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Recap of Olympic Action; Relentless Rain Pummels Manila; A Look At Architect Zaha Hadid; Battle For Aleppo Continues; Top Iranian Official Visits Assad In Damascus

Aired August 7, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


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 the Philippines where the capital is struggling to deal with heavy flooding.

And we continue our focus on gaming addiction in South Korea by looking at how doctors treat addicts.

And how many Olympic events can you see in one day? Amanda Davies takes up the challenge.

Those stories in just a few minutes, but first to Syria where the humanitarian situation in the country's largest city and commercial hub Aleppo is growing worse by the day. The opposition says the Syrian military continues to bombard rebel held parts of Aleppo with artillery and gunfire. Food and water are scarce. And activists say that many people have suffered injuries in the shelling, but there are not enough doctors or even medical supplies to treat them.

Now the rebels in the Syrian government have made competing claims about what's happening inside Aleppo. We now have Ben Wedeman there to help clarify facts on the ground. He joins us now live from Aleppo.

And Ben, what are you seeing around you?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm on a high spot overlooking the old city. And we've watched as a Syrian air force jet has made several (inaudible) over the city, dropping two large bombs to the north of the old citadel on the old city and making a few strafing runs as well. I can see columns of smoke rising from the area and we hear every five minutes or so incoming artillery rounds coming in to the areas of the city held by the Free Syrian Army.

A lot of the civilian population has left those areas. There are still many people still around. We will -- I've been watching sort of all day as store owners have been filling up pick-up trucks, taking their goods out of this part of the city, because the worry at the moment, Kristie, is that the Syrian army is going to launch an offensive and try to retake those parts of the city that are controlled by the rebels.

Now earlier this morning we watched as about 100 people lined up at around 6:30 in the morning outside the only bakery that's working in this area. Everybody was allowed to buy five or so loaves of bread. And that seems to be what many people are getting by on at the moment. You can buy meat and vegetables, but of course people are low on cash, because there's no work at the moment. Many civilians are also packing up and leaving in anticipation of this feared Syrian army offensive into the city -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Just how much of Aleppo is under rebel control at this moment?

WEDEMAN: That's a very difficult question to answer. The rebels are saying that they control as much as 60 percent of the -- that may be somewhat optimistic. And of course their control is not really very solid. You have to keep in mind that they are severely outgunned by the Syrian army. Really, the only thing protecting those parts of the city that are being controlled by the rebels are small groups of young men -- largely young men with very little in the way of military training.

I've spoken to boys 16, 17 years old who are out there with Kalashnikov assault rifles on the front line. And the worry is that if the Syrian government were to, with their tanks, with their artillery, with their aircraft decide to go in there's very little they can do to stop them -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And tell us more about the Syrian army. As you reported just a moment ago, there's been a lot of chatter about a planned offensive, about plans to move in and to move in more troops to take back Aleppo. What more are you hearing on that front?

WEDEMAN: Well, we're hearing lots of rumors, rumors that it's just a matter of days, if not hours before that offensive begins. And it's very hard to pin them down. But you just get the sense walking around, seeing the store owners packing up, civilians packing up, that the fear is that it's coming, it's coming soon. And when it does come it is going to be bloody, because even though many of the civilian inhabitants have moved out of the civilian areas there's still a significant number left yesterday afternoon about 7:00 in the evening we were walking around, one of the districts held by the Free Syrian Army. And I was surprised by the number of kids riding bicycles. One man was carrying his 10 year old baby around the street. There are still many people who could be caught in the crossfire if and when the Syrian army decides to come in -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, you mentioned -- you've been reporting about how the rebels are outgunned, they're out equipped, and yet they still control many parts of Aleppo. What is the significance of this city in the larger Syrian uprising? And why is it difficult for regime forces to simply chase the rebels out?

WEDEMAN: Well, it's -- Aleppo is hugely significant, because it really is the commercial heart of Syria as opposed to Damascus, the capital, which is really the political center of the country. There's a lot of factories on the outskirts of Aleppo. Aleppo is in the middle of the agricultural zone of Syria. So if this city were to fall to the rebels, and there's no sign that that is going to be happening any time soon, it would be a severe political blow to the regime.

