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NEWSROOM for April 24, 2001

Aired April 24, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Hello and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Tom Haynes.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. Today's show features news about the weather and news about your health. First up, headlines from the U.S. We'll tell you about the flooding of the Mississippi River.

HAYNES: Next, we head to the doctor's office to find out what prescription you may be getting less often.

WALCOTT: Our travels continue in "Worldview," where we get more health news, this time from India.

HAYNES: And we wind up how we started out, talking about the weather. And we predict a storm coming up in "Chronicle."

WALCOTT: For Davenport, Iowa, there's little margin for error. The city's makeshift sand bag dikes are built to handle a flood level of 23 feet. That's just short of seven meters.

The National Weather Service is forecasting flood waters to crest there late Tuesday at a level of 22.5 feet, or 6.75 meters. Iowa is one of four states in the upper Midwest affected by rising waters along the Mississippi River. The others are Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Meteorologists blame this season's floods on a combination of warmer temperatures and rain along with a late thaw of winter snow. Davenport is the only major city along the upper Mississippi that has no permanent flood protection. The reason for that is financial. City officials say Davenport's unobstructed views of the Mississippi River bring in $100 million a year in tourism revenue. But Davenport also pays a heavy price for that view. Record flood levels in 1993 of 22.63 feet or 6.78 meters caused more than $100 million in damage.

Because of rising flood waters, more than one-third of the Mississippi River is close to commercial barge traffic. This no go area stretches from Minneapolis, Minnesota down river to a point north of St. Louis, Missouri. For communities along the river, floods are a natural part of life. But for one small town in Illinois, the flood of 2001 is a question of survival.

Bruce Burkhardt reports.


BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Back before the flood of '93, the tiny town of Niota, Illinois, wasn't quite as tiny. Some 200 people lived here. Now there are only 53.

Mary Ray (ph) is one who stayed. That's her house -- or, rather, her new house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really don't think I could do it again. It's really a tough thing to go through. Yes, we tore it all down and started over from scratch.

BURKHARDT (on camera): And then you put this house back up?


BURKHARDT (voice-over): This is another of Mary's pictures: the firehouse just a few hundred yards down the street. Like everything else in this town, it was underwater. Today, it's under the gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As in 1993, if all this work goes in and we lose, I want you, everybody, beforehand, to have a plan of action.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got sandbags. We've got sand. We've got a lot of manpower coming down here and we've got more coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you going to do about the sightseers driving on these levees?

BURKHARDT: A critical question. These old levees have been battered by previous floods. No one wants gawkers to further erode the 22-foot-high berms -- 22 feet, which just happens to be the predicted crest for the river here later in the week.

BURKHARDT (on camera): Where are we right now -- the fire station?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're right here.

BURKHARDT: And this a berm right behind us here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the levee behind us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The difference between winning and losing this thing could be inches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's a matter of inches, a matter of inches.

BURKHARDT (voice-over): But lessons were learned in '93, and you see that here in this town meeting: better coordination between all the officials -- state and local -- relief agencies, and the Corps of Engineers. It is not unlike generals mapping out battle plans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only other option would be to let all of this just flood in here, but then you're going to start flooding the town.

BURKHARDT (on camera): The work is continuous. Here in the Niota Fire Station, converted into the flood control center, people are fed, officials meet to trade the latest information, strategies are plotted, and out back here is the sandbag distribution center. It's where sand and bag come together. Then they're all loaded onto trucks and sent out to wherever the latest problem area is.

(voice-over): Another big difference from '93: the troops have landed, National Guardsmen sent in to help with the sandbagging.

And in the middle of it all, this item from the go-figure category.



BURKHARDT: While many here wonder whether it's time to move out, Tom Johnson (ph) is moving into an apartment above the bank.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't pass up a nice apartment just because of Mother Nature. You can't stop her, so you might as well live with her.

BURKHARDT (on camera): One big difference between now and the '93 flood is the weather. This is a beautiful spring day, without a cloud in the sky. But this is a snow melt-off flood, not due to heavy rains, and the river, which is normally several hundred yards out there beyond that tree line is right up here against the levee. And just these few feet here are what could be the difference for the town of Niota.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tie in, every other one: Tie out, tie in. We're going to build a base. We're going to make it two wide.

