tv ABC World News Now ABC December 21, 2011 2:40am-4:00am PST
she wasn't -- didn't appear to be badly injured. she wasn't limping or anything. just sort of walking down the road like she knew where she was going. >> a deer on a mission. the reindeer does belong to a local farm. she had been on the way to a party when the trailer door popped open and she simply tumbled out. she has a broken antler but is back home now. >> i mean, imagine this reindeer just walking around. >> 'tis the season. you know what i mean? >> broken antler. >> she's healing nicely. police say they've been the butt of some jokes, but -- >> i would imagine. i've got a few in my head. >> it's that time of year. hanukkah began last night. to mark the first night of the eight-day jewish festival, new yorkers lit the world's biggest menorah. it's 32 feet high. weighs 4,000 pounds and sits on fifth avenue near 59th street near the plaza and pierre hotel. >> senator chuck schumer climbed into a cherry picker and lit the
first light with a blow torch. afterwards there was dancing, live music and free jelly doughnuts. >> all the holidays getting under way. >> that's a beautiful menorah. huge. >> i don't live far from there. i didn't see that was going on last night. new york really is such a beautiful city at christmastime. >> isn't it? come here and visit us. >> it's gorgeous. gorgeous. all the lights. the store windows. just everything. >> let's keep that snow away this weekend. that's all i say. ♪
house fires spike during the holidays. fueled by the synthetic materials that now fill most of our homes. abc's matt gutman has the details. >> reporter: it's all too common this time of year. homes filled with holiday cheer and holiday lights. just an accident away from disaster. in the next 24 hours, about 1,000 american homes will catch fire. >> it's the holidays. decorations are out. candles are lit. candles burn at 1,000 degrees and you could accidentally start a devastating fire by doing something as simple as getting off the couch. >> we watched just how quickly the average american home can go up in flames. at the underwriters lab facility in chicago, an older home, the fire could engulf this room about n about 18 minutes. with these new synthetic materials, modern homes can go up in flames in three minutes. most homes built since the 1980s can burn up to six times faster. experts say the reason is simple. new homes are made with more flammable materials.
floor joists and roof beams which used to be solid lumber are now wood chips glued together. just three minutes in, that couch becomes a fuel log. the carpet a pond of fire. the room fills with noxious gases. it's a death trap. watch this recent experiment as an older house burns. significantly more slowly. >> we could build this entire room out of natural materials and it would burn far more slowly than made of synthetic material. >> how much more slowly? >> ten minutes slower. >> those ten minutes could mean life or death. >> seconds count. >> reporter: because synthetic materials are sturdier and cheaper, the scientists here say a return to natural products is unlikely. the real life saver for folks in new homes and old is awareness. the rule of thumb if the smoke detector is sounding and it takes more than a cup of water to put out a blaze, leave the firefighting to the professionals. matt gutman, abc news, northbrook, illinois. >> and you hear so often people
say, they don't build things the way they used to. it's true. the new stuff goes up like that. it's scary. >> flames started. he still stayed in there. >> a good reporter. >> had his hard hat on. >> i was safe there. to get the story. >> we wish you the best holiday season. if something breaks out, call sunny at home. [ siren ] >> tell her to get out of her bed and get on her gear and come put out your fire. >> i'm so conscious about these things. i've got all the sensors. i also have those -- what are they called, the big red thing. >> water? >> no, to put out the flames. extinguishers. yeah, you got to have that. >> good. you're good. >> viewers have that. coming up, high-priced, high-powered headphones. >> they were developed by the one and only dr. dre. but are they worth all the cash? that story is next. coming up, high-priced, high-powered headphones. >> they were developed by the one and only dr. dre. but are they worth all the cash? that story is next. >> announcer: abc's "world news
♪ ♪ one of the most hip toys this holiday season for adults, that is, is super premium set of headphones because, really, who wants those little ear buds when you can have so much more. >> but another question is, are those headphones really worth the hefty price tag? i checked out the hottest ones on the market. roll it! rap artist and producer dr. dre is not one to mince words. so when asked about the headphones he used before creating his own, he got straight to the point. >> what i used before? [ bleep ]. >> his popular beats by dre have gained a cult following and are as much a fashion statement as they are a music accessory.
