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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  December 26, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> axelrod: tonight, holiday shopping comes up short. the first numbers show disappointing sales at the stores while online shoppers are furious their presents are late. terrell brown and manuel bojorquez report. holly williams on the plea an american hostage is making to president obama. >> it seems that i have been totally abandoned. >> axelrod: stuck at sea. bill whitaker on the mission to free a ship trapped in ice at the bottom of the world. >> the vessel hasn't moved for the last two days and we're surrounded by sea ice. we can't get through. >> axelrod: and with no time to waste, an l.a. cop rescued a man from his burning car. >> i just said "it's now or never. either i'm going to get him out or i'm going to see someone burn alive." captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley.
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>> axelrod: good evening. scott's off tonight. i'm jim axelrod and this is our western edition. we're getting our first look at just what kind of boost holiday shopping provided to the u.s. economy-- and it is not the kind of picture retailers were hoping to see. according to mastercard spendingpulse retail shopping was up 2.3% this holiday season. keep in mind, these are just the initial numbers, but the national retail federation had projected a bigger 3.9% increase in holiday shopping. so if this first snapshot holds, this would be disappointing and the first time below 3% growth since 2009. here's terrell brown. >> reporter: deep discounts and extended hours couldn't get americans to spend as much as stores expected. so now retailers are cutting prices even more. even along chicago's exclusive michigan avenue, stores today were offering 75% off. retail analyst craig johnson. >> retailers overshot the mark in terms of apparel supply so
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there was an imbalance of supply/demand in apparel leading to the promotions you see today. >> reporter: stores couldn't make up for the storm which is hit during two key shopping weekends and the lackluster economy. >> people are not buying as much and why they aren't buying as much, because their incomes are very soft. >> reporter: after-tax income grew an average 1.1% between 2007 and 2012. but this year it's up only .6%. now the race is on for stores to clear inventory. today was expected to be the fifth busiest shopping day of the year. a wild card is the projected $29 billion spent on gift cards over christmas. the value of the cards is not recorded until they're redeemed. richard ortiz is a manager of this banana republic in manhattan. >> the traffic is a little bit down in terms of previous years. i think we're seeing more online shopping. >> reporter: web sales were up more than 10% over last year and more people did their holiday shopping on smart phones. visits from mobile devices made
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up a record 48% of all online traffic. and some stores here like macy's have been open since 6:00 this morning, jim. some analysts we talked to said that this week, the week between christmas and new years could be the second or third-biggest shopping week of the year. >> axelrod: terrell brown with our first look at the holiday shopping numbers. thank you, the runup to christmas did see substantial growth in online shopping. nearly 40% more during the weekend before christmas this year than last year. so much online shopping, in fact, that the two biggest delivery companies could not keep pace. here's manuel bojorquez. >> reporter: u.p.s. workers spent today racing to catch up. the company had delivered 132 million packages in the week leading up to christmas, a pace of 300 per second. but it wasn't fast enough to clear an avalanche of holiday orders-- including a package for jeff cormier in dallas. >> i don't know what more to say
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about how frustrating it is. >> reporter: it was an iphone case with his daughter's picture. his grandmother flew back home to ohio this afternoon without it. >> that's what i'm missing the most. it's not the gift, it's just that that "aww" moment. >> you wanted her to open it in front of you. >> you can't recapture that wow factor. that's gone. >> reporter: a short shopping season and icy weather created backlogs which became insurmountable as last-minute shopping orders poured in. many customers trusted store guarantees that deliveries would be made by christmas. neither u.p.s. nor fedex would disclose how many packages were late. in a statement, u.p.s. said: , u.p.s. said: in its statement, fedex said: tatement, f
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rather than wait any longer, some customers have been showing up at distribution centers like this one for overdue packages. today the nation's largest online retailer, amazon, said it is reviewing the performance of delivery carriers. jim? >> axelrod: manuel, thank you. updating the situation for those who spent christmas without power, in michigan, 88,000 homes and businesses are still in the dark. about 28,000 in maine. crews have been rushed in from other states to fix power lines that snapped in an ice storm last weekend but fresh snowfall has now slowed them down and the repairs could take two more days. in pennsylvania today, an appeals court threw out a milestone conviction of a catholic priest. monsignor william lynn was the first priest to be found guilty of protecting other priests accused of sexual abuse. elaine quijano covered the trial and she has our update.
