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tv   ABC World News Now  ABC  March 19, 2012 2:30am-4:00am EDT

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this morning on "world news now" -- fatal crashes. a speed boat race and thrill show turns deadly after two separate accidents on the water in orlando. >> three people killed, raising new questions about safety and the future of this annual event. it's monday march 19th. good monday morning, everyone. i'm paula faris. >> and i'm t.j. winick in for rob nelson. that regatta is a big attraction this time of year in central florida. and spectators saw much more than the annual thrill show. what a tragedy after back-to-back accidents. >> saturday and sunday fatalities.
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also this morning, a nationwide problem for school kids with attention from the commander in chief. president obama speaks out about bullies and takes his message to the cartoon network. >> and later this half hour the sweet 16 in the ncaa. who made it, who didn't, and who leads our "world news now" march madness brackets competition. but first, a popular boat race in central florida turned deadly over the weekend. >> three participants were killed after being thrown from their high-speed boats. wftv's ryan hughes reports from lake dora, florida. >> reporter: charles woodruff raised speedboats for decades. these are undated pictures of him on the water. his life ended on the water, according to a spokeswoman with the florida fish and wildlife conservation commission. his boat buckeye kid ran over the top of the boat shockwave operated by d. wisely. both men were thrown into the water. a rescue crew pulled them to shore. >> i seen them doing cpr on one of the men, and they seemed to be doing it for a while, and it didn't seem like it was helping, and they didn't speed out of here very fast.
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i knew that i didn't think that it was going to turn out well. >> reporter: the victims were taken to florida hospital waterman where they were pronounced dead. >> people come out here expecting to have a good day and have fun. and it's just so sad that something like this has to happen. >> reporter: and it wasn't the first time this weekend. two people were thrown off a boat during the spring thunder regatta show on lake dora. officials told us mike van winkle was killed. the other person wasn't hurt. i asked a tavari spokeswoman why the race went on after a deadly crash. >> when the race officials came to the city folks, they had a general consensus that it was okay to continue. >> reporter: so i called the vice president of the classic raceboat association, and he had no comment. then he went on to say it's undecided if the event will go on next year. the classic raceboat association also holds an event every november in plant city, florida, and at this point it looks like that event will be a go this year. the victims in sunday's incident were wearing helmets and life jackets. ryan hughes for abc news,
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tavaries, florida. >> as he mentioned, these were not novices, either. these were champions. woodruff, the -- one of the men who died on sunday, he was a former north american champion. so these guys knew how to -- >> at the same time, you know, anytime you have speed involved and you have these regattas, i mean, they're going to continue to be accidents. we see the accidents in nascar. and those guys are among the best drivers in the world. >> it's kind of a risky take you sign up for. >> absolutely. well, to presidential politics now, where mitt romney has picked up more delegates in his quest for the nomination. romney won all 20 delegates at stake in puerto rico because he prevailed with more than 50% of the vote. that puts his delegate total at 521, far ahead of any rival. romney campaigns today in illinois, where he's favored to win tomorrow's primary. rick santorum will also be campaigning in illinois after the weekend appearances in louisiana, refusing calls to step aside. santorum claimed he was in the contest for the long haul because romney is a weak front-runner. he's also challenged romney to a
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one-on-one debate. >> he needs to put on a fighting illini jersey there. well, president obama talk on america's bullies last night, lending his star power to a documentary aimed at children. his message, bullying is wrong and destructive and it's time to take action. here's abc's tanya rivero. >> punch me. >> reporter: the images in the new documentary film "bully" are difficult to watch. but even harder to live through. president obama lends his voice to the cause, fronting the cartoon network's own anti-bullying documentary "speak up." >> it's wrong. it's destructive. and we can all prevent it. everyone has to take action against bullying. >> reporter: and it's a cause he's championed before. hosting the first white house conference on bullying last year and joining other celebrities in a message of support to young people facing harassment. >> and every day it gets better. >> it will get better for you. >> it gets so much better. >> things will get easier. people's minds will change.
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>> reporter: a movement that has grown in the wake of several suicides, like that of college student tyler clementi. after learning his roommate had captured his sexual encounter with another man on a webcam. >> guilty. >> guilty. >> guilty. >> reporter: that roommate, dharun ravi, found guilty of bias intimidation on friday. bullying in the u.s. appears to be on the rise. an estimated 13 million students will be bullied this year. tragic suicides along with unflinching depictions of bullying in action are forcing a national conversation many say is long overdue. >> reporter: there's a big push right now to get the rating of the documentary "bully" lowered to pg-13 so that as many kids can see it as possible. and on tuesday there's going to be a big twitter town hall. anyone can join in the conversation with the hashtag veto violence. t.j. and paula, back to you. >> tanya, thank you. this is an issue that's just not going to go away. we see it pop up all over the country. a federal lawsuit over bullying was actually recently filed in
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minnesota. it's an extremely high-profile case. and we'll probably be hearing more about that. >> and idaho's the most recent state to introduce legislation to talk about the policies in public schools. i think all of us can go back to times in grammar school and elementary school, high school, where we were picked on. we'd like to go back to those moments and tell everybody just to eat it. >> love that. well, a massachusetts school district is just one vote away from handing out free condoms. if the policy in the city of springfield gets final approval, the condoms will be distributed to children as young as 12. the program is designed to slow the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy. school administrators say the students' best interests come first. >> it's not about my beliefs or my religion. it has nothing to do with that. it has to do with 26,000 students in the springfield public school system. >> i do have a kid. and the question to me, would i have my kid in this program? yes, i would. because i prefer my kid to be safe from any sickness and have
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a chance to get educated on everything that's out there that's happening in the world from somebody that doesn't know. >> springfield has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in massachusetts. students would get counseling under the new policy, and parents will have the chance to opt out. so at least there is an option for the parents to be involved. only one committee member on the six-person panel voted against the move. >> 12 years old. i mean, why not 11? i mean, why don't they make it mandatory that, you know, the parents have to talk to the kids about these issues? >> wait. parents parent? >> yeah. >> i thought the teachers were supposed to parent. >> just saying. >> good point. well, firefighters are making progress on a wind-fuelled grass fire on the plains of northeastern colorado. the blaze, which is about 14 miles by six miles wide, has destroyed at least two homes and forced all 300 residents of the town of aklee to evacuate. a fire spokesman says the blaze is roughly 50% contained. temperatures are rising
