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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for August 23, 2000

Aired August 23, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: It's Wednesday. And that means we're taking care of business here on NEWSROOM. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: And I'm Andy Jordan.

We're weaving our way around the World Wide Web today. Here's our itinerary.

BAKHTIAR: In today's top story, how Internet ready is the world?


BRUCE MCCONNELL, MCCONNELL INTERNATIONAL: We are concerned that the technology-led growth of the global economy is at risk unless countries take prompt action.


JORDAN: And just how fast is India traveling on the information superhighway?


DEWANG MEHTA, LOBBYIST: There should be a constitutional right that every citizen should get two MBPs of bandwidth, and this is the vision we have for the next five years.


BAKHTIAR: "Business Desk" examines the legal implications of music sharing on the net. What's next for Napster?


JERRY CASALE, DEVO: It's the Medusa head with multiple arms coming at you. You fix that problem and new technology is over here to take over.


JORDAN: Our survey of the global financial landscape takes us to Russia, where we sample a new twist on an old favorite.


SERGEI BELOV, NOVOE PETROVSKOE CHICKEN FACTORY (through translator): This kind of caviar is the product of the future. It has no chemical ingredients, it's made of all the same things you get in fish, except everything here comes from chickens.


BAKHTIAR: Finally, we "Chronicle" the rough and tumble business of fighting the devastating wildfires in the Western United States.

We tackle an issue today commanding relevance around the world: the cyber revolution. A report on the subject raised questions yesterday about whether many parts of the world are ready for such a revolution. Its conclusion: not exactly.

The Internet is a relatively new phenomenon, but its growth is exponential, especially in the United States. We can trace its origins to the U.S. Defense Department.

In 1969, it created a computer network to facilitate communication between research scientists. Little did the department know that, in less than 30 years, its initial concept would become a network linking tens of millions of people around the world; a network which has also transformed the face of the world economy.

But is the world keeping up with this rapid rate of transformation? Jeanne Meserve reports.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They say the Internet has changed the world: not all the world, not yet.


MESERVE: A new study ranks the e-readiness of 42 developing countries, comprising nearly three-quarters of the world's population. The findings affect us all.

BRUCE MCCONNELL, MCCONNELL INTERNATIONAL: We are concerned that technology-led growth of the global economy is at risk unless countries take prompt action.

MESERVE: Countries were ranked on five criteria, including connectivity, the cost and accessibility of Internet networks, the skills and efficiency of the work force, their legal protections for Internet commerce, and government commitment to e-business. Not one country got top ratings in all five areas, although Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, South Korea and Taiwan did best. Russia, Egypt, Ghana, and Ecuador did very poorly. But at the bottom of the rankings, with failing grades in every category: Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Pakistan. AARON LUKAS, CATO INSTITUTE: It's simply stating the obvious. It says that poor countries have less information technology than rich countries.

MESERVE: And the obstacles to overcoming this so-called "global digital divide" are huge.

CARLOS PRIMO BRAGA, WORLD BANK: It has become almost conventional wisdom to say that the Internet impacts everything. The reality, however, is that 42 percent of the population above 15 years of age have never made a phone call.

MESERVE (on camera): The report urges government and industry to invest in technology education, to encourage competition in their telecommunications industries, and to pass cyber laws. But the authors admit there is not checklist of actions a country can take to guarantee it will be a global e-player.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


JORDAN: The report points to at least one emerging software superpower with some catching up to do. While India has gained international attention for trying to get up to speed in this information age, the country's e-commerce is still hitting major speedbumps.

Satinder Bindra reports.


SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Breaking new ground. These engineers are laying hundreds of miles of fiber-optic cable to increase Internet traffic in India. Over the past few years, India has grabbed international attention for its strides in information technology, mainly its software exports, which are growing 50 percent a year.

Now a report by a Washington-based consulting group says the country has a long way to go before it becomes a major player in the global digital economy. The report says connectivity, or the ability to quickly get on the Net, is a major problem in India.

