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NEWS STREAM

Rebekah Brooks Formally Charged; China Battles Flooding Along The Yangtze; Democratic Convention To Displace Homeless Families Living In Motels; Prosecutors Remove Murder Charges From 270 Protesting Miners In South Africa

Aired September 3, 2012 - 8:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JIM CLANCY, HOST: Hello everyone and welcome. I'm Jim Clancy at CNN Center. This is News Stream where news and technology meet. Glad to have you with us.

We're going to begin this report in Syria. New discussions plan to deal with a humanitarian crisis. Question, will that be enough?

Also ahead, phone hacking scandal, the former chief executive of News International appears in court again. We're live with the latest.

A religious messiah or a cult leader? The founder of the controversial Unification church is dead.

And Paralympian Oscar Pistorius expresses regret after controversial comments he made following his shock defeat.

We're in for Kristie tonight for you there in Hong Kong who were expecting to see her.

We're focusing, though, on the news. And the news is coming from Syria. New talks now scheduled to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation in that country. The International Committee of the Red Cross saying its chief will meet with President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials in Damascus Tuesday. That, as the civil war claims ever more victims.

Activists report 25 people, including women and children, were killed when a war plane bombed the northern rebel held town of al Bab (ph) on Monday. The rebels are continuing, though, to strike deep into government territory. State television reported a bombing near a government security building in Damascus on Sunday, a bombing that left four people wounded.

It's difficult for CNN to verify many of these reports coming from Syria, because the government is limiting access for international journalists. Arwa Damon, though, has the story of one man who has made it his mission to document what is happening in his town. The video in her report comes from a freelance journalist who spent time in Qusayr.

Now a warning, some of these images are going to be disturbing and may not be appropriate for all of our viewers. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Every night, Trad (ph) scrolls through the videos he shot that day, reviewing scenes he wishes he'd never witnessed. It's a macabre routine, but one he's addicted to. He simply can't stop, can't let go, can't give up.

For the past 18 months he's documented nearly every single death in Qusayr, a town of some 50,000 before the violence started. Name, date, location: more than 400 victims and counting. Often they are his neighbors, friends, relatives, people he would see around town. And once, he pointed the camera at his brother's corpse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first one my brother, but I didn't know my brother the first one. After I come also I take some photo of the other one. Suddenly I remember this one my brother.

The start I shout my brother, my brother, my brother, doctor my brother!

But after, normal.

I am sad also, the first, and -- and angry.

But after normal.

DAMON: The 37 year old once owned a furniture shop. Now he's part of a small team of media activists filming and posting online the horrific videos that have come to symbolize the Syrian uprising.

Most of the residents of Qusayr have fled, but the indiscriminate shelling still takes its toll on the few who remain those who have nowhere else to go.

In the last few weeks, this eight year old girl was killed by a mortar round that hit her home. There was nothing the medical team could do, but try to hide the wound to spare her mother the anguish. She collapses when she hears the news.

At times, Trad (ph) tries to console families, reassuring this woman that her son is going to be OK, that he will survive the wounds to his leg. Occasionally, he hands over the camera so he can help. But too often, there is nothing he can do but film.

Much of Qusayr lies in ruins, similar to most of what we see from across Syria. Its people resigned to their fate, knowing that they are on their own.

The hospital, regularly targeted, is trying to build up its defenses. This man who works in construction is building a bunker for his family. His children take a quick peek into the darkness below. Perhaps this will save them, perhaps it will be their grave.

Trad's (ph) younger brother is now a rebel fighter. He was a mechanic who wanted to be a DJ. He plays music as Trad (ph) recalled the fate of one of their media activist friends, detained by Syrian security forces and returned to them with his eyes gouged out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they take the eyes. The same, my job. Why? I can go down Bashar. I throw Bashar by this one. Too much dangerous, here in Syria the camera. But when I finish with revolution I catch the camera like this and I throw it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: An inside look there at the dangers of life inside Syria.

Let's get more now. Arwa Damon joins me live from Beirut in neighboring Lebanon. She's monitoring the situation.

Arwa, we've seen a lot of video come out here, we have seen people become more skilled at all of this. The Syrians, we're taking these -- we know we're taking chances, but let me ask you, can we trust this video. Is it being manipulated, favoring their side?

DAMON: Look, Jim, these media activists that are posting these videos online are not claiming to be independent journalists. They will tell you straight up that they are activists first and foremost. And yes they do have an underlying purpose to all of this. They want to bring down the Assad regime. And they most certainly going to be documenting the atrocities that are going to be furthering their argument that the Assad government is targeting them indiscriminately, constantly. Throughout the Syrian uprising, we have had contradictory accounts of what is taking place.