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>> reporter: monsignor william lynn is serving a three to six- year sentence in state prison. thomas bergstrom is lynn's attorney. >> what they found was that monsignor lynn didn't have the authority to transfer these priests. the only person who had that authority was the cardinal. >> reporter: the trial was a landmark case in the u.s. catholic church as former philadelphia district attorney lynne abraham told us in april of last year. >> i think this is the first time in the history of a prosecution in this country where a member of the hierarchy of the church has been put on trial in a public courtroom for covering up sex abuse. >> reporter: prosecutors argued monsignor lynn transferred pedophile priests from parish to parish during his 12 years as the philadelphia archdiocese secretary for clergy. that, they said, violated the state's law against endangering the welfare of a child. but in a unanimous decision, the appeals court said that law could not be applied since monsignor lynn did not directly supervise children. the judges concluded the evidence was not sufficient to
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prove lynn intended to promote or facilitate child endangerment. the philadelphia district attorney says he will most likely appeal this decision. jim, it's not clear when monsignor lynn would be released from prison. >> axelrod: elaine, thank you very much. in a video released today, an american held hostage by terrorists in pakistan pleaded with president obama to negotiate his release. warren weinstein, 72, from rockville, maryland, and was kidnapped while working as a consultant. hall will williams is in our london bureau and is follow the story for us. holly? >> reporter: warren weinstein was kidnapped by al qaeda two and a half years ago from his home in pakistan where he was working as a development consultant for a private american company. it's thought he's being held somewhere along pakistan's border with afghanistan which is an al qaeda stronghold.
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this is the second video that al qaeda has released of mr. weinstein. we can't authenticate it and we don't know when it was filmed. it was e-mailed from an anonymous address to the "washington post" newspaper along with a letter said to be written by warren weinstein. in the video he appears tired and at times emotional. he asks the president to negotiate with al qaeda so that he can see his family again. >> mr. obama, you are a family man and so you understand the deep mental anxiety and anguish that i have been experiencing for these past more than two years. i am therefore appealing to you on a humanitarian basis if nothing else and asking that you take the necessary actions to expedite my release. >> reporter: the u.s. state department said it is trying to authenticate the video and has called for warren weinstein's release. al qaeda leader ayman al-
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zawahiri has previously said that weinstein will only be released if the u.s. stops carrying out air strikes in pakistan and afghanistan and releases al qaeda prisoners. but, jim, that is clearly not something the u.s. government would consider doing. >> axelrod: holly, thank you very much. president obama took time out from his vacation in hawaii today to sign several bills into law. one is a defense authorization bill which, among other things, includes a crackdown on sexual assault in the military. another is a bipartisan budget deal that eases spending cuts. chip reid is in honolulu with the president tonight. good evening, chip. >> reporter: well, good evening, jim. that budget bill the president signed today funds the federal government through the year 2015 and that is significant because it all but eliminates the possibility of another government shutdown any time soon. and, jim, the other bill that you just mentioned is the
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annual spending bill for next year. in a written statement the president said he's please it had bill eases is transfer of guantanamo bay prisoners to other countries but he's disappointed that it does not allow the transfer of prisoners to the united states for trial. the president said "the executive branch must have the authority to determine when and where to prosecute guantanamo bay detainees based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests." the president even suggested that if he determines that that bill violates the constitution, he will ignore those provisions and, of course, immediately after signing those bills, the president shifted back into vacation mode. he went hiking with his family and golfing with his friends. jim? >> axelrod: chip reid in hawaii where there is at least some work being done. thank you. tonight three ice breakers are speeding to rescue a ship carrying tourists and researchers trapped in thick ice in antarctica. the ship has been stuck since
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tuesday about 1700 miles south of new zealand. bill whitaker has more. >> reporter: passengers and crew aboard the research vessel "akademik shokalskiy" had to endure fierce antarctica conditions the last two days-- temperatures well below freezing, winds approaching 50 miles per hour. australian climate scientist chris turney is filing video updates from the distressed vessel at the bottom of the earth. >> the vessel hasn't moved for the last two days and we're surrounded by sea ice, we just can't get through. >> reporter: the ship left new zealand november 28 on a month- long scientific expedition. 74 scientists, tourists, journalists and crew studying antarctica's wildlife and waters. turney is leading the expedition. >> it's a glorious day, the fog has lifted, it's very still and calm. >> reporter: they were retracing the steps of australian explorer douglas mawson who made the trek in 1911. >> finally made it to mawson's hut. it's right here behind me. >> reporter: as they traveled on toward the magnetic south pole the see ice thickened. three weeks into the trip they were locked in ice. conditions worsened outside. >> we're actually in a blizzard at the moment. >> reporter: inside, researchers
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and crew are able to keep warm. they have plenty of provisions. we spoke with professor turney by skype earlier today. >> we've got a couple of weeks worth of fresh food and then on top of that if things get really bad we've got two weeks of glorious dehydrated food. (laughs). >> reporter: jim, professor turney tweeted some good news today. the blizzard has passed and while they're waiting to be rescued the scientists are carrying on with their research. now, when explorer douglas mawson made the same trek a little more than a hundred years ago, he was stranded for two years. >> axelrod: bill whitaker with the dramatic story from the south pole. thank you. and we have some news about one of our colleagues. today senior correspondent john miller announced he'll be leaving cbs news to join the new york city police department. john will be working on intelligence and counterterrorism under incoming commissioner william bratton. this will be john's second tour with the n.y.p.d.
