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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for January 31, 2000

Aired January 31, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Well, it's a brand new week, and this is NEWSROOM. I'm Andy Jordan. Glad you could join us.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. Here's a look at today's lineup.

JORDAN: In today's top story, plotting a blueprint for planet Earth: the latest on the shuttle mission to map out the globe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, there are better maps of Venus than exist for our own planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: In today's "Environment Desk," it's a clear-cut problem in the southeastern U.S.: why the logging of some green space has environmentalists seeing red.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN EVANS, BIOLOGY PROFESSOR: How do we conserve biological diversity on private lands and at the same time respect landowners rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JORDAN: From one of the Earth's natural resources to one of the seven wonders of the world: new questions about the origin of the pyramids.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But a host of alternative theories are casting doubt upon the conventional wisdom, questioning how they were built, why they were built, and even when they were built.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WALCOTT: And in today's "Chronicle," Virginia university students dedicate a day to democracy: a closer look at a mock Republican convention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIAN VANDERBROUK, AGE 20: Today, we're going to be nominating who we believe is going to be the president -- the next president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JORDAN: We are poised for a journey to space in today's top story. Mission managers at the U.S. space agency NASA have given the "all clear" for space shuttle Endeavour's 14th mission. As of this morning, Endeavour was scheduled for a midday lift off, seen live here on CNN. There was some concern, however, over possible faulty fuel pump seals on Endeavour's main engines. But on Sunday, shuttle engineers deemed them safe. The announcement kept Endeavour on track for an 11-day mission to map the Earth.

Six astronauts will use high-tech radar equipment to make classified, high-resolution maps for U.S. intelligence agencies. Less detailed versions will be released for scientific use in the future. The shuttle will take off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

We get more on Endeavour's mission to map Earth from CNN's John Zarrella, who is in Miami.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA (voice-over): In 1995, an American Airlines jet flying at night slammed into the side of a mountain in Colombia. If the upcoming space shuttle mission is a success, engineers and scientists say that kind of accident should never happen again.

HOWARD EISEN, RADAR MAPPING TEAM: If you fly in an airplane, you can have a GPS receiver on board, and that receiver knows exactly where the plane is. What it doesn't know is where the ground is. And so every year in bad weather, planes fly into mountains. This mission will just stop that.

ZARRELLA: The focus of the shuttle Endeavour's mission is to map the Earth in detail beyond anything that currently exists. A satellite could have been used, but orbiting at 25,000 miles up, the resolution would not have been as good as from the shuttle flying at just a couple of hundred miles high.

Once in orbit, a 200-foot radar antenna will be raised out of the cargo bay.

TOM FARR, DEPUTY PROJECT SCIENTIST: There's a tidal force that tries to push the mast vertically as it's orbiting the Earth, so the shuttle has to use some of its reaction control system to eliminate that. ZARRELLA: Using radar at the end of the arm that can peer through clouds and fog and smoke, it will take a snapshot of about 80 percent of the land mass of the Earth. Scientists say the maps will eventually be used by city planners, highway engineers, and just about everyone who ever looks at a map.

EISEN: It's been suggested this data set will be used by more people on the Earth than all the data NASA's ever collected.

FARR: Geologists like myself will be able to look at how mountain ranges are formed and erode over time. So it's going to be just a watershed of new data that we've never really had before for most of the Earth.

ZARRELLA: It may come as a surprise, but only 40 percent of the United States is mapped to high accuracy. And for the entire planet, the figure is a minuscule 3 percent. Right now, there are better maps of Venus than exist for our own planet.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: The first primary of the 2000 presidential election is tomorrow in New Hampshire, and for now the campaigning pits party members against each other. Five Republicans and two Democrats spent the weekend taking aim at rival candidates in their own party, all in an effort to win the party nomination. New Hampshire was buzzing with barbs and rallies over the weekend as presidential hopefuls canvassed for votes. The primary kicks off a season of voting that will culminate in the official nomination of party candidates this summer.

In the meantime, thousands of college students got tired of waiting and staged a national convention of their own. Find out who they picked coming up in "Chronicle."

