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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for December 1, 2000

Aired December 1, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Your week-ending NEWSROOM has a full agenda. Here's a preview.

Topping today's show, the latest in election 2000.

Next, we hook up with college students getting unhooked and going wireless.

And get ready to take Madison Avenue by storm as "Worldview" gets retro on the runway.

"Chronicle"'s headed out of this world to check in on the latest shuttle mission.

Then from outer space to cyberspace, find out how toys and technology may add up to world peace.

The United States presidential battle makes its way into the nation's highest court. Nine U.S. Supreme Court justices are hearing the historic recount case brought on by George W. Bush.

To recount or not to recount, that's the question the U.S. Supreme Court must decide. The Bush team wants the justices to overturn the Florida Supreme Court's extension of the time for recounting votes. The Gore team doesn't. Among Thursday's developments, a special committee recommended Florida's GOP-controlled legislature call a special session before December 12 to name the state's 25 electors. Al Gore's legal team filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, saying such a move would be unconstitutional.

Under a Florida court order, more than 400,000 ballots from Palm Beach County were delivered by truck to Tallahassee on Thursday. Ballots from Miami-Dade County should arrive at the state capital today. Attorneys for the Bush campaign Thursday filed a motion to have ballots from three more counties delivered as well. A Florida judge may decide Saturday if the ballots sent to Tallahassee will be recounted.

Meanwhile, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney met with retired Gen. Colin Powell, who's rumored to be Bush's likely pick for secretary of state. Both George W. Bush and Al Gore are trying to play their cards right in the presidential dispute. With legal and political challenges popping up daily, the candidates have to stay on top of their game.

Bill Schneider looks at their strategies.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: What we have here is an elaborate chess games, with each player making moves and counter-moves. But it's a strange chess game because no one is sure what the rules are.

Player No. 1: Vice President Al Gore. His objective? Get enough votes to win Florida by the deadline. His first problem: how many votes are enough? That's what the United States Supreme Court has to decide. Does Bush lead Florida by 930 votes? That's the initial margin announced by Secretary of State Katherine Harris on November 14; or does Bush lead by 537 votes, the total certified on November 26? Remember, this is the U.S. Supreme Court we're talking about. It can issue a ruling with much more wide-ranging implications if it chooses.

Gore's second problem: Where will the votes come from? He hopes to get them from three counties where he is contesting the results in circuit court. In Miami-Dade County, Gore wants the court to order a hand count of approximately 10,500 undervoted ballots where the machine count did not register any presidential vote. In Nassau County, Gore wants the court to use the machine recount, not the original count that the local canvassing board decided to certify. The machine recount would give Gore 51 more votes. In Palm Beach County, Gore wants a recount of approximately 3,300 undervotes using more lenient rules to judge voter intent.

Gore's third problem: What's the real deadline? A federal statute says that if a final determination of any contest about the presidential election is made by December 12, six days before presidential electors meet in the state capitol to cast their ballots, it shall be considered conclusive. But the ballots are not counted by Congress until January 6, which may be changed to January 5 next year because January 6 is a Saturday.

So it may be possible to keep counting ballots past December 12, right up until the time Congress counts the electoral votes. In 1960, Hawaii did not complete its recount until December 28. Only one date is unchangeable: January 20, when a new president must be inaugurated. That's the only date in the federal Constitution.

What about player No. 2: Governor George W. Bush? He's been certified the winner in Florida. Bush's objective is simply to block Gore's moves. How can Bush do that? He can try to shut down Gore's recount requests in the two counties. He can slow the process down and try to run out the clock so there's not enough time to recount the votes in those two counties. He can demand a statewide recount of all the ballots, not just in democratic-leaning counties. That's almost impossible to do in a little over five weeks.

There are also a couple of countermoves Bush can make. If Florida's electors are not chosen by December 12, federal law allows the state legislature to name the electors. Republicans control the Florida legislature. Bush's last resort: Congress. Congress can refuse to count votes from electors if it feels that the vote was not, quote, "regularly given." That requires a majority vote in each chamber. Republicans still have a majority in the new House of Representatives, but it looks like the new Senate may be split 50-50.

