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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  March 23, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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>> thanks for watching. "cbs evening news with katie couric" is next. >> and i'm not going to say good-bye to you here in the moon. it would just be too touching. >> couric: tonight america says good-bye to one of its biggest stars. academy award winning actress elizabeth taylor. >> thank you with all my heart. >> couric: i'm katie couric. also tonight, qaddafi's days in power may be numbered. the allies have put libya's air force out of business, and the crowds of his supporters are thinning. as your gas prices soar, we'll show you who is driving them up. and after he put a face on the aids crisis, she gave victims a very powerful voice. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with
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katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. if movie stars are america's royalty, elizabeth taylor was queen. and her long reign has come to an end. as you've likely heard elizabeth taylor died today in a los angeles hospital, surrounded by her four children. the cause was congestive heart failure. as soon as the news broke, some of her many fans placed flowers on her star along the hollywood walk of fame. honoring a woman whose work and life were part of our culture for seven decades. >> are you going to continue making movies or just be a housewife? >> i couldn't really care less about making movies, to tell you the truth. i consider it much more important to be a good woman and, than a great actress. >> couric: in her life elizabeth taylor worked hard at being both.
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she hated the nickname liz, she said it sounded like a hiss, but it was something she was stuck with from an early age. even as a child star she was known as one-shot liz, because she always got it right on the first try. >> beauty alone doesn't make a star, doesn't maintain stardom. she had a spark that lit up that beauty. >> couric: born in london her parents moved to hollywood just before world war ii. her beauty and those brilliant violet eyes were first captured on film when she was ten. she grew up quickly at mgm... >> poor lassie. >> couric: ...but it was "national velvet" that made her a movie star. >> you think a race like this is won by luck? >> no, by knowing that i can win and telling him so. >> couric: in 1949 at just 17, taylor started working on a movie with montgomery clift, "a place in the sun."
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>> aren't you happy with me? >> couric: but she had already found hers. that year she was on the cover of time magazine, the headline cinema sapphires from common clay. in the coming years, she would prove her life was anything but common. and then there were the men. >> some people have called her old fashioned in that she married the men. marriage is not always the first option in today's society. but it was for her. >> couric: taylor was married eight times to seven husbands. >> my bride, myself are going to have a wonderful time in europe. >> couric: at 18 she married hotel magnate conrad nicky hilton. nine months later the couple divorced. husband number two lasted longer. she was married for five years to british actor michael wilding, with whom she had two children.
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>> he's a wonderful man. he has everything that you could possibly want. >> couric: she described her third husband, film producer mike todd, as one of the two great loves of her life. todd was killed in a plane crash after the birth of their daughter. elizabeth taylor became a widow at 26. as her roles became more passionate and intense, her life began to imitate art... >> i feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof. >> couric: ...maggie the cat leapt into the arms of husband number four, eddie fisher and was vilified in the press for stealing him away from girl next-door debbie reynolds. >> mama face it, i was a slut of all time! >> couric: in "butterfield 8" she played a scheming new york call girl. it won her, her first of two oscars. >> i don't think i was particularly good in it. but i had had pneumonia and had my throat cut open, a tracheotomy, and i won that year. >> couric: her next movie would be one of her biggest, in scale
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and notoriety, "cleopatra." it would also ignite her second great love. >> you will knell. >> i will what? >> on your knees. >> couric: her leading man richard burton became husband number five, and later six when they remarried. they had a child together, her fourth. the two were extravagant as the jewels he bought her. her love affair with diamonds never died. her love affair with burton was over by 1976. but not before the couple had made one last iconic film... >> you what? >> couric: ...for which she won a second oscar, an explosive domestic drama about the unraveling of a marriage. >> i'm loud and i'm vulgar and i wear the pants in the house because somebody's got to. >> i don't think there was a reflection of their real lives in the characters of george and martha. but obviously taylor and burton had a tempestuous relationship.
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>> when i insult elizabeth, which i frequently do, i do not attack that soft spot in the under belly. >> my double chins? >> double chins. >> you bloody well have. >> couric: taylor would marry twice more, to virginia senator john warner, and finally in 1991 to construction worker larry fortensky, whom she met during her time at the betty ford center recovering from addiction to precipitation painkillers. her physical ailments were many, by one count more than 70 illnesses or injuries that sent her to the hospital, each one sparking a tabloid frenzy and more grist for the rumor mill. >> i've had addictions, i've had weight problems. i've almost died a couple of times. i've been pronounced dead. i've read my own obituary, they were the best reviews i ever had. >> couric: but perhaps her west
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work began in 1985 during the aids epidemic. several of her friends had died, including rock hudson. >> and people were so shocked and it was like the town hollywood became aware that one of its own had been hit. and a lot of people came, a lot of people didn't, because of the stigma. >> couric: she helped form the aids research group, amfar and served as its first national chairman. her work for aids charities raised a reported $270 million over two decades. >> president bush, mr. quayle, senator helms, your policy is wrong. dead wrong. and you know it. >> couric: friends say elizabeth taylor often reached out to kindred spirits like michael jackson. she stood by him as his own personal demons became headlines.
