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NEWSROOM for April 26, 2000Aired April 26, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And it's Wednesday, and this is NEWSROOM. Welcome, I'm Shelley Walcott.
ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: I'm Andy Jordan. Thanks for joining us, here's what's coming up.
WALCOTT: In today's top story, veterans mark the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.
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JORDAN (voice-over): It is the longest war in which the United States has ever taken part.
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JORDAN: Next, in our "Business Desk," it's patently clear, inventors say they need a new way to protect their on-line wares.
WALCOTT: From business needs to budget cuts, today's "Worldview" profiles Filipino students and staff trying to make up for a decrease in funds.
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PROF. ERLINDA ECHANIS, UNIV. OF THE PHILIPPINES (through translator): Most of the time, faculty members have to use their own money to buy additional school supplies.
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JORDAN: Then, in "Chronicle," entrepreneurial dreams, young people get a taste of owning their own business.
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CHUYEN TRAN, CEO, BOUQUET OF LOVE: I don't think that age should matter, because, I mean, there are some young people out there who are 13, they can think up of a business. The only thing is they have to put it into practice.
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JORDAN: In "Today's News," we begin marking a poignant anniversary in history. Twenty-five years ago Sunday, the Vietnam War ended. Even though U.S. troops had left a couple of years earlier, the closing of the American embassy during the fall of Saigon still resonates as the last U.S. connection to the conflict. On this anniversary, many Americans are heading back to forge ahead, and help fashion a new relationship between the two countries.
The images of the Vietnam War still haunt the minds of prisoners of war, the soldiers who served, and the civilians caught in the crossfire. Twenty-five years later, the sights and sounds of a unified Vietnam differ dramatically. But behind the glimmer of a modern Vietnam, lie the painful reminders of one of last century's bloodiest wars.
It is the longest war in which the United States has ever taken part. When World War II ended and Japan relinquished its occupation of Vietnam, Vietnam fought a war of independence from its past colonial ruler: France. France was defeated, and Vietnam was temporarily divided in 1954.
Communists, supported by the Soviet Union and China, controlled the northern part, with capital Hanoi. Non-communists, supported by mainly the U.S., controlled South Vietnam with capital Saigon.
Communist sympathizers in the south began revolting against the capitalist government there. The rebels became known as the Viet- Cong. North Vietnam publicly supported the revolt.
In 1965, the U.S. began sending ground combat troops to Vietnam and began bombing North Vietnam. American participation continued until 1973 and peaked in 1969 at 540,000 troops.
In 1968, at the beginning of the Vietnamese new year called "tet," the Viet-Cong simultaneously attacked in about 100 places. The attacks took a heavy toll. Talks of peace began soon after, but it wasn't until 1973 that the U.S. completely withdraws the last of its troops.
In 1975, communist troops from the north begin conquering one South Vietnamese province after another. That year, the south is defeated, and Saigon falls, becoming Ho Chi Minh City.
In 1976, North and South Vietnam are united under communist rule. Fifty-eight thousand American military personnel died in the war, 300,000 wounded. Between 1.5 and 2 million Vietnamese troops died, and Countless Vietnamese civilians were killed; 2.7 million American men and women fought in the war.
In 1995, 20 years after it ended, U.S. President Clinton announces a normalization of relations with Vietnam, saying the time had come to bind up wounds.
Well, five years after a thawing in relations, and 25 years after the end of war both countries are trying to look ahead. Tom Mintier reports.
TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For at least six American families, the Vietnam War may finally be over. At Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport, the Vietnamese government formally handed over six small green boxes that contain the remains of possibly as many as six Americans. This solemn ceremony has been carried out nearly 80 times since the end of the Vietnam War 25 years ago.
On hand to mark the occasion was the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam and U.S. Senator John McCain. Both men were prisoners of war here in Vietnam.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thankfully, it brings closure to the agony and uncertainty that many families have undergone now for more than 25 years, as much as 30 years.
PETE PETERSON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO VIETNAM: Just to have these individuals returned to their loved ones is something that gives a chill up my spine and an extra thump in my heart because it's real. It's a real feeling. And these are the ones we left behind. These are the ones now that we have been committed to.
