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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  May 23, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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harry smith. >> caption colorado, llc >> smith: tonight the death toll passes 100. after a huge tornado hits joplin, missouri. >> oh, it's getting big. >> mowing down everything in its path, and the search continues for survivors. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" >> smith: good evening. from joplin, missouri tonight. virtually everywhere you look in this city of 50,000, there is destruction. a massive tornado ripped through here about 6:30 last evening, less than half an hour after the warning sirens went off. as the search for victims goes on, the death toll is at least 116. the tornado's winds reached close to 200 miles per hour, destroying or damaging about 2,000 homes and businesses, and
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carrying debris as far as 60 miles away. the twister was the most destructive of 68 reported across seven midwest states over the weekend. some of the survivors in joplin in southwest missouri took refuge in a convenience store. >> everybody get down. on the ground. >> smith: this cell phone video shows almost nothing. but tells us everything about what it's like when terror is on your doorstep. there are 18 or 19 people huddled inside this store, no electricity, no way of knowing just how bad it was about to get. people screamed and prayed. >> jesus, jesus. >> smith: and say what they fear could be their last words. >> i love everyone, i love everyone, man. i love you. >> smith: then it's finally over. >> mommy!
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>> smith: it was just over a month ago we were in birmingham in alabama talking about the storm damage there. thinking we probably never seen anything quite like it before. here in joplin, it may even be worse. block after block, mile after mile. as much as a quarter of this city of 50,000 looks like this. people out documenting the damage to their neighborhoods, are stunned. >> this is a mere six, seven blocks away from our home. unimaginable. >> smith daniel powell and his wife made it. but -- >> we have no transportation, no home. >> smith: destruction so total there's little to do but sift for memories. >> two things i want, her wedding ring, and the other satchel that she got me when we first got married that came with a bible and in then front of it says through everything we will overcome.
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>> reporter: ashley's house was picked up and blown clear across the street. >> this is my neighbor's house. >> reporter: where's your house? >> everywhere. >> smith: she wasn't home. but her dog was. rescued from underneath the house. >> yea! >> reporter: of which there is nothing left. >> it breaks my heart, but i don't care as long as everyone is safe. >> smith: not everyone was safe. bodies are being found in cars, in debris, in wreckage like this. what was once an electrical substation. what's the biggest problem you have right now? >> right now it's the weather we've got, trying to do search and rescue with the dogs and with the machines that are necessary that have electronics with the lightning going on, it's very difficult. >> we heard some sirens. >> smith: he and his wife found safety in their bathtub. >> took what shelter we could, and we rode it out, thank god. >> smith: you're lucky to be here.
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>> we are very lucky. >> smith: but right now it's hard for his stepdaughter, desiree, to feel lucky. >> it's my whole life. just thrown about. just gone. >> smith: as bad as all of this looks on television, in person it is much worse. just moments ago we talked with missouri governor nixon. how bad is this? >> the lethality of the storm is horrific, when you have well over 100 people dead, from a tornado like this one, it didn't really move, it kind of screwed into the earth and got worse and worse. hospital wiped out, nursing homes, schools. this is a traumatic tragedy for our area, but we'll bounce back, but first of all we have to cover the entire area, we discovered seven people today and rescued them. we think there's other live people out there, we want to make sure if they're alive we're out there finding them. pretty much everybody here knows somebody who is affected. >> smith: missouri governor jay
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nixon, one of the hardest hit places here in joplin is the big community hospital behind us. cynthia bowers is with us and has more on this. >> reporter: that's right, harry. it's safe to say nobody expected this. after all, they did with stand the power of a tornado as recently as 2008. typically this building plays a key role in treating the injured. but not this time. even in the midst of miles of rubble, st. john's regional medical center stands out. and not just because it's still standing. with virtually every window shattered the top two floors taken out, it looks like a bomb went off inside. how horrifying was it when it actually hit? >> it was scary. our doors and windows were blowing in on us before we could even take cover. >> reporter: this e. r. nurse had 20 minutes to raise patients and visitors into the hospital's interior hallways in search of safety before the enormous