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>> we're both show business children, had no childhood to speak of, and went through the loneliness of that. >> couric: today violet flowers, the color of her eyes, cover that star on the hollywood walk of fame. in january, she tweeted to her fans: elizabeth taylor was 79. in addition to her children, elizabeth taylor is survived by ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren. and of course many, many friends, including bill and hillary clinton who said: we'll take another look at elizabeth taylor's work in the fight against aids later in this broadcast. now turning to libya where moammar qaddafi's hold on power may in face be slipping.
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allied air strikes tonight reportedly targeted his compound. coalition planes also bombed qaddafi forces today in mizurata to stop them from firing artillery at civilians. defense secretary robert gates says he can't predict how long the operation will last, he did say the u.s. could transfer control of it to allied by saturday. meanwhile, house speaker boehner wrote to president obama today to complain that the mission's goals are not clearly defined. more now from mark phillips in tripoli. >> reporter: day five of the bombing campaign over libya and the combined coalition air forces have declared something like victory. >> their air force no longer exists as a fighting force. to the point that we can operat. >> reporter: control of the skies has led to near control on the ground, as moammar qaddafi's forces have learned. and as the bombing has continued, the brave face of the regime is showing some worry lines.
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instead of rambling on for hours as he often does, moammar qaddafi's latest pep rally's speech lasted a brief three minutes. out in public is a risky place for him to be these days. and where the obedient cheering crowds once numbered in tens of thousands, now they are often down to a few hundred, sometimes to mere dozens. even the regime's once p.r. machine is grinding down. today after much promising to show the world what it said were innocent victims of the bombing, it either got lost... >> are we lost? >> yes. >> where are we going? >> reporter: they never found the house, or the victims weren't innocent. and there's been more bombing around tripoli tonight and more shelling of rebel positions by pro qaddafi forces. significantly in one of those places when those qaddafi forces were bombed, the residents say the shelling stopped, but only for a while.
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>> couric: mark, do you sense a real weakening of qaddafi's position right now? >> reporter: weakening may be too strong a term. but you have to think of this more in terms of body language. there's less strutting on the part of the regime going on and some people are prepared to tell you quietly that this may be a fight they can't win. >> couric: mark phillips in tripoli tonight, thanks very much. meanwhile, japan and what is now the world's most expensive natural disaster. the government said today the earthquake and tsunami caused over $300 billion in damage. the human toll is also climbing with more than 9,500 dead, 16,000 are missing, fewer than ten are americans. the u.s. is now the first country to ban produce and dairy products from the area near the damaged nuclear plant. and in tokyo tonight parents are being warned not to give their infants tap water. radioactive iodine has been detected in the water at twice the level considered safe for babies. from tokyo, here's bill whitaker.
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>> reporter: tokyo mother of three tomoe ogino shows compassion for the refugees up north. now with the fallout hitting home, she feels fear. >> my concern is how long it's going to, this is going to take, you know, if it's going to finish at some point, if she can drink water. >> reporter: the fear is thyroid cancer, an infants fast growing thyroid absorbs much more of the radioactive iodine in the water than older children or adults. tomoe uses water to make formula for 4-month-old sayuki. it's got to be frightening. >> it is, it is. not only her, but i have two other kids. >> reporter: she could be speaking for most of tokyo, fear of radioactive water triggered a run on bottled water. you won't find uncontaminated water out there, they are all sold out, she says, one downtown store reportedly sold out an
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hour after the announcement. meanwhile, at the plant spewing the fallout in fear, one step forward, the lights in one control room went back on, but two steps back. reactor three was belching smoke and workers were evacuated again. today this first look at the battle firemen have been waging night and day. "i was prepared to die, but it's our job," says the captain yukio takayama. but the job is far from finished. today the city government will start handing out about a quarter million bottles of water free to the families of the 80,000 infants under the age of one here in tokyo. bill whitaker, cbs news, tokyo. >> couric: coming up next on the cbs evening news, what's behind the rising price of oil and gas? called atrial fibrillation, or afib? if so, now's the time to talk to your doctor again,
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even if you're already taking medication to reduce your stroke risk. atrial fibrillation can cause a blood clot to form here, in your heart, that can break free and go straight to your brain, where it can cause a serious stroke. strokes that are twice as likely to be deadly or severely disabling as other types of strokes. but if you're one of the 2 million people who have atrial fibrillation, there's never been a better time to talk to your doctor. because you and your doctor can choose from different kinds of medicines to help prevent a stroke. for a free interactive book, call 1-877-afib-stroke, or log-on to and with this valuable information in your hand, talk to your doctor. you think i have allergies? you're sneezing. i'm allergic to you. doubtful, you love me. hey, you can't take allegra with fruit juice. what? yeah, it's on the label. really?
