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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  February 10, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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through saturday. >> see you at 6:00. "cbs evening news with katie couric" is next. we're all of us on cbssf.com. >> couric: tonight, a day of anticipation turns to a night of anger in cairo as president mubarak refuses again to step down before the september elections. but he does delegate his power to his vice president. i'm katie couric. also tonight, taking two mortgage giants down to size. could reforming fannie mae and freddie mac shut the door on the american dream? and a neighborhood goes up in flames in allentown, pennsylvania, after a deadly natural gas explosion. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. all day long in cairo, the
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anticipation and excitement were growing. president mubarak was going on television and the anti- government protesters were expecting him to say he was stepping down. he did not. mubarak said he is staying on as president until the september elections when he promised to transfer power to his successor. in the meantime, he said he is delegating power to his vice president, omar suleiman, and he promised to amend the constitution to make it easier for opposition candidates to run for office. he also made it clear once again he wants other nations to butt out of egypt's affairs, and he vowed again, he will die in egypt. the stunned crowd in tahrir square waved shoes in anger and shouted once again for mubarak to step down now. late tonight, suleiman called on the protesters to go home, but very few are leaving. our team in cairo is covering this extremely fluid situation. first elizabeth palmer. liz, i know it's the middle of the night there. what's going on in tahrir
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square? >> reporter: good evening, katie. well, you can probably see behind me, there are still thousands of people there. the tent city is still in tahrir square. people are trying to absorb what happened. the president's speech has come and gone, but this crisis is not over by any means. in fact, if anything it's deepened. in tahrir square, they were in a frenzy of expectation. all evening there had been rumors president hosni mubarak was about to resign. but when he appeared on state television, it was with another half measure. >> ( translated ): i have seen that it is required to delegate the powers and authorities of the president to the vice president. >> reporter: so he's not going anywhere-- though he'll apparently continue his president in name only. but he did make some concessions setting term limits for the presidency. reestablishing judicial oversight of elections, and loosening restrictions on who
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can run. however, he stopped short of lifting the hated state of emergency still in effect after 30 years. the immediate reaction in the square was furry, but wael ghonim, the google executive who helped launch this movement, told cbs news that he, for one, can live with mubarak's offer. >> for me, like, you know, preserving his dignity would be something i understand, and, you know, i'm not sure if the people in tahrir square would connect to his-- you know, to his speech. i hope... i hope they would. >> reporter: however, anger in the square intensified when the vice president went on television and told the demonstrators it was time to go home. the wild card now is the army which has to continue to provide security, a job that was looking increasingly difficult today as demonstrators blockaded
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parliament once again. and this morning, pressure on the regime was building from striking workers across the country. railway mechanics staged a sit- in that brought trains in cairo to a halt. and normally mobbed bus station were deserted as drivers had walked off the job. as if central cairo wasn't in enough chaos today with the state bus company on strike, hundreds of lawyers joined the demonstrators in tahrir square. thousands of doctors in their white hospital coats had also taken to the streets. tonight, the question is whether these people whose expectations were so high will accept the president's compromise as good enough or decide to battle on. if they do battle on and defy the vice president, that will be a moment reckoning for the army. they're going to have to decide
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then whether they continue to back the protesters or whether they move in to force them off the streets. katie. >> couric:, and liz, what if the army does go in? do you think it's going to be a blood bath? >> reporter: it could well be. we could see the egyptian army moving with force against its own people using weapons, some of which were paid for with american tax dollars. katie. >> couric: all right, liz palmer in cairo tonight. liz, thank you. terry mccarthy was in tahrir square early today as word was spreading that mubarak might be leaving, but when it became clear he wasn't, the mood turned ugly. >> reporter: after 17 days of noisy protests in tahrir square only one man could bring silence the man they all want to leave. but the message he delivered was not what the crowd wanted to hear. their verdict was delivered in one arabic word over and over... erhal, erhal. leave, leave.
