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NEWSROOM for August 20, 2001

Aired August 20, 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: See in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: It's Monday and this is CNN NEWSROOM, welcome. I'm Shelley Walcott.

Coming up, a closer look at one of the defining political events of the 20th Century. Here's the rundown.

Up first, history remembered, the 10-year anniversary of the failed coup that hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union. Then in "Environment Desk," how one California utility company is trying to help residents stave off soaring energy costs. Then in "Worldview," the greenhouse effect. We examine a billion-dollar export business in southern Spain. And in "Chronicle," the woman behind some big time Latino ballplayers in the United States.

We begin in Russia where 10 years ago this weekend, a failed coup signaled the end of the Soviet Union. Hundreds of people gathered in Moscow Sunday to commemorate their bold stance against the coup attempt. That's far fewer people than the tens of thousands who turned out in 1991 to protect the Russian White House when communist hard-liners tried to overthrow Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. For many people, memories of the coup still stir emotions. Now on one side, there's a small band of people who remain loyal to Boris Yeltsin, the former Russian leader who called for resistance to the coup. On the other is an even smaller band of communists.

Jill Dougherty reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Ten years have passed but the coup, for some, still stirs emotions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Those emotions will be with me for my whole life. What we were defending in 1991 was our future. We didn't want to live under communism.

DOUGHERTY: On one side, a small band of people who still support Boris Yeltsin, who rushed to the president's side when he stood on that tank and brought down a hard-line coup. On the other side, an even smaller band of communists. For them, Yeltsin is a dirty word. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I've worked in a factory for 45 years and they're ripping off the country. They'd grab everything in order to destroy us.

DOUGHERTY (on camera): Ten years later, there is no one opinion on the coup and what its defeat meant for this country. For some Russians, it was the beginning of a dream; for others, it was the end.

(voice-over): Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet president 10 years ago, held under house arrest, now says the coup leaders, eight senior Communist Party members, were pursuing their own selfish interests.

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER SOVIET PRESIDENT (through translator): We saw that their time was ending, they realized they could not survive democracy, that it would deprive them of all their jobs and perks.

DOUGHERTY: The coup plotters still claim they were patriots.

VASILY STARODUBTSEV, COUP PLOTTER (through translator): Our committee was created with only one purpose: to stop the disintegration of a great country, to preserve the constitution of the Soviet Union and to protect people from all the wild experiments that were underway, the so-called reforms.

DOUGHERTY: Ten years ago, tank commander Sergei Yev Dikimov disobeyed orders from the coup leaders and defended Boris Yeltsin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When it comes to freedom, freedom of expression, personal freedom, freedom of the press, those things have turned out the way I had hoped, but economically, of course, it's not exactly, or maybe not at all, as we wanted.

DOUGHERTY: A decade ago, 100,000 people turned out to defend the White House and their president. Today, at an anniversary rally, perhaps 100. For most Russians, history is a luxury they can't afford.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Although the coup failed, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned four months later. His country was already collapsing and a decade of divisive change followed. Soon after the Soviet Union unraveled, Boris Yeltsin implemented economic reforms that lead to spiraling inflation, unemployment and homelessness in many areas.

Steve Harrigan has more on the post-communist fight for prosperity.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Moscow they line up 40,000 strong to buy furniture at the opening of a new international superstore. Same winter, same country, but eight time zones east, they line up on the street to protest, no heat, no electricity and 40 degrees below zero. In Moscow, the best and the brightest earn spare cash by designing new programs for one of the world's most popular handheld computer games. Just a day's drive south, a surgeon with 18 years experience objects after the state offers to pay his monthly salary of about $40 in manure.

(on camera): Ten years after the end of a command economy, the answer to how Russia is doing depends on where you look.

(voice-over): There is Moscow and there is the rest of Russia.

JAMES FENKNER, TROIKA DIALOG: Moscow's done incredibly well through this -- through this entire period. This is where the banks are, this is where the - most of the big corporations are. By and large, most people within the city have moved up.

HARRIGAN: They've moved up three years after a ruble devaluation drove out most western investors. Now with a new popular president, strong revenues from oil sales and a flat 13 percent tax on personal income, many say the business environment, even the way of thinking, has changed.

FENKNER: The biggest difference was say pre-'98, there's a lot of window dressing. The idea was you can go to London, buy a London- made suit and therefore you are a respectable businessman.

HARRIGAN: That era of anything goes may have ended, but the era of making a competitive product is nowhere in sight. For these workers assembling black and white televisions and for thousands of dying factory towns across the country, the glitz of the capital means little.

Steve Harrigan, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Soaring temperatures across the U.S. this summer have prompted homes and businesses to crank up their air conditioners. Problem is, power doesn't come cheap, and in the wake of an energy crisis, California can't afford to waste power. One utility company in Anaheim is offering help by donating trees to residents. The program called TreePower is not only helping homes stay cool inside, but it's lowering temperatures outside as well.

