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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for December 12, 2000

Aired December 12, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Shelley Walcott. Today's show has news from all fronts. Let's take a look at our rundown.

The race for the U.S. presidency reaches the nation's highest court. The latest on that story tops our news agenda.

Then put on your running shoes. Today's "Health Desk" is going to help you work out.

Our attention turns to Africa in "Worldview"; specifically Kenya, where a lengthy drought is threatening lives and livestock.

There's more traveling to be done in "Chronicle." We'll stop in North Korea to profile this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

For the second time in a month, the United States Supreme Court weighs arguments in the presidential standoff. At issue is whether to allow the hand counts of Florida presidential ballots to resume. The court's decision could put an end to the prolonged race for the white House.

The month-long presidential dispute is back in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. Attorneys for Al Gore and George W. Bush presented arguments to the nation's highest court Monday. Bush lawyers asked the justices to reverse a Florida high court decision that ordered a recount of thousands of disputed ballots. They argued that the hand count was illegal and unconstitutional. The Gore legal team, on the other hand, wants the count to resume, arguing voters have the right to have their ballots counted.

Meanwhile, unless the U.S. Supreme Court gives them reason to pause, Florida lawmakers continue to move toward naming a slate of electors. Monday, a House committee approved measures to name electors loyal to Bush. That resolution is on its way to the state's full Senate for consideration.

Dec. 12 is the date Florida initially planned to choose its electors. Now, with time running out, the U.S. Supreme Court's role in resolving the Florida vote count is becoming increasingly crucial.

Charles Bierbauer brings us an inside look at Monday's court hearing.


CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The justices looked for a reason the federal court should be involved and seemed to find it in the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection to all citizens.

JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY, U.S. SUPREME COURT: You would say that from the standpoint of the equal protection clause, each -- could each county give their own interpretation to what intent means so long as they are in good faith and with some reasonable basis, finding intent?


KENNEDY: Could that vary from county to county?

BOIES: I think it can vary from individual to individual.

BIERBAUER: The equal protection issue, which Bush attorneys wanted before the court, troubled the court's conservatives and liberals alike as they considered Florida's vote-counting procedure.

JUSTICE DAVID SOUTER, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Why shouldn't there be one objective rule for all counties? And if there isn't, why isn't it an equal protection violation?

BIERBAUER: Justice Ginsburg suggested that might not be practical.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, U.S. SUPREME COURT: When there are different ballots from county to county, too, Mr. Olson, that's part of the argument that I don't understand.

TED OLSON, BUSH ATTORNEY: You're certainly going to have to look at a ballot that you mark one way different than these punch-card ballots. Our point is with respect to the punch-card ballots is that there are different standards for evaluating those ballots from county to county.

BIERBAUER: Justice Breyer repeatedly asked what would be a fair way to count.

JOSEPH KLOCK, ATTORNEY FOR FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: I would hold that you have to punch the chad through on a ballot. The only problem that we have here is created by people who did not follow instructions.

BIERBAUER: Attorneys for Vice President Gore argued Florida has historically stretched rules to accommodate the will of the voter.

BOIES: The Florida Supreme Court has held that where a voter's intent can be discerned, even if they don't do what they're told, that's supposed to be counted.

BIERBAUER: The justices were troubled by the Florida Supreme Court defining the time and manner for recounts, but they seemed to feel state courts might play a role in the process.

JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Is your point that even in close calls we have to revisit the Florida Supreme Court's opinion?

OLSON: No, I think that it is particularly in this case where there's been two wholesale revisions.

BIERBAUER: In taking a second look at the Florida recount, the justices have forced themselves to play a role.

SOUTER: I think we would have a responsibility to tell the Florida courts what to do about it. On that assumption, what would you tell them to do about it?

BOIES: I think that's a very hard question.

SOUTER: You'd tell them to count every vote.


You'd tell them to count every vote, Mr. Boies.

BOIES: I would tell them to count every vote.

BIERBAUER (on camera): After arguments, the attorney for Vice President Gore said Justice Scalia had promised to keep an open mind even though Scalia had signaled there were five justices who felt Gov. Bush had a "reasonable probability" of prevailing.

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, the Supreme Court.


