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NEWSROOM for June 12, 2001

Aired June 12, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And welcome to your Tuesday NEWSROOM. I'm Shelley Walcott. Glad you're here.

Here's a look at what's coming up.

First, "In the News," the severest sentence for the gravest of crimes. We'll take a closer look at the death penalty. Then in "Health Desk," looking for a new way to get into shape, we have the lowdown on the resist-a-ball. Next, in "Worldview," a sacred excursion: why so many of the faithful in Japan make pilgrimages to Mount Fuji. Finally, in "Chronicle," the haunting and enduring legacy of "The Diary of Anne Frank."

The United States federal government carries out Timothy McVeigh's sentence of death. The 33-year-old drew his last breath Monday after being injected with a series of drugs. It took place at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. McVeigh was executed for an act of first-degree murder that shook the nation's sense of security. On April 19, 1995, McVeigh parked a Ryder truck full of explosives in front of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The bombing killed 168 people, including 19 children.

The execution has grabbed the world's attention. Some people express relief about McVeigh's death. Others, opposed to the death penalty, express anger. The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that evolving public attitudes could change what the court finds acceptable in regards to the death penalty.

Charles Bierbauer reports on the ongoing debate over the death penalty.


CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. Constitution bars cruel and unusual punishments. But for most of the nation's history, execution by hanging, the electric chair, or lethal injection has not been considered cruel or unusual.

MARK TUSHNET, GEORGETOWN LAW CENTER: It's pretty clear that the drafters of that amendment understood that notions of cruelty would change over time and so they put in this provision, which had a certain kind of developmental potential.

BIERBAUER: Not much developed until the 1960's, when broad opposition to capital punishment and legal challenges mounted over racial and geographical biases in administering the death penalty. Then, in 1972, the Supreme Court in Furman versus Georgia held the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments.

PROF. ANTHONY AMSTERDAM, FURMAN V. GEORGIA ATTORNEY: The United States had moved from mandatory death penalties to giving juries total discretion without in the guidelines. And juries had exercised that arbitrarily and capriciously and discriminatorily and the court simply said that's bad.

BIERBAUER: Justice William Douglas wrote: "In comparison to all other punishments, the deliberate extinguishment of human life by the state is uniquely degrading to human dignity." But that was not the court's last word.

JUDGE JOHN HILL, FMR. TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Some people regard it as an abolitionist opinion, but any reading of it showed it was not. It was an invitation to the states to get your act together.

BIERBAUER: Thirty-five states quickly rewrote their statutes to meet the justices' objections, giving courts discretion to consider aggravating and litigating circumstances, and to separate trial and sentencing phases.

And in 1976, just four years after halting all executions in the U.S., the court reversed itself. "We hold that the Death Penalty is not a form of punishment that may never be imposed. It is an extreme sanction suitable to the most extreme of crimes."

TUSHNET: With very few exceptions -- treason being the one that comes to mind -- they're all for different kinds or different circumstances of murder.

BIERBAUER: Courts and legislatures have continued to shape the limits of capital punishment. In 1977, the Supreme Court held the death penalty was grossly disproportionate for the crime of rape. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1994 restricted death row appeals. That same year, the Violent Crime Control Act applied the death penalty to new offenses -- fatal drive-by shootings, carjackings resulting in death.

But fears of executing the innocent or those less responsible for their actions have produced changes, too.

RICHARD DEITER, DEATH PENALTY INFO. CENTER: State legislatures have been plowing ahead with DNA bills, restrictions on executing the mentally retarded, improvements in the systems of counsel.

BIERBAUER: In at least 10 instances, DNA testing has freed inmates from death row. (on camera): The constitutional evolution of the death penalty will continue. Next term, the Supreme Court will consider if executing the mentally retarded is a cruel and unusual punishment.

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, the Supreme Court.


WALCOTT: The execution of Timothy McVeigh has caused much speculation about capital punishment. It's a hot topic, not only in the courts, but also in schools and among students across the nation.

CNN's student bureau's Allison Walker reports on what students in Texas and Connecticut have to say about the death penalty.


