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NEWSROOM for June 4, 2001

Aired June 4, 2001 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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 another week of NEWSROOM is underway - welcome. I'm Shelley Walcott.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes.

We'll get started with a look at today's rundown.

WALCOTT: Conflict in the Middle East tops today's "News Agenda."

HAYNES: Then, come along for a ride in "Environment Desk" as we hit the road in a hydrogen-powered car.

WALCOTT: Next stop, Vietnam. "Worldview" goes behind the scenes of a new film memorializing the Asian nation's past.

HAYNES: Finally, we introduce you to a very special horse.

WALCOTT: A horrific suicide bombing outside a Tel Aviv nightclub Friday kills 20 people and injures 114, several of whom remain in critical condition. Memorial services were held this weekend for many of the young victims.

Since renewed fighting erupted last September, at least 109 Israelis and more than 450 Palestinians have been killed, including Friday's attacker. The bombing is one of the most violent attacks so far, and Israeli and Palestinian sources say they've identified the alleged suicide bomber as 22-year-old Mohammed Saeed al-Hotary. Even his parents say he did it. Israeli sources say he was a member of the Islamic Jihad. Palestinian sources have not verified that claim.

Many international leaders, meanwhile, are hoping the tragedy will encourage Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to resume peace talks which crumbled several months ago. This weekend, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat called for an immediate cease-fire and end to the violence. Israeli cabinet members have placed the Palestinian areas of Gaza and the West Bank under tight security. They've also met to consider retaliation. So far, Israel has refrained from such action to see if Arafat's call for a cease-fire will take hold.

Rula Amin has those details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Israeli prime minister, who has the reputation of being a hard-liner, says he's giving diplomacy a chance. Mr. Sharon has refrained, so far, from retaliating for the deadliest attack by a Palestinian against Israelis in eight months. He says this may provide a chance to reach a cease- fire with the Palestinians.

ARIEL SHARON, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The situation is not simple. You have to see the overall picture. That responsibility is on my shoulders. I want to tell you, restraint is a element of strength.

AMIN: The usually bustling Majayuda (ph) market is relatively empty. Israelis are worried about more suicide bombings. But despite the climate of fear, the prime minister received praise here for his decision not to hit back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government tried this hard hand, and it's just getting worse and worse.

AMIN: "I am very happy he didn't retaliate," says this woman. "We were one step away from war."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It can't be a military solution. It has to be a political solution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Military action doesn't help. The poor Palestinian Authority. It's the Hamas and the Jihad we should be fighting. We should give them a chance, another chance.

AMIN: But this young Israelis, less than a year away from becoming soldiers in the Israeli army, say patience has its limits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I prefer talking, but I think that a better solution is to hit not all of them -- I don't how to say -- the points, the points of the terror. Not their people, not their innocent people, but the ones who are coming and putting bombs and everything. We should hit them.

AMIN: Some were even more forceful. On Saturday and in Tel Aviv, where the suicide bombing took place, those young men demonstrated in front of the Defense Ministry, demanding war.

EPHRAIM SNEH, ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER: If this wave of terrorism continue, our duty is to defend the Israeli people, and to do everything, everything which is possible and feasible to protect them.

AMIN: A threat of strong action against the Palestinian Authority and in Palestinian territories.

LESLIE SUSSER, POLITICAL ANALYST: They're not sure that this is a real attempt to bring a cease-fire about, and at the first sign of this cease-fire breaking down, the Israelis will go in very powerfully, and they will be supported by the Israeli people as a whole.

AMIN (on camera): A tense waiting game: will diplomacy prevail or will the two sides continue the dialogue of the past eight month, through the language of violence?

Rula Amin, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Emotions are running high in Israel. Most of the teenagers killed in Friday night's suicide bombing have been laid to rest and family and friends are mourning their loved ones. People from around the world are outraged and anger over Friday night's bombing has prompted many Israelis to demand revenge.

But as Christian Amanpour reports, many others would prefer restraint.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Israel's Russian immigrant community has been hit hard. Mothers and fathers bury their teenage children and friends bid emotional farewells.

As one young boy's funeral was ending, a few plots away another began. Ella Nelimov (ph) is burying her two daughters. Yelena and Yuli (ph) were 18 and 16 years old. In his eulogy, their uncle remembered how so many Soviet Jews had emigrated to Israel to escape persecution, to feel at home.

