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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for September 25, 2000

Aired September 25, 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.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM for Monday, everybody. I'm Tom Haynes.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Here's the rundown.

HAYNES: Campaign 2000 tops today's agenda. We'll look at the history of presidential debates, and check out labor's influence on the election.

BAKHTIAR: Then we get green in "Environment Desk." Find out what urban sprawl is doing to Georgia's state parks.

HAYNES: Next stop, the Olympic host city.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MORSE, AUSTRALIAN TOURIST COMMISSION: The whole focal point of Sydney is the harbor, in fact, and we live on, around, near or by the harbor. The water is incredibly important to us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: Finally, we stay put in the Land Down Under as we "Chronicle" Olympic pin pandemonium.

HAYNES: In today's news, the U.S. presidential debates and their impact on campaign 2000. Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore are gearing up for their first duel next week in Boston. And going into this first debate, one poll shows Gov. Bush erasing Vice President Gore's lead and the race virtually tied once again. In the latest CNN/"USA Today/Gallup tracking poll, 47 percent of voters said they support Bush, compared to 46 percent who backed Gore.

So, will these debates matter? and do they really influence people's opinions of the presidential candidates?

Bruce Morton has some perspective.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forty years ago this coming Tuesday, Vice President Richard Nixon and Massachusetts Sen. John Kennedy squared off in the first-ever TV debate between presidential candidates. Eighty million people watched that first debate. Most who watched thought Kennedy won, looked calm, confident, while Nixon sweated. The much smaller group who heard it on radio -- I was one -- thought it was fairly even. Maybe Nixon had the edge. But TV was what mattered in that campaign and since.

No debates in 1964 or '68 or '72 but the candidates have debated one way or another ever since. And there have been some defining moments. Gerald Ford in 1976 seeming to deny Soviet domination of eastern Europe, though it was a fact. Ronald Reagan undoing Jimmy Carter with a single question in 1980:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1980)

RONALD REAGAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORTON: No, the country shouted, and the Reagans moved to the White House.

Usually campaigns have scuffled about the format, the rules, and usually whoever is ahead gets his way in these scuffles. President Bill Clinton simply said he couldn't make the first debate in 1996. He was too busy being president.

Formats can matter. In 1992 in an Oprah style debate, questions from the audience, Clinton shone. President Bush looked at his watch twice and seemed bored.

(on camera): This time, the commission on debates got its way. The debates will be held when and where it wanted. And pretty clearly, debating will be part of presidential campaigns in the foreseeable future. It's a skill candidates will need.

(voice-over): There may be others. Are there votes in kissing Oprah? Do candidates need to be able to carry a tune?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN")

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (singing): Regrets -- here's one right here ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORTON: How far must they carry it? Does Lieberman want to do this for the next seven weeks? Probably not.

But the debates do matter. They are on the main channels. Sure, you can find a movie somewhere, but most watch -- 60 million or so last time. It's a chance for candidates to speak to the whole country, major candidates anyway -- and it's probably fair not to invite those who are single digits in the polls -- and a chance for the whole country, or a lot of it anyway, to listen without competition from the World Series or the NFL. And democracies work better, of course, when the voters are paying attention.

I'm Bruce Morton.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: Well, considering how close the presidential race is, every vote counts. One group testing its political muscle in an unprecedented effort to influence the vote is the AFL-CIO. The AFL- CIO stands for the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations. It's a voluntary federation of America's unions, and it represents more than 13 million working men and women nationwide.

John King reports on the AFL-CIO's efforts to make a difference in this year's presidential election.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another early morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More election information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

KING: Another day of hands-on encounters in organized labor's campaign 2000 ground war. It's pretty basic stuff -- a worksite handout contrasting Al Gore and George W. Bush on issues like health care and the minimum wage; a night-time phone call to echo the morning message and to boost both the vice president and the Democrat running for Senate here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we count on your support for Al Gore and Ron Klink on November 7? Yes.

KING: This phone bank is just north of Scranton, Pennsylvania, a key battleground in the race for president and control of Congress, a key test of labor's political muscle.

JIM BYRNES, AFSCME: We are going to touch at least three or four times with the phone, and three or four times with the literature and door-to-door, and that's what we're going to concentrate on between now and Election Day.

