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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for April 14, 2000

Aired April 14, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Friday is here and so is NEWSROOM. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. On the docket today, the fate of Elian Gonzalez, and why a world famous magazines is calling it quits.

BAKHTIAR: Plus our "Youth 2000" series continues. And we'll play ball! Here's a rundown.

HAYNES: In today's news, Elian Gonzalez still in the United States with his Miami relatives after they ignore a government order to hand the boy over to his father.


JANET RENO, ATTORNEY GENERAL: If they could work things out amongst themselves the government would step aside.


BAKHTIAR: In "Editor's Desk," "Life," a standard at newsstands for decades and a favorite for those who love pictures. So why is the famous magazine stopping regular publication?

HAYNES: In "Worldview," Afghanistan: Is the country turning a blind eye toward educating its girls?


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Girls begin their daily lessons in a tiny makeshift classroom, where they learn writing, mathematics, art, and languages.


BAKHTIAR: Then, in "Chronicle"...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm getting it, I'm getting it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: Kids go crazy for botball.


BARRY GRESENS, HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHER: And you have them out there actually learning and building and having fun.


HAYNES: Still no reunion for the father and son separated at first by geography and now by politics. So far, a lot has happened but little has changed in the Elian Gonzalez custody case. Yesterday, the deadline for handing Elian over to his father came and went, his Miami relatives defying the government order. Thousands gathered outside the Miami home where Elian is staying in a show of support for Elian's relatives.

In their latest effort, the family has asked a federal appeals court to block any attempt by the government to take Elian away. But the saga is far from over, as Mark Potter reports.


MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the house in Little Havana, the 2:00 deadline imposed by the Justice Department for Elian's transfer of custody to his father came and went without any movement from the family, and federal law enforcement officials made no effort to forcibly remove the boy from the house.

Attorney General Janet Reno had asked the family to agree to fly with Elian to Washington for a meeting with the boy's father, providing Elian would be put in his father's care if the two sides couldn't agree on his future. The Miami relatives rejected the plan.

MANNY DIAZ, MIAMI RELATIVES ATTORNEY: What's on the table today is not an offer. What's on the table today is a demand. This family does not want to react to demands.

POTTER: In a statement to the Miami community, Attorney General Reno said U.S. marshals would not immediately go to the house to retrieve the boy, but she was unspecific on what the government would do next.

JANET RENO, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am prepared to enforce the law, but I want to be clear that if we are compelled to enforce our order, we intend to do so in a reasonable, measured way, the approach that we have always taken in this matter.

POTTER (on camera): Meanwhile, the lawyers for the Miami relatives have asked a federal appeals court for a injunction that would prohibit the government from sending Elian out of the country until their appeal is heard. Today, a judge ruled that, indeed, Elian must stay in the country until a three-judge panel can rule on the request for injunction. Elsewhere, in a major victory for the government, a state court threw out a request by the Miami relatives for a custody hearing for Elian, ruling that only the federal government has jurisdiction in Elian's case.

Mark Potter, CNN, Miami.


HAYNES: Elian's Miami relatives have released a videotape of the boy saying he does not want to return to Cuba. The family says the tape received by the Spanish language network Univision was recorded late Wednesday night after negotiations with the Justice Department broke down. It shows Elian on a bed, looking into the camera and delivering a message to his father. It is not clear who was in the room with Elian, or whether the boy was coached. The boy's Miami relatives say they released the tape so that the boy's feelings on the issue could be heard.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: We also have our eye on a few other stories making news today. In Washington, D.C, thousands are on hand this week to protest the IMF and World Bank's lending practices. Police have increased security to prevent protests from turning into the riots and vandalism seen last year at trade talks in Seattle, Washington.

It's the presidential election take two in Lima, Peru. Plans are in the works for a runoff vote between incumbent Alberto Fujimori and his political rival Alejandro Toledo. First-round election results were tainted by allegations of fraud. The official count from Sunday's election put the president just short of an outright majority, which was needed to avoid a runoff. But exit polls gave him a substantially lower percentage of the vote, prompting some opposition groups to cry foul.

And in record low voter turnout of less than 60 percent of eligible voters, South Koreans elected a new parliament yesterday. President Kim Dae-jung's ruling party failed to win a majority. It was expected that his announcement just days before the election of a landmark summit between North and South Korea would have swayed voters to his party. The summit is still scheduled for June.

BAKHTIAR: Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, is the largest media company in the world. It puts out magazines like "Time," "Sports Illustrated," "People" and "Teen People." Now Time is pulling the plug on one of its most famous and long-lived magazines next month. "Life" will publish its last monthly magazine in May.

The magazine has had its ups and downs since it was started more than six decades ago by publishing pioneer Henry Luce.

Gary Tuchman takes a look at "Life."