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and all of us here at cbs news wish john all the very best. a computer glitch gave some delta customers the deal of a lifetime. home prices are shooting through the roof in one big city. and 50 years ago this song helped the beatles break through in the u.s., when the "cbs evening news" continues. ♪ i wanna hold your hand -- ( bell rings ) they remind me so much of my grandkids. i've been thinking about moving in with my daughter and her family. it's been pretty tough since jack passed away. it's a good thing you had life insurance through the colonial penn program. you're right. it was affordable, and we were guaranteed acceptance. guaranteed acceptance? it means you can't be turned down because of your health. you don't have to take a physical or answer any health questions.
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intended. some domestic fares were offered for less than $5. then there was round trip boston to honolulu for less than $68. delta called the fares a mistake caused by a computer glitch but says it will honor all tickets sold. there's new evidence the housing market has made it back from the depths of the recession. this week, the federal government reported home prices rose half a percentage point in october. nowhere is the market hotter than san francisco. john blackstone is there. >> reporter: in a city famous for its scenery, the skyline is being transformed. office towers and luxury condominiums are rising in san francisco. the bursting of the real estate bubble in 2008 is a distant memory. realtor cece blase finds no shortage of prospective buyers at a holiday open house. >> december feels slightly 4kskneck. there are fewer deals to be had but we are seeing substantial overbidding. >> reporter: that must be great for a real estate agent. >> it is wonderful for a real
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estate agent. it can be tough for my buyers. >> reporter: buying a house in san francisco costs about 50% more than in 2009 at the bottom of the real estate collapse. the average price rise in major u.s. cities since then is 18%. the median u.s. home price is less than $200,000, in san francisco, it's up to more than $900,000. that has sparked protest by saf franciscans who say well paid tech workers are pushing others out of their home. >> i understand what the protests are, they feel threatened. >> our city! >> reporter: san francisco's mayor ed lee has been a target of the protestors. not everyone approved of the tax breaks he offered twitter to move some 800 workers into a headquarters building near the city center. we hear revitalization, recovery, and people are angry with you because of that! >> the city's affordability has become a big, huge topic. i recognize that. >> reporter: even if the tech companies themselves aren't located in san francisco, their
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employees often choose to live in the city. google is just one of the companies that run a fleet of private buses carrying workers every morning to silicon valley some 40 miles away. anyone can still leave their heart in san francisco, but increasingly, only those with plenty of money can actually afford to live here. john blackstone, cbs news, san francisco. >> axelrod: it's a wonder anyone survived this fiery wreck, but we'll meet the cop who pulled off a daring rescue, next. g rescue,
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>> axelrod: we have some extraordinary video to share tonight of an off-duty los angeles police officer making a christmas day rescue after he saw a car on fire. >> is there anybody else in the car? >> axelrod: this was the scene on the 405 highway in los angeles just before 2:00 p.m. christmas afternoon. a mercedes station wagon was engulfed in flames. the driver, a 72-year-old man, was trapped inside. fortunately, don thompson was driving by. thompson, a 26-year veteran of the l.a.p.d., was off duty but, like many cops, he's always on the job. >> i heard people screaming in the background "don't let him burn" and i just said, you know what? it's now or never. either i'm going to get him out or i'm going to see someone burn alive. >> reporter: thompson, along with two other good samaritans, dragged the driver to safety. >> as soon as i popped that
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buckle i grabbed him and he felt -- i don't know if it was adrenaline but he felt like he weighed one pound when i pulled him out. >> axelrod: according to the police report, the driver lost control of the car, hitting the right lane shoulder wall before veering back across the highway and crashing into the median. he was treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital. as for thompson, a member of the bomb squad, he walked away humbly with a few first degree burns on his hands. >> i don't feel like a hero. i don't. as my sister says, you grasp the moment and you take advantage of it. >> axelrod: at first the california highway patrol suspected drunk driving played a role in the accident but it is now believed a medical condition caused the driver to lose control. now to a golden anniversary that's gonna make a lot of people who were once very young feel very old. ♪ i wanna hold your hand ♪ i wanna hold your hand ♪ i wanna hold your hand
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>> axelrod: hard to believe, perhaps, but it was 50 years ago today the that capitol records released "i wanna hold your hand." it would become the first beatles hit in the u.s. in three days, a quarter million copies were sold. the latest trend in literature takes us to the chicken coop. that's next. he energy in one gas is also enough to keep your smartphone running for how long? 30 days? 300 days? 3,000 days? the answer is... 3,000 days. because of gasoline's high energy density, your car doesn't have to carry as much fuel compared to other energy sources. take the energy quiz. energy lives here.
