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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for March 27, 2001

Aired March 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: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, welcome to your Tuesday show. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes. Here is what's coming up.

BAKHTIAR: Topping today's show, learning "Life Skills": why lessons in social chemistry are a crucial part of high school.

HAYNES: Next, in the "Health Desk": a toxic ride to school? Why some scientists are raising the red flag over that little yellow bus.

BAKHTIAR: Then, in "Worldview": the Catholic Church. We'll check out its influence over women in Italy.

HAYNES: And, in "Chronicle": final thoughts on the space station Mir.

But first, most experts agree there isn't a specific tell-all character profile for a disturbed student. Everyone is unique, making it very difficult to judge others accurately. But perhaps one thing people share is a need for friendship and respect. Our Jason Bellini reports on why one principal believes improving student relations could be the formula to curbing school violence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN STAMPS, PRINCIPAL: I see the athletes proudly wearing their uniforms on the playing fields and on the gym floors, the dance students after school proudly going over their routine. But I also see the students who, for the most part, do not get involved in school activities...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We successfully sneaked back in.

STAMPS: ... the students who would rather cut class and go smoke a cigarette or just leave for the day.

UNIDENTIFIED: I am going to get yelled at from my parents since I am being late again.

STAMPS: ... the students that many of us say to ourselves: Why do they even bother to come to school?

Are they any less a human being that should be appreciated, loved and respected because of their ways of expressing themselves?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is retarded.

STAMPS: Of course not. And I am proud to be their principal.

JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Principal John Stamps -- or simply Stamps -- that's what students call him -- decided after the shooting at Santana High School to deliver a message. He spoke for 15 minutes over the school's closed circuit television system.

STAMPS: There are students right here in Reynoldsburg High School who need my help. They need your help.

BELLINI: Stamps' talk was about and to students who feel in some way different or unhappy at school.

BELLINI: Students like John Arbough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to your world.

BELLINI: John, who's a junior, says he knows what it is to feel like an outsider.

JOHN ARBOUGH, STUDENT: Everybody that is popular sits around us. And anybody that's not sits here. They have nothing better to do than look at us, make a stereotypical judgment.

BELLINI (on camera): What's their judgment?

ARBOUGH: That I'm a drug-addict, Satan-worshiping piece of white trash.

BELLINI (voice-over): John says teachers too often look down on him for the way he dresses, for his attitude. In the halls, he says, people look at him like someone who could easily go off the handle.

ARBOUGH: Because what does the media do? The media goes out and they try: OK, well, look for these warnings signs of people who are going to go out and shoot things: people that wear black, people that seem isolated.

So then what happens? People start looking. And they see these kind of signs. And that just escalates. And it just causes more problems.

BELLINI: More problems and more reasons to hate school, more isolation: And that's just what Stamps is seeking to change at his school.

STAMPS: They come here. They feel rejected. They feel neglected. Sometimes, it goes beyond that, where they're picked on, probably because how they look or how they respond. And some way, shape, or form, they're going to get attention.

BELLINI: So Stamps has an open-door policy for anyone to come by and discuss anything that's on their minds.

STAMPS: We got to get kids to have more confidence in themselves and have more confidence in their fellow students and have more confidence in the adults, so they have somebody to go to.

(on camera): What you'd expect to find when you cross the kid who's always in trouble from mouthing off to authority with the school principal is anonymity between them. But in the case of these two, there's actually respect.

ARBOUGH: Because he's always respected me, ever since I've known him. You know, he walked up, like: "Hi, my name is Mr. Stamps," shook my hand, and said he'd be my principal. And he never looked down on me for any of my views or the way I looked. He's always treated me the same way he's treated every other student, if not better. And he has my respect for that, because he met me and didn't judge me.

BELLINI (on camera): I asked John Arbough about you.

STAMPS: Big John.

BELLINI: What do you think John Arbough said about you? STAMPS: My guess is John probably -- in John's vernacular, he probably said I'm cool or something to that effect. John is one of the nicest kids in this building. He really is.

