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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
US Republican Convention Opens; Isaac's Oil Impact; Isaac Threatens Gulf Coast; Apple to Request US Ban on Some Samsung Phones; Apple-Samsung Ruling's Effect on Market; Court Decision and Innovation; Dollar Holds Steady; Merkel's Warning; European Stocks Up; Wall Street Choppy; Economists Say Fed Should Not Launch QE 3; Isaac's Potential Effect on Gas Prices
Aired August 27, 2012 - 14:08 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nina, that's going to do it for us, now, from Tampa as we come to you live. For now, back to you in London.
NINA DOS SANTOS, HOST: Thanks so much. Hala Gorani, there, at the Republican National Convention as it gets underway officially for the next three days.
Now, it's a case of Plan B for the GOP. It's the most important week for the Republican campaign so far, and the party's had to rearrange a huge convention right at the last minute.
Let me just give you an idea of the sense of scale. We're talking about 50,000 delegates, journalists, and activists all expected in Tampa. You saw a few of them there in the pictures Hala was showing us moments ago.
Four days' worth of speeches and events now have to be condensed into just three, and that means, of course, less time to hammer home key policy ideas, like Mitt Romney's pledge to create 12 million jobs in his first term as president if elected.
And then, there's a question of tact. If Tropical Storm Isaac hits Louisiana, as feared, potentially as a hurricane, the Republican Party won't be wanting to be seen celebrating while another Hurricane Katrina unfolds 1,000 kilometers away in New Orleans seven years after, of course, that fateful day.
The man in charge of sorting this whole event is Bill Harris. He's the president and CEO of the Republican National Convention, and I asked him before this show got started how he was managing the last-minute changes.
BILL HARRIS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION: It's actually going very well. We've worked for a long time to get ready for this event. We had contingency plans for all types of different events. And when Isaac, of course, came through at exactly the wrong time, fortunately for Tampa, it's moved pretty far off to the west.
And so -- but we're moving forward. The campus, as you can probably see in the background, we're ready to have a great convention.
The delegates are all here in town. As a matter of fact, last night, at a baseball field here, the host committee had an opening reception for 12,000 people. It was a great party. There are a lot of breakfasts and lunches moving forward today, with delegations meeting with themselves. So --
DOS SANTOS: That's true, but a lot of people --
HARRIS: -- the fallout has been disappointing --
DOS SANTOS: That's true, but a lot of people are going to have to curtail the speeches, shrink it down to a few -- three days, rather than four days. Things are going to be happening on different days. This is Plan B swinging into action. How difficult is it to implement that?
HARRIS: It's fairly difficult, but it's -- my mother used to tell me, if it was easy, they wouldn't need you, and that we've got a lot of very good people working on the program. We were able to take our programming - - we're going to slightly expand our days two and three, so we're going to be able to accommodate most of our speakers.
I think most of our primetime hours for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are going to remain the same. So, I think we're going to fit most of our program in, and I think America will have the opportunity to see the vision that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have in the program that remains.
DOS SANTOS: So, presumably, there'll have to be a different tone, won't there? You can't see people celebrating over in Tampa, Florida when, of course, some people are sandbagging their houses over in New Orleans, can you?
HARRIS: I think we will have a proper presentation for whatever circumstances occur. We -- we believe we have an important message, but we are going to watch what happens and temper our actions accordingly. But right now, we've got contingencies for everything that we can think of, and we'll do what's proper.
DOS SANTOS: What do you think the main message will be from this Republican Convention 2012?
HARRIS: I think the main message from this convention will be that we have an administration in power that has not done the job for the American people, that is not in touch with what needs to be done, or they don't understand what to be done.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a vision for the future, which will provide jobs and a better future for American citizens. And I think that if people listen to three days, and I think millions of people will listen to this message, and I'm confident with what the American people will decide.
DOS SANTOS: But economists have expressed incredulity, some of them, at the amount of jobs that Mitt Romney says that he could rationally create in the four years. How do you digest that message? Because some people have said creating this many millions of jobs at a time when the world economy is grinding to a halt is just impossible.
HARRIS: Well, I think that what I'm confident of is that when people will watch Mitt Romney and they watch the incumbent president and listen to what the visions of both of them are, I think they'll make the right decision.
