tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC December 3, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
flu. challenge on the u.s. fiscal crisis, the texas woman taking on washington and saying, if congress can't solve it, cut off their paychecks until they do. and eyes wide shut. you will see our reporter behind the wheel, his eyes open, his brain asleep. an abc news experiment on drowsy drivers out cold, and they don't even know it. good evening. we begin with that announcement out of england today that rocketed around the world. the future queen, kate middleton, expecting her first child, but she was rushed to the hospital, prince william by her side. abc's lama hasan is here. we talked with sources inside the palace, and she has the latest on what happened. lama. >> reporter: good evening, diane. well, the couple had been so
tightly lipped about the pregnancy that some here at the palace the queen, prince charles and other members of the royal family reportedly only found out about it today. but when kate was hospitalized, the palace decided it was time to break the news to the world. the last time the world saw kate middleton was on friday, a picture of health playing field hockey. now we learn the duchess of cambridge is pregnant and hospitalized for a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. the palace today saying as the pregnancy is in its very early stages, her royal highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter. hg is a severe form of morning sickness that debilitates 2% of expectant mothers, causing severe vomiting, weight loss and dehydration. abc's sharyn alfonsi experienced it with both of her pregnancies. >> it's so much more than morning sickness. you are sick morning, noon, night.
you're not throwing up a couple of times a day, you're throwing up, you know, two dozen times a day. you can't keep anything down. >> reporter: kate is likely less than 12 weeks' pregnant. in most cases, the condition will ease after 16 weeks. doctors say hg can also give a hint about the baby. studies show mothers that experience it have slightly higher odds of carrying a girl or twins, and if there are twins and there needs to be a c-section, doctors tell us it is clear that one will need to be delivered first and that's the first in line. looking at the royal line of succession, there is the queen, then charles, william, then harry. but the rules of succession are changing, so whether wills and kate have a boy or a girl, this new baby will now bump harry and 37 other members of the royal family and be next in line after william. >> william's child will be third in line to the throne regardless of whether it's a girl or boy. >> reporter: ever since the fairy tale wedding 18 months ago, the world has been watching
for a baby bump, and kate kept us guessing. there was this moment when the duchess toasted with water and not wine on the couple's third official tour representing the monarchy. and this when william sparked speculation after accepting a baby gift. and prince harry, who is serving in afghanistan, reportedly found out he was going to become an uncle by e-mail. as for kate, well, she'll remain in the hospital under observation for several days. diane? >> thanks. >> we read your questions online all day about this condition that sent kate middleton to the hospital, and we bring in now abc's dr. jennifer ashton, an obstetrician who has delivered, am i right, 1,000 babies? >> yeah. >> how big a risk is this to mother and child? >> to be clear, this is potentially very serious for a pregnant woman. at this stage of pregnancy, however, most of the risks lie with the mother. >> and how do you treat it? what do you do? >> it really depends how sick the mother is.
