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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for July 27, 2000

Aired July 27, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: It's the big Thursday show. I'm Andy Jordan.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Here's what's on the docket.

JORDAN: The anniversary of the Cuban revolution sparks a wave of revolutionary zeal in the streets of Havana.


LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF: "That's why we the Cuban people are here," says this man, "to bring down the inhuman attitude and the arrogance of the Yankees."


BAKHTIAR: In "Science Desk," we mark another anniversary of an act that put ramps like this in front of buildings around the United States.

JORDAN: We also explore innovations beneficial to people who use those ramps.


DAVID MILLER, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA: They can just give it a simple command rather than try to weave in and out of obstacles. They can just tell it to go forward and it will do most of the weaving for them.


BAKHTIAR: "Worldview" weaves a web of modern technology and Old World charm that meet on the World Wide Web.

JORDAN: In "Chronicle," brace yourself: We enter a world where fashion follows the mouth.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have this dress and it had blue flowers on it.


JORDAN: Why metal is mod in "Chronicle."

BAKHTIAR: In today's top story, Cubans celebrate the 47th anniversary of the Cuban revolution. On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro and a band of rebels attacked the army barracks at the Cuban Fort Moncada in Santiago de Cuba. That marked the beginning of the Cuban revolution that toppled the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

To celebrate, an estimated 1 million people crowded the streets of Havana in opposition to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. The march came a week after both houses of U.S. Congress voted to ease sanctions against Cuba, allowing for the sale of food and medicine. While Cuba welcomed that move, Havana says it doesn't go far enough.

The relationship between the U.S. and Cuba began more than a 100 years ago, during Spain's occupation of the Caribbean island. Cuba's desire for independence became embodied in a Cuban freedom fighter named Jose Marti. But Marti's efforts ended in vain at the hands of Spanish soldiers.

Cuban independence finally came in 1898 when the U.S. won the short-lived Spanish-American war. The U.S. granted Cuba its sovereignty but wrote into its Constitution a clause giving the U.S. the right to intervene in Cuban affairs. For the next several decades, Cuba's political structure deteriorated, thanks in large part to coup d'etats and fraudulent elections.

A young revolutionary at the time, Fidel Castro, took advantage of Cuba's weak political situation and, on January 1, 1959, overthrew his country's government. Castro's communist stance would soon become evident and lead to the deterioration of U.S.-Cuban relations. In 1961, the two countries broke diplomatic ties, resulting in a trade embargo and a U.S.-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs. The attack failed and Castro's reign has continued to this day.

Now, the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba takes the forefront once again.

Lucia Newman reports.


NEWMAN (voice-over): A virtual sea of humanity lined Havana's Malecon oceanfront drive in what may have been the biggest government- organized march in Cuba's history.

President Fidel Castro, who led the way, called for a million people to take part. The city was literally paralyzed as buses and trucks, even from nearby provinces, were used to bring out the crowd to march in front of the American diplomatic mission. The slogan: end to the U.S. economic embargo. This on the anniversary of the start of the revolution that brought Castro and his rebels to power 41 years ago. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's an important national holiday, but we're also here fighting against the blockade, which, after so many years, is an anachronism.

NEWMAN: Although the Cuban government has always denounced and condemned the U.S. economic embargo, one of the longest running in history, the sanctions theme has now replaced Elian Gonzalez as a national priority.

(on camera): This enormous march is part of an ideological offensive launched by the government of the Communist Party eight months ago -- an offensive on a scale never seen before, even according to Cubans who've more than four decades of revolution.

(voice-over): The idea, says Cuba's leadership, is to educate and unite the people, to inject fresh revolutionary fervor into society and to focus on what Havana calls the "genocidal U.S. aggression," which it blames for most of Cuba's ills.

"That's why we the Cuban people are here," says this man, "to bring down the inhuman attitude and the arrogance of the Yankees."

This just as unprecedented moves are under way in the U.S. Congress to ease the embargo, moves Cuba dismisses as noble but insufficient.

Leaders here, meanwhile, hope their campaign for the total lifting of the embargo will be as effective in rallying the people as was their push for the return of Elian Gonzalez.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Havana.


JORDAN: Well, this week marks the 10th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA, as it's called, tries to guarantee equal opportunity for people with disabilities in several areas, including public places, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.

