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NEWSROOM For April 4, 2001

Aired April 4, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: It's Wednesday and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome. I'm Shelley Walcott.

Here's the lineup. Two news items top our agenda. First, the United States ratchets up its tone in the spy plane stand-off with China. Plus, campaign finance reform heads to its next legislative hurdle. Then, you may have heard about saving a buck or two. Today's daily desk shows you how to do that. And with news coming out of Hainan, China, World View takes a closer look at the island province. Finally, our Jason Bellini with the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians and the example they're setting.

After three days, United States diplomats make face to face contact with the crew of a Navy spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter and made an emergency landing on Hainan Island. The 24 crew members being held by China are said to be in good health. U.S. President Bush says if they're not released soon, U.S.-Chinese relations could be in jeopardy.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our approach has been to keep this accident from becoming an international incident. We have allowed the Chinese government time to do the right thing. But now it is time for our servicemen and women to return home and it is time for the Chinese government to return our plane.

This accident has the potential of undermining our hopes for a fruitful and productive relationship between our two countries. To keep that from happening, our servicemen and women need to come home.


WALCOTT: The Chinese government, meanwhile, blames the incident on the U.S. spy plane. It's demanding an apology from the United States and an end to surveillance flights off its coast. The Chinese pilot is still missing. Stay tuned to CNN and for the latest on this story.

The other story we're watching today, the fate of U.S. campaign finance reform. The McCain-Feingold Bill passed muster in the U.S. Senate Monday and is now headed to the House. It calls for a sweeping overhaul of how federal elections are paid for.

Recently our Tom Haynes hosted a town hall meeting on campaign finance reform with a group of high school students in Westfield, Massachusetts. They voiced their opinions on a number of issues pertaining to the legislation.


UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I believe that we all wish to see a form of campaign finance but what we have yo-yoed back and forth on is our opinion on the McCain-Feingold Bill in the sense that all of us agree and disagree with different provisions and all of us, well, I know some of us definitely have other solutions that we feel would be more efficient.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: There's no question that too much money can be a bad thing, but there are a lot of expenses that come up during the course of a political campaign that need to be financed. You know, you need to pay for advertisements on television. You need to pay the people who are working for your campaign. There's all these expenses and they need to be paid for. And so when people are donating money, it isn't necessarily going for a bad cause. It's going for, you know, getting that candidate elected.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Ray, do you feel like if you want to support a candidate you should be able to through an organization or yourself uninhibitedly?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Yeah, I feel that if you're going to spend money on a candidate you support, I feel you should be able to do that no matter what, that it constitutes your right to freedom of speech to advocate a candidate that you enjoy.

HAYNES: So, Dan, just because an organization is giving a candidate or a party money, does that necessarily mean they're automatically going to be corrupt?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Well, no. But I think there's a major difference you have to realize between the fact of an individual and a group. I think some of the PACs, like the political action committees and stuff, some of them can be a little more corrupt and a little more underhanded than just the plain old individual who has a limit on the money he can give. And so I think banning or putting, excuse me, putting a limit on money the individual can give could be a problem.

HAYNES: Senator Knapik, I want to come over to you, because I want to ask if you or your colleagues in the Senate or in the House, do you feel like they're influenced by money? Do you feel a sense of corruption or anything like that or are we exaggerating it a little bit?

MICHAEL KNAPIK (R), MASSACHUSETTS STATE SENATE: I think there is a degree of exaggeration. I know here in Massachusetts, for instance, we did change our lobbying laws. You can't accept a cup of coffee from a lobbyist in Massachusetts. There's no trips, there's nothing like that. There are limits, a $200 limit from a lobbyist that a local, or that a state politician can receive. Those are severe restrictions on what lobbyists can do in terms of influencing us.

But again, it's the record that we establish and if people like our record, they're going to want to surround us and help us win our campaigns and it doesn't happen overnight. It happens over the course of the career, interviews, answering questions and if it's nurses or teachers or doctors or whomever, they ought to have a right to come and help support you if they believe in the issues that you represent.

