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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for June 7, 2000

Aired June 7, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: It's Wednesday, and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome, everybody. I'm Tom Haynes. We've got a lot lined up today, including a look at two wars that shaped generations. Here's a preview.

In today's news, honoring the veterans of World War II. A National D-Day Museum opens in New Orleans.


WILLIAM COHEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We are the heirs of your sacrifice, citizens of the world that you made, and we can only stand in awe at your courage.


HAYNES: Next, in "Business Desk," putting a price on human life. Just how much are those extra years of living really worth?


FRED KATAYAMA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Topel and his research partner at the University of Chicago value one extra year of human life at $150,000.


HAYNES: From the value of life, to lives come full circle. Today's "Worldview" examines the legacy of the Vietnam War.


RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This dappled grove tempts you to think on the order and geometry of creation. If you'd thought like that 30 years ago, it could have been fatal.


HAYNES: Then, in "Chronicle," we'll tell you why it's a great year to be looking for that summer job. In today's news, the millions of men and women who've been called "the greatest generation." Yesterday marked the 56th anniversary of one of the most significant days of World War II. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, thousands of allied troops burst onto the shores of Normandy, France. It was the largest land, air and sea invasion ever, and it played a big part in helping liberate Europe from the grip of the Nazis. Thousands lost their lives that day.

Americans who were part of the D-Day invasion were honored in New Orleans, Louisiana, where thousands of World War II veterans gathered to open the National D-Day Museum. The $25 million exhibit is a place people can go to learn all about D-Day. It features a collection of artifacts, oral histories and films centering around D-Day and World War II.

About 10,000 attended yesterday's dedication. Charles Zewe tells us about the day's festivities.


CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amid a shower of red, white and blue confetti and a fly-over of military warplanes, hundreds of World War II veterans marked the opening of the National D-Day Museum. Defense Secretary William Cohen spoke for the nation.

COHEN: We are the heirs of your sacrifice, citizens of the world that you made, and we can only stand in awe at your courage.

ZEWE: Director Steven Spielberg, whose movie "Saving Private Ryan" helped provide some of the impetus to build the museum, was on hand. So too was the movie's star, Tom Hanks, Hanks at one point autographing the uniforms of parade participants.

Aging veterans, including eight Medal of Honor winners, rode military transport trucks and jeeps through city streets. Former staff Sergeant Walter Ehlers, who won the medal later, single-handedly destroyed two German machine-gun nests and two mortars. Ehlers' older brother, however, was among the 3,000 Americans killed that day.

WALTER EHLERS, D-DAY VETERAN: They paid the supreme sacrifice so that you can live in a free country. And that's what it was all about.

ZEWE: A lesson not lost on Spielberg, who, with his own D-Day veteran father sitting among the massed vets, articulated the thanks of his generation, the baby boomers.

STEVEN SPIELBERG, FILMMAKER: We must celebrate you every day. We must keep you in our prayers all the time.

ZEWE: After an addition covering Pacific landings is completed next year, the museum will provide a comprehensive history of invasions in both Europe and the Pacific. The facility was built in New Orleans partly in tribute to the small landing craft, Higgins boats, that were used in every beach invasion during the war; boats built in New Orleans. (on camera): Organizers say the new museum has helped put World War II veterans back in the limelight. For their part, many of the veterans who were in New Orleans for the celebrations say if they have one regret, is that their millions of colleagues who have died since the war didn't live to see this tribute.

Charles Zewe, CNN, New Orleans.


HAYNES: Stick around for more on World War II from CNN Student Bureau. Find out how one veteran is focusing on the positive side of his months as a prisoner of war.

For those of you fortunate enough to have living grandparents or even great-grandparents, chances are they're living longer and more active lives. That's because medical advances have improved the quality and length of their lives. Just think: Many of your parents were born in the 1950s. The life expectancy for American males then was about 66 years. For females, it was a little more than 71. Compare that to people born in 1998. Those boys can expect to live to almost 73, and girls to about age 83.

So what does this have to do with business, anyway? Well, you can think of it this way: In theory, when people live longer, healthier lives, they can earn and spend money longer. In other words, there's an economic price on everyone's existence.

Fred Katayama explains.


KATAYAMA (voice-over): It's no secret that Americans are living longer. But how much are those extra years of life on Earth worth? A new report says the increase in life expectancy in the '70s and '80s was worth $57 trillion.

