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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  December 3, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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we'll see you in 30 minutes. >> jules is in the house! >> she is upstairs and we are going to join her in 30 minutes. "cbs evening news with katie couric" is next. ouric: tonight, job cr slows as unemployment sets a record. it tops 9% for 19 months in a row. i'm katie couric. also tonight, a pre-christmas surprise for u.s. troops in afghanistan. a visit from the commander-in- chief. >> we are here to say thank you for everything that you do. >> reporter: fighting obesity. an f.d.a. panel says more americans should be eligible for gastric band surgery. and she told her employees she had to make cutbacks, but they couldn't believe what she told them next. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric.
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>> couric: good evening, everyone. president obama is on his way home tonight after a surprise visit to afghanistan. we'll have more about that in a moment. but first, his top domestic problem? unemployment. it's getting worse and becoming chronically high. the government reported today that the jobless rate rose two tenths of a point in november to 9.8%. it's now been over nine for a record 19 months and subtracting the number of jobs lost from the number created leaves the country with a net gain of just 39,000 jobs. anthony mason has been looking at the numbers for us. and anthony, this news seemed to catch everybody off guard. >> reporter: yeah katie, this was a pretty limp number and it baffled economists who were expecting a much stronger one. for the 11th straight month, the private sector created jobs in november, but just 50,000 of them. what do we make of this number?
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>> well, it was a disappointing number. there's no way around that. >> reporter: but economist michael darda believes it isn't telling the whole story. >> because this job support number really was out of kilter with a host of other labor market indicators that are really showing some promise. >> reporter: like the number of people filing for unemployment. weekly claims have been trending down since the summer. and in november hit their lowest weekly average in more than two years. and there have been some notable hiring announcements. general motors said this week it will add a thousand engineers. another battered industry, the airlines, are also hiring-- both bringing back furloughed workers and adding new employees. u.s. airways will add 500 workers. american will hire nearly 800, and jetblue 1,300 next year. are you hiring more aggressively now? >> we're hiring more aggressively now because we have specific roles that we need to fill, including pilots and flight attendants, and seeing a real uptick in those types of positions. >> reporter: and businesses are
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growing less cautious. in june when we visited the sprawling furnitureland south in north carolina, jason harris told us... >> we're not currently looking to hire on the operational side until our business really starts to pick up. >> reporter: but things have changed. >> we actually had the best november we've had in four years with an unprecedented 48% growth. >> reporter: that's convinced harris to start hiring again. >> we have about 140 sales and design consultants. we are ramping up. our goal is to get to 200 sales and design consultants by the end of 2011. we feel very confident and bullish about where this economy is headed. we're very optimistic. >> reporter: economists keep expecting that bullish attitude to begin to show up in the job numbers, it just hasn't happened yet katie. >> couric: but some glimmers of hope in your report. >> there are. >> couric: thank you very much for those. meanwhile, the dow was up nearly 20 points today so i guess the market wasn't really that rattled by these numbers? >> reporter: no, because there are these other encouraging indicators out there. now, if this persists for a
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couple of months, i think there will be concerns. but also remember the job numbers get revised the next month and many economists are expecting that today's job growth numbers will be revised higher next month. >> couric: all right. anthony mason. anthony, thanks, as always. extending jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed-- those out of work for at least six months-- and extending tax cuts for the middle class will require the lame-duck congress to make some tough choices. congressional correspondent nancy cordes reports from the battlefield: capitol hill. >> it really is time for the people of america to take up pitchforks. >> reporter: democratic frustration boiled over today. >> that's not fair. >> reporter: as republicans refused to budge from their insistence that the bush-era tax cuts be extended for everyone-- including the rich. >> i'm trying to figure out how anyone can keep a straight face and say they're for deficit reduction while they insist on a permanent tax cut for the wealthiest americans completely unpaid for. >> reporter: privately,
