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NEWSROOM for July 24, 2001

Aired July 24, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN NEWSROOM. Hello and welcome, I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

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

Our first order of business is a look at today's rundown.

BAKHTIAR: We begin in Indonesia where a new era of leadership is being ushered in. We'll have that story coming up.

WALCOTT: After that, get ready to tread. We're working out in "Health Desk."

BAKHTIAR: Up next in "Worldview," we visit a school teaching kids about language and culture.

WALCOTT: And finally, we say goodbye to a legend in the field of journalism.

BAKHTIAR: In our "Top Story," Indonesia has its first female president. On Monday, the top lawmaking body, the People's Consultative Assembly, unanimously dismissed Abdurrahman Wahid and swore in Megawati Sukarnoputri as Indonesia's newest president. This, even as Wahid has declared a state of emergency and refused to surrender the presidency.

CNN's Jakarta bureau chief Maria Ressa has more.


MARIA RESSA, CNN JAKARTA BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): It was a messy, often chaotic process, Indonesia's fledgling democracy at work. Early Monday, President Abdurrahman Wahid ordered a state of emergency, a last minute attempt to stop a special Assembly session bent on removing him from office. Inside the palace, he watched as his support dwindled. Lawmakers defied his order, followed by the police, military, even cabinet members. Finally, the Supreme Court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I am depressed. The Supreme Court is unfair. It's like a person you loved is stabbed in the back. RESSA: It was a very personal battle but played out to the letter of the law, ending more than a year-long struggle for power between Mr. Wahid and lawmakers. Amid tight security, the Assembly voted to remove Mr. Wahid from office and install his vice president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, as Indonesia's fifth president.

Her message was clear: stop political infighting so the nation can move ahead.

MEGAWATI SUKARNOPUTRI, PRESIDENT OF INDONESIA (through translator): Let us end the battle of words and conflicts that in the end will only prolong the problems and people's suffering.

RESSA: Her first task: find a way to deal with Mr. Wahid who maintains he is still the country's rightful president. There's also the fear of potential violence. Mr. Wahid has fanatic followers who have rioted in the past when lawmakers have moved against him.

(on camera): Mrs. Megawati has come full circle. As a daughter of Indonesia's first president, she and her family were kicked out of the palace by then General Suharto. Now, as the country's fifth president, she is on the other side. Those who know her say they believe she will find a face saving way out for her predecessor.

Maria Ressa, CNN, Jakarta.


BAKHTIAR: Well now that she's finally where she wants to be, some big challenges lie ahead for Megawati, both internationally and domestically. And even though she's never held a government position, Megawati is no newcomer to the political arena. In fact, her father, Sukarno, was Indonesia's founding leader and first president.

More now from Atika Shubert.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An impeccable political pedigree, her father was Indonesia's first president, Sukarno, driven from office by military man Suharto. She rose to prominence under Suharto's iron rule, using a quiet defiance that defined her career and became a point of criticism. Indonesia's separatists violence, plummeting economy and Suharto's attempts to oust Megawati as party leader were all factors triggering riots that became the catalyst for his downfall.

Her immense popular support should have made Mrs. Megawati a shoo-in for the presidency during the 1999 elections, but her aloof attitude toward politics, refusing to cut deals and shying away from public statements gave the presidency to Mr. Wahid. Her revenge: learning to negotiate and turning Mr. Wahid's allies into foes. But her new friends may soon call in their political debts.

There are other worries other than a brief stint as vice president and managing a political party, she has no experience in government. Aides say that a president who relies on professional advisers is a much needed change after 20 turbulent months of a headstrong president convinced of his own ideas.

FRANS SEDA, MEGAWATI AIDE: She has the guts to take position. She has the guts to listen and to ask advice so that's enough. I mean she is a party leader - she knows. If you have - if you can lead a party, in principle, you can lead a nation.

SHUBERT: A landslide victory, a moment of glory, but how long will it last?

(on camera): Mrs. Megawati's advisers admit the honeymoon will be short as political partners start making demands and the public demanding solutions to the country's large sack of problems. It's up to Mrs. Megawati now to convince lawmakers and the public they've made the right choice.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Jakarta.


