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Ryan, Rice Deliver Speeches During Day Two Of RNC Convention; Gulf Coast Still Feeling Effects Of Isaac; Real Madrid Wins Super Cup; Iranian- American Sentenced To Death In Tehran Will Get New Trial

Aired August 30, 2012 - 08:00   ET


LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet. And we begin in Syria where we continue our exclusive look at the battles happening inside the capital Damascus.

Paul Ryan makes his pitch to the American public as Mitt Romney's running mate and now the stage is set for the Republican nominee to speak later on Thursday

And from terror victim to Paralympian: the incredible story of Martine Wright.

Now Syrian rebels say that they have taken down a government fighter jet in Idlib Province. And this video is said to show the smoking aircraft falling from the sky. And there you have it, you can briefly make out a parachute as well. It followed reports of fierce fighting at two military airports.

Now Syrian state media says that government forces repelled the terrorist attack in Idlib. And President Bashar al Assad has praised police and security forces for carrying out what he calls heroic duties. His interview in a pro-government station prompted protests on Wednesday night.

Now recently violence has moved ever closer to the heart of Damascus. At a safe house in the capital, a journalist heard appalling allegations of sexual assaults and torture inflicted on detainees in the government's intelligence headquarters. Now for safety reasons we are not naming the journalists. And we also digitally altered voices in this report to protect their identities. It contains graphic language that is not suitable for everyone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even as battles raged in its suburbs, the center of Damascus remained a haven from the violence threatening to engulf the capital. But all that was changing.

Just got woken up by a series of explosions somewhere out there in the distance. It's like this every night, although it normally calms down just before the dawn prayer and then kicks back up as the day goes on. But tonight's been pretty bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Down in the street below we can hear -- I don't know if you can hear the gunfire, but this is the closest its ever been. You can see they're all lining up for shelter by the side of the road under the buildings there. It sounds very, very close. This is like afternoon, so it's still rush hour. For most of the time since we've been here, downtown has been pretty safe. We haven't really been able to go much beyond downtown for the last few days.

Almost every day, smoke clouds hover over the Damascus skyline. Checkpoints block every street and sand bags line street corners. The battle has now spilled onto Bashar al-Assad's very doorstep. And Syrian security forces, we're told, have responded by stepping up detentions and interrogation.

We got a chance to interview a pro-democracy activist who was recently released from detention. In spite of the stigma associated with the abuses he suffered, he wanted to tell us his story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beatings? There are all different kinds. Then there are the hanging. There are three types of hanging. They hang you from your wrists, from here, hovering over the ground. They hang you like this from behind, and they hang you from your legs.

The other torture technique is when they take a stick, sometimes plastic, sometimes wood. We called it a khoza. Do you mind if I use that word? They insert it into the anus repeatedly during your interrogation.

There were sexual assaults. Like a father and son, or an older man and a young man. They would strip them and force them onto each other. And of course while they were doing it they would taunt them. We were taunted day and night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The families of those in detention aren't allowed to visit or communicate with their loved ones. This mother told me she hadn't even received an official notification that her son is in government custody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every week I was expecting that they would take them whether this would be the week they would be caught. On the inside my heart is weeping, but nothing can be allowed to stop us from continuing neither fear, nor sorrow, nor tears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back in central Damascus, for now at least, the gunfire had stopped, but for how much longer?


LU STOUT: The escalating attacks and the rising death toll in Syria has prompted Egypt's president to condemn Damascus as an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy. Mohammed Morsi made those blistering comments in Iran, which is one of the Assad regime's strongest supporters. Mr. Morsi is the first Egyptian leader to visit Tehran since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Iran is currently hosting leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement Nations. And Reza Sayah joins us not live from the summit in Tehran. And Reza, what more did Egypt's president say against Syria? And how did Syria react?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Yeah, well, his searing criticism of the Syrian regime and the reaction definitely created the most buzz out of the summit today. The stage was set for drama, because you had President Morsi, the leader of Egypt, the country that's calling for the removal of the Assad regime and supporting the rebels.

Then you have the host country, Iran, a staunch ally of Syria. And then you had the Syrian delegation in attendance listening to Mr. Morsi's speech, the Prime Minister, the foreign minister, the deputy foreign minister. Even so, Mr. Morsi did not hold back in his denunciation of the Syrian regime.


