tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC December 14, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
tonight on "world news," frozen zone. millions from the midwest to the deep south suffer through bone chilling cold. a danger for drivers, crops and animals. bail battle. britain sets bail for wikileaks founder julian assange, but sweden fights back. our reporter is in the courtroom, and brian ross reveals the battle inside wikileaks. pill mills. we go undercover to pie powerful pain drugs, dispensed almost like candy to the homeless. won't within investigates. and opt out. the latest trend in fizz ed class is giving kids a pass. why are states letting them skip gym, even as child hood obesity
grows? good evening. winter may be a full week away, but it feels like right now. on the heels of all that heavy snow, more than half the country some 30 states are coping with the kind of cold that cuts like a knife. take a look. a huge blanket of arctic air blasting out of canada, all the way down to florida, making for more than a dozen record lows already in the southeast. that's where we start tonight with matt gutman in west palm beach, florida. >> reporter: a freak blizzard, just 60 miles from detroit engulfed an ontario highway, burying cars and straending more than 300. after nearly 30 hours, the canadian military air lifted families to warming centers. and those arctic tentacles have lunged southward, freezing fountains in atlanta, dumping snow in north carolina and turning florida groves into ice
sculptures. farmers like brad battled the cold all night. so, what crops got hit hardest? >> any of your leafy type crops. tomatoes, bell peppers, any of the real leafy type. >> reporter: and it not over. >> we're predicted to have about the same scenario as we did last night. >> reporter: last night's freeze and tonight's cold could destroy hundreds of millions of dollars both of crops. farmers strayed water, hoping to cocoon crops at 32 degrees. recently, farms have dispatched helicopters which fly low to fan warmer air towards the crops, but stiff wind kept them grounded. it's an expensive last ditch measure and dangerous. three choppers have already crashed this season, battling cold in palm beach. meanwhile, atlanta suffered through its coldest night in nearly 100 years. >> this is cold. >> reporter: roads turned to ice rinks in tennessee, where the state warned people to stay indoors. what took a county north
carolina saw snow for the sixth day in just a little over a week. >> i haven't seen this since i was born here. >> reporter: and for these french tourists in orlando here to visit the theme parks, pure pain. you seem like you are very cold. >> yes, very cold. >> reporter: they brought bathing suits, not parkas. >> we have a pool but the water is too much cold. >> reporter: and they're not the only ones bund ming up. normally in south florida, george, it's in the 60s. tonight, near freezing. so, hear at the palm beach zoo, they have put up plastic sheets and heat lamps to keep these birds from freezing. in fact, it's been so cold here at night that the zoo said lizards and birds are simply dropping off the trees. >> okay, matt gutman, thank you. sam champion joins us now. we keep calling this an arctic blast. it's literally true. >> reporter: it's the real deal.
arctic air is locked well up in canada this time of year. when you see the jet stream like this, it's like turning on the faucet and pouring all of this arctic air straight down into florida. as a matter of fact, every day in orlando, in december, has been below normal. so, that's what's so unusual about this. it's the timing of it. it's a little early and how long it has lasted. >> how much more of this are we in for? >> reporter: by wednesday night to thursday, the jet stream goes flat. it becomes the border of the cold air. so, it shoves the cold air up to the north and allowing the temperatures to get milder in florida. there's another cold morning ahead in florida. these numbers like orlando will be a record temperature, at 27. that is very unusual and the second day in a row. >> short reprieve but could be a cold week next week. sam, thank you. overseas now to london, where julian assange appeared in court today, a week after his arrest connected to rape charges in sweden. the british judge granted bail,
but assange is still behind bars tonight, and jim sciutto followed it all from the courtroom. jim? >> reporter: well, george, he came and went in an armor's van, giving a thumb's up sign after he was granted bail. and inside court, as he sat surrounded by three guards, assange was calm, attentive, even smiling. the judge awarding bail of $300,000, but requiring it be deposited in cash, and that, his lawyers, say will take a few days the prosecutors appealed that decision, sending assange back to prison for at least one more night. what's next for him is what he lawyer jokingly call eed him mansion arrest. he'll be staying on the 600-acre estate of a friend north of london with a curfew and electronic tag. tonight, i'm told assange feels vindicated, though he will have to fight extradition to sweden, and that could take months. the first hearing in february. >> okay, jim, thank you. and julian assange's troubles could go far beyond those courtrooms. brian ross has learned that
assange is facing a mutiny in the wikileaks ranks, with some of his colleagues questioning tonight what he's done with the website's money. >> my name is daniel schmitt, this is julian assange. >> reporter: that was just one year ago. but now, daniel, whose real name is domscheit bert, has split with assange after raising questions about assange's handling of the group's money and his newfound celebrity status. >> he certainly is different today from the way that i met him. >> reporter: ironically, his former colleague says assange became enraged over leaks about him he thought were coming from inside wikileaks. was this you? assange wrote in an online chat to domscheit-berg. i didn't speak to "news week" or other media, he responded. i am investigating a serious security breach, assange replied. are you refusing to answer? >> he's not the best person to deal with criticism, i would say. >> reporter: others who have split with him say assange's ego
has gone out of control. >> his specific words were i am the heart and soul of this organization. if you have a problem with me, you can piss off. >> reporter: the most serious issue, say former assange associates, is what happened to some $50,000 of wikileaks money that was supposed to go for the defense fund of army private bradley manning, accused of providing wikileaks with classified u.s. documents. manning's defense fund says as of this weekend, it has yet to never anything from wikileaks. >> it was irresponsible in a sense for wikileaks to call the people to donate money for the bradley manning defense and not deliver. >> reporter: at the same time, wikileaks is raising money for assange's defense fund. he's facing charges of rape in sweden. a case, he say, is meant to silence him and wikileaks. >> i don't think that is justifiable. and this is why i did suggest that he would step aside. >> reporter: instead, she and the others have quit wikileaks and are working to start their
own rival website. a spokesperson tonight said they welcome the new website. george? >> brian, thank you. the flag is flying at half staff today at the state department as tributes to richard holbrooke pour in from around the world. holbrooke died last night at 69. and if a diplomat can dive with his boots on, holbrooke did it. as martha raddatz reports, his final recowords, a plea for pea. >> reporter: where he brokered a peace accord, to perhaps the most difficult job of all, as special envoy for afghanistan and pakistan. >> i thank you for your confidence in offering me this daunting assignment. >> reporter: holbrooke was a towering presence, with an e go to match. his nickname was "the bu bulldozer."
