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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for January 4, 2001

Aired January 4, 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: Sporting a new look for a new year, CNN NEWSROOM welcomes you for Jan. 4, 2001. I'm Tom Haynes. And here's a look at the rundown.

In today's news, plenty of pledges on Capitol Hill as the 107th Congress takes the oath of office.

Then, in our "Science Desk," hitting the road with the latest gizmos. We'll check out the latest safety features being installed in vehicles.

Next, we check out the globe through the lens of a camera. "Worldview" offers a snapshot of photojournalism from Paris.

And we round out the show with a mystery in "Chronicle." Why is the English sparrow disappearing from its homeland?

The 107th United States Congress has convened. Newly elected United States senators and representatives took their oaths on Capitol Hill Wednesday, and their place in history.

With 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, the U.S. Senate is more evenly divided than it's been in 120 years. Under Senate rules, the vice president can vote to break ties, and that means Republicans will end up with a slightly greater share of power come Jan. 20 when President-elect George W. Bush is sworn into office and his vice president, Dick Cheney, becomes president of the Senate. Until then, Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

Political analyst Norman Ornstein says, however, that the "moderates" will have the most influence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORMAN ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: In the Senate, where, of course, we know it's 50-50, you've got a very sizable group of moderates who really are the balance of power. The leaders of this moderate coalition -- John Breaux, Democrat of Louisiana; Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine -- I almost call it the Breaux-Snowe Party -- nothing can be done without working its way through them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: The Senate's 50-50 division almost is matched by the House's slender GOP majority of 221 to 211, plus two independents and one vacancy. Leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties are calling for bipartisanship and cooperation.

The United States Senate now features a record 13 women. Among them, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York's junior senator. She is the first first lady to become a member of Congress.

Chris Black has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Clinton of New York.

CHRIS BLACK, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Throughout her life, Hillary Rodham Clinton has been making waves. Now she's making history. the first baby boomer to be first lady is now the first first lady to serve in the United States Senate.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: So here I am and I never could have predicted it.

BLACK: The Republican leader says she's just one of 100.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: She certainly is going to get extra attention because she is, after all, the first lady and the first one ever to be in the Senate, and you all are going to give her extra attention because of that. But, you know, under the rules of the Senate, we are all co-equals.

SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R), NEW MEXICO: That does not come with notoriety around here nor does it come with public relations, it comes with work and being part of this process, part of what's called the Senate.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, Senator.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Hello, Mr. Vice President.

BLACK: Sen. Clinton ranks 97th in seniority, but she went to the head of the line for the traditional reenactment ceremony to accommodate the security concerns created by the presence of the president.

The outgoing president told Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York he wanted to help the new New York team.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told Hillary, I'll be part of the Schumer-Clinton errand-running team.

BLACK: Thirty-five years ago, another politician with a famous name, Robert F. Kennedy, the former attorney general, became the junior senator from New York. His younger brother remembers. SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I enjoyed working very closely with my brother, Bob, but he cast a big shadow. And I expect Mrs. Clinton to cast a big shadow as well.

BLACK: Hillary Clinton considers Ted Kennedy a role model. He has some advice:

KENNEDY: To work very hard, to fight for what you believe in, to respect the opposition, and to watch out after your state.

BLACK: The moderate Democrat who sits next to her in the last row of the Senate chamber says she should take time to learn the ways of the Senate.

SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: I think that my advice would be to take it slow and easy and not try to do everything the first couple of months in the Senate. And I think that's what she's going to do. And I think that she recognizes that there is a, I think, a moderate mandate.

BLACK (on camera): Now the work begins for the junior senator from New York. She's expected to become the newest member of the Senate Labor Committee, where she can focus on education, health care, and other issues of longtime concern.

Chris Black, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: A bittersweet moment for one senator who was sworn in Wednesday. Jean Carnahan, now senator from Missouri, hoped to watch her husband take the oath of office. Mel Carnahan, Missouri's governor, died in a plane crash while campaigning against Republican Sen. John Ashcroft. Because Gov. Carnahan died three weeks before the election, it was too late to take his name off the ballot. He won by a narrow margin. His wife was to be appointed to replace him, and she says she's ready to make things happen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEAN CARNAHAN (D), MISSOURI: I have just gone through a very bittersweet moment in the Senate chamber. I always felt that I would be an observer from the balcony. That didn't happen that way. Instead, I was a participant on the floor. But I felt very strongly that there were three people smiling down on us. My husband always said he never wanted to go into government just to warm a seat. I have those same feelings. I want to do something that's going to make a difference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: There are a record number of women in the U.S Senate this year, and all 13 women are serving; 10 are Democrats, three are Republicans. There are three states where both Senate seats will be filled by women: California, Maine and Washington. Lot of news today. In today's headlines, U.S. President Clinton's Middle East peace plan could be getting a new lease on life. Israel is sending a top negotiator to Washington to talk with U.S. officials. The move comes after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat conditionally accepted the latest U.S. peace proposal.

