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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for April 3, 2000

Aired April 3, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Breaking in a new week here on NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining us. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. We have a lot on our agenda today. So let's get started.

In today's top story, it's back to the drawing board for Microsoft as settlement talks with the U.S. government fail.


BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MICROSOFT: I'm personally quite disappointed that this wasn't possible. Now we will have to win the case through the legal system.


BAKHTIAR: In "Environment Desk," what do these shelled critters have to do with saving the Chesapeake Bay?


JIM WESSON, VIRGINIA MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION: And these reefs were just filled with hundreds of millions of oysters that were filter feeders.


BAKHTIAR: We head to Baja, Mexico in "Worldview," where a whale sanctuary gets a break, as the plug is pulled on what would have been the world's largest salt factory.


CARLOS BAUMGARTEN, ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER (through translator): The law says conservation activities must take precedence over development in that area.


BAKHTIAR: Then, in "Chronicle," using cartoons as a new medium for a powerful message.


CLIFFORD COHEN, FOUNDER, ANIMACTION: I think you're going to find that animation is a magical medium. It transcends cultural barriers. It transcends language.


BAKHTIAR: In today's top story, a final ruling in one of the biggest antitrust cases in the history of the United States could come as early as this week. Settlement talks between software giant Microsoft and the U.S. government ended without a deal on Saturday. The failure to settle means the case goes back to a U.S. federal judge. The judge could hand down harsh penalties against Microsoft, including a possible breakup or restructuring of the company.

Microsoft's antitrust troubles began in 1998 and got even bigger last November. That's when a U.S. district judge ruled the company used its monopoly powers to thwart competition.

The term antitrust refers to federal laws designed to prevent unfair restraints on trade by business monopolies or cartels.

A monopoly is exclusive control of a commodity or service leading to fixed prices, and the elimination of free competition. A U.S. federal judge says Microsoft's domination in the computer industry has hurt consumers as well as the company's competitors.

We have two reports on the Microsoft case beginning with Steve Young in Washington.


STEVE YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A source familiar with the thinking of prosecutors says the Microsoft settlement talks broke down in part the lawyers felt a key provision in the 20th and final draft would have been unenforceable. It allowed Microsoft to add new features it wanted in Windows, something the company said was critical. At the same time, it barred the company from tying new products to the Windows operating system.

Said the source: "I don't think that would have worked because Microsoft's definition of `product' has been vague throughout the trial."

Microsoft has blamed the states for the breakdown in talks, but the prosecution source says, "Differences between the Department of Justice and the states paled compared to the differences between the Department of Justice and Microsoft."

Breaking up Microsoft was not part of the final settlement proposal, but that could come up again when Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson conducts the final remedy, or sentence, phase of the trial.

(on camera): That will follow his issuance of so-called "conclusions of law," the equivalent of a verdict. It's widely expected to be extremely harsh. That could come as soon as tomorrow. Judge Jackson is believed to have already written his verdict, because the Government Printing Office has placed a $12 price on the document.

Steve Young, CNN Financial News, New York.



JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All sides are waiting for a verdict on whether Microsoft violated antitrust laws. In the meantime, everyone will be blaming the other for things getting this far.

ROBERT LITAN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: We're into spin city right now, at least for the next several days, if not weeks. Each party's going to say they went the extra mile, that the other party was intransigent, and they did the best they could.

AIKEN: Federal judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued a finding last year that Microsoft had a monopoly in personal computer operating systems and used that monopoly to harm competitors, depriving consumers of both choice and innovation.

Now in his verdict this week, the judge will decide whether Microsoft maintained that monopoly illegally.

BILL KOVACIC, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Then we're on for about three months of proceedings on remedies, where the parties will present their views of what ought to happen.

AIKEN: For Microsoft, it means a continued hard line, and if it loses, appeals that will go all the way to the Supreme Court.

BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MICROSOFT: Now we'll have to win the case through the legal system. We continue to believe that we have a strong legal case and that the judicial system will ultimately rule in our favor.

AIKEN: Justice Department lawyers issued a statement saying if Judge Jackson sides with the government, "We will seek a remedy that prevents Microsoft from using its monopoly in the future to stifle competition, hamper innovation and limit consumer choice."