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weather talent appears at wx center with generic pinpoint filling monitor then we take
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special sponsored 7-day gra then we wipe to end tag g g >> axelrod: we close tonight on both the literary note and a literal note. mark phillips has a new take on chick lit to share with us-- straight from the henhouse. >> reporter: it's a story like all the others written by catherine elliot, blue cover all chicken farmer and romance novelist. her so called chick lit stories of improbable love affairs that somehow work out in the end are best-sellers. but catherine's latest work has found a new audience-- this is chick lit for chickens. >> "they gazed at one other, his black eyes met hers and lit up with pleasure." >> reporter: falling for clooney, it's called. clooney the rooster. think of it as 50 shades of eggshell. >> she took a step towards him, he crowed with delight! >> reporter: whoa! it's all ruffled a few feathers in the henhouses of john paul mikulski's happy egg company
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which commissioned the story to be read to its chickens, it says for scientific reasons. >> there's research based around that which says that birds which interact with humans, the humans -- the sound of the human voice actually are much calmer and because of that produce much better. >> reporter: they can't point to numbers proving there are more or bigger or tastier eggs, but they have proved that people will pay about 10% more for what they think are happy eggs from happy chickens. this isn't all tongue in beak. the happier hens and happier eggs at higher prices make happier chicken farmers. >> almost certainly, yes. >> reporter: the chickens can't get enough of it-- and they're not alone. chick lit may have come home to roost, but the market's been greatly expanded. these girls may have trouble downloading the latest installment of "falling for clooney" but people are.
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>> it's good for humans, it's good for chickens. it's going to be good for any sort of animal. i think they should read more. >> reporter: chickens should read more? and maybe move up to what, who knows? >> shakespeare, who knows. >> reporter: we may now know why the chicken crossed the road-- to find out what happens next. mark phillips, cbs news, lincolnshire, england. >> axelrod: (laughs) and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for scott pelley, i'm jim axelrod and for all of us here at cbs news, thanks for joining us. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> your realtime captioner is mrs. linda m. macdonald going down in the midst of a cr now at 6:00, healthcare website woes hitting home. the "covered california" page going down in the midst of a crunch of last-minute sign-ups. good evening, i'm elizabeth cook. >> i'm brian hackney in for ken bastida. "covered california" says that its website neededded emergency repairs for several hours today. people were unable to log on and sign up for healthcare. don knapp on the latest headache. >> reporter: it's been a rough week for "covered california." on monday the website and call centers were overwhelmed even as they were working on that, today a new glitch shutting the website down again. this is what many of those trying to sign up for obamacare saw on the "covered california" website today. the website was down for hours we were told for maintenance while looking for a glitch.
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>> we found one today that had the potential to affect our performance so we took it down immediately so that the issue could be addressed. >> reporter: this after a last- minute rush just before the december 23rd deadline overwhelmed the call centers and the website stopping last- minute insurance shoppers. "covered california" promised to help those who could show that they had tried to sign up before the deadline to get insurance by january 1. >> you can go to and click on "find help near you" and then see a list of certified insurance agents that are in your area who cayou call to say, look, i need to get through this process. >> reporter: there are a series of deadlines coming up important to everyone who wants to comparison shop on "covered california"'s website but most important to those looking for government subsidized insurance coverage. >> now, if you want to get a subsidy, you want to have premium assistance, you can only get that through "covered california." so therefore, you would have to meet that deadline. >> reporter: the next important date is january 15


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