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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 14, 2001

Aired March 14, 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.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And welcome to the show. I'm Shelley Walcott. Here's a look at what's ahead.

In today's news, a worst-case scenario for farmers as foot-and- mouth disease spreads outside Great Britain.

Then, in "Business Desk," Tiger Woods the sequel. A look at the golfing phenomenon's latest commercial.

On to "Worldview" and a stop in Russia. We'll check out a patriotic club.

And finally, in "Chronicle," "To Serve a Nation," the latest in our series on the U.S. military.

European nations race to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease as the disease jumps outside Britain's boundaries.

The highly contagious, economically devastating foot-and-mouth disease has made its way to France. Several nations have imposed emergency measures to prevent further spread of the disease.

The European Union has moved to ban exports of French livestock susceptible to the disease. The United States, which has not had an outbreak of the disease since 1929, is also taking precautions. The U.S. Agriculture Department is banning imports of animals and most animal products from the 15-nation European Union.

After recent scares of mad cow disease, which also affected livestock, the agricultural and restaurant industries are being extra cautious. Foot-and-mouth disease rarely endangers humans, but it causes blisters on the hooves and mouths of pigs, cattle, sheep and goats, which amount to huge financial losses for the farmers who raise them.

The crisis already has devastated British livestock farming; 200 cases of the disease have been reported there, and about 120,000 infected or potentially infected animals have been slaughtered.

Foot-and-mouth disease poses such an enormous threat to the agricultural industry because it's so easily spread. The disease can be transmitted by wind, clothing, even car tires. Farmers around Europe are on high alert hoping the disease doesn't wipe out their herds and their income.

Peter Humi reports on the staggering economical impact of the disease.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER HUMI, CNN PARIS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): It's what authorities in France have been dreading. A plume of smoke rises from the burning carcasses of 113 cows. Six of the animals tested positive for foot-and-mouth.

The incineration, officials say, would take 48 hours, but dealing with the highly contagious disease will take much longer. Police and the army now guard roadblocks on the perimeter of an exclusion zone around the farm at La Baroche-Gondouin in Normandy, and vehicles leaving or entering a wider area have to drive over a bed of straw soaked in disinfectant.

This is one of France's prime agricultural areas, and the confirmation of the disease is likely to hit local business hard.

"This can have terrible consequences," says this farmer. "It can paralyze the economy. We hope the precautionary measures will work," he adds. "Perhaps we didn't take them fast enough, but we must redouble our efforts."

In the provincial capital of Laval, a crisis center has been set up, and local farmers met with authorities to discuss what measures may have to be taken next. These include the possible wholesale slaughter of pigs around the contaminated area. Pigs, officials say, are particularly susceptible to foot-and-mouth.

As soon as the disease began spreading across Britain, France adopted a policy of precautionary containment. Tens of thousands of sheep and other animals imported from Britain were destroyed and the transportation of livestock banned.

It was not enough.

(on camera): Less than two weeks ago, agriculture officials said it would take a miracle for foot-and-mouth not to reach continental Europe. Now it's arrived, and some here fear it may take a miracle for it not to spread further.

Peter Humi, CNN, Normandy, France.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: As we mentioned, the U.S. Agriculture Department is moving quickly to try to ensure foot-and-mouth disease stays out of America. Authorities say livestock in the United States would be highly susceptible to the disease if it were introduced here because of the routine movement of animals.

Wolf Blitzer now looks at the ban the USDA has placed on livestock.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The move by the Department of Agriculture is aimed at keeping U.S. borders free of a disease so contagious it can easily be spread by shoes and car tires.

DR. JONATHAN FIELDING, PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR, L.A. COUNTY: It leads to a wasting and it affects the quality of the beef and also of milk. So, it can have an economic impact.

BLITZER: Though the disease can be fatal in animals, including sheep, goats, cattle and pigs, it almost never endangers humans. It does, however, have the potential for the forced destruction of animals and economic devastation.