This game is being played in one state with a lot of kibitzers. The rest of the country, and the world, has a profound stake in the outcome. The game has changeable rules, written over 100 years ago and nobody alive has ever played it before.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


BAKHTIAR: Now the United States Supreme Court is in the spotlight as the presidential tug of war goes before its nine justices.

Garrick Utley brings us a closer look at the honorable job of being on the country's highest court.


GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Behind the imposing towering columns, seated in their majestic courtroom, what is it like to be a justice of the United States Supreme Court? They too are mortals.

MICHAEL DORF, FORMER SUPREME COURT CLERK: I think Chief Justice Rehnquist sometimes plays poker. I think Justice Scalia has been know to attend that card game. Sometimes pairs of them will go to a baseball game.

MARCI HAMILTON, FORMER SUPREME COURT CLERK: These are people who are good friends, they socialize together, some of them play tennis together. It's not the kind of ivory towerish atmosphere people think.

UTLEY (on camera): If that comes as a surprise, it shows how little we the public really know about what happens inside the Supreme Court, which is just what the court wants. Since its beginnings, the court has achieved its authority not only through its interpretations of the Constitution, but also through a finely honed mystique, a mystery.

(voice-over): But then that is what the men who wrote the Constitution wanted, to protect the Supreme Court from prying eyes and public pressure. Unlike Congress, the court's hallways are not filled with peddlers of influence.

DORF: There's no what we talk about in Congress as log-rolling. It's considered completely improper for one justice to say, well, I'll vote with you on this case if you vote with me on this other case.

UTLEY: Each year, or term, the court receives more than 7,000 appeals. How much work do the justices have to put in?

HAMILTON: They'll kill me for saying this, but probably about nine to seven, five to six days a week can get in all the work that needs to be done at the court right now.

UTLEY: That's because only about 100 cases actually get argued before the court each year and lead to formal written opinions. And what can the lawyers before the court expect on Friday morning?

HAMILTON: My guess in this case is that the first person, the petitioner to stand up, will get about maybe 50 words out, and then there will be questions, and it will be a free-for-all from there.

UTLEY (on camera): A legal free-for-all perhaps, but conducted with the decorum and traditions of the court. And one of those traditions involves a simple human gesture: Before the justices enter the court room to hear a case, all nine shake each other's hands to show that although their opinions may differ, they share a common purpose.

(voice-over): To serve as the ultimate judge of what the Constitution describes so eloquently and simply as the due process of law.

Garrick Utley, CNN, Washington.


BAKHTIAR: Deciding on a college or university can be a daunting task. There are so many things to consider: location, cost, which schools offer the best courses or instructors. Now you can add another item to your list: Does the school have wireless computer access? It's a technology gaining popularity at universities throughout the world as a way to help students stay on top of the IT revolution.

Ann Kellan takes us to a university where students started a new year of classes with no wires attached.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): College: a lot of caffeine, a lot of deadlines, often leaves students tired and wired. At Philadelphia`s Drexel University, the students may still be tired, but they are no longer wired, except maybe for the caffeine.

NICOLE WILLIAMS, SENIOR, DREXEL UNIVERSITY: Now I can browse the Web, do my homework out here rather than cooped up in a building over in the lab.

KELLAN: Drexel is installing 200 wireless computer access hubs around 52 acres of its campus. This allows students to unplug from the wall while staying plugged into the school. BRYSON RAIBLE, STUDENT, DREXEL UNIVERSITY: So if you want to go outside and type up a paper, or if you want to sit by a tree and do your math homework on the computer, anything's available to you.

KELLAN: Students who don`t own a notebook computer can check one out.

WILLIAMS: What happens is you go to the information desk and you give them your ID and you check out a laptop. And you can go anywhere.

KELLAN: Students can check e-mail, access Drexel`s networks and surf the Internet, all at speeds more than 200 times faster than a typical 56K modem.

This kind of advanced technology isn`t free. Students must buy a network access card for their laptops for about $170. Drexel paid to install the access points, as well as the $5 million to renovate its wired network, necessary to make this project work. And students we`ve talked with say, so far, the problems have been minimal.