BAKHTIAR: If you want to know about Indonesia, you can check out our Web site at There you can find a timeline of Indonesia's political history and an interactive map of the country.

WALCOTT: Making headlines today, the debate over stem cell research. It makes the agenda of two of the world's most powerful men. U.S. President Bush met with Pope John Paul II Monday at the Vatican. And during that historic meeting, the pontiff urged Mr. Bush to ban research on human embryos.

John King reports on one of the most difficult decisions the president has faced so far.


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At 81, Pope John Paul II is frail, his voice halting, but still characteristically blunt, telling his visitor he has a moral duty to oppose using embryonic stem cells for medical research.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: A free and virtuous society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life at any stage, from conception until natural death.

KING: The controversial issue did not come up in a closed-door meeting at the pope's summer residence in the foothills south of Rome, but the pontiff raised it in a public statement, putting pressure on the president as he weighs whether to allow tax dollars to be used for such research.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And of course I'll take that point of view into consideration, as I make up my mind on a very difficult issue confronting the United States of America.

KING: He has called it the most difficult decision of his young presidency, the moral case voiced by the Catholic church and others, countered by the promise of medical research using stem cells from human embryos.

BUSH: It's the need to balance value and respect for life with the promise of science and the hope of saving life.

KING: The pope made clear he sees no such dilemma.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: America can show the world the path to a truly humane future in which man remains the master, not the product, of his technology.

KING: Mr. Bush is the fifth U.S. president to meet the man who has led the Catholic church for 23 years. He has made courting the Catholic vote a priority, and relations between the White House and the Vatican have warmed since Mr. Bush took office because the two men see eye to eye in opposing abortion.

(on camera): But there is some tension over Mr. Bush's support of the death penalty, and the stem cell debate could put that goodwill to an early test. The pope called it one of the major moral challenges of the new century and made clear he will be watching closely as the president makes his decision.

John King, CNN, Rome.


WALCOTT: Time now for a little history lesson. And, yes, I know this is "Health Desk" but bear with me. I've got a little exercise trivia for you. Did you know that in the days of the ancient Romans treadmills were used for heavy labor? Treadmills were used to grind grain, lift water out of mines and power cranes. Nowadays, the most your treadmill does is get you through your workout, an idea that may not thrill you. But hold on, a new trend may just change your mind.

Liz Weiss has the details.


LIZ WEISS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're ready to sweat...

UNIDENTIFIED INSTRUCTOR: Recover, please. Awesome job.

WEISS: ... and ready for a challenge, try treading.

UNIDENTIFIED INSTRUCTOR: Treading is a comprehensive workout done on a treadmill and it coaches you from your warm-up all the way to the cool down.

LIZ WEISS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ellen Apet (ph) teaches the class at the Boston Athletic Club. The group hits the road running or walking and everyone goes at their own pace.

UNIDENTIFIED INSTRUCTOR: You can be next to somebody who's running an eight minute mile pace and you may be walking a 15 minute mile pace and every person is doing the best that they can do and you have someone rooting for you, which is awfully exciting.

LIZ WEISS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ellen called this particular workout double trouble, where she coaches her class up hills and along flat roads. Her students interact with the treadmill by constantly readjusting what they're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: Instead of hoping on the treadmill and getting bored and being on what I call the "dreadmill," it's fun.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: I've lost a lot of weight over the past four months and mentally working out is always good for your head. It clears you up. It's like taking a Valium.

UNIDENTIFIED INSTRUCTOR: Stay with it everybody. That's it.

LIZ WEISS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Coach Apet says if you're stuck in a treadmill rut where you do the same easy workout every time, change what you're doing so that every minute takes you to a greater level of fitness.

I'm Liz Weiss for "Feeling Fit."



LISA BUSSARD, NATRONA HEIGHTS, PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, I'm Lisa Bussard from Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.

And I have a question about sound: At what point does a loud noise damage my ears?

