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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  December 13, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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>> pelley: tonight, federal safety regulators say it has to stop. for the first time, they're calling far nationwide ban on all cell phone use while driving. and all texting. >> four little letters. that's what killed her. >> jerry sandusky's accusers were about to make their sex abuse allegations in court when his lawyers stopped the hearing. armen keteyian is at the courthouse. john blackstone on what could be the future of space travel. a spacecraft that doesn't need a launch pad. and the jewels of elizabeth taylor on sale for the holidays. michelle miller reports $50 million will buy hollywood's gilded age.
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captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening, it's a you have to proposal-- no phones for drivers period. even hands free. a national ban on calls and texting while driving. the ban was recommended today by the n.t.s.b.-- the national transportation safety board which called phones a deadly distraction. we wondered how deadly and our research department found this: government records show that distracted driving caused 900,000 crashes on america's roads alone, injuring 417,000 people and killing 3,092. but elaine quijano tells us it was just one deadly crash that really got the attention of the safety board. >> reporter: the n.t.s.b. has been investigating distracted driving for ten years, but it was this deadly crash last year
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in missouri that finally pushed the board to make today's recommendation investigators say a 19-year-old driving a pickup truck exchanged 11 text messages in the 11 minutes before hitting another vehicle. he and a 15-year-old were killed. 38 others were hurt in the chain reaction collision that follow followed. debbie hersman is the n.t.s.b. chairman. >> it's about changing attitudes and changing the level of acceptance. >> reporter: rules and enforcement to stop distracted driving vary widely. 35 states currently ban all drivers from text messaging. just nine states ban the use of hand-held cell phones. >> no text, no tweet, and no post is worth a human life. >> reporter: some places, like somerset county, new jersey, have made distracted driving a top priority. >> there's a warning program in somerset county for distracted driving. >> reporter: distracted drivers here are required to watch an online video and take a test or pay a $100 fine.
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>> four little letters. that's what killed her. >> reporter: the video features people who've either killed someone or lost loved ones in accidents linked to texting. prosecutor jeffrey soriano came up with the idea for the mandatory viewing. >> i think people sit back and say, wow, that could be me someday. i don't want to be in that position. >> reporter: this month, somerset county has pulled over a thousand distracted drivers-- including adele morgan. how did that video affect you. >> i honestly thought of my own children and i see how often they're texting all the time and how much it's a part of their life and i just realized, wow, this could be one of them someday. >> reporter: the recommendations by the national transportation safety board are not binding but they can be a big influence on federal regulators and state lawmakers. in 2003, the board recommended it experienced... inexperienced drivers be banned from using cell phones while in moving
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vehicles and, scott, 30 states now prohibit new drivers from all cell phone use. >> pelley: so it's most likely to be up to the individual states. elaine, thank you very much. all of this had us thinking today about other transportation mishaps linked to distractions from high-tech devices. listen to these. in 2008, a head-on collision of two trains in california killed 25 people. an engineer was texting and mess add stop signal. in 2009, a northwest airlines flight from dallas overshot minneapolis by 100 miles because the pilots were on their laptops. and in 2010, two tourists were killed when a tug boat hit a tour boat on the delaware river. the tug boat's mate was on his cell phone and his computer. jerry sandusky vowed today that he will fight charges that he sexually abused ten young boys while he was an assistant coach at penn state. there was supposed to be a
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pretrial hearing today with sandusky facing his accusers, but it ended before it began, leaving the lawyers to make their arguments on the courthouse steps. armen keteyian is in bellefonte, pennsylvania tonight. armen? >> reporter: good evening, scott. today was the first time we expected to hear from several alleged victims in the case, emotional testimony due to last all day. instead, we got a very different kind of drama. within minutes of judge robert scott calling the court to order, sandusky's attorney waived his clients' right to the hearing, triggering audible gasps inside a packed courtroom. the 67-year-old sandusky entered the county courthouse under heavy guard. he'll now be formally arraigned on january 11 where he is expected to plead not guilty to 52 counts related to child sex abuse involving ten boys over a span of 15 years. as he walked out of court today, he used a football reference to professor his innocence.
