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tv   AB Cs World News Sunday  ABC  August 16, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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i'm dan harris. and this is "world news." tonight, triple threat. the hurricane season, quiet until now, suddenly comes alive. there are now three storms out there, and the florida panhandle is going to take a direct hit tonight. a possible change of plans. the obama administration sending signals today that it might back down from a key part of its health care reform plan. bad habits? the vatican's controversial investigation of american nuns. have nuns here strayed too far from church doctrine? and, star crossed. one of the world's biggest movie stars, the tom cruise of india, held for questioning at an
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american airport. he says it's because he's a muslim. it's become an international muslim. it's become an international incident. captions paid for by abc, inc. good evening. for people in florida, and all along the atlantic and gulf coasts, this has been a quiet hurricane season. since june, nothing. but now, all of a sudden, there are three storms out there, and they are all gaining strength. tropical storms ana and bill have formed in the atlantic, and tropical storm claudette is poised to hit the panhandle of florida tonight. abc's jeffrey kofman is there. >> reporter: what a different a day or two can make. on friday, this hurricane season with a nonstarter. suddenly, this weekend, three tropical storms formed, one of them popped up overnight in the gulf of mexico and now making landfall here on the florida panhandle. >> i think in the end, this is a warning shot.
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the gulf is more prime than usual for intensification this year. >> reporter: the sleepy hurricane season is over. the scramble to stock up has begun. >> kind of used to it. you can just prepare yourself for the worst. >> reporter: behind claudette, two storms are churning in the atlantic. ana is weak and may not survive, and bill looks to stay at sea. until now, as this time lapsed image shot this weekend shows, this summer has been marked by sudden weather changes and intense rain showers, but no hurricanes. hurricane season officially begins june 1st. the last time a first named storm came this late in the season was 1992. they called it andrew. hurricane andrew. it made landfall south of miami a as a category 5. one of the most powerful and destructive storms in history, which is why experts warn a late
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beginning to hurricane season means nothing. >> it's not all about numbers alone. just takes that one hurricane over your community to make a bad year. >> this is hurricane charley. >> reporter: jeffrey kofman, abc news, st. george island, florida. they are also nervously watching the weather in california tonight, where nearly a dozen wildfires are burning. light winds so far today have allowed firefighters there to gain ground on the biggest of the fires, which is in santa cruz county, south of san francisco. it is now 50% contained. but conditions can change very qui quickly. so far, more than 2,000 people have been evacuated there. today, the obama administration was sending signals about a potentially major shift in the health care fight. it looks like the white house may be ready to back down on what had been one of the president's top priorities. here's john cochran. >> reporter: the president's health secretary sate choice and competition will be in health
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insurance. >> that is not the accecptable element. >> look, the the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the united states senate for the public option. there never have been. so to continue to chase that rabbit, i think, is just a wasted effort. >> reporter: so senator conrad has come up with an alternative. public cooperatives not run by the government. the government would give them money to get started. membership in co-ops would be voluntary. they would use their buying power as large groups to negotiate for better and cheaper medical coverage. would republicans go along with public co-ops? >> it would be a step in the right direction, away from government takeover of our health care in this country. >> reporter: while obama critics have loudly protested the idea of government-run health care, they've been just as loud as his plan to pay for counseling for end of life care.
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the president fought back. >> what you can do -- or what you can do but shouldn't do, is start saying things like, we want to set up death panels to pull the plug on grandma. i mean, come on. >> reporter: but today on "this week," his health secretary signaled surrender. >> it's been turned into a scare tactic and probably will be off the table. >> reporter: why is the administration waving white flags on things dear to the hearts of liberal democrats? because it knows lib rams alone can cannot pass a health care bill. >> at the end of the days it knows it is a -- a final bill is going to rise and fall on ken conrad and moderate democrats and republicans. >> reporter: so, dan, as we move closer to the end game on health care, the president, in the end, may wind up having to say to liberals, look. i fought the good fight and did the best i could. this is the best deal i can get. accept it. dan? >> politics is a messy process. john cochran at the white house, thank you. as for president obama, he and his family were visiting the grand canyon today.
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this was more than a family getaway, however. it allowed the white house to spotlight plans to spend $750 million in stimulus money for much-needed maintenance on the national parks, which are seeing record numbers of visitors during these tough economic times. and, speaking of the ailing economy, tomorrow, all the city agencies in chicago will be closed. all city employees but for emergency service providers will be taking an unpaid holiday. this is an extraordinary move, aimed at closing a crippling budget gap in the nation's third largest city. abc's diana alvear reports. >> reporter: while people line lakeshore drive for the annual air and water show, their garbage is lining the streets. piling up and left there to sit while city workers take monday off. the first of three forced furlough days, thanks to a budget in the red. sanitation trucks will be idled. libraries, health clinics, even city hall will be closed.
