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tv   CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell  CBS  March 16, 2021 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by cbs ♪ >> o'donnell: tonight, crisis on the border. the new numbers tonight as cbs news has learned just how many children are in u.s. custody after illegally crossing the border alone. the stunning admission from president biden's homeland security chief: illegal crossings are on pace to be the largest in two decades as republicans blame the administration's rollback of trump's strict policies. tonight we meet a 10-year-old. >> he's 10. bolivia. he's by himself. >> o'donnell: vaccinating children: moderna gives the covid vaccine to kids as young as six months old in its first trial. plus, italy back on lockdown as european countries halt the use of astrazeneca's vaccine. putin's interference: the new
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intelligence report tonight that blames russia's president for trying to malign joe biden and use former president trump's allies to influence the 2020 election. selling the plan: the president on the road to build support for his covid relief plan. gas prices skyrocket. why are you paying more to fill up your car? house explosion: the powerful fireworks that shook a neighborhood in california. and unifying america: a lunch counter that once kept people apart is now bringing everyone together. this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting from the nation's capital. >> o'donnell: good evening to our viewers in the west, and thank you for joining us. we're going to begin with a humanitarian crisis on the southern border that is growing larger and more dire by the day. tonight, we have got the stunning new numbers. sources tell cbs news more than
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13,000 migrant children who entered the country without their parents are now in u.s. custody. the government says even more adults are being turned back every day. the secretary of homeland security admitting today that so many people are now crossing the border, his department is on pace to stop more migrants than in the past 20 years. and with so many children, including toddlers, now flooding into the country, cbs news has learned the biden administration is running out of space to house them and people to process their claims. now, president biden said today he has no plans to visit the border right now, and d.h.s. secretary alejandro mayorkas said while the situation is difficult, they are working to tackle it. but critics of mr. biden, including the republicans in congress, are blaming the president tonight for rolling back the strict border policies of the trump administration. we've got a lot of new reporting on this, along with important headlnes on two coronavirus vaccines. our team is standing by. cbs' mireya villarreal is going to lead off our coverage tonight
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on the southern border in texas. good evening, mireya. >> reporter: good evening, norah. right now, cbs has learned that unaccompanied minors, on average, are being held in facilities like this one for 120 hours. that breaks down to five days and well over what the law allows of 72 hours. the biden administration is calling this a challenge, but local law enforcement officers that we embedded with say this is an absolute crisis. desperation and frustration growing as groups flow into the u.s. deputy ruben salinas handles his regular duties during the day, and patrols the banks of the rio grande river at night. >> we average about at the most 300. >> reporter: an historic number of migrants crossing into the u.s. illegally, created an overwhelming need for more help in the rio grande valley. >> children that are unaccompanied, they usually range from seven to 13.
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and the smallest one is about seven and he was by himself. >> reporter: the first group we find during our embed with deputy salinas and sergeant roger rich is small. yoseli is from honduras and traveling with her five-year-old son, derick, who quickly tells me he hid his money in his shoes beneath two pairs of socks to keep it from getting wet. the two hope to live with family in florida while the request for asylum is processed. >> along this river here, there are pretty steep banks. >> reporter: constables don't have the authority to detain anyone. instead, they direct them down the road to this border patrol staging area. some migrants are processed here outside, under a bridge, and given foil blankets while they wait. this group of unaccompanied teenaged boys tells us they just crossed the river, and there are more people coming. more than two dozen are in this group. it's dark, they're wet, and there are a lot of young children clinging to their parents.
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but there are also several kids by themselves. >> bolivia. he's by himself. >> reporter: towards the back of the group is a 10-year-old boy traveling alone... (speaking spanish) ...he's from honduras, searching for a glimmer of hope in the darkness. >> o'donnell: and mireya is back with us from the southern border. so mireya, i know they keep people in those tents behind you. but then what happens to those children? >> reporter: so a lot of those will get processed, like you said, in the tent here, or sometimes underneath the bridge, like you saw in our story. from there they will end up going to shelters, like the one that is opening up in dallas tomorrow. that's when another federal agency will take over and start looking for any family members or maybe guardian sponsors who can take the child in while they continue to fight their asylum case in the u.s. norah. >> o'donnell: all right, mireya villarreal with all those new numbers tonight. thank you.
