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<v Speaker>This is Assignment: The World for the week of December 16th, 1993. <v Speaker>Hi and welcome to Assignment: the World. I'm Ginnie Bacheler. <v Speaker>Our top story, Yeltsin's new constitution wins, but reformers lose <v Speaker>in Russian elections. Even though Russian President Boris Yeltsin's new constitution <v Speaker>won approval Sunday among Russian voters, the parliamentary elections show Yeltsin's <v Speaker>reform measures may be in trouble. <v Speaker>The results of the parliamentary elections demonstrate the struggle ahead for Yeltsin as <v Speaker>he tries to move Russia from a communist country to a market economy. <v Speaker>The reform politicians were angered with Yeltsin after the elections because they felt <v Speaker>this year of turmoil caused their party to divide. <v Speaker>The nationalist and communist parties won over the divided reformers and the <v Speaker>parliamentary returns. The leading nationalist, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said his <v Speaker>party stands for what Russia used to be.
<v Speaker>The new constitution that passed gives Yeltsin great powers to appoint the government <v Speaker>and overrule the legislature because he won so much power Sunday with this new <v Speaker>constitution. Yeltsin now says there are no plans for presidential elections <v Speaker>in June. Instead, he will complete his presidential term, which run through the end of <v Speaker>1996. <v Speaker>One hundred ninety years ago this week, December 20th, 1803. <v Speaker>The Louisiana Purchase was formally transferred from France to the United States. <v Speaker>Purchased for a total of 15 million dollars, the Louisiana Purchase extended from the <v Speaker>Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to British North <v Speaker>America. This doubled the national domain, increasing it 828,000 <v Speaker>square miles, though the final boundaries of the territory were not settled until many <v Speaker>years later. <v Speaker>U.S. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin surprised everyone with the announcement of his <v Speaker>resignation at a White House press conference Wednesday. <v Speaker>He made the statement with President Clinton at his side. <v Speaker>Aspin gave only personal reasons for his resignation. <v Speaker>President Clinton praised Aspin for the job he has done over the past year, saying that
<v Speaker>Aspin has handled a tough job well. <v Speaker>Clinton is expected to name Aspin's replacement, former CIA deputy director <v Speaker>Bobby Inman, this week. Aspin's said heart surgery to install a pacemaker <v Speaker>during this past year was not a factor in his decision, but speculation over <v Speaker>the stresses of the job followed his announcement. <v Speaker>Those close to the Secretary of Defense said the failed attempt to capture Aidid <v Speaker>in Somalia was weighed heavily on him, especially because Republican members <v Speaker>of Congress called for his resignation after the Somalia event. <v Speaker>Also, a dispute this week between Aspin and Pentagon budget director Leon Panetta <v Speaker>was said to cause irritation for Aspin because President Clinton was prepared to <v Speaker>step in and settle that dispute. <v Speaker>After years of failed negotiations and disappointment, participants in the 117 <v Speaker>nation effort to change the rules of world trade race to wrap up <v Speaker>loose ends Wednesday and passed the GATT Treaty. <v Speaker>GATT, which stands for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, seeks to lower
<v Speaker>taxes on manufactured and agricultural goods while lowering other barriers to <v Speaker>trade in areas such as agriculture, protection for copyrights, and banking. <v Speaker>A standoff developed Sunday between the U.S. <v Speaker>and the 12 nation European Community over barriers on two of America's leading <v Speaker>export industries, American films and television shows and aircraft <v Speaker>manufacturing. Until late Wednesday afternoon, it looked as if the dispute would cause <v Speaker>the treaty to fail. But at the last minute, the US and E.C. <v Speaker>agreed to compromise. Other compromises took place in the final hours of negotiations <v Speaker>in order to meet the Wednesday deadline. <v Speaker>The French agreed to accept the agricultural rules they had originally argued about. <v Speaker>British Prime Minister, uh, John Major and his Irish counterpart, Albert <v Speaker>Reynolds, arrived at an agreement Wednesday, creating a framework for peace between <v Speaker>Ireland and England. The two leaders are working toward ending 25 years <v Speaker>of violence between their two countries. <v Speaker>The battle between them has been over British rule in Northern Ireland.
