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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  September 12, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

5:30 pm >> pelley: tonight, floods, fire and twisters, severe late summer weather drenches colorado, spins waterspouts in wisconsin, and fans a calamitous fire in new jersey. barry petersen starts our coverage. the president of russia lectures america on war and peace and syria. major garrett and margaret brennan have the latest developments. schools struggle to open amid layoffs and red ink. elaine quijano on the cuts in one of the biggest districts. >> i'm terrified that we're going to lose children because of these cuts. >> pelley: and greetings from planet earth. >> we have liftoff! >> pelley: for the first time, a spacecraft has left our solar system. bill whitaker on the triumph on "voyager." >> we made it! "voy captioning sponsored by cbs
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this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. tt pelley. >> pelley: good evening, torrential rains sent walls of water crashing down mountainsides in colorado today. in many places there was nothing to stop the water because wildfire r destroyed the vegetation. at least three people have been killed and at least one town is surrounded by water. as much as eight inches of rain has fallen since yesterday. flood watches and warnings are up throughout much of the state and barry petersen is in boulder. >> reporter: it was a day of frightening moments as roads turned into rivers. this section of highway collapsed when a culvert washed out just as rescuers were about to pull one of the motorists out the swift current toppled the car. they managed to get him out but the day became more dangerous with each additional inch of rain.
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meg foster heard horn honking at about 1:30 a.m. he recorded this video. a neighbor was trapped in a car. with roads cut off, there was no help so the first responders had to be nate and his neighbors. >> we were a little concerned that the car would keep going so we waited until the water level kind of subsided a little bit and kind of did a chain and got her out. >> reporter: why'd you do it? >> she needed help. >> reporter: the storm slammed the area last night, moved on, and circled back to hit again. mountainside, some burned bare by recent wildfires-- became cascades of mud and large rocks. water rushed through the university of colorado, turning the campus into a water park. but the national weather service warnings did not mince words. >> move to higher ground now. act quickly to protect your life. >> there's our house. >> reporter: barney feinblum and
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his wife julie are trapped in their boulder home by tons of rock and mud. we couldn't get to them so we talked by cell phone. if there's an evacuation order, what do you plan to do? >> i think there is an evacuation order but we're fine where we are and we intend to stay because if we evacuate we can't come back home and we got a lot of damage and we need to be pumping water to minimize the damage to our home. >> reporter: from colorado springs to denver to here in boulder, thousands of lives have been disrupted, scott. schools are closed, businesses shut down, and no one knows for sure how many people are still isolated by flood waters like this fed by rain that just won't let up. >> pelley: and we'll check in again tomorrow, barry. thanks very much. there were powerful storms in the northeast as well. it's believed that lightning struck the control tower at baltimore's b.w.i. airport. air traffic control equipment was knocked out and flights were suspended. the storms caused the f.a.a. to suspend flights at some of the
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nation's busiest airports, from washington all the way to boston. in wisconsin, severe storms caused waterspouts over lake michigan. this is the view from shore in kenosha where they sounded tornado sirens. but none of the funnel clouds made it to land. strong winds whipped up flames along the new jersey shore today and a fire moved like a torch from one building to nearly two dozen others along the board walk. this is a live look at what is left after a fire has raged there for many hours in seaside park. it's the same area that was devastated by superstorm sandy. tracee curassco of wcbs is in seaside park, new jersey. >> the fire started about 2:15 in a popular ice cream shop. within minutes it had grown to this: a six-alarm inferno that engulfed blocks. the smoke could be seen for
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miles. strong winds and tar roofs were feeding the quick-moving fire, making it nearly impossible for fire fighters to keep up. >> there it goes. oh! >> reporter: the flames blazed a trail of destruction along the board walk that was partially rebuilt after superstorm sandy. >> it's -- wasn't even finished being rebuilt and it's gone. it's heart breaking far lot of people. >> reporter: the police chief said embers were the size of a fist and they were surrounded by flames. >> it's completely devastating. we've been through so much this past year with hurricane sandy and now to have this happen it's just -- there's no words. it's just completely indescribable pain, honestly. >> reporter: firefighters began clearing the board walk so the flames wouldn't spread. water was being pumped from the ocean to fight the flames. scott, we are just about a block away from that funtown pier and
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in these last few minutes the fire has taken over and the pier has fallen. we're about a block away from the ice creep shop where the fire started. during hurricane sandy, a portion of a roller coaster floated out into this ocean. this area very devastated by both hurricane sandy and now this fire. >> pelley: and no reports, at least so far, of injuries. thank you tracee. the proposed diplomatic solution to the syria crisis is moving ahead. to avoid a u.s. military strike, syria today officially notified the u.n. that it will sign the treaty banning chemical weapons. and syria said it will begin submitting information about its stockpiles a month later. but that was just information it promised, not the weapons. that immediately became an issue in geneva where secretary of state john kerry opened negotiations with his russian counterpart over the russian- brokered peace deal.
