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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for May 3, 2000

Aired May 3, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: And welcome to NEWSROOM for Wednesday. I'm Andy Jordan.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott.

Today's headlines send us on a whirlwind global tour. Here's your itinerary.

JORDAN: We begin in the Netherlands where the families of victims of Pan Am 103 await their chance at justice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The outcome I'm looking for is to hear, see, feel, smell the truth, OK, the facts.


WALCOTT: The Worldwide Web is the focus of today's "Business Desk" as we learn all about women getting wired.


LAUREN HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Four years ago, women made up fewer than 10 percent of all Web users. Now half of the Internet's 100 million users are women.


JORDAN: We lose our laptops to do a little shoe shopping in "Worldview."


PETER HUMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to footwear, everyone agrees it can either make or break one's entire image.


WALCOTT: Then we make our final descent into a major U.S. city that's one of the three largest Spanish-speaking cities in the world. Can you name it and the other two cities on the list? For the answer, check out "Viviendo en America" in today's "Chronicle."

JORDAN: Today's news takes us to four countries, all of which have a stake in a trial that begins today in the Netherlands. Relatives of those killed when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland have been waiting nearly 12 years for this day. They began arriving yesterday in Amsterdam, many from the United States, for what some are calling the international trial of the decade and the Scottish trial of the century. The defendants are two Libyans. Almost $20 million have been spent to build a court, a prison and a media center at Camp Zeist, which has been designated Scottish soil so three Scottish judges can preside over the case.

Days before Christmas in 1988, a bomb hidden in a radio blows up on a Pan Am flight bound for New York from London. At 31,000 feet, or 3,100 meters over Lockerbie, Scotland, all 259 people on board die; 11 people on the ground also were killed. It isn't until 1991 that the U.S. and Britain accuse two Libyans of the bombing. Libya denies involvement and refuses to extradite the two suspects. The United Nations then imposes an air and arms embargo on Libya. The sanctions were suspended last year after the suspects were turned over for trial in the Netherlands.

Nic Robertson looks at the evolution of the trial.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Libyan Air Force jets streak over the capital Tripoli, commemorating the British troop withdrawal almost 30 years ago. It marks a time when Libya, under Colonel Gadhaffi's new leadership, was breaking international ties.

Libya's slide into isolation hit rock bottom when U.N. sanctions blocking international trade were imposed after its intelligence agents were accused of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

ALI ABDUL SALEM TRIKY, LIBYAN SECY. OF STATE FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS: This policy of sanctions or imposing sanctions or trying to use the economic pressure as a policy of changing policies of a country, I think it has failed completely.

ROBERTSON: Failed, he says, because although Libya, the United States and Britain all made compromises to bring about the trial and drop the sanctions, African nations had already agreed to break the U.N. embargo, and other countries were eager to restart business.

KAREN UZIYEL, LIBYAN ANALYST: European countries in particular are very keen to enter not only new oil projects, but also infrastructure development and other areas of the economy that were closed off by U.N. sanctions.

ROBERTSON: Compromise has put oil-rich Libya on the economic road to recovery, but its officials still claim no involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.

TRIKY: Though we believe that there is no foundation for such, but we will go ahead and see what -- we trust the Scottish judges.

ROBERTSON (on camera): When a French court trying Libyans in absentia found them guilty of the 1989 downing of a French plane over Niger, the Libyan government reportedly paid compensation to the bereaved families. There is no indication that the Libyans may be preparing to do the same in this case.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Camp Zeist, the Netherlands.


WALCOTT: Today's "Business Desk" is going somewhere I bet you've already been: cyberspace. Since its inception in the 1970s, the Worldwide Web has grown by leaps and bounds. However, it wasn't until the early 1990s that the Web became widely accessible to the general public. In fact, in 1994, about 3 million people were on the net, and most of those folks were in the United States. But in another four short years, that number grew to a whopping 100 million, and the numbers just keep multiplying. By the year 2005, it's estimated about 1 billion people will have surfed the Net.

And so who are all these nameless, faceless Web-heads? Well, a lot of them are men. The reason? Well, in its infancy, the Internet was a tool used mainly in male-dominated career fields. But women aren't being left out of the cyber craze.

As Lauren Hunter reports, women are becoming more and more at home online.


