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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 21, 2000

Aired March 21, 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: Thanks for inviting NEWSROOM into your classroom. I'm Tom Haynes. Good to see you back.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: I'm Shelley Walcott. We have lots to cover today. Here's a quick preview.

HAYNES: In "Today's News": the significance of a papal visit to the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a man for peace, not for war. He is a good man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: Usually in "Health Desk," we talk about your health. Today, we take issue with your pets. We'll find out what makes Rover so rambunctious.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLOS MENDEZ, K-9 EXPRESS: If you keep this dog cooped up, don't give him any type of human contact, that obviously is going to make him aggressive towards other people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: In "Worldview," he says life dealt him a bad hand. So how is this Japanese homeless man making the best of it?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HIROSHI MATSUSHITA, HOMELESS (through translator): For me, wearing a suit and tie is an attitude, an expression of how I want to carry myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: In "Chronicle," "Democracy in America": How do the opinionated impact the U.S. presidential race? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Regardless of age or voting status, public opinion is often offered, often unsolicited.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a way of grabbing attention to the camera and dramatizing an issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: In "Today's News," the world's most traveled pope is on a trip of a lifetime. Pope John Paul II is preaching peace as he begins a week-long pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His first stop was in Amman, Jordan. He was welcomed by the Jordanian royal family and Christian leaders.

John Paul becomes the first Roman Catholic pope to visit Israel since it normalized diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1993. Today, the pope visits several sacred areas in Israel and Palestinian- controlled areas of the West Bank. Many observers are waiting to see if he'll make a papal apology for the Catholic Church's public silence during the Holocaust. And during his stop in Jordan yesterday, the pope told a crowd that, no matter how difficult, the Middle East peace process must continue.

Jim Bittermann has more on why this tour of the Middle East has become a very personal trip for the pope.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the beginning of a trip Pope John Paul II first talked about making when he became pope 22 years ago, which only one other pope, Paul VI, ever made before.

So as Jordan's Muslim king welcomed the leader of a billion Catholic Christians to the Holy Land, it was a moment the pope, with his sense of history, could not help but savor.

There may be many such moments over the next week. The pope's trip is, above all, personal. The Vatican is calling it a jubilee pilgrimage, unlike 89 other papal trips, which were called pastoral visits.

But neither his host nor his advisers believe the pope can travel, especially in this quarrelsome part of the world, without having political impact. King Abdullah expressly hoped the papal visit would bring the promise of a brighter day to Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians, and Iraqis.

KING ABDULLAH, JORDAN: It is your presence that reminds us of important facts lest they be forgotten. The virtues of faith and the absolute need for forgiveness of one's enemies.

BITTERMANN: The pope's response simply carried on with the king's thought. POPE JOHN PAUL II: No matter how difficult, no matter how long, the process of seeking peace must continue.

BITTERMANN: With that, the pope was off to the first stop on his pilgrimage: the spot on Mount Nebo where the Bible says God permitted Moses to view the Promise Land shortly before the prophet died.

John Paul stood alone taking a long look west towards Jerusalem. "Let us lift up a prayer for all the people of this land of promise," he said "Jews, Muslims, and Christians, to bestow upon all peace, justice, and fraternity."

It was perhaps that promise that John Paul's visit might bring to their land, more than faith, which brought out thousands of people along the pope's route down from Mount Nebo. At Madaba, where slightly more than a tenth of the population is Catholic, the crowds were jubilant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a man for peace, not for war. He's good man for Muslim or for Christian.

BITTERMANN: And one organizer went further: "It's a courageous person," he said, "who tries to apologize for the since of the Catholics."

(on camera): At the end of the day, the pope went to pay a more private visit to Jordan's King Abdullah. But with Muslims and Christians living peacefully together in his kingdom, the Vatican officials said there are not many issues to discuss.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Amman, Jordan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: There was some deadly violence in the West Bank on the eve of the pope's visit to the Middle East. Palestinian sources say an Israeli soldier fatally shot a Palestinian woman near a checkpoint. It happened after three Israelis were wounded in a drive-by shooting nearby. The incidents occurred as Israel prepared to hand over another portion of the West Bank to the Palestinians. It's part of an interim accord signed last September. The Palestinians are to receive control of another 6.1 percent of the West Bank.

