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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 24, 2000

Aired March 24, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And welcome to this Friday edition of NEWSROOM. I'm Shelley Walcott.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Hope you're ready. We are. So let's get this show on the road.

WALCOTT: We start with a message of healing from the Holy Land, as Pope John Paul II reaches out to victims of the Holocaust.

HAYNES: We bring you today's "Editor's Desk" direct from the amen corner.


BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Larry Tinsley's five-hour long "Sunday Morning Praise" is the most popular radio show in Atlanta, no matter what the time, what the format. It beats pop, country, urban and talk.


WALCOTT: We keep you humming as we slide into "Worldview."


LARRY WOODS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are like cobblers from a bygone century, father and son, sure-handed artisans tapping and tinkering, quietly using their restorative powers on musical relics badly scarred or condemned to the junk bin of history.


HAYNES: Then, she's young, she's smart, she's the boss, and you'll meet her in "Chronicle."


REBECA ROMERO, PRESIDENT & CEO, CENTINAL BANK: Being a bank president is just getting a job done, it's taking on a challenge, and if you want to take on a challenge and have fun with it, do it.


WALCOTT: In today's top story, an emotional day for Pope John Paul II in the Middle East. Yesterday was his first full day in the city of Jerusalem during his trip to the Holy Land. It started with Catholic mass at the traditional site of Jesus' Last Supper, and ended at an interfaith gathering with Jews and Muslims.

In between was the most moving moment of the pope's pilgrimage, a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial. He paid tribute to the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis, but stopped short of an outright apology for the Catholic Church's silence during the Holocaust.

Some historical context now. The Catholic Church is based in Vatican City, in Italy, while Israel is a Jewish State. For centuries, Christian-Jewish relations have been marked by interfaith tensions and bloodshed.

The Catholic Church has always had special ties to the city of Jerusalem, which it regards as a holy site. And Jerusalem is also a holy place for Judaism and Islam.

The pope has condemned the violence that's plagued Jerusalem and the Middle East, saying religion is no excuse for violence.

Jim Bittermann has more on the reaction to the pope's visit.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a choir singing laments sung half a century ago by Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, Pope John Paul rekindled the flame at Israel's Holocaust memorial and paid homage to the millions who died.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: No one can forget or ignore what happened. No one can diminish the scale.

BITTERMANN: While some will perhaps argue whether the pope's words went far enough, they drew a warm response from Israel's prime minister.

EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: You have done more than anyone else to bring about the historic change in the attitude of the church towards the Jewish people. Your coming here today is a climax of this historic journey of healing.

BITTERMANN: The Vatican spokesman said the pope appreciated the prime minister's remarks.

Others gave John Paul more mixed reviews.

ELI ZBOROWSKI, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: Coming here, paying respect to the place where ashes are, it is an absolute turning point from a Catholic-Jewish relationship.

AVNER SHALEV, DIRECTOR, YAD VASHEM: I thought that maybe he will take a step forward with regard to ask a forgiveness on behalf of the believers. From this perspective, my anticipation didn't come true.

BITTERMANN: But whatever others thought, the pope seemed deeply moved by his visit to the memorial, especially while meeting Holocaust survivors who remembered him from Poland.

(on camera): But John Paul's longstanding prayer to improve interfaith dialogue seemed to go unanswered when, late in the day, religious leaders gathered at the pope's instigation at a Catholic institute.

(voice-over): The Vatican had wanted to bring together, for the first time, the Holy Land's top religious men. But a key Muslim leader refused to attend, and then a leading rabbi thanked the pope for something he had not done for Israel.

RABBI MEIR LAU, CHIEF RABBI OF ISRAEL: The recognition of Jerusalem as its united, eternal capital city.

BITTERMANN: The rabbi ignored shouts from the Muslim members of the audience. And then a Palestinian judge, who represented the Muslim community, delivered a bitter speech directed at Israel. As any hopes for dialogue disappeared further with each new harangue, the pope buried his head in his hand. And the Muslim leader slipped out before the interfaith meeting was over, leaving only an empty chair.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Jerusalem.