Today, for example, with the air strike in he town of el Bab (ph). The activists, the video posted to YouTube clearly showing civilian casualties, children being pulled out of the rubble. At the very same time we're hearing, again from the Syrian minister of information, that the government is only targeting foreign-backed terrorists, al Qaeda elements. And that it is to a certain degree not going after these innocent civilian targets.

So we have this constantly complex patchwork of information, and yes, in some cases, misinformation that is emerging from Syria on a regular basis.

CLANCY: You know, one of the things that has come out, we saw video released on social media today that showed them digging a tunnel. They were digging, tunneling underneath a hospital saying that there was so pro- government militiamen who were housed there. They wanted to blow the place up.

But, you know, for a group that has taken a vow that they're going to take the high road, I mean, isn't attacking a hospital a war crime?

DAMON: The video that was posted was certainly is very interesting. And it's also providing a level of perspective into just how sophisticated, advanced, and how far this rebel fighting for is, in fact, willing to go.

Now this video was actually shot in the very same town as that story we just aired on the media activists. And opposition activists claim in this video that they are only targeting this hospital because pro- government thugs known as Shabiha, and the Syrian military, was using it as a base. This hospital, they are saying, was one of the main areas that residents were getting sniped at. They say that dozens of people were killed in sniper fire and other strikes from this location. And that they were left with no option but to try to launch this kind of an operation, Jim.

And this was around a 200 meter tunnel that they dug and then claim that they managed to pass through, move explosives through to carry out this attack.

From their perspective, this hospital has become a strategic military target. They're claiming the Syrian government was using it as a military base and not as a functioning hospital, Jim.

CLANCY: Arwa, great to have you there, great perspective as we try to sort this out. It isn't easy to do as we look at the stream of videos coming in. But Arwa, you've been there. And it really helps to have some eyes on the ground and actually know some of the people that are involved here. Arwa Damon, live with us from Beirut.

Well, tens of thousands of Syrians have fled to neighboring countries since this revolt got underway, but on Monday Syria's information minister said this, there's nothing at all which prevents the return of any Syrian citizen, and no Syrian citizen should be afraid of returning to Syria.

Now let's get some perspective on that statement. CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now from the border between Syria and Turkey.

Nic, perhaps they've heard the message, perhaps not. What do the refugees themselves think?

NICK ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, I tell you what, if you listen to the sound of this car driving past me now that's the sound of a car of somebody just leaving Syria. I'm at the Turkish border point right now. These people have just literally had their passport stamped. I watched them do it. They've had their vehicles registered. That's another Syrian car driving past me into Turkey, a family of five people in that car. Another one, two people in this vehicle, an elderly couple driving in. There's another couple of cars waiting to drive through getting checked by Turkish customs officials right now.

No one is listening to Turkey's -- to Syria's information minister right now, Jim. They are getting out of the country.

And just on the other side of the border, on the Syrian side, there are several thousands of people waiting to cross into Turkey. These people are the lucky ones. They have vehicles. They're able to drive across. We saw somebody with four mattresses strapped to the roof of their vehicle, every space packed out, the vehicle riding so low the metalwork was almost bumping the ground.

People are leaving, about 8,000 estimated to be waking right now across the border, 80,000 in Turkey already. Turkish officials busy building more camps, but say they are being stretched to their limits, Jim.

CLANCY: You know, one of the offers that's out there, one of the proposals that's out there is to actually open up a safe haven inside Syria that would protect these refugees. But diplomatically, is that going anywhere?

ROBERTSON: It doesn't seem to be gaining much water at the moment. The Turkish would like to see it. The foreign minister said that diplomats from the UN security council should come and see the camps, see the conditions. The Turkish prime minister followed up by saying that if there is -- if there are camps set up in safe zones inside Syria that would need protect, that would perhaps need a no-fly zone.

I can also tell you, though, from being at the border today and understanding and knowing the situation on the Syrian side at the moment. The situation on the Syrian side is tense. It was more tense than it was two days ago. There are more Free Syrian Army fighters there. And we have learned from people that there is a sense that even that border area where these refugees are waiting right now, they considered it safe for awhile, but they're beginning to feel it becoming unsafe. Indeed to the point that they may have to launch military operations from there, the Free Syrian Army.

So it is clear that if you are to set up camps on the other side of the border, it would be against the will of the Syrian government. The Syrian government made that clear. It would be against, it seems, the current desires of the UN security council, of many member nations. And it also seems from what we can see on the ground, if you had camps there with people who think they're safe you have to provide them security. And right now, the security there is tenuous at the best, Jim.