BELLINI (voice-over): It's mutual respect Stamps hopes students throughout his school will offer each other.

STAMPS: May God bless each of you. And have a great day.

Jason Bellini, CNN NEWSROOM, Columbus, Ohio.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: So how to choose your friends: Whether it's through common interests such as sports or by pressure to fit in with a certain crowd, making and keeping friends is not always easy. Jason Bellini continues our report: "Life Skills: Listening and Learning."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I ask you to identify your friends or to list your friends, you would do it. But what does that mean to you that somebody is a friend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you like the exact same person, it's no fun. I mean, you have -- they have to have opposing viewpoints. You have to be able to argue and still be friends, get in a fight. And then once -- I mean, once you've had a fight, and you can still come back and hang out and be cool, then I think you are friends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, like, they can't be judgmental of you if you make a mistake. They just need to try to help you through it, you know. And...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give you support.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you come to be friends with the people that you are friends with? I mean, why them instead of someone else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of, like, my closest friends are the friends that I have been friends with since elementary school. Yes. I mean, there a few of my close friends that I picked up during high school. But it's pretty much who you live by and who you associated with in elementary school -- at least for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've moved a lot. It was more like the attractiveness that you actually see. I mean, if I see a person goofing off, and this goof is having so much fun, I will go ahead and I'll be, like, appeal to that person. I will go to that person just to go ahead and start talking to him. And so it's just the way how they act and they carry themselves. And that's what attracts me for the friendships that I would like to have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and just sort of, like, off and rude and everything, they have known you for a long time, and they know that you're usually not like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But with new friends, if you just like -- they have had a shorter period to look at. So they'll think that it's more -- that you are more rude. So, like, even if -- even just having a friend for -- have a friend over for a day, and that's the day that you're off, then they're going to think that you're like that all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because they haven't experienced it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With new friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always -- I mean, it sounds like you guys are suggesting maybe there's a little bit more pressure with newer friends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a group of friends, it's kind of like each person kind of plays out a different role. Like, one person is kind of the quiet one, is a little bit like motherly and stuff like that. And then one person is a, like, a loud person or whatever. It's, like, everyone comes together to make a big circle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Personality. I like, like, almost everybody. And I just have to -- I have to jump, because I cannot stay in this one place and just say: This is who I am, this is how I'm always going to be acting, and I'm just going to stick with one clique. You cannot do that because you have to socialize with everybody. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I remember when I was in my freshman -- my freshman year, I tried to go ahead and keep with all the athletic people, because that's all they ever know. Just like, you had to play volleyball, basketball, or, like, do track or do something. So that's what I went ahead. And I did it just to relate to them, just to go ahead and get known, just to be popular, just to go ahead and gain friends with the higher status that I had, so that people, whenever I -- people saw me with them, so I would attain that higher status.

Of course, it didn't work. But, I mean...

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes I'm just quiet, and then all of sudden -- I'm in a classroom quiet by myself. Rumors started picking up, saying maybe -- they're like: Man, she thinks she's so highly of us and everything. That's the reason why I -- yes, she's a snob.

And it's like: No, you don't know anything. Maybe if, you know, you tried a little harder to talk to me or something, maybe this all would have worked.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: The Natural Resources Defense Council says school buses may not be the healthiest way to get to and from school. The group recently released a report on the effects of the toxic fumes that some buses emit. While many parents are alarmed at the findings, school transportation officials argue the study has no substance.

Natalie Pawelski explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kids riding diesel buses to school breath air laced with relatively high levels of toxic fumes, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

LINDA GREER, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: Inside the bus, the contaminants were eight times higher than in outdoor air. The two major health problems we're worried about are cancer over the lifetime of the child, and more immediately asthma attacks.

