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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for May 25, 2000

Aired May 25, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: NEWSROOM takes a turn into Thursday. Thanks for joining us. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: I'm Andy Jordan. Here's what's coming up.

BAKHTIAR: In today's top story, a historic vote on U.S. trade with China and a proposed landmark deal between two U.S. airlines.

JORDAN: Next, in "Science Desk," why scientists say cloning may reverse the aging process.


RHONDA ROWLAND, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: These six cloned calves have a new kind of biological clock. Scientists say they've taken the cow's cells and turned back time.


BAKHTIAR: From scientific discoveries to the uncharted world, today's "Worldview" profiles great explorers.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have probed the deserts of Africa, the depths of the Atlantic, the delicate connection between humans and primates.


JORDAN: Then, in "Chronicle," CNN Student Bureau goes behind the scenes with America's most famous fat cat and his creator.


JIM DAVIS, "GARFIELD" CREATOR: I took a long, hard look at the comics and I noticed dogs doing very well -- Snoopy and Marmaduke, Fred Bassett, Belvedere -- and no cats at that time. So I felt that if dog lovers like dog strips, surely cat lovers would like to see a cat out there.


JORDAN: In today's news, outstretched hands and clinched fists. That's how U.S. President Bill Clinton characterizes options in U.S. trade with China. He is opting for an extended hand and is praising the House of Representative's passage of a massive China trade deal. Among other things, it grants China the same trading status as most other nations and ends the annual review of Beijing's trade and human rights policies.

It also creates a human rights commission to keep tabs on activity in China and includes a provision preventing China from dumping products into the United States. You can check your program and classroom guide for last Monday, May 22, for more background information on U.S and Chinese trade.

Keep in mind, the deal still has to pass the Senate before it would take affect.

John King looks at how this deal came to pass in the U.S. House.


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the end, it was a solid vote in favor of permanent trade relations with China, a solid victory for a president with a lot riding on the outcome.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; Today, the House of Representatives has taken a historic step toward continued prosperity in America, reform in China, and peace in the world.

KING: Mr. Clinton said U.S. farmers and businesses would benefit from more access to a market of 1.2 billion people, and that U.S. national security would benefit from greater trust between Washington and Beijing.

CLINTON: At this stage in China's development, we will have more positive influence with an outstretched hand than with a clenched fist.

KING: It was a debate of awkward alliances, and the relatively comfortable margin masked weeks of anxiety and arm twisting. Republican leaders and the business community stood with the White House.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: China gets nothing from us they don't already have, and we get lower tariffs and easier access for our exports going to China.

KING: Most Democrats took a different view, and a different position than their president.

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: It is not the right way to go. We are sending the wrong message. Let us stand up for human rights today. KING: The final tally was 237-197: 73 Democrats joined 164 Republicans in backing the trade bill; 138 of the no votes came from Democrats, 57 from Republicans, two from independents.

Industrial unions warn of more lost factory jobs, but few in the House disputed that more trade would china would be a net gain for the U.S. economy. The major argument here was whether closer ties with Beijing would encourage reform, or convince the communist government there is no price to be paid for denying human rights and religious freedom.

REP. DAVID BONIOR (D-MI), MINORITY WHIP: The advocates of this trade deal tell us that prosperity is a precondition for Democracy. And with all due respect, they're wrong.

KING: Defeat would have meant a rush to label the president a lame duck, so it was a victory to savor, though it didn't come without a price. Many Democrats and allies in organized labor are angry at the White House for pushing the China trade deal in the middle of an election year.

(on camera): So the administration's strategy is to move quickly from celebration to reconciliation, beginning with a White House health care event Thursday designed to put the president's focus back on the issues on which the Democrats speak with one voice.

John King, CNN, the White House.


JORDAN: Now, if all of Congress goes for PNTR or permanent normal trade relations with China, for the United States, it could mean more markets to sell products. Citrus growers say shipments could grow by $100 million a year. And China has agreed to lower its barriers to U.S. soda ash, a basic ingredient in glass, if the trade bill passes.

For China, the benefits and the implications of a deal are a little murkier.