Yesterday, U.S. President Clinton marked the anniversary by urging the federal government to hire 100,000 disabled people over the next five years. He says the ADA is all about making sure people can do the things others take for granted.

Brian Palmer reports on what the law has accomplished.


BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A decade and a half ago, Tim Flynn was tossed from a bar, not because of his behavior. Here's what he was told.

TIM FLYNN: You can't come in here. I used to hear this a lot before the ADA was enacted. They'd say, you're a fire hazard and we can't put you here. BRIAN PALMER: Times have changed: kneeling buses, ramps and curb cuts, because the Americans With Disabilities Act, the ADA, requires government, transportation providers and businesses to make themselves fully accessible to the disabled.

MIKKI LAM: There was no way, really, to emerge people with disabilities in this society until 1990. I mean, with the ADA you have the power of the law.

ALEXANDER WOOD: But it's a set of laws that are not really enforced.

BRIAN PALMER (on camera): Disabled people and advocates agree the ADA is a landmark law that offers vital civil rights protections. But like all legislation, it's only a piece of paper.

MARILYN SAVIOLA, INDEPENDENT CARE SYSTEMS: It's not legislating . It's enforcement. The legislation in itself and the spirit and the intent of the ADA is fine. It's the enforcement of the ADA that has problems.

VIRGINIA INSERILLO, QUEENS INDEPENDENT LIVING CENTER: You can't get in, so let's go in and talk to the manager.

BRIAN PALMER: Problems that these activists are trying to solve on their own.

INSERILLO: Here's another one over here.

BRIAN PALMER: They inspect local businesses for accessibility.

INSERILLO: I've never been confrontational. I mean, it's like, you know, it's 10 years later. The law was signed 10 years and all we're looking for is equal access to goods and services.

BRIAN PALMER: But improving accessibility means spending money. That's a hardship for some small businesses.

JOE BARETTA, CORATO PIZZA: If I make this smaller, the doors are going to be higher. I'm going to need new doors, a lot of work. Just to break this, it cost me a lot of money.

BILL PALMER, ARCHITECT, H.O.K.: You have to understand that the ADA is not a building code, it's a civil rights law. And slowly -- it's taken 10 years -- but slowly, state governments, local governments are submitting their building codes to determine whether or not the rules and regulations are equivalent to the ADA.

BRIAN PALMER: But architect Bill Palmer and others are thinking beyond basic compliance with the ADA.

(on camera): This looks like a pretty ordinary hallway to me. What's so unique about it?

MATIN YABLONSKI, INTERNATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND: A lot of thought and design went into this, from the bubble lights in the middle of the hall to the exit doors leading to the stairs.

BRIAN PALMER (voice-over): Universal design, an approach to building that takes into account the needs of all: young, old, disabled, everyone.

YABLONSKI: Easy access for all, no barriers, doors that open. You put doorknobs in the right places, you put signs in the right places.

BRIAN PALMER: Full integration into society, not just minimal access: that, say the disabled, is their goal and the true spirit of the ADA.

Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.


BAKHTIAR: Scientists are looking at several ways to make life a little easier for the disabled. Today's "Science Desk Extra" examines one such project. Researchers at the University of Oklahoma are working to develop wheelchairs that steer themselves. Now, you might be wondering how this is even possible. Well, to put it simply, scientists have figured out a way to transform light into a type of sensor, something like the trip line in a security system. In this case, light is being used to avoid and detect objects in the path of the moving wheelchair.

With more, here's Ann Kellan.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They weren't big sellers in their day: 400-pound wheelchairs that climb stairs. Most of them don't work anymore and were literally trashed.

University of Oklahoma researcher David Miller rescued them from a dump, using them to develop a smarter, more lightweight chair that steers itself. The new chairs are outfitted with sensors.

MILLER: Yes, it's basically a light sensor. It sends out a beam of infrared light and looks for the reflectance.

KELLAN: The reflected beam changes if there's an obstacle in the way, in which case the chair is programmed to turn and avoid the obstacle, just like the little Sojourner did when it rolled on the surface of Mars in 1997.

Miller was part of the NASA team that celebrated the successful Pathfinder mission and is now applying what he learned to help the most handicapped in wheelchairs.

