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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for April 20, 2000

Aired April 20, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: We're off and running for this Thursday edition of NEWSROOM. Welcome, I'm Shelley Walcott.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Tops on the agenda today: much-waited for developments in the Elian Gonzalez custody case, also the connection between flies and humans.

WALCOTT: Plus, pets without the clean-up, and college students in need of manners. Here's the agenda.

HAYNES: First up, today's news brings you details of that U.S. federal court ruling keeping Elian Gonzalez in the United States for now.


JANET RENO, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The court's order does not preclude me from placing Elian in his fathers care while he is in the United States.


WALCOTT: Today's daily desk delves into science. We'll explore the genetic similarities between humans And fruit flies.


CRAIG VENTER, CELERA GENOMICS: There's literally hundreds to thousands of discoveries in the fruit fly that have helped us understand our own biology better.


HAYNES: In "Worldview"...


DENISE DILLON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): OK, so this robot-cat may not look cuddly, but who could resist these eyes?

(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYNES: ... could a cyber-pet ever take the place of the real thing?

WALCOTT: Then, manners: What a concept. In "Chronicle," we visit a college where students finally got the hint.


ROBIN SMITH, STUDENT: Eventually we're going to have jobs, we're going to have to, like, go out and eat with other people.


HAYNES: We continue to follow the odyssey of Elian Gonzalez. The young Cuban sits at the center of an international tug of war separating governments and family. Now a federal appeals court says Elian has to stay in the United States during an appeal by his Miami relatives, who want to keep him here permanently. The ruling leaves Elian's immediate future in limbo.

Five-year-old Elian Gonzalez was found floating on an innertube at sea Thanksgiving Day. Only he and two others survived a trip from Cuba, a trip his mother had apparently intended to be the beginning of a new life in the U.S. She and 10 others died at sea.

Since then, Elian has celebrated a birthday and become a symbol for Cuban-Americans in Miami who are opposed to the Castro regime in Cuba. Elian's great uncle was given temporary custody. In early January, the INS decided that only Elian's father could speak for the boy, and that father and son should be reunited.

The case has prompted protests in Miami demanding Elian stay, and demonstrations in Havana calling for the boy's return to Cuba.

Elian's Miami relatives set an appeal process in motion, requesting a political asylum hearing.

Amid legal maneuvering, Elian's Cuban grandmothers came and went in late January. His father arrived with his family two weeks ago, with the intention of regaining custody and eventually taking his son back to Cuba.

Wednesday's court ruling prevents anyone from taking Elian out of the country during the appeals process. But as Pierre Thomas tells us, it still leaves the door open for a transfer of custody in the meantime.


PIERRE THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The court decided Elian Gonzalez must remain in the U.S. while his case is on appeal, but it did not resolve who should have the custody of the boy while this case works its way through federal court. In response, Janet Reno says she still may take the boy.

JANET RENO, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The court's order does not preclude me from placing Elian in his father's care while he is in the United States.

THOMAS: The boy's father wants his son, and his attorney called on Reno to act immediately.

GREGORY CRAIG, ATTORNEY FOR JUAN GONZALEZ: The 11th Circuit's opinion places the obligation to act squarely on the shoulders of the attorney general.

THOMAS: Justice officials wanted the weight of a court order and hoped the threat of a contempt citation would prompt Lazaro Gonzalez to yield to Reno's demands. They didn't get it.

Now the pressure is back on Reno, and in some ways the court's decision makes taking action now more complicated. It raised the hopes of the Cuban exile community in Miami, and it made clear that the legal claims by the boy's Miami relatives were not frivolous, but serious, deserving the court's full review.

For example, the court said federal law allows any alien to apply for asylum and does not expressly block children from doing so.

"If Congress had meant to include only some aliens, perhaps Congress would not have used the words" -- quote -- "`any alien.'"

The court said Immigration and Naturalization Service guidelines appear inconsistent and do suggest children have some asylum rights.

"The existing INS regulations do envision situations where a minor may act on his own behalf in immigration matters."

Justice officials are assessing the court's ruling, but the boy's father grows impatient.

CRAIG: We call upon the United States government to take immediate action. It is unconscionable to wait one day longer.

THOMAS (on camera): When will Janet Reno act? Not even some of her closest advisers know that answer.

