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NEWSROOM for June 15, 2001

Aired June 15, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone, I'm Shelley Walcott. Friday is finally here but NEWSROOM still has news to report so let's get started.

Will the U.S. Navy stop its exercises on the island of Vieques? Find out in today's "Top Story." Then, from the pages of best sellers to the world of video entertainment, check out Harry Potter's latest adventure in "Editor's Desk." Up next, we land in Japan where we find out how the people of that nation are reacting to the movie "Pearl Harbor." And finally, we flip through the pages of history to "Chronicle" the travels of American presidents.

A controversial decision by the Bush administration could halt Navy training and bombing on Vieques Island. For more than a year, the island has been the site of a tug-of-war between the U.S. military and Puerto Rican activists and residents.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court upheld the convictions and sentences of four Vieques protesters. Among them, the Reverend Al Sharpton, who was serving 90 days. Sharpton and three New York politicians were arrested in Puerto Rico May 1 for trespassing on government property.

Jamie McIntyre has more on President Bush's decision and the Pentagon's reception to it.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pentagon sources say it was a political decision by the White House to scuttle one of the Navy's top priorities: continued use of its bombing range at Vieques, which it claims is the only East Coast location to realistically train troops for combat.

President Bush, in Sweden, portrayed it as a Pentagon initiative.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's the right agreement. I applaud the Defense Department and the Navy for reaching that agreement. MCINTYRE: Pentagon sources say newly-appointed Navy Secretary Gordon England was forced by the White House to back down from his position that the Navy would voluntarily give up Vieques in May of 2003 only if there was a good alternative training site, something the Navy has insisted for years doesn't exist.

England, sources say, was dispatched to Capitol Hill to take responsibility for the unpopular move, which overrules the advice of the uniformed military, and has infuriated pro defense conservatives in Congress.

REP. BOB STUMP (R-AZ), CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I think it's a step in the wrong direction. I think it's setting a bad precedent. We have other areas even within this country where there've been numerous complaints about our training around our bases.

MCINTYRE: In an effort to reverse the decision, key Republicans said they would call for hearings, and argued that current law requires the issue be settled by a referendum, not presidential decree.

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: The secretary of defense should take the initiative to forward to the Congress a draft of the language desired.

MCINTYRE: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he fully supported the decision, even while pointing out he didn't make it.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The decision has been handled, as I said, by Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz and by the secretary of the Navy, in whom I have great confidence.

MCINTYRE (on camera): Navy officials say they believe they had a fighting chance of winning a November referendum on the issue, and privately they decry the decision as a political move aimed at winning Hispanic votes. Bush Administration officials counter that with polls indicating the Navy was headed for defeat in that referendum, the president is simply recognizing reality, not playing politics.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


WALCOTT: Criticism of the Bush administration's decision to halt bombing exercises on Vieques Island has been fast and furious. On Capitol Hill, the White House is getting flack from both Democrats and Republicans and is facing accusations the decision was politically motivated.

Kelly Wallace reports on the political fallout from the Vieques decision and what the White House is doing to control it.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the midst of his European tour, President Bush was forced to defend the controversy brewing back home -- the decision to halt bombing exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

BUSH: My attitude is that the Navy ought to find somewhere else to conduct its exercises, for a lot of reasons. One, there's been some harm done to people in the past. Secondly, these are our friends and neighbors, and they don't want us there.

WALLACE: Mr. Bush refused to say if political factors played a role, but if the administration hoped its decision might please the people of Puerto Rico and Hispanic voters throughout the U.S., it was severely mistaken.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: I can tell you that I have talked to the people on the island of Puerto Rico, and they're going to reject any proposal that does not call for the immediate and permanent cessation of all bombing on the island of Vieques.

WALLACE: On the other side, conservative Republicans, big boosters of the military, are simply stunned.

INHOFE: I have spent three years on this issue. I've have been all the way around the world to every possible, conceivable alternative site, and I see this as an issue that means American lives.

WALLACE: People on both sides of the fight blasted the White House for not consulting lawmakers about its decision.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: We were told that nobody in the Hispanic caucus had been notified. Nobody in Puerto Rico had been notified. Nobody, at least in Democratic leadership, had been notified, so this came as quite a surprise to all of us.

