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NEWSROOM for May 22, 2001

Aired May 22, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And NEWSROOM makes its way into Tuesday. Welcome. I'm Shelley Walcott.

Our first stop today, the weather department. Hurricane season is upon us. Find out what to expect in today's top story. Then, anxiety, it's more than just a case of nerves. We'll talk treatment in our "Health Desk." Next, we'll travel to the Ukraine, where a traditional Soviet practice is keeping cancer patients in the dark. And finally, we'll chronicle the reunion of veterans of the Second World War.

The start of the Atlantic hurricane season is slightly more than a week away. Hurricane experts predict we will see a normal season of activity with fewer storms than the past three years. Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict as many as 11 tropical storms will threaten the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts this season. Five to seven of those storms likely will become hurricanes, making this season a normal one. A hurricane has sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour. This season's predictions were based on long-term patterns of tropical rainfall, air pressure and ocean temperatures.

Just because normal levels of activity are predicted, doesn't mean a major hurricane won't strike. in fact, Hurricane Andrew, the costliest on record, hit during a season of below normal activity. Andrew caused more than $25 billion in damage to south Florida and is blamed for 43 deaths. The 10 costliest hurricanes to reach the U.S. in the past century hit either the Gulf or Atlantic coasts, spanning a region from Texas all the way to the northeast. The Atlantic hurricane season ends November 30th. NOAA forecasters plan to issue an updated hurricane outlook in August.

Natural disasters can strike just about anywhere at any time. But different conditions that lead to severe weather expose regions to specific types of peril. While the Atlantic is more prone to hurricanes, the Midwest is more susceptible to tornadoes.

NEWSROOM'S Michael McManus brings us a closer look at the wrath of Mother Nature.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MICHAEL MCMANUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These teenagers are survivors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The water started coming through the house. Windows were breaking. The roof started cracking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My parents were against the window with a mattress. I have three little sisters. They were in the closet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They weathered through a $26 billion disaster named Hurricane Andrew.

PETER SWART, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: It was a truly colossal and frightening prospect to have this hurricane. We were, you know, basically pushing the piano against the front door at one stage during the night.

MCMANUS: The hurricane hit with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour. It ravaged Florida.

MARK ROSENTHAL, METEOROLOGIST, WCBV-TV: A hurricane actually needs to -- needs warm tropical waters.

BRUCE SCHWOEGLER, CHIEF METEOROLOGIST, WBZ-TV: It's essentially a heat engine, a giant chimney that feeds off the heat and humidity that's coming off the air-sea interface.

MCMANUS: Andrew and most other hurricanes that threaten the U.S. form off the coast of Africa between June and November. Hurricanes also form in the Pacific Ocean. Usually called typhoons, they menace parts of Asia. Along with warm water, ingredients needed include consistent vertical wind speed, rain showers or thunderstorms and something called the Coriolis force.

LEONARD: The way the Earth rotates on its axis, we have what we call a deflecting force to the right. It's a Coriolis force. And that creates a little bit of spin in the atmosphere.

MCMANUS: With all of these elements combining, it doesn't mean the disturbance becomes a hurricane. It has to grow into one first.

ROSENTHAL: First you get a tropical depression. Then you get a tropical storm. And then you get a hurricane.

HARVEY LEONARD, CHIEF METEOROLOGIST, WHDH-TV: You have a tropical storm if the winds are over 40 miles an hour, 39 to 40 or greater. Over 74 miles per hour, now you have a hurricane.

MCMANUS: A hurricane's intensity is determined by the speed of its winds. The Saffir-Simpson scale breaks the storms into five categories.

A Category 1 hurricane contains winds between 74 and 95 miles an hour. This kind of storm brings minor damage and flooding. The destruction mounts, with each number, ending with a Category 5, which is complete destruction and major flooding. Traveling across the ocean, many of these cyclonic storms gain strength and set sights on wherever the upper airflow or jet stream takes it. Many times, this means a slow and methodical trip until landfall. And this is where preparation can be a lifesaver.

