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CNN Newsroom

Aired November 2, 2001 - 04:30   ET


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Hello, everybody, and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM for Friday. I'm Tom Haynes.

U.S. planes are stepping up their bombing campaign in northeastern Afghanistan. Northern Alliance commanders say the bombs are being directed at Taliban front lines. The strategy apparently is designed to help Northern Alliance elite forces already in the area. As the U.S.-led coalition pounds away at the Taliban defenses, the Northern Alliance appears to be gearing up for an assault on Kabul. Chris Burns will fill us in on that in just a minute.

First, CNN's Satinder Bindra reports on the impact of the military campaign along those front lines.


SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is as close as you can get. U.S. bombs land just a few hundred meters away from us but on target in Taliban territory.

FAIZ MOHAMMED, COMMANDER, NORTHERN ALLIANCE (through translator): We saw one plane that bombed this area. The plane dropped eight bombs on Taliban positions.

BINDRA: Cheering on these strikes from their front line positions are Northern Alliance fighters, locked in a bitter 7-year- old struggle for the control of Afghanistan with the Taliban.

(on camera): It's been four days since U.S. planes have been bombing al Qaeda camps in these hills. This latest attack, according to Northern Alliance soldiers, has been the most punishing and accurate so far. If U.S. planes keep up their bombardment, anti- Taliban troops say that will further boost their morale and encourage them to push forward towards Taliban positions.

(voice-over): Trouble is there are mines between the Taliban and Northern Alliance strongholds, but commander Faiz Mohammed and his 20 troops say they've just asked for mine-clearing equipment.

MOHAMMED (through translator): We are not afraid of our enemies whether they be Pakistani or Arab fighters. If we had been afraid, we would not have been able to resist the Taliban for so long.

BINDRA: These fighters say the Taliban are well dug in. They've created a maze of tunnels in hillsides and sneak inside when they hear planes. Still, say Northern Alliance fighters, the veracity of this latest attack should have caused casualties.

A few miles away, in the village of Jalemcor (ph), even with all the bombs going off, an ancient way of life continues. Farmers make rice in a giant metal bowl to remove the husks from the gain and reminisce about the days events.

FAIZUR REHMAN, REFUGEE (through translator): If this bombing continues, the Taliban will be removed from the face of Afghanistan.

BINDRA: Others in Jalemcor are busy counting their blessings. One wayward bomb landed in their fields instead of Taliban territory. No one was killed or injured, but this bomb crater continues to draw the thrill-seekers and collectors who scratch around the dirt for the still hot pieces of shrapnel.

It's clear these sharp edges of metal could have maimed and killed. No one, though, appears too concerned. Like their fighters on the front lines, everyone here is just waiting for clear skies tomorrow so the bombing can continue.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, Pus-e-pulay Cumray Hills (ph), northeastern Afghanistan.



CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fresh indications that despite halting steps on the battle ground, a Northern Alliance offensive north of Kabul could be imminent. Troops in fresh camouflage uniforms train before heading to the front. Not all are fully equipped and many appear to be fresh-faced recruits. But with snow suddenly on the mountain tops, time is pressing before winter sets in.

Officials of the Northern Alliance, which calls itself the United Front, say as many as 4,000 more troops are being sent to the front. With an estimated 2,000 already on the front line, that could match the estimated Taliban force on the other side.

ABDULLAH ABDULLAH, NORTHERN ALLIANCE FOREIGN MINISTER: There will be a maneuver very soon, but I think in a few days time our forces in this part will be to the highest level of cooperation.

BURNS: By maneuver, the foreign minister says he means mainly an exercise, but he also indicates those forces could be ready at the same time the airstrikes open the way for an advance.

ABDULLAH: If in any front line is struck for a few days, intensely, it could be -- there could be a breakthrough.

BURNS: Those airstrikes, including B-52s dropping cluster bombs, have been intensified and are increasingly coordinated with the Northern Alliance. The alliance now acknowledges a U.S. presence near the front north of Kabul as well as in the north near the Taliban stronghold, Mazar-i-Sharif.

After three weeks of U.S.-led air raids and little progress on the ground, the Northern Alliance is speaking with increasing confidence it can finally advance, if not toward Kabul, then on other fronts. But if, and only if, the airstrikes can open the way for a force repeatedly beaten back by the Taliban.

Chris Burns, CNN, in northern Afghanistan.


