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NEWSROOM for September 5, 2001

Aired September 5, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Your Wednesday NEWSROOM is all about business. Leading the show today, a meeting between the U.S. and Mexican presidents. Economics and immigration top their agenda.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Then our "Daily Desk" stops in Dallas where a big arena is costing big bucks.

HAYNES: London is our next destination. We'll tell you why this travel hotspot may be even hotter than you think.

WALCOTT: And finally, we "Chronicle" what some are calling the quarterlife crisis.

HAYNES: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Tom Haynes.

WALCOTT: And I'm Shelley Walcott.

Big business from the world of computers today, I'll explain later in "Headlines," but first now, a look at our "Top Story" with Tom.

HAYNES: All right, thanks, Shelley.

Mexican President Vicente Fox is kicking off an official United States visit. The trip comes during tough economic times for the neighboring countries. Hard times have caused Mr. Fox's popularity to sag slightly since his historic election victory in July of last year. One issue likely to top Mr. Fox's agenda this week will be the status of illegal Mexican immigrants living here in the United States. And we'll talk more about that later on in the show.

Another important topic has to do with NAFTA or the North American Free Trade Agreement. There is a potential sticking point there, Louise Schiavone reports.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush is eager to solidify the U.S.- Mexico friendship but he has hit a bump in the road with a provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexican trucking. Under the pact, Mexican trucks were to have been permitted on U.S. roads by now, but it has not happened due in large part to labor union pressures.

BRET CALDWELL, TEAMSTERS SPOKESMAN: Mexico over the past seven years has made no progress in improving their standards to ensure that safe trucks enter the United States from Mexico.

JOHN SIMPSON, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF EXPORTERS AND IMPORTERS: They will have to go through a safety review to make sure that the drivers are certified and that the trucks are well maintained.

SCHIAVONE: Defying a veto threat, Congress has moved to further delay NAFTA's Mexican trucking provision. The restrictions were attached to a must pass transportation spending bill. Mexico's president visited Detroit earlier this summer to make his case to teamsters officials. And outraged by the prospect of even further delays, Fox vowed that U.S. truck would be barred from Mexico in return.

DELAL BAER, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTL. STUDIES: My concern is that we start to slide down the slope of unilateralism, where the United States takes actions when it doesn't like some provision of NAFTA and then the Mexicans turn around and respond when they don't like some provision of NAFTA.

SCHIAVONE: Currently, Mexican truck traffic along the 2,100 mile border is limited to a 20-mile commercial zone inside the U.S.

(on camera): Bush allies in Congress charge their colleagues are making the U.S. look bad by welching on a hard-won trade agreement. Labor, meanwhile, promises to keep up the pressure while Congress debates the transportation bill.

Louise Schiavone, for CNN Financial News, Washington.


HAYNES: There are an estimated three million illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States. U.S. President Bush has said he would like to work with President Fox to develop a new immigration policy. That could mean granting amnesty to Mexicans residing illegally in the U.S. That proposal is being hotly debated. Many Mexicans cross the border seeking a better life and some find it. Twenty-eight years after arriving from Mexico in the trunk of a car, Andres Bermudez has returned home to Mexico with a net worth of about $7 million.

Harris Whitbeck spoke with him.


HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He left this town a poor man and has returned triumphant.

ANDRES BERMUDEZ: But I don't like the way my grandfather live. I don't -- I see my father life and I see myself and I say, well, this life what I live right now in Mexico, I don't want this for my sons. I want better future. That's the reason I go to the United States.

WHITBECK: Andres Bermudez says that vision of a better future drew him to Los Angeles in 1973, crossing the U.S. border in the trunk of a car.

BERMUDEZ: When I was there and I see the city, life's all over, big city setting, what I want to do here, I'm scared. I totally promised Kara (ph) that I...

WHITBECK: He started out picking fruit in California's orchards, one of thousands of illegal farm laborers from Mexico. He worked hard, eventually becoming a labor contractor going back to his town in Mexico to recruit workers to move north. And then he struck gold inventing a tomato picking machine that helped him become the second largest tomato producer in the United States.

BERMUDEZ: Everything is luck but the luck you got to looking for the luck. The luck no come itself. I think my success is because I'm -- everywhere I go I try to be the first one.

