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NEWSROOM for August 16, 2001

Aired August 16, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

HOLLY FIRFER, CO-HOST: Thanks for making NEWSROOM part of your Thursday. I'm Holly Firfer.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Here's what's coming up today.

FIRFER: First, renewed violence in the Middle East and an international push for cease-fire talks. Will the two sides come to the table?

HAYNES: We talk science today in "The Desk."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turn on the lights in the kitchen.


HAYNES: Could this be the house of the future?

FIRFER: "Worldview" heads to Indonesia. What's threatening these rare wild animals and is anything being done about it?

HAYNES: Then in "Chronicle," tobacco companies were supposed to stop, so why are kids still the target of tobacco ads?

We begin with the escalating tensions in the Middle East. Several recent suicide bombings and shootings have taken lives and left many fearing for their safety. One attack last Thursday at a Jerusalem pizza restaurant killed 15 people. More clashes broke out earlier this week at this security checkpoint. Israeli troops fired tear gas to break up a crowd of young, angry Palestinians. International leaders have been calling on both sides to stop the violence. Tuesday, Israeli troops and tanks surrounded several villages in the Bethlehem area. As of Wednesday night, those troops were staying put.

Mike Hanna has details on the latest standoff.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The guns are aimed but they're not firing, Israeli tanks remain in position on the outskirts of Jerusalem, physical evidence of an Israeli threat to move into the Palestinian-controlled area of Beit Jala. This, after intense exchanges of fire Tuesday between Palestinian gunman in Beit Jala and Israeli forces in the nearby Jewish neighborhood of Gilo, built on land occupied by Israel in 1967.

Israeli Defense Force sources had indicated a full-scale incursion into the Beit Jala area was imminent. However, for the first time in weeks, diplomatic moves behind the scenes bore fruit, Israel suspended its planned operation after talks involving, among others, the European Union.

MIGUEL MORATINOS, E.U. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY: We use our involvement in this part of the -- of the area in order to guarantee that there will be no shooting from Beit Jala. We succeed. The Palestinian has stopped their -- the firing, and we succeed also that Israeli IDF have now (INAUDIBLE) and enter in this part of the Palestinian territory.

SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: I think the moment the Palestinians decided to stop the fire there was no need for a (INAUDIBLE) intervention. And I'm glad that the fire has been stopped and the intervention became unnecessary.

HANNA: Made public Wednesday the fact that Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat had been involved in dialog, direct or indirect, with Shimon Peres.

MORATINOS: Both of them confirming his willingness to start as soon as possible a dialog to start to resume talks in order to get out of this crisis.

HANNA: The tanks remain ready and the Israeli government says they will be deployed in Palestinian territory if there's further shooting on the Gilo neighborhood.

(on camera): But this is still a rare occasion in which dialog has a positive effect on the ground. Significant, too, that this happens mere days after Ariel Sharon gave his foreign minister permission to talk to Palestinian leaders about implementing the cease-fire.

Mike Hanna, CNN, Jerusalem.


FIRFER: We move on now to another nation all too familiar with violent conflict: Macedonia. Wednesday, NATO authorized the deployment of a small Vanguard unit (ph) of 400 troops to the Balkan nation. A 3,500-member military mission is expected to follow to help pave the way for peace. Despite a cease-fire, there still is sporadic violence in the region. Fighting broke out between insurgence and government forces in several villages this week.

In a rare visit to a guerilla training camp, Walter Rodgers talked with some of the people on the front lines about the prospects for peace.


WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ethnic Albanian guerrillas shout for freedom and country. For this we will die, they yell, still maintaining their edge just in case war flares up again in Macedonia. The guerrillas eagerly await the arrival of NATO forces, even though they say they have whipped the Macedonian army. Still, in the words of this guerrilla commander, "Thank God it's over."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's enough (INAUDIBLE) kill (INAUDIBLE). That's enough. He doesn't need any more to kill.

RODGERS: Although some dissident guerrillas say they will fight on, these National Liberation Army fighters say they are ready for NATO.

"If the Macedonian government honors the peace agreement it signed, we will disarm," this fighter said.

"We don't need our guns," this Albanian teenager told us, but he added, "if we don't get our rights, we can get guns again."