So I think the influence issue and the corruption issue is a little overblown in my mind.

HAYNES: Do you agree with that, Courtney? Corruption is a little overblown, we're carrying this away too much?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Perhaps to some extent, but I think that the fact that there is corruption, that's still a problem. I mean just a, even though it's not as big of a deal apparently, the fact that it is there at all is a big deal.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I feel that if a person wants to express themselves by contributing money to a campaign or a candidate, then they should be allowed to.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I think it involves the common people. It gives them the chance to say hey, I'm for that candidate, or yeah, I want this to be passed or I want to be part of this. And money is a way of saying that. I mean the common person is not going to be able to go on TV or radio and say I'm for this but by giving their money, it helps them to do, be a part of the system.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I've talked to some of my friends and some of them don't even know, most of them actually don't even know about McCain-Feingold and they're just, you know, floating around and they don't really care about campaign finance reform. And when I've talked to them and I've asked them what do they think, they're just like I don't know about it.

HAYNES: Should they care about the issue? Is this an issue they should get as excited about?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I think that this is such a big issue for teenagers because, maybe I'm just speaking, you know, for myself, but we kind of go for the underdog and we see that there's a possibility of corruption and it gets us angry. I mean we're all idealistic, young, you know, just forming opinions and anything government corruption, I mean, we kind of want something to grip onto.


WALCOTT: There's no doubt about it, we love to quote here on CNN NEWSROOM. So here's one for you now. "Live today as if it will make a difference in your future." With that in mind, we're looking at saving and investing your money. Maybe it's something you haven't really considered yet, but think of it this way. As young people, you have a big advantage when it comes to investing. That's because you have time on your side for your money to grow. Kitty Pilgrim reports on how you and your folks can start making your money work for you right now.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Teens have a significant advantage over adults when it comes to financial planning. Simply put, they have more time to invest.

DOUG FLYNN, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, FLYNN ZITO CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: The earlier you do start, the more time your money has to grow and the more compounding you can get. So the first couple years of your working life if you can put some money away, that can really carry you.

PILGRIM: If from between the age 18 to 24, your teen contributes $2,000 per year to a standard S&P 500 fund with an average rate of return of 11 percent per year, it is possible your teen will, make a million dollars. But a 25-year-old who invests $2,000 every year until he or she is 60 will only earn $887,000.

The reason for the difference is compound interest early on in the investment cycle. But being able to make money does take an initial investment and that takes sacrifice and planning.

ANDREA WALKER, CO-AUTHOR, TEENVESTOR.COM: I think that teens need to be able to start distinguishing between needs and wants. Then you're also going to have to learn as a teen how to manage your money but manage it in a realistic way.

PILGRIM: Parents can help teens by teaching them to make a budget which includes a list of expenses and savings, income from allowance or part-time job and offer to match savings. Helping your teen learn good investment habits early on can be the key to a very profitable future.

That's your money. Kitty Pilgrim, CNN Financial News, New York.


WALCOTT: We hopscotch around the continents in World View. In North America, we visit the United States to find out what's keeping former President Clinton busy. Plus, a visit to Hainan Island, site of the downed U.S. spy plane. But our cameras were on the ground long before the incident to explore the island and its people.

We begin in Africa to look at urban farming. That story takes us to Kenya and Nigeria.


FEMI OKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With the Nairobi skyline as the backdrop, an urban farmer works the land near a highway about eight kilometers from the city center.

JULIUS OLUYAYI, FARMER (through translator): I love farming. It's in my blood. And it stems from our family.

OKE: The farmer's hard work is not just for pleasure. He started farming here two years ago to escape poverty and provide for his 11 children.

OLUYAYI (through translator): I started farming at the round- about because I had a problem getting school fees to educate my children, to feed them and to be able to survive.

OKE: The business has developed far beyond the level of subsistence farming. It now supplies corn, fresh tomatoes and cabbage to residents of the nearby city.

The rewards of urban agriculture are known on the West coast of Africa too. Settlers have been farming this stretch of land in Lagos, Nigeria since the 1960s.

