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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  April 12, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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would have spent to your favorite charity. >> why not. cherry garcia, chunky monkey. >> "cbs evening news with katie couric" is next. company come. >> caption colorado, llc >> couric: tonight, it didn't end with b.p., cbs news finds toxic spills happen all the time in the oil and gas industries and even the government doesn't know how big the problem is. i'm katie couric. also tonight, japan's nuclear disaster. it's now ranked on the same level as chernobyl, but the prime minister tells the nation the crisis is stabilizing. david and goliath clash at j.f.k. the world's biggest passenger jetliner clips a commuter plane. and the down side of a college education-- years and years of student loan debt. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world
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headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. it's hard to believe but next week is the anniversary of the b.p. oil disaster. despite that huge wake-up call for the industry and the federal government, spills, leaks, and explosions are still happening virtually everyday. a six-month investigation by cbs news found that spills of crude oil and toxic chemicals last year alone were three times the amount of the exxon "valdez" spill. here's our chief investigative correspondent armen keteyian. >> reporter: a cbs news investigation has found that dangerous spills and leaks by the u.s. oil and gas industry are happening all the time-- all across the country. >> everyday there's numerous releases happening throughout just this country. sometimes every couple of hours there is a new incident. >> reporter: truman burnett says
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his dream home in rural pennsylvania was destroyed by a spill at a nearby gas well, killing everything in this pond. >> the fish were dead within two weeks. there were bass, frogs, turtles. we had two nests of wood ducks, my wife's favorite animal. but they're all gone now. >> reporter: they're all dead? >> yes. >> reporter: and we've learned no one in the government knows just how many industry incidents there are. >> if you don't even know how many releases are occurring, if you don't even know what the overall consequences are, you can not answer the question: whether or not we are safe or not? >> reporter: so we collected reported incidents at wells and pipelines from three federal agencies and 23 of the 33 oil and gas producing states and here's what we found for just 2010. not counting the b.p. disaster, at least 6,500 spills, leaks, fires, or explosions nationwide.
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that's 18 a day. overall, at least 34 million gallons of crude oil and other potentially toxic chemicals spilled. that's triple the size of the 1989 exxon "valdez" spill. and while exactly how much was cleaned up isn't known, the impact certainly is. poisoned drinking water. >> holy cow! >> reporter: dead wildlife, destroyed land, illness, injury, people being forced from their homes like here in marshall, michigan. >> the full creek was solid packed full of oil. >> reporter: last july, a nearly one million gallon pipeline spill turned john laforge's backyard, and miles of rivers and streams here into an oily disaster. today canadian oil giant enbridge is still cleaning up the crude oil and the legal mess that followed. >> i don't want to leave here but i haven't got any choice. >> reporter: the issue of oil and gas industry spills is so touchy both the top industry trade group and the
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environmental protection agency wouldn't speak to us on camera. but we found one former oil industry executive who was willing to talk. former shell president john hofmeister. >> very few people in the scheme of things are impacted, but nobody should be impacted. >> reporter: but 34 million gallons is a pretty significant number. >> it's big. it's big and this is a big country with 300 million consumers. that's not to excuse it. one gallon lost is one gallon too many. >> reporter: doesn't sound like they're doing a good job, john. >> i don't want to sound insensitive but you have an industry that knows how much could happen and relative to what could happen from their perspective, very little does happen. >> reporter: as for truman burnett, his dreams are shattered. >> we were hoping to spend quite a bit of time here with our children and our grandchildren, but that won't be the case now. >> reporter: innocent victims of an unquestionable threat only now becoming clear.
