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NEWSROOM for September 10, 2001>

Aired September 10, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: Here's a look at our lineup for Monday, September 10.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Controversy dogs asylum seekers in Australia and in Britain. We'll have the details in "Top Story."

MCMANUS: Could the answer to our energy problems be blowing in the wind? We'll explore the possibilities in "Environment Desk."

WALCOTT: Then China is our next station stop, we head there in "Worldview."

MCMANUS: Finally, meet a brave young swimmer in "Chronicle."

WALCOTT: Hi, everyone, I'm Shelley Walcott. And I'd like to welcome NEWSROOM's newest anchor reporter Michael McManus who joins us from the Washington, D.C. bureau.

Welcome, Mike.

MCMANUS: Thank you, Shelley. It's so good to be here and what better way to start my first day with a busy news day. We have a lot to tell you about. The latest escalation of violence in the Middle East and elections in Belarus top our headlines. I'll be back with details in a bit.

First our "Top Story," the controversial issue of unwanted asylum seekers.

WALCOTT: It's an issue that's causing much contention with Australian and Britain hardening their stances against illegal immigration. First, a look at Australia. Government officials there plan to introduce legislation that would make it harder for asylum seekers to reach the mainland. And if their latest actions are any indicator, they mean business. This weekend, Australia's Navy boarded an Indonesian boat carrying more than 230 suspected illegal immigrants. They loaded them onto a naval carrier already carrying more than 430 refugees turned away early last week by Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Joanna Ball (ph) with Australia's ABC News reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOANNA BALL, AUSTRALIA ABC NEWS REPORTER (voice-over): Around 200 people attended a rally in Sydney to protest at the Howard government's handling of the Tampa incident and the latest interception of asylum seekers by the Navy.

DAVID BITEL, REFUGEE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA: We're very concerned that the Australian government has used its warships to turn around people who are seeking to enter Australia. This almost announced to international piracy by the Australian military.

BALL: Under the laws of the sea, the Navy can board a vessel in international waters if the boat is unidentified, it has the permission of the country of origin or it's believed those onboard are engaging in illegal activities.

DONALD ROTHWELL, INTERNATIONAL LAWYER: So what I think there's any question here about Australia engaging in piracy.

BALL: But what does concern international law experts is that the government's proposed new law to deter asylum seekers could breech refugee conventions.

ROTHWELL: Given that these are relatively small territories, the international concern I think will be more a political level then a legal level. I would expect that we will hear some responses from agencies of the United Nations probably in the next few days.

BITEL: If the government is determined to put it through to the Parliament, clearly it needs to be considered by a parliamentary committee and there needs to be lots of public debate on the consequences of this sort of action.

BALL: It wasn't a matter that former U.S. President Bill Clinton wanted to confront directly at a charity function last night. Instead, he used the issue to highlight his concerns about global warming.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you're worried about 400 people, you just let the world keep warming up like this for the next 50 years and your grandchildren will be worried about 400,000 people.

BALL: Meanwhile, the federal court decision on whether the government acted lawfully in removing asylum seekers onboard the Tampa from Australian waters is expected tomorrow.


WALCOTT: Britain and France, meanwhile, are arguing over migrants trying to cross the English Channel into Britain. Nearly 100,000 refugees applied for asylum in Britain last year. And it's become a hot political issue. Illegal immigration has been on the minds of many world leaders. In fact, just last week, Mexican President Vicente Fox spoke with President Bush about illegal Mexican immigrants living and working in the United States. Similar talks are expected this week between Britain's Home Secretary David Blunkett and his French counterpart.

Kevin Dunn brings us a preview.


KEVIN DUNN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In response to the now daily ritual of asylum seekers trying to get across the Channel, the government is to raise its concerns with Paris. The Home Secretary will have a first meeting with his French counterpart on Wednesday. And though Mr. Blunkett apparently accepts it is a largely British problem, he will be looking for joint action with the French authorities.

Amongst areas likely to be on the agenda are the possibility of sending more British police to France, processing some U.K. asylum applications in France and the future of the Red Cross center at Son Gat (ph) and plans for a second center.

The Liberal Democrats say the refugees should be processed in Calais.

