tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC November 18, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
>> i'm dan ashley. thanks for watching. we appreciate your time. >> bye. this is "world news." tonight, penn state bombshell. we have just learned legendary football coach joe paterno is battling lung cancer. a bold announcement tonight from the ncaa about the investigation. the case reopened. what really happened to actress natalie wood, and what police are now saying about her actor husband robert wagner. a massive wildfire tears through a big western city. 10,000 evacuated. 25 homes already burned to the ground. abc news gets action. why mcdonald's is now dumping the company that puts the eggs in the egg mcmuffin. brian ross on the case tonight. and the unsung hero. so many of you wrote in telling diane you were moved by the angels at gabby giffords' side. tonight, the hugs and those heroes honored.
good evening on this friday night. we begin with late word coming in today that penn state's legendary football coach joe paterno, forced to resign after that sex scandal, is now battling lung cancer. his son revealing the news today, saying his father's condition is treatable. more on that in a moment. but also involving penn state, the ncaa tonight says it is now unleashing its own investigation which could put the entire penn state program in jeopardy. abc's jim avila leads us off on both fronts tonight. >> reporter: he is 84 years old. and as far as most remember, never seen smoking in public. and even on the night he was fired, the last time he was seen, joe paterno was still giving out fatherly advice. >> get a good night's sleep, all right, study. >> reporter: three days later, says his son in a statement issued late today, "my father was diagnosed with a treatable
form of lung cancer." during a follow-up visit for a bronchial illness." his friend and former national quarterback tom blackledge visited him and found a paterno still concerned about penn state but not mentioning the scandal that swirled around his beloved football program or the cancer discovered today. >> the stuff going on affecting the university, i think he cares very deeply about it. >> reporter: there was other bad news for penn state football today. the ncaa announced it is launching an investigation into how the university monitors its sports programs and "new york times" reported tonight the second mile charity prosecutors say was used to funnel kids to jerry sandusky is closing. the man at the center of the controversy, sandusky, he was seen today driving back into his state college house which was hit by another brick last night, breaking a window. >> you got anything to say? how are you holding up? what do you have to say about more victims coming? >> reporter: the note he handed over said "i have nothing to say."
"contact my lawyer if you wish." i spoke to that attorney this morning for more than an hour. he told me he thinks sandusky is innocent but if proven guilty he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. david. >> jim avila back from penn state tonight. jim, thank you. we move to another blockbuster case making headlines all day today. the hollywood mystery that captivated the nation 30 years ago back in the news tonight. actress natalie wood who decades ago famously spoke about her fear of water drowned in a boating accident off the coast of california. it was puzzling from the start. tonight, it is a case wide open again. here's abc's abbie boudreau. >> reporter: we fell in love with her as the wide-eyed girl in "miracle on 34th street." >> go ahead, pull it. >> reporter: as maria in "west side story." but natalie wood's glamorous life would be overshadowed by her mysterious death. wood drowned in the chilly waters off catalina island boating with her husband robert wagner and fellow actor
christopher walken. her death ruled an accident, but the questions began almost immediately. and today, 30 years later, los angeles sheriff's detectives announced they are re-opening the investigation. >> recently, we have received information which we felt was substantial, enough to make us take another look at this case. >> we're all -- all intoxicated. >> reporter: dennis davern was the captain of the yacht. he says he lied to investigators about what really happened. >> if i could take that lie back -- it wasn't lying, it was just merely not telling them everything. >> reporter: in a book he co-authored two years ago, davern says wood and wagner had a fierce argument. >> robert wagner had taken a bottle of wine and smashed it on the coffee table. >> reporter: he says moments later, wagner told him natalie was missing but he would not allow him to start a search. >> i said to robert wagner, let's turn on the search light, we'll see maybe if we can't see her out there. and he said, no, we're not going to do that at this time.