Walter Rodgers has more on how the pope's visit has affected the political climate in the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALTER RODGERS, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Palestinians released doves, anticipating Pope John Paul II's visit. Still, this was less about peace than the battle for Jerusalem. When the balloon went up over East Jerusalem, it was sporting a huge Palestinian flag, a symbolic challenge to Israeli claims to sovereignty there.

FAISAL HUSSEINI, PALESTINIAN CABINET MINISTER (through translator): Raising the Palestinian flag, it is our right; it is our city; it is our capital; it is our people. And we will raise this flag in anytime we want. The provocation, illegal, is raising the Israeli flags in East Jerusalem.

RODGERS: Palestinians clearly tried to use the pope's visit to stake their claim on East Jerusalem as their capital. Palestinian flags sprang up in a city also claimed by Israelis as their eternal capital. And Israelis were busy hauling down the Palestinian banners.

CHAIM RAMON, ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER: The only thing that they will achieve in such, I must say, childish things -- will disturb the atmosphere and the goodwill of the historical visit of the pope.

RODGERS: But the atmosphere soured before the Palestinian flags went up, when Jewish extremists splashed red paint on the Vatican flag and equated the Christian cross with the Nazi swastika.

At the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, extremist Jews demonstrated against the pope. Members of the outlawed Kach Movement prayed to God to pour out his fury on the gentiles just before the pope arrives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's an enemy. I don't want him here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every Jew, that thinks about him and sees him, thinks about millions of Jews that were massacred by Christians.

RODGERS: Into this theological cauldron, the pope is bringing his own pilgrims, 45,000 of them. And officially, the Israeli government will be rolling out the red carpet for the pope.

EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It's an historically important visit.

RODGERS (on camera): It was, perhaps, too much, even for the pope to hope his visit would not be politicized. The hope now is that it stays peaceful.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: We're covering another historic trip in "Today's News": that's President Clinton's six-day visit to Southeast Asia. The focus of his itinerary: stops in India and Pakistan. The two countries are locked in a bitter land dispute involving the Kashmir region. The president hopes to persuade both countries to ease tensions with one another and to ban nuclear testing.

Yesterday Mr. Clinton made a brief stop in Bangladesh, one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world. There he was greeted with enthusiasm, even though security concerns led to the cancellation of a planned tour to a nearby village.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Never before had a U.S. president visited impoverished Bangladesh, and Mr. Clinton was greeted with high praise from prime minister Sheihk Hasina.

SHEIKH HASINA, BANGLADESH PRIME MINISTER: He's an outstanding leader and statesman of our times.

KING: But for all the red carpet treatment, all the cheering students lining the streets of Dhaka, there was no escaping the region's tensions and pockets of anti-American sentiment.

Plans for Mr. Clinton to speak in the remote village of Joypura were canceled after the Secret Service warned it could not guarantee the president's safety on the planned 20-minute helicopter ride. Instead, the villagers were bussed to the U.S. embassy in Dhaka so the president could promote a modest new aid package and discuss education and economic development in a nation where disease and disaster are all too common.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every little boy and every little girl must have a chance. I will do what I can to be a good partner and a good friend in that endeavor in Bangladesh.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Pets are a lot of fun, but they can also be dangerous. Yet experts say there are ways you can help keep your dog happier and you and your family and friends safer at the same time. That's the focus of today's "Health Desk."

Holly Firfer has our story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOLLY FIRFER, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An average Thursday evening turned into a nightmare for 5-year-old Justin Taubner (ph). He had been outside playing with the family Rottweiler when he was viciously attacked. The bite wounds to his head and neck were fatal.

PATRICIA DONNELL, COMPREHENSIVE PET THERAPY: Children are small people. They're closer to the dog's size so dogs oftentimes view them as a playmate, you know, rather than someone as a leader.

FIRFER: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, boys ages 5 to 9 are most at risk. In fact, research shows, at some point, almost half of all children are bitten by dogs. Half of those attacks occur at home with a familiar dog.