Kelly Wallace has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With just 17 days left to craft a deal, President Clinton gets a hopeful sign from his Middle East partners.

JAKE SIEWERT, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Both sides have now accepted the president's ideas with some reservations. That represents a step forward.

WALLACE: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat leaves Washington to brief his Arab counterparts in Cairo, sounding an optimistic note.

YASSER ARAFAT, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY CHAIRMAN: What has been done is very important to push the peace process forward.

WALLACE: And Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak tells Mr. Clinton an Israeli negotiator will travel to Washington Thursday to meet with U.S. officials. The White House says the key is whether both sides' reservations can be reconciled to pave the wave for another round of talks.

SIEWERT: I would not presume that we will get this done, but the president is committed to trying.

WALLACE: The Palestinian reservations cover the thorniest issues: sovereignty -- who controls the holy site in Jerusalem Muslims call Haram al-Sharif, Jews consider the Temple Mount. Territory: Palestinians want to see maps of exactly what they will control in the West Bank. And refugees: Palestinians want priority given to those refugees living in Lebanon who want to return.

But the American plan calls for the Palestinians giving up the right for refugees to return in exchange for sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem.

EDWARD ABINGTON, CONSULTANT TO PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: I think the gaps have narrowed, but let's not be Pollyannish in thinking that this is all over.

WALLACE: Other hurdles: The president leaves office Jan. 20. As for Mr. Barak, he faces reelection in February and declining support in Israel for himself and for the American outline.

ROBERT SATLOFF, WASH. INST. FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: Highly difficult and irregular to do this under the gun of the end of an administration in Washington and a defined Israeli election date. WALLACE (on camera): Senior U.S. officials concede it may be impossible to get an agreement and that there may be a point the president determines he's done all that he can do, leaving the matter for his successor. When will that be? One Clinton aide said: "We will know it when we see it."

Kelly Wallace, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: If you've got your driver's license, you probably know police use radar detectors to catch speeders. But do you know how they work? Well, a radar is a method of detecting distant objects and determining their position, velocity or other characteristics. This is done by analyzing very high frequency radio waves reflected from the objects' surfaces. Radar is used from everything from air traffic control to weather forecasting to military surveillance.

And now an innovative company has developed radar systems that may keep you and your vehicle safer.

Ed Garsten explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED GARSTEN, CNN DETROIT BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): You're driving in a big, brawny sport utility vehicle. It looks safe to change lanes, nothing showing in the side-view mirror. It's not safe, though. Another car is in your blind spot, making the lane change dangerous.

But thanks to a new system from Visteon, the light flashing in your mirror let's you know that the other car is there. It works using an onboard radar.

PAUL ZORATTI, VISTEON: The vehicle continues through the detection zone and we track it through the zone until it departs and the icon in the mirror goes off, indicating to the driver that it's now safe to change lanes.

GARSTEN: The side-detection system will be available in late 2004, primarily in SUVs and large vans.

Another type of radar-based detection system is called adaptive cruise control. It goes conventional cruise control one better. All the driver has to do is set the so-called "gap" between one and two seconds, set the speed, and cruise.

JOHN BARKLEY, VISTEON: If a vehicle is slower-moving and is ahead, then the feature allows automatic braking and throttle control to maintain that headway with the vehicle in front. If, in fact, you do get cut off -- in other words, a vehicle enters your lane in a very close range -- the adaptive cruise control applies the brakes so that it automatically adjusts the headway then between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. GARSTEN: The system will be available first in Europe beginning in 2003, and later in North America for between $500 and $700. The idea, says Visteon, isn't to allow drivers minds to wander, but rather to protect them from wandering into dangerous situations.

Ed Garsten, CNN, Detroit.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Our globe-hopping today is going to take us far and wide. We'll head to the Land Down Under, Australia, a growing destination for African immigrants. What's the attraction, anyway? You're going to find out. We'll also introduce you to some adorable puppies. You'll be oohing and aahing, guaranteed. They're dogs with a noble mission. Plus, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Travel to France to find out.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Television can take us around the world instantly, from images like the fall of the Berlin Wall to the student uprising in China's Tiananmen Square, and more recently the violence in the Middle East. We've come to expect pictures of events from around the globe as they happen. It's hard to imagine news coverage, especially through pictures, hasn't always been like this.

In France, there's a new exhibit of thousands of photographs documenting that country's global influence more than a century ago; pictures that have been in storage for years. Although primitive by today's standards, they represent the cutting edge of a profession in its infancy: photojournalism.

