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NEWSROOM for April 5, 2000Aired April 5, 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.
ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Welcome to your Wednesday NEWSROOM. I'm Andy Jordan.
RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. From car-buying to diamond dealing, we have lots of business to attend to today.
JORDAN: All right, so let's get a move on.
BAKHTIAR: Our first order of business, a political shakeup in the land of the rising sun.
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MIKIO AOKI, JAPANESE ACTING PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Any political vacuum cannot be allowed and thus I have decided to convene an emergency cabinet meeting to facilitate its resignation.
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JORDAN: We go car shopping in today's "Business Desk." Learn all about your consumer power before you hit the lots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK NERAD, EDITOR, DRIVINGTODAY.COM: It's definitely a buyers' market and you can very easily vote with your feet by walking out a dealership at any time.
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BAKHTIAR: We're still wheeling and dealing in "Worldview," as we shift our attention to the war over diamonds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diamond- selling giant De Beers has taken steps to assure buyers that its raw stones are not so-called "blood diamonds."
(END VIDEO CLIP) JORDAN: "Chronicle" rounds out the show as Student Bureau goes traveling and finds out why you may be considered a preferred customer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAD HUTCHESON, AIRTRAN AIRWAYS: We realized that airline preferences weren't formed until people reached about 25 years of age. So we wanted to target the young people.
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BAKHTIAR: Today's top story takes us to one of the world's economic powerhouses, where the leadership is going through an unexpected transition. Japan is getting a new prime minister. Today Yoshiro Mori was elected president of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, an expected precursor to his election as the country's prime minister.
The government decided former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi was too sick to perform his duties. Obuchi went to the hospital Sunday complaining of fatigue. After doctors decided he had suffered a stroke, he slipped into a coma. He's been on life support ever since.
The 62-year-old Obuchi was elected prime minister in 1998 on a platform of economic reform. He also helped spread his party's power in parliament, which in Japan elects the prime minister. Even though Japan has an emperor, the prime minister runs the government. Obuchi's party, the Liberal Democrats, holds the majority of seats in the parliament.
So the onus has been on them to stay the political course in Japan. The first step in doing so was to dissolve the cabinet.
Marina Kamimura reports on the evolution of events leading up to that move.
MARINA KAMIMURA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The decision to resign was finalized after Mikio Aoki paid a sudden visit to see the ailing prime minister at Tokyo's Juntendo Hospital. After consulting with Mr. Obuchi's medical team, Japan's acting prime minister says he determined that Mr. Obuchi was unable to fulfill his duties as Japan's top political leader.
MIKIO AOKI, JAPANESE ACTING PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Any political vacuum cannot be allowed, and thus I have decided to convene an emergency cabinet meeting to facilitate its resignation.
KAMIMURA: While Aoki stressed that Mr. Obuchi is not brain dead, he said he is unable to understand questions, express his will, or make judgments. And thus, according to the constitution, the cabinet must resign if it doesn't have a prime minister.
Anticipating the worst, top members of Mr. Obuchi's ruling Liberal Democrats had been going through the intricate dance of working out the country's next prime minister, all behind closed doors.
Local news reports pegged Yoshiro Mori, the second in command at the LDP, to take the post in parliamentary elections to be held Wednesday. Although he is said to lack expertise in international diplomacy, Mori is an LDP stalwart and has held several cabinet portfolios.
Analysts say whoever is chosen, the world does not have to worry that Japan's economic policies will change.
JESPER KOLL, MERRILL LYNCH JAPAN: You find basically that economic policy is on autopilot. The budget has passed, the pension reform has passed. So there is really no new initiative that is waiting to make it through parliament right now on the economic policy front.
KAMIMURA (on camera): Political watchers say the new cabinet is likely to be made up more old faces than new ones, particularly in key portfolios such as finance.
Marina Kamimura, CNN, Tokyo.
BAKHTIAR: stay tuned to CNN and CNN.com for the latest on the election of Japan's new prime minister. Amid the backdrop of political transition, Japan is weathering another storm or volcano, to be exact. The new prime minister's likely first task will be to deal with the fallout of the erupting Mount Usu.
