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NEWSROOM for August 9, 2001

Aired August 9, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Hi, I'm Shelley Walcott and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: And I'm Michael McManus. Here's what we have planned.

WALCOTT: There is a heat wave burning its way across the U.S. We'll show you how to stay cool and safe in "Top Story."

MCMANUS: Then in "Science Desk," we try to envision the end of our universe as we know it.

WALCOTT: Up next in "Worldview," we head to the African nation of Rwanda on a mission to save the apes.

MCMANUS: Finally, we'll show you how you may be able to save your own life. That's coming up in "Chronicle."

WALCOTT: The summertime heat is on in the United States. Half of the country is battling extreme heat. From Texas to South Dakota and through the Midwest into New England and the South, temperatures are hovering above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Havre, Montana; Wells, Nevada; Newark, New Jersey and Minneapolis, Minnesota all set record highs this week.

Now in many areas, high temperatures are accompanied by high humidity, a very uncomfortable and dangerous mix. High humidity levels reduce the body's ability to cool itself and can lead to heat stroke. Now that's what happened to Minnesota Viking's player Korey Stringer last week when, on the second day of practice, he collapsed and died. The National Weather Service is warning people to take precautions against the heat.

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on the warning signs of heat stroke.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sun, it's a nuclear furnace that brings heat, light and life to earth. But too much sun can bring sickness and even death. (on camera): Heat related illness can strike anyone exposed to hot weather, but you're at greater risk if you're younger than 4 years old, older than 65, overweight or suffer from other medical illnesses. The first stage of sickness is called heat exhaustion.

(voice-over): Its symptoms are heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea or vomiting and dizziness or fainting. If you notice it early, it can usually be handled by drinking a cold, non-alcoholic drink, getting out of the heat, resting, taking a cool shower or rubbing yourself down with a wet towel.

DR. CRAWFORD BARNETT, INTERNIST: A lot of people have the potential for ignoring the early signs first or excessive surface temperature or they're doing something that sort of takes their mind off of it.

GUPTA: Ignoring the early signs can lead to a life-threatening state called heat stroke. Symptoms of that are a very high body temperature; red, hot, dry skin; rapid pulse; confusion and even unconsciousness. If you find someone in heat stroke, instruct another person to call 911 while you get the victim into air conditioning or at least shade. Cool down their body by immersing in cool water or spraying down with a hose. To avoid choking, only give the victim fluids if he's conscious and not vomiting. If the victim is vomiting, turn him on his side.

Experts say it's critical to treat heat stroke quickly because it can spiral out of control.

BARNETT: The body says we are getting low on fluid. We need fluid for circulation of the brain and the kidneys and other critical areas, therefore we're going to shutdown the sweating so you lose that area of being able to decrease or get rid of heat, and therefore you then begin to accumulate heat even faster.

GUPTA: In hot weather, the best bet is to play it safe. Pay attention to signals from your body, keep drinking liquids even if you aren't thirsty, don't push yourself too hard and whenever possible, get out of the heat.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.


MCMANUS: This year's hurricane season has gotten off to a relatively slow start. Nevertheless, one of the nation's top hurricane experts predicts there will be three more named storms this month with one becoming a hurricane. There already have been two named storms this season: Barry, which came ashore along the Florida Panhandle Monday and Allison, which brought heavy rains to Texas in June.

Severe weather can strike at any time. Earlier this year, I traveled to Miami and found out preparation is crucial.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (voice-over): These teenagers are survivors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The water started coming through the house. Windows were breaking. The roof started cracking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My parents were against the window with a mattress. I have three little sisters. They were in the closet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They weathered through a $26 billion disaster named Hurricane Andrew.

PETER SWART, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: It was a truly colossal and frightening prospect to have this hurricane. We were, you know, basically pushing the piano against the front door at one stage during the night.

MCMANUS: The hurricane hit with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour. It ravaged Florida.

ROSENTHAL: A hurricane actually needs to -- needs warm tropical waters.

SCHWOEGLER: It's essentially a heat engine, a giant chimney that feeds off the heat and humidity that's coming off the air-sea interface.

