tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC August 8, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
and prices through the roof. just the latest in a string of refinery breakdowns across the country. up in smoke this time, one of california's biggest gas producers. big enough to drive up gas prices at least 25 cents in the next few days up and down the west coast. >> my husband texted me this morning, said, make sure you get gas because of what happened with the gas refinery. >> reporter: so you're filling up to beat the price spike? >> yes. >> reporter: in the midwest, it's already worse. in michigan, gas shot up an incredible 34 cents in one week after pipeline ruptures between wisconsin and illinois. and equipment problems closed parts of three refineries in illinois and indiana. >> when we see these events happen, you know, in such close timing together, the market essentially becomes panics. >> reporter: illinois now has the priciest gas in the nation at $4.09 a gallon, an incredible
30-cent jump in just a week. arizona has the cheapest right now, at $3.25 a gallon. one problem? the number of u.s. refineries has shrunk from 158 to 124 over the lack decade, but those remaining have upped their production, pumping out 1.5 million barrels a day more. so, each one that goes down packs a much bigger punch to the nation's fuel supply. so, how long will this price spike last? well, that depends on the nation's refineries, not having anymore problems and fixing the ones they have now. companies don't like to give out timelines but it's clear in the midwest it could be several more weeks. here in california, that refinery could be down for up to several months. george? >> wow, several months. okay, neal, thank you very much. and that price of gas is one of the economic hurdles blocking president obama's bid for re-election. but our new abc/"washington post" poll shows mitt romney has more trouble, too. for now, at least, fewer americans liking him than before. in your voice, your vote, abc's
jon karl tells us what they're doing about it. >> reporter: look at the polls and you'd think neither one of these guys can win. take president obama. in one poll this week, two-thirds of voters say the country is going in the wrong direction. how does the man in charge get re-elected when so many are so pessimistic? no president ever has. but then look at mitt romney. in the latest abc news poll, a mere 40% of americans see him favorably. about half just don't seem to like him. no challenger has had such a low favorability since abc news began polling in 1984. lower even than walter mondale and he went on to lose 49 states. but there's one man who suddenly finds himself popular with both sides. >> i want to thank bill clinton. >> president clinton. >> president bill clinton. >> reporter: that's right, even mitt romney is looking for a little clinton magic. just look who stars in his latest ad. >> america's basic bargain of providing opportunity and demanding in return
responsibility. >> reporter: the ad makes the questionable claim that president obama is undermining the welfare reform law signed by bill clinton. something clinton himself says is not true. even newt gingrich is getting in on the act. he once led the drive to impeach bill clinton, but in a call sponsored by the romney campaign today, he sang clinton's praises. >> in many ways obama is the anti-clinton. he -- clinton was trying to move the party to the center. obama's moved it to the left. >> reporter: but it is obama, of course, who is really counting on bill clinton. the democrats have gone so far as to give clinton one of the most high profile speaking spots at the upcoming democratic convention. george, he will speak on the night that is usually reserved for the vice president. >> yep, he gets the whole night. okay, jon karl, thanks very much. for the airlines, it's been a summer filled with near misses, bird strikes and bad behavior by crews and passengers alike. and we are learning tonight about a new air scare. a passenger jet made an
emergency landing when a pilot reported a, quote, catastrophic electrical failure. so bad that the autopilot spontaneously turned off. abc's senior national correspondent jim avila details what happened next. >> reporter: first clue of a problem for passengers on board alaska air 539 from ontario, california, to seattle. a chorus of angry infants. >> all the babies were crying at the same time. >> reporter: ears popping plane-wide as the 737 with 131 passengers and five crew momentarily loses enough cabin pressurization to cause a painful alert that something is wrong. >> my ears about blew up on me. >> reporter: up in the cockpit, pilots send an emergency call from 25,000 feet asking for priority landing at san jose airport. telling controllers they are in the midst of a catastrophic electrical failure with loss of some flight controls and cabin pressure. >> the captain said, we're really sorry, but we have a problem with the cabin pressure,