"We brought our children to this country so that they could live and flourish. We didn't know something like this could happen," he says.

In his hospital bed, Alexander Plotkin (ph) relived the moment that shattered so many lives.

"I was waiting by the disco entrance when I heard the explosion," he said. "There was blood and limbs everywhere. Total panic."

What happened on Friday night to teenagers trying to have a good time has prompted much soul-searching among Israel's Russians. The nightclub was used mostly by Russians, and so was this school. But this one act makes them Israelis, like all the rest, their futures tied up in the politics that mire this region.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel the pain that comes from the other people. I see how they're suffering, and it's painful to see my people suffering.

AMANPOUR: There are about one million Russians here in a total population of six million. They helped sweep Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to power, and now some want him to avenge their loss.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not adhering rules of life, they do not think of us as human beings. They think we deserve to die.

AMANPOUR: But Yelana and Yuli's uncle says that he is not blaming anyone.

"I don't want to blame Arabs or Jews," he says, "But why are our children being killed?"

As Israel considers its next move, perhaps it knows that these pictures have already won the latest battle in the war for international public opinion.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: As fossil fuel prices continue to rise, many people are considering alternative fuel sources. One option: liquid hydrogen, a material that's virtually limitless but potentially dangerous as well. German auto giant BMW is on a road trip to sell the idea of hydrogen power to the world.

CNN's technology correspondent Rick Lockridge has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK LOCKRIDGE, CNN SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The hydrogen-powered car of the future, according to BMW: zero emissions and a respectable zero-to-60. The company believes its customers want to save the planet as much as anyone, they just want to do it from the passing lane.

KLAUS PEHR, BMW ENGINEER: The feeling for our customers will be the same in the future. They have a high-powered car. They have the same performance of the car that they are used to.

LOCKRIDGE: Now, BMW is taking its clean car fleet on the road: from Dubai to Brussels, Milan to Los Angeles, the 7 Series sedans will show off their 12-cylinder, 200-horsepower engines -- top speed 140 miles per hour. The H-cars can also burn regular gasoline if they need to, but hydrogen as a fuel is perfectly clean. The only tailpipe emissions: water and steam.

PEHR: We take water, make hydrogen out of it, and burn it to water again.

LOCKRIDGE: You make liquid hydrogen by using electricity to strip the hydrogen molecules out of ordinary water, but that's not as easy as it sounds, and then you have to store the liquid hydrogen at minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit, or it starts to evaporate.

Since liquid hydrogen is so volatile, the driver is not permitted to pump his own. Instead, a robot with a laser scanner looks for the car's fill-up valve and locks on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The control system knows it is a BMW 7 Series. LOCKRIDGE: The hydrogen tank on the BMW is heavily reinforced. Crash tests indicated little chance of an explosion or fire. Still, when remembering hydrogen-fueled vehicles of the past, the Hindenburg disaster, the Challenger explosion come to mind. And one might wonder: do I want to ride around on top of a tank of rocket fuel?

ULRICH WAGNER, LUDWIG MAXIMILIAN UNIVERSITY: Well, I don't want to paint any horror scenarios, but if you look at the other conventional energy carriers, we also had a lot of accidents in the past.

LOCKRIDGE: Professor Ulrich Wagner say that the world will solve any hydrogen handling problems, because it must.

WAGNER: Whether this will happen in 30 years, or 40 years, or 50 years, but it will happen.

LOCKRIDGE: And what'll make it happen, proponents say, is a growing concern for the environment, especially in Europe, and a growing awareness that the world has a lot more water than it does oil.

Rick Lockridge, CNN, Munich.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: In "Worldview" today, a look at sports, politics and art.

You've see in the movie "Mummy Returns" with Brendan Fraser. Well, at the end of this year, the actor stars in a new film set in Vietnam. We'll go behind the scenes.

Plus, we travel to China to examine its record on human rights, a topic causing controversy around the world.

But first, to Egypt, for a surprise discovery of Jurassic proportions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When a team of paleontologists dug up this 5'7" upper arm bone in February 1999, they knew they hit the jackpot, a bone from a giant dinosaur never seen before.

