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Stemming the Spread of E. Coli; Violence in Yemen; Fight for Libya; Myanmar Examined

Aired June 3, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Now, a deadly strain of E. coli is apparently spreading beyond Europe. Now there are three suspected cases in the U.S.

Ratko Mladic makes his first appearance in court, dismissing charges of genocide against him as "obnoxious."

And fresh from his trip to Myanmar, we'll be speaking to former U.S. presidential candidate John McCain.

Now, Europe's E. coli outbreak is spreading. It is now responsible for the deaths of at least 16 people and has left hundreds more ill. Now, cases have been reported all across Europe in all of these countries, from Spain, in the south, to Norway and Sweden, in the north. That is 10 countries in Europe alone.

And now, in the United States, tests are being conducted on three people who are believed to have contracted the deadly E. coli bacteria on visits to Germany. But by far, the most cases have been reported in Germany, where more than 1,500 people are sick.

Now, nearly all of the other victims had recently visited Germany, so let's break this down a little bit more for you.

This is a very rare strain. It is seldom seen by scientists. In almost one-third of cases, 499 to be precise, patients have gone on to develop potentially deadly kidney disease.

Now, in comparison, this syndrome that's otherwise known as HUS was found in just 120 cases in the world's largest E. coli outbreak in Japan in 1996. Now, who is susceptible?

It turns out women have been harder hit than men, with one report saying that they account for more than 70 percent of the deaths so far. And some scientists are saying that they attribute that to a healthier diet, saying that women consume more vegetables than men.

Now, what are the symptoms? Well, the symptoms, they include bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and fever. So those are the symptoms, but what can be done to stop it from spreading?

Jonathan Mann reports on an outbreak that is stumping researchers.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At first the culprit seemed clear, a strain of deadly E. coli found on cucumbers from Spain packaged in Germany and exported across Europe. Now authorities say the source has not been pinpointed. And while labs from England to Asia hunt for clues, E. coli illnesses keep spreading as far north as Scandinavia and as far south as Spain.

ROBERT TAUXE, CDC: This does seem to be transmitted through food, not by direct contact with other people. So, simple precautions like hand-washing and not preparing food for other people when you're sick should prevent spread from one person to another.

MANN: E. coli are typically rod-shaped bacteria that are inside all of us. They're generally harmless, but some can cause serious food poisoning. Kidney failure is an occasional complication, but this time this strain is attacking its victims' kidneys at a rate that is startling scientists and crippling farmers.

In the first days of the epidemic, several governments banned Spanish cucumbers, though Spain has insisted from the outset that its farms aren't to blame. Russia is one of the biggest markets for European farmers, and now it's banning all fresh vegetable imports from the entire European Union. The losses are being calculated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and, of course, in lives as well.

Jonathan Mann, CNN.


STOUT: Now, as we heard there, at first Germany implied that Spanish cucumbers were to blame for the outbreak, but European authorities, they have since backtracked. And now Spain could be seeking compensation.

Now, with more on that, Al Goodman joins us now live from the southern Spanish town of El Ejido.

And Al, is Spain seeking damages?


Well, they expect to be seeking some damages. They haven't said how they're going to go about this. The growers and the exporters say they're losing $290 million a week, and that's happening in places right here, like at this growers' cooperative.

That should be a machine room just really bustling at this time of the year. It's dead quiet. That's not good.

The government hasn't said exactly how they're going to go about this. They're trying to get more information. But there are indications that they want to get compensation either from the European Union or Germany or both -- Kristie.

STOUT: And what kind of impact is this having on the farming community there in Spain?

GOODMAN: Well, let me bring in a guest here. Roberto Dittmar works here at this growers cooperative. They have nine or 10 farmers who work with them.

Now, how bad is it? This is supposed to be busy. It's dead quiet.


GOODMAN: That worries you, right?

DITTMAR: Yes. All the people, it's a problem. There's no work to do it since last Friday. And companies completely stop it.

GOODMAN: Are you angry?

DITTMAR: Yes, a little bit, because this is not a normal situation for this point of the season.

GOODMAN: This is high season for spring harvest, right?

DITTMAR: Yes, that's right.

GOODMAN: You should be making -- I've been told you've lost already one percent of your revenue just in the last few days right here. Right?

DITTMAR: That's right.

GOODMAN: Do you think you'll ever see any money and get any money out of this?

