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tv   ABC World News Saturday  ABC  February 19, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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ground zero. first police in riot gear and then the protesters. tens of thousands of them, the biggest crowd yet. clogging the capitol and the heart of the city. most state workers angry over proposed budget cuts. that slash benefits and cut at the heart of union power, the right to collective bargaining. some are demanding a recall of the governor who just took office here six weeks ago. >> we need a strong middle class. that was built on the backs of unions. >> and today, a smaller but equally as passionate crowd supporting the governor. led by tea party activists including joe the plumber. >> unions don't deserve anything. you don't deserve anything. you work for it yourself. >> small businesses owners wanted their voices to be heard. >> public employees have been the cadillac of employees, and it's got to stop.
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>> we cannot continue this la-la land about paying union people so much money. there's going to be no america left. >> two union school teachers. two opposing views. >> he's not busting the union. >> if you take away -- >> if you believe that, i worked for the university. >> ma'am, did you hear? >> i worked for the university. >> frustrations simmered just beneath the boil. madison is the unlikely epicenter of a national debate over who suffers most in-state, saddled with crippling deficits. more than a dozen are targeting union workers and their benefits. still on the lam here, the 14 democratic senators who fled the state to stop the vote. >> if they get one of us back there, there's a quorum established and we no longer have the ability to slow things down. >> the crowds here are very passionate. today, there was talk of a compromise. democratic lawmakers said they
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would give in on cuts to benefits if the governor would leave collective bargaining alone. the governor said no, so it looks like there's no end to all of this in sight. david? >> barbara pinto, really something to see the two teachers there face-to-face. we thank you. these massive confrontations between the public workers and the leaders cutting their pay and power are reaching a boiling point across the country. tonight, we take you to the front line in another major city, atlanta. but has the mayor there created a sort of blue print for solving these budget battles? >> good evening, david. like so many cities, atlanta has a big budget problem. the city is facing $1.5 billion in pension obligations but only has the money to fund half that. which is why in his first year, atlanta mayor kasim reed took a hatchet to the city's budget but still managed to add services as he cut. faced with an enormous shortfall in union pension obligations, he
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scaled back pensions for new workers to pre-2000 levels. with some of the savings, he hired more police officers and reopens recreation centers and swimming pools. on "meet the press" last week, he said he's not done. >> i think we're going to try to be a model so other governments can show it can be done and you can survive it. >> his strategy of cutting and then reinvesting has earned national recognition as unions across the country face a watershed in wisconsin from their early days of organizing coal miners, immortalized by singers like woody guthrie. ♪ i'm sticking to the union ♪ sticking to the union >> the groups were once a power house in politics, but today, labor unions' favorable ratings are at their lowest level in decades with less than half of americans having a positive view. and now in wisconsin, the very right to collective bargains is under attack. >> the turmoil could just be beginning in wisconsin. but it's very likely we're going
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to see this replicated in other states. >> the thinking is as goes wisconsin so could go the rest of the country. the union movement may be facing its toughest battle to date. david. >> thank you. and from the budget battles in cities and towns across the country to the huge one brewing in washington. tonight, republicans in the house have approved $61 billion in spending cuts. the senate comes next, and already, democrats are responding, and all of this is leading to growing concern over a possible government shut-down. nearly an all-nighter. >> instead of this pointless debate. >> reporter: it was at 4:40 in the morning when finally -- >> the bill is passed. >> reporter: republican house members pressured by conservative freshman kept a campaign promise, making dramatic cuts to this year's spending. >> these represent in the base bill the largest cuts we have ever made. that is true. but we are running the largest deficit we have ever run.