A new front in the fight over forests: You may remember the timber wars of the early 1990s. That's when loggers in the northwestern United States were losing their jobs and the spotted owl became the most hated bird west of the Mississippi. Regulators clamped down and a lot of the logging companies looked for greener pastures.

Now there's a new controversy brewing in the opposite corner of the country, as Natalie Pawelski explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What was once a hardwood forest is now just another clearcut.

BEVERLY HICKS, LANDOWNER: It looks like God just took his hand and done this to our hardwoods, and just everything in its path is gone.

PAWELSKI: It's happening throughout the southeastern United States: These small, efficient highly automated and affordable chip mills cut down and cut up small trees, the kinds of woods big traditional mills would leave alone. Since 1985, more than 150 chip mills have gone up throughout the Southeast. Each year, an estimated 2,000 square miles are clearcut to feed chip mill operations in the Southeast.

PROTESTERS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) fifty thousand acres.

PAWELSKI: After years of costly, often emotional battles between timber companies and environmentalists in the Pacific Northwest and other areas of the country, chip mill operators have thus far found less resistance in the Southeast. And most of the land there, 85 percent, is privately owned. Growing chip mills provides landowners with a quick, easy source of cash.

EVANS: There aren't a whole lot of incentives for folks to do otherwise with their lands. How do we conserve biological diversity on private lands and the same time respect landowners' rights and -- but yet also accommodate the needs of the public?

PAWELSKI: Environmentalists say, as the Southeastern forest is being chopped down, wildlife is running out of places to live. Another concern: After the clearcut, what grows back?

MIKE STECK, DAGGER KAYAKS: A lot of what's happening is the hardwood forests are being clearcut and replanted with a monocultural pine plantation. This is a real problem in the fact that the pine forests can't support the amount of life that the hardwoods can. The hardwood forests can and will support 95 percent more species than a pine forest.

PAWELSKI: But the timber industry says the chip mills' economic benefits far outweigh the drawbacks in the job-hungry Appalachian Mountains.

DEBORAH BAKER, SOUTHERN TIMBER COUNCIL: The clearcuts are hard for people to view, there's no doubt, but they're not occurring in the large amount of acreages that you may be thinking. There are over 200 million acres of forested land in the South. The amount of clearcutting is very small in relation to that. It's just that it's hard to view.

PAWELSKI: Four federal agencies and 13 Southern states announced a joint study of chip mills and how they are affecting the region's economy and its environment. The results could open the door to changes in the rules for logging Southern forests.

Natalie Pawelski, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.

JORDAN: In "Worldview" today, history and mystery: we take a flight into the past, and we watch as birds take flight in a region where, not so long ago, freedom was only a dream. Our travels today take us to Germany, Austria and Hungary, once upon a time, a land of guarded borders and guarded words, and silent tombs. We first journey to Egypt where legendary landmarks dot the landscape.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Egypt is home to the Great Pyramid, an ancient wonder nearly 5,000 years old. No one knows how long it took to build the pyramid, which was originally 145 meters or 481 feet high. It contains more than two million blocks of stone, each weighing more than two tons.

With more on the magic and mystery of the pyramids, here's Ben Wedeman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Say what you like, but there is something strange about the pyramids. Most Egyptologists say they tombs of the pharaohs built 4 1/2 millennia ago. But a host of alternative theories are casting doubt upon the conventional wisdom, questioning how they were built, why they were built, and even when they were built.

Some of the more flamboyant theories suggests the pyramids were an intergalactic beacon for alien voyagers, while others assert that the pyramids, their shape, size, location and design, conceal a timeless knowledge about the very meaning of life itself.

GRAHAM HANCOCK, AUTHOR: These monuments were part of an ancient quest for the immortality of the soul. The ancient Egyptians, who I believe inherited a system of knowledge from a much earlier time, put their best minds to work for 3,000 years to answering that question: Is there something else to the human being beyond the material part?

ROBERT BAUVAL, AUTHOR: These monuments, if you like, are the hardware of that knowledge; the knowledge is sunk into them, and it is our job, if we're clever enough, to extract that knowledge.

WEDEMAN: It's all balderdash, says the custodian of the pyramids.

