tv CBS Evening News CBS April 23, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT
>> mitchell: tonight, airport panic. passengers dive for cover as a tornado rips through the st. louis airport and surrounding neighborhoods. i'm russ mitchell. also tonight, in libya with nato forces pounding his strongholds, why is moammar qaddafi handing over defense of misurata to local tribesmen? street art. a high-profile museum exhibition starts a new debate over whether graffiti is art or vandalism. and the common touch. with the big wedding less than a week away, the young royals are going all out to show they're in touch with the british public. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with russ mitchell. >> mitchell: good evening,
residents of st. louis tonight are still sifting through the aftermath of a tornado that took out homes and forced the city's only passenger airport to shut down. in the past 24 hours, violent thunderstorms have raced from oklahoma to indiana, but the damage in st. louis could have an impact on air travel for days. the good news? amazingly, no one was killed. cynthia bowers has the latest. >> go back inside! >> reporter: witnesses say it was bedlam. and even though lambert field was under a tornado watch, no one expected the powerful twister to barrel down a runway and slam into the historic airport. enormous windows shattered, sending glass flying into lambert's main terminal. this surveillance video shows the time of impact with travelers and airport employees diving for cover to avoid flying debris. >> when we got to the terminal lights were out, there was glass everywhere, there was blood everywhere from where people had been cut. >> this is the jet that was
pushed sideways from gate 12. >> reporter: three planes filled with passengers rode out the scary storm on the tarmac. east of the airport, dozens of homes bore the brunt of the twister packing winds of up to 166 miles an hour. >> we just thank the lord that we were okay and all our neighbors are okay. >> reporter: in maryland heights, residents scavenged through what was left of their homes, searching for anything that wasn't blown away. >> it was scary. i don't want to live through it again. as you can see, we're picking up the pieces. >> reporter: the small city of berkley, just a few miles east of the airport, was also hard hit. >> i was sitting right there on this couch. >> reporter: emery washington and his family made it to the basement just seconds before the tornado completely destroyed their home. folks here say they were grateful there were no injuries. >> my whole life flashed right in front of me. i just hope i don't have to experience that again. i hope no one has to go through that anymore. >> reporter: the state has declared this a disaster area
and the 30,000 without power could be in the dark for days. >> it was horrific and for that much damage to be done and no one lost their life, it is simply a blessing. >> reporter: the airport expects to be up and running at least 70% capacity as early as tomorrow. recoveries in communities like this will take a lot longer. and forecasters caution an extremely dangerous weather pattern is forming that could drop tornadoes just as strong as this one anywhere from illinois all the way down to texas monday and tuesday-- and once again, st. louis is in the path of the storm. russ? >> mitchell: cynthia bowers in the st. louis suburb of berkley, missouri, thank you very much. now let's turn the battle for libya. the u.s. says it launched its first predator drone attack today, while on the ground the qaddafi regime pulled the troops back from the western city of misurata. but as allen pizzey reports, the retreat may not be good news for the city's rebel defenders.
>> reporter: fierce fighting in the ruins that make up the front lines of misurata have apparently gone the rebels' way. an area around a medical facility that has been hotly contested for days has reportedly fallen to the rebels, but the cost was high both to them and qaddafi's troops. >> these are the militia of moammar qaddafi. these are wanted killers. >> reporter: soldiers said they had been ordered to retreat and booby trapped buildings they abandoned. the libyan government said it was pulling regular forces back because nato air strikes had made with a libyan official called a surgical solution impossible, and local tribesmen would take over the fight. >> reporter: civilian victims were evacuated today on a ship chartered to bring out stranded migrant workers. in tripoli, a nato air strike slammed into what libyan officials said was a parking lot outside the compound of colonel moammar qaddafi, killing three civilians.
