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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for July 14, 2000

Aired July 14, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: It's Friday and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome. I'm Shelley Walcott.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Here's what's coming up today.

WALCOTT: In today's news, from a bitter past to a better future, the United States and Vietnam sign a landmark trade deal.

HAYNES: Then, in our "Editor's Desk," creativity in the courtroom. We'll tell you why this judge is raising eyebrows in the United States.


JUDGE MICHAEL MARTONE, 52ND DISTRICT COURT, MICHIGAN: I'm trying to make a difference, and I hope that I am.


WALCOTT: From adventures in the courtroom to exploits outside the ring, "Worldview" catches up with a Sumo wrestler tackling the professional music scene.

HAYNES: Then, in "Chronicle," why Harry Potter has cast a spell on young readers around the world.


RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The red mark's a replica of the scar Harry got from the evil sorcerer Voldemort.


HAYNES: A quarter of a century after the end of the Vietnam War, U.S. President Clinton is angling to heal war wounds. He has announced a major trade deal between the United States and Vietnam that would pave the way for an open economic relationship for the first time since the war ended. The echo of a war that the U.S. Congress never officially declared a war still reverberates through Congress, which has to approve the Clinton plan. Our Andy Jordan looks back at a war that divided Vietnam along a demilitarized zone and the U.S. along political lines.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST (voice-over): It is the longest war in which the United States has ever taken part. When World War II ended and Japan relinquished its occupation of Vietnam, Vietnam fought a war of independence from its past colonial ruler: France. France was defeated and Vietnam was temporarily divided in 1954. Communists, supported by the Soviet Union and China, controlled the northern part with capital Hanoi. Non-communists, supported by mainly the U.S., controlled South Vietnam with capital Saigon.

Communist sympathizers in the South began revolting against the capitalist government there. The rebels became known as the Viet Cong. North Vietnam publicly supported the revolt.

In 1965, the U.S. began sending ground combat troops to Vietnam and began bombing North Vietnam. American participation continued until 1973 and peaked in 1969 at 540,000 troops.

In 1968, at the beginning of the Vietnamese new year called Tet, the Viet Cong simultaneously attacked in about 100 places. The attacks took a heavy toll. Talks of peace began soon after, but it wasn't until 1973 that the U.S. completely withdraws the last of its troops.

In 1975, communist troops from the North begin conquering one South Vietnamese province after another. That year, the South is defeated and Saigon falls, becoming Ho Chi Minh City. In 1976, North and South Vietnam are united under communist rule.

Fifty-eight-thousand American military personnel died in the war, 300,000 wounded. Between 1.5 million and 2 million Vietnamese troops died, and countless Vietnamese civilians were killed; 2.7 million American men and women fought in the war.

In 1995, 20 years after it ended, U.S. President Clinton announces a normalization of relations with Vietnam, saying the time had come to "bind up wounds."

Andy Jordan, CNN NEWSROOM.


WALCOTT: And five years later, the United States and Vietnam move to deepen their commercial ties. The trade agreement signed yesterday by both countries does have its opponents. Labor unions in the United States are concerned U.S. companies may take advantage of low-wage conditions in Vietnam to make products for sale in the U.S.

More details on the agreement and reaction from John King.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The trade deal was four years in the making, and in the president's view is much more than an economic milestone.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And so from the bitter past we plant the seeds of a better future. This is another historic step in the process of normalization, reconciliation and healing between our two nations.

KING: The agreement would open a market of 77 million people to U.S. goods, reduce U.S. tariffs on Vietnamese products on average from 40 percent to 3 percent, boost Vietnam's exports by as much as $800 million a year, and be subject to annual congressional review because Vietnam is a communist country.

THOMAS DONOHUE, PRES., U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: This deal lets American companies into telecommunications, retail, banking, distribution. It is a whole new market area for the future and it will have significant effect on our economic growth and on employment in the United States.

