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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  January 10, 2013 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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this is "world news." tonight, double threat. on top of the flu, another virus now spreading across the nation. and why some people should stay away from the doctor's office, even if they're sick. proof. we have it tonight that nfl superstar junior seau had brain damage. and it's the kind linked to blow after blow to the head. tonight, the abc news/espn exclusive. did his life in football lead to his suicide? wild planet. tonight, the whales take their first step in escaping their prison of ice. and we'll tell you about the massive red wave tearing across the water. what did it do to the people on shore? and, surprises and snubs. oscar nominations are in, but
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we'll tell you what has hollywood buzzing tonight. good evening. as we come on the air tonight, we are all anxious about every sneeze, every cough, every door handle as we confront an outbreak of flu coast to coast in this country. and it's not just the flu. another virus is on the move. i want to show you pictures that say everything. patients wearing masks. and also doctors wearing masks. abc's linsey davis spent the day at the hospital with the doctors on the front lines. >> reporter: all day long, dr. ron wall is rushing down the hall. a squirt of hand sanitizer, and he's off to battle for flu. >> it's going to take you probably two or three weeks to feel really good again.
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>> reporter: dr. wall is wearing a face mask because he can't afford to be sick. not now, with this hospital like many in hospital overrun with flu cases. this patient has been battling the flew for t the flu for ten days now. >> coughing a lot? what are you bringing one the cough? >> reporter: while we were there, the cases mounted. so much so, the hospital sounded an all hands on deck, code amber alert. >> basically a disaster notification that we use when we have a large number of things to deal with. >> thanks. >> reporter: at holy name hospital in new jersey, dr. randy tartakoff is battling against the tide. >> we are all a little overwhelmed, not only the practitioners, but the care givers in general. >> reporter: numbers are so great, this doctor isn't even administering flu tests. he's handing out treatment. >> a lot of what we do is simple supportive care. making them feel better. >> reporter: the most you haver in shl patients, children and the elderly. but this flu can also have deadly consequences for healthy
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adults. strong immune systems can sometimes overreact and destroy healthy tish shups along with the flu itself. and this year, there's a double threat. not only is flu rampant, so is a nasty stomach bug called the norovirus, now widespread throughout the country. it is also very contagious and although serious concern for hospitals. a perfect storm of sickness, which is why today, 45,000 bostonians got an out matted call from the city. >> residents who have not already been vax nated from inthrew when sa this year are urged to. >> reporter: dr. wall, for one, is hoping people listen. he knows better than anyone flu season hasn't hit its peak yet. so far, this hospital has treated 280 confirmed flu cases. in all of last year, they just had 63. but this is another hospital where doctors say they are beyond the point of testing patients. their focus now is simply treating them. diane? >> thank you linsey davis.
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i want to bring in abc's chief medical editor dr. richard besser. so, rich, should everybody be going to the e.r. when they feel sick? >> absolutely not. if you are handling the flu well, you don't need to rush to the e.r. or your doctor's office. they are going to keep you waiting a long time and while you're waiting there, you could get sick with another virus. so, give them a call and they can handle it that way. >> and who should go? what kind of symptoms? >> you need to watch for the signs. if you have any difficulty breathing, any shortness of breath. any, you may have chest pain, that could be pneumonia. sudden dizziness or confusion mean you are getting dehydrated. if you are getting better and you start to get worse, that could mean you have a bacterial infection on top and you need to be seen right away. >> you didn't mention fever. >> it depends on what goes with fever. fever by itself, don't worry about it. any of those other things, get seen right away. >> thank you, richard besser weighing in again tonight. and we also now have another big story in the news. the white house ready to take action on gun violence.
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27 days after the shooting in newtown, connecticut. vice president biden squared off with the powerful nra today, getting ready for a big announcement next week. abc's chief white house correspondent jonathan karl now tells us what happened. >> reporter: on the day vice president biden met with the national rifle association, he made it clear he's pushing for the biggest expansion of gun control in two decades. >> there's got to be some common ground here. >> reporter: biden's proposal will likely include mandatory background checks on virtually every gun sale, and a ban on semi-automatic weapons and those ammo clips that hold dozens of bullets. that will pit him squarely against the nra. >> everything that's been proposed impinges on people who have every right to own firearms. >> reporter: the nra has long been a lobbying force like no other. its unwavering opposition to gun control immortalized by its late president, charlton heston. >> from my cold, dead hands!
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>> reporter: they even managed to expand gun rights during president obama's first term, leafizing guns in national parks and on amtrak. the nra has lots of money, $3 million on campaign contributions and lobbying last year alone. how powerful is the nra? remember, they give grades to members of congress. and how many got an a with sticking with them and opposing all gun control? 288 members, the overwhelming majority of congress. it's enough to intimidate democrats, too. just listen to joe biden in 2008. >> barack obama ain't taking my shotgun, so, don't buy that. >> reporter: recent polls suggest an opening for some gun control. a majority now favoring a ban on semiautomatic handguns. but it would be a mistake to think the nra's influence has waned. in the three weeks after the shooting, in newtown, connecticut, they added more than 100,000 new members.
