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NEWSROOM for February 2, 2001Aired February 2, 2001 - 4:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Welcome to the show. I'm Shelley Walcott here with your Friday NEWSROOM. First up, today's rundown.
Topping our news agenda, the world watches as Israelis prepare to go to the polls for prime minister.
Then, from the world stage to the small screen:
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LORRAINE TOUSSAINT, ACTRESS: I think on our show you've got women 40 and above who look fabulous but don't look like 20-year-olds. We don't have the lives of 20-year-olds. That's much more interesting to me.
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WALCOTT: We have more drama coming your way in "Worldview." Check out how some French students are learning English.
And finally, getting a taste of your own medicine: When a critic gets critiqued.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak resists last minute pressure to step aside in next week's election, while international efforts to convene a peace summit between Mr. Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat collapse.
Israel says renewed violence in the West Bank has disrupted efforts to put together one last Israeli-Palestinian summit before Tuesday's election for prime minister. United Nations and European officials had hoped Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat would meet again in the coming days. But after two Israelis were fatally shot in the West Bank Thursday, Mr. Barak said he'd wait until after the election to resume contact with the Palestinians.
On the election trail, polls indicate that Prime Minister Barak is trailing far behind right-wing challenger Ariel Sharon of the Likud Party. Recently, Mr. Barak has been under pressure to step aside and let elder statesman Shimon Peres take over as the Labor Party's candidate for prime minister. Polls show Peres could have mounted a stronger challenge to Sharon. The deadline for that to happen, however, passed Thursday.
Many people who will be voting in Tuesday's Israeli elections say they're disappointed with Prime Minister Barak. They blame him for not quelling the recent violence. Still, many voters are also worried by the prospect of a Sharon victory.
Ben Wedeman looks at how the latest violence has shaped the opinions among Israel's Arab neighbors. But first, Jerrold Kessel brings us the point of view from Israel.
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JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Sharon will protect you," the advertising jingle that underlines the confidence which the avuncular figure in Ariel Sharon's campaign is meant to inspire. The soothing message apparently music to the ears of worried Israelis battered by the unresolved Palestinian uprising.
Prime Minister Barak's campaign seeks to highlight Sharon's perceived record as an adventurer, a man who will lead Israel into expanded hostilities, even war.
The Sharon camp counters it's Barak who's brought Israel not security, but confrontation. Israelis, they say, are already fighting and dying even as he continues to pursue peace talks with the Palestinians.
Opinion polls show an enormous number of intended stay-aways, or those who say they'll file blank protest ballots. They are mostly people who are disillusioned with Mr. Barak. He says perhaps the Israeli people will finally awake in the last few days of the campaign to understand just how crucial an election this is.
EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I talk of the right-wing eyes, the black future of messianic visions and apocalyptic anxieties. And at the same time, I remove the rosy filters from the eyes of the Israeli left.
KESSEL: But this has left him politically very much alone, polls suggesting Israelis are not going for Barak's realism but for Sharon's promise, the prime minister stranded 16-22 percentage points behind, and the gap not narrowing.
(on camera): The reason why many Israelis say they feel this isn't a critical, clear-cut election between the possibility of peace and the threat of war is that, given their experience of the last four months of confrontation with the Palestinians amidst on/off peacemaking, there simply isn't a clear-cut peace/war vote.
(voice-over): The landslide which the polls predict is seen as more a turning of backs on Barak than any judgment on his peace process.
TOM SEGEV, POLITICAL ANALYST: People will not vote for Sharon, they will vote against Barak. They will vote against Barak because he failed to deliver.
KESSEL: Barak's paying the penalty, say supporters, for exposing reality by his all-or-nothing insistence that Israel and the Palestinians end their century-long conflict right away, or, if they cannot, to face up to the consequences.
YORAM KANIUK, ISRAELI NOVELIST: Barak had brought the reality into the limelight and people don't like that. Many people on the left are looking for the first time at the hate and the inability to solve this problem, and they don't like it. They don't like reality. The truth came out and Barak is responsible. He went all the say, committed political suicide in order to bring into light the truth.
