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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for July 21, 2000

Aired July 21, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And NEWSROOM takes a turn into Friday. Thanks for rounding out your week with us. There's lots ahead today and we start with a look at the rundown.

In today's news, from one summit to the next, President Clinton heads to the G-8 summit in Japan as Middle East peace talks push into overtime.

Then, in our "Editor's Desk," lowering the bar on fame: Why these days it seems like just about everyone is on TV.


JAMES PONIEWOZIK, "TIME" MAGAZINE: The viewers of television are much more savvy about the inside mechanics of television and of show business generally.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Check out this wall. It's graffiti gone wild. I'm Tom Haynes coming up in "Worldview" today, find out how a once grim, gray wall was transformed into a treasure.

WALCOTT: Then, in "Chronicle":


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When they played with other kids in the neighborhood, they would suddenly start to throw stones and to say, American, American, Yankee, go home.


WALCOTT: Amerasians fighting for acceptance in Japan.

Well, it isn't over till it's over: Perhaps that's the best way to characterize the Middle East peace summit at Camp David, Maryland. Shortly after the White House announced the talks were over without an agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, both sides said they'll continue talking under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Late Wednesday night, U.S. President Clinton had to leave the talks for the Group of Eight summit in Japan, a departure he had already pushed back by a day.

And Japan is also where today's top story finds us. The G-8 summit is taking shape in Okinawa. Japanese officials are hoping the summit puts Okinawa on the map. Leaders of the world's richest nations, plus Russia, are there for the annual Group of Eight meeting. The primary focus will be narrowing the gap between rich and poor countries of the world.

Okinawa is a remote island in the China Sea. It became part of Japan in the late 19th century. More than 100,000 died there, caught in the crossfire of an 82-day battle during World War II. That and U.S. occupation have been overwhelming factors in shaping modern Okinawa. Residents of the island are using this summit to speak out against the U.S. military presence still there.

And choosing the island as the site of this year's meeting was no accident. The late Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi envisioned it as an opportunity to have the attention of the world community and to help it advance economically.

Marina Kamimura reports.


MARINA KAMIMURA, CNN TOKYO BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Okinawa is Japan's poorest prefecture. As G-8 host, it's expected to benefit from nearly half a billion dollars in public spending over two years. But behind the economics is pure politics, especially in choosing the city of Nago to be the summit's main venue.

Although Okinawa makes up less than 1 percent of Japan's total area, it also hosts 75 percent of the U.S. military's facilities in Japan, a cornerstone of the U.S.-Japan security alliance.

(on camera): Despite local opposition, Tokyo and Okinawan authorities have already tapped remote Nago as the new home for one of this base's key functions. Relocating Futenma's heliport is considered the centerpiece of U.S.-Japan efforts to reduce the military's negative impact on local communities.

MASAHIDE OTA, FORMER OKINAWAN GOVERNOR: The site is used for removing the Futenma Airbase, air station to northern part of Okinawa. So Okinawa is used as a political pawn.

KAMIMURA (voice-over): What no one anticipated, though, were the incidents just weeks before the summit, including the alleged fondling of a young teenager by a U.S. Marine. Tokyo and Washington have tried to stem the damage in the name of bilateral relations. But initial hopes that the first visit by a U.S. president to Okinawa since 1972 could strengthen ties have changed to concerns that the visit could instead stir up more pent-up frustration.

Hosting the G-8 summit was supposed to be the crowning glory of the late Keizo Obuchi's career; an event that would boost his coalition government's standing in general elections Tokyo had to call by the fall. Instead, Yoshiro Mori was thrust into the role after Obuchi's sudden stroke. Then, wanting to legitimize the change of power before G-8 leaders descended on Okinawa, the ruling coalition, led by Mr. Mori's Liberal Democrats, hurriedly called elections.

And so, even with support for Mr. Mori at historic lows, with no alternates apparently ready to take his place, parliament reconfirmed Yoshiro Mori as Japan's leader, just two and a half weeks before the summit.

HARUO SHIMADA, KEIO UNIVERSITY: After this election, we realize that we have no other choice, at least for the time being.

KAMIMURA: But despite the relatively smooth and quick turnover, some analysts call the new government a lame-duck administration.

Mr. Mori has been deflecting blows throughout his short term in office, criticized by the opposition, the media and the general public for a series of verbal slips. The prime minister himself said his mistakes hurt his party at the recent polls. And that's why even though few observers here expect big policy breakthroughs at the annual G-8 gathering, eyes will be closely trained on Mr. Mori.

MASARU TAKAGI, MEIJI UNIVERSITY (through translator): It's as if he's walking on thin ice. Even one small incident could cause Mori's downfall.

