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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for August 3, 2000

Aired August 3, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: It is the Thursday show. I'm Tom Haynes. Thanks for joining us. Nuclear collisions and political conventions the flash and fanfare in today's show.

Our top story today takes us beyond the Republican convention to key battleground states in the U.S. presidential election: the strategy behind the tough sell.

"Science Desk" looks at why one day life could resemble an episode of "Star Trek" and how.


ANN KELLAN, CNN SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT: This the first successful collision at such high speeds culminates 10 years of planning.


HAYNES: Simulating the process of what scientists call the "Big Bang." What was it? And could it happen again?

Then in "Worldview," the mean streets of Mexico City and the kids bearing the brunt of a battered economy.

"Chronicle" takes us back to the Republican National Convention and a young man on a mission. We'll talk with one of the convention's youngest delegates.

In today's news, an upbeat Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania takes on a more serious tone after a former U.S. president falls ill. Eighty-seven-year-old Gerald Ford was hospitalized yesterday after suffering at least one small stroke. Ford, who was honored this week at the convention, went to the hospital yesterday morning complaining of balance problems, weakness in one arm, and slurred speech. Doctors says he'll be hospitalized for at least five days.

Also yesterday, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush arrived in Philadelphia to cheering crowds. He'll deliver his acceptance speech at the convention tonight. Delegates last night officially nominated Bush as their candidate for president and Dick Cheney as their vice presidential candidate. During his acceptance speech, Cheney outlined the agenda of the GOP ticket, stressing lower taxes and a stronger educational system.

Wolf Blitzer looks at what the Bush-Cheney team will be facing on the road to the November election.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With its 23 electoral votes, Pennsylvania is a state both Bush and Gore will visit extensively. But while Bill Clinton carried the state twice, Pennsylvania politics took a decidedly Republican turn in the '90s. Former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh was a two-term Pennsylvania governor.

RICHARD THORNBURGH (R), FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: It has a Republican governor, two Republican senators, both houses of the state legislature under Republican control. It ought to be a happy hunting ground for George W. Bush.

BLITZER: It's also the state with the third highest percentage of seniors and has one of the largest rural populations in America.

TERRY MADONNA, CTR. FOR POLITICS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, MILLERSVILLE UNIV.: Bush's advantage right now is he's doing very well among blue- collar, working-class voters in the southwestern part of the state. That's the old mining and mill towns inhabited by a lot of union members. They are Catholic, they are pro-life, pro-gun.

BLITZER: Only once in the last 12 elections has Pennsylvania failed to go with the winner in a presidential race. Neighboring New Jersey and its 15 electoral votes is expected to be just as competitive. With a track record similar to Pennsylvania's, picking 11 of the last 12 winners, the Garden State is a political mixed bag.

CLIFF ZUKIN, EAGLETON INST. FOR POLITICS, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: We expect New Jersey to be close. It's usually a battleground state. The state's evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans and has a large number of independent voters.

BLITZER: That translates into a target of opportunity for Bush, who'll need to campaign personally in a state that has no major media markets of its own.

GOV. CHRISTINE WHITMAN (R), NEW JERSEY: You've got to buy in New York City or in Philadelphia, which are the second and forth, I believe, still most expensive media markets in the nation.

BLITZER: Moving west is the state that's been the most important to the fortunes of Republican presidential candidates, Ohio, and its 21 electoral votes. Dating back to Abraham Lincoln, no Republican has won the White House without capturing the Buckeye State. And the state's politics now certainly favor Bush. There is not one Democratic statewide office holder in Ohio.

SEN. GEORGE VOINOVICH (R), OHIO: I must tell you that I think George Bush is going to win the state handily.

BLITZER: Voinovich should know. He's won four statewide races as lieutenant governor, governor and senator. Polls show Bush comfortably ahead in a state where he's trying to expand his base of support.

BILL HERSHEY, "DAYTON DAILY NEWS": Every time he comes to Cleveland or Columbus, he always combines a ritzy fund-raiser with a trip to a Hispanic neighborhood, an African-American neighborhood, a church in a poor neighborhood, trying to showcase his compassionate conservatism.

KENNETH BLACKWELL (R), OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: But in 1992 and 1996, Bill Clinton carried Ohio, so it is not a state that you can take for granted.