WALCOTT: Whatever decision the Supreme Court justices come to, it certainly will go down as one of the most important decisions in the history of U.S. politics.

Now, Bruce Morton takes a look back at other ground-breaking moments in the life of the Supreme Court.


JUSTICE JOHN PAUL STEVENS, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Is it your theory, in other words, that they voluntarily did not permit appellate review of the...

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "The Supreme Court," a humorist wrote a couple of generations ago, "follows the election returns."

Does it? Well, that's hard to say. When the Supreme Court in 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education, ruled that separate was "inherently unequal" in education and began the slow painful process of integrating American schools, the opinion was unanimous and was written by then Chief Justice Earl Warren, appointed by a Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower. You could argue that the court then was leading public opinion, which did shift in the years that followed; Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of '65, and ended legalized segregation in the South.

In Roe v. Wade in 1973, Justice Harry Blackmun, also a Republican appointee, wrote the majority opinion legalizing abortion. Since then, the court has twice approved restrictions -- a waiting period, parental notification -- but it has also upheld a woman's right to an abortion, putting it pretty close to where polls say public opinion is.

The 8 to nothing 1974 decision ordering President Richard Nixon to hand over his Watergate tapes was written by then Chief Justice Warren Burger, a Nixon appointee.

Presidents see Supreme Court appointments as important, part of their legacies, so they try to appoint justices who think as they do. Republican presidents, in general, want to name justices with conservative views; Democrats, justices with more liberal ones. But it doesn't always work. Earl Warren, whose court was active in many social issues, was, again, a Republican, though Eisenhower did later say the appointment was one of the worst mistakes he ever made.

Justice David Souter, on the current court, is a Bush appointee, who's now usually seen as part of the court's liberal bloc, and so on.

Philosophically divided? Yes, but not always the way the presidents who picked them expected. Partisan in party label terms?

ROBERT SCHAPIRO, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR: These justices have great ideological divisions, not so much with regard to partisan politics, but with regard to their approach to the law.

RICHARD SHENKMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It's not these gods on Mt. Olympus who are ruling from on a high and saying this is the law. The law's always subject to interpretation.

MORTON (on camera): The next president will surely try to bend the court toward his philosophy, but history shows the justices may surprise him.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: We turn now to the U.S. state of California to update a story we've been following. For the past week, residents have been in the grip of a serious power crunch; one that has included several electrical states of emergency. But now it looks like relief may be in sight.

Greg LaMotte has the details.


GREG LAMOTTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just in time for the holidays, the power crunch in California and the Pacific Northwest has eased. Most emergency alerts have been canceled, but residents throughout the region are being warned to continue conservation efforts.

A cold snap in the Northwest, out-of-control power costs and electricity deregulation are being blamed for the region's recent state of emergency regarding power supplies.

Helping ease the crisis, California's Diablo Nuclear Power Plant. The second unit at the plant went online Sunday after being shut down for maintenance. In addition, it appears the cold snap in the Pacific Northwest isn't expected to be as harsh as initially predicted.

Power costs throughout the region have been soaring mostly because of skyrocketing costs for natural gas. With booming economies throughout the West, natural gas is in tight supply. And while the deregulation of California's electric utilities was supposed to lower costs through competition, it so far has led to a doubling and tripling of prices.

California's governor says he needs help from the federal government to control prices being charged by out-of-state electricity suppliers.

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: The generators are literally gouging us, making all the money they can even though they realize it'll bring California's economy to its knees, make life difficult for people on fixed incomes.

LAMOTTE: This week, the Federal Regulatory Commission plans to announce a series of sweeping proposals to ease the state's electricity pricing crisis. Said the commission chairman, quote, "never before has this commission had to address such a dramatic market meltdown."

Greg LaMotte, CNN, Los Angeles.


WALCOTT: OK, here's cause for concern: Health experts say more and more young people in the United States are overweight. The reason for this? Well, turns out physical activity just isn't a part of most kids' daily lives. It's recommended that folks your age and adults get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. It's to reduce the risk of disease and early death.

Now, a new initiative is trying to teach people of all ages to incorporate exercise into their daily lives.

Pat Etheridge has more.


