tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC December 23, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
>> that is awesome. >> from all of us here, thanks for watching. we'll see you at 6:00. this is "world news." and tonight, final frenzy. just hours to go now as retailers slashing prices 40%, 50%, 60%. shoppers are responding, but is it enough to lift the fragile economy? and digging out from those big snowstorms. and a rare tornado. 40 million americans are on the move tonight. so, will the wild weather affect your holiday travel? and breaking news from london. the queen's 90-year-old husband, prince philip, rushed to the hospital. late word tonight on his condition and his family's reaction. and back from the brink. the 21-year-old who was gravely injured. doctors wanted to remove life support. what happened next shocked everyone. his family calls it their christmas miracle. and christmas gifts. an army mom returning from war surprises her children.
but there was a huge surprise waiting for her, too. a holiday homecoming unlike any other. and good evening. and the countdown has indeed begun. after black friday, cyber monday and all those other special days, we are in the final hours now of the holiday shopping season, so important to the health of the economy. a staggering 24 million americans will not complete their christmas shopping until tomorrow. and so tonight, the nation's retailers are making a final last minute push to reel in them and their precious dollars, by extending hours and slashing prices. and, of course, the crucial question tonight -- will this frenzy of consumer spending be a holiday gift to the fragile recovery? abc's jim avila is out among the shoppers tonight and a good
evening to you, jim. >> reporter: good evening, josh. it's the time of the season for discounts, and this year, it looks like retailers are not waiting until after christmas to start slashing their prices. in the annual game of chicken between stores and their customers, tonight, the stores have blinked. it's an all-out assault on your wallet. big stores like macy's, staying open all night, bombarding consumers with blaring eye-candied sale signage. >> i actually think the sales this year were better. >> i got myself a sweater because there's a good deal. >> reporter: the biggest bargains, warm clothes. >> they want to end the season with not a lot of sweaters, not a lot of jackets, not a lot of boots. >> reporter: and not a lot of gifts. toys "r" us, restoration hardware, among the dozens of popular stores holding big sales, from 25% to 50% off before christmas. online, target.com offering 10% off and amazon cutting toy prices by 75%. internet retailers averaging
more than an e-mail every weekday to your inbox. why the late push? retailers trying to get the last dime from those 24 million americans who still have shopping to do. >> it's how i always do it. it's more fun, the last minute shopping thing. >> reporter: at 14 macy's stores across the country, an 83-hour marathon of shopping. thought, 2:00 a.m., what a way to shop. >> reporter: open all night, right up until christmas. >> i saw it with my own eyes, there's no heaps of merchandise on the floor. though one to battle with to get that iphone. >> reporter: "new york times" reporter noah rosenberg stayed up to see who shops at 3:00 in the morning. the answer? not many. >> when the customers finally did come, the clerks did seem grateful. >> reporter: in the daylight hours, the stores do seem full. and retail sales are expected to jump nearly 4% this year. numbers released today show a small hike in consumer spending and personal income. >> they have a little bit more disposable income. they're out there willing to spend it and we're seeing that in stores and online. >> reporter: the best sellers this season?
