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NEWSROOM for August 16, 2000Aired August 16, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Thanks for making NEWSROOM part of your Wednesday schedule. I'm Shelley Walcott.
ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: And I'm Andy Jordan.
First up today, efforts to rescue those Russian submariners stranded beneath hundreds of feet of water.
WALCOTT: And politics in the United States. U.S. President Clinton symbolically passes the torch to the new leader of the Democratic Party. Plus, we'll take you to Los Angeles for day two of the Democratic National Convention.
JORDAN: Wednesday means news from our "Business Desk." Today, protecting Americans with disabilities in the workplace. Is the law that's meant to do that living up to expectations?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the harder I work, the less public assistance I get. So, it balances itself out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALCOTT: Then, in "Worldview," a country once dependent on outside sources for energy Looks within its own borders to keep the lights on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Cuba has gone from generating almost none of its own electricity to producing more than half.
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JORDAN: And, in "Chronicle," reliving the Camelot years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America doesn't have royal families, but the Kennedys, back then, came close.
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JORDAN: It's a race against time in the icy Barents Sea, where more than 100 Russian crewmembers are trapped aboard a crippled nuclear submarine.
So far, rescue efforts have been unsuccessful. We'll have more on this story later in the show and, of course, CNN will have continuing coverage on the rescue efforts.
First, we turn to day two of the Democratic National Convention here in the United States.
In California, some of the most recognized Democrats took to the stage in support of presidential candidate Al Gore. Earlier, thousands of miles away, in the state of Michigan, the torch was symbolically passed.
Stepping out from President Clinton's shadow, Vice President Gore accepted the leadership of the Democratic Party while praising Mr. Clinton's economic legacy.
Jonathan Karl has more on this political rite of passage.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than just a hand-off, this joint appearance before an overflowed crowd in Michigan was an effort to give Al Gore credit for what people like about Bill Clinton without tying him to what they don't like. First, the president himself made the pitch.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The things that have happened in the last eight years, the good things, are nothing compared to the good things that can happen in the next eight years.
KARL: Playing to the local crowd, the president said the unemployment rate here in Monroe County, which was at nearly nine percent in 1992, has fallen to just over two percent this year. Gore picked up on the theme, talking about the economic foundation built by the Clinton-Gore administration.
VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The question in this election is whether we are going to erode that foundation, or instead build upon it, whether we are going to turn back toward the old ways of the old guard or move forward with purpose and pride? America's done well. But I tell you, you ain't seen nothing yet.
KARL: Gore rarely mentions President Clinton on the campaign trail these days, but here with the president at his side, he presented his campaign, in part, as an effort to preserve Bill Clinton's economic legacy.
GORE: You know, Bill Clinton worked hard to get this economy right. And I'm pledging to you here today, I am not going to let the other side wreck it and take it away from us.
KARL: At the end of the event, the Clintons walked off, leaving the stage solely to Al and Tipper Gore, illustrating a central goal of today's event, getting the vice president out of the shadow of the president he has served loyally for eight years.
(on camera): From here, Vice President Gore goes to Los Angeles for what he hopes will be a triumphant arrival at the Democratic convention. As he goes, he will be huddled with his top advisers, still making final adjustments to his Thursday acceptance speech.
Jonathan Karl, CNN, Monroe, Michigan.
ANNOUNCER: On day three, of the 1948 Democratic convention, in Philadelphia, Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey demanded the party commit the federal government to protect civil rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR HUBERT HUMPHREY (D), MINNEAPOLIS: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow's of states' rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The passage of the civil rights plank, led many Southern delegates to walk out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we bid you goodbye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: They formed the pro-segregation States' Rights Party, better known as Dixiecrats, hold their own convention and make South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond their presidential nominee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STROM THURMOND, STATES' RIGHTS PARTY PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The American people from one side or the other had better wake up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Thurmond would get two percent of the vote and lose to Harry Truman. Humphrey would win a Senate seat.
