tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC August 2, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
tonight on "world news" -- last shot -- bp about to seal off the well once and for all. we have new underwater video searching for hidden plumes of oil. last chapter -- this is the month america's combat troops march out of iraq. will iraq hold on? new hope -- building a windpipe for patients out of their own stem cells. and late pardon -- were we wrong about outlaw billy the kid all these years? is it time to forgive a gunslinger? good evening. every sign from the gulf is that starting as early as tonight this is it. bp is ready to execute plan number 11 and extinguish the
broken oil well for good, using tons of mud and concrete. we are now 105 days in. that temporary cap has held for 18 days so far. but if all goes well, the underwater wellhead crisis could come to an end. jeffrey kofman is watching it all from empire, louisiana, tonight. jeffrey. >> reporter: and good evening to you, diane. that's right, this really is the beginning of the end, the final chapter of the well itself. but as for what it has left behind in the waters of the gulf, that is far from clear. this was what the oil looked like under water two months ago. and this -- today. after the oil disappeared from the surface last week, local officials worried about what might be lurking undersea. they hired divers, who spent two days searching for it. >> we went off shore looking for oil, and then made about four or five jumps in different spots across -- outside of shore and didn't see anything. >> reporter: and an important study released today by the epa
found that despite fears and accusations, those controversial dispersants used on the spill are no more toxic than the oil itself. there's no oil at the well site today. the focus now -- what is happening 5,000 feet below, as the final kill begins. the process will start with what is called the static kill, slowly injecting mud into the wellhole two miles deep. the weight of the mud, three times heavier than oil, forces the oil back down into the earth for good. once that happens, the well will be dead. but they'll still have to cement it, from the top or through a relief well from the bottom. >> the chances of this working are pretty much up around 95% to 99%. >> reporter: this is complex engineering and deepwater science. >> the center of the wellhead is just under the boa subsea that is just under our starboard bow. >> reporter: the bigelow is one of seven noaa research vessels
on scene. it is looking for leaks. >> this is the acoustic return that we're seeing from the wellhead region. >> reporter: that is the rig site. there is no sign of oil, just this vertical slash, tiny bubbles of methane gas. >> we are here to survey this area 24 hours a day to see if there's been any change. >> reporter: and you are not detecting any? >> we haven't detected any yet. >> reporter: that static kill should be getting under way at this very moment out at sea. it will take, they tell us, anywhere from 31 to 63 hours to fill the hole with mud. and then they'll decide whether to cement from the top or the bottom. but drilling engineers we talked to, diane, say the key part is filling that hole with mud. and that is imminent. >> well, jeffrey, whatever happens at the wellhead site, someone you know well surfaced today to warn the country not so fast declaring victory in the gulf. plaquemines parish president billy nungesser said it is too early and trying to minimize how much oil is deep in the ocean and washing ashore
right now. we talked to him this afternoon. we keep hearing from bp that there is not fresh oil coming out. are you seeing fresh oil? >> this oil i'm holding was at st. mary's point. i was out there saturday morning a half a day with the vacuum sucking the oil out of the marsh. it's shameful that we have to keep proving ourself. i wish there was no oil. i'd rather get my life back too. but every day oil is appearing somewhere. >> we heard you on the telephone really angry over the weekend about the boom. >> i want to know who the [ bleep ] gave those orders. >> they say, on the other hand, that the boom washing ashore could hurt the marshes more than anything left out there. who's right? >> they're using every excuse to pull assets out. first they said they were taking it out to protect it from the tropical storm. then they said it was defective, chinese boom. and then yesterday said it was damaged boom. i've got photographs. it was brand-new boom sitting in venice.
