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Two bombs Kill at Least 65 People on India Train; Battered JetBlue; Lost Climbers Found Safe on Mt. Hood

Aired February 19, 2007 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

The snow, the wind, the terrain, it is a treacherous trifecta for rescuers on Mt. Hood. We're going to update you on efforts to reach three stranded climbers.

LEMON: And al Qaeda on the run? Not according to a new report that says the group is getting stronger.

Terrorism expert Peter Bergen joins us live to talk about it.

NGUYEN: Plus, an inspirational full-court press by an NBA all- star. LeBron James joins us live with more on his plan to reach out to kids.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Top of the hour, we start with this: Three climbers huddling with their dog for warmth, rescuers on a dogged search even though they can hardly see in front of them.

The weather is bad and only getting worse on Oregon's Mt. Hood, where the climbers plunged into an icy canyon yesterday. Rescue teams are getting closer, but the snow keeps falling and the wind keeps blowing, and the avalanche threat keeps rising.

CNN's Dan Simon is at Mt. Hood with the very latest for us -- Dan.


This is really what search and rescue crews had been fearing. They feared this kind of weather, whiteout conditions, severe winds, lots of snow.

Jim, my photographer, is going to pan out, kind of give you a sense of what it looks like out here. The visibility extremely poor.

When we talked to you last hour, we were told that search and rescue crews were getting pretty close to finding those three stranded climbers. We have not received an update, but as far as we know, they're getting close to those three. They've been in constant contact with those climbers. They have cell phones. The climbers do. And they've been checking in periodically with those search and rescue crews.

They also have what are called MLUs, mountain locator units, and what those do is they're beacons and they emit, you know, a tiny electronic pulse, a little bit of a ping. And what that ping allows search and rescue crews to do is really isolate where those missing climbers are .

In terms of how this all started, this started on Saturday. You had eight climbers scale the south side of the mountain, the south side being the easier side. The weather started getting bad. They decided they were going to go down on Sunday, and three climbers, they took a bit of a nasty spill.

They really couldn't see in front of them, and they just basically walked over a ledge and fell about 200 or 300 feet. They are trying to stay warm. They have sleeping bags. They also have some food. And as you mentioned, Don, they have their dog.

One of those three talked to a member of search and rescue earlier today. Take a look.


ROCKY HENDERSON, PORTLAND MOUNTAIN RESCUE: He's cold. He's concerned. His spirits have been good every time I've talked to him. He understands that, you know, he's in a pretty tough situation, but he thinks, you know, they're going to deal with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How crucial is it that you get to these three people today?

HENDERSON: It's very crucial. Conditions are going to get worse this afternoon, and it's going to make it even more difficult for us to get there. So, we are working very, very diligently to get there this morning.


SIMON: Well, Don, as is often the case with these search-and- rescue missions, weather is becoming a huge factor. The weather forecast is supposed to get worse over the next 24 hours. That's why they were so eager to get a good start this morning and try to find those three -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Dan, you know what I want to ask you, if the weather conditions are getting worse, how is that going to affect what's going on now? I guess it makes it more expedient, they have to get to them quicker, right?

SIMON: Yes. It's just -- it's just a big challenge for them to get up there. You know, when you're dealing with those types of severe winds, it just makes it that much more difficult. Don, you'll remember a couple of months ago when you had those -- those other three missing climbers, those three climbers who died, the situation there is the weather was even worse back then. They couldn't even get to those climbers. And that's ultimately what caused those climbers to die.

Here, there is still a bit of window of opportunity, if you can believe that, given the conditions we're dealing with. They still think they can get them, but they know that time is running out, so they're hoping to get to them very, very shortly -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Dan Simon, thank you.

NGUYEN: Well, it's abundantly evident that the weather is not making it any easier for rescuers on Mt. Hood.

CNN's Jacqui Jeras is in our weather center. She's been watching it.


LEMON: All right. We have a developing story in Miami, Florida, along a stretch of highway there. Let's check in with our T.J. Holmes for an update.

What do you have for us, T.J.?

