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Tensions Rise In East Ukraine; 300 Still Missing After Ferry Capsized off South Korean Coast; Yahoo Performance Mixed; A Look At Isolation Clinic In Guinea
Aired April 16, 2014 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MONITA RAJPAL, HOST: Hello, I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Almost 300 people are still missing hours after a ferry sinks off the coast of South Korea.
Military vehicles with Russian flags are seen in eastern Ukraine.
And CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports live from Guinea where authorities say an Ebola outbreak is almost -- almost under control.
It has been 12 hours now since the first distress call was sent from a South Korean ferry and a large rescue operation is still underway off the southwestern coast. The ferry was carrying 459 people from Incheon to the resort island of Jeju. Most of the passengers were students on a high school excursion. The ship tilted dramatically and then began to sink. At least four people are confirmed dead, 164 people have been rescued, but some 291 are still unaccounted for.
While some passengers were instructed to put on life jackets and jump from the ship, one student says he and his classmates were told to sit tight and stay on board.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There was an announcement telling us to sit still on the ferry, but the ferry was already sinking. Some of the students were not able to escape. The ferry started to list, so we asked if we should escape now. But the announcement kept telling us to stay still.
I'm so worried about the other students in our rooms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJPAL: Well, as we said the ship departed Incheon and was on its way to Jeju. The resort island is considered the Hawaii of Korea.
A distress signal was sent from the ship early Wednesday. Nearly 200 people are involved in this rescue operation. Still to be determined is the cause of this disaster, which occurred amid clear weather conditions.
But let's get a little bit more now from Andrew Salmon. He joins us now live from Seoul. And Andrew, it is dark right now on the waters off the -- off South Korea. And of course rescue operations as we understand it are still underway, correct?
ANDREW SALMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is correct. We recently spoke to the coastguard regardless of the conditions of darkness. It is dark here right now. It is dark there right now. The rescue operations will be continuing through the night.
I think I should make as clear as I can this is a rescue operation rather than a search operation.
As you noted in your report, it's been 11 hours since this instant began. There are a lot of vessels in the area immediately after the ferry started listing and sank. Visibility was very good. Conditions were clear. So anyone in the water I think it's safe to say is almost certainly been spotted and picked up.
The real issue now is what is happened to this much larger number of 291 people who remain unaccounted for.
As your report also noted there were some orders to remain in place, to not move, to stay where people were. And this could feasibly have contributed to what appears to be a growing tragedy. People obviously did not make it out. Those who went into the water had a very, very good chance of being picked up by the surrounding ships, by the surrounding boats.
Those who are below decks -- and this happened around breakfast time - - we're told that a number of people were in the restaurant, which was on one of the lower decks. It was a five deck ferry. Their chances of getting out were pretty low, given how steeply the ship listed.
So, those who went out on deck and managed to get off were the lucky ones.
RAJPAL: Andrew, this is a well traveled, it's a well navigated route. Has there been any discussion or any indication of what may have caused this to happen?
SALMON: I can't really add to what you just said -- well navigated, well charted, a lot of maritime traffic, close to shore, calm weather conditions, fog had lifted.
We have had one clue, which may point to the reason, the cause of this growing tragedy. Some of the people who were aboard have been interviewed since. And they say that the ship left late, because of fog in the Port of Incheon, which is the port serving Seoul, but when the people woke up at around 8:00 in the morning, the ship was fog bound in the south. So it may have stopped or slowed down at that time.
However, the fog lifted, the ship proceeded and then there was this mysterious bang and the disaster began.
The question is, may the ship have gone off course or drifted off course very, very early in the morning when it was fog bound? This remains unanswered.
RAJPAL: The worrying thing, too, at this point, even though we're talking about some 11 hours after this distress call was made this morning local time. We're looking at very cold water, as you've mentioned earlier before as well, and there's some reports that suggest that someone can only survive in about two hours in these cold waters.
SALMON: Yeah. What we did see is pretty much everyone who went in the water was wearing a life jacket. So drowning is not the risk here, we're talking hypothermia. Hypothermia in maritime disasters is usually the killer rather than drowning.
And as you noted the time window probably at the outside is about two hours. If you're not picked up within two hours you're in significant danger, your body core goes cold, you lose motor control, and then who knows.
But again most of the people who did go over the side, who went into the water, there were people in the life rafts, inflatable life rafts, these people appear to have been picked up by a large cordon of boats and ships which were circling the stricken vessel. Not only were they coast guard and navy ships, they were commercial ships and a large number of very, very small fishing boats. And some of the footage we've seen in these fishing boats were very boldly and bravely getting up close to this sinking ship and taking people off the coast guard boats.
