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NEWSROOM for September 18, 2000Aired September 18, 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: NEWSROOM rolls into Monday. I'm Andy Jordan. Sports and the environment are on the menu. Here's the rundown.
Education takes the forefront in our top story.
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STANLEY IKENBERRY, AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EDUCATION: Because this is the first year that higher education has become an issue in the presidential campaign.
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JORDAN: Watch how the old becomes new again in our "Environment Desk."
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RAMSEY KHALIDI, PRESIDENT, R.K. CONSTRUCTION: Every time we salvage a piece of wood, every board foot is a board foot that doesn't get cut down.
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JORDAN: Get ready: We're working out in "Worldview."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY WILKINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thai boxing is not just about physical strength. The sport exercises the mind and body.
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JORDAN: We stay sports-minded in "Chronicle." Meet the man behind the Olympics' opening ceremony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIC BIRCH, DIRECTOR, OLYMPIC OPENING CEREMONY: We had to come up with something after Barcelona with the arrow and Atlanta with Muhammed Ali.
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JORDAN: We dig in today to a topic many of you will face soon if you haven't already: college and money. We also look at education in the Internet age coming up. But first, making college happen. In this day and age, it can take a fortune. Two men hoping to be the next United States president are chiming in on how to make the task of paying for college less of a burden.
We begin with Pat Neal, who looks at both of their plans.
PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dorothy Samoran's (ph) years of hard work are paying off. Her son, Shakeeb (ph), is in his third year at the University of Maryland and doing well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's always been my mission to provide him with the best education.
NEAL: Shakeeb says college is a must.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be competitive as a stock broker or maybe a financial analyst, you have to have, you know, a higher education in order to be competitive.
NEAL: Never before have so many Americans been in college and the demand for financial aid ever been so great. So Al Gore and George W. Bush have crafted plans to target college-minded voters.
IKENBERRY: Because this is the first year that higher education has become an issue in a presidential campaign.
NEAL: Bush's aim: to help Americans with lower incomes afford a college education. Gore's focus is the middle class.
VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to make most college tuition tax deductible so families can send their kids on to college.
NEAL: The centerpiece of Gore's plan is a targeted tax break for the middle class. He would allow families with incomes up to $100,000 a tax break of up to $2,800. Is that covering most college tuition as Gore claims? Well, the average tuition is now $4,000 a year.
(on camera): Tuition here at the University of Maryland runs more than $5,000 a year. And 70 percent of this school's 33,000 students receive some form of financial aid.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi Nicki (ph), my name is Danielle.
NEAL: As part of their financial aid packages, Shakeeb and his friend Danielle Greene (ph) work in the financial aid office. Danielle has seven scholarships or grants that fully cover her college costs. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At that time, my parents' money were tied up in the business so, there was not any real money set aside for me.
NEAL: One of Danielle's sources of aid is the federally funded Pell Grant, which forms the heart of the Bush higher-education plan. His goal is to expand the program, which is already the largest grant program in the country.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to increase the first-year Pell Grant from $3,300 per child who qualifies to $5,100 per child.
IKENBERRY: Students face the heaviest financial barriers and frustrations in getting started in that first year in college.
NEAL: Bush would also help students like Danielle, who took advanced placement math and science courses in high school, by giving them an extra $1,000 Pell Grant bonus each year. Gore supports raising Pell grants by $200 this year.
Both candidates have other components to their higher educations plans. Gore would allow Americans to set up 401(j) programs, like a 401(k), just for college, though. And his retirement savings plan, which offers incentives to middle-class Americans to save for retirement by offering some federal matching money, could also be used to help pay for college.
IKENBERRY: Vice President Gore's plan focuses on a continuation of using the tax code as a way to open access for higher education.
NEAL: Bush offers a savings plan, too. He would expand the current educational savings accounts from $500 to $5,000 each year, which can be withdrawn tax-free. And Bush would send $1.5 billion to the states to help cover the cost of establishing scholarships for students taking advanced placement classes.
One-third of likely voters have children 18 years and younger. The Greenes have three other daughters who'll go to college, and they're studying the candidates' plans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would benefit from both.
