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NEWSROOM for April 10, 2000Aired April 10, 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.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We are kicking off a new week here on NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining us. I'm Tom Haynes.
RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Well, there is a lot of voting going on around the world. Georgia to Greece, we'll tell you all about it.
HAYNES: That is right. We will also kick off our series of "Youth 2000," today. Here's a look.
BAKHTIAR: In today's top story, after months of controversy, the reunion of Elian Gonzalez with his father looks more and more likely.
HAYNES: Water pollution and disease are all threatening these oases of the sea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL SAFINA, LIVING OCEANS PROGRAM, NATL. AUDUBON SOCIETY: It looks possible that the die-offs of coral reefs are the first ecosystem-wide effects of global warming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview," we kick off our "Youth 2000" series: How is growing up today different from growing up in your grandparent's time?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It might've been funner, I don't know, because you can make up your own things, have things your own way. There wasn't any set rules or games.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYNES: Then in "Chronicle," a shelter that gives dignity to those who may have lost it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MORTON FRANK, ARCHITECT: Each of the residents has their own private corner, their own bed, their own place to put their clothing, their own place to relax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYNES: This could be the week that 6-year-old Cuban Elian Gonzalez returns to his father's custody. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno says she is determined to reunite father and son within the next few days. That in spite of demands by Miami relatives that he stay in the U.S., and that they maintain custody until their appeals have been exhausted.
The focus now, as far as the U.S. government is concerned, is how to arrange the transfer of custody. Elian's father over the weekend talked with psychologists hired by the government on how to best make the transition.
Juan Miguel Gonzalez arrived in the U.S. last week to retrieve his son. He has said he is willing to stay while Miami relatives pursued court appeals. It's been four months since Elian was found drifting at sea, one of three survivors in a band of would-be Cuban defectors, which included his mother who died in the attempt.
Lucia Newman has the latest in Elian's odyssey, which spans Havana, Miami, and now Washington, D.C.
LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Juan Miguel Gonzalez left early for his attorney's office to meet with health care experts appointed by the Justice Department to determine the best and least traumatic way to achieve the custody transfer of Elian to his father, a transfer Attorney General Janet Reno is confident will take place this week.
JANET RENO, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: His father did a darned good job of raising him until he was 6 with his -- along with his mother. It's time we reunite them and it's time we do it in a peaceful way. Elian deserves that.
NEWMAN: Earlier, Juan Miguel Gonzalez met with the two fishermen who rescued his boy in late November. They said it was an emotional moment.
DONATO DALRYMPLE, RESCUED ELIAN GONZALEZ: He was eternally grateful to me. He embraced me, and you can tell that it was not fabricated.
NEWMAN: Four houses away from the diplomatic residence where Elian's father is staying, demonstrators chanted and prayed for Juan Miguel Gonzalez to walk out of the house with his family and agree to stay in the United States. Among them was his uncle, Delfin Gonzalez, who for the third day in a row came out to try and meet with his nephew. DELFIN GONZALEZ, ELIAN'S GREAT-UNCLE (through translator): I know my nephew wants to talk to me, but he's being pressured. They don't let him. I want to invite him to lunch with his wife and son to discuss things.
NEWMAN: But if Juan Miguel Gonzalez heard the demonstration, he didn't let on as he said goodbye to his attorney and his children who'd been visiting.
Justice officials tell CNN they've received assurances Elian's father will remain in the United States throughout the appeals process. But they also say Gonzalez has made it clear he has no intention of staying here forever.
ERIC HOLDER, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: He said, some people have the feeling that I want to stay in this country. And he said it is just the opposite, I want to take my boy and go back to Cuba.
(on camera): In the meantime, Justice officials indicate they may be willing to grant part of Mr. Gonzalez's request to bring a bit of Cuba to the United States. This could include allowing some of Elian's Cuban classmates and his teacher to come to this country.
Lucia Newman, CNN, Bethesda, Maryland.
