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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for June 15, 2000

Aired June 15, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Thanks for inviting us into your classroom today. I'm Tom Haynes.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. Lets see what's ahead.

HAYNES: In today's news, after five decades of division and conflict, a historic agreement between North and South Korea.

WALCOTT: Thursday's "Desk" dishes out news from science. Today, find out what's likely to make your Internet connection faster and cheaper.


DON KNAPP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This little device might help reduce everyone's worldwide wait by souping up the Internet.


HAYNES: We globe-hop in "Worldview." Among today's stops, Iran, where a lack of rain is putting tremendous strain on farmers and their crops.


KASRA NAJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This headman, who's armed to scare away potential cattle thieves, says it's been a dark year.


WALCOTT: Then in "Chronicle," the fears and realities of crime and young people.


TRE AUNDA STOVER, CLASS PRES., BALLOU SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL: I always thought I would lead a happy, beautiful life and then I would die a natural death. But now you have to worry about, you know, will I make it past 18?


HAYNES: In today's news, a late-night signing, a champagne toast and a landmark agreement to pursue an end to a lingering Cold War legacy. The leaders of North and South Korea have signed an agreement that translates into the biggest leap toward peace since the Korean War. While other deals have surfaced over the years, this covers the most ground and is the first negotiated by the countries' head of state. For more on the background of the Korean War and how the peninsula became divided, head for Monday's program and classroom guide.

Now, with a million troops massed on both sides of a sealed border, there was talk at this summit of opening highway and railway lines that have been shut for more than 50 years.

As Mike Chinoy explains, on many counts, the talks were just that. But there was tangible progress and signs of hope.


MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the stroke of a pen, a historic turning point on the Korean Peninsula: the leaders of North and South Korea signing a joint communique in Pyongyang, pledging to bring the Cold War in this volatile corner of Asia to an end.

Its major elements: a commitment to work toward eventual reunification, efforts to reunite families divided by the Korean War, promises of economic cooperation, and, in yet another summit surprise, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il accepted an invitation to visit the South at what the communique called "an appropriate date."

The signing ceremony was the climax of an extraordinary two days. Earlier, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung held a second round of talks with Kim Jong Il in which the North Korean leader -- a political figure so reclusive he had never spoken on the international stage -- sought to project a new image of a statesman so self-confident he even joked about his eccentric reputation overseas.

"The foreign media was saying I live a hermit life," he said. "But I've been to China and to Indonesia and to other countries on unofficial trips. But they're still saying I'm a hermit. And they're saying I have now been liberated from being a hermit by President Kim Dae-jung's visit.

CHINOY: But as the two men dined together, sharing jokes and conversation, there were few details to go with their sweeping pledges. And in South Korea, where reaction to the summit has gone from excitement to virtual euphoria, there was little immediate concern over the many difficult problems that were not addressed.

(on camera): However momentous the achievement, in some ways, holding this summit and pledging cooperation and goodwill was really the easy part. There are still over a million soldiers facing off across the Korean demilitarized zone. There are still widespread international concerns about North Korea's missile and nuclear program. To achieve a durable peace on this divided peninsula, the toughest tasks still lie ahead.

Mike Chinoy, CNN, Seoul.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: In the headlines today, we examine another fallout of the Cold War, this time the relationship between two superpowers: A U.S. retired Army colonel has been accused of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia.

Spying, or espionage, is the practice of trying to obtain information about the plans and activities of another government. George Trofimoff has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Tampa, Florida. He allegedly sold military secrets while he worked at a U.S. military base in West Germany. If convicted, he could be sent to prison for life.


BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventy- three-year-old retired Army Reserve Colonel George Trofimoff becomes the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to be formally charged with espionage. Trofimoff is alleged to have sold U.S. secrets to Soviet agents for 25 years.

DONNA BUCELLA, U.S. ATTORNEY: Thereby giving the KGB the opportunity to identify, penetrate and neutralize potential threats to the Soviet Union.

FRANKEN: According to the charges, the material Trofimoff turned over to the KGB involved detailed information regarding what the U.S. knew about the Soviet military capabilities. That information came from the civilian job he held while he was in the Army Reserve. Trofimoff, who was employed in Nuremberg, Germany as chief of a U.S. intelligence facility, had access to top-secret material.