KAOLI OLUSANYA, LAGOS STATE AGRICULTURE COMM.: Our (UNINTELLIGIBLE) station has been able to help farming in towns in easy accessibility to markets. The agriculture sectors are in the urban center - like water, like road, easy transportation, electricity and of course labor.

OKE: Some say that farming in the city is a sign of backward movement. Others insist it's a natural and healthy progression. As more and more people are moving from rural areas to cities, urban farming could provide not only better nutrition but basic income for some urban dwellers.


WALCOTT: Now to the most populous country in the world, the People's Republic of China. It's been two decades since China opened up. Agricultural communes were disbanded, restrictions on travel lifted and informal enterprise, once restricted, is now encouraged. As a result, China has become a manufacturing colossus. The economy has grown fivefold, incomes have quadrupled and 270 million Chinese have been pulled out of absolute poverty.

But in spite of this colossal growth in the past two decades, China is still a poor country. The average income is a mere $950 a person and the disparities in wealth are huge.

Mike Chinoy takes us to the island of Hainan, a location which seems to have missed the boat of economic change.


MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It sits in the South China Sea 20 miles off the Chinese mainland, an island of ramshackle towns and decaying ports where most people survive on low tech fishing and farming, a backwater in a region of dynamic economic development.

(on camera): While the coastal provinces of southern China have generally been in the forefront of the boom that has transformed the country in recent years, Hainan has missed out. Today it remains one of the poorest places in China.

(voice-over): It wasn't supposed to be like this. In the mid- 1990s, Hainan, designated a special economic zone, embarked on a frenzy of construction. Local officials boasted the island would become a second Hong Kong. But the property bubble, tainted with corruption, quickly burst. Half completed high rises littering the landscape stand as mute testimony to Hainan's shattered ambitions.

DAVID WU, PROPERTY DEVELOPER: The image of Hainan is the smuggling of motor cars, the economic busted, a lot of unfinished buildings. So people do not have a very good impression of Hainan.

CHINOY: The provincial government is aware of the problem.

LEE DONGSHENG, HAINAN VICE-GOVERNOR: We made some mistakes. We have thought deeply about this. We must avoid bubbles and build a strong foundation.

CHINOY: For now, though, Hainan's foundations remain weak. Agriculture is still largely subsistence farming. Western diplomats say nearly a quarter of the rural population live in dire poverty. That's driving more and more people from the farms to the cities, where, due to the legacy of the economic collapse of the mid-'90s, jobs are scarce and help from the central government is now drying up as Beijing focuses its energy and resources on developing the impoverished hinterlands of western China.

Yet Hainan has enormous potential. Seventy percent of China's rubber trees, large deposits of minerals, iron ore, oil and natural gas and, government officials point out, enormous promise as a tourist destination.

DONGSHENG: Everybody's heard of Hawaii. But we have very similar conditions here. We have beautiful beaches. Our waters are the clearest in China.

CHINOY: What's equally clear is that Hainan has abandoned its fantasy of being the next Hong Kong. Now, it's dreaming of becoming China's Hawaii.

Mike Chinoy, CNN, Hainan.


HAYNES: Former United States President Bill Clinton has been out of office four months now. Since leaving the White House, Mr. Clinton moved into a private residence in New York. In a deal he made earlier this year, he is barred from practicing law for the next five years. So what to do now?

In the past, most former presidents have made quiet, uneventful transitions to private life writing books, going on peacemaking missions and building their presidential libraries. While former President Clinton may intend to do all of those things, he's been most successful so far at attracting controversy over presidential pardons he issued hours before leaving office. But with the controversy, Bill Clinton is also attracting crowds. He's capitalizing on his star power and pulling in big money by making speeches. He earns about $100,000 a speech.

Eileen O'Connor, CNN reports on the Clinton post-presidency thus far.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Bill Clinton is hoping to follow in the footsteps of other ex-presidents, down a golden path to financial security, established by former Republican President Gerald Ford.

It's all about cashing in on the cache of having been president and some speaking circuit agents think Bill Clinton has even more star power than usual.