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armen keteyian, cbs news, granville summit, pennsylvania. >> couric: by the way, since that b.p. spill, the company has paid state and local governments more than $750 million for cleanup costs, but an associated press investigation turned up some pretty questionable spending. for example, ocean springs, mississippi, used some of the b.p. money to buy tasers for reserve officers. in one louisiana parishe officials bought an ipad and a new laptop and one florida county spent a half million dollars on rock concerts to promote the state's oil-free beaches. b.p. has recently begun asking for a detailed list on how the money is being spent. now to the nuclear disaster in japan. radiation is still leaking from that crippled plant and today the japanese raised the level of the crisis to the maximum on the international nuclear event scale. it had been at level five for the past month, but today, despite no new threats, it was elevated to a seven, the same
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level as chernobyl. a seven is defined as an accident that causes a major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects. lucy craft reports the change is fueling widespread distrust inside the exclusion zone. >> reporter: in fukushima where the plant is located, there was fear and anger today. at the insistence of residents, the state government began checking radiation levels at thousands of locations. and just yesterday, the national government acknowledged more towns must be evacuated outside the original 18-mile danger zone. all this raises new questions about the handling of the disaster. a spokesman for plant operator tepco, hiro hasegawa in an interview with cbs news tonight argued that: the company is not hiding information, saying that under this much scrutiny at home and abroad concealing data would be impossible. the japanese government for its
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part said it has taken a month to pinpoint how much radioactivity has leaked into the atmosphere which is why a mid-level disaster suddenly became a worst case one. the level seven ranking is based mainly on a radiation spike after hydrogen explosions during the first week of the crisis. since then, officials say that while the fukushima plant continues to spew radioactive isotopes, emissions are down sharply. the japanese government has gone to great lengths to down play any other parallels with chernobyl. authorities note that while 27 workers have been treated for radiation exposure, none have received lethal doses. but high radiation exposure killed dozens at chernobyl. "the emission of radioactive substances is about 10% the amount of chernobyl" said nuclear safety chief miyishama. the company that runs the plant, tepco, says the chances of it reaching chernobyl levels was remote.
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and tonight prime minister kan also tried to reassure citizens terrified by the perspective of a chernobyl on their country. "the emission of radioactive substances are on the decline" he said. those words are cold comfort to fukushima evacuees wondering when and if they'll be able to return home. lucy craft, cbs news, tokyo. >> couric: meanwhile, back in this country they were like an eagle and a sparrow. the world's biggest passenger jet and a c.r.j.-700 commuter plane. elaine quijano on what happened when their paths crossed last night. >> reporter: the collision happened just after 8:00 p.m. at new york's kennedy international airport. air france flight 7, a jumbo jet headed to paris was taxiing to its runway when its left wing clipped the tail of a
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much smaller com-air commuter jet, spinning it around almost 90 degrees. >> suddenly there was this big bang from one side of the plane and everyone sort of jumped a bit. >> reporter: the air france plane was an airbus a-380, the world's largest commercial jet. its 262 foot wingspan is nearly the length of a football field and 50 feet wider than the wingspan of a 747. and the airbus dwarfs the regional jet it hit, at more than twice it's length. >> this is the worst one i've ever seen. it's not unusual to have a couple aircraft touch wing tips but to see such a forceful collision and an aircraft spinning around, that's remarkable. >> reporter: aviation experts who've reviewed the jet, say the commuter jet was still on the taxiway because it appears the area by the gates was too
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crowded. >> the pilots themselves, they need to be looking out very, very carefully when they're operating an aircraft that's as large as the a-380, but that's not to say that the regional jet was in the right position, either. >> reporter: investigators with the national transportation safety board are checking flight recorders from both aircrafts, as well as what instructions air traffic control gave to the pilots. elaine quijano, cbs news, at new york's j.f.k. airport. >> couric: the entire country is on something of a collision course with more than $14 trillion in debt. tomorrow chief white house correspondent chip reid reports the president will explain what he plans to do about it. >> reporter: in recent months, president obama has repeatedly promised to tackle the nation's long-term debt, including the massive entitlement programs. >> including programs like medicare and medicaid... ...which are the single biggest contributor to long-term deficits. >> reporter: but he has refused to offer his own plan. that will finally change wednesday when he unveils his so-called vision on cutting the debt. critics say it's about time. >> but at least the president is joining in the conversation. hopefully that conversation is an adult one.