Rebecca MacKinnon looks at how Beijing is digesting the House vote and how far-reaching full passage could be.


REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Never has a vote taken half a world away been the focus of so much attention. If PNTR isn't approved, China will still join the World Trade Organization, but the market access agreement it signed last November with the United States won't apply to U.S. companies, who worry they'll be shut out of the Chinese market while competitors flow in.

Companies like Pizza Hut have faced numerous obstacles to doing business in China. While they say their problems won't clear up overnight, they believe PNTR is their best hope. TONY CHEN, TRICON CORP.: I'm confident that the Chinese government would adhere to these rules once they agree to it, once they sign up. The time may be slow, it may take a gradual step, but I think the attitude is there, the support is there.

MACKINNON: But as the crackdown against unauthorized religious groups and political dissidents continues, opponents say China doesn't deserve the benefits of increased trade. Supporters point out several dissidents who were punished for their roles in the 1989 democracy movement have come out in support of PNTR. Bao Tong, a former Communist Party official who spent six years in jail, and who is now under house arrest, recently told reporters, PNTR and China's WTO entry will eventually help improve human rights.

Even the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader who is frequently denounced by the Chinese government, has declared his support for PNTR and China's entry into the World Trade Organization as the best way to change China.

Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Beijing.


BAKHTIAR: In the headlines today, the largest airline in the world may be getting larger. United Airlines hopes to gobble US Airways for $4.3 billion in cash and an additional $7 billion in debt and plane leases.

As Ceci Rodgers tells us, this is the second attempt at a deal between the companies, and the company heads vow this time they will succeed.


CECI RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The CEOs of United Airlines and US Airways touted their mega-merger as a milestone in commercial aviation history. With nearly $27 billion in combined revenue, 140,000 employees, and nearly 9,000 flights every day, the combined airline would be twice as large as its nearest competitor.

JAMES GOODWIN, CHAIRMAN & CEO, UAL CORPORATION: You've got a strong United and a very strong and vibrant US Air. We're a company that is in need of a strategic network position on the East Coast, in the north-south markets. US Air clearly fills that void.

RODGERS: United's strength is in the longer east-west routes, with hubs in San Francisco, L.A., Denver, Chicago, and Washington's Dulles Airport. US Airways has hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, and Washington's Reagan National Airport. US Airways would sell more than 200 landing slots at Reagan National to media mogul Robert Johnson in just one of many concessions in the deal aimed at mollifying antitrust regulators and consumer groups.

United also promises to freeze airfares for two years, except for increases tied to the Consumer Price Index and fuel costs. After the failure of a similar merger attempt in 1995, the stakes are higher now for this deal to be completed.

STEPHEN WOLF, CHAIRMAN, US AIRWAYS: This is not a try-sie (ph) effort. This is a: We're going to get it done and we're going to get it done with the Justice Department of the United States of America.

RODGERS: The Justice Department might not prove as fiercesome as United Airline's own pilot's union.

RAYMOND NEIDL, ING BARING FURMAN SELZ: We have two big airlines with different union and cost structures, and I think it's going to be hard to integrate those if the merger's approved.

RODGERS (on camera): Despite the obstacles, both carriers optimistically predict the deal will go through by early next year, although many analysts only give the deal a 50-50 chance of arriving on time.

Ceci Rodgers, CNN Financial News, Chicago.


JORDAN: Cloning's first surprise was Dolly the sheep. She proved cloning is possible. Now, what may be the second surprise, scientists say their cloned animals are reversing the aging process -- at least in cells. Chromosomes, those microscopic rod-shaped bodies which carry genes, are the topic of today's "Science Desk"; specifically, the ends of the chromosomes called telomeres.

Telomeres are the natural ends of nonbacterial chromosomes. They are repeating sequences of DNA. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres become shorter. At a certain point, they become so short they inhibit a cell from reproducing. In studies, mice with small telomeres lived only a short while and seemed to age very fast. Scientists have found a way to help increase the length on telomeres, which means they could reproduce many more times than normal cells.

Rhonda Rowland has more.


ROWLAND (voice-over): These six cloned calves have a new kind of biological clock. Scientists say they've taken the cows' cells and turned back time.

