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Drug Wars Across the Border; Risks in Food Supply; Fourth Victim in Iraq Ambush Identified

Aired May 19, 2007 - 07:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well hello there everybody, from the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, it is May the 19th. Good morning to you, dear, Betty.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, T.J.

HOLMES: Good morning, everybody, I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Yes, we do want to thank you for starting your day with us today. I'm Betty Nguyen.

We'll tell you about this brazen and deadly attack on government officials, soldiers, journalists and innocent civilians. We're not talking about Baghdad, oh, no. It is happening much closer to home just across our border.

HOLMES: Also, killed in action. The fourth victim of an ambush in Iraq now identified. The search for his three missing comrades going on now around the clock.

NGUYEN: Feeding the nation is big business. But is there also a big risk? How vulnerable is our food supply to an act of terrorism? We'll have a reality check for you.

HOLMES: And eat your heart out Jack Sparrow, packed in plastic buckets, half a billion dollars of treasure, pulled from the bottom of the sea. Betty, we're going to tell you about the booty haul.

NGUYEN: You just wanted to say booty.

HOLMES: Ahead on this CNN.

NGUYEN: If that doesn't get you watching, I don't know what will.

HOLMES: SATURDAY MORNING. Hope you will stick around certainly for that story.

But we will start this morning with that battle for access to America. The drug war escalating in Mexico, a number of new attacks to tell you about. And new tens of thousands of Mexican troops are being deployed not far from the U.S. border. CNN's Tim Lister takes a look.

TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just 30 miles from Arizona, a state of war. An estimated 50 gunmen drove into the town of Cananea Wednesday, dragged four police officers from their vehicle, and killed them.

Federal troops pursued the gang, and say they killed at least 15. The assault on Cananea was linked to a vicious turf war between rival gangs fighting for control of drug routes into the U.S.

The governor of the state says the town's police may have been in league with one of the gangs. The man with one of the toughest jobs in Mexico, public security chief Genaro Garcia, says the gunmen were probably linked to the gulf cartel which is in a fight to the death with the pacific cartel.

What happened in Cananea, just one episode in a conflict that's claimed nearly 1,000 lives this year alone. A conflict now joined in earnest by federal forces. President Felipe Calderon has injected some 30,000 troops into the battle in a bid to take down the major cartels.

They're not going quietly. In the capital this week, unknown gunmen ambushed a senior official in the attorney general's office as he drove to work. Jose Ernesto Lugo's (ph) car crashed. He was then shot six times.

Days earlier an army captain involved in the war against the cartels was shot and killed as he drove to Acapulco. The government has vowed its campaign will go on, saying it will go full throttle after the gangs that have made some parts of Mexico ungovernable.

Even paratroopers have been used to destroy fields of marijuana. Several kingpins of the drug trade have been extradited to the United States. Large arsenals have been seized.

But officials admit that as soon as one gang is dismantled, another will spring up, so lucrative is the trade in cocaine and marijuana. Despite almost daily raids, this one in Mexico City on Wednesday, U.S. officials estimate that two-thirds of the cocaine arriving in America comes through Mexico. Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.

HOLMES: And in the 10:00 hour on this CNN SATURDAY MORNING, who are the groups involved in this drug war? We're going to take a look at the players and I'll talk with the journalist who's covered the drug wars.

NGUYEN: Well some conservatives blasted as an amnesty plan, some liberals say it's too hard on workers. The battle lines already drawn over an immigration deal reached by senators from both sides of the aisle this week.

The Senate begins debate on Monday, and among other things, the bill would offer a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. The House is waiting for the Senate to act before taking up the bill. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she won't bring it to the floor unless President Bush can deliver at least 70 Republican votes.

Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair making an unannounced visit to Iraq today. He arrived in Baghdad for meetings with Iraqi government officials and some new video coming into CNN. And those officials included Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Aides say the British prime minister wants to reassure his Iraqi counterpart that British support for Iraq will not end when he steps down in June.


TONY BLAIR, OUTGOING BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I have no doubt at all that Britain will remain steadfast in its support for Iraq, for the Iraqi people and for the Iraqi government as it tries to make sure that it overcomes the threat of terrorism, and continues to make progress. And the policy that I pursued is a policy for the whole of the government. So even when I leave office, I'm sure that that steadfast support will continue.


NGUYEN: Meanwhile, U.S. officials say three explosions rocked the fortified Green Zone after Tony Blair arrived. One person was wounded.

Well we do have some new developments in the search for those missing American soldiers in Iraq. The U.S. military says nine people also suspected of involvement in the apparent abduction of the three U.S. soldiers were detained today during a raid west of Baghdad.

HOLMES: Also yesterday the army confirmed 23-year-old Sergeant Anthony Schober was the fourth soldier killed in last Saturday's ambush that left the soldiers missing. His father says his son was on his fourth tour of duty in Iraq.


EDWARD SCHOBER, LOST SON IN IRAQ: At the age of 17, he came to me and said he wanted to join the army. He was affected by the 9/11 incident. I asked whether he was sure about this, really wanted to do it. He said yes. So I signed the papers. When he came home from basic training, advanced training, I noticed a huge difference in him. He truly changed from a boy to a man.


NGUYEN: Well, these are the three soldiers who were in Schober's unit who are still unaccounted for. Take a look at the pictures. U.S. forces backed by Iraqi troops have massive, round the clock searches going on for these three as we speak.

HOLMES: Why don't we turn back to this country now and two former presidents teaming up again, this time to give some words of encouragement to some graduating seniors.

President Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, speaking to graduating students at the University of New Hampshire this morning. Of course, security, a lot of security, in place there.

The one-time political rivals have become quite friendly in recent years, and together have raised more than a billion dollars for disaster relief.

Meanwhile, in Lynchburg, Virginia, today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is speaking at Liberty University's commencement. The speech coming amid speculation of a possible 2008 presidential run of his own.

And it comes five days after the death of the university's founder, the Reverend Jerry Falwell. It was Falwell who invited Gingrich to speak. The 73-year-old evangelist died Tuesday after collapsing in his campus office.

NGUYEN: Thousands of people are putting on their walking shoes, running shoes, as well, to fight autism.

HOLMES: Meteorologist Bonnie Schneider live here in Atlanta with more on the walk for autism. Good morning to you there, Bonnie.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, T.J. and Betty. We're expecting between 10,000 and 15,000 walkers here. The walk begins right at 9:00. It's a three-mile walk. And it's one of about 60 walks happening all over the country to raise money for the treatment and eventually a cure for autism. It actually here in Georgia they've raised $1 million. We're going to talk to some of the walkers in just a moment. But first we want to get to your weather forecast for this Saturday morning.