>> because, you know, the epa has now released another study, in which they say this dispersant is, in fact, no more toxic mixed with oil than oil is alone. so at this point, what is it you want the federal government to do? >> i want them to quit covering up, to step up and put some real independent testing on the dispersants, test the bottom. >> we keep hearing the marshes are coing back at a rate that people didn't expect. there are green shoots already. >> some of them are and we're very glad for that. but make no mistake, there's large areas that are totally destroyed and the greenery is completely dead. yesterday, bp took a walk on a white beach while our crews were sucking up oil at st. mary's point. >> are you accusing bp of a deliberate cover-up, deliberate attempt to whitewash the public relations on this? >> absolutely. if you find anybody that says there's not. i mean, it's obvious. >> thank you so much. billy nungesser, president of plaquemines.
>> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. and moving on now to other headlines -- eight years after american troops hit the ground in iraq, this is the month that combat troops come home. today, president obama reaffirmed the promised withdrawal will take place, leaving security and training forces behind. as their mission ends, most americans, 55%, say the war was not worth fighting. yunji de nies was with the president today. >> reporter: president obama delivered on a major campaign promise, telling a group of disabled veterans that all combat troops will be out of iraq by the end of the month. >> i made it clear that by august 31st, 2010, america's combat mission in iraq would end. and that is exactly what we are doing, as promised and on schedule. >> reporter: when the president took office, there were 144,00 troops in iraq. over the last year and a half, there has been a steady
reduction. and, by the end of this month, only 50,000 noncombat fores will remain. mr. obama reached this milestone, in large part, because of the final actions of the last administration. just before leaving office, president bush sent an additional 20,000 troops to iraq and extended the tours of many more. a move then-senator obama opposed. >> i cannot, in good conscience, support this escalation. it is a policy that's already been tried and a policy that has failed. >> mr. obama had opposed the surge. if we had not surged, we would be in a much different place today, in a much worse place. >> reporter: today, the president did not credit the surge directly, though he did say iraq is increasingly able to stand on its own. >> because of the sacrifices of our troops and their iraqi partners, violence in iraq continues to be near the lowest it's been in years. >> reporter: violence escalated in july, with 161 civilians killed.
still, at the height of the violence in late 2006, civilian deaths reached 1,500 a month. >> if you value political liberty, as most americans do, you would say iraq's a lot better off now. if you value personal safety on the street, iraq is still somewhat worst off than it had been in the latter years of saddam's rule. >> reporter: five months after national elections, iraq is still without a fully functioning government. and with this month's troop withdrawal, that political vacuum could lead to further instability and continued violence. diane. >> thank you. yunji de nies reporting tonight. and other political news tonight -- just three months before americans vote on a new congress, ethics charges against another congressional powerhouse. california democrat maxine waters charged with conflict of interest, days after charges against new york democrat charlie
rangel. jonathan karl is on capitol hill tonight to tell us what's going on. >> reporter: like the case
against charlie rangel, the case against maxine waters appears to be headed towards a public trial right in the middle of the fall campaign. maxine waters is accused of a classic conflict of interest, using her position to help a bank her husband had a big stake in. it's quite a blow to one of the most outspoken liberals in congress. >> as one of the women of this committee and every other woman should have an opportunity to respond -- >> reporter: a democrat from south central l.a. who has served in the house for more than 20 years. the incident took place in september 2008 at the start of the financial crisis. waters allegedly called treasury secretary hank paulson to set up a meeting between top treasury officials and one united bank, her husband was a former board member and large investor in that bank. not long after the meeting, the bank received $12 million in government bailout
money, money that has not been repaid. house investigators say there is "substantial reason to believe" she violated conflict of interest rules.
