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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  December 17, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

5:30 pm >> pelley: tonight, astronauts to the rescue. a series of space walks are ordered to fix the ailing international space station. jeff glor has the breaking news. an american helicopter goes down with the greatest loss of life in afghanistan in months. david martin on what we know. margaret brennan breaks the story tonight of how the u.s. will dispose of syria's chemical weapons. half a million tickets a minute. michelle miller reports mega- millions is reaching for a record as the odds get longer. and spinning music into gold. mark phillips finds rare recordings are giving the beatles a new turn at stardom. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley.
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>> pelley: good evening. this is our western edition. there is trouble tonight ablq$ the international space station. late today nasa said it will take a series of space walks to fix it. as we reported last week, half of the cooling system shut down when a valve malfunctioned. there is a crew of six on board. the two americans will make the first space walk on saturday. nasa tells us the astronauts are safe. jeff glor is with us with more about the problem and what it will take to repair it. jeff? >> reporter: the stakes are high scott. there's only two cooling loops on the space station, one is down. if that one can't be fixed and there's only one left, there is no backup. this is what it looked like that last time the cooling unit had to be fixed on the international space station. in 2010, astronaut doug wheelock anchored to the end of a robot
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arm, successfully pulled the pump out. it's the replacement unit that has failed again. the two americans-- reich mastracchio and michael hopkins- - are the ones who will attempt the fix this time. mastracchio is a veteran space walker. for hopkins, it will be his first time. the second space walk is scheduled for monday. then the third, christmas day. their mission has suddenly taken priority over the launch of a supply ship from virginia that was supposed to take off this week. it's also meant the crew on board has turned off all non- essential equipment-- including science experiments. scott, nasa feels confident the fix can be made. in the event both cooling units were not working, our space consultant bill harwood just told us the crew members would have to evacuate. >> pelley: jeff, thanks very much. sometimes it's all too easy to forget that this country is still at war. then, we get the kind of news that we got today. six americans were killed today when their black hawk helicopter crashed in southern afghanistan.
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we asked david martin at the pentagon to tell us more about how this happened. >> reporter: the black hawk with seven aboard was one of two american helicopters on a daytime mission in southern afghanistan when it was forced to make a crash landing. what caused it to go down is still unknown, but the second chopper saw no sign of enemy fire. initial reports reaching the pentagon said the crew of the downed aircraft did come under fire as they tried to get out of the helicopter, but military officers in afghanistan have since discounted those reports. exactly how those six americans died remains unclear. one thing is certain: by the time a rescue force could get there, only one aboard was still alive. the loss of six americans was a grim reminder that while their role has switched from combat to training and advising afghan forces, u.s. troops are still in harm's way. it was the worst single day loss for the u.s. in the six months since afghan troops officially
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took the lead in combat operations. still, u.s. losses are down dramatically. 125 so far this year compared to 310 last year, and a high of 499 in 2010 at the height of the fighting. casualties have gone down as the number of american troops has gone down from a high of 100,000 to the current 42,700. then there's the financial cost. to date, the pentagon has spent more than $500 billion on the war in afghanistan, and the defense spending bill the senate is expected to pass this week that would add another $80 billion to that. >> pelley: david martin at the pentagon for us tonight. david, thank you. tonight firefighters are reporting some gains against an unusual fall wildfire near big sur, california. flames have burned about 550 acres, but the fire is now about 5% contained. so far, nobody's been injured