DR. ROBERT LANZA, ADVANCED CELL TECHNOLOGY: Not only were we able to generate young, healthy calves using a cloning procedure, but also young healthy cells. And these cells could be used to treat a long list of human diseases.

ROWLAND: It's the cells where the real excitement lies. Eventually, researchers may be able to use our own cloned cells to grow replacement parts -- hearts, livers -- that won't wear out, or even generate tissues that could halt the progression of diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes. And researchers were encouraged to find they overcame an obstacle seen in Dolly, the cloned sheep: Her cells are much older than her chronological age would suggest, making the technique useless for therapy.

But that's not true with the cows. In fact, just the opposite. When researchers measured their telomeres -- the tips of the chromosomes which shorten as they divide and age -- they were much longer than their chronological age.

DR. WOODY WRIGHT, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SOUTHWESTERN: Well, I think it opens up, greatly facilitates the ease with which one will be able to take cells, regardless of their telomere status, and to use them for cloning purposes, particularly in the agricultural arena.

ROWLAND (on camera): Still, not all scientists are convinced that increasing the length of telomeres in the calves will increase lifespan. They say living longer is determined by a number of factors, and telomeres may be just one.

(voice-over): But researchers say because the cells appear youthful, the calves may have a better chance of warding off the damage that comes with age.

WRIGHT: We would expect it not to immortalize the cows, but hopefully to extend their lifespan somewhat on average.

ROWLAND: If the new cloning technology can be used to one day protect the cells we rely on to function physically and mentally, we may have healthier and perhaps longer lives.

Rhonda Rowland, 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 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.

BAKHTIAR: Well, you heard a bit about DNA just now, and you'll hear more in today's "Worldview" segment. We set our sights on science as we journey around the globe. Science provides the solution to a mystery in France: What happened to a little prince? From princes to proliferation, scientists condemn the spread of the nuclear bomb. And then, new frontiers: Explorers speak out about the challenges and opportunities as we check out the lure of our universe.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: History books are full of the names of great explorers: those who boldly went where no man had gone before. Christopher Columbus is probably the most obvious. Most recently, there have been other great explorers, of course; people like Robert Peary, the first man to visit the North Pole; Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to scale Mount Everest; And Neil Armstrong, who in 1969, was the first man on the moon.

Today, there are still places left unexplored and explorers in search of them.

As Kathleen Koch reports, they met recently in Washington, D.C. to discuss worlds left unconquered.


KOCH (voice-over): They have probed the deserts of Africa, the depths of the Atlantic, the delicate connection between humans and primates.

Named as the National Geographic Society's first explorers in resident, seven pioneers now get funding for their next projects. They say there are abundant areas left to explore.

PAUL SERINO, PALEONTOLOGIST: We're going to go into dinosaur-age beds, huge tracts of the Sahara that -- you know, nomads may occasionally have crossed it but there's not a word written about it.

WADE DAVIS, ANTHROPOLOGIST: I want to sort of participate in a pilgrimage of the heart with a famous Sherpa mountain climber to understand: What is the nature of life and death on the ice slopes of Everest?

KOCH: Deep sea explorer Robert Ballard discovered the wreck of the Titanic. He credits technology for opening new frontiers and making it easier to study.

ROBERT BALLARD, EXPLORER: I can put my robots down on the bottom of the ocean and leave them down there indefinitely. So my rate of exploration is increasing by a factor of 10.

KOCH: Unlike past pioneers who often explored and conquered, these modern-day explorers instead campaigned to preserve the fragile areas they monitor: the seas, the rain forests and the world's disappearing wilderness.

For Jane Goodall, it is the wildlife of Africa.

JANE GOODALL, CONSERVATIONIST: The eating of the flesh of wild animals preferred in this part of Africa over that of domestic animals, and populations are going. We reckon in about 20 years, there will be none left.

KOCH: Adults who encourage inquisitiveness are key, say these pioneers, to nurturing the next generation of explorers.