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than 63 years, "Life" magazine has lived up to its name, telling us about life with photographs that have inspired us and shocked us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a visceral impact to seeing a picture like that. It causes an emotional reaction rather than a thoughtful reaction, which is oftentimes what good writing does.

TUCHMAN: But now, this most famous of picture magazines will no longer be published on a regular basis. In a written statement, the CEO and the editor-in-chief of Time Incorporated said, "Despite the exceptional efforts of a number of talented publishers and editors, the publishing formula for a monthly, general interest magazine was just not sustainable."

This is not the first time "Life" has gone through a dramatic change. It had been a weekly since its first issue, November 1936. On the cover, a new dam in Montana built by FDR's "New Deal." But in 1972, Time-Life decided only to publish semiannual special reports. But then, in 1978, nostalgia fed a market and it was back as a monthly.

Its 60th anniversary issue in 1996 featured 60 photos that changed the world, pictures like the famous Alfred Eisenstaedt VJ photo in Times Square, and a weeping chief petty officer playing the accordion as the body of FDR went by.

Memorable photos will still appear in "Life" magazine, but only in special issues to commemorate important milestones, and in books under its name. "Life," as we know it, will not be the same.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


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 highlights 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. Afterall, the news never stops and neither does learning.

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

HAYNES: We come to the end of our "Worldview" special series "Youth 2000" today. Before we're finished, you'll hear about the extra efforts some kids make to get an education. And you'll meet young parliamentarians, pushing for a better future.

Our stories take us around the world, in particular to China, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the subject: school. You spend plenty of time in school, but do you ever think about the importance of your education? Well, around the world, many young people don't even have the opportunity to attend class. When you consider how many different areas of your life are affected by education and what an impact it has on your future, getting up for school might not seem such a chore.

Kathy Nellis helps open our eyes.


KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Children around the world are dealing with many problems: hunger, poverty, disease, exploitation and abuse. Yet experts say that one tool stands out in dealing with a wide variety of critical issues. That tool: education.

JOHN GATES, TASK FORCE FOR CHILD SURVIVAL AND DEVELOPMENT: It's vital. I think education is the pathway to children having the ability to take charge of their lives, to make intelligent choices, to know what their rights are, and to move in ways that enable them to exercise their rights and optimize their own potential.

NELLIS: Yet too many children are not getting an education.

(on camera): Around the world, more than 130 million school-aged children are not in class; 60 percent of those not enrolled are girls.

(voice-over): And those girls become part of the problem instead of the solution. Of the 960 million illiterate adults around the globe, two-thirds are female. It comes down to culture and money. School is not free in all parts of the world, and when economy is an issue, it's often girls who are deprived.

CHARLES LYONS, PRESIDENT U.N. FUND FOR UNICEF: If there's a family of four and resources are such that only two -- the fees for two to go to school are what the family has, almost certainly the selection will be for the boys to go to school instead of girls. There are also cultures where little boys are expected to play a certain role and to be in school and to grow up and be the head of households and families and so on and run businesses, and little girls are expected to play more traditional roles, in which case adults might ask what the importance of education is for a young girl.

GATES: I think, globally, one thing that emerges is the need for the education -- universal education of the young girl, the girl child. What seems crystal clear is that the education of a mother is a tremendously strong predictor of so many other things in family life.

NELLIS: When girls are educated, they are more likely to consider education important for their families and to make good health choices for their own families, and so the cycle becomes a positive one. But education is the key for all young people, now more than ever.

LYONS: Education is everything. Your prospects when you become an adult are influenced tremendously by what you've learned, how you've learned it, how much you've learned, whether you've taken full advantage of all the educational opportunities that have been presented to you. And I think that statement probably was accurate 50 years ago, but it's acutely the case now in the 21st century when we're all being challenged by the way in which the world is changing. We believe very, very strongly that all children -- little boys, little girls, every color, every economic class, from any and all countries on the planet -- kids belongs in school.

Kathy Nellis, CNN.


WALCOTT: We turn next to China, where the government strongly encourages education. About 70 percent of all Chinese 15 years and up can read and write. Today's teenagers in China are enjoying better material conditions and a more diverse cultural atmosphere than their parents did.

Yang Fuqing has this look at young people in the world's most populous country.


YANG FUQING, CHINA CENTRAL TELEVISION REPORTER (voice-over): Extreme skating: These boys just love it.

ZHOU JIAN, CHINESE TEENAGER (through translator): I like this sport very much. It's become part of my life. I'm getting addicted to it.

ZHANG LEI, CHINESE TEENAGER (through translator): It's a feeling of challenging yourself and going beyond your limits. It's novel and exciting.

