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NEWSROOM for June 7, 2001

Aired June 7, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Welcome to your Thursday NEWSROOM. I'm Shelley Walcott.

Let's take a look at the rundown.

British elections are today's "Top Story." Learn who's running and what's at stake. Up next in "Science Desk," find out why computer chips are going into things besides computers. Things get musical in "Worldview" as we dive in for some jazz. Finally, we "Chronicle" the growth of cyberterrorism.

British voters head to the polls to choose their next government. All 659 seats in the House of Commons are at stake. The party that wins 330 of the seats, a majority, forms the government and the party leader becomes prime minister.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair of the Labor Party is seeking a second term. Polls going into the election have shown him with a sizable but narrowing lead over his two main opponents: William Hague of the Conservatives and Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats.

Fionnuala Sweeney brings us a closer look at the main candidates and issues in this year's general election.


TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This is a manifesto that takes the next steps to building a strong economy, strong society and strong Britain.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Tony Blair launched his Labor Party election campaign for second term in office it was, he said, to build on the achievements of the last four years. The Conservatives, or the Tories, as their commonly known here, based their campaign on the slogan "common sense," playing on the public's fears that in the face of an expanding Europe, Britain's very identity is at stake.

WILLIAM HAGUE, Conservative PARTY LEADER: There is a choice. There is no excuse for giving up on Britain.

SWEENEY: A Conservative government, argued William Hague, can save the British pound with it British sovereignty.

HAGUE: We are surrendering to the European Union our ability to run our own affairs.

SWEENEY: Labor has downplayed Europe, and this traditionally divisive issue has not made as much impact in this election as recent years.

FRED HALLIDAY, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: There's no majority in Britain for leaving the common market, leaving the European Union, so they worry. Secondly, people realize that there are trading benefits, long-term travel benefits from going into the euro at some point in the future.

SWEENEY: International affairs in general have played very little part in campaign dominated by the economy, public services and taxes.

HALLIDAY: Labor, Tories, Conservatives, they want to go down the George Bush path, cut taxation or service. The is sense British majority favor reasonably high levels of taxation, 40 percent, in return for good services, which they haven't got, but hope they will get.

SWEENEY: Likewise, other tradition Tory issues such as law and order, race relations and silent seekers have failed to make their remarks.

But the smaller Liberal Democrat Party, this election has propelled it's young leader, Charles Kennedy, into the political spotlight.

CHARLES KENNEDY, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS LEADER: Three simple words, freedom, justice, honesty. These sum up what the liberal democrats stand for.

SWEENEY: His affable personality has gone down well on the campaign trail, but Britain's first-past-the post electoral system means Kennedy's charisma and middle-of-the-road policy are unlikely to give the Liberal Democrats the dramatic breakthrough they want.

And the weather may prove to have been an issue. Labor's campaign, it would seem, has benefited from the recent warm spell. The long cold winter of foot-and-mouth disease and burning piles, which postponed this election a month, is almost forgotten, even as new cases of the disease continue to be discovered.

It's hard to find anyone here willing to bet the removal vans will be outside 10 Downing Street on Friday morning.

Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN, London.


WALCOTT: Forty-four-and-a-half million people are registered to vote in Britain, but it's uncertain how many will actually turn up at the polls this year. Amid predictions that voter turnout could be the lowest in decades, the three main political parties have been making last-minute pleas to win support from wavering voters.

Richard Quest visited one of the country's key constituencies and has this report.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hours to go to the vote and the final push is on. In Norwich North, the Tories are trying to leave nothing to chance to win back this seat. Forget the trends, this is campaigning the old-fashioned way.

KAY MASON, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: This has been a really good experience because you meet a lot of new people and you get to find out really what's going on.

QUEST: In this middle class constituency, voter turnout last time was 75 percent. The seat usually goes the way of the country. So, Tory, Kay Mason is having to work hard because here the voters don't like what any of the politicians have to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had it with politics.

MASON: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sick to the back teeth of it.

MASON: Yeah.


MASON: Have you ever voted for us before?


MASON: You always did.


