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CNN NEWSROOM

Search Continues For Steve Fossett; Deadly Heat Wave Hits Southern California

Aired September 5, 2007 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: He was supposed to be gone three hours tops. It's now been two days and still no sign of Steve Fossett.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The territory's, tough, relentless and it seems to go on forever, and friends say the same of Fossett.

Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in today for Kyra Phillips at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And happening right now, Republican leaders continue to speak out about Larry Craig. Just moments ago, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell spoke out about the embattled senator. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I heard from Senator Craig this morning. He called me to give me an update on where he is, in order to dispel, as he put it, any confusion that might exist with regard to his intention.

So, let me relate to you his comments. He said that he is going to try to get the case in Minneapolis dismissed, that, if he is unable to have that disposed of prior to September 30, it is his intention to resign from the Senate, as he expressed last Saturday.

If he is able to get the case favorably disposed of in Minneapolis, it would be his intention to come back to the Senate, to deal with the Ethics Committee case that he knows that he will have, and to try to finish his term. So, whatever confusion may have been created the last few days, as of this morning, that is his view about where he is headed.

As you know, the leadership last week, as we have already discussed, and as you have written, has already referred the matter to the Ethics Committee. Any further observations about the case that Senator Craig may have before the Ethics Committee, obviously, would have to come from them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That was Senator Mitch McConnell speaking out about embattled Senator Larry Craig, saying he spoke to him on the phone, and talked about that conversation just moments ago -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Now let's head out to the West Coast. The worst of the heat appears to be over, but the death toll from the hot weather just keeps rising in Southern California.

Coroners in four different counties have confirmed the heat- related deaths of at least 27 people over the past week or so.

CNN's Chris Lawrence joins us now from outside our bureau in Los Angeles.

And this is a horrible, horrible problem, Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fredricka.

One of the saddest and most interesting facts about this particular heat wave is the age range of some of the victims, men and women in their 30s and 40s, everything from a 26-year-old man who may have suffered heat stroke while riding his dirt bike to an 81-year-old hiker who ran out of water while he was hiking out in the forest.

Now, one of the saddest cases was a couple, married couple, in their 80s who died together in their apartment here in Studio City, California. Apparently, the man had suffered a heat stroke -- or had suffered a stroke last year, and neighbors say that his wife never left his side, constantly caring for him.

Apparently, they refused to shut on or cut on their air- conditioning unit because it saved about $50 a month on their electrical bill. Another woman died in her Pasadena apartment. When the firefighters opened the door, they said the all the windows were closed. The fans were just circulating hot air. And the temperature inside was somewhere near 120 degrees.

Right now, across Southern California, about 20,000 people still don't have power. But that is about 12,000 fewer than it was just a few days ago. And Southern California Edison says they are concentrating on those folks who have been without power the longest.

To give you some kind of historical perspective, this comes just a year after Central and Northern California had a massive heat wave, much worse than this one; 140 people across the state of California were killed in that one. And afterwards state officials did this huge investigation to find out why it happened, how it could be prevented.

And they found in that case, most of the victims were very old, very frail, most of them very poor people. That not the case so much in this time. Some of these folks are very active, and some of the victims were much younger -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And, Chris, when we talk about those power outages, we're talking about because of the over-usage, you know, of energy because people are cranking up their air-conditioning systems, et cetera?

(CROSSTALK) LAWRENCE: Yes, exactly.

Think of it like, you know, you're running your car at 100 miles an hour all day. Your car needs time to cool down. You know, normally these are set up so that you run them during the day, but then you cut them off at night when it's cooler. If people are running them 24 hours a day, you just overload the system.

WHITFIELD: Oh, so, so sad.

All right, Chris Lawrence, thanks so much for watching the developments there -- Don.

LEMON: Searchers are back in the air right now looking for aviation pioneer Steve Fossett. It's been two days since the adventurer left a western Nevada ranch on a solo flight that should have lasted no more than three hours.

Since then, no word from Fossett and no signal from his plane.

