Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Explosions Ring in Libya; Misery and Miracles in Japan; Libyan Who Risked Life to Speak to CNN is Killed; Grandmother, Grandson Rescued from Rubble in Japan; Hollywood Celebrities Donate to Japan; Gadhafi Compound Hit by Missiles

Aired March 20, 2011 - 18:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: When the U.S. bombed Libya, the first retaliation unfolded on our newscast -- explosions and heavy gunfire lighting up the night sky like fireworks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): If you can just give me about one minute --

LEMON: And, Nic, you go ahead and get into a camera position, and we're going to let our viewers listen to this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And from war to fear, misery and also miracles. Nine days buried beneath the rubble in Japan, rescued alive.

And a story here in the United States that certainly deserves your attention tonight.

(VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Boy, look at that. How a frightening hostage situation ends when the SWAT team opens fire.

(MUSIC)

LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us.

We start in Libya tonight. This is Tripoli just a short time ago. Look.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

LEMON: Loud explosions ring out in Libya's capital city. It is midnight right now in that country.

And in the midst of all this unrest this is what Libya's state-run television is broadcasting right now. It is a tale of two very different realities. We'll show you that in a moment.

And as we go on air tonight, the Libyan army is announcing a second ceasefire, and yet, Moammar Gadhafi's forces are blasting anti- aircraft fire into the skies.

Now, here's what the fact is. There was already a ceasefire in place, and Libyan forces simply just ignored it. That's why the U.S. and other countries got involved to force Gadhafi to honor the agreement and stop killing his own people.

Joint Chiefs chairman, Mike Mullen, says the U.N.'s no-fly zone is now in place. Allied air strikes have done major damage to Libya's fixed air defense systems, that's according to another U.S. official.

The U.S. and Britain have fired 124 Tomahawk missiles on key sites.

The U.S. is only one of the countries taking part in this. France and Great Britain have taken major roles. Italy, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and Qatar also involved.

It's difficult to say just how many people have died here. Before coalition attacks began, Gadhafi's troops reportedly killed 95 people in the assault on the rebel stronghold Benghazi. There is now 24/7 allied air cover on that city.

And you're looking now at these dramatic pictures of what's left of a Libyan military convoy after a coalition attack wiped out -- wiped it out near the city.

It's unclear where Moammar Gadhafi is right now. He hasn't appeared since the coalition attacks started, though his voice has been heard on Libyan state TV.

CNN's Nic Robertson was there when the shots began in Tripoli, and it was perhaps the most dramatic moments in this crisis now. And I want you to take a look. Stay with us. We're going to take our time with this and show you -- just in case you missed it -- how it all unfolded on our air last night.

Look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON: Yes, Don, if you can hear that on the background -- very heavy, very heavy --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: If you would be quiet, Nic -- and if you're quiet just for a moment, let's listen. If you can get close to wherever -- a window or an opening and maybe we can hear it. As of now, we don't. Is it still going on?

ROBERTSON: It's still going on at the moment, Don. Let me get a little closer. Yes. You might be able to hear it now.

LEMON: We can. We can. Let's listen a bit, Nic.

(GUNFIRE AND EXPLOSIONS) ROBERTSON: That's the sounds of heavy anti-aircraft gunfire erupting over the city of Tripoli here. We heard it sporadically several hours ago, now hearing it much more -- in a much more sustained fashion.

LEMON: And, Nic, if I can jump in just for a second -- I'm going to let you continue. I want to tell our viewers -- Nic Robertson is in Tripoli. He's reporting he's hearing heavy gunfire and what's that's possibly, probably, artillery fire.

You're also looking at live pictures now from Tripoli. This is from the camera near the location where Nic Robertson is.

Nic Robertson, continue, please.

ROBERTSON: Yes, we're hearing these -- the loud gunfire and explosions in the city. This gunfire seems to have followed on from several loud explosions. They could have been missile explosions.

Don, what I'm going to do is get myself to where that camera is, if you can just give me about one minute --

LEMON: And, Nic, you go ahead and get into camera position, and we're going to let our viewers listen to this as you get ready and let us know. We're going to be very transparent about this.

This is all breaking now. Nic Robertson is in Tripoli. He is joining us by telephone, but he's going to get himself in camera position.

What you're looking at, though, is Tripoli, and you are -- it is believed to be gunfire happening in Tripoli and also possible mortar fire.

