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Summer Olympics Only Days Away; Tropical Storm Edouard Slams Western Gulf Coast; Study Finds Fish Protects Against Silent Strokes; Earthquake Rattles China's Sichuan Province; Pakistani Scientist Charged with Trying to Kill Americans in Afghanistan
Aired August 5, 2008 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
See events come into the NEWSROOM live on this Tuesday, the 5th of August. Here's what's on the rundown.
Rain, wind and bluster. Tropical Storm Edouard slams the western Gulf Coast. Live coverage all day.
HARRIS: Brain food. Searchers find fish protects your noggin from silent strokes. Baked of broiled only, please.
COLLINS: Navigating Beijing three days before the summer Olympics. Our reporter gets lost in translation, in the NEWSROOM.
A dangerous storm battering the Gulf Coast right now. Tropical storm Edouard made landfall less than an hour ago. The edge of the storm hit the coast hours earlier, bringing high winds and heavy rain.
The storm is centered right near the Texas/Louisiana border. Residents warned to watch out for falling trees and flash floods.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED EMMETT, HARRIS CO. EMERGENCY MGMT. DIRECTOR: This is still going to be an all-day, significant event in terms of heavy rain and winds. And so if you can stay home, it's probably still a good idea to stay inside. I mean, it's not a day you'd normally venture out on. But, obviously, if you need to go to work, sure. But use good judgment.
As the mayor said, we're still going to have localized flooding, so, you know, don't drive into the high water. Be careful where you go. Watch out for down power lines. Those sorts of things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: We are covering the storm from all angles. Our Jacqui Jeras is in the Severe Weather Center and Reynolds Wolf is out in it, in Galveston, Texas.
Let's go ahead and begin with you, Reynolds.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Heidi.
It looks like the storm -- at least the brunt of it -- is going to pass farther to the north, but from our location in Galveston, conditions have gotten a lot worse just over the last 10 minutes or so.
The rain is still coming in, kind of a horizontal fashion. You at home are seeing it drip right across parts of your TV screen. You certainly don't have to wipe at it at home. We'll take care of that in the field.
Now one of the things you'd be dealing with here in Galveston -- thankfully we haven't had any evacuations. It has not been that bad. There have been a couple of businesses that have been boarding up their windows, always taking those precautions in the case that that storm may have intensified before it made landfall. Thankfully, that didn't happen.
Another reason in terms -- or another thing in terms of preparedness for Galveston -- hold on one second, housekeeping thing. Here we go. Hopefully that's a little better for you guys at home.
Another thing here about -- in terms of preparedness, you can argue that Galveston has been prepared for well over 100 years. Now if you look at my feet, you see some cords, but you also see this big piece of concrete which is part of a seawall that was constructed back in 1902.
It's about 17 feet above sea level and the important thing about this is that this was created because of the possibility of storms like this. In fact, you go back to 1900, two years before that, you had the worst natural disaster in American history when 8,000 people lost their lives when a hurricane the equivalent of a category four made landfall and wiped the community basically off the face of the earth.
They rebuilt in 1902 and they built the seawall which is about, as I mentioned, 17 feet high. Stretches 10 miles down this coastline. And at the base is about 16 feet wide. However, they, obviously, have added on to that. You can see, again, the roadway and then on the island they have quite a bit more development they did, obviously, back around 1900.
The situation here is pretty good. As I mentioned, no widespread evacuations. It's been really nice out here in some ways for surfers. They've been out here enjoying themselves. And something else over here. This just happened. A little bit of a patriotic shot for you.
This person just came out, enjoying the wind and enjoying a little feel of patriotism. It's funny, the things you'll find out here during storms.
All right. That's the latest we've got for you. Let's send it back to you in the studio.
COLLINS: All right. God bless America and Galveston, obviously.
Reynolds, I know it's probably not easy to hear me so we'll let you go for now but certainly come back to you as the day goes on.
Thanks so much, Reynolds Wolf, standing there in the middle of it all...
COLLINS: ... in Galveston, Texas.
Now let's go on to CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras standing by in the Severe Weather Center.
Good morning, Jacqui.
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning, Heidi, and Tony. Good morning everybody.
This is impact hour. This is as bad as it's going to get. This is going to stick around. Really nasty weather for Reynolds right there in Galveston -- over the next couple of hours. We had landfall just about an hour ago, and we're still seeing some very strong winds and intense rainfall.
Now, what we've been noticing here, the center of the circulation is already somewhere up here near the I-10 corridor. It appears that it's taking a little bit more of a westerly component. It's been moving west-northwest. If it stays on more of a due-west movement, we're going to see a greater impact, for example, in places like downtown Houston. You guys could be seeing some of those real significant wind gusts as well as the flooding rain.
