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NEWSROOM for June 13, 2000Aired June 13, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We're cruising into Tuesday here on CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining us. I'm Tom Haynes.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. Here's a look at what's coming up.
HAYNES: In today's top story, it's never happened in the history of these two countries: North and South Korea talk face to face.
WALCOTT: Then, you can't see it, you can't smell it, but it's there and it can cause you pain. It's mold. And if you already knew that, maybe you know what mycology is. If not, stay tuned to our "Health Desk" for the answer.
HAYNES "Worldview" takes us back to the Vietnam War. We'll meet some unsung, four-legged war heroes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BURNAM, U.S. ARMY VETERAN: The job was walking point right out in front of the platoon and leading them through the jungle or through the different terrain that we had to travel through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALCOTT: Then, our "Democracy in America" series continues in "Chronicle" as we explore the love-hate relationship between politicians and soft money.
HAYNES: One South Korean newspaper calls it "one small step for reconciliation, one giant leap for reunification." While it's not the moon landing, a first-of-its-kind summit today between North and South Korea is a big deal for any Korean younger than 50. They've never known a home free from tension. That's the legacy of the Korean War, which ended with a shaky truce in 1953 and left a peninsula split down the middle. The leaders of the two countries, Kim Jong Il of North Korea and Kim Dae-jung of South Korea, meet today in Pyongyang.
In South Korea the mood pre-summit was one of cautious optimism. National assemblymen lit candles, Christians prayed for divine intervention, and citizens hung signs wishing the South Korean president good luck. They're hoping that this summit will bring back peace to a people once united for 5,000 years.
Korea was controlled by Japan from 1895 until Japan's defeat in World War II. Then, communist troops from the Soviet Union occupied Korea above the 38th Parallel, which divides the peninsula in half. U.S. troops occupied the southern half. In 1947, the United Nations asked Korea to elect one government. But a year later, South Korea established the Republic of Korea. The North formed a government too, and troops began clashing along the border, leading in 1950 to one of history's bloodiest wars.
Today, the border is a demilitarized zone. The two governments have never signed a peace agreement. And while there have been hit and miss talks since a tenuous armistice was signed in 1953, this is the first meeting to bring leaders of the two nations together.
Mike Chinoy looks at the evolution of this summit of Kims.
MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A year ago, their gunboats were battling in the Yellow Sea amid North Korean preparations to test a new long-range missile. Now, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il are meeting in Pyongyang, their summit a startling shift in one of the most volatile corners of the world.
Or maybe not so startling. Despite its often bellicose posturing, North Korea has long sought to negotiate an accommodation with its adversaries. But Pyongyang's use of its nuclear and missile programs as bargaining chips left Seoul, Washington and Tokyo suspicious, despite visible signs of progress.
LEON SIGAL, NORTH EAST ASIA SECURITY PROJECT: They had a nuclear program. That nuclear program is frozen at this point. They have a missile program. They have suspended missile tests. I think those are very concrete signs that they are prepared to cooperate if we are. But, as I say, they're pretty tough bargainers and they play nasty.
CHINOY: South Korea's President Kim Dae-jung was not deterred. In March, he delivered a speech in Berlin calling for peaceful coexistence and government-to-government contacts. Eight days later, the North and South held a secret meeting in Shanghai. In early April, after another meeting in Beijing, came the announcement of a summit. For Kim Dae-jung, it was a vindication of his policy of engagement. And for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, not only the prospect of a new relationship with an old enemy, but help for a battered economy.
KATHI ZELLWEGER, CARITAS: It's very clear that the people are still hungry. Daily life for them really consists of searching for food. North Korea has been walking on thin ice for a long time. And the question is, how much longer can this go on?
CHINOY: A successful summit, analysts say, could produce a massive boost in South Korean economic aid for the North. It could also lay the groundwork for an easing of military tension. (on camera): There are no certainties in this process. All previous attempts to find a permanent peace have failed. The gulf between the North and the South remains huge. But there is a palpable sense here that this time things just might turn out differently.
Mike Chinoy, CNN, Seoul.
WALCOTT: It's time for our "Health Desk" and the answer to our pop quiz. Remember we asked you, what is mycology? Well, here's a hint. Have you ever left old socks in your room to mildew, or forgotten a plate of food and days later found it full of disgusting green grunge? Well, maybe you have an interest in mycology. What is it?
