tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 8, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
on our broadcast tonight, taken down. two big household names mastercard and visa, taken down today on the web in an electronic war that has to do with wikileaks and its secretive founder who tonight remains in jail. flashpoint. violence has erupted in haiti on top of all the suffering there. tonight, american airlines has stopped all flights. we'll hear from our own ann curry, who is there. her legacy after a life of so much suffering. we look at what elizabeth edwards left behind to other women who are facing and fighting cancer. 30 years later after that awful night here in new york.
unheard until now, john lennon tonight in his own words. and some very bad news tonight ant another music legend, aretha franklin. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. good evening. it doesn't seem quite real, but the world is in the midst of a good evening. it doesn't seem quite real, but the world is in the midst of a kind of electronic war. the mysterious man who runs wikileaks and keeps his secrets in a military bunker is tonight in a london jail and today forces loyal to him took down the websites of mastercard and visa and there's no real telling where this ends. every day, we learn more previously confidential state secrets on the web for everybody to see. every day there's new diplomatic damage done. and now there's this counterattack going on, hitting big financial interests in the u.s., the same companies behind
the credit cards carried every day by millions of americans. our own peter alexander remains on this story and starts us off tonight from our london bureau. peter, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you. tonight, mastercard's website is back in service, and visa says it's working to restore its site. for a time today, both websites were offline, unavailable to users. the companies insist people's ability to use their cards securely was never affected. still, this is a new offensive on what's become a virtual battlefield. under attack, websites of some of the most familiar corporate names in the world, mastercard and visa, as well as paypal and this swiss bank. that have all recently pulled the plug on wikileaks. >> this is a david versus goliath battle and technology allows people to amass enough power that they can go against a major corporation. >> reporter: who's to blame? they're online activists rushing to wikileaks' defense. this evening, one hacker group calling itself anonymous shut down visa's website, tweeting
"fire, fire, fire, weapons." they call it operation payback. a paypal executive explained that his company suspended wikileaks' account after a state department sent a letter declaring the website's activity illegal. also affected, the website for the swedish prosecutor's office that issued julian assange's arrest warrant. >> last night it suddenly went down. >> reporter: and the lawyer for the two women accusing assange of sexual misconduct. >> if these hackers are clever, they can't be found. >> reporter: assange's lawyer insists wikileaks' founder, behind bars, did not orchestrate today's attacks. >> mr. assange does not have contact with wikileaks employees at all, let alone the outside world. >> reporter: wikileaks tweeted "we will not be gagged." in their release of sensitive diplomatic cables continues. the latest documents published in a british newspaper reveal the details of what a u.s. diplomat described as wild sex and drug parties hosted by the saudi royal family. despite international efforts to choke off funds to wikileaks, the controversial site is
mushrooming, with hundreds of identical mirror sites keeping them viable online. a fight that started over national security secrets is now spreading, threatening to affect anyone who goes online. and tonight, hackers are warning that twitter, the very social media outlet they use to post their threats, is now itself a target, brian, because they claim twitter is censoring their online community of supporters. >> it goes on. peter alexander starting us off from london tonight. peter, thanks. in other news tonight, we happen to know how many of you were so generous to haiti following our coverage of the earthquake there. haiti, as you know, has remained a very sad place. recovery has been so slow and now cholera has been spreading so fast and now violence has erupted there. we mentioned earlier american airlines has stopped all flights in and out. both airports are closed. a lot of roads are barricaded and moving around is not safe. our own ann curry is in haiti
and has our report tonight. ann? >> reporter: brian, thousands took to the streets here, accusing haiti's ruling party of election fraud. and u.n. forces engaged at one point, using flash grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets. fury poured into haiti's capital porta prns just minutes after the election results ten days ago were announced. protestors burned tires, set up roadblocks and torched vehicles. most of the rage comes from supporters of the presidential hopeful michelle martalese. they say their man was cheated and received more than the 21% of the vote announced by the electoral council. they also accuse the ruling party of haiti's current president of rigging the vote in favor of their candidate, who polls show was not expected to come close to winning. and many believe the ruling party stole the votes of people
killed in hatee's catastrophic january earthquake but were still registered to vote. some 230,000 people died that day. the party's headquarters was burned. nbc's frank thorpe in port-au-prince witnessed scenes of chaos. >> there are americans, expatriates, foreigners are locking themselves into their houses. because right now it's not a safe situation because of the violence. those houses not boarded up, the windows are smashed. buildings have been vandalized and the streets are impassable. cars can't drive. roads are completely blocked off. >> reporter: adding to the election anger is a cholera epidemic, which appears to be worsening. according to haitian health officials, about 2,100 people have now died from cholera. since the outbreak of the disease in october. and a new estimate by the world health organization projects about 650,000 haitians will
contract the disease within the next six months. and tonight, the u.s. embassy warned the situation remains dangerous and advises u.s. citizens to stay indoors until conditions stabilize. brian? >> ann curry in haiti for us tonight. thanks for your reporting. now we turn to the battle over taxes. taxes at bush era rates that president obama wants to extend as part of a deal which has riled some fellow democrats. kelly o'donnell following this all day, with us tonight from the capitol. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. and democrats are really in turmoil over this and the white house is turning up the pressure. the vice president was back here today to face angry house democrats who say they will not vote for it, because they believe it gives away too much to high earners and wealthy families planning for estate taxes. the white house says if this doesn't pass, the country could slip into double digit recession. that is a big worry.
