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Special Event

Millennium 2000: Midwest, Mexico Ring in the New Millennium

Aired January 1, 2000 - 1:00 a.m. ET

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

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Well, in the next few minutes and at the top of the hour, as the new centennial -- millennial, rather, arrives in the Middle West, we're going to take you live to Chicago, where there's lots going on. This is McCormack Place.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: And in the state of Texas, Granbury, not too far from Dallas, Ft. Worth, Candy Crowley's there, and they're getting mighty close to the big 12:00.

SHAW: In New Orleans, the Big Easy folks are going through their countdown.

WOODRUFF: And to Mexico City, where the mariachis are playing, this is just a hint of what's ahead. We are now five minutes and counting to midnight in the Central time zone. Mexico City points north and south. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: It is a little over two minutes to midnight Central Standard Time, the next time zone to step into the new millennium. Through the Heartlands of America, CNN will take you to the latest celebration for the arrival of 2000.

SHAW: We'll also keep track of celebrations continuing in other parts of the world where the new year got a roaring welcome.

WOODRUFF: From Canada through mid-America, to New Orleans, to Texas and Mexico, we are in cities large and small.

SHAW: CNN coverage of millennium 2000 rolls on right now.

WOODRUFF: In your upper left-hand corner, the Windy City, the largest fireworks display in Chicago's history about to get underway. We are at a minute and eight seconds and counting.

SHAW: People in Granbury, Texas are poised in the town square.

WOODRUFF: In New Orleans, our own Lou Waters told us 78 square blocks jammed with people.

SHAW: Mexico City, where 200 mariachi bands are ready to salute national glory and fame. WOODRUFF: And back we go to Washington, D.C., the Lincoln Memorial, live pictures, fireworks continuing into the night. It is now an hour into the year 2000 in the nation's capital. This was the plan all alone. There would be fireworks earlier closer to the Washington Monument. And at 1:00 Eastern, 1:00 in the morning, one hour into the new millennium, fireworks over the memorial named after the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

SHAW: Less than ten seconds, the new millennium arriving in the Midwest, also in Winnipeg, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Here it is.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(CELEBRATIONS IN CHICAGO)

(CELEBRATIONS IN GRANBURY, TEXAS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you're ready to party. Let's show Granbury something they've never seen before and the good folks at CNN that's shown around the world.

(CROWD CHEERING)

SHAW: It's very interesting as we watch the fireworks over Lake Michigan on the shores of Chicago. Guess what? Last year this time, this city and its residents were suffering under 22 inches of snow.

And Jeff Flock, have you seen a flake today, tonight?

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not a one, Bernie. And you know, it's been a beautiful night, and you can see the fireworks are just gorgeous. It's been unseasonably warm. These people are tremendous. But the reason that I think I couldn't think of any better place to be than Chicago tonight is the people that you see, the faces from literally 200 I think -- and 205 is now the total countries from around the world, two people from each of those countries coming here: pharmacists from Albania, priests from Bulgaria, farmer from Indonesia, housewife from Mexico, the list goes on, all coming together in Chicago tonight, which has always been a melting pot, but probably never more so than at this very moment, as this new millennium, perhaps, if that's the way you look at it, is rung in here. And it's really been an extraordinary evening to spend time with these people and just watch the whole world come together, both on CNN, as well as here in Chicago. Bernie?

SHAW: Jeff Flock, our Chicago bureau chief. Pretty pictures.

WOODRUFF: You know, we don't have cameras everywhere, Bernie, that has turned midnight in the Central time zone, but let's mention again some of the states. Wisconsin, well, Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, plus parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and most of Kansas. And not only that, in Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, the Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Honduras. We've already seen pictures in Mexico, and let's not forget Nicaragua. And Bernie, you mentioned Winnipeg, Canada, a big chunk of Canada has joined the millennium.

SHAW: And as in Illinois, and we can't forget the next door Hoosier state, Indiana, they have varying time zones, so it comes and it goes in that state.

Let's go down to New Orleans and see what the folks in the Big Easy are doing. Lou Waters is there.

LOU WATERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Already someplace that they have to be, such as at the Red Cross gala at the Hyatt Hotel right across the river. That's where "Newsday's" Austin Nicole Trainer (ph) is.

Watching the rockets red glare, green glare, any kind of glare you like, but we have an interesting situation. I may have told you earlier that because of the warmth of the day, it was mid to high '70s today here in New Orleans, cold water -- We got fog rolling in and some of these rockets going up can't be seen behind the mist. No signs of disappointment among the crowd that is packed in here. As I mentioned earlier, the French Quarter is packed in, and some of those have spilled over here now onto the river walk to watch the show, and it's packed in here.