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twister tore st. john's apart. >> things were flying over our heads, and just sounding like a bomb, doors were flying off. medical equipment flying over our heads. scary. >> reporter: looking at this storm, it is amazing 180 patients made it out alive. in the panicked moments after the twister, the most critical patients were rushed to a near by hospital in ambulances, pickups and even carried on make-shift stretchers. others went to triage tents set up close by. st. john's officials were forced to turn this auditorium into a make-shift hospital, a battle field hospital. for all intents and purposes, this is st. john's now, and will be for a while. >> we were totally deaf, dumb and blind, we couldn't reach police, couldn't reach e.m.s. >> reporter: dr. riscoe has worked here for 30 years. now he's tending the sick at memorial hall, with dozens of his colleagues. >> all my staff is here, i had
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two pregnant nurses that dove under gurneys, and i was just so worried that they were hurt. but they showed up, and they worked all night long. so it's a testimony to human spirit. >> reporter: it must make you feel proud. >> very proud. >> reporter: more than 1,000 people have been treated here in joplin so far for the tornado injuries. but there is no way, harry, of course to calculate the pain. >> smith: cynthia bowers, thank you so much. as we've been talking since we went on the air tonight, it's hard to get a handle on just the scope of this. it's not block after block, it's mile after mile in joplin. across town from us is colleague don teague. >> reporter: in the 2,500 block of murphy street, everything that once was is gone. for rhonda hall that means the house she grew up in, where her father still lived until last night, now just a pile of broken wood and memories. >> i grew up in this house.
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my dad grew up in this house. and to think it's all gone, and where do you go from there, you know. >> reporter: she and her children are trying to salvage what they can, but it's not much. >> he just had $50,000 worth of insurance. so what ever we can salvage we need to do.. >> reporter: there's nothing recognizable left on the 2500 block of murphy street, even the road sign is gone. but this isn't the only street in joplin that looks like this, across this city there are dozens, perhaps hundreds just like this. neighbors here think the people on this street survived even if their homes didn't. adam hampton just moved into his house here last summer. >> used to be a real pretty neighborhood. >> reporter: he survived because he stopped at his mother's house on the way home from church sunday, he credits god with saving his life. now he's picking up what's left.
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>> being in the midwest here, we're pretty resilient people, we will bounce back from this, it will take us some time, but i think we'll band together and we'll get it rebuilt in time. >> reporter: as for rhonda hill's father, he was asleep on his sofa when the tornado destroyed his home around him. but miraculously, he survived with only minor injuries. meanwhile it's been dangerous here today, harry, for residents who have been out with terrible lightning and more severe storms as they are trying to pick through what's left of their homes. harry? >> don teague across town from us in joplin tonight, thank you very much. there's a lot more news to report tonight. russ mitchell is in new york. >> thank you very much, harry. good evening. as harry mentioned there were dozens of tornados. this was in minneapolis, roofs were ripped off and tree limbs went flying. one man died when a tree fell on his car, another died of a heart attack.
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this tornado season is now the deadliest in more than a half century. more on that from anthony mason. >> reporter: at the storm prediction center in norman, oklahoma last week. >> this is a weather forecast. >> reporter: corey mead, the lead forecaster. >> upgrade that to a tornado. >> reporter: was already tracking the early stages of the storm system that would devastate joplin. >> we don't fully understand how tornados form. >> reporter: but mead, a 17-year veteran of the national weather service, says forecasting has improved significantly. >> we actually can anticipate the potential for those type of storms several days out. but the exact location and timing of more significant tornado threats sometimes we don't know up until perhaps a few hours leading up to the event. >> reporter: through this date last year, 506 tornados were reported in the u.s.. this year that number is already more than double that. 1,151.