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breaking news out of atlanta. police are investigating deadly shootings at massage parlors. here is cbs's nikki battiste. >> reporter: police say at least seven people have been killed at three separate small shootings in georgia today, four of them across the street from each other in northeast atlanta. police chief rodney bryant. >> it appears... >> reporter: authorities are searching for a suspect. they were called to the scene by a spa attendant. >> three people shot and killed at one location, and one person shot and killed at another location. >> reporter: the atlanta attack comes hours after a shooting that killed three people in cherokee, georgia. the sheriff's department posted these photos of a man threeg fleeing in a black car. the man is now in custody. the shootings appear to have targeted asians, as nationwide concerns have skyrocketed about attacks towards asian-americans
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during the coronavirus pandemic. n >> o'donnell: and there are two ikki battiste, new york. >> o'donnell: there are two major headlines in the race to vaccinate. >> o'donnell: and there are two major headlines tonight in the race to vaccinate. overseas, more european countries halted the use of the astrazeneca shot as they experience a frightening new surge of cases. and right here in the u.s., the first young children got vaccinated in a new trial. we're going to cover it all in our two reports, starting with cbs' jonathan vigliotti in southern california. good evening, jonathan. >> reporter: good evening, norah. the new strain of the brazilian variant has been detected here for the first time in the state, renewing urgency to vaccinate. meanwhile, tonight, encouraging news from moderna, now testing its vaccine on children. tonight, moderna becoming the first u.s. drug maker to vaccinate children, testing the shot on babies as young as six months, up to kids under 12. the company also running a trial in kids over 12. two of the participants are dylan and blair davis. their parents, both doctors. >> i wanted them to be an example and to set an example to
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say, "hey, this vaccine is safe." >> reporter: promising news for kids and parents. >> so we would expect that children going into high school in the fall will be able to go in vaccinated. >> reporter: and a florida baby has been born with covid antibodies. it's the first known case, the mother, a health care worker who received her initial dose of the moderna vaccine while pregnant. tonight, mississippi is expanding vaccinations to all adult residents 16 and older. connecticut and michigan announcing they'll do the same on april 5. thanks in part to vaccinations, california is beginning to experience normal life again. >> it's really fun and nice because we haven't been here in, like, a year. >> reporter: but this comes as san bernardino reports a case of the worrisome p1 variant initially detected in brazil, the first case in california. it's already in at least 11 other states. how concerned should we be when we hear about these variants takingroot here in america?
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>> well, i think the reality is no one knows. the fact is cases are declining, despite variants being present. what the average american should be doing is focusing on getting vaccinated. >> reporter: and tonight, covid creating march madness at the n.c.a.a., six referees sent home from the men's tournament after one positive test and contact tracing. jonathan vigliotti, cbs news, rancho cucamonga, california. >> reporter: i'm charlie d'agata in london, where europe is in the grip of a deadly third wave of covid cases, filling i.c.u.s and sending towns and cities in italy back into lockdown. in a further blow to the vaccine rollout there, france, germany, italy, and today sweden have become among 16 european nations that have halted the use of the oxford-astrazeneca shot after reports of blood clotting. but astrazeneca says a review of 17 million people in the u.k. and europe who have received the
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vaccine, found fewer than 40 developed blood clots, lower than would be expected to occur in the general population. today, even the european medicines agency, the f.d.a. of europe, urged that vaccinations should continue. >> even if this association is causal, which i think most people doubt, then the evidence is still very strongly if you want to live, the best thing you can do is have the vaccine. >> reporter: the benefits far outweigh the risks. >> absolutely, absolutely. >> reporter: but widespread distrust of the oxford vaccine is the result of a series of missteps, including inconclusive trial data, mistakes in dosing schedules, and a shortfall in supplies to europe. that ongoing skepticism may now end up costing lives. now, the oxford vaccine is expected to be rolled out in the united states in the coming weeks. the government has ordered 300 million doses pending f.d.a. approval. astrazeneca say they're going to apply for that approval in early april.
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norah. >> o'donnell: all right, charlie d'agata, thank you. tonight, the intelligence community released the most- comprehensive report on foreign interference in the 2020 election. it says more foreign actors tried to influence an election than ever before. but the most active this cycle, russia and iran. cbs' jeff pegues has all the new details. >> reporter: one of the report's key judgments is that russian president vladimir putin authorized efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. the report says that russia wanted to denigrate the candidacy of president biden while supporting former president donald trump, and did so by undermining confidence in the election and trying to divide the country. u.s. officials say part of moscow's strategy was to use russian agents to spread anti- biden information. andrei durkach, allegedly worked
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with mr. trump's lawyer rudy giuliani, to spread false corruption allegations regarding president biden's family in ukraine. konstantin kilimnik, also named in the report, was a close associate of paul manafort, mr. trump's former campaign chairman. >> this was putin's plan to try to hurt joe biden's candidacy by helping donald trump, by trying to drag joe biden down. and it was done very much with malice of forethought. >> reporter: a report also concludes that china considered trying to influence the election, but ultimately decided against it. jeff pegues, cbs news, washington. >> o'donnell: and late today, the white house said president biden will hold his first formal press conference a week from thursday. job one for today was to sell his covid relief plan and to convince more americans to get their shots. we get more from cbs' ed o'keefe. >> reporter: president biden visited hard hit chester, pennsylvania, today touting his
