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NEWSROOM for June 21, 2000Aired June 21, 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.
ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Welcome. It's Wednesday and I'm Andy Jordan. This is your NEWSROOM. We have lots to cover today, beginning with an emerging crisis on the African continent.
Drought and famine top our global agenda.
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RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the driest year in a decade for many parts of the Horn of East Africa, already the warning signs of approaching famine.
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JORDAN: Virtual business takes center stage in today's "Desk." We'll check in with a couple of young guns earning their degrees in the real world of dot.coms.
The cyber craze rolls into Korea in "Worldview."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOHN JIE-AE, CNN SEOUL BUREAU CHIEF: "I don't think I have any friends who aren't on the Net," says this man. This woman says it's hard to think about life without the Internet.
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JORDAN: OK, it's "Business Desk" day and we're hooked on the Net. Stay tuned to "Chronicle" to find out why your summer job may be going high-tech.
In today's top story, sporadic rain is falling in Africa, but the World Health Organization says it may be too little too late. Three consecutive years of poor rainfall in the Horn of Africa have led to a massive drought. The United Nations estimates 13 1/2 million people greatly need food or are even facing famine.
The countries most directly threatened are Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti. This drought has, for the most part, faded from the headlines, but the U.N. is trying to draw attention to the problem and is appealing for the world's help. The U.N. says it needs more than $378 million to ensure the health and survival of drought victims.
With more, here's Richard Blystone.
BLYSTONE (voice-over): It's the driest year in a decade for many parts of the Horn of East Africa. Already, the warning signs of approaching famine, made worse by the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, their cease-fire now only a couple of days old and uncertain.
CAROL BELLAMY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNICEF: Most of the violence in the world today, whether it's war or banditry, affects civilians. It doesn't affect the military anymore. It falls on women, it falls on children.
BLYSTONE: Fifteen million people at risk, hundreds of thousands already on the move.
BELLAMY: And are these all your children?
BLYSTONE: UNICEF head Carol Bellamy has been seeing for herself.
BELLAMY: What happens is that the men generally go with whatever livestock is left and the women and children walk for miles and miles and miles looking for food, because there are food distribution centers.
BLYSTONE: The international aid infrastructure is much better and more widespread than it was during the famines of a decade ago, but the framework is only a framework.
BELLAMY: There's pretty good food distribution starting, but that's going to have to go on. There needs to be more in the way of medicines and water interventions because that's really where the need is -- the non-food, at this point. But it's not going to be over tomorrow. That's the message that has to get out.
BLYSTONE: The U.N. has asked donor countries for $378 million for drought relief for the Horn of Africa. The usual summer rainy season has failed for several years here. But if the rains do come now, they could just make things worse by cutting off drought refugees from aid deliveries, and within weeks likely touching off an explosion of malaria and cholera among people already weakened.
Richard Blystone, CNN, London.
JORDAN: Well, have you come up with any bright ideas lately, maybe something you think you could make money doing someday? Well, today's "Business Desk" profiles two high school students who not only came up with a bright idea, but took their summer vacation and made it pay off big time. They used a class project involving the Internet to come up with their idea and later discovered it would fill a lucrative market niche.
A market niche is an area of unfulfilled need in a market. In this case, the boys' school project is offering them a slew of rewards, more than just good grades.
As Dan Ronan tells us, in the wake of such success, it could be difficult to keep these students turned entrepreneurs in school.
DAN RONAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may look like a familiar scene -- students working together to solve a complex homework problem -- but this is not a classroom. In fact, 19-year-old Jud Bowman and 18-year-old Taylor Brockman are anything but ordinary.
In one year, their school project to create a more comprehensive Internet search engine and expand the reach of the still-developing wireless Internet has turned into a multimillion-dollar business.
Bowman first came up with an idea for a new way to search the Internet while attending a summer camp at MIT last year. After joining forces with Brockman in the fall of their senior year of high school, Pinpoint.com was born.