Our Ted Rowlands is with the search team in the town of Minden. And he joins us now with the very latest on that -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, as you can imagine, with every hour, the concern level goes up as to Steve Fossett's well- being.

Today we got an update just a few hours ago from searchers. Basically they are saying that they got a good news/bad news scenario. The good news, Mother Nature really helping out today. The winds have died down considerably, enabling planes and helicopters involved in the search effort to fly at a much lower altitude, allowing searchers to see much clearer and better, able to cover more ground.

The reality, though, the potential bad news is, is we're talking about a 600-square-mile area. This is an area about half the size of the entire state of Rhode Island that they have to comb. They are using a grid-search technique. They say it may take up to a week before they can clear this entire area. That's a long time for anybody to survive. They think Steve Fossett may be the guy to do it.

The reason, of course, they have such a large area is because he did not file a flight plan. Here's what they said when questioned about it. Technically, he should of, but here's what they said about it

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAJOR CYNTHIA RYAN, CIVIL AIR PATROL: He was going to make a short flight near the area of the ranch, take a look at a couple of things and come back. He wasn't planning any expedition or adventure at this point. So, it's not uncommon for pilots to not file a flight plan under those circumstances.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROWLANDS: He left about 9:00 Monday morning, was supposed to return at noon. Didn't show up. Hasn't been seen since. There's been no sign of him. There is a lot of concern about his health and his well-being. His good friend, Sir Richard Branson, this morning on CNN said that Fossett usually has, and they believe he has with him a watch, which basically can send out a distress signal manually. It's concerning because he hasn't done that.

Either the watch is malfunctioning or he physically isn't able to do that. And, if that's the case, they need to get to him sooner than later. The hope is that they will get to him today -- Don.

LEMON: All right, always hope.

Thank you very much, Ted Rowlands.

And I want to remind our viewers We're going to talk to one of the investigators in this case live coming up right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

WHITFIELD: And, Don, still fallout from the Haditha, Iraq, killings two years ago.

Our Jamie McIntyre is at the Pentagon with new developments on firings?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, some higher-ups in the investigation of the killing of 24 civilians at Haditha in November of 2005 are being held accountable.

Now, the commanding general who looked into their cases did not find any evidence of a criminal cover-up or any criminal wrongdoing, but he did find that they didn't meet the high standards of the Marine Corps and a lack of what was called due diligence.

What's this going to mean is that three officers, including a two-star general, Major General Richard Huck, will be receiving potentially career-ending letters of censure from the secretary of the Navy. This is an administrative punishment. But once you have one of these severe letters of censure in your file, it's very unusual to be able to be promoted or get a new assignment.

In addition, two colonels, Colonel Stephen Davis and Colonel Robert Sokoloski, also found to have actions that have been not up to par on that day. But, again, this involves the reporting of the incident, the reaction to the incident, the failure to follow up initially on the accounts of civilian deaths.

But no evidence was found of any kind of cover-up. And a fourth officer, a two-star general, Major General Stephen Johnson, was cleared of any wrongdoing in the case.

Again, these are administrative punishments that will likely end the careers of these officers who the Marine Corps says otherwise performed admirably in their jobs, but didn't meet the standards expected by the Marine Corps in the aftermath and the reporting and investigation of the killing of civilians in Haditha in 2005 -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jamie McIntyre, thanks so much.

And I know something else you have been watching, as well, which is likely to precipitate some reprimanding, some pretty startling from the military. A B-52 bomber like the one you're about to see was flown across the United States, carrying a half-dozen nuclear warheads by mistake. It happened last Thursday. The mistake wasn't discovered, however, until after the flight.

Here's a look at the flight path, the bomber flying from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. During the flight, the nuclear warheads mounted on advanced cruise missiles were unaccounted for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAJOR GENERAL DONALD SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: This is a major gaffe. And it's going to cause some heads to roll down the line.