JOSH SMITH, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: It was very stocky. It was a big boy. It wasn't the longest. It wasn't the tallest. It was heavy.

KELLAN: About 70 tons, maybe 100 feet long. They named it Paralititan, meaning "tidal giant," the second most massive dinosaur ever found.

SMITH: It ate plants. It was one of the long-necked, long- tailed four-foot herbivorous dinosaurs that we like to see always walking around in herds off in the distance.

(on camera): Paralititan had some mean-looking predators in its day -- one as big as and similar to that Giganotosaurus called Carcharodontosaurus. And they're as big as the famous T-rex. But, you know, T-rex didn't come around until 30 million years later.

(voice-over): Smith and his team found hip, leg, and tailbones.

SMITH: I think this is pretty stupid. I'm uncovering something and 30 seconds later it's covered back up.

KELLAN: Digging for bones in the Sahara Desert wasn't easy.

SMITH: There were days that we simply couldn't work because we couldn't see.

KELLAN: The team came to this area, known as the Bahariya Oasis because of noted German paleontologist Ernst Stromer. More than 60 years ago, he had found dinosaur bones here. Most were destroyed, blown up in World War II. Smith was trying to follow in Stromer's footsteps, but got lost.

SMITH: And because I'm an idiot and I can't read a map, we ended up in the wrong place. I had my head hanging out the window of the Land Cruiser. And we drove right past the Paralititan site.

KELLAN (on camera): And the bone was sitting right there?

SMITH: The bone was sitting on the desert. We drove right by it. And I said, "Hey, that looks like a bone." And so we swung around. And we parked. And the rest is history. It was a bone.

KELLAN (voice-over): They were also surprised to discover this desert was once a lush tropical mangrove, similar to the Florida Everglades.

KENNETH LACOVARA, DREXEL UNIVERSITY: So we have forests that are actually growing in salt water. At the time that Paralititan was alive, there was a coastline that ran through the center of Egypt. And if some of the most powerful creatures to have ever lived -- and they dominated the planet for 140-160 million years -- if they could go extinct and if the Everglades could turn into the Sahara, then almost anything is possible in the future.

SMITH: I don't know how tall. He would look through a third- story window without too much problem.

KELLAN: The team hopes to return to Egypt. They don't expect to be lucky enough to find anymore giants, but they say there's a treasure trove of other plants and animals buried in the sand.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Philadelphia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: We head to Asia and the world's most populous country: the People's Republic of China. China has been ruled by a communist government since 1949 and stands as one of the most influential countries in the world. But with the influence has come criticism from outside China's borders about its human rights record.

Government crackdown against groups perceived to be threatening. Most recently, the large faith-healing movement known as the Falun Gong have drawn international criticism. For its part, the Chinese government does officially recognize some religious activity. But authorities require religious worship in so-called patriotic churches. This year, both the United States and the United Nations have called into question China's crackdown on the Falun Gong movement and other suspected human rights violations.

Rebecca MacKinnon has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Chinese government rejects U.S. criticisms of its human rights record.

ZHANG QIYUE, FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): The unwarranted accusations levied by the U.S. against China under the pretext of so-called human rights questions are completely without reason and driven by ulterior motives.

MACKINNON: In response to the U.S. report, the Chinese state-run media released a Chinese government report about human rights violations in the United States, including racial discrimination and violence. Meanwhile, the case of jailed democracy activist Xuan Lee was one of the many human rights issued being raised with the Chinese authorities by Mary Robinson, the U.N. human rights commissioner. She also raised concerns about the use of physical abuse and arbitrary detention in China's crackdown against the Falun Gong meditation group.

MARY ROBINSON, U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER: It's very clear that the human rights of Falun Gong members are being transgressed at the moment here in China. It's clear from the volume of very serious and detailed examples that are coming through.

MACKINNON: But the head of the government office in charge of the prevention and handling of cults says the crackdown is necessary to protect China's social stability. He said it's also necessary to send over zealous Falun Gong followers to labor reform camps in order to be deprogrammed. Recent reports on Chinese TV show how the camps reeducate them and don't abuse them.

LIU JING, ANTI-CULT OFFICIAL (through translator): During reeducation through labor, the staff treat the Falun Gong practitioners as doctors treat patients and parents treat children.

