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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  September 10, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST

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we're going to have the latest coming up at 6:00. world news is next. i'm cheryl jennings and see you again in a half hour. tonight on "world news," in flames. an entire california neighborhood explodes, leveled by the home heating gas pipes underneath. residents said their warned they could smell leaking gas. day after. the pastor appears to stand down on the burning of the koran. and, a day of protests overseas. cancer and you. on the night of a big fund-raiser, dr. richard besser on a promising treatment. and, growing strong. the babies of 9/11. their fathers lost in the attack. nine years later, what do they know of that day? they're our "persons of the week." good evening from los angeles tonight.
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and more on why we're here later. but first, the story that has everyone wondering what lies beneath their homes tonight. just outside san francisco, a scene of total devastation. home after home leveled. a shattering dinnertime explosion. the source, a gas line creating fire balls 100 feet in the air, up to 1,200 degrees, melting asphalt, leaving a neighborhood looking like a crater. was the pipe just too old? and what about those residents who kept saying they smelled gas? we go to neal karlinsky in san bruno right now. neal? >> reporter: diane, even nearly 24 hours later, this neighborhood is still smoldering. the force of the blast was simply staggering. not only wiping out dozens of homes but sending more than 50 people to the hospital and killing at least four. a number they fear may go up. the blaze was like a huge blow torch, set off with an explosion around dinnertime, leveling homes and engulfing a peaceful
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san francisco suburb. >> a big bang and i was right there at the window and i saw the big ball of fire. >> reporter: ricardo and his 12-year-old son richard lost everything, except their lives. the flames were so close, they climbed a fence without even their shoes and ran as fast as they could, the heat searing them with second degree burns. how hot was it? >> it was hot. i got a burn here. just -- not from the fire itself, just from the heat from the fire. >> reporter: it was 6:24 p.m. when the explosion was called in. by 6:25, the first engine was on site. but there was no water pressure because of damage from the blast. they rushed to evacuate everyone and laid hose to pump in water from two miles away. >> our first unit came down the hill probably 100 yards from the fire and the windshield cracked and they turned back -- >> reporter: while they were rolling out? >> yes. >> reporter: the natural gas line was smack in the middle of this neighborhood. today, cadaver dogs could be
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seen searching the ashes. officials aren't sure if more victims are inside. while bewildered survivors spent their day at temporary shelters, picking from donations. >> the homeless. that's how it feel. i have no home. i have no clothes. i have -- i have my family. that's all i'm grateful for. >> reporter: and looking for help, with no idea where to even begin. 77-year-old les is using a shopping cart to get around because he fled without his walker. >> that thing was right on top of us. >> just so hot. >> reporter: and you lived in that home how long? >> 53 years. >> reporter: the pipeline is about as old as this neighborhood, but investigators still don't know why it blew. and while search teams are in there right now looking for more possible victims, investigators from the ntsb are also on-scene to try to determine exactly what went wrong. diane? >> neal, as you know, that gas pipe was enormous, we're talking 30 inches in diameter and buried three feet under ground.
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the utility company, pacific gas and electric, says it is still too hot to get close. but as we said, neighbors say they knew something was wrong. mike von fremd has that part of the story. >> reporter: investigators won't know what caused this disaster until it's safe to approach the site of the blast. >> we've yet to be able to get close enough to the actual source to be able to determine exactly why this happened. >> reporter: here's what they do know. it was a 30-inch pipe, 62 years old, buried about three feet deep. some residents say they had been smelling gas long before the explosion. >> about a week ago, it smelled like gas. >> reporter: the owner of the pipeline, pacific gas and electric, says it's looking into those reports. >> we have records, we are going back right this minute to try to confirm xa exactly those phone calls looked like and when they occurred. >> reporter: pg&e was faulted
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once before for responding too slowly to calls about gas odor in another e mroxplosion two ye ago in rancho cordova. natural gas accounts for a quarter of this country's energy use. and there are 2.5 million miles of gas pipeline crossing the country. >> there is a major incident on a pipeline somewhere in the nation every other day, more or less. >> reporter: pipelines in populated areas like this one are required to have internal inspections every seven years. something not required for rural areas. we asked pg&e repeatedly today when they last inspected this pipeline. and as of tonight, they do not have an answer. diane? >> mike, thanks to you. and now we turn to the latest chapter out of gainesville, florida, the repercussions from a pastor's threat to set fire to the koran tomorrow. on this eve of the 9/11 anniversary, terry moran reports from gainesville. >> reporter: it just gets stranger and stranger. a local gainesville rabbi showed up out front of pastor terry jones' church today, blowing a ram's horn to get some attention.