CLANCY: The attitude of the refugees themselves, at the outset, Nic, you pointed out people are fleeing despite assurances it's safe for them to return home. Is there any end in sight?

ROBERTSON: Well, Jim, as we've been talking here quite literally two or three cars drove in. There were about four or five cars waiting for the customs officers to check them. And while we've been standing here talking, another three vehicles full of refugees have turned up, one of them I can see has a large bag strapped to the roof of the vehicle.

There doesn't seem to be any immediate end in sight at the moment, Jim. As long as people are being attacked from the ground, civilians being attacked, they're going to feel unsafe. And they want to go -- they're going to want to go somewhere safe. And for the most part that means getting out of the country.

Remember, many of these refugees, they haven't just come straight to the border, they tried fleeing and hiding in other places inside Syria. That hasn't worked. There's a last act of desperation to drive out of the country, and they're doing it right now in front of me, Jim.

CLANCY: Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson there with us live from Turkey's border with Syria as a stream of refugees continues to flow, many thousands as he reports, still waiting to get in.

To Peshawar, Pakistan now. A car filled with explosives slammed into a United States consulate vehicle. The U.S. State Department says two Americans and two Pakistanis in that -- were in that vehicle at the time. It says the U.S. consulate employees were wounded, but survived that attack. Pakistani officials say the two Pakistanis in the vehicle were killed. 25 others were wounded. This is not the first time a U.S. consulate vehicle has been targeted in that area where several international agencies have their offices.

Now thus far, no one has claimed responsibility for this particular attack.

All right, coming up on News Stream, it was a scandal that brought down one of England's most well known tabloid newspapers. The former boss of News International appears in court to face phone hacking charges.

Plus, South African prosecutors drop murder charges against 270 miners. They could be free as soon as today. But why the U turn?

And the Blade Runner has been beaten. We'll take a look at why the Paralympics gold medal favorite accuses one of his rivals of having an unfair advantage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Welcome back. You are with News Stream.

We're going to turn now to the United Kingdom and the phone hacking scandal. Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks appeared in court in London. She faces three charges of conspiracy to intercept communications. Today's hearing lasted fewer than five minutes.

Now questions regarding voicemail hacking date back to late 2005. But the scandal came to a head last year with new revelations in the case of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Her family, who you see here, believed Milly was still alive when voicemail messages on her phone were deleted allegedly by journalists working for the tabloid News of the World. Later that July, the tabloid shut its doors.

News of the World issued a full page apology for the hacking scandal in its final edition. Rupert Murdoch also apologized in full page ads published in several other British newspapers. Rebekah Brooks, well, she resigned her post as a CEO of News International, that came on the 15th of July.

The scandal also prompted the Leveson inquiry into media ethics. The hearings opened in November of late last year.

Now five months ago, the UK police arrested Brooks and five others on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of Justice. Dan Rivers has been following this case from the start.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rebekah Brooks appears at Westminster Magistrate this morning for a brief, but important hearing, the first time she's had to formally answer these charges in court of phone hacking. Three different charges in total. One general charge of phone hacking undisclosed people, and then two more specific allegations, one that she hacked into the phone of a union figure Andy Gilchrist, and also that she hacked into the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

It was this case, of course, in 2002 that really sparked this whole furor and lead to this phone hacking scandal and police investigation going much wider than it had done previously.

She spoke, really, just to confirm her name and address. There was no opportunity at this stage to enter a plea. So this case now is being forwarded to a more senior court, Suffolk Crown Court on the 26th of December when she will appear along with some of her former colleagues.

There was some conditions to her bail this morning, that she couldn't contact those fellow colleagues and two other people who were out on police bail, Dan Evans and Neil Wallis, both also former colleagues at the disgraced tabloid the News of the World and that she must stay at her residence in Oxfordshire in Britain and notify the police if she travels abroad.

Dan Rivers, CNN, at Westminster Magistrate's Court, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Now you're watching News Stream. Coming up next, Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius's controversial comments about his rival's prosthetics. All the the latest from the Paralympics right after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Hong Kong in the evening light, looking lovely as usual.

You know for the first time in nearly two decades, a Formula One driver has been suspended, suspended for a race -- because of a role he had in a crash in Sunday.

Let's bring in Pedro Pinto who has more details on this. Interesting case.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It is, Jim. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean received a one race suspension and a $62,000 fine from motorsport's governing body the FIA for causing a massive first corner pile up at the Belgian grand prix.

