tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC March 31, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
hope to see you again in half an hour. >> bye-bye. tonight on "world news," the truth about american milk. a trace of radiation from japan turning up in the u.s. milk supply. exactly how much? is it completely safe? we take you inside the laboratory to see for yourself. tornado fury. violent twisters tossing everything in their path, even striking the space center in florida. mega wow. seven overjoyed coworkers claim that $319 million prize. and we find one of the colleagues who opted out of the ticket that day. what did he say to us? and, coming home. the marine who watched the birth of his first child from the battlefield with us finally gets to hold her tiny hand, right here, tonight.
good evening. we begin with america's milk, and that radiation from japan. all day, we have heard the reassurances that the radiation now being found in some of the u.s. milk supply is minimal and poses no risk. so, we spent this day answering some serious questions. since the radiation in some form has been found in 20 states, exactly how much has been linked to the milk and how the are experts sure that it is safe? abc's abbie boudreau is at a lab in san bernardino, california, tonight. abbie? >> reporter: diane, with radiation still leaking from the reactors in japan, tonight, here in california, there's growing concern about how that radiation is impacting our milk supply. this is the national air and radiation environmental laboratory in montgomery, alabama.
this lab is the front line of defense, where the government's been working around the clock to track radiation levels in milk produced all over the united states. that fresh milk could end up on your table within a few days. the levels of radioactive iodine detected in milk in washington and california so far are minuscule. the government says 5,000 times lower than what the fda considers a public health concern. and iodine breaks down quickly. even if a quart of milk in your refrigerator contained trace amounts, it would deplete by half in just eight days. as the nuclear crisis in japan continues, the epa has also increased radiation monitoring in drinking water, rain and snow. but it's the milk that has people in california concerned today, despite assurances of its safety. >> radiation in the united states does concern me and i would consider cutting back on my milk consumption or not
drinking it at all. >> reporter: so, how does radiation, all the way from japan, get into milk in the u.s.? it all starts from radioactive dust particles blown over from japan. they land on grass in the u.s. cows eat that grass and small traces of radiation then end up in the milk. >> from the time the cow produces the milk and the farmer collects the milk until it gets to your table is not very long. it's a matter of a few days. >> reporter: inside this california lab, we bring our own jug of milk to be tested. it takes up to 48 hours to get the results. they're used to weeding out salmonella, pesticides, hormones and e. coli. >> i would be more concerned about milk which is not handled properly and gets spoiled. >> reporter: more concerned about spoiled milk than the radiation levels, wow. >> yes. >> reporter: this doctor says unless radiation levels get higher, people should not be too alarmed.
and diane, the gott has stepped up its testing from quarterly to weekly and tells us it has no plans to slow down. diane? >> all right, abbie, thank you. i want to bring in dr. richard besser now. so, rich, talk to us as a doctor tonight. is it safe, would you say to us, it is safe? >> reporter: diane, the milk is safe. as a doctor, as your friend, i can tell you, these levels of radiation are not harmful. i drank milk this morning as did my boys and there's no reason to stop based on this. >> nonetheless, we think if any, even a speck of radiation in anything and we can avoid it, we should? >> reporter: well, you know, these are great tests. i get some comfort out of the fact that they can detect such a small level of radiation, because it tells me, if the levels start to rise, they're going to pick it up before it causes any harm, any health side effects. >> and how long before we can stand down on this whole issue? >> reporter: well, you know, until they get the reactor under control, you need to monitor. you're going to see an increase in radiation in the air before you would see a further increase in milk or water. >> all right, dr. richard besser, thank you.