but waters says she was acting only out of concern for minority-owned banks. and in a statement said there was "no benefit, no improper action, no failure to disclose, no one influenced -- no case." this comes just days after the ethics committee moved forward with charges against charlie rangel, a double whammy for speaker of the house nancy pelosi, who is close to both rangel and waters. >> any personal respect and affection we may have for people makes us sad about the course of events, but we have to pull the highest ethical standard, and none of our personalities is more important than that. >> reporter: democratic leaders are still hoping that settlement agreements can be worked out to avoid public trial for both waters and rangel, but, diane, that is looking increasingly unlikely. >> jonathan karl reporting from washington. and from washington tonight, we turn to other news -- an all-out manhunt continuing in and around arizona for two convicted killers who escaped from a prison near kingman. and new details on how they did it -- the inmates apparently cut their
way through a prison fence, where the fiancé of one reportedly helped them hijack a big rig at gun point. the first prison door had an alarm which didn't sound. the fence had an alarm. it sounded but the guards didn't notice. needless to say, security procedures at the prison are now under the microscope. and overseas -- sometimes one picture embodies a crisis. in pakistan, this elderly man clings to what appears to be a piece of metal in a torrent of water and survives. it is the worst flooding in that country's history. monsoon rains unleashing water that destroys at least twice at the strength of the mississippi river. already 1,200 people may have died. 2 million have been forced to flee their homes. the u.s. is sending help. and nick schifrin went to the floods aboard an american cargo plane. >> reporter: in the fluorescent glare of a military base, the u.s. responds to a humanitarian crisis. soldiers and airmen in afghanistan load emergency
supplies destined for pakistan where more than 1 million need desperate help. the u.s. has pledged $10 million. and among the first things that are being delivered are these meals really to eat, or mres, as the military calls them. the military has delivered more than 200,000 already. all requested by the pakistani government. these men and women will make this trip twice tonight. delivering 150,000 pounds of food. this flight between bagram, afghanistan, and peshawar, pakistan, is only 30 minutes long, but it's not one the u.s. military makes very often. that's because the pakistani government restricts the military from openly operating inside of afghanistan. but in this case, pakistan requested the help. the u.s. is jumping at the chance to be seen as helping the pakistani people. the reason for that -- anti-americanism runs strong in pakistan. the u.s. hopes by delivering relief, pakistanis will increase
their trust in the u.s. and that could help the u.s. fight the war. this is the epicenter. in just a few minutes, everything was washed away. "it's been four days," he says, "and still we haven't had any help from the authorities." by helping pakistan deliver quicker and better aid, the u.s. hopes to help the government fill that vacuum. but today, there is a long way to go. nick schifrin, abc news, peshawar. and still ahead on "world news" -- a medical breakthrough -- doctors growing new windpipes, using a patient's own stem cells. and -- does a notorious outlaw deserve a pardon? the battle over the character billy the kid 130 years after his death. hi, may i help you? yes, i hear progressive has lots of discounts on car insurance. can i get in on that? are you a safe driver? yes. discount! do you own a home? yes. discount!
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while driving or doing unsafe tasks. common side effects are dry mouth, constipation, and indigestion. you have better things to join than always a line for the bathroom. so, pipe up and ask your doctor today about taking care with vesicare. and now in medic and now in medical news -- gh.reakthrough. a report that a doctor has found wind to grow a new windpipe for patient with cancer. it's one more step in the medical promise of stem cells, those basic cells that change to form parts of the body. those basic dr. richard besser is here with the latest news. >> reporter: it's considered the holy grail in its field, a transplant of the trachea. and last month, dr. paolo macchiarini did it twice. replacing the tracheas of two patients with cancer using stem cells. one was speaking just hours after surgery. how did he do it? first, he and his team removed the trachea from a donor. and stripped it of all of the donor's tissue, which the