the holes show what look like a concrete bunker under the sand. the first attack by a u.s. predator drone was carried out today. surveillance drones have been in use since the start of the no- fly operations. the armed version carried hellfire missiles which can strike small targets in urban areas. libyan officials called the predators a dirty tactic. >> reporter: it's not clear how many tribesmen there are in the area who would be willing to fight or where their loyalties lie, but putting them into the fight makes it more complicated for nato to intervene, even with the precision of the predator drones. russ? >> mitchell: allen, what else do we know about these tribes? >> well, they're generally considered to be loyal to qaddafi, russ. that's his area in the west. now, libya is a very tribal society, although they keep saying "no, no, we don't care. we're all libyans." in fact, it is tribal. but whether or not qaddafi could rally a lot of tribesmen to fight on his side remains on the seen.
but the fact he's trying to use them a cunning ploy because it complicates matters endlessly. >> mitchell: allen pizzey in benghazi, thank you. elsewhere, syrian forces fired on funeral processions in a damascus suburb today as violent crackdowns were reported in other cities across the country as well. mandy clark has the latest on the mounting toll of dead and wounded. >> reporter: grief turns into terror as mourners are fired upon. protesters are unable to bury their dead. they say even funerals are targeted by government sources. but despite the danger, they insist they will not give up. >> reporter: this determination by protesters to overthrow syrian president bashar assad comes in spite of the mounting deaths. yesterday was the bloodiest day in the country's month-long uprising. aid groups say more than 120 people died over the past two days as security forces fired bullets and tear gas at thousands of unarmed
demonstrators. president assad has been trying to defuse the protests by launching a series of concessions. demonstrators say they have come too late. "where are you? where are you, assad?" they chant. "we will take off your head." the brutal state crackdown prompted two lawmakers and a religious leader to resign, but the bloodshed only seems to have emboldened the protesters. many of them now say the only way to honor those who have died is to continue the fight for freedom. mandy clark, cbs news, london. >> mitchell: the u.s. military says two american soldiers were killed yesterday during operations in southern iraq. officials did not say how the men died. nine u.s. soldiers have been killed this month in iraq. here at home, the debate over raising the national debt ceiling will resume at full volume when congress returns from its easter recess. wit johnson in washington has
more on the battle and the latest read on public opinion. >> reporter: the u.s. credit limit of $14.3 trillion is almost maxed out. >> if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, that could drive up interest rates for everybody who borrows money. >> reporter: president obama wants an up-or-down vote in congress, but for the g.o.p. it's an opportunity to win more concessions in the form of spending cuts. >> there will not be an increase in the debt limit without something really, really big attached to it. (applause) >> reporter: and it's not just republicans. according to a cbs news/"new york times" poll, 63% of americans-- fed up with washington's lack of fiscal discipline-- are opposed to raising the debt limit. >> i don't believe it would be a good idea. i don't think putting off something that's as important to the country is going to help in the long run. >> we did raise our debt ceiling. we took on huge government investment projects to get us through that crisis.
i think we're now time to move on and get our debt under control and look to the future. >> reporter: in the near future, the national debt is expected hit its limit by mid-may. some crafty bookkeeping could extend the hard deadline until early july, but if the ceiling isn't raised the u.s. could go into default for the first time ever. some predict that would spark another recession, even worse than in 2008. >> everything's already been appropriated, so it's comparable to, you know, we signed the lease on our apartment, we signed for our car loan, all these other expenses. now it's time to pay the bills. >> reporter: the white house is confident that congress will eventually make a deal, but with so many americans still unconvinced that the debt limit should be raised, it sets the stage for another high-stakes political drama here in washington, russ. >> mitchell: whit johnson, at the white house. thanks. for more perspective on the debt ceiling and what a default might mean to the economy, we're joined by jim awad, managing director of zephyr management. in a nutshell, why should americans be concerned about this? >> well, the government borrows
money to repay maturing debt, to pay interest in debt outstanding and to pay for the army, medicare, social security, and all of that would stop if the government ran out of money and couldn't borrow any more. >> mitchell: again, this number is staggering. $14.3 trillion, that's the debt. how did we get to this point? >> we got here gradually over time through a buildup in entitlements and basically spending more than we take in revenues. but recently it's gone up really dramatically over the last ten years. under president bush, you paid for two wars and a tax cut-- that was $4 trillion. under president obama you had a stimulus program and some bailouts-- that was another $4 trillion. so that's why the curve has gone up dramatically. >> mitchell: as someone who watches money, management money, out of control? >> out of control, but if we start to fix it, i think that foreign investors will give us a little bit of time to make it right. but we must start right now. from a practical matter, at the end of the day congress has no choice but to make a deal on
this, right? >> congress has no choice. there will be a deal made. there will be brinksmanship. there will be side agreements on future spending and taxes. it's going to go right up to the end. a lot of politics, a lot of poker, but they will raise it. >> mitchell: jim awad, thanks for your insight. always a pleasure. coming up on the "cbs evening news," graffiti backlash. a museum exhibit is tagged with encouraging copycats. copycats. that's going to go right in your glove. ohhh.
