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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for November 2, 2000

Aired November 2, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Here's a look at what's ahead.

Topping today's show, U.S. presidential politics.

Up next, a science lesson after dark. We get night vision in our "Daily Desk."

Then "Worldview" marches into China to confront an army of terra cotta warriors.

And finally we "Chronicle" the lives of the Vikings.

In the final days of the United States presidential race, the front-runners are making their way across the battleground states. The scramble for votes Wednesday led Texas Gov. George W. Bush to Minnesota and Vice President Al Gore to Florida.

Gore and his running mate Sen. Joe Lieberman double-teamed in Florida hoping to win support in a state where Bush's brother is governor. Gore told voters that Bush's plan for Social Security would threaten the program.


VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Instead of a system where everyone is in it together, the Bush plan would turn Social Security into a grab bag where everyone is out for himself.


BAKHTIAR: Gore left Florida for Pennsylvania. Bush, meanwhile, held rallies in Minnesota before flying to Iowa. No Republican has won Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972, and polls show it's a tight race there this year. Bush described Gore as a big spender.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You add it all up and you get a $2 trillion spending spree over 10 years, about $20,000 per family spent on more government. His is a plan of spending without discipline, spending without priorities and spending without an end.


BAKHTIAR: When it comes to spending on housing, many families are having to dig deeper and deeper into their pockets. While the booming economy has benefited many, some people in the market for housing are having a hard time. And the rising cost of homes and rent will be on the minds of some voters as they cast their ballots for president.

Mike Boettcher has the story.


MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A busy life in a bustling economy:


BOETTCHER: Children to get dressed...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, little momma.

BOETTCHER: ... a wife's last minute touch-ups before work, a quick breakfast before this family of five heads in five directions.

Aaron Craig (ph), husband, father, veteran, vacuum cleaner salesman, again considers himself middle class after a lean year when he had to quit his job to take care of the family's newborn baby.

A hurried good-bye, then three stops...


BOETTCHER: ... one at school, one at day care, the last at work. Yes, Aaron Craig feels like he has it all: three great kids, a decent income, and even a little extra money in his pocket. Plus a great city in which to live, Denver. Yes, everything, with one major exception: a home.

Right now, the roof over his head is a homeless shelter; has been for the last few days since the family depleted its savings over the past half year paying for temporary housing while they searched for a decent, affordable place to live.

(on camera): You figure both spouses are working, people say, no one's going to have a problem finding a house. But you're having a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And with both of us working, I thought it would be easy, too, but it's not.

BOETTCHER (voice-over): And it's not nationwide. Aaron's dilemma is shared by millions of other Americans who live in cities with booming economies. Jobs are plentiful, incomes are up, but housing is up even more; in Denver, 100 percent higher in the past 10 years, compared to a 40 percent rise in incomes during the same period.

Many wage earners in the middle to lower middle class income bracket say they can't find affordable housing, defined as a place to live that costs no more than a third of a family's gross income.

Denver's statistics represent a bleak nationwide picture. A $30,600 annual household income is needed for an average two bedroom apartment; $42,480 for a three bedroom. A renter working a 40-hour work week would need to earn almost $15 an hour to afford the average two-bedroom apartment in Denver; more than $20 an hour for a three- bedroom. Bottom line, 44 percent of Denver's renter can't afford an average two-bedroom apartment; 58 percent if it's a three bedroom.

The problem is getting worse, and city fathers worry it could threaten Denver's economic expansion.

JOHN PARVENSKY, COLORADO COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS: We hear from employers that -- who may want to relocate to this area, that unless they can find the supply of affordable housing for the workers, it's not going to be economically feasible for them to move here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your price range you want to stay within?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to stay between $800 and $1,000 a month.

BOETTCHER: Despite the grim statistics stacked against him, Aaron carries on his search as he has for six months, relentlessly. He is sure he will eventually find a place, but he is frustrated.