JUD BOWMAN, PRES./CO-FOUNDER, PINPOINT.COM: It definitely is one of those dorm room to board room kind of stories, and a lot of it just evolved. We had our initial ideas, we were working on this project late at night. But we realize that what we had had business potential. The Internet's really important and we think we solved a pretty important problem.
RONAN: A better way to search for content specific information on the Web.
TAYLOR BROCKMAN, CEO/CO-FOUNDER, PINPOINT.COM: The goal of Pinpoint is to create smaller subsets of the Web that are content specific and geared more towards what a vertical portal or a "vortal," as we like to call it, would want in a search engine. We're not trying to scour the entire Web to find every single document out there. We are taking a small snapshot of a content specific area and scouring it completely and really tuning it for what the customer wants.
RONAN: Pinpoint.com Inc. was launch into business last September with $800,000 in Angel investing from the Tri-State Investment Group, and soon announced it`s first portal partnership with Total Sports Inc.
Reminders of their youth can be found all around their office: a couch and creative tools for the research and development; a dart board to take a break during the day. But early on, the teen entrepreneurs brought in seasoned executives to run the company.
And now with an added $5 million in venture capital funding, Pinpoint is pose to expand it`s technology into the wireless world where people can get stock quotes, news updates, receive e-mail, or make airplane reservations on the Web.
As for college, both have standing invitations to attend when they`re ready.
BOWMAN: Well, I don`t think I`ll take Business 101. I mean, I probably won`t take any business classes, to be honest. You know, education is something that you do your whole life. In may ways, I`m getting educated right now. This is an MBA, you know. It`s a real world application.
BROCKMAN: It`s going to be a little bit different in a couple of years waking up in the morning and going to - sitting in a freshman English class rather than just going to my computer workstation and hacking code all day. It'll be a change, but I feel like, in a couple years, I`m going to want some time to just relax; some time to breathe and just be a kid again.
RONAN: And if everything works out, with a secure financial future.
Dan Ronan, CNN Financial News, Durham, North Carolina.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: In today's "Business Desk" extra, soaring gasoline prices in the American Midwest are causing the government to take action. The Federal Trade Commission has opened a formal investigation and will be issuing subpoenas to oil companies by the end of the week.
PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gas prices now the highest in the nation in Chicago, an average of $2.13 for a gallon of regular unleaded, have forced City Scents Flowers to increase delivery charges 50 cents. Ravinia Plumbing's customers on Chicago's north shore are now paying more as well.
DAVID ARIANO, RAVINIA PLUMBING: We go on about 1,200 or so calls a month, so we just add on $1, you know, for gas for a surcharge out to the home.
DAVIS: But nonprofits, such as Chicago-based America's Second Harvest, which distributes donated food to help feed the poor, are forced to eat the higher prices. That's put the group $100,000 over budget.
The high gas prices are also fueling a fight with city hall. Chicago taxi drivers are petitioning the city for a fare increase.
JAN JOHNS, YELLOW CAB: They're working longer, they're working more days just to stay even. They're really unhappy.
DAVIS: And they're threatening to strike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's about time that the city did something about it.
DAVIS: There could be more pain on the way.
JORDAN: In "Worldview," our globe-hopping takes us to South Korea where the Internet is thriving. We'll also visit Vatican City to check out a worker shortage you might not have thought about. We top it all off with baseball caps and a story of American ingenuity.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We begin in the United States, home of baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and -- well, you get the rest. Our story takes us to New Jersey, a state in the northeastern part of the nation. This time of year, baseball season is in full swing. Fans sport their favorite teams on baseball caps, and there are plenty of them.
But team logos are just one theme when it comes to this popular style of headwear. We head to a factory that's making a hit with its hats.
Bill Tucker has more.
MITCH CAHN, CEO NEW JERSEY HEADWEAR: I need this hat with a black visor.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mitch Cahn loves taking risks, and after a couple of years working on Wall Street he was ready for a new ball game.
