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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for February 16, 2001

Aired February 16, 2001 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Welcome to your Friday NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Tom Haynes. Let's get started with a look at the rundown.

U.S. President Bush heads south of the border, as relations between the United States and Mexico top our news agenda. Then in "Editor's Desk": A page in literary history is put to rest. Up next, we'll check out cool art in "Worldview." We'll end up "Chronicling" a high tech high school providing cutting-edge education.

But topping the news today: President Bush's first turn on the international stage. He's not going far: just south of the border to Mexico for a meeting with President Vicente Fox.

Before setting out on his one-day trip to Mexico, Mr. Bush made a stop at the U.S. State Department. The president was joined by Secretary of State Colin Powell as he spoke to diplomats crowded into the building's atrium. Mr. Bush vowed his administration would have a -- quote -- "consistent and decisive foreign policy." And echoing the sentiment of presidents before him, Mr. Bush pledged to protect America's interests abroad and strengthen its ties closer to home.

The president's trip to Mexico is the culmination of a week-long focus on national security issues. Earlier this week, he traveled to military bases in Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia. The tour was meant to promote his administration's plans to bolster the military.

A goodwill gesture on the eve of the president's trip to Mexico. Some U.S. lawmakers propose suspending for one year an annual review of Mexico's cooperation in the war against drugs. Tons of cocaine, heroine and other drugs enter the United States from Mexico, a major sore spot that Mr. Bush hopes to address, along with other issues, while in Mexico.

John King has more.


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House bills it as a getting-to-know-you visit, a chance for the new president to open a new chapter in U.S.-Mexico relations. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some look south and see problems. Not me; I look south and see opportunities and potential.

KING: Mr. Bush and Vicente Fox have met before, as governors, and when Fox was president-elect. And both say economic cooperation is priority one in their first meeting as presidents. Trade between the United States and Mexico totaled $80 billion back in 1993, but skyrocketed to more than $230 billion last year, and Mexico is now second to Canada as a U.S. trading partner.

PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX, MEXICO (through translator): The U.S. can benefit from the work and the effort of the Mexican people as much as we Mexicans can benefit from working together with the American market with American investors.

KING: But all the talk won't be so positive. The U.S. government says there are more than 6 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, more than half of them from Mexico. President Fox wants an open border and amnesty for the Mexicans living illegally in the United States. President Bush opposes both of those ideas, but is eager to work with Mexico and the U.S. Congress to create a new program for migrant workers.

SEN. PHIL GRAMM (R), TEXAS: When they're through with the program, they will go back to Mexico and they will take the skills they've acquired, they will take the money they've saved, and it will give them the ability to help build the Mexican economy.

KING: Drug trafficking is another sore spot. The illegal drug trade in the United States is estimated at more than $63 billion a year, and Washington says half of that enters through Mexico. Mr. Fox promises a crack down on drug-related corruption, and there is growing support in Congress for ending, or at least suspending, a law Mexico considers insulting: a requirement that the White House compile an annual report card on Mexico's anti-drug effort.

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: And that opens up a window for President Bush and President Fox, along with those of us in Congress who are interested, to come up with a new framework for how we deal with the very important issue of narco trafficking.

KING: The California crisis adds urgency to another agenda item: Mr. Bush wants more cross-border transmission lines and pipelines to make it easier to import energy, but there are a number of legal and political obstacles.

(on camera): It is a trip certain to produce more symbolism than substance: the first glimpse at the style of a president who says his preference on the world stage is to build personal relationships first and then confront any policy problems.

John King, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HAYNES: Given the long history between the United States and Mexico, the two countries share a peaceful border. There are no armed troops poised on either side. And no blood has been shed in battle between the two countries for more than a century.

Garrick Utley looks at the history of U.S.-Mexico relations.


GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It runs for 2,000 miles, from the Gulf of Mexico to San Diego, where it sinks into the Pacific. A border crossed daily by tourists, and trade, and drug smugglers, and immigrants, legal or not: a border which no longer simply divides two countries.

SUSAN PURCELL, THE COUNCIL OF THE AMERICAS: The interesting thing abut the border: It is not Mexico and it is also not the United States. It is truly a blend of the two countries. And maybe it is the beginning of what the United States and Mexico are going to start looking like.