coming from a brashness that sometimes led to testy confrontations with afghanistan's president hamid karzai. >> i don't have any problem with my relations with him. he represents his country, i represent mine. >> reporter: but whatever friction his style may have caused, you need only listen to the heartfelt remembrances of holbrooke to know how enormous the loss. >> richard was a trusted friend, a valued mentor, and indispensable colleague to so many of several generations of american diplomats. >> reporter: hamid karzai today said holbrooke served greatly the people of the united states. joint chiefs chairman mike mullen said few have done as much to achieve success in the war, none have done more. for general david petraeus, holbrooke was his diplomatic wingman. but perhaps it was senator was john kerry who summed it up best, holbrooke will always be remembered as a warrior for peace. indeed, he was that warrior to the end. before being sedated for his
marathon surgery, he turned to his doctors, some of south asian decent, and said, see what can you do to help end the war while i'm in there. martha raddatz, abc news, washington. let's bring in jake tapper now from the white house. richard holbrooke was in washington to brief the president, and he met with his national security today team. >> reporter: that's exactly right. the president met with his national security team. the meeting started with secretary of state hillary clinton talking about holbrooke and thanking the president for meeting with holbrooke's family, saying how much it meant to them. the president said the team would really miss him a lot. then, in a business-like way, it was described to me, the team turned and started talking about the afghanistan-pakistan review. some good news from the review. that will be released later this week. it includes, there's been some progress in halting taliban momentum in parts of
afghanistan. in addition, there's been some success killing senior al qaeda leadership. the administration won't say this, but that is mainly through drone strikes in pakistan, george. >> are they going to lay out some of the challenges, too? >> reporter: that's right. there have been a number of challenges, and the first one is, there is still trouble cooperating with the pakistani government. there's still safe haven areas. and then, of course, corruption in the afghan government and getting the trains and retention of afghan forces to take the place of u.s. troops, george. >> okay, jake, thank you. still ahead on "world news," homeless people used by drug lords to obtain powerful narcotics that are killing kids. "world news" investigates. opting out of phys ed. would you let your child take gym online? and the king, his stutter, and the hollywood movie that's a golden globes favorite. [ male announcer ] this is lara. her morning begins with arthritis pain.
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i needed a coach. our doctor was great, but with so many tough decisions i felt lost. unitedhealthcare offered us a specially trained rn who helped us weigh and understand all our options. for me cancer was as scary as a fastball is to some of these kids. but my coach had hit that pitch before. turning data into useful answers. we're 78,000 people looking out for 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. tonight, we take a look at a hidden phenomenon taking lives in towns across america. one of the deadliest, houston, where over the last four years, there have been over 1200 deaths of accidental overdoses from prescription drugs. so, chris cuomo and his team went undercover tler and found a surprising group being recruited to buy the drugs. the homeless. "world news" investigates. >> reporter: it's early morning in downtown houston, the homeless are lining up.
