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Taliban Tied to Times Square; Race to Stop Oil Leak; Scramble for Power in the U.K.; Obama Focuses on Four for Supreme Court; Tiger Woods Suffers Neck Injury; Mothers of American Hikers in Iranian Prison Work for Their Release

Aired May 9, 2010 - 18:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This hour, Taliban and Times Square. The suspect in that failed car bombing tied to the radical insurgents group, and now comes warning from the White House for both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Speaking of the White House, the president may have decided who he wants to be the next Supreme Court justice. There are reports it could come as soon as tonight.

It could be back to the drawing board for B.P., the quick fix -- the quickest one -- to that massive oil leak looks like a no-go now. And who knows how long it will take for another go at it deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tiger Woods, down for the count. And he could be off the links for a while. What happened? We'll tell you.


LEMON: Hello, everyone.

Faisal Shahzad, the man suspected of leaving a failed car bomb in Times Square might not have acted alone after all. After initial speculation that Shahzad was acting solo, the Obama administration now believes he got guidance and assistance from the Pakistan -- the Taliban in Pakistan.

Now listen to presidential assistant, John Brennan, earlier today on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."


JOHN BRENNAN, ASST. TO PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: It looks like he was working on behalf of the Tehrik-e-Taliban in Pakistan, the TTP, as the Pakistan Taliban. This is a group that is closely allied with al Qaeda. He has traveled back and forth to Pakistan in a number of times over the years. He returned to the United States in February. And it's -- again, looking like the TTP was responsible for this attempt.


LEMON: CNN senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, has been tracking this investigation. He joins us now from Karachi, Pakistan.

Nic, they seem all but certain of this Pakistan connection. What could they have found?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that this is what he initially told investigators. That was reported pretty much soon after his arrest. But for the last five days, Pakistani officials have been questioning at least six suspects that we know about here. Four of them have been tied with a jihadist group that has connections with the Taliban. One of those men, according to Pakistani officials, drove Shahzad from here in Karachi to meet Taliban leaders in Waziristan, the sort of Taliban -- Pakistani/Taliban hideout on the border with Afghanistan.

So, it seems to be those are the details that we know. What other details have investigators learned? We don't know that. But these seem to be the pieces that they were aware -- that they're working with here, that direct connection being taken from here to meet Taliban leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, Don.

LEMON: And, Nic, there were and reports of drone attacks today? Tell us about that.

ROBERTSON: Again, in North Waziristan, this is where the Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda have their camps -- a drone strike there killing 10 militants, we're told. Two missiles fired from that drone this afternoon. No indications on the ground if there was any collateral damage or any civilian casualties but we're getting this information that the targets were Taliban-type targets. That information is coming from local officials and an intelligence source as well, Don.

LEMON: All right. Nic Robertson, thank you very so much.

And we need to tell you, we're going to have more from Nic Robertson just ahead as he traces Shahzad's possible connection to the Taliban back in his native Pakistan. More of that in just a moment.

Meantime, let's turn to the Gulf of Mexico because they are looking for a new plan to plug that massive oil leak in the Gulf. Lowering that huge four-story dome over the leak didn't go quite as planned. Now, crews need some new options as tens of thousands of gallons leak every day.

Our David Mattingly is standing by in Venice, Louisiana.

David, what are these other measures that they're looking at using now?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, B.P. is still trying to find a way to make this dome work. They say they're going to take a couple of days to step back and figure out how to overcome this problem that they encountered as they were attempting to lower into place a day or so ago.

What they encountered was something called hydrates. These are crystals formed by gas combining with water under the hard -- the deep pressure and under the cold temperatures down at the bottom of the ocean. It was forming sort of like a slush inside that dome and clogging it up. So they had to move it over to the side, set it down and step back and figure out, how are we going to deal with the crystals before we can ever pump any oil out? So, that's what they're looking at right now.

If that doesn't work, they got a couple of other options they've been discussing, a funneling, possibly, some sort of solid material into the leaking pipe to clog it up. Also, to install, possibly, another blowout preventer. This was device that failed causing this disaster in the first place. So, they might look at installing another blowout preventer deep below to augment the one that's already there.

LEMON: All right, David, we'll be watching. David Mattingly in Venice, Louisiana -- thank you.


