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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  June 17, 2013 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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with the murder trial that opens a window on the mob. was the worst fire in the history of colorado started on purpose? barry petersen has the story. and when the great recession left their world spinning out of control, these rookie authors decided it was time for a rewrite. >> we're very grateful and we're humble and we know what a miracle this is. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. the supreme court today stepped into the middle of a long and heated debate over voting rights. at issue are laws that some say are designed to crack down on voter fraud and others say are really about holding down the minority vote. today the supreme court struck down an arizona law that required voters to prove they are citizens before they can register. the ruling could affect voters in as many as 12 other states that have similar laws or were
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planning them. chief legal correspondent jan crawford is at the supreme court tonight. >> reporter: the law required arizona residents to show a driver's license, birth certificate, passport or other proof of citizenship when they registered to vote. supporters said the law, approved by arizona voters in 2004, was necessary to combat fraud, but opponents said it instead kept eligible citizens-- the poor and minorities-- from voting. today in a 7-2 decision, the justices said arizona had gone too far and was asking for too much. the court said a federal law that sets nationwide registration requirements and operates on the honor system trumped arizona's efforts. under the federal law, prospective voters must complete a form that asks "are you a citizen of the united states?" voters need only check "yes" and then sign the form affirming they are citizens in order to register and vote in federal
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elections. writing for the majority, justice antonin scalia said: 6- justices clarence thomas and samuel alito filed separate dissents arguing states have the power to demand more proof of voter qualifications. the decision came a year after the court reined in arizona's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, striking down a state law that, among other things, required immigrants to carry immigration papers. the court said then the arizona law conflicted with federal immigration law. and while the court now is reining in arizona's efforts to crack down on voting by illegal immigrants, it did leave the door open just a bit. the court said arizona could go to a federal commission and ask it to change that form and, scott, it's also emphasizing that states still have substantial power to set voting
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requirements. >> pelley: jan crawford on the steps of the supreme court. thank you, jan. in another courtroom today, federal prosecutors hope to send boston mobster whitey bulger to prison for the rest of his life. he's on trial for 19 murders. but an old hit man testified today that he believes bulger is guilty of something worse than murder. elaine quijano is following the trial in boston. >> reporter: john martorano testified he was james "whitey" bulger's chief executioner and best friend. but that loyalty evaporated, martorano said, when he learned bulger was a government informant. martorano was perhaps the most feared member of bulger's winter hill gang. the crew ruled boston's underworld for nearly 30 years. he spoke with "60 minutes" steve kroft in 2008. >> did cow keep count of how many people you killed? >> never. never. never.
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until in the end i never realized it was that many. >> how many? >> a lot. too many. >> do you have a number? >> i confessed to 20 in court. >> reporter: martorano was the first witness in the trial to directly tie bulger to murder. he described the killing in a matter of fact way and told the court bulger would sometimes assist or ride in a second car ready to act if anyone dared to interfere. bulger fled boston when he was tipped off by a crooked f.b.i. agent that investigators were closing in. he spent 16 years on the lam. he was arrested two years ago in california. police found weapons and cash stashed inside his apartment walls. martorano told "60 minutes" he was enraged when he found out bulger had spent years slipping the f.b.i. information. >> i'll go along with a lot of things but not no judas, not no informant. i never informed or ratted on nobody and if i could have killed him, i would have killed him but he wasn't there. and that's what i think he
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deserves. >> reporter: john martorano served just 12 years in prison as part of a deal with federal prosecutors. scott, bulger's lawyers are expected to point to that relatively light sentence as reason to question martorano's credibility. >> pelley: a long trial ahead, elaine. thanks very much. the american who says he exposed two top secret u.s. intelligence surveillance programs is still inhiding tonight but britain's gardian newspaper arranged what it said was an online question-and-answer session with him today. edward snowden was fired last week as a contract employee of america's largest intelligence agency. bob orr says today he was the voice of defiance. >> reporter: from a secret location in hong kong, someone claiming to be edward snowden today defended his outing of classified u.s. intelligence programs. and the former n.s.a. contractor challenged authorities to do anything about it.
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for 1: 40, snowden answered questions on the web site the "guardian", that's the british newspaper which published snowden's leaks detailing the national security agency's sweeping collection of internet and telephone data. snowden, who's promised to fight extradition from hong kong said >> i could be, you know, rendered by the c.i.a. >> reporter: snowden said he came forward to rebut what he called lies from u.s. officials. he chastised the director of national intelligence, james clapper, for testifying to congress in march that the n.s.a. had not wittingly collected data on americans.
