tv AB Cs World News With Charles Gibson ABC July 10, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
welcome to "world news." tonight, game on at gm. the automaker speeds through bankruptcy. but can the new general motors ever succeed? the pope and the president. the two leaders meet for the first time. they discuss abortion, stem cell research, and they pray together for senator kennedy. major mess. california's budget crisis keeps getting worse. and banks are beginning to refuse the state's ious. grave injustice. families are furious as four cemetery workers are charged with digging up coffins and then reselling the burial plots. and, the little girl with the artful idea. a 7-year-old is our "person of the artful idea. a 7-year-old is our "person of the week." captions paid for by abc, inc. good evening. in the automotive time trial, gm
speed through bankruptcy in just 40 days, coming out today. all lightning fast. but now comes the hard part. with sales down, and drivers demands changing, gm faces considerable challenges. the stakes are high for taxpayers. the government has invested $50 billion, and owns 61% of the new general motors. a new general motors that is certainly a lot leaner. half as many brands of cars, 25% fewer employees. chris bury is in detroit again this evening. chris? >> reporter: good evening, charlie. after a round the clock race by bankruptcy lawyers, coffee gave way to champagne today, and here at company headquarters, they celebrated a leaner new general motors. today, gm executives showing off the shiny models they're banking on, insisted the new company will hit the ground running. >> bottom line is, business as we've known it and as we've had it up today, business as usual
is over at general motors. >> reporter: a much smaller gm emerged from bankruptcy with blinding speed. steam rolling over objections from accident victims, disgruntled dealers, and others who stood to lose. >> both gm and the u.s. government wanted this to move quickly. both of them put a lot of pressure on so that it did. >> reporter: the government, now majority owner, gets a new gm. stripped of costly old obligations. instead of eight brands, four. chevrolet, cadillac, buick and gmc. to be built in fewer factories, by a smaller work force. sold in far fewer dealerships. it's balance sheet, cleared of crushing debt, including billions owed for retiree health care. what is going to be so dramatically different about the new gm culture? >> we'll be a lot leaner, simpler. we made a number of important changes in that regard in order to be faster. >> reporter: for the first time, gm's hourly labor costs will
roughly match those of foreign competit competitors. >> the uaw is not the only one that had to sacrifice. >> reporter: today, gm trying to look truly different, announced a deal with ebay to test online sales. executives engage customers on twitter. at this dealership near chicago, enthusiasm over a new model and a new beggibeginning. >> i could sell this thing before bun lunch. >> we have a second chance. there are now third chances. we have to make advantage of the situation. >> reporter: henderson told me that gm plans to break even by next year, so the pressure is on, but what happens today offers at the very least a fresh start. charlie? >> chris bury reporting from detroit tonight, thanks to you. and gm will have a new name. it's now the general motors company, instead of corporation. but it's going to take more than a new name and reorganization to
make the company profitable. they need cars that grab people's imaginations. our bill weir has gone to detroit to see what's on the drawing board. >> reporter: best job at a bankrupt car company? designer. because you get paid to ignore today's grim reality and dream of the future. a sketch today could be a car in a show room in about four years. so what will the world be like in 2012, josh? >> all up here. >> reporter: studio x is where the da vincis of detroit came up with classics like the corvette and this room was shutter eed during gm's decline. but the artists are back, searching for rir resistible shapes. do you think the industry as a whole got away from that for awhile? >> i think so. i think we did. >> reporter: the new camaro came out of studio x and has been drawing raves. and the chevy malibu was the car of the year.