This is live radar, level two radar, out of the Houston area. You can see this heavy band. It's maybe 30 minutes away here for you in the Houston area. And there you can see a cluster of thunderstorms just to the east of where Reynolds is. So that's going to be pushing into his area. Watch for some live pictures coming up real soon of some real heavy downpours. We can see an inch to an inch-and-a-half per hour with this thing.
Now, a sampling of some of the wind speeds. These are sustained winds, not to mention the gusts, which could get up there around 60 plus miles per hour -- 35 sustained right now in Beaumont. We've got 21 in lake Charles. There you can see 14 miles per hour in Intercoastal City.
How much rain are we talking about?
Here's the big focus. The heaviest of rain is going to be right within that track and to the right of it. So three to six inches can be expected here -- with localized amounts, more than that. Surrounding areas will see more like one to three inches with some isolated, heavier amounts within these thunderstorms. Now this thing is moving along at a pretty good rate. We're talking 14 miles per hour. So the flooding situation is going to be nothing like Dolly, but you do have to play it smart, just like the mayor said, and you don't want to take any risk. If you can stay home today, good idea to do so, and certainly don't drive over any roads that have water on them. You just never know how deep it is, you never know if that road can be washed out.
Look at how long this is going to stay up at tropical storm strength. This is overnight tonight into tomorrow morning, and then we'll watch the gradual weakening. But this thing is going to stick in Texas for much of the week.
One good note, guys, with all this, everybody put a smile on your face -- might help the heat relief a little bit in northern parts of Texas, because we're going to get those clouds in there to block out some of that sun.
HARRIS: There you go.
COLLINS: Absolutely. It has been brutal by way of heat.
JERAS: Silver lining of it all.
COLLINS: I love that about you, Jacqui. Thank you. We'll check back later on.
HARRIS: Well, you know, Galveston may have escaped the worst of it, but people there still have to be on alert for flash flooding. Galveston mayor, Lyda Ann Thomas joins us from the phone now.
And Mayor, good to talk to you this morning. I have to ask you...
MAYOR LYDA ANN THOMAS, GALVESTON, TEXAS: Good morning.
HARRIS: Good morning. Good morning.
What are the forecasters telling you? I hope you had an opportunity to hear Jacqui Jeras a moment ago. She's indicating this could still be a pretty significant rainy event for you.
THOMAS: Well, I did listen and we do have a lot of rain and wind right now. Of course, we always feel very fortunate when we don't get a direct hit. Galveston is used to tropical storms. Fortunately, this did not become a hurricane.
However, we are asking our residents and visitors to stay indoors until this rain event and wind have passed over the island, which could be some hours from now.
THOMAS: We don't want to become complacent, because these storms can turn right around and go back to the gulf or hang around for while. So we're still prepared and we still have our emergency operations in order and we're...
HARRIS: Got you.
THOMAS: ... carefully monitoring the weather.
HARRIS: Very good.
So, Mayor, the seawall that Reynolds Wolf was just talking about and showing us just a moment ago, 17 feet high, it can certainly -- it can protect against, what, a category three, maybe category four? It can certainly handle a tropical storm, right?
THOMAS: Oh, it can easily handle waves up to 17 feet, which this certainly didn't even get close to it.
THOMAS: But category four, as Rita bore down upon us, was something that it could not have handled because as tide was going to go at that point 28 to 30 feet, which is way above the seawall. So that was a very dangerous storm. But it's done a good job since 1902.
HARRIS: And, Mayor, one final question. You mentioned a dangerous storm in your recent history. What about this storm? How do you view this? Is this still in any way shape or form a dangerous storm event for Galveston?
THOMAS: No, it is not. It's a tropical storm and as I said, we're very fortunate that it is still able one and the winds are such that they're not hurricane strength. So this is just a place where a storm where we have to watch for downed lines, a little flooding.
HARRIS: Got you. So, Mayor, are you...
THOMAS: That's about it.
HARRIS: Mayor, are you going to open up city hall or are you going to work from the satellite home office today?
THOMAS: We're all at city hall. We did not have to move our operations into one of the hotels. City hall is open just for our emergency management staff. All of our employees have been asked to stay home today.
HARRIS: Mayor, thank you for your time.
Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas on the phone with us this morning.
And if you're in the path of a storm, we want to hear from you. Send us your iReport pictures and video and help us tell this story as effectively as we can. Just go to ireport.com or type ireport.com into your cell phone.
But remember, we always remind you of this, be safe. COLLINS: A new earthquake rattles China's Sichuan Province. That's the same area devastated by a powerful and deadly quake back in May. Today's quake, a magnitude 6.0. Officials say one person was killed, five others seriously injured.
The tremor is one of many aftershocks from the 7.9 quake that struck Sichuan nearly three months ago. Almost 70,000 people were killed.
Today's quake happened just a few short hours after the Olympic torch relay reached the province. It's the last leg of the relay before the flame officially opens the Beijing games on Friday.
HARRIS: So what will they do with interest rates today? We got a fix on the Fed. Your money, issue #1.