DITTMAR: I don't expect it will be a quick solution in a short time. But Germany (ph) says they are going to do something in this way.

GOODMAN: And this coming at the worst time. There's such high unemployment. How can a company like yours get an extended loan from a bank to survive?

DITTMAR: Well, we have been through (ph) the winter season. We expected a good spring season. But now we are looking at the best way to continue for (INAUDIBLE).

GOODMAN: Roberto Dittmar, thank you very much.

Kristie, there's just a lot of uncertainty. This is just one place, and there are just dozens of these kinds of cooperatives up and down the coast here in southern Spain -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, this outbreak has affected so many people across Europe, and especially the farming community there in El Ejido.

Thank you very much indeed for that report.

Al Goodman there.

Now, the Bosnian Serb genocide suspect Ratko Mladic, he has made his first appearance at the U.N. World Crimes Tribunal at The Hague Friday morning. And he dismissed the charges against him as "obnoxious," and said that they contained big words, and he demanded extra time to review them. The 69- year-old is accused of leading a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Bosnia's Muslim and Croat populations in the 1990s.

Now, during the hearing, Mladic said he was gravely ill and had not read the documents relating to his charges. We will go live to CNN's Nic Robertson at The Hague later this hour.

Now to Yemen.

The protests following Friday prayers have turned violent, as feared. Our Mohammed Jamjoom is following developments from CNN Abu Dhabi.

Mohammed, there are reports of an attack on the presidential palace in Sanaa. What can you tell us?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, we've just gotten this confirmed in the past few minutes. According to eyewitnesses and residents in Sanaa, the presidential palace in the capital of the country has come under attack from Hashid tribesmen. These are the tribesmen loyal to the most powerful and the largest tribe in all of Yemen. They've been involved in battles of the streets of the capital for the past 11 days with Yemeni security forces.

Now, we've heard that the palace in Sanaa has come under attack by RPGs and is being shelled even now. We've also heard that government forces are retaliating against this attack, and that they are attacking with missiles properties belonging to the al-Ahmar family. That's the family that's at the top of the chain, of the leadership chain of the Hashid tribe.

They have properties in Hada, which is in the southern part of Yemen. So we're hearing right now a shelling and RPG attacks being launched not just against the presidential palace by the Hashid tribesmen, but in retaliation for those attacks, government security forces attacking properties in the southern part of Sanaa belonging to the al-Ahmar family.

A very rapidly deteriorating situation. Residents that I'm speaking with, very afraid, hearing loud explosions throughout the city and wondering what this will mean for the future of the country and what's going to be happening in the next several hours today -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, the chaos is indeed escalating with this attack on the presidential palace there in Yemen.

I have to ask you about the United States and its role in all of this. The U.S. has supplied a lot of foreign aid, a lot of military equipment to Yemen because of the war on terror. It has urged President Saleh to step down. But at the end of the day, how much leverage does the U.S. really have?

JAMJOOM: Kristie, at this point, it doesn't look like the U.S. has much leverage at all, which is really counterintuitive considering how much aid, how much military aid, how much support the U.S. gives to President Saleh and his Yemeni regime, and how much they've done so in the past few years.

Now, there have been so many calls by the U.S. president, but the U.S. secretary of state, by top U.S. officials for President Saleh to stick to his commitment and to step down. In the past couple of days, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism aide, John Brennan, made a trip to the Middle East. He stopped over in Saudi Arabia. He was speaking to officials in Saudi Arabia, officials with the Gulf Cooperation Council, to see what countries in this region can do to step up pressure on Saleh to resign, to step down, to end the chaos and the crises that are going on in Yemen, but it really doesn't seem to be making any difference.

All this diplomatic language, all the rhetoric being ratcheted up, President Saleh seems as entrenched and defiant as ever. And now he's even getting pressure put on him by tribal leaders in Yemen. That doesn't seem to be making a difference either, and it's really causing concerns for the allies of Yemen, especially the West, as to what this is going to mean for Yemen and if Yemen is going to devolve into all-out civil war -- Kristie.

STOUT: And meanwhile, there are just more and more victims in all this violence. Earlier today, through different social media feeds, I've been coming across some truly graphic and horrifying images of the toll of the violence in Yemen.

