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CNN Newsroom

Aired October 4, 2001 - 04:30   ET


MICHAEL MCMANUS, CNN ANCHOR: ...Newsroom, I'm Michael McManus.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld heads to the Middle East to drum up support for the fight against terrorism. Rumsfeld arrived in Saudi Arabia Wednesday. The trip will include stops in Oman, Egypt, and Uzbekistan and meetings with several political and military leaders.

Meanwhile in the United States, President Bush travels to New York, Wednesday, for the second time since the September 11 attack. He met with business executives to discuss the economic impact of last month's tragedy.

John King looks at the economic challenges facing Mr. Bush and how he plans to deal with them.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's visit to Wall Street was designed to lay out his bottom line for the economic debate unfolding back in Washington.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I believe we need additional stimulus beyond some of the spending that we've already put in place to the tune of about $60 to 75 billion.

KING: The administration and Congress are still haggling over the details. But Mr. Bush emerged from a meeting of business leaders to say the basic elements of the package should be a tax cut that puts more money into consumers hands within months, most likely a payroll tax cut, some form of immediate but likely temporary business tax relief to encourage investment, and help for displaced workers like extended health care and unemployment benefits.

BUSH: We've got to recognize that as a result of September 11, folks have been laid off and we need to make sure they're able to survive until this economy gets going again.

KING: Congress is already debating the issue and it is clear the president's biggest problem is fellow Republicans who think the White House is being too timid and too cooperative with the Democrats.

SENATOR FRED THOMPSON, FINANCE CONSULTANT, REPUBLICAN: Let's decide if we want a stimulus package or not and we're going to have a different mindset than I see coming out of the administration.

KING: Many Republicans favor permanent cuts in corporate income taxes or in the capital gains tax or both. With the economy stalled, any new spending now would come at the expense of the social security surplus. Though Democrats say proceed with caution. They favor a more modest $50 billion package with an emphasis on displaced workers and short-term help for businesses.

SENATOR TOM DASCHLE, MAJORITY LEADER: I think everybody ought to be reminded over and over; we're borrowing money to provide this stimulus.

KING: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is a key player in the discussions.

(on camera): And that a private meeting with key law makers, congressional sources in both parties say Greenspan gave his blessing to the price tag and to the general approach outlined by the president, but the debate over the details is still expected to take a week or two to resolve.

John King, CNN, the White House.


MCMANUS: The Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates nine times this year in efforts to jump start the economy. Their most recent cut Tuesday dropped the key overnight bank-lending rate to 2.5 percent, that's the lowest it's been since John Kennedy was president. Consumer confidence and spending have both been low and many businesses have had to cut costs.

Hillary Lane looks at one way some New York companies are adding to that bottom line.


HILLARY LANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Survivors of the dot com fallout now plunged into their second tour of duty. In a climate where financing is as dry as the desert, the enemy, the uncertain economy.

LORI RUBINSON, CEO, NUVISIO: We have lower expectations, I believe now, for the kind of money that we're expecting to get in the funding round and therefore expecting that we're going to need to be more self sufficient for the business.

LANE: Nuvisio employed 27 people. Their computerized coupons save consumers money, while the company's technology tracks and rewards customer loyalty. Clients such as Kelloggs, Clairol, and Pfizer. But now CEO Lori Rubinson is doing cost cutting of her own and raising goals for her sales force. While it's too soon to tell whether financing commitments will come through for small businesses, third quarter numbers show a major pullback in venture capital down 72 percent compared to the same period last year. (on camera): While businesses around the country share concerns about fund raising and falling valuations, here in New York City many have found they have a new way of cutting one of their biggest expenses.

(voice-over): Rent, landlords who previously would not allow subleasing changed their mind after the World Trade Center attack. Cashed out businesses moved quickly and deals were done.

WILLIAM ROUHANA, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, WINSTAR COMMUNICATIONS: We're moving people around now as we consolidate into two floors.

LANE: Winstar Communications operating under chapter 11 protection, sublet 200,000 square feet of unneeded space.