RAJPAL: Andrew thank you. Andrew Salmon there live for us from Seoul.
Let's turn now to the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370. An unmanned mini-submarine is back in the Indian Ocean hunting for any signs of wreckage.
Earlier today, the vessel Bluefin-21 was briefly brought back to the surface due to a technical problem. It was the second setback after Monday's first dive was aborted early. An initial analysis of data from the sub shows nothing significant to report.
If, and when searchers find even the smallest pieces of plane debris, investigators will likely be able to learn a lot about flight 370's final moments. CNN's David Mattingly explains.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We've seen what happens when passenger jets crash.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God.
MATTINGLY: From the tragic and unexpected, like last year in San Francisco, to the planned and controlled like this demonstration by the Discovery Channel in 2012, and this one from NASA and the FAA decades ago.
Unlike the missing Malaysia Flight 370, they all crashed on land. But surprisingly, they provide clues to what might happen next into the investigation.
(on camera): You're telling me the crashing on water is no different than crashing on land.
ANTHONY BRICKHOUSE, AVIATION SECURITY EXPERT: Depending on your impact velocity, depending on your impact angle, the effects could be the same between water and land.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Aviation safety expert and crash investigator Anthony Brickhouse takes me through a field of aircraft wreckage used for teaching at Embry-Riddle University. The lesson learned here, the difficulty of finding a sonar signal of Flight 370's wreckage depends on what was happening in the final seconds of flight.
(on camera): At less than 45 degrees, we're more likely to see large pieces of aircraft.
BRICKHOUSE: Yes. Something less than 45 degrees or around 45 degrees, with the typical velocity that an aircraft would be let's say landing at, there could be a chance that the plane could remain relatively intact, depending on how it hit the water.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Under this scenario, the 777 could be moving as slowly as 170 miles per hour on impact. At a shallow angle, it could be like what we saw in the crash of a UPS jet last summer in Birmingham. The pilot and copilot were killed. The plane was still in hundreds of pieces, but with large easily recognizable sections broken away.
(on camera): It's obvious this one went in head-first.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): But the steep angle impact is much more devastating. Both people on board were killed when this small aircraft hit nose first. Notice how the entire plane sustained severe damage.
(on camera): But the same principles apply to a 777, the steeper the angle, the faster the speed, the smaller the pieces of wreckage, even when it hits the water.
(voice-over): In this scenario, Flight 370 could be traveling between 500 and 600 miles per hour. Wings and engines might break away.
But not so for the passenger compartment, the fuselage. Imagine the horrific crash of Shanksville on 9/11 if it happened on water.
BRICKHOUSE: In the industry, we call that a smoking hole type accident because that's what you have when you get to the crash site.
MATTINGLY (on camera): But what happens if it gets in the water?
BRICKHOUSE: Water is going to act just like land would. Water is not compressible. So when you hit it, it's going to pretty much have the same effect that land would have.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Making it much more problematic to detect with sonar at the bottom of the ocean.
Brickhouse says a hopeful outcome at this point would be to find wreckage similar to the Air France crash of 2009 when investigators were able to salvage pieces of the jet's lavatory, beverage carts, even the engines.
BRICKHOUSE: Tail section, a wing, a piece of a wing. One of the two engines may be fully intact on the sea bottom. That would be an excellent clue, because basically you could start at this point and work your way out and hope to find more wreckage.
MATTINGLY: But first, something, anything has to be found to produce the lead that has eluded the world for more than five weeks.
David Mattingly, CNN, Daytona Beach, Florida.
RAJPAL: Still to come here on News Stream, militants and the army are facing off in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk (ph). And as you can see, some of the armored vehicles are waving the Russian flag.
Plus, new footage showing a top al Qaeda leader addressing fighters in Yemen. Authorities say it's the terror group's largest and most dangerous gathering in years. And apparently, no one knew it was happening.
RAJPAL: You are watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories that we've got in the show today. We will continue to follow developments out of South Korea. Hundreds are missing after a passenger ferry sinks off the coast.
Now we want to take you to Ukraine, though, and that's where we're seeing more extraordinary and even confusing scenes playing out. Armored Vehicles carrying the Russian flag rolled through at least two eastern towns, a number of them are actually Ukrainian. Some of the tanks changed hands after being seized by local militia over the in the city of Donetsk.
30 armed people seized the mayor's administration building there. They are demanding federalization and a new law that will pave the way for a local referendum.
Those tanks that we mentioned earlier were seen in the towns of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. They are fairly close to each other, both are about 160 kilometers from the Russian border. CNN's Phil Black is tracking the situation from the Northeastern city of Izium (ph). He joins us now with the scene there -- Phil.