And what was the other part of your question, I'm sorry Kristie?

LU STOUT: Why is it so difficult for Syrian government forces to simply chase the rebels out of the city?

WEDEMAN: Well, because it's a very built-up. It's a very large city that stretches over a large area. Densely populated so the buildings are sort of built with very little space between them. It would be a very bloody battle for both sides if they were to go in.

Now we spoke to one commander yesterday who told us that they are starting to rig up homemade improvised explosive devices to try to disable the Syrian army tanks if they were to come into the city. So you can anticipate a lot of very bloody, very bitter, very difficult street fighting if the Syrian army comes in.

Now Syrian army does have in its favor is heavy artillery. And what we've seen, for instance, overnight we got almost no sleep because not only was the artillery bombardment intense, it was also very close, for instance, to where we are, which is fairly well back from the front line. So what their tactic may be is to really just terrify the population into shall we say diluting their support for the Free Syrian Army and just wanting peace above all else at this point -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, we've been looking at earlier these images from Amnesty International, these satellite images showing us the military build-up inside Aleppo as well as the effective heavy weapons and their use by the Syrian army inside Aleppo. You're there on the ground. Have you seen evidence of the use of heavy weapons? What have you witnessed there?

WEDEMAN: Well, what we've seen is aircraft that are dropping heavy bombs onto civilian areas, densely populated civilian areas. Yesterday we were in the Salahadin (ph) district, which is very much on the front line. And what we saw was that many of the buildings facing the Syrian army positions had been repeatedly hit by what looked like either tank fire or artillery as well as rocket propelled grenades. The streets were strewn with rubble. And cars really just had to weave their way around huge piles of rubble, debris from the bombardment.

So there's very much -- this is a street battle that's going on here in a city that's still heavily populated. We've heard I think some European Union officials saying that as many as 200,000 people have fled the rebel-held areas. I'd say at this point that number is probably far higher. But many more remain in the city -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, this is exactly -- it's been exacting a severe humanitarian toll and impact on the civilian population. When you talk to the civilians who remain, who are still there in Aleppo and we talk about - - of course they want this conflict to be over -- but are they favoring any sides here: the rebels or the government forces?

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly in the area we're in they do seem to favor the rebel forces. But I have to say that some people don't seem particularly enthusiastic. For instance, when I was in Libya during the revolution, you felt a much more enthusiastic atmosphere for when the fighters would show up, would drive through a town. Here you see the fighters interacting with some of the local people and there's not quite that excitement, that enthusiasm that we saw in Libya.

Others, you know, they cheer, they wave as the rebels go by. But I think that there may be an element of exhaustion of real fear, because there as in Libya those parts held by the rebels had been liberated and life quickly got back to normal. Here, life is anything but normal. So I think people are not so much enthusiastic about the revolution here or the uprising against Bashar al-Assad as they are. They probably would like to see a return to some form of normalcy -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Of course, this is a conflict that has dragged on and on and on. Ben Wedeman reporting live from inside Aleppo. Thank you very much indeed for that, Ben.

Now meanwhile, we have seen these rare pictures of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Let's get the latest now from Mohammed Jamjoom at a bureau in Abu Dhabi. Mohammed, tell us about Assad's meeting with the Iranian envoy.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, not a lot of details have emerged just yet beyond the fact that Said Jalili who is a top Iranian official and a top aid to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, that he made a surprise visit to Damascus today. He did meet with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

We know that one of the things that the Iranians had been most concerned about that's happened in Syria the past few days are the kidnapping of these 48 Iranian hostages. This happened just a couple of days ago in Damascus. Now Iran's line on this has been that these 48 men were pilgrams, that they were in Damascus for a religious Shiite pilgrimage and that they were kidnapped by rebel Free Syrian Army members. To that end, we saw some video posted online yesterday the purported to show these 48 men being held by members of the rebels Free Syrian Army. The rebel Free Syrian Army, though, has said that these men were members of Iran's elite revolutionary guard and that they were there trying to help the Syrian regime battle the rebels in Syria.

