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Bond Celebrates 50 Years Of Movie Magic; 64 Children Dead From Mysterious Disease In Cambodia; Flash Floods Kill Possibly Hundreds In Southern Russia
Aired July 9, 2012 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet. And we begin in Cambodia where authorities are trying to figure out what is killing children in the country.
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad hits out at the U.S. in a new interview.
And Roger Federer adds to his legend as one of the greatest sportsman of all time, ending the hope of a long suffering nation in the process.
Now for months, doctors in Cambodia have been puzzled by a mysterious disease that has killed 64 children, damaging their brains and completely destroying their lungs. And now health officials are getting closer to an answer. Now they have discovered a link between those deaths and a virus that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease. But doctors are still searching for more clues.
Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has spent time at the hospital treating most of these sick children. And he joins us now live.
And Sanjay, how close are we to figuring out the cause of this mystery illness?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know there was a couple of important breakthroughs I think over the weekend even, Kristie. First of all, the majority of these cases are being taken care of in a major hospital in Phnom Penh. 66 patients, as you mentioned, 64 of them died. They've been trying to figure out was it some sort of pathogen? They ruled out the thing that they were most concerned about, H5N1, SARS, and also the Nipah virus.
What they've sort of found in 15 of 24 samples that have been studied so far, something known as Enterovirus 71. It hasn't been found in all the samples, but that was an important clue.
What I will add to that as well, Kristie, is that it just appears to be part of the puzzle. It doesn't explain everything as I've been talking about. Doctors and WHO officials are still missing pieces that need to be filled in still, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, still a lot of unknowns.
And can you tell us just how contagious is this mystery illness?
GUPTA: Well, this is in fact one of the unknowns. And let me explain it as simply as I can. But with Enterovirus 71, this is a particular virus, typically it is contagious. So for example if you had a child in the household who had it, another child in that same household, a sibling, would be likely to get it. That's sort of contagious or clustering effect we have not seen that at all. So despite the fact that Enterovirus has been found, it does not appear to be contagious within households or certainly within communities.
So right now it appears to be fairly sporadic, several different provinces around Cambodia. Again a lot of those kids ending up here in Phenom Penh. But as far as the contagious part of it, at least for the time being, that doesn't appear to be a significant concern, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Also Sanjay, you spent a lot of time today in a Cambodian hospital. And I hear that it was overflowing with sick children. Is it hard to separate possible cases of this mystery illness with other ailments like Denge fever?
GUPTA: Absolutely. I mean, I don't know if you've spent time in this country or in this part of the world, just to give you a sake of reference here, since April we're talking approximately about 66 cases, patients who have this mystery illness, compare that to thousands of people who have Denge, for example, a mosquito born infection, also patients with malaria. Lots of patients with tuberculosis, it's endemic in this country, in this part of the world. So it is difficult to separate them out.
And again, you know, when patients -- all children as you know under the age of 11 coming in. When they came in at first they wanted to rule out those other possibilities, including Denge. When nothing else seemed to fit that's when it started zeroing in on this Enterovirus.
But these hospitals, I don't know if you're looking at images now, Kristie, but they are very full. And as one of the doctors who runs this hospital put it to me it's like a battlefield zone just about every single day here.
LU STOUT: We are airing the images of the hospital there and it is completely full of patients and their concerned parents. Can you tell us more about the symptoms of this mystery syndrome? And we know that's very lethal for children, but why does it kill so quickly?
GUPTA: Well, what seems to happen is it starts off rather mild. According to the doctor I spoke with, patients develop a fever. But then pretty quickly it seems to get worse. Patients often develop encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain. What they might have, they might have seizures, they may become comatose, unable to breathe on their own. But what appears to be different here with this particular infection -- again part of the puzzle that we're talking about -- is that the lungs are very dramatically affected.
As the doctor put it to me, they are completely destroyed, and that's a quote. And I saw images of this today when I was at the hospital today as well.
So -- and this happens within a 24 hour period: mild fever, to encephalitis, to complete destruction of the lungs. And that appears to be what's killing these children here in Cambodia.
LU STOUT: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joining us live from Cambodia. Thank you so much for that update. Here's hoping they can get an answer soon.
And now to Egypt where the power struggle between newly elected president Mohamed Morsi and the military has taken a twist. Now lawmakers now plan to meet on Tuesday following Mr. Morsi's call to reconvene parliament. Now that defies the military decree that dissolved the lower house after Egypt's highest court invalidated the June election. That vote saw the Muslim Brotherhood win the largest share of seats. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has called an emergency meeting.