<v Speaker>The Irish Republican Army, or the I.R.A., has led the struggle against British <v Speaker>rule with violent tactics such as bombing Brit busy British shopping areas. <v Speaker>John Major announced that the peace plan includes incentives for the I.R.A. <v Speaker>to stop the violence against the British people. <v Speaker>Major says he hopes to begin negotiating directly with leaders of the I.R.A. <v Speaker>within 3 months after a ceasefire can be negotiated. <v Speaker>Looking briefly at other stories in the news, the charges against Jack Kevorkian, the <v Speaker>Michigan doctor was assisted with the suicides of 20 terminally ill people may be dropped <v Speaker>soon. In a court ruling Monday, a judge ruled the Michigan law banning assisted suicides <v Speaker>as unconstitutional. <v Speaker>The U.S. Supreme Court put an end to the controversial tool used in the war against drugs <v Speaker>on Monday, ruling that prosecutors must notify drug suspects before they seize their <v Speaker>property. The high court said the drug defendants are entitled to due process and a fair <v Speaker>hearing and Eduardo Frei won a landslide victory in Chile's national presidential <v Speaker>elections, Frei promised to amend the constitution, giving him the ability to fire the <v Speaker>former dictator, General Augusto Pinochet and other top military commanders.
<v Speaker>And now it's time for the answers to last week's clues in the news. <v Speaker>Find the role of our newsmaker. And you discovered that Robert Malval is Haiti's prime <v Speaker>minister, who resigned Wednesday as a result of the problems in Haiti. <v Speaker>Malval announced his resignation because his country was unable to gain the return <v Speaker>of ousted President John-Bertrand Aristide. Malval said he would remain acting <v Speaker>prime minister, the post for which he was chosen by Aristide, until his successor <v Speaker>is named. Find the location of our second clue and you'll get Jericho, the occupied <v Speaker>territory in Israel, where Monday marked the schduled withdrawal of a U.S. <v Speaker>of Israeli troops ,excuse me, as agreed upon in the peace pact between Israel and the <v Speaker>PLO. With a peace agreement in crisis, Israel's Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin <v Speaker>announced he would not pull troops out because the West Bank and Gaza regions remain <v Speaker>too violent. Rabin feels the withdrawal of his troops would put Israeli residents <v Speaker>of that region in serious danger. <v Speaker>PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Rabin said they plan to meet again in 10 days <v Speaker>to reevaluate the situation in the occupied territories.
<v Speaker>In the meantime, extremist groups on both sides who are opposed of the peace pact are <v Speaker>hoping the 10 day delay will give them time to dismantle the peace process altogether. <v Speaker>And unscramble our third clue and you get Japan's rice market. <v Speaker>Despite heated opposition from Japanese rice farmers, Japan's prime minister opened <v Speaker>the Japanese rice market Monday. <v Speaker>As part of the gap talks, the US asked Japan to lift its decades old ban <v Speaker>on rice imports. Japan had banned rice imports to protect its politically <v Speaker>powerful farmers who receive the highest prices for rice than farmers in other parts <v Speaker>of the world. Opening the rice market would ultimately force Japanese farmers to lower <v Speaker>their prices to remain competitive. <v Speaker>The announcement came just after 7,200 tons of rice arrived in Japan <v Speaker>from California as part of Japan's first emergency rice imports since <v Speaker>World War 2. Japan is suffering from its worst rice harvest in years. <v Speaker>[music playing] <v Speaker>Time now for our first pop quiz. In our story about the Russian elections, why did
<v Speaker>Yeltsin cancel the presidential elections this June? <v Speaker>Was it because of poor voter turnout Sunday? <v Speaker>His new constitution passed? <v Speaker>He resigned as president? <v Speaker>And the correct answer is number 2. Yeltsin gained great power with a new constitution <v Speaker>that passed. <v Speaker>Their appearance may be frightening and many people are fearful of their defense <v Speaker>mechanisms. But a closer look may dispel some of those fears. <v Speaker>Wyatt Doremus has more. <v Speaker>For many people, coming face to face with a venomous spider or a scorpion would be a <v Speaker>terrifying experience. Robert Cooper, curator of zoology at the Rochester Museum <v Speaker>and Science Center, hopes to dispel the myths that these insects are vicious killers. <v Speaker>It's kind of fun to see things that, you know, people who have, have real fears about. <v Speaker>Arachnophobia, the movie brings out those fears and plays upon those fears. <v Speaker>But it's fun to see the things in reality in a little cage so that they aren't a <v Speaker>potential danger. And what it basically tries to tell is they fact that insects