KING: The deal comes four years after the last U.S. troops departed for home. Some 2,000 Americans remain unaccounted for, and Vietnamese cooperation in search-and-recovery efforts was key to the trade deal, and in the support for it among most of the Vietnam veterans in Congress.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: They've been very cooperative and thousands of Vietnam veterans have returned to Vietnam, some of them with their families. And there's no doubt that's been a cleansing and healing experience for them.

KING: Many labor unions say U.S. jobs will be lost to cheap labor in Vietnam. Other opponents cite corruption and human rights abuses.

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: This argument, that you engage evil people and it will make them benevolent and good people, is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

KING: This new page in U.S.-Vietnam relations is the latest chapter in the president's effort to use trade agreements as an instrument of international policy.

(on camera): But it is a controversial approach. So while a major china trade bill is likely to clear the Congress in the next several weeks, it might be next year, after the coming election season, before the Congress takes up the new Vietnam agreement.

John King, CNN, the White House.


HAYNES: OK, today's "Editor's Desk" is going to require your critical thinking skills. What besides traditional court sentences might work to prevent crimes, especially in your peer group? While you're coming up with an answer, have a listen to this. Ed Garsten introduces us to a judge gaining notoriety and criticism for his own brand of creative sentencing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All rise. The 52nd District Court of the state of Michigan is now in session.

ED GARSTEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When court's in session before Judge Michael Martone, woe be to the lawyer or spectator who insists on leaving their cell phones or pagers on.

MARTONE: If there are any pagers, telephones or beepers, please turn them off at this time. They go off and they're very disruptive. Thank you.

GARSTEN: Some lawyers get it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, Mr. Resnick (ph). Good afternoon. I didn't hear you, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wanted to make sure my phone was off.

MARTONE: Is your phone off?


MARTONE: Thank you.

GARSTEN: Lawyer Michael Steinberg didn't. He ignored three warnings from Martone to turn off his phone.

MARTONE: The case was called and he was actually examining a witness when he whipped out the phone again, and I said, that's it, that's it, you're in contempt of court. And I just said, 10 days in the county jail.

GARSTEN: Steinberg declined to appear in this story, but Steinberg's lawyer said Martone went overboard.

But the judge has been getting a lot of national attention for one of his more creative sentences, the one he handed down to 18-year- old Justin Rushford. He made the mistake of playing rap music in his car too loud, an infraction of the local noise ordinance.

MARTONE: And I said, well, have I got a sentence for you. I said, you're going to listen to two hours of Wayne Newton music, and besides that you've got to buy his greatest hits. And he says, you're serious? And I say, yes, I'm serious.

GARSTEN: Oh, he was serious all right. Rushford and his boom box sat for two hours in a jury room warming to the warbling of "Mr. Excitement." Martone is equally as creative, although deadly serious when he must sentence a convicted drunk driver, a crusade that began almost 20 years ago, shortly after he was sent to the scene where a 14-year-old girl was struck and killed by a drunk driver. The future judge was an assistant prosecutor in Florida.

MARTONE: I went over to the hospital, and as I walked in there was this man standing there with three or four doctors around him, and I just -- I guess I supposed that this had to be the father, and he said, OK. It was the first word I heard him say. And what he had done is just given the doctors permission to harvest his daughter's organs.

You're going to see a real court case. This is not make-believe.

GARSTEN: Since 1983, Martone has been taking his case against drunk driving to schools across the country, a program he calls "Courageous Decisions."

MARTONE: My thought is, let's educate the kids ahead of time, get into the schools and take the prestige of this office and let the kids know that there's somebody who cares about them.

GARSTEN: The program consists of holding court in the school and sentencing convicted drunk drivers in front of students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're placed on conditional and revocable release to the community, which is frequently referred to as court probation.

GARSTEN: The students are then shown clips from local news accounts of fatal car crashes blamed on drunk driving. And then Martone goes into what he hopes is the coup de grace: his epilogue to what the students have just seen.

