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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  December 2, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> pelley: tonight, much too fast. late today we learned the speed the new york commuter train was going before it jumped the tracks. jeff pegues, don dahler, and michelle miller are on the story. >> reporter: how scary were those few seconds? >> scariest moments of my life. >> pelley: today the health care web site was supposed to be fixed. wyatt andrews on how it's working. amazon experiments with delivery by drone. mark strassmann on the coming wave of pilotless planes. and jim axelrod introduces us to math genius john urschel who sure knows how to divide a defensive line. >> i feel like it's what i'm here to do. >> reporter: which one, the football or the math? >> both. capt captioning sponsored by cbs is is the "cbs evening news"
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this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening, well, the curve was sharp and the train was going way too fast. late today, federal investigators say that the commuter train was bolting down the track at 82 miles an hour as it approaches the 30 miles an hour zone in the bronx, new york, early yesterday. cars from the metro north train flew off the tracks and nearly into the harlem river. four people were killed. some were thrown from the train. 75 others were hurt and 11 of them critically injured. investigators are poring over the data from the trains black boxes to find out why this happened. we have a team of correspondents covering the story starting with jeff pegues at the crash scene. jeff? >> reporter: scott, investigators were able to determine the speed of the train from the black box which is show the throttle was cut and the brakes were applied far too late. by the time the train reached the curve it was traveling
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nearly three times as fast as it should have been. earl wainer is an n.t.s.b. board member. >> the preliminary information-- and let me emphasize this is preliminary information-- from the event recorders show that the train was traveling at approximately 82 miles per hour as it went into a 30 miles an hour curve. that speed again was 82 miles an hour at the entrance to a 30 miles an hour curve. >> reporter: the train passed through a 70 miles an hour zone then entered into a 30 miles an hour curve traveling at 82 miles an hour, 52 miles over the speed limit. the brakes were fully applied just five seconds before the train came to a complete stop-- likely after the train had already started to derail. the throttle was cut just six seconds before the train stopped. >> it was only six seconds before everything came to a stop that the throttle went to idle. >> reporter: so this was late in the game? >> very late in the game. >> reporter: the n.t.s.b. says it's still reviewing the data
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from the recorders and interviewing the train's four crew members. among them the engineer, 46- year-old william rockefeller, jr. on sunday, law enforcement sources say rockefeller-- a 20 year m.t.a. employee-- told first responders that he hit the brakes as he was approaching the curve but the train did not respond. investigators say so far they have not discovered any evidence to suggest there was any problem with the brakes and, scott, they say it's too early to tell if the cause of the derailment was human error or faulty equipment. >> pelley: jeff, thanks very much. investigators also want to know what witnesses saw and heard and don dahler has that part of the story. >> reporter: early this morning, huge cranes began lifting the 40 ton derailed cars and the locomotive. >> train derailment is down by the train station. we have five cars off the tracks. >> reporter: had you ever seen anything like that before? >> no, no. >> reporter: photographer felix lam lives above the crash site.
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he says he will never forget the sound of the accident. >> i hear a roaring noise like a mountain when the rocks are coming down. down. >> reporter: look an avalanche? >> right. >> reporter: lam grabbed his camera and arrived down the hill before most of the first responders. he captured the rescue efforts, the dismay of the victims and the chaos of what had been a quiet sunday morning. the train left poughkeepsie, new york, at 5:54 a.m. with about 150 passengers. many were going to work or returning from the holiday weekend. at the time of the wreck they were just 21 minutes away from their final destination, grand central terminal. ryan kelly suffered a broken hand. >> i was asleep but when i woke up we were going fast and there was sparks outside the window. by the time i was fully came the to i was getting thrown around back and forth. >> reporter: the last car removed today was the front car where the engineer had been controlling the train. are there automated systems? near the site of the accident we
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spoke with the former head of the chicago transit authority. >> the engineer has to get -- the engineer is always getting the feel of the train through the throttle. is it going fast you have? are you jerking around? is the weight distributed correctly in the cars? that's another thing to look at. >> reporter: the entire train was removed to an undisclosed location. scott, what happens next is the tracks have to be repaired and then fully inspected before service will be restored to this busy stretch of commuter railway. >> pelley: don dahler at the scene on the harlem river. don, thanks very much. and today michelle miller spoke with one of the survivors. >> i'm feeling pretty lucky, to tell you the truth. >> reporter: lucky? >> yeah, very lucky. >> reporter: dennis o'neill boarded the metro north at 7:02 a.m. heading to a trade show in new york city. 18 minutes later he realized something was wrong. did you feel the train braking at all? >> i did not.