PAT ETHERIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the Williams family, it's a simple morning ritual: their daily walk to school with 5-year-old Hannah (ph). TOM WILLIAMS, FATHER: It's the calm in the storm of our day, actually.

ETHERIDGE: Many families at Westchester Elementary outside Atlanta have joined the charge trying to make a comeback of walking to school.

CHERYL KUEBLER, PRINCIPAL: We will help stop pollution, cut down some of the traffic that's in front of our school, plus we start our children with a learning about healthy, daily behaviors.

ETHERIDGE: The school was selected as a model for a national program spearheaded by the Centers for Disease Control.

RICH KILLINGSWORTH, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: The children will understand that they can get to destinations with their feet and not be so dependent on the automobile to get from place to place.

ETHERIDGE: Fewer than 10 percent of the children in this country walk to school. The fact is, most communities are more convenient for cars than for kids. And although parents of the children at Westchester embrace the walk to school program, they remain concerned about the busy streets that border the school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for being here, thank you for seeing the community coming together and seeing all the wonderful children. Please now help us address this so that they can walk everyday safely.

ETHERIDGE: The plea comes at a time when schools are eliminating recess and physical education programs and childhood obesity is on the rise. The question is whether neighborhoods and governments can rise to the occasion and bring back the days when it was safe for children to travel on their feet.

WILLIAMS: Have a good day.

ETHERIDGE: Pat Etheridge, CNN, Atlanta.


WALCOTT: "Worldview" is all about Africa. We'll visit Kenya, a country plagued by a devastating drought. Livestock has been especially hard hit there. Grazing land is gone and watering holes are dry. And 3.3 million people are at risk of starvation.

We'll also visit South Africa for a modern-day Noah's Ark story: a tale of animals in danger from disease instead of drought. And we'll learn why some workers are disappearing. It's a phenomenon known as "brain drain."

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: South Africa is the southernmost country on the African continent. It is a relatively isolated country more than 1,000 miles, or 1,600 kilometers, from most major African cities, and even further from major economic partners in Europe, the U.S. and in Asia. Still, South Africa depends heavily on foreign trade, and thus the South African economy is sensitive to global economic conditions. Among its leading exports are precious metals like gold and silver, and military equipment.

Today, we focus on an export many South Africans could probably live without. In the last decade alone, analysts estimate South Africa has lost about 4,600 professional workers per year, with the number rising to an average of 9,000 per year between 1994 and 1999. How is the country confronting this issue?

Charlayne Hunter-Gault tells us.


CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are doctors, nurses, scientists, teachers. These and many more professionals leaving, taking with them much-needed brain power.

Colin Bundy, head of the University of the Witswatersrand, one of South Africa's oldest and most prestigious institutions, says the "brain drain" is very serious.

COLIN BUNDY, UNIVERSITY OF THE WITSWATERSRAND: People are anxious about the future, and then by leaving denude the country of necessary skills and intellectual capital. They make it harder for those who remain to do the things that have to be done.

HUNTER-GAULT: Like Princess Zulu Ngcobo, a nurse. She's getting ready to leave for the United Kingdom because of the weight she says is too heavy to carry.

PRINCESS ZULU NGCOBO, NURSE: Sometimes a patient is suffering there, nobody can be able to go and give the patient a glass of water.

HUNTER-GAULT (on camera): Because there's not enough hands.

NGCOBO: Because there are not enough hands.

HUNTER-GAULT (voice-over): The exodus of nurses has become so critical that nurses say that patients are dying needlessly. The problem is so acute that even former South African President Nelson Mandela asked British Prime Minister Tony Blair to stop taking South Africa's nurses.

But Ngcobo says she's leaving because she she's not being paid enough. Ngcobo earns less than $200 U.S. per month. A divorcee who's lost her home, she is forced to live in this apartment building with her three children, the youngest of whom is 11. She's heartbroken because she has to leave them behind. But she sees no other way to provide.

NGCOBO: And if I die now, my children would be homeless.

HUNTER-GAULT: But salaries aren't the only cause of brain drain. Yolisa Dalamba, a single mother with a 5-year-old son, is leaving for a variety of reasons, not least her concerns about the educational system and black children.

