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NEWSROOM for June 14, 2001

Aired June 14, 2001 - 04:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Hello and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Shelley Walcott.

Here's a peak at what's coming up.

President Bush continues his European tour. Get reaction to his missile defense plan in our "Top Story." Then, get ready to roll in "Science Desk," we're hitting the road in this. Our road trip isn't over, hold on to your helmet as "Worldview" checks out the young at heart enjoying their Harley. Then, we end up on the U.S./Mexico border to "Chronicle" life on this new frontier.

United States President George W. Bush reports good progress on the issue of his missile defense plan. His five-day blitz through Europe took him Wednesday to NATO headquarters in Belgium where he met with 18 other world leaders. Sweden, Poland and Slovenia, by the way, are next on his agenda.

The president asked the NATO alliance to move beyond a Cold War mentality and into a new era, one that includes his missile defense program.

As John King reports, though, European leaders are skeptical.


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His NATO debut was a major test. The president claimed progress, converts to his controversial plan for missile defense.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We saw a new receptivity toward missile defense as part of a new strategic framework to address the changing threats of our world.

KING: Britain, Hungary, Poland, Italy and Spain offered at least general words of support.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Europe and America should always stick together.

KING: But Mr. Bush by no means closed the sale. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the technology is still unproven and French President Jacques Chirac took issue with Mr. Bush's characterization of the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty as a Cold War relic.

JACQUES CHIRAC, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: We have some reservations and some concerns, notably about the risk of proliferation in this area of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

KING: But NATO's secretary-general was more upbeat.

GEORGE ROBERTSON, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: What the president asked for and what the president got was an open mind by the other allied countries to look at the risks and emerging threats that exist against NATO countries today.

KING: Several allies have complained of a go-it-alone approach, so Mr. Bush arrived in Brussels with something to prove.

BUSH: Unilateralists don't come around the table to listen to others and to share opinion.

KING: Yet he also made clear listening doesn't necessarily mean giving ground.

BUSH: I think people are coming our way, but people know that I'm intent upon doing what I think is the right thing in order to make the world more peaceful.

KING: Saturday's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is critical. There would be much less controversy if Moscow agreed to amend the ABM Treaty.

Brussels was stop two, and like Madrid the day before, protesters made clear their opposition to missile defense and other Bush administration policies. And officials are bracing for more protests at the next stop, Sweden, where Mr. Bush joins a European Union meeting.

The president took time out in Brussels to indulge his sweet tooth.

BUSH: Whoa, this is really good.

KING: A brief respite on a trip in which Europe is taking his measure.

(on camera): Mr. Bush says his take is, so far so good. He claims significant progress in building goodwill among the allies and, in his view, at least modest headway in making the case for missile defense.

John King CNN, Brussels.


WALCOTT: Also Wednesday, President Bush and other NATO leaders expressed opposition to quick deployment of troops to Macedonia. Several influential U.S. senators and military officials, however, are pushing for intervention. They say the U.S. must take the lead in seeking a political settlement and an end to ethnic violence in Macedonia. NATO Secretary-General George Robertson is scheduled to travel there next week.

Nic Robertson talked to leaders on both sides of the conflict and has this report.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the effects of conflict here becoming part of daily life, no water in this town because rebels controlling the dam refuse to allow engineers to fix it, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson's visit will raise hopes the current cease-fire, now turning into a stalemate, can be parlayed into something better. Robertson's meetings with the president, prime minister and other politicians are expected to bring calls for NATO troops to be deployed to Macedonia. An international force is part of a peace plan which will be discussed by the four key parties at a mini-summit in the coming days.

NICOLA DIMTROV, PRESIDENT'S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It will be of tremendous importance given the role of NATO and KFOR in the Balkans to have KFOR soldiers taking part together with the Macedonian authorities in the actual collection of arms.

ROBERTSON: The presidential peace plan gives rebels a 48-hour cease-fire in which to lay down their guns. After that, Macedonians say they would disarm the rebels, allowing those whom they say had not committed crimes to be granted an amnesty.

(on camera); Now it is too early to know exactly what size or type of international force might be deployed to Macedonia, it is clear that both ethnic Albanians and Macedonians agree they want as many troops as possible. Where they differ is over what role that force would play.