Now just one word can sum up the horrors of the Bosnian conflict of the 1990s -- Srebrenica, the massacre of almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian-Serb forces in Europe's single worst atrocity since World War II.
And as UN prosecutors open their case, we'll have the chance to hear more about what happened there for the very latest from Atika Schubert. She joins us from CNN London.
Atika, today I understand that the court will hear from a witness to a mass execution.
ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We are due to hear from Elvedin Pasic, he was just 14-years-old in 1992 at the Bosnian war when he was -- when the men were rounded up in his village. He fortunately was separated out and escaped. 150 people were later killed in his village. And he'll be testifying how non-Serbs were basically run out of the village. And this was part of the sort of campaign by Ratko Mladic against non-Serbs in Bosnia. That's what the prosecution will be arguing.
However, at this point we have not heard from him yet, because there have been a number of procedural delays just hours before today's hearing. Mladic's defense basically filed for an adjournment saying that they objected to new guidelines to put forward evidence and so they asked for an adjournment for six months.
Unfortunately this is just the latest delay. This trial actually started in May, but due to clerical errors it was put off for several months. And it does seem now this event that's trying to delay the trial as much as possible, Kristie.
LU STOUT: These delays are very worrying, especially for those who are seeking justice. How long will the trial take? And when will there be a verdict?
SCHUBERT: Well, it could go on for as long as three years, possibly more. And this has a lot of the victims of the Bosnian War very concerned. They don't want to see a repeat of what happened to Slobodan Milosevic who of course was on trial with the same court for the former Yugoslavia, but he died before a verdict could be passed. And so it left many people with -- with this feeling that justice had not been delivered.
So people want to see -- at least the victims of the Balkan War say they want to see this trial being wrapped up in relatively quick time. That does not seem to be happening, however,
LU STOUT: A Mladic, he has pleaded not guilty to the charges. So what is his strategy, what is his defense team strategy during this trial?
SCHUBERT: Well, that's what we're really waiting to see -- what they're going to be putting forward. What we're hearing first -- what we hope to hear from first today is from the prosecution. And the prosecution has said that they're going to -- they're not going to get into the individual indictments first, they're just going to sort of set the scene of the different crimes that had taken place, they believe, Ratko Mladic was directly involved in.
So we will be hearing from this one witness today. We'll also be hearing from people -- one person who survived Srebrenica, another testifying to the siege of Sarajevo.
So these are the specific instances and events that happened under Mladic's watch according to the prosecution. But then we'll get into more detail later on and we'll have to see how the defense responds.
But you're right, Mladic has already pleaded not guilty. And we'll have to see how his defense responds next.
LU STOUT: Yeah. And we'll be hearing some no doubt stirring testimony today. Atika Schubert reporting, thank you.
Now still ahead on the program a magnificent seven -- Roger Federer takes him altogether another Wimbledon title and he makes history in the process.
And agreement to a shared approach -- Kofi Annan meets Syria's president in Damascus, but did he really reach a breakthrough?
And the horrific execution of an Afghan woman that has provoked international condemnation.
LU STOUT: Welcome back to News Stream.
And here's a look at all the stories we're covering on the show today. Now we've told you about Cambodia and Ratko Mladic's day in court. And later, we'll go on to Syria and Afghanistan. But now, I want to take a look at sport and Roger Federer's record setting victory at Wimbledon.
Now even though Federer came out on top, whoever won on Sunday, well, had seen that history was made at Wimbledon. Alex Thomas is reporting from London. He joins us now with more -- Alex.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, exactly one month before his 31st birthday Roger Federer has reminded the world why he's arguably the greatest tennis player of all time. Competing in a record eighth final at Wimbledon, the Swiss star beat Andy Murray in four sets, dashing the Scot's dream of becoming the tournaments first home winner of the men's singles since 1936.
It was Federer's seventh Wimbledon crown equaling the modern era record held by Pete Sampras, although he lost the opening set of the match and looked shaky in the second, Federer's victory was imperious in the end as the contest finished under a closed Centre Court roof.
Federer already held more grand slam titles than any men's player in history. And this latest success has taken his tally to 17. And perhaps the most impressive fact that in an era of domination by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the Swiss player has leap frogged both of them to return to the world number one ranking for a record equaling 286th week.
