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NEWSROOM for April 16, 2001

Aired April 16, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Thanks for joining us.

We begin today with a quick look at the rundown.

BAKHTIAR: In today's top story, Cincinnati officials ease the citywide curfew for the Easter holiday.

HAYNES: Then in "Environment Desk," fighting the power crunch in California using just the roof over your head.

BAKHTIAR: Next in "Worldview," a school that puts the environment at the head of the class.

HAYNES: Finally, in "Chronicle," we take you to the headquarters of America's largest spy agency.

BAKHTIAR: A heavy police force and a dusk until dawn curfew helped keep peace in Cincinnati, Ohio. The curfew was imposed Thursday after several days of rioting which broke out after an unarmed black man was shot and killed by a white police officer.

It's been a week of violence and racial tension in Cincinnati, Ohio, a city of about 331,000 people. More than 700 people have been arrested for looting, arson, vandalism and curfew violations since the death of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, who was laid to rest this weekend. Thomas is the fourth black man to be killed in Cincinnati by police since November. Thomas was wanted on 14 warrants for misdemeanors and traffic violations. He was shot while running from police.

Authorities are investigating the shooting and a grand jury could begin hearing evidence in the case this week. The officer, 27-year- old Steven Roach, has not been charged but is on paid administrative leave. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has dispatched lawyers to Cincinnati to study the practices, procedures and training of the police department.

HAYNES: Easter Sunday brought hope and prayers of healing to many of Cincinnati's faithful. Many Easter sermons focused on the past week's violence and encouraged people to move beyond racial divides.

Brian Palmer has more on Sunday's message of resurrection.


BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Cincinnati's New Prospect Baptist Church, songs of joy and praise on Easter, a holiday of rebirth and renewal. Just day after the church grieved for Timothy Thomas, a young black man shot by white Cincinnati police officer, Pastor Damon Lynch preached a sermon of biblical justice from the book of John, turning it into a lesson on contemporary social justice.

REV. DAMON LYNCH III, PASTOR: We need to have a resurrection.

PALMER: Joining Lynch were city officials and the Reverend Al Sharpton, the New York activist.

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: If you are saved in Cincinnati today, you need to be dealing with wicked people that shoot unarmed men.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God is working in Cincinnati, and he's working in the world. But everything happening for a reason.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the powers-that-be are listening and will respond in a positive way, we will have no more of this killing, no rioting, no more of the problems that we face here in Cincinnati.

PALMER: At the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains, a predominately white Catholic church across Central Parkway, a dividing line between black and white, a traditional Easter sermon, with an acknowledgement of the city's wounds.

DANIEL PILARCZYK, ARCHBISHOP OF CINCINNATI: On this unique day in the history of our local church, we also hope for new life for our civic community. We pray that the questions that have been raised by the events of these last days and the trials that we and others have experienced, will prove to be the jumping off point for an extended new life, an extended Easter for our city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's unrest, and hopefully today, it will change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want it to be an unsafe city. I don't want people to hate one another. So, I want to see it stop. I want to hear what other people have to say.

PALMER (on camera): Members of both churches, black and white, say they hope Cincinnatians will act on these fine Sunday words during the difficult days and weeks to come.

Brian Palmer, CNN, Cincinnati.


BAKHTIAR: We're also keeping tabs on U.S.-China relations today. Now that the stand-off between the two countries is over, serious questions are being raised about the future of China's relations with the United States.

Kelly Wallace begins our coverage near U.S. President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At an outdoor sunrise services near his Texas ranch, President Bush celebrates Easter with his family while back in Washington, lawmakers urge him to make Beijing pay for the 11-day standoff.

SEN. ROBERT TORRICELLI (D), NEW JERSEY: I hate on Easter morning to talk about retribution, but there is going to be retribution.

WALLACE: Some members of Congress want the president to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan in part to punish China. Mr. Bush is expected to decide by the end of this month what weapons to sell and whether to include despite China's objections, destroyers equipped with sophisticated Aegis radar systems.

SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R), VIRGINIA: If the Chinese authorities thought that this was going to diminish our desire to sell defensive armaments and equipment to the Taiwanese, they clearly have miscalculated.

WALLACE: But the president's advisers say the detention of the 24 crew members won't play any role in his decision. Another possible sanction, Congress must vote this summer to renew Beijing's normal trade relations with United States. At stake, $100 billion in annual trade between the two countries.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I hope it never reached the point where we cancel our trade relationship with the Chinese.

WALLACE: A key factor, Republican leaders say, will be if the Chinese choose not to return the American plane.

REP. HENRY HYDE (R), ILLINOIS: It would put in jeopardy the congressional vote on most-favored nation status.

WALLACE: Other options: the United States could oppose China's bid to host the 2008 Olympics and cancel Mr. Bush's planned trip to Beijing this fall. But some lawmakers warn the U.S. stands to lose if it isolates China.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: It is in the best interests of this country and the world to put this relationship with China back on a steady course.

WALLACE, (on camera): And the first sign of whether that relationship could be put back on track, lawmakers and administration officials say, is just how the Chinese respond to U.S. concerns when the two countries meet this week.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, Crawford, Texas.


HAYNES: Over the weekend, Chinese President Jiang Zemin met with fellow communist leader Fidel Castro. The Chinese president spent four days in Cuba strengthening business ties between the two communist nations. That included credit deals to the tune of $400 million.

Lucia Newman has more from Havana.


LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Warm embraces and smiles between the leaders of the world's largest and smallest communist countries, as Chinese President Jiang Zemin bade farewell to his Cuban counterpart, Fidel Castro. Echoing the sentiments of his elder brother Fidel, Defense Minister Raul Castro summed up the Chinese leader's state visit, which provided Cuba with nearly $400 million in credit and direct aid.

RAUL CASTRO, CUBAN DEFENSE MINISTER: All I can say is that it was magnificent, a great encounter.

NEWMAN: Not that trade and ideology are all the two countries have in common. Both support each other in a diplomatic bid to defeat a U.S.-sponsored censure for rights abuses by the U.N. Commission for Human Rights in Geneva this week, a resolution China calls counterproductive.

ZHU BANGZAO, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN: The United States has already tried nine times to pass resolutions against China and nine times it's failed. This time, it won't be any different.

NEWMAN: Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have consistently accused China and Cuba of abuses such as arbitrary detentions, lack of freedom of expression and other civil rights violations.

Like China, Cuba argues the human rights vote is selective and aimed at punishing Washington's political adversaries.

CASTRO: Israel is not condemned for its massacres, is it? Where are the human rights in some Arab nations, where a woman can be decapitated for adultery? Is that a violation of human rights or not? Why not condemn them? It's because this is just a little game.

NEWMAN: President Jiang's Latin American tour aims mainly to bolster China's trade and influence in the region.

(on camera): But Beijing is also looking for support in other areas. Five of the six Latin American nations the Chinese leader has visited in the last two weeks have a vote this year on the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Lucia Newman, CNN, Havana.


BAKHTIAR: California's power crisis has residents of the Golden State preparing for the worst. Rolling blackouts have plagued the state throughout this year and it's expected to get worse this summer when warm weather hits and demand exceeds supply.

Well, one resident is taking matters into his own hands and feeling quite empowered by it. Eric Horng reports.


ERIC HORNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another sunny day in southern California and homeowner Nick Ray is feeling empowered.


HORNG: Ray recently has photo voltaic solar panels installed on the roof of his home, converting the sun's rays into a supplemental power source.


HORNG: A decision, Ray estimates, will cut his power bill in half. His one kilowatt system cost about $6,000, a savings of more than 50 percent, thanks to a rebate offered by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

(on camera): The utility reports interest in solar power is at an all time high fueled by the lower price tag, improvements in technology and concern that California's recent power crunch could get worse this summer.

(voice-over): Even though L.A.'s utility is not directly affected by the power crisis, customer calls are flowing in.


HORNG: Also ahead of expectations, production.