MACKINNON (on camera): Robinson says that's not the same story she and her colleagues have been hearing from people who have actually spent time in China's labor camps. She says their treatment is in violation of international human rights covenants. Covenants, she says, she'll keep pushing the Chinese government to ratify and respect.

Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: China is one of the country's being considered to host the 2008 summer games.

But its human rights record has some concerned as Tom Mintier explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There will not be a vote until July, but it now appears that Beijing, Paris and Toronto are still in the running, and Osaka and Istanbul are out. Outside Olympic headquarters in Lausanne, several dozen anti-China protesters voiced their displeasure.

Because members of the International Olympic Committee, or IOC are now prevented from visiting potential sites for the 2008 Summer Games, the preselection report carries plenty of weight. Before the Salt Lake City vote buying scandal, trips to perspectives cities were the norm: Not anymore.

HEIN VERBRUGGEN, CHAIRMAN, IOC EVALUATION COMMITTEE: In dealing with the bids from Paris, Toronto and Beijing, the commission is clear that none of them presents any particular major risk.

MINTIER: Beijing is seen by many as the front runner after losing out to Sydney by two votes for the 2000 games. One might read between the lines of the report to see how Beijing is favored to win.

VERBRUGGEN: We believe that Beijing games would leave a unique legacy to China and to sport and we are very confident that Beijing could organize excellent games.

MINTIER: The IOC document did not deal with matters political or China's human rights record. It did note the process and pace of change in China and the fact that environmental challenges in China are being dealt with by the government. The final selection of the summer games location will be made in Moscow on July 13 at the IOC executive board meeting. Also on the agenda that day would be the selection of a new IOC president. After 21 years, Juan Antonio Samaranch will be stepping down.

Tom Mintier, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: Now, to Vietnam, a storied country with over 4,000 years of history behind it. Through dynasties, wars and harsh political takeovers, the people of Vietnam are a true testament to survival. The communist country enjoys a population of over 70 million people and its main exports are rice, coffee and tea. That's today. So for this next story, let's rewind back to the late 1940s and early '50s when the country was under French rule but slowly gaining its independence. A new movie being shot in Ho Chi Minh City brings us back to a time of colonialism and a people.

Matt Walsh spends some time with the cast of characters who are breathing new life into a very historical time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The streets surrounding Ho Chi Minh City's Continental Hotel looked much as they did a half century ago. It was for the filming of an adaptation of Graham Greene's novel of colonial Vietnam, "The Quiet American."

The story takes place in 1952, as French power in the country is slipping. But director Philip Noyce says the story is still relevant 50 years later.

PHILIP NOYCE, DIRECTOR, "THE QUIET AMERICAN": So when I read the book in Vietnam, and having met a lot of Vietnamese who had fought in both wars -- the war against the French and then war against the Americans -- I realized that this really was an important film about that time, but also about this time, because the question that the film asks is a question that comes up all the time for politicians, which is whether the means justify the end.

Do you save more people by action than you do by inaction? That is a question that we are faced with constantly.

WALSH: The film stars Brendan Fraser, who plays a CIA agent posing as an aid worker, and Michael Caine as a cynical, opium-smoking British journalist. Both actors say they are working hard to do justice to Graham Greene's novel.

MICHAEL CAINE, ACTOR: I know all the Graham Greene stuff, and I know this book in particular. And really, I have met Graham Greene a few times, and I'm kind of basing myself on him because just over here is the Continental Hotel, which is where he wrote this book. So we are in the right place. So I'm a bit like him, except he was 6 feet, 5 inches. I'm only 6 feet, 2 inches.

BRENDAN FRASER, ACTOR: If it brings about a sense of change is anyone's guess, but it will certainly have an impact because you can not do a piece set in Vietnam without expecting to touch many, many, many people. And for that, we have a responsibility as film-makers to portray the story with accuracy and honesty.

WALSH: The story is a brooding tale of political intrigue. It examines the ravages of war and colonialism, but it's also a love story. Newcomer Hai Yen plays Phuong, the love interest of the story. Producer William Horberg says there was a worldwide search for just the right actress to play the role.

