tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS June 8, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
>> pelley: tonight, syria's merciless crackdown on freedom. liz palmer is the only american reporter to reach the scene of the massacre. >> the people who helped carry the bodies say 17 of the victims are buried here, the rest in neighboring villages. >> pelley: a lifeline for the heroes of 9/11. those who worked at ground zero were cut out of federal benefits. now jim axelrod was cut out on a landmark decision. preparing for the return of el nino. bill whitaker on how it may change our weather and the economy. and lee cowan on why the champion "i'll have another" won't have another chance to make history. >> i'm afraid history will have to wait for another day. >>
captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening, there is an unspeakable tragedy unfolding tonight as the year-long conflict in syria rapidly descends to civil war marked by the wholesale massacre of civilians. women and children being executed in their homes. the united states and others have condemned the barbarity, but nothing seems to slow the killing and tonight we have the first evidence of an atros they the syrian dictatorship did not want you to see for a couple of days we've been hearing of a massacre of women and children in a town called qubeir. officials tried to get there yesterday and the syrian army opened fire on them. when cbs news tried to get there the army turned us around, too. today correspondent elizabeth palmer in the u.n. tried again and they got through.
it appears the syrian government worked to clean up the evidence, but there is just no cleaning up what happened in qubeir. >> reporter: after two days of trying. the u.n. finally closed in on the tiny settlement of qubeir. forcibly turned away yesterday observers were worried crucial evidence had been destroyed. federal reserve a distance it was clear something terrible had happened here, but what? a local farmer named majid was anxious to explain his story. where were you when the killing was going on? "i was at the far end of the village watching" he said "i couldn't come closeer because of the bombing." when it was all over there were lots of bodies. 78 in total according to witnesses. this house alone had 20 burned corpses piled up in its rooms. a cell phone video posted online on wednesday, the day of the massacre, showed the57 scene before it was cleaned up.
those, though, the search of death still hung everywhere. the people who helped burr tri bodies say 17 of the victims with buried here and the rest in neighboring villages. they say securityw forces told them all the bodies had to be buried before anybody from the outside world was allowed in. the account we heard here today matches the pattern of another massacre in the area just two weeks ago. first, men in military uniform bombarded these houses with heavy weapons and then local people told the u.n. came men without uniforms, enforcers known here as shabiha who went house to house, killing everyone they could find. one family of four escaped, we were told, who-to-what they thought was the safety of the mosque only to be hunted down and killed. showing the burned holy books, this local man said "this is completely inhuman, how can we defend ourselves against this?" so much evidence had been
destroyed or removed that it may be impossible to verify the accounts or ever prove who the killers were. in this room we were told seven children were gunned down. the bodies were gone today but the bloodstains and bullet holes remained. >> pelley: elizabeth palmer is back from the village and now in so t syrian capital of damascus. elizabeth, why were these people targetd? >> we never got a straight answer about that. there was one member of the anti-regime free syrian army in the town when we were there so it's possible the village was known for anti-regime sympathies. i can tell you that everybody died... who died was sunni. they tend to be anti-regime and they blamed the killing on people from neighboring villages which areal white villages, they tend to support the regime. now whether the regime ordered or orchestrated these killings
it's impossible to say. >> pelley: liz, thank you very much. as liz just mentioned religious hatred is at the heart of this conflict. the dictator, bashar al assad comes from one faction of islam, most of syria's population belongs to another. they had been at each other's throats for hundreds of years and maybe that explains a scene that we saw today on a street in another syrian town called dara. mohammed bassam al tahhan lay just out of reach. he'd been hit by a sniper. he was 11 years old. neighbors stretched in the street to touch him and mohammed moved, maybe that's what gave them the courage to lunge into the field of fire. mohammed's father told us the shot came from a communications tower where syrian army snipers stand above the town. a shot like that could have required a telestop i can sight,
a clear view of the boy's face. and a steady hand. mohammed was laid out for burial at a relative's house. his father said he'd only been playing in the street. when word got out, neighbors came by the hundreds to view the boy in a box. that sound you hear is a pledge to overthrow the dictator or die trying. and now in this country, people who believe they got cancer working at ground zero after 9/11 have long battled for help from the government. tonight it appears they're about to get it. jim axelrod tells us about a government proposal to expand a health program for 9/11 related illnesses. >> reporter: the rescue and recovery workers who toiled at ground zero in the months following 9/11 and then got cancer have waited years for the government to take care of them. firefighters jik jeff stroelhein
now retired on disability. do you feel the cancer you developed started down there? >> oh, yeah, there's no question about that. i don't... you know, i can't see how they were saying anything else. >> reporter: he worked at ground zero for several weeks after the attack. a decade later he was diagnosed with lymphoma. >> it's awesome. long overdue. no question about it. >> reporter: the recommendation that 50 types of cancers be covered is the latest step? a decade-long struggle for ground zero workers to get the government to agree their illnesses were caused by toxins there. it took an act of congress just to get respiratory diseases covered as well as laryngitis, back pain, even carpal tunnel syndrome. but not cancer. margaret stroelhein is jeff's wife. >> until it happened to my husband i didn't realize it wasn't covered and most people don't realize cancers aren't covered. it seems like it should b.. >> reporter: the recommendation
