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CNN 'Newsroom' for December 5, 2001

Aired December 5, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: The war on terrorism expands. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael McManus.

SUSAN FREIDMAN, CO-HOST: And I'm Susan Freidman.

The Bush administration's war on terrorism is taking aim at a Texas-based Islamic charity organization. The White House announced Tuesday that it is freezing the assets of a suburban Dallas group known as the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. It's accused of financing Hamas, the radical group that claimed responsibility for last weekend's suicide bombings in Israel.

MCMANUS: Also, Tuesday, President Bush urged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to respond forcefully to those responsible for the terrorist attacks in Israel.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is incumbent upon Mr. Arafat now to respond forcefully, to root out those who killed. It's incumbent upon other friends and allies of ours around the world to help bring those terrorists to justice if we want peace in the Middle East, which I do - which I do. We've got to bring the terrorists to justice.


MCMANUS: Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes launched fierce attacks on Palestinian military targets in Gaza and the West Bank on Tuesday. The attacks are an apparent retaliation for a series of suicide bombings last weekend.

Chris Burns looks at the ongoing Middle East conflict, followed by a report on how the region's media is handling the situation.


CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An Israeli cobra rockets a police station next to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's office in Ramallah. The 'copters fire missile-evading flares as they head back to base. The station lies in ruins, punctuating the Israeli government's overnight declaration that the Palestinian Authority is a terror-supporting entity.

More pressure on Arafat. Israeli-armored personnel carriers and tanks roll into position a few hundred meters from Arafat's office. Nearby, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon consults with military brass at the Israeli Army headquarters on the West Bank. "I came here to listen, and to speak with the troops," he says. The symbolism speaks even louder.

(on camera): Prime Minister Sharon's visit to this base is a powerful statement, that Israel considers itself the dominating military force on the West Bank, and that Israel will hunt down extremists, no matter what Yasser Arafat does.

(voice-over): An official Israeli source says the government's new declaration tells the Palestinian leader that fighting terrorism is -- quote -- "our responsibility, it's not yours anymore."

Arafat's security forces say they've rounded up more than 100 suspects linked to terror attacks over the weekend, that left 25 Israelis dead. Sharon saw the roundup as too little, too late.

YASSER ARAFAT, PRES., PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: They don't want me to succeed. And for this, he's escalating his military activities against our people, against our towns, against our cities, against our establishments.

BURNS: But Arafat has had little support among his own people for the crackdown. "If you ask me about the attacks, this is something we should do," says this woman, "because it is our right. They are killing us. They kill our children." She speaks at an Israeli checkpoint outside Ramallah -- a constant source of frustration during a 14-month old Palestinian uprising.

Nearby, youths stone Israeli soldiers, risking sometimes deadly gunfire. One student argues with Israeli troops that she wants to go home. "The whole world talks about peace, and they want to make peace for us and fight terrorism. This is terrorism," she says.

(on camera): There are checkpoints like this one ringing towns across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians here see them as collective punishment, cutting off families, workers, police and politicians.

The frustration and violence are likely to worsen if Israeli and Palestinian authorities fail to manage this ever-deepening crisis.

Chris Burns, CNN, on the West Bank.



JAMES MARTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight's top story in Egypt and across most of the Arab world is Israel's - quote - "savage, uncivilized and continued attacks on the Palestinian territories." RASHA MAGDY, ETV CHANNEL: Say it in another word in English, if you want to edit this what happened yesterday what you're going to say.

MARTONE: Egyptian television anchor Rasha Magdy says her and her colleagues are describing the reality of what is happening in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

NIHAL SAAD, NILE TV: So even the Israeli point of view is not -- is not something that we don't get in our television because the Israeli point of view I've had the chance to get the Israeli spokesman in Washington, D.C. in one of my shows.

MARTONE: News operations say they are unbiased. They covered the suicide bombs against Israelis but the bombers are not terrorists.

TAGHREED HUSSEIN, NILE TV: They are resistance fighters because they are -- I don't think that this is terrorism. It's -- in fact they are trying to defend themselves and defend their homeland.