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across most of the country, but out west winter is going out with a bang. the serra nevada and southwest have been slammed with several feet of snow. drivers in arizona have been sliding off slick roads. i-40 was shut down in both directions. and many flagstaff schools will be closed today, to the kids' delight. in new mexico high winds kicked up dust, knocked out power, and canceled flights. i always lovednow days as a child. well, winds are finally calming down in california. some coastal areas were hit with 50-mile-an-hour wind gusts, powerful enough to trigger 20-foot-high waves, rip currents, and beach erosion. and at least two tornadoes hit north platte, nebraska overnight, part of a big severe weather system posing a threat. >> that's right. let's get the very latest now from accuweather meteorologist jim dickey. jim? >> widespread powerful thunderstorms on the way as we head through the afternoon hours today. that is a cold front surges out of the western portions of the country. cold air being drawn out of the north and west, running into the warm, unusual humid mild air
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that's been in place the past couple days here. storms that stretch all the way from the upper midwest down southward. in particular the area we're watching, that's from northeast texas including the dallas area through eastern oklahoma into southwestern missouri including the city of kansas city. hail, large hail, the size of golfballs and larger. damaging wind gusts up over 60 to 70 miles per hour. and even tornadoes all on the table. so certainly keep an eye to the sky as the afternoon arrives. t.j. and paula, back to you. >> appreciate that. now, the rest of the forecast. showers in the pacific northwest. thunderstorms could get strong at times from fargo to minneapolis. showers from buffalo and pittsburgh to the carolinas. morning fog in the northeast. >> 65 in boston. 75 here in new york. 82 miami. 70s in the middle of the country. phoenix only climbing to 57. and albuquerque is 43. well, minnesota's mall of america came under attack this weekend by an army of alien mutants. >> well, those mutants turned
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out to be the infamous ninja turtles, or famous. facsimiles of teenage mutant ninja turtles. the goal was to create the largest ever gathering of ninja turtle look-alikes and wannabes and break the guinness world record. and that's what they did. >> this morning it's official. the number of mass kds ninja turtles was 836. more than enough to break the previous record of 786. >> teenage mutant ninja turtles. remember that? done teleo, michelangelo, leonardo. i had to look it up because i could only remember donatello. >> i missed that. >> it was those teenage years you purged, right? >> yeah. >> we'll be back with more "world news now." ♪ teenage mutant ninja turtles ♪ teenage mutant ninja turtles ♪ heroes in a half shell ♪ they're the world's most
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fearsome fighting team ♪ ♪ heroes in the half shell ♪ and they're green hey, sis... it's so great to see you. you, too! ahh, cloudy glasses. you didn't have to come over! actually, honey, i think i did. oh? you did? whoa, ladies, easy. hi. cascade kitchen counselor. we can help avoid this with cascade complete pacs. over time, a competing gel can leave cloudy hard water deposits, but cascade complete pacs help leave glasses sparkling. shiny! too bad it doesn't work on windows. okay, i'm outta here. there's only one cascade. love it or your money back.
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♪ i can feel it coming in the air tonight ♪ ♪ oh, lord ♪ i've been waiting welcome back. some major medical news this morning. something of a breakthrough in dealing with alzheimer's. >> it's a new technique in which the mind is basically sparked. we get the details from abc's linsey davis. >> reporter: it's long been the holy grail for doctors treating alzheimer's disease. find a way to stop the rapid mental decline that is the hallmark of this debilitating disease. now a new clinical trial could just prove that possible.
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using a novel approach that could awaken memory circuits in the brain. it's called deep brain stimulation, and it's already shown promise in a nif you canadian patients with early alzheimer's. four years ago robert linton had two electrodes implanted in the memory area of his brain. every day since a battery implanted in his chest has sent his brain more than 100 electrical impulses a second. that treatment has put the brakes on robert's alzheimer's, allowing him to lead a normal life. he's driving, doing crossword puzzles, exertion, and perhaps most importantly, remembering. >> if i can't remember something, if i just pause for one, two, or three seconds, it pops in. >> reporter: his doctor says robert's brain scans show the difference. >> although the lights are out here, there is someone home and we're able to turn the brain back on. there are circuits in the brain that are shut down in alzheimer's disease.
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can we reignite? can we reactivate these circuits? and will that lead to an improvement? >> reporter: all questions that can only be answered by testing more patients. but for now robert and his wife, barb, have reason to hope. >> with the diagnosis of alzheimer's you don't know what the future is going to be. and now i think, well, maybe we have more of a future. >> reporter: linsey davis, abc news, new york. >> this is so significant. and the fda's approved a bigger study here in the u.s. at johns hopkins in baltimore. up to 50 patients. and hopefully they have a larger test pool so, they'll be able to tell us whether or not this is legitimate. >> right. and we know that deep brain stimulation is safe because it's been used in the treatment of parkinson's and depression and other, you know -- other mental illnesses. >> what a breakthrough this could be. >> absolutely. well, straight ahead, we are down to the sweet 16 already. >> yeah. it was a long weekend of march madness. we've got the late-night action and an update on our picks competition. so stick around.
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♪ welcome back. there was such a long weekend of march madness college hoops that it actually stretched into this morning. you can't get enough of a good thing, though. >> absolutely not. some great games as always on the way to the sweet 16. a couple of them just last night. we start with cincinnati and florida state. this one was pretty close much of the way. the bearcats and seminoles traded the lead 19 times, and the score was tied 11 times. cincinnati went ahead with just a minute left for the final time. they take it 62-56. it's their first sweet 16 appearance since 2001.
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>> congrats. next kansas and purdue. or should we say purdon't. the jayhawks didn't make it easy. they trailed by six at the half. they finally took the lead with under a minute to go. rock, chalk, jayhawk. they're going back to the sweet 16 after a dramatic 63-60 bin over the boirlmakers. kansas takes on nc state and st. louis friday night. >> and as much as we love an underdog, sorry to say but the magic has run out for lehigh. the mighty mountain hawks who knocked off duke friday night just couldn't keep it last night against xavier. they did become the first ever -- >> xavier. >> -- 15 seed to have the lead at the halftime of their second game. but it all went wrong after that. lehigh hit only five shots from the field in the second half. xavier moves on, winning 70-58. >> xavier. >> xavier. >> not xavier. actually, when they played duke years ago and i covered them, that was a big bone of contention because the duke players were saying xavier and
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they said xavier. in addition to cincinnati, kansas, and xavier, the sweet 16 includes kentucky, indiana, baylor, michigan state, marquette and florida. >> and also still alive syracuse, wisconsin, ohio, and ohio state, not to mention north carolina and north carolina state. >> it brings us to the new standings in the second annual "world news now" march madness competition. it gives me great pleasure to say i sit atop the standings in my loser michigan jersey along with a tie with jamie "the sports guy" mccarty, both of us with 43 points. >> that's right. and i stand in for rob this morning. so i will tell you that rob is just two points back and caroline and j.j. are slightly further back. joining us with his take on all this competition and much more is commissioner jack sheehan. welcome back. >> thanks for having me back. long weekend is right. maddening. st. patrick's day, the whole nine yards. i got a toothache. >> do you remember what happened this weekend? >> yeah. for the most part. for the most part.
