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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  December 24, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> couple hours. all right. james brown, cbs news, next. two astronauts head outside the space station to try to fix a critical cooling system. bill whitaker has the latest. edward snowden declares "mission accomplished" after his leaks forced a reassessment of u.s. surveillance programs. bob orr reports. america's retailers won't be celebrating. anna werner looks at the disappointing numbers from this year's holiday shopping season. and it happened one christmas eve. dean reynolds on the picture that changed the way we look at our world. >> oh, my god, l captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> brown: good evening. scott is off tonight. i'm james brown. this is our western edition.
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when something breaks on the international space station, there is no repairman to call so today, two astronauts suited up for the second time this week to complete the job of fixing a critical cooling system. a pump broke earlier this month, and today's mission was to swap out the old one with the new one. bill whitaker has the story. >> reporter: traveling almost 18,000 miles per hour, 260 miles above the earth, astronauts mike hopkins and rick masstrachio stepped outside the international space station to make the urgent repairs to the cooling system. >> mike hopkins taking a special sleigh ride on this christmas eve, holding the pump module. >> reporter: teetering on the end of the space station's arm, they installed the refrigerator- sized pump. it took more than seven hours. it was difficult and dazzling. bill harwood is cbs news space consultant. >> working in these big cumbersome space suits is not easy. it's almost like you're wearing multi-layer clothes in the wintertime, so much so that it's hard to move. >> reporter: while connecting
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one hose, the astronauts' suits were sprayed with ammonia ice crystals. ammonia is used in the cooling system. to keep the noxious chemicals out of the station, they had to stay out long enough for it to evaporate in the sun. >> we do not want to bring ammonia back inside the ship. >> reporter: retired canadian astronaut chris hatfield took two walks outside the space station. >> the environment in space is harsher than most people think. in the shade, it's minus a couple hundred degrees. in the sun, it's plus 300 degrees. so we don't go outside unless there's a good reason. >> reporter: with the cooling system down, astronauts had to power down all but the bare essentials so they wouldn't overtax the remaining system. initial tests show the new pump is working. >> houston, you got yourself a new pump module. >> we'll be able to get everything powered back on inside, all of the experiments back up and running. it will be a nice christmas present for everyone. >> reporter: jim, the astronauts will begin to re-power the entire system this evening. it will take a couple of days
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before all of the operations are completely recovered. >> brown: bill whitaker, thank you very much. today, the obama administration said the web site healthcare.gov was swamped with a record two million visits yesterday as americans rushed to sign up for health insurance that takes effect january 1. today, it posted this statement, saying: if that's happened to you, the administration has promised to work with you to get coverage by january 1. well, edward snowden broke his silence to gloat in an interview published today by the "washington post". snowden fled to russia six months ago after leaking top secret n.s.a. documents. his leaks have prompted a reassessment of u.s. surveillance policies, and bob orr tells us snowden couldn't be happier. >> reporter: from his refuge in russia, edward snowden claimed
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victory in his campaign to unmask the national security agency's global surveillance programs. snowden told the "washington post": snowden, a former n.s.a. computer specialist, has leaked top secret files detailing how the u.s. collects massive amounts of phone and internet data. the government argues bulk collections helped detect terrorist plots, but in defending his leaks in june, snowden told britain's the "guardian" newspaper innocent americans need to know their privacy rights are being violated. >> the public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong. >> reporter: snowden made the same point to the "post," insisting he's a whistle-blower and not a defector. >> reporter: but the u.s. justice department has charged him under the espionage act with divulging classified information.