ROBERT TOPEL, UNIV. OF CHICAGO, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: What we found is that, if we look retrospectively, the value of additional life years and reduced mortality that Americans have experienced since 1970 has been of tremendous economic value to them.

KATAYAMA: Topel and his research partner at the University of Chicago value one extra year of human life at $150,000. That figure comes from calculating the higher pay Americans insist to take on jobs that increase the risk of death, such as washing the windows of the Empire State Building versus that of a suburban house. Multiply that times 1.5, the amount of extra life years people gain during those two decades, times a U.S. population, 250 million, make minor adjustments, and you get roughly $57 trillion.

The team of nine economists on the project concluded that medical research has produced very high returns. One study showed that new drugs developed during those two decades extended the lives of 11,000 Americans on average by one year each year. Considering that it costs roughly $700 million to develop a new drug, it results in a social rate of return of 40 percent.

FRANK LICHTENBERG, COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL: Many people get concerned about the high cost of medical care and the high cost of drugs in particular. The benefit/cost ratio is extremely high, and therefore that I think it would be a mistake to try to curtail investment in new medical technology.

KATAYAMA (on camera): Another benefit of extended life: this research. One economist on the team said, if this were 1900, chances are he would not have lived long enough to produce his end of the study.

Fred Katayama, CNN Financial News, New York.


HAYNES: All right, so what are you going to do with those maybe 60, 70 years you got left? Well, have you considered a job in the high-tech world, specifically dot.coms? If so, you want to check out next week's "Business Desk." Don't miss it. We'll give you the scoop on how the Internet is affecting the economy. Until then, any luck lining up a summer gig? Well, later in "Chronicle," we'll look at your prospects for a paycheck this summer. Check it out.

"Worldview" revisits the Vietnam War now. We go back to the country that was the center of the conflict a quarter century ago. Come along as we trace the roots of issues and heritage on our odyssey to Vietnam 25 years later.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: All this week on "Worldview," we're taking a special look back at the legacy of the Vietnam War. Twenty-five years after the fighting ended there, the land is largely peaceful today. Many Americans are drawn to the country, which conjures mixed feelings about the U.S. controversial involvement in the conflict. Among the visitors, two college students taking part in a unique program called "Semester at Sea." Their around-the-world journey takes them to the Cu Chi Tunnels -- today a place of curiosity, but during the war a place of refuge.


SANG PHAM, UNIVERSITY OF DENVER: I think the most powerful image I saw was on my drive to the Cu Chi Tunnel, seeing the rice fields, the water buffaloes, people working with their straw hats on the field.

I was born in Ghatia (ph), Vietnam and my family immigrated to the United States in '79. And I grew up there since and I haven't had an opportunity to come back, and this was my chance.

EMILY STONE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: While it looked familiar to what we've seen in all the films about Vietnam and all the footage from the Vietnam War, for us it was beautiful and unknown in a positive sense. And that was one of the greatest things to discover about coming back to Vietnam a generation later.

PHAM: We stopped by a house and talked with the family.

She said if you guys want him, you can take him back to the U.S. She has to many guys.

STONE: They made it clear to us that there were several different periods in modern Vietnam. They lived through the war, and then the postwar period, and then the contemporary period after privatization. Vietnam has been communist since unification in 1975. The economy since that date has been very, very poor and very difficult. In the late 1980s, the system was liberalized and the land was privatized, meaning that families could work their own lands and keep their own crops instead of returning them to the government.

PHAM: And she told me, what she sells she keeps for herself. She says her lifestyle is a lot better now because she has electricity and relatively pure water.

I felt the sense that they had overcome the war and they're moving on. And the war was a part of the history of Vietnam, but now they're living today and they're trying to make a living today and to get on with their own lives.

PHAM: We got off of our motorcycles and approached the Cu Chi Tunnels. And what we heard were AK-47s firing off in the background. And immediately that struck us as, this was a place where the war took place.

STONE: The Cu Chi Tunnels were a strange attraction.

How many people would be in here at one time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three-thousand people.

STONE: And it was difficult for us to understand. It's an artifact of the war, but it's also a tourist attraction today.

PHAM: We entered the tunnel and it was very tiny. It was dark, hot, and it was very difficult to walk through the tunnels. We had to crawl on our knees...

OK, now who suggested the long way?

... and it was very difficult.

STONE: There was an entire complex down there. There's a kitchen in the tunnels, there are meeting rooms, there are sleeping rooms, and they were all on display for us to see.