KING: It's a snapshot of an unprecedented national AFL-CIO effort in 71 congressional districts across 25 key states.

STEVE ROSENTHAL, AFL-CIO POLITICAL DIRECTOR: There are literally tens of thousands of activists involved in this program. We're trying to generate more grassroots activism than ever before, and frankly, we think this will be the greatest union turnout effort ever.

KING: So, over lunch, these Columbus, Ohio firefighters are reminded they can't vote if they aren't registered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody else want any more forms? Do you know family members or friends or anybody?

KING: Turnout is the focus in the final weeks.

(on camera): In the key battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and here in Ohio, as much as 40 percent of the vote could come from union households. Exit polls four years ago show that 59 percent of those voters backed the Clinton-Gore ticket, and labor's goal this time around is to at least match that performance for the Gore-Lieberman team.

(voice-over): It's a tough sell with some blue-collar workers here in conservative central Ohio. These union plumbers and pipe- fitters urged not to let their opposition to gun control or abortion turn them away from the Democrats.

DARRELL GAMMELL, PLUMBERS & PIPEFITTERS, LOCAL 189: Don't let them buffalo you on one issue and then you end up voting for this individual on one issue and you kill yourself on four or five other issues.

KING: That message is a lesson from the Republican rout of 1994.

ROSENTHAL: We've seen elections that were about gays in the military, and prayer in school and guns, then working families don't participate. So, to the extent that we can help shape an election so that it's about things that really do matter, economic security issues for families, basic pocketbook issues, then working families respond in big numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got to vote this November.

KING: The shift change at Buckeye Steel brings another handout, another reminder the economy wasn't so good the last time a Bush lived in the White House.

RALPH HORSLEY, STEELWORKER: The Democrats are for working family, working man, you know, and everybody knows that Republicans is company-minded people.

KING: Shop steward Ralph Horsley joins the cause after a hot day in the foundry. It's a national AFL-CIO effort, but there's a local lesson in the laughter and smiles here. The information tends to matter more...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Praise the Lord, brother.

KING: ... when it comes from someone you know.

John King, CNN, Columbus, Ohio.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: The price of oil is at a 10-year high. And in an effort to cushion against feared heating oil shortages, President Clinton reversed his original position on Friday and released 30 million barrels from the federal oil reserve. That comes to about 5 percent of the 571 million barrel stockpile. Republicans are calling the move purely political, strategically timed to woo voters.

Kathleen Koch reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Heating oil: More than a third of homes on the East Coast use it, but supplies are down 40 percent from last year, in New England down 65 percent. That's why his advisers say President Clinton Friday reversed his stand and decided to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

BILL RICHARDSON, SECRETARY OF ENERGY: This is not political. This is an issue that the president acted because winter is upon us and we've got very low home heating oil stocks. And we want Americans to be able to heat their homes, and we want Americans to be protected.

KOCH: But Republicans point out it's an awfully convenient time for an administration about-face.

RICHARD B. CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because it's six weeks before the election, they have now reversed the position they took seven or eight months ago when they said they didn't think you should use the strategic petroleum reserve for this purpose. They're now using it, I think, frankly, to try to buy him some relief in terms of the campaign this fall.

KOCH: Others argue releasing the 30 million barrels won't help because U.S. oil refineries are already at capacity.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: You can release all the crude you want, it ain't going to do any good. The fact is, this administration has presided over eight years of disaster in energy policy. Thirty-six refineries have shut down. No new refineries have been built.

KOCH: Republicans would build more refineries and allow drilling in currently off-limits wildlife areas.

Energy analysts, though, say it would take years for newly drilled domestic oil to make it to the pump. They contend conservation, too, is key, a concept the reserve release defeats.

LLEWELLYN KING, "ENERGY DAILY": You also send the bad message to the public that, hey, if it gets too expensive, the government will step in and make it cheaper if it can.

KOCH (on camera): The additional oil is expected to hit the market in about a month. And if that doesn't help supplies, Secretary Richardson says the president could open the spigot again, just two weeks before election day.