CARLOS MENDEZ, K-9 EXPRESS: Too many parents get dogs that do not fit their lifestyles. Well, when we put them in the back yard, we start to build up separation anxiety, we start to build up the negative behavior such as barking, digging.

FIRFER: And biting. Dog trainer Carlos Mendez adds, keeping a dog chained up all day leaves the dog feeling exposed and vulnerable and it will usually develop aggressive behavior to defend itself. If you must confine the dog, experts suggest a crate in the house to make them feel more secure and comfortable.

But...

MENDEZ: You keep this dog cooped up, don't give him any type of human contact, that obviously is going to make him aggressive towards other people because he doesn't know anybody.

FIRFER: A dog posturing to attack will usually stiffen and lean forward, stare at their prey, and the hair on their backs will stand up. Trainers also say dogs can sense if you are nervous, so stay calm. Back away from the dog slowly until you are a safe distance away, but don't turn your back. Don't look at the dog in the eye, but keep it within eyesight.

Experts add it's not just Rottweilers, Dobermans or pit bulls that can attack, any dog, no matter the size or breed, can become aggressive.

Holly Firfer, 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.

HAYNES: Today in "Worldview," we head to Asia and Europe. We get a health heads-up from Russia. We'll explore the problems plaguing the population, and what new leaders will need to do to help. And from Russia to Japan where we wrestle with some social and political dilemmas. We'll go ringside to find out why ancient Sumo tradition and modern politics are going to the mat. Then, you'll meet a homeless barber, and you'll find out that even those without homes can be part of the work force.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: "Worldview" gets started in Japan, one of the economic powerhouses of the world. While its economy thrives, there are still a significant number of people there who have to live on the streets. It's hard to count the number of homeless at any given point since definitions are difficult. Many homeless in Japan as well as around the world are, after all, on the streets temporarily. While some beg to stay alive, others actually work, much like those who go through life with a roof over their heads.

Michael Holmes has the story of one such man.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hiroshi Matsushita dresses for the day like everyone else: putting on his jacket, combing his hair. But Hiroshi Matsushita says his plastic- covered home is where he sleeps, not who he is.

HIROSHI MATSUSHITA, HOMELESS (through translator): Most people have a terrible image of homeless people, that we're filthy and despicable. They stay away and refuse to speak to us. If we keep a neat haircut and maintain a presentable appearance, fewer people will act that way toward us. They are willing to talk to us and we don't revolt them. For me, wearing a suit and tie is an attitude, an expression of how I want to carry myself.

HOLMES: Matsushita carries with him a collapsible chair and a pair of scissors. Once a qualified barber who ran his own shop, Matsushita lost everything after his wife died and he was in a car accident.

He is one of at least 6,000 homeless people in Tokyo alone, 20,000 throughout Japan. While the government works to trim the problem, Matsushita trims hair. He says it gives him and his clients a sense of style, a sense of purpose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Even if you are without a home, if you are willing to work and refuse to beg, then you are not a beggar. Being homeless and being a beggar are two completely different things.

HOLMES: Begging is so offensive in Japan that even the hungry will go to great lengths to avoid it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Sometimes I have to rummage through people's garbage to find food. When there isn't any work, you don't have any other way. But it's only until I can work. It's temporary.

HOLMES: For now, though, homelessness seems like more of a permanent problem. Matsushita says society can improve the situation when people change their tune regarding homelessness.

MATSUSHITA (through translator): I think everybody is equal. Nobody is superior and nobody is inferior. When we are born into this world, we are equal. There shouldn't be any discrimination.

HOLMES: Michael Holmes, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: More from Japan now and a look at some of the controversy in the world of Sumo wrestling. The sport has historically been for men only, both in the ring and in the spectator aisles. But a leading Japanese politician is trying to get some of the sport's traditionalists to throw in the towel. The Sumo struggle is just one of a number of social challenges facing women in Japan.

