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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for November 21, 2000

Aired November 21, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Hello and welcome, everyone. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Your Tuesday NEWSROOM is packed with news so let's get started.

Still in the headlines, the U.S. presidential election, now in the hands of a state supreme court.

Then, from politics to pollution, our "Health Desk" looks at one unhealthy combination: kids and smog.

Then, put on your dancing shoes. "Worldview"'s going to cut a rug with Dancin' Joe.

And NEWSROOM heads home for "Chronicle" to explore that which is near and dear: the family.

Florida's highest court considers the validity of hand recounts of election ballots. Its decision, which may come as early as today, could lead to the outcome of the United States presidential election.

Attorneys for the Bush and Gore campaigns argued Monday before the seven Florida Supreme Court justices. Lawyers for Al Gore said a manual recount is necessary, and they want every step taken to decipher voter intent. George Bush's lawyers asked the court to back Florida's secretary of state, Katherine Harris, who says the deadline for counting ballots has passed. In the meantime, hand recounts continue in three Florida counties: Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County.

Other important developments Monday: A judge in Palm Beach County refused to order a new election there after some voters complained the ballot was too confusing. They're appealing the decision. Also, Florida's attorney general told election officials to count overseas ballots that don't have a postmark as long as everything else is OK.

And the candidates are keeping track of the latest developments as they keep an eye on their responsibilities back home. Gov. Bush spent much of Monday in his capital office in Austin, Texas, and Vice President Gore remains in Washington. So what is the public's opinion on the U.S. presidential deadlock? Well, while some see election 2000 as a constitutional crisis, others are taking it in stride.

Kate Snow has that story.


KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the steps of a memorial to one of America's famous leaders, tourists pause to talk about the selection of their next president. Some are growing weary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day you think, have they decided? Let's see what -- you know, let's see who the winner is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've had it. Yes, I think so. Let's get it over with, really.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they should name the president and move on.


SNOW: A new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll shows Americans are divided. Nearly half think it's taking too long to determine who will be president, but just over half are willing to wait a little longer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think there should be any rush. I've got to believe way back when before they had all the computers and all this it must have taken weeks or months to come up with the winner anyway. So I think maybe we've just become too fast.

SNOW: Of those polled, about 60 percent say the final vote total in Florida should include hand recounts, a view reflected on the streets of Chicago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'd rather have it come out and know that they did everything they could to make sure as many people who wanted to vote, their votes count.

SNOW: But most of those polled say machines do a better job than humans when it comes to counting votes. Voters in San Francisco expresses concerns about counting by hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have some real problems with it because it's subjective.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A machine count is not necessarily more accurate, but it's more objective, and objectivity is what this is really about.

SNOW: A majority of respondents are bothered that court decisions may end up deciding the final outcome of this election, but that doesn't mean this is a crisis.

(on camera): No matter what the end result, Americans seem willing to accept it. Eighty-six percent said they would consider Bush a legitimate president if he's ultimately elected; 80 percent said they would consider Gore legitimate.

(voice-over): But even the youngest Americans have their doubts about how effective the next president will be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When this is all done, then the president isn't going to get anything done in the four years because it's going take all that time to do this.

SNOW: It may not take that long, but Americans say time is becoming an issue.

Kate Snow, CNN, Washington.


BAKHTIAR: To count or not to count, that is the question that remains to be answered by Florida's seven supreme court justices. The election standoff has been going on now for two weeks and we've been nothing less than inundated with news about this election. But another obsession is about to get under way that just might take people's minds off politics.

Bruce Morton reflects on that.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lawyers are lawyering, counters are counting. Are we in a crisis? Last week, 64 percent said, yes, major crisis or problem. This week, it's down to 54 percent. Why? Voters face a real crisis: the holidays.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a little more concerned with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, because that's a little more tasty than who's going to be president.

MORTON: You've got to shop. Christmas sales used to start after Thanksgiving. Forget that. After Easter, maybe, but shopping time is here -- now. And travel. Remember, "over the hills and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go"? Well, they weren't bumper to bumper on the interstate back then, and they for sure weren't trying to fly to grandmother's, along, of course, with their children, grandchildren and pet snake or whatever. Getting there hasn't been half the fun for years. It's hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanksgiving, definitely. The presidency doesn't really matter at this point.

MORTON: They'd probably all vote for whoever'd promise a lift to grandma's on Air Force One.

So there's shopping, there's getting the gingerbread ready, then there's all the fancy food. And then for some, this is do-or-die time. The bowl games are coming. The 'Noles ate up the Gators -- can a Seminole eat a Gator? Anyway, Florida State beat up on Florida over the weekend, chased all the politicians out of the Tallahassee hotels, and they're still not sure about which bowl they'll get.

