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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for May 23, 2000

Aired May 23, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: It's Tuesday. This is CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome. I'm Andy Jordan.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Here's what's coming up.

JORDAN: In today's top story, taking on terrorism. The United States government prepares its response to biological and chemical weapons.

BAKHTIAR: Next, in our "Health Desk," alternatives for an aging population. We'll check out the multimillion dollar aromatherapy industry.


DR. ALAN HIRSCH, SMELL & TASTE TREATMENT & RESEARCH FOUNDATION: The quickest way to change a mood state, quicker than with any other sensual modality, is with smell.


JORDAN: From ways to relax to sources of stress, "Worldview" looks at how one high-tech nation copes with the cyber rat race.


WICTOR SODERSTEN, FOUNDER, SONOX.COM: I like to dance tango. And it's something so very much different from everything that has to do with computers.


BAKHTIAR: Then, in "Chronicle," "Democracy in America": why there's nothing conventional about party conventions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not going to get any sleep, you're going to spend a lot of money, and you will meet a lot of people, have a really good time. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JORDAN: In today's top story, are we prepared? The U.S. government is conducting antiterrorism exercises in various U.S. cities to answer exactly that question. Terrorist acts have been used for centuries, often used as a tool to gain publicity and support for a cause. In 1999, terrorists targeted U.S. interests in 169 attacks, an increase of 52 percent from the previous year.

The FBI defines terrorism as the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government or a civilian population to further political or social objectives. There are many types of terrorism. Among them, hostage- taking, bioterrorism, and cyberterrorism. An example: The "ILOVEYOU" virus spread via e-mail from Asia to the United States within minutes causing billions of dollars in damage.

That has been one of the most prominent cases this year. Last year, there were 392 international terrorist attacks. The number of attacks increased in every region of the world except the Middle East. Now, the U.S. is conducting the "topoff" drill, a series of nationwide counterterrorism exercises aimed at ensuring the country is prepared to deal with various forms of terrorist attacks. The first drills took place over the weekend in Denver, Washington, and New Hampshire. The 10-day exercises, which continue through Friday, test the reaction of top officials to a theoretical attack against the U.S. involving weapons of mass destruction.

Mike Boettcher reports.


MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The United States' largest ever counterterrorism exercise suddenly got larger and more complex. In the Washington, D.C. area, a simulated bomb explodes during a make believe softball game. Radiation is detected around the site.

PETER LAPORTE, D.C. EMERGENCY MGMT. AGENCY: There's a lot of lessons to be learned when you do an exercise like this.

BOETTCHER: In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, mock casualties from Saturday's dispersal of a simulated chemical weapon have to be decontaminated. Mustard gas is determined to be the culprit and hundreds of mock casualties require attention.

DR. JOHN CALLAHAN, U.S. DEPT. OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: This exercise, "topoff," is designed to educate people as to what would occur.

BOETTCHER: In Denver, the make-believe terrorist scenario is even grimmer. The mock terrorists have used a biological weapon, pneumonic plague. Denver hospitals have to cope with a simulated flood of victims.

DR. STEPHEN CANTRILL, EMER. MED. SERVICE, DENVER GEN. HOSP.: All the hospitals in the area are overwhelmed currently; they're all locked down.

BOETTCHER: So, in this fictionalized version of a multi-pronged terrorist attack on the United States, the country's top officials face hard decisions.

MARK MERSHON, FBI, DENVER: This has driven critical decision making which directly affects public safety -- decisions by the mayor, the governor and, this morning, the president.

BOETTCHER (on camera): For example, in the scenario, Denver is placed under quarantine, residents have been asked to stay in their homes. In the "topoff" drill, they are pretending that no one can enter or leave the city. But how to accomplish that? Call out the Army to surround Denver?

(voice-over): "Topoff," while not real, has presented top officials with what they say are real tough decisions, and a real chance for lessons learned.

Mike Boettcher, CNN, Denver.


JORDAN: Keep in mind, the pictures you just saw were exercises by the U.S. government and not the real thing. As we mentioned, the exercises are designed to test how prepared the United States is in responding to terrorism -- Rudi.

