tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS December 18, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
>> pelley: tonight, a vote of confidence for the economy. the federal reserve announced it will roll back some emergency support and gave guidance on interest rates. anthony mason on why that sent markets to new highs. surveillance of americans has gone too far. that's the conclusion of a report released tonight by a presidential commission. major garrett has the breaking news. a change in guidance on blood pressure may mean that fewer people need drugs. elaine quijano reports. and chip reid goes for a ride on the snowball express. speeding joy to families of the fallen. >> nothing brings me more joy than to see him happy. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news"
with scott pelley. reporting tonight from washington. >> pelley: good evening. welcome to our western edition. today after years of extraordinary measures to keep the economy from plunging into a depression, the federal reserve said it will now ease up on its stimulus program. the job market has improved that much. in the announcement made here in washington, the fed said it will cut the amount of government bonds that it's been buying each month. that could lead to higher long- term interest rates, including mortgages. wall street's been anticipating this decision for months and when it came today stock prices soared. the dow gained nearly 300 points to close at 16,167-- another record high. anthony mason is in new york for us tonight. anthony, what exactly is the fed doing? >> reporter: the fed will still be stimulating the economy, scott, but it's cutting back the amount from $85 in bond purchases to $75 billion next month. chairman ben bernanke said the fed can begin dialing down the program because it's working.
>> today's policy actions reflect the committee's assessment that the economy is continuing to make progress but that it also has much farther to travel before conditions can be judged normal. >> reporter: in his final press conference as fed chairman, bernanke pointed to the economy's improving outlook. unemployment has fallen from 8.1%-- when the latest round of stimulus started in 2012-- to 7% today, a five-year low. 2.9 million jobs were created during that time. in all, since 2008, the fed's invested more than $2 trillion buying treasuries and mortgage- backed securities to keep interest rates low and money moving. and bernanke said his successor, janet yellen, who has yet to be confirmed by the senate, was completely on board. >> i have always consulted closely with janet even well before she was named by the president and i consulted closely with her on these decisions as well and she fully supports what we did today.
>> reporter: bernanke said the fed will leave short-term interest rates at record lows until well past when unemployment falls below 6.5% and the fed believes that could happen next year. scott? >> pelley: anthony, why does the chairman believe he's doing the right thing at the right moment? >> reporter: well, scott, the fed is looking at the numbers. new home construction, for example, came in today, best month in six years. the economy is growing at a 3.6% rate in the third quarter, that was revised up. we've had 200,000 jobs added to the economy for three out of the last four months. all the trends are in the right direction, scott, and that's why the fed is finally pulling back here. but bernanke made a point of saying today if that changes the fed will move to continue to support the economy. >> pelley: been a long time coming. thank you, anthony. this evening, an advisory panel appointed by president obama recommended sharp limits on some
of the government's most controversial surveillance programs. the programs, including collecting the phone records of millions of americans, were exposed earlier this year by edward snowden, the national security agency leaker and now fugitive from justice who was granted asylum in russia. major garrett is at the white house tonight. major, what are the details? >> reporter: scott, the panel said the national security agency should stop collecting and storing so much data on individual americans. it suggested the government's willingness to use every new type of surveillance technology has put civil liberties at risk. the panel urged president obama to place the right to privacy on equal footing with surveillance and counterterrorism investigations. the rise of modern technologies makes it all the more important that democratic nations respect people's fundamental right to privacy, the panel wrote. adding "excessive surveillance and unjustified secrecy can threaten civil liberties, public
trust and the core processes of democratic self-government." that echoes revelations by national security agency leaker edward snowden, whose allegedly criminal disclosures of government surveillance activities led mr. obama to appoint this intelligence review panel. it called for these changes: to end the collection of mass telephone records of millions of americans. stop government storage of bulk phone data-- that's phone numbers, locations of calls placed and received, and the time of calls. the panel said these data should be stored by the individual phone company or a private third party. if the government wants to search that bulk phone data, it should have a specific court order that finds it necessary to stop "international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities." the panel said its recommendations are designed to rebuild public trust and create clarity. president obama's not obligated to take all the panel recommendations but senior officials tell us, scott, the president will announce those he will implement in the middle of
next month. overall, richard clark, a panel member and counterterrorism advisor to three former presidents summed up the panel's conclusion about surveillance this way. "just because we can doesn't mean we should." >> pelley: major, thank you very much. let's switch now to senior correspondent john miller who's in new york. john's a former assistant deputy director of national intelligence. john, you've been talking to your sources in the government. how is this report being received at the n.s.a. and other agencies? >> well, it's a bit of a shock to the system at the n.s.a. of course, they had seen the drafts of the report and it goes beyond the telephone program, it talks about certain restructuring of the agency, whether it should be led by a military person or civilian or whether that person could also be head of the cyber command. so they're taking this in. if there was a hidden bombshell scott somewhere in the report it's the one received at the f.b.i. the report recommends the f.b.i. stop using the national security letter the way they have been since 9/11. now, what is the n.s.l.? this is a letter the f.b.i.