LEMON: Those are scenes from the streets of Greece on Thursday -- protesters angry over their government's plans to slash spending. But Greece had to agree to those cuts in order to get badly needed bailout money. And today, the International Monetary Fund threw the country a lifeline. The IMF approved a $40 billion loan to help with the country's economic crisis. It's part of a larger $145 billion fund also financed by the European Union.

Today, E.U. leaders are in Brussels to come up with a stability mechanism to protect the euro before the markets open in the morning. President Obama called some key players today, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mr. Obama stressed the need to take major steps to rebuild market confidence.

Arizona could face a lawsuit over its controversial new immigration law, this one would come from the federal government. Originally, the law allowed police to question anyone they suspected of being here illegally. Under the amended version, officers can only check a person's status if he or she is stopped or arrested for any reason. But that may not be enough to stop the Justice Department or Attorney General Eric Holder from taking legal action.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We're considering all of our options and one of the things that we're thinking about is the possibility of filing a lawsuit. But we're considering all our options at this point, whether or not it's something we can file a lawsuit based on federal preemption grounds or whether we think that the law as enacted could violate federal civil rights statutes.


LEMON: We are taking you back to Pakistan and CNN's senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, tracing the steps of the alleged Times Square bomber. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: This is the mosque here where Faisal Shahzad is reported to have attended when he came to Karachi.


LEMON: Also, President Obama is soon to announce his Supreme Court pick and rumors are swirling in Washington. Will we know tonight?

And the reason behind Tiger Wood's sudden tournament departure today. It could be very serious. We'll talk about that.

Don't just sit there. Don't just sit there. Become part of the conversation. Make sure you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, and check out my blog at We want to hear from you.


LEMON: Back to our top story right now: the suspected ties of the would-be Times Square bomber -- car bomber -- with the Pakistani Taliban.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, traced Faisal Shahzad's connections back to his home country.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): April 17th, 2009, Faisal Shahzad becomes an American citizen. He has no known ties to terrorism. Only two half no months later, he returns to his homeland.

(on camera): When he left the United States, he came here to Pakistan's port city, Karachi, to this middle-class neighborhood. And within a week, according to senior Pakistani government officials, he met a man who took him to meet Taliban leaders.

(voice-over): On these streets, a neighborhood near his wife's family, Pakistani police believe are some of the clues to Shahzad's radicalization and a new threat facing the United States.

(on camera): This is the mosque here where Faisal Shahzad is reported to have attended when he came to Karachi and it's where, also, we understand, at least one of the people detained by the authorities here was picked up.


ROBERTSON: And what about Faisal Shahzad? Did Faisal Shahzad come here to this -- did he come to the madrasa? Or did he come to the mosque here?

(voice-over): They tell us no one was picked up here. They also deny reports the mosque has ties to an outlawed radical Islamic group connected to the Taliban and al Qaeda. (on camera): Does this mosque have a history of a relationship with the Jaish-e-Muhammad in the past?


ROBERTSON: It's just a school?


ROBERTSON (voice-over): They tell us we must be confused with a nearby mosque with the same name.

(on camera): Well, despite what he told us, there were two mosques by the same name, we've run a few checks and it's clear this is the right place.

(voice-over): Shahzad did pray there. It turns out the man in question was picked up a few blocks away.

(on camera): This is where the police tracked down the man who took Shahzad to meet the Taliban leaders, an amusement park in Karachi. And so far, all the detentions that have taken place had happen within a few miles from here.

(voice-over): It's hundreds of miles to the Pakistani/Taliban strongholds in the tribal border region where officials tell CNN Shahzad was taken for his meeting. The Pakistani Taliban denied they trained Shahzad but they do praise him -- and following in the footsteps of al Qaeda, vow more attacks like his in the United States.


LEMON: So, Nic Robertson joins us again now live from Karachi.

Nic, tell us what more you have been able to track down as far as Shahzad and his activities?

ROBERTSON: Well we know that these people, at least six people that were arrested last week, they have been in custody now, five days of questioning, that one of the things you learn here in Karachi is that the Taliban have a strong presence here, not just the Pakistani Taliban but these other jihadist groups. They have come to get respite from the front line. They've come to escape the U.S. drone strikes.

