August 20th, 2009
10:11 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Relatives of American hikers detained in Iran speak out

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/08/20/afghanistan.election/art.afghanpollcenter.cnn.jpg caption="A voter dips his finger into ink after voting at a polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

The relatives of three American hikers being held in Iran are speaking out to keep focus on the hikers' detention. Hikers Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal and Sarah Shourd have been held in Iran since July 31. Their friends and families say the hikers crossed a poorly-marked border by mistake. Anderson will speak to the mothers of the hikers tonight in an exclusive cable interview.

Attorney General Eric Holder and other government officials are planning a news conference today to announce the indictments of high-ranking members of Mexican drug cartels. Some of the indictments may even be in U.S. cities. We've been following this story closely and will have more for you tonight.

The only man ever convicted in the Lockerbie bombing has been released from prison in Scotland today. Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi, who took part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988, was allowed to return to Libya on compassionate grounds because he is terminally ill. He was serving a life sentence for bombing the flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people.

In Afghanistan, polls opened this morning in as the nation held its second-ever presidential and provincial council elections. Incumbent President Hamid Karzai was the frontrunner leading up to the election and people went out devote despite Taliban threats. Violent attacks escalated in Kabul in the days leading up to the election and the government also ordered a ban on media coverage of violence to avoid scaring voters away from the polls.

President Obama continues to push for health care reform today by taking to the airwaves with Mike Smerconish, a radio talk show host who is a life-long Republican but endorsed Obama for President last October. The President will also hold a health care forum at the headquarters of the DNC in Washington, D.C. where he’ll take email and Twitter questions. Would what you tweet the President about health care reform? Let us know. Tweet your questions to us @andersoncooper.

As part of our series on crime scene fraud, we have a disturbing about expert witnesses in criminal cases. They are well-respected with impressive resumes, so it’s easy to believe what they say – right? Not necessarily. An independent autopsy contractor in Mississippi is being examined because critics say he provided whatever findings prosecutors wanted. His so-called expert testimony and credentials have been called into question in a number of cases – and the investigations have led to several exonerations. In one particular case, the Mississippi Supreme Court found Hayne’s testimony ludicrous and based on “speculation.” Many are concerned more people he helped convict may actually be innocent. More from David Mattingly tonight.

And we have some great 360° news to report. We’re launching our very own mobile alerts. If you want to stay on top of what we’re covering each week, sign up for the AC360 alert. It’s easy, just text “Alert” to 22360. That’s it. Simple. Standard messaging rates apply. We’ll keep you updated on any breaking news we’re covering in our show and anything you won’t want to miss.

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Tara

    Come on Anderson! You are calling these hikers "kids"? What are they, a couple of 10 year olds that wandered into the woods and got lost? These are fully grown adults who should have known where they were and the risks. I am sorry for their families, but really, let's take a look at these "young" hikers–late 20s and early 30s?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  2. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    Scotland and release of the Lockerbie bomber is a very good example of an interesting overseas story. 360 should spend time on this story instead of Afghanistan, which is boring.

    August 20, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  3. Martina Ilstad Germany

    To see this women on this picture makes me sad.o.k. they can vote now,but without showing their faces.so what have all the war and fights are worked for,if this didnt change in this area.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  4. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    Sounds like some interesting stories. Hope they are interesting on the show, unlike last night. If the developments are new, and the footage is new and not a repeat, and the stories not confined to talking in the studio, that should do it. Sometimes it takes unexpected exciting breaking news to break 360 out of the listless doldrums.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  5. Carmen Dumas

    My Dear Anderson....YOU ARE A GREAT "NEWS- MAN"" & a wonderful personality. Your objectivity, clarity, compassion, & knowledge of Human Nature make you a pleasure to behold & HEAR.
    You , Larry King, Charles Gibson,Paul Begala, Don Lemmon Ammanpour,O'Brien & Dr. Gupta truly present the information that enables us all to reflect, learn, and try to serve our neighbors as we want to be served. THANKS,..we're proud of you.
    ( This is an objective well informed 77 yr. old speaking!)

    August 20, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  6. Fed Up

    What the heck were they doing hiking anywhere near there?? People do stupid things and then they have to be rescued.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  7. Del

    Maybe they should have gone hiking in the U.S. I don't understand why our government allows young people to go to countries that are in conflict.Only trained army personal should be allowed.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:28 am |