Pierre Thomas, CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: A Canadian teenager arrested and charged in connection with attacks on some of the Internet's most high-profile sites is out on bail. The 15-year-old boy who cannot be named under Canadian law was known on-line as "Mafiaboy." Police in Montreal say the teenager has been charged with two counts of mischief and may have disabled up to 1200 Web sites worldwide.


MARIA HINJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was among the largest hacker assaults in U.S. history. But ultimately, authorities say, the culprit pointed the finger at himself by acting his age: 15. INSPECTOR YVES ROUSSEL, ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE: This individual, using the nickname Mafiaboy, would have publicized on many occasions that he was the person responsible for those attacks.

HINOJOSA: Within days of the early February attacks that interrupted service on, eBay,,, and Yahoo!, the FBI spotted the name of Mafiaboy on sites used by hackers to brag about their exploits. It turns out the boy lived in Montreal. He was arrested this weekend and charged with two counts of mischief for the attacks against CNN's Web site.

SGT. JEAN-PIERRE ROY, ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE: He's a little boy that knew what he was doing. It's a little boy that decided that he was going to do something flamboyant.

HINOJOSA: Flamboyant and well thought out. This kind of hacker attack is known as a DOS, or denial of service attack. It starts with one person at a computer who then enters into another system, for example a university computer system. These systems become so-called "masters," which then establish so-called "slaves" or "zombies." These computers, together, flood their target with so many requests so that legitimate users are blocked out or denied service. All of this with downloaded software available on hacker sites.

MICHAEL VATIS, FBI: We knew that there was software out there on the Internet to engage in distributing denial of service attacks at the end of last year.

HINOJOSA: The FBI issued a warning then, but it was too late. Their focus now: stopping the others.

RENO: There has got to be a remedy. There has got to be a penalty. But more importantly, we have got to renew our efforts to teach young people, children, young people, cyber ethics.

HINOJOSA (on camera): The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have told prosecutors to ask for the maximum sentence for this 15-year-old hacker known as Mafiaboy. In juvenile courts here, that would be a two-year sentence in a detention center and a $1,000 fine.


WALCOTT: In our "Science Desk" today, the ABCs of DNA with a little help from B-U-G. Yes, bugs. Here's the science part. An individual gene is made up of a sequence of DNA. Think of DNA as a ladder and on each crossbar there's genetic information. Genes are simply segments of DNA on a chromosome.

Now, the bug part. Scientists are learning genetic lessons from insects. With fruit flies, there's a very concrete connection between genetics and social interaction. For example, certain genes will determine which types of flies a fly will want to work with.

Researchers have decoded virtually the entire genetic code of a fruit fly. And as Ann Kellan reports, this will help in the research of various human diseases and birth defects. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What could fruit flies possibly have in common with humans? Genetically, more than you think.

This tiny fly with the scientific name drosophila is now an open book. Scientists have decoded its entire genetic blue print, or genome, one chemical at a time.

CRAIG VENTER, CELERA GENOMICS: It's a very exciting time. The drosophila genome has played such a key part in science.

KELLAN: Even though the fruit fly has only about 13,000 genes, compared to 70,000 to 100,000 in humans, we're more similar to fruit flies than not. Seventy percent of the genes found in the fly are also present in humans. And because fruit flies reproduce and grow quickly, they're a scientist's dream specimen.

VENTER: There's literally hundreds to thousands of discoveries in the fruit fly that have helped us understand our own biology better. One is a set of genes that determine body segments in insects. Turns out, those same genes have controlled our body development as humans.

The key discoveries for understanding the molecular basis of how the human brain functions have come from the fruit fly.

KELLAN: Scientists at Celera Genomics, where much of the research was done, developed a new method to quickly sequence vast amounts of genetic information. They take DNA out of a cell, break the material into pieces, analyze the parts chemical by chemical, and with the help of a supercomputer put the genome back together like a jigsaw puzzle.

ART CAPLAN, BIOETHICIST, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: By understanding those genes, by seeing what you can do in a fruit fly -- change the temperature, expose it to different chemicals and then knowing exactly what the fruit fly genes are -- we'll learn something about why, sadly, things sometimes go astray in human development.

KELLAN: Though Celera is a private, for-profit company, it plans to share its findings with researchers around the world.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Atlanta.


HAYNES: Well, science is a fascinating subject, but sometimes studying it can be, well, a bit tedious, to say the least. Now a playwright is taking science to center stage in New York with his rendition of what might have happened when two European physicists met secretly six decades ago.

