tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC March 30, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
breaking news as we come on the air. the severe storm threat at this hour. tornado watches and warnings from louisiana to illinois. an ef-2 tornado damaging homes and an elementary school in arkansas. the system moving from the deep south to the northeast. millions bracing for twisters and damaging winds topping 80 miles per hour. ginger zee in the storm zone timing it out. overseas tonight, 24 hours after russia said it was scaling back attacks in parts of ukraine, new explosions reported near kyiv. the pentagon saying it's seen less than 20% of russian troops moving away from around the capital. haunting new images showing the widespread devastation of mariupol, the city leveled. president biden speaking with ukraine's president zelenskyy for nearly an hour today. what the u.s. is now promising.
and declassified u.s. intelligence about vladimir putin says the russian leader is being misled by his closest military advisers. james longman in kyiv tonight. back here at home, president biden's new covid warning, saying the pandemic is not over, but it no longer controls our lives. the now dominant omicron subvariant fueling an uptick in cases, one day after fda authorization of a second booster shot for adults 50 and older. president biden today getting his second booster in front of the cameras. new details about will smith's on-stage assault of chris rock during the oscars. academy officials now revealing smith was asked to leave after it happened and refused. chris rock taking the stage tonight for the first time since the incident. and we're now hearing from two of the oscar cohosts. stunning news about actor bruce willis. his family revealing the brain disorder forcing him to step away from acting. and the american astronaut returning to earth onboard a russian spacecraft after a record-breaking 355 days in space.
and after russia threatened to leave him behind. what the crew is now saying. good evening, it's great to have you with us on this wednesday night, i'm whit johnson, in for david. we'll get to the latest news from ukraine, reports of shelling in the very areas the russians said they would pull back from. and the new white house push on covid boosters. but we begin with that breaking news. that dangerous line of storms from the midwest to the deep south and up to the northeast. at this hour, tornado watches across parts of eight states, baton rouge, new orleans, and jackson in the bulls eye again. the images just coming in tonight. this extraordinary lightning reaching upward during a thunderstorm in wichita, kansas. a confirmed ef-1 tornado touching down in st. joseph's, missouri, tearing the roof off this home. and in northwest arkansas this morning, a powerful tornado, at least an ef-2, touching down.
one business destroyed. parts scattered 100 feet away. massive damage to an elementary school there. fortunately, before students had arrived. but seven people injured, two in critical condition. utility crews scrambling to restore power. abc's chief meteorologist ginger zee timing this all out from jackson, mississippi, a short time ago, as the tornado sirens were going off. >> reporter: whit, the sirens have been blaring here in dwntown jackson, mississippi, sheets of rain. and there is circulation of the radar. we've had tornado warnings right over us and now we're not the only ones. we are watching this intense line of storms -- and there you can hear the sirens going off again. moving all the way from western kentucky down to the gulf of mexico. watch as these watches expand overnight and you'll see the timing. if you're in the florida panhandle or birmingham, atlanta, even, you're in that midnight to 7:00 a.m. that's when it becomes extremely dangerous, especially if you are in a mobile home. that's where we've seen more
than half the deaths. by tomorrow, the line moves to the east. anyone have valdosta to savannah, up to, say, scranton, pennsylvania, and philadelphia, have to be on the lookout. whit? >> yeah, millions on alert. ginger, thank you. overseas tonight, the war in ukraine, on a day the russians said they were pulling back from around kyiv, no sign that the shelling will stop. and new images of the devastation in mariupol. nearly everything destroyed. 100,000 people still believed to be trapped there. and now the white house saying it believes that vladimir putin is being misinformed by his military commanders. they are not telling him just how badly his forces are doing. abc's james longman is in kyiv again tonight. >> reporter: putin's fury keeps raining down on ukraine tonight, despite pledges to reduce some combat operations. moscow with these new images of short range ballistic missiles which they say they're firing at
military targets in ukraine. russian forces unable to occupy, so they destroy. relentless shelling on the town of irpin just outside the capital, an area in which the russians had said they would drastically curb military activity. as you can hear, the war rages, and this -- this is one of the areas that the russians say they are now going to leave. but as you can hear, there are no signs of this war stopping. this man one of the volunteers who rush ambulances in and out of the town to evacuate residents. taras has been telling me this, that he's going to go back in to get evacuees from his town, whilst we listen to the sound of bombs in the city. the level of bravery here is just extraordinary. those saved from the bombs returned dazed to a world they'd been cut off from for weeks. this is vladimir, he's 85 years old. his wife svitlana, who quite clearly looks after him. sadly, he had a stroke 12 years ago. they just got out this morning from irpin. you okay? vladimir is helped into the car. "russian troops settled in our
apartment building," his wife tells me. "they settled everywhere and brought their tanks. and then when they withdrew, they brought hell down on us." and then it was time to go. the couple off to an uncertain future. and tonight, the white house saying it believes that vladimir putin is being "misinformed" by his military commanders who are too afraid to tell him the truth about how badly this invasion is going. declassified intelligence says putin feels "misled" by his defense ministry, which didn't even tell him russian conscripts were fighting and dying in ukraine. >> the fact that he may not have all the context, that he may not fully understand the degree to which his forces are failing in ukraine, that's a little discomforting, to be honest with you. >> reporter: the russians now say they'll focus on what they call liberating the donbas, which sets up a bloody second chapter of this war in the eastern region. in the south, the scale of the destruction of mariupol devastatingly clear in these before and after satellite images. entire neighborhoods obliterated. hundreds of people crowding