Let's show you the pictures, because they're quite stunning. It's an incident which happened just seconds after the start. Pasto Nadolando (ph) makes a move down the middle. And watch the inside of the track on the first corner. It's pure carnage as Grosjean loses control of his Lotus and flies into Louis Hamilton and then glides over Fernando Alonso as well. You can see the result. It was the seventh time in 12 races that Grosjean was involved in an opening lap incident. He became the first driver since 1994 to be banned for a race.

Alonso, you can see here, he got a lot of contact. He was lucky to escape unhurt. The car could have smashed into his helmet.

Now after the dust settled, it was Jensen Button who would cruise to victory in Belgium. The Britain finished 13 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus was third.

Button with his 14th career victory, first at the Spa circuit. Alonso still leads the overall standings heading into the Italian grand prix as Monza.

At the London Paralympic games on Sunday a crowd of some 80,000 people at the Olympic stadium were simply stunned by what they saw. Oscar Pistorius, the defending 200 meters gold medalist who clocked a world record time in his qualifying heat was defeated in the final. The 25 year old South African lost his T44 category 200 meters crown as Brazil's Alan Oliveira stormed down the back straight to seal the win at the finish line. Oliveira took the race at the tape in a time of 21.45 seconds, beating the Blade Runner by .07 of a second.

Pistorius will now concentrate on his two remaining title defenses in London, that's the 100 and 400 meters.

Now after the race, Pistorius effectively accused Oliveira of cheating. He said the Brazilian used, quote, "unbelievably long blades, giving him a longer stride." Pistorius later apologized for the timing of his comments, but maintains that there's still an issue. What's interesting here is that Pistorius was once accused of the same charges he's leveling at his opponent when he emerged at the 2004 Paralympics, rival Marlon Shirley accused Pistorius of running on blades that were longer than they were supposed to be.

So how tall are Pistorius and Oliveira supposed to be really? As double amputees, there's really no easy way to tell. The IPC takes two measurements, the length of your elbow bone and length of your arm stretch from end to end, and uses those numbers to figure out roughly how tall someone should be. And based on that, the IPC says Oliveira's blades are legal.

Topping football news, Real Madrid star Christiano Ronaldo has said he is unhappy at Real Madrid. The Portuguese star who scored twice in Real's victory over Grenada on Sunday didn't celebrate either goal and then said after the match that he was sad due to professional reasons and that people at the club know why.

The 27 year old winger had a meeting with President Florentino Perez over the weekend where he allegedly said he did not feel loved or supported at the club. Ronaldo has a contract with Los Blancos that runs until 2015.

More on that and the rest of the sports headlines on our World Sport program in about three-and-a-half hours time. For now, that's it. Back to you, Jim.

CLANCY: Pedro, before you go, let me just get in a quick question. You know, you look at that race and you see that it is the Blade Runners that are out there in the lead right up there. And it raises the question, you know, is this whole notion -- I know they've allowed it, but, you know, you have to ask yourself there's some reason why these guys are out in the front all the time.

RIDDELL: Well, regarding Pistorius, you know, he went through a long legal case to participate in the able-bodied races and the able-bodied Olympics. And he was able to do that. Now it's just interesting to see what's going on with the length of the blades.

But if the International Paralympic Committee approved them, then in this case I think Pistorius, at least after the race, he should have been a little bit more cordial. And he should have waited to address the situation. I think it comes down to a man who is not used to losing, who is used to being the star. And on this one occasion he wasn't. And he needs to accept that.

It'll be interesting to see whether the IPC comes out with any statement or any comments on what happened. I can tell you that Oliveira is holding a press conference later today here in London. So we'll wait to see what his comments are as well.

But it is an interesting case, Jim. And where do you draw the line as far as how long the blades are or how technologically advanced they are as well.

CLANCY: Right. The questions will keep on coming. And Pedro Pinto fortunately will be here to try to field some of the answers.

PINTO: I'll try.

CLANCY: Pedro, great to see you. See you on World Sport, what, three-and-a-half hours from now.

And straight ahead right here on News Stream, it's the Democrats turn. Can U.S. President Barack Obama really convince American voters that they're better off than they were four years ago when he was first elected, offering them hope and change?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY; Wherever you are in the world, I'm Jim Clancy at CNN Center filling in this night for Kristie Lu Stout. You're watching News Stream. And these are your headlines.

Syria's information minister urging his countrymen who have fled to return home immediately. At a news conference today he said Syrians have nothing to fear. Opposition activists, though, say at least 45 people have already been killed across the country in violence today. They continue to stream out to refugee camps at Syria's borders.