BOETTCHER (on camera): You growing weary of this search?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does get tiring, but, you know, I've got to think of my children, you know. Got to get them somewhere to, you know, a place to call their own home. So that's what gives me my inspiration to keep going.

BOETTCHER (voice-over): One last stop, a vacant house. He'll call the owner. Maybe his luck will change. Maybe he'll get it before the next guy. But in Denver, the Coalition for the Homeless says there are 60,000 next guys.

At the end of a long day, Aaron has one question for the candidates for the president of the United States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I'd really ask him, what is he going to do for a middle-class family that falls into an unfortunate situation, that's trying to better them self and get back into a home? What would they do for a person that's in my situation? because there's a lot of us out here.

BOETTCHER: For Aaron Craig, one breadwinner in a family with two, the father of three and no place to live, it is the issue that will decide his vote.

Mike Boettcher, CNN, Denver.


BAKHTIAR: In our "Science Desk," we look to the stars as we learn a bit about astronomy. Astronomy is the science that studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies. Stars are naturally luminous spheres of gas, mostly made up of hydrogen.

Now, the universe contains billions of galaxies, and each galaxy contains billions of stars. The stars we can see without any special instruments are all in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. But in our next story, some stargazers get a bit of help on an unusual science trip.

Ann Kellan takes us along for the ride.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Usually you want to see the rocks you're about to hit, but with night-vision goggles, relatively calm waters and seasoned guides, night rafting can be a safe and fun trip.

It all starts with a half-hour bus ride from Vail. Our CNN crew joined a five-hour, $89 tour...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scenery's unbelievable...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... in this area in particular.

KELLAN: ... headed for an area along the upper Colorado river.

DARRYL BANGERT, OWNER, LAKOTA RIVER GUIDES: I got it. You want to be very careful. Well, not that careful.

KELLAN: Darryl Bangert came up with the combination night rafting and star-watching tour three years ago after looking through a pair of night-vision goggles in a dark room.

BANGERT: And then I could see everything, and I was absolutely blown away.

KELLAN: The tour is easy. The guides do all the work.

BANGERT: We took the paddles away from the people with the goggles, and we don't let them chew gum. I mean, you can only do so many things at once.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you find the day...

KELLAN: There's a quick stargazing lesson from astronomer Jimmy Westlake (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scorpion looks like a big fish hook. You'll notice it's one of the few constellations that actually looks a little bit like what it's supposed to be.

KELLAN (on camera): So we don't get quizzed at the end of this...

BANGERT: No -- yes, well, actually we are. If you can't identify the North Star by the end of the trip, you have to walk home.

KELLAN: So, what do you think of this idea of going at night, though?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be cool.



KELLAN (voice-over): Once we don the waterproof gear...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are ready. We're going exploring, buddy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Using this right here, this is the focus.

KELLAN: ... and get night vision scopes...

MARCY WALSH, ITT INDUSTRIES NIGHT VISION: What it does is it takes available light, very minute amounts of light, and it amplifies it millions of times so that you can see like it's daylight at night.

KELLAN: ... we're off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, this is the Titanic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fellows, you all see the beaver?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See the beaver lodge, Cole (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do they live in little families or they live pretty much independent?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have families.

BANGERT: They have families and they mate for life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us what these are again?

BANGERT: Killer swallows. Blood-sucking, vampire swallows.

KELLAN (on camera): They are not!

BANGERT: You see them all along rivers of the entire Southwest.

KELLAN: So are we getting an exciting rafting tour, or is it more of a relaxing, look-at-nature tour?

BANGERT: It's more of the relaxing, look at nature.

KELLAN: OK, now our photographer will switch to the special night scope. Let's take a look at the sky.

BANGERT: Like, this is without it...



BANGERT: ... and then this is with it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You throw a button down it brightens up.


KELLAN: Now it's dark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't see a thing.

KELLAN: I guess it's the time for those night goggles, huh?

(voice-over): There's a half-hour stop to find constellations.

(on camera): Now, what constellation do you think you'll always remember?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scorpion tail over there.