KESSEL: His far-right critics say he's being rejected because, they say, Mr. Barak sought to mask the truth.
YISRAEL HAREL, JEWISH SETTLER LEADER: Prime Minister Barak pretends that he took off the masks from the conflict. In my opinion, he did the contrary. He put on masks. Because the reality is that, in our generation, there are no fundaments to real and genuine peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
KESSEL: Barak is also paying the price of reflected anger against the Palestinians, who are perceived by Israelis to have let Israel down, chosen to fight rather than to talk peace.
RUTH GAVISON, ISRAEL DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE: It's real tragic because he took away the dreams of many camps. He took away in a powerful way and, I think, in a very disturbing way, the dream of the peace, that it was only up to us.
KESSEL: But it's not only a vote or abstention against Barak. There's also a swing behind Sharon, who's seen as an antidote to the uncertainty and a channel for the anger towards the Palestinians, who are seen to have trounced Barak's Israel on the battleground and at the negotiating table.
RABBI BENI ELON, KNESSET MEMBER: People in Israel really want some normal situation. They don't want now dreams and songs about peace, and they don't want to blame themselves that they did not give peace a chance, and because of it they have to feel bad.
KESSEL: In contrast to Barak's vision of how to reach for the end of the conflict, Sharon has been careful in this campaign not to expose his vision, but to concentrate on the one thing Israelis now crave above all: security. The thrust of the campaign indicates most Israelis feel that since peace now is impossible, it's security now they want, secure answers to what they believe Barak has unleashed: a threat to their very survival.
Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Jerusalem.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "I hate Israel," croons pop singer Shaben Abdrahim (ph) to a family audience at Cairo's Feronic (ph) Village. Crude lyrics, but they seem to strike a chord in the first Arab country to make peace with Israel. "I Hate Israel" is one of the most popular songs in Egypt today.
Four month of clashes between Palestinians and Israelis have battered Egyptian faith in the peace process and left many wondering whether it makes any difference who wins the Israeli election. Looking at the violence, few have much good to say about Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
ABDEL MUNEIM SAID, ANALYST: Finally, we have an intifada in which he dealt with it in the most vicious way, ferocious way, using methods of war and separation that was not used even by Netanyahu.
WEDEMAN: But while Barak has been a disappointment for the Arabs, his main opponent, Likud leader Ariel Sharon, inspires Arab alarm, especially among those who remember his role as architect of Israeli's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
ISMAT ABDEL MAGID, SECRETARY GENERAL, ARAB LEAGUE: He's a war criminal. He's a criminal, as -- what he did in Sabra and Shatila. I mean, his records are very clear to us.
SAID: If the choice of the Israeli people to have Sharon with the blood as its hand, it will show that the body politic of Israel is not ready for peace.
WEDEMAN (on camera): Posturing and rhetoric aside, Egyptian officials quietly acknowledge the Arabs have few options but to pursue the peace process, regardless of who emerges victorious from the Israeli elections.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Cairo.
WALCOTT: NEWSROOM's Jason Bellini went to the Middle East recently. He was able to spend time with people on both sides of the conflict.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not a killer and none of my friends are killers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I throw stones because that's the only way I can express myself to get my rights back.
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WALCOTT: This Monday, CNN NEWSROOM presents "Jason's Journal: A Region in Turmoil." That's coming up Feb. 5.
It's awards season in Hollywood, the time of year when actors recognize outstanding peers, whether at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards or the Emmys.
And that brings us to today's "Editor's Desk." Do you have a favorite actress? Names such as Julia Roberts or Sarah Michelle Gellar might come to mind. But how many of your favorite actresses are over the age of 40? In recent years, there haven't been many mature actresses on the big or small screen.
But as Gloria Hillard shows us, that's changing.
GLORIA HILLARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sela Ward and Kathleen Quinlan are two 40-something women in lead roles in prime time.
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SELA WARD, ACTRESS: You need to be able to trust that I understand.