PRAN MEHRA, INTERNET SURFER: Downloading takes a long time. For me to watch video clips, or even movies, or have chats on the telephone becomes almost impossible here.

S. BINDRA: Web users complain it sometimes takes 10 minutes just to get into their e-mail. Even the industry's main lobby groups says India software exports will suffer if the government fails to increase the speed of Net communications, also known as bandwidth.

DEWANG MEHTA, LOBBYIST: There should be a constitutional right that every citizen should get two MBPs of bandwidth, and this is the vision we have for the next five years. S. BINDRA: Realizing the country's information technology boom itself may be at risk, India has just abolished a state company's monopoly of undersea cables, which increase Net speed. Now, even private Internet service providers are being encouraged to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to set up a national Internet backbone.

India has also become only the 12th country in the world to set up a regulatory framework, or cyber laws, for the industry.

Even with these recent changes, the report on the readiness of countries to be competitive in the new global economy says India must provide better infrastructure and an e-business climate.

The report also says India needs to increase competition, shore up information security and encourage broader participation in its e- economy.

Each year India graduates 75,000 information technology specialists,a talent pool Indians consider to be among the finest in the world. Dozens of Indian qualified software engineers are now Silicon Valley millionaires. Stories of their success have fanned national pride across India, but the digital divide here continues to grow as a majority of Indians still can't afford or have no access to computers.

MEHTA: The whole country has 4.3 million PCs, which is half the population in New York alone.

S. BINDRA: With so few computers and only 19 percent of surfers owning credit cards, the country's e-economy is still playing catch up with the Western world.

G.P.S. BINDRA, FIRSTANDSECOND.COM: The biggest problem in India is the most Net savvy people happen to be students, happen to be people between 18 to 24 years of age, and those are the people who do not possess a credit card.

S. BINDRA: This bookselling e-company manages by giving its customers the option of using either credit cards or checks. Such companies say they are confident about India's e-future. They point to studies which predict India's 3 million Net users will jump to 100 million in eight years.

(on camera): The Internet in India will soon be available on cable, and with 32 million cable connections, the third-largest in the world, the optimists here say it's still possible for India to latch on to the Internet revolution and leapfrog into the future.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, New Delhi.


BAKHTIAR: So far, we've talked about how prepared countries are for the emerging e-economy. But how about the business world? Much as VCRs and CD players created ripples in the entertainment industry, an emerging technology on the Internet is irritating the recording industry.

The music-sharing Internet service Napster is battling to stay viable in the midst of a lawsuit filed by the recording industry. It says Napster is compromising its financial livelihood by offering music that people would ordinarily pay for.

As Napster makes its case in the legal world, similar programs that perform the same and even more functions are not waiting for a court decision.

Paul Vercammen has the story.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The latest move in the legal chess game between the recording industry and Napster is in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Internet music sharing service filed a brief Friday asking a lower court injunction against Napster be reversed.

While the fate of the case is up in the air, trading technology keeps charting new ground.

JACK VALENTI, PRESIDENT, MPAA: is Napster with movies.

VERCAMMEN: Scour is the latest target of the entertainment industry's legal guns, who are now suing the company. Scour offers a free program that not only facilitates the trading of music, but also images and movie files.

VALENTI: I've been on the Web site. I typed in "The Perfect Storm" and "Gladiator" and "Mission: Impossible 2," and guess what? Then I'm led to a number of places where I can literally call it down.

VERCAMMEN: But downloading movies on the Internet requires much more time, effort and technology than simply swapping music.

BEN BERKOWITZ, INSIDE.COM: It's really not something that's happening by and large. It's out there, people are doing it, but they're not really doing it to do it on a regular basis. They're doing it just to see that it can be done.

TRAVIS KALANICK, V.P. STRATEGY, SCOUR.COM: We spent four months doing the legal research and analysis. You know, the application complies with all DMCA regulations and all other applicable laws. It has several non-infringing uses, so it's definitely a legal application.

VERCAMMEN: Still, musicians are concerned.

