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NEWSROOM for July 9, 2001

Aired July 9, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: It's Monday, July the 9th, and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome. I'm Shelley Walcott.

Today, a closer look at the moving and shaking behind the 2008 Olympic Games. Here's the rundown.

First, "In the News," China's bid for the Summer Olympics and the man in charge who's stepping down. Next, in "Environment Desk," the delicate balance between searching for energy and saving the environment. From the American West to the Holy Land in Florida, "Worldview" visits a Christian theme park in Orlando. And in "Chronicle," we head to Colorado to check out the culture of kayaking.

Preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games soon will get underway. The International Olympic Committee plans to announce the host city for the Games on Friday. Five cities are in the running. They are Beijing, Paris, Toronto, Istanbul and Osaka. As the announcement draws closer, the race for 2008 appears to be Beijing's to lose.

Mike Chinoy explains why and looks at the arguments for and against holding the Olympic Games in Beijing.


MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A decision won't come until Friday, but they've been dancing in the streets here for weeks. Promotional events like this tango in Tiananmen Square whipping up public enthusiasm for Beijing's drive to host the 2008 Olympics.

(on camera): But more than any other contender, Beijing's bid is surrounded by controversy and has become something of a referendum on China's standing in the world.

(voice-over): The country's authoritarian communist rulers desperately want the legitimacy the Olympics would confer. Opponents say giving Beijing the Games would simply be condoning repression.

REP. TOM LANTOS (D), CALIFORNIA: China's abominable human rights record violates the spirit of the Games and should disqualify Beijing from consideration.

CHINOY: In the early 1990s when Beijing was campaigning to host the 2,000 Games, dissident Wei Jingsheng was freed after 14 years in jail. He supported the Games then. Re-arrested after Beijing's bid failed, he's now in exile in the U.S. and has changed his mind.

WEI JINGSHENG, EXILED CHINESE DISSIDENT: Back then the U.S. and the international community were pressing China on human rights. That's why I was released. Today there's no pressure, so giving Beijing the Games would only encourage China to further violate human rights.

CHINOY: The only other time the Olympics were staged on the Asian mainland, however, in Seoul, South Korea in 1988, there was a different outcome. Fearful of losing the Games, strongman Chun Doo Hwan yielded to pressure from student-led protesters demanding greater democracy.

LEE CHONG-MIN, YONSEI UNIVERSITY, SEOUL: The worst thing that Chun Doo Hwan and company wanted was to have a very bad image of his regime barely a year before the Olympics were to be held in Seoul. So, yes, that was a major source of external pressure.

CHINOY: No one expects the Olympics to spark such a radical change here. But many Chinese see the Games as an important catalyst for reform.

JIA QINGGUO, BEIJING UNIVERSITY: I think one cannot exaggerate the role Olympics can change, can make change in a fundamental way.

CHINOY: With tens of thousands of foreign visitors expected, supporters argue that the Olympics would force China to open more to the rest of the world and generate heightened international scrutiny of the government's behavior. And there's widespread agreement that improvements to the capital for the Games would lead to an improvement in the overall quality of life, including moves to curve Beijing's notorious pollution. It's hardly democracy, but many of those who favor the Beijing bid believe staging the Olympics will help China become a more open and modern society.

Mike Chinoy, CNN, Beijing.


WALCOTT: If the International Olympic Committee does decide to bring the 2008 Summer Olympic games to China, the decision undoubtedly will be received with both criticism and praise. This wouldn't be the first time, though, that the IOC has been cloaked in controversy.

Tim Lister takes a look back at the organization's tumultuous, yet evolving, past.


JUAN ANTONIO SAMARANCH, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: The best Olympic games ever. TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man who has dominated the Olympic movement for 20 years prepares for his swan song. A Spaniard of noble birth, Juan Antonio Samaranch is in Moscow to preside over the International Olympic Committee one last time. His tenure has seen a dramatic change in the fortunes of the Olympic movement and not a little controversy.

In 1980, the organization's coffers were empty and it was riven by ideological disputes. First, there was the U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow Games, followed by the Russian's absence from the Los Angeles Olympics. But Samaranch and his lieutenant, especially Canadian Dick Pound, have transformed the Olympics into a multimillion dollar enterprise run from headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The right to use the famous Olympic rings in advertising were sold to corporations such as Visa and Coca-Cola in lucrative deals and television rights to the games were marketed aggressively.

The ever higher profile of the Olympics has thrown an ever brighter spotlight on the International Olympic Committee -- some 130 men and women who are nominated by national committees. It is they who select the host cities and elect a president.