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let's go inside the numbers, shall we? >> yes. >> sweet 16 teams left. jamie "the sports guy" mccarty, 11. paula, you have 10. rob has 9. and caroline and j.j. have 6. >> but they called lehigh over duke. >> cincinnati plays ohio state. they play thursday night in boston. xavier with an x. and ohio university. >> used to coach with mata at xavier. a big incestuous pool. >> that it is. sports and television. incestuous pools. imagine that. right. all the number 1 seeds made it through. that's for the first time since 2009. and some of the number 2 seeds didn't. we already mentioned duke. the other one was, roll the v.o. the other one was missouri. did you see this? friday night. this was terrible. >> good old norfolk state. >> maybe it's even adding insult
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to injury that norfolk state went on to get blown out by florida by 34 points. >> ouch. >> that's missouri. >> jack, the commish, it's always great to have you. >> so much for that. >> rock on. >> rock on. >> rock on. where sleepless nights yield to restful sleep. and lunesta can help you get there, like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. alcohol may increase these risks. allergic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, dizziness and morning drowsiness. ask your doctor if lunesta is right for you.
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>> announcer: "world news now" delivers your "morning papers." this story comes to us out of australia, and it's going to give a whole new meaning to drinking and dashing. it's going to take it to new heights, no pun intended. so four guys went to this swanky restaurant in melbourne and were drinking pricey cocktails. and apparently, they went to the top of the restaurant and they had parachutes hidden under their jackets. so they drank, they dashed. they climbed up a pole on the rooftop. and then they base jumped on the way out. >> what? >> yeah. this is them base jumping out of the restaurant. so of course they're using surveillance video to try to find the daredevils. just let them be. >> sounds like a james bond stunt.
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>> i mean, if you're going to go to those heights to put that much thought into it, just take those drinks. >> so let's stay down under, shall we, for our next story? >> yes. >> quadruple gold beer apparently is pulling off a stunt by acquiring an island called pumpkin island for the next few years. pumpkin island is actually less than 1/4 square mile. it lies off the great barrier reef. so obviously, it's beautiful. but they're going to be calling it quadruple gold island. and they're turning it into a man-only island. >> a mancation? >> a man cave. whatever you want to call it. they're going to fish and play touch footie, whatever that is.. beach cricket. swimming in the ocean. or simply barbecuing the catch of the day with a beer in hand. >> how could it be with no ladies involved? >> i just want to know if the most interesting man in the world is going to be on that island. >> ooh, that's a good question. then it might be worth it. >> yeah. >> if you like ice cream, i don't know if you like dairy-based ice cream.
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well, this dairy out of -- in the middle east, it's an arabian business. they are going to start producing ice cream made of 100% camel milk. yum! >> it sounds delicious. >> it's going to be delicious. dates, saffron, caramel, and chocolate. pure camel milk. no additives or cow milk-based ingredients. i've got a great flavor but i'm not going to go there. >> do you order ice cream by the scoop or by the hump? >> by the hump. a two-humper. >> okay. so moving right along, we're talking about allergies. we're talking about allergies because it's so warm right now. the wind has been just ridiculous. so the allergy season is going to be longer. so now we have some ideas, some food ideas on how you can fight off your allergies. [ sneeze ] >> beer? >> no. pizza, beer, chocolate, i'm afraid not. broccoli, citrus fruits. >> ooh. >> citrus fruits is another. >> i have an orange for you right here.
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>> and kale. just in case you want to sort of keep the scurvy at bay.
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this morning on "world news now" -- campaign momentum. mitt romney wins 20 more delegates after his victory in the puerto rico primary last night. >> why it's now a numbers game as the gop candidates head into the illinois primary tomorrow. it's monday march 19th. good monday morning, everyone. i'm paula faris. hope you had a wonderful weekend. >> and i'm t.j. winick in for rob nelson. there are two big contests for the gop this weekend. illinois and louisiana are both up for grabs, with romney winning in puerto rico. he's convinced latino voters are
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behind him. rick santorum insists he's in the race for the long run. also this morning, was it a mercy killing or was it murder? a man in washington state says that his wife begged him to kill her because she had terminal cancer. well, now he's facing serious charges and opened up a very sensitive debate. so what would you do in this situation? it's up for discussion on our facebook page. but clearly, a lot of people kind of empathizing where he's coming from. >> absolutely. on a lighter note later this half hour, they drove their car into the ocean, and they're blaming it on, who else, the gps. it's happening more and more often. and it's sometimes no laughing matter. >> yeah, gps tends to get us all lost every now and then. but first, the republican focus shifts to the nation'scn@ heard and the primary in illinois tomorrow. >> and romney heads into the race with a small but important victory over the weekend. abc's larry jacobs reports. >> reporter: mitt romney scored
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a convincing win over rick santorum in sunday's puerto rican republican primary. by winning more than 50% of the vote, the gop front-runner was awarded the island's delegates to the national convention. romney left the island saturday after it appeared puerto rico was safely in his column. then it was off to illinois, where he campaigned sunday. ♪ happy birthday to you >> reporter: illinois is crucial if romney is going to stop the gathering momentum for rick santorum. polls say romney holds a slight lead over santorum in tuesday's illinois primary. >> i appreciate your willingness to vote on tuesday. i need your vote on tuesday. >> reporter: he continued to question santorum's economic credentials, calling him and president obama economic lightweights. >> i don't think we're going to replace an economic lightweight with another economic lightweight. >> reporter: santorum was busy wooing voters in louisiana, pursuing his southern strategy after beating romney in mississippi and alabama. >> every single day when i go out and talk to folks i hear the same thing over and over and over again. "i'm praying for you."
