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Atlanta Hospital Ready For First Ebola Patient; Fate Of Israeli Soldier Is Unknown; Obama Defends Kerry's Truce Efforts; First Ebola Patient En Route to U.S. Hospital; Goodell Defense Rice Suspension

Aired August 2, 2014 - 08:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, it is a Saturday. And we welcome not only our viewers here in the U.S., but around the world, for sharing part of your morning with us. We are grateful. I'm Christi Paul.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Or your afternoon.

PAUL: That's true. Or your afternoon, I should say.

MARQUEZ: Good morning and good afternoon. I'm Miguel Marquez, in for Victor Blackwell. It is 8:00 here on the East Coast of the U.S. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

PAUL: And we want to start with these new concerns about the deadly Ebola virus. The first of two Americans inspected with Ebola is expected to arrive in the U.S. at some point later this after afternoon.

MARQUEZ: It will be the first time ever a patient with Ebola will be treated in the states. Aid worker, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly contracted Ebola while working with a Christian humanitarian groups in West Africa.

PAUL: It isn't clear though who is coming back first. Both patients we know are expected to be treated at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, but they do have to be transported separately.

MARQUEZ: The World Health Organization says Ebola is spreading faster than its efforts to contain. They just can't keep up. In hard hit West Africa more than 700 people have died from Ebola in recent weeks.

PAUL: Treating both victims is not going to be an easy task either. Ebola is so infectious that it typically kills up to 90 percent of patients who catch it.

MARQUEZ: Symptoms of the virus, which is contracted through transmission of bodily fluids, close contact between individuals include fever, muscle aches and weakness.

PAUL: The medical community has been quick to dismiss any concerns and say that they have this under control in terms of bringing these victims back to the U.S., but there is a lot of people particularly on social media where this is exploding with, you know, some real questions and fears. MARQUEZ: Ebola in your town is always a concern, I think. So how much of a risk is it to bring those victims back? We want to bring in Nick Valencia. He is outside Emory Hospital where the first patient is expected to arrive a little later today -- Nick.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The first patient is expected to arrive in Georgia sometime this afternoon. What essentially is an air ambulance, that plane that went to pick up the patient in West Africa, outfitted with the portable tent that is designed to transfer patients with highly infectious disease.

Once they get here to Georgia, they will arrive at Dobbins Air Force Base about 16 miles away from here, Christi and Miguel, and be driven to Emory University Hospital right behind me and put into a high security isolation unit.

This hospital right behind me is one of four facilities in the United States that has the ability to handle the situation like this. But as you mention, there are fears and concerns that the thought of having anyone infected with the Ebola virus here in the United States.

The CDC director spoke yesterday to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and he said that people's fears he hopes don't get in the way of their compassion.


TOM FRIEDEN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL: I know it creates the fear in people, but I really hope that people's fear won't outweigh their compassion. We have got a real challenge in West Africa and what we have to focus on is stopping the outbreak there.

We will be able to stop it, but it will take supporting people. That means that if people who are working on that response get sick, we care for them.


VALENCIA: And the risk benefit analysis to care for those Americans who contracted the Ebola virus was made by Samaritan's Purse and has been supported by the CDC, Emory University Hospital and the State Department -- Miguel, Christi.

PAUL: This is the first time that it is being treated here in the U.S., it is unknown territory for the most part. Even though, you know, these medical professionals, we know have been prepared for it. Do we know how they have been trained or prepared for this one particular incident?

VALENCIA: Well, we know that they will be treating this like a haz- mat situation. You will see those moon suits. People covered from head-to-toe. Every square inch of their body taking those precautions. The good thing is that they know how to stop Ebola.

It's just simple procedures like soap and detergent, things like that. The founder of the Ebola virus actually talked to Christiane Amanpour and said that this is a result of the dysfunctional health care system in West Africa. That led to the crisis and scare of the Ebola viruses and the center capitals of these countries.

