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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for August 17, 2000

Aired August 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 classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Welcome to NEWSROOM. I'm Shelley Walcott.

Topping our show, news about a prominent U.S. political figure. Former Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, has been diagnosed with malignant skin cancer. He's scheduled to go undergo more tests over the next two days. CNN will continue to watch this story. For now, here's the rest of our rundown.

Help is on the way as efforts continue to rescue Russian submariners trapped below the Barents Sea.

In other news, their convention continues and so do Democratic efforts to capture the swing vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got my ears wide open, trying to listen how they present themselves. I'm looking for somebody that will make me proud of the United States again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: In today's "Science Desk," we look at the power behind the power.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RANDY KIRKUS, GEORGIA POWER CO.: All we've got to do is make sure the system is connected in a way that we can let the power flow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: Coming up in "Worldview," the end of decades of separation for families on the Korean Peninsula.

Finally, we "Chronicle" political coverage on the World Wide Web. "

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAREN GEST, AGE 16: The Internet allows the kids to explore and allows the kids to get their voice out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: It's all systems go for day four of the Democratic National Convention. After two days of salutes to their past and present party leaders, last night, delegates focused on the future by pushing Vice President Al Gore over the top for the party's official presidential nomination.

Gore arrived in Los Angeles yesterday to prepare to accept that nomination. But his running mate, Senator Joe Lieberman, was the night's main attraction, when he gave his acceptance speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe the next frontier isn't just in front of us, but inside of us: to overcome the differences that are still between us; to break down the barriers that remain; and to help every American claim the possibilities of their our own God-given lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALCOTT: Tonight, Gore takes center stage to make his appeal to the American people.

Jeanne Meserve reports now on the Democratic duo, and one key group of voters the Gore-Lieberman ticket is courting.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not so long ago Democrats had the senior vote in their pocket. No longer. Seniors are now swing voters, very much up for grabs.

At the White Hall Senior Citizens Club, outside of Columbus, Ohio, not everyone has decided how to play their hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got my ears wide open trying to listen how they present themselves. I'm looking for somebody that will make me proud of the United States again.

GEOFF GARIN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: The Democratic vote with seniors has been going down throughout the '90s, and the fact of the matter is Democrats can't win unless they start doing better with seniors.

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: $120 for 30 tablets?

MESERVE: Al Gore has not been subtle in his effort to woo the senior vote, emphasizing prescription drug coverage, Medicare, and saving Social Security. George Bush has been courting them, too.

Sue Watkins, aged 68, isn't impressed by either one. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are doing it, because they have to. I mean this is how they are going to win the election, and I don't trust them to really follow through.

MESERVE: Watkins, who owns a small medical records business outside Columbus, is informed and opinionated about many issues, but says her first priority is to put an honest, upright, man in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess I'm looking for Abe Lincoln to come down a country road, all honest and willing to work hard.

MESERVE: Women voters are another group considered strongly Democratic in recent years. But Gore has struggled to hold onto women voters, despite talking up their issues: education, gun control, tolerance and morality.

GORE: I believe we have a national obligation to insist upon responsible fatherhood everywhere and from everyone.

MESERVE: Moral issues are also key to many Catholics. Another huge and important and swing constituency; particularly in the industrial Midwest battleground states. Gore loses points with some Catholics, because of support for abortion rights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The moral thread of our country, as how we value lives, has been affected by abortion being legal. So, I am very pro-Bush on that.

MESERVE: Though most of the big labor unions have come out in support of Gore, many non union blue collar workers, like some of those here at Worthington Industries, are not aligned with either party. Economic issues drive these voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taxes, that is really about all I really worry about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the main issue is going to be, of course, the economy. It's been going on the right track for the last four, five, six years.

GARIN: This is a group of voters that neither party has done a stellar job of communicating with and, as a result, a lot of them are sort of receding out of the electorate, but the ones who stay in the electorate are very much up for grabs.