but according to consumer reports, they must work on long-term reliability. >> a lot of gm troubles have problems with their transmissions, withlectrical futures, and parts of the trim dropping off. >> reporter: gm says fewer plants make it easier to focus on quality control. and there is the chevy volt. a plug-in hybrid that goes 40 miles without gas, but cost around $40,000. >> it is not what is going to save general motors. it is a further out technology. >> let's be completely honest. no company wants to go through this. >> reporter: but whatever they build, there is a tarnished image to polish, and reviews for their new ad campaign have been mixed. >> nothing says rebirth of the american car like people taking the subway. >> reporter: it took hyundai about 15 years to go from laughing stock to respected brand. does gm have that much time? only the future will tell. bill weir, abc news, warren,
michigan. and bill will have more on general motors' future tonight on "20/20," that's at 10:00 eastern time. whatever you're driving, gas prices will likely be heading lower, as oil prices continue to tumb tumble. today, oil closed below $60 a barrel for the first time in almost two months. and those same wore rips were a drag on stocks. the dow closed down 36 points today. for the week, the dow was off 134 points. fourth losing week in a row, the longest in more than four months. in california, the state budget crisis continues getting worse. today, many state offices were closed, and employees furloughed, as legislators wrestle with a $26 billion california deficit. all this might seem to be a local problem, until you consider that california has the eighth largest economy in the world. here's laura marquez. >> reporter: california is running out of cash, paying
bills with ious. some $354 million worth, and counting. after today, most major banks will stop accepting them. those who do business with the state will have to wait until october to redeem the ious. >> that's a long time for a small business to, you know, keep putting cash out and not getting any in. >> reporter: and the frustration today did not end there. closed doors of the department of motor vehicles, an unwelcome surprise. >> reporter: what do you think? >> what do i think of this being closed? shouldn't it be open? >> reporter: the dmv is one of hundreds of state offices closed three fridays every month. california sinks under a staggering budget shortfall. >> it is ludicrous to promise the people, don't worry, we're going to go and keep paying when you don't have the money. >> reporter: governor schwarzenegger may add a fourth furlough day, resulting in a pay cut of almost 20% for state workers. we found dmv worker john drum
spending his furlough day stocking up at a local food bank. and what are you doing here? >> picking up enough food so i can survive. >> reporter: because it's become that tight. >> it's become that tight. >> reporter: the deep recession has dealt a body blow to california's economy, one of the largest in the world. and a political stalemate in the state capital isn't helping. >> we haven't been able to decide if we want to be a state that has a very large government and high tax rates like connecticut, or a state that has next to no government and next to no taxes like mississippi. >> reporter: and while politicians posture, california's citizens are left holding the bag. laura marquez, abc news, san francisco. we go overseas next, president obama was in rome today where he met for 30 minutes with pope benedict. among the topics, abortion and stem cell research. the white house says they agreed to disagree on issues. the president gave the pontiff a letter from senator edward kennedy, being treated for brain
cancer and asked the pope to pray for kennedy. mr. obama flew onto the african nation of ghana, that will be the last stop on his overseas trip. the death toll in the riots in china has risen to 184. one-thirdover tho of those have ethic uighur muslims. today, mosques were ordered to remain close in hopes of gaining control over the unrest. but it didn't work. clarissa ward reports from china tonight. >> reporter: several mobs defied a government ban today, opening their doors to the uighur faithful on the muslim holy day. there were no fiery sermons. prayers were quick and quiet. but outside the mosque, emotions began to rise. "there are so many things we can't talk about," this man told us. as a policeman tried to stop him from speaking with us, the crowd jeered loudly.
another group formed as two women began to weep and wail. "we don't have justice an equality for our people," he said. the group began moving down the street, their faces etched with emotion, chanting "release our people, release our brothers." it is only a moment before riot police swoop in and block their path. there was a group of uighurs marching down the street, but sudsenly, a huge flood of troops poured in and they started shouting at us, they are demanding that we turn off our cameras. the demonstrators are pushed against a wall. one officer kicks and punched a man as he is led away. from a roof top, we sneak images of at least five uighurs, hands bound behind their backs, being loaded onto a bus. but a policeman spots our cameras and we are forced to stop shooting.
today's demonstration was over in an hour, but the message was clear. things here can flare up as quickly as they calm down. clarissa ward, abc news, china. and still ahead on "world news," outraged family members demand answers as graves are desecrated and bodies unearthed at an historic cemetery. lance armstrong's uphill battle to mount a tour de france comeback. he's a few seconds down, but no one counts him out. and a young girl drawing inspiration from orphans, becoming their friends, changing their lives. our "person of the week." i never thought it could happen to me... a heart attack at 53. i had felt fine. but turns out... my cholesterol and other risk factors... increased my chance of a heart attack. i should've done something.
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heart rate. doctors say his heart is fine, but he needs treatment for sores on his legs. bob dole turns 86 this month. at a cemetery near chicago today, thousands of family members showed up. they want answers about the desecration of burial plots. four workers are charged with grave robbing, allegedly digging up bodies, casting them aside and then selling the cemetery plots again. now a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of people with relatives buried at the burr oak cemetery. here's barbara pinto. >> reporter: a growing crowd of grieving and angry family members came today, all searching for information about their loved ones. >> i want to know where dr. joseph hall is. i want to know where eli ya hall is. i want to know where my family is. >> people are upset. >> they sold them. >> reporter: for the past four years, authorities allege a handful of workers here orchestrated an unspeakable scam, digging up 300 graf sites,
and dumping the bodies in an unused part of the cemetery, and selling for plots for cash. >> the headstones are gone. people have gone to the site where a different person is there now. >> reporter: erika toll bert buried her daughter here 21 years ago. today, she was horrified to discover that the headstone and remains are missing. >> i know without a shadow of a doubt that's where my child is. i visited my child faithfully and now it's nothing. nothing here. nowhere. >> reporter: prosecutors filed felony charges against the cemetery's manager, and three workers. >> they deserve a special police in hell. >> reporter: burr oak was chicago's first african-american cemetery. it's the final resting place for emmett till, whose death helped spark the civil rights movement. his glass-topped casket was found resting in a shed. police exhumed his body years ago, and the new site was
untouched. sadly that is not the case here for so many families, including kimberly hall. >> we want to rest with our families. i want to be next to my daddy. i can't be with my daddy no more. >> reporter: there are so many discarded remains here, they've had to call in dozens of forensics experts from the fbi, making identifications could take months. charlie, so many families here have no answers. >> bash that pinto, thank you. and coming up, lance armstrong pushes into the punishing mountains of the tour de france. he's still at it.
