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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for September 5, 2000

Aired September 5, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Hi, everyone. Welcome to NEWSROOM. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. Today we have news of politics, education and health.

BAKHTIAR: Here's the rundown.

WALCOTT: Topping our agenda, the presidential campaign kicks into high gear in the United States as time winds down in campaign 2000. We find out if your head aches in "Health Desk."


HOLLY FIRFER, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: According to the National Headache Foundation, $4 billion a year are spent on relieving head pain with over-the-counter medications.


WALCOTT: Then "Worldview" visits Hong Kong to examine the issue of academic freedom.


JOSEPH CHENG, CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Even university presidents, senior academics are being too eager to please the authorities, and, of course, implying inadequate concern, inadequate respect for the protection of freedom of expression and academic freedoms in general.


BAKHTIAR: Finally, we make our way back to the United States to "Chronicle" diversity in education.


WILMA HOLMES, PRINCIPAL: Flower Valley is a cosmopolitan school. It is also a microcosm of what society is all about.


WALCOTT: Today's top story takes us on the presidential campaign trail in the United States, where the candidates used Labor Day holiday to shift the campaigns into high gear. Democratic nominee Al Gore spent part of a 27-hour, four-state marathon campaign swing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania talking about workers' rights.

Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush, meantime, hit the streets of Naperville, Illinois, where he took time out to push his tax cut proposal.

The candidates also weighed in on their plans to start debating each other on TV. Bush says he'll agree to three debates with Gore. Only one would be organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Both candidates are jockeying for the most advantageous debate format, and with good reason.

Frank Sesno reports on the high stakes involved in political debates.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The candidates need no introduction.


SESNO (voice-over): Since the famous Kennedy-Nixon face-off of 1960, every presidential debate has been widely carried by the major networks. And despite some innovations, all have followed a more or less traditional debate format of question, answer, rebuttal.

With his two talk show proposal, George W. Bush is trying to break the mold. Why? For one, aides say, the loose, less-formal set up more closely fits the times, and the format worked well for Bush in the primaries.




BUSH: This that ended up in a man's windshield yesterday...

MCCAIN: Yes, I did.

BUSH: ... that questions my -- this is an attack piece.

MCCAIN: That is not by my campaign.

BUSH: Well, it says "paid for by John McCain."

(END VIDEO CLIP) SESNO: That exchange was watched by nearly half of South Carolina's GOP primary voters. Bush won the state.

Al Gore's best primary debate: a more traditional forum in New Hampshire.


VICE PRES. AL GORE, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The way you've been talking, I just don't see how you can vote for Ronald Reagan's budget cuts and then try to campaign like Robert Kennedy.


SESNO: Gore won New Hampshire and never looked back.

But to say that Bush does best in talk shows and Gore behind the podium is an overstatement. In 1994, Bush was behind a podium and neatly deflected Governor Ann Richards' charge that he lacked public- sector experience.


BUSH: I proudly proclaim I've never held office. I have been in the business world all my adult life. I have met a payroll. I know what it means to risk capital.


SESNO: And Gore's best debating moment may have been on a talk show: The 1993 NAFTA debate with Ross Perot helped cement the vice president's reputation as a quick-thinking, tough debater.


GORE: How would you change it? How would you change it?

ROSS PEROT (REF.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Very simply. I would go back and study, first, look at this, it doesn't work.

GORE: Well, what specific changes would you make in it?


SESNO: Beyond format, there's the issue of exposure. Gore's campaign, believing he is the superior debater, wants three full 90- minute debates. They like the structure and the fact that all would be carried on the major cable and broadcast networks.

The potential audience is huge: 97 million people tuned in to watch the last of the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates, back in 1992.

(on camera): And while Bush says all networks will be free to carry his proposed "LARRY KING LIVE" and "Meet the Press" debates, in reality, rival news organizations may not do so, and that could dramatically reduce the number of potential viewers. Frank Sesno, CNN, Washington.


BAKHTIAR: Well, there's no doubt that the party conventions can play a key role in launching the presidential candidates. Right before the conventions, Bush led Gore by around 8 points at the polls. But Gore got more of a bounce from the Democratic convention, and now polls are putting the candidates neck and neck in the race for the White House.