DOS SANTOS: Well, it's not only the Republican convention that's affected by Isaac. Almost 25 percent of the oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut down as the storm approaches. There are hundreds of oil and gas platforms in the Gulf. Almost 50 of them so far have been evacuated, including rigs owned by the likes of BP and Shell.
About a quarter of all US oil production comes from offshore drilling in the Gulf. Oil prices are currently falling at the moment.
We're seeing Brent and WTI Crude both down around about 1.25 percent, though the lack of demand for crude doesn't necessarily stop the prices from rising when it comes to the gasoline that people are paying for at the pumps. As you can see, we've got Brent currently trading at $112.05 and NYMEX down at $95.05.
Well, in the last few hours, the governor of the state of Louisiana has confirmed a state of emergency has been declared in 23 parishes. People there learned some pretty harsh lessons from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Rob Marciano has this update from New Orleans.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Still a beautiful day here in New Orleans, but it's probably not going to be that way come tomorrow, certainly tomorrow night.
We are along the 17th Street Canal, where seven years ago, when Hurricane Katrina came through, this structure wasn't there, and all the water from Lake Pontchartrain went down the canal, breached the levee, filled the northern part of this city with water.
Now, we've got 11 floodgates there, each weighing 20 tons, that can be dropped down to protect the city. And then these massive pipes that are hooked up to pumps that can pump out water on the other side of that flood wall to Lake Pontchartrain at an amazing rate of over 8,000 gallons per second.
There's several of these stations along the waterfront here, and there's a couple of more south and east of town. Not to mention a surge wall protector on the eastern-most flank of town, meant to withstand a surge there.
So, the city itself pretty well-protected. The Army Corps telling me that they're confident with this system, especially since it's only forecast to be a category 1 storm. But if it gets a higher intensity than that, then everybody here is going to start to worry, and residents may be on the move.
Right now, a voluntary evacuation in place for the city limits of New Orleans. Outside of that barrier, in surrounding parishes, lower levels, people are evacuating mandatorially and they are on the move right now, not only here, but across southeast Mississippi.
Isaac scheduled to arrive here sometime tomorrow afternoon, tomorrow night, potentially into Wednesday morning. All eyes are on the Gulf here in New Orleans.
Rob Marciano, CNN, New Orleans.
DOS SANTOS: Now, with its US patent victory, Apple has won the battle but not the war, it seems. In just a moment's time, we'll look at the fights and the fighters that are still to come.
DOS SANTOS: In the epic patent battle between the likes of Apple and Samsung, well, Apple has come out on top, at least for the moment. But a US jury's recommendation that Samsung pay a billion dollars in damages is just the first act, it seems, and there's an awful lot more drama to come.
Let's have at exactly what we could expect. Well, the jury found that Samsung had willfully violated most of Apple's patents in question, and Apple will now have to ask that the offending Samsung SmartPhones be actually taken off of US shelves. A hearing on September 20th could actually decide that.
Now, Samsung says that this isn't the final word, though, because it has vowed to appeal the ruling, potentially dragging the court case out for another year or so, and this is what I wanted to show you. Other character in this performance could soon take a leading role as well.
Looking on nervously from the left over there is Google, and now that Apple's patents have been deemed valid in court, Google and other companies that use its Android software could be the next to fall into Apple's crosshairs.
Let's also not forget this company looking on from the sidelines gleefully. It is, of course, Nokia. Now, it's SmartPhones use Microsoft software and not Googles. While its rivals go head-to-head, this could actually just be the opportunity that Nokia needs to reestablish itself in the market. So, it's an interesting play with many people in the drama as well.
Now, as you can see, we can see all of this drama playing out on the stock market as well, particularly in the share prices of all these main protagonists. One of the ones I wanted to show you before is Nokia. As you can see here, its share prices rally about 7.7 percent in Helsinki today. That means it closed at around about a four-month high.
Also, we saw Apple shares at a record in today's session, putting on a gain of a more modest 2.2 percent. Samsung shares, though, were the big losers, as you can see. They were down about 7.5 percent, wiping around about $12 billion off of this company's market value.
So, Reuters technology columnist John Abell joins us now live from New York to discuss the implications of all of this for the company, but also for the consumers as well. Good to have you on the show, John.
First of all, what does it mean for consumers? Because many people will be looking at that and thinking, "I've got a Samsung phone. Does that mean that they're going to stop making technology and software for it?"
