tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS December 26, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> axelrod: good evening. scott's off tonight. i'm jim axelrod. a lot of holiday plans are out the window tonight due to a powerful storm system that stranded travelers on highways and at airports. it's blamed in at least six deaths. in the south, there are reports that 41 tornadoes have touched down since yesterday. one of them sheered off the front of the trinity episcopal church in mobile, alabama. luckily, no one was injured. the same system brought a blizzard to parts of the midwest, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,400 flights. tonight, it's headed to the northeast. winter storm warnings have already been posted. troy kehoe of our cbs station in indianapolis begins our coverage. troy? >> reporter: well, jim, here in bloomington, indiana, we've already seen 11.5 inches of snow so far, and it is still coming down with blizzard conditions
here in the midwest. this has been a two-day storm leaving much of the country paralyzed. blinding snow with wind gusts topping 35 miles an hour have created whiteout conditions in the plains in midwest. by midday, a half-foot of snow had already fallen in indianapolis. george cummings has been trying to keep the streets clear and safe all day. >> we're fighting a losing battle, but it's still one we're fighting. >> reporter: safety officials have issued mandatory orders to stay home and off the roads. car accidents and fallen trees are to blame for at least six fatalities. some areas are expecting nearly two feet of snow by the time the storm passes. in arkansas, roughly 200,000 people will have to make it through the night in the cold without power. millions trying to return home after christmas are also now stranded. over the past two days, 1,700 flights have been canceled and at least 2,000 have been delayed. in the south, christmas night spawned reports of tornadoes from alabama to texas. >> oh! it's coming through!
it's right here! it's right here! >> reporter: this massive twister tore through mobile, alabama, where more than 130 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. >> i was screaming and hollering. i-- i mean, i'm just scared to death. >> reporter: sam moore surveyed the damage in his neighborhood in pennington, texas. >> this used to be a really big- - as you can see by the size of the slab, used to be a huge feed store. it wasn't a weak building at all. it was a well-built building, and it just-- you see what it did to it. it's amazing. >> reporter: emergency personnel here got some much-needed help from the indiana national guard today. troops were deployed here to help check on stranded motorists and check on shut-ins. jim? >> axelrod: troy kehoe in bloomington, indiana, for us, thank you. david bernard is the chief meteorologist at our cbs station in miami. he's following the storm system. david, as the storm tracks north, who has the most to worry about? >> well, there is a lot of real estate to cover, jim. let's start by looking at the
satellite and radar combined this evening, and we have a big shield of snow this afternoon covering areas from detroit to cleveland, right through northern pennsylvania, now pushing into western portions of new york. south of there, all along the i- 95 corridor through new york and philly and d.c. and south of there, very heavy rain occurring this evening, and that's going to be the story overnight. and it looks like even into tomorrow that heavy rain is likely going to continue. >> axelrod: how bad will this disrupt travel? >> well, i think the big problem is going to be the snowfall in the inland areas. let's give an idea of how much more snow could fall between now and early saturday when the storm ends. those purple areas you see anywhere from northern pennsylvania, covering much of upstate new york, and northern new england, could see over a foot or more, maybe even locally two feet of snow in some of the higher elevations. if you take a look at the i-95 area, though, only maybe a very light amount of snow, an inch or so, in the cities. that looks like it's mainly going to be rain. but even all that heavy rain
into tomorrow morning is likely going to slow down air traffic, and i think today's delays are probably going to fold over into tomorrow, as well. >> axelrod: david bernard, thank you. and late today, we got word that toyota has reached a settlement in lawsuits over unintended acceleration. it's believed to be the largest in u.s. history involving an automobile defect. toyota has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to reimburse owners and install new safety equipment. dozens of drivers have claimed their cars accelerated without warning. more than 14 million cars were recalled in 2009 and 2010, but, as part of the settlement, toyota admits no fault. the forecast for this year's holiday sales were apparently way off. last week, the retail analyst shoppertrak projected sales this year would go up 2.5%, but a new report puts it at 0.7%, the weakest season since 2008. we asked elaine quijano to find out why shoppers were not in a
spending mood. >> reporter: the early indications are that shoppers weren't in the holiday shopping spirit this year, and some of the reasons had nothing to do with the economy. dana telsey is a retail analyst. >> whether it was hurricane sandy, the need to spend on the home; whether it was the tragedy in connecticut, and took away the feel-good factor-- it was a confluence of events that led to a "should have been better" holiday season. >> reporter: a big part of the problem was in the densely populated northeast, where more than a fifth of country's retail sales take place. holiday spending priorities shifted after hurricane sandy as homeowners focused more on repairs than on gifts. also dragging down sales was uncertainty about the so-called fiscal cliff, tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect next year. if lawmakers don't reach a deal to avoid it, consumers could see higher taxes eating into their paychecks. even online sales suffered.