HUNTER (voice-over): Oprah Winfrey was an Internet neophyte when she decided to educate herself and others about the Web.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: So how does this work?

HUNTER: Winfrey is one of the founders of "Oxygen", a cable and Web program geared specifically to women.

GERALDINE LAYBOURNE, CEO, OXYGEN MEDIA: They want the straight story, and they want an attitude that treats them as if they're smart.

HUNTER: Four years ago, women made up fewer than 10 percent of all Web users. Now, half of the Internet's 100 million users are women, and 41 percent go online daily.

ANNA MARIA PIERSIMONI, DIRECTOR, ENHANCED TV: Oh, I'm incredibly reliant on the computer.

HUNTER: Anna Maria Piersimoni runs the Enhanced TV workshop at the American Film Institute. She's married with two children and describes herself as very wired.

PIERSIMONI: I use it for research on almost anything: health research and travel. I check the parental sites for movie reviews and music reviews. I get a lot of my news this way. I can manage my accounts, I can transfer funds. It's made something easier for us in a very, very complicated world.

HUNTER: That's the goal of the hundreds of Web sites by women for women, geared to the advertiser-friendly 18 to 49 demographic.

LARRY MAGID, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST, "L.A. TIMES": The Web, at least historically, has not given women what they need. It tends to be very much of a boy-fest. And over the last couple of years, more and more sites have come out to support women's needs.

HUNTER: In fact, women-specific sites have more than 50 million page views each month.

MAUREEN MCDANIEL, CEO/CHAIRMAN, WOMEN.COM: It's not that women need a specific site on the Web, I just think women want it.

HUNTER: Marleen McDaniel is CEO and chairman of, online since 1992, with nearly two and a half million members and 100,000 pages of content.

MCDANIEL: There are topics and there are times and places when you just want the companionship of other women.

HUNTER: began five years ago with Parentsoup. Now 85 percent of its revenue comes from ads and sponsorship.

ALLISON ABRAHAM, COO, IVILLAGE.COM: We have over 21 channels. Most of those are around particular topics, whether it is money, life or elections 2000. It's about really humanizing cyberspace.

HUNTER: focuses on technology's application to daily life.

SARAH FINNIE CABOT, PRESIDENT, SHECLICKS.COM: It is the tool for women to keep their heads screwed on, have a perspective, have a sense of humor, keep their act together.

HUNTER: All that at the click of a mouse.

Lauren Hunter, CNN Entertainment News, Hollywood.


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

JORDAN: "Worldview" today takes you to the world of business. From showrooms to the kitchen, we'll see what's hot. Our itinerary includes stops in Asia and Europe. We'll see what's cooking on TV as a celebrity chef whips up a dish and the audience. It's a Japanese treat that's worked its way around the world. Another consumer shoo- in -- shoes. We'll check out some fancy footwork in France. But first, we give you something else you can walk on: Not shoes, though. It's business and culture all wrapped up.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Now on to the Middle East, Iran in particular, to delve into the intricacies of Persian rugs. Little is known about Persian carpet-making before the fifth century when the art was already approaching its peak. During the 13th century, the Mongols invaded Persia and suppressed Persia's artistic life. But subsequent conquest, although in most respects disastrous to Persia, favored artisans. Under the ruler Shah Rokh, art was allowed to flourish, particularly the art of carpet-making. From that time to the present, Persian carpets have been coveted all over the world.

In 1987, in response to clashes in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. banned the import of Iranian products, including Persian carpets. Now that the 13-year-old ban has been lifted, will Persian carpets be making a comeback in the U.S.?

Frank Buckley reports.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One can easily be overwhelmed with all of the different designs available in an Oriental rug store, and soon the consumer's choices will only increase to include Persian rugs from Iran, which, 20 years ago, accounted for up to 80 percent of the Oriental rug market in the U.S., which have been banned for import into the U.S. for more than a decade.

ARASH YARAGHI, SAFAVIEH CARPETS: We haven't been able to import Persian rugs for many years, and I think it's about time to have those rugs back in our showrooms in this country and sell them here.

BUCKLEY: While U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently did announce the end of the Persian rug embargo, some wonder if Persian rugs will ever reclaim the market share they once had, or the cache they once carried because of the competition they now face.

(on camera): The embargo left a void, and countries like India, Pakistan, Turkey and China were prepared to fill it with a different kind of rug.

