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tv   AB Cs World News With Charles Gibson  ABC  October 7, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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welcome to "world news." tonight, cities in fear. in two of america's largest cities, children plagued by fear of going to school and people who fear being left out in the cold. eight years later. washington and kabul consider what's been achieved by eight years of war. sick call. so many americans with a common dilemma. sick with the flu, told to stay home, but they have no paid sick days to get well. and, the intriguing story of michelle obama's family tree, and, the intriguing story of michelle obama's family tree, and its roots in slavery. captions paid for by abc, inc.
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good evening. we normally begin this program with the news of the day, but tonight, we start with the reality of every day in a great american city. children in chicago terrified of going to school. there was a development today. the president send his top law enforcement officer and his education secretary to chicago to address that's city school violence. 34 students were killed there last year. 290 wounded. one recent death prompted washington's attention to the problem. chris bury reports tonight from chicago. >> reporter: today, as this city's children began their often treacherous trips to school -- >> have a good day. >> reporter: the president's men arrived to confront the crushing wave of kids killing kids. >> we simply cannot stand for an epidemic of violence that robs our youth of their childhood. >> this is a line in the sand we have to get dramatically better. >> reporter: what prompted their
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visit, that infamous afterschool brawl, captured on a cell phone. 16-year-old derrien albert, an honor student, beaten with boards and stomped to death. >> heartbreaking. that it takes capturing a death on video to wake the country. >> reporter: that murder is only the tip of the iceberg. in each of the last two years, chicago has lost the equivalent of an entire classroom to violence. many more, including this 5-year-old boy, maimed for life. what kind of injuries do you treat here? here in, day out. >> we see gunshot wounds -- >> reporter: mt. sinai hospital treats 200 children a year who've been shot, stabbed, beaten. why? gangs, guns, turf battles. kids surrounded by violence. >> the kids in our community, it's not even a question of what they're seeing on tv, because they're seeing it in their front yard. they're seeing it on their way to school. they're seeing it in their living room.
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>> reporter: in an unprecedented study, school officials examined 500 shootings. now, they plan to shower attention on the most likely instigators and victims, black males skipping big chunks of school who get into trouble far more often than fellow students. >> the violence around our students is not random. it's highly predictable. >> reporter: the safest place, in school. the danger, in the neighborhoods. every day, 14-year-old ameenah haqque, and thousands of students, run the gauntlet. she rides a city bus more than three miles, past a rival school, and gang territory, to her own high school. >> i just pray every day that she gets home from school safely. >> reporter: today, the attorney general promised a call to action and more federal money, to help keep kids safe. in the next breath, he cautioned, "there will be no quick fixes." charlie? >> chris bury reporting tonight from chicago, thanks to you. and tomorrow, we're going to look at how police are dealing with gangs, with a report from the streets, as police confront
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the most violent offenders. meanwhile, the other city we mentioned in the headlines, detroit. police there were called in to break up scuffles after tens of thousands of people turned out to apply for grants from the federal government for housing and utilities. as the desperate crowd got larger, some people fainted, others fought. barbara pinto is in detroit. >> reporter: the crowd of desperate detroiters gathered well before daylight, jamming the massive convention center, spifling out into the neighborhood. they had all come for just a chance at government help. >> i came down here with so many people, i was like, oh, my god. >> reporter: the city got enough federal money to help 3,500 families pay rent and utilities. but 35,000 showed up instead. >> this is a travesty. i've never seen anything like this in my life. >> reporter: and then, tempered started to flare. >> this is ridiculous. people fighting. this is crazy. >> reporter: at least five people were hurt. some fainted. more than 100 police officers
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tried to calm the crowd. >> we need everybody to calm down, get in line. everyone will receive an app. >> reporter: today, city leaders downplayed what happened. >> well, i think like with every other major urban city, detroit has particular needs for the homeless, and for the underemployed. >> reporter: but detroit's troubles are tremendous. nearly 1 out of every 3 residents here is out of work. in the crowd, rebeccrebecca, wh her job. >> there's a lot going on in my household, so, i'm here to find relief. >> reporter: she's just one in tens of thousands who left with an application, but no promise of help. barbara pinto. abc news, detroit. next, we turn to the war in afghanistan. it began eight years ago today, as president bush announced that he had launched air strikes against the taliban, less than a month after 9/11. the president said the war was designed to close taliban training camps, and force the handover of al qaeda leaders. >> given the nature and reach of
