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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for January 3, 2001

Aired January 3, 2001 - 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: If you are returning from holiday vacation, welcome back. NEWSROOM is with you again for 2001. Glad you're with us. I'm Tom Haynes.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Welcome to the first show of the new year. Here's what's coming up.

HAYNES: In today's news, U.S. President-elect Bush rounds out his cabinet picks. We'll look at the people who could fill these powerful positions.

BAKHTIAR: Then in "Business Desk," the top cities in the United States. We'll tell you about the leading places to live.

HAYNES: On to "Worldview" and an Asian nation with a new reputation. Why tourism in Vietnam is taking off.

BAKHTIAR: And in "Chronicle," some U.S. history: a ceremony paying tribute to American slaves.

HAYNES: Two and a half weeks before his inauguration, United States President-elect George W. Bush completes his Cabinet. Among his picks is a former Democratic congressman currently serving in the Clinton administration.

President-elect George W. Bush announced his final selections for his 14-member Cabinet Tuesday. The current commerce secretary under President Clinton, Norman Mineta, is Bush's choice for transportation secretary. Mineta, a Democrat, says there are no Democratic or Republican issues when it comes to traveler safety.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORMAN MINETA, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECY. NOMINEE: I believe that there is no more fertile ground for building a bipartisan consensus on what is necessary and right for our country than in the area of transportation policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: Other Cabinet nominees include former Reagan administration official Linda Chavez for labor secretary, and defeated Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham of Michigan for energy secretary.

As Bush praises his Cabinet selections, he prepares for tough questioning regarding his choice for attorney general. Many Democrats say the views of Republican Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri is too conservative on social issues, and various civil rights leaders, including Jesse Jackson, say they will fight the nomination. Nevertheless, Bush predicts Ashcroft will be confirmed by the Senate.

BAKHTIAR: The United States Congress gets back to work today. And with the incoming Senate being more closely split than it's been in 120 years, there's a lot of talk about the need for both parties to work together.

Chris Black looks at the issues facing the divided Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS BLACK, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democratic and Republican leaders are trying to head off a bitter, partisan conflict between the parties over who will be in charge in the Senate. Talk of bipartisanship: down the drain.

Republican senators are resisting Democratic demands to split committee resources and votes 50-50 and give the Democratic leader the right to bring legislation to the Senate floor. Hostility is building on Capitol Hill over power-sharing, approval of the most conservative appointees of President-elect George W. Bush and the timing of campaign finance reform.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If we don't do it early, our chances of success diminish as time goes by.

BLACK: Republican senators met for more than two hours behind closed doors to discuss ways to accommodate the Democrats without giving in to Democratic demands.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Look, somebody has to be in charge, and whoever has 51 votes ought to be in charge.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: They want to control the Senate as if the election of last Nov. 7 did not occur, that they're still in the majority, they own the House, the Senate and the presidency and they don't need the Democrats.

BLACK: When the new Senate, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first first lady elected to public office, takes the oath on Wednesday, Democrats will be in the majority, thanks to the tie- breaking vote of Vice President Al Gore.

NORM ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Even though they managed to hold on by the narrowest of margins, what Republicans know is the worst of all possible worlds may be to have the title of majority and the responsibilities of the majority without having the power, the leverage, control of the agenda that goes along with it.

BLACK: Democratic sources say Democratic leader Tom Daschle will make his own proposal to divide power in the Senate, potentially provoking a GOP filibuster. Daschle will be the majority leader for 17 days until Mr. Bush takes office and Dick Cheney becomes the new vice president.

Sen. Daschle says he will not attempt to push through any legislation while Democrats control the majority, though he has promised John McCain Democratic support on campaign finance reform.

(on camera): At stake is the agenda of the next president. The fate of George Bush's legislative agenda could well depend on how and whether senators work out their differences over power-sharing.

Chris Black, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Also in the news today, U.S. President Clinton's trying to persuade Yasser Arafat to agree to further negotiations with Israelis. The Palestinian leader is in Washington meeting with Mr. Clinton as another round of violence erupts in the Middle East region.