It's created a really big issue there, but all precautions are being taken on this end. Again the CDC director emphasizing to those who have concerns and fears that they don't see the risk. If there was a risk to the general public, they would not be bringing the two Americans here.

But they feel, obviously, Miguel and Christi, there is no better place to treat these two Americans that contracted the virus than here in the United States. This hospital behind me, Emory University Hospital outfitted with every resource to do just that.

PAUL: We understand some experimental drugs may try to help treat them in a way that they have not been able to be treated before. Nick Valencia, thank you so much. Nick, we appreciate it.

VALENCIA: You bet.

MARQUEZ: Now to our other big story, a disturbing story, the crisis in the Middle East. The official Palestinian delegation is headed to Cairo right now for negotiations aimed at curbing the bloodshed in Gaza. But according to Israeli media, Israel will not send a delegation.

PAUL: Egypt's president this morning laid out a cease-fire initiative though that he called a, quote, "a real chance to stop the violence." As we said Israel agreed to the plan last month, but it was rejected by Hamas.

MARQUEZ: Now the Egypt talks come as an Israeli soldier remains missing after a firefight that shattered a truce intended to last through the weekend. Israel assumes Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was captured. President Obama blames Hamas and says he must be unconditionally released as soon as possible.

PAUL: We know in the past 24 hours, though, Israel has been pounding Gaza. Regarding that Israeli soldier, Hamas denies it has him, though, it admits it did lose contact with fighters in the area where he reportedly have taken.

MARQUEZ: Martin Savidge is in Jerusalem for anchoring the coverage of the crisis in the Middle East -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Miguel. Hello, Christi. The efforts on the part of the Israeli forces in Southern Gaza are focused primarily on trying to locate that missing soldier. He is officially listed as MIA. That is Hadar Goldin. He is a second lieutenant.

Israel maintains that he was captured by Hamas in what they say was a gross violation of the cease-fire just shortly after it began. They say it started with a suicide bomber killing two soldiers and then the other soldier was captured.

Hamas is saying something quite different from that. They are saying that there was no such attack on their part. They do not have an Israeli soldier they maintain. They say the cease-fire was violated by Israeli artillery and air strikes shortly after that cease-fire went into effect.

You point out the Palestinian Authority is saying that it continues to take a delegation with members of Hamas and other groups involved in this conflict going to Egypt.

Israel, though, it appears is saying nothing, but the media is reporting that there is no such delegation. If Israel doesn't go, let's face it then it doesn't look positive for any kind of cease- fire.

We want to check in now with CNN's John Vause. He is in Gaza City. That is the area, of course, that continues to see the conflict -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Marty, in the last few moments, we are being told that Palestinians who live in the area of the north of the Gaza strip around the area in the northern part of Gaza, the idea telling them that they can actually return home. They won't be allowed to go to another area in the north, which is

still an active military area. But to repeat this again, Palestinians are being allowed back into that area. There was a lot of activity in the north and focusing efforts not only to find the rockets and rocket launchers and tunnels.

And we have the other report that we are hearing from the central part of the Gaza Strip, that's a fairly big town here. That Israeli forces may be moving back east. In fact heading back towards the Israeli border.

Speculation here and it's only speculation at this point is that the Israelis are starting to wrap up the operations here. They are finishing essentially. They are allowing people back into these areas, which are being closed military zones for more than three weeks.

This would for the timetable we have heard from the IDF. We heard from an Israeli general a couple of days ago saying the tunnel operation here in Gaza would be wrapped up in a couple of days. Maybe that is the point we are getting to right now.

To the south, though, in Rafah, it remains a closed military zone. The Israelis continue to look for the missing Israeli soldier, Hadar Goldin. The Israeli tanks are patrolling that corridor, which Israel legally controls. It's called the Philadelphia Corridor. Tanks are there.

So they sealed off the border south to Egypt. We are also told that roads are closed to the north. No one can get in or out. The artillery fire continues and so do the air strikes. This is an Israeli response. Stop the militants from leaving with the captured soldier and pound the area.

