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NEWSROOM for June 22, 2000Aired June 22, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: We're on track for a Thursday. On today's show, we'll blow out candles, pump some gas and ponder the upside of maggots -- all in a day's show. Let's get started.
What goes up must come down, right? Drivers in the United States hope so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROL BROWNER, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: What we need to see now is the prices for the consumers at the pumps to drop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN: "Science Desk" checks out why maggots have been getting a bad rap when they really can prove useful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DAVID JANSSEN, BIOMAGGOT.COM: It's less expensive and less painful and faster to clean a wound using maggots than it is almost any other technology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN: "Worldview" reexamines the Cuban exodus of 1980: the personal toll of the Mariel Boatlift.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANA MARIA RABEL: I lost 13 pounds in that trip. I was crying all the time and I felt sick. I felt not seasick, but just scared and upset.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN: "Chronicle" serves some birthday cake for the star of the House of Windsor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK SAUNDERS, BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHER: Already, the interest in William has reached a fever pitch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN: In today's news, we focus on what's driving the cost of gasoline in the United States. In some parts of the country, gas prices have risen more than 50 cents a gallon in just one month. Motorists in Chicago, for example, are paying more than $2.10 a gallon. And while that's not much compared to some other countries, it's still more than what Americans are used to paying.
What's driving gas prices so high so fast? Under pressure from the United States and other leading oil importers, OPEC ministers held a special meeting in Vienna, Austria yesterday and agreed to increase oil production. Some OPEC members, however, say high gas prices in the U.S. are not their problem. They say the problem is with taxes.
OPEC is an organization of 11 oil-producing and exporting countries. These nations supply more than 40 percent of the world's oil. OPEC is an abbreviation for the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries. Its mission is to govern oil production policies of member nations and provide them with economic and technical aid.
We begin our coverage with Tom Mintier in Austria.
TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It could be called the numbers game, an increase of 3 percent, 700,000 more barrels of oil each day, a target of $25 U.S. for each barrel. But OPEC oil ministers meeting in Vienna predicted even more oil might be available.
RILWANU LUKMAN, OPEC SECRETARY GENERAL: Without trying to be too precise, I would explain to the media, at the end of the day, you might have one million barrels, plus or minus.
MINTIER: The increase in oil production was far less than some countries like the United States might have liked, but more than many OPEC producers wanted to offer. Inside this room, some might be asking themselves: How much is enough? How many barrels, and at what price?
LT. GEN. SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO, INDONESIAN OIL MINISTER: Twenty-five is a fair price.
MINTIER: The organization also called on consumer nations to reduce taxes on oil products, pointing out that in Western Europe nearly 70 percent of the cost of each gallon of gasoline goes to governments in taxes.
LUKMAN: What we're saying is instead of passing the buck and making OPEC the scapegoat for high petroleum product prices in some of these countries, I think the citizens of those countries should be aware of the fact that it is not OPEC that is solely responsible for high prices of products. MINTIER: The new output quotas go into effect on July 1. Combined with non-OPEC increases, there could be more than 1 million barrels of new oil coming to market at the peak of the summer season.
(on camera): It is summer when demand is the highest. Family vacations require plenty of fill-ups. But just behind are fall and winter, traditionally times of high demand for heating oil. "Fill-'er- up" could become "keep me warm" at a price that may make people very uncomfortable.
Tom Mintier, CNN, Vienna.
JORDAN: While OPEC members in Vienna voted to produce more oil, the rising price of gas around the United States is producing angry motorists. How are gas prices determined? Let's break it down.
On average, for each gallon of gas, consumers pay 43 percent toward the price of oil, which, as we told you, is set by OPEC. Taxes account for roughly 28 percent, and the rest goes to things like distribution costs and profits.
Whatever the breakdown, drivers want a break on gas prices, and they're looking to their members of Congress for answers.
Kathleen Koch reports.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It would seem to be reason to rejoice: OPEC agreeing to pump more oil.