HORNG: At the Siemens plant in Camarillo , California, where 50,000 solar cells are made each day, production is up significantly over the last few months. The company expects the increase in demand to continue.


HORNG: A bright future for a $1.5 billion industry that's projected to double by 2005.

Eric Horng, CNN, Los Angeles. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: This is CNN NEWSROOM'S Tom Haynes. Next week, the search for energy continues when we present "Powering the Planet." We'll head back to the Golden State to check out more so-called alternative energy sources. Also, remember our recent story about the fight over whether to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Well, we'll dig a little deeper into that debate with experts on both sides of the issue and we'll find out how our use of fossil fuels like oil may be affecting our environment. A U.N. panel says the earth is heating up and people are at least partly to blame.

Is this a problem for only future generations to worry about? No, according to experts. During this century, average temperatures are expected to rise by more than six degrees Fahrenheit. So what are you and your friends willing to do about it? Would you carpool or would you be willing to drive one of these things? We'll have answers and more questions all coming up in "Powering the Planet," airing on April 23rd.

BAKHTIAR: More on the environment today in our "Worldview" segment. We'll also travel to Thailand, where a pair of twins have turned in their guns and gone back to their mother. Plus, find out what's being called the fastest growing criminal activity in the world.

But first, we head to the United States for a lesson in staying green at school.

HAYNES: Time for some environmental trivia. Did you know that a water leak of only one drop per second wastes about 10,000 liters of water per year? Or that Americans throw away 1.6 billion pens, two billion razors and blades and 18 billion diapers annually? The problem of waste affects homes, businesses, even schools, where the average college student produces 320 pounds of paper waste each year.

Concern about facts like these prompted a school system in Kent, Washington to specially design its facilities.

As Lilian Kim tells us, the students are now keeping their minds and their resources from going to waste.


LILIAN KIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At this new Seattle area school, students are taught reading, writing and arithmetic; but here, the emphasis is also on resources. Millennium Elementary's Green Philosophy puts the environment at the head of class.

MARY LOU RADCLIFF, MILLENNIUM ELEM. TEACHER: Right now, we're starting with the basics: if you see litter, pick it up. When we teach writing they can write about it. When we teach reading, they can read about it.

KIM: Partially powered by solar panels and windmills, Millennium is considered the most environmentally friendly school in the state of Washington. Boys bathrooms even have no flush waterless urinals.

MARILYN GODFREY, PRINCIPAL: With the new century coming up, we wanted to take a look at conserving our resources; making better use of them and this will be a project concept idea to see if it will work and then we'll expand that to other schools.

KIM: Other green features include a storm water collection pond, a five-acre natural wetland for hands-on environmental studies; and a geothermal pump system that uses ground temperature to heat and cool the school.

BEN RIEKE, STUDENT: We're helping the environment and we're using different technology and it's kind of cool.

KIM: Millennium's emphasis on the environment even extends to its decor, the trim, the furniture, and even the carpet are shades of green.

Most of the earth-friendly gadgets cost more than traditional equipment. School officials expect to save money in the long run by spending less on energy cost while at the same time saving the Earth's resources for future generations.

In Kent, Washington, Lilian Kim reporting.


BAKHTIAR: Remember the two twin boys who led a rebel fighting group in the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar? The boys, who are barely teenagers, were part of the so-called God's Army, a band of about 100 Christian fighters based just north of Myanmar's border with Thailand. God's Army splintered off a larger group of rebel soldiers who have fought for greater independence from the Myanmar government for more than 50 years. Followers of the twins believed the boys have mystical powers and were invincible in battle. In January, the twins surrendered to Thai authorities. Now that they've put down their weapons, they've been reunited with their mother.

John Raedler has the story.


JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how the world knew them: as gun-toting, cigarette-smoking boy leaders of "God's Army," a small breakaway group of Karen, an ethnic minority fighting for independence from Myanmar, formerly Burma.

This is how they are now: long-haired Johnny Htoo and his twin Luther, two months after surrendering to Thai authorities and one day after being reunited with their mother, who had been in a refugee camp in Thailand.