And why can they come here? Because they come from a part of the country where people are Pashtuns, that's their ethnic background. And there's a large Pashtun community in parts of the city here, sprawling suburbs, more than a million people in some of these suburbs, a handful of police to police those areas. And the Taliban can hide quite effectively there.

Now, a number of senior leaders have been arrested in those areas recently, but the Taliban are using Karachi as a place to raise money through bank robbery, through kidnap and ransom. That's what the police tell us. And they're using -- they're using Karachi as well as a place to secretly meet with other different jihadist groups, Jaish- e-Muhammad. You heard us talking about that in that story -- men from that group, arrested in connection as part of this investigation into Shahzad.

So, Karachi provides for the Taliban a great place to hide, a great place to get medical treatment, a good place to raise funds for the fight -- and apparently as well, a good place to recruit more people for their war effort -- Don.

LEMON: You know, Nic, I want to hear more about the Pakistani Taliban because Shahzad's attempt is apparently their first attempt to attack within the United States. Tell us more about that, this group.

ROBERTSON: Well, we know as well that they have tried to attack in Spain, but this is the first attempt that we're aware of. And what this does here, you know, in the past, it's been -- OK, people have come to Pakistan to get training in al Qaeda camps to attack inside Britain, inside Europe, inside the United States. Zazi -- Najibullah Zazi was one example. Brian Neal Vinas, another example. So, there have been these examples. But what these people have done is buy in to al Qaeda's global view -- this global view that the United States is against Muslims, has a war with Muslims.

So, now, you have a different dimension to add on to that. You have the Pakistani Taliban and these other jihad groups. Some are very pervasive in the country. They've been used as proxies by the government here back in 1990s to fight in the Kashmir region against Indian forces on the other side of the border. They got a long history, good training here.

So, now, you have this -- you open -- you open the scenario up here to more and more training camps, possible places for people to get trained in explosives and other weaponry to try to attack the United States. Plus, you open up the fact that there is a large Pakistani Diaspora living in the United States and as in Europe, this Diaspora is mostly incredibly well-integrated, very productive, prosperous, et cetera. But it does open up now that elements within this group, this population, may -- some of them, a tiny, tiny, tiny minority -- that it opens up the possibility that they can have U.S. passports, be in the United States, and do what Shahzad did.

LEMON: Nic, very interesting information and you will stay on top of this. Thank you very much. Nic is in Karachi tonight.

Meantime, lots of wheeling and dealing this weekend in the world of British politics. The Conservative Party managed to win more seats than the ruling Labour Party, but neither got enough to claim the majority. Well, suddenly, third place Liberal Democrats are holding a lot of cards.

And our Paula Newton joins us now live from London.

So, Paula, the conservatives are reaching out to the Liberal Dems today. What's going on here?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They've been reaching out all night, apparently. We just saw the Liberal Democratic leader, Nick Clegg. He just left the House of Parliament a few moments ago, Don, looking rather tired, our producer Andy Carey said.

Having said that, you can tell these are really hard-fought talks. They need to find a prime minister here, Don, and this is something the White House is watching closely. A lot depends on this, everything from defense policy to the economic crisis going on right now. And the longer they wait to do this kind of a deal, the worse it's going to look to markets and other countries as if the coalition they come together may not be good enough and may not last that long.

I want you to hear now to two main negotiators working for both parties and what they said earlier in the day after those negotiations.


DANNY ALEXANDER, SR. LIBERAL DEMOCRAT POLITICIAN: We had good discussions today on a wide range of issues, on the economy, on deficit reduction, on the environment, on civil liberties and a wide range of issues. We intend to have further discussions in the next 24 hours. We're agreed that whatever -- any agreement made will have deficit reduction and a credible plan to ensure economic stability at its heart.

WILLIAM HAGUE, SR. OFFICIAL, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: And while we've had positive discussions over many key policy areas, the issues that we have covered have included political reform, economic issues, and reduction of the deficit, banking reform, civil liberties and environmental issues. So, we've had good discussions about all of those areas. We intend to meet again over the next 24 hours. We are agreed that a central part of any agreement that we make will be economic stability and the reduction of the budget deficit.

But each negotiating team is now going to report to our party leaders. So my colleagues and I are on our way to discuss where we've got to with David Cameron and the Liberal Democrats will also be meeting Nick Clegg.