ROUHANA: We ended up making a deal with the company called Aon which was very-badly hurt in the events of the World Trade Center and we're happy to have them here and happy to help them.

LANE: Maybe a reflection of the spirit sweeping across the country and a reinforced determination to survive and come out stronger.

Hillary Lane for CNN Financial News, New York.


MCMANUS: Have you been to an airport lately, if so, you've seen the changes, added police and military patrols, longer lines but what about in the corporate setting. Companies worldwide are reviewing their security policies and making quick changes in response to the events of September 11.

CNN Financial News reporter, Steve Young visited one company to get an inside look at the changes there.


STEVE YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roll up to Borland Technology in Scott Valley, California and you may not realize they're pecking the screws on security. After the September 11 disaster the software company edited it's list of ex-employees and contractors to be sure, those who still have a badge can't get in. Borland says it's checked to be sure all card readers and cameras are fully operational.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each of our parameter doors has a card access.

YOUNG: The customer there for the day gets a day pass allowing her to get a meeting room, a rest room and that's about it. It's also revising the previous policy permitting up to two Borland executives and 10 employees to travel on the same airplane. It now permits only one senior executive on a flight and it's published a matrix of who can't travel together, for example a senior executive and a chief scientist. While Borland was willing to discuss it's increased security, many other companies were not, including Alcoa, Citigroup, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Any lessons learned from those reports of confusion about whether to immediately evacuate the stricken New York targets.

ED RYTTER, PRESIDENT, NEW YORK BUILDING OWNERS MANAGERS ASSOCIATION: I think the crisis we saw was unusual but every building of any size and even down to very small size buildings, the management or the ownership of the building has prepared emergency plans.

YOUNG: Including Rytter says, evacuation plans. That's the official word but along with a lot of other companies Borland doesn't have an evacuation plan yet. It's waiting for a consultant report.

ROGER BARNEY, SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, BORLAND SOFTWARE: We expect by the 16, 15 or 16 of October every employee here in Scott Valley will have a copy of the emergency evacuation plan. Secondly, we will hold emergency evacuation drills.

YOUNG (on camera): Even before it gets the report, Borland says it's decided whether it's a fire, terrorist attack or bomb threat, it will tell employees to leave the building at once. It says it will deal with the ramifications of that as opposed to saying stay in the building until we find out.

Steve Young, CNN Financial News, New York.


MCMANUS: Our look at security continues now in Salt Lake City, Utah, 128 days and counting before the city plays host to the Winter Olympic Games. Athletes and fans will be arriving from all over the world and safety is no doubt a huge concern of game organizers, so much so that they have just asked Congress for an additional $40 million to increase security. The money would be spent on more personnel, supplies and equipment to patrol both the mountains serving as event venues as well as the skies overhead.

Mike Boettcher reports.


MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Practice, practice, practice in the mountains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah the 2002 Winter Olympic Park seems insulated, a world away from the harsh realities of September 11. But inside Utah's Olympic Safety Command there is a new sense of urgency, that the global spotlight of the games could draw unimaginable terror to this international symbol of peace and goodwill.

ROBERT FLOWERS, UTAH OLYMPIC PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSIONER: We never thought about it as a hardcore possibility until September the 11th.

BOETTCHER: Commissioner Robert Flowers heads up the Utah Olympic Safety Command that is responsible for coordinating the resources of some 24 federal, state and local agencies including the FBI, FAA, and for the first time the Secret Service.

FLOWERS: We're going to go back and look at some of the training that we've done to make sure that we can do what we think we can do.

BOETTCHER: Terror is no stranger to the Olympics of course. In 1972, Palestinian terrorists took Israeli athletes hostage, then later killed them.

In 1996, the bomb in Atlanta's Centennial Park killed one, wounded more than a 100 others.

So even before September 11, the public safety command was already preparing for a variety of scenarios including chemical, biological even radioactive weapons, add suicide bombers to the list of concerns.

FLOWERS: I believe when you look at what's occurred, when you have somebody who's very committed, it can be a very daunting task to keep something like that from occurring.