And as Nic Robertson has been reporting, this all happened, it seems to be, in response to the coalition and allied forces, of course, the U.S. being one of them, firing on Libya today and also French aircraft in the area in place. Britain sending in aircraft as well. France also helping out in this. And they will all join the coalition forces in the air at least.

President Obama, the U.S. president, has said no ground forces. He's not promising that now.

Let's listen in a little bit to the firing and the unrest in Tripoli.

(GUNFIRE AND EXPLOSIONS)

LEMON: For those of you just tuning in, I want to welcome our viewers in from around the world. You're watching CNN's breaking news coverage of the unrest in Libya. What you're hearing -- firing going on in Tripoli right now.

CNN's Nic Robertson covering that part of the story for us. He is in Tripoli. He's our senior international correspondent. Nic is getting in place so that he can speak to us. There you see him in the corner of your screen.

And as soon as Nic is available to speak to us, we will get him live.

If we can, Nic, jump in, whenever you're ready. But if we can -- I'm not sure if this camera can hear us. If so, we'd love to see the pictures that we were looking at before and have Nic talk over them.

ROBERTSON: Don, what we're hearing still --

LEMON: Again, what you're seeing is Nic --

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTSON: -- the sounds are heavy of anti-aircraft gunfire. As I was reporting to you just a little earlier, that gunfire came after we heard several loud explosions here. It is in the city.

Now, about 2:35 in the morning, heavy anti-aircraft gunfire seems to be subsiding at the moment. It had come quite literally within the last 10 minutes. It was very quiet in the city. We'd had sporadic gunfire, then a couple of loud explosions followed by that heavy antiaircraft gunfire, which has subsided for the moment, Don. But this is what we're hearing in the city at the moment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: And perhaps the most dramatic moments in this conflict so far. That's how it unfolded live last night right here on CNN.

And as the battle heats up, coalition forces have a wide array of weapons to use in this campaign. And for that, let's go to CNN's Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. and British forces launched the first Tomahawk missiles from ships and submarines in the Mediterranean Sea.

Why shoot from there? Because in the western part of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi had surface-to-air missiles that could reach up to 180 miles offshore.

VICE ADM. BILL GORTNEY, DIRECTOR OF THE JOINT STAFF: Most of them are on or near the coast, a fact which made their destruction vital to the enforcement of a no-fly zone.

LAWRENCE: American Tomahawk missiles can be reprogrammed in flight. If there was a risk of civilian casualties, operators could change the target after launch. But the Navy did not use that ability, confident it was aiming at military targets. Moammar Gadhafi says the strikes killed civilians.

But a defense official told us if you don't have to reprogram your missile, you're very confident in what you're hitting.

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: The initial operations had been very effective, taking out his -- most of his air defense systems, some of his airfields.

LAWRENCE: By Sunday, it was safe enough for planes to fly. U.S. jump sets that can takeoff vertically, B-2 bombers and fighter jets. These are more mobile and went after Gadhafi's ground forces, firing on tanks and even infantry units to force them back from Benghazi.

GORTNEY: If they're moving and advancing on to the opposition forces into Libya -- yes, we will take them under attack.

LAWRENCE: According to one estimate: enforcing a full no-fly zone across the country -- that could cost up to $300 million a week. A limited no-fly zone over northern Libya -- perhaps less than $100 million a week.

GORTNEY: It's a vast amount of air space.

LAWRENCE: So the decision was made to concentrate on northern Libya, in around area that stretches from Benghazi to the capital of Tripoli. Even though smoke was seen near Gadhafi's headquarters Sunday night, U.S. military officials say there is no mission to take out one man.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: Now, Admiral Bill Gortney told us that basically if Gadhafi was in a place that the U.S. military was targeting, say, inspecting a surface-to-air missile site, then the military wouldn't necessarily know he was there. But that said, the admiral says Gadhafi is not on any target list and the military is not aiming at his compound -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Excellent reporting from our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence -- thank you, Chris.

Now that Libya's air defense systems have suffered major damage from allied air strikes, what's the next military move against Gadhafi? We'll ask General Wesley Clark, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: And you're looking at a live broadcast from Libyan state television. Those are the images that they're broadcasting live on the left of your screen. It appears to be a pro-Gadhafi rally going on. They're saying it's now.

We don't know if it's live or not. But this is a live broadcast, what they're showing -- in stark contrast to reality on the ground.