MASON: So what's keeping you away this time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know really, it's just a gut -- I'm just fed up with politics.

MASON: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it stinks.

QUEST: In this part of Britain, like so much of the country, voters are faced with parties and policies they simply don't like.

MASON: He is a Conservative voter. We have previous history of him voting Conservative. And he told me that he is a Conservative voter but he's feeling very disillusioned. He -- I suppose he's confused. A lot of people are confused because they can't see a difference between the politicians today.

QUEST (on camera): A load of old bull -- that seems to be what the voters think the politicians are talking. So where better to gauge their true opinion than the pub at lunchtime -- the Bull, of course.

(voice-over): Talking politics in the pub can get you into trouble, but not this time. Here, everyone agrees it's an election that's very tricky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None of the parties offer me what I want.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always lean to one way, but I'm not sure anymore.

QUEST: Voters in Britain usually come out in force. In the past 50 years, the turnout's been over 70 percent. If Helsdon (ph) is typical, that number could be sharply down. This time round, it seems voters who don't like what they see could well stay at home.

Richard Quest, CNN, Norwich North.


WALCOTT: There's also been some political moving and shaking on this side of the pond. The United States Senate resumed business yesterday but this time under Democratic leadership. Republicans lost control of the Senate after Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords quit the GOP to become an Independent.

Kate Snow takes a look at the power shift on Capitol Hill.


DASCHLE: Just another day at the office.

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, not quite.

DASCHLE: I yield the floor.

SNOW: It's not every day Senator Tom Daschle gets a standing ovation and a whole lot of handshakes. Up above, beyond the camera's view, the public gallery was packed, but on the floor, a little more than a third of all the senators were on hand for the big moment.

DASCHLE: There is another person who deserves special recognition, and that is Senator Jeffords.

SNOW: Independent Jim Jeffords, the man who made the moment possible, was notably absent. In a much smaller room, in a Senate office building, a different kind of changeover: three Judiciary Committee staffers who worked for Democrat Patrick Leahy are literally swapping desks with three people who worked for Republican Orrin Hatch.

Leahy, the incoming chairman, and Hatch, the outgoing chairman, switched places too. Other committees are going through the same routine. Democrats on the appropriations panel moving to new digs.

But while dozens of people will shift positions, most won't lose them. The signs will change. Senator Don Nickles went from assistant majority leader to assistant Republican leader.

In some ways, though, life in the Senate is unchanged. Senator Ted Kennedy walking the grounds with his dog, Splash. Senator Jon Kyl bounding up the stairs. Smiles even on Republican faces.

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: Take back the Senate!

SNOW: Outside the marble halls, the change was, well, hardly noticed.

(on camera): There's a historic event happening in the Senate today. Do you know what it is?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's Republicans are dominant now and there are 49...




SNOW (voice-over): The man of the moment didn't show his face much until mid-afternoon. A quick photo with visiting middle-school students. Senator Jeffords says he skipped the morning session because he didn't want to be a distraction. But everywhere he goes now there's a crowd.

SNOW (on camera): At a dinner for Senate Democrats Tuesday night, Jeffords, who used to be part of a Republican quartet known as the Singing Senators, was serenaded by his new colleagues. The song they sang from the musical "Oliver": "Consider Yourself at Home."

Kate Snow, CNN, Capitol Hill.



ANNOUNCER: A CNN viewer wants to know how can Senator James Jeffords of Vermont legally switch to become an independent?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: It's easy to switch parties in Vermont because Vermont is one of many states that do not register voters by party. So all Senator Jeffords has to do as a Vermonter is stop calling himself a Republican and start calling himself an independent. Now, Jeffords was elected as a Republican in Vermont, of course, just last year and some Republicans in Vermont may feel that he's betraying them by leaving the Republican Party.

SKIP VALLEE, VERMONT RNC MEMBER: There's a tremendous sense of betrayal. I have said publicly that he should follow Phil Gramm's, you know, lead.