BLACK: Monita, yes. Here I am on the road to Slovyansk, and it is at a very well guarded, very well fortified police checkpoint that heavily armed officers are here behind me checking all the vehicles heading in the direction of that town -- the occupants, their documents and what they've got in their vehicles as well.
Just around the corner from here, a big military presence in what appears to be a staging point for the Ukrainian military. A lot of armored vehicles and soldiers and attack helicopters coming and going from here over the course of the morning.
It is just part of the Ukrainian military response that we've seen over the last 24 hours. The maneuvers in this region all seem to be focused around the town of Slovyansk. But so far no effort to move into the town itself. And that's really key, I guess, in determining just how, or to what extent, this will escalate in the near future, because it is in that town that pro-Russian militants and protesters have really consolidated their hold with government buildings, police stations, setting up road blocks, really a greater degree of consolidation by these pro- Russian forces in Slovyansk than we have seen in other Russian -- Ukrainian towns and cities across this eastern region.
And as you've mentioned in a sign of just how complex this is, how fluid, how divided the loyalties are among all the people in this region, we have seen today images of armored vehicles driving in or near Slovyansk with Russian flags flying. And there are different versions of just how that came to pass with the Ukrainian media insisting that these vehicles were seized by pro-Russian forces.
But according to Russian media, these vehicles are still being manned by Ukrainians and Ukrainian soldiers who have simply flipped sides, defected, if you like.
So it is moving very quickly, as I say very complex, but certainly a very large Ukrainian military presence has developed and evolved here over the last 24 hours or so (inaudible) their intent is, or how they intend to proceed in trying to dislodge these pro-Russian forces that are increasingly digging in and stealing away authority from the central government in Kiev -- Monita.
RAJPAL: Still, moments ago we heard that the NATO secretary-general talking about how they are prepared to show an allied response for Ukraine should this become an escalated maneuver by Russia. That said, what kind of a position is Ukraine in right now? How careful they are to try and not shed any bloodshed, I should say, not force any bloodshed for fear that Russian troops will then move in.
BLACK: I think it's certainly fair to describe the Ukrainian response so far as hesitant, it has been for some time now. For days, weeks, they've been talking about the threat of using force to dislodge these pro- Russian and separatist forces from these eastern Ukrainian towns and cities. They've set deadlines and ultimatums, but have not followed through.
This maneuvering and this mobilization that we've seen here over the last 24 hours, this is the biggest show of force we've seen by the Ukrainian military, but again they're not rolling into these towns just yet. They're certainly not trying to take back these buildings, these key pieces of infrastructure, and that is because if they were to do so, it does seem very likely that these pro-Russian forces will fight back. They've said that that's what they will do.
You would then have the scenario where Ukrainian soldiers would be fighting other Ukrainians. And in the very likely event that under that scenario, lives were lost. Well, we know that's something Russia has been warning about for some time. And it could very well provide a pretext for Russia to intervene directly, to bring or mobilize some of those tens of thousands of Russian military forces that are still believed to be poised just across the border, give them the reason to move into Eastern Ukraine. And that would make things a lot worse very quickly for the new authorities in Kiev, Monita.
RAJPAL: It begs the question, Phil, as to who is really in control, because the pictures that we are seeing, well we're seeing armored tanks that are Ukrainian armored tanks bearing the Russian flag.
BLACK: This is very much a battle for control that is very much what is at stake. It is the authority of the new interim government in Kiev versus this growing separatist pro-Russian movement which does seem to have a great deal of sympathy among, certainly, a portion of the local population. And that is why they have steadily been consolidating their hold, taking charge of more government buildings and infrastructure in more towns. And as that happens and the authority of the cenrtral government slips away.
What we have seen with this Ukrainian military mobilization is an attempt to stop that, to stop what has been that ongoing trend. But it is not straightforward.
But the other point to note here is that while there is still very much a pro-Russian sentiment, and that is what the Ukrainian government is responding to, it is not unanimous by any means. This is not the same as the situation in Crimea where that pro-Russian feeling was if not unanimous, than certainly overwhelming among a vast majority of the population.
There are many people here who are very much suspicious of the government in Kiev and the circumstances under which they have recently come to power, but that does not mean they are looking necessarily to break away from Ukraine and certainly not necessarily looking to embrace the Russian Federation.
The other big call that we're seeing here from other political activists on the streets of some cities here is something that Russia has also been suggesting and that is greater federalization, a greater devolvement (ph) of power from the central government in Kiev to local/regional administrations. That is something that they want. That is something that the Ukrainian government has said that it is prepared to talk about. But what it is not prepared to talk about, it says, is this separatist movement, this use of force to seize buildings and infrastructure, this attempt to break up the country more than it already has in recent history. That is what they say they are determined to stop.