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diane? >> all right, thank you jonathan karl. and in those three weeks after newtown, now, another school shooting today, at a high school in california. police say a student with a shotgun wounded a 16-year-old he was targeting, then shot at but missed a second student he was targeting. somehow a teacher an supervisor talked him into putting the gun down. the student he shot is in critical but stable condition tonight. and now, a warning for millions of people who take sleeping pills like ambien. today, the fda said there is evidence that these pills can stay in the body longer than thought. including among drivers behind the wheel. and they plan to change the way some people use it, especially women. here's abc's lee a staisa stark first hand why. >> reporter: we showed you how dangerous it is to drive under the influence of ambien. here i am in a driving simulator, 30 minutes after taking the pill. am i on the wrong side of the
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road? 90 minutes after downing the medication. i totally fell asleep for a second. and at four hours, still obviously impaired. now, it turns out even those who wait the recommended eight hours of taking ambien and its generic versions may still be too impaired to drive. it's especially true for women who, for some unknown reason, do not clear the medicine as quickly. new studies show that after taking a regular 10 milliongram ambien or its generic, 15% of women will still be impaired eight hours later. and after taking the extended relief version, a whopping 33% won't be alert enough for things like driving. so, the fda says the new recommended dose for women, half of what it is now. but first, check with your doctor. those relying on other sleeping medications shouldn't rest easy. the fda is examining those, as well. lowering the dose will help ensure women are alert for that morning drive and it will also help reduce this.
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whoa. that was close. dangerous cases of sleep-driving. lisa stark, abc news, washington. up next, a snow update. time to get out the boots in 15 states in america. winter storm warnings and watches have been issued from california to minnesota and there is also snow to report in another part of the planet. look at this. overseas in the holy land, something stunning. the biggest snowstorm in 20 years. there is skiing at the wailing wall. a snowman in the west bank. snow covering palm trees in the old city, snowball fights in the shadow of the dome of the rock and a blanket of snow on the mount of olives. and, another unbelievable image out of australia tonight. take a look at this. it a towering red wave, traveling 63 miles per hour. you can see it swallowing up houses. it is, in fact, rust-colored sand caught up in ocean water.
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no serious damage was reported, even though it's a stunning sight. and now tonight, we have an abc news/espn exclusive report that's jolted the world of professional football. junior seau was the star player who killed himself last may. and now abc's jim avila breaks the news that he did have a brain disease linked to head trauma, like the kind he endured in football. >> reporter: an nfl warrior, junior seau, who over a 20-year career made an estimated 1,8 a 0 bruising tackles, most of them head. first. >> he'd come out and just hit the blackout button in the bedroom and black out the room so he could lay down. >> reporter: and today in medical documents obtained by abc news and espn, and confirmed in an exclusive interview seau's family, we learned for the first time that this monster of the middle, who killed himself last year, suffered severe brain damage from repeated blows to the head.
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>> we all love a good hit and a competitive game where they're battling, but at the end of the game, is it really worth it? >> reporter: seau's family donated his brain to science. the national institute of health found evidence of shrunken and hardened brain cells like these, tell-tale signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. >> all concurred with the diagnosis of cte. >> reporter: it can be a lethal chain of events. chronic blows to the head, including concussions, can cause cte. the symptoms include dementia, mood swings and depression severe enough to leave to suicide. >> the combination of depression and lack of impulse control probably contributes to the suicide that we see in this group of individuals. >> reporter: researchers at have documented 50 football players stricken by cte, 35 of them nfl players, six high school players. >> cte is not being seen in individuals without repetitive head injury in our experience,
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>> reporter: today's revelation about the toughest among them has some in the nfl questioning their own health. >> the times i do forget things, the sleepness nights you may have, you start to wonder, are you down that path towards cte? >> reporter: the seau family noticed his sudden changes in personality in the last years of his life. from outgoing hard-charging family leader to withdrawn loner who ended it all by shooting himself in the chest, leaving this three-word message on a text to his four children and ex-wife. and what did he say? >> just three words. "i love you." >> that was the last we heard. >> reporter: none of seau's children play football anymore and that's fine with their mother. >> i think it's a gamble. if you want to play the sport, know what you could possibly be in for. >> it's not worth it for me to not have a dad. so to me, it's not worth it. >> reporter: the nfl said today it is financing more research and acknowledges it has more
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work to do and they promise to do it. man of 1,000 hits now, diane, may change this sport forever. >> and this is a big development. i know you'll have more reporting tonight on "nightline," be sure to watch at its new time, 12:35 a.m. eastern. and still ahead on "world news," the news tonight on those huge whales trapped in the ice, looking for a way out. well, they have broken out. what's next in their dramatic attempt to escape? are you flo? yes. is this the thing you gave my husband? well, yeah, yes. the "name your price" tool. you tell us the price you want to pay, and we give you a range of options to choose from. careful, though -- that kind of power can go to your head. that explains a lot. yo, buddy! i got this. gimme one, gimme one, gimme one!