is partly based on a soon to be released study of 20,000 ground zero workers conducted by dr. phillip landry gahn. what will your report tell us? >> our report will show that overall the w.t.c. responders have about a 15% increase in the number of cancers as would be expected for a population of this age and demographic makeup in the united states. >> reporter: researchers found excess numbers of blood cancers like multiple myeloma. istroelhein's are fortunate, they have good insurance and jeff is responding to treatment but they don't want luck to be the difference in the quality of care any ground zero worker received. >> anyone who was down there who has come up with any of these illnesses should have seamless health care and not worry about co-pays, who takes their insurance or what kind of care they're going toisj receive. >> reporter: dr. landrigan expects the numbers to rise. typically occupational cancers
peak 20 years after exposure. scott, it's still less than 11 years since 9/11. >> pelley: jim, we understand the new rule could take in effect as little as 30 days. thanks very much. in the presidential campaign now president obama and mitt romney got into a debate today though they were about a thousand miles apart. the president at the white house mr. romney in iowa. the subject was jobs and the economy of the economy. here's anthony mason. >> reporter: the war of words over the economy began when the president said this. >> we created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months over 800 just this year alone. the private sector is doing fine. >> he said the private sector is doing fine! is he really that out of touch? >> reporter: in fact, the president's numbers are accurate. while recent job growth has been weak, over the past 27 months the economy's added an average
of 158,000 jobs each month-->'ra passable number, economists say, that at least keeps up with population growth. >> has there ever been an american president who is so far from reality as to believe in an america where 23 million american americans are out of work? >> reporter: here, romney is correct. more than 23 million americans are unemployed, can't get full-time work or have stopped looking. >> median income in america has dropped by 10% over the last four years. >> reporter: but here his math is off. according to the most recent government data we could find, median household income has declined since the beginning of the recession from nearly $53,000 to $49,000. but that's a drop of 6.4%, not 10% as romney claims. still, the president made a point of later clarifying his remarks. >> so let me be as clear as i can be. the economy needs to be
strengthened, that's why i had a press conference. >> reporter: in effect, both men were right. the economy has been creating jobs, just not fast enough in part because governments have been laying off employees. so is the private sector doing fine? not if you're still looking for work. >> pelley: thank you, anthony. the president also expressed concern today about the financial crisis in europe and no one knows more about that than the man who just lost his job because of it, former greek prime minister george papandreou. greece could become the first euro as its currency and today papandreou told us that the european economy can be saved but time is short. >> i think we're at a tipping point where we work together, we integrate, or we will start splintering. and that will have a major impact. one way or another around the world. if we are successful it will
help the world economy, it will help the u.s. economy. if we're not successful there will be a very negative impact on the u.s. economy also. >> pelley: and you believe we are at that fork in the road right now between integration and disintegration? >> i believe we're at that fork right now. we're at that very crucial moment and it may be a new months but it's a very short period of time span where we have to make these very important decisions. >> pelley: one of the things president obama said today was that the leaders of europe must show a commitment to an integrated europe. what does that mean to you? >> this means in practice we should move into economic unions harmonizing our tax systems, becoming more competitive. we should move into a more social union and become a more democratic union. i believe we need at some point to elect a president of the european union as united states citizens elect a president of the united states. >> pelley: you're talking about a united states of europe? >> well, we're not there yet, it
may take a generation but we have to move now because other the system and the markets are seeing that this system has too many problems. they don't have confidence in europe as it is today and the lack of confidence is the most corrosive sense that you can have in any economy. >> pelley: greece will vote on a new prime minister to chart its future in nine days. searching for the source of a deadly e. coli outbreak. preparing for el nino and the possibility of destructive weather. and amid the graduation pomp, an unexpected circumstance when the "cbs evening news" continues. 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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>> pelley: some amazing weather pictures caught our eye today. that was high school graduation in new jersey. what looked like a funnel cloud forced students and others to run for cover. and around the same time in wyoming a tornado a quarter of a mile wide cut a path of destruction 20 miles long but in both cases no one was hurt. the national weather service says there's a good chance the weather pattern known as el nino will return later this year if it does bill whitaker tells us it will not only affect our
weather, it could also affect the economy. >> reporter: you might call mike mcfahd mr. el nino, the seattle of based scientist with noaa overseas a global array of monitors sending realtime readings from equatorial waters >> to see the future you have to look below the surface. >> reporter: what's caught his attention is the warming water in the equator below the pacific possibly a sign of the a developing el nino. >> what happens there doesn't stay there. it resonates all over the world. >> reporter: when el nino peaks in the fall and winder it draws the jet stream south and has a huge influence on u.s. weather. here in the pacific northwest el nino means a warmer, drier winter, a smaller snow pack, drying reservoirs, more there are no rest fires. it brings pounding storms to california, torrential rains across the south, a moderate el nino could relieve the drought in texas and the southeast. but a big el nino like the one that hit in 1997 and '98 can be
disastrous. that el nino did $2.6 billion of property damage, destroyed $2 billion worth of crops. the overall hit to the u.s. economy? $25 billion. >> el nino becomes like a biblical event. >> reporter: malibu mayor lou la monte says his community lost roads, and bridges during el nino years. there was massive beach erosion. >> we have to be ready for it and we're as prepared as we can be. >> reporter: in 1998, that was a huge el nino. >> the '98/'98 el nino was a monster el nino, the largest el nino on record. it's unlikely this event would develop to such magnitude but nature always surprises us. >> reporter: mcphaden says we should know for sure whether el nino is coming back in a couple months. bill whitaker, cbs news, seattle >> pelley: from homeless to harvard. how she plans to help others like her when we come back.