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covid relief bill as a lifeline. in add >> reporter: in addition to those $1,400 stimulus payments, the american rescue plan provides billions to fund vaccination centers in underserved communities. >> reporter: but at a vaccination site just four blocks from where the president spoke, officials say demand is outpacing supply. >> we can't give you a vaccine if we don't have a vaccine to give. >> reporter: there's also reluctance among some in the african american community to take the vaccine, a growing concern for the administration. pastor aaron donnelly told us he has an easy answer for vaccine skeptics in his congregation. >> i tell people do you want to cough or do you want a coffin? side effects don't mean nothing if you're dead. >> reporter: polls show some conservative republicans are also unwilling to get vaccinated. former donald trump aide joe grogan said the former president
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should get involved. >> i think he should come out and say something more effusive about the urge to urging americans to get vaccinated. >> reporter: even as the president's talking about the new stimulus plan, democrats are already planning for the next one, a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure spending plan, and they're not ruling out paying for it by hiking taxes on the wealthy and corporations. not surprisingly, republicans say they'd be opposed to any big tax increase to pay for the plan. norah. >> o'donnell: ed o'keefe, thank you. despite the covid pandemic millions of americans are on the move again, both in the air and on the roads. gas prices are now close to the highest they have been in nearly three years. the national average is $2.87, up more than 30 cents in a month and up nearly 60 cents in a year. and the price could get higher this summer, possibly $4 a gallon in some states. cbs' errol barnett shows us why. >> reporter: tonight, more
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states reopening and lifting covid restrictions means more people hitting the road. >> we have been somewhere around $2.19, you know, over the past several months. so this increase has been really a big hit to my pocketbook. >> reporter: drivers in all 50 states likely getting sticker shock tonight as the national average for gas hits the highest prices seen since 2019, now $2.87 per gallon. a.a.a. spokesperson robin sinclair. >> $3 as a national average is a distinct possibility, and unfortunately a lot of people consider that price to be expensive. >> if it hits $3 i'm parking this car. >> reporter: every state has seen its average price jump double digits in the last month. in utah and idaho, gas is up 16 cents per gallon, and up 15 cents in missouri. >> short term, at least in the next couple of weeks prices will continue to go up. >> reporter: this price hike fueled by severe weather that crippled texas refineries last month, plus an increase in demand.
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air travel is taking off, too. >> i probably wouldn't have traveled right now, but we kind of had to. >> reporter: for the fifth straight day, more than a million people boarded flights across the country, the tenth time that happened this month. >> thank god the world is opening back up. we're ready. >> reporter: now, the c.d.c. is concerned about this uptick in travel. it is still recommending folks stay home, delay these long-haul trips, certainly get vaccinated, if you can. but as one flight attendant put it, on my flight tonight, "they'd love to see your beautiful faces when this pandemic is over." in the meantime, norah, wear your mask while traveling. >> o'donnell: well said. errol barnett, thank you. and there is still much more news ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news." an entire neighborhood is rocked when a home loaded with fireworks goes up in flames.
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able to rescue two horses from the property. all right, coming up next, unifying america. a lunch counter that once divided races has a new life bringing them together.
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>> o'donnell: there's a new >> o'donnell: there's a new restaurant in south carolina in a building with a painful legacy. but instead of covering up the past, the owner hopes people will learn from it. mark strassmann continues our series "unifying america." >> reporter: chef rob masone named his new restaurant "kounter," because this one set the stage for a moment in american history. >> we have brought people to tears just by telling them the story, the history of the kounter. people are definitely moved by it. >> reporter: january 1961, rock hill, south carolina, nine black protesters wanted to right a wrong at the old mccrory's five and dime, including 18-year-old david williamson. >> we came here to sit down at the counter to be served. >> reporter: did they say something? >> "we don't serve so-and-so." and before they can get it all the way out, they have you up and out of the seat and taking you back to arrest you. >> reporter: instead of posting bail, the friendship nine sat in
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jail for a month, a new tactic for civil rights protesters. >> we turned it around on the state, city and county. they had to take care of us. >> reporter: masone leased this space without a plan for the kounter, until he met williamson. >> he was just talking to me and rubbing his hand on the counter. >> reporter: meeting him was a game changr. >> game changer. we're not covering this up. we're going to showcase it in its original form. >> reporter: with its original pink formica top, stained by coffee, honored by courage. the restaurant's first customer last december, david williamson. >> i like to sit back over there, watch the people, you know, see them enjoy themselves. >> reporter: so real, rock hills motto today, "no room for racism." mark strassmann, cbs news, rock hill, south carolina. >> o'donnell: that gave me the chills. the arc of history bends towards
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we'll see you back here tomorrow. good night.
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right now, a year into the lockdown one county is leading the way out. a big break for bars just in time for saint patrick's day. the sideshow, the circus. so, i am a little intense about it. the governor breaking his silence on the recall effort that has californians split down the middle. >> what do you think of the time and money? >> plus, another violent attack leaves an asian man in the hospital. >> tonight, the police and the victims say the motive appears to be the attack itself. >> a mushroom cloud rising from california neighborhood after a massive stash of fireworks explodes. >> right now at


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