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Road to Rio 2016; London Knife Attack; Race for the White House; U.S. Payment to Iran; Dubai Plane Fire; Fate of Russian Olympic Athletes; Brazilian Families Delaying Pregnancies; China's Glass Walkway. Aired 10- 11a ET

Aired August 4, 2016 - 10:00:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK: it's the eve of the official start to the Rio Olympic Games.

London is on edge after a deadly knife attack there.

And growing discord in the Trump campaign.


CURNOW: Hi, everyone. Welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.

And just one day to go until the opening ceremony in Rio and hundreds of Russian athletes are still waiting to hear if they can compete in the

games. The International Olympic Committee will have the final say and that decision could come at any time.

More than 100 already are banned in the wake of Russia's state- sponsored doping scandal.

In and around Rio, though, the race is on to finalize venues for athletes and fans. But the competition is actually already underway; six

women's football matches were played Wednesday, men's football kicks off in two hours' time.

And, of course, we're covering all the angles leading up to the opening ceremony. Amanda Davies is in Rio and Matthew Chance is in Moscow.

Amanda, hi, there, one day to go. And Russian athletes have traveled halfway across the world. They're practicing; they might even be in that

opening ceremony but they still don't know if they're going to compete.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely but I can tell you Robyn, that we seem to be hearing a little bit more noise from the official

channels, or certainly that's been the case for the last couple of hours.

There are some mixed messages coming through, the IOC are standing by their line that they will release a statement at some point between now and

the start of Friday's opening ceremony, which will give us the official verdict and the list of the Russian competitors who will be allowed to take

part over the next few weeks.

But the word coming out of the Russian Olympic team is that perhaps they're expected Thomas Bach, the IOC president, to announce that in his

press conference in just a couple of hours from now what we do know is officially there are about 219 Russian athletes who are here in Rio,

preparing as they would expect to be preparing intending to compete.

And Russia have said that the head of their Olympic committee, Alexander Zukav, will hold a press conference about 4.5 hours from now,

3:30 Brazilian time, at Russia House, which is just a little bit further along Copacabana Beach here. They intend for that to be reaction to the

news of the Russian Olympic team.

But the IOC won't confirm or deny that. That court of arbitration for sport continue to look at the appeals that have been lodged by the Russian

athletes; the rowers, we know, were told that their appeal had been thrown out late on wed.

So, too, the case of the Russian weightlifters. But subsequently to that, there have been more appeals lodged. So CAS saying that they have

been looking at 18 cases so far this week here in Rio. That is more than they looked at the entirety of the London Olympic Games four years ago, a

certainly very busy and confusing times.

CURNOW: Yes, indeed. We haven't even gotten to talking about the opening ceremony; I'll get to that in just a moment with you, Amanda.

But, Matthew, I want to ask you what the mood like is in Moscow.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think people are pretty angry, actually, about the situation as it's unfolded and

about the uncertainty that is still hanging very much over the Russian Olympic team, even the ones that have made the journey all the way across

to the other side of the world, to Rio, even a day before the Olympics are supposed to begin, they don't know whether they're going to compete.

We're hoping, as Amanda was saying, to find that out later on today in Rio at the various press conferences that are going to be held there.

But in Moscow, the mood amongst ordinary people is one of anger, like I said, and despair, very angry that this has happened. Many people blame

what they call a Western political conspiracy to target Russian athletes unfairly. There's a degree of acceptance of course of the doping problem

and the doping allegations that are at the root of this issue.

But the way that it's been handled I think has caused a great deal of frustration amongst Russians because they see it very much as unfair

treatment by Western countries and Western politics of Russians, Russia, yet again, being unfairly singled out --


CHANCE: -- and that's a very much a narrative that the Kremlin is pushing as well, because remember, for the Kremlin, being successful at

sport isn't just about the merits of being successful at a game; it's all about building this image that Russia is a superpower, that it's back on

the international stage, that it's strong and assertive as well.