SCHNEIDER: Well, joining me now we have some of the walkers who are here bright and early to walk for autism. We have Phoebe Lee (ph) joining me now, and I understand that your nephew has autism. Is that why you came out here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely. He was diagnosed with autism when he was three. He's seven now. So he's doing much better.

SCHNEIDER: How has that been for your family?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Awesome. It just made us stronger. It made us come together and help him.

SCHNEIDER: That's great. Now Channing, I know that you've really come out here as well to support your son. Can you talk about that?

CHANNNING BAKER, WALKER: It's my little brother Maximillion, he has been diagnosed with autism but we're working through it. My mom is taking care of him. That's why we come out to things like this with my church. We like to do things like this to really show that, you know, we have a love for the community and show the love of god in everything and we do.

SCHNEIDER: And it's a big group, they're here early and we're expecting so many people here by 9:00 to take off on the three-mile walk. It's really going to be spectacular. We'll be here throughout the morning talking to people like this group from the church, and just all walkers that will be here supporting the cause -- back to you.

NGUYEN: Well, it is a good cause. And actually later on this morning I'm going to be speaking with the co-founder of Autism Speaks which is one of the groups that puts this on today, raising a lot of money again for a very good cause. Thank you, Bonnie.

HOLMES: Thanks, Bonnie.

NGUYEN: Here's a question for you, why do Asian-American students do better in school as a whole than other students?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: it's not a matter of biology or genetic differences. That we're very clear about.


NGUYEN: Define the stereotype. I've got that story, a special report coming up in our "Uncovering America" series. Plus Veronica has this.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A look at the most popular stories on Which celebrity couple is splitting up next? Or fighting over the kids? We're going to give you the details next from the desk. Good morning to you, T.J.

HOLMES: Thank you, Veronica. We can't wait to hear about that.

Well this may sound like a stunt from "Pirates of the Caribbean." But this booty is real. We've got booty over here. We've got booty.

NGUYEN: Would you stop saying booty, already!

HOLMES: We're talking about treasure though here, Betty, my goodness. And it could be the richest sunken treasure ever. Stick around. We'll show you more booty.


HOLMES: We do want to pass along word we're just getting from the Palestinian territories that Hamas and Fatah, the two ruling factions of the Palestinian government have reached yet another cease- fire. The two sides have agreed to yet another cease-fire.

There's been factional fighting for some time the past week, and past several weeks and months, even, as the two parties tried to work to form a unity government. Well, now it appears that once again a cease-fire has been reached between Hamas and Fatah, and the Palestinian government.

Don't know how long this one could possibly hold. We have seen these before, and oftentimes don't last too long. But under this new agreement that was reached with the help of Egyptian negotiators, the two sides have pledged to pull their fighters off the streets and also exchange hostages. This new agreement is supposed to go into effect at 8:00 a.m. local time. And that's 8:00 a.m. Eastern time, excuse me, 3:00 p.m. local time actually, 3:00 p.m. local time there. So just now about to go into effect, about 45 minutes from now.

So we will see if maybe this time the cease-fire will hold. But just word we're getting. Want to pass that along to you. Keep an eye on that situation, as always.

NGUYEN: Well, hopefully it will. In the meantime though, many of you already busy surfing the Web this morning and is a great place to start.

HOLMES: And Veronica de la Cruz of the desk tracking the most popular stories on our site this morning. Hello to you, Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: Hello, T.J. and Betty. We begin this morning with this story. If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he probably would have survived his assassination attempt. Experts say modern medical technology likely would have saved his life.

So what would have happened after that? The speculation is one of the most popular stories on this morning.

Also, on that list, actress Liz Taylor's art collection. She owns a Van Gogh that may have been swiped by the Nazis from its original owners. A federal court has ruled the painting now rightfully belongs to Taylor. She bought it in 1989.

Now to Hollywood, the most popular story this morning, first, it was splitsville, now a custody battle? The battle is on between actress Reese Witherspoon and estranged husband Ryan Phillippe. Phillippe is petitioning for joint custody of the couple's two young children. Witherspoon wants him to only have visitation rights. You can find all the latest developments on this story, plus others, at

And I'll be back later this hour with some amazing video, it's been making the rounds on the Internet. You guys will not be disappointed.

NGUYEN: Well let's tell you this, Veronica, we've got some pretty good video for you, too, coming up.

DE LA CRUZ: Oh, really.

HOLMES: What is the video of, Betty?

NGUYEN: Booty.

HOLMES: See there.

NGUYEN: You made me say it.

DE LA CRUZ: Well I'll see if my video can top your video. NGUYEN: Well, it's this kind of booty, though.

HOLMES: These are nondescript containers all floated in Tampa, not usually a big deal. But inside these buckets as much as a half billion dollars worth of gold and silver. That, my dear is some good booty. And it would also be a record find. It was brought up from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. It is yes, sunken treasure possibly from a 17th century English ship. Do you know this song?

NGUYEN: Money.

HOLMES: Is that the song?

NGUYEN: It's not booty, it's money.

HOLMES: Florida-based salvage operators are recovering this loot from an undisclosed location. And yes, better not disclose it. It's coming from the ship's remains, the identity of that ship also remains unknown. Not telling.

NGUYEN: Well until they get all of it off, I'm sure.

HOLMES: We would have a boat real fast.

NGUYEN: I would be in the water right now.

OK, so you've heard the stereotype, Asian-Americans, are they smart? Well the question is, is that really true?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time we make broad statements about Asian-Americans being uniformly successful, it misleads the public.


NGUYEN: A look at the pressures Asian-Americans face when it comes to academic achievement. We are "Uncovering America."

HOLMES: Also Tour de France winner Floyd Landis fighting steroid charges. He'll testify at a hearing today, but is it going to help his case?


NGUYEN: OK, so we've heard the stereotypes about Asian-Americans excelling in math. Well as far as stereotypes go, it is a positive one. Politically incorrect, sure. But is there any truth to it? Well I visited a school in California in search of answers about Asian-American students and academics. It's part of our series "Uncovering America."


NGUYEN (voice-over): Crunch time at Mission San Jose High School in Freemont, California. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The final exam is supposed to be on what two days?

NGUYEN: For students like Sid Sriram, it's game on.

SID SRIRAM, STUDENT: Just to see the letter grade, to see the "A" on the paper, it's a pretty good feeling.