The problem with that is there are civilians in the area. And according to Palestinian officials here since the cease-fire collapsed and the Israeli soldier went missing, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in Rafah alone. Hundreds of others have been wounded.

But at this point, there does seem to be some movement here at least when it comes to the Israeli operations and where the Palestinians are allowed to go. They will go back to their homes or what is left of their homes -- Marty.

SAVIDGE: And that remains to be seen, of course, a possible glimmer of hope. What will they be returning to? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, let's go back to Atlanta and -- Christi and Miguel.

PAUL: All right, John Vause and Martin Savidge, we appreciate you both so much. Thank you. Stay safe.

MARQUEZ: Thanks, guys. We have seen a lot of destruction in Gaza. Schools and shelters under attack. Was this precision military targeting or mistakes?

PAUL: Plus, two Israeli soldiers killed and another missing as we just discussed while a cease-fire was supposed to be in effect. As this crisis is escalating, the steps the U.S. is taking to help work toward a lasting peace. We will lay it out for you next.


PAUL: It's 15 minutes past the hour. This morning, CNN has learned that an official Palestinian delegation is on its way to Cairo to attend negotiations. While Israeli forces continue to look for a missing soldier believed captured by Hamas.

MARQUEZ: Let's bring back Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis and William Taylor, VP for Middle East in Africa to U.S. Institute of Peace. William, according to Israeli media reports Israel will not be sending a delegation to Cairo. With one party absent, can these talks really to anything?

WILLIAM TAYLOR, V.P. FOR MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE: They will have to sit down with the Palestinians. The good thing is the Palestinians are trying to unite. This is what we can expect from this reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. So if they can come to an agreement and have a negotiation with the Israelis, then the Israelis will begin to be part of that discussion.

PAUL: Colonel Maginnis, the IDF says it's carried about 200 strikes in the past 24 hours on terror targets in Gaza. Israel is believed to be using precision targeting techniques we understand, but we do know and have heard that two schools have been hit recently. How precise is this targeting?

LT. COL. ROBERT MAGINNIS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, the technology is there. They can hit something within a meter. You know, it is a selection of targets, Christi. Clearly, they hit mosques where they allege there are rockets being stored or commanding control is operated.

We already know the U.N. has acknowledged that one of their schools was used for holding rockets. So you know, precision targeting is a misnomer to a certain degree. If you reject the idea that the targets are not legitimate. But the Israelis is in a very complex, densely populated area.

Target selection is tough. Sometimes you get it off a few meters and that can result, unfortunately, in casualties. That may be what's happening, but I suspect the Israelis know precisely where they are shooting.

MARQUEZ: Mr. Taylor, you say that Fatah and Hamas seem to be coming together over this and negotiating as one. Do you base that on anything other than them going to Cairo? If they are going to Cairo, it seems that the Israelis who have wanted the Egyptians involved, to begin with, would eventually go there, yes?

TAYLOR: I think that's right. As I say, for some time, for the past several months, the Palestinians under both Hamas and Fatah have talked about reconciliation. That will be important for the negotiations with the Israelis. The Egyptians have not been as helpful as they have been in the past.

They have better relations with some Palestinians than others. If this discussion in Cairo can come up with a united negotiating position, the Israelis would be in good position to sit down and have that discussion.

PAUL: Colonel Maginnis, if there is, indeed, an Israeli soldier being held by Hamas, is it even possible to talk about a cease-fire? Is that a game changer?

MAGINNIS: Well, it is a game changer. Keep in mind, the last time the Hamas held an Israeli soldier, it took five years and they had to surrender prisoners for him. They don't want the violence, but they don't want their own taken captive.

Now in all probability, Hamas will sneak that individual if he is alive into a densely populated area in the center part of Gaza, you know, out of the reach of the defense force. Then Netanyahu, the prime minister, has a very difficult decision.

Do we continue to the fight into the densely populated area where the risk of casualties on both sides will radically increase? We saw the same type of problem, not with a prisoner, but fighting with Fallujah and other densely populated areas.

