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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  July 27, 2009 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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from the first moments of the incident that led to the arrest of henry louis gates. a woman who worked in the neighborhood was walking to lunch when another elderly woman approached and asked her to call 911. >> reporter: from the outset, the caller raises the idea that the men may not be robbers but pushing through their own front door. >> reporter: the caller, a woman named lucia whalen, wants to stay out of the spotlight, but today she had her lawyer tell reporters whalen was a concerned citizen, not a racist. >> it's really been very difficult because she's been characterized as kind of the racist spark that got the controversy going. and nothing could be further
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from the truth. now that the tapes are out, you can hear for yourself. >> reporter: that's true. in the call that sparked a heated national debate about racial profiling, whalen doesn't mention race at all until the 911 operator asks her for a description of the men breaking in. >> reporter: another tape released by the cambridge p.d. captured sergeant crowley's communication with headquarters. right off the bat, crowley reports trouble. >> reporter: he establishes the professor's identity. >> reporter: but that doesn't calm things. >> we have a long way to go. we recognize that we are going to take advantage of the situation and we're going to learn from it, we're going to
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move forward. that is strong community, a proud community. and we're going to be a stronger prouder community when we come out of this. >> reporter: as for that beer president obama said he hoped to sit down and w gates and crowley in hopes of hashing this out, nothing is on the schedule yet, but the white house says hopefully it will happen this week. katie? >> couric: jim axelrod. jim, thank you. now turning to breaking news on the michael jackson investigation. a law enforcement official has told the associated press that the singer's personal doctor, conrad murray, administered diprivan, a powerful anesthetic drug suspected of killing the pop star. ben tracy in los angeles has been covering this story for us. ben, how significant is this latest development? >> reporter: well, katie, this is a big development but not exactly an unexpected one and that's because ever since michael jackson died about a month ago a lot of the focus has been on his personal doctor, conrad murray. sources tell the associated press that dr. murray did give michael jackson diprivan or
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propofol, the night before he died. we don't know if michael jackson ever woke up that next day but we what we do know is 9911 was called and the singer is declared dead. dr. murray said he never gave the singer anything that should have killed him. he never denied giving the singer propofol. why this is significant is because we're talking about a very powerful drug here. this is basically used to sedate people in hospitals during surgery and should never be used outside of a hospital or a medical clinic. how michael jackson got this drug is still unknown and if he was using it at his house, that's a very, very serious thing. apparently, michael jackson was using this drug to sleep. that's one of the allegations. the singer apparently suffered from insomnia. now, if dr. merry was giving him to this at home, he would have had to monitor the singer all the time to make sure that not too much of the drug was given because when it comes to propofol use basically you can go from... if you give someone
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one c.c. too much of the drug you can go from asleep to being dead. this is serious stuff, katie. >> couric: ben tracy, ben, thanks for that update. now turning to health news. as congress debates how to cut the high cost of medical care, a new report out today says there is a lot of fat to cut, and many americans are carrying it. the report says obesity cost the nation's health care system as much as $147 billion every year. that adds up to more than nine cents out of every health care dollar. mark strassmann has more on the personal and public cost of the obesity epidemic. >> reporter: three years ago, tim lenczowski was fighting for his life. he weighed 335 pounds and he had the photos and the old jeans to prove it. whatize? >> this is 50. >> reporter: and now you are? >> 36. >> reporter: through exercise and diet he dropped 120 pounds after his alarmed doctor prescribed him heart medication.