JOHN ABELL, COLUMNIST, REUTERS MEDIAFILE: Well, there'll be no bangs on the door at midnight with the Gestapo collecting anyone's phones, but Apple has, in fact, as you mentioned, they've actually -- it just crossed the wire -- have asked for a ban on the sale of Samsung phones. So, there could be -- unlikely in my view -- there could be a ban on the sale of Samsung phones.
Clearly, though, any use of Apple's patents is off the table, now. So, in the short term, I think we will see fewer choices. That might mean more expensive phones. But in the long term, I think this is good for innovation per se.
DOS SANTOS: Why do you think it's good for innovation per se? Because a lot of people I've spoken to today said well, actually, this will just stifle innovation, because people won't want to try and take other people's software and adapt it for better use because they're just scared of getting sued.
ABELL: Well, there's the -- that's the devil in it. If you're simply mimicking features that other people have come up with and putting it into a package which looks remarkably like an iPhone, that's not innovation. Every phone on the market now pretty much -- every SmartPhone pretty much looks like the iPhone, and none of them did before.
So to me, innovation means coming up with something that is better and different. And Apple does this all the time. They didn't invent the SmartPhone or the desktop computer or the tablet, but they said, look, this can be done much better. And the public responds to that. Tremendously.
DOS SANTOS: You've said in your latest posting, which I was reading earlier today on your column, that people are assuming that there is an alternative for people, like Samsung. They're assuming that there is another type of way that they can rejig this software or, in fact, they can make their phones look just a little bit more different and that'll solve the problem. But realistically, will it?
ABELL: It's partly the extent to which the patent wars, which are, frankly, crazy, go on. But my point is that, look. Because Apple came up with something that had such resonance, of course other companies were going to try and leverage that -- let's use a nice word -- as best they could.
But to me, that's an interruption of innovation. That's a side step. Apple came up with something in the iPhone which was completely different. What we need is someone -- Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, Microsoft -- to come up with something which is, again, completely different.
You saw the stocks moving on a number of these companies. Microsoft is coming out with something later this year -- some things later this year -- and Microsoft might actually be in the best position to come out with something new and different and better. And it's about time someone did.
DOS SANTOS: OK, John Abell, thanks so much for joining us there from New York with the latest on that interesting and ongoing case of patent disputes in the mobile telephone world.
A Currency Conundrum for you out there, now. The governor of the Bank of Canada was forced to apologize last week over the design of the new Canadian $100 bill note.
Now, the question is, why? Was it A, the wrong person being printed on the face of that note? B, was it thanks to complaints about racial stereotyping? Or C, the Maple Leaf having the wrong shape? We'll have the answer to that later on in the program. You won't want to miss it.
Well, speaking of currencies, the US dollar is holding steady against all the major currencies this Monday. It's trading at just over $1.25 against the euro, around about $1.58 against sterling, and when it comes to the Japanese yen, it's trading at 78 cents.
DOS SANTOS: As talk of Greece's political exit from the eurozone grows, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is asking her coalition partners to watch what they say these days. In a television interview on Sunday, Merkel said that lawmakers need to work for Europe as a whole.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): We are in a critical period of battling the eurozone debt crisis at the moment and, therefore, I do believe that all of us should weigh our remarks very carefully.
We have a responsibility for each other in Europe. Europe is not just a monetary union, it is a political community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: Europe's major stock indices started the week on something of a higher note. We should remind you that London is, of course, closed because there's a public holiday here, so no trading for the FTSE 100.
But as you can see, we had the likes of the Xetra DAX up by in excess of 1 percent. CAC 40 over in Paris not doing quite so badly, either. Zurich SMI up by a more modest amount.
If we home in on some certain companies that are listed on these exchanges, we saw Deutsche Bank listed over in Germany and BNP Paribas listed in France gaining more than 2 percent, UBS the Swiss counterpart, a bank listed in Zurich, gained about 1.3 percent on the day.
Stocks on Wall Street are sticking close to the baseline ahead of word from the Fed chief Ben Bernanke on Friday. His speech at the Federal Reserve's retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, could be a real market mover these days.
And it was the same at the event in 2010 when he hinted on a second dose of quantitative easing. Let's go over to Maribel Aber, who joins us now, live from the New York Stock Exchange. So, Maribel, I suppose everybody's weighing their words very carefully, and given the example of 2010 for Ben Bernanke, well, he's going to be careful what he says as well.
