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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for April 11, 2000

Aired April 11, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Welcome to NEWSROOM for Tuesday. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Coming up today, news from the Korean peninsula, and a surprising story about your heart.

BAKHTIAR: Also, we continue our series on "Youth 2000," and talk politics in the United States.

HAYNES: First, in today's news, will an unprecedented summit between North and South Korea end 50 years of conflict?


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The announcement of the summit could mark the beginning of the end of one of the cold war's last armed standoffs.


BAKHTIAR: You're young, strong and healthy. So why should you worry about clogged arteries? We'll tell you in today's "Health Desk."

HAYNES: In "Worldview," our in-depth series on the world's young people continues with a look at issues facing kids in the workplace.


KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are many problems to overcome, critical issues that need urgent attention.


BAKHTIAR: Just when you thought U.S. presidential politics commanded the spotlight, we turn our attention in "Chronicle" to the Senate, where many candidates face the political fight of their life.


SEN. CHARLES ROBB (D), VIRGINIA: Make no mistake, this election is going to be tough and I am ready to fight.


BAKHTIAR: We head to the Korean peninsula for decades linked to words such as tension, confrontation and stalemate. The keywords swirling today: unity, exchange and cooperation with the anticipation of a "summit of the Kims." South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il will meet face to face in June in North Korea's capital, Pyongyang. It's the first of its kind meeting since the Korean War nearly 50 years ago.

Our coverage begins with Judy Woodruff.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The announcement of the summit could mark the beginning of the end of one of the cold war's last armed standoffs. It comes after years of attempts by the international community, led by the United States, to ease tension between the two bitter enemies.

Analysts say the North's turnabout from years of self-imposed isolation may be prompted by a collapsing economy and a recent famine, in which as many as 2 million North Koreans may have died.

Kim Jong Il's father, Kim Il Sung, agreed to meet with his southern counterpart in 1994, but he died before the summit could take place.

Western military experts have long viewed the Korean peninsula as one of the world's most dangerous places. Since the Korean War, relations between the two sides have always been one step removed from armed conflict, and on occasion, conflict has broken out. Last June, South Korean ships fired on and sank a North Korean torpedo boat in disputed waters of the Yellow Sea. In 1998, a North Korean submarine was found in South Korean waters. The nine crewmen are thought to have committed suicide when their spy mission failed.

The roots of animosity go back to the start of the cold war more than 50 years ago, when Korea was divided between the Soviet Union- backed North and the South, supported by the United States.

In 1950, the North invaded the South, touching off the Korean War. Chinese troops eventually backed the North and fought the American-led United Nations forces. A truce ended the fighting three years later, but the two Koreas still remain technically at war. To this day, their armies face each other across the 38th parallel, with the South Koreans backed by some 37,000 American troops.


GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty-seven thousand American servicemen and women are in South Korea today. Some had fathers stationed there, some grandfathers who fought there. That was the Korean War, which broke out in June 1950 when the communist North attacked the South. American and Allied troops pushed the invaders back and occupied most of North Korea until China sent its army into battle, pushing the Americans back in one of the most painful retreats in U.S. military history.

It is estimated that nearly two million Koreans, North and South, one million Chinese, as well as 54,000 Americans died in the war, which ended in 1953 in exhausted stalemate.

(on camera): But then it never really did end. No peace treaty was ever signed. And for nearly half a century, North and South Koreans have conducted one of the most bitter and enduring family feuds in memory, a feud the rest of the world could not ignore.

(voice-over): Not ignore as long as Kim Il Sung, who had started the war, was still ruling his poverty stricken North Korea, trying to develop nuclear weapons and continuing to launch terrorist and commando attacks against the South.

By the time Kim Il Sung died in 1994, North Korea had become a pariah to most of the world and a prisoner of its own self-isolation, which led to famine. It is Kim's son, Kim Jong Il, who now holds power and has reached out to South Korea. Why now?

DONALD GREGG, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA: The reality has changed even more drastically since 1994, because they have found out that they are unable to feed themselves. Their technology is outdated, their military establishment is getting old and creaky. And I think they realize that that's really not good enough.

UTLEY: Particularly not good enough when compared to the other Korea to the south, whose population is twice as large and whose wealth, the size of the economy, is at least 12 times that in the North. It is South Korea's president, Kim Dae-jung, who has been wooing the North with what he calls his "sunshine policy," encouraging the North to open up to tourism and investment, more normal relations between the two countries.

North Korea has opened the door a bit. It has accepted massive food aid, much of it from the United States, to fight the hunger. South Korea and Japan are building two new nuclear power plants in the North in exchange for North Korea's agreement to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

But behind these initial openings is a ruling, privileged communist elite that has cut itself and its people off from the rest of the world, that has held power for more than half a century and is now afraid of losing it.