SIMON HUGHES, BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: If somebody's in Son Gat or Calais, whether they want to come to France or to the U.K., surely they could put their case for asylum there without risking their lives and everybody else's in coming through the Channel.

DUNN: These ITV News pictures expose the vulnerability of the Channel Tunnel to young men who are determined and desperate. The tunnel's operator has contracted General Sir Roger Wheeler, former head of the Army, to tighten security, but Euro Tunnel says it needs government help.

JOHN NOULTON, EUROTUNNEL: At the moment, we feel a bit isolated. We're defending this country's borders against hundreds -- literally hundreds of would-be applicants for asylum and frankly, it's beyond a small transport company to do that.

DUNN: The Refugee Council says it is a European problem which requires a European solution.

NICK HARDWICK, REFUGEE COUNCIL: You know across Europe we need a common definition of who is and who isn't a refugee. There need to be common procedures for deciding people's asylum claims and there's a consistent standard for looking after people while asylum claims are being decided.

DUNN (on camera): The Home Office says that a review of asylum policy is already underway. And the Home Secretary himself has appealed for patience saying he does not want to be bounced into making up policy on the hoof.

Kevin Dunn, ITN, at the Home Office.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MCMANUS: To the former Soviet Republic of Belarus now where incumbent Alexander Lukashenko has claimed a sweeping victory and a wide margin of the vote in Sunday's presidential election. According to the country's election committee, when a candidate receives more than 50 percent no recount is necessary and that person is declared the winner. Lukashenko's opposition is calling the election a fraud and demanding another election.

A deadly weekend in the Middle East, seven people were killed during a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Palestinian militants carried out a drive-by shooting and two suicide bombings. Sources say an Israeli-Arab carrying a cardboard box blew himself up on the busy train platform killing Israelis and injuring dozens of others. Israel retaliated with helicopter attacks, and the surge of violence is making the possibility of peace talks more difficult.

WALCOTT: Wind energy is the world's fastest growing energy source. In developing country's it's popular because turbines can be installed quickly and require no fuel supplies. In developed countries, wind energy's pollution for equalities put it in demand. This year in the U.S., energy rates surged for many consumers. Could wind's power be a viable alternative?

Lilian Kim discusses the possibility.


LILIAN KIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-nine revolutions per minute producing 660 kilowatts. Each turbine generating enough electricity for 150 homes. All it takes is a little wind.

COLLIE POWELL, FPL ENERGY: It becomes economically viable for - when about 30 to 35 or more percent of the year you get winds of about 17 miles per hour. Anything more is gravy.

KIM: It took only months to get the State Line Wind Project up and running. When it's all done, the wind farm will supply enough energy for 60,000 homes. On a good day, crews can put up as many as four wind turbines. Generators like these currently supply less than 1 percent of the nation's electricity. But with continued construction, the push is for wind energy to be a significant part of the power supply.

DAVE KVAMME, PACIFICORP POWER MARKETING: It's a renewable, clean resource and that's a very, very good thing. It diversifies the kinds of energy supplies that people are turning to in order to meet consumer demand.

KIM: The project is spread throughout 50 square miles of leased farmland, but the turbines take up only a fraction of that amount, allowing farmers to continue raising crops.

LELAND DEMARIS, LAND OWNER: Well, we'll get some money out of it, and we'll still have the land to leave to our heirs.

KIM: While leaving the region a bright future of clean energy.

KIM: Wind farms like this one do receive their share of criticisms. Some say these turbines are eyesores. Others, meanwhile, say they are quite pretty and graceful. Either way, the push is on for more wind energy production.

Lillian Kim, CNN, near Walla Walla, Washington.


WALCOTT: Well, it's finally happened, a tropical storm that's been churning its way through the Atlantic has developed into the first hurricane of the season. The storm's name is Erin, and this week is considered the peak of hurricane season. But experts say these hurricanes could be just practice runs before the big one that is increasingly likely to hit.

John Zarrella reports.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the big one is bearing down on you...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to be one of the big natural disasters in our nation's history.

ZARRELLA: ... what will you do? If you stay to ride out the storm, will you live to cry about it? Do you have any idea the terror you will experience?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You ever heard the devil breathing down your neck? We had the devil here.