BAKHTIAR: Thanks, Andy.

Also in today's news, tension along the border separating South Lebanon and Northern Israel. There's a mixture of joy and fright depending on which side of the conflict one stands. Israel has occupied what it calls a security zone in Southern Lebanon for 22 years. It was set up to prevent Muslim attacks on Israel, which is a Jewish state. The United Nations has been pressing Israel since then to withdraw its troops. The Islamic group Hezbollah, as well as Lebanon, often point to that resolution as justification for attacks on Israel.

With mounting losses at the hands of Hezbollah guerrillas, Israel has said it would end its occupation of Lebanon by July 7. Now, it appears some Lebanese militia members backed by Israel are starting to abandon the area in anticipation of an Israeli withdrawal.

Brent Sadler looks at the fallout so far.


BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Israel's hold over South Lebanon appears to be growing weaker following mass desertions among the ranks of these fighters, Israel's longtime militia allies in the South Lebanon Army, or SLA.

Official Lebanese government forces have been rounding up those who've surrendered, frightened men now facing the wrath of their Lebanese countrymen who regard them as traitors for siding with Israel and demand they be punished. Some face the death penalty.

The large-scale collapse of the SLA has been mostly among Muslim Shiite units, their 45 positions abandoned in haste. Hezbollah and its co-resistance fighters, Amal, raising their flags over what they call "liberated areas," pronouncing the beginning of the end of more than 20 years of Israeli occupation.

But the SLA command and its Israeli backers claim the militia remains strong in other areas and can still fight.

It's been amid continuing shell fire that Israel's plans for an orderly withdraw from South Lebanon might have stumbled. Groups of Lebanese on the heels of Hezbollah sweep into territory that's long been denied them. Discarded weapons and ammunition from the SLA are carried away.

Lebanese civilians peek out of an abandoned bunker. Scenes of unrestrained joy and relief.

But as territory changed hands, the Lebanese suffered casualties, their dead and wounded raising the specter of possible cross-border attacks into Israel if Hezbollah chooses to retaliate.

(on camera): Israel's long occupation in the south of this country may be drawing to a rapid close, but by withdrawing its troops outside the scope of any Israeli peace deal with Lebanon or Syria, the outcome, it's feared by some independent military observers, may make the border area even more unstable then it already is.

Brent Sadler, CNN, Beirut.


JORDAN: For centuries, we've sought various ways to heal the human body. For most people, conventional or allopathic medicine is the health care of choice. But there are alternatives. In fact, "alternative medicine" is the term often used to describe those medical practices which are not known or accepted by conventional doctors. These practices can include non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical techniques like medical herbalism, acupuncture and many others, one of which is aromatherapy -- a practice that uses essential oils to treat illness.

Although some may think aromatherapy sounds like New Age nonsense, as Holly Firfer explains, it's a practice that's been around for ages.


HOLLY FIRFER, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Among the tombs and pyramids of ancient Egypt, anthropologists have found evidence of the earliest traces of aromatherapy. As early as 7000 B.C, scientists believe gums and resins were burned for incense. In 3000 B.C., the Egyptians used fragrance for embalming. Six-hundred years ago, spice trades from Europe to India continued to spread perfumes throughout the world and the centuries. Today. aromatherapy is a multimillion dollar industry. Specialty stores and mainstream malls sell anything from candles to incense and oils. But many ask, is it a waste of money, or can it really work to change your mood and help you heal?

HIRSCH: The quickest way to induce a change in mood state, quicker than with any other sensual modality, is with smell.

FIRFER: Dr. Alan Hirsch and his colleagues have studied aromatherapy for 15 years. They have found different odors that, they say, can actually change your mood and behavior.

DR. CHARLES WYSOCKI, MONELL CHEMICAL SENSE CENTER: For instance, we found mixed floral smell enhances speed of learning, green apple tend to reduce migraine headaches, lavender tends to induce relaxation, as does vanilla. There are other sorts of physiological changes that one can measure -- blood pressure, for example, heart rate, body temperature. These sorts of things are all correlates of changes in mood and emotion.

