tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS June 7, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
>> pelley: tonight, a surge in suicides in the military. american troops are taking their own lives at the fastest pace in a decade of war. david martin looks for the answers. as the financial crisis in europe worsens, the chair man of the fed talks about protecting the u.s. economy. reports from anthony mason and clarissa ward. the government calls for a crackdown on distracted driving. anna werner's on one town's decision to ban phones in cars. and nancy cordes with a member of the class of 2012 who can teach us all something about beating insurmountable odds. >> a lot of people use bad situations as an excuse and instead of doing that i used them as motivation.
captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. one sued a day-- that is the rate of u.s. military personnel taking their own lives just since the first of this year. more troops lost to suicide than died in combat. it's a sharp increase over last year, and it's caught the attention of the pentagon. david martin has been working on the facts behind the numbers and he joins us now. david. >> reporter: scott, the war in iraq is over, and the war in afghanistan is winding down, but the pace of military suicides is actually increasing to a record level. pentagon figures show that as of this past monday, 154 service members had taken their lives so far in 2012, an average of more than one a day, and much higher than the 138 killed so far this year in afghanistan.
at this point in 2011, 130 service members had killed themselves. in 2010, the number was 123. pentagon officials had been expecting suicides to level off after seethe numbers soar as the intensity of the wars increased. specialist carl mccoy survived two tours in iraq, only to take his own life and shatter the life of his wife, maggie. >> he shot himself in the bathroom. >> reporter: here in this house? >> yes. >> reporter: that was 2008, when army did not have enough mental health counselors. mccoy had scheduled an appointment with a counselor at fort campbell, kentucky, but that morning. >> they called and canceled. >> reporter: and theyicancied because? >> they didn't have anybody to see him. that was the day before he killed himself. >> reporter: since then, the earn has hired more mental health workers and institute training designed to help troops recognize the warning signs of suicide and remove the stigma of asking for help.
, which many soldiers still see as a confession of weakness. pentagon officials say one possible reason for this unexpected spike in suicides is the poor economy, which has also caused an increase in civilian suicides. the most baffling thing about the number is nearly half the military suicides are committed by young men and women who have never been to war. >> pelley: david, thank you very much. there is worldwide out rage tonight over a new massacre in syria. the head of the u.n. says that the danger of civil war there is imminent. human rights activists claim that nearly 80 people were shot, hacked to death, and burned in their homes yesterday by a pro-government militia. today, secretary of state hillary clinton said this about syria's dictator bashar al-assad: >> assad has doubled down on his brutality and duplicity, and
syria will not, cannot be peaceful, stable, or certainly democratic until assad goes. >> pelley: it was a little over a year ago that a popular uprising tried to overthrow assad. he responded by shelling towns and fighting the freedom movement house to house. in the town of houla two weeks ago, more than 100 people were executed by pro-assad militias. yesterday's massacre was in qubeir outside of hama. a month ago the u.n. sent teams of observers into the country, but a u.n. team that tried to get to qubeir today was shot at and turned around. our correspondent, elizabeth palmer, also tried to get to the scene of the alleged massacre today. she's i don't think us from damascus, the syrian capital. liz, what happened on your trip? >> well, first, we had to find somebody who was willing to drive us up the central highway north of damascus, very difficult. it's considered so dangerous
with the widespread fighting. we finally found somebody and made it 100 miles to the outskirts of the city of hama. we ran into a checkpoint manned by heavily armed government forces, and they said, "look, that's it. you're not going any further." in fact, they forced us back to damascus. >> pelley: having not been able to reach the scene of the massacre, you've been trying to telephone into the village and find witnesses and i understand you reached a man today. >> reporter: we reached a man who came into the village just after the massacre. this is a very small collection of houses, about 35, 160 people. we were told that about half the population of this village of qubeir was killed and the other half saved themselves by running away. now, of course because the syrian government hasn't let anybody get in there, it's impossible to verify the details, and most crucially, we just don't know who was responsible. >> pelley: liz palmer reporting from damascus, thank you very much, liz. in this country now with the unemployment rate rising,