JORDAN: Now, one name that will be featured prominently during this convention, as with most any Democratic convention: Kennedy. Later, in "Chronicle," we'll look at the legacy of the Kennedy name in U.S. politics.
RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: In the headlines today, a first attempt to rescue 116 submariners trapped at the bottom of the Barents Sea has failed. Russian navy rescuers tried to lower a bell-shaped capsule to dock with the Russian submarine Kursk. But high waves and strong winds are making this already tricky maneuver even harder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE WILLETT, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INST.: There was the matter of the capsule built into the submarine itself, which would take a limited number of the crew to the surface. I understand, from the position of the submarine, and perhaps directly because of the damage that has been caused the submarine that that is not possible.
The second option is literally to put them out through the escape hatches man by man in special suits. But at that kind of depth it is very debatable as to whether they would actually be able to get out alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAKHTIAR: Russian authorities have refused offers from the United States and Great Britain to send trained rescue personnel and equipment, but they have asked NATO what kind of assistance it could offer.
Russia says the submarine plummeted to the bottom of the sea during a naval exercise over the weekend, when a torpedo exploded near the front of the ship.
WALCOTT: The business world can be one of hustle and bustle. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 sought to make sure that just because someone has a disability, that person wouldn't be deprived of opportunities others without a handicap might have.
The Fair Labor Standards Act of the United States defines a handicapped worker as someone "whose earning or productive capacity is hurt by age, physical or mental deficiency, or injury."
The U.S. Census Bureau says about one in five Americans have some kind of disability and that number is expected to rise as the baby boomer generation, or those born between the mid 1940s and the mid 1960s, ages.
While the number of disabled individuals who are working continues to rise, many disabled individuals are not happy with the quality of their lives.
Don Knapp looks for the answers.
DON KNAPP, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alana Theriault (ph) can't seem to get ahead, not even with her $50 an hour consulting business, and $13 an hour part-time job.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the harder I work, the less public assistance I get. So, there is no way, it balances itself out.
KNAPP: Theriault knows from personal experience why a new Harris survey shows disabled people are less satisfied with their lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have to put in a whole lot more energy, just to get the basics.
KNAPP: Only three of 10 people with disabilities are employed full or part time, according to the study. And they're more likely than people without disabilities to be living in poverty, earning less than $15,000 a year. But there are some encouraging trends.
HUMPHREY TAYLOR, THE HARRIS POLL: When looking only at people who say they are able to work, the percentage of people with disabilities who are working has actually been rising steadily.
KNAPP: More than half who say they can work, are working. And more are graduating from high school, eight of 10, compared with six of 10, 14 years ago.
Often its those with disabilities who force quality of life changes for the disabled. U.S. Senator Max Cleland is a Vietnam veteran and triple amputee.
SEN. MAX CLELAND (D), GEORGIA: When I came to Capitol Hill here, back in 1997, there were some fundamental changes that had to be made in the Senate; one of them was the Senate men's room. I could not get in the Senate men's room.
KNAPP: Cleland used the ladies' room until workers expanded the men's room door.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Rosemary, do you think you can get those faxes out?
KNAPP: Kathi Pugh (ph), a manager at a San Francisco law firm, says the disabilities act has helped, but employers have to do more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, the bathrooms are accessible, the counters are low, you go into the bank and a person with a disability can do their banking now. But, when you look behind the counter, there's no one there with a disability. So, we need to get people in the work place.
KNAPP: Only then, says Pugh, will employers learn what disabled people can do.
Don Knapp, CNN, San Francisco.
JORDAN: We're taking care of business in "Worldview." We'll check out the oil industry as we head to Cuba, the Middle East and beyond. Find out how the Caribbean nation is pumping up its volume, and learn about OPEC, an organization on the brink of its 40th anniversary. We also zero in on guest workers flooding into the United States. We begin our journey in Rome and Vatican City where a religious tradition is gaining youthful new fervor.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): August 15 is one of the holiest days of the Catholic year, and by tradition, one of the quietest days in Italy. But not in Rome, not this year. With waves of young Catholics, hundreds of thousands from more than 160 countries, the city is alive with fresh-faced religious passion.
