tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC July 14, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
tonight on "world news," green light. finally, the tests on that new oil cap are under way. what are the dangers? and, on our trip to the bayou, we take you to meet a man losing sleep to preserve something he really loves. cheney's heart. surgery on the former vice president. a cutting-edge device implanted to save his life. alzheimer's diagnosis. the most important change in years could be on the way for diagnosing the disease. and sky high. 100 ways the airlines are slipping in fees. did you know about leg room? good evening. the agonizing delay has ended in the gulf. tonight, the tests have begun on that new cap down at the oil well.
and take a look at the picture. 86 days into the disaster, you can see the oil is now coming out of the side of the new cap, where we are accustomed to seeing it coming out of the top. now it's coming out of the side because watchful government and bp scientists are carefully beginning to shut some volume vs and measure how much pressure from the oil is bolting out of the earth. what happens next? our david muir is in the gulf tonight and he reports on all of it. david? >> reporter: good evening, diane. as you know, word came late today that this test will move forward, from thad allen. we've been tracking this. take a look at the images just moments ago. you can actually see the oil gushing out from the top of that valve. and that thad allen said you would be able to tell when the test gibbs, because that oil will start coming out the sides. so, this comes after 24 hours of major concerns. tonight, what were those concerns, and more now on the tests that have begun.
tonight, they start to test that massive new cap, weighing 150,000 pounds, bp hopes that it will stop the oil flow completely. and the test comes after government scientists and the coast guard put the test on hold. >> we did this to make sure that we were taking due care and in some cases, maybe an overabundance of caution so we didn't do any harm. >> reporter: the test will now slowly close the separate valves on the cap one section at a time. bp's hope is that the cap is strong enough to hold back the oil. able to assess the pressure every 12 seconds. thad allen saying progress reports every six hours. as for the concerns, much of them centered on the piping inside that blown-out well, that extends 13,000 feet into the sea floor. some scientists asking, once capped, can it withstand all of that pressure, or will the trapped oil blow through any weak spots in that well? >> they have to be careful when they close it down to make sure that pressure doesn't come up quickly and cause any of the pipes to rupture. >> reporter: meantime, halted during the testing process is
the digging of the relief well, the permanent solution, which is now so close, just four feet from the side of the troubled well. another 150 feet down to go. late today, we asked louisiana's governor about the delayed decision. he told us, the stakes are very high. >> we are at a point where we cannot afford for them to make this worse. we cannot afford for them to do damage to this well. >> well, david, good news that the tests, at least, are under way. but we keep hearing about the pressure. give us a number so when we listen to the briefing, what is the number they do not want it to go below? >> reporter: they certainly don't want it to go any lower than 6,000 psi, diane. psi, similar to what we measure the pressure in the tires in our cars. pressure per square inch. anything below 6,000 would mean that the oil is not strong enough, that there are other leaks in that well. optimum end, 8,000, 9,000 psi. that is what everyone here in the gulf is hoping for tonight. diane? >> okay, optimum, eight to nine, and you don't want it below six.