But what's pretty clear is they don't yet have an effective idea on just how to prevent that momentum from continuing, Monita.
RAJPAL: Phil, thank you. Phil Black there live for us from Izium (ph), which is in the northeastern part of Ukraine. It's about 45 minutes from Slovyansk.
Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts to solve this crisis, they are continuing. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts at multiparty talks in Switzerland on Thursday.
Diana Magnay takes a look at the relationship between Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and how it might impact talks on these crises.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With U.S.-Russian ties at their frostiest since the Cold War, there's at least some warmth to this relationship.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you very much.
MAGNAY: Russia's long-time foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, clearly more comfortable with his current U.S. counterpart John Kerry than he was with Kerry's predecessors.
IGOR ZEVELEV, POLITICAL ANALYST: It looks like they developed a pretty good rapport. And this is a stark difference with the situation when Lavrov's partners were Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton.
It seems that both Kerry and Lavrov prefer the old school. They do it with grace.
MAGNAY: An old school style, which involves talking policy over garden strolls and a willingness to keep on picking up the phone, last year managing to strike a deal on an issue as tough as eliminating Syria's chemical weapons.
Ukraine is arguably an even tougher diplomatic challenge, pitching as it does the old Cold War powerhouses against each other first in Kiev, then Crimea, and now in Ukraine's restive east. The U.S. accusing Russia of fomenting the unrest to destabilize the Ukrainian state, Russia accusing the west of meddling in Ukrainian affairs.
Lavrov, analysts say, offers a faithful translation of President Putin's foreign policy, which the west can find hard to interpret.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first of all the president mainly speaks to the Russian people. His audience, his constituency is the population of the Russian Federation.
The foreign minister talks to his colleagues in other governments. He couches his phrases in diplomatic speak. He is more formal in his statements. The president can be sometimes folksy.
There is outwardly a difference. In reality, I see none. I see no significant daylight between what Vladimir Putin says and what Sergey Lavrov says.
MAGNAY: Many consider Sergey Lavrov a consummate diplomat, the public face of Russian geopolitics. In Ukraine, that for now seems to amount to demands for more a federalized system whereby each region would have greater autonomy from Kiev, leaving the door open to closer ties with Moscow, allowing the Kremlin to maintain its influence in a region it considers bound with mother Russia.
Diana Magnay, CNN, Moscow.
RAJPAL: Still to come here on News Stream. 200 girls abducted while they slept. It happened this week in Nigeria. And a group that's become notorious for violence there is being blamed.
RAJPAL: Welcome back to CNN.
An al Qaeda video surfacing on a jihadist website says pointing to renewed terror threats against the United States. Footage shows a top leader addressing fighters in Yemen. He brought with him a chilling message. Barbara Starr reports.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It's the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years, and the CIA and the Pentagon either didn't know about it or couldn't get a drone there in time to strike. U.S. officials will not say.
But every frame is being analyzed.
In the middle, the man known as al Qaeda's crown prince, Nasir al- Wuhayshi, brazenly out in the open, greeting followers. A man who says he wants to attack the U.S., seemingly unconcerned he could be hit by an American drone.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: This is quite an extraordinary video, the leader of al Qaeda on Arabian Peninsula, Nasir al- Wuhayshi, who's also the number two of al Qaeda worldwide, addressing over 100 fighters somewhere in Yemen, taking a big risk in doing this.
STARR: In his speech, Wuhayshi makes clear he is going after the U.S., saying, "We must eliminate the cross. The bearer of the cross is America."
U.S. officials believe the highly produced video is recent, with some fighters' faces blurred, there is worry it all signals a new round of plotting.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: The U.S. intelligence community shouldn't be surprised such a large group assembled together, including the leadership, and somehow they didn't notice.
STARR: There is good reason to worry. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as AQAP, is considered the most dangerous al Qaeda affiliate. The CIA and the Pentagon have repeatedly killed AQAP leaders with drone strikes, but the group now emboldened.
BERGEN: The main problem about this group is that it has a bomb maker who can put bombs onto planes that can't be detected.
STARR: That bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is believed to be responsible for several attempts against the U.S., including the failed 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber attack.
RAJPAL: CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reporting there.
And still to come here on News Stream, dramatic rescue scenes in South Korea as anxiety grows over some 300 passengers who are still unaccounted for. Many on board were high school students. After the break, we'll take you live to South Korea for the very latest.
Plus, signs of progress in the battle against the very deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports live from Guinea when we come back.
RAJPAL: Hello, I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. And you are watching News Stream. And these are the headlines.
