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NEWSROOM for October 6, 2000Aired October 6, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Time to wind down the week here on CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome, everybody. I'm Tom Haynes.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. Here's the rundown.
We begin with political unrest in Yugoslavia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The verdict from the elections was clear, the verdict from the streets is clear, the message for Milosevic is clear: Go. Go now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALCOTT: Then U.S. politics takes center stage as we hear from the candidates for vice president.
HAYNES: Up next, we're doing our homework in "Editor's Desk."
WALCOTT: Then "Worldview" travels to Cuba on a musical mission.
HAYNES: Finally, we'll meet some kids with a cause.
WALCOTT: In today's top story, a revolt in Yugoslavia. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Belgrade Thursday, demanding the resignation of President Slobodan Milosevic. The mobs took control of parliament and the state media. And so far, Yugoslavia's military and police haven't offered much resistance. In fact, many appeared to disappear within the clouds of their own tear gas as the Yugoslav people staged what some are calling an almost bloodless revolution.
WALCOTT (voice-over): Yugoslav opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica is calling it a historic day. His supporters are now in control of the parliament building and state-run media after a day of protests that appear to have ended Mr. Milosevic's 13 years in power. Mobs stormed the Yugoslav parliament building, setting it on fire, smashing windows, and throwing out books and portraits of the president. Kostunica is urging his forces to remain in the streets to guard against the possible counterattack by the military.
U.S. President Clinton says he supports democracy in Yugoslavia.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people of Serbia have spoken with their ballots, they have spoken on the streets. I hope the hour is near when their voices will be heard and we can welcome them to democracy, to Europe, to the world's community.
WALCOTT: Russian President Vladimir Putin is urging the opposing forces in Yugoslavia to avoid an escalation of violence, but he stopped short of asking Milosevic to go. And so far, there has been no sign of Milosevic, who has been indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal for crimes against humanity.
Thursday's events were years in the making. For about a decade, the Western world has been trying to persuade the Yugoslav people to rise up against Milosevic, and now it appears they have headed the call.
WALCOTT: For more on this story, head to CNNfyi.com for continuous coverage.
HAYNES: Well, as you know, the other big story of the day is last night's debate between U.S. vice presidential candidates, Republican Dick Cheney and Democrat Joe Lieberman. They squared off in Danville, Kentucky and the only vice presidential debate of the 2000 campaign. There were no fireworks, really. The two civilly discusses their differences on a range of issues, from the economy to education to the situation in Yugoslavia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the United States, with its European allies, ought to do everything we can to encourage the people of Serbia to do exactly what they've been doing over the last few days, to rise up and end this reign of terror and bring themselves -- by Milosevic -- and bring themselves back into the family of nations where they will be welcomed by the United States and others.
DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think, probably more than anything else, it's a victory for the Serbian people. They have taken to the streets to support their democracy, to support their vote. In some respects, this is a continuation of a process that began 10 years ago all across Eastern Europe, and it's only now arrived in Serbia. We saw it in Germany, we saw it in Romania, we saw it in Czechoslovakia, as the people of Eastern Europe rose up and made their claim for freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYNES: Economic issues, particularly tax cuts have been a major topic of debate between the two tickets. Here's what the two had to say on each of their respective plans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMAN: If we've learned anything over the last eight years, it is that one of the most important things the government can do -- the federal government -- probably the most important is to be fiscally responsible. And that's why Al Gore and I are committed to balancing the budget every year; in fact, to paying off the debt by the year 2012, when, by our calculation, our opponents' economic plan still leaves America $2.8 trillion in debt.
CHENEY: Over the course of the next 10 years, we'll collect roughly $25 trillion in revenue. We want to take about 5 percent of that and return that to the American taxpayer in the form of tax relief.
