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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for July 11, 2000

Aired July 11, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Thanks for making NEWSROOM part of your Tuesday, everybody. I'm Tom Haynes.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. Today, a generic cure for what ails you, and negotiating a remedy for conflicts in the Middle East.

HAYNES: We head to the outskirts of Washington, where for Palestinians and Israelis it's a moment of truth.


EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This is an opportunity, a window of opportunity, that will not reoccur.


WALCOTT: "Science Desk" takes up the issue of generic prescription drugs. What makes them generic, and what makes them cheap?


JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nearly 80 percent of the active ingredients used to make prescription generics are manufactured overseas.


HAYNES: Medicine shows up in "Worldview" as well. For Cuba, a spoonful of diplomacy helps the medicine go down: writing a prescription for international solidarity.

WALCOTT: Then, in "Chronicle," we revisit the top story and dig a little deeper. We step back and look at the history of U.S. mediation in the quest for Middle East peace.

Today's top story takes us to Israel, where Prime Minister Ehud Barak has barely survived a no-confidence vote in the Israeli parliament. The vote took place after a loud and emotional debate. Mr. Barak's right-wing opponents are afraid he'll give up too much to the Palestinians during this week's crucial Middle East summit at Camp David, Maryland. The close no-confidence vote underlines the problems Mr. Barak may face in getting approval for a peace deal.

Jerrold Kessel looks back at events leading up to this week's talks, which some say may be a last chance for peace.


JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It took the Middle East and the world by storm. The original Oslo Accord, finalized at the White House on September 13, 1993, seemed to mean, for both Palestinians and Israelis, the abandoning of absolutist dreams, of being able to have it all: the hope that a process of reconciliation would evolve; the concept that mutual trust needed to be built gradually.

SHLOMO BEN-AMI, CHIEF ISRAELI NEGOTIATOR: You must adapt the mythology to the inevitability of compromise. And when you face such a dilemma, there is a sense of rebellion, of resistance, because you know it is very tough. It happens with us, and it is happening with them.

KESSEL: There was a problem of just keeping the process afloat under the assault of terror attacks, Israeli perception of official Palestinian reluctance to combat terror, Jewish settlement building, the Rabin assassination, and the subsequent souring of attitudes towards peace during the Netanyahu premiership in Israel.

HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN COUNCIL MEMBER: It lost its scope and vision. Instead of being a historical process, an expansive process with a vision for genuine reconciliation and historical resolution of this conflict, it ended up being power politics, haggling, technicalities, side issues, petty issues, self-interest.

KESSEL: The Barak election a year ago revived hope. But despite the intensified talks, in recent months, an old pattern again of distrust, dismay, and near-stagnation. Mr. Barak, however, has forced the issue, convincing President Clinton that inertia could finish the process off altogether.

DAVID LANDAU, POLITICAL ANALYST: Moment of truth is a cliche, an overworked metaphor, and it means a moment of decision. But it also means, literally, moment of truth, when you tell the truth to your people, when you can no longer hide behind a veil of obfuscation.

KESSEL: But as both people are asked to face up to these truths, to abandon dreams about the core issues, the Palestinian state, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem, the burden is on Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak to bridge the gap between aspirations and hard reality.

(on camera): Launched in hope here seven years ago, the effort now to go beyond ensuring that it doesn't simply grind to a halt by the coming September 13 deadline for a final peace agreement, and to meet that deadline. But it is that fear of the consequences of failure that may prove to be the real spur for possible success in this summit against all odds. Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: For his part, Prime Minister Barak is making a strong effort to ensure the odds of this summit are favorable. Before leaving for Camp David, he made a whistle stop in Cairo to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mr. Mubarak had a similar meeting with Yasser Arafat on Sunday. Despite this latest effort, few people really have high hopes for the outcome of this week's summit.

Ben Wedemen explains why.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just hours before heading to Camp David, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak makes one last attempt to reach out to the Arab world, meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

U.S., Palestinian and Israeli leaders are trying to keep a lid on expectations of a breakthrough at Camp David. They needn't have bothered. Expectations are already very low.

MOHAMED SID AHMED, ANALYST: This summit is the admission that we cannot call the stage we've reached a final stage, that we have to accept things remitted indefinitely into the future, and that this meeting is rather in the aim of avoiding the worst.

WEDEMAN: Since that sunny day in the White House Rose Garden nearly seven years ago, the Middle East peace process has careened from crisis to crisis. Progress has been excruciatingly slow, interspersed with outbursts of violence, the entire process kept alive by the sort of high-profile summitry set to begin at Camp David on Tuesday.

Arab observers say leaders at Camp David, especially Prime Minister Barak, should bring their negotiating positions back down to Earth.

RIFAAT SAID, "AL-HALI" NEWSPAPER: He is asking for what is impossible. Again, if Mr. Barak cannot reach a solution, comprehensive solution, so let us reach a half solution, a quarter solution.