According to the indictment, he was recruited for the KGB by a Russian Orthodox priest, the late Igor Susemihl, a boyhood friend who later became archbishop of Vienna. The indictment claims Trofimoff became what in the spy trade is known as an "agent in place" for the KGB.

FRANK GALLAGHER, FBI: We believe that he was paid in excess of $250,000 throughout the course of his activities.

FRANKEN: For that, according to prosecutors, Trofimoff would meet with KGB agents in cities throughout Germany and Austria and hand over vital documents and photographs. It went on, they continued, even after the fall of the Soviet Union. In fact, law enforcement officials say they snared him in a sting in Tampa because Trofimoff believed his services were still needed.

GALLAGHER: He had come to Tampa today to meet an individual who was operating on behalf of the FBI, who Mr. Trofimoff thought was operating on behalf of the SVR, which is the successor organization to the KGB. At the time that he came for the meeting, he was arrested. FRANKEN: According to the indictment, Trofimoff years ago received the Red Banner, the Soviet Union's oldest award.

(on camera): Trofimoff was arrested for espionage by the German government in 1994, but the authorities could not make their case. Saying he caused "exceptionally grave damage" to national security, U.S. officials will try again to make the charges stick.


WALCOTT: In our "Science Desk" today, we look at how the Internet transmits information from your computer out to computer networks and to other computers. There are two things which determine the speed at which the information travels. The method of transmission -- for example, copper cable versus fiberoptic threads -- and the translation mechanisms -- types of modems and phone lines.

The more pieces of information is broken into, sent and reassembled, the faster it moves from place to place. For example, chopping something up into a thousand pieces and sending them all at the same time allows them to get to the other side faster than, say, chopping them into 100 pieces and sending ten transmissions.

Now a relatively inexpensive laser promises bigger, faster Internet connections, as Don Knapp explains.


KNAPP (voice-over): This little device might help reduce everyone's worldwide wait by souping up the Internet. It's a new laser able to send more and more information through fiberoptic cables that carry much of the Internet's long-distance traffic. The makers say the new laser is more powerful and less expensive than lasers now used to drive the pulsating streams of light transmitting data across the country.

MALCOLM THOMPSON, NOVALUX: Now, the problem is, this light runs out of steam when it gets to Salt Lake City or halfway across the country, and you have to pump more laser power in there to pump up the light to make it brighter, so it gets all the way to New York.

KNAPP: Novalux CEO Malcolm Thompson says his firm's new laser can pump up hundreds of data channels on existing fiberoptic cable. The laser is generated by a semiconductor circuit developed by Aram Mooradian.

ARAM MOORADIAN, NOVALUX: We have now been able to make the laser operate in a perfect, high-power beam. But even more importantly than that, we have done it with the ability to manufacture in volume at very low cost.

KNAPP: The new laser chips produce a perfectly rounded laser beam that precisely fits the rounded strands of fiberoptic cable. That means greater efficiency and greater volume on the Internet, critical as the number of Internet users doubles every 100 days.

The inventor of the original laser, Nobel laureate Charles Townes, joined Novalux as a scientific adviser.

CHARLES TOWNES, LASER INVENTOR: You can put more channels on, makes it faster in switching and so on, and you can provide more power.

KNAPP: With fiberoptic cables filling up nearly as fast as they're put in, firms may be looking for new ways to push more information through the glass pipes already in place.

Don Knapp, CNN, San Francisco.


WALCOTT: Now it's time for a reality check. And nowadays, the line between what's real and what isn't is getting blurred. Virtual reality is an artificial environment created through sights and sounds provided by a computer. So I can go from being in front of this blue wall here at CNN to a bright, sunny beach surrounded by sand and waves; or maybe floating through the stars in space.

Brian Nelson takes us inside the world of virtual reality to meet some virtual people.


BRIAN NELSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There have been plenty of poster children for the cause of virtual reality talking heads. The most famous was Max Headroom. Maybe the most forgettable, someone named "Baldy." And until today, perhaps the slickest was the digital European news reader, Ananova.