Kathleen Koch for CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: In Monday's "Desk," we focus on the environment; today, what happens when a city is faced with enormous population growth. You may be familiar with the term "urban sprawl." Simply put, that's the spreading of urban developments such as houses and shopping centers on undeveloped land near a city.

Metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. Brian Cabell investigates the consequences on such rapid growth.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Etowah Indian Mounds in northern Georgia at a state park are some of the best preserved Indian ruins in the United States. But year by year, development is creeping closer to and threatening this archaeological treasure.

Fifty miles south at Sweetwater Creek State Park, that park superintendent, Vince Taylor, has a similar problem. It's under assault from the outside: trash discarded by residents whose homes are adjacent to the park; yard clippings tossed as though the park was an extension of their backyards. Homeowners, of course, are delighted with the park. Officials would much prefer having a buffer zone between the neighborhoods and the park. Worst of all, they say, are the high-density dwellings going up.

VINCE TAYLOR, SUPERINTENDENT, SWEETWATER CREEK STATE PARK: Apartments, multifamily-type developments, can be a little bit of a nightmare for a park management because you have all these folks that don't have a yard at home, so what is the yard for them? It's the local park.

CABELL: Don't misunderstand, he says, people are welcome here. But state parks were intended primarily as getaways for hiking and fishing, visits of a few hours or more. Increasingly, because of urban sprawl and traffic, they're becoming more like city parks, green areas in the midst of development.

BILL CAHILL, FRIENDS OF SWEETWATER CREEK STATE PARK: I think the only solution to the thing is the counties and local municipalities that border these parks now are going to have to start coming through with some good planning to make sure that the developments that go in around these parks are going to be complementary to the park.

CABELL: In some cases, officials worry, it may already be too late. But for the Canadian geese that frequent these waters, conservationists say any attempt to stop urban encroachment on this habitat would be welcome.

Brian Cabell, CNN, Douglasville, Georgia. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: As Olympic athletes compete in Australia, we check out world-class challenges elsewhere. We'll head to Finland for a fleeting feat, get the scoop on sand castles, and get the dirt on recycling as we peak into China's trash cans. Can a new garbage program keep Shanghai green? Plus visit Olympic City, Sydney, Australia, part of our week-long look at its culture and landscape.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: We head to the only country that is also a continent: Australia. And while it's the planet's smallest continent, it's the sixth largest country in area. The name Australia comes from the Latin word australis, which means "southern." And Australia is often referred to as the Land Down Under because all of it lies within the Southern Hemisphere.

And by being located south of the equator, its seasons are opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter lasts from June through August. It's Australia's wettest, coolest season. Summer runs from December through February.

Australia's capital is Canberra, but we head instead to its largest city, Sydney. It's also the oldest in the country, founded back in 1788.

Carolyn O'Neil takes us sight-seeing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROLYN O'NEIL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One look at its glorious harbor and it's easy to understand why Sydney captivates visitors and its 4 million residents.

MORSE: The whole focal point of Sydney is the harbor. In fact we live on, around, near or by the harbor. The water is incredibly important to us.

O'NEIL: And while Sydney's skyline is typical of many modern cities, two architectural marvels stand out: the Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

CATH SQUELCH, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE: During the '50s, Australians were beginning to realize that they had great opera singers and they had great conductors and great musicians but they had no venues for them to perform in. For them to make their mark they had to go to England or America.

O'NEIL: So a design competition was launched, and in 1959 work began on Yorn Utsin's (ph) winning entry. But numerous setbacks caused by politics and construction problems dragged out the process. Fourteen years and more than 100 million Australian dollars later, the opera house opened in October, 1973.

SQUELCH: The opera house has five theaters, the concert hall, the opera theater, the drama theater and the playhouse and the studio. The concert hall is actually the major theater in the complex, making our name a mistake. We're really a performing arts center.

O'NEIL (on camera): And when you visit, a closer look reveals another surprise: The Sydney opera house is not one building, there are three.

(voice-over): Stretching gracefully beyond the opera house, the Harbor Bridge. It's amazing to look at, but it offers an even more impressive vantage point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The view is spectacular. It's better than anything I've ever seen in America, anywhere I've ever been.

