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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for June 1, 2000

Aired June 1, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And NEWSROOM rolls into the station for Thursday. Our global tour includes stops in Europe, Asia and the United States. Here's a look at our itinerary.

U.S. President Clinton's European tour wraps things up in Portugal as he heads for Germany for talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

"Science Desk" celebrates the coming of summer: No more homework, no more books, no more lawns to mow?


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A no-mow lawn could be possible. Scientist Joanne Chory at the Salk Institute says she has found a way to stunt a plant's growth by controlling the amount of steroids produced by a plant.


WALCOTT: Then "Worldview" heads to Europe to explore Russia's metal black market.


STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The scrap metal business has exploded in Russia. The amount of aluminum scrap melted down and shipped abroad has multiplied 30 times in the past three years, with copper not far behind. That makes everything metal, even missiles, a target for thieves.


WALCOTT: And finally, 20 years and going strong: Happy birthday CNN.


TED TURNER, CNN FOUNDER: It started with a vision to do a 24- hour in-depth news network. And then it became a number of networks and a number of different programming segments: financial news, sports news, and so forth, later on.


WALCOTT: In today's top story, U.S. President Clinton tries to calm Europe's fears of a nuclear arms race. During a meeting with European Union leaders in Portugal, Mr. Clinton promised the United States would share new missile defense technology with its allies. The president said it would be unethical to keep such technology solely for America's protection.

Lisbon, Portugal is the first stop on Mr. Clinton's week-long tour of Europe. The primary goal of the trip: to smooth out strained relations between the U.S. and Europe.

Chris Burns reports.


CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the rococo-style Queluz Palace, an effort to sound as harmonious as the architecture. President Clinton, looking at least for European understanding of a U.S.-proposed national missile defense against so-called rogue states.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Is there a threat which is new and different? The answer to that, it seems to me, is plainly, yes, there is and there will be one.

BURNS: Clinton reiterated his offer to share the costly technology, though the United States could still build it alone. The Europeans prodded Clinton, saying the plan could upset regional security, a not-so-veiled reference to Russia.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, PORTUGUESE PRIME MINISTER: We live in a Northern Hemisphere where, from Bering to Bering, we want to have a strong security situation. We believe we have built a lot on the past to create that. And we believe that every new move to strengthen this must be as comprehensive as possible.

BURNS: A major public falling out here would have made Clinton's job that much tougher in his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week.

(on camera): The two sides did agree to step up their fight against AIDS, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Millions of people are infected there, up to 25 percent of the adult population in some countries.

(voice-over): But trade was another sore point with little progress. The world's biggest trading partners have clashed over subsidies, tax breaks or market access for items ranging from bananas and genetically modified food, to steel and aircraft. A deepening trade conflict?

PASCAL LAMY, EUROPEAN TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: We cannot afford a trade war. I mean, U.S. and E.U. are the two elephants of world trade. I mean, we both account for 20 percent of world trade. BURNS: Still, both sides spoke of their cooperation in seeking a long-term solution to the Balkans. A year after the Kosovo war, if disputes over trade and common defense may overshadow relations now, the leaders sought to stress their common interests in putting out and keeping out regional conflicts.

Chris Burns, CNN, Queluz, Portugal.


WALCOTT: The most challenging leg of President Clinton's journey could still be ahead. After his stop in Portugal, the president heads to Germany, Russia and Ukraine. His three-day visit to Germany will include a summit with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. It's a crucial meeting that comes at a time when Germans and Americans have some repair work to do in their relations.

Here again is Chris Burns.


BURNS (voice-over): President Clinton visits Berlin in the wake of some difficult twists in U.S.-German ties. Officials hoped the president and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder could sign an accord on Nazi slave labor payments in exchange for immunity from future litigation, but prospects looked dim as negotiations dragged on.

Recent agreement on a new German chief for the International Monetary Fund came only after Clinton and Schroeder clashed over candidates. U.S. and German officials have been wrangling over a security buffer for a new U.S. embassy. The Americans want the street near Brandenburg Gate altered.

Meanwhile, the CIA is only now handing over CD-ROM copies of records that belonged to communist East Germany's Stasi secret police.

Some Germans see a lingering U.S. attitude as post-war occupier. Some Americans, in turn, are put off by the new Germany, its capital back in Berlin more boldly acting in its interests, leaning closer to the European Union.

KARL KAISER, GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY SOCIETY: The difference between the old days and today possibly is that the style of communicating must adapt a little bit to changes.

BURNS: But the latest friction could be more serious over the U.S. proposed national missile defense, a limited version of the U.S. Star Wars program of the 1980s. It can intercept an attack from a so- called rogue state. German officials say it could spark another arms race. Clinton could use Schroeder's help as his next stop is a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the Germans remain critical.