WALTER STREIGLE, STUDENT, NORWICH FREE ACADEMY: It's wrong. We should never, never kill. Capital punishment is wrong, and we need to do away with it.


ALLISON WALKER, CNN STUDENT BUREAU REPORTER (voice-over): The death penalty is an emotional issue. For some, like high school student Walter Streigle, taking lives as a punishment and as a deterrent for others not to commit a crime is unjustifiable.

STREIGLE: What we should do is we should -- if we have to judge somebody and we judge that they're guilty of a crime, then we should help that person to see that their crime is wrong.

WALKER: Walter is a student at Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut. His classmates are split on the morality of capital punishment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it kind of depends on the crime.

GREG BROWN, STUDENT, NORWICH FREE ACADEMY: (INAUDIBLE) the convicted would have to commit an atrocity in order to be considered for the punishment, therefore, not making it cool.

HEATHER LEWIS, STUDENT, NORWICH FREE ACADEMY: My favorite quote that I've heard of all time is why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong. It kind of just shows that the death penalty is a big hypocrisy.

WALKER: In Connecticut, there are currently seven inmates on death row but no one has been executed since 1961.

NATHAN MORELLO, STUDENT, NORWICH FREE ACADEMY: The Connecticut government's view of capital punishment has influenced me greatly. I feel Connecticut's a very conservative state, and they do not want to wrongly put any person to death. I see that Texas is sort of the opposite. They -- I've seen a lot of incidents of police corruption and men put to death and women that are not -- that are innocent. WALKER: Texas leads the nation in executions. There were 40 people put to death there last year alone.

Kamna Balhara attends Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas.

KAMNA BALHARA, STUDENT, CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL: I'm for it in a sense because killing someone deserves reciprocation in the same way -- like the killers deserve it. But at the same time, I'm against because if you take someone's life, you're doing the same thing that the criminal did.

JEFFREY ONG, STUDENT, CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL: I'm against the death penalty for one reason: It's against my religion. And I would believe that they should make a more harsh -- like another punishment like life without parole.

J.C. BAXTER, STUDENT, CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL: Seems to me the only cruel and unusual thing would be to waste the taxpayers money on keeping these kind of people alive.

PAIGE NEWTON, STUDENT, CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL: I think it would be better for the government to make the person spend their life in prison thinking about what they did wrong.

WALKER (on camera): In Texas, the death sentence is handed down at a rate 10 times more than in Connecticut. In our campus interviews, we found students in both states share the same opinions about the death penalty: They are divided.

Allison Walker, CNN Student Bureau, Atlanta.


WALCOTT: Are you looking for a new way to get into shape? Well, exercise balls may be the answer to firming and toning those muscles. You've probably already seen them in your local gym. Large round inflatable orbs that look a lot like an overgrown beach ball. Fitness has become more important than ever to America's teens. That's because more than one-third of kids between age 12 and 21 don't get regular physical activity and a whopping 63 percent of kids are no longer physically active by the time they reach high school.

Juliet Duffus shows us how exercise balls offer an innovative way to exercise your entire body.


JULIET DUFFUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Looking for a challenging total body workout? It's time to get on the ball. Once used by physical therapists as part of rehabilitation regimens, exercise balls have moved from clinics into gyms. Dubbed resistor balls, these inflatable wonders can provide a well rounded fitness program for people of all ages, incorporating balance, flexibility and strength training.

JULIE LORIO, CERTIFIED TRAINER: It's used as a kind of an alternative to doing the same crunches on the floor or the same old squats, the same old stretches. It's just a new way to do it and it also, it's a lot harder of a workout because you're having to use, you know, stabilizing muscles. You're having to concentrate on your posture. You're having to really concentrate on what you're doing rather than just crunching off the floor.

DUFFUS: Exercise balls come in a variety of sizes so finding one that fits your body is a good start. Then begin by focusing on balance.

LORIO: Try to lift up that right leg and hold it right there. Nice. Try to keep those abs and tighten that back straight.