Mycology is a branch of biology that deals with fungi. And that brings us to fungus or fungi, the plural. Fungi has to do with various plants such as molds, mildew and mushrooms that lack chlorophyll, stems and leaves, and reproduce by spores. In warmer climates, mold season can last most of the year, bad news for people with allergic reactions to mold.
Mold particles or spores can become airborne like pollen and cause health hazards, as Rusty Dornin explains.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last fall, publisher Kathy Masera figured it was the beginning of a tough cold and flu season. Twenty-six of her 30 employees had classic symptoms.
KATHY MASERA, "CALIFORNIA JOB JOURNAL": Lung infections, sinus infections, ear infections, throat infections...
DORNIN: And it got worse.
MASERA: When people are getting very profusive and very spontaneous nose bleeds, you know, repeatedly, you begin to recognize that something's very wrong.
DORNIN: Wrong enough they were forced to evacuate. Now the building is being gutted. Toxic mold may have grown after a pipe broke and water was left standing in a bathroom. Doctors say the symptoms of mold could also be the same symptoms people suffer from other allergies.
PETER YIP, TOXICOLOGIST: We certainly don't have a very reliable blood test or some other type of test that can confirm or exclude mold as the source of the symptoms.
DORNIN: Still, the Sacramento Health Department gets 500 to 700 complaints yearly.
LAWRENCE BROOKS, SACRAMENTO COUNTY: We're getting some very serious cases of mold where people's health are actually endangered. We can tell the landlord, yes, that's a problem, you should take care of it. But there's no regulations.
DORNIN: There are no city, county, state or federal mold regulations. The CDC and the EPA have only guidelines regarding mold problems. The agencies can't do anything unless Congress mandates it.
(on camera): No regulations, no standards, but just the threat of toxic mold has San Francisco State University officials threatening to close this housing unit, forcing 800 students to move. And no one's even gotten sick yet.
MERRIK BUSH-PIRKLE, SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY: It's really important that we take any kind of precaution necessary to protect our students. And at this point, that includes, you know, closing down the building, most likely.
DORNIN (voice-over): Some believe mold is the culprit for what many people call "sick building syndrome."
BROOKS: The public is beginning to become more aware of this to the point where, just like with lead and smoking and asbestos, they will probably go to the policy makers even before the scientists, and say, look, we need something in the law books.
DORNIN: For now, all consumers can do is complain about what they believe is a moldy menace.
Rusty Dornin, CNN, San Francisco.
HAYNES: In "Worldview" today, we have a dog tale, about how canines helped U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. Now, it's not the warm, fuzzy story you might expect because it involves a lot of controversy.
But we start with a troubling report from the World Health Organization. The objective of the WHO is "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health." The Organization defines health as physical, mental and social well-being. But the WHO says some new, drug-resistant strains of disease are posing a health threat around the world.
Jonathan Aiken reports.
JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The World Health Organization says almost all major infectious diseases are slowly but surely becoming resistant to the drugs now being used against them. It's a problem with global consequences.
In the Baltics, Russia and China, over 10 percent of tuberculosis patients have drug-resistant strains. Hardest hit: overcrowded Russian prisons.
COL. ALEXANDER YAROSHEV, MED. DIR., VLADIMIR PRISONS (through translator): One of the reasons we have multi-drug-resistant TB today is because we were forced to treat TB with just one drug. It was not our fault, it was our misfortune.
AIKEN: In developing countries, the problem is often too few antibiotics to go around, or improper use of what is available. In Thailand, nearly a third of hepatitis B cases are drug-resistant. And around the world, there's early evidence AZT is losing its effectiveness against the AIDS virus.
DAVID HEYMANN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Within 10 to 20 years, new antibiotics which have come on the market have become much, much, much less effective, and then sometimes, in some cases, completely ineffective for certain infections.
AIKEN: But the growing resistance of disease to what medicine throws at it is also the result of a shrinking world. Drug-resistant strains of malaria and gonorrhea, prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and much of Asia, have already appeared in the U.S. In developed countries like the United States, drug-resistant strains of bacteria are helped by patients demanding antibiotics they don't need.