BURKHARDT (voice-over): David Poland (ph), here supervising some guardsmen on the proper placement of sandbags, is a native who knows how to prepare for these floods, how to beat them, and how to handle it when you don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The worst is the loss of hope, when you finally get to the point where you realize there's nothing left to do and all you can do is just walk away from it.

BURKHARDT: But no one is walking away now. There's ample reason for hope this time around, much more help, and better planning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people in these communities just don't go down easily. They go down fighting, scratching and clawing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it has to do with if you went back to the roots of your own personal family, and that's basically what the residents of Niota are doing: They're fighting for their roots.

BURKHARDT: In Niota, Illinois, Bruce Burkhardt, CNN.


HAYNES: And we've got more from the weather front headed your way in "Chronicle." Stay tuned for Storm. It's all about weather, how it affects us and how we affect it. As a matter of fact, if you watched yesterday's show, of course you did, we talked about man's impact on the environment in our special Powering the Planet. We produced the show to coincide with Earth Day.

For more information on Earth Day, check out this ASK CNN.


HARPER GWATNEY, GOLDSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA: I'm Harper Gwatney from Goldsboro, North Carolina, and I was just wondering how Earth Day began.

GAYLORD NELSON, FORMER SENATOR AND EARTH DAY FOUNDER: Well, my main purpose in founding Earth Day was to get a huge demonstration that would force the environmental issue onto the national political agenda. You had Social Security, crime on the streets, education, health care, but an issue more important than all of those together wasn't on the agenda. So I was trying to get a huge demonstration, which it turned out 20 million people marched and then demonstrated and then the Congress started paying attention.


HAYNES: If you've ever had strep throat or some other bacterial infection, chances are your doctor prescribed an antibiotic for you. So just what is an antibiotic and what does it do, anyway? Well, it's a type of anti-microbial agent made from mold or bacterium that kills or slows the growth of other microbes, specifically bacteria. Pretty simple, right?

Well, there's a catch. Some doctors want other doctors to stop prescribing antibiotics, for common ailments, they say, are not effectively treated by antibiotics. Christy Feig has the story.


CHRISTY FEIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jane Pinzuk has battled sinus infections most of her life. She's tried over-the- counter medicines to ease the symptoms, but says they only work short term.

JANE PINZUK, ANTIBIOTICS: If I didn't have antibiotics it would be very hard for me to care for my family, because I would be very, very sick.

FEIG: She is not alone. Three out of four prescriptions written for adults each year are for antibiotics. But soon, they could be facing these infections without antibiotics. A national group that represents internists is recommending doctors no longer use antibiotics for most upper respiratory problems, like bronchitis, sore throats and most sinus infections. Instead, they recommend adults first turn to over-the-counter remedies to ease the symptoms.

DR. SANDRA FRYHOFER, INTERNAL MEDICINE: The majority of respiratory and tract infections are caused by viruses. And antibiotics don't work for viruses.

FEIG: Experts say antibiotics can't attack a virus. It can only be effective against bacteria. And taking bacteria-fighting medicine when your problem is a virus increases the likelihood that other bacteria will become resistant to that drug.

FRYHOFER: Antibiotics are not a cure-all. And overuse and misuse makes them ineffective when they're really needed.

FEIG: But doctors like Dr. Seth Oringher, who see these patients daily, say while the guidelines are good, patients come to doctors to get medicine, not to be sent home empty handed.

DR. SETH ORINGHER, WASHINGTON SINUS CENTER: A lot of times, the patient's reactions will be one of mistrust, feeling that they're not being treated appropriately. And they will either go see another doctor, or call back two days later and say, I'm still not better.

FEIG: There are times when antibiotics are necessary, such as strep throat. But the guidelines say with other infections, wait a bit before calling the doctor.

ORINGHER: Treat yourself at home for a good seven to 10 days if you are otherwise healthy.

FEIG (on camera): Viruses will show signs of getting better on their own by then. So if it doesn't, then it's time to call the doctor. That, experts agree, will increase the likelihood that antibiotics will work for you when you really need them.

Christy Feig, CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: We highlight health in "Worldview" today and we look at social and environmental issues, as well. In the U.S., we explore a program designed to make immigrants feel more welcome. Check out the buddy program in one New York town. Find out how water is becoming an issue in Israel and travel to India, where AIDS patients may soon get a helping hand.

