tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS August 9, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
the bacon [ inaudible ] >> i think we should have that at our state fair. >> couric: tonight, the pentagon prepares for a new battle, this one with congress as the defense secretary announces major cuts in spending and jobs. i'm katie couric. also tonight, the massacre in afghanistan. remembering aid workers who cared more about the health of afghans than their own safety. the mystery of alzheimer's. can a new test help predict whether you're likely to get the disease? and tonight's special? a little comfort food. >> how can you keep feeding these kids? >> i cannot stop. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone.
the u.s. military is launching a new attack on a familiar enemy-- fat in the budget. the secretary of defense announced plans to cut $100 billion out of it over the next five years. the budget is now about $750 billion a year. one target is a major command in virginia that employs nearly 6,000 people and government officials in the state-- democrats and republicans alike- - are up in arms. david martin has more on the planned cuts and why the pentagon says they're necessary. >> reporter: after nearly a decade of war-time spending, defense secretary gates today took dead aim at a bloated pentagon bureaucracy which spends a quarter of a trillion a year on overhead. >> the culture of endless money that has taken hold and must be replaced by a culture of savings and restraint. >> reporter: gates kicked off example after example of the bloat that has set in since 9/11. his own office has grown by 1,000 people. the number of generals, admirals and senior civilians by 400. it's called grass creep.
>> personnel of higher and higher rank are assigned to do things that could be handled by personnel of lower rank. >> reporter: over the next two years, he wants the number of brass-- civilian and military-- cut by 200. he also plans to close the business transformation agency which you've probably never heard of which spends $340 million a year. also on the hit list, the joint forces command in norfolk, virginia, which, in fact, commands no forces but employs nearly 6,000 people and spends $240 million a year. beyond the specific cuts, gates is out to end the decades-old pattern of sharp wartime increases and steep peacetime declines. >> if you were to graph the defense budget going back the last 40 or 50 years, it would look like the e.k.g. of a fibrillating heart. >> reporter: he plans to cut $100 billion worth of fat over five years and spend it instead on things like shipbuilding. >> this is not about cutting the defense budget.
this is about a reallocation internally. >> reporter: in other words, katie, he wants to take the money the pentagon spends on bureaucrats and spend it on weapons instead. >> couric: david, i know secretary gates said he plans to stay until the end of this year. how can he get all this done between now and then? >> reporter: well, he can't and he knows it. he's already talking about staying well into next year which also means he'll be around when the obama administration makes its first decisions on cutting troops in afghanistan. >> couric: all right. david martin at the pentagon. as always, david, thanks so much. to our other top story tonight, the massacre of those ten medical aid workers in afghanistan. secretary of state hillary clinton today condemned the taliban for the murders, calling the victims heroic and the head of the christian charity they worked for insisted the organization will, in fact, remain in afghanistan. the victims, including six americans, were gunned down last week, most apparently execution style.
