tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS April 13, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
>> pelley: shades of the cold war. russian warplanes buzz a u.s. navy destroyer over and over. also tonight, zika virus no longer just a suspect in birth defects. the c.d.c. today confirmed it is the cause. cbs news investigates the role of doctors in the epidemic of painkiller abuse. >> reporter: what percentage of your patients get prescriptions for oxycodone? >> nearly 100%. >> pelley: and the man who talked his way into the baseball hall of fame. >> it's time for dodger baseball. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley.
>> pelley: an we'll begin tonight with breaking news. late today the c.d.c. confirmed what had been suspected, that zika virus does, in fact, cause severe birth defects. mosquitoes in the united states are soon likely to carry and spread the virus. this map is showing you the 27 states where the particular type of mosquito thrives. here's dr. jon lapook. >> reporter: the c.d.c. said confirmation the zika virus causes microcephaly, an underdeveloped brain at birth, is unprecedented. it's first time in history a virus transmitted by mosquito bite has been found to cause birth defects. dr. sonja rasmussen is with the c.d.c. >> what we're learning is that they have a severe form of microcephaly that is oftentimes associated with other problems in the brain that can be seen on imaging on c.t. scans or m.r.i.s that make us really concerned. >> reporter: the c.d.c. says it made the determination based on mounting evidence from many
studies. images released today by researchers in brazil, where the virus is widespread, show severe brain damage in babies with microcephaly. the white areas are signs of calcium. they also represent destruction, inflammation and scarring in tissues of the nervous system. the researchers said the damage was extremely severe, indicating a poor prognosis for neurological function. obstetrician dr. jennifer wu is with lenox hill hospital. >> this is not something that will go away. this is something they'll have to live with for the rest of their lives. >> reporter: researchers are just at the beginning of learning about the dangers of zika infection. >> typically we find out about the tip of the iceberg first. sometimes it takes years to understand the fill spectrum. >> reporter: today's news reinforces the c.d.c.'s recommendation for pregnant women to avoid travel to areas where zika virus is spreading and for their partners to have traveled there to abstain from sex or use latex condoms. and, scott, the latest guidelines are at cbsnews.com.
>> pelley: and we want to emphasize that there have been no cases of mosquito-borne zika in the united states yet, but it is likely. dr. jon lapook, thank you. russian president vladimir putin pitched a military brushback to the united states. over the past two planesious his warplanes buzzed a u.s. destroyer in the baltic sea in what the white house calls "a provocation." david martin at the pentagon on what's behind it. >> look at the guy to port. look at the left one. he is on the deck. >> reporter: they're coming so low and fast at first you can't make them out. >> on the deck. below the bridge wing. >> reporter: the russian planes carried no weapons under their wing, but they were flying with the commander of the "u.s.s. donald cook" described as a simulated attack, not once or twice, but 31 times over two days. it started on monday. "the cook"" was preparing to conduct flight operations in the baltic sea in international
waters 75 miles off the russian enclave of kaliningrad. a pair of russian attack jets flew 20 close passes on the ship, coming as close as 1,000 yards at an altitude of 100 feet. ignoring radio calls from "the cook" and forcing the ship to cancel flight operations. on tuesday a russian helicopter circled "the cook" seven times taking photographs. then another pair of attack jets showed up and buzz "the cook" 11 time, this time coming within an estimated 30 feet of the ship and again ignoring attempts to contact them. this is the latest in a series of incidents over the past two years in which russian aircraft have challenged nato ships and planes. the obama administration is planning to lodge a diplomatic protest. white house spokesman josh earnest. >> we have seen a pattern on the part of the russians in undertaking these kinds of actions that they at least i think intend to be provocative. >> reporter: the u.s. will file a protest, but russia will have made its point.
it resents american forces operating close to russian territory and intends to push back. scott? >> pelley: david martin at the pentagon. david, thank you. well, those russian fighters may have come out of the blue, but the tension has been rising for years along the old borders of the soviet union. in 2014, russia took crimea from ukraine, which the u.s. supports. then the u.s. hilt russia's weak economy with economic sanctions, and the obama administration proved tax into the baltic states near today's incident. in syria, russian bombed rebels at -- that the u.s. supports, and recently the u.s. staged military maneuvers in latvia. the russian bombing campaign in syria has turned the tide for the syrian regime of bashar al-assad, who embroiled his country in a five-year civil war. well, today assad held elections, ignoring u.s. demands that he step down. elizabeth palmer is in damascus.