DR. JEFFREY KOPLAN, CTRS. FOR DISEASE CTRL. AND PREVENTION: Roughly 10 to 40 percent of all antibiotic use is plain inappropriate. It's for illnesses or organisms that don't benefit whatsoever from antibiotics.
AIKEN: The bulk of antibiotic use in the U.S., though, comes on the farm. The CDC says 40 percent, by weight, of the antibiotics used in the U.S. each year go into beef and poultry feed for both disease prevention and to promote growth. All that ends up in our food. And scientists say popular antibacterial soaps and cleaning agents make matters worse.
HEYMANN: It selects out those strains of bacteria which may be on the hands, which are becoming resistant.
AIKEN (on camera): The American Medical Association, meeting in Chicago this week, is set to recommend Americans stick with regular soap and water instead.
Jonathan Aiken for CNN, Washington.
ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Our focus today, Vietnam, site of one of the most controversial wars in history. It's been a quarter of a century since the end of that conflict, but the controversy continues. The issue: scout dogs used in the Vietnam War.
Dogs have a long history of helping man, as guide dogs leading the blind, as rescue dogs searching for lost or injured skiers, as drug-sniffing dogs searching out narcotics. They also hold a heroic place in history, particularly during the Vietnam War.
Linda Patillo explains.
BURNAM: The enemy was amassing attacks all over the countryside, and there was a lot of counteroffensives going on. So it was a very brutal period of the Vietnam War.
LINDA PATILLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Burnam was 20 years old when he arrived in Vietnam in 1967. The U.S. Army assigned the young soldier to one of the most dangerous duties in combat.
BURNAM: The job was walking point right out in from of the platoon and leading them through the jungle or through the different terrain that we had to travel through.
PATILLO: Burnam did not lead the platoon alone, however. An 85- pound German shepherd dog named Clipper was at his side. Clipper was one of 4,000 scout dogs who served in Vietnam with U.S. forces.
The scout dogs could smell snipers and pick up the scent of the Vietcong on tracks, tunnels and land mines. They could detect deadly booby traps by hearing the wind vibrating the trip wires.
Burnam trusted Clipper more than his rifle.
BURNAM: Clipper and I were on a patrol near the Cambodian border, and Clipper alerted really strong. His head went up, his ears popped forward, he turned around and looked at me, and I just got down immediately. It was the strongest alert I had of the day.
And right as soon as we got down, the sniper opened up about 300 yards away. So Clipper had actually alerted on that sniper and saved the patrol from walking into that, or myself or him, from getting killed.
PATILLO: Ten-thousand young soldiers and Marines handled and cared for the scout dogs during combat in Vietnam. They carried the dogs' food and water into battle, huddled with them in fox holes during mortar attacks, and read them perfumed letters from home when they were lonely. They tended them when the dogs were wounded and buried them in a small cemetery when they were killed in action. Nearly 300 scout dogs died in combat.
BURNAM: It was like a brother, you know. It's like your foxhole buddy. He was my best friend. He was my companion. He was my partner. He would take care of me, I would take care of him.
PATILLO: By the time U.S. Marine Private Karl Gross got to Vietnam, his scout dog, Hobo, was already a veteran, wounded in combat with his previous handler.
KARL GROSS, U.S. MARINE VETERAN: No one assigns a dog to you in the Marine Corps. You have to pick it. It's your own choice. I walked down and there was Hobo just standing there, quiet. He seemed older, he seemed more mature.
PATILLO: The scout dog teams were so effective that the North Vietnamese put a bounty on the heads of the dogs and their handlers. The Vietcong were rewarded if they brought back the tattooed ears of the dogs or the arm patches of their handlers.
Like every handler, Gross vividly remembers the day his dog saved his life.
GROSS: Hobo had sprang up and I just yelled, "stay," and looked all around in front of Hobo, looked all around in front of myself, looked to my rear, looked between my legs, and there was a trip wire on my back, my right foot.
He did find it, and that was the difference of a millisecond of us getting, you know, me tripping the trip wire and blowing us up.
PATILLO (on camera): How did you feel about Hobo right after that?
GROSS: I knew we were a team. I knew it worked. It can't work any better than that.
PATILLO (voice-over): Twenty-five years after the war ended, that bond is still unforgettable.