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democrats fumed that the white house was cutting their legs out from under them by quietly negotiating with republican leader mitch mcconnell on a temporary extension of all the tax cuts in exchange for extending lapsed unemployment benefits and ratifying the start arms treaty with russia. >> americans don't want to see meaningless theatrics in congress. they want us to do something about the economy. >> reporter: a new cbs news poll shows only 26% of americans think that tax cuts should be extended for everyone. a majority-- 53%-- think they should be extended for all but those making more than $250,000 a year. >> i'm one of those and i'm willing to pay my fair share. >> reporter: the poll also shows that three out of four americans now consider the deficit a very serious problem. >> this commission stands adjourned. >> reporter: but the president's deficit commission, tasked with sending a package of tough cuts to congress, disbanded today
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without reaching a consensus. seven of the 18 commissioners voted against the proposal, including three conservative republican lawmakers and three liberal democrats-- all facing reelection. >> these recommendations asking those who have already been sacrificing, who are sacrificing now, to further sacrifice. >> reporter: democrats know they don't have the 60 votes they need to exclude the rich from bush tax cut extensions, but they're going to hold a series of symbolic votes anyway, and they scheduled a rare saturday session to do it. katie? >> couric: nancy cordes. nancy, thank you very much. now to the president's quick trip today to afghanistan-- his second since taking office. chief white house correspondent chip reid reports it took him four times as long to get there as he spent there. >> reporter: after a 13-hour flight that was cloaked in secrecy, the president arrived in afghanistan to deliver a simple message. >> on behalf of more than 300 million americans, we are here to say thank you. >> reporter: because of the troop surge, he said, the war
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effort is finally turning a corner. >> we said we were going to break the taliban's momentum. that's what you're doing. >> reporter: the president met with one battle-hardened group of soldiers and, while describing it, teared up. >> i just talked to a platoon that lost six... six of their buddies. >> reporter: and he assured these men and women, so far from home during the holidays, that the american people are with them. >> everybody back home is behind you. everybody. >> reporter: but while the american people may be united behind the troops, they're hardly united behind the war. in a recent cbs news poll, only 38% said it's going well. 55% said it's going badly. many democrats are outraged the president has tripled the number of troops to 100,000, while republicans criticize him for setting arbitrary deadlines to get out. the president recently announced a plan to begin transferring responsibility for the war to the afghan government next year, completing the process by 2014.
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he had hoped to discuss the plan in person with afghan president hamid karzai today in kabul, but had to settle for a brief phone call after high winds made helicopter travel impossible. deep concerns about karzai were confirmed this week by the flood of wikileaks documents in which karzai's government was repeatedly described by u.s. officials as "corrupt," awash in bribes, illicit cash transfers and massive embezzlement. >> i don't think the american public understood the extent to which corruption reigned supreme in the current afghan government. >> reporter: the white house is scheduled to complete a review of the afghanistan troop surge later this month and already white house officials are dropping strong hints that no major changes are planned. katie? >> couric: chip reid at the white house tonight. as always, chip, thank you. now, as for wikileaks, it's been hounded by governments and hackers since posting all those secret diplomatic cables earlier this week. the people who run the website spent the day struggling to keep
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it online-- even changing its web address. meanwhile, wikileaks' founder is still hiding from the police. but today elizabeth palmer reports he did speak out online. >> reporter: julian assange doesn't have to be out and about to communicate. from his hiding place in britain today he answered questions on a newspaper website. "threats against us are a matter of public record," replied assange, and implied the u.s. government was behind this: the dead end people found last night when they tried to log on to wikileaks. u.s.-based dynamic network services, which provided wikileaks' internet address, had canceled its service. the company said it simply couldn't keep doing business with a website under constant cyber assault. for the past few days, wikileaks has come under what's called a distributed denial of service attack. and it works like this: the attacker searches out computers that are online and unsecured
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and, undetected, takes them over. then each one recruits hundreds or even thousands of others. in hacker speak, it's called a zombie army. and together all these hijacked computers bombard the targeted website-- in this case wikileaks-- with data until, overwhelmed, it collapses. and because the attack comes from so many different addresses, it can't be blocked. but wikileaks rebounded fast. hours after the site disappeared, it popped back up again with new addresses in europe. staff are working hard to maintain it now on servers kept safe in this underground bunker in sweden. offline, julian assange is still wanted for questioning in a swedish sexual assault case. a fresh warrant has now been filed, but it won't be enforceable for at least another five days. >> if the police think it's valid they'll send it over to me.