serves on a telephone company or an internet provider that says "who does this phone number belong to? who's the subscriber to this e- mail address?" basic business records. but what the panel is recommending is that any time the f.b.i. uses a national security letter they bring it to a judge to authorize it. that basically makes it not an n.s.l. but a court order. this is a bread-and-butter tool they use in counterterrorism investigations and espionage cases based on foreign suspects about 20,000 times a year. so this is something that they're looking at over there with a lot of angst. >> pelley: john miller, thank you. more on this on cbs "this morning" tomorrow. tonight there is a new recommendation for the treatment of high blood pressure. according to a report by a panel of experts, some older americans who are taking medication don't need to do that. here's elaine quijano. >> reporter: for decades, doctors recommended people over 60 start medication if their blood pressure was 140/90 or higher.
after reviewing a large body of evidence, the panel says people over 60 can wait to be treated with medicine until their blood pressure reaches 150/90. dr. curtis rimmerman is a cardiologist at the cleveland clinic. >> i think these guidelines will have a lot of impact. what they're doing is they're actually issuing clear numbers as targets and also when to treat. >> reporter: the panel found when it came to heart attack or stroke in those over 60 there was no clear benefit to lowering the number to 140. >> keep in mind that giving blood pressure medication is not a benign process. so there can be some associated side effects with that. and there can be some negatives. >> reporter: the american heart association disagreed with the new guidelines and issued a response late today saying "we do not believe there is sufficient evidence provided to support this significant change in treatment." the a.h.a. and the american college of cardiology will be starting their own study but are not expected to issue guidelines for a few years. the committee emphasized these
are guidelines and said doctors should still use their own judgment. scott, one doctor we spoke to said that in some cases the prescription for high blood pressure might not be medication but instead a change in diet and exercise. >> pelley: elaine, thanks. there is a lot of skepticism tonight that's been revealed in a new cbs news/"new york times" poll about the president's health care law. only 16% of the americans we talked to told us the law would help them. 80% said it would hurt them or have no effect. the law, as you know, requires most americans to have health insurance. in california, about five million do not and that is more than any other state. carter evans is there. >> reporter: you ended up with a premium of $60 a month. are you happy with that? >> really happy. >> reporter: leslie foster is an independent film maker in los angeles. he signed up in october and qualified for a government
subsidy of $152 a month to help pay his premium. >> when i saw the preventative options i started getting emotional because all these amazing things that are covered under my premium, i thought it was amazing. why wouldn't i take advantage of that? >> reporter: according to the cbs news/"new york times" poll, 57% of the uninsured say getting insurance will make their health better. so would you consider yourself a success story? >> yeah, i definitely consider myself a success story. >> reporter: but 57% of the uninsured told us the healthcare.gov web site was difficult to use. 59% said getting health insurance will hurt them financially. beverly cena is a freelance writer in new jersey. she has a family of three. >> it's going to cost us even with the tax break that they say they will give you, it's going to cost us about $409 a month for the lowest priced plan. >> reporter: more than a third in the poll said they'll pay a penalty of either $95 or 1% of their annual income instead of
signing up for coverage under the affordable care act. >> i'd rather pay the fine and then spend a lot of money and have a health care plan that really isn't going to do much for me. >> reporter: california's goal is to have about half a million people enrolled by march. now, about 110,000 had already signed up by the end of november, and, scott, we are told the pace of enrollments has increased dramatically this month. >> pelley: carter evans in our los angeles newsroom. thanks, carter. doctors are struggling to treat americans who've been sickened by dangerous synthetic drugs. and a georgia woman claims half of the megamillions jackpot. when the "cbs evening news" continues from washington. the deal he and mom made with me when i was ten. he said, "you get the grades to go to college -- and we'll help out with the school of your choice." well, i got the grades
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>> pelley: this week a federal grand jury indicted california man in the largest-ever seizure of synthetic drugs. the haul, worth millions of dollars on the street, including a compound that mimics the effects of marijuana. the ingredients are legal and imported easily, usually from china. but as holly williams reports tonight, they can be lethal. >> 50 times more addictive. >> 50 times more addictive. the most addictive thing i've ever dealt with in my life. >> reporter: this former drug user has asked us to call him chris. before he entered rehab in arizona last month he regularly abused synthetic drugs. >> 8-balls, k-2, spice.