Especially when you throw in the sub terrain aspect of this, you know, you talk about the most complex of all fights. I don't know if the Israelis necessarily want to get into this. We are 25 days into the battle now. It's probably something that they are growing on both sides rather war weary at this point.

MARQUEZ: Mr. Taylor, Secretary of State John Jerry has been pillared in the Israeli press and I mean, to the point of just being openly mocked. Clearly that is not helpful to the situation here. Is the U.S. on the right track talking to the Qataris and Turks and the third option with the Egyptians back in the game. TAYLOR: It can't hurt to talk to people. In fact, it is part of the solution. What has to happen though, are the Palestinians of both sides need to be talking with the Israelis eventually. It has to be a good thing to try for a cease-fire.

That is also something that Secretary Kerry has been doing. The way to do that though, is to work with the Fatah portion of the Palestinians. The moderate portion of the Palestinians who can be a good negotiator and who can negotiate with the Israelis.

Hamas is not willing to negotiate with the Israelis. That is the direction that Mr. Kerry and others should be taking

PAUL: All right, William Taylor and Lt. Colonel Robert Maginnis, thank you both very much for your insight. We appreciate it as always.

MARQUEZ: Now the Ebola epidemic is spreading in West Africa.

PAUL: Now the virus is coming to the U.S. for the first time. How doctors here are planning to treat the two infected American patients.


PAUL: It's 22 minutes past the hour. Right now, Egypt's president says his country's efforts to broker a cease-fire is the best hope to end the violence between Hamas and Israel, and to spare the people caught in the middle.

MARQUEZ: Now U.S. efforts so far clearly have not paid off at all. Let's go to CNN's Erin McPike at the White House. The president is on the defensive defending John Kerry, the secretary of state, tell us.

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miguel, that's right. And that's because there are critics within Israel, the Israeli media as well as politicians in Israel and here at home who are criticizing John Kerry for his efforts despite the fact he has gone to the region and made calls day in and day out. Listen here to what the president said about that yesterday.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: We are coming out of a decade of war. Our military has been stretched very hard as has our budget. Nevertheless, we try. We go in there and we make an effort. When I see John Kerry going out to try to broker a cease-fire, we should all be supporting him.

There shouldn't be a bunch of complaints and second guessing about well, it hasn't happened yet and knit picking before he had a chance to complete his efforts. I tell you what, there is not any other country going in there and making those efforts.


MCPIKE: Complicating those efforts is that as the president pointed out just yesterday, there are different factions within Gaza and it's making it hard for Hamas to control them making this cease-fires very difficult, not being honoured -- Chris and Miguel.

PAUL: Right. And now that the cease-fire has ended, wondering where the United States' focus is going to be and who specifically they are working with.

MCPIKE: First, Christi, we know that later today, President Obama will be headed to Camp David. On top of that, a senior State Department official said yesterday the United States is leaning very heavily on the Qataris and the Turks in these efforts. The first objective is to make sure that Israeli soldier can be released and achieving a cease-fire -- Christi and Miguel.

MARQUEZ: It sounds like this soldier now is the lynch pin, the key to all of this. Erin McPike at the White House, thank you.

PAUL: But another big story we are watching, this patient with the deadly Ebola virus set to arrive in the U.S. today.

MARQUEZ: How much of a risk is it to bring someone infected with that very terrible virus to the U.S., Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us live.


PAUL: It's 29 minutes past the hour right now. Hope you have time to take a breather on this Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

MARQUEZ: I'm trying to breathe as desperately as possible. I'm Miguel Marquez.

Here are the five you need to know for your NEW DAY.

Number one: an official Palestinian delegation is headed to Cairo right now for negotiations aimed at curbing the bloodshed in Gaza. According to Israeli media reports, Israel will not send a delegation.

Meantime, the Israeli soldier is still missing as violence rages in Gaza. Israel assumes 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin was captured by Hamas in an ambush. The U.S. and the U.N. blame for shattering a temporary truce.