>> reporter: in 2008, wagner told diane sawyer his version of that night. >> what we think is, that she went outside and slipped on the swim step, and hit her head. >> reporter: police found woods' body floating the next morning. the autopsy would show numerous bruises on her legs and arms. but investigators insist wagner is not a suspect. wagner's spokesperson tells abc news that he is fully supportive of this new investigation. and, just like you said earlier, david, what's so interesting about this is natalie wood was absolutely terrified of the water. in fact, her sister says she was so afraid of the water, she wouldn't even go into her own swimming pool. david. >> why is why there was so many questions 30 years ago about this. let's bring in dan abrams, our senior analyst. saying today, we received information which we felt was substantial enough in their words, to reopen this thing. >> stunning development.
i mean, we're talking about 30 years later and they're opening the investigation now. but, look, to reopen this investigation, the standard is pretty low. they need some new information. they need something that says to them it's time. but it's a much higher standard to say we're going to actually take legal action, the courts or someone prosecuted -- >> a much higher bar. that's the big question. >> that's right, would someone, could someone be prosecuted? remember, at this point, it's been deemed an accident. so the authorities would have to decide to take some sort of action this isn't an accident, it is a crime. now to another breaking story out west, a massive wildfire tearing through parts of reno, nevada. more than 10,000 people have already been evacuated. winds whipping up to 60 miles per hour. abc's cecilia vega is on the scene there tonight. cecilia. >> reporter: david, the fire continues to burn unabated at this hour. so far, 2,000 acres scorched and 5,000 reno homes at risk. more than 450 firefighters are
battling the blaze from the ground on multiple fronts. those firefighting planes unable to take off, high winds grounding them. >> let's hope our homes don't get burned down. >> reporter: the fire started overnight in a neighborhood to the southwest of reno. a fiery curtain of flames lit up the rocky hillside overpowering the neon lights of reno's casino hotels. so far, more than 20 homes have been destroyed. >> it's very scary, very unsettling. this morning about 2:00, i smelled smoke. >> reporter: police went house to house forcing residents to flee. a 74-year-old man went into cardiac arrest and died. 16 people were injured as the rushed to escape the flames. >> i know it's hard to leave your home and everything, especially right before thanksgiving, but if they don't, we might not be able to get back and save them or help them. >> reporter: the city's schools were closed and turned into shelters. nevada's governor has declared a state of emergency. >> we're going to do everything
we can to protect the homes and lives of people in this county. >> reporter: and tonight 60-mile-per-hour gusts are allowing the fire to quickly jump, starting new fronts. >> it is hit and miss which houses it hits. like, it jumped over there to those bushes and that house. >> translator: the key tonight, according to reno firefighters, is beating back this wind so they can try and tackle these flames. if that happens, then they say they will reduce the evacuation size and hopefully have residents back in their homes within the next 24 hours. david. >> cecilia, we know you'll be watching this all weekend. thank you. medical news tonight. a major medical development regarding the single most popular cancer drug in the world, avastin. today we learned the fda revoked its approval as a treatment for breast cancer saying there's no evidence it helps patients live longer or better and citing dangerous side effects, despite the pleas of some patients who say the drug saved their lives. avastin is still approved for other types of cancer. many breast cancer patients say they'll still use it but will now have to pay for it out of
pocket because insurance will no longer cover it. it could cost up to $8,000 a month now for them. a starting tape surfaced of the man charged with trying to a sass nat president obama. it was shot two months ago. he allegedly shot an ak-47 at the white house. in this new video, he delivers a plea to oprah to be on one of her shows, making troubling claims. >> there's still so much more that god needs me to express to the world. it's not just a coincidence i look like jesus. i am the modern day jesus christ. that you all have been waiting for. >> of course now in custody. if convicted, he could face life in prison. now to your voice, your vote tonight in the race for president. the newest republican to skyrocket in the polls, newt gingrich, under increasing fire tonight, facing questions about the money he's earned and who he earned it from. whether he's changed certain positions to run for president. here's abc's john karl. >> reporter: newt gingrich has been rolling in the cash since
he left congress and he isn't afraid to tell you about it. >> i'm happy to tell you i've been a very successful business man. not as successful as mitt. but i've been a very hardworking businessperson. i represent the wing of america that believes that hard work is good, not bad. >> reporter: call it newt inc., a sprawling political and media empire built around its founder, newt gingrich. there are books, 26 of them, movies and consulting for big corporations. lots of money and baggage. for days, gingrich has been hounded by questions about the nearly $2 million he made working for freddie mac, the failed mortgage company at the center of the financial crisis. >> i offered strategic advice over a long period of time. >> reporter: but his campaign now tells abc news that freddie mac paid gingrich $30,000 a month right up until september 2008, the very month freddie mac began receiving a $54 billion taxpayer bailout, a bailout