We'll continue to monitor state television in Libya for you throughout the evening here on CNN.

The coalition enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya insists its priority is protecting civilians. So, will the rebels in Benghazi be satisfied with safety or will they move against the forces who had them on the run until yesterday?

Here to help us answer those questions right now is CNN contributor, Wesley Clark. He is retired four-star general who led NATO forces during the Kosovo conflict and he joins us now from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Will the rebels be satisfied with the way things are now, General?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I would thing they won't be satisfied. The rebels won't feel themselves secure and safe as long as Gadhafi's in power, and they'll be particularly concerned about groups who opposed Gadhafi and the cities that have now been overrun by Gadhafi's forces. However, given the term of the U.N. cease-fire resolution, it doesn't seem to be possible for them legally to mount an offensive operation. The whole point of the cease-fire resolution was to compel a cease-fire.

So, Gadhafi's forces made themselves a target by violating the terms of that cease-fire resolution. They paid the price. The no-fly zone is still being, I gather, cleaned up by some over-flight, some -- probably some military activity tonight. We'll see continued presence of coalition aircraft in the air, in the skies over Libya and off the seas. But it really passes to the diplomats now to figure out how to move forward on this.

LEMON: All right. But the no-fly zone pretty much is in place. It just needs tweaking, correct?

CLARK: That's the way it's being reported. Of course, we have no independent verification of that.

But there will be -- normally, there are some mobile radars. There are radars that are on mobile anti-aircraft systems. We know Libya has some of these. When they come up, they're a nuisance, they're a threat as Admiral Gortney said, prefer to fly around them rather than fly against them.

So, unless they make a nuisance of themselves, maybe they'll escape being struck.

LEMON: So, where do we stand now in this -- in this battle?

CLARK: Well, I think we stand where people wanted it to be. Gadhafi can't use heavy weapons against the opposition. The opposition seems to be secure in Benghazi.

I suppose he could launch an infantry attack inside Benghazi if he can, you know, sneak troops in there and it's not detected from the air. He could violate the terms of the cease-fire, tried to change the conditions on the ground. He's going to continue to consolidate and clean up the remains of the opposition in the cities that he's occupied.

We don't have any independent means of what's happening there other than Nic Robertson in Tripoli. But presumably, as intelligence agents have identified, and have arrested or in the process of doing so, those people who took part in working for the opposition -- and it's up to the diplomats to determine where it goes from here. This is the achievement of the essential condition that was sought, the goal that was announced, the protection of the civil populous. So, it could be that it goes into the direction of a more legal action. There is an international criminal court action underway. Evidence will have to be collected on this and presented. And Gadhafi might -- and his family might be indicted for their crimes. But it's pretty much stable right now, militarily.

LEMON: All right. CNN contributor and retired general, Wesley Clark -- thank you, sir.

CLARK: Thank you.

LEMON: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plays a pivotal role in the war against Libya, and we'll take you behind the scenes of her diplomatic efforts. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Long before the shooting started, diplomacy set the stage for the eventual attacks on Libya. Speaker John Boehner wants the president to better define the military mission and Senator John McCain said the president waited too long.

CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty says the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played a pivotal role and she joins us now from Paris.

So, Jill, pivotal? Can we add the word "critical" to it as well?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes. And very important, no doubt, and certainly pivotal.

Don, I just wanted to start with the latest, though, from Paris today. The news is that the aircraft carrier, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, left today from the port of Toulon and it is headed to the Mediterranean. And it will be taking part in this military operation. So, the French once again are bringing in their own firepower.

And as you heard just a couple of minutes ago from General Clark, there is certainly diplomatic firepower. Hillary Clinton is not only the nation's top diplomat, but she's also a politician -- and when she was in the Senate she dealt a lot with defense and military issues, and she's bringing all of those skills to the plate in dealing with Libya.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOUGHERTY: Hillary Clinton is the nation's top diplomat, but she's also a politician, and she's using both of those skills in dealing with Libya.

(voice-over): As French fighter jets hit the skies over Libya, even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems stunned by how quickly events were unfolds.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is a fluid and fast-moving situation, which may be the understatement of the time.

DOUGHERTY: It was just over a month ago that Libya pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Tripoli and the country's iron- fisted leader Moammar Gadhafi unleashed a violent crackdown.

