tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC April 1, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
tonight on "world news," now hiring. more than 200,000 new jobs. meet the grandmother who learned how to run a forklift. we'll tell you who has the jobs and how people are retraining to get them. blood bath. they burned a koran in florida and it sparked a murder spree in afghanistan. tonight, what the pastor behind that koran burning says. heavy tax. the state planning to slap a special fee on obese people? tonight, the tidal wave of reaction. one side outraged, the other saying, it's about time. and our inspiring "person of the week." 5'2" inches, nerves of steel. how she backed off 1,000 men to save everyone around her.
good evening. welcome to april and we begin tonight with strong new evidence that this country may have turned the corner on jobs. 216,000 americans went back to work last month. unemployment down to 8.8%, the lowest in two years. of course, millions are still looking for work, but companies are hiring now, at the fastest pace in five years. and matt gutman is in sunrise, florida, tonight with some of the people driving that number. hello, matt. >> reporter: hello, diane. florida has been pummeled by unemployment. the third highest jobless rate in the country. but there are some signs of a turn around. this is a bloomingdale's outlet. these workers recently hired. today's job report givens us a pretty good indicator that this growth will continue. just four months ago, sharon walter was out of work. a victim, like so many, of the
recession. >> to meet somebody and say, well, i'm unemployed, it's -- it takes something away from you. >> reporter: now she's found work at this plant in charlotte, north carolina. she assumabled steam turbine engines. 1 of 200 workers trained and hired thio do things like drivi a forklift. >> every morning, i know i'm going to work hard, get paid for my efforts and it appreciated. >> reporter: a sign of a slow, but steady march to job growth. manufacturing added 17,000 new jobs in march. health care, 37,000 jobs. the professional business services? 78,000 jobs. and for the private sector, 13 straight months of growth. >> i think fundamentally our economy is in a much better place than it's been in many years. >> reporter: you see it at this reno, nevada, job fair, where companies were hiring on the spot. >> hiring today.
>> reporter: and in philadelphia, where manufactu r manufacturers like boat house sports are starting to overtake their competitors and hire again. >> as we look into the next quarter and beyond, we will be adding additional staff. >> reporter: the news is good, but reality for so many americans remains grim. 13 million americans are still out of work. that's more than the population of illinois. joseph was one of them. >> do you remember joe, the out of work carpenter, father of five in florida, so desperate to find a job, he stood by the side of the road with a sign? >> reporter: today, we caught up with him, who's had enough work to buy a new house. how many days a week have you been working? >> including paperwork, 6 1/2. >> reporter: 6 1/2 days a week? >> if i had to, i would work in a bar. i would do whatever it took to feed my family. >> reporter: and folks like joseph are succeeding not only because they're desperate because they say people are starting to spend more. joe told me that people aren't
just buying doors anymore they are having kitchens and their bathrooms redone. diane? >> well, great to hear about joe and those workers behind you. matt, may there be many more jobs in the month ahead. thank you. and more good news on another front tonight, about the yearly mountain of traffic deaths in this country. that number has dropped, dramatically. last year, fewer people died on american highways than any year since 1949 when they started keeping the records. and the overall number is down 25% in the past five years. abc's lisa stark now on what is driving this change. >> reporter: to get a sense of just how far we've come, take a look. two chevys, 1959 meets 2009. our cars of 50 years ago, no match for the safety designs of today. just in the past few years, leaps in safety. watch this frontal impact. and just three years later, this. and as for those devastating
side crashes? here's before air bags. and now, today. most cars offer this kind of protection for the head and body. side air bags will eventually save over 800 lives a year. >> this really is a tribute to the safer cars, the more advanced safety features we're seeing and more cars with basic safety features. >> reporter: one of the most critical advances, electronic stability control. without it, too sharp a turn and you're out of control. it helps provide deadly rollovers and will save more than 5,000 lives a year. it's astonishing to think highway deaths are as low as they were 60 years ago, even before the interstate highway system was complete. drivers are helping, too. 84% now buckle up. up from just 11% in 1980. 50% in 1990. but some drivers will still behave baldly. >> there's still 30,000 people that were killed on the highways.