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i could feel the car lean and flop over hard and as we were sliding down all the windows -- a lot of the windows had blown out. a lot of dirt was blowing through. at that point there was nothing to do but cover up. there was enough time to think the bad thoughts like "this could be it." >> reporter: how scary were those few seconds? >> scariest moments of my life, yeah. >> reporter: o'neill remembers people crying for help. he found his ipad and his cell phone and dialed 911. then he called his wife maureen. they had just celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary on thanksgiving. they have three children. have you really processed it all? >> i don't know if i processed it all. i started processing it. i had some weak moments since yesterday. >> reporter: when did those happen. >> yesterday i got in the car with my son -- >> reporter: what happened? >> nothing, i was just happy to see him. and we hugged. >> reporter: dennis o'neill says
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that he'll head to new york city tomorrow morning to check out that trade show that he missed on sunday but, scott, he says he won't be taking the train any time soon. >> pelley: michelle, thanks very much. in another important story tonight, the health care web site faced its first big test today since the obama administration said that it met its deadline to make work smoothly for the vast majority of shoppers. trouble since the site's debut in october has cut into enrollments. we learned today that 100,000 signed up in november for a total of more than 206,000 so far, but that is a million short of the enrollees projected. wyatt andrews has been checking into the web site today. wyatt? >> reporter: scott, the administration says that 375,000 people tried to shop on and that was before noon today. officials called that a strong sign of interest but, again, that high a number created some problems.
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when june miles-mays tried to sign up for obamacare at a miami health center, the web site put her on hold. "we need you to wait" the site advised "so we can make sure there's room for you." it was her third attempt at signing up. >> very frustrating for me because i need insurance so badly and it seems like something in the system or something is not working. >> reporter: the "need you to wait" prompt is a new feature of when the system is overloaded, it puts applicants in a queue and promises an e-mail when it's their turn. but despite promise it is web site could handle 50,000 users at the same time, the queuing system was turned on today at approximately 35,000 users. officials said they had to maximize the smooth user experience of those who applied first. there are also potential problems for the thousands who have signed up for new plans. officials are just now building
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the system for how insurance companies will be paid and the companies say their enrollments are slow because of bad information coming from the government. robert zirkelbach is with america's health insurance plans, the main lobbying group for the industry. >> they're still receiving files that are duplicative, include missing and inaccurate information or in some cases they're not getting the files at all. >> reporter: what is the potential danger or down side to the applicant? >> the concern that everybody wants to avoid is a situation where somebody thinks that they're enrolled but, in fact, they're not. >> reporter: the white house still argues the web site is better than ever and is enrolling an average of several thousand people everyday. two months ago, 375,000 visitors would have cashed the system but today, scott, it held up and was able to put people in line. >> pelley: so, wyatt, did woman in your story, june miles-mays ever get to sign up? >> reporter: scott, after trying on the web site she filled out a paper application.
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that means, she'll learn about her enroll. probably in a week or two. >> pelley: wyatt, thanks very much. retail web sites are apparently working quite well. for all of us who are shopping this is cyber monday and online holiday sales are up 19% over last year. 131 million americans are expected to shop online today. that's an increase of just .4%. a preliminary tally shows that $57.4 billion was spent over the weekend. how does that stack up to last year? anthony mason knows. >> reporter: despite the mob scene at the malls, the enticing deals, and even some stores opening on thanksgiving day for the first time ever, the holiday weekend was not as merry as many retailers hoped. the mood over this holiday period then was what? >> well, it's okay. >> reporter: craig johnson was out surveying stores for his firm customer growth partners.
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>> overall it was kind of a muted holiday. very hot thursday night but things quieted down very rapidly so it was only so so. >> reporter: and after the weak business on black friday, johnson estimates sales this season will be up only about 3%. >> and that's very anemic growth and the reason is that real disposable income, the latest reading year over year is only up 0.9%, which is minuscule. >> reporter: online shopping has been stronger. u.p.s. expects to pick up more than 32 million package this is cyber monday, about a million more than last year. a survey by i.b.m. benchmark found the average online transaction was about $128 over the four-day holiday weekend and that 23% of online shopping was done through a smart phone or mobile device. i.b.m.'s jill poleri. >> isn't that interesting? people are using these devices while they're shopping, while
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they're home. we saw they were using it through whole turkey dinner. >> reporter: sales over mobile devices were up 43% from last year. still to come: likely the biggest day for retailers-- december 21. that's the last saturday before christmas. >> pelley: anthony, retailers have been trying to expand the sales period. we were watching all these christmas commercials before thanksgiving. did that work? >> reporter: the push to get people to come in thanksgiving day did work, scott. but more and more consumers are programmed to go in, in quick strikes. they find the deal, they go home. so that didn't work. >> pelley: anthony, thanks very much. well, investors today were not in a buying mood on wall street. the dow industrials fell more than 77 points, closing just slightly above 16,000. overseas now, today thousands of protesters were back on the streets of ukraine's capital, kiev, they're furious the president rejected a trade deal with the european union. he favors closer ties with russia instead. yesterday police attacked the
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protesters. the white house calls the violence unacceptable. today israeli prime minister netanyahu visited the vatican and met with pope francis. they discussed the pope's upcoming trip to the holy land and netanyahu presented a gift-- a book that his late father wrote about the spanish inquisition. during the inquisition in the 1500s the church forced jews in spain to convert to catholicism. a movie star was killed in a high-speed crash. how soon can you expect to get deliveries from drones. and there's a big change in college football after the play of the year when the "cbs evening news" continues. [ male announcer ] this is the age of knowing what you're made of.