FIRFER: The olfactory senses are in the part of the brain called the limbic system, where emotions and memory lie. This can cause a Pavlovian conditioned response: When you smell something familiar, it can bring back emotions from that time.

Hirsch studied 989 people from 45 states and found certain smells made people happy.

HIRSCH: If you grew up on the East Coast, the smell of flowers made people nostalgic for their childhood. In the South, it was the smell of fresh air. In the Midwest, it was the smell of farm animals. And on the West Coast, it was the smell of meat cooking or meat barbecuing.

FIRFER (on camera): The human body can detect anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 different odors. Some smells are so subtle, you don't even realize you're smelling them. So experts' message to consumers is that it may not matter how strong or subtle the scent, and the size and cost of the product may not be important factors in getting the desired effect.

Holly Firfer, CNN, Atlanta.


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 plans. 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. BAKHTIAR: OK, well, we just told you about aromatherapy. Now, in "Worldview," you'll learn about other ways to chill out and fight stress. That story takes us to Sweden. So kick back and relax as we head to Europe. We'll also visit North America and the United States for a report on Africa's impact and influence on New York City. And we'll journey to Russia where it's getting tougher for orphans and other youngsters to find new homes.

JORDAN: We begin in Eastern Europe with Russia, the world's largest country. It covers a major part of both the European and Asian continents. This tremendous land mass stretches from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea, and from the Baltic Sea all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Russia was the biggest republic of the Soviet Union until 1991, the year the Iron Curtain fell. Since that time, Russia has established a democratic system of government with a president, a prime minister and a parliament.

But progress has been slow and Russia's economy has struggled since the breakup of the Soviet Union. As it becomes harder for Russian families to take care of themselves, the number of children put up for adoption has skyrocketed.

But as Steve Harrigan reports, the outlook for these children is bleak.


STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Misha (ph) was born with syphilis. That's why, the nurses say, no Russian family will adopt him. Skin color has kept Vadim (ph) inside his Moscow orphanage.

DR. ADELE TSARAPKINA, MOSCOW ORPHANAGE 10 (through translator): We've offered him to a lot of Russian families, but they have all refused. They say he looks like an Indian.

HARRIGAN: For two years, an American family has been trying to adopt Vadim, but after a new law that restricts adoption agencies, it may never happen. The law is aimed at corrupt middlemen in the adoption process.

(on camera): From now on, only accredited agencies can represent adoptive parents. The problem is, there are no accredited agencies, and it may take as long as a year for the first one to win accreditation.

(voice-over): That leaves some adoptive parents and children in limbo.

DR. NATASHA SAHINIAN-NEEDHAM, HAPPY FAMILIES INTERNATIONAL: They're scared. They're scared that something could ruin their adoption, that they will not be able to come home with their baby, with their child.

HARRIGAN: Sloan and Deborah Gunter just beat the deadline. Without an agency, they say, it would have been impossible. SLOAN GUNTER, ADOPTIVE PARENT: All the legal hoops you have to jump through to adopt a baby, you couldn't do it by yourself, you couldn't figure it out on your own. It would be like me trying to, what? I mean, I don't. It would be like me trying to figure out the legal system in Russia. I mean, where do I begin?

HARRIGAN: More than half a million children are wards of the Russian state, a number that has grown each year since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This woman gave up her 6-month-old son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There was no way out. I had nothing to feed the child.

HARRIGAN: Conditions at regional orphanages are bleak. Children here in Novgorod don't go outside because they have no shoes. Lunch is bread soup. But adoption by Westerners has become a sensitive political issue, opposed by Russian nationalists.

BORIS ALTSHULER, RUSSIA CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: Political opponents of the foreign adoption consider West and Western adoptive parents and all the West as an enemy.

HARRIGAN: Max Gunter may be one of the last Russian orphans to leave the country this year. He's heading for a new life in Houston, Texas.

Steve Harrigan, CNN, Moscow.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: New York is the largest city in the United States and one of the largest cities in the world. The Big Apple, as it's called, has a population of about 7 1/2 million people. during the 1800s and early 1900s, millions of immigrants seeking a better life poured into New York. For them, the Statue of Liberty, which was erected in New York Harbor in 1886, became the symbol of freedom and opportunity. This was powerfully expressed in the poem "The New Collosum," inscribed on a wall in the monument. The poem reads, in part: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

New York is known as a melting pot, and one key group in the cultural mix is the African community.