at a recent store event in new york, they were flying off the shelves. no small feat considering that each pair retails for around 350 bucks. for dr. dre, it's all about delivering the same level of sound quality that he's used to. >> we go in the studio. we spend years and years trying to develop the sound and then it's not heard the way it's meant to be heard. >> reporter: with these by dre, he's hoping to show what good headphones can do for music. >> hopefully you get a chance to hear exactly how it's supposed to, the way we hear it in the studio. >> reporter: of course it doesn't hurt that the trendy headsets values plenty of star power. we decided to ask some other audiophiles, deejays in fact, for their opinion. many agree that beats by dre are top-notch which is why they don't use them. >> scared of actually breaking them. >> apparently the headphones aren't too nice to withstand the rigors of deejaying. >> when you are done with a gig at 4:00 in the morning, you are trying to get out of there. i'd feel really bad about breaking a pair of $300 headphones because i threw them into a bag. >> reporter: alan robinson loves his beats by dre but showed how
cracks started to appear. >> deejays are really into the mixing and don't want to be worried about how to handle the headphones. >> reporter: he recommends them for casual listening. all deejays are agreed on the sound. >> as far as audio quality, crystal clear. >> based on another sound, consumers seem to agree. >> i think they're really stylish. >> do i look good? i feel good. >> very stylish. >> but even 350, these are not some cheap things. but they block out everything. >> i was going to ask you that. are they blocking out -- >> everything. >> are they blocking me out? >> i can hear you because you're close but i can't hear the producers which is a good thing. i'm missing all my cues. >> those are cute. you have to put that on your christmas list? >> huh? >> i am. it's on my list. i'm jamming out, baby. take us to break. coming up, one cat's 11-story adventure and a sales trend involving chanel number 5.
chanel number 5. >> lov >> oh, i love kenny g. we know a place where tossing and turning have given way to sleeping. where sleepless nights yield to restful sleep. and lunesta can help you get there, like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. alcohol may increase these risks. allergic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, dizziness and morning drowsiness. ask your doctor if lunesta is right for you. then get lunesta for $0 at lunesta.com. there's a land of restful sleep.
>> announcer: "world news now" delivers your morning papers. >> they took my headphones back. >> it's time for your "morning papers." i love this story. a little boy in england, his parents are building this custom home. and when he looked at the plans -- he's 6 years old -- he thought that the chimney may not have been big enough for santa claus to go down. so now the parents have changed the plan. they've changed the plan. and they have a man dressed as santa claus lifted by a crane toward what is now the first santa-friendly chim chimney in southern england. i just love this. because my son just asked me. how does santa get down the chimney? i'm sort of concerned about that. i have to explain, i grew up in an apartment in new york city. santa came for me. so santa gets in how santa gets in. >> i love when kids get older
and start questioning certain things and working through the logistics of things. it's cool. men, we are procrastinators. we're much worse than women when it comes to christmas shopping. i've been in the mall many a christmas eve. and they say there are few tell-tale signs when men start shopping. the male sale. sales rise big time when men do their last-minute shopping. chanel number 5. the legendary perfume. sales go up big time. also demand for lingerie and jewelry. it goes up big time when men start here. and the male sale began on saturday the 17th. it will go straight through christmas eve. >> 250,000 men apparently are going to shop on christmas eve. come on, guys. >> contrast, women are believed to begin christmas shopping in earnest the first weekend of november. >> me. >> we're in the mall christmas eve. chanel number 5 and new drawers. how about this? apparently these drunkards
decided to have an early morning game of drunken bumper cars using walmart handicapped scooters. in louisiana. they all go to walmart. they're drunk, of course. and they get into the handicapped scooters. and they are busted by the louisiana cops. and one guy, 22 years old, he gets arrested. and he does admit to driving there to play bumper cars and he had about five or six beers on his way to the bumper car game. >> i miss living in louisiana. there are some characters down there. >> they are for handicapped customers. they get on these little scooters -- >> and they were driving them drunk at walmart? 'tis the season. a quick update here on baxter, the seattle cat. he fell 11 stories after his family moved into a new downtown building in seattle. this 10-year-old cat survived. got part of his medical expenses covered by insurance. he is doing just fine. they say nine lives. maybe this cat has 11 lives. congratulations, baxter. doing just
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this morning on "world news now," paychech this morning on "world news now," paycheck pinch. capitol hill lawmakers fail to pass on a payroll tax cut extension before the christmas break. >> the congressional deadlock is going to cost the average american about $40 a week during the new year unless there's a last-minute deal. it's wednesday, december 21st. >> announcer: from abc news, this is "world news now." >> good morning, everybody. i'm rob nelson. >> i'm sunny hostin. president obama is blaming it all on congressional republicans saying they are costing americans more money every single payday. one lawmaker says it's like giving every wage earner a lump of coal for christmas. can anything be done about this