Ron Vanderlinden's Maryland team won't get any bowl and he's looking for work -- fired. Now that's a crisis.

College hoops is just starting, too -- more trophies, more careers on the line. And if you want crisis, how about these guys?

I mean, their lives are on the line. All over America, people are arguing: roast them, deep fry them, which stuffing should we use? A few urge, hug a turkey, pig out on tofu, but the odds are the other way. This is crisis. All the lawyers and counters are just passing time.

And Gore and Bush? Maybe they miss the quieter holidays of campaign '99?

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Who knows who St. Nicholas is?


GORE: There you go.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a...


MORTON: Or a lawyer maybe. Picking the president is serious, of course. Once Americans get the holiday crisis out of the way, they'll probably agree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd rather just get through Thanksgiving. I'm kind of burned out on the election, personally.

MORTON: Keep counting and arguing, guys. We'll check you later.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


BAKHTIAR: Today's "Health Desk" focus is smog. Yesterday we talked about the dark, smoky air and its causes. Now we want to tell you about some of its effects. They include chronic bronchitis and the exacerbation of emphysema and asthma.

Now, as you can see, smog poses a risk to your respiratory health -- a risk that may be even more substantial for kids.

Greg LaMotte explains.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to go, ah-huh, OK? Can you do that for me?

GREG LAMOTTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nothing tears at the heart more than a child who is in pain: 8-year-old Monica Avila suffers from asthma attacks.

MONICA AVILA, ASTHMA SUFFERER: And I was just laying on the bed and I didn't want to move. And then my mom took me to the hospital and I had to stay there.

LAMOTTE (on camera): Does it scare you?

M. AVILA: A little bit.

ROSEANN AVILA, MOTHER: Her eyes get real droopy. Their activity slows down. They just sit there. They get weak. You start hearing the wheezing in their chest, the coughing.

LAMOTTE (voice-over): The little girl lives with her parents in smoggy Southern California. Now comes increasing proof air pollution can have potentially permanent harmful effects even on healthy children.

The University of Southern California is conducting one of the most comprehensive studies on the long-term impact of smog on young people. The results, thus far, suggest smog can permanently decrease a child's lung capacity 3 to 5 percent.

JAMES GUADERMAN, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: So if they start out at a lower level to begin with because they've been compromised as a child, then the time at which they're at greater susceptibility for respiratory illness could be earlier in age and potentially as they get older could be more severe.

DR. KENNETH KIM, ALLERGIST: It makes common sense that respiratory insults may make a child more prone to developing an inflammatory condition of the lungs.

LAMOTTE: Since 1993, USC researchers have been testing the lung function of 3,000 children while monitoring levels of pollution in a dozen Southern California communities. As children grow, the research found, those who breathe smoggier air tend to have slower lung function growth than those who breathe cleaner air.

And here's something that may dismay both parents and children alike: The impact on children is greater among those who spend more time outdoors.

Greg LaMotte, CNN, Los Angeles.


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.

BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview," we're all over the globe. We're heading to Russia to meet some new residents that have four feet, they're shaggy, and they live in a herd. And from herd to what's not heard, we'll meet a teen whose dancing is a remarkable feat. Find out why.

But first we begin in Peru, a country engrossed in its own presidential problems. Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori is stepping down. Mr. Fujimori announced his resignation while visiting his ancestral homeland, Japan.

In Peru, news of Fujimori's resignation was openly celebrated in the streets. Demonstrators had been calling for his resignation following a corruption scandal involving his intelligence chief, as well as a controversial election.

Here's more from Anand Naidoo (ph).


ANAND NAIDOO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Security was tight at the Tokyo hotel where Peru's president weighed his choices in the final hours of a political drama punctuated by a controversial election, a popular protest, military intrigue and a spy scandal.

President Alberto Fujimori's life has taken on all the dimensions of a Greek tragedy. A charismatic figure, Mr. Fujimori is the son of Japanese immigrants who managed to fend off a military coup, rebel movements, drug lords and economic hurdles during his 10 years as president. But his ironclad power began to unravel after he announced his candidacy to run for an unprecedented third term as president. His reelection in May came only after the opposition charged fraud and pulled out of the contest, sparking waves of demonstrations across Peru.

Despite international alarm over the legitimacy of his third term, Mr. Fujimori appeared in control until seven weeks ago. That's when a television station aired a videotape that appeared to show Mr. Fujimori's closest political crony, intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos, bribing an opposition member of Congress. Two days later, Mr. Fujimori announced he would deactivate the long-feared National Intelligence Service that Montesinos headed and called new elections. To everyone's surprise, he also said he would not be a candidate.