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>> reporter: prosecutor mark costanzo told reporters the state was ready to make its case, but the decision did spare the witnesses set to testify from reliving their ordeal in public-- for now. >> they will, of course, testify at trial in the case. they've shown great strength and they were more than ready to be able to tell their story. >> reporter: attorney ben andrew ios zi read a handwritten note from his client, identified as victim number four. >> nothing has changed. i still will stand my ground, testify and speak the truth. >> reporter: andrew ios zi said the 27-year-old man was set to testify first when the plug was pulled. >> he's incredibly can competent and incredible witness and i think it would have been damming for the defense had he been able to testify today. >> reporter: sandusky attorney joe amendola said what he called a tactical decision was made late last night. but he didn't waste the
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opportunity to preview his defense before a sea of t.v. and print reporters. >> what greater motivation could there be than mn? >> reporter: in an hour-long address, amendola repeatedly raised questions about the truthfulness of the accusations against sandusky. >> as all of you know, credibility is going to be the main factor in this case. >> reporter: but the 11th hour decision has given you exactly this kind of platform to make your case to a national media. is this all part of your legal strategy? >> when we knew that we were going to waive and we knew everybody was here we realized that this was an opportunity for us to speak with you as opposed to piecemeal. >> reporter: so it's a very smart move? >> well, i'll let you be the judge of that. but i'll tell you this: there will be no plea negotiations. this is a fight to the death. this is the fight of jerry sandusky's life. >> reporter: sandusky remains free on $250,000 bond and, scott, he will continue to wear that electronic monitoring
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device. >> pelley: that monitoring is supposed to keep him restricted to his home. thanks, armen, appreciate that. president obama asked iran to give america's spy plane back. today he got his answer. iran said no. the r.q.-170 plane is one of america's most closely guarded secrets, so not much is known about it. but bob orr has been talking to his sources today. >> reporter: while iranian television showed the top of the stealth drone to be intact, a u.s. official says the unmanned aircraft was clearly damaged and probably broke apart when it came down inside iran. officials in tehran claim they're close to unlocking the drone's secrets but reverse engineering critical systems, but u.s. defense secretary leon panetta said it's unclear exact play the iranians have. >> it's a little difficult to know just, frankly, how much they're going to be able to get from having obtained those parts. i don't know the condition of those parts.
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i don't know exactly what state they're in. >> reporter: defense analysts believe iran may be able to copy the stealth construction of the bat winged aircraft and duplicate its radar-deflecting contours and paint. but it will be much harder to clone the software and spy systems of the, are qurks 170. peter singer is a military specialist at the brookings institution. >> if you don't have the software, if you don't know how it operates it's like someone handing you an iphone and saying "good luck with it." >> reporter: while u.s. officials will not say what kind of hardware the drone was carrying, the r.q.-170 uses an assortment of cameras, radar sensors and detectors capable of identifying uranium and radioactive materials. and that equipment is typically mounted on the bottom of the aircraft. since the belly of the captured drone was hidden on the iranian broadcast, it's not known if the key surveillance components survived the landing. former vice president dick cheney said today on the cbs early show the u.s. should have
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avoided any potential intelligence loss by destroying the downed drone. >> for us to go in and take out the drone that crashed would have been, i think, a fairly simple operation and it would have denied them the value of the intelligence they can collect by having that aircraft. >> reporter: u.s. officials say they rejected a destroy mission as impractical. as for iran's, attempt, scott, to duplicate the drone, it could seek help from china, a country that has had some success with stealth clones. >> pelley: bob, is there any idea why the drone came down in sneern. >> still a bigamistry. it was programmed to return to return to its base in afghanistan but u.s. officials say something went wrong. iran claims it used some kind of electronic jammer to bring it down. the u.s. government flatly rejects that explanation but i have to tell you some independent analysts say it is a possibility. >> pelley: bob, thanks very much. it's in secret that the economy is picking up a little steam, and here's the latest evidence. the census bureau estimate estit retail sales in november totaled nearly $400 billion-- an
