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Newsroom/World View

Newsroom for February 27, 2001

Aired February 27, 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.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Welcome to your Tuesday NEWSROOM. Glad you're here. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott.

Here's what's ahead.

BAKHTIAR: In today's news, the Bush budget plan: a closer look at what the White House calls a blueprint for new beginnings.

WALCOTT: Next, in "Health Desk," doctors and their patients: why some say they need more quality time.

BAKHTIAR: From people seeking medical attention to some disabled who want their independence, "Worldview" checks out a special program in Russia to help the blind.

WALCOTT: And, finally, in "Chronicle": a closer look at the voice known as Leslie Uggams.

WALCOTT: U.S. President Bush is gearing up to outline his first budget to lawmakers and the American people. The president will deliver his speech to Congress tonight and then hit the road to boost support for his tax cut and spending plans.

President Bush's nationally televised speech to Congress will be a defining moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People are going to hear, in plain-spoken words, why I believe -- strongly believe we meet priorities, pay down debt, protect Social Security, and, as importantly, make sure that people get some of their own money back.

WALCOTT: The first Bush budget is anchored on key campaign promises: a $1.6 trillion tax cut over 10 years; a nearly $5 billion increase for the Department of Education; $2.8 billion more for additional federal spending on medical research; and $1 trillion in contingency funds over 10 years. The contingency funds will be used to cover the costs of allowing workers to steer some of their Social Security taxes into private investment accounts.

But even a few Republicans in Congress say the tax cut is too big. And Democrats say the Bush budget raises the risk of a return to deficit spending.

BAKHTIAR: The $1.6 trillion tax cut is shaping up as something more than an agenda item for President Bush. It's becoming a test of his leadership. An all-out counteroffensive by Democrats may only up the ante for President Bush, who already has a big political stake in getting his budget package through Congress.

Now Bill Schneider calculates Mr. Bush's vested political interests.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Why is the tax cut a test for President Bush? Because he said it was last summer at the Republican convention in Philadelphia.

BUSH: Another test of leadership is tax relief.

SCHNEIDER: Every new president is tested. Congress must figure out if this is a man to be feared or someone they can defy with impunity. President Reagan faded that test with his tax cut back in 1981. Reagan proved he was someone to be feared. President Clinton faced the test with his health care reform plan in 1993. The plan failed, and Congress -- a Democratic Congress -- rolled right over the president.

Bush made the tax cut the defining issue of his presidential campaign, an issue of principle, he called it, to the delight of conservatives.

BUSH: Let us lay down another basic principle. No one in America should have to work more than four months a year to pay the Internal Revenue Service.

SCHNEIDER: To the surprise of some conservatives, Bush never abandoned his tax cut plan, even when he took office. Remember the big applause line in his inaugural address?

BUSH: And we'll reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy and reward the efforts and enterprise of working Americans!

SCHNEIDER: There's only one problem. There's no economic crisis in the country like there was when Reagan took office. Yes, Americans are concerned about an economic slowdown. But that leads them to wonder will the country be able to afford Bush's tax cut? Bush's response is, well, Reaganesque.

BUSH: I'm always amazed when I hear politicians say government cannot afford a tax cut. May I remind them that government does not pay for anything. The people pay for government. The question is not how much can government afford to give taxpayers. The question is how much the taxpayers can afford to give to government. SCHNEIDER: Americans have also experienced something they didn't anticipate back in 1981: over a decade of huge budget deficits. President Clinton's parting message to the American people last month was "Don't make that mistake again."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, JANUARY 18, 2001)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America must maintain our record of fiscal responsibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Right now the public puts a higher priority on debt reduction than on a tax cut. Bush's biggest job tomorrow night: to convince Congress and the American people that we can do both.

(on camera): The new president has to create his own mandate. How? By campaigning for his tax cut and hoping the press will cover it and pay less attention to the Clintons.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM ANSTROM, ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA: My name is Tom Anstrom and I'm from Alexandria, Virginia. And my question is, why does Washington, D.C. not have any representatives in the U.S. Congress even though they have to pay taxes?

CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Congress created the District of Columbia in 1801 from a chunk of Virginia and a slice of Maryland. It was not until 1961 that the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution allowed District residents to vote for president. It's the most reliably Democratic voting block in the nation. Al Gore got its three electoral votes.

And that's a major reason why the nation's capital won't become a city-state and acquire seats in Congress. We'd have to amend the Constitution again. But Republicans have no interest in handing Democrats two sure Senate seats. That 50/50 split in the Senate now, it would become a Democratic majority.

There is a D.C. delegate, Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has a voice but not a vote in the House of Representatives. And the city recently issued new D.C. license plates to revive the pre- Revolutionary complaint about taxation without representation. President Clinton put them on the presidential limo. President Bush took them off.

So politics does have a lot to do with why the residents of the District of Columbia have no vote in Congress.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WALCOTT: Do you ever head over to the doctor's office and end up feeling as though you have spent more time waiting for the doctor than you spent with him or her? Well, a lot of doctors have that same complaint. And many of them are pointing the finger at managed care as the source of the problem. But the findings of a new study may just surprise you and your physician.

Rhonda Rowland has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. DAVID RODRIGUEZ, SANDY SPRINGS INTERNAL MEDICINE: Now we can get to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now for the real thing.

RODRIGUEZ: That's right, nice to see you.

RHONDA ROWLAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Do you think your doctor spent enough time with you?

DR. DAVID RODRIGUEZ, SANDY SPRINGS INTERNAL MEDICINE: There is the feeling or the perception that doctors feel that they're spending less time with patients. And I have to admit I think that's true. It was my perception as well.

ROWLAND: But now, new research shows our perception is wrong. Doctors are actually spending more time with patients than they did a decade ago. In fact, they're spending about two minutes more per visit.

DR. EDWARD CAMPION, DEPUTY EDITOR, "NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE": At first I was surprised. And I think a lot of people will be surprised, but these data are believable.

ROWLAND: Researchers used a national government database. The findings are published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Maybe even more remarkable is the finding that patients in managed care are not shortchanged. Doctors spend about the same amount of time with these patients as fee for service patients.

(on camera): So if this study shows are spending as much, if not more time with their patients than they did a decade ago, why is it that doctors and patients feel they're spending less time? It could be that doctors are packing more into their day.

(voice-over): Doctors often point the finger at increased paperwork required by managed care.

RODRIGUEZ: We have a couple plans that we work with, where we have to get pre-authorization prior to doing particular studies or doing consultations. And that's an administrative burden because it requires us to fill out paperwork, get it to them.

ROWLAND: Others argue, there are many reasons for this misperception. CAMPION: The real problem is that doctors feel very rushed, pressured, and feel that there's less time because of the demands from so many different directions. Care has become more complex.

RODRIGUEZ: There is a newer pill called Actinol (ph), yes. When you come in -- I'll take a look at that.

Can we do a bone density test, then?

ROWLAND: So as you wait -- and the wait can be long to see your doctor -- you may feel reassured that when it comes to your exam, you shouldn't be squeezed for time.

Rhonda Rowland, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: Now an update on the story we brought you earlier in this "Health Desk Extra." Remember we told you that in an effort to keep the U.S. blood supply free of mad cow disease, the American Red Cross was asking for more restrictions on blood donations. People who spent six months or more in Great Britain from 1980 through 1986 are already banned from donating blood, although it's never been scientifically proven the disease can be spread through blood.

Now a Food and Drug advisory committee says people who have spent 10 years or more in France, Portugal or Ireland since 1980 should also not be allowed to donate blood in the U.S. We'll have more on an infectious disease which affects cattle, pigs and other animals coming up in "Worldview": from mad cow to hoof and mouth disease. That's just ahead.