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>> people in the united states don't pay much attention to bicycle racing, until lance armstrong gets on his bike. armstrong won the tour de france a record seven straight times, and then retired four years ago. now, at age 37, ancient by racing standards, he's trying again, and a third of the way through this year's tour, he is tantalizingly close to leading. miguel marquez joined up with the tour. >> there is lance armstrong, dancing on those pedals. >> reporter: dancing, maybe.
but not in first place. lance armstrong attempting an historic comeback, fell into third seconds behind the leader. >> didn't go according to the plan that we had set out earlier but it doesn't matter. >> reporter: it just might matter. in this race a few seconds can make all the difference. >> i didn't expect a demonstration like, you know, some of the other years on the first mountain day. it's not -- the wind wasn't conducive. you saw a big group there. plenty of days at the end of this tour where there's only a couple guys together. >> reporter: today, the first of several mountain stages looked promising for armstrong. a small group of racers broke out early, and armstrong, by the end of the 140-mile stage, couldn't catch up. if you had any doubt how steep this last section of the seventh stage is, to get reporters up to the finish line, you have to take a ski lift. the unknown italian took the lead and donned the coveted yellow jersey. but don't count armstrong out
yet. >> anyone who knows and has covered armstrong knows never to count him out. there's two more weeks of racing to go. a lot of mountains. a lot can happen. >> reporter: armstrong's toughest competition may come from his own team. alberto con that door made up 21 seconds in the mountains to move ahead of armstrong. armstrong, trailing a teammate or anyone else is not something the seven-time tour cham suspect used to. miguel marquez, abc news, andorra. for the first time in almost 15 years, a participant has been killed during the running of the bums bulls in spain. a 27-year-old was gored to death. the festival ends on tuesday, and there are no indications that the remaining bull runs will be canceled. and when we come back, the young girl using her artwork to create a new life for orphans. she is our "person of the week." the bathroom is, i can deal. e
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>> finally tonight, our "person of the week." one of the youngest we've ever featured. she's a kansas girl, with an artistic flare, putting her talents to good use. >> i love to draw. as i grew up and i just was an artist. >> reporter: isabel hasn't quite grown up, yet. she's only 7 years old. but her art is more than just kid stuff, it's good enough to have easterned some real money. but she isn't spending it on toys or candy. >> i like to draw cards because i can raise money to help the orphans. >> reporter: helping orphans is isabel's cause. it started two years ago when she was just 5. isabel's mom told her a story about twin girls in haiti, whose mother had died during childbirth. >> she said, mom, what can we do? >> i brainstormed, and i thought
of cards because i love to draw. >> reporter: so isabel started by selling cards at garage sales and to friends and family. now the cards are being sold through the global orphan project, a charity that builds and runs orphanages, and so far isabel has earned more than $10,000, just half of that was enough to build an orphanage in haiti, which isabel visited last month. >> it was the first night we were there, and saw the girls, and as i came to where my house was, they were chanting my name and i thought that was really amazing. >> reporter: she spent two nights with her new friends in what is being called the isabel redford house of hope. >> i also love the girls in my house, and they -- i was glad that six girls had a place to live. we were just friends immediately, and i -- we didn't have to speak the same language.
we just were having fun and we laughed and we played a lot. >> reporter: but one orphanage, not enough for isabel. >> i thought, we'll get to 5,000 and she'll feel like she's accomplished something and she'll be done, and we got to 5,000 and the amount of money that she received was actually more than she needed. she quickly said, well, no, mom, this is a perfect amount for the start of my second home. >> reporter: the global orphan project is about to break ground on another isabel redford house, this one in africa. >> i really wanted to do all over the world. >> i mean, her heart and her compassion and love is just so huge, and really, from as early back as i can remember, she's always been full of compassion. >> i want to keep doing this for awhile. for a very long time. maybe forever. >> reporter: and so we choose isabel redford. and her goal? she says she hopes to eventually
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