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Special Event

Millennium 2000: When Midnight Hit the Pyramids in Egypt; Separating Good Champagne from the Best; Carlos Santana's Millennium

Aired January 1, 2000 - 3:30 a.m. ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, ANCHOR: The great pyramids of Egypt. Sunrise over that part of Northeastern Africa. The Nor -- the African continent. The pyramids built two cent -- 2000 years, 2,500 years before the birth of Christ. In fact, we are reminded that the pyramids are the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing. This is a remarkable site indeed.

So that's what it looks like right now at sunrise, Bernie.

For a look back at what it felt like and looked like when midnight hit that part of the world, let's go to CNN's own Ben Wedeman.



BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The star of the show at Egypt's top millennium celebration never showed up. The pyramid of Kiat (ph), the biggest of Giza's pyramids, remained shrouded in a thick desert mist. The other pyramids barely got in the act.

The fog also made it impossible for French composer Jean-Michel Jarre to show off his famed laser graphics. He compensated by firing off a steady stream of fireworks.

Security was rushed, and it appeared the emphasis was on keeping the festivities dry.

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm not allowed to bring in my whiskey.

WEDEMAN: With most Egyptians observing the holy month of Ramadan, the government banned the consumption of alcohol at the concert.

But the ban and bad weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of a very international and predominantly young crowd, each celebrating the beginning of the new millennium in their own unique way.

"There are parties around the world," says this man from Milan, "but the best is here at the pyramids."

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: The music. There's life, everybody's happy, and -- it's obviously a very difficult area, a very -- a lot of conflict in the region, but you have the feeling that this one night you're going to have 60,000 people from around the world all here to celebrate and have a good time.

WEDEMAN: And for one Egyptian, a chance to see a national monument...

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: To see the pyramids, and I didn't see the pyramids just one or two times.

WEDEMAN: ... while two Israelis just savored a special night out in what was once enemy territory.

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: I always want to be in Egypt. Now Israel with two wars with Egypt -- for me, it's like the fruit of peace to come here, to see it, you know, with a big smile.

WEDEMAN: For a few brief hours here in the desert, Egypt was able to bring together a kaleidoscope of colors and cultures, a fitting way to begin a new millennium.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Giza, Egypt.


SHAW: The celebration of celebrations around the world, and our live coverage continues.

One of the other concerns, of course, was the possibility of a Y2K disruption. So far, minimal. Virtually non-existent, but, of course, you have people going back to work on Monday. We'll see what that brings.

WOODRUFF: Bernie, you know, there are just so many things that -- you and I have known for some time that we were going to be here tonight, and we -- we both made it a point to collect little bits of information that might be interesting to -- as we think back. We're not only observing the end of a millennium, we're observing the end of the century, and I just thought I'd share two or three predictions that didn't quite turn out.

One was a man named Charles Dual (ph). He was the U.S. commissioner of patents in 1899, a 100 years ago and a day, and he said at one point, "Everything that can be invented has been invented." He was a commissioner of patents.

Nikita Khrushchev, we all remember this one, "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you."

SHAW: Yes.

WOODRUFF: And my favorite prediction from Darryl Zanuck, the film producer -- in 1946 on the future of television, he said, "People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."

SHAW: Well, I don't think anyone is tired if you've been watching CNN around the world for the last 23, 24 hours, and our coverage will not end. We still have more time zones to go through as they get ready to go out through the Pacific.

One thing about this Y2K -- just to keep in perspective, as our coverage unfolds on -- over coming days and coming weeks, as some people are indicating that there might be problems down the road. Talk about things that could go wrong.

Teller machines: 1 to 2 percent of the 227,000 ATM machines in the United States are down or out of cash at any given moment.

Railroads: Just over four rail accidents a year on New Year's Day.

And this one, things that go wrong with 911 systems: Public telephone network connections to to 911 emergency centers fail somewhere in the United States nearly every week.