ZARRELLA: And the devil is coming again, perhaps sooner than you think.

CHRIS LANDSEA, NOAA SCIENTIST: I think we will see a $50 billion hurricane in the next 10, 20 years, that's almost without a doubt.

ZARRELLA: The reason: During the past 50 years, the population living on or near the coast from Maine to Texas has nearly doubled to 83 million people.

Coastal development has boomed. In 20 years, property value has increased six fold to more than $6 trillion. And during the same period of exploding growth, major hurricanes rarely hit the U.S.

BILL GRAY, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY: I think this is a powder keg waiting to go off.

ZARRELLA: Now after 30 years of relative quiet in the tropics, scientists say the climate has cycled back to an era of more frequent powerful hurricanes. And in the U.S., at least 85 percent of the people living in harm's way have never experienced a major hurricane.

MAX MAYFIELD, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: These people do not really know what a major hurricane can do and that really concerns me.

ZARRELLA: Max Mayfield directs the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

MAYFIELD: And that's why we were agonizing here.

ZARRELLA: Mayfield oversees a team of forecasters. The tools of their trade, orbiting satellites, hurricane hunter aircraft, computer models.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got her, and she'll track in all direction.

ZARRELLA: Forecasters can track a storm across the ocean. They can tell when it becomes a hurricane.

(on camera): But two of the most critical questions, questions that may mean the difference between saving thousands of lives or losing them they simply can't answer with confidence where exactly is the hurricane going and how powerful will it be when it gets there.

(voice-over): Because of this uncertainty, the forecasters worry,...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's moving very slowly.

ZARRELLA: ... worry they will be caught off guard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tropical storm warning for Belize.

ZARRELLA: Ambushed,...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's definitely becoming much better organized.

ZARRELLA: ... as they were last year when Hurricane Keith in a mere 12 hours morphed from a weak hurricane to a brute killer as it slammed into Belize in Central America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that had happened anywhere along the United States coastline, it would have been a disaster.

ZARRELLA: The ingredients are all there.

MICHELE BAKER, EMERGENCY MANAGER: People ignoring the evacuation order, the cry wolf syndrome, insufficient transportation network, shelter deficit, you name it, these things are all compounding. When you put that on top of this population explosion in the coastal areas, we're building a case for catastrophe, no question about it.

ZARRELLA: John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


MCMANUS: In "Worldview" today, a trio of tales from China. We'll learn about art and culture and check out the business of music and even face down some alligators. Let's pinpoint our destination and begin.

WALCOTT: We turn now to China and the wild kingdom. You probably already know that China is the most populous country in the world, but do you know how it stacks up in land area? Well, it's the third largest nation in size. China is home to the giant panda, a large black and white mammal familiar around the world. While it resembles a bear, the giant panda is actually more like a raccoon. It chows down on bamboo leaves and lives in the forests of Central China. Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species with only about 1,000 left in the wild and about 110 in captivity.

We turn now to another species once highly endangered in China but this creature is fighting back thanks to environmental efforts. It might not be as cuddly as the panda, but the Yangtze alligator has a long history as Karuno Shinsho explains.


KARUNO SHINSHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Yangtze alligator is regarded by the Chinese as a living fossil because it's lived on earth for over 200 million years. It topped China's list of endangered species in the late 1970s, but that's changed with the efforts of the Alligator Reproduction Center in the eastern province of Anhui.

The Center was established in 1979 by the Ministry of Forestry. At that time, only 500 of the Yangtze alligators remained. There are now over 9,000 alligators at the Center. More than 1,500 are born there each year.

But despite such success, the number of wild alligators has dropped to just 100.

WANG CHAOLIN, ALLIGATOR REPRODUCTION CTR.: There are two reasons for this: First, the increase in population density has damaged their natural environment, mostly through damming up lakes to create farmland; secondly, the use of chemical fertilizers poses a risk to them. The low numbers in China are due mostly to human factors.

SHINSHO: The center has come a long way in creating an environment where the alligators can thrive. Now their next challenge is to boost the alligator population in the wild.

WANG WEISHEN, MINISTRY OF FORESTRY: For alligators that have been living in an environment surrounded by people, their wild habits will slowly be eroded. If they aren't quickly returned to the wild, the natural evolutionary instincts of the group may disappear.