WEDEMAN: Many Arabs believe the process begun in Madrid in 1991 will eventually collapse.

AHMED: But there will be every time an attempt, like the attempt now done, to win sometime. But there will come a time when this will not work and we will have to admit failure.

WEDEMAN: For the time being, they say, the most that can be expected is a continuation of negotiations to stave off a return to the old Middle East. (on camera): As much as many people here doubt the Camp David summit will succeed, at the same time they don't expect it to be a complete failure, because, they say, the consequences of failure are simply too costly to contemplate.

WEDEMAN: Ben Wedeman, CNN, Cairo.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Health experts from around the world are in Durban, South Africa, for the 13th annual International AIDS Conference. It's the first time the conference has been held on the African continent, which is hardest hit by the disease. Almost 25 million Africans are known to be infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus which causes AIDS. Thousands marched on the streets of South Africa Sunday to demand greater access to cheaper and generic versions of AIDS drugs. You'll hear more on the meaning of generic medicine later in our "Daily Desk."


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In an emotional televised opening ceremony, South African President Thabo Mbeki defended his questioning of the source of AIDS, saying, for Africa, the answer lies not simply with the HIV virus.

PRES. THABO MBEKI, SOUTH AFRICA: The world's biggest killer and the greatest cause of ill-health and suffering across the globe is given the code Z595. It is extreme poverty.

O'CONNOR: Twenty-four-and-a-half-million adults and children are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that one in four here will die of the disease, now the leading cause of death. Over 2 million died in the last year alone.

Experts say that AIDS is wiping out an entire generation, affecting the work force, killing trained doctors, teachers, engineers, leaving orphans who cannot afford to go to school or who cannot find someone to educate them.

DR. PETER PIOT, EXEC. DIR., UNAIDS: There will be, for the first time, more people in their 60s and 70s than people in their 30s and 40s.

O'CONNOR: Worsening already dire economic condition: $3 billion is what experts say is needed worldwide just for prevention. That doesn't even take into account the tens of billions more that are necessary in Africa to build the infrastructures required to deliver the necessary treatments, investments American officials say are in everyone's interest.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Anyone who thinks that AIDS in Africa can be restricted to that continent alone is living in a dream world. You can't build a Berlin Wall around a single continent and keep a disease inside it. O'CONNOR: Still, some health officials here say the president's attempt to focus attention on poverty's contribution to the spread of AIDS may have backfired in his own country.


WALCOTT: If you've ever been to the pharmacy to get medication, you know how confusing it can be. Why all the different medications that seem so alike? Well, one reason is the difference between generic and a brand name. When a company develops a drug, it gives it two names. A generic is called by its chemical name. It's usually cheaper. The brand name is what the manufacturer calls the product. The company may then patent and sell the drug under its brand name and generic name. Once the patent expires, other companies may sell that drug under their own brand name or the drug's generic name.

Now that we know how the products are named, Jonathan Aiken tells us how the difference in manufacturing could pose a possible health risk.


AIKEN (voice-over): Required by law to be as potent and safe as their name-brand counterparts, generic prescription drugs are increasingly popular in the cost-conscious world of managed health care. Generics' share of the $92 billion prescription drug market has jumped from 18 1/2 percent of the market in the mid-'80s to 41 percent today.

One reason generics are cheaper to buy: They are cheaper to make. Nearly 80 percent of the active ingredients used to make prescription generics are manufactured overseas and shipped in bulk to drug manufacturers in the U.S.

The Food and Drug Administration is supposed to inspect overseas manufacturing plants on a regular basis. But in testimony before a House commerce subcommittee, the official who oversees all FDA investigators confirmed some overseas drug makers haven't received a visit from FDA inspectors in at least seven years because he hasn't got the manpower or equipment to do the job.

DENNIS BAKER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Quite honestly, sir, a good bit of it has to do with the resources to do the overseas inspections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think seven years is too long?

BAKER: Yes, sir.

AIKEN: The lack of inspections can be deadly. Congressional investigators say people have died from counterfeit drugs, which can more easily slip through the cracks at overseas plants where FDA inspection has been sporadic.

(on camera): This is something FDA officials knew from investigations conducted four years ago, a problem outlined at the time in a memo from the agency's own office of criminal investigations.

REP. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Clearly, the FDA, in their own memorandums, knew in 1996, May 15, that they had a problem. They had a problem and they had deaths.

AIKEN: That same year, the agency's own forensic chemistry center warned FDA officials counterfeit drugs can unknowingly be turned into tablets and capsules and sold as legitimate drugs. These drugs can reach anyone, including the president.

The FDA says it's now trying to step up inspections of international drug makers and start enforcing a sporadically applied regulation requiring drug importers to identify the manufacturers of the bulk drugs being brought into the U.S.