Well, no one will begrudge Roger Federer his place in tennis history, there will be plenty of fans sympathizing with Andy Murray. He's now lost four grand slam finals, although he did at least win a set for the first time. And as Amanda Davies reports from Wimbledon, Federer's victory forced a nation to cancel its celebrations.
ANDY MURRAY, 2012 WIMBLEDON RUNNER-UP: Getting closer.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It was meant to be this way. Roger Federer celebrating a record equaling seventh Wimbledon crown, Andy Murray just another line in the record books. So close, yet so far.
For 76 years, Britain has talked for Fred Perry, the last homegrown man to win at Wimbledon. Murray was hoping to become the player by which future generations were measured. The fans have queued in their hundreds overnight in hope of a ticket, an expectation of a British champion at last.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been so long. And with double's winning yesterday. And, you know, the Olympic year. So come on, you can do it Andy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be epic, like 74 years. It's going to be even.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, no, it's about time. I think Federer's time is gone. He's an old man. It's time for some new blood I think, definitely.
DAVIES: Tickets on Centre Court are reportedly going for $50,000. And an estimated 20 million people watching around Britain on their televisions.
Others are just turning up during the match, hoping to be part of British tennis history.
DAVIES: Supporters in Murray's hometown of Dunblane in Scotland were willing their man on and hopes were high as he took a first set lead.
But as the British number one has discovered as three times before winning a grand slam final isn't easy.
When the rain came, the roof went on over Centre Court. And after a 40 minute break a rejuvenated Roger Federer came out fighting. The Swiss had history in his sights too and wasn't prepared to let a good story stand in the way. He proved just too strong, surging to his 17th grand slam title in four sets to send Murray and his fans home disappointed once again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think, you know, for all the Brits who were here, it was very disappointing. And obviously for Andy who was very emotional at the end.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he came out and it looked like he was -- you know, he really went for it, actually. Yeah. I felt he really -- you know, he really played well. He played very well. I think Federer just played better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As he said, he's getting closer. And he'll be really, incredibly disappointed tonight I think. But in the end, yeah, he at least did come out and play very well in the first two sets and you know had his chances.
DAVIES: So Roger Federer back with his name on the Wimbledon trophy and back to the top of the world rankings. But for Andy Murray and British tennis fans, the wait goes on.
Amanda Davies, CNN, Wimbledon.
THOMAS: Turning to football and Didier Deschamps. We'll explain later on Monday why he had agreed to become France's new football coach. And he needed a fair amount of persuasion to take the job. Last week, Deschamps quit Marsailles, the French champions in 2010. And his first match in charge of the national side will be a friendly against Uruguay in (inaudible) next month. The former Juventus, Chelsea, and Valencia midfielder replaces Laurent Blanc who quit the French manager's post after a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.
And you can hear exactly what Deschamps said in World Sport in just under four hours time. Kristie, back to you.
LU STOUT: All right. Alex Thomas there. Thank you.
Now accused of making racist remarks on the football pitch, Chelsea and England footballer John Terry is on trial in London. Now Terry is charged with racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand and has already been stripped of the England captaincy. But Terry insists that he is innocent.
Now the trial is expected to last between three and five days. And Matthew Chance has been following developments. And he joins us now live from court -- Matthew.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, thanks very much.
Well you join me here outside the Westminster Magistrate's court in Central London. Inside the court has just announced they're breaking for lunch. It will resume in about an hour or so from now. But evidence has been heard this morning from the prosecution. They've been making the point that these words uttered by John Terry, the former England captain and the current captain of one of these football teams in the Chelsea in the world, Chelsea, were racially abusive. He's alleged to have called Anton Ferdinand black, but not a word in isolation, that word was surrounded by very abusive expletives which they say amounted to racial abuse.
John Terry, in his defense, essentially denying that. And not actually denying that he uttered the words he's alleged to have spoken, but they're saying they weren't intended to be racially abusive. So the trial is expected to last up to five days. There will be a verdict before then. And that's going to be watched by millions of people obviously around the world, Kristie.
LU STOUT: And Matthew Chance you are on the story for us. Many thanks indeed for that.
Now racism and European football has been in focus recently ahead of Euro 2012. There were reports of some members of the Dutch team were subjected to racial abuse during a training session. And that was followed by Italy's Mario Barlotelli threatening to quit the tournament if he were racially abused. And then European football's governing body says that it would handle the punishment.