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>> it's just remarkable. >> reporter: super storms, says this professor, are formed by an instability in the air that usually occurs in the spring. >> yesterday's instability, and the instability of the storm that hit tuscaloosa is just about as large as i have ever seen. >> reporter: he sees nothing strange in the weather pattern this year, but year to date tornados have killed nearly 500 people. that's six times the annual average. making this the deadliest season in more than half a century. did the warning system fail us? >> the warning system was absolutely as good as it could be. >> reporter: in fact, joplin residents were given at least 20 minutes warning. when studies have shown that warnings of just six to 15 minutes reduce expected fatalities by more than 40%. >> it's just that the level of destruction is beyond belief. >> reporter: it's rare for tornados of this force to form at all. rarer still for them to find
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population centers like tuscaloosa and now joplin. anthony mason, cbs news, new york. >> here's what else is happening tonight. there is another natural disaster unfolding this evening, this one threatens air travel. iceland's largest volcano is sending a giant cloud of ash into the sky. it is not the same volcano that caused chaos last year, but dozens of flights into and out of great britain have been canceled. the cloud is expected to affect hundreds of miles of air space. with that ash bearing down on europe, president obama left ireland a few hours early and flew to london this evening, but not before visiting the tiny village that was home to his great-great-great-grandfather on his mother's side. the president's visit included a trip to a local pub. his motorcade run into some trouble leaving the u.s. embassy. one of the presidential limos, which the president was not in, bottomed out and got stuck, causing a slight delay.
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up next on tonight's cbs evening news, a bombshell in chicago terrorism trial. was an american ally behind india's 9/11? and later the supreme court says thousands of convicted criminals are free to go. let's do this. you're a little early! [ female announcer ] prepare to ace your dental check-up. fight plaque and gingivitis and invigorate your way to better check-ups. new crest pro-health invigorating clean rinse. the morning after the big move starts with back pain... and a choice. take advil now... and maybe up to 4 in a day. or, choose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. smart move. ♪ smart move. host: could switching to geico or more on car insurance?
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>> mitchell: a chicago man is on trial for his alleged role in what's been called india's 9/11. the deadly terror attack on a hotel in mumbai. today a star witness testified that pakistan's intelligence service was involved. bob orr has the story. >> reporter: in pleading guilty chicagoan david ledley discussed targets for the mumbai attacks which killed more than 160 people including six americans. the attacks were planned and carried out by the pakistan based terror group, but today in court headley testified publicly for the first time that lashkar had support from the pakistan intelligence services, the i. s. i., they coordinated with each her he said under oath. he provided no other immediate details. headley was the lead off prosecution witness against his former friend, who want a business aimed at helping immigrants and denies any involvement in the mumbai plot. but prosecutors today countered
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that rana not only knew of the attacks he approved of them and agreed with them. the case though is much bigger than rana. headley's testimony as it unfolds threatens to further stress u.s.-pakistan relations, especially if headley provides the names of high ranking pakistani authorities, with proveable links to terrorists. >> you have a question as to whether or not the pakistani government, the intelligence services, the military were come place it in the runup and the execution of the mumbai attacks. >> reporter: headley has also had deals in the past with al qaeda, so he will likely be asked what he knows about potential links between pakistani officials and top terror leaders like osama bin laden. >> mitchell: bob orr, thank you very much. a u.s. supreme court decision today could unlock prison doors for tens of thousands of prisoners in california. the court ruled in crowded conditions like these bunk beds and poor medical care violate inmates' rights. chief legal correspondent jan crawford joins us now from washington with more.
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good evening. >> reporter: good evening, russ. this case deeply divided the justice as long ideological lines. it was a 5-4 decision written by justice anthony kennedy who joined the court's four liberals in saying the drastic remedy was necessary because the overcrowding was causing needless suffering and death. kennedy wrote a prison that deprives prisoners of basic sustenance including adequate medical care has no place in civilized society. now, this case produced an extraordinarily heated debate between the conservatives and liberal justices, and dissent justice samuel alito said the court was, quote, game building the safety of the people of california. he added, i fear that today's decision, like prior prisoner release orders, will lead to a grim roster of victims. now justice alito referenced a smaller release in philadelphia back in the 1990's that resulted in thousands of rearrests and almost 10,000 new crimes.
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but justice kennedy downplayed that threat to the public, he said that was overblown and suggested that the state of california could take up to five years to cut the prison population and could also decide which inmates they were going to let go. kennedy acknowledged that even doing those things still would mean an unprecedented release of prisoners. >> mitchell: you mentioned five years, jan. how soon could these prisoners actually be on the street? >> reporter: the court said if they can go back to the lower court and say, look, we need five years. so this does not mean prisoners will be out on the street tomorrow. they may have some extra time to work something out. >> mitchell: okay, jan crawford in our d.c. bureau, thank you so much. when we come back, an arrest in the beating of a giants fan in dodgers stadium. but the manhunt isn't s. but the manhunt isn't over. with vitamins and minerals balanced to support your energy... ♪ ...immune function...
