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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  April 19, 2022 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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stories as we come on the air. tonight, several developing stories as we come on the air. the confusion over travel mask mandates. how this played out on planes across the country today. the scenes on board. also, the war in ukraine tonight. russia declaring this new offensive. what the pentagon is saying tonight, and the ukrainians refusing to surrender inside a massive steel plant. the pandemic. tonight, for the first time in two years, passengers across the u.s. are now allowed to fly without wearing masks. what played out on those flights. the joy from some. the concern from others. and what president biden said today about americans who are flying and whether they should still wear the masks. gio benitez on that tonight. also tonight, russia declaring that new offensive in
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ukraine is now under way. russian forces dropping bombs on a steel plant in mariupol. about 1,000 civilians reportedly sheltering inside with ukrainian fighters, refusing to surrender. james longman just miles from the new russian front. the cancer mystery here at home tonight. health officials investigating brain tumors in more than 100 former students and staff. can they be linked to a high school? tonight, the u.s. navy investigating three separate deaths in less than a week. all sailors assigned to the "uss george washington." the storm, more than a foot of snow in parts of the northeast. 100,000 customers without power. and what's coming tonight. wind chills plunging from washington, d.c. to new york to boston. rob marciano is here. overseas tonight, the unfolding disaster, the deadly flooding in south africa. more than 440 people killed. rescuers searching for more victims. the live power lines, the families without homes. maggie rulli and our team in south africa. the urgent need tonight. in new york city, the new turn tonight in the chilling murder of a mother of two. detectives now looking for a man
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whose number was found in her cell phone. and tonight, the invictus games. tonight, the athletes, the injured warriors, who bob woodruff met in the hague. including the ukrainian athletes and the remarkable moment. what they revealed. prince harry and meghan there, too, and what they said about their visit with the queen, and about the ukrainians competing in front of the world. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a tuesday night in the west. and we begin this evening with the pandemic, after a federal judge overturned the cdc's travel mask mandate. all of the major airlines tonight dropping their mask rules and still some cities, though, keeping them in place, once you get off the planes. though late today, los angeles dropping its mandate. at airports across the country, we saw the crowds today, the masked and those without at atlanta's hartsfield-jackson airport. at boston's logan airport, they were taking down the mask signs.
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amtrak lifting their mandate on trains. uber and lyft saying masks will be optional for both drivers and passengers. some big cities, including new york, philadelphia, san francisco, leaving some mask requirements in place, at least for now, which essentially means you're supposed to put the mask back on once you land in those cities to walk through the airport. all of this amid the rise in new cases,3 s 33 states with cases rising by 10% or more in just the last week, driven by the omicron subvariant. tonight, what president biden said today when he was asked, should americans still be wearing masks on planes? and just in tonight, the biden administration just moments ago saying it will only appeal this ruling that ended the mask mandate if the cdc believes it's still needed. so, now we await word from the cdc. are they concerned enough about these new cases to push for an appeal? abc's gio benitez covers aviation and he has the scenes from flights across this country tonight. >> reporter: just 24 hours after that federal mask mandate was dropped on planes and public
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transportation, the signs coming down, and more masks coming off. >> i would say like 25% of people were not wearing a mask and it was not a big deal at all. >> reporter: does that concern you at all? that the plane may have people without a mask? >> a little. we're going to wear ours. >> i'm not really that concerned. >> reporter: and after nearly two years of having to referee disputes over masks on board -- some flight attendants are happy to give passengers the option. ♪ throw away your mask in the blue bag ♪ >> reporter: tonight, the cdc is still recommending masks during travel. but the president saying airline passengers should make their own decisions. >> mr. president, should people continue to wear masks on planes? >> that's up to them. >> reporter: still, americans now face a confusing patchwork of rules. you can fly without a mask in and out of new york's laguardia and kennedy airports, but you'll need to put it on while walking through the airport. >> it's like contradicting.