>> reporter: more than 3,000 candidates vied for seats in syria's parliament, but none represented genuine opposition, so every vote was really an endorsement of president bashar al-assad, who, along with his wife, made a personal appearance today to cast his ballot. this election, with its thousands of candidates, its ballot boxes and polling stations is a surreal exercise, considering that syria is very much at war and the ceasefire that had held for just over a month is now collapsing. so to say this election is flawed is an understatement. there was no voting for the millions of syrians who fled the country. or those who live in areas controlled by opposition groups and none in the many active battle zone, some close to the center of the capital. but the fiercest fighting right now is around aleppo, where
opposition activists say on the weekends syrian helicopters dropped barrel bombs on a northern suburb, injuring children who live there. the syrian government is determined to reconquer this whole area and consolidate its hold militarily. while it uses the elections to strengthen its political hand going into a new round of peace talks in scweefa. -- geneva. most of the people who turned out to vote today, scott, do support president assad, either because they have done all along or because they believe that after five years of war, he is better than any of the alternatives. >> pelley: elizabeth palmer in damascus. thank you, liz. we've been telling you about lawmakers in state after state passing bills to protect people who site religious beliefs for refusing to serve or employ gay or transgender people. we wondered why so many of these laws, including some that limit access to public restroom, are
surfacing right now. well, dean reynolds found out. >> being transis not a crime! >> reporter: demonstrators against the so-called "bathroom bills" were out in force in south carolina. their chants echoing those in other states claiming legislators have enacted laws allowing bigotry. the conservative group that has helped author many of those legislation, was working on its orlando-area office on new ways to uphold what it says is really at stake. >> it's only about being free to pursue your faith. we have no interest in discriminating against anyone. >> reporter: matthew staver has talked to attorneys in 50 states, drafting bills, advising lawmakers and defending clients in what they believe to be the great cultural clash of our time. >> you are a strong people. >> reporter: we first met staver when he defended kentucky
county clerk kim davis, who said it was against her religion to hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples. lately liberty council has been helping to draft legislation for conservative lawmakers in at least 20 states. >> there's certainly a threat of information that is similar and the same. they all have the same intent, and this is to protect religious freedom. >> reporter: but opponents say liberty's handiwork protects those who for religious reasons decline to employ or serve gays, lesbians or transgender people. their bills began cropping up in state legislatures soon after the supreme court legalized same-sex marriage last year. >> an objective observer could conclude that you want to push back against that ruling. >> well, i certainly want the push back against the ruling. it was a wrong ruling. it has no basis in the constitution. >> reporter: and he's unfazed by corporate threats to pull out of states in protest against his work. money talks, right?
>> they're not going to follow through. >> reporter: so it's a bluff? >> it's a bluff. >> reporter: but now comes word that ringo starr is the latest entertainer to cancel a concert in north carolina in protest. scott, the beatles old drummer said he's sorry to disappoint his fan, "but we need the take a stand against this hatred." >> pelley: dean reynolds on the story for us tonight. dean, thank you. now, in the presidential campaign today, republican front-runner donald trump hired veteran g.o.p. strategist rick wiley to be his new national political director. trump is adding professionals to his team because he's being outmaneuvered for delegates. trump complained last night the system is rigged. g.o.p. chairman reince priebus responded, "the rules are the rules." six days before the primary in new york, democratic front-runner hillary clinton picked up the endorsement of the new york daily news. the latest poll today has her
leading bernie sanders by ten points. sanders got his first endorsement from a senate colleague, jeff merkley of oregon. tonight we are continuing our investigation into the epidemic of prescription painkiller addiction. ground zero is west virginia where doctors write 138 prescriptions for every 100 people. seven doctors have lost their licenses since january. 15 more are being investigated. one of them sat down to explain his practice to jim axelrod. >> reporter: doctor, how are you? meet dr. michael kostenko. he's written more than 30,000 prescriptions for oxycodone in the last two years. how many patients do you have? >> at any given time, we're 800 to 1,000 active patients. >> reporter: what percentage of your patients get prescriptions for oxycodone? >> nearly 100%.
>> reporter: according to court document, dr. kostenko is one of west virginia's top ten prescribers of painkillers. did you write 325 prescriptions the first week of january for more than 19,000 oxycodone pills >> possibly. >> reporter: you don't know how many prescriptions you wrote? >> i don't. it may well be. >> reporter: operating at the end of this narrow, unpaved pothole-filled, two-mile logging road -- >> you know, sometimes it's hard to keep your eyes open. >> reporter: -- dr. kostenko host group sessions at his country clinic, where as seen in videos he posts on youtube, he explains his approach to treating disease and pain through changes in diet and behavior. >> and the bacteria and fungus particles will get into the lymph areas. >> reporter: after filling out a medical assessment, each
patient pays $120 cash. at the end of the class, they're then handed their prescription for pain meds. there are hardly ever private exams. >> there's very little that we need to do in private in our office. >> reporter: you don't need to conduct a conversation confidential about my use of pain medication? that wouldn't occur in private? >> um, everyone's on the same pain medication. >> reporter: in the last two years, three of dr. kostenko's patients have died after overdosing on a cocktail of pills, including oxycodone prescribed by kostenko along with pills prescribed by other physicians. are you in contact with their primary care physicians to coordinate care? >> no. >> reporter: don't you have an obligation to talk to the other doctors, to make sure that cocktail isn't fatal? >> if the conversation would be productive, absolutely. >> reporter: well, the patient is dead, so how could the
conversation be any less productive than what happened? >> there should be better communication between all physicians dealing with these drugs. there just is not. >> reporter: the state has suspended dr. kostenko's license while they investigate the deaths and decide whether to revoke his license. robert knittle is the president of the board of directors. is it hard to get a doctor's license suspended or revoked? >> it is. with prescription drugs, physicians can bribe them. they're legal. it's not like cocaine or heroin. >> reporter: did she get eight prescriptions dr. kostenko didn't seem to help his case when discussing one of those cases with us, a woman being medicated by another physician, a doctor who kostenko never consulted with. do you bare any responsibility for that death? >> yes, i do. >> reporter: as he explains it, dr. kostenko says he wishes
the hospital where the patient was being treated had reached out to him. he tells us he didn't know how bad her condition was. new investigations have been opened into two other overdose deaths of patients of dr. kostenko. >> christa: jim, thank you. higher speed limits are killing thousands, and a chip in the brain gives a paralyzed man the use of his hands. when the "cbs evening news" continues. but that is changing. at temenos, with the microsoft cloud, we can enable a banker to travel to the most remote locations with nothing but a phone and a tablet. everywhere where there's a phone, you have a bank. now a person is able to start a business, and employ somebody for the first time. the microsoft cloud helped us to bring banking to ten million people in just two years. it's transforming our world. the #1 selling frequent heartburn brand in america.
