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NEWSROOM for June 21, 2001

Aired June 21, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes.

Here's a rundown of what's ahead.

BAKHTIAR: Medical issues take the forefront in the U.S. Congress, a patients bill of rights and the debate over human cloning top the agenda.

HAYNES: Then, listen up to "Science Desk" to see if it's possible to dialog with dolphins.

BAKHTIAR: After that, we jump out of the ocean and onto the streets of Harlem on a journey of rediscovery.

HAYNES: Finally, we "Chronicle" water woes on "The New Frontier" of the U.S./Mexican border.

BAKHTIAR: A patients bill of rights takes center stage in the United States Senate. The version of the bill backed by Democrats would hold health maintenance organizations and insurers accountable for denying or delaying needed treatment. The bill has become a contentious issue among Republicans and Democrats who don't agree on when, where and how much patients could sue for.

Now Kelly Wallace looks at the Bush administration's strategy in dealing with the debate.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call it President Bush's opening salvo, as the debate begins over how to protect Americans enrolled in HMO's.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The idea is to serve more patients, not to create more lawsuits in America.

WALLACE: The president's strategy, senior aides say, is to position himself in the middle when it comes to a right to sue an HMO, charging that the bill favored by Democrats and Republican Senator John McCain goes too far, and that ideas pushed by Republicans like Oklahoma Senator Don Nickles don't go far enough, giving a stamp of approval to a tripartisan approach. BUSH: I want to thank Senators John Breaux, Democrat, Senator Bill Frist, Republican, Senator Jim Jeffords, independent...


BUSH: ... for working hard to come up with a reasonable solution to this very important problem.

WALLACE: Senior advisers say the president is dead serious about vetoing the Democratic plan. But privately, some Democrats believe he would be forced politically to sign the measure. Publicly though, Democrats will only say...

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm not prepared to say anything, other than I hope we can work this out. I don't want a veto. I want an accomplishment.

WALLACE: But even some Republicans believe the president would not want to risk angering Americans with a veto. In fact, according to a recent poll, a patients bill of rights is one of their top concerns, with almost 80 percent saying it is extremely, or very important for Congress and the president to act.

Republican strategists, though, say if Mr. Bush gets a bill he believes would lead to too many lawsuits and would jack up health care costs, he could veto it without paying any political price.

ED GILLESPIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The president, if it's bad policy, should veto the bill, and any policy that is a giveaway to trial lawyers is bad policy.

WALLACE (on camera): However, pollsters briefing GOP senators Tuesday had this message that the party needs to pass a bill before next year's elections because the issue helped defeat some Senate Republicans last year. So clearly, the stakes are high for congressional Republicans and for Mr. Bush, even as he threatens a veto.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, The White House.


BAKHTIAR: Another hot topic on Capitol Hill right now is human cloning. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee opened hearings Wednesday on proposals to ban the science on humans. Several scientists are moving full speed ahead with cloning plans and experiments and that has some lawmakers very nervous.

Elizabeth Cohen has the story.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The woman on the right, Marina Cocolios, could at this moment be two months pregnant with the world's first human clone. She belongs to a group called the Raelians. Three months ago, they told Congress they could have a pregnancy as early as April, although they won't reveal their progress until a healthy clone is born. It's a group best known for its belief that human beings were created by aliens, so it's hard to gauge how serious their science is.

Cloning works by making an embryo in the lab that's an exact genetic replica of an existing human being, and then implanting that embryo into a woman to start a pregnancy. Brigitte Boisselier, a biochemist, is spearheading the cloning project for the Raelians.

BRIGITTE BOISSELIER, BIOCHEMIST: I think we have everything we need to proceed now with humans.

COHEN: And they're not the only ones. Panayiotis Zavos, a former professor at the University of Kentucky, has teamed up with Italian researchers to produce a human clone.

(on camera): Most scientists and bioethicists say that Zavos and the Raelians are being completely irresponsible. They say animal experiments have shown time and time again that clones turn out to be deformed and defective, and ethically speaking, making a defective animal is one thing. Making a defective human being is quite another.

