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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  November 28, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> tonight, dinner and a bargain. shoppers skip dessert and race to the mall in search of holiday sales with more stores open on thanksgiving than ever before. don dahler on their prospects for a profitable season. astronomers track a visitor from the fartherrest reaches of the solar system. lee cowan on what they hope to learn from a comet. as the administration struggles to meet its own deadline for fixing the obamacare web site, dean reynolds looks at the private exchanges some employers have set up. and max parker has autism, but he and others like him have something special to offer employers as well. >> they just needed a chance. they've got abilities that are quite valuable.
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captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> good evening. scott is off tonight. i'm margaret brennan. happy thanksgiving. it's an especially late thanksgiving this year, the latest in fact the holiday ever falls. that means, the holiday shopping season, starting tomorrow, is the shortest it ever is, just 26 days. so many retailers are trying to make up for lost time by opening for business today. they expect to ring up more than $600 billion in sales this season, as much as 15% of it this weekend. but will opening stores on thanksgiving pay off? here's don dahler. >> reporter: 33 million americans are expected to shop today alone. that sounds like a lot, but it's actually two million fewer than last thanksgiving day, even though more stores are open. we caught up with che davis at a best buy shopping for a game console. how does it feel for you this year?
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do you think you're going to spend a little more this year or last year, about the same, or less? >> about the same. about the same, yeah. you know, the economy's been funny, so it's like i try to keep it moderate. >> reporter: that's what has retailers nervous. even with the economy in recovery and the stock market up nearly 23% this year, more than 21 million americans are still underemployed, in part-time jobs, out of work or have given up looking. sales during the holiday shopping season have averaged 3.3% growth each year over the last decade. craig johnson is an analyst with customer growth partners. he said the sluggish pace in hiring may lead to slower growth. >> we're viewing this year up 2.9%, which is a very mediocre increase and represents a deceleration from each of the last two years. it's not going to be a great season. for a lot of retailers it's going to be hum bug holiday. >> reporter: does that translate into more competition among retailerses? >> that's interesting. it's good for the consumer who
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has money to spend and good income but for retailerses it can be very dicey. >> reporter: a quirk with the calendar this year means there are six fewer shopping days between thanksgiving and christmas. that will skew the figures for that period. retailers started their seasonal sales earlier. nearly half of all americans that plan to shop today will skip the crowds and browse from the comfort of their homes. margaret, retail giants wal-mart and best buy are warning investors to expect disappointing sales figures for the holiday season. and analysts predict 85% of americans will avoid shopping on black friday all together, and they will visit fewer stores in the weeks leading up to christmas. >> don dahler, thank you very much. macy's department store today kept up a tradition started by its employees in the 1920s-- the annual thanksgiving day parade. the temperature was below freezing, but millions filled
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the sidewalks of new york to watch the giant balloons pass by. handlers held tied to the reigns. thousands of men and women in uniform celebratedly the holiday in afghanistan where they were served up a traditional thanksgiving dinner. they had a message for the folks back home: >> happy thanksgiving! >> the commander in chief returned those holiday greetings. president obama telephoned 10 members of the armed forces from the oval office today. he thanked them for their service and wished them and their families a happy thanksgiving. the president celebrated the holiday himself at the white house. watching football and dining with his family. the menu included turkey, of course, with all the trimmers, and for dessert, pie, nine varieties from huckleberry to coconut custard. last weekend, the president announced a breakthrough deal with iran. the iranians will temporarily freeze their nuclear program in
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return for the u.s. easing some sanctions. today, turkey became the first country to try to take advantage of the business opportunities that may present. the economic minister said he'd like all turkish banks to be able to do business with iran. holly williams is in strbl tonight. holly what, can you tell us about this? >> reporter: margaret, it's unclear exactly what this means. the background is, in 2011, the u.s. wrought in sanctions that prevent foreign banks from doing business with iran's oil companies. now, the aim was to cripple iran's lucrative oil industry as a punishishment for the country's nuclear program, and those sanctions have been extremely effective. but today, turkey's economy minister said those sanctions no longer apply to turkish banks because of the new deal worked out in geneva to curb iran's nuclear program.