MARIBEL ABER, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Nina. Absolutely, he will be careful what he's saying. And you know what, Nina? We're actually not expecting the Fed chief to make any equally grand statements this time around. What Wall Street would like is for the entire "will they or won't they" quantitative easing conversation really to be put to rest.
And what might be surprising here is that a good majority of market experts do not think the Fed should take any further QE 3 steps.
In fact, there was a CNN Money survey, and it had 93 percent of investment strategists and 77 percent of economists say they do not believe the Federal Reserve should announce more stimulus at its next meeting.
One even said here, Nina, "nobody likes when the punchbowl is taken away, but the party has gone on too long." So, while most agree that QE would boost the market, they don't believe it would do the same for the broader economy.
Plus, with each additional shot of stimulus, they say the impact lessens. And the other point here is that it could also drive up inflation at a time when Americans are already dealing with higher food and also gas prices.
But we should find out for sure when the central bank convenes for the next meeting in about three weeks. If the Fed acts, those surveys say it's more likely to extend its guidance for interest rates out to 2015 rather than launch a third round of quantitative easing.
DOS SANTOS: Yes, that tool box is looking awfully thin these days, isn't it, Maribel? Now you touched on something else I want to as you about. It is, of course, higher fuel prices. So, we've got this storm brewing, which could turn into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of production offline. How's that being felt in the gas markets?
ABER: Well, right now, we started off seeing the gas prices kind of go up a little bit in the morning session, but it's eased down a bit right now. Oil is down just about 0.8 percent right now. And it's two things we're talking about. We're talking about the oil refineries and also the storm out of Venezuela. So, those two competing things there that may impact gas prices down the line.
And we've already seen gas prices here in the US inch up a little bit in the past five days. So, more to come on that. We'll see if Hurricane Isaac comes through, then we may see a little bit -- a touch on that one with oil prices, Nina.
DOS SANTOS: OK, Maribel Aber, there, at the NYSE. Thanks so much for that.
Nearly two weeks on from the killing of 34 striking workers, Lonmin's South African mines remain closed for business. We're heading there next after this.
DOS SANTOS: Hello and welcome back. I'm Nina dos Santos. This is CNN, and on this network, the news always comes first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): A Syrian opposition group says that rebels have shot down a government attack helicopter. Video posted online appears to show it bursting into flames over the Jobar suburb of Damascus. An opposition group says that at least 157 people have been killed this Monday alone across Syria.
Tropical Storm Isaac is churning towards the U.S. Gulf Coast. It's expected to make landfall as a hurricane later this week. Thousands have been evacuated along coastal areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The storm has also dumped heavy rain on Haiti, Cuba and parts of Florida.
Well, that storm has, in fact, forced the U.S. Republican Party into a one-day recess as it officially opens its national convention in Tampa, Florida. Speeches and events have been pushed back a day due to the bad weather. The event will culminate with Mitt Romney being officially nominated as the party's presidential candidate.
Authorities in Helmand Province say that 10 Afghan soldiers were killed when members of their own unit opened fire on them. Also in the Helmand region, the Taliban are blamed for beheading 17 people who were attending a party, according to some news outlets.
Two members of a Russian punk band are hoping to avoid the fate of these three bandmates. Pussy Riot says that two of its members have fled Russia and are now recruiting foreign women for new protests. Three of the band members were sentenced to prison for a protest inside a Moscow cathedral.
DOS SANTOS: Lonmin's South Africa mines remain shut down by a labor strike this Monday. The company says that only 13 percent of its workforce actually showed up today. This comes 12 days after police opened fire on striking miners and that left 34 people dead. Nkepile Mabuse joins us now live from Johannesburg with the latest.
Nkepile, days on, the situation doesn't seem to have resolved itself. And presumably there's still plenty of bad blood and finger pointing now.
NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. Things are not looking good at all for the world's third largest platinum producer, 13 percent -- that's the lowest that Lonmin has recorded in the time that it's been giving us updates every single day. And they believe it's because workers are being intimidated. And they're not alone in this.
Other unions are also saying that -- we're hearing from Lonmin that bus drivers who transport mine workers to work every day were last night told that if they continue to do that, there will be consequences, and that some miners were met very close to the gates of the mine.
And they were told that they should not be going to work because workers should be standing together on strike, demanding that 1,500. So things not looking good for Lonmin. Last week, they thought that this week would be better.