WHITBECK: Now Bermudez says he also wants to be first in Mexican politics. He came back home and won election as mayor of his hometown Jerez. Bermudez hopes to create jobs so people won't be forced to move north. And he says as presidents Vicente Fox and George W. Bush begin talks on increasing the number of temporary work permits for Mexicans, they should also be looking at ways to make immigration more humane.

BERMUDEZ: I go straight to Bush and I say, well Mr. Bush, Mr. President, you told everybody, you told everywhere I'm your best neighbor, I'm your brother country but you don't treat me like brother, you don't treat me like neighbor. You know if I'm your brother, the brother don't send brothers to die in the desert, the brother don't send people to die in the snow in the cold.

WHITBECK: Last year about 500 Mexicans died trying to enter the United States chasing dreams of the success achieved by people like Andres Bermudez.

Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Jerez, Mexico.


WALCOTT: In other news from the economic front, a blockbuster merger between two software giants. Hewlett-Packard has announced that it plans to buy Compaq Computers for some $25 billion. The new company will retain the Hewlett-Packard name. The news got a cool reception from investors. Shares of both Compaq and Hewlett-Packard declined shortly after the announcement. The CEO of Hewlett-Packard says the merger will ultimately benefit consumers.


CARLY FIORINA, CEO, HEWLETT-PACKARD: This deal makes sense, frankly, in good times or in bad. I think this deal perhaps makes particularly sense -- particularly good sense in tough times for technology because what those tough times are illustrating clearly is that there is an opportunity to get more cost effective and efficient, there is an opportunity for us to create a lot more synergy and value for our customers.


WALCOTT: The merger could cost as many as 15,000 jobs.

Also making headlines in the tech world today, Motorola says it has developed a computer chip that runs 35 times faster than today's models. It's an innovation that could lead to faster, smaller and cheaper cell phones, computers and other telecommunications equipment.

HAYNES: Hey, step aside Los Angeles and the Staple Center, move over Washington and the MCI Arena, those new very expensive buildings are now second and third in the race for most expensive sports arena in the U.S. Where else would the new No. 1 be but in Texas. Don't mess with Texas.

Ed Lavandera takes us to the Lone Star State and sizes up the new arena.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A state of the art sports arena rises in the shadows of downtown Dallas: $420 million -- just like that.

BRAD MAYNE, AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER PRESIDENT: This needed to be something that was as big as Texas.

LAVANDERA: The 20,000 seat American Airlines Center is the most expensive sports arena in the U.S.

Masterminded by business titans TOM HICKS and Ross Perot Jr.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a 50-year building.

ROSS PEROT, JR., AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER DEVELOPER: When you go inside the building, when you go inside the building for the first time, you can see the value, you can see where the money went, you can see the quality.

LAVANDERA: The features include more than 200 concession stands, more than 500 wheelchair accessible seats, about 475 bathrooms and 3,000 retractable seats. It's what happens when sports, entertainment, technology and high society collide.

TOM HICKS, DALLAS STARS OWNER: There will be very fancy bars up there where you can have sliced sirloin, or oysters, or sushi, or a martinis, or a soft drinks or whatever you want.

LAVANDERA: But only for fans in the priciest seats, including 142 luxury suites. (on camera): Isn't sports supposed to be rough and tumble?

PEROT: It's rough and tumble on the court, but in the stands the fans really are in the lap of luxury.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): An 80,000 pound, $8 million video scoreboard and another digital video board will keep those bored by the game entertained.

(on camera): Dallas voters approved this arena by a slim margin. The deal calls for taxpayers to pitch in $125 million. Critics say that money should have been spent on other things like fixing roads, but actually tourists will pick up the tax. Anytime you rent a car or get a hotel room in Dallas, you'll see the arena tax on your receipt.

(voice-over): That tax still left a $300 million tab. To pay for that, developers are selling everything inside the American Airlines Center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ford is our sponsor here. This is their lobby, right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is the American Airlines lobby.

HICKS: But if they're in a power play, it'll be the TXU power play. LAVANDERA: Dr Pepper paid $35 million to advertise. American Airlines, $195 million to put its logo on the roof, the doors and every seat. Developers say you won't even notice.

PEROT: The advertising is very tasteful, not the traditional old fashioned advertising, so you'll see the advertising here has really blended into the building to where it's almost subliminal. And you don't quite know you're being advertised to.

LAVANDERA: With so many visual distractions whirling around this new arena, the question is whether the games are still center stage or just a side show.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


HAYNES: Well, if you think it's tough trying to pay for new construction, consider this: funding the preservation of historic property in the nation's parks is also a challenge. Now the overseers of one park along a once busy waterway are asking history buffs to move in and help out.