HAYNES: When the U.S. was fighting the Vietnam War, its military on the ground encountered humidity and rain. During Desert Storm, its ground troops experienced hot desert days. And in Afghanistan, yet another weather scenario may soon confront U.S. troops.

Joie Chen has the weather outlook.


JOIE CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed geography and particularly climate may have a great role in what happens in the war on terrorism. There are extremes, tremendous extremes in the weather throughout this region. Particularly, you need to understand the position of Afghanistan within the region to understand how this all fits together.

Let's consider this, Afghanistan itself is slightly smaller than the state of Texas. It is about the size of the country of France. More important to its weather situation, Afghanistan is a landlocked country. It's 300 miles to the nearest point of ocean water. Also, another very important thing about it is its latitude. It is about in the same place as Albuquerque, New Mexico, so you should take that into consideration.

There are tremendous extremes in geography in this one little country from some of the very highest peaks in the world leading up to the Himalayan Range and to some of the desert areas. Wide, wide ranges in temperatures and precipitation. From the southwestern part of the country where it is arid, it is pretty much desert-like throughout the southwest to the northwest, where, as we said, mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush lead up to the great Himalayan Range, great, great cold areas of the country.

Kabul, the city you've heard so much about, is in a valley with a lot of water around it, and that surprises a lot of folks. It can get very hot in some places in this country. Jalalabad has recorded the highest temperatures in all of Afghanistan, 120 degrees on one day in July. The lowest temperature ever recorded at Kabul, though, which is really only a very short distance away from Jalalabad, was once recorded at minus 24 degrees.

More average temperatures, what you can expect in the coming month, average high in November of 59, average low of 30, and in December, an average high of 47 and an average low of 24. Now in the next few months, cold winds will blast southward from Russia and Kazakhstan and bring with them bitterly cold winters. Very heavy snow can be expected, especially in the mountains.

Take a look at this, out in the Solong Pass of Afghanistan, this is an area that goes from Kabul to the northern areas of the country, the Solong Pass can actually get as much as 10 feet of snow. Though this can be very useful to a very dry country because normally when it gets that much snow, as that snow melts becomes a very useful sort of water -- source of water, irrigation for much of the country. But the only option if the Solong Pass is closed under 10 feet of snow is to try to go over it. And even in a four-wheel drive vehicle, 10 feet of snow would be awfully difficult to get through.

Kabul itself can get very snowy indeed. In fact, at some times of the year it can reach up to about two feet of snow. So weather could be very important. And as we begin November, weather becomes a very important consideration in what happens next in the war on terrorism.


HAYNES: Textbook publishers are scrambling to include as many details as possible in the war against terrorism. Many history books were headed for the presses when the September 11 attacks occurred.

Bruce Burkhardt looks at the efforts being made to document the most devastating terrorist attack ever to occur on U.S. soil.


BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): History, while these high school students are studying it, others are writing it quickly.

(on camera): On September 11, students here and most everywhere else stopped their classes to watch TV, not so much studying history as living it. But seldom has history made such a quick jump from TV to textbook.

(voice-over): If news is the first draft of history, then these folks are working on the second draft. They're editors and layout artists for Pearson Prentice-Hall, a major publisher of textbooks, and after that Tuesday morning in September, the cry went out, stop the presses.

MICHAEL STOFF, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: We were in page proofs, which is the penultimate stage of publishing. We were ready to go to press with the book.

BURKHARDT: Michael Stoff is one of the authors of the "American Nation," a history textbook for middle schoolers from Prentice-Hall. The version that was headed to the printers took students right up to the contested presidential election of 2000.

STOFF: We thought that was the story that would end the century. It turns out to be far less important it seems now.

FRANK TANGREDI, SENIOR EDITOR, PEARSON PRENTICE-HALL: And this row represents what we had originally planned before September 11.

BURKHARDT: Frank Tangredi is a senior editor of the "American Nation," and like so many, felt helpless in the wake of the attacks. That is until he went to a candlelight vigil and overhead a father talking to his infant son.

TANGREDI: But he was talking to his son and he said to the baby, "some day you're going to read about this in the history books." I'm sorry. And I turned to him on impulse and I said, "we'll see to that."

Yes, this is too horizontal.

BURKHARDT: But publishers also had other more practical reasons to rewrite history in a hurry -- competitive pressures.

ANN SMISKO, TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY: We'll be spending about $229 million on social studies for this particular proclamation.

BURKHARDT: The state of Texas is the second largest buyer of textbooks in the country, and it so happens, will soon be making their decision on which social studies books they'll use for the next six or seven years.

