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Syria Fighting Continues; More Ebola Cases; Preparing to Explore Mars; More from the Olympics; Chinese Twitter Equivalent
Aired August 3, 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, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet. And we begin in Syria.
Activists report a new massacre as (inaudible) warns of an impending battle.
Plus fighting to contain a killer disease that has no known cure. The number of suspected Ebola cases rises in Uganda.
This day seven of the Olympics in London. Are you ready for the Bolt, the Beast and the Blade Runner? The track and field competition is getting underway.
And closing in on Mars. NASA's Mars rover sets its sights on the Red Planet to find out if it could have ever supported life.
STOUT: The United Nations general assembly is preparing to meet over the crisis in Syria as new reports of intense violence are emerging. Activists say a massacre has taken place in the city of Hama. They say at least 62 people have been killed so far today. Heavy gunfire and shelling reported. And this image, it comes from Aleppo.
Now you can see children climbing on an abandoned army tank. Now this is the city where U.N. officials now warning a major battle could start soon. And we have correspondents covering both the situation on the ground and the diplomatic front.
Now talks have an even added urgency by the resignation of international envoy Kofi Annan. Our Mohammed Jamjoom is in Abu Dhabi. Elise Labott is in Washington.
First, let's go to Mohammed. And there has been a spike in violence inside Syria with these killings in Hama and also at a refugee camp in Damascus.
What have you heard?
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Kristie. Disturbing accounts emerging the last few hours about another massacre -- opposition activists are calling it a massacre -- that happened after midnight last night into this morning in Hama. They say that at least 62 people were killed in this massacre.
And this on the heels of very disturbing reports that emerged yesterday about what opposition activists were calling a regime massacre that happened in a Damascus suburb on Wednesday.
Yesterday we saw a lot of amateur videos purporting to show the aftermath of that massacre. Many activists we spoke with said that regime forces had entered that town, that they had shelled houses, that then they had gone door-to-door, and that some people had been summarily executed. We saw video purporting to show mass grave sites. There are dozens of bodies wrapped in blankets.
And all this happening at a time when there are so many fears about what's going to happen next in Aleppo. I've spoken to residents there the past couple of days. They say that the neighborhoods there are becoming increasingly isolated, many of them with power cut off.
On one of the days you had Internet lines and phone lines cut off as well, according to the activists. They're afraid that an onslaught against that city is going to begin imminently.
And in Damascus, you're hearing now today about a Palestinian refugee camp that was shelled. The regime has said that this -- that there were terrorists that they were going after. Activists were saying that this camp was shelled by the regime and that there are many casualties.
As well today we're hearing about more violence in Rastan. We're hearing that Rastan is being shelled. More shelling going on in Homs. We're seeing amateur video purporting to show the aftermath of that shelling. And we're also hearing about shelling going on in Daraa. That's where the uprising in Syria began 17 months ago, Kristie.
STOUT: You have shelling, violence across Syria this day.
Let's go to our Elise Labott now in Washington.
And Elise, I mean, we have all-out violence, a civil war happening inside Syria. And Kofi Annan, he has quit as the U.N. Arab League-Syria envoy.
Is diplomacy at an end here?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't think the international community wants to give up on diplomacy at large, but I think that the U.N. system has largely failed.
And Kofi Annan not only blamed the Syrian regime for not implementing his six-point plan, but he also blamed people at the -- the countries at the international -- the U.N. Security Council for not really giving him the space and the power to implement his mandate.
Let's take a listen to what he said yesterday when he announced his resignation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY: When the Syrian people desperately need action, there continues to be finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: And Kristie, of course he's talking about the tussle between the West and Russia. Kofi Annan wanted a U.N. Security Council resolution to have consequences if the Syrian regime, if the opposition didn't impose his six-point plan.
And Russia balked on any type of sanctions, any type of consequences. So diplomacy not dead in the sense U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he wants to appoint another envoy. But it really remains unclear what the mission, what the mandate could do.
You have some observers still on the ground. But really, they were supposed to be monitoring a cease-fire. What they're doing is just really reporting on atrocities there. Today the U.N. general assembly is set to vote on a resolution. This is the resolution, really, that the U.N. Security Council should have been passing.
So the U.N. general assembly has no teeth. It's really a symbolic resolution. But what diplomats tell me is at least this shows that the majority of the international community favors a political transition in Syria, Kristie.
STOUT: So it won't end the bloodshed per se, but a symbolic gesture there.
Let's go back to Mohammed Jamjoom.
Mohammed, meanwhile inside Syria, has there been any reaction to Kofi Annan's resignation?
JAMJOOM: Well, there has, Kristie. The Syrian National Council issued a statement in which they said that really this is not a surprise. They say that this is quite natural that this is happening because the Syrian regime was trying to derail Kofi Annan's plan from day one.
The statement also goes on to say since his appointment -- they're talking about Kofi Annan -- the regime intensified the use of heavy weapons, especially its warplanes, artillery, tanks and rocket launchers and bombing the populated areas and the residential neighborhoods, resulting in the deaths of more than 6,000 civilians, including some 2,000 children and women.