On the bright side, Clinton is being honored in the town of Aachen with the Charlemagne Prize for his contributions to European unity. CHRISTIAN TUSCHHOFF, ASPEN INSTITUTE, BERLIN: A huge award that has only been given out to two Americans before him is kind of a German way to extend the hand across the Atlantic.

BURNS: Clinton and Schroeder are said to get along well generally, brought closer by the Kosovo crisis. Both are in a comfortable position: Clinton riding a strong economy, Schroeder benefiting from a rebounding economy after a tough period last year. They'll join leaders from a dozen other countries in another so-called "third way conference" on how to adapt to globalization and the new economy.

(on camera): The hope is President Clinton's visit will revitalize U.S.-German relations after strains over a whole range of issues. The question is, how much can be resolved in three days?

Chris Burns, CNN, Berlin.


WALCOTT: Today's "Science Desk" focuses on something that grows all around; something green that grows all around. That's right: grass. More specifically, the grass growing on your parent's lawn, the lawn that you've probably spent many a spring and summer mowing. What if I told you that something called genetic engineering just might get you out from behind that dreaded lawn mower?

Genetic engineering is the directed alteration of genetic material by intervention in genetic processes. Got that? Well, some scientists are working on a way to use genetic engineering to make grass stay greener longer and grow a little slower.

Ann Kellan explains.


KELLAN (voice-over): Mowing the lawn: such a chore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I had a choice, I'd just plow the whole thing under.

KELLAN: A lush green lawn that you don't have to mow sounds to good to be true.

JOANNE CHORY, SALK INSTITUTE: I have to say, this is pretty wild.

KELLAN: But a no-mow lawn could be possible. Scientist Joanne Chory at the Salk Institute says she has found a way to stunt a plant's growth by controlling the amount of steroids produced by a plant. Yes, steroids. Similar stuff that bulks up muscles in humans is found in plants and impacts how they grow. Scientists found altering a certain gene in the plant can affect how much steroid it makes and how much it grows.

This, for example, is a normal tobacco plant; this one altered to produce less steroid. It's the same age, but it's smaller, more compact, and stays greener longer than its normal counterpart.

(on camera): Now, will this ever eventually grow to this height?


KELLAN: This will never get any...

CHORY: These guys stay green, they stay small, they make some seeds, and eventually they die. But they'll stay green for quite a long time.

KELLAN: So what does all this have to do with lawns? Well, first, don't go throw away your lawn mowers yet, but what researchers hope is that the turf industry will use the research to develop a slower-growing, greener grass seed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that would be great. I'd definitely use it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would allow me to have more time to do the other things I enjoy doing in the yard.

KELLAN (voice-over): Chory's team is also studying the benefits of increasing steroid production that turned this normal weedy plant into a gangly, longer-leafed plant.

Could pumping up the steroids produce heartier crops with a better yield? All this takes more research and more time. So for now, enjoy mowing the lawn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eliminate the cutting? That's hard to say because I enjoy cutting the grass.

KELLAN: Ann Kellan, CNN, San Diego, California.


WALCOTT: All aboard for "Worldview." We'll fill you in on the best place to catch some "Z"s if you're ever in New York. Then it's onto Russia where you'll discover aluminum is as good as gold, and so is copper. But we start in South Korea where you can let your fingers to the dialing.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Time for some technology news out of South Korea. First, a history lesson on the Korean Peninsula. Korea was actually controlled by Japan from the late 1800s until Japan's defeat in World War II. At that point, communist troops from the Soviet Union began occupying Korea above the 38th Parallel, which divides the peninsula in half.

To fight communism, the U.S. occupied the southern part of Korea. And in 1947, the United Nations asked Korea to elect one government. The Soviet Union opposed the idea and would not permit elections in the North. A year later, South Korea established the Republic of Korea. The North Korean communists answered by establishing their own government, and troops began to clash along the 38th Parallel. War broke out between the two in 1950 when communist troops invaded the southern peninsula. The conflict lasted for three years.

To this day, an unstable peace still haunts the Korean Peninsula. The two governments have never signed a peace agreement. But even in the absence of peace with its northern counterpart, South Korea has become one of the world's most highly industrialized nations.

In today's report, we focus on the creativity of one South Korean engineer out to change the way we use our cell phones.

Denise Dillon has more.


DENISE DILLON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This phone is much more than it appears. It can get money from an ATM, conduct credit card transactions, and get you a soda from a vending machine. It could even save your life. In an emergency situation, just click on the cell phone and a signal is sent to the police. This is all possible because of new technology called PASS 21. PASS 21 uses fingerprints, sweat gland analysis and encryption to create a personal authentication system. Its developer says it's secure, even against the most talented hacker.