HAYNES: This week, U.S. President Clinton is racking up more miles in the sky. As we've told you, he visiting India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. As the United States' number-one goodwill ambassador, he's expected to travel extensively. But all these trips don't come cheap. Is it worth it? John King takes a look.


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. president, dancing in the streets of an Indian village and sightseeing at a 400-year-old fort built by one of India's Hindu maharajis, images heartwarming to some, troubling to others.

The Taj Mahal tour was a day earlier, breaks in a six-day South Asia trip aimed at improving ties with New Delhi and calming tensions between nuclear neighbors, India and Pakistan.

STEVE COHEN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: I think it's the most difficult and, perhaps, most important foreign trip that the president will have made in his eight years as president.

KING: The president's critics say it isn't worth all the fuss and all the money. India isn't about to curb its nuclear weapons program. Pakistan's military rulers won't commit to restoring democracy.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: You minimalize and you marginalize the impact of the president of the United States when you do these kinds of things that end with nothing, other than photo-ops.

KING: It's not cheap to move the president around the world. A government study estimated his 1998 trip to Africa cost $43 million; the bill for five days in Chile was $10.5 million; and 10 days in China cost at least $19 million. This is Mr. Clinton's 47th international trip in seven years. He's visited 61 countries as president, many more than once.

HAGEL: This is a serious business, foreign policy. This is not a photo-op opportunity. This is not a campaign. This is not a vacation for the president.

KING: The White House says the end of the Cold War and the ever- changing global economy make face-to-face diplomacy all the more critical, even if the benefits aren't immediate.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I hope my trip will do is to help people all over the world see India in a more complete way.

KING: This debate will continue long after Mr. Clinton leaves India and South Asia.

(on camera): The president will travel to Europe, Asia and perhaps South America and Africa in the coming months, making at least three and as many as a half-dozen international trips before he leaves office next January.

John King, CNN, Jaipur, India.


HAYNES: In today's "Editor's Desk," we focus on a musical phenomenon, Gospel music. It's not just in churches. It's on the airwaves and in the record stores. And it's making records of another kind too: sales records. I don't have to go far to find out all about it because the heart of what's happening in gospel is right here in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brian Cabell gives us the beat and the background.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is Jesus my Lord...

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sunday morning in Atlanta, and the sounds of gospel fill the air.

LARRY TINSLEY, GOSPEL DISC JOCKEY: You're in tune with Atlanta's number-one station, V-103. We are giving God the glory.

CABELL: People are listening. Larry Tinsley's five-hour-long "Sunday Morning Praise" is the most popular radio show in Atlanta, no matter what the time, what the format. It beats pop, country, urban and talk. Atlanta, in the minds of many, is the capital of gospel music. Not surprising, perhaps, since Atlanta was the home of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, in which spiritual music played such an important role. The tradition is carried on today in the city's churches.

TINSLEY: Atlanta is being called the "black mecca." And when you have the amount of African-American concentration that we do here in Atlanta, Georgia, God is going to be in the mix somewhere.

CABELL: He's in the mix, certainly, at Atlanta's Doppler Studios. That's where Atlanta International Records, or AIR Gospel, does its recordings.

ALAN FREEMAN, PRESIDENT, AIR GOSPEL: Isn't that the normal time, 10:00?

CABELL: Air president Alan Freeman prides himself on the freedom he gives his artists, but the company's also making money.

FREEMAN: It isn't the main driving force, but at the end of the day you have to make sure that what you're doing is going to at least meet payroll and keep the doors open.

CABELL (on camera): The entire gospel industry is doing more than just keeping the doors open. In the last three years, sales of gospel CDs and tapes have increased 50 percent, to about $150 million a year.

(voice-over): Dottie Peoples, who was nominated for a Grammy this year, is AIR's biggest star. She's seen changes in the industry.

DOTTIE PEOPLES, GOSPEL SINGER: I remember that if you sold 10,000 copies, you were doing good. But, now, artists are selling 100 and on up. So, therefore, people are going out and supporting gospel more.

CABELL: They are. And in Atlanta, they're doing it in the so- called "megachurches" where gospel dominates.