KELLAN (voice-over): Some catch a shooting meteor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, see that? Cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, you could hold about 1,000 of those things in the cupped palm of your hand.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We saw the Big Dipper...

KELLAN (on camera): Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... saw the North Star.


BANGERT: Are you ready?


KELLAN (voice-over): Then it's back in the boat for the trip's rapid last leg in the dark.

BANGERT: Hang on, girls.

KELLAN: Ann Kellan, CNN, on the Colorado River.


BAKHTIAR: Now "Worldview" examines the environment. We'll head to India where work has finally started on a large dam project after a long and contested delay. Then it's man versus beast in Russia. Can Siberian tigers live in harmony with people? And we'll uncover buried treasure from China's past. It's also being plagued by environmental difficulties.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: China is home to more people than any other country in the world. Its written history dates back 3,500 years. The Chinese were the first people to develop the compass, paper, porcelain and silk cloth. But perhaps something most identifiable with the communist country is the Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall is one of the largest construction projects mankind has ever carried out. It stretches more than 1,500 miles, or 2,400 kilometers. And with all its winding branches, it's even longer.

Why was the Great Wall built in the first place? Well, as early as the 7th century B.C., many kingdoms within China wanted to protect their borders from invasion, so, over hundreds of years they constructed the Great Wall as a means of defense.

Today, archaeologists continue to study and explore this ancient structure, which brings us to today's story. Chinese authorities say one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century is under threat. And like the Great All, it's a monumental feat of construction.

Mike Malloy reports on the Terra Cotta Army.


MIKE MALLOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than 2,000 years, the army of terra cotta warriors stood as silent sentinels at the tomb of China's first emperor. The terra cotta warriors were commissioned by Qin Shihuang, a feudal warlord who conquered his rivals to unify China in 221 B.C. From the moment he declared himself emperor, Qin ordered work begun on his tomb. Historians say 700,000 conscripts worked for 36 years on the project, and when they were done they had created more than 8,000 statues of horses and warriors to protect Qin in the afterlife.

At the same time, Qin's conscripts were working on another project for which he is widely credited: creation of the Great Wall of China. But it was the Terra Cotta Army that he chose as his own memorial. For 2,000 years, the warriors were shielded by the clay- like terrain that surrounds the area near the Chinese city of Xi'an.

Then, in the early 1970s, a farmer reported to officials that he had found a stone man buried in his field. Subsequent excavations uncovered thousands of life-size statues of soldiers and horses.

That army is now under siege. Chinese authorities say more than 40 different species of fungal mold have attacked about 1,400 of the statues. China has asked the Belgian pharmaceutical company, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, for help. The researchers plan to study the problem for about a year before providing chemicals to kill the mold. Without the project, one of China's most significant archaeological discoveries would be destroyed.

Mike Malloy, CNN.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And now a little something for all you cat lovers out there. We head to Russia's far East for a closer look at the Siberian tiger.

The Siberian tiger is the largest living cat in the world. But this feline isn't your typical house variety. Siberian males can weigh up to 675 pounds, or 306 kilograms, and they can grow up to 12 feet. That's over three-and-a-half meters from their heads to the tips of their tales.

They have an imposing presence, but the Siberian tiger is an endangered species. In fact, there are only a few hundred of them still surviving in the wild. This is primarily because of poaching and the loss of their natural habitat.

Gary Strieker reports now on the newest danger facing Siberian tigers and the international effort to save them.


GARY STRIEKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scientists estimate about 400 Siberian tigers still survive in the wild, almost all of them here in the Sikhote-Alin mountain range in Russia's far East.

Among the world's tigers, the Siberian is the largest and the only tiger adapted to living in northern temperate forests.

(on camera): Siberian tigers have survived mainly because of the sheer size of their habitat:large blocks of unfragmented forest like this with a low density of human population.

(voice-over): Seventy years ago because of hunting pressure, Siberian tigers were nearly extinct. But under decades of Soviet wildlife management, they recovered.

