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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for October 18, 2000

Aired October 18, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: NEWSROOM winding its way into Wednesday, everyone. Hi. Thanks for joining us. I'm Tom Haynes. Today we're about the business of peace, politics, pottery and populations. Here's a preview.

An agreement on the table but clashes in the streets. News from the Middle East tops today's show.

Then fire up the kiln. We'll meet artist and entrepreneur Rebecca Wood in "Business Desk."

We're on the move in "Worldview." Find out what the U.S. travel industry is doing to keep folks coming to America.

And they're still coming in "Chronicle." We'll talk immigration to a young American teen with roots in the former Soviet Union.

An emergency Middle East summit in Egypt ends with each side making concessions. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have agreed to a cease-fire aimed at ending almost three weeks of violence.

It took less than 24 hours start to finish for leaders at Sharm el-Sheikh to iron out the agreement. U.S. President Clinton helped broker the deal.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Both sides have agreed to issue public statements unequivocally calling for an end of violence. They also agreed to take immediate, concrete measures to end the current confrontation, eliminate points of friction, ensure an end to violence and incitement, maintain calm and prevent recurrence of recent events.


HAYNES: No handshakes or signatures sealed the Israeli- Palestinian deal. Instead, both sides gave their word to take steps toward ending the violence. Mr. Barak agreed to redeploy troops away from Palestinian areas. Chairman Arafat said he'll round up hundreds of Hamas and Islamic jihad activists released from Palestinian jails last week.

In the West Bank and Gaza, violence continued Tuesday despite the deal worked out in Egypt. The fighting claimed at least two more Palestinian lives.

The Middle East also discussed at the third and final U.S. presidential debate of election 2000. Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore met this time at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where they engaged in a town hall meeting. The audience was a group of undecided voters hand-picked by the Gallup organization who posed questions to the candidates. Among their concerns, the U.S. military and its state of readiness.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The mission must be clear. Soldiers must understand why we're going. The force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. And the exit strategy needs to be well-defined.

I'm concerned that we're overdeployed around the world. You see, I think the mission has somewhat become fuzzy.

Should I be fortunate enough to earn your confidence, the mission of the United States military will be to be prepared and ready to fight and win war, and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place.

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The United States has to be strong in order to make sure that we can help promote peace and security and stability, and that means keeping our military strong.

Now, I said earlier that we are the strongest military, but we need to continue improving readiness and making sure that our military personnel are adequately paid, and that the combination of their pay and their benefits and their retirement as veterans is comparable to the stiff competition that's coming in this strong economy from the private sector.

BUSH: I strongly believe in local control of schools. I'm a governor of a state and I don't like it when the federal government tell us what to do. I believe in local control of schools, but here's what I've said. I've said to the extent we spend federal money on disadvantaged children, we want the schools to show us whether or not the children are learning. What's unreasonable about that? We expect there to be standards met, and we expect there to be measurement. And if we find success, we'll praise it.

But when we find children trapped in schools that will not change and will not teach, instead of saying, oh, this is OK in America, just to shuffle poor kids through schools, there has to be a consequence.

GORE: More than 90 percent of America's children go to public schools. And it's the largest number ever this year, and they'll break the record next year and every year for 10 years running. We've got to do something about this. And local -- it's not enough to leave it up to the local school districts. They're not able to do it. And our future depends upon it.

Look, we're in an information age. Our economic future depends upon whether or not our children are going to get the kind of education that lets them go on to college.

BUSH: If you pay taxes, you ought to get tax relief. The vice president believes that only the right people ought to get tax relief. I don't think that's the role of the president to pick, you're right and you're not right.

I think if you're going to have tax relief, everybody ought to get it. And therefore wealthy people are going to get it. But the top 1 percent will end up paying one-third of the taxes in America and they get one-fifth of the benefits. And that's because we've structured the plan so that 6 million additional American families pay no taxes.

