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tv   CBS Evening News With Russ Mitchell  CBS  November 27, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PST

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>> mitchell: tonight, holiday shopping turnaround. all signs point to a record thanksgiving weekend at the malls. our tony guida is following the crowds. hard lesson for those three american students caught up in the turmoil in egypt. cynthia bowers talks with one of them. he's wanted for bank robberies across southern california, but is he really the elderly man he appears to be? bill whitaker is on the case. and meet judge jimmie. he's a no nonsense judge who believes the real answer lies in giving young offenders a second chance. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with russ mitchell. >> mitchell: and good evening. as the thanksgiving weekend draws to a close, retailers are breathing a sigh of relief and adding up their sales. a record 226 million shoppers
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visited stores and web sites this weekend, an industry survey says. that's up 14 million from last year, and they spent a record $52.4 billion. tony guida has been taking the pulse of the american shopper. >> reporter: recession? what recession? americans are shopping and spending this holiday weekend like their pants are on fire. >> the deals are great this weekend. you just got to have the patience to stand in line and weave through the crowds. >> reporter: and the luck to survive occasional mayhem. at a wal-mart in mesquite, texas, thanksgiving night, shoppers flipped out over d.v.d. deals. they ripped them out of cartons in a frenzied scrum. one woman was nearly trampled. the siren song of savings lured shoppers into stores early and they spent, on average, almost 400 dollars each, a record. >> the retailers that opened at midnight on thanksgiving night were thrilled that they did
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some. >> reporter: comes now another sales gimmick, cyber monday. graham jones, who manages a shopping web site with 12,000 retailers, thinks it will be even bigger than black friday. >> absolutely. 5% to 7% is what i predict for monday up over the same monday last year. >> reporter: even bricks and mortar businesses figure to get their cut of the cyber monday dollars. at this jcpenny store in midtown manhattan, you can order it online with this device. they expect to do a brisk cyber monday business right here in the store. so in the teeth of vast unemployment and millions of mortgages still underwater, why are americans spending with apparent abandon? >> emotional giving. folks don't want to pull back on their gifts. they're going to pull back somewhere else. >> reporter: and cybershop even while they work. >> you're not supposed to cyberon work, but i'm going to try my best because i know there's going to be some deals. >> reporter: by the way, just 27 shopping days till christmas.
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tone owe guida, cbs news, new york. >> mitchell: holiday travel is up this weekend, as well, with an estimated 42.5 million people expected to travel more than 50 miles from home. that's 4% more than last year. a band of rain showers moving eastward across the country may end up dlailg some of those homeward bound travelers. three young american students are back home safe and sound tonight after their brief confinement in egypt last week. they say they were simply trying to watch history in the making, but as cynthia bowers tells us, they got a lot more than they bargained for. >> reporter: emotional home comings as three college students held for six days by egyptian authorities arrived back on american soil. greg porter landed in philadelphia. luke gates in indianapolis. >> it's really good feeling. >> 19-year-old derrik sweeney arrived in st. louis, missouri, late last night, and early today he arrived at his family's home
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in jefferson city. how does it feel to walk into your house after everything you've been through? >> it feels really nice. >> reporter: sanctuary? >> yeah, feels like home. >> reporter: the three were arrested last sunday, accused of throwing molotov cocktails near cairo's tahrir square. derrik describes first terrifying night in custody. >> we were in a near fetal position with our hands handcuffed by hide our back, and with our shirts still over our heads so we couldn't see anything even in the dark, and they said if we proved we would get shot. they would shoot us. >> the three were brought before cameras showing them with fire bombs egyptian authorities said came from their backpacks. derrik says these bottles might have belonged to egyptian, but not to the three americans. >> there is a picture of you holding what looks like a dasani bottle, but there's definitely colored fluid in there. >> yeah, yeah. >> reporter: what is that? >> they put it up against my mouth and threatened as if they