Kathleen Koch has the story.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The address is Lock #6, the closest transportation a kayak. And joggers, the major source of traffic. Such is life in a LockHouse on Maryland's scenic C&O Canal. David and Jill Drupa are among eight tenants leasing historic properties along the 180-mile-long canal from the National Park Service.

DAVID DRUPA, LOCKHOUSE RESIDENT: It's the greatest thing that ever happened to us. It's fantastic. We get to do something for the park, and in return we get this great place to live.

KOCH: Tenants must renovate the properties, the cost credited toward their rent. So the Drupas pay $800 a month to live in a two- bedroom home once occupied by the canal lock keeper, a bargain for this part of town, and an adventure.

JILL DRUPA, LOCKHOUSE RESIDENT: The house right now doesn't have gutters, and we get a lot of rain leakage onto the sills.

D. DRUPA: It had been eaten through by insects in certain areas and there was water damage in others.

KOCH: The Drupas have, though, spent $16,000 replacing the floors, kitchen cabinets, and adding central heating and air conditioning to the 170-year-old stone house.

SONNY SAUNDERS, ARCHITECT: You see what moisture has done through the roof at one time and how it sags right there?

KOCH: The National Park Service began seeking industrious tenants for homes like this one in Sharpsburg, Maryland, because it couldn't afford to maintain them. It hopes to eventually lease 50 properties, some which have been sitting empty for years.

SAUNDERS: What they see is what they get. We're taking the opportunity to let the public come in and help us restore these properties and have a nice place to live.

KOCH: The 123-year-old Moore House in Oldtown, Maryland, is in better condition than some, much to the relief of its future tenant.

BARBARA VAN BALEN, RENTAL APPLICANT: I think that it's a way to contribute. And how many people can contribute and then live in what they've done?

KOCH: The Drupas say even exceeding their renovation budget hasn't dampened their enthusiasm.

D. DRUPA: You have to embrace the lifestyle, which is a little slower, you know, a little bit more organic, and you have to give up a few modern amenities to be happy here.

KOCH: Kathleen Koch, for CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: And "Worldview's" got more relics for your perusal, we found these in jolly old England. Shelley will have that in just a minute. Until then, we're still about business. A viewer has a question about online banking so she asked CNN. (BEGIN ASK CNN)

ANNOUNCER: Jessica Markovitz from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania asks: How safe is online banking?

ARI SCHWARTZ, ASSOC. DIRECTOR, CTR. FOR DEMOCRACY AND TECHNOLOGY: Well, Jessica, banking on-line -- sometimes some of the banks have made the process very secure and very private, and made sure that your information as it's flowing across the wires is secure.

The first thing that you should really do is look for the privacy policy on your bank's web site, and try and read that policy. Some of that banks in the study that we did, we found really made the information very clear to users, made sure that users really controlled their information, and made sure that they understood that. If you have doubts about that, you should be suspicious. You should ask the bank what the policy means.

The second thing to look for is how secure the information is traveling over the wires. You can look down at the bottom of the browser and you can see a lock. Then you know when you are inputting financial information over the web, that it's being securely transmitted.

The most important thing to remember, however, is that it's really up to the banks to make sure that you trust them.


WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, we head to England. We'll take you beyond Big Ben and Westminster Abbey to the streets of London and even below. We'll find out what London lacks, especially this summer. And we'll also check out the heart of its transportation system. But first we hit the streets where life is tough for the homeless.

HAYNES: Homelessness is a problem of global proportions and it's not just limited to developing or third world nations either. Even in the richest countries, it's not uncommon to see people living on the streets. In the U.S., for example, around 750,000 people are homeless on any given night and as many as two million experience being homeless for a time each year.

In European cities, one estimate says six million people were without any shelter last winter, another 20 million may have taken cover in shacks and other derelict buildings. In Great Britain, many attribute homelessness simply to a lack of affordable housing for those with limited incomes. In addition, Great Britain is also dealing with rising unemployment and increased single-family housing. So like any big city, if you walk down a city street in downtown London, you're bound to spot someone who is less fortunate. But the British government is trying to turn that around.

What's their solution, Ruth Hockey (ph) tells us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RUTH HOCKEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three years ago there were more than 1,800 long-term homeless people in England. Today that figure is down to some 700 and the government says it's on target to cut another 100 by next year.