MINTIER: There are still more than 1,500 Americans unaccounted for or missing in action in Vietnam. Cooperation between the Vietnamese and the United States is currently described as a partnership by U.S. officials.
NGUYEN BA HUNG, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MISSING PERSONS (through translator): And I can tell you that we have turned over all of the documents that we have found that can be possibly be related, and we are continuing to search.
MINTIER (on camera): While part of Senator McCain's trip to Vietnam was to participate in the repatriation of U.S. remains, it also offered him a chance to take a stroll down memory lane.
(voice-over): Senator McCain had a busy schedule while he was in Hanoi, his first visit a government courtesy call, a visit with the foreign minister.
MCCAIN; It kind of reminds me of the old days.
MINTEIR: Then he took a few minutes for reflection, going around Chuckbok (ph) Lake, the lake where he crashed during the war, the place where he was fished out.
John McCain's name recognition on the streets of Hanoi depends on how old you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't know him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. MINTEIR: Older Vietnamese, those who lived through the war years, see his visit as important to improving relations between the United States and Vietnam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The people of Vietnam welcome any American to promote goodwill and improved relations. The visit of Mr. McCain will help that.
MINTEIR: For many Americans, Senator McCain has become a symbol of the ability to put the past behind you. He was at the forefront of renewing relations with Vietnam despite the harsh treatment as a prisoner of war. This was Senator McCain's eighth trip back to Vietnam, a place he first came to as a warrior and now as a peacemaker.
Tom Mintier, CNN, Hanoi.
JORDAN: And "Chronicle" will have more coverage of the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War this week. Tomorrow, Bruce Morton puts the war in historical context, examining how the conflict started, as well as its legacy. Then, on Friday, Richard Blystone profiles modern day Vietnam with a look at how the country has changed a quarter century after the end of the war.
RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: In the headlines, the latest move of the most recognized 6-year-old in the world. Elian Gonzalez and his immediate family have been relocated to a private residence near the Wye River plantation on Maryland's Eastern Shore. There, they will wait for the courts to settle their case.
In Miami, many Cuban-Americans stayed home from work Tuesday to protest the government's seizure of Elian.
BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some Cuban- Americans called it a work stoppage, others called it a dead city. And in the Hispanic areas of Miami, it did, indeed, seem dead. Store after store closed in protest of the government's seizing of Elian Gonzalez. One Cuban American leader estimated 1,000 stores shut down.
Downtown most of the shops were open, and even in Little Havana, a few establishments, chain stores, remained open.
The schools were much quieter than usual, especially in Little Havana.
ANA CASAS, PRINCIPAL: I have 39 teachers out, 16 teachers present.
CABELL: The protest reached even professional baseball. Several Miami Marlins players and coaches say they'll sit out a game.
ALEX FERNANDEZ, FLORIDA MARLINS PITCHER: It's to make a point and I'm a Cuban-American, and I'm proud to say that.
CABELL: Pride, and anger, that's what the protest was about. Whether it has any impact on Elian's future is uncertain.
WALCOTT: In today's "Business Desk," we examine patents. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is the agency which grants patents to people to help protect inventor's ideas and creations.
A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right. In the words of the statute, it's "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale or selling the invention" in the United States or importing it into the U.S. The term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which it's filed.
It's said Internet business moves at the speed of light and there's criticism that without appropriate research or personnel, the U.S. Patent Office is handing out high-tech patents at roughly the same speed.
The Patent Office says that's about to change, as Louise Schiavone reports.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Under fire for patents it has granted for ways of doing business online, the U.S. Patent Office is overhauling its review procedures.
TODD DICKINSON, U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE: Our concern is making sure we do the best job we can of examining those patents and making sure they have appropriate breadth and appropriate scope.
SCHIAVONE: Patent examiners will conduct more comprehensive background reviews of existing inventions, and the widely criticized business method patents will get a second layer of review by more senior examiners.
A prime example of an online patent problem: the case of Amazon.com's patent on the single-click method for selling books, forcing Barnes & Noble to abandon its single-click Web site sales for a double-click system. Then there's the case of Vernon Minton, who holds a patent for online securities trading and is suing the Nasdaq, which he asserts uses the same technology to process trades.