HAYNES: India is a crowded country located in South Central Asia. Its teeming population numbers more than a billion people. About 42,000 babies are born every day in this country. About half of India's adults are illiterate and one-third of them live under the poverty line. Fifteen percent of the children suffer from malnourishment in India and the country has among the highest number of AIDS cases in the world.

In India, most of those who suffer from AIDS are between 25 and 35, an age group that is at the peak of economic productivity. So the AIDS epidemic is not only a health issue, it's having a financial impact, as well. Now an international agency is seeking to provide some economic relief to AIDS patients.

And as Satinder Bindra explains, that help could stretch around the world.


SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventeen million people have already died of AIDS across the world. These patients in India await their turn. Thirty-three million people in the developing world are HIV positive. Almost all too poor to afford a combination of drugs that arrest the development of full-blown AIDS.

SHEHNAZ KHATOON, PATIENT (through translator): Please give me money for my medication, I beg you. Please let me live for a few more days.

BINDRA: Help may soon be on hand for Shehnaz Khatoon and almost four million other Indians living with HIV. An international aid agency, Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF, says it will soon provide HIV patients across 10 countries, including India, free anti-AIDS drugs.

YUSUF HAMIED, CHAIRMAN, CIPLA: There are 3,500 fresh HIV positive cases in India alone per day. We can't wait.

BINDRA: Dr. Yusuf Hamied, chairman of one of India's largest pharmaceutical companies Cipla, has just finalized a deal to provide MSF the drugs. Cipla is selling the drugs, which cost $10,000 to $15,000 per patient a year in Europe and the United States, to MSF for only $350.

Cipla says it can sell these drugs cheaper because of lower production costs, but several large pharmaceutical companies which first patented these drugs are already warning Cipla of patent violations.

HAMIED: If I'm the pilot, I'm a thief. If I'm a thief, I must have broken some law. Nobody can point a finger at us that we've broken any laws.

BINDRA: Cipla says it's MSF that will be importing the drugs into African countries like Kenya, where 15 percent of the population is HIV positive. As far as India is concerned, Cipla says no one can patent any products related to food and health.

(on camera): In many African countries, though, under World Trade Organization rules, governments must first declare a health emergency before they can allow the manufacture of generic drugs. AIDS activists complain these rules favor rich multi-nationals, and the balance must now be rectified in favor of public health rather than corporate wealth.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, New Delhi.


WALCOTT: We head now to the Sea of Galilee, a lake in northern Israel. This body of water is also called Lake Tiberias (ph). It's fed and drained by the Jordan River. The lake is subject to violent storms and many bible stories are set along this sea. It's the most lush area in Israel and contains many fish, and the sea's fresh water is used for irrigation.

But it's also a site of troubled waters, as Fionnuala Sweeney reports.


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee, fishermen cast their nets as the fish jump out of the water, an almost biblical scene. It was here, the bible says, that Jesus walked on water almost 2,000 years ago and calmed a storm. The Sea of Galilee is bathed in history and spirituality.

(on camera): But this is the Sea of Galilee today. A few years ago, where I'm walking would all have been underwater. But today you'd have to walk about 50 meters in that direction before you'd meet the water's edge. The Sea of Galilee, which supplies about one-third of all Israel's water, is drying up.

(voice-over): Three years of drought may have provided ultra- light planes with a new landing pad but it also means less drinking water for Israel.

ZE'EV SCHIFF, MILITARY ANALYST: Water is a crucial commodity. It's more important here than oil.

SWEENEY: But it's not just the Israelis who face a water shortage. A new pipe brings water from the Hatspanee River (ph) to the Lebanese border village of Alwadani (ph). The Hatspanee originates in Lebanon, but its waters flow into the Sea of Galilee.

SCHIFF: Maybe they have the right to take it for the local consumption. But immediately we jumped out from our skin and it shows you that how the people are nervous. And immediately you heard, I mean, war threats.

SWEENEY: Although Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon last year, there is no peace agreement with either Syria or Lebanon. This border is tense at best.

MARK HELLER, JAFFE STRATEGIC STUDIES CENTER: And at the present time, there's not something approaching a crisis because there's no evidence of any conscious intent on the part of anyone else to divert sources of water. But the potential is always there for a flare-up.