A rescue operation is underway off the coast of South Korea after a ferry began sinking some 12 hours ago. At least four people are confirmed dead, 164 people have been rescued, but nearly 300 are still unaccounted for. Most of those on board were high school students on an excursion.
More startling images from Ukraine. Convoys of armored vehicles carrying the Russian flag entered at least two eastern towns. But it turns out a number of them are Ukrainian military vehicles that apparently changed hands after being seized by local militia.
An unmanned mini submarine is back in the Indian Ocean looking for any wreckage from Malaysia airlines flight 370. Earlier today, the vessel Bluefin-21 was briefly brought back to the surface due to a technical problem. The aircraft went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Let's take you more now, get you more now on the rescue operation that continues off the coast of South Korea. Andrew Salmon joins us now live from Seoul.
And Andrew, this is still a rescue operation.
SALMON: The rescue operation apparently has been temporarily halted, but will be continuing after 1:00 am. What is new, what we're beginning to learn now from South Korean media interviews with the survivors is some pretty explosive information covering what happened in the last moments of the stricken ship.
Survivors have been interviewed by local media say what happened was the ship tilted so very, very suddenly that it's extremely difficult to actually climb the angle of the deck and to escape.
The situation was exacerbated by falling cargo, falling luggage and indeed by falling people.
So again you've got a situation where the ship tilts suddenly. You're trying to climb up a tilting deck. Stuff is falling on top of you and the lights went out.
But perhaps the final seal on this tragedy was an announcement which survivors say went out over the ship's PA, the public address system.
Passengers were told not to abandon ship, but were told stay put. Don't move.
Now a number of survivors say, well, when we saw what was going on we decided we would indeed move. So I think that those passengers who decided to obey this order are among those unaccounted for. Those who decided to think for themselves and move fast are among those who got off the ship into the water and were picked up.
I should add that CNN today has been trying to contact the shipping company to ask them about their emergency procedures. We're getting an answer phone message saying please return your call. Please call back within office hours.
RAJPAL: Wow. All right. Andrew, thank you. Andrew Salmon there live for us from Seoul.
Heavily armed gunmen believed to be Boko Haram Islamists have kidnapped as many as 200 girls from a boarding school in northeastern Nigeria. Officials say the girls were sleeping in their dormitories when the attackers arrived in a convoy of vehicles.
Witnesses say the attackers exchanged gunfire with soldiers guarding the school and then rounded up the students and then drove away. About a dozen girls managed to escape.
The attack happened on the same day as a blast ripped through a busy bus station on the outskirts of the capital Abuja.
Vladimir Duthiers is in Abuja and joins us now live. Vlad, what more do we know about these girls that have been taken hostage right now? We understand as we were saying about a dozen managed to get away. What about the rest?
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIOANL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Monita.
Well, we know that the girls that were taken were most likely taken by the Islamist group Boko Haram.
Now this is typical standard operating procedure, the MO if you will, of Boko Haram. They have in the past, according to Human Rights Watch, abducted girls. Last November, military conducted a raid on suspected Boko Haram hideouts and they found and rescued several girls, many of whom were forcibly married to their abductors, others had young babies.
What we also know is there were reports now that the military's involvement and operation to try and rescue the girls, because as you could imagine the area where this took place is at a very remote area. It's in Borno State near the border of Cameroon. It's a very heavily forested area.
In the subsequent months since the president put in a state of emergency in Borno State and two other states in the northeast of the country, it's very, very difficult to get any kind of cell phone reception and so it's been hard to confirm the details of this operation.
We did reach out to the Nigerian military for a statement. They did come back to us and tell us that they would have a statement some time later today. We're holding on -- we're still waiting for that. But what we can say right now is it appears, according to a local governor in Borno State that there is some sort of operation on the ground to try and rescue these young girls, Monita.
RAJPAL: Vlad, the Nigerian authorities have been trying to tackle the growing influence of Boko Haram for awhile now. Last year, late last year, I spoke to the Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan about what -- how long he said he thought it would take to tackle this problem. And he said it would only take about three months. And that was last year.
Based on what you're seeing right now, the kind of influence that Boko Haram is having right now, how much of a difficult fight is this for the Nigerian authorities?
DUTHIERS: Well, I think it's proving to be very difficult, Monita. In just the first three months of this year alone, Human Rights Watch says that over 1,500 people have been killed by the violence caused by Boko Haram and by reprisals by Nigeria's military.
As you say, the president has put in a very aggressive plan to try and take (inaudible) to Boko Haram. And in doing so he's given the military wide latitude to carry out raids, to interrogate suspects. Rights groups say that that has led to a cycle of violence, in other words, Boko Haram has stepped up attacks due to the heavy handed tactics of the Nigerian security forces.
