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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for Monday, January 29, 2001

Aired January 29, 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: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM for Monday, everyone. I'm Tom Haynes.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. Thanks for joining us. Here's a look at the rundown.

HAYNES: Tragedy tops the news, as India continues to reel from a devastating earthquake.

WALCOTT: Moving onto our "Daily Desk," we examine the deadly combination of planes and birds.

HAYNES: We're covering more environmental issues in "Worldview," when we meet a young man and his river.

WALCOTT: And we end up at the Sundance Film Festival, chronicling the experiences of a young filmmaker.

Topping today's news, the death toll continues to rise in India two days after a massive earthquake rocked the western part of that country. The quake, measuring 7.9, struck just before 9:00 a.m. local time Friday. Its epicenter was located near the town of Bhuj. Officials say at least 11,000 people are dead. And they say the number of casualties could rise by the thousands.

Rescue efforts continue around the clock in India. But the vast majority of people being found are dead. Friday's quake left at least 32,000 people injured. And thousands more are still unaccounted for. On Sunday, an aftershock with a magnitude of 6 renewed the horror for many. It was the largest of the nearly 300 aftershocks so far. Thousands of people are afraid to return to their homes. But many others simply have no homes to return to and are camping out in the street. The quake, India's worst in 50 years, struck on a national holiday, when many people were at home.

HAYNES: Through all the death and destruction in India, a glimmer of hope: Some survivors are being pulled from the rubble, including a 7-year-old and his mother, who were rescued after two days of being buried alive. Rescuers are using everything from high-tech equipment to their bare hands to try to detect sings of life.

Nic Robertson has more on those efforts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Overcome with emotion, Hari Ben (ph) has just found her husband. After three days of searching the news she was fearing, he is found dead, buried under rubble at the city hospital. Anguish and despair a plentiful commodity, as the city's buildings yield those entombed in the rubble.

Through the day, rescue efforts were continuing, the Indian Army taking the leading role; a few survivors were found, the vast majority however, dead. With fears of disease spreading from the dead growing, government authorities are burning many of the bodies. The public pyres, the final resting place for those not claimed by their families. So far, more than 300 disposed of this way.

Already one of the biggest relief efforts ever by India's armed forces, it is now beginning to be augmented by international assistance.

PATRICK FULLER, INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS: From our perspective, the priority is to get food into people. The markets are empty. A lot of material, a lot of food stuff has been looted from the warehouses, so a lot of the shops are closed. People can't really buy anything.

ROBERTSON: Priority also: shelter for the thousands who have lost their homes. Dr. Verma shows the cracks the quake left in his living room. Now he fears it is no longer safe to stay.

DR. VERMA: There is still doubt. It could come again. There are chances it may come again, because rebound is always there.

ROBERTSON: He is not alone. Even those who have suffered minimal damage to their homes have taken to the streets living in the open rather than indoors while thousands of others are fleeing the area altogether.

(on camera): Only now as the scale of devastation and loss begins to become clear, can the scope of the relief effort, needed to shelter and feed so many, begin to be properly assessed. Relief officials say it could be weeks before they fully have the situation under control.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Bhuj, India.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: We shift focus now to the Middle East. Another round of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians concluded yesterday. The two sides met in the Egyptian town of Taba. During the talks, more key issues were addressed: land, the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and regional security. Both Palestinian and Israeli spokesmen said they had come close to reaching a peace agreement. They will meet again after Israeli elections next month. Meantime, in Switzerland, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres addressed the World Economic Forum. Both spoke of their commitment to a just and permanent peace in the region.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICIA KELLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was a symbolic gesture of reconciliation, greeted with enthusiasm by the world's business and political elite. But Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat held no punches in his opening remarks to this audience at the World Economic Forum.

YASSER ARAFAT, PRES., PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (through translator): Israel is waging and has waged for the last four months a savage and barbaric war, as well as a blatant and fascist military aggression against our Palestinian people.

KELLEY: Arafat accused Israel of using internationally prohibited weapons and ammunition against the Palestinians.

ARAFAT (through translator): Whom so ever really seeks to achieve peace in belief and sincerity does not resort to killing, persecution, assassination, destruction and devastation, as the current government is doing.

KELLEY: This was Arafat's first public address since the current violence flared between Israelis and Palestinians four months ago. His words were in marked contrast to the conciliatory tone adopted by former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI MINISTER OF REGIONAL COOPERATION: None of us would like to see a single Palestinian suffering, not to say a single Palestinian losing his life. On the contrary, we would like to see the Palestinians living in independence, in honor, in respect, in security and prosperity.

KELLEY: Peres said Arafat's Palestinian Authority bears some responsibility for not controlling violence, claiming the current conflict was not started by Israel.