MILLER: For somebody who's like a high quadriplegic who has to operate things with their chin or their tongue normally, this way they can just give it a simple command. Rather than trying to weave in and out of obstacles, they can just tell it to go forward and it will do most of the weaving for them. KELLAN: Someone like Christopher Reeve, who can't do much below the neck, could benefit from a self-steering chair.

Researchers say it will take time and money. Miller hopes in three years to transform these stair-climbing chairs into a sleeker, smarter version, so people who have to rely on another person to carry them up the stairs will have another option.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Norman, Oklahoma.


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

JORDAN: In "Worldview," we enter the world of the Internet. Our surfing takes us to the shores of Ireland and to the Silicon Valleys and alleys of the United States. Find out where e-country is and whose making up the monikers. And check out cyber-commerce and Internet auctions.

We begin in Ireland, the second largest island in the British Isles. It's divided politically into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Most of Northern Ireland is Protestant, while much of the Republic of Ireland is Roman Catholic. Religious and political conflict have plagued Ireland for generations. For more on Irish history, check your NEWSROOM archives for July 7.

Meantime, we shift gears to take you to a Web site that's combining the high-tech world of dot.coms with the Old World charm of ages past.

James Hattori is our Web guide as we head to a monastery near Limerick.


HATTORI (voice-over): In the Republic of Ireland, religion is at the very core of life and society. In a country of 3 1/2 million people, nine out of 10 are Catholic. On this picturesque isle, about half the size of the state of Arkansas, winds howl off the Irish Sea and traditions linger in an Old World setting.

At Glenstal Abbey, a 19th century monastery and boarding school near Limerick in southwest Ireland, for 40 years Brother Ciaran Forbes has lived the simple communal life of a Benedictine monk, a life of daily worship without luxuries but not without humor.

BROTHER CIARAN FORBES: As Brendan Behan, you know, the Irish writer, said when he's asked, are you a Catholic? and he said, yes, a bad Catholic. So when I'm asked, am I a monk? I say, yes, a bad monk.

HATTORI: Brother Ciaran's cloistered life has afforded him one indulgence: wood carving. He's spent nearly three decades turning exquisite decorative bowls for exhibit or sale through art galleries.

FORBES: Since 1971, I began, and then liked it as a hobby. And then I sort of built up and won a few prizes and this sort of thing.

What I'm looking for, a natural flowing line from rim to base, and as you see, quite a narrow base so you don't get the impression of a big, heavy bowl plunked on the table. There should be a floating effect.

HATTORI: This unassuming monk with a devilish smile has become a world class wood turner whose works often take months to complete and end up in some very famous hands.

(on camera): I understand one of your bowls is in the possession of the pope?

FORBES: Oh, the lucky man. He's got a few Michelangelos and Ciaran Forbeses. No, actually, an Irish yew bowl made by a very unholy Benedictine monk.

HATTORI (voice-over): Brother Ciaran sells his bowls for as much as $2,000 each. Profits to go the abbey. But peddling his precious pieces can be more tedious than the carving itself.

(on camera): Beautiful hand-turned bowl by...

CLAIRE CRONIN, FOUNDER, EBID: Brother Ciaran Forbes.

HATTORI (voice-over): And that's where high-tech meets Old World in Ireland. Claire Cronin is the founder of eBid, a Web company in, well, a modest neighborhood of Dublin.

(on camera): Is there a strategic advantage being above a plumbing shop?

CRONIN: Cheap overhead. That would help, probably, a little bit.

HATTORI (voice-over): Enthusiasm is on tap right above this plumbing shop. The gang at eBid has set up one of the first consumer e-commerce companies aimed at the Irish market. Their mission: to become an auction site for the Emerald Isle, not unlike a certain similarly named company in the U.S.

(on camera): How'd the idea come to you?

CRONIN: Very easily. I was living in the States and I was watching eBay and the success of that and a lot of other auction sites.

HATTORI: And it struck you, oh, gee...

CRONIN: With a flash of brilliance. A real original thought, if there is such a thing.

HATTORI (voice-over): Cronin, an American by birth, decided to return to her ancestral home, to her mother and nine siblings.

