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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for June 9, 2000

Aired June 9, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: NEWSROOM rounds the bend into Friday. Glad you're with us. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Here's a look at the rundown.

BAKHTIAR: In today's top story, the U.S. government bans a popular pesticide.


CAROL BROWNER, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: The effects can be everything from flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in some instances of extreme exposure, death.


HAYNES: Then in our "Editor's Desk," the Pinocchios of public relations: Why some PR reps admit to lying -- or being asked to lie -- on the job.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "I've just finished my first full year in the PR profession. I cannot believe the claims that my clients want me to make for their company."


BAKHTIAR: From admissions about lying to a quest for religious truth, "Worldview" profiles a Vietnamese Buddhist saint.

HAYNES: Then in "Chronicle," segregation on campus: Why some students prefer hanging out with their own race.


LISY LARA, STUDENT: I identified more with other Hispanics and other Latinos because, you know, they understood culturally, like, what my parents expected or what I was facing in terms of, you know, juggling my family, a job. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: In today's top story, the United States imposes dramatic restrictions on one of the most common pesticides because of concerns about possible health effects in children. The pesticide is usually sold under the trade names Dursban and Lorsban. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is banning the use of this pesticide for all nonagricultural purposes, such as home and garden use.

A pesticide is defined as any chemical used for killing things like insects and weeds. Some common household products containing pesticides are weed killers, bug sprays, insect repellents and termite control products. During the 1960s and '70's, another pesticide came under the scrutiny of the U.S. government called DDT. After mounting evidence supporting its hazardous effects to the human health and environment, DDT was banned in 1972.

Despite the government's latest move against Dursban, the product may remain on store shelves until the end of 2001. Natalie Pawelski picks up the story.


NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It stops bugs from destroying crops and keeps roaches out of homes. It chases fire ants from lawns and fleas from dogs. Dursban is so common, studies show most Americans have traces of it in their bodies. But now the EPA is banning the pesticide from products used around the home and garden because it can make people sick.

BROWNER: The effects can be everything from flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in some instances of extreme exposure, death.

PAWELSKI (on camera): Dursban is the latest pesticide to come under government scrutiny, mandated by Congress. A 1996 law requires the EPA to review pesticides for possible health dangers, paying particular attention to children who are especially vulnerable to toxic chemicals.

(voice-over): But the EPA is not recalling Dursban, also known by other brand names and by its chemical name, Chlorpyrifos. Stores with the pesticide already in stock are still allowed to sell it. Administrator Browner suggests that's part of the deal with manufacturers.

BROWNER: It could have been five, six, seven years of legal haranguing. By reaching an agreement to ban production for household and garden use by the end of the year, we move much, much more quickly to protect our children.

PAWELSKI: Companies that make Dursban suggest the government is overreacting.

ELIN MILLER, V.P., DOW AGROSCIENCES: With the 30 years of use and 3,600 studies -- in fact no other compound has been more widely studied -- we feel it is safe if used under label instructions.

PAWELSKI: The EPA will also limit Dursban's agricultural use on some food crops, including grapes and apples. Even so, it will still be legal for use on farms across the country.

Natalie Pawelski, CNN.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Also in today's news, the fighting between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The two countries' stormy relationship goes back decades. In 1950, the United Nations adopted a resolution that made Eritrea part of Ethiopia. The U.N. intended for Eritrea to govern itself, but the Ethiopian government sought to undermine that.

In 1961, civil war broke out. The dispute dragged on for more than three decades. And in 1993, Eritrea formally declared independence. But fighting broke out in 1998 and the conflict continues to this day. And now Eritrea is struggling with a humanitarian crisis.


CAROL PINEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The people fled their homes when shelling began, bringing the few possessions they could carry. Hundreds of thousands of Eritreans now live in displacement camps, like this one in Debarwa. Every day, thousands more show up. They normally would now be plowing the land and planting crops. Instead, they are in camps, one quarter of this small nation's population forced off their land by this most recent offensive.

Aid workers say if the people can't return home by the time the rains come, about two weeks from now, there will be no grain harvest this year.

