tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC December 6, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
as well. >> from all of us here, thanks for watching. we appreciate your time. we'll see you at 6:0 tonight on "world news" -- done deal -- breaking news about those tax cuts. they will stay in place for every american. late word of a compromise. cutting cancer -- just in tonight, it turns out one aspirin a day can reduce your risk. and we also have news tonight about elizabeth edwards. word that she has taken a serious turn for the worst. closing in -- wikileaks founder julian assange ready to turn himself in on rape accusations as more leaks hit his website. and "dandy" don -- remembering don meredith, the glamorous quarterback who made us laugh as he put "monday night football" on the map. good evening.
we start tonight with taxes and breaking news. those politically charged tax cuts. they have been on the book since george w. bush was president. and there is late word tonight the fight over keeping those tax cuts has ended. president obama has agreed that everyone, including the wealthiest americans, will keep their tax breaks. so, what else was thrown in during the long behind-the-scenes negotiations? jake tapper is at the white house tonight with everything that's happened, right to this hour. jake. >> reporter: president obama came before the cameras this evening after days of deal making and announced that, in fact, a deal was at hand. >> i believe this bipartisan plan is the right thing to do. it's the right thing to do for jobs. it's the right thing to do for the middle class. it is the right thing to do for business. and it's the right thing to do for our economy. >> reporter: the deal includes not just extending the bush tax cuts for everyone for two more years, but other items the president was pushing
for -- extending 99 weeks worth of unemployment insurance benefits for an additional 13 months for approximately 9 million americans. a one-year payroll tax deduction for employees, from 12.4% to 10.4%, $120 billion worth. this means every working american will keep an additional 2% of the first $106,000 of their income. allowing businesses to deduct 100% of certain investments in the first year. and extending tax credits for college tuition, children and the earned income tax credit. some democrats think the president caved too quickly. >> i think a lot of people are wondering why president obama doesn't fight for what he believes in a lot more. >> reporter: all parties in the negotiations support continuing the lower bush tax rates on income under $250,000 a year. so the average u.s. household with an income of $49,777 will continue to keep its tax cut of $2,142. but president obama originally told voters taxes on income of
more than $250,000 a year should increase. >> we will take those tax breaks away from the wealthiest americans and put them in the pockets of hard-working americans. >> reporter: he gave in to republicans on that. so the family of the average wall street banker paid more than $311,000 a year will keep $9,318, as opposed to the $8,012 the president wanted him to keep. or take miami heat basketball star lebron james. he makes $14.5 million a year and will continue to keep more than $666,000 of that, as opposed to the president's original position of letting him keep just over $8,000 of that. and, diane, the white house says president obama would have gladly signed just the tax extensions, tax cut extensions, for middle class americans, but the votes simply were not there, and this is the best deal he could get, diane. >> all right, jake, our thanks to you. so the president has decided. i want to bring in john karl who covers capitol hill for us. because, as jake intimated
there, john, a lot of democrats are not very happy tonight. what does this mean for what happens next? >> reporter: well, diane, democrats didn't expect to like this deal but now that they're hearing the details, many of them are outraged about it. especially upset about a provision they didn't expect regarding the estate tax or as republicans like to call it, the death tax. the estate tax is supposed to go up to 54% next year but under this deal it would go down to 35% and only apply to estates valued at over $5 million a year. to a lot of democrats up here, that's just another big tax cut to the wealthy and, in their view, another reason to oppose that. >> so what faces the president in the weeks ahead? >> reporter: well, some tough discussions with democrats. i'm told vice president biden will be up here to try to sell this plan to democrats tomorrow. a spokesperson for the speaker of the house told me pointedly house democrats have not agreed to this deal. ultimately, it's expected that he will get the votes he needs here in the senate but it will be tough, could be close, and it's an open question over whether or not this could even
pass in the house. >> still, such an inflamed issue. thank you so much, john karl. we're going to move on now to big health news tonight. it is right there in just about every medicine cabinet in america. and tonight, there is breaking news about aspirin and the risk of cancer. a major new study just out shows one low dose aspirin a day, the kind millions of people take for heart health, could also significantly cut the risk of death from some of the most common forms of cancer. dr. richard besser has the news. >> reporter: the stunning finding came while researchers were studying 25,000 people taking daily aspirin to prevent heart disease. it turned out aspirin was doing something else -- reducing the death rate from cancer as well. >> what we found was in the trials where people have taken aspirin four, five, six, seven years on average, the risk of dying of cancer was reduced by about 25%. >> reporter: in other words, for every 1,000 people who took aspirin every day for at least four years, 23 ended up dying