for kids, barbie is still hot, the old timer. and there's a new elmo doll. as for the adults, the is have it. ipads, iphones, ipods all flying off the shelves. josh? >> and the list keeps on growing. jim, thank you. and one more note on holiday shopping. some red faces at best buy today. the giant retailer has canceled some online orders placed just after thanksgiving because it's run out of merchandise. company officials wouldn't say which products are out of stock or why it waited until now to cancel those purchases. and now to a different kind of frenzy tonight, the final push to get from here to there for christmas. snowstorms and high winds, even a rare christmas week tornado have complicated holiday travel all week long. abc's david kerley is tracking it all tonight from one of the nation's busiest airports. >> reporter: more than 1 in 4 of us is on the move this weekend. the vast majority, 83 million of us, hitting the nation's roads for the holiday. where it's snowing in the west
that could be trouble. new mexico and texas are under a winter weather alert. in the south, they just hope to have electricity for christmas after last night's severe weather. >> this was going to be our first christmas at home as a family, but -- i think we're going to go somewhere else. >> reporter: davidson sheriff's family was getting ready to take their 1-year-old to see santa when their house was blown over. yes, blown over, by what they think was a tornado. he is being called a hero. >> we got in the closet, hunkered down and i just held them like this. >> reporter: a bear hug around his pregnant wife, 1-year-old and aunt. >> i kind of just closed my eyes and i told my wife and my aunt, "here we go." >> reporter: everybody bear hugged together and just rolled and rolled. where did you end up? >> we ended up somewhere in the middle of the yard. >> reporter: chrissy ended up with a broken ankle, some scratches for davidson, the baby and mom are fine. what does it do to your christmas? >> makes me happy that we're here and that we're still a
family and that everybody's here. i don't care about presents or anything else, as long as we're here, we're good. >> reporter: quite the christmas tale of survival. back to the travel story. here at atlanta's airport, everything seems to be running smoothly. and thankfully, that seems to be the case at most major airports. josh? >> david kerley, thank you. overseas now, and to london, and an announcement a short time ago by buckingham palace. queen elizabeth's husband, prince philip, who is 90 years old, was taken to the hospital for a heart procedure. abc's lama hasan reports. >> reporter: prince philip and the queen were at sandringham their sprawling estate, where the royal family gathers every christmas. the palace says he had chest pains and was taken to a hospital in came bridgbridge, ft they call precautionary tests. at 90 years old, he's the longest serving spouse of a british monarch. their wedding in 1947, followed around the world. for philip, it was the start of a life of walking a few steps behind his wife.
but that's only in public. when it comes to the family, philip is very much the equal as his wife. and in the decisions they made as they raised their four children, charles, anne, andrew and edward. >> all too often, i fear prince philip has had to listen to me speaking. but he has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years. >> reporter: he helped guide the family after princess diana's death and in the queen's decision to make that famous speech. this is a busy year for the prince. in april, the wedding of a new century, as his grandson william, heir to the throne, married kate, now duchess of cambridge. in june, his own 90th birthday. and he is getting ready for the queen's diamond jubilee this coming june, when she will celebrate 60 years on the throne. with all the pomp and pageantry we have come to expect of british royals. well, tonight, josh, abc news has learned that prince philip was treated for a blocked coronary artery.
had a successful minimally invasive procedure, where they put in a coronary stent. the queen is still at sandringham. no other family member is with the prince. and sword that he will remain at the hospital overnight. josh? >> and we'll have news as it comes available. lama hasan in london, thank you. one more note overseas in syria, where the uprising against the regime has taken an especially deadly turn. two powerful suicide bombs ripped through the heart of damascus near two heavily fortified government buildings. fortified buildings. at least 40 people were killed, 100 injured. and the government immediately put the blame on al qaeda, but opposition groups there are skeptical. some suggesting that the government itself orchestrated these attacks. in the country, where some 5,000 people already have been killed since the unrest began, one thing is clear. tonight, syria is edging ever closer to all-out civil war. and back at home now, and to politics, and your voice, your vote. the republican presidential
candidates got in one last full day of campaigning before taking a break for the christmas holiday. and for one of the candidates, the stop-down cannot come soon enough. abc's john berman is on the trail in new hampshire. >> reporter: after being brutalized for weeks, today, newt gingrich made clear what he wants for christmas. >> maybe for a few days, we can slow down, enjoy life and then get back on the trail on monday. >> reporter: and his campaign will get something of a crucial holiday reprieve. >> newt gingrich. too much baggage. >> reporter: these negative ads from mitt romney supporters that have battered gingrich in iowa, will come off the air for three days. governor romney and all the candidates will take the weekend off for christmas. but that's the last break they are going to get. they'll hit the trail hard after, with the iowa caucuses just a few days away. newt will barnstorm iowa starting next week, trying to reset his campaign, fighting off mitt romney. >> he's a massachusetts moderate trying to come down and pretend to be a conservative.