UTLEY: And what is remarkable about the border is that there are no armies along it poised to attack each other.

(on camera): Think about that. A peaceful border is not to be taken for granted, not with the bloody history between the two countries. Americans may remember the Alamo. Mexicans cannot forget General Winfield Scott.

(voice-over): Remember how, in 1847, Scott sailed his troops to the coastal city of Veracruz. After a bombardment, 10,000 men staged the first American amphibious landing. And the city was captured. Then the U.S. troops, whose officers included Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, advanced inland and took Mexico City. A treaty of peace was signed.

Mexico gave up claims to its land north of the Rio Grande River from Texas to California in exchange for an American payment of $15 million.

PURCELL: Today, many Mexican children read in their textbooks that half of their territory was taken by the United States as a result of this war.

UTLEY: Given that history, why have the Mexican and American governments kept their armies far from their border?

(on camera): Because the two countries worked out an agreement, which was never written, never signed, but is clearly understood.

(voice-over): The new presidents, Bush of the United States and Vicente Fox of Mexico, understand how the agreement works. Yes, there is a border barrier. But people get through it. And trade grows between the countries, including its dark side: drugs. Mexicans working north of the border help the American economy. They send home up to $6 billion a year to support families and help keep Mexico politically stable, which is in the United States' interest.

And it has happened because Americans were able to forget the Alamo, just as Mexicans were able to move on from the memory of that day when the Americans landed in their country, captured their capital and raised the stars and stripes.

Garrick Utley, CNN.


HAYNES: In 1455, Johann Gutenberg printed the first Bible using movable type. This invention revolutionized Western civilization by allowing the written word to be reproduced quickly and in mass quantities. Technology has progressed tremendously since then. But even in this day of laser jet printers, there's still room for doing things the old-fashioned way.

Rusty Dornin has more.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the beginning, there is molten lead. In the end, a literary revelation that may be the last of it's kind: a Bible printed with care that even Gutenberg might have appreciated.

ANDREW HOYEM, PUBLISHER, ARION PRESS: It's straight from the Industrial Revolution, on a cylinder press from raised type, typecast on a machine. The type is biting into the paper and depositing its ink into a little well within the paper. And that is an effect that can't be achieved by any other method.

DORNIN: Methods that will take San Francisco's Arion Press nearly three years to finish 400 Bibles. It took five tons of lead to cast the letters. The page weighed 30 pounds. A printer for 50 years, Lewis Mitchell showed us how an old Mac computer was jury rigged to this 1917 machine. It took a year to typecast chapter and verse.

LEWIS MITCHELL, ARION PRESS PRINTER: On the Bible, we were casting 56 characters a minute and 1,300 pages. So you can just image how many pieces of type.

DORNIN: The footnotes were typed on a keyboard that in turn produces a paper tape like a player piano, a tape then fed through the typecaster -- endless care to do a good job on the good book.

HOYEM: It's a very complex book. You're not supposed to make mistakes. No typographic errors, please.

DORNIN: One hundred and fifty of the Bibles had some lettering hand-painted. All the books were hand sewn, first with linen thread and then with silk, from Genesis to Revelation,

(on camera): A handcrafted Bible costing from $7,000 to $11,000. And while it may not last for eternity, there are hopes it will last at least as long as the first book ever printed.

HOYEM: I hope it will last at least as long as Gutenberg's has, and that's some 500 years.

DORNIN (voice-over): Arion press publishes three or four finely- printed books a year, books not bound by tradition.

HOYEM: It has to be a book I care mightily about and then go on from there to design a book that will not represent those that have gone before.

DORNIN: Or that may come again.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, San Francisco.


HAYNES: Ice, oil and animals in "Worldview" today: We'll head to the United States for the lowdown on oil. We'll also go on an Australian adventure to spotlight some seals. And we'll travel to Belgium for an ice exhibit that's really cool. Check it out.

Worldview takes us back in time to a period when ice sheets covered vast regions of land: the ice age. Ice ages occur during times know as glacial epochs. The Earth has several of these epochs, each lasting from 20 to 50 million years long. The earliest known ice age occurred as far back as 2.3 billion years ago.