Here's the laydown of this. We agreed back in the late 1960s between President Kennedy and I believe it was Khrushchev at that time that we would no fly nuclear weapons airborne. At that time, we were flying 24-hour nuclear alert with weapons on board B-52s and we dropped some in the water off Spain.

And as a result of that, we agreed not to do it anymore. We don't do it at all. And, so, it appears that what happened was this treaty agreement, if you will, was violated and nuclear weapons were on board the cruise missiles being flown from Minot to Barksdale in Louisiana.

Now, the good news is, there isn't any way they could detonate, because they do have redundant devices, one of them being a permissive action link, a PAL, a code that has to be typed in, and that code has to be released by the president.

So, there's no danger of them going off or a crew being able to release them and bomb something. But this is a major, major mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: A munitions squad commander is relieved of duty while Air Force higher-ups now investigate exactly how this happened.

LEMON: And, Fred, when the plane crashed into the lake, one man rode to the rescue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a small voice calling for help. And I said, keep screaming.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Wow. That's rowed, as in R-O-W-E-D -- the story of an older man's compassion and a young boy's bravery. Stick around for this one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Three fifteen here in the East. Three of the stories we're working on for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Still no sign of Steve Fossett. The adventurer disappeared after taking off from a Nevada airfield on Monday. Searchers are using state-of-the-art technology to try to find him.

Veteran U.S. Representative Paul Gillmor is dead at the age of 68. The Ohio Republican was found in his Washington apartment. No word on how he died.

A multimillion-dollar settlement in a lawsuit linked to a tragic Rhode Island nightclub fire; 100 people died and 200 more were hurt in the fire at The Station nightclub back in 2003. A lawyer says defendants have agreed to settle for $13.5 million.

WHITFIELD: And not long ago you heard of the new apparatus that's being used in the search for Steve Fossett. More Civil Air Patrol teams and more specialized planes have joined the search for aviation pioneer Steve Fossett. He has not been seen nor heard from since Monday morning.

That's when he took off from a private airstrip in western Nevada on a solo flight that should have lasted no more than three hours. Well, since he didn't file a flight plan, rescuers are having to search a 600-square-mile area of mostly rugged terrain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: This is still a rescue effort, as far as we're concerned. And recovery doesn't start until we actually find something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: First Sergeant Chuck Allen joins us now from Minden, Nevada, where the search is being held.

And, so, Sergeant, give me an idea. There's new apparatus that you're using, not kind of an infrared or heat sensor, but instead something that would identify colors to try to see if you can spot his aircraft?

1ST SGT. CHUCK ALLEN, NEVADA AIR NATIONAL GUARD: Absolutely.

Fredricka, what this new technology is, apparently made available to the Civil Air Patrol, it's software that can be entered into the imagery equipment. If you input the shape of an object you want to search, the size of the object you want to search, and you add the color of the object, this particular device has -- is supposed to be able to separate it from other sized objects like boulders and trees and so forth.

So, the Civil Air Patrol is excited about this piece of equipment. And it's in use today here in northern Nevada.

WHITFIELD: Now, among the big challenges here because there was no flight plan that was filed by Steve Fossett, you guys really are looking for a needle in a haystack. How do you try to narrow down this search area of, what, 600 square miles?

ALLEN: Right. It's tough. And I think they're focusing their search based on what he told friends before he took off what his intentions were, what type of terrain he wanted to look at for an upcoming project he was working with, land speeds and so forth.

So, they have narrowed that proximity, if you will, of the geographical search to about 600 square miles. That is a lot of area to cover. And potentially that could take up to a week, under ideal circumstances.

WHITFIELD: And because you're talking about a very rugged area, the terrain, given is that it's very challenging, is this true that the majority of your search is being conducted by air?

ALLEN: It is. And primarily it's going to be all air. We do have several groups of three- and four-man units on the ground following up on any leads and so forth. But for the most part, this is going to be a pretty ongoing, fairly ongoing aerial search for the whole entire area.

WHITFIELD: Now, the kind of aircraft that Steve Fossett was traveling in, a fixed-wing aircraft, right, tell me a little bit more about it and why it would, perhaps, make it difficult to spot this aircraft, if, say, for instance, it did crash.