VERNON MINTON, TEXAS COMPUTER NETWORK: Just hypothetically speaking, if we receive just one cent a share, that could be approximately $20 million a day.
SCHIAVONE: For the record, Nasdaq has commented: "It is our belief that there is no issue of infringement and that the suit was filed to get some leverage in a licensing negotiation."
Critics say the case demonstrates a fundamental problem. JAMES LOVE, CONSUMER PROJECT ON TECHNOLOGY: The idea that somehow there is something new under the sun about buying and selling securities is, you know, it's sort of silly in the first place.
SCHIAVONE (on camera): The Patent Office is promising to regularly consult with industry experts to stay current with technological developments, but the office faces an internal challenge: keeping qualified patent examiners on staff at government salaries.
Louise Schiavone for CNN Financial News, Washington.
WALCOTT: Stick around. More business news is just ahead in "Chronicle." We'll tell you how to make your dreams come true -- well, some of them. Our guide to becoming an entrepreneur coming up right after "Worldview."
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.
JORDAN: We head to Asia and Africa in "Worldview" today. In the spotlight, shortfalls around the world. We'll find out how people who don't have enough food are trying to cope. Those stories take us to Mongolia and Ethiopia, where drought and famine are taking a terrible toll. We warn you, some of the pictures are disturbing. We'll also head to the Philippines, where slashed budgets are having an impact on schools. And we'll visit Jerusalem in the Middle East, tour the Mount of Olives, a focal point for many faiths.
"Worldview" gets started in the Holy Land, regarded so by a number of major world religions. The leader of the Catholic faith, Pope John Paul II made his first trek there last month. He paid special attention to visit sites sacred to other faiths as well as part of his push towards forgiveness and reconciliation. "Worldview" heads to Jerusalem, a city considered sacred by Jews, Muslims and Christians. We focus on one site in particular -- the Mount of Olives.
Jerrold Kessel looks at how all three faiths look to the mount for inspiration.
JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Christian pilgrims on a hill opposite Jerusalem's Old City read the gospel. In the Bible, the prophet Zacharia is the first to mention the place, speaking of God standing in that day upon the Mount of Olives, a mountain with religious importance not only for Christians but for Muslims and Jews. It's right across the Kidron Valley from they holy sites, a mountain and valley replete with graves. The century's Jews from around the world have considered this the place to be buried to await the raising of the dead at the end of days.
RANDALL SMITH, CHRISTIAN GUIDE: You have three monotheistic religions crashed together with end-times apocalyptic thinking around the valley now called the Kidron Valley. For Jews, the old tradition of judgment being at this valley. For Christians, Jesus rising from the Mount of Olives, and "you men of Galilee, why do stand gazing up into the sky? This same Jesus which was taken from you will come back in like manner to this place." You even have an Islamic tradition where, around the Golden Dome of the Rock, the Koran says that Mohammad will stretch out his knife at the end of time and balance the good and evil deeds of men. Judgment for all three peoples is right here.
KESSEL: Graves, rock and faith, a quintessential Jerusalem mix. Although the mount is seen within all three religions in the context of the end of days, each faith has its own vision of how and when the climax of history will come.
Christians focus on the Garden of Gethsemane and its Church of All Nations, where pilgrims come to recall the gospel account of Jesus spending a night of agonized prayer before his arrest and crucifixion.
Nations and different Christian denominations have for centuries sought to have a presence on this mountain. The golden domes of the Russian Church of St. Mary Magdalene have been refurbished.
The Church of the Ascension -- it's from the Mount of Olives that the gospels tell Jesus ascended to heaven. Behind on the eastern spur of the mount, Atbethpage (ph), the final critical weak of Jesus' ministry is said to have begun when, riding a white ass, he came to the city for the Passover festival, for Jews a time of pilgrimage, a similar drive to that which informs modern-day Christian pilgrims.
SMITH: People say to me all the time: I want to come here but I want to wait until there's peace because I really want to understand the gospels. And I laugh because, if you want to understand the gospels, you have to understand that tension was part of the narrative. And the political drama that is part of this land sort of, throughout the ages, is still with us.