This is the culmination of one heck of a week here in the Big Easy tonight with Fats Domino and Cyril Neville appearing down at the Hyatt Hotel. We have the Neville Brothers over at the Harrah's Casino here. Dr. John moves early in the week. As you know, music is always great here. In the Delta, some of the best local blues bands anywhere in the world are here. But if you can't afford those tickets, all you have to do is walk along the street here in New Orleans, and you'll hear music on every corner. And that's the way it's been all week long. Tonight is no exception.

This party is liable to go on quite sometime into the night, as you know. It's not as big as Mardi Gras, but it's just as enthusiastic, and this kind of party can tucker you out. And tonight just might do the trick, Bernie and Judy.

WOODRUFF: I don't think it's going to tucker Lou Waters out.

SHAW: He doesn't look tuckered.

WOODRUFF: Sure doesn't. All right, that's the picture in Louisiana, New Orleans. Some nice, romantic pictures indoors and outdoors. We got those same 2000 glasses, sunglasses that we saw at Times Square.

SHAW: Laurin Sydney has a pair in Las Vegas, Fred Hickman has a pair in Times Square.

WOODRUFF: In the neighboring state of Texas, the town of Granbury, our own Candy Crowley is there keeping an eye on the celebrations. Candy?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, I think as you can see, Fred had Times Square, and Wolf had the Washington Mall, and Christiane had London, but the crew and I will always have Granbury, Texas. And I can tell you that at midnight, there was no difference in any of those places and Granbury. There was the countdown and there was the crowds kissing one another, and of course, always the fireworks.

So basically, what they did here was wait all night for this one moment, as they did all around the world. They love, of course, being able to say to the world, "This is Granbury." They consider this their moment in the sun, or under the bright Texas sky at night, at any rate.

So they're pretty much wrapping it up here, as you think they might in Texas, with some country western music, and a burst of fire, as you can see it in the air here. We'll have Brian turn around just so you can watch Granbury say hello to the new millennium.

Actually, when the clock struck, the town square, which of course, is where they all surround and go to their activities, all go around this town square, was absolutely packed. They all stayed here until the midnight hour. One round of "Auld Lang Syne," a lot of them took off. So there is, of course, work still to be done tomorrow. some of them said they just wanted to go home and go to bed. Others are going to linger on here, listen to some of the music, and party into the night, which they have been doing since about 5:00 this afternoon. So Granbury celebrating like the rest of the world with some fireworks and some good cheer and a little music. Judy and Bernie?

WOODRUFF: Candy, I think I already know the answer to this question, but Bernie and I are assuming that the people of Granbury have made you and your colleagues feel very welcome on this New Year's night.

CROWLEY: Yeah. It's -- You know, it's one of the nice things about going to a small town is you cannot -- You know, word got out that we were here. They couldn't have been nicer, obviously. I mean, this is good for them. It gets Granbury on the map. It's a tourist town, so of course, you know, they love the publicity. But they really have gone out of their way. They have loved having us here, and boy, we got peanut brittle, homemade peanut brittle, you know, all kinds of local delicacies. So, yeah, they were --they were delighted to have us here and delighted to get their 15 minutes of fame.

WOODRUFF: Well, we're glad to send them CNN's very best. Thank you, Candy Crowley.

SHAW: When we come back, we're going to drop in on the capital of Texas, Austin. We're going to take you to Winnipeg, Canada to see how they rang in this new millennium, and New Orleans once again, as the year 2000 rolls across the United States and Canada.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CELEBRATIONS IN AUSTIN, TEXAS)

WOODRUFF: This was the picture in Austin, Texas, the capital of that terrific state, just 15 -- 16 minutes ago when the clock struck midnight. You know, Bernie, we've been watching the charming town of Granbury, and Austin sits, as we know, a little bit south of Granbury near Dallas, Ft. Worth. So we're getting to see more than one place in the great state of Texas tonight.

SHAW: Along with watching those doings, we also have been watching the Y2K rollover as the new millennium came across the time zones. Let's check in with Carl Rochelle at the FAA Center in Herndon, Virginia for a report card on how things look and how things went. Carl?

CARL ROCHELLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, it looks like we may have our best bump in the Y2K road, if you will, what has been a very smooth road so far. I'm at the command center in Herndon, Virginia where the FAA tracks what is going on at all the aircraft flying throughout the United States and even checks in with the international air space.

We are told that there is a problem with a dozen or perhaps less than that of a system called an AWOS. Let me give you a little explanation. AWOS is an acronym for automated weather observation system. It is a system that stands in airports and collects information on cloud cover, wind direction, and wind speed, barometric pressure, altimeter settings, and so forth, and so on. It's available to pilots who can call in on the telephone and get it directly from the system, or they can dial it up on their frequency in the aircraft and get this -- all of this information used in flight planning and in making a decision on whether to land at that airport what the weather is like.