ALLEN: Well, I don't think it's -- it's much smaller than any of the other fixed wings. I don't think there's anything unique about this aircraft, other than that it's -- I'm told it's a performance aircraft. It's used for aerobatics and so forth.

But like the -- like Major Ryan said in the previous tape there, it is similar to looking for a needle in a haystack. And we're working as diligently and as hard as we can to get this search ended as quickly as possible.

WHITFIELD: All right, 1st Sergeant Chuck Allen, thanks so much for your time. And we wish you all the best, of course, in the continued search for Steve Fossett.

ALLEN: Thank you.

LEMON: And this just in to the CNN NEWSROOM. It regards the health of tenor Luciano Pavarotti, this, of course, coming out of Rome, where Pavarotti lives.

We're hearing that his health is deteriorating. This is again according to the Associated Press. We know that he had -- he's suffering from pancreatic cancer and that he, again, it's reported that he's in very serious condition after his health has deteriorated. This is being reported by an Italian news agency, the news agency AGI.

Pavarotti, 71 years old, resting at his home, we're told, at his home in Modena, which is in Rome, near Rome. Two weeks of tests, treatments in August, the news agency reported, not citing any sources in that. CNN is checking its sources on this. And we will continue to update you on the health of Luciano Pavarotti.

More after a break in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A Wiccan gets his windfall. Maryland's Mega Millions lottery winner, Bunky Bartlett, who could forget his name? He picks up his check. Even after taxes, it should keep him in crystals for a very long time -- details straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right.

News about Bunky Bartlett now. He stopped by a liquor store on his way to a new age shop and, boy, did it pay off, big time. Elwood Bunky Bartlett and his wife -- get that, his wife -- we were talking about that the other day -- bought two Mega Millions tickets Friday night.

Today, the Maryland accountant and occasional Wicca teacher talked about he became a mega-millionaire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELWOOD "BUNKY" BARTLETT, MEGA MILLIONS WINNER: Everything just kind of fell into place to make this happen. So, you know, the universe was working its magic, and I just happened to be the blessed recipient of it. And, for that, I'm thankful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: You know, I wasn't talking about it with Bunky.

Kyra and I and Susan Lisovicz were saying that the ladies were going to be after him, because...

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: They still might be after him.

LEMON: Yes. But he's married. So, that's what I said, his wife. We were talking about that the other day.

Anyway, Bartlett he one of four winning tickets in Saturday's drawing. He will take home about $32 million after taxes.

WHITFIELD: Whoo! LEMON: The other winning tickets were sold in New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia.

Do that again.

WHITFIELD: Whoo!

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: That's a lot of bank.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Hey, if I won it, I would be doing more than whoo.

(BUSINESS REPORT)

LEMON: And some very serious drama surrounding some toys, Susan and Fredricka.

Parents, time to check that toy box again, yes, again -- another big recall, straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield in for Kyra Phillips.

Is it a toy box or Pandora's box? More trouble over toys made in China.

LEMON: We've got details on the latest recall and a warning that more toy recalls are likely.

We've got all the answers for you, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

WHITFIELD: And more frightening weather, this time in Arkansas.

Let's check in with Chad Myers -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Fred.

A tornado warning now well east of Pine Bluff. But moving very close to the town -- 4,000 people in this town -- of Dewitt, Arkansas. Now, this is Arkansas itself, south and southeast of Little Rock. There's Memphis. And there's the storm and there's Dewitt.

Now, I'm going to change this from what is actually raining to which way the wind is moving the rain around. And the red and the green, either coming toward or moving away from the radar site. And think of it this way, if you can see the taillights of a car, they're moving away and they're red.

Well, if the wind is moving away, it's red. Moving toward you, it's green. And right here between Dewitt and Elmira, right here we have a little circulation and it is going to move just to the north of Dewitt, Arkansas.

