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Tropical Storm Isaac Strengthens, Bears Down On New Orleans; Profile Of Mercedes Erra, Zaha Hadid, Didier Drogba Future At Chinese Club In Doubt; Israel Court Exonerates Bulldoze Driver In Death Of American Activist

Aired August 28, 2012 - 08:00   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 with Tropical Storm Isaac. It is on the verge of becoming a hurricane. And the U.S. Gulf Coast is bracing for its arrival.

Also ahead, hundreds dying daily. As violence intensifies in Syria we get an exclusive report from inside one besieged city.

And crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer: why the family of this American activist says a new verdict on her death is a bad day for human rights.

Well, Tropical Storm Isaac is slowly turning toward the U.S. Gulf Coast. It is forecasted to strengthen into a hurricane later on Tuesday. Low lying areas in four states have been evacuated. Southern Florida has already been hit by heavy rain. And before it moved into the Gulf, Isaac killed at least 19 people in Haiti. And now the storm seems to be on a direct path for New Orleans. It could make landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.

Now the mayor of New Orleans acknowledges the timing has people especially anxious, but he has not ordered a mandatory evacuation for New Orleans.

Now remember, Katrina hit as a powerful category three hurricane. Now forecasters say that Isaac will be weaker than that.

Now Brian Todd shows us how the city has learned from its past.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Louisiana residents prepare for a familiar menace, an approaching storm. Lurking in the minds of many, the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, levees overtopped, thousands flood out and a city paralyzed for weeks, a city that in some ways is still struggling to recover. Could that happen again?

This reassurance from the mayor of New Orleans...

MITCH LANDRIEU (D), MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: I want to assure you all that there is nothing that this storm is going to bring us that we do not believe that we are prepared to handle.

TODD (on camera): Experts agree that since Katrina, hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements to levees, canals and pumping stations have made New Orleans far better prepared for flooding. But even with these sturdy defenses, they say if a perfect storm were to hit New Orleans, they couldn't rule out flooding.

(voice-over): We spoke to Tim Doody, who is on a local oversight board for flood protection. He says the levees are exponentially better than they were before Katrina, built to withstand the level of storm strength that comes once every 100 years. But he says the new construction should be built to an even higher standard to protect against even the most rare of extreme storms that comes once every 500 years or more.

TIM DOODY, LEVEE AUTHORITY PRESIDENT: Other developed countries are building to a much higher standard. Surely it's going to be more expensive to do that, but a 100-year standard is not what we would have them build to. We would like 500-year or a 1,000-year.

TODD: Officials say that in spite of the protections they have built, any storm is unpredictable and nothing is to be taken lightly.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Hope for the best even as you prepare for the worst. Go to get a game plan. Go online. You can see the supplies, the resources you need. Today is the day. Today is the day, the final day you should be taking any precautions.

TODD: For those who choose to stay officials are hoping new structures like this 17th Street Canal levee and pumping station will protect them. It's designed to pump water into Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans once the water in this area gets to five feet or more above sea level. One official told us Isaac is expected to bring waters at least to that level.

Brian Todd, CNN, New Orleans.


LU STOUT: Now how strong will the storm be once it hits the Gulf coast? Let's get details now with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey Kristie, we just got the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center just in the last few minutes. And they're saying that a hurricane hunter plane has found the storm near, nearly at hurricane strength. So we are expecting this storm to continue intensifying, that's what they keep saying. The track hasn't changed. And we still have it on track to move here across probably very close to the mouth of the Mississippi River. There's still a little bit of a chance that it could move a little bit more toward the west or a little bit more to the east.

As far as strength, probably within the next 12 hours or so, probably by the time we get the next advisory from the National Hurricane Center, we could see the winds close to 130 kilometers per hour. That would put it at hurricane strength.

The other thing that's important is that because it's still over the water. And it's actually slowing down as it approaches the coastline here. It's been slowing down just a little bit. It's going to remain over the water a little bit longer. And when that happens, it has a little bit more of a chance to intensify. So winds, by the time it makes landfall could be sustained close to 140 kilometers per hour.

Right now, you see it right there, 113 -- 120 is the threshold, by the way, for hurricane force winds, or typhoon force winds if you want to call it that. But of course they're called hurricanes in this part of the world.

Now those watches and warnings are still there. And you see this area right here in red? That's the area of the hurricane warning, that's the area where you've seen those evacuations that Brian was talking about in his report just a little while ago.

There's the city of New Orleans. It extends past New Orleans about to the middle portion of Louisiana. Everybody else has either a tropical storm warning or hurricane watch or a tropical storm watch.