LAUREN KUPNIEWSKI, STUDENT, DREXEL UNIVERSITY: Depending on where you are, you can lose the connection. It`s just not as perfected.

KELLAN: Students do see the wireless laptops eliminating at least one problem: the pain of studying.

THOMAS PUGH, STUDENT, DREXEL UNIVERSITY: Have you sit in these chairs? Here there's a lot of couches, and I love sitting. I want to be comfortable when I work on a laptop and not have to worry about, oh, my back`s hurting.

KELLAN: Other schools are beginning to follow Drexel`s lead, creating campuses that are connected to the Web but unplugged.

Ann Kellan, CNN.


BAKHTIAR: We explore the worlds of fashion, health and education in "Worldview." What do you think of when you think of a school bus? Well, we'll take you to Pakistan, where a bus became a school. And we'll cruise over to Cambodia to find out how technology and telemedicine are making a difference in people's well-being. Plus, fashion flashbacks as we head to the United States.

Time to step into the world of fashion. Fashion is defined as the prevailing style during a particular time. But in our next story, you'll find out that fashions from the past are popular today. We'll be looking at vintage clothing. Vintage is defined as classic or outmoded or old fashioned.

You make the call because, as Stacey Wilkins explains, old clothes are becoming collectibles.



CAROLINE KEATING, CAROLINESCLOSETS.COM: Hi, I'm Caroline. This is my closet of classic clothing and collectibles. Welcome to my wares.


STACEY WILKINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Caroline's Closets is a Web site that brings vintage clothing from the computer to the consumer with the click of a mouse. The site is the brainchild of Caroline Keating. The 27-year-old Internet maven is a matchmaker. She links new buyers with old clothes.

KEATING: That's my favorite thing to do, is just find really wacky, weird stuff.

WILKINS: This is where she finds that weird, wacky stuff. Keating scours garage sales across the United States looking for buried treasure among the trash.

KEATING: Do you have any '80s stuff?

WILKINS: Eighties cast-offs are the rage with vintage shoppers at the moment. Keating says people pay big bucks for flashback clothing.

KEATING: Very "Flashdance."


KEATING: We have this broken up into closets. And the '80s closets, the more things we can get in there like that just give people flashbacks and then they want to buy it.

WILKINS: Caroline's Closets is based in Miami. The enterprise is a family venture. Her sister Margaret is the technical guru behind the site.

MARGARET KEATING, CAROLINESCLOSETS.COM, WEB SITE DESIGNER: We've been successful at doing it so far by keeping it very light and happy and friendly and personable and inviting.

WILKINS (on camera): Caroline Keating is opening her closet to a new market. She's launching the site in Japan, where she says there's a ready market for vintage Americana.

(voice-over): Japanese shoppers love the kooky, kitschy clothing that Caroline's Closets specializes in. They also like the price.

CHRIS STARACE, CAROLINESCLOSETS.COM, BUSINESS DEVELOPER: It's very expensive to get that -- those clothing and those other goods in Japan, a lot of middlemen in between. We can actually cut out all the middlemen and they can buy direct from us. KEATING: We worked it out to a science last year when we were really tired. And we realized that if it's really nicely, neatly set up and things are on hangers, you don't stop. And if it's a gigantic pile, then you stop because then they don't know what they have.

WILKINS: Caroline Keating is a driving force in retro fashion, an entrepreneur on a quest using new technology to sell old clothes.

Stacey Wilkins, CNN, Gadsden, Alabama.


BAKHTIAR: The Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia has been called the most medically neglected country on Earth. Most of the blame goes to the communist leader Pol Pot. Under his ruthless regime during the 1970s, as many as 2 million Cambodians were killed and nearly all doctors fled or were murdered.

By the time democracy was finally established there in the early 1990s, there was only one doctor for every 45,000 patients, compared to one for every 500 in the U.S. While the ratio is slowly improving, the situation remains desperate.

But now, thanks to technology, some American doctors are helping out without ever leaving the U.S.

Allison Tom has the story.


ALLISON TOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rabib Village (ph) in Cambodia is a poor and remote community. There's no telephone, water or electricity. But now, an experimental Internet project using a satellite dish is linking villagers directly to a prestigious group of doctors in the United States to offer medical advice, knowledge and expertise.

