tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC February 1, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
tonight on "world news," nuclear leak at an american nuclear power plant. what we learned about how much radiation and the risk. under fire. hours after his big win, mitt romney says he's not concerned about the poorest americans. the damage control inside his campaign tonight. tanning investigation. jaw-dropping claims from tanning salon owners. we show you the hidden tape, as congress takes on tanning salons tonight. and "soul train" salute. the former policeman, who wanted a new group of kids to dance and put the soul in "soul train." ♪ come and get some soul good evening. we begin, tonight, with a radiation leak at an american nuclear power plant.
san onofre, 45 miles north of san diego, california. officials say the leak is small. but as we've seen before, sometimes nuclear plants have changed the story after an accident. and look at this. 7 million americans live within 50 miles of san onofre. so, abc's david wright traveled there to investigate what the real risks are. david? >> reporter: good evening, diane. here's what we know. a very small amount of radiation apparently leaked inside the far dome over there. barely measurable. quote, very, very, very low levels. that's a quote from the spokesman for the nuclear regulatory commission. however, the concerns were high enough that the plant is now closed. officials say the radiation leak likely occurred in the steam generator tubes of san onofre's reactor number 3. that steam system, which is supposed to be shielded from any exposure to radiation, was replaced in december 2010. so, the question is, why did those parts fail now?
>> it could be a mechanical issue, due to new equipment. there is also the possibility that the equipment was defected and this is a harbinger of more problems. >> reporter: san onofre is one of dozens of u.s. reactors facing new scrutiny after japan's nuclear crisis. right on the coast, in the heart of america's earthquake country. just next door to the navy's west coast hub, camp pendleton. we came here the day the fukushima daiichi plant in japan melted down. plant officials were eager to reassure the public the same thing could not happen here. is this plant safe? >> absolutely. this plant is safe. >> reporter: after japan, the nuclear regulatory commission updated its seismic model. and in a report issued just yesterday, found that 96 reactors in the central and southern u.s. may be at higher risk of a quake than they previously thought. major metropolitan areas are uncomfortably close to major nuclear power plants. indian point, just outside
new york city, 20 million people live in a 50-mile radius. dresden, just 50 miles from the heavily-populated suburbs of chicago. >> it will be a sad thing if the industry in the united states does not learn this particular lesson from fukushima because they could be sabotaging themselves if they don't address these problems seriously. >> reporter: now, it is important to underscore, it is not clear that this event had anything to do with earthquakes. it's likely just faulty equipment. however, after what happened in japan, people are understandably concerned, diane. >> all right. the latest, now, from david wright, in california. thank you, david. and we turn to the rollercoaster day for governor mitt romney. 24 hours after his landslide win in florida. here is the final count in "your voice, your vote." this morning, the governor was taking a victory lap. but tonight, he's under fire for something he said. abc's david muir tells us what they're saying behind the scenes
in the romney camp. he's in las vegas. hello, david. >> reporter: good evening to you, diane. not only is the campaign firing back tonight. the governor, himself, after his own words, today. he says they're being taken out of context. but tonight, he's being taken to task, over what he said about the very poor. >> florida, you're the best. >> reporter: fueled by his crushing florida win, mitt romney landed in minnesota today. his campaign, confident their comeback will help propel romney toward the nomination. tonight, another sign he's the undisputed front-runner, romney will have secret service protection before the growing crowds. but a protester threw glitter on the governor. >> this is confetti. we just won florida. >> reporter: still, more security. and already, more scrutiny, after a comment today, his opponents say, again, cast romney as a wealthy businessman out of touch. when romney was asked about a new poll, which voters said president obama has a greater understanding of the needs of
average americans than romney, the governor said this. >> i'm in this race because i care about americans. i'm not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there. if it needs repair, i'll fix it. >> reporter: but the anchor followed up, asking how that might sound. >> you can focus on the rich. that's not my focus. you can focus on the very poor. that's not my focus. my focus is on middle income americans. >> reporter: even conservative commentator, rush limbaugh. >> he makes himself a target with this stuff. he comes across as the prototypical rich republican. it's going to make it harder and harder and harder to go after obama. >> reporter: and newt gingrich, who vows to keep going, saw an opening. >> i'm running to be the president of all the american people. >> reporter: while flying across the country today, the governor shot back at any notion he dismissed the poor. >> no, no, no. you've got to take the whole sentence, all right, as opposed to segments.