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increase of 6.7% from a year ago. what should we be expecting from the economy? here's senior business correspondent anthony mason. >> reporter: at penelope's, a chicago clothing and gift store... >> that will be $65.24. >> reporter: ...owner joe lawer says so far his season has been solid. but nationally sales were not as strong as expected in november, even for business owners in lauer's chicago neighborhood. >> it hasn't been as good as they hoped but still not bad. >> reporter: the record breaking black friday sales frenzy may have faded, but november was still the sixth straight month retail sales are have improved. and after the nosedive during the recession, sales are now 5.5% higher than prerecession peak. are you pretty confident in the u.s. consumer here? >> yes. >> reporter: because, economist carl lahey says, consumer confidence has
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rebounded to its highest level in six months. >> so the fact that we are building up some momentum going in and enjoying what will probably be a decent christmas season is all very important as you roll into the new year. >> reporter: the big winner in november? electronics. up more than 2%, powered by sales of mobile phones, ipads and t.v.s. >> pelley: anthony, thanks very much. a state in economic crisis is making painful cuts to schools. scientists are closer to finding what they call the god particle. and meet some of elizabeth taylor's best friends when the "cbs evening news" continues. ♪ [ male announcer ] campbell's green bean casserole. it's amazing what soup can do i've been so looking forward to this. when my asthma symptoms returned, my doctor prescribed dulera to help prevent them.
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so why wait ? ask your doctor today... ... about taking care with vesicare. states facing tough competition from abroad, education is more important than ever, but the struggling economy is forcing states to make budget cuts, and today ben tracy tells us california announced about a billion dollars in cuts to schools and social services. >> reporter: nearly 200 students protested the latest budget cuts in front of the los angeles public schools headquarters today. >> you know, it brings know tears. it's sad. >> reporter: 14-year-old gab gabrielle la carrillo attends a sky hule for those wanting to go into health care. state funding for all bus transportation is now gone. carrillo may have to change schools. >> i just believe it's very unfair and the budget cuts aren't right. >> we don't want to dig ourselves into a hole that
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becomes virtually impossible to climb out of. >> reporter: california governor jerry brown says a stronger economy has helped increase tax revenue but the current budget is still short $2.2 billion. the automatic cuts will now slash budgets for schools, in-home support for seniors and the disabled, libraries and prisons. >> this is not the way we'd like to run california. but we have to live within our means. >> reporter: this year's budget had already cut $16 billion. funding for public universities was slashed 23%, prompting protests of tuition increase this is fall. the university of california system will now lose another $100 million. state republicans won't budge on raising taxes, so governor brown wants californians to vote next november on whether to raise taxes for people making more than $250,000. >> you either cut or you tax. there's no third way. there's no alternative. >> reporter: and governor
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brown warned of even more dramatic cuts come january because california is still facing a $13 billion long-term budget shortfall. yet, scott, republicans here in california say the governor is using fear of these cuts to gin up support for his tax plan. >> pelley: ben, thank you very much. it was a well-known teacher, ralph waldo emerson who wrote life is a journey, not a destination. well, that's apparently true even for seals. the wildlife conservation society used a transmitter to track an elephant seal named jackson as he traveled 18,000 miles off the coast of chile. jackson made the 11-month journey-- the equivalent of swimming from sydney to new york and back-- in search of food. when america heads back to space, will this odd-looking plane help take us there? we'll examine that next. tionablc
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particle called the higgs boson. today they announced that they haven't found it but they are what they called tantalizingly close, finding hints that it does exist. they're going to need a few more months. it will be a few more years before astronauts fly again in american spacecraft, but when they do, the vehicles will be developed by private companies, not by nasa. john blackstone reports we got our first look today at a new kind of ship that doesn't need a launch pad. >> the wingspan of this plane is greater than the length of a football field. just think about that for a second. >> reporter: paul allen, the billionaire cofounder of microsoft, has the a plan to build the world's biggest airplane and use it to launch rockets into earth's orbit. the twin fuselage craft will be powered by six boeing 747 engines and have a wingspan of 385 feet-- nearly double of that of a 747. it will carry a rocket to.