Secretary Hillary Clinton delivered the first U.S. response. "The world is watching the situation in Libya," she said, "with alarm."

The opposition, although making gains, was massively outgunned. Its leaders begged the United States and the West for military help. But President Barack Obama's administration held back.

With Hillary Clinton delivering the message the administration imposed economic sanctions, closed the U.S. embassy in Libya, ordered the Libyan embassy in Washington to shut down. For the most part, the president left it to Clinton to do the tough talking.

CLINTON: Gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to govern and it's time for him to go without further violence or delay.

DOUGHERTY: Behind the scenes, as Mr. Obama's military advisers urged caution on a no-fly zone, Clinton's officials say, join U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who had been pushing for a Security Council resolution with the broadest possible authority and international support. The turning point, the U.N. vote demanding Gadhafi stop attacking his people and authorizing a no-fly zone as requested by the Arab League, plus military action to back it up.

And Clinton outlined the administration's end game. This past Friday, Clinton, just back from a European trip, turned right around and headed back to Paris for a last-minute summit called by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

CLINTON: French's planes --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOUGHERTY: So, another good example, Don, of that today was that meshing of the military and the diplomatic. The Libyans once again said they were going to abide by a cease-fire, but already, a couple of days ago, Secretary Clinton said they'd have to see what's happening on the ground and the ground was not matching what the Libyans were saying. That was basically repeated by the Pentagon today, that they have to see action on the ground, that the international community wants, before any change would happen before this mission would certainly be pulled back -- Don.

LEMON: Jill Dougherty in Paris for us -- thank you, Jill.

We'll update the latest developments from Libya.

Plus, a deadly shooting involving police in Wisconsin. You're going to see it unfold, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We're going to check some of your top stories right now on CNN.

The Libyan army announced a second cease-fire after allied forces took out most of the country's air defense capability. There was already a cease-fire in place, but Moammar Gadhafi's forces just ignored it.

Joints Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen says the U.N.'s no-fly zone is now in effect. Coalition planes are now patrolling the area to deter air attacks on civilians.

In Japan, a grandmother and teen-aged grandson rescued nine days after the earthquake and tsunami. More on that dramatic story in just moments.

But, first, Japanese officials have put the death toll at 8,450. Nearly 13,000 are missing. At the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, electricity has been restored to the water pumps at reactors five and six. Workers hope to have water pumps working again soon to reactor two.

In a speech in Rio de Janeiro, today, President Barack Obama made only a brief reference to the coalition attacks in Libya. But he called the rebels courageous. He said they're taking a stand against a regime determined to brutalize its own people.

And back in the United States, Republican House Speaker John Boehner issued a sharply worded statement, calling on Mr. Obama to offer more details on U.S. military goals in Libya.

In Haiti, it is presidential election day. As a matter of fact, it is round two. The election is a runoff between a former first lady Mirlande Manigat and a popular singer Michel Martelly. Campaigning for Martelly last night, hip-hop singer Wyclef Jean who considered running for Haitian president -- get this -- he was shot in the hand. He was treated and released from a hospital.

For the first time since she was hot, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords spent time with her brother-in-law who just returned from the International Space Station. Scott Kelly, like Giffords' husband Mark, is an astronaut. He returned to Earth last week and visited with Giffords on Thursday. You'll recall the congresswoman was shot in the head during an appearance in Tucson back in January.

And in Wisconsin, the tragic death of a police officer today, killed in the line of duty. You have to see this video. Unbelievable. It happened following a dramatic shoot-out, all caught on camera. Police say a gunman opened fire on officers investigating an assault. Listen.

(VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Boy. Heavily armed SWAT team members had to rescue a woman from that shooting. There you see them rescuing her there. When the barrage ended, two officers had been shot, one of them later died. And police found the gunman dead inside his home of a self-inflicted wound.

It is Sunday night and it's time to get you ready for the week ahead. We begin with President Obama's very busy schedule.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Henry in Brazil, where President Obama is in the middle of a five-day tour of Latin America. He wants the focus to be on jobs, jobs, jobs, because the fact that trade can mean U.S. jobs back home. Instead, it could be on jobs, Japan and Libya as other international events intervene.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. Well, the week ahead brings several economic reports that Wall Street will be watching, including new and existing home sales. And also the final reading on gross domestic product. Last month, GDP was revised down because of a big cutback in local and state government spending. And the housing market continues to be a drag on economic growth. But investors remain on edge about the headlines coming out daily from Japan and also the Middle East. So they'll be watching that very closely.

