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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for December 5, 2000

Aired December 5, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Another day of news means another NEWSROOM.

Welcome, I'm Shelley Walcott and this is a look at what's ahead.

Two candidates, two courts, and two decisions. The rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and a Florida circuit court top today's show.

We have more decisions to discuss in our "daily desk." These decisions concern your health.

Health is still the focus in "Worldview." Find out what happens when not catching enough Zs catches up with you.

Now that you're all rested, get ready, because "Chronicle" is headed to the amusement park.

A major setback for Al Gore tops our continuing coverage of election 2000. A Florida judge has denied the U.S. vice president's bid for a manual recount of thousands of disputed ballots in Florida. Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls also refused the Gore team's request to overturn George W. Bush's certified statewide victory.

Earlier Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case on Florida's extended vote certification deadline back to that state's supreme court. The U.S. Supreme Court justices have asked for a clarification of that ruling, saying they're unclear why the Florida court extended a deadline for counting votes. And so, the question on everyone's mind is: Where does it all go from here?

Gore's lawyers are vowing to continue their client's come-from- behind effort to claim the White House. They wasted no time in filing an appeal to the circuit court ruling. The Gore team is in a tight race against the clock: Florida has a December 12th deadline to designate its 25 electors, and the state certified Bush as its winner a week go.

The Bush camp is celebrating the latest turn of events and Republicans are stepping up demands for the vice president to concede.

So far, Democrats on Capitol Hill have thrown their support behind U.S. Vice President Gore, as he fights to contest Florida's election results. But after Monday's major setbacks in the U.S. Supreme Court and a Leon County Circuit Court, how long are they willing to hold out?

Chris Black has that.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman was on the phone with his House and Senate colleagues in two separate conference calls. The most skittish Democrats, those representing constituents who went heavily for George W. Bush, are growing restive; said an aide to one conservative Democrat -- quote -- "we heard the clock ticking, but it just got louder."

A centrist Democrat from Florida, Senator Bob Graham also hears the tick of the clock.

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: And there is a clock ticking and Al Gore cannot afford to lose even a matter of hours in terms of getting these votes counted if he's going to have a chance of victory, and this has eaten up some time.

BLACK: Democratic concerns were echoed by a Republican: Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Psychologically, it's a tough blow to Vice President Gore and legally is a tough blow to Vice President Gore, and he's already sort of on the ropes and reeling.

BLACK: Congressman Cal Dooley of California, leader of the centrist House Democrats, predicts most Democrats will stay loyal to Gore.

REP. CAL DOOLEY (D), CALIFORNIA: An overwhelming majority of Americans think that you should have a hand count of the votes in Florida in order to really determine, you know, who is the winner in Florida. I think that gives a lot of strength of resolve to Democratic members of Congress to stick with the vice president.

BLACK: Some Republicans used the court decision to call on Gore to concede. Republican House Conference Chairman J.C. Watts adding -- quote -- "America needs to move forward, not be bogged down by the desperation of one man's obsession."

And House Speaker Dennis Hastert, back from his weekend visit with Bush in Texas, said nothing is conclusive until someone throws in the towel and says, this is it.

(on camera): But neither side is showing any sign of throwing in the towel. On Tuesday both vice presidential candidates Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney will come to the Hill to make a direct pitch to the Democratic and Republican caucuses.

Chris Black, CNN, Capitol Hill (END VIDEOTAPE)


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we need to do away with the stick and pin and the ballot and go to something more updated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like my vote does not count. I mean every vote counts except the Electoral College is the one that makes the final decision, not the people, and that frustrates me a great deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm real skeptical about voting now. It's just that I feel that everybody should re-vote. Everybody should just vote over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it's changed my opinion about voting. I'll still vote. I mean, you know, it's part of my right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our system is very antiquated. We need a new system. With the modern technology, they should have something a little better than what they have.


WALCOTT: So what does all this legal wrangling mean for the U.S. economy? Well, a lot. Wall Street has been on the decline since the November election. But Monday, the Dow picked up steam after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, ending up with its biggest point rally in more than a month.

However, as the presidential waiting game ticks on, things could take a turn for the worse. Here's Brooks Jackson.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been the longest boom in U.S. history. Is it ending? Dick Cheney says, maybe.

DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We may well be on the front edge of a recession here.

JACKSON: And he's not alone. Some private economists also say there's a real risk of recession next year.

DIANE VAZZA, STANDARD & POOR'S: I think our view here at S&P is there is a 30-percent chance some time in 2001 where we may go into a recession.

JACKSON: Standard & Poor's says a record number of business corporations are defaulting on their bond payments. The pattern looks just like what happened before the last recession in 1992.

And signs of slowing growth just keep coming. Monday it was reported that vehicle sales slipped again in November, down 12 percent from their peak in February. Rising energy prices are like a tax on the whole economy, up 13 percent last year, and rising at a 17-percent rate this year.

The stock market keeps sliding, making stock owners feel less wealthy, more hesitant to spend. The Nasdaq, home to formerly high- flying dot-coms and tech stocks, closed Monday down 49 percent from its high for the year. Other indexes are sagging as well.

Consumer confidence is falling, the lowest all year. Fewer consumers plan to buy homes, cars, appliances in the next six months. And that could mean trouble.

CRAIG THOMAS, ECONOMY.COM: If the economy continues to decelerate to the point that it spooks households into spending much less this holiday season on retail goods, we could have a real problem.

JACKSON: Thomas doesn't expect a recession, nor do most economists. But slower growth is certain. Growth already has slowed down from nearly six percent in April, May and June, to only 2.4 percent in July, August and September, the slowest in four years.

The pace of job creation is slowing down, the number of help- wanted ads in newspapers is down, too. And claims for unemployment insurance are going up, as layoffs hit dot-com companies and banks and manufacturing as well.

And even sluggish growth could be almost as bad as a real recession.

ALLEN SINAI, CEO, PRIMARK DECISION ECONOMICS: Given where we've been, we've been in a huge boom, it will feel to a lot of us like recession, without it statistically being one.

JACKSON (on camera): The worry is what one economist called "the perfect storm scenario," another jump in oil prices, more declines in stock prices, and worsening economic troubles overseas, all at once. And that's no longer so hard to imagine.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: It's no secret that many teenagers think they're invincible, putting their health at risk by doing things such as driving too fast. Teens also tend to take their bodies for granted when it comes to nutrition. Many forget everything they eat or drink has a direct effect on their health. It's something school coaches are particularly concerned about.

Toria Tolley has that.


TORIA TOLLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This school is proud of its emphasis on sports, but the food fueling these young athletes could actually be doing more harm than good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten chicken nuggets, an order of fries, order of cookies, chocolate milk, Gator-Ade, and 20 packets of ketchup.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wasn't hungry today. I just didn't bring lunches, so I felt like skipping it, I do that occasionally.

TOLLEY (on camera): Any vegetables? Never?

(voice-over): Instead of nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, and low-fat proteins, many of today's active teens are lured by starchy, fatty, sugary foods, and that, according to the football coach at this Georgia high school, could eventually sideline some of these budding stars.

BILL WATERS, HIGH SCHOOL COACH: They know that nutrition's important for that growth of their muscles and everything else. A lot of them won't take advantage of it. A lot of them -- others will just simply do what other high school kids do and they'll eat the junk.

TOLLEY: Recent studies have shown that teens are not getting enough calcium, a nutrient that plays a crucial role in building strong bones. And now these young athletes may be at a much greater risk of breaking those bones. Nutrition expert Nancy Clark sees a dangerous trend.

NANCY CLARK, ATHLETE NUTRITION EXPERT: So many of the people that I counsel sleep through breakfast and then, perhaps at school lunch, they eat lunch, but maybe they don't eat lunch, maybe they spend their money on some candy or some soft drinks, or maybe they eat nothing. And then they try to practice sports for the afternoon. And they're just running on empty.

TOLLEY (on camera): Experts say there are several reasons that active teens in particular need a balanced diet. First of all, it keeps them healthy, and if they are injured playing sports, those injuries usually heal a lot quicker. It also prevents fatigue, leaving them with a lot more energy for the sports they decide to play.

(voice-over): School lunch is a perfect time to fuel the body, from the cafeteria line or from a lunch packed at home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm, like, having a turkey and cheese sandwich and a apple cinnamon nutrient bar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like to go with the school lunch. I find that it is -- it has all the nutrients I need to get through a hard day.