JOHN GOODRICH, WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY: Communism was wonderful for tigers. It provided them with a very high level of protection. STRIEKER: That protection fell apart when the Soviet Union collapsed. With open borders and slack enforcement of wildlife laws, Russian poachers began supplying a growing demand in Asian markets for tiger skins and for tiger body parts used in traditional medicines.

In just a few years, more than a third of Russia's tigers were wiped out.

Authorities here have used intensified patrols and roadblocks to curb the killings, but the director of this reserve says they're now dealing with highly organized, professional hunters. And without better-equipped anti-poaching brigades and more severe penalties, he warns, poaching will continue.

The tigers are dangerous to local people and their livestock, but conservationists believe the best way to save the tigers is to gain support for them in towns and villages here.

Meanwhile, Russian and American researchers in the Siberian tiger project continue their field work, fitting radio collars on captured tigers. They've learned Siberian tigers need so much territory that existing parks and protected reserves are far too small for them. So they've developed a plan that would safeguard all existing tiger habitat, even outside parks and reserves, where tigers and people would have to continue to coexist. They say it's the only way Siberian tigers can survive.

Gary Strieker, CNN, in the Sikhote-Alin reserve, Russia.


WALCOTT: Our next stop, one of the most populous nations in the world. This country has over one billion people. Its people belong to a variety of ethnic groups and speak hundreds of dialects and languages. The national language, however, is Hindi. Can you name this country? Well, it's India, one of the largest and most densely populated countries in the world.

Some of those people could soon be displaced by a huge project: a dam being built in India. The project is controversial. Protesters say the dam will submerge the homes of tens of thousands of people and destroy fragile ecosystems. Supporters say it will provide drinking water for irrigation for millions in a drought-prone area.

Suhasini Haider has more.


SUHASINI HAIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Celebrations in the western state of Gujrat as the government cheers a supreme court decision that will allow it to continue building the Sardar Sarover Dam.

The dam, built on the River Narmada, has been cause for large- scale protests in this state for the past 15 years. Activists who filed the lawsuit against raising this dam say they are stunned by the decision of the nation's highest court.

MEDHA PATKAR, ANTI-DAM ACTIVIST: The court has been misled by the various governments who filed false affidavits, from federal land availability or on rehabilitation of the already affected people. The court has maybe played into their hands.

SUHASINI: Sardar Sarovar is the largest of 3,200 dams that form India's largest dam project. It is being built in a region that suffers from severe water shortages each year. Those opposing the dam claim that it'll displace thousands of people, who they say will be forced out of their villages. The government says the project will provide millions of people with drinking water and electricity, benefits that outweigh the problems of relocating some of the population.

The multibillion-dollar project will affect people in the three western Indian states of Gujrat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Construction on the dam will now resume after a gap of six years.

JAI NARAYAN VYAS, GUJRAT STATE IRRIGATION MINISTER: We are happy that our stand has been vindicated and more happy that, from tomorrow, we shall be able to start the construction.

SUHASINI: The court's decision is a blow to the anti-dam movement in India. Activists say they will now appeal to the Indian president to intervene, asking him to stop the dam's construction.

Suhasini Haider, CNN, New Delhi.


BAKHTIAR: The U.S. presidential election is just days away, so today we "Chronicle" a program that seeks to educate students on the electoral process.

The National Student/Parent Mock Election is the largest voter education project in this country. The program reaches out to more than 6 million parents and students around the United States, involving them in registration drives, policy forums and debates.

CNN Student Bureau reporter Renee King has more.


BUSH: They can't say where it went, they only know it was somehow spent.

RENEE KING, CNN STUDENT BUREAU REPORTER (voice-over): The presidential elections are just days away. And as the electorate tries to decide who will get their vote, hundreds of students across the country are doing the same. And while many of the nation's young people are seen as apathetic to the electoral process, students at the DeKalb School of Arts in Georgia have some very clear opinions about the issues this year, like education.

JESSICA ASHNER, AGE 17: I think that you shouldn't get vouchers to go to private school. They have so much money anyway.

