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Prince Harry Fighting in Afghanistan; Explosion at Shopping Mall in Waukegan, Illinois; Kenya Peace Deal

Aired February 28, 2008 - 14:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Seven thousand eight hundred British troops are serving in the war in Afghanistan. Only one though is a grandson of the queen.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Every war has its secrets. Prince Harry on the front lines, a secret no more.

Hello everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta.

KEILAR: And I'm Brianna Keilar. Kyra Phillips is on assignment in Iraq.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: It is 2:00 here in the East. And our top story, the secret is out, Britain's Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is fighting in Afghanistan.

CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh has the very latest for us.

ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. As you mentioned, Don, the secret, for lack of a better term, is out, all part of a better plan to have the prince in Afghanistan for a three- month tour. The understanding is that he was out there from mid- December.

Now, what we're hearing at this point, getting some varied reaction from various parts of the country. Specifically, let's start with Buckingham Palace here behind me. We're understanding from the communications division for the royal family saying that Prince Harry is very proud to be serving his country on operations alongside his fellow soldiers, and is doing the job that he was trained for.

Now, needless to say, there are some people who are quite upset that this embargo, for lack of a better term, an agreement between the U.K. media organizations and international organizations like CNN, not to divulge this information. The military saying that they are very disappointed that a Web site and some other Web pages have given this information out.

But at the same time, they're also saying that what the last two months have shown us is that it's perfectly possible for Prince Harry to be employed just the same as any other army officers of his rank and experience. His conduct on operations in Afghanistan has been exemplary -- Don. LEMON: Hey, I've got to ask you a question. We know that he was supposed to go to Iraq, Alphonso, but that caused some problems last year.

VAN MARSH: That's right. Last May, it was understood that he was scheduled to serve in Iraq, but at that time, the Ministry of Defense had determined that he would be too much of a target for insurgents, even though Prince Harry has long said that he wanted to serve his country, not to be hiding behind his royal pedigree, and to do what he what he was trained for. At that point, it was not -- it was determined that he would not be able to be serving. But this time, as we understand from, mid-December, he's been in Afghanistan -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Alphonso Van Marsh reporting from London. Thank you very much for that, Alphonso.

And why would the British royal family choose to send someone so close to the throne to fight in the middle of a war? We're going to talk to our Roger Clark in just a moment. He is director of our international coverage, also worked for the BBC and has done numerous stories about the royal family. He'll join us in just a few minutes to talk to us about that.

KEILAR: From the White House to the campaign trail, the economy topping today's political agenda. President Bush says the nation is not headed toward a recession. Democratic hopeful Barack Obama disagrees. He says things are bad and getting worse.

And as we approach the do-or-die March 4th primaries, Obama and Hillary Clinton are going toe-to-toe in Texas and Ohio.

CNN, of course, has the best political team in television. We have every angle covered in the debates over the economy and the race for the White House.

Looking ahead now to March 4th, our John King, Candy Crowley, and also Carol Costello -- you see them at the top of your scene -- they're in Ohio. Suzanne Malveaux, Jessica Yellin, Ali Velshi, Ted Rowlands and Dana Bash are tracking the candidates and also the concerns of voters in Texas. We also have senior political analyst Bill Schneider in Washington, D.C, and CNN's Mary Snow in New York. So let's get started now with Ali Velshi. He is in Texas with the CNN Election Express.

He's talking politics and money. And he's having a little fun. Sampling some of the local pastimes. Today, he's standing by in San Antonio, right in front of the Alamo.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And we are talking to a lot of people. Let me just give you a litany of where we are right now, Brianna.

Just moments ago, oil crossed $102. Again, crossed the record that it hit two days ago -- or yesterday. It is above now $102. We have a new record for the price of oil. Earlier this week, we heard that inflation, wholesale inflation in 2007, was over seven percent. Find me somebody who got a raise that was seven percent in 2007.

We know gas prices are up over 80 cents in the last year. We know the stock market is down to 12,600, the Dow Jones. Now, people know there's a problem. Everywhere we go in Texas, the economy is the number one issue, and it tends to be around prices, inflation.

Today, President Bush, talking about various matters, was asked by a reporter whether or not we are in a recession. You alluded to this earlier. Listen to what his exact words were.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think we're headed to a recession, but no question we're in a slowdown. And that's why we acted, and acted strongly, with over $150 billion worth of pro-growth economic incentives. Mainly money going into the hands of our consumers. And some money going to businesses to invest, which will create jobs.


VELSHI: Well, President Bush says we're not in a recession, we're in a slowing economy. The economy is generally measured by GDP. Last year, at the end of the year, 2006, GDP came in at 0.6 percent. That means the economy grew 0.6 percent in that three months. When you get to zero and you star going below zero, that's a recession if that continues for a little while.