BERNIE KRISHER, AMERICAN ASSISTANCE FOR CAMBODIA: All of this is possible now. And I would like to prove that almost anyone anywhere in the world can get much of what they would not otherwise get if they didn't live in a city like New York or Paris or London.

TOM: The telemedicine project is being developed by volunteers with the group American Assistance for Cambodia and doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Villagers ask health and medical related questions in their native Khmer language. The questions are then translated into English and e-mailed to doctors in the U.S. Medical concerns range from tuberculosis and malaria to HIV and AIDS. Doctors respond by posting their answers on a Web site.

DR. JOSEPH KVEDAR, PARTNERS TELEMEDICINE: I think the beauty of it is we can ad, with very low cost of technology once we have that connection, we can add things like imaging. The goal really is to have a global reach but to keep care local. TOM: The Internet project is still in its infancy, but eventually, volunteers say, they hope to assist some of Asia's poorest countries by creating numerous new opportunities in the digital world.

Allison Tom, CNN.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: On to Pakistan, a country in South Asia. Pakistan is a Muslim nation. About 97 percent of its people practice Islam, the Muslim religion. Most Pakistanis lead what could be considered a simple life. Many are farmers or herders with little or no education. In fact, education is considered a privilege.

Ash-har Quraishi (ph) reports on a unique program that aims to make education more accessible for underprivileged children.


ASH-HAR QURAISHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fourteen-year- old Uzma Yaqoob (ph) started school two years ago. Before that, she could neither read nor write.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My parents could not send me to school because they couldn't afford to pay for all of my school expenses.

QURAISHI: Uzma and her family live in this one-room house in Lahore. She and her siblings are lucky. Less than half of the 25 million school-age children in Pakistan ever make it to the fifth grade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is very difficult for these parents to be able to send their children to school, to commit five or six hours a day of their time, and then to also provide all the other necessities that school demands from them, like the uniform and the books.

QURAISHI: Basarat Kazim (ph) runs the Alif Laila Society, a nonprofit program that helps educate underprivileged children. It started with a library built inside this old double-decker bus and became the first free children's library in Pakistan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has become an entire educational complex, because when children used to come to the library and they just liked the friendly approach. They liked the colorful environment. I felt that it was necessary to reach out to more children.

QURAISHI: The program has expanded to include after-school tutoring classes, a 15,000-volume reference library, as well as a training center where children learn practical job skills.

Alif Laila also helps the most underprivileged children by paying for their books and uniforms, or in some cases mediating on behalf of children whose parents have refused to send them to school. SUMAIRA SADDIQUE, FORMER ALIF LAILA STUDENT (through translator): In my family, there is no education so they don't think that it is necessary for girls to go to school.

QURAISHI: Sumaira Saddique came to Alif Laila four years ago, after her parents forced her to drop out of school.

SADDIQUE (through translator): When I came here, the Alif Laila went to my house. They got permission from my parents and they convinced them that it wouldn't be a problem for them to send me to school, and that I could benefit from studying here.

QURAISHI: Today, 17-year old Sumaira is fulfilling two dreams. She's a college student, and in her spare time she's doing what she's always wanted to do: teaching back where she started at Alif Laila.

SADDIQUE (through translator): Since coming to Alif Laila, they have helped me to learn. Whenever I had a tough time, they were there to help me out. And now they've given me the chance to get an education.

QURAISHI: Although Alif Laila has helped thousands of children, the foundation faces many obstacles. With no government funding, money is scarce, and administrators fear they won't be able to keep serving a growing membership. And, they worry, the community doesn't realize that the cost of education pays for itself in social change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they were not going to school at all, they would either be working in homes as domestic help, or they would be in tea stalls and workshops. That is something we have to fight. And we have to insist that every child should attend school.

QURAISHI (on camera): Despite a lack of funds, the Alif Laila project continues to draw children from all over the city. It's estimated to give over 10,000 children access to its facilities each year. And organizers say the program will continue to thrive as long as there are books to read and children to read them.