BILL RICHARDSON, ENERGY SECRETARY: This can only be a positive step. Hopefully it will mean decreases in gasoline prices, but that's not certain.
KOCH: A new cautiousness because the March OPEC production increase never led to lower pump prices. On Capitol Hill, midwestern lawmakers could not get oil executives to explain to their satisfaction why gas prices in the Midwest remain the highest in the nation.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: Spot prices or wholesale prices are falling, how come we don't see them, you know, at the retail stores? That's a good question.
KOCH: Also in vain, efforts to get the EPA to temporarily lift the requirement that midwestern states use a more expensive but cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline. The EPA insists clean air rules are not the problem.
BROWNER: You know what I think? I think there's some very poor management going on and I think that there's some unfair treatment of consumers. And what we need to see now is the prices for the consumers at the pumps to drop. KOCH: The Federal Trade Commission has launched a formal inquiry into possible illegal price gouging by oil companies. The industry denies any wrongdoing.
RED CAVANEY, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: The claims that anti- competitive behavior has contributed to recent gasoline price increases nationally and in the Midwest are without any factual basis.
KOCH: Pressure to ease pain at the pump is so intense, presidential candidates are weighing in.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The major reason why gasoline prices are up is because of the price of crude, and we have no domestic energy policy.
VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am deeply concerned about the conduct of the oil companies which may have led to these unreasonable price hikes.
KOCH: One expert says Gore's interest is self-preservation.
LLEWELLYN KING, "ENERGY DAILY": Because of oil prices we have inflationary pressure, which means the Fed puts up interest rates, which slows down the economy. These are not the things that you want when you're vice president running for president.
KOCH (on camera): Despite all the posturing, all the meetings, experts doubt any of the actions under discussion will significantly cut prices at the pump this summer.
Kathleen Koch, for CNN, Washington.
JORDAN: Well, have you ever seen a movie or read a book where a doctor used leeches as a tool to draw blood from a patient with an infection? Well, if you have, you either thought it was really cool or really gross. But in the Middle Ages, leeches and maggots were medical saviors used to curb infections.
Human skin, the body's largest organ, is also its greatest barrier of protection, keeping out harmful bacteria and germs. When that barrier is broken, we become open to infection. Skin infections can lead to a more dangerous condition called gangrene, which is the decay or death of tissue because of a loss of blood supply. In the most serious cases, doctors may amputate infected limbs to prevent gangrene from spreading, which brings us back to our fat and slimy friends.
In an example of what's old is new again, doctors in the 21st century are taking a cue from their medieval counterparts, using maggots to aid in the healing process.
Mary Pflum explains.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LOST BOYS")
KIEFER SUTHERLAND, ACTOR: Maggots, Michael, you're eating maggots. How do they taste?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARY PFLUM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maggots have what you might call a public relations problem, thanks in large part to films like "The Lost Boys." But Dr. David Janssen of Oshkosh, Wisconsin is out to change that.
JANSSEN: It's less expensive and less painful and faster to clean a wound using maggots than it is almost any other technology. The beauty of the maggots is that they not only will clean it, but they'll clean it without sacrificing any of the normal tissue.
PFLUM: Not just any maggots, Janssen is talking about sterilized blue bottleneck blowfly maggots, the kind he and maggot expert Eric Nigel (ph) raise and sell via the Internet at BioMaggot.com.
(on camera): It's the only Web site of its kind in the U.S. For just $79.95, plus shipping and handling, interested consumers can have up to 1,000 maggots on their doorsteps within 24 hours of placing their online or telephone orders.
(voice-over): But don't try this at home. Medical approval is required to place an order. Maggots are typically applied to difficult-to-heal flesh wounds, ulcers and burns with the use of tweezers and gauze and removed five days later. During those days, they feed on dead flesh and excrete enzymes that actually work to heal the wound.
