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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for September 27, 2000

Aired September 27, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: NEWSROOM is here for your Wednesday. Welcome. I'm Tom Haynes. Good to see you. Here's what's coming up.

Topping today's show, allegations of drug use at the Olympics. Also, results of the Yugoslav elections. Moving on, we take flight in "Business Desk."


DAN RONAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Many worry the country's 50-year- old air traffic system won't be able to handle the heavy volume of planes 10 or 15 years from now, so the FAA and the airlines are implementing a new system.


HAYNES: Next up, a return trip to the Land Down Under. "Worldview" explores the Australian outback.

Last stop, "Democracy in America." Find out who's doing what to get your vote.

In today's top story, a drug scandal at the Olympic games in Sydney, Australia. World champion shot-putter C.J. Hunter has tested positive for a banned steroid. Hunter, an American, is the husband of track and field star Marion Jones. He won a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in June but withdrew following knee injuries earlier this month. The International Olympic Committee's drug chief says Hunter failed four separate tests for steroid use this summer.

Martin Savidge has more.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fighting back tears, C.J. Hunter, world champion shot-putter and the husband of U.S. track star Marion Jones, insisted he has no idea how he could have failed a steroid test. At a news conference, he said he would never do anything to harm the reputation of his wife or his family.

C.J. HUNTER, CHAMPION SHOT-PUTTER: Nobody on the planet can say that I don't love my wife, that I don't love my kids. I have never in my life, nor would I ever, do anything to jeopardize their opinion of me.

SAVIDGE: Marion Jones, whose run for gold has been sidetracked by her husband's controversy, says she believes he did nothing wrong. She asked reporters to leave them alone as she prepares for the Olympic events of her life.

MARION JONES, U.S. OLYMPIC ATHLETE: As you all know, this has been very difficult, the past couple of days, for C.J. and I. And I am here pretty much to show my complete support for my husband.

SAVIDGE: Beside Hunter was attorney Johnnie Cochran, the lawyer who defended another athlete with great success: O.J. Simpson. Hunter says Cochran will represent him as he battles against the doping charges.

HUNTER: I don't know what is happening, but I can promise everybody that I'm going to find out.

SAVIDGE: But the U.S. Olympic Committee news conference appeared to offer insight into Hunter's defense strategy. U.S. team officials produced a San Francisco nutritionist who suggested how the anabolic steroid Nandrolone ended up in Hunter's drug tests.

VICTOR CONTE, BALBO LABORATORY: He was taking a number of nutritional supplements, one of which was an iron supplement that, in fact, has been tested and found to be positive for Nandrolone.

SAVIDGE: Just hours before, Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan was stripped of her all-around gold medal after testing positive for a banned substance. The drug was pseudoephedrine, found in over-the- counter cold medicine. The Romanian team doctor gave her the pills after she came down with the flu. Because International Olympic Committee members considered the incident accidental, they allowed her to keep her other gold and silver medals won earlier in the Olympics.

FRANCOIS CARRARD, IOC DIRECTOR GENERAL: We have absolutely new regulations which are much harsher. The mere presence of the substance in the body of the athlete constitutes doping regardless of whether it was conscious or willful or not.

SAVIDGE: Raducan is the first gymnast to be stripped of a medal due to a drug violation. She is the second athlete to lose a gold, and she is also the sixth athlete to have tested positive during the Sydney games.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Sydney.


HAYNES: The Olympic rules on taking illegal substances, or doping, are stringent. After every competition in the Olympic games, gold, silver, and bronze medal recipients and a random competitor are tested. Now, doping is defined as the use of an artifice, whether substance or method, potentially dangerous to athletes' health and capable of enhancing their performances. What kind of substances are banned? Well, anabolic steroids, for one, which help build muscle. They're used in sports that require strength and speed like sprinting, for example. Beta blockers, which lower blood pressure and keep the hands of athletes steadier. They're sometimes used in sports like archery and shooting. And diuretics, substances which remove excess water from the body, used in sports where the athletes are categorized by their body weight, like boxing, for example.