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los angeles to large crowds, but what the curators on the inside are calling art is seen by some folks on the outside as something else entirely. ben tracy has more. >> this is like this every day. >> reporter: gary culotti runs this furniture-making business in los angeles, but his custom designs are taking a back seat to the graffiti plastered all over his walls, signs, and dumpster. >> it's not art. it may, in fact, be art but they shouldn't be putting it on other people's building. >> reporter: for store owners and residents overwhelmed by taggers trying to make their mark, graffiti has become a dirty word. but the museum of contemporary art in downtown l.a. is trying to change. that it's launched a new exhibit that traces the history of graffiti over the past four decades. it features works by 50 of the most influential street artists, including britain's elusive banksy and the legendary basquiat. >> part of our the goal of our with this exhibition was to maybe steer young graffiti
artists away from doing illegal work and getting more excited about the fact that they could possibly have a real career in this. >> reporter: but los angeles police claim the show is doing just the opposite. they say it's actually causing a rise in graffiti and vandalism in neighborhoods surrounding the museum. the handiwork of taggers trying to steal the spotlight. one international street artist, who goes who goes by the name space invader, has been putting up these tiled images on nearby buildings. officials here at the museum say reports of vandalism are overblown. they say most people attracted to this exhibit are not taggers, they're regular folks just curious about this art. people like laura fanning, who came here with her two daughters and left with a new view of graffiti. >> i just saw it more as vandalism. now i see it more as a commentary and a way of expressing one's self. like, "i'm going to put my mark here." >> reporter: but gary culotti has a message for anyone who thinks graffiti is art. >> if somebody feels it's art and they want in the their
house, they should have in the their house. i don't need it on my building. i don't want it on my building. >> reporter: but some now think it's so good it belongs on these museum walls. ben tracy, cbs news, los angeles >> mitchell: just ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news," united in grief. victims of 9/11 and the oklahoma city bombing come together to heal. ether to heal. st of my life. so i've got to take care of my heart. for me cheerios is a good place to start. [ male announcer ] to keep doing what you love, take care of your heart with cheerios. the whole grain oats can help lower cholesterol. love your heart so you can do what you love. move our families forward. move us all to a better place. and caltrate moves us. caltrate knows 80% of us don't get the calcium we need. and when we don't, our bodies steal it from our bones. caltrate helps put it back. with 1200 mg of calcium and 800 iu of vitamin d. women need caltrate.
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>> mitchell: this week marks 16 years since the oklahoma city bombing. it was the worst act of terrorism on u.s. soil until 9/11. in tonight's weekend journal, we visit victims of both tragedies who have come together to help one another move past the pain. as oklahoma city marked 16 years since the bombing that killed 168 of its citizens, a group of september 11 families was there. >> my mother, diane althous. and our big sister, ms. baylee altman. >> reporter: eleni kousoulis led the world trade center united family group in honor of her sister danielle, a bond broker who was trapped on 9/11 on one of the top floors of the twin towers. >> she had this amazing zest for life. she always had a smile on her face. >> mitchell: kousoulis believes
oklahoma city families truly understand what her family went through in 2001. >> i was finally able to talk to people who went through the experience. it's not only the experience of losing a loved one so suddenly but it's losing someone to terrorism. >> mitchell: there's an annual pilgrimage to both cities on the anniversaries. >> we help each other. there's times that, like today, i need that hug. >> reporter: rudy guzman's brother, randy, oversaw the marines recruiting station on the sixth floor of the bombed federal building. guzman has stood with 9/11 families at their memorial service and plans to return in september. >> as long as i put a smile on someone, i did my job. >> mitchell: in oklahoma city, 9/11 families see positive results. >> a peaceful memorial, a chair for every victim representing that empty chair at the dinner table. gates display 9:01, the minute before the attack, and 9:03, the minute after.
