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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for July 13, 2000

Aired July 13, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Direct from CNN headquarters in Atlanta, this is your Thursday edition of NEWSROOM. I'm Tom Haynes.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. Thanks for joining us. Let's find out what's in store today.

HAYNES: Thousands of miles from the Middle East, a summit is under way between the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians. What progress, if any, is being made?


JOE LOCKHART, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's been real engagement today dealing with the substantive issues that define what the parties need to agree on.


WALCOTT: Then, history books chronicle the lives of historical figures. In today's "Daily Desk," efforts to document one of the fastest growing mediums of communication.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's kind of sad. There were some really good pages that I've seen in the past.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Here's a technology riddle for you. What do James Bond and Mickey Mouse and the U.S. Department of Defense have in common? I'm Rudi Bakhtiar and we'll have the answer for you later in "Worldview."

WALCOTT: And in "Chronicle," cracking the code of the Internet on the Internet. A 13-year-old and her Web site tell you how it's done.



ALISSA DANIELS, WEB DESIGNER: Five-hundred-thousand a month.

WALTON: Say that again.

DANIELS: Half a million.


WALCOTT: We plunge back into to the peace negotiations in the U.S. state of Maryland. As Middle East leaders huddled in seclusion to begin the difficult task of working through a half-century of conflict, mediators shuttled between the two. Finding common ground between Israelis and Palestinians has been a longtime goal of U.S. President Clinton.

Since he was elected in 1992, Mr. Clinton stressed that a final accord between the two Middle East players is necessary for a broader peace in the region. This isn't the first time this U.S. president has forged ahead against the odds in the arena of regional conflicts around the world. When it comes to European mediation, his administration has taken an active role in helping negotiate a ceasefire between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. And the Clinton administration pushed U.S. participation in the war between Serbians and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, in spite of some pressure from members of Congress not to be involved.

Now, in the waning days of his tenure, a president accustomed to bucking the odds is aiming for a breakthrough in the Middle East.

John King looks at day two of the talks.


JOHN KING, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The summit site was sealed off, the leaders and negotiators in seclusion as the talks turned serious.

LOCKHART: The actual negotiating to try to reach a peace agreement has certainly begun. It has been a very busy day on that front.

KING: The president met first with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, later with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. And Secretary of State Madeleine Albright prodded the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to buckle down and make progress.

LOCKHART: We certainly believe that both sides are here in good faith and that's how we're operating.

KING: But the first summit snag could be looming. Arafat called a group of Palestinian officials, including opposition figures, to Camp David for consultations Thursday. U.S. officials said they had not been notified and had no plans to open Camp David to anyone not part of the official negotiating teams. HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN SPOKESWOMAN: It would be entirely undemocratic of the Americans to refuse such a meeting, because we do have political pluralism and we do have different points of view.

KING: Camp David remained off-limits to reporters and cameras, but snapshots from the region illustrated the complicated summit menu. Palestinian refugees urged Arafat not to forget their cause. These Israelis in Tel Aviv rallied in support of a peace deal. But many Jewish settlers oppose any agreement that would cost them their homes. While details of the talks were scarce, there was one development that removed a major irritant in U.S.-Israeli relations: Israel canceled plans to sell a $250 million airborne radar system to China.

U.S. officials are nervous about Israel's increased military cooperation with Beijing. And some in Congress were threatening to freeze U.S. aid if the sale of the Phalcon radar system went through.

(on camera): The cancellation has no direct link to the peace talks, but Israeli officials acknowledge they wanted to remove a potential obstacle to a new U.S. aid package if there is an agreement at Camp David, something sources on all sides say remains a big if.

John King, CNN, the White House.


HAYNES: Among the tough issues at the summit is where to draw Israeli-Palestinian borders, including areas of the West Bank and Gaza where Jewish settlements have been established. Palestinians also want several million refugees to return to their homes in land that's now part of Israel. Then there's the state of Jerusalem. Yesterday, we gave you the Palestinian perspective on the negotiations. Today, we give you the other side.

Mike Hanna reports from Jerusalem.


MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Enthusiastic support for the Israeli prime minister and his attempts to negotiate a peace; and among this crowd, no doubts as to the importance of the Camp David summit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is the opportunity now to bring about an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. And I think people are beginning to understand that it's a critical moment.