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30,000 feet and then blast off-- an easier way to get into space than climbing there the thick atmosphere close to the earth's surface. it may sound fanciful, but allen has the help of legendary aircraft designer burt rutan. >> i would love to be able to be out there searching for other break throughs so that we can have hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people able to experience that view. >> reporter: in 2004, rutan and allen together built spaceship 1 a similar but much smaller system that became the first privately funded spacecraft to fly outside the atmosphere twice in two weeks. >> we have a long road. >> reporter: allen won't say how much he intends to spend on straddle launch but says it eventually should make money launching private satellites and carrying payloads for nasa. >> i'm very excited. >> reporter: allen won't say how long it will be until he'll be offering rides to humans but says he won't be among the first to fly. >> personally, i think i'm going
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to wait for a large number of those flights to happen before i'll think about it. i'm actually a fairly conservative guy in some aspects. >> reporter: the goal is to go from this model to a test flight by 2015 and the first launch of a rocket by 2016. john blackstone, cbs news, seattle. >> pelley: from jules verne to julejewels for sale. elizabeth taylor's collection n. and if you don't get gas, maybe you don't need these. take beano before and there'll be no gas. ♪aybe you don't need these. like so many great pioneers before me, guided only by a dream. i'm embarking on a journey of epic proportion. i will travel, from sea to shining sea, through amber waves of grain, and i won't stop until i've helped every driver in america save hundreds on car insurance.
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there are just 11 shopping days left till christmas, and if you still don't know what to get the lady in your life-- well, michelle miller does. starting tonight, an incredible collection of jewelry is up for auction at christie's-- jewelry that once belonged to hollywood royalty. >> reporter: elizabeth taylor's motto was "the more the better." she lived it through high fashion, husbands, and diamonds. like the ones she called her everyday ring-- just 33 carats. so this is it? >> that's the elizabeth taylor diamond. >> reporter: crity's perk chairman mark parter says the jewels tell the story of taylor's remarkable life. >> it has no color at all. and the most beautiful shape diamond that you can imagine with those very deep facets which she, of course, called the steps into eternity. >> reporter: husband richard burton-- who she married and
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divorced twice-- called it an "it's tuesday, i love you" gift. the two had fallen in love on the set of the 1963 film "cleopatra." a scandalous romance that created a tabloid frenzy and was punctuated by a series of 34 spectacular gifts. bull garry emeralds, spanish royal pearls and the taj mahal diamond by cartier. >> it was a great love affair with highs and lows like all of our lives and the jewelry marked various moments. >> reporter: taylor's gems are among 2,000 other keepsakes to hit the auction block this week. what does this collection say about elizabeth taylor. >> it tells us in a way that the world's never seen before that she was completely connected with contemporary culture and art. >> reporter: that collecting began in the 1960s. taylor learned style from legendary costume designer edith head. she sometimes commissioned her own designs-- from her first wedding dress to burton. yellow was her favorite color?
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>> she associate associate it we filming of cleopatra and burton and there was a lot of yellow. >> reporter:s do this cape worn to princess grace's 40th birthday bash. taylor wasn't on grace's guest list. >> princess grace invited only corps i don't knows. richard burton was a scorpion but elizabeth taylor was a pisces so in order to go to the party she wrapped herself in this incredible cape made of scorpion. >> reporter: what, what a great way to crash a party. taylor's passing marked the end of a glittering chapter in hollywood history. but her possessions are giving fans a peek at the luster of that glamorous time. michelle miller, cbs news, new york. >> pelley: and that's our jewel of a broadcast tonight. for all of us at "cbs evening news" all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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this is 9news now. >> jerry sandusky's first hearing at the last second, the forme penn state assistant football coach decided against confronting his alleged victims. bruce leshan was in the courtroom as it all unfolded. >> i'm bruce leshan in pennsylvania. a shocker from sandusky. former penn state football coach, jerry sandusky, decides at the absolute last second to cancel a scheduled preliminary hearing right here at the courthouse. jerry sandusky had been slated to be in court, confronted by the public testimony of at least five of the young men he allegedly abused. but within minutes, he


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