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NEWSROOM for September 11, 2001

Aired September 11, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Tuesday, September 11, and news about health tops the program.

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: Could a new vaccine mean there's hope on the horizon for AIDS patients. We'll bring you the news in "Top Story."

WALCOTT: More to come in our "Daily Desk," how healthy is the air you're breathing right now?

MCMANUS: Do you have a nose for business? In "Worldview," you'll meet a guy who does.

WALCOTT: And then NEWSROOM goes to the races in "Chronicle."

MCMANUS: Welcome to NEWSROOM, everybody. I'm Michael McManus.

WALCOTT: And I'm Shelley Walcott.

Coming up in "Headlines" today, I'll tell you how the elections in Belarus turned out, but first, our "Top Story" with Mike.

MCMANUS: OK, thanks, Shelley.

Twenty years after the first cases of AIDS appeared, researchers are still looking for an HIV vaccine. HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, causes AIDS. The virus has claimed the lives of more than 21 million people worldwide, 400,000 of them Americans. Preventative efforts may have spared many people from infection and advances in medical treatments have prolonged the lives of patients who are HIV positive. Nevertheless, scientists would like nothing more than to take prevention a step further by developing a vaccine.

As CNN's Christy Feig reports, at least one group of scientists say they are making progress.


CHRISTY FEIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The problem with creating a vaccine for HIV is just when the immune system learns what to target, the virus changes and dodges the immune system. Now doctors Anthony Fauci and Robert Gallo think they have found a target on HIV that doesn't mutate.

DR. ROBERT GALLO, INSTITUTE OF HUMAN VIROLOGY: If this works in the way we believe it can and the way we are headed, then it would completely block infection.

FEIG: The science goes like this. For HIV to infect a human cell, it needs two points of entry. First, a protein on the surface of HIV hooks up with the first point on the human cell. Then the protein shifts, exposing its belly for only about 30 minutes as it prepares to latch onto the second point, causing the infection.

It's this belly that's the key. Unlike the rest of the virus that constantly mutates, the belly contains markers that never change. So Fauci and his colleagues have created a vaccine based on the infection process, freezing it before the second point of entry. The vaccine uses the consistent markers exposed on the belly to educate the immune system that HIV is the enemy. When the immune system is exposed to the virus in real life, it sees those markers and knows to kill the virus before infection.

All the science lessons aside, it will be several years before human trials. Even so, experts say early studies show this may be the right path to follow.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: The concept itself is a very interesting concept that certainly deserves very active pursuing.

FEIG: There are already more than 20 other HIV vaccines that use different approaches in various stages of testing.

(on camera): Because of the complexities of this virus, those vaccines may not provide 100 percent protection. But experts believe even partial protection could slow the global impact of the epidemic.


MCMANUS: As we said earlier and as you likely know, there is no cure for AIDS. However, through the 1990s, major increases in HIV infections were prevented through education and targeted programs. However, experts say new strategies are needed to maintain and accelerate the progress. Many medical professionals and volunteers are stepping forward to push research ahead, namely research on vaccinations. But as Christy Feig continues, fear of HIV is deterring many people from getting involved.


FEIG (voice-over): It was an editorial in a newspaper on an AIDS vaccine trial in Atlanta that caught Steve Epstein's eye. He signed up.

STEVE EPSTEIN, AIDS VACCINE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: I read all the reasons why people weren't signing up, and it really bothered me that people were choosing not to participate in the study for fear that they were going to get HIV. FEIG: As AIDS vaccines move to the pipeline, it will take thousands of volunteers before researchers can be sure they have an effective vaccine. But when it comes to HIV, people have concerns other disease don't raise. The biggest fear, experts say, is that can you get HIV from the vaccine.

MARY ALLEN, NIH: The vaccines do not contain HIV. They cannot give anyone HIV. No one can get AIDS from these vaccines.

FEIG: Mark, who asked not to share his last name, did not have any hesitation about signing up in Washington, D.C.

MARK, AIDS VACCINE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: I felt a little bit of pride in myself in what I am doing, but it is also nice to know that I am helping out a much larger global community with my efforts.

FEIG: In any vaccine trial, some volunteers must be exposed to disease, so researchers can know if the vaccine works.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is, of course, our six-months checkup.