PAUL: Number two, House Republicans yesterday passed a revised bill to crackdown on the immigrants from Central America including making it easier to deport children. The measure would give more money to the National Guard to boost border security. President Obama has called the bill extreme and said Republicans know the Senate is unlikely to approve it.

MARQUEZ: And number three, international monitors say substantial recovery efforts have been made after 70 Dutch and Australian experts have been allowed to access the crash site of Flight 17. But there is a difficult task ahead. As many as 80 sets of human remains could still be among the debris waiting to be taken back to the Netherlands.

PAUL: And number four, a New York medical examiner has confirmed what protesters have said for weeks. The chokehold death of the Queens man busted for selling cigarettes is indeed homicide. The examiner also said the chokehold administered by a police officer along with other factors led to the victim's death. Charges have not been filed, but the investigation is still ongoing.

MARQUEZ: Number five, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, this poor guy, he went down during a Team USA game in Las Vegas and apparently broke his leg in a brutal and very graphic way. You could hear it snap actually. Fans and players reportedly had to avert their eyes. We are still waiting to hear an official announcement about it.

George did send out a tweet, amazingly enough, a few hours ago, thanking people for their support and saying he would be back and better than ever.

PAUL: Getting back to our top story -- one of our top stories this morning. The first of two American ebola patients is en route right now to Emory Hospital here in Atlanta.

MARQUEZ: The plane transporting that patient is scheduled to land in Georgia, a little later today. And while many online say they are worried, the hospital staff at Emory said they have trained -- they are trained and prepped for this very moment.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us now. Sanjay, what does that prep look like at Emory and what happens once this plane hits the ground here?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the whole unit is on lockdown. That is how they described it to us. They have the doctors going through specific training. The nurses -- there's lots of people involved in the sort of care because there is sort of a buddy system involved.

People go in they're monitoring how each person is gowning up sort of making themselves safe, you know, as they take care of the patient. All that training is going on right now.

The plane is supposed to land at some point. We don't know exactly when. It's going to go to an air force base and the patient will brought to Emory University Hospital staying in this containment unit both during transport and then when the patient actually gets there.

I also want to bring in Dr. Stephen Morse, who's an epidemiologist from Columbia. He's been writing a lot about this. He knows quite a bit about this and had originally (inaudible) not that long ago, clearing up some misconceptions out there -- it's very important.

Let me just ask you. With everything that you know, Dr. Morse, you know how difficult it is for this virus to actually spread person to person. When you heard the patients were coming to the United States into Atlanta, what were your first thoughts?

DR. STEPHEN MORSE, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Well, I think that they're going to get much better care here because of the specialized infrastructure. They're going to get the same treatment they would have gotten in the field, but of course, the isolation procedures, the infrastructure, the monitoring will be much more up to date.

And I think that as you know, since this virus is so hard to transmit, it really requires very close contact. I don't think there is any danger to anyone else. I know that people worry about having ebola patients on U.S. soil, but if they are properly isolated and their caregivers, health care workers take the appropriate infection control precautions, I think that there really is no danger, less than being struck by lightning.

GUPTA: Right. And let me just say Dr. Morse, again I was over in Guinea and I saw a lot of these patients being cared for over there. The two patients that may be coming back are health care workers. Presumably they are trained well, they had protective gear and again understanding that the United States has many more resources than over there, does that concern you at all?

Just -- I mean mistakes can be made. There's a human element to this and even though if it is little risk, it would be no risk if the patients weren't actually being transported this way.

MORSE: Yes, I think that is an excellent point. We are all human. And human error does happen. It is tragic but the health care workers, like family members of ebola patients who are taking care of the patients, are at the very front line. So you know, we could consider them heroes. Some of the health care workers tragically who died were very experienced people.

But I think also you have a situation where the people have been spread very thin, they have been working very long hours, they are very tired. Some of the volunteers have not had much experience with this level of rigorous infection control and personal protective precautions. So as a result -- you know, obviously tired people can make mistakes unfortunately. And that is possible.