GORE: Under my plan, we will balance the budget every year. I'm not just saying this. I'm not just talking. I have helped to balance the budget for the first time in 30 years, pay down the debt. And under my plan, in four years, as a percentage of our gross domestic product, federal spending will be the smallest that it has been in 50 years. One reason is -- you know, the third biggest spending item in our budget is interest on the national debt. We get nothing for it. We keep the good faith and credit of the United States. I will pay down the debt every single year, until it is eliminated.


HAYNES: Well, the two U.S. presidential candidates had plenty to say about the economy, so imagine what it would be like to start your own business. For many people, it's a dream worth pursuing even though it may be the biggest risk they ever take. An entrepreneur is an individual who starts his or her own business. Entrepreneurs often commit their own money and endless hours to make sure their business is profitable.

So, what does it take to run a small business?

Kathy Nellis has the story of hands-on experience from an artist turned entrepreneur.


KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s an unlikely spot to find world famous designs: an old produce warehouse in the foothills of Athens, Georgia. Yet in this building, Rebecca Wood has build a ceramics business into a global success.

REBECCA WOOD, ARTIST: Well we started out in `91 and I think we did $12,000 that year, which is like, you know, blowing my mind at the time. Now we're up to about $300,000 a year. So we`re big.

NELLIS: Big yet homey. Ten other artists, kindred spirits of creativity, work along with her. They roll out the red Georgia clay, cut it and shape it into plates and bowls, vases and more.

WOOD: When employees get hired here, they really get turned on to the creativity and the openmindedness. And I think there's a lot more for people here than just getting a pay check. Everyone really enjoys the creative environment.

NELLIS: R-Wood Studio is now one of the country`s largest producers of high-end handmade ceramics. But Wood came to it slowly after years of working in other mediums.

WOOD: My whole life I`ve done creative things. I`ve always, you know, taken stain glass classes and fabric painting, you know, and just every kind of class you can take I`ve done it. But I never had any interest in ceramics because every time I went to a, you know, art ceramic sale or something, everything was brown: brown casseroles, brown mugs, brown everything, and I'm like, who in the world would want to do ceramics? It`s so brown.

NELLIS: Than she began experimenting with different colors. Now, it`s one of her trademarks.

WOOD: Everything in nature inspires me. Colors inspire me.

NELLIS: Shades like ocean and olive, wheat and meadow, to name just a few. They get ideas from their gardens and the four seasons. But natural colors are just part of the appeal. Wood says there is a growing appetite for homemade goods.

WOOD: I think it`s got more of a feeling of something you want to -- you know, you're going to cherish and, you know, use everyday and appreciate. And, you know, you`ll love it the more you have it and it adds beauty to your life and you know you're going to want to hang on to it and pass it down to your kids because it`s something you`ve always used and loved.

NELLIS: Before customers could pass on these heirlooms, Wood had to hang on to her dream.

WOOD: Usually every year I go through a big crisis about, you know, this is just insane, you know, the amount of stress. You know, we don`t seem to be able to get our cash flows lined up. And I just think, you know, maybe I`ll just go back to being a, you know, plain old painter, you know, go back to that. But I don`t know. I never can quit.

NELLIS: Running your own business takes perseverance and patience and plenty of energy. Her advice to entrepreneurs is to get your name out there through word of mouth, creative marketing, whatever you can think of.

WOOD: One thing we do is donate a lot to -- there's lots of auctions around here for Humane Society and Historical Society and various things. And we always donate because there's always a lot of, you know, social minded people there or, you know, people that will talk about you or whatever. And they see your work and it makes you look good. And we enjoy being able to do that because we can`t give money, but, you know, we can donate something. You have to really be smart about your marketing.

NELLIS: And that leads to one of her biggest tips: take advantage of the help that`s out there.

