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NEWSROOM for June 26, 2001

Aired June 26, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Well, it's Tuesday and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Glad you're with us, everyone. I'm Tom Haynes.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott.

Today, a closer look at a modern day epidemic. Here's a preview of that and the rest of the show.

HAYNES: First up, "In the News," the United Nations takes a closer look at the global impact of AIDS.

WALCOTT: Then, in "Health Desk," exercise therapy to treat people who have trouble with some basic skills.

HAYNES: On to "Worldview" and a profile of religion that recognizes all religions.

WALCOTT: And in "Chronicle," a safe sanctuary in Maryland for some disadvantaged kids.

Thousands of people gather in New York for a special United Nation's session on the global battle against AIDS. U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan addressed the assembly Monday, emphasizing the need for all nations to help combat the spreading epidemic.


KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Up to now the world's response has not measured up to the challenge, but this year, we have seen a turning point. AIDS can no longer do its deadly work in the dark. The world has started to wake up. We have seen it happen in the media and public opinion led by doctors and social workers, by activists and economists, above all, by people living with the disease.


WALCOTT: Christy Feig brings us a closer look now at the war against this devastating disease.


CHRISTY FEIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): AIDS causes emotional pain, takes lives, tears families apart, but it's also a story of money -- not enough to fight it and money lost to the disease. Of the more than 36 million infected with HIV and AIDS and the estimated 22 million more who have died, the vast majority live in sub-Saharan Africa where neither the people or their governments can afford the medicines that save lives in the West. What sub-Saharan Africa is seeing now gives a glimpse of where other countries may be headed if the epidemic is left unchecked. Most deaths are adults between the ages of 20 and 40.

ALAN WHITESIDE, UNIVERSITY OF NATAL SOUTH AFRICA: What this means is effectively a hollowing out and the development of an orphaned generation at one end and a generation of older people who have no one to take care of them at the other end.

FEIG: It also leaves the country without its primary work force, leading to a decline in their economies. More than 13 million children have been orphaned because of the disease, a number that is predicted to triple within 10 years. Some say the mix of a declining economy and children without parents is a recipe for political instability.

DR. PETER PIOT, UNAIDS: This may give rise to civil unrest and conflict. All that in today's global world means that it will affect ultimately any country in the world.

FEIG: It's that concern and the rapidly spreading epidemic that is bringing world leaders together at the United Nations. Experts say without treatment, India could be the next Africa. In China, cases have more than doubled in the past two years. They double every year in Russia. And the Caribbean has some of the highest HIV rates outside Africa.

(on camera): Recently, the leaders of the United Nations created the global AIDS fund to help developing countries. But all agree money is nothing without the willingness of governments to fight the epidemic.

Christy Feig, CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: The three-day United Nation session is the first global gathering on AIDS. More than 24 heads of state are attending and most of them are from Africa. That's the continent hit hardest by the disease. One in 10 people living in South Africa is HIV positive.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault has more on that, but first, a warning. The following story shows the very grim and often gruesome reality of life with AIDS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was near the end of the line for Vilum Boshoff (ph), AIDS victim, his main source of support and care, his wife, also HIV positive and suffering.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm always alone with you and I'll never let you fall.

HUNTER-GAULT: But many HIV and AIDS sufferers aren't even this well-off. Many are dying alone, like this young mother in KwaZulu, or this one who cannot afford medication to ease the pain of her final hours. Even in hospitals, where AIDS victims are crowding out patients with other illnesses, the story is the same.

(on camera): Here in Soweto, where there are tens of thousands of HIV and AIDS victims, this is the only facility for the terminally ill. Workers inside say they are continuously frustrated by the fact that they can take care of so few when the demand is so great.

SIBONGILE MAFATA, NURSE, SOWETO HOSPICE: This is just a drop in the ocean.

HUNTER-GAULT (voice-over): Caregivers like Mafata say their frustration is growing because many of those who are HIV positive will become terminally ill sooner than necessary, partly because of denial and stigma, but also because anti-retroviral medication is only available to those who can afford it and most black South Africans can't.