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Don, this stretch of highway is known as the Dolphin Expressway, at State Road 836, which runs pretty much from Sweetwater to Miami, a 13-mile stretch, but very busy stretch. And what we have here today is a seven to 10-car accident, a pileup, if you will.

Don't know exactly how this was caused and what the issue was surrounding this accident happening in the first place, but it shut down the westbound lanes of this highway. Again, State Road 836, Dolphin Expressway. And it also closed a couple of lanes of the eastbound lanes as well.

This is the backup you're seeing which happened around lunchtime. You can imagine a few more folks out around lunchtime, a very busy corridor here.

We know that nine people had to be taken to a hospital after this accident. None of the injuries to eight people, at least, were considered life-threatening, but one person was considered to have pretty serious and traumatic injuries. Also, five people had to be treated at the scene. But they were released.

So, a lot of people injured in this accident which caused really a hectic and nasty day there traffic-wise, really, around lunchtime. But a very busy corridor, and several lanes had to be shut down. We're working out to find out, really, get more information on the condition of some of those who were injured and maybe what caused this accident, and also trying to find out when all this might be cleaned up and that highway is back up and running as normal -- Don. LEMON: All right. Thank you for that update.

NGUYEN: Iraqi forces promised to chase the terrorists out of Baghdad, but the new security crackdown suffered more setbacks today. A string of bombings and other attacks killed at least 20 people. And yesterday, car bombs in two Shiite neighborhoods killed at least 62.

The American death toll is also growing. Two U.S. soldiers were killed today when insurgents attacked an outpost outside the capital. Three other troops were killed in anbar province in the past 24 hours.

LEMON: One Democrat has called the Iraq war President Bush's Vietnam. Now another is going a step further. Senate majority leader Harry Reid says Iraq is a worse mistake than Vietnam. The White House was quick to disagree.

Reid spoke to our Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "LATE EDITION."


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: This war is a serious situation. It involves the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of this country, so we should take everything serious. This is -- we find ourselves in a very deep hole. We need to find a way to dig out of it.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: So maybe I misheard you, but you're saying this is the worst foreign policy blunder in American history?

REID: That's what I said.

BLITZER: Worse than Vietnam?

REID: Yes.



TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The war is tough, but the solution is not to get out. It is to provide the kinds of resources and reinforcements our forces need to get the job done, and at the same time say to the Iraqis, you guys have got to step up.

Now, what have we seen in recent weeks with the Iraqis? We've seen the prime minister say to those committing acts of violence, we don't care who you are, we're going after you.


LEMON: Well, Democratic senators are considering a new way to challenge President Bush. They're talking about revising the authorization for the use of force that Congress passed in 2002. The idea would be to limit U.S. troops to support mission instead of combat. NGUYEN: Carnage on the Friendship Express. Two bombs ripped through a passenger train bound from India to Pakistan today, killing at least 65 people, wounding 12 more. Three other bombs, they didn't go off, but CNN's Satinder reports from the site of that attack.


SATINDER BINDRA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On Sunday night, 29-year-old Mohammed Fayaz (ph) took his mother to the New Delhi rail station and put her on a train to Pakistan, but now he's at a morgue 80 kilometers, about 50 miles north of New Delhi, helping police fill out paperwork so he can collect his mother's remains.

"Just before leaving," he says, she blessed me and my brother by putting our hands on our heads, and said, "Look after the family."

Sixty-year-old Sakina Begam (ph) was on the Som Chota (ph), the Friendship Express, the train linking India and Pakistan. It's a symbol of the new friendship between the nuclear neighbors who fought three wars.

As the train was on its way to Pakistan, police say there were two explosions. They call it an act of sabotage.

(on camera): The explosions occurred in the middle of the night. Within minutes, two of these rail coaches were engulfed in flames. Many of the sleeping passengers didn't have a chance. They were burnt alive.

(voice over): Rajenja Prasad (ph) lives next to the tracks. He says he and his friends tried without success to put out the blaze.

"The fire was burning with great intensity," he says. "We just couldn't get close enough to open the doors and windows."

Indian authorities say Pakistanis are among the dead and injured.

"Everybody was screaming," says this Pakistani passenger. All our belongings got burnt. There were three of us, including me, my father and mother. There was a family sitting immediately behind us with small children. They got burnt."