And this is what the storm looks like on the satellite. You're starting to see a little bit of an eye almost start to form right there. If this eye wall begins to get closed in that's an indication that the storm may be intensifying and that's what we're expecting as it continue to churn here in the Gulf of Mexico, moving in that general direction there to the Louisiana coastline.

There's been a lot of comparisons, and Brian mentioned this as well, Kristie, there in his report, about Katrina and about Isaac. So let's look at these two pictures over here. This is Katrina back in 2005. This is Isaac just yesterday. And as they both entered the Gulf of Mexico, they were fairly similar in many ways, but you know, they looked alike, but the winds is just tremendous the difference. Isaac has winds, what, of 111 right now. We don't know what it's going to peak at, but probably about 140. And look at Katrina, it peaked at 280 kilometers per hour. That right there is a huge difference.

There are some similarities, though. And a couple of those, the red line right here indicates Katrina, the black line indicates Isaac. Some of the similarities were the timing, in other words it happened about the same time this year. Of course this is the anniversary of Katrina. Where they're making landfall is also. And the size of the storm, it's very large. So even though this is a much weaker storm, the impact on the coastline could be tremendous, particularly because of flooding and the storm surge that could affect that region.

Kristie, back to you.

LU STOUT: OK. So Isaac is nearly a hurricane. When it becomes one it will be a category one, as you said far weaker than Katrina. Mari Ramos there. Thank you.

Now let's take you live to Louisiana now. Rob Marciano is standing by at the port of New Orleans. And Rob, when it does become a hurricane, it will be a major test for the levees there. Are hey equipped to handle Isaac?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the question everybody is asking this morning. And it's a question that the Army Corps of Engineers had to answer repeatedly since a Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.

Yesterday we inspected those levees and those pump systems on the ground and then got the opportunity to fly with the Coastguard and they buzzed me around the perimeter of the levee system, some of the storm walls. It's certainly a site to see from the air. And here's some of that footage for you.


MARICANO: Shortly after taking off in a Coastguard chopper, immediately in view is the biggest pumping station in the world spanning across the intercoastal waterway, part of a $14 billion plan to protect New Orleans from hurricane flood waters: gates to keep the sea water from coming in, and pumps to let the rain water out.

There's another 73 pumping stations across five parishes. And some are able to move water 150,000 gallons per second.

On the ground, the flood gates, the pumps impressive, but in the air you really see the enormity of this project. The levees just seem to go on for miles and miles and miles. The question is will it hold in a big hurricane?

If this storm strengthens to say a category two storm tonight, will you still sleep well?

COL. ED FLEMING, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEEERS: You know, this is the best system that the greater New Orleans area has ever seen.

MARCIANO: Dug deep, built stronger, and standing higher than seven years ago. There are now 133 miles of levee wall around the city. New Orleans' most exposed flank is here on the eastern side. This sea wall, nearly two miles long, according to the Army Corps of Engineers this barrier to the sea is ready.

What you're looking at here is a seawall, but not just any seawall. Those pylons go down 100 to 200 feet to the ground.

Sitting in this rescue aircraft reminds me that if the walls don't hold like in Katrina, the men providing this view from above may be the same guys potentially saving lives down below.

LT. JG MICHAEL YANEK, U.S. COAST GUARD: We train every day and we train how we fight and we fight how we train. And hopefully we won't have to use those skills, but in this case we're ready and we have crews ready and available to be ready to respond.


MARCIANO: And speaking of Katrina, you remember those images of all those Coastguard rescue helicopters plucking people off of roof tops. And they trained for that kind of stuff, not necessarily specifically that, but they're prepared for it. And they're prepared for it when Isaac comes on shore, which they don't expect to see that sort of scenario.

The levees should hold. The question is how about those pumps? Because even with the modern pumps that they've installed they can only pump out about two-and-a-half centimeters an hour at best. And during a tropical storm or hurricane you're looking at far greater rainfall rates than that.

So there's going to be flooding in the city regardless of whether the levees hold just from the rainfall, so that's one thing. It's a slow moving storm. I know Mari has probably spoken on that. We haven't really seen much in the way of rainfall yet. The sun is still trying to peak through here. So the worst of the weather not expected to arrive until at least later on this afternoon or tonight.

But that slow moving nature of the system, Kristie, is going to put stress on the levees, the pump systems, and eventually the entire community. Flooding is going to be an issue, along with the wind duration event. How strong those winds are going to be, we'll have to wait until Isaac makes its way on land, because it's going to be likely strengthening until it makes landfall.

LU STOUT: Yeah, the storm it's going to be a test for the levees. As you point out, it's going to be a test for these pumps as well. We saw some very impressive engineering just then.