Jonathan Aiken for CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: More on health and welfare now as we head into our "Worldview" segment. We'll focus on Cuba. Find out about two special programs, each designed to educate young people. One spotlights physicians, the other young pioneers. And find out about the global fight for human rights around the world.

WALCOTT: Amnesty International is an organization that works to promote human rights around the world. Among other things, the group tries to ensure fair and prompt trials for political prisoners. Amnesty workers are also working to abolish the death penalty, torture and cruel treatment of prisoners. And they want to end political killings and unexplained disappearances.

Amnesty International has about a million members and supporters in 162 countries. Activities range from public demonstrations to letter-writing, from human rights education to fund-raising concerts. But despite the hard work, Amnesty International says human rights abuses still run rampant around the world.

Margaret Lowrie has this report.


MARGARET LOWRIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the conflict in Chechnya to China's crackdown on dissidents, the crisis in East Timor, killings in the Congo. In many countries, on most continents, Amnesty International offers its now-familiar bleak assessment: Governments and opposition groups last year continued to torture, unlawfully imprison and murder despite a heightened international awareness of human rights.

JOHN TACKABERRY, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: In the past, governments could get away with absolutely ignoring the importance of human rights protection. Now they can't get away with that, but they still are getting away with many too many human rights violations.

LOWRIE: In its latest annual report, Amnesty looked at 144 different countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. It says the international community should devote more resources to improve economic, social and legal systems to help ensure problems in these countries don't reach a crisis point.

PIERRE SANE, DIR. GENERAL, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: The best way to deal with human rights crises is to prevent them by ensuring that governments do not turn a blind eye when human rights violations occur.

LOWRIE: In Saudi Arabia, Amnesty says there was a pervasive pattern of torture and human rights abuses. But Amnesty's concerns are not confined to Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

TACKABERRY: We have problems in terms of asylum seekers in Belgium and Switzerland, we have concerns in the U.K., we have concerns in the United States. It's not -- this -- human rights protection, human rights issues are not issues that are restricted to countries that are suffering from problems of development.

LOWRIE: In the United States, for example, Amnesty cites reported police brutality and the increasing use of the death penalty. Concerns about Britain also included police brutality and sectarian attacks in Northern Ireland. Whether in the developed or developing world, Amnesty says the biggest challenge is consistency, getting the world community not just to pay lip service to international standards of human rights, but to apply those standards consistently across the board.

Margaret Lowrie, CNN, London.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Cuba is the only communist country in the Americas. It is only 90 miles, or 145 kilometers, from the coast of Florida in the United States. The largest island in the Caribbean, it is home to over 11 million people, the majority of whom speak Spanish.

Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, making it a strategic outpost for the growing Spanish empire in the Americas. During the 1800s, many Cubans demanded independence from Spain. Their wish was granted in 1898 when Spain gave up control of the island after being defeated by the United States in the Spanish-American War.

But in a sense, Cuba lost one master and gained another. When Spain left, the U.S. established its own military government in Cuba for three years until 1902 when the island was declared a republic. In 1959, a revolutionary by the name of Fidel Castro came forward to overthrow the dictatorship that had been in place since the 1930s. Fidel Castro and his followers set up a communist government with close ties to the Soviet Union, causing the United States to end all diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Fidel Castro has remained in power all these years, but the Cuban economy has struggled to deal with the loss of income caused by U.S. trade embargoes. Yet Fidel Castro still has a strong following among some sectors of his people. And as Lucia Newman reports, some Castro supporters are younger than you would imagine.


LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): They call themselves Cuba's youngest army, tens of thousands of children dressed in their school uniforms marching past the U.S. diplomatic mission. Depending on their age, their uniform includes a red or blue scarf, the symbol that they're Pioneers, Cuba's children's organization -- the same organization and uniform Elian Gonzalez continues to sport.

In this government-organized march, the Pioneers shout in unison, "Cuba si" -- Cuba yes -- "Yankee no." And every speech ends with their motto: "Pioneers for communism, we will be like Che Guevara."

(on camera): Be this manipulation of small children or the teaching of patriotism and social responsibility, as the Cuban government contends, here in Cuba it starts at a very early age.

(voice-over): While, strictly, it's not obligatory, virtually every Cuban child becomes a Pioneer when they enter school. At the Pioneers Palace after school, children enjoy recreational and vocational training, and they're also taught why they should love communism.

TANESA ABREU, PIONEER (through translator): To be a communist means to have solidarity with others. To be a communist means not caring what you have to give to help other nations. It means loving your own country and being loyal to it.

NEWMAN: The ultimate communist and example to follow, they are taught, was revolutionary icon Che Guevara.

REGLA PIRRESA CARNEJO, PIONEER (through translator): He was an example of simplicity, of honor, of honesty, of anti-imperialism and of solidarity.