Pakistan is pushing India to find and punish the guilty. Indian officials say the bombings were designed to derail the peace process with Pakistan, but both countries say they won't be deterred. India says Pakistan's foreign minister will arrive as scheduled tomorrow for talks in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Fayaz (ph) finally identifies his mother from personal remains found on her body. He signs all the paperwork but can't say much.

"I don't know what officials are saying," he says. Police say Fayaz (ph) will soon be able to take his mother home in one of these coffins. Satinder Bindra, CNN, Panipat, north India.


LEMON: Well, for hundreds of would-be travelers, holding an airline ticket means holding the bag.

Up next in the NEWSROOM, a suitcase full of JetBlues.

NGUYEN: And is the hydra growing new heads? Well, reports point to a comeback for al Qaeda. We have details on new camps and growing influence ahead in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: We've got some stories coming just in to CNN.


LEMON: A case of the blues for a discount airline and hundreds of dismayed passengers. JetBlue taking drastic measures to get back in the air and get back its reputation.

CNN's Allan Chernoff is on the story in New York.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): JetBlue's reputation as one of the nation's efficient, most comfortable small airlines has come plummeting back to earth five days after a winter storm left its passengers stranded and trapped on runways for up to eight hours. The company says they still needed to cancel almost a quarter of flights on Presidents Day weekend. The cancellations affects flights in and out of 11 cities across the country.

A statement posted on the company's Web site called the cancellations part of an operational recovery program and said, "JetBlue is taking this aggressive, unprecedented action to end rolling delays and cancellations, and to operate a new schedule reliably." Essentially, JetBlue is canceling flights now in order to avoid canceling future flights, which doesn't seem to help irate passengers just looking to either get home or away on vacation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last night our flight was canceled last minute going to D.C. We were put on a 2:00 a.m. flight here to JFK. We arrived, our baggage was missing. We're told it was put on another flight. We had to go home, come back, pick it up. It's been a brutal two days, definitely, with JetBlue.

CHERNOFF: The problems with JetBlue all started on Valentine's Day, when northeast ice storms left planes and hundreds of passengers literally frozen on runways for hours, which then triggered what the company said was a domino effect, causing them to cancel hundreds of flights since Wednesday. JetBlue says passengers can choose either to convert the value of their travel to a JetBlue credit, or a full refund to the original form of payment. And that is clearly not enough for those stranded.

GEORGE MATRONI, STRANDED JETBLUE PASSENGER: If the CEO of JetBlue is watching, I would like to say, either your resignation should be tenured, or you should implement a new dynamic within JetBlue.

CHERNOFF: Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


LEMON: Well, JetBlue's founder and CEO tells "The New York Times" he'll unveil a compensation plan tomorrow for inconvenienced customers. Now, that includes paying passengers by the hour if they've been stranded on a plane on the tarmac.

NGUYEN: Well, JetBlue is not the only airline in a public relations pickle. Just ask these 15 Massachusetts teenagers and their five chaperones how they feel about Delta. For a year they've been working toward a trip to Spain, but their flight from New York to LaGuardia airport was canceled. They were sent to JFK for another flight, only to learn that there weren't enough seats.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn't have our seats. They didn't accommodate us with any other alternative. And they were holding our luggage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was awful. And the people at Delta, they didn't even care.


NGUYEN: The students say they were stuck at JFK for almost 12 hours with no food or water. Now, a Delta spokeswoman says the group showed up late and that is why some of the seats were given away.

LEMON: Well, headed for China but don't read Chinese? Not a problem.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK. I think a serving of the husband and wife lung slice and the stab the body platter. Ah, yes, the hexangular (ph) germ fries, the cowboy bone.

And that's good?


NGUYEN: Sounds delicious.

LEMON: Ahead in the NEWSROOM, CNN's John Vause takes his chances with Chinglish and gets lost in translation.

NGUYEN: Well, his fans call him King James, and he's hoping to provide them with some inspiration with a new Web site.

NBA all-star LeBron James joins us live in the NEWSROOM with the inside scoop on a new way that he's trying to inspire kids to reach higher.