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WARD: I think the sort of '80s backlash against independent women portrayed on television is turning around.
KATHLEEN QUINLAN, ACTRESS: The changes that I've seen, the roles for women are -- women that actually do something, women that possess intelligence and who take action and are not just sort of independent to the male actor.
HILLARD: They are women in drama.
ANNIE POTTS, ACTRESS: I just ran into my old friend Dixie Carter a minute ago and I said, whoever thought we'd be women in drama, darling? I said, you what it is? I said, we just -- we were too old to be funny anymore.
HILLARD: Annie Potts and Lorraine Toussaint star in Lifetime's "Any Day Now," a story that centers on the friendship of two women in the South.
TOUSSAINT: I think on our show you've got women 40 and above who look fabulous, but don't look like 20-year-olds. We don't have the lives of 20-year-olds. That's much more interesting to me.
HILLARD: While we've seen women center stage in comedy over the years, and some old shows like "ER" have featured strong women characters....
MERYL MARSHALL DANIELS, ACADEMY OF TELEVISION, ARTS & SCIENCES: One has the sense that women have always been present in prime time, but we haven't carried the shows. HILLARD: The success of NBC's "Providence" last year changed that.
DANIELS: It demonstrated that a women's audience was out there and hungry.
HILLARD: And they wanted to hear stories about themselves.
DANIELS: And television takes a lot of its sense of what the audience is ready for or interested in from what they hear or see in the world around.
HILLARD: The result: Shows like NBC's "Providence and CBS's "Family Law" and "Judging Amy" have continued to garner high ratings.
AMY BRENNEMAN, ACTRESS: I think these characters that we're seeing are really interesting and multidimensional, and the writers are women, which never used to be.
HILLARD: Amy Brenneman stars with Tyne Daly on "Judging Amy." She is also one of the show's executive producers.
As more women are in positions of power behind the scenes, it's translating to what we see on the screen. Simply put: Given the opportunity, women are telling their stories.
Gloria Hillard, CNN Entertainment News, Los Angeles.
WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, Moliere, math and mummies. Our globe spinning takes us to France to find out about theatrical tradition, and to put a new spin on stage craft. Plus, an unusual exhibition of mummies. You'll learn about animal anatomy as we travel to Germany. But first a trip to Africa to discover the ancient culture of math.
KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Come along to the second largest continent in the world: Africa. It covers about one-fifth of the Earth's land area and contains about one-eighth of its people. Today, we explore the culture expressed by some of the people in masks.
Throughout history, masks have served both as disguises and as coverings with magical powers. Hunters wore them to ensure successful hunts, for example. Sociologists generally describe four major uses for a mask. These are ceremonial, theatrical, festival and burial or death masks. They can be made from paper, wood, stone, leather, cloth, grass, metal and many other materials.
Catherine Bond unmasks the mysteries behind these creative coverings as we journey to Africa.
CATHERINE BOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Used to give ceremonies significance and, sometimes, mystery, an African mask, says art collector Alan Donovan, is defined by where it comes from, like this intricate Yoruba mask from Nigeria.
ALAN DONOVAN, AFRICAN HERITAGE ART COLLECTOR: All Yoruba sculpture, whatever the purpose, whether it's a mask, whether it's a sculpture, would have these huge, bulging eyes.
See here? The king? See his son? See the servants of the Wat (ph). Huge, bulging eyes.
Yoruba sculpture is very realistic. They don't try to make it look abstract. It's not half-giraffe, half-human or half-antelope. It's very realistic.
BOND: More surreal, Amandae (ph) masks from Liberia or Sierra Leon, connectively shaped with a long furrowed, its eyes, nose and busts squeezed to the bottom of the face.
DONOVAN: You can always tell the area where the people they come from, because even though they're a bit different, they still maintain a certain style.
Like the Baoule. Look at this face. You see, the eye brows are always connected to the nose. And the nose, it's always a long line, like a bar, at the bottom.
