tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC April 17, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
tonight on "world news," the furious finish to the deadly storms steamrolling across a huge part of this country. the numbers are staggering. more than 240 tornadoes, more than 40 people killed. some towns tonight unrecognizable. shift change. the dramatic move after another napper nabbed. but will this change keep air traffic controllers awake? unhappy returns. on the eve of tax day, "world news" gets answers. the companies charging big money for something you might be able to do yourself. with a simple phone call. condoms and kids. they're being handed out right now to children as young as 11. is this too far? and, more proof tonight, grandmothers know best. her name is joyce, she's 5,000 pounds, and tonight, why the entire family is listening to her.
and good evening. tonight, a clearer picture is emerging of the largest outbreak of twisters in nearly a decade. you've seen the pictures. the tornados have been fast and furious. this twister captured as it tore through raleigh, north carolina, of course, that is the state that was hardest hit. and here are the numbers tonight. 243 tornadoes in all. at least 45 people have been killed. and look at these images coming in. a car picked up and hurled through a brick building. in north carolina, a lowe's store reduced to a heap of twisted steel. and in virginia tonight, just one of the homes lifted and blown apart. and the map tonight tells the story of how widespread the tornadoes have been, carving through north carolina and virginia at the end of their line. and that's where we begin tonight in raleigh, north carolina, and steve osunsami. steve? >> reporter: good evening, david. this is what's left of an auto dealership here in raleigh. the high winds were so strong, they destroyed the office, knocked over this tree on top of
what was left of the office and then pushed this car into the hole left by the tree. these were deadly storms. at least 24 people were killed in this state alone. across the carolinas, this was a storm that showed little mercy. >> first tornado i've ever seen. >> reporter: it was one tornado after another. >> there goes the roof off a house. >> reporter: in the middle of the day. as many as 62 twisters tearing through homes and lives -- >> holy [ bleep ]. >> reporter: this one rolling through sanford, south of raleigh. >> just a massive, thick cloud with debris, all kinds spiraling around it. pieces of all kinds of metal, boards, just a complete spiral. >> reporter: at the lowe's, there were 70 customers in the way. managers moved them to the back of the store and saved their lives. >> everybody kind of was on the ground, crouched, you know, and
by that time, as we were running to the back, the roof was kind of coming off as we were running. >> reporter: in birdie county, nearly a dozen people were found dead, most of them thrown from their homes. in raleigh, the young woman who lived here took cover in an upstairs bathroom, but a tree smashed the house and smashed the bathroom into the first floor. they usually tell you to go to the bathroom -- >> right. that's what she did. jumped in the bathtub for safety. >> reporter: tonight, she's in critical condition. today, north carolina's governor went to look for herself. the images she saw were heartbreaking. just so many broken homes and damaged families. >> it's just a hard time. we just all got to pitch in. but thank god there weren't as many lives lost, which could have been, when you look at the damage. >> reporter: the storms also hit virginia. a woman and two children were washed away when they tried to drive over a bridge covered in water. the woman and a 9-year-old drowned. getting around raleigh has been incredibly difficult because of all the trees blocking the roads that need removing.
it took us this morning, david, a few hours, just to move a few miles. >> and that scene being repeated across several states, we know. steve osunsami, thanks so much. in north carolina, where steve is, the national weather service is on the ground tonight, retracing the path of the storms. sort of csi tornado, the likes of which they haven't seen in 25 years. david kerley is with that weather team tonight. >> reporter: north carolina residents can't believe what hit them. and it's not just here. over the past three days, in 12 states, 243 tornadoes have touched down. all of april usually sees only 150. in north carolina alone, the 62 twisters here are three time what they get in a season. jeff or eck of the weather service was already out surveying the damage, surprised as many residents at thor ie
ferocity and number of tornadoes. they haven't seen anything like this in 25 years. >> they come around very, very infrequent. the weather conditions that are necessary to produce storms of this magnitude, these monsters, these super cells, it's like making a cake. you have to have all the right ingredients. >> reporter: this is not tornado alley. so, there are no sirens. but the weather service was able to give a half hour notice of the string of twisters about to touchdown. john watched for awhile, then took cover as the tornado imploded his attic. >> house is not built for tornadoes. >> reporter: the series of tornadoes does not indicate a change in the weather pattern. it was just a rare mix of things coming together. they cannot forecast when it will happen again. the folks here hope it's at least another quarter century. david? >> david kerley, part of our team on the ground tonight. thank you. we move now, and tonight, sweeping changes for air traffic controllers after that headline we brought you last night here. another case of an air traffic controller sleeping on the job. this time, in miami. but the question now, will the changes work? lisa stark on the case again tonight. >> reporter: from miami to seattle, controllers have been falling asleep at their screens.