O'NEIL: Those who climb it are venturing on an experience unlike any other in the world. Since 1998, the bridge climb has become Sydney's most popular attraction.

(on camera): So what will you be telling the folks back home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's fantastic. I climbed my bridge.

O'NEIL (voice-over): Climbers where special suits to minimize distracting drivers below, and harnesses attaching them to the bridge. Guides lead the way, narrating Sydney history and easing anxiety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a pretty incredible achievement, especially if you've got a little bit of a fear of heights.

O'NEIL: In the shadow of the bridge lies the Rocks. Australia's first European settlers, mainly convicts from England and Ireland, landed here in 1788.

DEE LADD-HUDSON, THE ROCKS WALKING TOURS: This is George Street. This is the oldest street in Australia.

O'NEIL: The Rocks has seen its share of hard times. Today, with its shops and restaurants, the rocks represents a city on the rise, a part of Sydney's history that's cosmopolitan and refined.

LUCY TURNBULL, DEP. LORD MAYOR, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: There's a wonderful energy and buzz about Sydney at the moment. And I think it's not only because of the Olympics. Of course that's got a lot to do with it, but I think that we're really understanding for the first time what a terrific city we are.

O'NEIL: Much of Sydney's spirit lies in its diversity, exemplified by art on display in museums and for sale in aboriginal- owned shops.

GAVIN FLICK, ARTIST: If people purchase a piece of art, they're actually buying a story that's many thousands of years old. The colors change, the artists change, but the story remains the same.

O'NEIL: Another way to taste the city's ethnicity, a multitude of restaurants in every price range. Sydney boasts a fusion of world cultures and an optimism that goes beyond hosting the Olympic games. TURNBULL: I think it's still very young at heart and very open to change, receptive to newcomers. So, therefore, I think it positions it fantastically well as a global city for the new millennium.

O'NEIL: Carolyn O'Neil, CNN, Sydney, Australia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: We'll have more on Australia tomorrow when we get a taste of its fine food, inspired by a variety of ethnic influences.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Australian cooking generally has strong roots in French technique, a little bit of a nod, maybe, to our British heritage now and then with a bit of steak or something or a steak with kidney pie. But generally it is a mixture of the Asian, of the Italian, of the Greek and other influences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: Now to the world's most populous nation: China. With 1.2 billion people, it's home to one fifth of the world's population. The Chinese pride themselves on having the world's oldest living civilization, with its written history going back 3,500 years.

The Chinese were the first to develop the compass, paper, porcelain, and silk cloth. China is also home to the Great Wall of China. Extending 4,000, the ancient Chinese built it to keep out invaders from central Asia.

Shanghai is the largest city in China and a center of industry, trade and finance. It's also China's most important port. But the booming population produces a lot of waste. We head now to Shanghai to see how the residents are coping with a new recycling program there.

Yang Yulin (ph) has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

YANG YULIN, SHANGHAI TELEVISION REPORTER (voice-over): Lately, a new type of trash trucks have been added to the traditional ones in some residential areas in Shanghai. They are expected to contribute by collecting chemically harmful garbage to the city's recycling program.

From now on, Shanghai residents will be more careful before throwing their trash away because different types of refuse will have different places to rest. Organic garbage like fruit and vegetable peels should be put here. Inorganic ones such as waste paper, glass and metal should be here. Yet still another trash can is for used batteries and fluorescent light bulbs, which are of chemical harm.

Is it troublesome putting trash in this way? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Not at all. We are glad to do something for Shanghai's garbage recycling program.

YULIN: This kind of understanding has not been achieved overnight. The municipal government and the city's sanitation system started advertising the advantage of garbage classification a few months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We've distributed pamphlets and posters to each household, telling people how important a role garbage classification can play on the whole process of garbage disposal and recycling. It works fine.

YULIN: While most residents feel responsible to create a better condition for trash disposal and recycling, some are not so cooperative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): As you can see, I still have to check every bag and pick out the chemically harmful trash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Shanghai produces a load of garbage as heavy as 13,000 tons per day on average. Throwing and collecting trash separately is not just a change of habit, but a matter of civilization.