And as I said, 1,500 people killed just this year alone, and on Monday, the same day that we heard about these young girls being abducted, there was an explosion that took place in a crowded bus station right there in the capital Abuja. 71 people killed, at least 130 people injured. And for a lot of people they're really starting to question whether or not the security forces will be able to contain Boko Haram. And it appears that Boko Haram may be making a pledge to go beyond the northeast of the country and further into the heart of Nigeria.
RAJPAL: All right, Vladimir, thank you very much for that. Vladimir Duthiers there reporting to us live from Abuja.
Guinea's health ministry says the country's deadly Ebola outbreak is nearly under control. A spokesman says the number of deaths caused by the virus, as well as the number of new cases, has closed dramatically. Previous outbreaks of Ebola were largely limited to remote forested areas, but this time the virus has spread to Guinea's capital Conakry as well as neighboring Liberia. More than 100 people have died. There is no vaccine or cure.
CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is reporting from the heart of this outbreak. He joins us now from Conakry.
Sanjay, we're seeing now that as we've been reporting that it is slowly getting under control. What are you seeing from where you are?
GUPTA: Yeah, you know, it's hard to say with these types of things, Monita. The numbers have still gone up. The question is at the rate at which they're going up what is happening there? Is that slowing down. And it takes some time to be able to tell that.
In the interim, you had these health care workers, some of whom have come from all over the world who are trying to find -- identify the patients, isolate them, provide whatever treatment they can and often times it's an incredible risk to themselves.
One of the areas that we want to show you is what's known as an isolation ward.
GUPTA: You're about to go inside an isolation ward in Guinea. There's a reason you may not have seen images like this before. These patients are fighting one of the deadliest diseases in the world -- Ebola. It has disarmed their immune system, shut off their blood's ability to clot and invaded the organs in their body. Up to 9 out of 10 patients will die.
But this horror is isolate in Conakry, Guinea. We found traffic can still be busy here. Markets are full. Children, lots of children, still smiling.
You see, as scary as Ebola is, it's not particularly contagious. It doesn't disperse easily through the air, it doesn't live long on surfaces either and people don't typically spread it until they are sick, really sick.
And when that is the case, the patients are not up walking around the busy streets, they are down in bed, in hospitals or worse. Even the dead are highly contagious.
PIERRE ROLLIN, CDC: : The story, unfortunately, always the same.
GUPTA: Dr. Pierre Rollin from the CDC has helped trace Ebola outbreaks for more than 30 years.
ROLLIN: The risk is not the people doing with Ebola patients, it's the people doing with regular patients not thinking of Ebola.
GUPTA: You see it only takes a small amount of the virus anywhere on your skin to cause an infection. And as I learned, no precaution is too small for the doctors who care for these patients.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is.
GUPTA: So nothing gets int.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing gets out.
GUPTA: Nothing gets out.
Tim Jagetech is one of the Doctors Without Borders. He's from Canada. He comes into these settings for weeks at a time. He is not married. He has no children. That would be a job liability, he tells me.
Multiple pairs of gloves and masks. The head is completely covered. A multilayer gown, boots and then an apron. It's positively suffocating in the 100 degree weather.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the final pair of gloves that we put on.
GUPTA: Preparing to treat a patient with Ebola is like preparing to land on the moon, but you're they're only visitor, the only person helping them survive.
They do this so people outside these wards, the people on the streets, will never know what it's like to be inside.
GUPTA: It's just remarkable work, Monita. And I should point out the local health care workers. They show up as well, often again, at tremendous risk to themselves from a health standpoint. But oftentimes, because of the stigma associated with the Ebola here, they can't even talk to their families or their communities and tell them of the work that they're doing.
So you get an idea of just how challenging it is.
Again, Monita, the numbers have gone up. The rate at which they're going up may have slowed, but it's still going to be at least a month-and- a-half before they can say with confidence that in fact this Ebola outbreak is under control.
RAJPAL: All right. Sanjay, thank you so much. Dr. Sanjay Gupta there live for us from Canakry in Guinea.
You are watching News Stream. Yahoo's shares are up, but CEO Marissa Meyer has been steering a turnaround, but the company also has a Chinese eCommerce giant to thank. The connection between Yahoo and Ali Baba next.
RAJPAL: Welcome back.
It has been nearly two years since CEO Marissa Meyer took the reins at Yahoo. And there are signs now that her ambitious mission to revitalize the struggling search engine is starting to bear fruit.
On Tuesday, the company's first quarter results came in slightly higher than expected, but most of the buzz is about Yahoo's 24 percent stake in Chinese ecommerce giant Ali Baba, which is set to go public in the U.S. later this year. It is expected to be one of the largest ever initial public offerings.