Hena Cuevas has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HENA CUEVAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sarah Loung dreams of the day when she'll be getting plums from her new tree, as well as a reduction in her energy bill.

SARAH LUONG, HOMEOWNER: Once it gets to its full height, though, it'll also start benefiting us over here on the patio area and stuff, so that'll be nice. CUEVAS: She's waiting for shade and a way to cut down on her air-conditioning costs.

LUONG: They told us that we'd probably save maybe about 10 to 15 Percent, depending on how quickly the trees grow.

CUEVAS: The trees are a gift of the Anaheim Public Utilities Company, in Southern California, given away as part of their tree power program, free trees to homeowners wanting to use nature to help keep their homes cool.

MELANIE NIEMAN, ANAHEIM PUBLIC UTILITIES: I believe that our customers want to be a part of the solution to the energy crisis and this provides them one means of doing that.

CUEVAS (on camera): This is where the trees are kept before going to their new homes. According to the utility company, demand for these shade trees has gone up 50 percent since last year due, in part, to the energy crisis.

(voice-over): Andy Lipkis, president of Treepeople in Los Angeles, has been helping homeowners plant and care for trees for the past 30 years. He says more trees mean more energy saved.

ANDY LIPKIS, TREEPEOPLE: This is a no lose situation. It's totally win. People get beauty, people get their property value increased, they get their energy saved, they protect themselves from health issues.

Lipkis is working with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power which is starting the cities' first tree giveaway and planting program in September.

Something Luong says is a good idea. In the meantime, she'll have to wait about eight years before her trees are large enough for her to start reaping the benefits of their size.

LUONG: I envision it to look beautiful. I hope it starts coming along soon here.

CUEVAS: Hena Cuevas, CNN, Anaheim, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: You heard about shade trees in our "Environment Desk." More environmental news in "Worldview" as we look at greenhouses. That story takes us to Spain. We'll also focus on farming in Thailand and East Timor. And don't miss Elton John in a recent musical performance as we land in Lebanon.

But first, a closer look at the political situation in Macedonia. NATO troops are making their way into the troubled Balkan nation, the first stage of a British-led peacekeeping mission. Ethnic Albanian rebels began fighting with Macedonian government forces six months ago. The rebels were demanding more rights for their minority population. And despite promises of a cease-fire, there were reports of some fighting between rebel and government troops yesterday.

Walter Rodgers reports on what other surprises may be waiting for NATO.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ethnic Albanian guerrillas have some surprises for NATO and the Macedonian government when they start turning in their weapons, like this T-54 tank captured from the Macedonian army during the fighting for Reducia (ph). The guerrillas proudly gave CNN this exclusive glimpse of their Soviet-era prize.

And the guerrillas have more, at least two armored personnel carriers they took from the Macedonian army. Of course, this one is bullet-scarred and there are two flat tires, but the UCHIKA guerrillas are pleased as punch to show it off.

Still, the guerrillas did announce they will turn in their weapons to NATO on a phased basis as long as Macedonia approves constitutional reforms, giving minority Albanians here equal rights.

The guerrillas' reclusive political leader, Ali Ahmeti, made his debut before the western media to declare the war is now over. Wanted by the Macedonians for alleged war crimes, he portrayed himself as a man of peace who now wants reconciliation with Macedonia.

The guerrilla leader also tried to put aside NATO fears. Ali Ahmeti saying, the UCHIKA, the National Liberation Army, guarantees the security of NATO troops, adding, there will be no problems on our side.

(on camera): There are more than a few flaws in the NATO weapons collection plan, and western military analysts acknowledge some extraordinary blind spots in their intelligence.

NATO hopes to collect between 2300 and 3000 guns from the guerrillas, including some 120-millimeter mortars. But they also acknowledge that Macedonian estimates of the guerrillas having upwards of 6000 guns could also be correct.

(voice-over): In mountain villages, the guns fell silent and the cease-fire appears to be taking hold, as these children cheer the UCHIKA ethnic Albanian guerrilla army whom they see as heroes. But elsewhere in villages like Reducia (ph), there was evidence the ethnic Albanians paid a frightful price. Many of the human residents have become refugees.

If the cease-fire holds, NATO may yet collect the Macedonian tanks, but with modifications. Before relinquishing it, the guerrillas say, they are going to paint it red, with the UCHIKA insignia all over it.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, with the ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Macedonia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: "Worldview" heads to Southeast Asia to the tropical country of Thailand. One of the fastest growing economies in the world, Thailand is the only nation in Southeast Asia that has never been ruled by a western power. About 95 percent of the Thai people are Buddhists, a religion which believes people can attain peace by freeing themselves from worldly desires.

