tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC August 16, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
he has an idea which will create jobs now. strange plot. a young girl spends ten hours terrified there's a bomb around her neck. and now a wealthy businessman in kekeucky is arrested. healthy living. important information on what all this heat could be doing to the medicines you rely on. and candid camera. see what the secret cameras in the wild captured. a lesson about love in our world and theirs. good evening. we begin tonight with a vote of confidence in america's economy. today, a prestigious rating agency said the u.s. credit is, in fact, aaa-rated, top of the line, as good as it gets. and this comes one week after s&p issued that insulting downgrade. the agency called fitch ratings pointed out the u.s. economy is still the world's second most
productive, right behind norway. average household income, about $50,000, and that's in the top ten in the globe. and that the u.s. is beginning to tackle its problems, especially in american homes. abc's jim avila brings us a portrait of tens of millions of american families and their new approach to money tonight. good evening, jim. >> reporter: diane, it's something americans can take control of. their personal budget. washington may be hemorrhaging debt, but there are signs american families are getting their own houses in order. the american billfold d s fewer credit cards in it today and there's more money in the bank. milies like joanna's in fairfax, virginia, are rebuilding personal balance sheets by changing the way they spend and sasa. >> we used to drive a bmw. now we have a toyota camry. we are able to pay off our credit card loans better. >> reporter: today, we learned the average american has $4,700 on their credit cards, down more than 5% from last year and 16%
lower than their high point. owing less and paying on time, the fewest credit card delinquencies in 17 years, a hard lesson from the recession. >> most people just don't have the extra funds to take on debt. and more than that, they're scared. >> reporter: instead, we are saving more, from a paltry 1% of income in 2001 to a respectable 5.5% last month. buying cheaper brands, cutting back on family vacations and dropping cable and satellite tv, this year suffering their biggest decline in history. >> we used to host a lot of big parties. now after i got laid off, friends come over and do potlucks and stuff. >> reporter: a new summertime poll shows a dramatic change in personal financial behavior, even when hard times end. 62% say they will continue to cut back on household spending. 48% say they plan to save more. ironically, all good things for
our personal bank accounts and the long-term national future, but perhaps painful for an economy in need of stimulus right now. >> families have to clean up their balance sheets. it's really not the job of the family to try to stimulate the aggregate economy. that's the government's job. >> reporter: difficult times force difficult decisions and americans seem to have learned, i can protect myself even when washington seems beyond my control. >> all right, jim, thank you. and of course, even as americans are tightening their belts, one influential ceo says it's time for american companies to loosen their wallets and start hiring, to show faith in the country. howard schultz, ceo of starbucks, has issued a call to action to other ceos. he says the economy is frozen in a cycle of fear and uncertainty and business leaders should lead. he writes that he is hiring more people right now, and confidence is contagious. the best thing we can do now, he says, is spread it. starbucks is hiring 70,000
people over the next year. and he's not the only one issuing a battle cry about jobs tonight. the human tornado from texas, governor rick perry, who electrified the republican race, raised the decibel level today against the president, challenging him to a kind of political duel on ways to jump-start jobs, fast. abc's jake tapper is in iowa tonight. hello, jake. >> reporter: good evening, diane. well, texas governor rick perry has been blazing a trail through iowa with some occasionally eyebrow-raising remarks. democrats say that until perry came along, they never thought they'd meet a candidate who made ththother republican candidates look responsible. he's fashioning himself as some sort of jobs cowboy. striding into town to rescue the american people. >> how many jobs are going to create? >> as many as i can. okay? >> reporter: governor rick perry has been criticizing presidede obama, almost stalking him in
iowa. at one point today, their bus tours were within seven miles of each other. >> how do you fix the economy, mr. president? well, apparently, he thinks it's to create a new jobs agency. >> reporter: does the president love america? >> well, you need to ask him. >> reporter: his thoughts on federal reserve chair ben bernanke, first appointed by george w. bush? >> we would treat him pretty ugly down in texas. i mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time in american history is almost treacherous. treasonous. >> reporter: the president was asked about perry's attacks today on cnn. he demurred. >> i'll cut him some slack. he's only been at it for a few days now. >> reporter: perry watchers say this is just classic perry. >> and i said, yep. >> reporter: the swaggering texan who says he packs heat, is often, shall we say, quick on the draw. >> adios. >> reporter: and he's something of a ham.