In the most recent ice age, which ended about 11,500 years ago, ice sheets covered vast areas in the Northern Hemisphere. At one point, the ice cap covered what are the Scandinavian countries and other parts of Northern Europe and most of Canada. Sculptors from all over the world recently gathered in Belgium to create an ice extravaganza that pays homage to that time.


CHARLES VERPOOTEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man in neither a samurai nor a lumberjack nor a mountaineer. He is, in fact, a sculptor. Inside this large tent, erected in the city center of Bruges, gigantic snow and ice sculptures will depict the ice age in the first-ever festival of its kind in Europe.

Visitors can contemplate the life-size 4.5 meter high mammoth, while ice caves show the barren conditions of the environment of primitive man. Snorting wild beasts roamed the vast snow plains that used to be their natural habitat. Despite the freezing cold, human life persisted and is depicted here by Neanderthal man. In a constant temperature of minus-10 degrees centigrade, a group of 32 experienced ice sculptors worked for two weeks.

In all, 147 giant blocks of ice were harvested from the River Thorny (ph) in Lapland, about 180 kilometers above the Polar Circle, and transported by road all the way to Bruges.

ANGELIQUE WERNER, EVENT ORGANIZER: Well, the ice is beautiful from color. It has this crystal clear blue color. And there is not a lot of air in it because it is formed in a natural way. It means that, in November, when the winter starts, the ice is being produced layer by layer until February. So that is how all the air is out of the ice.

VERPOOTEN: In addition to the 250,000 kilos of ice, an incredible amount of snow is also necessary in order to complete the massive compacted snow sculptures. This was no easy matter either. Some two million kilos were required.

WERNER: Well, of course, we don't have very severe winters in Belgium anymore. So that is why we had to think of what we do with the snow. And it's being made by a snow cannon. And we did it in a cool freezer cell, where there is a temperature of minus-20 degrees. And with a cannon, we produced the snow. And also we have used ice also to make snow as well.

VERPOOTEN: Among the sculptors who came from countries as far apart as Greenland, Estonia and Venezuela, there are those who naturally feel completely at home in these icy conditions. This Eskimo sculptor and painter hails from Yellow Knife in Northern Canada.

BILL NASOGALUAK, SCULPTOR: Ice and snow is very much a part of our landscape, our background. And it's just a natural extension of what I do other than stone and everything -- you know, other than stone and painting. So, to me, it's very natural. I love ice.

VERPOOTEN: In case we have a mild winter in Belgium yet again, the freezing conditions of this country festival may help remind the visitor what the ice age was really all about.

For the CNN "WORLD REPORT," this is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) International news in Bruges.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Next stop: Down Under for a closer look at some seals living the good life along the Australian coastline. A seal is a mammal, a sea mammal. Seals have sleek, torpedo-shaped bodies and flippers in place of legs. Most seals live an average of 40 years. Female seals almost always give birth to one pup -- or baby seal -- at a time. Twins are extremely rare.

Seals usually live along the edges of continents and islands. Over time, some seal populations have been depleted by hunters in pursuit of the animal's soft fur. But one seal population living on Kangaroo Island, near Australia, is experiencing a population boom.

Melody Horrill tells us why.


MELODY HORRILL, 10 NEWS REPORTER (voice-over): New Zealand fur seals were hunted to the point of extinction in the 1800s. Prized for their thick coat, they were clubbed to death in their thousands at this very spot on Kangaroo Island's far west. But now the tide is turning.

ROGER COLLINS, NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE: It's probably down to maybe a thousand. And now we are looking at more like 7,000, 8,000, 9,000. Admirals Arch , a wild and beautiful part of the island's coastline, has become a seal mecca.

HORRILL (on camera): Experts say the reason why the seals have bred so well here is very simple: There is plenty of food, lots of shelter and no shortage of space just to lounge around.

(voice-over): And judging by their behavior, relaxation is number-one priority. But with so many now sharing the living space, tempers can flair. Although coming here is a memorable experience, this part of the island is often overlooked by tourists.

COLLINS: If you spoke to most people and said, "Well, what are you going to see on Kangaroo Island," they would say: "Oh, we'll go see Seal Bay. And then we'll probably go to Flinders Chase as well." But they don't really realize that there is another colony of a different type of seal that they can see.

