Skip to main content /transcript



NEWSROOM for September 4, 2001>

Aired September 4, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Here is the lineup for Tuesday, September 4. First up, beachgoers on shark alert. Is the hysteria just hype?

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Then boot camps, a troubled teens last hope or the last place they need to be? That debate tops "Health Desk."

WALCOTT: Then, have your passport ready, "Worldview" is headed to Cuba. Get a taste of art and economics.

HAYNES: And we end up with a beginning as we "Chronicle" the first few days of a college freshman.

WALCOTT: Hi, everybody, I'm Shelley Walcott.

HAYNES: And I'm Tom Haynes. We have lots of news to report for you guys. The U.N. Conference on Racism is going on right now in South Africa and I'll tell you all about it just a little bit later.

Now, Shelley has our "Top Story."

WALCOTT: Thanks, Tom.

Our first story finds us fighting fear at a place usually associated with fun. Summer's final holiday weekend ended in tragedy for one Richmond, Virginia family. Ten-year-old David Peltier died after being attacked by a shark off Virginia Beach Saturday. He had been surfing with his father and brothers when he was bitten in about four feet of water.

Shark attacks like this one have created a climate of fear. Is it justified? John Zarrella reports.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three times a day, visitors gather half a dozen deep along Shark Channel at the Miami Seaquarium.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nurse sharks are not considered to be aggressive or man-eaters. ZARRELLA: The shark-feeding show has always been hugely popular. But not since "Jaws" was making a splash has the show drawn such crowds. Steely-eyed sharks, their cold stare have always fascinated and frightened people. But this summer has been different.

SAM GRUBER, MARINE BIOLOGIST: This is the summer of the shark hype, not the summer of shark.

ZARRELLA: Sam Gruber, marine biologist, is considered one of the top experts on sharks. Gruber says the real feeding frenzy has been by the media, not the sharks. And it all started because the story of Jessie Arbogast was so compelling.

GRUBER: Because sharks have this inappropriate media image, this image of the death fish from hell, that fear was played upon by the media. And then when there was another similar incident in the Bahamas, well, all hell broke loose.

ZARRELLA: Everywhere you turn, sharks are the cover story. And since covers sell, sharks on the cover or petrified people are good for slow summer sales. One supermarket tabloid even found a way to tie Fidel Castro to the summer shark attacks. But did the mainstream media too blatantly disregard the reality of a much bigger picture?

(on camera): This summer's all-too real attacks, including the weekend death of a boy in Virginia Beach, may appear frequent. But those who keep tabs on shark bites say, if anything, the numbers this year are down.

(voice-over): According to International Shark File, there were 79 shark attacks worldwide last year. This year, there have been 49, 28 of them in Florida. Many are surfers who disregard warnings.

JOHN DEAN, SURFER: I've been surfing so many years. And it's a pretty strong part of my life. So I'm not going to give that up.

ZARRELLA: Despite the hype, it's not the sharks that worry Florida's tourism-conscience governor.

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I think recession is in other parts of the country will impact tourism a lot more.

ZARRELLA: In fact, state tourism officials say they have gotten hundreds of calls from reporters, but only one from a concerned tourist.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


WALCOTT: Shark experts say dogs, snakes, even deer injure or claim more human lives each year than sharks do. Still, if you're planning on swimming in the ocean, there are precautions you should consider. Swim in groups during the daytime. Avoid swimming in murky water or when visibility is low such as dusk and dawn. Don't wear shiny bathing suits or jewelry. Sharks may see a flash and assume it's a fish.

Let's revisit a story from earlier this summer. It's about shark dives, excursions which bring people close enough to feed sharks. These dives have ignited controversy among advocacy groups in some Florida communities.

Mark Potter explains.


MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): About a half-mile off shore, near Pompano Beach, Florida, nurse sharks gather for their regular feeding. They are not in captivity. Above them, on the "Coral Princess," scuba divers and snorkelers of all ages are getting ready to jump in, having signed on for a shark encounter.

They have been warned not to act in a threatening manner toward the sharks. As the divers gather nearly 20 feet below the surface, the dive master holds out a feeding tube filled with pieces of fish, and brings the sharks close by. They swim all around the divers, but do not harm them. By feeding docile nurse sharks, the dive company hopes to convince its customers that not all sharks are bad.