and then change it a little bit. >> reporter: he again said, if the safety for the poor has holes in it, he would work to repair them. but it comes after a string of moments, critics say, make romney unrelatable. that sizable bet. >> 10,000 bucks. >> reporter: and when talking about dropping health insurance, it was how he said it that made headlines. >> i like to be able to fire people who provide services to me. >> reporter: here's what the romney campaign is saying tonight. he says it's president obama out of touch. they point to an online chat he had be voters. during which, a woman said her husband can't find work. they say the president seems surprised that even an engineer can't find a job. they say the president's out of touch, even though they face the same charges tonight. campaigning in nevada here. we'll be there. >> everywhere, under a microscope. thank you, david muir. and a big announcement today about american troops in afghanistan and when this ten-year war may end. today, defense secretary leon
panetta announced a change in the u.s. mission. saying, that the u.s. would seek to end its combat role in afghanistan next year. not the end of 2014, as previously thought. some troops will remain in afghanistan through 2014. but panetta says, only in a support role. and what a convulsive scene at a soccer game in egypt today. chaos erupted after a big soccer match between long-time rivals. fans of the winning team stormed the field, attacking players and fans from the opposing team. the crowd surged out of control. and we turn, now, to the extreme weather around the globe. so warm across much of america, that even the cherry blossoms in washington, d.c. were fooled today, trying to come out. but other parts of the world are getting slammed in what is an epic winter assault, unlike any we've seen before. here's abc's sam champion.
>> reporter: in europe, it is a full-fledged crisis. parts of eastern europe are experiencing colder temperatures than they have seen in a century of recordkeeping. in ukraine, as low as 20 degrees below zero. rivers are frozen, blocking shipping. roads and rails are also shut down. for only the 3rd time in 25 years, the black sea is frozen enough to walk on. there is snow in southern france and italy. villagers in bosnia, cut off by snow are finally getting supplies by helicopter. we are barely coping, this woman says. i live on my own. it's a real struggle. at least 80 people have died across europe. and more than 700 have been hospitalized for hyperthermia or frostbite. in japan, cold and snow is also a headline. snowdrifts more than ten feet tall. at least 50 people have died there, many buried by the snow falling on their roofs. the same weather system that is
keeping us warm is chilling europe and asia. in north america, the jet stream has been acting like a fence all winter, keeping the arctic air out. but in europe, it's now drifting south, bringing with it frigid temperatures. back in the u.s., what a difference a year makes. chicago just finished the warmest january in 80 years. this was chicago just a year ago, hundreds of people trapped in their cars on lake shore drive, as the city was slammed by one of the worst winter storms in its history. according to noaa, our government's forecasters, this warmth continues into february. now, this extreme weather comes as nasa releases a new report saying the last 11 years of the 21st century, rank among the 13th-warmest of the 132-year period. and this is blaming it on human-generated greenhouse gases. >> there was some talk about it being from the sun. but they say, no. this is human-generated. >> they say they can prove it. we're going to tell you
about facebook. talk about a status update. after the closing markets of the stock market today, facebook offered for a public offering. indicating the company opens to generate $5 billion through the sale of public stock. facebook founder, mark zuckerberg said, as part of the agreement, he's going to take an annual salary of $1. facebook stock will not start trading until later this year. and two american employers announced layoffs today. american airlines announced it will cut 15% of its workforce. 13,000 workers in all, including 2,300 flight attendants, 400 pilots. part of a strategy to become profitable after bankruptcy. and computer goliath, microsoft, downsizing. reducing 60 divisions down to just 7. significant layoffs are expected, many from the marketing division. and we turn, now, to a brian ross investigation of something in the news today.
one little boy and his mother at the center of a raging debate tonight about undocumented immigrants. and you're about to meet a judge who says parents who bring children into this country illegally, put the children at risk. and he's ready to take them away. abc's chief investigative correspondent, brian ross, now, and a team of bright, young journalists have been following the trail of this story for more than six months. >> reporter: he was born as carlos, but is now called jamieson, adopted by melinda and seth moser of carthage, missouri, after a judge there ruled he would be better off with the mosers than with his birth mother, an illegal immigrant. >> i could not love him more had he come out of me physically. >> reporter: but now, the adoption is being challenged by the birth mother, encarnacion bial romero, a native of guatemala, who told abc news her
son was put up for adoption against her will. >> translator: i am really sad. it's really hard. >> reporter: it all started on the day five years ago. she was arrested in a federal immigration raid at this missouri poultry plant. and she ended up helpless in federal custody. >> translator: nobody could help me because i don't speak english. >> reporter: the case highlights the growing problem of what in effect, says her lawyer, her punishment for coming to work in america el legally, was to have her son taken away. >> immigration in itself, is not a reason to terminate parental rights. >> reporter: the case highlights the growing problem of what civil rights group call the shattered families of illegal workers caught in immigration crackdowns. with an estimated 5,100 children
in 22 states sent to foster care, while their parents are either detained or deported. >> we are creating a collateral consequence, in which thousands of children are ripped away from their families with no real process for being reunited. >> reporter: a lawyer for the mexican and guatemala government says, the u.s. is sending an ugly message to latin america. >> the toxic message being sent by officials, if you come here you could lose your children. >> reporter: the missouri supreme court has overruled the judge in that case, calling his decision, a travesty of justice. the birth mother has been allowed to stay in the country to attend the hearing. living blocks away from her little boy. but not allowed to see him while the case is pending. she's not seen him in 4 1/2 years. >> thank you, brian. you can see all of brian's reporting tonight on "nightline." still ahead on "world news,"
caught on tape. dangers in tanning salons. what the salons are not telling you about your health. and why congress is up in arms. and we salute a former policeman who put the soul in "soul train." ♪ when bp made a commitment to the gulf, we were determined to see it through. here's an update on the progress. we're paying for all spill related clean-up costs. bp findings supports independent scientists studying the gulf's environment. thousands of environmental samples have been tested and all beaches and waters are open. and the tourists are back. i was born here, i'm still here and so is bp. you wouldn't want your doctor doing your job.
