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Effects of Oil Spill on Gulf of Mexico; Profile of Oscar Pistorius

Aired September 1, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz, and here`s a look at some of the stories making headlines today.

Wildfires are burning across parts of Texas. Firefighters are making progress against them, but the fires still threaten dozens of homes.

In New York, a 9/11 memorial is getting ready to open for the 10th anniversary of the attacks. The designer says the memorial is the architectural equivalent of a moment of silence.

And in Libya, rebels search for long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi. It was 42 years ago today that Gadhafi took control of his country by overthrowing Libya`s king. More events that happened on this day in history are coming right up. This is CNN Student News.

First up, the aftermath of Irene. The storm may be gone, the floodwaters are not. Vermont, New Jersey, upstate New York, these are some of the spots that got the worst flooding after Irene barreled its way through the U.S. east coast.

Some areas are still completely unreachable by road. So search and rescue teams are using boats and rafts like this one. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. One mayor in New Jersey said all it takes is a phone call, and for someone to say they need help. Then the boats head out and get them to safety.

Another official said the rescues are happening pretty much 24 hours a day. Flood warnings still in effect for more than half a dozen states yesterday. Once the waters start to go back down, authorities say the next step will be going door-to-door.

They need to check things, like furnaces and hot water heaters to help prevent explosions when these appliances are restarted. According to government estimates, more than a million people still don`t have electricity.

On this day in history, in 1897, after two years of construction, the first U.S. subway line opened in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1939, German forces launched an invasion of Poland. The land and air attack marked the beginning of what would become World War II.

And in 1985, a group of U.S. and French explorers discovered the wreck of the Titanic on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. The famous cruise liner was located 73 years after it sank.

A group of scientists is hoping to make its own discoveries along the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. These researchers are examining the spot where last year`s devastating oil spill happened. More than 200 million gallons of oil leaked out into the Gulf. What`s been the impact on life under the surface? Colleen McEdwards dives in with details.


SAMANTHA JOYE, DEPARTMENT OF MARINE SCIENCES THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: In the sediments that I looked at under the microscope, which essentially every sample that we collected on that cruise, there was essentially nothing in it that was moving around.

And, you know, there were no worms, there were no shrimp, there were no amphipods, there were no protozoa. It was just -- it was just sediment.

COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): This video, the first of its kind from the area where the Deepwater Horizon rig stood shows what Dr. Samantha Joye calls a dead zone, deep in the seabed, near last year`s Gulf oil spill.

JOYE: Look at all the oil.

MCEDWARDS (voice-over): Dr. Joye describes the oil remaining on the ocean floor within a kilometers of the capped well as a strange brown pudding-like layer of part oil, part who-knows-what. And even more troubling, the area does not appear to be recovering yet.

JOYE: So we sampled in September 2010, December 2010 and now, when we`ll be back out this fall. But to see the trajectory, how the temporal trajectory looks, and so far, from, you know, the September to December samples, there was absolutely no change in activity, no change in abundance, and.

MCEDWARDS: So no improvement?

JOYE: No improvement at all.

MCEDWARDS (voice-over): So while the surface of the Gulf of Mexico now looks picturesque, the ocean floor tells a very different story. Further study is expected to yield more answers, but it may take years to fully gauge the impact of the oil spill on the most basic creatures of the deep.

JOYE: The Gulf of Mexico provides so much to so many. We owe it to the system to truly understand all of the various scales of impact, and to do that, it`s going to take a lot of effort from a lot of people for a very long time.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the Shoutout.

What city is hosting the next Summer Olympic Games? If you think you know it, then shout it out.

Is it Beijing? Chicago? Rio de Janeiro? Or London? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Athletes worldwide will head to London for the 2012 Summer Games. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Runners have to qualify for the Olympics and other major events, like the world championships happening right now in South Korea. Usually they do that on the track. But one athlete needed help from the courts as well.