outside a supermarket, looking for food. and in kharkiv, a once prosperous town, now reduced to this. residents lining up for bread. the world food program estimates 45% of ukrainians are worried about finding enough to eat. president biden pledged another $500 million in economic aid to ukraine during a nearly hour-long call with president zelenskyy today. but hopes for a cease-fire remain elusive. russia's foreign minister said today ukraine's proposal to adopt neutrality represented "major progress," but ukraine has insisted that any peace deal would require countries including the u.s. to provide arms and impose a no-fly zone if ukraine were attacked. over 4 million people have now fled ukraine, half of them children. but millions are also displaced within the country. >> papa! >> reporter: the family of this boy was evacuated from mariupol after they were injured in the fighting. his father is being treated in another part of the hospital. a nurse tells him he'll see his father soon, but the boy just wants his dad. >> papa! >> those images just
heartbreaking. james longman back with us from kyiv tonight. and james, the pentagon today making clear, they're not seeing signs that russian forces are pulling back north of kyiv, instead, saying the russians are simply repositioning their troops? >> reporter: that's right, whit. they have just called it spin. the pentagon says that less than 20% of russian troops are moving back and they seem to be regrouping. and they're even moving troops out of the chernobyl region to replenish their ranks. whit? >> james longman, our thanks to you and your team again tonight. back here at home, president biden coming before cameras today, saying the pandemic is not over, but it no longer controls our lives. rolling up his sleeve to get a second booster shot after the fda gave the green light for adults 50 and older. but it comes as that contagious new omicron subvariant is fueling an uptick in cases. the president pleading with congress to fund testing and vaccines and vital treatments to keep the threat at bay. here's abc's stephanie ramos. >> reporter: just 24 hours after that green light for a second
booster for people over 50, president biden rolling up his sleeve. >> we have the pfizer, we have the moderna. >> reporter: across the country today, many americans doing the same after the cdc said another round of boosters were especially important for those people over 65 and those over 50 with underlying conditions. >> that's a really good idea, because especially with people stopping wearing masks now, there's going to be another surge, definitely. >> reporter: and tonight, the world health organization tracking those surges, warning it's seeing "intense circulation" of the omicron subvariant ba.2, which is also now dominant in the u.s. the highest concentrations in new york, new jersey, and new england, where it makes up more than 70% of new cases. >> what we're concerned about here in the u.s. is a potential
surge of the new ba.2 variant. and we have to think about all the tools that we have at our disposal. >> reporter: today, the cdc director pointing to encouraging data showing people infected with the original omicron strain have some protection against the new subvariant. the president today urging congress to pass covid funding, warning the country could run out of critical tools like monoclonal antibody treatments by may. >> without funding, we're not going to be able to sustain the testing capacity beyond the month of june. and if we fail to invest, we leave ourselves vulnerable if another wave of the virus hits. >> reporter: by fall, the white house warns there would be no money for vaccines. whit, back to those second booster shots. again, the cdc is allowing anyone over the age of 50 to get them, but within that group, they are specifically recommending the shots to those with underlying health conditions and anyone over 65. whit? >> stephanie ramos, thank you. there are new details tonight about that shocking slap at the oscars. academy officials now saying will smith was asked to leave, but he refused to go.
and tonight, chris rock preparing to take the stage for the first time since the incident. here's abc's kayna whitworth. >> oh, wow! >> reporter: tonight, the academy initiating disciplinary proceedings against will smith after he slapped chris rock at the oscars, saying they asked the actor to leave the ceremony after the incident and he refused. in a statement, the academy saying, in part, he violated its standards of conduct with his abusive and threatening behavior and that his actions were deeply shocking. the news comes as we hear from one of the oscars cohosts for the first time. on the decision not to remove smith from the theater that night, comedian wanda sykes telling ellen degeneres -- >> for them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award, i was like, how gross is this? you assault somebody, you get escorted out the building, that's it. >> reporter: amy schumer, sykes' cohost, also speaking out on instagram, posting, "i'm still
in shock and stunned and sad." the academy board of governors holding an emergency meeting tonight. >> you're seeing a clear divide amongst the board of governors? >> there are some that feel it was wrong what he did, but it was justified because he spoke about his wife. and there are others who feel he's a monster. >> reporter: smith issuing a public apology to rock, but the comedian so far silent on the slap. and that may change tonight, with all eyes on rock as he takes the stage for the first time since the incident in a sold out show in boston. fans hoping he addresses it. >> i'm not sure if he's i hope he does. >> reporter: and whit,he nexfor on april 18th. at that point, they could take disciplinary action, so, will smith looking at anything here from suspension to expulsion from the academy or sanctions, but also, whit, the academy saying that will smith will have a chance to be heard before a decision is made. >> a range of potential punishments there. all right, kayna whitworth for us. thank you. next, the federal investigation into hunter biden's tax affairs reportedly intensifying tonight.