KAMIMURA: Others say, no matter how well he performs at the summit, the prime minister's days in office could be numbered. Some within Mr. Mori's own party have expressed their concerns about fighting another election under his leadership. Another parliamentary election has to be held by next summer.

Marina Kamimura, CNN, Okinawa, Japan.


WALCOTT: Stick around for our "Chronicle" segment. We'll focus on one aspect of the relationship between the United States and Okinawa: the children born to American military personnel and Okinawan women. How are they being treated in their own country? The answer coming up in "Chronicle."

In our "Editor's Desk," we look at what it's like to be on TV. That's something I know a little bit about. In my job, I have to spend time before the bright lights, the cameras and the teleprompter. But it is a job. For some people, being on TV is much more than that. It's almost a way of life -- at least for a few weeks or months. Is that a good thing or not?

It's something for you to think about as Jodi Ross takes us behind the lens of some increasingly candid cameras.


JODI ROSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nicole Kidman said it in the 1995 film "To Die For."


NICOLE KIDMAN, ACTRESS: You're not anybody in America unless you're on TV.


ROSS: Today, it seems like everybody is now somebody on TV.


WILLIAM: All right, who voted me out? Speak up.


ROSS: "Big Brother," "Survivor" and even MTV's "The Real World" are making celebrities out of ordinary citizens.

(on camera): What happened to fame, to being famous?

PONIEWOZIK: Viewers of television are much more savvy about the inside mechanics of television and of show business generally. And, as a result, we have a whole nation of people -- millions of people -- who really know how to be on television.





ROSS (voice-over): Gretchen Cordy, recent reject from "Survivor," says fame came as a surprise.

CORDY: I did not think about that at all. I didn't expect it to be a big CBS show -- prime-time show. So I think I was really naive about that.

ROSS: Same goes for Janet, a former cast member from "The Real World: Seattle."


JANET, FORMER CAST MEMBER, "THE REAL WORLD": Oh, this is unbelievable. I'm not going to want to leave.


JANET: In fact, if I had known about the fame and all the stuff that came afterwards, I would have hesitated much more. I just -- I was naive in that way. You know, I don't think a lot of the people who actually go on these reality-based television shows have any idea what they're in for. PONIEWOZIK: You see some people who appear to be so clearly acting out, trying to be eccentric and stand-out personalities in a way that must be contrived for fame.

TECK, FORMER CAST MEMBER, "THE REAL WORLD": See, I'm a different case because I was born to be famous.

ROSS: Teck, a stand-out personality from "The Real World: Hawaii" turned his TV debut into a weekly series called "Direct Effect," which starts airing on MTV in September.

TECK: If you don't want it, then don't go on the show or don't put yourself in that situation.

ROSS: And former "Survivor" star Stacey is back on TV, too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoes to absorb the shock.


DR. STUART FISHOFF, PROF. OF MEDIA PSYCHOLOGY, CAL. STATE: I think that people are so busy willing to give away their personal lives to get on television and to get fame that they don't have time to stop and say, well, wait a minute, what have I lost?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't like this part of it. I don't like conflict. I don't like confrontations.


JANET: It's hard because it dismisses everything that they were about before. And it dismisses that they're an actual human being, they're not just this character on your television and that they're not -- that there are consequences to all this, you know.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do the honors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, it's yours now.


ROSS: But there is an upside to this newfound fame: It's usually fleeting.

(on camera): Like maybe this is your 15 minutes of fame.

CORDY: I think 15 minutes of fame. But my advice to people who haven't had their 15 yet is take something where you can take a bath.

ROSS (voice-over): Jodi Ross, CNN Entertainment News, New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: We'll have more on the phenomenon of reality TV in two weeks. Join us for a look at the public's fascination with the public.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All over the dial now you can find reality shows on any network, any cable channel. People want to watch it -- not only want to watch it, they want to take part in it.


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

WALCOTT: In "Worldview," we laugh, lean, look and learn. The chuckles come by way of Switzerland, where a new museum focuses on humor. Then we'll travel to Germany and Italy for architectural adventure. Be sure to keep an eye out for our own Tom Haynes, who does a monumental job out in the field. But before all that, we touch down in Turkey where rising waters could pose a threat to ancient treasures.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: First stop Turkey, a Middle Eastern country that lies both in Europe and Asia. Most of Turkey's people live in cities and towns. The rest live on farms or in small villages. Turkey is a developing country. Over half of its workers are farmers. Since the 1940s, Turkey's economy has become increasingly industrialized. And now, manufacturing contributes slightly more to the national economy than agriculture. It's a sign of the economic times.