They started recording 27 percent attendance on Monday. And then it went up to 33 percent. This weekend they were talking about 57 percent of the workers pitching up for work. So this is not good at all. Miners staying back, some of them protesting outside the mine, demanding that 1,500 that they want as their increase, Nina.
DOS SANTOS: Well, that mining company and mine owners must be looking on with fear to see the situation in Lonmin. How has this affected the mining industry in South Africa, because it's such a huge part of the economy there?
MABUSE: You know, of course Lonmin is going to suffer for a very long time. The company has already said that it's not going to be meeting its yearly targets. Its share price got a serious knock. But overall, economists are saying that this is not going to have a serious impact on the overall economy in South Africa.
But of course, you know it's very difficult to measure perception. People looking at the situation may ask serious questions about the stability of the labor market in South Africa, and also the mechanisms that are in place at the moment to deal with wage disputes. This is what this started out as. And it ended with 44 people in total dead, 34 of them killed by police.
Also anger has been exposed at the ruling African national congress. There are so many people here in South Africa, including those miners who feel that they may have political freedom, but they're still economically oppressed. So serious questions that the ruling party need to respond to, Nina.
DOS SANTOS: OK. Nkepile Mabuse in Johannesburg, thanks so much for bringing us the latest there on that.
Now matching pace of performance, why Germany's biggest bank is going one step further to rein in big bonuses. We'll explain all next.
DOS SANTOS: Germany's biggest bank is in crackdown mode. Deutsche Bank is capturing quite a lot of attention these days with a new move to claw back bonuses. It comes amid calls all over the world for banks to clamp down on executive payouts. Obviously, all of this follows a string of high-profile scandals, doesn't it? To bring us all the details, Jim Boulden joins us now, live in our London studio.
It's a complicated story. Take it away, Jim.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, Nina. Let me try to explain this. Well, Deutsche Bank's clawback rules allow it to take away from newly hired senior staff any unvested equity bonuses that were earned at the previous employers if those unvested were actually turned into Deutsche Bank shares. Now this is a significant tightening of the bonus rules by Europe's largest lender.
Pay consultants say this rule is unusual in the banking world, though it is believed UBS has a similar program, and it does come as European banks now hold employees accountable for questionable behavior. But the question is, will other banks follow and will Deutsche Bank have trouble recruiting?
Well, Deutsche Bank, not the only bank in the spotlight today. UniCredit out of Italy, it's another sign that scandals are not over in the banking world. Italy's UniCredit admits one of its German units is being investigated by U.S. authorities for possibly breaking the sanctions that prohibit doing business with, quote, "certain countries."
That's likely to mean doing business with Iran. UniCredit says it is not a new allegation and it was published in 2011. But it does mean UniCredit joins Commerce Bank, RBS and Standard Chartered at having been investigated by various U.S. authorities for allegedly doing business with Iran, which, of course, violates U.S. sanctions.
This leads to the question about do bankers find it hard to admit that they work in financing? Well, there seems to be a perceived stigma about working in the banking industry at the moment. That's, of course, because of LIBOR rate scandals, money laundering investigations, et cetera.
Some recruiters say some investment banks are now forced to start raising the salaries of newly hired recruits because of banker bashing. According to some recruiters, the starting salaries upwards of $79,000 -- that's up 5 percent. And one headhunting firm says graduates now are thinking about taking longer studies for, quote, "professional services" rather than going into finance, Nina.
DOS SANTOS: Jim, of course, this comes two or three years after Bob Diamond famously said the era of banker bashing should be over; the age of apology is over. But of course, he's one of a job as well, right?
BOULDEN: He's looking for work amongst many other bankers. I don't know. I don't know any bankers themselves that I've ever spoken to who say they wish they weren't into banking. I don't know that we feel sorry for them.
But the question really is after three or four years now of clawbacks, of other rules being put into place, especially in the U.S., should we stop bashing the banks? Well, this is showing, I think, maybe that we shouldn't be. But banks do seem to be responding to the pressure, especially when you see clawbacks like this.
DOS SANTOS: Mind you, a lot of people would say this is PR, right?
BOULDEN: Yes. I mean, you could say that about Deutsche Bank. You talk about senior executives, newly recruited, only hired this year. And you're talking about only if they don't perform up to Deutsche Bank's standards. So you're not talking about a lot of people, Nina, affected by it. But it is important to note that Deutsche Bank didn't put this out publicly. It has been around for a while. It's just the newspapers picked up on it this weekend.