Among other things, it's believed the United States proposes a Palestinian state in Gaza and in 95 percent of the West Bank. Palestinians would also get control of what they call the "Noble Sanctuary" and what Jews call the Temple Mount. It's a disputed holy site in traditionally Arab East Jerusalem. In exchange, Palestinians would drop their demand for the return of Palestinian refugees.

Meantime, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak says he doubts a deal can be reached before President Clinton leaves office in a little more than two weeks. In that case, it would be the Bush administration that would continue this delicate balancing act.

John King reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "One president at a time" is George W. Bush's consistent motto. Good luck, his wish, when it comes to the Middle East peace process.

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: I'm appreciative of the fact that the president is working endlessly to try to bring the parties together to achieve a lasting peace. I appreciate his efforts.

KING: But this will soon be his job, the Middle East one of the most difficult and pressing issues on the international agenda. Mr. Clinton has worked tirelessly for eight years with some success, but no shortage of frustration and failure. If this last-ditch effort fails, look for a different, more distant approach in a Bush administration, at least at the outset.

LEE HAMILTON, DIR., WOODROW WILSON CTR.: The one area that President Bush and his advisers have been critical of President Clinton is that they have felt that President Clinton has become too deeply involved in the details of the process, and they think it would be better if the American president stepped back and was not engaged in those details.

KING: But if Mr. Clinton somehow succeeds, Mr. Bush and his team may have no choice but to get involved from Day 1.

JON ALTERMAN, U.S. INSTITUTE FOR PEACE: Because if there is a deal, it's going to require a lot of hard work to work out from a framework to a real agreement, and then implementing that agreement.

KING: In any event, the new team will take over led by Secretary of State-designee Colin Powell. But Powell has yet to name his key deputies or say much about his views on the key obstacles to a peace deal.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: It is elusive, but it is out there somewhere. And hopefully, if it doesn't happen in the very near future and it becomes something for us to manage, you can be sure that we'll be fully engaged in trying to find the solution to that problem.

KING: Special Middle East envoy Dennis Ross dates back to the previous Bush administration, but Ross has told associates he is heading for the private sector soon.

(on camera): Once in office, the Bush team promises a top-to- bottom review of the entire Clinton Middle East strategy. And some advisers suggest if there's not a breakthrough in the Israeli- Palestinian negotiations soon, there will be a shift in emphasis: more effort placed on trying to secure a peace agreement between Israel and Syria.

John King, CNN, Austin, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: OK, I want you to think about your home town. Do you like the city, the town or the state where you're living? If you had a choice, would you stay there? Not sure what factors to consider? Well, for those of you who are living in the United States, don't worry. Some of the work has already been done for you.

Here's Jen Rogers with "Money" magazine's list of the 10 best cities in the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEN ROGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Money" magazine released its list of the best places to live. The winner: Portland, Oregon, with an abundance of natural beauty and jobs.

ALAN MIRABELLA, "MONEY" MAGAZINE: Portland's become a gigantic tech center, a center for tech jobs of all kinds. Intel is the largest employer, with something like 12,000 employees, and that's a really, real big transformation for a city that was really an old timber town many years ago. ROGERS: Other cities singled out by "Money" magazine: Salt Lake City; Chicago; Providence, Rhode Island; and the Raleigh-Durham/Chapel Hill area of North Carolina.

But don't call the moving company just yet. "Fortune" magazine also came out with its top picks of the best cities for business. And even though Portland is a high-tech hotbed, often referred to as the Silicon Forest, it didn't even make the list. New York walked away with the "Fortune" title. The financial capital of the world topped the list, followed by San Francisco; Chicago; the Washington, D.C. area and San Jose.

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK: We were a city that was losing business and we were counting the number of businesses we were losing. Now we're a city that's acquiring new businesses, new jobs. And the most important part of it is that New Yorkers are working at levels that are close to now record levels.

ROGERS (on camera): What's the best city for you? At Money.com, answer 10 questions ranging from the importance of nice weather to recreational activities and the site will come up with what it thinks is your best match.

