tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC May 1, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
tonight on "world news," the tough call. where two rivers meet, the waters are rising. the levees failing. do authorities destroy one community to save another? evacuations already under way as tensions rise and some families ask, why sacrifice our homes to save others? states of grace. prayers throughout the tornado zone this sunday for the dead and the missing. and tonight, we have the images from space, before and after. trumped. president obama takes on the donald and all of those questions about the president's birth certificate. >> i am releasing my official birth video. >> what trump is saying tonight. raising the stakes in libya. the air strike on colonel gadhafi's compound. was his son really killed? and how gadhafi is retaliating tonight. and, game changer. the program that introduced us to muhammad ali, evel knievel. and do you recognize this voice?
>> absolutely incredible defensive play here by the cubans. good evening. as we go on the air tonight, an excruciating dilemma in the middle of this country, where the mississippi and ohio rivers come together. flood waters are nearing record levels. the levees nearing their breaking point. and tonight, the question, whose homes, whose livelihoods do you save? the plan is to blow up part of a giant levee to lower the waters. it's a decision that would save the people and the city of cairo, illinois, but destroy nearly 100 homes in other areas. and tonight, farmers are asking, why us? at this hour, a barge loaded with dynamite moving into place, and chris bury is there. chris? >> reporter: good evening, david. here in cairo, this is as far as we can get on this rainy night. police are already blocking off access, because roads inside the town are starting to flood.
and as the waters rise, so do the tensions here. today, as the rivers rose to an all-time high at cairo, this ominous sign. water boiling up under earthen levees that protect it. the mayor ordered a mandatory evacuation. >> i would rather mandate this and be on the side of caution than to not mandate it and somebody lose their lives. >> reporter: this famous river town, 15,000 strong in mark twain's day, is now a broken down shell. fewer than 3,000 remain. locked in a bitter battle over who and what to save. >> every decision we made is calculated in the public safety and protecting lives. >> reporter: if the water rises another 18 inches or so, and that is forecast by wednesday, the army corps of engineers may blow up a two-mile stretch of levee. >> we'll have all three pipes loaded with blasting agent. >> reporter: the blast would temporarily flood 130,000 acres of rich missouri farmland,
including 90 homes. the mississippi river would then drop three to four feet, saving cairo, but sacrificing the farms. >> when you worked all your life for something, you sure hate to lose it. >> reporter: and that's your fear? >> that's my fear. unknown. the unknown is my fear. i don't know what's going to happen. >> reporter: bill feaser farms 2,500 acres. corn, beans, wheat. he fears the flooding and its toxic stew would ruin his crops for years to come. >> when they blow two mile of levee, who knows what's going to happen. i don't know that they know. >> reporter: to cairo, of course, the choice is clear. >> what's more important? land or lives? it's a no brainer. you know, you can replace land, you can't replace lives. >> reporter: so far, the courts have agreed with him. now that barge loaded with explosives is about 20 miles, 20 hours, rather, down river, coming up here to cairo. could arrive in the next day or so. the levee could be exploded any time after that, unless, of
course, the u.s. supreme court intervenes. david? >> so many people's homes and livelihoods in the balance there. chris bury in southern illinois, thank you. and from the weather there now to the tornado zone tonight. and look at the startling new satellite images from tuscaloosa, alabama. before and then this is the image afternoon those tornadoes. on this sunday, survivors streamed into church to mourn the dead. the toll, more than 340 now. neal karlinsky is in tuscaloosa, alabama, tonight. neal, good evening. >> reporter: david, good evening. even four days into this, the damage is as fresh as if it just happened. pieces of metal and steel, twisted about like sheets of paper. across this region tonight, people are only just beginning to assess what they'll do next. ♪ across the south today, there was a lot to pray for. and nowhere was that more evident than the tiny phil campbell church of god in alabama. >> the sun will rise tomorrow. >> reporter: never mind the fact that everything but a slab of foundation was ripped away.
these deeply religious people soldiered on amid nothing but rubble. >> i am confident that phil campbell, hackleburg, all the other places across alabama and the southeast will rise out and we will be stronger. >> reporter: new images from weather teams show the remarkable before and after of one neighborhood, swept clean of everything that stood more than an inch off the ground. nearby, winds were strong enough to twist metal around a pole like it was a ribbon. at the same time, a real life csi tornado team is scouring the back roads. kevin and jim are with the national weather service. they flew in just for this, to follow the twister's paths, rate them, study the damage and figure out how to help people survive future strikes. >> we can get clues about how strong the winds were, what directions the winds were coming from and what sort of damage it did to the structure. >> reporter: you're like detectives, essentially, on the trail here. >> essentially, you're right.