SYLVIA EARLE, MARINE BIOLOGIST: There was nothing, basically, so farfetched, so far out of reach that I couldn't, perhaps, do it if I tried hard enough. And I'd like to convey that to the next generation.

Kathleen Koch for CNN, Washington.


JORDAN: Next up in "Worldview," we take a look at the current nuclear landscape. The world currently has five nuclear powers, countries that have a nuclear bomb and a means to use it. Among them: China, the U.S., Britain, France, and Russia. On the other side of the coin are the countries which have either tinkered with a nuclear bomb or have nuclear aspirations. They include India, Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, Iran, and Iraq.

All countries are keenly aware of a ticking clock counting down to nuclear winter.

Jeff Flock explains.



JOHN SIMPSON, SCIENTIST: My feeling is that we are in a precarious stage in the world.

FLOCK: This is among the last voices of the bomb makers. Before there was this, there was this: the world's first uranium pile, secreted beneath the football stands at the University of Chicago. Though the plaque and stadium are now gone, it was home to the world's first self-sustaining nuclear reaction.

John Simpson was one of the leaders of the team.

(on camera): You were a patriot.

SIMPSON: That's right.

FLOCK (voice-over): But patriotic feelings gave way to concern, caution, dissent. This was Simpson in 1945. In "Life" magazine, he and some of his colleagues spoke out publicly for the first time against the bomb.

It was that year that the atomic scientists put out their first "Bulletin." It would lead to the so-called "doomsday clock," which is one symbolic measure of how close the world is to nuclear disaster. It has ticked to within two minutes of nuclear midnight, in 1953 after U.S. and Soviet tests, and as far away as 17 minutes, a decade ago at the end of the Cold War.

Tests in India and Pakistan have pushed it back to nine minutes of.

(on camera): Do people have a real sense of how scary it is these days?

SIMPSON: Well, I hope not, in a way.

FLOCK (voice-over): The most recent edition of the "Bulletin" estimates current world nuclear stockpiles at 31,535 warheads, down from a high of nearly 70,000 in 1986, but still about as many as during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Most are somewhere in the former Soviet Union.

SIMPSON: I think, personally, that the proliferation issue is almost out of control at the present time.

FLOCK: John Simpson, now 83 and still a professor at the University of Chicago, remembers when it wasn't, back when he posed with his colleagues for "Life" and appealed to the world to outlaw the bomb. Simpson's is the last of those voices left.

I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, in Chicago.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We turn now to France, one of the oldest countries of the Western world. For centuries, it was ruled by kings. But the French Revolution, which took place from 1789 to 1799, ended the absolute authority of the French king. In Paris, modern-day DNA testing is being used to confirm the royal lineage of France's Louis XVII. Was he the end of the royal line? And why turn to science to settle the matter? What's so convincing, after all, about DNA?

Well, over the past decade, DNA has become a fundamental part of forensics investigations and is often called upon for use as evidence in criminal cases. DNA is a chemical code that every living thing carries inside. With incredible advances being made in DNA research, scientists are learning more and more about human's genetic make up. And that's the case even after someone dies.

From Paris, Jim Bittermann reports on how DNA helped solve a couple of controversial cases.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The French, the duc de Bauffremont says, cling to their history. And one of the things he and the other descendants of the French royal family have hung onto is a tiny lump of mummified flesh thought to be the heart of the last, if uncrowned, French king, Louis XVII.

Little Louis, caught in the revolution that claimed the heads of his parents, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, was thought to have died in prison at the age of 10, leaving no descendants. But there was always doubt: Perhaps he miraculously escaped to father another branch of the royal family.

Over the years, scores of people came forward claiming to be the last king. So you can see the satisfaction among undisputed relatives of Louis XVI when they could announce that DNA testing confirmed the heart, indeed, belonged to Marie Antoinette's son, well and truly dead at an early age.

It put DNA testing into the headlines here, but not for the first time. DNA scientists have been called upon time and again in recent high-profile cases.

(on camera): The same week the news broke about Little Louis, French investigators decided to reopen one of the country's most notorious unsolved murder cases, hoping that DNA evidence gathered from old saliva on the back of a postage stamp will lead them to the killer.