And on a lighter note, Monday marks Twitter's fifth birthday, five years after it kicked off. One billion tweets are sent out, Twitter says, each week. We're going to keep track of all of it in today's news for you on "CNN Money."

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: I'm "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer. And here's what we're watching this week. Time is up for Lindsay Lohan. She has got to decide whether or not to accept a plea deal in her jewelry theft case.

And the brand new season of "Dancing with the Starts" kicks off. Everybody wants to know who has the best shot at the disco ball trophy this time. "Showbiz Tonight" is live at 5 p.m. on HLN. And we're still TV's most provocative entertainment news show at 11:00 p.m. eastern and pacific.

LEMON: A preview of your week ahead.

And when we come right back here, the update to a story of a brave eyewitness we spoke to early on in the coverage of the crisis in Libya. We'll explain, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(ON THE GO)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: This is a reality of what's happening on the ground in Libya, in North Africa, in the Middle East. In the early days of a Libya uprising, we spoke to a brave young man about the chaos in Benghazi, Mohammed Nabus (ph). He spoke with me late at night on a day when he had watched friends die. Even then, he fretted that death could come at any moment. Tragically, it did come for him on Saturday, when he was killed by a sniper's bullet. And in the last few weeks, Nabus (ph), well, he made it his mission to tell the world about the revolt by any means necessary.

And CNN's Arwa Damon is going to join us from eastern Libya with the very latest on how the brave young man met his fate.

But first, part of my conversation with him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: You believe your life is in jeopardy just by making this call and talking to us now.

MOHAMMAED NABUS, LIBYAN REBEL: Of course, I do. They've already struck down two of my personal SIM cards. This is not mine. This is just a random card that was given to be able to speak to you.

LEMON: Thank you so much. and be in touch and be safe, OK?

NABUS (ph): I'm not going to be sure I'm going to be here tomorrow because I'm not sure I'm going to survive tonight. But there's going to be another route tomorrow with you, hopefully. I haven't got the confirmation.

LEMON: Hang on. Do you think the situation is that bad, that you believe that people won't survive overnight? Is it that bad?

NABUS (ph): Many of my friends have died already and also other people died. I don't know what's going to be worse, to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: And he told me during that conversation, he didn't think that he would make it to morning. Make it through to the morning.

CNN's Arwa Damon joins us now.

Arwa, he did make it his mission, before, he died to tell us what was going on. It's a sad story but it is the reality of what's happening where you are.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It tragically is, Don. And Mohammed Nabus (ph) is one of those many people who literally risked their lives and paid the ultimate price just simply to get news out, the real news out of what was happening in his own country. He was one of those young, bright, inspiring minds. Everyone who met him grew to respect and admire him.

Here in Benghazi, he's considered to be a hero. He was 27 years old, a technology wizard who managed to rig cameras up and live steam video out about what was happening around Libya which, at the time when Libya was a black news hole for many organizations, like or very own, because we did not have access to proper information in the country. We did not have reporters in the country. Mohammed Nabus (ph) was one of those many people with his eyes and ears on the ground, risking his life, as he did there, to you to you over the phone. And somehow, he'd also managed to get those pictures out bypassing whatever systems the Gadhafi regime had been trying to put into place, bypassing those fire walls just to get the message out. He was one young --

LEMON: Hey, Arwa. DAMON: He passionately believed in the cause, in this battle for a free and democratic Libya. And he did end up paying the ultimate price yesterday. He was killed when Gadhafi forces entered the city of Benghazi. He was shot by a sniper, according to his wife and supporters, when he decided to go out into a neighborhood where he had heard that rocket fire had killed a number of children.

He, himself, was an expecting father. His wife was pregnant with their first child.

And, Don, I'd just like to share one of his favorite quotes, and that is, "A candles loses nothing by lighting another candle."

LEMON: Mohammed Nabus (ph), Arwa, how old was he, how old was this young man again?

DAMON: Nabus (ph), yes.

LEMON: OK. A young man. We're not sure exactly of his age. I think Arwa mentioned it earlier on in her report. Again, he is a hero to many in that land. And he joined us here, risking his life on CNN to tell us what's going on.

Thank you, Arwa Damon. We appreciate it.