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there's a surprising fact we learned today. there are more tanning salons in america than there are starbucks. it is a huge, booming business. but some members of congress warned today that it is also built on massive deception. we're going to show you some abc news tapes of salon employees luring kids under those dangerous, red-hot lamps. and abc's jim avila has the story. >> reporter: it's part of the come-on. promises of a safe tan, indoors, under the lights. >> it's the same as being outside. it's, i mean, if you got a sunburn in here, it wouldn't be as bad. >> reporter: this "20/20" investigation caught on tape exactly what congress said today is happening at 90% of the salons they investigated. blatant denials that these tanning machines can be harmful. in fact, most falsely claimed, indoor tanning is actually good for you. >> it produces a lot of vitamin d. it makes your bones strong. >> tanning beds are brightly lit, cancer-causing coffins, plain and simple.
>> reporter: in fact, indoor tanning under the lights, says the world health organization, is just as dangerous as inhaling asbestos, swallowing arsenic or smoking. in america, melanoma is the leading cancer-killer for women in their 20s, deadlier than lung cancer. >> it was terrifying. >> reporter: becky kocon started hitting the salons during her ohio high school years, competing with friends for the best tan. eventually going two and three times a week. before melanoma struck, leaving her with a lesion on her thigh. did you think it was safe at the time? >> one salon owner said he had bulbs that would not cause skin cancer. >> reporter: not true. and nearly two years ago, the fda's own experts, along with pediatricians and dermatologists, recommended a ban on indoor tanning for minors. but the tanning lobbyists have spent nearly $500,000 since, defending the industry's health claims. and so far, no fda action. >> by not acting, the fda is allowing young people to be exposed to an agent that causes
cancer. >> reporter: today, the industry said most of its workers are trained not to overclaim. but critics say, no matter what you are told at the salon -- >> it's up to you. you can come every day if you want. you just can't tan two times in one day. >> reporter: -- there is no safe indoor tan. a lesson becky kocon, who no longer leaves the house without a floppy hat, learned the hard way. jim avila, abc news, washington. and still ahead right here, a big birth control bill mixup. what you need to know. when you have diabetes...
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a scare for women, tonight, who rely on a specific brand of birth control pills. pfizer is recalling 1 million packets of oral contraceptives due to a packaging mistakes that puts the pills in the wrong order. and makes it likely that women could skip a dose and raise the risk of accidental pregnancy. consumers like sara starling were shocked to learn today that the birth control she's relying on may not work to control pregnancy. >> i was scared to hear this would happen because it puts me in a scary position. >> the recalled pills are lo/ovral-28. and it's not one of the commonly prescribed brands of birth control. and we saw mitt romney on the campaign trail, singing his rendition of "america the
beautiful." ♪ america, america god shed his grace on thee ♪ >> last night, the first lady, michelle obama, made her first late-night tv appearance since becoming first lady. and the president recently saying himself, host, jay leno, took the chance to ask her about the romney round of the "american idol," campaign edition. >> i saw it in the green room. it's beautiful. >> beautiful. >> and it is america's song. and it's the song that's meant to be sung by every american. >> that is right. >> kind of a trick question there. and still ahead, the man who filled american living rooms with song and dance and the soul in "soul train." ♪ come and get some soul the train is all right ♪
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look back. >> reporter: don cornelius was selling insurance when someone told him he had a great voice. so, with $400 to shoot a pilot, he set out to give soul music a voice on tv. ♪ soul train >> i had a burning desire to see black people presented on television in a positive light. >> reporter: and cornelius wasn't just the creator. he was also the writer, producer and host. >> aretha franklin. >> reporter: but it was the dancers, and, of course, that legendary "soul train" line that stole the show. some tried to label it the black "american bandstand." but a reviewer once set them straight. saying "soul train" was to "american bandstand," what champagne is to seltzer water. >> after i thought about it, i had to be realistic. that's what it was. it was a black "american
bandstand." ♪ >> reporter: 35 years in all. 22 with cornelius as the host. always leaving us with that velvet voice and familiar signoff. >> i'm don cornelius, and as always, we wish you love, peace and soul. >> and we're so grateful to you for watching tonight. we're always there at abcnews.com. "nightline," later. and we'll see you again tomorrow night. good night.