SMISKO: The curriculum looks to have students learn about events -- quote -- "through the present," and so that will be subject to some, you know, judgment call on the part of the textbook panel.

STOFF: On the evening of September 11, 2001, Americans across the nation gathered in grief. Many people wept openly, some held candles.

BURKHARDT: So begins Dr. Stoff's revisions of the last chapter of "The American Nation." History, by definition, is something best viewed through the prism of time. How do you do it when there is no time?

STOFF: It was some of the most difficult writing I've ever done. We had already begun developing certain themes that September 11th fit into. Those themes involved large issues like globalism, like the post-Cold War world, which we saw as a world of regional conflict.

TANGREDI: And this last row represents the first page layout that incorporates the changes we made as of September 11.

BURKHARDT: In illustrating the revised version, Tangredi and his team opted not to use dramatic photos of planes crashing into buildings.

TANGREDI: The central image we now have on our opener timeline is of the firefighters raising the flag at the World Trade Center which we felt was a very powerful image we wanted to emphasize.

BURKHARDT: The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung once asked, "who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?" For these students, and the people who prepare their textbooks, maybe history lives in both places.

Bruce Burkhardt, CNN, Atlanta.


HAYNES: Well publishers haven't been the only ones scrambling, our guide writers have also been hard at work supplying resources for you and your teachers. For that information, you can head to and click on teacher resources.

It's important to note that these difficult times are providing more than just history lessons, it's also a time to learn about inclusion and civility.

Seema Mathur takes us into one school for a lesson on stereotypes.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

SEEMA MATHUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In troubled times, more meaning for the Pledge of Allegiance. But along with that renewed love of country comes confusion towards some of the people in it.

CARMEN PARISELLI, STUDENT: People are automatically assuming, OK, well they're a different color, they're not -- they're not Caucasian or they're, you know, not black or Hispanic, so obviously they must be trying to cause trouble.

BLAKE PARKER, STUDENT: There's always going to be something that's going to stand out to you about that person that says, well this is the kind of person that's done this to us.

MATHUR: Seventeen-year-old Daniel Armaios, unfortunately, does stand out. His Middle Eastern looks have made him the brunt of recent jokes.

DANIEL ARMAIOS, STUDENT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you know with the suicide bombings, reenacting them, telling them to do it to make fun of me, mocking me with it, kind of makes -- hurts me.

JIMMY HARPER, NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF COMMUNITY AND JUSTICE: With the rise of nationalism and a lot of other forces in our country, it's so easy to narrower -- to narrow our boundaries and to exclude people who don't look just like us and think of them as the enemy.

MATHUR: Jimmy Harper is from a group that's trying to open minds. The National Conference of Community and Justice takes workshops to school with the aim of combating stereotypes.

HARPER: They just don't pop into our head one day and you know all of a sudden we're full of stereotypes. Where do we -- where do we get those?

MATHUR: The students themselves decide where stereotypes come from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our parents have like a certain idea of a certain group of people then those ideas get passed on to their kids.

MATHUR: Another place where these students say they pick up the labels, the media. Many students here say they know how it feels to be stereotyped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not everyone who's Hispanic sells drugs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not all African-Americans play basketball and football.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there's a major stereotype against teenagers, because if you walk in any store that's -- there's going to be people following you around, making sure you're not stealing something.

MATHUR (on camera): While negative stereotypes may just end in hurt feelings in the classroom, experts say there's a fuel behind our much bigger national problem of hate crimes. In fact, since September 11, the FBI has investigated close to 200 hate crimes.

(voice-over): Among them, the vandalism of mosques across the country and the murder of this Sikh businessman in Arizona.

ARMAIOS: The first thing some of my teachers told me, be careful, because it was kind of scary to think of that like because there's still hate crimes going on of people -- like there was one guy, he was Sikh, he's not even Islamic believer, got killed because he was wearing a turban.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's been two real ways of embracing the events of September the 11th, some people have taken a complete extreme and they've just made false assumptions about all Arab people and they've just taken that opportunity to put them down. And at the complete opposite end, some people are using it as a reason to unite and grow strong.

MATHUR: For this group, it's been an opportunity to vent their feelings and move forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We start to voice what stereotypes we've heard and there's people in the group that we have stereotyped, they can tell us, well that's not true.

MATHUR: For instance, they're surprised when students find that while Daniel looks Middle Eastern and his heritage is Egyptian, he's not Muslim but Roman Catholic. And while Chris might look African- American, he's from Panama.