SCHNEIDER: Indeed, back in 1983 when then Representative Phil Gramm of Texas switched from Democrat to Republican, he resigned his seat in the House of Representatives and ran in a special election to reclaim his seat as a Republican, which he did. But most senators and representatives who change parties don't bother to resign their seat and run again because their argument is the voters elected me, not my party. And the law certainly has no problem with that.


WALCOTT: As we often do, today we get technical in "Science Desk." Now we all know computer chips are infiltrating just about every aspect of society. They're already in cell phones and games but that's just the beginning. Computer chips are going into more than you could imagine.

James Hattori reports.


JAMES HATTORI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If I told you this espresso machine is plugged into the Internet, you might think I was one shot short of a grande latte.

Well, you can't use it to download MP3's while steaming milk, but it will automatically e-mail the European manufacturer, Lavazza, when it needs maintenance. The company is also working on adding a Web browser to let users check morning weather or traffic. The espresso maker was among the products showcased at the recent Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco.

LINDSEY VEREEN, CONFERENCE DIRECTOR: An embedded system is any product that has a processor in it that's not a desktop computer, and what characterizes an embedded system is that you don't know the computer is there. It's kind of like a stealth computer.

HATTORI: Also on display: the Sony Airboard, a portable flat- screen TV that lets you send e-mails and surf the Web without wires.

SY CHOUDHURY, WIND RIVER: I'm showing "Gladiator" here, but we're wirelessly streaming video, and you can watch a movie anywhere in the home.

HATTORI: This portable Web appliance, called the Personal Access Device, is a phone and computer that weighs less than two pounds.

JOHN DEURBROUCK, GENERAL SOFTWARE: As communication band widths get higher, people are going to walk around and be able to do different things, get information, video, audio in units like this.

HATTORI: Meanwhile, these smart phone prototypes run on Linux, a low-cost operating system gaining popularity among the next wave of handheld devices. This tiny phone is a peek at what's to come. It has a working digital camera and a Web browser. Just don't talk, snap and surf while driving your SUV.

Linux also powers the PhatNoise Digital Jukebox for your car. It can fit an entire music collection on this cartridge. Just put it in the trunk and hit the road.

VAL KING, LYNUXWORKS, INC.: And it enables users to download and name and maintain play lists for up to 1,000 MP3 files. So to a car stereo, Phat Noise is seen as just a CD player.

HATTORI: Another new product: the pocket blood analyzer. This small unit works right at the bedside, performs a variety of blood tests, then feeds data over a hospital's local area network for immediate analysis. For this demonstration, coffee is used in place of blood.

MARX PROWTEN, LANTRONIX: Because what we're doing is we're filling it up with coffee, and we're getting the bubbles out of it so it fills up across the sensors. And we put it in the handheld. But all I have to do now is just put this thing close to the downloader and you'll see that it's now communicating and sending information.

HATTORI: From medical testing to caffeine-charged Web surfing, embedded systems can change the way we live. But can they make a decent cup of joe?

VEREEN: The coffee is no different from any other coffee machine. It doesn't improve the quality of the coffee.

HATTORI: James Hattori, CNN, San Francisco.


WALCOTT: Time now for "Worldview." We'll take you down a river and under the ocean for stories that deal with art, politics and the environment. Visit a major European waterway and listen to some cool music in a wet spot as we head to Turkey. But we begin in Japan with a whale of story.

Off the eastern coast of Asia lies the island nation: Japan. A highly industrial nation, Japan is a leading global manufacturer of products such as ships, automobiles and television receivers. Its proximity to water fuels another aspect of Japan's economy: fishing. The country's marine fishing industry boasts one of the largest outputs in the world.

Yet, these days, Japan is in the spotlight for its controversial hunting of whales. Last year, Japan extended its whale hunt to include two kinds of whales on the U.S. endangered species list. The Clinton administration threatened to impose sanctions against Japan but decided, instead, to leave the issue open for the incoming president.

Gary Strieker looks at Japan's reasons for continuing the hunt.


GARY STRIEKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Japanese ships are still hunting whales. Protesters have tried to stop them, but they've failed. Japanese government officials say it's a matter of principle. Whales are just like all other resources in the ocean.