But the people who are paying a lot more for the goods that they buy, for the gas that they need, if there's a danger of losing their jobs, that is what a recession is to them. Now, that doesn't -- that's not a textbook definition. And a lot of people sort of get on our case about the fact that talking about a recession makes it.

But people don't stop shopping because they hear it on the news. People stop shopping or pull back because they feel that their job or their income is in danger. Yesterday, we had one of the major housing companies in the United States saying that they feel like that all of the ceaseless talk about recession is what's causing their business to go down.

The fact is, Americans are not that influenced by what we do. If they think that their income is not there, they're going to pull back on spending. And that's what we're hearing in our trip around Texas. People telling me their stores are not as full, their towns don't get visited as much. People are spending less money. That's the concern on our plate right now -- Brianna.

KEILAR: And Ali, on a totally different note, I mean, I've got to tell you, I'm kind of disappointed. No cowboy hat. You're not riding a farm animal this go-around.


VELSHI: Well, the hat's never far. The hat's never far -- Brianna. KEILAR: Put -- oh, yes.

VELSHI: It's hot -- and it's cold in the morning.

LEMON: It's on backwards, by the way. You had it on backwards.


VELSHI: When I pulled into San Antonio, I picked under one of those Davy Crockett hats. I wore that for about four seconds this morning. But it just looks like a mullet on me. It doesn't really -- it doesn't really convey the Davy Crockett thing.

KEILAR: Oh, Ali Crockett, love it.

Ali Velshi there for us in San Antonio, right out in front of the Alamo. Thanks so much.

LEMON: Poor Davy Crockett.

KEILAR: And all of the latest campaign news is available right at your fingertips. Check it out at

Also, analysis from the best political team on television. That and more at

Now here's some unappetizing food for thought. The CDC saying 76 million Americans get sick every year from contaminated food. This afternoon, Congress is looking into food safety in the wake of the nation's largest ever beef recall.

This recall resulted from undercover video that you see here shot by the Humane Society of slaughterhouse cows in obvious distress. One hundred forty-three million pounds of beef was recalled, and the California processing plant where this video was shot has been closed.

Now, coinciding with today's hearings, the Humane Society is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture over a legal loophole that it says it allows sick or so-called downer cows to go to slaughter. The lawsuit alleges the USDA violated requirements when it relaxed rules last year on the processing of potentially sick cattle. And at this point, a USDA spokesman is not commenting.

LEMON: Well, it is dinnertime in London, and a lot of dinner conversation, no doubt, involves Prince Harry. As we have been reporting here on CNN, British defense officials now confirm the prince has been a soldier in Afghanistan since December.

Our Roger Clark joins us now. He's the director of coverage for CNN International.

You used to work for the BBC. And I know you have extensive knowledge of the British royal family, actually helping me out with an interview with Prince Andrew just a couple weeks ago.

But first, I've got to ask you this -- I know that you just got off the phone with the press secretary of the prince of Wales.

ROGER CLARK, DIRECTOR OF COVERAGE, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Yes, that's right, a few minutes ago, Paddy Harverson, who is the communication secretary at Clarence House, which is the official residence of the prince of Wales. And the statement tonight says that the prince of Wales is very, very proud of his son. Paddy Harverson also told me that during the course of the prince's deployment in Afghanistan since the middle of December, both the majesty, the queen, and the prince of Wales and Prince William have been kept well up to speed on what's been going on.

LEMON: Well, and the big question is why would the royal family -- I mean, he's third in line. Why would they allow someone so close to the throne to go and to serve, and, you know, to put himself into harm's way and also the people around him as well?

CLARK: You've answered the question yourself. He's third in line to the throne. He's not likely to be the king. Prince Charles will be the next king, then Prince William. Prince Harry is highly unlikely to be the king. So what does he do with his life? He can't spend his entire life opening hospitals, planting trees and launching ships.

LEMON: Right.

CLARK: He's got to do something meaningful with his life. And he chose the armed services. He chose the army. His regiment had gone to war, went to war in Iraq. He couldn't go because it was too dangerous, too many people knew about it, he was too much of a target.

Afghanistan was deemed the place that he should go, go very quietly without the media knowing about it. And you have to remember, you see -- you have to remember that Prince Harry is an action-packed guy.

LEMON: Right.

CLARK: How could his comrades go to war, come back to him in London, sat behind his desk for the previous three months? How does he look them in the eyes?