PERES: Nor did we aim our gun just out of bad will, only when it was needed to defend our lives.

KELLEY: Both Arafat and Peres blamed extremists on both sides for working against peace. Both praised efforts made by the other side to promote the peace process.

ARAFAT: And we will continue together -- continue together.

KELLEY (on camera): Shimon Peres commented with a smile, but President Arafat's final remarks were better than his opening. He also said he thinks the prospect of peace in the Middle East is closer than most people think.

Patricia Kelly, CNN, Davos, Switzerland. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: In our "Environment Desk" today: the growing problem of collisions between birds and airplanes, or bird strikes. The question is: Why is it a growing problem? Well, one reason: There are simply more birds to hit out there.

Conservation efforts, including wetlands restoration projects and the creation of wildlife refugees, has caused a soaring increase in bird population worldwide. The travel has nearly doubled the number of takeoffs and landings in the U.S. in 1980. And finally, planes are getting faster and quieter, making it harder for birds to hear the planes and get out of the way.

So, what's being done to solve this fowl problem? Well, Mary Pflum has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY PFLUM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): August 27th, Los Angeles International Airport, moments after takeoff, passengers aboard KLM Flight 602 to Amsterdam saw one of the jet's engines burst into flames. The pilot safely made an emergency landing as pieces of the plane fell to the ground. Preliminary reports indicate the cause of the near crash was a 2 pound seagull. Between 1990 and 1998, birds and planes collided more than 22,000 times in the United States. Most of the strikes were routine. Some were not.

All told, the airline industry estimates at least 350 people have been killed in bird-plane collisions since the dawn of aviation.

(on camera): Bird-plane collisions cost the U.S. aviation industry about $400 million a year. That's according to the Federal Aviation Administration. But the problem isn't unique to the United States. One case in point: the Israeli air force, which loses more planes to birds than what it does to enemy fire.

(voice-over): To combat the problem, a growing number of airports, including San Francisco International, are using new scare tactics to keep birds away from airways. One method, bird bombs. When pilots or air traffic controllers spot a flock of birds on runways, air safety workers are deployed to set off the fireworks. And then there are the rubber balls: in San Francisco's case, 80,000 of them. They're a recent addition to ponds around the airport, an environmentally friendly means of getting birds to get lost.

STEVE JULIANO, SAN FRANCISCO INTL. AIRPORT: Before, we had birds, particularly ducks, floating in the area. So the experiment has proven fairly successful.

PFLUM: At New York's JFK airport, canons, guns and even balloons are used to keep birds away, as are falcons.

LAURA FRANCOUR, JFK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: We've done a very successful job of reducing the bird strike hazard at JFK; and particular the gulls. All of our gull strikes have gone down. PFLUM: Now there are methods of preventing crashes once deemed flukes of nature.

Mary Pflum, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HEATHER HOLLOWAY, CLEARWATER, FLORIDA: Hello, CNN. My name is Heather Holloway and I'm from Clearwater, Florida.

My question is, when you're landing or taking off on a plane, why do you have to put your seats in the upright position? And why do you have to have all the window shades up as well?

CARL ROCHELLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heather, the reason the seats are upright and the tray tables are all up is for safety purposes, so if there is an accident, that you can get out of your seat OK. When the seat backs are up, they are locked in that position and they won't flop forward or back with you if there is an accident.

The shades on the side, that's the option of the crew of the airplane. Whether they want them up or down, they can call that. The federal aviation regulations only specify that -- or actually go to the point of even suggesting that the light outside the aircraft be about the same as it is inside. In other words, if it's dark outside, then they prefer that it be dark inside the airplane. But it is the option of the crew. The tables and the chairs are all for safety reasons.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, the stories of two men from very different generations both drawn to and shaped by water. We'll travel to the United states and to Cuba to meet them, and to hear about their impact on their world.

HAYNES: He was perhaps one of the most prolific and influential of all American writers. And chances are you've been assigned to read at least one of his books. Ernest Hemingway came to fame in the 1920s and '30s with titles like "The Sun Also Rises," "A Farewell to Arms," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

Hemingway was born near Chicago in 1899, but spent much of his later years in Cuba before his death in 1961. It was there he wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, "The Old Man and the Sea," the tale of an old fisherman and his relentless agonizing, four-day battle with a marlin.

The man who was said to have served as Hemingway's inspiration for that story is still alive and well in Cuba.

And as Lucia Newman reports, at age 103, he's part literary treasure and part tourist attraction.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Gregorio Fuentes says there are a lot of fish in the sea. But for this 103- year-old Cuban fisherman, it's not the marlins he remembers most, it's what's made him famous: his relationship with Ernest Hemingway.