JEFF TORODE, SOUTH FLORIDA DIVING HEADQUARTERS: We're trying to educate people about sharks, trying to break down some of the misconceptions and de mystify these animals that Hollywood has produced over 25 years of film making.

POTTER: Returning to the boat, divers said they enjoyed the close encounter.

LISA DAIBES, SCUBA DIVER: I think it's a good thing. I think because now these people, myself, will see they're not man-eaters. They're not killers and they shouldn't be slaughtered.

POTTER (on camera): But, back on land there are concerns about whether this activity draws sharks close to shore, and increases the likelihood of an attack.

(voice-over): A Florida advocacy group argues that swimmers and divers along the coast could be at risk.

ROBERT DIMOND, MARINE SAFETY GROUP: What these people are doing is willfully and purposely teaching sharks to lose their natural fear of humans and to approach humans, all humans, investigating to see if these humans have food.

POTTER: Opponents say they also don't buy the idea that shark feeding trips are instructional.

DIMOND: We don't believe there is any educational value ever in changing the natural behavior of a wild animal.

POTTER: But, dive operators in Broward County say there is no harm in feeding sharks offshore, particularly nurse sharks. TORODE: We haven't had a shark attack in Broward County in 10 years. This by the shark attack statistics is the safest area there is in Florida. It's funny that the shark dives take place here.

POTTER: Some local communities, though have expressed concerns about the potential hazard. But, after holding hearings, the state of Florida refused to ban shark-feeding dive trips.

Mark Potter, CNN, Pompano Beach, Florida.


HAYNES: In other headlines today, the United Nation's Conference on Racism continues in South Africa minus two. The United States and Israel have pulled out of the proceedings. This, after disagreement over some of the language in the conference's final declaration, language that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says is critical towards Israel. He says -- quote -- "I know that you do not combat racism by conferences that produce declarations containing hateful language, some of which is a throwback to the days of Zionism equals racism; or supports the idea that we have made too much of the holocaust; or suggests that apartheid exists in Israel; or that singles out only one country in the world, Israel, for censure and abuse" -- end quote.

Well, the controversy surrounding Israel is just part of what's being addressed. Margaret Lowrie reports on some of the other issues facing the conference.


MARGARET LOWRIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): European countries attending the anti-racism conference in Durban are divided over whether to apologize for the trans-Atlantic slave trade. France and Germany, backed by Belgium, which currently holds the European Union presidency, are said to back the idea of an apology and perhaps increased financial aid for some African states as a way to make amends.

MIKE DOTTRIDGE, ANTI-SLAVERY INTERNATIONAL: Of course there's a major issue here, the European states which are most resistant to saying sorry are those that had the deepest involvement.

LOWRIE: Britain and some of the other countries, in particular Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands that supplied traders and ships that took captive Africans to North and South American shores, fear the legal consequences of a strongly worded apology. Officials are concerned an apology opens up uncharted legal territory and the potential for a flood of lawsuits.

(on camera): The British government basically says we're not responsible for what happened more than a century ago, that as horrible as slavery was, modern day Britain should not be made to pay for the sins of its fathers.

LOWRIE (voice-over): Germany, in fact, has already taken some responsibility. Last week, it formally asked forgiveness for any wrongs it committed while a colonial power in Africa in the years before World War I. The German Foreign Minister said recognition of guilt for slavery and colonialism would restore to the victims and their descendants the dignity of which they were robbed.

DOTTRIDGE: Some people argue that once the victims are dead the problem has gone away, but in practice, the phenomenon of slavery leaves its trace for generations.

LOWRIE: Even though that proponent of reparations acknowledges it's unlikely the Durban conference will end up with a clearly worded apology, he still believes it is an historical step forward, an important chapter in the ongoing debates that come to terms with history and the legacy of slavery and colonialism and how best to address it.

Margaret Lowrie, CNN, London.


WALCOTT: Fall in line for our "Health Desk" today. The problem of juvenile crime is one often debated by parents, politicians and law enforcement officials. One avenue for rehabilitation and punishment is the youth boot camp. Now in the U.S. there are 53 publicly funded camps, but is the idea a good one?