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"i'm praying for you." >> reporter: on abc's "this week" santorum challenged romney tie one-on-one debate. >> see if governor romney's willing to come out. he's been turning down every single debate. he's been hiding behind the billionaires who are funding his super pac and spending outrageous amounts of money, all running negative ads. >> reporter: larry jacobs, abc news. >> high drama in illinois. 69 delegates up for grabs in illinois on tuesday. 46 in louisiana over the weekend. but remember, santorum kind of hurt himself earlier in the campaign. he's not going to be on the ballot in some of the districts because they didn't get that paperwork in in time. >> and he's going to be focusing on louisiana because he has been so successful down there. >> he plays well to that very evangelical christian crowd down in the south as well. well, president obama made a special appearance on the cartoon network last night, guest-starring in a documentary about bullying. the film featured heart-wrenching personal stories from children who had been bullied along with tips on how to cope. the president encouraged children to speak up.
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he also encouraged parents and teachers to listen and to take a stand. >> it's wrong. it's destructive. and we can all prevent it. everyone has to take action against bullying. >> an estimated 13 million students are bullied each year. and as mr. obama pointed out, he cares deeply about this issue, not just as the president but as a father. well, the army sergeant accused -- formal charges are expected to be filed against the soldier within a week. as he arrived in kansas, attorney john henry browne said the soldier's family stands behind him. abc's neal karlinsky has more. >> reporter: sergeant robert bales' attorney in kansas planned toñr meet with him faceo face for the very first time. >> everybody who gets deployed to the middle east probably has some form of ptsd.
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he was okay on the phone. certainly willing and anxious to sies. >> reporter: the 38-year-old is being kem ing kept in a cell ve like this one in solitary confinement alone to ponder the murders of 16 afghan civilians. the possible sentence, either life behind bars or the death penalty. >> i don't think it's a slam dunk case. notwithstanding the number of victims. the government may well have some very, very substantial problems in investigating this case and bringing it to trial. >> reporter: one problem -- because of cultural barriers, no autopsies for hard evidence that can be tied to a weapon. another, eyewitness testimony cannot come from a deposition. villagers who witnessed the massacre will be required to testify in person in a u.s. military court. the soldier's aunt tells abc news in the family's first comment that h he was raised by very loving family and that she has been left brokenhearted by the news. the defense will likely focus on the toll of prolonged combat pushing a good soldier to the
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edge. >> post-traumatic stress disorder could be a mitigating circumstance that could cause a jury to determine that the death penalty's not appropriate. >> reporter: getting an acquittal by reason of insanity and blaming it on post-traumatic stress is almost unheard of in military court. but bales has a creative high-profile legal team, and this will likely not be a typical case. neale karlinsky, abc news, tacoma, washington. >> there are six inmates on death row. in the military system none have actually gone through with it. but the lethal injection is their method if they were to go through with something. >> you know, there was so much clamoring to have this trial in afghanistan. well, now it looks like it is going to take place here in the u.s. and you heard neal say that that means that afghan villagers, you know, victims, and witnesses to this massacre will have to be flown here to the u.s. >> if they're comfortable with that. >> right. well, i mean, if the government's going to make their case. they might very well need those
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folks to make this case stick. it's going to be just quite a logistical operation just to make the trial happen. >> the taliban still insisting there was more than one soldier involved in that massacre as well. now to a family tragedy in washington state. was it a murder, or was it a mercy killing? a man who fatally shot his terminally ill wife as she slept has been released from jail without bail. donald mcneally called police last week to report the shooting, telling them his wife, linda, had repeatedly asked him to kill her. neighbors say their hearts go out to the family. >> i mean, i just know that his wife has been suffering with cancer for quite a long time and she has a -- i think an inoperable brain tumor. and i know it's just been really hard on the family. he's not a monster. he's not a bad guy. he's not someone that you should be scared of. i mean, he just -- i think that he really felt that his wife was suffering. >> now, the couple's adult daughter says that she overheard her mother asking her father to kill her but she told her dad don't do it, it's not clear when
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he's due back to court. it brings us to our facebook question of the day. if your spouse was suffering with a fatal disease and begged you to kill them, would you? i know it's a very sensitive subject. but very touchy one. >> right. and one obviously that dr. jack kevorkian fought so hard for and went to jail for. and his really case was that, you know, in europe, in certain countries over there, this is not an issue. that people have these rights if they so choose. but here in the u.s. it remains controversial. >> i think it's so different to take a spouse off of life support as opposed to what he did, and that's to take it that one step further. definitely very polarizing and controversial subject. well, fire crews in rural colorado are battling a major wildfire that's already destroyed at least two homes. the fire is estimated to be about ten miles long. about a mile and a half wide. hundreds of residents were told to evacuate ahead of the fire, which started yesterday afternoon.
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well, much of the country is enjoying a warm spell. the west is getting battered by nasty winter weather. the arizona and california mountains got more than five feet of snow, and it's still coming down. driving was so treacherous, in fact, that a long stretch of i-40 was shut down. many schools around flagstaff will be closed today. and thousands are without power. parts of new mexico were also in the dark as winds swept in, topping 16 miles an hour. flights were canceled yesterday in albuquerque, and there was so much dust several roads had to be shut down there as well. well, conditions are just right for some severe storms across a big section of the country today. >> accuweather meteorologist jim dickey has our storm watch. good morning, jim. >> good morning, paula and t.j. strong storms on tap here for today. watching the corridor from dallas north and eastward through eastern oklahoma, including oklahoma city and tulsa, up on into kansas city, missouri. strong storms will fire as in the afternoon and early evening
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hours. storms with large hail, damaging wind gusts, we're talking 60, 70 miles per hour in these storms, and yes, even tornadoes. as in the later part of the day the storms drift their way toward the coast. watch out in houston, even into new orleans. t.j. and paula, back to you. >> thanks, jill. here's the rest of your forecast. warm with morning fog in the northeast. showers from buffalo to pittsburgh and west virginia. in the carolinas thunderstorms from fargo to minneapolis. up to two feet of snow in the northern rockies. >> 43 in billings and 55 in sacramento. mostly 70s in the nation's midsection and northeast. 80s from dallas to atlanta. okay. grab your box of tissues for this next story. this is for both of us. about a wisconsin mom who pulled off a huge surprise for her two kids. >> that's right. unbeknownst to them, lieutenant april nelson returned home friday after a nearly year-long stint in afghanistan. first stop on this mission, her daughter's elementary school. then it was off to her son's middle school for round 2 of this mother and child reunion. >> the rest of the surprise is under way this morning.