What can you confirm? What can you tell us?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, there are lots of pictures and lots of videos out there that are so horrifying to look at. You see things like charred corpses, claims that these were people that were in tents that were burned down by government forces when different camps belonging to anti-government protesters were attacked or were cleared out or were burned down.

Now, the government denies all these claims, but there are more and more social media users in Yemen that are trying to upload these videos, trying to upload these pictures to show what is going on in their country. Now, CNN isn't being allowed into Yemen right now. We can't get visas. So it's very difficult to verify, but these accounts that we're hearing are truly horrifying, and they're getting worse by the day.

And we've heard accounts in the last few days of a child that was in one of the districts in Sanaa who was killed because of clashes between security forces and tribesmen, and that's a case that's getting a lot of attention in Yemen as well. Very hard to confirm, very hard to verify. But a lot of eyewitness testimony in Yemen claiming that these kinds of abuses are going on, and there's a real growing call in Yemen by anti-government demonstrators to get President Saleh to be prosecuted for what they call war crimes.

They are so frustrated with what's going on, they're so upset at the level of violence. And they say that they're being killed by droves, and it really, really offends them and makes them so upset. And they want the international community to put up more of an outcry because of what's going on in that country -- Kristie.

STOUT: Well, thank you for staying fixed on the story of what's happening inside Yemen for us. This last week has been one of the deadliest for that country.

Mohammed Jamjoom, joining us live.

Thank you.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, has this refugee been deported? Eman al-Obeidy says she has been forced back to Libya. Now, what does this mean for the alleged rape victim's safety?

Plus, take a look at this, at China's second largest freshwater lake. It has virtually dried up. Find out the impact of the crippling drought.

And a longtime critic of Myanmar's ruling regime is finally given a visa. We'll be speaking live to U.S. Senator John McCain about his visit.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Eman al-Obeidy is back in Libya against her will. You might remember that she fled the country last month after accusing government forces of rape. Al-Obeidy told CNN that she finally felt safe after arriving in Qatar. But then early on Thursday, she says authorities in Doha forced her onto a military plane after beating her.

The Qatari government has not responded to CNN's questions about the deportation. We should note that Friday is not a working day in the country.

Now, al-Obeidy, she says that the opposition government pressured Qatar to send her to Benghazi.

Sara Sidner spent four weeks in the rebel stronghold, and she filed this story about the stalled rebel advance.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In war, just like in life, you have buys days and slow days. On this day, on Misrata's western frontline, there is time to polish the rounds so they flow more smoothly through the weapons. This is clearly a slow morning.

There's even enough time to listen to advice from this 71-year-old retired teacher who comes on his own every day just to boost morale among those fighting Gadhafi's troops.

MOFTAH AHMED AL-AKROUT, RETIRED TEACHER (through translator): I have come out on the first day people rebelled against the regime. And by God's help, I will either die in this fight, or Gadhafi dies. I encourage these young people here, asking them to remember God as they fight. Most of them are my former students.

SIDNER: His former students are facing one of the biggest tests of their lives -- trying to survive and win a war. Minutes later, it returns.


SIDNER (on camera): The armed forces here, the rebels, are saying we have to move out, we've got to get out of the way. There's been quite a bit of firing from this side, and they haven't yet gotten any of the mortars from the other side, so it's bound to come.

(voice-over): And it does.

(on camera): OK. We just heard what is incoming. So we had to run. I was standing near a bunker. We had to run inside, and we're hopefully going to be able to take cover here.

You know, it's so quiet for so long, and then, all of a sudden, it comes in. It is not what you might think. It's not constant, constant firing and constant, constant return. There are lots of lulls, and it gives you a false sense of security, and then, suddenly, boom, you've got to take cover.

(voice-over): Everyone here knows death comes fast, even on a slow day. We're told one of their comrades died before dawn.

By late morning, the lull at the hospital is interrupted by commotion as we try to interview a volunteer medic. Volunteer doctors move as fast as they can to heal the wounded.

(on camera): I'm hearing rounds going off. Does that bother you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the normal situation. We're hearing these sounds all over the day. Now we are planning to change our clinic.

SIDNER (voice-over): The medical team is planning to change the location of the field hospital. It's less than a 10-minute drive from the front, but they want to be even closer to get to the injured faster.

The fighters have been hunkered down at their positions here for weeks. There is an order not to try an advance because commanders say that will require some kind of outside help.

(on camera): Have any Western forces helped troops on the ground?