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our enemies, we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes. by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose. >> since the president made that announcement, and since the war began, 791 u.s. troops have been killed in afghanistan. nearly a third of those in this year alone. it is against this backdrop that president obama is considering the way forward and whether thousands more troops should be sent into battle. and martha raddatz is joining us from washington tonight. and martha, we learned that the president has had on his desk for some time now a request for a specific number of additional troops, right? >> reporter: right. and this was a surprise today, charlie. secretary of defense robert gates said he was keeping that troop request until they finished a strategy review, but apparently president obama asked for it last thursday on his way to copenhagen, and now all his national security team has it, as well. but they were meeting today, they did not discuss the troop
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request. they discussed pakistan today, in the situation room at the white house for about three hours. so, they won't discuss troops, probably until friday or next week. >> but you reported here, this is up to 40,000 troops and i gather there is some talk now of a so-called middle ground. >> reporter: i think the obama administration is looking for a middle ground. they are calling it kind of mcchrystal-lite. mcchrystal wants about 40,000 new troops, or biden-heavy or senator levin-heavy. he wants about 10,000 trainers. they are looking at somewhere in between. but there have really been no decisions made yet, charlie. >> all right, martha raddatz on the job gone consideration on what to do next in the war that's lasted eight years. when the war began, americans showed strong support for air strikes and sending in ground troops. now, 51% say the war is no longer worth fighting. doubts have been growing in afghanistan, as well. nick schifrin is in kabul.
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>> reporter: eight years ago today, the bombs began to fall. and a few weeks later, with the help of local fighters, the united states liberated kabul. afghans were ecstatic. after five years of repressive taliban rule, they were free. >> i'm very happy. because our country is free, free from the taliban. >> reporter: they could listen to music, shave their beards without fear of being killed. women could lift their burkas and go to school again. it took the u.s. and itself allies only about a month to come down this road and win kabul. but after eight years, it is losing much of the country. for millions here, the war has been a disappointment. lack of security, development and jobs means that less than half say the country is headed in the right direction. today, security is so poor, abc news filmed these taliban fighters just a few days ago less than 50 miles from the capital. and many afghans are angry at the u.s. military, which they
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believe has been more focused on fighting than on protecting the population. fighting that has caused thousands of civilian casualties. >> had the u.s. put more emphasis on the people of the country and on what the people wanted and needed, we would have had an army of afghans everywhere who would have pursued this war with the united states. >> reporter: and history is repeating itself. desperate poverty is helping fuel today's insurgency, just as it helped fuel the taliban's rise to power. >> the illiteracy rate is very much high, and also people are very much poor. so this all causes insurgency in the areas. >> reporter: afghans tell us the u.s. needs to prove it can provide security and development in ways its failed to in the last eight years. nick schifrin, abc news, kabul. next, we turn to health care. the nonpartisan congressional budget office said today the key version of the health care reform bill now before the senate finance committee will cost $829 billion and will cut
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the federal deficit $81 billion over ten years, meeting president obama's pledge to reduce spending. under the bill, 29 million more americans would have health insurance. the government said today more than 400 schools have been closed for a day or more since the school year began, because of the h1n1 flu. for students and parents alike, the advice is the same. if you feel sick, stay home. but for millions of workers, staying home means losing pay. maybe the loss of their job, for they do not have paid sick days. here's steve osunsami. >> reporter: brian and suzi milbee say they are praying the swine flu stays away this winter, and their three children stay healthy. >> if the kids get sick, i can't take off from work. >> reporter: he's a butcher, she works for the military, and they're heading into the winter flu season with no more paid sick days. >> if they get the swine flu, let them all get it at the same time.