CHRIS: My Muslim brother, I'm African-American, I'm from Trinidad. I mean it doesn't get much more than that. So you can't just look at somebody and say oh you're from -- you're from so and so, you're this, you're that.

MATHUR: The first step towards breaking stereotypes, an effort to understand each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we should desire more opinions, we should desire what other people think and we should desire to know what they know and to see what they see.

MATHUR: Seema Mathur, CNN, Atlanta.


HAYNES: Here is some other news making headlines on this Friday.

In New York, a federal health official says the anthrax that killed a hospital worker closely resembles the spores found in contaminated letters, but they still don't appear to be any closer to figuring out how the woman became infected. Mayor Giuliani says a fellow co-worker has developed a suspicious lesion but so far has tested negative for anthrax.

Microsoft and the Justice Department have reached a tentative agreement to settle the anti-trust case against the software giant. They are to present the settlement to the trial judge today, but attorney generals from 18 states are asking for more time to decide whether to sign off on that deal.

Well, it's time now to journey to Peru. At an elevation of 3,856 meters or 12,725 feet above sea level, Peru's Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake. Legend has it the Incas were born of its waters. It is also said that Incan gold was tossed into the lake to hide it from the Spanish conquistadors.

But gold wasn't the only thing hidden by the water as Newsroom's Janice McDonald explains.


JANICE MCDONALD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dawn on Lake Titicaca and these men are doing what their ancestors have done for hundreds of years, fishing. On the shore, others are gathering reeds. The reeds and the fish are what sustain them, the fish for nourishment, the reeds for their homes, boats and even their islands, which are not much more than thick piles of reeds matted together. They are called the Uros, and they live in the shallow waters of the lake in a floating archipelago created almost 500 years ago to escape enslavement by Spanish conquistadors.

EDUARDO CUETO, TOUR GUIDE: The ancestors of these people in the past were living in the coast and these people (UNINTELLIGIBLE) are the same as people who decided to runaway from Spanish (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the 16th century.

MCDONALD: Over the centuries, the Uros developed a lifestyle revolving around the waters. Mornings and nights are spent fishing, days spent gathering reeds. (on camera): The islands need constant maintenance. Reeds have to be continually added up top because the ones below begin to rot. Even then, the islands only have a life span of about 25 years.

(voice-over): When an island gets too heavy, it sinks and a new one is built. A process repeated countless times over the centuries the Uros have lived here. It was a peaceful, undisturbed existence until the last 30 years, when their unique lifestyle was discovered by tourists.

IACINIO COILA, UROS RESIDENT (through translator): They started coming, groups of five and grew.

MCDONALD: Iacinio Coila was born and raised in these islands. He remembers when his people used to be frightened by the curiosity seekers. Now they welcome them by the boatloads, trying to sell them handmade tapestries, mobiles, trinkets and replicas of reed boats. The lifestyle the visitors come to photograph is quickly changing.

CUETO: At this point now they are very commercial, the -- because they see tourists coming everyday in huge groups and mainly in the morning they just pass...

MCDONALD: It's still a primitive way of living. People still grind their own grain, make their own mattresses. But instead of making reed boats for fishing, the tribesmen now make them to take tourists for rides and use the money they earn to buy longer lasting wooden boats. Way down here you can even find a solar panel to power a television hidden inside this reed hut. Some buildings are becoming a little more sturdy than the traditional reed structures, among them, the island's schools.


MCDONALD: Classes only go through the first level or sixth grade. Second level students attend classes a half-hour boat ride away on the mainland in the town of Puno. And many, like 13-year-old Pilar Vilca (ph), prefer the life they see there. She tells us it's easier to get sick down here on the water, her friends from the mainland don't come visit her and she'd rather move to Puno.

Twenty-year-old Reuben Coila has tried that life and prefers things down here.

REUBEN COILA, UROS RESIDENT (through translator): I spend less money, it is not as noisy, there's no pollution and I have a healthy life here.

MCDONALD: Iacinio agrees. He admits with the tourists constantly coming by things are not as peaceful as they were when he was a boy, but he thinks the money they bring has made life better for his people.

I. COILA (through translator): In the past, we used to eat only fish and nothing else. Now we have money to go to Puno and buy more things. We have a better variety in our diet. MCDONALD: While their culture is changing as quickly as their diet and their financial status, the reeds, which have sustained them over the centuries, remain a constant. And as long as they do, the Uros and their unique islands will exist here in some form.

