tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC December 22, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
wings to help ease the deficit. welcome to "world news." tonight, extreme weather. a huge and deadly storm on this first weekend of winter. heavy snow spinning drivers off roads, ice so thick tree branches are snapping. hundreds of thousands now without power in the south. flooding and tornadoes, too. but on the east coast, it's record-breaking heat. also tonight, the home stretch. holiday shopping in high gear. but the country's biggest bank is taking dramatic steps to deal with the target security breach, including putting limits on how much millions of customers can withdraw and buy. and the racist tweet heard round the world. the backlash building as she was flying to her destination, unaware of the firestorm she triggered. now tonight, the former publicist doing some damage control for herself.
and good evening. david is off tonight. i'm rebecca jarvis. and we begin with the massive and deadly storm snarling holiday travel with a bizarre mix of winter and spring-like conditions. at least 12 people have died. thousands of flights delayed, some 600 canceled. it even got dangerous for holiday shoppers. in oklahoma city, huge sheets of ice pouring down on shoppers who ducked out of the way at this outlet mall. and in upstate new york, power lines sagging across this road. hundreds of thousands without power across the country tonight. to ohio, flood rescues, where the water rose quickly. rafts were used to save the residents of a retirement home. also reports of tornadoes in louisiana. the winds so strong, they ripped off this storefront. the storm stretching nearly 2,000 miles from texas to the great lakes and into the northeast, where some cities are
actually experiencing record-breaking heat today. abc's alex perez starting off our coverage. >> reporter: the monster storm is packing a powerful punch of snow, ice, strong winds and even devastating floods. the water so high in central kentucky, it washed away this suv, drowning three people inside. in ohio, fast-rising waters forced the evacuation of this retirement home and the neighborhood around it. fire crews going door to door and making rescues by raft. this relentless system creating a major headache. and getting home isn't easy. 600 flights canceled. more than 4,500 delayed. and on those icy roads, spin-offs and deadly pileups. at least three killed in oklahoma. one shopper in oklahoma city capturing this scary moment as huge sheets of ice fly off a roof into a busy outdoor mall. luckily, no one was injured. in burlington, vermont, dangerous black ice left some cars upside down.
in downtown toronto, blue lights filled the night sky after power lines snapped, falling and setting these trees on fire. in the south, the storm spawned possible tornadoes, tearing apart this roof in louisiana, overturning mobile homes in mississippi and destroying entire neighborhoods in parts of arkansas. but in wisconsin, heavy snow is the big problem. in milwaukee, john benning says even walking his dog lola has become a challenge. when you hear the power of this storm, what are you thinking? >> you know, i think that it's shut-down mode. i think that we better clamp down, get inside and be prepared for whatever else comes. >> reporter: and that's the attitude many people are taking. get inside and out of the winter weather as soon as possible. this is the milwaukee river behind me. and tonight, it is completely frozen over. across the midwest, they are bracing. temperatures are expected to plunge tonight. rebecca? >> alex perez, braving the elements in milwaukee for us
tonight. thank you. and we're joined now by meteorologist lee goldberg from our station here in new york. lee, we have this highly unusual weather out in the northeast, but in other parts of the country, it's severe. >> reporter: it looks like a weather map from 1998. ice storms, record highs. but here's the good news, rebecca. a lot of the ice is leaving the northeast. the big snows are starting to leave the great lakes. we have rain along the east coast. actually going to be some pretty heavy rainfall along the i-95 corridor on monday. but the worst weather to the north is actually leaving. but check out these record highs. unbelievable. 70 in new york city. the all-time december high in new york is 75. and it was in the low 70s today. we had three to five inches in new york city during the work week. look at the pictures out of central park. we had snow cover earlier in the week and folks are jogging in shorts and t-shirts. not a stitch of snow. no evidence of the previous snowfall. but now things will start to change. >> unbelievable. what's the outlook for christmas? >> reporter: cold, but thankfully pretty quiet. now, if you look at the cold air, which is already over the upper midwest and the great
lakes, that's now rushing ea eastward. places like boston, new york and d.c. will go from 70 degrees to 30s by monday night and you see tuesday and wednesday, as we head into christmas eve, temperatures only in the 20s to 30s, maybe a couple of flurries, just to get the mood right. snow showers on christmas eve in the northern rockies and great lakes. same thing, great lakes on christmas day. but at least it's a very quiet weather map. a shower over south florida. very few delays at the airports. >> a bit of a weather gift for christmas. lee goldberg, thank you. we turn now to the shopping frenzy. the crowded stores tonight, and a sudden move by one of america's biggest banks to protect millions of debit card holders who shop at target. a new spending cap in the wake of a security breach. abc's aditi roy with that story. >> reporter: it's the busiest shopping weekend of the year. and more fallout from the security breach on credit and debit cards at target stores nationwide. now the largest bank in the u.s., jpmorgan chase, says it is putting limits on debit card holders who shopped at target between november 27th and december 15th.