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that's how the negotiations began, cbs news state department correspondent margaret brennan is traveling with the secretary in geneva. margaret, the syrians said today they would give the world an inventory of their chemical weapons in 30 days. what did the secretary think of that have? >> reporter: the secretary said no, that's not enough. that's a non-starter for the united states. they say this is a special case about an attack that happened three weeks ago and that there's little reason to trust the assad regime. the u.s. here is looking for concrete signs from the russians and the syrians that they're going to move quickly to locate and destroy all of the assad regime's chemical weapons stockpiles. secretary kerry told his russian counterpart sergei lavrov that they do not want talks to be used as a stalling tactic. >> it has to be real. it has to be comprehensive. it has to be verifiable. it has to be credible. it has to be timely and implemented in a timely fashion.
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>> reporter: if these negotiations fail kerry said military force is still an option and this is a sticking point for russians. they want the threats taken off of the table. tonight, kerry and lavrov decided to meet one on one over a private dinner to talk about some of the technical details and tomorrow they'll be joined by lakhdar brahimi, he's the u.n. special envoy to syria. >> pelley: and we'll have you here again tomorrow night. margaret, thank you very much. adding to the tension between washington and moscow over syria is an item in the back of the "new york times" today that turned into front page news. it's an op-ed piece under the buy line "vladimir v. putin" in which the russian president gives the united states quite a lecture. major garrett tells us how they liked the morning pain they are morning at the white house. major? >> reporter: scott, top obama advisors argue that with this op-ed putin has put -- russian president vladimir putin has put
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russia's credibility on the line and the white house did its best to overlook putin's other insults and inconsistencies. in the piece, putin denied the syrian regime organized the august 21 sarin gas attack which the administration claims killed more than 1,400 civilians near damascus. writing: 1,400 civilians near damascus. writing but he went on to admit the regime did have chemical weapons and that they posed a threat. the world, he wrote: weapons and t y posed a threat. the world, he wrote: putin then wagged a finger at u.s.-led military actions in iraq, afghanistan, and libya. military actio n ir afghanistan nd libya lastly, putin attacked president obama's assertion tuesday that
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the u.s. is obligated to fight chemical weapons use. >> i believe we should act. that's what makes america different. that's what makes us exceptional. with humility but with resolve let us never lose sight of that essential truth. olve lose sight o essential tr >> reporter: we spoke w the director of the public relations firm in moscow that brought putin's essay to the "new york times." he told us it was written either by putin or those in putin's inner circle. inner circle. either way, the white house dismissed most of it as posturing but hopes the part about ridding syria of its chemical weapons is not. >> pelley: major, thanks very much. few people know as much about the threat from syria than the number-two official at the c.i.a. but that is a person who never talks publicly-- that is until tonight. mike morell held that job at the c.i.a. until last saturday and
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he has now done his first television interview for "60 minutes" with our john miller. john? >> reporter: well, scott, mike morell spent 33 years in the c.i.a., some of it briefing presidents on complex security issues, including the situation in syria. he told me he fears that a drawn out war in syria will ultimately give al qaeda terrorists a safe haven there-- the kind they once enjoyed in places like afghanistan. >> the two groups now are in some way affiliated with al qaeda, al nusra and al ashsham, are the two most effective organizations on the battlefield. and because they're good at fighting the syrians the moderate members of the opposition joined forces with them to fight the syrians. >> reporter: the end of a civil for what syria could offer one of two bad outcomes: stronger more brutal assad regime or a rebel government influenced by al qaeda. i spoke to an intelligence
