EVENING NEWS for November 17, 2010, CBS
<Show: CBS EVENING NEWS>
<Date: November 17, 2010>
<Head: EVENING NEWS for November 17, 2010, CBS>
<Sect: News; Domestic>
<Byline: Katie Couric, Mark Phillips, Bob Orr, Wyatt Andrews, Anthony
Mason, Dr. Jon LaPook, Jim Axelrod>
<High: Stock in the new General Motors is about to go on sale, and
investors can't get enough.>
<Spec: Politics; Policies; Government; Automotive Industry>
KATIE COURIC, CBS ANCHOR: Tonight, it could be the most popular GM vehicle of all time. Stock in the new General Motors is about to go on sale, and investors can't get enough. I'm Katie Couric. Also tonight, living four months longer, how much is that worth? A prostate cancer drug can extend a patient's life for four months, but will Medicare pick up the $93,000 tab. Baby boomers and Alzheimer's, the early warning signs that too often go unnoticed. And the wedding of the century. Will British taxpayers be invited to pay the bill?ANNOUNCER: From CBS News world headquarters in New York, this is the CBS EVENING NEWS with Katie Couric.
COURIC: Good evening, everyone. We begin tonight with breaking news. A major setback for the Obama administration and its attempt to show that terror suspects held at Guantanamo can be tried successfully in civilian courts. In what was seen as a test case, a federal jury here in New York today acquitted Ahmed Ghailani of the most serious terrorism charges against him, convicting only on a lesser charge of conspiracy. Justice correspondent Bob Orr has the very latest on this developing story. Bob.
BOB ORR, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Katie, there's no doubt at all this is very bad news for the government. Our CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate calls it a disaster. This was to be a test case of sorts, as you mentioned, to prove that Guantanamo Bay detainees could be successfully prosecuted in civilian courts in the U.S. But the jury now has found Ahmed Ghailani not guilty on all but one of the major terror counts against him. Not guilty on four counts of conspiring with al-Qaeda in the U.S. embassy bombings back in 1998, in Tanzania and Kenya. Also he was found not guilty on 224 murder counts. That's the number of people killed in that twin bombing. He was convicted on one count of conspiring to destroy U.S. property with explosives. Now, that conviction passed down today carries up to life in prison and a minimum of at least 20 years in prison, but this is important -- if for whatever reason he is ever released from prison, he would almost certainly go back to being an enemy combatant with open-ended detention. This, obviously, could have a huge impact on any future plans to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 conspirators. For now they remain at Gitmo and with this verdict in all likelihood, they will remain there for the foreseeable future. Katie.
COURIC: All right. Bob Orr. Bob, thanks very much. And Bob, stand by, because Bob has been following another story related to terrorism. The backlash over those new security measures at the airport. Today the TSA announced one change. Young children will no longer face full pat-downs but the head of the agency told Congress everyone else better get used to the new procedures.
ORR: Facing growing anger over probing pat-downs and so-called naked x-rays, transportation security chief John Pistole today appealed for cooperation.
JOHN PISTOLE: Look, this is for your safety security. Work with us. This is a partnership here.
ORR: But testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee, Pistole took a hard line, saying planes face an ongoing threat from hidden explosives, so travelers who refuse both body imaging scans and pat-downs won't be allowed to fly.
PISTOLE: Do I understand the sensitivity of the people? Yes. If you are asking am I going to change the policies? No.
ORR: Critics are calling for a Thanksgiving holiday slow-down urging travelers to refuse the scans and overwhelm TSA checkpoints with pat-down requests. Privacy advocates who are demanding the TSA to back off found some support on Capitol Hill.
SEN. GEORGE LEMIEUX, (R ), FLOIDA: I wouldn't want my wife to be touched in the way that these folks are being touched.
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, (R ), TEXAS: There has got to be a way, however, for a privacy concern to be addressed.
ORR: The enhanced pat-downs require TSA officers to carefully brisk even the most private regions of the body. And Pistole, who went through the procedure himself, called the pat-downs invasive. But the failed Christmas Day attack by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, proves terrorists are actively working to smuggle bombs aboard air planes.
PISTOLE: I recognize the invasiveness of it, I also recognize that the threats are real and the stakes are high and we must prevail.
ORR: Now, privacy advocates argue pat downs and explicit x-rays violate their rights. But security officials say flying is not a -- it's a privilege not a right, and protecting aviation is a national security obligation. Katie.
COURIC: All right, Bob Orr, Bob, thanks so much for both of your reports tonight.