LISTER: Cities bidding for the games started offering gifts, accommodation, travel and more. In 1998, veteran IOC member Marc Hodler alleged widespread corruption among colleagues, who are not paid for serving on the IOC The allegation centered on the successful bid by St. Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The claim set off an investigation that led to the Olympic movement's darkest hour: the expulsion or resignation of 10 IOC members at a meeting in March 1999. Another four were reprimanded. The scandal also led to the creation of an Ethics Committee and a ban on IOC members from visiting cities bidding to host the summer or winter games. A technical team would now make site visits. Samaranch later described the corruption scandal as the worst experience in his presidency.

But the IOC has received more credit for its campaign against doping among athletes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what has happened. I don't know how it's happened.

LISTER: It set up, with the United States and other governments, an international agency to tackle drug misuse in sport.

DICK POUND, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: The year 2000 will be the year in which we finally come to grips with doping in sport.

LISTER: A successful Olympics in Sydney also helped restore the game's prestige. But some of the underlying problems remain, such as the uneasy coexistence between amateur sport and its commercial exploitation.

And the workings of the IOC remain a mystery. A self-regulating body that elects its own members and makes decisions behind closed doors. The IOC will elect a new president from among its ranks next Monday on the same day jury selection begins in the corruption trial of two executives of the St. Lake City Olympic bid.

Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.


WALCOTT: We now turn our attention to the ongoing tug of war between the search for energy resources and environmental concerns. Today's focal point: the mineral rich state of Wyoming. That's where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management oversees about 11 million acres of underground mineral deposits, but at what cost to that region's landscape and ranch land?

Natalie Pawelski takes us to the heart of the debate.


NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Wyoming's Powder River Basin, cattle roam, antelope play, and a natural gas boom is gathering steam. A decade ago, there were only about 50 methane gas wells here. Now, there are 10,000, with another 40,000 planned. For some landowners, that means big money.

JOHN DALY, LANDOWNER: It's a way of making a living, and it looks pretty good.

PAWELSKI: John Daly's spread is dotted with 1,200 wells.

DALY: It's nothing more than a water well that's producing energy. When it stops producing energy, we can cover it up, seal it up, plug it up, restore the earth and things will be fine.

PAWELSKI: But other ranchers say they are paying the price without reaping the profits.

ED SWARTZ, RANCHER: Just look at that. That's the deadest looking stuff thing you've ever seen.

PAWELSKI: Ed Swartz says floods of salty groundwater, a side effect of methane drilling in the basin, have ruined the creek he relies on for irrigation. No irrigation means no hay for winter feed, and maybe no way to keep the ranch going.

SWARTZ: This is my home. It was my dad's home. It was my grandpa's home. It's my son's home, my grandchildren's home. And we can be put out of business so that the methane producers can make a lot of money.

PAWELSKI: The State Department of Environmental Quality agrees there's a problem with Swartz's stream, but the drilling company upstream from Swartz's ranch says it's not violating any water-quality regulations. And the standoff continues.

(on camera): A lot of the ranches around here have been in the same families for a century or more, but because of the homesteading laws of the 18 and 1900's, a lot of the landowners don't own the mineral rights to their own property. That means some outsider gets to decide whether or not there will be drilling.

MICKEY STEWARD, COALBED METHANE COORDINATION COALITION: If you don't control your mineral rights and you're the surface owner, sorry. The mineral estate clearly, solidly takes precedence over the surface estate in all cases.

PAWELSKI (voice-over): Landowners can negotiate damage payments of a few hundred dollars per well, but in the end they have no choice. They have to let the gas companies drill.

BUCK BRANNAMAN, RANCH OWNER: Now there's miles of roads, and there's hillsides that are just carved out with bulldozers, and I don't even like to see my own place now.

PAWELSKI: Horse trainer and rancher Buck Brannaman was the inspiration for the book and movie, "The Horse Whisperer." He says gas company trenches and ditches have made much of his land too dangerous for livestock, and he's had to cut back his cattle operation by two-thirds.

BRANNAMAN: It's a lifestyle that's real important to us. And we don't try to impose our life on anybody else, but we wouldn't want anyone to blame us for fighting to preserve our own lifestyle.

PAWELSKI: The gas industry says it's learning as it goes.

TERRY DOBKINS, PENNACO ENERGY INC: It is so important to the nation to be able to develop natural gas resources and do it in an environmentally responsible manner. And that is what the industry is working hard to do up here.

