tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS February 25, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
i'm katie couric. also tonight, tracking qaddafi's fortune. while he rules as a dictator, his children reportedly are living like kings. a day in court for a saudi terror suspect whose alleged targets may have included former president george w. bush. >> ♪ ain't no mountain high enough ♪ >> couric: and schools all over america suddenly bursting with glee. 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. muammar qaddafi is growing more desperate and violent as he tries to hold on to power in libya, and world leaders are stepping up the pressure on him to stop attacking his people. the white house said today the united states is imposing new sanctions and closing the u.s. embassy in tripoli. in the capitol today, forces
loyal to qaddafi opened fire on protesters as they left friday prayers. later, qaddafi spoke in the main square, imploring supporters to "dance, sing, and prepare to defend libya." the country's deputy u.n. ambassador, who has denounced qaddafi, got emotional today, calling him a mad man who will try to stay in control until he is killed or commits suicide. more than 200 americans were evacuated from libya today, most by ferry to malta, others on a charter flight to turkey. we have a team of cbs news correspondents in the region. first kelly cobiella in tripoli. kelly, i understand it was quite an ordeal just getting into the city. >> reporter: katie, we were held at the airport for about two hours before government agents drove us to the hotel. inside the terminal, it is absolute chaos. people are lying around in dirty blankets. most of them are foreign nationals who came here to work and now can't leave. the workers inside the airport
are wearing masks because they're worried about infectious diseases. and the people on the inside are the lucky ones. outside the terminal, thousands, possibly tens of thousands, are desperate to leave, sleeping in the rain, surrounded by garbage, with no food or water. soldiers carrying whips and sticks keep them in line. almost as soon as we started filming, the police ordered us to stop. these are the scenes they want to us show the world: hundreds of qaddafi supporters loudly cheering on their leader in tripoli's main square. we were taken here by government agents. a short while later, colonel qaddafi made a surprise appearance, as if to prove the libyan leader is still in control. he's still defiant. "retaliate," qaddafi told the crowd. "defend the nation and defend the oil."
his government insists libya is under attack from a small group of terrorists. it was anything but safe for anti-qaddafi protesters who had called for a friday of liberation through text messages. after friday prayers, witnesses reported militiamen opening fire from rooftops to keep people from gathering. the latest attempt by the libyan strongman to put down a rebellion that is quickly encircling the nation's capital. 30 miles to the west, protesters yesterday beat back an assault by an army unit loyal to qaddafi in some of the bloodiest violence of recent days. reports say at least ten protesters were killed and 150 more were wounded. how can you say that your country is unified and safe? yet, qaddafi's son saif al-islam told a room full of international reporters today that what the world is seeing on youtube is not the real libya. the real libya, he says, is united in peace.
it's clear this regime is digging in its heels. there was no sign of resignation or compromise from colonel qaddafi or his regime today. katie. >> couric: kelly, if qaddafi goes, who fills the power vacuum? >> reporter: well, that's a bit of an unknown, katie. there are many different factions in control of many different parts of this city. originally, qaddafi's son, was being groomed to replace him but that doesn't look like it's going to happen at this point and certainly not if qaddafi steps down. >> couric: kelly cobiella in tripoli tonight. kelly, thank you. meanwhile, there was serious concern qaddafi would take u.s. citizens in libya hostage. for two days, 183 americans were stuck on a ferry in tripoli waiting for the weather to clear so they could escape the violence. today, they finally made it to malta, the tiny island nation in the mediterranean sea.
harry smith is there. >> reporter: with tripoli's airport crowded beyond capacity, the embassy ferry was a godsend. ernie diller teaches history at the american school in libya. >> i had two flights booked, and neither one left, so they were all canceled before we even got there. so this ferry was a great deal for us. we were really happy the state department came through like that. >> reporter: the old, the young, the weary-- each with a story and a sentiment. >> it's difficult because, you know, you feel for the people. all they're doing is asking for a better way of life, and it's-- people are getting killed for it. >> reporter: is it emotional for you to finally be away from there? >> yeah, but, you know, i'm ready to go back. i'm sure my family doesn't want to hear that. >> reporter: lucky to be out, but already missing what they left behind. dave peterson had worked in tripoli for eight months. >> i was 200 meters off the green square is my apartment. it was ground zero for the chaos. sunday was pretty difficult.