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i'll have a look at it, and if i think it's valid, we'll operate on it. and if i think it's not, we'll go to court and challenge it. >> reporter: julian assange will no doubt use every minute in the meantime to keep secret documents flowing to the wikileaks web site. elizabeth palmer, cbs news, london. >> couric: turning to health news now and america's obesity epidemic. more than 200,000 weight loss surgeries were performed in the u.s. last year. today an f.d.a. panel recommended that one of the more popular procedures-- gastric band surgery-- be made available to more people. here's dr. jennifer ashton. >> how do you feel? >> i feel great. >> reporter: tracy broznan is a gastric band success story. she's lost 78 pounds in two years, and the weight is still coming off. >> i feel like the lap band allows you the freedom, if you will, of knowing you're not going to... if you continue to work it, you won't regain the weight. >> reporter: the device is quite simple. a band is placed around the upper part of the stomach and adjusted to limit the amount of food that can be eaten. it also allows a person to feel full.
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and after an f.d.a. advisory committee meeting today, millions more could be candidates for the procedure, which can cost up to $15,000. the criteria for gastric banding is the body mass index or b.m.i. previously, in order to qualify for a band, a person who is 5'6 with diabetes needed to weigh 216 pounds-- a b.m.i. of 35. now that person could qualify with a b.m.i. of 30, weighing 186 pounds. >> this will make eligible many people who are obese or severely overweight have access to aggressive, effective weight loss. >> reporter: and that's important to people like brandi jirka. she told the f.d.a. panel that after receiving one on an experimental basis, she lost over 100 pounds and got her health back. >> at 248 pounds, it was only a matter of time before i got a chronic obesity-related disease. >> reporter: the hope is that more gastric band procedures would reduce the conditions
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caused by obesity like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. still, doctors caution that the procedure carries risks and isn't for everyone. >> living with a band is not easy. using a band effectively is not easy. it's a lot of work. it's very hard work. >> reporter: the risks include severe heartburn and problems with the esophagus, and the band can also slip or twist and sometimes may be removed, katie. >> couric: so will insurance cover this additional group of people for the procedure? >> well, it's possible it won't, and there are risks, and this surgery is absolutely not a quick fix. and it's also possible, katie, that over the long run the costs of treating obesity and its complications like diabetes may actually outpace the price of this procedure. >> couric: all right. jennifer ashton. dr. ashton, thanks so much. and coming up next here on the "cbs evening news," why the best teams in college football may not be playing for the championship. ampionship. ffice...
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>> couric: on sunday, >> couric: on sunday, we'll learn which college football teams will play in the big bowl games, including the national championship, and you can expect loud complaints from teams that don't make the cut. as armen keteyian explains, the matchups are based on a confusing and controversial system that many believe deserves a penalty flag. >> at the five! >> reporter: it's the only major sport without a post-season
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playoff-- a national champion not decided on the field. instead, since 1998, college football has relied on a complex ranking system-- one-third computer, two thirds human-- frustrating fans, and the likes of former u.s.c. head coach pete carroll, now in the n.f.l. >> i've always advocated playoffs. i've never, ever, thought it should be anything but that. >> reporter: the result? a number of games like this that reward running up the score to move up the rankings. rankings in the hands of a high- powered group of conference commissioners who run what's called the bowl championship series. critics charge the b.c.s. standings protect the top conferences and bowls at the expense of upstart schools like undefeated t.c.u. and the university of utah, where that state's attorney general is now investigating the b.c.s. for antitrust violations. >> it operates like a cartel. >> reporter: dan wetzel is the co-author of a new book about
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the b.c.s., arguing the n.c.a.a. should control its own football destiny, not private entities that pay bowl teams from $600,000 to $18 million each to participate. >> this is the most important, valuable, and profitable product that college athletics has, and they're not running it. it makes no sense. >> reporter: in the last 12 years, only four schools outside the top b.c.s. conferences have played in the richest b.c.s. bowls, and never for a national title. and that, says wetzel, is just part of the problem. >> you have bowl directors making $600,000 a year running a single football game. being in the bowl business is a good business to be in. >> reporter: in a statement, the head of the b.c.s. said "we strongly defend the b.c.s. as the best way to determine a national champion," adding "coaches and student athletes overwhelmingly favor the traditional bowl system." >> it's a celebration for the players. many of the players won't go on to play in the n.f.l.