Ram Ramgopal has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAM RAMGOPAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Osaka Governor Fusae Ota is declaring war on the Sumo world, Japan's last bastion of unabashed machismo. Her position enables her to present an award to the winner of a Sumo tournament in the ring has traditionally been off limits to women. Sumo's roots are intertwined with Shinto traditions, and by custom the Sumo ring, or dojo, is sacred. For centuries, only men have been allowed inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Women cannot fight Sumo. That is a men's sport. Thus, women should not enter a Sumo ring.

RAMGOPAL: But now, things are starting to change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (through translator): Even if it has been until now, that is one thing and politics is another thing. So even Sumo needs to adapt itself to the changing world. Women face discrimination outside the doyo, too. There's only one woman among the current 19 cabinet members. Part of the reason is the expectation that a woman forgo career goals in order to marry and raise a family.

But this, too, is changing. Women politicians have rallied behind Seiko Hashimoto, a former Olympic speed skater elected to parliament in 1995. Hashimoto is now pregnant and is pressing parliament to change its bylaws to allow for maternity leave. Childbirth is not on the list of reasons for which members can miss sessions. Only one other lawmaker has been pregnant during a parliamentary session, and that was half a century ago.

SEIKO HASHIMOTO, JAPANESE LEGISLATOR (through translator): I wish my case could become a trigger to implement a solid system or judicial system to provide for the well-being of working women.

RAMGOPAL: Women politicians handed to a parliamentary panel a petition calling for maternity leave for legislators. Experts say the situation is changing, albeit slowly.

SHIGENORI OKAZAKI, DIR., ECON. RESEARCH, WARBUG DILLON REED: The more women are exposed to the new environment, that will require the mental, and physical as well, transformation of women. The women are exposed to social discrimination or wage discrimination, that probably will lead to their activities that probably will be translated into politics.

RAMGOPAL: Laws banning discrimination in hiring and promotion have been passed and the public is getting more comfortable with the idea of women on the career track. Japanese women are still facing an uphill struggle for equality, but ongoing changes are offering reason for hope.

Ram Ramgopal, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: From national politics to the health of a nation, we turn our attention to Russia next where rising rates of infectious disease combined with a crumbling health care system are adding up to a national crisis. It's likely to be high on the minds of voters as Russia readies for new elections in five days.

Meantime, experts there tell CNN's Eileen O'Connor, making people healthier is a battle that needs to be waged beginning at birth. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A brand new Russian citizen, but this little girl is almost five times more likely to die of an infectious disease, eight times more likely to die of illness related to stroke, and twice as likely to die from injury in her lifetime than a child in the United States. In fact, her life expectancy is only 71 years, while a girl born now in the United States is expected to live on average some eight years longer.

Russia is experiencing a health crisis. A declining birth rate and rising death rate means the population actually went down here by over a half a million people in 1998.

The decline has strategic significance. Left unchecked, it could deplete the labor force. Infectious diseases like tuberculosis are spreading, mutating into drug-resistant strains, causing fear in neighboring countries.

Russian officials say they inherited a crumbling health care system. Yuri Shevchenko is Minister of Health. He says acting President Vladimir Putin understands improving the state of Russia's health begins at birth.

YURI SHEVCHENKO, RUSSIAN MINISTER OF HEALTH (through translator): It's understood that without healthy women and healthy children, the country has no future.

O'CONNOR: While some new, more modern facilities have been built, the health care budget has remained one of the lowest priorities.

Anna Zhuravleva is the deputy chief doctor at Moscow Hospital Number One. She says Russia's health problems are complex and will not be solved by simply spending more on health care.

ANNA ZHURAVLEVA, DEPUTY CHIEF, MOSCOW HOSPITAL (through translator): People's health depends not only on medical care but also on social and economic problems.

O'CONNOR: Social problems have led to an increase in death rates from violence and injuries, nearly twice those of the United States. Suicide rates among men are nearly four times higher than that of the U.S. And while an anti-drinking campaign meant decreased consumption and a slightly better mortality rate for men in recent years, some figures indicate consumption may again be on the rise.

Shevchenko says more than medicine, Russia lacks education in prevention.