MCMANUS: Andrew and most other hurricanes that threaten the U.S. form off the coast of Africa between June and November. Hurricanes also form in the Pacific Ocean. Usually called typhoons, they menace parts of Asia. Along with warm water, ingredients needed include consistent vertical wind speed, rain showers or thunderstorms and something called the Coriolis force.

LEONARD: The way the Earth rotates on its axis, we have what we call a deflecting force to the right. It's a Coriolis force. And that creates a little bit of spin in the atmosphere.

MCMANUS: With all of these elements combining, it doesn't mean the disturbance becomes a hurricane. It has to grow into one first.

ROSENTHAL: First you get a tropical depression. Then you get a tropical storm. And then you get a hurricane.

LEONARD: You have a tropical storm if the winds are over 40 miles an hour, 39 to 40 or greater. Over 74 miles per hour, now you have a hurricane.

MCMANUS: A hurricane's intensity is determined by the speed of its winds. The Saffir-Simpson scale breaks the storms into five categories.

A Category 1 hurricane contains winds between 74 and 95 miles an hour. This kind of storm brings minor damage and flooding. The destruction mounts, with each number, ending with a Category 5, which is complete destruction and major flooding. Traveling across the ocean, many of these cyclonic storms gain strength and set sights on wherever the upper airflow or jet stream takes it. Many times, this means a slow and methodical trip until landfall. And this is where preparation can be a lifesaver.

MAX MAYFIELD, DIRECTOR, NATL. HURRICANE CENTER: You don't want people to evacuate hundreds of miles. You want them to go tens of miles.

MCMANUS: Dr. Max Mayfield is the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida and believes evacuation should be a short trip away from the coast.

MAYFIELD: One of my greatest fears is that we'll have people stuck in their cars in a gridlock, trying to evacuate during a hurricane threat.

MCMANUS: While property owners are driving away from the impending storm, the hurricane hunters are moving toward it. These soldiers of science actually travel through approaching hurricanes with specially outfitted aircraft to measure, among other things, wind speed and direction. So, when the behemoth comes ashore, communities are ready. Upon arrival, the combination of wind and water is both amazing and dangerous.

LEONARD: If the storm surge occurs at the time of high tide, you're going to have big problems.

MCMANUS: It's not always water, but high winds that do great damage. Hurricane Andrew blew the town of Homestead, Florida apart -- the destruction: unbelievable.

MAYFIELD: If that integrity of the building is broken and the air gets inside with a broken window or door, then you can, you know, lose the roof as well.

MCMANUS: Because of the massive costs of rebuilding, there's been a recent push toward hurricane-resistant homes, complete with steel window guards and reinforced roofing materials.

According to experts, it's better to pay now than later, especially with stronger cyclonic activity predicted.

(on camera): Located on the eastern tip of Florida, Miami is known for being a popular target for hurricanes. But that changed four years ago when a tornado touched down right here in the middle of one of America's most popular cities.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you'll start to see debris here at the base of this column that's -- it's lifting. And I guess it's also picking up a tremendous amount of water as it crosses over the Biscayne Bay area.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MCMANUS: Though it looked dangerous in pictures caught by television news crews, the tornado did little more than rattle a few nerves.

DAN MCCARTHY, NATL. SEVERE STORMS LAB: A tornado is actually a small area of energy that is rotating violently out of a storm.

MCMANUS: Dan McCarthy is a forecaster at the National Severe Storm Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. His team is responsible for tornado warnings in twister-prone areas, like the Midwest and Central Plains of the U.S., otherwise known as Tornado Alley.

MCCARTHY: As a meteorologist, to see a tornado is really beautiful, as long as you're safely away from it and you can see the whole formation. This whole interaction started to form.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tornado on the ground.


MCMANUS: The interaction Dan is talking about involves the colliding of warm, humid air with either very cold or very hot, dry air, or the dry line. In short, the air starts spinning in a vast circular motion and follows a path straight down to the ground, pulling everything around it into the vortex of air.

LEONARD: They can develop very, very quickly. You could be looking at a very nice sunny, hot day, with almost no clouds in the sky. Twenty minutes later, you could have a violent thunderstorm, which could spawn a tornado out of it within minutes.

MCMANUS: This is what happened on May 3, 1999, when a family of tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma, killing 44 people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a large tornado on the ground. This is tornado number six.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming down right now: a major tornado.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming down, another tornado to the other side of 152.