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>> republicans would slash $60 billion in seven months. not just cutting funds but changing policy, too. money eliminated for the president's health care reform, planned parenthood, public broadcasting. the environment protection agency would be cut by a third. all in all, a 12% reduction in funding of government agencies. democrats are fuming. >> this is a meat ax approach on top of a meat ax approach. it's a double meat ax approach. >> this republican budget has little chance of moving forward. the president has promised a veto. harry reid said now that house republicans have, quote, gotten that vote out of their system, he hopes to get down to serious talks. a deadline is looming. federal money runs out in just two weeks. without a deal, the government would be forced to shut down. >> i think we're in for really bumpy times. the shut-downs, the uncertainty about the debt limits could do
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real harm to the economy. >> the last government shut-down in 1995 was a political disaster for republicans who faced off against bill clinton. republicans hope to avoid a rerun. >> the republican leadership is probably sitting down with freshman members right now and giving them a course in washington reality. which is, you guys know that we can only take this so far. >> here is the problem, congress is off next week, so they come back with just days left to come up with some kind of agreement between the house and senate. a possibility, david, there is a chance they could extend funding for just a month to allow them time to debate how much of the $60 billion to actually cut. >> david in washington tonight. thank you. we're going to turn now overseas to the street battle sweeping the arab world. tonight, several hard-line regimes have struck back against the pro-democracy protesters. so fueled by what they saw in egypt. in libya, at least 15 people were killed when military snipers fired on mourners leaving a funeral for protesters. a video posted on the internet
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captured the confusion after the shooting. 84 people have now died in a week of unrest against gadhafi. police in yemen opened fire on thousands of protesters there calling for the removal of their president. a u.s. ally in the fight against terrorism. at least one person was killed. >> and in algeria tonight, police thwarted a rally by thousands of pro-democracy supporters. breaking up the crowd into isolated groups to keep them from marching there. but in bahrain tonight, a victory for the protesters, but it's tenuous at best. miguel marquez there again tonight. >> reporter: score one for the protesters. a major victory. the government here blinked, allowing protesters to retake pearl square, an emotional and euphoric moment. >> this is the moment that protesters have been waiting for. the military left this morning and the police pulled out, and within minutes, thousands of protesters returned to the square to take back this symbolic piece of land, and
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they're handing out flowers. ambulance drivers who were fired on and beaten trying to pick up the wounded and dead during days of violence were the heroes of this day. at today's start, bahrain was on the cusp of civil war, the abrupt departure of all security forces from the square has bought the government breathing room. bahrain's crown prince took to the airwaves and promised to open negotiations with all sides. the chant is down with halifa, down with the monarchy. the government has a long way to go to satisfy these protesters. the violence here has hardened their demands last night as these unarmed protesters walked toward pearl square, they were shot with rubber bullets. a horrifying scene. in the last week, nearly a dozen protesters have died, hundreds injured, and more than 60 are still missing.
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tonight, these protesters are camping out once again on pearl square and say they won't leave until the monarchy allows full and free elections of the entire government. anything less could bring bahrain to the brink. miguel marquez, abc news, bahrain. back from the brink for now in bahrain, but we know that president obama did call the king of bahrain over the weekend, so we want to bring in christiane amanpour. the host of "this week." always great to see you. i know you had an exclusive interview with secretary of state hillary clinton. what did she tell you about what we're witnessing? >> bahrain is a key u.s. ally. home of the fifth fleet and it patrols the vital shipping lanes, oil lanes in the persian gulf. i asked whether the u.s. would hold bahrain as strictly accountable as it did egypt. >> we try to hold everyone to a similar standard, but we cannot dictate the outcomes, we can't tell countries what they're
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going to do. we had no control over what happened in egypt. we expressed our opinion as we went along and we're working with our counterparts so their transition is peaceful, meaningful, transparent, produces results. >> secretary also said they want bahrain to continue reforms and they would speak out if there were violations of human rights or inappropriate violation. and barack obama, according to the white house, told the king of bahrain, he condemned any violence used against peaceful protesters. >> thank you. the entire exclusive tomorrow morning on "this week" with christiane amanpour. >> we turn now to the american couple taken hostage in the arabian sea. somali pirates hijacked a yacht carrying the couple and their two american crew members. the u.s. military is now weighing how to respond. here is jeremy hubbard. >> reporter: on their website, jean and scott adam wrote
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because life on a moving boat is unpredictable, we expect this trip to hold some unexpected surprises. they got one, friday, 275 miles off the coast of omon in the indian ocean when somali pirates hijacked their yacht. taking hostage four americans who had been traveling the world, handing out bibles in remote villages. on "good morning america" jean's ex-husband said he talked to her about dangerous pirates just days ago. >> their feeling was they had taken appropriate precautions, but overall, they were fulfilling a dream, and when i asked if there's anything anybody could do should something happen, her response was, well, just pray for us. we're fulfilling our dream. >> despite an international crackdown, pirates have become emboldened and increasingly violent. at this very moment, they're holding an estimated 30 ships and 660 people hostage. naval officials say hostages are routinely tortured and used as human shields for pirates looking for a payday.