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the entire family in florida where they'll be visiting disney. those faces are just priceless. >> it doesn't matter how many times you see those reunions. it just tugs at your heartstrings. >> we're going to be right back with more "world news now." ♪ i'm finally coming ♪ home ♪ the world tried to break me ♪ [ other merv ] welcome back to the cleaning games. let's get a recap, merv. [ merv ] thanks, other merv. mr. clean magic eraser extra power was three times faster on permanent marker. elsewhere against dirt, it was a sweep, with scuffed sports equipment... had it coming. grungy phones... oh! super dirty! and grimy car rims... wow! that really works! ...all taking losses. it looks like mr. clean has won everything. the cleaning games are finished? and so are we. okay, but i just took a mortgage out on the cabinet. [ male announcer ] clean more, work less, with the mr. clean magic eraser extra power.
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for over 10 years now,. i've been representing [ male announcer ] clean more, work less, the colonial penn life insurance company. hi, alex. hi, everyone. i thought it'd be interesting to hear from you what your customers say are some of the things they like best about colonial penn's whole life insurance. who's gonna start? well, it's guaranteed acceptance for people over age 50. they don't have to take a physical or answer any health questions. and it gives them peace of mind knowing that their family has some insurance to help cover funeral costs. and other final expenses. great point, and that's something everybody needs to plan for, especially in this economy. it costs just $9.95 a month per unit. it's an affordable way to provide protection for loved ones. yes, and that rate never goes up. and their coverage never goes down because of their age. they can get permanent insurance
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♪ money ♪ get away ♪ and welcome back on this monday morning. we're talking about money and debt and increasingly aggressive debt collectors this morning. i think they're taking it a little too far. the federal trade commission says they received a record number of complaints about those collectors last year. nearly 181,000. >> that's right. the agency is cracking down on them. but as abc's lisa stark reports, consumers still need to be careful.
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>> reporter: the letter that arrived in the mail stunned tim bond. >> i received a certified letter that said i was being sued for over $7,000. i just felt kind of really suffocated and trapped instantly. >> reporter: bond wasn't even sure he owed the credit card debt. and even if he did, it was 14 years past due. >> what do people need to know about these older debts? >> there may be a state statute that limits the collector's ability to sue on the debts. >> reporter: that means they can't force you legally to pay it. but that didn't stop asset acceptance, which allegedly broke the law by threatening lawsuits on expired debts. and reporting those old debts to credit agencies. the company has paid a $2.5 million fine to the government, even as it denies any wrongdoing. >> what are you? are you an attorney or what? >> i'm the one that's going to -- >> reporter: consumers have long complained of harassment, even threats from debt collectors, with terrifying calls like these from other companies. >> are you going to pay this bill or not or am i going to
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have to kill you? >> we're going to have your dog arrested. we're going to shoot him up and beat him. >> reporter: tactics like these are illegal too. for older debts the amount of time collectors can sue for payment varies state by state. anywhere from two to 15 years. but beware. >> why not agree to pay a little bit of the debt? why not just get these people off your back? >> in most states if you pay a little bit of the debt it actually restarts the clock. >> reporter: that means that old debt is suddenly reactivated and you can face a lawsuit after all. tim bond didn't fall for that. instead enlisting help from government consumer fraud officia officials. it worked. the company backed off. lisa stark, abc news, washington. >> that's horrific. >> where do they find these people? >> those phone calls? >> i'm going to kill you? i'm going to cut your dog up? >> i mean, are those calls like coming from some penitentiary somewhere? >> they probably are. it's the best in humanity coming out right there. >> you would think that it wouldn't be that hard to find
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some nice people just to maybe make some calls. >> it is. maybe we should apply. >> maybe so. >> if this doesn't work out. coming up -- >> we have 9:00 to 5:00 open. >> yes, we do. blaming accidents on gps instructions. >> one couple's splashy drive into the ocean raises questions about computer-generated directions. you are watching "world news now."
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welcome back. long gone are the days of pulling over and reading a map if you somehow got lost on the road and to actually ask someone for directions, well, forget about that. >> my parents still have like 100 maps in the car. well, that's all because of gps, that authoritative voice guiding you on your way. here's some news. that voice isn't always right. abc dan kloeffler reports. >> reporter: they were head here thursday. a road trip. three japanese tourists. to the beautiful sandy beaches
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of stratbrook island, a tiny paradise off the coast of australia. it seemed simple enough. but what their gps didn't show was the nine miles of water between the mainland and the island. >> continue driving ahead. >> reporter: so they kept on driving and driving. >> continue driving 14.5 kilometers. >> reporter: they made it 50 yards across the water before deciding it was a bad idea and got out. were they the victims of gps confusion or just trying to recreate what happened on an episode of "the office"? >> make a right. >> maybe it's a shortcut, dwight. it said go to the right. >> it can't mean that. there's a right. >> the machine knows where it's going. the machine knows! stop yelling at me! >> no, it's -- there's no road here! >> reporter: maybe some gps units just have a thing for water. in washington state last year instead of guiding a driver to a nearby hotel, that charming electronic voice led her to a swampy stop. >> i don't know why they
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wouldn't question driving into a puddle that doesn't seem to end. >> reporter: and in 2008 a washington state bus driver followed his gps directions right into a nine-foot bridge. >> continue straight ahead. >> reporter: his bus used to be 12 feet tall. a year later in the uk one man nearly drove off a cliff following that directional voice a little too closely. but perhaps the biggest gps blunder of all, what used to be this georgia man's childhood home. wrecking crews accidentally leveled the wrong address thanks to satellite coordinates. so maybe it's a good idea to listen to that voice in your head. >> turn left ahead. >> reporter: and not just the one coming from your dashboard. dan kloeffler, abc news, new york. >> hello. >> common sense, anyone? >> northeast -- you know, i have a funny story about this. i was driving north, and gps, whatever her name is, she told me to take a right, another right, another right, and another right.
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and i wound up on the same road. going north again. i just -- she basically just took me in a loop to go back on. makes no sense. >> i think my mother's advice about peer pressure can be updated, which is that in somebody told me to jump off a cliff, would you? >> would you? >> no. >> okay. just making sure. and lunesta can help you get there, like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. alcohol may increase these risks. allergic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, dizziness and morning drowsiness. ask your doctor if lunesta is right for you.
