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NEWSROOM for June 14, 2000Aired June 14, 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.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: It's Wednesday and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome. I'm Shelley Walcott.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Here's a look at today's rundown.
WALCOTT: In today's top story, the leaders of North and South Korea meet for a historic summit.
HAYNES: Then, in our "Business Desk," why finding a job in the world of dot.coms is a seller's market.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL SYRJALA, COMPUTER CONSULTANT: There's been a shift. The balance of power has shifted radically in favor of the employee these days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALCOTT: From the needs of professional Web sites to professional looting, "Worldview" looks at the latest target of international art thieves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VON MOLYVANN, ANGKOR CONSERVATION OFFICIAL (through translator): What is the scale of this theft? They have truly taken the best masterpieces of Cambodian art.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYNES: Then, in "Chronicle," ways to deal with the skyrocketing costs of a college education.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN KAPLAN, AUTHOR, "HOW TO GO TO COLLEGE ALMOST FOR FREE": I thought you had to be a Michael Jordan athlete or an Albert Einstein whiz kid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALCOTT: Almost 50 years to the week that the Korean War began, leaders of North and South Korea are meeting for the first time in history. the summit's first day in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, was packed with pomp and ceremony and an elaborate red-carpet treatment. South Korean President Kim Dae-jung promised to work toward eventual reunification. He also appealed for reunions of families separated by the peninsula's division, and the opening of sea, air and land routes.
His North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Il, surprised his guest by showing up at the airport to greet him. The reclusive North Korean leader said he was open to a "dialogue without reserve." The two shared a limousine ride into Pyongyang and were said to be cracking jokes by the end of the trip.
We take a closer look now at the leaders of both countries, beginning with North Korea's Kim Jong Il.
Here's Mike Chinoy.
MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A million people in the center of Pyongyang singing the song of General Kim Jong Il, paying homage to the world's most reclusive leader who presides over a society that often resembles a religious cult more than a country.
"You chase away fierce storms and give us faith," the lyrics go. "Without you there is no us. Without you there is no country."
In this unique political system, there are two gods: Kim Jong Il and his father, the late president Kim Il Sung. Monuments to both dot the landscape. Carefully orchestrated parades and rallies are designed to sustain the faith of the masses.
Although Kim Jong Il was groomed for decades to succeed his father, he remains an enigma. Portrayed by North Korea's propaganda machine as a political, military, technological, artistic and cinematic genius, he's also been described elsewhere as a playboy, and he's been accused of masterminding terrorist attacks. He's rumored to have a personal collection of 25,000 movies. His people have almost never heard his voice on radio or television.
Yet writing him off as an eccentric political lightweight is a mistake.
LEON SIGAL, NORTHEAST ASIA SECURITY PROJECT: Kim Jong Il has been at the center of power for even before he succeeded his father, and that he has been tested. We clearly don't like all of his methods, for good reason. But the notion that he's a flake is absurd.
CHINOY: Indeed, Kim has managed to steer North Korea through the shock of his father's death, the devastating famine that followed, and tensions over nuclear and missile issues with Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, playing a weak hand skillfully enough to draw his adversaries into a new policy of engagement.
At the start of June, with the summit approaching, Kim made a rare overseas visit to North Korea's only real ally, China, where cameras recorded and broadcast his voice, where he acted like a statesman and visited a computer plant that's a symbol of China's market-style reforms.
It's too early to conclude he will take his own country on a similar path, but the past few weeks have seen North Korea open diplomatic ties with Italy and Australia. That and the summit add to the growing evidence Kim may be seeking to bring North Korea out of its long and painful isolation.
Mike Chinoy, CNN, Seoul.
SOHN JIE-AE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): South Korean President Kim Dae-jung is riding high on the South-North summit, which many accredit to a sustained position of actively engaging the North, the Sunshine Policy. It's a policy Kim has upheld despite fierce criticism from conservative forces. In fact, overcoming huge odds and opposition is something Kim has done throughout his turbulent career.
Kim was elected to parliament in the early 1960s, just days before a military coup by general Park Chung Hee. Kim's fiery and provocative calls for democracy almost got him killed several times. In 1973, South Korean secret agents tried to dump him into the sea. He was also given the death sentence by military dictator Chun Doo Hwan, and carries a limp from a suspected assassination attempt.
In 1980, he was living in exile in the United States when his home town of Kwangju erupted in a pro-democracy uprising. Kim made an emotional plea for international intervention while hundreds of his countrymen were killed by South Korean soldiers. Upon his return in 1985, Kim supported a nationwide pro-democracy movement which toppled the military government.