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but emergency workers, including police officers, firefighters and 911 operators will report to work as usual. mayor richard daley expects to save $8.3 million with the three planned furlough days. recently, he urged president obama to take unpaid days as well, in solidarity with his hometown. >> i believe it would have an enormous impact upon america. in other words, you are telling the taxpayer that everybody is suffering and you're suffering. >> reporter: chicago's not the only american city that's forcing furlough days upon its workers. in fact, some local and state governments are incorporating them on a regular basis, desperate to cut budgets anywhere they can. michigan wants to save nearly $22 million through six unpaid days. in colorado, furlough days may be accompanied by pay cuts as well. but nothing compares to california, where more than 90% of state workers will be off on the first and third friday of each month until june of 2010.
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>> it's a much better alternative than people being laid off. >> reporter: despite the sacrifices by city workers, chicago will still be $300 million short of what it needs to fund next year's budget. diana alvear, abc news, chicago. today, an american man who was in prison in one of the most reclusive and repressive countries on earth was set free after a visiting u.s. senator won his release. this man's freedom could have real implications for america's here to for frosty relationship with the generals who control the isolated country of myanmar. stephanie sy is on that story. >> reporter: once an unknown from falcon, missouri, john yettaw has become the accidental impetus for what may be a new era in u.s. relations with the reclusive regime of myanmar. acting on a bizarre vision, yettaw swam across a lake in may to reach the moment of opposition leader aung sun suu
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kyi, who has been under house arrest for most of the past few decades. both he and her were convicted for violating the terms of her house arrest. senator jim webb was granted extremely rare access to the head of myanmar's ruling military to secure the man's release. webb was allowed a one-hour visit with suu kyi. >> the most important part of this is that it was a gesture we should be grateful for and hopefully build upon. >> reporter: analysts say regardless of yettaw's actions, suu kyi would have been detained through next year's national election. many consider the meeting a step forward for u.s. relations. important because the regime has notoriously kept foreign aid out, even afternoon last year's deadly cyclone. >> you can argue having webb go to myanmar means you get added legitimacy to that government. at the same time, there is an element of possibility of
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change. how can we meet our objectives? and it means dealing with regimes that are unsavory. >> reporter: a quiet diplomacy appears to have begun, and an easing of economic sanctions may be in the offing, and suu kyi's future looks no more hopeful. stephanie sy, abc news. in afghanistan today, a scene that would have been unimaginable under the taliban. candidates for president debating on television. the election there is just four days away, and afghans seem energized despite the taliban's repeated attempts to vie atlalo derail the process. our jim sciutto is in afghanistan tonight. >> reporter: afghanistan's presidential candidates took their campaign to the airwaves today. an american-style televised debate watched by millions of afghan voters. "debating the election is a good thing," said one kabul resident. "we get to know who is good, who is bad and who will have the best policies."
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thursday's presidential election is a crucial test for afghanistan's leadership. eight years after the fall of the taliban, many afghans are disillusioned with the government of president hamid karzai. the election is an equally important test of security here. the taliban is vowing to disrupt the vote, attacking polling stations, even threatening voters themselves. the afghan defense minister told reporters today, "unfortunately, the election is happening at a time when we are facing a battle with international terrorism." but that battle has not stopped a vibrant election campaign. on the trail today, we found excited crowds greeting the candidates. campaign rallies here are major public events. we're in the city of talakhan in northern afghanistan, and it looks like the entire town seems to have turned out. the crowd is full of excitement and, as you can see, a little bit of chaos. today, u.s. marines took control of a formerly taliban-held district of southern afghanistan, part of a
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final push before the election, and one step toward making the country safer to vote. jim sciutto, abc news, talakhan, afghanistan. rather gruesome story out of kuwait tonight. an act of revenge may be responsible for the horrific deaths of 41 women and children. they were celebrating a wedding when a fire tore through the tent they were in. this was the groom's second marriage, and a source close to the police tells abc news that it appears this was arson and the groom's first wife is the prime suspect. one quick sports note. the world's fastest human shattered his own world record today in per lain. y usain bolt ran 100 moments in 9.58 seconds. it was the biggest change in the record since electronic time keeping was introduced back in 1968. am coming up here on "world news" this sunday, a bolly wood
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super star held for questioning at an american airport after he says his name came up on a watch list this has become an international incident now. the vatican's controversial investigation into convents in the united states. why are america's nuns being singled out? it's our "closer look" tonight. and, race at the national parks. why do so few people of color visit the nation's most beautiful places? if you're like a lot of people, you have high blood pressure... and you have high cholesterol. you've taken steps to try and lower both your numbers. but how close are you to your goals? there may be more you can do. only caduet combines two proven medicines... in a single pill to significantly lower... high blood pressure and high cholesterol. in a clinical study of patients... with slightly elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, caduet helped 48% reach both goals in just 4 weeks.