compared to past years of double-digit growth, this year, online holiday sales rose only about 8%, compared to nearly 16% last year. overall, holiday spending accounts for up to 30% of retailers' annual sales, so the disappointing season is a concern for an economy struggling to recover. >> consumers need to have more confidence. consumers need to feel that their jobs are secure. it's not an ideal situation. it's more of a conservative, cautious time. and companies are managing carefully, consumers are spending carefully. >> reporter: retailers are now hoping to lure consumers with deep discounts of 75% to 80% off in some cases as they try to salvage profits from this lackluster holiday shopping season. jim. >> axelrod: so, elaine, this is the first set of holiday shopping numbers that we've seen. any chance that they'll be revised as we get more data in? >> reporter: absolutely. there is a chance, certainly, that they will be revised, jim. in fact, in just the next week, there will be additional numbers
released from retailers, and, of course, the hope is that those numbers will be better than what they have seen so far. jim. >> axelrod: elaine, thank you. president obama is cutting short his holiday in hawaii. he's flying back to washington tonight as the clock ticks toward the fiscal cliff. nancy cordes is with the president in honolulu. nancy? >> reporter: jim, the president is trading the sand for snowy washington. he'll be back in the nation's capital by mid-morning tomorrow, and most of the u.s. senate will be attempting to get back there by then, as well. but house leaders have not given their members the signal to return to washington and say they won't until the u.s. senate passes a bill to avert the fiscal cliff. as the president wrapped up his vacation, federal workers trickled back into the nation's capital. but the only people who can avert the fiscal cliff, members of the house and senate, have not returned, and, in just six days, a 2% payroll tax is set to
expire, along with the bush era tax cuts, shrinking the average workers' paycheck in 2013 by about $1,500. long-term unemployment benefits for about two million jobless americans are also set to expire, and $110 billion worth of spending cuts to both domestic and defense programs will start to kick in, forcing layoffs in the public sector and for some private sector government contractors. economists predict that if congress doesn't act, all those cuts and new taxes will push the economy back into a mild recession by mid-2013. the impact of some of these cuts and taxes would not be felt immediately on january 1. that's because the i.r.s. and other agencies didn't expect it to come to this, and so it will take a few weeks for workers to see more money being withheld in their paychecks, jim. >> axelrod: nancy cordes with the president in hawaii. thank you. there is new evidence that the
housing market is coming back. a report out today showed home prices were up 4.3% in october compared to last year. prices rose in 18 of the 20 largest cities. tonight, 88-year-old george h.w. bush remains in a hospital in houston where he's been since last month battling a bad cough. the former president now has a persistent fever. bob orr joins us now from washington with details. bob. >> reporter: good evening, jim. well, a spokesman for the bush family says that former president george h.w. bush is in "guarded condition," with that stubborn fever you mentioned that's not responding well to tylenol. the 88-year-old former president is on a liquid diet, and tonight he's in an intensive care unit at the houston hospital where he's been battling bronchitis and a series of setbacks over the past month or so. the spokesman said mr. bush's condition seems a little bit worse than it was on sunday, but he noted at the same time it's a bit better than it was yesterday. we're told he doesn't have very
much energy, but his doctors are said to be "cautiously optimistic," and they believe they have all of his health issues in hand. jim. >> axelrod: thank you, bob. the news is better for south africa's former president, nelson mandela. he was released from the hospital today. mandela, who is 94, is being treated for a lung infection. he's had a history of lung problems since contracting tuberculosis during his time in prison while fighting apartheid. mandela will now receive home- based treatment in johannesburg. what happens when kids have to face cancer when there's a shortage of drugs? and volunteers who battled fire during sandy band together for another rescue, when the "cbs evening news" conditions. h paci. i got mine in iraq, 2003.
usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection, and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans and their families is without equal. begin your legacy, get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems.