NEAL: And it's this block of voters that has the candidates placing a higher priority on higher education.
JORDAN: While education can prove to be a challenge in terms of money, it can also, ironically, be formidable if you happen to be very talented and apply yourself well. Many students learn early on that balancing the three Rs with their extracurricular passions can be tricky.
Brian Nelson looks at one such student who's looking to the Internet for middle ground.
BRIAN NELSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joel Braun is a talented orchestral bass player; so talented, the 17-year-old St. Louis native is enrolled in the famous Julliard school in New York City. Devotion to his music requires Braun to practice up to eight hours a day, leaving little time to finish his high school diploma. So he turned to the Internet and enrolled in the long-distance high school study program offered back in his home state by the University of Missouri.
JOEL BRAUN, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I went to regular high school for like two and a half years. And there it's kind of like you sleep through half of it. And here it's just like it's kind of your own deal. So you don't really have to be dragged ahead or behind by anyone else except for yourself.
NELSON: As a distance student, Braun has 160 courses from which to choose; 20 online now, with more to come -- from interactive geography to in-depth American literature. A computer grades student homework instantaneously.
NELSON (on camera): Inevitably, the debate over new technology boils down to what's lost and what is gained. In this case, does a student who's attending high school at home alone on the Internet miss out on important teenage social rites of passage, like band practice, like high school football, or prom night?
(voice-over): Here at Columbia's Hickman High, some found a school without friends, without teachers, without activities unthinkable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think I'd enjoy it at all. I think I learn a lot more from my friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're working with a machine all the time, and that's not how the world works.
NELSON: Even the director of the online high school concedes:
VON PITTMAN, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-COLUMBIA: There are things we cannot do that the traditional high school does, and we don't see ourselves in competition and don't intend to compete. We complement them.
NELSON: But with the distractions of football and band practice gone, rural students, those overseas, or those like Joel Braun, who are strapped for free time, can focus on just learning, leaving them plenty of time for what may turn out to be their true life's vocation.
Brian Nelson, CNN, Columbia, Missouri.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Besides the happenings here on planet Earth, today's news also takes place in outer space. The crew of the space shuttle Atlantis buttoned up its mission with the International Space Station yesterday. They planned to pull away late last night. Mission control thanked the crew for the work it did getting the station ready for its first residents, who are due to arrive in just a couple of months.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The seven- man shuttle moving crew left the station stocked, move-in ready for the first live-in crew. From floor to wall to ceiling, they velcroed and strapped in bags of clothing, office supplies, food and water and left some important equipment behind, like the toilet and the treadmill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tevis (ph) is installed in the pit and all functional and verified.
O'BRIEN: In fact, no detail was too small to verify as they backed their way out of the station. They even checked the checklist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think we've got just about everything done that needed doing on the space station side. I'd like to give you a rundown of all the items I see complete. That way you can check your list, compare it to mine and let me know if you think we missed anything.
O'BRIEN: But they didn't miss the chance to have a little fun, either. Shuttle pilot Scott "Scooter" Altman left his own personal greeting inside a station sleeping berth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger that, Scooter.
O'BRIEN: And the crew left a long entry and group portrait in the ship's log.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're A go to proceed with Egress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy. We'll go to proceed. We're go to proceed.
O'BRIEN: It was a procession as they doused the lights and sealed the hatches.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston, the hatch is closed.
O'BRIEN: Twelve door closings in all, punctuated by handshakes, smiles, photos and some careful cleaning to insure tight seals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston, the Node 1 port hatch is closed.
UNIDENTIFIED FE MALE: We see that.
O'BRIEN: It was the end of a long week of hard work. Atlantis Commander Terry Wilcutt couldn't hide the weariness. But don't be mistaken: This crew took a spin to the space station and they leave content, knowing full well they did everything they set out to do.
Miles O'Brien, CNN.
JORDAN: Well, forests are the focus in today's "Environment Desk." How much do you truly know about them? For instance, did you know they are believed to be home to about half of the Earth's species? Forests also are needed for people's needs, for things such as wood pulp, fuel and lumber.