MAX MAYFIELD, DIRECTOR, NATL. HURRICANE CENTER: You don't want people to evacuate hundreds of miles. You want them to go tens of miles.

MCMANUS: Dr. Max Mayfield is the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida and believes evacuation should be a short trip away from the coast.

MAYFIELD: One of my greatest fears is that we'll have people stuck in their cars in a gridlock, trying to evacuate during a hurricane threat.

MCMANUS: While property owners are driving away from the impending storm, the hurricane hunters are moving toward it. These soldiers of science actually travel through approaching hurricanes with specially outfitted aircraft to measure, among other things, wind speed and direction. So, when the behemoth comes ashore, communities are ready.

Upon arrival, the combination of wind and water is both amazing and dangerous.

LEONARD: If the storm surge occurs at the time of high tide, you're going to have big problems.

MCMANUS: It's not always water, but high winds that do great damage. Hurricane Andrew blew the town of Homestead, Florida apart -- the destruction: unbelievable.

MAYFIELD: If that integrity of the building is broken and the air gets inside with a broken window or door, then you can, you know, lose the roof as well.

MCMANUS: Because of the massive costs of rebuilding, there's been a recent push toward hurricane-resistant homes, complete with steel window guards and reinforced roofing materials.

According to experts, it's better to pay now than later, especially with stronger cyclonic activity predicted.

(on camera): Located on the eastern tip of Florida, Miami is known for being a popular target for hurricanes. But that changed four years ago when a tornado touched down right here in the middle of one of America's most popular cities.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you'll start to see debris here at the base of this column that's -- it's lifting. And I guess it's also picking up a tremendous amount of water as it crosses over the Biscayne Bay area. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MCMANUS: Though it looked dangerous in pictures caught by television news crews, the tornado did little more than rattle a few nerves.

DAN MCCARTHY, NATL. SEVERE STORMS LAB: A tornado is actually a small area of energy that is rotating violently out of a storm.

MCMANUS: Dan McCarthy is a forecaster at the National Severe Storm Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. His team is responsible for tornado warnings in twister-prone areas, like the Midwest and Central Plains of the U.S., otherwise known as Tornado Alley.

MCCARTHY: As a meteorologist, to see a tornado is really beautiful, as long as you're safely away from it and you can see the whole formation. This whole interaction started to form.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tornado on the ground.


MCMANUS: The interaction Dan is talking about involves the colliding of warm, humid air with either very cold or very hot, dry air, or the dry line. In short, the air starts spinning in a vast circular motion and follows a path straight down to the ground, pulling everything around it into the vortex of air.

LEONARD: They can develop very, very quickly. You could be looking at a very nice sunny, hot day, with almost no clouds in the sky; 20 minutes later, you could have a violent thunderstorm, which could spawn a tornado out of it within minutes.

MCMANUS: This is what happened on May 3, 1999, when a family of tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma, killing 44 people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a large tornado on the ground. This is tornado number six.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming down right now: a major tornado.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming down, another tornado to the other side of 152.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just south, just south. It's one-quarter mile south of us.


MCMANUS: On this day, the highest wind speed ever recorded was clocked at 318 miles per hour. The damage was catastrophic. But word was broadcast of the impending threat. And according to McCarthy, it saved lives.

MCCARTHY: If the weather service didn't have the outlook, the watches and warnings in place, a lot more people could have lost their lives.

MCMANUS: During tornadic activity, you have mere seconds to react. The best way to avoid injury is to remember two words: low and inside.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife and my mother-in-law and I started down the steps. And as soon as I got to the bottom of the steps, I closed the bathroom door and the glass and everything started busting.


MCMANUS: If you're at home or have access to a basement, that's the best place to go. In a school, an interior hallway on the lowest form is your best bet. In an office building, the inner-most stairwell should provide adequate protection. And if you are outside, cover your head and crouch down in the lowest area within reach.

If you still don't think tornadoes are dangerous, check this out. That's the power of a simple piece of wood in a tornado's fierce winds. And then there's this woman, who had her financial records mailed back to her after a twister from two states away. And, finally, according to, an F-4 twister roaring through Tennessee destroyed six steel high-tension towers like these. Three of the towers were supposedly never found.