they had just finished a two- week mission providing medical care to villagers in northern afghanistan. all told, there are over 300 foreign aid groups working in that country, so what would make someone volunteer for such dangerous work? here's national correspondent jim axelrod. >> reporter: 61-year-old tom little spent 30 plus years improving eye care in afghanistan, wholly devoted to a land and its people. >> he gave his life in afghanistan and that's where we were called to as a family and that's where he will be buried. >> reporter: little was one of ten volunteers killed after shrugging off warnings about the danger of the primitive northern provinces. >> people's bodies were healed and services were provided to those that would not otherwise have necessary medical services. >> reporter: thomas grams was 51. he quit his dental practice in colorado to give afghan children their first toothbrushes. >> i think he probably personally saw maybe 20,000 kids
through our clinic. >> reporter: dr. karen woo is british, 36. she left a private clinic london to work in afghanistan, though she planned to leave in a few weeks to get married. >> all she wanted to do was help. and a lot of the time she would very much forget about herself. >> reporter: others killed included brian cardarelli, a 25- year-old videographer from virginia, an eagle scout. dan kerrylyed in afghanistan since 1980. he and his wife raised three daughters there is. glen lapp was a nurse from pennsylvania who recently wrote his work was "treating people with respect and love." cheryl beckett, 32, specialized in mother/child health care. >> these are extraordinarily well educated people. they are compassionate people who have sacrificed immensely. they were not ignorant, they were not naive of what they were facing. >> reporter: though the trip was organized by a christian charity, the international
assistance mission says there was no religious agenda, that the volunteers were there to heal bodies not change minds. jim axelrod, cbs news, new york. >> couric: afghanistan's next door neighbor is facing one of its worst crises ever. the u.n. said today the monsoon flooding in pakistan has affected more than 13 million people, nearly a tenth of the population. that's more victims than the indian ocean tsunami, the 2005 kashmir earthquake and this year's haiti earthquake combined entire pakistani villages are underwater. the u.s. military has sent six rescue helicopters, but they were grounded today by bad weather and even more rain is in the forecast. it is the other extreme in russia, the worst drought and heat wave in more than a century. the result has been hundreds of wildfires and today moscow remained trapped in a killer smog. in the past week, the city's death rate has nearly doubled from an average of 360 a day to
700. here at home, breaking news in a massive manhunt tonight. it began ten days ago when three men serving long sentences for murder or attempted murder broke out of an arizona state prison. police have now captured two of them, the other is still on the loose. the latest arrest came today in wyoming not far from yellowstone national park. here's ben tracy. >> reporter: tracy province's ten days on the lam came to an end at 6:20 this morning. he is said to have spent last night at this church. province was arrested at this motel after a woman he talked to about odd jobs later recognized him. >> as soon as she sat down on her couch up come the pictures of our escapees and she immediately identified him and positively identified him. >> reporter: it was about 60 miles from yellowstone national park where authorities believe province and his fellow fugitive, 45-year-old john mccluskey, were hiding out. they escaped from a medium security prison in kingman, arizona, on july 30.
they allegedly hijacked a truck near flagstaff and then wound up in santa rosa, new mexico, where they are accused of killing a couple from oklahoma. their burned-out camper and charred bodies were found last wednesday. the fugitives then headed north about 900 miles towards the montana/wyoming border where province was caught. mccluskey is still on the run and thought to be with this woman, casslyn welch, his cousin and fiance who helped break him out of prison. the two are said to consider themselves a modern day bonnie and clyde starring in their very own movie. they are thought to be armed and dangerous. >> rest assured we are going to be on mccluskey like a cheap suit. >> reporter: mccluskey's mother was arrested on saturday for giving him money and clothes while he is on the run. his stepfather says it's time for the manhunt to end. >> give yourself up. >> reporter: a plea that so far has gone unanswered. ben tracy, cbs news, new york. >> couric: in california, the attorney general is stepping up
his investigation of those eye- popping salaries and pensions paid to government officials in the city of bell. the city manager alone was making $1.5 million in pay and benefits before he was forced to resign. and national correspondent dean reynolds tells us the outrage over sky-high public employee compensation extends far beyond california. ( boos ) >> reporter: the infamous bell, california, municipal officers reaping six-figure pay and gold- plated retirements apparently got on the gravy train with the full knowledge of officials at the state's pension fund. >> shame on you! all of you! >> reporter: perhaps as maddening is the fact that other examples of sky-high public pay are not hard to find. bell is a ten-minute drive from vernon, california, home to 89 residents and a former city manager who's being paid a $509,000 pension even though he's been charged with misappropriating public funds. in the leafy chicago suburb of highland park, one park district
manager at the brink of retirement got $435,000 in pay. enough to boost his pension to $166,000. another got a $185,000 payout even though he quit his job early and did little or no work. the parks commission also threw in an s.u.v. to ease his departure. >> people are outraged. i've been hearing from people that they are really outraged. >> reporter: illinois state representative karen may blames the lack of oversight. >> i thought they were doing a good job but i'm very disappointed about this. >> reporter: the park commissioners here publicly apologized for the compensation package-- which some of them approved-- and any negative impact they may have had on the community here. but the list goes on. in irving, texas, the manager gets $428,000 a year, more than president of the united states and considerably more than counterparts in much larger dallas or fort worth. >> i don't think he's worth that money.