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>> so why did turkey try to do this? >> well, turkey relies on iranian oil, around 40% of turkey's oil imports come from iran. so this is big business for turkish banks. the problem is while this turkish minister has said while the sanctions no longer aplierk that doesn't match up with what the u.s. has said. so the u.s. wants to ease singleses in a way that's limited and reversible, but there are many other delays are hungry to start doing business with an oil-rich country like iran. >> holly williams in istanbul, thank you. iran today invited united nations nuclear inspectors to view a reactor they had not been able to see the last two years. it shows iran is making good on promises to open sites that were previously off limits. there is news tonight far from earth. a comet from the ends of our solar system had astronomers
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holding their breath today as it headed for a close encounter with the sun. lee cowan shows us what happened. >> reporter: comet ison is a visitor from the outer-most edge of our solar system air, frozen ball of water and dust, make a beeline for our sun for more than five million years. today, it finally arrived. nasa images show ison coming within 730,000 miles of the sun's surface. that's not a hospitable place for anything, and as the moment arrived, astronomers watching from all over the world gathered online to see what would happen. to carl batem, a comet analyst, it did not look good. >> it seems the comet ison probably hasn't survived this journey. i'm not seeing anything that emerged from behind. >> reporter: about three-quarters of a mile wide, ison was discovered by to russian astron mists late last
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year. the fleet of space and solar telescopes have been tracking its seemingly suicidal mission ever since. the hope was ison would survive its slingshot around the sun and be visible to the naked eye early next month as the comet headed back out to space. last year a similar comet called love joy did just that in the southern hemisphere. not only would it have been a spectacular light show, but it was like a cosmic time capsle. >> it's coming from the very edge of our solar system, so it still retains the primordial ices from which it formed 4.5 billion years ago. >> reporter: nasa's facebook page said it all late today. the headline, "breaking up is hard to do." margaret, there is late word tonight it does look like a little bit of the comet survived, not the nucleus of it, but perhaps a little bit of the dust and tail. might not be entirely gone just yet. >> lee, was there any scientific
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value or information gathered from that? >> reporter: there was, and clearly scientists wanted more but because it was noticed so early and they had a lot of time to traffic they said they had a wealth of information, including infrared photographs showing what the comet is made of. i think it's more of a disappoint for us here on earth hoping to catch a glimpse of it. >> this saturday is the deadline that the obama administration set for fixing most of the problems with the federal government's health insurance web sites. some companies are turning to private exchanges now to ensure their employees, including pharmacy justice department, wall greens. more about that now from dean reynolds. >> hey, nice seeing you. how are things going? >> reporter: as chief human resource officer for the larnltest drugstore comain in america kathleen wilson-thompson is at the forefront of a major shift in private health insurance. why is it wall greens is doing this? >> well, we're in an competitive
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environment and every year we look at our health care costs and plans to determine what's best to provide the right level of benefits for our team members. >> reporter: starting this month, 160,000 walgreens employees began choosing their own health insurance from among five competing plans in a private exchange. it replaces the old mod nel which walgreens made the selection for its workforce. >> where we had two plans, we'll now have five plans with five carriers. they'll have over 25 choices that we're going to provide to give them that flexibility. >> reporter: the approach is very similar to the public exchanges included in obamacare. in both casees, the competitive nature of the insurance exchange is supposed to help restrain rising health care costs. walgreens still makes a contribution to their employees' health care but it's based on the plan the worker selects. the cost to the company should be more manageable and predictable as a result. it will save walgreens money, it
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will not? >> well, overall, we're hopeful that both our team members as well aslet company will enjoy the benefit of this plan. >> reporter: critics of the private exchanges say workers facing the responsibility of choosing their own insurance for the first time may select the cheapest, and wind up with inadequate coverage. and there is some anxiety about where a company's contribution will keep pace with costs over the long term. >> i think you have to look at the trends across america. every major employer is looking at this. >> reporter: the consulting firm accenture, predicts within five years, 40 million people will be enrolled in private health insurance exchanges. dean reynolds, cbs news, chicago. >> they care for relatives with alzheimer's disease, and now they're getting the help they need to do it. we'll show you what happened when a tornado hit a middle school when the cbs evening news continues.
