tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC August 11, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
with him on his cell phone. >> that is going to do it for us. >> tha tonight on "world news," epic disaster. 14 million desperate people trapped in what could be the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. the u.n. warns for pakistan's flood victims, time is running out. sudden celebrity. the infamous jetblue flight attendant walks out of jail and straight into the spotlight. what steven slater is saying today. superbugs. deadly drug resistant bacteria creating a dangerous new and global threat. dr. richard besser is here with what you need to know. and, change of heart. a famous catholic convert mega-selling author, anne rice, now says she's quit being a christian. she tells us why.
good evening. the warning tonight is blunt and urgent. the worst floods in memory are threatening one of the world's most dangerous places. huge chunks of pakistan have been swallowed by monsoon rains, and the united nations says that millions of lives are at risk. the u.n. coupled its warning with a call for almost half a billion dollars in emergency aid. u.s. help is on the way, too. the pentagon is rushing three ships and 19 aircraft to the region. nick schifrin starts us off from pakistan tonight. >> reporter: this was once land, home to tens of thousands of people. today, it's under 12 feet of water. we spent the day with the pakistani navy. abdul malik came to them, pleading for help. his family is stranded in their own home. he's not sure if they're okay. this is what is left of his neighborhood, but his house survived and became an island. those are his parents. we find another family.
there are 15 of them, a boy's leg is broken. an infant is sick. just this morning, not far from here, a baby drowned. the navy here has rescued thousands of people, but there are still thousands just like them who are stranded. and this is one of hundreds of lakes that these floods have created, and to give you a sense of the scale of this disaster, just this lake alone is bigger than delaware. now that you have your family, where will you go? "we have nowhere to go," malik says. "we have no one to help us, and no jobs." that's the biggest problem. the flood hit so quickly, there are few shelters, few relief workers -- little hope. in town, people are living by the side of the road, sleeping under propped up beds. and they're living in a former school, turned dirty and squall lid relief camp. tell me what happened to your youngest son. "he died yesterday morning," he says. "he died of vomiting of diarrhea." aid agencies and the government are overwhelmed. 6 million children have been effected.
affected. 2 million people are homeless. and 16% of the entire country is under water. and millions continue to wait for relief that hasn't arrived. nick schifrin, abc news, pakistan. >> if you're looking for ways to help, we've put a list of aid organizations on our website, abcnews.com/worldnews. and there is breaking news from chicago tonight. for the first time in 11 days of deliberations, the jury in the corruption trial of former illinois governor rod blagojevich is signaling that they are deadlocked. chris bury is following the trial and joining us now from our chicago bureau. chris, what did the judge and jury say today? >> reporter: well, george, the judge today said the jury passed him a note saying it was deadlocked. it could not reach a unanimous verdict on some of those counts. now, it is a complicated trial. there are 28 counts in all. 24 against rod blagojevich. four against his brother. so, the judge sent a note back
to the jury, asking for more specific. but one thing seems clear, the jury is sending a message that some kind of a mixed verdict seems much more likely now. >> blagojevich is not out of the woods, but this is the best news he's had in weeks. >> reporter: it may be good news for blagojevich. but the thing is, we don't know x of those 24 counts the jury is stuck on. or even how many. and the judge did say today that the jury could come back and deliver verdicts on some counts, but not others. now, the jury is going to go back and deliberate again tomorrow. the judge did say there's been no shouting through the walls, that it's been a very disciplined jury, george. >> okay, chris bury, thanks. now to politics, and results from this summer's super tuesday. there were big primaries in several states yesterday, setting the stage for the november midterms, just 83 days away. but in a year when some democrats are running away from the white house, and incumbents everywhere are running scared, what exactly were the voters saying yesterday? david wright found some answers. >> reporter: the first bit of
good for the president in colorado, where his favorite senate candidate won, and by a strong margin. michael
bennet took 54% of the vote. >> so, to the pundits and the talking heads, i have a simple message. welcome to colorado. >> reporter: bennet's rival, andrew romanoff, not only had is support of former president bill clinton, he was the beneficiary of liberal disaffection with obama. but in the end, the obama machine came through. >> this is a pretty good wednesday in the white house. >> reporter: in republican races, voters tilted to the tea party, and democrats say that will help them in november. in georgia, nathan deal narrowly beat sarah palin's hand-picked candidate for governor. in connecticut, a former world wrestling executive, linda mcmahon, won the senate nomination. and in colorado, tea party candidate ken buck easily won the senate primary. >> now they're electing conditions in their primaries that are probably too conservative to win.
