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

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>> smith: tonight, wikileaks >> smith: tonight, the president makes a deal on the tax cut, but what about the democrats? i'm harry smith, also tonight, officials fear latest wikileaks postings are a blueprint for terrorists. >> it's like painting a target on the companies or the entities which are listed. >> smith: elizabeth edwards is taking a turn for the worse. she posts a farewell message online. and she's breaking down roadblocks, taking women into a world long dominated by men. steve hartman's "assignment america." 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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>> smith: good evening, katie is off tonight. there is breaking news at the white house. after weeks of haggling, nasty debate and political posturing, it appears that president obama and congressional republicans have struck a deal to extend the bush tax cuts and to extend unemployment benefits as well. the question: will democrats go along? senior white house correspondent bill plante is following developments. good evening, bill. >> reporter: good evening, harry. it wasn't easy getting there, >> this is not perfect but it's a potential step on the road to recovery. >> reporter: the deal includes a two-year extension of the bush tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthiest taxpayers in exchange far 13-month extension of unemployment benefits for long-term out-of-work americans. the estate tax returns at 35% on estates worth over $35 million and there is a one-year 2% cut in payroll taxes for all workers. the compromise was all but
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inevitable after democrats failed saturday to pass bills capping the tax cuts at incomes up to $250,000 or even a million dollars. >> do you really think that the c.e.o.s on wall street who make hundreds of millions of dollars a year really need a tax break? >> reporter: house democrats, though, have yet to sign off on any proposed deal. >> certainly none of us in the house have signed off on any kind of understanding like this. we're going to have to look very carefully at the details. >> reporter: many, however, thought the president should have held out for more. >> as sympathetic i am to those who prefer a fight over compromise, it would be the wrong thing to do. >> reporter: there are also some other sweeteners in the deal for lower-income earners. but democrats who are angry that the president gave in, the white house has this message: he did was what was best for the economy. harry? >> smith: what's the confidence level at the white house tonight to get the democrats onboard?
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>> reporter: they believe they'll come along but i have to tell you this, the democrats that our supreme talked to in the last hour or so say they are not on board. they don't like it a bit. >> smith: bill plante at the white house tonight. thanks. now, to another developing story. the founder of wikileaks may soon come out of hiding to talk to british police. more about that in a moment. but first, the uproar over the latest secret diplomatic cables posted on the wikileaks web site. officials fear the release of these documents could be a big help to terrorists. we have two reports tonight, beginning with national security correspondent david martin. >> reporter: if osama bin laden, wherever he is, needed a to-do list, he's got one now, courtesy of wikileaks: a secret state department cable listing sites around the world vital to u.s. national security and public health. >> i mean, leaking a list that purports to lay out critical infrastructure is like painting a target on the companies or the entities which are listed. >> reporter: former secretary of homeland security michael chertoff was once responsible
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for what's called the national infrastructure protection plan. the list of overseas facilities goes on for four single-spaced pages covering the globe, from mines in africa that produce critical minerals to labs in europe that manufacture life- saving drugs. want to find the most critical gas facility in the world? according to the document, it's the nadym gas pipeline junction in russia. how about a critical irreplaceable source of power in portions of northeast u.s.? just google "hydroquebec" in canada or maybe the plant in preston, england, that makes parts critical to the f-35 joint strike fighter. >> some of the infrastructure is very well protected and probably not very much a terrorist could do. but there may be some elements that are not well protected or well known. >> reporter: attacks damaging to the u.s. could occur on any continent and in unlikely places that might never have occurred to bin laden or any other terrorist, like a lab in kvistgaard, denmark, that makes
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smallpox vaccine, or a flood control dams along the rio grande between the u.s. and mexico, a tin mine in peru, a chromite mine in kazakhstan. even a plant in it they produces an antidote for snakebites. >> what happens in one part of the world can have a direct impact on another part of the world. >> reporter: that would seem to make this the most damaging of all. but u.s. officials say other cables like the one describing the quirks of libya's moammar qaddafi could result in the recall of a small number of american ambassadors who can no longer deal with their host government. in some countries, american diplomats are now forbidden to take notes in meetings with local officials so those embarrassing quotes don't show up in state department cables. harry? >> smith: david martin at the pentagon tonight. thanks. now about the wikileaks founder, julian assange. his lawyer said today he's trying to set up a meeting between his client and the police to talk about the sexual assault charges filed against