Meteorologists say the easiest way to keep safe is to stay informed. After all, isn't knowledge power, too?


WALCOTT: Predict and track hurricanes yourself on our Web site,

Today I want to talk to you about butterflies, the ones you get in your stomach when you're nervous, the tension you feel before the big test or the big date. Those anxious feelings are normal, but for young people with anxiety disorders, the situation is a bit more serious. And as CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us, treating these disorders can sometimes be tricky.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illness in children. Christopher knows this firsthand. He was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder one year ago.

KRISTINA, CHRISTOPHER'S MOTHER: It was a relief to get the diagnosis because there was treatment, and there is effective treatment. But it was also heart-breaking to know that he was going to deal with that.

GUPTA: Children like Christopher often go through behavioral therapy as a first approach, but many times that's not enough. And drugs are prescribed, drugs typically used to treat adults.

Problem is, little is known about how well these drugs work in children. New research has been published in "The New England Journal of Medicine." It shows one popular drug used in children, Fluvoxamine, also known as Luvox, appears effective.

DR. LAURENCE GREENHILL, NEW YORK STATE PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE: Fluvoxamine is one of the number of drugs on the market now that affect the level -- the brain levels of a chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is a special chemical in the brain that acts to regulate a lot of the basic elements of mood, sleep, eating, appetite.

GUPTA: Dr. Laurence Greenhill studied 128 children ages 6 to 17, diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or social phobia. None of them had responded to behavioral therapy. He gave one group Luvox, the other only a placebo. After two months, 76 percent of the children taking Luvox showed significant improvement, versus the 29 percent who improved with only the dummy pill.

Luvox is in the class of drugs called selective serotonin re- uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These also include Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. All of them are already widely used to treat anxiety disorders and other mental health illness in children.

Christopher takes one such medication to treat his anxiety disorder.

CHRISTOPHER, ANXIETY DISORDER PATIENT: And now, like, if someone goes, want to come to movies, and a pizza party, at first, I'm like, "Oh, yes, let's go."

GUPTA: While Luvox is the only SSRI approved by the FDA for children, the long-term effect of these drugs is not yet known.

DR. SUVRAT BHARGAVE, CHRISTOPHER'S PSYCHIATRIST: My goal is always that the medication be a stepping stone to helping this child do well later on in his life. Therefore, the medications tend to be temporary. GUPTA (on camera): So the message for parents? If a child is behaving in a way that interferes with normal functioning, it is time to seek help. This study shows that doctors can now have confidence that at least one medication may be an effective option.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.


WALCOTT: Our health news continues in "Worldview" as we turn to Europe and Asia. We'll hear about old time Soviet secrecy. But this time it has nothing to do with government security. Instead, find out why doctors don't tell patients everything they need to know. Hear about the early history of the horse in Poland and make tracks to Russia, where a long dead political leader has still not been buried.

In life and in death, Russian dictator Vladimir Lenin remains an enigmatic figure. To some, he is a hero for leading the Bolshevik revolution that brought communism to power in Russia in 1917. To others, he is a tyrant for allowing the murder or imprisonment of millions who opposed his regime. While his own life ended in 1924, to this day he is dead but not buried.

His remains are still on display in Moscow and as Matthew Chance reports, Russians can't agree about what to do with them.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They came to pay their respects, devout communists nostalgic for a man they believe embodies a glorious past. A decade since the collapse of the Soviet Union and many Russians still view Lenin in a positive light. But for some, the revolutionary leader is revered.

UNIDENTIFIED RUSSIAN: The man was great and it's impossible to find fault with his ideology. Communism isn't dead. It will live for a thousand years to come.

UNIDENTIFIED RUSSIAN: He gave us land, education and everything we needed. Now, it has all been taken away.

CHANCE: Feelings of nostalgia here are running high. His death in 1924 threw the communist state into national grief. It's said more than a million Russians filed past his remains in the first days after his death. But the mausoleum, built as an ideological tribute, has to many become little more than a grisly Moscow tourist attraction.