MCMANUS: On this day, the highest wind speed ever recorded was clocked at 318 miles per hour. The damage was catastrophic. But word was broadcast of the impending threat. And according to McCarthy, it saved lives.

MCCARTHY: If the weather service didn't have the outlook, the watches and warnings in place, a lot more people could have lost their lives.

MCMANUS: During tornadic activity, you have mere seconds to react. The best way to avoid injury is to remember two words: low and inside.

If you're at home or have access to a basement, that's the best place to go. In a school, an interior hallway on the lowest form is your best bet. In an office building, the inner-most stairwell should provide adequate protection. And if you are outside, cover your head and crouch down in the lowest area within reach. Meteorologists say the easiest way to keep safe is to stay informed. After all, isn't knowledge power, too?


WALCOTT: The discovery of water vapor around a dying star is fascinating scientists. Since water is required to sustain life, many astronomers are more convinced than ever that life has existed outside our solar system. Now the water vapor is believed to be coming from a swarm of comets orbiting the dying star.

Ann Kellan takes a closer look at the star and the apocalypse that could eventually befall our own planetary system.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This animation shows the last heated gasps of a dying star, known as CW Leonis, 500 light years from Earth. It is surrounded by what scientists think are thousands of vaporized comets, which are mostly made of water. Where there's water, could there be life? These scientists think maybe, or at the very least, that there could have once been planets orbiting this star, a solar system similar to our own.

GARY MELNICK, NASA: The possibility that liquid water may have existed on one of these bodies bolsters the possibility that a life- sustaining environment did exist outside of our solar system.

KELLAN: Most comets are found in the outreaches of our solar system, and make appearances when they pass close to the sun and start to melt. This, for example, is comet Hale-Bopp. Scientists think comets formed in our solar system before the sun and planets, and even seeded the Earth's oceans with water.

This is the first time scientists have found evidence of comets outside our solar system, thanks in part to a NASA satellite known as SWA, which defects radiation emitted by water vapor in space.

KAREN MEECH, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII: So, the exciting part of this is that now we're seeing comets around another star, we have some verification that our ideas of how solar systems form may be in fact correct and that we are seeing the same process elsewhere in the universe.

KELLAN: Scientists are watching CW Leonis for other reasons too, as a preview of our own sun's inevitable death.

DAVID NEUFELD, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Six billion years from now, the sun will exhaust its supply of hydrogen fuel at the core, expanding and engulfing Mercury. Then actually, detail model show there's a temporary contraction, which is then followed by a second expansion. And as the sun expands, it wreaks havoc far ahead of itself, vaporizing ice way out to the edge of the solar system.

KELLAN: Now that they found this star, scientists expect to find others out there, evens one surrounded by planets similar to our own.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Atlanta.


MCMANUS: War takes a toll in many ways. In "Worldview," we explore the fallout from wars old and continuing. We'll reexamine the Berlin Wall and f ind out how Germany is making new strides in opening its doors. We'll also head to two African hot spots: Rwanda and Burundi. And we spotlight business and the environment as we hang out with some great apes.

WALCOTT: Deep within the African continent lies the landlocked country of Rwanda. Rwanda is a small country. It's made up of just over 10,000 square miles. That's just over 26,000 square kilometers. The tiny nation is known for its turbulent history. Rwanda has been scared by ethnic warfare. The country's two major ethnic groups are the Hutu and Tutsi. Hutus represent the overwhelming majority of the population -- about 90 percent. Ten percent of Rwandans are Tutsis.

Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Hutus and Tutsis have died fighting each other. Their bloody clashes have, for the most part, overshadowed another crucial battle on Rwanda's soil. The country is home to some of the world's great apes, a species that is now facing the threat of extinction. As a result, the United Nations environment program is appealing for $1 million to launch a new initiative to save the apes.

Gary Strieker has details, but we warn you, this story has images some may find disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GARY STRIEKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Rwanda's Volcano National Park, rebel soldiers have shot and killed two rare mountain gorillas. Only about 650 of these animals still exist in the wild, almost surrounded by a civil war that's endangering their survival.

This park official says there are so few gorillas left, losing even one of them is terrible. The threat to the mountain gorilla is only part of a growing catastrophe facing all the great apes in the forests of Africa and Asia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are really confronted with a disaster to great apes. They are simply under the threat of extinction.