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>> reporter: but political analysts say the president had good reason to wait. he wanted the republicans to go first and they did last week, when influential congressman paul ryan released his controversial plan. >> in a sense, the president needed paul ryan's house budget plan to use as a foil for his own argument about what government should do, what government priorities are. he will say that the ryan plan does not match up with american values. >> reporter: over time, the ryan plan would convert medicare from an insurance program for seniors into a less generous subsidy and would put a cap on medicaid-- which serves the poor-- saving about $750 billion over ten years. to the white house, it's an irresistible opportunity: to portray republicans as callous and extreme. >> it places all the burden on the middle-class, on seniors, on the disabled, on people in nursing homes. >> reporter: while giving few details, the white house says the president's plan will trim medicare and medicaid with a scalpel not a machete.
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and while the ryan plan cuts tax rates for the top bracket from 35% to 25%, the president is expected to repeat his call for the wealthy pay more. but republicans predict the president will follow what they call a familiar pattern: cutting too little and taxing too much. house speaker john boehner today threw down the gauntlet, declaring that tax increases are unacceptable and are a nonstarter. some liberals are also up in arms, even before the speech is delivered. one organization is urging its members to refuse to contribute to the president's campaign if he cuts medicare or medicaid. katie? >> couric: chip reid at the white house tonight. chip, thank you. overseas egypt's ousted president hosni mubarak was rushed to the hospital today, apparently suffering from heart problems. mubarak, who is 82, reportedly took ill in the resort town of sharm el-sheik while a prosecutor questioned him about the killing of protestors and the embezzlement of public funds. his two sons, alaa and gamal were also questioned today.
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and still ahead here on the "cbs evening news," bitter rivals team up to send an important message to baseball fans. but up next, does a college degree pay off? maybe after the graduate pays off a mountain of student loans. i'm friend, secret-keeper and playmate. do you think i'd let osteoporosis slow me down? so i asked my doctor about reclast because i heard it's the only once-a-year iv osteoporosis treatment. he told me all about it and i said that's the one for nana. he said reclast can help restrengthen my bones to help make them resistant to fracture for twelve months. and reclast is approved to help protect from fracture in many places: hip, spine, even other bones. [ male announcer ] you should not take reclast if you're on zometa, have low blood calcium, or kidney problems. or if you're pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are nursing.
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about the value of a college degree, but the cost of one is leaving generations of americans deep in debt. members of the class of 2008 who took out student loans owed an average of $23,000 when they graduated. a debt national correspondent dean reynolds tells us that takes years to pay off. >> reporter: diana berkovitz owes columbia university a lot. she got a good education, made important professional contacts and ran up a student loan debt there and at ithaca college that will keep her in hock for at least 20 years. >> what i realize now is when i was 18 i had no concept of what it would mean to go to a school that cost more and what i would end up paying when i graduated. >> reporter: her $80,000 in loans from her undergraduate and graduate school days are on the high end of the red ink. but student loan debt in this country is now greater than credit card debt. cayce rasmussen is a senior at
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the university of illinois, whose afraid to calculate what she owes. will it force you to make certain life choices that if you didn't carry around debt like that you would haven't to make? >> probably. i'll probably have to work a job i don't necessarily want to. >> reporter: that's not all. >> it can affect a lot of choices like when or whether to buy a home, getting married, having kids, saving for retirement and saving for their own kids' education. >> reporter: there's no question that many students are racking up large amounts of debt but many economists call that "good debt." they liken it to a smart investment. >> you expect that it will pay off over many years. borrowing money to go to college is like borrowing money to start a business. you're going to have a much higher lifetime income if you borrow and go to school and repay those loans than if you stop your education after high school. >> reporter: the numbers don't lie. in 2008, the median earnings of a bachelor's degree recipient were almost $22,000 more per year than a high school graduate. and lifetime, college grads earn 65% more than high school grads.
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so, yes, the debt can be imposing, but, remember, barack and michelle obama were once $120,000 in debt from student loans. and they did pretty well. dean reynolds, cbs news, chicago. >> couric: in massachusetts today, one juror called the verdict "heart wrenchingly difficult." kristen labrie was convicted in the 2009 death of her nine-year- old son who had autism. labrie had withheld medication from the boy who was also battling cancer. she testified she thought the side effects would kill him. labrie could get 37 years in prison. and when we come back, the space shuttles heading into retirement. for pain?