ANANOVA, DIGITAL NEWS READER: This morning, I'm keeping a close watch on the London stock market.


NELSON: But now, after five years of work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, NASA believes plenty of consumer-friendly applications can make Max seem like clay animation.

JOHN WRIGHT, NASA, JET PROPULSION LABORATORY: The best application for the consumer environment is going to be, personally, video telephones. I think that the technology for video phones on the Internet is starting to come online.

NELSON: To overcome a bad hair day for a video phone call, use your virtual self. Just record a short phrase and, presto, technology takes over. The next words you speak can make your virtual image come alive.


UNIDENTIFIED VIRTUAL MALE: This is a demonstration of SAVANT, speech analysis and visualization augmenting narrative technology. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NELSON: NASA and its commercial partner, Graphco Technologies, see plenty of other applications. For example, Hollywood may give us virtual actors. How about resurrecting Bogart for a new screen role?


HUMPHREY BOGART, ACTOR: I know where you stand and what your sympathies are.


NELSON: "Washington Post" media critic and CNN contributor Howard Kurtz has some doubts.

HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA CRITIC: But when you think about it, it's kind of like the colorizing of black and white films. It's a little creepy and just because you can do it, I don't know that you necessarily should do it.

NELSON: And politics could get just as creepy. Hollywood's "Dave" gave us a stand-in president. Does technology have the power to give us a virtual one?

Brian Nelson, CNN, Atlanta.


HAYNES: In "Worldview" today, we have it all. We'll spin the globe and land in Asia and North America. We'll catch a glimpse of something unusual in a Buddhist temple in Thailand. In China, Japan and the United States, we focus on art. And in another Asian nation, we'll find out about drought.

WALCOTT: First stop, Iran, a country in the Middle East region of southwestern Asia. Iran is one of the oldest countries in the world. Its history dates back almost 5,000 years. Foreign powers have invaded and occupied Iran time and again during its long history. One invasion occurred in the mid-600s when Muslim Arabs conquered the country. To this day, the vast majority of Iranians are Muslim.

In the early 1900s, the discovery of oil gave Iran an enormous source of wealth. But times have been tougher lately. Iran is facing its worst drought in more than 30 years. The dry conditions are hurting the production of wheat and other produce. It's also threatening hundreds of thousands of nomads in the southern part of the country.

Kasra Naji explains.


NAJI (voice-over): The nomads of the Qashqai tribe in southern Iran are on the move again. Late spring every year, they migrate several hundred kilometers north to the central areas of the country where the weather is normally cooler and the pastures greener for their herds, their only source of livelihood. For many of the 1 million or so Qashqais, it's a way of life.

But this year they have begun to move north much earlier than usual. The reason: the worst drought in Iran for 30 years. Winter rains didn't fall and pastures here turned to deserts, leaving their herd little to eat.

This headman, who's armed to scare away potential cattle thieves, says it's been a dark year. Hundreds of their animals have died already. He is among 100,000 or so Qashqais who are finding it increasingly difficult to feed their herd.

He says worsening economic conditions has meant the Qashqais' way of life has been disappearing rapidly. Even without the drought, he believes they would not have been around for another five or six years.

(on camera): The fear now is that many of these people will have to sell off their herd and join the urban poor with no skills and no jobs. If they do so, they will put an end to a way of life much sooner than expected.

(voice-over): In this part of Iran, wheat production is down by 80 percent this year because of the drought. Many other parts of Iran are not doing much better. The government has announced food aid and rescheduling of farmers' loans repayments. But even if the food aid gets to everyone in need, it will not reach the Qashqais' herd.

The drought this year may be the most serious threat to a way of life of an independent people who have so far survived for centuries largely untouched by changes of governments and regimes, wars and a revolution.

Kasra Naji, CNN, southern Iran.


JORDAN: Next stop, China, Asia's largest country, and the most populous nation on Earth. In fact, more than one-fifth of all the world's people live in China. The country has more than 4,000 years of recorded history. And China is one of the few existing countries that has flourished economically and culturally since early civilization. Now China is keeping that culture by buying it back.

Lisa Barron reports on some recent controversial auctions.