MOHAMMED MORSI, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT (through translator): Ladies and gentleman, we have to know that we are supporting the fight of our senior brothers against the (inaudible) of lost al legitimacy. It is a moral obligation, at the same time a political and strategical step. It comes for -- form our belief in a new, independent Syria.


SAYAH: Now immediately after those comments, there was a lot of talk swirling that the Syrian delegation left the summit, left that meeting in protest. We along with other journalists were kept out of the meeting hall. We didn't see it, but soon after the foreign minister of Syria did confirm that the delegation walked out in protect of President Morsi's comments -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And you did manage to speak with the Syrian deputy foreign minister. What else did he tell you? What did he tell you about the conflict?

SAYAH: Well, the conversation didn't last long. It's tough to get access to Syrian officials who are still loyal to the regime. We did manage to speak to the deputy foreign minister briefly. We saw him walk by. We asked him about the rising death toll, the mounting evidence that the regime is using heavy weaponry, even jet fighters. But he dismissed our questions. He actually accused us of supporting terrorism. He alleged that western powers were committing genocide. Clearly, this was an official who did not want to answer our questions. And he hurried on and walked away.

LU STOUT: So no comment there. And defiance as well.

Now also on the agenda at the summit, nuclear disarmament. Reza, how is that being discussed inside Iran?

SAYAH: Well, this is, of course, Iran's home turf. The supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, he spoke today about Iran's controversial nuclear program. He once again denied that Iran was building nuclear weapons secretly. He maintained that it was for peaceful purposes. He called the allegations coming from the Israeli government, coming from western powers lies. Of course those western powers still concerned that Iran is secretly building a nuclear weapons and that's why we have this standoff between these two sides.

LU STOUT: All right. Reza Sayah joining us live from Tehran, thank you very much indeed for that.

You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, a big day for Mitt Romney as he gets ready to accept the Republican nomination for U.S. President.

And Tropical Storm Isaac weakens, but it is still very dangerous. Thousands of people are urged to move out of harms way as flood waters continue to surge.

And a glittering start to the Paralympics in London. The games are underway after a spectacular opening ceremony.


STEPHEN HAWKING: Ever since the dawn of civilization...



LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now it was a 35 minutes rousing speech, by far the biggest of his political career. Paul Ryan took center stage last night in Tampa, Florida to accept the Republican vice presidential nomination. He made a direct pitch to younger voters and ripped into President Obama's record on the economy.


REP. PAUL RYAN, REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: They've run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division is all they've got left. With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money. And he's pretty experienced at that.


LU STOUT: Well, let's go live now to Tampa for more on the convention. Our Brianna Keilar is there. She joins us now -- Brianna.


Paul Ryan was very much -- and certainly in his role as the House Budget Chairman attacking President Obama quite a bit on the economy in this election that is very much a referendum on President Obama's economic policies. But he also talked about President Obama as he put it basically letting down a very key constituency for him, which is the youth vote. Here's part of what Paul Ryan said.


RYAN: College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.


KEILAR: Now he was saying, Kristie, that President Obama let down this very key constituency. Overwhelming youth voters turned out for President Obama in 2008 about two to one. He's lost a little ground, President Obama has. This week he was trying to shore up the youth vote. He visited students, spoke to them at three universities in swing states.

So certainly you see there Paul Ryan not only trying to chip away at this key constituency, but also at sort of the iconic nature of President Obama's candidacy in 2008, Kristie.

LU STOUT: A rousing speech from Paul Ryan and also from Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday. She praised the GOP ticket with a forceful speech on foreign policy. Tell us more.

KEILAR: That's right. If Paul Ryan was there to criticize President Obama's economic policies, Condoleezza Rice was there to target his foreign policy. And she was saying, basically, that President Obama has -- and this has been a criticism of many Republicans, lead from behind. She says essentially that instead of being a force he has decided to be a friend. And she really said that if the U.S. doesn't really step up to the plate that there will be a vacuum that may be filled by other countries that don't have the same values as the U.S.

It is interesting, though, Kristie. I think it was a very effective speech. It was received very well I think across the board. A lot of people think that it was very well executed. But it's also a harder case to make when it comes to President Obama. He has had some foreign policy successes, very big ones -- taking out Osama bin Laden, a lot of the al Qaeda leadership as well as Libya, which went without any U.S. troops being injured. And then of course drone strikes which the administration doesn't like to talk a whole lot about, but they've been very aggressive on.