Now, Kristie, the SNC also said that the regime had actually stepped up its massacres against the Syrian population in the time that Kofi Annan was the joint special envoy to Syria.
And you know, we've talked a lot in the past couple of months about the fact that the Syrian opposition and specifically the SNC, they've been very critical for the last few months of Kofi Annan of this plan, on many occasions they blamed Kofi Annan for being ineffective.
They said that his plan was only giving more time to the Syrian regime to carry out atrocities and to intensity its brutal crackdown against the Syrian people, Kristie.
STOUT: Mohammed Jamjoom and Elise Labott, both reporting for us. Thank you.
Now turning now to Spain, where there are new details about the arrest of three suspected terrorists. Now the Spanish interior minister calls it the country's biggest operation against Al Qaeda. Authorities say that the men may have been plotting attacks in Spain or elsewhere in Europe. And as Nic Robertson reports, police sources say they had enough explosives to mount a major attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They say for Spanish police, the hunt is still going on. They've taken canine sniffer dogs into the apartment, where they found some explosives. But those dogs found an area in that apartment, a room, secret room, that was hidden. When the dogs went in, they went crazy, we're told, that they smelled that there had been explosives there.
This is what leads the police to believe that explosives had been removed. They say already there was enough to blow up a bus. Also, the police looking at a computer they recovered during one of those raids. That now, perhaps, may provide clues. But according to Spain's interior ministry, this is for them a massive operation against Al Qaeda.
JORGE FERNANDEZ DIAS, SPANISH INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): Some of the detainees have experience in producing explosives and car bombs and training and shooting. They found documentation about remote- controlled airplanes.
This is one of the biggest operations against Al Qaeda in Spain. Clear evidence that they tried to do an attack on Spain or another place in Europe. There is close cooperation with intelligence agencies of countries that are allies with Spain.
ROBERTSON: And to follow up on some of the details that the interior minister spoke about there, we now know as well that one of those two Chechens who'd had the training in those Afghan and Pakistan training camps, the connections as well to the Pakistani jihadi group, Lashkar-e- Taiba, according to Spanish interior ministry officials, that one of them was actually an expert in chemicals, believed to be an expert bomb maker. And he had quite a senior role in Al Qaeda we were told.
Now the potential of where they were going to mount the attacks, the Spanish authorities believe it could have been a joint U.S.-Spanish naval base not far away from Gibraltar, about 60 miles away, about 85-90 kilometers away.
And also we're being told that two of the men had had training in flying these motorized paragliders. And the implication is, therefore, for the Spanish authorities, they believe that perhaps this was going to be some kind of airborne attack on the base.
But they're also saying there's an indication that the two men, the two Chechens arrested pulled off (inaudible) put up a strong resistance when they were arrested, perhaps were on a bus going to France and the concern there that perhaps they were linking up with other jihadists in France, perhaps going to plot and plan attacks there. So a lot of questions still outstanding with this arrest, these arrests -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Now the U.S. jobs report for July is set to be released in about 20 minutes. We will have the numbers and analysis on what they mean.
And with the U.S. presidential election now just three months away, what impact will those numbers and the overall economy have on the race for the White House?
Plus making history: the first Saudi Arabian woman to compete at the Olympics competes on her own terms. We'll tell you how she did. And we'll also have more from the games.
Also coming up, Tropical Storm Sulla crashes into China, the second big storm to hit the country this week. How are they coping? All that and more still ahead, right here on NEWS STREAM.
STOUT: Welcome back. And you are looking at a visual rundown of all the stories on this show. And we've told you about the horrifying reports of a new massacre in Syria.
And later we'll go to Washington and talk about the U.S. presidential race.
But now, let's go to London. Now 16-year-old judo athlete Wojdan Shaherkani has become the first Saudi woman to compete in the Olympics. And you will recall her participation was by no means certain after an earlier dispute over her head covering. Now let's go straight to Olympic Park. Our Zain Verjee is standing by.
And Zain, her debut was rather short-lived, wasn't it?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was, well, rather short-lived. She only survived less than 90 seconds against Puerto Rican counterpart. Her name was Melissa Mojica of Puerto Rico. She competed in the 78-kg competition in judo.
Just the fact that she was there, though, you know, Kristie, was such a big deal. I mean, you know, this is the first Saudi female athlete to compete ever in the Olympics. And she got so much attention really because of the whole debate about whether or not she could or couldn't wear a hijab, the traditional cultural covering for Saudi women.
So as you can see in the pictures there, she wore kind of what looks almost like a swim cap type of attire. But it covered her head, basically. She started off kind of defensive, you know, a little bit tentative and she was taken down, boom, almost immediately. But it is a historic occasion to see her. I mean, she didn't actually qualify for the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee decided to invite her as part of a Saudi athletic delegation that included women. So she only actually has a blue belt in judo, whereas her opponent has been training with men for years.