<v Speaker>are one of a larger group of animals. <v Speaker>Uh, we call these arthropods for jointed legged animals. <v Speaker>The exhibit contains a variety of exotic insects from several countries around the world. <v Speaker>We figure the upper range of black widows would come in round right around Virginia and <v Speaker>south. Some of the southwest. <v Speaker>Uh, of course, you'd have to travel to South America for some of the flamboyant flower <v Speaker>beetles or over to Africa to see the African Emperor Scorpions, Madagascar hissing <v Speaker>cockroaches and Madagascar off the coast of Africa. <v Speaker>Many people fear the venomous insects, but Cooper shows that with proper care and <v Speaker>handling, they can be examined quite easily. <v Speaker>One exhibit we have here are the black and brown widow spiders, which are highly venomous <v Speaker>spiders. They aren't fatal. People do get bit by them. <v Speaker>They can survive fairly easily. We have, uh, both the Bird Eating Tarantula as well as <v Speaker>the Mexican Redleg Tarantula. They eat insects predominantly, but the Bird Eating <v Speaker>Tarantula is named for the fact that it does prey upon small mammals, birds every once in <v Speaker>a while. African Emperor Scorpions are absolutely beautiful, large scorpions
<v Speaker>which under black light or ultraviolet light, they fluorescent cobalt <v Speaker>blue. <v Speaker>Most of these insects use their environment as a defense mechanism against any would be <v Speaker>predators. <v Speaker>Well, the stick insect particularly looks like a stick if it has no movement at all. <v Speaker>Uh, the cockroaches, of course, also have the same colors as the environment that they're <v Speaker>in. They look like dead leaves or they look like bark. <v Speaker>This exhibit gives people a chance to see these insects live, and to see they aren't as <v Speaker>fearsome as they might have believed. <v Speaker>For Assignment: The World, I'm Wyatt Doremus. [music playing] <v Speaker>150 years ago this week, December 19th, 1843, Charles Dickens first <v Speaker>published his classic Yuletide tale, A Christmas Carol. <v Speaker>One of the giants of English literature, Dickens was appreciated for his characters and <v Speaker>descriptions of poverty and injustice, which were the growing social conscience of his <v Speaker>public. His other works include Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. <v Speaker>During one of the Hubble Repairs Mission spacewalks, the astronauts released a huge solar <v Speaker>panel into outer space or what is called space dumping.
<v Speaker>During the years since man first entered space, we have been dumping broken satellite <v Speaker>parts and jet rocket engine units instead of bringing them back to Earth. <v Speaker>There is so much space junk that it now more than triples the number of working <v Speaker>satellites orbiting the earth. <v Speaker>Scientists claim that the parts will burn up if they enter our atmosphere and that over <v Speaker>time they will slowly disappear into outer space on their own. <v Speaker>Also, the astronauts would probably have to spend a big portion of their spacewalks <v Speaker>trying to store huge broken parts, time better spent on repairs. <v Speaker>But others worry that since no one is policing the junk sent into space, we are polluting <v Speaker>one of our few remaining frontiers. <v Speaker>Finally, scientists are required to continually track all of the 7,000 pieces <v Speaker>of junk in space because if a shuttle were to hit parts in space, it could be very <v Speaker>dangerous. While we'd like to know what you think, should space dumping be stopped? <v Speaker>Discuss this issue with your classmates after the show and write to us with your <v Speaker>opinions. We received nearly 2,200 letters in response to our issue question, <v Speaker>will the Brady Bill work? The results were fairly close.