And so the Olympics carries a very important political message for the Kremlin. And the fact that so many of their athletes have been excluded

because of allegations of cheating is a huge humiliation for the Kremlin. So they're watching these decisions very carefully as well to see whether

they're going to be able to explain away why so many Russians are not competing at the games that the Russian government said, he's rightfully

theirs and they should be getting gold medals out.

CURNOW: Indeed.

So there might be some clarification in the next few hours, Amanda, on this issue. And as we know, in the next month, there are going to be --

sport is about human drama and already we're having quite a few dramatic incidents, including the Nigerian football team, en route to their game,

and they might just make kickoff.

DAVIES: Yes, there's nothing like leaving it late, Robyn. Nigeria men's football team were meant to be arriving here in Rio last week. But

there have been some financial difficulties, financial complications; sadly, we have seen this in the past, in terms of Nigerian football.

And it meant that they got stuck in Atlanta in the USA not very far from where you are, until late last night, Wednesday night.

Now they are due to be playing their opening game of this Olympic football tournament in Mineirao against Japan, kicking off at 9 o'clock

this evening and what we understand is that Delta have stepped in and managed to put on a direct flight from Atlanta to Mineirao for Nigeria,

they will land at 2 o'clock this afternoon, currently midair, getting ever, ever closer.

But certainly not as close as they would wish to be, this close to kickoff. Maybe just about time to drop off their bags, get changed, have

something to eat and then get to the stadium. Of course so most of the Brazilian attention will be on the host football team, led by the

superstar, the Barcelona player that is Neymar, so much pressure on him and Brazil to bring home a first-ever Olympic men's footballing gold medal.

They kick off their campaign against South Africa in Brasilia.

CURNOW: Indeed. (INAUDIBLE) as they're called.

Well, let's hope the Nigerians get there on time. I think there's a flight tracker that is plotting their movements towards their game and that

is one way we can keep an eye on them, just when and how they will arrive in the coming hours.

To both of you, Matthew and Amanda, thanks so much.

Well, to London now, where an investigation is underway after a deadly knife attack in the heart of the city. An American woman was killed, five

people wounded; a 19-year-old Norwegian national of Somali origin has been arrested on suspicion of murder. And police now say theirs is no evidence

of radicalization or terrorism.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whilst the investigation is not yet complete, all of the work that we have done so far increasingly points to this tragic

incident as having been triggered by mental health issues. Indeed at this time, we believe this was a spontaneous attack and at this time we believe

it was a spontaneous attack and that the victims were selected at random.


CURNOW: Well, let's get the latest on all of this. Let's go to London, Nima Elbagir is there right now in front of the tube station.

Nima, we were talking yesterday about the heightened state of anxiety in the capital city there and this was one incident that really played into


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And the reality of where this attack happened, just moments' walk from the

Russell Square Underground Station, which was itself the site of that horrifying attack here in London back in 2005, all of that really amplified

the anxiety around this.

But London police say, although the investigation remains open, all indications are, as it stands, that this was a spontaneous attack and that

the victims were chosen at random.

We know a little bit more about those victims now, one American woman in her 60s has tragically passed away because of her injuries; already

flowers are being laid at the scene of her stabbing. And at least one more American is amongst the five injured, in addition to --


ELBAGIR: -- an Israeli, a Brit and an Australian. This comes at a time when European capital cities (INAUDIBLE) across Europe are on standby

and London was really the last to finally capitulate, to bring onto its streets 600 extra armed police officers.

But yesterday evening, we saw that in the response time, Robyn, it took around five minutes for armed officers to arrive at the scene and they

were able to subdue this mentally disturbed individual as the police are characterizing him only with a Taser.

So while here in London people are attempting to go about their daily lives, there is at least a sense that the police did what they needed to do

-- Robyn.

CURNOW: Nima Elbagir in London, thanks so much for updating us on this story. Appreciate it.


CURNOW: Now to discord and dismay in the Republican race for the White House. Donald Trump says his presidential campaign is more united

than ever. But sources tell CNN it's a mess and they're worried Trump will not be able to stay on message. Well, as Phil Mattingly explosions, it's

causing the Republican establishment to panic.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The campaign is doing really well. It's never been so well united.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump pledging unprecedented unity within his campaign after days of turmoil.