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analyst who have set an uncomfortable thing has a ring of truth which is the longer they are at war in syria goes on in some sense, the better off we are. >> i disagree with that. the best outcome is a negotiated settlement between the opposition and between the regime that allows for a political transition that keeps the institutions of the state intact. >> pelley: how realistic is that? >> it's important, john, because it's going to take the institution of the syrian military and the institutions of the syrian security services to defeat al qaeda when this is done and everyday that goes by, everyday that goes by, those institutions are eroded. >> pelley: so how do you more effectively influence that? >> right now assad feels he's wining so he has absolutely no incentive. so enough support has to be provided to the opposition to
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put enough pressure on assad to bring him to a negotiating table. but not enough support provided to the opposition so that they feel that they don't need to go to the negotiating table. it's a very difficult balance to strike. >> reporter: is that more or less support than is being provided now? >> i think it's more. >> pelley: john, how does morell think you can add support to the rebels when so many of these rebel groups are considered terrorists by the united states? >> reporter: well, he thinks and understands that that is the hardest part and the highest risk part. you have elements that are reading from the al qaeda narrative fighting in syria. you have moderates that have nothing to do with that and want nothing do with that in the future but then you have groups in between that are using al qaeda fighters but might not want to have much use for them answers. managing who you give our weapons, who those weapons end up with will be difficult. >> pelley: great interview coming sunday on "60 minutes." john, thank you very much. there are children to be educated but a shortage of money to do it.
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and something unusual is killing thousands of fish in hawaii. when the "cbs evening news" continues. psst! hey, dad. we're all tied up. really?! come on. oh! that's a lot of water up there. ♪ go. go. that's a nice shot. [ laughs ] yes! breakfast. [ male announcer ] share what you love with who you love. kellogg's frosted flakes. they're grreat! [ female announcer ] now with kellogg's family rewards, you can get even more from the products you love. join today at for over 30 years. and it's now the most doctor recommended, the most preferred and the most studied. so when it comes to getting the most out of your multivitamin, the choice is clear. centrum.
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>> reporter: few were sure philadelphia's school year would begin on time, including the superintendent, william hite. >> we had cut all assistant principals, all guidance counselors, all music, all sports, all secretaries, all guidance counselors. >> reporter: more than 4,000 employees were laid off. the city's pledge of $50 million last month allowed a thousand to come back. just enough to open the doors this week. philadelphia's school crisis has been building for years. debt and pension obligations piled up as students moved out to charter schools or the suburbs. federal budget cuts cost the city $130 million in aid. it's a pattern seen in the country's biggest school districts over the last 18 months. chicago laid off 3,000 teachers and closed 49 schools. in cleveland, 500 teachers and
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staff lost their jobs in 2012. in los angeles, 4,000. >> sports was reinstated. >> reporter: constitution high school in philadelphia lost a quarter of its staff-- including its full-time guidance counselor. it now shares a counselor with seven other schools. >> i'm terrified that we're going to lose children because of these cuts. >> reporter: miranda thompson has been teaching in philadelphia for 15 years. >> we've always had a counselor, we've always had point people. we've always had a school nurse who if we had a suspicion we would go to them first and they knew the proper channels to go through. so what if i lose a kid because i didn't know how to do something? >> reporter: senior abbey pearlman says the cuts send a terrible message. >> like, i'm not important to society at all. so, like, the people that are making these decisions have already gotten their education and that's not very fair to me because i still need mine. >> reporter: and there's more pain to come. the school district is asking
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teachers to take up to a 13% pay cut and forgo any raises until 2017. elaine quijano, cbs news, philadelphia. >> pelley: we learned today what artists will be receiving the kennedy center honors in december. we'll tell you coming up. we'll tell you coming up. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. live the regular life. phillips'.