I wanted to ask you about the low lying parishes. I mean, you mentioned just then there will be flooding in the city. So what is the situation in those low lying areas. Have evacuations been ordered?

MARCIANO: Yes, they have. Outside of those levees and those reinforced walls that surround the city lies the lower lying parishes that in many cases are not nearly as protected, if at all. And so just a category one storm or even a tropical storm making a direct hit would bring a significant storm surge into those communities, so for many of those areas, more targeted, but many thousands of people have been evacuated since yesterday. So there's going to be -- there's a large population of southeast Louisiana and Mississippi that's affected by this storm and displaced until it moves through and out of here in the next few days -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Rob Marciano reporting. Thank you so much and take care.

Now over here in Asia, Typhoon Bolavin has brought heavy wind and rain to the Korean peninsula. Five Chinese fishermen have been killed in stormy waters off South Korea's Jeju Island. And authorities are still searching for 10 others. Paula Hancocks has more from Seoul.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: Seoul was relatively unscathed by Tuesday's storm, but areas further south in South Korea were not so lucky. Two Chinese fishing boats capsized in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a number of the fisherman drowned off the South Korean Island of Jeju.

South Korean Coastguard staged a dramatic operation in very bad conditions to try and rescue some of the fishermen. They rescued at least 18 of them. But not everyone has yet been accounted for.

Three South Koreans also lost their lives due to the storm. All of the deaths were related to the strong winds.

A small number of buildings and homes were damaged, but the main problem was falling electricity pylons. More than 300,000 households were left without power.

Schools in Seoul had been closed for the day. And military drills postponed. And as with most storms, transport was badly affected. More than 200 flights were canceled.

The storm then made landfall once again in North Korea, although it will take a lot longer to discover how much damage, if any, there was in that very secretive country.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


LU STOUT: Ahead on News Stream, the U.S. Republican National Convention swings into high gear. And we could see some memorable moments as Mitt Romney gets his party's presidential nomination.

And fleeing Syria, thousands of refugees have been streaming across Syria's borders. Inside look at one ravaged town shows the horrors they're escaping.

And the family's nearly decade long fight for their daughter. Nine years after an army bulldozer crushed Rachel Corrie to death an Israeli court delivers a verdict.


LU STOUT: Now with civil war surging inside Syria, the UN's refugee agency is reporting a mass exodus out of the country. Now this video purportedly shows families fleeing the Damascus countryside. The United Nation says more than 200,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in neighboring countries Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Lebanon since the unrest began.

More than 10,000 Syrian refugees arrived in just one camp in northern Jordan last week. Opposition activists say at least 41 people have been killed across Syria on Tuesday, 15 of them in Italy. It follows a particularly deadly past three days.

And CNN has obtained an extraordinary account of life in the Damascus suburb of Daraya over the past two weeks just before opposition activists say at least 245 people were found dead there over the weekend. The Syrian government says they targeted the town to cleanse terrorist cells, but this report shows the townspeople had only just begun to rebuild their lives after the last Syrian army offensive nearly two months ago.

Now some of the images we were about to show, they are graphic and not appropriate for all viewers. And for safety reasons, we are not naming the journalist. Here's the report.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Downtown Daraya, here every night during Ramadan the townspeople came together after nightly prayers in celebration.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): Outpourings of happiness. By the grace of God this will continue. So we can prove to the world our revolution continues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I traveled to Daraya on the outskirts of Damascus, because I've heard that nearly two months after forcing our Syrian authorities, the town was declaring itself Free Syria. For the safety of those who helped me get into Syria, I've promised not to reveal my identity.

After forcing out Syrian government forces nearly two months ago, anti-regime activists had been spending their days rebuilding the town. It was a sight I'd never seen before in Syria. The activists eagerly told me that they were in the next stage of their revolution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): Daraya is liberated. The revolution has won. We wanted to return normal life to Daraya and rebuild what the regime destroyed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): Ready? Ready?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And for the first time in the Free Syrian Army based out in the gardens and fields on the outskirts of town, even agreed to allow us to film them carrying out exercises in broad daylight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): Everyday we carry out training exercises. We train and train. So that when the Syrian army comes we are ready as a force and for the battle to come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): As far as the security situation in the Damascus suburbs goes, the Free Syrian Army is in complete control of the whole of the suburbs. The Syrian security and armed forces are concentrated in Damascus proper. That's where they are trying to focus.

With the grace of God, we are close to the end of our journey to take the capital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Syrian government forces were on the move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): The planes are shelling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And after breaking the fast on the last day of Ramadan, we began to hear mortars fall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): They're shelling us in Daraya.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was relentless.