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snowden's supporters say he might return to the u.s. if prosecutors back off. in an interview last month, attorney general eric holder said that won't happen. would you entertain any kind of immunity deal for snowden? >> i don't think there's a basis for that, at this point. what he did harmed our national security in a great many ways, and i think he should be held accountable for what he did. >> reporter: snowden says his leaks are prompting a necessary public debate about putting boundaries on the n.s.a.'s reach. he claimed he's not trying to destroy the agency. instead, he said: >> reporter: now, snowden, in fact, was fired from his n.s.a. job after the leaks began, but his actions could in the end lead to big changes for u.s. intelligence. the president, james, is now considering 46 recommendations from a review panel urging curbs on the n.s.a.'s bulk collection programs. >> brown: bob, realistically, how fast might we see changes at
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the n.s.a.? >> reporter: fairly quickly. the president could implement some changes in january. some other adjustments could require congressional action, but it's fair to say, james, that the n.s.a.'s already altered some of the operations because of snowden. understand that once potential targets understand sources and methods that tactical changes essentially are required. >> brown: bob orr in washington, bob, thank you very much. hundreds of thousands from michigan to maine may spend christmas in the dark after the winter storm that hit last weekend. and today, outside cleveland, heavy snow is blamed for causing dozens of crashes along interstate 90. most of us will not see a white christmas, but a blast of cold air will keep temperatures frigid in the upper midwest. today, the u.n. security council voted to nearly double the number of peacekeeping troops in south sudan to more than 12,000. that young country, just two years old, has been wracked by fighting among rival factions. thousands of civilians are caught in the middle. jim axelrod is following developments. jim? >> reporter: james, those new troops will try to stem the violence that is now spiking in the world's newest country.
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a top u.n. official on the ground in south sudan says thousands have been killed just in the last week. at least 80,000 people have fled their homes in south sudan to escape the fighting between troops loyal to the president, salva kiir, and rebel forces backing former vice president riak mashar. more than half are seeking protection in u.s. bases in south sudan. ethnic tensions are stoking this political rivalry into the bloody violence. the two men belong to different tribes. they both say they're ready to sit down and talk, although disputes about conditions are tangling up the possibility. last week, when u.s. troops arrived to help evacuate americans from the country, three u.s. aircraft were attacked and forced to turn back. four navy seals were wounded. late today, u.s. secretary of state john kerry reported that he telephoned both leaders, calling for mediated peace talks.
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but complicating the possibility of any such talks, james, the discovery by u.n. personnel of at least three mass graves in south sudan. >> brown: thank you very much, jim. there's no end to the fighting in syria's civil war. today, the military bombed the city of aleppo for a tenth straight day. neighborhoods held by rebels are being turned into rubble. activists say hundreds have died. after two and a half years, the war in syria is at a stalemate. one reason is that foreign fighters-- many of them islamic militants-- keep poring into syria from other countries to join the rebel cause. holly williams has more. >> reporter: this wire border fence is where many syrian refugees cross into the safety of neighboring turkey. for foreign fighters with links to al qaeda, going the other way is just as easy. local smugglers told us these men were syrian fighters. they slipped through the fence and into the war zone.
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young muslim men from libya, iraq, and europe have flooded into syria to help the rebels in their struggle against the country's regime. many of them have been radicalized by extremist groups that have joined the rebel side. ayse kilken's son is just 18 years old. he left his home in turkey and ran away in august after telling friends he wanted to fight. "he can't even shop by himself in the bazaar," ayse told us. "he doesn't know what war is. but they told him he would become a martyr." ayse said she believes her son is fighting with an al qaeda- linked militant group. in this propaganda video, they depict themselves as saviors of the syrian people, and this video shows al nusra-- labeled a terrorist group by the u.s.-- handing out food to the hungry.
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they're doing their best to win hearts and minds, and they seem to be succeeding. in a makeshift refugee camp in turkey, we spoke to many people who told us they're grateful to al nusra for fighting against the syrian government forces that bombed their villages. "it's the u.n. security council who are the real terrorists," this man told us. "because they haven't helped us." when militants took control of the town of raqqa in august, they started practicing strict islamic law, and publicly executed those with links to the government. mohammed told us he witnessed what happened in raqqa, though he was too frightened of retribution to show his face. he said the extremists demanded all women wear black and cover everything except their eyes. that angered some, but mohammed told us others admire them
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because they win battles against the regime. that may be why so many young fighters from syria and other countries are joining them. >> brown: holly williams is in our london bureau. so, holly, what does this mean for the peace talks that are to take place between the syrian government and the rebels scheduled for next month? >> reporter: james, these groups with links to al qaeda that you just saw are not invited. but their increasing strength is undermining the peace talks. it makes the moderate rebels backed by the u.s. look irrelevant and unqualified to speak for the syrian opposition, which means that the peace talks are less likely to achieve anything. >> pelley: holly, thank you very much. much. 8r&ers are hoping for a big finish to a disappointing season. a new device is a godsend for people who can't afford a traditional hearing aid. and francis celebrates his first christmas mass as pope when the "cbs evening news" continues. [ male announcer ] this is the age of knowing what you're made of.