that's when store officials say as many as 40 million accounts were compromised. nearly 2 million chase debit card holders who shopped at target stores during that time are being told today they can only withdraw $100 on their debit cards on any one day and limit total purchases to $300 a day. chase said this action is a precaution to protect customer accounts from criminal activity. >> chase is the grinch that stole christmas from families all across america. and the reality is, they're doing it to protect themselves and they're holding people's money hostage. >> reporter: in a dramatic move, the bank says it is opening up more than a third of its branches today to issue new cards to card holders effected by the hacking scheme. for its part, target is trying to soften the blow on consumers, offering 10% discounts on all items this weekend. a target spokesman telling abc news, the company has activated even more fraud protection and is answering customer questions. adding, "our customers need to
continue to be vigilant, and we are working to help them report issues." it's an all-out effort to salvage a holiday nightmare. aditi roy, abc news, los angeles. also tonight, regret from a woman who sparked a twitter backlash over an offensive tweet that joked about aids in south africa. she says she's sorry. but so many are wondering how a public relations executive could spark such a public relations disaster. abc's gio benitez with that story. >> reporter: she's the pr executive at the center of a digital firestorm. justine sacco now apologizing after this offensive tweet went viral. "going to africa. hope i don't get aids. just kidding. i'm white." in a statement, sacco now tells abc news, "words cannot express how sorry i am and now necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of south africa." she was fired saturday from her top pr job at internet giant iac, where she repped some of
the biggest names online, like match.com, the daily beast and about.com. >> this is one of the fastest responses and crash and burns i've ever seen from a tweet. >> reporter: sacco posted the tweet friday, just before a nearly 12-hour flight from london to cape town, south africa. while she was apparently offline in midair, millions were online, anxiously waiting for her to land and see the uproar her tweet caused. the hash tag "has justine landed yet" became an instant trend. her former bosses calling the tweet outrageous and offensive. >> there are so many teachable moments here. think before you tweet. and never, never put out something that can be perceived as racist. >> reporter: this photo reportedly shows sacco at the south africa airport when she landed. she quickly deleted the tweet and her entire account. she tells us, "it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed first hand. i am ashamed." so many saying tonight she should have known better.
not only because of her job talking to reporters, but because she herself was born in south africa. tonight, sacco telling us she cherishes her south african ties, rebecca, and that she's very sorry. >> teachable moment indeed. gio benitez, thank you. in south sudan tonight, word that hundreds of americans have been safely rescued from the central african nation over the past week. some were flown out of the region by these u.n. helicopters, as fierce fighting between rival ethnic groups is intensifying. yesterday, three u.s. military aircraft were attacked by ground fire. four u.s. troops were wounded. the u.s. is urging all other americans still there to leave immediately. now, to the busy week ahead on the international space station. astronauts are gearing up for a another dangerous spacewalk to finish fixing that broken cooling system. but first, they have a serious wardrobe malfunction to take care of. abc's mike boettcher explains. >> reporter: in a crippled international space station, a
successful christmas eve spacewalk would be the best gift of all for the six astronauts on board. >> station houston with you. hope everybody had a good day. >> reporter: a saturday spacewalk brought them halfway to that goal. american spacewalkers rick mastracchio and mike hopkins removed a broken 780-pound coolant pump, whose failure jeopardized operations aboard the space station. >> don't let that go. that's a stocking suffer. >> reporter: but a malfunction in mastracchio's suit -- >> my toes are quite cold. >> reporter: forced the postponement of a second spacewalk, scheduled to complete the repairs. >> we want to dry that suit out overnight. >> reporter: for the second spacewalk in a row, water in the space suit was an issue. just to be safe, the astronauts will use a backup suit. but this was not the same threat that almost drowned a spa spacewalker last july. >> it's their life support system. somebody on the ground, team on the ground is making a big plan to put that new suit together. >> reporter: this is the suit