SHINSHO: The center is making sure that doesn't happen. It's already immersed 80 alligators in a mock wild environment in preparation for their return to their natural environment.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: From alligators in China to pirates, but not the kind that sail the seas. These pirates surf the World Wide Web illegally downloading music. Now you've heard about the long- running controversy over Napster and other music sharing sites. Well, the controversy continues in China where CD piracy is nothing new. But there are new ways to crack down and some solutions to the problem as Phil O'Sullivan reports.


PHIL O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beijing band New Pants has recorded two albums, the last sold more than 50,000 copies, but the band members estimate that's only a tenth of albums sold. With most small shops selling a cheap pirated version of their album, the rock and roll lifestyle is alluding these would-be rock stars.

PENG LEI, LEAD SINGER (through translator): Rock bands outside of China are all riding limos, they have crowds of girls surrounding them and they go to clubs together. They live the high life. But in China, we don't have that. We don't have anything. We have to go to work all day and can only make music in our spare time.

O'SULLIVAN: A government crackdown on domestic producers of pirated music has run up against huge consumer demand for the cheap CDs. The China Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition says piracy deprives the government of tens of billions of dollars in taxes each year. And with World Trade Organization membership looming, the violation of intellectual property rights is a major issue for China's key trading partners.

But one entrepreneur is trying to back the trend by setting up one of China's first legal music download sites on the Internet. Until recently, hundreds of Chinese Web sites offered free illegal MP3 downloads of music, ranging from canter pop to hardcore punk. But when a U.S. court ruled against Napster and Figuri (ph) for infringing record company copyrights, Chinese authorities also took action. Now has begun offering legal downloads to paying customers. And while the site only gets 300 visits per day and isn't yet showing a profit, the man behind the venture says it pays to do things the legal way.

LUI YONGJUN, WANWA DIGITAL MUSIC TECH (through translator): From an investment perspective it doesn't make sense to run a Web site that gives out illegally pirated music, no one will invest in it. If someone does want to invest in it but the music isn't a free product you can sell, what's the use? It's like opening a free restaurant, your restaurant won't be open for long.

O'SULLIVAN: China's long battle against music piracy is just beginning. With new copyright laws and stricter enforcement, authorities hope the pirated CDs will disappear from Chinese shelves.

PANG KUAN, KEYBOARDIST (through translator): With more money you can create a better space in which to make music. It should be a healthy cycle, but pirated CDs have turned it into a vicious cycle. But we have no choice but to hang in there and keep making music. There's no alternative.


O'SULLIVAN: But these band members are a good example of how entrenched CD piracy is in China. They say life would be unthinkable without pirated CDs of their favorite band radio hit.

Phil O'Sullivan, CNN.


HAYNES: We turn from music to art for our third story from China. And China is known for its centuries of skilled craftsmanship, but now its artisans are finding new employment for their talents. And as Martha Graham reports, their products are finding new markets as well.


MARTHA GRAHAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Quyang in China's Hebei province is carving out an international reputation. Works by local artisans are finding new buyers, in Japan, Europe and North America. But to tap those markets, the locals are learning skills and styles not traditionally associated with Chinese crafts.

LIU SONG TIAN, SCULPTOR (through translator): Western style carving is something new to our workers. Now they can only create by imitating pictures from books. If they want to improve this technique, they'll have to be well trained.

GRAHAM: Sculptor Liu Song Tian did just that, polishing his skills during three years in California. But private businesses are luring Chinese craftsmen back home. Putting local talent to work on western-style products, means a good living for this factory owner and for his 186 employees.

ZHEN YAN CANG, XINYING CARVING FACTOR (through translator): Now is the time for extensive cultural exchanges between the East and West. Western-style carvings have their own value, not only on the world market, but also here in China. This is a historical trend. I seized this opportunity, so my business has developed very fast.

GRAHAM: Plants like this have created more than 10,000 jobs in just the county around Quyang. That helps absorb some of the millions of workers laid off at failing state-owned plants. And skilled craftsmen can earn 30 times the income they would in another local industry, farming.

ZHEN CONG HU, SCULPTOR (through translator): If there was no carving factory, we would still be farming in the fields with our face to the Earth and our backs to the sun. Now we can work on carving stones. My whole life has changed.

