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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  December 7, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EST

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take care family. we will see you captioning sponsored by cbs >> pelley: the deadly wildfire was arson. police charge two juveniles in the tennessee fire that left 14 people dead and wrecked hundreds of homes. also tonight, the president-elect fills more posts, recruiting from the military arena and the wrestling ring. dylann roof goes on trial for the charleston church massacre. >> his eyes say evil to me. >> pelley: and a hero returns to pearl harbor 75 years later. >> i remember every moment like it happened yesterday. >> my grandfather is not only a great american hero, he's my hero.
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this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: today the investigators of that tennessee fire said the fire that swept through the great smoky mountains last week was arson. two juveniles are charged. 14 people were killed in and around gatlinburg. more than 145 were hurt. 17,000 acres burned. demarco morgan has the breaking news. >> oh, god. >> reporter: the two juveniles arrested this morning for allegedly starting the fire are tennessee residents, and that's about all officials were able to say about them because they are minors. james dunn is the sevier county district attorney. >> all options available to the state when dealing with juveniles are on the table, including the possibility of seeking a transfer of these juveniles to adult criminal court. >> reporter: hurricane-force
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winds and drought conditions quickly spread the wildfire into the resort town of gatlinburg, which gets 11 million visitors a year. 14,000 people had to evacuate and more than 1,700 buildings were damaged or destroyed. we were there last friday when thousands were allowed to return to see what was left of their homes and businesses. >> it's a mess, but this was our bed. >> reporter: terry calhoun, husband and father of four, walked into the family's one-bedroom apartment that was destroyed. >> we don't have anything else left. >> reporter: the town of gatlinburg opened to the public last friday, and residents and businesses were allowed to permanently move back today. scott, the fire itself is about 64% contained. >> pelley: demarco morgan, thanks. in oakland, california, the search and recovery ended today at that warehouse destroyed by fire during a dance party last friday. 36 people were killed. investigators said the fire started on the first floor
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possibly from faulty refrigerator. many victims were trapped on the second floor. there were no sprinklers or fire alarms. dangerously cold air from the arctic is howling across the upper midwest and heading east. omar villafranca is in bismark, north dakota, where it feels like minus 20. >> reporter: the arctic blast blew through colorado overnight, dropping six inches of snow in the denver area. snowplow drivers worked overtime to try and keep streets passable, but the fast-moving storm coated rocky mountain roads in ice, slowing 18 wheelers to a crawl. in bolder, emergency workers stayed busy responding to accidents caused by the slick streets. further east in north dakota, more than 450 miles of interstate were frozen. in minot, frigid winds gusted more than 45mph. cars were paralyzed on the
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roadways because of limited visibility. even tow trucks needed towing. in bismark, the storm caught eric bjorie off guard. his honda civic had to get pulled out of the snow by a good samaritan. >> we deal with blizzardards every year, so it's kind of like the same thing, but not twice right away in december. >> reporter: single-digit temperatures have now started freezing parts of the missouri river. behind me you can see chunks of ice flowing downstream. scott, the arctic chill is now heading toward the east coast, where colder-than-normal temperatures are expected by the end of the week. >> pelley: omar villafranca in the big chill tonight. omar, thank you. today "time" magazine named donald trump its person of the year for, among other things, "framing tomorrow's political culture by demolishing yesterdays." the president-elect filled more administration posts today, putting a global warming sceptic in charge of protecting the
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environment. here's nancy cordes. >> reporter: al gore's meeting with mr. trump the other day gave environmentalists hope, but that hope evaporated today when oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt was tapped to head the environmental protection agency. pruitt claims the debate over climate change is far from settled and has repeatedly sued the e.p.a. over fossil fuel regulations. >> it is the most damning thing that i see with respect to our ability to grow the country. >> reporter: the sierra club said today, "having scott pruitt in charge of the e.p.a. is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires." senator brian schatz is a democrat from hawaii. >> this person who wants to lead the e.p.a. has made a career out of undermining the e.p.a. so this is really the worst-case scenario, and we're going to have a fight. >> reporter: the president-elect also made waves today with his choice of world wrestling impresario linda mcmahon to head the small business administration. >> look at this! >> reporter: her husband vince
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may know better than anyone what it's like to get on the wrong side of mr. trump, even if it's just for show. less explosive was his choice for ambassador to china, iowa governor terry brandstad, whose state exports billions of soybeans and pork to china. retired marine corps general jon kelly will be tapped to lead the department of homeland security. cbs news has learned that mitt romney is now the leading contender to become secretary of state, and from trump also revealed today, scott, that he's been consulting with president obama on some of these cabinet picks, though it's unlikely they saw eye to eye on that e.p.a. choice. >> pelley: nancy cordes on capitol hill. nancy, thank you. tonight in syria, the assad regime is showing no mercy as it pushes to regain full control of the country's biggest city. rebels are losing territory in