NGUYEN: The kids here are some of the best test takers in the country. Mission San Jose, one of the very best public schools. It's also overwhelmingly Asian.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lucy Liu, Annie Liu, Thomas Liu.

NGUYEN: And its success raises a highly controversial question. Are Asian students smarter?

(on camera): So when did you come to this school?

STUART KEW, PRINCIPAL: In 1972, I started.

NGUYEN: When principal Stuart Kew came to Mission San Jose, the school was 98 percent white. Now it's only 20 percent white, and nearly 75 percent Asian, because of demographic shifts in the Silicon Valley community.

Its scores on statewide tests have gone through the roof.

What do you think accounts for the high academic achievement at this school?

KEW: I think just the changing demographics.

NGUYEN: How so?

KEW: I think that the Asian population adds as they became more predominant in this area, that the parents come from a system, they all teach for a test. And that's their biggest thing.

NGUYEN: Kew says Asian-American students consistently outperform their white classmates on standardized tests, and not just here. California's top five ranked public high schools are all majority Asian. Nationally, Asian students lead in terms of overall grade point averages. They outscore their peers on the math portion of the SATs, and are more likely to take math-heavy classes like physics and calculus.

So those high scores beg the politically incorrect question, are Asians naturally more intelligent?

HAZEL MARKUS, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: That's just not on the table. It's not a matter of biology or genetic differences. That we're very clear about.

NGUYEN: Stanford cultural psychologist Hazel Markus notes a distinction between intelligence and academic success. Education is particularly prized in most Asian cultures. Academic success, a child's duty to his family.

MARKUS: It's the most important role. It's your job. It's what you are supposed to do, is to bring honor to the family by becoming educated.

NGUYEN: What's more, studies show Asian students take a unique approach to learning, absorbing facts rather than reflexively challenging them.

MARKUS: First comes just making your mind quiet, and then taking in the information that's there. Organize it, put it together, later on there can be questioning.

ALVIN ALVAREZ, ASIAN AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSN: Any time we make broad statements about Asian-Americans being uniformly successful, it misleads the public.

NGUYEN: Dr. Alvin Alvarez says statistics don't tell the whole story, and perpetuate the myth of a model minority. Keep in mind, the Asian-American classification covers people from well over a dozen countries. Not all nationalities achieve the same levels of success here in the United States.

The path of a college-educated immigrant from India or China is very different from that of an asylum seeking refugee who fled Cambodia or Laos or Vietnam.

The model minority myth renders all those distinctions moot. As a white student, at Mission San Jose, Hannah Raudsep is a minority. She rolls with the pressure, but questions the pressure cooker mentality she sees in some of her Asian-American classmates.

HANNAH RAUDSEP, STUDENT: Their pressure is more of like a fear. Like they're afraid that they're going to disappoint their parents. And it's almost like they're not motivated for themselves.

NGUYEN: But Hazel Markus calls this a case of cultural confusion.

MARKUS: For Asian students, it doesn't feel like pressure, it feels a bit like scaffolding or winds at their sails. It's like having a team behind you that's rooting for you to do well.

NGUYEN: As for Sid Sriram, Sid's parents closely monitor his academic progress. They know all about pressure from their own experience in India.

RAM SRIRAM, SID'S FATHER: You have to be successful. You have to become an engineer or a doctor.

NGUYEN: And you became an engineer?

R. SRIRAM: I became an engineer.

NGUYEN: But here in America, Sid is setting his own goals. After the last test is graded, he'll pursue his true passion, music, and then he hopes a political science degree from Harvard. His parents vow to support him, every step of the way.


NGUYEN: And I'm sure he'll get there.

HOLMES: Interesting story there, how things change once the demographics.

NGUYEN: Oh, yeah, the demographics.

HOLMES: Good story, Betty.

NGUYEN: Thank you, T.J.

HOLMES: Well, we want to talk about that pet food scare some more. That tainted scare so many of us were worried about, it's now expanding.

NGUYEN: Yes, so which pets are being affected? We're going to tell you that. Plus we're going to take a look at what's on the dinner plate.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, the U.S. food supply is highly vulnerable to attack according to a government report. We're going to look at which foods are most likely to be targeted, and what's being done to protect them. I'm Josh Levs. That is coming up in the "CNN Reality Check."

HOLMES: All right. Thank you, sir. And is street sense a triple threat? We'll have a look at the Preakness stakes and the front-runners. That's coming up. Stay here.



GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Maintaining a good credit score is critical. It means better rates on mortgages and loans. But some employers even scrutinize your credit score before they offer you a job. Among the many things you can do to improve your score, challenge any and all mistakes on file with credit reporting agencies - 79 percent of all credit reports contain some type of error. Write a letter to the credit reporting agency disputing their information, providing proof, if you can. They must address your dispute within 30 days, or remove the item. I'm Gerri Willis and that's your tip of the day. For more watch "OPEN HOUSE" 9:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.



HOLMES: Well, saving the whales. Can they do it? Scientists trying to get two injured humpback whales back where they belong. We'll have the latest on their predicament coming up. But meanwhile, welcome back to you all, I'm T.J. Holmes. NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen. Good morning, everybody. Thanks for starting your day with us.

You can now add a ferret to the picture over this side of my shoulder here. Ferret food is the latest to be recalled in the pet food scare, melamine contamination suspected yet again.

And the company Chenango Valley pet foods also recalling some dog and cat foods, as well.

Meanwhile the FDA says some 80,000 chickens exposed to tainted feed are actually safe for humans to eat. The same goes for farm raised fish that may have been fed that tainted food. Now, the pet food recall may be the latest indicator of how vulnerable the nation's food supply really is. And our Joshua Levs joins us this morning with a "Reality Check." I can't even keep track anymore.

LEVS: I know, it's astounding, isn't it? And you know what's really interesting is that over the last few years the government has taken some steps to try to prevent what's called agro-terrorism. Basically preventing food from being attacked by terrorists. We wondered here at CNN if what's been done has been enough. And the government audit is telling us, no.


LEVS (voice-over): A stark warning came more than two years ago.

TOMMY THOMPSON, FORMER HHS SECRETARY: I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not, you know, attacked our food supply. Because, it is -- it is so easy to do.

LEVS: That triggered a flurry of concern about imports and foods grown here. Skip ahead to 2007. The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general finds that most experts call the U.S. food sector highly vulnerable to attack.

And the audit says security for food is less intensive than for other critical infrastructures. So, what's happened since Tommy Thompson's warning? The Government Accountability Office has cited progress.