costly political hang-up? >> with the economy and the holidays here and the fact this is impacting almost 200 million americans, they would get something done. even a temporary stop-gap measure. but again, government gridlock shuts it down. >> $40 a week for the average family is a lot of money, especially during these hard economic times. i'm just appalled by it. >> it's incredible. 1,000 bucks a week for the average american. starting just a few days in 2012. keep an eye on that. also some good news. good news. america is now hiring. the unemployment trend appears to be turning around. it is a major economic and campaign issue as well. we'll show you where the jobs are. some very impressive stats. we end the year, the economy apparently is getting a little stronger. >> later this half hour, i'm baking us all one of my favorite holiday treats. it's almost time for red velvet cupcakes from my insomniac kitchen. >> i love when you cook. that means we have food on the set and we get to eat yet again. a sugar rush on this wednesday morning. >> yes. before all of that, millions of americans are going to lose
money in their paychecks starting january 1st. >> it's all the result of a bitter fight in congress. we're joined with more on what's at stake. >> reporter: good morning, rob and sunny. president obama blasted republicans for failing to pass that payroll tax cut. republicans didn't budge, but in the process, they paved the way for a political showdown. political theater reached new heights in washington. >> this is a partisan middle class mugging. >> where is the compromise? where is the agreement? >> reporter: one seattle lawmaker used a red stocking and a piece of coal to symbolize the disappointment 160 million americans would feel if their taxes go up on january 1st. >> remember the lump of coal in november of 2012, folks. they gave it to you. >> reporter: house republicans rejected the plan passed overwhelmingly in the senate and backed by president obama. it would have extended the 2% payroll tax cut for two months. instead, the house passed a
measure to begin immediate negotiations with the senate to extend the payroll tax holiday for one year as well as long-term jobless benefits. >> we're proud of the bill that we passed. >> this is not a game. this shouldn't be politics as usual. >> reporter: extending long-term unemployment benefits would provide the average jobless person $300 a week. the senate plan would only do so for two months but also prevent a 27% cut in medicare payments. but house republicans insist on a one-year plan. >> the clock is ticking. time is running out. >> reporter: political moves are getting bolder than big-screen stunts. ♪ >> this isn't "mission impossible," mr. speaker. we don't need tom cruise to save seniors. >> reporter: but with senators already gone for the holidays and less than two weeks left in the year, it's unlikely anything will get done. >> thank you, duarte. >> the president is saying i'm staying here until this gets done.
>> he didn't go to hawaii. >> he's telling congress get back here next week and let's finish this. everyone is drawing the line in the sand saying we're not coming back. so this thing looks like it's dead. >> i wonder if they're going to come back. the president is asking them to come back. >> we'll see how much weight that carries. this is our facebook question of the day. do you think members of congress should get right back to work after christmas next week to come up with a payroll tax deal? check out our facebook fan page. wnnfans.com. seems like all the pressure is on speaker boehner. he didn't do it. here we are the end of the year. another gridlock against the deadline. makes no sense. >> i want to see if they come back. we'll be talking about it next week. >> we'll certainly be talking about it next week and watching your paychecks in a few days. presidential politics and a major development in the republican race as newt gingrich and mitt romney battle for front-runner status. ron paul is now in contention to win the iowa caucuses and do well in the new hampshire primary. but given his extreme positions on many issues, even his most loyal supporters doubt the texas congressman can win the
nomination. in iowa, gingrich is accusing romney of running a negative smear campaign as the caucus date gets even closer. during a stop yesterday in mt. pleasant, gingrich actually had to apologize for a negative impression he left with one voter. the woman told gingrich he sounded presumptuous when he told abc news that he would be the eventual nominee. >> the truth is, this will be decided by the american people. this will not be decided by any one person, and that's what i should have said, and i wasn't very clever. >> i appreciate you actually saying -- >> i will make mistakes. i have made mistakes. when i make mistakes, i'll say to you, that was a boo-boo. >> was an overly confident remark, for sure. afterwards, the woman asked gingrich not to be arrogant and narcissistic. quote, i just want you to be humble. politicians that are humble take the taxpayer dollar more seriously. the first day of winter may be tomorrow but the economy is getting hot. u.s. stocks just turned in their