from cancer. that compares to 30 who died from cancer in the group not taking daily aspirin. the aspirin was found to reduce the death rate for an array of cancers including colon, lung and esophagus. the most dramatic decrease was in gastrointestinal cancer. for every 46 people who took aspirin every day for five years, one life was saved. but there are risks that must be considered. what are the possible side effects from aspirin? >> the most important side effects are bleeding, stomach bleeding and stroke. they are potentially lethal. >> reporter: for joy cane, already taking aspirin to prevent heart disease, today's study is welcome news. >> hooray, that's how i feel. >> so what does everyone at home do now if they have it sitting in their cabinet or if they want to go buy it? >> this is -- it's exciting. if you have heart disease, here's another reason that you should be taking that aspirin. if you have cancer risk factors, you should really think about taking aspirin and talk to your doctor about that.
if you don't have the risk factors for heart disease or cancer, you have to worry about the side effects from aspirin itself. and i wouldn't jump into that lightly. >> so the side effects are real. take them very seriously. >> they are. bleeding and stroke are not things you want to mess around with so you want to make sure that the benefit is there for you. >> all right, dr. richard besser. this is a big study. >> it's very exciting. >> -- out tonight. thank you. as we said earlier, we do have a note tonight about a woman who has shown enormous strength battling cancer in the public eye since 2004, elizabeth edwards. we are told her family and friends, including her estranged husband, have gathered at her bedside in north carolina. doctors say further cancer treatment would be unproductive. she is separated from the former vice presidential candidate john edwards after that searing public drama we all know about. they have three children, from 10 years old to 28 years old. elizabeth edwards has put a message on her facebook page saying, "the days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. we know that.
and, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. it's called being human. but i have found that in the simple act of living with hope, the days i do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. with love, elizabeth." and, in other news, less than a week into december, half the country is shivering. through bone-chilling dead of winter cold, blasting down from canada all the way to florida, where the lows tonight sink into the 20s and farmers are racing to save the crops. matt gutman is in the middle of an orange grove in dundee tonight. matt. >> reporter: good evening, diane. it's a race against that cold. and growers here are using these sprinklers to try to cocoon these oranges in just a little bit of warmth. what we're talking about, it's just the southern tip of the shot of air blasting through the eastern half of the country. snow gridlocked buffalo, caused car crashes in indiana and even caught north carolina and
president obama off guard. >> although i have to say i came down here for slightly warmer weather. what's snow doing on the ground in north carolina? come on, now. >> reporter: around the great lakes, snowfall tonight and tomorrow will be measured in feet, not inches. and it's going to get worse. >> we do believe that there will be another shot of even colder air coming down into the deep south as we get late into this weekend and early next week. >> reporter: and with the jet stream shooting arctic air as far south as florida, the homeless are especially vulnerable. >> it's very difficult. i mean, really no shelter, no place to go. >> reporter: florida's $2 billion a year citrus industry is also vulnerable. growers are spraying crops. >> anytime that the temperature gets down to the mid-20s, we start to get concerned. >> reporter: but for some other floridians -- >> it gets me in the mood. nothing worse than shopping for a christmas tree when it's 80 degrees and humid. >> reporter: now, the
temperatures here in florida are going to sink down into the 20s. record temps mostly across the state. that cold is going to do two things -- if it doesn't kill these trees, it could make them sturdier, and could make this fruit, diane, even sweeter. >> matt gutman already in his sweater reporting to us from florida tonight. now, the abc news exclusive reporting this week on america's longest war, afghanistan and our question, can we win? more than nine years into the war, we launched a high-risk and ground-breaking effort once again to poll the afghan people about the u.s. and their view of this war. poll takers fanned out across all 34 provinces in afghanistan. afghan men and women braving danger to conduct interviews. their findings tracking with what we reported all year. while 62% of afghans still support the presence of u.s. forces in their country, that's dropped from a high of 78% in 2006.