An incredible story from Japan. An 80-year-old grandmother and her grandson are rescued nine days after being buried under rubble. We'll tell you the story, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. Some people are calling this a miracle. We told you earlier, a glimmer of hope today in Japan, amid a widespread devastation following the earthquake and tsunami. Buried alive for nine days in the ruins of her home, an 80-year-old grandmother today was hoisted to safety. Her 16-year-old grandson also rescued. Even though they had no power, they were able to survive on food in the refrigerator. Police say the boy managed to crawl up to the roof where rescuers were able to spot him. Again, a glimmer of hope. Some are calling it a miracle.

When we come right back here on CNN, some heavy hitters from Hollywood answer the call for donations to Japan. My conversation with Jane Velez-Mitchell, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: In the aftermath of the disaster in Japan, some heavy hitters in Hollywood have answered the call and donated money, and lots of it. But some critics are asking what took them so long.

The host of HLNs "Issues" with Jane Velez-Mitchell, has an opinion on why financial aid from celebrities is lower than expected.

Jane, you've lived in L.A. for a long time. I'm sure you have lots of friends, you have known lots of people there. This fear of radiation, is it real?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, HLN's ISSUES: They are certainly panicked. And that's par for the course in California, particularly in Los Angeles, where I've lived for 18 years. I've lived there through two major earthquakes. And the panic following those earthquakes is extraordinary. A lot of people just picked up and moved out of the area. Others stocked up on essentials.

But, Don, that's really not the answer. I see this as a wake-up call. Look at the two big catastrophes we've dealt with recently, the gulf coast oil spill and now this nuclear reactor crisis in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. This is all about problematical sources of energy. Really, it is a wake-up call, I think, to all of us to start thinking about renewable resources, renewable energy, solar power, wind power, there are ways to create energy without putting human race at this kind of risk.

LEMON: And the environmental as well, as we have learned. Here's what I want to know, and I think a lot of people are asking the same thing. After Haiti, after Indonesia, after Katrina, so many celebrities stepped up. They had fund-raisers and what have you. What's going on? I haven't seen that with Japan?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there are a couple notable examples of generosity. Sandra Bullock. She has donated a million dollars, and I say bravo to her. Now, of course, she's worth about $60 million, so that's a very small sliver of her net worth.

I really feel that more and more celebrities and average Americans should be stepping up to the plate. We need some kind of a concert, something to galvanize people. People have been in such shock. and it's been such breaking news, I don't think people have had a chance to really catch their breath and say, let's do something, because we're all sort of reacting to the unfolding crisis, and wondering where's it going to go next?

LEMON: You know, I was talking to someone -- you couldn't have written this, you couldn't have written an earthquake and then a tsunami and then a nuclear catastrophe. But my question is, where's the telethon? Where's the telethon. Usually after this, within a week or so -- maybe it's because of what you said, I don't know, but I haven't seen a big telethon for Japan.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There should be. There is something called donor fatigue. And we've had crisis after crisis after crisis, it seems. There are only a certain number of people, in a recession economy that's still crawling out of a recession, let's put it that way, that have disposable income. So many people in America are suffering economically right now, so I think that there is a certain amount of donor fatigue going on there.

LEMON: All right, "Issues" with Jane Velez-Mitchell airs every night at 7:00 p.m. eastern on HLN. Make sure you tune in.

Thanks, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don, love talking to you.

LEMON: President Obama delivers a speech, but takes heat back home for what he doesn't say about the war in Libya. A live report from Brazil is straight ahead.

And we want to leave you -- just before we go to break, look at this. This is what Libya television broadcasting is broadcasting live right now. Don't know what's going on, but this is what's happening. Listen for a bit. And then we're back after a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BUILDING UP AMERICA)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Obama's national security advisor is scoffing at the case-fire that Libya declared a few hours ago. The president himself is monitoring the situation in Libya from Brazil, the first stop on his five-day tour of Latin America, but when he spoke in Rio de Janeiro earlier, he didn't get into the specifics of U.S. involvement in Operation Odyssey Dawn.

Our senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is traveling with the president.

Ed, you're just coming out of the security briefing, and I hear you have some developing news with story. What do you have for us?

All right, apparently, Ed Henry can't hear us. But again, Ed in on a five-day tour with the president as he has been touring Brazil and other places in Latin America. Back to Ed Henry in just a moment.

We're going to take a break. We're back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)