The Saudi woman has only trained a couple of years. And the Puerto Rican woman also, Melissa Mojica, had a black belt. So it wasn't even. But the fact that she was there was a big deal.
STOUT: Yes, those 90 seconds and this entire experience she will never forget.
And, Zain, from Olympic firsts to Olympic greats. Let's talk about Michael Phelps.
VERJEE: Yes, I mean, it's just -- we just keep saying, so historic, so amazing, the phenomenal Phelps, magical, incredible. I mean, we did a rundown of the adjectives here, Kristie. I don't know. But today he does swim the 100-meter butterfly final. He's defending that title, too. So if he manages to do that and get another medal, it's going to be absolutely incredible.
Just behind me in the stadium, too, the track and field is starting today. Events are already underway. The women's heptathlon and also the first event, which is always traditional when the Olympics start their track and field is the men's shot put. And that final is also going to be today.
And also, Kristie, I bought you a little gift, seeing as though you're not here. I want you to meet Wenlock. This the official mascot of the Olympic Games.
VERJEE: Wenlock is a (inaudible) here in the U.K. Happy Friday.
STOUT: You know, I have a thing -- thank you so much -- I have a thing for schlocky souvenirs. So Zain, thank you so much. Happy Friday to you.
Zain Verjee there, joining us live --
STOUT: Take care.
Now sports fans, they are enjoying the first day of track and field in the Olympic stadium. And while all eyes are on the likes of Usain Bolt and Johan Blake in the 100-meters, what about the up-and-coming stars of the sport?
Well, CNN's Olympic contributor Linford Christie tells us the ones to watch at London 2012.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINFORD CHRISTIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anna Chicherova, Russian high jumper, probably the favorite now after withdrawing (inaudible). Anna's jumped 2 meters 3 this year. She's also the reigning world champion, plus the bronze medals from Beijing.
Kellie Wells, 100-meter hurdles, U.S. (inaudible). Kellie's coach former rival, Dennis Mitchell (ph). And although she was second in the U.S. trials, she's already beaten the favorite, Sally Pearson (ph) from Australia. She's run 12.57, which makes her the one to watch.
Javier Culson, Puerto Rico, 400 hurdles, has already beaten the world champion Dai Greene on many occasions. He was second in Daegu, second in Berlin. Can he make it gold? I think so.
Perri Shakes-Drayton, 400 hurdles, G.B., although she didn't make the final at last year's world championships, Perri proved to the world that she can do it by winning the Diamond League at Crystal Palace, which makes her one of my favorites.
Vivian Cheruiyot, 5,000 and 10,000 meters, Kenya, gold medalist from Daegu and Berlin. Although she's never won an Olympic medal, she's totally (inaudible) this year, which makes her my aught (ph) favorite.
Asafa Powell, 100 meters, Jamaica -- although he's never won a major gold medal, Asafa Powell is the ex-world record holder, 9.77. And focus although will be on Bolt and Blake, can Asafa do it? We'll see.
Anyway, that's my picks. Let's see how they go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Well, up next here on NEWS STREAM, social media in China. Sina Weibo users are now up to the 100 millions. And up next on NEWS STREAM, we have a professor who says he can track what they post and what gets deleted.
STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM. And Sina Weibo is what some call the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. And it has more than 300 million users. Now Hong Kong University has developed a software. It's called Weiboscope, and it works like a search engine and can scan posts and detect which ones get deleted.
Now I had the chance to speak with Professor Fu King Wa about the program he helped to develop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FU KING WA, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, HONG KONG UNIVERSITY: We download the data off the (inaudible) user (inaudible). But from time to time, we will detect some of the messages disappear. If you look at the (inaudible) problem why it is we disappear. So we can distinguish there's some of the data were deleted by the user, by themselves, and some data actually disappear because of censorship.
STOUT: What are the topics that regularly rile up the sensors who work for the company?
FU: Basically I found three major types of data that were censored. One is spam. The second type, pornography. The third type are those comments on social issues, about politics, about social incidents, protests or these kind of things.
STOUT: OK. Let's bring up three examples of recent news stories in China that have really dominated discussion on Sina Weibo. On the first one is the Beijing floods. Recently there was the torrential rain resulting in the deadly floods in a suburb of Beijing. And a lot of citizens turned to Sina Weibo to exchange information and also to criticize the government reaction to the death toll.
What kind of posts were taken down during this time?
FU: Some of them are comments on the government, the handling of the disaster. Some -- one of the examples I wanted to show you today is that one -- I think one blogger quit (ph) a picture, a lady in this ocean. And then you got Tiananmen Square and some kinds of (inaudible) here. Remember the move. (Inaudible).
And but you need to remember the move in Beijing as well. But the idea is because at that time there was an overwhelming by a law (ph), for instance, sensational (ph) (inaudible) in the party media (ph) about how Beijing citizen working so hard to mutually support each other, develop (inaudible) moving story.
But they found out there's a lot of comment, and also dissatisfaction about the government as well.