WOODRUFF: And we leave you as we go to a break with one other interesting thing that I think you need to remember, that it is 24,902 miles around the earth at the center, the equator. So that's how far the earth has had to turn in order for the world to get from 1999 -- all the world will have to have gotten from 1999 to the year 2000. We're not there yet. We've still got, what, Bernie, a little less than, what, two and a half hours...

SHAW: Yes.

WOODRUFF: ... before Samoa, the last place, in this 25-hour marathon gets it.

And we also found that, if you're at the middle of the -- if you're at the middle of the planet, the earth travels at a 1,038 miles an hour, and we're going to get a quiz on this in just a minute.

SHAW: When we come back, Santana, champagne right here. Don't go away.



SHAW: Barbra Streisand, one of the hotter and costlier tickets in the millennium celebrations in Las Vegas. Still there, still alert is our Paul Vercammen. The Las Vegas skyline as it looks right now. Paul, what's the latest?

WOODRUFF: Well, while we're waiting for Paul Vercammen -- we know he's there. There's just a little audio glitch. We'll get back to him in just a minute. We want to share some thoughts with you.

Bernie, how many bubbles in a bottle of champagne?

SHAW: I don't know.

WOODRUFF: In a regular-size bottle, 49 million bubbles, not because I counted.

What would a New Year's celebration be without champagne? Well, this year, many revelers are forgetting the cost when they're ringing in the new year. After all, 2000 is a vintage milestone.

Our CNN's Carolyn O'Neil looks at what separates good champagne from the best.


CAROLYN O'NEIL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sparkle of champagne has become synonymous with celebration.


UNIDENTIFIED CHAMPAGNE DRINKER: That's right. It's got to be the bubbles.


UNIDENTIFIED CHAMPAGNE DRINKER: It's the bubbles. Somehow or other, bubbles bring celebration to mind.

O'NEIL (on camera): And this New Year's Eve, whether the celebration is on a rooftop in New York, a beach in Bali, or next to the fire at home, more people are expected to enjoy champagne and open the good stuff.

(voice-over): For many, that means true champagne from the Champagne region of France.

MIREILLE GIULIANO, CHAMPAGNE VEUVE CLICQUOT: Everybody is buying a special bottle to drink either with dinner or to crack open at midnight.

O'NEIL: Older vintages, especially 1990 champagnes, are in high demand. But expect higher prices, too.

ANDREA IMMER, STARWOOD HOTELS AND RESORTS: And you are going to have layers of flavor that are not existent in a young champagne. That doesn't mean that the young is not good. It's just different.

O'NEIL: Elegant but often less expensive than their French cousins, sparking wines produced in California, Spain, and other wine- growing regions are great choices for new year, too.

But no matter which bottle you choose to open, be careful. The cork holds in about 90 pounds of pressure. First make sure the bottle is very cold.

ANTHONY DIAS BLUE, "BON APPETIT" MAGAZINE: So I turn the cork one way and the bottle the other, and as I do so, I start to feel the cork want to escape. Now I'm holding it in. I'm keeping it from going outside the bottle because I want it to come out with a soft sigh rather than a loud pop because, if I pop the cork, then I lose the bubbles to the atmosphere, and I'd rather them be inside the wine. So I just let it out with a soft hiss, and then if you've done it correctly, you can open your bottles hours before your guests arrive, put them back in the ice, and they'll still keep the bubbles.

O'NEIL: For stemware, a flute or tulip shape is best because the small opening helps keep the bubbles in. And pour slowly so it doesn't fizz up over the top. You don't want to waste a precious drop.

UNIDENTIFIED CHAMPAGNE DRINKER: New Year's Eve is not for sipping. It's for drinking, and I think we're all going to do that.

O'NEIL: And remember champagne isn't just for millennium midnight.

BLUE: I mean, make that your New Year's resolution, to let champagne be a part of your life on a more frequent basis because my opinion -- if the sun rises, that's an occasion for champagne. Really. It's always going to make your life better.

