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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for May 30, 2000

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


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And welcome back to NEWSROOM after a long holiday weekend here in the United States. We have lots in store so let's get your Tuesday NEWSROOM rolling.

The voting is over but the conflict continues surrounding Peru's highest office.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're seeing in Peru now is demonstrations in the streets. I think we're likely to see it in the Congress considering an impeachment motion, where there's only a simple majority needed. There's a possibility for a constitutional referendum.


WALCOTT: OK, put your books away. Today's "Health Desk" features a pop quiz. Do you know what pandiculation is? The answer's coming up in our "Desk" segment.

Health is still on the agenda in "Worldview" when we travel to Madagascar.


CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They call this the cemetery of strangers -- not because the people are really strangers, but because they've died of cholera, a taboo here where it's called the unclean hands disease.


WALCOTT: Our world tour ends back in the U.S., examining "Democracy in America" and delving into the history of the vice presidency.

In today's top story, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori has won a third term in office. Official results show Fujimori easily winning a runoff election that was boycotted by his opponent, Alejandro Toledo. Toledo urged his supporters not to vote or to spoil their ballot to protest what he called Fujimori's plan to steal another term through electoral fraud. The results of Peru's elections are also being criticized by the international community. The United States has rejected the vote, calling it invalid.

A little background on Mr. Fujimori's political history: The son of working-class Japanese immigrants, he was first elected president in 1990. Peru is considered to have one of the worst human rights records in the Western Hemisphere, and Mr. Fujimori's two terms have been marred by an alliance with a scandal-plagued spy service. The service has allowed him to exert control over Peru's legislature, judiciary and media.

Harris Whitbeck looks at how Peru is preparing to deal with another presidential term with Mr. Fujimori at the helm.


HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was back at work, bolstered by official results showing he easily won a runoff election against opposition candidate Alejandro Toledo. But the opposition is saying: not so fast.

At an evening rally on Sunday, Toledo announced the start of what he calls a "peaceful revolution." And his advisers are traveling to Washington to lobby the Organization of American States to press for a revision of Peru's electoral process. Independent observers say the role of the international community is crucial.

RAFAEL RONCAGLIOLO, INDEPENDENT MONITOR: We expect that the OAS could play a role in establishing dialogue among the Peruvians. So what I mean is that the international sector should support the efforts to create a dialogue inside the Peruvian society.

WHITBECK: Those who say the election was fraudulent want the OAS to invoke resolution 1080, which would call for the expulsion of Peru from the organization if it is determined democracy was suddenly interrupted. Peruvian authorities say that is simply not the case.

FRANCISCO TUDELA, PERUVIAN VICE PRES. CANDIDATE: The OAS has said that there was not an electoral fraud in the first round, and the second round confirms the numbers of the first round.

WHITBECK: Meanwhile on the streets of Lima, many people say they were just relieved the process was over.

"Now we are calm. I just hope Fujimori keeps his campaign promises," said this woman. Others expressed disappointment in the country's political system.

This man said he had never seen such a filthy spectacle.

(on camera): That spectacle might not yet be over. If the opposition is successful in keeping international pressure on Peru, then Mr. Fujimori might have to run again to prove the legitimacy of his presidency. Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Lima, Peru.


WALCOTT: And we're also covering news from Indonesia today. Former Indonesian President Suharto is under house arrest after allegations surfaced that he embezzled millions of dollars. Protesters have taken to the streets recently demanding he be prosecuted immediately. Prosecutors say he'll stand trial by early August.

Suharto ruled Indonesia with an iron fist for more than three decades. A massive pro-democracy movement in 1998 forced him from power. Observers say Suharto left behind a legacy of corruption.

Atika Shubert (ph) has details on his current situation.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Indonesia's attorney general has stepped up the pressure on former President Suharto, placing him under house arrest. On Monday, a spokesperson for the attorney general's office said Suharto was no longer allowed to leave his home in a plush residential area of Jakarta.

Prosecutors say the move was made to speed up the investigation. The announcement comes days after the attorney general, Marzuki Darusman, said he would bring Suharto to court by August 10 on charges of corruption.

Suharto and his family are suspected of siphoning off millions of dollars through corrupt businesses and government contracts during his 32 years in power. But the investigation has dragged on for months. Suharto is 79 years old and has suffered two strokes. His lawyers say his health is too fragile to risk vigorous questioning. They say the strokes have impaired Suharto's speech and mental abilities to the point where he is simply unable to answer complicated questions.

The slow pace of the investigation has frustrated many Indonesians, especially student protesters, who played a major role in bringing down the Suharto regime in 1998. Students have been conducting almost daily protests outside his home. Demonstrations spun out of control on Friday when students at a nearby university began torching passing military vehicles while chanting "hang Suharto."