The Buddhist influence is strongly manifested in the arts like paintings, sculptures and architecture. Thai people prize the art of Senuke (ph) or having fun, whether it's kickboxing or tackra, a popular Thai sport, a good time is had by all. No wonder some East Timorese chose to live in Thailand when they fled the instability of their own region.

John Raedler is there to tell us the story of some East Timorese farmers who are literally reaping the rewards of their new homeland.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Claudino Nabais is hoping he reaps what he sows. If he does, his fellow East Timorese will be better fed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This one you can spread wider.

RAEDLER: Claudino and three colleagues are in Thailand learning all about rice. When they return home, they hope to help East Timor's farmers grow more and better rice. They've already learned the value of Thailand's abundant irrigation.

CLAUDINO NABAIS, AGRICULTURAL WORKER: Here they got the good irrigation for them, and they can plant rice continuously. But in East Timor, sometimes we grow only one season.

RAEDLER: Claudino considers himself not just lucky to be in Thailand, but lucky to be alive. he was a pro-independence activist in his homeland and a marked man by anti-independence militias after East Timor voted to separate from Indonesia in 1999. When those militias went on murderous rampages after the vote, Claudino went on the run.

NABAIS: So I was very afraid, because they are -- they were looking for every students to kill, so we was very, very afraid.

RAEDLER: At one stage, militias did catch him and other activists, inspecting them for anything linking them to the independence movement, and killing those who had any such links.

NABAIS: They beat and they kill in my front, so I was there. And me, they didn't cut me, because they didn't inspect me, because, I don't know, maybe it is lucky for me, I don't know.

RAEDLER: Fernando Salsinha is also in the U.N.-sponsored program in Thailand. He, too, was part of the independence movement in East Timor, and he also feels lucky to have survived the militias. FERNANDO SALSHINHA, AGRICULTURAL WORKER: They come to look for someone, and they take and they kill. So after we hear the information about this conflict, we went to hill for hiding.

RAEDLER: Fernando lost a brother and an uncle in the post-vote mayhem. All of the trainees say they feel a moral responsibility to help develop an independent East Timor to honor those who died for it.

John Raedler, CNN, Pathum Thani, Thailand.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: More on growing as we turn to Spain and a closer look at some of the country's unique nature reserves. But before we get to that, the quick profile of Spain, a country perhaps best known for its appreciation of the arts and culture. Located in southwestern Europe, it is home to just over 39 million people, the vast majority of whom are Roman Catholic. Tourists often visit in search of flamenco music, bull fighting, architecture and, of course, those world famous fiestas. But life is far more practical for Spaniards who live far away from the big cities. In fact, some Spanish farmers have found a way to boost their revenues into the billion-dollar range.

Al Goodman explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Greenhouses, great plastic covered greenhouses, they blanket Spain's southern Almeria province from the mountains right down to the Mediterranean Sea, a billion-dollar business growing fruits and vegetables year round for export. New found wealth on land too dry for conventional farming, there are enough greenhouses here to cover 35,000 soccer fields, but the appetite for more has pushed into local park land. Environmentalists are furious.

JOSE IGNACIO DOMINGUEZ, ENVIRONMENTALISTS IN ACTION (through translator): It would be horrible if this is tolerated. It would mean you could put up greenhouses anywhere and the owners would be above the law.

GOODMAN: In the prized Cabo de Gato Park, the government has removed two greenhouses built without permission while others will be demolished. But a bigger fight is brewing just outside the park where earth moving machines are leveling the rolling hills.

(on camera): Here the battle lines are drawn. Environmentalists say this is protective land that should be used as a park, but growers want it to build more greenhouses.

(voice-over): Land that used to look like this now looks like this. Workers can build a metal structure and stretch plastic over it in a matter of days. Environmentalists have filed suit saying this is illegal construction. The government has begun 30 investigations and says it has not been soft on big business. JUAN JOSE LUQUE, ALMERIA ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICIAL (through translator): We have sent the right message about following the rules. In the big picture, these 300 hectares in this built are just a small part of the land in the province.

GOODMAN: Even some farmers say they can support stricter rules.

JUAN CANTON, PRESIDENT, GROWERS ASSOCIATION (through translator): This area has grown very quickly and the steps are being taken so it does not continue the way it has.

GOODMAN: Here, all sides dream of passing on a legacy, but they can't agree on where to draw the line between economic growth and protecting this province's natural beauty.

Al Goodman, CNN, Almeria, Spain.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: Now to a small country at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon. Because of its strategic location at the western end of Asia, is has been a center of transportation, trade and finance for over 100 years. In the mid-1970s, civil war between Christians and Muslims as well as numerous other battles had devastating effects on the economy.