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him in sweden. and as elizabeth palmer reports, assange has also made quite a few enemies in the u.k. >> reporter: julian assange and wikileaks have infuriated the u.k. government with revelations about everything from rude royals to military incompetence. today, britain's home secretary called for a security review. >> on the issue of wikileaks, the prime minister's national security advisor has written to all departments to ask them to look again at their information security. >> reporter: the leaks have made for embarrassing headlines. in the u.k., unlike the u.s., newspaper publishers could be prosecuted for printing what's considered official secrets. but so far there's been no move to go after the media or assange. "the leak documents are american," goes the thinking, "so any lawsuit should be, too." for the moment, assange remains in britain, lying low but living legally. however, that may be about to
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change. swedish authorities want to question him in a sexual assault case, and they've asked for his extradition. assange's lawyer says he'll fight the move in case the swedes, under political pressure, turn him over to the u.s. >> so you think if he goes to sweden he may be sentenced to the states? >> certainly. >> and you may fight it on that basis? >> certainly. >> reporter: in the u.s., authorities are wondering what law besides the outdated 1917 espionage act they might use to prosecute assange. >> we have a very serious criminal investigation that's under way and we're looking at all of the things that we can do to try to stem the flow of this information. >> reporter: the legal maneuvering to restrain julian assange will be complicated and slow. the financial world has moved faster. the online payment company papal is no longer processing donations to wikileaks, and assange's swiss bank has closed his account.
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elizabeth palmer, cbs news, london. >> smith: the last time most of us saw elizabeth edwards was when she appeared on the stand up to cancer telethon in september. she's been fighting a long, grave, and public battle against the disease and now, at age 61, that battle apparently is coming to an end. here's national correspondent dean reynolds. >> reporter: we got to know elizabeth edwards as the wife of a presidential candidate, her husband john's biggest booster. >> who do you trust to actually get it done? >> reporter: not one to wait in the wings, she shared the stage equally with him. but away from the applause and adulation, mrs. edwards has led a star-crossed and at times painful life. there was the death of her teenaged son, the unfulfilled campaigns for higher office, and then her husband's humiliating affair with a campaign worker-- even as elizabeth repeatedly defended him. yet the strong will that she wrote about in two best-selling books saw her through her public challenges.
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>> there are parts that were really just primarily pain. but in the end, you know, you reach for the things that are going to give you comfort, the beautiful things-- your children, the people you love and care about. >> reporter: now comes toward that the breast cancer she's fought since 2004 has spread and that her health is rapidly deteriorating. a source close to the edwards family tells cbs news simply "she is dying." the family told "people" magazine today that mrs. edwards is resting at home in chapel hill, north carolina, with loved ones-- including her estranged husband. today on her facebook page mrs. edwards wrote about her family, her friends, and her faith. "these graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than i ever could have imagined." she wrote. "the days of our lives for all of us are numbered. we know that." dean reynolds, cbs news. >> smith: in the battle against cancer there may be a new weapon
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right in your medicine cabinet. a provocative new study out today says taking low dose aspirin can reduce the risk of dying from some of the most common forms of the disease. here's dr. jennifer ashton. >> reporter: aspirin is already known as a wonder drug for heart disease, but data released tonight suggests it might even be a lifesaver for cancer, too. in a study of over 25,000 people in the british journal "lancet", the number of deaths from cancer was lowered by 21% in those who took low-dose aspirin for at least five years. >> we were surprised, i think, by the extent which it does appear to reduce the death rate, yes. >> reporter: the numbers over the long-term were even more striking. the risk of death after 20 years was reduced by about 10% for prostate cancer, 30% for lung cancer, 40% for colorectal cancer, and 60% for esophageal cancer. which raises the question: should everyone take low-dose aspirin? today the american cancer
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society said no and that "it would be premature to recommend people start taking aspirin specifically to prevent cancer." that's because even low dose aspirin can lead to dangerous internal bleeding. still, evidence that it might help fight cancer is intriguing for doctors. >> it's consistent with the hypothesis that an anti- inflammatory agent can prevent cancer. and it's not the only evidence, but it's probably the largest body of evidence available so far. >> reporter: since this study didn't show why aspirin reduced death from so many types of cancer, more research still needs to be done, harry. >> smith: so interesting. because the american cancer society-- adamant that people don't go out and start taking aspirin. why? >> reporter: like my medication, harry, there are risks and there could be side effects. so in general, people who should not take aspirin are those who have an allergy to aspirin, are prone to bleeding, already on blood thinners or have liver or stomach problems. they should talk to their doctor. >> smith: dr. jennifer ashton, thanks. still ahead on the "cbs evening news," she helps women overcome their auto phobia.