WALCOTT: Health and the environment highlight "Worldview" today. We'll head to Russia, where a special-arts program takes center stage and offers opportunities to those with disabilities -- plus a look at global warming and what it could mean for your future. Then we'll take a look at two somber stories affecting animals and people. We'll go to Mongolia, where harsh conditions are killing countless creatures. And we'll find out how disease is threatening livestock and livelihoods. That story takes us to Great Britain.

Jennifer Eccleston has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thick smoke blankets this farming village in rural northern England -- so dense, residents in and around the village are advised to stay indoors. Fears of a wider outbreak of foot and mouth disease lead officials here to slaughter hundreds of pigs and cattle in farms where the disease is present and in those that neighbor affected areas.

Incineration is believed to be the most effective means to containing the disease. The British government has promised full compensation for farmers; but that's small comfort for those who are watching their livelihood go up in smoke. NICK BROWN, BRITISH AGRICULTURE MIN.: Provided that everybody helps us with this and that simple precautions are taken by those operating farm businesses, we should be able to get this under control in a workmanlike way.

ECCLESTON: Foot and mouth is a highly infectious viral disease which affects cattle, sheep, pigs, deer and goats, causing blistering on hooves and mouths, loss of appetite and lameness. It is potentially fatal. It can travel through the air and animals can contract it by simply being in a place, like a field or truck, where an infected animal or infected meat has been. Or by coming into contact with a person who has been exposed to an infected animal.

It hits farmers' incomes, but unlike BSE or mad cow, it does not threaten people.

MICHAEL MCGOWAN, ROYAL VETERINARY COLLEGE: I'm extremely concerned how this is escalating; and because of the size of the latest business, has the potential to escalate even further.

ECCLESTON: The latest business is an outbreak at a large farm in southwestern England. It sells livestock to buyers to Europe. A shipment was exported to the continent before the government imposed its export ban on meat, milk and live animals last week, raising fears here and abroad that the disease could have been exported as well.

(on camera): The disease has put Britain's countryside under virtual quarantine. People are being asked to stay away from rural areas and many of the country's zoo and wildlife parks are closed. The disease is now beginning to affect London. Richmond Park, home to many deer and a popular tourist attraction, will close indefinitely. Park officials say, they're doing all they can do stem the outbreak and help Britain's beleaguered farmers.

Jennifer Eccleston. CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: We look now at a problem heating up around the world: global warming. Global warming is the gradual rise of the Earth's surface temperature, thought to be caused by the greenhouse effect and responsible for changes in global climate patterns. The Earth has a natural greenhouse effect that gradually elevates global temperatures.

But a heavy increase in greenhouse gases has accelerated the effect. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide emissions have increased 30 percent. Methane emissions have doubled. And nitrous oxide emissions have risen 15 percent. With these increases come higher temperatures. Since the late 19th century, average global surface temperatures have climbed 0.6 to 1.2 two degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists predict that could rise to as much as 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100.

As the Earth warms, evaporation will increase, causing drier soil and intense rainstorms. It will also increase sea levels. Globally, sea level has risen four to 10 inches over the past century. Experts predict that by 2100, sea level will rise two more feet along the U.S. coast alone. Such predictions have many concerned.

Zain Verjee reports on international efforts to fend off these threatening effects.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A massive crack in the northern part of an Antarctica ice shelf: The scientific evidence is accumulating. Global warming is wreaking dramatic changes on the planet we inhabit.

And the United Nations environment program says the rate of global warming is faster than previously thought.

SIR JOHN T. HOUGHTON, CO-CHAIRMAN, IPCC WORKING GROUP 1: The general message is clear. And we believe that it is likely that the 1990s have been the warmest decade during that whole period over the last thousand years.

VERJEE: At a meeting in Shanghai, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a 1,000-page report, drawing on data from over more than a century. It predicts the Earth's atmosphere is likely to warm by between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius over the next century. This would mean further melting of the polar icecap, higher sea levels and flooding of low-lying areas.