WILLIAM HORBERG, PRODUCER, "THE QUIET AMERICAN": We just saw thousands of girls. We also scouted in Hong Kong, in Los Angeles, in Paris, in London, tried to find cities around the world where there was an extensive ex-patriot Vietnamese community to make sure that we were turning over every stone. And Hai Yen is somebody who walked in. We all fell in love with her and felt that she would be the perfect person.

And when we introduced her first to Michael Caine, he looked at a photograph of her and said, "There is my Phuong."

WALSH: "The Quiet American" is being shot in various locations across Vietnam before wrapping up in Australia. It's due to be released at the end of this year.

Matt Walsh, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMANUS: Graham Greene was an English author who lived from 1904 to 1991. He was on the staff of "The Times" in London and he wrote both serious novels and lighter books. Some of his best known works include "The Third Man," "The Power and the Glory," "The End of the Affair" and "Orient Express."

WALCOTT: In "Chronicle" today, the story of a different kind of horse. She'll never win at the racetrack. Her name doesn't have the ring of High Ho Silver but Cuddles may someday go down in horse history.

Jeanne Moos reports on a horse doing what only dogs have done until now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone's heard of seeing eye dogs, but this is a horse of a different color, or at least a different size.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a seeing eye horse?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is handsome!

MOOS: Actually, "he" is a she, named Cuddles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cuddles? That's like a pillow name.

MOOS: Cuddles cushions the life of his new owner, Dan Shaw. He's got her tattooed on his hand.

DAN SHAW, CUDDLES' OWNER: I feel blessed. That's how happy I am with it.

MOOS: Dan may have lost his sight, but he's been touring sights with Cuddles, from the White House to the Empire State Building, where she licked the limestone. At the Statue of Liberty, Cuddles picnicked on the grass. No wonder she mistook the carpet for pasture at the Travel Inn.

SHAW: Easy. Good girl.

MOOS: Dan just finished a month of training with Cuddles, and he's now taking her home to Maine. Dan's got a wife, but at the moment, he only has eyes for Cuddles.

SHAW: With a guide horse, she'll live 25 to 35 years. We'll grow old together.

MOOS: They live longer than dogs and they have great vision.

SHAW: She sees 350 degrees around her, everything but her tail, while she's walking.

MOOS: Cuddles is the first guide horse to be placed by the nonprofit Guide Horse Foundation. Trainer Janet Burleson says Cuddles responds to 23 commands.

JANET BURLESON, GUIDE HORSE FOUNDATION: Find the escalator. Find the elevator. Find the van. It's great when you go to the mall, because you don't have to remember where you parked, because the horse remembers.

MOOS (on camera): Does she respond to giddyap?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

MOOS (voice-over): In New York, Cuddles negotiated turnstiles, steps.

SHAW: Good girl.

MOOS: Escalators.

SHAW: Easy, easy, easy.

MOOS: And revolving doors. She even mastered the subway. The miniature horse ended up next to a headless human. Imagine waking up to a 23-inch-tall horse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope it ain't real.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she's got shoes!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's so she doesn't slip and fall.

MOOS: The easiest way to put on these cut-down baby shoes is to have Cuddles lie down. She sleeps standing up, napping while everyone else was dining at the Carnegie Deli and the Oriental Pearl. Cuddles is housebroken, though they had to clean up after her like a dog in the subway. She lets Dan know when she needs out.

SHAW: She'll tap her foot, neigh, and cross her back legs and keep neighing.

MOOS: She loves TV, we kid you not, especially westerns.

DON BURLESON, GUIDE HORSE FOUNDATION: We took her to the movie "A Knight's Tale" and she was very interested in the horse scenes.

J. BURLESON: She loved the jousting scenes.

MOOS: Cuddle's only encounter with New York horseflesh was friendly. How many horses get to go on a ride through Central Park? Apparently, even a horse is drawn to a carriage. Our last stop was at the toy store, FAO Schwarz.

(on camera): Dan, look what I found.

SHAW: What?

MOOS: A horse, a huge one. Check this out, Cuddles. Look at this.

(voice-over): She seemed ready to cuddle with this stuffed donkey. Suddenly, that old cliche about love being blind seems to make horse sense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wants her tummy rubbed.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: What an adorable horse.

HAYNES: Yes, Cuddles.

(LAUGHTER)

WALCOTT: Well, that wraps up today's show.

HAYNES: Yes, we'll see you tomorrow.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.

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