This is a major point of concern. We imagine that's one of the things that was being discussed today, because earlier on Iranian state media it was reported that Mr. Jalili had said when he arrived to Damascus that Iran would do whatever they could to ensure the release of these 48 men -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Mohammed Jamjoom with the latest on that front. Thank you very much indeed, Mohammed.

Now in the Philippines the rain, it refuses to relent there. Severe flooding has shut down much of the capital in Manila. And the forecasters say that the worst is not over yet. Thousands of people have fled from the rising water, which is two meters high in some areas. Now more than 50 people have been killed in recent days.

Now remember, Tropical Storm Saola lashed the Philippines just last week. And the rain has disrupted businesses and transportation. It has also suspended school.

Now senior producer Alex Zolbert is in the Philippine capital. He joins us now live. And Alex, there is very deep water in many parts of metro Manila. What have you seen?

ALEX ZOLBERT, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Kristie, the big question here is when will it stop? And I'll tell you, if you can hear behind me it's not going to stop any time soon. The rain has just picked up again just in the last five minutes. It is again a torrential rain. I don't know if you can see, I know its dark here, you might be able to see the rain coming down over my shoulder. Lightning flashes as well. It is a bad scene in some parts of this city. Earlier today we ventured to one of the hardest hit areas.


ZOLBERT: It is a torrential rain are taking their toll on the Philippine capital of Manila. In parts of this city rescuers are busy carrying out evacuations.

This was the scene today in Quezon City: cars submerged and rescuers using life rafts. Some struggled against the high water which is packing strong currents.

This woman says, "it was scary. The water level is very high. Many others were left behind."

It was a similar scene in another part of metropolitan Manila, in Marikina City, with rescuers trying to get people to safety, again using boats as well as a system of ropes. The water reached roughly five to six feet, nearly two meters in these narrow streets.

This woman says she got separated from her son as they tried to flee their home. And just getting into the area is now proving to be a real challenge.

So this is the road into Marikina. And as you can see, this is as far as we could possibly get. Up there in the distance is a bridge crossing the Marikina River. The main concern right now in this area is getting these people to higher ground as the flood waters are rising and more rain is in the forecast.

Forecasters say the rain won't let up for at least another 24 hours. That is not welcome news for the 12 million people in this city, large parts of which are already under water.


ZOLBERT: And, Kristie, again you probably -- you might be able to see some of these flashes of lightning behind me. This is about as heavy as we've seen it all day. And this is the way it happens. It just -- it hammers down with rain for about an hour. I think there are more flashes of lightning that you can see. It lets up a little bit and everybody sort of hopes, you know, maybe that was the worst of it, maybe it's going to start to pass and then a half hour later it picks up again.

So this is happening again and again throughout the day. Right now we're waiting to see how much of this city will be shut down tomorrow, but you can guarantee it's going to be quite a few days before things return to normal here in Manila.

LU STOUT: We can clearly see just the flashes of the lightning behind you. We just heard the thunder. The heavy rain is an incredible scene. And of course there's in the forecast more rain to come, more downpour into Wednesday. Is Mainla prepared? Can it handle more of this onslaught of flooding and rising waters?

ZOLBERT: It's a very difficult question, Kristie. I mean, we'll have to see. We're going to have to be back out there tomorrow. You know, there are a couple areas in metropolitan Manila that are alongside the river. And those are the ones that are hardest hit.

There has been some criticism today of the government handling of this, but you know, more and more areas are being declared calamity areas. And they're trying to get relief supplies to these people who are in need, but you know, it's difficult. I mean, it's essentially been raining non- stop for more than 10 days now, so they're fighting an uphill battle right now, particularly with this rain still coming down.

LU STOUT: Yeah. And that's just raising the risk of more flooding, of course more mudslides as well.

Alex Zolbert reporting live from Manila, thank you. Stay dry. Take care.

You're watching News Stream. And coming up, we will go live to Olympic Park for a preview of Tuesday's action.

And also coming up next, when does gaming skill become gaming addiction? New therapies in South Korea for players who just can't seem to get enough. That and more after the break.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

It is day 11 of competition at the London Games. And for a look at what's coming up, let's go straight to Olympic Park. And Zain Verjee is standing by -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Kristie. Well, just moments ago in the men's triathlon, Team GB got gold, wow, so what this means is that they now have 19 gold medals in these Olympics, which means essentially that they tied the number that they got in Beijing. So it's a really big deal. Everyone is so thrilled. So they were swimming, biking and running for almost more than an hour. And so you got Great Britain at number one, Spain took the number two position, and again Britain took number three.