(voice-over): So legislators Wednesday said the law needs to catch up with the science.

REP. GREG GANSKE (R), IOWA: I say we rise up in moral outrage and that we pass laws, both in this country and internationally, to prevent the cloning of a human being.

COHEN: Others, however, say, wait a minute -- the same technology used to clone a human being can also lead to advances in medical science.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: We should not shut down beneficial work, clinical trials, organ transplants or genetic cell replication because of a risk of wrongdoing.

COHEN: But legislators seem to agree on one thing: A recent poll shows nine out of 10 Americans are against cloning a human being, and the lawmakers say they're against it too. But the question is, can the law catch up with science in time to stop the first human clone?

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.



JESSICA C. E. WILSON, ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Hello. My name is Jessica C.E. Wilson. I am from Atlanta. And my question is: What do you think are the positive benefits of cloning DNA?

COHEN: Cloning DNA happened several decades ago. And it was the beginning of what's been called the genetic revolution in medicine.

If you think of anything that has to do with genetics in medicine -- whether that is a new test for diagnosing cancer, DNA vaccines, amniocentesis -- all of those started with cloning DNA. If we hadn't cloned DNA, we wouldn't have all these developments. So it is a beginning of a whole new way of thinking about treating diseases.

The exciting thing about the genetic revolution in medicine is that doctors can go right into the DNA and can actually try to change the DNA or change the proteins that DNA produces, to change the pathway of a disease. So it is getting right to the root of a disease to try and change it. And all of that started with cloning DNA.

Now, of course, what some people worry about is that, now that we have cloned DNA and now that we have cloned sheep, what's next? Are we going to clone humans? And that's the big ethical decision that will be coming up in decades to come, is: How far do we want this genetic revolution to go?


HAYNES: We all know that humans are communicating creatures. We use all kinds of methods including, say, a TV show to convey ideas, feelings and even information to each other. Well, scientists believe other animals communicate, too. For example, birds use different tones to warn of predators, bees dance when they find nectar and elephants show affection by entwining their trunks. But these are all examples of animals communicating within their own species.

Is it possible for humans and animals to share a language? Scientists think so, and with the help of modern technology, they're hoping to make it happen.

Ann Kellan has more.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A bottle-nosed dolphin named Maui plays a computer game, helping scientists create a unique language they hope humans and dolphins will understand. The words in this new language are whistled.

Dolphins typically whistle to each other underwater through a special structure just beneath their blow hole. Researchers say their whistles have meaning. For example, each dolphin learns from its mom its own signature whistle. So in human terms, when they greet each other it's not just hi; it's hi, my name is, in this case Maui.

Ken Marten and his team at EarthTrust and Sea Life Park Research Lab in Hawaii want to better understand how dolphins communicate.

KEN MARTEN, EARTHTRUST LAB SEA LIFE PARK: The rest of my career is dedicated to talking with these guys so I guess you could call me Dr. Dolittle now.

KELLAN: After studying dolphin whistles, Marten invented distinct whistles for various objects with which dolphins are familiar.

MARTEN: I'll hold up a ball and I'll play the word for ball.

Come on, you've never given this one.

KELLAN: Then he waits and hopes the dolphin will repeat the whistle word for ball. It can take a while.

MARTEN: That was him.


KELLAN: He even has a little puppet dolphin, the teacher's pet so to speak, to entice the dolphin to whistle back.


KELLAN: Dolphins, he says, never repeat the humans exact whistle word, but create their own variation that researchers quickly adopt.

MARTEN: I'm actually using Maui's pronunciation of barrel right now.

KELLAN: To add some fun, researchers developed a special underwater touch screen, another way dolphins demonstrate they recognize the whistle. For example, Marten displays four objects on the screen then sounds the whistle word for bucket. If the dolphin touches the bucket on the screen, the bucket comes up full screen and dances around. Dolphins apparently like that.

MARTEN: He is whistling back now.

KELLAN: Marten believes they're learning. But it's a slow process. Researchers hope by creating a common language they'll gain insight to how these fun-loving mammals think.