BAKHTIAR: Overnight, things were too close to call in Peru's presidential election. The one thing that seemed for sure, however, is that a runoff election would be necessary in the tight race between President Alberto Fujimori and challenger Alejandro Toldeo.
HAYNES: We're following some other elections around the world. In the former Soviet republic Georgia, officials say President Eduard Shevardnadze has won another term. Shevardnadze won despite a rough five years in power, which saw much economic hardship for Georgia.
MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Despite the poor performance of his government in the past, many still respect Shevernadze as the architect of an independent Georgia, and on this day in particular there are strong memories of the struggle for democracy.
(voice-over): It was exactly 11 years ago that dozens were killed in a Soviet crackdown on Georgian nationalists. This was just the beginning in a tumultuous sequence of events that led to the establishment of a sovereign Georgian republic.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the eruption of a bitter civil war in Georgia as the opposing nationalist groups battled for control. Thousands of refugees fled in panic, and the deaths continued in secessionist conflicts in other parts of Georgia.
In South Ossetia, which is still only partially under Georgian control, and in Abkhazia in the west, where after months of vicious fighting the Georgian troops withdrew and separatist leaders unilaterally declared independence.
Throughout this period, Eduard Scheverdnadze remained in control, eventually bringing about a tenuous peace and stability. He says now his work is not over.
PRES. EDUARD SHEVARDNADZE, GEORGIA (through translator): The program that I'm proposing to the people will complete the construction of the Georgian state and bring to the country a better life for every citizen.
HANNA: Words that may not easily pierce the veil of cynicism in a society still to experience any real benefit of democracy.
HAYNES: Voters also went to the polls in Greece, and early returns show Costas Simitis' Socialist Party squeaking by with a victory over conservative New Democrats. It was the tightest political race ever in modern Greece. The Socialists have led Greece for 16 of the past 19, but the marginal win could mean a tough road ahead.
ANTHEE CARASSAVA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For hours, millions of Greeks stood glued to their television sets watching the gripping results seal Mr. Simitis' triumph, and Mr. Karamanlis' defeat. Credited for dramatically improving the country's tattered economy and forging improved relations with Turkey, Mr. Simitis vowed to work with all Greeks for what he called a better Greece. Meanwhile, Mr. Karamanlis said the battle to topple the Socialists was still on.
Pundits and politicians fear the slim victory the Socialists have scored may leave the country divided. Even more, they fear, the Socialists face an uphill battle to implement remaining financial reforms, especially since Greece hopes to join the European Monetary Union by the end of the year.
BAKHTIAR: Our "Environment Desk" takes us to the bottom of the sea, to explore coral reefs. They are some of the world's most beautiful places and also some of its most endangered. One culprit: global warming.
Global warming is the increase in the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere caused by increased carbon dioxide and methane gases. Even underwater, it has an effect. Environmentalists say rising ocean temperatures will bleach and kill these reefs unless action is taken to reverse its effects, and this has a direct affect on the fish population.
While millions of fish larvae are produced in a healthy coral ecosystem, predators eat well over 90 percent. Only those larvae that find a home in the reefs are able to survive.
Natalie Pawelski has more.
NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some call coral reefs the rainforests of the sea, hubs of undersea life home to at least a million plant and animal species. But coral reefs are in trouble.
JAMES BAKER, NOAA: We have already lost something like 10 percent of our reefs, two-thirds of them are under great stress, and we expect that if we don't do something we may lose another 30 percent in the next 10 to 20 years.
PAWELSKI: A federal coral reef task force says that over the next decade, the U.S. should set aside 20 percent of its reefs as ecological reserves. The idea is to set up a series of no-fishing zones from the Florida Keys, where one such reserve is already in the planning stages, to Guam, Hawaii, and other U.S. territories in the Pacific.
DONALD BARRY, U.S. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR: The concept is basically giving certain areas a rest, letting them become nurseries for regrowth and for restocking the fish population.
PAWELSKI: Around the globe, threats to coral reefs include overfishing, scarring from careless boats and divers, water pollution, and disease. And predictions of warmer sea temperatures have scientists worried too.