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>> reporter: their plan is to call in sick anyway, suffer the consequences, and hope they hold onto their jobs. >> one of us has to sacrifice. >> it's leave without pay. >> it's leave without pay. that means that's eight hours out of my paycheck. >> reporter: critics say it's a fatal flaw in the government's fight against swine flu -- encouraging working parents to stay home when an estimated 54 million americans don't get a single paid sick day. >> this is a health crisis because among the low wage workers who have the most interaction with the public, up to 80% of more of those workers don't have access to paid sick days. >> reporter: in san francisco, milwaukee, and the nation's capital, they've passed laws guaranteeing every worker up to nine paid sick days a year. the small businesses protested. >> that is going to cost us $46,000 a year. >> reporter: supporters of mandatory sick days say the government is kidding itself if it believes families can fight swine flu or any other public health crisis without mandatory sick days for all americans.
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>> every other industrialized country offers paid sick days. the united states doesn't. that needs to change. >> reporter: but ed udoff says this is easier said than done. he owns a restaurant, and it's a difficult economy. >> if somebody came in and said we're going to have to have a sick day policy, we're going to have to find money somewhere else because there is not extra money at this point. >> reporter: like the milbees, he too is praying that his workers and their families stay healthy. steve osunsami, abc news, atlanta. and still ahead on "world news," a simple cross sparks a complex legal fight. the sharp debate at the supreme court today will be our "closer look." airlines have a holiday surprise for passengers, and flyers are not going to like it. and michelle obama's family tree. masters, slaves, a first lady's powerful american story. it was a horrible feeling,
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tonight we have "a closer look" at a divisive case on religion, taken up by the supreme court today. at issue is a cross erected as a war memorial on federal property in california. supporters argue it's simply a little cross in the desert. but congress has designated this display as a national thmemoria. dan harris has more from the mow halve have national preserve.
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>> reporter: you have to drive way out into the mojave desert to find it, a simple, seven-foot cross that's at the center of a decade-long court fight. this site was chosen as a memorial in 1934 by veterans from world war i, who wanted to honor the dead. for the past 20 years, henry and wanda sandoz have maintained the cross which, these days, is covered by a wooden box. what do you think about this box? >> this, to me, is a slap in the face to all veterans. seeing that box on there -- >> with the box on it, it's not a cross. >> reporter: the reason for the box? a lawsuit, arguing that having a cross here on federal land violates the separation of church and state. ♪ supporters of the cross say the men who put it up were not particularly religious, but saw the cross as the universal symbol of sacrifice. frank buono, a practicing catholic who used to work in the
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mojave national preserve, filed the suit. >> for people to argue that it's a symbol of death and sacrifice is alice in wonderland. i mean, it is a symbol of death and sacrifice only to the extent that it is a symbol of the death and sacrifice of jesus christ. this is as religious as it gets. >> reporter: the courts agreed, but then congress voted to transfer the one-acre on which the cross sits into private hands, so it could stay up. a move opponents want the supreme court to reject. >> my grandfather was a world war i veteran. he cannot be commemorate and honored through a religious symbol that says that jesus is the son of god and he died on the cross to redeem mankind for his sins. >> reporter: what do you think of the notion of it being torn down? >> can you imagine what i'd think about it? it would be terrible. >> it would break our hearts. >> i can't imagine it. >> reporter: whatever the supreme court decides, the fate
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of this desert cross could have implications for public expressions of faith nationwide. dan harris, abc news, in the mojave national preserve. >> our "closer look" for tonight. and coming up, why airlines are jacking up fees when fuel and coming up, why airlines are jacking up fees when fuel prices are way down. t 5 minuteso i took snd symbicort is already helping significantly improve my lung function. so today, i've noticed a significant difference in my breathing and i'm doing more of what i want to do. so we're clear, it doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. my doctor said symbicort is for copd, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. it should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort may increase your risk of lung infections, osteoporosis, and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking it. my copd often meant i had to wait to do what i wanted to do. now i take symbicort and it significantly improves my lung function, starting within 5 minutes. symbicort has made a significant difference in my breathing... now more of my want to's are can do's.