But at the same time, a lot of those foreign policy successes are sort of things that happened a little while ago, so it may be an area where this speech could have taken hold and might have been able to convince some voters, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now that's interesting. She never mentioned President Obama once during that speech.

One more question for you before you go, though. Brianna, Mitt Romney, he's going to take to the states Thursday night. This is the moment the convention has been waiting for. What should we expect?

KEILAR: We should expect that he's going to try to define himself. Up until now, it's been seen the Obama campaign has largely been able to define Mitt Romney. And they've done it by saying he's kind of this out of touch rich guy who wasn't going to stand by the middle class. So he needs to come out tonight and try to change some minds there.

He's also going to try, I think, to soften his image, because he really falls short of President Obama in polling when it comes to likeability and being in touch with voters. So there's certainly that aspect as well.

And we do know that at least he will touch on faith, Kristie, because he's Mormon. As you know, there's a lot of voters, even certainly normally Republican voters, evangelicals, who are uneasy with this. They worry that it's not really Christianity. And so he, as many of his surrogates have done on the stage here at the convention in Tampa is going to come out and try to say essentially, yes I may have a different faith in you, but we share the same values and we can work towards a common goal.

This will be part of the speech, though, I should say. It's not going to be entirely a faith speech for sure, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Right. Right. A lot of issues he has to hit on there.

Brianna Keilar joining us live from Tampa. Thank you.

And Mitt Romney, he will speak in just over 12 hours from now to officially accept the nomination. And Paul Steinhauser takes a look how the Republican Party has been selling Mitt Romney the man.


PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: It's job number one at the Republican Convention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need president Mitt Romney.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: President Romney, boy I like the sound of that.

STEINHAUSER: Call it the selling of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's filling in the blanks on Mitt Romney and telling voters who he is.

STEINHAUSER: From highlighting his resume.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney turned businesses around in the private sector.

STEINHAUSER: To describing what he'd do as president.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to put us back on a path to growth and great good paying private sector jobs again in America.

STEINHAUSER: While most polls, like our latest CNN/ORC survey, indicate the race for the White House as a dead heat, most polls also indicate Romney lags behind President Barack Obama when it comes to relating to the average voter. And even though he's been running for president on and off for six years, most Americans don't know Mitt Romney the man, that's where his wife Ann comes in.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: I know this good and decent man for what he is. He's warm and loving and patient.

STEINHAUSER: Now it's her husband's turn on the podium.

CRAIG ROMNEY, SON OF MITT ROMNEY: I think it's a great opportunity for people to get to see him in a, you know, very unfiltered way, to get to hear his story and his vision for the country. I think in large parts he's been defined by the opposition up to this point. And it's a chance for him to -- you know the voters to get to know what kind of candidate he really is.

STEINHAUSER: What will he say? Romney hasn't said much about his speech other than a share that he wants to highlight.

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: America is going to get on track and we're going to get this economy really going again.

STEINHAUSER: But his top strategist gave us an appetizer.

STUART STEVENS, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SR. STRATEGIST: It'll be a clear vision of a Romney presidency and very much from his heart about America and why he wants to be president and what a presidency will be like.

STEINHAUSER: With the nation watching, this convention and Romney's prime time speech are incredibly important opportunities, opportunities the Romney campaign wants to leverage. Paul Steinhauser, CNN, Tampa, Florida.


LU STOUT: And also reaching out to the electorate, U.S. President Barack Obama. On Wednesday he took questions on social media, but he didn't turn to his 28 million fans on Facebook, or his 19 million followers on Twitter, instead he logged into a live chat in Reddit, a website where popular posts are measured by votes.

Now the president verified his presence by referring to a tweet from his official Twitter feed, and to this photo of himself seated at a desk starring into his laptop.

Now in 30 minutes, he answered 10 questions on topics ranging from work-life balance to Afghanistan. At the end of the live chat the president summed up the Reddit experience with two words "NOT BAD" in all caps.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, let the games begin again. London puts on a spectacular show for the opening ceremony of the Paralympics. We'll introduce you to an athlete who overcame major obstacles to compete.


LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong you are back watching News Stream.

And the Paralympic Games are underway in London. It is a packed day of competition with 28 gold medals up for grabs. And the opening ceremony featured umbrellas and a light-hearted tribute to London's gloomy weather. And British physicist Stephen Hawking called on people to look to the stars for inspiration. More than 4,000 athletes are competing in front of a record 2.4 million spectators.