bigger than any of the banks. gingrich also set up the center for health transformation, which he called a for-profit think tank. "the washington post" calculates it raked in $37 million from health care companies. the group advocated most americans buy health insurance, the kind of mandate at the center of obama's health plan. gingrich insists he has nothing to hide here and says, quote, my job is to calmly and pleasantly state the facts until the reporters go away. david. >> john karl tonight, thank you. now to syria, tough words from secretary of state hillary clinton. the president of syria, of course, facing mounting pressure. in a one-on-one interview, our jake tapper asked the secretary about president bashar assad's future. she said his days are numbered. >> you at one point had optimism assad was a reformer. >> we had hoped so. we heard what assad said about what he wanted to do for reform but when it came to it, he responded as we have seen, very
violently. but he's not going to be able to sustain what is an, unfortunately, growing armed opposition, apparently fueled and maybe led by defectors from his army. >> the secretary on syria tonight. by the way, you'll likely remember that moment we showed you earlier this week when a man in a loincloth streaked past secretary clinton in hawaii, running behind her. gets a big laugh from her and from us what we saw it. jake asked about that as well. take a look. >> what was going through your head the other day when that gentleman without any clothes showed up in that photograph? >> i thought it was hilarious. i mean, it happened so quickly and when i turned my head, i just saw this, you know, very big man with a -- holding a torch with a blue loincloth running by. it was a moment of levity. in a very serious set of meetings. >> a moment of levity for us on
a friday night. our thanks to jake tapper. still ahead here on "world news" this evening, what's changing in your breakfast first thing tomorrow. why mcdonald's is now dumping a major food supplier after our investigation. brian ross on the case next here. so much history this morning. regis philbin's final show and kelly ripa's offer to him on that final walk to the studio. and the unsung heroes helping gabby giffords find her voice. so many of you reacted to the hugs, the heroes by her side, and tonight, they are our "persons of the week." persons of the week. up to bring you a low-priced medicare prescription drug plan. ♪ with the lowest national plan premium... ♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar... ♪ ...saving on medicare prescriptions is easy. ♪ so you're free to focus on the things that really matter. call humana at 1-800-808-4003. or go to walmart.com for details.
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until today, all of mcdonald's eggs for its restaurants west of the mississipi came from the huge, closely guarded operation in iowa, run by sparboe farms, the fifth largest in the country. a so-called factory farm where chickens are stacked six to a cage -- barely able to turn around. long defended as a process that turns out billions of cost efficient, safe eggs. so you don't think these are cruel? >> absolutely not. >> reporter: but now, in the wake of an abc news investigation, mcdonald's has fired sparboe farms. citing undercover video made by an animal rights group, mercy for animals, showing mindless, animal cruelty, most of which is too graphic to broadcast. and a highly critical inspection report from the food and drug admiinistration, a companywide warning about unsanitary conditions, including insects, rodents and large numbers of dead birds that could lead to the spread of salmonella. >> that's a public health threat based on what we've seen here. they're not in compliance with the law.
they're breaking the law. >> reporter: sparboe produces billions of eggs in its facilities in three states and claims it has never discovered salmonella in a single one of them. >> i've been at barns all around the world. this is state-of-the-art when it comes to egg production. >> reporter: the company took abc news with a guided one-hour tour, requiring all of us to wear protective gear. >> sanitation is a high priority. >> reporter: but the company's claims were undercut by both the fda inspection at five different sparboe locations and the dramatic undercover video capturing scenes the company called aberrations and the work of rogue employees who were fired. but neither the fda nor mcdonald's bought that excuse, and late today another major retailer, target, announced it too will discontinue of use of their products. the fda has not issued a recall of sparboe eggs but target said it was telling all its stores to remove sparboe eggs from its shelves as soon as
possible. >> url telling me about the undercover operatives almost caught and brian's going to have video of that in a special "20/20" later tonight right here on abc. and still ahead here on "world news" this evening, kelly ripa's offer to regis on his final morning. what we overheard. what we overheard. his week. so i took my heartburn pill and some antacids. we're having mexican tonight, so another pill then? unless we eat later, then pill later? if i get a snack now, pill now? skip the snack, pill later... late dinner, pill now? aghh i've got heartburn in my head. [ male announcer ] stop the madness of treating frequent heartburn. it's simple with prilosec otc. one pill a day. twenty-four hours. zero heartburn. no heartburn in the first place. great. you walk into a conventional mattress store, it's really not about you. they say, "well, if you want a firm bed you can lie on one of those, we provide the exact individualization that your body needs. it's really shaping to my body. once they get our bed, they're like, "why didn't i do this sooner?" during our final week of our semi-annual sleep sale,