For example, agencies that oversee different kinds of food have coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security to increase protections, and prepare a response plan.

The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees 80 percent of the food supply, points to new government initiatives, including this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of the endless opportunities to intentionally contaminate our nation's food supply

LEVS: Alert. A food defense program training people at every point between the farm and your table. The FDA says some of the most likely terrorist targets are foods that require little processing, like milk and fresh produce, and that precautions are helping make foods safe.

But, most imports and produce are uninspected. And since 2003, the FDA has lost inspection staff. Food safety experts like Jeff Nelken worry a terrorist could unleash a deadly illness that could spread quickly through U.S. crops or cattle.

JEFF NELKEN, FOOD SAFETY ANALYST: Pretty much you can walk in and grab a hold of anything you'd like to grab a hold of.


LEVS: And there are questions about whether the FDA and also the USDA which oversees meat and poultry have enough resources and also really enough authority to even carry out, Betty, the kind of security measures that they're now being charged with carrying out.

NGUYEN: You know, all of this is just really surprising, too, because we're seeing how vulnerable our food supply is. When it comes to the government, though, are they acknowledging this? What are they doing?

LEVS: Yes, interesting because that highly vulnerable term comes from an independent government audit. I spoke with the FDA and officials at the FDA says yes, there is vulnerability in the food supply. They say the term highly vulnerable is very subjective. Who decides what's highly, what's not highly.

They say the food is the safest in the world. That said, they say that there will always be vulnerabilities in the system. If you listen to food analysts and also critics within the government, some lawmakers, some people are saying it's ridiculous how vulnerable the food supply is and that much, much more needs to be done.

And Betty, they're pointing to the accidental outbreaks that have occurred in recent months that can be deadly. And they're saying look, clearly there's a vulnerability in the system.

NGUYEN: You know, it's definitely shining a light on the problem and hopefully we'll get some solutions because of it. Thank you, Josh.

LEVS: And we're going to learn a lot more about that tonight.

NGUYEN: Absolutely because "CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" presents "Danger: Poisoned Food." Dr. Sanjay Gupta uncovers the truth about how tainted the U.S. food supply really is and you can catch that tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern.

HOLMES: An attorney general under fire. Next week Senate Democrats will try to turn up the heat even more as they plan a no- confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The White House calls it a political stunt. Gonzales has been under pressure of course over the firings of eight federal prosecutors. Adding to the criticism now, allegations that he tried to pressure then Attorney General John Ashcroft to approve a controversial eavesdropping program while Ashcroft was in intensive care.

Well, he has a long title and a tough job, overseeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's a tough job. Lieutenant General Douglas Lute's position must still be confirmed by the Senate. His official title is assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan policy implementation.

NGUYEN: That's a mouthful.

HOLMES: He likely does not even know his own title at this point. President Bush calls him the full-time manager of the wars. Lute is a three-star general. Not clear though right now whether he would have authority over commanders on the ground who do outrank him.

Meanwhile, CNN correspondents discuss whether a war manager for Iraq and Afghanistan is really a way to get things under control. That is tonight on "THIS WEEK AT WAR." That's a 7 p.m. Eastern.

NGUYEN: All right, here's a whale of a tale. A couple of humpback whales, in fact, mother and calf, are still wandering around the port of Sacramento this morning.

Let's just say they're way off course about 90 miles inland, to be exact, from the Pacific Ocean. And they're believed to be injured, possibly by a ship's propeller. Experts have been trying to lure them back to sea using recorded whale calls, but so far, no luck. Part of the port is now closed and the coast guard is making sure the whales are given a wide berth. So from whales to picking a pony.

HOLMES: To ponies.

NGUYEN: Quite a show for you. But here's what we're talking about. What horses are looking good for today's Preakness? Have you found one that you like?

HOLMES: I just go by the names, the cool names. We're going to be talking about that.

Plus Floyd Landis, a much more serious tone HERE to this story. He's going to be testifying. The cycling star finally gets to tell his side of the story in that doping scandal. We'll talk about that next.

NGUYEN: OK, so check this out. Take a good look. See the salsa dances? Wow. This is the hit on YouTube and you can see why. What's missing from this picture? I think you know.

HOLMES: A leg, right?


HOLMES: Preakness will be running down the dreams of a Triple Crown today. The 3-year-olds trying to win the second leg of the legendary title today in the Preakness stakes. Let's talk about the chances, joined by sports business analyst Rick Horrow in the house with us today, man. RICK HORROW, SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: A profound intellectual pleasure to be anywhere near you.

HOLMES: Absolutely. It's good to have you here.

HORROW: It's as good as it gets.

HOLMES: It's good to have you, really.

HORROW: And you're here and she's over there, which is better?

HOLMES: That's why it's so fun to see you guys.

HORROW: We have a 30 foot rule, so we're OK.

HOLMES: Let's talk about the Preakness. I thought we were done with horse racing. You know, Kentucky Derby. I watched. Why do people continue? There's one reason people do watch the Preakness.

HORROW: Yes, and it's called Street Sense, today. The bottom line is the derby had about $115 million debt, 12 percent more increase in watching it.

Barbaro, that issue, too. And of course, if you want to watch it today, you can watch it on your cell phone. So there is a way to make it easier. It's a one-shot wonder. If Street Sense wins tremendous excitement for the Belmont. If Street Sense doesn't win, standard call, wait till next year.

HOLMES: Essentially people are standing by today to see if Street Sense can do it, period.

HORROW: Absolutely.

HOLMES: All right, other big story that wasn't really on the radar until a bombshell. Floyd Landis going through the hearing about the doping scandal. Of course he's the Tour de France winner. What happened?

HORROW: Well, we've got three major issues which are important in any sports context, scandal, steroids, and sex.

HOLMES: All right.

HORROW: The bottom line is Armstrong gets turned in by Landis, he says and now Landis' manager accuses -- or is calling Greg Lemond a guy who was molested as a kid, and of course he might have been.

But that's not good for the sport. The bottom line is sponsors want stability, and certainty. They spend $12 billion in industries in sports altogether. The Tour de France has some issues, the race in Zurich was canceled. The race in Utah was canceled. Tyler Hamilton was suspended. So racing and cycling is in some real trouble.

HOLMES: And just real quick, why was Lemond up there in the first place? What were they hoping to get out of him? HORROW: Well, he's testifying as to the procedures about Floyd Landis and whether that doping scandal happens or not and where they are as far as testing was concerned. He was up there to do that now it's morphed into something you guys love because it's headlines.