LOUISE CASEY, ROUGH SLEEPERS UNIT: Well, I think the government is absolutely determined to ensure that now we've made such good progress on rough sleeping that we're not going to -- you know we're going to learn from that -- learn from the success of that and then carry on really, not only in terms of continuing to ensure people don't end up on the streets but also in wider areas of homelessness to try -- you know start to tackle the fact that families are in bed and breakfast hotels and those sorts of issues, too.

HOCKEY: Half of all homeless people in England are to be found in London, nearly a quarter within the city of Westminster. They're attracted to the area by the number of soup runs, more than a hundred operate on a regular basis. But the short-term solution to hunger is now running in conjunction with projects to help people get off the streets for good. Two and a half thousand people who used to sleep rough are getting help with education, training, employment and treatment for drug, alcohol and mental health problems. The homeless charity shelter welcomes these efforts, but says there's also another side to the problem.

RACHEL O'BRIEN, SHELTER: The challenge now is to make sure those figures stay down and that we provide for people arriving on the street who aren't long-term rough sleepers. I've just spoken to our shelter line service and they find that every day there's people ringing them who are finding it hard to get a hostel bed, who aren't long-term rough sleepers and they need accommodation, too.

HOCKEY: But the Rough Sleepers Unit says it's committed to tackling all areas of homelessness. Just one person sleeping in a shop doorway is one too many.

Ruth Hockey, ITN.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More on London as we turn to the weather. For many people, the words weather and London conjure up thoughts of fog, but this summer London sweltered as temperatures soared. Heat is a challenge for one of the world's oldest and most historic cities. While it's known around the world as a center of finance, trade and culture, London lacks something that can chill your bones. That something: air conditioners. The city has few of them and that's a problem when the mercury rises as Richard Quest reports.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hotter than Hawaii, more muggy than Madrid: For two weeks temperatures have soared into the 90s, getting Britain all hot and bothered.

(on camera): London's weather is, of course, much better known for its fog and its rain. For those of us who just travel to work on the tube, it's certainly been an ordeal.

(voice-over): Keeping London's subway cool has been impossible. It's so deep underground. With overcrowding and hot weather, there are signs telling travelers what to do if they feel faint.

Even the Queen Mother's fallen ill. At first her anemia was reported to be heat exhaustion. It's been revealed the royal palaces don't have air conditioning to protect the works of art inside. In fact, most of Britain doesn't have air conditioning. It's rarely needed.

This year, though, Robin Riley's much in demand. He sells air conditioners to businesses in distress. His company vans have been busy day and night.

ROBIN RILEY, ICE BOYS AIR CONDITIONING: The last few weeks have gone absolutely ballistic -- air conditioning units flying out, basically. Restaurants, shops, offices, computer rooms -- anyone that's got a heat problem, they're after our units, basically.

QUEST (on camera): With so much hot air, keeping cool has become priority No. 1. And with so little air conditioning, they'll have to find other ways to take out the heat.

(voice-over): No one's bothered to do a survey showing how much the hot weather costs the economy, it happens so rarely. Britain doesn't even have a law regulating temperatures at the top end. What's clear is that more homes will soon have their own cool supply.

RILEY: The permanent installation market is growing massively already. We're already doing a lot more installations than we were this time last year.

QUEST (on camera): As the day's worn on and the mercury's risen, those of us without air conditioning have become very hot and bothered. Luckily, there is one way to keep cool. As the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them.

Richard Quest, CNN in scorching London.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's dig deeper into London's Underground. Did you know that it was the first Underground passenger train system in the world? It started back in 1863 and today includes more than 100 miles or a 160 kilometers of underground rail lines.

Sheila MacVicar has more on London's famous and infamous tube.


SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In London, they call it the world's worst way to get to work. Three million people every day crowd the stairs, the escalators, the platforms, relying on the now unreliable and increasingly dilapidated London underground. With affection, people here call their subway "The Tube." There's not much affection left, and not much expectation things will get better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not going to get any better, for a long time anyway, by my lifetime.

MACVICAR: Rush-hour travel is a shared exercise in misery, dogged by delays, breakdowns and overcrowding so common that train staff can't resist jokes.

ANNOUNCER: What we need is some volunteers. These volunteers, if they don't mind lying down, and then other people can stand on them.

MACVICAR: That didn't get a lot of laughs, but not much about London's underground does these days.