HANNA: The demonstration is organized by the liberal Peace Now movement, its supporters sharing the concept of an open secular state not dominated by any one religious establishment. But it's a concept some Israelis oppose. At the Western Wall, a demonstration by Orthodox Jews who see the Camp David summit as a threat to their Jewish identity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tens of thousands of people have came to pray that God will deliver us from the hands of Arafat and Barak and Clinton.

DANIEL BEN-SIMON, POLITICAL ANALYST: We're divided in terms of culture, in terms of identity, what kind of state do we want to be: a Jewish state surrounded by enemies or an open state living together with the Arabs.

HANNA: Yet despite these divisions, the Barak government appears confident that should a peace agreement be reached it will be endorsed by the Israeli public.

YOSSI BEILIN, ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER: I don't think that it will be difficult to convince the people to support it. I mean, it seems, at least to the prime minister and also to me, it's the easiest part of the job.

HANNA: But the day's demonstrations made clear that Israelis are not divided only on the issue of peace.

(on camera): The Camp David summit raises questions about the very nature of their society. And the government may struggle to get majority support for an agreement that is bound to change the way many Israelis view themselves.

Mike Hanna, CNN, Jerusalem.


WALCOTT: In the headlines today, after more than two years of delays, a Russian-built service module is finally on its way to the International Space Station after lifting off from Kazakhstan. The project had been held up first because of a lack of cash on the part of the Russians. Then, a couple of rockets failed. This is the first assembly mission to the station since December 1998. At least nine other U.S. and Russian missions should have happened since then. The U.S. Congress estimates the delays have added $5 billion to a project that already cost about $60 billion. The service module is Russia's primary contribution to the 16-nation space project.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, and liftoff.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Better late than never. From the launch facility that sent the first man into orbit almost 40 years ago, a Russian rocket streaked to the heavens, carrying the hopes of 16 nations trying forge a new era for humans in space.

For leaders of the U.S. and Russian space programs, it was a moment to savor after two years of frustrating financial and technical delays.

YURI KOPTEV, RUSSIAN AVIATION & SPACE AGENCY (through translator): Our strength is in unity. It was essential that we keep sights on the target, and the target was and is to create this wonderful, this beautiful International Space Station. O'BRIEN: It's called Zvezda, the Russian word for star. It will be the nerve center for the International Space Station during the first permanent manned missions, keeping the station in its desired orbit and providing living quarters for the vanguard crews.

Once attached to the two-module station, Zvezda should break a log jam, setting the stage for a dizzying 15 launches to build and outfit the station in the next calendar year.

DANIEL GOLDIN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: We are going to have more problems. We are going to have more difficulties. This space station is going to be built, and then we're going to figure out how people live and work in space, and we will get to Mars.

O'BRIEN: Zvezda should dock with the space station in two weeks. After two construction missions by shuttle crews, the first permanent station crew is slated to arrive in November. ISS partners hope that will mark the start of a 15-year continuous multinational manned presence in space.

Miles O'Brien, CNN.


HAYNES: We are more than halfway into the first year of the new millennium and millions of years into the history of mankind. Let's look at the various ways our history has been recorded. There's oral history, history obtained from interviews and personal recollections. Then there's written history, events and issues recorded in books, papers and newspapers. And now, the Internet. One day, historians may look back on the first pages of the Net as the start of the new information age, one in which people around the world are able to communicate at the click of a mouse.

But historians may have nothing to look back on if Internet pages don't stop disappearing as quickly as new ones appear.

Ann Kellan explains.


ANN KELLAN, CNN SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Historians will tell you there's plenty in the historical record about the lives of presidents and royalty, but not much is known about the average person. The Internet provides a unique glimpse, but little is being done to save it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's kind of sad. There were some really good pages that I've seen in the past.

KELLAN: Like the first Internet voting site, the first major story to break online.

DAVID ALLISON, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION: What eBay looked like when it first arrived on the Internet. Where did it come from? What did people who first saw that, what did they see? KELLAN: Brewster Kahle is one of the few people in the world interested in preserving Internet content.

BREWSTER KAHLE, THE INTERNET ARCHIVE: The way that we're able to pull this off is by having robots, these computer programs, that go and contact every Web sever around the world periodically and go and download each page and each image off of every one of those Web sites.

KELLAN: The amount of information stored already surpasses in volume the entire contents of the Library of Congress.