The eruption has caused thousands to flee their homes. Mount Usu has been dormant for 22 years. Scientists say a developing "lava dome" inside the volcano could spell an eruption similar to Mount St. Helen's in the United States in 1980 -- Andy.
JORDAN: Well, in the headlines today, the latest twist in the tangled saga of Elian Gonzalez. Negotiations between U.S. Immigration officials and Elian's Miami relatives are set to resume tomorrow. The two sides are trying to decide how to transfer custody of the 6-year- old to his father.
The U.S. State Department in Washington has issued visas to Elian's father and five other Cubans. Elian has been living with Miami relatives since he was found in November, floating on an inner tube off the Florida coast. His mother and 10 others drowned when their boat capsized en route from Cuba to the United States.
Mark Potter has the latest.
MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The attorney's for Elian and his Miami relatives returned to the U.S. attorney's office for their fourth day of negotiations over the fate of Elian. But by noontime, talks ended because of disagreements. Later, attorneys announced they would resume discussions Thursday morning, arguing once again that Elian's future should be determined by a state family court, not the INS.
SPENCER EIG, GONZALEZ FAMILY ATTORNEY: The fact that Elian's father has requested and obtained a visa to come and visit the United States makes this the ideal time to have such a hearing when he can participate with the Gonzalez family, as a family, in determining what is in the best interest of Elian for the future.
POTTER: But the Justice Department opposes a state court hearing, and an INS official indicated it would not be part of the continuing discussions.
ROBERT WALLIS, INS DISTRICT DIRECTOR: The focus of the government continues to be on how best to accomplish the reunification of Elian with his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez.
POTTER: Sources say a big area of disagreement is a demand from the Gonzalez family that a team of psychologists decide whether transferring Elian to his father's custody would be harmful to the boy's emotional health.
(on camera): Sources say the government's position is that psychologists might help decide how to return Elian to his father, not whether it should actually be done. Another demand from the family is for a government guarantee that if Elian's father comes to the U.S. to claim his son, he will remain in the country for the length of the appeals process.
(voice-over): The family claims the prospect of reuniting with his father is taking a toll on Elian.
MARISLEYSIS GONZALEZ, ELIAN GONZALEZ'S COUSIN: All he does is cry and tell me please don't take me, because my father wants to take me back to Cuba.
POTTER: After appearing on several morning talk shows, Elian's cousin, Marisleysis Gonzalez, said she too was feeling badly. Paramedics took her to a hospital. Her uncle said she was suffering from tension.
Later, at the relatives' home in Miami's Little Havana, demonstrators broke through a barricade and peacefully, though loudly, formed a human chain. Later they quieted down and held a prayer vigil. The waiting game continues.
Mark Potter, CNN, Miami.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Now for some space news, we visit the space station Mir. Mir means "peace" in Russian. It's had a troubled history, and a new mission could be a final chance at saving Mir.
The core module of Mir was launched by the Russians back in 1986. In subsequent years, additional modules were attached to Mir, allowing for the assembly of a permanently manned orbiting facility. On March 13, 1986, cosmonauts Leonid Kizim and Vladamir Solovyev became Mir's first occupants.
Keeping the space station in orbit over the years hasn't been easy, but so far Mir has beeneating the odds.
STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two Russian cosmonauts are en route to a space station that is leaking oxygen, has suffered a fire, a crash, a power failure, so they can pave the way for tourists.
JEFF MANBER, MIR CORP.: Those of us in the space business understand that something in orbit is priceless compared to what's on the ground. So when we talk about renovation of the Mir, the battle is half over.
HARRIGAN: The battle to keep Mir in orbit has gone on for 14 years, though the station was designed to last just six. Besides technical problems, one cosmonaut suffered heart palpitations on board. Another accidentally unplugged the central computer system.
(on camera): The main threat to ground the Mir is financial. For eight months, the space station has been empty while mission control searched for sponsors.
(voice-over): One plan to make a movie about a renegade cosmonaut fell apart at the last minute when financing collapsed. Now it's up to a group of venture capitalists who have already spent at least $20 million to lease the commercial rights to Mir.
MANBER: It gets me up early in the morning. This is a wonderful project that knows no weekends, that knows no evenings. We are trying to save a ship that needs some help.