WALLACE: In an attempt at some damage control, Navy Secretary Gordon England and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz spent the day on Capitol Hill meeting with key lawmakers.

Senior administration officials tell CNN England made the decision and presented it to the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, on Wednesday. But in reality, England had no choice, with Mr. Bush wanting the concerns of the people of Puerto Rico taken into account, the majority of whom support an end to the bombing exercises.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, the White House.


WALCOTT: Millions of young people around the world have become enthralled with the Harry Potter book series by author J.K. Rowling. But will Harry Potter the video game hold as a great a following?

Marsha Walton has a preview from the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.


DAVID LEE, ELECTRONIC ARTS: It's part of the magic of being Harry Potter, to leave the Earth behind and fly on your broomstick.

MARSHA WALTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not every day you can test drive a broomstick with a joystick. Electronic Arts says the long-awaited game is as mystical as J.K. Rowling's fiction.

ERIK WHITEFORD, ELECTRONIC ARTS: She's given us a lot of feedback to ensure authenticity and to make sure that we're representing her vision of the Harry Potter universe in the video game world.

WALTON: But is there a magic potion for a successful video game? Not always.

CHRIS TAYLOR, "TIME" MAGAZINE: You have many games that are movie tie-ins or book tie-ins that historically have not done that well because you haven't been able to translate what was good about the book, what was positive about the book, what readers enjoyed, into an interactive environment.

WALTON: Some Potter fans who tested the game at E3 say it's a pretty smooth transition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the image I had in my head from the book, they've captured it.

WALTON: At E3, keeping the media spellbound is the first step in any game's success.

(on camera): At a show so chock full of high energy eye candy, it takes a little wizardry and a lot of cash to design a really dazzling display.

WHITEFORD: This is the show of shows in the video game world, and you have to be able to be big and bold and brash.

WALTON (voice-over): Millions of high tech kids returned to old- fashioned books about this young magician in training. Will the video game and the movie cast an evil spell on reading? "The Sorcerer's Stone" will first release for Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Sony PlayStation, and the PC. Developers expect it to levitate sales to a cool billion dollars, and that's no fantasy.

Marsha Walton, CNN, Los Angeles.


WALCOTT: By now, many of you have seen the movie "Pearl Harbor." A lot went into the making of that film. In fact, it seems like the power players over at Disney spared no expense.

Paul Vercammen has more on the behind-the-scenes adventure of one of the year's summer blockbusters.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The makers of the movie, "Pearl Harbor," restaged a battle returning to these Hawaiian waters, scene of Japan's infamous surprise attack of December 7, 1941.

Disney estimates up to 1,500 extras participated over the six weeks of attack scene filming in Pearl Harbor.

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, PRODUCER: We had stuntmen jumping off the ships on fire. We had planes flying by. We had the most explosives ever used in a movie.

VERCAMMEN: Overall it's estimated "Pearl Harbor" used 6,000 sticks of dynamite and 8,000 gallons of gasoline in its explosions. They filmed two weeks of "Pearl Harbor" battle scenes in the huge water tank where "Titanic" was also shot, in Rosarito, Mexico, including the capsizing of the Oklahoma, which engineers said could be catastrophic.

MICHAEL BAY, DIRECTOR: If you're a director and you've got 300 extras in the water under this 350,000 pound steel front end of a battleship, and you hear those words "catastrophic failure," you better get it right.

Yeah, that's cool if you get them like that. That's cool, that's great.

VERCAMMEN: Director Michael Bay tried to ensure safety and minimize the use of miniature models and special effects. There were just 190 digital effects -- low for a major summer action movie.

Bay put 16 antique and replica aircraft through dangerous maneuvers by daring pilots.

BAY: We had some of the best pilots in the world that fly these planes, and you know it's scary because these planes, we were pushing them to the limit. I mean, they were sometimes ten feet off the deck.

VERCAMMEN: Cuba Gooding Junior recalls an adventure with squibs, pouches actors wear filled with thick red liquid that simulates blood.

CUBA GOODING JR.: They set up squibs around the gun when I was firing and some of that stuff hit me in the face, and you know, you just go with it. Whereas, I've been on a set before where I've been squibbed and if anything goes wrong, you have 50 people running over -- you OK?