The activists told us we had to leave Daraya or risk being trapped. After our departure, they continued to send us these pictures of the onslaught.

Even as the hospital became overrun with casualties, the Syrian government switched off electricity and running water.

I listened to the clips they sent us as they narrated unfolding massacre.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): A martyr of Daraya.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Struggling to keep their voices steady, leaving the few doctors that remain to stumble in the dark.

In 72 hours, activists said 100 men, women, and children were killed and more than 300 wounded. And that toll continues to rise.

At first, we were told they tried to bury the dead, but even funeral processions weren't safe from the shelling. And the bodies had to be abandoned. After five days of bombardment, the town was eventually overrun by Syrian government forces. And I lost touch with the activists trapped inside. One of the last messages they did manage to send read simply, "Daraya is now cursed."


LU STOUT: Some very powerful images there.

And when we come back, in Israel a court issues a ruling in the 2003 death of American activist Rachel Corrie, but it is not giving closure to her family. We'll have details after the break.


LU STOUT: We're live from Hong Kong. You are back watching News Stream.

Now nine years after an American activist was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer, a civil court in Haifa has ruled that the state of Israel was not at fault for her death. The family says they will appeal the verdict.

Now Rachel Corrie's mother, Cindy, called it a bad day for human rights, the rule of law, and for the country of Israel.

And Frederick Pleitgen joins us now live from Haifa, Israel. And Frederik, the lawsuit, it was filed by Corrie's parents. Can you tell us more about their reaction to the ruling?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they certainly weren't happy at all with the ruling. Basically, if you were inside the courtroom you could see that the judge literally shot that lawsuit down. He was saying things like that the crew that was part of that bulldozer that crushed Rachel Corrie was not to blame for what happened, also that Rachel Corrie should not have been there in the first place. He called the place a war zone. Clearly, her parents were not happy at all with that verdict. You said what Rachel Corrie's mother said.

Her father also reacted in an interview with me just a couple of hours ago. Let's listen in to what he had to say.


CRAIG CORRIE, FATHER OF RACHEL CORRIE: It was a war zone. But, you know, I -- I spent 11 months in Vietnam. I know about war zones. I had nine medals in 11 months there. And strangely enough, one of my jobs was to be in charge of bulldozers. So no matter where you are, you need to know what's in front of your blade. That's just one of the requirements as a decent human being and as a soldier.

I think when you start talking about a war zone, that doesn't excuse attacking individual citizens.


PLEITGEN: Now, Kristie, the Israeli military, of course, has a very different take of what happened there. They also issued a statement after the verdict was handed down saying, and I'm going to read this to you, "the death of Rachel Corrie is without a doubt a tragic accident. The verdict states the driver of the bulldozer and his commander had a very limited field of vision such that they had no possibility of seeing Ms. Corrie and thus are exonerated of any blame for negligence."

So they were saying essentially that these bulldozers are very, very big machines. On top of that, they're also armored and therefore the windows are very, very small, very difficult to look out of and therefore they say that the driver and the other person in that bulldozer had no possibility to see Rachel Corrie.

And on top of that they say that this was a battle zone, that the activists were there at their own risk, should not have been there. And therefore they don't believe that the Israeli military has any blame -- or shares any blame for the death of Rachel Corrie. As you said, that's certainly not enough for the parents. They say they are going to appeal this verdict in Israel's supreme court, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And can you tell us more about their daughter, about Rachel Corrie, her cause and her activism before her death in 2003.

PLEITGEN: Well, she was very active. She was part of the international solidarity movement for the people in Gaza. She took part in several actions in Gaza, also in the West Bank before she was killed. And on that day, she was trying to stop these bulldozers from conducting actions in the town of Rafa.

Basically the Israeli military says what was going on that time was that the bulldozers were trying to clear land of tall bushes, of trees as well, where they say they were being attacked by Gaza militants. They say that both settlers and soldiers were being attacked. The peace activists, for their parts are saying that on that day the Israeli military was breaking down houses in that area. And Rachel Corrie on that day was trying to shield the house of a chemist who lives in that area. And that's when she was killed, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Fred Pleitgen reporting. Thank you.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, taking on U.S. President Barack Obama. Mitt Romney prepares to accept the Republican presidential nomination at his party's convention in Florida.

Plus, Iran tries to reshape its public image in its role as a summit host, maybe the first big step in that direction.


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

Now Tropical Storm Isaac is nearing hurricane force as it closes in on the U.S. Gulf Coast. It's expected to make landfall late on Tuesday or early Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Homes in low lying areas near the coast have been evacuated.