CAHN: There was a baseball cap factory that had gone bankrupt and my father was a customer of that factory and he said, hey, they made a really good baseball cap. You could probably buy their equipment at an auction sale for peanuts and start something up on your own.
TUCKER: Even though most people thought he would strike out, Cahn started New Jersey Headwear with $30,000 in 1992.
CAHN: I knew what was going on when I started this. And a lot of people warned me about it and I just figured, well, you know what, I`ll just try to make it work. This is one of our hemp hats. It`s what we consider our top-of-the-line model.
TUCKER: Cahn hit a home run with hemp, but his biggest break came in 1993 when he started making hats for Ralph Lauren
CAHN: What that did was it gave us a lot of volume and it gave us the ability to pay all of our overhead and take some risks.
TUCKER: But after Ralph Lauren took it`s business overseas in 1996, New Jersey Headwear was on the verge of sinking.
CAHN: Not only were they taking their business overseas, but it was around that time that the factories in Asia and a lot of places that some people consider sweat shops finally figured out how to make a good quality baseball cap. And up until that point, we were able to compete just on quality and be able to charge enough to cover the cost of running a domestic factory. But it was getting harder and harder.
BILL LEE, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITE!: His method of operation had to be so that he would make a profit and that the workers could make a living. And by introducing this new modular system, it helped both employer and employee.
CAHN: It`s a team manufacturing concept, and we`ve got four teams in the factory. And every team is tasked with producing a certain number of units per day.
TUCKER: Modular manufacturing isn`t just about quantity. Quality is just as important. The more efficient the teams are, the more money they earn. These bonuses make up about 30 percent of an employee's salary.
ANNETTE ARROYO, TEAM CAPTAIN, N.J. HEADWEAR: We try to do our best and work all together to try to get the work out. And we work like family and that`s how we be successful.
LEE: They feel that this is their cap. They don`t feel this is a New Jersey Headwear`s cap, and they want it to go out into the marketplace as high quality and top-notch.
CAHN: We have the sporting equivalent of a player coach out there. Our managers in the factory are also sewers. And because of that, I don`t have a lot of what's known as indirect labor. I can pay more wages to people in the factory.
TUCKER: Even though he had a much more efficient work force, Cahn desperately needed some more business.
CAHN: Our labor union, which has over a quarter million members, merged and changed their name and they needed a lot of new baseball hats. So they gave us an order which tided us over for several months. And from that we came up with the idea: labor unions aren`t going to want their hats made in Malaysia.
LEE: Now, unions have always pushed American-made, but, you know, it`s even better if it`s American-made and union-made, and that`s what Mitch has found.
CAHN: To my astonishment, it was actually very easy to get some business. It was kind of a product that a lot of these unions were looking for.
TUCKER: With $2 1/2 million in sales in 1999, New Jersey Headwear has once again found a lucrative niche. But Cahn says he`s always pushing forward because he's learned that what`s here today can be a headache tomorrow.
CAHN: It`s just knowing the possibility that that might happen and having it happen already a couple of times that keeps me relatively forward-looking.
LEE: He`s the guy who you never thought would make it, but they found their niche in this business and they see how it can grow, and they`re going to make it grow.
CAHN: It`s great to just have an idea and the next day have a sample created. I find it to be very rewarding and I don`t see myself doing anything different.
TUCKER: For "ENTREPRENEURS ONLY," I`m Bill Tucker, CNN Financial News.
WALCOTT: On to Rome, Italy where the pope recently celebrated his 80th birthday. The grand festivities are now over and the Catholic church is focusing on something else: a shortage of ordained priests.
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination, boasting 1 billion members, or about a sixth of the world's population. Yet the church annually loses more people from the priesthood than it brings in. The need for priests is so great that the church has forged a recruitment campaign. Officials hope that instead of entering popular fields like business or computers, some people will look to a life of minister.
Jim Bittermann takes us down this alternative career path.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pope John Paul II chose to begin the first day of his 80th year with the foot soldiers of the faith: his priests. Four-thousand came to Rome from around the world, along with more than 200 bishops and 80 cardinals. But the scene belied what has become a major problem for the church: a critical shortage of clergymen of most every calling.