But the role of the convention has changed. There was a time when conventions carried a measure of suspense.

Mark Leff takes us through the evolution of the convention.


MARK LEFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The only convention George Washington attended was the Constitutional Convention in 1787. In fact, he ran it. The document it produced says nothing about political parties. A lot of 18th century American politicians didn't like them.

But within a few years, party caucuses in the Congress and state legislatures were nominating presidential candidates. Conventions didn't begin until Andrew Jackson was president. Jackson belonged to the Freemasons Fraternity, a somewhat secretive organization that still includes men of power and influence.

In September 1831, a small party that opposed Freemasonry organized the country's first national political convention, in Baltimore, to state its principles in what would become known as a platform, and to pick its candidates. The delegates chose former U.S. Attorney General William Wirt to run for president. He happened to be a Freemason himself and didn't really want the nomination.

President Jackson knew the Democratic Party would re-nominate him, but he organized a convention, also in Baltimore, to make sure Martin Van Buren would be his running mate. Delegates also decided nominees needed a two-thirds majority. That rule lasted for more than a century and made for some big fights and long Democratic Party conventions.

In 1856, the newly formed antislavery Republican Party held its first national convention in Philadelphia. Abraham Lincoln tried for the vice presidential nomination and lost. Four years later, when Lincoln ran for president and won, the Democratic Party convention split over slavery. Delegates needed three months and two cities to hammer out a platform and a ticket.

Throughout the 19th century, a photo opportunity meant a picture in a newspaper or a magazine. But at the beginning of the twentieth century, motion pictures began to catch on. And in June 1904, Oregon held a statewide referendum, the nation's first. Voters decided they should pick party candidates in primary elections, the beginning of a trend.

Still the real action at the 1920 Republican convention was a midnight meeting in a legendary smoke-filled hotel room. Party leaders worked their way through eleven presidential hopefuls and compromised on Warren Harding, who won the general election.

The growth of primaries meant some convention delegations had to follow their state voters' wishes, at least on the first nominating ballot. That didn't guarantee a quick victory.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Franklin Delano Roosevelt of New York!


LEFF: In 1932, New York's governor needed four ballots to win a two-thirds majority and became the first nominee to accept in person.


GOV. FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people.


LEFF: By 1932, most of the American people could hear Roosevelt speaking live. Radio had begun covering political conventions in 1924, the year the Democratic Party convention went a record 17 days and 103 ballots.

In 1952, when national television arrived, the conventions had all the suspense of "Survivor." Lots of Republican delegates backed Sen. Bob Taft of Ohio. But when it was over, more liked Ike, and war hero Dwight Eisenhower was the nominee.

The 1952 Democratic convention began with nobody knowing who the nominee would be. People called Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson a "dark horse," but he would cross the party finish line first and lose to Eisenhower. Stevenson was the last presidential nominee of either party who needed more than one convention ballot to win.

About the only suspense in 1964 was President Lyndon Johnson's running mate.


LYNDON JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My trusted colleague, Sen. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota!


LEFF: Four years later, at the convention that made Humphrey the presidential nominee, delegates inside and demonstrators outside reflected the country's division over the war in Vietnam. Suspense and surprise are mostly gone from conventions now, but millions of people can still watch political leaders deliver the kinds of speeches most Americans hear only on Sundays.


SEN. BARRY GOLDWATER (R), ARIZONA: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.



SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.



REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: And you hold on and hold out. We must never surrender. America will get better and better.


LEFF: There were plenty of speeches this year, too.


BUSH: We must give our children a spirit of moral courage because their character is our destiny.


LEFF: But very few teenagers tuned in to see the major parties present their platforms and people to the voters.


GORE: So to the young people watching tonight, I say this is your time to make new the life of our world. We need your help.


LEFF: And if 16-year-old Albert Gore III didn't have a famous father, who may be president in January, and 14-year-old Pierce Bush didn't have a famous uncle who may be president in January, they might not have bothered to watch either.

But consider this: If you are Pierce's age, or older, your vote in 2004 will help determine whether this year's candidates get another chance, and the next conventions may help you decide.


WALCOTT: Headaches are an annoying part of life. They're unexpected and sometimes really painful. There are many types of headaches: tension headaches, migraines and sinus headaches, to name a few.