With his presidential election in 1998, Kim became the first opposition leader to win the post. So it was quite in character for Kim to buck the trend in his liberal position towards the North -- a stance he's maintained for decades, even as he was branded a communist sympathizer and a communist card used against him time and again to turn conservative votes against him.
President Kim is living proof of victory over military dictatorship. Whether he will triumph over his critics on the North Korean issue will depend very much on what comes out of the summit.
Sohn Jie-Ae, CNN, Seoul.
HAYNES: You've no doubt heard of e-mail and e-commerce, both evidence of what's called the "new economy" and our reliance on technology. What is the new economy? The encyclopedia of the new economy says it's a world in which people work with their brains instead of their hands; a world in which communication technology creates global competition.
The bottom line is, more specialized workers are needed to help sustain this fast-paced new economy, as we hear from Bill Delaney.
BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A booming bastion of the new economy, freelance software tester Bill Syrjala's scruffy bachelor pad in Boston's North End, where in the past several months some 650 companies have e-mailed or called him...
SYRJALA: It's very weird.
DELANEY: ... about offering a full-time job.
SYRJALA: There's been a shift. The balance of power has shifted radically in favor of the employee these days.
DELANEY: For high-tech skills, the job market is still red hot. Keeping the heat on, a company like Lycos, the Internet search engine based outside Boston, by all accounts a really great place to work. It better be.
JOHN MCMAHON, HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER: They can walk in at any moment and tell you that they have the opportunity for four new jobs. Today, we get a letter that would sound something like, I'd like to know that you provide the following because here's what I would need for me to consider you.
DELANEY: HotJobs.com, a Web site created just three years ago, now contains a million and a half resumes. Employers pay a fee to cruise the credentials.
DULCE WILLIAMS, HOTJOBS.COM: You know these people are getting multiple offers at a time. The turnaround time for finding a job has shrunk down to -- what used to be maybe a month to two-month process, down to a two-week process.
DELANEY: As for keeping employees, Lycos is presently spending several hundred thousand dollars on new, free, cutting-edge training to entice employees to stay interested; to stay, period.
(on camera): Now, as with most good things, there is a catch: Having more job offers than you know what to do with has a lot to do with what you have to offer. Not every set of skills sells.
(voice-over): High-tech, sales and financial skills, though, still do, despite the jittery Nasdaq, why more and more bosses are asking the people who work for them, what have I done for you lately?
Bill Delaney, CNN, Boston.
WALCOTT: We've focused a lot of attention over the past couple of weeks on the Microsoft antitrust case. The U.S. government wants to split Microsoft in two because of what it says are anti-competitive practices. Now, a similar case is taking the spotlight. This time, it's the trillion-dollar credit card industry. The U.S. government says Visa and MasterCard violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, and their business practices are hurting consumers.
The Sherman Antitrust Act was the first legislation enacted by Congress to curb concentrations of power that interfere with trade and economic competition.
Susan Lisovicz looks at how this latest case applies.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Visa and MasterCard together control three-quarters of the nation's banking card industry. But that's not why the government says they have a duopoly that stifles innovation. Visa and MasterCard share the same network of banks and financial institutions, and the government says that makes them reluctant to compete against each other.
In opening statements in Manhattan's federal court, the government said a prime example of that collusion was the long delay in introducing smart cards. Even though MasterCard long possessed the technology which allows consumers many more services, it was rival American Express who finally brought them to market.
But MasterCard says the delay was all about good business sense.
KEVIN ARQUIT, MASTERCARD ATTORNEY: We did a study, and it turned out it would cost us a billion dollars to develop this. It would be 10 years before we turned a profit, and it was just seen as too expensive a venture.
The fact of the matter is that in United States there simply isn't a business case yet for smart cards.
LISOVICZ: American Express, Discover and other competitors want access to Visa's and MasterCard's vast network of member banks. But Visa and MasterCard say the government would, in effect, be giving their rivals a free ride, and they say consumers have plenty of choice already.
KELLY PRESTA, VICE PRESIDENT, VISA USA: Visa itself offers more than 24,000 different kinds of Visa cards to consumers, whether you like jazz or a sports team or your local university. And in addition, last year, consumers received more than 4 billion solicitations in the mail. That's a red-hot competitive environment.
LISOVICZ: But the government and consumer groups say there would be even more competition if Visa and MasterCard's network were opened up to other bank cards. FRANK TORRES, CONSUMERS UNION: If the banks were allowed to issue other products, and I think that's what this suit is all about, is who ultimately gets to control the payment system, and should there be one or two companies that dominate or should there be a lot of companies that can get into that market?
