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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for September 21, 2000

Aired September 21, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Welcome, everyone, your Thursday NEWSROOM is under way. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: And I'm Andy Jordan. We're watching oil prices and traveling to the Olympics.

BAKHTIAR: Here's the itinerary.

JORDAN: Up, up and away: The rising price of oil tops today's news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These prices are going outta sight.


BAKHTIAR: We'll roll into "Science Desk" to calculate Olympic pedal power.


JEFF BROKER, U.S. OLYMPIC TRAINING CENTER: The pedals that we have on this bike are measuring the forces that the athlete delivers to those pedals.


JORDAN: Next, our globetrotting takes us to Great Britain to celebrate an ancient mystery.

BAKHTIAR: Then, "Chronicle" heads back Down Under, where Olympic athletes are getting signed, sealed and delivered.


ROWLAND HILL, AUSTRALIA POST: This is a world first. No other country's done it. And we're very proud of it, another world record for Australia.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JORDAN: Today's news tackles a basic science concept: energy. No doubt, you've heard the word in class and associate it with other words like coal or solar or nuclear.

Oil is a major source of energy the world over. It keeps us warm during winter and keeps our cars running. But its importance stretches far beyond its use as an energy source. It is the economic lynchpin for a number of countries.

There are people for whom survival depends on either its import or export. Being such a commodity, the current oil crunch has U.S. officials, among others, looking at conditions in countries that pump the lion's share of oil.

Here's David Ensor.


DAVID ENSOR, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With tight oil supplies driving up prices at the pumps in Europe and the cost of home heating oil for the U.S. this winter, White House national security officials must worry about the stability of key oil producers.

ROBERT EBEL, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: If I were to compile a list of unstable oil-exporting countries, I would put Nigeria and Indonesia near the top.

ENSOR: Nigerian sweet crude plays a key role in supplies to the U.S. and Europe, and the democratic government of President Obasanjo is struggling. Its stability, some analysts argue, uncertain.

The same goes for President Wahid of Indonesia.

Another question mark: the intentions of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein. Under the United Nations' oil-for-food program, Iraq has re- emerged as the fourth-largest OPEC oil producer -- behind Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela -- producing almost 3 million barrels a day. With supplies this tight, as Saddam knows, every barrel counts.

EBEL: Well, he could just take oil off the market for a while, just to be ornery, and the oil market would react overnight to that and prices, likely, would shoot through the roof.

ENSOR: But U.S. officials say cutting oil would stop food imports and might create panic, instability. They doubt he'll do it, but admit they can't rule it out.

How to avoid tight oil supplies in the future? Analysts estimate U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, Libya, plus U.N. limits on Iraq are costing the world up to 2 million barrels a day in production.

If Americans want to continue to drive gas-guzzling SUVs, some argue they may not be able to afford the weapon of oil sanctions for much longer.

ROBIN WEST, PETROLEUM FINANCE COMPANY: If you want to impose sanctions, recognize the cost of sanctions.

A lot of politicians believe that there's a big cost to sending the military, but that a vote for sanctions was cost-free -- didn't hurt anybody. And the fact of the matter is, long term, it does hurt people.

ENSOR (on camera): Nobody is talking about that in the presidential campaign; but on the Republican side are two former oil men, including one, Dick Cheney, who has argued in the past that the U.S. should move away from the use of unilateral sanctions.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.


BAKHTIAR: The oil crunch is shaping up to be, if not a campaign issue in the U.S. presidential election, then a potential headache for whomever wins that election.

Kelly Wallace looks at how it's already weighing on the mind of the current American president.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New England lawmakers, concerned about how much it will cost their constituents to stay warm this winter, demanded President Clinton immediately release oil from the nation's emergency stockpile.

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: This is an emergency. And it is one that is right at our doorstep here. And we've got to respond very quickly to it.

WALLACE: Mr. Clinton is waiting to see how the markets react to the most recent increase in production by the oil-producing nations.

BILL RICHARDSON, ENERGY SECRETARY: The president, under no circumstances, is going to let the American people be held hostage in a home heating oil crisis. And he is looking at a number of options to deal with this issue.

WALLACE: The latest numbers are increasing the pressure. Crude oil prices are at a 10-year high, the cost of a gallon of gas up 9 cents per gallon in the past month; home heating oil prices 50 percent higher than last year.