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late last year, this british couple was released after 388 days in captivity after a million dollar ransom was reportedly paid. >> happy to be alive. happy to be free. >> reporter: the adams don't have ransom money. their family says they have invested everything they own in their boat and their risky mission. jeremy hubbard, abc news, new york. still ahead as we continue on "world news" this saturday night, we take you inside the newest spy plane. a tiny hummingbird. it could one day hover over america's enemies without them even knowing. before and then after. today we lost the national christmas tree in a wind-swept washington. and later on the broadcast, after taking on watson on jeopardy ourselves this week, the newest quiz tonight, if you couldn't see them, could you tell the difference if you were talking to man or machine? (announcer) no matter what life throws at you, you can take the heat. 'til it turns into heartburn, you've got what it takes:
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i got into one of the most expensive schools in the country! [ male announcer ] when stress gives you heartburn with headache... alka-seltzer gives you relief fast. [ low male ] plop, plop. [ high male ] fizz, fizz. tonight, a look at what soon could become the pentagon's newest weapon, the hummingbird. we've already seen what drones can do. now comes a robotic bird that can hover without the enemy ever knowing. this bird won't be landing on your bird feeder. its flight path could one day take it overseas. it's called the nanohummer bird, a pocket-sized drone, and it could soon be a powerful weapon for the pentagon. >> this is the first aircraft
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that has been developed that flies with two flapping wings. >> watch the box on the upper left as the bird takes flight outdoors, flapping its robotic wings. what it sees the pentagon will see, powered by batteries, the bird becomes a sort of bomb. spying as it flies. indoors, what would appear to be a rogue hummingbird is really an agent with better than a bird's eye view, a 360-degree view. the pentagon has spend about $400 million building the birds. they can fly forward, backward, hover, land on a phone line, a cable line. all by remote control, watching over them without anyone knowing. they're far smaller and more discreet than the drones increasingly used by the pentagon and cia. earlier this year, our exclusive look from the air force base as they operated the drones 8,000 miles away over afghanistan. we met with the two-man teams. bp hind each drone. the obvious difference, they
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carried missiles. the hummingbirds cannot. but what the bird can do is fly over an enemy's shoulder, and the troops can carry the birds in their pocket. the devices have a wing span of 6.5" after testing some 300 wings. they weigh less than an aa battery. barely an ounce. at first flying for just 20 seconds, now they're in the air for ten minutes. >> this is going to have a short range, short endurance, but it's to get video imagery back from a target site. >> while the pentagon is developing the hummingbirds, it's not said if or when they will be deployed. we'll all be looking over our shoulders here. when we come back, wind blown. the before, and again the after tonight, a national treasure is gone. óó
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prevent the acid that causes frequent heartburn all day, all night. now we are free. happy. with prevacid®24hr, happiness is a day without heartburn. as one producer in our news room aptly put it today, gone with the wind. that was after we learned fierce winds had brought down the national christmas tree. the 42'colorado blue spruce stood on the hill since 1978. the holiday tradition goes back nearly a century, but six presidents have presided over the lighting of this tree, all the way back to jimmy carter. in a ceremony called the pageant of peace. president obama, of course, the most recent. but the tree was no match for the wind today as gusts reached
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50 miles per hour, knocking down power lines, too, leaving thousands in the dark. by this evening, the tree had already been cleared away. but the national park service promises tonight the tradition will continue. they say they have already found a replacement tree that will be planted there in the next few weeks. and now to other much loved trees. these in auburn, alabama. visitors came out to mourn the famous toomer's trees. they're oaks and they're dying after being poisoned with a toxic herbicide. students have gathered at the trees to celebrate wins in big events. a 62-year-old fan of rival university alabama has been charged with poisoning them. when we come back, after so much buzz over jeopardy this week, a quiz for you tonight. if your eyes were closed, could you tell the difference -- talking to man or machine? tends to stn motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms.
