tv CBS Evening News With Russ Mitchell CBS September 19, 2010 5:00pm-5:30pm PST
itchell: tonight safe at freed american hiker sarah shourd says she and her two companions were not spies and to that their imprisonment was a huge misunderstanding. i'm russ mitchell. also tonight, which way for the gop. in the wake of christine o'donnell's upset delaware win w differing views about the republican party's direction. sudden death among high school athletes, what's behind them and how can they be prevented. and canine cops, meet the latest recruits in the war on terror. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with russ mitchell. >> mitchell: and good evening. we begin this sunday with a safe return of american hiker sarah shourd and what it might mean for the two other hikers still held by iran.
shourd made a public plea on their behalf after arriving in the u.s. today and iranian president ahmadinejad weighed in seeming to hint as a possible deal. bianca solorzano has the latest. >> reporter: after nearly 14 months in captiveity in iran sarah shourd was finally back in the u.s. today. carefully maintaining her compose sure in expressing bittersweet emotions. >> this is not the time to celebrate. my disappointment in not sharing this with shane and josh was crushing. and i stand before you today only one-third free. >> reporter: shourd fiancee shane bauer and friend josh fattal are still being held in tehran's infamous evan prison. the three were arrested in 2009, accused-of-being spies after iran claimed they crossed the border from iraq's kurdistan region. >> if we were indeed near the iran/iraq border, that border was entirely unmarked and indistinguishable.
shane and josh do not deserve to be in prison one day longer than i was. we committed no crimes. and we are not spies. >> reporter: shourd was freed tuesday after officials in oman mediated her half million dollar bail. she arrived early this morning in washington d.c. and then drove to new york city. >> i applaud the humanity that set sarah free. and i cry encore, encore. it's time for shane and josh to come home too. >> reporter: shourd and her mother were joined by cindy hickey and laura fattal, the mothers of the men still imprisoned. >> did either of your sons send a message for you through sarah? >> a little bit of the message that i have heard so far is, i love all my family. and we appreciate everything are you doing. >> reporter: bauer and fattal's mothers have requested a peting with iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad who arrived in new york today to attend a u.n. general a sellably.
he described shaurd's release as a humanitarian gesture and asked the u.s. to do the same to the eight iranians he says america is holding. >> the u.s. government should make a humanitarian gesture to release the iranians who are illegally arrested and detained here in the united states. >> reporter: shourd did not describe the conditions during her months in prison and though she was apparently released for medical reasons, she says she has been checked out by doctors and is in perfect health. >> mitchell: bianca solorzano here in new york city, thank you. >> turning to politics now, and the numbers game. there are just six weeks to go until election day. 37 u.s. senate seats are up for grabs in november. but today it was the republican candidate for just one of those seats who was getting the lion's share of attention. bob orr in washington has the latest. >> reporter: there is no hotter political force in terms of buzz than republican senate candidate
christine o'donnell who rallied herdell aware supporters at a sunday afternoon picnic. >> we are going to win this by uniting the party and we're going to win sussex county, i'm very confident that we're goinging to win this election. >> reporter: but her key party-backed campaign took another weird twist when she cancelled appearances on two network shows. cbs's "face the nation" and fox news sunday. >> her campaign cancelled. she said she had scheduling conflicts and couldn't be here. >> reporter: while o'donnell's campaign explains she was busy with delaware commitments the twin cancellation followed airing trying night-of-another bizarre video clip from o'donnell's past. >> i hung around people who were doing these things. >> reporter: in this 1999 interview with comedian bill maher, o'donnell laughs about an experience with the occult. >> one of my first days with the satanic altar and i didn't know it, there was a little blood there and stuff like that. >> reporter: o'donnell today crushed off the old comments about witchcraft. >> i was in high school.
who didn't have interesting friends in high school. >> reporter: she's also dismissed previous comments about abortion and masturbation. and she's dodged questions about personal financial problems. turning the criticism into a rallying cry. >> they call us wacky. they call us wing nuts. we call us, we, the people. >> reporter: the veteran republicans ed rollins says this type of controversy could torpedo o'donnell's chances in november. >> no matter how strong the tea party is how much the mood for change, at the end of the day, people in delaware, it su a small state are going to focus on her, her past statements, what she is saying now. and this is not a good start. >> reporter: moderate republicans worry that o'donnell's behavior and bagage have cost the party any chance of taking the delaware seat. but beyond o'donnell the tea party's low taxes, small government message still resonates. and conservatives warn the republican establishment better pay attention. russ. >> mitchell: bob orr in washington. thank you.