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they only agree one thing, which is they need president mubarak to leave. that's the only request that they have now. >> we don't have any trust in this government, and now he's making people, like, more having fight together again. >> reporter: the crowd's anger is growing. a very different mood from the optimism of the early evening when they heard the reports that mubarak was about to make an important speech. >> it's over! >> reporeter: convinced that mubarak was leaving, people were dancing in the street, waefg flags, holding candles, and getting their faces painted with the colors of the egyptian flag. this surgeon brought his wife and two daughters to the square for the first time, convinced he would witness history. but today you decided to bring your whole family. >> yes. >> reporter: why was that? >> to celebrate. >> reporter: to celebrate? >> yes.
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>> reporter: as news is spreading around cairo that mubarak might be stepping down, people are streaming into the square to join this massive celebration as they wait for an official announcement. but when the announcement came, the celebration stopped, replace bide anger and foreboding about a potential violent backlash to the president's speech. >> as an egyptian, i'm really worried about the next period of time. >> reporter: do you think people are going to go back in the streets tomorrow? >> well, they will be in the streets. there will be many people in the streets. >> reporter: minutes after the end of the speech, the crowd began calling for tomorrow's million-man march, determined not to give mubarak the last word. as the speech was ending and the message became clear, we noticed one quite interesting thing which-- any family in the crowd with women and children immediately started hurrying for the exits, katie. >> couric: terry what was it like to be in the middle of that enormous crowd when the people suddenly realized mubarak wasn't resigning after all? >> reporter: it was really quite extraordinary, almost like psychological whiplash. all evening long, this crowd
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really thought they'd won. but when it was snatched away from them their turned on a dime and right now this crowd is probably more angry than it's ever been. katie. >> couric: terry mccarthy in cairo. thank you. >> she has been blogging extensively about the uprising. i know you know scores of people moana in tahrir square. what are they saying? what are you hearing from them? >> they're lived, katie. they're really disappointed. all day long they heard rumors that mubarak was about to step down and they wanted to celebrate that but also maintain that they want the entire regime to step down. so when mubarak came on and said, "i'm staying but i'm also delegating my vice president," they said we've got two mubaraks now, not just one mubarak. they're very angry and very determined and vowing to keep it peaceful and they've now marched on to the tv building where they're calling for more people to come and join them. >> couric: meanwhile, it's been so confusing all day long. what do you think is going on
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behind the scenes? everyone is trying to figure it out. >> it's a great question. president mubarak took 90 minutes to finally give the speech, and people were wondering is it because egyptians are always late like we like to say about ourselves or is there some armed struggle going on. no one understands where the armed forces are. sometimes they seem to be neutral, other times they protect against thugs, and by being neutral, they seem to be taking mubarak's side. so no one really knows where the army stands. >> couric: what do you think the army will do if hundreds of thousands of people protest tomorrow? do you think the army will move in? >> what i'm hoping as an egyptian is that a few soldiers join the pro-democracy demonstrations in their uniform. i'm hoping the armed forces recognizes this is a time to choose egypt and not the pride of one man and not the regime that has suffocated the country for 30 years. when they see that determination i'm hoping they say mubarak it's time to go. we're taking the young people's side. >> couric: doesn't the army stand to lose everything if in fact mubarak leaves the country? i mean, that's a big risk for the army, isn't it?