Fifteen years ago, the International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on commercial hunting. But Japanese whalers are killing more than 500 Minke whales every year, last year adding Bryde's whales and sperm whales to their list of targets. All three species, they claim, now so abundant they cannot be endangered by limited hunting.

MASASHI NISHIMURA, JAPAN FISHERIES ASSN.: We have enough whales for hunting, and there's no reason to limit our rational activities.

STRIEKER: Japan's whaling ships operate under an exception to the whaling treaty allowing whales to be killed for scientific research, an exception critics say is being used as a camouflage for an operation supplying hundreds of tons of whale meat every year to the Japanese market.

NAOKO FUNAHASHI, INTL. FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE: They started right after they say they finished commercial whaling, and they started scientific whaling. Same organizations, same ships, same crew going to same area, hunt same whales.

STRIEKER: But authorities claim this research whaling is essential to collect data they believe will support resumption of limited and controlled commercial whaling. Selling the whale meat helps to finance the research. They say scientists and world opinion are behind them and that the International Whaling Commission continues the moratorium only because it is dominated by the United States, the United Kingdom and a few other nations which are manipulated by animal rights pressure groups.

(on camera): The government and whaling interests here say it's time for Western nations to stop opposing them with emotions and protectionism and to adopt instead a sensible plan to manage and exploit abundant whale resources based on sound scientific research.

(voice-over): They agree some whale species are still endangered and should not be hunted, like the blue whale and the humpback. But scientists here say there are more than two million sperm whales in the oceans and hundreds of thousands of Minke whales, and that hunting a few hundred of these every year will have no impact on their populations.

The Japanese argue the International Whaling Commission was set up in 1946 to further the interests of the whaling industry and not for the total protection of whales.

Others say times have changed after more than 50 years, and the Japanese will also have to change. But there's no indication that will happen anytime soon.

Gary Strieker, CNN, Tokyo.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: It was romanticized by composer Johann Strauss in his "Blue Danube Waltz." Of course, these days, there's not much romantic about Europe's second longest river. Along much of its nearly 1,800-mile course from southern Germany to the Black Sea, the Danube is besieged by chemicals and raw sewage. As if that weren't enough, parts of the lower Danube, through Yugoslavia, remain impassable due to NATO bombs in 1999. Now a new plan is underway to clean up that mess, at least. Hopes are high commercial shipping traffic may soon start flowing there again.

Alex Cooley (ph) has the story.


ALEX COOLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since the overthrow of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, the West has been trying to mend fences with Belgrade. But in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, it's the bridges they're worried about. NATO bombs reduced to rubble the city's three bridges across the Danube River during the 1999 Kosovo conflict. The debris makes it all but impossible for commercial shippers to navigate the lower Danube.

Now, new reason to hope that greater prosperity will soon be flowing Novi Sad's way. The Budapest-based Danube Commission awarded a $23 million contract to a Danish-Hungarian consortium to remove the debris from the Danube. The European Union is funding 85 percent of the project with the 11 Danube Commission member states providing the rest.

The project was made possible by Milosevic's downfall. While in power, he had insisted that a Yugoslav supervise the cleanup project. The commission insisted that the tendering process be free of political bias.

The blockage spans just a short distance, but its affects extend nearly 3,000 kilometers along the river. It has choked off the lifeblood of international shipping companies, especially in the river's lower reaches. The Commission estimates losses of more than $300 million and thousands of workers have lost their jobs.

Traffic has skyrocketed on Eastern Europe's ramshackle roads as more shippers decide to move their goods by land. Truckers are sometimes forced to wait for days at fully-equipped border crossings. Officials say the reopening of the Danube will cut down on traffic conditions and spur new infrastructure projects throughout the Danube basin. If all goes well, the Commission says the river should be open for business by next year.

Alex Cooley, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Our next story is truly international in scope. It takes us off the coast of Turkey where a German band recently gave a unique demonstration of an American musical form: jazz. Jazz developed from black songs and spirituals with African rhythms and spread from the southern U.S. across the country and around the world. But you might be surprised at its latest reach.

