tv NBC Nightly News NBC August 6, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
on the broadcast tonight, jobs wanted. new unemployment numbers show many americans still struggling in the jobs search. what will it take to get the economy going again? on fire, a major world capital like you have never seen it before. free man, after an emotional battle why the driver in a crash that killed three people is out of jail and back home. tonight's "making a difference" comes from one of you, a viewer who told us about neighbors giving a whole new meaning to the concept of family. "nightly news" starts now. captions paid for by captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. i'm lester holt. brian is on assignment. we want to begin here with a question millions of jobless and frustrated americans are asking tonight, what will it take to get companies to start hiring again? the question took on even greater urgency today with word the economy shed more than 130,000 jobs last month leaving the unemployment rate stuck at 9.5%. the news tonight is casting an ominous cloud over the future of the nation's economic recovery. nbc's lee cowan leads us off this evening with a painful reality for americans who are still pounding the pavement for work but coming up empty. >> reporter: for the unemployed, it is an economic broken record, 14 million americans were still hunting for work in july. for the last year and a half, stephanie carlino has been sending out a resume almost every single day. the light at the end of the economic tunnel just seems further and further away. >> it will come. it has to come. we are all due for a break on some level, i really believe that. >> reporter: the private sector did add jobs in july but only
71,000 of them. compare that to april when it was adding more than three times that much. >> this tells us it is going to be a long, hard, slow, climb back when it comes to adding jobs in this country. >> reporter: most telling -- the loss of government jobs. not just the temporary census workers at the federal level, but cutbacks at the local level. cash-strapped cities and counties shed more than 38,000 jobs last month alone. most of them in education. >> that is something that was unexpected. we didn't think it was in last month's data, it was revised into last month's data and it showed up big time in this month's data. >> reporter: government cutbacks that cast a long shadow. take arizona for example, it lost more jobs than almost any other state in the country. whether it is big cities or small towns, businesses just aren't hiring. sweet caesar's ice cream in prescott is flooded with resumes many from skilled workers willing to settle for even a part-time job.
>> some have pretty good background. >> reporter: but until he sees more confidence from consumers he is putting even the best job applicants on ice. >> i think we're on the edge of a cliff. i think we are ready to go into the abyss. >> reporter: not exactly a scoop of optimism. but in this climate, he says, dreams of a quick end to the recession are melting away. lee cowan, nbc news, prescott, arizona. this week's jobs report is not helping president obama make his case that we are in a recovery summer. nbc's chief white house correspondent chuck todd joins us now. chuck, any indication the president might reassess his economic strategy? >> right now, lester, there is no indication they're reassessing anything. in many cases you have the president pleading for patience, though he did make a pitch for a small business bill today in reaction to the jobs numbers. take a listen. >> sometimes you need some help in terms of cutting your tax
burden, that's what this bill does, and yet, a minority in the senate is standing in the way of giving our small business people an up-or-down vote on this bill. and that's a shame. >> reporter: well right now this is something that might only help on the margins, an attempt to try to see if they can get small businesses to start hiring again. i can tell you this, lester, there is a huge debate inside the administration. there are some that want a shiny, silver bullet of sorts, something new, maybe a second stimulus to maybe get more infrastructure money, money that would build new bridges and things like that. but right now, there doesn't seem to be the political will to try to get congress to do that in the fall. >> chuck, as we have been reporting, the debate is about to heat up over whether to extend the bush tax cuts. the president wants to extend those for the middle class, not the wealthiest americans. might that strategy change or might he be under more pressure? >> well he is going to feel a lot more pressure particularly from some moderate democrats in the senate and even some democrats in the house to at
least temporarily extend all of the tax cuts. we have already heard an extension of the middle-class tax cuts. but that tax cuts for the wealthiest, don't be surprised if the compromise ends up being something that says, all of the tax cuts for a year, may be two years, and the middle-class tax cuts permanently. lester? >> chuck todd at the white house tonight. chuck, thanks. on wall street today, stocks fell sharply after the jobs report. but they bounced back in the last hour of trading. the dow rallied more than 130 points. it finished down just over 21 points for the day. overseas tonight, a major world capital like we have never seen it. gripped by smoke and smog, so bad, people there say it is as if there is no air to breathe. again, tonight, nbc's jim maceda reports from the front lines of the russian wildfires burning out of control. tonight he is in kremlin square. >> reporter: today, moscow was a city under siege. its most iconic landmarks, red square, the kremlin, all consumed by a thick, soupy cloud
of smog and smoke. part of an 1,800 mile long swab of choking pollution from hundreds of wildfires many raging out of control. >> translator: it reminds me of the fall of pompeii, it's just awful, said this woman. leaving a capital city of 11 million who had seen hard times before, in shock. >> translator: the country is in ruins. now it is also burning, he said. even the russian president was stunned telling these ambulance workers when he woke up today and looked around what he saw was monstrous. indeed, the massive smog cloud couldn't be stopped, creeping into buildings, even the subway. health officials warned people to stay indoors and with carbon monoxide levels five times above average to venture outside with protective masks. >> translator: we wear masks, put wet clothes on windows nothing special, nothing helps said this student. some offices and schools closed early for the weekend. but there was no escaping at least not by air, dozens of
flights were grounded or diverted to other airports as far away as ukraine. by evening there was still no let up, which didn't stop these tourists. >> it's hard to breathe. it hurts your eyes. no oxygen. but, you know, you want to see the city, go see the city. >> reporter: and tonight, forecasters say the record heat wave that triggered the wildfires and siege of smoke could go on for weeks. jim maceda, nbc news, moscow. also on the brink tonight, pakistan, where millions of people, new estimates say 12 million, are pretty much having to fend for themselves after surviving the worst floods in 80 years. the u.s. is part of the aid effort, but as nbc's stephanie gosk reports from one of many small towns hit hard, there are simply too many desperate people and not enough help to go around. >> reporter: when the river surged on the small farming village, the houses didn't stand a chance. the villagers, 4,000 of them, scrambled and found higher ground but little else.