For a week, the military, which had staged a coup attempt against Mr. Fujimori eight years ago, maintained an ominous silence. Then it gave guarded support for new elections. Sacked spy chief Montesinos fled to Panama. Three weeks later, Mr. Fujimori's government proposed a sweeping amnesty for all military and civilian officials accused in recent years of human rights abuses. The opposition protested that the move was a blatant attempt to grant Montesinos immunity, and that position was bolstered when, three days later, Montesinos unexpectedly returned from Panama. Mr. Fujimori launched a spectacular search for Montesinos as fears rose that the former intelligence chief would lead a military coup. When that failed, the president forced the heads of Peru's army, navy and air force to resign.

Intrigue and public outcry grew as reports surfaced tying Montesinos to bank accounts worth nearly $60 million in Switzerland, New York, Uruguay and the Cayman Islands. The president, meanwhile, set next April 8th as the date for new elections, then left the country or an economic summit in Brunei. In his absence, Peru's legislators elected a new president of Congress, giving the opposition control of the Congress for the first time since 1992.

Mr. Fujimori was expected to head home to Lima last Friday. Instead, he flew to Japan. Aides say he was there to obtain loans for Peru. But when no official business was conducted, it became apparent that the mission was personal. Mr. Fujimori asked second Vice President Ricardo Marquez to take his place until new elections are held, but there are questions over whether Peru's Congress will allow that to happen.

Anand Naidoo, CNN.


BAKHTIAR: We're dancing to a different tune in "Worldview." Ever heard of swing dancing? Well, it came about during the swing era, which is a form of jazz that flourished in the mid 1940s. In 1932, Duke Ellington recorded his composition, "It Don't Mean a Thing If You Ain't Got That Swing," and so was named the newest style of jazz.

It wasn't long before people were literally swinging to the beat of this exciting new tune, and still are today.

Larry Woods has the story of one young man who's not letting anything stop him from swinging.


LARRY WOODS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were listening and dancing to the music of a jazzy bygone era, reinventing the fancy footwork and teasing gyrations their jitterbugging grandparents made popular 60 years ago. Did I say listening? Well, all but one of the contestants competing in the Virginia Swing Dance Championships could hear the music.

This young man could not. Joe Templin, 19, is deaf, can't hear a sound. But that didn't keep him off the floor or from missing a beat.

What is the secret of this Gallaudet University freshman's decoding of soundless tempos? Well, that's getting ahead of the story. First, a little about him.

CARLA TEMPLIN, JOE'S MOTHER: The deaf community is really very laid-back.

WOODS: Joe is among 11 children from around the world that have been adopted and raised over the years by Bob and Carla Templin, who live outside Washington. Sixteen years ago, Templin found the boy, homeless, deaf, and roaming the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Templins have long migrated toward and cared for youngsters, often with physical and learning limitations. They are taught, never make excuses, and always look out for each other.

C. TEMPLIN: So we're really proud of them. We stress education, we stress independence, but we stress primarily character.

BOB TEMPLIN, JOE'S DAD: The world's very unforgiving. You can either withdraw and not fully participate, or you can accentuate your strengths and deal with the world the way that it is and live life fully. And I think Joe has really embraced that concept. His philosophy is, there's nothing I can't do.

WOODS: Today, when Joe is not dancing, he's on the family computer, when it's his turn. And if not on the computer, then in his room, which he keeps to military standards of neatness, and where he scours old movies, hoping to learn some innovative steps he can add to his hip-swinging arsenal.

Often it's Mom he turns to with new takes on his technique, always willing to learn.

C. TEMPLIN: He's a body in motion. He's always -- he's always moved. I -- everybody thinks this is -- they're so surprised to find out he's deaf and he dances. But he's always moved. So it's not that big of a surprise for us that he's a great dancer.

BOB TEMPLIN: He just dances wherever he is.

WOODS (on camera): Regular Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly.

BOB TEMPLIN: I said, Joe, I said, you must always have music going on inside you. And he looks at me, he goes, yes I do.

WOODS: How do you do it? How do you dance so well without hearing the music?

JOE TEMPLIN (through translator): When the woman starts moving, then I will follow her. Then I know what the rhythm is. The woman has to help me. But then I'm on my way. Most of the time I can -- my eyes will see the music the way people hear the music.

WOODS (voice-over): With no stimulus going to the eardrums, and only the eyes and reflexes trained to sense the energy about him, this is the music Joe plucks from the air, takes the notes and guides his partner through their impromptu steps.