We have the highest level of taxation now we've had since World War II. The average American family is paying about 40 percent in federal, state and local taxes. We think it is appropriate to return to the American people so that they can make choices themselves in how that money ought to be spent, whether they want to spend it on education or on retirement or on paying their bills. It's their choice. It's their prerogative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYNES: Then the issue of education, something that may be of particular significance to many of you, is another area in which the candidates differ substantially.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMAN: You cannot reform education and improve it in this country without spending some money. Al Gore and I have committed $170 billion for that purpose: to recruit 100,000 new teachers, to reduce the size of classrooms, to help local school districts build new buildings so our children are not learning in crumbling classrooms.
And we're not just going to stop at high school. We're going to go on and give the middle class the ability to deduct up to $10,000 a year in the cost of college tuition.
CHENEY: The achievement gap between minority and non-minority students is as big as it's ever been. We've had a significant increase in spending for education nationwide, but it's produced almost no positive results.
That's really unacceptable from our standpoint, because if you look at it and think about it, we now have, in our most disadvantaged communities, nearly 70 percent of our fourth-graders can't read at basic level. We've graduated 15 million kids from high school in the last 15 years who can't read at basic level. They are permanently sentenced to a lifetime of failure. And what we want to do, what Gov. Bush and I want to do, is to change that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALCOTT: Have you ever forgotten to bring a note home from your teacher? Or maybe you accidentally forgot your report card. Are you the missing link when it comes to communication between home and school? Well, that could all become a thing of the past. Now technology offers instant communication among parents, students and teachers.
Pat Etheridge explains.
PAT ETHERIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know the drill: another school year, another missing book, backpack or homework assignment. Teachers have heard it all.
JILL KLUIS HUGHES, TEACHER: My mom forgot to put it in my backpack, or my mom didn't know that, or when did we have to do that?
ETHERIDGE: But there's a quiet revolution going on in some of the nation's classrooms that may change all that. Schools are signing on with Web services or creating their own Web pages that provide an instant link from school to home and back.
Here in Minneapolis, WWWRRR, or "whirr," as it's known, offers a high-tech solution.
PETER GULLICKSON, CEO, WWWRRR: How do you get parents more involved, keep them in the communication loop, use them as a resource, and involve them in their kids' learning? And we think technology can be a -- play a tremendous role with that.
ETHERIDGE: So when Madeleine (ph) and her classmates write a story at school, her mother can salute her accomplishments at home.
EILEEN ROBB TREBESCH, MOTHER: That's kind of fun that you were able to do that and then you were able to bring it home.
ETHERIDGE: As well as check out the lunch menu or find out about the next field trip, all online.
HUGHES: It's another tool for us to communicate with our families. I mean, parents are the first teachers, and we really want to work hand-in-hand with the parents. So, for us, the Web site is a great tool for us to keep communication going back and forth.
ETHERIDGE: The digital divide is a concern. Do children who have computers at home have an advantage over those who don't?
Estimates are that close to 70 percent of the nation's schools are equipped with computers. So it's only a matter of time before communication between home and school is mainly online, rather than a paper trail more easily lost or left behind.
Pat Etheridge, CNN.
HAYNES: Still surfing the Web in "Worldview." Find out how you can make a difference to hungry people around the world with just a click of your mouse. We'll also travel to the U.S. As autumn gets under way, we look back at the devastating fires of summer. And we check out Cuba, a country heating up to cultural overtures.
WALCOTT: Ever have a next-door neighbor that you just couldn't get along with? That sort of describes the relationship between the United States and one of its closest neighbors, Cuba. The two countries have been at odds ever since Fidel Castro and his communist regime took over in 1959. In 1961, the U.S. ended diplomatic relations with Cuba, and since then few Americans have been allowed to travel there. Slowly, though, relations are beginning to warm.
And as Lucia Newman reports, a group of American artists is taking advantage of the thaw.
LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): They consider themselves cultural ambassadors, the first American dance group to visit Cuba since the 1959 revolution.
The San Luis Jazz Dancers say they came to open doors in a country normally closed to Americans.
LAURIE SILVAGGIO, DIR., SAN LUIS JAZZ DANCERS: We're here to start breaking through barriers. And I can frankly say that the Cubans and the Americans can be very good friends in the arts.