In other news, what a comeback for General Motors. It's gone from bankruptcy to become the new darling of Wall Street going public tomorrow with its first stock offering since the government bailout. That rescue cost taxpayers $50 billion, and now it's payback time. GM will raise some of the money by selling more than half a billion shares at a price of $33. That's expected to bring in as much as $23 billion, a record for an initial public offering. Anthony Mason is our senior business correspondent. Anthony, GM's back to making a profit, and investors are hoping to hitch a ride.
ANTHONY MASON, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Katie. A very strong demand for GM stock has pushed up the offering price. It will mean a significant payback for American taxpayers and the General Motors will no longer be government motors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two, three, four ...
MASON: GM unveiled its new Camaro at the Los Angeles auto show today. Tomorrow, it will unveil its new stock on Wall Street.
(on camera): Is GM now a healthy company?
STEVEN RATTNER: GM is absolutely a healthy company.
MASON (voice over): Steve Rattner is the former head of the Obama administration's auto taskforce and author of Overhaul.
RATTNER: GM is doing exceptionally well. The entire auto sector is doing exceptionally well.
MASON: It has been a stunning turnaround for a company that just 20 months ago was saved by a controversial government takeover as President Obama joked ...
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Just last week Car and Driver named me auto executive of the year.
MASON: The government forced GM into bankruptcy and a restructuring that cut half of GM's brands and its workforce by nearly a quarter. The stock sale will cut the government's stake in GM by more than half. From more than 60 percent to less than 30 percent. The rest of its shares will be sold off over time. The government will need to sell at an average price of about $44 to break even.
(on camera): Do you think there's a possibility still the government could break even in this?
RATTNER: Absolutely there's a possibility.
MASON (voice over): Because auto sales have begun to rebound. Ford's CEO Alan Mulally is leading his company to record profits.
ALAN MULALLY: We have a tremendous pent-up demand. The average age of the vehicles in the United States is over ten years now because people have been delaying this decision for all the obvious reasons.
JOHN CASESA, AUTO INDUSTRY ANALYST: Historically, America spent about four percent of GDP on automobile purchases. Right now that number is 2.3 percent.
MASON: Industry analyst John Casesa.
(on camera): That means these companies should be pretty profitable?
CASESA: These companies will make a tremendous amount of money as sales rebound. Their costs are low.
MASON (voice over): In all, taxpayers have invested $82 billion to save the auto industry.
RATTNER: I now believe -- and this is a more optimistic view than I've had before -- I believe the government will get back all but five or six or $7 billion of that which is an extraordinary success for the government in fixing this critical industry.
MASON: GM, which has already earned more than $4 billion this year is on course for its first profitable year since 2004. Katie.
COURIC: So, Anthony it would appear this may turn out to be a good deal for the government and taxpayers after all.
MASON: It looks that way. Of course, you know, where the stock price goes from here -- and there's no guarantee it's going to go up -- is ultimately what will determine what taxpayers get back, but I think 20 months ago there would be very few people who would say we would be sitting here talking about a profitable GM and a stock sale that would be paying taxpayers back so much, so soon.
COURIC: All right. Anthony Mason, as always, thank you, Anthony.
And health news -- a new tool in the fight against prostate cancer. More than 217,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease this year. And about 32,000 will die. A newly approved drug can extend lives, but only by months at a cost of close to $100,000. And Wyatt Andrews reports the debate in Washington today was should Medicare pay for it?
WYATT ANDREWS, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Sal Cicero has advanced prostate cancer his doctors say is fatal, but at 67, he is still working as a realtor and for that he credits the drug Provenge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The drug for me has given me basically an opportunity to continue my lifestyle.
ANDREWS: Patient advocates, like Jim Kiefert, call Provenge a medical breakthrough.
JIM KIEFERT: And the men who know about it are just standing in line waiting to get it.
ANDREWS: For tens of thousands of prostate cancer victims, Provenge equals hope. To make the drug, the patient's own blood cells are drawn and are then exposed in a lab to a protein that mimics the cancer. They're then returned to the patient essentially super-charged to attack the cancer. So what's the issue? It costs $93,000 per patient for four extra months of survival.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In clinical trials ...
ANDREWS: Those facts led Medicare officials to call in the experts to ask if Medicare should cover Provenge. Officials insisted this was not about the cost but the meeting alarmed patient groups who charged it was all about the money and worse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see no other word to use in this case but rationing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, each, lot of Provenge there comes ...
ANDREWS: The makers of Provenge call the drug a value at 93,000. They argue it can be less expensive than chemotherapy with none of the horrible side effects.
DR. MITCHELL GOLD, PRESIDENT CEO, DENDREON CORPORATION: What is a breakthrough here is that the concept of using your own immune system to fight cancer represents a whole new era in medicine.
ANDREWS: But this whole new era is getting expensive. Other biologic drugs like Provenge made from cells now cost more than $21,000 per patient while traditional drugs cost 1100, which means that one day these breakthroughs could break the bank.