(on camera): You were born in Alabama. CRONIN: Yes, so can't you tell?

HATTORI: Raised...

(voice-over): She put together a creative group of young people, tapping into Ireland's booming new economy, largely driven by high- tech investments, which, over the last five years, have helped turn the country around and reduce unemployment to a record low of 5 percent.

CRONIN: There's a huge reversal of the brain drain that happened in the '80s as people were all talking about when there were no jobs coming out of universities. And now everybody seems to be coming back. That's all changed an awful lot. Ireland has really come of age. So I think there's much more of a can-do mentality.

HATTORI: eBid's CEO says the Irish have an appetite for auctions.

CONNOR JONES, CEO, EBID: People are signing up at a very rapid rate and, you know, people are buying and selling houses and cars and computers, and we've even had a pony on and all types of stuff.

HATTORI: Most recently, Irish rock group U2 is auctioning off its touring bus for charity. Frank McCourt, author of "Angela's Ashes," the best-selling tale of his impoverished childhood in Limerick on the Shannon River, is offering lunch for a fee, also for charity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are some of the new products that we have just arrived in yesterday.

HATTORI: And one of Ireland's largest retail outlets, Blarney Woollen Mills, is uploading traditional Irish sweaters and other woolen goods to keep a regular presence on eBid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should be all right with that.

HATTORI: eBid is selling everything from houses to cattle. And unlike eBay in the States, which is more like a swap meet for the mass market, eBid is working hard to keep its unique Irish charm and character.

CRONIN: "Unsterilized" is a pretty good range, I would think.

HATTORI: Which brings us back to the good monk and his art. The crew at eBid persuaded Brother Ciaran, whose work is well known in Ireland, to sell this large, hand-turned bowl on their new Internet site.

FORBES: It's a monkey puzzle which is a Chilean pine. Normally it's a soft timber, relatively soft. And as you can see, there are knots, practically symmetrical.

HATTORI: We were with Brother Ciaran at the monastery when the auction for his bowl was closing. At 58 years of age, he seemed pleased, if a bit mystified, watching as an art piece steeped in ancient tradition went light speed before the world and sold without his even having to leave the abbey.

FORBES: It's a new experience for me. I mean, I normally do the work, and then the second part of the work is to go and sell it and meet sellers and all this. But in this case, this company, eBid, they're doing all the work for me.

HATTORI: Final price for his monkey puzzle bowl: 1,030 Irish pounds, or about $1,400 U.S. Not bad for a man who avoids using a computer religiously.

FORBES: I can't even switch on a computer, literally. I've never switched one on, never will. But I'm very interested in this eBid idea.

HATTORI (on camera): It's sort of a new mixture of Old World craftsmanship and new technology.

FORBES: Yes, though we wouldn't want to over-exaggerate the Old World craftsmanship. We do use electricity and that sort of thing. But I agree, this, I mean, this is a world now beyond me.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We move from Ireland and Europe to North America and the United States for more Internet news. We all know that the explosion of e-commerce has created tons of jobs across the U.S. But what you may not know is that it's also spawned a new geographical phenomenon: a name game, of sorts.

Brooks Jackson has the story.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, viewers, here's a pop quiz on geography: Where is "Automation Alley"? Can you locate the "Digital Coast"? And where on Earth is "E-Country"?

(voice-over): You've heard of Silicon Valley, California. That moniker has been around nearly 30 years, practically a brand name. That's why Fairfax County, Virginia, home to lots of Internet and companies, is running a $1.4 million ad campaign.


ANNOUNCER: Yep, you're in E-Country now.


JACKSON: E-Country, just outside Washington, D.C.?

ROBERT GORDON, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: Unfortunately, what we're best known for is just being a government town. Being a government town's a pretty good thing. It's given us the Internet and it's given us all sorts of technology through the government. But we're more than just a government town.

JACKSON: More indeed, and full of hot women with tattoos, if you believe the E-Country ads.

Fairfax is only the latest. The map is littered with Silicon would-bes: Silicon Bayou, Louisiana; Silicon Mesa, New Mexico; Silicon Hollow, Tennessee; Silicon Desert, Arizona; 10 Silicon Prairies, a name so coveted that the Silicon Prairie Technology Association of Kansas City once threatened to sue the Silicon Prairie Interactive Network of Oklahoma.