YOON TAI-SHIK, PASS 21 DEVELOPER (through translator): I have the outcome of tests by domestic and foreign scientists. All of them confirmed our system is free from any hacking attempts with any up-to- the-minute technology.

DILLON: There are systems currently on the market that use fingerprints, but they are not error-free. PASS 21 claims to have solved common problems. By using digital instead of analog technology, it can read a fingerprint from all angles, and it factors in the characteristics of the sweat glands of your finger.

TAI-SHIK: After fingerprinting four times, the vector mode of common characteristics scanned from the sweat glands are stored in computer servers. Taking that one step further to ensure security, computer servers receive and verify GPS satellite time with the fingerprint code. It's so secure, in fact, that South Korea's Ministry of Finance and Economy has certified the technology for financial transactions. And the Ministry of Information is using the technology for its security system.

This phone seems rather futuristic and sounds expensive, but when it hits markets in a few months, developers say it will cost about $10 more than other cell phones.

Denise Dillon, CNN.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: And now we travel to the world's largest country: Russia. Almost twice the size of Canada, Russia was the biggest republic in the Soviet Union before its collapse. Agriculture, fishing, manufacturing and mining are the driving forces of the country's economy. Russia has an abundant supply of petroleum, natural gas, coal and iron ore. But access to these natural resources is sometimes blocked by Russia's cold, harsh climate. As a result, a black market has developed to meet the demand for certain products.

Steve Harrigan explains.


HARRIGAN (voice-over): The new World War II monument in Kaluga will be made of concrete. That's because the old one, made of several tons of metal, was stolen.

VLADIMIR PUZDNYAKOV, KALUGA ADMINISTRATION (through translator): This is a sacred monument. It is where people come to when they get married.

HARRIGAN: Sacred or profane, if it's made of metal in Kaluga, it's stolen: a wall with the names of war veterans in bronze stripped bare, The bust of a revolutionary gone, even the globe beneath Yuri Gagarin stripped away by metal thieves.

They attack not just the past, but the present. There has been no electricity in this village since January, the power cables, made of metal, stolen. Same with the phone wires and the water pipes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): People were hungry after the war, but no one stole like this.

HARRIGAN: The scrap metal business has exploded in Russia. The amount of aluminum scrap melted down and shipped abroad has multiplied 30 times in the past three years, with copper not far behind. That makes everything metal, even missiles, a target for thieves. Not even a presidential decree aimed at restricting the trade has slowed down the stripping of Russia's infrastructure.

YURI LOSEV, KALUGENERGO (through translator): We finished restoring power here on the 7th. On the 8th, all the cables were stolen again.

HARRIGAN: The thieves are a mix of professionals, who can steal 10 kilometers of cable a night, to children like Stanislav (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm going to need medical treatment my whole life.

HARRIGAN: Instead of 50 cents for a kilo of copper, he got 10,000 volts from a live wire. Five hundred people in Russia were killed last year doing the same thing. And even the dead are not out of reach. The grave of Anastasia's father, Giorgi, now reads just "orgi," the letters along with the dates of birth and death stolen.

Steve Harrigan, CNN, Moscow.


JORDAN: We have a quick quiz for you. How many countries belong to the United Nations? We'll give you the answer in a minute. Think of the United Nations and you may think of a place full of diplomacy and intense negotiations. After all, the world body lists its two main objectives as peace and human dignity.

The U.N. was established at the end of World War II in 1945 by countries who wanted to make sure fighting on that scale never happened again. At first, there were 50 member nations, but that number has grown. How many countries belong to the United Nations? That's our quiz question. And the answer is, today, there are 185.

U.N. peacekeepers are at work around the world, as directed by delegates from its New York headquarters. And, yes, a place with such an important mission you'd think would be a great place to catch some high-level discussions. As it turns out, it's also a great place to catch some "Z"s.

Richard Roth explains.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diplomats were eager to grab the hottest document at the United Nations. This pamphlet is not about the U.N. finding world peace or ending global war. No, it's called "Sleeping at the United Nations," a how-to guide written by the former French ambassador at the U.N., Alain Dejammet. Now, the U.N. atmosphere can produce yawns, embarrassing tune-outs, even in the audience.

ROBERT FOWLER, CANADIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: I look forward to learning some important tips.

ROTH: Cat-napping diplomats? Here they are: the corridor between the Security Council and the Trusteeship Council. Based on a high of 20 points, this hallway gets 14, with good marks for comfortable armchairs and shadows, but losing value for difficulty in finding a seat.

The delegates lounge is panned for intrusive announcements of ambassadors and green plants hanging over chairs. Too large to move, the book says. May pinch one's nose in a very unpleasant way. Score: 10, graded as simply convenient.

