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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 15, 2000

Aired March 15, 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.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Welcome to NEWSROOM's Wednesday show. I'm Tom Haynes.

RUDI BAKHTAIR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Thanks for watching. Here's a rundown of what's ahead.

HAYNES: Today's news delves into the business of scientific discovery and whether to regulate genetic research.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a profound responsibility to ensure that the lifesaving benefits of any cutting edge research are available to all human beings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: Words of wisdom from today's "Business Desk."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HELEN ADEOSUN, INVESTOR: I'm checking for any developments such as mergers over there, or acquisitions, things like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: You're never too young to invest. We'll show you the tricks to this lucrative trade.

HAYNES: In "Worldview," we head to Syria, a country in search of a new reputation after years of conflict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAWSSAN JUOZY-BACHOUR, SYRIAN MINISTRY OF TOURISM: When there is this peace agreement, I think it will help to give an image, a better image, and will encourage people to come to Syria.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: In "Chronicle": Why didn't I think of that? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL CORBO, SCIENCE CONTEST FINALIST: My project involved a method for treating leather so that it stayed cool to the touch in a hot environment and warm to the touch in a cold environment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: Cream of the crop in high school science projects coming up.

HAYNES: In today's top story: the pursuit of human advancement clashes with the quest for cash. U.S. President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair want all information about human DNA to stay in the public domain. They support the idea that individual genes cannot be patented and therefore mere pieces of profit.

Both countries lead the Human Genome Project, which is an international, scientific effort to map, sequence, locate, and identify the tens of thousands of genes that make up a person's genetic code.

President Clinton says information gleaned from the project will be made public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: This agreement says, in the strongest possible terms, our genome, the book in which all human life is written, belongs to every member of the human race. Already the Human Genome Project, funded by the United States and the United Kingdom, requires its grants recipients to make the sequences they discover publicly available within 24 hours.

I urge all other nations, scientists, and corporations to adopt this policy and honor its spirit. We must ensure that the profits of human genome research are measured not in dollars, but in the betterment of human life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: Now, the project aims to identify the human genome sequence which, once known, could revolutionize how doctors treat diseases. But there's another side to the gene coin.

Eileen O'Connor explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Francis Collins (ph) is a government scientist. Craig Venter used to be a government scientist. They prefer different modes of transport, both recreationally and scientifically, but both are racing towards the same goal, mapping the very stuff that makes each of us unique: our DNA. Inside every cell in your body is a nucleus that contains a complete set of DNA twisted within 46 chromosomes. Unravel those and you get a long double-stranded thread. That's the DNA. Within that are some 80,000 genes that tell each cell which proteins to make. It's those proteins that determine what a cell will be, what it will do, and how well it will do it.

In other words, those bits of DNA called genes direct our cells. They determine whether our eyes are blue, our hair is brown or our skin is black. Those same genes also determine whether our cells will function normally or not, whether we will get sick.

Doctors are concerned about who owns the right to the information in each decoded sequence. Their worry is that protracted legal battles will slow down the research necessary to achieve medical therapies.

The government is trying to make this information public domain by posting it immediately on its Web site. Venter's company called Celera has its own Web site open to paying subscribers, mostly pharmaceutical companies for now.

While Venter is protective of trade secrets, he says patents aren't about protecting secrecy, that they are the only way to protect and provide the motivation for pharmaceutical company partners to spend the millions needed for further research in developing drugs from this knowledge.

CRAIG VENTER, CELERA GENOMICS: Patents are the means that give the pharmaceutical industry a reasonable period of protections to invest the billions of dollars they have to develop new drugs.

O'CONNOR: Trouble is, it could also be used against individuals as a reason to deny someone employment or health insurance.

VENTER: I feel very strongly that you're the only one that should own your genetic code. We want that to empower individuals, not empower companies or governments.

O'CONNOR: Collins preaches much the same thing. He too thinks that before this genie is let out of the bottle, Congress must act and pass privacy laws. Venter, again, agrees the time is now, he says, to set up the parameters before the power behind this knowledge is unleashed.

VENTER: It's not the knowledge, it's not the technology, the tools, the computers, it's what we believe as a society is moral and what we're going to do with this information. So it's -- this is the time to have a discussion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Now, as you can see, heavy-duty research goes into the study of genetics. And later in "NEWSROOM Chronicle," you'll see how hard work has already paid off for some young scientists. And don't forget, we bring you that heaping helping of science news on NEWSROOM every Thursday in our "Science Desk."

BAKHTIAR: Now, we shift our focus to presidential politics in the United States. For Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, Tuesday's primaries and caucuses meant a lock on their party's nomination in the race for the White House.

In all, six states were up for grabs. Florida and Texas were the big prizes in Tuesday's contest, each carrying dozens of those precious delegate votes. Delegate votes are what's needed for a candidate to win his party's nomination.