Also we're looking at gymnastics, Kristie. I mean, today is actually going to be the last day of the gymnastics competition. There are four final individual events taking place. You've got the mens parallel bars, the women's beam, the men's horizontal bar, and the women's floor exercise -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. A lot coming up next. Zain Verjee thank you.

And the men's triathlon, it may have been exciting, but it will be hard to match the excitement of the women's triathlon. Now on Saturday, after 1500 meter swim, a 43 kilometer bike ride, and a 10 kilometer run, Nicola Spirig of Switzerland won the event in a photo finish. Now she spoke to our Christina MacFarlane about taking gold.


NICOLA SPIRIG, TRIATHLON GOLD MEDALIST: I had experienced sprint finishes, but they were never that close -- no, I never thought of that. I was at the finish. I was having done the race. And I still didn't know if I had the gold or the silver and the minutes I had to wait until an official came, they were really long and hard.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What were your thoughts in those final moments when there were five of you going to the line. Do you remember how you felt?

SPIRIG: Yeah, that's -- with 1K to go I was pretty confident, because I know my sprint finish is normally strong, but I had a beginning of cramps, so I was afraid to if I had to react to another girl sprinting that the cramps would really go worse. So I tried to -- I knew I wanted to attack first and try to make the sprint long so that no one could attack hard in the end.

MACFARLANE: Have you had a chance to look back at that photo and see just how close you and Lisa were? 15 centimeters I believe between the two of you.

SPIRIG: Yeah, it was just amazing. I've seen the photo. I've seen the sprint a few times again. And every time I see myself and Lisa sprinting I was like come on, come on, go for it! I'm always afraid she would pass me still -- still it was surreal.


LU STOUT: And I just want to put that photo finish into perspective. Now after a competition that lasted over 50 kilometers, the race was decided by just 15 centimeters, that's less than the width of my iPad. Now still to come here on News Stream, into the mind of a gaming addict. Now doctors use some controversial treatments to stop players who just can't get enough. Do these methods really curb the desire to play video games?


LU STOUT: Live from Hong Kong you are back watching News Stream.

And this week we are taking a hard look at gaming culture in South Korea. On Monday, we introduced you to game addicts, people who play for 19 hours a day because they just can't tear themselves away. And today we're looking at how South Korea tries to treat those addicts.

Now a special shows us the innovative and controversial measures that doctors are using to try to break the cycle.


DR. HAN DOUG-HYUN, PSYCHIASTRIST (subtitles): There is no definition that quite nails what exactly a game addict is. Either it presents similar addictive symptoms like alcohol and drug addiction, or it could be related to a compulsive disorder. It's a split opinion at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Doug-Hyun and his team use 3D virtual reality therapy to ween addicts off gaming. It's a process that's been used to treat alcoholism and is now being used to treat gaming addicts.

DOUG-HYUN: The treatment system is really simple. Once treatment starts, we get patients to feel relaxed with video and music from their games. Then we show them uncomfortable video to decrease their desire. So it changes their feelings about gaming. It takes about 30 minutes for everything. And we do this more than 10 times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a novel approach and unclear how effective the treatment is in stemming what's become an epidemic in the country.


LU STOUT: Now these treatments, they seem to be having some positive results. The South Korean government says that there has been a drop in the number of young addicts in the past few years. And South Korea isn't the only country to deal with digital addicts. You're looking at a picture of an internet addiction clinic in Beijing, it was taken about five years ago. And the clinic provides toys for patients to play with and all this to try to end their addiction, including the toy guns you see right here.

Now tomorrow, as part of the series Gaming Reality, we'll meet a South Korean professional gamer. So follow MarineKing as he competes at a competition in Seoul. And you can also watch full episodes from the series on our website

Now as London hosts the 2012 games, it's a far cry from just one year ago when the police shooting of a young man ignited the city streets. We'll look back.

