tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS October 25, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
>> couric: tonight, home sales jump sharply, but the fear now is the foreclosure paperwork mess will derail a recovery. i'm katie couric. also in danger of losing a house: the democrats. with eight days to go, the critical contest that will decide whether the republicans can take back control. they fill everything from sneakers to viagra. an exclusive look inside the cargo hijacking industry. and steve hartman with the michaelangelo of the pumpkin patch. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. at first glance, the numbers looked hopeful. a possible turnaround in the housing market.
america's realtors reported today that after a bad summer sales of previously owned homes shot up 10% in september. even with the increase, sales are still weak and now there's a lot of concern that any housing recovery won't last because the foreclosure document mess will keep potential buyers out of the market. as anthony mason reports. the federal reserve is getting involved in that investigation. >> reporter: now the fed is putting the mortgage mess under the microscope. >> we are looking intensively at the firm's policies, procedures, and internal controls related to foreclosures and seeking to determine whether systematic weaknesses are leading to improper foreclosures. >> reporter: bank of america will resume foreclosure proceedings this week after halting them temporarily to review procedures. the bank, which is resubmitting documents in more than 100,000 cases, admitting finding some errors in the paperwork, including misspelled names and incorrect data but says the
basis for our foreclosure decisions have been accurate. >> i don't think this problem is solved. >> reporter: iowa's tom miller, one of 50 state attorneys general coordinating an investigation into foreclosure proceedings says they've just started discussions with the banks. >> but we're very conscious we need to move as quickly as we can. we do not want to do any harm to the housing market which would do harm to the overall market. >> reporter: bernanke says more than 20% of borrowers are underwater. that is, they owe more than their home is worth. more than a million houses will are currently undergoing foreclosure and more than a quarter of those are under review. that's already creating uncertainty for buyers. when we met joshua cooper two weeks ago, his deal on this foreclosed house in wesley chapel, florida, had just fallen through because of the freeze. >> we were just about two weeks away from our closing date when everything got stopped. >> reporter: he's since found another foreclosed property but worried when he learned the owner was bank of america. >> are they going to be able to sell us this house? >> reporter: this time, though, it looks like the deal will go
through. >> i'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope and pray a whole lot that i don't have to do this all over again. >> reporter: meanwhile, the administration's foreclosure prevention plan was labeled a failure today by a government watchdog. of the $1.3 million people the treasury claims to have helped, the inspector general of tarp says fewer than half have actually received permanent loan modifications. katie? >> couric: anthony mason. anthony, thank you. the economy is the number-one issue in a midterm election that is now just eight days away. we're keeping a close watch on dozens of critical contests in the house to see if the republicans can take back control which, at this point, seems likely. they need a net gain of 39 seats and there are plenty of places to get them. an analysis by our cbs news election team finds 77 seats now held by democrats are at risk of going republican. on the other hand, only eight g.o.p. seats are at risk of going democratic. congressional correspondent nancy cordes who's usually on
capitol hill, as you can see, is here in new york tonight. nancy, things are not looking good for house democrats. >> reporter: they're not, katie. if there were any question the democrats are on defense this election season, consider where the president is campaigning tonight: rhode island. one of the bluest states in the nation. house democrats desperate to hold on to their majority see hope in early voting figures that show registered democrats have the edge in key states such as california, west virginia, and nevada. but republicans point to polls that show those critical independent voters are breaking in their favor. 44% to 24% in a recent cbs news survey. that leaves democrats struggling in swing districts like southwest texas where congressman rodriguez has been down in the polls ever since he tangled with voters over his support for the bank bailout. >> reporter: in washington
state's second district near the canadian border, five-term democratic incumbent rick larson normally wins by large margins but this year he's locked in a tough battle with a local city council member who's backed by the tea party. >> you want your country back, you need to take it back. >> reporter: that's one of at least 12 districts like this one on cape cod where democrats normally do well but which are rated as tossup this is year. if the republican, jeff perry, wins, he'll be the first house republican from massachusetts in 16 years, katie. >> couric: and perhaps senator scott brown helped pave the way for that. meanwhile, nancy, i know you'll be wielding that ipad between now and election day to give the sense of the lay of the land. tell us why so many analysts believe it's almost a foregone conclusion right now that the republicans will, in fact, retake the house. >> reporter: katie, all we need to do is take a closer look at those 77 house seats you mentioned currently held by democrats but which cbs considers to be at risk of changing hands. right now we consider nearly