FEIG: In this case, researchers choose people who will be exposed to HIV normally by their lifestyle, then counsel them as much as possible to continue using protection. The goal is to keep participants from relying on a vaccine they may not have been given.

MARK: You have to realize that a third of the people are getting a placebo, and even if you aren't getting the placebo, they have no idea exactly what level of protection you are going to be getting.

FEIG: The researchers still don't have all the volunteers they need, and that makes them cherish even more those they do.

ALLEN: I think sometimes to -- about the word hero, and how to me, it is an ordinary person in an extraordinary situation who does what needs to be done. And our volunteers are heroes.



MCMANUS: I'll have more from the health front later in our "Desk Extra."

Learn how some people are using an ancient practice to fight serious illness. For now, here's Shelley with an international political headline.

WALCOTT: Thanks, Mike.

Well according to official figures, Alexander Lukashenko appears to have won the Belarus presidential election with almost 76 percent of the vote. Turnout was very high for the man nicknamed "father" but not without its problems.

Ryan Chilcote reports from Belarus on both the election and the controversy surrounding the aftermath.


RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Alexander Lukashenko broke out the wine with journalists and wasting no time congratulated the people of Belarus on what he called their victory just an hour and a half after the polls had closed.

"I want to thank the Belarusian people. The people are the winners here," he said.

Just a stone's throw away from the president's residence, several thousand members of the opposition to Lukashenko gathered at October Square.

"This is not their victory," they said.

"Lukashenko is always trying to muffle our voice," this student says. "We want to be heard, that's why we're here making noise."

The opposition's candidate Vladimir Goncharik told the crowd the vote was rigged and called on the international community to intervene. Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe followed, claiming this presidential election was unfair and undemocratic even before the voting began.

KIMMO KILJUNEN, OSCE ENVOY: A political regime that is not accustomed to hand us everything in its power to block the opposition.

CHILCOTE (on camera): Then the observers said they would recommend a new policy to their member states. The international community, they said, should engage Belarus and not isolate it as it has for the last five years under President Alexander Lukashenko's rule.

(voice-over): The observers said that isolation only hurts the people of Belarus and won't facilitate building a democracy. And while the door to the West was closed, it was always open to the East.

HANS-GEORG WIECK, OSCE ENVOY: In political terms, Belarus continues to enjoy the confidence of the Russian Federation and of other CIS countries which became mostly visible in the reaction of these countries to the election results.

CHILCOTE: Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first to congratulation President Lukashenko by phone. During his campaign, Lukashenko warned voters the West is preparing to unseat him, like it did, he said, with Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia. That won't fly here, he said.

"This isn't Yugoslavia where 100,000 people can take to the streets and create havoc. We're watching each one of the opposition members and they know it," the president said.

The man they call "the father" here is president for another five years. Ryan Chilcote, CNN, Minsk, Belarus.


MCMANUS: As the new school year gets underway, you may be aware of the dangers of drugs or violence, but another threat to your health may literally be lurking within the schoolhouse walls: air pollution. Roughly half of U.S. schools have polluted air. Levels of these indoor pollutants may be 2 to 5 times and sometimes more than 100 times higher than those of outdoor pollutants.

Kathleen Koch tells us what's being done about the problem.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It waits unseen in the hallways and classrooms of an estimated 50 percent of U.S. schools, according to the Environmental Protection Agency: Hazardous indoor air pollution.

BARRY HEMLER, MONTGOMERY CO. SCHOOLS: We could see there, there's the mold growing, all the way up to the window, and all the way down along the base board.

KOCH: Moisture levels in this Chicago high school were so high that potentially harmful mold was found growing in the walls and ceilings.

HEMLER: There's a real good batch of Stachybotris. A lot of the equipment from the original design, it was deteriorated, it was rusted. There was concern that it was a source of mold contamination.

KOCH: In Maryland, officials found moisture, which can lead to mold and fungus, responsible for poor air quality at Kensington Parkwood Elementary School.

HEMLER: I mean, that's where you can see, there were old signs of the moisture that was condensating on the surfaces.

KOCH: Repairs included replacing the heating and cooling system and adding 23 dehumidifiers.

HEMLER: We now have an indoor air quality preventive maintenance team that goes through each and every school. We currently have -- the program was started about a year and a half ago. We've been through over 35 schools.

KOCH: Going through each school is critical, since officials warn poor air quality can affect the health of everyone inside.