Peter Humi gives us a preview from Paris.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER HUMI, CNN PARIS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): In the days before the electronic media, indeed even before electrical power, these photographs acted as diplomatic postcards. The year is 1862. The construction of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, then part of the Ottoman Empire, is just beginning, a project largely financed and designed by the French. The photographs were to show the then foreign minister in Paris how work was progressing.

Michele Vedrine, the wife of today's French foreign minister, showed us around the exhibition she helped organize.

MICHELE VEDRINE, WIFE OF FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): It's more of a hidden treasure than a forgotten one. It wasn't lost, but the Foreign Ministry never realized what a gold mine it was sitting on.

HUMI: That gold mine includes photographs from places with names from the distant past: Cochin, Annam, Siam. From Mesopotamia in modern day Iraq, a snapshot by a French missionary of two nuns perched in baskets on the back of a mule, a photo taken 96 years ago. French expatriates at work and at rest, although the subjects of these portraits somehow never look entirely comfortable. Local dramas, such as the execution of suspected pirates in 1900 in Canton, China, or the class photo at the French school in Shanghai.

PIERRE FOURNIE, CHIEF ARCHIVIST (through translator): The French consul in Delhi sent this to Paris in 1910 with a brief note that said, look, I'm telling you the truth. Here's the Dalai Lama in exile." It was an example of photojournalism.

HUMI: Another example: victims of alleged Russian atrocities in Armenia in 1877, although the accompanying note warned against using the visual image as a means for diplomacy.

Here, some of the earliest color photographs in existence, taken in Morocco in 1907. Many photographers attached detailed correspondence to their photographs...

(on camera): ... like this letter from a certain Captain Riviere (ph), written in February 1891, from what is now Cambodia. "On the 30th of January," writes the captain, "I shot an alligator on the banks of the Mekong River. Here's a photograph."

(voice-over): Quite what the Foreign Ministry made of Captain Riviere's dead alligator, or of a monkey he also shot, is not known. Thousands upon thousands of photographs remain to be catalogued and rediscovered in the ministry's archives. Pictures of fingernails in Siam or a communal drinking bowl in Laos are just two items of an intriguing historical record.

Peter Humi, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Theirs is a unique and special friendship. Guide dogs and their visually impaired masters have a bond no seeing person can fully understand. Chances are, when you come across them in public you may not quite know how to act. And as tempting as it may be, experts say it's not a good idea to try to pet the dog, since that could distract him from his duty. Also, never offer a guide dog food of any kind, since that would disrupt its strict diet and feeding schedule.

Guide dogs are highly skilled, highly trained animals. Preparation for their work begins when they are just puppies.

Jim Hyde takes a look at one program that's ensuring future guide dogs get off to a good start.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM HYDE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One after another, little Golden and Labrador Retrievers emerge from the van. Their journey began in San Rafael, California. At each planned stop along the way towards Seattle, puppy-raiser families wait anxiously.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't even see the black one.

HYDE: Soon a pen full of pups are pouring over and around each other. They're relentlessly cute, but remain seven dogs and about a half million spots short of a Dalmatian movie. Now they have a higher calling: becoming guide dogs for the blind. First step: meet their puppy raisers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, he's so cute.

HYDE: Yes, but which one is ours? the Hendricks (ph) family of Tigert (ph) wants to know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tiffany's is 4P3.

HYDE: The numbers are marked inside the ear, but there are a lot of lobes to unflop to discover the right one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait, mom, I found her.

HYDE: After a brief get-acquainted session, "4P3," or Lotus, as they'll call her, is fitted for a collar and leash.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here you go, Lotus.

HYDE: Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. enlists about 900 families in the Western states to bring the puppies through basic training.

CHARLOTTE HANSEN, GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND: Sit, stay, that kind of thing. And they get to take them all over the place: stores, church, the mall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And after today, we're not going to let her pull on that leash anymore, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or bite them.

HYDE: Lotus and the Hendricks will have about a year together before they return her to Guide Dogs' campus for advance training, and a pairing with a blind person who'll share the rest of her life.

(on camera): So I thought, sure, cute dogs, I'll just stick one under my arm and take it home. No one will notice. Oh, yes, they're carefully marked, lovingly watched.

(voice-over): All these puppies have a family, and later a sightless person, waiting for them down the road.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: These days, Australia is topping the list of popular tourist destinations. Vast amounts of unspoiled land attract travelers looking for a break from city life. Trademark wildlife, including kangaroos, koalas, and Tasmanian devils, rank high on the must-see lists of Aussie visitors. Many visit the outback for its breathtaking landscape, or the Great Barrier Reef for a dive among the marine life. And there's a growing fascination with Aboriginal culture, including artwork and music. International interest in Australia is so strong that tourism is now the largest and fastest growing sector of the services industry. But the Land Down Under also offers a lot for those planning a longer stay.