(voice-over): Ethnic Albanian politicians say international involvement will help guarantee them equality. Their concern about the peace plan summit is that even though the two main ethnic Albanian parties are represented, without the rebels, they say, there is little chance of it bringing peace.

RIZUAN SULEJMANI, PARTY FOR DEM. PROSPERITY: We couldn't find any solution without NLA. It is a reality. We could accept peace or could not accept it, but the reality is that they are the real force, that we haven't any power, any influence to them to say stop.

ROBERTSON: Most here fear the opportunities to secure peace may be running out -- that E.U. Security Chief Javier Solana is accompanying Robertson on his visit reinforces the importance the international community places on success here.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Skopje, Macedonia.


WALCOTT: On Capitol Hill, power problems in the western U.S. are taking center stage. With the threat of rolling blackouts looming this summer, California Democrats Wednesday lashed out at utility executives and called on the Bush administration for help.

Meanwhile, some carmakers are trying to come up with more energy efficient vehicles. Cars powered by electricity or, in the case of several new vehicles about to hit the market, gasoline and electricity.

Ann Kellan takes us for a test drive.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Other than our presence, it's a typical weekday: up early. She's a lawyer. He's a computer consultant. She's in third grade. Finish the chores, eat a little breakfast, head out the door.

JEFF FOREMAN, HYBRID CAR OWNER: OK, have you got everything?


FOREMAN: You put her lunch in there, right?

KELLAN: What's not typical is the five-seat Toyota Prius Jeff Foreman and his family drive: It's a hybrid. It runs on electricity and gasoline.

FOREMAN: Here's the internal combustion engine. This is the hybrid system. Back here is where the battery pack is.

KELLAN: They love it.

FOREMAN: Turn the ignition to the on position. The computer boots up. This is the gear shift; you just pull that down, and you're good to go.

KELLAN: Unlike normal cars, this car gets better mileage in stop-and-go traffic, with its electric motor, than on the highway, when its gas engine is often needed.

(on camera): I think people think, Electric car, plug it in.

FOREMAN: No, that's not how this car works. You go to any gas station, and you put regular gas in it. And if you're like me, you go every two weeks. The best I've ever gotten is 56 miles a gallon, and the lowest I've ever gotten is about 36 miles a gallon.

KELLAN: What about resale on these cars?

FOREMAN: It's going to be difficult, perhaps, initially for me to recoup all the costs. But can you tell me what the price of gas is going to be in three years? I don't know.

KELLAN (voice-over): Ann Kellan, CNN, Washington.



ANNOUNCER: CNN viewer Joe Park of Ridgewood, New Jersey asks CNN, what are the pros and cons of energy deregulation?

LAWRENCE J. MAKOVICH, CAMBRIDGE ENERGY RESEARCH ASSOCIATES: The pros of deregulation are quite simply to unleash competitive forces to attack some of the inefficiencies we've built up over 50 to 70 years of regulation in the business.

The production and distribution of power is quite a complicated technology. And so it's not quite as easy to set up a market in the power business as it is in many other industries.

So I think the cons of deregulation are you run a very important risk that you can set these markets up incorrectly and things can go wrong, as they have in California, for example.


WALCOTT: Music, motorcycles and modern art in "Worldview." Come on a ride through bike history and trace the trends. We'll also meet a cop who's a crooner. He sang at one of the most famous concert halls in the U.S. Plus, learn about a booming French art form.

But first, we turn to the Middle East where CIA director George Tenet has worked out a tentative truce agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The deal came after a marathon bargaining session, but the State Department says Israelis and Palestinians still have reservations about the deal and the next 24 hours will be critical.

Jerrold Kessel has more.


JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the CIA chief concluded his energetic mission to consolidate the truce in the making, no immediate change on the ground. Israeli tanks still presiding over Palestinian areas, shooting still at Jewish settlers on West Bank roads. Two Israelis injured in the latest incidents.

The situation is set to change within 48 hours. U.S. officials say they expect mutual steps on the ground to put in progress what they're modestly calling the Tenet Work Plan -- Israeli actions to ease the closure and economic pressure on the Palestinians, Palestinian actions against those who carry out violent acts.