PAWELSKI: The Powder River basin has seen boom times before, with coal and uranium. Each time, the landscape has changed, but ranch life, and the area's rural character, have endured. Now there is another boom, perhaps the biggest yet, another test of tradition.

Natalie Pawelski, CNN, Campbell County, Wyoming.


WALCOTT: Continuing with our focus on energy, we've been hearing a lot lately about blackouts in California and warnings of a bigger energy problem across parts of the United States, but the statistics run counter to the claims.

As CNN's Brooks Jackson reports, new power plants are coming on- line at a breakneck pace.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): What power shortage? An average of one or two new power plants are scheduled to come online in the U.S. every day this month. CHRIS SEIPLE, RDI CONSULTING: The amount of capacity being added this year is more capacity than has ever been added in any year in the history of the United States.

JACKSON: California Governor Gray Davis recently threw the switch on the state's first new power plant in a decade.

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: We're moving stuff online as quick as we can.

JACKSON: And days later, the second -- but that's nothing to what's going on nationally. This gas-fired plant in Delaware is going online this summer, part of an unprecedented national boon in power plant construction.

Construction stagnated in the late '90s, just as economic growth was increasing demand, creating a squeeze. But last year, more new electric capacity was added than in any year since 1994: nearly 24,000 megawatts, with lots more to come.

The amount of power generation now under construction or on the drawing boards has doubled in the last 12 months, according to the Electric Power Supply Association.

LYNNE CHURCH, ELECTRIC POWER SUPPLY ASSN.: Competitive power supplies in the United States are trying to build as much as 370,000 megawatts of new generation throughout the country. And that's the equivalent of over 600 new sort of medium-to-large-sized power plants.

JACKSON: That's equivalent to an increase in total U.S. generating capacity of 45 percent. Practically all of the new construction, like this plant going up in Roopville, Georgia, is being done not by electric utilities, but by a new breed of private companies specializing in power generation.

CHURCH: These companies are investing their own money. And they're taking the risk that they're going to be able to compete and to sell their power.

JACKSON: The competition should help hold down prices to consumers. In fact, several analysts on Wall Street and in Washington are saying the industry is overbuilding.

The new plants are efficient. Nearly all are gas-fired turbines using designs that get more electricity out of the fuel than older turbines. And the new plants are far less polluting than many of the old plants, some of which are likely to be retired.

(on camera): Nobody expects all the projects on the drawing boards to be completed. Some may be blocked, others abandoned. But the big boom in new construction shows market forces are responding powerfully.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, time for a mini vacation. How about a trip to a theme park, a museum or a nature center. We have all three just ahead. And we'll crisscross the U.S. to take you to a wildlife park in Texas and to two attractions with religious themes: one in Florida and the other between Maryland and Virginia.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: "Worldview" takes us to the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. where a new museum is offering visitors a hands-on experience when it comes to the Catholic faith. The museum is named after Pope John Paul II, who, in 1978, became the first non-Italian pope in 450 years. He was also the first Polish pope in the Roman Catholic Church's history.

The role of a pope is very important to Catholics. While Jesus Christ is viewed as the church's invisible and supreme head, the pope is regarded as the visible head of the church. Catholics believe that it was Jesus who established the position of the pope when he said to his Apostle Simon, "and I say unto thee that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church."

The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center focuses on more than one pope, however; it spotlights the culture and tradition of the church over the years.

Elaine Quijano has more from Washington.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With church leaders and President George W. Bush on hand, the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center officially opened to the public.

The idea for the museum started with Adam Cardinal Maida, now archbishop of Detroit, while he was having dinner with the pope more than a decade ago.

CARDINAL ADAM MAIDA, ARCHBISHOP OF DETROIT: I said, "Holy Father, in the United States, we have presidential libraries. And maybe we ought to capture your time as a pope."

QUIJANO: The pope liked the idea, but insisted the museum should not focus on him alone.

MAIDA: This whole center is about faith, other religions, building community in our world.

QUIJANO: But there are several items from the pope: his skis in one corner, his handprint casted in bronze and photos of him as a young priest. The center combines centuries of Roman Catholic history with modern-day technology, like this interactive computer gallery. Visitors can design their own stained-glass window, record a testimony of faith, or join in a bell-ringing station to hear themselves on headphones playing religious hymns.