That's "Your Money," Jen Rogers, CNN Financial News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)3

BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview," art and travel take the spotlight. Find out how an art auction is helping young cancer patients and building bridges between Cuba and the United States. And find out why two countries which are worlds apart -- Vietnam and Canada -- are popular tourist destinations.

We head to Southeast Asia, to the tropical country of Vietnam. France had control of Vietnam in the late 1800s and governed the country until Japan occupied it during World War II. After Japan's defeat in 1945, France tried to regain control of Vietnam, but the Viet Minh, a group controlled by communists and headed by Ho Chi Minh, came to power in the North. Fighting broke out between the French forces and Viet Minh in 1946 and ended with France's defeat. Subsequently, Vietnam was divided into two zones. The communists gained control of the northern zone, North Vietnam, and noncommunist Vietnamese gained control of the southern zone, South Vietnam.

But in 1957, Viet Minh members in the South began to rebel against the South Vietnamese government. And so began the Vietnam War. The U.S. became the chief ally to the South, sending supplies and hundreds of thousands of troops to the war zone. And communist countries like Russia aided the North. Eventually, the U.S. was forced to pull out of the war and North Vietnam defeated the South in 1976. North and South Vietnam were unified in what is now called the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Now, a new generation is helping Vietnam reinvent itself, with a new optimism that is attracting tourists from all over the world.

Carolyn O'Neil has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROLYN O'NEIL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Images of Vietnam. Blending rural landscapes and bustling cities are still shadowed by memories of war, but a new optimism here fuels the economy, and with it the business of tourism.

DOUGLAS "PETE" PETERSEN, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO VIETNAM: This is a new frontier. We should be focused on the future and people should be looking at Vietnam as it exists today, not as it was.

O'NEIL: 1.8 million travelers visited Vietnam last year, including more than 200,000 from the U.S. Most are Vietnamese Americans visiting their now peaceful homeland. Military veterans are returning too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're all coming for some closure. We're coming to say goodbye to some people we never got a chance to say goodbye to. They were put on helicopters and were gone, and we never got to say bye.

O'NEIL: A fresh look at Vietnam and its people is what appeals to other travelers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My curiosity about being here is more lined up with the culture and what the country is really like.

O'NEIL: A passion for Vietnamese cuisine inspired this group's tour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By the end of the trip, my goal is to know which noodle goes with which dish so that when I go back home I know what to buy and how to cook it.

O'NEIL: Others come to Vietnam for its impressive landscapes and beaches. In central Vietnam. ancient temples and palaces recall a time when emperors ruled the land.

In Hanoi and in Saigon, a host of new hotels are ready to accommodate tourists and business travelers alike.

JOHN TUE NGUYEN, DIR., OF MARKETING, TRAILS OF INDOCHINA: So, I think it's a question of really getting the word out, in order people to know that Vietnam is ready to receive international tourists today.

O'NEIL: The welcome mat is out as Vietnam presents its new image to the world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Now a tour of Canada, the second largest country in the world in area. Known to many as America's quiet neighbor to the north, Canada is a land of great variety. The country is graced with natural beauty, from the towering Rocky Mountains in the West, to fields of wheat in the central prairie provinces, to fishing villages and sandy beaches along the Atlantic Coast.

The Canadian people are just as varied as the landscape. Many live in Toronto, the country's largest city.

Carolyn O'Neil returns with this profile of one of the most diverse cities in the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O'NEIL (voice-over): Toronto is one of Canada's southernmost cities, located west of Montreal and just north of Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York. Twenty-two million visitors chose Toronto as their vacation or business destination in 1999, a city that's earned an image of being clean and safe and, well, a bargain for travelers because of the Canadian exchange rate.

MAYOR MEL LASTMAN, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA: You get about 50 cents off on the dollar. You get a discount. No matter what you buy, you go to a restaurant, it's about 50 percent less than it is in the United States. You go to our hotels and you get the bargain of a lifetime.