LEMON: Well, I know that. But still, you have to say, OK, after all, he is a prince, and we understand that, how could he look them in the eye? But there are other things at play here. But you make a good point when you said that the prince of Wales says he's very proud of his son. He's very proud of both of his sons.

And as a matter of fact, just a couple of weeks ago we were doing an interview with Prince Andrew. We knew -- full disclosure -- that Prince Harry was in Afghanistan fighting at the time, but there was a media blackout. Couldn't ask him about it, but we did ask him sort of in a roundabout way how he felt about the military service.

Let's take a listen and I'll talk to you about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: You fought in the Falkland Islands.


LEMON: The two princes now both have military service. Are you proud of that tradition, that it still seems to be happening even with the two young princes?

PRINCE ANDREW: Absolutely. I mean, I think that -- I mean, I did it, whatever it was, maybe 30 years ago now. They're just taking that tradition on even further. And I'm extremely proud of the fact that they are both serving for their country.


LEMON: OK. "Extremely proud." But he is, in fact, a bullet magnet. And that's his nickname. He is.

CLARK: Yes. Apparently, the (INAUDIBLE), who he was fighting alongside, an elite regiment in the British army, police (ph) soldiers, they refer to him as the "Bullet Magnet," because, you know, there been all this stuff in the press about if Prince Harry goes to the front line, al Qaeda, the Taliban, will make a beeline for him, will try and kill him, do their level best to kill the queen's grandson.

So they nicknamed him the Bullet Magnet. And that, of course, is why there was so much secrecy surrounding this deployment in Afghanistan. And you said it yourself -- he's been there since the middle of December.

LEMON: Right.

CLARK: And only now, here we are at the end of February, is that news leaking out.

LEMON: Surprisingly that it really lasted that long.

CLARK: Yes. I mean, I can't remember any kind of news blackout in the United Kingdom lasting this long.


CLARK: But there was a very interesting deal between the British Ministry of Defense and the media. And that deal was, look, if you keep it quiet, then we will give you access to the front line. And you're seeing all these pictures.

LEMON: And the other people around him won't be in danger if you keep it quiet. OK.

CLARK: That's right. And my understanding from the Ministry of Defense and talking to sources there is that, tonight, there are some very, very high-level meetings involving people like the chief of...

LEMON: About whether to pull him back. CLARK: ... defense about whether to pull him back. And the feeling is, yes, probably they will bring him back. They'll pull him out of Afghanistan because it's dangerous for him and also it's dangerous for all those other coalition servicemen and women who are fighting there.

LEMON: Roger Clark, director of our international coverage. Thank you, sir.

CLARK: A pleasure.

LEMON: Appreciate it.

KEILAR: Bringing Kenya back from the depths of violence and hate, that is the goal of a new power-sharing deal signed by the country's president and also the opposition leader. And our Zain Verjee, who grew up in Kenya, is going to be joining us with the very latest.

LEMON: And we'll tell you about a young white man who was in the driver's seat as Martin Luther King, Jr. pushed for freedom and equality in the civil rights era.


KEILAR: Breaking news here in the CNN NEWSROOM. One of our affiliates in the Chicago area, WGN, reporting that a restaurant building has exploded. This is happening in Waukegan, Illinois. This is a northern suburb of Chicago. It's on the north shore of Lake Michigan.

And we're hearing from our Chicago bureau that, according to the fire department there, there is a building on fire. And the fire department is on scene. But at this point, no more details are available.

We're efforting some live pictures from our affiliates for you. But again, our affiliate WGN reporting that there is a restaurant building that has exploded in Waukegan, Illinois, north of Chicago. We will bring you details as soon as we have them.

LEMON: And I'm sure our affiliates are scrambling to get to that story with their choppers and with their helicopters.

As we follow that story, we're also working on some other stories for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


KEILAR: Two men, two signatures, potentially ending two months of killing in Kenya. The president and the leader of Kenya's main opposition movement signed a power-sharing agreement today in Nairobi. It's been a bloody few weeks in what was one of Africa's most stable nations. The U.S. government also paying attention here.

And CNN's State Department correspondent, Zain Verjee, with a very personal connection to Kenya, is in Washington with more on this.

Hi, Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna. You know, just seeing those images makes me and millions of other Kenyans breathe a huge sigh of relief. That is something that many have been wanting to see for many months ever since the disputed elections in December.

Now, from the State Department's point of view, they're saying today that this is a really critical step, that it's a really positive and important development for Kenya. A lot of the credit, Brianna, should really go to the former U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan, who has been frustrated almost every step of the way.

It really has been an uphill struggle for him. The U.S. has thrown their support behind him. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice herself made a lightning visit to Kenya to add pressure and to tell the leaders there that there was absolutely no excuse to delay a power-sharing deal.