PETER VAN WALSUM, DUTCH AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: We always thought that Alain Dejammet was -- went to the U.N. to work hard, and this is a great discovery, that he was taking naps at the same time.

ROTH: One of the best places: the U.N. library, the author says resembles an abandoned monastery. Not recommended: the Indonesian lounge -- troubling sunlight and noisy bodyguards.

NANCY SODERBERG, DEPUTY U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Every time I go into a corner of the U.N., I will now think of Alain Dejammet with renewed delight.

ROTH: Diplomats may, but not the media, which is under orders to not lie back.

Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.


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

WALCOTT: For millions of kids, sports is a huge part of the high school experience. But some tend to take their love of the game too far and end up ignoring class work. Florida's state legislature has passed a law that gives a second chance to those who can't meet the required grade point average. Critics say those lawmakers should be put in the penalty box.

Susan Candiotti explains.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): High school athletes may not know it yet, but they just got an academic break in Florida. Incoming sophomores no longer need a 2.0 average to participate in extracurricular activities. If they sign a contract at the end of their freshman year promising to do better and go to summer school, they can still play ball.

BOB BURNSIDE, HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: It's not a weakening of the standards at all.

CANDIOTTI: High school athletic director Bob Burnside is a member of Florida's High School Activities Association that lobbied legislators to make the change.

BURNSIDE: We want to attract kids to the athletic programs, not run them away and keep them away. We think we can do better with them if we have them involved in our programs.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Some call the new law a dumbing down of Florida's eligibility rules. Critics say it may send students the wrong message.

JUDITH BUDNICK, BROWARD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD: What we're really saying is, if you're a jock, you can be dumber than somebody else. That's not being competitive at all.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Advocates say they're trying to encourage freshmen who sometimes have a tough time making the transition to high school. This year at Dade County's Southridge High, a football powerhouse, about 10 percent of its 740 athletes failed to make the 2.0 average and couldn't play. Under the new law, students have until the end of their sophomore year to bring up their average. If they don't reach 2.0, they won't play.

One of the bill's cosponsors says lawmakers are trying to prevent dropouts.

DARYL JONES, FLORIDA STATE SENATE: What we're doing is we're giving kids an opportunity to continue to participate in the things that are going to motivate them and keep them in school.

CANDIOTTI: These students will learn whether they'll have to sign a contract to keep them on the field and in the classroom.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.


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: And this is a big day for us here at CNN. Twenty years ago today, we broadcast our first on-air signal, changing the way the world gets its news. During those two decades, we've witnessed history unfold before our eyes. From the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger to the fall of communism and the Berlin Wall, CNN's global signal has at times helped make the world a smaller place.

ANNOUNCER: Bringing you the world for 20 years, this is CNN.


TURNER: So far, everything we've done has been right, and this is going to be right too.

Back when I was planning in late '74, early '75, when I was planning to put what was going to be Superstation TBS on the satellite, Home Box Office was already around and it was the only cable network. TBS -- Superstation TBS became the second satellite- delivered service.

But I was thinking about what else would be a good channel to have. It would be very convenient to have news on demand.


TURNER: We are also looking into the creation of a news alternative for cable subscribers. This news service will be called the Cable News Network.


TURNER: CNN was the first global network, by the definition that it was distributed everywhere in the world and it was seen by at least some people in virtually every country. It started with a vision to do a 24-hour, in-depth news network, and then it became a number of networks and a number of different programming segments: financial news, sports news, and so forth later on. LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The first day of CNN was anticipated for quite some time. Ted turner stepped out in front of the antebellum mansion and made the grand presentation and, short of a fireworks display, we were off and running. It was quite an exciting day. There were butterflies, but they were exciting butterflies.


WATERS: Hello. This is the News Channel. I'm Lou Waters.



MUSE: I co-anchored the 8:00 segment with Lou Waters. I remember the tremendous sense of excitement and trepidation. I mean, this was something that had never, ever been tried before, and it was full of expectation and promise and hope and a little bit of fear, too.


FLIP SPICELAND, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Well, that is right, Reynelda. The storm's moved out of Nebraska and into the Illinois area. You know, they say nothing is so rare as a day in June.


SPICELAND: It was as hectic as you would imagine it would be. We didn't have the kind of equipment that we have now. I used to draw the maps by hand, and things were done with paper and construction paper, literally. I don't think anybody was particularly nervous or frightened or scared. I think anxious is a much better word.

FRED HICKMAN, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Did I think CNN was going to become what it is today? Absolutely not. I had no idea. I think the only guy who knew was Ted.


WALCOTT: Proud to be a part of it.

And that wraps it up for all of us here at NEWSROOM. Have a great day.



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