TREVOR ROWE, U.N. WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: This is a humanitarian crisis in the making. It is a time bomb ready to go off in the coming weeks unless there is some kind of coordinated effort. But at the time, there is a concern that there's not a full appreciation of the magnitude of this crisis.

PINEAU: Eritrea accuses Ethiopia of stalling the peace process in order to disrupt agricultural production during this critical period. Africa's youngest nation had been striving towards self- sufficiency in food production. Eritrea may now have no choice but to look to international assistance to feed its people.

Carol Pineau for CNN, Asmara, Eritrea.


BAKHTIAR: OK, now, let's be honest. Most of us have, on occasion, stretched the truth to protect someone's feelings, or even to protect ourselves. For example, when a friend gets a bad haircut or your teacher asks you if you've started your project yet. But what if you had to lie for your job? Our next story tackles this issue in regards to public relations.

Public relations, known as PR, is the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm or institution.

Jeanne Moos looks at the ethical issues in this business of making people and things look good.


MOOS (voice-over): If only it were a fib, if only it were a whopper; instead, it's the kind of PR a PR person hates.

(on camera): One out of four PR pros admits to lying on the job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only one out of four, huh?

MOOS: You think only one out of four saying they lie is probably low?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Part of PR is lying, isn't it?

MOOS (voice-over): "Liar, liar, PR on fire," screamed a headline in the trade publication "PR Week."

ADAM LEYLAND, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "PR WEEK": Have you ever had to lie on the job? Twenty-five percent said, yes.

MOOS: For instance...

LEYLAND: When Madonna's publicist says that she's not pregnant, and a week later she says actually she is pregnant, that's a lie.

MOOS: You mean Madonna's belly wasn't the only thing growing?

Pinocchio may be the world's most famous liar, but he's got company in high places. Remember how tobacco company executives handled their moment of truth?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe nicotine is not addictive, yes.


MOOS: If you want the naked truth about lying, listen to this messenger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, if the situation is a benefit for me, I'm going to lie.

MOOS: The gray area, of course, is the white lie. Ask a receptionist...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sometimes have to tell clients that, you know, certain people within the office are not there.

MOOS: ... or a reporter.

(on camera): Or you do an interview and someone wants to know why they weren't on...


MOOS: ... and you don't want to say, well, you weren't so hot on television. No, you say, you know, the piece got a little long, and...

(voice-over): Which brings us to this "New York Times" poll: 60 percent of those asked said lying is sometimes necessary, especially to protect someone's feelings. No wonder folks related to the film "Liar Liar" in which a lawyer lost his ability to lie.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like the new dress?

JIM CARREY, ACTOR: Whatever takes the focus off your head.


MOOS: The poll about PR people lying resulted in a flood of e- mail.

(on camera): "I've just finished my first full year in the PR profession. I cannot believe the claims that my clients want me to make for their company."

(voice-over): Comedian Bill Maher has his own theory of lying.


BILL MAHER, COMEDIAN: I believe there's two things in life that you have to lie to get through. One is to get elected and stay in office -- you have to lie every day -- and the other one is to stay married.


LEYLAND: This is off the record, by the way, but when you lie...

MOOS (on camera): Sure, that's off the record.

(voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


HAYNES: Well, if you like stories that set your heart aflutter, you're not alone. Romance novels rake in billions of dollars in sales each year. Barbara Cartland, the recently deceased master of the genre, wrote more than 700 books and became the world's best selling author with her tales of love and loss. But as Peter Viles explains, it's not as easy as it looks.


PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the flamboyant Barbara Cartland was the stereotype of a romance novelist, Shirley Hailstock is the reality. The single mother taps out more than a book a year while working full time as a pharmaceutical executive. Hailstock had initially assumed romance writing would be easy.

SHIRLEY HAILSTOCK, WRITER: I thought that I could just write it over the weekend, and it was a really naive comment or naive, even, position to even think something like that, because when you start to write, you realize you don't know how.

VILES: More than a decade later, Ms. Hailstock still can't afford to give up her day job.

HAILSTOCK: If you're in this for the money, it's not going to work.

VILES: The romance genre accounts for 54 percent of all U.S. paperback sales. But despite the enormous reader demand, breaking in as a writer is difficult.