There were also booby traps for Americans who might invade the tunnels. And the tunnels served as bunkers when shelling was coming into the area. So it was a very complex strategy for defending against the Americans.

PHAM: I don't think I could ever get a perfect sense of how the war was like, but it gave me a sense of how difficult it was, whether you were on the American side or the Viet Cong side. STONE: We started to talk to our drivers.

Could you ask them how do they feel about driving Americans to the Cu Chi Tunnels?


PHAM: It makes him feel happy that he's taking us to a historical place and he's building a relationship between us, Americans, and the Vietnamese people.

STONE: We found out that one of them had been a former Viet Cong.

PHAM: He paused for a while when we raised up the issue of the Vietnam war. But as we got to talking with him and asking him how the war was like and how he thinks about Americans, he told us that the American soldiers that fought during the war were there because it was their duty.

He feels that he could really relate to the American troops, the American Army, because, like him, they're here to serve their country.

I asked him directly: Do you forgive Americans? And his answer was simply, yes, I do forgive. I have forgiven.

STONE: Just outside the Cu Chi Tunnels was a large, beautiful building which looked like a temple or some kind of a religious structure. It turned out to be a memorial to all the soldiers in Vietnam.

PHAM: The big statue in front of here is the statue of Ho Chi Minh, and all these names on the wall are names of soldiers that have died.

STONE: It was somber and remorseful. It was for people to remember their own countrymen, and we were really lucky to be able to walk into that world.

Behind it there were gardens overlooking a river, and it was one of the most beautiful landscapes I think any of us had every seen. And it was remarkable to be able to mourn the Vietnam War in an environment like that.

PHAM: Having the experience and having the opportunity to go back to the Cu Chi, I think Americans can feel at ease about themselves because Vietnam is at ease with itself.

STONE: And when we come here, we get exposed to it and we see why the war was fought and what the people of Vietnam think about the war and how they deal with the war. And I think to be able to resolve it in our country and to move on we have to know what the history of this nation is and why there was a war here for the people here. And that's what you can learn from coming to Vietnam.

(END VIDEOTAPE) RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Vietnam was a colony of France from the late 1800s until World War II. During that time, the French government tried to industrialize the small Southeast Asian country by building factories and offering farm workers manufacturing jobs in the city. But agriculture remained an important part of the economy. French colonists developed and expanded rubber plantations.

As Richard Blystone explains, those plantations have been the center of life for some Vietnamese families for decades.


BLYSTONE (voice-over): This dappled grove tempts you to think on the order and geometry of creation. If you'd thought like that 30 years ago, it could have been fatal. The chaos of battle reigned over, in and in tunnels under the rubber plantations of western Vietnam. From here Viet Cong guerrillas would strike and go to ground, leaving bloodied American and South Vietnamese forces to search in vain.

French planters once owned the rubber groves. Now Cao Thi Ngoc An (ph) is boss here. A revolutionary in private enterprise, she and her parents were Vietminh, members of Ho Chi Minh's peasant army, fighting French soldiers with homemade weapons.

But six years before France's final defeat, Mrs. An's parents were killed, their bodies lost. She spent the next war against the U.S. and South Vietnamese working for the cause in North Vietnam while her husband fought. After that ended, she came home with a lot unresolved. A peacetime living to make, missing parents to find, she hired a clairvoyant who made maps that led to two bodies. She has no doubts.

Fifty years after her parents died, she brought those bodies home to a tomb fit for heroes. She bought the plantation and made it prosper, a U.S.-made jeep in the garage, grandchildren enjoying what she never had, a daughter-in-law whose father was a translator for U.S. forces.

"We live in harmony," she says. "No more problems, no more contradictions."

Everything has come full circle.

(on camera): So maybe there's a geometry to life after all.

Richard Blystone, CNN, Tanan Province, Vietnam.


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

HAYNES: Hey, it's a great time to be looking for a summer job in the United States. Economists say this summer will be especially inviting for young people. The tight labor market is expected to have employers clamoring for workers. And in some cases, that could spell a signing bonus. You heard me right.

Dan Ronan has more.


DAN RONAN. CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The pool at this suburban Atlanta golf course will operate at reduced hours the next couple of weeks. The club has just now hired enough lifeguards.