Well, let's get more now from our regular contributor Nicholas Thompson who is editor of the New Yorker.com. And he joins us now from New York. Nick, thanks for being with us.
What do you make of the revelations about Ali Baba in Yahoo's earnings?
NICHOLAS THOMPSON, NEW YORKER.COM: Well, they're very exciting for people who are watching Ali Baba. Growth has continue to grow at an exceptional rate. This is one of the most successful and exciting companies on the planet. They're about to have an IPO. And everybody is pumped about it. Their -- you know, their ecommerce sales are more than twice as much Amazon's, right.
This is a company that's doing extremely well. And Yahoo, quite fortuitously, bought 40 percent of the company awhile back and still owns 24 percent of the company. So, Yahoo's growth and Yahoo's success is really a function of the shares they own in Ali Baba.
RAJPAL: Meanwhile, Yahoo had been trying to turn themselves into this media empire. How has that been going?
THOMPSON: Well, some people think it's been going pretty well. There have been a lot of things that have gone right under Marissa Meyer, that, you know, she's been much better at attracting top talent. They have started some shows with some TV personalities that people like. There are some good signs. People were excited about the acquisition of Tumblr.
But my view is that it's actually not going that well. Yahoo's problem for a long, long time has been that it doesn't know what it is. Is it a technology company? Is it a content company? What does it do? What does it do well? And Marissa Meyer hasn't really figured that out. And that -- the problems there have been disguised, because the stock is basically entirely dependent on Ali Baba.
If you strip away Ali Baba and you strip away at the cash, it's not sure that the markets value what's left of Yahoo as anything, as even more than zero.
RAJPAL: So then how would you rate Marissa Meyer's performance as CEO? She took over almost -- it's been almost two years since she took over. How would you rate how she's been doing?
THOMPSON: I mean, I think overall you have to give her -- you have to give her decent marks. She's changed the culture at the company, and that was a very hard thing to do. She has made Yahoo relevant in a lot of ways. And that was a very hard thing to do after its long -- you know, its long period of inertia.
On the other hand, it doesn't seem like she's got a coherent strategy. She did -- and people forget this -- sell off 16 percent of Ali Baba in 2012, which looks like a very bad decision now.
So, it's been a mixed bag. Lots of good things, particularly cultural things, but we haven't yet seen Yahoo invent something, create something, build something, put something out there that really brings people in, that's really attractive and really gives a new identity to the company.
After the Ali Baba IPO, Yahoo will be much more on its own and we'll have a better chance of judging then.
RAJPAL: Indeed, all right. Nick, thank you very much. Nick Thompson there, editor of New Yorker.com.
THOMPSON: Thank you.
RAJPAL: Well, another online media company snapping up smaller fish to expand its empire -- Facebook. But its latest big acquisition of a virtual reality company came as a bit of a surprise for some as it represented the social media giant's move into hardware.
Laurie Segall asked Oculus founder Brendan Iribe how the deal went down.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Facebook has been on a multibillion dollar buying spree over the last couple of years. First, photosharing app Instagram for a billion dollars, then messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion, and the latest, $2 billion for the virtual reality developer called Oculus. Its main product, the Oculus Rift headset, a mask that video game players would wear to see an interactive high definition 3D video environment. Thank Google Glass on steroids.
The CEO Brendan Iribe sat down with me to dish exclusive details behind the deal on how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg geeked out when he saw what Oculus could do.
BRENDAN IRIBE, OCULUS FOUNDER: So he tries it on and he takes it off and his first thing is, so that was probably one of the coolest things I've seen in my life and maybe will see, how can I help? I'd really like to just help you guys.
SEGALL: At that point, did you say $2 billion?
Iribe would quickly find that Zuckerberg doesn't dwell on formalities.
IRIBE: We shook hands. And we were like, yeah, let's get this done. And he said well I think we can just get this done right now. And we should be able to get it done by Sunday.
I would have never thought you could get this size of a deal done that fast, but when you hear Facebook likes to move fast, that's their motto, they move fast.
SEGALL: Three-and-a-half days later, the $2 billion deal was done. Facebook partnered with Oculus taking on people like Iribe and Palmer Lucky, the 21-year-old whiz kid who built out the tech behind the gaming device.
The deal is a bet that virtual reality headsets could be used for more immersive experiences.
IRIBE: You can actually just look around and you can have objects in front of you. You can experience different gaming things -- you could have an IMAX theater. And then to actually experience a shared sense of presence, this, where you truly believe you're somewhere and now you actually believe other people are there with you. And you look at them and, you know, if they look at something you can both look at the same thing together. There's no more window. That's, I think, going to be the magic of virtual reality.