Here's Holly Firfer now with a closer look at the anabolic steroid making headlines.


HOLLY FIRFER, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nandrolone is an anabolic steroid that is made by the body after it metabolizes an over-the-counter supplement called norandrostenedione.

DR. LEE GOLUSINSKI, SPORTS MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: It makes the muscles stronger, it increases your endurance, it decreases fatigue, it allows you to train better and stronger.

FIRFER: The human body constantly breaks down and removes old tissue and cells, replacing them with new ones. Testosterone, which is released continuously from the pituitary gland into the bloodstream in both men and women and from the testes in men, helps this rebuilding process. The anabolic steroid nandrolone acts just like testosterone, enhancing the body's ability to grow muscle, skin and bones.

But doctors warn, in large doses, there are many side effects.

GOLUSINSKI: It can in man cause breast enlargement, in men and women it can cause hair loss, in women it can cause deepening of the voice.

FIRFER: More seriously, it can overwork the liver and enlarge the heart, which is a muscle, to the point where there is not enough blood to feed it, causing parts of the heart to die, leading to heart failure.

Recent studies suggest that small amounts of nandrolone are found naturally in the body, but the exact amount is not clear.

Doctors speculate it's possible steroid-fed beef could also raise a person's nandrolone levels, although how much is debated by scientists.

Other supplements on the market may contain extracts from animal organs, such as horse or boar, which also produce nandrolone naturally, thus adding to the possibility of passing it onto to humans.

(on camera): With very little solid scientific evidence and the ease of availability of this anabolic steroid, the Food and Drug Administration is considering pulling any products that contain or can be converted into nandrolone from the over-the-counter market, making a prescription the only way to obtain the drug. But the FDA hasn't decided if and when that might be.

Holly Firfer, CNN, Atlanta.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: An update now on a major story we brought you yesterday from Yugoslavia. The first official results from that country's presidential elections are in and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is losing, his greatest setback in more then a decade in power.


ALESSIO VINCI, CNN BELGRADE BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): A brief announcement on state television from the electoral commission: President Milosevic is trailing opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica, but not losing by enough, according to state television, for an outright opposition victory.

With the majority of the vote counted, the opposition candidate is leading with about 48 percent of the vote versus about 40 percent for President Milosevic, a result that implies a runoff on October the 8th, because neither candidate has received a 50 percent majority.

Not so, says the opposition, which claims that Kostunica has already won the elections with more than 54 percent of the votes, giving Milosevic only 35 percent of the votes.

ZARKO KORAC, OPPOSITION LEADER: You can't challenge the will of people. I know we sound terribly old-fashioned, but this is the verdict of people. Milosevic politically lost these elections.

VINCI: Therefore, the opposition says, they will boycott the runoff, accusing the electoral commission of playing into the hands of Mr. Milosevic.

ZORAN DJINDJIC, OPPOSITION CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We have physical evidences about our results, and we want to see the same kind of proofs by the other side. And we will not recognize (UNINTELLIGIBLE) statements, political statements, from this commission. It doesn't matter. We want to see proofs.

VINCI: Officially, the federal electoral commission must give definitive results by Thursday evening. And if the commission fails to recognize the opposition's claims of victory, the opposition is promising to call for mass demonstrations across Serbia.

But will the people follow? Yes, says Dragoljub Djuricie, who has led with his drums many anti-Milosevic demonstrations since 1996.

DRAGOLJUB DJURICIE, DRUMMER (through translator): I think the beat of the drum is moving energy. Rhythm moves everything in this world. If hearts stopped beating, men would die.

VINCI (on camera): The opposition plans to gather people here in front of the federal parliament on Wednesday evening with the intention to officially declare victory, regardless of the commission's results. At that point, says the opposition, the ball will be in President Milosevic's camp.

Alessio Vinci, CNN, Belgrade.