TRUMP: I would say right now it's the best in terms of being united than it's been since we began.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): It's a message echoed by his top advisors, at least publicly, who tell CNN Trump's team is under control.

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The campaign is focused. And the campaign is moving forward in a positive way.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Though sources insist there is frustration within his staff with the candidate getting back on message, Trump putting

Hillary Clinton directly in his crosshairs, attacking her record as secretary of state.

TRUMP: It was Hillary Clinton that -- she should get an award from them as the founder of ISIS. It's what it was.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And touting his latest fundraising haul.

TRUMP: And we just took in this month -- I think it's $80 million or $82 million.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Despite closing the gap with Clinton, it's proving difficult for Trump to collect checks from the country's top

donors. His campaign war chest trails Clinton's by $20 million.

TRUMP: We're raising a lot of money for the Republican Party and the money is coming in. We're just doing great. But small contributions, I

think they were $61 each and few Republicans can do that, maybe no Republican can do that.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And with several Republicans now saying publicly they won't support Trump, including rising GOP star, Adam

Kinzinger, there's still great cause for concern within the party.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILL.: Donald Trump for me is beginning to cross a lot of red lines of the unforgivable in politics and so I'm not

going to support Hillary. But in America, we have the right to write somebody in or skip the vote and vote for Mark Kirk in Illinois for

instance and that's what it's looking like for me today. I just don't see how I get to Donald Trump anymore.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Trump's decision not to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan in is primary battle infuriating RNC chair Reince Priebus,

Trump's most stalwart establishment backer. Even Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, splitting with him over Ryan, giving a full-throated


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), IND.: I'm strongly support Paul Ryan, strongly endorse his re-election. He's a long-time friend, he's a strong

conservative leader.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And the controversy is leading some top supporters to question Trump's perceived self-sabotage. Newt Gingrich, a

finalist to be Trump's running mate, telling "The Washington Post" Trump is helping Hillary Clinton to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: But in the last couple of weeks, he has been remarkably underperforming.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Gingrich later backtracking, telling "Politico," he is, "100 percent for Trump."


CURNOW: Well, Phil Mattingly joins us now from New York.

Hi, there Phil. It's been a rough week politically for Trump, as you've just laid out. But he has had that late surge of cash donations, a

lot of small dollar amounts. And that says something, doesn't it.

MATTINGLY: Yes, no question about it. It's no small thing at all. And if you look at where Donald Trump was fundraising-wise just a couple of

months ago, the fact that he would get to where he is now is, frankly, unprecedented and quite amazing.

You remember out of -- he was self-funding through much of the primary season and even in the couple of months after. Therefore, he had no

fundraising apparatus to speak of. His campaign's ability to raise tens of millions of dollars and mostly do it through small donors is a big deal.

And I want to explain a little bit why. It's because when you raise money from small donors, not millionaires and billionaires, who are cutting

max amounts of checks, you can continue to go back to them. They're giving $25, they're giving $50 or, as Donald Trump said, they're averaging about

$61. That means you can go back to them --


MATTINGLY: -- over and over again. It's what Bernie Sanders did so effectively in the Democratic primary. It's what Donald Trump has shown

that he's capable of doing, at least early on in this process.

That means more money will be there throughout the next couple of months going ahead. It's a matter obviously of how he's actually going to

spend it, if he's going to spend it wisely. But no question about it, his ability to raise is a very positive element of an otherwise very negative

week -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Of course, the question is, those who are donating, are they also going to vote for him?

And though those lots of small donations indicate that the votes that are out there.

Let's turn to U.S. President Obama; it's his birthday today. The new polls showing he still has a huge popularity.

And that's good for Clinton's campaign, isn't it?

MATTINGLY: Yes, it absolutely is. Look, at 54 percent, President Obama with the highest poll number favorability-wise he's had since his

first term. And for Hillary Clinton, who has essentially grasped onto the idea that she's running for President Obama's second -- or, sorry, third


That's very important. That will help. And what it helps more than anything else is positive sentiment in the country helps the incumbent

party. And there's obviously positive sentiment right now when it comes to President Obama.