STRIEKER: In central and west Africa, lowland gorillas and chimpanzees are threatened by new logging roads penetrating deep into forests that were once inaccessible. Following the roads, bush meat hunters are wiping out entire populations of the apes, driven by growing demand for meat in logging and mining camps and big cities.

In Indonesia, most surviving populations or orangutans face relentless destruction of their forest habitats by catastrophic fires and industrial logging. Conservationists say in the past 10 years, the number of orangutans in the wild has fallen by more than half, and probably fewer than 20,000 now survive.

Experts warn urgent measures are needed to save the great apes. That's the purpose of a new initiative by the United Nations environment program the Great Ape Survival Project. It will focus on efforts to preserve the habitats of the apes in Africa and Asia, starting with an appeal for $1 million to launch the rescue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It must be open. It must be an offer to each and everybody to join us. And I can only underline this three times: Make it our common endeavor.

STRIEKER: The project will give assistance to anti-poaching efforts, conservation education, and ecotourism promotion, but critics say it's a very small effort coming too late in this crisis, and that far greater measures will be needed to stop the extinction of our closest animal relatives.

Gary Strieker, CNN.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Next stop, the African nation of Burundi, one of the most crowded and smallest on the African continent. Most of the people belong to the ethnic group known as the Hutu. The other main group is the Tutsi. Burundi has been embroiled in a brutal civil war since 1993. The conflict has taken more than 200,000 lives in the tiny central African nation.

After long negotiations, the sparring sides have agreed to a transitional government leading to democratic elections. As the nation works toward peace, it's also examining its economy. It's a very poor country with little industry and few minerals and war has taken an added toll as Catherine Bond explains.


CATHERINE BOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven years ago, this Burundian business had a turnover a million U.S. dollars a year.

In 1993, says its owner, Joseph Kikoma, we were already exporting 300 tons of fruit to Europe, mainly to Belgium, Holland and Paris. Then the war began. Mango and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) exports stopped and this changed from a success story to a tale of just how much war hurts African enterprise and employment.

The war is between a mostly Tutsi army and mostly Hutu rebels, but Kikoma says he, a Tutsi, and his Hutu workers get along fine.

"There's absolutely no tension between us," he says. We work very well together. But from 130 workers, he's had to lay off all but 20 because his business has shrunk, surviving only by bottling passion fruit juice for the small domestic market.

His efforts to export fruit again cut short when the Belgian carrier Sabina stopped flying to Burundi after one of its planes was hit by a bullet last December.

Like other Burundian businessmen, Kikoma keeps going. "We try to work, we try to get ahead, we try to survive," he says. But he's desperate for the war to end.

"I wait like everyone, like my compatriots," he says, "in the hope of a political solution."

Catherine Bond, CNN, Bujumbura.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Time for a refresher on German history. Following World War II and the fall of Germany's Nazi Empire, the western European nation lay in ruins. Occupying forces divided the country into West Germany, controlled by the Allies and East Germany, controlled by the Soviets.

Throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, relations between the two Germanys were strained. Little travel was permitted between the two nations. And in 1961, East German police built the ill-famed Berlin Wall to separate Soviet occupied East Berlin from Allied occupied West Berlin. The wall prohibited movement between the two sides. More than 170 people died trying to escape East Berlin. Most killed by border guards.

In 1989, political protests led the East German government to end its restrictions and the wall was torn down, restoring free movement within Germany. Today, the famed country once plagued by travel restrictions and a staunch migration policy is holding its doors open and hanging a big welcome sign.

Bettina Luscher explains. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BETTINA LUSCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a Berlin immigrant neighborhood. With Germany's population expected to shrink by one third over the next half century, economic experts see its economy and social welfare system in danger if the country does not encourage more immigrants. Now a government appointed commission is recommending radical and historic changes in immigration law to do just that.

RAINER MUENZ, MIGRATION EXPERT: Germany would then become the first European country that has an active - a proactive immigration policy.

LUSCHER: The commission recommends Germany allow 50,000 immigrants in the first year. Some could qualify for permanent residency through a Canadian styled system where points are given for their skills. Others could come for jobs where employers have difficulty finding German workers. There will be no limit on the number of world class experts and executives allowed in.