FATHI ALI BASHAAGHA, MISRATA MILITARY NATO COORDINATOR (through translator): We can defend our city borders, but we cannot wage an offensive now because we lack much needed equipment and weapons. Despite our requests, NATO has not supplied us with any assistance on the ground -- no equipment, machinery, logistics, or weapons. We lack simply effective items, even military binoculars.

SIDNER (voice-over): For now, fighters peer through the equipment they do have, hoping their enemy hasn't inched any closer, at least until they have the right amount of firepower to push them back.


STOUT: And Sara Sidner joins us now live.

And Sara, the opposition's coordinator with NATO said there in your story that there were no foreign government troops on the ground. But are there any foreign security forces showing up on the battlefront to help the rebels?

SIDNER: At this point he says he had not heard that there were any foreign security forces on the ground. However, he did admit to us that there is a plan to bring foreign security forces to Misrata. He said they would only be involved -- and really stressed this -- only involved in things like logistical support, and that they would not be on the battleground as an actual fighter -- Kristie.

STOUT: And back to the story of Eman al-Obeidy, the alleged Libyan rape victim, why was she deported from Qatar to Benghazi? And what is happening to her now? What have you heard?

SIDNER: The Qatari government nor the leaders of the opposition have answered that question, and we're trying to get that question answered at this time.

We do know that the officials with the U.N. refugee agency are pretty upset about this, because they had tried many times to keep her deportation from happening, saying that they had an alternate plan for Eman al-Obeidy. And now, al-Obeidy, an alleged rape victim is back in the country that she fled.

We have talked to her parents and spent some time with her parents, who have said repeatedly they are afraid for her safety. And now they're afraid for the family's safety. They were with her in Qatar, and Obeidy says she was basically forced out of that country.

Why she was forced out, we don't know. And by whom, we still don't know the answer to that question. We're trying to get those answers for you -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Thank you for that.

Sara Sidner, joining us live.

Up next here on NEWS STREAM, depending on who you're talking to, China's Three Gorges Dam is either revered as an engineering masterpiece or reviled as an environmental catastrophe. Now, we will be at the ever-shrinking Dongting Lake, where it is almost certainly the latter.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM.

Now, in China, the worst drought in half a century is causing "urgent problems" and reviving the controversy over the Three Gorges Dam.

Now, Eunice Yoon reports from a dried-up lake just downstream.


EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: China's second largest freshwater lake, Dongting, resembles a desert plain, parched by the country's worst drought in over half a century.

Hom Yu Lan (ph) has fished here for decades. Her way of life, now abandoned because of record low rainfall and, she says, a massive dam up river. "The Three Gorges Dam has definitely influenced things here," she says. The impact is clear.

(on camera): The depth of these cracks really show just how serious the drought really is. I'm standing at the bottom of the lake, and this basin is situated just downstream from the Three Gorges Dam. Normally, this entire area would be filled with water from the Yangtze River.

(voice-over): The Three Gorges Dam is the world's largest hydropower project. Built to generate electricity and tame the might Yangtze River, the dam has been hailed by the government as a symbol of China's engineering prowess. Yet, to many environmentalists, this towering complex is an ecological nightmare disrupting the river systems today.

Ho Shi Sun (ph) has been farming near the lake for over 30 years. "The Three Gorges Dam," he says, "helped with water irrigation, but more recently it hasn't been helpful. The water is scarce."

Millions are short on drinking water. Over five percent of the nation's farmlands have been ravaged. The government has ordered the dam to release more water after admitting in a rare move that the project had urgent problems. Officials are concerned the declining water at the dam's reservoir could trigger power shortages and hamper some ships navigating the river. Authorities blame the lack of rain for the dry spell, but say the government will pay greater attention to the environmental impact of other large-scale projects.

"In the future," he says, "we will be listening to a variety of viewpoints in the assessment and approval process of controversial projects.

Back at the lake, villagers are being warned of another potential problem. With the earth hardened, officials say floods are likely during the summer monsoon season if rains come.

Ho (ph) has already seen his rice fields cut in half. "I keep on doing what I can," he says, as he waits for a modern miracle to help fill this basin.

Eunice Yoon, CNN, Dongting Lake, China.



STOUT: Now, up next here on NEWS STREAM, a show of defiance at The Hague. Genocide suspect Ratko Mladic calls the charges against him "obnoxious." We'll get a live report from our Nic Robertson.