Just an hour's drive east of Rome, it is monks who are lacking. A monastery founded by St. Benedict has closed its seminary and converted the building into a hotel. Two dozen mostly older monks tend to the tourists and try to keep the place going, a far cry from the 90 who once lived the contemplative life here.
And while those remaining have not lost hope, there may be no influx of new priests around the corner.
(on camera): Some church officials would prefer to channel young seminary students away from the monastic life and toward the more pressing clerical needs of Catholic congregations where it is felt the shortage of priests is weakening the church.
(voice-over): Across Western Europe, for instance, one village church after another has lost its priest. The faithful must drive miles to find a mass. Over the last three decades, while the number of Catholics worldwide has grown by 30 percent, the number of priests is down by 10 percent. In Chicago, the archdiocese loses 20 or more priests a year, yet only 10 new priests are ordained from local seminaries.
In desperation, diocesan officials turned to a TV and billboard advertising campaign trying to attract young people to the cloth.
FATHER WAYNE WATTS, CHICAGO ARCHDIOCESE: We really need priests. We just thought we'd try something big and to create a climate where parents can maybe encourage their children a little more than they do.
BITTERMANN: At the Vatican, the priest shortage has not gone unnoticed, but few agree with critics who believe there would be more priests if they were permitted to marry. Celibacy is not the problem, according to church leaders, but a more secular modern society is.
CARDINAL DARIO, CASTRILLON HOYOS, CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY (through translator): Many families are not real Christian families, even in Catholic countries. They do not practice the faith and, therefore, they are not the kind of families which produce priests.
BITTERMANN: Church officials, as they look into the multiracial classrooms of the universities and seminaries, put their faith in some parts of the underdeveloped world which are producing more priests. But it seems slim hope in a church which now averages less than one priest for every 2,000 faithful.
Jim Bittermann, CNN, Rome.
HAYNES: The popularity of the Internet is spreading around the world. People are communicating and doing business in cyberspace now more than ever. South Korea is no exception. More and more people there are gaining access to the information superhighway, and the numbers are growing, thanks in part to the South Korean government and a cyberspace giant.
Sohn Jie-Ae explains.
JIE-AE (voice-over): The message in this catchy government ad is pretty clear: Korea wants you to log onto the Internet. The road to Korea becoming a leader in the information age, it says, is through the Net. But nearly 10 million Koreans, about one out of four, are doing just that.
"I don't think I have any friends who aren't on the Net," says this man.
This woman says it's hard to think about life without the Internet.
PC rooms, which attract everyone from youngsters playing Internet games to stock traders, are everywhere. In fact, about 40 percent of Korea's stocks are traded online. The popularity has made Korea one of the world's leading Internet markets, recognized by the like's of Internet grand-daddy Yahoo!
JERRY YANG, YAHOO!: We will invest about $60 million U.S. into Yahoo! Korea. We will be making local, strategic business investments into the Internet marketplace.
JIE-AE: Yahoo! is not the only investor taking advantage. The local technology stock exchange, Kosdaq, has increased in value more than 100-fold in the space of a year, allowing technology-based companies like Locus, which develops Internet-related telecommunications services, to prosper.
KIM HYONG-SOON, LOCUS: It's a very good test market for all kinds of new high-technology service.
JIE-AE (on camera): Some say government ads may have helped the growth of the Internet population, but others say it's more due to a well-laid telephone system and the basic nature of Koreans to quickly adapt to new technology. But most are agreed that the Internet boom is here and is here to stay.
Sohn Jie-Ae, CNN, Seoul.
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.
JORDAN: In today's "Business Desk," we talked about the success a couple of high school kids found during their summer break. And I know what you must be asking: How can I think of something like that? Well, not all of us come up with multimillion-dollar ideas. There is, however, hope for those of you wanting to work in the high-tech world.