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>> we have a new look tonight at one of the tornadoes that tore through the midwest last week. this is the moment it hit a middle school in lafayette, indiana, ceiling tile and pieces of metal crashed into hallway and walls blew out in the gym.
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fortunately, it was a sunday so the building was empty. when a family member has alzheimer's disease, the emotional toll is often too great for caregivers to handle. but so is the cost of a nursing home. now one state may have a solution. it not only keeps families together but it saves taxpayers millions. barry petersen has our story. >> reporter: trains rarely stop in spirited wood, population 18, on the great plains of north dakota. the isolation of an old farmstead is exactly what patti and tim rondestevedt wanted, until tim, now 62, was diagnosed with early-oni-onset alzheimer's disease five years ago. patty became a full-time caregiver. >> i miss his hugs. i miss the snuggles in bed. it's hard to watch him fade. >> reporter: as tim declined, friends faded away. where does that leave you? >> scared.
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alone. >> reporter: beth olson works for the alzheimer's association, bringing help to caregivers in a state where support groups and other assistance can sometimes be a 100-mile drive away. >> when we get to go into their home we get the true feeling of how their everyday life is as a caregiver. >> reporter: logic is, if caregivers can better cope, they can keep a loved one at home months or years longer. northica dota legislatures have approved $2.2 million to fund the program since 2010, but it has saved a stunning $39 million by keeping people out of state-funded nursing homes and by saving families from paying for assisted living costs. beth also had practical suggestions like labels so tim could tell the microwave from the refrigerator, and giving tim a bracelet with an emergency number in case he warneds. >> she's my total reality check. when emotions are involved
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you're not always real, and you don't know when it-- when the line is. >> reporter: patty cherishes the good times-- road trips on their motorcycles. moments with their grandchildren. >> this has helped him stay home. >> reporter: why is that important to you? >> because i love him, and i know he would do it for me. ♪ don't take my sunshine away ♪ >> reporter: barry petersen, cbs news, spiritwood, north dakota. >> this man is trying to provide his country with something most of us take for granted-- clean drinking water. that story's coming up.
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>> another exodus of migrants from haiti was stopped today. the 56 detained orp a boat near where a haitian vessel capsized three days ago. at least 30 people drowned in that accident. haitian boats often pass by the bahamas, trying to reach the united states. haitians are fleeing a nation still recovering from a massive earthquake nearly four years ago and now confronting another killer-- cholera, a disease spread through contaminated water has cholera can be prevented, but haiti doesn't have the millions of dollars it would take to do it. now jeff glor in haiti tells us a small army of volunteers is
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stepping in to help. >> this is the city where world water relief has most of their projects. >> reporter: in the town where haiti's cholera epidemic began, 19-year-old samuel marseila is trying to change his country. >> i don't like when my brothers and sisters die from something that i can prevent them doing, you know. >> reporter: you believe this work can save lives? >> of course. >> reporter: a lot of lives? >> of course. >> reporter: he is a teacher with world water relief, a group that installs filtration systems inside schools so there's access to clean water. >> these treat the water. >> reporter: solo juin is a project coordinator. >> the biggest problem in haiti is kids, they don't know about the difference between good water and bad water. and any people who drink clean water is people that have a little better money. >> reporter: even before the
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earthquake in 2010, haitians had one of the worst water systems in the western hemisphere. the disaster made worse, allowing a cholera crisis to spread farther. more than 700,000 haigs have been sickened. 8,000 have died. laurent lamothe is haiti's prime minister. >> the country is coming back from what i like to call we were 50 stories underground after the earthquake. right now we are 20 stories underground so we still have, you know, much to do. >> reporter: lamothe told us it will take $500 million over two years to build a proper sanitation system, money right now haiti doesn't have, so the country is relying largely on ground-level efforts like this with volunteers like samuel marseila. >> i think with my voice i can have about 10 more voices. i think with 10 or more voices i can are 20 more vois that will teach all the people how to do it. i think i will change haiti. >> reporter: he knows it won't
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be easy. but every clean drop brings hope. jeff exwroar, cbs news, haiti. >> an employer looking for skilled workers finds them where you might not expect. that story is next.