here he is asked about h h republican opponent mitt romney. >> give him my love. >> what was that? >> give him my love. >> reporter: james richard perry was raised in a ranch house without running water in paint creek, texas. he was an eagle scout. a yell leader at texas a&m. an air force pilot in the 1970s. his is a message that appeals to conservatives. cut taxes, cut spending, deregulate. it has made him a popular figure in conservative texas. in elections, he's 9-0. and a hero to the tea party. >> i'm just not real sure you're a bunch of right wing extremists. but if you are, i'm with you. >> reporter: it remains to be seen how that uncompromising style will wear with independents and moderates looking for compromise. >> reporter: and diane, earlier today, karl rove, president george w. bush's political guru called the comments perry made about ben bernanke unfortunate and unpresidential. of course, there is some bad
blood not only between rove and perry but between the bush camp and the perry camp, which we'll no doubt hear more about in the weeks and months to come. >> shaking things up out there. thank you, jake. i want to bring in "good morning america" anchor george stephanopoulos, who sat down with a headline-grabbing guy, donald trump. what did he have to say about all of this? >> reporter: he wants to play a role in this race. and he actually backed up perry on those comments about ben bernanke, saying he has a right to his emotions. and it's very clear, trump talks to almost all of the republican candidates and seems most taken with perry. >> well, i think he's a very impressive guy. i've spoken to him a number of times. he's going to come and see me next week. i think he's a very impressive guy. with a very good record. so, it will be interesting to see how he does under the spotlight. it's a big spotlight. but texas is a big spotlight, also. i think he's going to do very well. >> formemecandidate weighing in there. so, we've seen two days of rick perry. what else are you hearing out there? >> reporter: well, i think the other candidates are saying,
you know what, this probably hasn't hurt, rick perry, with the voters he needs most right now, the passionate primary voters. but they're looking to see, as well, what trump called the big spotlight. we're only two days in. >> okay, george, thank you. and now we have another footnote from the campaign trail with a reminder, you can see all of george's interviews tomorrow on "good morning america." and the footnote is this. the president continued his bus tour today but when you are the president, you need the james bond of buses to keep you safe. here's what we know. they are jet black on the outside. on the inside, reportedly flat screen tvs, state of the art security and a p.a. system so that the president can talk to the crowds as he rolls through town. all the other details, by the way, are top secret. the bus code name "stagecoach" cost $1.1 million. and now we turn to that confounding story of a young heiress who believed a bomb was
strapped to her neck by a masked intrud intruder. it all unfolded a half a world away, in australia. well, an arrest has now been made right here at home in louisville, kentucky. who is the wealthy businessman accused of being the master mind behind the strange crime? here's abc's sharyn alfonsi. >> reporter: paul douglas peters might be the last person you'd expect to be charged with such a chilling crime. a well educated investment banker from a privileged background. the father of three daughters, including one believed to be the same age as madeleine pulver. >> is there anything you want to say to the pulver family? any word for madeleine? >> i hope she is w wl. >> reporter: but prosecutors bebeeve the australian businessman terrorized 18-year-old maddie inside her family's sydney mansion. >> how a a you feeling, maddie? >> i'm fine, thank you. >> reporter: pulver was studying for exams in her bedroom, when a masked man walked in. according to just released court documents, her told her, "sit
down and no one needs to get hurt." forcing a black box against her throat, looping a device like a bike chain around it and locking it to her neck. then attaching a document to it, instructing her to "count to 200. i'll be back. if you move, i can see you." and then left the room. maddie sat, petrified, for 10 hours as police freed her from the device. only to find out it contained no explosives. two weeks later, a half world away, peters was arrested in louisville, kentucky, at the home of his ex-wife. >> on behalf of maddie and the entire family, we are enormously relieved. >> reporter: prosecutors say an e-mail address linked peters to the ransom note and his credit card was used to purchase items for the fake collar bomb. all of it, they believe, as an attempt to extort money from maddie's father. someone of the wealthiest men in sydney. peters apparently once worked for a company with ties to him. but it's unclear whether the two men ever crossed paths. police will say the twtwpage ransom note around maddie's neck was signed dirk straun, a
character in this novel about a businessman who tries to destroy another. sharyn alfonsi, abc news, new york. and we have a report on a new kind of violence and vand vandali vandalism, call it a new kind of wilding spreading across the country this summer. flash mobs striking in city after city. attackers organizing online and then converging on stores and streets to rob and terrorize people. what is going on? here's abc's chief investigative correspondent brian ross. >> reporter: police described it as 60 seconds of anarchy. a so-called flash mob. more than two dozen people invaded a 7-eleven convenience store this weekend in suburban washington and stole anything and everything they could get their handsen. it is the latest example of what police and retailers say is a growing and troubling trend. >> these incidents can turn violent. they can injure customers. they can damage the store and then there's the financial losses that retailers suffer. >> reporter: the term flash mob
was first used to describe i mpromptu gatherings of people who sing and dance in public places. all alerted by text or twister messages. but that technology has quickly turned ugly, with flash mob robberies reported in many major cities in the country, including this one in las vegas. and this one in st. paul, minnesota. at the wisconsin state fair last week, a flash mob turned into a violent free for all with racial overtones. >> my mom just got attacked by a flash mob. >> punched in the face for no reason. >> reporter: in philadelphia, a series of flash mob robberies and street fights led the mayor last week to impose a 9:00 p.m. curfew on friday and saturday night in downtown areas. >> if you want to act like a butthead, your butt is going to be locked up. >> reportete but the problem continues to spread. with the robbery over the weekend in suburban washington, police say at least 28 different individuals were involved and if identified, could face felony charges.