Just a short while ago, I spoke to the State Department's point person on Africa, Jendayi Frazer, who says that U.S. pressure was decisive in making this happen.


JENDAYI FRAZER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS: I think the United States had a unique role to play because we're friends of both sides. We can maintain our neutrality and push them to do what the Kenyan people said, which is to come together, compromise, so that the country can be governed and can be reconciled. And so this is really a Kenya deal. And so we're very excited about it, but we have to work now on the implementation.


VERJEE: Frazer says that the hard work really does begin now. They've got to deal with some seriously difficult issues like land reform, constitutional reform, and electoral reform. And in the light of more than 1,000 people being killed, hundreds of thousands displaced, there is so much bitterness in the country that Kenyans are going to have to transcend and move forward -- Brianna.

KEILAR: And Zain, if you can just highlight the back-story between the U.S. and Kenya. Why is this agreement significant to the U.S.?

VERJEE: Well, Kenya has always been a stable country in the region, and what was so horrifying for the United States and other countries around the world, including Kenyans themselves, is that everything had gone up in smoke here. Kenya is important to the United States for two reasons.

First of all, it's an important ally on the war on terror. And also, Kenya's an important logistical corridor for aid that comes through. So, if the U.S. wants to send aid shipments through, for example, to southern Sudan, it comes through Kenya. So it's important for the U.S. strategic interests for Kenya to be on track.

KEILAR: Zain Verjee there for us in Washington.

Thanks, Zain.

LEMON: All right. To update our developing news, it's coming from Waukegan, Illinois, which is 40 miles north of Chicago.

There has been an explosion. A building has exploded, and we're being told that from our affiliates there -- affiliate WGN.

Now, here's what they're telling us. Firefighters from several departments were battling what appeared to be an explosion and fire at 1926 Grand Avenue, which is a shopping plaza, home of such places like Tuxedo World, Cleopatra's Unisex Hair Salon, (INAUDIBLE), and a travel agency. They're reporting that there are injuries. Not exactly sure how many.

Their chopper is on wait to that scene, our WGN affiliate. And we're trying to get you some live pictures there, but they have closed Grand Avenue between Martin and Lewis Avenues, and crews from Peoples Gas are on the scene because firefighters are fearing a gas leak there.

But as we look, here are the live picturing that are coming in. Wow, look at that. You're looking at this just as we are.

This is an explosion again at Waukegan, in a shopping center. Waukegan, on the north shore of Michigan Avenue. Just about eight miles south of the Wisconsin line. And also 40 miles north of Chicago. But if you're looking at these pictures, man, that was some explosion, and some fire that would cause this type of damage to this building.

The concern here, again, is that there are injuries. Don't know how many at this point. The concern is that this is a shopping center. It's also 1:00 in the afternoon in the Chicago area. So lots of people are out shopping in this plaza.

Again, as I said, home to Tuxedo World, Cleopatra's Unisex Hair Salon. Ladies out during the day getting their hair down. And Cellular Concepts -- also a travel agency in this area.

Again, they believe the building was on fire. The fire department is on the scene. And also, Peoples Gas, Peoples Energy on the scene, because they fear a gas leak there. We're working now to get someone from Peoples Gas on the phone. Actually, Rod Sierra (ph) is the spokesperson there for Peoples Gas, to find out exactly what they're doing and what may have caused this.

We don't know if it was a gas explosion, if it was just a fire, or exactly what happened. But you can see, emergency crews are on the scene there, right below our banner, at least trying to dig out or see exactly what the damage is. You see a car in there as well. And you see what appears to be a roof, sort of blown to smithereens. And then other folks around.

Obviously, the fire department on the scene as well. And we see some water there -- I'm not sure if they were putting -- if this was an explosion, obviously they don't want to put water on it.

But again, we don't know exactly what happened. We're working our sources in the Chicago area, our Chicago bureau, as well as our national desk here at CNN.

Details on this breaking news story from Waukegan, Illinois, to come in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: OK. Back now to the scene of our developing news there to the left of your screen, courtesy of our affiliate WGN. Live pictures coming from their chopper.

This is exactly where Waukegan is in relation to Chicago, Illinois, and Indiana there -- on the Wisconsin line. But again, it is believed -- and this is according to our affiliate -- believed to be an explosion.

That has not been confirmed yet, but judging from this, something really terrible happened here. No fire at this point, but believed to be a fire in the beginning of all of this. Not exactly sure when this started, but it is a shopping mall in Waukegan, in that area, with a number of stores there -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes. For instance, though, we understand, according to a local report, there's a tuxedo shop, there's a hair salon, a cellular store, a travel agency. And at this point, authorities saying that there are injuries reported.