Any number of things can cause them. They can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. But some require the attention of a doctor.

Holly Firfer has more in today's "Health Desk."


FIRFER (voice-over): Feel his pain? Forty-five million of you do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's real sharp pains. Sometimes it goes down the neck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes it's really hard right over the front of my forehead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just really a pounding headache, hurts above my eyes.

FIRFER: According to the National Headache Foundation, $4 billion a year are spent on relieving head pain with over-the-counter medications. But to treat your headache properly, you first have to know the cause.

DR. SARAH DEROSSETT, NEUROLOGIST: Ninety percent of those are either migraine-type headaches or tension-type headaches.

FIRFER: If the pain is dull or pressing on both sides of the head, it's probably a tension or stress headache. It may be triggered by tightening of the head and neck muscles. Ibuprofen and aspirin, even ice packs, will reduce inflammation from head and neck strain. Massage and relaxation exercises will also do the trick.

If the pain is intense, throbs on one side of the head and you're sensitive to light and sound, you may have a vascular headache. The blood vessels have dilated in the brain. Certain foods like cheese, chocolate, red wine and foods with nitrates, such as sausage, and yeast in some breads, are triggers, as are bright or strobing lights, lack of sleep, missing meals, even watching TV.

Another trigger: hormonal fluctuation. That's why 77 percent of all migraine sufferers are women.

Regular exercise and sleep may work, as well as over-the-counter medications. Heat packs may increase blood flow, herbal alternatives, magnesium and riboflavin, have also been proven to relieve pain.

To figure out the best treatment, find what triggers your headache.

DEROSSETT: Make a note when you have a headache attack of what things occurred in the immediate day or so leading up to the headache attack.

FIRFER: If any headache persists, see a doctor.

(on camera): Doctors warn not to take over-the-counter pain medications for headaches more than twice a week, or else you run the risk of suffering from rebound headaches, for which there is no relief.

Holly Firfer, CNN, Atlanta.


BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview," we head around the globe to look at an important natural resource. It's something you use everyday, something that makes up most of your body, and something that makes up a major chunk of our planet. We'll tell you all about that in a minute. We'll also travel to Myanmar to meet some kids involved in a brutal battle. They're actually leading a special army.

But first to Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China. It was transferred from British to Chinese rule in 1997. It runs under the principle of one country, two systems, so it has a high degree of self-rule. Voters head to the polls to choose a new legislature in just days, but a matter of free speech is causing concerns.

It has to do with politics and academic freedom, as Mike Chinoy explains.


MIKE CHINOY, CNN HONG KONG BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): For Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, the summer is ending as it began, with bad news.

June and July saw unprecedented demonstrations against Tung's policies and leadership style. August was dominated by televised hearings at Hong Kong University. The topic, whether Tung's closest aide, Andrew Lo, pressured academic officials to curb the work of university pollster Robert Chung, whose surveys documented Tung's declining popularity.

Lo denied doing so, but now an independent panel of inquiry has concluded that he lied, that his meetings with university administrators were designed to stifle the polling, a conclusion that has raised fears about academic freedom here.

JOSEPH CHENG, CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Even university presidents, senior academics are being too eager to please the authorities, and, of course, implying inadequate concern, inadequate respect for the protection of freedom of expression and academic freedoms in general. CHINOY: The chief executive says he still has confidence in his aide.

TUNG CHEE-HWA, HONG KONG EXECUTIVE (through translator): I am very happy that Andrew Lo is continuing to work for me.

CHINOY: And the university's president, who conveyed Lo's warnings to the pollster, has rejected calls from student leaders and others to step down.

Y.C. CHENG, VICE CHANCELLOR, HONG KONG UNIV. (through translator): I don't think I've made any mistakes. I'm not going to submit my resignation.

CHINOY: This is not the only political crisis confronting Tung Chee-hwa. With Hong Kong voters set to choose a new legislature this Sunday, a leading pro-Tung politician is embroiled in scandal. Gary Cheng, deputy head of Hong Kong's largest pro-Beijing political party, has admitted providing confidential documents to a company run by Hong Kong's richest tycoon, who's also a close Tung ally.

