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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  October 6, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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supreme court is considering whether protestors may show up at the funeral for a marine and hold up signs that say things like, "thank god for dead soldiers." an appeals court said they can. today, the supreme court heard arguments on both sides. our chief legal correspondent jan crawford was there, and, jan however the high court rules, the implications could go far beyond this one case. >> reporter: oh, that's right, katie. this started with a small church a radical church in kansas, but the implications could be huge for free speech and political dissent. they protested today in a public space, in front of the supreme court. but four years ago, followers of the westborough baptist church carried their message to a quiet place of grief, the funeral of a young marine killed in iraq, mathieu schneider. the church soldiers are dying in
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iraq and afghanistan because god is punishing america for tolerating gays. follow version protested at hundreds of military funerals. >> we will be there and tell you god is cursing america. >> reporter: but what about the families of those dead soldiers? albert snyder, who sued church leaders, said the funeral protest stole his last moments with his only son. >> the phelps and the westborough baptist church conduct was so extreme, it went beyond all possible bounds of basic human decency. >> reporter: inside the supreme court tarbd the justices struggled to decide who was right. at issue-- a fundamental question justice ruth bader ginsburg put directly to church lawyer margie phelps-- why should the first amendment tolerate exploiting this marine's family. phelps, also a member of the church, said the protesters were there legally, on a public sidewalk, in & in those situations, she said, this court has given substantial, long-standing protection to speech on public issues.
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the ruling could affect other kinds of speech some people find offensive, like protests in front of abortion clinics. but for al snyder who won a $5 million judgment against the church for invading his privacy, the case is about matthew. >> somebody said to me, "$5 million, i bet you'd give it up to have matt back." i would give it up just to say good-bye. >> reporter: but it was not at all clear after these arguments which way the court would rule. the justices really struggled to balance the rights of the protesters with the rights of the families to be left alone. katie. >> couric: all right, jan crawford at the supreme court, thanks very much, jan. we asked our viewers huthey felt about this issue. from facebook,:
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in stark contrast to the protests at military funerals, president obama paid tribute today to another american who died serving his country. he presented the medal of honor, the military's highest award, to the parents of army green beret robert miller of wheaton, illinois. in january 2008, the 24-year-old staff sergeant led a night time patrol that came under heavy attack. miller singlehandily battled more than 100 insurgents, killing 16 of them, and allowing 20 u.s. and afghan soldiers to retreat to safety. miller was shot twice but kept firing until he died from his wounds at the scene. america's most important ally in the afghan war is pakistan, but that alliance has been fraying
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since the u.s. stepped up air attacks against insurgents in the border region. today, the u.s. tried to mend relations, but terry mccarthy reports, it will not be easy. >> reporter: this is what u.s.-pakistan relations looked like on the ground today. it's the seventh attack by pakistani gunmen in a week on trucks carrying u.s. and nato supplies into afghanistan. pakistan has closed a key border crossing in retaliation for a u.s. helicopter raid last week that killed two pakistani soldiers in a mountain border post. tonight, the u.s. officially apologized for the raid, and a pakistani government official told cbs news he expected the border crossing would reopen soon. but u.s.-pakistani relations are still strained. a new report from the white house today shows why. it slams the pakistanis for not cracking down on militants that hit u.s. targets in afghanistan and flee back across the border. the pakistan military continued
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to avoid military engagements that will put it in direct conflict with afghan, taliban, or al qaeda forces in north waziristan. >> we have to persuade them to at least put these groups on ice. >> reporter: karzai's office told cbs news today they have asked other islamic countries to put pressure on the taliban to talk. today, the white house said president obama supports karzai's recent attempts to negotiate with the taliban, as long as they renounce violence and cut their links with al qaeda. but nobody thinks the fighting will end soon. >> it's also accepted among strategists that we need some military momentum to make no,s really possible. >> reporter: this war is now entering its tenth year, and afghans are desperate for an end to the conflict, but if anything fighting may now intensify as both sides jockey for a stronger position in advance of any serious peace negotiations. terry mccarthy, cbs news, kabul.