PAWELSKI: The study was based on just 20 hours of data gathered from four California school buses. In a statement, the School Bus Information Center, which represents schools transportation officials, bus manufacturers and drivers, said -- quote -- "frightening parents and children about the safety of school bus transportation is an unfair way for the environmental advocates to promote their agenda."

RICK ZBUR, INTL. TRUCK AND ENGINE CORP.: It only focused on four buses. All the buses were more than 20 years old. New diesel is very different from the old diesel they're sort of pointing to.

PAWELSKI: The NRDC says parents should not rush to pull their kids off school buses. In the short term, it's calling for opening bus windows when possible for better ventilation and seating the first kids to get on the bus up front where fumes are less dense. In the long term, the NRDC would like to see cleaner buses, like those powered by compressed natural gas. That would help cut air pollution inside the buses and out on the streets.

Natalie Pawelski, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRETCHEN LUDEMAN, VERMILLION, SOUTH DAKOTA: My name is Gretchen Ludeman. I'm from Vermillion, South Dakota. And I'd like to know when there's going to be a cure for cancer.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, it's important to remember that cancer is not one disease, so we're not going to have one cure to all kinds of cancers.

Already, we can cure most cases of certain types of cancer. We can cure most cases of childhood leukemia, for example, or of testicular cancer, or of certain kinds of lymphoma.

Now, in the future, doctors talk about getting targeted treatments for cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation can hurt healthy tissue as well as cancerous tissue. And in the future, what they want to do is target treatments just to the cancerous tissue.

Oncologists also talk not so much about cures to cancer, but about treatments for cancer that would turn cancer into a chronic disease that you could live with, such as diabetes, rather than a death sentence.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: In "Worldview," our stories take us to Africa, Europe and other spots around the globe. And if you don't know where Botswana is, well, you're going to find out because that's one of our destinations as we head to, believe it or not, an elephant camp. We'll also visit Italy to examine a culture clash affecting women with children, plus more on women as we look at a course of study popping up on a lot of college campuses.

And speaking of women's issues, did you know that women traditionally earn less than men? To check out the difference, head to the Web at this address. You can calculate the difference over a period of years. You'll be amazed at how much it adds up.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Women's History Month is drawing to a close. But before we close the calendar on this year's celebration, we take some time to reflect on important issues for women and society. You've heard about the women's suffrage movement. Check your NEWSROOM archives for March 8. And you learned about women role models just last week on March 23.

Today, we focus on some of the problems still facing women and some programs that are bringing those issues to the forefront.

Our Kathy Nellis has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not so long ago, the march was on for women's suffrage. Now, March is a month-long celebration of women's achievements.

PATRICIA DEL REY, DIRECTOR OF WOMEN'S STUDIES, UNIV. OF GEORGIA: We are disappointed that it's only a month. But we know we're happy at least that there is a month where we can recognize what women have done.

NELLIS: For many, that recognition extends well beyond one month a year. Women's studies programs are growing on college campuses. There are over 700 such programs in the U.S. alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took this class just to basically find out what women's studies is, and to, you know, learn more about, you know, the glass ceilings and stuff like that, and how it affects women in society, and if there's anything we can do to change it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took this course, honestly, like to begin with, I just needed another elective. But when I got in it, I really understood that it was more of understanding how you don't -- you need to see the big picture.

NELLIS: The big picture: Women's studies is not just for women.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to see if, you know, the stereotypical woman wearing the shirts and man-hater was true, which apparently is not in this class.

NELLIS: At this class at the University of Georgia, instructors and students spotlight achievements and advances.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We talk about women's contributions to the world and the world - the very positive contributions and with that knowledge women can see, as well as men, that, you know, women do have something to offer. Their ideas are important.

NELLIS: The class is a looking glass, reflecting women's progress and potential, but also their problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women are -- face things that men don't have to deal with, both in education, job opportunities, choices that can be made, fears of violence, things like that that men don't have to worry about on a day-to-day basis that women, it is issues in their life that has to be considered.

