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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for July 20, 2000

Aired July 20, 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.

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

What's inside your food is topping today's news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE SILVERGLADE, CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Companies are adding illegal ingredients to soft drinks, snack foods, even breakfast cereals, and then making misleading health claims to consumers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: Hold onto your hat. Things are about to get a little scaly in today's "Science Desk."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If snakes give you the shakes, if you roll your eyes at the mere mention of lizards, maybe this exhibit will make you feel less cold-blooded toward reptiles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: From things that crawl to businesses that move at the speed of light, "Worldview" goes cyber-crazy in Hong Kong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA BARRON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An IT street, Internet labs, even apartment blocks, all part of Hong Kong's planned technology park, Cyber Port.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: Finally, we meet young people reaching out to those in need.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE MATTHEWS, PRINCIPAL, MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL: Every one of them comes back incredibly different. They come back -- they're very enthusiastic when they go and they come back touched like that, like something great has happened to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: In today's top story, the controversy surrounding herbal supplements: health or hazard? Here in the United States, shelves are full of them: a memory elixir, iced tea promising to boost brain power, snack chips claiming to contain an effective antibiotic, ginkgo, echinacea, kava, all part of an herbal supplement fad that's increasingly popular.

An herb is a plant or a plant part valued for its medicinal, savory or aromatic qualities. The problem is, in the U.S., herbal remedies are not regulated in the same way medications are regulated. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, herbal remedies are classified as dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. Because of that, the FDA doesn't regulate these substances, nor evaluate their safety or effectiveness.

Now, as Linda Ciampa tells us, an advocacy group wants something done about foods that purport to contain herbal medicines with unsubstantiated health claims.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LINDA CIAMPA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You've seen them in grocery stores: herbal foods that are supposed to make you smarter, less stressed, more energetic -- just plain better. But a consumer group says some of those so-called "functional foods" should not be on the market. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed complaints with the Food and Drug Administration.

SILVERGLADE: Companies are adding illegal ingredients to soft drinks, snack foods, even breakfast cereals, and then making misleading health claims to consumers.

CIAMPA: The FDA allows companies to add ingredients to foods that have been proven faith: for example, calcium to juice. But the agency says herbal supplements don't fall into that category. A leading herbal expert says herbs are drugs and should be used in proper dosages at the right times.

VARRO TYLER, HERBAL EXPERT: Indiscriminate use must be avoided if benefit, not harm, is to be obtained from them. For this reason, we do not add Viagra to soup, we do not spray Prozac on corn chips.

CIAMPA: And Tyler points out herbs can have side effects. Just last May, a San Francisco man was arrested for driving under the influence after ingesting eight cups of kava tea, which is known for its calming effects.

Another concern: interactions with prescription drugs: A study by the National Institutes of Health shows St. John's Wort drastically cuts the effectiveness of a protease inhibitor used to treat HIV patients. And it's believed St. John's Wort may decrease the effectiveness of several other medications, including birth control pills.

(on camera): The FDA says it plans to review the consumer group's complaints, and the agency says it will continue to investigate on a case-by-case basis any complaints that are brought to its attention about functional foods.

Linda Ciampa, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: In the headlines, the Middle East peace talks at Camp David, Maryland have ended without a deal. The summit, hosted by U.S. President Clinton, broke down after nine days of grueling talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

President Clinton had pushed back a scheduled trip to the G-8 summit in Japan by one day in the hopes of striking a last-minute accord yesterday, but sources say negotiators were unable to break their deadlock over Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Sultans, kings, priests and presidents have come and gone, yet the holy city of Jerusalem remains. And unresolved through its tumultuous history, the question of which secular or religious authority should wield control, a question that, walking in the footsteps of others through the ages, those at Camp David have until now failed to resolve.

MERON BENVENISTI, HISTORIAN: The problem is that Jerusalem is a symbol. Once you try to define that symbol in concrete terms, you are lost.

HANNA: To the city's Israeli mayor, Jerusalem lies at the very heart of the Jewish soul. The maps, he insists, cannot be redrawn. Israeli sovereignty over an undivided capital cannot be questioned.