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take on watson myself, the computer on "jeopardy." we held our own. we weren't killed completely. but it did lead us to another question it turned out scientists have been asking for years. how long before we can't tell the difference whether we're talking to man or machine? >> reporter: you can tell even in science fiction, say the matrix. >> the matrix. >> reporter: or wall-e, who is the computer and who is the human. but what if it's not so clear? as in a certain annual man versus machine contest held in england and shot for youtube. the idea is an annual prize for the programmer who can create a computerized personality so convincingly human that real humans can't tell the difference. here is how it works. a judge holds two keyboard conversations with interlock computers that he can't see. one is a computer running artificial intertelligence. the other, an actual human being. then the judge guesses which was which.
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brian writes about the year he was behind the curtain when he realized that trying too hard can leave you -- >> sounding like a machine. >> like the year the shakespeare expert was behind the curtain. >> she knew so much about shakespeare that a lot of judges thought she was the computer. >> on the other hand, look at this actual exchange from the competition. the judge says, hi. computer says, amen to that. >> the judge jokes, quite the evangelist. >> the computer jokes back, our father, who art in cyberspace. the judge was totally fooled. brian had a strategy for his turn. avoiding pleasantries and formalities and even logic a little bit, and it worked. he not only beat the computer. he was named the contest's most human human. >> it's certainly the strangest award i have ever won. and if the question is -- >> what makes the human race special and unique and different? >> perhaps the answer is, on jeopardy, we're still the ones
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running the contest, for now. >> watson. >> who is michael phelps? >> yes. >> for now. and unless i'm replaced by a machine, i'll be back here tomorrow night. hope to see you then. good night. >> alan: good evening everybody. snow in the bay area is rare, this is stroompletd you're -- extraordinary. you're look at the top of mt. tamalpais where a couple of inches are on the grounds. hamilton got snow, and it's piling up in the sierra as much as eight feet of snow has fall
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'. getting there was a challenge. let's go to leigh glaser. >> leigh: snow and rain. live doppler 7hd still picking up quite a bit of activity out there. i want to show you, much of this is counterclockwise spin because the lower is centered here. all of this is slowly sagging south. we should start to see partial clearing overnight, and these showers are now rotating back towards the fairfax area, also towards mill valley and san francisco, and as we head down south, you'll notice the light shading of pink on the screen indicating the frozen precipitation, the snow coming down, hamilton and the higher elevations near the santa cruz mountains. winter weather advisory, 2 to 3 inches of snow possible above 2,000 feet, tamalpais, three inches. month -- monterrey, five inches
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of snow. >> alan: taking a look around, the berkeley hills got a light dusting overnight. this is grizzly peak at 1700 feet. not much snow but just enough for a good snowball fight. here's mt. diablo today. it snowed about halfway up the summit. more now in the south bay. >> lisa: the sound of utter joy. echos alonged the santa cruz mountains. the one thing creating all the excitement, snow. >> first experience of snow. it's cold stuff. >> my kids begged me to come up >> lisa: at 3,000 feet it was impossible to miss. the county park was covered in it. >> we were supposed to go to tahoe this week,


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