STEPHANIE MITTMAN, WRITER: Everybody says to me, oh, I could do that; oh, I could write that novel. But everybody doesn't do it because it takes a certain amount of talent, but a tremendous amount of determination.

JENNIFER HERSHEY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, AVON BOOKS: The chances are incredibly slim. It's very, very competitive and people work for years and years and write novel after novel after novel and try again and again submitting their books.

VILES: Romance writers of America offers guidelines to aspiring novelists and information about writers' support groups. Its Web site lays out the ground rules for the many different types of romance novels. And although romance writing may seem to use a set formula, publishers are always looking for something fresh.

HERSHEY: A writer needs to tell the one story that only they can tell, the one that they have a burning desire to write, and I think that's often when you get a fantastic novel.

Peter Viles, CNN Financial News, New York.


HAYNES: Today, the conclusion of our "Worldview" special, "Vietnam: 25 Years Later." You'll meet doctors helping bring smiles to Vietnamese children and a man taking steps to expand their world. This month, he's opening a foundation to bring wheels to the world. While some stories are heartwarming, others are disturbing. One about a Vietnamese monk contains graphic images. We'll also look at the war's legacy and lessons to the U.S. military. All this week on "Worldview," we've been looking back at the Vietnam War -- the longest conflict in which the United States took part. Fighting actually began in 1957 and didn't end until nearly two decades later in 1975, which makes this year the 25th anniversary of the end of the war.

U.S. ground troops first joined the fighting in 1965 and didn't pull out until eight years later in 1973. The U.S. failed its mission to save South Vietnam from communism and American military leaders are still learning from that lesson today.

Jamie McIntyre reports.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The communist victory in the Vietnam War taught a generation of American commanders that half-hearted warfare for ill-defined reasons is a sure-fire recipe for defeat.

GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY (RET.), U.S. ARMY: We came out of there seeing really a failure of strategic, political and military leadership that got us in a situation where we couldn't win.

MCINTYRE: In Vietnam, Army Captain Barry McCaffrey was a company commander. He rose to the rank of four-star general before retiring to lead the war on drugs.

MCCAFFREY: The bottom line is, you've got to know what you're trying to achieve and devise a mechanism to get at that end result that takes into account what the American people believe is right.

MCINTYRE: The Vietnam experience convinced a young officer named Colin Powell to espouse a doctrine of "decisive force." Twenty years later as the nation's top military officer, he ordered nearly 700,000 troops to the Persian Gulf.

GEN. RICHARD NEAL (RET.), U.S. MARINE CORPS: And he didn't want to amble in, as we had in Vietnam, but he didn't want to go in as a one -- to use the analogy of a one-armed puncher in a boxing ring.

MCINTYRE: Powell's doctrine drew heavily on rules laid down by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger after a 1983 terrorist bombing in Beirut: 241 Marines were killed while on a fuzzy mission to provide presence in Lebanon. Weinberger resolved that military force should be used only as a last resort in well-defined, achievable missions that advance vital U.S. interests, fully supported by the American public.

NEAL: The development of realistic missions, attainable goals, that's something that I think that we're much more attuned to than we were in Vietnam.

MCINTYRE: But the lessons of Vietnam are not absolute. In fact, Colin Powell's all-or-nothing philosophy proved too inflexible for the Clinton administration, which wanted to use military force to advance important but not necessarily vital diplomatic goals.

Vietnam argued against incrementalism and using airpower simply to send a message. But those tactics worked for NATO: first in Bosnia and then in Kosovo.

(on camera): The ghost of Vietnam still haunts U.S. commanders. Every time a new mission is contemplated, such as sending advisers to Colombia to help fight the drug war, someone at the Pentagon warns, we don't want another Vietnam.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: There are those for whom the war will never end. They are crippled, mentally impaired, emotionally scarred, and too often forgotten.

Rusty Dornin looks at what one American man is doing to make their life more livable three decades after his compatriots sought to take their lives away.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's a big wheel when it comes to collecting classic cars. Ken Behring owns one of the most luxurious automotive museums in the world. Now his dream is to set some simpler wheels in motion: wheelchairs for the needy, people worldwide who have trouble getting from here to there.