MESERVE: Gore has been working hard to cement his ties with another swing group, Latinos. Democrats are even promoting Gore on Spanish-language television in some markets.

Polls show Gore struggling with almost every key swing constituency and analysts agree that unless he plays his cards right and wins them over, he cannot win this election.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Columbus, Ohio.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: In 1940, Democrats were meeting in Chicago against a back drop of war in Europe, much as they had nearly a quarter of a century earlier.

Again, the United States was not yet involved in the conflict and on day three of the Chicago convention, delegates approved a platform pledging...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will not send our men to take part in European war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: They rejected a proposal to reaffirm the party's 1896 position against a third presidential term. Then would renominate Franklin Roosevelt. Within six weeks, he would begin trading old U.S. destroyers to Britain, in exchange for Caribbean Naval bases. Then, win a third term, and lead the country through most of World War II.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: In the headlines today: A Norwegian ship with a team of divers is headed to the Barents Sea to try to help rescue 118 submariners trapped in a Russian nuclear submarine. After days of failed attempts to lower a rescue capsule, Russian officials have asked for help from Great Britain and Norway. Britain has already flown a mini-submarine to Norway to help with the rescue effort. There's no word yet on the fate of the sub's crew.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORMAN POLMAR, NAVY ANALYST: It depends on a couple of factors: the amount of oxygen remaining, the build up of toxicity from their carbon dioxide, from their breathing, and also the electrical situation. The electricity they have in the submarine after they shut down the reactor is their storage, their electric storage batteries. They need these desperately to keep the submarine warm. If not, they die of hypothermia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: Russia says the sub plummeted to the bottom of the sea during a naval exercise Sunday, when a torpedo exploded near the front of the ship.

WALCOTT: Today's "Science Desk" focuses on a commodity many of us take for granted: electric power. Here in the United States, electric power can be traced to the national power grid. It's a web of circuits designed to send electricity to every corner of the country. But the laws of supply and demand don't always make this easy. Brian Nelson explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN NELSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since Thomas Edison's discovery a century ago, the $220 billion U.S. electricity industry has been nothing, if not dependable.

RANDY KIRKUS, GEORGIA POWER CO.: All we've got to do is make sure the system is connected in a way that we can let the power flow and the power can just flow in.

NELSON: But this summer, demand is outpacing supply. As the Department of Energy warned, there had been blackouts and brownouts in some regions. Among the effected cities, New York in the east, and San Diego and San Francisco in the west.

In Silicon Valley, brownouts have threatened disaster for the electricity-hungry high-tech community. As a precaution, Pacific Gas and Electric, earlier this summer, contemplated bringing in this floating power generating barge to make sure San Francisco's lights stayed on this month.

Most experts trace this summer's shortages to a shortage of generating capacity in a new era of deregulation and booming demand.

EDWARD SMELOFF, ENERGY LAW PROJECT: Over the past five years or so, we haven't seen any new power plants being built in the country, and that's been caused by the move towards deregulation.

NELSON: Deregulation, also, transformed the role of the national power grid, originally an adhoc interconnection of local and regional power utilities. What were once largely sales of emergency power, humming along the grid between regions, have increasingly become shipments of everyday basic electricity; electricity that is often bought on high tech trading floors by older power utilities out of the business of producing it themselves and sold by new independent power producers, who've jumped in to replace them.

This year there are expected to be 1.5 million such transactions up from 200,000 in 1997.

(on camera): The laws of supply and demand sometimes force utilities companies to pay through the nose for what are called "emergency spot purchases," and it's a cost they often can't pass along to the consumer.

(voice-over): Most experts, though, believe the era of tight supplies won't last.

EDWARD SMELOFF, ENERGY LAW PROJECT: The shortages and the price gouging really is only a transitional phenomenon. I don't think we'll see it beyond two or three more years.

NELSON: But a rough two- or three-year transition for both utility companies and consumers who never used to worry about the supply and price of electricity, and who now do.