BECKY HUDLOW, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL NURSES: We see more students in the health room. We see more staff not feeling good.

KOCH: At highest risk, according to the EPA, children with asthma, like 11-year-old Bruce Johnson of Washington, D.C. Though the American Lung Association says it's tricky to know which symptoms are caused by bad air quality.

BRUCE JOHNSON, ASTHMA PATIENT: My chest, it got really tight, and I went to my teacher and told her I need to take my asthma medicine.

KOCH: At an EPA-hosted conference on the issue this weekend, officials promoted kits, sent to more than 30,000 schools nationwide, to teach them ways to clean up their air.

ELISSA FELDMAN, EPA: Instituting proper kinds of operation and maintenance schedules, even things as simple as changing air filters on a frequent basis, they can prevent themselves from winding up with serious problems later on, which will be very costly.

KOCH (on camera): There are no state or federal laws regulating school air quality. Health experts insist investing in repairs will not only improve students' health, but their ability to learn.

Kathleen Koch, for CNN, Washington.


MCMANUS: In today's "Health Desk Extra," another possible remedy for asthma and other ailments: yoga. Yoga is a spiritual practice developed in India about 5,000 years ago. People who practice it say the different postures, breathing exercises and meditation makes for a healthier mind, body and spirit. And studies also show yoga helps, among other things, arthritis, depression and headaches. There is even another form of yoga exploring the benefits to those suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

CNN Student Bureau's Julie Smith reports.


JULIE SMITH, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): They slip off their shoes and slip away from their stress with yoga, but these people are here for more than an escape from the usual anxieties. This is an immune yoga class and these students face life-threatening illnesses. Fourteen years ago, Brad Fenwick was told he was HIV positive. He joined this class three years ago.

BRAD FENWICK, IMMUNE YOGA STUDENT: Other people have been a great asset to doing yoga. It's sharing, it's participating with other people and being able to be myself, you know, to be a person who's HIV positive in a room with people who understand where I'm coming from and that's very critical.

SMITH: No one expects these yoga classes to cure their diseases, but they do believe it is improving the quality of their living.

Julie Smith, CNN Student Bureau, Atlanta.


WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, treats for the eyes, nose and ears. We'll meet a master of music, Peter Gabriel, and listen to a beat that blends Irish and West African rhythms. Also, the sound and sight of trendy automobiles based on rides from the past. Find out how nostalgia is hitting the road in England and beyond. And speaking of cars, what about that new car smell, it just might be available without the car at a sensational boutique in the United States.

There are good smells and bad smells, strong smells and faint smells. Whatever the smell, our nose knows. How does it work? A process called ol' faction allows us to distinguish the odors of various substances. In humans, the smell organ is located in the mucus membrane of the upper portion of the nasal cavity near the septum. It's made up of ol' factory cells which are actually nerve cells that function as receptors for the sense of smell. We follow our nose now to New York where unusual scents mean dollar and cents for a shop owner with a nose for business.

Glenn Van Zutphen reports.


GLENN VAN ZUTPHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's a perfume shop in New York where the traditional scents are simply passe. The owner says his fragrances evoke good memories. Think less designer and more down to earth.

EMMA O'NEILL, PERFUME ENTHUSIAST: I'm looking at rain and ocean and pruning shears which sounds violent but it's not. It's very floral.

VAN ZUTPHEN: The store stocks about a 150 unusual scents and has a library of 1,000 more. Some smell sweet, others sickening. Dirt is a best seller, but surely the unusual scent names must be a marketing gimmick. Dirt doesn't really smell like dirt, does it?

CHRISTOPHER BROSIUS, STORE OWNER, PERFUMER: Straight out of the bottle they smell pretty much exactly like what it says on the label. When you put them on the skin it becomes much subtler so people are not going to walk by you if you choose to wear mildew in combination with something else and go like ooh. They're just going to get some kind of a very subliminal reminder.

VAN ZUTPHEN: But if the goal is good memories, one might wonder what funeral home is doing on the shelves. The store says it's surprisingly popular, especially around Halloween.

BROSIUS: People will smell it simply because of the name. They expect formaldehyde and dead body and all that other stuff. It's like, well, no. And they realize it's like, well this smells really nice. It's like well that's because it's made from nice flowers, you know they're traditionally found at funerals.