These days, resources of the present are almost as important as treasures from the past. Typhin Ertan (ph) reports.


TYPHIN ERTAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This artificial lake rising behind the newly built Beragic Dam (ph) in southeastern Turkey is slowly swallowing 2,000 years of civilization. Archaeologists say this ancient site holds one of the world's richest collections of Roman mosaics and they are racing against time to save the magnificent works of art.

The excavation has been going on frantically since November. What's being saved from this ancient town is being stored in the small museum of the provincial capital, Gaziantep. The mosaics, which served as floors of the villas of the Romans, are remarkably well- preserved. So are the coins and other artifacts.

Eighty-thousand people once inhabited this area. It was an important trading post on the silk road and served as a Roman garrison. According to the archaeologists, the artifacts buried here could easily surpass the very best museum collections in the world. Beragic Dam is their nemesis. It's one of the several dams along the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, part of the world's biggest civil engineering projects. It will provide energy and irrigation for vast arid lands. It will also generate income and employment for this poorest region of Turkey.

But the cultural cost of this huge project is enormous. This region, known as Upper Mesopotamia, cradle of many ancient civilizations, will lose many of its invaluable sites.

The archaeologists are asking the government to delay the rising waters for at least several months so that they can rescue the treasures that would soon be flooded. The Turkish government cannot wait. It needs energy. The government also says most of the site will remain above the water level and will be saved.

Typhin Ertan, CNN, Istanbul.


HAYNES: From politics to paint. This old abandoned wall is both colorful and eye-catching. Some call it art, others call it vandalism. So, like most walls do, it divides people and opinions.

Well, in our next report, Chris Burns takes us to a place once reviled, now renowned: the Berlin Wall.


CHRIS BURNS, CNN BERLIN BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The wall was supposed to last at least another century, or so said East Germany's communist leader, Erich Honecker. But weeks later it collapsed, along with Honecker's regime in 1989. And as East Germans flooded west, a trickle of artists from around the world traded places with them, applying a riot of color to the once grim, gray walls. It became the East-Side Gallery, the longest stretch of surviving Berlin Wall, 1.3 kilometers, or about eight-tenths of a mile.

A Russian artist immortalized Honecker himself, his famous kiss with then Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. But the wall and it's art are under threat from Berlin's hot summers and icy winters, from pollution, humidity and dust that creep under the paint, from graffiti by tourists and taggers.

(on camera): Berliners couldn't wait to see the wall come down. Now, some are on a rescue mission to save a stretch of the once-hated divide as a huge historical canvas. But how to do it?

(voice-over): Sandblast workers strip some of the decade-old work, exposing the true color of the wall when it was the regime's so- called anti-fascist protection barrier.

Kani Alavi (ph), who heads a group of wall artists, backs the project to save their vanishing work by first erasing it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We must paint exactly what we did in 1989, otherwise it's not right. If we paint other things, it would no longer be the East-Side Gallery.

BURNS: When they're finished, a layer of anti-graffiti lacquer goes on so any scrawl can be washed off. Others think it's a mistake to start from scratch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a semi-authentic thing of which is reapplied then. And what I'm not happy about is, I mean, it's all -- the whole idea of the East-Side Gallery derived from a sort of graffiti tradition. And graffiti is something spontaneous.

BURNS: Alavi insists he can paint with the same conviction. And, he says, without the protection, it's only a matter of time before the art disappears forever.

The privately financed project only has enough money to cover about one-fourth of the East-Side Gallery. Alavi's group also hopes to raise more money and that UNESCO will name the gallery a world heritage site to keep it from falling to developers.

But for the moment, the biggest threat are the silent, steady hands of the elements, and it's a race against time to stop them.

Chris Burns, CNN, Berlin.


HAYNES: Well, we go from one famous monument to another. Can you guess where we're going? Here, I'll give you a clue. I'm leaning on this wall, but in our next report, it's the building that's doing all the leaning.

It's one of the most famous structures in all of Italy, made famous by its flaw. Construction on the Leaning Tower of Pisa began in the 12th century. But due to structural problems, it took 200 years to finish. You see, one side began sinking in the soft soil after just three of its eight stories were completed. It's said that the lean increases about a millimeter or about one-twenty-fifth of an inch each year. And some officials are concerned it could eventually topple over.

But engineers are wrapping up work on a project to keep that from happening.

Gayle Young has the story.


GAYLE YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Engineers have embraced the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa and yanked it back up by a good six inches. The tower, still tethered by cables that are slowly pulling it to a more upright position, will be open to a few VIPs and schoolchildren.

