May 17th, 2012
07:02 PM ET

The AC360 Weekly Buzz: Syrian refugees, Obama, Romney, Barbour's pardons, Trayvon Martin, Backpage, Anderson on Jeopardy

What everyone’s talking about:

Anderson traveled to the Syria-Turkey border earlier this week to visit a refugee camp housing Syrians who fled across the border to escape the violence in their country. Families showed him pictures of their dead children, grandchildren, brothers, fathers, mothers, uncles - the list goes on. There have been more than 1,000 deaths since a U.N.-brokered ceasefire took affect in Syria about one month ago and the killings continue every day, according to human rights groups. With no end in sight, some are calling for more action from the United States. Sen. John McCain has been outspoken about providing weapons to the opposition. He’s urging President Obama to take a stand, calling it “shameful” not to help. with the U.N. plan fails. Professor Fouad Ajami, who was with Anderson in Turkey, points out that the Syrian crisis could be President Obama's Rwanda, meaning he could regret not getting more involved. Another topic that's been discussed frequently is whether Islamist extremists are gaining a foothold in the country after two car bombs were set off in Damascus last week. Sen. McCain says this very well could be the case, but one Syrian activist told Anderson there are no jihadis in Syria. CNN's Ivan Watson was able to sneak into Syria this week to report on a town controlled by the Syrian resistance. He also shows us Syrians who risk their lives digging for active landmines, with nothing but their hands and kebab skewers, along the route where refugees escape to Turkey.

In a recent campaign ad, President Obama attacked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for working at Bain Capital. At the same time, the President accepted funds from the head of another private equity firm. We're Keeping Them Honest.

One of the men pardoned by outgoing Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour turned himself in after he was charged with driving under the influence during an October 2011 crash that killed 18-year-old Charity Smith. Because of the pardon, when considering his criminal record during sentencing, the court will view the incident as his third DUI case when it’s actually his fourth. Anderson spoke to Smith's mother who would like to ask Gov. Barbour whether he would have pardoned the driver if it was his own daughter who was killed.

49 decapitated bodies were found by authorities on a roadside in northern Mexico over the weekend. The horrifying discovery was likely part of a vicious feud between two rival drug cartel, a top Mexican official said Monday. CNN's Miguel Marquez reports on the increasing violence. Anderson also spoke to experts about which cartel might be behind it.

A medical report listed a broken nose, cuts, black eyes and a swollen face as injuries sustained by George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. CNN's Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin asked the Martin family’s lawyer how he knows who was the aggressor that day after considering the new evidence.

Anderson challenged a lawyer for Backpage.com on why the classified ads site won’t remove a section that is sometimes used to sell prostitution and sex with minors. She told him the company works with law enforcement to catch child-sex traffickers. 360 followed up with police for their take on the site’s efforts and the controversy over the adult section. Anderson also spoke with the president for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children calls who calls for the section to be closed.

Today’s Scoop:

CNN’s Drew Griffin has been investigating a national charity that raised $56 million for disabled veterans. IRS documents show that not one dime of that money has gone directly to veterans. Yesterday Griffin asked a board member for the Disabled Veterans National Foundation what happened to the donations. Tonight he looks into the role of a fundraising firm that works with that group and other non-profits, including the National Veterans Foundation. Watch his report on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

A look ahead:

Don’t miss Anderson on “Jeopardy” this Friday as he tries to win $50,000 for The Trevor Project, an organization which works to prevent suicide in the LGBT youth community.

Tune into our special on the Arab Spring on Friday, May 25. Anderson will speak with CNN International correspondents Arwa Damon, Ivan Watson, Nic Robertson and also with former CIA Officer Bob Baer – it’ll be a discussion you won’t want to miss.

Just for laughs:

Chris Matthews earned a spot on the RidicuList for his “Jeopardy” appearance. But Anderson wasn’t too hard on him. After all, he lost to a 12-year-old kid in a spelling bee.

Follow Deena Sami on Twitter.

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