HOLMES: Why do you put it on us? Man, you're part of this, too.

HORROW: All right, we all are.

HOLMES: All right. Lastly here, last topic and this is huge. I'm a huge NASCAR fan so I certainly get it. But people that aren't NASCAR fans know the name Dale Earnhardt Jr. He is jumping ship from the company his dad started. Explain this for folks, non-NASCAR fans and how big of a sports story this is.

HORROW: Let me tell you how beautiful a country this is. The guy holds a press conference, he says he's looking for a job and all of a sudden he doubles his income and everybody says I want to hire you.

Well that's all about leverage. He is now a free agent pioneer in sports, much like his predecessors in baseball, football, basketball. He can go on his own. He can form a larger team. He can join a superstar team. He can bring Budweiser with him.

You know, he makes $20 million or so a year as a driver. He may make four or five times that once he's through. And just like Roger Clemens makes $7,500 a pitch with his new deal, we've got a free agent in NASCAR that's revolutionizing that industry, as well. Let's call it athlete independence week.

HOLMES: Why? It's kind of sad to see him have to leave the team his dad started, DEI, I mean, that's Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. It's his dad's team. It's sad to see the son have to leave because of rifts within the family.

HORROW: He has some issues with his stepmom. But the bottom line is he's going out and creating an environment that's easier for other drivers like the Jeff Gordons and the Jimmie Johnsons because he's a free agent now in the true sense of the word and he's going to use his leverage for every reason.

HOLMES: All right, Rick Horrow, really good to have you in studio here with us. Appreciate you and follow me and do the honors and toss it over to Betty for me.

HORROW: Hey, here you go, back to Betty to see if she can make up for why no questions?

NGUYEN: Oh, I've got plenty of questions for you. We just can't do it on the air.

HORROW: We're not going it on the air, I can guarantee you that.

NGUYEN: Thank you, good to see you, Rick. Glad you're in the house today. Well thousands of people are putting on their walking and running shoes today to fight autism. And meteorologist Bonnie Schneider is live in Atlanta with more on the walk for autism. Got those shoes on, Bonnie?

SCHNEIDER: I do. I'm wearing my sneakers. But I guess I won't be walking. It's going to be three miles. The walk actually starts at 9:00 this morning. And what I think is amazing is that this is one of 60 walks happening all over the country. So it's not just here in Atlanta.

If you'd like to find out about the walk where you live, check out and that will give you the information of where you can find chapters all over the country for this autism walk.


SCHNEIDER: Well Jeff Chuisano joins me now. He is a walk director. And Jeff, I understand we might see up to 15,000 walkers today. That's incredible.

JEFF CHIUSANO, WALKER: Yes, ma'am. Something we're very, very excited about. Previous walks here in the state of Georgia have only had a few thousand folks. I think we took a different approach and we could get that many certainly. We're all very, very happy about it and we raised a lot of money.

SCHNEIDER: Right, you have raised $1 million. That's incredible. But this walk isn't just about money. It's also about awareness, right?

CHUISANO: Absolutely it is. The importance of a walk like this is to get the community involved and let them know that the signs of autism are. That autism it exists within the community and it's something they should be paying attention to.

SCHNEIDER: Right, and if you look back at the numbers 13 years ago, it was one in 10,000 children diagnosed in autism, now the number is up to one in 150 affected by autism.

CHUISANO: That's correct. And the rates are higher in boys than in girls. Boys are one in 94. It's a startling statistic. I myself have a son with autism who attends the Marcus Institute. So I know full well just how devastating it can be.

SCHNEIDER: We're glad you're out here today and we're expecting a huge turnout. Things will get started here in Atlanta at 9 a.m., and once again these walks are happening all over the country - Betty, T.J.?

NGUYEN: OK, Bonnie, thank you so much for that. Well, CNN correspondents get down and dirty and they get close to the story. We've got that coming up.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: I'm really more afraid of the bugs than the boar. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NGUYEN: Yes, she said the boar. And you see what she's talking about. I wouldn't want to get next to that either. CNN's own Susan Roesgen dressed down in camo on the trail of New Orleans wild boars.

And it's not necessarily the tortoise and the hare, but close. This tortoise seemed to want revenge on a cat.


NGUYEN: You know, every week there are bits of video that just explode on the Internet.

HOLMES: And Veronica de la Cruz has been monitoring those explosions. She's been looking at laughing at a few of those, in particular. Please, crack us up.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes, laughing is right. Check out this i-Report from South Africa. It shows a tortoise trying to get medieval on a house cat who has invaded its turf. The video goes on for more than two minutes and the little guy in the shell never backed down. You're definitely going to have to logon and find out. The cat? Yeah, not so happy. He's made a new friend. Watch him go. Now this video is online at As I mentioned, two minutes of this. It is great. I could not stop watching it is just so funny.

All right we had to YouTube for the next piece of video. Take a look and look hard. This is pretty impressive, wouldn't you say? A one-legged salsa dancer giving the folks on "Dancing with the Stars" a run for their money.

This amazing video on YouTube is being e-mailed around the world fast and furious. We assumed it might be fake when we first saw it, but after watching it several times, it looks pretty legit. Nice moves, nice moves.

Speaking of which, I can't let you go without showing you this one. This I think is my favorite. Have you guys ever played dance, dance revolution? Have you? Have you?

NGUYEN: Absolutely.

DE LA CRUZ: Then take a look at this. Because even if you have, Betty, you probably have never done it like this.



NGUYEN: Better than I am.

DE LA CRUZ: I know that song and that is a hard song to do. So what do you say, a round of applause for each of those men in each of those videos. Not bad.

NGUYEN: Yes, they did great. I was really impressed. Those moves, T.J., I don't think you have moves like that.

HOLMES: I do not have moves like that. But I'm curious, Veronica, you just looking up video with one-legged dancers this week?

DE LA CRUZ: These are viral videos. They're being e-mailed all over the world. And they've caught, you know, our attention obviously.

HOLMES: OK, that is outstanding. That is outstanding.

DE LA CRUZ: That's all I can say.

HOLMES: That is outstanding, all right.

NGUYEN: Thanks, Veronica.

HOLMES: Well stick around here, folks.

NGUYEN: We have more folks. That's not it.

HOLMES: Yes, it's been an interesting morning. We're talking about boars in the city next, close encounter of the wild kind and potentially the dangerous kind.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he was to bite you, if he didn't break the bone, too, he would at least pull all the meat off the bone and you'd just have -- he got you by the hand, you'd have bones.


