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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for April 17, 2000

Aired April 17, 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: We're back on track for another week. I'm Tom Haynes.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. We'll jump in head first today, and head for both land and sea.

HAYNES: We're knee deep in a sea of protesters in the U.S. capital. As world finance ministers gather in Washington, demonstrators make their case.

WALCOTT: "Environment Desk" heads to the waters off Los Angeles to ponder the life of an L.A. dolphin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADDALENA BEARZI, MARINE BIOLOGIST: I think that they have a really great life, actually, they travel, they socialize, they feed, they rest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: We're back on land for "Worldview," and digging in the mud of Easter Island, where we try to unmask the mystery of an ancient peoples.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN MANN, GEOLOGIST: Rapa Nui isn't some weirdo little island in the South Pacific. There are lessons here, and they're very frightening when applied to the larger world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: And "Chronicle" rounds out the show with a daily dose of philanthropy. We'll look to some role models from history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PROFESSOR BILL COPLIN, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Every facet of your life, you can do some things to just make the world better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: Today's top story takes us to Washington D.C., where police and thousands of anti-trade protesters have been facing off in sometimes violent confrontations. The source of the conflict: the two-day meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Protesters in the U.S. capital have been out in force all weekend, sitting in intersections and blocking traffic. Police in riot gear used batons and pepper spray to disperse some of them. Hundreds of people were arrested.

Demonstrators say the IMF and World Bank have policies that lead to poverty in developing countries. They also say the bank's programs promote sweatshops and destroy the environment.

A World Bank representative says, there will be challenges and risks as the world's economies merge.

For more on the IMF and the World Bank, refer to our archive from Thursday, April 13.

And for more on the Washington protests, here's Kate Snow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There were dramatic moments Sunday, eruptions of passionate protest followed by forceful response from Washington, D.C. police officers. Protesters called it direct action, part of an attempt to shut down meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

At several intersections where police had erected barricades, protesters pushed too far. Police shot streams of pepper spray to force people back. Once, just a block away from the White House, a reporter got in the way.

But those were the dramatic moments. Throughout much of the day, the demonstrations were peaceful. At times, Washington, D.C. police chief Charles Ramsey walked along the barricades trying to calm nerves. Though they had no permits to be on the street, police allowed protesters to stay. They formed human chains, they yelled and danced, and paraded huge paper machete puppets around the police perimeter that circles the IMF and World Bank headquarters.

POLICE CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, WASHINGTON, D.C.: Most of them are peaceful, which is very good to see. But there is a percentage of them that are not peaceful, and I'm hoping that between us and the peaceful demonstrators, we can work to try to minimize the amount of damage that these individuals -- these few individuals can cause that could really, you know, taint the entire protest that folks here are trying to put on.

SNOW: Inside, under tight security, finance ministers from all over the world went on with their meetings. IMF officials said a few delegates were delayed, but ministers were able to discuss substantive issues. TOM DAWSON, IMF SPOKESMAN: They're talking about important issues on the reform of the way that the fund operates and how to strengthen our effort to help the very poorest countries, both of which are issues that the demonstrators themselves have an interest in.

SNOW: But protesters say those issues have been on the table for years and the IMF has failed to act. A spokesman says their actions on the street will force change.

ADAM EIDINGER, PROTESTER: We are going to create leverage to change these destructive policies of the World Bank and IMF, and we're really going to make a better future for this planet by doing it this way.

SNOW (on camera): Protesters promise to be back on downtown streets early Monday morning, just in time for the weekday rush hour. Even if they don't succeed in shutting down the meetings of the World Bank and IMF, they may well succeed in disrupting business in the nation's capital.

Kate Snow, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Well, a good old fashioned street protest just isn't what it used to be. Back in the 1960s, demonstrators used underground newspapers and protest signs to get their point across. Today, savvy protesters coordinate with cell phones and use live Webcasting to keep people up to date. Even so, some demonstrators say they long for the days when big business didn't control media coverage.