Ann Kellan, CNN.


HAYNES: And a little extra from the "Science Desk" today. Believe it or not, Retief Goosen, the winner of this year's U.S. Open Golf Championship, was once struck by lightning. Goosen was lucky the strike didn't affect his career as a golfer or even kill him, for that matter. Others aren't so lucky. In the U.S., an average of 73 people are killed each year by lightning. That's more than from tornadoes or even hurricanes.

John Zarrella reports.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Florida, it's often said you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than winning the state lottery. Tony Scott, a retired service technician for BellSouth, is part of that statistic. TONY SCOTT, LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIM: You've heard the expression "getting hit by a Mack truck." I feel like I got hit by a fleet of Mack trucks.

ZARRELLA: Scott was struck 10 years ago, while running a telephone wire. There wasn't a thunder cloud within miles when he was hit. The same was true for a tourist from Colorado struck and killed 10 days ago. In the past few weeks, in south Florida, lightning has injured a fisherman and sparked this 12,000-acre wildfire.

But while Florida leads the nation in lightning strikes, as summer approaches and people spend more time outdoors, experts say, nationwide, awareness needs to be better; 25 million lightning bolts a year hit the United States.

RON HOLLE, METEOROLOGIST: That's a whole lot more than we thought.

ZARRELLA: Ron Holle is a meteorologist at Global Atmospherics in Tucson, Arizona. Here, a nationwide network of sensors monitors lightning strikes.

HOLLE: We detect every cloud-to-ground lightning flash in the United States that hits the ground. We locate it within half a mile.

ZARRELLA: In hopes of increasing awareness, the Professional Golf Association is putting out a series of public service announcements.


ROCCO MEDIATE, PGA GOLFER: If you see lightning, or even just hear thunder, play it safe, and get indoors until the storm has passed.


ZARRELLA: Dr. Maryanne Cooper has seen people who didn't heed such warnings but survived. A lightning expert at the University of Illinois, she has spent 25 years studying the medical complications survivors often face.

DR. MARYANNE COOPER, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS: Very often, the changes that lightning victims have really affect their lives, and they're unable to return to their previous work because they can't multitask anymore; Their short-term memory is shot.

ZARRELLA: That's one of several complications Tony Scott faces every day.

SCOTT: I wake up with cold sweats. I still have fatigue problems, partial hearing loss in one ear.

ZARRELLA: But Scott says he can live with that because at least he is alive. John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview" today, we head to the United States and the state of New York. We'll visit one of its historic districts, a region enjoying a renaissance of sorts, and that region is Harlem. Next month, former U.S. President Bill Clinton is expected to set up office in Harlem, and he's accepted an honorary gym membership at the Harlem YMCA for himself and his daughter, Chelsea.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: On to Harlem, a very colorful and cultural district in New York City: Harlem occupies a large area in northern Manhattan Island. It's a neighborhood with a long and rich history. During the 19th century, Harlem became a fashionable residential district with many homes used as summer retreats.

Apartment houses started popping up during the building boom of the 1880s. And many were rented to the growing African-American population. After World War I, Harlem became the center of creative literary development at a time known as the Harlem Renaissance. Harlem has been known as the center of black culture, an area that produced writers, dancers and singers. But there were some low points. Overcrowding, combined with poor building maintenance and a high crime rate, gave Harlem a bad reputation. But that reputation appears to be on the mend. The historic brownstone houses are being renovated. Jazz has returned to the clubs. And crime has fallen dramatically.

CNN's John Vause reports on what is being called the next Harlem renaissance.


TERRY LANE, U. MANHATTAN EMPOWERMENT ZONE: The word is out. There is a new day in Harlem. Harlem is undergoing a wonderful economic renaissance and cultural regeneration.

REV. CALVIN BUTTS, ABYSSINIAN BAPTIST CHURCH: Unemployment is down. People have jobs, young men and women. Certainly it is a lot better than it was. So people are living better. They're living longer, and they have hope for the future.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For America's most famous black neighborhood, these are promising days. Once described as an urban hell with gutted, boarded up tenements, a dangerous place where drugs were openly sold and used, today Harlem's historic brownstone townhouses are being restored to their former glory.