eroding because of the concern over the length of the war, in its tenth year, and the civilian casualties. there is also increasing concern that the u.s. can ever provide security. it's gone down 12 points in the last year. at the same time, economic distress, as 40% of afghans say the availability of jobs and economic opportunity is getting worse. though interestingly, in the taliban stronghold of helmand province, the story is reversed. here, with the u.s. presence increased with the surge, confidence in the u.s. has grown. the numbers are up 15 points. and even with the long war and so much poverty, a majority, 61% of afghans, say they still have faith in the prospect that someday they'll live in security and peace. and my colleague, "gma" co-anchor george stephanopoulos, is on the ground in afghanistan, spending time with the u.s.
military man in charge there, general david petraeus. the two of them sat down to talk about the progress, the problems and the questions prompted by our new poll. george. >> reporter: diane, our poll also has some revealing findings on how the afghan people feel about the taliban. fewer than 10% support the group but almost three quarters of the afghan people say they want a negotiated settlement with the taliban. when i sat down with general petraeus, i asked him if he thought that was possible. of if he thought the taliban had to be defeated on the battlefield. >> well, it depends what you're talking about. there are already cases of reintegration of reconcilable elements of the taliban. in other words, midlevel leaders and below. >> reporter: i'm talking about the top level. >> 2 dozen. well, you know, in iraq, we never reconciled with the top level al qaeda in iraq leaders. what we did is we were able to reconcile with the midlevel leaders and the population that, in some cases, was opposing the new iraq. this is not a case where you see the hill that you have to take,
you take it, you plant the flag and you go home to a victory parade. this is a much more complex endeavor than that. and it requires a very comprehensive approach. >> reporter: what does it look like, that victory? >> well, it looks like an afghanistan that can secure and govern itself. >> reporter: and you're confident that the afghan government will be able to take over, afghan army will be able to take over by 2014? >> i don't know that you say "confident." i think no commander ever is going to come out and say "i'm confident that we can do this." i don't think there are any sure things in this kind of endeavor. and i wouldn't be honest with you and with the viewers if i didn't convey that. >> reporter: the bottom line for general petraeus, he doesn't see this war ending with some kind of paris peace talks summit, so his focus now is on beating back the taliban on the battlefield, so they will feel convinced that they have to reconcile with the afghan people and stop trying to dominate them and also so that afghanistan can never again
become what we most fear, a safe haven for al qaeda. diane. >> thank you, george. and i know we'll be answering more questions from afghanistan on our special series, "afghanistan, can we win?" it continues all week. still ahead on "world news" tonight -- authorities closing in on the man at the center of the wikileaks bombshell. and -- an all-american sports story comes to a close.