Denise Dillon takes us to hear a band that went to new depths to capture the attention of its audience.



DENISE DILLON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not the typical apparel for a jazz band, but then again, not many jazz bands find a stage underwater. All 15 members of Germany's Alfred Lauer Big Band dove into their latest gig, underwater, 45 feet beneath the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey. The audience was on dry land watching the whole thing, live, on television monitors. The 22-minute concert included 12 minutes of singing.


DILLON: OK, the music was a little distorted but the bubbles add a nice effect. The conductor says what started out as something just for fun attracted a lot of attention.

ALFRED LAUER, CONDUCTOR: It was a joke but I think it's a very good joke. And our real job is to play over water on the surface. And on the surface we are a very good band, but underwater, we are the first band and that's why we have so much (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

DILLON: They've been doing underwater concerts since 1999, and this show was their longest yet. A notary was present throughout the concert to report it to the "Guinness Book of Records" and that gave the band reason to celebrate with more bubbles on the surface.

Denise Dillon, CNN.


WALCOTT: Technology has come a long way over the past several years. It has improved communications and made things more efficient and effective. Well, advanced technology presents us with many new opportunities. It also has introduced an element of fear and danger. When technology gets in the wrong hands, it can do much harm.

Kelli Arena reports on cyberterrorism and the damage it can cause.


KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians has moved to cyberspace, a war some are calling a cyberjihad. BEN VENZKE, COMPUTER SECURITY CONSULTANT: Both sides have launched, on a daily basis, continuous attacks against Web sites, chat rooms, bulletin boards, and a variety of other targets.

ARENA: The activity parallels the increase in violence on the ground, and is serving as a prototype for U.S. counterterrorism specialists preparing for possible cyberattacks on the United States.

DALE WATSON, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: We see this as a wave that's coming along, on which we are moving rapidly in order to be able to counter that threat.

ARENA: What is going on in the Middle East cannot be called cyberterrorism yet, but experts say it's a short technological step to take from knocking out Web sites to crippling critical infrastructure, a concern not only in the Middle East, but around the globe.

MIKE VATIS, ANTI-TERRORISM EXPERT: The things we have to worry abut are our critical infrastructures, such as our electrical power systems; our critical government agencies; police and medical services; and things like that.

ARENA: Some terrorist groups are calling for cyberattacks against the United States, and threat the new administration is taking seriously.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Virtually every vital service -- water supply, transportation, energy, banking and finance, telecommunications, public health -- all rely upon computers, fiberoptic lines, switchers, and the routers that connect them. Corrupt those networks and you disrupt this nation.

ARENA: The worst case scenario: a traditional terrorist attack, such as the bombing of World Trade Center, supplemented by a cyberattack, such as shutting down the 911 system.

VATIS: Right now, we're seeing a lot of the world's most dangerous and violent terrorist groups using information technology for fund-raising and secure communications. It doesn't take a great leap to go from that sort of use of information technology to using cyberattack as one method of carrying out a destructive plot.

ARENA: What's more is the damage, thought to be in the billions of dollars, caused by relatively primitive viruses is giving terrorists more confidence.

VENZKE: While an attacker may be able to take out one kind of system one day, and you develop a countermeasure to deal with that, 24 hours later, they might be involved in launching a different kind of attack that's going to completely bypass the new security measures you just put in place.

ARENA: In response, law enforcement is aggressively working to identify system vulnerabilities, to train cyberspecialists, and to keep track of terrorist activity on- and offline. But it's not completely up to the task. WATSON: We're not there yet, but we're a lot better off than we were two years ago. And we will be much better off two years from now in order to counter this threat.

ARENA (on camera): More resources might help. The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center had a modest budget of just under $20 million last year, with 108 employees

(voice-over): But even at its best, law enforcement is somewhat at the mercy of private corporations.

VATIS: Security's not going to improve until the marketplace demands it, until individual consumers and companies demand from the manufacturers of software and hardware and from Internet service providers and telecommunications companies that security be robust.

ARENA: The fear among experts it may take a real disaster before the government and private industry put enough resources into combating the problem.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.




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