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tv   ABC World News Sunday  ABC  December 26, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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we'll see you at 6:00. i'm dan harris. tonight on "world news," whiteout. the epic blizzard bringing blinding snow and screaming winds to more than 70 million americans tonight. how long will this thing last and how bad will it get? nowhere to go. highways shut, trains halted, thousands of flights canceled. stranding travelers heading home from the holiday. shocking questions. a new generation of powerful tasers, even some police officers say they may be too dangerous. and, wheel of misfortune. the game show contestants who lost $800,000 even though they answered the big question correctly. and all they're getting now is a do-over? good evening. forecasters call this kind of dynamic intensifying storm a bomb. and tonight, more than 70
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million people are feeling the fallout. the snow is piling up from the deep south all the way up to canada. this is a time lapse picture from central park here in new york city today. blizzard warnings are posted from maryland to maine. close to two feet could fall in some places. howling winds are expected to create huge snow drifts. and offshore, waves as high as 25 feet. travel is considered very dangerous tonight. several states and cities have declared emergencies. we have a team of reporters out in the thick of the storm tonight. and we're going to start with ron claiborne on the jersey turnpike. ron, it looks like there's a lot of snow blowing in your face there. how you are doing? >> reporter: dan, it is rough out here. the visibility is getting worse, literally by the minute. we are now in practically whiteout conditions. the snow is coming down sideways, driven by powerful, powerful gusts of wind. this was a post-christmas present no one wanted. blinding snow, whipping wind, biting cold.
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>> if you don't have to get out, don't, because you're going to have to take a survival kit in your car with you. >> reporter: at the new york area's three major airports, more than 1,000 flights were canceled. thousands of holiday travelers weren't going anywhere, including marine corporal frankie, who was trying to get back to his base in california. what happens if you don't get back by the 28th? this is kind of beyond your control. >> bad news. bad news if i don't get back. >> reporter: calling the airlines' 800 numbers often proved futile, frustrating or infuriating. >> thanks for calling. due to high call volume, we're unable to take your call. >> i was hung up on seven times and i was finally on hold for four hours until i finally talked to a human being. >> reporter: by late afternoon, travel by train was limited. amtrak suspended service on its busy corridor between new york and boston. >> been delayed twice now. said only 55 minutes, they pushed it up to an hour. i don't know where it's going to be after. >> reporter: this storm is a powerful nor'easter that came churning up out of the southeast. >> latest weather reports are
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qualifying this storm as a blizzard, and unfortunately, our city is directly in the path. >> reporter: and as the snow piled up, road conditions deteriorated. how is it out there on the road? >> terrible. it's snowy. low visibility. really bad. >> reporter: but for those who could stay put this sunday after christmas, the snow was actually fun to play in. well, this is not a lot of fun right now, dan. it is really coming down here. and this is, believe it or not, not the worst of it. the worst of it will be overnight when the snow is expected to fall at a rate of two or more inches an hour and then let up sometime tomorrow in the morning. dan? >> does not look fun at all. ron claiborne, thank you for your reporting. get back in the truck. we're going to come back to you later in the show. thanks again. this is how airports looked last year on the sunday after christmas. packed with people heading home after the holiday. this year, with the storm canceling so many flights, check it out.
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a far different picture. many airports were nearly completely deserted today. and our david kerley has been keeping track of the airline cancellations all day. he is outside philadelphia international airport and joins us there tonight. i understand we almost didn't get to talk to you because the satellite dish almost froze in this weather. i'm glad you're here. what can you tell us? >> reporter: it didn't nearly froze. it was actually frozen, dan. i tell you, this winter wallop, as you mentioned, as ron is mentioning, is making it really difficult for people to get home from this holiday. and here in philadelphia, as you can see, it's a little quiet here at the airport. a lot of flights have been canceled here and all up and down the northeast corridor. and also something else that's been canceled tonight, the football game between the eagles and the vikings. but it's not just the northeast that's been covered in this white blanket. take a look at the south. this is virginia, which missed a white christmas by a day, but boy is it covered tonight. the last time atlanta had a white christmas was 1881. the year before, an associate of thomas edison invented electric christmas tree lights.