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>> that's what really got me thinking "i've got to do something or i'm not going to make it." >> reporter: tim was like more than 100 million people in the use-- dangerously overweight. a trend reflected in this map. in 1994 all the states in blue had less than a 20% obesity rate. fast forward to 2008 and there's only one state left-- colorado-- that's below 20%. the c.d.c. defines obesity using the body mass index, or b.m.i.. it's a formula based on someone's height and weight that calculates body fat. for example, a 5'9 adult. a healthy weight would be between 125 and 168 pounds with a b.m.i. of between 18 and 25. that same adult over 203 pounds would have a b.m.i. above 30 and be considered obese. doctors say obese patients are more at risk for type two diabetes, hypertension, even cancer. on average, obese people spend more than
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$1,400 per year more for medical expenses, $600 more on prescriptions alone. >> the toll of obesity is driving up health care costs and crippling the fabric of many communities around the country. >> reporter: for all the talk of overhauling america's health care system, the c.d.c. says real cost savings lie in getting millions of americans to overhaul their high-fat low-exercise life-style. mark strassmann, cbs news, atlanta. >> reporter: now, some believe another way to help pay for health care reform is to put a tax on one of the causes of obesity: soft drinks full of sugar. nancy cordes has more on that. >> reporter: americans consume roughly 250 more calories everyday than they did in the '70s and half those calories come from sugary drinks, which is why some health advocates are urging congress to help pay for health care reform with a tax on non-diet sodas. >> we're not saying that calories from sugared beverages
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are different from any other calories, they're just too many of them. >> reporter: a ten-cent tax per can could yield $140 billion in revenues over ten years, but the beverage industry is pushing back. >> this is not time for congress to be adding taxes on the simple pleasures we all enjoy-- like juice drinks and soda. >> reporter: there are several proposals for tackling obesity buried in the health care reform bill, such as requiring calorie labeling on chain restaurant menus, removing high co-pays for nutrition counseling, and allowing larger insurance premium discounts for employees who participate in wellness programs at work. >> i think you'll see significant steps to encourage wellness and prevention. >> reporter: but the president's plan was dealt another blow this weekend when one of his major proposals... >> an independent group of doctors and medical experts were empowered to eliminate waste and inefficiency in medicare. >> reporter: ...failed to pass
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financial must we are the congressional budget office. it said such an independent panel would save little money. still, the white house contends it has reached agreement with congress on 80% of the reform package. >> there's no doubt that the 20% to go is not going to be necessarily easy and it never has been. >> reporter: so far, the soft drink tax idea has gotten it will traction here on capitol hill. it might raise a lot of money, but some reformers worry that it will unfairly burden lower and middle-class americans, katie? >> couric: nancy cordes on capitol hill tonight. thank you, nancy. for more about the physical and financial costs of our expanding wayslines, go to our partner in health coverage, webmd.com and search obesity. now turning to the health of the housing market. there's new reason to hope the end of the slump may be in sight the government reports today that sales of new homes jumped 11% last month, and that's three times as much as analysts were expecting. ben tracy now on a housing
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rebound-- be it ever so humble. >> reporter: these are the sounds of a housing market that may finally be building steam, giving home builders some much optimism. >> i open with all of my heart and all of my soul and all of my checkbook. >> reporter: june's 11% jump in new home sales is the largest increase in more than eight years. sales were up a whopping 43% in the midwest, 29% in the northeast and 23% in the west. only the south saw a drop. linda henning just bought a new home in chicago. >> it was the right move for us and to be able to find a development such as this where we want to be in the city really worked out. >> reporter: buyers are cautiously moving back in to somethat that bargain prices, relatively low interest rates and a federal tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time home purchases. that incentive expires at the end of november. >> maybe about half the increase that we've seen in housing
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starts and single family starts and new home sales is because of this tax credit. >> reporter: but the new housing market is still facing its worst year on record. new home sales are down 21% versus this time last year and now it takes nearly a year to sell a new house. an all time record. and home builders continue to struggle because prices keep falling. the median price of a new home in june fell to $206,000, down 12% from a year ago. but those lower prices are what got linda in the door of her new home. >> i would love to say that things are going to turn around. i really hope they do. >> reporter: and new home sales are important to the economic recovery. not only do they create construction jobs, but furnishing new homes leads to sales of everything from paint and furniture to swing sets and appliances. katie? >> couric: ben tracy. ben, thanks very much. one other business note, sagging profits are forcing telecom giant verizon to make more job cuts. the company said today it will slash 8,000 employee and contractor
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jobs by the end of if year. it cut the same number last year. and coming up next, the cbs news exclusive. they're an elite force that wiped out terrorists in their country. now they're headed to fight the taliban. she wants to make up. we decide to turn in early. we just know.