But even as Palestinian police were shown checking Palestinian vehicles for illegal weapons; still, mutual suspicions remain very much in place.

LIMOR LIVNAT, ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER: Arafat's response will be examined by the outcome -- by the result. He is supposed now to stop all the violence, and we will see in the next few days, next few hours, next few days, if he lives up to his promises or not.

YASSER ABED RABBO, PALESTINIAN CABINET MINISTER: This is a test for the Israeli government to show that they are really ready to start a new process if they freeze the settlement activities, if they put an end to the atrocities of the settlers and if they lift the siege and the collective punishment they have imposed upon our people.

KESSEL: President Bush called Mr. Tenet to congratulate him. Perhaps, say observers, most crucial to the success of these efforts, what the U.S. leadership does now.

CHEMI SHALEY, ISRAELI POLITICAL ANALYST: Whether George Tenet will tell them that this is a lost case despite the fact that he's signed some sort of cease-fire agreement and they will, therefore, desist and hold off or whether he will recommend that America continue its heavy involvement in the area, in which case, both sides will be interested in maintaining the cease-fire and then seeing where America diplomacy leads them.

KESSEL: There'll be plenty of opposition on both sides -- even as the CIA chief and Yasser Arafat were wrapping up the late-night Palestinian agreement, demonstrations in nearby streets from various Palestinian groups opposed to ending their intifada.

ISMAIL ABU-SHANAB, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: We understand the enormous pressure against Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. This pressure is not solving the real problem. The real cause of the suffering of the Palestinians is the occupation, the settlers and the Israeli tanks on the Palestinian territories. Tenet is not dealing with the real cause of the problem.

KESSEL: On the Israeli side, Prime Minister Sharon, who has been conferring with his military commanders on the West Bank, has resisted insistence of Jewish settlers that he unleash Israel's full military might. Now, the frustrations of the Israeli right have grown.

YEHUDIT TAYAR, SETTLER SPOKESWOMAN: If it wasn't so serious it would be ludicrous that people actually pretend to believe when Arafat says there's going to be a cease-fire.

KESSEL (on camera): The Tenet working plan is designed to consolidate two previously independently declared cease-fires by Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat. If this attempt to create one agreed truce doesn't take hold, the risk -- the fear is that it could undermine, perhaps even collapse, those declared commitments to restraint.

Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Jerusalem.


WALCOTT: When it comes to art and culture, France is a country that often comes to mind. The country's capital and largest city is Paris. For hundreds of years, Paris has been a world center of art and learning. Every year, millions of tourists visit famous Paris landmarks like the Eiffel Tour and the Louvre, one of the largest art museums in the world. And these days, there is at least one artist who is shaking the French art world, although not in the way she may have hoped.

Peter Humi has the story.


PETER HUMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Danger: Artist at work. In the gentile surroundings of the Palias Royal in the heart of Paris, Chantal Cotte is creating.

"I'd like to use three grams of explosives," she says, "but since we're where we are, I'm only allowed to use one and a half."

HUMI: Carefully packed in sealed containers, the metal she is about to energize is submerged in a tub of water. She calls it an implosion explosion. The end result, satisfactory, she says, and it will join her other works currently on display in a Parisian art gallery.

"Each material has its own way of reacting," Cotte says. "I don't really have a favorite."

HUMI: Originally inspired by a mangled gas cylinder, Cotte admits expressing her explosive talents was difficult at first. But after some persuasion and training, the French military helped with the means, and the firing ranges to allow artistic license.

"Sure, there's a big violent bang," she says. "But really, you need the energy that's created to help the substance express itself.

HUMI: Polyurethane, helped along by 105 artillery shells -- aluminum honeycomb: Anti-tank mines, armor plating, plastic explosives. The energized metal or plastic has proven popular with their original manufacturers. Blast art, similar to this, from a metal made originally for safety barriers has been purchased as an ornament at company headquarters. The cost, about 100,000 francs or $14,000 dollars.

After all, the artist says, each work is unique. Chantal Cotte has never been injured nor has her hearing been impaired, and despite the occasional rocket from the critics, remains proud to be loud.