O'NEIL: Toronto is a major theater town, too. World-class stage productions such as "The Lion King" wow audiences at the Princess of Wales Theater.

EUGENE CLARK, "MUFASA," THE LION KING: The Canadian audience is a wonderful audience because they really love theater. But Toronto is just so special. I mean, we get a mix of so many people coming in -- tourists. So when they come see this play, it's just -- it's really unbelievable. You have to see it. You have to hear the response.

O'NEIL: There's more entertainment for the senses at St. Lawrence Market, selling everything from flowers to fois gras. Finding so many international tastes is no surprise when you learn that the United Nations named Toronto the most diverse city in the world.

A tour can take you through Chinatown, not so Little Italy, and neighborhoods where residents from Portugal or Greece or India call home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a beautiful city, beautiful people.

O'NEIL (on camera): And as you explore the neighborhoods of Toronto, don't be surprised if you stumble upon a movie set. Toronto is the third largest film and television production center in North America behind New York and Los Angeles.

(voice-over): Inviting more world attention, Toronto is bidding for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. What's so great about Toronto? Boat captain Brian Derochet (ph) was quick to respond as we cruised the city's inner harbor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just so much going on. And it's a very safe city, a very clean city. I love Toronto. O'NEIL (on camera): What do you think of the skyline?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excellent. It's second to none, in my opinion.

O'NEIL (voice-over): Carolyn O'Neil, CNN, Toronto, Ontario.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: On to Cuba, the largest and one of the most beautiful islands in the West Indies. Cuba is one of the United States' closes neighbors. The island lies just 90 miles, or 145 kilometers, south of Key West, Florida.

But close proximity doesn't necessarily mean close ties. Relations between the two countries became tense in 1959 when Fidel Castro led a communist revolution in Cuba. The Castro government developed a tight relationship with the Soviet Union, at the time the chief rival of the United States. On Jan. 3, 1961, exactly 40 years ago, the United States severed diplomatic ties with Cuba.

To this day, relations between the two countries remain cool, but a recent art show has helped bridge the cultural divide.

Lucia Newman has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Nothing unusual about seeing American art collectors, gallery owners and critics at an art auction. What is unusual is where they're looking to buy: Cuba, a country normally off-limits to U.S. citizens.

Still, the first ever auction of Cuban artwork from top painters who live and work on the island brought them to Havana in droves.

ELAIN COHEN, ART COLLECTOR: There's a conspicuous interest because we're not aware of what's going on in the art community here. So that heightens the interest.

NEWMAN: The interest in Cuban art, along with the price tag, have increased tremendously in the last few years. A gallery owner from Key West, Florida who represents many of the artists participating in the auction says it's because Cuban painters are unique.

NANCY FRANK, DIRECTOR, "THE GALLERY": They live in a society which is so different from anyone else on the planet. You know, it's really different. They live in the Third World, but they have excellent education. And they have 481 years of experience with the art.

NEWMAN: While the U.S. government usually sets a spending limit of less than $200 a day for Americans licensed to come here, in this case the sky is the limit, since cultural and educational material are exempted from Washington's economic embargo restrictions. Auctions are a rarity in this socialist country. So for this special occasion, Cuba's Casa de las Americas brought in a professional auctioneer, all the way from France.

All the works on auction were donated by the artists, the proceeds going to purchasing medicine in the United States for children.

CHARLES HORNUNG, U.S. LOS ANGELES MEDICAL AID FOUNDATION: The recipient of the funds from the auction will come to the foundation to purchase cancer medications to return to the oncology hospital in Havana.

NEWMAN: An event bringing art and charity together, as well as Cubans and Americans.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Havana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: The start of the new year marks a first in Germany. Women are being trained to serve in combat roles in the military.

And as Chris Burns reports, they had to fight to get their way in.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS BURNS, CNN BERLIN BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The first 244 women volunteer recruits collect their gear for their first day of combat training. Until this year, women in the German armed forces were limited to medical teams and military bands.

Now they'll be allowed to serve like any of the 22,000 young German men who reported for their mandatory military service this week. It was a long battle to break the gender barrier.