Those remedies can run from a financial slap on Microsoft's wrists to something far more severe.

LITAN: I think Justice is probably fed up with the negotiations, and it will probably, in my opinion, go for broke and ask for breakup of the company.

AIKEN: None of Microsoft's operating systems for PCs will undergo any immediate changes because of this legal action.

(on camera): So aside from some fluctuations in the price of Microsoft's stock on the market this week, the average consumer will feel little impact on this case, for now.

Jonathan Aiken, for CNN, Washington.


BAKHTIAR: Have you ever heard the quote "the world's mine oyster"? Well, Shakespeare wrote it, but environmentalists could embrace it because oysters have a bigger impact than you might expect on our world.

We head to Chesapeake Bay, the largest watershed on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. The District of Columbia, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia all drain into the Chesapeake Bay. For years, mid-Atlantic states have been struggling to restore the ecological vibrance of the bay. And now they've learned that saving the bay means saving the oyster.

The reason oysters are so important to that ecosystem is that they filter out algae and detritus, dead stuff, from the water. Without oysters, algae would grow out of control and consume all the oxygen in the water, killing everything.

Kathleen Koch has more on efforts to protect the bay and the oysters.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's 6:30 on a brisk March morning. Waterman Kenny Keen is going oystering. He used to make his living that way, but not anymore.

KENNY KEEN, WATERMAN: Yields have gone down, and oystering is something you do just in the wintertime to try to pay a few bills if you can.

KOCH: Decimated by overfishing, disease and pollution, the oyster population is two percent of what it was when European explorers first arrived and reefs filled the Chesapeake Bay.

JIM WESSON, VIRGINIA MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION: And these reefs were just filled with hundreds of millions of oysters that were filter feeders.

KOCH: A filtering ability critical to cleaning the bay, as seen in this time-elapsed video. So Maryland and Virginia are asking the federal government to match the $50 million they are spending over the next 10 years to restore the oyster population.

MARY JO GARREIS, OYSTER RECOVERY PARTNERSHIP: These bags are filled with shell. This is what we set the baby oysters on.

KOCH: At Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, Maryland, volunteers stuff bags with oyster shells, which are immersed in water fertilized by disease-resistant adult oysters.

DONALD MERITT, HORN POINT LABORATORY: All these shells all the way through this bag are full of little oysters. This one -- this bag -- I can tell you right now this bag has over 2,000 oysters in it.

KOCH: The states hope to create a network of 250 oyster reefs, for the first time a fraction of them protected sanctuaries since mature oysters create the most offspring.

(on camera): The plan's success depends not only on federal and state funding, but cooperation from watermen who once over-harvested the oyster.

KEEN: They need to think about not working for today but working for tomorrow as well.

KOCH (voice-over): A hard lesson for those dependent on the estuary Native Americans once called the great shellfish bay.

Kathleen Koch, for CNN, Washington.


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

BAKHTIAR: Today's "Worldview" dives head first into some issues facing the great whale. First stop, Iceland, to catch up with Willy, the most famous killer whale in the world. Then, it's on to Mexico, for an update on some endangered whale breeding grounds. And we'll examine a haven on earth for some whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea.

But we begin in Japan, where the country's prime minister is in intensive care in a Tokyo hospital after suffering a stroke. Sixty- two-year-old Keizo Obuchi has been replaced temporarily by his successor chief cabinet secretary Mikio Aoki. Aoki says he will take over power immediately to prevent any delay in helping the thousands of people who live near a volcano in Northern Japan.

Mount Usu erupted on the northern island of Hokkaido on Friday and has been belching smoke and ash ever since. Marina Kamimura reports on how the island's residents are coping.


MARINA KAMIMURA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For some evacuees, a chance to get back to their farms, albeit only briefly to take care of essential tasks such as feeding their livestock, the first time many were allowed back home since quakes began to shake northern Japan ahead of Usu's dramatic gushes of smoke, ashes, and rock late last week.

Despite periodic outbursts, Sunday's spell of relative calm also allowed scientists a closer look at the steaming volcano, and damage incurred by Usu's first eruptions in two decades that included rocks flung in the volcano's more violent moments. Experts warn potential for a major eruption remains.