Here's our Brooks Jackson with this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEMONSTRATORS (chanting): We are the press. We are the press.

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They call themselves the independent media. Independent of what? Independent of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, surely. They have their own press credentials, thank you very much. And independent of any ties to global businesses. They're here in Washington to denounce them. And independent of ties to major news outlets.

"JAY", INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST: Why let you guys cover it? Why? Why -- what will that serve us? You guys are a mouthpiece for the corporate media. You're a mouthpiece for people like the IMF and the World Bank.

JACKSON (on camera): Global corporate media? Gee, that would be us, CNN, owned by Time Warner, soon to be merged with America Online.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you get an official press pass?

JACKSON (voice-over): They don't like us very much. They want to tell their story their way.

JOHN SPEIER, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST: I don't intend to present myself as an objective journalist. I definitely have a point of view.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are those press allowed in there and we're not?

JACKSON: And they dislike what they see of themselves on corporate TV.

SPEIER: Usually the corporate folks get the last word.

JACKSON: So they're covering themselves for themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Intelligent people, you know, with degrees, teachers, professors, whatever, are using their other capabilities to use those tools to get a message out about what is happening to...

JACKSON: She wouldn't give us her name. Nothing personal, we're corporate, she's not. But when it comes to technology, they're sure not stuck in the '60s. Digital cameras, a satellite feed, streaming video and audio.

(on camera): I notice on the credential here you all say "uncensored." What does that mean? Who's censor -- you're saying we're censored, right?

LIAM KIRSHER, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST: Essentially...

JACKSON: Explain that. What...

KIRSHER: Essentially, yes. We believe that objectivity is, in fact, a myth, that everyone has a bias, everyone has an agenda, and that corporations, like major news corporations, have a corporate bias. We have a different bias.

JACKSON (voice-over): A different bias, and some unintended irony -- a protest against globalism covering itself on the World Wide Web.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: The other story we're covering in today's news is Friday's record losses on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq composite index. On the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow Jones industrial average lost more than $600 billion of its value. The technology-rich Nasdaq composite lost even more, $650 billion. Combined Both markets plunged more than a $1 trillion.

Analysts say, consumer worries about inflation are partly to blame. They also say warnings by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman about investor confidence didn't help much either.

The Dow is an average of 30 key industrial stocks, considered a barometer of the U.S. economy. The Nasdaq consists mainly of high- tech stocks, which many say could be the economic barometer for the next generation.

Next up, we head for the deep blue sea; our mission, to meet marine life. We're checking out dolphins. Now, they're mammals, which have lungs and breathe air just like us. Dolphins give birth to live young, which are fed with their mother's milk. And their brains are larger than humans'.

They are social animals and love to play around, as you see there. They use sound and vibrations to communicate with each other and to navigate through the water.

To learn more, we head to the coast off Los Angeles, California, to Santa Monica Bay.

Siobhan Darrow takes us there for our "Environment Desk" today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIOBHAN DARROW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Italian marine biologist Maddalena Bearzi noticed dolphins in Santa Monica Bay a few years ago, she was surprised to find nobody could tell her anything about them. In fact, few Angelinos seemed to even know they're here.

MADDALENA BEARZI, MARINE BIOLOGIST: I thought it was really weird in a city like L.A. nobody ever really started a long-term study in this bay. People don't even know they can see dolphins from shore.

DARROW: So Bearzi decided to study the mammals and started the Los Angeles Dolphin Project. She, along with her husband and volunteer graduate students, go out at least once a week and track Los Angeles' resident dolphins.

ANDREA BACHMAN, RESEARCHER: They'll turn their heads, and they're looking right at you. So there's something that feels really -- I feel like they are kind of studying us too.

BEARZI: If you can get the calf with the mother.

DARROW: They've taken more than 15,000 photos of the dolphins, observing how they spend their days.

BEARZI: I think they have a really great life, actually. They travel, they socialize, they feed, they rest.

DARROW: Bearzi has been surprised by just how social the dolphins are, often seeing them hanging out with other sea mammals.