best performance this month. the dow jumped 337 points, nearly 3%. european shares rose, too. asian markets are following that lead trading higher this morning. the uptick started with the strong report on u.s. housing and encouraging developments in germany and spain. good news on main street as well. unemployment has fallen now in 43 states, putting job creation on a five-month roll. as cecilia vega found out, there are signs the trend is just getting started. >> reporter: call it a holiday gift of the best kind. just about every state in the country saw unemployment drop in november. nationally, the country has seen 100,000 or more new jobs added every month since july. that hasn't happened since before the start of the great recession. is this going to stick for the united states? >> i think we're going to see continued job growth and reductions in unemployment in the country as a whole. >> reporter: the brightest spot
in the entire country? right here in north dakota where more people are back to work than anywhere else. and unemployment rate at 3.5%, far below the national average of 8.6% means help wanted signs and job fairs are everywhere. what's behind it? an oil boom that's creating work in every field from farm to factories. and people like mark luna are cashing in. >> in arizona, it took at least 30 days just to get an interview. here it took a week. >> reporter: there are still states like nevada with a staggering 13% unemployment rate, things are looking up in most of the country. alabama's governor, who saw one of the steepest unemployment drops in the country last month, told us his state's boom comes from new jobs in auto manufacturing and aerospace. and you think this is going to stick for alabama? >> we have become a state that really recruits industries, especially manufacturing industries into their state. >> reporter: whether it's a
rebounding housing market or new jobs in the oil industry, the economists say this time it could stick. in steubenville, ohio, new jobs from a natural gas reserve could mean work for the unemployed as early as this spring. >> i just want to work. that's about it. i want to work. >> reporter: as of today, 32 states have unemployment rates at or below the national average. economists say that's a sign that more jobs could be coming online and more people headed back to work in the months ahead. cecilia vega, abc news, washington. as winter officially begins tomorrow it looks like the weather could throw a wrench in holiday travel plans. they are bracing for up to a foot of snow in the rockies, heavy rain is expected today from texas to new england. then another storm could deliver a white christmas to parts of the northeast. but it will be mostly rain for major cities in the east later today. road crews are still scrambling to clear highways from kansas to new mexico after a powerful
blizzard blamed for at least six deaths. most of the major interstates have now reopened. it brought ten-foot snow drifts and stranded many drivers. >> it is pretty to look at. everyone loves the white christmas song and all of that. in terms of traveling, millions of folks hitting the roads and the skies you don't want to deal with rough weather. now for the rest of today's forecast around the country, those downpours will be heaviest from houston to nashville. the snow hitting the rockies moves into nebraska and kansas. and gusty winds kick up later tonight in southern california. >> 57 in sacramento. 41 in seattle. and a snowy 32 in billings. mostly 40s from kansas city to detroit. a mild 55 here in new york. 66 in atlanta. 82 in miami. ♪ >> a little peabo bryson underneath the weather map. just like hotels here in the u.s.
this year one hotel staff got a little more creative. they made one out of 20,000 used plastic water bottles they collected from hotel guests. >> the tree stands 16 feet tall and is decorated with blinking lights and a merry christmas banner. the designer wanted to encourage recycling but it's made their lobby a local attraction. you know what's remarkable to me, that many plastic bottle says. that many plastic bottles. >> the consumption factor. >> and then where do they go? you don't want people to just throw it in the trash. >> and they are putting it to good use. holiday cheer with all the empty water bottles. we'll be back with more "world news now" right after this. ♪ ♪ >> announcer:"world news now" weather brought to you by rosetta stone.
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me and all the other procrastinators out there. still have a few days to get all that shopping done. i got a lot done yesterday, though. >> retailers know you and a lot of other people have been slacking. and they are making it easier than ever to make up for lost time. rob hayes of kabc in los angeles tells us how as he hits the mall. >> reporter: if you haven't finished your holiday shopping, it's getting harder these days to blame a lack of time. many of the big retailers are extending their store hours. a good example, toys "r" us. their stores will stay open 112 straight hours all the way through christmas eve. the second year in a row it's gone round the clock. other big-box retailers are jumping on that bandwagon. target stores will stay open until 11:00 at night through friday. and look for the doors at jcpenney to stay open until
midnight. >> some of our best hourly rates come after 7:00 at night during these last few weeks. >> reporter: jcpenney glendale store manager says the late night hours are designed to make it easier for shoppers to find the time to buy. and with the clock ticking down to christmas, it's a wide spectrum of shoppers who pop in in the middle of the night. >> there's the procrastinators. there's the gentleman who have a panicked look and don't know which direction they're going. also people who work haven't had a chance to get out. >> that's actually good news. that's great for me. >> reporter: that's because like so many other people, she's a procrastinator. a procrastinator in denial. >> it's never late. it's still early. >> reporter: but extended hours or not, some shoppers aren't looking to buy into the wee hours of the night. >> i'd rather be home with my family and shop nearly the morning because that's when it's like less busy.
