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tv   CBS Evening News With Russ Mitchell  CBS  April 24, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT

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>> mitchell: tonight, fleeing misurata, desperate civilians crowd on to the ferry that offers escape from the brutal combat that is engulfing the city. i'm russ mitchell. also tonight, giving thanks. despite the devastation, st. louisianans are grateful there was no loss of life from the most powerful tornado to strike the u.s. so far this year. dream on hold, an undocumented college student fighting deportation wins a governor's support. and the british are coming. as people from around the world travel to london for the wedding, many british residents are avoiding the crush by traveling here. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with russ mitchell. >> mitchell: an good evening. we begin tonight with the battle for libya and the worsening crisis in the rebel stronghold
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of misurata. here's the latest. qaddafi's forces are pounding the city with new shelling and rocket fire, at least 32 people are reported killed. and there were new calls today for u.s. action to drive qaddafi from power, including this from republican senator lindsey graham. >> my recommendation to nato and the administration is to cut the head of the snake off, go to tripoli, start bombing qaddafi's innercircle, their compounds, their military headquarters in tripoli. >> mitchell: however the policy debate plays out in washington, the people of misurata are looking for refuge from the combat right now. and for those who can make it, that means an escape by ship. allen pizzey takes us aboard. >> reporter: the ship is a lifeline for the city of misurata. >> we can't swim, we can't eat, we can't do anything in misurata. >> reporter: the libyan authorities knew about its mission but offered no guarantees of safety and nato keeps well away.
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>> reporter: those most desperate to get out are the wounded. cabin areas will become a temporary clinic. it's hard to believe misurata is under siege until the medical cases start to arrive. every convenient and not so convenient space is used. more than 100 libyans trying to flee on overloaded tugboat come aboard. migrant workers were 11 countries grab a snack and a sea sick pill for the 20 hour voyage bag to benghazi. aid workers are concerned that in a twisted way this operation may play into qaddafi's hands because once the foreign workers are gone, there will be less concern about their concern about their governments about what he does to the people left in the city. what they have done already is terrible. hallways take the overflow from cabins, a screened off section
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of the reception area is turned into an icu. and surprisingly, in spite of their ordeal to get here, the migrants don't feel safe. >> they survival instincts are focused on getting out, initially. but once they've achieved that, there is a sense of relief but also a sense of fear, perhaps, of what happens next. >> reporter: when you've lost everything, the future is as uncertain as the past was perilous. allen pizzey, cbs news on the way from misurata. >> mitchell: at the vatican today pope benedict easter message including a call for an end to the fighting in libya, the pope speaking to the faithful in st. peter's square, urged diplomacy and dialogue to end the conflict. he also delivered blessings in 65 languages. now to st. louis where tonight folks are pick up the pieces of their lives two days after that violent tornado tore through the city and suburbs. up to 100 homes were destroyed. 650 others damaged by the twister which packed 200-mile- per-hour winds.
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miraculously there were no deaths. robin smith of cbs affiliate kmov-tv has the latest. >> reporter: on this easter sunday, despite heavy damage to local churches, st. louisans are giving thanks that no one was killed or even seriously injured in the devastating tornado. e.f. force winds up to 200 miles per hour slammed into the northern community of bridgeton. 18-year-old brianna mcintyre was at home with a friend when the storm hit. >> we just hear this ripping noise above us. it's just crazy. i've never heard anything like it. >> reporter: it has been a terrible year for brianna mcintyre. she lost her mother cancer only a few months ago, and now the family home lies in ruins. >> i think we're going to make it. i have really good family, really good friends, church friends, you know, they are rallying around me right now. >> reporter: in the driving rain, friends, family, neighbors even strangers are pulling together to help her pick up the pieces left behind and hopefully preserve precious family
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pictures and momentos. the great news on this easter sunday is that brianna mcintyre is now going to be reunited and living with her grandmother and her aunt. and many other families are hope tag that they will be able to reunite and fly again together here at lambert international. >> mitchell: robin smith of kmov at lambert airport in st. louis. >> forecasters say the wild spring of 2011 is far from over. severe weather and thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow along the band stretching from texas all the way to pennsylvania. the pattern is likely to continue for the rest of the week. this is the second week end in a row that strong storms have wrecked havoc. last week it was the south and southeast. but the human toll from those storms was much different than this weekend. tony guida takes a look at why. >> reporter: in st. louis residents pick through what was left of their homes 24 hours after the worst storm in 44 years. yet no one was killed. in sanford, north carolina, easter services for victims of
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last weekend's deadly tornadoes, 92 twisters hit north carolina, 24 people were killed. mike smith, a meteorologist who wrote a book about weather disasters says people in both states had ample warning. >> the warnings were excellent. there was plenty of time for people to get to shelter provided they got the warning. >> reporter: but people have been known to ignore dire forecasts or miss them entirely. gail dickens cashier at the lowe's store in sanford that had its roof ripped off said she had no idea tornado was coming until it was in the parking lot. >> start seeing debris in the air and i said this is a tornado. we got to head for the bathrooms now. >> reporter: in dangerous weather st. louis residents have an advantage over north carlonians. blairing sirens like these that warn tornadoes are imminent. >> the heeding of that warning by the citizens once again has saved countless lives. >> reporter: north carolina's insurance commissioner is urging
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all county officials to install tornado sirens. >> the siren can get your attention even if you are not tuned in to the media or on your computer. >> reporter: smith says tornado warnings save 1,100 lives a year but he notes another problem with last week's tornado. >> of the 36 killed from mississippi to north carolina, 86% were in mobile homes. so yearly, we need to make sure we have shelters at mobile home parks. >> reporter: the fact that several states including north carolina do not have tornado sirens soon may be a mute point. mike smith says the day's not far off when the national weather service will be able to warn you a tornado is in your path over your cell phone, russ. >> mitchell: interesting. tony guida, thank you very much. the second largest school district in the country is jumping right into the controversy of how we evaluate teachers. los angeles officials recently issued reports showing parents how their kid's school stacks up.