But despite the pressure, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid says he will pardon Suharto if he is found guilty, and if any money the former president is proven to have stolen is returned.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Jakarta.


WALCOTT: OK, have you guessed what pandiculation is yet? Not so hard to figure out, right? Well, pandiculation is the act of yawning and stretching. Have you started yawning yet, or caused your classmates to begin? because yawning is contagious. Yawning first becomes so between the first and second years of life. But the first time a person ever yawns is around eleven weeks after conception before even being born. And how long does a yawn last? Well, on average, about six seconds.

Now here's Jeanne Moos with some more interesting info about yawns.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Babies do it, first ladies do it, lions do it, the pope tries not to do it, but everybody's got to yawn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't yawn, you're not alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I yawn at the end of my exercise class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I want to yawn just talking about it.


MOOS: But when it comes to why we yawn, there are gaping holes in our knowledge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It increases the flow of oxygen to the brain.

MOOS: Want to bet?

DR. MICHAEL THORPY, MONTEFIORE MEDICAL CENTER: That actually now has been shown not to be the case.

MOOS: Dr. Michael Thorpy is director of the Sleep Disorder Center at Montefiore Medical Center. He cites studies by neuropsychologist Robert Provine showing that yawning is not affected by oxygen or carbon dioxide levels. So why is it that creatures ranging from a fetus to a dragon lizard do it? Researchers don't really know why, but they do know when.

THORPY: People are more likely to yawn during the week rather than on weekends.

MOOS: And most yawning takes place the hour before going to sleep and the hour after waking up. It's believed there's a connection between yawning and stretching, as anyone who's ever had a dog knows. Think of the yawn as a facial stretch. And here's something that will wipe the yawn off your face.


MOOS: And that's not all. Some scientists say the rat studies don't count because rats don't react like humans. And how do humans react?

(on camera): When one person yawns, what happens? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's contagious.

MOOS (voice-over): The neuropsychologist Provine showed students videos of yawning people. Within five minutes, more than half of them were themselves yawning. Scientists don't know why. Maybe it has something to do with synchronizing group behavior suggesting time for bed. But we suggest you keep your mouth.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


WALCOTT: We highlight health in "Worldview" today. Our stories take us to the continents of Africa and South America. In some places, living conditions put people at risk. We'll visit a shantytown in Brazil to learn what life is like for the poor. And we'll head to Madagascar, which is struggling with the disease cholera.

Our first stop is a place you don't usually hear much about. It's the African country of Madagascar. The island nation is located on the Indian Ocean, about 240 miles or 386 kilometers southeast of the African mainland. The country is also made up of several tiny islands nearby. Madagascar gained independence from France in 1960.

The people of Madagascar are called the Malagasy. The population is made up of several ethnic groups of mixed Indonesian and black African descent. About three-fourths of the people are farmers or herders, and rice is the chief food crop. Madagascar is also home to a unique blend of nature. Many of the plants and animals who live on the island don't exist anywhere else. The island's best-known wild animal is the lemur. They resemble and are relatives of monkeys.

The people of Madagascar are now gearing up for winter, but a recent outbreak of cholera in the country has many people dreading the colder months.

Our Charlayne Hunter-Gault has the story.


HUNTER-GAULT (voice-over): They call this the "cemetery of strangers" -- not because the people are really strangers, but because they've died of cholera, a taboo here where it's called the "unclean hands disease."

CHRISTINE DEMETZ, MEDICINS SANS FRONTIERES: They don't like to go to the hospital during the day, not to be seen by the neighbors and everybody.

HUNTER-GAULT: Cultural practices like handling the dead contribute to the epidemic. Hygiene is also a problem.

DEMETZ: Especially they don't use toilets.

HUNTER-GAULT: If caught in time, cholera is easy to treat. But the stigma and the distances most have to travel to get to a clinic have made it difficult. That and living conditions. Only 20 percent of the country's 13 million people have access to clean drinking water. Cholera, a waterborne disease, is new here, introduced by a carrier from the Comoros Islands a little over a year ago.

Here in the capital Antannarivo, an abandoned building had to be opened to accommodate the large numbers of victims at the peak of the rainy season -- some 50 to 80 per day. The doctor in charge of infectious diseases is worried. She says so long as people are not aware of hygiene, more cholera is likely to come. This despite government efforts that include a vaccination program.

But experts say that once the disease is introduced, vaccinations are useless. Though cash-strapped, the government has also increased the amount of money for cholera and has embarked on a long-term project of upgrading the quality of water and sanitation, and providing more education about hygiene.

TANTELY ADRIANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR PRIME MINISTER: It's not a question of a month. You do not erase cholera in one year. You have to work, and work for quite a long time.