STOUT: OK. Let's bring up another example of the recent news event dominating discussion on Sina Weibo, and it's the hot political drama surrounding Bo Xilai and his wife, Gu Kailai. She was indicted for murder. The announcement was made on official Chinese media, but it played out big- time on Sina Weibo. But how much were people willing to say?
Or rather how much were people able to say?
FU: Basically you mention about Gu Kailai, (inaudible), basically most of them were (inaudible).
But I pick up one example here. That I don't know why, but these survived on Michael (ph) blog. I think it's very critical. You just -- this is the lesson come from this case is the -- to try to do -- you can't abuse power. (Inaudible) in power, you can't abuse your power, and also you can't do harm to other people. We detected just after -- just within a day after the post, it disappeared from --
STOUT: It was gone.
FU: -- (inaudible).
STOUT: Too sensitive for Weibo.
Another big media event that not only has captured the attention of China, but the entire world is, of course, the Olympic Games.
FU: I expect because we've (inaudible) Olympics, that has been very positive --
STOUT: A safe topic, right?
FU: -- (inaudible), it's not sensitive. A lot of people is saying good things of the China government and the sports people. But in China, we found a lot of these deleted messages. (Inaudible) Olympic stories. This guy raised two questions, so shall we ask for the leader of the (inaudible) team leader to step down?
A lot of people in China right now comment on different expect (ph), where (inaudible) the Olympics. And some of them will turn out will be understand by the censor to be very sensitive. Then disappear.
STOUT: Is it surprising you, the amount of censorship that's taking place during the Olympics?
FU: Yes. Yes. To me, yes, because I expect (inaudible), as you said, your safe topic, not politically sensitive. But people make use of every occasion. If they want to voice an opinion, now they have a platform now. No matter what issue, they can say what they want to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Interesting views there, interesting technology.
Now the London 2012 Games are the first Olympics for Sina Weibo users. The Chinese social media site was launched a year after the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Now two tropical cyclones have hit China in quick succession. Authorities there have relocated more than 300,000 people. Let's get details now from Tom Sater. He joins us from the World Weather Center. Tom?
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Kristie, both systems have made landfall. Unfortunately, we have a third one now that we're watching that could rapidly develop pretty close to the same development as Damrey.
If you look at the last 150 years, when it comes to cyclones, their paths and their strength, nowhere else on the globe have there been more or stronger typhoons, cyclones and those tropical storms in the West Pacific. And this season seems to be holding true.
And of course we had the three; as you can see the newest developed one, of course, Saola and, of course, Damrey to the north, both making landfall. But this is the next one that we're going to watch, and it's currently just a tropical depression. But again, Damrey wasn't expected to reach typhoon strength, and it did so just before making landfall in the Yellow Sea.
So as we take a look at these two areas of concern, both of course making landfall, no redevelopment for Saola, which is very good news. In fact, the coast of China can thank Taiwan for squeezing the energy out of this. All of the rainfall staggering amounts of course fell in northern Taiwan. So it didn't have the time or space to redevelop.
But we still have two areas of concern where heavy amounts of rainfall will fall. Nothing, of course, of the staggering totals that are measuring the rainfall in meters in Taiwan. And it's still possible, even a day or two later, that we could get reports of landslides.
Sometimes it takes a while for that water to really create a weight on the land and, of course, the root systems deteriorate and weaken somewhat. But Saola here, just of massive amounts. In fact, we had 100-200 millimeters of rainfall, Fujian province, some of these are some of the higher totals.
Of course, you get a little bit to the north, but both systems are still creating a little bit of an outflow boundary with each other. So really the rainfall becoming elongated between the two.
As we take a look at Saola here, still it's movement is northwest at about 26 kph, taking more of a dive to the west-northwest. It does lose its strength, but that doesn't mean it cannot produce heavy amounts of flooding rains. It will, most likely. We're going to watch in the next 48 hours.
Most of the convected activity stays down to the south. If you look at the satellite picture between the two, just amazing.
Now Damrey was never expected to actually reach typhoon strength. Until it got into the warmer waters, unlike the high terrain of Taiwan, this is the low coastal area. We have shipping ports and fisheries of course and the merchants here. So we have some minor coastal erosion with heavy amounts of rain.
Now we're watching the system for Damrey kind of move more toward the north and then make more of a general turn to the north the next 48 hours. Beijing, will you get in the rainfall? It's the last thing you need right now.
Looks like a front in Beijing may keep that rainfall just to the south. This is our next system; this is a tropical depression expected to develop if the waters are favorable, wind development is favorable for this as well.
And these cyclone winds actually take on a typhoon strength very close to Okinawa. So again, Kristie, we're watching the third system that may affect coastal China here in the days ahead. So we'll give this one about a next maybe 60 hours or so. But we'll keep you posted as the days roll on.
STOUT: Well, after twin storms, another system is coming. Thank you for the warning there, Tom Sater. Thank you.