A car filled with explosives crashed into a U.S. consular vehicle in Peshawar, Pakistan today. At least two Pakistanis are known to have been killed. The U.S. State Department says two Americans inside that car were wounded.

Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks appeared in court again today in London. She's facing three charges linked to phone hacking, including allegedly plotting to intercept the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Brooks has been ordered to appear in court again later this month.

In the United States the Republican Party had its convention, that was last week's. Well, now it's the Democrat's turn. Their three day national convention is starting on Tuesday in the key battleground state of North Carolina.

Now ahead of the Democratic National Convention, CNN brings you a special sit down interview with the U.S. president. We're going to be taking an in depth look at Barack Obama and his presidency. Jessica Yellin brings us this preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSIC YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In my interview with President Obama I talked to him about why he hasn't built more relationships with some of those Washington insiders who could have helped get his agenda through. Here's what he said.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sometimes, Michelle and I not doing the circuit and going out to dinners with folks is perceived as us being cool. It actually really has more to do with us being parents. When we're in town here in Washington, in the evenings 6:30 we want to be at the dinner table with our kids, and I want to be helping with their homework. I think that's sometimes interpreted as me not wanting to be out there slapping backs and wheeling and dealing, ant it really has more to do with just the stage we are in our lives.

YELLIN: If you're re-elected, your girls will be older. Probably have their own weekend plans. They might not want to hang out with mom and dad.

OBAMA: It already starting to happen. Yes.

YELLIN: Do you think you might do more outreach, what you call back slapping, with members of congress?

OBAMA: My hope is that getting past this election people will have an opportunity to maybe step back and say, you know what? The differences that divide us aren't as important as the common bonds we have as Americans. And some of that I'm sure will require additional effort on my part. Hopefully we'll see more effort on the other side as well.

YELLIN: So in the documentary we delve more deeply into all of these issues, both the president's family life and some of these issues of partisanship in Washington, an who shoulders responsibility for it.

And we talked to some of the president's closest aides, including Secretary Clinton, his former personal assistant Reggie Love, former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and the leader of the opposition, speaker John Boehner and a lot of other people. I hope you'll watch.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: I'll count on it. Jessica Yellin there.

Don't you forget to tune in for that interview. Very interesting. Some great insights. Before this convention gets underway, the CNN special presentation "Obama Revealed: The Man, The President." That comes up tomorrow 1:00 in the morning in London, 2:00 in Berlin, and 8:00 in the morning in Hong Kong right here, where else, on CNN.

Well, politicians, delegates and the media descend on Charlotte, North Carolina for this week's Democratic National Convention we were telling you about. There's some homeless families in that city. They're scrambling just to find a place to stay. Joe Johns reports on how the convention may force them out of the only living quarters they can afford.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a tough economy, cheap motels are a refuge for homeless families. Here in Charlotte, the Sunset Inn typically offers them for rums for $35 a night. But during the Democratic National Convention the rate could skyrocket to $250. Resident RoselynN Curry says she can't afford it.

ROSALYNN CURRY, MOTEL OCCUPANT: I think it's kind of ridiculous, I mean, but what can I do about it.

JOHNS: For the past two months Curry has been living in one of these small rooms with six other people, including her three kids. Now she's forced to move out at a time when school is just starting.

JOHNS: Are your kids school age?

CURRY: One is.

JOHNS: How are you going to work that?

CURRY: I have no clue. I don't know. I'm just playing it day by day. I know it's not smart, but I've got to do what I've got to do.

JOHNS: The manager at the Sunset Inn says he can't turn down the chance to cash in while prices are high.

RICKY PATEL, MANAGER, SUNSET INN: Everybody is raising the price up, so why not me, you know? And it's not about homeless or anything else, but it's just like we give them reasonable price, reasonable rates. And if they could afford it, they can stay.

CARLA LEAF, COVENANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: I do get frustrated from a personal level, because I don't feel that people should have a life that doesn't have dignity.

JOHNS: During the DNC, Carla Leaf will help find beds for homeless families at places like the Covenant Presbyterian Church. It's part of a network of charities that's been planning for this for weeks.

LEAF: We hope to have eight families here.

JOHNS: The charities within the network, including the Urban Ministry Center, try to work together because it's so hard to predict how many beds they will need.

DALE MULLENNIX, URBAN MINISTRY CENTER: We don't know numbers, which is part of our challenge. And so we're preparing as if there might be hundreds. We're hoping there will be very few, if any.