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but as john blackstone reports, several homes have been destroyed. >> reporter: in december, the dramatic coastline and mountains of big sur should be under rain clouds, not thick smoke from a wildfire. but rainfall is 84% below normal. martha karstens is chief of the big sur volunteer fire department. >> i can't remember if we've ever had a fire in december. we had earlier -- in the beginning, like in april or may, but december, no. christmas around the corner? no. >> reporter: karstens' home was one of those lost in the unusually dry forest. the fire spread with such speed, it even surprised the fire chief. >> i have no idea how it was even started. it was just everything is dry, ready to burn. >> reporter: 16-year-old fabian perez tried to save his home. >> me and my dad ran out, we got fire hoses, we started fighting the blaze but it was too late. i've lived there my whole life
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and it's gone in the blink of an eye. >> reporter: with a slight chance of rain tomorrow, firefighters in big sur may get some help from nature, but california is set to end this year with rainfall at a record low and the possibility of fire season stretching well into the new year. john blackstone, cbs news, san francisco. >> pelley: as we said, the fire is unusual in the fall and today government scientists told us that last month was the warmest november on record. the average global temperature for land and water was 56.6 degrees. it was the 37th consecutive november with above-average temperatures. we're learning more tonight about the 18-year-old student who opened fire last week at arapaho high school in centennial, colorado. as you know, he shot a 17-year- old classmate. she is still in critical condition. the gunman took his own life. today, investigators told us that the gunman, karl pierson,
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had writings on his arm. rick salinger of cbs denver station kcnc has been following the story. rick, what exactly was on pierson's arm? >> reporter: scott, investigators today revealed that written in marker on the forearm of the gunman were three words in latin. they translate to "the die has been cast." it can also mean, "past the point of no return." >> pelley: rick, were there any writings on his arm that told us more about what his plan was that day? >> well, the sheriff's department says also on his arm were some numbers that seemed to correspond to the location of the library inside the school as well as several classrooms around it. given that he had a shotgun, 125 rounds of ammunition, three molotov cocktails and two bandoleers, they believe that he planned to target at least five areas of the school, scott. >> pelley: and yet he ended it before he tried. thank you very much, rick.
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this evening our state department correspondent margaret brennan has learned details of how the united states will dispose of syria's chemical weapons. the obama administration nearly went to war over nerve gas attacks in the syrian civil war. the assad dictatorship agreed to surrender its stockpile but no country has been willing to destroy the weapons until now. >> reporter: the navy's "cape ray," a cargo ship currently docked in southern virginia, will soon embark on an unprecedented mission. it will set sail equipped with two specially designed hydrolysis units like this one. never used before in the field or at sea, they'll mix the
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agents with hot water and bleach neutralizing all 500 tons of mustard gas, sarin, and bx. getting these weapons out of a country mired in civil war has also never been done. >> the next phase of the process is the most complex in terms of both logistics and security. >> reporter: tom countryman oversees the state department's role in the operation. he told us the chemicals will be transported in armored vehicles through the war zone under syrian military protection to the coastal city of latakia. there they will be loaded on to danish and norwegian ships and taken to an italian port where they'd be then off loaded on to the "cape ray." how do you keep the chemical from getting into the wrong hands? >> preventing the chemicals to getting into the wrong hands, terrorist groups inside or outside of syria, is exactly the reason we need to move rapidly to get these chemicals out of syria. it is a security challenge any time you move something like chemical weapons in a visible
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convoy-- there's a risk on both safety and security. >> reporter: the chemicals were scheduled to be removed by the end of the month but that's tough to do in the middle of a civil war. russia-- an ally of the assad regime-- has offered to secure safe passage of the chemicals, but their role has not yet been approved. >> pelley: margaret, there's another story breaking on your beat tonight. there's a diplomatic row between the united states and india over the arrest in new york last night of an -- last week, i should say, of an indian diplomat. what's that all about? >> reporter: it's a junior diplomat. her name is devyani khobragade and she was arrested last thursday, charged with visa fraud and underpaying her nanny. she was then strip-searched by u.s. marshals who say that's a routine response and that she was treated like any other criminal accused of a felony. but it has caused outrage in india.