BLITZER: Moving north, one of the closest battleground states is likely to be Michigan. With a mix of traditionally Democratic union voters and Republican social conservatives, Michigan and its 18 electoral votes could be among the most critical battleground states. Bush clearly has his work cut out for him. One of John McCain's biggest wins was in Michigan's open primary, but those voters are not flocking to Bush.

ED SARPOLUS, POLLSTER, "DETROIT FREE PRESS": Right now, George Bush is only getting 34 percent of the McCain vote, and a majority of the voters, McCain voters, are going to Al Gore.

BLITZER: It's a constituency that will need a lot of courting by Bush between now and November.

CAROL TOMASI, MICHIGAN MCCAIN SUPPORTER: I think that the Republican Party missed their chances with Senator McCain. He would have gotten the crossover Democrats and he would have very definitely won the election. Right now, I feel sorry for our country. This is what we're left with.

BLITZER: There's also another Republican factor in Michigan, the state's politically active Christian conservatives, but they aren't fully embracing Bush yet either.

MAYOR TOM MCMILLIN (R), AUBURN HILL, MICHIGAN: I think when George W. Bush meets with the homosexual community, there are things -- I hope he doesn't keep doing that kind of thing because social conservatives, a lot of us, want to make sure we can trust the candidate. And if a candidate will stay true on our issues, you know, and not give us a reason to believe that we can't trust him, then we'll get out there and fight hard for him.

BLITZER: In fact, 10 percent of those Christian conservative voters whom Republicans generally count on sat out the 1996 presidential race in Michigan when Bob Dole was the Republican nominee.

The Midwest's biggest prize is Illinois and its 22 electoral votes. RICK PEARSON, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE": It's a mixed state in that you have the city Democrats, which are still a powerful influence, you've got suburban Republicans, and then downstate you've got a mix of Republicans and socially conservative Democrats.

BLITZER: As a counter to the Democratic strength of Chicago, Republicans have owned the governor's mansion for a quarter century, and with it a powerful political machine that Bush could use in November. But so far, Bush has made only two trips to Illinois since he clinched the GOP nomination.

JIM THOMPSON (R), FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: Politics in Illinois is pretty personal as well. People vote for the person, not so much for the party anymore.

BLITZER: Jim Thompson, who served as Illinois governor for 14 years, helped Ronald Reagan and George Bush carry the state in the '80s.

THOMPSON: George W. is a much better natural politician than his father. I always thought his father didn't like politics so much.

BLITZER: North of Illinois, Wisconsin's 11 electoral votes appear very much in play, despite the fact the state voted Democratic the past three elections. It has two Democratic senators but a popularly elected four-term Republican governor who thinks Bush is well-positioned in the state.

GOV. TOMMY THOMPSON (R), WISCONSIN: It's that compassionate conservatism that really resonates with the voters. Be concerned about education, keep the taxes down, help the economy, protect the environment and have a strong law enforcement situation, and we have all of those in Wisconsin.

BLITZER: In the heart of the Midwest, another 11 electoral votes are at stake in Missouri. Only once since 1904 has Missouri failed to pick the winner, 1956, when Dwight Eisenhower lost the state to Adlai Stevenson by 4,000 votes but won re-election anyway.

KEN WARREN, ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY: Missouri is almost a perfect microcosm of the nation as a whole in terms of urban/rural mix, in terms of religious breakdowns, in terms of the proportion of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, and even in terms of racial makeup, in terms of white versus the percentage of minorities in the state of Missouri.

BLITZER: Bush and Gore are running neck-and-neck in the state. But one prominent Missouri Republican thinks voters there will look favorably on the Texas governor's roots.

SEN. JOHN ASHCROFT (R), MISSOURI: They want someone who knows how to buck the system, and George W. Bush has that capacity and demonstrated it in Texas. So he's willing to try new things, and he's not going to be a person who subscribes to Washington's wisdom all the time, but will tap the energy resources and wisdom of the rest of America. BLITZER (on camera): And while all seven of those states and their 121 combined electoral votes are leaning, some very slightly, in the Bush column, it must be remembered Bill Clinton took each of those battleground states twice.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Philadelphia.


