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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for July 31, 2000

Aired July 31, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Hi, everyone, I am Andy Jordan. The beginning of the week finds us at the beginning of the Republican National Convention. And that story tops our agenda.

The GOP convenes in Philadelphia surrounded by pomp and protest.

We head to the wilderness in "Environment Desk."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The drought affects everything because whether it is lack of insects for the birds, or lack of mosquito fish for the birds to eat and the larger animals eat the smaller animals. So it affects the birds of prey.


JORDAN: "Worldview" asks what life is like for you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is kind of like asking adults what it is like to be an adult: just living, but you are kind of, I guess, you are younger, and you have got more experiences and a whole life ahead of you.


JORDAN: And we head back to Philadelphia in "Chronicle" to discover the rhyme and reason behind party conventions.

We get starter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, site of the 2000 Republican National Convention, what, in effect, will be the coronation of George W. Bush as the Republican presidential nominee.

The Texas governor launched his bid for the presidency more than a year ago, and most polls show him with comfortable lead over Democratic rival and Vice President Al Gore.

Although Governor Bush is not scheduled to appear at the convention until later in the week, he is making his way there with a campaign swing over the weekend, through the key battleground state of Ohio. In a Cincinnati suburb, Governor Bush promised a new code of ethics for the White House and revitalization of education.

We will run down the first day of the GOP convention coming up. But first, this report from a protest taking place already with Maria Hinojosa.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sea of several thousand angry activists cut through Philadelphia's downtown, far fewer than organizers of the Unity 2000 rally had expected. But they had eye-catching banners, large colorful puppets, even a bikini-clad rock singer who tossed dollar bills.

They're against the death penalty. The want the right to an abortion. They want to dismantle nuclear weapons. They ate the gap between rich and poor. And most emphatically, they hate George W. Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Bush, the governor of death, the person who's overseen the execution of 134 people.

HINOJOSA: The faces in the crowd, black and white and of all ages and backgrounds, were as diverse as the music. And that was the demonstrators' point, that they are diverse and care about people. But they believe the Republicans do not.

PATRICIA IRELAND, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: Bush and Cheney are not compassionate conservatives. They're ruthless reactionaries.

HINOJOSA: While these demonstrations pride themselves on unity and inclusivity, this time around, so does the Republican Convention, where Latinos, African-Americans, women and even a gay congressman are scheduled to take center stage.

IRELAND: And we know that we've moved the mainstream our direction. We know that we've had an impact on the right wing with many of our issues. They now push some of their women forward as spokespeople. I guess that's some measure of progress.

URVASHI VAID, NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE: To the extent that they're even thinking about the fact that there are Latinos in this country, that they're thinking about the fact that there are people of color who vote, that they're thinking about the fact that five percent of the electorate is gay, lesbian, bisexual, it's because our message is getting through to them.

HINOJOSA: And in hopes of getting that message through to the thousands of Republicans gathered here for the convention, even more demonstrations are planned throughout the rest of the week.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, Philadelphia.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Here is a look at Monday as the 37th Republican National Convention gets underway here in Philadelphia. The morning session kicks off at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, going into the afternoon. It will focus on house-keeping chores, committee reports, delegate credentials, and an unceremonial entering of Bush's name into the Nomination process.

This political gathering opens full at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, under the theme, "Opportunity with a Purpose: Leave No Child Behind." The theme encompasses many of the GOP's touchstones of leadership: education, parenting and the role of community.

The podium will showcase those the Republicans say embody their ideals.

ANDY CARD, RNC GENERAL CO-CHAIRMAN: It's not the political faces of the party, it is the faces of America. And these people are the ones personifying the principles that Governor Bush talks about.

SHAW: Paul Clinton Harris Sr. will discuss his boyhood in poverty, his achievements in school and the military, and his 1998 election to the Virginia General Assembly seat once held by Thomas Jefferson.

Also speaking Monday, a woman who has devoted much of her life to battling family illiteracy, a ground-breaking Texas teacher and his charter-school class will share lessons of their own, and set the stage for Laura Bush, parent, former librarian, and wife of the presumptive nominee.

Retired Army general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, delivers the final speech of the night.

Bringing to a close Monday, the first day of the convention.


JORDAN: Napster Incorporated lives, for now. The popular music trading Web site is being sued by the recording industry, which claims Napster violates copyright law by allowing patrons to download music for free.

Napster was facing a deadline for shutting down its service. But, on Friday, two federal appellate judges granted a stay of judgment. That means the service will remain on-line, at least until the lawsuit goes to trial. No word on when that would be; 75,000 outraged Napster users had signed an electronic petition vowing not to buy music unless the recording industry dropped its lawsuit against the Web site.