one of the best was called w.t.f >> reporter: in the last year, the d.e.a. seized more than 18 tons of synthetic drugs across the country. they're a new generation of drugs made from chemical compounds. but the police are hamstrung because many of the chemicals are legal-- to import and to sell. >> i could just go into a smoke shop and get them legally over the counter. it's just like going in and buying beer or buying cigarettes. you can get them, go, it's right there under the counter. >> reporter: what's the worst experience you had? >> extreme vivid hallucinations accompanied with the noise, like a screaming noise in your-- that went on for hours and i couldn't move on the ground, either, so i was like paralyzed basically. and as soon as i could get up i started doing more. >> patients will come in, they're severely agitated, we have to put them on a ventilator, we have to heavily sedate them and when they recover we will ask them what they took, they often don't know
or they don't remember and we find absolutely nothing in their system. >> reporter: toxicologist dr. michelle ruha told us there are so many new synthetic drugs that scientists can't identify them. by some counts, there are now more than 200 different substances. dr. ruha's laboratory has to do the detective work so that she can treat patients who have overdosed. how often are you seeing these new drugs emerge? >> every few months it seems we're hearing about new ones. so it's just very rapid turnover and you just can't seem to keep up with it. >> reporter: it sometimes takes months and several deaths before a dangerous new substance is identified and then banned by the u.s. government. by then, the dealers have changed the chemical formula to make a new drug that's legal but by no means safe. do you think that part of the appeal for users is that many of these new drugs are legal?
>> patients have absolutely said to me "i didn't think it was a big deal, it was easy to get, it was legal and i had no idea that it was going to be so addictive and so dangerous." >> reporter: the scientists can't keep up and neither can the law. scott, everyone we spoke to when we made this investigation told us the police and the courts are struggling to deal with these synthetic drugs because new substances are emerging much faster than they can be banned. >> pelley: holly williams coming to us from istanbul tonight. holly, thanks very much. fire crews battling a late-season wildfire near big sur, california, could soon get some help from the weather. the pfeiffer fire has blackened nearly 800 acres but rain forecast to want could help tame the flames. the fire began sunday, fueled by drought and fanned by winds. at least 14 homes have been destroyed. the fire is 40% contained. and we'll be right back.
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>> pelley: well, by now you know who did not win the $636 million lottery jackpot last night. sorry about that. there were two winning tickets. john blackstone tells us one was sold in california, the other in georgia where the owner claimed her winnings today. >> reporter: the megamillions winner in georgia bought her ticket at this atlanta newsstand and used a combination of family birthdays. georgia lottery president debbie alford. >> she told us she bought one
ticket and it was a last-minute purchase. >> reporter: winner ira curry also told the lottery she wants her privacy and the lump sum payout which, after taxes, remains substantial. >> that will leave that family with about $120 million cash. cash.orter: the jag >> reporter: the jackpot winner california has not come in california has not come forward yet but the winning ticket was sold at jenny's gifts in san jose. thuy nguyen has owned the store just four months. owned the store just four months. >> i'm happy because i feel like i'm the one, i did it. i sold -- you know, a lot of people got 20 years, 10 years, they don't make it happen. i'm four months i make >> reporter: under california's lottery rules he is a winner, too. he got a million dollars just for selling the ticket. in san jose, buyers lined up hoping some of nguyen's luck would rub off on them and he does seem lucky. he left vietnam alone when he was 12 years old. it's been quite a journey. >> oh, yes, you know. the little boy, 12 years old
travel, you know, all the way to america. (laughs). >> reporter: is this, then, the american dream now? >> it's american dream. yes. >> reporter: over nguyen's store, lottery workers put up a sign that said "millionaire made here." it should say "multimillionaire made here." it often takes weeks before the winner will come forward. >> pelley: john blackstone, thank you very much. the library of congress is out to save a fortune in hollywood gold. today it added 25 classic films to the national registry, which means they will be preserved for posterity. from the 1926 silent movie "ella cinders" to "judgment at nuremberg" "who's afraid of virginia woolf" "pulp fiction" "the right stuff" and "mary poppins." >> as i expected, mary poppins, practically perfect in every way.