GREGG: So they have this dilemma. They can't survive on their own hook. They need help from the outside. They fear that help from the outside will be destabilizing and revealing. But I think at this point they realize they have no choice but to take the risk of broader relations with the outside world.

UTLEY: And the next step towards that begins with their neighbors to the South, at Korea's first summit in June.

Garrick Utley, CNN, New York.


HAYNES: In today's "Health Desk," we focus on fat, the fat in your diet. Eating foods high in fat and cholesterol could lead to clogging of the arteries. While we often think of heart disease as a grown-up problem, a new study shows some teenagers are showing early signs of potential risk.

Elizabeth Cohen explains.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All those burgers, fries and pizzas are filling up teenagers' stomachs and, perhaps, their arteries, as well.

In a study of 224 high school students in California, doctors found that one-third were overweight, had high blood pressure or high cholesterol. And when they did ultrasounds on their arteries, these teenagers had thicker artery walls than their healthy classmates. Although not dangerous in itself, thickening of the arteries is the first step towards clogging of the arteries.

DR. WILLIAM DIETZ, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Obesity in children and teenagers is a problem that we need to worry a lot more about, because, as these individuals grow up to become adults, they're going to develop the diseases that they only now have risk factors for.

COHEN (on camera): This isn't the first time researchers have found that teenagers, and even children, are showing early signs of heart disease. In fact, it's become so rampant, they are not quite sure what to do about it.

(voice-over): One problem: teen attitudes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are young, you are supposed to be, like, invincible; you are supposed to be able to eat whatever you want.

COHEN: Another problem: money. The U.S. government does sponsor a program, telling people to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but...

DIETZ: Five-a-day, which is a very popular nutrition program, runs on a budget of less than $1 million a year. And compare that with the hundreds of millions of dollars that the advertisers spend to promote fast food or soft drinks, and you understand why there is a problem. We have not been able to get the message out.

COHEN: And experts say they have to get the message out now, or else face higher rates of heart disease later.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.


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

BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview," we continue our special series, "Youth 2000." We'll check out kids as workers and consumers. If you hold down a job, you already know plenty about being part of the workforce. But some kids around the world are forced to work. We'll examine child labor. And we'll check out your purchase power. Plus, we'll learn about a treaty written just for you.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: You hear a lot about human rights, but did you ever stop to think that human rights are also child rights? The international community recognizes the need to address this matter and to speak out for the rights of all children everywhere. Today, we look at the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a ground-breaking human rights treaty ratified by 191 countries around the world. In fact, only two countries have not ratified the treaty. And that's our pop quiz today: Which two countries have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child? The answer coming up after this report by Kathy Nellis.


KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations in 1989. Its goal: to promote the rights of young people and to set out standards for the world. These include protection from violence and abuse, protection from hazardous employment and exploitation, adequate nutrition, adequate health care, free compulsory primary education, equal treatment regardless of gender, race or cultural background.

And that's just part of the list. As you can see, there's a lot to consider. The U.N. says the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.

CHARLES LYONS, PRESIDENT, U.N. FUND FOR UNICEF: It's been ratified by 191 countries. There are only 193 countries on the planet. So in that sense, the convention represents a huge forward step in respect for children's rights. That doesn't make up for the fact that over 30,000 children die every single day around the world of largely preventable causes.

NELLIS: There are many problems to overcome, critical issues that need urgent attention.

JOHN GATES, TASK FORCE FOR CHILD SURVIVAL AND DEVELOPMENT: The overall goal is to try to improve the quality of life of children throughout the world by preventing disease and promoting optimal health and functioning.

NELLIS: Experts believe that issues of children's welfare are gaining attention and support around the world.

LYONS: I think it's very important for people to recognize the progress that's been achieved. We've made more progress for children in the last 25 years than in the previous 200 years in terms of getting them immunized, getting them nourished.

NELLIS: Organizations around the world are spearheading the movement. For example: UNICEF, Save the Children and the Carter Center Task Force for Child Survival and Development and its collaborative Center for Child Well-Being.

GATES: I can only believe that it's going to get better. Our knowledge is expanding. We are becoming more and more of a global community. There is a growing mutual interest, I think, in elevating the health and well-being of people everywhere.

NELLIS: And while that's good news, children's agencies around the world say there is still a need for donations, for volunteers, for more public awareness about these issues.

LYONS: Around the world, as long as there are that number of children dying of preventable causes, we're not doing enough. It's not a question of whether there's enough money, it's a question of whether there are enough people demanding certain levels of care, respect for rights, safety, security for kids. And we obviously can and must do better.

Kathy Nellis, CNN.


JORDAN: OK, time now for the answer to our pop quiz. Which two countries have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child? Those two countries are Somalia and the United States.

BAKHTIAR: Some of you probably have jobs to earn extra money to buy the things you want. But many young people around the world work because they have to help support their families. The International Labor Organization says about 120 million children ages 5 to 14 work full-time and another 130 million work part-time.