NGUYEN: Hope you've already had your breakfast. Good morning, folks. Straight ahead, we are tracking and trapping New Orleans' wild boars.


HOLMES: Wild boars are nothing new in Louisiana, roaming around the swamp lands, deep brush. But Hurricane Katrina changed a lot of that.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. Now some of those wild animals have found a new home and surprisingly right in the heart of New Orleans. CNN Gulf Coast correspondent Susan Roesgen went along on the urban hog hunt.


ROESGEN (voice-over): Say wild animals in the same breath as New Orleans and most people think of drunk college kids on Bourbon Street. But the wild animal we found is real. You're looking at a wild boar. All 150 snorting, smelly pounds of him. And he is not alone. To find a boar, you have to sneak up on it. And that's exactly what we did with a man named Trapper John.

JOHN SCHMIDT, HUNTER: They kind of pick up on us. They're not going to come out.

ROESGEN: Trapper John loves to hunt. And he can hunt and catch anything.

SCHMIDT: Beavers, coyotes, birds.

ROESGEN: To catch the boar, Trapper John baited his trips with corn soaked in molasses. And then, we watched and waited.

I'm really more afraid of the bugs than the boar.

With night vision goggles, we spotted them in the distance, a mama boar and three little babies. Wild boar were first brought to Louisiana from Europe a hundred years ago to be hunted for sport. Hurricane Katrina's flood waters forced these boar into civilization.

LISA LARRAWAY, CITY PARK COORDINATOR: I'll tell you, we do have snakes, we do have alligators, and we probably do have pigs.

ROESGEN: Wild boar.

LARRAWAY: Wild boar. Well, wild boar, pigs, you know.

ROESGEN: Lisa Larraway doesn't even like to say wild boar because she's the park's volunteer coordinator and she doesn't want to scare anyone away.

City Park is a 1,300-acre oasis in the heart of the city. But the heart of the park is a jungle. City Park hired Trapper John to get the boar out.

SCHMIDT: If he touches you with his teeth, your skin will cut like wet paper. And the meat on your bones is nothing. It will cut right with it. And if he was to bite you, if he didn't break the bone, too, he would at least pull out the meat off the bone, and we got you by the hand, we'd have bones.

ROESGEN: In the past six weeks, Trapper John has caught 13 wild boar, four little ones and nine big ones.

SCHMIDT: Looks friendly enough, huh?

ROESGEN: Like the rest, this one will be released in a wilder area about an hour north of the city. Trapper John doesn't think there are any more to catch in this park, but if there are, he'll be back, carting away a strange reminder of Hurricane Katrina. Susan Roesgen, CNN, New Orleans.


HOLMES: Hello, there, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING on this May 19th. I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Yes, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. We want to thank you for joining your day with us. And we do begin with new developments in Iraq, linked to those three missing U.S. soldiers. The military is announcing just this morning that they have detained nine suspects with possible ties to the soldiers.

We'll take you straight to CNN's Hugh Riminton in Baghdad with the latest on this.

What do you know about those being detained, Hugh?

HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, BAGHDAD: Well, they certainly seem to be making some progress. They've detained nine at a place called Amiriyah (ph). Now, this is just to the west, slightly to the northwest of where the three men disappeared, now just over a week ago.

They say - this is the U.S. military is saying - that they suspect these nine people were involved in some way in the attack. They're not saying what that level of involvement might have been. Were they actually, physically part of the attack? Were they part of the planning? Were they part of the escape route?

What was the connection? That is not being answered at this stage.

But we've been reporting all week, 4,000 U.S. troops, 2,000 Iraqi army soldiers also involved in this search. All the intelligence forces that they can bring to bear, as well as physically searches, down to draining entire canal systems to see if they could reveal any clues. They were bound to start bringing some information in.

And it seems that this is leading them closer and closer to the three men who still remain in their custody.

They also have detained two men up in Baquba (ph). This is right on the other side of Baghdad. They believe they are part of the command structure for al Qaeda, and they doubtless were being questioned about what they know that might lead them to these three missing men - Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, hopefully, they will be providing some information.

Hugh, we appreciate your information this morning with those nine that have been detained. And as things develop, do let us know.

Thank you, Hugh Riminton, joining us live from Baghdad.

We do want to let you know about this, though. Outgoing British prime minister, Tony Blair, making an unannounced farewell visit to Iraq today.

He arrived in Baghdad for meetings with Iraqi government officials, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The British prime minister is reassuring his Iraqi counterpart that British support for Iraq will not end when we steps down in June.


TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I have no doubt at all that Britain will remain steadfast in its support for Iraq, for the Iraqi people, and for the Iraqi government, as it tries to make sure that it overcomes the threat of terrorism, and continues to make progress.

And the policy that I pursued is a policy for the whole of the government. So, even when I leave office, I'm sure that that steadfast support will continue.


NGUYEN: U.S. officials say three explosions rocked the fortified Green Zone after Blair arrived. One person was wounded.

There is no sign of a compromise in the fight over money for the Iraq war.

HOLMES: Each side blamed the other after talks broke down yesterday. Democrats say the White House refuses to put pressure on the Iraqi government. The White House and Republicans say the Democrats keep insisting on timelines for withdrawal. Both sides want a bill for the president to sign by Memorial Day.

Also, expect hot debate Monday when the Senate takes up the latest immigration compromise. The new plan could pave the way to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. But some call it a road map to amnesty.

CNN's Thelma Gutierrez looks at the proposal and how it's seen by those who work in the U.S. illegally.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT, LOS ANGELES (voice-over): On a day when hundreds took to the streets of Los Angeles to march for immigrant rights, word came from Washington that legalization might be in sight.

Sweet news to Chuy Arias who has waited years to come out of the shadows.

CHUY ARIAS, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: I'm happy for the fact that I've been here for 12 years. And now, finally, I'm going to be able to legalize my status.

GUTIERREZ: Miguel Lopez says it's all he's ever hoped for - the chance to work legally and support his family. But legalization for Lopez and others like him won't happen overnight.

Those who were here before January 1st of this year, will be eligible for a four-year renewable visa. But they will first have to pass a background check and take English classes.

ARIAS: I think it's a wonderful idea, not just for the United States, but for us.

GUTIERREZ: They will have to pay $5,000 in penalties and fees, and the head of household will have to return to their country of origin to register there, as well.

MIGUEL LOPEZ, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT (voice of interpreter): I think it's impossible to go back. Then how will we return? How much will it cost to go back and forth? If we leave, what will happen to our jobs? That part will be difficult for us.