they're wearing. behind glass in a display at the johnson space center. at 35 years old, it could be a museum piece, but nasa always facing budget constraints, must make old things work. and so nasa and the astronauts onboard the space station have this christmas hope -- that those aging space suits are gifts that keep on giving. mike boettcher, abc news, at the johnson space center, houston. >> and we wish them well. turning now to another deadline and one that the obama administration is watching very closely. tomorrow is the last day to enroll for obamacare health insurance if you want your coverage to begin on january 1st. the administration set a goal of 7 million signed up by march and on friday, the president announced they've only hit the 1 million mark. the challenge is not only to keep the website running without any glitches, but also to get younger americans to sign up. abc's jon karl reports. >> reporter: there's a new front
in the battle over obamacare. young people. if not enough sign up, premiums could skyrocket. and so far, they don't seem to be paying much attention. >> hasn't really been on my mind. >> i haven't had time to think about that. >> reporter: to get their attention, the pro-obama group ofa is out with this video. >> we love you no matter what. but it's time to get covered. >> reporter: and earning some justified ridicule for this ad featuring a 20-something guy in zipup plaid onesie pajamas. that's spawning all manner of parodies. even one with a photoshopped white house press secretary. california is out with this, featuring a rapper calling himself b-rock obreezy telling young people to sign up because it's hot. ♪ health care which has got it going on ♪ >> reporter: i mean, is anybody going to buy health care because barack obreezy tells them to buy it because it's hot? >> having not designed advertising campaigns myself, i'm not an expert, but i think that, you know, people -- there are efforts under way to reach potential consumers. >> reporter: and then there's the anti-obamacare side.
>> i see you chose to sign up for obamacare. >> reporter: one group launched this creepy video with uncle sam taking over a woman's medical exam. it has over 2 million views. the group is also having opt-out parties, telling people not to enroll. health care experts say at least 40% of enrollees need to be young adults, to keep premiums from going up. only nine states have said how many young people have signed up so far and none of them have come close to hitting that target. white house officials say that efforts to reach out to young people will intensify in the new year and they insist that past experience shows that young people are most likely to wait until the last minute before buying health insurance. rebecca? >> jon karl. a lot of people waiting until the last minute for a lot of things this time of year. well, this note now for you football fans. denver broncos quarterback peyton manning snapped tom brady's nfl record for most touchdown passes in a season tonight. 51, with this play against houston. the broncos won the game, 37-13.
it was brady who beat manning's record back in 2007. and he held onto it until tonight. still much more ahead on "world news" this sunday. one woman's unforgettable gift to her family years after her death. a christmas wish fulfilled, triggering a reaction from around the world. and then, from the football field to the battlefield. the cheerleader turned soldier, honored tonight for her service in afghanistan. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills.
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died soon afterwards of cancer. yet the wish she made in it came to life only last week. when david, the husband she left behind, unaware the letter existed, was asked to drop by des moines radio station star 102.5. >> you lost your wife brenda a couple years ago to cancer. >> reporter: and first they talked a bit about brenda and david could barely get through it. >> she was very strong. um -- accepted -- what happened to her. >> reporter: and then they told him about the letter, which they had only recently received. anonymously. and they read brenda's words aloud to him. >> i am writing this letter to have sent to you by a dear friend who has instructions to do so when it was the time. >> reporter: and why was it time? because david, who had been raising three boys with brenda, including a 2-year-old named max. >> what a great husband and father he is. >> reporter: because david had only recently been engaged to
remarry, to jane abraham, joining two families. and back in 2011, when brenda was dying, she had foreseen this day and asked a close friend to mail off her letter to the radio station only once david had found new love. >> she must be quite a lady and i wish i could have met to take on the task of raising a larger, extended family. >> reporter: and it was brenda's wish to send gifts through the station's christmas wish program. among them, a day spa for her kids' new mom. >> she deserves it. being a step-mother to all those boys and especially giving little max a mother's love that only she can give. >> reporter: brenda, back for this christmas, in some ways, never gone. john donvan, abc news, washington. >> that touching story of brenda's gift resonating around the world online. nearly 300,000 people from sweden to australia remembering a wife and a mother's love. and when we come back, the good deed by a thoughtful waitress.