WOOD: One good resource is the Small Business Administration. If you don`t know anything and you need help, they give free help on any level, either from starting your business or how to get out of the hole you`ve gotten yourself into or how to read your profit/loss sheet. You know, I`m just starting to take advantage of them. Just educate yourself as much as you can.

NELLIS: Like crafting pottery, building a business is a step-by- step process. You have to brush up on the basics, have a vision, and stay focused.

WOOD: That chartreuse turned out perfect. I love how that looks.

NELLIS: As Rebecca Wood knows, you`ll learn to smooth out the rough edges along the way.

WOOD: We are promoting beauty every day here and I want people to know that they can come here and get something that they will enjoy every day that will make their life better, more enjoyable, add beauty to it. And it`s all unique.

NELLIS (on-camera): The finished pieces are eye-catching with their bold colors and whimsical designs. They were shaped by skilled hands and by a dream.

WOOD: I don`t think I could ever have a regular job again or have to work for somebody else, although I've thought it might be nice to get an actual, regular pay check, because I've basically freelanced my whole life. And, you know, that`s a whole different way of living than knowing you`ve got X amount of dollars coming next Friday. But, you know, I wouldn`t really trade it. I mean the freedom that I have to do what I want and be as creative as I want or not go to work if I feel like it, you know, instead spend the day with my kids. I mean, I wouldn`t trade that for anything.

NELLIS: Kathy Nellis, CNN, Athens, Georgia.


HAYNES: Asia and North America getting our attention in "Worldview" today. We travel to the United States to find out about travel. What does it take to lure tourists, anyway? And from the travel market to the marketplace, we go to South Korea where something's fishy and China's in hot water. Plus, row, row, row your boat: an ancient Chinese sport makes a comeback.

The United States and China are on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles apart. But distance is no barrier to the spread of culture. We head now to California, site of a recent competition based on an ancient Chinese sport. It's called dragon boat racing. Dragons are part of the folklore in many European and Asian cultures. And while the dragon is often portrayed as a fearsome beast, in China it's more often a symbol of good luck and wealth.

But don't count on luck to come out the winner in dragon boat racing.

Don Knapp has more on a sport that's enjoying a revival.


DON KNAPP, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty paddles hit the water and pull in rhythm to the beat of a drum. Sixty-nine teams, men and women, competed in Foster City for the Northern California dragon boat championships, 22 people to a boat: 20 with paddles, one at the helm, and a drummer.

The sport may trace its origins to China in the third century B.C., but today's dragon boaters are multiracial, both sexes and all ages.


PADDLERS: Dieselfish.

KNAPP: The women's team, Dieselfish, shows spirit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you row?




KNAPP: Eleven-year-old Lianna Leal has been racing for three years and knows what it takes to win.

LIANNA LEAL, DRAGON BOAT RACER: A lot of power and time and attention, I guess. You have to pay attention to everybody else on the boat.

LINDA SHEAR, DRAGON BOAT RACER: It takes a lot of teamwork.

KNAPP (on camera): Does it really? Is that just something you say?

SHEAR: No, one paddle's off, the boat slows down.

KNAPP: For some, dragon boat racing is just for fun. But for many, it's a serious, strenuous team support worthy of consideration as an Olympic event.

(voice-over): The team that won this heat came from the Philippines: members of the Philippine navy.

ROGIE REARIO, PHILIPPINE NAVY TEAM: Actually, we are looking forward to having this sport in the Olympics. And for a country like the Philippines, which is surrounded by a lot of water, we should excel in water sports.

KNAPP: With 22 people working together, dragon boat racing could become the ultimate team sport.

Don Knapp, CNN, Foster City, California.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: You've seen how Chinese culture is spreading, but that's not all that's spreading. In our next story, South Korea wants to stop what's coming in from China. In this case, it's contaminated food. South Koreans were recently shocked to discover lead pellets in their sea food.

Sohn Jie-Ae reports from South Korea's capital and largest city, Seoul.