But with this, it's was like, you bleeding? Give him a band aid, OK, we need the camera right here -- it's just insane. Its a whole other level.

VERCAMMEN: Before putting the actors through war on set, Bay sent them to Army Ranger Boot Camp in Hawaii for a week.

JOSH HARTNETT,ACTOR: Maybe the hardest physical activity I've ever been through in my life, along with one of the hardest mental activities. It was just tough -- it was just tough all around.

VERCAMMEN: Making "Pearl Harbor" was an old school blast from the past.

Paul Vercammen, CNN Entertainment News, Pearl harbor, Hawaii.


WALCOTT: Clothes and culture take the spotlight in "Worldview" today. Check out the Swedish pop group ABBA and a show that's hitting stages around the world. More on music as we turn to Russia where rock is coming on strong. And do you wear a uniform to school or to your summer job, all that just ahead.

But first, we begin with a trip to Japanese movie theaters. Two weeks after its Memorial Day debut in the United States, the move "Pearl Harbor" was shown for the first time to the Japanese media in Japan.

As Marina Kamimura explains, the reception to the movie about the Japanese surprise attack that drew the U.S. into the World War II was controversial.


MARINA KAMIMURA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An epic romance along the lines of "The Titanic" is how this movie is being sold to the Japanese as Disney tries to draw fans with the promise of another bigger-than-life Hollywood love story, not the day in history that changed Japan's relationship with the rest of the world forever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I was moved by how well the men's friendship with the woman caught in the middle is portrayed, she says. I did not know much about the history of Pearl harbor before, but now I feel I do.

KAMIMURA: Precisely why others, instead, were upset at the U.S. production. Japan's war of aggression in the Pacific has always been controversial for the older generation and as a part of history that many young Japanese do not know well or bother to dwell on.

YUICHIRO NISHIMURA, JOURNALIST (through translator): I teach students about film. And concerning that tutoring on untold history, well, in Japan, I really worry that they may believe this is reality. To me, this movie was made from the American point of view and the Japanese look like aliens or villains from "Star Wars" in it.

KAMIMURA: Several changes were made to the version seen over here. References to so-called Jap suckers dropped, other scenes changed for reality's sake.

(on camera): For instance, while the day of infamy for the United States will live on as December 7, 1941, here, because of the time difference, that day was December 8.

DICK SANO, BUENA VISTA INTERNATIONAL: Only to make sure that the Japanese audience would not think that the American moviemakers do not care about the Japanese market. KAMIMURA (voice-over): Japanese moviegoers will be able to judge themselves at theaters nationwide from July 14. But as this man says, some things cannot be changed.

NOBUO ASAI, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR (through translator): As a Japanese from the attacking nation, I feel uncomfortable watching something like this, but that's the way it is, isn't it? I mean victims tend to keep feeling like victims but an aggressor tends to forget as time goes by.

KAMIMURA: All the more reason he and others believe stories like this from whatever viewpoint do need to be told.

Marina Kamimura, CNN, Tokyo.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Remember that series we did awhile back on the United States military?

Always wanted to wear one of these.

I had to don a flight suit and boots to take a ride in a Navy fighter jet. But I saw plenty of those kinds of uniforms while covering the story. There's nothing uniform about uniforms. They come in all shapes and sizes. They're worn by military personnel, basketball stars, even prisoners.

Now, the once humbled uniform is being put on a fashion pedestal.

Jeanne Moos has our report.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They wear it to open our doors. To guard our shores. To clean our floors. Let's hear it for the uniform. Maybe you've had to wear one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was a campfire girl

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was a car hop, my very first job as a teenager.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only kind of uniform I ever wore was a habit.

MOOS: The uniform rules from nuns to inmates, from those who fight fires to those who cook over them, and now it's being celebrated at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology.

VALERIE STEELE, FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: It interests me that some uniforms are uniforms of power, and some uniforms are uniforms of service.

MOOS: The diner waitress uniform has an authentic food stain to prove its service. These McDonald's uniforms were designed by Stan Herman in the '70s.

Uniforms in general are not as distinctive as they used to be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they're more like clothes.