Janice McDonald, CNN NEWSROOM, Uros Island, Peru.


HAYNES: In Incan times the status of a person could be discerned by the intricate weaving of their clothes, but it wasn't the design of the clothes that stood out, it was the design on the clothes. The method of making those incredibly detailed patterns have almost disappeared now, but one group is trying to preserve this timeless tradition.

Once again, here's Janice McDonald.


MCDONALD (voice-over): Thirteen-year-old Alina Cusihuaman is learning to weave the way her ancestors once wove. She wants to carry on a tradition spanning generations in her family.

ALINA CUSIHUAMAN, AGE 13 (through translator): My grandmother new how to knit the Chinchero hats. She was the only one in town who knew how to knit this hat. If she was dead, the knitting of the Chinchero hats would disappear.

MCDONALD: These traditions date back hundreds of years to Incan times, and keeping them from disappearing is the main purpose behind the Center for Traditional Textiles in the city of Chinchero in the Cuzco region, high in the Peruvian Andes.

NILDA CHALLANAUPA, CENTER FOR TRADITIONAL TEXTILES FOUNDER: Also we are realizing you know that -- how important it is to keep tradition and how much we already lost from our culture, you know.

MCDONALD: Nilda Challanaupa founded the center in 1999 with a group of women from her village. She works with people throughout the region to teach and give weaving demonstrations such as this one at the Inca Museum in Cuzco. She says that while they recreate the look of the tapestries and designs, which the Incas were known for, there are some things they cannot do.

CHALLANAUPA: We are still weaving, but always this intriguing question comes, you know what is meant? The technique and way of figuring out the design is not that difficult once you get to a certain stage of weaving. What you lose is the meanings.

MCDONALD: Young people are brought in to make sure more of this isn't lost and the center teaches every step of the process.

CHALLANAUPA: The first thing is the fiber, where you get the fiber. The fiber comes mainly from the sheep's wool in the lower parts like Chinchero. And the upper parts will come from the alpaca and alpaca actually provides us really rich colors and color combination.

MCDONALD: Churning fiber into thread is the first challenge of any weaver.

CHALLANAUPA: This is called drop spindle and that's what we use to produce the yarn. From the raw fleece, you know, they are pulling out and spinning. Pull out, pick up and then start processing with your fingers. You know you pull out, you know, twist with the spindle very -- as tight as you want and then you will just -- that's how you get your yarn.

MCDONALD: The yarn used in weaving here is two-ply, so after the threat is created, it's twisted with yet another thread. When through, it is dyed using natural dyes.

CHALLANAUPA: That is a big difference between this which she just put it. She needs to boil it another 15 minutes at least.

MCDONALD: After the thread is dried, it is ready for weaving. One ball of yarn can represent six days of work. For the younger weavers, it's time to learn the most basic of techniques. The process of lining up threads and creating the pattern is called warping.

CHALLANAUPA: This diamond design, the -- that was the homework for this week...


CHALLANAUPA: ... that they should learn and we're going to produce necklaces and we're going to produce bracelets.

MCDONALD: They'll work on countless pieces until they graduate to the more complicated methods.

(on camera): There is strict criteria for being accepted into the center, especially for young people. They have to be here, not because their parents want them here, but because they want to learn.

(voice-over): Technique can be taught but desire has to come from within. There are literally hundreds of designs, and each region of Peru has their own which they use to identify their weaves.

CHALLANAUPA: They're producing different designs. Actually, it's a middle stage of learning how to weave the complex textile. And here it's much easier to see how you create the designs by picking up, by changing the colors to the different states, you know. Our designs are abstract geometric designs. Some of them come even from pre- Columbian cultures.

MCDONALD: Belts and straps are made this way. Large pieces are created on something called a backstrap loom and start with a two person team and another warping technique.

CHALLANAUPA: Here in the middle they are making the control of the yarn, all the order of the threads coming out here. MCDONALD: With each toss of the yarn ball, the thread is tied at the end. When the process is completed, it's attached to the actual loom.

CHALLANAUPA: This is the most challenging way to weave. With this type of loom, you will be sitting hours and hours until you accomplish one textile.

MCDONALD: Not just hours, but days. It's all time consuming, but for those here, it's time well invested. Their weaving is now recognized, not just as traditional craft, but as art.

Janice McDonald, CNN NEWSROOM, Chinchero, Peru.


HAYNES: That is CNN NEWSROOM for Friday. Thanks for joining us this week, and we'll see you back here on Monday.




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