>> reporter: and the consequences... >> every dollar being spent on exorbitant salaries is not being used for programs that might benefit taxpayers. >> reporter: and in tough economic times, that's no day at the beach. dean reynolds, cbs news, highland park, illinois. >> couric: in health news, new clues to the mystery of alzheimer's. more than five million americans already have the disease, nearly half a million new cases are expected this year. tonight, dr. jon lapook has the results of a new study, including new tests that may help predict who will get alzheimer's. >> i'll forget the names of movies, a friend's name, sometimes the day of the week. ( laughs ) >> reporter: 76-year-old barbara gauthier admit she is has senior moments. she's taking part in an alzheimer's study because, if it's something worse, she wants to know. in alzheimer's, brain changes likely occur at least ten years before memory loss.
proteins called amyloid and tau are thought to short circuit communication between nerve cells and destroy brain tissue. spinal fluid drawn from the back can reveal certain combinations of those proteins typical for the disease. >> alzheimer's is a slowly developing disease and it starts out when we're perfectly normal and gradually develops over a period of years and years of time. >> reporter: today's study in the "archives of neurology" not only found those telltale signs or biomarkers in the spinal fluid of 90% of patients with the disease, they also found them in 72% of those with mild cognitive impairment. and, importantly, in 36% of people who appeared normal. >> we have to go to very early patients who have just the beginnings of alzheimer's in their brains and those are the people we need a way to identify to test the treatments. and that's why these spinal fluid tests, i think, are going to be extremely important over the next few years.
>> reporter: think of it this way: detecting alzheimer's before you have symptoms is like finding high cholesterol before a heart attack. katie? >> couric: jon, it seems to me early diagnosis would be really helpful if there were effective treatments. but since there really aren't, what does this mean? >> reporter: well, it may turn out there are effective treatments but we don't know it. the very same drugs we're giving to people who have advanced alzheimer's-- and those drugs seem to be ineffective-- maybe if we give them early in the disease, before there's damage in the brain, they may be more effective than we think. that's why it's important to have early diagnosis using these biomarkers and other tests like that. >> couric: jon lapook, jon, thanks so much. coming up next on the "cbs evening news," it's happening more and more: girls reaching puberty in the second grade. and later, he provides gourmet meals to those who can afford it and, most importantly, to those who cannot. when a hurricane strikes,cer ]
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jesse ventura >> couric: a new study out today finds girls in this country are starting puberty at a younger and younger age. researchers found early breast development-- as young as seven- - in 10% of white girls, nearly 15% of hispanic girls and 23% of african american girls. for white girls, that rate is
twice what it was just a decade ago. our medical correspondent dr. jennifer ashton is an ob-gyn as well as an author of a book on adolescence. so, jen, more girls are developing earlier. why is that? >> and, katie, as these numbers show, we know that with hispanic and african american girls they do experience puberty earlier, partially because there are higher rates of obesity in these groups and we know that fat can produce estrogen. now, the obesity epidemic affects all groups, so we are seeing this dramatic change in the onset of puberty occurring earlier across the board. >> couric: and this has been trending in this direction, i know, for some time. and there have been all sorts of theories from hormones in the food supply to the fact that, you know, girls are being overly sexualized at younger and younger ages in our popular culture. are those theories true at all? >> katie, there are multiple factors but there's growing concern about the environment, that there are compounds in plastic, for example, b.p.a.,
and in fertilizers that may mimic estrogen in the body and speed up the puberty clock. and this is only a theory at this point, but for sure people think it definitely warrants further study. >> couric: and there are medical implications to the early onset of puberty. >> absolutely. we've known for quite some time that early puberty associated with an increased risk of breast and uterine cancer later in life. it can contribute to low self- esteem amongst these girls and also, katie, it can lead to earlier sexual behavior, all, obviously, significant. >> couric: and what about parents? what can they do to allow mother nature to take her hours more naturally, if you will. >> focus on diet, nutrition, try to find a healthy weight for your child, encourage them to be physically active and don't assume early puberty or breast development is the new normal. if you see signs of early puberty in your daughter, it's always a good idea to have her seen by a doctor. >> couric: dr. jennifer ashton, thanks so much, jen. for more information, you can go to our partner in health news, webmd.com and search "purerty." h "purerty."