NEWMAN: The American dancers who performed in several popular Cuban night spots spent this afternoon exchanging dance experiences with Cuba's national folklore group.
This is the latest in a series of cultural, educational and sporting exchanges between the United States and Cuba meant to promote people-to-people contact, one of the few activities for which the U.S. government grants Americans a license to visit Cuba. It's an opportunity many of the dancers are grateful for.
ANDREW WILLIAMS MOSER SILVAGGIO, DANCER: It's great to see a Cuban person and be like, that's just a person that I can befriend and not just see, you know, the government.
NEWMAN: Not that it was easy or cheap. The California dance group had to finance this trip itself.
RYAN O'CONNEL, DANCER: We did a benefit performance in July and there was an amazing outcropping of support from the community. And my parents definitely helped out a lot, too.
NEWMAN: The dancers, whose ages range from 10 to 28, are hoping to try and bring those countries closer together, if only symbolically Lucia Newman, CNN, Havana.
WALCOTT: Next, we head to the United States, where the second week of October is National Fire Prevention Week. The U.S. has been battling severe forest fires in recent months.
These fires begin with ignitable materials, such as leaves twigs and pine needles. As the fire grows, it radiates more heat, contributing to further growth. The process accelerates as long as fuel and oxygen are available. Since both are abundant in forests, the fires are difficult to suppress. A stretch of hot, dry weather aggravated many existing fires, causing extensive devastation throughout the U.S.
But the damage spread beyond the environment. Several towns saw their economies burn as well.
Jim Hill tells us why.
JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After smoky skies and wildfire, rain clouds and cool mist now shroud the Bitterroot Mountains above Hamilton, Montana. But the welcome break from hot, dry weather comes too late to help the battered tourist economy in this town of 4,000.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It slowed things down some, particularly we have a small store and that's been slower.
HILL: Bill Bean is normally pretty busy outfitting trout anglers and guiding excursions along the Bitterroot, Black Foot and Clark Fork rivers. But not this summer.
BILL BEAN, STORE OWNER: We've lost about 76 percent of our business just for this month alone.
HILL: Like Bean, many of the small shop owners here make up to 75 percent of their livelihood from tourists, and some lost a lot of money as the fires kept tourists away.
DIANE WOLFE, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: And it's at almost $500,000, and I believe that was seven members.
HILL: The Bitterroot Valley is gateway to a vast recreation area that lost more than 300,000 acres to the wildfires.
(on camera): The fire danger was so high that state and federal governments began closing public lands that normally form the backbone of tourism in Montana.
(voice-over): Otherwise, popular lakes are deserted, their water drained by drought and their camp sites empty. The bustling fire camps brought several thousand firefighters to the area and some hotels benefited from housing fire supervisors and journalists. But most firefighters are self-sufficient, live in tents and bring support services with them. When they do shop, store owners say they buy less than free-spending tourists.
But make no mistake about it: People here are grateful for the job firefighters did saving life and property, they just look forward to next summer when their economy can rebound, much like the charred forest can regrow.
Jim Hill, CNN, Hamilton, Montana.
HAYNES: You may think of the World Wide Web as a commercial venture, but there's another side as well. Nonprofit organizations are find that the World Wide Web weaves important links between people in need and people ready to give.
TBS, or Turner Broadcasting System, a division of our parent company, Time Warner, sponsors a community Web site, Atlanta Cares. The idea, to encourage hands-on involvement.
But hands-on goes way beyond the keyboard and all around the world, as Kathy Nellis explains in our next report.
KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Internet has 400 million Web sites, and it's still multiplying. As dot.com steals the spotlight, the dot.orgs quietly go about their business.
Take the Red Cross, a local, national and global organization. A Web site gives people around the world instant access to information about services.
KEN FINCHER, AMERICAN RED CROSS OFFICERS: We're finding that more people are visiting us and we're being more visible throughout the community, and we're being able to educate people on what we do.