SYLVIA SIEBENHAUSER, GERMAN SOLDIER (through translator): Both men and women have to change their attitude. I don't think it will be easy, but I'll do my best.

BURNS: Even in the final, desperate days of World War II, Adolf Hitler's regime refused to draft women, and instead put teenage boys on the front line.

It wasn't until last January when a young German woman, an electrical engineering graduate, challenged the system in the European Court in Luxembourg. The court ordered the German government to grant equal opportunity under European Union law.

German officials insist that, as in other European Union countries, women won't make up more than 10 percent of the military. The figure is 11 percent in Canada and 14 percent in the United States.

Germany is scaling down its draft for men, turning to more volunteers, which could make women recruits more important. Germany will need those recruits to expand it's rapid reaction force and maintain ongoing peacekeeping duties, like those in Kosovo.

The German military has been preparing for the arrival of women in combat roles since last year, training officers how to combat and avoid sexual harassments. But women may still have an uphill fight with entrenched German attitudes. One politician jokingly wondered whether women will be given pink tanks to drive.

Chris Burns, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: And a reminder that on Jan. 17, CNN NEWSROOM presents "To Serve a Nation," a series of special reports designed to take you inside all four branches of the United States military. Find out why people your age would choose to join the service and what they face once inside. For many, it's a life-changing experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never in my life had I been in a situation where it was the second your eyes opened in the morning it's just go. Took for me personally, for this recruit personally, probably about three weeks of just -- it's very rattling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: "To Serve a Nation," premiering Wednesday, Jan. 17 right here on CNN NEWSROOM.

BAKHTIAR: Finally, marking a moment in history. Like most of the Founding Fathers, the first U.S. president, George Washington, owned slaves. But he did something unusual when he died: He ordered them to be freed. Some of the slaves descendants have gathered to honor the memory of their ancestors.

Bruce Morton explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At George Washington's house, a very American ceremony.

PEG HENRY POKUSA, MT. VERNON HISTORIC INTERPRETER: Honoring the memory of those people who built Mt. Vernon, who worked its fields, who maintained it and who very much made it what it is today.

MORTON: She means its slaves, 316 of them when Washington died. They worked its fields, tended its animals, shod its horses, wove its cloth. Washington freed his when he died 200 years ago. Others, his wife's from a previous marriage, could not be freed under Virginia law. Slaves like Caroline, who was there when Washington died.

ZSUN-NEE MATEMA, DESCENDANT OF CAROLINE BRANHAM: Anyone that could survive those times in American history deserves all the dignity and honor that we can give her. and I promised to give my Caroline that.

JIM REES, MT. VERNON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: I hope visitors today go away understanding more the lives of the individual slaves who worked here, and not just looking at slaves as a group, but looking at individual people who had different jobs, different talents, different families, different needs that lived here in the eighteenth century.

MORTON: We can see where they worked, see the face of one, at least. Washington, at the end of his life, did what he could, but freeing some meant split families, meant sorrow for others.

ROHULAMIN QUANDER, DESCENDANT OF SLAVE: We're here today, 200 years later, to say, hey, America, wake up, pay attention and give recognition to the fact that these men and women toiled, and we have to stop and give them a moment of recognition, and put them at peace.

IRENE ALEXANDER, DESCENDANT OF SLAVE: I hope that you all feel as I do, a sense of joy, a sense of sadness, but always hope that the efforts of good people will always be remembered.

MORTON: And the small crowd laid bits of boxwood on the memorial. Joy and sadness and remembrance: a very American ceremony.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Mt. Vernon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: It wasn't until the ratification of the 13 Amendment that slavery was abolished in the United States.

HAYNES: And we hope we leave you comfortable and warm this third day of the new year, especially considering how cold it's been across the U.S. the past couple days.

BAKHTIAR: And freezing. All this cold is certainly treacherous. It's also surreal and unreal, as depicted in these camera shots take recently.

Stay safe and we'll see you tomorrow.

HAYNES: Take care.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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