The appearance of improper collusion between the government, business, politicians and academics has fueled already widespread public cynicism.

CHENG: The dissatisfaction with the government has also spread to dissatisfaction with all major political parties.

CHINOY (on camera): The upshot, analysts say, is likely to be low turnout for Sunday's legislative election, and, among those who do vote, sharply diminished support for the parties most closely associated with Tung Chee-hwa's administration.

Mike Chinoy, CNN, Hong Kong.


BAKHTIAR: We focus next on the most common substance on Earth: water. All living things consist mainly of water. Your body is about 65 percent water. An elephant is about 70 percent; a potato is about 80 percent; and a tomato reaches 95 percent water.

Water covers about 70 percent of the Earth's surface. And while that sounds like a lot, it's not, because our demand for water is constantly increasing. And only 3 percent of the world's water is fresh. The rest is in the oceans, too salty to be used for drinking and farming.

Siobhan Darrow takes a look at a vital resource and the challenges facing a water-dependent world.


SIOBHAN DARROW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, most of the world's farmers still irrigate the way their ancestors did 5,000 years ago, flooding their fields, wasting the bulk of water meant to benefit crops.

To ensure safe water as the Earth moves into the next century, you must look first to agriculture, which uses two-thirds of all the water taken from rivers, lakes and aquifers.

Israel has developed a method called drip irrigation. It's 95 percent efficient. Half the country's farms now use it. So do some in Southern California, but it is an expensive technique -- too expensive for most farmers in developing countries. Worldwide, less the 1 percent of irrigated land uses drip irrigation.

While, new technologies are too costly for poorer countries to adopt, many experts complain that water is generally too cheap in industrialized nations.

ISMAIL SERAGELDIN, WORLD COMMISSION ON WATER: We need to price water to ensure to the adoption of adequate technologies and to avoid waste.

DARROW: In California, industrial use dropped 30 percent between 1980 and 1990 because of laws requiring companies to reuse their waste water. The treatment process is costly enough that it forced business to conserve water.

Some countries are relying on desalinization plants that can turn salt water into drinking water, but they too are expensive.

WILLIAM COSGROVE, WORLD WATER COUNCIL: It's not just enough to apply technical solutions anymore, it requires a change in the way of life.

DARROW: Many of those changes are relatively easy. Toilets are the biggest water guzzlers in the home. Installing low-flush versions saves gallons daily, or stopping water loss through leaky pipes. In Britain, almost half of drinking water is lost to Victorian-era pluming.

But parts of the world that don't even have plumbing, where diseases are spread by poor sanitation, simple hygiene practices could make a huge difference.

RICHARD JOLLY, U.N. DEVELOPMENT PROJECT: Until, we, dare I say it, take sanitation out of the closet and talk about it, people will not realize the importance and get the lessons that need to be pursued.

DARROW: Jolly says it will cost an extra $10 billion a year for 10 years to provide water and sanitation worldwide.

JOLLY: That's about what Europe spends On alcohol in one year. It's about the same amount as the U.S. spends on perfume in a year.

DARROW: Water experts say we must look at the needs of aquatic life, as well.

JASON MORRISON, PACIFIC INSTITUTE: There is a growing understanding that natural systems have been neglected over the history of water development and of this century, and unless fundamental changes are made and a higher priority is given to those systems, we will lose them in their entirety.

DARROW: Like the Siena de Santa Clara (ph) marsh in Mexico, a habitat supporting, not only birds and fish, but people, as well. Mexico and the U.S. are working to reverse the damage done to this part of the Colorado River delta. Now the marsh, 60 miles south of the U.S. border, is being replenished with recycled agricultural water from Yuma, Arizona.

The effort has temporarily restored the marsh, but it's future is in doubt.

BILL SNAPE, DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE: We need to commit, relatively speaking, a very small amount of water to allow it to flow into Mexico for ecological reasons. We're not talking about a major undertaking. We're talking about a little bit of commitment to do the right thing.

DARROW: Because of competition for every drop of water from growing populations on both sides of the border, there's no guarantee water will continue to be delivered, a scenario played out around the world, as agriculture industry and residential populations all vie for the same water.

International agreements, new technologies and more efficiency are all important aspects of preserving our water supply, but it could take more profound changes.