i don't think i'd be out shopping late at night. >> reporter: in los angeles, rob hayes reporting for abc news. >> so how much shopping do you have left to do? >> i have my final two gifts. there i am. you were motivating me, pushing me along to get some stuff. >> got to get it done. it's almost here. >> i made a big day yesterday. almost done for another year. coming up next, we're in for a holiday treat. >> i'm serving my red velvet cupcakes fresh from the oven next in insomniacs kitchen. et cupcakes fresh from the oven next in insomniacs kitchen. cupcakes fresh from the oven
make sure we sift all of the dry ingredients together. so what you've got is you've got two cups of all-purpose flour. we're going to put that first. i'm sorry, that's 2 1/2 cups. >> and it's organic. it's organic flour. >> so now you've got one teaspoon of salt that we're going to add to 1 1/2 cups of sugar. one teaspoon of cocoa powder which you just add in and make sure you sift it well. and add in your one teaspoon of baking soda. and then we're going to work with the -- >> so 1 1/2 cups of oil. pour it in. a cup of buttermilk. put that in with your eggs. so two large eggs. one teaspoon of vinegar with two tablespoons of red food coloring.
>> and that's what gives red velvet cupcakes its red coloring. >> sunny, if you could put the vanilla. one teaspoon of that. so you just want to make sure it's all mixed together. there you go. and sunny, if you have all the dry ingredients. what you want to do is make sure you put all the flour down. push it down. there you go. when you are pouring the batter into the little cupcake holders, make sure you just fill them up about two-thirds. you just put them in the oven. so what you want to do is make sure it's heated to 350 degrees.
and they're going to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes. our cupcakes have finally come out of the oven. >> look how pretty. look how pretty. >> we just cooled them off about ten minutes. and they are fine. so now we're going to frost them. >> and eat them. it's going to be so delicious. >> they're really good. >> fantastic. >> they're really good. >> and they are good. i love red velvet. take a looky, looky, looky here. >> i made some for everyone here. >> oh, i knocked one over. >> this is actually cream cheese -- >> come on in, guys. get some cupcakes. >> -- frosting. rob doesn't necessarily like that. >> i'm not a cream cheese fan, but i think we have a few in the house. dig in, fellas. >> you have to have cream cheese. hopefully you'll like it. >> why is this one of your favorites? >> i like the consistency. i like that it's sort of festive and i like that it has sort of a
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>> this one takes us to wales where one family has stepped into their very own 101 dalmatians movie. collette hume from the bbc reports. >> reporter: it's not quite 101, but for a little girl in west wales, 15 dalmatian puppies is a dream come true. and she's already got her favorite. >> this is my dog. >> reporter: 2 1/2-year-old carris wants to keep the entire litter. the sullivan family say they thought pebbles might give birth to seven or at the most eight puppies. but they just kept on coming. in the early days, that meant bottle feeding some of the pups to help their exhausted mom. looking after them has become a full-time job for pebbles and her owner. >> there's just no stopping them. you fed the first one. by the time you've fed the last one, the first one is ready to be fed again. you literally are having an hour sleep and then start all over again. >> reporter: two of the puppies have already been sold.
one is going to a new owner in italy. the families say they've had lots of inquiries about the other members this gigantic litter. they think all the puppies could have new homes by early january. but they decided not to sell patch. instead, they are going to give him to carris for christmas. collette hume, bbc news. >> you have got to admit those are cute dogs. >> they are very cute dogs. i'm not a pet person but they are cute. that's a lot to have in the house. >> see in a few weeks you could have four of them. >> you can tell how delighted i am by my eyes in that picture. i was having the time of my life. >> i think one day, you are going to be a dog owner. >> you made that prediction before. you and many co-hosts. we will see. one day. don't hold your breath.owowowoww
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this morning on "world news now"holiday this morning on "world news now" -- holiday hassles. winter officially arrives this week with storm systems that can mess up your christmas travel plans. >> after a blizzard hit the southwest and the great plains, forecasters are now concerned about a nor'easter blowing in as travelers, of course, try to get out. it is wednesday, december 21st. good morning. i'm sunny hostin. >> millions of christmas travelers have been watching this storm after it dumped nearly two feet of snow in the great plains. see who is getting rain today and why travelers here in the northeast could also be facing some delays. >> uh-oh. >> here we go again. all you travelers. this is not the news you wanted
to hear. >> also this morning, the cable tv host known as a skilled interviewer was forced to answer questions in the british cell phone hacking scandal. piers morgan was truly in the legal hot seat. >> he comes across as kind of this very affable guy. he replaced larry king, way back when. you saw a testier side of him on the stand. >> it's very difficult when you are sitting in that seat being cross-examined. >> interviewing is easy. being interviewed on the stand is a different vibe. later this half-hour, the maserati of the stroller set. what would you pay for a stroller? i can't be the only one to find some of this ridiculous what people shell out just to get the kid around. >> yeah, i mean, i received my stroller as a gift, but i know they are very, very expensive. >> very expensive. the kid doesn't know. they are in there sleeping and pooping and crying. >> it's true. >> we begin with the nasty weather greeting millions of