Peter Humi, CNN, Paris.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Start your engines. It's time to follow the path of motorcycles through the years. The first gasoline powered motorcycle was invented in 1885 by Gottlieb Daimler, a German engineer. Daimler crafted the vehicle by attaching a four-stroke piston to a wooden bicycle frame. His invention remained experimental for a few more years but sped into popularity in the early 1900s.

Since then, countless companies, including the famous Harley- Davidson, as you know, have spun out generations of riders. Some are police and fire department workers who rely on motorcycles to maneuver through traffic during emergencies. Others are urban residents trying to reduce air pollution. But most riders use motorcycles simply for recreation or general transportation needs.

And as Frank Buckley explains, today's riders are a different breed than those of the past.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Among the gentlemen starting their engines in Maryland...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then we just hit the starter, and away it goes.

BUCKLEY: And the lady firing up her bike on a driveway in suburban Los Angeles, a trend.

Cindy Stern is 48 years old. James Madey in Maryland, a bit older.

JAMES MADEY, MOTORCYCLE RIDER: This is the big 50 for me, and I am having my bike, and I am going in style.

BUCKLEY: The generation that grew up on "Easy Rider" got jobs, raised kids; and are now rediscovering the open road.

The age of motorcycle riders is going up. The typical rider today, according to a 1998 survey from the Motorcycle Industry Council is 38 years old, compared to 33 years old in 1990. Today, four out 10 motorcycle owners are at least 40 years old.

CINDY STERN, MOTORCYCLE RIDER: Over the age of 35 and 40, we are so, you know, maybe our kids are leaving home. We are so consumed by the stresses and strains of our jobs. I know that for me when I get out on my motorcycle, it is an almost Zen-like experience.

BUCKLEY: But along with the increase in older riders has come an increase in the number of older riders who are dying in crashes.

(on camera): The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration saying in a soon to be released study that last year, the average age of a motorcycle fatality victim was 36 years old, compared to 29 years old just a decade earlier.

(voice-over): The study also showing more than half of the fatalities came in rural areas, reversing a seven-year trend in which most motorcycle fatalities occurred in multi-vehicle urban crashes. The sobering statistics a remainder, say safety advocates, that training, even for older riders returning to motorcycles, is important.

ELIZABETH PIPER, MOTORCYCLE SAFETY FOUNDATION: 92 percent of crashes involving motorcyclists are either self-taught or taught by friends. So, we are an advocate for getting trained and learning how to ride a motorcycle properly.

BUCKLEY: Something some motorcycle riders intend do to into their golden years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love it. It is in my blood.

BUCKLEY: Frank Buckley, CNN, Los Angeles.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Next stop, Carnegie Hall in New York City. The historic concert venue opened in 1891. It's named after Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist who built it and first owned it. It's world renowned as a site for concerts and other musical events. The famous Russian composer, Peter Tchaikovsky, was a guest conductor its first week. And since then, musicians from around the world have performed there, including stars and wannabes.

Jeanne Moos has more on one of the latest celebrities to take the stage.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Have you ever had a cop pull you over and say,


MOOS: Me neither.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We call him the singing cop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The blue tenor.

RODRIGUEZ (singing): To bear with unbearable sorrow.

MOOS: When his coworkers at the 13th Precinct tell officer Daniel Rodriguez to break a leg...


RODRIGUEZ: Thanks, babe.

MOOS: They don't mean some suspect's leg, they mean at Carnegie Hall.

RODRIGUEZ: Tonight, tonight, I'll be at Carnegie Hall tonight

MOOS: For years, Daniel struggled to make a living as a singer, then opted for financial security by joining the NYPD.

(on camera): You never sing to any perps, do you?


MOOS (voice-over): But he's always singing a song made famous by Mario Lanza.


MARIO LANZA, ACTOR (singing): Be my love...


RODRIGUEZ: ... for no one else can end this yearning.

MOOS: That's Daniel's wife in the photo.

RODRIGUEZ: I actually proposed to her with "Be My Love" at a Christmas concert.

MOOS: And now, he's about to rehearse it at Carnegie Hall, for a benefit featuring Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops.

RODRIGUEZ: I'm flabbergasted just to hear that sound coming from behind me and knowing that the next sound you hear is my voice.