HARRIGAN: Help from new markets like in-orbit advertising and space tourism, for those willing to pay from $25 million to $40 million to stay in a newly-renovated Mir.
JORDAN: Today's "Business Desk" focuses on one of the most important inventions of the last millennium. In the United States, chances are your parents own one. And if you're lucky, and old enough, maybe they've even let you drive it. That's right, we're talking about the car. It's one of the most important purchases many people will ever make. When car shopping, there are a host of makes and models from which to choose. Well, why is that? One reason is something called consumer power. That means consumers in capitalist countries like the United States are free to buy from anyone, and firms compete for their business. So if you're in the market for a car, your best bet is to get educated.
Here's Allan Dodds Frank with tips that just might make you a smarter car-buyer.
ALLAN DODDS FRANK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the time, say industry watchers, to shop for a new car. New vehicles are more reliable than ever, factory warranties last longer, and there are far more cars for sale right now than there are buyers.
JACK NERAD, EDITOR, DRIVINGTODAY.COM: It's definitely a buyers' market, and you can very easily vote with your feet by walking out a dealership at any time and feel confident you're going to get as good or a better deal the next day, the next week or the next month.
DODDS FRANK: To get the best deal in the showroom, consumer advocates suggest doing research before you get there: First, look up the invoice cost, which is what the dealer pays for the car, including all its options. Then, check the sticker price. That's how much the dealer is asking for the car. The difference between invoice cost and sticker price is your negotiating room. Watchdogs recommend starting negotiations by offering the invoice price.
PAIGE AMIDON, "CONSUMER REPORTS": A brand new model that's just come out that's in very short supply, you're not going to be able to buy it at invoice. And in those cases, you may have to pay 4 to 6 to 8 percent over invoice.
DODDS FRANK: Check for consumer rebates offered on some models automakers want to move off the lots. Do the same with dealer incentives and hold-backs, which encourage dealerships to move certain models. Good negotiators will use this information to slash prices. Most research can be done on the Internet, using sites such as Edmunds.com. But there may be some risks.
AMIDON: You have to be careful that that information is complete and up-to-date.
DODDS FRANK: "Consumer Reports" offers a complete research service by mail or fax for $12. Finally, some car-buying experts suggest getting several quotations by faxing four or five dealers the exact make, model, engine and options you want.
Allan Dodds Frank, CNN Financial News, New York.
JORDAN: More business news coming up later in "Chronicle." Find out why the travel industry is targeting you. New marketing moves could be just the ticket to planning your next trip. Even when it's not spring break, you could catch a break. We'll tell you why and how.
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.
BAKHTIAR: We give you the business in "Worldview" today where we look at trends in careers and the politics of business, too. We'll head to Africa, to Angola and its neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Conflicts there are having an impact on the diamond business. Find out why some gems are getting the cold shoulder. And a look at teachers and the job market: Maybe yours held a different job before turning to the classroom. That story takes us to the United States.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Do you ever get this question: "So what do you want to be when you grow up?" Do you think: "Gees, do I have to decide now at my age?" Does the idea of doing one thing, having one career for the next 50-plus years make you cringe? Well, tradition used to be that people picked a path early in life. More than likely, this was the choice they stuck with until retirement. Today, you not only have more careers to choose from, you can actually choose more than one. And that's exactly what more and more people are doing -- changing course in mid-stream.
After years of traveling down a particular career path, some professionals are deciding to turn in a different direction, and that has many headed to the classroom.
Bruce Burkhardt explains.
BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ed Coet used to work around these tanks. An Army officer, Ed was a dedicated soldier for 21 years. Now he works here.
ED COET, TEACHER: Diane, what is a summary?
RACHEL MOSS, TEACHER: My office was right over there. We were in building 4.
BURKHARDT: Rachel Moss used to work at this office complex, and others like it, every day for 21 years. Now she works here.
MOSS: This is my right hand. I raise it up high. This is my left hand. I reach to the sky.
BURKHARDT: Rachel and Ed are members of a small club. Only about 1 percent of the nation's 2.7 million teachers are career- switchers, people who've given up higher pay and status to take on the often thankless job of teaching -- and yet their numbers are growing.