We fight in the name of God, remains their battle cry. Adding, don't worry, mother, your son is in the Uchicob (ph), the National Liberation army. This, even as they prepare to disarm.

In these remote villages in northern Macedonia, the guerrillas enjoy widespread logistical support from civilians. Western military analysts say there is no shortage of ethnic Albanian volunteers from this boy with a toy gun to 11 and 12-year-olds we saw with the real things.

In their hideaways, guerrilla leaders listen as the Macedonian government television still describes them as terrorists, despite a peace agreement and a promise of amnesty.

"Amnesty is important to us so we won't be prosecuted," this guerrilla leader told us.

What has he learned?

"Sometimes," he said, "peace has to be achieved with guns. It took a war to win what we won," he concluded.

(on camera): The fighters and ethnic Albanians in these mountaintop villages remain anxious. They say they're not going to get a good night's sleep until NATO forces actually arrive. That's why they say they're only going to turn in their guns in three stages, not all at once. And the suspicions are just as deep on the other side.

(voice-over): Vlado Buchkovsky is the Macedonian Defense Minister.

VLADO BUCHKOVSKY, MACEDONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): This is just the beginning, the defense minister said, and I am convinced there will be some others who will use force and force will be used against them.

RODGERS: The Macedonian government does not lack force but its army has been driven out of the mountains. The ethnic Albanian guerrillas have plenty of fight left in them, too. What's still lacking is good faith.

"Never trust Macedonians," he said.

This is what NATO faces when it comes to disarm the guerrillas.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, in the mountains of Macedonia.


HAYNES: Well, as you know, the home computer generation all started with Pong, a simple video game which consisted of knocking a small digital blip from one side of the screen to the other. The technology quickly morphed from entertainment consoles to the personal computers we have today. One company in England has decided to take the computer technology we use for amusement and searching the Internet to a whole new level. What if you could start the air conditioning, draw a bath and turn on the lights all via a computer? Well, check out a house of the future.


ALLARD BEUTEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This three- bedroom house north of London is actually an experimental research station. British mobile phone company Orange is using it to test technologies for the home of the future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turn on the lights in the kitchen.

BEUTEL: Appliances, door locks, lighting, heating, curtains -- just about everything is remote-controlled, either voice activated or by computer. Solar panels help supply power and hot water throughout the building. And speaking of water, the house will even draw you a bath.


BEUTEL: But do average people really want all these high-tech gizmos connected together in their home of the future? That's what Orange is trying to find out, whether people use or don't use these technologies.

JOHN CARTER, PROJECT MANAGER, ORANGE: What Orange is trying to do here is actually understand more about how consumers use technology at the home. This is a research initiative, and we have families living in this house for periods of time. We want to see how they use the different sort of connecting services, when all their appliances and devices are connected.

BEUTEL: Orange estimates these kinds of technologies, at least the ones people want, could start being installed in your home within the next 10 years.

Allard Beutel, CNN.


FIRFER: We head underwater to the jungle and to the golf course in "Worldview" today. Go on an elephant patrol in Indonesia, hear from some Tiger wannabes in Thailand and take a dive in Papua New Guinea.

HAYNES: First off, let's locate Papua New Guinea on the map. It sits just north of Australia in the western Pacific Ocean. It shares part of an island with Irianjia, an Indonesian province. Settlers inhabited what is now Papua New Guinea tens of thousands of years ago. You could now consider it a melting pot of diverse people and cultures. For tourists, the region can offer a diverse travel experience, from hiking in the highlands to discovering what lies beneath the waters that surround the island.

Stephanie Oswald gives us an up close look at some of the coral reefs in the ocean off Papua New Guinea.


STEPHANIE OSWALD, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice-over): There are few places in the world where on one dive you're mesmerized by the smallness of a sea horse then a few minutes later find yourself swimming alongside a 35 foot long whale shark. What is rare on other dive trips is commonplace here -- sightings of sharks, sting rays, turtles and immense schools of colorful fish and even stranger creatures such as a manta shrimp or octopus hiding in rocks. All of this underwater beauty is just outside your bedroom door when you vacation on a live aboard dive boat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Julian's Reef, superb, world-class diving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The main attraction of live-aboards to us was you get to dive much more frequently than you can on land. On this boat, it's fantastic. You dive three, four, five times a day and everything is done for you. Your kit is always ready. You can jump in the water, into the sea whenever the boat stops.