SEGALL: For Facebook, it's the first venture into hardware. Zuckerberg says this is just a start. He thinks virtual reality can enable people to enjoy a courtside seat, or study in a classroom with teachers all over the world.
IRIBE: We left at around 5:30 am, the Facebook office, to go straight to the airplane, went home and went to sleep. And then woke up and tried to think if what we did was really -- really just happened or not.
SEGALL: A reality that anything but virtual.
Laurie Segall, CNN, New York.
RAJPAL: You're watching News Stream. When we come back rescuers are racing against time, a staggering number of people that were on board a South Korean ferry that sank are still missing. We'll have more updates after the break.
RAJPAL: Let's bring you the very latest now in our top story. Rescuers are continuing their search for survivors of a tragic ferry accident off South Korea. The ferry was carrying 459 people from Incheon to the resort island of Jeju where it tilted on its side and then began to sink. Most of the passengers were students on a high school excursion. At least four people are now confirmed dead, 164 people have been rescued, but nearly 300 are still unaccounted for.
Part of the problem is that the water is so cold right now and experts say it is hard to survive for very long. We understand that rescue operations have been halted until 1:00 local time. But let's get a little bit more now on conditions there from Mari Ramos at the World Weather Center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: What a tragedy, what a scary situation. Those images are just incredible.
I want to show you a couple of things. And let's talk about the weather, because we've had a little bit of a change in the forecast here as we head through the next 24 hours. And I think this is very important.
Let me start you off with this picture. Here's the part of the ship that's still -- that was still visible above the water before the sunset. You can see dozens of ships, some of them small, some of them larger. and the distance to land, about 20 kilometers off the coast, but you can see there is some land there.
This is very different than -- Monita -- than let's say the Costa Concordia, which immediately came to mind, of course, when we saw something like this. The Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy a year-and-a-half ago.
That ship, that passenger ship, capsized and sank in relatively shallow water, ended up resting on its side so most of the ship was still - - or half of the ship was still above the water. And the water temperature was much warmer. The water was clear. Here, we're dealing with very murky water with stronger currents with colder conditions in an area farther out at sea than we were with that one. So much, much different situation.
I want to show you some of the current weather conditions across the region. One, one of the closest places -- the winds out of the east at 6 kilometers per hour. The temperature at 14 degrees in Jeju, though temperature there about 16 degrees. So figure this is going to be somewhere in between that water -- as you say, weather conditions still relatively calm across this area.
But we're going to start to see a change.
What we have here is a little bit of a disturbance, a weather disturbance that's starting to approach from the west. And as it continues to travel to the east, the clouds will be on the increase, the wind will be on the increase and then we have the possibility of rain.
Now not very strong winds, but enough that we're going to see those seas go from relatively flat like what we had today to maybe one to one- and-a-half meter waves. That's going to be significant. And that changes things for the rescue operation here as we head through tomorrow.
The time line that we're looking at is going to be around Thursday just after noon local time, maybe 3:00, 4:00 pm that's when the winds will be the strongest. Then that weather system will continue moving away.
The weather much different -- like I was saying -- compared to what we had today. Again, this is the rain, this is the forecast that we're seeing. Around Thursday, 4:00 pm local time, that's when we begin to see the rain, most of the rain move in. It should be out of here by the evening hours on Friday, but it will pretty much all of Friday -- Thursday afternoon, we should be looking at some conditions that will be touch and go to say the very least for this rescue operation that is ongoing.
As far as visibility, I expect visibility to be similar to what we had today, about 5 kilometers. The morning hours we maybe have to deal with some foggy conditions . Again, that will be a concern. And you said they're going to go back out there at 1:00 a.m. local. And I really think this is a race against the clock now because of this approaching weather.
We talked about the water temperature. You see in this image right over here, so many people in the water. If there are people trapped inside the ship that could be in the water that could still be alive, all of those things, when you talk about water this cold, and we're talking about 10 to 15 degrees Celsius, that's the temperature that we're looking at in this cold water. People -- before they become exhausted and if the person is healthy, is not hurt, it could be one to two hours. Actual survival time it tends to range between one to six hours. And of course here we are farther along into time here than from when the accident happened.
So these are all things, of course, that's rescue personnel are taking into account. It depends if the person is -- was in the water then is now dry, all of those things are taken into account whether the person is resting in the water or is able to get out of the water, all of those things have to be taken into account when it comes to survival in those conditions.
Back to you, Monita.
RAJPAL: Mari, thank you very much.
And that is News Stream for this Wednesday. The news continues here at CNN. I'm Monita Rajpal. World Business Today is next.