FUQING: Zhang Lei and his friends are China's very own generation zed, as in zero. Life begins now. They like new things. They dress in the latest gear. Their idols are superstars of extreme sport. They're different from most of their own generation, let alone their parents.

ZHANG FUXIANG, PARENT (through translator): Sure, there is a big gap between us. I feel like, as the older generation, our concepts are out of date. We can't catch up with them.

FUQING: China's teenagers were born in the early 1980s, the first generation after China adopted the open-door policy. They live in a more affluent society, one far removed from their parents who suffered poverty, hardship and social unrest. Kids today are often accused of being less hardworking. They just want to have fun. In a recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Education, 70 percent of the comments made about today's teenagers by their teachers were negative.

But not everyone agrees. Sun Yunxiao is an expert on child education. He says statistics like this don't measure the problems with kids, only the prejudices of the older generation.

SUN YUNXIAO, RESEARCHER, CHINA YOUTH RESEARCH CENTER (through translator): This is a big misconception. The elder generation today should learn from their children so the two generations can make progress together.

FUQING: Sun Yunxiao says children today are more at home in the emerging information age. They're more open-minded, willing to accept new ideas, and quick to learn. If you have problems with a computer, go and ask your children or grandchildren. He also says that parents have a lot to learn from the way their children think about some of today's most pressing problems, such as the environment.

This way of thinking flies in the face of China's Confucian culture where wisdom only comes with age. Traditionally, this has meant paying great attention to a child's schooling. If you're an only-child, as many Chinese children are, this often means hours of extra study and extra courses as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Now, we have only one child. We want him to learn as much as possible. We parents have devoted all our energy and money to our children.

FUQING: Education experts are beginning to worry. They say China is in danger of producing a generation of extremely well- educated but socially impoverished children.

YUNXIAO (through translator): The biggest problem is one of concept. What is education? What is success? Many parents only want their children to have high marks in their studies. They don't care about the other things.

FUQING: And sometimes it's the other things that count. As the kids of Wang Fujing (ph) will tell you, sometimes it's more important just to have some fun.

This is Yang Fuqing of China Central Television for the CNN "WORLD REPORT."


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: We move from China to Bangladesh where educational statistics are starkly different. Only about a third of the population over 15 can read and write. Less than half the school- age youngsters actually attend class.

As Tim Lister reports, education is prized by some kids who find it hard to come by but worth the effort.


TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Somewhere in the throng of this Dhaka market is a 13-year-old named Idris (ph). He carries a burden beyond his years as his family's main breadwinner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I took a job as a fish carrier. I used to go to the market early in the morning to work as a porter. I earned 60 to 70 taka a day. After working a few hours, I used to come back home, eat and go to school. My father is disabled and cannot work. It is with my money that we pay the rent and buy food.

LISTER: His mother left the family. Now Idris has to juggle many duties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): At first, my school started at 3:00 p.m., then it was changed to the morning. I could no longer work as a fish carrier. My younger brother and I agreed to become taxi helpers. I would work from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. then go to school, and my brother would replace me. He works until I finish school, have lunch and rest for a while. Then I work from afternoon till late at night. I make 50 to 60 taka a day.

LISTER: Idris is clinging to the hope of improving his life through school. More than half of Bangladeshi children are at school for fewer than five years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I want education. I don't want to be ashamed that I can't read. If I am educated, I can feel proud of myself.

LISTER: The literacy rate among Bangladeshi men is less than 50 percent; among women, 25 percent. A project assisted by the U.N. Children's Fund helped Idris get into school. But despite his tenacity, it's difficult for him to earn and learn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I wish I could only study. I don't want to work like this. But what can I do? I was born poor. I have no other option but to work.

LISTER: Idris is one of some 250 million child workers from Bangladesh to Bolivia whose future is being mortgaged to a very present struggle to survive.


BAKHTIAR: Next stop: Afghanistan, one of the world's least developed countries. The country has a long and troubled history. The Taliban captured Kabul, the capital city, in 1996. Their style of Islamic rule hit the headlines, and since then they have been regularly criticized for their policies toward women. Discrimination in education is just one of these policies. Only about a fifth of all Afghans over 15 can read or write.

But changes are taking place, as Nic Roberston explains.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hidden from unwanted attention, girls begin their lessons in a tiny make-shift classroom, where they learn writing, mathematics, art and languages. They are among about 50,000 children in Kabul who are being educated in private homes because the Taliban only provides formal schools for boys. The Taliban are aware of these informal facilities, some funded by international aid organizations, but they are choosing to ignore them rather than close them down.

ERIC DONELLI, UNICEF KABUL: You find a lot of girls going to school in Kabul, and this is a trend which has been increased during the all '99.

ROBERTSON: Afghans have historically given girls' education a lower priority than boys. The Taliban blame their war-ravaged economy for putting the boys first now and say their education officials would teach girls if they had the resources.