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>> mubarak is the army. the entire regime is the army. it's going to be a very difficult choice but i hope they recognize that the future of egypt is at stake because mubarak wants to tip these peaceful protesters into violence. today's sadistic speech was a provocation. i hope the armed forces recognize this is the country we are talking about, they can figure out the government and the transition but ensure peaceful demands are bet. >> couric: why would he want violence so he can be the hero for quelling it? >> absolutely. we have seen 17 days of peaceful pro democracy demonstration. he wants to push people so when he cracks down in a bloody way he can say to the international community-- because he knows they're all watching-- see we had to do it. this is a turning point. young people across the arab world are watch and they're learning does a peaceful demonstration work or only violence? the dictators who basically ruined the arab world want them to understand only violence works. what's happening in tahrir square and across egypt is a beautiful message for young people and the future of the
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world that i hope the u.s. administration is listening to. this is the time to take the side of peaceful demonstrators who want freedom. >> couric: let me ask you about. wael ghonim, the google executive who was abducted for 12 days. state-run television in egypt is announcing that he is telling the protesters to go home, in other words, they're using him. what is the real story behind that? >> you know, this is all part of this great big state-run propaganda that for days has tried to portray the pro democracy demonstrators as foreign agents, agents from the u.s. agents from israel. and today, we heard that in suleiman's speech, this is a vice president no one in egypt wants. the u.s. administration must know they don't want suleiman. he was saying don't listen to satellite channels. this was part of the scream to discredit the demonstrators. they used this man who is incredibly popular, who has become the youth figurehead and made it seem like he's telling people to go home. he was not on twitter today but his friends wrote, he has not
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asked anyone to go home and just before we came on, just before i came on with you, he was on an arab satellite channel explaining he didn't think the demands of the protesters were being met. and he-- it's clear didn't tell anyone to go home so it's just more propaganda. >> couric: mona thank you so much for coming by and giving us your insight. it's really valuable. mubarak didn't mention the united states in his address tonight but it was clear which country he meant when he said egypt won't take orders from anyone. so what does all of this mean for the u.s.? chip reid is at the white house tonight and david martin is at his post at the pentagon. chip, first to you. it seems the administration was a bit taken by surprise by the event of the day. >> reporter: that's right, katie. today, leon panetta, the c.i.a. director, predicted in a congressional hearing meeting that there was a strong likelihood mubarak would resign today. it turns out he didn't get that information from intelligence gathered by his agency. he got it from newspaper reports and when president obama talked about egypt briefly in a speech
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in michigan today he also sounded very up beat and positive about today's events. >> what is absolutely clear is that we are witnessing history unfold. a moment of transformation that's taking place because the people of egypt are calling for change. >> reporter: the president also said that he wants all egyptians to know that america will help in any way it can in a peaceful transition to democracy. >> couric: and, david, earlier today it looked as if egypt's military might take over, that there might be some kind coup. what happened? do you have any idea? >> reporter: well, essentially, they decided to stick with mubarak, which is what they've done since the beginning of this crisis. they have remained loyal to a
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regime which treated them very well for 30 years. the egyptian military is not interested in democratic reform. it's interested in stability. it just doesn't want to pay too high a price for that stability. so it doesn't want to ruin its reputation by using violence against the protesters, and it doesn't want to tear its relationship with the u.s. military, which would cost it about a third of its defense budget. so if the protesters remain out in the streets, the egyptian military has some very tough choices to make. >> couric: and, chip, is the white house bracing for the worst tomorrow? >> reporter: well, certainly the lights will be burning brightly here late in the night to see if there's something they can do. there's not a lot they can do, other than to repeat their calls for both sides to refrain from violence. >> couric: gentlemen, thank you both. and still ahead here on the cbs evening news, a city block in allentown, pennsylvania, goes up in flames. the latest in a string of deadly natural gas explosions around the country. up next, plans for reforming two
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first time in nearly a year. more than half the mortgages in this country are held by freddie mac and fannie mae. during the financial meltdown, taxpayers bailed out the two companies. tomorrow the white house will announce proposals for reforming fannie and freddie, including phasing them out. anthony, will this be a real game-changer for home buyers? >> reporter: it could be, katie but this is a political hot potato because the proposed reform could affect for most americans what is the biggest investment of their lives. fannie mae and freddie mac have become the mortgage market, backing $5 trillion worth of home loans. >> what happens to fannie mae and freddie mac could potential change the face of american housing. >> reporter: set up by congress as private companies to expand homeownership, fannie and freddie buy up mortgages from lenders so those banks have money to lend again. but they're now holding hundreds of billions of dollars in bad loans and the government, which