There are three gospel-oriented megachurches in Atlanta, each with at least 10,000 members. Here, big-name artists and the up-and- coming have venues to perform before large, appreciative audiences in the center of a dynamic movement where spirituality and song have converged.

Brian Cabell, CNN, Atlanta.


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

WALCOTT: And the beat goes on in "Worldview." Today we crisscross the world on an art adventure. We'll get footloose in India as we find out how song and dance play important roles in films. And we'll meet Internet entrepreneurs who give broken musical instruments a tune up. They're maestros of mending.

Music is a universal language. It speaks to everyone. American writer T.S. Eliot said, "You are the music while the music lasts." Well, the music can last a long time. At least, that's the goal of a family business outside Atlanta, Georgia.

Larry Woods has our story.


LARRY WOODS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are like cobblers from a bygone century, father and son, sure-handed artisans tapping and tinkering, quietly using their restorative powers on musical relics badly scarred or condemned to the junk bin of history.


WOODS: But the job is never done, not with an international Web site scoring hits by the hour and aging inventory waiting for attention.

(on camera): This is as close as it gets to a musical instrument graveyard. There are a lot of old saxophones and trumpets and trombones buried here. Thus the challenge to Charles and Russell Fail: Bring them back to life.

(voice-over): At first glance, this 1949 Reynolds coronet appears dead on arrival. But Fail, who began his repair apprenticeship at age 13, will have none of that.

C. FAIL: If we've done our work correctly, this instrument should look and play as well as it did when it was new. This instrument was damaged years and years ago but probably not played an awful lot. Just suffered some misfortune.

WOODS (on camera): Is there anything you can't fix?

C. FAIL: Hasn't happened yet. There are some things that are not economically feasible for the time that would be required, but, no, we've not found an instrument that we could not restore.

WOODS (voice-over): I was curious where they found the ones they do repair.

C. FAIL: Everywhere we can find one. We will buy one from a block away or we will go to the end of the world to buy one if we can.

WOODS: Horns and woodwinds with some longevity are their favorites.

C. FAIL: Many of the vintage instruments are no longer being made, and you realize that if you can put one back into play, you serve not only the instrument but you serve the player as well.

WOODS: And Linda Fail serves as a key player, too, in keeping the family corporation up and running. She's secretary and treasurer of the company, and she likes her boss.


C. FAIL: Are you through?

L. FAIL: Yes.

C. FAIL: Take the rest of the day off.

L. FAIL: No, I'll stay.

WOODS: Russell Fail, 30, has been working and learning the trade alongside his father for 10 years. The 1926 Chu Berry alto saxophone he was restoring, and bound for Japan on a trial basis when finished, didn't seem to pose any difficulty for him.

RUSSELL FAIL, INSTRUMENT REPAIRMAN: When we're done with it, it will look like it was made yesterday. So it's really kind of neat.

WOODS: This is a craft no so much learned from books, but from hands-on, hourly, monthly, meticulous experience, says Russell. And he enjoys the closeness with his father.

R. FAIL: I enjoy taking something that's basically ugly and useless and making it something that's beautiful and very useful.

WOODS: And then, as Mr. Hemingway would say, "the moment of truth": a sparkling cornet born a half century ago made new again. And a silver Conn alto sax, an infant in 1926, a mature sophisticate in the year 2000.

No instrument leaves the shop without the a few rifts. When an instrument is ready for the market, it is photographed, and along with pertinent information, placed on the Internet.

Russell designed the Web page five years ago. Today, they have customers throughout the U.S. and 19 other countries.

R. FAIL: It's not easy to tell large numbers of people where you are. And we thought the Internet would be ideal for that. It's always fun to talk to people on the other side of the world and see just how much you have in common in the love of music.

WOODS: Fail estimates two-thirds of his business is generated on the Internet. And clients are only a mouse click away from his suburban Atlanta store.

C. FAIL: There are parts to this country and elsewhere that's not accessible to music stores. So we get that business as well off of the Internet. So I think it's well-suited for what we do.