THE EDGE, GUITARIST, U2: If they think Napster's bad, I can tell you there's a lot worse coming. You know, the software that is, you know, that is untraceable just around the corner. So Napster is, you know, is nothing compared to what's about to happen. VERCAMMEN: Sites Cute MX, Gnutella and i-Mesh offer file exchanges. The-soon-to-come Freenet will offer completely anonymous and untraceable file trading.

JERRY CASALE, DEVO: It's the Medusa head with just multiple arms coming at you. You fix that problem and new technology is over here to take over. That's why there has to be an overall philosophical and legal understanding about, well, then, how does an artist get paid for what they do?

VERCAMMEN: Questions over entertainment content and online distribution are now moving from the court of public opinion to federal court. The answers are still out there, somewhere, between the judge's bench and cyberspace.

Paul Vercammen, CNN Entertainment News, Hollywood.


JORDAN: In the past, we've looked at how some kids your age invest their money in the stock market. Today we want to bring up a different kind of investment -- one that doesn't involve money directly. We're talking about collectibles -- stuff like baseball cards and comic books.

A collectible is an item which has value due to its rarity and desirability. The bottom line is, if something has worth, a use or is desirable to someone, it's valuable to that person. From sports trading cards to political buttons, collectibles are hot commodities, especially in good economic times when people have more money to spend.

Valerie Morris looks at how some comic book collectors are cashing in.


VALERIE MORRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Comic books: We read them as kids, and many collect them as adults. And now, some of those "Batman," "Superman" and "X-Men" comic books could be worth a lot of money.

If you were lucky enough to buy an "Amazing Spiderman" No. 1 comic book in 1962 for 12 cents and kept it in good condition, that book would now be worth $6,000 or more, according to "Wizard" magazine pricing guide.

GAREB SHAMUS, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, WIZARDWORLD.COM: A lot of the comics that could be in peoples' basements could be very valuable, anywhere from hundreds of dollars, even to hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially depending on condition, because if books are in high grade there's really a lot of demand for them, especially today.

MORRIS: Most collectors do it the old-fashioned way: trading at conventions and dealers. But online auction houses like eBay make it easier and more lucrative for collectors to buy and sell. STEVE PASSARELLI, OWNER, ACTION COMICS: The good thing, of course, is that people all over the world can see what you have, and you can't beat that, that's for sure. I'm certainly pro-Internet. I think it's a great thing.

MORRIS: Movies such as the "X-Men" create a lot of buzz in the comic world, and that could help your collection.

SHAMUS: So you take a look at the "X-Men" movie, all of a sudden the Sabertooth character became such a big deal that his book was selling for under a 100 bucks, and now, in high grade, it's anywhere from 300 to 500 bucks.

MORRIS: Just like the stock market, buy 'em and hold 'em. In the long run, you may be able to cash in a fortune.

I'm Valerie Morris, CNN Financial News, New York.


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: Time now for a spin around the globe in "Worldview." Our stories take us to North America, Africa and Europe. We examine a fishy business in Russia, and we'll meet a model from Nigeria turning heads and heading for the big time. But first we begin in the United States with the story of some Native Americans.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Their numbers are dwindling. Two centuries ago, the Miwok Indians flourished in northern California until they were forced to work for Spanish settlers. Later, many were killed by the U.S. Army in a series of massacres in the 1850s. Today, only about 3,400 are left, many without land and, thanks to the U.S. government, identity.

But that may be changing. As Rusty Dornin reports, new legislation may help restore Miwok heritage and right past wrongs.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They lived in houses made of redwood bark, and hunted and fished the coastal areas of northern California for more than 500 years. Then came the Spanish and the U.S. settlers, and most of the coast Miwok culture was wiped along with those of other California Indians.

In 1958, Congress told the Miwoks and 37 other California tribes they weren't tribes anymore. That meant they were denied all federal benefits given to other Native Americans.

GREG SARRIS, TRIBAL CHAIRMAN: Because we were terminated, we weren't Indians, we weren't eligible for any of those things. So if my children wanted to go to college and apply for a BIA scholarship, we're not Indians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the last gathering...