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after starting plavix. two americans and an israeli scientist have won this year's nobel prize in chemistry. they were honored for their research on the body's ribosomes. of the nine science nobels awarded this week, eight have gone to americans. the holiday travel season is around the corner. so are more airline ad-on fees. the list of airlines sa s tacki surcharges is getting bigger. there was iowa nounsment today they are going to charge extra on more of the days people might travel. here's lisa stark to explain. >> reporter: airlines are counting on an extra holiday gift from passengers this year. for the first time, carriers are slapping a surcharge for some holiday flights, an additional $10 each way. >> when you have over 2 million people in the air on a given day, $10 on a particular
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day makes a big difference on that days' revenue. >> reporter: a week ago, airlines announced the new fee would apply to just three days, around thanksgiving and new years. it has already ballooned to 13 days, through spring break and memorial day of next year. >> another ten bucks is quite a lot of money. i'm a bit dismayed be it. >> reporter: airlines first began tacking on lots of extra fees just over a year ago, when fuel prices were sky high. since then, those fuel prices have come down, but fees have not. on most airlines, passengers now pay to check one bag, from $15 to $25. pay for extra leg room, up to $30. for a meal, as much as $10. even for a blanket and pillow, $7 on us airways and jetblue. >> it's relatively easy to get relatively small amounts of money out of passengers if you ask them to pay for things they really want. >> reporter: it adds up to big
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money. for the first six months of this year, passengers paid $1.2 billion in bag fees alone. for their part, airlines say they'll still lose billions this year, and that ticket prices are at record lows. but that's little comfort if e fees send the price of flying skyward. lisa stark, abc news, washington. and up next, remarkable discoveries about michelle obama's ancestors, rooted in slavery. for joint pain.
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finally tonight, michelle obama's roots. the first lady's path to the white house is already an exceptional story, but today, thanks to "the new york times," we have learned much more about the family members who came before. ancestors whose own stories are intertwined in the history of slavery. here's david muir. >> reporter: the findings reveal a five generation journey from slavery to first lady. unearthed by "the new york times" it all unfolds with this 1850 will, drawn up by a south carolina slave owner. in it, they found the first noun record of mrs. obama's maternal great, great, great grandmother. a 6-year-old slave girl. in the will, her master decides it will be his descendants that
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inherit the use of her. the value set at $475. >> she was treated like a piece of property in a will, and when she was only 8, she was sent across the south. >> reporter: she was moved to a new farm in georgia, and it was there that she met the white man who would father her first child. that child was named dolphus shields, michelle obama's great great grandfather, and he would become a carpenter in birmingham. by 1900, he owned this house. by 1911, he had his own business. his family part of the middle class. >> you get the sense of him pulling himself up, step by step into economic stability, which is all the more amazing considering he was born a slave. >> reporter: and one of his sons, robert lee shields, married a seam stress named annie. they had a sun who would move to chicago. he and his wife had several children, including a daughter named marion. and it was marion who would marry a man named fraser robinson, and their second child
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was named michelle. a story impossible to imagine for that little slave girl. david muir, abc news, new york. >> the first lady's family says she knew of the possibility of a white ancestor, but never for sure, until these details were uncovered. 1850, a white slave owner puts a price on a 6-year-old girl and 158 years later, that little girls descendant is first lady of the united states. that's "world news" for this wednesday. i'm charlie gibson, and i hope you had a good day. for all of us at abc news, have you had a good day. for all of us at abc news, have a good night. captions by vitac
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