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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for April 12, 2000

Aired April 12, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: NEWSROOM will try Wednesday on for size. Thanks for joining us. I'm Tom Haynes.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. From dialing, to plucking, to perfecting your golf grip, the hands have it on today's show.

HAYNES: You got it, we start with ballot counting, though, in Peru.

BAKHTIAR: Today's news puts weekend voting in Peru to the test. Who won Peru's presidential election? and will there be a runoff?

HAYNES: We let our fingers do the talking in "Business Desk," where we're dialing for digits.


WILLIAM KENNARD, FCC CHAIRMAN: The bottom line is we're running out of telephone numbers, plain and simple.


BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview," how kids in one South African town are passing the time, by striking a chord.


ROSEMARY NALDEN, DIRECTOR, BUSKAID: There's very little I'm competing with, I'm not competing with ballet and tennis and this club and that club and computers.


HAYNES: "Chronicle" has the story of a child prodigy, whose golf game is definitely not par for the course.


JOHN LEE, COACH: At the golf course, she's not 12 years old, she's more than 25, she's cool, calm. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: In today's top story, presidential elections in Peru are being overshadowed by allegations of fraud. Final results are to be announced this morning, but the official count from Sunday's election puts President Alberto Fujimori just short of an outright majority. Exit polls gave him a substantially lower percentage of the vote. This has some opposition parties crying foul. Among other things, they say ballots with the names of other candidates were waxed over, allowing only Fujimori's name to be checked. And newspapers in the country report the election board's computers may have been tampered with.

This has lead to widespread cynicism in the South American nation, which is home to 2.6 million people.

Allegations of fraud in Peru started long before Sunday's voting. In the months leading up to the election, opposition parties accused President Fujimori's military intelligence service of disrupting challengers' campaign rallies. They also say the intelligence service sponsored tabloid newspaper attacks and blocked access to television and radio.

Alberto Fujimori is the longest serving democratically-elected president in the Southern Hemisphere. The Peruvian military has underpinned his power since he took office in 1990. Thousands of Peruvians are protesting Fujimori's attempt at a third five-year term in office.

His rival in this election, Alejandro Toledo, says he will not recognize the result if the president passes the 50 percent margin needed to win the first ballot. And the United States is warning it will raise serious questions about the election if no runoff vote is held.

Harris Whitbeck has more.


HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Supporters of opposition candidate Alejandro Toledo gathered in downtown Lima protesting what they see as possible fraud in Sunday's presidential election.

But few Peruvians were able to watch the event on television. None of the country's broadcast networks reported the protests. Only Channel N, an upstart cable network with few viewers, covered the opposition in the Peruvian electoral process. A lack of access to a wide television audience is only one roadblock the opposition and international electoral observers have cited as irregularities in the Peruvian elections. Other problems cited: mutilated ballots and tampering with computers used to tally votes.

Candidate Toledo said the opposition already rejects the official results and asked the country's armed forces to respect the process. ALEJANDRO TOLEDO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm invoking not to be pressured to continue breaking the rules of democracy and institutions. This is -- I'm asking...

WHITBECK: President Fujimori, however, insists the process that put him in the lead was clean.

ALBERTO FUJIMORI, PRESIDENT OF PERU: The international community will know sooner or later that the process of the election, the counting effort is fair.

WHITBECK: Independent monitoring organizations say they have seen too many irregularities to certify the legitimacy of the election.

(on camera): With thousands of his supporters believing the election has been fixed, Alejandro Toledo plans on using public pressure to reverse any Fujimori victory declaration, which means the battle for the presidency of Peru might well be waged in the streets.

Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Lima, Peru.


BAKHTIAR: Our "Business Desk" today is all about numbers, phone numbers, fax numbers and pagers. With so many sources of communication, the United States could run out of area codes a lot sooner than you might think. Experts say there are only 680 usable area codes available for assignment. Theoretically, each area code could include 10 million seven digit numbers, but because you can't start numbers with zero, one or 911, each area code actually has just under eight million usable numbers.

Because the numbers are getting used up so fast, the FCC is stepping in with a plan. The FCC is the Federal Communications Commission, an independent U.S. government agency, directly responsible to Congress. It was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.

And it has plans to deal with the telephone numbers crunch, as Skip Loescher explains.


SKIP LOESCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More and more, just to reach someone in the same city and maybe even just across the street, consumers have to dial a three-digit area code and a seven- digit phone number. But with the explosion of cell phones and pagers, with so many fax machines in homes, and so many people putting in an extra phone line to connect their computer to the Internet, the FCC says the country could run out of area code combinations in eight to 10 years.

WILLIAM KENNARD, FCC CHAIRMAN: The bottom line is we're running out of numbers, plain and simple. LOESCHER: So the FCC is adopting new rules to try and stem the problem. The idea is for states to assign smaller blocks of numbers to phone companies, which the FCC says have been hoarding unused numbers.