>> police in california spent the weekend searching for members of a religious group reported missing on saturday in the area around palmdale, that is north of los angeles. terry mccarthy has more on the search and questions about the episode that remain unanswered. >> reporter: it was an all-out search for the 13 adults and children. one as young as three years old who were reported missing by relatives yesterday. >> this is an enormous, 700 square mile area that we're looking at. we have helicopters, search-and-rescue, major crimes. maybe 50 to 60, 70 deputies combing this area, trying to locate them. >> reporter: 32-year-old salvadoran immigrant reyna marisol chicas was leading the group which authorities described as cult-like. notes found by relatives raised concern that they may have been on a religious suicide mission. >> in essence, they indicated there may be a journey to the next life. there was allegorical references, perhaps to jesus,
perhaps to we want to visit our deceased relatives, things like that. >> reporter: before they went missing the group was seen praying in this palmdale house. >> quiet people, nothing out of the ode. i mean nice people. >> reporter: on saturday afternoon relatives went to authorities concerned that chicas had brainwashed their loved ones. >> what we are lead to believe is that it is an absolutely unorthodox approach to a western religion. >> reporter: authorities had actually received a call about the group hours before they were reported missing. a deputy encountered them praying in a school parking lot at 3 a.m. on saturday. >> benign, very coop rative. the kids seemed very happy. the deputy obviously querys what are you doing here, what is going on. when they realized that the situation was not a threat in any way, they went on their way. >> reporter: but concerns about a mass suicide pact suddenly evaporated as deputies received good news. >> ladies and gentlemen, we just found them.
they were discovered alive and well in this palmdale park. >> reporter: they said they were simply praying. >> i'm okay. my son, the dogs, everybody's okay. >> reporter: leader of the group was being sent for psychological evaluation and police breathed a long sigh of relief. cbs news, los angeles. >> pinkston: this. >> mitchell: this month a tradition of friday night football games was bam in high school games but with it a startling series of deaths of young athletes. now parents, coaches and medical experts are seeking answers. don teague has more. >> reporter: it seemed like a regular friday night under the lights. 17-year-old reggie garett was leading the west orang orange-stark high school mustangs to victory when tragedy struck. >> i looked over and he's on the ground and i thought i wonder what is wrong. >> reporter: the texas teen collapsed on the sideline and was rushed to the hospital. he was pronounced dead before the game was over. >> it has been a real hard because you think of all the good times that you had with him and all the time us
spent with him. >> reporter: garett had a history of seizures but was medically screened and cleared to play this season. he is the third high school player to suddenly die this month. 16-year-old kody turner in coke coke and 15-year-old olivier louis in florida both collapsed and died after practice. and hayward demison, a 17-year-old oregon high school player was saved by a nurse who was in the stands after he suffered a sudden heart attack last week. brian robinson from the national athletic trainers association says there is one question every parent has to ask. >> who is taking care of my kid. >> reporter: high school football still tops the list of most dangerous sports for serious injury. 12 player deaths were linked to football last year. nearly half a million reported concussions a year, and compared to other high school athletes, football players are ten times more likely to suffer heat-related illnesses. >> all these things are a matter of education. and i think that we are making progress.
we still have a ways to go. >> reporter: robinson says despite increased awareness, the requirements for medical screening still vary from state to state and no state requires teens to have trainers with medical expertise. but the biggest hurdle is convincing the kids. >> i've seen that warrior mentality where they don't want to letdown their teammates. they don't want to letdown their coaches and they don't want to come out of games or practices. >> reporter: for those who once cheered reggie garett all they can do now is mourn. >> i just miss him. >> reporter: and hope one tragedy on the field can help prevent others. don teague, cbs news, dallas. >> mitchell: still ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news", closing the book on the gulf oil spill.
>> crew as board the oil rig completed the final pressure test early this morning. the government's pointman thad allen said, quote, we can now state definitively that the macondo well pose those continuing threat. a temporary cap was fitted on the well in july and that stopped the leak. but the last hurdle, a relief well, did not intersect the macondo well until thursday. b.p. then pumped in cement for seven hours making sure no oil will ever seep out again. it was not an easy task. >> when you get very deep like this, it's hard to control your motor tool to make very precise corrections which obviously, you have to be able to do to hit a target that is 7 inches in diameter, 3 and a half miles away. >> mitchell: 206 million gallons 6 oil spilled from the well over three months. much of it has been cleaned up over dissolved. much but not all. this video shows tar balls washing ashore in pensacola, florida, just last week. >> a lot of tar and oil this
morning. >> mitchell: b.p. will be paying for the disaster for years. the company has already shelled out more than $8 billion and has set up another $-- $20 billion fund to compensate victims. that's on top of government fines and legal costs. yet to be determined, what happens to the oil underneath the well. b.p. or another company could still retap the well for the 100 million barrels below. in afghanistan votes from yesterday's parliamentary election are being counted. it was marred by a series of violent attacks. one taliban attack at a polling place was caught on tape by a danish television crew. this was one of 294 reported insurgent attacks yesterday in an effort to keep the vote down. just ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news", are modern football helmets actually making head injuries worse?