A dozen or less of those stations in Iowa, we are told, are no longer reporting into the national weather system. They are supposed to automatically program that data out of their system and into the national weather system from time to time. But the AWOS, these automated weather observation systems, are working because the FAA says they have dialed into them directly by phone, and they can get the information that way, but those systems are no longer sending the information into the national weather system. Not sure why, not sure at this point whether they're FAA operated, state operated. Could be national weather service operated. But that's the first glitch.

Other than that, everything has been smooth sailing all along. There have been no problems with flights, no safety problems, no operational problems. And these automated weather observation systems, Bernie, would only affect someone who is going to land at that particular airport who needed the weather information. And quite frankly, we're told the weather in that area is quite good right now, and you could get into that. It wouldn't be available for flight planning, but if you wanted to land there, you could call up the information on the frequencies in your radio and your aircraft, or dial it up on the telephone and get that information.

So that's the first little bump here, Bernie. Other than that, things running very smoothly.

SHAW: Carl, what were officials there saying about the earlier rollover? ROCHELLE: They said everything went just as planned. Jane Garvey, the administrator of the FAA, was up in an aircraft. She deliberately took off and flew through the Y2K time zone. Now midnight, Zulu time, or GMT is when the entire system rolled over, and that was 7:00 Eastern time. So everyone was here right on their toes watching to see what would happen. Nothing happened. All the airplanes flew.

Jane Garvey called in and talked with Rodney Slater, the secretary of Transportation, said everything was OK. Faxed a message to the president of the United States in the White House telling him that the aviation system was OK. Everything worked fine, and they used the term, if you will, everything was flying smoothly as they went through into the system, into the new year. And the system has been operating in the new year for several hours now, even though it just passed through 1:00, which means that the system in Chicago has gone through in its Central time zone has gone through its period of midnight and moving west, of course the Mountain zone and the Pacific Coast zone out on California.

Jane Garvey will be landing in California at about 3:00 Eastern time, Pacific time. Anyway, she'll be crossing the last time zone within the continental United States at that time, Bernie, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Carl, so she may be landing at the empty airport in Los Angeles we saw earlier, too. Carl, just to be clear, be very clear with people who are watching, this automated weather observation system, this small problem is no reason for someone not to consider flying. Is that right?

ROCHELLE: Absolutely, Judy. It is -- Literally, it is an automated little weather station, small. It's computer driven. It records the observations at that airport, and it would have no effect at all, even if you wanted to land at that airport. It'd have no effect, because a plane flying over the airport could dial up that on its radio and listen to what the weather observations were at that airport at that time.

The only thing it's not doing is sending it into the main computer, so it's not available for flight planning purposes if you're going in there. But if you want to know that badly, you could pick up the telephone and dial and get that information directly from that automated weather observation system. Absolutely no reason at all for anyone to consider any questions about safety or operational necessities involved with that, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Carl Rochelle, thanks very much.

And now, we want to go to...

SHAW: Mexico City. Our bureau chief there, Harris Whitbeck.

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fireworks continue, as you can see. And I know that earlier, you and Judy were talking about couples getting engaged and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) women celebrating the millennium. I can't offer you that, but I can offer you a square full of people wearing red underwear. Let me try to explain that to you.

The tradition here in Mexico says that if you're wearing red under under garments as the new year arrives, that it will assure a lot of prosperity, a lot of love, and a lot of good luck in the new year. So I can assure you that at least some of those 200,000 people who are out there are wearing bright red underwear tonight.

(CELEBRATIONS IN MEXICO CITY)

WHITBECK: And you're just watching the New Year's countdown. The fireworks continue here. People are now awaiting the start of a concert by Mexican singer, Juan Gabrielle (ph). He is one of the foremost Mexican artists to sing mariachi music, which is the most traditional way of celebrating any big party here. That concert is going to start in a few minutes now, and the party here surely will last at least for another three or four hours. Back to you.

WOODRUFF: Harris Whitbeck filling us in on -- Excuse me, Bernie, I was just munching a cookie. I was sneaking a bite. We're not supposed to sneak cookies on television.

SHAW: Oh, munching.

WOODRUFF: Some spectacular fireworks. And now we know the secret to successful celebration in Mexico. As he said, they were all wearing red underwear, he thinks.

SHAW: Well, he reported that. And we're going to pause for a moment. And as we leave you during this segment, this was the millennium in Acapulco to the south and on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

(CELEBRATIONS IN ACAPULCO, MEXICO)

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