MARTONE: There was one piece of equipment that they used, and it was a black body bag. They put her in it, and they zipped it up. And then he did two things that every father never wants to do on his daughter's 16th birthday: He canceled her sweet 16 party and he bought her her final gift: It was a casket.

GARSTEN: The consequence for a drunk driver in Michael Martone's court always includes brandishing this bumper sticker for the length of the offender's probation. It says, "Drunk driving: You can't afford it."

Whether it's sentencing drunk drivers to jail and brandishing the bumper sticker, or forcing a teenager to endure lounge music, Martone says the goal is the same: to find a way to get through to people to make courageous decisions.

MARTONE: I'm trying to make a difference, and I hope that I am.

Is it really worth it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, definitely not. GARSTEN: Ed Garsten, CNN, Troy, Michigan.


WALCOTT: In "Worldview," a cultural kaleidoscope. Our reports take us to Europe and Asia. We're all about art in China, from traditional forms of paper cutting to martial arts. And we'll check out kung fu. And we'll also take a peek into a Sumo wrestling ring and beyond. That story takes us to Japan. And the spotlight's on dance in Russia. Meet some young people kicking up their heels to preserve their heritage.

JORDAN: "Worldview" gets started in Russia. When Russia's predecessor, the Soviet Union, collapsed in 1991, Chechnya was among many republics eager to seek independence from the U.S.S.R. The Chechens are an ancient Muslim people isolated among the Caucas Mountains. A former Soviet Air Force general became president in 1991 and declared it independent.

Then Russian President Boris Yeltsin sent thousands of troops into Chechnya in 1994. Some estimates say as many as 100,000 people died in that war. It ended with a peace deal in 1996. Chechnya would run itself, but the official future of the republic's status would be left in question until 2001. That's left the door open for renewed conflict which reignited last fall when Russia began what it sees as a campaign to root out Islamic rebels.

Now Russia claims to control two-thirds of Chechnya, but many rebels refuse to give up. Many say Chechnya has a unique culture worth fighting for. Still others say the culture itself can be a huge weapon.

Matthew Chance reports.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new generation of Chechens learn the cultural steps some fear could soon be lost. This is the musical and artistic heritage of a region better known for lawlessness and conflict than for song and dance.

TOPA ELIMBAYEV, CHOREOGRAPHER (through translator): The mass media always reports we are a nation without culture, just bandits. I say that's a lie. We have our own culture. We have our own originality and an ancient history.

CHANCE: It is recent history, though, that has resulted in this: vast areas of Chechnya laid to waste by the Russian military. For many Chechens a decade of resistance to Russian rule has nearly devastated lives and seen traditional culture replaced by the rule of the gun.

ELIMBAYEV (through translator): You can fight for independence with a machine gun, but then you get blown up. That's our experience so far. Only when our people understand the importance of our own culture, then will we truly be independent. CHANCE: This makeshift Chechen cultural center in Moscow attracts hundreds of children, many displaced from the war zone, now encouraged to remember the culture of their homeland but to forget the horrors of war so many have seen.

Zoma (ph) is dizzy with excitement at the dances he learns here. Watching this confident performance, it is hard to believe this 5- year-old boy was plucked from the ruins of the Chechen capital, Grozny. His mother was too sick to leave, his father was shot dead. An aunt hid him in a wooden box to escape the bombardment that destroyed his home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He was in awful condition when we first got him because he was afraid of sudden movements, of any movements at all. But look at him now. The dancing has helped change that.

CHANCE: Now, it may depend on a generation of children like Zoma, survivors of the Chechen wars, to keep this traditional and embattled culture alive.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow


WALCOTT: Next, we enter the ring of Sumo wrestling, a national sport in Japan. The object of Sumo wrestling is to throw your opponent to the ground or force him outside a circle measuring 15 feet, or 4.6 meters. Wrestlers weigh more than 300 pounds, or 136 kilograms. While Sumo matches continue to grow in popularity, one former wrestler is gathering support for a second talent.