GARY MCMANIS, KEPPLER ASSOCIATES INC.: He brings a lot of humor, he brings a lot of inside knowledge, and more than anything else, he brings name recognition. People are going to show up to hear this guy speak. Whether you like him or whether you don't, you're going to show up. O'CONNOR: In the 1970s, Gerald Ford made nearly a million dollars a year from speeches and personal appearances. In the '80s, Ronald Reagan set the record with two speeches in Japan reaping $2 million. And in the '90s, the current president's father cushioned his retirement fund with some speeches at nearly 80,000 apiece.

President Clinton's first speech to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter paid $100,000, but was followed by an apology from one corporate chief. Some critics and analysts say the way Bill Clinton left office could prove a hindrance.

CHARLIE COOK, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": The typical trade association executive is scared to death of really alienating even a tiny segment of their membership, and booking Bill Clinton for a speech would do it, no question about it.

O'CONNOR: His aides say the offers are pouring in, and some agents argue controversy isn't necessarily bad for business.

MCMANIS: Controversy in our business sells. People want speakers that people know. And the bigger the controversy, the more people are going to show up to see Bill Clinton speak.

O'CONNOR: So far, he is still being booked. But what about the other ways former president have been known to earn a little extra, like sitting on corporate boards?

COOK: On the boards, he's cut himself badly, hurt himself badly. But he could still have friends that will cut him into some sweetheart deals, you know, put in $100,000 investment and get, you know, umpty- ump stock. I mean, he can still make -- he'll still be able to make a lot of money.

O'CONNOR: After all, he isn't known as the comeback kid for nothing.


WALCOTT: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segments that fit your lesson plans. Plus, there are discussion questions and activities and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day find hot links to other online resources and previews of upcoming desk segments.

It's all at this Web address, where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy, it's free, it's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.

In Chronicle, we've heard a lot about tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East but there are at least two places where the groups are trying to get along.

Our Jason Bellini profiles a camp where the historic foes are trying to see eye to eye and a community where Israelis and Palestinians coexist peacefully.


JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How do you like living up here?

MARK: I like it.

BOULOS: It's boring.

BELLINI: It's boring?

BOULOS: Yeah. Yeah.

MARK: We have nothing to do here, but it's nice.

BOULOS: There's no malls.

BELLINI: Where I come from, we put our dogs on leashes.

MARK: No, here you can...

BOULOS: Go free.

MARK: We trust our dogs.

BELLINI: So what is this place all about? Explain to me, what is Nevey Shalom (ph)?

MARK: Arab families and Jewish families...

BELLINI: Arab and Jewish families...

MARK: ... live together and we work together and that's it.

BELLINI: Rene and Naomi are best friends. Rene is Palestinian, Naomi Israeli. To them their friendship is no big deal, even though they know outsiders are intrigued by it. They grew up together in Nevey Shalom, a community built around the ideal of cohabitation between Israelis and Palestinians.

MARK: Every place in Israel you have Jewish and Arab live together.

BOULOS: But they didn't choose to.

MARK: But they didn't choose it.

BOULOS: Yeah. They didn't choose like...

MARK: You're just stuck together.

BELLINI: Their entire lives, people, sometimes famous people, have come to their small village of around 40 families to discuss the same question, can Palestinians and Israelis get along?

BOULOS: They're talking about politics.

BELLINI: Talking about politics?

MARK: Yeah, there are Jews and Arabs inside there. It's boring.

BOULOS: It's like the zoo. I mean they come and they look out.

BELLINI: Sometimes they encounter people looking for an argument, tempting them to get into it.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Correct me if I'm wrong, this is...

BOULOS: We will, don't worry, OK.

BELLINI: It has some kind of a political statement in it, right? It's radical left.

BOULOS: If we had time. We don't have time. I have to go. The whole idea from this village is not to pay attention to politics because it's really a disgusting thing.

MARK: Just to live the organ...

BOULOS: Just to live peacefully.