No reports of tornadoes on the ground, but certainly enough circulation that we have that tornado warning for that county there and that town of Dewitt, Arkansas, itself -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, we need those warnings.

Thanks so much, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

LEMON: He has hired a legal team and he's vowing to clear his name. Now Idaho Senator Larry Craig is signaling he may not resign from the Senate after all and -- if it's a big if -- that if he could do it -- if he could overturn his conviction before September 30th.

On Saturday, Craig talked about amending his resignation speech in a voice-mail obtained by Washington newspaper "Roll Call".

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: Yes, Billy, this is Larry Craig calling. You can reach me on my cell.

Arlen Specter is now willing to come out in my defense, arguing that it appears, by all that he knows, that I've been railroaded and all of that.

Having all of that, we've reshaped my statement a little bit to say it is my intent to resign on September 30. I think it is very important for you to make as bold a statement as you are comfortable with this afternoon and I would hope you could make it in front of the cameras.

I think it would help drive the story that I'm willing to fight, that I've got quality people out there fighting in my defense and that this thing could take a new turn or a new shape. It has that potential.

Anyway, give me a buzz or give Mike a buzz on that. We're headed to my press conference now. Thank you. Bye.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

LEMON: Senate Republican leaders aren't happy that Craig might be holding out hope to stay on. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says, "I think the episode is over."

WHITFIELD: After Senator Larry Craig was arrested in a sex sting in an airport men's room, some pundits noted Craig's role of the impeachment of then President Clinton. Craig was an outspoken critic of Clinton's illicit relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

In an interview that airs tonight, CNN's Larry King asks the former president for his take on Craig's problems.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Did you get any sense of satisfaction, since he was such a critic of yours during the impeachment thing and using terms very demeaning about you?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No.

KING: No?

CLINTON: No, because when it was going on I knew that, you know, a lot of them were outed for hypocrisy long before this. And everybody knew that -- every serious student of the constitution knew that the whole thing was bogus and that they were just jumping on a terrible personal mistake that I made.

But I -- one of the things I did to try to get through that period was to think long and hard about times in my past when I had judged people too harshly because they had a problem I didn't have. And I promised myself that I'd never do that again. And I'm trying to keep that promise.

And so I honestly didn't feel any great joy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Former President Clinton joins Larry King to discuss his new book, titled "Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World". He also discussed his wife's presidential bid. And you can see the full interview on LARRY KING LIVE, tonight 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

LEMON: Well, he may be using a scooter these days and his words may be slower and a bit slurred, but Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota is back. The Democrat returned to Capitol Hill this morning, nine months after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Last hour, he stood before his colleagues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TIM JOHNSON (D), SOUTH DAKOTA: This has been a long and humbling journey, a journey that has taken longer than some people have liked and I count myself among them. But I return to work today to this great body with a renewed spirit and a sharper focus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Johnson says he'll make a final decision this fall on whether to seek re-election. A veteran Congressman was found dead today in his Washington apartment. Ohio Representative Paul Gillmor, a Republican, was serving his tenth term. Staff members found his body after he failed to show up for work. Gillmor was a deputy minority whip.

Now, Minority Leader John Boehner, a fellow member of the Ohio delegation, made the announcement on the House floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: It's with profound sadness that I come to the floor today and inform all of my colleagues that our colleague from Ohio, Paul Gillmor, passed away suddenly overnight.

Paul was a good friend to all of us, a colleague of mine who served in this House for nearly two decades after a long, distinguished career in the Ohio Senate. And he was from Ohio, born there, raised there, went to school there.

He's going to be missed by all of us and I want to make sure that we keep Karen and his children in our in this -- in this very difficult time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: No word yet on the cause of Gillmor's death. He was 68.

WHITFIELD: Members of Congress are mourning another death. Former Republican Representative Jennifer Dunn of Washington State died today at the age of 66. Dunn served six terms before retiring in 2004 as the highest ranking woman in the House GOP leadership. She was known for her work on tax issues and for sponsoring the AMBER Alert Bill for locating missing children. Dunn died after developing a blood clot at her Virginia home.