HORRILL: It's hoped a boardwalk which allows visitors to get within a couple of meters of the seals will boost tourist numbers. Scientists are also taking a keen interest. A new research program is being undertaken to find out more about these playful mammals in a bid to secure their future.

COLLINS: They're now looking, too, at what particular types of food they actually eat so that we can see: Well, is it going to be a problem with that particular food source in the future?

HORRILL: Melody Horrill, 10 News.


HAYNES: Here in Titusville, Pennsylvania in the U.S, the first well designed to tap oil was drilled in 1859. The drill recovered so much oil that oil exploration spread throughout the area. By the end of the century, the demand for oil jump-started drilling in other states and countries as well.

In 1900, global oil production reached nearly 150 million barrels. Half of the oil was produced by Russia. And most of the rest was produced by the U.S. In the early 20th century, the arrival of the automotive industry drove petroleum demand even higher. By century's end, there were nearly one million wells in more than 100 countries producing more than 20 billion barrels of oil per year. In fact, petroleum is produced in every continent except Antarctica.

Now, as Ann Kellan reports, the ever-increasing demand for oil is sending scientists overboard in the search for more.


ANN KELLAN, CNN SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the 1960s and '70s, we reached the moon. Now explorers are heading in the opposite direction, miles beneath the sea, in search of oil.

FRED HOFFMAN, SHELL INTERNATIONAL EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION: This is a true frontier. We've landed more people on the moon than we have drilled wells in those depths, those extreme depths in the deep water.

KELLAN: Of the world's estimated 1.8 trillion barrels of oil, researchers say 91 percent have already been discovered, 46 percent used. The last frontier lies 5,000 to 20,000 feet, almost four miles below the sea's surface, where no man could survive. Remote- controlled robots build platforms for drilling. They have to withstand frigid water, pressures that could crush a human, and storms that can demolish even the most secure foundation. This wave tank in Houston lets researchers at Shell Oil test various platform designs under such extreme conditions.

RAM GOPAKRISHNAN, SHELL INTERNATIONAL EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION: We're simulating a 100-year hurricane wave condition, which is the design conditions for our platforms. You could have waves impacting the bottom of the deck. You could have deck damage when you come back after a hurricane event. In the very worst case, one of the tendons could go slack and you could lose a tendon.

KELLAN: Tendons anchor the platforms to the sea floor and can stretch for miles. This endurance test shows how flexible they have to be to survive deep-water environments. Too much sway or vibration from currents can wipe out a platform. And these devices were specifically developed to attach to the tendons and steer currents away.

(on camera): This model platform was tested in that wave tank. And if you look at it, the way the water flows through and around it, the different-size sill cylinders, researchers say, makes it ideal to avoid the pendulum swing.

(voice-over): But to test materials in deep water and extreme temperatures, oil companies come here to the Naval Sea Systems Command in Bethesda, Maryland. The government allows all oil companies to use it. These tanks simulate the frigid temperatures that can slow oil flow from the sea floor to the platforms.

PATRICIA O'NEIL, CHEMIST, SHELL INTL. EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION: It's flowing because it's warm. If it were a winter day this would be solid.

KELLAN: Certain types of oil harden, get waxy in cold temperatures, and can stick to the sides of pipes, while other oils stay liquid.

O'NEIL: As long as you keep it liquid, it will flow.

KELLAN: To test an oil's freezing point, researchers send oil through these test pipes so engineers on the real platforms will know what they're drilling. Knowing your rocks also helps.

O'NEIL: The geologist will bring this to you and show you a sample like this. And the question is: What kind of oil of these is in this little chunk of rock? And that's our job to tell them what's in there and what the properties are.

KELLAN: Certain types of rocks are known to contain certain types of oil. The same CAT scan technology used in medicine to analyze human bones and organs scans rocks for oil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All these spaces here is where we would find the oil and gas.

KELLAN: Now that we're using up our oil reserves, many oil companies are looking for alternatives. But those same companies acknowledge the demand for fossil fuels will stay strong well into the new century. These new technologies will make it easier and, with any luck, cheaper to access.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Houston, Texas.


HAYNES: In "Chronicle": the new U.S. education secretary. He took questions by Democrats on Capitol Hill Thursday about the feasibility of President Bush's education package.

