Here's tonight's note…….
FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON HOSPITALIZED-Former President Bill Clinton was hospitalized today in New York after experiencing chest pains. Clinton advisor Douglas Band had two stents inserted to prop open a clogged coronary artery. George Stephanopoulos told WORLD NEWS anchor Diane Sawyer “we know that the President's been keeping up a punishing schedule, even in retirement. Just got back from Haiti, and according to a friend of his was feeling worn out and fighting a cold, as well.” As for the medical procedure, Sawyer asked Dr. Richard Besser whether there was a heart attack involved.Besser: “you can't say what it means in terms of a heart attack. Stents are used very commonly in blocked arteries. He had a major procedure back in 2004 because of blockages. He had four arteries fixed. This is a stent. It's a small wire mesh tube, and it is inserted into the arteries around the heart to open them up. It goes in through an artery and it opens up a blockage. The fact that he had two done doesn't say very much. There may have been two blockages in one artery or with the first stent, they weren't able to open it fully.” Sawyer asked how common it was to have stents placed after bypass surgery and Besser responded “at five years out, 9% will require a stent. the likelihood of further procedures is pretty high.”
Daughter Chelsea was with the former President at the hospital this afternoon. As for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Stephanopoulos tells us “Secretary Clinton found out about this around 3:30 this afternoon when she was starting a meeting with President Obama. She was a little nervous but was assured he was fine. (She’s) likely to delay a scheduled trip to the Middle East. It was supposed to start tomorrow. She's likely to delay departure until Saturday.” Secretary Clinton flew back to New York earlier this evening and arrived at the hospital around 7:30pm ET.
Dr. Allan Schwartz, the chief of cardiology at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is speaking to reporters now-he says Clinton did not suffer a heart attack and that his life was never in danger and says he hopes former President Clinton can go home tomorrow.
WINTER WALLOP: The winter storm that walloped the Mid-Atlantic has passed and across the region residents are digging out, and assessing the damage. “Throughout the region the heavy, wet snow caused numerous roof collapses. A firehouse in Delaware…a farmhouse in Virginia…a home in Washington, DC,” Ron Claiborne reported on WORLD NEWS. Rescue teams in Maryland are working to dig through 6-8 foot high snow drifts to reach more than two dozen vehicles stranded on US 340 overnight. State officials so far say 6 of the vehicles were unoccupied.
The snow plows have been working overtime the past few days, but where does all that snow go? “Solutions to the historic storm vary across the region,” David Kerley tells us. “Outside of Chicago they are using a slurry of beet juice and salt…the beets help the salt melt snow quicker. At the Philadelphia Airport they are using a contraption called a snow dragon, which melts snow. In Baltimore they started dumping snow into their harbor…Washington has found an empty parking lot where trucks arrive every couple of minutes, dumping their loads including Abraham’s shovel full. And the snow just keeps piling up and piling up.”
Airlines are working to return service back to normal. Here’s Lisa Stark: “David Castelveter with the Air Transportation Association says, "This weather event likely will result in the most cancellations in a decade, with the exception of 9/11. We calculate that approximate 13,000 ATA member carrier flights were cancelled as a result of these weather events. That potentially is 1 million enplanements".
So that means about a million passengers were affected over the past week or so with all the storms in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan! Most carriers expect to be operating near normal by tomorrow.” The federal government will also return back to normal Friday, after being shut down for four days.
Residents in the southeast are preparing for an icy storm that has already dumped several inches of snow in north Texas. In the overnight hours the conditions in the south are expected to worsen as the storm moves eastward, bringing at least 3 inches of snow and wintry mix to Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. (thanks to Marisa Bramwell)
NUCLEAR STATE? Iran’s President has raised the nuclear bar a little higher in a speech to hundreds of thousands of flag waving supporters in Tehran’s Freedom Square. The occasion marked the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Our Jim Sciutto monitored the event: “ At the official anniversary celebrations, it was the president's day. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad rallied the crowd…and taunted the West, declaring Iran a nuclear power.” Ahmedinejad claims Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium to more than 80 percent purity, coming close to levels experts say is needed for a nuclear bomb. However, the Iranian leader insists his country doesn’t want to make nuclear bombs. The White House is dismissing Ahmedinejad’s claims, with spokesman Robert Gibbs saying: "We do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the degree to which they now say they are enriching." While President Ahmadinejad addressed his supporters today, Jim Sciutto tells us there was a massive show of force: “He was speaking behind a wall of security forces and clouds of tear gas. And just a few blocks away…the protesters defied him, chanting 'Death to the dictator'…in the face of brutal attacks by police.” And Jim adds: “Since the disputed election last June, the government has arrested more than 2000 opposition supporters and sentenced at least nine more to death. But the movement has persisted, rallied in part by iconic moments caught on amateur video…the shooting death of a protester named Neda in June…the beating of another female protester in November…and, today, a man dragged to the curb, beaten repeatedly in the head.” To keep protestors from gaining any momentum today, riot police, undercover security agents and hard-line militiamen – some on motorcycles – fanned out across Tehran in what appeared to be the largest and most strategic deployment since the mayhem that took place right after the election. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley lashed out at Iran's treatment of the opposition protesters. He said the crackdown, which besides suppression of protests by forces has included shutting down phone systems, internet access and satellite television, amounted to "a near-total information blockade." (thanks to Ed Bailey for this entry)
SEATTLE BUS TUNNEL BEATING-By now, you’ve probably seen the video. As Sharyn Alfonsi noted on WORLD NEWS, “it is difficult to watch. Surveillance video capturing the violent assault of a 15 year old girl inside a Seattle bus tunnel. She is pummeled and kicked over and over again by another 15 year old girl. And standing right there, not one, not two, but three security guards, adults…looking on…never stepping in.” Making things worse? “The victim asked security for help before the attack.” Sounds outrageous doesn’t it? There couldn’t possibly be an explanation for the guards’ actions, right? Alfonsi: “The private security company hired by King County says they have standing orders to simply ‘observe and report’. So the guards just called police and watched.” What’s even crazier…Alfonsi says “we phoned around the country and were surprised to learn that most private security guards contracted by cities, shopping malls and businesses are under strict rules to retreat if things go wrong.” Wow-as for the Seattle incident, that protocol is now under review.
SOMER THOMPSON-From AP: “Authorities have arrested a man they are calling a person of interest in the kidnapping and killing of a northeast Florida girl whose body was found in a landfill after she vanished on her way home from school. Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said a man who had lived in the girl's neighborhood was arrested in Mississippi Thursday on 29 charges of possession of child pornography. The man, Jarred Harrell, 24, has not been charged in the death of 7-year-old Somer Thompson.”
NURSE ACQUITTED-A Texas nurse has been acquitted of harassment charges for sending a confidential letter to the Texas state medical board accusing a doctor of shoddy medical practices. Anne Mitchell was looking at a potential ten-year sentence. Steve Osunsami (along with Susan Donaldson James and Michael Murray) filed a report for ABC NEWS.COM and note “Mitchell had assumed the letter she wrote to Dr. Rolando Arafiles Jr. was anonymous. Instead, he fired her after reporting her to the local sheriff — a former patient and admirer of the doctor — for maliciously ruining his reputation. Police in Kermit, Texas, searched Mitchell's computer and found the letter, then charged her with ‘misuse of official information’ in her role at Winkler Memorial Hospital, a third-degree felony in Texas under an abuse-of-power statute.” The case was closely followed by nursing associations across the country who worried that a guilty verdict would have undercut their members’ abilities to highlight unsafe medical situations and practices.