LEMON: A young boy with a strong will to live, even while his heart was breaking. Crews recovered the bodies of a father and his 9- year-old son after their plane went down in Lake Erie. A third family member was aboard.

And his survival story, it is remarkable. We get it from reporter Joy Benedict of our affiliate WEWS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHUCK HERNDON, RESCUER: It came off the runway, had gained some altitude to begin with and then made sort of an arc down into the water.

JOY BENEDICT, WEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a sight that had Chuck Herndon fearing the worst -- a plane crashing into Lake Erie just a few hundred yards from his backyard.

HERNDON: We heard it hit the water. There was no explosion, just a pop, splash. BENEDICT: Chuck's wife called 911 and he grabbed the only tool that could help -- a row boat.

HERNDON: There was no one else around and someone had to go see if there was anybody that could be helped.

BENEDICT: After what seemed like an eternity on the water, he found a miracle.

HERNDON: And I heard a small voice calling for help. And I said, "Keep screaming."

BENEDICT: And this father kept rowing into the darkness.

HERNDON: I was just panicked I wasn't going to get there. And I rowed as fast as I could.

BENEDICT: Herndon found a young boy, Joel Hutchison, swimming for his life.

HERNDON: He had no life jacket and he was swimming. It took me maybe 15 minutes to get to him. And he said that his father and his brother had been killed in a plane crash.

BENEDICT: The 7-year-old told rescuers he knew he had to get out and swim.

HERNDON: A gutsy kid. A very gutsy kid. And to swim that well at seven is pretty remarkable.

BENEDICT: And to row that fast at 60 is pretty remarkable, too. But Chuck says he's not a hero because it took both their strengths and will to survive to make sure this story didn't end any worse.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: The boy is in a Toledo hospital. He is in fair condition.

There's a possible break in the search for a missing Brigham Young University senior. Utah police say someone used Camille Cleverly's debit card one day after she disappeared, only the security camera at the convenience store apparently wasn't working when the purchase was made.

Police say Cleverly was last seen leaving her off-campus apartment on Thursday with her mountain bike. Several searches have taken place since. Another is on tap for today. And friends and family describe the 22-year-old as reliable and say they're holding out hope she is OK.

WHITFIELD: And now this -- a third major recall by the toy maker Mattel -- this time, more than 800,000 toys made in China that may have excessive levels of lead paint. Included are hundreds of thousands of accessories for Barbie dolls, Bongo Band drum sets and the George Trax locomotive line. Mattel announced two recalls last month, covering more than 20 million toys worldwide last week. A Chinese official says his country is investigating the latest recall.

And when this latest news hit, one consumer paid Mattel a visit. Dana Lane Parker was a guest today on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA LAINE PARKER, CONFRONTED MATTEL: Well, I grabbed my kids. I packed a suitcase and a whole bunch of trash bags of toys. I've got hundreds of them. My mom and me loaded up the car and drove to Mattel. And I just went into the lobby of Mattel headquarters and I said, "I need you guys to inspect my toys because I can't do it. There's just too many little numbers that you can't see. The model numbers on the bottom of those toys are practically invisible. And to match up hundreds of toys with lists -- I don't trust the lists are up to date. I don't want to miss anything."

And so I just spoke up.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: So, clearly frustrating for you. So you went to the headquarters in El Segundo. And so when you got there and told them -- you know, you call up to the front, you know, to the security guard when you get to the front and say, hey, I need someone from Mattel to come down here and check out my toys.

How was that received?

PARKER: Well, you know, they were nice. They sent a security guard down to wait with me, which I understand. And then they were very nice. They sent two very nice representatives down. And they brought me into the conference room. And they went through every one of my toys. And they checked off every one of my toys with their list. And it probably took them, you know, a tenth of the time it would have taken me. It took me a long time just to find which is Mattel and Fisher-Price toys versus all the other brands.