KAHLE: The equivalent of 35,000 books can be stored on something this small. And you know, next year, it's going to be half the size.

KELLAN: Many pages are already lost.

ALLISON: I don't know, for example, if John McCain this year saved some of the Web pages that documented the fact that he raised a tremendous amount of his campaign funds on the Internet. Maybe that moment in history is gone.

KELLAN (on camera): Some companies don't want to be archived by strangers, in which case they can set up special filters to disallow companies like the Internet Archives and Alexa from copying their site.

(voice-over): But why save the entire Internet when most of it is junk?

KAHLE: Often what historians have found out of newspapers of the past, if we had been selective we probably would have kept all the articles and thrown away those ads. But it's the ads that the historians really like. That's what really gives a much better glimpse of what life was like in the '20s and '30s.

KELLAN: Kahle hopes the Internet library will be online in a few years so future generations can surf the Web like dad did in the good old days.

Ann Kellan, CNN, San Francisco, California.


WALCOTT: Lots of science in "Worldview" today. We'll enter the world of the Internet. And while it may be hard to pinpoint a real location for cyberspace, we'll take you to a wired hangout, a cyberscraper in Hong Kong.

First, get set for an adventure that's more science than sci-fi. And our journey begins with our very own Rudi Bakhtiar.

BAKHTIAR: These days, a lot of companies are becoming security conscious. Here at CNN, we have to use these I.D. cards to get into the building and onto different floors. It has a coded wire so that when I swipe it it gets read by a computer, which triggers the door behind me to open -- that's if I have access. In the future, these cards could be replaced, believe it or not, by body parts. A new high-tech system is already in the works.

But as Sharon Collins explains, not everyone is giving it a thumbs up.





SHARON COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Throw away your PINs and passwords, we're entering the world of James Bond.




COLLINS: What you used to only see in the movies could soon become a big part of your life. It's called biometrics, identification by body part.




COLLINS: Here at the National Biometrics Test Lab in San Jose, California, it takes not a password but the right face to open a door. It's just one of the many ways to prove who you are through biometrics.

DR. JIM WEYMAN, NATIONAL BIOMETRICS TEST LAB: Right now, the computer is taking a picture of your iris. When you get it in focus, we'll take a picture of it.

COLLINS: Dr. Jim Weyman (ph) heads the lab where equipment like this iris scan is put to the test.

WEYMAN: You see, the computer has found the iris. Here's the pupil. This white part is called the sclera.

COLLINS (on camera): So this is kind of like a fingerprint.

WEYMAN: Exactly. But instead of using the information of the ridges on the fingers, we're using the information in the bands in the striations of the pupil, of the iris region here of the eye. The information in these bands will be compared against the bands of previously stored irises by you to find out if you're the same person that you claim to be. Are you the person who previously enrolled using this iris in our system? Do we know you as you?

COLLINS (voice-over): Like most of our body, the iris is very different person to person. It can be your iris, your finger, the shape of your hand, your voice.

WEYMAN: Biometrics.

COLLINS: The beauty of biometrics is that you are your password. You can't forget it, it can't be stolen, and no one else has it, which is why the government started using it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see your right indicator light.

COLLINS: Biometrics is quickly becoming the weapon of choice against welfare fraud in eight states, including California. New York's welfare program has saved close to $300 million since it began using fingerprint scans five years ago. It's cut down on recipients who were double-dipping for benefits or collecting welfare checks from multiple locations.


ANNOUNCER: Someday, a computer chip in your car will recognize your unique mark.


COLLINS: In the area of credit and debit cards, fraud amounts to $3 billion a year, so companies like MasterCard plan to have you scan your fingerprint when you make a purchase.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we'll do is we'll just get an image of your finger.

COLLINS: Identicator is one of the leading companies in biometrics. The technology began as a way to guarantee high-level access to secret government installations. But as the costs came down, the applications began to spread.

PAUL COLLIER, IDENTICATOR: I'd say the least expensive and most applicable to a consumer, if you want to get into the biometrics world and see what it can do for you, would be some of the computer products. To be able to log onto your computer not using a password but using your fingerprint, or using your facial recognition. It's very inexpensive. I think the average product right now is about $100.

COLLINS: And if you want to avoid these lines when you travel internationally, Immigration and Naturalization has come up with something called the INS Pass. It's a system you can use at eight North American airports.