London's mayor and his American transportation expert Bob Kiley, the savior of New York City's subway system, have become unlikely public heroes in the battle to save the Tube, pitted against Prime Minister Tony Blair's plans to privatize parts of it.

The Tube needs money, at least 15 billion pounds in the next few years. Rather than spend public funds, the British government intends to impose a very complex partial privatization plan that would raise money by transferring management of tracks, signals and stations to privately-owned companies for 30-year contracts.

After a series of disasters in the recently privatized National Railways, the British public is not enthusiastic. Neither is Mr. Kiley. He has called the plan fatally flawed, risking public safety.

BOB KILEY, LONDON TRANSPORT COMMISSIONER: I'm not predicting the death of anyone, I'm simply saying that transportation operators have an absolute obligation to mitigate and minimize safety risk, and this proposal opens up the door rather than closing it.

MACVICAR (on camera): At the center of all of this is not just the future of the Tube, who gets to fix it and how, but a fundamental debate about who gets to make those kinds of decisions. The central government of Mr. Blair or London's new mayor, who's trying to gain control of more money and more power.

(voice-over): A court this week ruled that the government could impose its plan. The mayor and Mr. Kiley say they will appeal. Win or lose, Mr. Kiley has said he will stay, and if he has to, even help implement the government's plan. Commuters say it's all a bit of a mess, just like trying to fix the Tube.

Sheila MacVicar, CNN, London.


HAYNES: What kind of music is that anyway?

WALCOTT: Right. HAYNES: Well, Shelley, listen, anyone who knows anything about working in television, and we don't, know it's a dog-eat-dog business.

WALCOTT: That's true, no doubt about it. It seems like the pressure is always on whether it's here in front of the camera or behind, what a reality check.

HAYNES: Yes, what happened to the good old days just out of college when it seemed we had the world at our feet.

WALCOTT: Well those good old days may be just that good old days. It seems life even for recent college grads is a lot more stressful as we can learn from CNN's Student Bureau reporter Kirsten Gladding.


KIRSTEN GLADDING, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Kayse Nelson, a business major in her senior year, expected her summer internship at a major bank to get her started on her career path.

KAYSE NELSON, STUDENT: I'm ready to go back to school. I'm glad it's over. It's getting harder and harder to get up and go to work.

GLADDING: Kayse may be going through a quarterlife crisis.

ALEXANDRA ROBBINS, CO-AUTHOR, "QUARTERLIFE CRISIS": It's about questioning where your life is going, the direction you're heading, all of these issues that you're facing as a twenty-something entering the world and trying to navigate the transition from young adulthood to adulthood.

GLADDING: On the surface, 20-year-old Kayse Nelson's life appears right on track. But after getting her first taste of life in the real working world, Kayse isn't sure.

NELSON: The more I think about the fact that this will be my life in exactly a year, I can't sleep at night. Am I really going to do this day in and day out? Like you don't get two weeks off for Christmas, you don't get, you know, summer vacation and that part really scared me. Once you're done with school, it's the real world and I just was not ready for that.

GLADDING: "Quarterlife Crisis" co-author Alexandra Robbins says it starts when a young person realizes life is not what they expected.

ROBBINS: This is about dashed expectations. This is about growing up and hearing you can be anything you want to be, the world is your oyster and then starting to get the sense that reality isn't what you expected.

GLADDING: While their parents may go through a midlife crisis, twenty-somethings today live in a world sped up by the Internet and role models who are millionaires before they're 30.

ROBBINS: Instead of trying to do something magnificent by the time you're 40, we feel like the pressure is on us to do it by the time we're 25. We're facing midlife crisis type issues in our 20s now. We're working this out now so we might not even have a midlife crisis in 20 years.

GLADDING (on camera): Critics say quarterlife crisis is just a term coined to sell books. But the authors insist it's important to recognize what many young people are going through so they will realize they're not alone. This, they say, can help them get through the crisis.

Kirsten Gladding, CNN Student Bureau, Atlanta.


HAYNES: All right, our time is running out today, but we want to give you a quick look of what's happening tomorrow on CNN NEWSROOM.

WALCOTT: That's right, we've got a lot from the world of science. We're talking about tire pressure. We're also talking about dolphins and horses and we've got a great piece on synchronized swimming.

HAYNES: Can't wait to see that.

Listen, we'll see you back here tomorrow so either set your VCR or whatever, don't miss it. See you later.

WALCOTT: See you tomorrow. Bye-bye.

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