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>> we're not used to this kind of weather. >> reporter: in north carolina, 5 inches of snow piling up in raleigh. asheville broke its christmas record with 6 1/2 inches. another 2 1/2 today. and all of this on one of the busiest travel days of the year. with 1 in 10 travelers taking to the roadways. >> if you can avoid being on the road, then don't travel. if you're flying, then try to book the next flight out. >> reporter: thousands of flyers have been forced to rebook. this family, trying to get to north dakota, slept in washington's airport overnight, for an 8:00 a.m. flight. >> we went to get our boarding passes and it was canceled. next one out was 8:00 p.m. we weren't so happy. >> reporter: airport boards are filled with cancellations. delta airlines cancelled 850 flights. continental, 250. and believe it or not, that means that some of those americans stuck at london's heathrow airport because of bad weather there still can't fly home. this classic nor'easter did veer a bit, just grazing washington, d.c.
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so, the city which feared a sequel to last year's snowmageddon dodged the blizzard. that doesn't mean this family's plane will arrive on time. >> the best is just to keep a positive attitude because there's not much we can do about it. >> reporter: the storm is proving the nfl is not quite the postal service. canceling the game in philly with minnesota. a vikings team that must be frostbitten, losing its own stadium three weeks ago to snow. and they get to watch another snowstorm, this time, in philadelphia. you know, dan, the experts said, try and delay your plans by a day and leave tomorrow. but the way this storm is moving, it looks like tomorrow is going to be as problematic as today has been. dan? >> some people may have to put off their plans altogether. david kerley, thank you. now, to our meteorologist chikage windler, from our station in minneapolis. thank you for joining us tonight. how are we going to be living with this thing? >> it looks like today and tonight will be the worst of the snowfall.
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looking at radar right now, you can see just how much it is pounding areas from virginia beach all the way up to boston. and then it will continue in the form of snow into the morning hours across new england and finally taper off, but then comes the wind. so we're looking at another 24 hours of pounding weather across much of the northeast. you can see some of the heaviest bands right now from new york through bridgeport on to boston. watches and warnings. we still have winter storm warnings all the way from the carolinas up to maine, and blizzard warnings for nine states including the delmarva, up through new york city and including boston. here's a look at some of the storm totals as far as snowfall projections. already, about 11 inches reported in portions of the carolinas as well as delaware. six inches just east of new york city. and there could be a foot to a foot and a half plus from new york city up through the berkshire mountains of massachusetts, into the green and white mountains, as well as portions of maine. this is a big storm. >> really big. so, another 24 hours of snow and then comes the wind? >> then comes the wind and the cold behind that. and right now, dan, the storm is at 968 millibars.
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that's the equivalent of a category 1 hurricane. >> all right, quite a storm. i know you'll be tracking it for us. thank you for joining us tonight. we appreciate it. and as chikage told us, this storm is now heading north, putting boston directly in the bullseye. and that's where our jeremy hubbard is tonight. hey, jeremy. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, dan. it is already bad here, and this is nothing compared to what awaits in the overnight. we're in boston common, where it is windy. the snow is already falling at a rate of one to two inches an hour, and in the overnight, the hourly snowfall totals could double. it is a real mess here. forecasters are calling this a blockbuster storm. unlike any this region has seen in years. and road crews are trying to get a leg up, but it is a futile exercise, because overnight new england will bear the brunt of this storm. up to 20 inches forecast here in and around boston. the massachusetts governor has declared a snow emergency. essentially, an edict to stay off the roads at all costs, if you can, because of the danger. again, overnight, when the whiteouts are predicted, that could be a problem.
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but with trains canceled and air traffic crippled, the major roads are already jammed with holiday travelers trying to get on the front edge of the assault from this storm. one of the big concerns is power outages. emergency officials are worried that with 20, 30, 40, 50-mile-an-hour wind gusts, that could knock down electric lines and cause massive power outages in this part of the country. something they'll keep an eye on. dan, like much of the country tonight, it will be a long night in new england. >> jeremy hubbard, thank you. president obama is far from the snow in washington, and on the east coast tonight. he's wrapping up the first weekend of his christmas vacation over in hawaii. and our yunji de nies is there tonight. >> reporter: good evening, dan. the president spent the day with a mix of business and relaxation. he and the first family attended church services at the marine corps base here on the island. earlier in the day, he had a counter-terrorism briefing and he also called saudi king abdullah, who congratulated him on getting s.t.a.r.t. through the senate. yesterday, the president and first lady visited that same
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marine corps base where they spent over an hour thanking troops for their service. the obamas have had a relaxing holiday with plenty of time for golf for the president and beach time together as a family. here on the islands, we are expecting some weather woes of our own. heavy rain is forecast here for the next few days. but that won't spoil the president's holiday, because even with that wet weather, we're expecting highs in the upper 70s. dan? >> thank you, yunji, for rubbing it in. we appreciate it. today marked the start of the post-christmas shopping rush, fueled by all those gift cards and the low prices at the mall. and it comes at the tail end of what appears to be the best holiday shopping season, at least since 2007, and possibly ever. clayton sandell is on the story tonight. >> reporter: on this day after christmas, the sounds of sleigh bells are being replaced with the chirping of cash registers. shoppers are out in force, expecting good deals. >> if it's not half off, i'm not messing with it. >> reporter: and they're finding them.