we usually start by modify the diet, feeding bland meal, small frequent meals, then if necessary the woman might need to be admitted to the hospital where i. v. fluids or i.v. hydration is given. if that doesn't work we go on to medications, and these are very strong anti-nausea medications that work both in the brain as well as the stomach. if necessary, tube feedings with a permanent catheter might be needed. >> but i know that you wanted to stress to everybody this isn't morning sickness, as sharyn alfonsi said, this is a spectrum of different reactions. >> absolutely right, diane. this is a much bigger deal than just queasiness. this is potentially very serious for a pregnant woman. >> but she is getting great medical care. >> absolutely. we'll follow it. >> thank you, jennifer ashton. and now we turn to the news tonight on the game of dare and double dare in washington. 29 days until america goes over that fiscal cliff, which would upend family budgets. and late today democrats and
republicans now both have plans on the table. just as an ordinary citizen, who has had it with gridlock, says what if all of us did something that made them get to work? abc's jake tapper on the state of play tonight. >> reporter: yesterday in arlington, texas, data analyst deborah page was watching the sunday political talk shows when she got angry. >> the president's idea of a negotiation is roll over and do what i ask. >> we're not going to extend an extension of the tax rates for the top 2%. >> if i was working the way congress and the president are working, i would probably lose my job. >> reporter: so early this morning, paige went on to the petition page on the white house website and wrote a petition that would cease paychecks and health benefits for all members of congress and the president until the fiscal cliff is avoided. unlikely, but a reflection of voter frustration as both sides dig in. the white house demanding higher tax rates for the top two tax
brackets and republicans refusing. after refusing the proposal last week, house republicans offered an outline for $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction mostly through spending cuts, and while president obama would not answer questions about the counterproposal -- >> no deal better than a bad deal, sir? >> thank you. >> reporter: -- a senior white house official assailed it as a step backwards saying if republicans do not agree to some higher rates for wealthier taxpayers, the nation will go over the cliff and the american people will hold the republicans responsible. wall street remains optimistic a deal will be struck, so the lack of progress has not yet resulted in a market plunge, but some economists estimate that because of the uncertainty posed by the fiscal cliff, at least 200,000 fewer jobs have been created this year. and, diane, the official deadline for the fiscal cliff is december 31st at midnight when the ball drops in times square, but there's actually another deadline. the house of representatives is
scheduled to go on winter break a week from friday, so really there are only 11 days to work out a plan as of now, diane. >> talk about the clock ticking down. thanks so much, jake. and, of course, the president also spoke out today about the lethal stockpile of chemical weapons in the hands of the brutal regime in syria. chemicals so deadly, one drop can kill within minutes. abc's senior foreign affairs correspondent martha raddatz on these weapons and whether it means the u.s. may be forced to take action. >> reporter: the latest intelligence is alarming. officials telling abc news the u.s. is now seeing specific signs that the syrian regime may be preparing to use the chemical sarin against opposition forces. sarin is an extremely toxic substance that can kill a person in a matter of minutes with only one drop. the victims suffocated from the paralyzing effects of the toxin.
this new intelligence has the obama administration so concerned, harsh warnings came today from the president himself. >> i want to make it absolutely clear to assad and those under his command, the world is watching. the use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences, and you will be held accountable. >> reporter: a senior official tells abc news that there are contingency plans for military action if the weapons became a threat. the syrian regime said today it would not use chemical weapons under any circumstance, but president assad's father used them, diane, and assad himself has been massacring his citizens for nearly two straight years, as you know. >> i do, and thank you, martha raddatz, reporting in on syria tonight. and now we turn to a health alert from the nation's top doctors. flu season has begun weeks ahead
of schedule, and it's promising to be a bruising year for the flu. but abc's chief medical editor dr. richard besser says there is a smart way to take care of your family tonight. >> reporter: you may get something you don't want for christmas, a nasty flu. today the cdc announced flu season, which usually starts in january, is already coughing and aching its way across america, the earliest flu season in a decade. >> the strain of flu that's most common so far this year, h3n2, has been associated with more severe flu seasons and more very young and very old people getting severely ill. >> reporter: five states, tennessee, mississippi, alabama, louisiana and texas, already have widespread flu. missouri and georgia aren't far behind. more people with fever than in some flus, body aches, sore throat, nasal congestion and headache. but there's good news. this year's flu vaccine is a good match to fight this year's bug, which means you should be getting something else for
christmas a little early, a flu vaccine. dr. richard besser, abc news, new york. and now we move on to that tragedy in the headlines. violence by an nfl football player who killed his girlfriend and then himself. tonight, we are hearing from family members and a famous sportscaster has prompted a debate about gun control. abc's john schriffen. >> reporter: relatives of kansas city chiefs linebacker jovan belcher speaking out today trying to make sense of this tragedy. >> we are overwhelmed with both sadness and confusion. >> reporter: belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, kasandra perkins, saturday. tonight her family releasing this statement saying "please keep us in your hearts and prayers, as well as the belcher family, for two lives were lost." and here inside the chiefs' practice facility, you can see his locker is still filled with all of his gear. the team says they don't know
when or if his locker will be cleared out this season. the incident reignited the gun control debate. sportscaster bob costas taking a stand on sunday night football. >> if jovan belcher didn't possess a gun, he and kasandra perkins would both be alive today. >> reporter: today chiefs head coach, romeo crennel, who witnessed belcher's suicide, added his voice. >> all i know is a player with a gun and i know it's not a good thing. >> reporter: but what drove belcher to kill? was it a head injury, so common in football, or was this another tragic instance of domestic violence, which kills two to three women in this country every single day? john schriffen, abc news, kansas city. and still ahead on "world news," a surprising experiment. is it possible you are sleeping behind the wheel with your eyes wide open? be sure to watch next.