Mark Armstrong tells us how this Sumo champion called it a wrap on wrestling in order to forge a new career in music.


MARK ARMSTRONG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Konishiki was a peerless figure in the Sumo ring where he rose to the rank of champion and became hugely popular in Japan. The Hawaiian native used this fame to launch a successful career as a pitchman, promoting everything from appliances to whiskey.

But now, the "Big Kahuna" is expressing himself in a different way. The compact disc he's releasing this month reflects his musical tastes, which run from jazz and R&B to rap. Konishiki describes the CD project as ambitious.

KONISHIKI, FORMER SUMO CHAMPION: I guess the producers that we worked with are young -- they're young and try to create different kind of music. And I guess, for me, being a something out of ordinary, it's not your everyday NBA basketball player or your NFL player trying to rap. This is completely out of what we see here in the U.S.A.

ARMSTRONG: So Konishiki says singing is something he's always done, and that he knows his limits. He says he has an easier time with rapping, that he hopes his work inspires other Sumo wrestlers to discover their artistic talents.

KONISHIKI: We have a lot of Sumos who are very talented, some who can sing, some of them are really good artists. But they're afraid because you get separated from the community. I mean, not only the community, but the everyday person, because all our lives is just Sumo.

ANDERSON: His fans know him as a larger-than-life figure with a heart bigger than his massive frame. He's also adored for starting an exchange program called Konishiki's Kids, in which Hawaiian children travel to Japan for exposure to a different culture.

Whether Konishiki is best known for his exploits in the ring or at the microphone, he is, his fans say, definitely one of a kind.

Mark Armstrong, CNN.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: We move from Japan to another Asian nation: China; and from singing Sumos to kung fu monks. Kung fu is Chinese karate, a form which uses flowing circular motions. It's one of several Asian forms of unarmed combat known as martial arts. For more, check your NEWSROOM archives for July 5.

In the meantime, a group of monks in Beijing has combined meditation with martial arts, and they put it all together on stage.

Denise Dillon gives us a glimpse.


DENISE DILLON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The monks at the Shaolin Monastery in China follow a strict and highly disciplined schedule of religious studies and peaceful meditation, mixed with the quick and powerful moves of kung fu. This might seem to be a mismatch -- the fierceness of kung fu movement with the serenity of a monk's lifestyle. But the monks explain, martial arts is not violent. It's about achieving a healthy body and a healthy mind. They believe they can reach spiritual heights through martial arts.

SHI HENGFU, SHAOLIN MONK (through translator): Martial arts is not about beating people up, as many people think. According to Buddhism, people should all be regarded as equal; people should live in harmony with their surroundings, and then there will be peace in the world.

DILLON: This is not new. The Shaolin monks have been practicing martial arts for centuries. What is new is how they combine this great tradition with modern lighting, and a mixture of Buddhist and pop music to create a performance called the "Shaolin Warriors."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Chinese martial arts, and especially Shaolin martial art, have become famous all over the world. Today, we have moved it from the outside training grounds onto stage, and we have developed it by mixing it with artistic design, music, acting and costumes.

DILLON: The monks are hand-picked at the monastery. Some of the stars are as young as 7 years old. They perform precise athletic movements and portray powerful physical strength. Here, a monk balances on the tips of spears.

The show has been such a success in Beijing, the monks plan to bring it to the U.S. and Canada.

Denise Dillon, CNN.


HAYNES: We wrap up "Worldview" in China, a country rich in art history. The oldest known Chinese art forms date back to the 5000s B.C., and include pottery and carved jades. Throughout the millennia, however, the Chinese have adopted a variety of distinctive art forms, such as silk painting and calligraphy. Chinese artists receive support from the government, or work as amateurs while maintaining their regular jobs. According to communist teaching, the arts originate from the people, such as farmers, workers and soldiers.

Today, a special art form is making its way through the generations, thanks to one of those farmers.

Sachi Koto has the story.