in some cases, leaving pilots and their passengers to fend for themselves. >> can't seem to get ahold of the tower here. >> reporter: clearly, the system was fraught with fatigue. now the first steps to try to fix it. >> we have decided to implement immediately new rest times for the controllers. >> reporter: the new rules require at least nine hours between shifts, up from the current eight hours. controllers will not be allowed to trade shifts unless they still have that nine-hour break. managers will work later into the night and earlier in the morning to insure extra coverage. will this work? >> this is very much a bits and pieces band-aid type of approach. >> reporter: this doctor is a fatigue expert who says what's needed are schedules that allow controllers enough time to commute, eat and sleep. controllers, for example, have been allowed to work two swing shifts, take an eight-hour break, work two day shifts, another eight-hour break, then, a midnight shift.
>> the system itself is dysfunctional in the sense that it is almost guaranteed to disrupt sleep, to cause people to be less than fully alert. >> reporter: the administration insists there will be more changes to come. but one idea that appears to be off the table, scheduled naps. >> i'm opposed to that. we're not going to pay controllers to take naps. >> reporter: now tomorrow, the head of the faa and the head of the controller's union will begin to visit a number of air traffic control facilities around the country. they will essentially lay down the law. they will tell controllers that they have a personal responsibility to come to work well rested. david? >> so big changes tomorrow. and lisa stark reporting in on them tonight. lisa, thank you. for millions of americans, tonight is not going to be terribly fun, as so many rush to meet tomorrow's deadline for filing tax returns. and with so many americans struggling in this economy, a growing number of firms are now claiming that they can help you deal with the irs if you owe
money. but do they really deliver on what they promise? "world news" gets answers. nate thomas owed more than $20,000 to the irs, which he didn't have. he couldn't pay it all at once. then he spotted an ad. >> hi, i'm roni deutch. >> reporter: deutch has built a thriving business, promising to help people deal with the irs. >> what they were saying was, we're in with the irs. they know who we are. they're very familiar with us. we can cut deals that you can't cut. so, i was sold. >> reporter: he paid the firm a fee of $2,900 and they arranged a payment plan for nate with the irs. $905 a month. but upset with those terms, nate then called the irs himself. >> to my surprise, it took less than a half an hour to set up a payment plan that was actually $200 a month less than what the roni deutch firm gave me. >> reporter: but deutch told us what mr. thomas accomplished is rare. "he does not reflect what it's like for the average taxpayer who owes the irs and attempts to
negotiate on their own behalf." but deutsch's firm is being sued by california's attorney general for making exaggerated claims. she calls it "election year politics." but her firm is not the only one being investigated. >> we'll solve your tax problems. >> reporter: "world news" has also reported here on tax masters, under investigation for deceptive practices in at least two states. >> when you call, you think you're talking to a tax professional. you're really talking to just a salesperson who is trying to get you to sign up. >> reporter: but tax masters insists they deal honestly with customers, but ceo patrick cox refused to talk to abc news. in fact, we saw him leaving his mansion with a suitcase the day before we told him we would be in town. now, i did speak with the deputy commissioner at the irs who told me, cases like nate's should serve as a reminder that taxpayers should call the irs first, and in many cases can set up a payment plan that can be just as good as the person you're paying to set up that plan. and one more note on your taxes tonight. if you're filing
tomorrow, you might be wondering just where all your tax collars are going. how much for social security, for defense, foreign aid? a revealing formula you can plug your numbers into at abcnews.com, just click on "world news." we're going to turn now to a sort of private promise that we've learned about in washington between key republicans and the president. with that huge debate looming over raising this nation's debt ceiling. treasury secretary tim geithner revealed that republican leaders have privately assured that congress will raise the government's borrowing limit. >> i want to make it perfectly clear. congress will raise the debt ceiling. >> you're sure about that? >> they told the president wednesday. i sat there with them. they said, we recognize we are to do that. we're not going to play around. we know the risk would be catastrophic. >> really got our attention this morning. so, let's bring in our senior washington editor rick klein tonight. rick, how are republicans responding to the private promise already made to raise the debt ceiling? >> reporter: they say there is no agreement and they point out if there was one, it wouldn't fall to the treasury secretary who doesn't get a vote on this