LISOVICZ: The government poured through 8 million pages of documentation preparing its case against Visa and MasterCard. It dropped two of its six points just this past weekend. Visa and MasterCard say that proves just how difficult it will be for the government to win its case.
Susan Lisovicz, CNN Financial News, New York.
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: We take you on a treasure hunt in "Worldview." Our adventures lead us to Asia and Africa. In Cambodia, we're on the trail of some stolen art. And jewels grab the attention in two African nations.
WALCOTT: Our first stop is Madagascar. The African country is the fourth largest island in the world. It's located in the Indian Ocean about 240 miles or 360 kilometers southeast of the African mainland. Tiny islands nearby also make up the country. Madagascar is one of the poorest nations in the world. To make matters even more difficult, the country is trying to recover from a trio of devastating cyclones. Many of its people are farmers. Some grow rice while others herd cattle. And these days, many are desperately trying to harvest something else: sapphires.
The precious gem was recently discovered in the southern part of the country. And with it, the hope for better days ahead.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault reports.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From afar, it looks like the desert mirage; closer in, the California gold rush. Only it isn't gold they're digging for, it's sapphires.
Somewhere down in this hole is 24-year-old Kifra Rajoelison (ph), previously unemployed, digging because he says it's the only way to make money -- not much so far. Likewise this, 26-year-old physics student, college career on hold.
(on camera): Like many others, these diggers have come from hundreds of miles away -- most of them young, most of them poor, most of them knowing that there are no jobs in their future in this country, most of them hoping to strike it rich so that they will have a future.
(voice-over): A future in a country where yearly income is around $260 but where the majority have no income at all. This mother of two small boys is earning just enough to convince her and her husband to stay a few more months, despite conditions where diggers wash their sapphires, bathe, drink, and get their water for cooking out of this increasingly polluted river; also, housing like this.
But still, they come, swelling this town from 25 households to upwards of 150,000 people, all pinning their hopes on gem dealers like these from as far away as Thailand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's the best place in the world.
HUNTER-GAULT: For them, perhaps, where some say they buy up to $15 million in gems in two weeks. But diggers say they are being exploited, being paid peanuts while the outsiders reap the big profits. Initially slow to act, the government is now trying to address this and other issues.
TANTELY ANDRIANANARIVO, PRIME MINISTER, MADAGASCAR: We really want people to have -- to share the exact value of what has been produced in this area, and this might take some time.
HUNTER-GAULT: Not long ago, Ilakaka looked like this. Now, with the promise of more gems in these here hills, this could look more like Ilakaka any day now.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN, Ilakaka, Madagascar.
HAYNES: From Madagascar to the war-ravaged Sierra Leone. A small country in western Africa, Sierra Leone was a British colony until 1961 when it gained its independence. But it has remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Sierra Leone provides a large portion of one of the world's most valuable treasures: diamonds. They make up half the total value of the country's exports. They're buried in gravel deposits along riverbeds and in swamps in the eastern part of the country. Even though Sierra Leone tries to control diamond mining, some people mine them illegally and smuggle them out of the country. About 70 percent of the diamonds are used to make gemstones.
As Charlotte Smith tells us, these precious stones may contribute to the country's fighting.
CHARLOTTE SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In one of the poorest countries in the world, a treasure worth hundreds of millions of dollars lies buried. Diamonds, an easy pick in Sierra Leone, have become a curse rather than a blessing for the West African country and its people.
Many believe that the reason for the civil war that's ravaged Sierra Leone for a decade lies here along the banks of the River Sewa. Experts say the gemstones have armed, fueled and fed the Revolutionary United Front rebels in their violent struggle against the government of Freetown. And local diamond miners will say no different.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rebels are there because there are diamonds. They are not there because they are popular, but because there are diamonds to finance their war, that is all.
SMITH: According to the 1999 Lome Peace Accord, the RUF rebels who control the diamond fields should have relinquished their control of the mines to United Nations peacekeepers. But that never happened, and an estimated $70 million worth of gems are smuggled out of the country every year and sold on international markets. That has prompted the British government to call for tighter controls of the diamond industry.
PETER HAIN, BRITISH MINISTER OF STATE: Every day that goes by, every week that goes by, every month that goes by, these diamonds are fueling more -- these blood diamonds are fueling more mutilation, more savagery, more war, more conflict, more deaths, more maimings. Now I think the whole international diamond industry and the international community ought to really face up to their responsibilities.
SMITH: At present, identification of the origin of a diamond is not a requirement for its import or sale. But the British government wants the source of all diamonds to be verified to stop the trade in so-called "conflict" or "blood diamonds" that affects Sierra Leone, but also Angola, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A recent United Nations report says illegal trade in diamonds is continuing with Angolan rebels despite international sanctions. And countries like Belgium have repeatedly come under criticism for lax control over diamond trading.