over a week later, life has not improved. there are still few real tents. some improvise with plastic sheets, scraps of cloth, and twigs. once a day a charity group delivers a meal and a little clean water. but it is not enough. there is real hunger here. so when a small truck with the promise of more food rolled in today, everyone took chase. it was filled with a random and meager mix, juice boxes, plastic water containers and toilet paper put together by local volunteers because they say the government isn't helping. >> when the flood came here in the start, only the local people had support for these people. >> reporter: fearing mobs, organizers forced everyone into a line. it very quickly fell apart. the problem right now is that there is not enough to go around. as much as they try to control this crowd, everyone waiting here knows that.
>> reporter: swarmed by hungry and now angry villagers, the truck pulled away. this time they made everyone sit. but that didn't work either. mud-covered children begged while their fathers battled. volunteers used plastic rods and sticks to beat them back. this man was one of the lucky ones, he grabbed an apple juice. >> the government has not provided anything. everyone is hungry. kidney and stomach problems are spreading. >> reporter: the man's family was celebrating his brother's wedding with a party at home when the flood hit. he showed me where he lives now. the only thing rescued from the mud was the family's new couch. he stays here because he won't leave an elderly father behind. his story is not unique, everyone here has lost everything. and the rain keeps falling. stephanie gosk, nbc news, northwest pakistan. in the gulf of mexico, bp says the cement job on the blown out well is holding but the company is still going to complete the relief well to finish the job from the bottom. the final phase of the relief
drilling resumed today with about 100 feet to go before they intersect the damaged well. by the way, bp also hinted today that they may return to drill a new well in the same reservoir. back at the white house, president obama hosted a ceremony in the east room, celebrating, elena kagan's confirmation as the nation's next supreme court justice. >> justice kennedy assured me he would keep justice kagan out of trouble and justice ginsburg assured me she would get justice kagan into trouble. so we'll see how that works out. >> i also, very much, enjoyed meeting with 83 senators. but really, who's counting? and enjoyed learning more about their concerns, their interests,
and their deep commitments to public service. >> kagan will be sworn in tomorrow at the supreme court. we'll be covering the story of course. at the end of today's ceremony as the audience clapped for kagan, the president leaned in and told her, "soak it in, i'm not sure they're allowed to clap in the supreme court." when "nightly news" continues in just a moment, sent to jail after a fatal car accident. but was it a mistake? the incredible twist of the saga next. and later, an extraordinary act of kindness that is making a difference for an entire family.
now, to minnesota, and a story of a terrible car accident a case of sudden acceleration. three people were killed and a driver of a toyota was sentenced to eight years in prison. but now that man's story has taken an incredible turn. we get the details from joe fryer of our minneapolis affiliate, kare. >> reporter: he was simply driving his family home from church on a saturday afternoon in 2006, when koua fong lee's car accelerated hitting another instantly changing the lives of two families. >> i never intended for this to happen. >> investigators figured lee's 1996 toyota camry was going 70 to 90 miles an hour when it slammed into a stopped car ultimately three people were killed. lee told police his brakes did not work. >> translator: i know that lives were lost that day, but i did everything within my power to try to stop that vehicle.
>> reporter: prosecutors argued he stepped on the gas, and a jury found him guilty of criminal vehicular homicide. but when toyota started recalling vehicles because of a sudden acceleration problem, lee asked for a new trial even though his car was not part of the recall. after a hearing this week, the judge ordered lee's release, citing new evidence in a flawed trial defense and ruled in favor of a new trial. then came a stunning announcement. >> i think it is time to bring this very sad situation to a close. >> reporter: the county attorney announced she would not seek a new trial. >> it's over. done. >> reporter: lee was a free man for good. grateful for his release, lee wants the victims' families to know he tried to avoid the accident. >> i also would ask them to
forgive me and to believe me. >> reporter: they have forgiven him, even if they still don't know what caused the crash. >> it its a bittersweet victory. i am happy for the lee family they're getting their justice. and it's just -- we just -- we want answers. >> couldn't let an innocent man sit in jail, no matter how much we want to know what happened, this is just the beginning. >> reporter: for now lee is focused with reuniting with his wife and four children. >> it's a long time, very long time. and they don't know me. >> reporter: lee is with his family and after 2 1/2 years, says his new goal is to teach his kids the meaning of the word daddy. joe fryer, for nbc news, minneapolis. when "nightly news" continues in just a moment, the new targets in mexico's drug war and why the stakes are so high for everyone.