DR. HOLLY KAPLAN, AUDIOLOGY CLINIC SUPERVISOR, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: I think we all need to realize that we live in an incredibly noisy world and that everything that we do has noise involved in it.

Noise levels that cause damage, though -- and where we really start to run into trouble -- is when we notice that we're talking louder in order to be heard and understood. So a good example of that would be something like the lawn mower and lawn equipment, leaf blowers, power edgers, things like that are very, very loud and very damaging to our hearing.

The government says that we want to look at sounds anywhere around 85 decibels. And, again, if you were thinking in your own home environment, that's the typical vacuum sweepers. Being in that type of sound over a period of time throughout the day will cause hearing damage.


BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview" today, language, religion and health. We'll focus on AIDS in Thailand and one man who's making it his mission to help. On to a rock to explore an ancient and mystical faith, and in the United States, we learn about language from kids who are learning new ones.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We head now to the United States and the state of New York on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. At a special school in New York, newly arrived immigrant children spend a year studying English intensively and learning about the communities where their classmates live by actually visiting them.

Brian Palmer takes us on a field trip with the kids from the Academy for New Americans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody be together please.

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A little more than a year ago, 14-year-old Gabriel Pires from Brazil spoke almost no English.

GABRIEL PIRES: I'm the leader of the Chinese tour group. And I'm very excited doing it because I'm not a lot more about the Chinese.

PALMER: Now he's leading his classmates, kids from Colombia, Bangladesh and China, on an English-language tour of Flushing, Queens, a New York City community with a large Asian population.

PIRES: This is a fish store. They sell -- because Chinese eat a lot of fish.

It doesn't smell good, but it tastes good.

PALMER: Each student becomes something of an expert on one of their classmate's neighborhoods. That student then teaches his peers.

PIRES: I'm trying to explain him -- them how the food, how the Chinese food, and how the Chinese people live, and everything about the Chinese.

Zhing Zhao Long (ph), who moved to New York from Guangdong, China about a year ago, thinks his friend is doing a pretty good job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He almost know everything.

PALMER: Gabriel, Annie (ph), Brian (ph), Joaquin (ph), Nancy (ph), and Zhing Zhoa are students at New York's Academy for New Americans, a school that prepares recently arrived immigrants for life in the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They teach us in our language, and at the same time they teach us English.

PALMER: Bryan Pu-Folkes (ph), whose parents hail from Berma and Jamaica, heads a group that brings the learning process out of the classroom and into the culturally rich neighborhoods of Queens.

BRYAN PU-FOLKES, NEW IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT: For many of these kids, three, four months ago they were in their home country, you know, whether that be Ecuador or Dominican Republic or Korea; and so they're also learning about the country and they're learning about the city and learning how to get around.

PALMER: The students graduate in just a couple of weeks. Next year they head back to schools in own New York neighborhoods with a good grasp of English, and a better understanding of the city around them.

Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.


BAKHTIAR: Now we head to the Middle East to an Arab country for years embroiled in controversy: Iraq. Iraq is located at the head of the Persian Gulf in southwestern Asia. In the 1980s and '90s, Iraq fought two wars with its neighbors, Iran and Kuwait, devastating its own economy. In fact, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait led to debilitating sanctions imposed on the country by the United Nations. Iraq is predominately a Muslim country with 95 percent of its population practicing either the Shiite or Sunni branch of Islam. But there's another religion practiced by few that's been kept a secret for years.

Jane Arraf uncovers the mystery.


JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Believers call this the oldest religion in the world. For centuries, the Yezidis prayed in secret to the king of angels. Their persecutors believe that angel was Lucifer. Branded as devil worshipers, for centuries they were persecuted and killed. Now their misunderstood community is being dispersed. They've decided to open part of their mystical religion to the outside world.

SHEIK TANSEEN, YEZIDI PRINCE: We have a multiple - the Yezidi in the Europe, in the United States, in Somalia and everywhere. Of course it's very important for us that they know about the Yezidi. What are Yezidis?

ARRAF: They want to make clear that what they are not are devil worshipers. Yezidis are forbidden from even mentioning the word Satan. It's not clear whether that's out of fear or fearful respect. They say, like more mainstream religions, they worship God.