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he did. and so, once again, did pastor jones. >> as of this time, we have not heard from the imam, but we are still very, very hopeful that we will meet with him. >> reporter: thronged by an ever-growing media mob, jones was demanding a meeting with the new york imam building the islamic center near ground zero. as for his plan to burn the koran, that's off, as jones' son made clear. >> there will be no koran burning tomorrow. i don't know -- do we have to repeat that over and over and over again? >> reporter: if it all seems to have degraded into something like comedy here in gainesville -- >> i'm here as a mediator, a peace peacemaker. >> reporter: it is already deadly serious around the world. protests erupted in five cities across afghanistan, where crowds chanted, "death to america." and three people were shot. and there were smaller, more peaceful protests in pakistan, jerusalem and london. general david petraeus told abc's martha raddatz in afghanistan today that pastor jones has hurt u.s. interests abroad.
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>> there has been some damage done. you've seen it. there are already, in a sense, images, if you will, implanted in minds, albeit not with photos, of something as inflammatory as the burning of a koran. >> reporter: and in washington, president obama spoke as commander in chief for the troops in the field. >> this is a way of endangering our troops, our sons and daughters. you don't play games with that. >> reporter: and so, terry jones' plan to burn the koran tomorrow is off. but the damage has been done. he's benefited, though, no question about that. he's gained worldwide attention for his financially troubled little church here and gained a measure of celebrity, as well, and he plans, right now, to be in new york city for september 11th. diane? >> well, picking up on that very thing, terry, as you know, you're well aware, we've been wrestling with the question about this modern media nation. and so we asked david muir to take another look at whether all
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this attention just encourages incendiary approaches. >> reporter: so many of you have e-mailed us, asking, why have we paid so much attention to this lone pastor in florida? not just the media but the white house, cabinet secretaries and american general. "the media needs to step off," wrote one of you. "they are blowing this whole thing up and giving this nut bag in florida his moment of fame." even worse, some argue, it encourages others. >> it's really disturbing to think of what other copy cat stunts we are going to be encouraging by having the secretary of defense call him, have general petraeus insert himself into this. the commander in chief discussing what he should do or not do. >> reporter: in fact, there have already been copy cat threats in kansas, wyoming, tennessee. but ignoring the story, and the pastor's rhetoric, others argue, would have been impossible. especially when you see how quickly it spread in this internet age, starting with a
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posting of his intent to burn the koran on facebook, picked up by an egyptian newspaper, then cnn. and by labor day, when our correspondent called from kabul with word of muslims protesting -- the pastor's words could put our troops in harm's way. do you ignore the unrest, the danger? some argue, you don't, but that you have to report it for what it is. >> call it what it is. which is a stunt by a hate monger who is trying to gain attention here in the united states. >> reporter: and today, when the president addressed the debate, jake tapper asked him, was he concerned that the administration elevated the pastor by reaching out to him? >> i hardly think we're the ones who elevated this story. but it is in the age of the internet, something that can cause us profound damage around the world. and so we've got to take it seriously. >> if public officials, if religious leaders, don't speak out against these kinds of things, that's the message that will be heard. >> reporter: but many argue that
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hateful message already traveled the world. the only debate now, with how much help? david muir, abc news, new york. and as you just heard, that koran-burning threat had president obama's attention today. one topic he touched on in a wide-ranging, 75-minute news conference. his eighth since taking office. and jake tapper was at the white house for the questions and answers. >> reporter: president obama wanted to talk about the economy today, but he was perhaps most passionate when discussing how contrary anti-muslim sentiment is to american values. >> i've got muslims who are fighting in afghanistan in the uniform of the united states armed services. they're out there putting their lives on the line for us. and part of honoring their service is making sure that they understand that we don't differentiate between them and us. it's just us. >> reporter: the president discussed the proposed islamic center two blocks from ground
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zero in the context of the constitution and the inalienable right of freedom of religion. >> what that means is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on a site. >> reporter: he also weighed in on other topics, including his administration's reluctance to use the word "stimulus" when describing his proposed $50 billion in infrastructure spending. >> i have no problem with people saying, "the president is trying to stimulate growth and hiring." isn't that what i should be doing? >> reporter: and the fact that despite his previous pledge, a new study indicates the health care cost curve is, after his legislation passed, going up. not down. >> as a congress consequence of us getting 30 million additional
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people health care, at the margins, that's going to increase our costs, we knew that. we didn't think that we were going to cover 30 million people for free. >> reporter: and diane, one of the reasons that president obama seemed so passionate today when discussing religious divisions in this country, according to a source close to the president, is because those divisions have been on his mind a lot as he prepares for the 9/11 commemoration tomorrow, and also, as he reads intelligence reports with news about the blow-back from the koran burning from abroad. diane? >> thanks, jake tapper reporting from the white house tonight. and a note now about new proposals to make sure america's pilots are getting the rest they need. under current rules, pilots must have eight hours off between flights, but with stopping to eat, getting to the hotel, sometimes they only get four hours. well, now the faa wants to require all pilots to have nine hours of actual rest time, and the work day will end at 13 hours.