Most children work because of poverty. They bring in about one- fourth of their family income. But they often miss out on education and many suffer from exploitation. We head now to Africa and Asia, the two continents with the greatest number of working children.

Riz Khan has our story.


RIZ KHAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The range of work that young children are put to is large. It can be anything from hard labor involving hazardous substances, to working on farms, to simply having a job after school to earn some pocket money. This is what makes dealing with the problem so difficult. The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets a guideline: The work must not expose the children to economic exploitation or interfere with the child's education. The convention calls for states to take measures against those exploiting children, from sanctions to penalties. But UNICEF stresses that though these can apply pressure on governments, the sweeping nature of the measures can only affect export sectors which are relatively small exploiters of child labor. UNICEF also describes sanctions and such penalties as "blunt instruments" with long-term consequences that can actually harm rather than help children.

So which countries have significant numbers of children in the workforce? A sample from the international labor organization shows Mali as having more than half of the workforce age 10 to 14 -- 54 percent. Other African nations also feature highly. For example: Uganda 45 percent, and Kenya 41 percent.

Asia has 61 percent of the world's child labor, though, according to the ILO, with Bangladesh using children between 10 and 14 for 30 percent of their workforce; Pakistan 18 percent, India 14 percent, and China 12 percent. Those who take a more cautious approach to dealing with child labor say that stopping it altogether could be disastrous because of the economic implications for families.

But all of those seeking a solution agree that there is one key factor that can help in the fight to protect the rights of children: education. UNICEF points out that 30 percent of children in developing countries enrolling in primary education don't complete it, and that figure rises to 60 percent in some countries. Education, says UNICEF, has to be more relevant to children and their parents, being more flexible in order to adapt to the circumstances that drive children into forced labor in the first place.

Riz Khan, CNN.


HAYNES: As you've seen, many young people around the world are part of the workforce. But if you work, you're not just part of the job market, you're part of the marketplace. How are you spending your time and money? Major companies are constantly seeking the answers to that question. Cartoon Network, a Time Warner owned network just like CNN, teamed up with a research group to take a 14-country survey from South Korea to Australia. Almost 8,000 kids were polled.

Lorraine Hahn as the details.


LORRAINE HAHN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're young, they're savvy, and more than ever they know just what they want. They are the region's 7- to 18-year-olds. And the latest survey by Cartoon Network and AC Nielsen finds these so-called "New GenerAsians" are getting richer.

ANTHONY DOBSON, TURNER INTERNATIONAL ASIA PACIFIC: In this survey, what we saw was a relative increase in the spending power of children, the biggest increases coming in markets where the economic downturn affected least. HAHN: Thailand's young people had just a 3 to 4 percent increase in spending power, while Taiwan's rocketed more than 60 percent. But across the board, technology is now seen as an essential part of the young Asian lifestyle. More kids are getting connected to the Internet and mobile phones. Just over half of the 16- to 18-year-olds surveyed in Hong Kong own a mobile phone, with Nokia the most popular brand among young cell phone users.

STEVE GARTON, AC NIELSEN: International brands have become even stronger, more important to kids in their lifestyle, whether it's Nike or Coke or major cell phone brands like Nokia or Motorola. These things are more important to kids now than perhaps even two years ago. So for local brands it's a bit of a struggle.

HAHN: The local brands may be losing out in some countries, but not everyone in the survey rates designer brands as important. Interest in designer brands is highest in countries like India, but surprisingly, lowest among 7- to 18-year-olds in Hong Kong.

GARTON: I'm sure kids are still very interested in what they wear and brands are very important to them, but not designer brands. They've rejected that. They've moved on from that stage. And perhaps we'll see kids in India in a few years time saying the same thing as kids in Hong Kong are saying today.

HAHN: Whatever the brand, it's not just the kids' spending power that's important. Many have quite a bit of "pester power" -- the ability to influence their parents' buying decisions.

DOBSON: Kids have a lot of influence over things like the home computer. If the household is going to buy a computer, then the child influences the parents' brand purchase decision. So kids don't just influence things that you traditionally associate with kids. Technology items are particularly important when it comes to kids and recommending brands to their parents.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: More on young consumers now as we head to Europe; specifically Great Britain. Once again, we check out how young people are spending their time and their money. And we'll fill you in on the typical allowance of British teens. How do you stack up?

Sanjay Singh has our story.


SANJAY SINGH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Choosing what they should do in their spare time is probably one of the most popular talking points for youngsters in Britain; from playing computer games when they're not doing their homework, to hanging out with their friends at local arcades, or even eating out at a fast-food restaurant like McDonalds, many young British teens have a diverse range of interests to keep them busy -- activities which don't involve underage drinking or adult movies. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The type of things that I like to do in my spare time: I either build computers up -- PCs -- go to skate parks or go out for a meal with my friends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In my spare time, I enjoy going out with my friends and shopping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I spend my spare time with my friends at Hollywood Bowl in North London. It's an arcade place. I like playing arcades.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I spend my leisure time visiting my relatives and going out with my friends. I spend it most in the library because I work there.