KENNARD: We've come up with a new plan that will save numbers, conserve numbers so that we're going to parcel them out in smaller numbers, monitor the use of these numbers, and make sure that the telephone companies use them more efficiently.

LOESCHER: Brad Ramsay represents the state utility commissioners.

BRAD RAMSAY, STATE UTILITY COMMISSIONERS: What you'll see is a slowing in the proliferation of area codes. There won't be as many area codes assigned, but it's going to take some time.

LOESCHER: And Ramsay says that will slow the need for more ten- digit dialing.

Skip Loescher, CNN, Washington.


ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segments that fit your lesson plans. Plus, there are discussion questions and activities, and the guide highlight key people, places and news terms.

Each day, find hot links to other on-line resources and previews of upcoming "desk" segments.

It's all at this Web address, where you can also sign-up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy, it's free, it's your curriculum connection to the news.

After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.

BAKHTIAR: The focus of "Worldview" today, health and welfare. We'll hear more about the youth of 2000 in our special week-long series. We'll search for harmony in South Africa, where a special program orchestrates one solution to time on the streets. More street life in Romania, where some young people struggle just to survive. And we'll visit the United States, to check out juveniles in jail. Plus, a call to arms to keep kids from armed warfare.

HAYNES: Today, we examine the health and welfare of young people around the world. Many of you are in danger from drought and disease, from famine and fighting.

According to UNICEF, the United Nations' Children Fund, in the decade since the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, more than 2 million children have been killed, and more than 6 million have been injured or disabled in armed conflicts. But the year 2000 also marks a milestone for you. Because this year, on January 21, most countries around the world took a big step to safeguard kids.

Kathy Nellis has the story.


KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One-hundred ninety-one nations have agreed to ban child soldiers. The agreement sets a combat limit of age 18 and it bans forced recruitment of young people under 18. The U.N. says more than 300,000 children below that age, some as young as 10, are fighting adult wars. But youngsters can still be soldiers. The accord allows voluntary recruitment of children 16 and older. That's a compromise from the original plan. The U.S. pushed for the younger age limit.

While most countries around the world signed this optional protocol, it's too soon to say if they'll commit to it in practice. And the agreement cannot erase the tragedy of war, which hits young people hard even if they're not serving as soldiers.

CHARLES LYONS, PRESIDENT, U.N. FUND FOR UNICEF: Any country that has fought, has sustained, is involved with a prolonged civil war will have the worst circumstances imaginable for their children.

NELLIS: Take Angola, for example.

LYONS: Approximately one third of Angolan children don't live to their fifth birthday. Angola, for over 20 years, has been mired in civil war. You cannot have peace, security, stability, the availability of basic social services for all people, particularly for poor people, at -- in the same place that you're fighting a war.

NELLIS: Conflicts and tensions around the globe have an impact on the youth of 2000.

LYONS: There are more emergency countries now than anytime since World War II. In part because of the change in relations after the Cold War, there were a number of conflicts that were held in check until the late '80s and early '90s: the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Burundi, the situation we see in Afghanistan -- one can go on -- Bosnia, and so on. If those regional conflicts are not ended soon, in those countries, in those regions, there will continue to be a huge toll taken on children in particular.

NELLIS: Even in areas that are not at war, health problems abound. There's poverty, famine, drought. These conditions contribute to global suffering.

(on camera): Around the world, someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds. That's 24,000 people a day. And three fourths of those are children under age 5.

(voice-over): And hand in hand with hunger and starvation, disease is taking a terrible toll.

JOHN GATES, TASK FORCE FOR CHILD SURVIVAL AND DEVELOPMENT: Infectious diseases are still a major problem in many parts of the world. Things as concrete as diarrheal diseases are major problems, tuberculosis, etcetera, etcetera.

LYONS: There are several important trends that will affect the lives of children around the world. One, and particularly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, is the spread of HIV and AIDS. There are estimates that by the year 2010 there will be as many as 40 million children orphaned because of HIV and AIDS.

NELLIS: Health concerns range around the world, across borders, and across socioeconomic lines. There are physical, mental, and emotional issues to deal with.

GATES: I think that a lot of the troubles we see with children today, the impulsive violence that takes place on street corners, is in part related to the absence of hope and a future that a child can achieve.

NELLIS: Drugs, alcohol, access to guns -- all are concerns in the year 2000. But as we focus on what still needs to be done, child advocates say it's important to recognize progress too.

GATES: If you look at infant mortality statistics, if you look at changes in the prevalence of infectious diseases, if you look at changes in life span, you've got to conclude that we have made progress throughout this past century. It has been a century marked by tremendous advances in the treatment of disease and, to some degree, in the prevention of a lot of illnesses. There's still a long way to go.