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as ben tracy reports, for some parents it was a rude awakening. >> it's terrible, terrible. >> reporter: mark ludena got some bad news this week. the elementary school his son attends is considered below average in both english and math. >> i fear for my child's education, what's going to happen in the future. >> reporter: mark now knows this thanks to something called value added analysis. a way to evaluate teachers and their schools. it takes students past test scores and predicts how they should do the next year. if they do better than expected, the teacher added value. if they do worse, the teacher subtracted value. los angeles public school's brand-new superintendent made the data public on the district a web site for the first time this month. >> i think we're obligated to help teachers grow in their skill set. and one of the ways to do that is to understand how students are actually doing over time. >> reporter: but many teachers feel test scores should not be the main way we judge teachers because every student is different. >> we're not working in a
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factory with little parts of machines. we're working with human beings. >> reporter: yet school district leaders say test scores are necessary, simply sitting in teachers' classrooms for a day to evaluate them hasn't worked because almost all teachers end up ranked at least satisfactory. so now they want to grade their teachers with test scores. but the union is not happy. >> we don't want a system where we eventually get to a place where principals can fire teachers because their test scores aren't good enough. that's not the kind of education system that we need. >> reporter: even supporters of value-added analysis admit it should not be the only way to measure teachers. >> it's not a silver bullet. not perfect. but it's a critical tool that parents need to have in their toolbox when we're talking about empowering parents to take back their schools for their kids. >> reporter: parents like mark ludena. >> i want a better education for them. >> who just want to make sure their kids can succeed. ben tracy, cbs news, los angeles. >> mitchell: 15 weeks after being shot in the head,
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congresswoman gabriel gifford's office said today she can stand and walk a bit. gifford's doctors say she is in the top 5% of patients recovering from her type of brain injury. on tomorrow's "cbs evening news", katie couric interviews gifford's husband and scott kelly. mark kelly tells katie that gifford's personality is quote 100% there. and that doctors have cleared her to attend friday's launch of the shuttle endeavour which he will command. and still ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news", families who thought they could count on insurance but found out otherwise. and scrumptious.ious, with recipes from campbellskitchen.com, and campbell's cream of chicken soup. campbell's.® it's amazing what soup can do.™ with heart-related chest pain or a heart attack known as acs, you may not want to face the fact that you're at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
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todd peers' life ended in a fiery car crash 18 months ago. >> i like to remember him that way. >> reporter: it was only the beginning of a lengthy battle for his family over the accidental death insurance policy provided by his employer. despite an official ruling that it was an accident, the insurance company met life claimed it was suicide and refused to pay the $224,000 claim for a death they claimed was the result of intentionally self-inflicted injury. >> it wasn't even about the money. it's about an allegation, how can you say that about a person when they have been such a survivor. >> reporter: a survivor, she said, because todd had recently beaten cancer and was planning for the future. she sued met life and was finally awarded the money a year after her husband's death. but according to an investigation by correspondent david evans published in bloomberg's magazine many life insurance beneficiaries whose claims are denied never see a
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dime. >> you have to wonder how many people just throw up their hands, give up and walk away. >> reporter: evans says the odds are stacked against consumers when an insurance company decides not to pay. >> you don't have access to cross-examine the witnesses that the life insurance company uses to determine whether or not to pay you. and basically the life insurance company makes the determination on its own. >> reporter: that's because a federal law called arisa designed to protect employee benefits like pensions also protects insurance companies. it preempts state law on insurance and denies consumers both jury trials and punitive damages if they challenge an insurance company in court. >> reporter: the life insurance company doesn't need to have a lot of evidence, just a little bit, to justify their decision not to pay out. >> in a written statement the insurance company says the bloomberg report grossly distorts the facts that insurers paid $59 billion to life insurance-- life insurance beneficiaries in 2009, the last
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year with complete statistics. and less than 1% of life insurance claims are disputed. still, some denials raise questions. >> it's an absolute emotional roller coaster. >> reporter: and then there's the case of earnest loan who died in a fall down the stairs of his home in 2006 after drinking three glasses of wine. prudential refused to pay his wife mimi the $300,000 accidental death policy saying he was drunk by state standards for driving under the influence. his wife sued and was finally awarded the money last november. >> i think the most disturbing part of this process was that i thought my insurance was going to protect me like most consumers do. >> reporter: for some consumers, the grief over a loss is compounded by a legal battle over benefits denied. don teague, cbs news, dallas. >> mitchell: and just ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news", he
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>> mitchell: gas prices this easter weekend continue to rise. the survey says prices jumped another 12 cents over the past two weeks to a national average of 3.88 a gallon. president obama says he plans to intensify plans to overhaul the nation's immigration laws as the 2012 election approaches. it's a divisive issue for many americans while keeping others who have lived here since they were youngsters under the threat of deportation. elaine quijano has a case in point. >> reporter: mariano cardoso was 22 months old when his parents left mexico in search of a better life. they settled in new york city. >> this is where i called home the first ten years. >> reporter: now living outside hartford, connecticut, the 23- year-old is about to graduate with an associates degree in liberal arts. ci it hasn't been easy at any step. >> reporter: it's taken him five years to pay for that two-year degree and he says he's done it without financial aid or tuition assistance.