half of those races-- 35 of them-- to be edging republicans. and if republicans win all 35 and hold on to their own, they'd only need to win, let's see, four more of the 25 democratically controlled seats that we consider tossups to gain control of the house, katie. >> couric: nancy, no matter how they voted or where they stand, if you have a "d" after your name right now, you may be in big trouble. >> reporter: that's right. even the centrist democrats are having a hard time right now. take bobby bright. he's in alabama's second district, he voted against the stimulus and health care reform but he's in serious danger of losing his seat this time. same goes for alan boyd in florida, he's a veteran congressman, one of the founders of the bluing the democrats, those fiscally conservative democrats. but right now he's in an uphill battle against steve southerland, a funeral homeowner, endorsed by sarah palin, katie. >> couric: nancy cordes, nancy, thanks so much. as nancy mentioned, president obama campaigned in rhode island today, but not for the democrat who's running for governor and that's tonight's campaign 2010 hot sheet.
the president did not endorse democrat frank caprio who is running against former republican turned independent lincoln chafee. the reason? chafee backed mr. obama for president in 2008. on a radio show today, caprio had a few choice words for the president. >> i never asked for president obama's endorsement. he can take his endorsement and shove it as far as i'm concerned. >> reporter: in response for that, a spokesman for the president said "this close to the election, emotions are running high." now turning to some dangerous weather. >> we are in a tornado! we are in the tornado! >> reporter: a storm chaser got a close look yesterday at a tornado outside dallas. it was one of at least two that swept through the area, injuring four people. the town of rice was hardest hit a roof was ripped off at the high school and five homes were badly damaged. meanwhile, in haiti the earthquake back in january has led to a deadly epidemic of
cholera and today the neighboring dominican republic closed its border to try to keep it from spreading there. the outbreak has already killed more than 250 haitians and 3,000 more are sick. and, as the disease spreads from the town of saint-marc, cases are being reported in the capital of port-au-prince. dr. jon lapook who reported from haiti right after the quake, is back there now to tell us about this latest health crisis. >> reporter: anguish for the dead as haitians endure the latest aftershock following the earthquake, cholera. at the main hospital in saint- marc, children lie on stretchers. maxed out doctors and nurses rush from patient to patient giving life-saving fluids. in four days, they've seen 1,700 people. >> the mothers, the parents, they're saying "help my baby. help my baby." and when it's too late, you do everything you can. there's no explaining that.
>> reporter: this acute infection can dehydrate the body in hours. >> she has enough water in her body to sweat so a sign that doctors look for to see if a person is dehydrated is if there are no tears or no sweat. the fact that she can sweat is a good sign. health officials believe the artibonite river, haiti's largest, may be the source of the cholera bacteria. a massive information campaign is under way telling haitians to use only treated water and to wash their hands thoroughly. aid groups are racing to distribute clean water and filtration systems. the c.d.c. is working closely with haitian authorities to track the outbreak. so there have been reports of cholera pretty much all up and down the whole country. while more than $10 billion have been pledged since the earthquake, there's been little progress rebuilding the housing and sanitation infrastructure needed to prevent this fast- moving disease. >> one of the mothers said, "yeah, i left two of our kids
dead at home, this is the one that's alive. do what you can, please save him." >> reporter: and when you hear that, what goes through your heart? >> as a physician, you know, and as a person you're going to... it's obviously a lot of pressure but, you know, this is what we do. >> reporter: thankfully, that child is doing well tonight. officials say the death rate has slowed but it's still early in the epidemic and this disease is unpredictable. dr. jon lapook, cbs news, port- au-prince, haiti. >> couric: in afghanistan, the government received billions in u.s. aid but president hamid karzai is also taking money from a neighbor-- iran. today he confirmed reports that iran has been funneling bags stuffed with cash to one of his aides. the payoffs come once or twice a year, as much as a million dollars each time. karzai insists the money goes toward government expenses. some afghan officials say the iranian payments are intended to drive a wedge between karzai and the united states.