thanks to you, david muir, and of course, throughout the night, it will be a very watchful night, as we wait for some results. also, tomorrow, we are going to have our emotional town hall from louisiana. so many of the people gathered again, the people we first met two months ago. and as we said, later in this broadcast, we want to take you to meet a man in the bayou who amazed us with a love affair with something we just couldn't imagine. and now, the name bp has surfaced in another way tonight. the topic, influencing the british government to push for the release of a convicted terrorist? the man convicted of helping bring down pan-am flight 103 more than two years ago. here's jim sciutto. >> reporter: already identified with this, bp is now being identified with this. the release of the libyan man convicted of the 1989 lockerbie bombing. today, four u.s. senators called on the british government to investigate claims the firm pushed for abdelbaset al megrahi's release last year
in exchange for an oil exploration deal in libya worth nearly a billion dollars. >> it's almost too disgusting to fathom. >> reporter: tonight, a bp spokesman told abc news the company did express concern to the british government about quote slow progress on a prisoner transfer agreement with libya, aware this could have a negative impact on bp's exploration agreement. however, bp says it never mentioned megrahi specifically and was not involved in any discussions about his release. 26 libyans were in british prisons at the time of the agreement, though it was megrahi who libya wanted free. for relatives of victims of the lockerbie bombing, the allegation sparked immediate outrage. >> i find it absolutely shocking and horrifying that this could absolutely upturn an entire justice system. >> reporter: the british government in power at the time of the bp deal has alternated between insisting it was motivated purely by a desire to bring libya back into the international fold, to admitting
that trade and oil played an important role. in the end, the scottish government released megrahi on compassionate grounds, told by doctors he had just three months to live. but nearly a year later, he's still alive, and bp, a company already in crisis, may face another investigation. jim sciutto, abc news, london. and on the terrorism front, back in this country, a terror tape. a martyrdom message taped by faisal shahzad, the failed times square bomber. what did we learn about this man who lived in america, worked in america, but wanted to kill and maim thousands? our chief investigative correspondent brian ross has seen that tape. brian? >> reporter: diane, this tape apparently was meant to be released after shahzad's successful attack on times square. but since the attack failed and shahzad ran away from the scene, it amounts to little more than than jihadist bravado. the tape was made at least two
months before the attempt, where shahzad is seen saying his mission would be one of revenge against the u.s. for killing muslims. >> i really wish the hearts of the muslims will be pleased with this attack. >> reporter: but for all of his talk of martyrdom, when it came to carry out the bombing of times square on a busy saturday night, shahzad apparently chickened out on his suicide mission. the detonators were set with cheap alarm clocks, and he ran away from the scene. shahzad has since pleaded guilty to the attempted bombing, telling the federal judge he was a muslim soldier. the tape shows him meeting with top taliban leaders, but he's told the fbi he only received a few days of bomb training there. and on the tape, he stumbles repeatedly, having difficulty both reading from the koran and making his threats. >> and you'll see that the muslim war has just started. and we'll tell you how -- how --
how to spread throughout the world. >> reporter: when the tape was broadcast today on an arab news channel, one chemical day or the called shahzad's performance pathetic. of course, as one u.s. official put it tonight, behind all the bluster, there are people still trying and plotting and the country can't count on all of them to be dumb or unlucky, diane. >> thank you, brian. and also, back in this country, we learned this afternoon that former vice president dick cheney has undergone new heart surgery. this time, an operation to give him one of the most advanced devices in the world. a tiny pump implanted inside his chest last week. as we know, his heart disease goes back decades, to his first heart attack when he was in his 30s. dan harris has more on the latest surgery. >> reporter: the pump that was implanted into the former vice president's heart last week is called a left venn trick call assist device. it's a battery-powered device that goes right next to the heart to give the main pumping
chamber, the left ventricle, some extra juice. traditionally, these have been used only as a short-term solution, to buy some time for heart transplant conditions while they wait for their new heart. but increasingly, doctors like this one from columbia, who we skyped with late today, are looking at them as a permanent fix for people like mr. cheney, who has severe congestive heart failure, but may not be conditions for a transplant. would you describe this as an exciting development medically? >> we've been very excited about this. and the main reason is, as you may know, there are a limited number of donor organs available each year. and so that there are literally thousands and thousands of patients who are on heart transplant waiting lists who never get one. >> reporter: the doctor said these could potentially be lifesavers for hundreds of thousands of americans who have congestive heart failure, which is a condition where the heart weakens over time, often the consequence of frequent heart attacks. cheney, who's had five heart