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the new rules could be put into place later this year. and, still ahead on "world news," on this day, we are standing up to cancer. the latest on a promising treatment. and, those babies left without fathers after 9/11. we first met them nine years ago. how are they today? ♪ let's take a look at the stats. mini has more than double the fiber and whole grain... making him a great contender in this bout... against mid-morning hunger. honey nut cheerios is coming in a little short. you've got more whole grain in your little finger! let's get ready for breakfaaaaaaaaaast! ( ding, cheering, ringing ) keeping you full and focused with more than double the fiber and whole grain... in every tasty bite -- frrrrrrosted mini-wheeeeats! didn't know i had it in me.
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and we are here in los angeles tonight for a televised fund-raiser, which will raise money for new research and new therapies. stand up to cancer. and, today, new details from scientists who think they may have a potential breakthrough. dr. richard besser. >> reporter: breakthroughs in research reveal that cancer that look identical may be completely different at the molecular level. >> it is the most exciting time in cancer research ever. >> reporter: called cancer g
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genomics, the tumor's own genes are used to personalize treatment. >> we can look at the genes and the proteins to see what is wrong with that tumor and see if these genes are telling us which targeted therapy to use. >> reporter: already helping patients like jeff. >> when i found out that i had stage four -- late stage four metastasized lung cancer, and then i was going to have my child the next day. >> reporter: unlikely to live to see his son's first birthday, jeff enrolled in a critical trial at md anderson cancer center. instead of using a battery of drugs, hoping some would work, doctors were able to use the specific drug treatments most likely to work for him, and keep him alive. >> i don't think i would be here today. it's just that simple. targeted therapy is giving cancer patients the opportunity to understand that they can be treated as an individual. >> reporter: four years later, jeff's medical miracle is informing doctors on targeted treatments for other types of cancers.
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for example, a targeted treatment may stop the genes that feed tumors, cutting off their blood supply. or identify cancers that are slow-growing and need less aggressive treatments. at its core, genomics is a quest to understand what is wrong at the genetic level and use that information to develop smarter treatments. >> my dream is that through cancer genomicgenomics, we will discover, in the coming years, a long list of effective, targeted therapies. a chance to get a treatment that you know is going to work. >> reporter: dr. richard besser, abc news, new york. and still ahead, a word, a special word from some friends who are joining me here on stage tonight. and also, those babies who were not yet born when their fathers were lost on 9/11. nine years later, see how they've grown. now the healing power of touch just got more powerful.
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and as you know, it's the ninth anniversary of the september 11th attack tomorrow, and nine years ago, the bustling hub of ground zero was rubble. 3,000 lives lost. we thought we'd show you today. it is active, again, men and women rebuilding. new office buildings rising. the first of hundreds of trees taking root. the memorials in the foot print of each fallen tower of the world trade center set to open one year from now. and, something else is growing and rising up. the babies i first met nine years ago, after their fathers died. oh how they've grown. they are our "persons of the week." we first met them nine years ago. every murmur, every cry. a reminder life goes on. it's often said babies look strongly like their dads when they're very young. and here they are, looking out with their father's eyes, smiling their father's smile.