>> reporter: diane harris teaches first grade at the american school. for her, the libyan revolution is more than a history lesson. it hits home. >> we've only been there since august, but just had fallen in love with the place and had just an incredible place to teach, and to live. it was just beautiful. so i hope we can go back. we don't know yet. we'll-- we'll know day by day what can happen. >> reporter: to have made that kind of an emotional connection and know what's going on back there now... >> it's ripping our hearts. it's ripping our hearts. it makes us feel bad. >> reporter: certainly worth the long wait to finally shove off and get away from tripoli and the trouble in libya, and certainly worth that eight-and-a half-hour ride through very, very rough seas. some folks were sea sick but plenty happy to be here at least one step closer to getting home again. katie. >> couric: harry, are there still many americans who need to be evacuated?
>> reporter: yes, it turns out we don't know what the numbers are, but there are a significant enough number that the american embassy has contracted for another ferry to pick up more americans and hopefully that one will get out tomorrow. >> couric: harry smith reporting from malta tonight. harry, thank you. opposition forces are now believed to control at least two of libya's major oil ports, and all the big cities in the east. including tobruk, and derna. and mandy clark reports that in benghazi, victory came at a high price. as many as 250 people died battling troops loyal to qaddafi. >> reporter: in benghazi, the biggest city in the eastern libya, or as the people here call it, free-libya, this friday was a day of prayer. and sorrow. the streets that just days ago were a battleground today were filled with coffins as the residents count the high cost of freedom.
every town in eastern libya was filled with protesters today, people hoping that momentum is on their side and that qaddafi will be gone in days, if not hours. in derna, the crowd greeted defecting military officers as heroes. one street away, a sight that would have been unthinkable just days ago. this is highly unusual. women in the hundreds have gathered here calling for qaddafi to step down. they've taken over a main street in the city of derna. until now, we've not seen any woman protesters. but today, this community leader had the microphone, and once they started talking, it seemed that every woman had a story to tell us. this woman was holding a picture of her son killed during the demonstrations.
>> reporter: back in benghazi, people were rushing to get a look at an old government building with an underground bunker built for qaddafi and expressed amazement that they're already living in a part of libya where the once-feared leader appears to be history. as we traveled from town to town today, we witnessed people launching into new celebrations as word came in of one qaddafi stronghold after another falling into the hands of rebels. katie. >> couric: the wave of anti- government protests in the region began last month in tunisia where president ben ali was forced out. today, tens of thousands held a new protest there demanding the resignation of the prime minister.
soldiers fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd. adding to the tension in tunisia is a flood of refugees fleeing libya. allen pizzey has that part of the story from the libya/tunisia border. >> reporter: the desperation that drove these egyptian workers out of libya still rules. at least 5,000 have come into tunisia in the last three days, exhausted, traumatized, staggering under as much of their life as they can carry. the tunisians hand out bus tickets fearful the staging post could become a refugee camp. everyone here has a tale of fear. one man said he and his friends hid in a house for eight days, trapped by shooting and street fighting. all they wanted in libya was a job. instead they got caught in the middle of someone else's war. they only escaped with a little luck and a the lot of determination, but tens of thousands more are still trapped in a situation spiraling out of
control. "there was gunfire, men with rockets on their shoulders," sayeed says. "i saw dead bodies in the street." refugees streaming through the border posts say the libyan troops are nervous and rob whomever they please, but that's nothing compared to what these people escaped. allen pizzey, cbs news, on the libyan/tunisia border. >> couric: in switzerland, the government is freezing any assets qaddafi may have there, and here in the u.s., the treasury asked banks to watch for any suspicious transactions involving libyan accounts. qaddafi has ruled his oil-rich country for more than 40 years, but how much is he worth? here's our chief investigative correspondent, armen keteyian. >> reporter: government officials are still trying to figure out exactly how rich the libyan leader and his family are, but one intelligence source told cbs news their wealth is estimated to be in excess of $20 billion. >> with all of those revenues flowing through the national
government, through the treasury, it's pretty easy to tap those revenues for various purposes. >> reporter: confidential diplomatic cables unearthed by wikileaks underscore that estimate. in this january 2010 state department cable written by current ambassador gene cretz, he states qaddafi's regime controls $32 billion in liquid assets around the world and that several american banks are each managing between $300 million and $500 million in regime funds. >> i remember interviewing the director of the central bank at one point who admitted quite frankly that he had no idea some years what money went where and under what circumstances. >> the cables for qaddafi is understated with his wealth in libya, while his eight children spend lavishly overseas. exotic hunting trips, a luxury home in one of london's richest neighborhoods. and new year's eve parties like this one in 2009 in st. bart's, featuring superstar entertainer beyonce.