>> mitchell: as we mentioned erlier from the nfl to college campuss to high schools, the 2010 football season has begun. and so as a new round of concern overhead injuries to players, ironically enough, it's a piece of equipment intended for safety that's coming under particular scrutiny. cynthia bowers has more. >> reporter: a moment of silence at saturday's pen la fayette football game to remember owen, a star defensive end who stunned his family friend and teammates by committing sue sight last springness this week there were norrell revelations when autopsy reports reveals samples of brain tissue showed cte,
chronic traumatic encephalopathy, brain injuries caused by repetitive head trauma which have been linked to depression and impulsive behavior. >> it does give a possible contributing factor to what was just like an astounding out of the blue act. >> reporter: cte has been found in 21 deceased nfl players, including andre waters who also committed suicide. but at 21, owen thomas is the youngest and first nonprofessional player known to have the disorder. he had never been diagnosed with a concussion, the new research has shown that even seemingly minor dings may do long-term damage. >> that is head-to-head. >> reporter: dr. hunt batjer of northwestern university works with the nfl to monitor head injuries like the one suffered last sunday by philadelphia eagles linebacker stuart bradley. as you can see bradley struggles to get up only to collapse seconds later. >> when two helmets hit each other at moment zero, they stop. they don't break.
the brain continues to move. >> reporter: there's no question today's players size and speed contribute to the growing number of head injuries. but some wonder if today's high-tech helmets don't also play a part, whether the promise of better protection gives players a false sense of security and encourages them to take risks. former coach now football analyst beano cook believes players would be better off with the leather helmets their great grandfathers wore. >> many times platers don't tackle any more. they just go head first into some player. >> reporter: head injuries are getting unprecedented attention as researchs combing through data from studies like this one using special helmet sensors at indiana university. but in the meantime the game goes on as it did last night at pen, where owen thomas's team now plays without whim. cynthia bowers, cbs news, chicago. >> mitchell: we have a hurricane cup date for you this evening. igor is hammering bermuda. the category 1 storm with winds howling at 85 miles
>> mitchell: the battle against bed bugs is spreading fast. and now even the marines are joining the fight. bed bugs have been discovered in a barracks at camp lejeune in north carolina. joining a growing list that includes wake forest university, and the flagship niketown store at new york city which was forced to shut its doors this weekend. in croatia high drama on a
raging river. a helicopter dropped a rescuer to a sinking boat but the man on board argued that he did not need to be saved. just then the boat took on water at the stern filling quickly. the rescuer gathered up the man just in time. take a look. both were safe. in the english channel a frenchman who had lost both arms and legs in an accident more than a decade ago set off from england yesterday to swim to france. the man using prosthetic legs with special fins completed the channel crossing today. it took him just 14 hours. >> and no rome is not burning. it just looks that way. the ancient coliseum is going up in flames every night thanks to a danish artist who is using video projections to urge the public to be more aware of the fragility of europe's cultural heritage. >> and up next on tonight's "cbs evening news", wanted, a few good dogs for the war against terror.
>> mitchell: finally this sunday, the department of homeland security has launched a five-year campaign to recruit thousands of new special agents. not everyone can apply and not every applicant-- applicant makes the grade. >> reporter: it may look like playtime at the dog park but this is serious business. a tryout to find dogs who have what it takes to join the front lines of homeland security. at a training center for the customs and border protection agency in front royal, virginia, five dogs are running through a series of tests, no matter that it is 90 degrees outside. >> it's going to be hot and tired out there in the field. and we are looking for dogs that when it's hot and tired, they're still going. >> reporter: dhs has 2,000 dogs but just announced it needs 3,000 more. >> we are searching for terrorist, terrorist weapons, illegal immigrants entering the country, being smuggled in and contraban. the dogs can perform those
screens and search for those faster than by hand. >> levi the dutch spep heard seems to do well at first. he is given the scent of an object, at this case a pipe and set loose to find it. but searcher and retrieve skills aren't enough. the dogs need courage. they can't spook easily. and they need a good work ethic. that may be levi's undoing. he is supposed to stop at nothing to get at the toy inside the cage but he's easily distracted. his fellow canines aren't doing much better. enzo is supposed to ignore a bowl of food and go for the toy but the food is too tempting. izzy's task is to jump up and find a pipe hidden in the cubee. she is real estate very well behaved. that's not what they are after. >> the critical guys we are looking for, we are not seeing that, there is a select few that pass this test. >> reporter: which is the problem. since there a shortage of working dogs, demand outweighs supply. >> post 9/11 everybody ramping up things for explosive dogs or currency firearm dogs. >> reporter: dhs looks all over for new editions,
shelters, private pet owners and breeders. and they run their own breeding program onsite which produces dogs like iella. >> we are getting the dog that is raferpd up, likes to hut. >> but all the dogs brought in this on this day fail, they are sent back and the hunt continues. proof that not every great dog makes a great working dog. cbs news, washington. >> mitchell: and that is the "cbs evening news." later on cbs, 60 minses. thanks for joining us this sunday evening. i'm russ michelle. -- russ mitchell. "cbs evening news." katie couric will be here tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
fighting unit. why those charges are now drawing fire. a war of words over police cutbacks. why charges are drawing fire. a high profile crime victim in oakland. she was attacked by thugs and what she lost in the encounter. no mass suicide. the breakaway religious secretary that disappeared then turned up safe. i'm ann notarangelo. cbs 5 eyewitness news is next. ,,