Where that hasn't translated is in terms of whether or not people think the country is on the right track. And there's still a lot of

economic uncertainty. Those are metrics that Donald Trump, Robyn, has been relying on to boost his campaign throughout the course of his time running.

It'll be interesting to see which one wins out.

But there's no question about it: good numbers for President Obama help Hillary Clinton.

CURNOW: Indeed. He turns 55 today and I think his popularity numbers are 54 percent. So nearly neck-and-neck there.

Let's talk about Clint Eastwood, Hollywood tough guy. I mean, he really emptied both barrels didn't he in an interview recently in support

of Trump and against political correctness.

MATTINGLY: Yes, that's right, Robyn. And look, Clint Eastwood has been involved in Republican politics. Who could forget back in 2012, at

the Republican National Convention, talking to an empty chair. It's rather quaint to feel like that was considered kind of a horrifying political

gaffe so long ago.

However, making clear I think his kind of position right now, in an interview with "Esquire" magazine, Clint Eastwood, rather bluntly, stating

on Donald Trump, "He has said a lot of dumb things. So have all of them. Both sides.

"But everybody, the press and everybody's going, quote, 'Oh, well that's racist,' and they're making a big hoodoo out of it. Just

(INAUDIBLE) get over it."

And, Robyn, I'm going to surprise you here but that wasn't even the most colorful language that unemployment used throughout the course of the


He kind of turned into his character from "Gran Torino" a little bit there. But I also think it's noting Clint Eastwood locking into what

Donald Trump has kind of used so successfully throughout the course of his campaign, people frustrated with quote-unquote, "political correctness,"

people frustrated with people not saying what they're really thinking and sticking to PC terminology.

It's been very effective for Donald Trump up to this point. And clearly it's been effective in kind of getting Clint Eastwood's support.

CURNOW: Yes. And that obviously matters, I don't know. But I mean, either way, one more voice in what has been a rather dramatic election

campaign.. As always, Phil Mattingly, thanks so much.

You're at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still ahead, the U.S. is facing questions over whether it sent a ransom payment to Iran. What's at the

center of this controversy -- just ahead.





CURNOW: Hi, there, thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow; it's 20 minutes past the hour.

And the Obama administration is fighting over accusations it paid Iran a $400 million ransom for four Americans. The U.S. sent the cash to Iran

on the same day the prisoners were released. Our Elise Labott has the latest.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four Americans, including "Washington Post" reporter, Jason Rezaian, were freed

from an Iranian prison on January 17th.

But just as the Americans boarded a Swiss aircraft bound for Germany, another unmarked cargo plane was landing in Iran, loaded with pallets of

$400 million worth of cash, shrink-wrapped euros, Swiss francs and other currencies, skirting America's own sanctions that ban transactions with



LABOTT (voice-over): While the freed Americans were in the air, President Obama announced a historic nuclear agreement with Iran. The

White House insists the money entering Iran within a few hours of the American prisoners leaving was all a coincidence and there was no quid pro


JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, it is not a ransom payment. There -- the United States does not view it that way and it's not

accurate to describe it that way.

LABOTT (voice-over): But that's not how Iranian leaders described it at the time. And Republicans armed with these new details of the money

transfer, as first described in "The Wall Street Journal," are outraged.

REP. ED ROYCE (R): One of the reasons you don't want to transfer $400 million in unmarked bills in cash to Iran is because it's going to end up

in the hands of Hezbollah or it's going to end up in the hands of the other Iranian agents.

LABOTT (voice-over): While U.S. and Iranian diplomats were secretly negotiating a prisoner exchange, separate teams from both countries were

resolving a decades-old Iranian claim before an international tribunal at The Hague.

The $400 million, the first payment ending in dispute over a failed arms deal dating back to the 1970s.

OBAMA: Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought.

With our nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.