DR. STEVEN MILLER, SENIOR V.P CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, EXPRESS SCRIPTS: And they need to figure out how to rein this in if we're going to be able to keep the pharmacy benefit off the extinction list.
ANDREWS: It's likely that Medicare will cover Provenge but only for those patients whose cancer has spread. It's a crucial decision because typically most private insurance companies follow Medicare's lead. Wyatt Andrews, CBS News, Washington.
COURIC: And if you'd like to learn more about this and other treatments you can go to our partner in health news webmd.com and search prostate cancer.
Turning to politics now, Nancy Pelosi will not be speaker of the House in the new Congress, but the soon-to-be minority Democrats chose her today as their leader. She beat back a challenge from Heath Shuler of North Carolina, 152-43. Some members who lost their seats in the November election blame her.
REP. GENE TAYLOR, (D), MISSISSIPPI: I know it was the only issue. That was the only ad my opponent ran.
REP. ALLEN BOYD, (D), FLORIDA: The truth is that Nancy Pelosi's season has passed.
COURIC: Pelosi will be handing the speaker's gavel in January to John Boehner. House Republicans chose him their leader today, his 61st birthday. And in that Alaska Senate race, incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski is ready to declare victory tonight over Tea Party Republican Joe Miller. She'll be the first Senate candidate in more than 50 years to win with a write-in campaign. And an update on a story we brought you last night. Senate opponents have blocked the paycheck fairness act. That bill would have made it easier for women to sue employers who pay them less than men for similar work. And still ahead here on the CBS EVENING NEWS, no one expected William and Kate to elope, but can Britain really afford a royal wedding? Up next, a painful lesson for aging baby boomers about spotting the early warning signs of Alzheimer's.
COURIC: The oldest of the baby boomers turn 65 next year. With aging come concerns about health, including Alzheimer's. About 5 million American seniors are battling the disease. That is expected to increase by 50 percent over the next 20 years. And with no cure, it's very important to catch the early warning signs so patients can be treated. Tonight in partnership with USA Today, Dr. Jon LaPook begins a new series on the challenges facing baby boomers called Senior Moment.
DR. JON LAPOOK, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Max Gomez was a successful ob/gyn in Miami, delivering thousands of babies. He lived the good life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still should have quite a bit of money in my pocket.
LAPOOK: But he is now penniless, living in a care facility paid for by Medicaid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alzheimer's disease ...
LAPOOK: His son is WCBS medical correspondent Dr. Max Gomez. Even with his training, he missed the warning signs of Alzheimer's until three years ago.
DR. MAX GOMEZ: His bank account had been plundered. Essentially his life savings had -- were gone.
LAPOOK: Dr. Gomez was not practicing medicine but still had the title of medical director at a clinic. That clinic made him legally responsible for multiple commercial loans and took out mortgages in his name. A girlfriend wrote thousands of dollars in checks against his savings account. And the FBI started investigating after his I.D. was used to file millions of dollars in false Medicare claims.
GOMEZ: Here he was helpless and being taken advantage of left and right.
LAPOOK (on camera): Did you look back and think oh, there was a clue there?
GOMEZ: There is never one big a-ha moment.
LAPOOK (voice over): Patients can seem lucid, even as the disease is destroying the brain.
MONY JOHN DE LEON, DR. CR. FOR BRAIN HEALTH, NYU LAGONE MEDICAL CTR.: Financial difficulties are a very sensitive way of picking out future problems.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here's the deposit $92.
LAPOOK: The financial services industry realizes brokers and bankers may see aging clients more often than out-of-town families do and is training representatives to report warning signs.
SUSAN AXELROD, FINANCIAL INDUSTRY REGULATORY AUTHORITY: Confusion, mood swings, losing things, and also importantly, changing a long-term investment strategy suddenly.
LAPOOK: Here's what families can do -- assume power of attorney over financial affairs. Set up automatic bill pay and monitor monthly statements. And create a master list of accounts and passwords. Max Gomez says his father still does not remember losing his money and does not admit he has Alzheimer's.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm getting old. I'm forgetting things.
MAX GOMEZ: He was, you know, my role model, my mentor. I take care of him. It's my job.
LAPOOK (voice over): Is that a job you ever envisioned having?
GOMEZ: I thought about it. You just do it. It's just the way it is.
LAPOOK: It can be awkward to talk about money matters with family, but uncovering warning signs of dementia can prevent financial devastation. Katie.
COURIC: All right, Dr. Jon LaPook. Jon, thanks very much. And up next, last call -- the FDA cracks down on those high-alcohol, high-caffeine drinks some call a blackout in a can.