On this night, Joe and 17-year-old Erica Kern dazzle the judges with their version of the Lindy Hop to win first place in the junior amateur division. Then, with only a few minutes to catch his breath, it was back on the floor, this time with Tracy Butler, 16, who kept pace with Joe in one of his favorite dances, the Hollywood Swing. In their junior division, they also won first place.

Between breaks, Tracy and Erica paid Joe a teenager's highest compliment.

TRACY BUTLER, DANCE PARTNER: He takes over, and he just -- he rocks.


BUTLER: Can't really put it into actual words, you know, what -- how wonderful he is.

WOODS (on camera): But does he have the right stuff?

KERN: Yes.

BUTLER: I would say so.

DEBRA STERNBERG, DANCE INSTRUCTOR: He's adventurous. He's not afraid to take chances. He's very inquisitive. He's always learning something new. And he seems to love it so much that there's this never-ending quest for more.

WOODS: That this young man dances with such flair in a world of silence speaks for itself. It is amazing. But get this: He's been dancing competitively for only six months.

(voice-over): A lot of Joe's progress is owed to steady partner Debra Sternberg, a professional dance instructor who's been working with him since early this year.

STERNBERG: I find that we have a very -- almost a symbiotic kind of connection, kind of understanding. There's a physical sensation that we have that starts as soon as we meet on the dance floor.

WOODS: Swing is in again. It's happening all across the land. It's where youth and pleasure meet. And this teenager revels in filling the glowing hours with flying feet.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: For people of Russia, the country's economic problems have been a struggle. But it seems those same troubles are a good thing for Russia's bison, which are making a comeback.

Bison are commonly referred to as buffalo in the United States. In both places, their numbers have been reduced due to hunting. In fact, as early as 1900 in the U.S., buffalo were almost extinct. Now, the furry beasts roam on protected lands.

And as Steve Harrigan reports, those lands are more plentiful than ever in Russia.


STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a park ranger who shot the last bison in Russia 75 years ago out of hunger. These park rangers are trying to keep a new herd alive, a gift from the zoos of Europe.

VLADIMIR KAZMIN, DEP. DIR., ORYOL NATIONAL PARK (through translator): Only Russia has the vastness to do this -- large tracts of wild land where there is no agriculture or timber industry.

HARRIGAN: The opportunity is the result of an economic collapse in the Russian countryside, which has caused entire villages to disappear.

(on camera): Three hundred families used to live here in a village called Green Lake. Now it's a ghost town that's gone back to the bison.

(voice-over): Two-hundred thousand acres in central Russia have been declared a national park, but there are few, if any, tourists.

Finding the bison is not easy. Jeeps give way to a tractor, then horseback and on foot, until a brown form is spotted in the distance. The herd is not far behind.

(on camera): Bisons are a matriarchy. That means a woman's in charge. This female here is the one who decides how close to let humans get to the herd.

(voice-over): Not close at all.

ALEXANDER MIRONOV, PARK RANGER (through translator): When the leader gives a signal, they immediately pack into a triangle and leave. They're disciplined, like an army.

HARRIGAN: That army now stands at 58 strong. The Russians plan to grow the herd to 1,000 over the next 30 years.

Steve Harrigan, CNN, Oryol, central Russia.


BAKHTIAR: The holiday season is fast approaching, and you know what that means: lots of food, fun and family. Well, these days, our fast-paced lifestyles can make spending quality time with family all too rare -- rare and perhaps necessary when you consider 70 million children under the age 18 live in America. Think about it, what quality time would mean?

Well, there's an association in the United States making it a mission to celebrate family unity.

Shelley Walcott explains.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST (voice-over): This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. But the fourth week in November isn't only about turkey, it's also National Family Week.

The week was started in 1970 by the Alliance for Children and Family, a nonprofit group representing child and family services across the U.S. National Family Week promotes healthy family life by enlisting business and community groups to salute outstanding families: families that share traditions, families that volunteer together, and families that draw strength from each other in the face of adversity.

Here are some facts to consider: Research shows a strong parent- child relationship helps protect children from emotional distress, substance abuse and thoughts of suicide. And, teachers say, the best predictor of a student's achievement in school is parent involvement.

The theme of this year's National Family Week is "Celebrate Family," which encourages people to find renewed strength and inspiration from daily family life, all key, the alliance says, to building stronger families and, in turn, a better society.


BAKHTIAR: Tomorrow will be our last NEWSROOM show before the Thanksgiving holiday, so get set to talk turkey. We'll have some history about this big bird as we head to the woods to meet some wild turkeys. Find out what you call a male turkey and whether turkeys can fly.

All that and more right here on CNN NEWSROOM tomorrow. See you then.



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