European countries are also feeling the pinch, with angry protests across the continent over fuel shortages, and the French calling for the world's major economic powers to join together to demand OPEC lower oil prices. Back in the United States, the administration is mulling its options. But economists question what, if anything, government officials can really do.

ED MCKELVEY, ECONOMIST: Yes, they can release some of the strategic petroleum reserve. I don't know that that would have a great deal of effect. And it's not clear it would be that wise a situation to engage in. So I think they're fairly -- fairly constrained.

WALLACE (on camera): The president's decision is expected within days. And while the White House insists politics won't play a role, in this election year, the reality is, any decision won't be made in a vacuum.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, the White House.


JORDAN: In the headlines, the World Trade Organization is welcoming the U.S. Senate's approval of permanent normal trade relations with China. The vote is expected to spur China's entry into the WTO, and potentially the world's largest market. But concerns about human rights remain on the table.


JOSEPH PRUEHER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: The argument the naysayers on PNTR have is that we remove the leverage on our discussions with China. I would like to think that our discussions with China can rise to a level where, I don't mean this in a naive way, but leverage is not the issue on every discussion.


JORDAN: But human rights issues are taking backstage as businesses scramble to get a piece of the business pie in China.

Rebecca MacKinnon reports.


REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This factory just can't churn out enough of this multicolored fiberoptic cable to meet Chinese demand. Demand which managers expect is about to grow even faster.

BERNARD CHOO, LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES: PNTR and the China entry to the WTO will further open up the market, with more operator coming in the demand will be high.

MACKINNON: Until now, China's insurance business has been largely closed to the outside. That's about to change, too. And local Chinese companies hope their government will protect them.

CHEN DONGSHENG, TAIKANG LIFE: A certain amount of protection is understandable, because China's insurance market is so young. We can't welcome foreign companies if they're going to destroy us.

MACKINNON: For that very reason, the U.S. and China's other trade partners agreed to phase in market opening changes gradually over several years. But companies say they'll be watching carefully to make sure promises are kept.

PATRICK POWERS, U.S.-CHINA BUSINESS COUNCIL: American business, here in China, are looking at the ways that they can successfully observe the implementation of the WTO.

MACKINNON: In such a big country, observers believe monitoring compliance won't be easy.

EDWARD FRIEDMAN, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN: Naturally, of course, they'll cheat. It's a thing which nations normally do. They know that in this globalized world eventually they'll have to abide by those rules, but for a period of time and very understandably, they will play games with the rules to try to get as many of the benefits as possible and to give as few of the concessions as possible.

MACKINNON (on camera): Before it can get in, China still has to negotiate the final terms of its entry at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. Business people here say they'll be watching very closely to make sure none of the access they lobbied so hard to get is left out.

Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Beijing.


BAKHTIAR: We're giving a little vocabulary lesson in today's "Science Desk." The word: "biomechanics"; the meaning: "The mechanics of biological, and especially muscular activity, as in locomotion or exercise."

The idea is to view the human body as a machine with each muscle fiber having a workload potential. Scientists can use biomechanics to improve the efficiency of the human body. In turn, athletes can use this improved efficiency to enhance their performance. A point not lost on one cyclist as she trained for the Olympics.

Ann Kellan spells it out for us.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before Lance Armstrong's Tour de France victory, trainers had calculated how hard he had to pedal each time to win. That power, measured in watts, was about 450, enough to power a small radio station and about three times the average cyclist's output.

Trainers have figured U.S. Olympic contender Mari Holden, given her weight, has to maintain 325 watts over the three-hour Olympic road race for a shot at a medal.

MARI HOLDEN, USA OLYMPIC CYCLIST: I think it's great that we can work on all these things. And these little benefits are really going to help us.

KELLAN: Using special pedals equipped with sensors, trainers at the U.S. Training Center critique her form to maximize that power.

JEFF BROKER, U.S. OLYMPIC TRAINING CENTER: The pedals that we have on this bicycle are measuring the forces that the athlete delivers to those pedals.

KELLAN: The pedals are wired to a computer.

BROKER: So the green circle is your left pedal. The yellow circle is your right. And you're seeing this real-time. Like, kick the right pedal for a couple of strokes. See that?