DOS SANTOS: They certainly did. And during a bank holiday, well, stories like this obviously don't make the front page, certainly.
Thanks so much, Jim Boulden, there in London.
Now let's just bring you some news that's just into us here at CNN.
Apple says that it will seek a U.S. ban on eight Samsung phones. Now a court hearing on that matter is actually scheduled to take place on the 20th of September as we were telling you earlier on in the show.
But of course, all of this comes after a U.S. jury crucially said that Samsung should pay Apple $1 billion in damages for infringing its patent. And Samsung has in turn said that it will be appealing.
Up next, it could be that you're being followed by a horde of zombies. Well, we'll take a look at the staggering amount of fake Twitter accounts that are lurking in your special networking circles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Now the answer to our "Currency Conundrum" of the day, earlier in the show we asked you why the governor of the Bank of Canada apologized last week for the design on a new Canadian $100 bill note.
The answer to that is B, complaints about racial stereotyping. The woman using the microscope was originally drawn as Asian, but focus groups said that it played (ph) to stereotypes and other groups were left out. The bank tried to make the figure ethnically neutral but that in turn led to more complaints that she looked like she was Caucasian. The bank governor has apologized to those who were offended.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: It's a modern measure of how important you are, isn't it, these days. The more Twitter followers you have, well, the more clout you might have out there in the Twittersphere, unless your followers are fake.
A U.K. company says that it's now managed to work out a way to find phony accounts. facespeople.com (inaudible) 70 percent of Lady Gaga's 30 million followers worldwide are make-believe. Well, the same percentage applies to Barack Obama's 18.8 million bogus buddies, and nearly two-thirds of British prime minister David Cameron's are indeed phony accounts, according to them.
I can admit that I'm doing a little bit better than Mr. Cameron and Lady Gaga. Checking on my own Twitter account, I actually found that about 11 percent of my followers might be, quote, "just might be fake." I asked the cofounder of statuspeople.com, Rob Waller, how important those bogus accounts actually are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB WALLER, COFOUNDER, STATUSPEOPLE.COM: The aim of these fake followers is to boost someone, maybe a brand or maybe a celebrity's follower account. And for some reason at the moment, follower accounts or how many people follow you are seen as a sign of popularity. And therefore may encourage other people, more legitimate people, to follow you.
DOS SANTOS: Well, say, for instance, if you've got a follower number of over a million, what your new software has found out is that not necessarily 4 million of those people are legitimate people who are actually following you. Sometimes they're computer programs or just people who randomly go ahead and create these fake accounts.
WALLER: Yes, I mean, there's two types to this sort of fake or spam accounts. Some are companies who sell these fake accounts to boost followers for people, as I said earlier.
DOS SANTOS: So, say for celebrities?
WALLER: Yes, for celebrities or brands or individuals. And then the upper ones are just general spam bots that will be on Twitter for other purposes, maybe fishing exercises or -- and you tend to find from our data that we've collected that the more followers you have or the more popular someone is, the more spam they seem to attract naturally as well.
DOS SANTOS: But here's the catch. Shouldn't Twitter really be policing this itself? Because otherwise, if people go ahead and realize that a double-digit portion of the number of people following them on Twitter, which could be a huge amount of people with some people with big followships, like for instance, Barack Obama, the U.S. president, we're talking about a lot of fake accounts.
If Twitter doesn't do something about it themselves, well, it undermines Twitter itself.
WALLER: Spam is a generic Internet problem. And Twitter obviously try and validate as much as possible. I don't think this is necessarily an issue that Twitter don't take very seriously. I mean, they would clearly understand how important this is.
DOS SANTOS: Are you working with them to try and solve this problem? Or will you work with them?
WALLER: No one from Twitter has contacted me (inaudible).
DOS SANTOS: Would you like them to? Buy your software? That could be a rather good commercial deal for people like you, I would have thought.
WALLER: It might be interesting. But as I said, we're very early days in our development. So we'll just have to wait and see. But Twitter and Facebook and all these other companies are working to fight spam. It's an important issue, but as with the now, it's impossible to block all the spam.
DOS SANTOS: Moving away from the world of technology, let's now check back in on the progress of the Tropical Storm Isaac and on the status of those oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico that we were mentioning earlier in the show.
Jennifer Delgado is at the CNN International Weather Center with all the news.
JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Nina. Well, you mentioned earlier, about a quarter of production has been halted across parts of the Gulf of Mexico in that northern region. And as I show you on this graphic, very good reason why.
Right now, Isaac is still a tropical storm, but we're expecting it to become a hurricane. I want to point out to you, with a hurricane, we're going to see some very high waves, roughly about 4-7 meters high, especially when you combine that with high tide, that can make it even worse.
So look at all the oil rigs out there. A lot of those really hugging parts of Louisiana as well as even over toward Mississippi, of course into Texas. And with this storm developing, this could lead to some coastal flooding and reduce the visibility of course with that flooding. We're talking about 1-3 meters.
So here is Isaac right now on the satellite imagery, a very wide storm, still affecting parts of Florida, you can see. But moving through the Gulf of Mexico. Right now it's located about 500 kilometers southeast of New Orleans. And it looks like it's going to continue to move in that northwesterly direction. Now the winds right now sustain at 105.
Some gusts up to 120, moving at about 23 kph. Now we're expecting tropical storm conditions to arrive in the northern Gulf as we go into the overnight tonight and into early Tuesday morning.
Then of course, it looks like it's going to make its way to the very southeastern tip of Louisiana Tuesday in the afternoon or the evening and possibly passing over New Orleans as we get into the overnight of Tuesday as well as into Wednesday.
And then notice those winds, 130 kilometers . Of course, it'll continue to weaken. But we're still watching this because, of course, yes, we know we're going to be dealing with a lot of rainfall for some of these locations. We could see about 20-45 centimeters of rainfall.
But of course, the winds, that's going to be problems, especially for those areas that are low-lying. We do have a hurricane warning in place. You can see for areas anywhere in red, extending over towards Florida as well as into the central part of Louisiana, down towards the south.
That includes New Orleans and rightfully so, because of course, we know what happened when we had Hurricane Katrina pass through there. So good news is a lot of people are much more aware and prepared.
I want to point out to you, while we're showing you the track of the system, this is not an exact science. We have this cone here. And I want to show you, a lot of the models are taking it westerly. This time yesterday it was a bit more towards the east.
So you can see more of those models are in agreement with that westerly progression. Now that's not the only storm out there. We do have a typhoon that is roughly, we'll say, about 300 kilometers to the south of Seoul -- excuse me, 600.
And as I show you on our radar here, here is the eye wall. We're pretty confident that the center of circulation is going to be moving parallel to the coastline. But of course, the southern tip is getting battered once again.
Tembin actually passed across southern Taiwan last week and now it is back again. And this is going to mean an incredible amount of rainfall for especially areas along that eastern coastline and the southern region.
The winds right now, 120 kilometers for the next 24 hours we will see it start to weaken into a tropical storm and then possibly hugging the coastline of China for about the next 72 hours, just really a bad case there. And that's not even our only storm out there.
We still have Typhoon Bolaven, which is to the north and very likely to hit the Korean Peninsula Tuesday afternoon local time, Nina. A lot of activity out there.
DOS SANTOS: OK. There certainly is. Jennifer Delgado, thanks so much for that full and comprehensive report there.
Well, the CEO of the Republican National Conversation told me earlier in an interview shortly before we went on air with this show that things are currently under control. And as you can see from these live pictures, the RNC delegates and journalists, they've literally been turning up in their hundreds and also in their thousands.
Remember there are about 50,000 that are set to arrive in Tampa, Florida, over the next three days for the three days of the events. Those events will be culminating in the official nomination of Mitt Romney as the party's candidate and the man who will be challenging Barack Obama for the U.S. presidency.
CNN's Brooke Baldwin was among some of the delegates in Tampa, Florida, today. She reports now on how those 2,000 people are actually dealing with Isaac.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): On the eve of what was supposed to be a full first day of the Republican National Convention, Cyndy Aafedt is prepared for a positive storm.
CYNDY AAFEDT, NORTH DAKOTA DELEGATE: Well, I packed a flashlight. I've never packed a flashlight on a trip before.
BALDWIN: You packed a flashlight?
AAFEDT: I even went and bought batteries before I came.
BALDWIN: Cyndy, you are prepared. You are prepared, ultimate delegate.
BALDWIN (voice-over): Aafedt is from North Dakota. Back home, she and her state party chairman, Stan Stein, are used to battling blizzards, not tropical storms.
Sure, we're watching The Weather Channel, just like everybody else. We're used to doing blizzards in North Dakota. We handle them just fine. We watch hurricanes on TV.