EHUD OHMERT, MAYOR OF JERUSALEM: There is nothing more important for any Jew any place in the world than protecting this city. This is the life-long dream of the Jewish people.

HANNA: But for Muslims and Christians, too, Jerusalem is a central pillar of their faith, and Palestinians are adamant that the capital of their state should be in the east part of the city captured by Israel in 1967.

HANNAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN SPOKESWOMAN: Israel's exercise of sovereignty over Jerusalem, whether West or East, is not recognized by the world. Now, if we want to change the status, then we have to come to an agreement that the whole city of Jerusalem, as an open city, a full city, would embody peace, would represent the principle of sharing, and therefore West Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel, East Jerusalem would be the capital of the Palestinians.

HANNA: It's a position that has not changed since the signing of the Oslo accords seven years ago. At the very beginning of the negotiation process, Palestinians making clear that on the issue of the capital there could be no compromise.

And the best intentions of those attempting to resolve the status of Jerusalem have crumbled against its holy walls.

(on camera): Ultimately, it appears a dispute over Jerusalem is not only about borders and boundaries, it's a matter of symbol, of principle rooted so deeply in faith that human demarcation may not be possible.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

WALCOTT: Are you squeamish when it comes to snakes? Do you lose it over lizards? If so, get a grip, because our "Science Desk" spotlights reptiles.

A reptile is a cold-blooded, crawling vertebrate such as a snake, lizard or turtle. But don't get shell shocked if you're afraid of these creatures. Our story is more mock turtle than real.

As Jeanne Moos tells us, a New York museum is trying to give some class to a class of creatures that's much maligned.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MOOS (voice-over): If snakes give you the shakes, if you roll your eyes at the mere mention of lizards, maybe this exhibit will make you feel less cold-blooded toward reptiles.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Why would you like something that eats you?

MOOS: Reptiles have always gotten a bad rap. Who can forget "Godzilla." And as the special effects got better, reptiles got scarier. From the crocodile in "Lake Placid" to the snake in "Anaconda," people get squeezed, devoured, and even spit out. No wonder kids stick out their tongues when they come face-to-face with this gigantic rattle snake.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: How many people can they swallow?

MOOS: No wonder kids are a little jumpy. So jumpy, it's child's play to sneak up on a kid.

(on camera): Just kidding.

(voice-over): Here at the New York Hall of Science, the latest stars are larger-than-life robotic reptiles. The snapping turtle is enough to give a real snapper an inferiority complex. Among the robotic reptiles, only the Nile crocodile is actually life size. The mom is carrying her babies, not eating them.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I saw that it was not real and I was so happy.

MOOS: At the exhibit's preview, an expert who calls himself "Reptile Pete" passed around a harmless pine snake.

"REPTILE PETE," GUIDE, NEW YORK HALL OF SCIENCE: He thinks you're a pine tree.

MOOS: As for the diamondback rattlesnake, a real one measures six feet at most. This rubberized version is almost 40 feet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think you appreciate the anatomy when you look at it that way.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I don't like that snake.

MOOS: But how could you not like this wormy-looking appendage on the alligator snapping turtle's tongue? It acts as bait. The turtle rests underwater with its jaws open.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then when the fish goes to eat the worm, the turtle eats the fish.

MOOS: The turtle also burps. And he wasn't the only one who snaps.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Well, all I want to say is that reptiles really freak me out.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Our look at science news continues as we focus on the record heat in parts of the United States. For the past week, temperatures across the South have been far from normal. Here in Georgia, that intense heat has drained water supplies, forcing many cities to impose restrictions on water usage.

Charles Zewe reports on how some Texas residents are getting relief, and whether the end of this heat wave is near.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dallas city workers are delivering air conditioners free of charge to residents whose homes roasted for an eighth straight day in triple-digit temperatures. In Texas alone, at least 19 people, many of them elderly, have died so far as a result of the heat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dallas Heat Wave.

ZEWE: Calls for help have skyrocketed from residents afraid to run their air conditioners because they fear high utility bills. Health officials say most states have grants available to help people pay for cooling.