JEOFF HAMILTON, LAKE SPIVEY GOLF COURSE: It's been, over the last year and a half, two years, one of the most difficult hiring periods for us here. The labor market's been a lot tighter than normal for us. We have a hard time recruiting against the fast-food restaurants.

RONAN: At some locations, new guards get signing bonuses and salaries $1.50 higher than the mall. Theme parks are having a tough time finding workers, too. Disney World needed 2,000 employees. It held a recruiting party in Orlando and sent staff to Puerto Rico to find employees.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, last summer, 22.2 million young people worked full-time. The average salary: $336 a week. Economists say the number of students working will increase this summer compared to last year. Salaries are already up: $357 a week.

MIKE MORAN, DAIWA SECURITIES: We're seeing very good jobs created. And one of the other things we're seeing is that we're staring to see the growth rate of average hourly earnings move higher in the past several months.

RONAN: Sixteen-year-old Crystal Wall already has found her first job at the golf course. When she's not behind the counter, she'll be on the course working on her game, hoping to get a golf college scholarship.

CRYSTAL WALL, LAKE SPIVEY GOLF COURSE: The day after I turned 16 I was out here playing golf, and Matt, our professional, asked me if I wanted to start working in the pro shop. And I was jumping up and down I was so excited.

(on camera): That's the attitude employers say they're looking for from summer workers, because in addition to the salary, it's a chance for young people to learn basic job skills they'll need the rest of their careers.

Dan Ronan, CNN Financial News, 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.

HAYNES: Well, as we heard in our top story today, yesterday marked the 56th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion that changed the course of World War II. Fewer than 6 million of the more than 16 million Americans who served during the war are alive today, so recollections of their experience generate lots of interest.

One American who served during the war shared his experience with CNN Student Bureau.


LAURA WALLACE, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Dr. Chet Morse is a retired surgeon, but more than a half-century ago he was an American soldier serving as a medic in World War II.

Three months after the 1944 D-Day invasion of France, Morse thought he could finally relax.

DR. CHET MORSE, FORMER PRISONER OF WAR: Our G-2 from the Army said there are no Germans in the area. We have a breather. So I was in -- buck naked in a stream bathing, first bath in six weeks, and we looked over the hedgerow and there was this bunch of people with our equipment. We left our jeeps up on the road and my men said: Look, Captain. There's a Frenchman stealing our equipment.

So I just barreled over the hedge row and went up, started to give in my poor French to these Frenchman that were stealing, I said, get away from our equipment. You don't touch that stuff. And then this guy said in German, "was gibst (ph)," and I knew that we were in trouble.

WALLACE: Morse and his fellow soldiers were captured by the Germans, prisoners of war until the fighting ended eight months later. Conditions were harsh. POWs were only fed a half loaf of bread and cold cabbage soup each day. About once a week, they were given a special treat -- blood pudding.

MORSE: They'd slaughter a horse and collect the blood and then they'd grind up all the insides and put it in the blood.

WALLACE: It was sickening to think about, but, as a doctor, Morse knew it could save his life since the blood was a good source of protein and salt.

There was one German guard who showed compassion to Morse.

MORSE: And he'd even get me out of the camp and get me a cup of tea from time to time -- real English tea. He said he did not expect the war to last so long or he'd have had more tea on hand. He has since died. But after the war, he wrote me that his children had sores from lack of vitamins, and if I could send him vitamins, he would most appreciate it. And we sent him care parcels, which were food, for about five years.

And I've never had this happen before in my life: He wrote and said, things were better in Germany and that he thought they could get by without our help at that point. And shortly thereafter, he sent me a whole collection of Micen (ph) china, which is in my dining room. Micen china, he said -- this was antique Micen china and he said it was all in Jewish collections. And these Jews had sold this valuable Micen china in order to get together the money to get out of Germany.

WALLACE: These experiences of war taught Dr. Morse to be careful in judging others.

MORSE: Because there's so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it hardly behooves the rest of us to be critical of what's behind.

WALLACE: Dr. Morse now looks on the positive side of his months as a prisoner of war. It made him stronger.

Laura Wallace (ph), CNN Student Bureau, Decatur, Georgia.


HAYNES: Wow. It's really neat to hear about World War II first hand.

Listen, log onto to learn more about D-Day. That site is also where you can learn how to become part of CNN Student Bureau. Or you can contact us the old-fashioned way by dialing us up at 1-800-344-6219 in the United States.

Meantime, we're done for today. Check us out here again tomorrow. Till then, see you later.



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