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foot mapping center at drscholls.com i'm a believer. >> brown: today, target said scammers have tried to lure some of its customers by email. this is apparently related to the security breach in which 40 million credit card and debit card numbers were compromised. target says it will set up a section on its web site so customers can distinguish genuine e-mails and the scams.
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time is winding down on the holiday shopping season and it has not been a good one so far. sales are down and retailers are doing everything they can to get shoppers back into the stores. anna werner takes a look. >> reporter: the family-run apricot lane boutique at the galleria dallas saw a steady stream of customers today. >> can i help you find anything? >> reporter: co-owner alison young says the store needs to make up for the sales lost during a recent ice storm. >> we had to close for about a day and a half, and they were two of our biggest days for the christmas season, so those set us back a bit and we've been working to make those sales figures up. >> reporter: the ice storm that hit dallas two weeks ago made even mall general manager angie freed nervous. >> we were a little concerned when we lost the first weekend in december due to snow and ice, but i've been talking to retailers and nine out of ten tell me they've recovered from that and sales are up. >> reporter: freed told us she thinks the last-minute spike may be due to the holiday schedule this year. >> saturday was our busiest traffic day all year.
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>> reporter: why do you think your business picked up so much? >> we had fewer days between thanksgiving and christmas, but people still had the same shopping list. >> reporter: many retailers wish they could say the same. overall, sales are down nationwide, especially in brick- and-mortar stores. last week, sales were down by 3% compared to last year while online sales jumped 37%. well, here's a sign of this shopping season, james-- some retailers are so anxious for sales, they're already running their after-christmas sales. >> brown: and the obvious question is, are those last- minute sales working? >> reporter: well, they appear to be, in some cases. some of the shoppers we spoke to said they hadn't planned on buying additional items while they were out christmas shopping for other people, but some of the deals were so good, they couldn't resist. >> brown: anna, thank you very much. well, the price of mailing a letter is going up again. starting january 26, a first class stamp will cost 49 cents. that's a three-cent increase,
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and the rate hike approved today will last two years. millions may soon receive the precious gift of hearing thanks to a remarkable new device. that's just ahead. . [ male announcer ] coughequence #10. speechless.
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so here's to the bride and... [ coughs ] [ all gasp ] [ male announcer ] robitussin dm max now comes in a new liquid-filled capsule. nothing provides more powerful cough relief. robitussin. don't suffer the coughequences. >> pelley: at the vatican today, pope francis celebrated christmas eve mass, his first as leader of the roman catholic church. in his homily, the pope called jesus "the light who brightens it is darkness." earlier, a life-sized nativity scene depicting the birth of
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jesus was unveiled in st. peter's square. the tradition of nativity scenes dates back 800 years to st. francis of assisi, whose name the pope took. when many of us get older, hearing aids become a part of our lives, but they're a luxury most in the developing world simply can't afford. that could soon change thanks to a company that's developed a low-cost high-tech solution, as we hear from barry petersen. >> reporter: it is said the clacking of dominoes is the music of the dominican republic. it's been years since the game sounded so good to retiree fernando velverde baez, who lost his hearing because of old age. "the difference," he said, "is that you hear the sound even of the air and the breeze. i hear a little bird, that little bird that just chirped." baez can hear the birds again because of stavros and a remarkable device from his company, sound world solutions.