JANSSEN: Then 2 to 3 percent of the patients that we've used this on describe that it can feel what we refer to as a "wormian" kind of sensation or feeling.
PFLUM: Clarence Semrow had maggots applied to an open sore on his foot. Within five days, his wound was clean.
CLARENCE SEMROW, MAGGOT PATIENT: Well, it's got to heal sometime.
MAVIS SEMROW, WIFE OF MAGGOT PATIENT: Different people ask me: You aren't sleeping with him, are you? I said, oh, yes, I am.
PFLUM (on camera): With him and the maggots.
M. SEMROW: Him and the maggots.
PFLUM (voice-over): Janssen readily acknowledges maggot therapy isn't for everyone. But for the not-so-faint of heart, this ancient healing technique is grossing big rewards.
Mary Pflum, CNN, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
JORDAN: In today's "Science Desk" extra, a closer look at the fourth planet from the sun. It's Mars. Mars is the only planet whose surface can be seen in detail from Earth. And its surface is more like Earth's than any other planet, but the plants and animals of Earth couldn't live on Mars. The red planet is just too cold. Its surface temperature rarely rises above freezing.
Still, scientists suspect Mars could have once been home to living creatures -- a theory supported by a recent discovery.
Miles O'Brien explains.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Follow the water. Scientists looking to unlock the mystery of life on Mars feel that is the path to, perhaps, living proof. And now they may be one step closer.
A camera mounted on a NASA satellite in Mars orbit, the Mars Global Surveyor, snapped the intriguing pictures. Researchers say they show very recent signs of flowing water at several locations all over the surface of the Red Planet.
This is by no means the first time water has been spotted on Mars. The Martian North Pole is covered with a one-mile-thick blanket of ice. And scientists agree the planet is laced with river beds that have been dry for at least a billion years. The fresh Global Surveyor images are significant because they show signs water may have recently reached the surface, perhaps only days before they were taken.
Scientists are thrilled at the prospects because, at least on Earth, wherever there is liquid water there is life.
(on camera): The doomed Mars Polar Lander was on that same trail. It was to scoop up and analyze ice crystals just beneath the surface of the South Pole. NASA's efforts to regroup in the wake of that failure last year include several proposals which amount to sending a battery of robotic divining rods to Mars in years to come. The new images from the Global Surveyor will make that remote- controlled hunt a lot more precise.
Miles O'Brien, CNN, at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.
JORDAN: In "Worldview," we head to Cuba. Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492, and Spanish soldiers and priests arrived in 1511. Today we look at more people arriving and leaving. We focus on Cuban refugees and Cuban immigrants. And we peek at Cuban culture, too. TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: The history of Cuban-American relations is stormy at best. Ever since communist dictator Fidel Castro took over the Caribbean nation in 1959, the two nations have been full of suspicion and mistrust for each other.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the darker chapters in that relationship. Tens of thousands of Cuban refugees were pouring into the U.S. during the so-called "Mariel Boatlift." President Jimmy Carter accepted them in a move unpopular with many Americans. The refugees put particular strain on the city of Miami, where many headed even though they had no place to stay.
Although rejected at first, many came to fulfill their dream of a better life in the U.S.
Brian Cabell has one woman's story.
BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started in April of 1980 and didn't officially end until September of that year: a flood of humanity, 125,000 Cubans on 2,000 different boats bound from the port of Mariel to another country, a new life. Some came directly from Cuba's jails; far more were simply Cubans hoping for a brighter future. In any case, Fidel Castro wanted them out.
When they arrived in Key West after hours on the ocean, there was relief, there was excitement, but also anxiety. Where would they go? What would they do?
Ana Maria Rabel, a restaurateur in Coral Gables, remembers well crossing the Florida Straits. She was 17 at the time, in love with a boyfriend she had to leave behind. Her father, a political prisoner, had died in jail five years before. Her mother gathered the rest of the family together and took to the sea.