EMILY FEISTRIZER, PRESIDENT, NATL. CENTER FOR EDUCATION INFORMATION: We find that people from other careers and who've done other things with their lives besides go to school really bring a lot to the classroom.
BURKHARDT: Emily Feistrizer is the president of the National Center for Education Information, a Washington D.C. think tank. The center just released a detailed report examining the impact of non- traditional or "alternative" teachers on the educational system.
FEISTRIZER: People from other careers coming into teaching, they think education is important and they want to contribute. And then there's the simple maturity factor. That's a big, big asset for teaching today's kids.
COET: I think having been a soldier made me a much better teacher.
BURKHARDT: Drafted during the Vietnam War, Ed worked his way up to the rank of major. As a military intelligence officer, much of his career was spent here at Fort Hood in Texas. But he always dreamed of teaching. So when he retired in 1994, he became a special education teacher. Even his battlefield experience hadn't prepared him for that.
COET: My introduction into the teaching world was having students, you know, curse at me with expletives that I hadn't even heard, getting scratched, getting kicked, spit on sometimes, stuff thrown at you. And, you know, before, I was a field-grade officer where people were saluting me and calling me sir.
BURKHARDT: But Ed stuck with it. Now he handles students with behavioral problems at the Middle Level Learning Center in Killeen, Texas, where tough kids face a strict environment of metal detectors and pat-downs. We were not allowed to show any of the kids' faces on TV. Ed's military style works well here.
COET: The class will stand.
STUDENTS: I am...
COET: ... I can...
STUDENTS: ... I can...
COET: ... I will...
STUDENTS: ... I will...
BURKHARDT: He's raised the test scores of his kids who now outperform even the students in regular classes. And the kids are crazy about him.
COET: ... I can share...
STUDENTS: ... I can share...
COET: ... I can care.
STUDENTS: ... I can care.
DANIEL FINK, FORMER STUDENT: He cares about the kids. And he always thinks about us, all the time. That's what makes him a really good teacher.
COET: You'd be surprised. The kids want you to be tough. You know, teachers should be tough. I don't think a lot of them are tough enough -- but you've got to care.
My students, you know, are, say, an average of 14-years-old. The law says you're an adult when you're 18. That's four years. That's not much time. That's how much time we've got to prepare them, and in some cases, even save them.
BURKHARDT: While Ed gave up the salutes, Rachel Moss gave up travel and business lunches.
MOSS: I have always wanted to teach. Ever since I was about 7 years old, I wanted to be a teacher. My daddy had said that there was not any money in education, and he was not going to help me pay for my degree unless I got it in business.
BURKHARDT: So Rachel went into the insurance business, handling accounts as a marketing rep. She commuted 50 miles to her job each day until corporate downsizing hit her division.
MOSS: When they finally reorganized, the job I had been doing, they gave it a higher job class. And I didn't get it once they raised the job class.
BURKHARDT: Rather than take a demotion, Rachel traded in her briefcase for Play-Doh and Crayons. Now in her fifth year of teaching, she works at the Hickory Flats Elementary School in Georgia.
Rachel believes she's found her calling, though it hasn't been easy.
(on camera): What was the biggest single adjustment you had to make when you first started doing teaching?
MOSS: That was the hardest thing because I was used to having a good check every two weeks. I took a substantial cut...
BURKHARDT: Did you?
MOSS: ... when I started teaching. Oh, yes, about a $15,000 a year cut.
There are times when I just say, oh, what am I going to do with this child or this situation? But it goes away. And one of the really great things is that every August you get to start all over again. And I never got to do that in business. I can't think of any reason why I would go back to the corporate world.
BURKHARDT (voice-over): The fact is, most career-switchers are happier in the classroom, and needed there. We've all seen the headlines recently. There's a teacher shortage in many states. According to some estimates, the country will need 2 million additional teachers over the next 10 years. With a booming economy attracting so many young people to more profitable occupations, career-switchers could help fill the gap.
Emily Feistrizer believes, in time, they could become a third of the teaching force and bring some needed diversity to the classroom.
FEISTRIZER: Eighty percent of the teaching force is female and about 90 percent of the teaching force is white. It's the mid-career changers that are bringing non-whites and are bringing more males and older people into the profession.
BURKHARDT (on camera): Do you teach patriotism?