WAKIL AHMED MUTTAWAKIL, TALIBAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): They have -- actually they are facing lack of resources at this time. I think if the United Nations or international community helped them tackle the financial problems, this problem would no more exist.

ROBERTSON: At some of the city's mosques, a traditional place of education here, several thousand girls are also receiving some schooling.

(on camera): And in recent weeks, an international aid organization has been given permission by the Taliban to educate girls as well as boys in a program for youngsters displaced by last summer's fighting.

(voice-over): The first explicit Taliban sanctioning of girls education, an indication, however small, of changes that point to an evolving relationship not only between the Taliban and aid workers, but also between the Taliban and the people they rule.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.


HAYNES: We end our world tour on a hopeful note. We spotlight a group of young people from around the globe who gathered in Thailand. They represented kids just like you from 32 countries. They gathered to talk about the future and to debate the challenges facing the youth of 2000.

John Raedler has their story, which is also your story.


JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Changing of the guard at Bangkok's most famous landmark, the Grand Palace, just one of the stops for a unique group of young people during a week-long visit to Thailand. What makes these youngsters different is that they are all members of Parliament. That is, the so-called Children's Parliament of the World.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning. My name is Artem (ph). I'm from Russia. I'm 12. My country is very big. I love my country. I live in Beshsevosk (ph) in the northern part of Russia. Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have such a big representative for a big country.

RAEDLER: Founded in Finland one year ago, the CPW, as it's known, aims to represent the world's 2 billion children, giving them a platform for their concerns. And the number-one concern at this session of the Children's Parliament?

KATERINA PODDEVA, UKRAINE: That the number of teenagers diagnosed as drug addicted has increased by 79 percent in the past two years.

JORDAN EISEN-BRAUCHLI, USA: And it's very hard to say no because if you want to fit in, you think you have to do drugs, which is a very big problem in America.

RAEDLER: The young parliamentarians passed resolutions calling for an international day against drugs, an end to child labor, housing for all homeless children, and more green areas in the world's cities.

DOMINICA KOCISZEWSKA, POLAND: I think it's really cool. At last we children can decide our future. And I think -- I hope this will help some children.

RAEDLER: Age 12 to 16, these mini-members of Parliament are appointed by their governments. They convene four times a year: once in actual session, like this one, three times in virtual session on the Internet.

John Raedler, CNN, Bangkok.


BAKHTIAR: Basketball, football, soccer: Those are so Last millennium. If you really want to be on the cutting edge of the sports world, have we got something for you. And all you need is a knack for Legos, some computer skills, and a penchant for destruction.

Ann Kellan introduces us to the world of "bot ball."


ANN KELLAN, CNN SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like any contact sport, there's victory and defeat. But in this contest, instead of humans, robots get punched, smashed and injured. The kids are the brains behind the brawn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to calibrate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you get it, Ian?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm getting it, I'm getting it.

KELLAN: Armed with a computer and $1,000 kit containing Lego parts and two robot brains, the kids, in teams, build "bots." Knocking balls off the perch is one way to score in this year's game. Get the balls on a tray and drag them to your side scores more points. Easier said than done.

DAVID MILLER, KISS INSTITUTE FOR PRACTICAL ROBOTICS: We've seen some teams have a robot with two brains on it. A bunch of teams have been using these to have two separate robots, where they'll have this one go and basically do something simple like attack the other team's robots while this one tries to go and score all the points.

DONNA ARMANI, CHEMISTRY TEACHER: We first talked about it, they're going, we're going to build a robot? And they're like, we've built a robot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a longer shaft.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stick this one in.

CATHRYNE STEIN, DIR., KISS INST. FOR PRACTICAL ROBOTICS: There's no remote control involved. They have to learn to program in C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's nerve-wracking. We've been working on this thing for months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he on? He's not on.

KELLAN: David Miller, formerly a NASA, scientist came up with the "bot ball" idea. He helped program that little robot that rolled onto the Martian surface in 1997. He and his wife Cathryne Stein started the organization KISS, Keep it Simple Stupid, and hold "bot ball" tournaments throughout the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has to get a little bit closer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit closer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, because it only got to here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It only went right here.

BARRY GRESENS, HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHER: A lot of parents come up to me and say, these kids normally would be sitting home watching TV, playing Nintendo and you have them out there actually learning and building and having fun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the greatest feeling in the world when everything goes the way it's supposed to. It's just the best feeling.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Washington.


BAKHTIAR: What do you say, Tom? I challenge you to a game of "bot ball."

HAYNES: Whatever. My robot would kill yours.

BAKHTIAR: Probably. My Legos never did that.

HAYNES: Listen, have a good weekend. We'll see you back here Monday.




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