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there's another way to minimize litter box odor: purina tidy cats. our premium litters now work harder to help neutralize odors in multiple cat homes. purina tidy cats. keep your home smelling like home. wonder where the durango's been for the last two years? well, it toured around europe, getting handling and steering lessons on those sporty european roads. it went back to school, got an advanced degree in technology.
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it's been working out -- more muscle and less fat. it's only been two years, but it's done more in two years than most cars do in a lifetime. >> couric: this is the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle flight. only two more missions remain. today nasa ended months of suspense by announcing where the four remaining shuttles will spend their retirement. "discovery" is headed to a branch of the smithsonian in virginia. "enterprise," a test model, goes to the intrepid museum here in new york. the "endeavour," which flies later this month, will go to the california science center in los angeles and "atlantis" heads back to the kennedy space center in florida after it makes the final shuttle flight this summer.
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and this is also the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight. soviet cosmonaut yuri gagarin orbited the earth just once. recently it was revealed engineers worried that gagarin wouldn't survive the hard landing, so he was ejected at 20,000 feet and parachuted to safety. in moscow today, soldiers placed flowers at a monument to gagarin who was killed in a plane crash in 1968. in south carolina, a mortar blast along charleston harbor echoed the first shots of the civil war 150 years ago today. the confederate assault on fort sumpter lasted about 34 hours before the union garrison surrendered. not a single life was lost during the bombardment but by war's end, four years later, more than 600,000 would be dead. when president franklin roosevelt decided to run for a fourth term at the height of world war ii, his doctors said his health was good-- but they knew better. >> what is the job before us in 1944?
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first: to win the war. >> couric: in a fascinating memo just made public, a boston doctor who examined roosevelt in 1944 said he didn't believe roosevelt had the physical capacity to complete another term. dr. frank lahey said he informed roosevelt's primary doctor of his concerns but voters were kept in the dark. >> and will to the best of my ability... >> couric: just 12 weeks after f.d.r. began his fourth term he died of a cerebral hemorrhage 66 years ago today. today. osteoporosis treatment-- no big deal. so i have to wait up to an hour just to eat or drink. i've got time to kill. yeah right! i'm a working woman. and i'm busy. why should osteoporosis therapy
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teams met, the clash was confined to the field. >> it's been pretty calm. usually i get booed by now or other... you know, words i can't say on t.v. >> reporter: following the season opener in los angeles, giants fan and father of two bryan stow was so savagely beaten in the parking lot by two unidentified dodger fans that he remains in a coma two weeks later. last night in san francisco, players and fans put differences aside and joined to honor stow. >> in your excitement or in your frustration don't take it out on another fan if you don't agree with who they cheer for. >> so this is america's national past time and let's keep it that way. thank you. >> reporter: stow's family joined players on the field. >> it's overwhelming. we'd just like to say thank you to everybody that's done so much. >> reporter: earlier at a fund- raiser at dodger stadium, l.a. fans dropped off $60,000 for stow's children and medical expenses.
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the face of the dodgers, former manager tommy lasorda, wrote a check for $5,000. >> i've run out of tears for this young man. what those thugs did to him was a disgrace to them and their families. this young man someday i hope and pray can walk into a ballpark again and enjoy the game. thank you. >> reporter: to make sure everyone can enjoy the game safely, the l.a.p.d. plans to flood the stadium with police officers when the dodgers return home thursday. >> you'll see police officers when you drive to the stadium, in the parking lots, inside the stadium, and then when you leave. >> reporter: the l.a.p.d. has 16 officers working full time trying to find stow's assailants. the reward for information leading to their arrest, almost $150,000. bill whitaker, cbs news, dodgers stadium, los angeles. >> couric: and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thank you for watching. i'll see you tomorrow.
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good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh learned about the man police . you're watching cbs 5 eyewitness news in high definition. a trail of death from the 70s to the 90s. what we've learned about the man police call a bay area serial killer. >> the latest bump in the road for munni. what happened to a young family that had passengers filing another round of driver complaints. and do you use your phone to post photos and status updates? why you should take another look at how your smart phone is an invitation to criminals. good evening i'm dana king. >> and i'm allen martin. a suspected serial killer is under arrest tonight. his murder spree spent parts of three decades. they h


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