BETTY CULBREATH-LISTER, DALLAS HEALTH & HUMAN SERV.: All they need to do is just let us know. And they don't have to be too proud to ask for some help.

ZEWE: In Alabama, where temperatures have been above 100 for a record two weeks, Red Cross workers are going door-to-door to check on the elderly. All 67 of the state's counties have been declared disaster areas because of the drought and heat wave. With dwindling water supplies, cattle farmers without enough hay to feed livestock for more than three weeks are selling their herds.

Relief, however small, may be on the way by this weekend, though.

(on camera): Forecasters say the temperature, instead of hovering near the century mark, could drop to the 95 to 97 degree range. That's still plenty hot, but normal for Texas in summer.

(voice-over): Temperatures across Texas and much of the South are expected to simmer near 100 through the end of August.

Charles Zewe, CNN, Dallas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: "Worldview" take us continent-hopping, from Africa to Asia and North America. We'll meet a young cyber leader in China making his mark in a high-tech world. In Hong Kong, more tech news as Internet companies sign up for a new cyber port. In the United States, summer vacation takes on a new meaning at one South Carolina school. And onto Africa, where drought is taking a devastating toll.

First, a highlight from history.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: We take a look at UNICEF, a nickname for the U.N. agency officially called the United Nations children's Fund. UNICEF was originally designated as an emergency measure to aid Chinese and European children after World War II. On this date in history, July 20, 1953, UNICEF was granted permanent status as a U.N. agency. It has since provided health care, nutrition, water supply and other services to more than 100 countries in need.

One area getting that help today, the Horn of East Africa. Here, the worst drought in years is hindering access to food and water. Women and children are the hardest hit, but aid workers are making progress.

Richard Blystone tells us how UNICEF is stepping in and helping out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the driest year in a decade for many parts of the Horn of East Africa. Already, the warning signs of approaching famine made worse by the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. CAROL BELLAMY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNICEF: Most of the violence in the world today, whether it's war or banditry, affects civilians. It doesn't affect military anymore. It falls on women, it falls on children.

BLYSTONE: Fifteen million people at risk, hundreds of thousands already on the move.

BELLAMY: And are these all your children?

BLYSTONE: UNICEF head Carol Bellamy has been seeing for herself.

BELLAMY: What happens is that the men generally go with whatever livestock is left and the women and children walk for miles and miles and miles looking for food, because there are food distribution centers.

BLYSTONE: The international aid infrastructure is much better and more widespread than it was during the famines of a decade ago, but the framework is only a framework.

BELLAMY: There's pretty good food distribution starting, but that's going to have to go on. There needs to be more in the way of medicines and water interventions because that's really where the need is -- the non-food, at this point. But it's not going to be over tomorrow. That's the message that has to get out.

BLYSTONE: The U.N. has asked donor countries for $378 million for drought relief for the Horn of Africa. The usual summer rainy season has failed for several years here. But if the rains do come now, they could just make things worse by cutting off drought refugees from aid deliveries, and within weeks, likely touching off an explosion of malaria and cholera among people already weakened.

Richard Blystone, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: We turn now to the United States and one of its coastal southern states: South Carolina. South Carolina was one of the 13 original states to ratify the U.S. Constitution. It was also the first state to secede from the union in 1860 at the time of the Civil War.

We head today to Pawleys Island just off the coast. In early times, affluent plantation owners used to move their families to Pawleys Island to escape the summer heat of the cities. This summer, the island said good-bye to a tradition of teaching. School's out for summer -- indeed, forever, at one small schoolhouse.

Brian Cabell looks back at its final days.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 97 years, it survived and thrived under the huge live oak trees near the South Carolina coast.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: ... on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.

CABELL: Perhaps 2,000 African-American children, about 50 at a time, were educated here at the Holy Cross Faith Memorial School in one large room.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: ... with liberty and justice for all.

CABELL: Nothing fancy here: mostly the three Rs taught with heavy doses of care and discipline.

NORMAN DEAS, TEACHER: No, no, I don't want any numbers. I want you writing first.