>> reporter: romney will continue to flex his organizational and financial muscle, making the case that he gets the economy more than the white house. >> you wonder, in some respects, what fantasy land he lives in. >> reporter: abc news confirmed romney raised at least $20 million this quarter. likely dwarfing his opponents. and make no mistake. holiday spirit only goes so far. like when we asked mitt romney if he has a holiday greeting for the president. any christmas message for the president? >> for the president? i think a permanent vacation following the november elections next year would be great. >> reporter: merry political christmas. john berman, abc news, concord, new hampshire. and one programming note. barbara walters has her interview with the president and first lady, the only joint interview they've given this year, tonight on "20/20" at 10:00 p.m. eastern. and still ahead on "world news," the young coma patient about to be taken off life support, back from the brink.
one family's worst fears make a miraculous turn, just in time for christmas. and what happens when your neighbor's house shines like a christmas-themed surface of the sun? the showdown tonight in one texas town. and an ever-heartwarming scene, the parents back from war. but wait until you see the surprise one soldier mom had for her kids, and they for her. our "person of the week." man: my electric bill was breaking the bank. so to save some money, i trained this team of guinea pigs to row this tiny boat. guinea pig: row...row. they generate electricity, which lets me surf the web all day. guinea pig: row...row. took me 6 months to train each one, 8 months to get the guinea pig: row...row. little chubby one to yell row! guinea pig: row...row. that's kind of strange. guinea pig: row...row. such a simple word... row. anncr: there's an easier way to save. get online. go to geico.com. get a quote. 15 minutes could save you
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♪ [ male announcer ] how do you say boursin? tonight, a christmas miracle. it began as a story that every family dreads. sam schmid's loved ones were preparing for the worst after a terrible accident left the 21-year-old university of arizona student on life support. but just hours from being pulled
away from that life support, a christmas miracle. here's more from abc's dan harris. >> reporter: it was a horrible five-car pileup in tucson, arizona, in mid-october. among the injured, sam schmid, a junior and business major at the university of arizona. when he was airlifted to this hospital in phoenix, he was in a deep coma. but just as the staff was about to take him off life support and possibly make him an organ donor, sam's doctor, the renowned neurosurgeon dr. robert spetzler, said he had a hunch. >> i said, let's get one more mri scan. >> reporter: when the scan came back, it showed sam was not brain dead, even though he was in that deep coma. that's when the doctor approached sam's mom. >> he said, let's keep him alive for another week. >> reporter: and that night, sam wiggled two fingers on command. >> it was a miracle. >> reporter: shortly thereafter, he was getting around in a wheelchair and even talking. >> it's a miracle, considering, like, where i was, to where i am now.
i know i have made a lot of progression. >> who is better looking, you or your brother? >> me. >> reporter: and here he is today, at a news conference. >> right now, i'm feeling all right. feeling pretty good. >> so for him to be walking in here just a couple of months later, that's a great christmas story. >> reporter: dr. spetzler, who has performed more than 6,000 surgeries, says he is dumbfounded. >> the odds of him making it were very slim. but in medicine, we see things that obviously are the exception to the rule. >> reporter: sam still has a long way to go. rehab is grueling. >> i want to be back to normal. >> reporter: doctors say that is entirely possible. and the road to normalcy will start on christmas day, when sam will be allowed to go home. dan harris, abc news, new york. >> thank you for that, dan. and stories such as that pluck acutely at the heartstrings this time of year.
or are they harp strings? a new poll out today shows that most people believe in angels. indeed, some 77% of adults questioned in a new associated press/gfk poll say they believe in the existence of angels. that belief is fairly widespread, even among non-christians and non-church goers. and when we return, a novel way for budget-minded parents to get those favorite toys under the tree all year long. and chantix worked for me. it's a medication i could take and still smoke, while it built up in my system. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these, stop taking chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic
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and thousands of people around the country are waiting in line for a shot at these. and while you may have heard of getting movies in the mail, but toys? hmm. tonight, we take a look at one entrepreneur's idea for gifts that keep on giving. or, at the very least, arriving. a concept some worn-out parents are welcoming. here's abc's becky worley. >> reporter: ah. kids on christmas morn. the thrill of the new. the agony of the forgotten. the expensive toys. tags still on it. yikes. but what if you could check off the ultimate santa list? a never-ending chest full of toys? you must be santa's helper. nikki pope to the rescue. she's the founder of toygaroo -- started right out of her home. it's a web-based service that bills itself as -- >> we are the netflix of toys. >> reporter: for just $24 a month, parents subscribe and get toys mailed to their homes all
year long. >> that box is going to end up being about $120 worth of toys that she said $24 for. >> reporter: the toygaroo elves clean ever toy. >> we've had zero complaints about cleanliness so far. >> reporter: and this way, parents can fill their children's wish lists for less than the cost of just one toy. >> we've needed this for a long time. this is going to be good. i'm going to wrap these presents and put them under the tree. it's like her getting a present every time a new box comes. she gets so excited to open them. >> reporter: stretching christmas, and a dollar, all year long. becky worley, abc news, los angeles, c california. >> what a great idea. well, you know the holiday light extravaganzas that pop up all across the country at this time of year? we want you to check out this display out in texas. 230,000 lights, plus soundtrack. ♪ fred's neighbors say they are all for christmas, but they
still want him to dial it back a few thousands watts. and, well, they've taken their complaint to city hall. but officials there say he isn't breaking any laws and, so, his show can go on. fred tells us she's aiming for another 100,000 lights next year, while seemingly keeping the local utility in business all by himself. and much more on these light wars tonight on abc's "20/20." and up next, the secret christmas mission for a mom just back from iraq. surprises abound. surprises abound.ty dumpty . great fall. ugh, it's my sinus congestion, and it's all your fault. naturally blame the mucus. he's funny. instead of blaming me, try this, advil congestion relief. often the real problem is swelling, not mucus. advil congestion relief reduces swelling due to nasal inflammation. so i can breathe. happily ever after. another story? from him! [ mucus ] advil congestion relief.