For Gore, Tuesday brought his delegate count to 2575; 2170 are needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. Gore spoke to supporters in Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The path that I want to lead our country to take continues our prosperity, uses the surplus for constructive purposes to save Social Security and Medicare, to invest in education and job training and health care and the environment, and preventive programs that push the crime rate down and build up our communities and bring our people together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: George W. Bush has netted 1102 delegate votes thus far; 1034 are needed to win the Republican nomination. At a rally in Texas, Bush differentiated his ideas from Gore's.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Al Gore can't solve campaign finance problems when he symbolizes them. He can't talk about rebuilding the military, when his administration has dismantled our military. And he can't distance himself from the president when, for eight years, he's served as cheerleader-in-chief.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: This is by no means the end of the excitement for election 2000. Look for continuous coverage of the race for the White House right here on NEWSROOM.

HAYNES: In today's daily desk, we're talking money, how to invest your money. It's never too early to start investing your dollars and one of the most popular ways these days is buying shares or stocks of a company.

What is a stock? Well, a stock is a right of ownership in a corporation. The stock is divided into a certain number of shares, which stockholders own.

Another way to make good use of your dollars is by investing in mutual funds. A mutual fund is a company that pools money from many investors and uses it to buy stocks and other securities. More and more teens are getting involved in the world of investing. Pat Etheridge has the story of one teen who has a leg up on that. Make sure you take lots of notes on this, guys, because here it comes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAT ETHERIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the ripe old age of 14, Helen Adeosun is on the information super highway to success.

HELEN ADEOSUN, INVESTOR: I'm checking for any developments such as mergers over there, or acquisitions, things like that.

ETHERIDGE: She is savvy about investing and disciplined about savings.

ADEOSUN: Nothing is guaranteed in life, and with saving, there is somewhat of a guarantee that you'll have something, you know, for tomorrow, for the next day, or eight years from now.

ETHERIDGE: And while Helen may be wise beyond her years, her interest in Wall Street reflects a growing trend.

ERIC GUSTAFSON, PORTFOLIO MANAGER: We tend to get e-mails and letters and phone calls on a constant basis. Indeed, some of our young investors have done a great job recommending stocks to us.

ETHERIDGE: Eric Gustafson is portfolio manager of the Stein Roe Young Investor Fund.

GUSTAFSON: They are engaged, they are active, and they tend to be a very good source of information for us.

ETHERIDGE: This was the first mutual fund to specifically target youngsters. It offers affordable enrollment options and easy-to-read, kid-friendly financial reports.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You'll need to pay us $4,000 plus my broker's commission.

ETHERIDGE: Schools are getting into the game...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many of you have stocks?

ETHERIDGE: ... encouraging students to build imaginary stock portfolios.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I'd like to order 100 shares.

ETHERIDGE (on camera): The other lesson is that along with all its pizzazz, Wall Street carries risks, but stocks historically offer the best return over time.

(voice-over): The arguments to start investing early are more than compelling. CLARK HOWARD, CONSUMER ADVOCATE: Forty years, I'll have over 50,000 dollars just from putting 50 cents aside every day.

ETHERIDGE: Clark Howard is a consumer advocate with a syndicated radio show.

(on camera): And if you start too late and you don't save?

HOWARD: Then all it means is you work till you die. You have got to actually illustrate through your actions what you're trying to teach your child.

ETHERIDGE (voice-over): Following their parents' lead, more and more children are shifting hard-earned pennies out of piggy banks and saving accounts and into the world of Wall Street.

Pat Etheridge, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview" today, we look at borders and border disputes. You can check out a country's borders on any map, but there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. We'll visit North America where neighboring countries Canada and the United States keep close watch on visitors, legal and illegal.

And we'll head to the Middle East where land and land hand-overs are topics of contention. Yesterday marked the 22nd anniversary of Israel's invasion of Lebanon: March 14, 1978. It marks decades of disputes. Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are due to resume in Washington this month. The talks involve issues such as borders and the fate of Palestinian refugees and -- in Jerusalem. Negotiators hope to seal a treaty by September.

Now on to Syria, a country entrenched in the conflicts of the Middle East. The state of Syria was first formed in 1920 from former Turkish districts separated by the Treaty of Sevres which divided the states into Syria and Greater Lebanon. Both were administered by a French League of Nations mandate until Syria established its independence in 1946. Then, in 1948, Syria joined the Arab invasion of Israel, a move that would ignite years of bloody conflict between the two countries.

Syria and Egypt unified for a short time in 1958, but three years later, Syria seceded. Then, in the Arab-Israeli war, Israel seized and occupied the Golan Heights, a region which to this day remains a point of contention among the two countries.