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with three of your daily vegetable servings in every little bottle. a new development tonight for those 11 desperate orcas, killer whales. we all watched that video of them today, trapped by the ice, forced to breathe through the small hole. well, tonight, nature has given them a path, but it is a long way out. abc's neal karlinskytells us about their dramatic attempt to escape. >> reporter: they are a family fighting for survival, taking turns to breathe, doing what's called spy hopping, literally peeking out above the waterline, desperately looking for an escape route. this pod of killer whales was trapped in the ice of canada's hudson bay by a cruel turn in the weather. temperatures in the bay have been unusually warm, luring the family in search of food. but as the temperatures dropped, the bay iced over. there was no way out. with only one hole to share for those precious breaths, they
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were running out of time. >> with no real escape route from the hudson bay, they just move from one little breathing area to the next. >> reporter: a killer whale can go about 20 minutes at the absolute maximum on one breath. swimming little more than a mile before needing air. the nearest opening in the ice, an impossible six miles. several dramatic rescues were considered, but abandoned. canada's icebreaking ship was days away from clearing a path, but experts feared the noise would frighten the whales. they could have tried to use a chinook helicopter, but too costly, too time consuming. but today, before anything would be done, they were gone. >> the killer whale is the social predator of the marine environment. the have biggest brain to body weight ratio. they have the best sonar and vision. these guys are no dummies. >> reporter: orcas are led by females, who live up to 80 years. in this case, it's believed the
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grandmother found an opening and led them out. it will be up to her to keep them alive, navigating a patchwork of ice for hundreds of miles in search of the open sea. neal karlinsky, abc news, seattle. >> and god speed to them. and coming up next here, can you guess why this song could save you from a car crash? ♪ hold mthcloser tiny dancer l. aid it. how did i know? well, i didn't really. see, i figured low testosterone would decrease my sex drive... but when i started losing energy and became moody... that's when i had an honest conversation with my doctor. we discussed all the symptoms... then he gave me some blood tests. showed it was low t. that's it. it was a number -- not just me. [ male announcer ] today, men with low t have androgel 1.62% (testosterone gel). the #1 prescribed topical testosterone replacement therapy, increases testosterone when used daily.
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we begin the "instant index" tonight with the latest installment in the tale of the treasury secretary that writes in a squiggle. last night, we showed you this signature about to be on all your money. it's white house chief of staff jack lew. today at his nomination, lew admitted to being challenged in penmanship and the president rubbed in it. >> i'd never noticed jack's signature. and -- and when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, i considered rescinding my offer to appoint him. jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible. in order not to debase our currency should he be confirmed as secretary of the treasury. and also tonight, we want you to listen to a song that could save your life or maybe at least the bumper on your car. here it is.
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♪ hold me closer tiny dancer ♪ count the headlights on the highway ♪ >> it's, of course elton john's "tiny dancer." but did you know there is new research out of london tonight that says you may be safer in your car if you play this song while you're driving? apparently the tempo of this song slows the human heartbeat down to 60 beats a minute. so, you relax and ease up on the gas pedal. who knew? and, if you see something buzzing out there for our "instant index," be sure to tweet it to me, @dianesawyer. coming up next, we join the debate. what movies, what stars deserve to win the oscar? and who got robbed at the nominations today? [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health
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and finally tonight, the oscars. this morning, we learned the nominations, and there were some big surprises. so, all day long, movie stars celebrated and some of them even questioned the choices. here's abc's david wright. >> reporter: today in hollywood, they're already practicing their acceptance speeches. >> great to hear your name, i have to say. i mean, i was certain, by the way, that it wouldn't happen. ♪ skyfall >> reporter: singer-songwriter, adele, recognized for her "bond" theme for "skyfall," tweeted "oh my god, i feel like meryl streep!" oscar winner anne hathaway was thrilled to hear she was nominated. she said today, "i just started gulping for air, nervous i was going to pass out."
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>> blood's been spilled to afford us this moment. >> reporter: "lincoln" led today's list with 12 nominations. the other major contender -- "silver linings playbook," nominated in all the big categories. first time that's happened since "raging bull." >> the first film in three decades to get nominations in picture, director, screen play and all four acting categories and that's an incredible feat. >> reporter: the biggest snubs today -- kathryn bigelow, passed over for "zero dark thirty" and ben affleck passed over for best director for at "argo." emmanuelle riva, is 86 years old, the oldest ever nominee for best actress. joining her in that category, the youngest ever nominated. quvenzhane wallis of "beasts of the southern wild." >> do you know how big that is? >> do i ever!
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>> reporter: a school girl, in her first role, now up for best actress. david wright, abc news, hollywood. >> and how cool are they in hollywood? so cool, steven spielberg, helen hunt and jennifer lawrence all said they slept through the big announcement. only bradley cooper admitted he woke up early to watch with his mom and his dog. and we'll be watching here on abc, on february 24th. thank you for being with us tonight. we're always working for you at "nightline" later. and i'll see you again tomorrow.
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