MARTONE: Across the Arab world, government-controlled televisions are dealing with the latest violence in what is often termed occupied Palestine. Iraqi TV hosted a guest who said the Zionist entity considers all Palestinians terrorists. A guest on Syrian TV said the extent of the -- quote -- "Zionist-Arab struggle forced the U.S. to think of a Palestinian state." Guests more than often reflect the view common in the Arab world that the Palestinians are the victims.

(on camera): Most of the Arab world's television stations are government controlled and most of the news follows the government line.

(voice-over): Al-Jazeera is considered an exception because it is only funded but not officially directed by a Kapari (ph) royal family member. Those who can afford the cable channel or watch it for free in cafes say it shows the truth. In other words, that Palestinians are being persecuted.

Most Arabic newspapers are under government controls as well. A leading Egyptian newspaper Tuesday lamented in an editorial that -- quote -- "Israel is kindling the desire of a new generation to strike back."

James Martone, CNN, Cairo.


ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segment that fits your lesson plan. Plus there are discussion questions and activities and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day find hot links to other online resources and previews of upcoming desk segments. It's all at this Web address where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy. It's free. It's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.

FREIDMAN: Let's get you up to date now on the war on terrorism in Afghanistan. U.S. warplanes continue to pound the last Taliban stronghold, Kandahar. On the ground, the commander of anti-Taliban forces says his troops are fighting virtually face-to-face with Taliban soldiers. The Pentagon says more than 1,300 U.S. Marines entrenched nearby await possible orders to join the battle.

And near Bonn, Germany, various Afghan factions have agreed on the framework for a post-Taliban government. Now they must decide who will get what post on the interim council. The council is expected to rule the country for about two years until elections are held.

CNN's Bettina Luscher is covering the conference and has this report.


BETTINA LUSCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On day 8 it was time to talk about who exactly would sit in the next Afghan government. And just like in the past days, it was a tough task.

AHMAD FAWZI, U.N. SPOKESMAN: The parties realize they have to reach a decision here today in Bonn to get those names on paper. Quotas and quorum will be discussed, of course, but the most important thing is ethnic balance.

LUSCHER: U.N. special representative Lacka Brohemi (ph) got a list of some 150 names suggested by the delegations here. He's checking their professional qualifications and integrity. His recommended short list would then be debated by the Afghan delegations. The interim government would run Afghanistan for six months, 28 members and 1 council chairman, including one woman as deputy chairperson.

Western observers say the Northern Alliance has been trying to keep the positions they had within their movement, interior, foreign and defense. As the group now in power in Kabul and having chased the Taliban out of most of Afghanistan, they held the best cards. Nonetheless, the top post will go to a supporter of exiled King Mohammad Zahir Shah.

HANS-JOACHIM DAERR, GERMAN OBSERVER AT TALKS: It's always easy to decide on the principles if it really comes to power sharing and that's what it is. It's not easy to agree on the -- on the details.

LUSCHER: The U.N. was still negotiating with Northern Alliance leader Burhanuddin Rabbani about the date when he would transfer power. Western officials here hoping Rabbani, still the internationally recognized president, will not try to torpedo the Bonn agreement. Here's the blueprint for Afghanistan's political future. The interim administration would be in power for six months. Then a traditional council of elders, the Loya Jirga, would meet to decide on the next transitional government. Commissions will work on a constitution and a supreme court. And the big goal, free and fair elections and a broad-based government truly representative of the Afghan people.

AHMAD WALI MASSOUD, NORTHERN ALLIANCE: People in Afghanistan, they want peace. They want -- they want food, they want peace, they want reconstruction. They want to get their country rebuilt.

LUSCHER (on camera): The U.N. hopes to sign the whole package on Wednesday, but they warn there still could be problems and the real hard work is only beginning, restoring peace and rebuilding Afghanistan.

Bettina Luscher, CNN, near Bonn, Germany.


FREIDMAN: Anti-Taliban fighters fought Tuesday with al Qaeda gunmen at the base of the Tora Bora mountains. The mountain range south of Jalalabad is where some military officials believe Osama bin Laden may be hiding. Meantime in Jalalabad, life is changing and the challenges are taking the toll on the people who live there.

For more on that we have two reports beginning with CNN's Brent Sadler.


BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jalalabad's one and only hospital copes with causalities of war. Medical staff complain that poor facilities make it difficult for them to treat the sick as well as the wounded. Even before the Taliban was driven from this city nearly three weeks ago, health care dwindled as humanitarian organizations pulled out.