COET: Every chance I get.
I loved being a soldier when I was a soldier. I'll always cherish my service, but it was time for me to move on to something else. You know, what can be more important than preparing the youth of our nation to take over? So you have that same sense of importance. The only problem with it is it seems like nobody else sees it.
MOSS: I don't think people understand the impact that teachers have on the world. I don't know if it's just because they don't like to think about it or just because they don't know.
JORDAN: "Worldview" heads inside Africa for our next port of call. Angola on the Atlantic coast of southern Africa has four major ports, making it a shipping point for the area. It's also been the battleground for 20 years of civil war between Angola's government and a group of rebels called UNITA. Even though they signed a peace agreement in 1994, rebel sentiment still exists.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault looks at how diamond retailers want to distance themselves from that and other African conflicts.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diamond- selling giant De Beers has taken steps to assure buyers that its raw stones are not so-called "blood diamonds," the gems used to fund armies fighting in some African conflicts. De Beers, producer of some 50 percent of the world's uncut diamonds, said its invoices would carry a guarantee that none of its diamonds had been bought in contravention of a United Nations resolution outlawing diamond purchases from rebel fighters.
ANDREW LAMONT, DE BEERS SPOKESMAN: This was the latest in a series of things which we've done to try and help the United Nations to make those sanctions as effective as possible.
HUNTER-GAULT: Last year, De Beers announced an embargo on buying diamonds from guerrilla groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea, as well as the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or UNITA, which the U.N. says has earned an estimated $3 billion to 4 billion from diamonds in the last eight years in its war against the Angolan government.
De Beers said the guarantee would be introduced through the diamond sale in London. De Beers also called on the industry as a whole to avoid buying diamonds originating in rebel-held zones.
LAMONT: We will sell to our clients who will then sell downstream, and eventually the retailer will ask for the sort of guarantees and warranties throughout the pipeline.
HUNTER-GAULT: Activists have been pressuring De Beers to do more to prevent the sale of conflict diamonds, saying that, in places like Sierra Leone, they are responsible for funding the fighters committing some of the most barbaric acts, including mutilation of children.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN, Johannesburg.
JORDAN: Well, for many of you in the United States, now is the time for Spring Break. You may be getting back from a trip or getting ready to take one. For those in the travel industry, people around your age are just the market they're courting. For them, your big fun often adds up to big bucks.
CNN Student Bureau gives us the scoop.
LOUISE DE MIRANDA, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Marketing to the 18- to 34-year-old Gen-X crowd isn't just a bet on the future. Travel companies are trying to clinch loyalties in hopes that today's trip will lead to others. Gen-X-ers represent 44 percent of the online population. And with travel as the number-one Internet growth sector, student sites are popping up to fill their needs. With AirTran Airways, for example, college travelers can buy a one-way ticket to any destination for $47.
TAD HUTCHESON, AIRTRAN AIRWAYS: We realized that airline preferences weren't formed until people reached about 25 years of age. So we wanted to target the young people, 18- to 22-year-old age group, to actually sample the AirTran product.
DE MIRANDA: United Airlines has a college travel network, an online service for students to purchase tickets and get discounts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's easy to access. It's not like calling a travel agent trying to get prices. It's like, if you just get on the Internet, you go to a certain site, they have all the listings, and then you just find out. It's a lot easier.
DE MIRANDA: Cruises are also attracting a younger, dynamic crowd. Regal Cruises has slogans like, "This is not your grandmother's cruise." Royal Caribbean offers extreme sports activities. Also, hotels play to the techno-savvy generation.
JANIS JAROSZ, INGATE INN: Every one of our hotels has high-speed Internet access for free in the guest rooms. You will have a cordless phone, voice mail, and these are things that today's travelers, especially the younger group, are used to having.
DE MIRANDA: So while baby boomers still hold onto the majority of today's travel dollar, travel companies are not ignoring the young, Gen-X crowd.
Louise De Miranda (ph), CNN Student Bureau, Atlanta.
BAKHTIAR: Want to be part of CNN Student Bureau? Surf over to turnerlearning.com.
JORDAN: Or, in the United States, you can call 1-800-344-6219.
And with that, we are out of here. See you back here tomorrow.
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