SWEENEY: Elsewhere along Israel's northern border, reminders of the 1967 War, when Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria. Israel feared that Syria would divert water from the River Banias (ph) into the Golan, resulting in less water flowing into the Sea of Galilee.

SCHIFF: This was a reason for a war. So one has to take into account if they will try to do it once again. It's, once again, we shall explode.

SWEENEY: The water in this region was allocated under a tacit agreement more than 45 years ago. But today there are more people, less water and no real peace.

AMIKAM NACHMANI, BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY: Having this bickering and having this conflict and having this mutual blame, who is to be blamed for what, up untill now I don't know whether it has produced even one drop of water.

SWEENEY: An old Chinese proverb says nothing on earth is so weak and yielding as water. But for breaking down the firm and strong, it has no equal. A war of words over water could crack the deceptively peaceful setting in this uneasy part of the world.

Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN, the Sea of Galilee, Israel.


WALCOTT: All across the United States, there are signs of the changing face of immigration. Just 40 years ago, three fourths of the nation's foreign born population were from Europe. Today, the picture is much different. More than half are from Latin America. The hundreds of thousands of immigrants arriving from Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries are presenting challenges for communities both big and small.

Maria Hinojosa reports from one town in upstate New York that has found a unique way to welcome its newest residents.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The groups of immigrant men standing on corners in the centers of white, upscale suburban towns have become more and more visible across the country. They come looking for work to feed their families back home however they can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's for the money, no. In my country is a little money.

HINOJOSA: But often they are not welcome.

GRACE HEYMANN, WESTCHESTER HISPANIC COALITION: They are seen as outsiders. They're seen -- they're misunderstood or not understood at all.

HINOJOSA: On Long Island, two Mexican day laborers were viciously beaten by white racist teens, and in upstate New York, a midnight raid on immigrants in an apartment complex. The only crime alleged: over-crowding.

CARLA REDICKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FACE TO FACE: Tonight we want to talk a little bit more about those things.

HINOJOSA: But that same backlash has given birth to something positive: a buddy program.

REDICKER: It's basically a literacy program, but using literacy in the broadest sense of the word.

Literacy to mean the need and the aspiration for human connection.

HINOJOSA: So new immigrants like Maria Espetia (ph) are buddied with long-time, English speaking-residents of Mount Kisco.

MAUREEN MORRISSEY, MT. KISCO RESIDENT: It has made a bridge between two communities that existed in the same area, but really didn't work together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to speak good English for my daughter and try to help more kids and my friends speak (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

HINOJOSA (on camera): While the mayor of Mount Kisco supports the buddies program, it gets no government funding, and is a private independent venture. And even though the program is open to all of Mount Kisco's residents most of the English-speaking buddies are, themselves, children of immigrants.

Manuela Keyala (ph) is a Cuban-Haitian long-time resident of Mount Kisco who has buddied up with Gladys Vreda (ph), a newcomer from Peru.

MANUELA KEYALA: They are the new neighbors, the same as the pilgrims when they arrived, and the Indians, or the Native American Indians at the time, took them in and showed them how to survive.

HINOJOSA (voice-over): So that bad history doesn't have to repeat itself.

REDICKER: It's very important for people who are newly coming to this country to not go through say, what my parents went through when they came here, where they feel totally ashamed of themselves, ashamed of their language.

HINOJOSA: So that nothing is shameful for these new Americans.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, Mount Kisco, New York.


HAYNES: In "Chronicle," a closer look at the role climate changes play in our daily lives. Earlier in the show, we told you about flood victims in the American Midwest, people whose homes and livelihoods faced the threat of being washed away by the largest river in the U.S., that mighty Mississippi.

WALCOTT: That's right, Tom. The Midwest flooding is the result of heavy rainfall and melting snow.

Now NEWSROOM'S Michael McManus has more on how the weather can affect people and how people in turn can affect the weather.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to be -- yes, I've guess you've got to purge it, then, every so often, right?


MICHAEL MCMANUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: D.J. Patil is a student majoring in meteorology at the University of Maryland.

D.J. PATIL, METEOROLOGY STUDENT: I'm interested in how the whole world is connected in terms of weather.

MCMANUS: In studying forecasts, Patil and his classmates are faced with long-term problems like global warming and pollution.

As the sun strikes the Earth, heat is radiated back into the atmosphere. Most of it escapes into space. But some rays stay behind, trapped by pollutants or greenhouse gases, slowly raising the temperature of Earth.