LISA BARRON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One country, two stolen treasures -- at least that's what these Hong Kong activists say about the sale of Chinese antiques by international auction house Christie's.

LEUNG KWOK-HUNG, APRIL 5TH ACTION GROUP (through translator): These treasures belong to China, to all Chinese people, and these treasures should be stored in a national museum for all the world to see.

BARRON: The antiques in question: these bronze heads of a bull and a monkey. China says they were looted from the Manchu emperor's summer palace outside Beijing when it was ransacked by British and French troops in 1860.

YANG LAIYUN, DIRECTOR, CULTURAL DEPT., SUMMER PALACE: The bronze bull and monkey head have no worth in exhibitions abroad. They are only meaningful and valuable in their rightful position in the Yuan Ming Palace.

BARRON: They were worth more than $2 million U.S. to the winning bidder, a man identified as Yi Shuhao (ph), an antique consultant to a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Before leaving, Yi said the items belong to China.

(on camera): The dispute has become a political hot potato. Beijing asked Hong Kong officials to oppose the sale of Chinese artifacts and sent Christie's a letter requesting it take its pieces off the block.

(voice-over): But Christie's said it had a professional duty to sell them.

ANTHONY LIN, CHMN., CHRISTIE'S HONG KONG: I'm sure all of you share our views that if considerations other then commercial consideration come into the picture, then that may potentially be damaging for commerce in Hong Kong.

BARRON: Rival auction house Sotheby's is in a similar boat, defending its sale of this ancient Chinese ceramic vase and bronze tiger's head.

CARLTON ROCHELL, SOTHEBY'S: We're not in any breach of any international laws or any treaties that we've signed with China or any local Hong Kong laws.

BARRON: But the Chinese government may disagree. One official said the government will definitely pursue the matter further.

Lisa Barron, CNN, Hong Kong.


WALCOTT: And now we continue our look at art from Asia, but this time we travel to New York City, where the Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition featuring drawings, paintings and sculptures from Japan.

Fine art has flourished in Japan for centuries. Early paintings often reflected a strong Chinese influence, but over the centuries Japan's artwork developed its own particular style. Religious themes played an important role, with Buddhist and Shinto figures being honored in long picture scrolls and sculptures. Historical tales and legends were also popular subjects for Japanese artisans, who used comic strip-like series of pictures to tell stories. If you happen to be in New York City, the "Masterpieces of Japanese Art" exhibit is still going on until June 25. If not, you can see the highlights in our next report from Elsa Klensch.


ELSA KLENSCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An incredible exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art: some 200 masterpieces showcasing the development of Japanese art from 3000 B.C. to the 19th century. What makes the collection all the more impressive is that it's owned by one woman: Mary Griggs Burke.

Burke began collecting seriously with her late husband in 1963. She goes on frequent buying trips to Japan with eminent art historian Miyeko Murase. They made their first trip together in 1964.

MIYEKO MURASE, CURATOR: We visited some dealers together and she bought a number of things during that trip.

KLENSCH: Murase curated this exhibition at the Met. It also includes works never seen before by the public and one of the first pieces Burke ever bought.

MURASE: It's a lady, Shinto lady, in the first room and she's called Sadio Gongan (ph), the goddess of blue dragon. And she's a protector against flood. It's not a flashy painting. It's a religious painting.

KLENSCH: The exhibition contains just an eighth of Burke's extensive collection. This is her second show at the Met. Burke also had an exhibition at Tokyo National Museum, the only American collection ever shown there. The exhibit contains a number of works depicting cranes.

MURASE: She is very much involved in crane preservation, conservation. She went to Africa, she went to China, she went to northern Japan looking for cranes, looking at cranes. So I thought I would make cranes corner in deference to her.

KLENSCH: That's "Masterpieces of Japanese Art" from the Mary Griggs Burke collection.

Elsa Klensch, CNN, New York.


JORDAN: For nearly 700 years, the tropical nation of Thailand was called Siam. It was not until 1939 that the name Thailand was adopted. Of all the countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand is the only one that has never been ruled by a Western power.