YOLISA DALAMBA, DRAMA PROFESSOR: Those kids are secondary. They're last on the list. They would get the worst resources if they get them at all.

HUNTER-GAULT: But Dalamba, herself a teacher at the prestigious University of the Witswatersrand, says she, too, is on the receiving end of what she sees as white racism.

DALAMBA: Often, you know, you are regarded as this, you know, this affirmative action, you know, person who was just given a break. You know, you really -- you've probably got some bubble-gum degree from some, you know, bush university somewhere and the university's doing you a favor because you're black and because you're a woman. So people don't take you as seriously as they certainly would if you were white.

HUNTER-GAULT (on camera): There's also politics. The vast majority of those leaving are white professionals, some of whom were concerned about what was going to happen under a black government. But while it's increased, the brain drain didn't start in 1994 when the country's first black government came to power.

DAVID KAPLAN, ECONOMIST: We can trace it back many years to the period of the second world war. What we find is that immigration peaks, particularly after periods of political crisis. It's higher now than it's been historically. It's a worry for us.

HUNTER-GAULT (voice-over): But the politics of the past of the racially discriminatory practices of the all-white apartheid government linger, analysts say.

BUNDY: One of the most crushing legacies of apartheid is the crisis in black high schools in which the levels of education were abysmally poor. And so we have the situation now where a majority of black students in township high schools are not getting decent math or science education. A university like this one with a medical school desperate for black medical graduates cannot register enough students.

HUNTER-GAULT: Economist Kaplan thinks the short-term solution is a network he and others devised called South Africa Skills Abroad, where people can contribute to the country no matter where they are.

KAPLAN: We've asked them: You've left the country, but you were born here, you were educated here, do you owe some allegiance? Would you like to use your skills to contribute to development here? They're lost to us, they've gone, they're people who don't intend to come back. But it's an attempt to, partially at least, recapture some of those brains that, you say, have drained from the country.

HUNTER-GAULT: And that would include university president Colin Bundy, who announced earlier that he, too, was leaving to take a post in England. But he says he'll be back some day.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN, Johannesburg.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: More from South Africa as we turn our attention to the wild kingdom. A recent outbreak of hoof and mouth disease has been a matter of concern to conservation officials there. Hoof and mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease which affects cloven hoofed animals such as cattle, giraffe, antelope and so on. It doesn't affect most of Africa's wildlife. Creatures like lions, hippos, elephants and rhinos are not susceptible to the disease.

South Africa began vaccinating domesticated animals last month in an attempt to keep it from spreading to Africa's wildlife. The spread of the disease could have a disastrous impact on Africa's vital tourism, and it's already impacted other businesses. The furor resulted in a modern-day Noah's Ark tale.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault returns with this report.


HUNTER-GAULT (voice-over): At dawn, they came home again, 22 giraffes and three rhino almost none the worse for wear after 40 days and 40 nights on a journey to nowhere. Most had lost weight but they were alive, except for two of the giraffes and one pregnant cow that died half way through their unusual African odyssey.

It was a near miracle, considering that while they were at sea, bound for zoos and safari parks in Spain, the publicity about the foot and mouth disease raging in South Africa caught up with them. A co- owner of the animal capture company said the animals had tested negative for the disease and had been quarantined before their departure in a facility checked by Spanish authorities. But Spain refused to allow the animals in. That led to a brief discussion about shooting the animals and dumping their carcasses into the sea. But the shippers said they'd just become too attached to the animals.

JEFF RICHMOND, GLOBAL WILDLIFE LOGISTICS: After the work that we'd put into these animals, financial considerations didn't apply. We believed that we were right and that there was no reason for these animals to be destroyed.

HUNTER-GAULT: A veterinarian in South Africa said all the surviving animals appeared to be in good health. Their seafaring journey over at least for now, the animals were driven back to the Bushveld where they were captured nearly three months ago. But they'll not be returned to the wild. The owners say, during the trip, the giraffes especially became too used to humans and instead they'll have to be sold.


WALCOTT: More from Africa now as we turn to Kenya, which lies along the continent's eastern coast. On this date in history, Dec. 12, 1963, Kenya achieved independence from Great Britain.