REV. G. MICHAEL BUGARIN, DIRECTOR, POPE JOHN PAUL II CULTURAL CENTER: One of our missions for the Cultural Center given to us charges by the holy father was to utilize the best in technology to showcase the message of the church. QUIJANO: There are multicultural images of the Virgin Mary, including this Chinese Madonna, which once stood in a papal bedroom, and earthly indulgences like monk-made fudge. In the World Religions corner, visitors can learn about nine other faiths, signs of the church's effort to reach people of all backgrounds.

MAIDA: I feel, when people come through this center, they're going to be just uplifted, spiritually inspired. And I think they're going to be better people.

QUIJANO (on camera): The new facility cost $65 million to build. It's funded through private donations.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, Washington.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We turn from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida to visit a religious exhibit of another sort. Orlando is renowned for its theme parks and attractions. Places like Disney World and SeaWorld and Universal Studios.

But today, our destination is a very different kind of theme park called the Holy Land Experience. Visitors step back in time to ancient Jerusalem as Alexa Lee reports.


ALEXA LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Holy Land Experience is a Christian theme park. Park founder Marvin Rosenthal grew up Jewish, but is now a Baptist pastor. His ministry is called Zion's Hope. Critics say the group's mission is to convert Jews to Christianity.

REV. MARVIN ROSENTHAL, FOUNDER, HOLY LAND EXPERIENCE: Our responsibility, as Bible-believing Christians, is to share the truths of the word of God.

LEE: The park is filled with bible-based attractions. But some Jewish leaders find the interpretations and prominently placed Jewish symbols disturbing.

Rosenthal argues the symbols are true to the period. Critics see something else.

RABBI MERRILL SHAPIRO, CONGREGATION BETH AM: All the menorahs -- it's there to entice Jews to make them think this is a Jewish park, and that there is a close connection between the history of our ancestors and the notion that Jesus was divine and the son of God.

LEE: Jewish leaders say one of the most talked about attractions, the Wilderness Tabernacle, illustrates their concerns.

The multimedia presentation also features Jewish songs and prayers.

ROSENTHAL: If you don't like it, Rabbi, simply don't come.

SHAPIRO: Those of us who don't like it won't come. But we're afraid that others who are not aware, who are not so sophisticated will come, will put down their money.

LEE: Rosenthal says his motive is not to make a profit. As for conversion, he says that's in God's hands.

(on camera): Members from the activist group, Jewish Defense League, are expected to protest but won't be allowed in. Park creators say they'll stay open from this day on, 365 days a year.

Reporting from Orlando, Florida, I'm Alexa Lee.


WALCOTT: When you think of a safari what comes to mind, probably lions and giraffes and plenty of other African wildlife. But you don't have to travel to Africa to have an animal adventure. Our destination today: the United States and Texas, the 28th state admitted to the Union. Its nickname is the Lone Star State. You might be familiar with some of its geography, like the Rio Grande River or some of its history: Remember the Alamo.

Today, we explore a different tourist destination. You'll meet a menagerie of sorts.

Stephanie Oswald is our guide.


STEPHANIE OSWALD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On any given day here, events might include an injured deer learning to walk again, a rhinoceros getting an ultrasound.

UNIDENTIFIED GUIDE: We can even document pregnancy in animals at about 30 days.

OSWALD: Or, a herd of giraffes eating out of the palm of your hand. These activities are par for the course at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center just outside Glen Rose, Texas, about a 90 minute drive southwest of Dallas.

(on camera): For the visitors who come here, is there a typical experience?

BRUCE WILLIAMS, VICE PRESIDENT OF CONSERVATION, FOSSIL RIM: I think that the typical experience for our guests is to just be blown away by driving through and seeing the type of animals we have and the type of environment that they get to live in. And a lot of the animals that we have, people have seen them. They're real familiar with them. But they've never seen them in a context like this where apparently they're just free and roaming around.

OSWALD (voice-over): I went on safari with Fossil Rim Vice President of Conservation, Bruce Williams. We toured the 1,500 acre not for profit center by jeep. At one point, we were surrounded by curious giraffes. It was not only an incredible experience, but also a bit unnerving.

(on camera): Now, should I be afraid at all right now?


OSWALD: OK. And I'm guessing that this is probably something you can't do in Africa. Let's see if he wants to stick his tongue out. Let's see that -- ooh, that is long. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.

(voice-over): One surprising truth about Fossil Rim, it wasn't built as a tourist attraction. In fact, it was once known as Waterfall Ranch. An oil magnate purchased it as a home for exotic and later endangered species. He never planned to have the animals meet visitors. His motivation was preservation.

(on camera): So, Fossil Rim started out as a private reserve, owned by a wealthy man with a simple passion for wildlife. In 1984, it opened to the public and has evolved into a world class center for research, education and conservation.