to make it clear there is nothing funny or cool about this. the national retail federation now estimates that about 1 in 10 stores in this country have been the victim of a flash mob invasion and robbery, diane. >> 1 in 10? >> reporter: serious problem. in the last six to nine months, this has taken off. >> what are you supposed to do if you are in a store and it happens? >> reporter: stand clear. they tell employees, don't try to stop it. just call the police. but often by the time the police come, the mob is gone. it's a serious problem. >> it really is. okay, thank you, brian. and, still ahead on "world news," what all this record-breaking heat can do to the drugs you need for your health. the george bailey factor. do nice guys really finish last? the results are in. and, mother and child. snapshots from the heart of the jungle. what they teach us about ourselves. another good thing about geico is, they've got, like, real live people working there 24/7.
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report. the latest findings to help you and your family make the best decisions. tonight, making sure the medicine we need works. it turns out a lot of drugs, prescription and over the counter, stop working, even turn dangerous, when exposed to summer heat. think about the pills you carry in your purse or the bottles in a window. abc's linsey davis lays out what can happen. >> reporter: when wally konrad's son stephen suffered an allergy attack on their summer vacation, she was shocked his medication didn't work. >> well, we didn't know at the time, but i guess now we know they stopped working because it was really hot. >> reporter: mom was so intrigued, she wrote about it in today's "new york times" after an eye-opening conversation with her pharmacist. >> he said, "where did youave the medicine?" i said, "well, i had it in the trunk of the car when we were driving to new hampshire for six hours. and then i had it in the bathroom." so, he told me that you have to be careful where you store medicine. >> reporter: the warninis are right there on the packaging.
medicines should be kept between 68 and 77 degrees. but pharmacists say exposing drugs to temperatures over 86 degrees can actually cause them to break down and become ineffective. a concern to anyone who leaves medicine in a baking hot car or sometimes steamy cargo holds on planes. and it's not just heat that's bad. >> both extremes of temperature can be bad for medicine. super cold, super hot. most medicines are designed to be most useful and helpful around room temperatures. >> reporter: extreme temperatures can impact both over the counter as well as prescription drugs, including penicillin, thyroioi medication birth control pills, topical creams and anything you have to shake before using. >> anything that is a life-saving or life-preserving medication probably needs to be very careful with that. >> reporter: so, take precautions. because the tarmac can be blistering, when flying, put medications in your carry-on luggage. when driving, instead of the hot trunk, keep medication in the car.
and when you park, take them with you. if your medication has to be mailed to you, choose overnight shipping. mailboxes can sizzle more than 130 degrees in the sun. and it's not just hot and cold. humidity is alsoso big problem. so you may want to rethink storing medicine in the very place where most people do, the medicine cabinet. try a hallway closet instead. we've put a list of tips for keeping your medication safe online at abcnews.com/worldnews. >> i have to say, i never thought about the trunk of a car. >> reporter: it's something that we all probably neglect to think about. >> which the heat can go sky high there. okay, thank you linsey davis. and coming up, something sneaky a lot of us have done with cell phones. tonight, will you fess up? a mouthwatering combination of ingredients... i know you're gonna love. [ barks ] yes, it's new beneful healthy fiesta. made with wholesome grains, real chicken, even accents of tomato and avocado. yeah! come on! [ barking ] gotta love the protein for muscles-- whoo-hoo! and omega-rich nutrition for that shiny coat.