Syria contains some of the world's most ancient remains of civilization, providing enticing sites which could lure potential tourists. Many Syrians are hoping for an end to the century-old Arab- Israeli conflict in order to focus new attention on the country's tourist attractions. Ben Wedeman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sun rises over an archaeological treasure in the heart of the Syrian desert. The ancient town of Palmyra flourished off the busy caravan routes between the Roman and Persian empires some 17 centuries ago. Today, it scratches a living from tourism. Winter is the low season for tourism in Syria, but the few tourists who have ventured this far say they've come to the right place.

UNIDENTIFIED TOURIST: And I would compare this with Greek -- Greece, for instance. The sites that we have here is undiscovered. It's not as much traveled as in the Greek sites, but they're almost as good.

WEDEMAN: Despite a wealth of historical and religious attractions, Syria is off the beaten track for many tourists to the Middle East, scared off by talk of war, terrorism and instability in the region.

(on camera): In recent years, these impressive ruins here at Palmyra have drawn a steady but still modest number of tourists. Many Syrians are hoping that with the prospect of peace with Israel, what is now a trickle of tourists will become a flood.

(voice-over): Officials in Damascus hope peace will change Syria's reputation.

SAWSSAN JUOZY-BACHOUR, SYRIAN MINISTRY OF TOURISM: When there is this peace agreement, I think it will help to give an image -- a better image and will encourage people to come to Syria.

WEDEMAN: A boom in tourism could change the face of Syria, which is fine with this tour guide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now in Palmyra, there are about 26 hotels, and those are not enough. The hotels will be maybe three times, will be doubled.

WEDEMAN: But for tourists visiting the Crac des Chevaliers, a crusader castle, keeping Syria a secret has its benefits.

UNIDENTIFIED TOURIST: Right now, it still hasn't been commercialized and it's interesting to see.

WEDEMAN: "There are some sites that are really enormous," says this Italian tourist, "and at some of them you can't find any tourists at all."

This castle is considered one of the best preserved examples of medieval architecture. For now, it seems far more popular with village children than visitors from abroad. Around 200,000 tourists from the industrialized countries visited Syria last year, mainly from Europe. And most Syrians wouldn't mind seeing more of this kind of invader.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, at the Crac des Chevaliers in western Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: We head now to another part of the Middle East: the Republic of Lebanon. For years, Lebanon has struggled with internal problems, leaving the country vulnerable to outside forces; that along with its precarious geographic location bordering Israel and Syria. Israel invaded Southern Lebanon in 1978 to try to drive out Palestinian terrorists who had been attacking Israel. Another Israeli assault in 1982 led to the withdrawal of most Palestinian forces from Lebanon. And in 1985, Israel withdrew from Lebanon, except from the so-called security zone along the Lebanese-Israeli border. Ever since, Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have been fighting to oust Israeli occupation from the buffer zone. They cite a United Nations resolution passed in 1978 calling for Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon.

Today, we focus on one village in Southern Lebanon, and life on the front line of Israeli occupation.

Here, once more, is Ben Wedeman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN (voice-over): The people of the village of Al-Tiri, just inside Israeli-occupied Southern Lebanon, need all the help they can get. There are no children here and no schools. There are no cars, no telephones. The stores have been closed for years. Most of the inhabitants left long ago, fleeing war, poverty, and isolation. Most of those who stayed behind are old and feisty.

(on camera): Residents say that, 30 years ago, there were more than 4,000 people living in this village. Today, there are only 73 left.

(voice-over): It may be empty compared to before, but it's hardly a ghost town. The people of Al-Tiri haven't lost the ability to enjoy life's simple pleasures. On a sunny day, they pass the time together, listening to news of the war between Israel and the Lebanese resistance, and reminiscing about how things used to be.

"It was wonderful before," recalls 70-year-old Ali Hassan Faqih (ph). "I raised a family of seven, I built a home. But now we are poor."

Irish peace keepers patrolling the area are their only lifeline to the outside world, providing the comfort that someone is looking after them, as well as food and medical care. Israeli forces rarely come here, and the last time their local allies, the South Lebanon Army, passed through, Mohammed Shaytou (ph) says they stole his radio and donkey.

And do they expect the Israelis to leave?

"We don't know. Nobody knows," says 76-year-old Hussein Qasim (ph). "Only God knows these things."

It's a hard life, but against all odds, they carry on.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Al-Tiri, in Israeli-occupied Southern Lebanon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Canada is the largest country in the world in terms of land area. The country extends across the continent of North America from the province of Newfoundland on the Atlantic coast to British Columbia on the Pacific coast. Canada is slightly larger than the United States, its southern neighbor, but it has only about one-tenth as many people. About 28 million people live in Canada; 80 percent of them live within 200 miles of the U.S.-Canada border.

The 4,000 mile border between the U.S. and Canada is one of the most lightly patrolled borders in the world.