VAN ZUTPHEN: Perhaps these fragrances are just another form of aroma therapy. The store claims the fragrances you choose say a lot about you.

BROSIUS: The fragrances that we do really hit people in a much more personal way because they remind them of themselves.

VAN ZUTPHEN: But like any therapy, these ol' factory sessions come at a price. If you want a special smell like say vinyl, there's a price you'll have to pay.

Glenn Van Zutphen, CNN.


WALCOTT: When music historians of the future look back on the 20th and 21st century, the name Peter Gabriel is sure to be on their study list. That's because this native Brit has been a major influence on rock culture. First in the early 1970s as the leader of the rock group Genesis, then as a solo artist during the 1980s. The critically acclaimed artist is known for being a music adventurer, perhaps best known for hits like his No. 1 single "Sledgehammer." Gabriel is also known for incorporating world beat influences into his music. For his latest project, Gabriel lends his voice to music that combines the traditional sounds of West Africa with Celtic, traditional Irish music.

Jodi Ross tags along on Gabriel's musical journey.


JODI ROSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the latest music video from Peter Gabriel. But don't blink -- or you might miss him. That's because the song, "When You're Falling," is actually by the Afro Celt Sound System, a 10-member band offering a fusion of West African and Irish music.

(on camera): Did you think it was a good idea, Peter, when you heard it?

PETER GABRIEL, MUSICIAN: Yes, it was known as Simon's crazy Afro Celtic project for a while, but...


GABRIEL: No, but we loved it.

ROSS: Loved it so much that Gabriel signed the group to his Real World Records. It's a label that provides artists from around the world with access to high-tech recording facilities, and audiences beyond their geographic reach.

EMMERSON: When I came to Peter, there was no one else in the British music industry who would have even shown me through the door, replied to my letters. You got to understand, it's a fairly weird left-field idea, but it's just gone from strength to strength.

ROSS: The latest album from the Afro Celts is "Volume 3: Further in Time."

EMMERSON: What's now happening with the Afro Celts is we're going out and we're doing European rock festivals, and we're embracing a new generation of kids who are coming to hear rock music and they see N'Faly (ph) walk on stage with his kora and Moussa (ph) with this talking drum, and they're not strangers. They're people from their own culture and their own community.

ROSS: Gabriel is making a guest appearance on the record, although the exact reason why is up for debate.

GABRIEL: I really liked the track.

EMMERSON: No, you didn't. You thought it was okay.

GABRIEL: No, no, no. It was more than OK.

EMMERSON: You hated the track.

GABRIEL: No, no, no. See, now it all comes out.

ROSS: Robert Plant also lends vocals to a track called "Life Begin Again," mixed rock and pop with Moroccan rhythms and Welsh traditions and you get a record hard to accurately place in a record store.

JAMES MCNALLY, AFRO CELT SOUND SYSTEM: We found something that's new and we found a new way of cooperating with each other and different cultures and traditions. But there is no category out there for that yet.

ROSS: For now, just file it under "musical journey."

Jodi Ross, CNN Entertainment News, New York.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Auto manufacturing has come a long way since 1908 when Henry Ford invented what has become the modern day automobile. Prior to Ford's Model T, only the rich could afford to own and operate motor cars. But Ford thought that if he could simplify the auto manufacturing process by making only a couple of basic models with inexpensive parts more people could actually afford to own cars. He was right. Model T revolutionized auto manufacturing in the U.S. and has made car ownership more accessible for everyone.

Since Henry Ford's time a hundred years ago, a number of advances have been made in the auto industry. Cars are even easier to produce, for one thing. They are also bigger, faster, safer and more aerodynamic. Recently, however, car companies have been taking a look back. It seems they are using nostalgia to attract older customers and distinctiveness to attract younger ones.

Tom Bogdanowicz explains.


TOM BOGDANOWICZ, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Are these the '50s, the '60s or is this the 21st century? The recent rash of retro runabouts could well confuse the time traveler. The Mini, the Beetle, the T-Bird and the PT Cruiser are all vying for attention. Carmakers have discovered that nostalgia sells. The latest incarnation of the classic Ford Thunderbird is already sold out through the first year of production. Its revival makes grown Ford executives teary with memories.