So how did it do? Well, in all UEFA handed out more than $500,000 in fines to teams, but not all were for racism. Now some were for improper conduct by fans, some for setting off fireworks. Portugal were even fined for delaying a kickoff. If you just look at the fines where UEFA specifically cites racism, that comes to a total of $198,000. Now Russia, Spain, and Croatia, they were the three teams fined for racism.
But what might put that in perspective is this: $123,000, that's how much UEFA fined one player for this offense, wearing the logo of an unauthorized sponsor on his kit, on his underwear to be precise which he revealed after scoring a goal. Now Nicklas Bendtner was also banned for one match.
Now still ahead here on News Stream, a very tangled web: how to avoid getting caught up in a major malware infection putting thousands of computer at risk.
LU STOUT: Live from Hong Kong you're back watching News Stream.
And if you're having trouble accessing the web it's probably because of a virus you could have caught years ago, but the full effect wasn't felt until today. It's called DNS changer. And here is how it works. If affects the DNS system, which is a key part of how the internet operates. Now when you type in a web address like our own cnn.com, the DNS servers translate those words into an IP address. So for example, I mean, here is the IP address for cnn.com.
Now DNS servers handle this translation so we can remember simple words as web addresses instead of this string of number.
Now DNS Changer, it gets in between this process. For example, instead of sending you to the correct IP address for cnn.com it'll send you to a completely different page, one full of ads that the virus creators have placed.
Now the FBI arrested the people behind DNS changer late last year. And ever since, it's been using emergency servers to keep computer infected with the virus online. That ended at midnight on Monday.
Now Dan Simon joins us now from San Francisco with more. And Dan, first, how big a threat is the DNS changer malware?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, originally it was thought that this had infected 4 million computers worldwide, Kristie. We believe that somewhere around 350,000 people around the globe could potentially be affected by this. We're still awaiting to see if we can get some official numbers. My guess is that in the end this will be a lot smaller.
But I think it's important to give a little context in terms of how this all started. This started back in 2007 when some cyber criminals from Estonia launched this malicious software. The FBI here in the United States, they broke up this ring last year and put in some temporary servers, because as you kind of eluded to if you take out these bad internet servers then people just lose their internet.
So what the FBI did is they put in some good servers -- people were still going to this foreign place, if you will, sort of a bad place, but they had these clean servers in place that were installed by the FBI. That was a temporary band-aid.
Well, that band-aid came off at midnight. So if you didn't have this thing fixed, if you didn't get this malicious software off of your system by midnight, then you were in some real trouble, Kristie.
LU STOUT: OK, so the band-aid is off. What do I need to know if my computer if infected? And if it's infected, what's the fix?
SIMON: Well, apparently it's not very easy to get this off of your system. The best thing you could have done was to have checked for it earlier and then you could have gone to, you know, different websites and have it removed electronically, if you will. Now, if you lost your internet connection the best thing you could probably do is call your internet service provider and take it to a local computer repair shop. They can probably get your squared away.
Or the other thing you might do is if you have, you know, say a spare computer that does have access to the internet, you could literally download a piece of software onto, you know, say a flash drive and then stick it in the infected computer.
That's one way of doing it. That's a lot of work. But the best advice is probably to call your local internet service provider and hopefully they could walk you through it, Kristie.
LU STOUT: OK.
Now why was this malware created? I mean, you did mention that DNS changer, it started spreading back in 2007. A group of Estonian cyber thieves were behind it. But what was their intention here?
SIMON: Well, the intention was -- is that if you go to these servers that they were hosting -- they could place ads. And you know the way it works is, you know, these companies that serve advertisements, they get money by the click. So they've always sort of stacked the deck in their favor. So where you would -- as a user you would sort of click on some of these ads and then the -- you know, this ring would get money. And it's alleged that they racked up some $14 million by serving these bogus ads if you will.
A very clever scheme no question about it. They were very brazen to put this in place. The FBI got wind of it and took them down fortunately, but a lot of computer apparently affected.
LU STOUT: So racking up ghost clicks in the process, making $14 million. Dan Simon on the story for us. Thank you.
You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, Kofi Annan returns to Damascus to meet with President Bashar al-Assad who has agreed to a shared approach with Syrian rebels. Now what does it all mean for the country's future?