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♪ this is the segment where we play the saxophone. the air saxophone. >> yeah. >> and finally this half hour, our monday morning "insomniac theater." as you saw right there, "21 jump street" was tops at the box office this weekend. >> that's right. and our digital news associate amanda van allen was among the paying customers. she joins with the review. amanda, good morning. >> good morning, guys. >> i've got to tell you, when i saw this preview in the theaters, i thought it looked terrible, and yet it has been
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getting great reviews. >> i thought the trailer was absolutely horrible. it didn't do the movie justice. and the movie was actually pretty good. there were some really good laughs. sometimes there was more time in between laughs than i would have liked. but every joke was really solid. and they really took some time to really think about what they were going to do. it wasn't just stupid slapstick comedy. the duo was really good, with jonah hill and channing tatum. they were awesome. you wouldn't think that they would work well together, but these two were funny. they were deliberate in everything that they did. and i just really enjoyed the comedy. i thought it was really good. >> a moment of honesty. you had no idea that this was based on a series from the late '80s, early '90s, did you? you were born what year? >> 1987. >> yes. pretty much makes us feel old. >> yeah. well, when the original tv series came out, that was the year i was born. so -- >> johnny depp. >> yeah, johnny depp. a couple more really important people. so let's listen to what our moviegoers had to say. >> it was hilarious. >> the story was pretty
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intriguing. >> it wasn't disappointing at all. >> it was good. it was funny. had a lot of action. >> it was hilarious. >> it was. it was funny. >> i thought the movie was mad funny. >> it was funny. it was a very funny, funny, funny movie. >> stars? >> i'm going to give it 3 1/2 stars. like i said, i thought it was really funny. the writing was very good. it wasn't stupid slapstick comedy. but you know, there were a couple lulls in the plot. i wish there was a little bit more characterization. so. >> it was intriguing. >> it was intriguing. >> and it also answered the question can a thin jonah hill be funny? >> and you know what? he really was. there wasn't, you know, the fat jokes. there was still the smart jokes. but i thought it was really good. i really enjoyed it. >> would you recommend it? >> i would recommend it. don't bring your kids. there's a lot of swearing in the movie. so don't bring your kids. but you know, if you want to go out with a couple of your girlfriends, go ahead. it's a good film. and you will laugh the whole way through. >> we always get buttered pop
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quorn. fill it up halfway and butter it and then -- >> and bring it back. and salt. >> i'm going with you next time to the movies.
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this morning on "world news now" -- challenging defense. the army sergeant accused of killing 16 afghan villagers meets with his attorneys for the first time today. >> sergeant robert bales' legal team just arrived in kansas last night, where the suspected gunman is being held. it's monday march 19th. good morning. i'm t.j. winick in for rob nelson. >> hope you all had a good weekend, everybody. i'm paula faris. sergeant bales hired a well-known seattle defense attorney, and bales will be seeing a lot of his legal team this week. the lead attorney, john henry
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browne, right there says he wants to know more about bales, his personal problems, and what exactly led to the shootings. he says this is not a clear-cut case. again, you're looking for a motive, it's still impossible to wrap your mind around this. also this morning, the fight for republican delegates between mitt romney and rick santorum. after romney's primary victory in puerto rico and his likely win tomorrow in illinois it's all about the math. but these two candidates cannot agree on how everything adds up. not a big surprise. >> good look sporting that lsu tiger shirt there. and later in this half hour, the 92-year-old woman who had to prove to her bank that she is not dead. nope, she's alive. she had to correct a bookkeeping nightmare and jump through red tape to access her money. good thing she has a very good sense of humor about the whole ordeal. >> absolutely. but we begin with new details as sergeant bales' defense team prepares to meet with him for the very first time. >> the high-profile attorney arrived last night in kansas ahead of the meeting. kabc's maria antonia reports from kansas city.
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>> reporter: we asked john browne about the complications of a case involving military matters. >> some of the additional challenges you might be facing. >> you couldn't imagine a more difficult case, i don't think. i mean, every challenge. this case has political ramifications. it has legal ramifications. it has social ramifications. so you know, i couldn't really imagine a bigger case from somebody with problems. >> reporter: browne also spoke of the challenges presented by four tours in iraq and afghanistan for his client, army staff sergeant robert bales. the ten-year veteran with a string of commendations was injured while serving according to his attorney, and there are questions being raised about post-traumatic stress disorder. bales is now being held here at ft. leavenworth in an isolated cell awaiting charges possibly this week for the killing of 16 afghan villagers. browne says he has spoken to bales by phone but plans to get specifics as they get their
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first chance to talk in person. >> everybody that's had three or four deployments to the middle east is probably going to have some form of ptsd. i don't know anything specific about it. i know he has a -- he had a concussive head injury. there's a lot of people asking questions about why someone with his sort of injuries was sent back to afghanistan. i mean, to the middle east. >> reporter: for abc news i'm maria antonia at kansas city international airport. >> john henry browne, who you just saw right there, is no stranger to the spotlight. he's had several high-profile clients including the serial killer ted bundy. so he is someone who is, you know, well versed in working with the media and being in these high-pressure situations. >> a couple things complicating the issue as well is that according to cultural affairs, autopsies can't be performed on those bodies, and also do the afghans that were witnesses to this even want to come over? because if they want to be witnesses they have to come over to the united states. and whether or not they're comfortable doing that. there's just a whole lot going on in this case. >> that's right.