Fuentes was the novelist's ship captain and inseparable fishing companion throughout the many years Hemingway lived in Cuba. He also became the inspiration for Hemingway's book, "The Old Man and the Sea," because of his audacity with a hook.

"It's something you have to be born with," he says, "knowing the minute and the hour, the exact way a fish is thinking. If you don't take that into account, you're not a fisherman."

Fuentes recalls Hemingway as a friend, and remembers when this photo was taken.

"He used to tell me, take care of yourself the way only you know how; and take care of my Pilar. And I did, which is why the Pilar is still at his house."

The Pilar was Hemingway's beloved fishing boat, on display at the writer's former home, today a museum.

Fuentes still lives in the fishing town of Cojimar, where he has become a sort of tourist attraction for Hemingway buffs from all over the world; not that he likes that very much, nor the way the world is going.

"The world was better before," he says, "and it's getting worse." You see the news and you realize that there's so many bad people in the world."

Even so, Fuentes says he's enjoyed life, adding that even at 103, he's not too old to partake in what he insists is still his favorite pastime: flirting.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Cojimar.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We turn from the "Old Man and the Sea" to a young man and a river; the Mississippi River, to be specific.

The Mississippi River is the principal river in the United States, stretching about 2,350 miles, or 3,780 kilometers from North to South. The Indians called it the "father of waters."

A major transportation route, it was crucial in the development of the U.S. In 1997, CNN reported about a Generation X kid from the American heartland who had single-handedly take on the daunting task of restoring a national treasure.

Now, several years later, CNN's Tim Wall revisits young Chad Pregracke, who's devotion to a dream has brought it to full fruition.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

September, 1997

(END GRAPHIC)

CHAD PREGRACKE, MISSISSIPPI RIVER BEAUTIFICATION AND RESTORATION PROJECT: My name is Chad Pregracke, and I've been cleaning up the Mississippi River for the last 3 1/2 years. It's a job that needs to be done and nobody else is doing it and I just wanted to go out there and not talk a lot and just do it.

Yes, one man gathers where another man spills, that's what it is, I guess. I guess I'm the gatherer.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

October, 2000

(END GRAPHIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got the GPS running. We'll see what difference it makes.

PREGRACKE: It's called the Mississippi River Beautification and Restoration Project. It started in 1997 and it just started in my little skiff, just picking up barrels and everything I saw that I didn't like. And it's coming right along. It's moving right along.

Well, the barge is what I've been using to accumulate all the garbage from Dubuque, Iowa down to St. Louis and had a lot of community cleanups and everything. And I have some really good people that help me out here every day. And thousands of people have come together to help push this project forward. So, I'm not alone, by all means, no.

We're on Mississippi River right under the St. Louis arch, right on the riverfront. Having a big clean-up today. It's going to be a really good deal. We're going to take people out on the river and clean up right here on the riverfront.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody wave.

ERIK WILSON, CREW MEMBER: It's neat to see all you guys out here. This is the culmination of a lot of different efforts, a lot of different people who have brought this all together. It's gone from one man, one boat, grassroots to, hey, this is a big, worldwide thing now. This is going to be the future of everything. It's the future of your grandchildren, of your children and everybody. And we're going to go get dirty right now and see what you guys are made of, you know.

(APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, here we go.

PREGRACKE: Well, there's about a hundred years of junk here.

We pull all sorts of things off the shore. We pulled over 1,000 barrels, over 200 refrigerators, enough styrofoam to fill two football fields a foot thick, boats, canoes, lots of propane tanks, trucks, vans, lots of TV sets, microwaves, lots and lots of tires -- anywhere from little doughnut tires up to huge earth-moving tires -- everything. There's just lots of stuff out there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.

ANGIE HAUSKINS, ANHEUSER BUSCH: I work for Anheuser Busch. And it's one thing, I guess, to be able to say that your company is taking an environmental stance, but it's another thing to come see your senior director and your directors and your managers picking up trash on the Mississippi River.

JENNIFER ANDERSON, CREW MEMBER: The energy at a community clean- up is so high and everybody's having a great time. And once they come back, everybody talks about what they got, and, you know, they've put a piece of garbage on this barge and they feel good about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're almost done.

PREGRACKE: Hey, Ron, is there more of this stuff over there?

I work with, you know, some of the biggest corporations in the world: Honda Marine and Anheuser Busch and ALCOA Foundation and Caterpillar and Waste Management and Enron and on and on. So, you know, everybody's really supportive. And I couldn't do it without money, you know, because it's a much bigger, more expensive operation, but the results are a lot bigger, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to rotate the boats to the port side.