WOODS: But before you try and contact the Fails to repair your son or daughter's instrument that's fallen on hard times or has a few noticeable craters, a footnote: They repair only the instruments they restore and sell, which carry a 90-day guarantee. On average, they undersell new instruments by 50 percent. So, interested in a Prussian Flugle horn, 1855? A King slide cornet, 1939? Maybe a rare 1780s clarinet, or an 1890 alto valve trombone.

If the Fails don't have it, they can find it. Why get them exploring that attic and no telling what they'll find.

R. FAIL: On the outside of it, you see the word trash. And inside, you have a nice Conn -- vintage Conn 6-M which can be fully restored. This is a horn Charlie Parker, Jimmy Dorsey, Les Brown -- they all played this model horn.

WOODS: And these skillful cobblers can make it play again.

Larry Woods, "Across America," in Marietta, Georgia.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Music reaches around the world, and it pervades many areas of the arts. Our next story takes us to India, a country with a long history of artistic achievement. Some ruins of Indian architecture date back to the days before Christ. Music and dance also play a big part in the country's artistic heritage. In India's distinctive style of dance, dancers use their arms, hands and fingers to tell stories.

But this ancient art form is not relegated to the nation's past. Modern-day filmmakers are finding that a little dance and song add up to big bucks at the box office.


KASRA NAJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A music scene from a new film which has just opened here. Almost all Indian films have at least several song and dance numbers like this one. It can make or break the movie at the box office.

SHAHRUKH KHAN, ACTOR: If am to play a cop, I have to still sing and dance. If I have to play a politician, I still have to sing and dance. If I have to play a dead man, I still have to sing and dance.

NAJI (on camera): Even a dead man?

S. KHAN: Even a dead man.

NAJI (voice-over): Indian cinema is finding it makes good economic sense to pour more money into these segments of movies. The rights to the songs and the rights to the music video in an age of satellite music channels cover a good deal of the costs.

SAROJ KHAN, DANCE DIRECTOR: Today, music is essential. It could be a winning point in your film. If you have great music, you get a lot of people interested in your film.

NAJI: Behind the scenes, a glimpse of the efforts which go into making these musical numbers. Here, the heroine, the girl in red, wakes up to a strange dream. A lot of flesh, meticulously choreographed dance and a catchy tune are the essential elements of the movies made in what is known as "Bollywood," the Hollywood of Indian cinema.

(on camera): It's taken them nearly three hours just to shoot a few seconds of this particular song and dance routine. Bollywood has turned choreography into a new Indian art form.

(voice-over): This number is shot in the glaciers of Alaska for an added touch of the exotic. With a growing middle class in India and expanding overseas markets demanding better quality, filmmakers here are breaking new grounds.

Kasra Naji, CNN, Mumbai, India.


HAYNES: There are lots of ways to measure success in your life, whether you're an athlete at the top of your game or a student at the top of your class. In "Chronicle" today, we conclude our observance of women's history month by meeting a woman who's achieved that top status very early in her career.


(voice-over): At age 23, Rebeca Romero has accomplished more professionally than some will in a lifetime. This bank president and chief executive officer in Taos, New Mexico is believed to be the youngest person ever to hold those titles in the United States.

Centinal Bank has been in the Romero family for more than 30 years. Rebeca's grandfather founded it in 1969, in frustration, he says, over being rejected for a loan because he's Mexican-American. Today, Centinal holds assets of more than $95 million, and Rebeca says it's not easy managing that kind of money.

REBECA ROMERO, PRESIDENT & CEO, CENTINAL BANK: I think the reality of the situation hits me, and then I have to put it at the back of my mind because it can get pretty overwhelming, everything that I'm doing and am responsible for.

HAYNES (on camera): Are you like an extra smart person? What does it take to be running a bank at 23 years old?

R. ROMERO: just a very hard worker, that's all there is to it.

HAYNES (voice-over): It was that hard work that put Rebeca near the top of her class at the prestigious Wellesley College in Massachusetts and made her high school valedictorian.

HAYNES (on camera): Did you work in the bank during high school?

R. ROMERO: I sure did, yes. I would work there after school and during the summer doing all kinds of different jobs. And when I first started, I was the mail clerk and, you know, then started doing odd jobs, trained on the teller line when I was 15 and did that for several years.

