Chinese and Japanese students set a new world record for toppling dominoes earlier this year. Their grand total: 2.7 million dominoes. Imagine the effort of stacking all those pieces only to knock them all down. But it was even more involved than that. As the dominoes fell in succession, they revealed pictures of various Chinese and Japanese emblems. The previous record-holders were students from the Netherlands. They toppled 1,382,000 dominoes back in 1988. Check it out.

Wow. Over a million dominoes. Well, now for the answer to that quiz we talked about earlier in "Top story." The question was: How many years and workers did it take to construct the Taj Mahal? Well, the Taj Mahal was built over 22 years, and 20,000 people worked on the project. President Clinton toured the Taj Mahal yesterday.

And Kelly Wallace explains how pollution is threatening this building, one of the seven wonders of the world.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): India's Taj Mahal, built in the 17th century by an emperor to honor his late wife, a reminder of the past, but also a reminder of modern- day problems. It sits in Agra, one of the poorest and most polluted places in India. Just a mile from the monument, waste fills the city's main drain, fumes flow out of diesel-fueled cars, and smog hangs in the air, discoloring the white-marbled wonder of the world.

President Clinton traveled here to sound a warning.

CLINTON: Pollution has managed to do what 350 years of wars, invasions and natural disasters have failed to do. It has begun to mar the magnificent walls of the Taj Mahal.

WALLACE: Rajiv Saxena has been leading tours at the Taj Mahal for a dozen years.

RAJIV SAXENA, TAJ MAHAL TOUR GUIDE: It is getting dirtier, it is corroding, and it has not been able to handle this environmental pollution.

WALLACE: Environmentalists say the pollution is coming from a nearby oil refinery, from factories, and from the two million residents themselves who don't have a stable power supply in their homes and resort to diesel-powered generators or burning garbage or cow dung for fuel.

(on camera): Most of the people who live here are trying to make ends meet and they can't really afford to worry about protecting the environment or the Taj Mahal.

(voice-over): In the early 1980s, concerned environmentalists petitioned the Supreme Court to close down 200 iron foundries here, but some remain open, and people worry about paying a price for the environment. SAXENA: And they say that if Taj Mahal is going to make us jobless, the jobs which we have been doing for years, please take the Taj Mahal away, out of this town, and let us live here in peace.

WALLACE: Two years ago, the city started a campaign to clean up, planting thousands of trees around the Taj Mahal and allowing only electric-powered cars nearby. But environmentalists say much more needs to be done to keep the Taj Mahal safe for another 300 years.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, Agra, India.


WALCOTT: College has traditionally been a place where people share ideas. College students in the United States usually pay a mandatory student activity fee to fund on-campus activities. Some students say their money shouldn't go toward organizations they find objectionable. But the U.S. Supreme Court disagrees.

Charles Bierbauer has more on a case dealing with the First Amendment.


CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 40,000 students at the University of Wisconsin pay a mandatory student activity fee each year, $331.50 in 1996 when the suit was filed. The money is doled out through the student government to a wide variety of groups, including the Campus Women's Center, the environmental activist Greens, the gay and lesbian groups.

A group of conservative students raised a First Amendment claim they were forced to fund objectionable speech. The university argued, providing a free and open exchange of ideas is part of its educational mission, and the Supreme Court unanimously agreed.

Justice Kennedy: "The speech the university seeks to encourage is distinguished by its vast, unexplored bounds."

KATHERINE LYALL, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN: We all felt that it was important to get a very clear statement, if we could, about the role of the university in creating a forum for ideas.

BIERBAUER: The court decision applies to public colleges and universities across the country.

Scott Southworth, one of the offended students, now a lawyer, says he's particularly disappointed by the conservatives on the Supreme Court.

SCOTT SOUTHWORTH, FORMER UNIV. OF WISCONSIN STUDENT: Although I respect the court, I also respectfully disagree with them, that just because a system is viewpoint-neutral, that that is the only constitutional requirement to protect objecting students.

Justice Kennedy's opinion insisted that "when a university requires its students to pay fees in the interest of open discussion, it may not prefer some viewpoints to others."

ADAM KLAUS, ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF MADISON: We do try to fund groups on both sides. We fund the Pro-Life Action League and the Coalition for Choice.

BIERBAUER: The justices disagreed with part of the Wisconsin program permitting a student referendum to vote on allocating some of the funds. They ordered a lower court to review how that protects minority viewpoints.

(on camera): The justices said a university could create a program allowing students to check off the groups they want their fees to support. But the court said it would not impose such a system on the universities.

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, the Supreme Court.


HAYNES: Well, no doubt about it, winter brought some unusual weather to the United States. Some places saw more rain than snow. And dry weather plagued much of the Southwest. All of this may be due to La Nina, a weather phenomenon that comes around every few years and can last more than two. In the United States, La Nina is going into its second year now.

And CNN Student Bureau reporter Patrick Marr (ph) tells us more about this weather phenomenon.


PATRICK MARR, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): La Nina. In Spanish, it simply means "the little girl," but it could mean more hurricanes for the eastern U.S., a colder winter for the Northwest and the Rockies, and heavier snow in the winter, which could lead to more spring flooding.

MARK BURBANK, SCIENCE INSTRUCTOR, MOUNTLAKE TERRACE HIGH SCHOOL: If we get things where we suddenly get 80-degree temperatures in May and rains and all the snow in the Cascades start to melt, we may again get record flooding.

MARR: So how will La Nina bring about the cold? Well, one possibility is that the jet streams that normally hit the West Coast straight on will instead swing up into Alaska and dive down the coast, bringing along cold arctic winds with it. And that will likely cause a dramatic change in temperature.

To find out more, we visited the West Coast headquarters of NOAA. NOAA uses a system of buoys mounted with measuring devices. These are placed at intervals along certain lines of longitude throughout the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Every year, NOAA's research ships visit each of these buoys and collects the data.

MIKE MCPHADEN, SR. RESEARCH SCIENTIST, NOAA: We've got about 750 thermometers spanning the tropical Pacific basin from near the coast of South America to near the coast of New Guinea, and in the upper third of a mile of the ocean.

MARR: On these buoys, many weather-sensing devices are placed and used to test for surface temperatures, subsurface temperatures, wind speed, and other indications of changing weather.

WILLIAM KESSLER, OCEANOGRAPHER: On that string that connects the anchor to the float, we have instruments strung along that string that measure the temperature of the water, sometimes the salinity of the water, the currents in the water.

MARR: NOAA still has not been able to pinpoint the exact behavior of any particular La Nina. Most previous ones lasted less than a year. The current one, however, is longer than normal.

MCPHADEN: It started in mid-1998, and usually they kind of die out after a year or so. This one is in its second winter season.

Reporting from Seattle, this is Patrick Marr, CNN Student Bureau.


WALCOTT: Want to know how to be part of the Student Bureau? Surf on over to Or in the United States, call 1- 800-344-6219.

HAYNES: Meantime, we're going to surf on out of here. See you tomorrow, guys.

WALCOTT: Have a great day.



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