NEWTON: And back they went to speak to those leaders, Don. They were briefed in that face to face and said they will speak again tomorrow. In the meantime, what happened to Gordon Brown, the prime minister of the country, holed up at 10 Downing Street? He also met with the Liberal Democratic leader. It's an outside chance now, Don, but this is still the prime minister trying to get cobble together a deal which would see his party at least, if not him, remain in power.

An extraordinary day here, Don -- you know, scenes they haven't seen in decades for sure. We're trying to figure out which leader was where. It was real political theater. With news helicopters hovering overhead all day long.

LEMON: Yes. And --

NEWTON: Needless to say, a lot at stake right now for the British and the European economies.

LEMON: We will be watching closely. I don't think we've watched an election there this closely in the United States in quite a while. Thank you very much, Paula Newton.

Meantime, back here in the United States, putting the Pentagon on a diet. And this belt-tightening has nothing to do with overweight soldiers. We'll tell you what the defense Secretary is trying to trim.

Plus, record unemployment and the global recession. It is a tough time to graduate. But these guys got some valuable advice on how to succeed from none other than the commander-in-chief himself.


LEMON: Top stories right now.

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai met today with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She is leading a congressional delegation on a visit to the country this week. Earlier, they met with U.S. troops and top military commanders in the country.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the military must cut wasteful spending. Gates told a Kansas audience, in this era of economic strain, the Pentagon is going to have to tighten its belt like everyone else. He has ordered the military to find savings of 2 percent to 3 percent, at least $10 billion in the Pentagon's roughly $550 billion budget.

New trouble now for Tiger Woods -- this time, it's on the golf course. He withdrew from a tournament in Florida today complaining of a sore neck. Woods says he may have a bulging disk and he plans to have an MRI next week. The only time Woods has mentioned his neck before today was at his Master's Tournament news conference when he described it as pretty sore, after his now infamous car accident.

In lots of inner cities, supermarkets are scarce and fresh produce is really pricey. But downtown Miami has found a down to earth solution -- a farmers market where food stamps are welcome. And CNN's John Zarrella shows us in today's "Building Up America."


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the shadow of high rises, a garden of greens, turnips, broccoli and something called callaloo or Jamaican spinach.

(on camera): So you cook them or what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we do - we use it for cooking.

ZARRELLA: Or you put them for salad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we cook them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And put them in salad, too.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Here, too, once a week on Wednesdays, small family farmers sell their produce.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have to go to Canada for greenhouse cucumbers anymore. You can go right to homestead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's absolutely delicious.

ZARRELLA: This is Overtown, smack in the middle of downtown Miami, a supermarket, not around here. In a unique way, this farmer's market fills that void.

Here, Eddie Stewart can use cash or his EBT card, known as food stamps, to fill his bag with fruits and vegetables.

EDDIE STEWART, OVERTOWN RESIDENT: It's homegrown, more fresher than anything else. You can't beat that.

ZARRELLA: And you can't beat the prices. For every $1 in food stamps --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does $21 work? Is $21 good?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-one is good.

ZARRELLA: -- you get $2 worth of produce. Even exotic fruits like loquat.

(on camera): I don't know. What does that taste like? You're the chef.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some are more sweet, others --

MICHEL NISCHAN, FOUNDER, WHOLESOME WAVE FOUNDATION: It's like a cross between an apple, a melon and a kiwi.

ZARRELLA: This subsidized market is the brainchild of this chef Michel Nischan. There are more than 100 now opened around the country, funded by donations and money from Nischan's foundation. The idea? Give small family farmers an outlet for their locally-grown produce.

Try tamarind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're eating the flesh which is around the seed.

NISCHAN: You think Worcestershire.

ZARRELLA: Most importantly, this market provides fresh food at an affordable price to communities where access to groceries is limited.

NISCHAN: When you provide the access and the resources, both, miracles happen. It's pretty cool.

ZARRELLA: You can pick up the Overtown cookbook here, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, we have a desert. This is a mango- banana float with granola.

ZARRELLA: With granola, I like that a lot.

(voice-over): Students at the neighborhood's Booker T. Washington High produced the book using recipes for home, but substituted healthy ingredients.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instead of you using molasses for you to sweeten up your food, you can use things like honey or apple juice.