MOOS: A voice Skitch Henderson describes this way.

SKITCH HENDERSON, NEW YORK POPS: It's incredible and it's natural.

MOOS: Whether he's singing to workers on the sidewalk or singing along to the squad car radio.

RODRIGUEZ (singing): Sometimes I wish I'd never been born at all.

MOOS: Who needs an opera house when you can sing at the station house?

RODRIGUEZ (singing): Eternally.

MOOS: That night at Carnegie Hall, Daniel started out fine, but halfway through got lost in the orchestration. There was a quick conference with Skitch, and then a strong finish.

RODRIGUEZ (singing): My love.

MOOS: Followed by a standing ovation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His voice was spectacular.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had no idea New York's finest were so fine.

RODRIGUEZ: When I got out there, I just got so involved with the moment I forgot about the song.


LANZA (singing): If you will be...

(END VIDEO CLIP) RODRIGUEZ (singing): ... my love

MOOS: You don't have to be a jailbird to sing like a canary.

RODRIGUEZ (singing): Be my love

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


WALCOTT: In "Chronicle" today, a closer look at the economic and cultural evolution taking place along the U.S./Mexico border. Today, we visit the border town of Laredo, Texas. About 10,000 trucks drive into the city every day to off-load cargo for delivery into the U.S. from Mexico.

Ed Lavandera has this report.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is afternoon rush hour -- border-style: A slow-moving swarm of people carrying their daily necessities across the Rio Grande. But these crowds represent only a fraction of the business crossing the border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our first trailer that's going to leave tonight.

LAVANDERA: An average of 650 trucks pull out of this Consolidated Freightways warehouse every day.

JOHN HERNANDEZ, CONSOLIDATED FREIGHTWAYS: We moved everything from food items to household goods, to toys -- just about everything.

LAVANDERA: Those goods are headed to every corner of the United States.

HERNANDEZ: That thing's got to get out of here in about two hours.

LAVANDERA: Consolidated Freightways symbolizes what's happening in Laredo, an explosion of business born of international trade.

JOHN ADAMS, LAREDO DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION: As you look around at the diversity we have with the retail and the shipping and the banking, this is like a little Hong Kong.

LAVANDERA: About 40 percent of the ground trade that makes its way between the U.S. and Mexico every year comes through Laredo. This isn't anything new. People have been crisscrossing goods here for years. But what is new is that since NAFTA has taken effect, this border town has seen unprecedented prosperity.

FRANK VIDA, CUSTOMS BROKER: What you see here won't be here within in 24 hours. LAVANDERA: Frank Vida's customs brokerage business has outgrown his warehouse. He needs another 70,000 square feet to hold all these boat engines.

VIDA: Like a goldfish in a pond, you can only grow as large as the pond is, and this warehouse is our pond, so we have to go to a bigger pond.

LAVANDERA: There are dozens of business like Vida's in Laredo. They need more space because demand is relentless.

ADAMS: Trade is the hallmark of Laredo. Either by the grace of God or by just the luck of geography, the fact of the matter is, is that Laredo is the number one inland port on the southern border.

LAVANDERA: That means about 10,000 truckloads cross the border every day, about 60 percent heading north. That's created a new set of problems. Lines of trucks are backed up at the border all day. Customs agents can only inspect a handful of the trucks that come across.

The long waits are a major problem for Hector Bolanos, a Mexican customs broker who's family has been working this border town since 1928. Under trade regulations, he faces more red tape than his U.S. counterparts.

HECTOR BOLANOS, MEXICAN BUSINESS OWNER: You have more paperwork because you have more requirements from the Mexican government in order to protect some national industries in Mexico.

LAVANDERA: Each box of this shipment of oil filters must be opened, inspected and a sticker applied.

(on camera): Where are you headed off to?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stillwater, Oklahoma.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Some here say you can measure the strength of the economy by the number of trucks on the move. More trucks than ever are carving a path out of this South Texas town.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Laredo, Texas.


WALCOTT: And that wraps up today's show. We'll see you back here tomorrow.


CNN NEWSROOM is part of Cable in the Classroom, a service of the cable television industry and your local cable company.



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