Now you're watching NEWS STREAM. Coming up next, the U.S. job numbers are set to be announced. Will they give the struggling U.S. economy some much needed momentum? We'll have the numbers for you when we come back.
And we'll also explore how they could impact the race for the White House.
Also ahead, is a killer disease spreading in Africa? The number of suspected Ebola cases rises in Uganda. And we'll take you inside the infection zone.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.
You're watching NEW STREAM and these are your world headlines.
Now, opposition activists say that a massacre has been taking place in the Syrian city of Hama. They say at least 76 people have been reported killed across the country, with 62 of the deaths in Hama. There are fears that the worst violence may be yet to come. The besieged city of Aleppo on high alert.
The man at the center of a fruitless peace plan in Syria is calling it quits. Special Envoy Kofi Anan blames the failure of his plan and his resignation, in part, on what he called "a clear lack of any unity" at the U.N. Security Council.
Well, the French ambassador puts the blame squarely on Russia and China.
Now, a source tells CNN that the wife of a disgraced Chinese Communist Party official is expected to go on trial August the 9th. Gu Kailai, wife of Bo Xilai, is accused of complicity in the murder of British businessman, Neil Haywood. She and a family aide, who was also charged, were arrested in April.
The U.S. Labor Department has just released job numbers for July and the U.S. economy has added 163,000 jobs last month. And that's more than what was expected, but the unemployment rate rose slightly, to 8.3 percent.
Now, July has been dismal overall for the world's largest economy. U.S. consumer confidence dipped. Retail sales were also weak last month.
Now, the story that sparked a global outcry over so-called honor murder has come to a startling conclusion. The parents of Shafilea Ahmed, a Pakistani Briton, have been found guilty in her killing. Now, the incident happened some nine years ago. And at first, the parents said that she was killed in a robbery. But one by one, her siblings came forward to admit that the robbery was staged to cover-up the parents' murder.
They say that the parents were unhappy with her lifestyle, not living up to the strict Pakistani Muslim code that they wanted. So they carried out a family murder.
And just a short time ago, a British court believed those siblings and it found the parents guilty.
CNN's Atika Shubert has been covering this story.
She's gathering new details and she will join us soon with more.
Now, back to the struggling U.S. economy that is front and center in the race for the White House. The U.S. presidential election is now just 95 days away. The Republican National Convention happens the week of August the 27th in Tampa, Florida.
Mitt Romney will be officially nominated as the Republican presidential candidate.
The Democratic National Convention kicks off on September the 3rd in Charlotte, North Carolina. And the Democrats' nominee, President Barack Obama.
President Obama is expected to talk about the economy and taxes in public remarks later today.
And CNN political editor, Paul Steinhauser, joins me now from Washington -- and, Paul, you've heard the details just then of today's jobs report.
How does that set the tone for Obama and Romney in the race to the White House?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes, and, Kristy, you cannot say -- you cannot say how much -- how important these numbers truly are because remember, the race for the White House here in the United States is basically a battle over the economy. It is, by far, the most important issue for Americans and what's the most top economic concern for voters?
Jobs, jobs, jobs. That's why we look at these unemployment rates when they come out every month and really analyze them and see, politically, how -- who they would help or hurt, President Obama or the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
As you mentioned, 8.3 percent. That's slightly up from 8.2 percent back in June. So that is not so good for the president, obviously. One hundred and sixty-three thousand jobs created. That's more than what economists predicted and it's about double what was created back in June. So I guess you could say that number beneficial in some ways to the president.
But you -- you know, you ask economists and they say that is not nearly enough jobs to be created each month to -- to get this economy really jump-starting.
So I think you're going to hear Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger, who speaks at exactly the same time as the president does. The president holding an event here in Washington, DC, Mitt Romney holding an event on the campaign trail in Nevada, a crucial battleground state.
I think you'll hear Romney really criticize the president on these numbers. And the president probably will say, again, that, listen, we're making progress, but we still have a long way to go.
So who do Americans think would do a better job creating jobs over the next few years?
Take a look at this, the most recent national numbers. This is from Gallup and "USA Today." And while you can see here that the Mitt Romney has an advantage on this ni -- on this question. And, again, the economy and jobs so crucial, Kristy, to this election.
LU STOUT: Yeas. And Mitt Romney will be sure to take advantage of any perceived economic weakness this day.
And speaking of Mitt Romney, what are you hearing now about his choice for a running mate?
STEINHAUSER: That's -- that's the question that everybody wants to know. Unfortunately, the only people who really know that answer are Mitt Romney, his wife, Ann, and Beth Myers, his trusted aide, who's leading that search.
And do you know what?
They're not talking to us. But listen, we -- we feel -- we in the media feel they're probably down to about five or six likely candidates. Maybe it's Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Maybe it's Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, who ran against Mitt Romney in the presidential battle for the Republican nomination last year. It could be Bobby Jindal, the governor -- governor of Louisiana; Paul Ryan, the House Budget chairman from Wisconsin. A couple of other names also come up quite often.
What about the timing?