Keith Dawson has a whole Web site devoted to tracking these monikers, 70 of them so far.

KEITH DAWSON, INTERNET CONSULTANT: In the last couple of years, it's gotten to be serious business. They're trying to brand a region or a vicinity of a city or a city itself, perhaps a whole state.

JACKSON: New York promotes "Silicon Alley," centered on the Flatiron Building. "Automation Alley" is around Troy, Michigan, near Detroit. It has a nice Web site. Portland, Maine? Try "Web-Port." Boston has a "Cyber District," headquartered in this building. And Massachusetts itself wants to be known as "The.Commonwealth."

(on camera): But none of these is as well-known as the original, so the moniker gap persists and Silicon envy is becoming a permanent feature of the new economy.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, in just plain Washington, D.C.


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.

BAKHTIAR: For those of you who have crooked teeth or an underbite, braces can be necessary and "orthodontist" a dirty word. But for more and more young people, braces are becoming not a necessity, but an accessory, full of fashion potential.

Jeanne Moos gives us the drill on teeth chic.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember what they used to call kids who wore braces?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Metal mouth," "tin grin," "brace face." MOOS: Well, brace yourself.

GWEN STEFANI, SINGER: Like the braces?

MOOS: From pop star Gwen Stefani to the model in this Nokia ad, adults and kids are embracing braces.


MOOS: Kids with braces can now dress them up with elastics in every color that they can change monthly.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: So I figured the Fourth of July, flag red.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: My friend Brendan, what we usually do is we usually get the same color, so it's kind of funny.

MOOS: This girl color-coordinated her braces for a school dance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had this dress and it had blue flowers on it.

MOOS: You can even get glow-in-the-dark elastics.

(on camera): Does this make kissing in the dark easier?


MOOS (voice-over): It's enough to inspire braces envy.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Don't you think it's cool?

MOOS (on camera): The kids, the other kids wish they had them.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Yes, my sister wishes she had them.

MOOS: You wish she had some braces?



UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Yes, I'd like to get a pair. A lot of my friends have them.

MOOS (voice-over): And a lot more adults are flaunting them.

ELIZABETH HECHAVARRIA, BRACES WEARER: And they wouldn't notice. And I'd be like, you see? Look, I got new braces.

MOOS: Adults now account for one out of five orthodontic patients. Tina Spence was showing hers to an ex-boyfriend.

TINA SPENCE, BRACES WEARER: And then I turned around, he smiled, he had them, too. So that was it. I said, oh my goodness.

MOOS: Dr. Diane Hughes of the Weill Cornell Medical Center says adults these days are more looks-conscious. Plus:

DR. DIANE HUGHES, WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL CENTER: Today's braces are smaller and more streamlined and they're more comfortable.

MOOS: The very latest braces are plastic shields that you remove to eat -- a far cry from the ones Ben Stiller's character wore in "There's Something About Mary."


CAMERON DIAZ, ACTRESS: He had this huge mouthful of metal. You know how I like braces.


MOOS: So does Isabella Rossellini. Look at the ad for her Manifesto makeup line. The 14-year-old model reminded Rossellini of her own daughter who wore braces.

PAIGE PEDERSON, SPOKESWOMAN, MANIFESTO: Isabella immediately said, let's put braces on this girl.

MOOS: The model went to the orthodontist to get braces just for the shoot.

(on camera): So we're cool.

SPENCE: Very cool.

MOOS (voice-over): Did we say "we"?

(on camera): Look at those.


MOOS (voice-over): When the orthodontist told me I needed braces for nine months, I opted for porcelain brackets that blend in with the teeth.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD For my age, no, I would rather have the color. But if I was your age, I would have the clear.

MOOS (on camera): What do you think my age is?


MOOS: Yes, I'm 25.

(voice-over): At least having braces makes you feel like a kid again.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


That wraps up for this edition of NEWSROOM. Before we go, though, we'll leave you with these pictures from the 75th Annual Pony Swim on Chincoteague Island in Virginia.

BAKHTIAR: The ponies will be auctioned off today to raise money for the volunteer fire department that owns them.

Enjoy the race. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

JORDAN: See you then. Bye.



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