NEWMAN: At the Pioneers Palace, these children pretend they're Cuban doctors, nurses and construction workers who've been sent to an imaginary country to help out after a natural catastrophe.

AMANA ESTHER RIOS, DIRECTOR, PIONEERS PALACE: It's a mass organization, but it also has a political objective. They're the future generation of the young Communist League who, in turn, will become members of the Communist Party. We don't deny we're impregnating the children with a love for their nation and their flag, and other values we see as important.

NEWMAN: Values which support a system many abroad see as undemocratic and anachronistic, but which authorities here defend without apologies.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Havana.

(END VIDEOTAPE) JORDAN: We stay in Cuba for another story, once again from Lucia Newman. It's about another program for young people. But these students come from around the world.


NEWMAN (voice-over): These students from Latin America and Africa are in Havana studying medicine, courtesy of the Cuban government. The only requirement is that they come from families unable to pay for this kind of education, and that they make a commitment to serve their poor, mainly rural communities, when they return home. Luther Castillo says there's not even a single doctor in his remote community of 3,000 in Honduras' Miskito Coast.

LUTHER CASTILLO, HONDURAN STUDENT (through translator): The tragedy of my area -- when someone gets sick they have to walk for hours to get to a hospital -- awoke in me from childhood the desire to study medicine.

CAROLINA UNAMUNO, CHILEAN STUDENT: In my country, studying medicine is very expensive and not everyone has access to that kind of career. Even if we want to, we don't have the resources.

NEWMAN: Cuba, a poor country itself, is currently donating a free medical career to 3,400 students at this former naval academy converted into the Latin American School of Medical Sciences. And while they study, Cuba is deploying thousands of its own doctors to needy areas all over the world, especially Africa.

(on camera): Cuba explains all this by saying its communist system is committed to international solidarity. Before, that meant exporting its revolution by training people from other countries in guerrilla warfare. Today, Cuba is exporting health.

(voice-over): And, be it out of altruism or for propaganda, or both, President Fidel Castro has extended the invitation to study medicine in Cuba to around a dozen American black students from underprivileged areas of South Carolina. It's part of Cuba's medical diplomacy which shows off the revolution's achievements rather than shortcomings, an effort Havana hopes will help improve its image and its relations abroad.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Havana.


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

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.

WALCOTT: In "Chronicle," we revisit the issue of the Middle East summit. As we told you, today, Israeli and Palestinian leaders are set to meet at the U.S. presidential retreat, Camp David. This summit could be President Clinton's last chance to break this decades-long impasse and add a Middle East peace to his legacy.

As Bruce Morton tell us, Mr. Clinton is just the latest U.S. president involved in the quest for that elusive peace in the Middle East.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Middle East worries American presidents, takes up a lot of their time, a war always waiting to happen. But how they do with the Middle East doesn't have much to do with how they do with the voters here in the U.S.

Take Jimmy Carter: Historic meeting at Camp David in 1978, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin sign the Camp David accords making peace between Israel and Egypt. Historic, no question about it.

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: And I remember vividly the dark clouds that had gathered, and it started pouring and thundering, and there was a moment of awe that something historic had been achieved.

MORTON: But the voters didn't care. Carter suffered from gas lines, inflation, high interest rates, American hostages Iran wouldn't free. The voters turned to Ronald Reagan. He, in turn, didn't have a very successful Middle East. A truck bomb blasted the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Just months later, another truck bomb killed U.S. Marines at their encampment near the Beirut Airport.

And then, Iran-Contra, the U.S. selling weapons to Iran -- Reagan had said he wouldn't -- in exchange for the release of U.S. hostages in Lebanon. The voters didn't care. Reagan carried 49 states against Walter Mondale in 1984 and left office a very popular president.

George Bush, his successor, had a triumph in the Middle East. When Iraq's Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Bush promised to get it back.


GEORGE H. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.


MORTON: And he organized and kept together the coalition which launched Operation Desert Storm and drove Saddam out of Kuwait. Bush soared in the polls, for a moment, and then the economy got in the way. Like Carter, he was a one-term president. An overseas triumph didn't guarantee re-election.

And then Bill Clinton. In 1993, the Palestinians and Israelis signed a draft accord. The PLO's Yasser Arafat and Israel's Yitzhak Rabin exchanged a famous handshake.


CLINTON: Above all, let us today pay tribute to the leaders who had the courage to lead their people toward peace.


MORTON: But Clinton's easy re-election in 1996 owed more to the economy than to the Middle East.

As his term winds down, he is still seeking a legacy, still seeking peace. For a series of American presidents, it hasn't been easy.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: All right, a delicate Middle East Peace summit ahead, and we'll be covering developments at Camp David all week here on NEWSROOM.

WALCOTT: That's right. Stay with us for that.

And that wraps up today's show. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

HAYNES: Take care.



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