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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for October 12, 2000

Aired October 12, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Hello. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar here with your Thursday NEWSROOM. Politics and science are on the agenda. Here's the rundown.

Headlining today's news, round two of the U.S. presidential debates.

From discourse to discovery, we travel to outer space in "Science Desk."

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Hey, I'm Tom Haynes just headed to my next golf shot, which is way up there. Thank goodness for golf carts. Coming up in "Worldview," though, we're going to take you to a place where no golf carts are needed.

BAKHTIAR: Moving on to "Chronicle," we head to the Show Me State for a little electoral analysis.

We begin with election 2000. United States presidential contenders, Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush, held their second debate Wednesday night in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They addressed several issues, many of which were discussed last week during their first debate.

During that first face-off, Gore and Bush explained their stance on everything from education to international policy. On education, they disagreed about national testing in schools.


VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've also proposed a voluntary national test from the fourth grade and eighth grade.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can't have voluntary testing, you must have mandatory testing. You must say that if you receive money, you must show us whether or not children are learning to read and write and add and subtract.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BAKHTIAR: Economy was another major issue in the first debate. Gore says he supports middle class tax cuts, paying down the national debt and improving welfare reform. Bush says the nation's surplus belongs to the people. He says he wants to give 5 percent of the money coming into the Treasury back to taxpayers.

Gore and Bush also discussed international policy, specifically the presidential election in Yugoslavia. Both contenders were pleased with the election outcome, agreeing it was time for President Slobodan Milosevic to leave office, which he did last week.

Wednesday night, a new debate, a new forum. Vice President Gore and Gov. Bush faced off in debate No. 2 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This time, they sat at a table with a moderator rather than standing behind lecterns. Health care and international aid were among the issues discusses.

Bush and Gore agreed on one hot international topic: last year's bombing of Yugoslavia.


BUSH: I thought the president made the right decision in joining NATO in bombing Serbia. I supported them when they did so. I called upon the Congress not to hamstring the administration and in terms of forcing troop withdrawals on a timetable that wasn't in necessarily our best interests or fit our nation's strategy.

And so I think it's good public policy. I think it worked. And I'm pleased I took the -- made the decision I made. I'm pleased the president made the decision he made, because freedom took hold in that part of the world.

GORE: I've been kind of a hard-liner on this issue for more than eight years. When I was in the Senate before I became vice president, I was pushing for stronger action against Milosevic. He caused the deaths of so many people. He was the last Communist Party boss there. And then he became a dictator that, by some other label, he was still essentially a communist dictator.

And unfortunately now, he is trying to reassert himself in Serbian politics already. Just today, the members of his political party said that they were going to ignore the orders of the new president of Serbia, and that they questioned his legitimacy. And he's still going to try to be actively involved. He is an indicted war criminal. He should be held accountable.

BUSH: I believe we ought to have foreign aid, but I don't think we ought to just have foreign aid for the sake of foreign aid. I think foreign aid needs to be used to encourage markets and reform. I think a lot of times we just spend aid and say we feel better about it, and it ends up being spent the wrong way. And there's some pretty egregious examples recently, one being Russia, where we had IMF loans that ended up in the pockets of a lot of powerful people and didn't help the nation. I think the IMF has got a role in the world, but I don't want to see the IMF out there as a way to say to world bankers, if you make a bad loan, we'll bail you out.

GORE: I think one of the big issues here that doesn't get nearly enough attention is the issue of corruption. The governor mentioned it earlier. I've worked on this issue. It's an enormous problem. And corruption in official agencies, like militaries and police departments around the world, customs officials -- that's one of the worst forms of it. And we have got to, again, lead by example and help these other countries that are trying to straighten out their situations find the tools in order to do it.

BUSH: First, there's some who should be buying health care who choose not to. There's some...

JIM LEHRER, MODERATOR: Some of the 40 million?

BUSH: Some of the healthy folks.

LEHRER: Right.

BUSH: Healthy young kids say, I'll never get sick therefore I'm not going to have -- I don't need health care right now. And for those what I think we need to do is to develop an investment-type vehicle that would be an incentive for them to invest, like medical savings accounts with rollover capacity. In other words, you say to a youngster, it would be in your financial interest to start saving for future illness.