we are back now with a serious warning tonight in mexico where journalists are being told to wear body armor and hire security to do their jobs. in fact, mexico is now one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. 30 have been killed since 2006 when president felipe calderon launched his crackdown of the drug cartels. now the cartels have launched a new campaign of intimidation. our report tonight from mexico city and jose diaz ballard of our spanish language network telemundo. >> reporter: a car packed with explosives parked on a public street. an explosion. this is not iraq, not afghanistan, it's mexico. two car bombs in less than a month, the most recent one
yesterday, is not the only new drug cartel tactic, now they're targeting the country's national media trying to control how journalists cover the drug war. for national mexican journalists everything changed on the 26th of july. four of their own were kidnapped by narco gang members and a to few hours later a call to this newsroom with demands. kidnapped cameraman javier carreras, told his bosses, in exchange for his life and freedom his captors wanted him to broadcast video implicating a rival cartel with police corruption. millennial's director of news, carlos zuniga says his team faced a dilemma. run the video or reject the cartel's demands and risk his life. in the end the choice was made not to broadcast the video on milenial's national news channel, but only on their regional station. there is an increasing feeling across mexico that press freedom has become the latest casualty in the drug war. >> translator: in many parts of our country journalism is dead. we are in a very fragile phase of our democracy in which many
cities are living under fire. and our society is living under fear. >> reporter: among many towns bordering the u.s., the cartel's campaign of intimidation has resulted in an unofficial news blackout. >> translator: in certain places people are getting phone calls where they're asked to publish certain types of photos that they publish certain types of information that they don't publish certain types of information. >> reporter: for years now, local journalists have known that failure to heed their demands often results in kidnappings, beatings, torture and even death. >> they're intimidating society, they have been intimidating the press and a direct challenge to the state. not a cops and robbers problem anymore, we have a national security problem with organized crime. >> reporter: a problem with grave and increasingly deadly implications. jose dias ballard, nbc news, mexico city. david dolby died today, he was a recipient of a medal of honor. he fought for this country in vietnam. in 1967, president lyndon johnson presented him with the highest award given to those who acted with uncommon and selfless courage.
as dolby did during four hours of intense combat in vietnam in 1966. staff sergeant dolby passed away this morning in idaho. he was 64. there are now just 87 living medal of honor recipients. >> up next, a remarkable story brought to us by one of you about a family's extraordinary act of kindness that is making a difference for a young woman they barely knew.
time for our "making a difference" report, and tonight the story of a young woman who found herself in a very unhappy situation. through a combination of coincidence and a family with some very loving and open hearts she has been given a new life. it's a family who found they're making a difference in more ways than they could have imagined. here is nbc's claire duffy. >> reporter: what makes a family? it is a question donna and judson emmonds never had trouble answering. >> one of the reasons we're here on this planet is to help other people. >> reporter: and haley cane needs help. all that judson, donna, and even 3-year-old nadia have to give. donna never forgot the little girl with cerebral palsy she met working for the head start
program, even after haley moved away. >> she was just full of love. full of laughter. >> can i have a kiss? >> reporter: even when there were to reasons to laugh. cerebral palsy was one of the many challenges life dealt haley cane. an unsettled family situation meant that few relatives could provide the care she needed for long. so at age 21, haley was placed in a nursing home. a mental disability might have qualified haley for a more suitable group home. instead the high school graduate found herself with an elderly roommate and seemingly no way out. >> what was it like? >> depressing. depressing, you know. you're the only 21-year-old. and having -- you know, the residents like you. >> reporter: there she might have stayed until a story in the local paper caught judson's eye. he said, do you know who this is? i said, that's haley bug. i said, where is she? he said, this is going to break your heart.
>> reporter: judson and donna knew what they had to do. >> i said, haley, i don't know how we are going to do it but promise you we are getting you out of here. >> i cried. it meant the world. that's what i wanted. >> reporter: they want to give haley a home for life. even if it means losing her medicaid benefits. benefits she'd keep if she stayed in the nursing home. >> when it hits close to home. that's when people start asking questions. >> reporter: commissioner boswell says with state budgets squeezed to the breaking point, programs for the disabled are often a target. >> even if you want to change the way the system is -- i don't know that the state could change everything. >> reporter: judson and donna aren't easily discouraged. >> good job. >> i can promise you this, haley by far blesses us more than we do her. by far. >> reporter: and that's what makes a family. >> wait for me. i don't have legs, remember! claire duffy, nbc news. that's our broadcast for this friday night.
thank you for being with us. i am lester holt in for brian williams. he will be back on monday. in the meantime, i'll see you tomorrow morning on "today" and then right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com it doesn't seem like there is going to be any harm to the state, but there's a real harm to people who have a right being denied them now. that's the reason we feel in this case a stay is not property. >> big developments today in the prop-8 case. good evening,