And the Olympic velodrome, it was designed with the aim of creating the world's fastest cycling track. We get down to the details just ahead.


LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, you're watching News Stream and these are your world headlines.

Now in the Philippines severe floods are forcing thousands of people in the capital Manila from their homes. Flood waters continue to rise. Heavy rain has caused at least one deadly landslide. Schools and businesses are closed in metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

Iranian state TV says a top assistant to Iran's supreme leader is in Damascus for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's senior aid made the surprise visit to the Syrian capital on Tuesday as fighting continues to rage north in the city of Aleppo. Now Syrian state run media says, quote, terrorists kidnapped 48 Iranian Shiite pilgrims near Damascus over the weekend.

Now U.S. law enforcement officials say the suspected gunmen in Sunday's Sikh temple shootings was an army veteran and according to his neighbors a member of a white supremacist rock band. 40 year old Wade Michael Page was killed by police at the Wisconsin temple following a rampage that left six people dead. Now Page fronted a white power band that was promoted on a Neonazi website.

And it is day 11 of the London Olympic games. The men's triathlon has just wrapped up with the British favorite Alistair Brownlee coming in first. And Team GB will be hoping to secure a couple more victories in cycling as it attempts to rack up its highest number of gold medals in a century.

But there was disappointment for China as Liu Xiang literally crashed out at the first hurdle. Now Liu was the first man to ever win Olympic gold on the running track for China when he won the 110 meter hurdles in Athens back in 2004, but four years later Liu was forced to pull out of the Beijing Olympics with injury. And now another Olympic games has ended early for the Chinese star.

Now as Great Britain revels in Olympic medal glory, it's hard to believe that just one year ago London was burning. Now you'll recall that there was rioting in the capital. And that quickly spread to other English cities. Dan Rivers looks back at what has changed in some of those communities.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amid all the Olympic euphoria, it's easy to forget that just a year ago Britain was paralyzed by riots. They started here in Tottenham after London's metropolitan police shot dead a local man, Mark Duggan, who they said had just obtained a gun. And the scant details of the incident have been released, authorities had to back track after initially suggesting the victim had fired at officers. His family is still angry about how he died.

PAM DUGGAN, MARK DUGGAN'S MOTHER: We're never going to see him again. And I don't say shot, I say assassinated.

RIVERS: Reverend Nims Obunge buried Mark Duggan and says the wounds in the community won't heal until his mysterious death is resolved.

REV. NIMS OBUNGE, COMMUNITY LEADER: Buildings can be rebuilt, but lives cannot be regained. And because we're dealing with a lot of pain in this community -- I was at his grave site two days ago -- and I saw, you know, I felt and saw the pain that was there with friends and family. It's still there.

RIVERS: The pain that is felt by Mark Duggan's family has been fueled by the fact that his death is still unexplained a year after the shooting. The community has done its best to try and rebuild since the riots, but that can't mask the profound social problems that remain in many parts of Britain.

Unemployment and social exclusion in British inner cities may explain some of the anger last summer. A recent official report also concluded the riots spread because of police inaction. It said most rioters believed they would be able to loot and damage without being challenged by the police. In the hardest hit areas, they were correct.

This gutted building in Tottenham came to symbolize the riots. Now, behind these screens, it's being rebuilt.

For Omer Mehmet's (ph) garage next door suffered structural damage and had to temporarily close. The rioting after Mark Duggan's death robbed him of any income for eight months.

OMER MEHMET, MECHANIC: They should look at themselves and be ashamed, you know, because unnecessary. I suffered a lot -- as I said, I had a breakdown. I got medication, I took on counseling. I'm a grown man and for me to go for that it wasn't fair.

RIVERS: But Tottenham is trying to bounce back. These children have recorded a song "Everybody Dreams," an attempt to change the negative image of their community. The golden glow of London's Olympics may be preoccupying the world now, but the fallout from the riot is also still being felt despite a concerted effort to dream of a better future.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Tottenham, London.


LU STOUT: All right. Let's focus our attention now on which athletes and nations have been making a big impact at London 2012. Pedro Pinto joins us now from London with a closer look at who has already made history -- Pedro.