sources say witnesses have been testifying before a grand jury about the president's son and his business dealings in ukraine and elsewhere. here's abc's chief justice correspondent pierre thomas. >> reporter: tonight, reports that the justice department's investigation into the tax affairs of president biden's son hunter is intensifying. sources telling abc news that in recent weeks, a grand jury in wilmington has heard from a parade of witnesses about payments hunter biden received while on the board of the ukrainian gas company burisma, and also about how he paid his taxes in recent years. biden served on the burisma board when his father was vice president, something he's admitted was a mistake. >> did i make a mistake? well, maybe in the grand scheme of things, yes. but did i make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse? absolutely not. >> reporter: federal prosecutors are also looking into how hunter biden reported money from business deals in china. >> this hearing will come to order. >> reporter: in his confirmation hearing, attorney general merrick garland vowing to be independent. >> the president made abundantly
clear in every public statement before and after it might nomination that decisions about investigations and prosecutions will be left to the justice department. >> reporter: this investigation, which has been under way since 2018, appears far from over. sources familiar with the case say no final decision has been made about whether or not to bring charges. whit? >> all right, pierre, thank you. there is new support tonight for supreme court nominee judge ketanji brown jackson. republican senator susan collins from maine announcing she will vote to confirm, after a second personal meeting yesterday afternoon. the senator's decision gives judge jackson some bipartisan support, something president biden was hoping for. and now to that difficult news about actor bruce willis. his family revealing he has been diagnosed with aphasia, a brain disorder impacting his cognitive abilities. the 67-year-old known for his quick wit and wry humor is now stepping away from his career. abc's chief national correspondent matt gutman is in
l.a. >> reporter: in almost every movie he's starred in, from "pulp fiction" to "die hard" -- >> come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs. >> reporter: -- bruce willis' characters somehow always beat the odds. but tonight, that announcement that he's stepping away from acting. his family, including his wife emma and his ex-wife demi moore releasing a joint statement posted on moore's instagram account. "bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities." aphasia is a disorder that can affect a person's ability to produce and/or comprehend language. what causes aphasia? >> right, so, aphasia can be caused by stroke or head injury and within head injury, one can have neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimer's, or a blunt traumatic brain injury or even a brain tumor. >> reporter: known for his impish smile, brandished here in
"moonlighting," willis was also known for doing many of his own stunts, saying he lost two-thirds of his hearing filming this scene in "die hard." >> thanks for the advice. >> reporter: the star's blended family writing, "we are moving through this as a strong family unit. as bruce always says, live it up. and together, we plan to do just that." and unfortunately, whit, there is no known cure to aphasia. now, bruce willis has a stunning 145 acting credits in film alone. and in 2007, he was asked to name the love of his life. he said it was acting. and expressing himself as an artist. whit? >> so many sad to hear this news today. all right, matt gutman for us, thank you. and american astronaut mark vande hei is on his way back to texas tonight after a year-long record-setting space flight. he returned to earth with two cosmonauts aboard a russian spacecraft, spending 355 days in space, working on the international space station. despite tensions between the u.s. and russia, one of the
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separate restaurants on the same day. >> time went on and it was, like, five months, six months, and we had to move back in with our mom. >> reporter: this new reality allowed the sisters to consider a completely different path. >> it's like a reality check almost. are we going to go back or are we going to create an opportunity for ourselves? so when covid happened, it forced us to do something different. >> reporter: that something different was r&l crab company. >> so, we're going to throw on some crabs. we use beer. >> yeah. >> we don't use water like traditional places. >> reporter: a business born out of necessity and a love of, well, crabs. how did you come up with this business idea? >> it was a rainy day and we were craving some crabs. we eat crabs about four or five times a week, and we started googling crab delivery and we noticed no one delivered crabs. >> which was weird because we're in maryland, it's kind of our staple dish. >> yeah. and then we thought, we should do it. >> reporter: the twins invested
about $600 to start, cooking in their mom's kitchen. it wasn't always smooth sailing, but now 24 months later, they're about to open location number two. >> i now have this amazing business that i love so much. i'm just happy. >> our thanks to rebecca jarvis for that report. and a programming note here, you can see more of rebecca's reporting and much more on a special edition of "20/20: 24 months that changed the world," tonight at 10:00 eastern here on abc and available tomorrow on hulu. thank you so much for watching. i'm whit johnson in new york. for david and all of us, have a great night david and all of u great night.