JOHN MENDEL, FORD: I remember the first time I saw one, it was 1959. I was about five years old and my father brought it home for my oldest sister to take to her prom. And it had the top down, and the first time I saw it I just fell in love with it because it was -- it was -- there was a spirit about it. And why did we bring it back, to kind of rekindle that spirit in the Ford brand.

BOGDANOWICZ: In the era of lookalike cars, several big automakers are drawing on their heritage for brand character. Volkswagen's Beetle was the car that set the nostalgia trend into serious motion. Desperate to revive flagging U.S. sales, VW brought back the most popular car ever made, the Beetle in a new guise.

PAUL BUCKETT, VOLKSWAGEN: The initial plan was to produce 100,000 units a year, 50,000 for the U.S. market and 50,000 for the rest of the world. After the Beetle had been in production a few months, it was apparent that production had to be increased and through additional shifts was put up to 150,000, a level at which it's currently running.

BOGDANOWICZ: That's less than a tenth of the production of the mainstream Golf. But VW never intended the new Beetle to sell millions.

(on camera): Volkswagen says it doesn't really matter whether the new Beetle is a high volume seller is or not. What's important is that it gets the customers into the showrooms.

(voice-over): Cars like the Beetle and BMW's new Mini aren't even priced to sell in droves like their predecessors. They're premium priced and upmarket. It's hard to tell how durable the new old cars will be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think modern cars all look the same. Quite a lot of them look very similar. So, you know, it makes a nice change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a bad thing because we're relying on the past instead of moving forward.

BOGDANOWICZ: While the nostalgia wave may wane, offbeat car models may be here to stay. They may not be big earners, but they pay off as attention grabbers.

Tom Bogdanowicz, CNN Financial News, London.


MCMANUS: Wow, every 16-year-old's dream to have a car.

WALCOTT: I know, wish I had a car when I was 16.

MCMANUS: Shelley, speaking of cars, it was immortalized by James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause," illegal street racing. But now in California, those with the need for speed can test their engines at the California Speedway.

WALCOTT: That's right, and CNN's Hena Cuevas takes a look at this latest effort to take some dangerous racing off the road.


HENA CUEVAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Motors running, tires burning. A new outlet set for $10 lets anybody with the need for speed see how fast they can go. The only thing needed is a valid California drivers license, registration, insurance and, if they're under 18, a parent's consent. Every driver must sign a waiver releasing the organizers of any liability.

(on camera): This new track is a quarter of a mile long, allowing drivers to reach higher speeds. Some cars here have been going over 100 miles an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five-thirty-two will be your number.

CUEVAS (voice-over): 22-year-old Tyler Ives drove two hours from San Diego to test his brand new 2002 Subaru, this time legally.

TYLER IVES, RACER: You're not going to have to worry about the police, the cops, because that's a definite threat every time you go out there on the street.

CUEVAS: After getting his car professionally inspected, Tyler is ready to race; his competition: an officer of the California Highway Patrol.

This time, Tyler outruns the police.

MICHAEL LINDQUIST, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: I haven't lost, because I've got to talk to a lot of people and hopefully they understand that this is the place to race, and not out on the street.

CUEVAS: Illegal street racing is what organizers of this program are trying to prevent. And although there are no national statistics on the number of accidents resulting from illegal racing, many law enforcement agents say it happens all too frequently.

SGT. KEN FITZPATRICK, L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Not only do they kill themselves, but they kill innocent people who have no part in the street race or no knowledge that it's even going on.

CUEVAS: This kind of racing has been popular with teens, immortalized in movies like 1955's "Rebel Without a Cause."

More recently, L.A. police say they issued nearly 500 citations the weekend the street racing movie "The Fast and the Furious" came out. Organizers say their No. 1 goal is getting racers off the streets.

BILL MILLER, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY: These are teenagers and people that really want to drive fast because they don't have an outlet. And we have the ability to provide the outlet.

CUEVAS: An outlet Tyler says he'll be taking advantage of.

IVES: As long as there's petroleum and cars, I'll be doing it for the rest of my life.

Hena Cuevas, CNN, Fontana, California.


WALCOTT: Well tomorrow on the show we're taking care of business.

MCMANUS: Yes, we'll actually tell you how one little penny can make a big difference on Wall Street. Plus in "Worldview," we'll feature a story for all you lefties out there.

WALCOTT: That's right, so you can look forward to that. That wraps up today's show.

MCMANUS: See you tomorrow.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.



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