americans venturing out this christmas weekend. >> travelers hitting the road over the next two days will face drenching downpours from texas to the northeast and heavy snow in the rockies. and the roads are still treacherous after the monster blizzard hit the southwest and great plains. we have more on this from abc's ginger zee. >> reporter: over a foot of snow and ten-foot drifts blanketed the southwest. a blizzard with white-out conditions that brought major interstates to a halt. motorists throughout the great plains stranded. southeast colorado buried under almost two feet of snow. gusting winds and frozen roads caused deadly accidents. >> it went from rain to sleet to snow. i slid off in the median. was there for several hours waiting for help. took me three hours to get 30 miles. >> reporter: the national guard forced to make rescues in texas
and colorado as 911 dispatchers were inundated with calls. in new mexico, a radio dispatch from one officer describes a baby born in a car stranded in the storm. >> just had a motorist stop at my location. he has a female passenger who has just delivered a baby. >> reporter: in dodge city, kansas, we went out with mark davis at the end of a 36-hour shift working to clear the roads. >> it's a very big storm. and the wind last night was absolutely horrible. >> reporter: the storm will continue its march east bringing heavy rain during this major holiday travel week. and then a new storm forms. a nor'easter that has parts of the northeast flirting with a white christmas. a novel thought for an area that so far has been so unseasonably mild. the storm builds from the mid-atlantic through the northeast friday bringing mostly rain to major cities. but for areas inland, the forecast now calling for snow by christmas. it has been a rough 36 hours for this reason and others in the wake of that blizzard. you have knee-high or even waist-high snow drifts in some
places. roadways and highways that were closed down for hours. and the kansas state highway patrol says that more than 100 slide outs reports. ginger zee, dodge city, kansas. >> winter officially starts tomorrow but already six deaths being blamed on this storm. >> it's a monster storm. i wonder, are we going to get it here in the northeast? >> maybe heavy rain inland. in the burbs, could be looking at a few inches of snow. >> i'm in the burbs. >> get your shovel ready. here's the rest of your wednesday weather. look for flooding and gusty winds along with the heavy rain from texas to tennessee. potentially damaging santa ana winds blowing this evening around los angeles, san diego and santa barbara. >> phoenix, 51. salt lake city 34. 32 in fargo. 43 in omaha. 45 in the windy city. 50s in bean town and the big apple. 60 in baltimore. 71 in new orleans.
now to a major showdown involving scientists, the federal government and influenza research. the journal "science" wanted to publish research showing how the bird flu virus can mutate. editors say showing the full study could lead to better treatment for the flu. they also think it would prove it can be developed into a bioweapon so they told the editor you can only publish a brief summary. to capitol hill now where the bottom line for millions of americans is now in jeopardy. lawmakers in the house rejected a two-month extension of that payroll tax cut as well as some other benefits. that means your taxes will go up starting just a few days on the 1st of the year. it also means 2 1/2 million of the long-term unemployed in america will simply lose their benefits. on top of all that, doctors who treat medicare patients will see their payments cut by 27%. attorneys for rod
blagojevich have filed papers to begin the appeals process. the former illinois governor was convicted earlier this year of corruption charges. he tried to sell president obama's former senate seat. he's been ordered to prison in mid-march while the appeals process could take months. overseas now and some new details in the phone hacking scandal in britain. a judge heard some sensational testimony about how the country's infamous tabloids got all those big scoops. and on the hot seat, a television interviewer well known to audiences here in the u.s. abc's jeffrey kofman is in london. >> reporter: princess diana, elton john, paul mccartney. three targets of britain's tabloids. on the hot seat, celebrity interviewer piers morgan who chased all three in search of sensational stories. americans know the former british tabloid editor from "america's got talent" and cnn. he was testifying by video link at britain's official inquiry into phone hacking and other illegal behavior. >> and your point? >> i ask the questions, mr. morgan.
>> reporter: morgan conceded he had listened to an emotional voice mail from sir paul mccartney to his wife heather mills as their marriage was crumbling. >> listening to somebody speaking to somebody else is unethical. >> reporter: he squirmed even more when asked about hiring a man called bengie the bin man who found elton john's personal bank records in the trash. >> you throw rubbish into the street, then i just throw it out there. i wonder how unethical it is if that then appears in a newspaper. it's rubbish, isn't it? >> reporter: the stakes for morgan are huge. he is testifying under oath in an investigation in which more than a dozen journalists and editors here in britain have been arrested. and many more careers ended. morgan didn't even try to defend the doctoring of this blurry 1997 photo of princess diana to make it look like she was kissing dodi fayed. >> a stupid thing to do.