As coastal creatures, the dolphins feel the impact of man, making them a barometer of sorts for the health of the bay. The project hopes to educate the public about threats to the animals by taking school children out for a first-hand look at the dolphins.

EHSAAN MESGHALI, STUDENT: It's important to know how we could help the environment in the Santa Monica Bay and how we influence it, especially all the animals in there.

DARROW: Introducing the next generation to their marine neighbors could be the key to the dolphins' survival.

Siobhan Darrow, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Well, Easter is just a hop, skip and a jump away, so today in "Worldview" we take you to a place named for this holiday. And we go on a hunt. Instead of looking for eggs, we're head-hunting for some ancient statues. We'll also examine some environmental issues.

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Easter Island lies in the South Pacific Ocean, about 2,300 miles from the South American country of Chile. It's believed to have been settled back around the year 400. The island is famous for its huge statues, carved from the rocks of extinct volcanoes. A Dutch explorer was the first European to visit. Since he arrived on Easter Sunday, 1722, he named his find Easter Island. Nearly 100 years later, many of the island's inhabitants were kidnapped and taken to Peru as slaves. Others died from smallpox.

But scientists believe other factors contributed to a huge decline in the population. It's just one of the mysteries explored by photo journalist Barbara Pyle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA PYLE, PHOTO JOURNALIST (voice-over): It's the most isolated island in the world, surrounded on all sides by thousands of miles of ocean. But looks can be deceiving. Despite the isolation, on Easter Island you're never alone. There's always something looming in the darkness, watching in silence.

Giant statues called Moais weighing up to 100 tons are all over Easter Island. The creators: an ancient Polynesian people who landed on the island around 400 A.D. One of the island's big mysteries is how the people transported such heavy statues from the volcano where they carved them to their platforms miles away. No one knows for sure.

Sergio Rapu says, whatever the answer, the statues are to be revered.

SERGIO RAPU, ARCHAEOLOGIST: The statues are representation of ancestors.

PYLE: Sergio is a descendent of the original Easter islanders known as the Rapa Nui. It's his Rapa Nui ancestors he sees in the faces of the Moai.

RAPU: You can imagine that when you're coming out of a village, of a house, and you walk out in front of this ancestor figure, it's like looking to your grandfathers. All what you feel is respect to them, whether you like it or not. PYLE: It's this respect for his ancestors that fuels Sergio's desire to find out their history -- their entire history -- which brings us to this island's second unsolved mystery, a question that is much more sinister with more frightening implications.

The Rapa Nui population, once booming at 20,000, plummeted to a fraction of that. What happened? Dr. John Loret, a New York scientist, is determined to find out.

DR. JOHN LORET, SCIENTIST: The geology was here first, then the plants and the vegetation, and then finally the people. So we have to study it from all aspects, and that will tell us the full story.

PYLE: Dr. Loret's interest in Easter Island is nothing new. It goes all the way back to a 1955 expedition. It was then he met a young boy with a shared passion.

LORET: Sergio was a little boy when I was on the island. He was about 6 years old.

RAPU: We have many things in common, and Easter Island is a great laboratory where we both can invite numerous specialists to answer the human history and the natural history of this island.

Sergio was a little boy when I was on the island. He was about six years old. We have many things in common, and Easter Island is a great laboratory where we both can invite numerous specialists to answer the human history and the natural history of this island.

PYLE: Forty years after the 1955 expedition, Sergio and Dr. Loret are reunited as old friends and peers. Sergio is now a trained archaeologist and will lend his expert advice to Dr. Loret and his research team, a group that's working feverishly to find out what caused the Rapa Nui people to virtually disappear.

Dan Mann is a team geologist.

DAN MANN, GEOLOGIST: The most simple hypothesis is kind of eating themselves out of house and home, which is simple exponential human population growth that used up all the resources, and people basically crashed -- the population crashed.

PYLE: Dan suspects that clues to the past are stuck in the island's mud. And that's exactly where we found him the next day.

(on camera): Hey, how's it going?