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gratitude for the gifts we've been given, including the special talents each of us has. sometimes these talents are not obvious. our final story this thanksgiving is about a company that discovered a special ability in some folks and put them to work. here's carter evanss. >> reporter: the most surprising thing about max parker's morning routine is that he has a job to go to at all. if something doesn't go as expected, you basically raise a red flag. >> you could say that. >> reporter: parker is a software analyst. he's also autistic. when you were growing up did you ever envision a job like this? >> to be perfectly honest, no. >> reporter: roughly 75% of autistic adults are unemployed, in part because the brain disorder makes it difficult to interact with others. but many with autism also have an uncanny ability to focus intensely on minute details, perfect for the job of hunting for glitches in computer
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software. >> this is not a charity, right, and our employees are good at what they do. in this area, we have the training room. >> reporter: chad hahn is c.e.o. of mine spar, his wife, a social worker, convinced him high-functioning autistic adults like parker are well suited for the job. >> if we were to of is those same instructions over and over again, i don't know about you, but i would miss some things. >> repor would, too. >> and max doesn't miss things. >> what you find in autism is thinking that relies less on the frontal cortex. >> reporter: dr. just studies autism at carnegie mellon university. his research showed most people rely on the front of the brain to process the big picture around them, but in autism, the wiring between front and back is not strong so thinking is dominated by parts of the brain that handle details.
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>> if you do "where's waldo" people with autism are known to do better at that kind of task, finding little detail in the big picture. and the reason is they could focus on the detail without being distracted by larger picture issues. >> reporter: parker is one of three autistic employees at mind spar. >> this is how we check the programmer's work. >> reporter: and more are training in an onsite cloosm. >> they just need a chance. think how hard it has been all these year where people have dismissed them and their abilities and maybe overlooked what they could do or could be. >> let's see what the steps are again. >> reporter: providing opportunity and a paycheck. carter evans, cbs news, santa monica. >> that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for scott pelley, i'm margaret brennan. thanks for watching. good night. and happy thanksgiving.
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i'm really glad to be home for thanksgiving. >> released from the hospital. tonight for the first time we're hearing from the bay area teenager set ablaze. >> i'm on fire. i was lit on fire. dad, i need you to come here immediately. >> good evening, happy thanksgiving. i'm elizabeth cook. >> i'm allen martin in for ken bastida tonight. kpix 5's da lin sat down with luke "sasha" fleischman at his home in oakland today. da? >> reporter: allen, from talking to sasha and his parents, you can tell this is a peaceful family and that's why they are getting so much support including ribbons. sasha tells me in our one-on- one interview that he has so
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much to be thankful for on this holiday. it's his second day home after spending three weeks at a hospital. he misses school, friend and most of all a sense of normalcy. >> nice to be home in my own house. >> especially on thanksgiving. the recovery both mentally and physically will take time, three surgeries so far. bandages make it hard to walk. >> i can't walk as fast. i need to be careful. >> reporter: he suffered from second- and third-degree burns after someone lit his skirt on fire aboard a bus. >> i looked down and my skirt is on fire. and i freak out. >> reporter: 16-year-old richard thomas admits he did it. police say thomas is homophobic but his attorney says it was a prank. >> you should really