GORE: I want to proceed carefully to cover more people. But I think that we should start by greatly expanding the so-called Child Health Insurance, or CHIP, Program to give health insurance to every single child in this country. I think it's intolerable that we have so many millions of children without any health insurance. So it's one of my top priorities.


BAKHTIAR: Astronomers have made a scientific breakthrough with a new way of looking deep into space. They've come up with a prototype of an X-ray telescope so powerful it can see black holes in faraway galaxies.

A black hole is an extremely dense object at the center of a galaxy with such powerful gravitational pull that not even light can escape. That's why black holes are usually invisible to a conventional telescope that uses light. This new telescope captures X-rays generated by black holes as they swirl around, then computers process the data into images.

David George looks at why scientists think exploring black holes is so important.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAVID GEORGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Black holes: They are super-dense, super-compact, collapsed stars with gravity so strong that not even light can escape them. Long the obsession of science fiction writers, black holes are starting to yield their secrets to science.

Until now, astronomers believed that black holes came in two sizes: small and super-massive.

DOUGLAS RICHSTONE, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-ANN ARBOR: So the little black holes are the compact economy cars of the black hole world, and the big black holes are the jumbo luxury SUVs.

GEORGE: Now astronomers working with the Chandra X-ray observatory say they've found something new: a black hole that's more of a four-door sedan.

MARTIN WARD, UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER: What we've done is we've found a black hole that sits more or less in the middle in terms of its mass.

GEORGE: Found in a nearby galaxy called M82, the new black hole is at least 500 times the mass of our sun. Big for sure, but nowhere close to the really big ones, which are a million to a billion times the mass of the sun.

PHILIP KAARET, HARVARD SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS: So it's not just a little brother of the well-known super-massive black holes that we commonly find in galaxies. It's really something new.

GEORGE: And astronomers hope to find and study more mid-size black holes in the next few years. While they know how smaller black holes are formed, these new mid-sized ones should help scientists better understand the still-mysterious processes that form super- massive black holes.

ANDREA PRESWICH, HARVARD SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS: We think that, more or less, every galaxy has a super-massive black hole in the middle, OK? So understanding how these super-massive black holes form is crucial for understanding how galaxies form.

GEORGE: Galaxies, including our own Milky Way.

David George, CNN.


BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview," we travel to Great Britain, the United States and the Middle East. In Britain, controversy over cloning. And we find out why it's hard to top one golf course. We also visit the United States, where a superhero is boosting the image of young African-Americans.

But first, the Crisis in the Middle East. Clashes continued between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, but there's word of a possible breakthrough in the effort to end the violence. U.S., Israeli and Palestinian officials have agreed to meet. All sides have been here before, and so far no one is willing to budge on one of the major issues at the core of the conflict: religious conviction.

Garrick Utley explains.


GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Muslims praying on the top of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; Jews praying at the foot of the Mount. Two faiths, too little space.

And so religion impregnates politics, which begets violence: stones from the land of the Bible versus bullets, rubber and lead.

And what is this land, these 36 acres that ignite these passions? Well, down there on the west side of the Mount is a wall 60-feet high made of limestone blocks, all that is left of the retaining wall built two millennia ago, in King Herod's time, to hold up the Mount upon which the temple of the Jews, the second temple, was built. Archaeologists say that temple was one of the wonders of the world.

HERSCHEL SHANKS, BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY: It was a magnificent building. It was shimmering white. It was said that, if you looked at it directly, you would be blinded. It was decorated in gold.

UTLEY: The temple was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70, and the Temple Mount remained derelict while Christians nearby built their temple to Christ, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

And then, there was a totally new faith in town. In the seventh century, Muslims conquered Jerusalem and built a shrine on what became their holy site, too. They call it the Noble Sanctuary.

SHANKS: This, for the Arab Muslims, was the very place that Mohammed, on his steed, Borak, lifted up from this rock, under the Dome of the Rock, to Heaven.