YULIN: Garbage or resource? This is not a big question. Trash classification is only the first step to make the disposal and the recycling easier. If this measure is insisted, there won't be a long way to the industrialization of turning waste into resources.

This is Yang Yulin reporting at Shanghai Television, China for CNN "WORLD REPORT."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: On to a project that's recycling itself in Finland. Finland is a country in northern Europe known for its thick forests and numerous lakes. In fact, lakes make up nearly one-tenth of its total area. Official languages include Finnish and Swedish. Sweden is Finland's neighbor to the west. Helsinki, a port on the Gulf of Finland, is the country's capital. Much of Finland's wealth comes from its majestic forests. Birch, pine and spruce are important woods in a thriving forest-products industry.

But today, instead of walking through those forests, we're hitting the beach to examine sand. Most grains of sand were once parts of rocks, which crumbled away due to weathering. And weather has already taken a toll on a special project made of sand.

We take a look back at a once regal record holder while it was still in the works.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKA MAKELAINEN, CNN FINNISH TELEVISION REPORTER (voice-over): The tallest sand castle in the world stands in eastern Finland, far from any beach. A team of 18 sculptors has been working on the castle for three weeks. The material is ordinary sand, 150 cubic meters of it. The castle stands 8.83 meters high, breaking the earlier U.S. record by only 11 centimeters. Originally, the castle was meant to be much higher, but after a major collapse, breaking the world record was hard enough.

MARIKA TARMIKOSKI, PROJECT MANAGER (through translator): The weather has been unfavorable and here have been collapses. But with Finnish stamina, we were determined to make it.

MAKELAINEN: The same team has previously carved sculptures of snow and ice. No more freezing your toes off. But there's something in common. In six to eight weeks, the beauty is history.

TARMIKOSKI (through translator): I don't feel bad about it. All along, you know that eventually it's going to fall apart and it's really part of the process. Everyone who comes here can experience this here and now knowing that tomorrow it will gone.

MAKELAINEN: During the construction, the piece of art was held together by outside supporting structures, which were later removed. In the inside, it's pure sand. Finally, a thin protective cover is sprayed on the castle. This way the first rain shower won't destroy it all.

But as for the carving, the designers say anyone can do it and should give it a try.

TARMIKOSKI (through translator): You just have to pack the sand very tight and mix it evenly with water so that there are no dry parts left and nothing too wet, either. Spoons and knives are good carving tools for small details. Then you just try. Practice makes perfect.

MAKELAINEN: Besides, it's a lot of fun. So why should only kids be able to enjoy playing with sand?

Mika Makelainen, Finnish Television, for CNN "WORLD REPORT."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: Last week, we told you about the Olympic stamps that Australia is producing and stamp collectors are snapping up. Well, today we've got another collectible for you. Here's a clue: They're small, they're pointy, and some can be pricey.

Martin Savidge fills us in.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of people packed Sydney's streets Sunday for one of the Olympic games' few read about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very emotional. It's great. It certainly gets the adrenalin going. SAVIDGE: Under Olympic broadcast rules we can't show you what they were looking at, but it was easy to hear each time an athlete in the women's marathon passed by.

At Sydney's Darling Harbor, a marathon of a different sort is under way: the "pintathlon." Thousands of people gather daily to beg, barter, or buy the collectibles in what has become an unofficial side sport of the games. Where else would you find...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pin Professor Paul Bush, pin professor from the bush.

SAVIDGE: A self proclaimed "pinologist," the professor conducts free seminars which in minutes can transform even the most "pintimidated" into wily hagglers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have proved yourselves absolute brilliant graduates from the Sydney class of 2000.

SAVIDGE: An estimated 10 to 15 million pins will change hands at the Sydney games, but some of the prices can be more than just a pin prick to your wallet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some pins are $2 and $3, and some pins are $400 and $500. And I've seen pins sell for thousands of U.S. dollars before.

SAVIDGE: Pin collectors start with a few, then quickly begin looking like human pin cushions, before graduating to the coveted pinhead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pinhead is basically a person who wears their pins on their hat.

SAVIDGE: Pin trading is expected to reach a frenzy as the games wind down. The last thing pin dealers want is to be stuck with "has- pins."

Martin Savidge, CNN, Sydney.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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