CABELL: That's Mr. Deas there. He's one of the teachers, also an alumnus. The same with Mrs. Smith, and with the headmistress, Mrs. Wallace, 14 years on the job here.

CAROLYN WALLACE, HEADMISTRESS: Some of the kids that can't fit in the public school, they just don't fit in there, they come here and do well.

CABELL: She says most end up graduating high school; many go on to college.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perfect, P-E-R-F-E-C-T, perfect.

CABELL: They seem to learn here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is correct.

CABELL: But with the enrollment dwindling, the Episcopal Church, which owns the building, is closing the school. Money is scarce -- tuition only $350 a year -- and modern facilities are lacking. Officials simply believe the children could be better educated in a larger, public school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better talk so I can hear you.

CABELL: Mr. Deas disagrees.

DEAS: They're going to miss the love, that's for sure. I don't think that the public school could really give that. We give that here.

CABELL: At one time, the school taught grades K through 10. This last year, it was just K through 4. And this is the last year. Students are preparing to say goodbye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We, the class of 2000, are proud to be the last graduates from Holy Cross Faith Memorial School.

CABELL: Their speeches for graduation must be perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should be able to look back upon our yesterdays with pride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should strive to conduct ourselves that others will respect us and speak well of us.

CABELL: Yes, education was simple and old-fashioned here, but there are no apologies, just pride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As valedictorian of the class of 2000, I must say goodbye to this school. We cannot express our feelings, but we have a sense of fulfillment, of a job well-done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye.

CABELL: The end of a school year, the end of an era.

Brian Cabell, CNN, Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: These days, there are very few places you can go that haven't been touched by the World Wide Web. Hong Kong is no different. This special administrative region of China was a British colony up until July of 1997. At that time, the United Kingdom terminated its 99-year lease over Hong Kong and China started its "one country, two systems" policy. This makes it possible for Hong Kong to continue the free market economy that flourished under British rule while still working in the communist system.

One important part of that strong economy is the emergence of the Internet. And as Lisa Barron reports, there is about to be one more reason for high-tech types to feel at home in Hong Kong.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARRON (voice-over): An IT street, Internet labs, even apartment blocks, all part of Hong Kong's planned technology park, Cyber Port. Internet firm Pacific Century CyberWorks, which signed a partnership agreement with the government, says the project vaults Hong Kong ahead of its Asian neighbors.

ALEXANDER ARENA, GROUP MANAGING DIR., PACIFIC CENTURY CYBERWORKS: Over the last couple of years, you know, particularly since the Cyber Port was announced, the culture in Hong Kong has changed very much to becoming an online community. Now, when you talk about Hong Kong, aspirations of IT, people take it very seriously. And many of them will actually vote for Hong Kong before they vote for these other centers.

BARRON: For a start, 15 companies, including Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Yahoo!, have applied to become tenants. Another 150 local and overseas companies expressed interest in the 7,000-square-meter office space.

EDEN WOON, HONG KONG GENERAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: There's no doubt that having an aggregate of companies, including some big anchors here to foster the local entrepreneurs' interest and to have a pool of talent here attracted both from, you know, the third world and from the first world, I think that it would have a beneficial effect on Hong Kong.

BARRON: But not everyone in Hong Kong is a Cyber Port fan.

JAKE VAN DER KAMP, FINANCIAL ANALYST: The difficulty with this project is it misunderstands, completely misunderstands, the nature of technology development. The point is not to concentrate it in one small, out-of-the-way area in Hong Kong, it's to spread it as widely as possible right across the whole territory, with broadband services to everyone.

BARRON (on camera): There's also the fact the project was awarded to CyberWorks without going to open tender. The company maintains it never asked for special treatment and was the most qualified for the job. The test will be the final product, with the first phase due to be completed next year.