>> reporter: homeland security chief janet napolitano and other federal officials flew in to assess the situation themselves today. but it was of little comfort to the people who call these tattered houses home. people who are facing the beginning of their week worried about the most basic things, like, what to do with kids who have no school to go to. >> she's going to be shipped to martin luther king elementary. i'm not sure how they're going to get there or what day they're supposed to go yet but i know it's out tomorrow. >> reporter: this is a strip of businesses behind me, just a small slice of the businesses that have been lost, the jobs that have been lost. no idea when these people will able to put their lives back together and reopen. and here in tuscaloosa, the damage goes on like this as far as the eye can see. david? >> as we can see right here. neal karlinsky, thank you so much tonight. we're going to turn now to washington, and to the war of words this evening after an evening of humor seemed to take aim at just one man, donald trump. trump has been weighing a run
for the presidency and had been for weeks asking questions about president obama's birth certificate. after the president released it last week, last night, the tables were turned. this time, on trump. david kerley was at the white house correspondents dinner last night and just got off the phone with trump tonight. >> reporter: introduced with his birth certificate flashing, it was clear where the president was going. >> my fellow americans -- >> reporter: president obama aimed his comedic crosshairs directly at his number one birth certificate inquisitor. >> no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the donald. and that's because he can finally get back to focusing on issues that matter. like, did we fake the moon landing? and where are biggie and tupac? >> reporter: but the trump roast went beyond the birther issue, skewering the donald on being a leader. >> for example, you know, seriously, just recently, in an
episode of "celebrity apprentice," you, mr. trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership, and so ultimately, you didn't blame lil' jon or meat loaf, you fired gary busey. and these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. >> reporter: trump smiled, waved to the president. but became stonefaced when comedian seth myers kept up the ribbing. >> donald trump has been saying he'll run for president as a republican, which is surprising since i just accused that he was running as a joke. >> reporter: the obama campaign would love trump to actually jump in the race as a republican, or even a third party candidate. fft, some wonder if the president is trying to goad trump into running. late today, trump told us, that's silly. >> if i were them, i would do the same thing. please let me run against trump. but the truth is, and i know from inside knowledge, i am the last person they want to run against. >> reporter: it didn't sound that way last night. >> say what you will about mr.
trump, he certainly would bring some change to the white house. see what we've got up there. >> reporter: trump still won't say whether he will try to occupy that house on 1600 pennsylvania avenue. david kerley, abc news, washington. >> all right, so let's turn to our seen your washington editor rick klein, who is in washington tonight. and, rick, it was all supposed to be in good fun but it seemed like the president and the white house reveling in their opportunity to take on donald trump. >> reporter: that's right. they love the chance to take this campaign against trump and to define trump as all republicans. right now, the republicans are looking at a field that almost doesn't exist. the campaign is ready, just waiting on actual candidates. we're going to have a real debate going on in south carolina, later this week. maybe as few as three candidates there, only tim pawlenty is what you bowl call a top tier candidate. >> there are hardly as recognizable as trump. does this concern the republicans?