NELLIS: This humanitarian agency feeds and houses people following disasters, collects blood for medical needs, and offers community programs on everything from baby-sitting to CPR. When you think about it, the Web site is actually a kind of constant commercial.
FINCHER: About two years ago, we had over $170,000 donated nationally through the Internet. This year already, we've had over $2 million donated. So we've seen the impact. We know that people are visiting our site.
NELLIS: Donations are crucial to nonprofits. And thanks to the Internet, the Red Cross says the message is getting out in a faster, more efficient, more cost-effective way than ever before.
FINCHER: Every donor wants to make certain that their donations go to the clients, those people that need them. The Internet is the least expensive form of fundraising that we've found so far, and by far. We're able to stretch donor dollars so much greater than we were before.
NELLIS: And the Red Cross is just one nonprofit learning that lesson.
(on camera): Around the world, someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds. That's 24,000 people a day. And three-fourths of those are children under age 5.
(voice-over): Those are some of the statistics you can find on The Hunger Site. That's www.thehungersite.com. It's loaded with facts and figures, but the Web site does more than put a face on hunger. Click this button to donate food. The site sponsors pay for your donation, which you can make once every day. Your visit provides two cups of rice, wheat, maize or other staple food to a hungry person by way of the United Nations World Food Program.
Maybe you'd like to donate your time or money a little closer to home. Well, Web sites offer a wide variety of local opportunities. For example, in Atlanta, just log on to AtlantaCares.com. You'll find more than 550 members, nonprofit organizations and schools, looking for a helping hand.
LOREN HEYNS, WEB DEVELOPER, ATLANTA CARES: Atlanta Cares is a community calendar system for volunteers. The point of Atlanta Cares is to make volunteering as easy and as quick for people to find as they can. So it becomes part of their daily routine. People can go out during lunchtime, teach kids how to read. People can go to a senior home after work and stop by even for a half an hour and make a connection. So Atlanta Cares really is a way that we connect people with community.
NELLIS: Search by your special interest or by location.
HEYNS: You can also enter your zip code and pull up projects that are right in your local area.
TRACY HOOVER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HANDS ON ATLANTA: More and more folks are able to use the Web. And so, at a glance, I can find out what projects are available, what service opportunities are available, and everything is very much in real time. I can find out today what's available for me today.
NELLIS: Thanks to the World Wide Web, it's easy to lend a helping hand, to click your mouse and make a difference around the world or in your own backyard.
Kathy Nellis, CNN.
HAYNES: Atlanta Cares is part of a broad network called City Cares, which has affiliates in 26 U.S. cities and nine cities in the United Kingdom. It's goal is to encourage and channel the volunteer spirit. 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.
WALCOTT: You may have heard of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The organization was founded by a California mother who lost her daughter to drunk driving. This year, MADD turned 20 and also got a new president, Millie Webb. She was drafted into the organization after tragedy struck her family.
Michael McManus has her story.
MILLIE WEBB, PRESIDENT, MADD: It was about 10:00 at night. My family were returning home from Nashville and we were rear-ended by a drinking driver and our car exploded and burst into flames.
MICHAEL MCMANUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): August 14, 1971, a Saturday night out turns into disaster for the Webb family.
M. WEBB: I was still on the bridge and I suffered a broken neck and burned about 75 percent, and my family was told that I probably would not make it.
MCMANUS: Millie and her husband lived to tell their story. Her 19-month-old Mitch and the Webb's 4 1/2-year-old daughter Laurie (ph) did not.
M. WEBB: One of the scars I have on the inside. My heart is a lot worse than these scars on the outside.
MCMANUS: It's been a long process of recovery, but Millie Webb has turned heartache into healing, this year becoming the new president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving as the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary.
M. WEBB: I'm just like every other victim out there that I'm trying to help.
MCMANUS (on camera): The accident happened here along this stretch of roadway about 25 miles outside of Nashville, Tennessee. After the tragedy, the Webb family had nowhere to turn for support. Millie Webb decided to change all that when she helped start Tennessee's first MADD chapter.