You don't want to miss it. Stay with us in the NEWSROOM.



NGUYEN: Stay tuned, because reports point to a comeback for al Qaeda. We have details on new camps and growing influence.

That's ahead here in the NEWSROOM.


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

NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen.

Kelly Osbourne chokes up at an HIV fund-raiser in London. Now speculation is running rampant after she shares news that a relative is HIV positive.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: The bottom of the hour, and we begin with this, disturbing signs that the group behind 9/11 is ramping up again. Reports say al Qaeda is setting up bases in Pakistan with its top leaders pulling the strings.

Joining us from Washington is CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen.

Peter, this sounds very dangerous. You've been talking about the resurgence of al Qaeda for a while. Anything new in this report, and how dangerous is this?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, it's in the "New York Times" so of course that gets everybody's attention. But I think the report did lay out one of the things that was new, I think, was the fact that Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri seem to be in operational control of al Qaeda, the operation, to a large degree than is well understood.

But I think it's been clear for over a year now that al Qaeda, the organization, is resurgent. It implemented the attacks in London in July of 2005 that killed 52 British commuters. It was behind the attempt to bring down ten American airliners just this past summer. If that attempt had succeeded, thousands of civilians, including thousands of Americans, would likely have been killed. So this is a big problem.

LEMON: OK, here's a question. If, -- you know, Osama bin Laden has been on the loose for years. People are wondering how is Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, how are they together and allowing this group -- or this group is being allowed to get stronger and we can't even find them? That's the question.

BERGEN: Well, finding people is hard to do. I mean, you know, it took a long time, for instance, the Israelis to find Eichmann after the Holocaust, despite the that they really wanted to find him. And so, you know, finding one person is always problematic, particularly Ayman al-Zawahiri and bin Laden. These are disciplined, secretive guys. They've been practicing a high degree of operational security long before the 9/11 attacks. They're also in an area which is very inaccessible, the tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

LEMON: OK, let's talk more about that border because the president has said recently that along that border with all the factions fighting that it's sort of the wild, wild west, in effect.

BERGEN: Yes. I mean it is. I mean it's an area where the Pakistani government really doesn't extend very far and never has. The Pakistani government has sent in something like 70,000 troops post 9/11. They took hundreds of casualties in fights against militants. They've now concluded some peace agreements with some of these tribal regions. That has not been particularly good for the security of Afghanistan nor the security of U.S. and NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan because the attacks have actually gone up since these peace deals were signed.

LEMON: OK. So, the major part of talking about these camps that have re-established al Qaeda forces, or at least al Qaeda training, tell us where these are, if you know. And if we indeed know where they are, what's being done to stop it? Why aren't we stopping them?

BERGEN: Well, these camps are not the sort of thing -- they're not barracks that you can see from the air. They're not -- as you can see from these pictures, they're places -- people training in compounds, ten, 20 people doing calisthenics, learning how to do bomb making, they're not the sort of thing that's very easy to detect. But the idea is that most of them are in Waziristan, which is one of the tribal areas, north and south Waziristan along the Afghan-Pakistan border. That's where we've seen attempts to kill al Qaeda leaders as recently as just in January. The U.S. military has launched air strikes against some of these leaders, and also the Pakistani military have tried to do the same.

LEMON: Let's talk about Pervez Musharraf because folks are saying -- at least counter-terrorism experts are saying the onus is really on him to do something about it. Do you believe that, and if so, why is he not doing anything?

BERGEN: Well, President Musharraf has one of the most difficult jobs in the world. He has to balance out a lot of competing agendas. The military attacks in the tribal areas done by the Pakistani military were not very successful. They were also quite unpopular in Pakistan.

And so I guess it's not so much that we should pressure the Pakistanis to do more. I think that we really need to talk about a collaboration between Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and NATO to really kind of finally get to grips with these tribal regions because Pakistan needs help. We need to help it in various ways -- intelligence, aid for these tribal regions so they become less radicalized, et cetera. So it's not just Pakistan. I don't think wee -- it would be simpleminded simply to blame Pakistan for this.