federal reserve chairman mark berndt appeared before congress today to give his assessment of the u.s. economy and what can be done to fix it. here's our senior business correspondent anthony mason. >> reporter: with the economy clearly slowing, mark berndt assured congress the fed stood ready to act. >> i wouldn't want to take anything off the table at this juncture. >> reporter: the stresses from europe were mounting, the fed chairman said, and posed a significant risk. >> the crise in europe has affectedly the u.s. economy by acting as a drag on our exports, weighing on business and consumer confidence, and pressuring u.s. financial markets and institutions. >> reporter: hope that the fed might act to stimulate the economy sent the market up again today, its first three-day rally since late april. >> our markets continue to be very fragile and somewhat confused. >> reporter: trader jonathan corpina of meridian equity says wall street needs to see stability overseas. >> i think investors continue to be very concerned about what's happening in europe and what's happening in china. >> reporter: but bernanke may
have few weapons left to help the economy here. the fed has already dropped interest rates to near zero, and a new poll by wells fargo and gallup found one-third of investors say they've put on retirement because low interest rates are preventing them from earning enough in their retirement accounts. >> all my savings, all my financial plans seem like they were at risk. >> reporter: 63-year-old bobby sackman, a social work who are advocates for senior citizens, had hoped to retire herself in a few years. are you thinking about working longer then? >> i am thinking about working longer than 66. >> reporter: saxman says she played by the rules, savings and investing. >> it's not quite working out the way i planned so there is a sense of frustration but maybe even more important than frustration is some fear. >> reporter: and even the fed itself seems confused about the direction of the economy. the head of the san francisco fed confessed yesterday, "our crystal balls are much cloudier
than usual." >> pelley: anthony, as you've told us many times, the american recovery is being held hostage at this moment by a financial crisis in europe. the 17 countries that use the euro as their currency are the largest economy in the world, but several are in trouble with debt they can't pay and banks that are failing due to reckless klebolding. today, spain's government debt was downgraded. we asked clarissa ward to go to madrid where she found an astounding unemployment problem. >> reporter: javier diaz never imagined at age 25 he would still be living at home. a college graduate, he has always wanted to be a teacher. >> i thought i am going to the university, and i will finish my degree, and then i will get a job. >> reporter: but he's been looking for work for two years. so where are some of the placess that you've sent your resume to? >> i am sending them to all the schools in madrid. the cities around. >> reporter: if you got a job
tomorrow at mcdonald's, would you take it? >> yes. >> reporter: 51% of spaniards under 25 are unemployed, the worst rate in europe. that's a million and a half young people. hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in angry protest. their slogan says it all, "if you take away our dreams, we will not let you sleep." they've come to the job market at a time when spanish bank bane on the brink, and businesses are folding daily, and they're angry that reckless lending during the boom years has meant they pay the price for a crisis they didn't create. this is the most educated generation that spain has ever produced, but many recent graduates feel that they've been trained for a world that simply no longer exists here. in fact, the situation has become so bad, that according to a recent survey, 68% of young people are now willing to move to another country to find work.
26-year-old irena arias lost her job producing commercials two weeks ago. >> you're going to stay here, cry and do anything or you can go away, go to another country, try to get a job there. >> reporter: how long will you give yourself to look for a job in spain before you'll try to go traveling and find a job somewhere else? >> until september. if i can't make it in september, then i'm going to leave. >> reporter: diaz is also thinking of leaving spain. for his mother, isadora, that's a painful prospect. "with this life you cannot see a future for the young" she said. "not in this country." for now, diaz makes a little extra cash giving karate lessons four hours a week, fighting to keep his dreams of being a teacher alive. clarissa ward, cbs news, madrid. >> pelley: the national weather system told us today there is a 50% chance that a weather phenomenon known as el
nino could return later this year. el nino is formed by warmer-than-normal water temperatures in the pacific. it can cause devastating storms along the west coast and it can mean fewer hurricanes for the east coast. the last time we saw el nino was in 2009. a first-in-the-nation ban on drivers using even hands-free cell phones. a woman mistakenly told her husband was missing in action gets an apology. and a football player wrongly accused of a terrible crime gets a second chance at living his dream when the cbs evening news continues. i used to love hearing that phrase... but not since i learned i have... postmenopausal osteoporosis and a high risk for fracture.