RABEL: I lost 13 pounds in that trip. I was crying all the time. I felt sick. I felt not seasick, but just scared and upset.
CABELL: She wasn't alone. She, like most of the others, had only the clothes they were wearing, no other possessions as they arrived, stood in line and waited for American officials to tell them what to do next.
RABEL: You're one in a bunch of people that are not -- their welcoming -- they was welcoming, but afterwards, Marielitos were not welcome.
CABELL: They weren't welcome by some because many had nowhere to go. They crowded into unsightly, foul-smelling tent cities in Miami. Some contributed to a soaring crime rate in Dade County.
RABEL: We were, yuck, you know. You guys, you're here, you're ugly, you're poor, you drive old cars. Get away from us.
CABELL: But she, along with her family, persisted and fought the stigma of being a Marielita. She learned English, attended college, got married, raised three daughters, and now runs a nouveau Cuban cafe near Bebuena (ph).
No big profits here, but it's enough to keep her comfortable, and she's doing what she wants to do. That, after all, is precisely why her mother packed them all into a boat 20 years ago.
RABEL: I am very happy that I came and that my kids were born here and that there's, you know, there's things that we don't like but we can fix. Things can be changed.
CABELL: Things, she says, like the treatment of Elian Gonzalez, whose tragic life she's seen played out on TV screens. Ana Maria Rabel is a longtime American citizen now, not just a Marielita, and she's angry about what's happened to Elian and not afraid to talk about it.
RABEL: Forget about the exile feelings, Clinton administration. I don't care what is better for the future of the political relations. I pray for him -- for him as a little person.
CABELL: In a sense, she sees in him a little of herself 30 years ago, a little Cuban girl caught between two nations, two governments, with a world of uncertainty ahead of her.
Brian Cabell, CNN, Miami.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: For many decades, Cuba has been known as the nation that people want to get away from. The country is reputed for producing hundreds of thousands of refugees. But what a lot of people don't know is that Cuba receives its fair share of immigrants as well.
An immigrant is someone who goes to a new country with the goal of settling there. A refugee is someone who flees their home or country to seek refuge elsewhere.
Lucia Newman reports on the refugees who now call Cuba home.
LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The words "Cuba" and "refugees" often conjure images of people leaving the island nation. What many don't know is that for decades, people from many parts of the world have come to Cuba seeking refuge; people like these students from the western Sahara.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The people and government of Cuba have given us this opportunity to gain a profession since we are at war and have to seek refuge in Algeria, and there we can't study.
NEWMAN: Cuba currently gives asylum and aid to about 1,000 refugees, mainly from Africa. And it was to acknowledge the country's past and present efforts and seek further commitments that the United Nations high commissioner for refugees paid a first-ever visit to Cuba. Sadako Ogata praised the island's leadership for providing asylum for thousands of refugees, especially from Latin America, who, during the '70s and '80s, fled right-wing dictatorships.
But the high commissioner also came to urge Havana to sign a 1967 U.N. protocol on refugee status which defines and regulates the treatment nations give to asylum seekers. Cuba is the only country in the region that hasn't signed yet.
SADAKO OGATA, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: Not only would it better prepare Cuba for any future refugee influx that may occur, but it would also strengthen the universal system of refugee protection.
NEWMAN (on camera): The high commissioner says she did not discuss with President Fidel Castro the situation of Cubans who are seeking political asylum elsewhere. However, she did say that the Cuban leadership is now seriously considering signing the United Nations protocol on refugees.
Lucia Newman, CNN, Havana.
HAYNES: We have more from Cuba now as we turn to the world of art.
Lucia Newman returns to explain how dance is taking a new step in the Caribbean nation. Here she is once more on Cuban culture with a twist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWMAN (voice-over): Cuban dancers are well-known for their classic grace and form, streamlined and without a gram of extra fat. Enter a new group that's striving to expand the world of dance. It's called the Voluminous Dance Company, a company founded by someone with a dream.