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>> mitchell: after a giants fan was brutally beaten at dodgers stadium on opening day, los angeles police checked out nearly 650 tips. but the big break in the investigation came from inside law enforcement. now as bill whitaker tells us, an ex-con with a violent past is behind bars. >> reporter: the most intense lapd manhunt this year led the swat team to these hollywood apartments sunday and the arrest of giovanni ramirez. the 31-year-old parolee charged with assault with a deadly weapon in the savage beating of giants began brian stowe at the opening game.
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today stowe's family says he remains critically brain damaged, they have never given up hope for his recovery. >> it was a very emotional day yesterday. we were very excited that that piece of the puzzle, one of the pieces, had been put in place. >> reporter: there are two more pieces to this puzzle outstanding. the second assailant and the woman who drove them from the scene. >> we have a lot of the information regarding this female. she was wearing a dodger jersey and we're actually following up on that angle. >> reporter: police were led to ramirez when his parole officer recognized him on the wanted poster. he has three prior felony charges for robbery and use of weapons, is a member of the estrada gang, one of the largest in los angeles, members promote themselves on youtube and boast of being proud dodgers fans. since stowe was attacked the dodgers have taken a beating too, attendance down 16% this
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year. meanwhile, police say tips about the remaining two suspects now are pouring in. bill whitaker, cbs news, los angeles. >> mitchell: for two years it's been a mystery, what caused an air france jet liner to crash off the coast of south america, killing 228 people. tonight the "wall street journal" is quoting investigators as saying pilot error was a major factor. they say recording devices recently recovered from the airbus a-330 showed the fights were distracked and confused by faulty air speed indicators, as the plane flew through turbulence. as the investigators say, the pilots failed to follow standard procedures to keep the plane's nose level. a word now about a member of our cbs news family. tom mceneny, one of the finest video editors in the business, many of you saw his work in last night's "60 minutes" story about lance armstrong. tom died suddenly after finishing that piece, he was just 57 years old. tom was a mentor to many young editors and producers, a heck of a nice guy, and a friend to all of us.
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our thoughts are with his wife susan and sons thomas and brian. i'm russ mitchell in new york. harry smith in joplin, missouri will have an update on that bad weather there in just a moment. and her medication. . the exelon patch -- it releases medication continuously for twenty-four hours. she uses one exelon patch daily for the treatment of mild to moderate alzheimer's symptoms. [ female announcer ] it cannot change the course of the disease. hospitalization and rarely death have been reported in patients who wore more than one patch at a time. the most common side effects of exelon patch are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. the likelihood and severity of these side effects may increase as the dose increases. patients may experience loss of appetite or weight. patients who weigh less than 110 pounds may experience more side effects. people at risk for stomach ulcers who take certain other medicines should talk to their doctor because serious stomach problems such as bleeding may worsen. people with certain heart conditions may experience slow heart rate.
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search for survivors continues. in an area that has been plagued by thunder and lightning all day, making that job doubley difficult. at least 116 people were killed by the twister which was packing winds of nearly 200 miles per hour. about 2,000 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. st. john's regional medical center got a direct hit, at least five people were killed there. getting around is extremely difficult tonight. the streets are blocked by downed trees, debris, and emergency vehicles. for russ mitchell in new york, i'm harry smith in joplin. that's the cbs evening news for tonight. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh t what
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does it [ music ] you're watching cbs 5, eyewitness news in high definition. [ music ] good news for tens of thousands of california prison inmates. but what does it mean for you? which offenders might get released and when? >> we're beyond happy. you know, i feel sorry for the family. but my son is the person that you guys got, it is not right. >> two families, two very different reactions to the arrest and the beating of the giants fan brian stow. >> and relief for a panicked family. their son is safe but they can only blame one of their own for the scare. good evening i'm dana king. >> and i'm allen martin. >> you are looking at live pictures now from chopper 5 of a tour bus trash that left more than a dozen people injured. the bus was heading


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