For the time being, however, the fabulous gemstones remain the strongest weapons in the hands of many of Africa's warlords.
Charlotte Smith, CNN, London.
ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: "Worldview" movies to Cambodia where the national religion is Buddhism. The early Khmer civilization there was heavily influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism. The Khmer empire peaked in the 12th century. Modern Cambodian history includes its 1953 independence from France and the evolution of a communist group known as the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge overran the capital city of Phnom Penh in 1975 and systematically exterminated at least 1 million Cambodians by 1979.
Decades later, as Cambodians rebuild from their bloody past, they are looking to preserve the art and culture of a previous age untouched by terror.
Mike Chinoy looks at some of the difficulties preservationists are facing.
CHINOY (voice-over): It is the core of Cambodia's identity: the great temple complex of Angkor, built 1,000 years ago when the Khmer empire ruled much of Southeast Asia.
But now Angkor's treasures are at risk, the target of gangs of international art thieves.
MOLYVANN (through translator): What is the scale of this theft? They have truly taken the best masterpieces of Cambodian art.
CHINOY: The headless statue has today become the symbol of Cambodia's endangered cultural heritage.
ASHLEY THOMPSON, KHMER ART SCHOLAR: This is called Batthea Thom (ph). It's another complex that dates from the 12th, 13th century.
CHINOY: American Ashley Thompson and her Cambodian colleagues are trying to halt the pillage.
THOMPSON: Here it looks as if they've taken a chisel and just chiseled all around the head in order to take the head entirely intact.
CHINOY: In fact, experts say the pillaging of Cambodia's cultural relics is now a multinational business, fed by the growing demand for Khmer sculpture among collectors around the world.
THOMPSON: It's a network that runs all the way from the village level in Cambodia to the national authorities in Cambodia to authorities in Thailand and to art dealers.
CHINOY: Outside the country, it's a different kind of corruption.
(on camera): The network for looted Cambodian art is so sophisticated and so blatant that catalogues actually exist listing sites and specific objects. A connoisseur without scruples can have a priceless relic stolen to order.
(voice-over): In the end, a country as poor as Cambodia can only do so much. Until the dealers and collectors recognize that the art they are acquiring is contributing to the destruction of the culture that produced it, the pillaging of Cambodia's treasures will go on.
Mike Chinoy, CNN, Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
HAYNES: More about the world of art tomorrow in "Worldview" when we examine a controversy over some art auctions. Questions over antiques are causing an uproar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): These treasures belong to China and to all Chinese people. And these treasures should be stored in a national museum for all the world to see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYNES: To sell or not to sell, we spotlight this global issue.
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.
WALCOTT: Paying for college is no joke. It can cost thousands of dollars in countries such as the United States. But education after high school can be affordable if you're willing to make the effort to find out what kind of help there is out there.
Here are some options: First, try saving for college. Remember, the choice is to pay now or pay later. Another option is federally sponsored student loans and work programs. And then, there are scholarships or grants.
Many people believe scholarships are available only to the very smart, the very athletic or the very needy. But that may not necessarily be true, as Myron Kandel reports.
MYRON KANDEL, CNN FINANCIAL EDITOR (voice-over): There are hundreds of millions of dollars in scholarships waiting to be snapped up by qualified or sometimes by just plain persevering applicants. Many are based on merit or need, but others are more specific, given to members of certain organizations, geographic areas, ethnic or religious groups, or students with particular career or vocational interests.
KAPLAN: The big myth is that you have to be an academic whiz to win these awards. And I thought this before I was starting the process. I thought you had to be a Michael Jordan athlete or an Albert Einstein whiz kid.
KANDEL: In fact, many scholarship programs don't even look at grades and focus more on the student's extracurricular activities. Benjamin Kaplan obtained $90,000 in scholarships to cover nearly the entire cost of attending Harvard, and he's turned his experiences into a book titled, "How to go to College Almost for Free."
KAPLAN: A great way to get a good number of leads right away is to use these free Internet search databases where you input your personal characteristics and they provide a list of scholarships that match that definition.
KANDEL: He even has his own Web site, winscholarships.com, which can lead you to lots of others.
Scholarships aren't only available to students heading to college. There are awards for high school students, for those already in college or grad school, and even for older folks going back or starting for the first time.
And that's "Your Money," Myron Kandel, CNN Financial News, New York.
HAYNES: Where was the Internet when I went to college?
WALCOTT: I know, but it sounds like there's a lot of options out there now.
HAYNES: Definitely are.
Listen, we've got to get out of here. We'll see you tomorrow.
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