Cynthia Tornquist explains.



UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You stopped dead in your tracks.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I was horrified.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And you jumped to the conclusion that I was trying to provide Hitler with nuclear weapons.



HANS BETHE, PHYSICIST: If the Germans had been able to build the bomb first, there was no limit to what they might have done.

CYNTHIA TORNQUIST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Science is making incredible progress in an unlikely arena -- the theater.

MICHAEL FRAYN, PLAYWRIGHT, "COPENHAGEN": Everyone understands that science has a huge impact both practically on our lives, and on the way we understand the world.

TORNQUIST: Michael Frayn is the author of "Copenhagen," a Broadway play based on an actual meeting in 1941. German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a secret trip during World War II to see his Danish counterpart, Niels Bohr, in Copenhagen. Was Heisenberg building Hitler the A-bomb?


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I simply asked you if, as a physicist, one had the moral right to work on the practical exploitation of atomic energy.


TORNQUIST: Or did he have another motive?


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: So you do want to know about the allied nuclear program.


TORNQUIST: Historians have argued ever since about what was said.

DAVID CASSIDY, HISTORIAN: What he wanted from Bohr was for Bohr to use his influence to prevent allied scientists from working toward building a bomb that could be used against Germany.

TORNQUIST: The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation recently arranged a series of discussions about the play, "Copenhagen." The foundation has also given half million dollars to the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York to promote new plays like this one and others about technology and the scientists who create it.

CHRIS SMITH, ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE: These are not a bunch of white lab coats and pen pocket protectors. These are compelling human beings in a dynamic struggle to figure out how the world works.

TORNQUIST: But is it the stuff of theater?

(on camera): Do you have to have studied physics in order to understand this play?

FRAYN: All the physics that's used in the play is explained in the course of the play. The play has to go into the physics to some extent.

DORON WEBER, ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION: You're not supposed to come away to understand more about the atom. You really -- we hope you come away understanding more about the person who worked on the atom and what their life was about.

TORNQUIST (voice-over): Cynthia Tornquist, CNN, New York.


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

HAYNES: We head to cyberspace in "Worldview," so gear up for some high-tech globe-trotting. Here's what's coming up: We'll meet a pet with plenty of byte. And that's B-Y-T-E. That story takes us to Japan. And in Finland, we'll check out a communication transformation. And in Germany, a flap over a techno-gap.

Despite its relatively high unemployment rate, Germany remains the powerhouse of the European economy. It's an economy dominated by manufacturing and service industries, but computers and high-tech businesses are growing too. In fact, about 75,000 information technology jobs remain unfilled. The German government has decided to import workers to fill the void.

But as CNN's Chris Burns reports, not everyone is happy.


CHRIS BURNS, CNN BERLIN BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Germany, long admired for its job training and apprenticeship system, now stands to fall behind unless it can come up with the brain power.

(on-camera): How is Germany dealing with its IT jobs bottleneck? Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has decided to issue so-called green cards to 20,000 high-tech guest workers over the next two years. But in a country with stubbornly high unemployment, it's a politically risky move.

(voice-over): Schroeder says it's a stopgap until more Germans can be trained. The green cards, for mostly Indians and East Europeans, are to expire in five years. And Germany does have a long history of guest workers.

"It's a dual strategy of hiring topflight workers from abroad in the short run," he said, "and, in the long run, waging a real training offensive that must bear fruit."

The high-tech sector welcomed the plan, which takes the green card name from a similar U.S. policy. But the strategy doesn't sit well with the nation's 4.3 million jobless, nearly 11 percent of the working-age population, especially among unemployed computer experts like this man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are enough people who work on computers who know them. But someone may be too old or some are not wanted. Well, I don't know, but I think it's a quite big mistake.

BURNS: The conservative opposition turned the issue into a political hot button ahead of a key state election. The conservative challenger in North Rhine-Westphalia has coined the campaign battle cry "kinder statt inder," or "children instead of Indians" in front of computer screens.

Boost education and you won't need guest workers, says Juergen Ruettgers. His slogan is being blasted as xenophobic by Schroeder's Social Democrats, but Ruettgers refuses to back down.

Schroeder's party had been expected to win the state vote in May after a fundraising scandal threw the conservatives into a tailspin. But the green card issue could help turn the tables. It's an issue other sectors could face. Like many industrialized countries with aging populations, Germany is expected to need immigrants to keep its economy turning.