Napster claims to have 20 million users.

Well, today we look at droughts. In the U.S. South and Southwest, drought conditions continue. In Texas, Governor George W. Bush has declared a state of disaster for 195 counties there, more than three-quarters of all Texas counties. He wants federal help in fighting fires that have been caused by dry weather and hot temperatures.

Texas isn't the only state being hit hard by the drought. In Georgia, Brian Cabell reports on a reservoir that is running out of water, and a town that is running out of time.


BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call it half full or half empty. Either way, the Heads Creek Reservoir outside Griffin, Georgia is drying up.

Kimsey Shedd of the water department measures it every day, down another half-inch on this day.

KIMSEY SHEDD, GRIFFIN WATER DEPARTMENT: We started off full and then we down almost 40 inches.

CABELL: Down 40 inches in the last three months. At this rate, in about three weeks, the reservoir, the backup water supply for 60,000 customers in and around Griffin will be empty.

LISA HUTCHESON, GRIFFIN CITY MANAGER: I never dreamed anything like that would happen. It's something you don't want to face. You -- I think you take water for granted.

CABELL: Griffin's primary water supply is the Flint River, but the three-year drought has reduced it to a point where water only rarely can be drawn from it.

The city is drilling wells feverishly, searching for more water. It's buying water from neighboring counties. It's enacted a total ban on outdoor watering, and a major cutback on car washes. That's money lost for owner Bill Landrum, who faults the city government for shortsightedness.

BILL LANDRUM, CAR WASH OWNER: I think that they were just wishing that it would rain. And you can't wish for rain, you've got to plan for it.

CABELL: The next plan for the city, if rain doesn't come, a mandatory 50 percent water cutback on all industries. That could result in layoffs.

(on-camera): If that doesn't work, then more severe residential restrictions would be next, perhaps cutting off entire neighborhoods for hours at a time, or cutting back the pressure to everybody all day long.

(voice-over): An unhappy prospect for Griffin residents now facing the unlikely possibility of a reservoir without water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it does happen, I'll be surprised. I'll worry about it then. What can I do? CABELL: Not much, it appears, until the sky produces rain.

Brian Cabell, CNN, Griffin, Georgia.


JORDAN: So how does the dry weather affect the food chain? For example, during a drought, mosquitoes, which lay their eggs in water, are not able to reproduce. A decrease in the number of mosquitoes leads to a decrease in the number of bats, because mosquitoes are the main source of food for bats. That affects birds of prey, which feed on bats and so on.

Drought causes a variety of problems for wildlife, as Natalie Pawelski reports.


NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Central Florida is crowded with orphans and the people who run the place are blaming the weather.

(on camera): Because of the drought, animals are wandering far from their natural habitats in search of water and food. Some wander onto roadways and get hit by cars. Others end up abandoning their young, and many of those orphans end up here.

RON HARDEE, WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTER OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: This year so far we have an all-time high of 900 animals already since January 1.

PAWELSKI (voice-over): That includes a lot of animals Ron Hardee believes were injured while looking for water, like this young alligator, hit by a car. It also includes a lot of birds, who are having trouble finding food. Less water means fewer bugs, the base of the food chain.

At another Florida wildlife rescue center also caring for record numbers of animals, water birds recover from dehydration and malnutrition. The Haven for Injured and Orphaned Wildlife is keeping animals longer than usual because of the drought.

MARY JANE ISNER, HAVEN FOR INJURED AND ORPHANED WILDLIFE: A lot of the release sites where I've released animals before are like deserts now. So you have a harder time finding a place to release them, because they have to have water obviously. So release sites are getting harder to find.

PAWELSKI: But in this rough season for Southeastern wildlife, a reminder of nature's resilience: a couple of orphaned river otters join another older otter nicknamed Ozzie, released about a month ago.

He seems to recognize the people who brought him back from the brink and the young otter who used to share his cage. Ozzie has adjusted to this spring-fed river that's flowing well despite the drought, and he seems willing to help the new arrival get used to his new home in the wild.

Natalie Pawelski, CNN, Orange County, Florida.


JORDAN: Well, if you ever wondered what life was like for kids in the past, what about kids around the world, your contemporaries in a different time zone? Well, get ready to travel through history to find out how young people once lived and learned and to see what impact they are having today.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: This week on "Worldview," we look at young people around the world. we focus on your potential and your problems, your dilemma, and your dreams. During our week-long special, we'll explore the issues of children's health and welfare, look at poverty, kids in the workplace, child's rights and education. Our series is called "Youth 2000," and it's all about you.

We kick it off with a look at young people's influence and impact around the globe.

Kathy Nellis has our report.


KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One by one, they're having an impact. You know them from their movies and from their hit songs. They are actors and entertainers, their faces splashed across magazine covers. They are star athletes and newsmakers. Today more than ever, young people are a visible and vital force around the globe.

But it's not only the famous faces that are having an impact. In sheer numbers, the youth of 2000 are a force to reckon with.

(on camera): More than 1 billion young people on Earth are between 15 and 24 years old. Nearly 2 billion others are under 15. Add it up and the numbers are significant. Young people make up about half of the Earth's soaring population.

(voice-over): They influence business, as consumers and as workers. They have a say in politics, for many teenagers can vote. They can serve in the military and die in wars.

Being a kid can be fun or frightening, for kids face enormous challenges and countless problems. Millions are poor and hungry. Others are sick, abandoned, or orphaned. And as the youth population soars, child's rights activists are urging the world to focus on the welfare of youngsters, for the good of the young people and for the survival of society.

JOHN GATES, TASK FORCE FOR CHILD SURVIVAL AND DEVELOPMENT: They are going to be the adults of tomorrow who enable our civilization to succeed or not. And by our civilization I mean a global community.


JORDAN: As we continue our look at "Youth 2000," we head around the world, even into the past. Society's attitudes toward children have changed over the years, and so have young people's roles. And while some things are very different today, it might surprise you that others are not. But don't forget, our world turns on technology and tradition.

Pat Etheridge provides this overview.


PAT ETHERIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Childhood: In some ways, it is now as it always has been, a mix of wonder and joy, hope and despair, suffering and a remarkable resilience. But how did it begin? How much has it changed? And what's it like to be a child then and now?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It's not really hard at all.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It's pretty fun because you get to have lots of toys, too.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It's kind of easy because you have a lot more freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kind of like asking adults what it's like to be an adult: Just living but you're kind of -- I guess you're younger and you're -- you've got more experiences and you've got a while life ahead of you.

ETHERIDGE: That was clearly not the case throughout most of human history. Until about 200 years ago, one in five babies, 20 percent, died in the first year of life; a staggering 50 percent, half of all children born, died before reaching adulthood. That had a huge influence on the way children were raised in the age of hunter gatherers.

MELVIN KONNER, ANTHROPOLOGIST: They wanted to keep as many of their children alive as they could. They desperately wanted those children and they did everything they could to keep them alive.

ETHERIDGE: Melvin Konner is an anthropologist and author of the book "Childhood."

KONNER: They were just very indulgent compared to many more recent societies, nursing till age 3 or 4 years, nursing on demand, sleeping with the child, allowing children to play pretty much freely.

ETHERIDGE: Families spent their nights and days together. Back then, there was a dramatically different concept of time.

KONNER: Pretty much all of their time was free: play time, down time, imagination time, and nobody was trying to control their play, either. That's very important. UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It might have been funner, I don't know, because you can make up your own things, have things your own way. There wasn't any set rules or games.

ETHERIDGE: Little changed in the life of most children for many thousands of years. At the turn of the last millennium, the struggle for survival was still very real during the agricultural age. Disease wiped out entire populations. In the mid-1300s, the Bubonic Plague killed 75 million in Europe alone, many of them children.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You could die because they didn't have any doctors.

LINDA POLLOCK, HISTORIAN: They had lots of ailments from earaches to dissentary to rickets to small pox to boils and worms, things that we could now treat but in the past they couldn't. The children had to suffer till either the infection went away or they died.

ETHERIDGE: There were even during these difficult times children of privilege who were able to make lasting contributions. Consider the accomplishments of a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who, in 1764, composed his first symphony at age 8.

Linda Pollock is a historian who has written extensively on the subject of childhood. She says the major milestones, the most sweeping changes in the lives of children, begin in the industrial age.

POLLOCK: That's when you begin to see the great decrease in child mortality, you see the rise of small pox inoculation. Most people who died from small pox were under the age of 16, so small pox inoculation really protected children.

ETHERIDGE: And for the first time, an emphasis on education for all.

POLLOCK: Compulsory education is very important. It takes the child out of the household and into a different kind of peer group. It increases the role of other people over the upbringing of the child, and it does give children more of an equal opportunity in life if they can get access to the education.

ETHERIDGE: But despite many advances, there were also new forms of abuse.

POLLOCK: For the poor child, life was much worse. You were now working in the factories instead of helping out on the farm, the hours of work were longer, you were no longer supervised by your parents but usually by some factory overseer, and life could be cruel.

ETHERIDGE: Throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, some cultures held on to the concept that children were inherently evil; they had few, if any, rights.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Sometimes there were good times and sometimes there were bad times. They didn't have all the rights that we do now.