LABOTT (voice-over): After the cash-filled plane landed in Iran and the Americans were freed, Iranian military commanders boasted the money was

a ransom.

But the State Department insists the prisoners would have been freed the same day even without the payment.

MARK TONER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: We believe so, because that was worked through a different process and it was concluded successfully.

LABOTT: Now Congress is debating legislation preventing the White House from making any more cash payments to Iran and requiring the White

House to make the details of the $1.7 billion settlement public.

Meanwhile, just last week, Iran detained another American, Reza Shahini (ph) and two other U.S. citizens, Siamak Namazi (ph) and his

father, Beker (ph), have been held in Iran for months. Their family fears the Iranians are trying to extract another cash payment from the Obama

administration for their release -- Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.


CURNOW: And we're getting a look at the chaotic moments inside an Emirates Airliner as passengers escaped the burning plane in Dubai. Only

minor injuries were reported for those on board. But a firefighter was killed battling the fire. Part of the plane burst into flames upon

landing; investigators still don't know why.

Jon Jensen has the latest.


JON JENSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Investigators are still trying to determine what exactly happened to Emirates Flight 521 at Dubai

International Airport. The chairman of the airline urging patience as they go through all the data.

The investigation will be led by authorities in the UAE; they will be backed by at least five members of the National Transportation Safety Board

from the United States.

The investigators will be looking at all possible scenarios. They'll be looking at everything from what happened to the landing gear on the

aircraft to the possibility of wind shear.

Meanwhile new video has emerged from inside the aircraft during the evacuation, very dramatic images, where you can hear and see what appears

to be panic and confusion as passengers rush to get off the aircraft.

However, if you listen closely, it is clear at least that some passengers were urging others to be calm. Other passengers do appear to

grab for their bags, which could delay an evacuation in any emergency scenario.

But at the end of the day, all 300 passengers and crew managed to get off with no serious injuries, perhaps a testament to the professionalism of

the crew, who can also apparently be heard in that video, urging everyone to calmly and --


JENSEN: -- quickly get off the airplane -- Jon Jensen, CNN, Dubai.


CURNOW: And hundreds of suspected drug dealers in the Philippines have been killed over the past month, their deaths allegedly at the hands

of both police and civilian vigilantes.

Now this comes in the first month of Rodrigo Duterte's presidency, a leader who is taking a tough approach to tackling crime. But as our Ivan

Watson now reports, not everyone is on board with his methods. Now I need to warn you: some of the images you are about to see in this report are



IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A searing image from the streets of the Philippines capital, a woman clutches

her husband soon after an unknown attacker shot him dead.

Left by his body: a sign calling him a drug pusher. While his killers have not been identified, the images are at the heart of a debate

over the country's new president and his controversial war on crime. Rodrigo Duterte, nicknamed The Punisher, campaigned on a vow to eradicate

drug trade.



WATSON (voice-over): Now one month after taking office, his crackdown has been swift and brutal.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENT-ELECT, THE PHILIPPINES: We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financer and the last pusher have

surrendered or put behind bars --


DUTERTE: -- or below the ground if they so wish.

WATSON (voice-over): The Philippines police say within three weeks of Duterte's inauguration, they killed at least 239 drug suspects while

arresting more than 3,000.

Press photos show crime scene after crime scene, body after body, all, police say, alleged drug dealers killed in shoot-outs. The president

instructed security forces to kill if suspects violently resist arrest and he announced regular citizens have the same right.

Local media tallied hundreds more alleged drug dealers and users killed by suspected vigilantes. The trail of bodies, human rights

activists say, a sign of authorities' blatant disregard for due process and an endorsement of vigilante justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All these incidents need to be investigated. There must be a halt to any informal and local killings which is a

violation of the right to life and (INAUDIBLE) obligations.

WATSON (voice-over): But Duterte is not backing down. He's going after more and more senior targets. And the president also acknowledged

this famous photo: "Stay away from drugs," he warned or else, quote, "you end up sprawled on the ground and you're portrayed in a broadsheet like

Mother Mary cradling the dead cadaver of Jesus Christ" -- Ivan Watson, CNN.