The temporary U.S. ban will affect the import mainly of pork products and specialty items like sausage. On Feb. 21, the U.S. suspended all meat and animal imports from Britain, where the disease has led to the slaughter of nearly 120,000 livestock.

Since 1997, European Union beef has been banned in the United States due to concerns over the unrelated mad cow disease, which can cause a condition fatal to humans.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: There's a lot to talk about in "Business Desk," including the instability of the U.S. financial markets. We'll get to that in just a minute. But first, a sequel of sorts to report on, this one starring one of the hottest athletes of our time. You could call it "Prancing Tiger, Hidden Talents Part 2."

Phil Jones takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it comes to just doing it, Tiger Woods just does it better than anyone else, trick shots included, as discovered on the set of "Hacky Sack II."

Sequels don't always live up to their originals, but then Tiger is no ordinary leading man. So he was asked to develop his character further for Nike's second commercial of juggling genius.

TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: The last one was simple, the first one I did. This one's a little more complicated. And they're trying to make me do some things that I don't normally do with my tricks, so I'm trying to learn things on the whim, and we're all having fun out here doing it.

JONES: With the frills and the fun comes a third F: frustration. Yes, even the best need more than one take occasionally. The frustration factor will also have a trickle-down effect. CHRIS ZIMMERMAN, NIKE GOLD GENERAL MANAGER: Last time when we produced the hacky sack commercial a year and a half ago, we heard that a lot of people were, you know, out there on the first tee trying to imitate what he was doing. So what we're here today is creating a whole new set of tricks for them to -- you know, to frustrate America's golfers out there on the first tee on Saturday morning trying to figure out what Tiger's doing next.

JONES: These imitators will have to be ambidextrous, have the ability to throw in a couple of Pele-like moves, and work with both a wedge and a wood to copy the world No. 1 this time. I suspect Tiger- like ovations might be few and far between.

(APPLAUSE)

Cut and print and cue the music for the screening of Tiger Woods in "Hacky Sack II."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, TV COMMERCIAL)

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: The Nike Tour Accuracy. Great with wedges.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: Accuracy beyond compare. It's the wonder of Woods.

I'm Phil Jones.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Now, in today's "Biz Desk" extra, stocks on Wall Street. First they're up, then they're down. The roller coaster ride has led to plenty of Maalox moments among investors.

Bruce Morton has more on where we've been on where the markets could be headed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maybe your grandparents remember the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"A third of the nation," Franklin Roosevelt said in his second inaugural address, "ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished."

It wasn't the stock market. In 1928, just 3 percent of Americans owned stock. No, it was unemployment, 25 percent, a record, in 1933. Families lining up outside soup kitchens. Real want.

The Depression was unique. But since then, we've had ups and downs. Mostly prosperous in the '50s and '60s, but then inflation, prices rising so that a Republican president, Richard Nixon, called for and got wage and price controls in 1971. But when they came off, inflation returned. Gerald Ford, Nixon's successor, tried WIN buttons, "Whip Inflation Now." Didn't work. And stocks tumbled in the bear market of 1973 and '74, but the Dow Jones industrial index fell 45 percent, compared to just over 12 percent now. But, again, most Americans didn't own stocks back then.

Bad times? Ask Ford's successor, Jimmy Carter: stagflation, recession and inflation all at once. And those gas lines, with the oil-producing countries limiting production to drive up prices. When Ronald Reagan asked his famous question:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORTON: The voters shouted, no. It took a recession to shake out the inflation and get things back to normal. And Reagan was a skillful or lucky president. His recession came at the very beginning of his presidency. By the time he ran for reelection in 1984, things were fine and the voters were happy.

There may be a moral here for President Bush. It took only the mild recession of 1991 and '92 and the Clinton slogan, "it's the economy, stupid," to defeat the first President Bush's reelection bid. So it's good politics to have your recession as early in your first term as you can.

What's different now is that stocks matter more. Over 50 percent of Americans own shares or mutual funds. They add up to more than half of Americans' total assets. And people may be losing confidence in the economy. Retail sales for February went down.