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get back to the things that matter most. good job girls. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. in california tonight, a stolen rembrandt masterpiece has been found. it turned out to be too hot to handle. three days after being swiped from a hotel in marina dederey, the 350-year-old sketch called "the judgment" has been found in a nearby church. police say it was apparently dumped off by thieves who decided with all the publicity, it would be too tough to sell the drawing, valued at $250,000. and it's commonplace to say "nice guys finish last." well, now we learn there's science to back up the saying. researchers at notre dame found when it comes to paychecks, less agreeable men make about 18% more than warmer and more cooperative guys. for women, the gap is narrower. but more assertive women earn
about 5% more than agreeable women. and nice or not, we also learn today that a lot of us are using the same little trick to avoid face to face conversations we don't want to have. new findings from pew research show 13%3%f cell phone users admit pretending to be on a call on their cell phone so t ty can wave off an unwanted conversation. and by the way, smartphones have all kinds of apps that will place a fake call to you, , you need the excuse, just to be credible. and a very exclusive baseball club hahaa brand new member. minnesota twins slugger jim thome has hit his 600th homeme run. something only seven other major leaguers have ever done. sports writers are hailing the quiet home run hitter, who turns 41 this month, noting he's never been linked to steroids and is known as a decent man, a man of integrity, as well as a powerful swing.
and coming up, into the wild. those secret candid snap shots of our neighbors on this planet, and what they are teaching us tonight. available car. shots of our neighbors on this planet, and what they are teaching us tonight. [ recorded voice #2 ] turn right on hill street. go north for two miles. ♪ [ man ] this is onstar. i got a signal there's been a crash. do you need help? yes, please. i've got your gps location. i'm sending help. [ female announcer ] introducing onstar fmv. get it installed on your car at best buy or visit onstar.com for more stores. helps defends against occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating. with three strains of good bacteria to help balance your colon. you had me at "probiotic." [ female announcer ] phillips' colon health. uh, do you know this guy? i'm not gonna cry, am i? only if you don't believe pin the power of friendship. [ male announcer ] movies right when you want them.
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whether we walk on two legs or four, hold our babies in our arms or our trunks. abc's dan harris now with a kind of family album, snapped in the jungle. and it seems to prove it. >> reporter: the jaguar is perhaps the most elusive animal on earth. but here's one practically staring you in the face. these are postcards from a secret world. an intimate moment between a momma mountain gorilla and her baby. a close-up of our closest animal cousin, the chimimnzee. a family portrait of white-lipped pecari. >> the fact that we're capturing this moment should be, you know, should be a signal to people that we're not really alone. >> reporter: in a massive, unprecedented effort, conservation groups on three continents strategically placed 420 cameras, which are triggered to snap a photo when they sense heat from an approaching animal. producing truly candid shots of everything from cougars to anteaters to macacques.
seeing these animals in the wild can be incredibly difficult, as i can attt, after hiking for five hours up a steep, slippery, slug-infested -- blood suckers -- mountain in madagascar -- yeah, there he is -- to see these lee mores, known as "silky sifakas." or choppering into a cloud forest in the mountains of papua new guinea, and d ing radio antennas to track down a tree kangaroo. she is cute. >> she's beautiful. >> reporter: getting close to wild animals is not only difficult but also dangerous. one time, i got chased by and elephant. but really, it's we humans who are the threat. in these new pictures, you can actually see poachers on the hunt. the hope is that these andid shotwill wake all of us up to the beauty of the creatures with whom we share this planet, from four-on the elephants all the way down to five-inch close long mouse opossums. dan harris, abc news.
>> and we thank you for watching tonight. we always have the very latest at abcnews.com. "nightline" will be along later. buy area real estate f you're willing to buy, you're not alone. >> and doing battle with bart and right to cutoff cell service. bart claiming it has the supreme court on its side. >> and in sacramento, just one day after california's new political district lines drawn by a panel were approved, they're being challenged, critics say the plan is unfair to republicans and latino autos and we're live tonight at a summit on the future of lake tahoe with a new pledge to keep tahoe blue. >> good evening, i'm dan ash
lie we'll start with a new report on the bay area real estate market. >> the wrangling over the debt ceiling has taken a toll. data quick reports tonight the july home sales in the bay area fell nearly 14% from june, the third worst month of july on record. abc 7's laura an sthony is live with the rest of the story tonight. >> well, home sales do normally drop from june to july. but this summer with all of the turmoil in congress, and on the stock exchange, it appears buyers retreated in a big way. >> here is something of interest to you. >> with a turbulent summer nearly over, realtors are hoping these late season open houses helped push some buyers off the fence, and into the market. >> this summer is a peak of the market. people got stymie bid information received in the stock market. and some concerns and questn