Now the Paralympics are especially poignant for one athlete: she lost her legs in a terrorist attack the day after London won its Olympic bid. Now she's competing in volleyball and is determined that nothing will hold her back.

Christina Macfarlane has her story.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She one athlete whose Olympic dream started as a nightmare. The day London won its Olympic bid Martine Wright was able-bodied. She was on her way to work the next morning when disaster struck.

MARTINE WRIGHT, GB SITTING VOLLEYBALL: I was completely oblivious to what was going on, just had my head in a paper, but I know that we went into a tunnel and then probably ten seconds later all I can describe it is I just had this white flash in front of my eyes.

MACFARLANE: Martine's carriage had been blown to pieces by the 7/7 suicide bombers. The blast tore through the train killing seven people and crushing both her legs.

WRIGHT: I sort of glanced up and it was about six foot up or something and then saw all this mangled metal that was the end of the carriage sort of going -- going into my legs. And at the top of this mangled metal I just saw one my new trainers. And I just remember this trainer that was sitting on top of all this mangled metal just with blood all over it.

MACFARLANE: In the years that followed, Martine says she embraced life as an amputee, throwing herself into every opportunity that came her way, even getting married.

How did it come about that you found sport?

WRIGHT: I went to a Paralympic potential day, which was in the guise of -- called the amputee games. Tried fencing and basketball and tennis and archery and sitting volleyball.

People think that we use a chair in sitting volleyball. We don't. We don't use any wheelchair. We use our bottoms and we use the floor and that's it. And we use and hands and legs. So that was quite liberating for me.

MACAFARLANE: I hear that you wear the number seven jersey and that you'll be wearing that during the Olympics. Am I right to think that that's symbolic to you?

WRIGHT: I purposely chose the number seven back when we were given our kit. And 7/7 will always be a dark -- a dark day. If I could wear that on my chest, you know, near something as amazing as the Paralympics, you know, hopefully again that's a message -- it might just be to me, it might not be to anyone else, but it's just a message.

MACFARLANE: A message that even years after the attack that changed her life, good can prevail over bad.

Christina Macfarlane, CNN, London.


LU STOUT: What an incredible woman. You're watching News Stream. And up next Isaac has not stopped churning up trouble along the Gulf coast. And as the water just keeps rising in some towns in Louisiana, residents are being told it is time to get out.

And we go live to New Orleans after the break.


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

Now Egypt's new president has condemned the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad as an oppressive regime that has lost legitimacy. Mohammed Morsi's comments ruffled feathers at the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran. And the Syrian delegation walked out. Iran, which is hosting the summit, is one of Syria's closest allies.

The Free Syrian Army says it has shot down a government fighter jet in Idlib Province. Earlier this week, Rebels claimed that they struck an attack helicopter in Damascus. Opposition activists say at least 14 people have been killed so far this Thursday.

Mitt Romney gets his big chance later today to convince U.S. voters he is ready for the Oval Office. He'll be speaking at the Republican convention where he has been officially nominated at the party's presidential choice for president. Now Romney's running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan addressed delegates in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Isaac is weakening slightly as it moves across the southern U.S. But the storm is still packing a powerful and dangerous punch. Emergency teams have rescued thousands of people from flooded homes in Louisiana. And nearly a million people in Louisiana and three other states are without power.

Now in Louisiana, authorities are warning people in several towns outside of New Orleans to get to higher ground before another storm surge from Tropical Storm Isaac.

Rob Marciano joins us now live from New Orleans where a dusk to dawn curfew was in effect. And Rob, first can you describe the conditions out there?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: Well, today they've been squalling. Basically we'll have windy conditions, dry conditions, and then all of a sudden a rain squall will come in. But there's still flooding occurring around the city of New Orleans and certainly the surrounding Parishes.

We're on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, which is one of the battlegrounds as far as the battling the water that was coming in from the Lake and also trying to pump the water that was falling within the city. So this is a pumping station/flood wall. What you're seeing behind me are one of the several pipes that are associated with some pumps.

Each one of these pipes can throw out eight -- or about roughly 25,000 liters per second. Just one and a half working right now, but during the height of the storm, all eight were working.