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those 43 steps to the studio. kelly with an offer, if he misses this walk come monday. >> if you want, i can come over and walk you down the hall. >> oh, my gosh. oh, look at this crowd. >> reporter: he walked out to an audience of longtime friends. diane, katie, longtime partner kathie lee. >> i feel a little -- the weight of the whole thing, you know, the somberness of it all. and where's regis going? regis don't know. stop asking me. >> reporter: there was a farewell from his co-host. >> i've had the privilege of walking 43 steps with you from my dressing room to the studio for five days a week for the past 11 years except for when you have off on fridays and -- >> reporter: the cast of "rent" with a slightly tailored song. ♪ 995,600 minutes ♪ how do you measure ♪ measure a career >> god bless you all and i hope
i see you again real soon. thanks, everybody. >> we salute you, rege. when we come back, late word from gabby gifford. she's weighing in on our "persons of the week." sometimes life can be well, a little uncomfortable. but when it's hard or hurts to go to the bathroom, there's dulcolax stool softener. dulcolax stool softener doesn't make you go, it just makes it easier to go. dulcolax stool softener. make yourself comfortable. vietnam, 1967. i got mine in iraq, 2003. u.s.a.a. auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation, because it offers a superior level of protection and because u.s.a.a.'s commitment to serve the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto insurance quote. u.s.a.a. we know what it means to serve.
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this week here, diane brought us the extraordinary story of congresswoman gabrielle giffords and her husband mark kelly. their remarkable story of courage and hope after that tragic day in tucson. that journey would not have been possible without the angels at her side from the start. tonight, our "persons of the week." we all remember that first image from inside her hospital room, gabby giffords hand held by her husband, astronaut mark kelly. but as we would see in that remarkable video diary kept by her husband, mark was not the only one by gabby's side. there was that small team of therapists who day in, day out, never gave up. just 20 days after the shooting, they had gabby sitting up in a wheelchair again, teaching her how to nod. >> there you go. that's a nod. >> reporter: how to pucker up for a kiss. >> you do it. good.
>> reporter: and they began the slow and determined journey to help gabby unlock her words. >> now you try it with me. i love you. >> you. >> good. >> reporter: gabby giffords and mark kelly told diane one of the reasons they decided to let the world see these tapes was to show what's possible. the kind of therapy that can pull you through and the extraordinary team that does the pulling. >> what's the matter? >> reporter: in this moment, the extraordinary therapist angie glen. the congresswoman knows the feeling but can't find the word for "anguish." >> gabby, are you frustrated? can i tell you something? it is going to get better. okay? it's frustrating right now but it is going to get better. you have come a long way in five weeks. you want a hug?
>> reporter: the therapist there for the tears. and the laughter that followed. >> are you laughing? >> reporter: another of gabby's therapists, megan morrow, with her guitar, helping gabby step by step, with the rhythm to steady her. >> this one's easy. i've done it with you before. >> music is accessed in many different areas of the brain that aren't designated for language. ♪ good morning gabby and they can retrieve the lyrics through another side of the brain to get words back. ♪ well good morning gabby ♪ how do you do ♪ girls wanna have fun >> reporter: and watching that special this week, our own bob woodruff and his wife lee. lee told us she was immediately reminded of the therapists, the angels, who helped bring her husband back.
>> it's doing it over and over and over again. bringing that person out. and to be able to do that to really make that person come back to themselves, that requires somebody as special as that young woman that you see in the video with gabby. this is the unsung hero, therapists in the rehabilitation world. >> helping patients across the country. gabby told us they are outstanding people, they work hard, they helped my recovery. all of them are special to me. i'm david muir. for all of us at abc news, thank you for watching. new video from streets of oakland. a war veteran getting clubbed by police. tonight we ask did he provoke them? or did cops go too far? >> we live here this, is not an appropriate place. >> occupy leaders get a taste of their own medicine. new encampment may be worse
than the first. >> and they stopped a fire in reno and saved thousands of homes but the threat is far from over. >> and the bay area bike riders breaking rules of the road. >> get on the ground. hay stop. >> this is a crucial confrontation at the oakland occupy demonstration two weeksing ayochl the man being hit by police is a local war veteran who ended up in the hospital. good evening, i'm dan ashley. >> we see him ignoring police orders but also see an officer breaking ranks and clubbing him repeatedly. wayne freedman has a look at the video, andy ree yax. -- reaction. this is a slido thatol