So these things are tragic. I think the lucky thing, if there is a lucky thing, is that ebola is not that easy to transmit. We would not like to see other people like health care workers become victims themselves.

Unfortunately as you say, accidents do happen. People can also accidentally stick themselves with a needle while they're drawing blood or trying to give an injection to a patient. So obviously, there is a need to be very cautious and not to be complacent.

We know that with the SARS outbreak in Canada, you know, slip ups can happen. But I think there will be a great deal of attention paid to being very, very careful here. And the people are going to be -- who are working with the patients -- are going to have very good specialized facilities as I understand it. I know you have seen them. And they will get special training and hopefully they will not be putting themselves at any unnecessary risk.

PAUL: Thank you so much Stephen Morse. We appreciate it.

Sanjay I wanted to ask you real quickly. The outlook isn't really great though for people who have ebola. 90 percent -- as we understand it -- of those infected die but there are some experimental treatments going on with these two patients. How hopeful are you?

GUPTA: Well, they're going to look at the patients and decide whether to give them these experimental therapies. And, you know, they have been used in rare cases in humans before. So there is some optimism behind it.

I will tell you the 60 percent to 90 percent mortality rates have always been sort from remote villages in Africa. When I was talking to the doctors here, they say yes, we still give the same therapy. We don't have a magic potion here, but we think our rates are going to be much better. These patients have a much higher chance of surviving frankly if they are here versus there.

PAUL: Sure. All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- and again our thanks to Stephen Morse. Thank you --

GUPTA: Thank you.

PAUL: -- for being here.

MZ: Good to see you.

GUPTA: I'll be back.

PAUL: Yes, definitely.

Ok, let's talk about the latest suspension in the NFL. Is it causing some controversy?

MARQUEZ: The Baltimore's Ray Rice sidelined for two games for a domestic violence incident. Why some say the punishment is just a slap on the wrist.


MARQUEZ: Well, now to a story that just about everyone seems to have an opinion on. The two-day suspension of Baltimore Ravens runningback Ray Rice stemming from a domestic violence incident at an Atlantic City hotel and casino.

PAUL: NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell spoke out yesterday calling domestic violence unacceptable but he also defended the length of the suspension against critics who say, you know what, it is too lenient.

CNN's Alexandra Field has the latest for us here. What have you heard -- Alexandra? And good morning.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning -- Christi and Miguel. You know, on top of this two-game suspension, Ray Rice has also been fine an additional game check. And that means the whole thing will cost him about $530,000. But still that number is not big enough to stem the criticism that's being directed at the NFL.


RAY RICE, BALTIMORE RAVENS: My actions that night were totally inexcusable.

FIELD: Ray Rice publicly apologizing to fans and his wife for the first time since his arrest in February stemming from the domestic violence incident at an Atlantic City hotel. At the time, Rice was seen in the surveillance video dragging his unconscious then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator.

RICE: That night -- you know I just replay over and over in my head.

FIELD: But it's the NFL response to the matter that has some scratching their heads. Rice faces a two-game suspension. But does the punishment fit the crime?

JANE MCMANUS, ESPN: 45 percent of the audience is made of female viewers, how are they going to take the suspension? Apparently that is a risk that the NFL is willing to take.

FIELD: U.S. Senators are now sending a letter to the league asking a heftier punishment. NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, defended his position Friday.

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I think what is important here is Ray has taken responsibility. He has been accountable for his actions. He recognizes he made a horrible mistake and it is unacceptable by his standards, by ours. He has to work to reestablish himself.

FIELD: Sports analysts say for the NFL it is not entirely surprising.

MARC EDELMAN, SPORTS ANALYST: If you compare it to the history of the NFL, it is entirely in line with past suspensions for this type of conduct in the NFL. What it's out of line with is past suspensions that are put in place by Roger Goodell during Goodell's commissionership of the NFL.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it is fair really. But I don't it's -- the NFL is all about playing games, not about how to tell a person what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are trying to say it is bad, but we don't really care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are making millions of dollars off our children that are supposed to grow up looking at our athletes that make all that money and that is cool. That isn't cool to touch your woman in any fashion.