ZARRELLA: In this neighborhood, the seeds of healthy eating have definitely taken root.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


LEMON: Very nice.

Is the Obama administration really going to sue Arizona over its controversial immigration law? I'll ask CNN's Mark Preston if that's good politics.

And tanks on parade in Red Square? OK, we've seen that before. But why are our soldiers marching in Moscow?


LEMON: President Obama's spokesman says we can expect to hear about the president's choice for the Supreme Court at any moment now. The president appears to be focused on these four contenders. Take a look, solicitor General, Elena Kagan and federal appeals court judges, Diane Wood, Merrick Garland and Sydney Thomas.

But most of the attention is on Elena Kagan, the youngest of the four. She currently tries cases before the high court and she's the former dean of the Harvard Law School.

Let's bring in our political editor, Mr. Mark Preston, to talk about this.

Mark, why is Ms. Kagan getting so much attention tonight?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Don, it seems like the spotlight is shining brightly on her. A couple of things. She's very well known by the president. As you said, she is his top lawyer in the Supreme Court. That's who argues cases for the federal government. President Obama clearly feels comfortable with her enough arguing the cases, so he is interested in putting her or is at least considering putting her on the court. Another thing you mentioned as well, she's very young. She just turned 50 years old, which means she could have a long time on the court. Presidents like to put people on the court that will have some longevity.

Another thing about Kagan is the fact is that she was once nominated for a federal judgeship. She did not get the judgeship and is well known though within the legal community of what she's done.

Having said that, Don, she doesn't have any federal bench background. She's never been a judge and there's been a lot of talk that perhaps that the court should bring somebody else in, that President Obama should bring somebody else on the court that doesn't have the background as a judge, that has real life experience.

LEMON: That's who -- she is whoever thinks it's going to be, but the president could decide to pick someone else. We don't know. Mark, will be standing by if it happens while we're on the air, even if we're not, we'll bring our political players in and they'll help us out and we'll announce it to you.

Mark, let's take a bit of a turn. I want to talk about Robert Bennett. Remember yesterday, we talked about last night, the Senator in Utah. He saw his career come to an abrupt end yesterday at the hands of his own party. He served three terms and came in third in a three-man race at his party's convention. What's going on? It seems like the Republicans, Democrats, polarizing here, and if anyone is anywhere in the middle, for the most part, they get pushed out. What is this? Is this an anti-incumbent fever sweeping the country?

PRESTON: That's exactly what it is, Don, this anti-incumbent fever. What we saw yesterday was one of the three shades of anger that we're seeing in the country, conservative rage. What we saw is Bob Bennett did not meet the standards of conservative activists in Utah. They didn't think he was conservative enough. They didn't think that he held the line on spending enough. In fact, the TARP bailout bill, which he voted for, conservative activists were very angry. So during the state convention, Bennett, who is a three-term Senator, they knocked him out.

But you know something, Don -- I should say, he's the first incumbent that's been knocked out and there could be several others in the coming weeks and coming months. But, Don, again three shades of anger. That's conservative anger.

We're seeing also liberal anger, folks that don't think President Obama and Congressional Democrats are moving quickly enough on liberal issues.

And we're also just seeing populist anger. People, Don, who are angry over the economy.

LEMON: All right, Mark Preston, thanks very much. We appreciate that.

Mark will be joining us throughout the evening here and we'll check back to see if the president makes a pick. So stick around, everyone.

Our first lady, Michelle Obama, gave a commencement speech this weekend at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff. Imagine for a second that you were in the crowd listening to her and suddenly she mentions you. That's what happened to a graduating senior. Her name is Quiana Childress, once a homeless teen who worked tirelessly to put herself through school.

Take a listen to this.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Quiana grew up in a little town in a family that unfortunately struggled to keep the lights on and water running. And at the age of 16, she became homeless. In order to provide for herself, she found work as a nursing assistant. And living out of a car, I'm told, she'd go to school during the day. Then she'd work late nights, weekends, at a job sometimes up to 16 hours a day.


LEMON: All right. There's Quiana right there.

Quiana, we can still see you, even you have that little bar over your face. Hopefully, you can remove that.

Anyway, she's joins us live via Skype.

Did you know beforehand that the first lady was going to mention you?