GUTIERREZ: Armando Rodriguez welcomes the news, but says it raises many fears about losing his job if he must return to Mexico to register, and fears about whether he'll be allowed back into the United States once he leaves.

ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT (voice of interpreter): We will do what they ask so that we can have this opportunity.

GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles.


HOLMES: The Senate plans to open debate Monday on the new immigration bill and consider amendments. A Memorial Day deadline has been set for completing the measure. House Democrats are waiting for the Senate to pass a bill before they consider one.

President Bush says he's eager to sign the measure into law by August, when Congress adjourns for four weeks.

NGUYEN: Well, an appeal to President Bush for more help along the U.S.-Mexico border. Governors asking for help, because of the escalation of violence on the southern side of the border.

Mexican drug cartels battling it out for control. And as CNN's Casey Wian reports, no one is safe.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, LOS ANGELES (voice-over): Just 20 miles south of the Arizona border, the deadliest battle so far in Mexico's war against the drug cartels that control much of the country.

Twenty-two people in the Sonoran town of Cananea are dead after federal troops stormed a ranch Wednesday - 15 drug cartel members, five policemen and two civilians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice of interpreter): We find ourselves terrorized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice of interpreter): Very, very bad. It's a very peaceful town. We have never seen this here.

WIAN: Well, it's happening throughout Mexico. In the capital Monday, gunmen assassinated Jose Lugo, a top anti-narcotics official in the attorney general's office.

RICARDO NAJERA, MEXICO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE (voice of interpreter): We're working very hard to find out what's caused this violence, and we hope to have a quick response to the situation.

WIAN: The Mexican government's response has been to deploy 24,000 federal troops to battle drug traffickers nationwide. Still, violence is escalating. Kidnappings occur regularly, including this week's abduction of a Mexican television news crew.

So far this year, more than 1,000 people have been killed by drug cartels, according to Mexican media reports. And the violence is spreading to U.S. border communities.

The governors of Arizona and New Mexico wrote President Bush this week demanding more Border Patrol agents.

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON, D-NEW MEXICO: When there's an open border with illegal flow of workers, it breeds other bad people, like drug lords, that take advantage of a porous border. And they're violent and they want to get their drug product in.

WIAN: The drug violence has even become entrenched in Mexican popular culture.

Videos like these on YouTube set narco XX music to images of drugs, weapons and dead bodies. They're a celebration of the drug trafficking culture and the drug lords now battling for control for a third of Mexico's states.

Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.


NGUYEN: And coming up at 10 o'clock, who are the groups involved in this drug war? Well, we're going to take a look at the players, and I'll talk with a journalist who has covered the drug wars.


HOLMES: We're going to go back to whale watching in California. Days after a mother and her calf become stranded, they've become kind of a sightseeing attraction. I don't know how much they appreciate that, because they're struggling right now. We'll have details on that coming up.

NGUYEN: Also, we have a live look at Atlantic Station near downtown Atlanta where Bonnie just was, and some early risers are getting ready for that Walk for Autism. We're going to talk with one of the organizers about this event. This begins in less than an hour.

But right now we want to take a look ahead to HOUSE CALL.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WHITE HOUSE: Thanks guys, I'm here at the White House. I just finished interviewing First Lady Laura Bush. She's got a lot to say when it comes to women's health. We covered that topic, as well as many other topics, as well, including the HPV vaccine.

She's got some interesting thoughts on that, stem cells and - get this - did you know that she used to smoke? She's had her own personal battle with smoking. I'll tell you all about that. I even accompanied her to G.W. Hospital, where she met with doctors and patients, talking about women and heart disease, the surprising connection.

All that's coming up on HOUSE CALL at 8:30.


NGUYEN: As we continue to uncover America, we are investigating issues affecting the Asian-American community, and it has us talking this morning.

HOLMES: Yes. We are talking. We are debating about it right here. Veronica De La Cruz of the dot-com desk here with a preview.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN DOT-COM DESK: Yes, we are talking, we're debating. And since it is Asia Pacific Heritage Month, I really wanted to look at a couple of issues that are affecting the community.

And the issue of mail order brides is one that really caught my attention.

Through my research, I had learned that thousands of these women were coming to America this way. And out of five catalogues advertising Asian women for marriage, 70 percent of them were Filipina.

So I checked in with the consulate here in Atlanta, and the consul general said that, yes, women had been showing up on his doorstep in trouble, abandoned, isolated and, in the worst cases, abused.

So, tomorrow we'll share a Filipina's story as she come to America, show you more on how this industry operates, and introduce you to an advocate to hopes to stop it all. My special on "Uncovering America: Mail Order Brides," airs in the 9 a.m. hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

And it definitely very controversial, as we were just talking about. And I do want to say that not all of these relationships end up poorly. I mean, some are very successful.

NGUYEN: Well, you hear about the ones that do end up poorly. And they are really horrendous when you hear about the details, so it's going to be really interesting to see the take on the person that you speak with, because it XX ends too badly.

DE LA CRUZ: It didn't end that badly. I mean, I'm not going to give it away. Let's just leave it there. NGUYEN: See, I was leading you there?

DE LA CRUZ: I saw that.

NGUYEN: Tried for you. Folks, you'll just have to tune in tomorrow.

Right now, though, this is what we will show you. Efforts in northern California to redirect a pair of wayward whales - not working right now.

People have been lining up along the banks of the Sacramento River to catch a glimpse of those humpback whales. A mother and her calf wandering some 90 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean.

Experts have been trying to lure them back out using whale sounds. Let's take a listen.

Sounds T.J. singing along to a bad song. But, so far, no luck.

They're going to keep trying. And if they need a stand-in, T.J. is ready and available.

HOLMES: I am good to go. I know that song, actually.

NGUYEN: Do you?


NGUYEN: That or a bad dinner coming back up.

Hey, we have live reports throughout the day on these stranded whales, so don't go away.

HOLMES: We will go from whales to bears, oh, my. We've all seen bears running through backyards. We've seen that on TV, maybe not your own backyard, seen them climbing up trees, getting shot down by tranquilizers. Sound familiar?

Got a new twist here, though. This bear actually went to the hospital to get his shot.

The bear wandered into a hospital in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, waltzed right through. Well, when the automatic doors opened up, of course, you just go right in.

NGUYEN: Can you imagine?

HOLMES: A bear walking into the hospital.

I'm having a little problem with this little - yes, he explained what his problem was. But wildlife officials came and got him, now being returned to a more natural habitat.