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now, news tonight that that wikileaks founder, julian assange, is on the verge of being taken into custody after days in hiding as a wanted man. his lawyers say assange is ready to turn himself in to british police who have a warrant stemming from a rape investigation in sweden. it comes as his website posts even more highly sensitive secrets. jim sciutto is in london for us tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the legal net is tightening around julian assange. his arrest imminent. >> i'm pretty sure authorities are obliged under the terms of the agreement to take mr. assange into custody and to comply with the warrant. >> reporter: but not before the wikileaks founder released perhaps the most controversial leaks yet, a list of sites around the world identified by u.s. diplomats as "critical" to america's public health, economy and national security.
a hydropower plant in canada supplying the northeastern u.s. a firm in scotland supplying nuclear powered submarines. the largest crude oil plant in the world, in saudi arabia. and a mine in the congo for cobalt, a commodity used in everything from jet engines to medical scanners. wikileaks says the list proves diplomats were in the business of gathering intelligence. u.s. officials see it as aiding and abetting terrorists. >> it's publication without regard to the consequences is deeply distressing. >> reporter: today the swiss government froze assange's bank account. assange's team sees all of this pressure as a coordinated effort to silence him. >> there has been incitement to commit murder by people in high places, which is outrageous. >> reporter: to strike back, assange has his so-called doomsday plan, vowing that if his site or he is harmed in any way, he'll release an
entirely new cache of documents -- revelations about bp and bank of america. secret military papers on the guantanamo bay detention center. video of a u.s. airstrike on civilians. more than 100,000 supporters have already downloaded the doomsday file. all they need to open it is the password, a virtually unbreakable 256 digits long. and that's what assange says he will send out to the world if anything happens to wikileaks, diane, or to his own safety. >> thank you, jim sciutto, reporting from london tonight. and coming up -- a popular beach where tourists are terrorized by shark attacks. i'm breathing better. so now, i can join the fun and games with my grandchildren. great news! for people with copd, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both, advair helps significantly improve lung function. while nothing can reverse copd, advair is different from most other copd medications because it contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator,
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all day, all night. nothing works better. there was word today that the highest court in the land and walmart, the largest private employer in the land, are on a collision course. the supreme court announced today it will decide whether a sexual discrimination case against walmart should proceed as a class action suit. and that would be the largest of its kind in history involving as many as 1.5 million current and former employees. every woman employed at any walmart for any length of time over the past decade. and also in the news tonight, sharks circling in egypt's red sea. a team of american shark specialists is en route to sharm el sheikh, a big foreign tourist destination, to solve the mystery of why sharks there killed one swimmer and injured four others. shark attacks in these waters are rare and experts theorize
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if anyone ever truly earned his nickname, it was "dandy" don meredith. a texas high school legend, he went on to be the dallas cowboys' first big star. but he quit playing suddenly at the age of 31. and soon he landed that job that would make him even more famous. >> standby, howard. here we come, frank. >> reporter: part of the original announce team for abc's "monday night football." >> it's good to be back, i've missed you. >> i didn't know you cared. >> reporter: it was a tv revolution, football in prime time. and the men of "monday night" were treated like rock stars. with his texas charm, meredith was the perfect foil to howard cosell, often more entertaining than the game. >> it's texas cornpone, "dandy" don meredith. >> i've never said anything ugly about you, howard. >> reporter: he once said, "i
don't know how badly i'd feel if i wasn't remembered at all." well, he is remembered. legions today are singing his trademark song. ♪ the party's over ♪ they say that all good things must end ♪ ♪ call it a night the party's over ♪ ♪ and tomorrow and next year starts the same old thing again ♪ >> reporter: john berman, abc news, new york. >> the irresistible don meredith. great to begin the week with you. we'll see you tomorrow nab tonight money raised for victims of the san bruno pipeline fire y it's not getting to those who need a help lg hand. >> the governor's parting shot to state lawmakers. another 10 budget in cuts. >> a federal appeals court
with a look at same-sex marriage. why people from around country came here to see it. >> technology that prevents your hair from falling out during chemotherapy. good evening, three weeks after the pg&e pipeline disaster victims are still waiting for financial help. >> they haven't received a dime of the money after the explosion and fire. >> the red cross has a million dollars in its san bruno fund and now the initial emergency passed it's basically just waiting for victims to contact them and apply for aid. the city of san bruno's $380,000 fund is another story. the 35 families who lost everything in the fire are spending the holidays somewhere new this year n this season of giving many wondering why the city won't