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snowden said he disclosed details about programs he feel vice lates civil liberties and privacy. but over the weekend, snowden spilled surveillance secrets involving more than american citizens when he revealed u.s. and british intelligence spied on summit partners at the g-20 meetings in 2009. he produced a document suggesting the n.s.a. tracked the communications of then russian president dimitri med sred kwr *ef. snowden dismissed allegations he might into b a chinese spy but he didn't directly answer a question asking him if he'd trade u.s. secrets for political asylum and he claims he has much more to reveal. >> pelley: and charges against snowden may be coming at any time. thank you very much, bob. you could feel the chill today as president obama left a meeting with russian president vladimir putin. both men are in ireland attending an economic summit meeting, but the subject quickly turned to the catastrophic civil
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war in syria. major garrett is with the president. major? >> reporter: scott, the united states and russia still disagree sharply about the syrian civil war and how to end it. the u.s. accuses the assad regime of using chemical weapons against rebel forces, russia rejects the evidence. the u.s. is now preparing to send some military aid to certain rebel forces. russia-- syria's largest military arms supplier-- openly mocks that move and these tensions translated into the awkward and indifferent body language between president obama and russian president vladimir putin and all that emerged were vague calls to tend violence and a shared support for still unscheduled peace conference in govern. but, scott, president obama just informed g-8 summit leaders the united states will send an additional $300 million in humanitarian aid to the region. just you should half will go into syria, the reminder will be divided among neighboring countries coping with hundreds
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of thousands of war refugees. >> pelley: major garrett in ireland. thank you, major. before the president left for the summit, he set down yesterday with charlie rose and you can see charlie's interview tomorrow on cbs "this morning." syria, of course, will be included in that interview. the civil war in that country has now spilled over the borders and affects every one of syria's neighbors-- turkey, lebanon, iraq and jordan. the united states is sending a message to the assad dictatorship by holding joint military exercises with jordan and clarissa sword in the jordanian capital for us, amman. clarissa, tell us, what are these exercises all about? what's the united states doing there? >> well, scott, there are currently 4,500 u.s. military personnel here in jordan engaging in these exercises. they're running through scenarios for everything from a chemical attack to a terrorist attack to a natural disaster. it's called "operation eager lion" and it is an annual
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exercise but this year the u.s. has deployed f-16 fighter jets, patriot missiles and also several units from the marine corps and the jordanian government has actually asked for those antiaircraft missiles and those fighter jets to remain here in jordan after these exercises finish. this could technically be the first step in creating some type of a partial no-fly zone along the syrian border. so certainly the u.s. is sending a very strong signal here to the government in syria that it will stand by its allies in this region. >> pelley: clarissa ward in amman. thank you, clarissa. say good-bye to mahmoud ahmadinejad, the iranian president who has taunted america for eight years. over the weekend, iranians elected a new kind of president and we asked elizabeth palmer to fill us in. >> reporter: by the time he cast his own ballot, hassan rouhani knew he was on a roll. during the final days of his
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campaign, his rallies were drawing vast crowds of young people convinced he could bring reform. over the past eight years under hard line president mahmoud ahmadinejad iran has refused to open its nuclear program to international scrutiny and the resulting sanctions have crippled the economy. today rouhani signaled a new more open approach. "we are ready to show more transparency to the world" he said. rouhani is 64 years old, a cleric with a law degree from scotland. he's also known as a bridge builder who was once iran's chief nuclear negotiator. in 2003, he put that program on pause to pave the way for talks with the west. sir richard dalton, back then britain's ambassador to iran, said rouhani could steer the way to talks again. >> provided by the united states and its negotiating partners come forward a little way to meet iran it should be possible to get a first stage confidence
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building agreement on the nuclear question. >> reporter: asked specifically today about iran's relations with the united states, rouhani said "there's an old wound between the two countries that needs to be healed." jubilant iranians spilled into the streets to celebrate rouhani's win. although they won't know for some time just how much of a reformer he turns out to be. >> pelley: elizabeth palmer is joining us from our london bureau. elizabeth, if this is reform, why is it happening now? >> reporter: well, scott, those economic sanctions that i mentioned earlier have really hurt. iran's currency has lost more than half its value in the last couple of years, so there's real pressure to get the economy back on its feet and the only way to do that is through the negotiating table at nuclear talks. >> pelley: elizabeth, thank you. has jimmy hoffa's grave finally been located?
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and after colorado's worst fire, should they stop building so many homes in the woods? when the "cbs evening news" continues. the blisters were oozing, and painful to touch. i spent 23 years as a deputy united states marshal and i've been pretty well banged up but the worst pain i've experienced was when i had shingles. when i went to the clinic, the nurse told me that it was a result of having had chickenpox. i wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
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telling us it's likely people, not nature, started the most destructive fire colorado has ever seen. what's not clear yet is whether it was done on purpose. the wildfire near colorado springs left two people dead and destroyed nearly 500 homes.