good to have you here tonight. and we turn now to florida. a furious band of early spring tornadoes descended. thunderstorms also raced across the state today, causing injuries and heavy damage. and matt gutman is in lakeland, he has been in the severe storms all this day. matt? >> reporter: good evening, diane. i want you to see the wing of this plane. it's not actually meant to fold like that. it was picked up by this possible tornado, like dozens of airplanes in this airfield, thrown apart in some cases, the engines were ripped right off the fuselage. this was just one possible tornado out of many here in florida today. the funnel cloud roared out of the blackness. this family went crashing for cover. >> it through the port-a-pots up in the air. it was really strong. >> all of our trash bins were everywhere. they just went flying everywhere. >> reporter: the air show normally attracts half a million people. and for a few days a year, this becomes the busiest airport in the world. not today. >> this has not been a very good
year for sun and fun. rain and pain. how does that sound? >> reporter: the storm caused millions of dollars in damage. it ripped planes apart, shredded tents. but caused just a handful of minor injuries. nearby, the twister slammed into homes. >> huge burst of wind came through. >> reporter: fallen trees ripped down power lines as tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms blasted through florida all day long. it's part of a giant weather system enveloping the east coast with warm, wet air in the south and cold air in the north. >> on the northwest side, where we have enough cold air, it's going to be a heavy, wet snow that will probably accumulate over a foot. >> reporter: diane, dozens of planes were destroyed here, many only them replicas. extremely expensive, this one is $250,000. the good news is, the weather will improve tomorrow and the folks here at sun and fun say they will fly. diane? >> matt, it will improve for you, but here in the northeast, tomorrow, april fools' joke is on us. because it's one of the worst
winter storms coming. the forecast really does sound like a joke, a powerful nor'easter sweeping in tonight. winter storm warnings up from pennsylvania to maine. high winds, up to 18 inches of snow for our day tomorrow. and we turn next to questions about american jobs and your taxpayer money. we have two reports tonight. and we begin with the pressure on the chairman of the president's council on jobs and competitiveness. he is the head of general electric, ceo jeff immelt, and critics have been calling for him to go. why? jake tapper tells us about it. jake? >> reporter: good evening, diane. well, that's right. ge ceo jeffrey immelt has been under fire ever since it was reported last week that ge paid no federal taxes in 2010. we caught up with him this afternoon. speaking with business leaders this afternoon, ge ceo jeff immelt explained why his company paid zero federal taxes in 2010. >> we lost $32 billion in ge capital as a result of the
global financial crisis. >> reporter: ge's investment arm did lose money. but ge overall made billions, as we pointed out afterwards. overall, you did, ge made money last year, even if ge capital lost money. right? overall, you made $14 billion. so, i think -- >> we didn't make a lot of that in the u.s. our tax rate will go up. we had a lot of losses at ge capital. and over time, our tax rate -- we paid a lot of taxes over the last five or ten years. >> reporter: if ge paid at the same tax rate of the average american taxpayer, 18%, the company would have added $2.3 billion to the treasury instead of zero. ge even got more than $3 billion in tax benefits. >> that is a corporate tax rate of, hold on, $3.2 billion -- negative 60%. >> reporter: what ge did was perfectly legal, but critics say the company exploited loopholes in the tax code. and liberal groups such as moveon have called for immelt to step down from the chairmanship
of president obama's job council. former senator russ feingold called immelt everything that's wrong with corporate power today. what do you make of the criticism for the people who say you should step down? you're not a good role model? >> look, i am completely focused on building jobs and competitiveness in the u.s. and i'll do my best to do a good job with that. people can think what they think. >> reporter: how do you respond to people who say, the taxpayers were there for ge capital when you guys needed us, how come ge is not there for the taxpayer? >> the taxes, we had billions of dollars of losses in ge capital, our taxes are going to go up this year. over the last five years we paid more than $14 billion in taxes. >> reporter: and diane, ge's immelt responded to criticism that since he became chairman, the company has shed jobs and increased outsourcing. he said that if you remove from the equation the fact that he sold half the company since he became ceo, there's actually been job growth at ge. diane? >> well, thank you, jake. as we said, he's under a lot of pressure these days.
and we turn now from taxes to how the taxpayer dollars are spent. a new report out today reveals that some of the tea party politicians sounding the alarm about government handouts are taking handouts themselves. jon karl caught up with them today. >> reporter: republicans rode into power on a wave of tea party anger over big government and promised to do something about it. >> rein in the runaway spending. >> end the excessive spending. >> we were sent here in november to do a job. >> reporter: but at least five house members tied to the tea party movement collected more than $100,000 in federal farm subsidies since 1995, totaling more than 8 million taxpayer dollars. at the top of the list, congressman stephen fincher of frog jump, tennessee. you directly had $110,000 in subsidies. according to a new study by the liberal environmental working group, fincher's family farm received more than $3 million in subsidies since 1995. more than $100,000 going directly to fincher himself.