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>> high risk, high reward. >> reporter: every day he buys and sells crude in thousand barrel contracts. >> i have no use of the single barrel of crude oil. i just trade it from a trading perspective. >> reporter: about 2/3 of all the oil traded is being bought and sold not by oil companies, but by small investors like patel and giant ones like banks and hedge funds. the state pension funds of california and texas each have a billion dollars or more invested in oil. >> it is accelerating the price of oil products, gasoline, heating oil, crude oil, and other energy products, for no good reason. >> reporter: here's how the market works. a barrel of pumped crude is sold to a customer who wants to lock in a price for future delivery. that so-called futures contract can be bought and sold many times before the delivery date. often by investors trying to make a profit. the more investors who rush in,
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the more volatile the price can become. speculators are racing in to these energy and oil markets at a blistering pace. >> reporter: bart chilton is a commissioner on the commodity futures trading commission. >> there is more than enough oil out there right now. there's more than enough oil right now. >> reporter: but investors say they are being made the scape goat for higher prices. >> respect later tends to respond to prices rather than drive prices. >> reporter: some speculation is healthy for markets, but chilton says now speculators are taking oil on a roller coaster ride. >> they have an impact that increases the volatility in these markets and that's not a good thing for consumers or businesses. >> reporter: the c.f.t.c. is now considering regulations to curve excessive speculation in oil. with more than ever before has become a money game.
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anthony mason, cbs news, new york. >> couric: in jerusalem the police are on high alert after a deadly terrorist attack today. the first bombing there, today, in four years. the device was left in a bag near a crowded bus stop when it exploded, a woman was killed and 39 other people were wounded. the israelis blame palestinian militants. we'll be right back. i've had asthma for 11 years... ...but my symptoms kept coming back... ...kept coming back. then i found out advair helps prevent symptoms from happening in the first place. advair is for asthma that's not well controlled on a long-term asthma medicine, such as an inhaled corticosteroid. advair will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. advair contains salmeterol which increases the risk of death from asthma problems and may increase the risk of hospitalization in children and adolescents. advair is not for people whose asthma is well controlled with a long-term asthma control medicine like an inhaled corticosteroid. once your asthma is well controlled
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>> couric: one year ago today president obama signed the health care reform law meant to cut the number of uninsured in this country by about 30 million by 2016. but the legal challenges soon came pouring in. jan crawford is our chief legal correspondent. jan, what changes has the law made in the health care system so far? >> well, there have been quite a few. for example, the law says parents can keep their children on their insurance policies until they are 26-years-old. that means another 1.2 million young adults will get coverage. it also bans insurance companies from denying coverage to children who have pre-existing conditions. that affects up to 17 million children. and it's given some seniors more money to buy prescription drugs. >> couric: and jan, what about the legal battles? could they actually derail health care reform altogether? >> absolutely. i mean there is this huge legal battle that's headed straight for the supreme court
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possibly by the end of the year. now 28 states are challenging the law, they say it eviscerates the constitution because it gives congress this unchecked power. what they are focusing on is the provision in the law that says everyone has to buy health insurance starting in the year 2014 or pay a penalty. these states say congress can't make you buy something. katie? >> couric: all right, jan crawford in washington, thank you. meanwhile in other news, a strange episode just after midnight at reagan airport outside washington. two passenger jets were preparing to land, but couldn't reach anyone in the control tower. an american airline 737 circled the airport before contacting a regional controller about 40 miles away who helped it land safely. that controller also helped a united airlines airbus land 15 minutes later. the n.t.s.b. is investigating whether the controller at reagan fell asleep. and coming up next, what some are calling elizabeth taylor's greatest role.
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to finish what you started today. for the aches and sleeplessness in between, there's motrin pm. no other medicine, not even advil pm, is more effective for pain and sleeplessness. motrin pm. ♪ [ male announcer ] what are you gonna miss when you have an allergy attack? benadryl® is more effective than claritin® at relieving your worst symptoms and works when you need it most. benadryl®. you can't pause life. >> couric: finally tonight, if elizabeth taylor's life had a second act it was as an activist.
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in addition to her two best actress oscars she was awarded a third for her humanitarian work. john blackstone reports how she used her star power to help victims of aids. >> reporter: in 1986, elizabeth taylor appeared before a congressional hearing to talk about a disease that back then many did not even want to mention. >> we need more money for aids, and we need it now. >> she kind of opened the door, to public understanding. >> reporter: philip has aids and cancer, he lives at maitri, a san francisco care facility for people with aids where a signed photo of elizabeth taylor hangs in the dining room. she was one of the early donors to maitri. but resident barbara eglian says it's not so much the money taylor gave as the example she set. >> i'm glad she was there for
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us, because a lot of people have denied us, you know, wouldn't help us. so she was there. >> reporter: in the 1980's declining health was only part of the problem that came with an aids diagnosis. >> if you had aids you were pretty much just shunned. >> reporter: taylor fought that stigma, says the doctor who treated her friend and costar, rock hudson, who died of aids. >> she knew in her heart that we would never get anywhere against this until we got a handle on the prejudice. >> reporter: michael smithwick, the executive director of maitri and h.i.v. positive himself for 30 years, remembers vividly how he felt when elizabeth taylor first took a stand for people like him. >> it was a sense of elation, and a sense of finally, finally someone has stepped forward and spoken to truth. and done so in a very brave way. >> reporter: it was perhaps the most dramatic act in a life that had plenty of drama. john blackstone, cbs news, san francisco. >> couric: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. i'll see you tomorrow. good night.
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