>> reporter: stupid he admits. unethical perhaps, but he insists not illegal. jeffrey kofman, abc news, london. >> some of that may not have been illegal, but certainly tasteless and crude and completely disrespectful to people's privacy all in the name of selling a newspaper. hard to believe those editors didn't know what's going on. that's a little hard to believe. >> he certainly was grilled, but he showed up. he answered the questions. and i guess the chips will fall where they fall. >> we'll see. it ain't over just yet. we'll see, mr. morgan. a chicago charity group that collects toys for tots says $25,000 in donations has gone missing. the chicagoland bikers staged a motorcycle parade every year to promote the cause but this year someone has drained tens of thousands of dollars from its online donations. the group's leaders suspected a former board member and his wife embezzled the funds. >> i've met a lot of people in my life. anybody who steals from kids is
probably the bottom of the barrel for me. >> since word got out, the group's phones have been ringing nonstop. chicagoans are dropping off boxes of toys and an anonymous donor came by with a check for $25,000. >> the better angels out there. good to see that. firefighters dressed as santa will be in the classrooms of a boston area school after all. the school's superintendent wanted to end actually the nearly 50-year tradition because he said it favored one religion. he relented, though, after his decision was met by pretty widespread outrage. so the fire truck will carry old st. nick to the elementary schools at least for one more year. santa rides again. if you can't go home again, you can at least get a taste of it. take it from a south florida woman who ordered takeout pizza from her favorite place back in massachusetts. she called sorento's pizza to say she had a craving for his pizza. she ordered five pies to go. >> guess what? they froze them and had u.p.s.
ship them overnight. the cost? $75 for the pizza. $120 for the shipping. but for the miami woman, it was all pretty priceless. she planned to heat them up and share them with her neighbors, what real pizza tastes like. i've heard of brand loyalty. that is some brand loyalty. >> i get that. you have that favorite restaurant and then you move away and no one else has it like that. >> we both share a love of new orleans. jambalaya, crawfish. >> we'll be right back with more "world news now." ♪ ♪ "world news now" weather brought to you by colonial penn life insurance. >> announcer: "world news now" weather brought to you by colonial penn life insurance. [ female announcer ] new crest complete multi-benefit plus deep clean.
♪ ♪ ♪ get ready for some sticker shock right here and right now. and, no, it's not because of that credit card bill that just arrived with your holiday gift charges on it. >> no, no, no. for this story we're dealing with high end transportation for your little one. remember, sticker shock on this story. here's abc's juju chang. >> reporter: specially designed wheels, custom fabrics, adjustable seating. it's a high-end performance vehicle. the maserati of must-have mommy gadgets. >> your ads read like a sports car ad. >> yeah, we see ourselves -- often it's a range rover stroller, the cadillac of strollers. >> it's the perfect combination
of style and status. >> reporter: as president of bugaboo america she helped launch the luxury stroller company by getting it on "sex and the city." and as the prada of pavement, hollywood stars feed the bugaboo craze. gwyneth, the damons, even gwen stefani. rachel zoe showed me her, what else, missoni collection bugaboo. its a-list clients make for an eye-popping a-list price tag. $1,600. >> people look at the price and go, who are these people buying these strollers? >> well, i think in the economy, there's always a flight to value, right, is how i see it. so certainly in more than ever in these times you want to invest in a quality product that has timeless design. >> reporter: but the timeless design can't be all that goes into that price tag. >> depending on the stroller, just the type of rubber we use or the way it's composed. they're not stock wheels we buy. each individual component of that wheel is assembled and made and designed specifically for
our strollers. it's not like we just choose something off the lot. >> my feeling is if it had a gps and were motorized and i counseled stand on something and it drives while i'm going, then i think that's worth it. >> reporter: mommy blogger beth feldman argues this purchase is not just about the baby. >> it is all about the mom or the dad. it is all about what they want and they are then putting it on their child saying, well, this is the best for my child. it may be, but is it economical? is it worth it? >> it's not like you'd replace the stroller every season or for a certain outfit. this is your machine for the next five years and beyond. >> that's very expensive. >> it is very obnoxious. the problem, people have too much money. there is no -- knowing you, that stroller is probably for the dog. >> i think it's interesting because even with my kids, you go to toys "r" us and get these like free umbrella strollers. i used to use them a lot. >> you can fold them up and throw them in your car and they're light. >> it's not about the kid.