SACHI KOTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This tiny village in central China boasts of a grand master of an ancient dying art: 60- year-old Li Ke can take a simple piece of paper, fold it several times and cut it into a delicate piece of artwork that rivals any work made by a machine.

Although he is a wheat farmer by trade, his strong yet graceful hands guide the scissors so skillfully around the paper, creating the most delicate and exquisite paper cutouts.

As with tradition, he learned the art of paper cutting from his father and had hoped to pass it on to his son as well.

LI KE, PAPER CUTTER (through translator): I wanted to pass on the tradition to my son, to the next generation. But who knows whether they really want it? If they don't want to learn, there's nothing I can do. You can't make good paper cuts if your heart isn't in it. You have to really want to do it.

KOTO: The art of paper cutting was started generations ago with fathers passing the skill to their sons as a means to add color and excitement to the harsh winters that accompany the Chinese lunar new year. But the art is not easy to pick up, and his son, who is also a wheat farmer, is not able to carry on the tradition. LI HONG LIN, WHEAT FARMER (through translator): You have to spend a long time learning the art of paper cutting. But I am so busy earning a living, I don't have time to learn the art.

KOTO: Perhaps, deep down in Li Ke's heart, he holds the hope that one of his grandsons will carry on the tradition.

Sachi Koto, CNN.


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.

HAYNES: Well, if you're a big reader, or even if you're not, you've no doubt heard of the new series taking bookstores by storm. The books are number one, two, three and six on the "USA Today"'s bestseller list, and they've captured the imagination of children and adults everywhere. If you haven't heard of them, I'm talking about those "Harry Potter" books. The latest one, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," has sold around 3 million copies since it hit the shelves on Saturday. What's the hoopla all about?

Richard Blystone tells us.


BLYSTONE (voice-over): The Hogwarts Express, clearly diverted from the school of witchcraft and wizardry run, hit's the first stop on a nationwide book-signing tour for J.K. Rowling, mother of one small girl and one three-year-old publishing phenomenon, looking as though she means it when she says she'd swap half her multi-million- dollar fortune for an end to the public attention. With "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" already past the million book mark in this country, she would soon be able to replace that half.

Having queued for hours to buy the book, fans young and old queued again for a signature.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a great book. It's a book that doesn't need to be read by people less old than me.

BLYSTONE: The red mark's a replica of the scar Harry got from the evil sorcerer Voldemort. And here's an early book review:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's at the start where Voldemort's in a Muggle house and he's planning murders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's quite confusing at the start, but once you get into it, it explains it all if you've read the other three books.

BLYSTONE: A remarkable day for all.

(on camera): All the more remarkable because, in a way, for all the wizardry and magic, the Rowling books are conventional, old- fashioned, even nostalgic for a Britain most Harry Potter fans have never seen.

(voice-over): A Britain where castles were more than just tourist attractions, chivalry was in flower, and private schools with ancient buildings and eccentric traditions really meant something.

Unlike children's classics like "Wind in the Willows" and "Winnie the Pooh," mostly identified with one artist's conception, readers in three dozen countries can envision Harry through their own prism. But the characters and plots are hers. And try as they may, no editor or movie maker is going to make Rowling change them. Of the latest weighty tome, she told reporters:

J.K. ROWLING, "HARRY POTTER" AUTHOR: Well, I knew it was going to be longer than the third book, but it surprised even me how long it was. That's how long it needed to be to tell the story. It's as simple as that.

BLYSTONE: At this rate, nobody's going to tell her to keep it short, not while the Rowling train rolls on and the money rolls in.

Richard Blystone, CNN, Didcot, England.


HAYNES: You know, I guess I'm just behind the literature curve because I never heard of these things before they came out.

WALCOTT: It's just amazing. You know, the first 3.8 million of those books are gone and printers have just got 2 million more into circulation. Just amazing.

HAYNES: How'd you know all that.

WALCOTT: Looked it up on the Internet.


That's it for us today. We'll see you back here on Monday.

HAYNES: Take care.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.



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