>> reporter: but democrats are not counting their blessings just yet. republicans have high hopes of winning back the house. >> if they want
to see last night as a good night, they ought to savor it, because there aren't too many more good ones, election nights coming their way. >> reporter: one sign that president obama is slightly toxic right now -- >> do you want him to come back and campaign for you in colorado in the fall? >> reporter: today on "good morning america," obama's man in colorado didn't exactly welcome that help. >> well, you know, i just won the primary about six minutes ago, so we're going to have to give it some thought. >> reporter: the president's popularity has suffered, and that could spell trouble for democrats in the midterms. the republicans are hoping to pick up as many as 40 seats in the house, if the economy remains in the dumps, george. >> thank you, david. at the white house today, one of the president's closest advisers was forced to say he wasn't resigning. press secretary robert gibbs found himself fending off questions about his professional future after he spouted off about that, quote, professional left, who keep complaining about
president obama. yunji de nies was there. >> reporter: today, robert gibbs opened his mouth to prove that, in fact, his foot was not in it. >> i don't plan on leaving, so -- and there's no truth to the rumor that i've added an inflatable exit to my office. >> reporter: the press secretary is in hot water after scolding the so-called professional left. liberals who say the president has sold out his ideals to make deals. gibbs told "the hill" newspaper, "those people ought to be drug tested. they will be satisfied when we have canadian health care and we've eliminated the pentagon. that's not reality." gibbs blamed his addiction to cable tv for losing his cool. many on the left believe mr. obama has not kept his election promises, whether on health care reform -- >> this is an insurance company's dream, this bill. >> reporter: or not being decisive on gay rights. >> that's the president's position. clear as mud. >> reporter: polls show the president still enjoys the overwhelming support of
liberals. but on abc's "top line," liberal blogger jane hamsher says he's been taking them for granted. >> you sort of assume these people would stick with him. he's having trouble across the board. >> reporter: what do you say to progressives who say, if that's their attitude, i'm staying home in november. >> i don't think they will, because i think what's at stake in november is too important to do that. >> reporter: but the president also needs to shore up sort port with independents, so, for the mination, a fight with the left may not be all bad. george? >> that's right. that's why gibbs didn't fully take the comments back. thanks very much. "on the money" tonight, 24 hours ago, we told you about the glum new economic outlook from the federal reserve and confirmation that the recovery is slowing down. that helped trigger a deep selloff on wall street. the dow had their worst day since the end of june, down 265 points. there are harrowing new details coming out of alaska tonight about the plane crash that killed five people, including former senator ted
stevens. rescuers who raced to the remote mountains where the plane went down and helped save for four survivors are now talking about what they saw on the mountainside. neal karlinsky is in anchorage again tonight. >> reporter: inside the tiny twisted wreckage, four survivors spent a night that must have felt like an eternity. the injured, bloody and scared, seated alongside the dead. some of the few rescuers who made it to the steep mountainside, including three good samaritans, were dropped in under dangerously low visibility. they describe an impossibly slick, muddy slope, so treacherous they had a hard time just standing up, while trying to pry the plane open. >> there was just one survivor outside of the plane, under the wing and that's where he had spent the night. >> reporter: and was he one of the children or -- >> he was one of the younger ones. >> reporter: 13-year-old william phillips survived the crash, only to watch his father die before his very eyes. former nasa chief sean o'keefe