Brian Nelson, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Family relationships are the focus in "Worldview." Our stories take us to Asia and North America. We'll head to the United States to find out how some young people today are paying for crimes their parents committed in the past. And we'll visit Thailand and Singapore to see how families are learning to surf the Web.

But our first stop takes us to the Korean peninsula. North and South Korea split over ideological differences and established separate countries in 1948. The North established a communist government, the South a democratic republic. On June 25, 1950, war broke out after North Korean troops invaded the South. It was one of history's bloodiest wars. Although the fighting ended in 1953, an unstable peace still haunts the Korean peninsula. The two governments never signed a peace deal.

In June, leaders from both sides reestablished talks and Koreans are already reaping the benefits. A reunion of sorts is taking place, as Sohn Jie-Ae explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SOHN JIE-AE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was 19 and she was in her 30s when Cho Ju-jung (ph) and his mother, Shin Jae-soon (ph), last saw each other.

Cho went north with the communist army during the Korean War while he was a student at Seoul National University. Shin spent the next 50-some years praying to Buddha that her only child was still alive and that she would one day be able to see him again.

On Tuesday, her prayers were answered. A day after the emotional initial meeting with her son, who is now 68 years old and a well-known scholar at the North's Kim Il Sung University, the mother and son finally got a chance to get together in a more private setting.

Meetings like this occurred in both Seoul and Pyongyang on the second day of the four-day visit by 200 divided families. Families exchanged gifts, jewelry and photographs and tried to catch up on the more than 50 years they lost. Their stories captivated South Koreans.

"My heart just went out to them," says this woman.

"It made me really sad to see adults cry like that," says this young girl,

South Korean newspapers filled their pages with news of the reunions and the tragic stories.

(on camera): The newspapers said tears flowed on both sides of the Korean peninsula, and they called for the governments of both Koreas to do everything possible so that this type of tragedy does not happen again.

Sohn Jie-Ae, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, a government which gives the king or queen limited power. Most people in Thailand live in small rural villages, yet the Thai economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In its capital, Bangkok, interest in the Internet is growing as well -- and not just among generations X and Y, as you might expect. The times are changing, and an ambitious group from Thailand's older generation are choosing to change with it.

Here's Matt Walsh to tell you how they're crossing the digital divide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-something dot.com millionaires, computer programming geniuses still in their teens, and kids wiring up their parents' homes with the latest electronic gear. It can seem as though the Internet and all its associated benefits are available only to the young. That's why a woman in Bangkok started a club that aims to educate the elder generations in the ways of the Web.

CHATCHANI CHATIKAVANIJ, INTERNET CLUB PRESIDENT: We didn't have a proper training so we all used to phone up our young relatives and so on, particularly my son, who introduced me to the Internet. Sometimes we phoned him up at night. So one day he saw me, he said, oh, you people are really the OPPY people. I said, what do you mean? Old people playing young, it means we are old people playing young but don't know how.

WALSH: Khunying Chatchani calls her Internet club Old People Playing Young, and youngsters need not apply. The group has one strict rule: Members must be 45 years of age or older. Some participants are as old as 87 and most had no experience with the Internet before joining. Like its founder, many of the club's 270 members now surf the Net, keep in touch with family through e-mail, and feel they're a little closer to their younger relatives.

CHATIKAVANIJ: They admitted that their lives have changed because they enjoy the Internet usage. And they also feel that the gap between the younger generation and their generation is a little bit narrower.

WALSH: A survey done by an Internet service provider in Thailand showed that there are several obstacles for elderly Thais in learning the Internet. Among them are typing skills, English, computer knowledge, and even basic communication skills. But the main barrier is psychological. Many want to understand modern technology but are intimidated and feel they're too old to learn. The Old People Playing Young Internet club is showing people it's never too late to learn. DAVID PORTEOUS, CLUB MEMBER: The way it's taught here, anyhow, it's not difficult and -- but, as I say, other people, they may come here to sort of play and they may have children who are using the Internet and they mat want to. But I'm doing it because I want to get information. And of course the computer can store information.