NELLIS: There is so much to consider.

(on camera): Women are half the world's population, yet they bear a disproportionate amount of its woes. They're likely to be less healthy, less wealthy and less educated than men. (voice-over): Yet education is one of the most important tools women can use, because knowledge is power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, there used to be a thought that women should not be educated...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... for a number of reasons. So why is it important that -- yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So they can expand into other fields that are -- were once dominated by men.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, because, like, a long time ago, they thought that women had smaller brains and they couldn't -- they weren't able to be educated as well as men were. So they thought that it was pretty pointless. And, also, there was the belief that they thought education would strain women and endanger them from being able to bear children.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But now, of course, that's proven wrong.

NELLIS: Education is only one issue covered. The feminization of poverty is a major concern -- so is the gap between what women and men earn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're doing the same job, I think it should be equal pay.

NELLIS: While things may not be equal, they are certainly better. And women's studies celebrates those changes.

TAMMY CORLEY, WOMEN'S STUDIES PROGRAM: The vote, I think, is probably a bright moment -- the legalization of contraception -- women entering politics certainly a bright moment. We're still catching up there -- women becoming educated. I look at it more on a personal level. And so I really, I guess, can't pinpoint a certain time. But when the flow of society was such that women felt that they could indeed impact their own lives, that is the brightest moment, I think, for women.

NELLIS: To sum it up, in the words of American novelist Louisa May Alcott: "I like to help women help themselves, as that is, in my opinion, the best way to settle the women question. Whatever we can do and do well, we have a right to. And I don't think anyone will deny us."

Now, as then, it's an idea marching on.

Kathy Nellis, CNN, Athens, Georgia.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BAKHTIAR: More on women, as we head to Europe and a country known for its rich cultural heritage: Italy. Italy sits on a boot- shaped peninsula that extends into the Mediterranean Sea. The Roman Catholic Church, located in Vatican City within the city of Rome, has had a strong influence on Italian laws in the past. We'll have more on Vatican City, a tiny independent country, later this week in "Worldview."

But today, we look at the Catholic Church's influence on women and how times are changing.

Gayle Young has our story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GAYLE YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After a long day working as a radio reporter, Natalia Augias returns to her apartment in Rome for another shift as a mother of three small children. She's unusual in Italy. Studies indicate working women tend not to have children, and women who have children tend not to work outside the home.

NATALIA AUGIAS, WORKING MOTHER: This is a Catholic country. And, in a way, that has influenced the culture a lot. In a subtle way, the mother is expected to look after the children. And it's her job. It's still the mentality that you look after your own children. You're not -- you don't expect someone else to do it. You don't expect society to do it, you know, to provide kindergartens and things like that.

YOUNG: This largely Catholic country has one of the lowest rates of working women among industrialized nations. U.N. statistics say only 35 percent of all Italian women work, compared to about 50 percent of women in most other European countries. Partly the low rate is due to Italy's aging population. Many older women are not looking for work. Party, it's due to Italy's overall high unemployment.

Good jobs are scarce for women and men. For working women here say Italy's family-oriented culture also plays a part. They say traditional social roles make it harder for women to find high-powered jobs, and if they manage, harder to function.

PATRIZIA LAVIA, PROFESSIONAL WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION: If you go out, a man will pay for your lunch. So you will never be able to invite someone out for lunch because you will be misunderstood.

(LAUGHTER)

YOUNG: Professional women, though, say they will soon catch up with the rest of Europe. Young Italians seem determined to have careers and families as well. It's likely a larger percentage of Italian women will be on the job, even though cultural influences are at work, too.

Gayle Young, CNN, Rome. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Now, most of us have seen elephants, probably in a circus or at the zoo. But we'll be visiting them in a different spot today as we journey to Botswana. Botswana is a mostly arid region in South Central Africa. It's home to the Kalahari Desert, a vast area inhabited by wildlife such as antelope, hyenas, giraffes and warthogs. But today, we get up close and personal with elephants.