MAFATA: So you find that quite a lot of people would keep quite, would not even tell the next person about their condition until now the person knows that's becoming ill when symptoms are now visible.

HUNTER-GAULT: Mafata is among many who believe the government should concentrate more on treatment, especially providing the anti- retroviral medication, which, so far, it's refused to do.

MAFATA: We don't see that it's going to cure, but it's going to slow down the process where you find that the person can be able to live a normal healthy life for a long period.

HUNTER-GAULT: Unlike this AIDS patient who is 42 years old and holding on to life by a very slender thread.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN, Soweto.



ANNOUNCER: A CNN viewer wants to know: Why is the cure of HIV/AIDS taking this long?

DR. ROBERT GALLO, DIR., INSTITUTE OF HUMAN VIROLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: There have been people outside the field of AIDS research who have said that the fastest pace in scientific history, from the start of a new disease, was the period between 1983 and 1985 of research on AIDS. It was incredible. It was almost exhilarating to scientists of how many advances occurred in only a few years time.

But then there was a plateau for a while, as the questions became more complicated. There were some major advances in 1995, 1996. And now we face the last hurdles: getting rid of the virus and curing the disease for people who are infected. We probably know more about the virus HIV than we know about any microbe. We probably know as much about AIDS as we know about any human disease. We're really at the last stretch.

But no one in the world, no scientist can predict when we'll have a perfect cure and when we'll have the vaccine that will prevent against infection.


HAYNES: In today's "Health Desk," people who have trouble with some of the everyday tasks many of us take for granted: things like playing ball, walking, reading and writing. It's a challenge for many adults and children around the world but now psychologists in Great Britain say they've developed a specialized exercise treatment that may help.

Allard Beutel explains.


ALLARD BEUTEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harriet Cole is doing well in school. But that wasn't the case for this 10-year-old British girl just last year.

JO COLE, HARRIET'S MOTHER: She just was very behind. She was getting there but it just seemed to take a long time.

BEUTEL: After taking Harriet to a rehabilitation center in central England, her parent's discovered Harriet's learning difficulty stemmed from a missed stage in her neurological development. The movement that babies make during the first two years of life are vital for proper growth. They convert infantile reflexes into adult ones we rely on for daily living. Psychologists at the center say some children never complete this stage and they develop problems with movement and with reading and writing. The same problems can occur in adults if the brain is injured in an accident or by a stroke.

JENNY SHOTTON, LEARNING DEVELOPMENT CENTER: What basically has happened is the child hasn't done the movement patterns that a normal infant does for long enough to inhibit the reflexes and that can be for a variety of reasons. It can be illness or the child has had birth problems.

BEUTEL: To help these children, health workers use a pattern of specially designed exercises to teach the brain and body to coordinate better together. Developers of this reflexive rehabilitation technique start with simple floor exercises and progress to standing and walking movements.

SHOTTON: Nice and slowly. Just imagine it's a lazy day. BEUTEL: The center workers say for brain-damaged adults, the exercise benefits can take more than a year to show, but for children with mild learning difficulties, progress is often quicker.

SHOTTON: And with a child who is in mainstream education, I can usually get technical change in three months and discharge within a year.

BEUTEL: Shotton says not everyone with developmental problems are candidates for reflexive rehabilitation. But for children like Harriet, who went from having trouble running at all to winning a cross-country trophy, the treatment hits the right note.

Allard Beutel, CNN.


WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, we spotlight culture, business and politics. We'll head to Europe where a new car is ready to roll. And we'll focus on some controversial rules in Afghanistan, led by the Taliban since 1996. So far, that government is only recognized by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates and its policies are coming under fire around the world.