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ed. >> couric: u.s. forces are about to get some much-needed help as they fight the taliban in afghanistan. teams of elite foreign commandos will soon be headed there. they're u.s. trained and battle tests having defeated terrorists in their own country: colombia. chief foreign affairs correspondent lara logan traveled there for an exclusive look at their training. >> reporter: ten years ago, they didn't even exist. today these elite colombian special operations troops are preparing to fight alongside the u.s. in afghanistan. for colombia, it's a way to give something back to the u.s. and the american green berets... >> great job today. >> reporter: ...who spent the last decade training them. how good are they? >> oh, they're very good. >> reporter: colombia's top military man chose our interview to make the surprise announcement his men would join the fight in afghanistan. when? >> very soon. maybe in august or september.
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these will be our first opportunity in our history. >> reporter: colombia's recent history is written in blood, an insurgency wage bid leftist guerrillas known as the f.a.r.c. and funded with drug money brought this country to its knees. this is colombia today. the economy is thriving. order has been restored. kidnappings are down dramatically. >> dramatically, yes. >> reporter: terrorism, incidents of terrorist attacks. >> ditto. >> reporter: so what changed? over $6 billion in u.s. aid. a committed colombian government and a small team of green berets from seventh group special forces. what is the relationship between colombia and u.s. special forces. >> we don't have secrets. we are a very open book. >> reporter: the relationship took years to build. with the green berets working to turn colombia's best soldiers
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into an organized special operations force. they helped train this police special operations unit known as the jungle commandos, seen here on a lye training exercise. the commandos hit targets deep in the jungle, destroying drug labs and taking out the top drug lords. how tough is it to fight in the judge? >> i think it's some of the toughest things you can do. >> reporter: with the help of america's best warriors, the colombia special forces have become some of the finest soldiers in the world and they've used the skills they've learned to de stating effects against their enemy in the jungle, on the backs of 45-year-old insurgency. this is what the real fight here looks like. colombia's military taking on f.a.r.c. guerrillas in an intense battle this year. they've cut the area where the f.a.r.c. can operate from almost half the country ten years ago down to just 5% today.
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they've had less success in the drug war. cocaine production was down 28% last year, according to the u.n. but colombia remains the world's top cocaine producer. its rivers are a superhighway for drug and arms trafficking, and the next target in the special operations war. colombia's army enjoying soaring popularity among the people, but critics point out the military has been implicated in the killing and disappearance of civilians. colonel greg willson knows from experience how advanced colombia's top units now are. he was the senior u.s. special operations commander there when three u.s. hostages were rescued by the colombian special operations forces last summer. >> i would rank it as one of the top special operations in modern day history. >> reporter: ambassador brownfield says colombia is the best investment of u.s. taxpayer money this century. >> it has been the most
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successful nation-building exercise that the united states of america has associated itself with perhaps over the last 25 or 30 years. >> reporter: the u.s. is looking to colombia as it struggles to make headway in afghanistan. as one top u.s. official said "the more afghanistan can look like colombia, the better." lara logan, cbs news, colombia. and a hint of tint that brightens eye color while defining lashes. turn up the light in your eyes. [ female announcer ] with exact eyelights from easy breezy beautiful covergirl. or 100 pringles. both cost the same, but only the new pringles super stack can makes everything pop. same cost, but a lot more fun. everything pops with the new pringles super stack can.