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>> couric: in this economy, a lot of businesses are struggling but one is doing better than ever: cargo theft. losses from all those robberies add up to as much as $37 billion a year in this country, forcing all of us to pay more for everything from computers to medicine to sneakers. our chief investigative correspondent armen keteyian got an exclusive look inside the criminal world of cargo hijacking. >> reporter: a dallas warehouse, a band of thieves arrive in eight stolen tractor-trailers and take $850,000 in flat-screen t.v.s. and in connecticut, $76 million worth of prescription drugs disappear from this warehouse. now cbs news has learned that both of these crimes and many others committed in the last two years are tied to cargo theft rings run by cuban americans in south florida. rings these men say they worked for.
>> reporter: in 2009, there were 864 reported thefts of goods from trucks and warehouses across the country, more than two per day. 2010 is on track to be even worse. >> right now the thieves are winning. when cargo is stolen, it costs each one of us. insurance rates go up, trucking companies have to pay for the loss. >> reporter: this man, who we'll call "the trucker" earns a legitimate living hauling freight. he says the real money comes from doing what he calls the dirty work. >> reporter: what are the most popular items to be ripped off? >> reporter: insulin? >> insulin. >> reporter: h.i.v.? >> yeah, h.i.v. >> reporter: they all want that? >> they all want that. >> reporter: so much so that last year $184 million in prescription drugs were stolen from trucks in warehouses nationwide, a 350% increase from
2007, prompting the f.d.a. to send this letter last oil from pharmaceutical companies and distributors warning "these crimes threaten the public health." some of those drugs have to be refrigerated because they can kill people if they're not. does that ever cross your mind or worry you? >> reporter: at truck stops like this, 18-wheelers sit unattended as drivers hit the restroom or grab a quick cup of coffee only to be stunned to come out and see their rig is gone. the easiest way to steal the cargo? just take the entire truck. how easy? the trucker showed us on his own truck using nothing more than a small key to a padlock and a pair of pliers. from break-ins to start to finish he was gone in less than 30 seconds.
leading to this man we'll call "the broker." his job, sell the stoneen goods. in an average month, how many jobs would they do? >> depends. two, three, four. >> reporter: and they're not just ripping off cargo. one ring was so brazen it stole this warehouse in miami, breaking in and using it as a show room to sell its goods. and then the buyer comes out and gives you money in a bag? >> correct. >> reporter: so you could have at one time how much money in your hands? >> million and a half. >> reporter: that's a big bag. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: and the bags of money keep coming given the fact penalties from cargo theft are surprisingly weak. most times it's a minor felony that never leads to jail time. >> i think stealing a load of property on it is the same as stealing your 196 volkswagen. >> reporter: you ever worry about being arrested? >> not really.