and his teenage son were hurt, but alive. in a statement late today, a family spokesman says their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, and we are confident they will make a full recovery. ted stevens was apparently dead on impact. >> i think they did have thoughts of their friends that were next to them. but also, a lot of their energy was going towards their survival and the will to live. >> reporter: survival seemed to be a lottery. one passenger in the front seat survived and rescuers strung a tarp over the cockpit to keep him dry. while right next to him, the pilot was dead, still strapped to his seat. john was one of the pilots who spotted the crash site. >> i learned later that the guy sitting in the co-pilot's seat was alive and trying to wave to me, but i didn't see that. >> reporter: rescue teams say the three good samaritans who hiked in and spent the night at the crash site may have made all the difference between life and death. >> oh, they were rock stars just
to get there in the first place, and kept them alive, kept their spirits up. >> reporter: former nasa head sean o'keefe seems to be in the worst shape. he's listed in critical condition. the others, we're told, are doing somewhat better, and investigators hope to be able to speak with them soon to try to get a better handle on exactly what went wrong. george? >> neal, thank you. still ahead on "world news," the flight attendant who stormed off the plane, speaking out tonight and weighing his next move. a new warning about drug resistant superbugs spreading around the world. what is the threat to your health? and, one-on-one with the novelist anne rice, about her incendiary announcement that she's quit christianity. copd doesn't just make it hard to breathe... it makes it hard to do a lot of things. and i'm a guy who likes to go exploring ... get my hands dirty... and try new things. so i asked my doctor
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that jetblue flight attendant who went ballistic is a free man tonight after posting bail. steven slater's mom called it a very small meltdown, but it sure has sparked a big response, and believe it or not, slater still has his job tonight. at least for now. here's andrea canning. >> reporter: he's the man everyone seems to be rooting for. >> some really great people out there and getting a glimpse of that. it's a surprise because obviously i've been away for a little while. >> reporter: steven slater headed here to this manhattan apartment building directly from jail, where he had spent the
last couple of days. when he was finally let out, a whole new life for the flight attendant. and clearly, everyone wanted a piece of him. >> seems like something here has resonated with a few people. and that's kind of neat. >> reporter: more than just a few. people from around the world have come to his defense, after his tarmac tirade. the flight attendant lost it after a rude passenger bumped him on the head. he started swearing on the intercom and even activated the emergency chute while travelers were getting off the plane. >> i thought about it for 20 years. you never think you're going to do it. >> reporter: and it's not the first time he's taken issue with overhead baggage. slater reportedly posted comments on this aviation website. "i hate to be a bag nazi when i work a flight. but i feel if i'm not, then i'm letting down all those who cooperate." delta's ceo used slater as an example of how to treat flight attendants today. >> we ought to take a lesson to be respectful of what they do. >> reporter: flight crews are
forced to deal with everything from carry-ons to chaos. to help handle the problem, jetblue has been turning former firefighters and police officers into flight attendants. >> the background brings a professionalism. demeanor and calmness. and an ability to execute under pressure. >> reporter: not exactly how steven slater handled the situation. in a jetblue internal memo, his bosses reportedly scolded his behavior, and the media, for turning it into a humorous example of walking off the job. he's still an employee, but the company tells abc news he's been removed from duty, pending an investigation. so, good thing, when one door closes -- >> you going to lose your job? >> more than likely. is this my ride? >> reporter: another always opens. andrea canning, abc news, new york. still ahead, a new warning about drug resistant bacteria spreading around the world. desperate for nighttime heartburn relief? for many, nexium helps relieve heartburn symptoms caused by acid reflux disease.