And in Afghanistan, a brutal public execution of a woman is caught on video and started widespread outrage at the Taliban.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now doctors are looking for more clues in the mysterious death of 64 Cambodian children, but they say they have made a significant step and more than half of the 24 patients they tested have turned up positive for a virus called EV71. It's the common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease and children are especially vulnerable to it.
Now Russia is mourning the victims of flash floods that hit several towns and villages over the weekend. At least 171 people were killed when flood waters struck the south of the country. President Vladimir Putin visits the region to see the damage and promise to compensate the thousands affected.
The Chelsea and England footballer John Terry is in court accused of racially abusing a black opponent. Now Terry is alleged to have made racist remarks to Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October last year.
Preliminary results of Libya's first free election in more than four decades are expected today. Now the outcome will determine the make-up of a new national assembly that will appoint transitional leaders and draft a constitution. Nearly 2 million people passed ballots on Saturday.
Now amateur video of the barbaric execution of an Afghan woman has sent shock waves around the world and drawn widespread condemnation. In this video, a 22-year-old woman accused of adultery, she sits on the ground. And behind her, Taliban commanders and men from her village gather. Now they are her judge, jury, and executioner on what officials say were trumped up charges.
Now kneeling in the dirt she is shot nine times at close range. And dozens of men on the hillside cheer "god is great." Taliban commanders who carried out the execution were subsequently killed.
Mohammed Jamjoom is following this. He joins us now live from Abu Dhabi. And Mohammed, the video is horrifying to watch. Is there many -- is there more information about the woman or who was involved in this brutal act?
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie as you said it's absolutely chilling video and it's causing outrage not just from the U.S., the U.S. embassy and ISAF and NATO, but also villagers that live close to where this happened.
Now there's not a lot of details yet. The provincial governor of Parwan Province (ph) where this happened -- this village is just north of Kabul. It's a little less than an hour-and-a-half drive away from the capital of the country. They're saying this happened because there were two members of the Taliban that were in a dispute over this woman. They believed they had some kind of relationship with the woman. And because the two members of the Taliban wanted to save face, they decided to accuse the woman of adultery and that within about an hour of that they had trumped up these charges. They had had a trial and then they executed her.
It's absolutely horrifying. And it's the kind of thing that's causing women's rights activists in Afghanistan to really question what's going to happen there after the completion of the withdrawal of coalition forces in 2014.
Now a very prominent lawmaker there named Fawzia Koofi who is also a women's rights activist, she watched this video and she wept as she watched it. She said it was absolutely shocking. Here's more of what she said about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAWZIA KOOFI, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST (through translator): This is really shocking. And for me, I think that there is zero tolerance about such things and about the silence of government. And this happens a few kilometers away from Kabul. I think we will have to do seriously something about this. We all have to do as woman, but also as a human being, something about this, because we don't know that this woman had children, and apparently she had, and she didn't say one word to defend herself.
It's really very much short-term and a huge backward on what we claim to have progress on women's issues in Afghanistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAMJOOM: The U.S. embassy in Kabul issued a very strong statement condemning this in the strongest possible terms. And the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force commander General John Allen also issued a statement. He said, "let's be clear, this wasn't justice. This was murder and an atrocity of unspeakable cruelty. The Taliban's continued brutality toward innocent civilians, particularly women, must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. There's been too much progress made by too many brave Afghans, especially on the part of women, that this kind of criminal behavior to be tolerated."
And Kristie, it's important to point out Afghanistan is one of the worst places in the world to be a woman. You hear the horrific accounts of brutality and violence against them all the time. In 2012, just this year, Human Rights Watch issued a report in which they said, you know, nine out of 10 women suffered physical, sexual, or psychological violence or forced marriage at least once in their lifetimes -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: You know, how could this act be taking place and we're 11 years into the NATO led war against the Taliban and yet this brutal act goes on. It's caught on video. I mean, how much actual progress, if any, has been made for women in Afghanistan?
JAMJOOM: Well, when you speak to women's rights activists and human rights activists in Afghanistan they say not much. They say that women there are constantly suffering a type of draconian justice that horrifies the rest of the world, that many of the women there have to fear the specter of these types of consequences whether it be honor killing, or rape, or any kind of other abuse, that that's a part of their daily lives that they're afraid of that all the time.
And it's in practically every realm when it comes to women in Afghanistan. I was there about a month-and-a-half ago. We did a story about maternal mortality rates in Afghanistan and how there has been a little bit of good news there, that after so much investment in the country and so much help by international powers and allies of Afghanistan that the mortality rates had gone down.