HAYNES: Well, we love to throw questions at you here on NEWSROOM, so here are a couple of tough ones. How did the universe begin? What did it look like anyway? Well, scientists hope a new super-collider will give them the answers. The process is based on a physics concept: As things go faster, they gain mass. If atoms travel at close to the speed of light, they become bigger, giving scientists a split second to see what makes them tick.

Ann Kellan has more in our "Science Desk."


KELLAN (voice-over): Scientists think this is the condition of the universe just a fraction of a second after the Big Bang that they say started it all 12 billion years ago.

How did this become all this?

TIM HALLMAN, PHYSICIST, BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LAB: It's understanding how the most basic building blocks of the matter of our world behave.

KELLAN: Researchers at Brookhaven National Lab now have a tool to recreate those Big Bang conditions: the ultimate atom-smashing machine, a super-collider. On a two and a half mile underground track, atoms are sent racing into one another almost at the speed of light. The collision creates energy forces never seen before. This, the first successful collision at such high speeds, culminates 10 years of planning.

HALLMAN: It looked fantastic. And all of a sudden, one of these head-on collisions flashed on the screen and everybody in the control room went, yes, there it is.

KELLAN: About 1,700 superconducting magnets built into the track steer the atoms, supercooled to reduce friction and increase speed. Four different detectors take pictures of the collisions.

JOHN MARBURGER, DIRECTOR, BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LAB: We're really zeroing in on a distant past in the lifetime of the universe.

KELLAN: That's when the universe, scientists suspect, was just a soup of subatomic particles called quarks and gluons.

MARBURGER: And then as the whole universe began to cool, these quarks and gluons condensed out in little droplets of matter, and that's the protons and the neutrons that we're all made of. KELLAN: How did it condense? How long did it take? Scientists hope to have some answers as early as next year. And those answers could lead in the distant future to the manipulation of matter, like we saw in "Star Trek."




KELLAN: Brookhaven's atom smasher cost U.S. taxpayers about $600 million, a small price, say scientists, to better understand how it all began.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Long Island, New York.


HAYNES: We continue our "Worldview" special, "Youth 2000," now turning our attention to poverty and ways you can help, such as donating your time and volunteering at a number of organizations. We'll check out life on the streets in Mexico, Indonesia and Cambodia. And we'll examine the problem of children alone.

First, another look at poverty, a global dilemma.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: There's a big gap between the haves and the have-nots around the globe. The United Nations says 20 percent of the world's population consumes more than 80 percent of all goods and services, and that divide is expected to be even more dramatic over this century.

Kathy Nellis provides a look at the face of poverty.


KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Poverty knows no geographic borders, no age limits, no ethnic boundaries. And while many people believe it's only a problem in developing countries, the third world nations, experts say that's a huge misconception.

JOHN GATES, TASK FORCE FOR CHILD SURVIVAL AND DEVELOPMENT: It's an enormous problem throughout the world, and it's a major problem here in the United States. Significant numbers of youngsters are growing up in poverty.

NELLIS (on camera): While the world's economy has soared over the past 20 years, the number of people living in poverty has grown to 1.2 million people. That's about one in every five people.

(voice-over): And 600 million of those are children.

CHARLES LYONS, PRESIDENT, U.S. FUND FOR UNICEF: As many as half the people in the world are -- that are poor that are in poverty are children. So it's a huge -- it has a disproportionate toll on children and women. And it is a condition that feeds and promotes other negative conditions for children. Poor people have less access to adequate food, poor people have less access to basic social services, including health care, poor people are less prepared -- their children tend to be less prepared to enter school healthy, nourished, capable of learning.

NELLIS: While the problem seems overwhelming, even a little bit of money can make a difference.

LYONS: Iodine deficiency is the leading cause of preventable retardation in the world. The equivalent of a couple of pennies per year is the cost of putting iodine in salt, which we take for granted.

NELLIS: There are plenty of ways for kids to help other kids.


LYONS: Two of the most practical kinds of things, actually, that UNICEF uses to raise money were started by children. Trick or Treat for UNICEF started 50 years ago, in the first year raised $17. Kids started that because they heard what UNICEF did and they wanted to help. Fifty years later, that's raised over $100 million. UNICEF greeting cards, over 53 years, I think, have raised close to $1 billion in revenue. The first UNICEF card was a thank you note from a little girl in Czechoslovakia who had been assisted by UNICEF after World War II.