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were going to make me drink it. my best guest would be gasoline. >> reporter: today the georgetown student admits he may have been naive in being drawn to an area where protesters and police were battling it out. he says it was curious to watch egypt's struggle for political freedom. >> you do get passionate about it. it's passion for democracy and liberty and values that i think americans can stand for, too. >> reporter: derrik doubts he'll be allowed back into egypt any time soon. for now he's thankful to be home. cynthia bowers, cbs news, jefferson city, missouri. >> mitchell: and back in egypt, the curtain goes up on the first ouster of hosni mubarak since early this year. many egyptians appear eager to take part despite widespread doubts among the protest centers cairo's tahrir square. elizabeth palmer has more. >> reporter: on the eve of egypt's eflexion one of cairo's oldest neighborhoods, tahrir square and the protesters feel a world away. around the domino word, some do
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know who they're going to vote for tomorrow. >> [inaudible]. >> reporter: "yes, yes, i do," he says. and some are still on the fence. you only have about 12 hours left to decide. but there is consensus on the main thing. everyone here is heading to the polls. so you believe this is going to be a good election? >> we have to trust. if we don't trust, we'll lose. >> reporter: with 6,000 parliamentary candidates and 50 million potential voters, it's going to be complicated. only one-third of egypt's regions will vote tomorrow and tuesday. the rest will get their turn over the next eight weeks with the final result expected in mid-january. the parliament's first job will be to oversee the writing of egypt's brand-new constitution. many of the protesters in tahrir square are boycotting this election, saying egypt's military government has to leave
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power first, but millions are expected to turn out and choose between secular liberals, remnants of ex-president hosni mubarak's regime, and the powerhouse in this race, the muslim brotherhood. an islamic movement rebranded for the election as the freedom and justice party, but which has been organizing the grassroots, especially the poor, for decades. we have our support, so it's easy now. we are doing our best to bring your freedom to you, so please try to get down, try to vote. >> reporter: the muslim brotherhood has a reputation as an extremist islamist party, but, in fact, in egypt, it's a modern, sophisticated political machine, and it's running candidates that range from mildly religious to fundamentalist and even a secular liberal here and there where it seems to make political sense. russ? >> mitchell: elizabeth palmer in cairo, thank you. nato and the united states are
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both investigating the weekend air strikes along the afghan border that left 24 pakistani soldiers dead. thousands of pakistanis converged outside the u.s. consulate in karachi today as antiu.s. protests spread. charlie d'agata has the latest. >> reporter: in a small village in northern pakistan today, they held a funeral for najeeb ullah, a young soldier mistakenly killed by nato forces. it was the last chance for asfand yar to see his young son's face. "we've given our children up for the security of this country," he says, "not so that they're killed in their own land." the pakistani government called the cross-border air strike an unprovoked attack and shut down vital supply routes to u.s. troops in afghanistan and demanded the u.s. vacate a key air base. today afghan officials said its forces called in the air strike after taking fire from the direction of two pakistani border posts. they've also expressed concern
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the attack may cause long-term damage to their relations with pakistan. for now, most of pakistan's fury is directed against the united states. protesters shouted, "down with america," demanding pakistan enders uneasy alliance with the u.s. that's unlikely to happen. pakistan depends on billions of dollars in military and civilian aid from the u.s., and the u.s. needs pakistan's help in fighting the taliban. but the deaths of 24 pakistani soldiers have dealt a severe blow to a relationship already under strain. [taps playing] according to some, even moderate pakistanis are now asking if it's worth keeping ties with the u.s. charlie d'agata,, cbs news, london. >> mitchell: in a first-ever move against one of its members, the arab league today slapped tough economic sanctions on syria, aiming to pressure president assad into ending his
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crackdown on pro democracy protesters. the u.n. estimates more than 3,500 has v been killed since march. syria denounced the sanctions as a betrayal of arab solidarity. just ahead, the 112th congress, could it be the most do-nothing congress ever? >> mitchell: congress returns
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from thanksgiving break tomorrow with time becoming an issue. with the failure of the super committee to agree on cutting the deficit, members have barely a month to address more immediate terms. whittonson is on capitol hill with the latest. whit, good evening? >> reporter: russ, good evening. the broader deficit reduction debate will be put on hold for now. instead congress will focus on some critical loose ends that in not addressed in matter of weeks will affect millions of americans. packed in the backlog of legislation set to expire by the end of the year are long-term unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut. >> if we don't provide the tax