>> reporter: they hate the idea this campaign could be about donald trump through the summer. this is a critical time for the republican candidates to begin to make a name for themselves. as long as everyone is talking about donald trump instead of the other candidates who are trying to make a name for themselves, that's time that the republicans feel like they're not going to be able to get back. >> rick klein in washington, thanks so much. we're going to turn now to the headline that crossed from libya while we were on the air last night, that a nato air strike killed one of moammar ga daf fitch's son and three of his grandchildren. there was a violent reaction in libya's capital today. but the question remains tonight, is his son really dead? miguel marquez is in libya again tonight. >> reporter: libya's government says this is proof positive nato is hunting colonel moammar gadhafi. >> this was a direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country. >> reporter: the claim, gadhafi's youngest son, saif, three of his grandchildren, were killed. but gadhafi and his wife, who were in the same building, escaped unharmed. all right
reporters who visited the site say the damage was so vast, it's hard to see how anyone could have escaped uninjured. here in the rebel capital, the immediate reaction? celebration. >> to finish gadhafi, sons first. >> reporter: this is the third nato strike on targets used by gadhafi. last friday, a bunker near his tripoli compound was struck by two bombs. but the rebel leadership here doubts anyone was killed in last night's attack. they claim gadhafi is simply trying to win international support and split the coalition. in past attacks, gadhafi has shown injured family members. when the u.s. bombed libya in 1986, gadhafi allowed western reporters into the hospital to see two of his sons injured in that attack. saif, allegedly killed last night, then 4 years old, was one of them. gadhafi's supporters were so outraged by the bombing, they burned an ransacked, the u.s., uk, french, italian and qatari embassies in tripoli. all of their staffs have been
recalled, so, they weren't in the country. the u.n. wasn't so lucky. their offices were also attack and the u.n. has now pulled their staff out of the country to tunisia. david? >> still so many questions miguel. thank you so much. tonight, pope john paul ii is one step closer to sainthood. at one of the largest vatican masses in history, and just six years after his death, the pontiff was celebrated as a beloved leader and a miracle worker. our david wright is in rome. >> reporter: 1.5 million people, most of whom didn't sleep a wink last night, camping out because there aren't hotel rooms enough here. plus, all of them wanted to stake out a good spot. pill grim pilgrims from all over the planet drawn here for him. the last time all these people gathered here to honor pope john paul was for his funeral, six years ago. and this event is in many ways a book end to that one. back then, they were chanting, "sainthood now." and today, the church is answering their prayers.
"from now on, pope john paul shawl be called blessed," pope benedict proclaimed in latin. with that, they unveiled a tapestry, hung from the window in st. peter's, an emotional moment for this crowd. then, the french nun cured of parkinson's disease after she prayed to the late pope quietly approached the altar. that chalice contains a vile of john paul's blood, taken during a medical procedure. now, it's a precious relic of the church. >> the blood is still liquefied. not because of any miracle but because they put an anti-coe wag lant in the blood. >> reporter: to be sure, pope john paul ii does have detractors. especially over his handling of church sexual abuse. the most painful scandal ever to hit the modern church happened on his watch. >> he suffers from some criticism of maybe being slower than people would have wanted, but when he finally, i think, tuned into it, he took very decisive action. i was here. >> reporter: but to millions, he meant the world. and they're now praying for another miracle.
kneeling at blessed pope john paul's coffin, now one step closer to sainthood. david wright, abc news, the vatican. and still ahead here on "world news" this sunday night, from london, what we learned about the royal wedding afterparty. what prince william is calling his new wife. the kindergartner and the firefighters who shaped him, especially with their words to him on 9/11. how his own movie is helping to heal. and the show that introduced us to a young arnold schwarzenegger and evel knievel. and do you recognize the voice of this unlikely sportscaster? >> absolutely incredible defensive play here from the cubans. watch as this receive it in the back court. e. love those jeans. $175. ch-ching! excuse me? ever consider showing your customers what other stores charge for jeans? um...no. when it comes to car insurance, progressive direct does.
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meanwhile, there are long lines outside westminster abbey. people eager to see the tree-filled locale before decorations disappear. sure, at $35 million, it was a staggeringly expensive affair, but the boost to tourism was far greater than that. but the biggest boost may have been to the royal family itself. after decades of scandals and accusations that it is out of touch, suddenly, britains say they can see a king and queen in their future. in a poll released today, 73% said kate, now the duchess of cambridge, will help revitalize the royal family. it's a sentiment we found on the streets. >> i think people can relate to them a bit more. >> reporter: what do you think this wedding has done for the monarchy? >> i think it's brought it into the, in modern world, really. >> reporter: not everyone in britain seeps it that way. >> at the end of the day, the 21st century british monarchy is nothing but a rofling media road show selling nothing but itself. it's a sales machine.