CARL SAFINA, LIVING OCEANS PROGRAM, NATL. AUDUBON SOCIETY: It looks possible that the die-offs of coral reefs are the first ecosystem-wide effects of global warming, where one whole ecosystem around the world, the coral ecosystems, are being affected by global warming.
PAWELSKI: Researchers say the world's coral reefs are worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year as tourist attractions, fishing grounds, coastal protection, and sources for new medicines. Seen in that light, preserving coral reefs makes sense for the economy as well as the environment.
Natalie Pawelski, CNN.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST (voice-over): Elephants roaming wild in Africa, an idyllic scene, and one some environmentalists say that's becoming increasingly rare on the dark continent. A private environmental group called The Environmental Investigation Agency says illegal elephant hunting has risen sharply since 1997. That's when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species partially lifted the global ban on ivory trading. Environmentalists claim that move cleared the way for three African countries -- Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana -- to sell ivory.
But in a statement released last week, the CITES said lifting the ban has not led to a rise in poaching. But environmentalists disagree and say poachers have been targeting herds in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
ALLAN THOMTON, CHAIRMAN, ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY: We know that poaching of elephants plummeted virtually overnight when the international ivory ban was passed. We know there has been a surge in elephant poaching in different countries in Africa and a major surge in illegal ivory trade internationally.
WALCOTT: The EIA says police in Africa have been collecting illegal elephant goods, including bleached elephant carcasses and tusks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look closely at this end of the tusk, you can quite clearly see two bullet holes. This is one, and this is the other.
WALCOTT: But environmentalists want the global ban on ivory trade reinstated when the CITES meets in Nairobi, Kenya this week.
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.
HAYNES: Have you ever wondered how other kids around the world live? How are they like you? And how are they different? Well, get ready for some answers. In a week-long series, we'll check out boys and girls from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds. You're linked by age, cyberspace, and by your membership in our global village. But that's just the beginning.
BAKHTIAR: This week on "Worldview," we look at young people around the world. We focus on your potential and your problems, your dilemmas and your dreams. During our week-long special, we'll explore the issues of children's health and welfare, look at poverty, kids in the workplace, child's rights and education. Our series is called "Youth 2000," and it's all about you. We kick it off with a look at young people's influence and impact around the globe.
Kathy Nellis has our report.
KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One by one, they're having an impact. You know them from their movies and from their hit songs. They are actors and entertainers, their faces splashed across magazine covers. They are star athletes and newsmakers. Today more than ever, young people are a visible and vital force around the globe. But it's not only the famous faces that are having an impact. In sheer numbers, the youth of 2000 are a force to reckon with.
(on camera): More than 1 billion young people on Earth are between 15 and 24 years old. Nearly 2 billion others are under 15. Add it up and the numbers are significant. Young people make up about half of the Earth's soaring population.
(voice-over): They influence business, as consumers and as workers. They have a say in politics, for many teenagers can vote. They can serve in the military and die in wars. Being a kid can be fun or frightening, for kids face enormous challenges and countless problems. Millions are poor and hungry. Others are sick, abandoned, or orphaned. And as the youth population soars, child's rights activists are urging the world to focus on the welfare of youngsters, for the good of the young people and for the survival of society.
JOHN GATES, TASK FORCE FOR CHILD SURVIVAL AND DEVELOPMENT: They are going to be the adults of tomorrow who enable our civilization to succeed or not. And by our civilization I mean a global community.
NELLIS: Kathy Nellis, CNN.
ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: As we continue our look at "Youth 2000," we head around the world, even into the past. Society's attitudes toward children have changed over the years, and so have young people's roles. And while some things are very different today, it might surprise you that others are not. But don't forget, our world turns on technology and tradition.
Pat Etheridge provides this overview.
PAT ETHERIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Childhood: In some ways, it is now as it always has been, a mix of wonder and joy, hope and despair, suffering and a remarkable resilience. But how did it begin? How much has it changed? And what's it like to be a child then and now?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It's not really hard at all.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It's pretty fun because you get to have lots of toys, too.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It's kind of easy because you have a lot more freedom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kind of like asking adults what it's like to be an adult: Just living but you're kind of -- I guess you're younger and you're -- you've got more experiences and you've got a while life ahead of you.