HAYNES: Well, if you've been to an airport lately, you've probably seen a major increase in passenger traffic. But if you think airplanes and airports are crowded now, just wait. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration estimates the number of airline passengers stateside could jump nearly 60 percent in the next decade. One solution to easing congestion in the skies could be a new system of directing and moving airplanes called free flight.

Dan Ronan explains.


RONAN (voice-over): Imagine the sky as a giant interstate system: Commercial jets fly on designated routes between cities. When planes do cross, they do it at different altitudes, much like going under a bridge.

JOHN LANE, EMBRY RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIV.: It allows controllers to set up lines of traffic in a very orderly way to know where the crossing points are.

RONAN: But many worry the country's 50-year-old air traffic system won't be able to handle the heavy volume of planes 10 or 15 years from now. So the FAA and the airlines are implementing a new system.

RON MORGAN, FAA: We believe that it will -- free flight will answer that congestion problem for the foreseeable future. It will allow us to operate more aircraft safer than we do today.

RONAN (on camera): Free flight will place more responsibility on pilots here in the cockpit, allowing them to make decisions on their route, speed and altitude. The airlines say this additional freedom will save them billions of dollars each year in fuel and wasted time.

(voice-over): Although there would still be restrictions on airspace near airports, designated locations will be added in the sky 10 to 15 miles away, giving pilots more options for taking off and landing. With free flight, experts predict safer skies and less congestion, even with more planes in the air.

KEN FLEMING, EMBRY RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIV.: The air space is huge, and that's not the problem. There is no theoretical maximum.

RONAN: In order for free flight to work, the air traffic control system will need a substantial update, with global positioning satellites telling controllers where planes are. That complete system is still years away.

Dan Ronan, CNN, Daytona Beach, Florida.


HAYNES: Well, we just talked about air travel. Now we take you to far-flung destinations with just the spin of a globe in "Worldview." Would a global organization for the environment help keep our planet green? We'll touch down in France to find out. And we'll steer our way through traffic concerns in Egypt, plus travel to the distant reaches of Australia. Check it out.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Australia's early settlers were ancestors of today's aborigines. It's said they came from Asia, about 65,000 years ago. Today, aborigines make up only about 1 percent of Australia's population. But British settlers borrowed many of their words; for example, kangaroo and koala. And these words are now part of the English language.

Australia's unusual wildlife includes these and other marsupials, mammals which give birth to tiny, poorly developed offspring. Most often, these babies mature in a pouch on the mother's abdomen. In Australia, there are 150 species of marsupials.

Today we venture into the Australian outback, the name given to those parts of the country which are isolated, rural and usually inland. But instead of tracking animals, we'll be trekking through the countryside to explore outback life.

Stephanie Oswald is our guide.


STEPHANIE OSWALD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outback life, far from the country's big cities but closer to the heart of what many say the real Australia is all about. The outback is home to some of the largest and most diverse deserts in the world. Most visitors come through Alice Springs, an old frontier town turned tourist mecca in the center of the country. About five hours southwest is Uluru. At 1,100 feet tall, it's one of the world's largest monoliths.

But the incredible landscape holds surprises beyond the awe of Uluru. To discover them, all you need is a curious spirit and a willingness to explore. The path to the red center is lined with dramatic sparse countryside. We pulled off the road a couple of times just to take a few pictures of the stark surroundings.

But to find out what Outback life is truly all about, we stopped at a working cattle station and we were greeted by, well, some of the local residents. This ranch is owned by the Murphy family, who just recently opened it to visitors.

ROSS MURPHY, OWNER, IDRACOWRA STATION: I think just that it's something new. It's -- and it's different, different in the way that they can actually get to speak to genuine people of the area that actually live here.

OSWALD: Travelers can learn what it's like to live in what seems to be the middle of nowhere.

MURPHY: There's not a lot of neighbors around here for an awful long way and you've got to go a long way to get to a shop. Just the isolation sort of it, and how we probably get to town once a month.