Kathy Slobogin with a closer look at Rod Paige and the challenges he faces.


KATHY SLOBOGIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Secretary of Education Rod Paige didn't have long to wait to get his marching orders. The president put education reform front and center day two of his administration.

BUSH: In this great land called America, no child will be left behind.

SLOBOGIN: Those are words that mean something to Rod Paige, a man who went to a segregated school in rural Mississippi; whose parents taught him an education was his best hope.

ROD PAIGE, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Early on, my parents taught us this, my brothers and sister. In fact, we saw that as the only way out. That's all we talked about, all we knew about in our environment, that the way to achieve was through education.

SLOBOGIN (on camera): To parents out there who have their children in failing schools and are hopeless about the situation, what would you say?

PAIGE: We should apologize to parents whose children are in failing schools and we should fix that right away, and we should not tie them to failing schools.

BUSH: When schools do not teach and will not change, parents and students must have other meaningful options.

SLOBOGIN: Bush's proposal to let students in failing schools use federal money to move to private schools, sometimes described as vouchers, may be Paige's biggest headache. Opposition to vouchers on Capitol Hill is entrenched.

(on camera): What do you say to the people who are concerned that vouchers will siphon money away from the schools that need it the most?

PAIGE: We already know monopolies don't work well in enterprises. We know this, and so this is just a little opening up so that we can have some control of choice. The idea is to make the system better, not to make the system worse. In fact, the greatest danger to the system is to continue to do what we're doing now.

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): Paige is the first education secretary to come directly from a local school district. As superintendent of Houston schools, he made his mark creating what some have called a "performance culture," where schools were held accountable for student test scores.

But in Washington, Paige says his most daunting task is consolidating the dense maze of federal education programs that have proliferated for years.

PAIGE: The philosophy of a specific program for every specific problem accumulates into a pile of programs, and how do you take all these good ideas and organize them so you have a comprehensive approach to school reform is, I think, our biggest challenge.

SLOBOGIN: Another challenge may be beyond the reach of an education secretary: How to instill in young people the message his parents instilled in him, that education is worth the effort.

PAIGE: That may be one of the parts of school reform that we've achieved less with, and that is the amount of effort we're getting from young people. We should make sure the schools work. I think this nation is capable of that.

SLOBOGIN: Paige says he's determined to keep up his end of the bargain.

Kathy Slobogin, CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: And speaking of education, if you think of cities on the cutting edge of education and technology, Fresno, California may not jump to mind.

But as James Hattori tells us, a new school there may change all that.


JAMES HATTORI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California's largely agriculture Central Valley has sprouted in an oasis of high- tech education. This is CART, the Center for Advanced Research and Technology, a charter high school in Fresno.

PAT WRIGHT, CEO, CART: CART's really built on a business model. Here the expectations are high, but they are very well articulated, very clearly explained.

HATTORI: Twelve-hundred students, mostly average achievers, spend half their school day at this $37 million facility, which opened last October, with computers everywhere, laptops available to take home, and a server room that connects students any time over the Internet. CART is a high-tech showplace, but it's all a means to a different kind of teaching philosophy, which emphasizes projects and teamwork over traditional book study and testing.

NATALIE MARTINEZ, STUDENT: I really like science so I decided to come to CART my junior year. And we do a lot of projects, and I've just had a lot of fun.

HATTORI: Students who apply to come here pick from about a dozen career tracks, including information technology, criminal forensics, multimedia and medical technology. This team's engineering project: an ultrasonic cane for the blind that senses objects and has a vibrating alert in the handle.

Not only do students take a hands-on approach, they have to stand before their peers and explain their projects.

WRIGHT: Every one of these students is required to produce artifacts and evidence that they can successfully apply what they've learned in real-world settings.

HATTORI: School officials expect that kind of motivation to pay off in higher test scores. It's already raised Bailey Coal's grades.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last year I had a 2.0, like around 2.0. And now I have a 3.4.

HATTORI: And already, other cities are thinking about building their own CART.

James Hattori, CNN, Fresno, California.


HAYNES: That's going to do it for us. That's CNN NEWSROOM for Friday. Thanks for joining us. And we'll see you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend.



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