GROSS: There he is wearing my bush hot out at the CAG unit. I'm sure he didn't like taking that pose. He's probably saying, I'm going to get you later.
PATILLO (on camera): You were always together?
GROSS: Always together, yes, inseparable.
PATILLO (voice-over): The dogs were used to such companionship. The U.S. government had recruited them from thousands of American families who donated their pets to the military for training.
PATILLO: Beth Franz (ph) was 17 years old when she donated two of her pet German shepherds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll never forget it. A big truck drove up, and he rolled up the back of the truck, and there were two huge dog crates in there. And on them it said, "property of the U.S. government." And I remember standing in the driveway thinking, I hope this makes a difference, because it was so emotional for me to see both these dogs leave. And they were looking out of the crates at me like, where are we going? And then he pulled the door down and they drove off. And I sat down in the driveway, I remember, and just cried.
PATILLO: The troops had trouble saying goodbye, too. Although many of the handlers asked to take their dogs home with them when their tour of duty was over, the dogs had to stay on in Vietnam to continue service with another handler.
GROSS: Days on end you would think about them or wonder what happened to them. But you would always say to yourself, well, do you really want to know what happened to them? PATILLO: After the war ended, everyone -- the dog's original owners and the handlers who fought side-by-side with them -- thought the dogs had been brought home to America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think anybody that had donated a war dog at that point would certainly hope that these dogs had come back to their handlers, military bases, that the dogs were certainly brought out of Vietnam with the troops.
PATILLO: But over the next few years, word gradually spread that when U.S. troops pulled out of Vietnam, the dogs were left behind along with surplus equipment.
Military records show that of the more than 4,000 dogs who served in Vietnam, only 200 were brought home. Of the dogs that survived combat, nearly 1,000 were turned over to the South Vietnamese Army and an uncertain fate. The rest were euthanized.
GROSS: Why an animal like that, that did so much for so many people, would have to be put down is beyond any dog handler. And there are some that won't even talk about it. I think most of us would rather find out they were killed in action.
PATILLO: The official U.S. policy stated the animals could not come home because they were potentially vicious and might bring diseases back to the United States. Military veterinarians at the time disagreed on whether disease was really a threat. Many of the veterans believed the dogs were left behind for a different reason.
GROSS: I guess because of the times and the political sentiment toward the war, I imagine that a program like the War Dog Program was something they would just like to sweep under the carpet and do away with and get out of Vietnam and put it behind them as quickly as they could.
PATILLO: So the story of the Vietnam war dogs became one more secret never talked about by many Vietnam veterans.
Occasionally, it surfaced, like in a chance encounter 10 years after the war ended when a prospective customer walked into Beth Franz's business and overheard her say her maiden name.
FRANZ: And he said, I had your dog in Vietnam. And he said, I ran scout with your dog. And I was stunned. And I said, how do you know he was my dog? And he said, Beth, you donated a dog to the military and his name was Barr (ph). And he said, I was in Vietnam. And he said, I was assigned your dog and he saved my life and he saved the lives of men in my platoon. He said, he was a great dog and I can't thank you enough for what you did.
This man came home because my dog protected him in Vietnam. It came back to me full circle that the decision to donate the dog made such a huge difference.
PATILLO: Upset that a public memorial had never been built to the dogs, the veterans finally raised the money themselves. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unveil the War Dog Memorial.
PATILLO: At the reunion, they dedicated a private memorial of their own, a bronze statue of a Vietnam dog team that stands across from a veteran cemetery in Riverside, California.
Twenty-five years after the war ended, the forgotten heroes were finally recognized.
BURNAM: We think it's an important story, that the American public should know what these dogs did, and they should know what the military did to these dogs after the war. But they should know that these dogs should be recognized as heroes.
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.
WALCOTT: Our weekly segment "Democracy in America" continues with a look at an issue important to all candidates running for office: money. How to raise it is our focus today. Where do candidates turn if they want to raise money to run for political office? Well, most look to their constituents, people they can count on for support. Then there are political parties which take in what's known as "soft" money to help elect their candidates.
Beth Fouhy has more on the role and the controversy soft money can play in a campaign.
VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's win in November.
BETH FOUHY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may be the ultimate love-hate relationship: politicians...