<v Speaker>55 percent of you thought that the Brady Bill will not work. <v Speaker>40 percent of you thought that the bill will work. <v Speaker>5 percent were undecided. <v Speaker>Many of you felt that the bill would only stop law abiding citizens from acquiring <v Speaker>handguns, while most criminals are not law abiding. <v Speaker>Katie Wasilewski of North Syracuse, New York writes: "It is a fact that only 17 <v Speaker>percent to 27 percent of the guns used to commit crimes were purchased legally. <v Speaker>In most big cities, you can buy handguns on the street". <v Speaker>Shannon Weipert of Waterville, Iowa agrees and writes, "A criminal already <v Speaker>has a record and won't buy a gun from a gun shop. <v Speaker>They will either buy it through the black market or steal it". <v Speaker>Jade Fletcher of McCook, Nebraska, also agrees and writes, "It will only keep people like <v Speaker>you and me from getting guns, but criminals can still get them illegally". <v Speaker>But others of you found that a background check on people who want guns is a good idea. <v Speaker>Ian Glass of Liverpool, New York writes, "Now the police have at least 5 days to check <v Speaker>the background of the buyer and to make sure the buyer is fit to own a handgun". <v Speaker>Jennie Draper of Fort Defiance, Virginia, agrees and writes, "I believe that thorough
<v Speaker>checking of handgun purchasers will work because handguns won't get into the hands of <v Speaker>teenagers using false identification and previous prisoners". <v Speaker>We look forward to receiving your responses to our 2 latest issue questions. <v Speaker>Who would you choose as person of the year and should space dumping be stopped? <v Speaker>If you'd like to receive an Assignment, The World press card include a self-addressed <v Speaker>stamped envelope with your letters, drawings and poems and send it all to us here to <v Speaker>Assignment: The World Post Office Box 21 Rochester, New York, 1 4 6 <v Speaker>0 1. And now it's time for our next show is Clues in the News. <v Speaker>Our first clue is a scrambled letter name. <v Speaker>Two words. First word. S-S-R-Y-A-I. <v Speaker>Last name. T-F-R-A-A-A. Our second clue is <v Speaker>a location. It's 44 degrees. <v Speaker>48 minutes north latitude. 20 degrees. <v Speaker>32 minutes east longitude. <v Speaker>And our third clue is an event. <v Speaker>Find the meaning of E.M.I. <v Speaker>Merger. These are clues to stories we think will happen in the coming weeks.
Assignment: The World
1993, Unidentified Episode
Producing Organization
WXXI (Television station : Rochester, N.Y.)
WXXI Public Broadcasting Council
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
Ginnie Bacheler gives the news for the week of December 16th, 1993. She goes over the recent Russian election, Les Aspin's resignation, the G.A.T.T. Treaty, the I.R.A., the Haitian Prime Minister's resignation, Israeli's peace pact with the P.L.O., the Japanese rice market, and space junking. The Louisiana Purchase, assisted suicide, Chile's presidential election, and Charles Dickens are also discussed. Wyatt Doremus talks to Robert Cooper, a zoologist, about trying to get rid of the myths that come with certain insects and creatures. Throughout the show, pop quizzes are given to test the audience on the news that is being discussed. At the end of the show, Bacheler reads viewer responses from the previous show and gives them clues for the next show in a segment called 'Clues in the News.'
Series Description
"In 1959, the Rochester Area Educational Television Association began production of ASSIGNMENT: The World. It was designed as an instructional program for students from 4th through 8th grades; its mission is to make current events more accessible to young people. "ATW, since its inception, has been interactive. Through the use of pop quizzes, [longitude] & latitude coordinates on the globe, and questions about current topics, historical facts and more, the program draws several thousand responses per month. "All the information presented -- but especially the news content -- is adapted in manner and language to the target audience (4th-8th graders). "ASSIGNMENT: The World is worthy of the George F. Peabody Award for its long-lived commitment and service to students in thousands of schools in over 125 television markets across the United States. ATW is a fine example of how the medium can be utilized effectively, not as a babysitter, but as an educational tool."--1993 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: WXXI (Television station : Rochester, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: WXXI Public Broadcasting Council
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-3fb334cc69e (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 0:14:30
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Chicago: “Assignment: The World; 1993, Unidentified Episode,” 1993-12-16, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “Assignment: The World; 1993, Unidentified Episode.” 1993-12-16. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Assignment: The World; 1993, Unidentified Episode. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from