(on camera): What won't change, if this is a real recession, is that government spending will go up -- bound to on entitlement programs like unemployment compensation -- and politicians' demands for quick fixes, a bigger tax cut, more interest rate cuts, still more government spending to perk up the economy, all those will go up, too, especially if the politician is up for reelection.

(voice-over): And one other constant: Booms have always, in the past, been followed by slowdowns. Slowdowns, in turn, have always been followed by booms.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, we turn to Russia. We'll head back in history to examine the Cold War. Plus, check out a military training program that goes way beyond physical fitness. And rev up for a story on cars. We'll track the trend from Russia.

Full speed ahead to Russia for a story on cars. First, a bit about cars in Moscow, one of Russia's and most overcrowded cities. It has more than 4 million people. Ten years ago, there were only 700,000 vehicles there. Now the city has more than 2 1/2 million. And the ecology police say 80 percent of Moscow's air pollution comes from cars.

Still, the drive is on. Russia's extensive public transportation system is no match for the lure of motoring around in your own car, it seems.

Now, Russian automakers hope to lure customers around the world. Soviet sedans are crossing the ocean, as Steve Harrigan explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Driving a Volga was a sign that you'd made it in the old Soviet Union. But the black boxes have lost that status in today's Russia, whose elite opts for all things Western.

That seemed to spell disaster for the Volga factory in Nizhni Novgorod, which went from selling half a million cars and trucks a year to just 200,000. Now there's hope that what's gone out of style in the East could turn into a hot item in America.

YEVGENY TSIBIREV, VOLGA CAR EXPORTS (through translator): When we studied the prices of German and Japanese cars, we realized there was room for us, too.

HARRIGAN: Nostalgia is one reason. Design features of the new line of Volgas are so old, they're new.

SERGEI PLOTNIKOV, VOLGA CAR DESIGNER (through translator): Our car plant is one of the oldest in the country. So the style that originated in the 1930s is transferred to our new cars.

HARRIGAN: That means big, round fenders, lots of chrome and wood paneling.

PLOTNIKOV (through translator): A Russian, just like an American, likes to drive a big car. So our cars are big and pompous and look more expensive than they really are.

HARRIGAN: What used to be the luxury sedan of the Soviet Union starts at just $4,000. Managers are targeting sales in Latin America, but hope that big, pompous and cheap can sell in the United States. The first thousand Volgas were shipped to Texas.

Steve Harrigan, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: More from Russia as we turn from cars to classrooms. Almost all Russians can read and write. Public school is free and Russian children attend school from age 6 to 17. Many go on for more schooling afterward. Did you know that the most widely taught foreign language is English? But today we look at a very different subject being covered at school, although it's after class.

Jill Dougherty gives us an inside look at a popular club.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Here at Moscow's school No. 51, there's tradition. It's Club Cascade, an after-hours military/patriotic club founded after the fall of the Soviet Union by retired Lt. Col. Rais Yarulov. He's also the school's assistant director.

RAIS YARULOV, DEP. SCHOOL DIRECTOR (through translator): It's important that our kids are healthy, that they don't become drug addicts, alcoholics, smokers. They need to have a healthy lifestyle. That's what we accomplish with our classes.

DOUGHERTY: Members of the Cascade Club, boys and girls, learn to shoot and do martial arts. There's also a healthy dose of physical fitness. The kids say they love it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm not here just to get in shape. I'm here to become a real man, a defender of my homeland.

DOUGHERTY: And some parents give it rave reviews.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Mr. Yarulov gives his heart and soul to the kids. They're really happy. There aren't many places where they can hang out.

DOUGHERTY: The school also has revived a basic military preparedness course, similar to ones that used to be taught in Soviet schools. President Vladimir Putin signed a decree directing schools across Russia to provide two to three hours of military training a week. Some critics charge the courses are dangerously close to Soviet brainwashing.