The problem is that humans have depleted the forests. Almost half of Earth's original forest cover is gone. But there is hope. Trees are a renewable and recyclable resource. More than 95 percent of bark and wood residues generated from producing lumber and plywood are used for energy and other products.
And in Savannah, Georgia, an innovative construction company is offering homeowners a creative way to save trees.
David George explains.
DAVID GEORGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This log is from a 100-year-old cypress tree; this from a 350-year-old heart pine. You can't find trees this size in the Southeast anymore. But that doesn't faze one Georgia company. R.K. Construction in Savannah is giving old wood new life. The company salvages lumber from turn-of-the-century constructions and turns it into building materials for the homes of today.
CHRIS LAREAU, R.K. YARD MANAGER: We recycle it as the old material, or we re-mill it to be used in homes as a new manufactured product, again, of the old species so that the new trees won't be lost.
GEORGE: If the wood is re-milled, the nails are removed, then the timber is put through a special machine that cuts the boards efficiently, without producing wood chips. Next, the boards are cut to size and width.
KHALIDI: Well, the machinery is all vintage. Every -- all the machinery -- this machine was built September 15 in 1914. And it's got a tag on it. It hasn't needed parts since 1922. It's obviously made to handle the large, heavy, dense, long materials of old.
GEORGE: The company says the new old wood has many advantages over timber harvested today.
KHALIDI: It's triple the strength, tensile strength. It's three times the strength of the woods that you -- that they're growing now. It's much superior in many other ways. It's long-lasting, it's thicker. It's three-quarters of an inch in thickness.
GEORGE: This wood was harvested 100 years ago from forests that were once considered an endless resource. DAVID KELLY, HISTORICAL PRESERVATIONIST: They thought it was an inexhaustible supply of timber, which they found out quickly before -- within 50 years, they had basically removed most of the virgin timbers.
GEORGE: Although the antique wood is more expensive, R.K. Construction says demand has been increasing in recent years as people connect to the past while protecting the present.
KHALIDI: Every time we salvage a piece of wood, every board foot is a board foot that doesn't get cut down.
GEORGE: David George, CNN.
JORDAN: Sports and the arts are center stage in "Worldview" today. We take you to Thailand for some fancy footwork. It's part of Thai boxing. In Russia, we feature photos, snapshots of a slice of life back in the 1930s. And in Slovenia, there's a whole new meaning to drive-in theater. And then on to the theater in Great Britain where plays are in the spotlight.
"Worldview" gets started in London in Great Britain where the theater is experiencing a renaissance. In the age of cinema and virtual computer entertainment, a series of sellout productions is getting the public back into watching a more traditional form of entertainment. Whereas going to see someone tread the boards once meant watching a Shakespearean production, successful English theater these days is much more likely to have begun on the big screen.
Christian Mahne takes a look at how theater has reinvented itself in London.
CHRISTIAN MAHNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Take a walk in London's Theatreland these days and you might be forgiven a sense of deja vu. Some of the stages' biggest draw cards all started life in another form, be it on the silver screen or in the recording studio. That's good news for a production's backers, but bad for those who feel the stage should offer something different.
COLIN TWEEDY, CEO, ARTS & BUSINESS: I think there's a great danger that, actually, everything's going to be recycled. It's going to become so challenging to get an audience out of their sofas into the theater that, basically, they want something that won't challenge them, something they recognize.
MAHNE: Recycled or not, the likes of "The Graduate" are indeed the hottest ticket in town. In 19 weeks, it's filled 175,000 seats. The production cost more than a half a million dollars to stage and its investors have already doubled their money.
Commercial success these days requires much more than just a good story. SACH BROOKS, PRODUCER, "THE GRADUATE": A lot of the work over the last 10 years in theater has been spreading our marketing wings. And that doesn't have a huge impact on the way shows are produced in terms of what happens on stage, but it has a huge impact in terms of the way the business is run and tickets are sold.
MAHNE: It's all a far cry from theater's glory days. But in the face of so much change, can the stage keep its traditional appeal?