BROKER: It's almost instantaneously you see a change.

KELLAN: Corrections are immediate, too. She's forceful when pressing down on the pedals, weaker on the upstroke. That's where she could gain ground.

BROKER: Now lift the leg, lift the pedal through, and drive it forward. There you go. There you go. See that?


BROKER: See how that works?


BROKER: You know, you're lifting your leg?

HOLDER: Yeah, yeah.

BROKER: See, as you lift your leg, now you're being more productive or more effective in the upstroke.

HOLDEN: To me, it feels different because I'm used to ride -- riding hundreds and hundreds of miles in this one way, and then to change any little thing makes it feel strange. But it's something that, just like everything else, you kind of work in over time and it will make you a better cyclist, so...

KELLAN: Ann Kellan, CNN, Colorado Springs, Colorado.


JORDAN: We'll have more on the Olympics later in our show, when we will check out stamps, so stick around. In "Worldview," which are more scarce, teachers or reef fish? There may be shortages of both. So we'll search for solutions as we travel to China, Austria and the United States.

And 85 years ago, a prehistoric landmark went on the auction block. September 21, 1915, stonehenge fetched a price equal to $6,600. What's Stonehenge? Think stone, spirits and more as we head to Europe.

BAKHTIAR: Now onto Great Britain, England to be specific. England is the largest part of the four political subdivisions that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are the other three political divisions of the country, which is often called Great Britain or simply Britain. England is the industrial and trading center of the United Kingdom. It is also home to Stonehenge. The ancient stone monument believed by some to be a place of magic and mysticism, has been a place of pilgrimage for people from around the world.

The purpose of the site remains unknown, but many archaeologists agree it was likely a spot for religious ceremonies and some say the arrangement of the huge stones has astronomical significance.

Now, for the first time in over a decade, Stonehenge has again been opened to the public. Thousands of people gathered there recently to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

CNN's Amanda Kibel has more.


AMANDA KIBEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a damp and misty dawn, the solstice at Stonehenge. The sun hung in a shroud above the stones whispering the turn of the seasons. For the tourists, druids and new age travelers, who had been kept far away from the stones for 16 years, the return to Stonehenge was pure magic.

MATTHEW MCCABE, ORDER OF BARDS, DRUIDS, AND DVATES: For most druids, Stonehenge is one of the most sacred places in this whole landscape around here, nestling as it does in the center with its observational horizons. It's an absolutely magical place.

KIBEL: Thought to be as old as 5,000 years, the standing stones have, over time, meant many different things to different people. For the druids, this is a sacred place. They believe the stones are charged with energy. Others believe it is a prehistoric calendar, a burial ground, or even an astronomical observatory.

But Stonehenge scholars do agree the stone circles are aligned with both the winter and summer solstice, making it a place of pilgrimage from around the world to celebrate the changing seasons.

When revelers clashed with police in 1984, English Heritage, which administers the site, banned solstice celebrations, allowing only a select few to get close to the stones. But with these restrictions lifted this year, it was clear that people had come to celebrate and to pay their respects. For some, it was enough to simply touch these ancient, enigmatic stones.

Amanda Kibel, CNN, London.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: If you've ever gotten a firsthand look at a coral reef, you'll know it's one of the most incredible sights on Earth. Home to hundreds of species of colorful corals and fish, coral reefs are often referred to as the rain forests of the sea. In fact, the number of species that call coral reefs home may even surpass that of most rain forests. For our next story we head for Hong Kong. Conservationists there fear the demand in Asia for a certain type of reef fish may be jeopardizing the balance of these delicate ecosystems.

Gary Strieker reports.


GARY STRIEKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the oceans' coral reefs, among all the diversity of life, some kinds of fish prized on Chinese menus are in such high demand they could soon disappear from the reefs.

FRAZER MCGILVRAY, INTERNATIONAL MARINELIFE ALLIANCE: There are still a lot of fish out there, but with the demand increasing, with China's population increasing at the rate it does, they can't sustain that.

STRIEKER: Cantonese cuisine has created a billion-dollar live- reef fish industry. At least 15,000 tons of these fish are imported each year by Chinese fishermen and merchants.