By the way, there have been six suicide attacks in Pakistan just in the last several weeks coming out of these areas. So the Pakistani government is in the crosshairs of these guys as much as anybody else is.

LEMON: OK. So, Peter, let's gets it clear here because it's a little bit confusing to a lot of people because this is sort of the antithesis of what the administration has been saying for months. The assertion from the American officials is that al Qaeda is reorganizing. And for months we've been hearing from the administration and from terrorism experts that al Qaeda was decentralized, that they were posing less of a problem than they were before. So what does this all mean?

BERGEN: Well, these are not either/or categories. I mean, al Qaeda has decentralized and there are self-starting groups, you know, people who have become radicalized by the al Qaeda message. But unfortunately right at the same time, al Qaeda, the organization, has been reorganizing and is capable of attacking in London, is capable of -- tried to bring down American airliners relatively recently,

And this is bad news because when you've got kind of a radicalized movement and an organization which is regrouping, that is very -- potentially very damaging.

LEMON: Do you see a solution to this? I know it's not simple, but do you see anything that may be a possible solution?

BERGEN: Well, I mean, finding Osama bin Laden and Ayman al- Zawahiri, capturing or killing them would be helpful.

LEMON: Right.

GERGEN: Then, of course, you know, really changing the face of these tribal regions where al Qaeda and Taliban are regrouping.

LEMON: OK. Peter Bergen, terrorism expert, thank you so much for that.

NGUYEN: She set out with high hopes, but exactly what Condoleezza Rice takes home from her three-way meeting in Jerusalem isn't clear. The secretary of state sat down today with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

And CNN state department correspondent Zain Verjee went along.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It started with an awkward handshake. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling her landmark meeting with Israeli people minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas informal, careful not to call the talks negotiations. The bar for any breakthrough was set very low even before the meeting started.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: It was a useful and productive meeting.

VERJEE: For more than two hours, they talked about how to get to a future Palestinian state, but Rice emerged alone to make a statement.

RICE: All three of us affirmed our commitment to a two-state solution, agreed that a Palestinian state cannot be borne of violence and terror, and reiterated our acceptance of previous agreements and...


LEMON: All right. We apologize for that, but we have some breaking news to tell you about. This just in: those three climbers who were missing on Mt. Hood they have been searching for; they have been found.

Joining us now by telephone, one of the main rescuers in this situation. We hear -- Mr. Gubele, Russell Gubele, we hear that they were found just a short while ago. Condition and what happened?

Are you there, sir?

RUSSELL GUBELE, MT. WAVE SEARCH & RESCUE: Yes, I am. Can you hear me?

LEMON: Yes, I can hear you now.

So what are their conditions? And how exactly did you find them?

GUBELE: Their condition is very good at this time. They were located in the area where their mountain locator units suggested that they were. And we finally got some of our rescuers down there to them. And they are fine. They are being warmed up right now by our rescuers. And they will assist in their own rescue. They're going to walk down. We've got teams coming up from below at this time to help them out. We also have a Snowcat coming up from the bottom. If they can get up the White River, then we will have that available, too.

LEMON: OK. So, you said they're going to assist in their own rescue situation, that they're going to come down from the mountain themselves. So, again, explain this situation. What information and what tools did you use in order to get to them? I understand that they were huddling with their dog inside of a snow cave.

GUBELE: They weren't inside of a snow cave. They were huddling with their dog. They had sleeping bags and a mat and they were near some rocks and huddled up, trying to keep warm. The mountain locator unit they had allowed us to locate their position. They also had a cellular telephone, which we kept in contact with them all night long.

When I said assist in their own rescue, I mean that we have people with them that will help them to walk out. They are not badly injured, so they can walk out and assist. And we will be helping them with that and hopefully be picking them up along the way with the Snowcat.

LEMON: OK. So you were still in touch with them by telephone and talking to them periodically, checking on their condition. Am I correct?

GUBELE: That's correct. Sure.

LEMON: Yes. And they were sort of helping out because they knew the general region where they were. And, again, you said you were able to track them?

GUBELE: Yes. We knew where they were. The weather was really bad, as we talked about earlier. And it was a matter of getting the teams down there to them, which we were finally able to do in these severe weather conditions and extreme avalanche conditions.