Bolavin has been downgraded from a typhoon to a tropical storm as it blasts the Korean peninsula. It is blamed for the deaths of at least five Chinese fisherman whose boat capsized off South Korea's Jeju Island. 10 other crewmen are still missing, although the coastguard managed to save 18. The storm has knocked out power supplies to hundreds of thousands of people in South Korea.

Opposition forces in Syria say at least 41 people have been killed so far today. It follows three days of extreme violence in the capital Damascus and allegations of a massacre by government forces in the suburb of Daraya. Now the UN refugee agency says more than 200,000 Syrians have registered as refugees in neighboring countries since the unrest began.

A civil court in Israel has ruled that neither the Israeli army nor the state were responsible for the death of a U.S. activist in Gaza in 2003. Now Rachel Corrie was crushed by an army bulldozer as she tried to prevent it from demolishing the homes of Palestinians. The family has vowed to appeal today's ruling.

Now power broker in the Middle East and victim of terrorism, that is how Iran is portraying itself as it hosts the 16th summit of the non- aligned movement. Reza Sayah at what else Tehran is hoping to achieve at the gathering.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Freshly planted flowers, manicured lawns, shiny new flags and welcome banners. The Iranian government has spent a lot of money to look its best for the non-aligned movement summit. But this display here is clearly designed to be ugly and unpleasant.

At the entrance of the meeting hall, the wreckage of three cars, each a target of bomb attacks that killed Iranian nuclear scientists Ahamadi Roshan, Majid Shariai (ph) and Massoud Ali Mohammedi (ph). And each hit attackers on motorcycles attached a bomb to the car and raced away. The assassinations left little doubt Iran's nuclear program was under a covert attack.

The graphic display underscores one of Iran's main goals for this summit: to reshape the public narrative in its favor with leaders from more than 100 developing nations in much of the world's media in attendance, Iran is on an information blitz to project itself as the victim of terror with an exhibition on terrorism, an encyclopedia of terror victims and a free DVD on Iranians allegedly targeted by terrorists.

"When western states see they're not succeeding in stopping our nation's peaceful nuclear program with illegal and unilateral means and threats and sanctions, they resort to terrorism," said foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparasat.

The regime in Tehran also hopes hosting a summit with the likes of UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Indian prime minister Mahmohan Singh, and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will bolster its claim that it's a legitimate and respected regional power with considerable support for what it calls a peaceful nuclear program.

"Our nuclear activities are brought about rights. And we are signatories to the non-proliferation treaty. We are among the nations that have called for nuclear disarmament," Mehmanparasat said.

Iran's narrative is in stark contrast to the Israeli government's and western power's who claim Iran is a dangerous exporter of terror, a threat to the region lead by a rogue regime that's secretly building a nuclear bomb. The clashing narratives mark an escalating information war. And he world's opinion is at stake.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Tehran.


LU STOUT: Now in Tampa, Florida, it is the first full day of the Republican National Convention. And most of Monday's opening session was canceled because of concerns over tropical storm Isaac. And Tuesday's main events, the formal nomination of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. As Jim Acosta reports the shortened convention may even work in Romney's favor.


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: It is my privilege to proclaim the 2012 Republican National Convention in session and called to order.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Republicans got down to business, calling their 2012 convention to order before quickly going to recess with Isaac bearing down on the Gulf coast, the sun came out in Tampa.

But top Republicans were indoors anyway. There's House speaker John Boehner testing out the podium, and Utah senator Orrin Hatch mixing it up with Carl Rove.

It doesn't take a party insider to figure out the week's agenda: selling Mitt Romney.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH, (R) UTAH: Everything he has ever done, he's been successful.

ACOSTA: A fellow Mormon, Hatch says that includes Romney's faith.

HATCH: He's a Christian by every -- by every standard that I know of. And frankly, a great believer in the bible.

ACOSA: Do you wish that that had been said sooner, though, in this campaign cycle?

HATCH: No, I think people understand. You know, you judge a person's faith by how they live.

REP. PAUL RYAN, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everywhere I look I see so many familiar faces.

ACOSTA: Another part of the sales pitch came hundreds of miles away as Paul Ryan touted Romney's business record in the vice presidential contender's hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.

RYAN: When people are successful in business, that's a good thing, that is not something to resent.

ACOSTA: Romney is also on the road, crafting his convention speech in New Hampshire.

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like my speech. I really like Ann's speech. Our sons are already in Tampa. And they say it's terrific there, a lot of great friends. And we looking forward to a great convention.