MANN: Hi, Barbara. How are you?

The island went through a period of tremendous ecological change, so it really was an eco disaster. The early Rapa Nuis cleared the trees. They're thought to have been, oh, 100 feet tall. They're these magnificent trees. And they're totally extinct now. What you're looking at is intensive soil erosion. So we've lost a lot of topsoil, and that's basically because the Rapa Nuis cleared the forest and everything washed away in the rain. PYLE (voice-over): Clearing their forests proved to be a critical mistake for the Rapa Nui. Trees were an important food source, producing nuts and syrups. And without wood they could no longer build canoes to deep-sea fish. Slash and burn farming also depleted the soil of nutrients, making crops more difficult to grow to feed a growing population.

But were these factors the final crushing blow? Scientists suspect climate change may have been the last straw.

MANN: It might have been a scenario, something like human population went up towards the carrying capacity that the island could support and then we had a slight fluctuation in climate, maybe a drought for a few years, and it produced chaos because suddenly we had people starving.

PYLE: What climatic event could cause such chaos? It's a household word these days: the infamous El Nino. The research team suits up to find evidence in ancient coral heads.

LORET: We're able to obtain a six-foot core, which would represent about 500 years in time. And when we look at it by doing X- rays and even using black light, we can tell El Nino phenomena as it occurred back in time. The only thing we can really say, that these recurring El Nino episodes have impacted tremendously on world population.

PYLE: A new study indicates global warming could make future El Ninos even more intense and more dangerous. And even the Moais could pay a price.

MANN: Because if sea level comes up a meter or so, we're just going to have more salt spray, and we'll have more weathering and the statues will disappear even faster.

PYLE: Sergio wants make sure that doesn't happen. He's leading an effort to restore Moais that have been destroyed either from age, weathering or tribal warfare. Each restoration is a painstaking process. It begins with a technique never used before: creating a mold -- a fake head, so to speak -- which is much lighter and easier to move than the real head. Sergio brought in an artist from Chile to handle the job: Harold Krasell.

HAROLD KRASELL, ARTIST: This is the mold. We took the mold from the original head in order to have our cast of it. And with the cast, we're going to fit the head to the body.

PYLE: The cast will be used to determine how much of the volcanic rock has eroded away from the real head.

(on camera): There she goes, Harold.

RAPU: In the case of this Moai that we're working on, the head lost about eight inches. When we restore them, we try to restore not only the piece of stone, but we restore it with filling. We need to train the young Rapa Nui to be involve in the restoration of their own monuments. In that way, they learn, they preserve the language, the traditions, the dancing, the music.

PYLE (voice-over): Twenty years ago, 70 percent of Easter Island's children spoke the Rapa Nui language. Now only 5 percent do.

Rapa Nui dancing is thriving, though. And while Dr. Loret makes an admirable attempt to learn the moves, he's much more successful at gathering clues about the fate of the Rapa Nui ancestors. He lets Dan do the honors, extracting a sizable sample of the bottom of an ancient volcanic crater.

MANN: We're trying to reconstruct vegetation history because vegetation is a proxy for climate.

PYLE: The scientists also take to the skies for a bird's-eye look at soil erosion on the island.

LORET: We took with us a para-plane, which has the ability to fly at low speeds, at low altitudes, which is good for photography. We were able to see features that we didn't know existed.

MANN: It's very sobering to see this place. When you start digging around and you notice the statues and you look at the soils and you start realizing what once was here, it's probably the same thing as you went to the scene of a nuclear bomb. I mean, this is incredible devastation, and it's somehow related to humans.

PYLE: As the Rapa Nui were burning out their land, archaeologists believe they became obsessed with building Moais. Rival clans made as many as they could, as big as they could.

LORET: Maybe they built large statues thinking that would please the gods. The bigger the statues would be -- they'd be more pleased with it. But they found out it didn't work.

MANN: Probably the Moai themselves were the focus of kind of a last ditch attempt of these people to control what was happening to them. So perhaps, you know, there's some other analogies, where people who are at the end of their rope seize on the last possible straw. And it's usually some spiritual kind of savior.