NELLIS: Kathy Nellis, CNN.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: You've seen that war is hard on kids and that health issues of all kinds are a concern. Now we take you to Romania, a country in Eastern Europe. Its people can trace their ancestry and language back to the ancient Romans. But some other things are not a point of pride. Today we take you to Bucharest, the country's capital, for a harsh look at life on the streets.

Mike Hanna has our report.


MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet 10-year-old Vali (ph) and his 5-year-old brother Marius (ph). This is their supper, the regular evening meal in the central city subway where we came across them. They don't give us much information. They have a home somewhere. They have a mother somewhere. But most of the time they fend for themselves.

The streets of Bucharest are their playground, a little world of their own no one else seems to inhabit or notice. Marius is still young enough to be afraid to cross a busy street by himself. His brother carries him.

These are just two of the thousands of children who live on the streets of Bucharest, the products not only of parental neglect but of a long-gone political system dominated by Nikolai Ceaucescu.

(on camera): In order to promote economic growth, the dictator decreed each family should have at least four children. He promised the state would care for those children whose parents could not. As a result, a society evolved in which the abandonment of children bore no social stigma.

(voice-over): The deteriorating economy has resulted in even more abandoned or runaway children on the streets than in the Communist era. But unlike in those days, now the authorities accept something needs to be done. A government department for child protection has been established, charged with finding a solution.

DR. CHRISTIAN TABACARU, SOCIAL WORKER: Today, we know, all of us, that we have this problem. Today, at last, we have somebody to criticize because we created the public actors, and our responsibility is enormous.

HANNA: The gnarled, prematurely-old hands of a little girl, a mark of the streets. She clumsily attempts to save some of her food for later. So little to go around not just for the children but for the cash-strapped government trying to bring reform.

Back in the Bucharest subway, Marius and Vali ride from place to place, their search for scraps taking them all around the city. For the moment, all they have are each other. We buy them food and walk away. There is nothing else we can do.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: While life on the streets is tough, so is life in jail or prison. We head now to the United States. The U.S. Justice Department says the number of criminals younger than 18 serving time in adult prisons has doubled over a decade. By 1997, the last year for which statistics are available, 7,400 youths 17 or younger were committed to adult prisons. Only 5 percent of all young offenders punished in the U.S. serve sentences in adult facilities. But did you know that some kids who've committed no crime, but entered the country without the right documents, wind up in other kinds of jails just because there's nowhere else to put them?

Maria Hinojosa explains.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN reported on the stories of 15-year-old twins Jose Luis (ph) and Jose Enrique (ph) and 11-year-old Eber Sandoval (ph), just some of the 5,600 children who illegally entered the United States all alone last year just like Elian Gonzalez.

(on camera): What's these kids' emotional state when they get to you?

RUBEN GALLEGOS, INTL. EDUCATIONAL SERVICES: The anxiety level is extremely high. I think that the fear and the terror that they have experienced has not left them.

HINOJOSA (voice-over): Some of the children await their fate at International Educational Services in Los Fresnos, Texas, a secure INS shelter where children get supervision, food, and some education.

(on camera): Did you have a bed like this back at home?


HINOJOSA (voice-over): Now the INS acknowledges that, last year, nearly 2,000 unaccompanied minors served an average of a month in juvenile jails even though most committed no crime.

JOHN POGASH, INS JUVENILE COORDINATOR: They are security or flight risks. There have been threats made to their lives. I think there were approximately 600 juveniles, maybe a little bit less, that were placed in a secure setting for a limited amount of time because there were no available beds and appropriate facilities.

LOIS WHITMAN, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: The meaning of this is that kids can be treated like-- seen as criminals and treated like criminals.

HINOJOSA: Their only infraction is entering this country without proper papers.

WENDY YOUNG, COMMISSION FOR REFUGEE WOMEN & CHILDREN: The kids, as I said, are wearing prison uniforms. They're locked down 23 or more hours a day.

HINOJOSA: Immigration lawyers say the children are often not guaranteed legal representation, either.

STEVEN LANG, PROBAR: We should be principally concerned with the best interests of the child, and that means access to justice.

HINOJOSA: Activists and the INS agree that shelters are the best scenario for temporary housing of unaccompanied minors.

(on camera): What is the one thing that you want most in the world?


HINOJOSA: Get out of here and study English.

(voice-over): Maria Hinojosa, CNN.


HAYNES: OK, you've heard about life on the streets and how some kids wind up in jail even if they didn't commit a crime. Our next stop is the continent of Africa. We'll visit its most prosperous and most highly developed country, South Africa, to spotlight a solution. There, kids are finding new direction and discovering their own talents. Charlayne Hunter-Gault takes us there.


CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Out of these sometimes mean, often dirt poor streets of Soweto, some new horizons are dawning for youngsters like 11-year-old Innocentia Diamond (ph) whose surroundings are the same, but almost everything else is changing, thanks to her discovery of strings. And while there are still some sour notes in her life, for her, her older brother and some 50 other young Sowetans, it's the new notes and the high notes that have kept them off these mean streets and into the practice room.

ROSEMARY NALDEN, DIRECTOR, BUSKAID: There's very little that I'm competing with. I'm not competing with ballet and tennis and this club and that club and computers.

HUNTER-GAULT: Director Rosemary Nalden is competing with the environment.

NALDEN: We've had two deaths of parents this year. We've had the murder of a stepmother, the death of a mother. We've had the death of a father. There's a lot of bereavement in Soweto.

HUNTER-GAULT: Nalden started the school after hearing a radio program in London about a string group struggling to get off the ground in Soweto. She enlisted 120 musicians in London who played what the English call a busk -- a sidewalk concert aimed at contributions. It became not only an annual event that raised thousands of dollars benefiting township musicians, it gave the young Soweto musicians group a name: Buskaid. It also gave birth to a new spirit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, it's like, you know, listening to my spirit. Do you understand?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it. I just enjoy it. It's so much fun to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It changed everything.

HUNTER-GAULT: Innocentia has now played for a queen and a president -- Nelson Mandela.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel proud because now I'm famous.

HUNTER-GAULT: Buskaid has one CD, another on the way. The money from sales will be used to help keep the group going and to bring in some of the hundreds now knocking at their doors.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Diepkloof, Soweto, South Africa.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news. HAYNES: Oh, hi. Just working on my chip shot. That is Augusta National behind me and it's probably as close as I'll get to playing at the Masters. Anyway, there's no where I'm happier than on a golf course. By far, golf is my favorite pastime. And, apparently, I'm not alone. Golf is one of the hottest sports around, with players such as Tiger Woods and Karrie Webb burning up the course. Millions of young people have taken on the challenge of becoming good at golf. And such is the case with a girl from California.

But to her, playing golf isn't just a pastime, it's serious business, as Rusty Dornin explains.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She can nail a drive down the fairway, sink a putt no problem, but her dad had to talk her into entering the San Francisco City Golf Championship. Last month, Martha Burkhard became the youngest person in the tournament's 84-year history to win. She's 12.

(on camera): But was it intimidating going out there?


JOHN LEE, COACH: Don't come back here too much, OK?

DORNIN (voice-over): On the driving range, she acts her age -- shy and easily bored by continuous coaching. When Burkhard walks up to the tee, there's a transformation.

LEE: At the golf course, she's not 12 years old. She's more than 25 years. She's cool, calm.

MARK BURKHARD, FATHER: Boy, you hit that well, huh Martha.

DORNIN: Calm enough to often out-drive her 6'7" father, young enough to get mad when he tries to tell her how to play.

MARK BURKHARD: She doesn't take my tips. She takes John Lee's tips but not mine because she knows she's almost better than me -- almost.

DORNIN: Burkhard's win came in the same month that a 13-year-old tied for 10th in an LPGA tournament. The LPGA turned down Burkhard's request to play in a tournament.

(on camera): Were you a little disappointed when you found out they wouldn't let you -- the LPGA wouldn't let you play?


DORNIN: Really?

MARTHA BURKHARD: Because if I messed up, that would be bad. DORNIN (voice-over): Tiger Woods played as an amateur in his first professional tournament at 16. Playing in the big leagues creates grown-up pressures. Those close to Burkhard say her age may actually have been an advantage.

MATT PLUMLEE, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I'm not sure she understands that she's in a pressure situation at 12 years old, where the ladies she was playing with were thinking, man, this is a 12-year-old that's beating me. That's a lot of pressure for them to have to deal with.

DORNIN: As for the future, Burkhard says she'll keep chipping away. Her father has more definite plans for her education.

MARK BURKHARD: More than anything else, you know, a good college would accept her, then I could go and play golf.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, San Francisco.


HAYNES: Just when I was starting to feel confident about my game.

Rudi, how's yours?

BAKHTIAR: Hey, not as good as yours, Tom, but thanks.

Well, next Wednesday right here on NEWSROOM, we'll meet an Internet entrepreneur who turned a C-grade paper into the opportunity of a lifetime.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I was thinking about was, how do you bring the power of the Web for commerce to each individual consumer? And BizRate is the idea -- the idea of having all vendors included so they can all compete for your business, but having some trusted intermediary that can let you choose wisely.


BAKHTIAR: That's next Wednesday right here on NEWSROOM.

And with that, we're going to call it a wrap for now. Have a great day.



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