But then you had to put it in context. Just a couple of years ago a Save the Children, an NGO, said that Afghanistan was the worst place in the world to be a pregnant woman and a mother. Well, after all that investment and after the numbers started changing, now it's just the second worst place in the world to be a pregnant woman or an expectant mother.
So again, you really have to put this in context and you see the frustration on the part of human rights activists and women's rights activists in Afghanistan. Billions of dollars go into that country all the time. In fact, there was a conference yesterday in which Afghanistan was asking for more money, for billions of dollars of aid to be coming into Afghanistan and then you see these realities on the ground, these kind of horrific stories that still keep happening even today -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Mohammed Jamjoom reporting for us. Thank you very much indeed for that.
And now he has been assigned by both the United Nations and the Arab League to represent their efforts in Syria. The last time that Kofi Annan met Syrian president Bashar al-Assad their peace plan appeared to fall apart. And here is a question now, is that about to change now that Mr. al-Assad has agreed to a shared approach with rebels to end the violence?
Now the pair, they met in the capital Damascus, that is where al-Assad earlier told German TV he is going nowhere when it comes to tackling the crisis in Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT: President shouldn't run away from a challenge. We have a national challenge now in Syria. The president shouldn't escape the situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now let's get the latest on the situation now. Arwa Damon has been monitoring developments from Beirut. She joins us now. And Arwa what do you make of this claim from Kofi Annan that President Assad has agreed to this shared approach with rebels to end the violence?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, Kristie, this is also the same president that initially said that he agreed to implementing Kofi Annan's six point peace plan, the first of those points being of course some sort of a cease fire or a cessation of violence that we did not see take place. And opposition activists blaming the regime for the ongoing bloodshed and vice versa.
So it's really boiling down to a situation where rhetoric at this point in time is cheap and easy. It's all about the actions. There are few issues that we need to point out here when it comes to this sort of modified Kofi Annan proposal. It includes the formation of some sort of transitional national unity government now.
President Assad told a German broadcaster over the weekend that there was no need for a new government, because there already was one of national unity in place in Syria following recent parliamentary elections where the opposition, yes, won a few seats. And President Assad is saying the fact that they didn't win any more is because the public did not want them in office. Bear in mind, though, that most of the opposition groups did in fact boycott the elections.
They do have another big factor and that is that the opposition absolutely refuses to sit down at any sort of negotiating table and let's President Bashar al-Assad is removed from power. Kofi Annan's proposal does not include that as a requirement.
So it's still a very, very tricky situation, Kristie.
LU STOUT: And as Kofi Annan tries to shift his focus to a political transition, there are reports of more shelling in cities across Syria. What have you heard?
DAMON: 34 people killed across the country so far, 17 of those in the Damascus suburbs. Just now we've been receiving emails about fierce clashes between the rebel fighting force and government forces in the Damascus suburb of Harastaz (ph), fierce shelling in the Deir ez-Zor, that is up against the border with Iraq.
We still have violence pretty much throughout the entire country. The situation that is escalating by the day by the moment. And again there is still no solution. Kofi Annan is supposed to be taking this approach, that is the word that he used in a press statement, not giving out details of what this approach would be that President al-Assad is said to have agreed upon to the opposition. Now we're going to have to wait and see it is that the opposition says.
But again there are red lines for both sides. Both sides are highly polarized against one another. The question is who is going to lay their weapons down first and at what potential cost?
So tat this point in time there really is no viable solution. There's a lot more talk, but very little concrete action on the ground.
LU STOUT: And also, Syria has carried out these largecale military exercises. These are exercises that have aired on Syrian state TV. Arwa, what is the message behind these maneuvers?
DAMON: Oh, it's a very clear message, Kristie, aimed at anyone who would potentially be contemplating the notion of taking some sort of military action against Syria. These were naval exercises. They did use live artillery. Very much a show of force by the Assad regime trying to present itself as being a government, a regime that is still in power, that is still fully capable of defending its own borders.
Of course all of this is a byproduct of the fact that there has been this notion of potential military intervention being floated around, although it is also important to note that at this point in time there really is not much appetite for it. However, at the end of the day that just might be what certain nations will have to resort to, because it seems yet again that dialogue is still continuing to fail.
At the end of the day, though, it's also important to note this is not an outcome that anyone would have wanted or would have potentially predicted. A lot of opposition activists are saying they didn't really think that the Assad regime would resort to such violence, to such force. They did not expect this to last this long or have such a high cost, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Arwa Damon watching Syria for us. Thank you.