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[ male announcer ] it's that time of year again. medicare open enrollment. time to compare plans and costs. you don't have to make changes. but it never hurts to see if you can find better coverage, save money, or both. and check out the preventive benefits you get after the health care law. ♪ open enrollment ends december 7th. so now's the time. visit medicare.gov or call 1-800-medicare. and now we have a special experiment to show you. what happens when you think you're awake behind the wheel but your brain is going to sleep? drowsy driving is so serious in this country, there are now criminal cases in half a dozen states threatening jail time for people accused of being too sleep deprived to drive. abc's ron claiborne wants to show you what happened to him.
>> reporter: my eyes are open, but what you can't tell in this experiment, i'm actually asleep. every day an estimated 250,000 americans fall asleep while driving like this woman, who was videotaped seemingly nodding off at the wheel in denver. sleep-deprived drivers are blamed for thousands of crashes every year. but many times it's not that obvious. scientists say there's something called microsleep where you can fall asleep for just a few seconds without realizing it. sometimes with your eyes open. >> hi, i'm ron claiborne. >> reporter: we traveled to the liberty mute cal research institute outside of boston where they study microsleep. >> microsleep is a very brief transition from wakefulness to sleep, and it can last up to maybe 20 or 30 seconds. you're awake and suddenly asleep. >> reporter: i agreed to take part in an experiment. i would drive while sleep deprived. to mimic the condition of people who do not get enough sleep, i stayed up all night.
>> i've been up for close to 24 hours. >> reporter: i was hooked up to a brain wave monitor. i thought i could handle the driving. i'm feeling okay now and got behind the wheel of a minivan. i'm feeling pretty worn out. my eyes are open but i'm asleep and here too. this is what microsleeping can look like. at one point i did dose off. that was not good. finally, doc, i'm done. i knew i had dozed off a couple of times, but what was stunning, i had actually microslept 22 times and never knew it, so what was going on inside my brain? >> this is evidence that you're falling asleep. >> my eyes were open but see how these lines are becoming more jagged. that's sleep coming on and these lines show my blinking is getting slower. i'd microslept for three seconds. if i had been driving 60 miles an hour, i would have gong the length of a football field asleep. i was in a real twilight zone the entire time. and it was scary. >> 22 times you dozed off.
>> and i remember two. >> you only remember two. >> i remember two. >> what a lesson this is. what about caffeine, you lower the windows, you put on the music. >> i asked the experts that. turning up the music, putting down the window, yelling to yourself, that doesn't work. caffeine will stave off the sleep for awhile but only for awhile. it is not an antidote. it is not the solution. >> is there any specific signal that lets you know your brain is going to sleep? >> that's the insidious thing about this. there is no way of knowing, no way of predicting you'll be too tired. if you are tired, you are too tired, get off the road. take a nap, do not drive. >> and, again, hundreds of thousands of people are out there on the road with this. thanks so much, ron. and coming up next, you better watch out. the thieves are stealing holiday decorations, a real-life grinch in our "instant index" tonight. . here he comes. you wouldn't want your doctor doing your job, the pitch!