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back then, terra lynn with newborn jack. >> feels more real that the baby is here -- >> it's like -- it's kind of, pretty much put reality right in front of your face. >> reporter: terra lynn was married to jim, a bond broker who worked in tower one and loved the outdoors, something terra lynn says their son inherited, along with his father's eyes. two years after, jack was old enough to talk on this home video. >> can you tell mommy, where does daddy live? >> heaven! >> heaven. and who does he live with? >> god. >> god. >> reporter: today, mother and son still at the same sofa, but a different place in life. >> moving on, i think, means that we live our life to the fullest. >> reporter: jack, so sure before, now can't find the words. >> you don't want to answer? >> reporter: neither could
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vicki, back in 2001. we were there with her, delivering robin, named after her husband, rob. >> some of robin's friends and some of their families are still kind of catching onto what we've been through, which is kind of strange, in a way. >> reporter: they still keep rob within reach, reminders all over the house. twin towers in the kitchen. a scrapbook full of dad. >> before i go to bed, after my mom leaves, i just think about him and it makes me feel happy and safe and just really helps me feel better. >> reporter: same goes for holly and shawn, who is also named after her dad. she's kept this photo of him on her nightstand since she was 2. >> usually i would sleep with two pillows by my side pretending it was him and my mom. and it's just so special to me. >> she's mourning the loss of someone she never knew and so --
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it's so hard to get a child's head around that. >> no one feels the same way that i do. they just say, well, that's -- my grandpa died, and i'm like that's not the same thing. >> reporter: still the same little girl that once gave me a giant bear hug four years ago. getting stronger as they grow. carrying their dads in their faces and their hearts. and so we choose all the children who, in honor of their fathers, are reaffirming life. and still ahead, a very special standing up to cancer. yes, we do. and we can say over 700 miles on a single tank and 41 mpg city, and all the words stick because they're true. we speak the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in america. yes, we speak hybrid, and apparently quite well.
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we have 19 centers in 4 states. we've made over 120,000 claims payments, more than $375 million. we've committed $20 billion to an independent claims fund to cover lost income until people impacted can get back to work. we'll keep looking for oil, cleaning it up if we find it and restoring the gulf coast. i was born in new orleans. my family still lives here. bp is gonna be here until the oil is gone and the people and businesses are back to normal... until we make this right. [ male announcer ] ever have morning pain slow you down? introducing bayer am, an extra strength pain reliever with alertness aid to fight fatigue. so get up and get goin'! with new bayer am. the morning pain reliever. time to face the pollen that used to make me sneeze... my eyes water. but now zyrtec®, the fastest 24-hour allergy relief,
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comes in a liquid gel. zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®. finally tonight, do not adjust your sets. >> we rarely appear together on the same screen at the same time. but tonight is a special exception, we're really here. >> after all, one of our top stories on this day is about collaboration. >> you know the old expression, there's no "i" in team. >> but what about innovative and inspiring? >> those are all words that describe the dream teams of cancer researchers we have an opportunity to support. >> the hour-long star-studded program that airs tonight, that's 8:00 p.m. eastern and pacific, 7:00 central time, is
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really a celebration of all that we can achieve together. >> and it will give new hope to the 1.4 million americans diagnosed with cancer every year. >> and let's not forget the almost 13 million people who are living with it right now. so, be part of this movement. >> as we fight a disease that's taken far too many people we love far too soon. >> so, please join us tonight as the three of us, and the entire nation, share one common goal. >> let's all stand up to cancer. >> and we'll see you soon. >> good night. the sub is shining over there. but there is still a dark cloud over the city. a 15 foot area that marks ground zero in san bruno
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tonight. the scar of a massive pipeline explosion. firefighters sift through remains of three dozen destroyed homes, many, still faltering. -- smoldering. >> it's indescribable. there is a boom. and then, all of a sudden there was a light. >> me and my brothers this is crazy. >> and i took one of the kids to see and it skinned his groin off of him. he saw his girlfriend die. >> and there is a tragedy. >> the cause of the explosion is undetermined. we know that four people are dead and it least 52 others have been injured including four firefighters. eight people are hospitalized with critical burns tonight. neighborhood damage estimates have been revised downward. 38 homes are now listed as destroyed. there


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