DUFFUS: When you're ready to roll, move into a crunch to work your abdominal muscles. Try a pushup guaranteed to make you sweat and work troubled areas like the glutes by forming a bridge on the ball. Like any fitness program, consult your doctor before embarking and start and finish with a good stretch.

So get on the ball and roll your way to total fitness.

I'm Juliet Duffus.


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

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

WALCOTT: Time now to turn our attention around the world. We'll cruise the Internet to find out about technology that puts the brakes on music piracy. Plus, journey to Japan for a tour of a mighty mountain and more.

But first, international reaction to the execution of Timothy McVeigh. We head to Europe for a report from Christiane Amanpour.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There were a few protests in Europe, where the death penalty has been abolished and where there is a growing movement against capital punishment in the United States. Indeed, the U.S. and Japan are the only industrialized democracies that execute convicted criminals. Italy abolished the practice back in 1947.

ELISABETTA ZAMPARUTTI, AGAINST DEATH PENALTY: The death penalty is a very primitive answer to the problem of the criminality.

AMANPOUR: Britain stopped hanging people in 1965, and while there is virtually no support for Timothy McVeigh, there is little support for killing him either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's done a terrible, terrible thing, but to go and watch somebody be executed...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's more of a punishment if he was locked up for life.

AMANPOUR: Others say it's no deterrent and simply reinforces violence in society.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I say, I slapped my child because she slapped a child, how's she going to learn that slapping a person is not right?

AMANPOUR: Amnesty International is conducting a worldwide effort against the U.S. death penalty. It says there were at least 1,457 executions in 27 countries in the year 2000. 88 percent of all known executions took place in China, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Iran. Amnesty says the death penalty in the U.S. is flawed and biased against blacks and poor people.

PIERS BANNISTER, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: It's inflicted upon the innocent. It's inflicted after unfair trials, where people -- defendants didn't have adequate legal help under resource lawyers. It's inflicted upon the mentally retarded.

AMANPOUR: Only the United States, Japan and Kyrgyzstan, in the former Soviet Union, are known to execute the mentally retarded.

France, which stopped guillotining convicts in 1977, is organizing the first World Congress against the death penalty later this month. As the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Paris warned, two things harm America's moral standing in Europe today: the death penalty and violent crime. Many here see McVeigh as a product of his society.

The movement in Europe against the U.S. death penalty has grown with the presidency of George W. Bush. As Texas governor, he signed 150 death warrants. And during his inauguration, protesters delivered bags of petitions to U.S. embassies around Europe.

(on camera): Abolishing the death penalty is a precondition for belonging to the European Union, and after McVeigh's execution, a top European officials said that the way he died was wrong, that the death penalty was not a deterrent, because it gave McVeigh the notoriety he so craved. And he urged the United States to change its position on the death penalty, to bring it in line with the vast majority of the free and democratic world.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WALCOTT: Next stop, Japan, an island nation in the north Pacific Ocean. Japan is made up of four large islands and thousands of smaller ones. Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, about 126 million people are packed on to its major islands. Mountains and hills cover most of the country and while they are beautiful, they take up so much room they squeeze the population onto a small portion of the land, narrow plains along the coast.

There is one mountain in Japan that especially grabs a lot of attention: It's Mount Fuji, a volcanic cone that has become an important spiritual symbol to some Japanese people.

Stephanie Oswald explains.


STEPHANIE OSWALD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For travelers headed to Japan, one destination often on the must-see list is Mount Fuji, but a firsthand look is not easy to achieve. Notoriously reclusive, Mount Fuji is usually shrouded in clouds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a gorgeous, clear view of Mount Fuji today, which made it very wonderful.

OSWALD: For those lucky enough to see this volcanic cone in all its majesty, Mount Fuji's spiritual importance becomes clear.

RIE MATSUI, TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER: Of course, its shape is extremely beautiful. And in Japan, it is said that high mountains -- some spiritual things live in the mountain. So I think the mountain purified minds of our Japanese people.