Now that pumps the water out. These flood gates, each of which weighs 20 tons, there's 11 of them, they were dropped before the storm came in. They keep the water from the lake coming in from that storm surge.

But this situation doesn't surround the lake. So you go outside of New Orleans and there's some serious ramifications. A place called La Place, which is 25 miles northwest of here, they don't have a flood wall. But the water from the lake came pouring in to that town.

We tried to get up there yesterday. Here's some of the video that we shot when we were stranded or blocked off by the I-10 flooded truck stop there. 18 wheelers nearly submerged.

Now there are rescue operations going on there. We got this video in overnight from the Coastguard. Dramatic stuff as they rescue several families off a rooftop. This couple and their two dogs were rescued. This is what they had to say about their harrowing experience.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he had a harder time, because he got the bigger dog, which I'm sure she...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If gives you more of an appreciation for what these guys do. I can tell you that.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God in a helicopter.


MARCIANO: Coastguard will be back up today, a multiagency rescue effort continues today. Talk to the sheriff, he said it's the worst flooding he's ever seen there in his lifetime. Last time it flooded like that was in Gustav, Hurricane Gustav. And it took a week-and-a-half before they dried out. So it will take that long for them to dry out.

And there's also flooding issues on the north side. And then hear you see it, Kristie, more rain coming down throughout the day today -- back to you.

LU STOUT: More rain coming down. You just pointed out the barrier right next to you is still standing tall, standing strong. A question about the pumps behind you, how are they working and how are they holding up, especially as we've been reporting there are power outages in Louisiana and across the U.S. Gulf Coast?

MARCIANO: Yeah. Boy, there's almost a million people without power within four states. But these pumps are run off of diesel. Which -- and the tanks are filled enough to where they can run for fully operated for a week. So they're doing just fine. And the Corps tells me they didn't really have any glitches throughout the storm, so at points they were pumping them all at the same time, so they had it in full force, but they managed to keep up with the rain wall.

So, for the most part a success, thankfully, of this $14 billion project that's been installed since Hurricane Katrina -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: OK. Good to hear it. Now a number of people have been evacuated, have been rescued in the flood zone. We heard a story just then, that clip you heard just a moment ago. But are there a number of people still out there stranded just waiting for help?

MARCIANO: Yeah. You know, how dramatic or how life threatening it is, I'm not sure about that and the exact number I'm unsure. But, yes, there are definitely people that are at least stranded that will have to be picked up today, because in places like LaPlace, that water is not going to go away for a good week.

Down in Plaquemines Parish south of town, there were dramatic rescues going on there as a levee was overtopped yesterday.

They're thinking about blowing out a levee to drain the water there.

So even though the storm is exiting to our north and west by about 150 kilometers right now. It's not going away, at least the ramifications are going to be with us quite some time and the human toll.

Thankfully, no fatalities, at least here in the U.S. But certainly people have had quite the experience and many, many hundreds if not over 1,000 of them displaced from their homes -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: That's right. Thankfully not fatalities. And Rob, thank you so much for keeping across everything for us: the effects of this storm, and of course rescue efforts there underway.

Rob Marciano joining us live from Louisiana.

Now what was Hurricane Isaac made its second and final landfall near Louisiana barrier island of Grand Isle. And for hours, Isaac's rain and storm surge pounded the coastal community flooding streets and homes there.

Now Ed Lavendera, he is there in Grand Isle. And just a short time ago he told us that the storm just never seemed to end.


ED LAVENDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems almost incredible to say that now almost 40 hours after we first started feeling the effects of what was then Hurricane Isaac making its way onto the shores here in Grand Isle, Louisiana, we're still feeling the trace and the last remnants of this storm passing through here.

And just to give you a sense of what we've had to deal with since we've been here in Grand Isle, this is the house of -- and the home of Dean Blanchard that we've been using as shelter throughout much of this storm. And we've been doing our live reports from just up here on this deck over the garage. And you can see the storm surge that came through here.

This is the garage underneath the deck. And look at the water still inside. That water came above that window line there. And it quickly filled up in just a matter of minutes. It was absolutely incredible to see just how quickly the water rushed in.

And I can show you over here where we're dealing with some of the remnants of the storm surge.

The water got as high as here on the house and brought in about six inches of water into the first floor that was right over here. But, you know, look this is still what we're dealing with. It's a piece of the wood and debris that has floated in from who knows where at this point.