OSWALD: The Murphy name has been tied to this land for decades.

MURPHY: You see our homestead down there. That was first settled in 1875 and my father came here in 1952.

OSWALD: One of the highlights for visitors, a four-wheel-drive workout over the sand dunes.

MURPHY: This is a live sand dune at the back of the homestead and you get a bird's eye view if we get up the top of it and you can really see a long way from up here. So you get a big picture of what the whole place looks like. People are going to be interested in driving on the sand dunes and private tracks, which are not access -- there is no access to the general public except on this tour. So they're going to be driving places, which is quite exciting for them.

OSWALD: And after the wild ride, reaching Chamber's Pillar, a landmark that helped early explorers find their way across the outback.

(on camera): Chamber's Pillar is a natural icon for this area. Discovered in 1860 by an Australian explorer, it's been attracting sightseers ever since. As a matter of fact, one member of the Murphy family carved the family names into a rock at the base of the pillar long before this became a protected area.

(voice-over): Legend has it the monument and surrounding rocks are an aboriginal man and two women who turned to stone after the man committed murder and then led the women away from their tribe.

MURPHY: With aboriginal people, they will say, look at Chamber's Pillar. And you look at Chamber's Pillar and you think it's just a rock, OK? But we -- if you're an aboriginal person, it's a living thing. And to them it's all their religion and culture and everything all in one.

OSWALD: That's part of what this tour is all about: carving out a new perspective by spending time with those who call this land home.

Stephanie Oswald, CNN, in the Australian outback.


JORDAN: We'll continue outback adventure tomorrow as we sample some food from the region.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Everything from kangaroo kabobs to emu sausages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's burning his. Mine's cooked perfectly.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Even if your gourmet could use a little guidance, do-it-yourself barbecue attracts a host of international visitors, especially those who say barbecuing back home is no picnic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not in England. It's raining all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Where else can you find a menu that boasts kangaroo, crocodile and camel?


JORDAN: Tune in tomorrow for a taste.

BAKHTIAR: Next stop, a long and winding waterway in France. It stretches about 482 miles. That's 776 kilometers. It's the Seine River. It's the chief commercial waterway of France, and in Paris it passes under more than 30 bridges. Its more than a scenic site, it's the sight of an extensive cleanup campaign.

France has launched an environmental offensive. Paris wants to see a new global organization that will have the power to enforce treaties or legislation agreed to in international conventions. European Union states met recently in Paris and agreed to set up a working group to further develop the idea.

Peter Humi has the details.


PETER HUMI, CNN PARIS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): An oil spill in Brittany in Northwest France in late December was a painful reminder of the fragility of the environment. The cleanup operation is still under way as the remaining crude oil is pumped from the sunken tanker. The spill sparked a debate on how to deal with such disasters and, say some observers, led in part to the new French proposal.

The initiative was officially launched by environment minister Dominique Voynet. Voynet acknowledged the United Nation's Environment Programme, or UNEP, as, in her words, a useful tool, but said it lacked teeth.

DOMINIQUE VOYNET, ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: UNEP has not the authority and the means to coordinate the policies in the field of environment at the international level.

HUMI: Voynet said, like the World Health Organization or the World Trade Organization, it was time for a world environment organization.

VOYNET: We have to coordinate our policies under the responsibility of the world organization for environment. and then this organization could speak at the same level of the WTO to make the considerations of the environment be respected.

HUMI: Voynet refused to speculate how nations that didn't respect those considerations might be punished. She said that would be up to a working group of E.U. countries led by France to establish.

Greenpeace cautiously welcomed the initiative, but claimed France was among the worst offenders when it came to enforcing current E.U. legislation to protect endangered regions.

BRUNO REBELLE, GREENPEACE: France is really the bad guy of Europe in this program because they were very late in making the different proposals and very late in implementing the first measures to develop this project.