HUNTER-GAULT (on camera): For now, the number of bodies have dropped off because the rainy season is over. But more bodies are expected because the winter months are coming, bringing with them daily light rains, holding out the prospect of more disease, especially among the poor who can only afford headstones like this for markers on their graves.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Antannarivo, Madagascar.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Next up, we head to a land where the native tongue is Portuguese and one of the national pastimes is the Carnaval celebrations.

Brazil borders every country in South America apart from Ecuador and Chile. For the country's poor, Brazil can seem very isolated. Only 22 percent of households have a telephone; 61 percent a color television. Even more revealing, the number of residents who have access to a safe water supply. While 71 percent of all Brazilians do, only 11.6 percent of rural households do.

Debra Daugherty looks at how residents of one Rio shantytown get by.


DEBRA DAUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Residents of Rio de Janeiro's shantytowns have a million-dollar view. And in this hillside slum, Brazil's economic recovery is taking hold slowly, but very slowly. Here, the higher up you live, the worse off you are. These streets don't exist on a map. Trash is rarely retrieved. Electricity is jerryrigged. From power lines to popsicles, everything is shared. RUBEN CESAR FERNANDES, SOCIOLOGIST: The slums in Rio, which make up about a fifth of the population in Rio, have been marginalized from the institutional life of the city. So you do not find services in the slums. You do not find security in the slums. The slums were taken to be some odd kind of urban thing which would disappear one day, which would go away, which someone would remove them away. But somehow, the slums have not been part of the city.

DAUGHERTY: Telma Matias (ph) is one of a million residents living in Rio's slums. A single mother, she shares a bed with her 14- year-old daughter Natalia (ph). Her son Bruno (ph) sleeps on the couch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's difficult. We poor have to fight against the wind, as they say. With two children, in a place like this, it's not easy.

DAUGHERTY: A social worker for 16 years, Telma earns about 120 dollars a month. Yet she counts herself among Brazil's privileged poor. Hers is among the nine of 10 homes with a television, seven of 10 with a refrigerator, an improvement from decades past. Yet her electric bills alone cost one fourth her income.

(on camera): According to the World Bank, Brazil's wealthiest 10 percent own half this country's resources, and the poor, like the residents of the shantytown of Cantagalo, own just 1 percent of this country's wealth.

(voice-over): Brazil's poorest 10 percent will soon receive slightly higher paychecks. The federal government raised the minimum monthly wage from the equivalent of $76 to $85.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't want to talk about it. It's shameful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No comment. It's totally absurd.

DAUGHERTY: However nominally increased, Brazil's currency, the real, goes farther today than under the quadruple-digit inflation of years past.

MARCILIO MOREIRA, FORMER MINISTER OF ECONOMY: Lately, there was improvement, yes, mainly due to the fact that inflation is a very perverse kind of tax, which is much heavier on the poor than on the middle class or on the rich.

DAUGHERTY: Yet, President Cardoso concedes, there is much work to be done.

FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO, PRESIDENT, BRAZIL: So our problem's much more social problems than economic problems. We have injustice. I used to say that we are no more an underdeveloped a country, but a developing country, but unjust.

DAUGHERTY: A better future for her son and daughter is what this mother yearns for. Telma's children's achievements are her biggest joy. Son Bruno's jujitsu medals line the wall. Natalia made the cover of the newspaper during Carnaval. And in the corner of the living room, a costume Telma wore in the past parade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Don't even think about crying. Happiness, that's Carnaval.

DAUGHERTY: It is during Carnaval Telma mingles with the rich who live on Rio's shiny beach front, if only for a few days a year.

Debra Daugherty, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.


JORDAN: We'll have more on Brazil tomorrow on "Worldview." We'll revisit this nation to learn about its distinctive music, drawn from its heritage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lots of drumming and chanting and that sort of thing. And that kind of spread, you know, over the city of Salvador. The music from Bahia, you know, is responsible in Brazil nowadays for almost 15 to 20 million records sold per year. You know, and they -- most of them are really, now, are really superstars.


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

WALCOTT: Today in our series, "Democracy in America," a closer look at the vice presidency of the United States. It's the job that's just a heartbeat away from one of the most powerful elective offices in the world.

The U.S. Constitution says, "in case of the removal of the president from office, or of his death, resignation or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the vice president."

Bruce Morton has more now on the second in command.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Adams, George Washington's vice president, called it "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived. I can do neither good nor evil." Thomas Jefferson called it "honorable and easy," but he saw the presidency as "but a splendid misery."