BALDWIN (voice-over): Delegations from North Dakota and Connecticut thought they'd scored with this beachfront property near Tampa. Instead, all eyes are on Isaac.
The RNC has suspended Monday's session. The governors of Alabama and Louisiana are staying home, and Florida Governor Rick Scott canceled his convention speaking appearance to stay on top of his official duties as the storm threatened his state.
In fact, Governor Scott is asking Floridians to help all the out-of- towners cope.
RICK SCOTT, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: With regard to convention, we made sure that the delegates are coming to have information about how they should act out here with regard, because some of them have never been around a hurricane. Floridians, we deal with these things.
BALDWIN (voice-over): Floridians, like Bill Marr Hotel general manager, Clyde Smith.
CLYDE SMITH, HOTEL MANAGER: This is a closet we try not to use too often.
BALDWIN (voice-over): Smith has weathered his fair share of hurricanes and he has his guests covered with a closet full of flashlights, megaphones and lanterns, just in case.
BALDWIN: What are the chances you think you're going to be using any of this this week?
SMITH: We probably will go into the flashlights a little bit and maybe the rain suits. We're doing a few sandbagging just to protect some of the sand sculptures out back. But I don't think we're going to have the major sandbagging to protect the building itself.
BALDWIN (voice-over): This North Dakota delegate isn't too concerned. She thinks the storm won't detract from the convention much at all and reminds us why she's here, rain or shine.
AAFEDT: I'm excited about just the energy that comes from everyone together with the same values and the same desire to just to make the United States a better place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: Brooke Baldwin there, reporting in Tampa, Florida, as the Republican National Convention gets underway. Do stay with here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. We'll have a full check on the markets' action in (inaudible).
DOS SANTOS: Welcome back. Let's take a quick look at how oil and platinum is faring in today's session. Starting out with the former, crude is currently falling. This is largely in part because of the German business sentiment index split for a fourth month in a row.
When it comes to Brent and WGI crude, as you can see, they're both down around about 11/4 in percentage terms, Brent being more expensive as it often is.
When we take a look at platinum, that one's down slightly, giving a little bit of relief to people in that market. It's been driving recently due to, of course, the supply concerns surrounding the violence at South Africa's Marikana mine, which is of course operated by Lonmin. Remember that those platinum prices are up 10 percent since the violence erupted.
No major moves on Wall Street today, as investors wait for Ben Bernanke's keen Jackson Hole speech later in the week. They're waiting to hear if the U.S. Fed chief could drop any hints about further monetary stimulus during that symposium. And as you can see, we've got the Dow Jones industrial average down a quarter, sort of 0.01 of 1 percent, so basically flat ahead of Jackson Hole.
The European stock markets started the week on something of a high note. Well, there's no trading in London because of the public holiday, bank holiday, but we did see banking shares among some of the top performers around the European continent.
Deutsche Bank and (inaudible) gaining more than 2 percent in Switzerland, UBS gaining about 1.3 percent. And as you can see, the DAX ending the day on a positive note, despite the fact that we saw German business and investor confidence slipping for a fourth month in a row.
And that's it for this edition of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Nina dos Santos.
DOS SANTOS: Hello, I'm Nina dos Santos at CNN London. These are the main recap of your headlines this hour.
A Syrian opposition group says that rebels have shot down a government attack helicopter. Video posted online appears to show it bursting into flames over a suburb of Damascus. An opposition group says that at least 157 people have been killed across Syria this Monday alone .
Tropical Storm Isaac is churning towards the U.S. Gulf Coast. It's expected to make landfall as a hurricane later this week. Thousands have been evacuated along coastal areas in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and also Alabama. The storm has dumped heavy rain also on Haiti, Cuba and parts of Florida as well. Seventy-eight percent of Gulf oil production is now suspended.
Well, that storm has forced the U.S. Republican Party into a one-day recess as it officially opens its national convention in Tampa, Florida. Speeches and events have been pushed back a day due to bad weather. The event will culminate in Mitt Romney being officially nominated as the party's presidential candidate.
Authorities in Helmand Province say that two American soldiers were killed today in the latest string of attacks by Afghan security forces on coalition troops. The killings occurred on the same day that 10 Afghan soldiers died when members of their own unit opened fire on them.
That's a recap of the latest stories that we're watching for you here on CNN. "AMANPOUR" is next.