But we begin in Israel, another scene of controversy, but this time our story is more tranquil.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: With all the violence going on there, Israel might seem like an odd place for a celebration but that's exactly what took place in the coastal city of Haifa recently. Thousands of members of the Baha'i faith from around the world arrived for the opening of what's billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World. A spectacular new garden that took 10 years to build at a price tag of $250 million now marks the world headquarters of that religion. The Baha'i faith boasts about 6 million members in more than 200 countries making it the second most geographically widespread religion in the world.

Jerrold Kessel looks at the faith's small piece of tranquility in a land torn by bloodshed.


JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meticulous finishing touches in a major new garden, which exploits dramatically the juxtaposition of sea, mountain and sacred purpose.

FARIBORZ SAHBA, BAHA'I GARDENS ARCHITECT: A spiritual atmosphere touch the heart of the people. It's -- you don't know -- you don't need to know the reason for that. You just feel comfortable. You feel at home.

KESSEL: Under this clump of trees: a key moment a century ago, the son of the Bahaullah, who transformed the faith of the founder nabob into a universalist religion, marked it as the spot where the remains of the founder would eventually lie. The Baha'i religion grew out of Sufi mysticism in 19th century Persia. Baha'is practice no congregational prayers. This is, however, their world administrative center, the new neoclassical buildings housing the faith's sacred scriptures.

Eagle, symbol of majesty and wisdom; peacocks of eternity predominant in the manicured gardens that have been laid out upwards and downwards from the shrine on 19 terraces.

SAHBA: Geometry and all of these parallel lines and rhythm that goes with human -- with the water that comes step by step. It's -- all of them created order in the mind that, in my opinion, has direct relation with that peace. That nothing argues with you; everything is in such a discipline.

KESSEL: The universalist aspirations of the faith are endorsed by trainee guides, Jews and Muslims, who will shepherd visitors through the gardens and through basic tenets of the religion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe I can understand their point of view, and without them thinking that I'm trying to make them behind.

KESSEL (on camera): An oasis of serenity at a time, in an area where serenity is probably the last word on anyone's lips, whatever their religious persuasion.

DOUGLAS SAMINI MOORE, BAHA'I WORLD CENTER: The light shines most brightly in the midst of a very dark place.

KESSEL (voice-over): The light in which the gardens are bathed at night is meant to symbolize the contrast from the time when the faith's founder was imprisoned in darkness for his beliefs in his native Persia.

The Bahaullah, mindful of the suspicions which the then Ottoman rulers of the holy land might have towards any outgoing religion forbade the creation of an indigenous community. To this day, this is one of the few places in the world without its own Baha'i community.

MOORE: The vision of the Baha'i faith is really transcendent of any particular culture or identity. It's really a global vision. It's really universal.

KESSEL: Despite an endeavor to integrate the gardens into the natural wildness of historic Mount Carmel, in a way they're suspended out of place. The gardens reflect not only the religion's inner repose but, ironically, also the distance the universalist religions keeps from the place which has its heart.

Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Haifa, Israel.


WALCOTT: New charges of religious prejudice are flying in the southeastern nation of Afghanistan. Almost all of the country's 27 million people are Muslim. It's a difficult place to live if you're not among the 1 percent who are not. The small Hindu minority charges Afghanistan's ruling conservative Islamic group called the Taliban is trying to make their life even harder. The Taliban has ordered Hindus to wear yellow patches on their clothing as part of a new dress code. The Taliban calls the dress code a safety precaution. The Hindus call it discrimination.

Satinder Bindra has the story.


SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the face of mounting international criticism against the proposed dress code for Hindus, criticism especially in predominantly Hindu India, Afghanistan's ruling Taliban are standing firm. Speaking before TV cameras for the first time since their latest actions attracted worldwide condemnation, the Taliban say their dress code for Hindus will soon be enshrined as a religious order.

MULLA ABDUL SALLAM ZAEEF, TALIBAN AMBASSADOR TO PAKISTAN (through translator): The fact that the Hindus having asked to have a symbol is not something new. In fact, it is a tradition from the time of the Holy Prophet.

BINDRA: Many see a parallel between the Taliban's moves and those of the Nazis, who in the 1930s and '40s ordered European Jews to wear Stars of David. Just two months ago, the Taliban ignored international outcries and smashed these 1,500-year-old Buddha statues.