Maria Hinojosa has a profile.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From African dance classes to the coronation of kings and queens in the Bronx to traditional businesses based in Harlem, Africa is very much alive in New York.

Africans made up 5 percent of all legal immigrants to the city in 1996. Advocates say there may be as many as 350,000 citywide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York City is the best.

HINOJOSA: There may be a cultural explosion and some success stories, but grassroots activists say many African immigrants aren't thriving.

TANDIA BAKARI, AFRICAN SERVICES COMMITTEE: I don't consider the individual achievement as an achievement if your community is down.

HINOJOSA: The neediest often end up here at the African Services Committee.

BAKARI: When people -- people who come here for help, they are completely disoriented. If you don't speak the language, you are almost nonexistent.

HINOJOSA: While in the city they're often seen in public as street peddlers, Kim Nichols, who has worked at the committee for 16 years, says Africans remain an invisible community, especially for many white New Yorkers.

KIM NICHOLS, AFRICAN SERVICES COMMITTEE: The relationship between the white community and the African community has primarily been between white law enforcement and African immigrants who are here peddling illegally on the street, for example.

HINOJOSA: And while New York has afforded Africans the opportunity to come together -- Kenyans living with Gambians, Guineans working alongside Senegalese -- others worry that their insularity could pose a problem.

MAMADOU NYGANG, SENEGALESE JOURNALIST: I am bothered by the fact that they don't move very quickly in the ladder of American society. And you can only do that if you can succeed integration.

HINOJOSA: But integration with African Americans has not always come easily.

NYGANG: I am concerned that the ties are not that strong, that they can understand that they can deal mutually.

HINOJOSA: African immigration to New York City has nearly tripled in the past two decades, but experts say it may only be the next generation that can realize the American dream.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, New York.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Apparently, not everything is what it seems in Sweden. This peaceful country in northern Europe is a tourist's paradise -- quaint villages, historic castles, stunning vistas. But amid this serenity, something sinister is brewing, not among the tourists, but among the 9 million people who live there. See, Sweden is also one of the most high-tech nations on Earth. With all their computers, it seems many workers there are downloading more than their share of stress.

Christian Mahne reports.


DR. ALEXSANDER PERSKI, KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE: It starts usually with small problems with sleep, with small changes in the body, small infections, problems with stomach, problems with skin.

CHRISTIAN MAHNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sounds nasty, doesn't it? But this is no exotic disease. It's Sweden's latest illness: Internet stress. In the first four days it was open, Dr. Alex Perski's stress clinic received 180 calls. They got so busy they had to refuse new patients for six months. And the reason? Sweden's burgeoning IT sector.

PERSKI: They can work without any limits. They have a job which can run 24 hours a day. Then They can forget they have homes and families and their bodies to take care of.

MAHNE: The clinic takes you far away from the cyber rat race. There's lots of relaxation, a bit of acupuncture, but mainly the chance to let off steam. With technology use in Sweden amongst the highest in the world, avoiding its side effects has become a decidedly low-tech affair.

SODERSTEN: I like to dance tango. And it's sort of -- it's something so very much different from anything that has to do with computers. It is very relaxing.

MAHNE: So if you don't want to meet your Waterloo in front of a PC, remember to unwind after you've unplugged.

Christian Mahne, CNN Financial News, London.


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

JORDAN: Tuesdays on NEWSROOM mean hitting the U.S. campaign trail. The holy grail of presidential campaigns is, of course, election day in November, but a close second is a party convention. A convention affirms party support, and it also formalizes a political party, which, by the way, is not even provided for in the U.S. Constitution.

I recently sat down with young delegates to this summer's conventions. We'll get their thoughts coming up. First, some background.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (voice-over): In the early 19th century, in the days of the "King Caucus," U.S. presidential nominees were chosen by top party leaders. The national convention system sprung out of a desire to open that process. The Anti-Masonic Party had the first party convention in September of 1831. Delegates from 13 states participated. The National Republican or Whig Party followed suit in December, and the next May the Democrats met in a convention to nominate Andrew Jackson.