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[ male announcer ] fast relief, fresh breath, whether you're a protector... or a collector... at kenmore appliances we get it. that's why no brand in america gives you more of the capacity you need. we put more in, so you get more out. kenmore. >> pelley: transportation secretary ray lahood today announced a plan to fight what he calls a national epidemic and you might agree. in a single year, car crashes caused by distracted driving killed more than 3,000 americans and injured 416,000. lahood is recommending tougher laws against using phones in cars. we sent anna werner to a north carolina town that just passed what may be the toughest law there is. >> i think this is where my shoes were found. >> reporter: two years ago, 23-year-old krista slough was
walking to a bus stop when she was hit by a car. a witness told her the driver was on a cell phone. >> i fell to about around that tree. >> reporter: a brain hemorrhage forced her to miss a year of college. she has chronic headaches and memory lapses. when i talk to you sometimes that you're kind of reaching fair word. >> yeah, i think it's one of the most-- one of the hardest parts about having a-- this type of brain injury for me is just being able to see something and imagine it but not be able to find a word for it. >> reporter: slough joined others to push for chapel hill's new prohibition of drivers using cell phones. it's the first ban in the country to include hands-free devices. the penalty is a $25 fine. but it only applies to motorists stopped for another traffic violation like speeding, and there are exceptions for taking calls from a spouse, for instance, or in an emergency. >> i think that will make them think twice, at least. >> reporter: but some business owners oppose the ban.
>> this is mark. >> reporter: mark england runs an emergency cleaning service. he spends most of the day taking calls on the road. >> it would certainly hurt my business. you know, i would lose work as a result of that. >> reporter: and he says that small fine is hardly a deterrent. >> $25 versus missing what could be a several thousand dollar call? you know, i'm going to have to take the call. >> reporter: how do you respond to people who say own a business or work in an industry where they say, "i have to be able to answer my phone while driving." >> i think you can pull over for a second and it's not going to kill you to call them back 10 seconds later. but it could kill somebody else, or you, if you talk on your phone while driving. >> reporter: chapel hill's ban is on hold while some legal issues are resolved. the national transportation safety board wants similar policies enacted nationwide. the only exception-- cars with built-in phones. anna werner, cbs news, chapel
hill, north carolina. >> pelley: a lot of you have called us about steve hartman's stories this week about first lieutenant billie harsis, a u.s. airman who never came home from world war ii and his widow's quest to learn his fate. the office of peggy harris' congressman was told her husband was still listed as missing in action. it turns out lieutenant harris was not missing at pull. he had been shot down in france and he is in the american cemetery in normandy. a football star who suffered unjustly is writing his own comeback now when we return. oing hers?