Some things to know about this country: Scientists say the first humans on Earth may have lived in Kenya 2 million years ago. The equator passes through Kenya, and most Kenyans are farmers. They've had a tough time recently because of a long and severe drought.

Catherine Bond examines the problem.


CATHERINE BOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the parts of Kenya suffering the worst drought in 40 years, the real casualties have been livestock and the people who depend on them. Maasai pastoralists have seen so many thousands of cattle die that aid agencies are persuading them to rear more camels instead.

CATHERINE BERTINI, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: People here are in a more precarious state than they were even in April, and there needs to be an additional infusion of assistance in order to help them.

BOND: The World Food Programme asked for $88 million U.S. to buy food aid for drought victims in Kenya. Initially, it got about 35 million, most from the United States, the European Union holding back. The World Food Programme says it needs more money for people who are going hungry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Now there is no food for us; there is nothing at all.

BOND: In the last comparable drought in the mid-1980s, millions of people in the Horn of Africa starved. The lessons learnt then mean that food aid is now more efficient. And this time, U.N. relief agencies say the specter of widespread famine is averted.

What's not changed is the need for aid. In fact, that's got greater because Kenya's poorer than it was.

Catherine Bond, CNN, Nairobi.


WALCOTT: In "Chronicle" today, a closer look at the winner of this year's Nobel prize for peace. South Korean President Kim Dae- Jung was given the award Sunday in Oslo, Norway. It was in recognition of the 76-year-old leader's work for democracy and human rights, not to mention his successful efforts towards peace and reconciliation with North Korea.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded every year to a person whose work, quote, "benefits mankind."

Sohn Jie-Ae has this look at Kim's long and bumpy road to international recognition.


SOHN JIE-AE, CNN SEOUL BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Kim Dae-Jung often compares himself to the honeysuckle, a plant which blooms in the spring after a long and harsh winter. Kim's winter was longer and harsher than most. Born in 1925 in the southwestern Korean island of Haeui (ph), Kim entered politics just after the Korean War. He was elected to Parliament in the early 1960s, just days before Gen. Park Chung Hee led a military coup and dissolved the National Assembly. Kim Dae-Jung took a stand against the military dictatorship and became the opposition party's presidential candidate at the young age of 46.

(on camera): Just about a week before the vote, Kim held a rally here at Changchungdan Park. A quarter of Seoul's population -- more than a million -- gathered to hear the eloquent young candidate make a fiery call for democracy.

(voice-over): Two days before the election, a mysterious car crash almost killed Kim, leaving him with a permanent limp. It was not the last time Kim's life was put in danger. During a trip to Japan, he was abducted by what was later revealed as Korean agents who tried to dump him into the sea.

After President Park's assassination in 1979, opposition leaders like Kim hoped for a new era of freedom and democracy. But Gen. Chun Doo Hwan placed the country under martial law and arrested Kim and the other pro-democracy leaders, charging them with treason.

Learning of Kim's arrest, the southwestern city of Kwangju erupted. A brutal military crackdown led to the massacre of hundreds, some say thousands, of civilians.

Human rights lawyer Hahn Seung-Hun was arrested with Kim and was there when a military court gave Kim the death sentence.

HAHN SEUNG-HUN, ATTORNEY-AT-LAW (through translator): When the judge pronounced sentence, people shouted and started weeping. Then someone started singing the national anthem. Then everyone started to sing along and the military police tried to drag away the singers.

JIE-AE: Pressure from the United States forced the government to reduce Kim's sentence.

Recently released photos show Kim and the tiny cell in which he served more than two years of solitary confinement. The government banished Kim to the United States in 1982. Returning home three years later, Kim was promptly placed under house arrest.

Kim supporters say that, despite everything, he has never wavered in his convictions on human rights and democracy. One of the first things Kim did after being elected president was to approve the release and pardon of past military leaders and Presidents Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo, a sign that however long and harsh the winter may be, it cannot keep the honeysuckle from blooming.

Sohn Jie-Ae, CNN, Seoul.


WALCOTT: A fascinating life. That wraps up today's show. But before we go, we leave you with pictures of the shuttle Endeavour's return home after an 11-day mission to the International Space Station.

Have a great day. We'll see you tomorrow.



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