Now as anger rises in India, home to 800 million Hindus, the Taliban say the dress code was introduced at the behest of the Hindus.

ZAEEF (through translator): In most cases, Afghani Hindus resemble Muslims. They are stopped by the religious police for questioning. This causes annoyance for Hindus, and in order to facilitate things for them, we have done this.

BINDRA: The Taliban say other minorities like the Sikhs won't be asked to wear separate clothing because their turbans and beards make them distinct. Over the years, the Taliban, which want to introduce a more puritanical brand of Islam in Afghanistan, have punished Muslim men for trimming their beards and banned education for girls.

Their actions have frequently been criticized by other Islamic countries, who say the militia is tarnishing Islam's image.

(on camera): One of the Taliban's staunchest allies, Pakistan, is also criticizing the proposed Hindu dress code as, quote, "against the spirit of Islam." The Taliban refute that, and say all Hindus will be protected.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, Islamabad.


HAYNES: No doubt about it, we love our cars. We depend on them to move us from point A to point B and beyond. In developing countries like India, there are so many people driving so many cars that traffic congestion and pollution are oftentimes unbearable. The answer: Well, some people say make cars smaller so people can get around faster and easier.

The idea of smaller cars isn't limited to developing countries. Automaker BMW is unleashing its smallest car yet: The Mini. It's already on sale in Italy and heads to Britain in July. The luxury carmaker isn't putting its name on the car, but BMW's reputation is on the line as the Super Mini car market gets hotter and hotter.

Jim Bolden reports.


JIM BOLDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Europeans are always on the lookout for a small, fuel-efficient car. But they aren't afraid to spend some money: They don't want something boring.

Enter the Mini: The reborn British car is bigger than its predecessor and comes with many creature comforts, thanks to its owner, BMW. The basic Mini will sell for about $14,000.

But the British-made Mini won't be called a BMW, though new Mini owners can look for some luxury elements.

GILLY FILSNER, LUDVIGSEN ASSOCIATES: It's significant that they're not doing it with the BMW brand. They don't want to stretch it that far, but at the same time, they're managing to put a premium slant on what really used to be a very basic fun car.

BOLDEN: But BMW isn't looking for fun and hasn't produced the Mini for nostalgia reasons: It wants to sell 75,000 Minis next year, to go head to head with the Ford Ka; Fiat Punto; and even the Smart car, by DaimlerChrysler.

GREG MELICH, MORGAN STANLEY: The segment is growing. What we've seen is that, within the segment, people are willing to pay a premium of 10 percent or 15 percent to get a lot more options.

BOLDEN: The Mini and supermini car segments make up a third of car sales in Europe. That's where the bulk of the new Mini sales will come from. But BMW will also sell the Mini in the United States starting next year. DaimlerChrysler is looking at selling the Smart in the world's most lucrative car market as well. But analysts aren't sure many car buyers in the land of pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans will actually embrace the Minis from Europe.

Jim Bolden, CNN Financial News, London.


HAYNES: Drive through suburban Maryland in the U.S. and you're bound to stumble across any number of farms and ranches, but one of them is different. The Maryland Sheriff's Youth Ranch has been taking care of young men since 1974. These kids haven't done anything wrong. In fact, quite the contrary, they're doing something right.

Our Michael McManus explains.


MICHAEL MCMANUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deep in suburban farmland north of the nation's capital, 15-year-old John Hardy, Jr. (ph) is having fun on a recent Saturday. He plays basketball with his ball on his court and then rests up in his room. But this isn't John's house. He is one of 24 young people residing at the Maryland Sheriff's Youth Ranch, a group home for Maryland's disadvantaged young.


MCMANUS: Richard Stone is a retired police officer and director of the ranch. He says most kids are here through no fault of their own and many won't be going back to their former households.

STONE: We're here to give them a home and get them back out into the community. We're a community-based program.