BOETTCHER: So there will be more federal agents to guard Olympic venues and more of the military above and beyond the 1,400 troops originally expected. The federal government has already contributed $200 million for the Olympics. And organizers are asking Washington for millions more to cover the added security cost.

MITT ROMNEY, PRESIDENT SALT LAKE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: I don't think anyone is concerned about seeing too much security in this country these days.

BOETTCHER: Mitt Romney is President of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee.

ROMNEY: I think we all want to know that everything we're doing particularly in the public venue is safe and sound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 1999 World Skeleton Champion

BOETTCHER: For athletes like Olympic hopeful Jim Shea concerns about safety are tampered by a desire to win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, we may as well call this new track, Shea Stadium.

BOETTCHER: Shea says most of the athletes he's talked to are more focused on competition. Like him they're used to taking risks.

A world champion member of the U.S. Skeleton team, Shea regularly hurdles head first down a mountain at 80 miles an hour.

JIM SHEA, U.S. OLYMPIC (INAUDIBLE): I'm not concerned with my safety, you know, I mean you can't, you know, I'm American, you know, we don't, Americans don't run around scared. You know, I think that's the attitude that a lot of us other athletes and other -- they've been training their whole life to do this. I mean, you know, they want to do it.

BOETTCHER: Open-air venues like those involving Shea's Skeleton competition pose a particular challenge.

ROMNEY: If somebody wants to sneak in off the back of a mountain they're going to have to come through a lot of snow and they're going to be pretty visible.

All of our venues have secure perimeters. Now, I won't go into the details of what that means. But there's not some place you can come walking in off of a mountain and get into an Olympic venue.

BOETTCHER: Ever since Munich, Olympic organizers have played out a "what-if" exercise. What if a plane tried to crash into the stadium where opening and closing ceremonies are held? Salt Lake City's answer begins with a no fly zone that's backed up by force. New plans are going in place from protecting the water supply against poisoning, to tighter scrutiny of visas for athletes.

FLOWERS: They were concerned about whether or not we'll be able to meet that deadline and I....

BOETTCHER: But Commissioner Flowers is coy about other tactics such as using police snipers to guard the game.

FLOWERS: We have it all.

BOETTCHER: Flowers says nothing is off the table. There will be a security zone around part of downtown Salt Lake City. The aim, to avoid a repeat of Atlanta.

ROMNEY: In the games in Atlanta, they had a central plaza where people gathered for celebrations it was called Centennial Park and a decision was made not to have it have a fenced parameter with magnetometers and bag checks and high security and we've made a very different decision. We've decided that we're going to take a nine block area of downtown surrounded entirely with fencing have entrances only through magnetometers with bag checks and with security personnel extensively through that area.

BOETTCHER: The International Olympic Committee is expressing confidence in Salt Lake's security plan but the IOC is also taking extraordinary steps. Granting its president the power to cancel the games.

For now Olympic athletes are still training, fans still cheering them on, and preparations for the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake are still moving full speed ahead. Mitt Romney says he wants athletes and fans to come and to have fun.

ROMNEY: These games must go forward. They recognize the pre- eminence of humanity and civilization and they also are an affirmation of those things to the world. I think the games are more critical for America and the world than ever before.

BOETTCHER: And if the Salt Lake City games do come off without incident, this could lend momentum to an idea that's already gaining support, to hold the 2012 summer games in New York City.

Mike Boettcher, CNN reporting.


MCMANUS: Hearings on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, looked at whether or not the United States is prepared for bio-terrorism. Health and Human Service Secretary Tommy Thompson says the U.S. healthcare system is ready but has a few gaps. Yesterday we told you about the threat of smallpox as a biological weapon.

Now, CNN Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the threat of Anthrax.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is only a few microns in size, doesn't require many nutrients and has the capability to kill millions. It is common only in animals but now the world is learning the effect anthrax can have on humans.