Jonathan Mann is our guide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you really want to feel the wilderness, there may be no better way than on the back of an elephant.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Everybody up.

MANN: This is Abu's Camp in Botswana Okavango Delta. Abu's is a home for orphaned elephants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shake! All right.

MANN: Here they're allowed to play. And they get special medical care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So they're flushing it out with water.

MANN: Meanwhile, visitors get an education about one of nature's best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Head up. Head up. Come under here. Come under here. I want to show you something. Put your fingers right there where my two fingers are. You feel the two holes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steady, Abu. OK, that's Jacob's organ (ph). When elephants greet each other, they put the trunk right there and that...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're transferring information to that other elephant, yes.

MANN: Elephants aside, this is one of the most luxurious facilities in all of Africa. Canvas tents surrounded by native hardwood decks house huge sleigh beds and brass-adorned bathtubs. And dinner -- dinner is a formal affair served on white linen at the edge of the Delta. But more than the accommodations, this is the reason most people come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's come over this way. Form over here. We're going to show you how we get on and off.

One, two, three. Right knee. OK, hold on. Going up.

MANN: It is perhaps the ride of a lifetime. You see what the elephant sees from the animal's perspective. You hear the quiet swish of wilderness.

Jonathan Mann, CNN.

(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 sign 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: In "Chronicle": Russia's space station Mir. Last week, we were treated to an extraordinary spectacle, as the disabled Russian space station came crashing into the South Pacific. Mir ended a 15- year odyssey in space that, despite a lot of headaches, taught us a heck of a lot about life in space.

Bruce Morton now with some thoughts on Mir's longer-than-expected life in orbit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's hear it for the junker. Sure, Mir died. And, sure, we all made fun of her when she got old, but what a life she had. Launched in February 1986, she was supposed to last only five years. The Soviet Union, still a country back then, launched her proudly. The world's first space station.

The Berlin Wall still stood. The Cold War flourished. Mir outlasted all of them: the Wall, the country, the war -- just about outlasted Communism, you could argue.

In fact one cosmonaut, Sergei Krikalev, got stuck up there for six months in 1991, while new countries, Russia and Ukraine argued over who would do what about replacing him.

Old Mir had lots of visitors. People from 11 countries proved men could go to Mars if they wanted. A cosmonaut named Valery Polyakov spent 437 days aboard. Shannon Lucid spent 188 days, an American record; 1997 did Mir in pretty much. It did start to seem like those cars kids have in college: Can you fix this junker enough to run another six months, or should we scrap it? (on camera): And then, one year, an oxygen-producing canister started a fire, a supply ship smashed into Mir leaving dents -- the junker car syndrome again -- the stabilizers failed and she tumbled. The computers failed and she drifted. Some toxic stuff got into the atmosphere. But somehow, there was always somebody with gaffers tape or superglue to fix it.

(voice-over): Now, it's over. But there's one man, Dennis Tito, an American, who's paid the Russians $20 million to visit space. He was suppose to go to Mir. A Japanese reporter had earlier. But now they want him to visit the new international space station.

The U.S. is objecting, but surely charging tourists is in the great free enterprise tradition. After all, if half the stories about recent presidential campaigns are true, you could donate your way into the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House. Congress is full of rich people who spent big to gain office. Why should space be different? Cosmonauts, astronauts, now a "rent-onaut," why not?

Tito himself, an engineer who later founded an investment company says, disqualify a person because he's wealthy. How true. I know United States senators who will tell you exactly the same thing.

I'm Bruce Morton.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Quite a mission. And did you see how it came streaking back into the Earth's atmosphere?

BAKHTIAR: Yes. Those pictures were spectacular.

HAYNES: It was really cool.

BAKHTIAR: The end of an odyssey -- time for a new odyssey to begin.

And that does it for us here on NEWSROOM. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

HAYNES: Take care.

BAKHTIAR: Bye.

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