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aleppo under relentless bombing. about 200,000 civilians are trapped. for us today, these pictures of two people captured the suffering of thousands. when his wife became ill, this man wheeled her through the streets in search of help, but there is no civilization in aleppo, and all this could be done was say good-bye. debora patta is there. [explosion] >> reporter: the syrian government backed by russia is using every means at its disposal the take back eastern aleppo, but still rebel factions are refusing to give up. a syrian soldier shows that less than 100 meters away from their build, opposition fighters are hiding. [gunfire] but opposition control over the east is weakening every day as the syrian army takes back chunks of territory. like here in al shaah, where the air still chokes with dust,
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government forces took it back just one day ago. this road leads to the old city, a key prize in this battle. a few streets away, we come across civilians who just got out. if they can't walk themselves, they're carried to safety. "does anyone know who this woman is?" this man shouts. no one answers. but not everyone is running away. tony dokupil cannot contain himself. this is the first time he's seen his mother zaliha if five years. "my son," she sobs. you are everything to me, "my son." another son joins in. it's been five years since war divided aleppo and divided this family. zaliha gets to meet grandchildren she's never seen. at, last it is finally time for
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them to go home together. a syrian general told us the army is on the verge of taking back the old city, scott. once that happen, he told us it is over. >> pelley: debora patta on the battlefield for us tonight. debora, thank you. last year 12 african americans welcomed dylann roof into their bible study in charleston, south carolina. he shot nine of them dead. now 12 people, some white, some black, will decide whether roof lives or dies. his federal hate crimes tribal opened today, and strauss -- mark strassmann was there. >> reporter: two buses brought relatives of those murdered in the church massacre to federal court where they found dylann roof dressed in his jail jumpsuit avoiding eye contact with anyone. in his opening statement, assistant u.s. attorney jay richardson said roof's attack was cold and calculated, a racist retribution for perceived
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offensings against the white race. in june of 2015, roof visited a wednesday night bible study at mother emanuel church. it became a slaughter of the innocents. survivor felicia sanders testified her wounded 26-year-old son tywanza said to roof, "why are you doing this? we mean you no harm." roof shot him five more times. his mother watched him die. among those sobbing in the courtroom was sharon risher. >> his eyes says evil to me. >> reporter: risher's mother, 70-year-old ethel lance, was among those murdered. >> who goes into a church and does that? >> it's unthinkable. >> i can't put that in words, the pain in my soul. >> reporter: relatives of the victims told roof at his arraignment they forgave him.
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>> we have to forgive. >> reporter: are you one of those people? >> no, i'm not one of those people. >> reporter: will you ever get to that point? >> i know i will. i have to. >> reporter: prosecutors will push for the death penalty. you don't want that? >> only because i don't believe in the death penalty for any person. >> reporter: if he gets the death penalty, there's part of you that thinks he got what's coming to him? >> yes, it's conflicting. >> reporter: roof's lawyers do not contest that he committed the murders. they're trying to spare him the death penalty. scott, defense lawyer david bruck urged the jury not to "behave like the person who committed this crime." >> pelley: mark strassmann, fascinating interview. mark, thank you very much. still ahead, did a job placement agency ignore black applicants while helping hispanics? and inside the white house, the day japan attacked pearl harbor.
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>> pelley: a national job placement company is being sued, accused of favoring hispanics over african americans. dean reynolds is in chicago. m.v.p. staffing is a job placement agency that operates 60 offices in 38 states. its vehicles carry thousands of mostly temporary workers to client companies every day, and it now stands accused of rigging the business against african americans. built on the testimony of alleged m.v.p. whistle-blowers, the lawsuit charges the company systematically placed hispanics over blacks for one simple reason: hispanics were often undocumented and lesss inclined to complain about hours, wages or conditions. joseph sellers represents the group of african american plaintiffs. >> the actions of m.v.p. that we've uncovered were either directly responsive to the client company's demands or what they anticipated the client companies wanted. >> reporter: 29-year-old kevin
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james turned to m.v.p. after a string of odd jobs. how many times did you seek a job through them? >> i would say at least 20 times. >> reporter: and you got it once? >> that's correct. >> reporter: james has been out of work for the last month and has little recourse but to turn the placement agencies like in m.v.p. >> i was hoping i could go through one of those companies and seek help for work. >> reporter: is it frustrating you can't in >> it's very frustrating. >> reporter: african-americans, who make up 29% of chicago's population, account for 52% of the city's unemployed. the lack of jobs or even the hope of landing one is considered a factor in the city's escalating violence. >> people respond to that feeling of disenfranchisement in a variety of ways. and some may respond with violence. others respond in other ways. but it is... it really is sort of a cancer on the fabric of the community.