There are new businesses, a Starbucks, a new supermarket, the first to open in a generation, and violent crimes are all down.

Tourists are coming by the bus load. According to one study, Harlem is New York's number-one destination for international travelers -- especially the French. They come to see street art, for the music and for a gospel service. On any Sunday at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the line stretches for a city block. Even former President Bill Clinton is likely to set up office here.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I called Hillary and I asked my senator first how she would feel about me coming to Harlem. And she loved it.

VAUSE (on camera): But there is still an image problem -- one of high crime and violence, where outsiders are unwelcome. For many New York taxi drivers here on 110th Street, it's the end of the line. They refuse to take passengers any further uptown and into Harlem.

Tell me, can you walk the streets safely at night?

LANE: Absolutely. Absolutely. It is the most significant economic development...

VAUSE (voice-over): Terry Lane gave up a job as a Wall Street banker to head the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, a government agency with $300 million for cheap loans to encourage local business and bring in new investments.

LANE: I typically like to lend to clients below market. I also -- I want to make deals happen. One of the things that I insist that we do is that we bring other partners to the table, other investors -- venture capitalists, other banks -- because I want to show them that this is a great place to invest, that this is the new frontier, the new emerging market for America.

VAUSE: But this urban renewal is about more than economics.


VAUSE: The jazz is back. Just like the '20s and '30s during what was called the Harlem renaissance when the neighborhood thrived. It was the focal point for jazz, literature and political expression. Now a new Cotton Club has opened. The legendary Apollo Theater, where the greats like Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald once performed, has been refurbished.

And clubs like the Lenox Lounge, opened 62 years ago, are once again the place to be.

Alvin Reed has owned the Lenox for 12 years. These days, he hosts corporate parties, and some nights he turns customers away. But when he bought the Lenox, business was so bad he almost went broke.

ALVIN REED, OWNER, LENOX LOUNGE: Because we didn't have the customer base for it. And jazz just wasn't in Harlem like it was, and there wasn't a lot of local interest in jazz. So I had to stop. I stopped for about six years.

VAUSE: These days many musicians are now coming home.

REED: A lot of them really, this is their roots, and they haven't played here in 20, 30 years. So sometimes a lot of them are paid very well downtown, but you know, they'll adjust to our pay scale up here because they need that attachment to Harlem.

And we get some new musicians that their managers say you have to play up in Harlem. We have to be able to put that on your resume. If you go up there for nothing, you've got to up in Harlem and play. So we've got a long list of musicians that want to play here. We just can't accommodate them all.


VAUSE: The Aaron Davis Hall is Harlem's main performing arts center. Home to 35 companies, it has one of the most diverse programs in New York City and provides an outlet for a new generation of actors, musicians and dancers.

PAT CRUZ, AARON DAVIS HALL: It gives children, their parents, residents in this community a sense of pride in the kind of accomplishment and achievement that can be made by talented people. And I think that what happens is it makes you feel good about who you are. And if you don't have that, you don't have anything.

It gives a sense of hope and involvement and participation and an opportunity for that. I think that what we're saying here and what we do here is that this isn't a monolithic culture. It draws upon world culture, and we draw upon that. So that as we present here, you will see Latinos. You will see Asians. You will see African Americans. You will see white artists. You will see people who come together because they have a common need to express themselves.

VAUSE: Through all the good times and especially the bad, the church has been a constant, working closely with the community not just in a spiritual sense but also in practical ways.

BUTTS: In the midst of all the crime and the drugs, we kept the vision of a better Harlem in front, a better world. We kept talking about what we could do in terms of building housing, what we could do in terms of reaching out to men and women who were ravaged by drugs, what we could do to help people who were victims of crimes. These kinds of things the church was and is engaged in.