DR. R.T. WATSON, CHMN., IPCC: The report you heard today states more categorically that we humans are affecting the Earth's climate system. And our projected changes in climate are larger than we said five years ago. This indeed adds impetus for the governments of the world to find ways to live up to the commitments of the Kyoto protocol to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

VERJEE: Finding those ways are going to be hard, as governments remain divided on how to implement the 1997 Kyoto agreement to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The island of Kiribati in the South Pacific is increasingly threatened by rising sea levels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We, the Kiribati people, want the developed nations of the world to reduce their amount of gas emissions so that the problems of sea-level rise would not have too much of a dramatic effect upon us. If they don't, we're going to sink under the sea.

VERJEE: As emissions from vehicles and industry increase -- especially in the developing world -- greenhouse gases pose an ever greater threat. But scientists on the panel see hope in changing energy policies among such major polluters as China.

WATSON: They have actually changed some of their energy policies, reduced some of their energy subsidies here in China. They have actually closed some of their inefficient, small and medium-sized enterprises. And so, actually, a country like China has done more, in my opinion, than a country like the United States to try to move forward to be climate sensitive.

VERJEE: The recent Hague conference on climate change failed to agree on cutting carbon emissions. While the scientific evidence of global warming may be compelling, it's as yet not matched by political will.

Zain Verjee, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: You probably know where Russia and China are. But do you know much about the country located right in between them? That country is Mongolia. And during the 13th century, the Mongols built the largest land empire in history. They were united under Genghis Khan back then.

Mongolia has long cold winters and short summers. It's home to the Gobi Desert, a bleak region which has fierce sand and wind storms. On its edges, nomadic Mongol herders live with their animals. And throughout the country, livestock-raising is a major part of the economy. People raise sheep, cattle, goats, horses, yaks and camels. The United Nations is appealing for nearly $12 million in relief funds for Mongolian herders whose livestock have been devastated recently by severe weather.

Over 600 thousand animals have already perished this winter. Also dying is the herders' entire way of life.

Lisa Rose Weaver has the story. And a word of warning: Some of the pictures are disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA ROSE WEAVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a country with an average of 20 livestock animals to every person, this indeed is a humanitarian crisis. Batbayar (ph), a 53-year-old herder, has lost half his cattle this winter. Severe blizzards and freezing temperatures froze his animals, already weakened from lack of food.

BATBAYAR, HERDER (through translator): It was just last year I got some young animals. But now I wonder if any of them are going to survive. In the future, it seems as if it's going to be really hard to raise animals. But it's also going to be hard without them, because there are no chances of finding another job.

WEAVER: There are too many animals and not enough for them to eat on the Mongolian steppe. Two consecutive summers of drought reduced the amount of grasses and hay available. But the problems go beyond bad weather. After decades of Soviet-style collectives, herds were privatized, cattle were crossbred, resulting in a soaring population of animals less adaptable to Mongolia's normally harsh conditions.

In addition, overgrazing by lucrative cashmere goats has turned large areas of pastureland into wasteland.

CHARLIE HIGGINS, U.N. REGIONAL DISASTER ADVISER: The whole country is basically at risk from this disaster: the economy and society at large. So, yes, this is definitely a disaster. And it is a human catastrophe, if we allow all these livestock to die.

WEAVER: The U.N. is forecasting the bad weather will continue through the long Mongolian winter. By May, more than 20 percent of the country's total livestock could be decimated. Some of Mongolia's traditional herders may well have no choice but to leave their old way of life behind.

Lisa Rose Weaver, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: We head from Mongolia north to Russia. Russia is the world's biggest country and covers much of Europe and Asia. Once part of the mighty Soviet Union, Russia became an independent nation in 1991 when the communist empire disbanded.

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, health care was free. But in the current economically troubled times, there is low government spending on health care and shortages of medicines. Still, there's a bright spot for some of Russia's disabled. We take you now to Moscow, where a special program is providing help and hope, as Steve Harrigan explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Out of the darkness they come, into the light -- for a final exam. Admission to Russia's state art institute requires that you cannot see, cannot walk or cannot hear. To stay in and graduate, you have to be an artist.