ACOSTA: The shortened convention may already be working to Romney's advantage, leaving less time for any rhetorical thunder, while a small pro- Ron Paul protest did break out, other distractions may be averted.

DONALD TRUMP: I hope they're tough as hell and mean as hell and they fight fire with fire.

ACOSTA: Donald Trump, who accepted a statesmen of the year award from a local Republican Party was slated to speak on Monday, but with the day awash, Trump got bumped from the rest of the schedule.

RUSS SCHRIEFER, SENIOR ROMNEY ADVISOR: It's my understanding that was Mr. Trump was in town yesterday and couldn't make it today -- or could have made it today, but we canceled.

ACOSTA: The Donald still worked in a tweet asking "why do the Republicans keep apologizing on the so-called birther issue. No more apologies. Take the offensive."

Speakers, like storms, can be hard to forecast. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson predicts the party will weather the week.

ACOSTA: Is it a good idea to have these conventions in hurricane country, do you think?

SEN. RON JOHNSON, (R) WISCONSIN: Well, I'm not going to second guess anybody -- any of the planners. No, listen, four years ago they had it in St. Paul. And we still had a hurricane.

ACOSTA: Republican officials say the convention will go on as planned with its current shortened schedule, but as the chairman of the Republican Party told CNN, we will be nimble.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Tampa.


LU STOUT: And besides the roll call vote formally nominating Mitt Romney's running mate, there are other big events planned for Tuesday. Let's get more now from CNN's political editor Paul Steinhauser in Tampa.

And Paul, what will be the main goal of the convention? Is it to slam Obama on the economy, or to change voters' views of Mitt Romney?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Probably a little more of the latter than the former. Yes, they are going to attack the president. They're going to criticize him throughout this week. I mean, that's part of what they do. And that's part of how they think they can win the White House.

But yes, the real goal of this convention is going to be to reintroduce Mitt Romney to the American people, that's what they're hoping for, that's what they hope these speakers here will do throughout these three nights coming up now starting here on Tuesday.

And the whole idea is to present Mitt Romney to the American people.

Again, listen, he's been running for president for over a year now. And this is the second election where he's been running, but a lot of Americans still don't know Mitt Romney. I think one of the people who is really going to try to show a warmer, softer, more personable side of Mitt Romney will be his wife, Ann Romney. She is one of the big speakers Tuesday night, tonight, here in prime time across the United States. And I think you're going to hear a lot about Ann Romney talking about her husband and how he's a family man and a personable person.

LU STOUT: And, I've got to ask you about the weather. I mean, how will the weather affect the convention's schedule and ultimately the GOP message. I mean, will they be forced to streamline now that they're down a day?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, exactly. But I guess they're getting to be pros at this. Remember, four years ago they had their convention in Minnesota, but Hurricane Gustav was slamming into the Gulf Coast and they took a four day convention and squeezed it down into three. That's what they're doing here again four years later. So I guess you could say they're getting very good at this.

What are they don't to accommodate? Well they're staring their schedules a little earlier in prime time here in the United States, one hour earlier. And the speakers are going to be told to speak a little shorter. Maybe it'll be like the Academy Awards, if they speak too long maybe the music will start and they'll have to get off the stage and we'll see.

I don't think that'll happen. But that's the whole idea here is their trying to abbreviate things.

The problem is, though, Kristie, is what about this storm? If it really impacts and hits hard into Louisiana tonight into tomorrow, well, they're going to have to revisit. And officials here say they will revisit if they need to, because it'll be tough to put on a political convention if Americans are suffering along the Gulf coast -- Kristie?

LU STOUT: Of course. Of course.

And also to what degree is the Republican Party fully behind Mitt Romney? How much intraparty tension is there?

STEINHAUSER: There is still some tension. You know, we saw it play out on the floor of the convention hall behind me yesterday. Supporters of Ron Paul, the congressman from Texas who ran against Mitt Romney in the Republican primaries, his supporters had a little protest, I guess you could say yesterday. And it'll be interesting to see if there's a larger protest today when they start that roll call, when they put Mitt Romney's name officially into nomination.

Because, listen, while the Republicans are all unified in that they want to take Mr. Obama out of the White House, that is their goal, obviously, not all of them are truly in love, obviously, with Mitt Romney. So there still is some in fighting, there's some infighting over some of the rules that are being voted on today here at this convention so we could see a little bit of drama.

But overall, no, there is unity at least in trying to defeat President Obama come November 6.

As for Mitt Romney, by the way, he will be here today. He arrives a few hours from now. We learned that a couple of hours ago that he'll be here today. We don't know about his schedule, but his wife is speaking tonight. So maybe, maybe we'll see him on the podium -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah. And one more question for you, will there be a post- convention bounce? And I'm asking this since there was no bounce after the announcement of Ryan Paul (ph). So could there be another muted response after Tampa?