(on camera): It only takes about 15 minutes and all you need is a passport. After that, the agency uses both hand geometry and fingerprinting to identify you in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead and put your hand back in.

COLLINS (voice-over): A hand geometry unit takes more than 90 measurements of your palm and fingers. Those dimensions are then stored on a smart card and the computer.

(on camera): Once you enter the United States, here's how the INS Pass works.

(voice-over): You take the card and slide it into the INS Pass machine. The unit then scans your hand. If your data matches that on file, you get to bypass the long lines at the end of an international trip.

Disney World has a similar procedure for season pass holders. There's no waiting, just a show of hands into their two-finger geometry system.

But not everyone thinks this is a good idea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will have to submit my thumbprint, and I don't want to do that.

COLLINS: In the state of Georgia, there have been protests over a requirement to have your fingerprint scanned to get a driver's license.

BARRY STEINHARDT, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: I fear that we're going to live in what amounts to a surveillance society. It's not going to be the evil Big Brother of "1984," but I fear that we are rapidly moving towards a society where all of our movements, all of our transactions, all of our business is known to somebody out there. And profiles of us will be easy to assemble.

COLLINS: Barry Steinhardt is an expert on privacy issues in technology for the American Civil Liberties Union. He believes biometrics is advancing faster than the legal issues it will impact.

STEINHARDT: Need to be very careful about the power of this technology, especially the power of DNA. It's iris scans or fingerprints today, but it'll be DNA tomorrow.


SYDNEY POITIER, ACTOR: NSA uses the same technology.


COLLINS: And even eight years ago when the movie "Sneakers" came out, people were already thinking about ways to trick the system.


ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR: My voice is my passport. Verify me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS (on camera): What if it becomes so popular and we're using a fingerprint for an ATM machine, and all of a sudden a criminal takes my finger to get my fingerprint to gain access to my ATM machine?

WEYMAN: Oh, you're worried that the finger -- that your finger's going to be cut off.

COLLINS: Well, yes.

WEYMAN: That makes good stuff for spy thrillers, doesn't it? There've been a number of systems fielded that actually test for the liveness of the fingerprint before -- the liveness of the finger before they accept the fingerprint. Not all systems do that, but that certainly can be incorporated in the systems.

COLLINS: You might know that and I might know that, but what if the criminal doesn't?

(voice-over): So ready or not, it appears biometrics is here to stay.

COLLIER: I think you'll begin to see this on your cell phones. You'll begin to see this on cable boxes for parental controls. You'll begin to see this in your alarm system in your home for your enunciator panel so that you can turn the alarm off in the case of a false alarm. Your automobile. We're already beginning to see that in some systems. It boggles the mind.




COLLINS: But we'll leave you with this warning: As biometrics becomes commonplace, remember, it does work through a computer. And if that computer is having a bad day...

WEYMAN: Now what's wrong?


COLLINS: ... you may have a tough time proving that you are you.

WEYMAN: I screwed with it, I screwed with it.


WALCOTT: Hong Kong consists of a peninsula on the southern coast of China and about 235 islands, the main one being Hong Kong Island. In ancient times, Hong Kong was nothing more than a small group of farming and fishing villages used as a land base by pirates roaming the high seas. It wasn't until around 220 B.C. that the Chinese government took over Hong Kong Island and the surrounding territories. Hong Kong was valuable to the Chinese government because its geographic location made it an ideal port for trading with Britain and other European countries. Unfortunately, trade relations with the United Kingdom turned sour when British merchants began to smuggle opium into China, leading to a war between the two countries. After losing the opium war in 1842, China was forced to turn part of Hong Kong over to Britain.

Over the next 50 years, Britain gained control over more of the peninsula, and by 1898 China leased the majority of Hong Kong over to Britain for a term of 99 years. In 1997, the lease expired and Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, but the government agreed to maintain the free market economy that had been established under the British.

As Lian Pek reports, Hong Kong's economy is getting a boost from the cyber craze sweeping the rest of the world.


LIAN PEK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the fringe of Hong Kong's most famous pub area, in between antique shops and food stalls, lies a mini Silicon Valley. Locals call it "Silicon Alley."