SINGH: And working for some extra money in their spare time gives some older teenagers greater spending power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I spend my money on clothes, CDs. And I'm also saving for a car when I'm 18, so I put a little bit of money aside for that -- put it in the account that I won't touch until like I'm 18.

SINGH: But for those who are unable or unwilling to work to get more spending money, pocket money is the only option. On average, children who receive money from their parents can hope to get up to 25 pounds, or about $40, per week.

So, what do teenagers do with their money? According to British government statistics, at least 30 percent of teenagers spend their money and clothes and footwear. But when broken down, nearly three times as many girls as boys bought clothes and footwear. Girls also spent more on personal goods and services such as grooming products. Boys, on the other hand, tended to spend more than girls when it comes to leisure goods such as video games and CDs. One leisure-time product that British boys are crazy about involves a popular sport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing that I think right now is popular is definitely wrestling. Everyone's into it and they always speak about it.

SINGH: Statistics also show interesting differences in one of the most basic teenage pursuits -- reading.

(on camera): When it comes to what they prefer reading during their spare time, British teenagers are divided along gender lines. Boys prefer reading newspapers such as "The Sun," the news of the world, but nearly half of all girls surveyed preferred reading the magazine "Sugar."

(voice-over): According to "Sugar"'s editorial director, Lysanne Sampson (ph), the popularity of her top-selling teenage magazine is no surprise. And she is only too aware of the differences in interests between her female readers and young boys.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Teenage girls are far more interested in nattering with their friends and gossiping and shopping. I mean, boys are getting more like that, too. They're quite label-conscious, you know. They like their clothes to be designer and they're very impressed with Nike and, you know, the trainer, the sportswear brands. But girls are very much more into, yes, just the friendship angle.

SINGH: While there are distinct differences between boys and girls on how they spend their leisure time and their money, one thing remains common for British youngsters of both genders: They're intent on having fun their way.

Sanjay Singh, CNN, London.


HAYNES: In "Chronicle," we take a closer look at "Democracy in America." The U.S. presidential race isn't the only political game in town. There will also be some closely watched Senate races this November. The U.S. Constitution calls for Senate elections.

Article I, Section 3 says, "the Senate shall be composed of two senators from each state." It also says senators should be chosen by the legislature for a six year term, each senator with one vote. That changed slightly with the 17th Amendment, which calls for senators to be elected by the American people.

Chris Black reports on some of this year's hotly contested Senate races.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Virginia Democratic Senator Chuck Robb announcing his plans to seek a third term in the U.S. Senate:

SEN. CHUCK ROBB (D), VIRGINIA: Make no mistake: This election is going to be tough, and I'm ready to fight.

BLACK: Robb faces the fight of his political life this year against popular former GOP Governor George Allen.

GEORGE ALLEN (R-VA), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Why don't you read to me what you're going to do, Brandon?

BLACK: Allen leads Robb in most polls, making this one of the most hotly contested Senate races of the year. Despite Robb's problems, both parties agree the arithmetic favors the Democrats.


BLACK: Of the 33 Senate seats at stake, 19 are held by Republicans, only 14 by Democrats, and Robb is the only Democratic incumbent who looks vulnerable.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL CHAIRMAN: The best we can hope for is to stay where we are. We have a lot of exposure this year.

BLACK: The GOP is most exposed in states where Republicans were elected in the Republican sweep of 1994. On that list, Democrats see Spencer Abraham of Michigan and Rod Grams of Minnesota as two prime targets. And Democrats are also optimistic about picking up seats in states where popular Democratic governors are challenging established GOP incumbents. That list includes Missouri's Governor Mel Carnahan, who is challenging Senator John Ashcroft. And in Delaware, Tom Carper leads 30-year Senate veteran Bill Roth in most polls.

But retirements have made some Democratic seats vulnerable. That means Democratic seats in Nevada, New Jersey, Nebraska are all in play, not to mention the mother of all Senate face-offs this year: New York.

Here, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are in a slugfest of Empire proportions. Observers predict some $70 million to $80 million will be spent on this seat alone.

(on camera): The Senate majority has shifted three times in the last 18 years, and each time the winning party has picked up more than the six seats the Democrats need to retake control of the Senate this year. Right now, both sides say it may not be probable, but it is far from impossible.

Chris Black, CNN, Capitol Hill.


BAKHTIAR: And with that, we're ready to call it a show here on NEWSROOM.

HAYNES: We are. Have a good day in school. We'll see you back here tomorrow.




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