HARRIS: Well, the price of oil is down. The stock market expected to be up when it opens in just a few minutes. Turn around three down days here. That would be nice. Interest rates -- they're likely to hold steady.
Here to explain today's Fed meeting and its impact on your wallet, CNN's senior correspondent Allan Chernoff.
And, Allan, boy, a lot for the Fed to factor into its process today but we have an indication of what the Fed is likely to do.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: We do, and we have good news, as you mentioned.
First of all, the price of gas down yet again. We're at $3.87 a gallon. That's the 19th consecutive decline. Even better, the price of oil is down once again this morning. We're below $120 a barrel. Can you believe that's actually good news?
HARRIS: I hear that, yes.
CHERNOFF: But the fact that oil is still going down means that gasoline prices also will continue their descent, assuming that oil does, at least remain at this level or go lower.
All of this makes the Federal Reserve's job a little bit easier, but nonetheless, we still have a battle raging inside of the Federal Reserve. Yes, we have the inflation-fighting hawks against the recession-fighting doves.
Now here's how it breaks down. First of all, the hawks, well, they want to raise interest rates. They are worried about this growth we're seeing in inflation in spite of the good news of this morning. Gasoline prices, we all know, they have been just soaring, up more than 30 percent over the past year. This is on an annual basis, you're seeing over here.
HARRIS: Yes. CHERNOFF: Eggs, flour, just a few examples of what's happening to the economy here.
On the other side, you've got the doves. They would like to keep inflation low because their big worry is the economy, the possibility of a recession. They're thinking we probably are in a recession and they're looking at rising unemployment, the mortgage crisis, the credit crunch. That's the fact that many banks don't even want to lend much because of their own financial problems.
So there is a battle within the Fed and at the moment we've pretty much got a standoff, meaning no change today. That's the expectation on Wall Street. No change in the interest rate.
HARRIS: Yes, so...
CHERNOFF: In fact that's all...
HARRIS: Yes, it's the battle for the middle, if you've got the two sides competing and it ends up somewhere in the middle. It sounds like that's where we are. And the announcement from the Fed this afternoon, correct, Allan?
CHERNOFF: Yes, 2:15 Eastern time is generally when the Fed does come out with its decision. It's a one-day meeting today that we've got.
HARRIS: Allan Chernoff for us this morning.
Allan, appreciate it. Thank you.
COLLINS: As part of CNN's ongoing effort to help you make an informed choice in the election, we're giving more time to what the candidates are saying in their own words on the campaign trail.
Here now, John McCain talking energy in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to solve the energy crisis that's affecting businesses like National Label Company and we need an all-of-the-above approach. We need to aggressively develop alternative energies like wind, solar, tide, biofuels and geothermal, but we also need to expand our use of existing energy resources here at home.
That means we need more nuclear power. It means we need clean coal technology. And that means we need to offshore drill for oil and natural gas. We need to drill here and we need to drill now. And anybody who says that we can achieve energy independence without using and increasing these existing energy resources either doesn't have the experience to understand the challenge we face or isn't giving the American people some straight talk.
Unfortunately, Senator Obama continues to oppose offshore drilling. He continues to oppose the use of nuclear power. These misguided policies would result in higher energy costs to American families and businesses and increased dependence on foreign oil.
We're not going to achieve energy independence by inflating our tires. I'm going to lead our nation to energy independence, and I'm going to do it with a realistic and comprehensive all-of-the-above approach that uses every resource available to finally solve this crisis.
As a lot of Americans know, the Congress, doing nothing, decided to go on a five-week recess without addressing the energy challenge that's affecting Americans every single day and their ability to go to work and their ability to do their jobs and their ability to keep inflation down as they're trying to do here at the National Label Company.
And they need a Congress that will act. Congress should come back into session. Congress should come back into session and I'm willing to come off the campaign trail.
I call on Senator Obama to call on Congress to come back into town and come back to work. Come off their recess. Come off their vacation and address this energy challenge to America and don't leave until we do.
Republican and Democrat joining together, and a very vital part of that is nuclear power and another vital part of that is offshore drilling. We have to drill here and drill now. Not wait and see whether there's areas to explore. Not wait and see whether there's a package that needs to be put together, but drill here and drill now.
And let's start working for the American people and not for ourselves. So I hope that Senator Obama will call on Congress and the leaders, Harry Reid and Speaker Pelosi, to call Congress back into session. Let's get this energy crisis solved, as Americans have been able to solve every challenge that's faced us and move forward and work for America and put America first.
Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Barack Obama is also talking energy. He's holding a town hall meeting this morning in Youngstown, Ohio. We are going to hear some of what he's saying a little bit later this hour.
Quickly want to get you this live picture that is happening right now because it is...
HARRIS: Oh that is not live.