QUIANA CHILDRESS, GRADUATE: No, I did not. I was surprised, pleasantly surprised. I didn't know.

LEMON: Yes, I would imagine that would be a pleasant surprise and an honor to have any first lady mention you during a speech. We told a little bit of your story. The first lady told a little bit of your story about becoming homeless. How did you become homeless and what did it take for you to pull yourself out of that?

CHILDRESS: Well, I came in the house one day and boxes were packed and my mother came up to me and she told me she was leaving and that I needed to find a place to stay. So that's how it happened. She ended up leaving and --

LEMON: Your mom was a single mother?

CHILDRESS: No. My mother was married at that time.

LEMON: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. Say it again?

CHILDDRESS: She was married -- my mother was married t0 -- was married at the time. So she wasn't --

LEMON: Yes. So did you have -- where did you have to go? Where did you go from there?

CHILDRESS: Well, I didn't know where to go. At first, there were nights I slept in my car. I would try to contact different family members in the town of Newport, Arkansas, where I was from and everybody would -- everybody was overwhelmed. So what I was able to do was, the nights I didn't sleep in my car, I did sleep at some of my family member's houses, and I just went from house to house until, finally, I called my uncle -- the Childress' are from Little Rock -- that lives in Little Rock, Arkansas and I told him, I said, I'm going through some things. I told him what was going on, and I really need aid place to stay, I needed to be in a stable home. And he told me, "no problem." And so that's how I got out it.

LEMON: So your uncle took you in and then you studied really hard and now you're graduating now, just graduated from the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff. The first lady mentioning you. I have to say, I wish you were here in the studio. You're an inspiration to all of us. Thank you so much and best of luck to you, OK?

CHILDRESS: Thank you.

LEMON: All right.

And still ahead here on CNN, more trouble for Tiger Woods. This time, it has nothing to do with his wandering ways.

And Mother's Day, minus your kids. It's a tough way to spend the holiday. This mom is hoping Iran's president will agree. We'll explain that coming up.


LEMON: Let's check your top stories right now on CNN. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in yesterday's accident involving a Staten Island ferry. Federal investigators say mechanical failure is the likely cause of the crash that injured at least three dozen passengers. The same ferry was involved in a fatal accident in 2003 prompting the NTSB to take a closer look at yesterday's collision with the dock.

Police in Mexico say gunmen stormed a wedding in Juarez, kidnapping the groom, the best man, the groom's brother and uncle. Outside the church, they shot and killed another man trying to get away. Police say they're trying to determine if Friday's incident was drug or gang-related. At least 870 people, 870, have been killed in Juarez this year.

And here's something you have never seen before -- U.S. troops -- take a good look -- marching through Red Square in Russia's annual Victory Day parade. For the first time, troops from the U.S., Britain and France took part in ceremonies there marking the defeat of Nazi Germany. Millions of Russians watched the parade on television, along with this spectacular fireworks display at the Kremlin. It looks beautiful, doesn't it?

More bad news today for Tiger Woods. A neck injury forced him to withdraw from the Players championship in Florida.

Our sports business analyst, Rick Harrow, joins us from West Palm Beach.

Good to see you, sir. Rick?


LEMON: We're hearing this injury could be related to that now infamous auto accident last November? Remember? Revelations came from that about extra marital affairs. Do we know that for sure or is that what people are just thinking?

HARROW: Go ask Sanjay Gupta. OK. I don't play a doctor on TV let alone, am one. I do know he's going to have an MRI and he'll look at the bulging disc possibility.

I'll tell you what this is. This is a pain for the PGA tour because now --

LEMON: Rick.


HARROW: You know why? Because it's uncertainty. They knew when he was coming back. You like him or you hate him, but you knew he was back. Now, we don't know if he's back or not. We don't know how long this is going to be. We know it affected his play. If you don't think so, try swinging a golf club with a pain in the neck. It's very difficult to do.

LEMON: Trying to do anything, seriously, yes, it's terrible.


LEMON: Listen, we both went to the Masters. I went to the practice rounds. He finished fourth there. It was great watching him. It was his comeback. He finished fourth. But did he complain about any neck injuries then? He came in last at Quail Hollow, I think, last week. So were there signs of injuries flaring up then? Or before this? Or did it just happen after this accident?