UTLEY: Muslims placed their Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in order to outshine the nearby Christian Church -- religious one- upmanship.

(on camera): But then, religions have often been more interested in competing with each other than showing charity. When the crusaders conquered Jerusalem, they turned the Dome of the Rock into a church and put a cross on top of it. When the Muslims re-took the city, the cross came down.

(voice-over): For seven centuries, Muslims controlled Temple Mount, although Jews were allowed to pray beneath it. It was not until the Middle East War in 1967 when Israel occupied East Jerusalem, including Temple Mount, that Jews regained control of their holiest site: the old retaining wall of their temple.

SHANKS: This was the center of the universe, the navel. This is where Adam and Eve were created. This was where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac. Mount Moriah it's called in the Bible, but this became identified with this site.

UTLEY: For Jews and Muslims, a small piece of land that stands at the heart of their dispute, because the fight is not over 36 acres of sand and stone, it is over divisions deeply rooted in faith; divisions long on history and too short on compromise.

Garrick Utley, CNN.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: In recent years, the United States has been shocked and horrified by headlines screaming about kids, guns and violence.

Out in Kansas City, Kansas, a young entrepreneur has decided to do something about the spread of the problem. He's reaching out to kids through a medium they understand: comic books. This time they glorify a good-guy superhero named Omega Man.

Activist and artist Alonzo Washington is reaching out to kids in the community.

Rhonda Schaffler has the story.


ALONZO WASHINGTON, CO-OWNER, OMEGA 7: And maybe nobody in here has ever seen a gun for real. But has anybody in here seen a gun? OK, I'm shocked.

RHONDA SCHAFFLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alonzo Washington doesn't shock easily. Both he and his comic book creation, Omega Man, are street-wise and kid-savvy.

A. WASHINGTON: People criticize me a lot. They say, why do you deal with guns, gang violence, racism in your comic books? Well, kids nowadays have to deal with that.

SCHAFFLER: Omega Man is a black superhero who uses intelligence rather than violence to vanquish the forces of evil. He fights drugs and guns and gangs, the kind of things that these kids confront every day.

A. WASHINGTON: Going to school and getting shot, getting your clothes robbed, pregnancy, social disease: These are things that young children are dealing with in our day and age. And if we disarm them by not giving information or addressing these issues in a positive way, we're not doing a service for them.

How many people in here know about Omega Man?

SCHAFFLER: Washington himself could qualify as a superhero. The young man has taken on an enormous mission: fighting negative stereotypes of African Americans that these kids and most Americans see in the media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Usually when you see black people on TV, you usually see them killing and they're always the bad guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Usually you see African Americans on the TV, they're always committing a crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On TV, you mostly see black African Americans shooting up each other and having fights and riots on the streets.

A. WASHINGTON: You can't let what you see on television shape your mind. You have to begin to portray what is positive in your community. That's why it was very important to me as a young man to do these superheroes.

SCHAFFLER: From the time he was 4 years old, Washington loved comic books.

A. WASHINGTON: As I got a little bit older, I realized that I didn't see my image within them. When I saw the black characters, it was like, I don't want to be like that guy right there, because he was either the ex-con, the criminal, the athlete, or he just did whatever the white character wanted him to do.

SCHAFFLER: The young artist drew his own characters, made up stories, and built action figures. His mom encouraged and inspired him, teaching him morals and values. Comic books reinforced those lessons.

A. WASHINGTON: Comic books are the same story, good versus evil, morality versus immorality.

SCHAFFLER: Washington never studied art or publishing or marketing. He learned by doing. At 18, Washington experienced something that shaped his future. Watching TV news, he saw gang members being interviewed.

A. WASHINGTON: And I said, wow, this is the worst among us being interviewed for national television. And I wanted to do something to change that.

SCHAFFLER: Washington became an agent for change, first organizing the Black National Congress, a group of young black males doing positive things in the community, painting over gang graffiti and talking to school kids.

A. WASHINGTON: It kind of became a personal mission of my own to kind of even out that media coverage. As I became an activist, I learned how to talk to media, learned how to access media. And that helped me with my business.