attacks since the age of 37, and is now 69 years old, said in a statement today that the operation went very well, and "i am now recuperating." thanks to the device, he says, he should be able to resume his active life. dan harris, abc news. and other medical news tonight. a surprise decision on the controversial diabetes drug avandia. advisers to the food and drug administration recommended keeping avandia on the market. this, despite studies indicating it increases the risk of heart attack. most advisers did recommend avandia carry stricter warning labels and the fda will now decide which course to take. it was all business at the white house today, business, jobs and the economy. the president held a series of meetings, including one with billionaire investor warren buffett. and today, the white house touted new numbers, claiming the 862 billion stimulus package
has created or saved as many as 3.6 million jobs. but jon karl found that some of that money is ending up by the side of the road. >> reporter: there are nearly 11,000 construction projects like this now underway funded by the president's $862 billion economic stimulus program. creating jobs and also creating a lot of these -- signs, popping up all over the country, touting projects that are putting america to work. spending on these signs varies from state to state. illinois officials told us they had ordered 950 of them at a cost of $650,000, about $680 a sign. pennsylvania told us they bought only 70 signs, but at a cost of more than $2,000 per sign. some states, including vermont and florida, have opted for no signs, putting the cash into construction projects instead. republicans call it a waste and accuse the administration of
using taxpayer money to score political points. >> it's an unnecessary additional bureaucratic expense. i mean, what's the end result of those signs? it's nothing more than propaganda. >> reporter: the white house says they're just letting taxpayers know where their money is being spent and that the total cost is only about $5 million. >> i believe, as a matter of spending, those signs account for about three cents out of every hundred dollars that is spent on the recovery. >> reporter: but some of these things can be expensive. this sign touting a runway improvement project at washington's dulles airport costs $10,000 -- that's $10,000 for just one sign. the washington airport authority told us materials in that sign were more expensive because they wanted it to be durable. just today, the house rejected a republican bill that would have cut funding for those signs. so, diane, you're likely to see more of them in the weeks and
months ahead. >> the great sign controversy begins. thank you, jon karl. and still ahead on "world news," diagnosing alzheimer's disease. can it be detected even before there are symptoms? the high cost of flying. how much more would you pay for a little extra leg room? and we return to louisiana to learn about another sophisticated operation. this one, raising soft shell crabs. [ dennis ] is fifteen minutes enough time to start a relationship? some insurance companies seem to think so. [ whistle blows ] but 6 months later, when you've been broadsided by an suv, who do you call? not the name of the company, but the name of the person. i'm sorry. what was your name again? at allstate, you get a licensed professional who'll stand by you. not just a voice at a phone bank. you deserve a real relationship. that's allstate's stand.
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i didn't either. ♪ there is there is important news today in the search for ways to detect and treat alzheimer's disease. we are told that more than 5 million americans now have alzheimer's. it is, of course, the incurable disease that slowly erodes victim's memory, and will diagnosis now change? here's linsey davis. >> reporter: first, lee's mom lost her car keys. but when she lost her car, lee knew something was terribly wrong. >> i wanted someone to say, your mom has alzheimer's, and nobody can say that. >> reporter: a diagnosis would have been a comfort. today, doctors say they are increasingly confident there are real indicators to confirm alzheimer's. those test include brain scans, spinal taps and identifying genes. but are we now telling physicians that they should recommend this to their patients?
>> i would jug zest they obtain an mri, to look at the structure of the brain, and perhaps entertain doing a spinal fluid. >> reporter: but critics say those tests have risks, and harmful side effects. >> we are not ready for these tests to have primetime, in my opinion. >> reporter: another concern? this could double, even triple the number of people labeled with alzheimer's, but dr. peterson says it's a step in the right direction. >> the accumulation of these various imaging markers and bio markers is giving us more confidence that our clinical decision is, in fact, correct. >> reporter: for now, people worried about alzheimer's should still look for practical signs. when common tasks become a challenge. sense of time and place become muddled. and the familiar becomes unfamiliar. >> it's hopeful and exciting. >> reporter: for people like lee, who are worried about their own future, this gives some promise that doctors are moving closer to a better way to finding real answers. linsey davis, abc news, new york.