DORNIN: The descendants of the Miwoks, calling themselves the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria, now want recognition. But unlike many tribes, they've promised no casinos, no gambling.

SARRIS: I think the anti-gaming clause shows people, hey, these Indians aren't doing it for the money.

DORNIN: That got the attention of Congress and the House approved restoration of their tribal status.

REP. LYNN WOOLSEY (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, first of all, we've righted a many-years wrong that should never have happened to them in the first place.

DORNIN: If the Senate approves, the tribe will get health, education and economic benefits and begin to re-establish their culture, like lessons in the Miwok language, which has all but disappeared. And there are hopes for a small tract of land, a reservation.

GENE BUVELOT, TRIBAL VICE CHAIRMAN: One of our most important needs is a cultural center to be set up, because we have so many items that have been lost in the past. They're in families now, they're put in museums, they've been stolen.

DORNIN: For Brianne Ross (ph), it means her daughter will have a sense of identity she never had.

BRIANNE ROSS, TRIBAL MEMBER: Because that's what we are, you know, and for her to learn is special.

SARRIS: It looks like, at this point, folks, that when we have our annual dinner in November, we will be a restored tribe.

DORNIN: And restoration of more than just a name.

DUDA BROWN, TRIBAL MEMBER: I tell everyone now, you know, I'm Miwok and I'm proud of it, you know.

DORNIN: Rusty Dornin, CNN, Forestville, California.


BAKHTIAR: Now to the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria. Located on the west coast of the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria lies between Benin and Cameroon. Its staggering population of nearly 130 million people live both in modern, crowded cities and in rural areas. Nigeria's economy is based on agriculture and mining. The country is a leading producer of several crops, including cacao and peanuts.

But that's not all. It has recently produced one of New York's top young models, whom you may know as Oluchi. Her face has changed the face of the Western modeling scene, serving as a model for other aspiring African talent.

Here's Stacey Wilkins with a look at Oluchi and the path that led her to the runway.


STACEY WILKINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Oluchi is making it big. The 19-year-old Nigerian has come a long way from when she was simply Oluchi Onweagba, selling bread on the streets of Lagos. She sums up her success in one word:


WILKINS: Oluchi got her start three years ago when she won the first MNET Face of Africa model search. But it took more than beauty to help her win the top prize.

JAN MALAN, MNET FACE OF AFRICA: We choose Oluchi because we found that, from all the girls that entered the competition, she had the most incredible personality.

WILKINS: Oluchi now calls New York home. The regal 6'1" model was already landing work just days after arriving in the United States.

ONWEAGBA: Two years ago, I was a student in high school, you know. I never thought, I'm going to take a plane and leave Lagos and leave my mom, my dad and make it to South Africa and go to New York. It all happened all of a sudden, you know.

WILKINS: Oluchi's look caught the attention of Rebecca Moses. The American designer's sketches for the fall 2000 collection feature the majestic Nigerian model.

REBECCA MOSES, FASHION DESIGNER: And I love her very elongated kind of Modigliani kind of proportion. I love the shape of her head. I love the proportion of her body.

WILKINS: Oluchi's catwalk style has been compared to her idol, Naomi Campbell.

Oluchi says she couldn't have climbed to the top without her family. Whenever she gets time off, she hops a plane to Africa.

ONWEAGBA: I go home when I'm on vacation, like Christmas and stuff, Easter, you know, once I call my parents and...

WILKINS: She also takes time out to help other African models.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oluchi is like a role model to Nigerian aspiring models. ONWEAGBA: You don't have to have a blue eye and a blond hair for you to be beautiful.

WILKINS: One woman changing the face of beauty for women on the African continent.

Stacey Wilkins, CNN, Atlanta.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Russia, known officially as the Russian Federation, is the world's largest country in terms of its size. It stretches over a vast expanse of eastern Europe and northern Asia. The capital of the Russian Federation is Moscow, which was also the capital of the of the former Soviet Union. The Soviet Union found its communist roots decades ago after the Russian Revolution of 1917. When the Soviet era ended in 1991, Russia joined with other former Soviet republics in forming the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Russia is still struggling to fully realize economic prosperity under democratic, free-market conditions. Newly elected Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to facilitate his country's economic success by building confidence with new investors.