we can't rest on our laurels. >> reporter: the next target? distracted drivers, in the push to make the wide open roads of america even safer. lisa stark, abc news, washington. and now, that horrifying story tonight about a fringe group in florida and the massacre prompted in afghanistan. where a furious mob descended on a u.n. office, promising retaliation for the actions of an incendiary religious figure in florida. at least seven people were murdered. nick schifrin tells us the story from kabul. >> reporter: a rally that began peacefully ended in brutality. thousands of afghans filled mazar-i-sharif after friday prayers, furious over news that pastors had burned a copy of the koran, a world away in florida. they took their anger to the doors of the local u.n. building. that's when a radical preacher upped the ante, telling the crowd, "infidels burned multiple korans." the crowd became insensed and
overwhelmed the u.n. police, taking their ak-47s and opened fire on the u.n. guards. they stormed into the building, killing three u.n. staffers, beheading at least one of them. "the hearts of 2 billion muslims are burning," this man says. behind this storm, florida pastor terry jones. a fringe preacher with a tiny following threatened to burn a koran on the anniversary of september 11th. in the end, he backed down. until 12 days ago. when he and another pastor torched the holy book of the world's muslims. for days, the burning received barely any attention here. but then, president karzai condemned it. the afghan media covered it. and today, it became a key topic in sermons in friday prayers across the country. today, in an interview with abc's' "nightline," terry jones was unrependant. >> we do not feel responsible,
no. we feel the muslims use that as an excuse. if they did not have us as an excuse, they would use a different excuse. >> reporter: but tonight, his act of hatred inspired a massacre. nick schifrin, abc news, kabul. and tonight on "nightline," bill weir will have his full interview with that pastor. also in afghanistan, six american soldiers have been killed in a vicious battle along the pakistan border there. abc's mike boettcher, the only journalist there, caught in the middle of it, describes it as the toughest fire fight he has seen in 30 years of reporting from war zones. the troops came under fire from three sides. the soldiers who died were from the 101st airborne division in ft. campbell, kentucky. and mike is working to safely get the story to us. we'll have his reporting for you next week. now, to libya.
it has been two weeks since the u.s. and allies started pounding gadhafi targets, while rebel forces tried to advance. but there's a growing sense tonight that even though the rebels cannot possibly defeat gadhafi, his inner circle may be close to cracking. to weigh in now for us, alex marquardt, who is in benghazi, libya, and jake tapper at the white house. >> reporte so, jake, what does the white house think end game is at this point, if there is an end game in sight? >> reporter: the most likely, they say, is gadhafi leaving on his own, just feeling squeezed. they describe new intelligence as reporting that those around gadhafi are skittish and very nervous about the direction gadhafi is taking them. and then least likely is the idea of the rebels carrying out a military victory over gadhafi's troops. >> what about that, alex? did the rebels think they could actually achieve a military victory, even from here, it
looks impossible? >> reporter: well, they are hoping it won't come to that. but we've seen the last few days they are outmatched. they are outgunned. they will not be able to march on tripoli without arms and air strikes from the international community. >> alex, we are hearing that they do have new communications equipment, even some new weapons? do you see signs of that? do you have any idea where it is coming from? >> reporter: we saw some better weapons, but we were told that those were commandeered from gadhafi forces that left them while fleeingfleeing. so, no signs that the rebels have been armed. >> jake, we're hearing that the white house is very reluctant, if not ruling out arming the rebels themselves. but are they encouraging the other allies, the french, the italians to do it? >> reporter: well, they are taking a position of what other countries do is up to other countries to decide. but the u.s. is still mired in this debate about the possible
unforseen circumstances resulting from arming the rebels. >> and alex, is hope flagging or rising? >> reporter: they have a lot of heart. they'll tell you that they will never give up. they will always keep fighting. and so they're a little disappointed, they're a little frustrated right now but they will continue this fight. they do not want to live under gadhafi again. >> two views of the still explosive situation in libya. thank you jake, thank you alex. and back here at home, across new england tonight, that powerful nor'easter packed its april fools' punch, dumping hea heavy, wet snow. abc's linsey davis is in manchester, new hampshire, in the middle of it. >> reporter: good evening, diane. we have about a half a foot of snow on the ground here. it's a really heavy, wet snow, which is great for making snowballs, but not so good for power lines. that's why we have so many crews busy at work, trying to restore power for people like the o'n l o'neils. you've been out of power since
this morning? >> we have been out of power since 7:15 this morning -- >> lig >> reporter: lights still not coming out. >> they told us they would be coming back shortly. >> reporter: what have you been doing to stay warm? >> we've had layers of clothing on and we've been holding the dog a whole lot this morning and getting heat from him, so -- >> reporter: that's doing the trick. >> it is. >> reporter: hopefully your power will be on soon. 30,000 other homes in new hampshire, massachusetts area in the same boat, all as a result of this snow. something they certainly weren't expecting in april. diane? >> all right, our thanks to you, linsey davis. and still ahead, to reduce health care costs in america, should we tax people who are overweight? a big debate tonight. the incredible rescue of a dog who survived the tsunami and three weeks at sea on the roof of a house. and, a grandmother who beat
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assault on one group of people? clearly some headline writers seem to think so, calling it everything from a "fat fee," to a "flab tax," to a "plumpness payment." facing an annual medicaid bill of $10 billion, the state of arizona wants to charge $50 to some medicaid patients, who make less than $9,000 a year, who are obese and fail to follow a weight loss plan designed by their doctors. the fines would also be levied on medicaid patients who are smokers. and those with chronic conditions, like diabetes, who do not follow doctors' orders. it is provoking a big debate. >> there are many people who have medical conditions that they can't control and this would open them up to unfair fines and punishment. >> reporter: this is the latest attention-getting idea from arizona's colorful governor, jan brewer, who has courted controversy before, signing arizona's hotly debated immigration law and cutting state funding for organ transplants.