SCHAFFLER: Omega Man leads the mission to change the way African Americans are portrayed in the media. Washington is an independent publisher financing his business, Omega 7, from his own pocket. The company is a true family enterprise.

DANA WASHINGTON, CO-OWNER, OMEGA 7: We started from the ground up.

SCHAFFLER: Dana is Alonzo's wife and business partner, editor, publicist, business manager, cheerleader, and muse.

D. WASHINGTON: He has characters that he hasn't even put down on paper, things that are still within his mind.

SCHAFFLER: Dana was the inspiration for Original Woman, a superwoman character.

A. WASHINGTON: I come from a long line, and being involved with strong black woman. So I had to put Original Woman out as a strong character. She could never be the back half of Omega Man. It just couldn't happen.

D. WASHINGTON: Sometimes I think I am a superwoman juggling the family, juggling the business, and then also trying to have a married life with your partner.

SCHAFFLER: Dana and their six kids often accompany Alonzo to schools and publicity events.

A. WASHINGTON: Making a marriage work and having that many kids is a real adventure. And it's more challenging than saving the world, I think.

I want them to see that you can have a good family, you can have morals, you can have a wife, and you can still be a cool person.

SCHAFFLER: The Omega 7 universe is ever expanding, now including comic books, a Web site, trading cards, and a line of action figures sold in national chains like Wal-Mart and Toys R Us.

Coming soon, public service announcements featuring an animated Omega Man. And the superhero and his pals may become movie superstars.

A. WASHINGTON: I want Omega Man to be the equivalent of any Caucasian superhero like a Superman, Batman -- a noble, righteous character. And that's what we're trying to do with Omega Man: give you a symbol that is African American, but it's 100 percent positive.

SCHAFFLER: For "Entrepreneurs Only," I'm Rhonda Schaffler, CNN Financial News.


BAKHTIAR: The birth of Dolly the sheep, the first clone of an adult mammal, attracted international attention in 1997, mainly because of the new medical and agricultural opportunities it provided. Cloning is the production of genetically identical animals by means of a process known as nuclear transfer. But the breakthrough raised many ethical concerns.

Countries differ widely in their perceptions of what is acceptable and what is not. For example, after Dolly's birth, Italy banned the cloning of any mammal, while a number of groups in the U.S. welcomed the technique. Now the British government has given scientists the green light to clone specialist cells known as stem cells to help find cures for previously untreatable diseases.

CNN's Jennifer Eccleston has more.


JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In London, an announcement that could lead to a revolution in medical science.

LIAM DONALDSON, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: The stem cell research opens up a new medical frontier. It offers enormous potential for new treatment for chronic disease and injuries and the relief of human suffering.

ECCLESTON: Stem cells are cells taken from embryos that are less than two weeks old. They're like blank slates that can potentially be turned into virtually any tissue in the human body, basically creating a supply of spare tissue that might repair or prevent damages from diseases like Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, and Parkinson's. The cloning of these cells would increase the supply and presumably speed up scientific research.

DIANA BROCKWAY, PARKINSON'S SUFFERER: I think that it's the first positive move other than the medication side of things. I don't know whether it will help the medication, but the actual surgical side of things I feel holds out a real hope.

ECCLESTON: Embryonic cloning with echoes of Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, is raising fears about the ethical issues involved.

DR. HELEN WATT, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SPOKESWOMAN: What's being recommended here is the very worst form of cloning, which is cloning so as to kill the clone for the sake of its stem cells. What we'd be doing is deliberately creating human lives so as to destroy them.

ECCLESTON: In the face of such criticism, the government will outlaw the possibility of human cloning for reproductive reasons, ensuring scientists are banned from possibly making a cloned baby.

DONALDSON: Any question of cloning full human beings is totally out of the question, abhorrent and illegal, and full safeguards will remain in place to prevent that.

ECCLESTON (on camera): While this controversial issue has a government stamp of approval, it still requires parliamentary debate, and that is expected to happen this autumn.

Jennifer Eccleston, CNN, London.