RHYAN MINTER, AGE 17: If school vouchers are made available to any and everyone regardless of need or whatever, you'll have parents who are willing -- who want to put their children in a private school just to promote a homogeneous environment, because they're afraid of the diversity at their public school.

KING: Then there's the environment.

LAUREN DOLLAR, AGE 15: I think that the reason we made Alaska a national reserve is so that things like drilling for oil wouldn't happen. And I think it's absolutely gorgeous up there and it would just ruin it completely.

KING: Now, although these students may seem more informed than your average voter, they do admit that without the mock election process they probably would have just ignored what was going on.

CRYSTAL ALEXANDER, AGE 16: It kind of puts a little pressure on me to actually know who I'm voting for, so I have to watch the debates and I have to be interested in, you know, a presidential candidate. So it helps me when I'm actually able to vote to be more ready for it.

CHRISTOPHER LEE CARTHAN, AGE 15: Even if this is just a mock election, I have a chance even to let my voice, to let my opinion be voiced. And so while I have this chance, let me go on ahead and do it, because once upon a time I didn't have that chance.

Renee King for CNN.


BAKHTIAR: Be sure to check out today. It'll be hosting a live webcast from noon to 8:00 p.m. Eastern featuring the National Student/Parent Mock Election and Youth e-Vote. Our very own Tom Haynes will serve as host, so be sure to click on.

Now we go back in time, a thousand years back to the time of the Vikings. They descended from Germanic people who once inhabited northwestern Europe. Beginning about 2000 B.C., those ancestors migrated to the area that's now Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Each of those places gave rise to a separate group of Vikings, but all Vikings shared a similar culture.

And as archaeologists are finding out, there's a lot more to that society than they once believed.


(voice-over): The mention of the word "Viking" conjures up images of raiding and pillaging. This is most certainly not what comes to mind. Yet archaeological excavations have brought about a new appreciation of the Vikings as a people: colorful, talented, crafty, even peaceful.

Most Vikings lived a serene life as farmers and fisherman. Many of the tools they made are still being used today.

SIGRED CALLAND, CHIEF CURATOR, BERGEN HISTORICAL MUSEUM: I think it's very noticeable that these hooks are made more or less in the same way that modern fishing hooks are made today.

BAKHTIAR (on camera): That looks like something we see today.

CALLAND: Yes, that's an axe, right? An axe was one of the most common -- most commonly used for everything in daily life, and especially when you're going to make a ship or a small boat. Then it was the axe which was the most needed artifact.

BAKHTIAR (voice-over): The Norse were astute politicians, democrats who founded the world's oldest surviving parliament, Iceland's Althing, while other parts of world were mired in feudalism.

Here, against the backdrop of this magnificent rocky breach known as Thingvellir, Iceland's democracy began in 930. Viking chieftain- priests gathered here to proclaim laws and settle disputes.

Diligent craftsmen, the Vikings distinguished themselves as master metalworkers, fashioning exquisite jewelry from silver, gold and bronze.

MARGARET VEA, AVALDNESS PROJECT MANAGER: The most typical Viking object is these broaches, or tortuals (ph), as we call them. Inside these I could also put perfumed cloves so I would smell nice when I moved.

BAKHTIAR: For it's age, it seemed an enlightened society with it's women free to divorce and often holding great power in the homelands when the men were abroad.

VEA: We can see that through the graves. The graves of the women are as expensive as the grave burials or the burial mounds of the men.

BAKHTIAR: Shrewd traders, these artifacts lend proof that Vikings not only traded with countries in Europe, but even went as far as Asia.

CALLAND: And it's also interesting because these high-status women, they had also very precious jewels. And this jewelry came from abroad. Very much of it is Irish or English or Scottish. So it shows that they themselves and their husbands have been abroad trading, pirating in these areas.


BAKHTIAR: We'll have more on the Vikings tomorrow. For now, it's a wrap here on NEWSROOM. Have a good day.



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