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♪ [ male announcer ] laura's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today her doctor has her on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. >> pelley: today we were all talking in the newsroom about amazon's plan to take its deliveries to new heights. "60 minutes" broke the story last night of how the online retailer wants to use drones to get deliveries to customers faster than ever. will it fly? mark strassmann takes a look. >> reporter: this is the air drop technology amazon calls prime air. c.e.o. jeff bezos told charlie rose on "60 minutes" he hopes it will deliver packages under five pounds faster than a pizza. >> these are effectively drones but there's no reason that they can't be used as delivery vehicles. >> reporter: bezos said a fleet of self-guided drones is still years away. >> i know it can't be before 2015 because that's the earliest that we could get the rules from
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the f.a.a. my guess is that's probably a little optimistic. >> reporter: the federal aviation administration is still working out how drones can safely operate below 10,000 feet-- america's most congested airspace. for now only law enforcement and research institutes qualify for the f.a.a.'s drone permits. but over the next year, the agency will tell the viability of commercial drones in six pilot areas. teams in 24 states have submitted applications to participate. including adaptive flight in marietta, georgia, which has developed four drone models. eric johnson is the cofounder. he's sympathetic to the challenge the f.a.a. faces trying to regulate the this emerging market. >> when you don't even know how they're going to be operated, what size the vehicles are, what the crew size will be, what they'll be doing it's much more difficult to come up with rules.
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>> reporter: laura weiss, the lab chief scientist says the drone's technology has raced far ahead of current f.a.a. oversite. >> it's happening, it's moving forward anyway. i think regardless of what happens with the f.a.a. decision, things are going to happen. >> reporter: the f.a.a.'s administrator predicts 7,500 drones could be flying in the next five years. mark strassmann, cbs news, atlanta. >> pelley: today the new a.p. poll proved that one second can change everything in college football. florida state is now number one. ohio state second. auburn third. alabama fell from first to fourth after what many believe is the greatest ending ever. look again. alabama's last second field goal fell short. auburn's chris davis caught it and look at him go. he ran 109 yards for the winning touchdown. auburn won 34-28. there was a tragic case of life imitating art. we're going to look at the crash
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that took a movie star's life when we come back. bac . know the feeling? copd includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. spiriva is a once-daily inhaled copd maintenance treatment that helps open my obstructed airways for a full 24 hours. spiriva helps me breathe easier. spiriva handihaler tiotropium bromide inhalation powder does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. tell your doctor if you have kidney problems, glaucoma, trouble urinating, or an enlarged prostate. these may worsen with spiriva. discuss all medicines you take, even eye drops. stop taking spiriva and seek immediate medical help if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, vision changes or eye pain, or problems passing urine. other side effects include dry mouth and constipation. nothing can reverse copd. spiriva helps me breathe better.
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>> pelley: today the los angeles county coroner said autopsy results for actor paul walker could be released by tomorrow. dental records are needed to make a positive identification. walker, who was 40, died saturday after the car he was riding in crashed and exploded. ben tracy has more. >> reporter: this video shows
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the fiery wreck moments after paul walker and a friend crashed into a pole in valencia, california. this is walker just before leaving a fund-raiser saturday standing next to a porsche carrera gt, a 600 horsepower sports car. his friend, roger rodas, who races cars, was believed to be driving it when they crashed. sheriffs detectives say speed was a factor but don't think they were racing. the speed limit in the area was 45 miles per hour. walker was best known for his role in the "fast and furious" films. the franchise focused on illegal street racing. the films grossed $2.3 billion. production on the seventh installment is suspended due to walker's death. fans have lined up to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial. walker's father paul spoke to reporters. >> i'm just glad every time i saw him i told him i loved him. >> reporter: now, law enforcement did tell us need this area where the crash took place has been known for street
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racing in the past and there's actually a sharp curve just beyond the crash site. now, scott, they have not yet said how fast the car was moving when the accident happened. >> pelley: ben tracy in our los angeles newsroom. ben, thank you very much. we'll be right back. >> pelley: finally tonight, this h. right b no one could have left this much money here. whoo-hoo-hoo! yet many seniors who compare medicare d plans realize they can save hundreds of dollars. cvs/pharmacy wants to help you save on medicare expenses. talk to your cvs pharmacist, call, or go to to get your free, personalized plan comparison today. call, go online, or visit your local store today.