Afghan staff of a United Nations-sponsored group called OMAR, the Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation, continue to work. A small-scale operation, only allowed to run outside the city.

So Dr. Qaseem Qayoumi takes OMAR's ambulance into Nagahar province, caring for remote communities feeling the effects of war. Infectious diseases like typhoid, pneumonia and bronchitis, says Dr. Qayoumi, are rising. Other illnesses too.

QASEEM QAYOUMI, OMAR HEALTH PROJECT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like insomnia, like depression, like anxiety.

SADLER (on camera): A virtual absence of any determined international humanitarian push to alleviate the hardship here, say authorities, makes this region vulnerable to even greater deprivation.

(voice-over): That explains why OMAR teams are also distributing food to far-flung communities. Two months of conflict, the looting of food distribution centers and a security vacuum have taken their toll.

MIR WAIS, RED CRESCENT: The people here are on the edge of the starvation, I mean. And the situation is doing like that for weeks and weeks so there is a danger of starvation.

SADLER: But in this deprived environment, there's a green shoot of hope. Teachers inside rundown buildings, which pass for a school, are seeing the return of girls to lessons five years after being denied education by the Taliban.

"We are happy," says Rogul (ph), "because we came out of the darkness of ignorance into the light."

Their teachers are happy, too. Collecting their first pay in more than seven months, a new start for them all.

Brent Sadler, CNN, Jalalabad.



BRIANNE LEARY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the beginning of a new school year for 10-year-old Ramal, but these days, Ramal pays more attention to the sky than his textbook.

Ramal's reading skills might not quite be up to par, but he and his classmates know all about the war in his country and where this plane is from and where it's going.

Tora Bora is thought to be the last stronghold for Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, just 35 miles south of Ramal's school.

(on camera): Here at the Chignari School for Boys (ph), Ramal and his friends lack the most basic school supplies. There aren't even carpets to sit on, but there is one thing they're happy not to have this school year and that's the Taliban turbans which was the mandatory uniform for the past five years.

(voice-over): Why?

The boys tell me they want to make us Mullah's not judges or doctors.

Once school is finished, a pensive, shy Ramal walks a few blocks down winding, dusty pathways to his house in Joyha (ph) where he lives with his parents, two sisters and a younger brother. Some days Ramal helps his father make bricks to use and to sell in the market. Watching Ramal, it seems as if he carries the weight of the world on his young shoulders. His father, Abdul Haleem (ph), agrees.

"Ramal thinks a lot about the situation, the war. He asks many questions all the time. He asks what is going on? What will the future be for us?"

Ramal says, "I will work and I will go somewhere to find money for my family."

But for now, as B-52s continue to bomb, Ramal continues to do what he can, he goes to school, works with his father, tends to his goat and prays.

Brianne Leary for CNN, Jalalabad.


MCMANUS: Over a month ago, President Bush challenged America's children to send $1 to the White House. The funds collected would go to help young Afghans you saw earlier here in the program. So far, the White House has received over $1 million, but because of anthrax concerns, some letters were held at the mail center serving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That doesn't matter to one young person, though, who continues collecting.

Hena Cuevas has the story.


HENA CUEVAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven-year-old Adam Koran is on a mission --


ADAM KORAN: Is it okay if we -- rake your leaves for $1?


CUEVAS: -- raking as many yards as he can to help the children in Afghanistan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're willing to rake leaves for that?


CUEVAS: Adam is one of thousands of children around the country sending money to the America's Fund for Afghan Children, a program started by President Bush more than a month ago.


BUSH: I'm pleased to report that in just a few short days, children all across our country have responded.


CUEVAS: The White House is asking kids to send in a dollar to help provide food and medicine to children caught in the war. So far the fund received one and a half million dollars, and a quarter of a million letters.

Like the ones from the students at Castille (ph) Elementary in Southern California.


KANDICE THURMOND, FOURTH GRADER: It doesn't look so good sometimes. People are at -- kids are out on the streets. Some of them don't have families. It doesn't look very nice.


CUEVAS: The closing of the White House off-site mail processing center, because of the threat of anthrax contamination, held up the letters for over a month. But the Red Cross, which administers the program, says that didn't stop children from helping out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It really has been mobilizing them and empowering them to reach out to other parts of their world and help.