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that it will become a publicly traded company and start selling stock. wall street is all atwitter. in hawaii, thousands of fish have been killed by molasses. a pipe used to load ships with molasses sprang a leak. more than 230,000 gallons ended up in honolulu harbor, suffocating the fish. swimmers are being hold to stay out of the water because the dead fish could attract sharks. this year's kennedy center honorees were announced today. singer billy joel, actress shirley maclaine, jazz composer herbie hancock, opera singer martina arroyo and guitarist and songwriter carlos santana. they're being honored for their contributions to american culture through the performing arts. a nasa workhorse entered a new frontier in space. that's next. [ male announcer ] why wear this high-tech gear
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[ male announcer ] we'll be with her all day to see how it goes. [ claira ] after the deliveries, i was okay. now the ciabatta is done and the pain is starting again. more pills? seriously? seriously. [ groans ] all these stops to take more pills can be a pain. can i get my aleve back? ♪ for my pain, i want my aleve. [ male announcer ] look for the easy-open red arthritis cap. to happen. next on kpix-5 weather talent appears at wx center with generic pinpoint filling monitor then we take special sponsored 7-day gra then we wipe to end tag >> pelley: nasa confirmed need the voyager-1 spacecraft has left our solar system and is going boldly where no man or machine has gone before-- interstellar space. bill whitaker tells us about a mission that has succeeded beyond all expectations. >> reporter: voyager-1 has been going through space for 36 years-- almost 12 billion miles
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from the sun, it now will help us understand more clearly what lies beyond our solar system. >> this is a spacecraft, the first interstellar space. we made it! >> reporter: ed stone has been lead scientist since day one. over the decades, he's run nasa's jet propulsion laboratory taught at cal tech, but he's never left voyager behind. you still seem excited about this mission. >> you bet! it's a great mission! >> and we have lift-off! >> reporter: voyager-1 and its sister craft voyager-2 were launched in 1977. the mission: to get a closeup look at our solar system. the technology, old school. >> i've got this cell phone here. this is less sophisticated than my cell phone? >> by many factors of 10. >> reporter: each craft carries a gold disk with the sights and sound of earth. the protective plate tells intelligent aliens who might find it to play it like a '70s record album.
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data is collected on an eight track tape. the smallest ipods have 100,000 time more memory. >> before voyager the only known active volcanoes were found on earth and then on io we found one that has ten times more. >> reporter: voyager found jupiter's big red spot was one of dozens of massive storms on the giant planet. the wondrous rings of saturn are actually thousands of tiny bands of ice and debris. voyager then turned the cameras around and showed us what we look like from millions of miles in space. it now will peer into interstellar space. >> voyager has joined the other historic journeys of exploration such as the first circumnavigation of the earth and the first landing on the moon. >> reporter: to conserve energy, the spacecraft's functions are slowly being shut down. by 2025 we'll have to turn off the last instrument and that will be the end of the science mission, when the two spacecraft will forever orbit the center of our galaxy silently.
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>> reporter: that will be a sad day. >> it will be a sad day but in terms of what we've learned it's been an amazing journey. >> reporter: everyday voyager extends man's reach farther than ever before. bill whitaker, cbs news, pasadena, california. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight, for all of us all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioning spons captioned by media access group at wgbh cc
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>> your realtime captioner: linda marie macdonald it just takes one rail to be offset to potentially cause a derailment. >> this could become a new critical link for the bay area to get its oil. but tonight, critics fear crude by rail could cause an environmental disaster. gathering, i'm elizabeth cook. >> i'm allen martin. good evening. new at 6:00 kpix 5's da lin is in benicia where leaders have a decision to make whether to allow 70,000 barrels of crude to roll through their town. >> reporter: that meeting is going to take place here at city hall in about an hour at 7:00. the city will try to address the population's concerns here about the environmental concerns about project.
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opponents of the project say allowing them to transport crude by rail will have negative consequences for this bedroom community. refineries like valero are parts of life in this community and they want to change the way they transport crude oil. right now they rely on tanker ships but it proposes bringing them in by rail. they call it the crude by rail project and needs city approval. >> the primary concern is the profitability. >> reporter: marilyn lived near the valero refinery and opposes the rail project. she worries train accidents like this one that was carrying oil in canada in july could destroy small cities. >> you could have a derailment, a spill. >> reporter: she is also worried that once the project is given the green light they will use the trains for heavier crud