>> you have to give yourself time to go through the process. >> reporter: at shared meals, the families share their emotions. >> we kind of went through that, too. >> mitchell: survivors and emergency responders are part of the exchange. >> that's my desk right here. >> mitchell: calvin moser worked for the department of housing and urban development on the eighth floor and escaped the oklahoma blast. his best friend and officemate, david jack walker, did not. this week, moser was among the oklahomans to sew a stitch in a large american flag salvaged from new york's ground zero. >> i'm hoping that they can see within us the fact that there is a light beyond where they may be today. >> mitchell: for judy and kevin bailey, who lost their son brett in the trade center attack, visiting oklahoma is healing. >> i can see that it can be done and it really helps you to wake up every morning and to put your feet on the ground and start
running again. ♪ whose bright stripes and bright stars... ♪ >> reporter: victims of terror with common threads linking their hearts together. >> they're six years ahead of us so i think... i look at them like, okay at some point i hope to be even further along. >> there is a time in which you will remember back and think so fondly of your friends and don't think so much about the terror that took them. >> mitchell: the oklahoma city memorial was completed on the fifth anniversary of that attack. the 9/11 memorial at ground zero is scheduled to open this september, a decade after the attacks. we'll be back. ... or i just forget. but look. this is doing fine. why? it's planted in miracle-gro moisture control potting mix. it holds 33% more water... than ordinary potting soil. releasing it as plants need it. not when i get around to it. and there's miracle-gro plant food mixed in.
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and now discover activia dessert. in rich, indulgent flavors like blueberry cheesecake. try activia dessert today. ♪ activia >> mitchell: finally this evening, the guest list for the royal wedding was released today. included? elton john, david beckham and 46 royals from other lands. britain's young royals want to be known for more than just their blue blood backgrounds, as barry pedersen reports. >> reporter: in a tradition dating to the 15th century, queen elizabeth handed out gifts to her subjects on her birthday, her 85th. but for the new generation of royals now coming into its own, ritual doesn't seem as important as relevance. >> we don't want them to be ordinary.
we want them to be extraordinary, but with a common twist. >> reporter: britain has seen prince william's charity work take him around the world. >> it's just trying to find your own way. >> reporter: his willingness to reach out to those in need echo the compassion of his mother, princess diana. >> she was just a guardian angel rocking about up there looking at them and i think they feel that. >> reporter: younger brother prince harry also works for charities, joining a fund- raising walk for wounded soldiers near the north pole, glad to be the one to test a survival suit personally. and as a soldier in afghanistan, joking about how the queen took his deployment. >> i remember saying "are you cool with this?" and her saying, "i think it's a splendid idea. go for it." so she was happy to get rid of me. >> reporter: others in the new generation are also making their own way. zara phillips is the daughter of princess anne, prince charles's sister. princess ann decided not give her children royal titles. zara's success is her own.
as a top horsewoman, she's training for a spot on britain's olympic equestrian team. later this year she'll mary renown rugby player mike tindall in a wedding that will have no royal overtones. perhaps upbringing matters. prince charles was the product of a more formal era while william and harry grew up with a mother far more affectionate. making them seem easier to know, easier to like and far more likely to change the monarchy into something that better reflects the 21st century. barry pedersen, cbs news, london >> mitchell: later on cbs, "48 hours mystery." thanks for joining us. i'm russ mitchell cbs news in new york. i'll see you back here tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
a mist. >> reporter: for scientists what is killing sharks and other marine wildlife. >> when you come down to chinatown be sure you smile. how one community has taken crime fighting into its own hands. the terrifying reaction of the tornado tearing through a midwest airport. how hundreds of passengers ran for safety as the storm struck. cbs5 eyewitness news is next. s. i was in a hurry to grow up and wanted to look cool. big tobacco knew it, and they preyed on me. i'm here to tell you that big tobacco hasn't changed. they continue to profit...
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