WILLIAM COSGROVE, WORLD WATER COUNCIL: Every individual needs really to be sensitive to the value of water and to start to treat it with respect.

DARROW: Not merely as a resource to be managed, but as a force of nature whose destiny is interwoven with our own.

Siobahn Darrow, CNN reporting.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: In the remote jungles of Myanmar, a country formerly known as Burma, a civil war rages on. It pits a ragtag rebel army against a military dictatorship called one of the most repressive and brutal in the world.

The rebels call themselves "God's army." They're part of an ethnic minority of about five million people who live along the border between Myanmar and Thailand. They're fighting for their own homeland within Myanmar.

The rebels have attracted international attention for a unique reason. Their two commanders happen to be twin 12-year-old boys. As Tim Lister reports, the rebels see the boys not just as child soldiers, but as gods.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the relative security of their jungle hideout, the young rebels have some opportunity to behave just as any children. With no formal education, the two sons of a farmer are the leaders of a rebel group known as "God's army." Their devoted followers carry the twins around, believing them to be the reincarnations of ancient heroes of the ethnic Karen community; a people who have been at war with the Burmese for centuries.

LUTHER HTOO, GOD'S ARMY LEADER: I carry a gun to shoot Burmese, Myanmar government troops, because they are bad to Karen people. They beat our people, kill them and destroy villages. They take children from parents and make them into porters.

LISTER: The Myanmar government, along with the Thai government, accuses the twins of ordering an attack on a Thai hospital. The God's Army rebels have been on the run since the January attack, but the twins say they are innocent.

HTOO: We didn't give an order to attack the hospital. we Were attacked by Burmese who came from behind and the Thai army who came from the front. We had to run deeper into the jungle.

LISTER: Analysts say God's Army has no more than 200 fighters, but the twins claim to be in charge of 400,000 invisible soldiers. They say they can change the shape of things around them and predict the future. These are skills they may find necessary now, simply to avoid capture.

Tim Lister, CNN.


BAKHTIAR: In today's look at "Democracy in America," we focus on one of the major issues of the 2000 presidential campaign: education. Both Al Gore and George W. Bush have acknowledged the U.S. educational system could be improved. But while the candidates continue to consider the big picture, some teachers and parents are trying to make a difference at the grassroots level.

Gary Tuchman examines one school's approach.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): School hasn't started just yet, but this school bus from the Flower Valley Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland, is full...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure you recognize this area...

TUCHMAN: ... of teachers. All of the school's faculty members are packed aboard the bus...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are the largest school in the cluster.

TUCHMAN: ... in order to see the neighborhoods served by their school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now these are all our kids too, both sides, the townhouses over here and the apartments over here.

TUCHMAN: The purpose: to get a better idea of the different kinds of lives led by their kindergarteners through fifth-graders.


TUCHMAN: On this day, children were finding out their teachers for the year. The student body at Flower Valley is more than a quarter minority, and the school has children from very wealthy families and families on government assistance.

WILMA HOLMES, PRINCIPAL: Flower Valley is a cosmopolitan school. It is also a microcosm of what society is all about.

TUCHMAN: With that in mind, this principal is trying to improve her school and country at the same time with a program called Partners for Peace. Along with the three R's, children are also taught about character and settling arguments calmly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to shake hands? Charles, Tommy?

TUCHMAN: Partners for Peace and the school bus tour are just a couple of things this one public school does to improve itself. These teachers and administrators are well aware improving public education is a major theme of the presidential election campaign, and despite their innovations, they too know they have problems.

BETH SCHAECTER, FIRST-GRADE TEACHER: Right now, the class sizes are way too large, and it's too hard to meet the needs of all the kids.

TUCHMAN: And the parents agree.

LANA HUBAND, PARENT: I think there should be 20 kids or less for teachers in the younger grades, and maybe even 15 to 17 in kindergarten.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Among parents and teachers here, feelings vary about which presidential candidate has the better approach to improving education. But there's a near unanimous feeling that it's a promising sign education is getting so much attention during this campaign.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Rockville, Maryland.


BAKHTIAR: And that does for us here on NEWSROOM.

WALCOTT: We'll see you tomorrow, bye-bye.



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