TOLLEY: Both Coach Waters and Nancy Clark would like to see schools hiring nutritionists and setting up a mealtime training table for student athletes. In the meantime, they urge healthy meals with breakfast mandatory, not nutritional supplements and diet drinks that promise energy.

Toria Tolley, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WALCOTT: It's holiday season, and for many that translates into high-traffic travel season. A lot of you and your families are booking flights to visit friends and relatives around the country or even around the world. For people changing time zones, all that traveling can be tiring.

As Jonathan Aiken tells us, a new supplement may be the remedy for old-fashioned jet lag.


JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six hundred fifty million travelers took to the skies last year, a lot of them flying coast to coast. For many, the way around a bad case of jet lag was coffee, a dose of melatonin, exercise, maybe just sleep.

But a new dietary supplement is showing promise at relieving the physical exhaustion and mental weariness often associated with jet lag. ENADAlert uses a form of stabilized NADH, it's a co-enzyme found in the body that stimulates cellular energy production.

It seemed to work for Nancy Cavanaugh. She was one of 35 people paid a small fee to take part in a study funded by the company that makes ENADAlert that looked at jet lag, its effects on brain function, and whether this supplement was effective in countering them.

To find out, researchers sent the 35 test subjects on a 6:00 p.m. flight from San Diego, California to Phoenix, Arizona. From Phoenix, they took a late night, or red-eye flight, to Baltimore, Maryland, arriving at 6:00 a.m. the next morning. From Baltimore, the group was bussed to Washington, D.C.

NANCY CAVANAUGH, STUDY PARTICIPANT: On the trip from Baltimore to Washington, I could feel my eyes were really tired. I was almost falling asleep.

AIKEN: Once in Washington, Cavanaugh and others were tested again and given 20 milligrams of ENADAlert. Another group was given a placebo.

Researchers say the placebo group was drowsier, with reaction times up to six-tenths of a second slower than the ENADAlert group. It's a figure researchers say could be dangerous if you're both jet lagged and driving.

DR. GARY KAY, PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: If you're traveling 60 or 70 miles per hour, that distance can become rather meaningful.

AIKEN: Others are skeptical about the claims made for ENADAlert.

DR. RICHARD WALDHORN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY SLEEP DISORDERS CENTER: The results are just too preliminary and the study is too small to make any broad conclusions about its use.

AIKEN (on camera): Experts says that unless you are traveling through six or more time zones you really don't need drugs or diet supplements to get through jet lag. It's something you can do yourself, avoid eating late, don't drink alcohol, and adjust your exposure to sunlight as you travel.

Jonathan Aiken, for CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: It's no secret, teenagers sometimes get a bad rap. Ever wonder why you sometimes make silly decisions or feel unable to control emotions? Well, scientists say your behavior can actually be traced to changes that take place in the brain during the adolescent years.

For more on this, tune in tomorrow, when I delve a little deeper into "Your Brain," a special series.

Eating, sleeping and jumping get our attention in "Worldview." We'll visit Great Britain and points beyond to learn why going without enough sleep is risky business. And we'll learn all about kangaroos in two stops: one in the united states, the other in Australia.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: You know Australia for its unique geographic distinction. It's both a country and a continent. And you're probably familiar with its unusual wildlife, animals like the platypus, the wombat, and the koala. The furry little creatures live in trees and eat eucalyptus leaves.

But today, instead of exploring what animals eat, we're checking out animals people eat. And in Australia, they're serving up kangaroo, as John Raedler explains.


JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chef Fernando Silva, originally from Brazil, prepares a distinctively Australian dish. Trimming the kangaroo meat with the skill of a surgeon. That's right: kangaroo meat. It's one of the specialties of the restaurant where Silva cooks.

SEAN HARPER, RESTAURANT OWNER: Kangaroo is seasonal meat. It's healthier for you than beef. The Heart Foundation has put it as the most healthiest meat there is, because of the low fat content of it.

RAEDLER: But how does it taste?

HARPER: It's a little bit gamey, but can be prepared sensationally. It can be very succulent, very tender, if the chef does it correctly.