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>> pelley: today a federal court in philadelphia combined 81 lawsuits filed by former pro football players into one. 2,000 players claim that the league knew that repeated hits to the head can lead to brain injuries but did not share the information. for its part, the nfl says it has always made player safety a priority. a young man who dreamed of playing in the nfl thought he'd lost his chance forever when he was sent away for a crime he did not commit. but football is a sport known for comebacks, and bill whitaker
tells us, today that player got a second chance. >> it's just a dream come true. >> reporter: brian banks knows about dreams and nightmares. >> look where i am. ( laughs ) look where i am today. like, i thank god for this. >> reporter: the 26-year-old former high school football star got the chance to show the coaches of the seattle sea hawks what he can do. he hasn't played since high school but head coach pete carroll says banks did so well on the solo tryout he was invited back to try out with the entire team. >> this is a guy that just deserved it, and because of our conversations we gave him a chance to come here today and work out for us. >> reporter: at 16, banks of the star linebacker for long beach poly, a southern california high school football powerhouse. he was offered a full scholarship to u.s.c. when pete carroll was coach there, but his dreams were dashed when a classmate accused him of kidnap and rape in this school stairwell. he vehemently denight charges. there was no d.n.a. evidence,
but his attorney sales ared him to take a plea bargain. >> "when you go into that courtroom the jury is going to see a big, black teenager and you're going to automatically be assumed guilty." those are her exact words. >> reporter: he spent five years in prison and then last year, to his surprise, his accuser asked him to be friends on facebook. he convinced her to meet him at the office of a private investigator who recorded the encounter. >> no, he did not rape me. >> reporter: last month, a california court cleared him of the crime. four days later, he got a phone call. >> and it was pete carroll asking if i knew any linebackers. he was looking for a linebacker. i said you've got the right number. >> reporter: banks says he has no time for bitterness. he's just happy for the chance to try out for the nfl. >> it's kind of like win, the sioux bowl and yelling out, "i'm going to disneyland," but it's that times 10. >> reporter: the odd odds are lg he will make it on to an nfl
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to succeed because, as you will see, she already has against incredible odds. nancy cordes has her story. >> reporter: at 6:00 this morning, long before her classmates were even weak, 18-year-old dawn loggins was already pushing a mob through her high school in longdale, north carolina, where she also works as a custodian. >> i work two hours before school, and then i'll go to school and then i'll come back and work two hours after cool. >> reporter: when do you do your homework? >> when i get home. >> reporter: home for dawn is complicated. for years, she moved around, sometimes squatting with her stepfather and unemployed mother. >> every time i stepped out we would have to move or my mom would use rent money to bail him out of jail. there would be place where's we lived where we wouldn't have power and water for extended periods of time. >> reporter: but she always excelled at school. then last summer, dawn returnedd from an academic summer camp to
find her parents had abandoned her. >> i could never get in touch with them. every time i called them, it said, "this number has been temporarily disconnected." >> reporter: they had moved to tennessee. dawn moved from couch to couch until a counselor asked sheryl kolton, a school custodian, if she would take dawn in. >> misputnew hampshire explained to me that she had nowhere to live and that she just wanted to finish high school. >> reporter: with a safe place to stay, dawn flourished you were president of the photography club. >> yes. >> reporter: the spanish club, the rock climbing club. dimiss any? >> also start aid community service project for soldiers in active military service, national honor society, beta club, national spanish honor society. >> reporter: when it came time to apply to college, a friend urged her to aim high. >> "you've been admitted to the harvard college class of 2016." and i think what got me into harvard was my drive and the fact that i've been able to do so much with everything working
against me. imagine what i'll be able to do when things are actually going like they should. >> reporter: and tonight when dawn graduates from burns high school near the top of her class, it will be sheryl's face she looks for in the crowd. >> i feel like sheryl allowing me to stay there has been the best thing that-- that has happened to me. >> and i think that a lot of people would have done the same thing that i have done if they knew the circumstances. >> reporter: dawn plans to pay for college with a mix of financial aid, local scholarships, and the money she saved from cleaning classrooms. nancy cordes, cbs news, lawndale, north carolina. >> pelley: and that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
this is 9 news now. and tonight former d.c. council chair kwame brown facing a new charge, this time radding his campaign finance spending. -- regarding his campaign finance spending and sources tell 9 news now bruin will enter a guilty plea to that new -- brown will enter a guilty plea to that new misdemeanor charge as part of a sweeping duel that forced him to leave office. our bruce johnson brings us more. >> reporter: kwame brown leaving office for the last time yesterday after resigning as d.c. council chairman after his attorneys had worked out a deal with prosecutors whereby brown would admit to a felony bank fraud charge. brown knew then the deal would also require him to plead guilty eventually to a misdemeanor charge filed today