JOHNS: And it's made more difficult by the increase in the number of homeless families, which has exploded here recently. It went up 36 percent in 2010, another 21 percent in 2011. And moving from place to place takes a big toll on families with children.

MULLENNIX: It's more than just inconvenient. Most of these folks don't have their own transportation. And in that room they probably have everything they own in the world. Where are they going? How will they move that stuff? And where will that stuff be that it stays safe?

JOHNS: If the motels drop their prices right after the convention ends, families could move back in next week. But Darren Ash of Charlotte Family Housing says that still doesn't fix the real problem.

DARREN ASH, CHARLOTTE FAMILY HOUSING: This was just a small blip on the screen compared to the bigger issue we're facing here. So this Democratic National Convention is not really a huge deal for us. We're preparing for the overflow. But the bigger issue is that our spike in family homeless caught us off guard in this city.

JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Charlotte, North Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Dana Bash joining us now live from Charlotte, North Carolina. She's got a preview for us.

And Dana, let me start it off with a tough question, and that is a lot of Americans, whether in Charlotte or every place else will say, you know, we are not better off than we were four years ago. Maybe, if we're lucky, about the same.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. You know, if you look at the data, there is no question by and large Americans are better off than we were four years ago. And the reason for that is because Americans were so bad off four years ago. Remember, this is just about the time when the financial system collapsed, where we were -- the United States was bleeding jobs, lost about 800,000 plus jobs in January of 2009 when the president took office.

But the fact of the matter is, getting back to where the U.S. is with regard to the economy now, it's still not great. So, data is one thing. And the feeling, the emotional feeling, and the day-to-day reality of Americans is something completely different. And that is that kind of line that Democrats are going to have to thread, have to walk, I should say. This convention saying, yes, we're in better shape, but not going too far to make people feel that the Democratic Party and the president himself is out of touch with what people are really seeing and feeling.

CLANCY: Last week the GOP was selling it as, you know what, if the guy can't do it let somebody else have a try. What are the Democrats, how are they going to respond to that this week?

BASH: The way that Democrats are going to respond, the strategist would at least hope is by saying that these are two very different philosophies when it comes to governing principles. And you what, they really are, Jim. They could not be more different, Mitt Romney and President Obama when it comes to how to deal. I mean, Mitt Romney is just much more laissez faire, more traditional Republican saying get the government out of your business, lower taxes, et cetera. And President Obama and the Democratic Party feel that government still does have a very important role in continuing to make the economy better.

So those are the two things that Americans are going to have to choose from. And whether or not those key swing voters, those independent voters choose President Obama or Mitt Romney I think at the end of the day will really depend on whether or not they believe that Mitt Romney can do a better job, whether it is worth it to fire the guy they have instead of letting him try four more years.

CLANCY: All right. We'll be listening. And Dana Bash will be there listening for all of us and giving us some perspective. Dana, great to have you there, look forward to your reports all week long.

Well, coming up right here on News Stream messiah or cult leader, the Reverent Sung Myung Moon dies at the age of 92. We're going to take a look back at his life and the global movement that he founded.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: An about face in South Africa, that is where prosecutors dropped murder charges against 270 miners accused in the deaths of 34 of their co-workers during a protest last month. Now there's a further investigation that is pending in all of this. The decision, though, means some of the miners, at least, could go free as early as today.

Now you will remember last month police opened fire during a strike protest near the Lonmin mine in Marikana. Police later said they fired in self defense after a crowd of protesters charged towards them armed with machetes and shots were fired.

Nkepile Mabuse filed this report from outside the court room where the miners are expected to appear.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're expecting over 100 Lonmin miners to be released by the time proceedings are done in this court behind me. What will happen is they will appear in front of a magistrate. The police will then confirm to the magistrate that they've verified these miners' physical addresses and once that has been done, a formal application for their release will be conducted by the defense attorneys. And then basically the miners are free to go.

The decision by the national prosecuting authority to provisionally withdraw this murder charge has been welcome by many South Africans, but questions are being asked about the credibility of the National Prosecuting Authority and why they charged these miners in the first place invoking a very controversial apartheid era doctrine of common purpose to charge all 270 with the murder of the 34 colleagues.

The NPA still standing by their initial decision saying that it was a decision made based on sound principle, that the doctrine of common purpose, although it was popularly used by the apartheid government to round up political leaders and charge guilty by association it is still applicable in today's democratic South Africa. They say these charges -- this charge of murder will be provisionally withdrawn, all other charges will be finalized once investigations have been completed.