Although Bangkok, Thailand's capital city, has a population of almost 6 million, most Thai people live in small, rural villages. The center of village life in Thailand is usually a Buddhist temple and monastery called a "wat." Buddhism is an ancient religion that teaches the way to perfect peace and happiness is to free oneself from worldly desires. About 95 percent of Thailand's population is Buddhist. As a result, many men in Thailand become monks for short periods of time. In the monastery, they wear yellow robes and lead lives of poverty, meditation and study.

But as Denise Dillon reports, there's room for fun and games, too.


DENISE DILLON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside this beautifully designed Buddhist temple in Bangkok, the monks are dedicated to their daily rituals: their devotion to their religion -- and to sports? Yes, that's a statue of a soccer player, David Beckham, as a matter of fact, the star midfielder of Manchester United. He is somewhat of a god to fans, and now his divine status is appreciated by the monks in this temple.

CHAH THEERAPUNYO, SENIOR MONK (through translator): The reason we have this statue inside the temple is that we are all impressed. The craftsman was impressed with the football hero.

DILLON: Soccer is a major obsession in Thailand, and that devotion cuts across all boundaries.

THEERAPUNYO (through translator): At this moment of time, football has become another religion. We wanted to express our admiration for the football player, just like millions of other people who admire the game of football.

DILLON: The gilded statue of the player is the centerpiece among hundreds of Buddhist icons surrounding the main Buddha image in the temple. The tribute to Beckham shows the impact of the modern world on this very traditional lifestyle.

THEERAPUNYA (through translator): We have to open our minds to this kind of thing in order to show Buddhist support for football players. This is contemporary art in the year 2000.

DILLON: As for Beckham and his team, they now know they can count on the support of thousands of monks who take their soccer as seriously as their religion.

Denise Dillon, CNN.


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

HAYNES: Well, it's that time of year again: mortar boards and hanging tassels. It's supposed to be a time of celebration and happiness. But for one school in Washington, D.C., moments of jubilation are being traded for moments of silence. Pierre Thomas explains.


PIERRE THOMAS, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Graduation for Ballou Senior High School, Washington, D.C.: a time of celebration, but also a time of sadness...

DR. ART BRIDGES, PRINCIPAL, BALLOU SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL: I'd also, ladies and gentleman, like to take this time for a moment of silence.

THOMAS: ... and remembrance for students murdered. This school year, eight Ballou students were shot or stabbed to death.

BRIDGES: Some of the students that we've lost I've only known for a short period of time. But we have -- we had a student named Teddy Garvin. I had known him for over 3 1/2 years. He was in the band. He and I had, on two or three occasions, had an opportunity to talk. It was like losing a son. It was like losing a son.

THOMAS (on camera): In fact, over the past decade, five to seven Ballou students have been murdered each year. The killings were not on school grounds like last year's Columbine massacre, but the cumulative impact is still severe.

STOVER: When I was younger, I always thought, you know -- I'm not scared of death, so I always thought I would lead a happy, beautiful life, and then I would die a natural death. But now you have to worry about, you know, will I make it past 18? I turn 18 on December 29 of this year and I have to worry about, will I make it to 18? And if I don't make it, will I die from a gunshot wound or a stab wound?

THOMAS (voice-over): While the murder rate among adults and juveniles has been sliding in recent years, homicide remains a chronic problem in some poor urban communities, many plagued by drugs. Nationally, 5,291 juveniles 17 and under were killed between 1996 and 1998. In communities like that surrounding Ballou, that means a steady stream of funerals for the very young.

School officials recently planted this weeping cherry tree to remember the slain, many tears shed.

BEATRICE CARTER, TEACHER, BALLOU SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL: Some say that they can't even shed any more tears, that they have shed so many tears that they are tired and they don't really know how to react.

THOMAS: Students weary and wary of where they go and how they act.

STOVER: And it's not like I'm paranoid, but it's like I'm always watching, you know, just watching, so...

THOMAS: Tre Aunda Stover, a model student, is considering where to attend college this fall: Yale or Tennessee State. She says faith in God and a desire to pursue higher education was her motivation. Now she can focus on more than just surviving.

Pierre Thomas, CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: Some kids out there fighting against the odds.

HAYNES: Students shouldn't have to be paranoid in school.


HAYNES: It's crazy.

Listen, we'll see you tomorrow. Take care.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.



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