So we're awaiting right now -- I mean, you can see just the damage here. Of course, it's easy to assume that there may have been injuries. And authorities reporting to -- according to a local report, that there are injuries. So we are still awaiting those details at this point.

But there is also a road closure. There are representatives or workers from the gas company on scene. Firefighters fearing a gas leak in this case.

LEMON: Yes. And if you're in the Chicago area, folks there would refer to this as the north shore. They would say there's been an explosion in the north shore. And where exactly is that? That is in Waukegan, 40 miles north of Chicago.

Peoples Gas and Peoples Energy -- same company -- Peoples Gas on the scene because they fear that there may be some sort of gas leak. And you can see, this is the back side of -- this is the front side of that building. And you see the emergency workers on the scene -- store fronts here of those store that Brianna mentioned.

There's Tuxedo World there. And then a store right next to it. And being 1:27 in the afternoon in the Chicago area, this place probably had lots of people in it, out shopping and out getting their hair done.

So hopefully there were no injuries, but we're hearing from our affiliate in Chicago that there's a possibility of injuries at this point again. Again, this courtesy -- and boy, we appreciate this -- our affiliate, WGN, in Chicago.

KEILAR: Yes. And you're really seeing the tuxedo shop there right in the middle, then the red sign next to it. That's a hair salon.

And then a white sign next to the left of that. That's the cellular store. And these stores appear to be the stores that really sustained the most damage here.

The windows completely blown out. Debris just thrown out on to the sidewalk here. And you can see firefighters. In fact, I think you can see them in the back of the building.

LEMON: Going into that building, yes.

KEILAR: And in front of the building.

LEMON: Yes. This is in the Chicago area, obviously a very old area. So you have these shopping areas, these strip malls, and then older neighborhoods surrounding very near these strip malls.

And in the back, there's usually like some sort of -- some sort of alleyway, or what have you, which is where we were looking at. So it appears to be damage on both sides -- on the alleyway side where they get deliveries, and also where the garbage people will come, and also employees will use the rear entrance.

But then also damage as well to the fronts of these stores, the store fronts there. And as Brianna pointed out, looks like the glass blown right out.

We're going to try to get you some more information on this story. We're going to keep following it right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Details to come.

KEILAR: Yes. But right now, we're going to move to move on to business news. The housing market's latest victim, a city in California that's now facing bankruptcy. And Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with that story.

But first, right, a check of the markets, Susan.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna. And we're busy on that front as well because oil prices have soared to a new intraday high approaching $103 per barrel. The spike coming after an attack on oil installations in Nigeria, the third biggest crude exporter to the U.S.

Oil factored in Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's second day of testimony on Capitol Hill. And he said that's partly because of the record high prices, inflation is a bigger problem now than it was in 2001, the last time the economy did fall into recession. Bernanke also says some smaller banks could fail as a result of the credit and housing crises.

That's one of the factors weighing on stocks today, with financial stocks, in particular, falling sharply. But the three major averages are down as well. Check it out, with 90 minutes to go in the session, the Dow is off 81 points, well off its lows, which was 136- point deficit. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, down 12.5. Each about half a percent lower.

We've reported extensively on how much damage the housing crisis has done to individual homeowners. The latest to be caught up in the mess, Vallejo, California, the city of Vallejo. It will consider filing for Chapter Nine bankruptcy protection at a meeting this afternoon. The reasons, a cash crunch due to falling tax revenues, rising payroll expenses and the weakening housing market. Basically, the San Francisco/Bay Area community expected money to come in but never did because of the declining economy, Brianna.

KEILAR: But not just Vallejo, right? Also a California land owner having some financial trouble of his own, right Susan.

LISOVICZ: Yes. And one that we've heard of, Brianna, that we've all heard of, Michael Jackson going to avoid foreclosure on his Neverland ranch, but just barely. Documents show the ranch has been set for a public auction on March 19th. A Jackson source tells us it won't happen, saying that Jackson is affected by the poor real estate market like many other Americans.

Unlike many others, though, banks appear willing to work with the pop star. He owes more than $24 million. He hasn't lived there since his 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges. Neverland comes with 2700 acres, an amusement park and a zoo, in case anyone's concerned.

Coming up, we're going to talk about cars in the next hour. I'll explain the fuzzy arithmetics sometimes and what it takes when you're buying a car. Brianna, back to you.

KEILAR: Fuzzy car math.

LISOVICZ: Yes, imagine that.

KEILAR: All right. I'm going to think about this one. I'm going to try to come up with it. All right. Thanks for the hint. Susan Lisovicz there at the NYSE.