But many families back in Marikana eagerly awaiting their loved ones to return back home.

Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, G-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court, just outside Pretoria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY; Well, the first day of Hong Kong's school, well, started in protest. Protests against new government sponsored curriculum that includes patriotism lessons on the governing Mainland China. Some students and their parents have even gone on hunger strikes to stop what they call bias in education.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDA WONG, HUNGER STRIKER: I want to (inaudible) for my child that - - that (inaudible) in Hong Kong in future, my son can learn and think independently.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: Now, for the time being, schools have a choice whether or not they will teach this new curriculum, but by 2016, four years from now, the government plans to make it compulsory. 15 years have now passed since Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule under a set up known as one country, two systems.

To Unification Church now. He was a messiah to so many of his followers, but to his critics he was nothing short of a cult leader. The reverend Sung Myung Moon died at the age of 92 in South Korea in Monday. Paula Hancocks looks back at the man and the effect that his movement had on the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A self-declared Messiah, Reverend Sung Myung Moon was known around the world. His Unification Church claims millions of global followers, although that is disputed, rising to fame decades to go with its mass weddings.

Reverend Moon officiated as thousands of couples from around the world exchanged their vows, many of them meeting for the first time at the ceremony. He believed cross nation and cross culture marriages would help world peace.

Kit and Debbie Marr from Oregon in the United States joined one mass wedding to renew their vows back in 2000.

DEBBIE MARR, UNIFICATION CHURCH MEMBER: We're all here dedicating our lives to God, our future family to bringing -- to raising the children up in our faith.

HANCOCKS: Reverend Moon founded his church in 1954 after the Korean War. During the war, he was imprisoned in North Korea before being released by the allies. But his strong anti-communist feelings softened in later life. In 1991 he met with founder Kim il Sung and invested money in the country.

Reverend Moon was certainly not without detractors. Many critics accuse the church of being a cult. Steven Hasan is a former follower, or Moonie as they are widely known.

STEVEN HASAN, FORMER UNIFICATION CHURCH MEMBER: He's incredibly narcissistic and arrogant. It was all about him and what he wanted. He was very judgmental. He was very hypocritical. He was a racist. He thought the Koreans were the master race.

HANCOCKS: Reverend Moon also built up a substantial business empire for his church, its portfolio includes the Washington Times, a hotel in New York, and businesses in both North and South Korea.

He spent time in a U.S. federal prison in the mid-80s for tax evasion. The church claims the prosecution was politically motivated.

In 2008, Moon handed over the day-to-day running of his empire to his youngest son, the Reverend Hyung Jin Moon who said his father had suffered a number of illnesses in recent years.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: All right.

We're going to take a short break here on News Stream, but we'll be back with more right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: A beautiful, clear night in Hong Kong. Everybody is enjoying that. But the north, you know, thousands of people are fleeing rising water over in southwest China. Mari Ramos at the world weather center. Mari, what can you tell us about the situation?

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: You know what, this is a problem, and this is a battle that China has every single year, this battle against the rising water. We're talking about an area that gets affected by floods every, single year. That's why they had built these huge dams and things like that across many parts of China.

The area that we're referring to is right here, right along the Yangtze River, one of the longest rivers in the world. Here you see it, it goes across this entire area. And historically has significant flooding, especially when you've had such a wet summer like what we've had right now across parts of China.

This satellite that we put on top here, this is a -- what the satellite senses, this pictures what the satellite senses how much rains has fallen. It's very useful in areas where we don't have a lot of measurement on the ground to actually measure how much rain fell. But we can see that in some cases over half a meter of rain in many cases, that's just in the last few days. This is just in the last seven days. So that's very significant rainfall.

So you have the rain that fell a week ago, the rain that fell months ago, all of that eventually makes its way across all of these rivers and tributaries. And all of these are very high.

Whenever you have these confluence of rivers, that's where you tend to have the most significant flooding, Jim. And here we're headed to a big city, Chongqing, where they've had some tremendously heavy flooding and very heavy rain on top of that, even rain right now, rain in the last couple of days.

On the ground, this is what it looks like. Go ahead and take a look at these pictures that we have for you.

There you see it, the high water along the Yangtze River. Unfortunately, a common phenomenon across these areas. One of the things that happens when you see these water levels so high, shipping gets affected. You see the water just dripping over the river banks into the homes and into the businesses across all of those areas. And it's a continuing problem for people in that region.

They're expecting the flood levels to start going down during the week. The peak was expected to happen actually today, Monday. So we'll have to just wait and see what those measurements actually came out to, but you can see from those pictures more than 150,000 people have to be evacuated, because of the rising water.