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they can't just give a deposition in afghanistan. >> they have to come here to the united states. >> that's right. well, in syria this morning intense fighting has broken out between rebels and government forces in the capital of damascus. this comes on the heels of an especially deadly weekend across that country. two people died when a car bomb exploded in the northern city of aleppo. another 13 people were shot to death in the province of homs. and three suicide bomb blasts in damascus killed 27. well, a group linked to al qaeda is claiming responsibility for killing an american teacher in yemen. two ununiformed men on motorcycles pulled up next to the car of joel schrum in the city of tez, shot him to death and sped away. a text message purporting to be from the parisians of islamic law claim schrum was shot for preaching christianity. and to politics, mitt romney and rick santorum look for votes in illinois today ahead of that state's primary tomorrow. romney added to his overwhelming delegate lead with a win this weekend in puerto rico. >> that's right. abc's david kerley joins us this
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morning from washington with more on how the race is all about the numbers. david? >> reporter: well, t.j. and paula, we're talking about delegates now and math. it's gotten a lot of discussion in the past week, and it is still being discussed. with romney padding his lead a little bit with this and illinois the big prize still to come. but on the sunday talk shows santorum was saying he can still win this nomination. >> well, we still believe there are plenty of delegates out there for us to do what we've been doing, which is actually going out there and winning states and winning the tough battles and doing so over pretty overwhelming odds. >> reporter: romney didn't want to talk about the math on sunday, even though his campaign has spent a week calling on santorum and gingrich to drop out of the race because they can't win it. >> senator santorum i think has the same characteristic as the president in terms of his background. he's spent his life in government. nothing wrong with that. but right now we need someone who understands the economy fundamentally. >> reporter: what does this all mean? well, they probably can't win it, but they can keep romney from getting 1144, 1,144 delegates needed to get the
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nomination before the convention. and that means a contested convention if romney doesn't get enough delegates. republicans now are starting to realize that could be a possibility, and they're trying to put the best face on it as possible. >> but if it is a -- if it is a convention where we get there with nobody having the votes, not necessarily bad. the last time we did is 1976. >> of course a lot in the republican party do not want to see a contested convention in tampa. they're hoping that romney can wrap this up. once this moves in to the northeast, where he's expected to pick up a lot more delegates. back to you, t.j. and paula. >> so 69 delegates on the table in illinois. >> right. >> 46 louisiana over the weekend. romney has 501, compared to santorum, who has 253 at the moment. >> i think it's fairly apparent that we're not going to have a brokered convention, so to speak. but i think that mitt romney really has to stop talking about the math and start, you know, inspiring people. >> connecting. >> the way that he has to if
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he's going to win this thing. >> for sure. he has to connect with them, which has been the big complaint all along, that he doesn't necessarily -- he's not human enough. >> that's right. but we shall see. it looks like the dip in gas prices was only temporary because they're on their way up again. the national average price for a gallon of gas is now $3.83. that's up seven cents in the past week and up 31 cents over the past month. and get this. it's just 28 cents short of the record price back in 2008. analysts predict it will be may before the trend reverses. millions of air travelers with e-readers and ipads may soon have a little more freedom when they board a flight. federal authorities are reviewing whether passengers should be allowed to use personal electronic devices during takeoff and landing. the faa says it's taking a new look at those devices to see if they really do interfere with cockpit communications. >> wonder how alec baldwin feels about that. >> yeah. well, winter is back, at least out west, where parts of
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the sierra nevada got five feet of snow over the weekend. the arizona mountains got much of the same. heavy wind-swept snow made for hazardous driving conditions, forcing i-40 and other roads to shut down. and some schools will be closed today. kids don't have a beef with that. they're just out sledding. gusty winds also kicked up thick dust in new mexico. flights were cancelled and thousands of people lost power. and here's the proof of what ski resorts are calling the march miracle. this is a photo of our producer's back deck in big bear lake, california. this photo was taken a few hours later. and then a few hours after that. what porch? what table? >> nearly three feet, and it's still falling. the ski resorts are absolutely ecstatic. there were even snow flurries in the southern california desert. >> yeah, those pictures were taken by our senior producer allison gervin's mother nancy out in california. we can only imagine what it's going to look like tomorrow because as we mentioned, the snow is still falling. >> have you been invited out there to go skiing? i haven't yet.
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>> allison, come on. where's the love? all right. more than a dozen tornadoes were reported overnight, mostly in the great plains. >> jim dickey is keeping an eye on the watches and warnings at accuweather. jim, good morning. >> well, good morning, t.j. and paula. strong storms on the way as we head through the next 24 hours. a cold front is surging its way out of the rockies here. a very cold wintry air mass drifting south and eastward, butting heads with a warm spring. humid air mass. air will be forced violently upward. that will produce powerful thunderstorms with large hail, damaging wind gusts and even tornadoes. watch out from dallas north and eastward through tulsa, oklahoma toward kansas city, missouri. t.j. and paula, back to you. >> thank you, jim. and here's a look at the rest of your weather. we have showers in the pacific northwest. thunderstorms in the dakotas. and in minnesota. after no showers from pittsburgh to the carolinas. morning fog in the northeast. >> 75 here in new york. 83 in atlanta. and 80 in new orleans. mostly 70s in the midwest. just 47 in seattle.
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43 in boise. and 57 in phoenix. all right. well, this morning's bragging rights go to a former mr. universe, who is celebrating his 100th birthday. >> that's right. though he's lost a few teeth and a few inches, i'm going to try this -- >> manohar aich. >> there you go. thanks. claims he's still pretty ripped and feels great. he credits a simple diet of milk, fruit, vegetables, rice, lentils, and fish for his good health. and of course he doesn't drink or smoke. >> at only 4'11" the pint-size strong man earned the prestigious title of mr. universe in 1952 after taking up bodybuilding during a stint in prison. so he used his prison time all for the good. >> and thanks for the assist with the name there. >> you like that? >> yeah. >> manohar aich. >> yes. >> but it's spelled a-y-t-c-h. >> aytch. >> i don't know. we'll be back. ♪
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hi, alex. hi, everyone. i thought it'd be interesting to hear from you what your customers say are some of the things they like best about colonial penn's whole life insurance. who's gonna start? well, it's guaranteed acceptance for people over age 50. they don't have to take a physical or answer any health questions. and it gives them peace of mind knowing that their family has some insurance to help cover funeral costs. and other final expenses. great point, and that's something everybody needs to plan for, especially in this economy. it cos j just $9.95 a month per unit. it's an affordable way to provide protection for loved ones. yes, and that rate never goes up. and their coverage never goes down because of their age. they can get permanent insurance at a price that fits into their budget. alex: do you want to help protect your loved ones from the burden of final expenses? if you're between 50 and 85, you should call colonial penn now. for just $9.95 a month per unit, you can get quality insurance that does not require any health questions or a medical exam. your rate will never increase
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duchess. passing out shamrocks to the irish guards on st. patrick's day. one guard literally passed out. but the nerves will be even greater. we will get to hear her first ever public address at a hospice for kids. >> everyone's silent and listening to every single word that you're saying. it will be very nerve-wracking for her. >> reporter: it was certainly nerve-wracking for diana when she was in the spotlight speaking for the first time in 1981. and she had to do it in welsh. >> [ speaking foreign language ]. >> reporter: the speech, a simple thank you to her welsh subjects, which was met with a standing ovation and a more relaxed diana. but official addresses can be daunting, as it was for stuttering george vi in "the king's speech." >> i have received the -- the -- >> reporter: so will kate wow her audience? >> i'm sure it will go very well. because like everything that
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she's done, she has shown herself to be more than capable. >> reporter: for capable kate it will be a major milestone. another notch in her royal belt. the exact subject of the speech hasn't been made public, but one royal reporter told us it's going to be brief and beautifully written. and we believe the duchess has been practicing in front of family, friends, and a mirror. lama hasan, abc news, london. >> remember that? practicing in front of the mirror? like practicing your first kiss with a pillow? okay. >> i'm sorry? >> i just divulged too much there. she's speaking at the children's hospice -- me and kate. she told me -- >> you guys are tight. >> yes, we are very tight. she's going to speak to the organization's staff, supporters, and the families of kids with life-threatening conditions. >> that's lovely. are you her new pippa? >> yes. i'm her sidekick. except for pippa has a better butt. otherwise, mine would be patented. and it's not. >> well -- >> remember pippa had a
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little -- there was a little butt cushion, pippa's butt cushion? >> yeah, sure. >> come up, why rosie o'donnell is not laughing about her talk show. and t.j. is not laughing about my bad joke. >> and bethenny frankel puts some more skin into "the skinny." next. when someeople strgle with t their mortgage payments, they become frozen, petrified. not knowing what to do, they do nothing, butut the peoplele who take ac, are far more likely to get the most positive outcome. making home affordable is a free government program. call now to talk one on one with a housing expert about the options that are right for you. real help, real answers righght now.