LEMON: OK. Thank you, Russell Gubele.

And we just want to remind your viewers that the three climbers that they were looking for were well equipped, we are told. And it was two women and a man and they fell off a ledge on Sunday and they are believed to be, as Mr. Gubele just told us, in good condition. And they're going to bring them down soon. But those three climbers have been found on Mt. Hood, which is really good news in all of this. And time was of the essence. And it looks like they got to them pretty quickly, so they're OK.

Details on this story throughout the day right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: Hey, got a little bit more. Zero visibility is what they were up against, the winds, the risk of an avalanche, as we've been all talking about today.

But rescuers, as you just heard, made it through, got those three stranded climbers.


LEMON: Betty, we're going to continue to follow this story right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A live look now from Mt. Hood. Pretty whiteout conditions you can see there. It's exactly in that area where those three climbers went missing. They have been found. We're going to have a live report coming up after just a short break.


LEMON: Breaking news into the CNN NEWSROOM. And it is good. It appears that three climbers who fell down a ledge on Mt. Hood, Oregon's Mt. Hood, have been found.

Let's get you live now to Mt. Hood and CNN's Dan Simon with the very latest on this.

Dan, what do you know?

SIMON: Well, Don, we know that those rescuers got to them just a short while ago. We know that the climbers, along with rescuers, are going to basically go down the mountain and finally reach safety.

In terms of how this happened, Don, when you think about it, really two things enabled this rescue to be a success. No. 1, these three climbers had access to a cell phone. The battery was fresh and they were able to stay in constant contact with the rescuers. It allowed them to tell them how they were doing, also told them where they were on the mountain.

The second thing is they had mountain locator units, what are frequently called MLU's. Of course, the information on the cell phone relayed was helpful. But the MLU's to a certain extent are even more important because what those do is emit an electronic signal, a ping, if you will. And it gives a very precise -- it gives very precise information in terms of where climbers are on the mountain.

But here we have a successful rescue. Obviously, this comes on the heels of what happened a couple of months ago where you had three climbers who wound up dead here on Mt. Hood. Obviously, a different situation here. And you can credit that to those MLU's and the cell phone, and also to a certain extent, Don, the weather. Even though the weather is awful, no question about it, that situation a couple months ago, it was far worse and it didn't allow rescuers to reach those three climbers.

So, a successful outcome here, Don, and we'll hear from the climbers a bit later on.

LEMON: Yes, and, Dan, you know, I don't know if you've had a chance to speak with the rescuers or anyone involved with this because it's just now breaking. But any idea how long it would be before they get those guys down? How long the actual trek down that mountain would be?

SIMON: Well, we know that they were somewhere around at 7,100 feet. Where we are here, sort of the base camp, it's called Timberline, this is about 6,000 feet. You wouldn't think that trudging, you know, 1,000 feet would be a big deal, but because you're dealing with these challenging conditions and steep terrain, it might take a little while. So, I would say probably in the neighborhood of a couple hours, Don. Probably not much more beyond that, though.

LEMON: Hey, Dan, you know what? You and the other guy, the rescuer, taught me something new. These MLU's, these mountain locator units, is this something that the climbers carry with them so that they can get a ping or some sort of location from them? Explain this, these MLU's to us real quick. SIMON: Yes. We did a story on this a couple months back. And what it is, it almost looks like a pager. And it has a cord on it. And you pull it. And what that does is it emits a signal, like -- you can't hear it. You have to have specialized equipment...

LEMON: All right. That's CNN's Dan Simon. We've lost him there.

But, again, reporting, explaining to us what these MLU's, these mountain locator units are, sort of like a pager. You can't hear them, but the rescuers can get a ping or a location on you to sort of figure out where you are.

So, again, those three climbers in Oregon, Mt. Hood., they fell down that shelf yesterday. They have been found. The rescuers say they appear to be in good condition and as soon as they get down the mountain, if we get more information from Oregon, we'll bring it to you live right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: I'm glad to hear they're safe.

Some other news to tell you about today out of Maryland, a building fire.

And for that, let's go to CNN's T.J. Holmes with the latest.