FIELD: And as for those charges themselves, the NFL confirms that Ray Rice has resolved the issue of the charges. He agreed to enter into a pre-trial intervention program. That means there will be no jail time and Christi and Miguel, after a year, the charges against him will be expunged.

MARQUEZ: Wow, some pretty serious opinions there. Thank you very much, Alexandra Field.

PAUL: Thanks Alexandra. You know, in just a few hours, one of the American ebola victims is going to be returning to the United States.

MARQUEZ: And one of those infected, the missionary Nancy Writebol, her colleague joins us next to talk about Nancy's work in Liberia and her battle against this deadly virus.


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Hey, good morning. I'm Michael Smerconish. And coming up on my program: is Israel justified in its use of force against Hamas? And why won't Congress even come close to that issue?

Plus the grim details of CIA interrogation techniques used after 9/11.

The media giant who now says it's time to repeal the ban on pot.

And why I would like to thank Stephen A. Smith following his comments on domestic violence.

We are packed with great stuff this morning. I'll see you at the top of the hour -- Miguel, Christi.

PAUL: Looking forward to it, Michael. Thank you. "SMERCONISH" airs this morning 9:00 a.m. Eastern in just about 12 minutes.

Right now though, tropical storm Bertha is churning in the Atlantic Ocean and apparently moving in our selection.

MARQUEZ: It is expected to hit Puerto Rico within the next 24 hours. The question is will Bertha affect the U.S.?

Meteorologist Jennifer Gray joins us now. What is the word?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It looks like it may have indirect impact but not a direct impact on the U.S. which is good news. But it is having a direct impact on Puerto Rico right now. Intense thunderstorm -- it is not in an environment that is going to favorable for strengthening. So it is going to remain a tropical storm.

However, it is going to create a lot of rainfall for Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and then move into portions of the Turks and Caicos and then on into the Bahamas. So winds of about 50 miles per hour right now, gusts up to 65. Moving quickly at about 22 miles per hour so, it's not going to have time to dump incredible amounts of rain, which is good because flooding is going to be a huge concern.

But this is an area that needs the rain. It is drought stricken so one to three inches of rain in the Dominican Republic, three to five inches in Puerto Rico. Mountainous terrains so that can also have an impact as far as that flooding concerned. So we're going to be watching for that. But the rain is definitely needed in this part of the world. Now, this track takes it up to the northwest and then bending back to the north and east. So it does keep it away from the U.S. -- not making landfall at all, keeping it a tropical storm, possibly strengthening off the coast of New England.

Of course, we could see higher than normal surf across the northeast of the U.S. also, we could see higher than normal risk of rip currents. So that's really going to be the only impact for the U.S. In the meantime we're going to see an increase in moisture over the weekend with this area of low pressure in the southeast. So rain across the Carolinas, Southeast and Northeast -- we could see anywhere from one to two inches of rain across the northeast -- Miguel, over the weekend. That includes New York City, D.C. Philly -- a wet weekend for a lot of folks.

MARQUEZ: Wet weekend, but no Bertha -- we're holding you to that.

GRAY: No. No Bertha.

MARQUEZ: Thanks, Jennifer.

GRAY: All right.

PAUL: You know the life of a (inaudible) musician, you would think could be pretty tough, but a one-man band named Zach Deputy shares how he relaxes on the road.

We met up with him in Savannah on this Travel Insider.


ZAC DEPUTY, MUSICIAN: Hello everybody. I'm Zac Deputy and I'm a musician that travels around the world. I reside in Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is known for its history, really old and beautiful downtown. Cobblestones everywhere. The buildings were all built in the 1700s. Here we are at Tom (inaudible) disc golf course in Savannah.

Disc golf is not only in Savannah but it's everywhere around the world.

I think it's a sport that's taken by storm but the general public has no clue quite yet which is kind of cool.