Well, it could help any time over the next three weeks leading up to that Republican convention. As you mentioned, it -- that starts on August 27th.
But to me, it seems more likely that it will happen after the Olympics are over. The Olympics end on August 12th, Sunday the 12th. After that, you've got two weeks until the Republican convention. My guess is it will happen in those two weeks -- Kristy.
LU STOUT: Got it. Of course, Mitt Romney, he was at the Olympics. And while we have you, I wanted to get your thoughts on Mitt Romney's less than perfect trip to the U.K., Israel and Poland. I mean his gaffes, they were well reported overseas.
But did American voters pay much attention?
STEINHAUSER: They were well reported back here in the United States, as well, no doubt about it, the media talking quite often about his gaffes in -- in London and in Israel, and his snubs to -- his perceived snubs to the Palestinian people and to the Brits.
But, a good question, are people in this country, the U.S., watching?
You know, traditionally, the summertime is a time when people don't really tune into the news. And, of course, you also had the Olympics starting, as well. And that was a big distraction.
So I guess if this kind of stuff is going to happen to a candidate, better to happen now, when less people are clued in, rather than in September or October, in the lead-up to the November 6th election -- Kristy.
LU STOUT: All right, Paul Steinhauser, thank you, as always.
Now, let's get more now on these U.S. job numbers for July.
Felicia Taylor joins me now live from New York -- and, Felicia, you know, an interesting report we have. More jobs added than expected for the month, but also, the overall unemployment rate has ticked up.
What's your read?
FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I -- I think you real -- what you really need to look at is that 8.3 percent unemployment rate. And that's what's more significant than the increase of 163,000. We were expecting more like 95,000 to 100,000.
So it's better than expected, you know, but as one trader put it to me, is this the new normal?
It's not good enough. So although it was better than expected, the point is, is that we're not increasing fast enough to keep with the pace of actual, you know, added people to the payroll.
So the only good -- you know, the one good thing that we did find in there is that earnings did increase by two cents. That's, obviously, you know, good for those people that have a job. But for those that don't, it doesn't mean very much.
So the overall number, 163,000, is nice, but not good enough. It's that 8.3 percent, that increase in the unemployment, that I think you have to focus on.
We did see private sector jobs increase, so that was -- that was also a good thing. But nevertheless, overall, this just isn't enough, as we have that countdown to the election in three months, to really satisfy the markets overall.
It needs to be well over 200,000 to really keep pace with the marketplace -- Kristy.
LU STOUT: All right. And now there, of course, there's a lot of pressure on the Fed to do something.
But what can the Fed do right now?
TAYLOR: Oh, it -- I mean this is the -- the -- you know, the exhausting question that we examine all the time. I mean they've done just about everything they can do. And I -- I'm -- you know, at this point, at a loss, because they could do QE3, but is that really going to make a difference in terms of, you know, lending out there and making corporations in the United States comfortable with adding jobs to their payrolls?
And the answer so far has been pretty much not really. You know, you've seen a lot of corporate earnings and a number of guidances -- guidance forward that have suggested that corporations are anticipating that there could be layoffs ahead. That obviously doesn't bode well for whether or not there is a QE3 or any kind of a stimulus package in -- in the months to come.
Even if the Federal Reserve, you know, Ben Bernanke said, you know, before September, that, yes, we're going to continue -- we already know that they're going to continue Operation Twist. If they're going to add QE3, what's to say that that's going to be enough to give confidence to corporate America?
I don't think they would.
LU STOUT: Hmmm.
Felicia Taylor with the analysis there.
Thank you very much...
TAYLOR: Such an upbeat...
LU STOUT: -- indeed, Felicia. (INAUDIBLE)...
TAYLOR: -- such an upbeat statement from me, right?
LU STOUT: Yes. Yes. Yes, exactly.
But we're going to -- yes, that's how -- that -- what else could be done at this point, right?
Felicia Taylor, thank you.
Thanks for the smiles there.
Now she and the rest of the team of "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY," they're going to have more analysis for you, as depressing as it's going to sound, on that U.S. July jobs report. Again, the unemployment rate has ticked up to 8.3 percent. And what it all means for the U.S. economy, it's all happening right here on CNN just about 15 minutes from now.
We've got Ali Velshi.
He's in Nevada. He's reporting live there. And it's also home of the nation's highest unemployment rate. It's also a swing election state. And that's why the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, is there campaigning today.
You're watching NEWS STREAM.
And still ahead, Oscar Pistorius, otherwise known as The Blade Runner, will make his Olympic debut this weekend. We'll get the inside story from perhaps his biggest fan.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now, health officials are scrambling to contain the spread of the Ebola virus in Western Uganda. Sixteen people have already died in the outbreak, with some 10 of those deaths in the same household.
Now, a hospital in Kigali is now treating 30 patients suspected of having the disease.
And David McKenzie, he is there at the hospital.
He joins us now -- and, David, can you describe the scene inside the hospital?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, inside the hospital, certainly, Kristy, it's a scene of con -- controlling this outbreak. We were able to get exclusive access a little bit earlier today. What's quite extraordinary is the level of protection you have to go through there.