ZAHI HAWAS, DIR., PYRAMIDS PLATEAU: All the theories that comes about the pyramid, I say, it gone with the wind. How many theories have been written or seen or told since the last 12 years as the director of the pyramid? More than 300 theories. But all of it gone with the wind.

WEDEMAN: While scorning their ideas, he does allow small groups of new age devotees to meditate and ponder deep inside. Even scientists are susceptible to the lure of the pyramids.

HAWAS: The mystery is -- will continue, as I say, but for us as an archaeologist, we really understand the mystery, and we understand the magic. Sometimes it touch our heart, but not like the hearts of others who really go beyond that for imagination and say that people came from out of the space or lost -- or Atlantis or lost civilization. All of this, believe me, it doesn't exist. WEDEMAN: Despite such criticism, the proponents of unorthodox interpretations vow to carry on.

HANCOCK: We're going to do the very best that we can to continue to offer the public an alternative, to refuse to allow the Egyptologists to trivialize this wonderful place into just tombs and tombs only for megalomaniac pharaohs.

WEDEMAN: And they accuse Egyptologists of looking down their noses at this ancient civilization.

BAUVAL: It's a kind of strange arrogance to think that the ancients and prehistoric people of -- that existed on this planet were not worthy of investigation from that intellectual point of view. I mean, let's face it, there were Einsteins, there were Newtons, there were geniuses being born in those days.

WEDEMAN: For some tourists, the pyramids do seem to be hiding something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My head tells me that it's not possible. I think in my heart, I think there has got to be something slightly more to it than the accepted stories.

WEDEMAN: For others, being there is magic enough.

(on camera): According to an old Arab proverb, man fears time, but time fears the pyramids.

(voice-over): And time is unlikely to yield, certainly in this millennium, and possibly even in the next, all the secrets of these ancient monuments.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Giza, Egypt.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JORDAN: When the Iron Curtain fell over 10 years ago, it came as a surprise to many on both sides. What's happened since is not devoid of surprises either. We head to neighboring European nations Austria and Hungary, where Iron Curtain crashers are taking to the air in ex- communist Hungary.

Richard Blystone has this modern-day tale of flight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People still make a run for it here on Hungary's border with Austria. And along the communist-era escape routes, watchtowers still keep their dark vigil over no-man's land. Still, there are eyes scanning the wilderness for those who scorn passports and lines on maps: birds. And today, these rangers think they have a rare one. We can't see, but they say it's a pectoral sandpiper, native to the far North Pacific, but almost unknown here in the Ferto-Hansag Nature Reserve where once the quarry was men. Two-hundred and sixty different kinds of birds visit here, and half that number breed. Now, birdwatchers come from as far away as Britain, eager to add to their logbooks.

(on camera): What a turnabout: A sinister place of prying eyes now given over to invading the privacy of the black-tailed godwit.

(voice-over): What our naturalist guide calls the season of communism did nature lovers a favor by providing the observation posts. And in more than one way, he says, the Iron Curtain was for the birds.

ATTILA FERSCH, NATURE PARK RANGER: I think, for them, for the birds, it was good.

BLYSTONE: Because along the dead strip across Europe, often several kilometers broad, no superhighways, no supermarkets, no recreation complexes, just wildlife, nothing else dared venture there. For two human generations, the wild things lived their lives more or less undisturbed, and so now it will stay.

That is literally a border post. This is Austria. The two countries jointly run the wildlife park. Borders -- set by creeks and creeds and conspiracies, wars and weddings, deals and disputes -- are important to tribal mankind. And the birds are content to let them work it out their own way.

Richard Blystone, CNN, on Hungary's old Iron Curtain.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: The dropping of the Iron Curtain was best symbolized in the falling of Germany's Berlin Wall, a concrete wall erected in 1961 dividing a city into East and West. It divided more than a nation, it divided its people. Families were split apart, friends were separated and friendships were shattered. East Germany's feared Stasi Secret Police collapsed soon after the Berlin Wall came down, yet memories of their oppressive tactics continue to haunt their victims.