RITA SUESSMUTH, IMMIGRATION COMMISSION: More and more people recognize that we are in a changing situation, that we need people from outside but it's still a difficult learning process.

LUSCHER: Prasana Tuladhur is one of the highly desired immigrants. He came on an experimental program for IT specialists. His employer, a small dot-com, had searched for months for an IT expert in Germany. Then they put an ad on the Internet. Within three weeks, Tuladhur arrived from Nepal.

UWE BRODTMANN, OVIVO MANAGER: He's just as good as a German IT specialist but he was available. That was the major fact about getting him onboard.

LUSCHER: Tuladhur is grateful for the career opportunity but he also knows his contribution is important.

PRASANA TULADHAR, IT SPECIALIST: I think I bring my knowledge and my contribute to German and the economy because I pay taxes. And yeah, that's the main thing.

LUSCHER: There have been experiments with immigration before. In the 1960s, southern Europeans were brought to then West Germany as guest workers. The workers stayed but some have been subject to discrimination and there has been anti-immigrant violence in some cities. Because Germany has a very low birth rate and a lack of highly skilled labor, German industry leaders had wanted 300,000 immigrants admitted every year. But with rampant unemployment in some regions, 17 percent largely of unskilled workers or workers with skills no longer needed, that is a hard sell.

CEM OZDEMIR, GREEN PARTY: We still have to do a lot to tell our citizens that this is not - these are not people who take away jobs, these are people who create jobs. LUSCHER (on camera): With elections planned for next year, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder wants to avoid immigration as a hot campaign topic. He wants all political parties to hammer out a new immigration law before then.

(voice-over): After decades of insisting Germany is not a country of immigrants, German leaders are now looking for ways to invite the immigrants this country urgently needs.

Bettina Luscher, CNN, Berlin.


WALCOTT: A low-fat diet and an increase in exercise could have a tremendous impact on the prevention of Type II or adult onset diabetes. Now a new study found a 58 percent risk reduction among people who ate better and got physical. That number jumped to 71 percent for people 60 years and older.

MCMANUS: And, Shelley, although it's called adult onset diabetes, teenagers are not immune.

CNN's student bureau Sarah Barrett reports on the rise of Type II diabetes in minors.


SARAH BARRETT, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Most kids can't wait to grow up, but for Nigel Estick, coming of age came way too fast. At age 15, he was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, a disease commonly known as adult onset diabetes.

NIGEL ESTICK, DIABETES PATIENT: I've heard about diabetes before but I basically thought it's an old people disease or something my grandmother probably have, you know. Which teenager gets diabetes?

BARRETT (on camera): Recent studies have shown that Type II diabetes is on the rise among American children. In fact, over the last 10 years, there has been a fivefold increase in reported cases. Doctors are blaming lifestyle changes.

DR. WILLIAM DIETZ, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: These include an increased reliance on foods consumed outside the home, increased rates of skipping breakfast, increased consumption of soft drinks, increased consumption of fast foods, reduction in PE classes in schools and elimination of recess in schools.

BARRETT (voice-over): Kids must begin learning how to change their lifestyle, just as Nigel has.

ESTICK: I can't just haphazardly pick something up. I have to check labels, check my calorie intake, my carbohydrate intake. So basically I can still be like the other guys, whatever, but just have to basically watch what I eat and try and do what I have to as a diabetic. BARRETT: Over their lifetimes, diabetics are at increased risk of certain problems, including kidney failure, heart disease, eye complications and nerve degeneration in the arms and legs. These conditions can be avoided by exercising and losing weight.

DR. ROBIN GOLAND, NAOMI BERTNI DIABETES CENTER: Often a child with Type II diabetes needs to follow a reasonable diet plan, needs to focus on reducing inactivity, less time doing sedentary things, more time playing outside.

BARRETT: Nigel is in shape now but he understands no matter what he does, he will always have adult onset diabetes. He does have some grownup advice for his peers: to stay away from junk food and stay fit.

Sarah Barrett, CNN Student Bureau, Atlanta.


MCMANUS: Some good medical news there.

That's all for today.

WALCOTT: We'll see you back here tomorrow. Bye-bye.

MCMANUS: Yes, we will. Bye.

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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