HARROW: 241 professional tournaments, only six missed cuts. Last week was one of those. He doesn't complain much. Remember when he won the U.S. Open brilliantly a couple years ago, he did which a couple of ligaments torn in his knee. He seems to have a high threshold for pain. so the fact this he didn't complain a lot doesn't mean he wasn't in a lot of pain. Surely, some mental pain as well.

Now the endorsement game. Do people not come back to him? Does E.A., Upper Deck and Nike stick with him? We'll see how long this will be. If it's a short hiatus, again, it won't affect things. It's back to where it was. If it's a long hiatus, we haven't seen the last of him. We just don't know when we'll see the real golfer Tiger Woods come back.

LEMON: Enough of that. Let's move on.


LEMON: This is where politics and sports merge. I want to talk about that new illegal immigrant law in Arizona. It's stirring a controversy. At least one congressman and others propose that baseball move its all-star game out of Arizona next year because of the law. What's the likelihood of that happening and the precedents for such a movement?

HARROW: Let's remember, we didn't think that sports would influence politics. Not less than 20 years ago, the Super Bowl and it's $300 million of economic impact was delayed in Arizona for a few years because they failed to recognize Martin Luther King's birthday, if you remember the holiday flap over that. There are 15 Major League teams training in Arizona, Don, called the Cactus League, there are also -- the all-star game in 2011. And the Phoenix Suns look like they'll be in the NBA West finals. There's a lot at stake. We're blogging about that. There's a lot of discussion about how much of this is too far. $750 billion business of sports, and now it's flexing its muscles.

LEMON: Wow. OK, listen, I've got some breaking sports news, we like to say, that you can tell us about. Tell us about Dallas Braden. What's going on?

HARROW: Hey, he pitched a perfect game. The Oakland As just needed that shot in the arm. He retired 27 players in a row, nine innings, three outs an inning. And you see the guy jumping up and down, if you have highlights. This makes baseball very, very happy. And it injects a shot in the arm for the Oakland As, who need it.

LEMON: Rick Harrow, happy Sunday. Happy Mother's Day to your wife. Always good to see you.

HARROW: Yes. Thank you, my friend. And I'll see you next week.

LEMON: All right, take care.

There are kids that have spent almost a year in prison in Iran. On Mother's Day, they have something to say to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We'll hear that when we come back right here on CNN.


LEMON: The mothers of three American hikers detained in Iran know what today's supposed to be about but, for them, Mother's Day breaks their hearts and reminds them of their mission to bring the hikers home.

As Susan Candiotti reports, these moms are finding strength in each other.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Laura Fattal starts each day reading her newspaper more than once.

LAURA FATTAL, MOTHER OF HIKER: First time through is only for Iran or things related to Iran. And the next time through, I read more thoroughly.

CANDIOTTI: On Mother's Day and every day, she looks for news about her son, Josh, and his two friends, Journalist Shane Bower, also 27, and 31-year-old, Sarah Shord (ph), a teacher. Late last July the three American hikers were detained in an Iranian prison.

Iran claims they crossed its border illegally. The mothers issued a statement saying, if they crossed the border, it was accidental.

FATTAL: This small hiking trip that was supposed to be eight days becomes a nine-month detention in prisons in Iran.

CANDIOTTI: On the home front, desperation is taking its toll.

FATTAL: None of us sleep through the night. We go online, we check different web sites. We see people who are e-mailing us. We get a lot of support from all over the world.

Dearest Josh, we heard from Mr. Shafeed (ph) today --

CANDIOTTI (on camera): How many letters would you estimate have been sent over the past nine months to all of them?

FATTAL: Thousands.

CANDIOTTI: Thousands.

FAGGAL: Thousands.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Josh is apparently getting some mail. His mother found out during the only phone call he was allowed to make. It came in March without warning. Laura missed it but her husband was home.

(on camera): What did he say?

FATTAL: Josh just said, "Hi, Dad," like it was any other day.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): For nine months, the three moms, including Fattal, have put their lives on hold.

They visited the U.N., met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, done countless interviews, attended vigils around the country.

A sign outside Fattal's hometown high school urges everyone to remember the hikers.

FATTAL: How are you? Good, you're still walking.