MCMANUS: Be it physical, mental, drug or other type of abuse, the rolling green hills of this farm provide a safe sanctuary where former victims can continue to grow uninterrupted.

MARY NOBLE, SOCIAL WORKER: They've been through some really tough situations in their - in their lives. A lot of times they've never really had an adult - a caring adult that will say positive things to them or point out their strengths, their talents and their abilities.

STONE: The mission is to provide a home for these kids and say a home - a loving home. And our staff, we try to put our arms around the kids as much as possible.

MCMANUS: The idea was born 27 years ago when police officers in Maryland wanted to find a way to remove juveniles from at-risk homes as a way to prevent crimes rather than dealing with the consequences of punishment after an arrest.

JIM HAGY, SHERIFF, RANCH BOARD OF DIRECTORS: In most cases, law enforcement is usually reactive. This is an opportunity, as far as I'm concerned, for us to be proactive -- to try to eliminate a problem before it ever becomes a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And normally I have to tuck this in.

MCMANUS: It's not all relaxation at this home away from home. Here at the ranch, you must earn your keep.

JEREMY CORTEZ, AGE 14: Expected to keep my room clean and just wash my clothes.

MCMANUS: Fourteen-year-old Jeremy Cortez has lived here just a few months but has found the positive energy and love from others beneficial to his dream of becoming a paramedic.

CORTEZ: The staff, they - they're real nice with the kids. They play around. They - we have sports activities, like every Thursday night we have game night, which is a basketball game between staff and kids.

ROBERT TURNER, RANCH MANAGER: These guys wanting someone to tell them what they're going to do with their future. But what we do is we turn it around and we say what is it that you want to do with your future.

MCMANUS (on camera): The Maryland Department of Social Services say homes like this one have been essential in steering young people away from failure and toward a chance at achievement. Both Jeremy and John say they like to consider themselves real life examples.

Michael McManus, CNN, Frederick County, Maryland.


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: A special list for endangered historic sites may help save some threatened places. The National Trust for Historic Preservation released their annual list Monday. Among the 11 that made the cut: movie theaters, homes, churches, valleys, an island and a barn.

Eileen O'Connor has more on these special places.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This run-down row house in Washington, D.C.'s Shaw neighborhood is just one site both honored -- and shamed -- to be included on the 2001 list of the 11 most endangered historic sites, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

PETER BRINK, HISTORIAN: It has to be a historic place that's really special -- special in terms of history, architecture, the way people feel about it -- and it has to be threatened.

IRENA WEBSTER, PRESERVATIONIST: This is the Carter G. Woodson Home, that has been... O'CONNOR: Known as the father of black history, Carter Woodson founded the first publishing company to accept African-American authors, the first to chronicle African-American culture and history.

WILLIAM SIMONS, PRESERVATIONIST: The capital was built by slave labor. Carter G. Woodson knew that, and he wrote about that in many of his works. But to the rest of the people, they were totally ignorant of that fact.

O'CONNOR: Irena Webster wants to renovate these crumbling walls and use Woodson's home as an office for the association he founded to study black history. She also wants to buy two adjoining buildings for an education center.

WEBSTER: He started the Associated Publishing Company right here. And this is history, and the students, the youth, need to know that. The community needs to know the value of what this man has done.

O'CONNOR (on camera): So it's not just a building?

WEBSTER: No, it's just not a building, it's an institution.

O'CONNOR (voice-over): Along with Woodson house, the list for 2001 includes a Chinese temple in California, buildings in Texas from early Spanish settlements, the Telluride Valley in Colorado, and a barn in Indiana. Over the last 14 years, 120 historic sites like the Woodson House have been listed. Only one has been lost.

(on camera): Renovations are estimated to cost $700,000. To build the Carter G. Woodson educational center, 5 million. The hope is that by designating this site as one of the most endangered historic sites, this project will get the spotlight and the funds it needs.

Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: A good effort for a good cause.

WALCOTT: So that wraps up today's show. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

HAYNES: See you.

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