(on camera): In the Indo-Pacific region, more than 90 percent of the live-reef fish trade for the food markets passes through Hong Kong, and most of that comes through here to the Kwan Tong (ph) wholesale fish market.

(voice-over): Importers here say financial problems in Asia have caused fish prices to drop, but the outlook for the future is good.

PATRICK CHAN, HONG KONG CHAMBER OF SEAFOOD MERCHANTS: This market trend will continue to expand because the economy's going to pick up in mainland China. The people will, actually, will consume more live seafood.

STRIEKER: But there is a limit to the supply of reef fish. The most favored types, like spotted coral trout and other grouper species, are slow-growing and easily caught, extremely vulnerable to overfishing.

In the Philippines, fishermen using cyanide have depleted fisheries there. And in Indonesia, political instability and violence against ethnic Chinese make it a dangerous source of supply.

Unable to rely on the Philippines or Indonesia, Chinese dealers are now sending ships far and wide for reef fish: east to the South Pacific, and west to the Indian Ocean, as far as Madagascar. That could encourage local fishermen in those regions to ransack their reefs to meet Chinese demand.

That's why a private conservation group, the International Marinelife Alliance, monitors the trade here in Hong Kong and tries to stay one step ahead of the dealers.

MCGILVRAY: Basically, to make sure that the fish are being caught properly, sustainably, and there's no use of chemicals. STRIEKER: Some say the only way to save wild reef fish is to raise domestic stocks on farms like these: underwater cages containing fish worth thousands of dollars, hence the guard dogs.

But this kind of fish farming needs more research and government support to be able to meet the growing demand for reef fish, and to protect the rich wildlife of the world's coral reefs.

Gary Strieker, CNN, Hong Kong.


BAKHTIAR: Now onto one of the greatest cultural cities in Europe, Austria, the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a country steeped in history.

In 1867, the Hungarians forced Hungary into a dual monarchy with Austria. That meant both the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary pledged allegiance to Emperor Francis Joseph.

However, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Slavs and other minority groups demanded the right to govern themselves. Serbia backed the Slavs and led the Slavic National Movement.

In 1914, a Serbian from Bosnia-Herzegovina killed the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Because of that, Austria-Hungary declared war upon Serbia and World War I began.

Germany and other nations joined Austria-Hungary in fighting the Allies, which included Britain, France, Russia and the United States.

Now, several decades later, Deborah Feyerick looks at how some teachers from Austria are helping the U.S. overcome a teacher shortage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know this is going to be a new experience for you, and you're going to be faced with many challenges.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's orientation day for Austrian teachers, thirty-three of them, braving the challenges of New York city schools to teach math and science.

SONJA SCHOLTZ, AUSTRIAN TEACHER: I think I'm nervous, but I'm looking forward to see all these new people and to get to know the American school system.

FEYERICK: Sonja Scholtz is a first-time teacher.

SCHOLTZ: Five rooms, but it doesn't say bedrooms.

FEYERICK: Her soon-to-be roommate, Robert Kouba, teaches physics at an Austrian University.

ROBERT KOUBA, AUSTRIAN TEACHER: This aspect of coming to America to have sort of the adventure of going to a completely new culture.

FEYERICK: The severe shortage of math and science teachers in New York and other parts of the country has forced educators to come up with creative solutions, like recruiting teachers from countries that have too many. The results:

ALFRED POSAMENTIER, CITY COLLEGE, SCHOOL OF EDUCATION: They rise to the occasion and my experience has it that they do extremely well. Their regents results were outstanding last year.

FEYERICK: Lutz Holzinger (ph) was one of the first exchange teachers recruited when the program began three years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some kids are difficult, but I like the challenge.

FEYERICK: Holzinger and his colleagues, in America on scholar visas, receive full teachers' salaries, which the Board of Education says start at about $31,000, up to $40,000 for those with Ph.Ds.

MARTIN GOT, AUSTRIAN TEACHER: I've had some experience with English-speaking students and actually decided to come over here to get more experience in English.

FEYERICK: With Austria increasingly looking for courses there to be taught in English, many recruits feel good jobs will be waiting for them when they return home.

(on camera): Which is part of the problem, because no matter how good Austrian teachers might be, they're only here temporarily.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


BAKHTIAR: We stay focused on education in "Chronicle." But this period we head to Hollywood. Have you ever wished for the life of a teen screen idol? Glitz, glamour, and no school.