NASSER RAHMANAN, PRES., ORIENTAL RUG IMPORTERS ASSN.: It has changed really quite a lot.

BUCKLEY (voice-over): Nasser Rahmanan is president of the Oriental Rug Importers Association. He says Oriental rugs sold in the U.S. today are produced with the fashions of the day in mind as opposed to the strict traditions and designs of the past.

RAHMANAN: People fix up their homes, they like it to be done by designers, they like to make sure they have proper colors, proper coordinations in the house.

BUCKLEY: If Iranian carpet-makers are to regain their position, say some retailers, they'll have to be prepared to make changes.

BILL WARD, VICE PRESIDENT, ABC CARPET & HOME: Iranian carpet manufacturers have a long way to catch up to satisfy the American consumer in terms of designing and coloring.

BUCKLEY: Consumers may see price fluctuations in the months ahead, and it may be months before Persian rugs are widely available. But most agree the foundations are in place for Persian rugs to make a comeback in the U.S. 13 years after they were banned.

Frank Buckley, CNN, Secaucus, New Jersey.


WALCOTT: Next stop, France, a country in Western Europe. France's capital and largest city is Paris. For hundreds of years "the city of lights," as it's called, has been a center of art and learning. Paris is also one of the great fashion centers of the world. Recently, a major trade fair in the city brought together designers, manufacturers and retailers of shoes.

Our Peter Humi put his best foot forward and went to take a look at the work of a new generation of shoe designers.


HUMI (voice-over): This was not a show for the public. Well- heeled traders paced the floors looking at what's new from the largely French exhibitors.

(on camera): Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to footwear, everyone agrees it can either make or break one's entire image.

(voice-over): "Choose your shoes," was the catchword at this young designer's stand, interchangeable straps, or bridles, as they're known in the business, getting a reputation, for some the point of the exercise.

"It's my first collection. I have to get a name," says Vietnamese-born Vu Yuan Ky (ph). His shoes featured heels precariously situated, bordering, he admitted, on the impractical.

CLAIR SINGLETON, SHOE DESIGNER: This is one of my particular favorites. The shapes and colors were inspired by the night sky.

HUMI: Young Claire Singleton from Britain, and barely out of fashion school, hopes to get noticed but knows there are risks.

SINGLETON: People at shows, especially like this, can come around and rip you off, really. But it's a chance you have to take.

HUMI: Well-established companies like Charles Jourdan hire about 20 promising designers every year, guiding them towards producing footwear that sells.

EMILE MERCIER, VICE PRESIDENT, CHARLES JOURDAN: What I see here, there are products that you can't sell. It's good ideas, but you can't sell it. So people have to come who have the technical know- how, and those people will make -- from an idea, they will make something wearable.

HUMI: Twenty-three-year-old Isabelle Bordji is French, Algerian and Indonesian. She uses products as exotic as her background -- stingray fish skin, cocoon silks and semi-precious stones. These, made with amethysts, sell for about $200 a pair.

ISABELLE BORDJI, SHOE DESIGNER: I already have something like 15 orders from around the world -- in France, Italy, Germany, Japan and all Europe. Not yet in America.

HUMI: Shoe boxes? Boring, right? Not Pascal Mongondin's (ph).

"It's a very pure line, this one," he says. The French designer says shoe boxes should be more than for just keeping dust off footwear. It's a woman thing, he explains. Each one tells a story -- from the soul, he adds.

Peter Humi, CNN, Paris.


JORDAN: From Europe to Asia, next stop Japan. When Japan came out of near complete isolation from the outside world in the mid-19th century, it aimed to become a modern, industrialized nation. That policy eventually led to its defeat in World War II. Since that time, Japan has seen remarkable economic growth, putting it at the top of the world's leading economies. That has some mimicking some of its cultural cues.

Since most Japanese homes are usually not large enough to entertain, it's no surprise one of Japan's most popular TV shows is larger than life. It's using traditionally raw Japanese delicacies to make a raw television show, and it's catching on in the U.S.

Bill Tush takes us backstage.


BILL TUSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Think of a cooking show with the theatrics of pro wrestling and you have Ali Kemishita (ph), "Iron Chef." One of the most popular shows on Japanese TV found its way to American shores on cable, then, last summer, to the Food Network.