And as Berlin bureau chief Chris Burns reports, more secrets could be revealed when the CIA -- that's the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States -- hands over some Stasi files they obtained in the chaos of the East German regime's collapse. That information exchange is to begin this year via CD-ROM, a decade after the fall of the wall.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS BURNS, CNN BERLIN BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): After toppling the Berlin Wall, East Germans struck at their oppressors. A month after the wall opened, an angry mob stormed the Stasi Secret Police headquarters. Despite the rampage, most of the records were saved and no one was hurt. The government keeps the one million files here at the Stasi Archives Office for their victims to examine.

JOHANNES LEGNER, SPOKESMAN, STASI ARCHIVES OFFICE: Those who came out after reading the files, in general, get a good idea of how close sometimes, and how wrong at the same time, state security or secret police was almost on their skin.

BURNS: Legner says Stasi brutality was worse before the regime gave in to international pressure.

LEGNER: In the '50s, they kidnapped people, they, up to a certain extent, tortured them or they kept them in isolation, and in certain cases they killed people.

BURNS: But intimidation was the main weapon. Tens of thousands of agents watched with TV monitors, hidden movie cameras at demonstrations, a whole range of listening devices, and reports from hundreds of thousands of informants.

(on camera): Germany wants an estimated 300,000 Stasi code names the CIA mysteriously obtained back in 1989, German officials say.

(voice-over): Learning about the past is painful for Stasi victims like Jens Asche. Fellow members of a protest group -- people he considered friends -- turned out to be infiltrators, and he spent a year in a Stasi prison. He didn't find out until his release that his son was born during his captivity. He later confronted his betrayers, only to hear denial.

JENS ASCHE, STASI VICTIM (through translator): I said, are you crazy? I was in prison. And still they say, yes, but nothing happened. And that is truly insulting. Of course something happened. I became a father while I was in prison and I've never been able to repair the damage done to my relationship.

BURNS: Asche's marriage ended in divorce. Even today, he says he's wary of people.

ASCHE (through translator): When I open up to someone, when I meet a woman, the woman of my dreams, I want to share my most inner feelings. I become aggressive and start to cry.

BURNS: In a new film on life under the communist regime, one youth finds out at the police station that a friend has been spying for the Stasi, desperate to earn money, a drama that's played out in many forms as East Germans discover the dark secrets that affected their lives, and try to learn again how to trust someone.

Chris Burns, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: In the race for U.S. president, it won't be long before we start hearing rumblings about each party's big political convention. Party members gather in those settings to nominate who they want to run for president from their respective parties. For the Republicans, party members will meet on July 31 in Philadelphia. Reform Party members are planning their convention in Long Beach, California on August 10. And for Democrats, the place to be is Los Angeles, August 14. In the meantime, our Washington correspondent Mike McManus found a group of students in Virginia holding a convention of their own.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surrounded by cheering students, former presidential contender Bob Dole inspired enthusiasm in the 3,000 students gathered at this year's Republican mock convention. And with a crucial question, the former senator from Kansas brought insight into a life spent in the political arena.

BOB DOLE, FORMER SENATOR: Whether you can sort of say when you get somewhere near the end of your life that, well, I've made a difference, I've changed life for the better for one person or two people.

MCMANUS: The 22nd convention came to order with two goals:

VANDERBROUK: Today we're going to be nominating who we believe is going to be the president -- the next president of the United States.

MCMANUS: And debate platform issues within the Republican Party affecting young people.

DOLE: It's that sort of big step of getting young people interested. About 30 percent of 18- to 28-year-olds, I think, vote -- 30 percent, one out of three -- and we think we can do better.

KRISTIN BINETTE, AGE 20: To make sure, with this huge surplus, that we are cutting taxes but we're taking care of our future, too.

MCMANUS (on camera): Billed as the nation's most accurate mock convention, the students have spent countless days preparing to play a role in the presidential process.

VANDERBROUK: They get in touch with grassroots leaders, talk to newspaper men, political science professors, leaders of the local parties. So it's very comprehensive research system that we have, which is probably why we've been only wrong once since 1952.

MCMANUS (voice-over): Once the issues and the candidates are discussed among delegates, the candidate most in line with the voters is chosen.

MARY WINFREY, AGE 20: Texas is a pretty easy job because we have such strong support for our governor.