ETHERIDGE: That was clearly not the case throughout most of human history. Until about 200 years ago, one in five babies, 20 percent, died in the first year of life; a staggering 50 percent, half of all children born, died before reaching adulthood. That had a huge influence on the way children were raised in the age of hunter gatherers. MELVIN KONNER, ANTHROPOLOGIST: They wanted to keep as many of their children alive as they could. They desperately wanted those children and they did everything they could to keep them alive.
ETHERIDGE: Melvin Konner is an anthropologist and author of the book "Childhood."
KONNER: They were just very indulgent compared to many more recent societies, nursing till age 3 or 4 years, nursing on demand, sleeping with the child, allowing children to play pretty much freely.
ETHERIDGE: Families spent their nights and days together. Back then, there was a dramatically different concept of time.
KONNER: Pretty much all of their time was free: play time, down time, imagination time, and nobody was trying to control their play, either. That's very important.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It might have been funner, I don't know, because you can make up your own things, have things your own way. There wasn't any set rules or games.
ETHERIDGE: Little changed in the life of most children for many thousands of years. At the turn of the last millennium, the struggle for survival was still very real during the agricultural age. Disease wiped out entire populations. In the mid-1300s, the Bubonic Plague killed 75 million in Europe alone, many of them children.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You could die because they didn't have any doctors.
LINDA POLLOCK, HISTORIAN: They had lots of ailments from earaches to dissentary to rickets to small pox to boils and worms, things that we could now treat but in the past they couldn't. The children had to suffer till either the infection went away or they died.
ETHERIDGE: There were even during these difficult times children of privilege who were able to make lasting contributions. Consider the accomplishments of a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who, in 1764, composed his first symphony at age 8.
Linda Pollock is a historian who has written extensively on the subject of childhood. She says the major milestones, the most sweeping changes in the lives of children, begin in the industrial age.
POLLOCK: That's when you begin to see the great decrease in child mortality, you see the rise of small pox inoculation. Most people who died from small pox were under the age of 16, so small pox inoculation really protected children.
ETHERIDGE: And for the first time, an emphasis on education for all.
POLLOCK: Compulsory education is very important. It takes the child out of the household and into a different kind of peer group. It increases the role of other people over the upbringing of the child, and it does give children more of an equal opportunity in life if they can get access to the education.
ETHERIDGE: But despite many advances, there were also new forms of abuse.
POLLOCK: For the poor child, life was much worse. You were now working in the factories instead of helping out on the farm, the hours of work were longer, you were no longer supervised by your parents but usually by some factory overseer, and life could be cruel.
ETHERIDGE: Throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, some cultures held on to the concept that children were inherently evil; they had few, if any, rights.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Sometimes there were good times and sometimes there were bad times. They didn't have all the rights that we do now.
DR. ALVIN POUSSAINT, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: For a long time, people felt like inside the family was sacred. You had -- you did not have a right, the government, anyone else, to go beyond that family wall.
ETHERIDGE: Dr. Alvin Poussaint, an educator at Harvard University, says childhood, despite its many challenges, was never meant to be perfect.
POUSSAINT: Let's say a child went through childhood without any conflicts or crises. Would that be perfect? No, because you would want to raise a child to be able to deal with the conflicts and crises and problems that they would be facing in the real world.
ETHERIDGE: The 20th century ushered in better nutrition, sanitation and medical care, including vaccines to prevent disease. But these improvements did not reach the majority of the world's poor, and many still died young.
Time did not stop the chilling atrocities. In 1944, a Jewish girl in hiding at the height of Hitler's reign wrote this entry in her journal, an eloquent expression of a child's will to live:
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us all, too. I can feel the sufferings of millions, and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will come right, that this cruelty, too, will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again."
ETHERIDGE: "The Diary of Anne Frank" stands as a poignant, powerful reminder of a child's wisdom, strength and undying optimism.