the white house is using a new pr offensive, using its e-mail list to send out notices today from mayors and governors, people across the country who favor this as a way to turn up the pressure on democrats here who do get to vote. brian? >> kelly o'donnell on the hill tonight. kelly, thanks. another piece of business this lame duck democratic congress is trying to get done is passage of what's called the dream act. giving a path to legal citizenship to illegal immigrants. george lewis is covering this story in los angeles tonight. george, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the house of representatives is debating the dream act tonight and if it passes it heads to the senate, likely tomorrow where it faces tougher sledding. this as immigrant rights groups are pressing for passage of the measure. by the thousands, young people, who as children were brought here illegally by their
parents, have been going public in support of the dream act. that act would grant legal residency to undocumented high school grads who came to this country before they were 16 years old, have lived here for five years, and have no criminal records, if they attend college or serve in the military for two years. >> it would be a waste if they graduated from high school and they're not able to pursue higher education. >> reporter: he says only about 20% of undocumented students go to college now. but of those, 70% become student leaders. they include maria, student body vice president and honor student at fullerton community college, whose parents brought her here from ecuador at age 5. she wants to get a law degree. >> we want to contribute back to a society, a society that has been my own. >> reporter: but maria and her counterparts know that the dream
act faces tough opposition in congress and groups opposing immigration reform. >> to reward people who broke the law is complete nonsense, it's immoral and it's wrong. >> reporter: wrong, they contend, because these students would be competing for jobs against american citizens. >> so many dreams will be truncated, so many dreams and hopes for doing something for this country will not happen. >> reporter: they say they're undocumented and unafraid. but they also know many americans consider them unwanted. a lot of young people with high hopes and no papers are keeping a close eye on the congressional debate because their future is riding on it. brian? >> george lewis in our l.a. bureau tonight. george, thanks. back east, a baltimore man is accused of trying to blow up a military recruiting station just outside baltimore. the suspect, antonio martinez, also known as muhammad hussein, reportedly left what he thought was a car bomb outside the recruiting office.
the real truth is, the bomb was fake, part of an fbi sting operation. we mentioned this, our detroit tv station, wdiv, has confirmed aretha franklin has pancreatic cancer. the 68-year-old singer, the queen of soul, had surgery in late november. canceled her concert dates on the advice of her physicians. family friends say she's recovering well from the surgery and in a statement today, she thanked her doctors and nurses and all those who have kept her in their prayers. when our broadcast continues in a moment, elizabeth edwards' legacy. there are a lot of women alive today who will benefit from something she did. and then later on in our broadcast -- >> in 20 years i've worked very closely with two artists. paul mccartney and yoko ohno. >> on this 30th anniversary of his death here in new york, john lennon as you have never heard him before.