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he will be followed. that's the official word out of rome about pope benedict, who unveiled his new twitter account today within hours. pope benedict had hundreds of thousands of new followers. his holiness will send his first official tweet on december 12th and promises to answer questions sent to #askpontifex, which by the way means bridge builder in latin. the vatican says they like the latin meaning but also other simpler twitter handles were already taken. and another milestone in communications, and the number is 20. it was 20 years ago today that a british engineer cracked the code for a new kind of paging system. it allowed messages to go both way and sent a simple message that changed the world. it said "merry christmas." that was the very first text message. the inventor had no idea today we'd be sending 200,000 texts
every minute. merry christmas for sure. and we really do love hearing from you what captured your imagination, so tweet me your thoughts for "instant index" @dianesawyer. and coming up, the rule book for having a royal baby. which rules did diana break, and what will kate do? diana break, and what will kate do? are you stilg for a medicare plan? you only have 4 days left. open enrollment ends friday, december 7th. so give unitedhealthcare a call today. consider a medicare advantage plan. it can combine doctor and hospital coverage with prescription drug coverage for as low as a zero dollar monthly premium. you only have until december 7th to enroll. call unitedhealthcare today.
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call or visit us online. we're ready to help. and finally tonight, there are few families more bound by tradition than the british royals. the rules still taken very seriously even after diana defied them, so what will will and kate, today's modern parents, do? here's abc's nick watt. >> reporter: kate's already broken one rule, royal brides are supposed to be pregnant
within a year of the wedding. the role of the princess mum is not easy. diana tried to tear up the rule book. william, the first heir to the throne ever born in a hospital, not a palace. diana, the first royal mum to dare complain of morning sickness. also to fall asleep in public when her pregnancy was still a secret. traditionally royals didn't actually see much of their kids. but not diana. >> she wanted to be as present for her children as she possibly could. >> reporter: there were some royal rules diana could not shake. apparently william was induced, so the birth didn't interrupt prince charles' polo schedule. and the queen, not diana's own mum, was her first visitor. and the name, traditional, of course. bookies' favorites right now for kate and william's first born are george and anne. time has also ironed out the arcane and the downright barbaric. it was nearly 500 years ago that henry viii executed a wife who failed to produce a male heir.
and it's been nearly 100 years since government officials had to be present at a royal birth to ensure the baby was not an imposter. >> the duty of the wife of the future king is to provide an heir and hopefully a spare. >> reporter: but now it's time for the next generation. nick watt, abc news, los angeles. >> and we wish them well, and thank you for watching. we're always here at abcnews.com. "nightline" along later, and in this holiday season, we want to leave you with a festive postcard. this one from indianapolis, thanks to our affiliate rtv6. thank them for sending us all the sparkle of downtown indy as the city's famous circle of lights was switched on for the holidays. watch and be merry and good night, everyone. ♪
there has been an arrest for the case of this autistic woman. >> aftermath of a triple weather whammy with another storm coming in. we're live at the scene of a sink hole. >> tonight how an unfinished flood control project prevented downtown disaster. how it works. >> in sacramento, new lawmakers were sworn in today, marking a dramatic shift in the legislature. >> this will not be used until spring or summer. >> kind after mazing. >> kind of amazing. >> it's extraordinary. >> this neighborhood is under repair tonight, damage from a
week of wet weather was more on the way. good evening, everyone. i'm carolyn johnson. >> that giant sink hole is just one of many problems caused by a weekend of weather. the pavement just gave way on mountain view drive. just too much rain, too fast. laura anthony is live tonight. laura? >> this latest here is still going and will be sometime. but yu kilt tilts washed out yesterday have been restored to this immediate area. the city tells me that this culvert dates back to 19 30s. they have their eye on it and thought it might be undersized. that is proving to be the case, yesterday. this is one of the things people have to see to appreciate. that is the newest feature in the roadway here in one of the residential neighborhoods near downtown. the giant sink hole