His preserved remains have been on public display beneath a glass case for 77 years. There have been recent signs like the darkening of his hands, that decay is finally setting in. Scientists are struggling to keep the natural process at bay and an old enemy of the state is speaking up.

Suppressed under communism, the Orthodox Church has become a prominent voice calling for Lenin to be laid to rest. FR. SERGEY SUZDOLETS, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH: The whole of his communist ideology crashed down because it denied the existence of God. Because of Lenin, several million men, women and even small children were killed. We believe the rules of the church should now be followed. He came from the earth and he should be given back to earth, buried.

CHANCE: But the issue remains a controversial one, with opinion in Russia so divided, it's not clear when, or even if, this contentious Soviet memorial will go.

(on camera): Even though Lenin clearly still has hard core communist followers, opinion polls suggest a growing majority of Russians have now seen enough of his mortal remains on public display. He may still be a popular and nostalgic figure here in Russia, but he's no longer the untouchable national icon that he once was.

Matthew Chance, CNN, outside Lenin's mausoleum in Moscow.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: This is Ukraine, Eastern Europe's second largest country after Russia. Until the late 20th century, Ukraine endured lengthy periods of domination by Poland, Lithuania, Russia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Ukraine declared itself independent in 1991, following the fall of the Soviet Union.

Today, the country still reflects its Soviet history. In fact, Russian remains the official language in certain geographic regions, and as Ukrainians are finding out, a traditional Soviet medical practice, one of secrecy, has carried over as well. The reality has been frightening for many.

Jill Dougherty reports.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Julia and Yuri Gordienko are part of a quiet revolution. It started when Julia discovered a lump in her breast. Was it cancer? She went to four separate doctors in Kiev, got ultrasounds and biopsies and eventually a lumpectomy in which the tumor was removed. But none of the doctors ever told her she had cancer.

JULIA GORDIENKO, CANCER PATIENT: The last doctor told me it's benign, but you need an operation. So I asked, if it's benign, why do I need an operation? He told me, you have to prepare for the worst.

DOUGHERTY: Julia and Yuri had run headlong into an old Soviet medical tradition that still exists in Ukraine and other countries -- tell the patient as little as possible.

GORDIENKO: They wouldn't hand over the reports. I asked the doctor directly why can't I have them? And they told me different people have different psychological make ups and if someone learns they have cancer they could do something to themselves. DOUGHERTY: That approach was actually part of a course in medical ethics that Soviet physicians took called The Doctor's Secret. Dr. Igor Kovalchuk says that's how he used to treat patients.

DR. IGOR KOVALCHUK, KIEV WOMEN'S WELLNESS CENTER: In those years, I wasn't morally prepared to tell patients so openly they had cancer. I thought it would hurt them psychologically.

DOUGHERTY: But Dr. Kovalchuk studied in Europe and the United States. Now he's a surgeon at the Kiev Women's Wellness Center, a medical clinic that works in partnership with the American International Health Alliance, partially funded by the United States government.

KOVALCHUK: I think the doctor should be a friend to the patient. Even if they know they have cancer, they still have hope they can be treated. They know we're not deceiving them.

DOUGHERTY: Julia and Yuri learned the truth from Dr. Kovalchuk.

GORDIENKO: He told us straight ahead it was cancer. When someone tells you that, it's a blow. It's a catastrophe. You need someone who's going to explain things, to tell you you have a chance and to fight.

DOUGHERTY: Yuri was ready to fight. He lost his first wife to breast cancer. Julia went through chemotherapy and so far is doing well. She's spreading her quiet revolution to other women. We ask our doctors what is this medicine, she says. What is it for? They really don't like answering questions like that.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Kiev, Ukraine.


WALCOTT: We head to Poland, a large nation in central Europe covered with flat plains, gentle rolling hills and farmland. Before W.W.II, the country was largely agricultural. After the war, Poland became more industrialized and even the agricultural industry got a taste of modernization with new mechanical capabilities. Small farmers, many of whom are unable to afford the latest technologies, rely on their own resources, horses being one of them. Not only are horses affordable, but they're fairly self-sufficient.