HIROMU OKADA, SCIENTIST: We are still taking it very seriously (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the 1910 activity. So (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and activity -- eruptive activity intermittently continues.

KAMIMURA: That worries people like Tatashitsu Imura (ph), a 51- year-old hotel employee.

"If we go back to the hotel," he says, "no one can work there now, and no tourists will come for a while. The hotels are buried in ash. I have absolutely no idea what we are going to do."

It's a problem businesses in the area are all too familiar with. While many depend on Usu to attract tourists to the hot springs it feeds, it took years for the local economy to recover the last time the volcano erupted. But this time, with some of the eruptions dangerously close to one of the area's most famous resorts, many are just hoping that there will be something left for them to go back to.

Marina Kamimura, CNN, Tokyo.


BAKHTIAR: You remember Keiko the Killer Whale, star of the 1993 hit movie "Free Willy"? Well, after a long career in show business, Keiko is retiring and finding his way back home.

Keiko was plucked from the Atlantic Ocean near Iceland at the age of two. In 1982 he made his first flight from Iceland to Canada, where he entered the world of show business. But he didn't make his big splash until an aquarium in Mexico bought him. And that's where he landed the lead role in "Free Willy."

In the movie, Keiko's character suffers through terrible living conditions. In real life, Keiko's situation wasn't any better. His pool at the aquarium was too small and too warm. His skin, once glossy and slick, broke out in sores. His dorsal fin flopped dejectedly to one side.

But Keiko's fans rushed to the rescue. In 1996, a group called The Free Willy Keiko Foundation raised enough money to fly him from Mexico to a specially built pool in Newport, Oregon. Keiko's health began to improve immediately.

His fans were not done yet; they wanted to set Keiko free. But because Keiko had lived in captivity so long, it was too risky. they designed a new home for him in Iceland, a giant floating pen in the north Atlantic Ocean where he's been staying since last September.

Last month, officials in Iceland opened the gate to Keiko's pen, allowing him to test the waters of a closed-off bay. But will Keiko embrace the wild?

Jerrold Kessel has the latest.


JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whale of a star, Keiko, performing at command in the same way he was used to during 20 years in captivity after he was plucked at age 2 from these Icelandic waters.

The purpose now, however, not to provide pleasure to an adoring human audience, but to boost the strength, stamina and resilience he will need in the harsh, natural world into which he was born.

HALLUR HALLSON, FREE KEIKO PROJECT: Keiko has become much more than superstar because he's teaching us, you know, a lesson, a valuable lesson, on how to treat Mother Nature.

KESSEL: The people who are carrying out the promise to give the world's most famous killer whale a chance to adapt to being free again, themselves from the world of oceanariums, are the first to insist this is a one-off venture, not a captivity versus anti- captivity issue.

CHARLES VINNICK, OCEAN VENTURES: It is not the case that this project is a demonstration project for the future. That is not what this is about. You could not do this many times again.

PETER EVANS, DIRECTOR, SEA WATCH: The people have put what is actually a lot of resources into it. I mean, you could take those resources and probably save a whole population of killer whales in another area.

KESSEL: Keiko is on his way, say his trainers, from our world to the whale world. But there is still a way to go, they say. Their next step to expand horizons, though still under control within the netted bay area.

Even when, sometime during the summer, he will first be taken out into the wide ocean, it will also be under escort for so-called walks with his trainers.

Killer whales are very much social creatures. Will Keiko's fellow whales take to his presence?

EVANS: There are unknowns as to the extent to which he will become incorporated into a resident pod that lives out there, the extent to which they'll recognize his vocalizations and welcome him in. He has a reasonable chance, but there are dangers ahead.

KESSEL: Some experts, however, worry about the effect Keiko might have on the wild.

EVANS: It may be, from its own point of view, it's better for it to be returned to the wild, and that would have to be sized up carefully, I think. But it may not be good for its fellow killer whales because it may introduce diseases.

KESSEL: But this is so audacious a project that some liken it to landing a man on the moon, serious doubts remain. And if Keiko doesn't go, if he remains vulnerable, retains his submissive disposition, the company launching him to freedom pledges he will not be abandoned. VINNICK: We'll see him through every effort for rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. And we are committed to taking care of him for Keiko's life in any eventuality.