KEN BEHRING, WHEELCHAIRS TO THE WORLD: Mobility is the same as sight or sound. If you don't have mobility, you have no world.

DORNIN: Vietnam was one of the first places Behring took his wheelchair crusade. Bombs quit falling here 25 years ago. It's been that long since many here walked. Not all of the bombs exploded. More than 100,000 Vietnamese have been killed or injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance since the war.

BEHRING: In a way, I think that, you know, we're a little responsible, indirectly, for some of the mine fields and for some of the misery they've suffered, and I think we should do what we can to at least make life a little more pleasant for them.

DORNIN: Some estimate 300,000 Vietnamese children born since 1975 suffer mental and physical defects -- defects blamed on dioxin, the byproduct of Agent Orange, a defoliant used during the war. In places like Vietnam, those who are crippled, young or old, are often left alone in the poorest conditions.

BEHRING: There's a whole class of people that have been discarded. People are ashamed of them, they feel that it's a curse or it's bad genes, and they don't want to carry them on their back because that's the only way they can move them. So they really just put them in the corner of a room. DORNIN: Behring has donated 1,000 wheelchairs in Romania, South Africa, Vietnam and Guatemala this year. So far, he's footed the bill, but will open his Wheelchairs For the World Foundation in June, a foundation with dreams of motion for millions.

BEHRING: This first year, my goal is to try to give away or find 100,000 wheelchairs, and I'd like to get up to a million a year.

DORNIN: Mobilizing people whose roads have been less traveled.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Danville, California.


JORDAN: Americans are helping out Vietnamese in other ways, too. A group of 30 American doctors and nurses recently spent about a week in Vietnam performing surgery on about 100 children to correct facial deformities. They donated their time as part of a group called Operation Smile.

The organization has conducted similar missions in Vietnam for years, but this trip had special significance. Several members of the American team were war veterans returning for the first time to the country where they fought. And the surgeries were performed at Danang, the U.S. airbase where American combat troops first set foot in Vietnam 35 years ago.

WALCOTT: Next, we focus on religion. The communist leaders of Vietnam discourage the practice of religion. Despite the political pressure, some Vietnamese people still belong to specific faiths. Confucianism and Taoism have a following, but Buddhism is by far the most popular religion.

Richard Blystone looks at the story of one Buddhist monk remembered for his faith as well as his politics.


RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Halfway down a busy Saigon back street, Quan Tayum (ph) Pagoda: peace, contemplation, and something more -- the relics of a Vietnamese Buddhist saint.

Out of this quiet on June 11, 1963, an act that shocked the world. At the end of a march, the pagoda's chief monk, Tik Quan Dook (ph), sat down and calmly set himself ablaze in protest against the corrupt and dictatorial U.S.-backed regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem. It made him a martyr, fanned the unrest that ended in Diem's assassination, and planted the first misgivings about U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

(on camera): The man closest to that part of history, the venerable Tik Tong Bhu (ph), gave us his first-ever television interview. He has seen it all.

(voice-over): "Diem, a Catholic, thought South Vietnam's Buddhists were helping the Communists," he says. The government clamped down and refused to talk about things like showing the Buddhist flag. Members of the Buddhist movement spent a lot of time in hiding.

One day, Tik Quan Dook, on the right, told his protege, Bhu, on the left, he was planning something special, nothing more. Close to his burning leader, Bhu fainted, then revived and began to pray. He was first to reach the corpse, he says, and afterward a strange thing: Tik Quan Dook's charred body was cremated twice, but his heart, like a jewel wouldn't burn.

There would be dozens more martyrs, but this one was special. The heart is a symbol to Buddhists. And ever since, under capitalists and communists, it's been safely in the hands of the government.

South Vietnam's last government under Wen Van Tu (ph) also distrusted the Buddhists, and so, apparently, did the victorious communist government that took over in 1975.

"At first there was religious freedom in theory," he says. But Tik Tong Bhu spent two years in prison as a reactionary, and later, from 1985 to '91, was banished to a forest in the central highlands.

"Now," he says, "we have real religious freedom for believers and nonbelievers."

And as we leave, he has a proposal. Why don't the U.S., the communists and the Buddhists all get together and try to discover the secret of Tik Quan Dook's jewel heart?