But the political squabbling hasn't stopped the Cascade Club. "Military training is really cool stuff," these girls say. "We'll be able to stand up for ourselves anytime."

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: One of the peculiar things about the so- called Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union is that the two sides never really fought against each other. The two countries fired far more words than weapons throughout much of the last half of the 20th century. Any bombing that went on took place on test sites far from public view.

Fifty years ago, President Harry Truman opened up the Nevada test site, a desolate patch of dessert larger than the state of Rhode Island. Over the span of about 40 years, about 900 atomic explosions were conducted there. Today, only non-nuclear experimental detonations are set off there.

But as Anne McDermott reports, the site still shows signs of blasts from the past.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not a lot to see here now in this lonely stretch of Nevada desert, but it wasn't always so quiet. It was the '50s. America had the bomb, but so did the Russians, and people were scared.

Kids across the U.S. learned something called "duck and cover" -- when they weren't modeling homemade antiradiation suits, that is. And President Harry Truman signed the Nevada test site into existence. And the tests began on weapons tens of thousands times more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Over a 10-year period, 100 nuclear bombs were detonated in the atmosphere at the test site, and then...

NICK AQUILINA, FORMER TEST SITE DIRECTOR: The limited test ban treaty in 1963 said there would be no atmospheric testing.

MCDERMOTT: So they began to set off bombs under the desert. You can still see the craters they left behind.

But they are not idle here in the Nevada desert. Nowadays, experiments called subcriticals are being carried out to ensure existing weapons will work.

TEST ANNOUNCER: ... three, two, one, zero time, rebound.

MCDERMOTT: And the protesters who have made their way to the site for decades now are here still.

PROTESTERS (singing): I ain't going to study war no more, ain't going to study war no more, ain't going to study...

MCDERMOTT: And the work goes on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're in the process of excavating for an experiment that will be done in 2003.

MCDERMOTT: Lots of changes in 50 years. But look around. You can still see pieces of the past here in the desert, a past in which, from time to time, all hell would break loose in the Nevada sky.

Anne McDermott, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: To be an officer in the U.S. military, you can join the ROTC at your school or go to a special officers school. But the best known path to a commission is one through the military academy.

Our Tom Haynes got an up-close look at the U.S. military academy at West Point and found out what it's like to go there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES (voice-over): Deep with the Hudson Valley in the state of New York...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Column left, march.

HAYNES: ... lies one of the most historic military institutions in the world. At West Point, the mission is to train America's future Army officers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're breeding officers who will leave here with a commitment to a lifetime of service to the nation. If we don't produce officers like that, then we're failing as an institution.

HAYNES: Col. Lance Betros teaches history to West Point cadets. He says when it comes to the West Point record, history speaks for itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think if we look at the record, West Pointers leave here in great numbers and do very important things, not just in uniform, but also even after they become civilians.

HAYNES: Unlike the average college or university, West Point cadets follow a rigorous daily schedule structured by the academy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going ashore at Normandy or fighting in North Africa...

HAYNES: A typical day includes classes, physical education, extracurricular and athletic activities, and of course study time.

Cadets even march to lunch. Traditions endure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Left, right, right.

HAYNES: Seniors carry sabers, cadets salute officers.

(on camera): West Point's role in American history dates back to the Revolutionary War. Its graduates are a testament to its reputation of excellence. And cadets who are educated here are reminded of that every day.

(voice-over): The academy traces its roots back to the late 1700s, before it was a learning institution. Then-Gen. George Washington used West Point as his central command post in the war for independence from Great Britain. After the United States won its independence, President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation converting the fort into a military academy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And by opening up West Point and creating an officer corps that would be selected, as I said, based on merit, then he would assure himself of a republican army, an army that's dedicated to the proposition that all men are equal and no one is better than anyone else. HAYNES: Statues of notable West Point grads, including President Dwight Eisenhower and Army Gen. George Patton, are scattered around this historic campus. The academy's yearbooks are chalk full of military legends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they were here, they were just regular cadets. They didn't know they were going to be great. They studied the same thing that every other cadet studied. But somehow they inculcated values that are -- that were important later on in their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raise your hand if any of you were team captains in high school, president of a school body.