matter, to announce. the house budget chairman, paul ryan, among those who said, there is no guarantee here. this is part of the negotiations that are going on between the white house and the congress. but they do recognize publicly and privately both that this is serious business and not something to play politics around. >> clearly he didn't just make this up, rick. so, what do we know about the private conversation with the white house? and i would imagine it went both ways. >> reporter: it definitely did. in fact, president obama himself came out of that meeting and made a significant concession. the white house had been pushing for this to be handled by itself, to be in a clean bill. that only handles the debt limit. the president said late last week he recognizes this is going to have to be tied to something else. that means that the negotiating table is open for business and republicans are going to push for spending cuts and maybe even unrelated policy matters as part of the talks here. >> all right, rick klein in washington. rick, as always, thank you. we're going to turn next to the gulf. it was a year ago this week that the deepwater horizon oil platform exploded, creating the worst oil spill in history. we have followed the story of so many families in the gulf last year, and tonight, some still
wait for what's owed them. for others, it's apparently a bonanza. matt gutman back in the gulf tonight. >> reporter: they offered ordinary goods and services at extraordinary prices. meet the spillionaires. businesses hawking anything from port-o-johns, bottled water, boats and lumber, all to bp. often at 20 times the regular cost. you've said that this parish and other parishes raped bp. what do you mean by that? >> what i mean by that, when you look at leasing a generator to bp for $15,000 a month, when you can go anywhere and rent one for $1,500 a month. >> reporter: when bp and the government set up an army of 48,000 cleanup workers, businessmen like ronnie higher sold bp anything from suits to kitty litter scoopers. business was up 1,000%. >> it's been very good for our business, i'll tell you that. >> reporter: do you have any rooms? >> no, sir. totally booked for six months. >> reporter: sixth six months? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: this house is going
for $30,000 a month. before the spill, it went for $1,500 a month. it's being rented out by a group of biologists contracted by the government. all of it paid for by bp. a recent report discovered local officials used cleanup money to buy new suvs, tasers, even an ipad. so did bp ever think of putting an end to it? not really. >> our focus was getting people, getting equipment and meeting the challenges of the response. no matter what it took at that point in time to deliver. >> reporter: and despite the nearly $18 billion bp spent here, tens of thousands still await both claims checks and for an uncertain fishing season to begin. matt gutman, abc news. we turn overseas this evening to afghanistan, and a deadly weekend. we learned of a brazen attack on a nato base. a suicide bomber got inside and detonated his bomb. tonight, our mike boettcher with general petraeus, who revealed how he knew this kind of attack was coming. >> reporter: inside this
training base in eastern afghanistan, a man dressed as an afghan army soldier detonated his bomb during a meeti ining including u.s. and afghan army officers. five u.s. soldiers died. the eighth suicide attack in three days. the u.s. has been gaining ground against the taliban, so commanders were expecting a retaliation. general david petraeus saw it coming. >> suicide attacks in particular have been frustrated at the loss of safe haven. >> reporter: this crater left by a roadside bomb planted in kunar province is seen as a sign of taliban desperation. >> this is the only way they're able to affect us in any great degree. >> reporter: a 14-year-old would-be suicide bomber captured by pakistani authorities earlier this month before he could detonate his vest confessed that he trained with 350 other would-be suicide bombers at a taliban/al qaeda base near the afghan/pakistan border. in kandahar province, the
commander general fully expects his enemy to hit back with a bombing campaign. >> come back june, july, august, september, we're going to be standing here. >> reporter: another tough, bloody spring and summer to come, as the taliban trades its bullets for bombs. mike boettcher, abc news, kunar province, afghanistan. >> our thanks to mike tonight. still ahead on "world news" this sunday evening, an eye-opening headline. tonight, the debate over condoms for kids as young as 11. the made in america team is back this week. can you guess the all-star towns? the all-american factories we were sent to. and later here, why it pays to listen to grandma. tonight, meet joyce. she's going to prove to you why she is definitely leader of the pack. people have all kinds of retirement questions. no problem. td ameritrade has all kinds of answers. call us for quick help opening your new ira. or an in-depth talk with a retirement expert. like me. stop by my branch for a free retirement check-up.