Today, our report focuses on the success of one Russian product in high demand around the world. The export of black caviar -- yes, fish eggs -- has always been big business in Moscow. Now, gourmets around the world may find themselves forking out far more for their favorite Russian delicacy in the future. Illegal fishing and pollution have reduced the catch.

But as Matthew Chance reports, there may be an alternative to fish eggs on the menu.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A vast chicken farm in the Russian town of Novoe Petrovskoe, tens of thousands of chickens laying millions of eggs. It doesn`t look like a solution to a global shortage of refined black caviar.

But these are no ordinary chickens and their eggs are already being used to make an abundant and inexpensive alternative to the most traditional of Russian delicacies.

SERGEI BELOV, NOVOE PETROVSKOE CHICKEN FACTORY (through translator): This kind of caviar is the product of the future. It has no chemical ingredients. It`s made of all the same things you get in fish, except everything here comes from chickens.

CHANCE: Russian food scientists developed the recipe: a mixture of chicken eggs, oil and fish essence. A thick blend of iodine and black tea gives this chicken caviar an authentic-looking color. The whole bucket is then poured into a high-tech deep fryer, specially adapted for the process of caviar cooking. Tiny droplets of the black, eggy mixture are dripped into the boiling oil. The thousands of glistening black balls that come out are caviar replicas and a source of pride for the factory owners. They`re optimistic they`ve hit on a revolutionary and winning idea.

BELOV (through translator): We dream about a time when people will be eating our caviar in every restaurant, in every supermarket, not just in Russia, but all over the world.

CHANCE: The caviar is packed for sale at less than $10 a kilo, or 2.2 pounds. That`s about $1,500 less than the real Russian delicacy on the international market.

(on camera): So, after a process that lasts just a couple of hours, this is how it all ends up -- in jars marked "classic," "snack," and "delicatessen" caviar, which, to my eyes at least, looks just like the real thing.

(voice over): Matthew Chance, CNN, Novoe Petrovskoe, Russia.


JORDAN: It's one of the most devastating fire seasons in the United States in 50 years. Wildfires are raging out of control in a handful of western states. In the state of Montana, more than 600,000 acres have been blackened. To battle the fires, Montana has enlisted help from around the country, from retired firefighters to a high school senior.

Eric Philips is in Darby for the story. Before we go to him, we thought we'd give you a first-hand look at the front line.


ERIC PHILIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With so many acres on fire here in the Bitterroot National Forest, manpower is stretched.

RUSSELL MACDONALD, FIREFIGHTER: There are 180-some-thousand acres and only 16 crews, so we could easily use another 100 crews.

PHILIPS: Already, crews of all stripes are here, from the U.S. Forestry Service to local departments. Retired firefighters were called back into service. And college students make up one-third of those fighting wildfires in the western U.S. But the youngest member in the crew here in Darby is Andy Clark, who is going into his senior year of high school. He celebrated his 18th birthday two weeks ago on the line.

ANDY CLARK, FIREFIGHTER: Yes, you're just treated like everybody else. They don't really treat you like you're a kid or anything. They -- we're all firemen all out here to do the same job, so they all treat you that way.

PHILIPS: To add to manpower, the National Guard is stationed throughout Montana to limit access on dangerous roads and to help with evacuations. More military personnel are on the way. (on camera): Marines from Camp Lejeune and soldiers from Fort Campbell are expected to arrive here later this week. Also helping in the firefighting effort are international firefighters, including those from Australia and Canada.

In Darby, Montana, I am Eric Philips, CNN.


BAKHTIAR: How about that 18-year-old? He's a hero.

JORDAN: Yes, more power to him. Hope they get those fires out soon.

We'll see you back here tomorrow, though.

BAKHTIAR: Thanks a lot. Bye.




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