RAEDLER: To go with the char-grilled kangaroo, Silva prepares a quandong sauce. That's quandong, a native Australian fruit with a peach-like flavor.

But are Australians who eat kangaroo meat, concerned about eating their national emblem? HARPER: There are a lot of kangaroos in Australia and the meat is very good for you. So they're not looking at it eating their national emblem. People look at it more as, it's a product.

RAEDLER: Now for the final presentation of char-grilled striploin of kangaroo on a vegetable base with quandong sauce. Voila!

And for the chef it's time to throw another 'roo on the barbie.

John Raedler, CNN, Sydney.


WALCOTT: More on kangaroos, as we turn from Australia to the United States. Not a place you normally think of as a kangaroo hangout.

A kangaroo is a marsupial, a kind of mammal that gives birth to underdeveloped offspring. It's also a macropod, a word meaning big foot. Kangaroos can hop very fast, up to about 30 miles or 48 kilometers an hour. And they can jump up to six feet, or 1.8 meters.

A baby kangaroo is called a joey. The joey spends about six to eight months in its mother's pouch.

We head now to the state of Georgia, where there's a little piece of the outback roaming around Dawson County.

David George introduces us to a family who jumped at the chance to make a home for some unusual residents.


DAVID GEORGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can find anything from mountains to swamps in Georgia. But what you wouldn't expect to find? Australian Outback.

Dawsonville, Georgia is home to the largest collection of kangaroos outside Australia at the Kangaroo Conservation Center. The center's owners, Debbie and Roger Nelson, have made this 87-acre preserve, and these animals their life's work.

DEBBIE NELSON, CO-OWNER, KANGAROO CONSERVATION: From the time you raise them as a little baby, they really become part of your family, and you get to know them as individuals.

GEORGE: For 15 years, the Nelsons have funded the center, mostly from their own private investments. But they also make some money selling kangaroos to zoos, and conducting safari tours for the public.

On the two-hour tour, visitors get an education about kangaroos, as well as a few other exotic animals. But, the kangaroos are definitely the main attraction.

LAURA JEE, VISITOR: They were so soft. It was really neat. STEVEN PRAZAK, VISITOR: Just watching them work, watching them move, watching them eat, watching them deal with the things up close that they deal with everyday is fascinating.

GEORGE: The Nelsons say, keeping this center hopping is a full- time job. It takes a small team of biologists, and other workers to manage this mob.

Each animal has a special diet. And the staff keeps detailed records of growth, bloodlines, and eating and mating habits.

ROGER NELSON, CO-OWNER, KANGAROO CONSERVATION CENTER: We are actually licensed by both state and federal entities, and when we do send an animal to another facility, we make sure that it is qualified to take care of the animal.

GEORGE: Despite the personal attention, the Nelsons say they are careful to ensure that the kangaroos live as natural a life as possible.

D. NELSON: We don't generally hand-raise the kangaroos unless we absolutely we have to. And, since we have such large fields, the kangaroos are almost as if they would be in the wild, but they do become accustomed to people.

GEORGE: The Nelsons say their kangaroos live about seven years longer than those in the real outback. And they believe that giving the public a personal experience with these animals will inspire people to protect the kangaroo's natural home as well.

David George, CNN.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Up next, we head to Great Britain for a story that focuses on what could be one of your favorite activities: sleep. According to the American Sleep Disorders Association, the average teenager needs about 9 1/2 hours per night.

How much sleep do you get? Studies show that the average teen gets about 7 1/2 hours a night, two hours short of what's recommended. In fact, researchers say teens need more sleep than their younger brothers or sisters.

Sleep deprivation among teens can cause moodiness, depression, poor performance in school, and increased risk of car accidents. And sleep deprivation affects people of all ages all around the world.

As Margaret Lowrie explains, it could be as hazardous to your health as drunken driving.


MARGARET LOWRIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Researchers in Australia and New Zealand found in their study that getting less than six hours' sleep each night can seriously affect drivers' coordination, reaction time, and impair their judgment. Potentially putting people at a very serious risk comparable to drinking too much.

The implications go far beyond drivers to include those working long shifts without sleep, such as doctors or ambulance staff or other emergency workers.