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the u.s. government and india have some tension right now because the security barriers were removed from outside the u.s. embassy. the indian government refused to meet with a visiting u.s. delegation, and they want an apology. the state department has yet to issue one. but what we do know is khobragade could face 15 years in jail. she has been released at the moment on bond. because she's a junior-level diplomat, she is not immune from prosecution under u.s. law. >> pelley: more on this in the days to come. margaret, thank you very much. pope francis turned 77 today and he invited some homeless people to help him celebrate. they attended his morning mass at the vatican, then joined him for breakfast and posed for a picture. also today, "the advocate," a gay rights magazine, named francis its person of the year, praising his statement that "if
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a person is gay and seeks god and has good will, who am i to judge?" despite the biblical admonition against storing up treasures on earth-- or perhaps unaware of it-- millions of americans are chasing a huge jackpot in the mega-millions lottery. tickets have been selling at a rate of half a million a minute, driving the jackpot to $636 million, the second-largest lottery jackpot in u.s. history. here's michelle miller. >> reporter: this was the line for mega-millions tickets just outside of prim, nevada. >> $636 million. >> reporter: nationwide, players spent $200 million. david hudson hardly ever plays but he could not resist. >> if it's over a hundred million, and only if it's over a hundred million, i play at least $50 worth of tickets. >> reporter: this year. mega-millions and its main
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competitor powerball had three of the five largest u.s. jackpots ever. tonight's is the second biggest. paula otto is lead director for mega millions. >> it's all about the jackpot so we made some changes to the way the game plays. we put more money into the jackpot prize and we changed the way that we pay out over 30 years, all to help the jackpots grow bigger and it's worked. >> reporter: instead of choosing six numbers between 1 and 56, mega-illions players must now pick six between 1 and 75. the october change reduced the odds of winning from 1 in 176 million to 1-259 million. but it increased the likelihood of mind-boggling jackpots. >> $400 million is one of those magic levels, one of those tipping points where we have more players get in. >> reporter: lottery officials tell us 70% of all number combinations will be bought by draw time tonight. and that means there's a 70% chance that someone will win
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tonight. if that doesn't happen, friday's jackpot will be just shy of a billion dollars. and, scott, that would be an all-time record. >> pelley: michelle, thanks very much. a california judge has ordered a lead paint cleanup for homeowners. europe's mount etna flares up, disrupting air travel. and it turns out penguins are team players as they try to keep warm. worth a look when the "cbs evening news" continues. es. ♪ [ woman ] my father loved the sea. he taught me that whales leave footprints, glassy circles on the surface that show us where they've been and sometimes where they're going. he would always say, "if you know where you're headed, you can make the smart choices to help you get there."
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that's why there's coricidin hbp it relieves cold symptoms without raising blood pressure. so look for powerful cold medicine with a heart. coricidin hbp. >> pelley: a california judge has ordered three paint companies to pay for the removal of lead from millions of older homes in the state. it won't be cheap. the fine, levied by the judge, totals just over a billion dollars. more from ben tracy in los angeles. >> reporter: the house eduardo sencion bought in north hollywood three and a half months ago was built in the 1930s. he figured it may contain lead paint. why were you concerned about whether or not there was lead paint here? >> of course my kids. that was first. they're always playing around and i don't know what they're going to get into. >> reporter: today inspectors found lead paint on the window sills and kitchen counter. this is the kind of lead removal a california judge wants several paint companies to now pay for.
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in his decision monday, the judge ruled that three companies created a public nuisance by selling lead paint before it was banned in 1978. the $1.1 billion fine will be used to remove lead paint in an estimated 4.7 million california homes, many in low-income neighborhoods. even low levels of lead can damage a child's mental and physical development. a nationwide survey found that 52% of homes built before 1978 still contain lead paint. bonnie campbell is a spokesperson for the paint companies who plan to appeal the ruling. >> at no time did any public health official say that there was a concern about lead-based paint. in fact, the concerns that are alleged today were unknown and unknowable decades ago. >> reporter: but the judge said that companies did know lead paint was hazardous. in a document from the year 1900 revealed in court, sherwin
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williams described the white lead from its paint as "a deadly cumulative poison." now, previous lawsuits against the paint industry have failed in seven other states so, scott, this is a big victory here in california but it sure did take a long time. this litigation actually began 13 years ago. >> pelley: ben tracy in our los angeles newsroom. ben, thanks very much. if you're going to be traveling during the holidays, you're going to have plenty of company. a.a.a. said today it expects 94.5 million americans to travel 50 miles or more between this saturday and new year's day. that's nearly a third of the population. more than 90% will be traveling by car. a massive fire today stranded a crane operator. the daring rescue coming next. . [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. [ m'm... ] great taste. [ tapping ] sounds good.