HAYNES: It's no accident that West Point graduates go on to achieve great things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Feel free if, during the course of discussion, if you want to come over and join the scientific side or, conversely, come over here to our side, feel free to join.

HAYNES: In the Art of Military History class, they debate leadership skills and whether someone can be a natural-born leader.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you have to have some sort of natural ability, or else anybody could be a general. And that's obviously not true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that true?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to be born with leadership?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our intent is to have what we call a Socratic teaching experience whereby the professor will throw out an idea and then expect the students to dialogue on that idea.

HAYNES: Since Col. Sylvania Stayer (ph) began transforming the academic standard at West Point in the early 1800s, the academy has come a long way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're graduating people who we hope will be committed to a lifetime of service to this nation. And if we're successful in doing that, then we have contributed a great deal to our nation. And we're very, very proud of that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm a cadet private so I'm still dealing with the aura and the awe that is West Point.

MATTHEW ZIMMERMAN, CADET CAPTAIN: You're really overwhelmed. You really are. And you hear all the maxims they teach you, you know, "duty, honor, country," and it kind of slowly builds.

JOHN PARK, REGIMENTAL SGT. MAJOR: You just kind of feel a humility in knowing that the people that have walked before you and gone before you, you're going to follow in their footsteps as well.

HAYNES: Tell me what's unique about West Point?

LESLIE ADAMCZYK, CADET LIEUTENANT: You could probably go on for hours about what's different. It seems that at a regular college, you know, you focus mostly on academics. But here you have -- there's so much more to it. You know, you have to look at the military aspect and the aspect of being physically fit. I mean, you have to be.

ZIMMERMAN: To come to West Point, I think it signifies a certain amount of willingness to sacrifice. You know, you don't get to leave every weekend, you don't get to go out and be totally autonomous, having to find a way to be an individual when almost all sense of individuality is taken away from you. And that truly makes you question who you are.

HAYNES: I want to know whether West Point is for only the privileged, or can anyone come to West Point?

PARK: I really worked hard to get to West Point. I really studied hard and I, you know, played football and I tried to do everything within my grasp to get into the academy. And I think the academy really recognizes individual efforts.

ZIMMERMAN: It's all about what you have inside. It's not about what you've done or who you come from. I truly believe it's what you have inside.

JOHN JAMES, CADET PRIVATE: It's not what you know or who you know, it's how bad you want it.

HAYNES: Speaking of that, then, you know, when you see statues like Dwight Eisenhower, when you think about guys like Norman Schwarzkopf, do you feel like you have a lot to live up to, to these names? Is greatness within your reach?

JAMES: If you had told me two years ago that you'd be sitting down wearing cadet gray, talking to CNN, I'd look at you and say you were crazy. But here I am today. If you told me now that I'd be a five-star general, the first black five-star general, I'd look at you and tell you that you are crazy. But you work inch by inch.

ADAMCZYK: In my opinion, anyone that comes to West Point or joins the Army, they're doing something great for their nation.

HAYNES: People will make pilgrimages to sacred places. Is West Point one of those?

ZIMMERMAN: Its true treasure is what it puts you in contact with and what it stands for. And West Point, you know, it has all these -- it's made of marble, but that's all it is unless you understand that what goes on here and what people carry away with, that's the treasure.

PARK: There's no way that you can deny that West Point is a great place and that it's a great institution, that it produces great leaders, and it serves our country in the most awesome way.

ADAMCZYK: It's the finest military institution, possibly in the world.

JAMES: I think that West Point's treasure is in the people that you meet, lifelong friendships that you'll have. And that applies to every single person that goes to the academy. And I believe that interaction with history, the long gray line, I believe that's the treasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: And that's it. We'll see you tomorrow. Bye bye.

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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