OSWALD: On this 12-day adventure, Captain Craig De Wit and 10 experienced divers take an underwater tour of Papua, New Guinea from the northern coast of Madang to the southern dive sites off Milne Bay.

CRAIG DE WIT, OWNER, MV GOLDEN DAWN: We like to try and provide an excitement with the adventure side of things and PNG is a perfect place to do it because there's so many opportunities, so many places that have never been explored. So it really is the right place to do what I call adventure diving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This place is considered the world class destination basically because you go to the Caribbean, just for an example, maybe you'll have 80 species of coral. You get over to Hawaii, you're up to a couple hundred. You get around here, you might be up to 1,500 to 2,000 species.

OSWALD: Back on the boat, it's time to wind down and relax. Between dives, Golden Dawn chef Deborah Kolb serves up home cooked meals made of fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables purchased from the local villages.

Accommodations on the boat are small, but cozy, and come with another live aboard perk, the ocean rocks you to sleep as you lie in anticipation of tomorrow's discoveries.

Stephanie Oswald, CNN, Loloa Ota island, Papua New Guinea.


HAYNES: And a lot more discovery beneath the sea coming next season on CNN NEWSROOM as we present "Going to Great Depths." We'll uncover some of the latest technology being used to explore the ocean, how some of that technology is advancing human medicine and you'll meet famed undersea explorer Sylvia Earl (ph) as she explores what lies beneath the Gulf of Mexico.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: In "Worldview" we head to a country that's been making news a lot lately: Indonesia. Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia and is comprised entirely of islands, more than 13,500 of them, actually. Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world and it's an extremely diverse population at that. The people belong to about 300 different ethnic groups and speak more than 250 languages.

Indonesia also has the world's largest Muslim population since most Indonesians practice Islam. Indonesia is rich in natural resources and is one of the world's leading rice producers. Lush tropical forests cover about two-thirds of Indonesia and house all sorts of rare plants and animals like rhinos, tigers and elephants.

Karuna Shinsho has more on Indonesia's biggest inhabitant.


KARUNA SHINSHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Gunung Leuser National Park in northern Sumatra encompasses nearly 2.5 million hectares of tropical rainforest. It's said to be the only place on earth where the orangutan, rhinoceros, elephant and tiger are found living together.

But the park and its rare animals are under threat. In recent years, human encroachment around the park boundaries has resulted in massive land clearing, illegal logging and poaching within the park itself.

The population of Sumatran elephants has plummeted to less than 600, and researchers believe the orangutan here could disappear in 10 years. But five endangered Sumatran elephants and their handlers are working to change that. Set up two years ago by the Indonesian government and the European Union, the so-called "elephant patrol" has become an effective unit in fighting illegal logging and preserving the elephants' natural habitat.

BADRUN IFRAN, ELEPHANT PATROL UNIT (through translator): The elephant patrol unit is very effective to stop poaching and illegal logging because we can go to the location itself. We can easily confiscate and destroy the ill-gotten logs. We also feel much safer being on the elephants because many people are still afraid of them.

SINSHO: National park authorities say they're frustrated that they haven't been able to prosecute those behind the illegal logging, but they say the patrol unit is making a difference.

MIKE GRIFFITHS, LEUSER DEVELOPMENT PROJECT: When we started two years ago, there was logging right up the (inaudible) river. Now it is almost completely stopped, and a lot of that is due purely to the efforts of this unique elephant patrol unit. And in some sort of paradoxical way, we can say that the elephants here, the tame elephants are actually doing their bit to protect the wild elephants.

SHINSHO: It is no easy feat. The elephants and their handlers work long hours in oppressive heat in some of the world's toughest terrain. But it's all for a worthy cause, and after day of hard work the elephants can also look forward to reward - a cool bath and a good scrub.


HAYNES: Who hasn't heard of Tiger Woods? Even before his pro golfing career began five years ago, it seems he was already a household name and his spectacular list of accomplishments since then has only added to his fame. At age 24, he's become the youngest player ever to win pro golf's Grand Slam -- all four major championships. He's an especially big hit in Thailand, the country where his mother was born. It's a place that hasn't had many world class athletes to cheer about so it's no wonder a generation of kids there are growing up wanting to be like Tiger.