(voice-over): And then there is singer Yves Montand. He was resting peacefully in his grave when two ladies claiming to be his lover and daughter forced a DNA test to prove they deserved a part of his inheritance. Scrapings of the singer's bones and teeth went to a lab for tests. And while the ladies lost their case, they set a dubious precedent in a country with a fairly unique inheritance law.

SIMON FOREMAN, LAWYER: In the French system, if there is a relation -- if you can prove that you are the child of someone, you are entitled to a part of the heritage.

BITTERMANN: As a result, paternity challenges have doubled over the last decade, much to the dismay of some DNA scientists.

MARC FELLUS, PASTEUR INSTITUTE: I think this is the bad use of genetics. Any DNA test should be used mainly for medicine with the approval of the patient.

BITTERMANN: But what's more, DNA proof doesn't always convince everyone. This man, a retired aircraft worker, and his devoted followers still believe he is the great-grandson of the last French king, despite the DNA tests on Little Louis' heart. He believes the heart was switched for that of Louis' younger brother who died at age 8, and he stands ready to rise to the French throne if and when the monarchy is restored.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


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

JORDAN: Well, what do you get when you combine a fat cat, a dateless pet owner and a lovable dog? Well, it's all in the makings of a great American art form.

Gerrad Hall (ph) from CNN Student Bureau at Ball State University in Indiana goes behind the scenes with "Garfield," America's most famous fat cat, and his creator.


GERRAD HALL, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Stuffed animals, clothes, books and Emmy awards? This room is beginning to look like that of a child's, but the many awards and wide array of "Garfield" merchandise reminds us that this is no ordinary facility. It's headquarters of a huge enterprise, Paws Incorporated, home of Garfield, Odie, and their friends, recognized worldwide by millions. But how did they become so famous? The man behind the cat says the answer goes back 22 years.

J. DAVIS: I took a long hard look at the comics and I noticed dogs doing very well -- Snoopy, Marmaduke, Fred Bassett, Belvedere -- and no cats at that time. So I felt that if dog lovers like dog strips, surely cat lovers would like to see a cat out there.

I started with -- the comic strip with Jon and Garfield, basically, for several months. Then after about three months, I had Lyman and Odie move in. Lyman is a friend of Jon's who moved in with a dog. And I introduced Lyman to the strip because I wanted to give Jon someone to talk to, since Jon and Garfield can't physically visit with one another.

Well, what I didn't realize at the time was how well Jon and Garfield could communicate non-verbally. But they could certainly communicate and I didn't need Lyman anymore.

HALL: So what about those names? Contrary to what many believe, Garfield is not named after the former U.S. president.

J. DAVIS: Garfield was my grandfather's name, James A. Garfield Davis. Jon Arbuckle, Garfield's owner, was an inside joke. It was from an old coffee commercial in the '50s. Odie, the dog, was another inside joke. I'd written radio commercials for years and one day I'd used a gag, Odie, the town idiot.

HALL: Davis says bugs were his first comic strip. After that, he developed "Garfield" and has come to establish the largest comic strip in the world.

J. DAVIS: When I write, it's like watching a TV set in my head. I can put Garfield into a situation -- on a diet, camping, something -- and I watch him.

HALL: There's one old saying that, over time, pets and their owners sometimes take on each other's characteristics. And Davis agrees.

J. DAVIS: I'm probably 30 percent Garfield. Obviously, our Web site's been doing very well. We get about a million individual visits a month, and we're busy adding new bells and whistles to that site and looking at our opportunities. Hopefully, too, we'll get an opportunity to do an amusement park.

HALL: But no matter how high tech the world becomes, one thing will remain the same with Davis and his creation.

J. DAVIS: "Garfield"'s only reason to be is to make people laugh, to make them feel better.

Gerrad Hall, CNN Student Bureau, Muncie, Indiana.


JORDAN: What about Nermal? They forgot. Maybe they'll have spinoff.

BAKHTIAR: Hopefully.

Anyway, if you're interested in making some student videos of your own...

JORDAN: ... then head to the Web for more info. Or, in the United States, call 1-800-344-6219.

We'll see you back here tomorrow.





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