Now to Mexico now and the outcome of the country's presidential election. It remains up in the air. Although the final tally shows Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party won the July 1 parliamentary vote, candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has accused his rival of buying votes.
Now Mexico's electoral tribunal is investigating complaints. They'll hand down their verdicts on September 6.
Now up next, a nation in mourning as Russia begins to rebuild lives and homes after devastating floods. Some residents are now turning their anger toward the government. We'll tell you why after the break.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the torrential floods in southern Russia caused widespread devastation. According to Russian media, the disaster has killed more than 170 people. And as the recovery operation gets underway residents are demanding to know why they were not given adequate warning.
Phil Black has the latest.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: The death toll in Russia's southern (inaudible) region is expected to rise as flood waters subside and more homes are searched individually. It is all the result of several hours of heavy rainfall late on Friday. State media reports say that it was as much as several months worth of average rainfall in just a few hours. And it resulted in what is being described as a wall of water rushing down towards the coast.
It struck in the early hours of Saturday morning when most people were in their homes asleep completely unprepared. And officials there say that most of those who died drowned in their homes. Some were killed when the flood waters collapsed their homes on top of them. Around 20,000 people have been forced from their homes and much of the region remains cut off from fresh water, electricity, even road and rail transportation.
Monday is a day of mourning across Russia. And while there is grief there is also great anger, especially from locals who say they received no warning about the danger. Questions are being asked about a local reservoir that released some excess water around the time that flood waters hit and prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the possibility of death through negligence.
Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.
LU STOUT: And still just mention, several months of rainfall in just a few hours. Let's get more now on this tragedy in Russia. Mari Ramos joins us now from the world weather center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, a tragedy indeed. When we talk about this much rain falling in such a short period of time anywhere in the world you would have a disastrous result. You know, it even happened once here in Atlanta where we had about a month's worth of rain in just a period of about eight hours or so and the flooding was tremendous. I'll never forget that just driving home how impossible that was and how much damage was done here.
The areas that we're talking about here are vulnerable in the sense that they are very low -- they're in the valley. This city right here in particular the water came flowing from the mountains and it affected a huge, huge area. Most of the deaths, close to 160 deaths are believed to be in this one town alone.
But there were other areas that were affected by flooding as well around the areas of the Black Sea. And you can see how they are in the valley near the coast and the water just comes down from the mountains very, very quickly. Now when we talk about those rainfall totals, those are measured in the city. In the mountains it could have rained even more.
And I want to tell you something, no matter where you are in the world, flash flooding can happen. If it rains where you live or near where you live flooding can occur and it can happen very, very quickly. So it doesn't have to be raining where you are to get this amount of water flowing through very, very quickly in areas, especially if you live near mountains or valleys or ravines or creeks or anything like that.
As we take a look over here across our satellite image, what we're going to see again the area of low pressure that kind of has remained here, most of the action now moving toward the Caspian Sea a little bit more with some scattered rain showers still in the forecast, any amount of rain that falls around this area could really be a concern as we head through the next 24 hours because so much rain has happened in that region already. Across the rest of Europe we have some strong thunderstorms popping up across eastern Europe and northeastern Europe.
And this is pretty much a welcome sight for so many of you because it's been so hot over this area. This will help cool the temperatures down.
Look at some of these temperatures from the last 24 hours. We're still dealing with some intense heat with temperatures from 10 even 12 degrees above the average for this time of year. 27 in Warsaw, 34 in Kiev right now. We're looking at 22 in Paris.
As we head through the next 24 hours through the rest of the afternoon today and into tomorrow, scattered showers across the north and west. It's kind of a dividing line in here. This is where the stronger thunderstorms will pop up. But that will also bring you some relatively cooler temperatures over the next couple of days. So at least a little bit of relief in sight there.
Another area we're watching for high temperatures again across many parts of China from east to west looking at temperatures well above the average, in some cases near record highs. And watch out for the heavy rain again expected from the Yellow Sea here all the way through the Korean Peninsula and then into tomorrow across western parts of Japan.
Your forecast is next.
You know something that happens pretty much anywhere in the world is thunder and lightning and it can be very dangerous. We're looking at some strong storms against across portions of the U.S., especially near the south. This time of year those summer thunderstorms can pop up very quickly And Kristie, pretty much anywhere. Take a look and listen to what happened at (inaudible).