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the mayor of milwaukee is in the hospital tonight after being attacked by a man with a metal pipe. tom barrett was leaving the state fair with his family last night when he came to the aid of a woman who was being attacked. her attacker turned on the mayor, instead, and then ran away. police arrested a suspect this afternoon. he has been called the tom cruise of indian. shak rukh khan is a bollywood super star with tens of millions of fans. apparently, the customs officials at the airport in new jersey had never heard of him. this weekend, they held him for questioning in what has now become an international incident. >> he suffered deep humiliation. >> not quite the best news this independent day. >> a huge embarrassment. >> reporter: indians are reacting with fury that shak rukh khan, star of more than 70
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bollywood films, one of t most popular men in india, was held for questioning on friday at the newark international airport. in a phone interview, khan, who is muslim, told the indian network nd-tv, he was detained because his name came up on a competer alert list. >> i think it was questioned a little more than perhaps i should be. i'm assuming that the country is paranoid, with a certain section of religion of the world. >> reporter: u.s. customs officials told the associated press that khan was not detained, but rather questioned as part of a routine process that lasted 66 minutes. ironically, khan is in the united states to promote a new film called "my name is khan," which is about the post-9/11 racial profiling of muslims in america. today, there were anti-american protests in india, and one government officials told nd-tv that perhaps a tit for tat is
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called for here, saying, quote, i've always thought we should frisk them as much as they frisk us. khan is now playing this incident down, telling reporters, i think it's a procedure that needs to be followed, but an unfortunate procedure. in the movie "my name is khan," his character is arrested in san francisco, in the wake of 9/11. last week, fox signed a major deal to distribute that movie worldwide. coming up, america's nuns, under review from the vatican. does rome think they've strayed too far? it's our "closer look." ♪ hey, you don't have to be a man to love manwich ♪
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trilipix. there's more to cholesterol. get the picture. we're going to take "a closer look" at a controversial investigation being launched here in the united states by the vatican. it is not priests the vatican is investigating, despite years of sex scandals. now, it is america's nuns who are now the subject of two separate reviews. david wright has that story. >> reporter: it's a tune heard at many a new orleans convention. but when the saints go marching, probably has extra significance for these women. they're nuns. attending the leadership conference of women religious, an organization that represents 95% of female religious orders in america. a group that is now facing a vatican investigation. >> i rarely lose sleep. i have lost sleep over this. >> reporter: earlier this year, the vatican quietly launched two investigations. one of the leadership
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conference, a group that has in the past, called for the order nation of women priests. the other is a sweeping investigation of all american nuns, called an apostolic visitation. >> i suppose analogous to a grand jury indictment. >> reporter: officially, mary claire is looking into the quality of life obviousal 60,000 american nuns, but liberal nuns worry the vatican is trying to reign them in. >> this type of thing usually carries a certain amount of accusation with it. >> this is not an investigation. >> reporter: mother lorraine mary claire is a to vince shl superior that maintains many of the old traditions. >> reporter: do you wear the habit every day? >> no, this is all i have. >> reporter: but the vatican reforms in the 1960s made the habit optional. in the '60s, there were 180,000
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american nuns. now, there are one-third as many. >> i think the question is, that are being raised about our way of life. they are questions that are confronting every roman catholic in this country. >> there are always room for improvement, no matter what you do. >> reporter: for american nuns, a time of soul-searching. david wright, abc news, washington. and when we come back, why do so few black americans visit our national parks? (announcer) take your time to find the right time with cialis for daily use... a clinically proven, low-dose tablet for erectile dysfunction you take every day so you can be ready anytime the moment is right. tell your doctor about your medical condition and all medications and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. don't drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache,
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we're in peak season right now for the national parks. while the first family visited yosemite and the grand canyon this weekend, in fact, it is very rare for african-americans to visit national parks. tonight the story of one of the few black park rangers, who has an idea about why this is happening, and how to change it. here's eric horng. >> reporter: they have a quiet power, and an arresting beauty. but to shelton johnson, america's national parks also speak the truth. >> they tell the story of us as americans but they tell the story of ourselves as human becomes in this world, on this planet. >> reporter: johnson is one of this country's true african-american park rangers, and his is a rare face of color
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at oyosemite. of its visitors, less than 1% are black. is there a perception that the national park, well, that's where white people vacation? >> oh, i'm shern of it. >> reporter: johnson wants to change it. but he believes the disconnect between blacks and nature has deep roots. slave slavery altered how they view the soil. >> if you are working, it causes you pain, and you might die because of this, there's been this gradual loss of connection with the natural world. >> reporter: the stirring canvas of oyosemite is in stark contrat to detroit's inner city, where johnson grew up. he never dreamed of being a park ranger until he visited yellow stone. >> i didn't think it was real. >> reporter: today, johnson is more than just a guardian. he's a keeper of the history. to park goers, he tells of the buffalo soldiers, a group of black call verry men, some of
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america's first rangers. he's featured in a new documentary on national parks and travels to classrooms to talk about the message. >> i'm the only african-american park ranger in oyosemite. >> reporter: but his is just one voice. >> if oprah winfrey is recreating in a national park, if it's snoop dogg, you know, if it's a rapper, then it's actually sending a message that this is an environment that is also for us. when we visit a national park, we're all going home. we're all tying into your roots. >> reporter: eric horng, abc news, yosemite national park. >> and that is going to do it for "world news" on this sunday. tomorrow on "good morning america," the latest on the tropical storms off of florida. i'm dan harris. for all of us here at abc news, thank you for watching, and good for all of us here at abc news, thank you for watching, and good night. captions by vitac
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