Richard Blystone, CNN, Saigon.


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

HAYNES: In the early 1950s, there was racial segregation around the United States. Although schools were supposed to be equal in their district, African-American schools were usually inferior to white ones.

In 1954, the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education in the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of U.S. schools. But just because students of different races now attend the same school doesn't mean they're brought together.

Here's Wolf Blitzer.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's visible across campus: outside class, in the student union, in the cafeteria, students are self-segregating.

JAMES BOND, STUDENT: Socially, they feel more comfortable hanging out with people of their own race. BLITZER: We asked a group of students at the University of Maryland why this is happening despite increased racial diversity on campus.

LARA: I identified more with other Hispanics and other Latinos because, you know, they understand culturally, like, what my parents expected or what I was facing in terms of, you know, juggling my family, a job.

RYAN SPIEGEL, STUDENT: I do feel comfortable hanging out with my fellow Caucasian, Jewish male friends. I have a bond with them because we have similar childhoods, we have similar religious beliefs.

JAMILA HALL, STUDENT: Most of my classes, I am the only African- American student, sometimes the only woman. And so when I leave class, I've already had my experience, so to speak, and that's kind of the time where I really want to go to someone that understands being in my position.

BLITZER (on camera): Here at the University of Maryland and at many other campuses across the country, students may all be attending the same classes, but they often wind up socializing only with people of the same race or ethnic background.

(voice-over): Beverly Daniel Tatum explores this phenomenon known as balkanization in a book entitled, "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?"

BEVERLY DANIEL TATUM, DEAN, MT. HOLYOKE COLLEGE: I think it is a developmental process. As young people move into their teenage years, they start really thinking about questions of identity. They do start looking for people who are having similar experiences, similar backgrounds to them, and they do tend to cluster in that way.

BLITZER: Some of this clustering is organized around racial and ethnic clubs, like the Latino Student Union and the Asian American Student Union.

For many students, these groups provide a sense of identity.

ANGELA LAGDAMEO, STUDENT: That is where I find my cultural and ethnic understanding that is often neglected in our university.

BLITZER: For others, these groups are a way to cope with racism.

HALL: When I walked into my -- one of my freshmen-year honor seminars, somebody looked at me and asked me if I had the right room. I take that as they thought that maybe I didn't belong in that class.

BLITZER: But some critics say these student groups promote separation, intolerance, even racism.

DINESH D'SOUZA, AUTHOR, "ILLIBERAL EDUCATION": If you create a diverse campus and then the African-American students keep to themselves and the Hispanic students keep to themselves, you defeat the purposes of diversity itself. What you create is, in a sense, ethnically homogeneous camps within a diverse framework.

BLITZER: Some students of color agree.

AISHA JALEEL, STUDENT: I'm not a member of any Asian groups on campus because I think that diversity divides more than helps.

BLITZER: But studies show students' involvement in racial and ethnic clubs actually increases their interaction across racial lines.

MITCHELL CHANG, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UCLA: So I like to use this as a springboard.

BLITZER: Mitchell Chang studies diversity in higher education at UCLA.

CHANG: They're more likely to be involved in campus activities. And when students are more likely to be involved in campus activities, they're more likely to socialize across race.

BLITZER: Whether self-segregation is even a problem may be a matter of perception.

TATUM: When white students are together, it's not seen as, quote, "a group of white students." It's a group of individuals getting together, having fun, whatever that is. When black students or Latino students or Asian students are sitting together, the first thing that people tend to comment on is that group label.

BLITZER: Whatever the label, most agree it's important to encourage interaction between students of all races.

C.D. MOTE, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: How much they learn from each other, how they can work together, and how they can be prepared to live and prosper in our society is, of course, what this university is all about.

SPIEGEL: As long as we continue to make sure that self- segregation isn't the only thing that happens, as long as it has as its counterpart the ability and the willingness to go out and to interact with students who are not similar to yourself, then it's OK to self-segregate, as long as you have both.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN, College Park, Maryland.


HAYNES: We are out of time for this Friday edition of CNN NEWSROOM.

BAKHTIAR: We will see you back here next week. Have a great weekend.

HAYNES: Take care.



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