SALLY GREENE, CEO, OLD VIC PRODUCTIONS: I don't think theater will ever go out of date. I mean, you can talk to some of the older producers and they go, oh, it's not like it was in the 1940s and '50s. Absolute nonsense. I think theater has a huge future.
MAHNE: As more and more well-worn storylines get the green light in Theatreland, you might be forgiven for thinking you've seen it all before.
Christian Mahne, CNN Financial News, London.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Slovenia may seem like an odd place to stumble upon a bit of Americana. Isolated in Central Europe, this small mountainous country of about 2 million people was part of Yugoslavia until it declared its independence in 1991. But thanks to a unique stage presentation, Republic Square in the nation's capital was transformed into a scene from a 1950s U.S. drive-in.
We have this report from TV Slovenia.
BARBARA DRANAC, TV SLOVENIA REPORTER (voice-over): It is memory that connects Emil Hrvatin with a renaissance artist Giulio Camillo, whose basic project was the Theater of Memory. Drive-in Camillo, which is Hrvatin's third performance dedicated to emotional memories, brings together a choreographic spectacle and the privacy of the audience in the cars.
The major part of the performance is centered around seven fantastic contemporary Slovenian dancers. This was the first time they met with dancing on such a large area. And through the movements of an Italian choreographer, Ariella Vidach, they presented to us new dance structures.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We really collaborate a lot in creating the sequences, and there some, obviously, ideas that are coming from Emils or ideas coming from myself, ideas coming from the dancers. So it's actually a very collective type of production.
DRANAC: The spectacle was staged as a real drive-in situation. Besides dancers, an integral part of the show were also video projections, computer animation, sellers of popcorn and drinks and the spectators who listened to the show's soundtrack on their car radios. There were also some foreign producers who saw the show. Due to a demanding technical realization and high expenses, the performance in Ljubljana will undoubtedly remain a one-time event.
This report was prepared by Barbara Dranac (ph), TV Slovenia, for CNN "WORLD REPORT."
HAYNES: Many of you might wonder what life was like when your parents were growing up. I know I often ask my dad what being a kid was like in the 1930s and '40s. Inevitably, I get that reply, life was much simpler back then. Well, our next story takes us to Russia, home of a photograph exhibit called "Propaganda and Dreams." It features visual documentation of life in the United States and Russia in the 1930s. Was life simpler back then?
Our Steve Harrigan shows us.
STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Americans danced in the 1930s, and so, in their own way, did the Russians. Two very different portraits, each taken by government photographers.
LEAH BENDAVID-VAL, CURATOR: Well, the differences in ideology are very large. The Soviet government, at that time, was organized to tell the people that the government, along with the people, were building a great society, were creating socialism, the first socialist country in the world. In America, the emphasis has always been on the individual.
HARRIGAN: The mood in the Soviet photos is different.
STEPHEN COHEN, HISTORIAN: This is the what we might call the positive view of the Soviet 1930s. But every story has two sides, yes? and the negative view is missing. You notice Stalin is holding a young girl, a little girl. She was later arrested.
HARRIGAN: Arrested years later after she asked Stalin to free her father, who had also been arrested. For some, the pictures are a look into their own past.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's when my parents were young. I see their delighted eyes in the pictures. They don`t know they set future, and I already know it and it hurts.
HARRIGAN: Two competing views of the future, 70 years later, hang side-by-side.
Steve Harrigan, CNN, Moscow.
RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Now we head to Thailand, the only nation in Southeast Asia that has never been ruled by a Western power. Even though most Thai are farmers and live in small rural villages, Thailand has one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
About 95 percent of Thai people practice Buddhism. They believe that people can obtain perfect peace and happiness by freeing themselves from worldly desires. Thai people also practice the art of sanuk, or "having fun." The country's national sport is Muay Thai, Thai boxing, in which opponents fight with their feet as well as their hands.
But as Stacey Wilkins reports, the sport has come a long way -- all the way to the streets of New York City.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.
WILKINS (voice-over): Americans are looking for a fight. These New Yorkers are just a fraction of those turning to the centuries-old art of Muay Thai boxing for self-defense. They're learning how to fight back against a criminal attack.