Catherine Bond tells us why so many Kenyans are leaving their homeland to settle in Australia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAMIAN GRIFFITHS, MIGRATION LAWYER: When you think about migrating to Australia, there's different ways, there's different categories for different people.

CATHERINE BOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a Nairobi hotel, an Australian lawyer addresses a seminar packed with people curious to know what requirements they'd have to satisfy in order to migrate to Australia.

GRIFFITHS: You've got to be working in a job which is on our list of occupations for Australia.

BOND: Australia has been pursuing skilled labor in Europe and Asia for decades. But nowadays, more and more of its immigrants are coming from Africa.

GRIFFITHS: I think in the last twelve months there's been a sudden increase in interest in Kenya, particularly in Australia. I think people are seeing the proximity of the country, the weather, the way of life as opposed to other destinations, such as the U.K. where previously people thought of migrating to.

BOND: So what did some of the Kenyans who came to listen think? Many said they couldn't talk to us on camera. They didn't want their employers to know they'd come. But a few were prepared to talk.

SUNIL SACHDEVA, ORTHODONTIST: The last few years in Kenya have not been particularly too good for business, firstly. Secondly, the crime is really, really scary. Thirdly, better prospects for kids.

JANE MUKURI, LAWYER: I think Australia is a better place than here. The cost of living is not so high. The standard of living, I think, is very good. And I've got children, so I'd like them to also have a good education.

PATRICK WANYEKI, SHOE DESIGNER: Very many people are really looking for places where they can expand, and maybe they won't get it here.

BOND: For most would-be migrants, however, what it comes down to is money. You need about $4,000 Australian, roughly $2,000 U.S., for the lawyers fees to guide you through a competitive application process to get into Australia; much more money, say, in excess of $100,000 U.S. if you're planning to go into business there.

Out of the many who find out about leaving, for one reason or another, relatively few will.

(on camera): Most Kenyans and others who've lived in Kenya for a long time like it here. Given the choice, they probably wouldn't want to go anywhere else. But times are hard. So hard, in fact, many are asking what kind of a future they'll have if they stay.

Catherine Bond, CNN, Nairobi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Looking for a good mystery? Before you head to the bookstore, you may want to set your sights on Great Britain. The English have a long tradition of mystery novels to choose from. But it seems they're being confronted with an unusual real-life mystery proving tough to solve.

Walter Rodgers reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD SIMON, NEW YORK PARK RANGER: The one with the little black beard, that's the male.

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The English sparrow, or house sparrow, has been perhaps the most successful bird in the world when it comes to adapting.

SIMON: In New York there must be at least a million to 2 million sparrows.

RODGERS: This little bird was imported into America from England in the 1850s. Now its range covers a quarter of the Earth's land mass. But ironically, the English sparrow is disappearing from England and nobody knows why?

DR. JEREMY WILSON, ROYAL SOCIETY FOR PROTECTION OF BIRDS: On farmland in rural areas, declines are probably around about 50 to 60 percent. But in some urban centers, such as London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, up to 90 percent of the sparrows may have disappeared.

RODGERS: Some suspect volatile additives in unleaded fuels have poisoned insects sparrow feed their chicks in the nesting season. Some blame large birds like magpies for pushing out the sparrow. Others suspect super-efficient agricultural methods of starving the birds by killing weed seeds and eliminating grain spillage.

But it's not just sparrows. Bullfinch populations are down 18 percent; turtle doves down 18 percent; skylarks 16 percent; Linnets 14 percent; blackbirds 30 percent.

WILSON: It is alarming, not least because of its rapidity. It's happened fairly quickly and only in the last 10 or 15 years. And we really don't know what the answer is.

RODGERS (on camera): Thirty years ago, here in London's St. James Park, you would have been besieged, attacked by English sparrows if you were carrying bread crumbs. Today, it's only pigeons. The sparrows are all gone.

(voice-over): Hamburg and other continental cities report similar declines.

WILSON: We may not take much notice of it when it's around, but when it disappears people notice: Where have the sparrows gone?

RODGERS: One British newspaper offered a $7,000 reward to anyone who can solve this mystery. Some speculate declining songbird populations signal something more serious for all of us.

In Britain, they take the disappearing English sparrow so seriously, the government monitors songbird declines as an indicator of the quality of life here, just as it monitors air and water pollution.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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 highlights 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 sigh 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.

HAYNES: "Nice way to start the new year." That's how 72-year-old George Vanek (ph) described the event taking place in Southern California. Raging wildfires are driving hundreds of people from their homes, including Vanek and his wife and two daughters in search of a safe haven. So far, 5,000 acres are in flames. People are trying to get out carrying precious mementos and pets. We leave you at the scene this 4th day of January.

Stay safe. We'll see you tomorrow.

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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