JUDY GIRARD, SR. V.P./GEN. MANAGER, FOOD NETWORK: There was a young production assistant on our staff who was watching it on Japanese television in New York for a number of weeks and he brought it to our attention and we put it on. I mean, who would've thought it would become what it became?

TUSH: Let's hope the kid got a raise. What it became is the second-highest-rated show on their network, just behind Emiril Lagasse. Lookout crawfish, the seared tuna's catching up. "Iron Chef" is hosted by a fellow named Kaga.

GIRARD: He's a little bigger than life, if you've watched the show at all. He's bigger than life on the show. He's very -- he's a ringmaster. TUSH: Complete with coats of many colors and a hairdo Wayne Newton can only dream of. But since the show has come to New York, it could use a little help in translation. That's where Food Network host Gordon Elliot comes in.

GORDON ELLIOT, HOST, FOOD NETWORK: I am the only one that would work for devalued yen. And as far as the Japanese are concerned, I'll be dubbed over anyway. They just wanted somebody large so they get more value for their money.

TUSH: Now, if you have a yen to learn what "Iron Chef" is all about, here's a lady from Fuji Television. Hey, the whole thing was their idea.

MINA MITA, FUJI TELEVISION: It's a cook-off. It's -- they get 60 minutes to cook a four- to five-course meal using a secret theme ingredient, which is revealed on the spot.

TUSH: Ah, the secret ingredient. Does it have challenging chef Bobby Flay worried?

BOBBY FLAY, HOST, FOOD NETWORK: I'm just bringing ingredients that I'm used to using all the time, so that hopefully that they'll blend with whatever they throw at us.

ELLIOT: I think the secret ingredient is Chicken McNuggets. I'm not sure.

TUSH: That Gordon Elliot, what a kidder. But "Iron Chef" is serious about the secret ingredient. And you'll have to set the kitchen timer: This episode won't be ready until June.

Bill Tush, CNN Entertainment News, New York.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We turn now to Washington, D.C. and a White House conference on how to raise responsible and resourceful teenagers. President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton presided over the day-long meeting. Among other things, the president said he is taking steps to solidify the bond between parent and teenager.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president called on government and private employers to help parents find the time they need, pointing to a government study which shows even having a meal together makes a big difference.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The report found that teenagers that had dinner with their parents five nights a week are far more likely to avoid smoking, drinking, violence, suicide and drugs.

O'CONNOR: Insisting teenagers need more loving supervision, the president called upon Congress to approve his request for a billion dollars to establish more after-school programs, especially in troubled neighborhoods. He signed an executive order to prohibit discrimination against parents in the work force of the federal government and asked for congressional approval of his request to expand the Family Leave Act to cover more workers in more situations.


WALCOTT: At the beginning of the show, we gave you a little quiz. How'd you do? Were you able to name the world's three largest Spanish-speaking cities? Well, your time is up. Here's the answer: They are Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Los Angeles. That Los Angeles would be the third largest Spanish-speaking city in the world shouldn't be surprising, especially when you consider that in L.A. County there are more than 4 million people of Hispanic descent. Throughout the United States, 10 percent of adults speak Spanish, and to some people that's cause for concern.

Our Joel Hochmuth explains.


JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mauro Mujica mission may surprise you. This immigrant from Chile grew up speaking Spanish, yet he's leading the drive to make English the official language of the U.S. government. His efforts take him to Capitol Hill where's he's drumming up support for a bill that would do just that.

REP. BOB BARR (R), GEORGIA: Mauro, good seeing you!

MAURO MUJICA, U.S. ENGLISH: It's not so much about the cost. It's about the -- being an American kind of thing. I came to this country to become an American, and official English is part of being an American.

HOCHMUTH: For six years, Mujica has headed up U.S. English, a nonprofit organization pushing official English legislation at both the state and federal level.

MUJICA: In the very beginning -- I have to be truthful to you, in the very beginning I thought it was kind of crazy to be talking about making English the official language. I had realized that this was very important for the country, and if I was going to do something for the country, for my new country after I had retired, that this was a great cause to be involved in.

HOCHMUTH: Mujica says the need for so-called official English is obvious, especially in places like Los Angeles where Hispanic and other immigrants are changing the landscape. He's afraid the United States will become segregated into areas divided by language, much like Canada or the former Yugoslavia.

MUJICA: I think that 20, 25 years from now we're going to be in tremendous problems unless we do something right now.