MOOS: Herman's designs range from the current FedEx uniform to these 1974 TWA outfits. Back then, big names like Valentino and Halston designed for airlines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like a badge of honor.

MOOS: In the days when flight attendants were called stewardesses, they even wore hats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hat gives you a chance to give a uniform a look, but this is not a hat country because we have too many hairdressers out there.

MOOS: Herman did get to do a hat for the new uniform worn by Amtrak conductors on the high-speed Acela. Herman's latest uniform is for the country's newest, hippest airline, Jet Blue. Dots on some ties coordinate nicely with dots on some tails.

In hospitals, hem lines count. Residents wear short jackets till they graduate to the long ones worn by doctors. Hat maker Gretchen Fenston reminisced about her school uniform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember the last day of school, we all ripped our skirts up.

MOOS: Even at the opening of the uniform exhibit, folks in uniform were working.

(on camera): Do you like your uniform?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I'd like something like that in a darker color, without the belt.

MOOS: You don't like the belt?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Because I look like a sausage tied down the middle.

MOOS (voice-over): Sausages need not apply to wear this uniform. You had to train to be a bunny.

Some uniforms hide the form. Sister Dorothy Ann is still a nun, but she got out of the habit almost 20 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were supposed to pray as you put it on.

MOOS: Now that's a uniform that's habit-forming.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Think of Russian music and you may think of names like internationally known composers Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff. But what about Checherina or Borzov? Who? If you don't recognize those last two names, you're not alone, few people outside Russia have. They're part of the country's up-and-coming rock music scene. While the music itself may sound somewhat familiar to American audiences, the words, on the other hand, are a different story.

Jill Dougherty explains.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Russian rock has found a new voice, and young Russians are singing along. It's not the angry criticism of society from the early '90s. These are personal, nonpolitical songs by young Russian singers/songwriters in search of themselves, and in this country, that's revolutionary.

Julia Checherina, 22 years old, rehearses with her band. Their song: "Uxhodya, Uxhodi." (ph)

"If you're leaving, leave; if you're flying away, just fly away; stretch a path to heaven through the sky for me."

JULIA CHECHERINA, SINGER/SONGWRITER (through translator): There's no politics in our songs. I don't want to deal with it. I don't read newspapers, and I try not to watch TV news.

DOUGHERTY: Naik Borzov started out in 1986 with a punk group. He's now one of Russia's top rock singers, a cross between Iggy Pop and David Bowie. His biggest hit: "Three Dirty Words."

NAIK BORZOV, SINGER/SONGWRITER (through translator): I sing about people's feelings, like when they say goodbye to loved ones. It's really simple, almost banal, but behind it there's meaning.

KIRILL KALYAN, RADIO DJ (through translator): Ten years ago, rock-'n'-roll dealt more with society and its failures and defects. What's different about rock now is that our singers remember they are men and women, first of all, and they can love and feel things.

DOUGHERTY: Kalyan says Russian rock musicians can hold their own in Los Angeles or Wembley Stadium. There's one barrier, however: language. Western rock concentrates on melody; Russian rock on lyrics. But some things, like Julia Checherina's video, don't need any translation.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Moscow.


WALCOTT: Next stop, Sweden, for a little bit of pop music culture. Before there was N'Sync, long before Britney and even preceding Madonna, there was a band called ABBA. The Swedish disco pop quartet shot to fame in the 1970s and to this day, remains one of the most popular bands of all-time worldwide. Their chart topping hits include songs like "Dancing Queen," "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and "Fernando."

Some music critics tend to dismiss the music of ABBA as bubblegum pop. But one of the Swede's biggest hits, "Mamma Mia," is now a worldwide smash on stage.

Paul Vercammen has the story.



UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS (singing): You are the dancing queen, young and clean, only 17.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may be the theater world's most quirky treasure and most guilty pleasure, a wedding story framed around 22 ABBA songs called "Mama Mia."


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS (singing): Mama Mia, here I go again. My, my, how can I resist you?


VERCAMMEN: Remember ABBA, irresistible Swedish quartet with no political platform, just platform shoes and clean harmony?


Founding ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus developed "Mama Mia," now showing in Los Angeles, Toronto and London, where it debuted. In fall, it's New York.

(on camera): You're headed to Broadway.