Deborah Feyerick reports.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the city to the beach, there are more summer jobs up for grabs than there are students to grab them. Last July, nearly 75 percent of young people ages 16 to 24 held jobs. Sounds high, but economists say it's not, with fewer young men working the summer.
JOHN STINSON, ECONOMIST, U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT: It was actually the lowest participation rate we ever had since we've been collecting the statistics in 1948.
FEYERICK: Economist John Stinson red-flags trends for the Labor Department. He says the reasons for the low turn out: more kids enrolled in summer school and a strong economy.
STINSON: Maybe their parents have enough money that it's not such a necessity as it may have been in the past. FEYERICK: Also, the nature of summer work is changing.
FLOYD HAMMOCK, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Summer work was often made work. It wasn't -- they weren't real jobs. Many were set-aside positions. They were summer employment programs that the city, the state sponsored where kids were doing labor that wouldn't otherwise be done.
FEYERICK: Restaurants and retail stores still make up two-thirds of the summer market. But with career planning starting early, high school and college students are becoming more choosy.
Eighteen-year-old college basketball player Nick Gavin wants a future in technology.
NICK GAVIN, COLLEGE STUDENT: I just thought, why not work in a cell phone place if that's what I like?
FEYERICK: And college junior Dara Kestenbaum has a salaried internship at a dot.com company.
DARA KESTENBAUM, STUDENT: People who want interns are giving us really good opportunities. It's not the standard summer internship of xeroxing and filing.
FEYERICK: And being choosy means knowing where to look.
Temp-agency owner Suzanne Davis:
SUZANNE DAVIS, TEMP AGENCY OWNER: They're finding my company through the Internet, and they might be coming in from another part of the country or another part of the world.
FEYERICK (on camera): New York City still hasn't filled all of its 40,000 summer positions. The bottom line: young people who want to find a job are very likely to find one.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.
ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There'll you 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.
JORDAN: We turn our attention to an inverted, five-pointed star. We're talking about the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor, the provision for which President Abraham Lincoln signed into law in 1862. It's the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force. The recipients can be anyone serving in the armed forces.
But as Anne McDermott explains, some awards are being handed out decades later than others.
ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These GIs proudly fought in World War II. They were decorated in record numbers, even as they died in record numbers, even as their families -- many of their families -- were forced into camps. An old World War II film tries to explain why these young men fought.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've wanted to prove to other Americans how wrong it is to judge a man by the pigment of his skin or the shape of his eyes.
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MCDERMOTT: Well, they proved it, and now more than half a century later, some are getting tangible proof: a Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor.
A few years back, the Army reopened the files of dozens of Japanese-American and Pacific Islander soldiers from World War II to see if any might have been denied awards because of possible prejudice. And it was determined that more than 20 of these men should have, in fact, gotten Medals of Honor.
One of them is Senator Daniel Inouye, who lost an arm in a battlefield in Italy. Another is Joe Sakato, wounded in France. Sakato's not sure if racism played a part in the long delay. He says he's not even sure he deserves a Medal of Honor, but he does know that his old unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, always seemed to be in the thick of every fight.
GEORGE "JOE" SAKATO, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: We were, as a unit, we were used like cannon powder.
MCDERMOTT: And yet...
SAKATO: I was willing to die for my country.
MCDERMOTT: A friend of his did after emerging from their foxhole and getting hit by German fire from a nearby hill.
SAKATO: Why? Why'd you have to get out of the foxhole?
MCDERMOTT: Then Sakato did what ultimately won the Medal of Honor.
SAKATO: Maybe I went out of my mind or I just lost it, and I just -- I was going to go take that hill back or else die trying.
MCDERMOTT: He took that hill. And more then 50 years later, he still thinks of the friend he left behind there, and says part of his medal will always belong to his friend.
SAKATO: Yes, that's for him.
MCDERMOTT: Anne McDermott, CNN, Los Angeles.
JORDAN: Well, more than halfway through the week: two more, then the weekend. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Bye-bye.
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