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♪ skinny ♪ so skinny speaking of somebody that's a little too skinny and needs a cheeseburger is bethenny frankel, the reality star. so she -- >> and maker of the skinny girl cocktails. >> yes. she appeared on anderson cooper's show. and she was trying to explain to him that when she goes to dance parties she routinely does push-ups. and a little embarrassing thing happened when she tried to demonstrate. take a look. >> well, i'm going to be like -- >> do we have any music? >> but i'll be like -- oh! >> wow. >> yep. her bright pink underwear. hello. and they of course had to fuzzy it out. but she -- it was very quick.
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how's it look she asked him. no word on what his response is. >> another reality tv star overexposed, you might say. >> slightly. >> so did you know rosie o'donnell has had a talk show for the past six months? >> yeah. in chicago, where i moved from. >> okay. >> it's a big deal. >> i did not know. but it was on the oprah winfrey network. and is it has been canceled, actually. the last show will be march 20th. and it will be at 6:00 p.m. oprah did release a statement calling rosie an incredible partner. but there was some signs the show wasn't working out. 30 staffers were fired earlier this year. and apparently rosie has already sold her house in chicago. >> yeah. and of course now the staffers are airing their dirty laundry. one former staffer told "the daily beast," "it was such a blanking hell hole." they say that she lost her temper. she even publicly humiliated members of oprah's production staff. even like her long-time director, called him out. her personal stage manager. did not like his job. and wanted to fire him. and to add insult to injury,
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when the cancellation was announced with the glowing statement by oprah winfrey, she wasn't there to announce it. rosie wasn't there. she was in broadway, tweeting about how great the show was she was seeing. >> i have a feeling tom selleck is laughing somewhere. >> you think? >> yeah, i do. >> so goldie hawn may have accidentally divulged her daughter got married, kate hudson to muse british rocker matt bellamy. they reportedly got engaged in april, had a baby in the summer. and the mom said in a magazine -- an interview with "london evening standard," "when my daughter kate married an english rock star it didn't worry me. all that matters is their relationship is a good one." oops. >> kate hudson is really better known for her private life now than she is her professional work, i have to say. "almost famous" was a great movie. but in my mind that might have been the last great movie she did. and then finally we have the story involving gwyneth paltrow. there's a controversy in the
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"new york times." they claim that her latest cookbook called "my father's daughter" was ghost-written. >> oh. >> gwyneth insists that it wasn't. so we're going to have to stay tuned and see what the "new york times," how they respond. >> i wonder if she's selling ghostbuster brownies in the book. where sleepless nights yield to restful sleep. and lunesta can help you get there, like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. alcohol may increase these risks. allergic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, dizziness and morning drowsiness. ask your doctor if lunesta is right for you.
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don't wait. call now for free information about the additional coverage you may need. ♪ ♪ i am not dead yet ♪ i can dance and i can sing ♪ i am not dead yet ♪ i can do the highland fling ♪ i am not dead yet ♪ no need to call a doctor because i'm not yet dead ♪ it's monday morning. we only feel like we're dead. >> now for something completely different. >> from the broadway music "spamalot." it's called "not dead yet." and it sums up our -- favorite story of the day. >> was i late? >> yeah, you were a little late. >> it's a story of a 92-year-old woman in the seattle area who got a letter telling her she was dead. wait till you hear what happened next. komo's brian johnson has her nearly unbelievable story.
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>> reporter: betty longshore is 92. >> i feel good. >> reporter: and looks pretty good for having been dead for eight months. >> redoing this. >> reporter: actually, she hasn't been in a hospital since her last child was born. but on february 29th betty got this note from her bank. >> date of death, 7-20-11. >> reporter: it might seem funny, but the feds called betty dead and demanded repayment of $16,953 in retirement money. and following the law, betty's bank sent it to them. >> first they had to go to my checking account. and there wasn't enough money in that. so they found that i had a money market account. and they took what they needed out of that. >> reporter: it was all a mistake. no one reported betty dead. someone somewhere pushed the wrong button. and that alarms family and friends. >> i had a real problem with that. somehow it seems to me that there has to be something definitive in the process. a death certificate.
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>> rules and regulations have a place. but human dignity has a higher place. >> reporter: betty may have been lucky because someone at first federal thought they'd seen her and told her come to the bank. >> i thought i'd just say hi, i'm alive, and she'd give me a hug and i'd go -- but she said no, it's not as simple as that. >> reporter: it was 17 days of letter writing and hand wringing before betty could prove she was alive and finally got her money back. >> thank you. >> reporter: would any bank have called betty? well, we probably will never know. but she was lucky she lived in a small town where nearly everybody knows nearly everybody else. >> can you imagine how long it would have taken if she lived in a larger town where, cheers, nobody knew your name? >> i mean, she walked in, she wanted a hug, and what did she get? >> i want to give her a hug. >> i want to give her a hug. >> i know.
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>> announcer: this is abc's "world news now," informing >> announcer: this is abc's "world news now," informing insomniacs for two decades. save spare chang for laundrdry( . everyone aan free file, choose a brand-name software right for ymu or use online fillableorms. like iaria and james, you'll get a refund in about 10 ys. for taxes that are a lkt less taxing, visifreefile.irs.gov.
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