CUEVAS: Child psychiatrist David Feinberg says these kinds of fund-raisers gave families a sense of control, especially when trying to explain the events of September 11th.


DAVID FEINBERG, CHILD PSYCHIATRIST: Any activity where parents are with their children, and they're able to talk about what's going on, able to listen to kids, and hear their feelings an concerns, is healthy.


CUEVAS: Adam visits another house, and gets more than $1 for his efforts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $5 be enough?


CUEVAS: His total? $22.


MICHELLE KORAN, ADAM'S MOTHER: He saw the leaves and just said, this would be a good idea. I can -- I can do this. And so, we started one day, and he just wouldn't stop.


CUEVAS: Helping those in need in a land far away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ADAM KORAN: Only one more house.


CUEVAS: One yard at a time. Hena Cuevas, CNN, Los Angeles .



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Americans didn't enter World War I until the spring of 1917. And while the war ended in November 1918, still it took 116,000 American lives, wounding more than 200,000. The conflict left its mark on a young and disillusioned fighting force. Writer Gertrude Stein called them the "lost generation."

Americans were shocked December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl harbor. Almost four years later, more than 400,000 American lives had been lost and some 670,000 wounded. Those who fought would later be called "the greatest generation who would do whatever it took to win the war."

But for their sons and daughters, the baby boomers coming from significant wealth, society's social inequities and a growing war in Vietnam defined them. The Vietnam War, the war no one wanted, would haunt a generation forever. More than 58,000 gave their lives.

And then came the Gulf War in the early '90s. It was short and to the point. Kuwait was returned, Iraq was subdued, but it wasn't a defining moment for the now younger generation, "Generation X."

The 46 million born between 1965 and 1980 found music more to their taste. They grew up with computers, video games and CDs. They are now in their mid-20s and thirtysomethings, described as self- absorbed and unaware. They had also been largely untouched by national trauma, that is until September 11, 2001.

Will these pictures become a wake-up call and a defining moment for this generation?



ANNOUNCER: Tyler Schwartz from New York, New York, asks, "When you see video footage of the space shuttle or International Space Shuttle in orbit, you never see any stars -- why not? Can you see them with your naked eye?"

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Tyler, it depends on what camera you're looking at. If you are looking at the color cameras on board the Space Station and space shuttle, you won't see any stars. The basic reason there is a simple matter of what the exposure is on that camera at that moment. In other words, it's not sensitive enough to capture the brightness of the shuttle or the space walker or the Space Station and still able to distinguish stars way off in a distance.

However, the space shuttle is equipped with some low-light- capable cameras akin to surveillance cameras, black-and-white cameras, and when the shuttle goes through a nighttime pass, frequently those pictures from those cameras are brought down, and they do reveal many stars.

The astronauts tell me the number of stars that you can see in orbit is just amazing. And frequently it is difficult for them to pick out the stars they use for navigation because there are so many other stars in the way.


MCMANUS: It's another wait for the astronauts on space shuttle Endeavor. Just minutes before its scheduled liftoff on Tuesday, NASA postponed the launch because of threatening weather in Florida. The seven-member crew was to blast off for the international space station. NASA will try again today with a launch scheduled early this evening.

Meanwhile, another astronaut is making history of her own all over again. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space when she went up on the space shuttle Challenger. Now she's trying to raise female interest in math and science, two subjects she knows well but have been slow to catch on with many young women.

CNN's Janice McDonald now on the Sally Ride Science Club and its founder.


JANICE MCDONALD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days she can walk into a classroom of sixth graders and no one glances up. They've heard of her, they've studied her, but Sally Ride looks a bit different today then when she made that walk across the shuttle platform and into the history books in 1983 becoming the first female astronaut traveling aboard the space shuttle the Challenger.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lift off of SDS7 and America's first woman astronaut, and the shuttle has cleared the tower.


MCDONALD: Though she has a Ph.D. in astrophysics, is an author and a college professor, these days she does a lot of this.

SALLY RIDE, FIRST FEMALE ASTRONAUT: You're now learning why asteroids can hit the Earth.

MCDONALD: And this.

RIDE: You joined the club, right?


RIDE: Do you have your little bag, there's a picture of me in there. I can put your name on that. I've signed it.