LOUISE PITRE, ACTRESS: Yeah. Hot damn, eh?

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Meet the show's L.A. star, Louise Pitre, affable Canadian with silver hair and a golden voice. Pitre plays a singing single mother on the eve of her 20-year-old daughter's wedding.

PITRE: I thought is was a tacky review of ABBA tunes. What else would you think when you see that title? And I didn't know the song "Mama Mia."


God. So I finally saw the show and thought, I can do that. Oh, yeah, I think I can have fun doing that.

DAVID PATRICK, AUDIO ENGINEER: I'd say it's about a quarter of a Metallica concert.

VERCAMMEN: David Patrick mixes all the fun and games with a cockpit full of audio instruments and extra singers huddled back stage.


PATRICK: We have four of these vocal booths, and that allows us to have 18 -- up to 18 singers in four different harmony parts singing at once.

DEBORAH HURWITZ, ASSOCIATE MUSICAL DIRECTOR: It's rock 'n' roll in that it's high energy, it's guitar-based, it's hip, it's go-get-it, but it's pop in the sense that it is a fastidious replication of exactly what ABBA did.

VERCAMMEN: What ABBA did was sell over 350 million records worldwide.


Now Mama Mia keeps selling out.

PITRE: Maybe we're just sick of being grossed out and scared and upset and depressed, and we've had a lot of that.

VERCAMMEN: There's not a murder or a maiming in "Mama Mia," just a simple song and dance in this '70s show.


Paul Vercammen, CNN entertainment news, Hollywood.



ANNOUNCER: A CNN viewer wants to know: who are the candidates are being consider for NATO membership?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Right now, there are nine countries which are seeking membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They include: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania and Macedonia.

Lithuania is the most advanced in terms of reaching NATO's military standards, while Latvia and Estonia are next in line. NATO's three newest members, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, were all included in the first enlargement, back in 1999. Two of those three, Hungary and Poland, have among the strongest growth rates in all of Europe.


WALCOTT: In the midst of a five nation European tour, President Bush has been meeting with NATO alliances, urging them to consider his military defense plan. U.S. presidents have become accustomed to travel. Can you guess which one has traveled the most?

Garrick Utley has the answer and more.


GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How often we have seen this: presidents and first ladies maintaining dignity and balance while descending the steep stairs of Air Force One arriving in a distant land. They've been doing it for some time.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to travel outside the United States when he visited the Panama Canal in 1906. Woodrow Wilson was the first president to visit Europe for the peace conference following World War I. He spent a total of six months there, the longest a president has stayed outside the United States.

Franklin Roosevelt was the first president to travel abroad by plane, to North Africa in World War II. But the flight took two days and was so uncomfortable that Mr. Roosevelt took the boat for his other trips overseas.

(on camera): Clearly, presidents would not get the itch to travel the world until something faster and smoother came along. It was the 707. In 1959, Dwight Eisenhower flew off in it to visit 11 nations in 18 days, a presidential record that still stands.

(voice-over): Presidential trips have been about symbols and rhetoric. The trips have also been about substance. There was no way Richard Nixon could make the historic open into China without going to China.

As important as the trips are for leaders to get to know each other, they have lost some of their old grandeur. What they have not lost is their cost. When Bill Clinton visited six African nations in 1998, it took 10 advance teams to prepare for the visit, 98 military airlifts to fly in 13 helicopters, five emergency medical facilities, as well as assorted limousines and other equipment. Thirteen hundred federal officials went along on the trip. And that does not include Secret Service personnel.

The government's General Accounting Office put the cost of the visit at over $48 million.

(on camera): But, then, neither the president nor anyone else on Air Force One gets frequent flyer miles. And despite all the comforts of their own 747 today, presidents still face some of the same problems of any global traveler.

(voice-over): There is the fatigue of jet lag, as Ronald Reagan discovered on his trips. There can be tummy troubles, as George Bush found at a dinner table in Japan.

And if George Bush was the second most traveling president ever, who was the first? No surprise: Bill Clinton, who made 122 visits to 74 countries. George W. Bush, after this trip, will be at six countries and counting.

Garrick Utley, CNN, New York.


WALCOTT: And that wraps up today's show. Have a great weekend. We'll see you on Monday.




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