COLLINS: ... priceless. It is live. This is coming in to us from the UK, Cirencester, England. I hope I'm saying that correctly. Look at it. They're getting married on top of a biplane. The vicar is in the lead there.
HARRIS: What the...
COLLINS: He's -- we call him one. This is like a three-ship formation.
HARRIS: Yes, yes.
COLLINS: And he is handling the ceremony. You see the bride on the left.
HARRIS: Whoa, whoa, whoa.
COLLINS: The groom on the right. And yes, I don't know how they're hearing each other. They've got to have some kind of headsets on. But we don't actually -- can't really see that.
Look, it's a bumpy ride, too, isn't it? I hope it's not an indication of their later days together or years together, for that matter.
Yes, this is definitely a first in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Are you kidding me here?
COLLINS: On a wing and a prayer.
HARRIS: I mean -- yes, absolutely.
COLLINS: You like the (INAUDIBLE)
HARRIS: Absolutely. But in order to be valid, you have to respond, don't you?
COLLINS: Oh, oh, oh, listen. I just learned, there's a whole ceremony is being re-laid through a PA system to the guests that are watching below. So, yes, there are guests for this wedding.
COLLINS: There's some sort of massive PA system.
COLLINS: They must flying on a circular pattern or something in order to, you know, stay in the general vicinity. But she's waving. She must have said yes. And you know, it's been a success.
Look, they're getting ready to come down, it appears. It looks like some sort of landing strip there.
But coming in to us again from the UK.
HARRIS: Wacky first.
COLLINS: This fantastic, first-of-its-kind, certainly in the CNN NEWSROOM, wedding in the sky. They got rid of the contrail there so... HARRIS: That is...
COLLINS: ... looks like they're breaking off and flying home.
HARRIS: That's just sort of -- let's -- maybe we can check back and make sure the landing is OK on this.
COLLINS: Now my question is, do they climb back inside for the landing? I would hope so.
HARRIS: Well, yes. That's...
COLLINS: I would hope so. And, obviously, there's another plane who's shooting all this right behind them so.
HARRIS: All right. So we're rolling on this back in the control room, right, so we can check out the landing a little later? We can do that? OK, all right, good.
COLLINS: You're going to be seeing this all day, people.
HARRIS: Look at this.
COLLINS: I'm sure of it.
HARRIS: All right, so we can move on? Can we move on? All right.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't have to. I want to hear the sound. I want to hear, "I do!" That's got to be in there somewhere.
HARRIS: If that's what you want.
LEVS: Please tell me we're going to have the recording of the sound. This is television, people.
HARRIS: And what about the kiss? You may kiss the bride?
COLLINS: There's no kiss. That would be too close a formation.
LEVS: You've got to learn what's behind that thing. This is classic TV.
HARRIS: Man, goodness.
HARRIS: Got a little more politics?
LEVS: Do we have to? Yes, it's downer.
HARRIS: Well, yes.
LEVS: OK, let's talk politics.
HARRIS: All right. So the candidates on the trail and they're attacking and Josh Levs is paying close attention.
LEVS: Bringing people back from the heavens down to reality.
LEVS: But basically here's the deal. There is this new big attack ad. We're going to take a look at it today. How much money has John McCain really received from the oil industry? And also, how does this new Barack Obama ad resemble one from Hillary Clinton in April?
COLLINS: New evidence a healthy diet that includes fatty fish may do wonders for your brain.
CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here. You know, clearly, I have not been eating enough of this.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, you have, you have.
COLLINS: We're talking about these omega-3s that people talk about. Not sure that they really understand the benefits.
GUPTA: It's the good stuff in fish, the omega-3 fatty acids. If you want to find the good stuff, that's usually what it is. And people have to get intuitively known for some time that fish is good for you, but there's some real evidence now just how good it can be.
This is an interesting study. They looked at thousands of MRI scans of people 65 and older and they tried to find out who was having what are known as silent strokes, mini strokes, they're often called as well.
Take a look here. I just want to show you. Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words.
COLLINS: Clots. We're talking about clots, right?
GUPTA: Yes, well, little areas of the brain. Here a little black spots, you can see where the arrows are pointing to, where the brain did not get enough oxygen for a period of time. It caused (INAUDIBLE) mini strokes. You can see them as these little white areas around here as well on this MRI scan.
What they found was that people who ate fish more regularly -- three times or more a week -- were 26 percent less likely to have those sort of mini strokes.
GUPTA: Now if you ate fish once a week, 13 percent less likely. So you get some real potential benefits here. Again, this is one study -- and we've known fish is good for you for a long time, but here's some evidence.
COLLINS: Yes, and always important to point out, you know, how many people were followed for how long and how big the study is. I know you watch that stuff really closely. So important to point out that this is just one study. But also interesting to talk about, what types of fish...
COLLINS: ... in particular and then how much? You said three times a week?
GUPTA: Three times a week and what they said was that four ounces was one serving. So pretty much 12 ounces a week, which is a good amount but not an excessive amount necessarily either.