To become immortal, that is what most athletes dream of, doing something that has never been done before. Well, Kirani James went a long way to becoming a legend after becoming the first man from Grenada to win an Olympic medal. The 19 year old from the tiny Caribbean nation became the first non-American athlete ever to break the 44 second barrier in the men's 400 meters. James beat out Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic for gold. Trinidadian Lalonde Gordon grabbed bronze.

Now James will forever be known as the man who won Grenada's first ever Olympic medal. Let's take a look at some other athletes who have made history for their countries in London. Cyprus got their first Olympic medal thanks to Sailor Pavlos Kontides who got silver in the men's laser class competition. And gratulations to Guatemala as well, Erick Barrondo won the Central American nation's first ever medal by finishing second in the men's 20 kilometer walk.

While those are some overachievers from tiny nations without a lot of Olympic history, there have been quite a few underachievers as well. Let's take a look at three traditional super powers who are struggling this time around.

Now what you see here is an illustration of the amount of medals that the countries have won. And the bigger the circle, the more medals they've won. For example, Russia, a traditional super power, right? Quite a bit circle, you would think. And they do have 42 medals. But only seven of them are gold. They won 23 golds in Beijing in 2008. Quite disappointing performance for them overall. And they missed out on a gold from Yelena Isinbayeva yesterday as well in the women's pole vault.

Japan, you think as well -- decent sized circle here. They're doing reasonably well you would think, but only two gold medals. They had nine in 2008. A total of 29.

Now what about Australia? I'm sure if you've been following the Olympics you've seen the story with the Aussies. They really have been disappointing so far. 22 medals you think that's an OK total, but two golds? That's quite poor for them. They had 14 in 2008. They've been particularly disappointing in the swimming pool.

So that's a little look at three nations who could and should have been doing better so far.

Now we could say Great Britain are at the other end of the spectrum. They have been excelling thanks to some phenomenal performances in cycling. Actually if Team GB's cycling team was a nation of its own it would be in 10th place in the medal standings with a total of nine: six gold, one silver, two bronze. The British have won gold in four of the five track events contested so far setting three world records in the process. And more medals could be heading their later on Tuesday as there are the final events taking place at the velodrome.

Just breaking it down for you, Kristie. Who is doing well, and who should be doing a little bit better as well.

LU STOUT: Yeah, really like that breakdown. And it's great to see Team GB doing so well. Pedro Pinto there live for us, thank you.

And the British, they went to great lengths to make sure that their cyclists could go as fast as possible, including the design of the velodrome. Now six world records have already been set in the building. Many cyclists have called it a fast track. But what makes it fast? Well, cycling coach Stephan Wyman explains.


STEPHAN WYMAN, CYCLING COACH: Every year there are more velodromes built around the world and the same as we learn with wheel technology and aerodynamic technology, the design of the tracks are also learning about how to make these tracks faster and to embrace the atmosphere, the atmospheric variables that are appropriate to that track in that place, because they obviously vary greatly, if they're at altitude or if they are at sea level.


LU STOUT: The air inside the velodrome is very important. The building has a series of doors designed to keep the air inside as still as possible and set to 28 degrees Celsius, that are conditions that apparently help make cyclists go faster.

Now coming up next here on News Stream, meet the first of this month's Leading Women. And she is already one of the world's most acclaimed architects in the design world. And now she's earning global recognition with her contribution to the London Olympic games. Her story is next.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And even if you don't know the name Zaha Hadid you have likely seen her work. The Iraqi born architect designed one of the venues for the London Olympics. And Becky Anderson introduces the first of this month's Leading Women.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: If all the world is a stage, as Shakespeare tells us, then at this moment London is the biggest stage in the world as the city hosts the 2012 Summer Olympic games. A visionary behind one of the major sporting venues is this architect. She designed the spectacular aquatic center.

Aquatic Center, tell me about it.

ZAHA HADID, ARCHITECT: It was an interesting project. You know, we did that competition about more than seven years ago now.

ANDERSON: It cost a reported $400 million to build. Among its features, a dramatic wave-like roof that's 160 meters long and 90 meters wide. It's more than one of a dozen buildings around the world that bear her imprint, making her one of the most prolific and lauded architects of our time.

This foremost visionary is Zaha Hadid.