PYLE: The Moais weren't able to save them. And as food became increasingly scarce, fighting broke out between clans, with the losers often becoming victims of cannibalism.

When the Rapa Nui were stressed to their limit, did an El Nino make a bad situation even worse? Dr. Loret says his team needs to do more work with the coral beds and soil samples before they have that answer.

But the end is here for Sergio's labor of love. After months of meticulous work, the Moai's original head is fitted onto its body. Sergio hopes to eventually restore all the Moais.

(on camera): If the Moai could talk, what do you think they would say?

RAPU: Why we cut down all the trees of this island? Why we didn't think more before we even damaged our own environment?

LORET: Easter Island is a microcosm of what we're doing to planet Earth. We have to modify our lifestyles completely.

MANN: Rapa Nui isn't some weirdo little island in the South Pacific. But there are lessons here and they're very frightening when applied to the larger world.

PYLE (voice-over): Sergio believes the Moais are crucial to keeping those lessons in the minds of future generations around the world.

RAPU: What we have gone through here -- over-population, scarcity of resources and damaging our environment -- is the best lesson we can pass.

PYLE (on camera): What a face.

RAPU: Look how beautiful it is.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JORDAN: That report was from photojournalist Barbara Pyle.

Today, about 2,800 people live on Easter Island. Tourism and the production of wool for export are main industries.

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

In "Chronicle," we focus on something many of you pride yourself in: volunteering. And if you give your time frequently at all, you'll know last week was the 27th annual National Volunteer Week here in the U.S. This year's theme: celebrate volunteers.

Wade Medlock reports on what volunteering means to many, and how it was commemorated during this important event.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WADE MEDLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mother Theresa, Jimmy Carter, Colin Powell, a constellation of others, all giving of their time.

CHATON DAVIS, SPELMAN COLLEGE STUDENT: I probably started volunteering around the age of 11.

MEDLOCK: From coaching cheerleading to tutoring, 21-year-old Chaton Davis has put in countless hours. Within weeks, she'll end her studies in psychology and become an elementary school teacher. Davis is joining Teach for America. It's a program that takes recent college graduates from a variety of backgrounds and sends them to teach at schools in need across the country.

DAVIS: I was very interested in going into a job where I could help students, where I could work with students, where I could hopefully make a positive impact on the education system.

MEDLOCK: It's that sort of commitment to community that has pushed the national volunteerism rate to an all-time high. A Gallup poll places it at 56 percent. The benefits are real.

Many communities look to volunteers to fight fires, build houses and keep blood banks filled.

PROFESSOR BILL COPLIN, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Every facet of your life, you can do some things to just make the world better.

MEDLOCK: Professor Bill Coplin is director of the Public Affairs Studies program at Syracuse University. He's written a book entitled, "How You Can Help."

COPLIN: It can be volunteering, it can be giving money, it can be working in politics, it can be also being paid like a teacher.

MEDLOCK: This week, Coplin founded what he calls "The Do Good Society," in part to change the common negative connotation of a "do- gooder." He says Mother Theresa may have inadvertently done more harm than good for volunteerism.

COPLIN: People look at her and say, well, I can't be Mother Theresa, so I might as well not be anything. The point is, a little bit is important.

MEDLOCK: National Volunteer Week provides an opportunity to recognize those who do what they can. And it offers a gentle reminder that more can be done.

Wade Medlock, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: All right, a lot of "do-gooders" out there.

Coming up April 24 right here on NEWSROOM, teenage driving in the United States. We'll explore the graduated licensing program.

WALCOTT: And a relationship between unlikely allies: Find out how in the face of tragedy a mother and a best friend unite to benefit their community.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a facility that kids can go and find themselves and find a skill and a talent, whether it be camera work, whether it be computer, or just playing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: OK, that's next week here on NEWSROOM.

WALCOTT: And we'll see you back here tomorrow.

HAYNES: Take care.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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