Prince Rauk (ph) says this is the first time the Yezidis have ever allowed this ceremony to be filmed. This is the Peacock Angel, Melek Taus, a representation of God's chief angel and one of seven of the statues the Yezidis believe came from the hands of God to Abraham.

There are tens of thousands of Yezidis in Turkey, Syria, Armenia, Russia and now Western Europe, but almost all that is sacred to them is in northern Iraq.

(on camera): The religion first took root here in the mountains of what was ancient Iraq. But there are so many Yezidis abandoning the region for Europe. It seems to be a turning point in the Yezidi history.

(voice-over): Like the Kurds they're often lumped in with, they leave their impoverished homes as refugees from Turkey and Syria and Iraq. Many so desperate for a future they turn their back on the past, risking their lives on boats and in the back of trucks.

Yezidi elders say they try to stop the migration, but they say there are now almost as many Yezidis in Germany as in Iraq, but they fear their religion could be lost.

SHEIK FAROUQ, YEZIDI PRINCE (through translator): We know that very well that Europe will not serve the Yezidis well because it's very advanced in culture and technology and science. We foresee that in less than 25 years the Yezidis there could disappear into other religions.

ARRAF: The religion has changed in modern times but there are still elements of ancient practices. Like Zoroastrians, they worship fire and pray towards the sun. They also believe in reincarnation. Scholars say until the last few decades, all but the elders were discouraged from learning to read and write. In more remote villages, some still are.

Nofal (ph) is 20 and has never been to school.

We don't allow girls to attend school, she says, it's tradition.

In the towns, that tradition is eroding.

The world is changing and developing, says this 88-year-old Sheik. Each year it changes more and more.

Those changes, the pull of the modern world against an ancient religion, are driving more and more young people to leave.

Jane Arraf, CNN, Northern Iraq.


HAYNES: It is hard to fathom the devastation AIDS has caused around the world. The U.N. estimates about 22 million people have died from the disease since the epidemic began. To put that in perspective, that's more than all of the military deaths in all of World War II.

While the ravages of AIDS are well known in Africa, the disease continues to take a tremendous toll elsewhere as well. Statistics show south and southeast Asian countries have the second highest rates of HIV and AIDS of any region in the world. Particularly hard hit is Thailand with more than three-quarters of a million cases alone. But enough about the statistics, behind each of these numbers is a life and often a tragedy. So many of the patients are children who've been abandoned or orphaned.

John Raedler introduces us to a man in Bangkok who's found a place in his heart for some of the epidemics youngest casualties. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Father Joseph Maier comforts the dying -- this girl, one of 20 children in his AIDS hospice in a Bangkok slum.

REV. JOSEPH MAIER: Her name is Nam Fon, which means falling rain. She's 6 1/2. Her mother died of AIDS.

RAEDLER: So did her father, and now her short, sick life is about to end too.

MAIER: She's got this unbelievable will to live, but right now, her legs hurt very, very badly.

RAEDLER: A few days after our visit, Nam Fon died.

Father Joe, as he's known, has spent 30 years tending to the poor of Bangkok. This is one of 32 kindergartens he runs for slum kids. He ended up in Thailand, he says, because his Catholic superiors in his native America weren't sure what to do with him.

MAIER: He listens to the Grateful Dead. He asks questions.

RAEDLER: As a Catholic priest in a Buddhist country, he is anything but the conventional missionary. He does not preach. He does not proselytize. He illustrates his point by talking of this visit to a woman dying of AIDS in his hospice.

MAIER: What do I tell her? I mean, I can't tell her my "Our Fathers" and my "Hail Mary's." All I can say is, Hey, I love you, I'll be your mom, and I'll be your dad, and we'll be together -- and it's OK, don't be afraid.

RAEDLER: Those words rang in the ears of 120 people who died in Father Joe's hospice last year. The death toll will be even greater this year, and the 61-year-old priest will act as mother, father and friend to each of them in their dying. He can't imagine doing anything else with his life.