edwards who died of breast cancer yesterday at home in north carolina. her battle went on for six years. it was public and she never stopped campaigning for her own cause. breast cancer research. the story tonight from our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman. >> reporter: in 2007, having been in remission from breast cancer and working on her husband's presidential campaign, elizabeth edwards announced her cancer had returned, was advanced and malignant and she did it very publicly. >> every cancer survivor that you know personally has exactly that experience, of knowing that that pain they feel in their side, the ache they feel someplace could be the sign of something worse. this turned out to be. >> reporter: she took what for many is a private fight and made it public, testifying before congress as a patient about the need for universal health care. >> we have an obligation to, as human beings, to make certain we answer this call. >> reporter: issuing a call for
more medical research. >> research is going to save the lives of men and women who get cancer after i do. i believe strongly in trials. >> reporter: believed so strongly that she volunteered for a clinical trial. doctors collected her tumors and her continued transparency was an inspiration. >> she helped people by being so transparent, by actually looking straightforward at the issues, by not ducking them, by not avoiding what sometimes were some very difficult decisions. >> reporter: and now in the wake of her death, her legacy is noted by many, from the president of the united states who said mrs. edwards revealed the kind of fortitude and grace that will long remain a source of inspiration, to total strangers, including darlene gardner who runs a cancer support group and a wig store. >> i think she represented the courage in the face of this. we will never forget her. >> reporter: today, an
outpouring of messages about mrs. edwards, her courage and perseverance. among them, her doctor who praised her for her participation in that clinical trial, saying that only through this kind of partnership between patients and researchers will we finally put an end to cancer. brian, that means people of all different types. >> a legacy her family can be proud of. thank you, nancy. good to see you. up next, if you think your child is in shape because they play organized sports at school, you'll want to hear this next item.
a successful and history making launch today. nasa launched a private spacecraft into earth orbit. it's called space-x. it was launched from cape canaveral on top of a falcon 9 rocket. three hours later it came back to earth with a successful splashdown in the pacific. space-x could be used to get cargo to the space station, perhaps to transport astronauts now that the shuttle program is closing down. we've been reporting on the bout of lake-effect snow that's literally buried parts of ohio, pennsylvania, new york. tonight, we wanted to show you
specifically the case of our friends up in syracuse, new york. it started snowing in syracuse last saturday 6:04 a.m. and it snowed day and night, non-stop, around the clock until this morning at 5:14 a.m. that is 95 hours and 10 minutes of continuous snow. a record 39.6 inches in all. schools are closed. everybody is having a heck of a time getting around. and after a brief break today, it's been snowing again tonight. part of why they are the snow record setter annually among u.s. cities. some incredible videos where a luxury cruise ship with 88 passengers onboard was tossed like a bathtub toy. 20-foot seas. as you look at this, imagine what it was like to be onboard. a large wave hit the ship so hard that it broke windows and damaged the electronics, which
made it even tougher for the crew to navigate. no one was hurt, even in those swells. the ship is slowly making its way to port in argentina tonight. there is news tonight on what is already a topic of conversation in some american homes. it's a new study that shows that kids don't get enough exercise from organized team sports. in other words, just because they're athletes on a team in school does not mean they're in the best physical shape necessarily. on average, kids on soccer, baseball or softball teams exercised heavily only for about 45 minutes during practice. 15 minutes less than the amount recommended by national guidelines. still ahead here tonight, where were you on that awful night in 1980? tonight, words from john lennon never heard until our broadcast tonight.
lennon died in a hospital shortly after being shot outside his new york apartment tonight. a suspect is in custody, but has not been identified. again, john lennon is dead tonight of gunshot wounds at the age of 40. >> the voice of our long-time staff announcer fred facie. and with that, nbc went back to the "tonight" show on tape and a generation of americans would never really be the same. nor would our music. new york radio stations played his music all day today and they're playing music outdoors in the bitter cold tonight. here's the scene in strawberry fields in central park here in new york. it's across from where lennon lived and where people gathered that very night 30 years ago. tonight, we have something from john lennon no one has ever heard. an interview he gave "rolling stone" magazine three days before he was killed. here he talks about other musicians back then, one of them established, the other just emerging. so here now, for the first time anywhere, john lennon in his own words. ♪
♪ love is all you need >> think about this. anybody under 30 has never known a world that included john lennon. in that same interview, oddly lennon says he never wanted to become what he said people like james dean and sid vicious game, a dead hero. john lennon would have turned 70 years old this year.
that's our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. as always, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com . . let's take you outside for a live look. it is wet and it is miserable. bad commute for lots of drivers tonight. unfortunately, the storm is not over. good evening, everyone. i'm jessica agreery. >> and i'm garvin thomas. jeff ranieri is tracking the weather for us. jeff, how much more of this