(voice-over): A behind-the-scenes tour offers a deeper look at special projects dedicated to threatened and endangered animals such as the southern black rhino, the Mexican gray wolf, the Atwaters prairie chicken, native to Texas with only about 50 birds left in the wild, and the cheetah. We had extra special clearance and several trainers with us when we met the playful cub you saw earlier in the show.

Fossil Rim staffers were thrilled when Sapphire (ph) was born at the center in August. My personal favorite, however, was this proportionately tiny creature named Jabu (ph).

(on camera): How are you?

(voice-over): A three week old white rhino calf. We watched her for a while running around in the protection of her mother.

ADAM EYRES, ANIMAL CARE SPECIALIST: The white rhinos are threatened. All the other four species are endangered. And it's a result of poachers. People come in and they kill them and they cut the horns off. That's what, that's all they're taking. It's not for meat, it's not for hide. They're coming in and they're simply killing them to cut that horn off.

OSWALD: And, at the end of the day, a scene such as this puts an exclamation point on the purpose of this wildlife refuge, creating a haven where the deer and the antelope play and tourists get a dose of safari fun along with a serious lesson in environmental awareness.


WALCOTT: We are back on the road with CNN NEWSROOM's Jason Bellini. For the past two weeks in our "Border to Border" series, Jason has been bringing us a glimpse of what kids are doing this summer from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Today, we head to Vail, Colorado, where Jason talks with some young kayakers and their new school sport.

Here's their story.


JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Young kayakers have a favorite term they apply to themselves, their moves, and their sport: new school.

BRAD LUDDEN, PROFESSIONAL KAYAKER: Kayaking mixes that new school feel of doing all the tricks and showing off.

BELLINI: It's a saying young people, in general, use to associate themselves with old activities, rediscovered and made cool.

Brad Ludden, a 19-year-old pro kayaker in Vail, Colorado, is convinced his sport's becoming the next new thing in outdoor recreation.

LUDDEN: Lately, I've heard kayaking described a lot as snowboarding five years ago. Not only is it big now, but it's growing fast, you know, it's going through the roof. And everyday you see more and more people doing it.

BELLINI: He's talking about people like Tyler, who's on summer break from high school.

How often you out here?

TYLER NEWTON, AGE 17: Three or four times a week.

BELLINI: Three or four times a week, don't you have a job?

TYLER: Yes. Yes, I flip burgers, too.

BELLINI: Brad is calling on the burgeoning kayaking community in Vail to help with the creation of a kayaking camp he's creating for children with cancer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up, dude?


BELLINI: His fellow kayakers came through at this fund raiser which brought in more than $2000 to support the camp.


BELLINI: While part of the thrill of kayaking is trying new rivers and exploring nature, certain holes, as they're called, rapids where kayakers manage to surf in-place become popular hangouts.

(on camera): As the extreme sport of kayaking goes mainstream, a new kayaking culture is emerging with it. For many people who pick up this sport, kayaking quickly goes from being something that they do to something that they are.

(voice-over): The hole attracts an after-work crowd during the week. Lizzie's among them.

LIZZIE BURNETT, RECREATIONAL KAYAKER: There are a lot of free- spirited people involved. You have everything from the guy living in the van down by the river to the corporate end of things as well.

BELLINI: T.J. is a kayaker of the more Bohemian variety.

T.J. GULIZIA, KAYAK INSTRUCTOR: You can always take yourself one step further.

BELLINI: His kayaking he may be able to push further, but his lifestyle, probably not. In the kayaker community of State Bridge, he lives in a teepee all summer.

GULIZIA: Yes, there's a lot of old school kayakers out here in Colorado. People, you know, who have been boating since the early '70s -- fiberglass boats.

BELLINI: At 25, T.J. isn't sure whether to classify himself as new school or old school.

GULIZIA: There's been a lot more people getting involved in it, a lot of younger people getting involved in it, whereas, at my time, I was always paddling with the 30- and 40-year-old hotdogs.

BELLINI: He does know that the money he'll save up this summer from kayak instructing, he doesn't have to pay rent for his teepee, will probably be spent in Ecuador, the winter wonderland he wants to return to after September.

Mamas, don't let your children grow up to be kayakers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what a kayaker's best meal is?



BELLINI: And watch out, the kayaking new school is recruiting.

Jason Bellini, CNN NEWSROOM, Vail, Colorado.


WALCOTT: And that looks like a lot of fun.

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




4:30pm ET, 4/16

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