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if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. our "instant index" now. what's trending tonight? a flip-flop on that "duck dynasty" flap. cracker barrel, the southern restaurant chain, first yanking show-related products off shelves that might offend diners, after those anti-gay comments from the show's star. then late today, after many customers sounded off on social media, an apology from cracker barrel, now putting the products right back where they were. and the good deed gone bad. caught on security cameras, a florida waitress rushing after her customer with a wad of bills she thought was his. he took it. but the money, reportedly $1,000, actually belonged to another patron. but late word tonight, the money has been returned. and it's a running joke on the hit show "modern family." sofia vergara's character singing out of tune. but turns out her real life caroling is equally memorable.
♪ a very happy year >> voice like an angel. vergara cracking up cast members while handing out holiday gifts. and up next, a pro at cheering for others. why they are all cheering for her tonight. she's america strong. i don't just make things for a living i take pride in them. so when my moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis was also on display, i'd had it. i finally had a serious talk with my dermatologist. this time, he prescribed humira-adalimumab. humira helps to clear the surface of my skin by actually working inside my body. in clinical trials, most adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis saw 75% skin clearance. and the majority of people were clear or almost clear in just 4 months. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal events, such as infections, lymphoma,
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finally tonight, from the sidelines to the spotlight at an nfl pro football game this evening. a special tribute is planned for a former cheerleader, now a soldier serving with distinction in afghanistan. abc's linzie janis on the woman who is america strong. >> reporter: tonight, 25-year-old rachel washburn will be honored as a hometown hero by the philadelphia eagles. the team she used to cheerlead for. four years ago, she gave up her pom poms for an assault rifle, becoming a lieutenant in the u.s. army. >> i was always going to join the military. they're not exactly the same, but both jobs require you to handle stress. >> reporter: while in college, washburn was an officer training. but craved another challenge. so, she tried out for the squad.
>> i was very intimidated to do push-ups next to her. she was just a great role model. >> reporter: after graduation, washburn gave up one job she loved for another. deploying to afghanistan. >> we lived in a tiny mountain village, very rural, very, very conservative. we lived in a mud hut. >> reporter: washburn and another female officer were part of a special operations mission. tasked with winning the support of local afghan women. one night, they were given a rare opportunity to do just that, by delivering a baby. >> it was very important to her husband that her integrity be maintained. and part of that is that she's not seen by anyone but her husband or her family. we had the medics on the radio talking us through everything. >> reporter: washburn is reluctant to talk about combat, but remembers two female officers who died performing the same role. >> those girls paid the ultimate sacrifice and every single one of us is so heartbroken by their loss, but so grateful these
women lived. their sacrifice just means so much to me and to other women. >> reporter: just weeks ago, washburn returned from her second tour in afghanistan, where she led a platoon of 22 soldiers. her sacrifice makes her america strong. linzie janis, abc news, philadelphia. >> and to lieutenant rachel washburn and all our servicemen and women, we say thank you. "gma" first thing in the morning. david muir is back here tomorrow night. and we leave you now with the empire state building, doing some christmas caroling above the big apple. good night.
next at 6:00, what is being done to help a severely injured puppy found abandoned in san francisco. >> how a community is coming together to support a bay area family whose daughter was declared brain dead. >> a look at the weather across the u.s. from tornadoes to floods to icy winter storms. abc7 news at 6:00 starts now. hope remains for a bay area family whose daughter was declared brain dead by doctors. hey believe a second opinion will help keep her on a vent ventilator. tonight the parents are joining the community to pray for a positive outcome. >> jahi mcmath went in for to answer -- tonsillectomy this month.
doctors said there were complications and declared her brain dead. her family believes jahi is still alive and will get a second opinion next week. cornell bernard is live in oakland where the family has join a community prayer. reporter: the family of jahi mcmath heads back to court tomorrow as their fight to keep her on life support continues. local faith leaders are sending formal letters to the d.a. and the hospital demanding action. >> we're saying that when you are wrong, you're wrong. >> that message is being sent by local faith leaders to children's hospital. the group of pastors is standing behind the family of jahi mcmath who is still on life support. the group is demanding the alameda county d.a. investigate the case. they also want hospital officials to treat the family with more respect. >> it is important that this hospital understand how insensit