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outbreak of e. coli that is spreading, but the source is still a mystery tonight. the centers for disease control say that cases have been reported in six states: georgia, louisiana, alabama, tennessee, florida, and california. one child has died and 14 other people have become ill. for millions of americans, saturday morning just won't be the same. click and clack, the car talk
guys, are retiring. for 25 years tom and ray magliozzi has shared lots of laughs as they answered questions about cars on national public radio. 660 stations, three million listeners, but they will stop doing new shows in september. reruns will continue, however, indefinitely. someone else who is moving on is a young woman that you met right here last night. that's dawn log agains who graduated from burns high school in lawndayle, north carolina, last evening. she's headed to harvard in the fall, which is remarkable considering her parents abandoned her last year. she was homeless until she was taken in by a school custodian. loggins has set up a fund to help other homeless kids. she says you'd be surprised how many need the help. history will have to wait.
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kentucky derby and the preakness but he won't run another race. lee cowan tells us he was scratched today from tomorrow's belmont stakes. >> reporter: the vet called it a freak injury, tendonitis in "i'll have another's" left front leg. but it was serious enough to pull the colt out of the starting gate for saturday's big race. >> so i'm afraid that history will have to wait for another day. >> reporter: paul reddam and his trainer doug o'neil made the decision after an early morning ride. >> it is a bummer but, again, far from tragic but it's very disappointing. >> reporter: while there is no chance of a triple crown, "i'll have another" accomplished quite a lot. >> i'll have another has won the kentucky derby! >> reporter: he was an unlikely winner at churchill downs but came from behind to do it with ease. two weeks later "i'll have another" did it again, winning the preakness by a nose.
the horse bought for a mere $35,000 was suddenly worth an estimated $6 million. had he claimed the triple crown estimated $6 million. had he claimed the triple crown he would have been worth infinitely more. but his trainer-- already under the microscope for racing violations with other horses-- says he wasn't about to push it. the last thing the team wanted was a repeat of what happened to another triple crown contender, barbaro. >> barbaro's been pulled up! an astonishing development here! >> reporter: she shattered his leg in the preakness in 2006 and had to be put down. although he becomes the first horse in 76 years to win the first two legs of the triple crown and not compete for the third, his career is hardly over. "i'll have another" will go to a breeding farm where, with any luck, he will sire other horses with the same greatness. there is a lot of potential there, says his jockey mario gutierrez who told us this week he's never ridden a horse quite like him. you got on him, did you sense there was something different about him?
>> yes, i did. after i got off i was like, oh, miff god, this is the real deal, this is unbelievable. >> reporter: you knew something was different. >> yeah, the way he moved, the way he strides. >> reporter: what is it you two have. >> he lets me do everything i want. like if i need him early in the race and i ask him he'll go for it. >> reporter: "i'll have another" won't ever likely run a race again but he'll be remembered not for what he didn't do but for the thrills he's given fans already. lee cowan, cbs news, new york. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, i'm scott pelley and i'll see you sunday on "60 minutes." good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
this is 9 news now. the former chair of the d.c. council walked out of court a convicted felon, but sources tell 9 news now the plea deal with federal prosecutors will likely spare kwame brown time behind bars. voice breaking, fighting back tears kwame brown apologized today after pleading guilty to a felony bank fraud charge. then he walked over to d.c. superior court where he again pleaded guilty, this time to a campaign misdemeanor finance charge. bruce johnson reports on kwame brown's political future. >> i sincerely regret the pain that this has caused each of you. >> outside u.s. district