HAYNES (voice-over): Rebeca joined the bank full time as a vice president after college in 1997. She trained alongside her father before assuming the top spot last year.

(on camera): What about teenagers who are sitting in high school thinking, like, oh my god, 23 years old, I could -- I would never be a bank CEO.


HAYNES: What would you say to them?

R. ROMERO: Oh, don't set your sights too low.

MARTIN ROMERO, REBECA'S FATHER: When Beca graduated from college, she sat, literally, in my chair in the bank. I sat on the other side of the desk for one year. And we worked day by day together and I let her -- asked her to call the shots.

HAYNES: Is it hard to deal with other executives in your bank who are older than you and who might question your experience?

R. ROMERO: No, that has actually been one of the best parts of the job, is that there's a lot of people here at this bank that are much older than I am. But we're all a team helping to make this happen, and they respect where I am in my position and I respect their expertise and lean on their expertise in many situations to help me make decisions.

BOBBY ORTEGA, VICE PRESIDENT, CENTINAL BANK: I've got to tell you, I'm very impressed with her maturity for a 23 year old. Sometimes I think back, you know, what was I doing when I was 23? And here you've got someone like her running a bank.

HAYNES (voice-over): The bank consumes most of Rebeca's time. She has her hands in just about everything, from approving million- dollar loan applications to traveling around town to check in on her customers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rebeca, if you remember when you were a little girl what our store looked like.

R. ROMERO: Well, now it's totally different.

It's a personal touch. I mean, with these customers here, you know, I known them. We've known each other for so long. They have a need in their business, like this construction they've just done, and we're just a phone call away, and we're here to take a look at what they're doing.

HAYNES: And even with the intensity of running the bank, Rebeca still makes it a priority to involve herself with young people in the community. She's a board member of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and mentors local high school students. R. ROMERO: That's the funnest part for me, is coming out on some of these site visits, looking at the new projects they're getting into and just talking to them about what some of the things that they're doing.

HAYNES (on camera): Do you ever get out here and get your feet dirty and do stuff with them?

R. ROMERO: Every now and then, yes. That's on the weekends when we have a special project. A couple weeks ago, we were working on putting in a playground over at one of the elementary schools that didn't have a playground set yet.

HAYNES (voice-over): Centinal Bank is one of the largest Hispanic-owned companies in the United States, and one of only a few minority-owned financial institutions. When he opened the bank in the 1960s, Rebeca's grandfather set out to open doors for other Hispanic businessmen.

ELIU ROMERO, REBECA'S GRANDFATHER: As I said, Latinos were known as Latinos at that time. Latinos are good dancers and good guitar players and good poets, but they know nothing about commerce or financial institutions. How do you expect to run it?

HAYNES (on camera): Well, you proved them wrong, didn't you?

E. ROMERO: We certainly have.

R. ROMERO: I have a great deal of admiration and respect for my grandfather and everything he was able to do in the establishment of the bank, the follow-through with his dream.

HAYNES (voice-over): Rebeca vows to carry on that dream, to run a bank that's accessible to everyone and to lead the way for others.

R. ROMERO: I think, really, what I'm doing is following my dreams, looking -- I really believe where there's a will there's a way. And if I could be a role model or inspiration to anybody, it might be that that's it, that, you know, if there's something you want to do, you make it happen. And don't sight yourself too short.


WALCOTT: She is amazingly accomplished for someone her age.

HAYNES: She is. And she has a very bright future ahead. She says she might be interested in getting involved in politics, of all things, in the state of New Mexico.

So good luck to you if you do that, Rebeca.

WALCOTT: I'm sure she'll be successful.

Well, you remember last week in our coverage of Women's History Month we brought you the story of Rear Admiral Evelyn Fields of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. HAYNES: That's U.S. agency that has just released satellite pictures of a giant iceberg -- if you can see it there. It's twice the size of the state of Delaware. As icebergs go, it could be the largest ever.

WALCOTT: Experts say the giant berg could drift into the shipping lanes around the South Pole.

And we're just about to drift out of here ourselves.

HAYNES: And yesterday we surfed out of here. Today we're going to drift out of here. So take care. Have a good weekend.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.



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