Hi, T.J.

HOLMES: Betty, forgive me. I believe you're talking to me, but I'm hearing something else here. But I believe you're talking about this issue in Frederick County, Maryland.

Right now, we'll go back to these live pictures in trying to explain this incident. But we're seeing a fire here at a strip mall, a pretty large fire. But what happened here initially was that an armed robber went into a liquor store here at this strip mall. He barricaded himself in after people were evacuated, according to our affiliate WUSA. At least one shot was fired.

He barricaded himself in and then the fire started. Police don't know at this point -- or are not telling us, at least. No word on where that armed robber is at this point. But whatever happened there, don't know what the result was and what was going on inside.

But after he barricaded himself in, the fire was the result. It started and then spread from where he was in the liquor store to other shops in that shopping mall.

We're seeing a live picture here, courtesy of on of our affiliates there in Frederick County, Maryland. But a massive, massive fire at that strip mall. We're trying to get more information on exactly how this started, if anybody was hurt, where that robber is and just how much damage is being done to this strip mall right now, Betty.

NGUYEN: A lot of questions, but the fire is fully engulfed right there -- under way -- the building, I should say, is fully engulfed.

We'll stay on top of this, T.J.

Thank you.

Straight ahead, entertainment news with Sibila Vargas.

Sibila joins us now.

Let me just guess, Britney is still the talk of the town.


Opie, though, he's a grandpa. And, of course, a pop princess has a new look, like you said, bald and tattooed. All ahead on the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Well, most of the buzz is over Britney, but family matters are also making headlines in Hollywood today. Entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas joins me now with the scoop.

Hi there, Sibila.

VARGAS: Hi, Betty.

Well, this news is going to make some of us feel a little bit old. Little Ronnie Howard we all knew so well Opie -- remember him?

Well, he's now a grandpa. The Oscar-winning director's daughter, actress Bryce Dallas Howard, and her actor husband, Seth Gabel, welcomed a baby boy on Friday. It's her first child and Howard's first grandchild. The name and the weight on the arrival have yet to be released.

Now, to that story we've been all waiting for. What were you thinking, Britney?

If you haven't heard, the pop princess has people talking because now she's decided to go bald. Last Thursday, we heard rumors that she entered into rehab and then quickly checked out the following day. Later that evening she stopped in a hair studio in southern California and shaved her own head.

Look at her there.

According to the salon owner, Esther Tognozzi (ph), she tried to talk Britney out of it. And that's when the 25 year-old grabbed the buzzer and shaved her hair off herself.

The adventure continued that evening. From there, Britney stopped at a tattoo shop and got some pink and red lips tattooed on her wrist. Spears hasn't had a new album in a couple of years. But, then again, she's been being a mom. She has two baby boys, a five month-old and 17 month-old.

Well, tonight on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT", more on the pop princess. Did Britney have a breakdown? Tonight, what really led to Britney Spears shaving her head. Does she need serious intervention? And is she in danger of losing her children? Tough questions on TV's most provocative entertainment news show, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on Headline Prime.

Back to you, Betty.

NGUYEN: We'll be watching.

Thank you, Sibila.

VARGAS: Thank you.

LEMON: Well, despite brutal conditions, technology and training come through. Three stranded climbers and their dog are found in good condition on Mt. Hood. We're tracking their descent in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: And there's a fire in Maryland that we are staying a close watch on. You can see the crews there trying to put it out. We've got the interesting details behind how this fire got started.

Stay tuned. You're in the NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: All right. Want you to take a look because here's how it ended last night at Daytona. Kevin Harvick roared past the finish line, beating Mark Martin by the length of a hood. Check it out right there. For the second straight Daytona 500, the closet finish in memory. And not just that, the wildest.

The last lap featuring an all-out Nascar wreck-fest: rubber burning, sparks flying and stock cars just spinning like tops, finishing just seconds behind the top two and doing so in style, number seven -- can you believe this -- Clint Boyer, he skidded across the finish line upside down. And then seconds later his car burst into flames. But the driver -- good news here -- walked away unscathed.


LEMON: Unbelievable is it, Betty.

All right.