John Raedler reports.


JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not a bad drive, especially for a four and 1/2-year-old. Amarun (ph) is one of thousands of Thai kids caught up in a golf craze inspired by one man.

"I want to be like Tiger," he says. When we ask him why, he answers: because he drives very long. And so does Amarun (ph), for his age.

He competed in his first tournament for golf tots last month and won. His father says, when Amarun (ph) not playing golf, he is watching it.

American-born Tony Meechai runs golf schools in Thailand and encounters Tiger-mania every day.

TONY MEECHAI, GOLF TEACHER: It makes my job so much easier when I say, OK, anybody know Tiger Woods? Boom. Anybody want to be Tiger Woods? Boom.

RAEDLER: Pound for pound, the best golfer in Tony's school might be Oerin (ph), two years and 11 months. They say he has a natural swing and when he hits the ball, it stays hit.

We ask him what he knows about Tiger. "He hits," he tells us.

"He hits it big." To Oerin (ph), that's a great joke.


8-year-old Pampropan (ph) works on his short game. He, too, inspired by one man.

PAMPRPAN (PH): Tiger Wood.

RAEDLER: All these Thai-tikes practicing to be the next Tiger.

John Raedler, CNN, Bangkok.


HAYNES: For most kids in the U.S. the upcoming fall season means back to school, but some kids have been in school throughout the whole summer.

Ron Brownstein talked with a supervisor and advocate of year- round schooling. Here's what he had to say.


RON BROWNSTEIN, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": It's summertime, and for most kids the living is easy. Don't tell it to the kids here in Chicago. This summer, over 140,000 kids in the Windy City are spending part of their day in a classroom, wading through reading, long division and fractions while their friends are diving into the pool or the lake.


BROWNSTEIN: It's the nation's most ambitious effort to use the summer months to help struggling students get back on track.

ARNE DUNCAN, CEO, CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Who wants to be on my team?


DUNCAN: I'll get the two little fellows.

BROWNSTEIN: The man at the helm is 36-year-old Arne Duncan, Mayor Richard Daley's surprise choice this summer to head the massive Chicago public school system.

DUNCAN: Good shot. Give me some. Good shot. BROWNSTEIN: Duncan has been a tutor, the school system's deputy chief of staff, and a professional basketball player in Australia. Now he's at ground zero of the search for the new ways to make the public schools work 12 months a year.

(on camera): You have almost half of your 430,000 kids in some sort of a summer school. Why such a big commitment to keeping schools -- kids in school in the summer?

DUNCAN: I think it's something that, you know, clearly is not just an issue here but throughout the country that -- and urban areas especially that the -- agrarian economy is a thing of the past.

And I grew up as part -- my mother has run an after-school program for the past 40 years. I grew up being a part of that, you know -- you know, seven days a week, 52 days -- 52 weeks a year, and I think all of our kids need the opportunity to learn and to grow, you know, 11, 12 months out of the year.

I think it's just a -- a very different -- you know, different age, different era.

Let's head inside.

BROWNSTEIN: Mr. Duncan, your efforts to end social promotion here in Chicago really are one of the most dramatic examples in the country of high-stakes testing. There's a backlash developing in some parts of the country against tests with these kinds of consequences. Are you at all reconsidering pinning so much on one exam for these students?

DUNCAN: Our goal is to help our kids fulfill their tremendous potential, and I've seen throughout my life working in very, very difficult neighborhoods how much, you know, the potential these kids have when given real opportunities to succeed.

And I've seen kids from -- you know, again, from very, you know, disadvantaged, you know, communities do very well on these tests. I have friends who grew up in those areas who are now brain surgeons, so -- you know, who are now leading educators. They did well on tests.

I don't think we just -- you know, we shouldn't make excuses. We shouldn't lower the bar, and we definitely shouldn't exempt our kids from those things that they're going to have to do well on in order to fulfill their dreams. It's absolutely counter-intuitive.

BROWNSTEIN: As you know, they're trying to finish up the education bill in Washington, and really the biggest dispute at this point is how do you determine what is a failing school. Is it realistic to set the same bar for urban schools as you do for suburban schools?

DUNCAN: Right. It absolutely is and, again, I -- to make excuses or not expect the high standards or have the highest expectations for our students or for our schools handicaps them -- we have tremendous pockets of excellence in the heart of the inner city, south side of Chicago, west side of the city.