The bay side of the island is over here. The Gulf side is over here. And even though we haven't had any major, major rainfall here in the last few hours, you know it's going to take awhile for all of this water to make its way back into the bay and into the Gulf. In fact, we haven't even had a chance, yet, to go out and survey any of the damage. Our car is just not high enough to be able to drive through this water so it's just too dangerous and not a risk we're willing to take at this point. But at some point here when the sun breaks, we'll go out onto the roadways and begin surveying the damage.

But from everything we can tell not a great deal of structural damage from anything that we've been able to see, some rooftops and that sort of thing damaged, probably power lines that need to be replaced and that sort of thing. But there hasn't been any structural, severe structural damage, which is impressive when you think about it, because Hurricane Isaac came through here, the very eye of the storm came right by where we were.


LU STOUT: Ed Lavendera reporting.

Now the Tropical Storm, you've seen it just then, it is soaking the region. But just how long will the rain threat from Isaac last?

Let's get answers now from Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. So many things come to mind when I see Ed there and that water inside that home.

The rain is going to stick around for at least another 24 hours, minimum. And the rain is going to be coming and going. And we could easily see another -- by the larger estimates another 250 millimeters of rain across portions there of the southern portion of Louisiana, which is a tremendous amount. We're nearly already over half a meter, or almost half a meter of rainfall just since the storm began.

I want to show you something really interesting. I want to go back to the place where Rob Marciano was reporting from. And he was here on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, Kristie. And there's New Orleans right here. There's the Mississippi River. And there's the lake.

He was near this place called LaPlace. And this is one of the areas that was affected by the storm. So, this is one place I want to talk to you about. And then the other one is Slidell which is over on this side over here on the other side of the lake. Both of these places were not under mandatory evacuation orders. And both of them were the ones that are getting a lot of people that have had to be evacuated since, because of the high water from the lake. And that's pretty impressive when you see Slidell right now is -- the pumps can't keep up to take out the water so they are having flash flooding there from the rain that's falling, in particular and some of it from the lake.

And then on the other side, LaPlace, they have -- they had that water that just rushed through from the lake. And we have some pictures to show you from LaPlace. Rob was saying that this is pictures from an affiliate. And you can see the people just kind of huddled there, dozens of them, Kristie, holding on to their children, to their pets, if they can, and they were rescued by the Coastguard. So pretty dramatic stuff coming out as far as the images from this region.

So, let's go ahead and get to it and talk a little bit about what's going on now.

Still a tropical storm and there are still tropical storm force winds that are going through here, there's still a tropical storm warning for the southern half of Louisiana, including New Orleans. The winds have been pretty strong, gusting in some cases over 50, maybe 60 kilometers per hour. So that makes it very difficult for the rescue personnel to kind of get around, particularly the helicopters.

As far as the rain, you can see the rain still extremely heavy. There's that almost half a meter of rainfall. This is as of last night. So this morning will continue to pile on the moisture. And you can see right over here in the forecast over 250, in some cases, the forecast for New Orleans proper as far as rainfall is concerned.

That's what the storm looks like now. The possibility of tornadoes still remains. There was a tornado warning issued just a little while ago all the way back over here in Mississippi. So this is a large storm affecting millions of people across the northern portion of the U.S.

Kristie, back to you.

LU STOUT: Wow, so despite the downgrade you have the threat of rain and also possible tornadoes.

Now Mari, what about storms in east Asia. What can you tell us?

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: You know, we were just doing the count right now. We've had seven typhoons across east Asia in the last 42 days, Kristie. That's huge. We can't believe, sometimes, how much -- how much we've had across this area. And unfortunately, the last storm that just made it through there, that one has also caused some damage across the Korean peninsula. We're expecting some very heavy rain from what was Tembin, which was that typhoon that hit Taiwan, swirled around the South China Sea, went back across Taiwan, went north across China and now has gone into the Korean Peninsula. That storm is causing some very heavy rain there. Fortunately, though, it has been downgraded and the winds are not as strong as they were with -- as when it moved through Taiwan for example, or as strong as Bolavin which hit the Korean Peninsula last week.

So this particular storm expected to continue moving away, but it could dump some very heavy rain. And the threat for flooding is definitely there for you across South Korea in particular. Kristie, back to you.

LU STOUT: All right. Thanks to the update. Seven typhoons in the last 42 days here in east Asia, incredible. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now the family of a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran has made an emotional plea for his release. It has been a year since Amir Hekmati was arrested. Iran accuses him of spying for the CIA.