Because we're a very diverse nation, because we have people from everywhere, it's very important to have at least one thing in common, and that is language.

HOCHMUTH: Of course, not all Hispanics think official English is a good idea.

BEATRIZ LOPEZ-FLORES, MALDEF: For recent immigrants, it's the wrong message. Especially in a global economy it's certainly a wrong message to be sending that we're now running -- we're running scared. That's the message that is being sent: We're running scared. We're afraid of other people coming here.

HOCHMUTH: Beatriz Lopez-Flores is an immigrant from Mexico. She's with the Los Angeles-based civil rights group MALDEF, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

LOPEZ-FLORES: If it was true that the only thing that this movement was pushing was having English as the official language just to reinforce it, you know what, we're all on board. It's the English- only that then denies some people what the Constitution guarantees that is in question for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a stock photograph...

HOCHMUTH: In principle, Mujica and U.S. English are opposed to things like bilingual tax forms, driver's license tests, even ballots. They say tax dollars for such things would be better spent on classes to teach immigrants English.

MUJICA: The government is slowing down the assimilation. It's not helping the immigrants. Right now in California, for instance, you can take your driver's exam in 30 languages, you can vote in nine in L.A., you can send your kids through school in 86 different languages. So what's the incentive for anybody coming here to learn the language of the country?

LOPEZ-FLORES: This movement is about eliminating bilingual ballots, which means depriving American citizens from voting as informed, intelligent people. Why would we want to push for somebody who cares -- especially the elderly, you know, who really cared. They're the ones who would be deprived of voting as informed and intelligent people.

HOCHMUTH (on camera): Apparently the founding fathers didn't think it was necessary to make official English the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution doesn't say anything about it. But that doesn't mean there weren't concerns. As early as 1753, Benjamin Franklin was afraid English would be wiped out in America not by Spanish-speaking immigrants but German.

(voice-over): Historically, the debate over official English has been closely tied to concerns over immigration, and that's still true. Mujica argues immigrants a century ago were more inclined to learn English than immigrants today.

MUJICA: They were arriving at the promised land. You know, they were kissing the ground in many cases. They were telling their kids, we're Americans now, you know, we're no longer Russians or Italians or whatever, we're Americans, that they were incredibly proud to be Americans. That is missing right now. People -- a lot of people, in effect, that are coming to this country right now just to take advantage of it and not really be part of the country.

LOPEZ-FLORES: Even before you come to this country, the whole world recognizes that in the United States you learn English, OK. And for me and for any immigrants today, it is about learning English. If anyone believes in the American dream and the power of English, are your recent immigrants.

HOCHMUTH: Actually, the Census Bureau says it's not clear whether immigrants today are learning English as quickly as those in the past. But in either case, is making English the official language necessary?

LOPEZ-FLORES: English is the official language. The problem is when people want English-only and negate that we're part of a world, of a whole universe with very diverse people, and especially the United States.

MUJICA: We're not trying to promote English-only or the fact that Americans only speak one language. That -- it's not what we're talking about. We have to legislate certain things. The law is not going to forbid anybody from speaking any other languages. The law is just going to recognize the obvious. It's like recognizing the American flag.

HOCHMUTH: The debate has both sides plotting strategy to win over politicians and public opinion.

LOPEZ-FLORES: My thing with the people that are for the English- only moment, they have a right to exist. They're protected by the Constitution just like I'm protected also, and let justice prevail. And I really do believe that we will prevail.

MUJICA: We're dealing with politicians here so I don't know when they're going to do anything. I'm optimistic, but we have to keep pushing every day, every single day.

We thank you for your support, and hopefully we're going to have a vote soon.

That's the nature of the country, and that's why this country's great, that people have the ability to protest, people have the ability to disagree with you.


JORDAN: Now, backers of the English-only bill are now pessimistic about its chances in the current Congress. They say the House leadership is afraid that if it passes, it would offend the Hispanic vote, something they don't want to do in an election year.

WALCOTT: Backers are optimistic, though, that voters in Utah and Oklahoma will pass official English initiatives this fall. Those would be the 26th and 27th states with official English laws on the books.

JORDAN: "Viviendo en America" continues all this week here on NEWSROOM.

WALCOTT: And that wraps it up for us today. We'll see you tomorrow.




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