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>> reporter: we have called and e-mailed m.v.p. staffing since the lawsuit was filed on tuesday. but the company has had no comment. the workers involved in the case are suing to end the discrimination, scott, and to collect the wages they say they lost because of it. >> pelley: dean reynolds, thanks. we'll be right back. what about e people i care about? ...including this little girl. and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital, but wondered, was this the best treatment for me? so i asked my doctor. and he recommended eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. yes, eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. both made me turn around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve
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>> pelley: this is the 75th anniversary of the japanese attack on pearl harbor. vice president-elect mike pence and arizona senator john mccain led the commemoration at the world war ii memorial in washington. at pearl harbor itself, thousands observed a moment of silence in memory of the more than 2,00 -- 2,300 servicemember -- servicemen who died. john blackstone was there. john? >> reporter: scott, the survivors who came back to pearl
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harbor for this 75th anniversary are now mostly in their 90s and know they may never return. >> you made it. >> reporter: this time mel heckman was the one who needed help getting to the shore along pearl harbor's battleship row. >> this is it. this is the exact spot where it happened 75 years ago. >> reporter: on december 7, 1941, he was the one giving help. >> we saved as many men as we could. >> reporter: at 93, this was heckman's wish, to return for the first time with his daughter, grandchildren, even a great grandson to the place he was standing as japanese planes attacked. does it seem like 75 years ago? >> i remember every moment like it happened yesterday. when the japanese came in, the sky was black there were so many of them. >> reporter: bombs rained down. heckman was struck by shrapnel in his back. >> i felt flames and flames and flames and explosions.
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>> reporter: the battleships "arizona" and "oklahoma" were hit right in front of him. the water was on fire. heckman helped rescue sailors swimming through the flames. >> they went like this, the frames, and knocked the flames away. >> reporter: you were 18 years old. a lot of them were 18, 19 years old. >> that's it, kids, like my grandson standing right there. >> standing here hearing your story, grandpa. >> reporter: the story inspired grandson josh to join the navy, but this time it had power he did not expect. >> being on the ship, i see these people, and i can see them with my eyes. i couldn't imagine. >> reporter: heckman's daughter joanne had heard the story before, but in the like this. >> i can see it happening. i can hear all the bombs and the commotion. >> my grandfather is not only a great american hero, he's my hero. >> reporter: and he's being
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hailed as a hero at this week's commemoration, as is every other surviving pearl harbor veteran on this 75th anniversary. >> here at 93, i'm just as tough as i was then. >> reporter: as the number of survivors steadily decline, the nation and their families pledge always to remember. the story of pearl harbor will never be told as vividly as by those who were there. john blackstone, cbs news, pearl harbor. >> pelley: up next, the white house on the day of infamy. so why are you still puttingy. up with complicated cash back cards? some cards limit where you earn bonus cash back to places they choose... then they change those places every few months. quicksilver keeps it simple.
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>> we interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin. the japanese have attacked pearl harbor, hawaii, by air. president roosevelt has just announced. >> pelley: john daly recreating his december 7, 1941, report. the original was lost to history. it was a sunday afternoon. f.d.r. was about to take the nation to war. here's david martin. >> reporter: president roosevelt was as shocked as everyone else. he was working on his stamp collection in his private white house study, preserved in this panoramic photo at the f.d.r. library in hyde park, new york. the phone rings at this desk, the secretary of the navy on the line, and he tells the president that the pearl harbor naval base is under attack. herman eberhardt is the library's curator. >> his first reaction was to shout into the phone "no" in a state of disbelief. >> reporter: within an amount of hours, roosevelt had dictated in his own hand one of the greatest presidential speeches ever, beginning with the stirring line he delivered to a
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joint session of congress the next day. >> december 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy. >> reporter: but there were moment, says paul sparrow, director of the f.d.r. library, when the enormity of what had happened almost overwhelmed the president. -he was having dinner with his son and some of his closest advisers. i think the weight got to him and he had a moment of despair. one of the white house staff who was serving the dinner remembers that roosevelt said something like, "my god, what will the country think of this?" >> he felt he was going to go down in history as a terrible president. >> reporter: later this same evening around midnight, he met with cbs newsman edward r. murrow. >> sandwiches and beer were served, and roosevelt just opened up about the full extent of what had happened in hawaii. >> reporter: by then roosevelt knew but had not told the public that american aircraft had been caught sitting wing-tip to wing-tip on the runway.
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>> at one point according to murrow, he pounds his fist on the desk and he's talking about the planes that were destroyed on the ground by god on the ground. >> just the perfect example of not being prepared. >> i think he was aware that the military had been caught unawares. >> reporter: murrow left knowing he had a story that would stop the presses. >> but he said later that he felt that roosevelt was really just using him as a sounding board, and he did not feel it was appropriate for him to run with the story, even though roosevelt had not said the meeting was off the record. >> reporter: it was, says eberhart, a remarkable end to a remarkable day. >> most every ship in the harbor has been hit. >> reporter: almost impossible to imagine in this day of instant communication. david martin, cbs news, hyde park, new york. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
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