OSWALD: Two of the most significant religions in Japan are Buddhism and Shintoism. Many Japanese practice both; and with more than 80 temples and shrines, the town of Kamikura is one of the best places to learn about that part of Japanese culture. A busy crosswalk near downtown is overshadowed by a torii, the symbolic gateway to Hachiman-gu.

This Shinto shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, the god of war, but most visitors are here on peaceful pursuits. Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan. It translates as "the way of the gods," and these gods, or "Kami," inhabit all natural phenomena. In fact, the earliest Shinto shrines were not buildings, but trees, rocks and mountains, such as Mount Fuji.

Stephanie Oswald, CNN, reporting.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: No doubt you remember Napster and all the controversy surrounding the music swapping Web site. Napster allows users to trade music over the Internet using a compressed recording format known as MP3. Well, in December 1999, several record companies filed a lawsuit against Napster, accusing it of encouraging illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted music. Last year, a U.S. district judge all but shut down the Web site after ordering it to stop providing copyrighted music to its users.

Controversy is raging over similar music swapping sites and it's a debate that's growing. Now, it's even having an impact on radio stations.

Kristie Lu Stout reports on the latest strategy to safeguard online music.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Need a hit of Vanessa-Mae, then jack into the Net. The latest release by Asia's violin vixen is now available on MSN. But if you're tempted to rip- off her latest single, don't bother. Vanessa's record label, EMI, has contracted Sar 1 to protect her from piracy.

IVAN WONG, CTO, SAR 1: That content provider like an EMI or some other records company, they are afraid of their content being replicated easily once it's being digitized. And people can then share with their -- all their friends and all their relatives online easily. So we help them to protect their contents and encrypt it, and so that the people cannot use that without their permissions.

STOUT: Sar 1 offers digital rights management, or DRM for short, and it works like this: When a user sees a Vanessa-Mae file and tries to open it, DRM will check whether the user has the right to enjoy the music. If yes, the music will play. If not, then the user will be taken to a Web page where rights can be obtained.

The recording labels are extremely protective of their content assets. Music releases by talent like Vanessa-Mae are guarded by intellectual property or IP law. But the Internet has undermined this protection.

JUSTIN DAVIDSON, I.P. LAWYER, FRESHFIELDS: From a legal point of view, the copyright protection law -- the intellectual property protection has always been there and it still is there. It's really just a question of the practicality of enforcing it now has become more difficult.

STOUT: Case in point: Napster. This file sharing service showed that music could be served to 63 million fans without a penny forked over for the rights. Although Napster has been ordered to shut down, its legacy looms large. Dozens of digital rights management firms have emerged to capitalize on the music industry's fear of a Napster aftershock.

DAVIDSON: There are many different providers of digital rights management around the world, and one of the key stumbling blocks for it is a single user friendly means. At the moment, there are so many different types of formats, readers, etcetera, for digital rights management that it makes it impractical, this stage, for it to be widely accepted.

STOUT: Even online music companies like Hong Kong's admit that DRM companies are only pitching a pipe dream. DAVID LOITERTON, CEO, GOGO.COM: Legal users, at the moment, who want to pay and who want to work through the DRM solutions, more often than not, in my experience anyway, are frustrated with the amount of time that it takes to get through -- the clunkiness of it, if you like. I mean you need to be able to get people online, finding a song that they like, hitting a button and it happens.

STOUT (on camera): The music industry needs to be careful on how it handles digital rights management. It could give recording companies more control over their latest releases. It could also unleash a backlash from even Vanessa-Mae's dearest fans.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


WALCOTT: On June 12, 1952, "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" was first published. Nearly 50 years later, it's still a haunting and enduring story.

CNN NEWSROOM went to Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, to talk with students about the book's impact. Because she was only 15 when she died, Anne's book has special meaning for young people, but her story touches readers of all ages and faiths because it's a universal appeal for peace.

Kathy Nellis explains.


KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For her 13th birthday, Anne Frank received a diary, a place to record her private thoughts and feelings. Her first entry expresses her expectations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE AS VOICE OF ANNE FRANK: I hope I will able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.