But they off the bat knew this was not on the list, you know? And, thank God, none of my toys were on the list.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: OK. So perhaps you have some questions, too. The Consumer Products Safety Commission and Mattel both have information on their Web sites. So that's where you need to go.

LEMON: All right, here's a quick news quiz for you. How many licensed limo and taxi drivers are in New York City?

WHITFIELD: Whoo.

LEMON: I think I might know. (INAUDIBLE).

WHITFIELD: Really?

LEMON: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Because you saw the answer or really you have a good guess?

LEMON: No, because I've done the story before.

Straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM...

WHITFIELD: You've got a good memory, then.

LEMON: ...we're going to answer you.

No, just a couple of years ago I did the story -- a possible strike. We'll tell you, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Hailing a cab in New York? Well, get ready for a longer wait. A longer wait?

WHITFIELD: Longer than usual?

LEMON: As if you didn't have to wait long enough. Some New York taxi drivers on a two day strike to protest GPS tracking and mandatory acceptance of credit cards. Now, the strike in America's most taxi- dependent city coincides with the U.S. Open tennis tournament and New York Fashion Week.

It's not clear exactly how many cabs remain on the streets. But the city is letting those remaining taxis pick up multiple, separate passengers. The transit system added buses on routes running to the airports.

The answer now to our news quiz question -- all right, in unison. Before the break, we asked you how many licensed limo and taxi drivers are in New York City.

Here it is.

WHITFIELD: Doo-doo-doo-doo.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: If you said 44,000, then you win today's bragging rights. But, actually, that's actually drivers -- 13,000 taxis, I think.

WHITFIELD: Wow!

LEMON: But then like 40,000 other people who can take you wherever you want to go, not necessarily...

WHITFIELD: Car services and things like that.

LEMON: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Whoo! A lot of folks on the road.

LEMON: Yes. TLC, as they call it, taxi -- the Taxi & Limousine Commission or whatever. WHITFIELD: OK.

LEMON: OK.

WHITFIELD: It sounds good. Thanks.

LEMON: That's it. Now you know. They call it.

WHITFIELD: That's a little Taxi-Limo 101 in New York.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: All right, well, if you loved the video -- oh, remember this one -- of the rescued kayaker, kind of losing his pants...

LEMON: Oh.

WHITFIELD: How humiliating! Why are we doing this to him?

LEMON: Jeanne.

WHITFIELD: Well, Jeanne Moos...

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: ...has a report coming up that will really crack you up.

LEMON: Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, more shameless laughs now. It was broad daylight, but there was a full moon visible during this rescue.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: Now I can't even get through it.

LEMON: All right.

WHITFIELD: Don't make me laugh so hard.

OK, well, it happened in Massachusetts.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: And Jeanne Moos, well she picks it up from here. I can't go on.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're one of four kayakers stuck under a bridge in rushing water. What do you need?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to send you a rope and a life jacket.

MOOS: Yes, well, in addition to the rope and life jacket, how about some pants? Here's the view through the eyes of the photographer.

BOB STELLA, VIDEOGRAPHER: I look and here's this guy, you know? His pants are down to his ankles and it's like oh, do I zoom in, do I zoom out, do I just hold the shot?

MOOS: Bob Stella decided to hold the shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grab hold of it, bub.

MOOS: And what a shot it was -- of Dennis Riley, who says that though he lost his swimsuit...

DENNIS RILEY, RESCUED KAYAKER: Hey, I kept on my hat and my sunglasses.

MOOS: Riley joins a distinguished roster of men who have publicly lost their pants -- and who lose them over and over, being replayed on YouTube.

Not only did this wannabe matador have his pants gored, he had to watch the bull crowned had his undies.

There's a cricket player losing his pants.

And a baseball player who nevertheless manages to throw the ball with his pants around his ankles.

Even women occasionally lose their bottoms, in this case in midair on a trapeze.

From a trapeze to elevator: "Naked Trio Rescued from U.K. Lift."