SOHN JIE-AE, CNN SEOUL BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): These inspectors aren't looking for firearms hidden in fish, they are looking for lead. Quarantine officials found crabs and blowfish imported from China filled with lead pellets. Officials said they believe the lead was used to make the imports heavier and therefore more expensive.

A one-week search of major South Korean ports uncovered nearly 500 pounds of lead in Chinese exotic blowfish and nearly 200 pounds in blue crab.

Environmental groups are outraged and are calling for an overhaul of the country's quarantine inspections. Now metal detector sweeps have become commonplace in many South Korean fish markets.

(on camera): After the shocking discovery, some consumers have stopped buying fish entirely, and many are being much more careful about what they buy.

(voice-over): Here at the country's biggest fish market, both consumers and merchants are concerned.

"It's been a long while since I've bought fish," says this housewife, "and I'm going to bring it back if I find lead in it."

Others only buy crabs that are alive.

"If they were filled with lead, I guess they wouldn't be crawling around like that, would they," says this woman.

This merchant says she lost about half of her business following initial reports of the lead discovery. Ever since, she has to assure her customers that her crabs are fresh and free from lead.

But even with metal detectors and promises of stricter quarantine inspections, many agree it will take a long time for consumers to fully recover from the lead scare. Sohn Jie-Ae, CNN, Seoul.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: This nation is the third largest country in the world in population. Only China and India have more people. It's also the fourth largest country in area. Size-wise it comes behind Russia, Canada and China. It covers the entire midsection of North America and also includes Alaska and Hawaii.

Can you name this country? It's the United States of America, a country that is as varied as it is vast. Think of its snow-capped mountains, fertile prairies and sandy beaches. These are only a few of the qualities which attract tourists from around the world.

The American travel industry says international visitors stay longer and spend more money than American tourists so they're trying to lure more visitors from abroad.

Jim Morelli explains.


JIM MORELLI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): France has one. So does Britain, Australia and even Aruba. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't have a national tourism board, and it may be costing the American travel industry billions. That's mainly because of the way international visitors take their vacations.

CONNIE NEELEY, GEORGIA DEPT. OF INDUSTRY, TRADE AND TOURISM: When they come over the United States, their average duration of their trip is about 17.8 days. During that time, certainly you can spend quite a bit of money.

MORELLI: Until now, states have managed their own international marketing. But now the Travel Industry Association of America is getting in on the act. In recent months, it opened travel offices in London and Sao Paulo. Its first promotional effort, planned for the fall, will center on America as a skiing destination: diverse, cheap, and with no shortage of snow.

International travel to the United States surged in the early '90s but in recent years has leveled off. More people are traveling these days. The problem for American companies is they're going someplace else -- to Spain, for example, which ranks as a favorite international destination, or Australia, which spends near $100 million on self-promotion.

By comparison, TIA's effort will be a modest, even tiny one: about $3.5 million to start. And though not every state will benefit from the skiing campaign, the overall help is welcomed nonetheless.

NEELEY: I think that any type of really focussed and deliberate activity overseas is critical to this country. And if it helps this country and brings people over to the country first, then it's our job to market the state so that we benefit from those efforts.

MORELLI: If it works, more overseas visitors will be sampling the American life this year, and, the travel industry hopes, coming back for seconds.

Jim Morelli, CNN, Atlanta.


HAYNES: Today we continue our look at immigration trends. For centuries, people have come to the United States seeking freedom from, among other things, political repression, religious persecution and economic hardship. Some seek not just to escape, but a better life for the next generation as well.

Joel Hochmuth met with one such family.


JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York City remains one of the most ethnically diverse places on Earth. For about two centuries now, it has been the first stop for millions of immigrants coming to a new land. Still today, it has the largest foreign-born population of any city in the United States.

Now a new generation of immigrants is calling New York home. And if it's true each one has a story to tell, then high school senior Yelena Pilsova is no exception. She and her sister Aksana (ph) are Russian. They immigrated to the United States nine years ago.