There are certain types of fish that are better than others. I asked the same question, by the way. And he put a list up there. Mackerel, which is everybody's favorite, lake trout, herring -- how do you say that, herring?
COLLINS: Herring, yes. It's Scandinavian.
GUPTA: Herring, Tuna -- right, yes. I thought that's how you might actually check in on that.
Tuna, Salmon is a popular one, as well. But these are the ones that are rich in the omega-3s.
COLLINS: Omega-3s. Right.
GUPTA: That's right.
COLLINS: OK. So -- but it's not just the brain that benefits from the omega-3s. You also get heart benefit.
GUPTA: That's right. And you know, when you talk about omega- 3s, overall, they seem to have some sort of beneficial effect on your entire vascular system. The blood vessels in your body. That controls the likelihood of having problems with the arteries that supply blood to the brain as well as to the heart.
So lower risks of heart disease in the long run. Again, all of this just from eating fish...
GUPTA: ... or omega-3 fatty acids.
COLLINS: Yes, I mean, why not? Unless you hate fish, then you have to kind of force yourself to eat but...
GUPTA: And if you hate fish, you can take the pills.
GUPTA: The supplements.
GUPTA: That's not a bad option, I think, for a lot of people. As you may know it's the only supplement I take, because I think you can actually take some of the good stuff in fish and put it into pill form. So that's something if you really don't like fish.
COLLINS: A lot of other vitamins, too. It sort changes the good stuff or the consistency of what you're trying to get out of it.
GUPTA: That's exactly right. You're not getting everything, all the microbe things that help you absorb the stuff as well so.
COLLINS: And you're a smart guy so it must be working.
GUPTA: Sometimes better than others.
COLLINS: CNN senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- thanks, Sanjay.
GUPTA: Thanks, Heidi.
HARRIS: Coming up on the half hour. Welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Tony Harris.
COLLINS: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
The Texas Gulf Coast on alert for possible flooding this morning. Tropical storm Edouard came ashore just over an hour ago. It's packing some strong winds and lots of rain. The National Hurricane Center says southeastern Texas could get up to 10 inches.
The state director of emergency management is warning residents to be aware of flash floods and falling trees.
HARRIS: Let's get you to Jacqui Jeras, monitoring the storm from the CNN Severe Weather Center.
And Jacqui, we talked to the mayor of Galveston a short time ago. She doesn't consider this a dangerous storm for Galveston right now, but flooding could still be an issue.
JERAS: Yes it could be, you know. But overall we could really use rain for this area. So it's not all bad. I think if you play it smart, you know, just use common sense today, you're going to be OK with this storm.
We could have some minor damage with your garbage cans and lawn furniture blowing around if you didn't tie that stuff down or bring it inside. Flooding, I think, is mostly going to be in urban areas. You know you get the urban streets and all the buildings and all that buildup there, so everything just kind of runs off. And we haven't had a lot of rain here recently, so the drains can be clogged, too. So that's really the main thing that, I think, is going to be our risk that we need to watch out for in addition to some of these stronger wind gusts in the upcoming hours.
But the storm has made its way onshore now, so we'll watch for a gradual weakening trend.
And speaking of the Houston area, specifically, we want to zoom in here because you could see some of the strong thunderstorm bands and Galveston as well. They're just off to your west. So, we're talking in the next probably ten to 30 minutes. You're going to see an increase in rainfall. You're going to see those winds pick up with the gusts and the thunderstorms, and some of that urban flooding could be taking place.
So, if you have travel plans right now along I-10, you really want to hold off on those plans, because conditions really are pretty hazardous out there. You don't want to do anything you don't have to that could put your life at risk.
Wind speeds right now -- look at this, we still have 20 to 30- mile-per-hour sustained winds. So, if you tried to drive, you know, you're going to be white knuckling it and really feeling that, especially in the higher-profile vehicles. There you can see here the forecast rainfall totals. And the real heaviest stuff is just going to come along the same path as Edouard, and just off to the right of it.
And as I mentioned, drought conditions, this is a map of the U.S. drought monitor. And take a look at this map here. I want you to focus in on this real dark red. That is exceptional drought conditions. You can see that's just northwest of the Houston area. You folks are going to be getting some of this rain, and that certainly will be beneficial. And the other silver lining, if you missed this at the top of the hour, is that some of this cloud cover is going to make it up into northern Texas, and could help break some of this heat a little bit.
COLLINS: Excellent. Yes, it is a good by-product. All right, Jacqui, we'll check in later. In fact, stick around, because you got to look at this shot with us.
You were talking about wind, and obviously that is something that the people of Texas have to deal with. And look at the people up on these planes in the U.K. How they're having to deal with it on -- yes, they're wedding day.
HARRIS: Are you kidding me?