but it's under control now. and i felt like the plane was going down, and, sure enough, it was. >> reporter: an immediate but controlled decent. pilots thinking the electrical system is malfunctioning. but mechanics later find it's a simple mechanical control near the landing gear, telling the plane it's on the ground, not flying. turning off pressurization and the autopilot. >> if it thinks it's on the ground, it wants to pull the throttles all the way back so that there is no more thrust coming out of the engine. >> reporter: alaska air says a backup system immediately restored air pressure in the cabin. the oxygen masks were never deployed. and the pilots took the flight controls. >> when the systems are not working properly, they need to know how to manually fly their airplane and bring it back safely. >> reporter: it has been a summer of air scares. some of them mechanical, like the one back in las vegas in may when jetblue had to turn back because of a high draggic failure and then in june, at chicago's o'hare, an american airlines jet went off the runway because it had problems with its
landing gear. but all in all, it's been a very safe two years, with no mechanical failures that have led to any fatal accidents. george? >> jim, thank you. we have an update now on the temple shooting in wisconsin. we learned today that the gunman, wade michael page, shot himself in the head, after being wounded by a policeman at the scene. what one fbi agent called an amazing shot. and there is a new story of heroism. two children who saved lives. abc's alex perez has their story. >> reporter: they were among the youngest at the sikh temple that deadly sunday and some of the bravest. 9-year-old amanat and her 11-year-old brother abhay were playing outside when they heard the gunshots. >> we heard a shot, which we thought was a fireworks, but then it wasn't fireworks, it was bullets. and we saw a guy, he got out of a cab and he hit two people who were getting into their car.
>> reporter: the children didn't hesitate. they ran into the temple to sound the alarm. how were you warning people? >> as soon as we got in the kitchen, i started yelling, i'm like, there's a guy with a gun, hide, hide. >> reporter: were you scared? >> yeah. >> reporter: what were you scared about? >> that he's going to kill everyone. >> reporter: and when you saw everyone's reaction, how were they -- how were people acting when you guys came in and they heard what you were saying? >> they were frightened. and they were kind of scared. >> reporter: the children were able to warn more than a dozen people to run and hide. this man was one of them. so, these kids saved your life? >> they saved my life. my wife, my daughter-in-law and my -- many people. >> reporter: the children are also grateful they were able to do that. they say they wish they could have done more. what's it like to feel like a hero? tell me why you feel like a hero. >> i feel proud, because i saved
lots of lives. >> reporter: alex perez, abc news, oak creek, wisconsin. >> they sure should be proud. overseas now, and what could be a decisive showdown inside syria, the country's largest city there. signs tonight that the rebels may be on the ropes. after a pummelling from president assad's forces. abc's alex marquardt is here with us tonight. we're going to talk to him in a moment. but first, his report on what's happening on the ground in aleppo. >> reporter: a week o tonight, we were having dinner with young rebel fighters heading for aleppo. hope and excitement were in the air. the significance of taking syria's biggest city was lost on no one. what happens after you capture aleppo? what happens after that? "if we take aleppo, we take all the cities, down to the capital damascus." they then grabbed their weapons and headed out into the night. today, the battle raged. assad's forces, on the ground, then in the air, trying to force
the rebels back. the battle for this city lies at the heart of the rebel's plan to take down president bashar al assad. it is unclear tonight who has the upper hand. but parts of the neighborhood were reduced to rubble, sending families searching for the injured. one rebel commander said they won't give up an inch. "we're staying here until our deaths," he said. "we either prevail or we die here." it's a determination we saw firsthand in the fighters we met, as well as the children. outside aleppo, we met this 7-year-old. on her rooftop, she sang us a popular chant. "bashar al assad," she sings, "you have fallen." it's important to know that assad still has the support of a good amount of the country, a lot of it coming from aleppo itself. but if aleppo, which is essentially syria's new york city, were to fall, the rebels would deliver a crippling blow
to the assad regime, and george, it could spell his hend. >> that's why this battle right now is so important. very good work in syria. great to have you back here. thank you, alex. and we head to london now, where abc's bill weir has our front row seat at the olympics. it was a red, white and blue day on the sand, as two american teams battled it out in beach volleyball. a standing ovation for an athlete that made history even though she didn't win a medal. and bill caught up with america's fierce five, the women's gymnastics team. >> reporter: gymnastics may be over in london, but the fierce five victory tour is just under way. after the closing ceremonies, the golden girls will head out on a 40-city exhibition tour, but first, we have to settle on a nickname for america's new sweetheart. what do you think of that nickname? >> i love the flying squirrel, i mean, definitely a nickname that's going to stick with me, but -- a lot of people are coming up with other different names. >> reporter: like what? >> i love golden gabby. >> reporter: how about gabbylicious?