There it goes again. That guy right there decided to crouch down a little bit. That's what you're supposed to do if you're in the middle of an open field. This guy had the right idea, run away.
Oh, yeah, the catcher ran -- everybody just moved away. That guy that's crouching down, they said that if you are in an open field when thunder and lightning strikes you're supposed to crouch down and become as small as you possibly can to try to avoid getting hit by lightning. You just stay down there.
One of the -- they said they had no warning when this happened, that they didn't hear any rumble or thunder or see any lightning. Every time I see it, it makes me cringe. They said everybody was laughing at the end. Nobody was hurt. And the game did resume after about a 30 to 40 minutes delay.
I wonder who won, though?
There you go, they're covering up the field. Dangerous job for those guys.
I just wanted to share that with you. Pretty scary, you know, the ball park. No place to get cover.
LU STOUT: Yeah, very scary, but you know it's a good reminder you've got to stop, drop and stay there. I like the replay.
We know the message now. Mari Ramos, thank you.
You're watching News Stream. And up next from Hollywood to Beijing, the movie industry in China is catching the eyes of filmmakers in Tinsel Town and the growing ties between the two giants and why they could quickly grow apart.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
And it seems like Hollywood isn't the only place the power to attract filmmakers anymore. Now movers and shakers have been turning to Beijing and the Chinese film industry for more than just a little inspiration. Eunice Yoon goes behind the scenes.
EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lights, camera, action. A gambling scene of China in the 1930s shot at a moneyed movie capital. No, we're not talking about Hollywood, but Beijing, home to one of the biggest studios in the world.
"Chinese movies can be just as good as any," says this executive.
China is now the second biggest movie market behind the U.S. Eight new screens open here every day, attracting top Hollywood filmmakers like James Cameron whose 3-D blockbuster Avatar was a box office smash here.
JAMES CAMERON, DIRECTOR: It's the increase in the standard of living and the growth of the middle class here. The cinema experience is perceived as something special.
YOON: Hollywood is struggling back home, so studios are fighting for a future here, producing movies like Iron Man 3 and Looper (ph), a film full of aimless actors shot with Chinese partners.
DAN MINTZ, CEO, DMG ENTERTAINMENT: (inaudible) with these kinds of films is you're able to say, hey, I'm here. I'm not just using China as a distribution point, you're actually say come into our process.
YOON: The problem is China wants to control the rules of the game.
Beijing has grown wary of what can influences here. And it's keen to get China's view and its history on the silver screen.
Already in China, movies are censored, including Men in Black III which censors chopped out these scenes showing Chinese as alien villains. The concern is Beijing's heavy hand could creep into co-production, even lead to self-censorship among Hollywood players hoping to capture the market here.
"A negative portrayal of a Chinese character can be shown if it's an intrinsic part of the story," he says. "But if the movie intentionally belittles the Chinese people, then of course we would censor that."
Despite some recent loosening, Beijing also restricts the number of foreign films as it aims to build its own version of Hollywood. Some say the growing tide allows China to cherry pick U.S. techniques.
CAMERON: The question is, can the Chinese film industry grow to an extent that it makes movies directly for the rest of the world, you see what I mean, becomes a direct competition to Hollywood?
YOON: For now, a tall bet for a government still obsessed with crafting its own scripts.
Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.
LU STOUT: And the new Spider-Man movie may have delighted critics and raked in cash at the box office, but it fell short of its predecessor. The Amazing Spider-Man, a new film starring Andrew Garfield, it made $140 million in its first six days at the U.S. box office, but the original film with Toby Maguire made $144 million. And that's without factoring in inflation or the higher cost of 3D movie tickets.
Now the new Spider-Man film is a reboot, which means it throws away the trilogy of films starring Toby Maguire and makes a clean start for the series. But there's only been 10 years since the original film in 2002 and the reboot in 2012. And look at how that compares to other reboots.
Now there were 16 years between the original Batman film by Tim Burton and the rebooted Batman Begins by Christopher Nolan. The new Star Trek film in 2009 wiped out about 30 years of film history to start again.
But all of those pale in comparison to the Bond franchise. Dr. No came out in 1962 and Casino Royale was the latest Bond incarnation, that came out in 2005 a full 43 years later.
Now the Bond franchise is actually celebrating its 50th birthday this year. And to mark that milestone, an exhibition has opened in London to showcase the series.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.