are you willing to see all your subsidies go away? >> we need a better system than we have now. >> reporter: but are you willing to stand up, say, me, no more, i'm not going to take anymore of these subsidies. >> we need a good, better -- we need a better farm program and we need to streamline it. >> reporter: that's not a yes. >> that's what we need to do. we need to look at many, many options and that's a long way off. >> reporter: farm subsidies cost big bucks. in 2009 alone, more than $16 billion. that's more than the entire budget of the federal aviation administration at every airport in america. at least one of those tea party farmers is calling for all farm subsidies, including his own, to be cut. >> there's no reason for direct payments adding to our burden of debt. and it manipulates the market. >> reporter: but not the others. here is what vicky hartzler, who has received nearly $775,000 in subsidies for her farm, told diane sawyer earlier this year. >> i think we need to make sure everything is looked at before
we just pick on the farmers. >> reporter: congresswoman hartzler stood by those words today and she is not alone, diane. for all the republican zeal about cutting spending, they have not made any significant cuts to agricultural subsidies, at least not yet. >> all right, jon karl reporting from capitol hill tonight. thank you, jon. and we go overseas now to the drama in libya. for the third straight day, rebel forces report they are back on their heels and looking to the skies, some of them in anger, for the nato air strikes that do not come. our alex marquardt spent the day with the frantic rebel forces on the ground. they say they're barely holding on. but u.s. forces say bad weather and cloudy skies have made it impossible to launch strikes on the ground because they can't distinguish friend from foe. still ahead on "world news," how did this candy bar help seven coworkers win $319 million? and what happens when we find one of those who decided not to buy in the ticket that day?
how prince charles is helping kate middleton prepare for the royal wedding. what prince harry told us. and, we were there when he watched her birth from inside his battlefield vehicle. tonight, we're there when daddy sees his little girl for the first time. today we'e going to surprise people with the taste of activia. that' good. #wow. this is really good. great flavor! it's eally creamy, it's really tasty. ooh! wow! jamie lee curtis! it's acivia! it' delicious. i am shocked. it's had to believe it')s that good for you. it's so goo. try the fabulous taste of activia today. taste it, love it, or it's free! and now discover activia dessert. in rich indulgent flavors #like strawberry cheesecake. try activia dessert today. ♪ activia ,
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and now the story the whole country has been talking about. the world met the so-called albany seven. the band of employees who pitched in $2 for an office pool and came away with $319 million in the jackpot. a cinderella story, except for the five coworkers who decided to skip the ticket that day. well, jeremy hubbard caught up with those celebrating and those thinks what might have been. >> reporter: as the seven new multimillionaire coworkers were unveiled to deafening cheers, back at their office stood one of the unluckiest guys on the planet. are you upset you didn't buy in? >> not upset. and i feel great for the seven who won. i'm very happy for them. >> reporter: mike here is one of the five coworkers from the state of new york i.t. department who wasn't feeling lucky last week so he didn't chip in his usual $2 to the
lottery pool that made his officemates $19 million richer after taxes. hard to believe he's not bitter. >> hardest workers i've ever met. that's all i really have to say. i'm very happy. we're all happy for them upstairs. >> reporter: the winners say everyone in the office knew the rules. >> we have a list that we have every time we have a drawing. if you get in, we mark in. if you don't get in, we just put a line through your name. and you're out. >> reporter: truth is, they'd all be out if it weren't for a snickers bar. mike barth was the designated ticket buyer last week, in line at this albany, new york, store, when he got a craving for one of these. >> so i reach over, you know, i'm sort of pulling myself out of the line to get the candy bar. this guy jumps in front of me. and i'm like, maybe i should say something, that was pretty rude. but i didn't. i was behaving myself. >> reporter: that rude customer bought the losing ticket meant for these guys. but luck intervened. >> i checked the ticket and i rechecked it and rechecked it and couldn't believe it was real. >> reporter: first thing
gabrielle is buying is a dishwasher. john hilton turned in his retirement papers yesterday. as for whether they'll share the wealth with the unlucky five back at the office, they're still deciding. mike says he doesn't expect them too, and that's okay. you're not mad? >> absolutely not. they're great people. they deserve it. they're great. >> reporter: jeremy hubbard, abc news, albany, new york. >> and let's hear it for mike and how gracious he is. coming up, what are kate middleton and prince charles tackling together for the royal wedding? prince harry tells us. to you b. so now your doctor's talking about plaque building up in your arteries -- she called it coronary artery disease. you think that's something you can just stick in an email and that's the end of it? do you know me? look, bonnie. i know you've been exercising and eating a healthier diet. and that's great. but you wrote that your doctor also wants you on this cholesterol medicine -- niaspan. i know -- another pill. i get it, i do.