streams of government oil and gas money reportedly flow to all family members, which in turn are said to finance investments in libya, everything from telecommunication to shipping to even a plastic surgery clinic. if the u.s. wanted to go after qaddafi's assets, president obama could designate libya a rogue regime, giving banking the power to freeze whatever funds they find. katie. >> couric: armen keteyian, armen thank you. and coming up next here on the "cbs evening news," a terror suspect in court. prosecutors believe he may have been targeting former president george w. bush. and later, a tv show makes singing in school very cool. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms.
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battling nasal allergy symptoms? omnaris combats the cause. get omnaris for only $11 at omnaris.com. >> couric: that saudi college student arrested in texas on a terrorism charge made his first appearance in federal government today. khalid aldawsari is charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. bob orr is following the investigation. >> reporter: surrounded by u.s. marshals, khalid aldawsari marched silently in handcuffs and shackles into the lubbock, texas courthouse. khalid, do you have anything to say? once inside, the 20-year-old saudi-born college student kept his words to a minimum. when the judge asked if he understood the terror charges against him, aldawsari replied, "yes, i do."
aldawsari, who lives in this building, is accused of plotting a bomb attack. f.b.i. searches of his apartment turned up chemicals and electronics and personal writing suggested aldawsari researched multiple potential targets, including the home of former president george w. bush. former college roommates describe aldawsari as an eccentric loner. >> if you lived with him you would probably think he was a shy kid just trying to go to school. >> reporter: aldawsari intends to plead not guilty. in a statement, his attorney blasted press coverage of the case writing, "this is not alice in wonderland where the queen said first the punishment, then the trial." aldawsari was caught after a chemical supplier and freight shipper alerted the f.b.i. to a suspicious purchase of a chemical used in explosives. that vigilance was no accident. since 9/11, police across america have been reaching out to businesses who handle dangerous materials, openly soliciting tips.
officials say aldawsari's arrest is a direct dividend. because without the tips, the f.b.i. had nothing on aldawsari, and his alleged bomb plot was neither completion. katie. >> couric: bob, thank you. and one more note about george w. bush, he's canceled an appearance in denver tomorrow because wikileaks founder julian assange was invited to speak by video link to the same gathering the global leadership summit. the former president said he would not take part in the same forum as someone who, "has done great harm to the u.s." and still ahead, production on a tv comedy stops by a radio drama. dio drama. 3q ( woman ) even with an overactive bladder, i don't always let the worry my pipes might leak compromise what i like to do.q i take care with vesicare,
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>> couric: among the american cities facing budget troubles is providence, rhode island. the school board has just voted to send termination notices to all of its teachers. that does not mean they're all being fired, but some might be. the notices are required before a layoff. in wisconsin, the majority republicans in the state assembly voted today to cut the salaries and benefits of public service workers and limit their right to bargain collectively. the state senate can't vote until democratic members who fled the state return. in television math, two-and-a- half minus one equals zero. cbs is ending production for the rest of the season on "two and a half men" after a radio rant by its troubled star, charlie sheen. sheen attacked the show's producer, chuck lorre, referring to him by his hebrew name.