HAYNES: Get in the hole, get in the hole! Golf, like my game, has had its ups and downs over the centuries. Matter of fact, in Scotland in 1457, the sport was actually banned because King James II thought it was interfering with archery practice, of all things, a sport that was used in military training.

Well, now golf is reaching new heights in London, as Tom Mintier reports.


TOM MINTIER, CNN LONDON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): When most people talk about golf in the U.K., this is the image: the Old Course at St. Andrews.

In a city like London, there are few places to play golf. Just look at the skyline and you can see why. Getting out for a game of golf is one thing. How about going up for it -- way up? The top of this 30-story office building has a one-hole golf course for one day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bit closer in. That's it.

MINTIER: A publicity stunt by a company sponsoring next year's Ryder Cup. It comes complete with a water hazard, a sand trap -- supposedly some of the sand came from St. Andrews -- and a large green stapled to plywood.

It looked like a movie set, the two golfers posing for pictures wearing matching pinstripe suits. The caption could be, "Out for a game of golf on the lunch hour."

David Hudson designed the course, a one-hole par 2.

DAVID HUDSON, DESIGNER: There were some evil slopes out there that I don't think, unless you know what you're doing, you're going to conquer to easily.

MINTIER: Most shots look more like this, or this.

(on camera): In golf, just like rooftop golf, there is a difference between the practice tee and the real thing.

(voice-over): It is not easy. I shot a 3 and now know why I don't play golf for a living.

MATTHEW RICKARDS, TRAINEE SOLICITOR: It looks easy. It's quite a tricky little course because you've got a couple of obstacles there. You've got the bunker, you've got the water hazard.

MINTIER: Ah, yes, the water, and the sand. Playing golf up here does provide something you just can't find on any other course: a view of the city.

Tom Mintier, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BAKHTIAR: Now back to the U.S. presidential election; specifically the state of Missouri. That state voted for the presidential winner in every election of the 20th century with only two exceptions, 1900 and 1956. The polls show the race this year, at least for now, remains a tossup.

Here's Wolf Blitzer.


BUSH: And I know what's going to happen in Missouri come November.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The candidates have been regular visitors to Missouri.

GORE: Thank you. Thanks very much.

BLITZER: At stake: 11 electoral votes, which in a neck-and-neck battle, could be decisive.

KEN WARREN, ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY: I think that Missouri is the best bellwether state because its demographics reflect the nation as a whole quite well in terms of its urban/rural mix, in terms of its percent of minorities.

BLITZER: The minority population is centered in the major urban areas of St. Louis and Kansas City, which are typically Democratic, as is much of the northern part of the state. In contrast, the Ozarks in the southwest lean Republican. The southeastern part of the state historically has been split.

LARRY HARRIS, MASON-DIXON POLLING: Gore has got the urban areas of Kansas City and St. Louis leaning his way, not surprisingly. And the battleground for Missouri in that battleground state is going to be the southern part of the St. Louis suburbs, Gephardt's district, as well as the southeastern part of the state.

BLITZER: House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt has helped mobilize organized labor for Gore. And the unions are influential in getting out the vote out in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, which represent about half of the state's voters. That helps explain why Bill Clinton beat George Bush in this state by 44 to 34 percent in '92, with Ross Perot capturing 22 percent.

Clinton beat Bob Dole four years ago 48 percent to 41 percent, with Perot taking 10 percent of the vote. What could further help Gore this year is the extremely tight battle for the U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent John Ashcroft and the popular Democratic governor, Mel Carnahan.

GREG FREEMAN, "ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH": Neither of them has ever lost a race. And they are involved in a tooth-and-nail campaign.

HARRIS: They don't like each other in particular. And you could not find a better example of a disparity between positions. And that may help increase voter turnout.

WARREN: Lower socioeconomic-type voters tend to vote less than higher socioeconomic voters: the more affluent, the more educated. So the more you can get voters to turn out, and the more you can get voters who do not normally turn out to vote, the better it will be for the Democratic Party.


BAKHTIAR: Well, that's a wrap for us here on NEWSROOM. We'll see you tomorrow same time, same place. Bye.



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