BAKHTIAR: Now from the Middle East to the middle of the ocean. The Philippines is a former Spanish colony located in the Southwest Pacific. More than 7,000 islands are part of the Philippines, but the largest 11 account for over 95 percent of the country's area. In the Philippines, children age 7 through 12 are required by law to attend school until at least the sixth grade. Classes are taught in Filipino and English, the country's two official languages. Students applying to universities must pass an English exam before being admitted. Although the majority of adults in the Philippines can read and write, most people don't attend college.
And as Jade Lopez reports, those lucky enough to continue their education are learning that money to do so is tight.
JADE LOPEZ, ABS-CBN REPORTER (voice-over): Students, faculty members and school administrators from state universities and colleges in the Philippines admit they were warned of budget cuts months before. Government funds for state universities have never been high to begin with, and were lowered at the rate of almost 2 percent every year. But no one expected government to cut budgets by as high as 20 percent, or the equivalent of many of these schools' entire fund for maintenance and operations, meaning no new computers, no new library books, no laboratory equipment and no research funds.
PROF. ERLINDA ECHANIS, UNIV. OF THE PHILIPPINES (through translator): Most of the time, faculty members have to use their own money to buy additional school supplies like transparencies and even text books, simply because the university has no money for those things.
DR. BELLA VILLANUEVA, UNIV. OF THE PHILIPPINES (through translator): Inflation eroded the income level of many so-called middle class students since '92.
LOPEZ: But the budget cuts will affect more than school equipment and scholarships. Over 50 percent of faculty members from government funded universities move to private colleges every year. In one of the schools hardest hit by the budget cuts, faculty members have not had a salary raise in five years.
ECHANIS: The faculty members are demoralized.
LOPEZ (on camera): Less than 2 percent of Filipino youth ever reach college. Due to lack of money, less than half of this number are able to graduate. With the budget cuts imposed on all state universities and colleges, education officials fear the number of college students may drop even further.
(voice-over): State universities and colleges attract some of the best students in the country regardless of economic status. For years, government funds have ensured these schools could charge less than 50 percent of the tuition fees charged by private schools. The budget cuts imposed on state universities might change all of that.
DR. AMELIA BIGLETE, PHILIPPINE COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUC. (through translator): Tuition fees charged by state colleges and universities have always been so much lower than private institutions. Now, because government funds are not enough, state universities might have to raise tuition fees.
ANGELICO CLERICO, UNIVERSITY STUDENT COUNCIL (through translator): If they raise tuition fees, then many of us will protest again. We feel education is not a government priority.
LOPEZ: For the CNN "WORLD REPORT," Jade Lopez, ABS-CBN, Manila.
WALCOTT: Next stop, Ethiopia, a country in northeast Africa. It's been plagued for years by famine. When famine struck in the mid- 1980s, tens of thousands of people died. Drought and famine hit again in the late 1980s and the early 1990s and the death toll multiplied. Now, once again, the country is on the verge of disaster. Food is desperately needed, but such relief operations are expensive. A ton of wheat costs $135. Add to that another $250, the cost of transporting it from the United States or Europe to the Horn of Africa.
Yet food must reach millions of people in the region before June when the rainy season will make many roads impassable. The International Red Cross says between five to 10 people are dying each day in the worst hit drought regions.
Gayle Young has more.
GAYLE YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A massive drought on the Horn of Africa is threatening the welfare of an estimated 12 million people in six countries and the United Nations wants wealthy nations to donate money now, before the situation gets worse, before a famine strikes, before people die.
KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: You've seen some of the pictures on television, but I think if we move and move quickly, we can contain the situation.
YOUNG: U.N. agencies have been improving their ability to predict where and when disaster will next strike. The idea is to prevent tragedy rather than react once it has already happened. The problem is getting donor nations to respond quickly enough. Images of disasters, like the recent floods in Mozambique, galvanize the international community into action. It's harder, U.N. officials say, to raise money for something that has not yet happened but is clearly on the horizon. The Ethiopian government complains the Western world needs to see, quote, "living skeletons" before it acts.
CATHERINE BERTINI, EXEC. DIR., WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: It's our job to convince the donors that now is the time to make the contributions so that we can keep millions of people alive.