And then we'll be joined by U.S. Senator John McCain after his meeting with Myanmar's civilian government and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

That's still ahead on NEWS STREAM.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

Now various reports out of Yemen say that senior Yemeni officials, including the president and the speaker of the house have been injured in an attack. Now eyewitnesses in the capital of Sanaa, they say that tribal fighters are launching missiles at the presidential palace. The government is reportedly responding with attacks on the dissident tribal leader's property, but the violence as we've been reporting, it is not limited to Sanaa. Now witnesses in Taiz, they say that there's fighting on the streets between security forces and gunmen protecting the protesters. And we will continue to keep an eye on this fast moving story for you.

Now meanwhile in Libya, a Libyan woman who says that she was raped by Colonel Gadhafi's security forces in March has been deported back to Libya from Qatar where she was staying as a refugee. Eman al Obeidy told CNN that she was beaten up before she left. And the UN refugee agency says it was planning to resettle her, but Qatar forced her onto a plane to the Libyan rebel-held city of Benghazi.

Now a deadly strain of E. coli may have spread beyond Europe. Now three suspected cases have been reported in the United States. All three patients have recently been to Germany, the center of the outbreak. 16 people have now died.

And the U.S. has just released its latest monthly jobs report. This just out, of non-farm payrolls increase by 54,000 in May. Now that is well, well below expectations. And it represents a dramatic slow down in the number of new jobs being created. Now that is down in part to high energy prices, and poor weather in the U.S.

Now the Bosnian-Serb genocide suspect Ratko Mladic, he made his first appearance b efore the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague today. Now he is accused of leading a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Bosnia's Muslim and Croat populations in the 1990s. But in the hearing today he called those charges, quote, obnoxious.

Now CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now live from The Hague. And Nic, Mladic spoke. He was defiant and dismissive. How did he appear to you?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he seemed to be very combative when he came into the court room. He was wearing a military style cap. He told the judge that he should be called General Ratko Mladic. He is frail, much frailer than he used to be. He seems to have lost some of the use of his right arm and his right hand.

But that didn't stop him scowling around the court room, scowling even -- sort of leering if you will at the people in the public gallery, the victims from Srebrenica, one of the crimes he's accused of. Families of those victims, women sitting there, who were shouting abuse at him at certain moments. And he was engaging back with them as well, looking at them, staring them out if you will.

So he was very, very combative. And his eyes, you can see them, every inch the (inaudible) that he used to be, if he's not physically the same man. But it was when he spoke you really got an idea of perhaps where his defense was going to go on this, a defense, the same defense he was putting forward as during the war, the 1992 to 1995 Bosnian war saying that all he was doing was defending his country.


RATKO MLADIC, BOSNIAN SERB GENOCIDE SUSPECT (through translator): I do not fear any (inaudible) or any people, any nation or any ethnicity. I defended my people and my country, not Ratko Mladic. Now I am defending myself. I am defending Ratko Mladic before you.

I can tell you I defended my country. I am Ratko Mladic. I did not kill Croats as Croats, and I'm not killing anyone either in Libya or in Africa. I was just defending my country.


STOUT: OK. Unfortunately it seems just that we lost the audio connection there with our Nic Robertson reporting on that day to day we saw at the UN war crime tribunal. Ratko Mladic speaking to the court room appearing dismissive and defiant.

Now we are of course following that volatile situation, meanwhile, in the capital of Yemen. Now the witnesses are saying that tribal fighters are launching missiles at the presidential palace. This is happening right now. There's media reports say that senior officials, including the president, have been injured.

Now Mohammed Jamjoom is tracking developments from CNN Abu Dhabi. Mohammed, what is the latest on these attacks on the presidential palace?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A group, Kristie -- we've just gotten word from the spokesperson for the Yemeni government Tareq al-Shami that in fact that this attack did happen, that the mosque at the presidential palace was hit by RPGs while this attack was going on. And he's telling us that at least seven senior officials in the government of Yemen were injured in this mosque attack.

He's told us that the prime minister, the parliament speaker, the deputy prime minister, and the governor of Sanaa were all injured as amongst others.

We're still not sure which others were injured, which other officials were in there.

He also told us the officials were praying when the shelling his the mosque in the presidential compound. A number of the injured are in serious condition.