In a press conference involving three languages and often cryptic answers, the mother said she did not know how old the boys are. They're believed to be about 13. She was not sure how long she'd been separated from them and did not say how or why they had parted. She knew nothing of them supposedly having mystical powers, and she didn't know they lived in the jungle as guerrilla leaders.

(on camera): This is where the twins live now: in a residential compound of the Thai border patrol police, about 20 kilometers from their homeland in Myanmar. Compared to their turbulent pasts, here life is stable and peaceful. Here, the boys' toys are not guns, but footballs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just boys, boys, boys.

RAEDLER (voice-over): The Thai official in charge of the brothers says they eat, play and live normal lives.

(on camera): Would you say they have been well behaved here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. I think so.

RAEDLER (voice-over): The twins did not answer when asked if they were in fact the leaders of "God's Army." It's suspected they might have been the pawns of others.

They agreed they'd fired weapons in anger, but they didn't know if they'd killed anyone. Each talked in tender terms about his mother -- Johnny saying he was excited to be with her again, Luther saying he tried to write her a letter once.

Now, they await another development in their lives. Their father has been located, and they'll be reunited with him in coming days.

John Raedler, CNN, Rachaburi, Thailand.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: European Union officials are struggling to find ways to hold back a rising tide of illegal immigration. It's a problem American officials have dealt with for decades, but it's now of increasing concern on the other side of the Atlantic.

Europe, too, is a magnet for people from around the world who are willing to risk everything, including death, for a shot at a better life. More than 20,000 were caught being smuggled into the United Kingdom alone last year. But authorities believe many more made it through. There's hope a new crackdown on the multi-billion dollar human smuggling trade will discourage many immigrants from even trying to get in.

Jonathan Mann has the story.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One United Nations official calls it one the fastest-growing criminal businesses in the world. By one estimate, people trafficking nets up to $10 billion every year. The reason - for many, the prospect of a high- paying job and a new life in a rich country is simply too alluring to resist. People give smugglers anywhere from a few thousand to as much as $60,000 to arrange the trip. Many who cannot pay in full wind up as indentured servants as they try to work off the debt.

The magazine Jane's Intelligence Review says the majority of immigrants who make it into the E.U. are from Eastern Europe or Asia. Turks form the largest group from Asia, many of them actually ethnic Kurds. They're followed by Chinese, Iranians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis Iraqis.

Experts say important transit countries include Hungary. It's a key trucking route from the Balkans and has a long border with Ukraine, a source of many illegal immigrants. But the E.U. is most concerned about the Balkan corridor. For instance, Bosnia- Herzegovina, with its large Muslim population, has relatively low visa restrictions for visitors from Islamic countries. Yugoslavia officially opposes human smuggling, but the country's war-ravaged economy profits by it nonetheless.

The European Union is looking into a Europe-wide border police to lock down the major entry points for illegal immigrants.

CLAUDE MORAES, MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: So you see lots of intergovernmental meetings and formal meetings, meetings between the security services and police forces of individual countries. That is also on the increase as a very rapid reaction to what people see as a trade which is as criminal as drug trafficking.

MANN: Improved law enforcement cooperation does appear to be paying off. Last week, Hong Kong authorities, working with British and Australian police, announced they'd arrested 22 people accused of running a human smuggling syndicate. The investigation began last summer, shortly after the bodies of 58 Chinese immigrants were discovered in the back of a tomato truck at the British port of Dover. Only two people survived the journey across the English Channel.

Even when immigrants do make it to their destination, many are coerced into prostitution or virtual slavery until they pay off debts to the smugglers. Many also end up in sweatshops, working for little or no money. But still more and more refugees are willing to risk the trip.

MORAES: Here we're dealing with human beings, and some of the human beings we're dealing with may be coming here illegally. But they are definitely torture, persecution or war.


HAYNES: This week, CNN NEWSROOM is taking a unique look inside one of the United States' most sensitive and secret intelligence operations. The National Security Agency or NSA was established in 1952 to create, protect and interpret secret codes for the U.S. military.