CURNOW: You're watching CNN. Still ahead, we return to Brazil, where some couples don't want to risk having a child right now because of the

Zika virus. We'll speak with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Stay with us for that conversation.





CURNOW: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.


CURNOW: And just in: an Istanbul court has issued an arrest warrant for the man Turkey considers the mastermind of last month's attempted coup.

Fethullah Gulen lives in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. Turkey has been requesting his extradition so he can be put on trial.

Gulen, a Muslim cleric, denies any involvement and this isn't the first warrant for his arrest. It's the first since the failed coup,


And security remains a big concern in Rio as thousands of security personnel patrol the Olympic city. Our Nick Paton Walsh is in Rio and he

joins us now from Copacabana Beach.

Hi, there, Nick. You're in front of Russia House. Of course, we're all waiting and no doubt more than 200, nearly 300 Russian athletes also

waiting to hear if they will be allowed to compete.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Robyn. This is a key decision really for the politics around this vital Olympics

that have been beset by so many problems and are literally just over 24 hours away from their opening ceremony, kicking off now behind me. As you

say, is Russia House. That's where the media center is, where officials work out of, kind of their hub to present the Russian case, which, in

Moscow, has long talked about the political conspiracy to tar Russia's name in sports.

The contradiction of that is, well, it's been a state fact, Russian doping program for years, allege investigators here. But we're now down to

the very final stages, hearing that the boxers will be allowed to compete, the weightlifters won't. A slow trickle through of judgments right down to

the last minute. But there's one final call everybody is waiting for and that's a statement from the three-person committee on the IOC that will

finally give the rubber stamp to the Russians, hope maybe as many of 290 athletes they just told me they brought to Rio.

Now quite a lot of them are probably going to have to go home disappointed. We should be hearing in some point in the next three hours

from Alexander Jukov (ph), the head of the Russian Olympic committee, here giving a press conference just behind me. The suggestion is that is likely

to happen in reaction to the release of the statement from the IOC.

But you know, it is staggering that we are so close to the opening ceremony, that there are actually Russian athletes, who have flown here

unclear if they're going to be able to compete in the games that the IOC deferred their decision-making and the U.S. saying there should have been a

blanket ban to some degree to further decision-making to the international federation.

Slowly they have made their mind up, some of those decisions have been appealed, some of those appeals have failed. But it is, as I say, down to

that last list of athletes the IOC is supposed to potentially imminently to release. But anticipation high in Russia House behind me -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK. And we'll come back to Nick as soon as we get any information, if we get any information from the IOC. Nick Paton Walsh

there in Rio. Thanks so much.

Now the Zika virus has caused some high-profile athletes to skip Rio. We know a lot of the golfers have said they didn't want to play. Experts

say fears are largely overblown though.

But for people who live in Brazil year-round, Zika is impacting decisions to have children.

I want to bring in CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, from Rio.

Hi, there, Sanjay, you've been speaking to couples and this is a very, very big decision.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's -- there are some remarkable recommendations that have come down from the government

that --


GUPTA: -- are very big, obviously huge in terms of how people are conducting their lives. It's remarkable how the Zika has impacted these

things in a way that I think you couldn't have predicted when the virus first hit. Take a listen.


GUPTA (voice-over): All across Salvador, Brazil, rooms sit empty, like this one, no sign of the child Ana Kasia (ph) hoped to have.

GUPTA: Is it tough to see these -- this room empty?


GUPTA (voice-over): They were high school sweethearts and children were always part of the plan. But it was late last year, when Ana (ph) and

Alberto (ph) decided the time was finally right.

ANA KASIA (PH), PROSPECTIVE MOTHER (through translator): We were planning to get pregnant this year. But because of Zika, we decided to

wait more. There isn't much that we can do about it and it worries us.

GUPTA (voice-over): You see, when a link between Zika and birth defects became clearer, the Brazilian government gave a stern and

heartbreaking warning: don't get pregnant.