MCMANUS: The roll call begins and quickly moves to Texas, a state with a large number of delegates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With great pride and enthusiasm, we give all of our 124 delegates to the next president of the United States, George W. Bush.

MCMANUS: With that, Texas pushes Governor George Bush over the top, and he's overwhelmingly chosen as the mock convention's Republican nominee.

VANDERBROUK: If you give responsibility to young people, if you give them a chance, I think they're going to rise to the occasion and be very -- and participate in democracy.

MCMANUS: The actual Republican convention will gavel to order this summer. But for students, their convention was just as thrilling as the real thing.

Michael McManus, CNN NEWSROOM, Lexington, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Tomorrow, Mike's on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. On the eve of the important New Hampshire primary, we'll take a look at how those presidential candidates do it. Our "Democracy in America Desk," which airs every Tuesday during campaign season, examines the art of campaigning -- Andy.

JORDAN: Well, now a little something for fans of American football. The party may still be underway in St. Louis, Missouri. Their team, the Rams, took the National Football League championship in Super Bowl XXXIV. The final score in the matchup against the Tennessee Titans was a close 23 to 16. Freezing temperatures and icy conditions in normally warm Atlanta didn't deter thousands of football fans from the game. The game itself was held indoors, as were many Super Bowl activities.

CNN Student Bureau took in one Super Bowl event: the NFL experience.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DARREN ROSNER, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): The Super Bowl draws sports fans of all ages.

(on camera): Can you tell me what a runningback is?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: A running back is a person who runs back, I guess. He's the person that runs.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: A nose guard is something that guards your nose.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Someone who -- I don't know.

ROSNER (voice-over): OK, so some of these football fans have a little work to do. But that's some of the things they can catch up on when a Super Bowl comes to town.

The Coca-Cola NFL Experience is 15 acres of interactive games and workshops planned around the Super Bowl.

(on camera): There's lots to do here at the NFL Experience: There's fun, there's excitement, and there's a whole lot to learn. (voice-over): Did you know footballs are still made by hand? It takes just a few minutes here, but in a factory, manufacturers say it could take up to 10 days to produce a single football.

DANIEL RIEGLE, WILSON SPORTING GOODS: We cut these panels out from the side of a cow. Each NFL team uses approximately right around 1,000 footballs a year. And he'll turn -- in our factory, he'll turn about 500 balls like this every day.

ROSNER: Once sewn together, an interior lining is inflated and you have an official NFL football. Fans have a chance to toss and kick these balls at the NFL Experience, which organizers say attracts as many as 150,000 people.

SCOTT LANCASTER, NFL YOUTH PROGRAMS: It's a great way for fans to experience the entire game. And whether you want to experience being a linebacker, a lineman, a quarterback, or experience being with players, and interacting with players, not only getting autographs but learning how to throw a pass, learning how to block, learning how to tackle -- all of those different things that make the game fun -- it's a service for the entire family, and that's what the NFL Experience is all about. It's about the family.

ROSNER: Looking for a favorite player? You can always catch him on a collector's card. One card manufacturer told us the $10 collection he started as a kid is now worth $50,000.

TIM FRANZ, PLAYOFF TRADING CARDS: We do, you know, roughly $20 to $30 million in sales a year. So just from our small trading card company -- and we're actually not a major trading card company, compared to Upper Deck or a Tops, because we only have a football trading card license where other manufacturers have hockey and baseball and basketball. So, it's just growing a lot.

ROSNER: According to Franz, women buy 70 percent of football trading cards, he says possibly for husbands, children and friends. Sports marketers now target women hoping to attract the interest of more female fans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do I think a tight end is? He's probably on the end; I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The free safety? That's the one that's not getting paid that much, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: A linebacker is who tries to keep the quarterback from running a home run.

Darren Rosner, CNN Student Bureau, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JORDAN: Well, the NFL Experience is actually happening -- in fact, the Super Bowl happening just feet from where we're sitting right now. We've been hearing them scream all day, right?

WALCOTT: And we're so jealous that we just want to go down there and join the party.

JORDAN: We may just do that. In the meantime, we'll see you back here tomorrow.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.

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