Lisa Barron, CNN Financial News, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And now for more high-tech adventures. The explosion of the Internet is relatively new in the communist country, but the interest is definitely there. Cyber cafes have been popping up across the country. The demand is growing faster than you can open your e-mail. So much so, that some of China's best and brightest who were living and working abroad are now returning to their homeland to be a part of the high-tech revolution.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hoi Shiao (ph), founder and CEO of eBay-modeled Eachnet.com, is busy making a conference call to his business partners on the other side of the world. While still a high school student in Shanghai, Shiao was China's national math champion to watch. He then became the first mainlander to receive a full scholarship from Harvard. After obtaining his MBA degree from the prestigious Harvard Business School, he made a shocking decision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the time, I faced two choices. One is to stay in the U.S., work for one of Boston's consulting groups or another investment bank or venture capital firm -- a pretty good life. On the other hand, going back to China actually presents more exciting opportunity to start my own business, to participate in the tremendous, you know, growth of the Internet space in China.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The business, Eachnet.com, founded in August last year, is modeled on eBay.com, through which he auctioned off his own belongings in Boston. On an average day, Eachnet handles about 800 transactions with a total value of $100,000 U.S. With those 240,000 regular users, it claims traffic is now doubling every month, and Shiao said he has gained better opportunity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One is the opportunity is large. Two, the timing is right. Three, I think I wanted to start my own business, and I feel that China gave me the unique opportunity, given my skill set, since I combine some of the U.S. training with a local understanding of China to start a business. And, you know, I think these three combined truly drew me back.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The rise of the Internet began several years ago in the U.S. In China, the boom is just starting. On average, 600 Web sites emerge in China every day, among which are those run by managers coming back from abroad, like Shiao's Eachnet.com. These talented young people bring back valuable Western knowledge and global experience. Combining this with their local understanding of the market, their businesses will surely accelerate in growth.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Have you ever been a volunteer? It's a concept I'm sure you've heard of: giving your time for free. Many community organizations around the world rely on volunteers. Whether it's feeding the hungry, sitting with sick babies or spending time with the infirm, volunteers are valuable and crucial members of society.

Greg LaMotte has the story of what some young people are giving and learning in return.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREG LAMOTTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): High school graduates Nathan Ziv and Nikki Rubin have traveled to places Megan Hearne, at least for now, can only dream about. Ziv and Rubin went to Kenya in 1997, but it was no vacation.

NIKKI RUBIN, OPERATION SMILE: You're exhausted. You come home and you eat and you go to sleep and start the day again. I mean, it is hard work.

LAMOTTE: Actually, it is volunteerism at its finest, and the two are now teaching people, like Megan Hearne, what they'll be doing when they get their chance.

NATHAN ZIV, OPERATION SMILE: We're going to show you guys what we would do on a mission when we're teaching about nutrition and malnutrition.

LAMOTTE: It's called Operation Smile: teams of surgeons traveling the world, operating for free on children born with cleft lips and palates, and burn victims.

ZIV: And right when you walk in, it blows your mind. I mean, you come into a room with hundreds and hundreds of people with facial deformities, kids, adults, and you have to deal with all of it at once, and it all just hits you.

LAMOTTE: While surgeons operate, the high school volunteers work with youngsters of the local communities teaching basic health care.

JULIE AMBROSIO, OPERATION SMILE: Dental care and hygiene, burn care and prevention, nutrition and oral rehydration therapy.

LAMOTTE: A plastic surgeon and his wife started Operation Smile in 1982. Today, it functions in 20 developing countries, and more than 2,000 high school students, mostly from the United States, volunteer through their local high schools. If chosen, their missions overseas last five to 10 days.

MATTHEWS: Everyone of them comes back incredibly different. They come back -- they're very enthusiastic when they go and they come back touched, like something great has happened to them.

LAMOTTE: Megan Hearne will be traveling to Thailand, and the Thai children will be better off because of her.

MEGAN HEARNE, OPERATION SMILE: There's something inside of me that just wants to help these children, you know, just give them like even the smallest part of my life if that would make them happier, you know; show them a smile, help them smile. It's like it -- there couldn't be a better feeling in the world.

LAMOTTE: Greg LaMotte, CNN, Malibu, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Quite something.

Well, that wraps up today's show. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Bye-bye.

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