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relief that president obama has asked for, families are going to see an increase in taxes. >> reporter: today democratic senator dick durbin, again pushed to keep the payroll tax cut in place, but by increasing taxes on wealthier americans to cover the 112 billion dollar price tag. a non-starter for republicans like senator jon kyl, who say it won't help the economy. >> the payroll tax holiday has not stimulated job creation. we don't think that is a good way to do it. >> reporter: republicans argue if you want to keep payroll taxes low, do it by cutting spending elsewhere. the same goes for extending long-term unemployment benefits, which without a deal will cut aid to nearly 2 million jobless in january alone. national journal congressional correspondent major garrett. >> >> legislating by cry sis, that will be the defining characteristic of this very effective congress in december. >> the 112th congress may go
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down as the least productive in modern history. so far it's passed only 44 public bills that were signed into law. even the so-called do-nothing 80th congress under president harry truman passed 906. >> both sides know they're arguing past each other and intentionally so to make a bigger political point. why? because next year is an election year. >> reporter: some republicans say passing bills just for the sake of passing bills only means more spending. and as they attempt to win back the white house and the senate in 2012, continued grid lock is expected. russ? >> mitchell: whit johnson on capitol hill, thanks a lot. when we come back, the latest from the campaign trail. >> with just over six weeks to
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go before the new hampshire primary, the state's largest newspaper, "the union leader" today endorsed newt gingrich, who just last week finished second in statewide poll that had mitt romney in the lead 42% to 15%. and joining us now from washington is cbs news political director john dickerson. john, good evening. >> good evening, russ. >> mitchell: newt gingrich is having a pretty good week. what does this endorsement mean to his campaign? >> it's good news that he has support among conservatives. it doesn't mean a lot electorally. the "union leader" has backed the loser of the new hampshire primary as much as the winner, but it helps gingrich raise money, and it helps him with conservatives who have been grumbling about his position on immigrants. the union leader argues they that minutes have to settle on the best of the bunch running.
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>> mitchell: it sounds like as far as knocking mitt romney out of the lead, it's not necessarily going to do that. >> >> that's right. it nicks him a it will until new hampshire. the editorial says, we would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want the hear. that sounds like a veiled shot at romney, and we'll see if the paper keeps taking those shots, but romney has a stronghold in new hampshire. he's got strong roots in that state and a good organization. it will take more than this endorsement to threaten his lead. but in a larger sense, if this solidifies gingrich as the alternative to romney, that could be bad because romney benefits when the anti-romney vote is split. >> john dickerson in washington, as always, thanks a lot. >> thanks, russ. >> mitchell: ahead, the bandits who may be lying about his age. that story is next. >> mitchell: itnesses
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describe the gunman who has been holding up california banks with regularity as being in his '60s or 70s, but appearances can be deceptive and the so-called geezer bandit might even be a whipper snapper. bill whitaker has more. >> reporter: he looks more like a grandfather than a hardened criminal, but this unassuming senior citizen is one of the f.b.i.'s most wanted bank robbers, dubbed "the geezer bandit" by law enforcement, he's the primary suspect in a string of brazen hold-ups, hitting 15 banks across southern california an getting away with tens of thousands of dollars. >> he appears to be a harmless, elderly man. >> reporter: special agent darrel foxworth has tried the track the geezer case since 2009
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when the robber first hit a bank near san diego. now two years and more than a dozen banks later, the f.b.i. says the geezer has struck again, robbing this san diego-area wells fargo on september 30th. surveillance video shows him calmly waiting in line. after he approaches the teller, he demands a large sum of money and pulls out a gun. >> he came in, requested money, passed a note and said, if you don't, i will murder you and everybody else in the bank. >> reporter: this bank teller feared for her life when the geezer bandit robbed her bank last january. she asked us to conceal her identity and she believes the gizoer is concealing his. >> something didn't look normal. it wasn't a normal face. >> reporter: the geezer bandit might not be a geezer at all. witnesses say his deeply wrinkled face looks unnatural and his voice sounds younger than he appears, so the f.b.i. is considering the possibility that the geezer get-up is an elaborate disguise.