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it's like a lot of stuff going on. don't do this, don't do that. and then we have to listen to both. >> reporter: and while amtrak and ride share services like uber and lyft have all dropped their mask rules, several major cities like new york and san francisco still require them on some public transit. this as infection rates climb across 33 states. cdc data out today shows that new omicron subvariant ba.212.1 -- which could be about 25% more contagious than ba.2 -- makes up nearly a fifth of all new cases in the u.s., and more than half of the cases in new york and new jersey. >> removing the mask on flights and public transportation creates a worry that that will only add fuel to the fire and increase the risk of cases and transmission in the community and ultimately hospitalizations and deaths. >> reporter: and after those mid-flight announcements that masks were no longer needed -- >> masks now optional for employees, customers, following --
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>> reporter: some passengers, like brooke tansley, say they were upset and caught offguard. she was flying across the country with her kids who are too young to get the vaccine when her pilot shared the news. >> i don't begrudge him his excitement. i just wish that he would have taken a minute to consider people in different circumstances and the decision he was making on behalf of everyone on that plane. >> a lot of different views on this. gio joins us from newark airport tonight. and gio, i mentioned at the top tonight that there is late word this evening, the biden administration will appeal this if the cdc believes it's still needed. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, david. and it is a big if. that decision, that announcement, coming down just moments ago from the department of justice. we do not know what the cdc will decide or when, but we do know that the cdc is concerned about that rise in cases, and that's why they asked for that two-week extension to begin with, david. >> gio benitez leading us off tonight. gio, thank you.
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and of course the other major headline as we're on the air tonight, the war in ukraine. russia now declaring that its new offensive is now under way. russia's effort to seize the eastern part of ukraine. there are new images tonight of russia's intensifying attacks in the east. the deadly attack on the front line town of kramatorsk. ukraine's second-largest city, kharkiv tonight, again under fierce and deadly fire. and all eyes tonight on the key city of mariupol. ukrainian fighters with reportedly more than 1,000 civilians inside this massive steel plant here refusing to surrender. president zelenskyy saying, "we will fight." and president biden holding a video call with u.s. allies. and there is news on this toniht, as well, that president biden and the allies are preparing for a major new wave of help for ukraine. abc's james longman tonight not far from where russia says its new offensive is now under way, from ukraine again tonight. >> reporter: tonight, russia's new drive to take the eastern donbas region of ukraine now
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underway. the kremlin declaring the start of this next phase of its war, with missile and artillery strikes across a 300-mile-wide front. russian forces also trying to storm the last major holdout in the strategic city of mariupol. but dug-in ukrainian defenders today defying another russian demand to surrender. their last line of defense -- the azovstal steel factory, just ukrainian fighters and at least 1,000 civilians are believed to have hunkered down there. in video posted by the far-right azov battalion fighting with the ukrainians, a young boy reportedly sheltering in the plant says that when the shells fall, "the whole place shakes." the video could not be independently verified by abc news. russia denies civilians remain there. if the factory falls, mariupol likely falls, and moscow would seize a critical port and the lynchpin to a strategic land bridge to russian-occupied crimea. we went to within a few miles of this new eastern front to the villages already in the firing line. so this is a village not far from the front line. and take a look.
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this is right where a missile landed from russia right next to people's homes. i mean, what is the military objective of hitting a place like this? the soil kicked up from the explosion still covering their wrecked car. are you scared living here? are you scared? you're right here. and the bombs are landing next to your house. "sure, i'm afraid," she says, "but what should we do? this is our land, this is our home." and tonight, abc news witnessing evidence of possible incendiary weapon use. this field littered with the remnants of what they say was an inendiary attack. everywhere we're walking, we can see these white, chalky substances on the floor. you can see it on the ground here. this woman in the village comes to speak to us. was there fire here? she says it was burning all over the road. her neighbor brings out a bag of what he thinks are incendiary munitions that landed in his garden -- explosives made to
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cause devastating fires. using them on civilian areas is against international law. munitions experts tell abc news the hexagonal cartridges may hold magnesium, carried by soviet-area incendiary rockets. everyday life now a front line in war, like for vitaly, a farmer who plows his fields just 15 miles from the russian front. he shows us the missile that landed in his field. and the video from where his tractor pulled it out of the ground. "we're fighting on the second front line," he says, "the front line of supplying our country with food." he's even fortified his tractor. the driver in a flak jacket and helmet, as he tends to his crops. your tractor is your tank? "yes, we are risking our lives," he says, "but we have to do it." >> and james longman with us tonight from eastern ukraine. and james, you were just a few miles from the russian front today with that important reporting. curious what your observations were, in addition to the news coming in from the white house tonight, that they are now
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planning another big military aid package for ukraine? >> reporter: yeah, that's right. the administration is preparing to announce a further military aid package. it looks like it could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. and we were driving through wide open spaces today, david, huge rural areas that ukraine will have to defend. that will be much harder than the urban kyiv region. david? >> our thanks to james longman and the team inside ukraine again tonight. james, thank you. back here at home tonight, and to the storm that slammed parts of the northeast and what's coming now right behind it. frigid wind chills from washington, d.c. to new york to boston overnight. in some places, this nor'easter dropped more than a foot of snow, knocking out power to more than 130,000 customers. cars sliding off an icy i-81 in central pennsylvania. heavy snow and sleet falling for hours, piling up on the roads. along the coast, flooding rains including the major deacon expressway in the bronx. and now, as i mentioned, the big chill coming. so, let's get right back to senior meteorologist rob marciano, timing this all out tonight. hey, rob. >> reporter: hi, david.