many looking for a disturbing kind of work. >> i got the car to come pick us up. i just need three people. >> reporter: the job -- pill smurfing. meaning groups of homeless going together to pain clinics and posing as patients to get powerful narcotics. >> you had to get up early in the morning and go down there. >> reporter: the homeless man asked us to hide his face -- we'll call him bill. >> and you stand down there until about 6:30, 7:00. and then the recruiters will come through. >> reporter: bill says the he's worked for them about 75 times. so, we've asked him to go undercover and give an inside look of the pain pill trade. here, a recruiter tells bill which clinics he wants him to go to that day. >> willow is off of -- north main, right by salvation army. >> oh, okay, yeah. >> reporter: every day on the streets of houston, dozens of homeless men like bill are usually ferried to the clinics and paid $20 for each prescription they get. >> it's all about making an easy
dollar. >> reporter: to fully expose this problem, we sent in five different people to various clinics. all just complained of lower back pain and walked out with prescriptions for bills, including narcotics and a powerful muscle relaxant, soma. to make sure, i even went in undercover myself. would you give me hundreds of pain pills? there seemed to be no doctor presence in the office. a physician's assistant checks me out, seems kerr use about my medical history and my being from out of state. still, within minutes -- >> all right, christopher. we can give you some lorisets, a few of them until you can get by. >> reporter: we wanted answers. so, we went to the pain clinic who handed out prescriptions to two of our undercover people. they weren't as welcoming as when we came looking for drugs and told us they had no idea recruiters brought in the homeless. we would like to hear your side of it. >> you have the wrong
information. it's not fair. thank you, fellas. thank you. >> reporter: the guys did come in here. they did get the drugs. >> you have a nice day. >> reporter: and to be clear, texas isn't alone in this. they are ahead of many states because they know they have a problem. and george, the tough thing is, unlike ill league drugs, where possession of the drug is enough to make a case, here, the pain pills are all legal. so, we're probably going to see a lot more of this across the country. >> you have to prove there was fraud. and a lot more of your reporting tonight on "nightline." chris, thank you. coming up, kids opting out of gym class. would you let your child do it? ? now click on the robitussin relief finder at robitussin.com. click on your symptoms. get the right relief. ♪ makes the cold aisle easy.
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pistol in his right hand. later, he raises his hand and shoots at the heads of the school board, firing randomly. now, all the school board members are okay, but the gunman died after shooting himself. switching gears now, what happens when the battle of the sexes meets the battle of the bulge? a new study shows that men lose weight more quickly than women, but women are better at keeping the pounds off in the first place, if they exercise. that exercise is more than twice as effective in keeping weight off in women than in men. over 20 years, women who exercised were 13 pounds lighter than those who didn't. and speaking of exercise, the old staple we were all raised on, that a healthy mind depends on a healthy body, is losing steam across the country. it turns out that only five states actually require physical education. so, more and more schools are making p.e. optional, letting
kids skip gym class. but as david wright reports, gym teachers are fighting out, saying that opt-out option makes no sense in the middle of an obesity epidemic. reporter: for many of us, gym class conjures up memories of abuse and the smell of sweat socks. who wouldn't want to opt out? pop culture certainly recognizes that. >> i have a note. >> reporter: these days, not breaking a sweat is easier than ever. only five states require physical education in every grade, k through 12. at a time when the first lady is leading the fight against childhood obesity, gym teachers say the crisis goes beyond cafeteria. >> 80% to 90% of all parents teachers and students believe that physical education should be available on a daily basis, and so what we need to do is create policies that allow that to happen. >> reporter: schools do have a role to play in fighting childhood obesity. but physical education teachers say it's not enough just to focus on nutrition.
you also have to get children moving. in 22 states, students are now allowed to take their gym classes online. the laptop is replacing the locker room. virtual sports teams can't be far behind. if you could take the class online, would you like that? their physical education teacher doesn't blame them. >> it conjures up, i can do this on my computer, right next to my facebook? and they are thinking, can i get out of working out. >> reporter: but it's his job to motivate them anyway. david wright, abc news, van nuys, california. >> i'm with him. coming up, how the story of one man's struggle to overcome his disability became the golden globes favorite. [ male announcer ] for frequent heartburn relief,
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it has the cold-fighting power of an effervescent packed in a liquid-gel for all over relief! hiyah! dude! when the dust settled from today's golden globe no, ma'am n naxs, one film was the clear front-runner, "the king's speech." here's sharyn alfonsi. >> reporter: the king's speech tells the story of king george's struggle to overcome stuttering. a wildly eccentric speech therapist made it possible for the stammering monarch to go on
the radio and rally his subjects to take on hitler's germany. >> for the second time n the lives of most of us, we are at war. >> reporter: a defining moment for a country and a king. who had struggled so publicly. >> when -- when -- this country -- >> reporter: nearly 1% of the population stutters. more recently, vice president joe biden spoke about the pain his childhood stutter caused him. >> it's hard to ask you to go to the p-p-prom. >> reporter: jimmy stewart, tiger woods, marilyn monroe even james earl jones -- >> luke, i am your father. >> reporter: yes, the man with that voice stuttered. and while scientists have long known stress can set it stuttering. researcher announced this year the discovery of the genes
linked to stuttering. >> this is not a disorder of social functions. but really is a disease in many ways like any other disease. >> reporter: david seideler knows it well. he's the screen writer behind "the king's speech" and also grew up stuttering. >> to be stutterer and to be heard is a wonderful thing and this is just very moving to me to have my voice heard. >> reporter: the goal of so many struggling to find the right words, from school kids to kings. sharyn alfonsi, abc news, new york. >> and that's all for us tonight. i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." for diane sawyer and all of us at abc news, have a great night.
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