(voice-over): Millie also has family support in the form of her two daughters. Kara, now 29 years old, was born premature and blind as a result of the care wreck. KARA HENSEL, DAUGHTER: I think it's wonderful that she's taken it on and is willing to go through what she had to go through and still want to help others.
MCMANUS: Ashley wasn't born until after the crash, but has seen the effects of the collision on her family. It's hard to talk about.
ASHLEY WEBB, DAUGHTER: She could have had so much hatred, with every right. She didn't. And that's really cool because I've never -- it's kind of taught me -- it has taught me that life is too short to hold grudges.
MCMANUS: Through their mom and many others like her, MADD's efforts have worked. Drunk driving crashes are down, "designated drivers" now a commonly used phrase, and the legal age to drink is 21 in every state and the District of Columbia.
But according to Millie Webb, there's work left to be done. Polls and studies show alcohol is young America's drug of choice. Webb says her next goal is to tackle the problem of teen alcohol abuse.
M. WEBB: Young people are standing up and saying, you know, keep that alcohol out of my reach, let me mature to the age of 21 when I have all the proper skills about me to make the proper decisions.
MCMANUS: A mission she's undertaking not only to protect young lives, but remember them.
Michael McManus, CNN NEWSROOM, Franklin, Tennessee.
HAYNES: As you just saw, drunken driving is no joke. You know drinking and driving is a deadly combination. What you may not know is you can do something about it. Some of your peers are already on the forefront of this fight.
Here again is our Mike McManus.
KIMBER LEE GARRISON, NORTH CAROLINA: I loved my sister very much.
MCMANUS: Kimber Lee Garrison has brought a special story with her to Washington.
GARRISON: My sister was killed two days after my ninth birthday by a woman who ran a stop light and hit her on her passenger side of the car and killed her.
MCMANUS: She came to the nation's capital in search of ways to prevent the accident that claimed her older sister. Garrison was joined by over 400 teenagers from all over the U.S. at the Youth Summit to Prevent Underage Drinking. The objective of the meeting, organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was to find new ways to approach the problem of underage alcohol use.
MATT OPPENHEIMER, IDAHO: I think it's kind of motivating to show other youth that there are other youth that care about these issues and that can, you know, make a difference with them. And it's also to help influence policy.
MCMANUS: To do this, the delegates broke up into small groups to discuss possible solutions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came here and I didn't think, you know, everyone was going to be this enthusiastic about, OK, how they want to stop underage drinking.
SHAWNBODA JOHNSON, MISSISSIPPI: We always emphasize no drinking and driving, but why not just no drinking period, you know.
MCMANUS: Shawnboda Johnson is trying to come up with creative ways to prevent alcohol use among her peers. She's seen the effects of alcohol and its widespread impact.
JOHNSON: You know, they drink one beer and, I'm not drunk. But, you know, still, like, the least bit of alcohol, you know, is going to impair your vision or your thinking.
MCMANUS: Shawnboda Johnson's friends aren't alone. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 24 percent of all U.S. eighth-graders have consumed alcohol, as have 40 percent of all 10th-graders and 51 percent of all high school seniors.
The summit wasn't all work and no play. After laying the groundwork of ideas to prevent underage drinking, students had the chance to see the effects first-hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop! Oh, you would have just hit a pedestrian.
MCMANUS: This is a specially equipped vehicle that simulates reaction time of the driver if they have been under the influence of alcohol.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a hopeless driver already. I don't think I'll ever, like, put anything -- drink Cool Aid in the car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would have like killed a nation of people. I rolled over like every single cone.
MCMANUS: The students ended the week here up on Capitol Hill where they presented ideas to members of Congress. Kimber Lee Garrison says it won't change what happened to her sister, but their thoughts might prevent personal tragedies from happening to somebody else.
Michael McManus, CNN, Washington.
WALCOTT: Sad lesson for all of us.
HAYNES: Indeed. We'll see you back here Monday, everybody.
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