>> yeah, yeah. i like that one. >> reporter: or her highness? the london thing? how many times a day do you look at that thing? >> a few times a day. >> reporter: on the sand tonight, misty may-treanor and kerri walsh-jennings retire with their third straight beach volleyball gold medal. while over on the track, american gold came in a big cluster tonight as sprinter allyson felix, hurdler aries merritt and long jumper brittney reese all beat the world, while lashinda demus, whose twins may be the cutest cheerleaders in the house -- >> go, mommy! >> reporter: -- gave it all for silver in the 400-meter hurdles. not as fast, but just as heroic, sarah attar became the first woman from saudi arabia to compete in olympic track and field, a benchmark moment for women's rights. the stadium roared as she finished 45 seconds behind the winner. and the most dramatic agony of defeat moment came when matthias steiner lost his balance and dropped a 423-pound barbell on his neck. somehow, the german heavyweight
walked away smiling and waving. going to be sore for awhile there. also, the italian race walker who won gold in beijing but was caught doping and expelled from these games held a tearful press conference today. he said he learned how to buy and use the performance enhancing drugs over the internet and admitted that the guilt of not being able to tell his girlfriend and mom what he was doing actually hurt his performance, george, more than it helped. >> huh. okay, bill, thank you. that is interesting. and coming up, more olympics. inside china's gold medal strategy. is this, right here, the secret to their success? people with a machine. what ? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it ? hello ?
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the cold war is over, but the u.s. and china are locked in an olympic gold war. while the u.s. medal haul has been consistent in recent years, china's has rocketed. from five golds in 1988 to 51 in 2008. how do they do it? this week, abc's gloria riviera in beijing visited one of the thousands of sports schools where future chinese olympians are already being groomed. this headmaster told abc news the secret to china's success. young athletes who train hard and can endure hardship. hardship? look at the face of this girl as a coach stands on her legs. and this footage from 2008, when a coach uses a stick to get children to straighten their bodies. so much for childhood. the father of this weightlifting gold medalist has said he hasn't seen his son in six years. but the secret to china's medal success isn't just early and
relentless training. there's a strategy. they have taken a page from the old communists of east germany, who used to win buckets of medals. >> east germany understood olympic math, and the chinese get that, too. you take the sports where the medals are most plentiful and that's where you throw all your energy. >> reporter: diving, gymnastics, but sports that most countries overlook. so far, china has won seven medals in shooting and seven in weightlifting. and, like its own synchronized swim team, practicing over and over as it goes for gold tomorrow, china is stretching the limits as it strives to be the only super-power of sport. jeff little jeffrey kofman, abc news, at the olympic games in london. >> and it is going down to the wire. coming up, the little boy helping his hometown bounce back, one cup of lemonade at a helping his hometown bounce back, one cup of lemonade at a time. kill the design. design something totally original.
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instead, joshua is donating that money to clean detroit's parks. the mayor called joshua advising to save the money for college, but joshua said the whole reason he started the stand was to help his hometown. and when we come back, one military vet's dream, and the hollywood legend making that dream come true. dream, and the hollywood lemgened ma hollywood legend making that dream come true.