A huge development here. Eyewitnesses telling us in the past several minutes that shelling has been taking place, that tribesmen have been able to attack the presidential palace. That's a huge development that the tribesmen have been able to get close enough to attack the presidential palace as much security as there is around the presidential palace in Sanaa.

And we've also heard reports from eyewitnesses that as retaliation for those attacks against the presidential palace that the government security forces in Yemen have been hitting properties owned by the Ahmar family. That's the leader of the family that leads the Hashid tribe. The Hashid tribe that's been involved in the battles with the president's forces over the past 12 days in the capital.

So, right now very volatile, very confused situation. A lot of contradictory reports emanating from Sanaa. But eyewitnesses and the government spokesperson telling us now that in fact seven officials high up in the government were injured in this attack. We know of a few of them. We're waiting to find out more. And we'll be monitoring that situation for you in the next few hours -- Kristie.

STOUT: OK. So what you were able to confirm with the government spokesman of Yemen is that the mosque there at the presidential compound in Sanaa is under attack, that seven government officials have been wounded. Do we know anything about the whereabouts and the condition of the Yemeni president, President Saleh?

JAMOOM: Kristie, at this point we don't. We've been trying to get that answer from security officials in Sanaa. From aids to the president, they have not been forthcoming with that information as I said. It's a very chaotic scene in Sanaa right now, a lot of people really taken by surprise that the presidential palace, which is really a fortress and is so heavily guarded and so heavily protected that it's been able to come under this kind of attack and sustain this kind of attack.

So a lot of confusion right now, but the government spokesman did tell us seven officials from the government, including the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and the governor of Sanaa wounded in that attack. And other officials, he's saying some wounded very seriously, so we'll be trying to sort that out and find out more for you -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah, keep working your contacts for us. And do get back to us. And Mohammed Jamjoom reporting there live for us from Abu Dhabi on the quickly deteriorating situation there in the Yemeni capital.

Now U.S. Senator John McCain, he says that Myanmar must make democratic reforms. The Republican, he just wrapped up an assessment trip to the country also known as Burma. As you can see, he met with a pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Now McCain, he wants the new government to guarantee her safety on an upcoming political tour.

Now the Senator is now in Singapore for a security conference. And he joins us live on the line.

Senator McCain, thank you very much for joining us here on CNN.

Now earlier, you told reporters inside Myanmar this, quote, "the winds of change are now blowing. And they will not be confined to the Arab world." What did you mean by that? Will revolution take root in Myanmar?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: Well, I wasn't speaking specifically that - - predicting events in Myanmar, but I think the fact is that there is change going on around the world and you see it with the crack down on dissidents in China. You see it in other countries that are oppressive and repressive governments are threatened by the will of the people.

But what I was speaking of is that the government now wants, I think, a genuine dialogue with the United States of America. I think the United States is ready for that dialogue, but we need to have the International Red Cross in prisons. We need to have the 2000 political prisoners released. And another aspect of it is that in a free country someone like anyone should be able to travel freely. And I think that Aung San Suu Kyi should be not subjected to the kind of brutality that characterized her last trip outside of her compound.

STOUT: Now you've met with Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday. What did you discuss? And how did she seem to you?

MCCAIN: Well, I can say the day before I went up to the capital and I met with the first vice president. I met with the two speakers and other parliamentarians. I met with former political prisoners. I met with opposition groups.

But met with Aung San Suu Kyi. I have been one of -- I am a great admirer or her and her courage and her dedication to the freedom of her people. We had a long discussion about the issues and challenges. And including the issue of sanctions and whether they should be lifted or not. And I think that her position was very clear that sanctions could be and progress could be made, but only in return for further reforms that need to be made by the government.

STOUT: You mentioned a couple more examples of further reforms -- the release of 2000 political prisoners, guarantees for Aung San Suu Kyi's safety while she travels in the country. When you were talking to the civilian government what were you thinking about what they needed to do before the United States could consider lifting sanctions and whether they would be able to deliver?

MCCAIN: Well, I think that political prisoner issue is, of course, the first issue. I think that there has to be other reforms made on the political arena. But again, I got the strong impression that they are genuinely interested in a dialogue. And they now have a, quote, civilian government, although it's composed, as you know, of former military.

So I think the United States policy should be we would be glad to have a dialogue, but we need also to have an agenda for reform that gives the people of that country the opportunity to fulfill the aspirations that all people hold. But there has been a change in attitude on the part of the government. Now I'd like to see that translated into concrete actions.