A Tehran court originally sentenced the Iranian-American to death, but Iran's supreme court has since ordered a retrial. And now his family faces an anxious wait for a fresh verdict.

Paula Newton has this CNN exclusive.


BEHNAZ HEKMATI, AMIR'S MOTHER: I was surprised. I was shocked.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, you're watching your son confess here to spying for the CIA.

AMIR MEKMATI: My name is Amir Mirza Hekmati.

NEWTON: You're watching his confession on TV, on a Iranian TV. What were your thoughts that you saw this? I mean, what were you thinking?

BEHNAZ HEKMATI: They forced him to do that. And then that's not true. He -- we knew -- they knew he was in military, because they -- he told embassy of Iran he was in military.

NEWTON: How scared were you when you saw this. I mean, what were you thinking?

BEHNAZ HEKMATI: I was very scared. I was -- I had a panic attack. I never had -- I didn't have panic attacks before, but it was -- it was very scary, very scary.

NEWTON: There's already been one sentence of death. What do you think his chances are for being able to deny the charges and come home?

ALI HEKMATI, AMIR'S FATHER: Paula, the chances are there, because Iranian government has been lenient towards many political prisoners and they've released many prisoners before. I don't see why releasing one additional prisoner is not going to be helpful to the government image in the world to in the humanitarian cause.

BEHNAZ HEKMATI: You just want him to come home, because I think one year is enough. If you want to punish us, you want to punish Amir, what ever reason he's there, just one year is enough. Just please let him come home.

SARAH HEKMATI, AMIR'S SISTER: I mean, we do the best we can to keep his life, but it's just really the struggle is the lack of communication what this has done to us. You know, going from talking to somebody daily, weekly, and visiting on holidays to absolutely nothing.

NEWTON: And not knowing what's going on...

BEHNAZ HEKMATI: Never heard from him, never. We never heard from him.

SARAH HEKMATI: ...conditions are in the prison. Not knowing what his status is at all. All we know is from the last time my mom saw him how much weight he's lost. Who is tending to his needs? We have no idea.


LU STOUT: Paula Newton reporting. Now still ahead, we're going to show you Samsung's new phones and a tennis champion bids farewell to New York and her career.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Samsung unveiled a new set of mobile phones on Wednesday running on Microsoft's next mobile operating system Windows Phone I. Now Samsung has made Windows phone devices before, but they've mainly focused on handsets running on Google Android. And they're the first company to show off phones using the latest version of Windows Phone.

And it might be a coincidence, but it is worth noting that Samsung's push to use Windows Phone, it comes almost a week after a U.S. court said its Android handsets copied Apple's iPhone. And we've shown you this quote many times before. Apple's Steve Jobs declaring war on Android. But Apple and Windows Phone could be a different story.

Now here is the iPhone next to Samsung's newest Windows phone. It's not to scale, because the Samsung device is much bigger, but you can immediately see how different the two interfaces are. Even rows of icons with the 3D effect on the iPhone, files of various sizes with data on them on the Windows phone. But it does beyond appearance.

Now Apple licensed some of its design patents to Microsoft. It's not clear whether that license is only for Microsoft or whether it covers Windows phones from other companies. But it could show how Apple's attitude to Windows Phone is different to how it feels about Android.

Now, the new European football season is only a few weeks old, but Real Madrid already has a trophy in the bag. Let's join Alex Thomas in London for more -- Alex.


Yeah, Jose Mourihno said the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup would tell him all he needed to know about the mental attitude of his players. And the Real Madrid coach discovered his team can bounce back from defeat after their victory over bitter rivals Barcelona.

Trailing 3-2 from the first leg at the Camp Nou, Gonzalo Iguain fired the home side ahead at the Birnabeu after 11 minutes. Just seven minutes later a spectacular goal from Christiano Ronaldo made it 2-0 on the night. And 4-3 to Real on aggregate.

Barcelona's chances faded further when Adriano was sent off. But even with just 10 men, the Catalan club pulled a goal back through Lionel Messi before the break.

The second half was goalless. So the tie finished 4-all over the two legs. And Real won because they scored more away goals.

It was the first win of the season for Mourinho's men. And their first Super Cup triumph for four years.