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>> couric: here in new york, a big setback today for federal prosecutors just as the first civilian trifle a guatanamo bay detainee was about to begin. ahmed gal annie is charged in connection with the 1998 bombing of two u.s. embassies in africa, but today a judge ruled the prosecutors may not call their most important witness because they learned about him from galani while he was undergoing so-called enhanced interrogation by the c.i.a. the trial was put on hold until next tuesday. in other news, an accusation today that the in early days of the b.p. spill, the obama administration deliberately low-balled the aim of oil that was leaking into the gulf. that accusation comes in a preliminary staff report by a panel appointed by the white house. it says the administration would not let government scientists disclose the worst-case scenario a leak of more than two million gallons a day. instead, for over a month, it stuck with its official estimate of 210,000. late today, the white house
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insisted it didn't hide anything from the public. well, there's no hiding the toxic spill threatening parts of europe. it's made up of red sludge that burst monday from an industrial reservoir in hungary. an estimated 264 million gallons making it even bigger than the b.p. spill. and mark phillips reports it's dangerous and it's spreading. >> reporter: it was a red tide of death, and this toxic torrent that killed at least four people and left 120 more with burn and other injuries, may be just the beginning of an environmental catastrophe. the fear is this deadly cocktail of caustic chemicals might turn the blue danube red. the spill threatens to seep into the great river system and head downstream, causing a potential ecological disaster in the six countries it flows through on its way to the black sea. >> it's a caustic solution. equivalent to being touching a
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drain cleaner for an extended period of time. >> reporter: the slunl, a by-product from an aluminum plant broke through the banks of a massive reservoir. another escaped if the spill were poured into yankee stadium it would more than fill the place up. the hungarians are trying to clean up and contain the mess and have launched a criminal investigation. and now many residents are refusing to move back to their homes until the government guarantees another spill won't happen, a promise the government says it cannot make. mark phillips, cbs news, london. >> couric: in this country, there are 27 days now until the midterm elections, and in the battle for the control of congress, sarah palin and the tea party movement have been factors in some of the races, including in her home state of alaska. a cbs news poll out tonight finds more than twice as many americans have a negative opinion of palin as a positive
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one. and the opinions of the tea party, our new poll finds they're just about evenly split. in the alaska senate race, joe miller, supported by pail and i know the tea party, took the g.o.p. nomination from incumbent lisa murkowski, who is now waging a write-in campaign. democrat scott mcadams is far behind. ben tracy now from anchorage. >> we are going to win. >> yes, we are! >> reporter: pressing the flesh at a hockey game in anchorage, republican u.s. senator lisa murkowski never expected to be on such thin ice. >> nobody was more disappointed than i was. >> reporter: she's the incumbent from one of the state's political power families. >> i'm joe miller, the true conservative choice... >> reporter: yet an unknown attorney and tea party insurgent beat mur kousk net republican primary. she is now running as a write-in candidate. the race is a dead heat. >> this will be a republican seat. the real question to alaskans will be which republican do you
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want to represent you in washington, d.c.. >> reporter: miller, who denied repeated requests for an interview, questioned whether federal programs such as social security, medicare, and unemployment benefits are constitutional. >> the people who are likely to vote for lisa are people who are more on the left, who are appalled by the prospect of joe miller winning. >> reporter: but here in alaska, this race isn't just about the candidates. it's about who's supporting them-- namely, the tea party express, and mama grizzlie herself, sarah palin. palin paid king maker endorsing miller. the tea party express bought $600,000 in ads that savageed murkowski but now joe miller may be at odds with the palins after dodging this question: >> do you think sarah palin is qualified to be president? >> that's not my role to comment on those candidacies. >> reporter: for weeks since sarah palin has not even mentioned joe miller and her husband, todd, sent him an angry
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e-mail. >> her decision to run is hers alone. >> reporter: on fox news today miller would only say palin is constitutionally qualified to be president. >> well, we don't have professional sports here, so, really, politics is our game. >> reporter: and even with winter already blowing, in the game couldn't get any hotter. ben tracy, cbs news, anchorage, alaska. >> couric: and coming up next here on the cbs evening news, the cbs news exclusive it's microscopic killer that's bringing bees to their knees. and a medical miracle, a boy born without ears hearings his mother's voice for the very first time. [ slap! ] [ slap! slap! slap! slap! slap! ] [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium rich tums goes to work in seconds. nothing works faster. ♪ tum ta tum tum tums