COLLINS: This is the video that we began showing you a little bit earlier that was live. And now these are some shots that were coming in before we, actually, were able to pull it up. And yes, that's the bride and the groom on top of a -- I believe that's a Guinot biplane. I'm not quite sure how to pronounce that. But I'm looking up here and they do quite a few air shows across the country -- or across the world, I should say.
JERAS: There's got to be a story behind this.
COLLINS: Yes. Well, I'm sure there is.
JERAS: Why are they doing this?
COLLINS: Yes. Why? Well --
JERAS: Did they meet in an airplane? Are they stunt pilots?
COLLINS: I don't know.
JERAS: I need to know.
HARRIS: Who is going to even insure this company -- this couple? Who can insure this couple from here on out?
COLLINS: Well, we don't know if they have insurance.
HARRIS: Come on.
COLLINS: I'm betting they don't have any insurance.
JERAS: Talk about a bad hair day on your wedding day.
COLLINS: Yes, and her dress. How did her dress stay appropriately on her?
JERAS: I'm thinking leggings underneath.
COLLINS: Yes, or some of that tape that J.Lo uses, you know.
We also want to show you the live picture now. They have a -- well, they're still on top. They're trying to get them --
HARRIS: Are they all right?
COLLINS: -- unharnessed. Yes.
HARRIS: Oh there you go. OK.
COLLINS: You can see the bride there on the left. I believe that's the groom or the vicar on the right. I can't quite tell, because all three of them that -- I was watching them on the rather sort of try and get them off the planes. But it looks like it's been a success. And in case the last time we were showing, there was an audience if you will. There were guests at this wedding. They were on the ground, obviously.
There was a huge PA system where they were broadcasting the ceremony so everybody could hear what was going on up there. And, gosh, I would love to get that in. Not quite sure if that's available to us.
JERAS: That's pretty cool. COLLINS: Yes, it's a first here in the NEWSROOM, anyway. All right, we'll be watching that.
HARRIS: What's next?
COLLINS: I want to know what they're going to do for their anniversary.
COLLINS: The standard is very high, perhaps. All right, we'll follow that one for you just because it's fun.
HARRIS: Get them down already.
Welcome to Beijing. Now, find your way around town. Good luck with that. Our i-Reporter gives it the old Olympic try, live from China.
HARRIS: Let's get you to the New York Stock Exchange right now. The ringing of the bell to open the trading day just moments ago. The Dow starting the day at 11,284. And inside the first -- look at this, a nice triple digit rally. We thought the futures markets indicated the Dow would be off to a good start, but it's pretty quick, pretty fast. Up 126 points in the first couple of minutes of the trading day.
We will check in with Susan Lisovicz and find out what's driving the markets. Maybe falling oil prices a bit later here in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: The Olympics just three days away now. China is putting the finishing touches on Beijing, and preparing for Friday's opening ceremony. Now, just what it doesn't need. Today, an earthquake hit the same region devastated by a killer earthquake back in May.
CNN's Anjali Rao is joining us now from Beijing.
Anjali, what is the latest you can tell us. First about the earthquake and its possible impact on the games?
ANJALI RAO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heidi, yes, that's right. A powerful magnitude 6 tremor struck Sichuan Province a little earlier on today. We know now that one person was killed in that quake. It is the same area, you may recall, that was devastated by last May's 7.9 tremor that killed nearly 70,000 people.
A local emergency official says today's quake also seriously wounded five people. That comes just hours after the Olympic torch concluded its journey through the region, remembering victims and the heroic rescue efforts there. Well, the torch has now arrived in Beijing. And, hopefully, the torch bearers know where they're going. But for those of us who aren't from around here, it's a little difficult sometimes to get around the city.
Beijing has spent billions trying to change that and make it easier for those of us who are foreign to follow.
RAO (voice-over): After months of excitement about the Olympics, I'm finally in Beijing. Like me, most people will arrive at this new terminal, designed by Sir Norman Foster, it's absolutely huge.
It's actually the largest airport building in the world. Still, it seems pretty smooth to get through and the lines are manageable. But outside, there are a lot more people.
(on camera): Tens of thousands of foreign visitors are expected to descend on Beijing for the games, and when they get here, they'll have to contend with all sorts of things from heat to pollution, language barrier, excitable crowds, not to mention also just the regular stresses and strains of navigating a big, busy unfamiliar city.
So, how easy is it going to be to do? That's what I'm here to find out. Hilton Hotel?
UNIDENTIFIED DRIVER: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
RAO: Hilton Hotel? Do you speak any English?
(voice-over): My first lesson, even the big hotels may not be recognized by cab drivers. I should have found someone to write my destination in Chinese for me.
How about public transport? I would like to check out the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, Beijing's two iconic Olympic venues. Line eight is the new underground route that goes right there.
(on camera): Oh, English!
(voice-over): It seems pretty straightforward.
(on camera): Would you look at that? I got a ticket. Or is it?