MAIER: Well, I think I'd be useless at doing anything else. I probably couldn't make a living. I can just barely stay in the church, and they're quite tolerant.

RAEDLER: John Raedler, CNN, Bangkok.


WALCOTT: Thousands of people gathered at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Monday to remember former "Washington Post" publisher Katharine Graham. Graham died last week of injuries suffered in a fall. Her funeral brought together political rivals, business leaders and journalists. Notables, including former President Clinton and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, also paid their respects.

Garrick Utley reports on the woman regarded by many as "one spectacular dame."


GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The power of the press is in how it is used and in who runs it. Katharine Graham faced that truth and test a few years after becoming the publisher of the "Washington Post."

In 1971, the United States was trying to get out of the Vietnam War. Questions were being asked how the country had gotten into it. At the Pentagon, Daniel Ellsberg had worked on a lengthy report which documented the path to war. He leaked the classified Pentagon Papers first to the "New York Times" which began publishing them. The news caused a sensation and fury in the Nixon administration, which obtained a court order to halt further publication.

Then, "The Washington Post" obtained a copy of the papers. Katharine Graham knew that if the paper published them, she and the paper's editor, Ben Bradley, faced the risk of criminal charges.

KATHARINE GRAHAM, "WASHINGTON POST": The editors, led by Ben, got on the phone and pleaded vociferously and effectively to publish the next day. The lawyer said no. The business people said take your time. So we published the next day.

UTLEY: The fight went right to the Supreme Court which ruled in favor of "The Post" and "The Times." Carl Bernstein was a young local reporter on "The Post."

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST: It established that a truly free press will not be intimidated by the self-interest of government officials, even the president of the United States.

UTLEY (on camera): Katharine Graham, who acknowledged she did not like confrontation, had passed an important test and she would soon discover that there were more to come.

(voice-over): The Watergate complex in Washington is now part of American folklore. In 1972, it was only the beginning of the drama that would shake the nation. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward were two "Post" reporters who pursued the story.

BERNSTEIN: We were two 28-year-old kids, you know, writing about the president of the United States and his men.

UTLEY: President Richard Nixon personally ordered his administration to pressure and threaten "The Post" to call off its investigation. The movie, "All the President's Men," portrayed a key moment when Bernstein, played by Dustin Hoffman, told Nixon confidant John Mitchell that he had information that Mitchell, when he was attorney general, had authorized political spying on the Democrats.

GRAHAM: Was I scared of what the administration could and did do to us? Of course I was. They were attacking us daily and cutting off our White House sources. More ominous, some of the administration's friends and associates challenged our two Florida television station licenses, which were up for renewal.

UTLEY: Katharine Graham stood by her reporters and editors knowing that the future of her newspaper and media company were on the line. At one point she said, "I'm going to jail or they are." We know how the story ended.

(on camera): Except it didn't really end. Watergate left its legacy in Washington, in the nation, in newsrooms and reporting. Has it all been for the good?

BERNSTEIN: Many of the wrong lessons were drawn from Watergate. I think that part of what we call "gotcha journalism" today - the idea that the function of a reporter is to catch an official in a - in a lie, in a - in a some kind of minor misfeasance is partly the result of Watergate.

UTLEY (voice-over): Perhaps that was only natural after the excitement of the story and the glamour of a Hollywood film showing Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman going up against the president. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to be an investigative reporter.

BERNSTEIN: And there became a kind of cult or so-called investigative reporting. I don't even believe, and I doubt that Katharine Graham believed, that there was some kind of pseudoscience called investigative reporting that's different than the rest of good reporting.

GRAHAM: I consider I had one of the great privileges of our profession to be there in those times that were perhaps the best years for the news business.

UTLEY: The years when Katharine Graham made a difference as the publisher who stood behind the reporting.

Garrick Utley, CNN.


WALCOTT: Truly an inspiration to all women in our industry.

BAKHTIAR: Truly an inspiration to everyone in our industry, women and men.


BAKHTIAR: She will be missed.

WALCOTT: She will be.

BAKHTIAR: And that does it for us here on NEWSROOM. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.

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