Come back over to the weather map over here. Let me show you one more thing about the river levels. These are some of the levels. This is the record right over here. And this one is very close to being a record and getting high enough that it could be already have issued a flood watch. So it is a big deal. And it's definitely something we're watching closely.

In Beijing, they've also had a lot of rain. Over the weekend over 60 millimeters of rainfall, that's enough to cause some street flooding. You see members of the military cleaning up the roadways.

And you know something really interesting that happened also not too far from Beijing, we all know the Great Wall of China, right. Well, they've had a lot of rain across parts of the Great Wall, especially in some of those northern areas. Let's go ahead and roll the pictures of the Great Wall, because I really want to show you this, Jim.

This is pretty interesting. We're looking at a section of the wall that was actually built by the Northern Wei Dynasty between 386 and 557 AD. Then is was reinforced by the Ming Dynasty in about 1644 AD. So this section of the Great Wall actually collapsed. Isn't that Amazing. They say because too much rain fell in this area. It caused the water to come gushing down the side of the mountain and it caused part of the wall to collapse. They're trying to fix it as soon as possible before winter sets in. And this section of the wall, by the way -- ooh, there you see it -- can't visit. It's actually closed until further notice, of course, for renovation.

CLANCY: Wow. It's so steep, though. You know, they built it like on a mountain ridge for most of the way so you can understand how this could happen. But a lot of it is built on rock. So...

RAMOS: You know, one of the things that they said pretty interestingly enough, Jim, is that it's too dangerous for workers to be building that wall, because of the steep terrain, you know, so it makes it even more difficult for them to repair it.

CLANCY: Keep an eye on it for us, Mari. All right. Mari Ramos, thank you.

Anyone will tell you rugby, a tough, rough, tumble sport. But wheelchair rugby, well, they originally called it, get this, Murder Ball. Garett Hickling has been playing the sport for nearly 20 years and he talked with Zain Navi (ph) about his love for this game.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAIN NAVI (ph): This is Murder Ball, an arena where modern-day gladiators collide during 60 minutes of fury.

The rules of engagement are simple enough, cross the goal line in 40 seconds and avoid the carnage.

But those who have played the sport say it's great family entertainment.

GARETT HICKLING, WHEELCHAIR RUGBY PLAYER: It's definitely spectacle, you know. Even my grandma came out once. She was a little hesitant, because she's a little older, you know, and she wasn't sure about me getting hit and things like that. By the end of the tournament she's cheering, she's wanting us to rip heads off. And it's quite entertaining seeing that.

NAVI (ph): Do you enjoy (inaudible) ripping heads off?

HICKLING: I love it, you know. I love intensity in sports and I like seeing guys giving it all they've got all the time.

NAVI (ph): Having been named as the world's best Murder Ball player on multiple occasions during his 20 year career, Hickling is revered in the sport.

ANDY VAN NEUTEGEM, CANADA HIGH PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR: Garett is a legend. And this will be his fifth Paralympic games. And he's a leader on the team, he's a leader in the world for wheelchair rugby, a great man, and a great role model. He has those intangibles. He's a born leader.

NAVI (ph): It was tragic circumstances that brought Hickling to the game after he survived a catastrophic accident while traveling in the south of Canada.

HICKLING: February of '87 I fell off a 300 foot cliff and me and three other friends unfortunately on gentleman passed away, another guy broke a bunch of bones in his body and I broke my neck.

NAVI (ph): Hickling found solace through sport and some of his best therapy was (inaudible) playing basketball, hockey and rugby.

HICKLING: Definitely life changing, you know. I was 16. I wasn't sure what was going on, wasn't sure what was happening at that time, you know, but with the ability to get out and play a sport and just get your mind off things helped me go on.

NAVI (ph): And during the Paralympics, Hickling is planning to go on and wind gold. Having secured silver and bronze in previous games, it's the only medal missing in his glittering collection.

But regardless of how the team perform, the 41 year old says he has no plans on putting the breaks on.

HICKLING: Oh, I'm definitely addicted. I have been playing for 20 years and it's, you know, can't put my rugby chair in the closet yet. I definitely want to continue playing and whether it's recreation or high caliber, I just love being on the court.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Hickling's next chance to hit the court is going to be on Wednesday that's when Team Canada will be out there facing Australia.

Well, that has to be it for this addition of News Stream. World Business Today is straight ahead with some news just coming in to CNN. A Spanish state making an urgent appeal for aid. We're live with Madrid and more of the details. Stay with CNN.

END