COURIC: The drink of choice for many college students is about to change. Today, the FDA cracked down on energy drinks that are packed with booze and caffeine. National correspondent Jim Axelrod reports, this follows a lot of trips to the hospital.
JIM AXELROD, CBS CORRESPONDENT: These videos of college students sucking down the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko may soon become collector's items.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to go to the hospital?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
AXELROD: Now that the FDA has enacted a virtual ban by warning four manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks -- they're unsafe.
DR. MARGARET HAMBURG, COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: We have determined that these products are not in compliance with the law, that the addition of the caffeine does not meet our legal standards for safety.
AXELROD: The federal government is following the lead of five states that have already banned the drinks -- Washington, Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah, and New York.
A 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko is the equivalent of four beers, a red bull, and a shot of espresso, all for less than $3. The caffeine masks the alcohol, creating what the FDA calls wide-awake drunks.
DR. PETROS LEVOUNIS, ST. LUKE'S AND ROOSEVELT HOSPITALS: What happens is that the caffeine makes you more awake, the caffeine gives you more pep. The caffeine reverses some of the sedative effects of alcohol, and, therefore, it makes it much easier to have four times as much as you would have without the caffeine.
AXELROD: Ramapo College in New Jersey, Central Washington University, and the University of Rhode Island banned the drink from their campuses after dozens of students got sick. The manufacturers now have 15 days to change the formula. Four Loko promises to drop caffeine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think people will still drink it, but there will probably be a lot of complaints and it will probably be way less popular.
AXELROD: And that could spell the end of Four Loko and other similar drinks for good. Jim Axelrod, CBS News, New York.
COURIC: And talk about high energy, if you've ever tried to shoot baskets at an arcade you know it's not easy. That rim is tiny, the ball is too bouncy. But watch this girl become an Internet star by sinking one after another in rapid fire. Two swishes every second, almost Zen-like. In one minute she made 128 baskets in a row. Very impressive.
And coming up next, is the right couple getting married at the wrong time?
COURIC: And finally tonight, proposing is the easy part. Planning the wedding is always a lot tougher. And then there's the matter of who pays for it, especially when the couple may one day be the king and queen of England. Here's Mark Phillips.
MARK PHILLIPS, CBS CORRESPONDENT: It's begun -- announce a royal wedding and the next thing you know, commemorative crockery is pouring off the assembly line. The royal souvenir business is good already.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just how good, we'll wait and see.
PHILLIPS: There's a lot of wait and see about this wedding.
PRINCE WILLIAM: We've been planning it for at least a year if not longer. It was just finding the right time, and that was, you know, as most people say with couples, it's all about timing.
PHILLIPS: William and Kate spent the day after their flash-a-thon announcement huddled with palace advisers trying to decide when and where to have their wedding and what sort of affair it should be. They're getting plenty of unsolicited advice.
VICTORIA MATHER, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: If it is going to be a big wedding, that will be seen as recklessly extravagant and most unsuitable for this time of austerity. And if it's too small, everybody will say that the royal family is frightfully mean. So no one -- that's a lose-lose situation.
PHILLIPS: The issue is cost. The lavish Charles and Diana wedding of 30 years ago was estimated to have run up a bill of more than $50 million, and that includes the 20,000 pearls sewn into Diana's dress. With additional security costs for a post-9/11 royal wedding estimated at perhaps $120 million, the question is who should pick up the tab this time?
STEPHEN HASELER, DIRECTOR, GLOBAL POLICY INST.: They've got enough money to pay for it themselves, and I think it's the wrong signal if the government dips into taxpayers' money in order to pay for this.
PHILLIPS: Anyway, William and Kate are supposed to be a new kind of royal couple.
DAVID STARKEY, ROYAL HISTORIAN: They met when at university together. They've been together--
PHILLIPS: Just like normal people.
STARKEY: Just like normal people. They've been together eight years.
PHILLIPS: Just like normal people.
STARKEY: Just -- they separated once and decided they hated each other--
STARKEY: Just like normal people. And then they decided, apparently, they couldn't live without each other. It would be hard to think of anything more different than Charles and Diana.
PHILLIPS: Grand royal weddings have traditionally taken place in one of London's great cathedrals, but there's a problem with each of them. St. Paul's Cathedral would be a natural choice for a big wedding, but it, of course, is where the disastrous marriage of Williams' parents began. The other obvious choice, Westminster Abbey. But it's where Diana's funeral was held. There are no easy choices in this wedding. But somebody's going to have to start making those choices soon.
Mark Phillips, CBS News, London.
COURIC: And that is the CBS EVENING NEWS for tonight. I'm Katie Couric. Thank you for watching. I'll see you back here tomorrow. Good night.
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