In effect, the Doctors Without Borders officer there basically puts in all that gear on top of me (INAUDIBLE), an outer suit, an inner suit. You have a scratch (ph) apron plus inner gloves and outer gloves, as well as a -- a hood and a visor.
All of this just so you can access those patients.
When we saw the patients who -- there's a -- it's a -- a very odd scene. There's people in space age kind of outfits walking around caring for the patients, Kristy. And the patients themselves are a little bit bewildered. Two of them, at least, are very severely sick. We couldn't get even close to them without protective gear, because we're not professionals.
But the sense here, Kristy, is that they're trying to curb this outbreak. Several more people are coming in today, even one person just a few moments ago.
Now, that doesn't mean they have Ebola, it's just they have a suspected case of Ebola. And the health professionals have to be so careful. Anyone exhibiting the signs and symptoms will be brought in so that they can clamp down on this outbreak. They can later be discharged, but they have to get a blood test first.
One disturbing development is that -- I know we saw it yesterday, Kristy, about some prisoners who were brought into this hospital. One of those prisoners who is suspected of contracting this deadly virus escaped overnight. His blood test is still being assessed now.
Now, if they see that he's positive, they are taking -- scouring the neighboring villages to try and get him and bring him back, because, obviously, is presents a -- a health risk for the population here.
LU STOUT: Yes, that's a very disturbing development, as officials are trying to curb the spread of this disease.
David, we know that the death toll is rising.
But what about the number of infections?
Is the outbreak getting worse?
MCKENZIE: It's hard to tell at this point, I have to be honest with you. You know, there are a lot of people coming in to get assessed here. Now, only a small percentage, Doctors Without Borders tell me, will actually be confirmed with Ebola. So that's already some good news right there.
There have been several suspected cases found elsewhere in Uganda and even one in Kenya. But again, we don't want to be alarmist here. Those suspected cases have been handled very carefully because of the severe nature of this virus. You know, some outbreaks, up to 90 percent of people who contract Ebola are killed.
In this case, this strain is called Ebola Sudan. The strain of the virus that has (INAUDIBLE), that only around 55 to 70 percent of people who contract it are believed to have died. But because there is no cure and it's extremely infectious, it has to be dealt with very carefully, both from the point of view of here in Uganda, and obviously from a regional and global health perspective.
The Center for Disease Control has just arrived with a large team around an hour ago. They're coming in to do epi -- epidemiological tests. That means they're going out into the -- into the villages to try and track down who the first case was and why they contracted Ebola. All of this is important to curb this outbreak before it spreads.
So, now, to answer your question, we don't know. It's early days here. They're still setting up the -- the -- the final stages of this isolation (INAUDIBLE) to -- today -- Kristy.
LU STOUT: All right, David McKenzie reporting live from the Ebola infection zone.
Thank you and take care.
And now to a more uplifting story out of the continent. South Africa's Oscar Pistorius will make Olympic history when he competes in the 400 meters on Saturday. And he is the double amputee nicknamed the Blade Runner. And when the starter's gun goes off, it will be a watershed even for legions of disabled athletes.
Robyn Curnow caught up with one of his biggest fans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Images from Oscar Pistorius' athletic career are plastered on the walls of his proud grandmother's home. She tells me in Afrikaans -- "I like this one. Look here, see when he goes like this. That's wonderful."
(on camera): He looks like a winner, doesn't he?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, there's a winner.
CURNOW (voice-over): A winner because on his prosthetic blades, her grandson will make history in London. Oscar Pistorius is the first double amputee to compete in the able-bodied games.
We've kind of made these only for sprinting, because we've restricted it to the sole that we used like a remote running spark (ph).
CURNOW: A staggering achievement for a child born with such a disability that his family decided to have his legs amputated below the knee when he was one.
Gertie Pistorius remembers that as a child, "The moment you saw him, it broke your heart. I'll never forget the first time he got toes on his prosthetic," she says. "They came back from Johannesburg and drove through the big gate and he shouted, 'Grandma, grandma!' His feet were sticking out the car window and he says, 'Look, I've got toes!'
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, I've got toes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said (INAUDIBLE), isn't that wonderful?
CURNOW: In her old age home in Pretoria, Gertie Pistorius has been planning her trip to London for weeks -- suitcases ready, tickets bought. She'll be there in the stadium to watch her grandson run in the 400-meter relay for South Africa. She says it's going to be emotional.
Both of Oscar Pistorius' grandparents, 89 -year-old Gertie and 95 - year-old Hendrick (ph), normally watch Oscar's races on the television, switching channels away from Hendrick's favorite sport, rugby. Both of them, though, are also aware that Oscar will be running for his mother. She died when he was 15.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As he so often says, it would have been so wonderful if his mother could have seen him or he could have experienced her seeing him. It would have been wonderful. It would have been wonderful.