KRU PHIL NURSE, EUROPEAN MUAY CHAMPION: Thai boxing, you get in there and you fight. You go to fight and you physically have to be tough.
WILKINS: Then there's the other advantage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You burn thousands of calories in a hour.
WILKINS: Like the more familiar forms of kickboxing, and even the current Tae-Bo craze, Muay Thai boxing packs a powerful punch against fat grams. Cross-training makes it an extremely rigorous sport. A two-hour class includes pushups, sit-ups, front and reverse squats, and this is just a warm-up before the boxing begins.
(on camera): Thai boxing is not just about physical strength. The sport exercises the mind and body. Boxers learn meditation techniques, which they believe give them a competitive edge in the ring.
(voice-over): Inside this gym in Waterbury, Connecticut, Noi Monk-Ohh Silapa (ph) performs an ancient ceremony. He won't start a class without the traditional ritual.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Showing respect to the teacher, the coach, for getting you prepared for the fight.
WILKINS: Monk-Ohh Silapa is Connecticut's amateur Muay Thai champion. But inside the ring, he can't fight in true Thai style. U.S. rules forbid elbowing, a key element in traditional Muay Thai boxing. Fights here are restricted to a modified form of the sport.
So for now, Muay Thai American style will remain more about fitness than fighting.
Stacey Wilkins, CNN, New York.
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 plan. Plus, there are discussion questions and activities, and the guide highlight 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: Every so often, the world tunes in to watch a monumental event unfold before its eyes. This past weekend, all eyes were on Sydney, Australia for the commencement of the 2000 Olympic games. Tens of thousands are on hand in Sydney as some of the world's finest athletes gather to compete in the historic games. Among them, Chelsea Clinton, daughter of the United States president. Ms. Clinton visited Melbourne to cheer on her country's women's soccer team and help launch an international anti-smoking campaign.
The opening ceremonies of this millennium's first Olympic games featured a seemingly endless parade of athletes and an elaborate display of fireworks, among other things.
John Raedler introduces us to the man who made it all come together.
JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ric Birch is tired but ecstatic. It's the morning after he directed the Sydney Olympic games opening ceremony, an event hailed across Australia as a great success.
BIRCH: Yes, certainly within Australia everyone seems very happy, which is not a relief, but it's kind of a vindication of a lot of years work by a lot of people.
RAEDLER: And a lot of people watched the results of that work, a worldwide TV audience estimated at 3 1/2 billion. The biggest challenge for Birch was how to transfer the Olympic flame from torch to cauldron.
BIRCH: We had to come up with something after Barcelona with the arrow and Atlanta with Muhammad Ali. I knew that we had to do something.
RAEDLER: The answer was a dramatically massive cauldron lit by Australia's most popular athlete.
BIRCH: Cathy Freeman is something of an icon to Australians, and certainly as producers of the ceremonies we couldn't have chosen anyone better.
RAEDLER: Birch says Freeman, the world champion 400 meters runner, was not chosen because she is an Aborigine.
BIRCH: Cathy represented all athletes; not men, not women, not black, not white, but all athletes and the aspirations of athletes.
RAEDLER (on camera): The one glitch came when the cauldron jarred to a halt as it started its ascent to the top of the stadium. The problem turned out to be a faulty five-cent switch. Technicians overrode it, the cauldron resumed its ascent and Ric Birch breathed again.
John Raedler, CNN, Sydney.
JORDAN: Well, we leave you today with the face of one of the first stars of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. At just 17 years old, Australia's Ian Thorpe is gracing postage stamps in his native land. He helped win Australia's first gold medals Saturday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALCOLM PHILLIPS, PHILATELIST: Ah, terrific because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I really enjoy being part of Australia. I've been here for nine years. And, you know, Ian Thorpe and the team, they're fantastic, absolute heroes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN: And for all you philatelists, i.e. stamp enthusiasts, the Australia Post has promised to put out a stamp with the images of every Australian who wins a gold medal in Sydney.
And as they say Down Under, good on ya.
We'll see you tomorrow.
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