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ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. an explosive question tonight. should the government be giving out condoms to children as young as 11? in philadelphia, they say they have no choice. that city has the highest rate of sexually active middle schoolers. and an alarming number of them have sexually transmitted diseases. aaron katersky is in philadelphia tonight. >> reporter: this video is too explicit for us to show you more than a few seconds. >> use a new condom every time you have sex. >> reporter: but it's intended for children, part of a new chain by philadelphia's health department provides free condoms and these instructions for kids as young as 11. too young, say some parents. >> i can't imagine why not teach them the right thing to do
rather than just provide them with condoms. >> reporter: but health officials say they have no choice. young children are having sex, so they have to be protected. >> they're hearing about kids who are cutting school to go over someone's house and have sex, in some cases, to have little mini orgies. is and a lot of this will take place in the schoolyard, in the bathroom. >> reporter: experts say it has less to do with sex on tv and online and more to do with poverty and parenting. >> unfortunately, a lot of them don't have a lot of supervision, especially adult supervision. >> reporter: among big cities, philadelphia has the highest number of sexually active youth in the nation and the highest number that become sexually active before the age of 13. >> a woman brought her 12-year-old daughter in, and this was a her third sexually transmitted infection at 12 years old. she started having sex at 10. >> reporter: a challenge for every parent, and not just in philadelphia. the centers for disease control found high rates of preteen sexual activity in detroit, memphis and milwaukee.
still, ebony jackson doesn't want the city giving condoms to her daughter. >> no. to be honest with you, no. >> reporter: too young? >> yeah, too young. >> reporter: but she's also aware even her 9-year-old is con fronted with sex. >> she sees a lot of things that go on with school. some girls may be faster than what she is. >> reporter: and since kids are moving faster, the city is trying to catch up. aaron katersky, abc news, philadelphia. when we come back here, we're going to the latest on the search for a missing miner, but first, here's what diane sawyer has planned this week here. >> made in america. how are some american companies thriving in these tough times? what's their secret? >> all it takes is american know-how. >> starting monday, neat the made in america all-stars. >> on "a b kbc world news." >> with diane sawyer. and sleep soundly through the night.
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and finally tonight here, more proof that grandma knows best. it comes from the african savannah, but we bet it's true with your family, too. john berman introduces us to joyce who has her entire family listening. >> reporter: you can never go wrong with the idea that grandma knows best. especially when grandma weighs more than 5,000 pounds. we've long known that in the majestic world of elephants, it is the matriarch who guides the herds. but now we know how skilled they are at leading. researchers tested a herd's reaction to different lion roars. lions are an elephant's most dangerous wild predators. with male lions being the most dangerous. when scientists blasted the sound of a male lion's roar, not a female, it was the oldest elephant, a 66-year-old named
joyce, who could best detect the danger. and herd the other elephants into a tight protective group, which increases their chance of survival. grandma led the way. scientists say it's the older female's vast life experience that gives them these skills, plus, since they're too old to bear children anymore, they pay greater attention to group defense. so, learned from the elephants, and take care of those old ladies. your life may depend on it. john berman, abc news, new york. >> always listen to grandma. and that is our report for tonight. don't forget, "gma" first thing in the morning. and diane sawyer returns right here tomorrow night. along with made in america. could we be headed to your hometown? it's all this week on "world news." i hope you have a good evening, a good night and a great week ahead.
>> alan: there's ban setback tonight for the giants fan who was beaten at the giants-dodgers season opener. bryan stow has been showing progress, but tonight doctors put him back into a medically induesed coma after he suffered seizures. his mother told about how she learned about his injuries. >> talking to his friend that was with him, and cory shared some information. just patient hold -- just praying, hold on, bryan, we're come coming. didn't have any information before coming to the hospital, and then we were hit with the brain jury. >> friends and families are asking for donations and hope for the best.