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his dream, to become a math professor or civil engineer. >> every part of it has been because i worked for it and my father worked for it. >> reporter: but he is in danger of losing it all because his parents immigrated to the united states illegally. in 2008 federal immigration officials discovered his undocumented status. now he is due to be deported within 60 days. >> i think he's an american. he's as american as anyone who's lived here for 18 years. >> reporter: cardoso's case got the attention of connecticut's top leaders. in a letter governor malloy asked federal immigration officials to hold off on deporting him. >> we made a substantial investment as a society in this young man. i would like to see that pay off for us. >> reporter: last year congress rejected the dream act, legislation designed to create a path to citizenship for young people like cardoso. during that debate u.s. department of education estimated more than 50,000 undocumented high school graduates could qualify each
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year. but in connecticut, the head of the state g.o.p. says illegal immigrants strain limited resources. >> we can't have illegal immigration continuing to punish state and local governments with millions of dollars of health- care cost and education costs. and public safety costs. >> reporter: as for mariano cardoso, the clock is ticking. >> what would you do if you got sent to mexico? >> i would try to get back, try to find a way to come back. because there is nothing that is waiting for me over there. >> reporter: a life now caught in limbo. elaine quijano, cbs news, hartford, connecticut. >> mitchell: and coming up on tonight's "cbs evening news", countdown to the royal wedding. why are so many of the british coming here. with the rising price of fuel, guess which way shipping costs are going? the u.s postal service has no fuel surcharges.
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>> mitchell: finally this evening, with the royal wedding just five days off, people from all over the world are heading to london and are passing londoners leaving town along the way. michelle miller is tracking the comings and goings. >> reporter: the crowds milling around westminster abbey today were counting down to the royal wedding. >> going to be spectacular.
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you know how to say-- . >> reporter: event. >> yeah. >> reporter: tourists are flocking to london. by friday the number of visitors to the city is expected to double to more than a million. for some businesses it's a bonanza. shop keepers can't keep wedding souvenirs like the mug in stock. how many you have sold? >> more than 900 in two weeks. >> reporter: hotels are trying to cash in as well. this one offered a $330,000 package that included a room and a ring of your design. so far, there have been no takers. >> i would strongly suggest that you get in quickly. it's a bargain. >> reporter: even though there has been a surge in visitors, it hasn't lived up to the early predictions from the british tourism industry. occupancy rates are far from full. >> about 70%, higher than they would normally be at this time but not full. >> reporter: travel editor peter greenberg says the springtime of the event made it more difficult
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for americans than the summer wedding of charles and diana 30 years ago. >> could be the televised event of the decade but in terms of actual number of americans coming here, not even close to 1981. >> reporter: but for many in britain the timing was perfect. the long easter weekend at one end and an extra day off to celebrate the wedding the next, many took off the whole 11 days and escaped the crowded city. but if they thought they could avoid the wedding madness by heading to new york, they were wrong. >> we came to escape it but you guys are going crazy for it and then whenever anybody hears us speak and knows we are british, they stop and want to talk to us about the wedding and stuff. >> reporter: still for many americans the chance to witness a royal spectacle is irresistible, especially if it's a bargain. >> didn't cost me anything, no. >> reporter: why not. >> because i won this trip on "the price is right". >> reporter: all told, the royal wedding is supposed to generate as much as six billion pounds, roughly $10 billion.
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michelle miller, cbs news, london. >> mitchell: and a reminder now that the early show will be in london all this week. and the evening news with katie couric will be there beginning tuesday. and on friday, cbs news live coverage of the wedding begins at 4 a.m. eastern time. and that is the "cbs evening news." later on cbs, "60 minutes." thanks for joining us this sunday evening. i'm russ mitchell. cbs news in new york. katie's here tomorrow. happy easter. and good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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an environmental disaster... a a familiar threat to california wildlife. how a common poison is creating an environmental disaster and what's being done to stop it. a police helicopter targeted by gun fire. what happened when bullets hit near the chopper's fuel tank. there's many people i know who aren't choosing colleges. >> some college bound seniors getting a look at their future. cbs 5 eyewitness news is next. ,,

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