In spite of the decline in service industries due to war, trade and finance still remain Lebanon's chief source of income. Although most Lebanese people are Arabs, there's a great deal of western influence. Many enjoy the literature, art and music of both Arabic and western cultures which could explain why the latest singing sensation to take center stage at the nation's capital was such a big hit.

Brent Sadler's in Beirut for the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A world superstar takes center stage in Lebanon. Sir Elton John warms to a full house on the opening night of the Beiteddian Festival in an ancient palace high in the Chouf Mountains. A reviving nation, Lebanon constantly strives to polish its international image, one frequently tarnished by violent images of the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.

In full swing, Sir Elton mesmerizes his fans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elton John's amazing, great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Though we have some bad parts, we also have some very good parts just like the concert here. It was great. I mean it was excellent.

SADLER (on camera): The Lebanese are priding themselves that even though their country is often at the forefront of regional instability and violence, the world of entertainment is still stopping by. So say event organizers, let the good times roll.

(voice-over): Sir Elton isn't the only British knight to help thrust Lebanon into the limelight. Virgin Record founder Sir Richard Branson, in typically flamboyant style, opens the Middle East's first music megastore in Beirut. Sir Elton, who has performed on both sides of the Arab-Israeli divide, firmly believes that music should transcend politics.

SIR ELTON JOHN, MUSICIAN: No, I didn't have any problems. I'm a musician, and a musician tends to think that politics doesn't come into what they do. It's a bit like sport really. Sport and music should be exempt from politics, and never really questioned it. You know I've been to Israel. I'd like to go to some Arab countries to play.

SADLER: Like Lebanon's neighbor, Syria, where the musical megastar says he'd love to play inside a Roman amphitheater.

Brent Sadler, CNN, Beiteddian in Lebanon's Chouf Mountains.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: A Puerto Rican woman is making her mark on the world of sports. Her job as a sports agent presents daily opportunities and challenges from translating to giving advice. Clients look to her for various needs, that she can easily meet because of her background and cultural experiences.

Maria Hinojosa explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA HINIJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s Monday afternoon and Carmen Feliciano is on a mission, to deliver this tiny Cubs fan to Chicago. Feliciano is also on a mission to break the mold. As a 49-year-old Puerto Rican mother of two, who`s a sports agent, representing big time Latino baseball players like Cubs pitcher Julian Tavarez who wanted to see his son by game time. So babysitting isn`t beneath her. Even dancing to bachata music.

Feliciano, a vice president at Impact Sports meets a growing need in baseball, easing young Caribbean players from humble backgrounds into their new lives as highly paid major league baseball stars. Nearly 1/4 of professional baseball players are from the Dominican Republic.

JULIAN TAVAREZ, CHICAGO CUBS: Once she told me that she was going to sign me and all and she was an agent. And I don`t know agent mean back then, I just was so happy to find somebody that speaks Spanish.

HINIJOSA: She counsels grown men who`ve never had any money how to manage it.

CARMEN FELICIANO: I`m not saying that you`re going to buy a Mercedes or a Porsche or whatever it is, but buy it in stages.

HINIJOSA: And keeps a steady eye on her clients` games, preferably from afar.

(on-camera): What's funny is that you don`t like to come to baseball games?

FELICIANO: No. At this time I want to be in my house, watching it on TV.

HINIJOSA: But home is often elusive.

FELICIANO: Can he get that thing wet and shower?

HINIJOSA: When players like Fernando Tatis of the Montreal Expos, end up in mid season surgery.

FERNANDO TATIS, MONTREAL EXPOS:" (INAUDIBLE) she`s part of my family, because I feel so much for her and she feels so much for me.

HINIJOSA: And she feels it right back, because baseball, she believes is really a mom`s world.

FELICIANO: This is just what I did for my kids when they were playing little league.

HINIJOSA: An agent taking care of her new kids in the big leagues.

Maria Hinijosa, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALCOTT: Bet they're happy to have her around.

Well, that wraps up today's show. But before we go, we'd like to leave you with a preview of what we have in store for our new season of CNN NEWSROOM. Here's a quick look. We'll see you tomorrow.

Bye-bye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Coming your way this season on CNN NEWSROOM, we'll explore people, places and things. We'll meet people prominent in the present.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spanish is here to stay. But it, again, that does not mean it'll impede the children and grandchildren of Spanish speaking immigrants from learning English.

ANNOUNCER: And study interesting people of the past while pondering your plans for the future. We'll visit places far away from home and find fascinating cultures in our own backyard. We'll discover things in the world around us. Things seen...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ocean is like a soup. It's just filled with creatures from the top all the way to the greatest depths seven miles down. And I just love it all. ANNOUNCER: ... and sometimes unseen. So join us, starting this fall as we travel from our newsroom to your classroom out into the world beyond. It's all right here on CNN NEWSROOM.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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