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so he used two technologies common even in the poorest countries-- a smart phone that works with a personal sound amplifier in the ear connected by bluetooth. an app lets users raise or lower the volume and adjust treble and base. but if i'm someplace that doesn't even have cell phone service -- >> you don't need that. >> reporter: these two still talk to each other? >> yes. >> reporter: at up to $4,000, the tiny high tech hearing aids americans can buy are too expensive for most of the estimated 365 million people worldwide with severe hearing loss. only seven million hearing aids were sold last year, and 85% of them ended up in american and european ears. what was your goal when you started to develop a device like this? >> it has been to give people solutions in developing countries that they don't exist. >> reporter: and give them a price low enough that people
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can't afford it between $100 to $300. the company plans to introduce the device in africa and south america in the coming months. there may be profits down the road, but the goal for the moment is about helping. baez doesn't care if his hearing aid is a little bulky or looks unfashionable, as long as he can now hear his wife say one thing: "she would say "i love you" and i wouldn't be able to hear well" he said. now, she can whisper it to me and i'll hear her. barry petersen, cbs news, chicago. >> pelley: well, last night saw one of the most bizarre endings to a hockey game. in overtime, buffalo sabres defenseman mark pacek took a shot against phoenix's goalie mike smith. the puck hit another player and got stuck in the back of smith's pants. the goalie then backed into his net and the puck crossed the line. safe to say, game over.
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(laughs) well, on a christmas eve long ago, men circled the moon and got a new perspective on earth. that's next. ,,
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>> brown: we began this broadcasts with a rare christmas eve space walk and we wednesday a look back at another mission-- one that brought the world together at a troubled time. here's dean reynolds. >> reporter: it had been a terrible year on earth-- military conflicts, riots in the streets, and political assassinations. and then over christmas, 1968... >> we have liftoff. >> reporter: ...three humans circled the moon for the very first time and briefly connected the people of this planet. this is it, huh? >> that's it. that's where i sat. >> reporter: americans jim lovell, frank borman and william anders were the astronauts aboard apollo 8. a scouting mission for the lunar landing the next year. it's estimated that a quarter of the earth's population heard them read from the book of genesis that christmas eve.
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>> "in the beginning, god created the heaven and the earth." >> reporter: in addition to the words, though, it was the sight they beheld and the photograph they captured that resonate to this day. listen to anders describe what came to be known as "earth rise." >> oh, my god, look at that picture over there! it's the earth coming up. wow, is that pretty! >> reporter: anders was in charge of the photography, but had to wait as lovell searched for the right film while the earth slowly left the frame. seconds later, lovell saw it from his vantage point in the spacecraft. >> i got it right here. bill, i got it, it's very clear right here. >> all right, let me get the right setting here. calm down, lovell. >> that's a beautiful shot. you sure we got it now. >> reporter: he got them. >> he said, "bill, you did take the picture." but i was directing the photography, i told you the setting of the camera and how
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to pose ... (laughs) and, of course it went viral. everybody had published... >> reporter: it went viral before there was going viral. >> (laughs) that's right. that's right. >> reporter: lovell has told us he tried ever since to convey what the astronauts felt as they watched their world from afar that christmas eve. >> it's only when you get away from it, 240,000 miles away, that you really understand how insignificant we all are. >> reporter: and, he said, now fortunate. dean reynolds, cbs news, chicago. >> brown: and that's the "cbs evening news." for scott pelley, i'm james brown. and from all of us at cbs news, merry christmas. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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good evening, i'm allen martin. i'm elizabeth cook. joe vazquez tells us ... a e made his ruling after two experts examined the girl a declared her brain dead following tonsil surgery. j? one expert is from stanford a judge made his ruling after two experts examined the girl, and declared her brain dead following tonsil surgery. >> this expert is from stanford children's hospital and the other from oakland children's. they sat front row listening to testimony today. >> she meets the criteria for brain dead. >> the two neurologists testified they did extensive tests. >> what did you see in reviewing the eeg on december 11, 2013? >> there was no brain activity.
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>> and both concluded 13-year- old did not have any clinical signs of life, according to established scientific criteria. i have to therefore deny the petition. >> the judge ruled against the family, while he did not the hospital should say the plug but he would give until december 30 december 30th for the family to decide what to do. after that, the hospital would be allowed to remove her from life support. >> i hope the family between now and december 30th finds peace and comes to grips with the judge's decision, and reaches the conclusion that she is deceased and the family and children are available to take steps before them. with the decision, it's heartbreaking to hear that, of course. but our faith is still strong. it's christmas eve, so there's time for a miracle. >> will

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