MCDONALD: She has founded the Sally Ride Science Club, a club devoted to trying to get girls interested in careers in science and math.

RIDE: There you go.

MCDONALD: Science festivals like this one at the all female Agnes Scott College and sponsored by the Atlanta Girls School help girls see that careers in science can be fun.

RIDE: Going up.

We think that there are a lot of girls who have the aptitude for careers as doctors, as oceanographers, as computer scientists who are moving away from those careers before they really give themselves a chance to understand the opportunities and to explore the opportunities.

MCDONALD: Dr. Ride says she's focusing on upper elementary and middle school students because that's generally when the girls start falling prey to peer pressure. Having grown up in a time when women in math and science careers were a rarity, she said she had no mentors to look up to.

RIDE: It just became very clear to me how important it was for young girls growing up to have role models and to have encouragement and to really get the feeling that there were lots of opportunities that were open to them, they just needed to recognize it.

If Mars happens to be here when the asteroid goes here, the asteroid will hit Mars.

MCDONALD: And having an astronaut personally talk to you about life in space doesn't hurt.

RIDE: I mean it's just -- it's fun. It's fun from launch to the time that you get weightless in orbit until the time that you can look down and view the Earth.

CLOE DAVIS, AGE 11: Whenever somebody comes and I get to meet them and they already do something or they're a professional in something that I like a lot, I think that kind of inspires me to want to do that.

REBECCA BUTLER, AGE 11: When I grow up I want to be a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and so it just really helps me to understand about how it is and how it is living up in space.

ANNIE GIBBS, AGE 11: Just the fact that you know she was -- she -- a women went up in space and she was -- she likes science and you know, she was just really interested in what it was like and I think that I could do that too someday, maybe, if I wanted to. MCDONALD: That's just the attitude Dr. Ride and her club are trying to instill.

Janice McDonald, CNN NEWSROOM, Atlanta.


FREIDMAN: Well, Michael, let the games begin.

MCMANUS: I can't wait.

FREIDMAN: The Olympic torch relay is underway. The Olympic flame made its journey from Athens, Greece to the United States yesterday.

MCMANUS: And a familiar face was in Atlanta to ignite the torch and send the flame across the country.

Sean Callebs has more on the day's events and the engineer who helped make it all possible.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An unsteady hand but determination that never wavered. The man known as "the greatest" came back for a repeat performance to light the Olympic torch in Atlanta. For the next 65 days, the flame will wind across the United States, covering 13,500 miles.

MITT ROMNEY, SALT LAKE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: In the past, the torch has largely been a celebratory experience. Right now, given the sense of seriousness and loss in our country, I think it has a more profound meaning, it connects us with the world.

CALLEBS: But before the flame got here, engineers spent months here testing and re-testing.

(on camera): It's very light, too. I'd say it's, what, about three pounds?

PROF. SAM SHELTON, GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: Three pounds, and that was our design target so any heavier and after even a quarter of a mile it becomes a heavy weight.

CALLEBS (voice-over): Georgia Tech Professor Sam Shelton took the torch from the design table to the finished product. A Salt Lake City designer envisioned fire and ice, feeding off the Olympic theme "Light the Fire Within." But the engineering challenge was to make sure the torch continued to burn in wind, rain and temperatures below zero, and Shelton only had nine months to pull it off, about half the time he wanted.

SHELTON: When you come and ask them to do things with the Olympic torch, they will stop everything, they'll work 24 hours a day and every employee will be there and be proud to have made a contribution. CALLEBS: Shelton says he has a certain sense of satisfaction, coupled with awe. And with each step hopes the torch instills a sense of pride in people across the country.

In Atlanta, I'm Sean Callebs.


FREIDMAN: Well, Mike, you were here in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics, were you not?

MCMANUS: I sure was. I was here with my mother and my father, and we had a wonderful time.

FREIDMAN: I bet. I bet.

MCMANUS: But, Susan, you've got to check this out. To get to Salt Lake City, the torch will pass through 80 cities and 46 states and it will be carried by a horse-drawn sleigh, by foot, by plane, by ship, by dogsled, just to name a few examples.

FREIDMAN: Well it has until February 8 to get there.

In the meantime, we're out of time and so we're out of here.

MCMANUS: That's right. See you tomorrow.




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