O'NEIL: Carolyn O'Neil, CNN, New York.


SHAW: Music is very important to our lives. Paul Vercammen back in Las Vegas.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm back here, Bernie. Thank you. Sorry. I think my mic had a very low-technology problem earlier. Maybe it was just plain tired.

But the people in this city are tireless behind me. On Las Vegas Boulevard, the strip, concerts all up and down the strip and also in other places. In fact, Carlos Santana, who's sold some six million copies of one record this year, is playing at the Hard Rock Cafe, and I caught up with him earlier today to talk about all his recent success.


VERCAMMEN: I'm Paul Vercammen here at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas with our special guest, Carlos Santana, who will be performing tonight.

How does it feel to ring in the new millennium?

CARLOS SANTANA, MUSICIAN: I feel very grateful. It's an incredible opportunity to be part and parcel of this movement that is -- is very vibrant, is very alive, you know, and it's -- I just feel really grateful. It's a real honor.

VERCAMMEN: How did you pick the Hard Rock in Las Vegas? SANTANA: We sort of picked each other. You know, I -- two years ago, I had a vision of doing something different, which -- now PBS is doing it, which is showing the millennium as it's happening around the world, but since -- it wouldn't get off the ground, so we decided to do something more intimate like in here and just play for our real, real families and our fans, close fans, but it's -- you know, it's -- like I said, I'm really grateful.

VERCAMMEN: You're also grateful for this year. Six million copies sold of "Supernatural." The album is on a roll. What do you attribute all this to, do you think?

SANTANA: It's timing. It's really God's grace. My wife is the one that really set the wheels in motion towards where we are today. She had this conviction to -- for us to hook up with Mr. Clyde Davis (ph) and, of course, Mr. Clyde Davis -- he believed in us like he did in the beginning, and he just presented with me options and possibilities and opportunities, menus, if you will.

He kept calling us, said, "You know, Lauryn Hill really loves your music. She" -- you know, and "She would love to play with you. Are you open to working with her?" or Dave -- or Mr. Dave Matthews or -- like that, Rob Thomas.

And -- but it's really my wife who said, you know, "Follow this course over here," and so I want to give her all the credit because she's the one that saw the big picture, and -- and -- you know, and it's quite a phenomena the way this music is -- is grabbing a hold of people's hearts of all generations, you know.

Braxis (ph) before did it with -- you know, you can go to a hut in Timbuktu or Africa or go to Jerusalem and -- or -- and see Palestinians and Hebrews, but now with "Supernatural," it's taking a whole new dimension for -- for the -- appropriately for the millennium. It's like it's bringing that adagio of all is one, you know, and we're different, but all is one, and we're honoring it.

VERCAMMEN: Well, we thank you so much for taking time out. And good luck to you. And happy new year. And thanks for providing all this musical pleasure to all of our viewers around the world.

SANTANA: Thank you. Peace.


VERCAMMEN: Now back here live in Las Vegas, the revelry continues. A city that has been electrified tonight by many performances, including that of Carlos Santana and Bette Midler and, of course, Barbra Streisand with some of those tickets going for $2,500 a seat.

Now back to you, Bernie, in Atlanta.

SHAW: Thank you very much, Paul, and when we come back, live in Los Angeles, the Eagles. You won't want to miss them.


SHAW: Our millennium coverage continues after this short break as Alaska prepares to usher in 2000 in just a few moments, and Juanita Phillips (ph) and Brian Nestle (ph) will see us into the new year as the new year celebrations move back towards where they began almost a day ago.

WOODRUFF: Much more to come, but Bernie and I, for our part, will call it a night. It's been unforgettable. I think that's fair to say.

SHAW: Yeah.

WOODRUFF: We've enjoyed it, but we do leave you now with another classic from the Eagles, their signature song, "Hotel California." Stay with us.


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