In the Olympic Stadium, Oscar Pistorius, it seems, will not only be propelled by his blades, but also by the memory of his mother and the pride of his family.
(on camera): That's a picture of Oscar?
When you put these up, do you get excited?
(SPEAKING IN AFRIKAANS)
CURNOW (voice-over): "It's part of your heart," she says. "it's not just putting paper up. You put a piece of your heart, your being and your love for this child on that wall."
Robyn Curnow, CNN, Pretoria, South Africa.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
LU STOUT: Well, we'll all be looking out for the Blade Runner this weekend.
Now, the football world held its breath last March when Fabrice Muamba suffered cardiac arrest during a match. Well, doctors say that the midfielder's heart stopped beating for 78 minutes. But now, the star has recovered.
And in a rare interview with "WORLD SPORT'S" Alex Thomas, Muamba says that he actually kicked a ball around just two months after his near fatal experience.
FABRICE MUAMBA, BOLTON WANDERERS MIDFIELDER: I was on holiday and was staying in a hotel. But it there was quite a few of the footballers in the hotel, as well.
So the staff of the house said they normally play a football game between the staff and then the visitors.
So I was by the pool and I heard them playing football.
I said, oh, really?
I said, yes. It has me thinking like, hmmm, maybe I should try it.
Then I went across to like see how the football they were playing. And like I said, I saw (INAUDIBLE) and I'm sorry, but I'm going to go play football.
He says, are you sure?
I said, yes.
And I just went in there. And I -- I want to play football...
ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So then they just let you?
Your fiance says fine?
MUAMBA: Oh, sure. I said, yes, yes, yes. But she was scared. But I just went in there and just went through the -- the group of them and I just played for about 20, 25 minutes.
THOMAS: How did...
MUAMBA: And I...
THOMAS: -- how did your temporary teammates react to seeing you take the pitch?
MUAMBA: I never took -- I never took the pitch (INAUDIBLE) from anybody, anybody. But I told the guys, I said, you guys (INAUDIBLE) as everybody.
So I mean it -- it was just so -- just to get back in the groove, you know, to get back in -- in momentum. It was just great.
But I hope to call (INAUDIBLE) get in there myself at the -- the 11 players in the pitch and then to say (INAUDIBLE).
THOMAS: I bet they were treading around eggshells for you. They were -- they were afraid to tackle you.
MUAMBA: No, it wasn't -- it was never that. It was just that -- just playing like normal guys. They were just playing like I was in training, you know? it was great. I enjoyed it.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
LU STOUT: An incredible recovery.
And you can see Alex Thomas' full interview with footballer Fabrice Muamba on "WORLD SPORT." That's tonight at 8:00 in Abu Dhabi, midnight here in Hong Kong.
Now, still ahead on NEWS STREAM, the curious case of the Mars Rover.
Can scientists make a breakthrough with their latest robotic wonder?
LU STOUT: Well, right now, NASA's Curiosity Rover is closing in on Mars. After eight months of hurtling through space, it is set to land on the red planet in less than three days.
Now, the U.S. space agency is bracing for a bumpy ride. Its explanation of the landing, it kind of feels like a movie trailer.
Let's check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY NASA UPL)
TOM RIVELLINI, NASA ENGINEER: Entry, descent and landing, also known as EDL, is referred to as the seven minutes of terror, because we've got literally seven minutes to get from the top of the atmosphere to the surface of Mars, going from 13,000 miles an hour to zero in perfect sequence, perfect choreography, perfect timing and the computer has to do it all by itself with no help from the ground.
If -- if any one thing doesn't work just right, it's game over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Well, gripping stuff there. But the odds are not on NASA's side the red planet has a track record of rough landings. Roughly 60 percent of missions to Mars have failed. And Curiosity cannot simply land on the planet. It will take a supersonic parachute a retro rocket pack and a long tether to set the Rover down gently.
So, if Curiosity makes it, what will it do?
Well, it's considered the first roving lab ever to be sent to another planet. And it's looking for signs that life existed on Mars. It has a high tech tool kit with cameras, a robotic arm, a laser. It can also drill rocks and sniff out organic materials like carbon, the building block of life.
Now, it is much bigger than the previous rovers, about the size of a small car, like a Mini Cooper. It's also four times heavier than other rovers.
Now, it runs on a nuclear-powered battery. That should last a full Mars year, or about 687 Earth days.
Now, scientists are hoping that it could run for much longer.
And NASA Administrator Charles Bolden tells us more about the mission.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: If you can imagine going into the Grand Canyon, where we can look at the history of -- of Earth, really, in that area, as we look at various strata, that's what landing in the crater allows us to do. And it's actually going to climb the mountain.
So it will look across the geologic history of the planet Mars in the two years that it's there.
It's a harrowing experience. It's, as they say, seven minutes of terror. But that's -- that's why we are NASA, because we like to do things like that. We -- we love risky things.
But we're -- we're confident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now, here's hoping that luck is on NASA's side.
And that is NEWS STREAM.
But the news continues at CNN.
"WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.