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four weeks from tomorrow, prince william and kate middleton will wed, but the best man, prince harry, is in an icy remote region of norway tonight. he is helping four soldiers wounded in afghanistan trek to the north pole a few hundred miles away. and our bob woodruff talked to the prince about the soldiers, their bravery and the prince's wedding role to come. >> reporter: it has been a dream for the four soldiers and prince harry, as well. is it okay if i call you prince harry? >> whatever you want. can i call you bob? >> reporter: a trek to the top of the earth, wounded brothers facing a challenge together. this is such a beautiful place out here. putting so much time in for walking with the wounded. >> proves that no matter what, you can progress with your life. >> reporter: by day, skiing the mountains. racing snowmobiles. but the wedding of his brother awaits him.
prince charles, your father, i can only imagine this is very important to him. the very first son getting married. >> yeah, i know, he's over the moon, actually. and he's managed to make time to sort of help kate out with the music and stuff like that, the procession music, which is i think is fantastic. he's obsessed with his music. he's been slaving away, getting it all right. >> reporter: your brother said would like to have something for your mother who is not going to be there. >> she would be very, very proud that the big day has come. we all thought it was never going to happen for him. >> reporter: i asked about the stag party harry threw for his big brother. he joked back his lips were sealed. but as the best man, he has another duty. the wedding speech. can you tell me some details about what you'll be saying? >> i haven't written it yet. the speech will be like any normal best man speech and make sure people know the good times and the bad times that he's had since he was little. >> reporter: the wedding is still weeks away.
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tableau of lives put on hold as husbands, sons, fathers, including the fathers who have never seen our held their child. >> kind of hard for me to be here and not being able to be there for her. comfort her. >> reporter: this sergeant, ken, was awaiting his first child, about to be born 7,000 miles away and a continent of yearning away. >> you're doing good, baby. >> reporter: so, with the help of skype and a unit of friends in the field and in the hospital, he sat in an armored vehicle in afghanistan and watched his new daughter riley take her first breath of live. >> she's beautiful! she's beautiful, ken. she's just beautiful. >> she is a pretty baby. >> she's adorable, daddy. look at that. >> just like her mom. >> look at the hair. >> hi, riley. >> mommy is a tough cookie, baby. and your daddy's a marine. >> reporter: and now, all these months later, lima company is home. and there's ken, running through
the crowd. and then he meets her -- >> hi, baby. >> reporter: the battlefield far away, as he holds her tiny hand. 4-month-old riley meeting the man who, as the song says, is already there. ♪ i'm already there ♪ i'm already there >> welcome home. be sure to check in at abcnews.com and watch "nightline" tonight. we'll see you tomorrow. south bay homes in peril from the weather.
we're live with a new attempt to save them. >> and in sacramento, it's a world of words here at the state capitol. the reform plan and republicans are not happy. >> and we're live in one of oakland's most-notorious neighborhoods. and a new call for safer streets. >> and witness for the prosecution. new testimony tonight in the barry bonds trial. good evening, we're going to begin live over the massive traffic back up on highway 101 around millbrae cause bid downed wires. >> chp reopened all lanes so cars are moving again. you can see it's going to take time to thin out traffic jam that started building about 3:00 this afternoon. >> the chp says a truck somehow snagged and brought
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