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a crash where the driver was going at least 20 miles over the limit. >> if he had been going the speed limit, there's not a doubt in my mind every kid would have been home safe. >> reporter: but speed limits across the country have been going up since the federal government repealed the mandatory maximum of 55 in 1995. the insurance institute for highway safety found those increases have caused at least 33,000 deaths over a 20-year period, with every five miles the speed limit rose, deaths grew by 4%. on freeways it jumped 8%. charles farmer authored the study. >> for this few minutes that you're saving by going faster, you're increasing your risk quite a bit. there are people dying out there. >> reporter: but the national motorists association says speed limits work best when approximating the natural flow of traffic, which may be higher than the posted limit. >> fatality rates overall have dropped to the point where the last couple years they're the
lowest on record. as states have continually been raising speed limits, their safety statistics have actually gotten better. >> reporter: researchers estimate 1,900 people lost their lives in 2013 because of the higher speed limits. that's almost as many lives as were saved by frontal air bags that year. scott, seven states have speed limits of 80mph or higher. in parts of texas that limit is 85. >> pelley: kris van cleave. thank you, kris. we'll be right back. or where you're from. city. country. we're just everyday people fighting high blood sugar. ♪ i am everyday people, yea, yea. ♪ farxiga may help in that fight every day. along with diet and exercise, farxiga helps lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. one pill a day helps lower your a1c. and, although it's not a weight-loss or blood-pressure drug, farxiga may help you lose weight and may even lower systolic blood pressure when used with metformin.
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i approve this message. >> pelley: president obama met budding inventors at the white house science fair. he marveled at a robotic vacuum built to pick up subway trash. works like a charm with ping pong balls. he also blew bubbles using a wand made with a 3-d printer. the operator, nine-year-old jacob legette, got a fist bump from the science fan in chief. adult scientists showed off a breakthrough in treating paralysis. ian burkhart, paralyzed below his shoulders, is now able to
play video games, swipe a credit card and play the guitar. researchers at ohio state implanted a chip in his brain that transmits his thoughts directly to his hand muscles, bypassing his damaged nerves. up next, he holds a record that may never be broken. >> a very pleasant good afternoon to you. >> this portion of the "cbs evening news" news is sponsored by:
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broadcaster for a single team in history. last night this became his final season with the dodgers, and carter evans was there. >> it's time for dodger baseball. >> reporter: over nearly seven decades, vin scully has called some of baseball's most famous moments. including hank aaron's historic home run. >> it is gone! >> reporter: that broke babe ruth's record. >> a black man is getting a standing ovation in the deep south. >> reporter: and sandy koufax's pitching jam. >> swung on and missed. a perfect game. >> reporter: now 88 years old, scully has called every dodger's season since 1950, when the team was still dodging trolleys in brooklyn. jackie robinson was in his prime and harry truman was in the white house. he's called more than 9,000 games. >> he hit another one. >> reporter: sportscaster al
michaels. >> he's remarkable in so many ways. how many people can you say in their late 80s are at the top of their game? >> reporter: earlier this week the road leading to dodger stadium was renamed vin scully avenue. someone asked me the other day, what will you miss the most when you leave the job. and i thought a moment, and i said, the roar of the crowd. that's what i'm going to miss the most. >> reporter: these days those cheers are for scully. >> maybe on the final day of my final broadcast i'll somehow come up with the magic words that you deserve. as for now, i have only two magic words: thank you. >> reporter: no, say scully's fans, thank you. carter evan, cbs news, los angeles. >> pelley: that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world.
pregnancy rumors are swirling tonight. >> she said i'm the father? >> megan fox's co-star is not her baby daddy. but what does this shot and her ex reveal? >> are ryan reynolds and blake lively expecting? what is she hiding? >> is drew barrymore pregnant after her recent split. >> and is charlize theron giving into her son's plea to have a brother? >> said, can i have a brother? >> and is courtney cox reengaged to her ex? we have the new make-out video. and is blake proposing to gwen after five months of dating? >> get ready for the most star-packed "e.t.." ever. >> you can quote me on t >> jennifer lawrence on her new movie with chris pratt, will smith, ben affleck and the