For and athlete, there's no bigger stage than the Olympic games. The same can be said for an architect. Afterall, how many architects have toured one of their buildings with Britain's Queen Elizabeth and had a world audience of more than a billion see their creation? Zaha Hadid is that rare architect.

Is that open?

Before the game began, I visited Hadid at her exhibition space in London. Hadid exudes the confidence of a woman who has known the path she'd take since childhood.

HADID: I was going to be an architect since I was maybe I don't know, seven, eight, nine, 10 years old. I can't remember now. I think I saw a show in Baghdad, which intrigued me.

ANDERSON: You were born, of course, in...

HADID: I was born in Baghdad. I went to school in Iraq. I came here to boarding school. And I went to (inaudible) and I came back.

ANDERSON: After studying architecture here in London, she goes on to win a series of design competitions over several years. But her buildings are never constructed.

She developed a reputation as an architect on paper.

HADID: And I didn't have a family connection. I wasn't British. I wasn't European. I didn't -- there was a lot of pressure at the time to move to the States, something would happen there.

ANDERSON: But she stays in Britain. In 2003, her fortunes changed. Billy Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art comes her first major project to come to fruition. It's also the first museum in the U.S. designed by a female architect.

The following year, another coup when she win the prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, the first woman to do so.

HADID: It's a wow factor and it's a fantastic day for me. And it's a great deal for me.

ANDERSON: What did that mean to you?

HADID: When the Pritzker came I mean, I think a lot of you were really very excited. And it was really very emotional.

ANDERSON: At her exhibition space, we find models of projects she's completed or envisioned.

Zaha, tell me about this project?

HADID: That's a (inaudible) in Baku which is a cultural center. It's (inaudible) three projects basically mixed into one. This is the library, the concert hall and the museum and they converge together in the middle for the lobby.

ANDERSON: Why do you think there are so few leading women architects?

HADID: It's very difficult, I really don't understand why. You know, I -- when I was a student there were lots of contemporaries of mine who were women in my class. When I was teaching I had -- there were lots of female students. I don't know. I think that women also once they become more liberated they wanted to do everything themselves. Women has to do everything -- work and look at the house, the child. I think it's not possible. There's too much to do.

ANDERSON: If other women see you as a mentor or as an inspiration, does that sit OK with you?

HADID: Yeah, it is. I mean, I used to not like being called a woman architect. I said, you know, I'm an architect I'm not just a woman architect. Because it was a guy just tapping me on the head saying, you know, you're OK for a girl. So...

ANDERSON: Did they, really?

HADID: Yeah, they did.

But I see an incredible amount of kind of need from other women for insurance that it could be done. So I don't mind that at all.

ANDERSON: In the coming weeks you'll find out more about Zaha Hadid's designs, which include jewelry and furniture.

HADID: You can try it. Come on.

ANDERSON: Can I sit down?

It's the weed amongst the flowers.


LU STOUT: Next week I'll tell you about the French advertising executive Mercedes Herrah (ph). And don't forget, you can find all of our Leading Women on our website at

Now there's more to come here on News Stream. The London games are in full swing, so we challenge our own Amanda Davies to make the most of it and to see just how many events she could watch in just one day.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And let's get another world weather check with the latest on the floods in and around Manila. Mari Ramos joins us once again from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, once again across this area we're looking at some tremendously heavy rainfall. And people usually would associate this with maybe a typhoon or a tropical storm that's moving through there, but this time it's just been monsoonal rains that have been relentless across the Philippines.

I want to share with you the latest rainfall totals that we have across these areas. And these are spectacular. Look at these -- over 600 millimeters of rain in just two days in Iba. Manila proper had over 530 millimeters of rainfall.

Now just to put this in perspective for you, August which are in now, is the rainiest month of the year across the Philippines. And it is the rainiest month of the year in Manila. Well, they've had -- normally they get, what, 460 millimeters of rain in the entire month of August. Well, they've had more than that already in just the last two days. So you can see why the destruction is so widespread and why there is an emergency going on here.

I want to share with you some of the images that we have from these areas. This is from one of our iReporters, Aaron. Thank you so much for sending this. Look at the kids there on the right-hand side. And look how high the water is along this bus. People trying to go on with their lives, it's becoming more and more difficult as large portions of the city are submerged.