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symbicort doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. with symbicort, today i'm breathing better. and that on! symbicort is for copd including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. it should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort may increase your risk of lung infections, osteoporosis, and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking it. with copd, i thought i'd miss our family tradition. now symbicort significantly improves my lung function, starting within 5 minutes. and that makes a difference in my breathing. today, we're ready for whatever swims our way. ask your doctor about symbicort. i got my first prescription free. call or click to learn more. [ male announcer ] if you can't afford your medication, rivival. and it's all thanko a surprise discovery in a closet. next weather talent appears at wx center with generic >> pelley: finally tonight, this sounds like the premise for a
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sitcom. a mild-mannered calculus teacher is transformed every saturday into a bruising n.f.l. prospect. but there's no punch line here. jim axelrod introduces us to a real life superstar. >> go, push, push! >> reporter: strictly by the numbers, 6' 3", 300 pounds first team all big 10. penn state offensive lineman john urschel is exceptional. >> yy squared evaluated from y equals x. >> reporter: but it's another set of numbers that elevate them to unique in the world of college football. >> this gives us the integral from 0 to 2. >> reporter: he graduated with a degree in mathematics in just three years and a perfect 4.0 g.p.a. he finished one masters degree and is working on a second and has as many academic publications to his name as varsity letters. >> i wouldn't say not very common amongst athletes, as this
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is uncommon amongst math graduate students. i'm 22 and i have four papers. >> reporter: urschel credits his math background for his ability to analyze defenses and make quick decisions. mostly head coach bill o'brien marvels at a player who writes on instabilities in the sun, jupiter, asteroid, three-body problem. >> reporter: asteroid three body problem but sometimes o'brien just laughs. >> if you give her the percentage of how many times this team blitzes, he wants to know the whole survey size and what games we looked at and how many numbers related to -- john, just take it from us, they blitz a lot. >> reporter: urschel is just what the doctor ordered for penn state whose image was pummeled by the jerry sandusky child sex abuse scandal. do you feel like you have a responsibility to sort of polish up the image a little bit of the university? >> absolutely. i've really taken joy in being able to show people some of the great things that penn staters are doing. that's something i take very seriously. >> reporter: john urschel plans to try the n.f.l. then tackle a
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p.h.d. >> people look at me and say there's these two almost completely separate aspects of myself but honestly i say it all fits under the same letterhead of just hard work, dedication and just a drive to be the best at what i do. finish up what you're writing. >> reporter: not a bad foundation whatever the field he's in or on. jim axelrod, cbs news, state college, pennsylvania. or >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world. good night. 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 city's top job. tonight - she's officially in the raco quan. i think oakland can do better. >> and you're looking at the councilwoman gunning for that city's top job. tonight, she is officially in the race to challenge embattled mayor jean quan. good evening, i'm ken bastida. >> i'm elizabeth cook. new at 6:00 tonight our phil matier at oakland city hall with the race's newest contender. phil. >> reporter: that's right. this contender is very close to the mayor at least when it comes to council meetings. take a look. embattled oakland mayor jean quan got some competition very close to home today when libby shaft who holds the mayor's seat on the city council signed up to run against her for the top job. >> i think she can do better. >> reporter: she isn't alone.
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a recent survey found only 5% of the voters in oakland would vote for quan again. >> lisa a polar rising -- she is a polarizing figure. it's time for a change. >> we need a new mayor. >> reporter: the same poll found that 70% of oakland voters said that crime was their biggest concern. and half wasted no time zeroing in on the hotspot issue. >> oaklanders deserve to have the police come when they call. that the city can be safe. >> reporter: she was murky when she asked how to plan to deliver on the police promise. >> i will be rolling out a campaign platform in the new year. >> reporter: skyrocketing crime is only one problem. >> it's about her. she doesn't connect with people and their problems and is in denial that oakland has problems. >> reporter: quan


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