What we need to do is replicate it, grow upon some just tremendously strong models of schools, of principal leadership, of teachers that exist here within our system.

BROWNSTEIN: I was saying, as part of this debate in Washington, they're envisioning that when schools are deemed to be failing, there's going to be massive intervention in them, you know, removing the principals and the teachers in some cases, bringing in an entirely new staff. How difficult is it to really turn around a school in that way?

DUNCAN: I think that's the greatest challenge of -- in urban America, of how do we turn around, you know, difficult, you know, schools you know, the -- primarily in inner-city communities. Progress is never going to be linear.

My challenge is -- you know, I would love to have test scores improve every year. That's not realistic, you know, for me to say that. That's not realistic for the CEO of any, you know, company to say to their stockholders or their shareholders the profit's going to grow, you know, each year incrementally.

My challenge is to put in place the building blocks, the strategy, the plans, the infrastructure that long term will help us succeed and help us grow. That's what I should be judged on, and that's my job.

BROWNSTEIN: Arne Duncan, thank you.

DUNCAN: Oh, thanks so much. I appreciate it.


FIRFER: Here's a fact that might seem unbelievable but it's true. According to U.S. health officials, five million kids who are alive today will die young because they have chosen to smoke cigarettes at an early age. That is why tobacco companies promised to quit targeting teens. But have they gone back on their promise?

Jason Carroll reports.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's one of the first things you see, whether it's a magazine about the latest beat, beauty or brawn. It's ads for Winston, Kool or Camel.

KANASHAWN: It's sort of hard to get away from it, you know? It's everywhere.

CARROLL: Katelin Kanashawn (ph) sees them whether she's reading about the latest teen sensation or sports craze. She's 16 years old, and much to her father's disappointment, a smoker since 14.

MR. KANASHAWN: Her sister doesn't smoke but she does and... KANASHAWN: She does, too, smoke. She does too.


KANASHAWN: She does, too.

MR. KANASHAWN: Well, we're not going to have an argument on TV.

CARROLL: The Kanashawns also won't argue the conclusions of a new study in the "New England Journal of Medicine." Researchers found tobacco companies are still targeting teenagers.

(on camera): That despite a settlement the tobacco industry reached with the states back in 1998 where they agreed to stop marketing to teens directly or indirectly.

DR. MICHAEL SIEGAL, BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Contrary to what the tobacco companies are saying, this study demonstrates that their behavior has not changed.

CARROLL (voice-over): The study analyzed the amount of money cigarette companies spent in youth oriented magazines. In 1995, $56 million; '98, the year of the settlement, an increase to $58 million; '99, up again to $67 million; and last year, almost $60 million.

MATT MYERS, NATIONAL CENTER FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS: What it means is that despite the hopes from the master settlement agreement in 1998, our kids continue to be bombarded by tobacco advertisements.

CARROLL: A vice president of tobacco giant Philip Morris says since the settlement their company pulled cigarette ads from 50 national magazines. But the study shows companies like Philip Morris still advertise in adult magazines with high youth readership.

ELLEN MERLO, PHILIP MORRIS: We would welcome working with others to establish some sort of a standard for choosing advertising that everyone could adhere to.

CARROLL: Whether or not an advertising standard is reached, the tobacco companies could end up back in court.

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL: They are breaking a pact, a promise, an agreement, and we can sue based on that agreement if, as the evidence seems to show very, very clearly, they are breaking their word.

CARROLL: Katelin hopes some day soon she can break her habit.

KANASHAWN: It's going to be hard and I know I'm going to quit at some point. I don't want to go my whole life smoking because I've seen the effects.

CARROLL: Something, she points out, you're not likely to see in a cigarette ad.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)

FIRFER: Some magazines have responded to the newest study, including a group owned by AOL Time Warner, the same parent company that owns CNN. Time Incorporated said, "We are not legally restrained from accepting tobacco ads... The majority of our readers are adults, the magazines are written for adults and our readers are mature enough to make decisions on legal products that are advertised in our pages."

HAYNES: And that is CNN NEWSROOM for Thursday.

FIRFER: Join us tomorrow for a special CNN NEWSROOM: Children of War.

HAYNES: We'll see you then.

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