Barbara Gratt (ph) with polish Television reports on horsepower in Poland.


BARBARA GRATT, POLISH TELEVISION REPORTER (voice-over): Those who can tell the difference between a horse and a horse come here to Scorishevdal (ph), a town some 50 miles south of Warsaw known for its annual horse fair. It has been held here since the time immemorial. Rumor has it King Wladislaus Jiallo sent his men here to buy mounts for his army as he was waging war against Teutonic knights early in the 15th century. He won, thus making Poland a major power in Medieval Europe.

Well, polish farms have by and large been motorized and tractorized and mechanized now. Still, at a smaller farm, a horsepower comes cheaper. A horse can fit itself on a piece of grass and you know a horse is a horse. A three years old stag of Norwegian breed would command something like 9,000 zloty, or roughly $2,900 U.S.. A strict ritual is observed here. No deal is concluded without this kind of vigorous handshake.

There are still about half a million working horses in the polish agriculture, a fraction of what it used to be some 50 years ago when tractors were scarce, but still not more than in Western Europe. Tradition, by all means. An honest to goodness farmer has to have a horse around, they say in Scorishevdal and right they are.

The horse were first domesticated in the green pastures east of Poland. It was bred for food fairs. But once it was discovered that a horse can pull things and that it can be easily mounted, the horse was put to work and the horse toiled in the service of mankind until the dawn of the automobile era, which is quite recently.

In Scorishevdal they seem to believe the horse era is not over yet. I know it from the horse's mouth.

This is Barbara Gratt, polish Television for CNN WORLD REPORT.


WALCOTT: Next Monday is Memorial Day, a time set aside to remember people whose lives have been affected by war, people like survivors of Nazi slave labor camps. Several U.S. court rulings in recent days have paved the way for German pay outs to about one million survivors.

Today in the first installment of our series, "War Stories," Walter Rodgers has the story of some who fought the Nazis in France.


WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across France, it was a time to remember, a dwindling handful of World War II veterans marched on stiffer legs now, joined by children who came to remember people they never knew.

Some appeared to fight back tears. Andre Lehman (ph) helped save upwards of 80 Jewish children hidden on French farms. Odette Lamules' (ph) father risked his entire family to hide Joseph Brenig. Joseph Brenig, an orphan of war, a Jew, who later joined the French resistance.

They hadn't seen each other since France was liberated in 1944. United in war, but separated by peace. In those perilous times, they were only permitted to know each other by first names.

By sheer luck, 57 years later Joseph finally found Odette at her father's farm in a French village whose name he'd long forgotten. JOSEPH BRENIG, WORLD WAR II REFUGEE: That's were the cows were. Yes, I was milking the cows in that place. Oh, my God.

RODGERS: Joseph found refuge on Odette's father's farm after his parents were sent to Auschwitz. Still, he lived in fear French collaborators would tell the Gestapo where he was.

BRENIG: If I heard any kind of sound, you know, out the door, and I would have run any direction.

RODGERS: Andre Lehman was his guardian angel. On her bicycle, at age 17, she rode from farm to farm checking on Joseph and other Jewish children, delivering fake ID cards and rationing coupons to Protestant, Catholic and Communist families who defied the Nazis.

Bernon Soupsoul (ph), now 92, used to blow up German troop trains. Jon Dostross (ph) was "Le Dur" in the resistance, the hard one, afraid of nothing.

(on camera): In Nazi-occupied France, survivors say everything depended on the trust of men of goodwill. Men and women risked their lives then because they knew it was the right thing to do. That is why Joseph and Andre and thousands of other Jewish children survived World War II.

(voice over) Joseph, Odette and Andre were finally honored with medals. Despite exceptional heroism, it is the first medal Andre ever accepted. She never lost a Jewish child under her care to the Nazis.

This day, they each seemed LeDeur, the hard ones, afraid of nothing.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, Vallence D'Agen, France.


WALCOTT: And as we continue with our "War Stories," tomorrow we'll hear from a black man who grew up in Nazi Germany, of all places. You won't want to miss that.

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



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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