(on camera): First it is grown in a laboratory. It would then be weaponized that is dried or ground into particles small enough to float on air. The aim, to reach as many people as possible perhaps through a car or a truck driving around the city spewing the deadly germ in its way.

(voice-over): Or may be a crop duster any method to get it into the air, then into people's lungs where it passes through tissue called alveoli.

DR. TARA O'TOOLE, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR CIVILIAN BIODEFENSE STUDIES: The spore gets inhaled into the bottom of the lungs. It then moves to the lymph nodes in the chest and as a result of reasons we don't understand, at some point that spore germinates, it starts multiplying it enters the blood stream and the usual reactions of the immune system and septic (ph) shock ensue.

DR. GUPTA (voice-over): Those spores can enter the body in three ways, they can be swallowed, they can infect the skin, and the most deadly way, they can be inhaled. The symptoms at first are like the flu including fevers, chills, and weakness. The victim may get better for a while but then will most certainly get worse.

Over the next one to six days, serious breathing problems and shock can occur. The world has learned from past mistakes, inhaled anthrax is usually fatal.

DR. O'TOOLE: We know, for example, of an accidental release of anthrax from a Soviet production plant near Sverdlovsk in the (INAUDIBLE) and that resulted in about 65 fatalities, but a very tiny amount of this anthrax powder escaped from the plant in the middle of night as a result of someone forgetting to replace an air filter. And it killed people and animals many kilometers downwind.

DR. GUPTA: In animal and laboratory tests, the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin worked well at controlling symptoms and preventing deaths.

DR. O'TOOLE: If you treat people very early, preferably before they get symptoms, you can save them from anthrax.

DR. GUPTA: But many doctors worry that patients might think they have anthrax when it may just be the flu and react by unnecessarily taking the antibiotic.

There is also a vaccine for anthrax. It's about 93 percent effective. The CDC recommends it for soldiers, some farm workers, and others who might be exposed to anthrax. It takes 18 months to complete the series of shots. Just to fight fear or needless panic, the answer probably lies somewhere in-between. Regardless the decision, whether to be vaccinated or to always carry Ciprofloxacin, is the personal choice. Experts do agree however the only truly reliable prevention is to stop such attacks before they come.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.



MCMANUS: OK, so have you heard the latest? Rumors have been running rampant since the terrorist attacks. Some of these stories are made up and some are misconstrued. But please take a moment to pass this on. Sorting out fact from fiction would be so much easier if the rumor mongers would just stay out of it. With more here's Beth Nissen.


BETH NISSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Did you hear, Nostradamus predicted in 1654 that two metal birds would hit two brothers and the world will end soon after. -- not true. No such writings are attributed to the French astrologer. Did you see the photo of a tourist on the World Trade Center observation deck moments before one of the hijacked planes hit? The photo is a fake. Did you know as one of the twin towers collapsed, a man on the 82nd floor rode the rubble down and survived with only a broken leg? The story is apocryphal, one of hundreds of false rumors and instant urban legends that have circled the globe in urgent e-mails since September 11.

BARBARA MIKKELSON, SNOPES.COM: It's part of how we deal with calamity and try to make sense of the senseless and we're doing that by exchanging information and misinformation at a fantastic rate in hope that some of it will be real or some of it will somehow manage to help us once again make sense.

NISSEN: Barbara and David Mikkelson run, a Web site that lists and verifies rumors, conspiracy theories and urban legends. Since September 11, they've been overwhelmed.

DAVID MIKKELSON, SNOPES.COM: It's really difficult to track a lot of those things down when all you have is a purported e-mail from somebody named "Janet" and no other identifying information. NISSEN: and other rumor monitors have managed to verify or debunk many of the most persistent rumors. The one about the United Airlines pilot who on a flight four days after the attack instructed his passengers on how to foil a hijacking. That is true.

BARBARA MIKKELSON: So many of the most fantastic stories have turned out to be the ones that were true.

NISSEN: Or stories people wished were true, like the false story about the man who rode the rubble to safety.

BARBARA MIKKELSON: The thought that there was one survivor and that somehow there was something miraculous about (INAUDIBLE) may get through gives all of us hope.