PREGRACKE: This afternoon we're headed up to Alton, Illinois, and we're going to a barge unloading facility. Ninety percent of the stuff will be recycled. So, it should take about three or four days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hard right.

PREGRACKE: I took a break last year and like the whole time I was thinking about -- I couldn't even take a vacation. You know, I'm just like -- I'm living life, this part of my life and, you know, I don't think of it even as work even though it is. I mean, it's totally tons and tons of work, but it's just like I'm really liking what I'm doing.

I'll be in Cairo, Illinois. I'll be headed up the Ohio River doing a 981-mile stretch. And then the following year I'll be on the Hudson River and then the Potomac, and coming to a river near you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NELLIS: A final note on this story. Chad has lived along the Mississippi River his whole life. Three years ago, he decided to clean up its shores. That summer, he cleaned up 100 miles of the Big Muddy by himself. The first CNN story brought Chad major grant money and sponsorships, and even inspired musician Lenny Kravitz to write a song about Chad.

Chad now manages crews and volunteers on vessels that have cleaned up over 900 miles of Upper Mississippi shoreline. He has begun an Adopt-a-Mile program for the river and he has set his sights on the Ohio, the Hudson and the Potomac Rivers. This past fall, Chad was presented with the Chuck Yeager award.

ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you will find a rundown of each day's shows, so you choose just the program segment that fits 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 sign up to have the guide e-mailed directly to you today.

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: Well, this weekend saw the end of the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. The annual gathering, a function of the Sundance Institute, was established as a way to support, encourage and showcase developing filmmakers.

Our Jason Bellini went to this year's festival and met up with one such Hollywood hopeful. Here is her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Opening scene: a bleak landscape; two children who've survived the apocalypse appear, hunting for food to bring home to their mother.

The film "Pate" is a dark story about an aristocratic family struggling to survive while clinging to the fading opulence of their former lives. So what does mother do when the one man left on earth comes to dinner and there's nothing left for him?

AGNIESZKA VOJTOWICZ VOSLOO, FIRST-TIME FILM DIRECTOR: It's really about, you know, stronger taking over the weaker; and you see it all around you.

BELLINI: Here at Sundance, Agnieszka Vojtowicz Vosloo sees her creation on the screen for the very first time. When she started working on the film two years ago, she knew she wanted to make it look as good as a studio film. VOSLOO: My budget was $5,000. Most of the things that you see on screen, like the costumes, were really made by hand.

BELLINI: At 23 years old, not only is this Agnieszka's first time at Sundance, this is also her very first film. She's still an undergraduate at NYU film school; so when her film was chosen, she had no idea what to expected from Sundance.

What she's found is that, even before seeing her film, people want to talk to her as a prospective hot young talent. This group of agents and lawyers took her to dinner to find out what she has planned for her next project.

VOSLOO: They represent people so they always like, you know -- when they see like a young talent they try to, like, snatch it before someone else gets him. Usually there's, like, you know, five different parties happening at the same time on one night.

BELLINI: She still has to talk her way into parties and be her own publicist. It's been exciting, but at the same time, she's found it a bit disillusioning.

VOSLOO: It's really funny because it's very business-oriented; it's not really about art anymore here.

BELLINI: At the same time, Agnieszka's goal at Sundance this week has been to find someone willing to fund the production of a feature script she's written and she knows can't be made on a shoestring budget, the way she did with "Pate".

VOSLOO: When I needed something, I just went out and, you know, tried to get it donated or tried to, like, borrow it. We had, like, 2,000 candles; I had to go to each store in New York and, like, get, like, five candles for free. A first feature is really important; you don't want to, like, go with anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people are happy to grab whatever they can have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the whole thing -- right here is the whole reason we came to Sundance. These cards are the reason we came here.

BELLINI: At her film's second screening, the largest one she'll get, Agnieszka entered the theater with the idea in mind that someone in the audience could be the one -- the one who can take her to where she wants to go next with her career.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she's got to realize how important it is for the audience to like it and to react to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "Pate," directed by Agnieszka Vojtowicz Vosloo.

VOSLOO: I've been told it is a little weird film -- or very weird film, but I hope you enjoy it. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really enjoyed it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Interesting and good. And the film was brilliant. So congratulations.

VOSLOO: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I enjoyed the film very much.

BELLINI: The compliments are gratifying, and the fistful of business cards she'll take home with her certainly encouraging. Yet she knows neither guaranties her anything. But Agnieszka is confident; this week has been like a movie for her -- a movie in which she is both actor and director.

Jason Bellini, CNN NEWSROOM, Park City, Utah.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Wow. So young and already on her way.

WALCOTT: She's well on her way. And we're on our way, too.

HAYNES: That's right: out of here. Thanks for joining us.

WALCOTT: Bye bye.

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