Pope John Paul II created World Youth Days early in his pontificate to inspire exactly that, but few churchmen could have foreseen back then the proportions this millennium year gathering in the holy city would take on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In everyday life we are alone. Christians are alone. It's a personal religion. But a day like this one is wonderful when we can join together to make party.
BITTERMANN: Feeding, housing, transporting and caring for such a mass of spiritual visitors is no mean feat. It requires millions of meals, hundreds of water outlets, thousands of portable toilets.
Sunday, at a university campus outside Rome, as many as 1 1/2 million faithful may gather for a farewell mass. The city is spending practically $100 for each expected visitor to improve facilities for the six-day event, and not everyone is happy about it.
(on camera): Some Romans have complained that too much public tax money has been spent on the purely religious gathering, arguing that the Vatican lost control of Rome more than a century ago, and that for the most part of the last 100 years, the separation of church and state has been a clearly established doctrine here.
(voice-over): But Rome's mayor dismisses the critics, saying that the money has led to permanent improvements. Still, as John Paul welcomed hundreds of thousands of young people at St. Peter's Square with a colorful ceremony of song and dance, it was hard not to feel that Rome, once again, belonged to the Pope.
Jim Bittermann, CNN, Vatican City.
BAKHTIAR: There's no doubt that the U.S. has one of the hottest job markets in the world, so it's no surprise that some of the best and the brightest from other countries often seek employment in the U.S. To be allowed to work in the U.S., they must apply for a H-1B visa. A visa is an endorsement made on a passport granting entry into a country. An H-1B visa, also known as a work visa, is good for up to six years.
A current law allows U.S. companies to temporarily hire 115,000 workers from other countries this year. Tech companies are asking Congress to raise the cap, claiming they're not able to find enough workers to keep up with the demands of the growing tech industry.
Brooks Jackson picks up the story.
BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): American business just can't get enough of workers like Preeti Patankar.
PREETI PATANKAR, GUEST WORKER: I'm from New Delhi, India and came here to go to school. And I've been working for the last three years as an interior designer.
JACKSON: She's a temporary guest worker holding what's called an H-1B visa, good for up to six years, one of an estimated 420,000 such workers in the U.S. already, workers partly responsible for America's high-tech boom; like Ajay Sravanapuvi, a former guest worker, now a founder of a new U.S. company that's making the Internet talk.
(on camera): This year, 115,000 new H-1B visas can legally be granted, but the Immigration Service stopped taking applications after only six months. The labor market is that tight, the demand that great. So U.S. business wants the annual limit increased dramatically, especially the computer business.
HARRIS MILLER, PRES., INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ASSN. OF AMERICA: We're short approximately 850,000 people with adequate skills. And in a competitive global economy, not having those people means that projects aren't done, opportunities are lost.
JACKSON (voice-over): Critics say business is just being greedy.
DAN STEIN, FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: An H-1B worker is like an indentured servant, kind of a quasi-slave, because he's got to stick with that employer for years if he wants to bring his family here. You get a cheap, exploitable, docile worker who's willing to do whatever you need, any wages and working conditions.
JACKSON: Cheap workers? Not according to Ms. Patankar.
PATANKAR: I don't consider myself cheap, foreign labor because I know that, in the field I'm in, I get paid, from what I know, competitively.
JACKSON: And, in fact, government figures show half of H-1B workers make at least $50,000 a year, well above the median for all U.S. households. More than 41 percent hold advanced degrees, masters or better.
(on camera): The law requires guest workers be paid the same as equally qualified U.S. workers, but that doesn't always happen. Employers sometimes take advantage.