YOUNG: The task may be complicated by debate over the U.N. intervention in Somalia eight years ago. Lives were saved by donations, but lives were lost when U.N. peacekeepers became embroiled in local power struggles. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the world must fight so-called "donor fatigue," the despair felt by some that they have given enough.
(on camera): It will take an estimated one million tons of food to stave off famine in the Horn of Africa -- food donated by wealthy nations that can only imagine what such a famine would be like.
Gayle Young, CNN, Rome.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: On to Mongolia, a country in East Central Asia which is also facing hardship and hunger. This landlocked nation suffered its worst drought in 60 years last summer, followed by a harsh winter that has buried pastures in snow, depriving animals of their only source of food.
Kathy Nellis has our report.
KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As livestock weakens and dies, nomadic herders also face possible starvation. More than 1.8 million cattle, sheep and goats have been lost, and the United Nations warns a severe food shortfall is inevitable from May onward.
Beyond losing a source of food, the shepherds face a devastating loss of livelihood.
PAUL KLINE, U.N. VETERINARIAN: To put it in perspective, you would have to consider what the livestock mean to the people that live here. When we look around, and as I've driven through the countryside, we've seen a number of livestock dead along the side of the road and at families and homes. And with the families we've worked with on this project, the average has been about 50 percent loss in the 300 families we're dealing with. Many families have lost everything, and it would be equivalent to not only losing your job, but losing your savings, your children's college fund, your transportation, your car. So in those terms, the impact is quite great.
NELLIS: The U.N. warns of serious socioeconomic consequences as this human drama develops. Without animals, the people cannot survive. Weakened by hunger, the nomadic herders living on the vast hills with their animals are also exposed to extreme cold as they care for their flocks. Spring is normally the period when animals give birth, but most of the malnourished newborns are not expected to live long. And aid agencies say 5 million animals may perish by June when new planting begins.
Kathy Nellis, CNN NEWSROOM.
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 plan. Plus, there are discussion questions and activities, and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day, find hot links to other online 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.
WALCOTT: It's fun to be a dreamer. The possibilities are endless. And if you're young, chances are you like to dream about the future -- where you'll go and what you'll do. And if that's the case, you'll appreciate our next report.
Terry Keenan caught up with aspiring entrepreneurs aiming for success.
TERRY KEENAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were inspired by the latest fashions, their favorite hobbies, and Martha Stewart. Now they're dubbed New York City's top 20 youth entrepreneurs for their grown-up plans.
Sixteen-year-old Hina Aqil collected first prize and won a national award. She finds the time to make money after school by scanning prints on T-shirts.
HINA AQIL, CEO, HINA'S SCANNING GRAPHICS: I hang out, I go to movies, I do everything that the typical teenager would do. It's like -- but on the side I have my own business at the same time. It just all depends how you manage your time.
KEENAN: It takes not only time, but also maturity beyond their years to run a business. And most of them do it without the help of adults.
CHUYEN TRAN, CEO, BOUQUET OF LOVE: I don't think age should matter because, I mean, there's some young people out there who, like -- who are 13. They can still start a business. The only thing is that they have to put it into practice. They have to put the ideas into practice instead of just dreaming of it.
KEENAN: By learning to juggle costs and profits margins, these young entrepreneurs are acquiring some skills that will pay off later.
ANN MURRAY, TEACHER, AUINAS HIGH SCHOOL: It's not going to end here, I don't think. And so many of them have told me that economics and finance is a possibility as a major in college.
KEENAN: For families who can't offer much financial support, these kids are a tremendous source of pride.
AQIL: Being a Pakistani girl and having my own business and being accomplished and everything, it's like something really new to them and they are really proud of me. They just want to keep saying, keep going, keep on going.
KEENAN: Terry Keenan, CNN Financial News, New York.
HAYNES: All next week, we'll be looking at the history and culture of Hispanics in the United States. In "Viviendo en America," a series we first brought you last fall, we'll focus on the impact of the exploding Hispanic population in America.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea that we're going to be overcome, we're going to be taken over linguistically or culturally, just doesn't, basically, mirror what has happened historically. We are a country of immigrants, for the most part, and every group gets assimilated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALCOTT: And that wraps it up for us here today.
JORDAN: We'll see you back here tomorrow. Have a good one. Bye.
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