patient's body would have rejected. next, they drew stem cells from the patient's own bone marrow and used them to coat the surface of the new trachea before surgically implanting it in the patient, with the hopes that those stem cells would generate new tissue and a fully functioning trachea. >> they are back to the home, able to speak, able to socialize with everybody, having this quality of life is wonderful. >> reporter: just two years ago, macchiarini performed the first successful transplant on claudia castillo, a spanish mother. that procedure took two weeks. but the new procedure, just four hours. stem cells have been used to transplant bladders and researchers are working on ears, heart valves and other organs. >> this is the beginning of, you know, full-scale tissue engineering. where the goal is ultimately to being making pieces of organs or entire organs. >> reporter: although these findings are exciting, they have yet to go through a vigorous scientific review. we're at least a year away from
knowing the ultimate outcome. >> but tell me what's next. we heard bladders. they've already recreated bladders with stem cells. >> that's right. >> and also tracheas now. what's next? >> blood vessels, ears, heart valves, liver. i mean, it's endless what's being worked on. it's absolutely fantastic. >> feel like a breakthrough to you? really exciting? >> i think it's a tremendous breakthrough. the idea you're using your own cells to recreate body parts is fantastic. >> this was always the dream of what was in the future. >> and in our lifetime. >> and in our lifetime. thank you, rich. still ahead on "world news" -- can you guess which religion in america drinks the most? which one drinks the least? [ michael hall ] we are only as good
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"on the money" tonight -- "on the money" tonight -- a powerful rally on wall street. afterw industrials surged more than 200 points after a trong report strong report on global manufacturing. and a new study about aboutrs and nondrinkers in america -- ers inu guess which groups have the most drinkers? more likely you armore money you make, the more likely you are to be a drinker. 81% of higher income people 81% of drink. th religion?r the education, also more likely to drink, 79%. and what about religion? well, protestants are the least likely to be drinkers, abstaining more than any religions. 39% of protestants say they do not drink at all. re y dut 20% of catholics and 20% of other religious groups and atheists abstain. and from drinking habits to an epic shift in our sandwiches. those of us who grew up loving
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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.
generations of americans grew up with the story of billy the kid, the gunslinger who became a folk hero even though he was a killer. well, now new mexico's governor is thinking of adding a new chapter to his story by pardoning him 130 years after his death. why? here's david wright. >> reporter: he was a bucktoothed kid with a winchester 73.
the wild west's most notorious juvenile delinquent. this is the only known photograph of billy the kid --- a.k.a. william h. bonney -- wanted: dead or alive." so why is the governor of new mexico even talking about a pardon? >> times have changed. >> times, maybe. not me. >> reporter: on the silver screen, the legend of a likeable gunslinger who died with his boots on at age 21 -- >> you sat up there in the rocks and you murdered him. >> reporter: -- has meant big bucks for modern new mexico. the state website promotes a six-day billy the kid self-guided tour. but there's another reason to justify a pardon. and that is that billy the kid was promised one back in 1879, for testifying against a rival gang. >> billy agreed to squeal in exchange for amnesty. >> reporter: governor bill richardson has been mulling the
issue over for years now. >> if there is evidence, i will consider pardoning billy the kid. >> reporter: this week, he's expected to meet the descendents of lawman pat garrett who hate the idea of a pardon. >> why doesn't the governor attend to doing his governor work and stop trying to be a tourist agent? >> i haven't made a decision yet. >> reporter: history buffs are watching with interest, hoping that, one way or another, this legendary outlaw will finally get what's coming to him. david wright, abc news, washington. >> on the edge of our seats. and we hope this begins a wonderful week for you and that we see you right here tomorrow. a big victory tonight for ac transit drivers. we're live with the ruling from a judge that could have a major impact on series. >> race for the top goes down for the wire. new standards for california schools and possible payoff from washington. >> i'm nannette mirror randa. lawmakers back from summer recess and ready to tackle the
controversy surrounding salaries and pensions of city leaders in bell. but the question is whether they can get changes done in time. >> trains once chug add long the water front making sure old belt line doesn't go to waste. >> good evening, everyone ai. judge in east bay just issued a ruling in the ac transit dispute siding with the bus driver. >> ac transit impose aid contract two weeks ago but the drivers previous contract is back in mace. abc 7 is live in oakland with the late ruling for us. heather? >> well, atu, the union representing drivers says the judge's ruling in its favor this afternoon means that series will be reliable again, like it was before the imposed contract.