LEMON: It is being reported by people in the area as an explosion that blew out the windows of three buildings in a business district and shopping mall north of Chicago in the Waukegan area. CNN is working its sources and we're going to update you on the other side of the break.

KEILAR: The story is out, of course as you know now. But should it be? That's the question. We're going to look at the ramifications of the media's coverage Prince Harry's deployment to Afghanistan.


KEILAR: Now back to our top story; today's announcement that Britain's Prince Harry is deployed with the British army in Afghanistan. The prince, third in line to the British throne. Also, of course, could be an attractive target for the Taliban there in Afghanistan. Some fearing that his presence could endanger other British troops, maybe U.S. troops as well. But a U.S. spokesman disagrees.


TOM CASEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: I have no reason to believe that the British government would do anything that would put their troops, or anyone else's, in harms way.


KEILAR: Now, the British government had tried to keep Harry's deployment a secret. They confirmed he was in Afghanistan only after word leaked in an Australian magazine and a German newspaper.

So should the media have kept quiet? That's the kind of question we like to ask Howard Kurtz, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES," a program right here on CNN that turns a critical eye on the media and how they cover stories.

So should this have been kept a secret, Howie? And are you surprised it's -- that the media blackout lasted this long?

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN'S RELIABLE SOURCES: Yes, I'm surprised in this multimedia wired world that the secret did hold for so long. Look, I have absolutely no problem with members of the British media deciding that they're not going to put this out because for Prince Harry's whereabouts to become known would have made him a target for every terrorist associate with the Taliban. And who -- what news organization would want that responsibility on its head?

KEILAR: What are the ethics of going with this report while Harry is still in Afghanistan? Obviously, this was an Australian magazine, a German daily paper. What are the ethics here?

KURTZ: I don't understand why they did it. But the odd thing to me is the date on that Australian magazine report is January 15th, so more than about six weeks have passed until Matt Drudge (ph) picks it up and blares it with a World War III-style headline on his Internet gossip site.

And of course, the interesting thing here is, all these British news organizations, both television and newspapers, were all ready go with reports because they had exclusive access to Prince Harry. There's footage of him on the frontlines. They did interviews with him, all of which, obviously, they planned to air or to publish after he returned from Afghanistan. But, now that Drudge blew the whistle on this thing, they all seemed to get that up online and on the air within about five minutes.

KEILAR: So you said you're OK with media outlets saying, you know what, we're not going to do this for security reasons. We're not going to put this information out there, basically having a media blackout. But, can you maybe shed some light on the reasoning of these media outlets that did decide to go ahead with this information?

KURTZ: Yes. No, look, I understand that some people will look at that and say, boy, it's collusion, it's some sort of conspiracy between media organizations and the British government. But, American reporters in Iraq, for example, don't report troop movements, even when they're embedded with military units for precisely the reason that they don't want to increase the vulnerability of U.S. soldiers.

John McCain's son, right now, is serving in Iraq. You tell me what American news organization would even print what unit he is in or where in Iraq he is serving. Nobody would want to do that. One of the first rules of journalism is you report aggressively, but you don't want to endanger the lives of anyone. And certainly if you're in Britain, you don't want to endanger the life of a member of the Royal Family.

KEILAR: All right. Howard, thanks so much for the insight.

I should also mention that Howard Kurtz is the columnist behind "Media Notes," the great column in "Washington Post."

KURTZ: Thank you.

KEILAR: But he also looks at media every Sunday on "RELIABLE SOURCES." That's at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. So you can catch Howard on Sunday.

LEMON: We're following some developing news here in the CNN NEWSROOM. And don't know exactly what the brunt of all of this will be, the extent of it will be, when it all winds up coming to a close here. But here's what we're learning.

There's been an explosion at a shopping mall in Waukegan, Illinois, some 40 miles north of Chicago. We're also hearing from media outlets there that there are numerous injuries. That's according to the mayor. There are numerous injuries in all of this.

Joining us now from the scene, or from -- on the telephone, Nick Alajakis, he's with the Lake County News-Sun.

Nick, what are you guys hearing there?

VOICE OF NICK ALAJAKIS, LAKE COUNTY NEWS-SUN: Right now, from what police are saying, it's a little small shopping center, probably about four or five shops all connected. There was an explosion inside a beauty salon. As of right now, they say five people have been (AUDIO GAP).

They're not yet releasing the severity of those injuries. And another -- and they are still searching for more bodies inside of the beauty salon. Apparently, there is a lot of rubble, the walls have sort of collapsed. They don't know what extent of damage is done yet.

LEMON: Yes. So, Nick, you're in the area there. Inside of a beauty salon. As I said, it's what -- 1:40 there in the Chicago area. And, this is a very busy shopping mall. And people would have been in this mall, obviously a number of people at the time.