KESSEL (on camera): Keiko: pioneer or guinea pig? Whether this is about one whale or more, whether it has broader bearing on environmental or whaling issues that some hope and others fear, whether the money and the effort has been well spent, one thing is already clear: Keiko's fate is making people on all sides of the argument rethink the relationship between human beings and animals in the wild and from the wild.

Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Westmann Islands, Iceland.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: More on whales, as we head to Mexico. Our destination: San Ignacio Lagoon, site of an official Mexican whale sanctuary. The government had planned to build a salt production plant nearby, a joint project with Mitsubishi and Mexico. That plan caused an uproar, as we told you in our show March 6th. Check your NEWSROOM archives for that date for more information.

Now an update on what's happened since then. Harris Whitbeck has our story.


HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN MEXICO CITY BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): President Ernesto Zedillo's decision to pull the plug on what would have become the world's largest salt plant leaves the breeding ground for the gray whale and one of Mexico's most pristine natural reserves virtually untouched. The proposal had drawn international opposition, including 15,000 letters to the Mexican government.

In a written press release, the Coalition for the Defense of the San Ignacio Lagoon said the decision "respects the law and sets a transcendental precedent for sustainable development in the country."

The government decided it would be breaking the law if it went ahead with a joint venture with Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation to expand the San Ignacio Salt Plant. Attorneys for a coalition of dozens of environmental groups that fought the expansion say that interpretation is correct.

CARLOS BAUMGARTEN, ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER (through translator): The law says conservation activities must take precedence over development in that area, and that development projects can only be undertaken by the local community.

WHITBECK: Since the project belonged to the government and to a Japanese corporation, it did not qualify as a community program. The government also accepted the importance of preserving the natural habitat of the gray whale and of hundreds of other species. For some, it was the star power of the endangered whales that helped win the argument in their favor. Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Mexico City.


JORDAN: Mexico isn't the only place where there's good news for whales. Things are looking up for the huge mammals and other sea creatures in the Mediterranean as well. Three countries, Italy, France, and Monaco, have joined forces to create a safe haven free from the animals' biggest threat: humans.

As Denise Dillon reports, officials say international cooperation is key to saving endangered species.


DENISE DILLON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Mediterranean Sea is a virtual playground for whales and dolphins. Here in the northwest portion of the sea, the number of whales and dolphins is two to four times higher than in the rest of the Mediterranean. And it is now a protected area, thanks to a team effort by Italy, France, and Monaco. The governments signed a treaty to create the first international whale sanctuary in the Northern Hemisphere. Environmentalists say it's long overdue.

CLAUDE MARTIN, WORLD WILDLIFE FUND: Nature conservation will, in the future, have to work increasingly across borders, simply because animals do not recognize national boundaries and will migrate across.

DILLON: The marine park covers an area about twice the size of Switzerland, making it the largest marine protected area in the Mediterranean. Together the countries will monitor activities and crack down on sources of pollution.

EDO RONCHI, ITALIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER (through translator): Marine mammals will be better protected in this part of the sea, including international waters. We will be taking much tougher measures against pollution and noise. Unregulated tourist activities will be watched closely and there will be strict limits on fishing, in particular by prohibiting the use of drift nets. This will all be done without physical borders.

ALAIN MEGRET, FRENCH DEP. DIR., NATURE AND LANDSCAPES (through translator): We will not be putting up walls, borders or barriers in the sanctuary or in international waters. What we have created is a means of increasing the awareness among all users of the sea, which says, be careful. There is something of particular value here which you have to take responsibility for.

DILLON: While the sanctuary will focus on whales and dolphins, it will also benefit many other marine species and help the conservation of the environment as a whole.

Denise Dillon, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BAKHTIAR: Now, I bet when you were younger, you spent your Saturday mornings watching your favorite cartoons: "Batman," "Superman," "Space Ghost." You probably knew them all. But you're older now and, hey, cartoons are for little kids, right?

Well maybe not. Thanks to a Los Angeles-based program, folks your age are getting a chance to create their own animations -- one designed to make you think as well as laugh.

Jim Hill explains.


JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can see the rapt concentration on their young faces -- perhaps unusual for teenagers these days. Even more unusual because these high school hands are creating cartoons in the heart of Hollywood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can do this around. You can do this here, the close up of this.

HILL: It's part of a 10-year-old project called AnimAction in which Los Angeles students make 30-second public service announcements with the help of professional animators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... between them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These ones. That's...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... a shocked look.

CLIFFORD COHEN, FOUNDER, ANIMACTION: I think you're going to find that animation is a magical medium. It transcends cultural barriers, it transcends language barriers, it tells a story using visual literacy.

HILL: In this case, the youngsters are teaming up to make an anti-smoking message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the boy like this here.

HILL: Some create the original characters. Some find color their strong point. Others carefully trace the characters on sequence sheets, making subtle changes that bring the images to life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I never thought I would be able to draw a character by my own, so I'm going to be real excited to see my character on TV or on film, whatever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now we're going to go to turn tape and you're going to erase the last frame. HILL: Over the years, teenage ads created here have won awards as part of California's law channeling cigarette money into anti- smoking campaigns. High school teacher Bethany Byers has sent two classes here.

BETHANY BYERS, TEACHER: I think that as life goes on, this is something they're going to remember, that this was a highlight of their school career.

HILL: Or the start of a career in cartoons.


HILL: Jim Hill, CNN, Los Angeles.


BAKHTIAR: Well, it's finally that time of the year: Baseball season is back. It's safe to say that, here in North America at least, it's a way of life and linked to tradition. The word "baseball" conjures up images of the World Series, Babe Ruth, and the Gold Glove Awards. But that's the glamorous side. There's a lot of preparation that goes into each game. That's not so glamorous.

Frank Buckley dishes out the dirt on the other side of the sport.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Baseball is back, the sights and sounds of the game in full swing. On the field, fresh cut grass and that scent of earth. The dirt is being readied for another season of play.

(on camera): The quality of the dirt can make a difference in the game. If it's not packed just right, if it's too loose, a player can slip and fall. A single pebble can cause an error. And dust can obscure a player's view...

(voice-over): ... or a fan's.

PETER FLYNN, HEAD GROUNDSKEEPER, SHEA STADIUM: The fans want to see what's going on when a guy slides into 2nd or 3rd or whatever, and you don't want to see a cloud of dust and then you can't see what's happening.

BUCKLEY: Pete Flynn is the head groundskeeper at New York's Shea Stadium. There's a special mix in the infield: a pitcher's mound mix and a home plate mix. An outfielder running for the wall will feel yet a different mix on the warning track. And there's a lot of pressure on the groundskeeper to make sure the dirt is just right.

FLYNN: Everybody likes it different. Some like it soft, some like it firm, some like it wet, some like it dry, I mean. So it's a, you know, you try to satisfy everybody.

BUCKLEY: Flynn gets his dirt from here -- Great Meadows, New Jersey.

JIM KELSEY, PRESIDENT, PARTAC PEAT CORP.: Well, we make sports dirt, if you will.

BUCKLEY: Jim Kelsey is the president of Partac Peat Corporation, which supplies 20 Major League ballparks, 150 Minor League teams, and more than 600 college baseball teams with dirt. It's actually beam clay. In the beginning, it wasn't so easy to sell.

KELSEY: I remember being in Anaheim Stadium once and the groundskeeper there pretty much threw me out and said, he has to be a nut. But a couple years later, he began calling me for materials.

BUCKLEY: Dirt, no laughing matter to some of the players. New York Mets player Robin Ventura, for example, playing last week in Japan, slipped on the soil there injuring his ankle. Pitchers depend on a solid footing as well.

AL LEITER, NEW YORK METS PITCHER: You just want to be able for the mound to not kick out and make big holes, but yet for it not to get too hard, too.

BUCKLEY: It's a complicated thing, baseball, right down to the dirt.

Frank Buckley, CNN, New York.


BAKHTIAR: Coming up Friday, we'll profile the man many consider the godfather of video art.


JOHN HANHARDT, GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM: He's about the individual artist creating through the medium. He's also about humanizing technology.


"Nam June Paik: The man and his art." That's this Friday here on NEWSROOM.

And we'll see you back here tomorrow, same time same place. Bye.



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