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the mountain slopes. we already know that penguins like to huddle in a pack. now we know why. scientists say it's to keep warm in the freezing cold of antarctica. if any penguin takes a tiny step, a wave follows as the next penguin reacts. it's not unlike the behavior of drivers caught in a traffic jam. a record company goes digging for gold. that story is next. heir hand for the proven relief of the purple pill. and that relief could be in your hand. for many, nexium helps relieve heartburn symptoms from acid reflux disease. find out how you can save at there is risk of bone fracture and low magnesium levels. side effects may include headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. if you have persistent diarrhea, contact your doctor right away. other serious stomach conditions may exist. avoid if you take clopidogrel. for many, relief is at hand. ask your doctor about nexium.
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to declare a drought emerge next at six. weather talent appears at wx center with generic pinpoint filling monitor then we take special >> pelley: the beatles are the best-selling band of all time and they're not done yet. 45 years after they last performed together and only two of the fab four still alive, apple records today put out 59 rare beatles tracks. and it hopes to get you to buy them-- with a little help from their friends at itunes. here's mark phillips. >> reporter: a lot of people think they don't make music like they used to. ♪ one, two, three, four -- >> reporter: maybe that's why some old recordings are so valuable. ♪ you were just 17, and you know what i mean -- ♪ >> reporter: the beatles weren't much more than 17 themselves when this album came out in 1963. it went straight to number one
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and stayed there for 30 weeks and it may still be a money- spinner. it's been a long and winding road since the beatles released their first album in the u.k. "please, please me." it's come a long way from "all you need is love." now all you need is a good copyright lawyer. only then can he tell you "we can work it out." work it out by releasing now all the previously unreleased outtakes and bootlegged recordings from the songs in an earlier era in a new album. in this way, the beatles company uses a new european copyright law to pro nd its earning power from the songs for another 20 years. track 15 explains what it's all about. ♪ give me money, that's what i want ♪ >> reporter: the beatles are trying to get the money now that they didn't get then-- according to record store manager j.t. rathbone. >> the beatles didn't get very much for their recordings.
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at the height of their fame they probably got about a penny per record. a couple cents per disk. which wasn't a lot. ♪ shake it up baby, now >> reporter: the record industry has known for a long time that there's value in the beatles' old recordings. a new compilation is already being promoted for release next year for fans old and new. >> they transcend generations like no other artists. i get 17-year-old, 18-year-old kids from spain who want original beatles albums. there's very few artists for people of that age that are interested in. >> reporter: the four mop tops reinvented the pop music business. even with two of them now gone, they still are. >> 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
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i'm ken bastida. your realtime captioner is mrs. linda m. macdonald good evening, i'm elizabeth cook. >> i'm ken bastida. >> this san francisco home sits in shambles tonight after collapsing last night. as bad as it is it could get worse and tumble. police responded to the home on 125 crown terrace in twin peaks around 10:30. they have closed off the 100 block of graystone terrace as they investigate what went wrong. kpix 5's linda yee joins us with what we know so far and the twist about the homeowner. >> reporter: liz, building inspectors still don't know what caused those support beams under the house to collapse last night. they are still investigating but it does turn out the owner of this property is a
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politically connected developer who is no stranger to controversy. city building inspectors walked through the remains of the collapsed house. it's being renovated and crews were working on the foundation. the support gave way. >> a loud enough noise that i guess it rumbled the house. >> reporter: the house slid down the hillside stopped by a newly built retaining wall but the city's chief inspector declared the area unsafe. >> we are issuing emergency shoring to hold up this paar structure before it go further to, you know, move more out. >> reporter: the house is owned by developer mel murphy. he was once a building inspection commissioner. a position that oversees enforcement of building and housing laws. his plans to replace the 800- square-foot home into a 5100- square-foot structure did not sit well with neighbors. there was an unsuccessful petition to fight what they called his megamansion. when finished, it will be twice as large


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