POUSSAINT: Children, in fact, are going to not only going to carry on the legacies of society, they're going to change them. Children represent the fresh blood that you need to keep society and the world not only going, but also growing and taking us to the next level and next stage.
ETHERIDGE: Today, there are global efforts to protect the rights of children. The United Nations oversees an international treaty established 10 years ago, yet many children struggle still.
CAROL BELLAMY, UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND: Before the Convention on the Rights of the Child, child rights were seen as something optional, a matter of charity. With the convention, there's now an obligation on the state to ensure that all children receive their rights every day. So it means that services like health and education should be made available not only to those most easily reached, but the most difficult to reach.
ETHERIDGE: In modern society, parents worry youngsters value television and toys too highly. But listen to the children answer the question, What's the best thing about being a kid?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I like having a home. It's best having a home and food and clean water to drink.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You get to be with your family a lot and you get to be with your mom and dad a lot, and it's very nice to be with your mom and dad.
ETHERIDGE: Their greatest needs, wants and wishes are noble, universal and timeless.
POLLOCK: We've got a lot of the history of childhood wrong. We assumed it was markedly differently from today. And, in fact, we stress the differences and ignore the similarities.
ETHERIDGE: The wonder of childhood: It is, in many ways, as it was in the beginning.
Pat Etheridge, CNN.
BAKHTIAR: The United States is often referred to as a "land of opportunity." But for many, the American dream has not come true. In today's "Chronicle," we take a closer look at homelessness in the United States. The figures are staggering. The U.S. Coalition for the Homeless says, on any given night last year, at least 700,000 people had nowhere to sleep, and at least 2 million people experienced homelessness over the course of the year.
The U.S. government defines a homeless person as "an individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence." The homeless are also defined as individuals "whose primary nighttime residency is a supervised shelter, designed for temporary living."
Rusty Dornin reports on a unique shelter near San Francisco that's aimed at giving residents more than just a place to sleep.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like most shelters, there's not much that's sweet about this home. It's a place to sleep and not much else. But Robert Ulmer and 80 other homeless in Novato, California will soon be moving next door to a homeless shelter like no other.
ROBERT ULMER, HOMELESS SHELTER RESIDENT: To clean quilts, to nice beds with drawers underneath them, the armoires, the cleanliness of it, the purity.
DORNIN: Complete with manicured lawns, teak benches and designer interiors, the $3 million New Beginnings Center looks more like a college campus than a homeless shelter. For 12 years, the homeless have been housed on a decommissioned Hamilton Air Force base in less than elegant accommodations.
BOB PUETT, PROGRAM DIRECTOR: We've been in warehouses, encampments, in a large tent. I've had the same mattresses for eight years; 4,000 people have slept on those mattresses on the floor. This is a chance to bring dignity to the people that we serve, and also to the neighborhood.
DORNIN: The neighborhood is Marin County, one of the wealthiest areas in the U.S. But even the neighbors have put out the welcome mat.
KATE RUEHLE, NEIGHBOR: No one really feels threatened by the homeless being here because we all know how the program works. The residents have to be drug and alcohol free. They have to be -- they have to have an action plan.
DORNIN: There's a computer room, a laundry room, plenty of light, and personal space.
MORTON FRANK, ARCHITECT: Each of the residents has their own private corner, their own bed, their own place to put their clothing, their own place to relax, their own place to study.
DORNIN: A place so nice, some might never want to leave. But six months is the limit. Everyone here must be working or seeking a job.
PUETT: Everybody has to save 75 percent of their income. The case manager meets with them every week. We check to see if their goals are being met -- short-term, long-term goals. They have to move on: I need to make space for the next person to come in to graduate.
DORNIN: A shelter designed to give a sense of dignity to those who may have lost it.
Rusty Dornin, CNN, San Francisco.
HAYNES: All right, and a good way for the homeless to assimilate themselves back into society. BAKHTIAR: Very inspiring.
And that does it for us here at CNN.
HAYNES: We'll see you back here tomorrow.
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