In Marikina, rescues underway earlier today. You can see from here how high the water is on the rescue workers. And people just trying to take whatever they can. And sometimes that's not much what they can carry.

And these images, pretty scary from Quezon City in the Philippines also. Landslides have been a concern across many areas, many embankments and hillsides just giving way to the weight of the water, just so much rainfall, the hillsides can't take it anymore. And that's where we've seen a lot of the problems.

We have the tropical -- the typhoon here well to the north, but that flow coming in off the South China Sea is what's bringing us that heavy rain. And unfortunately that is likely to continue.

Now you look at the latest satellite you can still see that band, that swath of very heavy rain that continues over this region. And unfortunately that's not going to change much. However, I think the rainfall totals will probably not be as tremendous as what we've had over the last few days. When we look at the forecast models here we're looking maybe five to eight additional centimeters of rainfall, which of course could take a toll again on the city, but not as bad as what we've had before.

As we go through this area I want you to understand a little bit about the topography. Not only have we had all this very heavy rainfall, we're talking about an area that's a basin, that's very flat, or relatively flat. The mountains are farther to the north. We have a big reservoir here. This is where Manila, pretty much all of Manila gets their drinking water from. This began spilling over the weekend. And they began evacuations here over the weekend. This is one area that's a huge concern.

Another area, the Marikina River itself, this has also caused some tremendous flooding across the area where thousands of people have to be evacuated from.

This is just one area, but I do want to show you another one, right over here, starting along the Marikina River. One area that I really -- we need to watch as we head through the next few days is going to be Laguna de Bay farther to the south. All of that water that has been accumulating for the last few days over this area will eventually make its way either into Laguna de Bay or back over into Manila Bay. So these are going to be the areas historically that get the worst of the flooding. And we could see more of that as we head through the next 24 hours over this region.

As far as our typhoon, that storm continues to move closer to Shanghai here. We're expecting the weather to turn here very, very quickly as the storm moves closer.

Let's go ahead and check out your forecast now.

Hey, Kristie, let's try to end on a happy note and switch gears and head to Europe. You know what, the weather has for the most part been very cooperative here when it comes to what's happening with the Olympics. When we look to see a little bit of moisture coming through here as we head through the next 24 hours. Not too bad, 19 degrees right now in London proper. The winds are picking up just a little bit. And you can see the rain showers starting to pop up.

A little bit of a rain chance today, about 40 percent, less than yesterday. Improving, though, as we head into Wednesday and Thursday, just don't be looking for bright blue skies. I think it's going to stay generally cloudy. Back to you.

LU STOUT: OK. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now from Greenwich Park in London's southeast to the Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park, the venues of the 2012 games are scattered all over the British capital. And that got us wondering just how many events can you attend in a single day? Our Amanda Davies took on the challenge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good people. Welcome to Hyde Park.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Right. Train is on. Golden ticket of accreditation, a map, an oyster cart, an early start, not even 8:00, but all the ingredients for a big Olympic day out. Here we are Hyde Park, first event, the women's triathlon. Let's go.

So one down, for one the boys are looking forward to. Beach volleyball please.

Well, we've made it to (inaudible), apparently the biggest party in town.

Plus, we're trying to get to the Greenwich Park on the boat. Greenwich, here we come.

Right, 12:00, event number three, equestrian.

So with three venues down, it's half past 2:00, six-and-a-half hours in, we started here in Hyde Park, we've been to Horse Guards Parade, on to the boat down to Greenwich, and now we're on the really long schlep on the tube all the way up to Wembley Stadium, the biggest venue of the games, 90,000 capacity, we're off to see a bit of men's football Mexico against Senegal.

Think you might recognize this one.

Have you managed to see any events?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, we went to the weightlifting and boxing.


DAVIES: So we've made it back to east London for the excel as three events here, but it is now 20 to 6:00 and we are flagging.

This is just the thing.

So that's it, 14 hours, 10 events, and one day I will never, ever forget. Amanda Davies, CNN, London.


LU STOUT: She did it. And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. WORLD BUSINESS TODAY is next.