Ash-har Quraishi for CNN NEWSROOM, Lahore, Pakistan.


BAKHTIAR: Minus one loose bracket, space shuttle Endeavour lifted off Thursday night for the International Space Station. NASA discovered the loose part during a routine inspection and removed it in just enough time to get the shuttle fueled and ready for launch time. The Endeavour crew will deliver giant solar panels to the International Space Station.

Here's Miles O'Brien with more on the mission.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a shuttle crew with some real juice. The five-man, all-veteran Endeavour team plans to carry and connect the first big power plant for the budding yet amperage thirsty International Space Station. They are led by a commander named Jett -- no kidding.

BRENT JETT, ENDEAVOUR COMMANDER: I mean, we are really trying to light up the station. We are trying to give them the power they need to continue the assembly sequence, but also really to fully support the crew that's up there now.

O'BRIEN: That three-man station-keeping crew, NASA astronaut Bill Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, will no doubt marvel at the site as the $600 million solar arrays are plucked out of Endeavour's cargo bay, bolted onto the station, and then unfurled.

MARC GARNEAU, ENDEAVOUR CREW MEMBER: Well, when this mission is complete, suddenly people are going to realize that this is a very big station.

O'BRIEN: The solar arrays will span 249 feet, the longest structures ever to leave the planet, making the space station the third brightest object in the sky behind the moon and the star Sirius. Astronauts Joe Tanner and Carlos Noriega are slated for three space walks, first and foremost to insure the arrays are latched on properly.

JOE TANNER, ENDEAVOUR CREW MEMBER: You know, if we can't do that, then we've either got to bring it home or throw it away, and we don't want to do either one of those.

O'BRIEN: If all goes well, the space walkers also plan to plug the arrays in to the station's power grid, bringing good things and more elbow room to life for a crew so far shut out of the U.S. side of the station for lack of power to turn on the heat.

MIKE BLOOMFIELD, ENDEAVOUR PILOT: If we don't do this mission, we don't do the next mission. And if we don't do this stuff right, there's a slight chance that Shep and his crew may come home.

O'BRIEN: NASA, the Russians and the 14 other nations building this $100 billion perch over the planet are loathe to consider vacating the premises now, just one month after the lights went on and humans started calling it home.

Miles O'Brien, CNN.


BAKHTIAR: With the holiday season fast approaching, toys are playing a major role in bridging the gap of communication. A group called Worldplay is giving children from different parts of the world the opportunity to learn about other cultures through playing on the Internet.

Maya Nessouli (ph) with CNN Student Bureau has more on that.


MAYA NESSOULI, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Children are fast becoming friends across continents with the universal language of toys. Through a group called Worldplay, youngsters are teaching each other how to make toys live on the Internet.

NEIL SHULMAN, WORLDPLAY CO-FOUNDER: Worldplay is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to bring some peace to the world by getting kids to become friends with kids all over the world, and through toys that they make from recycled material.

NESSOULI: A recent technology conference in Atlanta connected local students at two demo sites through videoconferencing to simulate what children around the world may be doing in the near future.

SHULMAN: Our goal for the conference is to promote the overall concept to download the kids actually making the toys on the Internet so anybody in the world can connect up with us right away.

SHARON MNICH, WORLDPLAY CO-FOUNDER: The aim of Worldplay is to celebrate the creativity of children around the world using a medium that's common to everybody and that's playing and toys and making toys and creating friendships across different countries and hopefully enriching people's lives in visions of what they think other cultures are like.

NESSOULI: Robert Shaw Elementary School in Atlanta helped launch the idea by participating at the two demo sites at the conference.

SHULMAN: If we can get kids in Pakistan to be friends with kids in India, maybe when they grow up they, the countries, won't be fighting with each other. Same goes with Israel and Palestine or Ireland. Let's start off by reaching human beings before puberty and having them be friends.

NESSOULI (on camera): By transforming used materials into handmade toys, children are proving that they can turn trash into joy.

Maya Nessouli, CNN Student Bureau, Atlanta.


BAKHTIAR: Great idea: one man's trash is another man's peacemaker.

And that does it for us today. We'll see you next week here on NEWSROOM. Bye.



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