Hi, can you tell me how to get here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
RAO (voice-over): Seems I'm not the only one who's confused. From here, I can see the corner of the Bird's Nest way in the distance. Eventually, I find the entrance to line 8.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, let me see your pass. RAO (on camera): So, I guess that's that, then. That's as close I'm getting to the Bird's Nest without an official pass or a ticket to an Olympic event. Would have been quite helpful if I'd known that in the beginning.
After a day of walking around Beijing, I've discovered that even if you can't get into an Olympic venue, there are still places you should come to where you won't miss a thing.
(voice-over): That's the biggest screen in Asia. And it's one of Beijing's 26 Olympic cultural squares set up so anyone can watch the competitions. Let the games begin.
RAO: And if you get really lost on the way to the Bird's Nest or the Water Cube, all you have to do is wait until night time when they light up, just like that. You definitely can't miss those, Heidi.
COLLINS: All right. Everybody is really looking forward to the ceremony on Friday. That's for sure.
Anjali Rao, thanks so much. Live from Beijing this morning.
HARRIS: And team U.S.A. arriving in Beijing for the Olympic Games. Some of the athletes wearing masks as you'll see here in a second. Yes, Beijing is notorious for a smoggy haze hovering over the city. One cyclist says the masks will keep that gunk in the air out of their lungs. Chinese officials insist they're taking extra steps to clear the air before the games open Friday.
COLLINS: How hot is it on the presidential campaign trail? Sparks fly over gas, oil, and more.
COLLINS: Gas, oil, and more. The two presidential candidates talking about possible solutions to the nation's energy woes. Barack Obama in the rust belt today. Town hall meetings in Ohio. He is putting forward an energy plan that is now open to offshore oil drilling.
John McCain visits a nuclear power plant in Michigan today. He wants the U.S. to build more of them. McCain advocated more offshore drilling yesterday in Pennsylvania. He also stumped at a motorcycle rally. There you go. There he is, though, he doesn't have the leather on, in South Dakota.
HARRIS: Well, yesterday, we had a reality check on a John McCain ad attacking Barack Obama over energy matters. Now, a just-released Obama ad claims McCain is getting big money from big oil. Is that true?
Josh Levs is here. And the suggestion here, Josh, is that because McCain is getting big money from big oil. That's the reason he's pushing so hard for offshore oil drilling. LEVS: Right. And, of course, there's plenty of spin all the time on this. And we just kind of keep reaching into the spin cycle, getting drench, and try to dry stuff out, right? Get you all to reality.
But this is the basic idea here. This is a brand-new one exactly like he was saying. Yesterday, we saw one from John McCain. This brand-new ad now from Barack Obama. Here's the reality.
LEVS (voice-over): The ad launches directly into attack mode.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time you fill your tank, the oil companies fill their pockets. Now big oil is filling John McCain's campaign with $2 million in contributions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: Is that true? The Obama campaign puts its sourcing here. The Center for Responsive Politics tracks contributions by people in the oil industry. Through June, McCain had $1.3 million. The Obama ad also cites a "Washington Post" article. That article mentioned oil money McCain gets from Republican National Committee fundraising. The Center for Responsive Politics says it won't know exactly how much McCain has received until those figures are reported. The total could reach $2 million or it could be less.
Obama's ad does not mentioned he has received nearly $400,000 from people in the oil industry, or how much more he may have received through Democratic National Committee fundraising.
Back to the ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because instead of taxing their windfall profits to help drivers, McCain wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks. After one president in the pocket of big oil, we can't afford another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: Politifact.com pointed out last month that the tax reduction McCain wants would apply to all corporations, singling out oil companies suggest he's targeted them for tax breaks.
By the way, does any of this sound familiar?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've seen the ad.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I don't take money from oil companies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No candidate does. It's been against the law for 100 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: Hillary Clinton's campaign released this ad in April. It was called Pocket. Just like the title of Obama's new ad -- Pockets.
LEVS: And, of course, this new ad is the latest in this ongoing back and forth over this major issue. If you want to see the one we looked at yesterday, go to CNNPolitics.com.
And Tony, obviously, we can expect a lot more of this.
HARRIS: Well, that's for question. I've been a little surprised, I got to be honest. We were talking about it yesterday. That this issue has really seemed to take off and is seemingly gaining a little bit of traction for the McCain campaign. Do you expect we'll see more ads on this particular issue?
LEVS: You know what it is? It's the 2008 version of economy stupid.
HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
LEVS: You know, this is your pocketbook issue. You go to the gas station, you see how much it cost. It's so pragmatic and so real. And each side had some winning angles on this.
John McCain had some ways he's been winning on, and so as Barack Obama. So, we can absolutely expect a lot more ads, millions of bucks put into this topic.