SHEVCHENKO (through translator): We need to teach people a healthy lifestyle. They must not treat their health as just their own health, my health, but as part of the nation's resources.

O'CONNOR: A national resource Russia's future depends on.

Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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.

WALCOTT: Today's "Chronicle" segment catches up with the two men who will likely be going head-to-head in this year's U.S. presidential campaign: Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican Governor George W. Bush. New financial reports filed yesterday reveal the Bush campaign spent a whopping $13 million last month alone. That was to seal up primary victories against Senator John McCain of Arizona. Meantime, two more states will have their say in the presidential process today. Illinois holds a Democratic and Republican primary, and the GOP holds a caucus in Nevada.

There's just a few more months until the GOP national convention begins in Philadelphia July 31. The Democratic convention starts two weeks after that on August 14 in Los Angeles. Then it's on to the big day, the presidential election on November 7. Pollsters have played a very important role in this and many other modern day campaigns.

Our Andy Jordan looks at the science of public opinion.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JORDAN (voice-over): In politics, the whine factor kicks in at 18. You've heard the complaint: If you don't vote, you can't whine. If you're under 18, whine all you want. But regardless of age or voting status, public opinion is often offered, often unsolicited.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a way of grabbing attention for the camera and dramatizing an issue. It often works, but I think the voters see it for what it is, and the candidates have to be careful not to get terribly rattled by that sort of thing.

JORDAN: Public opinion can be orchestrated. Public opinion can be generated. Debates are often starting points for opinion.

SCHNEIDER: It's one of the last, unplanned, unscripted, impromptu events in a very carefully scripted campaign where you don't know what to expect, you don't know what the candidates are going to say. So you get to see the candidates for real in a debate and rarely at other times.

JORDAN: Public opinion can be organized and official, like surveys that indicated earlier this month George W. Bush leading Al Gore by six percentage points, or this survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press which showed that younger voters prefer Bush to Gore, older Americans preferring Gore to Bush. But how can polls make such sweeping calls?

KEATING HOLLAND, CNN POLLING DIRECTOR: If you're a cook and you want to see whether or not your soup is too salty, you don't have to drink the entire pot of soup to see how salty it is. You stir the pot and then you take a small taste of it.

JORDAN: Emphasis on stirring the pot so everything in the soup has an equal chance of winding up in the spoonful that you're tasting. Pollsters make sure they "stir the pot" so that everyone in America has an equal chance of getting into the poll. CNN's polling service utilizes a system of random digit dialing on the phone. But how effective are polls at predicting actual winners? Are they crystal balls?

HOLLAND: Every time there's an election, we've got a gut check. We can see whether or not our polls are right. And year after year, poll after poll, when we look at the last poll that we conducted just before the election and we compare it to the actual election results, we're always within that margin of error.

JORDAN: The margin of error is the degree to which the numbers can sway on either side of the actual percentage. Since every poll is a sampling of all 250 million Americans, a margin of error has to be calculated.

SCHNEIDER: We'll take our own poll, but we'll also compare it with THE results of other polls and see if there's any consensus among the polls about what to expect. If all the polls are showing roughly the same thing, then we have a lot more confidence that that's what's going on. If the polls are all over the place, then we really don't have any confidence at all, and we report it that way.

JORDAN: But do polls actually influence the way a voter will vote? Many studies have been done, none conclusive.

HOLLAND: Americans are very suspicious of polls in the first place, as perhaps they should be. Any number of studies seem to indicate that it doesn't have an effect, with the one exception in a primary where you've got four or five or six candidates. Oftentimes, a poll will indicate which candidate or candidates have the best chance of winning.

SCHNEIDER: The polls tell them who has a serious chance to win, and sometimes that's very useful information because they don't want to help elect the candidate they like least.

JORDAN: By voting for someone who really doesn't have a chance to win, many voters feel they're throwing away their vote, and polls show who has a realistic chance of winning and who doesn't.

Andy Jordan, CNN NEWSROOM.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HAYNES: An exciting political season ahead, and NEWSROOM will be with it all the time.

WALCOTT: And that wraps it up for us here. Have a great day.

HAYNES: See you.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.

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