(voice-over): Sravanapuvi says he was not paid equally, at least to start. AJAY SRAVANAPUVI, ENTREPRENEUR: I was just really ticked off that here I was, you know, exceptionally qualified, and why would I have -- I had people working with me who I could run rings around and it did not sit well that I was making less than these guys.
JACKSON: And Patankar felt exploited in her first U.S. job, trapped by red tape.
PATANKAR: I think both of us knew that I'm not really going anywhere anytime soon because it was just -- it was a pain, you know, to get this form filled and do that.
JACKSON: Eventually, though, she did change jobs. Not all H-1s are high-tech. High-fashion models are the highest-paid guest workers. Half make at least $130,000 a year.
But computer workers are by far the largest category, accounting for 54 percent. Architecture and engineering are second, 13 percent. Two out of three fall into those top categories.
And more guest workers come from India than anyplace else, nearly 43 percent. China accounts for 10 percent. No other single country accounts for even 5 percent.
The computer industry says that without more guest workers to fill software jobs here, those jobs will go away; be practically e- mailed overseas.
MILLER: The price of entry to set up a software factory in a foreign country is very low. All you need are the people with the talent and the brains -- and those people do exist -- and a building and a modem connection and you're ready to rock'n'roll.
JACKSON: At least one in five guest workers eventually become permanent U.S. residents. Many, like Sravanapuvi, end up starting their own companies.
SRAVANAPUVI: When I came in here, I could not believe how much opportunity there was, see. And so somebody has to bring that hunger back in to grow the economy, grow the country. And immigrants have that.
JACKSON: He's creating jobs and creating demand for more guest workers.
SRAVANAPUVI: I can't find anybody. Forget about Americans, OK. I cannot find H-1s. I cannot find Americans.
JACKSON (on camera): The guest worker program has become a brain drain in reverse as the U.S. skims off tens of thousands of the brightest and best-educated from overseas.
Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WALCOTT: Higher gasoline prices have been hitting consumers hard in the pocketbook. Prices over $2 per gallon have been common in some places in the U.S. and other countries, sometimes double that. That's where OPEC comes in. OPEC is an abbreviation for Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries.
OPEC consists of 11 member nations who work together to try to increase their revenue from the sale of oil on the world market. Together, they produce about 40 percent of the world's oil supply. Saudi Arabia is the cartel's biggest member and accounts for about one-third of OPEC's production. Officials there say they're ready to pump more oil, but within OPEC that feeling is hardly unanimous.
Jane Arraf reports.
JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A warm good-bye after talks that sent a message OPEC won't open the taps any wider. OPEC President Ali Rodriguez said OPEC members wouldn't heed Saudi Arabia's call for an urgent production increase.
ALI RODRIGUEZ, OPEC PRESIDENT: We have to wait the agreement of the market to see how would be the real situation because there are many factors in this moment.
ARRAF: One of the factors behind calls for increased production is a tight supply of gasoline in the U.S., the world's biggest oil consumer. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest producer, took OPEC by surprise when it suggested it would add half a million barrels to its daily output.
(on camera): OPEC members still seem badly split over whether to pump more oil onto world markets to try to bring down prices. But according to the OPEC president, there's still enough discipline in the organization that no one will increase production unless everyone agrees.
(voice-over): Iraq's oil minister said Rodriguez, who is also Venezuela's oil minister, agreed there's already enough crude oil on the market.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is absolutely no need for extra oil.
ARRAF: The Iraqi minister and many analysts say high gasoline prices have more to do with U.S. environmental regulations and taxes than the supply of crude.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of some measures on gasoline, they are need to import more crude oil to sustain gasoline production from their refineries, and that is their own problem. They could solve it by lowering taxes rather than let all countries of OPEC suffer because of their little problem.
ARRAF: Rodriguez, who spent just four hours in Baghdad, hit the road again, preparing for a summit in September and trying to ease this latest discord within OPEC.