STEINHAUSER: That's true, there was not much of a bounce at all really in the polls after Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan of Wisconsin the House budget chairman as his running mate.

You know, four years ago we didn't see much of a bounce, that much of a bounce immediately after the conventions, both the Democratic and Republican conventions, so I don't think we're going to see a huge bounce here. They're not expecting it. Of course they would like that, but if there isn't one I don't think they'll be overly disappointed.

Again, what they want to do is get the message out to Americans who is Mitt Romney in hopes of lifting his favorable ratings among Americans -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Paul Steinhauser, great analysis as always. Thank you. Take care.

Now CNN will have extensive live coverage and analysis from the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Now tonight at midnight in London, 1:00 in Berlin, and for viewers in Asia, that's tomorrow morning at 7:00. It's all part of our America's Choice coverage of the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

Now breaking the rules. We dive into the worlds of two highly driven professionals, architect Zaha Hadid and French advertising executive Mercedes Erra. This week's Leading Women next on News Stream.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now two titans who follow their own rules. Our Leading Women this week. Becky Anderson continues her conversation with architect Zaha Hadid, and I profile advertising executive Mercedes Erra.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A trendy party on London's east side. In attendance, politicians, some members of royalty, and the staff of Zaha Hadid architects. In the middle of it all, standing out in her signature cape, is the party's host: Zaha Hadid. The architect looks very regal. And in fact she'll soon be knighted by the queen, making her a Dame.

And if you were offered a project at Buckingham Palace, what would you do?

ZAHA HADID, ARCHITECT: I want to do a very interior (inaudible). Or do another pavilion in the garden, but I think it would be very nice to do a stunning furniture in these classical buildings in the same way they do these art shows in Versailles.

ANDERSON: Hadid's push for excellence has earned her jabs. She's been called a diva, or a princess, titles she doesn't necessarily shy away from.

How would your assistant describe you?

HADID: I'm very difficult. I'm not consistent. I don't have this hierarchy issue. I'm not interested in that, and to all the number I'm the boss you have to treat me differently. They treat me like a friend. So I -- you know...

ANDERSON: But you've said in the past that you know frighten people, right?

HADID: That's only because they're not used to a woman with an opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's always the demand and the expectation of an extraordinary result not maybe every evening, but every week, every month. So that could be stressful for some, but it's exhilarating and energizing for others.

So -- but it is a tough environment, but it's positive spirit.

ANDERSON: Hadid admits her firm is highly competitive. And there are times in architecture, she says, when you may work several days with no sleep. That may be part of the reason why only 30 percent of her staff of 300 are women.

I hope you might not mind me asking, but did you make a decision not to have kids?

HADID: No, I just didn't have them. I don't think that, you know, people should do things because all the time I must going to have a child, or you know I'm turning this age I must have a husband.

ANDERSON: Hadid certainly follows her own rules, evident both in her life and through her work.

LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout. Mercedes Erra is a bit of a rule bender, too. She succeeded in an industry dominated by men in France. And she's also known for her commitment to women's rights. Erra says her lifelong ambition is to empower women. In 2005 she became one of the founding members of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society.

MERCEDES ERRA, ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE: We have no many place we can hear the voice of women. And in this association in this forum you can hear. And we change the way people think the woman speak...

LU STOUT: Erra's voice is heard by many. Recently, she was on the radio show France Culture and a discussion on sexual harassment in the work place.

ERRA: I think it's very important that you have an other -- other problematics, problematic in the school, the image of the woman in media.

LU STOUT: She is personally committed to the female brand. Even inside the advertising company she runs, she openly says she gives special attention to women, working to help them realize their full potential.

ERRA: Yes, absolutely I give special attention and my intent is always the same. You need to help the woman to grow up and to need calmer voice, because sometimes it's OK I can do this, and this I cannot do.

LU STOUT: She wants absolute equality. And both women and men have worked for her seem to appreciate and respect how she leads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, she care for people. I mean, she's -- she pays attention to people and she's interested certainly in the professional side of you, but also the personal side of you.

LU STOUT: And as Erra points out, though she might be seen as a bit of a role model, women should not necessarily follow her lead.

ERRA: I can sleep, snore, a small hour. And I don't think all the women need to be sleep three hours a day and have my energy, no. Just normal woman can achieve big jobs exactly as the men.