Back then, the number two finisher in the presidential election became vice president, usually someone from the other party. Federalist Adams's veep was anti-Federalist Jefferson. After that rule changed in Jefferson's presidency, it got a lot of party hacks. Andrew Jackson's vice president, Martin Van Buren, ran for president when Jackson's term ended and won, but that was rare. Vice presidents' names to remember: Henry Wilson? William Wheeler? Give up?

ROBERT DALLEK, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: The vice presidency did not count for very much for a very long time, and of course the most famous comment on it came from FDR's first vice president, John Nance Garner, who said the office wasn't worth a warm bowl of spit.

MORTON: Thomas Marshall, Woodrow Wilson's VP, said, once upon a time, there were two brothers. One ran away to sea, the other became vice president. Neither was ever heard of again. But over time, that changed.

DALLEK: I think Theodore Roosevelt, first of all, gave the vice presidency a better name because, having succeeded William McKinley in 1901, he was someone who was very effective and really was one of our near-great presidents. And then, of course, Harry Truman, coming after FDR, that was an amazing performance.

MORTON: Sure was. Truman, who didn't even know the U.S. was developing an atomic bomb, had to decide whether to use it against Japan, had to end the war, deal with the Soviets, use an airlift to break their Berlin blockade -- major decision after major decision. Vice presidents mattered more because the U.S. was now a world power.

DALLEK: With the Cold War and the fact that Eisenhower had illness, was vulnerable, was -- when he left office in 1961, he was 70 years old. At that point, he was the oldest president in American history. And there was the feeling that you needed somebody who could really handle the job.

MORTON: And that meant another change. VPs weren't party hacks anymore, they were serious men with ambition.

DALLEK: The great change is that vice presidents now run for president. This didn't used to happen. Now, in the 20th century, so many vice presidents have reached for and a few of them have gained the office, like George Bush, like Richard Nixon.

MORTON: Others -- Hubert Humphrey, Dan Quayle -- have tried. And vice presidents do more now: go to Cabinet meetings, sit on the National Security Council. Jimmy Carter gave Walter Mondale real jobs to do, and the trend continues. President Bill Clinton has worked closely with Al Gore, thrown deep to him, so to speak, put him in charge of reinventing government.

Richard Nixon debating Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was good television, but today's VPs do more than photo ops. This year, a sitting vice president is running against the son of a president who was also a veep. John Adams, that first veep, said, "I am nothing, but I may be everything." VPs aren't nothing anymore and, more than ever, may be everything.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

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: "Chronicle" continues now with a challenge: Imagine for a moment how you'd design your dream car. Recently, some teenagers from around the United States got to do just that. They took part in a contest to find out the most innovative dream car of the future.

Ed Garsten shows us some of the brightest designs.


ED GARSTEN, CNN DETROIT BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): From the minds of teenagers, the wheels they dream about building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We envision a car so technologically sound, it would fly above and beyond the competition. The result: the Dodge Raven.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flying the vehicle immediately after its release will require a pilot's license.

GARSTEN: Letting imaginations soar is what it's all about in the sixth annual DaimlerChrysler Design Your Dream Vehicle Contest.

CHARLES HUDSON, DAIMLERCHRYSLER: They need to discuss environmental features of the vehicle, safety features, the ergonomics. They need a 3-D drawing or an actual model.

GARSTEN: But mostly, they need unique ideas, like those in the Accessa (ph), designed by a team from William Friend High School in Pallatine, Illinois specifically for disabled travelers.

AARON MERTZ, STUDENT: There's a remote keyless entry system, and when you press one of the buttons the sliding door slides open, and then the wheelchair lift comes out. You wheel your wheelchair on there, you position it into the grooves, and then it comes back into the car.

GARSTEN: The all-girl team from Perry Hall High in Baltimore came up with this convenience in their Canyon pickup truck.

LAUREN JONES, STUDENT: There's a special thing on the tailgate. It's a tailgate ramp so you can fold it down. And it's for easy loading on the truck.

GARSTEN: And the team from McComb, Michigan came up with an ominous-sounding feature for back seat drivers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The two rear doors are suicide-style, which give the rear-seat passengers an easy access to the rear seats.

GARSTEN: The team winning the $5,000 first prize came from Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, Florida with its Excalibur. Not just because the car has a sleek design, hybrid electric engine and computer screen, but because the team had a solid finance plan, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With this, we break even in only 15 months, as long as we sell a little over 3,600 units a month.

GARSTEN: Right now, those units are pint-sized clay or foam non- working models. But the folks at DaimlerChrysler are taking the hint. If this is what teenagers are dreaming up now, it may very well be what they'll be shopping for later.

Ed Garsten, CNN, Auburn Hills, Michigan.


WALCOTT: And there's a lot of creative minds out there.

Well, that wraps up today's show. From all of us here at NEWSROOM, have a great day. We'll see you back here tomorrow.



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