YULANDA CHUNG, "ASIAWEEK": Some of these buildings, they used to be aging buildings and uninhabited for a long time. And the landlord came up with this wise idea to gut the inside out, wire it with fast Internet access fiber-optics and lease it to Internet companies.

PEK: Enter the workstation a cyberscraper. It didn't always have that catchy name. It used to be called just plain 43 Lyndhurst Terrace. But with the cyber craze, the property developer decided it was time to cash in.

ANDREW MOORE, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, JF PROPERTY SERVICES: If we didn't have the brand and the Internet capability in the building, I would say the occupancy now would be 75 percent as opposed to 100 percent.

PEK: The re-branding was a clever tactic to draw in the tenants -- trendy, cash-rich startups -- during one of Hong Kong's worst property slumps in history. But don't think it's all just in the name. These buildings are wired from a real estate point of view.

BILLY TAM, CEO, ILINK.NET: Intelligent buildings, they have a lot of criteria like the fiber infrastructure, air conditioning and all the lighting control.

PEK: On top of that, these buildings can also provide fully-paid utilities, satellite systems, a back-up power system, a recreation room, and office furniture, essential items that keep a startup's expenses down and the creative juices flowing.

MOORE: I think it's because the Internet startups, they've got so much on their plate they really don't have time to concentrate on things like organizing furniture contracts, organizing their telephones, their ISPs, so on and so forth. And they just don't want to have to bother with these distractions. So, unless the landlord will do this for them, they'll end up sitting on the floor and using mobile phones and laptops.

PEK: But the biggest attraction: dirt-cheap rent on a short-term lease. Some rates have been quoted as low as $1 U.S. per square foot, with leasing contracts as short as six months, making sure the sluggish property sector is at least on board the tech bandwagon even if it's not making money from it yet.

Lian Pek, CNN Financial News, Hong Kong.


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

HAYNES: Well, we've been talking a lot about the Internet today: HTML, HTTP, URL, sometimes it's difficult to wade through all the abbreviations of the cyber wave. And as soon as you catch up, there's new technology to learn.

Well, one young entrepreneur has made sense of all the technical terms for those of us who need help, and she's making more than a few cents for her effort.

Marsha Walton has the story.


WALTON (voice-over): Like a lot of teenagers, Alissa Daniels is hanging out with her friends this summer, swimming, checking out a computer show, working on her Web site -- not just any Web site. How many hits does she get?

DANIELS: Five-hundred-thousand a month.

WALTON (on camera): Say that again.

DANIELS: Half a million. Right now, I have it in English and French and I'm translating it into Spanish. I'm having some people help me with that.

WALTON (voice-over): The site unlocks the secrets of HTML, the language of the Internet.

DANIELS: I noticed that I had a really hard time learning HTML because there was no HTML help sites out there. So I decided to make one.

WALTON: She explains the code that creates the animations, the text and the colors of a Web page.

DANIELS: So if you wanted blue text, you would look and you would find, like, 00CCFF and put that number and -- those numbers and letters into the code and it turns your text blue.

WALTON: Alissa's school environment is unique. It's in Celebration, Florida, a high-tech city created by Disney.

DANIELS: Celebration is really different. It's like a real community. Everyone knows everyone.

WALTON: Her teacher says that's what the Internet is making possible for the global community.

SCOTT MURI, TECHNOLOGY TEACHER: When I was growing up, my circle of communication were those people that lived right around me. Alissa is -- she communicates with people around the world.

WALTON: While she's not yet one of those billionaires, the banner ads that sponsor her site are lucrative.

DANIELS: I'm making a lot for a 13-year-old.

WALTON: So what's the secret of a great Web site?

DANIELS: It has to be an original idea. That's what makes you or breaks you, really.

WALTONS: And the bad ones: colors that fight with each other, and...

DANIELS: Way too many animated graphics and, like, loud music that you can't turn off.

WALTON: Some advice for the folks still a little skittish about technology:

DANIELS: Well, you should always try something new, and this is definitely new to a lot of people.

WALTON: Because, sometimes, the only way to get something done is to jump into the deep end.

Marsha Walton, CNN, Atlanta.


HAYNES: Gees, what happened to McDonald's and $3.50 an hour?

WALCOTT: I know. I think we're in the wrong business, Tom.

HAYNES: I do too; 13 and making hundreds of thousands already.

WALCOTT: It's very impressive.

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

HAYNES: Take care.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.



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