NELLIS: But these activities are just the beginning. There are many ways to help and many organizations to get involved with.

LYONS: Find the area that you're most interested in. Find the kind of organization that you most want to volunteer for, help raise money for. There are lots of ways. Your creativity and initiative are the only things that will limit you.

NELLIS: Kathy Nellis, CNN.


HAYNES: We turn now to Asia and the country of Cambodia. There are an estimated 600,000 child laborers there. Many of them don't go to school. Still others struggle to do both -- attend school and work. It's not an easy task, which you know all too well if you have a part-time job while you're in school. Just imagine if your pay check was a necessity for survival.

Riz Khan has our report.


RIZ KHAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This rubbish dump in the Cambodian capital is a place that 12-year-old Kim Rakama (ph) visits nearly every day -- not to throw things away, but to comb through the waste to see what she can salvage to sell on the streets.

Kim goes to school in the morning and comes to the dump in the afternoon where she earns a meager reward for her labors. Kim is one of the countless working children in the capital. They clean cars, make bricks, sell vegetables, and even beg for money to help feed their families.

Although there are laws in Cambodia against child labor, they are rarely enforced. The United Nations says the only way to end child labor is to find real employment for the children's parents.

MAR SOPHEA, INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION: We have to talk about the skill training, we have to talk about vocational training for those at-risk children, or to those at-risk families. After that, we can provide them with income, with other alternatives. Then they can -- at least they can start the income-generation activity. Then the income of the family will be increased so they will not send their children to work. Instead of that, they will send their children to school.

KHAN: That sounds like a good plan, and Cambodia's government is renewing its promise to stamp out child abuse, saying violators will face stiff punishment. But it's unlikely these measures will come soon enough for this generation of Cambodian children.

Riz Khan, CNN.


WALCOTT: We move from Cambodia to nearby Indonesia. It contains more than 13,000 islands, but only about 6,000 are inhabited. Indonesia has gone through traumatic and often violent change over the past two years. That's taking a toll on the nation's children.

Maria Ressa has more.


MARIA RESSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In most of Indonesia's cities, including the capital, Jakarta, children are dropping out of school. The cause: an economic crisis that has doubled the number of Indonesians living below the poverty line, 32 million of them children below the age of 15 -- like Firdaus (ph), who now sings for a living on the streets of Jakarta. His parents are scavengers who rely on the 30 cents Firdaus brings home each day.

"I do this to support my family," he says.

Families aren't getting enough to eat. UNICEF says roughly half of all children below 2 are suffering from malnutrition so severe it can cause permanent brain damage.

STEPHEN WOODHOUSE, UNICEF: We have a real danger of Indonesia having a lost generation -- a generation of children that are malnourished, that have not been able to go to school, and they, therefore, won't be able to compete with their counterparts in neighboring countries.

RESSA: UNICEF adds, Indonesia must act quickly to help its children.

(on camera): Aid workers say this government must listen to the cry of the children, pointing out Indonesia's future will depend on the children of today.

Maria Ressa, CNN, Jakarta.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Dealing with problems is a part of life. You probably face different challenges and tasks every week. Maybe you get help from your friends or parents or teachers. But some kids face awful conditions all alone. The U.N. says there are about 100 million children around the world who are orphans.

Margaret Lowrie has their story.


MARGARET LOWRIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Growing up alone, orphaned by what the U.N. calls a "trilogy of tragedy": poverty, AIDS and war. In Afghanistan, it is the legacy of 20-some years of civil conflict.

LOUIS-GEORGES ARSENAULT, UNICEF: Their parents have been killed, sisters and brothers being killed in front of them, they have seen too many shellings, they have seen -- they are witnesses to horrors we don't want to talk about. And it's going to take a long time to be able to support these children into a way that they will be able to have some kind of a normal life.

LOWRIE: A normal life is something denied to more than 100 million children around the world. They are part of the growing-up- alone "epidemic," according to a new report from UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund. The underlying cause, it says, is acute poverty.