Today, our David Ensor looks at how the NSA operates and some of the new challenges it faces. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From its headquarters in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, America's largest spy agency eavesdrops on literally billions of communications worldwide, using radar and microwave receptors around the world; military-intelligence satellites; strategically placed bugging equipment; and the biggest accumulation of computer power in any one building on earth, to crack adversary secret codes.

MAUREEN BAGINSKI, DIRECTOR, NSA SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE: We are about secrets worth knowing, foreign intelligence.

JAMES BAMFORD, AUTHOR, "BODY OF SECRETS": The NSA is an enormously powerful agency. It's far more powerful than anybody really realizes.

ENSOR: The headquarters is a vast, city-sized complex, reported to have over 38,000 employees, more than twice the size of the CIA, a secret world where much of the trash is classified and has to be pulped on site before it can return to the unclassified world outside. With sophisticated technology, NSA listens in on terrorists, Iraqi scientists, or Russian generals, and then delivers intelligence to decision makers from the president in the White House, down to the pilot in the cockpit of an F-15.

RICHARD BERARDINO, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY OPERATIONS CENTER: The ops tempo can be very high. We can be dealing with more than one crisis at a time.

ENSOR: When a crisis hits, the blue lights go on in the NSA's Operations Center, the nerve center of its worldwide network. A red, flashing light warns of the presence of visitors from CNN without security clearance. Sound recording in the room is forbidden. This is where the call went out to the White House that the USS Cole had been hit by a terrorist bomb in Yemen. In time of war, military units rush to set up remote intelligence points like this one, for ground commanders. NSA sends them targeting and other intelligence.

LT. GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: It's hard for me to talk about it in detail, but in the last air operation, over Kosovo, for example, we were as much in the operational fight as any aspect of America's armed forces.

ENSOR: It was simpler during the Cold War when NSA had one major target, the Soviet Union. Now, there are many new targets and problems. Encryption, secret codes that can be bought by anybody, or downloaded off the Internet, fiber-optic cable that cannot easily be tapped -- they threaten NSA's ability to eavesdrop on adversaries from Saddam Hussein to Colombian drug lords. U.S. officials say, for example, that the group headed by accused terrorist Osama bin Laden has put encrypted messages to its members on public Web sites.

But the NSA's biggest problem? In the information age, it is drowning in data. BAGINSKI: Where we are today is there's too much of it, and it's too hard to understand. So it is a volume, velocity and variety problem for us.

BAMFORD: NSA is definitely an agency in crisis right now because the world has shifted under its foundation.

ENSOR: In early 2000, the flood of data overwhelmed NSA's vast complex of supercomputers. For 3 1/2 days, the overloaded system simply shut down.

(on camera): How did that happen? why did that happen?

HAYDEN: The computer system went down. We lost the ability to process. The real cause was this inability to grow a system that could meet our true operational needs.

ENSOR: NSA officials say their computer problems have been fixed, but they are asking Congress for billions of new dollars to fund TRAILBLAZER, a computer system that would better process and extract useful intelligence from the vast quantities of information that NSA collects around the world.

David Ensor, CNN, Fort Meade, Maryland.


HAYNES: Tomorrow, our special look inside the NSA continues. We will find out how the agency eavesdrops on billions of communications all over the world. So what are they listening for, anyway? Find out tomorrow.

BAKHTIAR: But before we go, for our viewers who rely on closed captions, we realize they're not there and we apologize for that. The reason is we're in the middle of a transition in how we produce the show.

HAYNES: Yeah, the wonders of technology are moving us from an analog system to a digital system and this change requires an upgrade in the equipment we use to generate those captions, which we are installing right now.

And with that, we're going to say good-bye. Thanks for watching. I'm Tom Haynes.

BAKHTIAR: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. See you tomorrow.

ANNOUNCER: CNN NEWSROOM, here for you 12 months a year. And it's free. Educators need to enroll once a year And it's easy. In the U.S., call 1-800-344-6219; outside the U.S., 44207-637-6912; or on the Internet at

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