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on everything from electronics to toys to clothing. jennifer found bargains on jewelry and a leather jacket. >> a necklace. a shirt and a jacket. all for around $52. >> reporter: all 50% off? >> yeah. >> reporter: for retailers, the numbers are finally heading in the right direction. after a dismal drop two years ago. this year, sales are expected to reach more than $451 billion. >> the consumer felt confident enough to step up their spending this holiday season. >> reporter: here in southern california, where it's sunny and warm, shoppers are hitting the malls. but on the east coast, it's a far different story. blizzards slamming eastern states threatens to keep millions of shoppers away from stores. >> if there wasn't a blizzard today, i'd be shopping. >> reporter: the good news is, some of the best deals can be found online, and out of the cold. besides weather, one down side for shoppers this year is they may find fewer items on the shelves. after slow sales in previous
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years, many stores ordered less inventory this year, leaving slim pickings and frustrated shoppers. >> to find a good pair of jeans is kind of tough. >> reporter: the east coast will have to dig out before the shoppers come back, but for retailers, seeing their best season in years, the skies are already clearing. clayton sandell, abc news, los angeles. overseas now, at least eight americans were killed in egypt today when their bus, a tour bus, smashed into a truck parked on the side of a road in the desert. 21 other people were hurt in this crash. tour bus crashes are not uncommon in egypt. eight foreign tourists were killed in an accident last month. and now to afghanistan, and one of the unseen battles in this war. it is the fight to maintain a crucial lifeline for the troops, one that allows them to stay in touch with their families back home. which is incredibly important at this time of year. mike boettcher is in kandahar. >> reporter: ten decembers in afghanistan. ten christmases at war. and still the mail pours in.
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little notes -- >> letter from my daughter. >> reporter: big gifts. >> it's the best of court tv. >> reporter: tasty munchies. >> bunch of junk food from my fiance. >> reporter: and silly things, too. 4 million pounds of it in kandahar alone. the infantry has surged. now it's the mail room's turn. >> the days are really kind of blending together, the more and more boxes there are. >> reporter: for a couple of days, the army is focused on its own hearts and minds. just e-mail won't do. there's still something special about mail you can touch and hold. but moving millions of pounds of mail in the middle of a war has its challenges. and there's only one piece of equipment that can do the job. the venerable chinook. since 1966 in vietnam, it has been the army's christmas sleigh. this chinook carries all those letters, flying well above ieds, the ambushes and gun fire. theirs is a risky job, but so
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important this week. they skillfully slip their lumbering craft into tight spots and tough spots. all the way to the seeming edge of the earth. >> i'm sure everybody will be happy after they see what we brought them. >> reporter: letters as important today as they were ten years ago. mike boettcher, abc news, kandahar. >> incredible pictures from the back of those chinooks. coming up here on "world news" this sunday, the next generation of tasers. are they simply too powerful? even some police officers are starting to ask questions. and, why did this couple lose 800,000 bucks after giving the right answer on a new game show?