And then there are all those naked burglars. This guy danced the hula naked to distract a clerk so his buddy could steal beer. And this guy admitted he had too much to drink.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know what I did was wrong.

MOOS: He got nabbed crawling naked around a tobacco shop in Omaha.

Forget bottoms. This woman lost her top trying to grab money out of a cash register. A few minutes later, she came back asking for her top back.

As for Riley, he got his swimsuit back. Within seconds of reaching dry land, he was tugging at it and covering up, playing down his exposure.

RILEY: Well, frankly, there wasn't much to see because I was in some pretty cold water.

MOOS: The cameraman showed his video to the rescuers, who howled with laughter as their captain gave Riley a hand.

STELLA: We had to push this guy up and there's nowhere else to push him but you know where.

MOOS (on camera): So what kind of jokes were they making?

STELLA: Well you know, be careful when you shake the captain's hand.

MOOS (voice-over): If you're really lucky, your pants can almost break your fall. Firemen didn't just rescue this guy from the flames, they rescued him from exposing his flaming red underwear.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: That was the good laugh of the day. We needed that.

LEMON: Oh, man. There's just so much I can say, but I like having a job.

WHITFIELD: But don't. Right. Me, too.

LEMON: The closing bell and a wrap of all the action on Wall Street, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A federal judge today issued a stay in the extradition proceedings against Manuel Noriega. The former Panamanian dictator is scheduled to be released from a Florida prison on Sunday and be extradited to France to serve time on money-laundering charges. Noriega's attorneys claim their client is a prisoner of war.

But in an exclusive interview, a spokesman for the French foreign ministry told CNN that Noriega would not be given POW status.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENIS SIMMONEAU, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY: He will not benefit from a prisoner status, as such. I mean will certainly benefit from the same rights as a prisoner of war. But we don't give -- we will not give him the status of prisoner of war, because obviously he's not a war prisoner. So -- but he will benefit from the same conditions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Noriega's attorneys have until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow to make their case that France would not fully protect their client's rights.

WHITFIELD: Wow, the clock is ticking.

LEMON: Yes.

WHITFIELD: The clock is ticking on Wall Street, too.

LEMON: It certainly is.

Susan Lisovicz...

WHITFIELD: Susan Lisovicz gets the last word. Sorry.

LEMON: Sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: We can both say it at the same time -- Susan Lisovicz.

LEMON: Susan Lisovicz gets the last word.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, you know what? We have a big sell-off.

LEMON: Wow!

LISOVICZ: But I'll you what, we're expecting sales of -- in the next few months, as we lead up to the holiday season. That's the new iPod, which was the big announcement today. The first major upgrade of the iPod in nearly two years. The showstopper, I guess, would have to be the iPod Touch, modeled after the recently unveiled iPhone. The new version of the iPod Classic will be able to hold 40,000 songs, which even Steve Jobs says boggles his mind, because the one that was introduced six years ago could only hold 1,000 songs. We thought that was so cool and neat.

WHITFIELD: Wow!

LEMON: Susan?

LISOVICZ: Yes.

LEMON: Do you see that, how he's holding it?

LISOVICZ: Yes.

LEMON: Do you remember, there was a SNLI skit where it was like the new iPod.

LISOVICZ: The Envinsa (ph).

LEMON: It looks like a pack of chewing gum or smaller.

LISOVICZ: Yes. And then they had the Envinsa...

LEMON: Yes.

LISOVICZ: ...and it was invisible. I loved that.

LEMON: It was like the little cell phone from, what was that? "Zoolander."

They were like, "Hello?" Remember that?

LISOVICZ: Yes. I thought the imitation of Steve Jobs was good, too.

Also, something we haven't reported today, the Zune music player is getting a $50 price discount.

What is the Zune?

That is the competitor to iPod, put out by Microsoft. It sold one million in six months -- the first six months of the year -- compared to the iPod, 25 million.

WHITFIELD: Wow!

LISOVICZ: It owns the market. Apple owns the market right now for music players.

LEMON: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Cha-ching.

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

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