GUPTA: So these are the tanks?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are the tanks that we keep the embryos, the eggs in the (INAUDIBLE).

GUPTA: So Ana's embryos are in one of these tanks?


GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Genevieve Cuello (ph) has been a fertility doc in Salvador for 10 years. She first saw Ana (ph) a year ago for help

with fertility. But then Zika started to spread.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then I said just, OK, freeze your embryos and then later when there is a solution or a light at the end of the tunnel

with all this thing, all the Zika virus, you can decide.

GUPTA (voice-over): At a cost of around $8,000, this is not an option for most of the population here, where the average income is just a few

hundred dollars a month and many don't have access to birth control.

For most people, like Bruno and Vanessa (ph), delaying is the only option. For the time being, they are also living with an empty room.

GUPTA: How long will you wait?

What's next for you?

BRUNO (PH) (through translator): We hope that, with all the research and people studying it, it gets better in about two or three years.

GUPTA: Two or three years, you can wait that long?

VANESSA (PH) (through translator): I will try. It's already been really hard.

GUPTA (voice-over): It is difficult to imagine entire towns, even countries with hardly any new babies for two years, hard to imagine the

loss economically, socially, culturally, no babies crying or laughing. In the meantime, rooms will stay empty, even as names are already chosen.

VANESSA (PH) (through translator): The child isn't even born. But she already has a name. The girl is going to be named Valentina (ph).

GUPTA: You already have name s picked out?


GUPTA: You are confident you will have a baby one day?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm so sure. I'm really confident that this home will soon have three people in here instead of

two, it's just a matter of time.


GUPTA: Just want to make it clear, again, Robyn, what was being offered there in terms of fertility treatments is not an option for most of

the country. But these are the types of decisions that people are being forced to make here, again, with no particular end in sight.

CURNOW: So you talked there, they talked there, the doctor talks of light at the end of the tunnel, for a little Jacques or a little Valentina

to be born.

What will it take?

Is there -- how close are we to some sort of vaccine or something to give these couples hope?

GUPTA: Well, there's a lot of people who are racing to get there, as you might imagine, both in the public sector and the private sector and in

many labs all across the world.

Here's the thing: even if there was something that looks promising right now -- and there are a few things that are promising -- you've still

got to go through safety trials and then you've got to go through efficacy trials meaning you find out how effective they are.

That can take 18 months or two years, so in -- for this particular epidemic, this particular cycle, it's unlikely that a vaccine is going to

become available. The weather has changed here. So it's not as much as a problem right now. Maybe by the time the mosquito starts to crop up again,

we're going to have a little bit more of that light again at the end of the tunnel.

CURNOW: Sanjay thanks so much for joining us there from Rio. Powerful report. Appreciate it.

GUPTA: Anytime.

CURNOW: Well, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control will be in Miami, Florida, today, ground zero for locally transmitted Zika.

Dr. Thomas Frieden will tour the area as aerial spraying for virus-carrying mosquitoes resumes. It resumes; it was postponed Wednesday due to bad

weather; 15 cases of the virus have been reported in Miami.

Florida's governor says the state is offering free Zika testing to all pregnant women now.

And just ahead here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, a nice place to take a stroll if you're not afraid of heights. Yikes. Stay with us.





CURNOW: What a view. But don't look down. Brave tourists in Southwest China can now walk around a mountain size, thanks to a glass-

bottomed walkway. It opened this week. The 1.5-meter-wide bridge overlooks a mountain road with 99 turns.

Wow. Its name means "Avenue to the Sky."

There probably isn't room for this next innovation on that walkway. It's a new mode of transportation undergoing tests in China.

This is the transit elevated bus, it straddles a two-lane highway, essentially creating a moving tunnel amidst vehicles travel underneath it.

It runs on electricity and Chinese media report the carriage can transport up to 300 people.

Developers say this could cut down on pollution and traffic congestion. It's still not known if the bus will be deployed across China

or how safe it is.

And that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. I'll be back in just over an hour. But in

the meantime, I'm going to hand you over to "WORLD SPORT" and Amanda Davies in Rio.