And as I mentioned, the first is to let the International Red Cross into the prisons, work on a process of release for the political prisoners, allow Aung San Suu Kyi to travel freely, and step by step movement towards a free and open society.

STOUT: And Senator McCain, I need to ask you one question about U.S. politics. The news broke overnight that Mitt Romney is making his second bid for the White House. Do you think Romney will be do better in the 2012 election cycle than the last time around?

MCCAIN: I think he will do well. I think he certainly is in the top tier of contenders. He's done well on raising money. He's very well entrenched in New Hampshire where, as you know, is the beginning serious primary. And so I think he'll be a serious contender and he's in the top 10.

But one thing I guarantee you, before we determine finally a nominee there will be a lot of surprises and maybe even Sarah Palin maybe in the race. We'll see.

STOUT: Do you believe that she will throw her hat into the ring?

MCCAIN: I don't know whether she -- whether she will or not. But it's clear that she would have a significant impact and would be viewed in the top tier of candidates.

STOUT: All right. Senator John McCain, it's been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much indeed. John McCain joining us on the line there from Singapore.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

STOUT: Now it has been 30 years since the start of the AIDS epidemic, 30 years. And the disease has been around long enough that AIDS babies are now old enough to have babies of their own. Now coming up next, we'll bring you one mother's story.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now 30 years ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control came across the first cases of what later would come to be known as HIV/AIDS. Now since that time, more than 60 million people have been infected with HIV. And more than 30 million of them have died.

Now let's look now at some of the key moments in the progression of the AIDS epidemic. Now in 1981, the CDC publishes the first mention of what will later be called HIV. The first unusual pneumonia cases in five young men. The next year, health workers begin to use the term acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Now by 1984, the scientists they identified the virus that causes AIDS. And then the next year, in 1985, the Food and Drug Administration approves the first licensed test for HIV. And that same year, Elizabeth Taylor helped launched the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

Now the next year, now these three brothers are barred from a public school in Florida because they are HIV positive.

And then in 1987, the FDA approves the first anti-retroviral drug for treating AIDS, it's called AZT.

And then in November of 1991, the NBA basketball start Magic Johnson makes world headlines when he announces that he has HIV and will retire from the L.A. Lakers.

Now by the year 2000, the Clinton administration declares a threat to national security and global stability. In that same year, the Reverend Jessie Jackson publicly takes an HIV test after the CDC reports African- American and Hispanic infection rates have overtaken the numbers for White gay men.

Nearly 10 years later, U.S. president Barack Obama lifts a travel ban that kept HIV people from entering the United States.

Now the AIDS epidemic has now been around long enough that the babies who were born with HIV are old enough to have children of their own. And as Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports, treatment for those mothers and their babies has come a long way.

Now here is one mother's story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Lolisa Gibson didn't always want to be a mother.

LOLISA GIBSON, BORN WITH HIV: I wasn't ready for a baby. I was too busy, you know, focusing on my career and focusing on changing the world.

GUPTA: Changing the world by teaching people about HIV. You see, at aged 17 Lolisa learned she had AIDS. She was watching television when her doctor broke the news to her by phone.

GIBSON: The TV went black, everything else went black, like nothing else mattered. Now it was like, wow, I'm going to die.

GUPTA: Lolisa hadn't done drugs. He had had sex, but used a condom. What she didn't know what that her mother was HIV positive and then passed the virus onto her at birth or through her breast milk. She and her mother are now both on medication and in good health.

When Lolisa met Daryl Hunte, she told him she had HIV and she insisted on safe sex.

DARYL HUNTE, LOLISA'S FIANCE: I just felt like I loved her and that we had a very good connection and that, well, it was just -- it was worth it.

GUPTA: But one night, the condoms failed. And to her surprise, Lolisa got pregnant.

But unlike her mother she knew she could protect her unborn child.

DR. ANDREW WIZNIA, N. BRONX HEALTHCARE NETWORK: I think that the vast majority of infections from mother to child are preventable. There's no reason that an HIV infected woman, even though they've had the virus since birth, that they cannot have a child. Given the current therapies we have, we believe that the transmission rate can be less than 1 percent even in that population.