I don't think they sent him home with a lollipop, but it looks like they were trying there to actually give him a lollipop or something.

But yes, the bear walked right into the hospital for treatment.

NGUYEN: Goodness!

All right. Raising money and awareness for autism. Thousands of people are gathering near downtown Atlanta for this very cause.

We're live with those details later on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


NGUYEN: Do you feel like walking for a cause? That's what thousands are getting ready to do right now in Atlanta, and they're trying to raise awareness and understanding about autism, and also raise some money for research while doing that.

And Suzanne Wright is the co-founder of Autism Speaks, and she joins us this morning from Atlantic Station. Hi, there.


NGUYEN: What a great turnout so far, with the folks behind you. It's still a little early, but I want to talk to you about today's walk, because it is the first for Autism Speaks. Correct?

WRIGHT: It's the first for Autism Speaks, which is research, and the Marcus Institute, which will be for treatment.

Bernie Marcus came to me when Christian was diagnosed, and he's my patron angel. He gave us $25 million, and we're partners. And he's absolutely - he's a wonderful philanthropist.

NGUYEN: Well, let's walk through this, if you would, please, because Autism Speaks is something that you co-founded. It's very near and dear to your heart. And I understand it kind of came about because of your grandson.

WRIGHT: Correct. Bob and I co-founded Autism Speaks, because when Christian was diagnosed with autism - he has regressive autism where he spoke, he had a huge vocabulary. He lost it within two months. We were diagnosed, and I was shocked to find out that this was such a prevalent disease, and nobody was talking about it.

NGUYEN: Why do you think that is?

WRIGHT: It's now one - I think that it's so terrible, autism, these parents, they're busted or broke. There's no coverage. They can't go out. These children are 24/7.

They really had very little voice. They had an organization that merged with us - CAN and NAR (ph) - they're both with us now. We needed to be one strong voice.

This epidemic has been happening for the last 12 years. It was one in 10,000 just 12 years ago. Now it's one in 150, one in 94 boys. We have given autism a voice. And we will not be silent until we're cured.

NGUYEN: So, one in 94 boys will have autism? Is that the number?

WRIGHT: That's correct. That's the number from the CDC.


WRIGHT: Two months ago is was one to 166.

NGUYEN: Why do you think it's growing?

WRIGHT: Now it's one to 150.


WRIGHT: I wish I knew. That's why I'm here. We're going to find out once and for all, why our children are being taken into the darkness of autism.

It's just absolutely terrible.

NGUYEN: Yes, it is.

WRIGHT: And there are so many of them.

NGUYEN: And at this point, there is no cure for it, which is why you're trying to raise money.

WRIGHT: No. That's right.

NGUYEN: Talk to me about what Autism Speaks does. What kind of service does it provide?

WRIGHT: Well, we are basically starting out with awareness. We have the Ad Council campaign, which, by the way, in the 65-year history of the Ad Council, it's the only time they took on a single- disease campaign. We're in our second year.

Because the problem with this is, my husband was running NBC. We walked out of that hospital and I said, you're running a media company and we don't know about autism.

So, we have to educate the whole country. It's a worldwide epidemic, actually. We have to educate this country to find out, to have everybody find out about this epidemic.

And Autism Speaks, on our Web site, you go to the early signs, because if you think something's wrong with your child, most likely there is. And pediatricians need to be educated, because five pediatricians told us, because another baby was born, nothing was wrong with Christian.

Well, guess what. They were wrong. And they weren't - they weren't really aware of the red flags of autism.

NGUYEN: And we spoke about this just a minute ago, the fact that there is no cure. But where are we in the search for a cure?

WRIGHT: Well, we're getting the best scientists, not only in the country, but the world. The best chance we have is to get early intervention and early therapy, because it has been proven, 50 percent chance, if you have an early intervention, that you will have a 50 percent chance of getting that child mainstreamed into public school.

So, we're working very hard on those early signs to distribute to all the pediatricians and to the parents across the country.

NGUYEN: Well, awareness is going to be absolutely key in al of this, which is why you're raising your voice today, getting people to do the walk, walk the walk ...

WRIGHT: Absolutely.

NGUYEN: ... do more than just talk the talk.

And also, you're asking them to donate. So, when people are looking at this today, when our viewers are tuning in and they want to help, and they want to do something about autism and they're not in Atlanta, quickly, what can they do?

WRIGHT: Go to our Web site, On our Web site, you will see where you can donate. And that would be fantastic.

We're going to - we're over $1 million here today, and we're expecting between 10,000 and 13,000 people. So, that has to spread around - all around the country.

We want to do what they did for AIDS. And we will, because

NGUYEN: Suzanne Wright ...

WRIGHT: Thanks.

NGUYEN: ... the co-founder of Autism Speaks, really fired up about today's event. It's a very good cause, an important one. We appreciate your time today. We are simply out of time.


NGUYEN: But T.J., it is absolutely a good cause, and we're going to be following it throughout the day.

WRIGHT: Thanks.

HOLMES: All right. We do want to take you now, and I want you to take a look at this video - not "Dancing With the Stars." Still, it is a big hit on YouTube. You'll see more of this and explain it a little bit more after the break.

Also, hurricane season almost here. Everybody prepared? Coming up, new products to help you weather the storm.


NGUYEN: Well we do have several items today.

HOLMES: And the water cooler.

NGUYEN: Yes. One of our favorite segments around here.

HOLMES: Some light reading is the first thing we're going to talk about - extremely light reading.

These are books. They're so tiny, they barely weigh anything. This collection, now on display in New York includes a 40-volume set of Shakespeare's works.

NGUYEN: How do you know? Because you can't read any of it.

HOLMES: Well, you need a microscope to read it, Betty.

NGUYEN: Oh, because we all carry one of those around.

HOLMES: I do. I've got one in my inside pocket right here.

NGUYEN: Is that what it is? OK.


NGUYEN: Some of the books in the collection are hundreds of years old, and the smallest is barely a third of an inch. And again, you're going to need a needle to turn these tiny little pages, let alone a microscope to read it.

HOLMES: All right. From the little books, we will turn to this story.

For people with more dollars than sense - and some of us don't have a lot of either - you can check out these cantaloupes. This pair of melons set a new record at the annual melon auction this week in Japan. The department store in Sapporo paid $16,600 for both. That's about $8,300 each.

NGUYEN: OK. So, why, you ask? Me, too.

Here it is. Melons are highly prized in Japan and frequently given as gifts. Stop laughing, T.J.

Still, $8,000 for one cantaloupe is ...


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