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it's 75% contained now thanks to weekend rain but barry petersen tells us it could kick up again any time. >> reporter: the black forest fire has consumed 24 square miles. the flames have died down but lieutenant chris van u.a.w. showed us a hidden danger. when we think of a wildfire we think of trees burning. what is this stuff? >> this is considered duff. it's pine needles and everything that's coming off of these trees. sometimes if it's thick enough it can get underneath there and burn underneath the ground. >> reporter: firefighters must dig and extinguish the mold? smoldering embers, sometimes six inches understood ground. how long can this keep going? how long do you have to be on alert? >> it can burn for days. you'll be on alert for days. >> i couldn't believe it. >> reporter: daryl and jenny fortner know the fire danger well. his business is clearing trees to protect homes. but even his best efforts
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couldn't save their home of 20 years. he took this video when he went back and found nothing. >> 41 years i've been helping other people save their homes and i couldn't even save my own. >> reporter: a quarter of a million people have settled in colorado's fire-prone areas in the past two decades. a third of americans now live in wilderness areas often near cities. the fortners know the risk of rebuilding. >> what can happen will happen. it's just a matter of time. >> reporter: and you'll build again in the forest? >> right on the same property. >> reporter: this is the scene of a fire last year that destroyed some 350 homes, but -- and caused half a billion dollars damage. but as you can see, scott, people are back rebuilding with no guarantee that the exact same thing won't happen again. >> pelley: it's worth noting, barry, that the u.s. spent $3 billion fighting fires last year. thanks very much.
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>> pelley: one of the most enduring modern mysteries is whatever happened to jimmy hoffa. he once ran the teamsters union and vanished in 175. today federal agents began excavate ago field north of detroit where a mobster claims hoffa is buried. so far they've uncovered a concrete slab there. this is just the latest, though, in a number of searches for hoffa over the years. he was last seen alive at a restaurant in michigan where he was supposed to meet with a mafia captain. nasa today introduced the first new class of astronauts in four years, four men and four women were cheesen from more than 6,000 applicants. most are military pilots, two are scientists and one is a medical doctor. it will be years before they fly
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in space, but they could be among the first to travel to an asteroid or to mars. queen elizabeth's husband left a london hospital today. prince phillip, who is 92, smiled and shook hands with the medical staff. he had exploratory surgery on his abdomen ten days ago. it was the worst of times, but they turned it into the best of times. a tale of two authors, next. written by people just like you. no company can pay to be on angie's list, so you can trust what you're reading. angie's list is like having thousands of close neighbors, where i can go ask for personal recommendations. that's the idea. before you have any work done, check angie's list. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust. i love you, angie. sorry, honey.
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>> we were in, i would say beyond trouble. >> reporter: their youngest son had contracted a virus and jack was forced to leave a teaching program to care for him. jacinda, a music and theater teacher, saw her income cut when a school program was canceled. how close did you come to losing this house? >> probably about 30 days. >> reporter: what were you thinking at that point? >> what are we going to do? because you can't really show up at someone's house-- even our parents-- with a family of seven like "can we sleep on your couch?" it was pretty scary. >> it was very scary. >> reporter: in desperation, the wilders went down to the basement of their house in a detroit suburb and started writing. the e-book which is they self-published-- a series of often steamy romance novels-- started picking up buzz on the internet and quickly earned them enough to meet their. $1,200 monthly mortgage payment. >> so we just started writing like mad and i think in, what, like six month wes put out 20 titles or something.
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>> reporter: 20 titles? >> yeah. we decided we weren't going to leave our house. i think we showered three times. >> reporter: with each book their sales climbed higher. then this spring a roman called "falling into you" about a girl whose first love dies suddenly jumped on to the "new york times" best-seller list. jasinda was out driving with her kids the day it hit number one on amazon. >> i was crying like hysterically. >> she called me unbill is skwrabl. i told her "you have to slow down and tell me in short sentences what happened." >> i was like amazon! look at amazon! >> reporter: the wilders asked us to use their pen names because they've been overwhelmed by the success. in less than a year they've sold nearly a million e-books. >> how often do you think about that moment when you almost lost your house? >> a lot. every night before we go to bed that comes into our mind because we're very grateful and humble and we know what a miracle this
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is. >> reporter: and the house they nearly lost is now home to a self-publishing empire. anthony mason, cbs news, outside detroit. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh my family and i have been paying taxes for 100 and some years. >> moved back into the courtroom today. maryland's court of appeals is considering the case of long- time landowners in sandy spring
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who say their property values were steam rolled when a new development went in and erased their historic access road from the official record. scott broom is in annapolis with the latest on how this 9 wants to know investigation is keeping on going. >> some of the allegations of wrong doing are targeted against an engineering firm, called mhg. today, mhg's lawyer told maryland's court of appeals, his client did nothing wrong. >> talked to court? >> that's mhg attorney, james lee, refusing to be interviewed outside court after telling a three judge court of appeals panel that mhg did a survey and did it professionally. it's a survey that property owners in sandy spring believe intentionally wiped their historic access, called farm road, off official records. and brought them to the brink of financial ruin after seven years of fighting. here's one landowner's lawyer, michael. >> he


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