BOND: More tranquil Baoule masks from Ivory Coast; more decorative
DONOVAN: This is another female mask. This is Ibo from eastern Nigeria. And although maybe a bit similar to Baoule in that it's basically a peaceful mask, it's still much more articulated than the others. And that's the mouth is open; there's the teeth, as very elaborate; coiffure of the hairdo; and the combs in the hair; and small chameleons crawling up.
BOND: And all narrative. A fighter plane and a soldier crafted in Nigeria during the Biafran civil war.
Here, also, a secluded Ibo bride.
DONOVAN: There's a woman in here who's probably being fattened for her wedding because the Ibos like their wives to be very heavy, so.
BOND: Most of the masks in this private collection of contemporary masks like these inspired 20th century European painters like Picasso and Matisse, looking for new forms of expression.
And it's important, says Alan Donovan, that in African art too, there's room for change.
DONOVAN: What bothers me is when you go into -- to a shop or -- for instance, it sells African masks. They're completely closed minded. They think Africa exists in some kind of time frame that never changes. But there is so much creativity in Africa that you have to make allowances. And the new masks, they do develop, and new forms come along with new carvers and creativity.
BOND: With several shops in Nairobi, Donovan also sells masks.
More symbolic, this sort of mask is still used at male circumcision rites in Melee. But in many places, rituals are dying off. And it's the tourist market which plays a key role in keeping the art of mask making alive.
(on camera); Did you find even a market for outside Africa?
DONOVAN: Oh, yes. I think the biggest market is outside Africa.
BOND: And is that a problem, that you count too many African artifacts leaving the continent?
DONOVAN: No, because these are new items. And so a lot of people's welfare and livelihood depends on making crafts and art like this. Most of the old items have already left Africa, unfortunately, or are in museums. We have a lot of old artifacts, used things that people have used, but not masks. We sell them overseas, an old mask.
BOND (voice-over): Catherine Bond, CNN, Nairobi.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The ancient art of mummification was a long and expensive process involving many steps.
But first, washing and ritually purifying the body. Next, embalmers remove the inner organs, extracting the intestines, liver, stomach and lung. The organs, then, were individually wrapped with strips of linen and placed in jars. The brain was also removed through the nose, using long hooks. Next, the body was stuffed and covered with natra, a mineral that was used to dry off the body.
This process usually took about 40 days. Then the entire body was wrapped with long, narrow strips of linen to a depth of about 20 layers. Finally, embalmers covered the head with a mummy mask before burial.
It's often mummies usually bring Egypt in mind. But today, we head to Germany where an artist is unraveling the mystery of elapsed time inside mummies.
Chris Burns has the wrap.
CHRIS BURNS, CNN BERLIN BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): So often, scientists compare man and ape to study evolution. But what's similar under the skins of a mummified man and horse? More than some may think, according to this exhibition at a museum called Koerperwelt, or World of Bodies.
Visitors can see the inner world of a mummified human body, sliced in half to expose the intricate workings. Meanwhile, a rider on top of a horse holds two brains. "Horse and Rider" is the title of the latest work by self-declared anatomy artist Gunter von Hagens. He's an anatomy professor who's stirred controversy in the past with exhibitions of mummified people.
For some, the exhibit or the disembodied parts of it beg explanation. There's relief for those whose own gray matter is challenged, or perhaps more absorbent than others.
Is it science or art? Some visitors here taking more practical, personal approach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You're starting to better understand the way your body in life works, in that you have to protect your life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I find it very original because I love horses. And for the first time, I have been able to see what the anatomy of a horse looks out.
BURNS: And to see that no matter how large the body is, it's the brain that decides who's in charge.
Chris Burns, CNN, Berlin.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: The French have a long-standing love affair with the theater. And for good reason, the country boasts some of the most famous names in the history of playwriting, including Moliere, the incomparable comedy writer, and Racine, one of the masters of classical drama.
Now, some French school children are getting a taste of what the theater is all about. Well, sort of.
Peter Humi explains.
PETER HUMI, CNN PARIS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Something nasty is lurking in the box. And it's up to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to solve the mystery and save queen and country.