AITOR KARANKA, REAL MADRID ASSISTANT COACH (through translator): It is a title. It was the result we needed after the first leg. We have achieved it. And that is the important thing.

TITO VILANOVA, BARCELONA COACH (through translator): Before the match I said this won't make a mark on the rest of the season. So no, after losing, it's still won't mark it. We have a league game on Sunday.


THOMAS: On world sport in just over three hours time we'll tell you about this year's draw for the champion's league group stage as it happens. And these were the final five clubs to qualify for the lucrative competition. French side Lyons needing extra time to beat Copenhagen. Scottish champion Celtic are through for the first time since 2008. And Dynamo Kiev qualified at the expense of former runner's up Borussia Monchengladbach.

Spartak Moscow will also be in the draw later, along with FC Cluj of Romania who knocked out Swiss club Basel.

Now an unbeaten run stretching back to 2003 and a hugely successful tennis career both came to an end on Wednesday when Kim Clijesters was knocked out of the U.S. Open. The 29 year old Belgian confirmed she will now retire for a second time from the sport.

The three-time champion hadn't lost at Flushing Meadows since 2003. And she put that record on the line against British Teenager Laura Robson in their second round match. Robson taking a one set lead. And then she went on to win the second set in a tiebreak as well. So 7-6, 7-6. The victory for Robson. Clijsters out of the competition. And the end of her career. But she said afterwards she has no regrets.


KIM CLIJSTERS, TENNIS PLAYER: I think the first hour after the match there was still disappointment and a little bit of frustration I think, you know, still kind of have that routine of going through the match and trying to figure out how to do it better next time. But obviously now I mean you know after talking and kind of thinking about you know the retirement in singles and -- I'm happy.


THOMAS: We've got more on World Sport later as well as the latest from the Paralympic Games. For now, though, Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.

LU STOUT: All right. Alex, thank you.

Coming up next on News Stream, it was the song Mitt and Ann Romney smooched to, but what did the Temptations think about My Girl being played at the Republican Convention. We got the details next.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now who can resist one of the Temptations biggest hits, not the Republican National Convention, the 1964 hit song My Girl. It provided the musical backdrop for Mitt and Ann Romney's shared moment in the spotlight. So how do the Temptations feel about it? Jeanne Moos finds out.



JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was too tempting to resist.

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: This man will not fail.

MOOS: The temptation to follow up Ann Romney's speech with The Temptations, first a kiss, then a hug, then another kiss. To Mitt Romney, Ann is "My Girl."

But how does this make The Temptations feel? After all, performers always seem to be telling Republicans --


MOOS: -- not to use their music. Twisted Sister's front man told VP hopeful Paul Ryan to stop playing their song because "there's almost nothing he stands with that I agree with."

So will The Temptations mind sharing their 1964 hit?


OTIS WILLIAMS, ORIGINAL TEMPTATION: Well, "My Girl" is our evergreen song, that's The Temptations's national anthem. MOOS: Otis Williams is the only original member of The Temptations still with the group.

WILLIAMS: You know, it is like when we perform live and they first hear that boom-boom-boom, boom-boom-boom.

MOOS: Uh-oh, Williams is an Obama supporter. He is not going to like the Romneys using his "Girl."

It was kind of their music to smooch to.

WILLIAMS: It's a great song to smooch to.

MOOS: Actually, Williams says he appreciates the Republicans using their music.

WILLIAMS: It's great when our song, "My Girl," can just transcend all kind of borders, you know?

MOOS: And the day after Mitt Romney led his "Girl" off-stage, on that same stage, this guy asked his girl to marry him.

Bradley Thompson, the convention's production manager, used the big screen to pop the question to Laura Bowman, the production coordinator.



THOMPSON: I want to spend the rest of my life with you.

MOOS: An unconventional proposal at the convention. But there is one "temptation" maybe some Republicans should resist, when it comes to dancing, they're no Temptations.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LU STOUT: Time now to go Over and Out There. And longstanding U.S. sanctions against Iran have had an unexpected impact on World of Warcraft. Iranian players of the popular online game have found themselves unable to log in. Now Activision/Blizzard, it's the U.S. company behind Warcraft says that the sanctions against Iran prevent it from doing business with residents of Iran as well as North Korea, Syria and other nations facing trade sanctions. And because of the sanctions, Blizzard says it cannot give Iranian players a refund, but it will happily lift restrictions as soon as U.S. laws allow it.

And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.