it's so mommy and dad can look like a-listers and pretentious crap. >> you aren't styling in the toys "r" us umbrella stroller. i wasn't, but -- >> but you are safe and grew up just fine. >> the kids are fine. >> exactly. better things to do with your money. coming up next, a little legal problem that could cost snooki 7 million bucks. >> and a forgettable moment for rihanna backstage. stay tuned for "the skinny." stay tuned for "the skinny." >> announcer: abc's "world news now" will continue after t
♪ skinny >> announcer: abc's "world news now" will continue after this from our abc stations. >> announcer: abc's "world news now" will continue after this from our abc stations. ♪ skinny so skinny we've got a story coming out of "the hollywood reporter" that was just shocking to me. apparently -- remember brittany murphy. she was in "clueless." >> "8 mile" with eminem. >> she died, and it was of pneumonia, allegedly. now her mother is suing the builders of the home where she died claiming that there was some sort of toxic mold that may have killed the star. interestingly enough, remember after she died, her husband died also allegedly of pneumonia so perhaps -- >> he died just a few months after she did.
so perhaps there's something to it. interesting also is that she purchased the five-bedroom home from britney spears in june 2003 for $3.85 million. >> and could now have killed her, that house. that's what the mom is suing for. >> unbelievable. >> such a young talented actress. her death was really, really sad. >> mold can be very dangerous. can be very dangerous. who knows what's going to happen. my goodness. >> hate to think something that correctible, you know, would have taken her life. lighter fare here. snooki from "the jersey shore." everyone's favorite tanned munchkin in the world. yes, the "new york post" is reporting that snooki now could be getting sued for a cool 7 million bucks. that's because apparently a merchandising deal has gone wrong. you see this story in hollywood a lot. there was some agreement she had with a company. she said they weren't fulfilling their side of the bargain. they say you pulled out of the deal. now they are going after her for
7 million bucks. you said during the meeting because she had that much money? >> does she have that much? i don't get it. >> their money from the show, public appearances. product line. a book that made "the new york times" best seller list. those kids are getting paid. >> i'm shocked she could have $7 million but, hey, i'm not hating on her, though. >> that's a lot of tan spray. >> how about this? rihanna throwing up at a portugal -- during a backstage when she was in concert in portugal. so apparently she is saying she ran into some digestion complications on stage while performing and she ran off in the middle of her hit "what's my name." she threw up and then tweeted, yeah, had to throw up, but i made it back to finish my song. >> rumors about what is going on. >> she's having some sort of health issues, dietary issues. they don't know what's going on. >> rihanna, hope you're all right. for you sports fans, david beckham, the one and only, he could be headed out of the l.a. galaxy team going to the biggest club in paris. his reps say, though, it's a premature announcement, though. but he could be leaving the team
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we can help you go there on the wings of lunesta. ♪ ♪ we are so in the holiday mood around here. i, of course, think that's fantastic. >> i do, too. >> finally this half hour, something of a holiday season craze that's been sweeping the nation. and that's the good santa. >> it's happening more and more these days. charitable americans simply picking up the tab for a needy neighbor. abc's dan harris reports. >> reporter: across america, people are being told that complete strangers have paid their layaway bills. >> what? >> no way. >> yes. >> seriously? >> seriously. >> oh, my gosh. oh, my gosh. i can't believe this. >> reporter: it happened to
kristen sepulveda in a kmart in california where she and her daughter were overcome. it happened in low country south carolina, too, to this grandmother battling cancer. >> it couldn't have happened at a better time for me. and i very much appreciate it. >> reporter: and in ft. wayne, indiana. >> it's been a snowball effect. >> reporter: snowballing, a virtuous phenomenon bringing cheer to the saddest part of the store. the layaway desk, where presents, whether it's a warm coat or that one special gift are held until they can be paid off in full. we found one of these secret santas who gave more than $15,000. he asked that we not reveal his identity. >> true charity is anonymous. and this isn't about me. it's that we can help hard-working honest americans in a time when the economy hasn't been very favorable to us. >> reporter: he paid off kristen sepulveda's bill. >> i can't believe it. i'm so happy. thank you.
i have two coming home from college and two cars just broke down. it's just great. thank you so much. >> reporter: her anonymous donor says the best thanks he could receive would be if other people see this story and then go out and help a stranger. dan harris, abc news, new york. >> i think that's so inspirational. i think i'm going to try and do it. >> i think that's fantastic. what an awesome trend. people just doing pure good for other people. >> have you ever played santa? >> after i leave the show, i hit the mall and make a little extra money. >> the kids seem to be afraid of you. >> that kid was not happy with me for some reason. >> great story. >> more from abc coming up next. acs get thr news >> announcer: more insomniacs get their news from "world news now" than from any other source.