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into turbulence today on the ground. the plane from pittsburgh had just landed in new york city when a flight attendant got into a heated argument with a passenger. one thing led to another, the flight attendant got on the p.a. and cursed at all the passengers then he pulled the emergency chute, slid off the plane and fled. the flight attendant, 39-year- old steven slater, was arrested at his home. he's charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. and still ahead, he says the best gift he ever got is the one he gave away. steve hartman's "assignment america" is next. america" is next. each brita filter can take
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bruno was on the board of the local boys and girls club and he thought his mom might like to see the place. the club serves a lot of homeless kids who sometimes go hungry. bruno told his mom this and, according to club director mike baker, that was it. >> i heard her in italian-- i believe it was italian-- grabbed his arm and say some things to him and he just started raising his arms he goes "mama, mama, mama, okay, okay, okay." >> reporter: what she said was... >> "why don't you feed them pasta?" >> reporter: she ordered bruno to feed the kids that night. all of them. >> 70-80. >> reporter: mama wouldn't leaf the kitchen until he did it. >> it was april 18, 2005, and it's happened everyday since. >> are we hungry? >> yes! >> reporter: although not even mama expected him to do it more than once, bruno has now served almost a quarter of a million very nice meals. >> here we have some of the poorest children in anaheim eating from one of the most exclusive restaurants every single night. >> reporter: it has not gone
unappreciated. >> the way he makes it, it tastes better. >> it's so delicious. >> i feel like having more every time. >> reporter: did she give you a gift by making you do this? >> the biggest gift of my life. >> reporter: bruno says the kids are now by far his favorite customers. >> you have to see to believe it. i can't even express. >> reporter: only here do his profiteroles get this kind of reaction. plus, he says, he's never felt more needed. in the last few years, with the economy tanking, the number of meals he serves here has doubled. meanwhile, back at his restaurant, that same economy has had the opposite affect. >> oh, i know his business is not doing real well. i know that for a fact. i've walked into his restaurant when it's empty. >> reporter: bruno says he gives away more meals than he sells, which has turned his balance sheet the color of marinara. >> yeah, mortgage, i did a refinance. >> reporter: you refinanced your home? >> refinanced my house also, yes.
>> reporter: how can you keep feeding these kids? >> how can i stop? >> reporter: the same guy that didn't even want to do that first dinner now says he's in this until the end. in fact, he says the only reason he'd stop... is because he's in heaven already. because you're in heaven already? >> i know i'm going to go to heaven. i'm going to go first class, champagne, caviar, one way, no stop, that's for sure. >> reporter: no doubt. and if you live in southern california and want to improve your chances of getting up there with him, you might want to consider going out for italian some night soon. i know bruno could sure use the business. >> reporter: i hope a lot of people are inspired to go to the white house in anaheim. steve heart man. steve, thank you. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. see you back here tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
kohara. it marks a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed. a disturbing trend, but does anybody have the solution? we'll look for answers after another burst of violence in san francisco claims the life of a german tourist. from a million dollar home to a jail cell, what led police to a bay area mom accused of having sex with teenagers. and out about nine billion, what the future may hold after the sudden leaving of ceo mark hurd. thank you for joining us, i'm dana king, the news starts now. this is cbs 5, news. her trip to the united states was supposed to be a celebration. instead a woman visiting from germany was gunned down in front of her husband in one of san francisco's busier