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new crab creations for every craving, starting at $14.99, only during crabfest. right now at red lobster. congress pretty much said today that airlines are going fee crazy, adding on more and more charges we only learn about when we get to the ticket counter. we're told there are now more than 100 of these fees, and here's david kerley. >> reporter: if it feels like the airlines are nickeling and diming you -- you're right. >> they just want to know how much is the ticket going to cost them. >> when you buy a ticket on spirit airlines, you know exactly what you're paying for the choices you choose. >> reporter: government investigators say that's not necessarily the case with all airlines. take a $190 round trip ticket. you might have to pay a booking fee, then choose to pay a seat selection fee. at the airport, an early boarding or upgrade fee and on the plane, fees for food, even
blankets and pillows. now it's a $290 ticket. struggling airlines saw fees as a way to save their business. and they're making a bundle. $7.8 billion last year. and more than a third came from charging you to check a bag. >> there's going to be a continuing outcry from the traveling public, and you're going to have some regulation that you won't like. >> reporter: the government is now considering requiring airlines to post not only the full fare, but a full fare plus, showing more of the fees you're actually paying. david kerley, abc news, washington. >> and if you go to our website, we're going to help you compare company by company fees. we'll tell you how to do that at abcnews.com. and when we come back, learn about a labor of love in louisiana. a real labor of love. a different story?but whate of one financial company that grew stronger through the crisis. when some lost their way, this company led the way.
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keeping you informed. every morning, over 50 spotter planes and helicopters take off and search for the oil. we use satellite images, infrared and thermal photography to map and target the oil. then, the boats go to work. almost 6,000 vessels. these are thousands of local shrimp and fishing boats organized into task forces and strike teams. plus, specialized skimmers from around the world. we've skimmed over 27 million gallons of oil/water mixture and removed millions more with other methods. we've set out more than 8 million feet of boom to protect the shoreline. i grew up on the gulf coast and i love these waters. we can't keep all the oil from coming ashore, but i'm gonna do everything i can to stop it, and we'll be here as long as it takes to clean up the gulf. when pain keeps you up, nothing is proven to help you fall asleep faster than advil pm liqui-gels. rushing real liquid relief to ease you to sleep fast. for nighttime pain, make advil pm your #1 choice.
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but every single crab is a labor -- and we mean labor -- of love. sandy and richard smith, richard said he's the last person in this area doing soft shell crab. in fact, he went to three colleges so he could be a kind of master. >> this is a crab that just came out of that shell. >> reporter: it's so soft. here's how it works. the hard shell crabs. the crab wiggles out. think of a too tight pair of jeans. what we didn't know is that crab stays in the water for two hours, it will get hard again. so, every night -- >> i get up every two hours. >> reporter: every two hours? >> 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 in the morning. it doesn't affect me too much. >> reporter: oh, my gosh. a somewhat sleep deprived richard takes us on a tour of his giant shed. all night long, he takes the soft crab out, puts it on ice to keep it from going hard. they're definitely alive. am i allowed to feel sorry for them?
>> yeah, you can. but somebody's going to eat them tonight. >> reporter: by the way, his wife sandy doesn't like seafood and richard himself? do you still eat them after you live with them? >> i haven't eaten three soft shell crabs all year. >> reporter: even so, richard does it, for tradition, his town, his bayou, his life. >> that's not blood in there. that's bayou water. that's how it is. >> you've got bayou, blood, you have to get up all night for your crabs. and tomorrow, we continue our tour into louisiana. as you know, the people invited us into their homes, to show us how the oil spill has changed their lives. we gather once again in a town hall, where we share your e-mails with them, and your questions about what they're going through and also some of the offers you made that moved them so much. it was an emotional night. >> the biggest thing we're afraid of is, once they cap it,
that everybody goes to the next new story, and forgets about us down here. >> and for the people who will not forget, we'll be back there tomorrow night. good night to all of you, have a wonderful night. we'll see you tomorrow. charges of excessive force against police in oakland. did they go too far in ending the dut demonstrations? >> tragedy on the marin county coast. two people are killed when their boat cap sizes and it's still a mystery, why. >> claims of discrimination at the now-defunct numy plant.
>> and smart meters would co-lead to more customers having power disconnected. we'll take a look at both sides of the controversy head on 7 on your side. >> good evening, new allegations tonight of excessive force by law enforcement in oakland. >> it's been nearly a week since police confronted demonstrateors in downtown after the johannes mehserle verdict. the bart officer found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for killing oscar grant. we're live in oakland with the allegations that protesters were mistreated. leanne? >> reporter: some people who came forward today participated in the anti-war rallies of the 60s so they're not part of the younger generation of protesters now, while there are complaints of excessive force by law enforcement, oakland pd says that they have received only one complaint so far.