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steve hartman's "assignment america." but up next, iran released her from prison but she won't rest until two other americans are home, too. thank you for calling usa pmy name peggy. peggy, yes, i'd like to redeem my reward points for a gift card. tell points please? 250,000. calculating... ooh! answer: five fifty! 550 bucks?! 5 dollar, 50 cents. minus redeeming charge. leaving 50 cents. say what? happy time! what kind of program is this? want better rewards? switch to discover. america's number 1 cash rewards program. it pays to discover.
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attack today just over the boarder in pakistan. two militants wearing suicide vests blew themselves up outside a meeting of tribesmen who have pledged to fight the taliban. 50 were killed. 100 others wounded. these are anxious times for sarah shourd, the american hiker released by iran in september after spending more than a year in prison. she's back home, but her heart is with her two other american friends still being held and she wants to make sure the world doesn't forget about them. here's elaine quijano. >> reporter: american sarah shourd still feels like a prisoner 12 weeks after she walked out of an iranian jail. do you feel free now? >> no. i mean, my life will not be anything approaching normal until shane and josh are with me. i truly don't feel any more than one-third free. >> reporter: shourd was released in september after nearly 14 months in captivity. her ordeal began in july, 2009,
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when shourd says she was hiking with her fiance shane bauer and their friend josh fatale in kurdistan, a peaceful region in northern iraq. >> we had absolutely no indication that we were near a border. >> reporter: but iranian authorities say they crossed the border into iranian territory and arrested the three americans accusing them of being spies. shourd was held in a 12" x 10" cell in solitary confinement. she says she sang songs to keep herself and the young men sane. >> our songs were something that really kept our souls alive. >> reporter: shourd spent 410 days in prison before a medical condition led iran to release her on humanitarian grounds. >> ♪ we walked across... >> reporter: now shourd is turning to music once again-- this time to keep public attention focused on freeing bauer and fatale. she's released this video of a song she wrote in prison called "piece of time."
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still, as the holidays approach, the wait grows more agonizing. >> i remember sitting with shane and josh and we were just certain that we'd be home by christmas last year. it's been another year. there's nothing in the world that can help me understand this. what we really want is not to have to go through another holiday without shane and josh. we want them home for christmas. >> reporter: 493 and counting. elaine quijano, cbs news. >> smith: the largest sex discrimination suit in u.s. history is going to the supreme court. as many as 1.5 million current and former female employees are suing wal-mart for allegedly paying them less than men. but the court will not be ruling on the merits of the case, only on whether the women have a right to join together and bring it as a class action lawsuit. when we come back, remembering the man they called "dandy don." called "dandy don."
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>> smith: much of the nation got a rude awakening this morning from bitter cold temperatures. a high-pressure system swept in from canada overnight, sending the mercury into freefall from the upper midwest to florida. and it's helping bring lake- effect snow to parts of western
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new york near buffalo, already hit with close to three feet of snow late last week. as if the government didn't have enough money troubles, now there's a problem with the new $100 billion bill. the government was forced to stop production because some of the bills creased during printing, leaving a blank line on the face. now officials face the daunting task of sorting through more than a billion bills to determine which of them is flawed. in the meantime, the treasury will resume production of the old-style benjamins. "monday night football" put a network on the map and turned sports into prime time entertainment. don meredith played a huge role in it. >> his name? dandy don meredith. >> smith: his quick wit and texas charm made him the perfect foil for howard cosell. >> number 22 bobby lane. >> smith: and help him turn "monday night football" into must-see tv.