ALAJAKIS: Well it's a busy area. I know at least one of the shops inside of the strip mall had not opened yet for the day. But it is a fairly busy area. It's right at one of the major intersections in the city. And so there were a lot of cars passing by, a lot of traffic. There's some grocery stores and such in the area. And it's, you know, just sort of a zoo out here at this point.

LEMON: We're also getting information that Peoples Gas is on the scene there because they fear that there's an explosion. Are they fearing that this was an explosion, if you can answer this question, or that there may be another explosion after this?

ALAJAKIS: They -- as of right now, they believe that -- they don't know what caused the explosion. It may be a gas explosion and so they're on the scene right now to shut down, you know, any more -- any other gas lines in the area. But they -- and they have cleared a fairly large radius around the building for fear of possible -- either a second explosion or anything that might come from that.

LEMON: How long ago did this happen, Nick?

ALAJAKIS: Came in about noon our time. So it's been maybe about an hour and a half. It kind of -- it came in as a call of an explosion. Witnesses have been telling me that the windows blown out and even some of the businesses across the street had windows blown out. And, it's just kind of glass and debris all over the place.

LEMON: Yes. And we don't know if this was a gas explosion. But I do remember, having worked there, I think it was back in 2004, 2005, there was a similar explosion in a parking lot of a mall, a very busy mall. And a number of people were injured. And it turned out to be some sort of gas main that had broken under the parking lot and no one knew about it. We don't know if that's the case here.

But it appears, Nick, from the damage, when you see the explosion, there's no fire right now. That it was -- had to be some type of explosion or something just by looking at the damage, one would assume that. So again, I want to -- where are you getting this information about -- you said about five people injured?

ALAJAKIS: Waukegan police just held a small press conference, Waukegan Police and Waukegan Fire Department. They said at least five people have been transferred to a local hospital here. They do not know the severity of their injuries. And they said they are still doing -- they are still in search mode, searching the building to see if there are any other people inside among the debris.

LEMON: So they're searching? They don't know if anyone's in there, but they're just -- ALAJAKIS: They don't know if anyone else is in there, right. But they have -- at least five people have been taken to the hospital.

LEMON: OK. Nick Alajakis, we thank you very much for that information --

ALAJAKIS: Thank you.

LEMON: -- From the Lake County News-Sun.

But again, this is what we're hearing coming out of Waukegan, Illinois. At least five people injured so far in some sort of explosion, it is believed, that happened around noon time Central, 1:00 Eastern, happening in Waukegan, 40 miles north of Chicago. Waukegan, just about eight miles south of the Wisconsin line right there on the north shore of Lake Michigan. We'll continue to update you.

KEILAR: He was the biggest undeclared presidential possibility out there, but now Michael Bloomberg says he is not running. That story is next.


KEILAR: In our political ticker, a great big no from Michael Bloomberg. After flirting with the idea for months, the Democrat turned Republican mayor of New York says he will not be running for president. In an op-ed piece in "The New York Times" Bloomberg says he will work, though, to steer the national conversation away from partisanship toward unity.

LEMON: All right. We have some break news coming out of Waukegan. It's really in the Chicago area, just so you know to give you a larger city around.

But, here's the disturbing news at least three stores damaged there, store fronts knocked out. And five people, so far, according to reports and according to the Waukegan police, taken to the hospital there. And they are searching these buildings for other people who may be inside.

This is a shopping mall in the Waukegan area. Of course, they have shut the area down here. And they believe -- this is initially -- they believe that this was some sort of explosion. Don't know how it happened and they're not exactly sure if it was a gas explosion. But just as a precaution, they have the gas department, the gas folks, on the scene there closing off those lines. And again, firefighters and emergency crews are checking these buildings for other possible victims of this explosion.

KEILAR: She has been in this world for just two days, but already she has gone through so much. This baby, she is a survivor. We've got her story in NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: We are continuing to follow a story here in the CNN NEWSROOM. This is a building explosion in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan, Illinois. We understand from a local reporter there from the "Lake County News Sun" that officials there are continuing to search for bodies in a hair salon that exploded.

But at this point, police and fire department officials telling that reporter that at least five people have been hospitalized. The A.P. reporting at this point that at least six have been hospitalized, or six people are injured.

We're going to continue to follow this story because at this point, we're not exactly sure what the cause of this explosion is. We did hear from that local reporter that officials, authorities have cleared a radius around the building. There's some concern over potentially a gas leak would be a logical cause of this. And so, they continue to -- authorities there trying to shut down some gas lines.