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four years, about a third of america's 2.5-million honey bee colonies has been wiped out. university of montana researcher jerry bromenshenk has been searching for the killer. >> i feel like a bit of a wimp with this on and you're out uncovered here. >> you don't have years of bee stings and immunities. >> reporter: now all those stings have paid off. after screening bees for 30,000 disease markers, a group of scientists led by bromenshenk said they have found a probable cause. >> out of the data, suddenly emerged a parasite and a virus 1k37 a very unique virus, indeed. >> reporter: the kind of virus they discovered is common in other insects but very rarely seen in bees. the virus seems to kill only when the bees are also infected with a parasite, a type of fungus. >> what it looks like is that the bees can tolerate either one alone, but when you combine the two, that tend to be lethal in a hurry. >> reporter: it's that combination that may help
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beekeepers. while there's no way to treat the unusual new virus, the parasite can be killed by a fungicide. >> beekeepers can by those treatments and apply them. >> reporter: in north dakota, u.s. department of agriculture researchers are looking for another way to help beekeepers fight colony collapse disorder by improving bee nutrition. on huge farms, commercial honey bees now spend weeks pollinating a single crop. scientists are wondering if the bees' limited diet makes them susceptible to the virus and fungus that appear to be killing them. >> nobody would cogood on a single protein and carbohydrate diet and a lot of times that's what we're asking our pees to do giving them one type of pollin and nectar. >> reporter: as the main pollinateor for most fruits and vegetables, hone bees play a vital role in producing about 30% of our food so it's important to all of us are scientists are closing in on the
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cause and the keer of the honey bee die-off. while the researchers here in montana are not yet ready to say they're certain they've solved the mystery of colony collapse disorder, their findings will bring hope to the nation's beekeepers who over the last four years have lost tens of millions of bees. >> roberts: black sewn, cbs news missoula, montana. >> couric: coming up next, presidential bloopers. >> we cannot sustain-- whoops. i know the best card you're holding. you do? your medicare card. [ laughing ]
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>> couric: every appearance by a president is carefully planned, but things can still go wrong. >> some of the worst abuses.... >> couric: president obama has famously battled flies... >> nice! >> couric: ...his prompter once crashed to the ground. >> oh, goodness. >> couric: and last night, the presidential seal. now you see it... >> we cannot sustain-- whoops. ( laughter ) was that my, uh... ( laughter ) oh, goodness. that's all right. ( laughter ) all of you know who i am. >> couric: there is precedent for a seal malfunction. vice president dan quayle, 1990. >> i feel right at home in this gymnasium. ( applause ) >> couric: some severe weather today in quayle's home state, four tornadoes hit northern
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>> couric: the way medicine can change lives never ceases to amaze. we end tonight with bill whitaker and the story of a young boy whose case seemed hopeless. wait until you see what skilled doctors were able to do. >> reporter: 12-year-old diego neumaier ortiz knows angels and miracles exist. do you think this is going to change your life? he's living proof. >> ( translated ): yes, a lot. >> reporter: he was born poor in pueblo, mexico, with microtia, a rare birth defect that left both ears unformed inside and out. even with the hearing aid, diego's world is almost silent. >> ( translated ): i have waited all these years. i never thought this would happen." >> reporter: a visiting american doctor saw diego nail win after
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win to become the junior gymnastibs champion of mexico. he contacted dr. john reinisch, a pioneer in ear reconstruction, who took on the complex case for free. a year later, diego and his mother, alma rosa, are in his l.a. office where diego makes a gift of his most prizes potection. his medals. >> i don't have anything to give them but this is so valuable to me. i wanted to give them to dr. reinisch because he is giving me something greater, two ears. >> i don't think i can take this. >> he will have an ear that looks like a normal ear, and he will probably be able to hear. >> in one surgery. >> reporter: palo alto, california, day of surgery. dr. reinisch will create the outer ear. his partner, dr. robberson, also working for free, will actually create an ear canal, allowing diego to hear. >> it's one of the more enjoyable things we do.
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>> reporter: the doctors drill a hole through bone and cartilage to reach the inner ear. they attach a custom-made synthetic ear to the new ear canal, take a layer of tissue from underneath the scalp, they literally shrink-wrap it around the prosthetic. the operation takes nine hours. >> we have a very good chance of getting good hearing for him. >> today, the ear color will not be normal. >> reporter: a week later, back in l.a.-- >> and they will be swollen. >> reporter: dr. reinisch unwraps his gift to diego. >> very emotional for him. >> reporter: swollen but beautiful. diego can't stop smiling, his manager overcome with emotions. the following week, dr. robber knowson removes gauze packing from diego's new ear canal and for the first time... >> i love you. >> i love you.
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>> reporter: he hears his mother's voice. >> you feel very blessed and privileged to be a part of that. if we can make an impact on this boy's life, that's great. >> ( translated ): they're angels to come into our lives. >> reporter: the swelling will go down and his hearing will improve day by day. diego is scheduled to get a new left ear in december. bill whitaker, cbs news, palo alto, california. >> couric: that's wonderful. and that's the cbs evening news for tonight. tomorrow, ohio is often a bellwether in national elections so we'll give a listen to some of the voters there as we begin a special new series "american voices." until then, i'm katie couric. thank you for watching. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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