WALSH: Chatchani says more than 500 people are on a waiting list to join, but there are no plans to expand the club right now. She's got her hands full helping the current membership navigate the Worldwide Web.

CHATIKAVANIJ: If you can only be a senior citizen of quality, first thing in your mind and your heart, you know, you have to look at things positively. Apart from positively, you have to try to look after yourself by finding something to occupy your time so you don't keep thinking about yourself and your health and so on.

WALSH: Khunying Chatchani says the most important thing about breaking the tech barrier is that seniors then become more empowered and independent the more their technical knowledge grows.

Matt Walsh, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: We have more on parents and grandparents using the Internet in our next story. This time we head to Singapore, a small island country in Southeast Asia. It's made up of one large island and more than 50 smaller ones. About half of those are uninhabited. However, Singapore is a densely populated country. Its diverse ethnic groups promote a wide variety of cultures. Its a major manufacturing center with a highly developed economy. There is little unemployment. Singapore has about 10 daily newspapers and a number of radio and television stations, which broadcast in various languages, such as English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

Today, we look at another form of communication: the Internet. We spotlight PAGI, the Parents Advisory Group for the Internet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The positive powers of the Internet and the dangers that lurk online, all explained at the workshops organized by PAGI and the Singapore Broadcasting Authority. The founder of Childnet International was present to train the first batch of PAGI volunteers about the powers of the Internet.

NIGEL WILLIAMS, FOUNDER, CHILDNET INTERNATIONAL: The opportunities are much greater then the dangers, but the dangers are nonetheless real. So what we've got to do, and this is I think what PAGI are making such a good start on in Singapore, is to provide the information to parents so that they can be reassured, so they know what they can do and so their kids can really have a tremendous time online but not be hurt in doing so.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: As off-line dangers like strangers and pornography exist online, Mr. Williams added that it's important for parents to know what their children are doing to keep the young ones safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This session gives that reality because talking about it somehow just doesn't connect. But coming to this session, and especially with the hands-on that he showed us -- and even we ourselves gets the hands-on -- gets us to experience not just the bad side of the Internet. But, you know, there is so much materials that we can we can look, and, hopefully, I'm hoping that all parents will do the same.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We realize that as parents we need to play an important part in educating our kids about Internet So that they know the good things and the bad things. And we should surf the Net together with them and explain to them the importance of being on the good sites, and show them that there's lots of things for us to benefit from the Internet.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: And even some grandparents joined in, too, for their grandchildren's sake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, as in other families in Singapore, the parents these days are very busy with their work, with everything else. So, since I can spare the time, I have been surfing the Net or doing other thing with them. So, I thought I should learn something so I can better guide them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Some of you are already getting ready to head back to school. But let's take a look at some young people whose futures are uncertain. They graduated a couple of months ago but their diplomas aren't opening the doors they had hoped, and it's all because they are undocumented immigrants.

To immigrate means to come into a new country or region, especially in order to settle there. To emigrate means to leave a country or region to settle in another. Some people emigrate to escape bad conditions in their homeland or to reunite with family members. But the main reason for immigration is economic opportunity. The United States has long been the world's chief receiving nation for immigrants and refugees.

But success is not assured, as Jim Hill explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 17-year-old Juan Reveles, high school graduation's pomp and circumstance come with uncertainty. Although he's an A student, the diploma he holds may be no ticket to college, for he is also an undocumented immigrant.

JUAN REVELES JR., GRADUATE: It's not fair because I think of myself, I've done all this work and I can't take advantage of anything just because I wasn't born here.

HALL: Without a so-called green card of legal residency, Reveles is blocked from government aid for higher education.

JULIE NEILSON, SCHOOL COUNSELOR: We do our very best to motivate them and they work very, very hard, and then we tell them, ha-ha, no where, no more.