Jane Arraf, CNN, Baghdad.
WALCOTT: The list of OPEC member nations, of course, doesn't include Cuba. In fact, the Caribbean nation known for its cigar exports must import its gasoline supplies. But the country is becoming more and more energy self-sufficient. In fact, it has come a long way since the early 1990s when it was still largely dependent on the former Soviet Union. A nation that once often found itself in the dark is finding new ways to turn on the lights.
Lucia Newman reports.
LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): At a time when most countries are agonizing over the high price of oil, this traditionally energy-starved nation is making major breakthroughs in drilling its own oil and cutting back on costly imports. A decade after opening up its energy sector to overseas investors, Cuba has gone from generating almost none of its own electricity to producing more than half.
EREDIO FUENTES, OIL DRILLING AND EXTRACTION CO. (through translator): At this moment, 55 percent of our electricity is generated from domestic oil and gas. The goal is to reach 70 percent by the end of the year. And by next year we hope to generate 90 percent from Cuban crude and gas.
NEWMAN: Cuba still has to import its gasoline and diesel since its own oil, mainly heavy crude, cannot be refined easily. But by tapping into overseas capital and technology to sharply increase petrol and associated gas reserves, as well as to begin modernizing old Soviet power stations like this one, Cuba is saving millions of badly needed dollars.
Cubans still remember the early and mid-'90s, when they were left practically in the dark after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which provided Cuba with all its oil.
(on camera): Power cuts used to run 17 hours a day. Now, thanks to the modernization program, a national energy saving campaign, and, of course, the oil boom, power outages have been dramatically reduced.
(voice-over): Not that Cuba is immune to the fluctuations of international oil prices.
FUENTES (through translator): Of course, the increase in the price of oil forces us to make more rational use of our hydrocarbons. Not only must we produce more and more cheaply, but also use them more rationally.
NEWMAN: The hope, meanwhile, is to strike oil -- light oil, that is, without which Cuba cannot dream of becoming energy self- sufficient.
Lucia Newman, CNN, Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba.
WALCOTT: "Chronicle" takes us back to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California. As delegates prepare to make Vice President Al Gore their presidential nominee, they're getting pep talks from members of the Kennedy clan, one of the party's most familiar names.
Bruce Morton looks back at the Kennedy legacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1961)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, do solemnly swear...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a long time ago. He would be 83 now if he had lived. And we know better, know about his affairs, remember a South still segregated, a Vietnam War that had just begun to spread. And yet, if Americans are old enough, if we get out the old photo album -- yes, they were the most photographed kids in America -- if we look and remember, we hear again the word for that place and time, the romantic label that wasn't true and yet still lives. We remember Camelot.
And we remember dying, remember John and Caroline at their father's funeral, remember Robert, also murdered five years later, remember Edward Kennedy, the kid brother, whose 1980 presidential campaign failed, un-Kennedy like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1980)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dreams shall never die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: The dream lives. The Kennedys are fewer now: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who raised her children in as close to normal privacy as she could manage; John, whose life ended beneath dark waters just last year.
And now the legacy, in a sense, is Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, her father's last surviving child, herself 42 now, mother of three, a private person who knows that she must sometimes speak.
REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D), RHODE ISLAND: Know my cousin Caroline is so honored to carry her parents' legacy. And you know what? Really, the same battles that her father fought and my father has fought for the last 35 years in the Senate are the battles that remain today.
MORTON: The old struggle, Robert Kennedy used to say, quoting Aeschylus, "to tame the savagery of man and make gentle the life of the world." But we remember not just battles, but the glamour, the style, the charm of them all. Caroline was the one who liked horses, probably more than her father did. America doesn't have royal families, but the Kennedys back then came close. And maybe, then, there was, however briefly, a place called Camelot.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Los Angeles.
WALCOTT: And we'll have more convention coverage tomorrow on NEWSROOM.
JORDAN: We'll see you then. Bye.
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