>> reporter: with that, the trucker headed to other jobs, fueling a real-life game of grand theft cargo that shows no signs of slowing down. armen keteyian, cbs news, miami. >> couric: and coming up next: shock turns to anger. a top swimmer dies in a race that some say should never have been held. der, i don't always let the worry my pipes might leak compromise what i like to do. i take care with vesicare, because i have better places to visit than just the bathroom. ( announcer ) once-daily vesicare can help control your bladder muscle, and is proven to treat overactive bladder with symptoms of frequent urges and leaks, day and night. if you have certain stomach or glaucoma problems, or trouble emptying your bladder, do not take vesicare. vesicare may cause allergic reactions that may be serious. if you experience swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue, stop taking vesicare and get emergency help. tell your doctor right away
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of athletes, that's why it was such a shock when fran crippen, one of america's top swimmers, died saturday during a race off the united arab emirates. tonight, some are saying the weather was so brutal the race should have been called off. here's national correspondent jim axelrod. >> reporter: world-class open water swimmer fran crippen knew it was hot in the united arab emirates saturday. with the air near 100 degrees and water in the upper 80s, maybe too hot to be racing. >> the water was warm; the air was warm and he told me that friday. he said "i'll overhydrate." >> reporter: the 26-year-old died saturday in a race. dehydrated, he slipped under the water a little more than a mile from the finish. the race's referee says crippen drown from exhaustion. three other swimmers were taken from the hospital and even the race's winner, thomas lurz of germany said "it was really just too hot for racing." crippen, who came from a prominent u.s. swimming family, was closing in on his goal to
make the olympic team. >> i had this great opportunity ahead of me and i'm looking to seize the moment. >> it was his whole life and he was dedicated to his dream. >> reporter: u.s.a. swimming is calling for a full investigation tonight into the death of fran crippen, including why the boats following the swimmer didn't see him go under. his body wasn't found for two hours. jim axelrod, cbs news, new york. >> couric: in chile, you may recall that after the mine rescue president pinera challenged the 33 men to a soccer match against the rescuers. the losers, he joked, it would have go back down into the mine. well, today they took to the field, the miners in the white shirts. franklin lobos, a former pro- soccer player, scored first but pinera's team, the rescuers, won 3-2 and he vowed to hold the miners to their deal. what a kidder. and coming up next, an october surprise. withere's the life you live... and the life you want to live. fortunately there's enbrel,
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>> there he goes! there he goes! >> reporter: ...what's a pumpkin ever do to them? norman baits carved more kindly. this is how ray villafane teaches his kids how to start on a pumpkin. not just his kids... >> take this tool. >> reporter: ...he goes around to schools and gets kids to adopt the skin them alive approach. >> if you want to make a pumpkin you have to push the limits. >> reporter: there's clearly methods to his madness but ray is not completely out of his gourd. in fact, he may be a genius. >> it's a different way of thinking. >> reporter: for the past 15 years, ray has spent every october in his basement studio reinventing the art of pumpkin carving using sculpting tools instead of knives ray can now take a pumpkin and over the course of about eight hours turn it into a truly museum-quality fruit. >> to me you carve a pumpkin to transform it into something that's alive. >> reporter: believe it or not, all these started out as single
pumpkins. each carving more improbable than the next, each creation challenging the limits of what is pumpkinly possible. >> i'm so obsessive. when i get into something i don't go to sleep, i stay up all night, keep doing it. >> reporter: has he been like this since you met him? >> pretty much. there's an apple, honey. >> reporter: ray's wife tammy says pumpkins were just the beginning. they merely opened his eyes to an infinitely carveable world. today the former grade schoolteacher sculpts full time. he makes models like this for toy companies and he's starting to get into sand sculpting, too. this is what he made the first time he ever tried. ray clearly has a gift. such a gift it's almost a curse. >> i see the eyes are too big. >> reporter: like so many people who are the best at what they do... >> the structure of the face is not right. >> reporter: ...ray is rarely satisfied with anything he does. >> reporter: would you throw it away? >> i've thrown away better ones than this. >> reporter: although it drives his wife nuts, she says it's a
healthy neurosis. that's the message he likes to leave with kids. no matter what you do to be great you can't ever think you are and, of course... >> done! >> reporter: 15 years of practice doesn't hurt, either. and as if ray's accomplishments weren't impressive enough already, consider this: he's allergic to pumpkin. >> couric: those sculptures are amazing but they all shrivel up eventually, right? >> reporter: he likes the fact all he's got left are the pictures and the memories. >> couric: wow, he is really talented. steve, thanks so much. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. i'll see you tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org ,,,,,,