The internationally beloved tourist attraction has been closed for the past decade because officials feared it was ready to topple. But a team of engineers say the 800-year-old bell tower will be ready to reopen to tourists in exactly one year. The gentle tugging has been so successful that workers will soon start moving earth underneath the tower to shore up its foundation.

That's good news to the residents of Pisa. The tower is the northern Italian city's claim to fame and a national symbol of Italy. A million tourists a year visit the site and it's created a mini- industry that's been hampered by the closure. But there are no plans to completely fix the lean. After all, the "Straight Tower of Pisa" would hardly be worth all the attention.

Gayle Young, CNN, Rome.


HAYNES: We travel now from Italy to its northern neighbor, Switzerland. This country is known for its beautiful scenery and challenging ski slopes, the Alps among them. Switzerland is also known for its long-held traditions of freedom and neutrality, serving as an island of peace during many wars in recent history. In fact, the Swiss are so committed to peace, they have no regular army.

One more interesting fact: Switzerland has many languages -- German, French, Italian and Romansch. But another unofficial language is contributing to Swiss culture these days. It's called laughter. One local joker is making some serious business out of preserving Swiss humor in a new cultural center. Think we're kidding? Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dimitri (ph) the Clown, he's often called, but clown is not enough. No Swiss is more expressive and few are better known throughout the country and abroad.

Dimitri is from southern Switzerland. That's where he has his theater and theater school. Now Dimitri is intensifying the life of this cultural center by adding a museum dedicated to humor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have our theater next door. We have our school. There's the performing company. And then there are my friends who come and give performances as well. So we have a synergy. This place is alive.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Dimitri's humor museum is a serious project. Its organizer is Harold Zamon (ph), director of the Venice Beanalie (ph) in Italy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I have known Dimitri since the 1950s. What's more, I live in the next village. So when he asked me to organize the museum, to set it up, I agreed. That's what friends are for. But the real point is that this is not going to be an ordinary museum.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Much of the permanent exhibition is drawn from Dimitri's private collection of humor memorabilia. The Swiss National Circus is participating, too. And the museum is to be resolutely multimedia. If humor can be seen as the daylight of the mind, then there's an imp of a sunbeam shining in southern Switzerland: Dimitri, with his new museum.


ANNOUNCER: 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: As you learned earlier in today's show, 75 percent of the U.S. military facilities in Japan are located on Okinawa. One of the legacies of this relationship has been the thousands of children born to American personnel and Okinawan women. To this day, those children, called Amerasians, say they face discrimination.

Marina Kamimura has their story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Daddy, I am happy I was born.

KAMIMURA (voice-over): Maria Tomiyama (ph) says she's been trying to discover who she is ever since she was a child. Her mother was an Okinawan bar hostess, her father a U.S. soldier that she never met until she was 17.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When I played with other kids in the neighborhood, they would suddenly start to throw stones and say, American, American, Yankee, go home. I cried when I realized they were talking about me. I didn't think that I was any different from them.

KAMIMURA: That was the early 1970s, after Okinawa had just been returned to Japan after the U.S. occupation.

(on camera): But even today, nearly 30 years later, Amerasians, or "halves," as they're called here, are still fighting for acceptance by Okinawan society.

(voice-over): A big source of frustration for many is the assumption that just because they look Western, they speak English.

"In Japanese school," she says, "because I'm a half, they would always ask whether I speak English. If I said no, they wouldn't become my friends. So I lied instead."

Nicky's (ph) father says it's a situation that haunts kids like his even as adults. To many, they still represent the darker side of the long ties between Okinawa and the U.S. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in Japan, they're relegated to menial tasks and menial jobs. They don't have the opportunities because of the fact that they're uncomfortable in speaking in anything other than Japanese.

KAMIMURA: This new school is aimed at preventing Amerasian children from falling through the cracks of Japan's social and educational systems. Seventy percent of the students come from low- income, single-parent homes where they have no exposure to English, or to American culture, even if it's in their blood.

MIDORI THAYER, PRINCIPAL, AMERASIAN SCHOOL: I want them to be proud of themselves, to be Amerasian.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, you are my real father.

KAMIMURA: Maria Tomiyama is trying to move on in other ways. She's helping dozens of Amerasians search for their fathers. After recently patching up relations with her own father, Maria says she's discovered her true identity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I finally realized that I may not be fully American or fully Japanese. I am both.

KAMIMURA: Deep-rooted feelings about Okinawa's Amerasians won't change overnight. But Maria hopes helping others do what she's done will at least help them in discovering who they are as well.

Marina Kamimura, CNN, Okinawa, Japan.


WALCOTT: And before we leave you, a little taste of Japanese culture: some native Okinawans, young and old, playing traditional music.

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



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