Chris Burns, CNN, Berlin.


WALCOTT: German companies in search of high-tech expertise might be able to look up in the near future. Up north, that is, to Finland. Finland is a democratic republic in northern Europe whose greatest source of wealth is the land itself. Thousands of lakes and thick forests cover almost two thirds of the country. As a result, fishing, agriculture and manufacturing of wood and paper products are Finland's most thriving industries.

But as Mika Makelainen explains, the younger generation is trading the great outdoors for cyberspace.


MIKA MAKELAINEN, YLE REPORTER (voice-over): Hypnotic lights, techno music and loads of cola drinks, the vital ingredients of a successful assembly of passionate nerds in Finland. When 4,000 of them come together, there is no time to waste. With caffeine, some of them manage to stay awake for a weekend. With the latest gizmos, and sharing their latest demos, this is their way of having fun. Officially, this is a competition of software talents.

MIKKO LIIMATAINEN, SOFTWARE COMPETITOR (through translator): We're doing some coding and trying desperately to put our demo together. Now we're on the final stretch. The 10:00 deadline is approaching.

PAULI BORODULIN, SOFTWARE COMPETITOR (through translator): The purpose is to compete with software productions, multimedia products. And lately, more and more people interested in games have joined because we have the fast Internet connections.

MAKELAINEN: Life in cyberspace has changed Finland. Finland has more computers connected to the Internet than any other country and more mobile phones than anywhere else. It's the younger generation which has taken the lead in adapting to the technology of the 21st century.

The 15-year-olds of today have grown up with a computer so it would be only natural for them to assemble around computer-generated graphics, animations and games. In Helsinki, this has resulted in the largest gathering of its kind in the world.

SATU HUUHKA, SOFTWARE COMPETITOR (through translator): We've had a computer since I was a small child, but now I'm involved a bit less.

MARJAANA LINDBORG, SOFTWARE COMPETITOR (through translator): I'm going to stay up long, surf on the Net and watch all the best competition, and perhaps play some games.

MAKELAINEN: Software industry in Finland is booming and the real talents are always few. The average age here is only 16, but already companies are recruiting the best.

MIKKO HYPPONEN, RESEARCH MANAGER, DATA FELLOWS (through translator): A good programmer knows how to make a computer do what he wants. It's not easy, but this is where those kind of people hang out.

MAKELAINEN: But for some of them, the turn of the millennium will mean turning their hobby into a rewarding profession.

Mika Makelainen, Finnish Television, for "CNN WORLD REPORT."


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Our technology tour takes us from Europe to Asia. We land in Japan to catch up on the latest in cyberware. What we're about to show you isn't a high-powered program or a newfangled laptop, but it could fit in your lap. Are you ready for a robo pet? That's right, a computerized pet: No walking, no feeding, no cleaning up. All you have to do is change the batteries.

Denise Dillon tells us more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DENISE DILLON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): OK, so this robot cat may not look cuddly, but who could resist these eyes? The LED displays can change in 50 different ways to show emotions like joy, anger and sadness. The robot cat made by Bandai is equipped with eight different sensors. It can jump over obstacles, do somersaults and play dead. And if you want more, the robot has Internet connectivity, allowing new data to be downloaded from Bandai's home page to change the pet's character or to add new functions.

YOSHINORI HAGA, BANDAI CO. (through translator): We made our best efforts on how we can have robots that perform interesting moves but at a lower cost. The difference with other makers' robots are that BN-1 has better capability to play with its owner in various ways, and the price is attractive.

DILLON: The cat known as BN-1 is about $475. But for some people, it's worth it to have a pet that doesn't demand food or attention. The Tokyo Toy Fair showcases a wide range of sophisticated toys, so if you're not a cat person there are plenty of dogs to choose from.

And if you're looking for something a little more unusual, how about a rabbit-like robot? It's called Patata (ph). If you're more of a fish person, toy maker Takara has come out with aqua-roids, a range of robot sea creatures. Jellyfish robots float through the water almost like the real thing. But these don't sting.

Visitors to the toy fair seem to enjoy the graceful movements of the jellyfish and other aqua-roids, the shrimp and crab. The sea creatures are powered by solar batteries.

Still want that soft cuddly feeling? These stuffed yet robotic dogs and giraffes or elephants just might do the trick.