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your service to the Republican Party.
FOUHY: ... and soft money, because despite all the handshakes, the legislation and the proclamations...
ED RENDELL, DNC GENERAL CHAIRMAN: ... that when we win this election this November, we are committed to getting rid of soft money.
FOUHY: ... the political parties can't get enough of it. And they're raking it in like never before.
According to newly-released figures by the Federal Election Commission, the Republican Party and its campaign committees raised $86.4 million in soft money between January 1, 1999, and March 31, 2000. That's a staggering 93 percent increase over the same period in the 1995-96 election cycle. Democrats did almost as well, raising $77 million for its party committees, about 94 percent above the 1995-96 figures. It was the Democrats' aggressive fund-raising tactics in 1996 that called attention to the easily exploitable soft money loophole. Congressional hearings and a Justice Department investigation depicted a fund-raising machine nearly out of control, with the party accepting illegal overseas donations and President Clinton personally vetting so-called "issue ads" that clearly advocated his re-election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, DNC AD)
ANNOUNCER: Only President Clinton's plan meets our challenges, protects our values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOUHY: The 1996 controversy also painted an unflattering portrait of Vice President Gore. In addition to his infamous visit to an illegal Buddhist temple fund-raiser, Gore narrowly escaped an independent counsel investigation after he admitted making some 71 soft money solicitations from his White House office.
GORE: There is no controlling legal authority that says there was any violation of any law.
FOUHY: Democrats argue that Republicans have long been the main beneficiaries of soft money, pointing to Republicans' efforts to kill the McCain-Feingold Bill that would have banned it. So while both parties argue, the money keeps rolling in.
The new FEC figures don't even reflect the two parties' most recent huge fund-raisers: a $21 million Republican gala in April and a blue jeans and barbecue bash for the Democratic National Committee last month that raised $26 million.
Beth Fouhy, CNN, Washington.
HAYNES: "Chronicle" continues now with a story that may make you reconsider what it means to be a world-class athlete. Members of the U.S. Paralympic team are gathering this week in Georgia for intense training.
The Paralympics is a competition for elite athletes with physical disabilities. The games, which are held the same year as the Olympics, emphasize the participants' athletic achievements rather than their physical limitations.
Here's Brian Cabell.
BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Combine basketball with roller derby and this is what you might get: wheelchair basketball. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blue ball, blue, blue, blue, blue!
CABELL: The game is not for the tame. The American Paralympic team, just selected and headed for Sydney in a few months, may be the best in the world.
DAVID KILEY, PARALYMPIAN: Hold it up, hold it up, here he is.
CABELL: That's 47-year-old David Kiley, the old man on the team. He's been a paralympian since 1976.
KILEY: I'm an adrenaline junkie. I love to perform and I love clutch situations.
CABELL: His clutch play may be needed in Sydney. The Americans were upset in '96. They're looking for revenge this year.
Spills are common, but there's no pity, no help on the court.
PAUL SCHULTE, PARALYMPIAN: The point is that the play goes on without you if you fall, so it's important to be strapped in and able to get back up just as quick as any able-bodied player.
CABELL: Paul Schulte, at 21, the youngest on the team, may be as quick and agile as any able-bodied player. Not a bad three-point shooter either. He's earned a college athletic scholarship.
Another star? 26-year-old grad student Will Waller. He ended up in a wheelchair when he was 18, the victim of a drive-by shooting.
WILL WALLER, PARALYMPIAN: Me and a friend, we were leaving in his car, and as our car was still parked, another car came by and shot five times, and I ended up taking one of the bullets.
CABELL: Chuck Gill was a jock in high school until spinal meningitis hit.
CHUCK GILL, PARALYMPIAN: You know, I just had to turn this into a positive. I'm still playing ball, just a different way.
CABELL: In a chair, on wheels, Gill also holds the distinction of being the only paralympian recently named as one of the 50 sexiest people in the world by "People" magazine. Of course, that won't earn him or anyone else any points in the rough and tumble world of paralympic basketball.
Brian Cabell, CNN, Warm Springs, Georgia.
WALCOTT: And that wraps up today's show.
HAYNES: That's right. Come on back tomorrow for another edition of CNN NEWSROOM. Take it easy.
WALCOTT: Bye-bye. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
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