Ed Lavandera takes us for an inside look.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sergeant David Cruel is about to unleash...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're on my time now!

LAVANDERA: ... a roar of discipline. It's 5:00 in the morning and the start of a long day for 19 juvenile offenders at a Panama City, Florida boot camp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will break them down, physically and mentally.

You can run, you can run!

And then try to build them up by telling them how well they're doing.

Back straight. Back straight! You can get up!

LAVANDERA: This boot camp is the last chance for troubled teenagers. They're young, multiple offenders on the verge of hard- core prison time.

CAPT. MICHAEL THOMPSON, BOOT CAMP SUPERVISOR: They can easily be adjudicated in the state of Florida at the age of 14 and sent to prison. These programs are in place to keep them from going to that environment.

LAVANDERA: This camp claims 2/3 of juveniles released do not commit a crime within a year, but a federal government study shows boot camps have little impact. And now a series of high-profile incidents have put camps across the country under intense scrutiny.

Fourteen-year-old Tony Haynes passed out during an exercise drill in a privately-run Arizona boot camp. He had been throwing up mud and eventually died.

GOV. JANE DEE HULL, ARIZONA: I think it is important that we have some sort of regulation and oversight and education of parents for these, before parents send their kids out there.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Juvenile boot camps started in the mid 1980's. Because of its get-tough image, the camps became very popular and started popping up all over the country. But in recent years, bad publicity and questions of effectiveness have forced some states, like Maryland and Georgia, to shut down its boot camps.

ORLANDO MARTINEZ, GA. JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM: I have yet to have seen a study that would show the boot camps are effective.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Orlando Martinez oversees Georgia's juvenile justice system. He shut down the state's boot camps. He found the culture disturbing.

MARTINEZ: And it does promote and breed situations where staff can be very abusive to kids under the guise of treatment.

LAVANDERA: Critics also say boot camps are unable to help offenders with mental or learning disorders, and of the kids who do qualify, many wind up back where they started. Like this 14-year- old...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I got over here, I about peed my pants.

LAVANDERA: The boy was doing drugs by the age of 6. He is in a boot camp now because he assaulted a school board member. He's about to leave the camp and return to the same neighborhood where trouble found him. But the young offender is optimistic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think this camp saved you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, yes, sir! Sir, I would probably have been in jail by now, sir.

LAVANDERA: It costs lots of money to run a boot camp, and success isn't guaranteed.

THOMPSON: You can give these children anything they need to succeed, but if they don't take it, there's nothing their parents are going to be able to do and nothing we're going to be able to do.

LAVANDERA: There are plenty of loud voices debating the future of boot camps. It's a fight over the best way of saving a child. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Panama City, Florida.


WALCOTT: In "Health Desk Extra" today, a major breakthrough in stem cell research. Scientists in the U.S. have figured out how to turn human embryonic stem cells into blood cells. It's a key step towards creating blood supplies for medical treatments like transfusions or transplants. There has been a lot of well-publicized debate about stem cell research lately. Because stem cells are derived from human embryos, opponents say the research destroys human life.

HAYNES: A cornucopia of things Cuban in "Worldview" today. We look at the communist island nation and its economy, culture and more. Meet an athlete making waves around the world and brush up on Cuban art, plus learn about the new focus on tourism there.

Cuba is the largest island in the West Indies and is known as one of the most beautiful, but its beauty masks a complicated political past. The country's ruler, Fidel Castro, came to power in 1959 after overthrowing the preceding military dictatorship. He made Cuba the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere and became famous for his fiery anti-American speeches. Castro's government has supported a number of revolutionary movements and the seizure of property belonging to foreign countries.

During his rule, Cuba has had strained relations with the U.S., its neighbor 90 miles to the north. From 1900 to 1960, the U.S. was Cuba's main trading partner. Cuban trade then shifted to the communist block, but the collapse of communism soon left Cuba in search of new trading partners. Today, Cuba's economy is supported by products such as sugar cane, coffee and cigars, but Cuba has found a new niche and is gaining an economic foothold.

Lucia Newman explains.


LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cuban chefs preparing Japanese food for European and Canadian tourists. Our waiter serves snacks to overseas guests on white sandy beaches. Not so long ago, many of these Cuban hotel employees were cutting sugar cane. In Holguin Province, where sugar cane fields once dominated the horizon, modern apartment complexes are springing up as housing for the thousands of farmers who have abandoned the fields to work in Cuba's new national treasure: tourism.

The government is opening up new hotels in and joint ventures with overseas firms all along Cuba's northeastern coast. No longer is tourism limited to Varadero Beach and Havana, on the western side of the island.

KEES AERTS, RESORT MANAGER: Tourism in Varadero is very well known, with long years of tradition and history, but the future will be in the countryside, where it is unspoiled, with beautiful beaches. NEWMAN: Tourists see other advantages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cost is an issue. It's less expensive. And it's all natural; what you see here is what you get.

NEWMAN: For as long as anyone can remember, Cuba's economy depended on its sugar harvest. But in the early '90s, the collapse of Soviet subsidies to the communist island made the already inefficient sugar industry plummet. Rather than keep betting on a losing horse, the government turned to tourism, as a lifeline.

Today, overseas visitors generate more than 40 percent of Cuba's income. And although the island is still off limits to the nearby Americans, nearly two million tourists are expected here this year -- sweet news for a country that's going sour on sugar.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Holguin, Cuba.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More from Cuba as we turn to the world of the arts. The government is a big supporter of the arts and even sponsors free ballets and plays. Cuban music is famous around the world. Its rhythms often include instruments such as castanets, maracas and bongo drums. Did you know that Cuban music has inspired a number of dances? For example, the Cha Cha, the Mambo, Rumba and Cuban Bolero. Cuban paintings are known for their strong colors.

Lucia Newman returns to take us behind the canvas to meet one acclaimed painter who gets some of his inspiration and influence from Nigeria.


LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice-over): His paintings are often described as magical. The forms and colors inspired by Manuel Denoive's Afro-Cuban root had made this Cuban artist's work unique. Figures that fly with their minds: Chango, the deity of masculinity represented as a phallic symbol by the royal palm tree; Eligua (ph), represented by a little brown figure. Every color, shape and animal symbolic of something in the Afro-Cuban culture and especially the Yoruba religion, which came to Cuba from Nigeria.

"It's true," says Denoive, "I'm knowledgeable about all these rights. I'm religious. And through my philosophy, I tell my stories."

Stories such as the guabina (ph), a fish linked to the goddess Achune (ph).

"The guabinas (ph) live in the river and they're happy," says Denoive, "although unfortunately, they're becoming extinct. And they're in the river when this flying character takes them away in its dreams. So that they won't be lost and can live until eternity."

Denoive who grew up in Havana now lives in a countryside paradise that he created in a mirror image of his inspirations. He surrounded himself by the fish, the birds and other animals that are recurrent subjects in his art because he says he wants to come closer to the things he dreams of.

Denoive's works have been exhibited throughout Latin America, the United States and Europe. The largest private collection of his paintings in fact is owned by Danielle Mitterand, widow of the former French president.

While his latest collection tours Spain, Denoive is off to Africa for new inspiration.

"That's where my ancestors come from," he says, "from Nigeria. We are the Uruba (ph) and that's where I want to be, where I can be near the temples of the Gods and feed my mind, which is still hungry."

Considered one of Cuba's best contemporary painters, Denoive hates the label of Afro-Cuban artist, describing himself instead as a Cuban with African influence but with a message for the whole world.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Havana.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From art to sports, another Cuban interest. Cubans are avid sports fans. Baseball, one of their most popular pastimes, arrived on the island back in the late 1800s. But Cubans also enjoy a wide variety of sports. For example, soccer, track and field and boxing and swimming has quite a following as well.

Here, once again, Lucia Newman, this time with a report on a world record holding diver.


LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surrounded by a group of divers and two judges from the International Association for Development of Apnea, Deborah Andollo prepare to break her 14th world record for free immersion. Two minutes and 36 seconds later, the 35- year-old Cuban emerged victorious, having descended 74 meters and back without oxygen or the assistance of fins or any other means of propulsion.