>> axelrod: for more than a year now, we've been reporting on the nationwide shortage of medicine used to treat some types of cancer. today, a study in the "new england journal of medicine" shows evidence of a link between this drug shortage and reduced effectiveness in treating some of the youngest cancer victims. here is jon lapook. >> reporter: abby alonzo was ten when diagnosed in 2009 with hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. with proper treatment, 90% of patients survive. >> it wasn't as hard for me as i think it was on my mom, my brother, my dad.
>> reporter: abby began a seven- drug regimen, but, in 2010, doctors told abby's mother, katie, there was a nationwide shortage of one of the medicines, mechlorethamine. >> i start to get a little hysterical. why is it not available? >> reporter: that year, 23 cancer drugs had shortages. reasons included manufacturing problems and low-profit margins for the drug, which became mostly generic and less expensive than brand names. there really is nothing you can do. you do what your doctor tells you to do. you take what medications your doctor tells you to take, and you pray that it works. and if one of those medications isn't available, you just take, you know, the next best thing. >> reporter: doctors thought the "next best thing" for patients like abby was a drug called cyclophosphamide. but the new study showed 88% treated with the original drug were cancer-free after two years compared to only 75% of those receiving the replacement drug. dr. richard gilbertson is
director of cancer care at st. jude children's research hospital. >> this is the first study to clearly show that when we substitute one drug for what we think is just an equally good drug, that's not always going to be the case. so it's demonstrating a negative impact on patients. >> reporter: abby was one of the patients who relapsed. she then needed a bone marrow transplant, radiation and more chemotherapy. right now, she shows no signs of cancer. >> what if i relapse again? or what if i-- something else happens? you know, it's just really scary, that part. >> reporter: the original drug in the study is finally available again after almost three years, but there are still 13 drugs used in cancer therapy and a total of 100 on the f.d.a. shortage list. >> axelrod: jon, congress passed legislation last july giving the f.d.a. more authority to deal with cancer drug shortages. i'm wondering what's become of that. >> reporter: jim, that new law has made a big difference, and the key provision is the requirement that drug manufacturers let the f.d.a. know when there's an impending shortage. since that new law has passed,
there has been a doubling of the notifications. the f.d.a. can increase imports from abroad and tell other manufacturers in the united states to step up production. so it's made a big difference. now, another provision in that law is that the f.d.a. set up a task force looking at other possible solutions to the drug shortage crisis, and they're required to submit that report to congress by this coming july. >> axelrod: dr. jon lapook, thank you. china now has the longest high- speed train line in the world. it runs 1,400 miles from beijing to the city of guangjo, about the distance from new york to miami. the chinese train can make the trip in eight hours. it would take amtrak 30 hours. in los angeles, people lined up to turn in their guns. find out why when we come back. ♪
>> axelrod: today, los angeles responded to the newtown tragedy by starting their gun buyback sooner. they needed two sprawling sites including a sports arena. >> they're hunting rifles. >> reporter: angela atkins came to the los angeles gun buy-back with two hunting rifles and thoughts of the children who died in newtown, connecticut. >> it was emotional. i cried. and i just felt like those were everybody's children.