NELLIS: Three weeks later, Anne Frank went into hiding with her family. The German Jewish teenager lived in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The country was occupied by the Nazis and World War II was raging.

JEFFREY STRELZIK, STUDENT, GREENFIELD HEBREW ACADEMY: Germany and the Nazis were taking over in Holland and in Amsterdam and in many other places, and that's why the -- they were scared that they would be taken and put into labor camps or into concentration camps.

NELLIS: Anne's diary is a chronicle of life in hiding. The story is part of the eighth grade curriculum at Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. These teens are the same age as Anne when she was taken into seclusion.

DANI FERRER, STUDENT, GREENFIELD HEBREW ACADEMY: How she was taken away from her friends, and I think we can relate to something like that how hard it would be at this age. DEBORAH WESTERMAN, STUDENT, GREENFIELD HEBREW ACADEMY: It teaches how you can't take things for granted. Like one day she was living happily at home, she had everything she wanted, she had friends and she was happy, and the next day she was in hiding. She couldn't talk out loud, talk too loudly, afraid that people were going to find out that they were there and be taken away.

NELLIS: During the war, the Nazis killed millions of people, including six million Jewish men, women and children -- more than two- thirds of the Jews living in Europe.

For 25 months, Anne, her family and their companions remained shut away in a secret struggle to survive. They were taken away by the Nazis in 1944. Anne died of typhus in a concentration camp. The teenager never knew how famous her entries would become.

UNKNOWN FEMALE AS VOICE OF ANNE FRANK: Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I've never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a 13-year-old school girl.

NELLIS: But she was no ordinary 13-year-old school girl.

(on camera): Since it was first published in 1947, the book has sold more than 25 million copies around the world and it's been translated into 67 languages.

SALLEY LEVINE, SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER: I think the book, "Diary of Anne Frank," creates a very accurate, historical picture. We talk about the fact that there were some wonderful people and rescuers but that that wasn't the prevalent way that things went for most European Jews.

NELLIS (voice-over): Teachers and students say it's more than a story of Jewish persecution, it's a lesson in perseverance.

RABBI ALAN BERKOWITZ, JUDAIC STUDIES, GREENFIELD HEBREW ACADEMY: Anne Frank speaks to the world about looking out for each other and doing the right thing.

EMERALD FEINDBERG, STUDENT, GREENFIELD HEBREW ACADEMY: She always has hope and stuff. She never gives up. Like when -- even when she's in the concentration camp, she never gave up.

KOLIN SIMON, STUDENT, GREENFIELD HEBREW ACADEMY: It's probably so universally popular because it's about a girl -- a young girl -- a child that had to go through so much suffering because of something that she couldn't control.

NELLIS: The book is more than a history lesson, more than a lesson in Jewish heritage, Anne's words speak volumes.

JAMIE ZEBRAK, STUDENT, GREENFIELD HEBREW ACADEMY: "Sometime this terrible war will be over. Surely the time will come when we are people again and not just Jews." I think here she's saying that after the war, she hopes that people will learn that that's not -- you can -- that's not the way you can treat people, and people should look at people for who they are and not their religion or race or anything.

BERKOWITZ: It may carry the most important universal message of what people can do to each other if we're not vigilant, if we don't look out for each other, if we don't care for each other.

BLAKE SUNSHINE, STUDENT, GREENFIELD HEBREW ACADEMY: People need to learn not to hate people who are different and that we're all pretty much the same and that nothing like this should ever happen again because it was really horrible the first time it happened.

NELLIS: Fifty-seven years ago, another Jewish teenager had the same wish for the world.

UNKNOWN FEMALE AS VOICE OF ANNE FRANK: Until all of humanity, without exception, undergoes a metamorphosis, wars will continue to be waged, and everything that has been carefully built up, cultivated and grown will be cut down and destroyed, only to start all over again.

NELLIS: Above all, "The Diary of Anne Frank" is an entreaty for tolerance, a prayer for peace.

Kathy Nellis, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.


WALCOTT: A story that should never be forgotten.

And that wraps up today's show. We'll see you back here tomorrow.


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