GRAHAM: The Xinying Carving Factory is keeping up with changes in the way the world does business, too. It launched a Web site in 1998. Going online allowed it to double sales, and raise profits by 62 percent.

Martha Graham for INSIDE ASIA.


WALCOTT: Well, the professional football season kicked off this weekend, and assuming a role normally performed by a referee, President Bush tossed the coin into the grass at the White House. It turned up tails. Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the players behind the scenes, the men who make the calls.

Brian Palmer brings us a closer look at the role of the referee.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holding, number 90 of the kicking team...

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are seven officials on the field during an NFL game. Six black hats, one white hat. He's the referee, the one who runs the show, who keeps the organized chaos known as professional football as clean as it can be.

Jim Tunney is a former NFL referee, a white-hat; a 31-year veteran with three Superbowls to his name.

JIM TUNNEY, FORMER NFL REFEREE: If I were sum up the one thing that an official needs to do in the National Football League, it's, one, to protect the integrity of the game; to be sure rules are enforced the way they're designed.

PALMER: But it's often, in fact usually, a thankless job. Fans and players ignore officials when things are going well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have to see them, then we're in trouble. Then there's a bad call.

PALMER: But refs are not in it for the love.

TUNNEY: Do fans really boo? I've never heard them. I don't hear them. On the football field I block out all that. I'm there as an impartial judge.

PALMER: And from some fans, grudging appreciation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're a big part of the game, you know. People don't like to see a bad referee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've got to have a clear perspective. They cannot be biased. They can't be, like me, a big Jets fan.

TUNNEY: You want to be invisible in a sense, because you're not the stars. The stars are the players and the coaches and the teams themselves.

PALMER: Players realize refs keep them safe from other players.

IRVING FRYAR, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I want to know that these referees are watching this guy, making sure that he's not holding, that he's not tugging, that he's not doing some thing that are illegal within the -- outside the parameters of rules of game.

PALMER: The rules of game. That's what the job is all about.

TUNNEY: The players, the coaches are all trying to win. The fans are all trying to win. It doesn't make any difference what they say. Don't worry about what their actions are; you do the job the way you're trained to do it and designed to do it, and it will come out right.

PALMER: Brian Palmer, CNN, East Rutherford, New Jersey.


MCMANUS: And before we leave you today, we'd like to share the story of a very unique athlete. Ashley Cowan is a 15-year-old amputee who has become the youngest woman and first disabled person to swim across Lake Erie.

WALCOTT: That's right, the Canadian swimmer whose arms and legs are partially amputated took just over 15 hours to complete the 12- mile swim. And in an interview with CNN's Donna Kelley, Cowan says she couldn't have done it without her crew members.


ASHLEY COWAN, AMPUTEE SWIMMER: It was mainly my crew members. They kept me going. They kept saying, like, the shore is so close, you're getting to it, come on, you can do it. I had guys jump in the water with me and swim for a bit with me, and singing and clapping and chanting. And everything kept me going.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Some encouragement there. What did you think about when you were swimming?

COWAN: At first it was good because of the fact that it was helping me move along and then come -- when I got like a mile toward the shore it was getting on my nerves because they kept saying, you're getting there, you're getting there, and it didn't seem like it was getting any closer.

KELLEY: When you got to the shore, how was it when you finished? I know you were absolutely exhausted, but take us there, when you get out of the water.

COWAN: I was tired but I was so excited. I was crying and laughing all at the same time knowing that I finished it. It was great.

KELLEY: You're afraid to swim in darkness. How do you overcome that?

COWAN: I had no choice. They wouldn't let me out.

KELLEY: But how did you deal with that? Did you just try to listen to them or try and distract yourself somehow?

COWAN: Yes. I guess because I was so -- like, I was cold and I just wanted to get out, I didn't even think about the nighttime swim.

KELLEY: What are you going to do next after you've finished something like this?

COWAN: After -- well, I want to do a relay with my swim team across the lake; and then after that probably the English Channel.


MCMANUS: Wow, what a great story.

WALCOTT: Oh yes.

Well that wraps up today's show. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

MCMANUS: Good bye.

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