>> last i checked, chaim, i spent close to the last decade, magically converting your tin cans into pure gold. >> couric: in a statement, cbs and warner brothers say the decision to end production was based on "the totality of charlie sheen's statements, conduct, and condition." and coming up next, high schools musical. , high school musical. [ male announcer ] a chicken coop: the unlikely birthplace of a fundamental idea. it's where ethel percy andrus found a retired teacher living because she could afford nothing else. ethel couldn't ignore the clear need for health and financial security. and it inspired her to found aarp. for over 50 years, we've continued that work,
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no matter where you're hurting. feel better? yeah. thanks for the tip. [ male announcer ] for powerful pain relief, use bayer aspirin. take even longer. the new obstacles that could mean delays of up to 3 months. next on cbs 5 >> couric: finally tonight, it changes all the time: what's in what's out, what's hot, what's not, and above all, what's cool. ben tracy now with what's become cool in school. >> reporter: at john burroughs high school in burbank, california, the hallways are pretty quiet, until you get here. >> ooh, rock me, amadeus! >> reporter: because these days, there is nothing classical... >> ♪ amadeus, amadeus... >> reporter: about the choir. >> ♪ amadeus ♪ >> it's incredibly fun. but it's also a lot of hard work. >> reporter: victoria goins is one of the 54 student who make
up the show choir called power house. they practice for at least two hours a day but are not exactly too cool for school. do other people in the school think this is cool or do they think it's kind of lame? >> it depends on who you're talking to. >> reporter: hip-hop dancer nathan macaranas thought the choir kids were losers. then he became one. what did your friends think of you when you tould them you were going to do this? >> they thought it was lame, too. and i was like, another just watch. it's going to be awesome. >> reporter: it's awesome now, thanks in part to a little song and dance number called "glee." the show is now at the center of pop culture. matthew morrison, who plays mr. shue, said some schools are having to change their tune about music programs. >> some schools can't cut the glee club because it's glee club.
it's become such a thing now they won't touch it. >> reporter: it's called the "glee" effect. before the show, there were an estimated 200 show choirs at schools across the country. now there are about 600. the choirs are often support bide their own fund-raising, or if they're lucky, they get paid to perform. and glee clubs are now in demand at major events. the kids of ps-22 in new york were shocked when actress anne hathaway invited them to perform at the oscars this sunday. >> i was psyched. i was screaming my head off. i actually at one point fell down to the ground. >> reporter: as for power house, they've already taken their act on to "dancing with the stars" and they were in hong kong singing for the chinese new year.
>> i'm getting calls all the time. i got a call from japan. they're just starting to show "glee" and they found us. >> reporter: and these kids who were once made fun of now have reason to be gleeful. >> it's so amazing, i can finally say, yeah, i'm in the show. and be proud of it. >> reporter: ben tracy, cbs news burbank, california. >> nice, you guys. >> couric: and that is the cbs evening news for tonight. i'm katie couric in new york. thank you for watching this week. i'll see you again on monday. until then have a great weekend. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group you're watching cbs5 eyewitness news in high- definition. "this broadcast realtime captioned by becky lyon." a delay that has millions of californians even more frustrated with the d.m.v. but tonight changes are coming. what we have learned about a
new policy for those temporary licenses. for some of you it has been wind. others have seen some snow. the latest on the storm that is about to bring something else for all of us. serious cold. is it getting more dangerous to ride bart? the group that says yes and why it is demanding protection. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm dana king. the mother of all bureaucratic bungles. months after switching to new driver's licences, the d.m.v. is still backlogged trying to issue those ids and tonight cbs5 has learned that the d.m.v. is changing the way it is dealing with the delays. julie watts has details. julie. >> reporter: the d.m.v. tells us it will begin issuing 90-day temporary licenses instead of the 60-day permits when drivers renew their ids because what used to take two to three weeks can take as long as three months. but as we found out a lot of people aren't accepting these temporary licenses. >> i realized that you got
yours on friday the day this expired. >> yes. >> reporter: this woman was shocked when we pointed out her temporary id expired the same day she received her new one in the mail. >> when did you initially renew it? >> december 21. >> reporter: but it is not the eight-week wait or the fact she was driving around with an expired license that