>> it's not just, hey, if you can't lose weight we're going to fine you. it's all about how it interplays with chronic disease and self-management for that chronic disease. >> reporter: it's true that medical costs associated with obesity in america are staggering. more than $2600 a year for every obese man. and nearly $5000 a year for every obese woman. for a total of nearly $150 billion a year. and it's similar for smokers. but experts we spoke to today say arizona's proposed fees after other personal decisions that also increase medical costs. like failing to get yourself or your children vaccinated. failing to get checkups, and having children later in life, which can lead to complications. >> why not start with governor brewer? let's make an inventory of governor brewer's personal habits and ask if there are any health risks that she currently undertakes that might be minimized. >> reporter: governor brewer, always a lightning rod.
arizona state officials insist they are not doing anything that unusual here. there are many employers in america, they point out, who fine their workers for being obese or for smoking. still, it remains to be seen if these new fees in arizona will ever be enacted. they still have to pass the legislature there and be approved by the federal government, and diane, that is not guaranteed. >> that's right. a political fire storm across the country, undoubtedly. thank you, dan. and coming up, do you know which of these stories was real today, and which was just april fools'? a bullet proof umbrella for the french president? a high chair for a dog? or kid-free flights? a high chair for a dog? or kid-free flights? can you guess? free of worry, a day when we can eat what we want, drink what we want, and sleep soundly through the night. finally that day has arrived with prevacid®24hr. just one pill helps keep you heartburn-free for a full 24 hours. prevent the acid that causes frequent heartburn
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tonight, three weeks after that devastating tsunami, past the point of hope for many rescues, there was one. and it was a pet. a dog discovered in the middle of the ocean on the roof of a home that had been swept away by the killer wave. amid an island of debris, the coast guard managed to coax him off the roof. and we're told that afterwards he ate a meal of sausage and base cults with a lot of relish. and, it is april fool's day, of course. and as we canvassed the world for the news today, we had to have our radar outor hoaxes so, did you guess which of these stories is real and which is a prank? a lot of you have been guessing online at our website, thank you for that. so, is it the dog high chair? ikea rolled out an ad, but if
you said hoax, you're right. next up, we saw a story about a child-free airline flight, discount ryanair announced them as a cure for passengers having to weather four-hour tantrums in the air, but that was april fools', as well. which leaves the bullet proof umbrella. that turns out to be true. french president sarkozy will begin using a $20,000 bull bulletproof umbrella for his protection. it can deflect bullets, knifes and acid and it is very james bond. coming up now, a woman's inspiring story of raw courage. how did she force hundreds of assailants to run away? [ male announcer ] this is james.
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in rich indulgent flavors #like strawberry cheesecake. try activia dessert today. ♪ activia , and finally tonight, our "person of the week." a 5'2" grandmother, a gynecologist, a doctor, who set out to change the lives of families in violent somalia. and when threatened, simply would not back away. imagine a place so far away, so deadly, outsiders stopped coming here years ago. and imagine the face of hope. a tiny 5'2"64-year-old grandmother who will save you.
she is dr. abdi the people here call her momma. and single handedly, she stands like an army of thousands against invaders. she has 90,000 refugees. mothers, children, going to school, safe for the first time. >> our camp is big. it is peaceful for 20 years. we were never get any disturbance. >> reporter: but there was a time when 750 armed militia, looters, rapists, murderers, came as invaders. they demanded everything she had built. they took her at gun point, held her hostage, but momma would not let them have her children. she drew up her into 5'2" and said, kill me if you will, i will die with dignity. but you will not have these people. enough. >> i will lead this society, but
you a man, you are younger. what do you have now for your society? tell me. >> reporter: and something about the awesome fire power of her moral authority sent them packing. not satisfied, she demanded a written apology from the outlaws. and guess what? she got it. "we apologize to every hospital patient who suffered from the attack," they wrote. "we apologize to the entire somali community." and so today, there is sun shining on a little woman and her family of 90,000. it's completely free of charge to these people. everything funded by donations. the only rules? no man may ever hit his wife. and dr. abdi and her daughter insist, you help others, you earn this hope. >> don't give the fish to the person, but better to teach how to fish. >> reporter: one little woman, one giant monument to courage.
>> what i learned is that the woman is the strongest human being. the woman is the -- is the leader for the community. >> reporter: and so we choose dr. hawa abdi. she recently was in new york for tina brown's conference on women in the world and brought everyone to their feet. and by the way, as part of our be the change, save a life initiative, we want to tell you about our maternal health challenge. we are putting out the call to all college students everywhere for the innovative ideas that could help save mothers lives around the world. and the winner will get $10,000. so, to find out how to submit your ideas, go to saveone.net. thank you for watching. we're always on at abcnews.com. don't forget, "20/20" later tonight, and david muir is here this weekend. i'll see you back on monday.