While early nominating conventions were open and deliberative, they are largely seen today as choreographed and media-savvy pep rallies that validate the choice of voters. By the end of World War II, conventions were losing control over the nomination process. In 1952, there was a convention battle between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Senator Robert Taft. The battle was decided in primaries.

Now conventions are rubber stamps. Attempts to reintroduce debate into conventions have failed in recent years. Ronald Reagan tried in the 1976 presidential election campaign to establish a rule that would allow running-mates to be picked before a convention, allowing room for convention debate and a shift in allegiance. He struck out.

Conventions also set an agenda for fall debate with their platforms. Platforms are statements of party principles on the issues. They are the official party positions.

Democratic platforms set the tone for popular dialogue in 1952 during the Korean War. In earlier conventions, it was common for delegates to make up their minds about which candidate to nominate once they got to the convention.

STEPHANIE STUCKEY (D), GEORGIA STATE HOUSE: The voters would send the delegates and trust their judgment as a trustee. And nowadays, you are elected as a delegate. And once you are elected as a delegate for a specific candidate, you really have no choice who you're going to cast your ballot for.

JORDAN: The number of delegates has shot up over the years. Delegates today are chosen by direct popular vote by party members. Georgia state representative and former Democratic delegate Stephanie Stuckey is suing to change the Democratic Party's delegate selection process; one that mandates an equal representation of men and women.

STUCKEY: And I think it's fundamentally unfair for a person who didn't go to the caucus, who didn't campaign, who didn't make speeches, who didn't politic to earn the right to go to the convention, is now essentially getting a free ride to the convention.

JORDAN: Both parties afford a selection process that allows young voters to go. Twenty-year-old Mara Gassmann will represent her district at the Democratic Convention in August.

MARA GASSMANN, AGE 20: There's an extra burden on me to prove myself because I am young, to show that I can do this, that I can represent myself and my district well. JORDAN: Her advice for participation: care about something. One of her Republican counterparts will be at his party's convention. For 21-year-old Paul Bennecke, his participation is only logical.

PAUL BENNECKE, AGE 21: You poll young people and they say 80 percent of them feel they're not going to have Social Security when it's time to retire. So these are issues that are going to affect me one day, so I take it as an investment for my future.

JORDAN: The delegate selection process is not the only convention contrast between Democrats and Republicans.

ROBERT DRAKE, KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY: The most obvious difference is that the Democratic Party has about twice the number of delegates that go to a convention as the Republican Party.

JORDAN: But why does it matter the number of delegates if we know who they're going to vote for? Policy making and symbolism.

BENNECKE: We're able to form more committees and be more productive with a smaller amount.

GASSMANN: The more people that are involved in the process, that become involved in the Democratic Party and feel that they are a part of it and that they are making decisions, I think that positively impacts the effect that the Democrats have on all people.

JORDAN: As important as the number of delegates, the venue. Chicago has hosted 25 conventions, the most of any city. The Democrats chose it in 1996. President Richard Nixon chose Miami in 1972, since it was less likely to attract anti-war protesters.

Republicans in 1984 portrayed the Democratic choice of San Francisco as a radical and un-American spectacle. In 2000, they still find reason to pick.

CADE JOINER, AGE 21: The Republicans will have their convention first in the beginning of August, and we've chosen Philadelphia, the city of freedom. The Democrats, on the other hand, have chosen Hollywood, the land of glitz and glimmer.

JORDAN: Democrats don't see it that way. They take pride in the progressive spirit of Los Angeles and the large number of electoral votes it will cast.


JORDAN: And we'll leave you with some dates for this year's party conventions. As you just heard, Republicans are meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this year. They'll converge there for four days: July 31 through August 3. Democrats will meet in Los Angeles, California from August 14 to August 17.

BAKHTIAR: And, of course, NEWSROOM will cover those conventions. But for now, we're out of here. Have a great Tuesday.

JORDAN: We'll see you. Bye.



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