Oscar Pistorius has been eliminated at the world championships. Robyn Curnow caught up with him before the competition, though, and has this report on his achievements.


OSCAR PISTORIUS, CHAMPION RUNNER: Yes, I`ve got these ones that we just use for sports, for running.

ROBYN CURNOW (voice-over): He doesn`t just change his shoes before practice. Oscar Pistorius has to change his legs, swapping from his walking everyday legs to his carbon fiber blades which he uses for running.

Pistorius is a double amputee due to a birth defect. But he refuses to see himself as someone who needs a helping hand.

PISTORIUS: It`s like a hand (ph).

CURNOW (voice-over): An attitude that`s taking him to the world championships as part of the South African able-bodied team, earning his place and at times beating athletes who have legs, who have feet.

CURNOW: As Oscar Pistorius sweated out here on the training track, he says he wants to be known by his athleticism rather than by his disability.

CURNOW (voice-over): But, still, he`s become an inspiration to many.

CURNOW: We`ve often talked about it, but you are a trailblazer, in a way. You`re going to be the first Paralympian at the able-bodied world championships.

How do you go into that mentally, with that sort of label on you already?

PISTORIUS: Yes, I think, you know, I think I`ve always put a lot of pressure on myself. I think although that label would obviously be there, I haven`t actually thought much about it from that point of view. I think I`ve just thought of it as, you know, I`m a 400-meter athlete, and I`ve been given this opportunity, and I`ve worked very hard for this -- for this time in my career.

CURNOW (voice-over): Pistorius has lobbied hard to run outside the Paralympic events. Three years ago, he took his fight to the courts, forcing the world athletics body to judge him by his times, not his carbon fiber blades. Much to his disappointment, this small group of skeptics still question if his prosthetic legs give him an unfair advantage.

PISTORIUS: I spend a lot of time training and a lot of time sacrificing certain things in my life to be where I am at. And if their legs didn`t provide such an advantage that so many are people are claiming it did, then there would be a lot more amputees using the exact same prosthetic legs that I have, running the same times that I have. And that`s not the case.

So, yes, I think it`s a -- it`s a career that I`ve had, that I`ve been very blessed in so far. And, you know, the disadvantage or advantage, the debate I`ll leave for the people that want to talk about it. But I`m not going to get involved in it every time it comes up.

CURNOW (voice-over): As others do the talking, Oscar says his next step is qualifying for the London Olympics. Robyn Curnow, CNN, Pretoria, South Africa.


AZUZ: You`re talking to us. On our blog, you`re discussing yesterday`s segment about a grocery store that uses artificial smells to get people to buy more food.

Jairo -- or Jairo -- writes, "Our world is already filled with artificial products, tastes and smells. I think this is gross. What`s wrong with food smelling the way it naturally smells?"

Andrew doesn`t agree. He thinks this would be a great thing for the company. All the other stores in the area will have to step up their game to keep up with the scented store.

But Lauren says, if you buy the food just because of the fake smell, you could end up buying something that is the opposite of the good smelling fake stuff.

And Andre calls it "a scamming way to get money from people. They basically trick you into being hungry."

Our blog posts automatically appear in our Facebook site, There, Dominic called this a very creative idea, saying the essence of business is to bring in money. So this is doing the job.

And from Jennifer, nice smells. How can that be bad?

Before we go, part of the tradition of hockey`s Stanley Cup is that all the members of the winning team get to have it for a day. But in this case, wasn`t the best idea.

Oh, no, cup fall down, go boom.

Actually, this is not a big deal. Hockey`s championship trophy just took a serious nosedive, but it turns out a little table topple is nothing compared to some of the other stuff this cup`s been through. It`s been lost, stolen, dismantled, thrown in a pool.

When it comes to tales of wild times, Lord Stanley`s cup runneth over. So the penalty for a wobbly table, they`re just going to let the guy skate free. (Inaudible) you guys again tomorrow. You guys have a great day.