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well, it was something of a reconnaissance mission for a military mom just back from iraq. released from duty, just in time for christmas. army captain dawn mccracken-bruce headed to the local mall for a very special surprise for her young sons. but that wasn't the only gift. abc's ron claiborne has our "person of the week." >> reporter: always with a smile on her face, always kissing one of her boys, 2-year-old tyson and 4-year-old dominick. that's dawn mccracken-bruce.
>> hi, i'm lieutenant dawn mccracken bruce. >> reporter: but this year, captain mccracken bruce, dawn, has spent most of her time separated from her family. she shipped out to iraq early this year and that's where she's been pretty much ever since. finally, this month, as part of the pull-out of the last u.s. troops from iraq, she was back in the states and she had a plan. to surprise her sons while they were visiting santa at a local shopping mall. >> i e-mailed the mall at robinson where we always take the kids every year for santa and they were gracious enough to work with us. >> reporter: so with dad, scott, in on it, the boys were brought to the mall. >> i'm getting excited now. >> reporter: with her children completely unsuspecting, dawn made her way through the back corridors. how do you feel? >> i'm shaking. >> reporter: shaking? how come? >> i'm nervous, excited. i don't know how they're going to react. >> reporter: in just a few seconds, her children's christmas wish is about to come true. >> we have a surprise coming. now, this is going to be really good. oh, my goodness gracious sakes.
here comes your surprise. who is this? >> hi, baby. >> mommy! >> see, i told you it was a surprise. this is great. oh, my gosh. >> reporter: how was the real deal? >> i think everyone was in shock. i don't think they thought i was real. did you think i was real? >> reporter: what dawn didn't know was that there was a surprise for her, at the other end of the mall. >> what's going on here? >> this is the cv band, for you. ♪ >> reporter: a star-spangled tribute by the band from her old high school.
>> playing mommy's song! >> reporter: and as they played, hundreds of shoppers, strangers, stood and applauded for one of their own, finally back home with her family. >> that is awesome! ♪ >> and so we choose mom and army captain dawn mccracken-bruce and all of america's reunited military families. they're our "persons of the week." and as we thank them for their service and sacrifice, we thank all of you for watching. we are always on at abcnews.com. and please don't forget "20/20" later. and we leave you tonight with one more scene of christmas in america, tonight, from downtown jackson, mississippi, and thanks to our affiliate, wapt, in jackson. a lovely image. and for diane and all of us here at abc news, i'm josh elliott, wishing all of you a very safe and very merry christmas holiday.
buying but here people say they're not stressed out. we'll explain coming up. >> and a tasty transition. the explosion of north bay dairy farmers churning out delicious specialty cheese. >> good evening, i'm dan ashley. >> tonight a man posing as a physician's assistant is under arrest exhad no medical license. >> authorities say is that what he was doing in san francisco. operating on unsuspecting patients. authorities filed charges against carlos guzman garza including identity theft and performing invasive procedure was out a license, including liposuction. mark? >> this is a fellow with a clinic in the mission, had equipment to perform procedures, passed out cards offering deals.