HARRIS: Well, maybe we can work on this together. I'd really like to know what happens. Let's say we -- for the sake of discussion that we -- OK, offshore oil drilling with the bans are lifted. I want to know who's lined up right now -- which of the big oil companies are lined up right now, knocking on the door saying, we're ready to go drill in ANWAR.
I just would like to know that. Who buy those leases? I just want to know, and then how long does it take from the next -- I'm going on and on.
LEVS: Well, actually, you know, that counts as a tease. Because coming up, that is one thing we're going to be looking at in the coming days. So, there we go.
HARRIS: Very good.
HARRIS: Thanks, Josh. Let's see. Do we have a live picture? Youngstown, Ohio. OK, there he is. Illinois Senator Barack Obama on stage right now for a town hall meeting there in Youngstown -- hard hit, Youngstown, Ohio. You want to talk about issue #1, the economy -- certainly, issue number one in Youngstown. We will take you to Youngstown for some of those remarks, the town hall meeting on energy in just a couple of minutes.
Still to come, the 2001 anthrax killings. We're learning more about the evidence against the suspect who killed himself.
HARRIS: The 2001 anthrax attacks. It could be case closed as early as today. The main suspect, Anthrax researcher Bruce Ivins, killed himself last week as the government was building a case against him. Listen to this. Today, more about the evidence.
The Associated Press reporting Ivins borrowed a freeze dryer in 2001 that could have been used to make powdered anthrax. The AP also reporting authorities say Ivins had an obsession with a Princeton sorority that may link him to a mailbox where the letters were dropped.
And sources tell CNN, DNA evidence links the Anthrax string used in the attacks to a flask in Ivins's lab. Ivins's attorney, his family and friends insist Ivins was not the Anthrax killer.
COLLINS: A Pakistani scientist accused of trying to kill Americans in Afghanistan. She is due in court in New York this morning.
CNN Mary Snow reports.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 36-year-old Aafia Siddiqui was brought here to New York to face charges of attempted murder and assault of U.S. officers and FBI agent in Afghanistan. Her story is one shrouded in mystery. She is Pakistani, but she was educated here in the United States as a neuroscientist. And she disappeared in Pakistan in 2003 with her three children. She then became the first woman to be the subject of an FBI alert in connection with al Qaeda.
Her whereabouts in that timeframe are unknown. But prosecutor say she was arrested last month in Afghanistan, and she was found to have bomb making instructions with documents about U.S. landmarks including some here in New York City.
But her sister tells a very different story, and held a press conference in Pakistan today saying her sister is innocent and she believes she's been held in U.S. custody for these past five years. Siddiqui's lawyer here in the U.S. says the U.S. government's story does not add up. U.S. Military says Siddiqui was not being held in U.S. custody. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
HARRIS: Wind, rain, and the threat of flooding. Tropical Storm Edouard slamming the Gulf Coast of Texas right now. All day coverage on CNN.
HARRIS: Illinois Senator Barack Obama in Youngstown, Ohio, on the campaign trail. He is talking about his energy plan. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: McCain is offering $4 billion more in tax breaks to the biggest oil companies in America including $1.2 million to Exxon Mobil, a company that just recorded the largest profit in the history of the United States. This is a company that last quarter made the same amount of money in 30 seconds that a typical Ohio worker makes in an entire year.
All the while, while here in Ohio, you're paying nearly $3.70 a gallon for gas, and that's because it's gone down over the last couple of weeks. two-and-a-half times what it cost when George Bush took office, two-and-a-half times what it cost when George Bush took office. But they had a plan. They had a plan.
The problem was, it was the oil company plan. And the gas company plan. It wasn't a people plan. And we need a people plan.
OBAMA: Which is why I'm running for president of the United States of America.
Senator McCain not only wants oil companies to keep every dime of that money that they've been making, he wants to give them more. Well, I don't know about you, but I don't think that's the change that we need right now.
Instead of offering a real plan to lower gas prices, the only energy plan that he's really promoting is more drilling. This is what he talked about yesterday. I want to drill here, I want to drill now. I don't know where he was standing.
I think he was in a building somewhere. This plan will not lower prices today. It won't lower prices during the next administration. The truth is, we wouldn't see a drop of oil from John McCain's plan for at least the next seven years. Now, increased domestic oil production certainly has its place, as we make our economy more fuel efficient and transition to other renewable American-made sources of energy. But it's not a real solution. It's a political answer of the sort that Washington engages every few years.
In fact, what we've been talking about for the last three decades. And while Senator McCain's plan won't save you at the pump any time soon, I have to say this. It sure has raised him a lot of campaign dollars. Senator McCain raised more than $1 million from the oil industry just last month. Just last month. Most of which came after he announced his plan for offshore drilling to a room full of oil executives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: And there you have it. Illinois Senator Barack Obama in Youngstown, Ohio, talking about his new energy plan. Just another reminder, you will hear more from the Illinois Senator and Arizona Senator John McCain this hour, in their own words.