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it's a celebration for the fans. >> reporter: this week, shortly after this win, third-ranked t.c.u. announced a celebrated move to a b.c.s. conference-- the big east-- in 2012. another sign when it comes to college football, you not only have to beat 'em, but join 'em as well. armen keteyian, cbs news, new york. >> couric: and still ahead, what charles manson was hiding in his prison cell. [ female announcer ] with rheumatoid arthritis, there's the life you live... and the life you want to live. fortunately there's enbrel, the #1 most doctor-prescribed biologic medicine for ra. enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, fatigue, and stop joint damage. because enbrel suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events
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>> couric: an update now on that deadly forest fire in israel. it's been burning out of control for two days now. international help is pouring in. aircraft from turkey, greece, and cyprus have tried to put out the flames, which are now less than a mile from the city of haifa. thousands of people have been evacuated, and at least 41 have been killed-- most of them prison guards caught in the fire while rushing to evacuate inmates. back to this country and one of its most notorious criminals, serial killer charles manson. manson, who's now in his 70s, has been caught using a smuggled cell phone in his california prison cell. he's called people in california new jersey, and florida. it's unclear who he called or what was said. guards found the phone under manson's mattress. the penalty? 30 days added to his life sentence.
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in china, they're celebrating a record run on the fast track. during a test today, a new high- speed train reached 302 miles an hour, a world record for an unmodified passenger train. it's due to go into service in 2012 and should cut the travel time between beijing and shanghai in half, to just five hours. coming up next, a company in trouble. someone has to be laid off. how the boss decided who it would be. did you know a problem in your heart can cause a stroke in your brain? it's true. an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation, or afib, can make a blood clot form, here, in your heart, that can break free and go straight to your brain where it can cause a serious stroke. having atrial fibrillation gives you a 5 times
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prevented a crime. next on cbs 5 johannes mehserle got a chance >> couric: it happens all too often in this country-- the boss calls in employees to announce layoffs. but it doesn't usually happen the way it did at a company in central florida. mark strassmann has the story of a boss with a heart and the american spirit. >> reporter: at accurate background checks, they screen job applicants for other employers, and earlier this year everyone here spotted the same problem: in a tough economy, this business was in trouble. >> we woke up and the sky was falling. >> reporter: founder and c.e.o. lola gonzalez called in all eight employees. >> i had to let somebody go.
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>> reporter: lydia estremera said "uh-oh." did your heart stop? >> it did. it did for a minute, because i was like "oh, my god, what am i going to do now? it could be anybody." >> reporter: the surprise? >> i did a donald trump, i took a deep breath and i said "that person's me." >> reporter: the c.e.o. cut the biggest salary; she fired herself. >> of course i was in shock. where did do you hear this? i never heard of that, that the owner is going to cut themselves off to save somebody else. >> reporter: but the boss still had to tell her family. >> i thought she was actually joking. >> reporter: husband marcos gonzalez is a construction foreman, but laid off-- like many people in ocala. the unemployment rate is more than 14% here, and his wife had just walked away from a six- figure job. >> i was scared! it was a moment where, yeah, "what the heck are you doing?" i feel that i'm responsible not only for my family-- as my husband is-- but also my employees' families. >> reporter: without any real
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plan, but within a month of laying herself off, lola gonzalez had a new job-- working as a community organizer. to her, the job's a hit, but so was the pay cut. a 60% drop. >> that's great. >> reporter: she loves her new job at devereaux kids, linking needy people with social services. >> do you have any place in mind? >> reporter: but with her new paycheck, her family has also had to sacrifice. >> i'm proud of my mom, you know. we're a family. >> reporter: lola drops by the business she still owns, where everyone else still has a job. >> i'm very, very grateful, because at least there's still an income coming in and i'm able to pay my bills. >> reporter: and that's just what the boss wanted. mark strassmann, cbs news, ocala florida. >> couric: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric in new york. thank you for watching this week. and for the latest news online, check out good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
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captioned by media access group at wgbh your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. caption colorado, l.l.c. you know, the door is glass. i thought he was going to shoot it to break the glass and get in. >> a worker rebellion. what happened when a robber came knocking at a restaurant. johannes mehserle asking for freedom. how the judge ruled on the request. >> and home security via his smart phone of the the criminal caught in the act thanks to an iphone app. good evening, i'm juliette goodrich in for dana king. >> i'm allen martin. it could be the work of serial robbers. customers finishing their dinner employees inside, when two men armed with guns tried to rob a restaurant in the east bay. mark sayre in walnut creek with the actions of the employees that led to these would-be robbers giving up and just taking off. >> reporter: quick thinking


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