Well, guess again. Those teen actors you love to love are busy balancing homework and set work.

Paul Vercammen gives us the scoop.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Many students are settling into their school routines. But for young actors pursuing careers in Hollywood, there's nothing routine about juggling work and school.


CHRIS KLEIN, ACTOR: This place is an untapped resource. I mean, check it out. These vocal jazz girls are hot.


Chris Klein from "American Pie" and "Election" was shuttling from Texas Christian University to Hollywood. He's put off college for now.

KLEIN: It's hard to balance, because in the six, seven hours that you should be studying, two or three of those, you know, are spent on the telephone, you know, doing interviews, talking with, you know, the people that represent you in Los Angeles.

VERCAMMEN: Student-actors play their parts and play catch-up, which is what Leelee Sobieski confessed this summer.

LEELEE SOBIESKI, ACTRESS: This weekend, I did six hours of pre- calculus, so I finished up my pre-calculus for the year.

VERCAMMEN: Sobieski, a high school student, takes rigorous courses and looks forward to college.

SOBIESKI: If you do study your study chemistry and your pre- calculus, then you can play a chemist and a mathematician. If you don't, you're a little foolish.

VERCAMMEN (on camera): College may be a dream, but one advocate for young professional actors warns, they may not receive the same treatment as other students once they set foot on campus.

(voice-over): Paul Petersen, Jeff on "The Donna Reed Show," founded A Minor Consideration to help child actors.

PAUL PETERSEN, A MINOR CONSIDERATION: I had two professors, one in English, one in history. The history professor gave me credit for this unique perspective I had on life, while my English professor was deeply resentful that I had already been published three times. It's like: "What are you doing in my class? You're a professional. Get out of here."

VERCAMMEN: In the pre-college years, young actors must do the work and maintain a C-average. More often than not, the classroom experience is not traditional. Take the star of "Malcolm in the Middle."

FRANKIE MUNIZ, ACTOR: Well, I'm home-schooled. So when we're not on set, I have my mom. She teaches me. And then when I'm on set, I have the tutor, of course, you know, that is there all the time, so...


NATALIE PORTMAN, ACTRESS: I will sign no treaty, Senator.


VERCAMMEN: "The Phantom Menace's" Natalie Portman says school and acting enhance each other. PORTMAN: It's a challenge, but I think it's one that's worth, you know, the time and commitment and the pressure of, you know, of having to finish your paper and, you know, fly to L.A. to do a junket.

VERCAMMEN: Some young actors seem to spend more time at press events than hanging out on campus.

Paul Vercammen, CNN Entertainment News, Los Angeles.


JORDAN: OK, we're going to test your memory. This week, we told you what a philatelist is. And, no, it's not a kind of bacteria. Wrong show. It's a stamp aficionado. Philatelists are getting a rush these days, all because of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

John Raedler has the story.


JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As stamp collectors say, philately will get you everywhere. It's certainly getting the Australian post office somewhere. Every time Australia wins a gold medal in the Olympics, the post office is issuing a commemorative stamp the next day.

ROWLAND HILL, AUSTRALIA POST: This is a world first. No other country's done it, and we're very proud of it, another world record for Australia.

RAEDLER: Digital technology is the key to this world record. It allows for the stamp to be designed, half-a-million of them printed and then distributed in less than 24 hours.

(on camera): The stamps are sold at post offices like this, 67 of them around Australia, and they sell out in about two hours.

(voice-over): That's half as long as some people wait to buy them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do I do it? Oh, because these are special stamps, and it's the first-day issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came Sunday, Monday, today. I hope to get here again tomorrow if we win more gold.

RAEDLER: The post office does not expect to make money on the increased business. It is doing it to make two points.

HILL: First one, acknowledge the athletes. Second one, show that we're a modern -- a very modern organization.

RAEDLER: And with Australia's athletes on course to win a record number of gold medals, the post office might be a very busy organization.

John Raedler, CNN, Sydney.


BAKHTIAR: I hear you had a stamp collection when you were growing up.

JORDAN: Who's been talking to you? It didn't have Olympians on it though.

BAKHTIAR: I have my sources.

That does it for us here.

JORDAN: We'll see you back here tomorrow.





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