YELENA PILSOVA, AGE 17: That my parents came here and made that sacrifice is very special to me. And I'm very thank to that, you know, because they're giving me and my little sister a better opportunity. They saved -- I guess they protected our lives, saved our lives and sacrificed a lot for us, and I'm very grateful.

HOCHMUTH: Yelena and her family come from the country of Uzbekistan, once part of the former Soviet Union. As Russians, they were a minority living among the Muslim Uzbeks, the ethnic majority. The family was forced to leave in 1991 when Uzbekistan declared its independence and violence broke out between the two groups.

PILSOVA: And there was gunshots and people -- Uzbeks were threatening people to leave. My dad's Jewish, my mom is Christian so we -- they were threatened, they were scared for us. So that's what basically it was, that it was a dangerous situation to live there.

HOCHMUTH: At first, adjusting to life in the United States wasn't easy. Fortunately, Yelena quickly met Natalia Obchenikova (ph), also an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, who is still her best friend today.

PILSOVA: Over the years, we became really good friends. She showed me -- she introduced me to other people and she's the one, basically, that made my language better. She comforted me, you know, she made me feel welcome because I didn't have much friends and she was very help -- she was a very good help.

Third grade I came here and I had no English at all, I had no friends, and I didn't understand a word anybody was saying. I just felt so outcast. And then -- just I felt lonely, you know.

HOCHMUTH: Today, that's all changed. Yelena is a typical street-savvy teenager growing up in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens. And like so many American kids, her favorite destination is the mall. Although she's lived in the United States for half her life now, the variety here still blows her away.

PILSOVA: This mall is nothing compared to where I've been. And I've been to a store where maybe there's like five shirts and two pants, you know. And, like, this mall is like wow. I have like a variety of stores I could go into and just choose anything. It's overwhelming.

HOCHMUTH: As is true for many immigrant families, the transition to American life has been much more difficult for the parents. Yelena's dad is a college graduate who swallowed his pride and gave up his job as a hotel manager to drive cabs in New York. He still struggles with English so Yelena provides the translation.

VLADIMIR PILSOVA, FATHER (through translator): This choice was made for my kids. And it is much more easier for my kids now than it is for my wife and me.

HOCHMUTH: Yelena's mom also earned a college degree in Uzbekistan but went back to school in the U.S. to become a nurse. Although her English is improving, she insists Yelena speak Russian when she's around her. This trip to a Russian grocery is a good example.


My mom and my dad, they both make it clear for me that they want me to speak Russian at home because they don't want me to forget my language. And it is important, first of all, just not to forget my, you know, my part, where I came from. And it's also important because it's an advantage to know more than one language.

HOCHMUTH: Despite her Russian heritage, Yelena says she considers herself an American now. Of course, ask her dad that question and you get a different answer.

(on camera): Do you consider yourself a Russian or an American?

V. PILSOVA (through translator): Russian.

HOCHMUTH (voice-over): Despite that sentiment, both parents say they made the right choice in brining Yelena here.


Y. PILSOVA: He left everything he loves there, but yet he came here for his daughters and this is a good life for us. And he doesn't regret it because he did it for us and life is going good, and he doesn't regret it for that reason.

TATIANA PILSOVA, MOTHER: You can make your life better just in your hands, especially we will change for our children. So if our children happy, we're happy too.

HOCHMUTH: Yelena is looking forward to college and dreams of a career in journalism. But most of all, she wants to make good on the opportunity she's been given.

T. PILSOVA: I think she's special, though, and I hope she gets a good life in future. I always think she can be famous, if she will try, of course.

Y. PILSOVA: I want to grow up and I want to get a good career and I want to thank them and I want to make them proud.


HAYNES: People like Yelena continuing to broaden the ethnic diversity of the U.S. makes us smarter about other cultures.

That's NEWSROOM today. Have a good one, guys, and join us tomorrow. See you.



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