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>> i didn't know you cared. >> smith: dandy don meredith was an original cowboy. his freewheeling style helped turn them into one of the n.f.l.'s elite teams. twice they went to the championship game, losing both times to the green bay packers, including the 1967 ice bowl. at age 31, meredith abruptly quit, saying he'd lost his desire to compete. but in the 1970s, he became a bigger star in the broadcast booth, along with cosell and frank gifford. >> he was not a professional announcer and i think that's really what endeared him to people. i think a lot of people looked at don meredith in the booth and thought to themselves "that could be me." >> smith: always entertaining, once he knew which team would win, he would burst into song. >> ♪ turn out the lights, the party's over... ♪ >> smith: in later years, meredith battled emphysema and recently suffered a brain hemorrhage. when he died last night, dandy
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here's steve hartman with "assignment america." >> reporter: aside from a thin coat of powder, there's nothing superficial about 32-year-old sarah lateiner. big-hearted and brilliant, she graduated from oberlin phi beta kappa with a double major in pre-law and women's studies. her plan was to go to law school and become a champion for women on a global scale. >> i'm an overachiever. >> reporter: i guess so. although in the end she decided to go with her plan "b" instead. >> i had in my mind this was a different way to save the world. >> reporter: in other words, fix the world by fixing cars? >> yeah, d'uh. >> reporter: right after graduation she enrolled in technical school. >> who doesn't go on to becoming a mechanic after prelaw? >> reporter: wow. today sarah, who now goes by the nickname bogi, has her own shop in phoenix called 180-degree automotive. beyond quality service for all, her mission is to educate women
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specifically about cars and thus empower them the rest of their lives. the concept is based on bogi's own first-car experience. at 16 she bought an old v.w. bug that needed a lot of work. she felt like mechanics were taking advantage of her so she learned how to fix it herself and really, she says, that's what empowered her more than anything. >> all because i got over my fear of this big piece of metal and plastic that is our cars. it became a passion for me to take that empowerment i got from learning about cars to teach it to other women. >> reporter: to that end, bogi works weekends teaching basic car maintenance class. >> how many of you have ever changed a tire before? >> reporter: she also started a scholarship for women who want to go on to technical school, and she hires mostly women mechanics. >> it's broken from here to here. >> reporter: dear lord! >> reporter: bogi says she knows from experience for a woman getting into law school is easier than breaking into this business. >> i remember when i was applying for jobs and i walked
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in one and he yelled back "hey, joe, we got a little girl back here that wants to be a technician. you gotta see this." >> reporter: bogi says she knew then she picked the right path and is reminded almost daily. >> that's so awesome, and it's warm. >> reporter: whether it's a graceful customer bringing in a gift of home-baked bread. >> thank you so much! >> reporter: or a 77-year-old student breaking loose her first lug bolt. >> there you go! >> reporter: bogi says she's more convinced than ever she's making a difference. and if you really want to change the world, better first know how to change your oil. >> i can see light through here. >> reporter: steve hartman, cbs news, phoenix. >> smith: that's the cbs news for katie couric. i'm harry smith. thanks for joining us. see you in the morning on the "early show." good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. caption colorado, l.l.c. all eyes on san francisco federal court. the arguments heard today on the state's on-again, off-again ban on same-sex marriage. investigation has been -- there is hardly anyone investigating crimes here. >> adding up the losses after oakland police layoffs. why the reports of losing 80 officers doesn't begin to tell the whole story. you think you're going to spend more or less or the same as last year? >> i hate to say but i have spent more this year. >> already? >> already. >> notice something a little different this shopping season? why you might be waiting a little longer at the checkout stand. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm dana king. one of the most hot button issues in recent memory for california returned to court today. a three-judge panel in the appeals court heard


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