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always unofficially backed fannie and freddie, is stuck with them. tomorrow, the white house will present a range of reform options that will include leaving fannie and freddie alone creating a new entity that would only backstop the mortgage market in a crisis, or allowing the market to become completely privatized. but without government backing, banks might abandon riskier loans. >> it would be questionable whether we would see products like a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and certainly the products we did see would be more expensive for all of us. >> reporter: by one estimate, in a privatized system the cost of financing a $200,000 mortgage would go up $159 a month. but any changes will likely be phased in over years. with the housing market still struggling to recover and facing another record years of foreclosure. >> the creation of jobs and a subsequent improvement in consumer confidence is what it's going to take to get the housing market back on its feet. >> reporter: and you don't see
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that yet? >> not this year, no. >> reporter: in its proposal, the white house is expected to support limiting the size of loans fannie and freddie can buy to $625,000, a drop of more than $100,000 which means there will be less money for some borrowers. katie. >> couric: all right, anthony mason. anthony, thank you. coming up next, a row of pennsylvania homes in ruin after a deadly natural gas explosion. a unique sea salt added to over 40 campbell's condensed soups. it helps us reduce sodium, but not flavor. so do a few lifts. campbell's.® it's amazing what soup can do.™ i can't breathe... so i can't sleep... and the next day i pay for it. i tried decongestants... i tossed & turned... i even vaporized! and then i fought back: with new drug-free breathe right advanced. these nasal strips instantly opened my nose, like a breath of fresh air.
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veteran in allentown, pennsylvania, it sounded like a rocket blast, but it was a natural gas explosion last night touching off a fire that spread from home to home. five people were killed and the cause of the blast is not yet known. national correspondent jim axelrod has the latest. >> reporter: the victims of the country's latest natural gas explosion in allentown, pennsylvania, include an infant and a couple in their 70s. a block of row homes was destroyed. >> i just felt this... this impact, this loud bang sound. >> reporter: last month, the natural gas explosion in philadelphia sent a fireball 50 feet into the air, killing a utility worker. last september, a blast in san bruno, california, killed eight, destroying 38 homes. part of a disturbing trend. more than half of homes heated in the u.s. use natural gas, nearly 57 million homes in all. it's by far the nation's dominant heating fuel, but in
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the last six years, pipeline accidents have killed more than 60 and injured more than 240 people. >> only a small percentage of our nation's pipelines are required to be inspected regularly. >> reporter: there are more than 400 inspectors nationwide, but the national pipeline safety act which regulates how they do their job and compels gas companies to report problems such as leaks, lapsed last october, and hasn't been addressed since. >> when i think about the people killed today, and one of whom was a baby, the answer is clearly no. they're not as safe as they could or should be. >> reporter: just looking at what's happened in the last several months makes that point tragically clear. jim axelrod, cbs news, new york. >> couric: meanwhile, the home of the minnesota vikings will be getting a new roof. the fiberglass panels on the metrodome gave way in december under the weight of heavy snow. safety experts have recommended replacing the entire ten acre roof and today the commission that runs the metrodome voted to
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>> cou a shocking revelation about the suspect next. gypt. another huge protest rally is planned for tomorrow. organizers are calling it a day of martyrs for the more than 300 people who have died in the past 17 days of demonstrations. anger is growing in the streets after president hosni mubarak refused again tonight to step down before the september election. but in a televised speech he said he is giving up his presidential power. >> ( translated ): i have decided to transfer my powers to the vice president after the stipulation of the constitution. >> couric: that was not enough to satisfy the protesters in tahrir square, and their demonstration will continue into an 18th day. and that is the cbs evening news for tonight. i'm katie couric. thank you for watching. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
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captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org are up - but where. a big serving of bad news for the bay area housing market. not just that foreclosures are up, but where. not what you want in the batter's box but tonight why barry bonds is more than happy to be down in the counts. and how much muni picked up a national honor. we haven't heard a whole lot about the housing crisis. there is a huge spike of bay area homeowners losing their homes. mark sayer asked why now. >> reporter: of course answering that question, dana, is a very difficult

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