I'm going to throw off the first tee. Hopefully I'll get an ace. Just like ball golf you want to get to your hole with as few strokes as possible. And you always play from your last throw.

Time to pull the putter out -- that's how she's done. All my discs do completely different thing. Just like a ball golf player uses clubs, we use discs to do different things. As a beginner you want to get a putter, a fairway driver and a driver. I have way too many drivers though. That's the worst problem to have, right.

Disc golf is -- to me it replaced fishing, you know. It's a way to get out and work out all the problems of life. For me it's therapy -- therapy in the woods.

I've actually seen most of the country through the eyes of disc golf course. I love it.


MARQUEZ: All right. Now two Americans infected with the deadly ebola virus are fighting for their lives.

PAUL: Take a look at Nancy Writebol. She is an aide worker who contracted the virus while working in Liberia with a Christian humanitarian group.

MARQUEZ: This morning it is unclear which of the patients will arrive in the States first. But both are expected to be treated here in Atlanta's Emory Hospital.

PAUL: We're joined now over the phone by Bruce Johnson. He's the president of the Christian organization, SIM USA, the organization with which Writebol serves as a missionary. Bruce, we want to thank you for being with us and ask you do you know if indeed Nancy is on that first flight here to the U.S.?

BRUCE JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, SIM USA: Christi, thank you. The good news is we have confirmation the jet is in the air. I don't know the timeframe. It is encouraging to us that it is in the air with one of them. I don't have a confirmation on which one yet.

PAUL: I'm sorry. Just to clarify, the jet is in the air, but we don't know if Nancy is the one on it. Is that what you are saying?

JOHNSON: Correct.

MARQUEZ: And what has been the flow of information to you guys and what do you understand about her condition? Are you pleased with the way this has played out and both she and the other victim will be on their way back to the U.S.?

JOHNSON: Yes, good question, Miguel. We are encouraged because both of them were healthy enough to be able to take the trip. So we're encouraged by that. Our doctors on the ground there in Monrovia continue to monitor both of them before the flight and worked with the transfer of the physicians on the airplane.

PAUL: We know that an experimental serum was administered to Nancy this week. Were you able to see how she reacted to that at all?

JOHNSON: You know, I don't know that information. The doctors that were attending to her were really hopeful that this would be and that's why we wanted to get that in there, but I don't have indication of how they responded to it.

MARQUEZ: Have you been able to speak to her since she was struck ill? When was the last time you spoke to her and what was her work like there? JOHNSON: Personally I have not talked to Nancy because what we want

to focus for her is to get well. I have been in daily contact with her husband David. He's kept me up to abreast plus daily briefings from the attending physicians. David is encouraged that she is stable. Obviously she's in critical condition because of this disease. But she is responsive and we are encouraged at how she's doing.

PAUL: What about Dr. Kent Brantly? Do you know anything his condition as well?

JOHNSON: My last report was yesterday. And his situation was the same. He is stable. Remains, of course, in critical condition and that's medical speak for he's got a very serious virus. Again, he was ambulatory, being able to talk, converse and get up. And so that was encouraging.

MARQUEZ: Do you know precisely how it is that Nancy contracted it?

JOHNSON: We have not been able to determine that. CDC was on the scene. They've actually been providing a lab for the country where samples go in and are tested. They came out at our request to review our entire process. They've also reviewed our hospital. We temporarily closed our hospital, but we plan on reopening it as soon as possible. We have another doctor that is ready to go back in and he should leave within 24 to 48 hours.

PAUL: All right. Bruce Johnson, president of the Christian organization SIM USA, thank you so much for the update. Best of luck to you and your whole group there. We appreciate your time.

JOHNSON: Appreciate it.

MARQUEZ: And thanks to all of you out there for starting your morning with us. We'll be back at 10:00 for CNN NEWSROOM.

PAUL: For international viewers, thank you as well for being with us. NEWSROOM continues for you.

In the meantime, "SMERCONISH" starts for the rest of you right now. Stay close.