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remarkable snowstorm for this time of year. now that unseasonably cold air is pouring in behind this thing. look at all the frost and freeze warnings we have up for parts of pennsylvania, back through ohio and down through south carolina. if you got aggressive with your spring planting, maybe paying the price tomorrow morning. getting the kids off to school, winter jackets required in places like raleigh, back through cincinnati, washington, d.c., as well. we will bounce back relatively quickly into the 70s by thursday and friday from indianapolis through d.c., but this sets the stage for several storms that are lined up across the pike. oklahoma will see a threat for severe weather. and then a larger storm comes into the midwest, rain, snow, and wind. that will set the stage for more severe weather into the plains late week. definitely an active april, david. >> instability of the spring weather always here. rob, thank you. we turn the other news this tuesday night and to the cancer mystery in new jersey. more than 100 former teachers and students coming down with brain tumors over the course of 30 years. about half of them cancerous. and all of them with some connection to the same local high school in woodbridge township. here's abc's erielle reshef tonight. >> reporter: tonight, concern
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growing around a new jersey high school after more than 100 former students and staff reported being diagnosed with brain tumors over the course of 30 years. >> i don't know that we know enough yet to be definitive in terms of causation, et cetera. but i know for sure that the tragedy that many lives are going through have some nexus to the -- to the colonia high school. so that's something that we take very seriously. >> reporter: al lupiano, his wife, and sister graduated from colonia high school between 1989 and 1995. all three diagnosed with brain tumors. his sister dying from a more aggressive form this past february. >> i said, what is the likelihood that a husband and wife can both have an acoustic neuroma? and what is the likelihood that a sister of me and my wife can have a brain tumor at the same time? >> reporter: so al posted on facebook to see if anyone in the area had experienced something similar, and he says the response was staggering.
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more than 105 people so far saying they had been diagnosed with brain tumors -- all alumni and staff of colonia high school. about half cancerous. the township contracting an environmental engineering firm to test for radiation, and officials are investigating to figure out if these cases are linked. >> it's certainly concerning because the rate of primary brain tumors is certainly higher than what we would expect over that period of time, and certainly from a town or a high school of that size. overall, though, we know that brain tumors don't grow overnight. they don't tend to show up within days to weeks, so i think there is time. >> reporter: and david, authorities say that people in the town are not in immediate danger. most of those cases occurring among people who were at the school between 1975 and 2000. the new jersey health department is investigating, but in the meantime, that school remains open. david? >> still so many unsettling questions about this. erielle, thank you. tonight, the u.s. navy is now investigating three separate deaths of sailors in less than a
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week, all assigned to the "uss george washington." the aircraft carrier docked in newport news, virginia. the first two sailors were discovered off base. a third sailor found unresponsive aboard the ship. no cause of death revealed in any of the incidents. counselors are now on the ship to help crew members cope with the trauma. we turn now to the disaster unfolding overseas tonight in south africa. catastrophic flooding, nearly 450 people dead. some 40,000 people without homes now. it comes after weeks of heavy rain and mudslides taking out roads and bridges, wiping out entire villages. we reported on this last night here, 10,000 troops and rescue teams now searching for the missing. and abc's maggie rulli has made it there to south africa. >> reporter: the rain, relentless for more than two weeks. and today, in the sunshine, the true scope of south africa's devastation coming into view. >> that's the road that collapsed. it used to go across here, and now it's collapsed. >> reporter: here, in this informal settlement near the
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city of durban, local leader alicia kissoon shows us the road ripped apart by flood waters. >> the river was higher than you can imagine, it was forceful, it seemed alive. >> reporter: this region hasn't seen rain like this in more than 60 years. 448 people are dead, with dozens still missing. recovery workers with dogs searching for bodies. 40,000 south africans now displaced. more than 4,000 homes destroyed. >> those houses were formerly there. and right now, what you see down here is the furniture. it's the cars. it's the entire house. all the houses that have just literally just slid down the bank, and it's now in a pile of just a heap of memories, i guess. >> reporter: south africa's president cyril ramaphosa says natural disasters like these are a sign of what's to come. >> these floods are a tragic reminder of the increasing frequency of extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change. >> reporter: impoverished communities like this one,
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particularly vulnerable. >> just because they're hidden doesn't mean that they don't exist. >> reporter: and david, here on the coast, flood waters mixed with massive ocean waves churning up all of this debris. you can see, it lasts for miles along the beach here. david, this entire region is just in desperate need of help and the south african president is now saying, right now, we are a nation united in our grief. david? >> really important that you're there. thank you, maggie, for the report tonight. when we come back here, in new york city, the new turn tonight in that chilling murder of a mother of two found in a duffel bag. and a struggle, it's...the side hug. tween milestones like this may start at age 9. hpv vaccination - a type of cancer prevention against certain hpv-related cancers, can start then too. for most, hpv clears on its own. but for others, it can cause certain cancers later in life. you're welcome! now, as the "dad cab", it's my cue to help protect them. embrace this phase. help protect them in the next. ask their doctor about hpv vaccination today.