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>> couric: the senate judiciary committee will vote tomorrow at judge sonia sotomayor and it's sure to recommend she be confirmed but two republicans on the panel said today they will vote no. jeff sessions said he believes sotomayor would be a judicial activist and charles grassley-- who's never before voted against a supreme court nominee-- said he doubts she'd be able to set aside personal biases. a vote by the full senate is expected next week. in sports, quarterback michael vick is set to go back to the football field. the n.f.l. reinstated him today. the commissioner said vick has earned the right to play again after finishing a 23-month sentence for running a dog fighting ring. vick, who is 29, could play in games as early as october if a team signs him. a star in a very different field has died. merse cunningham was an unconventional but highly
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influential pioneer of modern dance. he began as a dancer and then founded his own company in 1953 and choreographed hundreds of works, often using multimedia. for cunningham, the only thing dance really needed was movement itself. a story and even music were secondary, a philosophy not each found appealing. merse cunningham was 90. nnnnnnnn medication to lower your bad cholesterol but your good cholesterol and triglycerides are still out of line? then you may not be seeing the whole picture. ask your doctor about trilipix. statin to lower bad cholesterol, along with diet, adding trilipix can lower fatty triglycerides and raise good cholesterol to help improve all three cholesterol numbers. trilipix has not been shown to prevent heart attacks or stroke more than a statin alone. trilipix is not for everyone, including people with liver, gallbladder, or severe kidney disease,
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or nursing women. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. blood tests are needed before and during treatment to check for liver problems. contact your doctor if you develop unexplained muscle pain or weakness, as this can be a sign of a rare but serious side effect. this risk may be increased when trilipix is used with a statin. if you cannot afford your medication, call 1-866-4-trilipix for more information. trilipix. there's more to cholesterol. get the picture. inspired from around the country at red lobster. from the northeast, try our new maine lobster and crab bake, with garlic-roasted tender maine lobster, jumbo shrimp, scallops, and a full half-pound of snow crab legs. or from the south, try our new orleans... wood-grilled shrimp jambalaya, simmered with creole seasonings. taste these regional dishes for a limited time. at red lobster.
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>> couric: finally tonight, could you imagine an american politician keeping his job after being accused of fooling around with the high-priced hooker? well, things are a bit different in italy where politics makes strange bedfellows. here's elizabeth palmer. >> reporter: silvio berlusconi admits he's no saint. many italians see him as an indiscreet but ultimately lovable old rogue. the guy who bellowed at president obama during the g-20 summit in april and upset the queen. who gave rabbit ears to spain's foreign minister in an official photo in 2002 and told earthquake survivors in may to view the experience as a camping
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weekend. but it's berlusconi's most recent sexcapades that have polarized italian public opinion. >> when you publish every single word, tape in the bed, it's embarrassing. >> reporter: during the taping, patrizia d'adario, a call girl who claims to have recorded this conversation at the prime minister's home. berlusconi swears he didn't pay for the alleged sex, but this spring his wife filed for divorce after he attended an 18-year-old's birthday party. soon afterward, pictures appeared of naked and near-naked guests partying at his villa in sardinia. predictably among voters there's the outrage. >> it's a disaster. >> i hate him. >> reporter: but there's also been admiration. >> he's a good guy. >> he's a powerful man.
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>> reporter: power berlusconi seems unlikely to lose in spite of the scandal thanks to a slim majority of italians happy to accept a little private sin in public life. elizabeth palmer, cbs news, london. >> couric: and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. i'll see you tomorrow. good night.
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this is "entertainment
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tonight" in high definition. michael jackson's best man at eury guri gellar's wedding. on churches, two hours late. plus, breaking news today on michael's toxicology results. >> then, michael's plastic surgeon, what he's saying about michael's medical records. >> he had received this amount. sdwr is that a lot? >> it's huge for a man his weight. >> and his rumored lost son, found in these home videos. omar, prince, and daddy michael. >> jermaine jackson's never released tell-all. secrets from the coauthor. >> he said, my brother is wealthy, but he does drugs. he changed his skin color. >> is jermaine selling

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