CAROL BELLAMY, UNICEF: Well, it's estimated that there are 3 billion people in the world who live on less than $2 a day. Half of those are children, and half of those are living on less than $1 a day. So it affects them in terms of their health status, it affects them in terms of their going to school. Very often, they end up becoming the children that are most exploited.

LOWRIE: In sweatshops or factories, living rough on the streets, displaced in their own countries or refugee in others, some not only orphaned by war, hostage to it as well.

BELLAMY: Three-hundred thousand children already engaged as child soldiers. The children, even when they're not participating as soldiers, are moved or forced from their communities. It has enormous psychological as well as physical impact on children.

LOWRIE: HIV and AIDS also take an enormous toll on childhood, creating a killing field in sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS not only claimed a million children there in 1998, this year the U.N. predicts the number of AIDS orphans will rise to 13 million, not only mother- or fatherless, but often ostracized by their own communities.

(on camera): The U.N. says steps must be taken now to combat these problems, that government and international organizations must help poorer countries invest more in health and education so that growing-up-alone children aren't so alone.

Margaret Lowrie, CNN, London.


HAYNES: Our next stop: Mexico. The government there requires all children to go to school. Of the 90 percent who begin classes, only about half finish elementary school.

But school is only one concern when it comes to Mexico's young people. As Harris Whitbeck explains, many of them are living in poverty.


HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mexico has 30 million children under the age of 20, almost a third of the population; 12 million of them live in conditions of extreme poverty. Children's advocates say not enough is being done to provide them with access to education, health services and jobs.

RAFAEL ENRIQUEZ, UNICEF (through translator): Survive, but survive with quality. That is the main challenge because we are talking about 30 million children in Mexico that are looking for opportunities to improve their life. Survival, but survive well; survive with quality of life.

WHITBECK: The Mexican Congress is debating new legislation that would centralize children's rights services, making them, in theory, more accessible to those who need them.

MARIA DEL CARMEN MORENO, CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES MEMBER (through translator): We as adults have not been responsible enough. We haven't loved them or educated them. That's why we need to improve programs and toughen sanctions for those who abuse children.

WHITBECK: But advocates say until Mexico's economy offers more opportunities to the country's poorest, those at the bottom of the economic and social food chain will still be its youngest citizens.

Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Mexico City.


HAYNES: We continue our look at "Democracy in America" in today's "Chronicle" segment. Yesterday we told you about young people holding a convention of their own in conjunction with the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Well, today we head back to Philly and hook up with a teenager who's making politics his passion very early in life.

NEWSROOM's Mike McManus reports.


CORY MILLER, AGE 18: The power of the parties is in the youth.

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 18-year-old Cory Miller, politics is a passion.

MILLER: Just the experience and the determination of the Republican Party got me involved with -- in politics.

MCMANUS: Cory is one of the youngest delegates at this year's Republican National Convention. He's come to Philadelphia from Missoula, Montana where he's already a very popular community member.

MILLER: I found out that I had an open legislative seat in my district and decided to run for it. And I put together a good campaign.

MCMANUS: He lost the election but scored 27 percent of the vote, proving to many he was serious about pushing political issues.

MILLER: I want to be in charge of the stuff that's going to happen to me. And people my age don't get a voice very often. They aren't -- they have a fear that they don't think that they're going to be recognized.

MCMANUS: Cory thinks involvement in politics should begin early. On his agenda at this year's convention, education.

MILLER: One thing we need to do is promote the infrastructure in our education system or we're going to be left behind, and it's not going to take very long to do that.

MCMANUS: An issue at the top of Governor Bush's list as well.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm passionate about making sure that every single child in America gets a first-rate education, because there are no second-rate children in this country as far as we're concerned.

MCMANUS: By getting involved in the political system now, Cory wants to plant the seed for a possible career in law-making.

MILLER: Politics are definitely going to be in my future. I don't know to what extent, but I'll probably be working on a campaign or helping out with the local senator or representative in Washington, D.C.

MCMANUS (on camera): Cory's mission is to spread his passion in politics to other young people, hoping to do his part in reintroducing the country's young to a political system very old and historic.

Michael McManus, CNN, at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.


HAYNES: All right, good for Cory.

We got to get out of here. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Take care.



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