GUPTA: Lolisa stuck with her anti retroviral medication. She was tested regularly. And after little Daryl was born, he took anti retroviral medicine as well. It worked. She HIV free, as healthy as any little boy you might find.

Lolisa wants to be a role model.

GIBSON : We tried to get him as many things as we can together just to show people, because again like there wasn't anyone like that, the (inaudible) when I first found out. So just to show people that you can still find love and find happiness or have a good family and do whatever you want with HIV.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


STOUT: Now we will get an update from the world of sport next. One game up in the series, leading by 15 points in the 4th quarter, it looked like a foregone conclusion for Miami. Don Riddell will be here to show us what happened next.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now all next week here on News Stream, we will be taking a stand against slavery. It is part of the Freedom Project. This is CNN's long-term commitment to help end modern day slavery. And next week, our focus is making a difference. So if you're involvement in a project that raises awareness about slavery or supports victims of trafficking, we want to hear from you.

You can share your story via CNN ireport. Just go to and upload your photos and videos there.

Now, will the Bahrain Grand Prix go ahead or not? Now we've been hearing conflicting information. So let's bring in Don Riddell to help us sort through all the reports -- Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Conflicting for us, too, Kristie. Hi there, how are you doing.

We are hearing from Bahrain itself that the race will go ahead. A statement has been released by the BIC, which is the Bahrain International Circuit, in which their chairman Zayed Al Zayani has been quoted as saying this is welcome news for all of Bahrain. As a country we are faced a difficult time but stability has returned. But the time the grand prix arrives, we will be able to remind the world about Bahrain at its best. We understand that if the race does return, it will take place on October 30, which is the weekend currently scheduled to host the Indian grand prix in Delhi.

But the FIA and the World Motorsport Council has yet to confirm that. We're only hearing one side of the story at the moment. Then I can tell you, Kristie, that if this is the decision that has been taken, and if the teams are to go back to Bahrain this year, the teams I don't think will be very happy about it.

It is my understanding that they did not want to go. Not many of the drivers have spoken out, but I can tell you that the Australian Mark Weber, that drives for the Red Bull team put on his Twitter account earlier today. He said when people in a country are being hurt, the issues are bigger than the sport. Let's hope the right decision is made.

As I said, we have yet to hear confirmation from the FIA itself, but it does seem at this stage that a decision has been taken, at least that's the angle from the Bahraini side.

On to the NBA finals now. And an incredible game 2 between the Heat and the Mavericks in Miami. That series is now levels at a game apiece thanks to a stunning Dallas comeback in Florida, one that could prove to be the turning point of the series.

Dirk Nowitzki was playing with a torn tendon in his finger, advantage surely to LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, especially since the Heat were at home.

And it looked to be a slam dunk. When Dwayne Wade nails this 3-pointer in the fourth, Miami were 15 points clear. They've just scored 13 unanswered points and only six minutes remained.

But watch what happened next. Fired up by Wade's exuberant celebration there, Dallas took control. Nowitzki laid it up to level the score there. And Dirk just kept on going. You would never have guessed he was carrying an injury, because he drained this 3 ball to put the Mavs three points clear.

And this particular passage of play, Dallas had outscored Miami by 10 to 1. And on the ensuing possession, the Heat did manage to get the ball and keep it. Mario Chalmers sinking a clutch 3-pointer there to tie it up again.

But that was Miami's only field goal in the last seven minutes of the game. And it was (inaudible). Nowitzki put the nail in the coffin when he drove forward to score with less than four seconds left. Miami had one last chance, but Wade's desperate attempt there bounced back off the rim.

The Mavs edged it, Kristie, by 95-93. Dallas now have three home games to look forward to. And the momentum will be with them.

STOUT: All right. Don Riddell there. Thank you very much for giving us the very latest. Take care.

Now a new queen bee has been crowned in the U.S. I'm talking about the National Spelling Bee. And this is 14-year-old Sukana Roy immediately after spelling the winning word. Now do you want to give it a shot? It's cymotrichous. We'll pop it up on the screen for you.

And if you are saying to yourself, definition please. Well here it is. The definition is, having the hair wavy. And Bon Jovi, he got a shout out from the judges. Now the example that was actually given was this, quote, there was considerable debate among musicologists about whether there was a causal relationship between the band's most awesome tunes and the band's cymotrichous era. So, rock on.

That is News Stream, but the news continuous at CNN. World Business Today is next.