Andollo was jubilant after achieving her first absolute world record. Having surpassed not only the women's record but also the men's previous best of 73 meters.

"I'm very happy," she said, "because I must tell you that my life's dream was to beat the men."

Andollo, who's a national hero in her home country, was greeted as such after the dive on Cuban's Island of Youth (ph). This sport is dangerous. Free divers can suffer severe blackouts under water because of miscalculations, something that Andollo experienced herself in her previous unsuccessful world record attempt, but that hasn't daunted her. "Now I'll have to face new deeper dives," she says. "In other words, despite this new success, I can't stop here. I still have a long way to go."

NEWMAN: And the Cuban athlete seems to be in a hurry. She starts training to try and break another world record in Italy in September.


HAYNES: Well last week we looked at some of the trials and triumphs involved in the start of a new school year, particularly the start of the college freshmen's first semester.

WALCOTT: That's right. From new freedoms to new responsibilities, college freshmen have a lot to deal with. Here's a look at how things are going for some young adults reaching out for that higher education.


ASHLEY MAHONEY, COLLEGE STUDENT (voice-over): My name is Ashley Mahoney. I am a freshman at Ball State University. And I'm from Marietta, Georgia. I chose Ball State because it had one of the top ten musical theater schools in the nation and I wanted to do musical theater. It's always been something that I really enjoyed.


MAHONEY: My parents are Ball State alumni, both of them, so I think they were kind of relieved that I wasn't going to Boston or Colorado, but they both really enjoyed it here. And they kind of helped me out knowing some stuff before I came where things were and I think they were kind of thrilled. But it was -- it's far away from home and that's a little different, but they know a lot about the school, know it's a good school.


ROSEMARY: Hi, how are you?


MAHONEY (on camera): You know him?

ROSEMARY: No, he's my roommate's friend. They're in like some clarinet corset together.


I thought that since I was in musical theater I'd just do what those musical theater people, but living in a dorm has allowed me to meet a lot of different people, not only freshmen but upper classmen as well, and that was surprising.

Yeah, I already had to write two papers for my English class. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What classes are you taking?

MAHONEY: English.


MAHONEY: This is my English class. But he's a good professor but...


MAHONEY: It's so different. Like you think you know every night is a party and you know it's not. It's just like being at home and taking classes, you're hanging out with friends. If you want to go and party like in some of these big movies you can, but otherwise, for people who don't want to party every day there is, you know, there's a life.

I don't know, there's not -- everybody's different I think. Make sure that you bring stuff, you know, that's going to make you feel at home and know that you're not the only one that gets homesick. You know even if you go to a school 20 minutes away and you live in a dorm, it's still, you know, your home. And just have fun. Loosen up, don't be uptight, don't stay in your room. Keep your room door open, you know, meet a lot of people and just have fun.


WALCOTT: Brings back memories.

HAYNES: All my old days of college radio.


HAYNES: Listen, that's almost all the time we have for today. But before we leave you, we want to give you a quick look at some of the great stuff we have planned coming up this year.

WALCOTT: That's right.

And as for us, we're out of here.


WALCOTT: See you tomorrow.

HAYNES: Take care.


ANNOUNCER: Coming your way this season on CNN NEWSROOM, we'll explore people, places and things. We'll meet people prominent in the present.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spanish is here to stay. But it, again, that does not mean it'll impede the children and grandchildren of Spanish speaking immigrants from learning English.

ANNOUNCER: And study interesting people of the past while pondering your plans for the future. We'll visit places far away from home and find fascinating cultures in our own backyard. We'll discover things in the world around us, things seen...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ocean is like a soup. It's just filled with creatures from the top all the way to the greatest depths seven miles down. And I just love it all.

ANNOUNCER: ... and sometimes unseen. So join us, starting this fall as we travel from our newsroom to your classroom out into the world beyond. It's all right here on CNN NEWSROOM.


ANNOUNCER: CNN NEWSROOM, here for you 12 months a year and it's free. Educators need to enroll once a year and it's easy. In the U.S., call 1-800-344-6219. Outside the U.S., 44207-637-6912. Or on the Internet head for

CNN NEWSROOM is part of Cable in the Classroom, a service of the cable television industry and your local cable company.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

Back to the top