ANDREW HOBART, BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: What's been found in that study translates across to what we've found in our studies that long hours have effects on the doctors' health, both psychological and physical, and also potentially has effects on their performance, which ultimately could affect patient care.

LOWRIE: The British Medical Association has long warned of the dangers of working too many hours at a time.

HOBART: People need to sleep in order to be healthy. They need an adequate amount of sleep at the right time in the right pattern, continually interrupted sleep, or sleep in a disrupted pattern physically and mentally is not good for people.

LOWRIE: In the study, published in the British journal "Occupational and Environmental Medicine," researchers found drivers remaining awake for 17 to 19 hours, performed worse than those with 50 milligrams of alcohol in their bloodstream, less than two glasses of wine, the legal drink-driving limit in most of Europe, although Britain's is actually higher.

The study says, 16 to 60 percent of road accidents involve sleep deprivation, and that countries with drink-drive limits should consider similar restrictions on sleep deprivation.

DAVE ROGERS, ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF ACCIDENTS: We believe it's quite likely, given the right level of research and development, than a simple test should be available for the police to exercise to tell whether people are impaired by sleep as well.

LOWRIE (on camera): And the British Medical Association warns other problems may arise as a result of sleep deprivation, people working too many hours with too little sleep may find they have increased stress levels, anxiety, depression. Smokers may smoke more, drinkers may drink more, and some may find themselves taking unnecessary risks.

Magaret Lowrie, CNN, London.


BAKHTIAR: Experts provide tips for developing better sleep habits: be consistent, establish a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule; exercise is good, but finish at least two hours before you go to bed; avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day, they're stimulants; relax before going to bed, avoid heavy reading or computer games; and don't fall asleep with the TV on, flickering lights disturb restful sleep.

WALCOTT: When you go to an amusement park do you make a beeline for the fast rides? You know the ones, the ones that make your stomach turn or take your breath away? Today's "Chronicle" is a feast for all you fun-loving, roller-coaster-riding, thrill seekers.

Ann Kellan takes us to an attractions convention with all the right moves.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Instead of that pit in your stomach feeling of a roller coaster swooping down, imagine the reverse: sling shot into the sky with a somersault twist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a second or two of weightlessness, and then you drop back down, and that's the real stomach wrenching. There's relief.

KELLAN (on camera): But you'd do it again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yeah! Oh yeah!

KELLAN (voice-over): It's one of number of new rides featured at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Convention. This Italian-made million dollar ride keeps you in suspended suspense, then.

Where else could you get upstaged by an animatronic dolphin used in movies like Flipper. Its makers are selling dolphins, whales and sharks for a mere $250,000 each.

UNIDENTIFIED ANIMATRONIC DOLPHIN: People around the fish tank, I want to clear up a misconception. I am not a fish. I am a mammal.

UNIDENTIFIED ROBOT: Where's a camcorder when you need one?

KELLAN: Lie on our stomach and feel the bumps on this $20,000 virtual reality ride, Mercracer.

No, this is not some new jig. It's a virtual reality game where you use your hands and feet. Every kick or chop breaks one of 12 infrared beams and triggers computer-driven characters on the screen to move.

(on camera): You get a workout doing this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, we need to get somebody younger to do this.

KELLAN (voice-over): The Virtual Combat Ring costs about $14,000. Having fun yet?

Tired of standing in long lines at your favorite rides? This technology lets you make a reservation and come back later.

It's easy to get lost when you're having fun. Makers of this ParkWatch hope facilities will buy and rent these to visitors.

DAN TOMLINSON, PARKWATCH: This is a little tiny transmitter and it periodically sends a little signal that says: This is who I am out to a series of receiving antennas that we set up around the perimeter of the park.

KELLAN: To find someone in your group scan your watch at any one of the monitors around the park. It will show you where they are.

And this ride by Extreme Engineering literally knocks you out of your seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then we're going to drop the chair out.

UNIDENTIFIED ROBOT: You were good, kid, real good.

KELLAN (on camera): That was fun.

UNIDENTIFIED ROBOT: Cut that's a print. How was I? How was my hair?

KELLAN (voice-over): Ann Kellan, CNN, Atlanta.


WALCOTT: And that wraps up today's show. We'll see you back here tomorrow.



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