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finally, it's the surge in reverse. so many americans who fought in iraq and afghanistan, retiring from the military. 300,000 this year alone. in our standing up for heroes series, every division of abc news will examine the challenges facing veterans as they transition from military service. tonight, bob woodruff starts us off, with a legendary filmmaker helping a returning captain achieve his hollywood dream. >> reporter: captain hank hughes served twice in afghanistan as a decorated platoon leader, but now he has left his military career to find a new one. what's it been like to get back here to the civilian world of the u.s.? >> i mean, you return home in a bit of a time machine where everyone else has moved on and you just kind of all of a sudden arrived. >> reporter: since he was a kid, he dreamed of becoming a
filmmaker. among his favorite back then? "star wars" and "indiana jones." in college, he majored in film, but put his dreams on hold for his country. now, he's back. what's your goal? >> to make movies. >> reporter: for the rest of your life? >> i would love to. absolutely. >> reporter: so, at abc news, we got to work, finding a mentor for hank, who could guide him along his new path. and we found a film legend. >> these guys are heroes and we need to help them. >> reporter: the man who created the movies hank always loved. george lucas. >> how are you? >> i have some questions for you, if you don't mind. >> sure. >> reporter: movie making 101. >> your training in the military is exactly the training you'll need. >> reporter: it is face to face encounter with film history -- r2d2, han solo and darth vader. >> it wasn't done as a trilogy. it was really done as one movie. the script was, like, 250 pages. so, i cut it into three pieces and then it became a sequel.
>> reporter: and while lucas taught him how to write it, his team at lucas film taught him how to make it. >> it's amazing that george lucas would take the time out of his day to talk to me, just because i was a veteran. it's fantastic. >> reporter: hank, one of hundreds of thousands of veterans coming home, is getting a chance to learn from a master. and just like in the movies -- >> the force will be with you always. >> reporter: the relationship will go on. bob woodruff, abc news, at skywalker ranch in california. >> and if any of you would like to see more behind the scenes at the skywalker ranch, you can go to abcnews.com. you can learn more about mentoring a veteran there, too. thank you for watching tonight. i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." hundreds of pim tent to the hop after the fire but not many were seriously hurt. how much should chevron owe them? >> extent of the damage of the refinery that chevron explains
the cause of a second fire. >> and a congressman and a key backer is now on the other side. >> and after a report on taser abuse, raums investigate the police agency that watches over california homes. >> chevron says funds to compensate the victims of the fire in richmond and tonight there has been a second fire at that plant and also, a team of experts now on its way to launch their own investigation. good evening, everyone. >> that second fire is out tonight but chevron says more small fires could break out as they work to stabilize that area of the plant. there are so many questions to be answered about what went wrong. and we have team coverage for you tonight and we begin with carolyn tileler and health concerns among residents. >> there is the first day, my
skin was burning. >> la shona wants to sue chevron. she lined up at the office of personal injury attorney nick haney, making it clear with signs in the window he'll file claims against ts refinery. >> you though, i tried to do what i can could-to-make sure they're all legitimate f you ask me is there any one that came here that didn't appeal? i cannot guarantee that. i can dot best i can to weed them out. >> the staff made announcements about the need for medical documentation. many do have paper work from hospital that's have been swamped. for example, doctor's medical center has seen 600 people so far. and there is bay area air quality management says there is no significant health concern.
>> is this claim legitimate? >> yes. yes. i suffer from asthma. >> bruce says attorneys have the right to solicit clients and the courts will decide whether any lawsuits are frivolous. >> if chevron in this instance believes that i will legitimate claims have been filed against it there are various techniques to follow in order to get those claims thrown out of court. >> well over a thousand people have called using the company's own hot line no. surprise, given the heated community meeting last night. and after etc. 2007 fire, chevron was hit with similar lawsuits. the company had no figures for how much it paid out back then but said chevron