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tonight, new details about the chilling murder of a mother of two here in new york city. authorities believe orsolya gaal was killed in her home in queens, stabbed up to 60 times. her body stuffed in a duffel bag and found nine blocks away. detectives now want to speak to a man whose number was found in her cell phone. tonight, they say he's not a suspect or a person of interest. investigators believe the victim knew her attacker and fought back. when we come back here tonight, the major new headline about netflix tonight amid this crackdown on sharing passwords. . and he's on it with jardiance for type 2 diabetes. his underhand sky serve? on fire. his grilling game? on point. and his a1c? ron is on it. with the once-daily pill, jardiance. jardiance not only lowers a1c... it goes beyond to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death for adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease.
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it's my new leg. >> reporter: it's your new leg. both injured in battle years ago, now proud to be here representing their country. you're fighting out here for those who are serving now, the other ukrainians, they're on the front lines. "yes," they both tell me. and just last week, they say one of their trainers was killed on the battlefield. on your team, the archery trainer, he was actually killed? >> yes. >> reporter: in the last few da? >> yes, yes. >> reporter: dmitro, ukraine's archery trainer. they carried a photo of him into the games. several members of their team have been killed in this war. and tonight, this photo of their teammate yulia is now being shared across the world. she was taken captive by the russians in mariupol. prince harry, who founded the games, is here. duchess meghan left just yesterday. prince harry talking to the bbc about that quick visit to the queen on their way to the invictus games. >> she had plenty of messages
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for team uk. which i've already passed on to most of them. it was great to see her. i'm sure she'd love to be here if she could. >> reporter: tonight, prince harry saying the world stands with ukraine. >> to have them here is extraordinary. i don't think this games could have been the games that it is without team ukraine. >> reporter: and those players tell me, they are competing to honor those fighting back home. what does it mean to you to play in this game here for the invictus games? they say this is a sport event, but it's more than that this time. they want the world to know what's happening in their country. >> our thanks to bob and, of course, we honor all of those wounded warriors now competing. good night.
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>> only the abc 7 i team revealed this pile of ppe left in the rain months ago. find out why it is still costing taxpayers. >> starting today, uber and lyft longer require passengers and writers to wear a mask. not everyone agrees. >> tracking a spring storm. we will go hour-by-hour. i will let you know how long the storm is sticking around. abc7news at 6:00 starts right now. >> >> there is no mask mandate. those are not the only places where the rules are relaxing to thank you for joining us. >> the justice department says it will not reveal a judges ruling that a limited amassed mandate for transit and less the cdc says masks are still needed
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to >> the mandate was going to expire in couple of weeks anyway. ridesharing companies uber and lyft based in the bay say masks are not optional for drivers and riders. >> other pandemic policies are going away too. lewis peña has spoke with drivers should >> starting today, mask are no longer required inside uber or lift pit the front row seat is available in both platforms. i spoke to two drivers who have conflicting viewpoints. it is something both of these drivers will continue to do, will down the windows from her airflow. derek baker has been an driver for five years. this morning, we broke the news to him drivers and passengers are no longer required to wear a mask. >> serious safety issue. i don't care to wear this mask but i will wear it if it is going to keep me somewhere safe.