HUMI: French nuclear waste has also been targeted by Greenpeace. The group recently blocked an outlet from a reprocessing plant near Cherbourg, a channel port in Northwest France.

(on camera): Greenpeace said the plant was discharging radioactive waste. The waste company said it wasn't and will sue Greenpeace. It's issues like this the proposed new global environment agency may help resolve.

Peter Humi, CNN, Paris.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Egypt is a Middle Eastern country located in the northeast corner of Africa. One small part of the country, the Sinai Peninsula, is in Asia. Not much rain falls in Egypt. The country is hot and dry and mostly covered with desert. The Nile River is the country's most important waterway and a vital source of life for most Egyptians.

Camels are also important. Tourists often ride them on sightseeing trips through the desert. Camels are ideal for Egypt's dry climate. The animals can fast and go without drinking for several days. Some have been known to survive over two weeks without water. Camels have long been used in the region as beasts of burden, but perhaps they could also be alternative transportation for Egyptians frustrated with traveling by car on the country's dangerous roads.

James Martone explains.


JAMES MARTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there were a theme song for the drivers of Cairo, it would be: If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere.

The Egyptian capital is one of the toughest places in the world to survive in a car. The drivers here often seem color blind, ignoring red lights. It's common for people not to even take a drivers test to get a license. A bribe will often do. The cars are typically old and poorly maintained. And there are simply too many vehicles on too little road. Hassan (ph) drives a delivery truck through Cairo six days a week.

"The roads are so crowded, you have to take it one step at a time to avoid hurting yourself," says Hassan.

In Cairo, hundreds of thousands of cars compete ever day with each other and with pedestrians who often weave in and out of traffic for lack of organized walkways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I cross the street, I must take care from the cars which coming from this side or any side.

MARTONE: Egypt's government says it's moving to improve the traffic situation.

(on camera): Tougher traffic laws have recently been approved here. The test for a driving license will be more difficult. And fines for bad driving will increase. The fine for speeding, for example, will go up from $15 to about $135.

(voice-over): There will be heavy fines for changing lanes without signaling, a common practice here, and seat belts will now be mandatory.

(on camera): And do you wear a seat belt?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not usual in Egypt. And -- but the new instructions will make us use it.

MARTONE (voice-over): Egypt is also building more roads to accommodate the country's growing number of cars.

As for the truck driver Hassan, "we're protected from above," he says of the driving dangers in Cairo.

James Martone, CNN, Cairo.


HAYNES: In the race for president in the U.S., Al Gore is trying to bolster his support among a new generation of voters. He made an appearance yesterday on MTV. The youth vote is important to Gore. The vice president doesn't seem to be doing as well with that segment of the electorate as he'd probably like.

Judy Woodruff explains.





WOODRUFF (voice-over): From "boxers or briefs" to Napster...

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Napster is a terrific innovation.

WOODRUFF: ... politicians are always looking for a way to click with young voters. Now, with six weeks to election day, the youth vote is once again up for grabs.

Our latest tracking poll gives George W. Bush a slight lead among 18- to 29-year-olds, but their opinions are extremely volatile. The last month alone saw some wild swings, frequent lead changes in the first half of September followed by a huge spike for Al Gore and an equally dramatic turn back to Bush. A likely explanation for that volatility: Few young voters have firmly defined political views, and their allegiances to political parties are even more tenuous.

The 1960s image of young Americans at the vanguard of social and political change no longer holds true.


CROWD: Peacefully assemble.


WOODRUFF: And while this year's youth protest got a lot of attention, they've had no noticeable effect on the race. In fact, the candidate most closely identified with the anti-globalization movement, Ralph Nader, has just as little support among young voters as other age groups.

Two things we can say for sure about young voters in 2000: They are paying less attention to politics than any other age group and they are likely to change their minds at the last moment.

So while the young may not be the most motivated swing group this election, they could well be the last to decide, making their votes critical.

Judy Woodruff, CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: And thanks for joining us for a Wednesday. I'm Tom Haynes. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Take care.



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