It may not be Moliere or Racine. But to the discerning audience, the less cultivated and the more slapstick, the better.
SHANNON FINEGAN, ACTRESS/AUTHOR: I thought they did something else, besides just the essence in the writing.
HUMI: The something else, of course, is the play, which Shannon Finegan wrote after her daughter complained of boring English language lessons at school.
The clues come thick and fast. The dastardly plots are foiled, but not before some high drama. PASCAL LIFSCHUTZ, ACTOR: Hiccups?
FINEGAN: Yes, hiccups.
The dialogue is simple. And even kids, who have yet to take up English at school, can easily pick up the odd phrase.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.
HUMI: "Well, classic French theater, like the Comedie-Francaise, doesn't cater to the kids," says Sherlock Holmes actor Pascal Lifschutz. "Kids are played down to. It's all nyah, nyah, nyah silly stuff," he goes on.
Still, "Thank You Very Much Indeed," as this minor classic is called, is hardly likely to threaten French culture.
FINEGAN: I wouldn't compare it with Shakespeare, you know? It's nonsense humor, but it's all silly, it's funny. And it -- at the same time, it's silly, but you learn something from it, you know -- the children do.
HUMI: Elementary, my dear, Watson. Or maybe, Elementaire, mon cher Watson.
Peter Humi, CNN, Paris.
WALCOTT: In New York, diners are springing to the defense of mashed potatoes. For a while, there's been a trend toward putting so- called "comfort food" on the menu at upscale restaurants. But a New York restaurant critic has provoked this comfort with his fuss on the subject.
Jeannie Moos makes the most of this food fight.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No wonder folks were stewing and steaming. Imagine an assault on mashed potatoes, a slur on macaroni and cheese, calling them slob food.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slob food? It's not true.
MOOS: When you write a column labeling meatloaf and pot pies culinary clunkers...
WILLIAM GRIMES, RESTAURANT CRITIC: Well, it's like telling people that their babies are ugly.
MOOS: "New York Times" restaurant critic William Grimes must remain incognito so he can continue to review restaurants without being recognized. In his column, Grimes lashed out at the trend toward serving so-called comfort food at upscale restaurants. GRIMES: Why do you go to a restaurant to order macaroni and cheese? If you cannot make macaroni and cheese at home, you can't tie your shoes.
MOOS: Tell that to the folks at New York's Hudson Cafeteria, where not only is mac and cheese on the menu...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And macaroni and cheese.
MOOS: It's the most popular entree. For $24.50, you can get it topped with foie gras, goose liver. But restaurant critic Grimes thinks the return to comfort food is a regression to the worst food in American history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I used to love my mom's meatloaf. We would have meatloaf sandwiches with ketchup.
GRIMES: I think you hit them where they live when you criticize meatloaf. They think that you're criticizing their mother's meatloaf.
MOOS: "Their mother's or their own, Mr. Grimes, you haven't tasted my meatloaf," responded one reader.
GRIMES: I hope they don't send slices of it to me.
MOOS: Folks get really mushy over their mashed potatoes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love them. I'll always eat them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've been around a lot longer than "The New York Times."
MOOS: But "The Times" critic figures why muddle through mashed potatoes when you can be adventurous. Try sea urchin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't seem like something you should be eating. It's got all those --it doesn't look safe.
MOOS: If you're really in the mood for regression, a restaurant called Ike has TV dinners on the menu. Salisbury steak is most popular.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Set the timer for 35 minutes.
MOOS: This is one steak you can't seem to drive a stake through.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tastes like it used to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-huh.
MOOS: Friends of comfort food, take comfort.
(on camera): You don't hate mashed potatoes?
MOOS: You have nothing against meatloaf?
MOOS (voice-over): But readers retaliated, "You're tired of soft and simple, well suck it up." Grimes was told to lighten up, and chill out. He's taken a lot of lumps, and we don't mean the ones in mashed potatoes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my lumps.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
WALCOTT: Mashed potatoes.
That wraps up today's edition of NEWSROOM. We'll see you back here on Monday. Bye bye.
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