Hearing from one witness in a report that it felt like an earthquake, like somebody had hit the building with a car. A lot of shattered windows, not just the store where this seems to have happened. We're going to continue to follow this building explosion coming out of Waukegan, Illinois as more details become available.

LEMON: Let's talk the economy. Now, he talked tax cuts and the economy and the nation's housing crunch. At his White House news conference today, President Bush said Congress needs to get moving to protect the nation's homeowners.


BUSH: Finally, Congress needs to act to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Unfortunately, the Senate is considering legislation that would do more to bail out lenders and speculators than to help American families keep their homes. The Senate bill would actually prolong the time it takes for the housing market to adjust and recover.


LEMON: Well, the wave of foreclosures is causing sheer misery for many. But for some, it could represent an opportunity. Our Gerri Willis here to explain.

Gerri, an opportunity for some?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: An opportunity for some. You know, surely, this is incredibly bad news ...


WILLIS: ...for millions of people ...


WILLIS: ...2.2 million people last year with foreclosure. We could have the same number this year.

But, if you are in the market for a home, and Don, maybe you're one of those folks who -- in middle class, couldn't afford a home in your neighborhood because they were just too expensive. Now, is the time to think about maybe, maybe, maybe buying a foreclosed property.

Now, there are lots of ways to do it. You can do it at auction here in Atlanta. You can actually buy them from banks, they're called REO properties ...


WILLIS: properties. That's a decent way to go as well. You can also try to buy it from people who are just clinging to the last few days in their house. But I got to tell you, I don't really recommend that because it's just an emotional journey to do it and very, very difficult. So, it's worth thinking about though, if you're really trying to get in a property.

As we know, prices have declined dramatically, and there are lots of things you need to think about because the devil's in the details. You need to know and understand the laws out there because they're different in every state when it comes to foreclosures. You want to get the best advice you can.

And some areas in particular, places with loads of foreclosures like Florida, like California, you're going to find real estate agents who specialize in this and may be able to hook you up with the people that you need to talk to, help you find the foreclosures that would make sense for you.

LEMON: All right, so, good time for first-time home buyers, but also, I'm sure people who have the money are using them probably as rental properties and to increase their income as well there. OK, so, let's just say that you're a first-time homeowner or you want to be, where do you go for help?

WILLIS: Well, there are lots of places on the Web to go to for help. I'll tell you about a few of them, actually has listings of foreclosures all over the country. can help you figure out kind of pricing, what kind of pricing makes sense. And this is a really difficult question because prices are so much influx across the country, and as you know, Don, prices sort of lag in this market because it takes three months for a deal to close.

Now, is interesting for the very category of person that you just mentioned. If you're thinking about buying a foreclosure and then renting it out. This is for people who want to be landlords. It'll give you all the details there.

But it can be a difficult way to go. But at the end of the day, you can get such a great deal out there. I think a lot of people are thinking, maybe it's time that I started shopping.

LEMON:, Thelpa and Zillow?

WILLIS: You got it.

LEMON: All right, good advice. Also, "FINANCIAL SECURITY WATCH" tomorrow ...

WILLIS: That's right.

LEMON: noon Eastern here on CNN.

WILLIS: That's right, at noon Eastern, we'll be talking about all kinds of great topics. If you are worried about your mortgage, if you're worried about your debt, if you're worried about hey, how am I investing my 401(k) or my retirement dollars, we'll be answering your questions live in the noon hour.

Give us a jingle. We want to talk to you. You know, so send us an e-mail to Now, I've got to tell you, we've been inundated with e-mails. So, write us an e-mail, give us a call, we want to answer your questions.

LEMON: Yes, and maybe you can blog about them. Maybe you can answer them online. I don't know, I'm not going to run things for you. You got a whole group of folks back there looking after you. But good information at noon Eastern here on CNN.

Gerri Willis, thank you.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

KEILAR: She has been out in the world for just two days and already has gone through so much. This baby is quite a survivor. We've got her story in the NEWSROOM.


KEILAR: Breaking news here into the CNN NEWSROOM having to do with Roger Clemens. The FBI is going to be looking in to whether Roger Clemens perjured himself when he testified earlier this month before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

You'll recall that he told that committee, he was adamant, that he did not take performance-enhancing drugs. He said that to that committee under oath. This holds the same power of saying something under oath in a court of law. And so, as we reported to you yesterday, Congress had asked the Department of Justice to look into whether Roger Clemens had perjured himself. And the FBI saying today that they are going to be looking into this case.

All of this information coming to us from our Justice correspondent Kelli Arena. We are getting her in place to get even more details as she is working to get them right now. And of course, we'll bring you the latest as we get it.