NISSEN: So did the rumor that searchers found in smoking rubble over the Pentagon an unscathed Bible.

BARBARA MIKKELSON: This Bible perfectly untouched which is sort of an enduring symbol of how faith, belief and the deeply held values will survive no matter what the carnage around us.

DAVID MIKKELSON: We eventually found out that it was not a Bible, but a dictionary because we happened to know somebody who works in the Pentagon and actually went and saw it himself.

NISSEN: The most widely distributed rumors were mystical, metaphysical, supernatural, this authentic, un-doctored Associated Press photograph was e-circulated worldwide with the claim that the face of Satan could be seen in the smoke. E-mails told of various sources Nostradamus, tarot cards that foretold the attack. Psychologists say that in times of disaster, people can find an odd comfort in seeing calamity as fate, as pre-ordained.

BARBARA MIKKELSON: As frightening as that might be to accept it is far less frightening than the other way of looking at it which is that it's all random chance that there is no sense to it and that anything could happen to anyone at anytime.

NISSEN: In the last few days, a new strain of rumors have appeared about impending germ war, biological attacks. Thousands of people have received e-mails warning that sponges soaked with a deadly Ebola-like virus have been put in blue envelopes and mailed to randomly chosen Americans. That rumor is not only false but harmful, even dangerous.

BARBARA MIKKELSON: The problem with rumors is that they continue to feed an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. These stories say that we're afraid and frightened, both, by the events that have already unfolded and the events that we very deeply believe are to come.

NISSEN: Events, rumor has it, will come.

Beth Nisson, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MCMANUS: It's often said that laughter is the best medicine. But there is nothing funny about what's happened and what's happened has left some folks feeling funny about laughing again. But many Americans are in serious need of something not so serious to smile about.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It used to be we laugh and we cried. But these days, the question is how long do you cry before it's time to laugh again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to laugh; I need to stop thinking about it at sometime. I look up the streets there's just a big hole in the sky, it's really depressing.

MOOS: Depressing for comedians as well. David Letterman didn't even try to be funny his first show back after the attacks as he spoke about the hijack.

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDY SHOW ANCHOR: We're told that they were zealots, fuelled by religious fervor, religious fervor and if you live to be a 1000 years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any (INAUDIBLE) sense?

MOOS: Letterman took a deep breath and gradually got back on his feet with kinder, gentler jokes.

LETTERMAN: We're going to try something called covert comedy. You may not be aware of it, but it's there, it's there.

MOOS: Mayor Rudy Giuliani made comedy overt when he introduced Saturday Night Live alongside the show's executive producer.

RUDY GIULIANI, MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Can we be funny? Why start now.

MOOS: Even the president is once again joking publicly at the expense of the head of FEMA.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I admit he is not very pretty to look at.

MOOS: Seeing grown men horse around is a relief after seeing grown men cry. One of the few targets cartoonists and comedians can safely go after is Osama bin Laden. Shows that normally take their humor from the headlines must make do with oblique jokes laughing say at the audio delay on the videophone, the latest media tool for hard- to-reach places.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I can't see, Carell, what's going on over there?

MOOS: One of the few media outlets to attack on the subject head-on is the satirical weekly "The Onion" with headlines like "U.S. Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We're At War With" and "The Hijackers Surprised to Find Themselves In Hell. We Expected Eternal Paradise." Even God got into the act angrily clarifying his "Don't Kill," rule. The Lord was quoted as saying "Do You Hear Me? I Don't Want You To Kill Anybody. How May Times Do I Have To Say It?" But then the article gets serious, "After His Outburst God Fell Silent And He Wept."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Couple of times, I felt guilty about laughing but then I thought, you know, like it says in the bible. There's a time to cry and there's a time to laugh.

MOOS: This is no laughing matter but laughing does matter and those who caused so much death should know we are still...

GIULIANI: Live from New York.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


MCMANUS: That's all for Newsroom Thursday. I am Michael McManus. Have a great day. We'll see you tomorrow.




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