HILL: More than a face in the crowd, Reveles graduated in the top 10 percent of his class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The General Fund Award goes to Juan Reveles.

HILL: He won a $500 scholarship and has been accepted at six universities. But without the ability to secure thousands in financial aid, he must turn the schools down.

(on camera): Do you feel helpless?

REVELES: Yes.

HILL (voice-over): Critics are not sympathetic, even though there are an estimated 2 million undocumented young people, many unable to receive even a driver's license or work permit.

RON PRINCE, "SAVE OUR STATE": I'm sorry, I cannot feel sorry for someone who is breaking the law and not doing anything about it to try to rectify their illegal status, and then comes to us expecting sympathy and exceptions to the rule.

HILL: Reveles' mother and father admit they entered the U.S. illegally in 1987. Juan was only 6.

REVELES: I didn't have a say. I didn't say -- I mean, they didn't ask me, do you want to go or do you want to stay?

HARRY PACHON, CLAREMONT COLLEGES: What we forget is that these kids were brought over perhaps as infants, maybe as young as 2 or 3 months old, and they're being punished for the crimes of their parents.

HILL: Since 1993, the family's application for legal residence has been pending.

JUAN REVELES SR., FATHER: And every year, we have a feeling like we're going to get it, and nothing.

HILL: The family attorney says the long wait is typical, and it could be another year before the green cards are issued.

(on camera): Until then, Juan Reveles appears to be stuck between two American ideals: on one hand, the rule of law; on the other, the belief that hard work should be rewarded.

Jim Hill, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WALCOTT: Information superhighway, Worldwide Web, cyber-this, dot.com-that, all terms you're probably familiar with. The Internet is changing how we talk, where we shop and how we get our news and information. It's even affecting our politics.

CNN Student Bureau journalists are at the Democratic convention. They filed this report on how the "new media" are covering campaign 2000.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COURTNEY MCCOLGAN, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Internet Avenue and Democracy Row, where online media hustle to adapt new Internet technology to cover the Democratic National Convention.

JEANNE MEYER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, PSEUDO.COM: I think there's a generation of people that cut their teeth on the Internet. And it's an instinctive medium, and it, for many, it's becoming -- this is becoming the primary screen from which they're getting most of their information.

MCCOLGAN: Dozens of online news organizations represented at the convention use the newest technology.

SUSANNAH GARDNER, USC ONLINE JOURNALISM REVIEW: We have a reporter who is filing wirelessly using an OmniSky modem with a Palm Pilot and a detachable keyboard.

MCCOLGAN: HighWired.com attracts young people by using student reporters.

JAMES MCVERTY, HIGHWIRED.COM: We've assembled a team that covered the convention in Philadelphia, and covering the convention here in L.A.

DAREN GEST, AGE 16: The Internet allows the kids to explore and allows the kids to get their voice out.

MCCOLGAN: Many dot.com news organizations use webcasts and online chats to create a more interactive medium.

MEYER: We're giving people a forum to gather and talk about what's going on and what people are seeing. So the chat room atmosphere that we bring, along with the streaming video programming, is I think what is setting us apart. Two or three years ago you really couldn't get video on the Internet. And just in last year alone, the video quality has gotten much better.

MCCOLGAN (on camera): Television was in its infancy just 52 years ago when it offered its first live coverage of a political convention. Now, Internet companies are experimenting with new technology, trying to figure out the most effective way to report news on the Web.

MEYER: If the last chapter of the Internet was about, you know, e-mail and portals, I think there's a new chapter that we're entering into.

GARDNER: The coverage is very different this year. Certainly there's the whole -- I don't think Democracy Row has been done before, and Internet Avenue. So those are new. But I think what you're seeing is a lot of tried and true journalism coming to bear in online journalism. A lot of new technology, a lot of old reporting.

MCCOLGAN (voice-over): Courtney McColgan, CNN Student Bureau, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Sign of the changing times.

That wraps up today's show. We'll see you tomorrow.

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