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it's been turning up in hospitals here and overseas. and the doctors who found the gene warn that it could soon become a worldwide public health problem. our senior medical editor dr. richard besser has more on the threat. >> reporter: a new study documents the spread of a gene called ndm-1 that can turn almost any kind of bacteria into a powerful superbug. even the strongest antibiotics are unable to treat these infections. the drug resistance is spread by plasmids, genetic material that can hop from organism to organism, which is then free to reproduce and share the resistance. originally found in india and pakistan, the gene has been seen in the united states, the united kingdom, netherlands, australia and canada. it's believed the worldwide spread is linked to tourists who received medical care in india and pakistan. >> the three cases that were reported in june in the united states all were traceable to people who had been in india. >> reporter: tackling this problem will require not only preventing these infections but
also creating new antibiotics. the problem is, few new antibiotics are being produced. >> we are not developing new drugs. and the few in development are not going to handle our problem. we have a real crisis in that right now. >> and rich besser joins us now. so, you say few new antibiotics are being developed. why not? >> reporter: it's not very profitable. if you take an antibiotic, it's usually for a week or so. so companies are looking to develop drugs that you'll take for the rest of your life. >> what can people do to protect themselves? >> well, these germs aren't more contagious than other germs, so, the things we've always been saying. wash your hands. don't ask for antibiotics, because you are more likely to get it, even if you don't need it. and if you can, stay out of the hospital. >> okay, rich besser, thanks very much. we have a high profile political death to note tonight. dan rostenkowski was steeped in chicago politics from the start. elected to congress at the age of 30, he served there 36 years. 13 of them as chairman of the
powerful waifs and means committee, before a scandal saw him serve time on fraud charges. in 1985, he famously asked americans fed up with the tax system to write him. >> even if you can't spell rostenkowski, put down what they used to call my father and grandfather. rosty. just address it to r-o-s-t-y, washington, d.c. >> dan rostenkowski was 82. and still ahead, why a hugely popular novelist says she's quitting christianity. one-on-one with anne rice. [ announcer ] how do you plus up breakfast?
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camera doesn't lie, next. finally tonight, the author anne rice has sold nearly 100 million books, making her one of the most popular writers of all time. but it's not her novels that people are buzzing about these days. it's this very public declaration. "i quit being a christian," rice wrote on facebook. she then sat down with dan harris to explain. >> reporter: recently, the woman who wrote such best selling novels as "interview with the vampire," when on facebook to write something shorter. and much more incendiary. you wrote on facebook, today, i quit being a christian, i'm out. you go on to call christians, as a group, quarrelsome, hostile and deservedly infamous.
>> i was saying, look, when you see the persecution of gay people by the mormon church, the catholic church, i'm not part of this. when you see the oppression of women, i'm not part of it. >> reporter: anne rice was raised catholic, but became an atheist at age 18. in 1998, she says she experienced a conversion and rejoined the catholic church. but she says she wasn't prepared with how frustrated she would become, by things like the priest sex abuse scandals, the pope going to africa and condemning condoms in the fight against aids and the church's involvement in the fight against gay marriage in california. >> the toxic anger built up the confusion built up and i thought, i have to get out of this. i want god to be the center of my life and somehow, i'm in bed with the devil. >> reporter: that's a very strong word you use there. devil. saying that there is evil operating in organized religion. >> i felt like i was in bed with the devil. >> reporter: part of her frustration, she admits, comes
from the fact that her son, christopher, is gay. >> i mean, it causes great moral discomfort when your church is calling homosexuality gravely disordered, and when they are spending money, maybe money that you yourself contributed, to fight, to support prop 8, i mean, i can't emphasize how demoralizing that is to me. >> reporter: in a country where a growing number of people now 17% say they have no religion, this story has touched a nerve. is it fair to paint organized religion with such a broad brush? >> i wanted to move away from all of it. i don't want to be in the dispute. >> reporter: to be clear, rice says she is still a follower of christ. >> every time i read the bible, i will mark down different things. >> reporter: this is no small amount of notation here. >> that's right. >> reporter: she says she will read her dog-eared bible and pray every day, just by herself. dan harris, abc news, rancho mirage, california. >> and you can see more of dan's interview later tonight on "nightline."
that's "world news" for this wednesday. i'm george stephanopoulos. for diane sawyer and all of us at abc news, have a great night. i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." >> surrender of an armed murder suspect and a east bay neighborhood. >> and in san francisco, there is a city has to refund fines for parking tickets.
>> and ground breaking today for grand central station of the west. the new trance bay terminal and the promise it holds for the economy. >> and a researcher uncovers evidence shedding light on eating habits of early human kind. >> good evening, it's happening in the east bay. an armed standoff with a murder suspect just ended. >> you're looking at a live picture this, is tape, i believe from sky 7 hd over the scene. this man was cornered after a chase in this neighborhood. police surrounded a man inside of his suv in the street. >> and alan wong is on the scene for us. we'll get to him as soon as we can. stay with us for latest on this breaking news from bay point. >> now two-to-an i team investigation into parking tickets in san francisco. the fines paid by hundreds o