WALCOTT: Eating your steak with your salad fork may put you on the receiving end of your mother's upper hand. But doing so in the company of potential employers or clients could sting much worse and prove professionally tragic. Enter etiquette. It's conduct that's the result of good breeding or the rule of thumb in certain settings of social or official life. We head to Berkeley, California, considered a hotbed of social activism, to observe the forces of decorum at work.

Rusty Dornin sticks a fork in bad table manners.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the streets of Berkeley, formal wear usually means tie-dye rather than black tie. And proper etiquette when it comes to dorm dining at U.C. Berkeley?

ROBIN SMITH, STUDENT: You know, someone lets out with a burp and you're like, oh, hi. Where'd that come from?

JUDY WANG, STUDENT: We walk in and we pick up a tray, we pick up utensils and we stand in line and we don't throw food. And that's about it.

JEAN-PIERRE METIVIER, ETIQUETTE TEACHER: Do small portions at a time, and always take your napkin off and just wipe your lips now and again.

DORNIN: Chef Jean Pierre Metivier decided after checking out the eating habits of students here they could use a little help in the manners department.

METIVIER: Once they graduate from the school, their great education, but their table manners might be atrocious and they won't be accepted in the outside world. So we just think it'd make them feel more comfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're pushing that product -- the food item on your fork.

DORNIN: Getting that piece of lettuce folded on the fork gracefully was a new experience for some.

ANITA GUAN, STUDENT: I just like stab it and put it in my mouth and I didn't think about the style or the form.

DORNIN: Form that may become necessary for grads who dream of becoming overnight millionaires.

WANG: When I go out for possible interviews, I hope that I won't make a fool out of myself.

SMITH: Eventually we're going to have jobs. We're going to have to, like, go out and talk and, like, eat with other people.

DORNIN: Speaking of other people, the class was given for a female dorm, but participants say the opposite sex could use a little help.

AMANDA LEE, STUDENT: The guys, they need it just as badly as we do. I mean, we sit there and they don't grab the right fork. But everything's just on a big tray and they just chow down, like stuffing their face.

DORNIN: A comment that brought protests from the dining hall next door.

GREG HAVLENA, STUDENT: I think I can pull off, you know, the gentleman thing.

(on camera): Even after four years living in a dorm?

HAVLENA: Oh, I don't know. I'll let you know at the end of the four years.

DORNIN (voice-over): Some old-fashioned manners for students in a new millennium.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Berkeley, California.


HAYNES: Well, moving on now, we live on the edge, something many people feel the need to do. Whether it's diving out of a plane or even bungee-jumping, we love a good thrill. In today's report from CNN Student Bureau, thrill is what it's all about.

Matt Colabria (ph) chronicles our adventure from North Carolina.


MATT COLABRIA, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): From the top of the mile-high Grandfather Mountain, the view of the Appalachian mountain range is dramatic. The most breathtaking experience is when you cross the swinging bridge, which for almost 50 years has spanned a deep ravine between two peeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's almost the excitement of being on a roller coaster just to be up; kind of thrilling to see yourself hanging over nothing. It's kind of scary but not too scary.

COLABRIA: Bill Alexander has worked here since the bridge was built a half century ago.

BILL ALEXANDER, MOUNTAIN PARK EMPLOYEE: A lot of folks were afraid to go across it when it was swinging. They estimated that probably less than 50 percent of the women would go across it, and lot of the men wouldn't. It was a little scary because it would swing and go up and down at the same time. It was -- if you weren't sure- footed, sometimes you'd think you were falling.

COLABRIA: The old wooden and steel bridge has just been replaced with a stronger, steadier one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was a little more shakier.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The new one is much more sturdy than the old one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Much better. I feel much safer, much safer.

ALEXANDER: It's welded together so that it won't swing. So it would keep it from then breaking apart, breaking the welds, you see all the side cables on it that anchor it so that it doesn't move.

COLABRIA: Although the new bridge doesn't have that swing, it does have a new talent.

ALEXANDER: Now it's a singing bridge. When the wind blows hard, it blows through those little holes in the floorboards -- things. It sounds like a foghorn or something out there going, "woo" when that wind blows through those holes. Matt Colabria, CNN Student Bureau, Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina.


WALCOTT: And that wraps it up for us today.

HAYNES: Have a good one. We'll see you back here tomorrow.



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