CANDIOTTI: Dan Whytral (ph) raises donation to get the word out. He was a classmate of Josh's.

DAN WHYTRAL (ph), CLASSMATE OF HIKER: Everybody seems to obviously really want to help them out and bring them home, so we're doing what we can.

CANDIOTTI: The mothers check in with each other daily.

FATTAL: That's hard to think about not having all of our kids safely at home for Mother's Day.

We know that whatever energy and power we have has to be totally in gear and totally working because we need to get them out.

OK, let's see.

CANDIOTTI: Fattal is a college art professor who dropped everything to work for her son's release.

FATTAL: Every day, where your -- my minds needs to be is, what else can I do? Because clearly, they're not home yet.

CANDIOTTI: The man she feels can get them home, hasn't. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the U.N. in New York last week, refused to see Fattal and the other moms.

(on camera): What would you ask him?

FATTAL: I would offer up the mother's compassion and the mother's wishes. And if that gives him strength to bring the kids home, I welcome sending that strength to him.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Until that day, Laura Fattal spends Mother's Day waiting, writing one more letter.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York


LEMON: A concrete dome, it is not. When we come back, we're talking hair here, how it can help clean up that mess, help clean it up at least, that massive oil spill in the gulf. It's an interesting story that you don't want to miss.


CORP. FREDDY ESQUIVEL, U.S. MILITARY: I'm Corporal Freddy Esquivel from California, currently station at Kandahar, Afghanistan. Wishing my mother, Gladys Esquivel, from (INAUDIBLE), California, a happy Mother's Day. I love you.

LANCE CORP. BILL PETERSON, U.S. MILITARY: My name is Lance Corporal Bill Peterson, currently deployed in Camp Leather Neck, Afghanistan. I want to wish my mother, Alyssa, in Nevada, California, a happy Mother's Day!


LEMON: All right, thanks for joining us, everyone. Welcome back to CNN.

We'll turn now to Jacqui who is standing by to tell us about some severe weather.

Jacqui, what do you have?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The calm before the storm today, Don, across the plains states. We we're real concerned about a fast-moving storm system that is way into California today. And by tomorrow, it's going to move out of the Rockies and into the southern plains. It'll start to interact with some moisture and more from the Gulf of Mexico. And we're expecting a very significant outbreak of severe thunderstorms. A moderate risk area from Oklahoma City, extending up to Wichita, even into Kansas City, we could be seeing some large hail damaging winds and, yes, long-lived, very strong and violent tornadoes. So be aware of this threat starting late tomorrow.


LEMON: All right, Jacqui. I know you've paying close attention to the gulf. We've been talking about the winds. But I want you to watch this next story. I think you'll like it.


LEMON: Because it is a unique way to give back.

People are donating their hair to help clean up the oil contamination in the Gulf of Mexico. How can hair help fix this? CNN's cameras followed along as one of our own decided to embrace this hair-raising effort.


JACKIE DAMICO, CNN NATIONAL DESK EDITOR: I'm from Louisiana. When the oil spill happened you felt kind of helpless, like you wanted to do something. You wanted to help in some way, but you can't physically go down there and, say, oh, I'll clean up the oil. I heard about "Matter of Trust" a charity that makes oil booms. I was on Facebook and one of my friends had posted a link to the charity on her Facebook. I thought, well, that's fantastic, I can donate my hair. My son can donate his hair. and we, in essence, will be in Louisiana cleaning up the oil.

Are you ready to go get your haircut?

The way it works is, think about why you shampoo your hair. It's getting oily. Hair attracts oil. It sops up oil. Sort of gross to think about but that's what we want to do. It keeps it from going into the natural ecosystems, which is what concerns me after Hurricane Katrina. So much of the seafood industry was damaged. Fishermen lost their livelihood and I think that this would be such a huge blow. UNIDENTIFIED HAIR STYLIST: This is the hair that we've gotten today. About to add to it.

Since I found out about this I've been saving hair and throwing it into the bucket and, at the end of the day, the hair in the bucket goes into a big bag.

DAMICO: It's one thing as a parent to tell your children, oh, be kind, be compassionate, do for other people. But it's another thing to show them.

You helped.

It's not just money that helps people. It can be something as simple as kindness, sharing your hair, something, you know, that we would throw away, could make a huge difference.