NATALYA FILATOVA, SPECIALIZED ART INSTITUTE (through translator): This is not a charity. We accept them not because we feel sorry for them, but because we want to give them a profession.

HARRIGAN: A rare attitude in a country where the disabled are traditionally kept out of sight. Russia's blind are typically sent to factories to put together light switches and sockets. For 100 students here, the fingers find their own way. Renat Junusov was born blind in a village on the Volga River, put in a course to learn massage, then found his own way to Moscow.

RENAT JUNOSOV, STUDENT (through translator): Our teachers tell us that we're not invalids, that if you mobilize yourself, you can be anything you want.

HARRIGAN: Anything, even an artist, using an instrument that has never been seen.

Steve Harrigan, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: In today's "Chronicle": a closer look at Leslie Uggams. To some, she is a singer and an actress. To others, she is an all-around entertainer whose work has spanned generations. Uggams was recently honored with a Trumpet Award in recognition of her contribution to American culture. Here's her profile.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRACY UGGAMS, ENTERTAINER: I was a ham. My mother said I started singing when I was, like, 3 years old, just anything that Frank Sinatra -- that would come on the radio, I would sing to. And I could carry a tune. And she knew that I could sing.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Uggams could also act. She made her television debut at the age of 6.

UGGAMS: The first thing that I did was a show called "Beulah" with Ethel Waters. They wanted to have my hair in pickaninny braids. And Ethel Waters said, "You see how her mother has her hair?" And at that time, my mother had my hair in two little curls, you know, with bows? She said, "That's how she's going to wear her hair." And I never forgot that, because she stood up for what she believed in.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Uggams was invited to sing on several variety shows, like "Sing Along with Mitch" and "Name that Tune." Her smooth and solid voice was winning the heart of America.

UGGAMS: That lead into my playing the Apollo, because they had an amateur-hour radio program that was a contest. And I kept winning every week. And they couldn't get rid of me. I got to work with Ella, Louis. Dinah Washington was like my godmother. I mean, I got to work with these people and watch their shows and see the magic that they created and the love that people had for these artists.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Uggams also had magic. But she soon learned that magic was not enough when she lost a talent contest because the applause meter was rigged against her.

UGGAMS: They sent a man, he went underneath and he tied the clock when it came to me. And I had really won. That was really painful, because that was the first time that I was really confronted about the color of my skin was the reason why I couldn't make this progression. And I remember my mother said to me, she said: "That's the last time I want you to cry about anything like that. You can do anything you want to do."

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Uggams attended the Professional Children's School of New York. There she was voted the president of the student body. Her next stop: the prestigious Juilliard School of Music, where she excelled.

UGGAMS: I was the first female black woman on national TV singing. So, therefore, I represented every black person on Earth. And if I did anything that was out of line, that meant the whole race was out of line.

(singing): It had to be you.

I made sure that I didn't do anything that was going to be a disgrace to my race. I accepted that. And I was happy to do it -- Happy to do it. UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Uggams was making her mark on television, recording albums for Columbia and on Broadway. But the coming years would be a proving ground for Uggams, who found work suddenly very scarce.

UGGAMS: It just makes you say: You know what? I don't care. I'm not giving up. I have something to contribute here. And I'm not going to give up.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Uggams' faith, persistence and talent were a winning combination. In 1978, she landed a role of a lifetime, when she was cast as Kizzy in the most watched dramatic show in television history: "Roots." Since, she has never looked back. Leslie Uggams heard the call of the trumpet and accepted that it was both a challenge and a gift.

UGGAMS: To sing for presidents of the United States, travel all over the world, sung for great people, wonderful audiences that would jump up on their feet and give you love and standing ovations, stuff like that. That's what my career has given me. You couldn't pay for that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: National treasure.

BAKHTIAR: She sure is. We could learn a lot from her.

And that does it for our show here today.

WALCOTT: We'll see you back here tomorrow.

BAKHTIAR: Bye.

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