JUAN CARLOS MAS, VOLUMINOUS DANCE COMPANY (through translator): I was born to dance, but since I was plump everyone would say to me, no, you don't belong here. So I got the idea of giving many people like me the opportunity of expressing themselves with their bodies through dance and on stage.
NEWMAN: Voluminous Dance began three years ago almost as an experiment, but is now gaining the respect and support of some of Cuba's best-known choreographers.
(on camera): The idea, they say, is not just to break down barriers and taboos, but to expose and promote the beauty of volume in dance, the same way that Botticceli, Reubens and Botero have done with their paintings.
(voice-over): Mr. Mas says a wider and softer body moves differently, more slowly, while insisting it has an esthetic value of its own.
Marlin Daza, who says she always wanted to be a classical ballerina but that her parents fed her too much, couldn't agree more.
MARLIN DAZA, VOLUMINOUS DANCER (through translator): This company was formed so that we could shed our complexes, so that people could see that we can have the same aptitudes as thin people.
NEWMAN: Valentin Figueredo, who's actually an opera singer, is motivated by something more.
VALENTIN FIGUEREDO, VOLUMINOUS DANCER (through translator): You try to do something that makes you feel clean, happy, good, and dancing makes me feel good.
NEWMAN: Soon, the general public will be able to judge for itself, when Voluminous Dance premiers its very first full-length production at one of Havana's best-known theaters.
Lucia Newman, CNN, Havana.
ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There'll you 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.
JORDAN: Well, anyone's 18th birthday is special, in many parts of the world as the symbolic beginning of adulthood. For the future king of England, it's more than special, it's an event.
Prince William turned the big 1-8 yesterday, but he was noticeably missing from a private Windsor Castle bash, the most eagerly anticipated royal event in years.
Margaret Lowrie tells us why.
MARGARET LOWRIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Prince William's big day, birthday cards and presents flooded in from around the world...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's an extremely popular young man, especially with the ladies.
LOWRIE: ... and his peers and the British public, who may not be as enthusiastic about their royal family as in the past, but can't seem to get enough of William. GERVASE WEBB, "EVENING STANDARD": He is so much in the spotlight. With Diana gone, he is the one royal with charisma, with looks, with youth. And he's the one that everyone's absolutely fascinated by. So for the foreseeable future, his life is going to be incredibly difficult.
LOWRIE: Incredibly difficult because much of the rest of it will be spent in the focus of a paparazzi lens.
SAUNDERS: I just hope common sense will prevail this time. But already, the interest in William has reached a fever pitch. I mean, really, I was surprised by how quick it went, he became this big.
LOWRIE: William already has a deep distrust of the media. Given his mother Diana's experience, some wonder how he'll handle the pressure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It obviously hurt her life quite a bit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he'd be happier doing his own thing.
LOWRIE: On this day, doing his own thing meant studying. Seen here in official video released last week, he stayed well out of the public eye Wednesday, missing the big birthday bash his grandmother the queen was hosting at Windsor Castle.
But there's no shortage of other regal milestones to celebrate: the queen mother's upcoming 100 birthday, Princess Margaret's 70th, Princess Ann's 50th, and Prince Andrew's 40th.
Camilla Parker-Bowles, stepping out with Prince Charles again on the eve of the party, was not on the queen's guest list, but Sarah Ferguson, "Fergie," Prince Andrew's ex, was, perhaps signaling a subtle shift by the queen to prevent further fractures in her family. All this has royals watchers positively atwitter, but the monarchy matters more to some than others.
TONY BENN, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: I think people are, at the moment, getting just to find they're less and less interesting.
LOWRIE: But for many, the House of Windsor is still simply the best show in town. And William, at 18, now gets star billing.
Margaret Lowrie, CNN, London.
JORDAN: Well, not many of us can say we spent our 18th birthday hitting the books. Happy birthday, William.
We'll see you back here tomorrow. Bye.
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