DR. ALVIN POUSSAINT, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: For a long time, people felt like inside the family was sacred. You had -- you did not have a right, the government, anyone else, to go beyond that family wall.

ETHERIDGE: Dr. Alvin Poussaint, an educator at Harvard University, says childhood, despite its many challenges, was never meant to be perfect.

POUSSAINT: Let's say a child went through childhood without any conflicts or crises. Would that be perfect? No, because you would want to raise a child to be able to deal with the conflicts and crises and problems that they would be facing in the real world.

ETHERIDGE: The 20th century ushered in better nutrition, sanitation and medical care, including vaccines to prevent disease. But these improvements did not reach the majority of the world's poor, and many still died young.

Time did not stop the chilling atrocities. In 1944, a Jewish girl in hiding at the height of Hitler's reign wrote this entry in her journal, an eloquent expression of a child's will to live:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us all, too. I can feel the sufferings of millions, and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will come right, that this cruelty, too, will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again."

ETHERIDGE: "The Diary of Anne Frank" stands as a poignant, powerful reminder of a child's wisdom, strength and undying optimism.

POUSSAINT: Children, in fact, are going to not only going to carry on the legacies of society, they're going to change them. Children represent the fresh blood that you need to keep society and the world not only going, but also growing and taking us to the next level and next stage.

ETHERIDGE: Today, there are global efforts to protect the rights of children. The United Nations oversees an international treaty established 10 years ago, yet many children struggle still.

CAROL BELLAMY, UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND: Before the Convention on the Rights of the Child, child rights were seen as something optional, a matter of charity. With the convention, there's now an obligation on the state to ensure that all children receive their rights every day. So it means that services like health and education should be made available not only to those most easily reached, but the most difficult to reach.

ETHERIDGE: In modern society, parents worry youngsters value television and toys too highly. But listen to the children answer the question, What's the best thing about being a kid?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I like having a home. It's best having a home and food and clean water to drink.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You get to be with your family a lot and you get to be with your mom and dad a lot, and it's very nice to be with your mom and dad.

ETHERIDGE: Their greatest needs, wants and wishes are noble, universal and timeless.

POLLOCK: We've got a lot of the history of childhood wrong. We assumed it was markedly differently from today. And, in fact, we stress the differences and ignore the similarities.

ETHERIDGE: The wonder of childhood: It is, in many ways, as it was in the beginning.

Pat Etheridge, CNN.


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

JORDAN: With the national Republican convention getting underway in Philadelphia, we take a further look at conventions. We always know who is going to be there, what is going to be discussed, even the order of events. So why are they there at all.

Bill Schneider walks us through the years and the reasons for these political extravaganzas.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): In 1952, almost 50 years ago, was the last time we had conventions where the presidential outcome was in doubt. Republicans picked Dwight Eisenhower over Robert Taft, and the Democrats drafted Adlai Stevenson to run.

Nowadays a convention is like the Electoral College. It confirms the decision of the voters. No one covers the Electoral College. Is there any reason to pay attention to the conventions? Yes. Start with the political parties.

They don't do much anymore except referee the nominating contests and promote the winners. That's where conventions come in. They've become infomercials, except instead of selling hair treatments or stain removers, they're selling a candidate. They have great visuals, lots of color, heart-tugging emotions...


MARY FISHER, AIDS ACTIVIST: We may take refuge in our stereotypes, but we cannot hide there long because HIV asks only one thing of those it attacks: Are you human?

SCHNEIDER: ... and of course, celebrities. ANDREW CARD, GENERAL CO-CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION: Rick Schroeder, known to some of us as Ricky...

SCHNEIDER: Conventions are also an opportunity for the party to market a message. Here in Philadelphia, the message: This is a new Republican Party: tolerant, compassionate and inclusive.

CARD: This is a different kind of convention. We have a very different kind of candidate running for president.

SCHNEIDER: For the candidates, conventions provide their first opportunity to address a national audience and introduce themselves, or reintroduce themselves.

For the voters, conventions are metaphors for who the candidates are and how they would govern. In 1972, the Democratic convention created the impression that the candidate couldn't control his own party. How could he govern the country? The Republican convention that year followed a script. Everything was under control.

In 1988, Vice President George Bush turned the GOP convention into a metaphor for leadership. He stood up for his vice presidential nominee against a howling press mob and delivered a speech that established his own identity.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): Why is the press here? Not to turn their programming over to the parties to run their infomercials. The press is here to give consumers the information they need to make a wise choice, information that may not be in those infomercials. But in the end, the voters will make up their own minds,

Bill Schneider, CNN, Philadelphia.


JORDAN: And they're off and running. Of course, we will have all of the details from the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia all this week, right here on NEWSROOM.

We'll see you back here tomorrow.



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