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it's happened before. last year a young man transformed himself with a geezer-esque mask and boarded a plane from hong kong to canada and a los angeles special effects costume company sells masks online that looking strikingly similar to the geezer bandit. >> the so-called geezer bandit has struck again. >> reporter: the story has sparked a media sensation. he has more than 11,000 facebook fans with some selling geezer merchandise. but the f.b.i. is not amused. >> at the end of the day, he is an arm and dangerous bank robber. >> reporter: and there is now a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. bill whitaker, cbs news, los angeles. >> mitchell: ahead, the jung who wants to keep young people out of his courtroom. >> mitchell: finally this
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evening, each of us has something to be thankful for this thanksgiving weekend. for hundreds of young people in
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st. louis, that something is a second chance. and that's tonight's sunday cover, a visit with a tough but innovative judge. >> good morning, everyone. >> mitchell: here in this juvenile courtroom... >> you can't be in a gang. >> mitchell: no nonsense judge jimmie edwards doles out wisdom to kids accused of crimes. too often it's too late. >> when i get ready to lock you up, nobody is going to be down here supporting you. >> what is the toughest part of your day? >> the toughest part of my day is when children come in and i know they need help, but for somebody else getting involved in their lives, they have no opportunity. >> mitchell: to reduce the number of kids that wind up in jail, judge edwards created classrooms. two years ago he opened the innovative concept academy for the youngsters who have been expelled or appear destined to a life of crime. more than 700 students have enrolled. >> let's not lock 'em all up. let's not be so punitive.
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let's teach them. and what's so great about teaching them is that they want to learn. >> mitchell: 18-year-old jakayla ivory came to the academy last fall after she assaulted a classmate. how do you think you've changed in the last year? >> i'm doing better in school. i'm more careful with my mom around the house. >> mitchell: when these kids walk into your courtroom for the first time, what's going through your mind? >> they see a judge that will tell them, try your best. give me an effort today better than you gave me last week. >> mitchell: where do you think you'd be if you weren't sent to the school? any idea? >> i think i would be locked up right now. >> mitchell: alonti wiss, deyon smith and nadia jones have all raised their grades, along with their optimism. what do you all three hope to do down the road? any goals, any plan, any dreams? >> i want to be a forensic detective. pitch mitch okay. you? >> i would go to college when i
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leave here. >> there's so much you can learn. i just want to learn, learn, learn more. >> mitchell: judge edwards says his program is changing the course of lives through discipline, education and opportunity. are you surprised at the reaction that you've received in >> i am absolutely amazed. this has served a new and wonderful discussion all over america about how to deal with delinquents, incorrigibles and education. >> mitchell: the innovative concept academy costs about $2,500 per student and is funded in part by the state of missouri and the st. louis public school district. other states are now considering similar programs. and that is the "cbs evening news." later on cbs, "60 minutes." thanks for joining us this sunday evening. i'm russ mitchell at the cbs broadcast center in new york. scott pelley will be here tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group
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are releasing to find a driver responsible. . a firefighter and young father critically injured in a hit and run. the evidence san francisco police are releasing to find a driver responsible. >> we have nowhere else to go. homeless for the holidays. the consequences of being distracted by a cross word puzzle. occupy camp facing eviction. the trend spreading now from coast to coast. cbs eyewitness news is next. ,,


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