>> reporter: but the british seem to understand that, and most are more than happy to live among living history. jeffrey kofman, abc news, london. >> our thanks to jeffrey. and a footnote to our royal coverage. last night here, we took you behind the scenes in the booth over buckingham. you asked, and we posted the images on facebook. you can find them there, it's david muir abc. when we come back on the broadcast tonight, the kindergartner, and what he saw on 9/11. how the words from one firefighter racing to the scene changed his life. i do remember sitting down with my boys, and i'm like, "oh, promise mommy you'll never ever pick up a cigarette." i had to quit. ♪ my doctor gave me a prescription for chantix, a medication i could take and still smoke, while it built up in my system. [ male announcer ] chantix is a non-nicotine pill proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke.
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two ingredients... ...one mission. heartburn solved. an amazing discovery today after so much time. the black box from a 2009 air france jet was found, nearly 13,000 feet deep in the atlantic ocean. 228 people died on that flight from brazil to paris. investigators hope to mine the data in the recorder within days. the launch of the shuttle "endeavor" has been delayed until next week. mark kelly and his wife gabrielle giffords have returned to houston to wait. congresswoman giffords will return for that takeoff. it was nearly ten years ago, those two jets hit the world trade center. this weekend, a young man who was just a kindergartner a few blocks from the disaster premiered his deeply personal documentary. a story of a boy, shaped by what he saw. >> i remember just the crumbling of the towers, falling in on themselves. >> reporter: brook peters was 4 on that day, his second day of kindergarten. a few blocks from the world trade center. he knew many of the firefighters.
raised by a single mother, she would take him to the fire house often so she would have male role models. and on 9/11, it was one of those firefighters that offered a little boy the words he will never forget. >> grow up to be a good man. >> reporter: he saw the towers fall that day. the workers jumping. and for years, struggled to make sense of it all. he decided to make a documentary, interviewing others who it witnessed it, too. >> i remember being on the ground, putting my head down to the ground, saying a prayer, the whole time. i was so afraid. >> reporter: he is now 14. and his documentary premiered this weekend, not far from ground zero. >> i never really talked about it until i started interviewing kids. if they are able to talk about it, then i should be able to be more vocal about my experience that day. >> we wish him well. brook says he wants to be a filmmaker and a firefighter. and when we come back here, do you remember where you saw muhammad ali or a young man named schwarzenegger for the first time?
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and finally tonight here, it was 50 years ago this weekend we first heard that opening theme music to a program "time" magazine calls one of the 100 most influential programs in history. >> spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport. >> reporter: it was right here on this network -- >> the thrill of victory. >> reporter: abc's wide world of sports. >> the agony of defeat. >> reporter: and it would revolutionize sports on television. >> down goes frazier! >> reporter: showing the lesser known sports. >> frog gets three jumps within 15 seconds. >> reporter: in some of the most unlikely places. legendary sportscaster jim mckay, always at the helm. >> going to try to hit a golf ball over the great wall of china. >> reporter: there was the visit to communist cuba, and who was the sports announcer this time? >> i'm peter jennings. >> reporter: that's peter jennings in 1971, doing the play by play of a volleyball match between the u.s. and cuba. >> that's it.
the cubans have won. >> reporter: but television historians say the biggest impact came from the story telling about the athletes, the human drama of athletic competition. >> you'd have to bring the individuals involved to life and that's exactly what wide world knew how to do. >> fortunate thing about body building, you carry your success with you all the time. >> reporter: we would meet that daredevil motorcycle rider. >> my name is evel knievel. >> reporter: whose attempt to ride across a canyon transfixed the nation. >> you're being extremely truculent. >> reporter: and that boxer from kentucky, who without later become one of the most recognizable people in the world. >> i'm the greatest fighter of all time. >> changed the way we cover sports, and news for that matter. great to see peter jennings
>> alan: alcatraz evacuated. the park service ordered everyone off the island after an alarm sound. the island was packed with tourists when someone said they smelled something burning. we're at at the pier. >> a lot of them are here trying to get refunds. someone smelled odor, turned out to be a false alarm, and 1100 people who were on this island had to be evacuated today. all of the tours to the island were cancelled after the alarm went off. there were two night toward scheduled. those were also cancelled. the company that dolt the boat tours to the eye island was at