VAUSE: A decade ago, a medical study found a man in Bangladesh had a better chance of living to 65 than a man growing up in Harlem. Heart disease, cancer and homicide were the main reasons. While those causes are claiming fewer lives, the black community is now dealing with AIDS, and there is still the issue of illegal drugs.

But Harlem no longer stands out.

(on camera): With all the restorations, all the renovations, though, come much higher property prices, much higher rents. And for many residents, especially those who have been here all their lives, there is now the fear that it may become too expensive to live in Harlem.

BUTTS: Where people were used to getting -- paying $400, $300, now they're paying as much for similar apartments that have been rehabilitated, similar in size but rehabbed. Now they're paying as much as $1,600, $1,700 a month.

VAUSE: To ease the problem, community groups have been working with the government to build low-cost housing to ensure no one is left behind in this second Harlem renaissance. And while there are still problems -- no one suggests otherwise -- Harlem now has the most valuable commodity of all: hope, hope for even better times to come.

John Vause, CNN, Harlem, New York.


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.

HAYNES: Today in "Chronicle" we continue our special series -- "The New Frontier." Earlier in the week, we told you about the problems faced by the Rio Grande on both sides of the border. Today, we take you to a community along the same river on the U.S./Mexican border where citizens are working to solve their water woes.


GARY STRIEKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the dusty outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, this is the water supply, delivery by a city tanker truck once a week.

Most who live here came to find jobs in the mushrooming assembly plants in this border city, where the population has doubled to well over 1 million people in less than 10 years, far too many, too fast, to be connected to an overstretched water system that is literally drying up.

UMBERTO URANGA, JUAREZ WATER AGENCY: his is one of the wells that the city closed five years ago.

STRIEKER: Humberto Uranga with the Juarez Water Agency says many wells, like this one, are closing down.

URANGA: They're running out of good water -- good quality water. We have high contents of salt coming from these wells.

STRIEKER: The agency is opening new wells, keeping the 150 of them pumping from the underground aquifer that is the only source of water for this city. But it's a source, a recent U.S. government study predicts, could run out of fresh water in five years.

URANGA: There's not sufficient evidence to prove that.

STRIEKER: The head of the water agency says the outlook is not that serious.

ALBERTO RAMIREZ, JUAREZ WATER AGENCY: It's a situation, a critical situation, but we're taking steps to try to avoid a crisis.

STRIEKER: Avoiding the crisis could depend on cooperation with neighboring El Paso, Texas, just across the border, where there's growing concern about the water shortage, which could cause major health problems in this region.

ED ARCHULETA, EL PASO WATER UTILITIES: They could impact the whole economy of this area by not having sufficient water.

STRIEKER: El Paso shares the same underground water source, but it's portion is expected to dry up in 25 to 30 years. It relies on the Rio Grande to supply about half the water it needs. Most of the river's flow is diverted for agricultural purposes before it reaches El Paso. The city is counting on new treatment plants to reclaim its water and on future projects to desalinate water and tap new underground sources more than 100 miles away.

ARCHULETA: It's all going to be a matter of cost. In El Paso, we're running out of inexpensive water.

STRIEKER: Water authorities in El Paso and Juarez are now working on a binational study to find alternative sources of drinking water for the region, including more surface water from the Rio Grande. In Mexico, all water from the river is used by farmers for irrigation. One idea, El Paso's treatment and future desalination plants could process water from Mexico and send it back to Juarez fit to drink.

ARCHULETA: And that's what I see, anymore than if we were Minneapolis-St. Paul, and we wanted to have an agreement between us.

STRIEKER (on camera): No one really knows how much water still remains underground here, deep beneath these two cities, but now there's a growing understanding, on both sides of the border, that this critical water source is running out and will eventually disappear.

(voice-over): In a thirsty land, water troubles have brought the cities together, working with a common purpose both sides say would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago.

Gary Strieker, CNN, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.


HAYNES: And that is CNN NEWSROOM for Thursday.

BAKHTIAR: We'll see you back here tomorrow. Thanks.

ANNOUNCER: CNN NEWSROOM is part of Cable in the Classroom, a service of the cable television industry and your local cable company.



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