Frank Buckley has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The gap in the trees on the other side of the lake is the U.S.-Canada border. Border patrol agents call the clear-cut area of forest "the slash." But along the dusty roads nearby, the border boundaries are not always as clear cut. White markers like these are often the only indication of where one country ends and another begins. And there are 4,000 miles of border between the U.S. and Canada.

MARK HENRY, U.S. BORDER PATROL: Well, we've got 261 miles of border in Swanton sector.

BUCKLEY: Mark Henry is the assistant chief patrol agent along this portion of the border in Vermont, which can be rugged, cold terrain.

HENRY: It's difficult in some areas with the mountains and the woods for people to cross the border. On the other hand, it makes it difficult for us to patrol the border.

BUCKLEY: A border patrolled by 309 agents. That's the entire U.S.-Canada border, patrolled by 309 agents. But unmanned border crossings are not unwatched. Cameras provide round-the-clock views of such scenes.

At this communications center, images from different cameras show different locations along the border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a southbound entry at 644.

BUCKLEY: Some cameras are turned on by sensors that pick up heat or vibration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're in back of that building and they're crouching down. They ran down a little hill.

BUCKLEY: Cameras can be controlled from the center to guide agents in for apprehensions when someone crosses in illegally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we got them.

BUCKLEY: Agents say only half of those people entering illegally from Canada are Canadian.

HENRY: Last year, we arrested people from about a hundred different countries that crossed the border here in our area.

BUCKLEY: Border patrol agents know they don't catch everyone trying to cross the border, but last year they did arrest more than 11,000 people making the attempt, crossing the sometimes hard-to- define line that separates the United States from Canada.

Frank Buckley, CNN, Swanton, Vermont.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: A "Worldview" footnote: More than two-million Muslims are embarking on one of the most sacred duties of their faith. They've started a pilgrimage to Mina, a desert plain just outside Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The annual trek is called the Hajj. All able- bodied Muslims who can afford it are required to make the Hajj at least once in their lifetime.

Yesterday, pilgrims travelling by foot and in packed cars, buses and trucks streamed toward the place where they'll take part in several rituals and prayer. The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which has one-billion followers worldwide.

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 segments that fit 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.

HAYNES: Earlier in the show, we saw some of the top scientists of today working to unravel the mysteries of DNA. Now we'll fast forward to a competition that's uncovering the scientists of tomorrow.

Louise Schiavone brings us that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXANDRA NEUHAUS-FOLLINI, SCIENCE CONTEST FINALIST: One interesting finding that I have...

LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are the healers...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... is that before cells die, in our model for Parkinson's disease, they actually undergo this burst of growth.

SCHIAVONE: ... and the inventors of tomorrow.

JOEL CORBO, SCIENCE CONTEST FINALIST: My project involved a method for treating leather so that it stayed cool to the touch in a hot environment and warm to the touch in a cold environment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Port Washington, New York, Viviana Fiona Risca.

SCHIAVONE: Of 40 finalists from across the country, this student caught the gold ring of a high school science competition.

Inspired by a magazine article about a data-encryption technique called steganography, this 17-year-old Romanian immigrant endeavored to inject molecular biology into computer sciences, hiding the message, "June 6, invasion Normandy" inside a strand of DNA. It's right up the alley of the contest's high-tech sponsor, Intel.

VIVIANA RISCA, SCIENCE CONTEST FINALIST: It creates a new branch that the field can expand into and maybe find the killer application that it's looking for.

SCHIAVONE (on camera): It's sometimes called the Junior Nobel Prize. Almost three-quarters of all contestants since 1942 have become medical doctors or PhDs. Among their collected awards are National Medals of Science and five Nobel prizes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you deal with large aminoplasis (ph), you know, it's still a little more practical. You know, if you want to know if 73 is the square, you know, of mycola (ph) 113.

SCHIAVONE (voice-over): They are the brightest of the bright.

CRAIG BARRETT, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTEL: I have a PhD in engineering and I don't think I can hold a candle to their high school projects. They're just awesome.

SCHIAVONE: All finalists win at least $5,000 for their education, as well as an Intel Pentium III laptop computer. Winner, Viviana Risca, walks away with a $100,000 college scholarship. She's been accepted at MIT but hasn't heard from Harvard or Stanford yet. She will now.

Louise Schiavone, for CNN Financial News, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: Later this week, our continuing series for Women's History Month, a profile of Evelyn Fields. She's the first African- American woman to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That's the U.S. government agency in charge of charting and mapping the nation's weather and waterways. President Clinton has praised Fields for charting a new course for African- American women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REAR ADM. EVELYN FIELDS, NOAA: I am absolutely convinced that women can do anything that they want to do. Its just a matter of putting their minds to it and achieving that. And so that's kind of how I've gone about my work with NOAA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: All right, and look for that story coming right here on Friday.

That'll do it for us. Have a great day in school.

BAKHTIAR: We'll see you tomorrow. Bye.

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