RUSSELL DICKERSON, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: So where did that smog come from? How do we -- can we predict it? And can we help get rid of it?

This cell has two sides to it.

MCMANUS: Professor Russ Dickerson teaches meteorology at the University of Maryland.

DICKERSON: We all share the same atmosphere. It's a global problem. So international collaboration is absolutely imperative.

MCMANUS: World cooperation was the key in a report on climate issued by scientists and meteorologists from more than 100 countries. They concluded that the world has warmed 1 degree over the last century. Many, however, disagree over why the temperature is going up.

LONNIE THOMPSON, SCIENTIST, BYRD POLAR RESEARCH CENTER: There are many different parameters that we measure.

MCMANUS: Dr. Lonnie Thompson is a scientist at the Byrd Polar Research Center in Ohio. He believes hard facts are the best evidence of temperature change.

THOMPSON: Getting the evidence sometimes is a challenge. But without the evidence, you can never demonstrate the change taking place. MCMANUS: Dr. Thompson's been traveling to the Andes Mountains, high above Peru, for 26 years. His pictures show dramatic melting of a glacier between 1978 and 2000. So what's exactly happening on Earth?

(on camera): The best way to find out what's going on around us down here is with one of these up there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, zero, six, zero. Thanks a lot guys, 500 (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's zero-one-five (UNINTELLIGIBLE) runway 15, College Park.

MCMANUS: The University of Maryland uses aircraft to aid in pollution research.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we are ready to fly.

MCMANUS: We took off in search of nearby smoke stacks releasing exhaust into the air.

(on camera): We're flying 1,500 feet above the ground between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, fast becoming one of the most polluted areas of the country. Up here, students and scientists can collect their samples to help in their research.

(voice-over): Back on the ground, the samples are taken to the lab, where Professor Bruce Doddridge can compare them with others.

BRUCE DODDRIDGE, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: I don't think there's any doubt that since the -- especially the industrial age of the, say, 1930s, that the pollutants that we've been putting into the atmosphere have really affected the climate.

MCMANUS: Anthony Chen (ph) is one of Professor Doddridge's students studying the samples collected.

ANTHONY CHEN, STUDENT: It could be toxic or -- so it is directly influence the human health. Or it could be impact climate. So I think what I'm doing is very valuable.

MCMANUS: Automobiles and factories emit carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, which traps warm air within the atmosphere. Study after study shows man playing an active role in the warming of Earth. But Mother Nature cannot be ignored. Volcano byproducts have the opposite effect of man-made chemicals. Ash and sulfur, once airborne, block the sunlight from entering the Earth's atmosphere, cooling the air.

DICKERSON: Tambora erupted in 1815. And then there was a year in which there was no summer. Now, of course, there were no satellite data then. But it's suspected that all that ash and sulfuric acid in the stratosphere kept the planet so cool that the corn crops failed, for example.

MCMANUS: Dr. Thompson believes climatic events, caused both by man and nature, have an impact on weather around the world.

THOMPSON: If energy in the system, the heat on the Earth's climate system, increases, then you're going to have more water vapor. More water vapor feeds more storms -- I mean, larger hurricanes, but maybe larger snowstorms too.

MCMANUS: Even with all the technology available, it's still a challenging job.

THOMPSON: These processes, which affect the climate locally, are really globally driven. So you need to know what's going on in the Tropical Pacific, if you're going to understand the weather in Ohio or Washington, D.C. or in Florida.

MCMANUS: For students and professors looking at climate problems, they welcome the challenge.

PATIL: It is directly applicable to everyone's lives, not just you or myself, but the entire world.

DODDRIDGE: The issues are becoming more complicated. But I think the tools we have to work with are becoming more sophisticated.

MCMANUS: Scientists agree to disagree on why the Earth's temperature may be rising and why weather patterns are more erratic. But they acknowledge it's happening and see continued study as the best way to figure out why.

Michael McManus, CNN, College Park, Maryland.


WALCOTT: Tomorrow, Mike continues his special weather series, Storm, and relives one of the worst storms in New England history.

HAYNES: That's right. What did the blizzard of '78 teach people about preparing for such a massive storm?

WALCOTT: We'll find out tomorrow.

And that's NEWSROOM for today. Thanks for watching.

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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