BELLINI: Naomi and Rene can't deny just how different and political things are outside their village. In Nevey Shalom, all kids go to school together up until the sixth grade. After that, they leave the nest. Palestinians and Israelis usually go to separate schools.

MARK: Every time that I protect the Palestine so my friends like they have the same, same answer, the same -- they tell me... BOULOS: Why do you always have to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

MARK: Yeah. They tell me like yeah, Naomi, we know that in...


MARK: ... we know that in your village you have a great Palestine and they're very good, but you have to see all the Palestines in the news.

BELLINI: Rene and Naomi and their friends in Nevey Shalom, when they're home together, don't spend much time thinking about Palestinian-Israeli relations.

MARK: I love it.

I hate, though, this boy band. Yeah, five (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BELLINI: They've got other things they'd rather think about.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I hate talking about Jews and Arabs because I'm sick of it.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Yeah, that's the same thing we told him.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Yes, well, I'm (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I know how to speak Arabic. She knows to speak Arabic.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I know how to speak Hebrew. We love each other.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Yes, we're the best friends. Very special friends.

ARIEL TAL, AGE 15, ISRAELI: When I'm watching the news, I'm very disappointed from the Arab people and I keep thinking to myself why are they throwing this peace away? I'm watching the riots and the people throwing rocks and I think why should I cry for them? Why should I apologize for someone who's going to kill a soldier? He's throwing rocks to kill someone. Why should I cry for him if he died?

BELLINI: Over the summer, Palestinians and Israelis at Seeds of Peace Camp in Maine didn't always agree or see eye to eye on everything, but they got along. They became friends and got closer than they ever expected they could.

TAMER SHABANEH, AGE 15, PALESTINIAN: We used to know them as gun soldiers and checkpoints, know them as settlers and whatever. And now we see them. We're friends.

TAL: We're friends. The stereotypes break in the first few days.

BELLINI: That was the whole point of the camp, which brought a select group of Israelis and Palestinians together to learn what they shared in common, to become the hope for the future. MICHAL TEL-AL, AGE 15, ISRAELI: We ran after the mascot.

BELLINI: When she got back, Michal, who's Israeli, planned on maintaining her friendships with her new Palestinian friends, mostly through e-mail, but also over the phone and in person on occasion.

TEL-AL: These are all people from Seeds of Peace.

BELLINI: For several weeks, she did just that.

TEL-AL: I was looking forward to like having them over and having my friends over and then for my school friends to meet my Palestinians friends.

BELLINI: Then, the intifada started and all bets were off. Optimism and good feelings from the summer gave way to anger and disappointment.

TEL-AL: In the beginning I was just so upset and I was so, I was so angry at, I can't believe they're doing this to us.

BELLINI: Quickly the tone and seriousness of e-mails changed.

TEL-AL: These days I find myself putting off reading Seedsnet (ph) more and more. To be completely honest, I am as confused as you are about the stuff going on in these days.

BELLINI: Michal's father Eli, a filmmaker by profession, decided when the conflict broke out to begin recording interviews with Michal and her friends.

ELI TEL-AL, MICHAL'S FATHER: I decided that I am going to follow her and her friends and to see how they are going to understand this crisis.

BELLINI: The two of us decided to collaborate and try to reach together Michal's friends from the summer who are on the Palestinian side.

Tamer and his friends live in Hebron, an area where some of the most violent confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians broke out.

SHABANEH: You see some here every day, five, four Palestinians are killed. Then you see the, what's happening from the Israeli soldiers. Then at the same moment, you're starting to remember those days in the camp.

BELLINI: Seeds of Peace Camp taught them they do have things in common, they can be friends, there's hope for peace. The intifada showed them just how complex their own emotions are. It hit Ariel after he got word that a well liked Palestinian Seed had been killed.

TAL: My first question was did he throw stones? And they said yes. So I said OK, then he deserves to die. And after that I realized it wasn't simple like that and it really made me think about what I said and about how I reacted to that.


WALCOTT: Good stuff.

That wraps up today's show. We'll see you right back here tomorrow. Bye-bye.

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