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time of year than the face of a child. chip reid tells us that an organization called snowball express wouldn't have it any other way. >> reporter: in dallas this weekend, more than a thousand kids ran wild. and no one told them to behave. they screamed, they sang. ♪ all you're ever gonna be is mean ♪ >> reporter: and the food? a parents' nightmare. what is your favorite part of snowball express? >> eating the candy! >> reporter: eating the candy? six-year-old connor bunting is here with his mother nicky. >> he said "this day just keeps getting better and better and better!" and he also said "this is my dreamland!" >> reporter: that is exactly what snowball express-- named for an old disney movie-- is intended to be. a weekend of sheer joy for kids who need it. every child here has lost a parent to war. every parent has lost a spouse.
what is it like to be in a place where there are so many other people who understand what you've gone through? >> you just feel at ease and you don't feel -- you don't feel like an outcast for once, which is so nice. (cheers and applause). >> reporter: all this fun and it's all free. everything paid for by snowball express, a nonprofit charity. everywhere the families went they were greeted with applause, marching bands, even a patriotic welcome from the sky. this is the eighth annual snowball express but it's the bunting's first. who do you think gets more out of this? you or him? >> i don't know. i really don't know. as much joy as he's getting i probably get that twofold because nothing brings me more joy than to see him happy. >> reporter: snowball express has even changed some lives. chris and danielle sweet met here four years ago. both had lost spouses to war. now they're married and are
raising her two children and his three as one big family. she says it would be hard to get through the emotional holiday season without this event. >> for us, especially the first couple years, this was a lifesaver because we knew we had this to look forward to. >> reporter: are there parts of this that are difficult? >> sometimes if you sit back and you look at everybody, you look across the crowd and you realize that they're here for the same reason. >> reporter: a whole room full of people who are here for the same reason. >> knowing that they felt the same kind of hurt that you have. >> reporter: at snowball express it's not all about fun. this is also a place for families to remember what they've lost and to cherish what they still have. chip reid, cbs news, dallas. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. with thanks to the jones day law firm for this view of the capitol and for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
armed robberies and dodged deals. oakland business own my car was broken into three times. >> held up twice two days in a row. >> they survived armed robberies and dodged drug deals. oakland business owners say they are fed up with the terror that's become a typical workday. good evening, i'm elizabeth cook. >> i'm ken bastida. crime is so bad on this street that some businesses are saying they are ready to pack up and move right out of town. kpix 5's da lin just went to a meeting in oakland where police got an earful. da. >> reporter: that's right. is he bad that it's creating hind -- hindering job creation. about a dozen business owners wrapped up this meeting with police at the warehouse.
they are getting robbed and their cars broken into. a 13-year-old boy flipped a stolen car during a police chase last week across the street from the company alive and radiant. a worker took the cell phone footage. it's one of the latest incidents plaguing this industrial block on adeline. >> people are afraid to come to work. >> reporter: christopher holt says two weeks ago an employee walking to work was robbed at gunpoint. >> was held up twice two days in a row and needless to say he works the day shift now. >> reporter: some workers have quit. the $10 million food company is projected to hit $100 million in a few years. it's debating whether to move out of oakland, taking its tax dollars and jobs elsewhere. >> we're bringing in more employees. we don't feel it's safe bringing people here under these conditions. >> reporter: that's precisely why this chocolate company