LU STOUT: And don't forget you can catch up on all our Leading Women on our website along with all our video profiles. You can also find features on other Leading Women like a tribute to the late Phyllis Diller, the collection of some of her best jokes. It's all at

Now coming up next here on News Stream, it has been just days since Apple's victory over Samsung in a U.S. court. And now the tech giant is seeking to take another bite out of Samsung. We've got the details when we come back.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Apple is seeking a ban on the sale of eight Samsung phones in the U.S. just days after a court ruled Samsung had infringed on Apple's patents by copying the iPhone. Now these are the eight phones that Apple wants banned as seen on Samsung's website, including several variants of the Samsung Galaxy S II. Now Samsung's newest flagship phone the Galaxy S III is not among them, nor are any of Samsung's tablets.

And despite the fight between the two companies, it's worth remembering that Apple and Samsung still have a business relationship. Now Samsung supplies some of the chips you're seeing here in this iPad. And Samsung appears to be taking steps to ensure that the business relationship continues. According to Reuters, Samsung held an emergency meeting to talk about last week's U.S. court ruling one man was noticeably absent: Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun.

Now the Reuters piece suggests that that could be because Oh-hyun, he is also the head of Samsung's device solutions division which contains the company's chip business. And according to the Reuters' pieces, the company wants to make clear that there is a dividing line between the handset business that's fighting with Apple and the semiconductor division that works with Apple.

Now, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, and the Williams sisters are the star attractions on day two of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. And Alex Thomas can tell us there have been no major upsets yet -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, these grand slam events can take a little while to warm up, can't they. And we're still a couple of hours away from the start of action today in New York. But all the top seeds in action on the opening day of the U.S. Open were safely through to the next round, including the defending women's champion Samantha Stosur. She raced to victory in less than an hour, dropping just a couple of games in the process.

And there was also a convincing win for Kim Clijsters who is playing in her final tournament before retiring for a second time. The Belgian has won here three times before. And in fact hasn't lost at Flushing Meadows since 2003. She beat 16 year old American Victoria Duval. And the American was making her grand slam tournament debut.

On Tuesday, all attention in the women's draw will be on the Williams sister, although Serena is only the fourth seed. Last year's runner up is considered the favorite by many pundits.

Venus is unseeded, but she'll be on the main Arthur Ashe court as well.

And second seed Agnieszka Radwanska will be out to show she has the ability to improve what's been a pour U.S. Open record for her. She's never got past the fourth round previously.

And after a sensational 2011, this season has been much quieter for Novak Djokovic, but he's sure to be focused for this, the final grand slam tournament of 2012. The Serb is the defending champion in New York. And he'll be trying to match Roger Federer and Andy Murray who breezed through their opening matches on Monday as you can see from those score lines there.

In football, Luka Modric says he's determined to win a place in Real Madrid's starting 11 after completing his long awaited transfer to Spain from Tottenham. The Croatian midfielder has signed a five year contract after being sold for a fee reported to be around $43 million dollar. Madrid came to recruit some new blood after a shock defeat to Getafe at the weekend that leaves the defending Spanish champions still without a win so far in this season's La Liga.

Real are up against Barcelona in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday. The Catalan club lead 3-2.

His signing was hailed as the start of a footballing revolution in China, but just a couple of months after Didier Drogba moved to Shanghai Shenhua, the future of the Champion's League winning striker is in doubt. Both Drogba and the other former Chelsea forward at the club Nicolas Alenka may be affected by a row between the owners.

The Reuters news agency is reporting that chairman Zu Jian (ph) may refuse to pay players' salaries if his demands for greater control aren't met. It's plain that Zu (ph) has invested more than $94 million over the last five-and-a-half years, but for all that money Shenhua are only 10th in the 16 team Chinese Super League. And people like Drogba and Anelka certainly cost a fair bit of cash every week.

More in World Sport in just over three hours time when we'll also be looking ahead for the start of the Paralympics here in London, but for now back to you in Hong Kong, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Alex Thomas there. Thank you.

And over the next few days we will have extensive coverage of the Republican National Convention, a key point in the race for the White House, as Republicans try to sell Mitt Romney to the American public.

Now New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has the honor of delivering the keynote address later on Tuesday, but just where did the term keynote come from?


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jonathan Mann with another political jargon buster. The term keynote comes from barbershop quartet music. A cappella singers who practice a key note before singing a song. The key note sets the tone for the song, a keynote speaker does the same in a speech. The keynote is meant to be the most memorable event at a political convention.



LU STOUT: And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. We will track Tropical Storm Isaac as it bears down on Louisiana. U.S. President Barack Obama is set to speak about the storm in the hours ahead. We'll bring you all the latest as it happens.

That is it for News Stream, World Business Today is next.