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to london starts with arthritis pain... and a choice. take tylenol now, and maybe up to 8 in a day. or...choose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. enjoy the flight. police officers around the country are being armed with a new generation of remarkably powerful tasers. these devices are revolutionizing the way policemen and women do their jobs. but as abc's pierre thomas reports, they are also raising some troubling new questions about safety and the potential for abuse. >> get on the ground now. >> reporter: tasers have become a tool for nearly every police department in the nation in the last ten years. the devices have been used more than 1 million times, and police claim they keep officers from being injured and save the lives of suspects. now, an advanced generation of tasers has been introduced. weapons with more fire power. meant to address one of the occasional hazards of the
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original models. suspects getting back up after being tased. like all tasers, the new models fire metal hooks into a suspect's clothing or skin, delivering a 600 volt pulse. the charge causes the muscles to contract, temporarily paralyzing them. this new model, the x-3 handgun style taser, has three cartridges. the company says it's capable of subduing three suspects at once. but it would also allow an officer, in theory, to deliver a triple hit to one suspect. the new models are making the debate over their safety and potential misuse even more urgent. >> they are so easy to abuse. they're inherently subject to abuse. >> reporter: amnesty international, a long-time critic of tasers, points to 400 deaths related to taser use. and while many of those are linked to other contributing factors, like age or preexisting illness, it's unclear how a cop on the beat would be able to identify an at-risk subject in the heat of the moment.
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one police chiefs says more testing has to be done before they buy into the new breed of tasers. >> when we're talking about new generations of technology, we need to know what impact that has on the human being. >> reporter: taser says independent tests have shown the devices pose a very low risk. and one of the many questionable uses of tasers, like this case in california, where police tased a man on his own living room couch for refusing to comply. both the economy and police say training is the key to avoiding abuse. as i learned, when i tried and failed a simulation training exercise with the montgomery county maryland police. >> at this point in time, you have no reason to tase him. there's no active resistance. he's just noncompliment. >> reporter: pierre thomas, abc news, washington. and coming up here on "world news" this sunday, the couple that got the right answer on a new game show, but lost $800,000 anyway.
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the funny part, it turns out they actually got that question right. they bet that post-it notes were sold in stores before the sony walkman. now, the show's producers agree with the couple saying they had incomplete information. gabe and brittany won't get their $800,000 back, but they are being given another shot at winning a million dollars. take a look at how devastated the couple was when they saw the fortune vanish before their eyes. and they were right, it bears repeating. and you can hear the couple tell their story live on "good morning america" tomorrow morning. and, when we come back here on "world news," the latest on that epic blizzard pounding the east coast tonight. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use.
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we want to return now to our top story tonight, the blizzard powering up the east coast. tens of millions of people in its path. nearly two feet of snow forecast
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in soment places. our reporters are in the middle of it tonight. we're going to start with ron claiborne. he's on the new jersey turnpike. ron, what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, dan, there's not a lot of cars out here. i would say the good news about all the warnings that have been issued the last 48 hours are, it would appear that motorists are heeding those warnings. not a lot of cars out here. and they really shouldn't be. the conditions are really atrocious, dan. >> you look good in that hat, ron. i'm glad the win has died down a little bit. thank you very much. let's go to david kerley who is at philadelphia's airport. david, pretty much a paralysis when it comes to flights tonight, right? >> reporter: 400 flights have been canceled here in philadelphia. hospitality crews to help any incoming flights, if they are able to get in. american airlines has canceled most of its flights, so, yes. thousands canceled. look to rebook. make sure your plane is going anywhere before you try to go to the airport, dan. >> it is a mess. i think that is a fair description. david kerley, thank you. let's go now to jeremy hubbard, who is in boston, where the storm is headed next.
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jeremy, how bad -- it looks pretty bad already, and it's forecast to get worse. >> reporter: it is, dan. since we last spoke, the snow has intensified here, the wind has picked up, as well. it's falling one to two inches every hour. that's expected to double overnight. it is a mess, but people are out here actually enjoying the snow. they won't be for long, i have a feeling. >> i have a feeling, as well. jeremy hubbard, thank you. that's going to do it for "world news" on this sunday. much more coverage on and abc news radio throughout the night. and tomorrow morning on "gma." full coverage with robin roberts, chris cuomo and chikage windler, filling in for sam. that's going to do it for "world news." david muir is back in the chair tomorrow night. i'm dan harris. thank you very much for watching and good night.
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it could be because of storm tonight. so i'm really sad. >> frustration you and down new england as hundreds of flights are cancelled leaving passengers waiting for hours. this is new york central park where white christmas came a daylight. j.f.k. and newark are closed through tomorrow morning. mayor of philadelphia declared a snow emergency. good evening. i'm alan wang. bad weather is having a huge impact right here in the bay area. john alston is at san francisco international airport where a lot of people are going nowhere. >> the hits keep coming at sfo. east coast flights s


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