>> reporter: so you're getting rid of your only guns. >> the only guns, yes. i couldn't send them a sympathy card or anything, so i just said that's the best thing i can do. >> reporter: it was because of newtown that l.a.'s mayor moved up the annual gun buyback usually held on mother's day. >> two shotguns. >> reporter: the city offers gift certificates up to $200 depending on the kind of gun. >> the n.r.a. might say you're just taking guns out of the hands of the good guys. >> well, the n.r.a. says a lot of things that doesn't pass the smell test for most of us. they said that what we need are more good guys with guns. well, there are a lot of good guys with guns. we have more good guys with guns than any place in the world, and we also have more gun violence. >> reporter: but a 2004 report by the national academy of science found that guns likely to be used in crimes were unlikely to be turned in at gun buybacks. the mayor says since 2009, los angeles has collected 8,000 guns at buybacks, a period in which
violent crime in the city has dropped by 33%. >> this is part of a much bigger effort, a comprehensive effort to address gun and gang violence. and like i said, in the city of l.a., the proof is in the pudding. >> reporter: the line of cars stretched for six blocks as people waited up to three hours to turn in their guns. >> me turning my rifles in now is my sympathy card to connecticut. >> reporter: so many people are bringing their guns in here that l.a.p.d. officials say this is likely to be their most successful buyback ever. they expect to collect more than 2,500 guns before it's over. >> axelrod: john blackstone in los angeles, thank you. a sad sight here in new york today in a place that's seen its share of trouble lately. an endangered finback whale washed up alive on the beach oh the breezy point section of queens. several volunteer firefighters hosed down the 60-foot whale. they're from one of the departments that fought the fire
allows you to quickly calculate your mortgage payment based on today's incredibly low interest rates... right from your iphone or android smartphone. one more way quicken loans is engineered to amaze. ♪ smoke? nah, i'm good. ♪ [ male announcer ] every time you say no to a cigarette, you celebrate a little win. nicoderm cq, the patch with time release smart control technology that acts fast and helps control cravings all day long. ♪ quit one day at a time with nicoderm cq. an international tug-of-war. over wire hangers. next.
when sandy tore through the mid atlantic coast, more than 650,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by water, wind and flames. so what happens after you lose almost everything? michelle miller catches up with a woman from breezy point. >> reporter: you wanted to look and see. when we first met marie lopresti eight weeks ago, she was desperately searching for anything spared by the fire that burned her home to the ground. >> is that something there? >> reporter: the only thing she found in the rubble was a charred fragment of a wine and cheese plate. but she was happy to have it. >> thank you. thank you. i got go now. [ crying ] [ knocking ] >> reporter: we wanted to know what happened to lopresti. hi, marie! >> hello. >> reporter: we found her in brooklyn at a family home she used to rent out. it's a house now filled with gifts from family, friends, even strangers. >> these are all the people that sent me letters and money, $598.
>> wow. >> reporter: lopresti has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people from across the country, who saw her story and reached out. >> they all send me e-mails and funny things for me it laugh. and they all ask about me. they call. that's my house in breezy. >> reporter: some have even sent photos of her old home and copies of pictures they have of her family and friends. >> remember this? >> oh, yes. >> reporter: but she was most surprised by a gift from a woman in massachusetts. where did you get that from? it was a recommend ply can of the plate -- it was a replica of a plate we found the day we met her. >> with a letter and three more. she said she is 72, like me, and she saw me on tv and it broke her heart, so she went and bought that and -- oh....
and she bought that so i can enjoy with my friends. >> reporter: every day, lopresti returns to breezy point, the place she and her friends called home for more than 30 years. >> i want to be there, so even if i can build a small house, i mean, this is nice. and i love this. but i'd rather just have a bed, tables and chairs and a couch and be there. >> reporter: lopresti says like the new plate in her cabinet, breezy point will one day be whole again. michelle miller, cbs news, brooklyn, new york. >> and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for scott pelley, i'm jim axelrod. good night.
>> your realtime captioner: linda marie macdonald good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm elizabeth cook. looking forward to ringing in the new year? well, baby new year may end up going over the "fiscal cliff" with the rest of us. >> we are a few days away from the deadline. we have heard a lot about this over the last few weeks but cbs 5 reporter grace lee tells us about another downside that has to do with milk. >> reporter: if we can go over the price of milk will go up significantly because a farm bill that's about to expire and the closer we get the more likely that political analysts believe that we will go over the "fiscal cliff." so by next week could you start seeing your grocery store bills skyrocket and your paychecks plummet. the president is inding his hawaii have a -- ending his hawaii vacation early and returning tonight. >> wonderful to see all of you.
merry christmas to everybody. >> reporter: congress is also coming back from a winter break tomorrow. and time is ticking down on the "fiscal cliff" clock. >> not likely to make a deal before the 1st. >> reporter: cbs 5 political analyst joe tuman says this is washington politics at its worst. >> the only thing that's going to force both sides to negotiate is going over the deadline. people will vote for it. they will be able to say exactly the opposite. >> reporter: in the meantime, consumers suffer. that's because we're about to take the plunge off the dairy cliff. a farm bill expires at the end of the year meaning the government reverts back to the 63-year-old pricing formula for milk and those costs are passed to you. nogallon of milk is about $3.50