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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  August 3, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on the broadcast here tonight, up in the air. tens of thousands of american workers not getting a paycheck. they're off the job tonight because congress didn't do its job. hard times. the outlook this evening for lots of other americans looking for work. plus, stunning news about how many people in this country need help just to put food on the table. judgment day. on a stretcher, locked ia cage, hosni mubarak after the revolution goes on trial. and ending on a high note, how do you spend your lunch hour? we'll show you what this guy does that makes people stop in their tracks. "nightly news" begins now.
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captions paid for by nbc-universal television right about now the anger of the american people toward their elected representatives in washington is at a modern day high. in a down economy, people don't see the debate we have all witnessed as relevant to their lives. we just watched congress finish their business on the debt ceiling increase, heaving a sigh of relief, but as we have been reporting, they left washington without resolving in a standoff that resulted in thousands of american workers being thrown off the job. this has to do with the faa, the folks in charge of our air travel. congress can't agree on their funding so a lot of projects have stopped. and in this job market, people need the work. we begin here tonight with nbc's lisa myers. >> reporter: construction at a new airport tower in oakland is at a standstill. among more than 200 projects halted. in all, 70,000 construction
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workers have been laid off. luka toscano had to deliver the bad news to his workers in brooklyn. >> it is telling them, looking them in their face is like telling it to their families, sorry, we can't feed you today. it is hard feelings. >> reporter: today, the president called on congress to stop the bickering, stop hurting the economy. >> this is a lose-lose-lose situation that can be easily solved if congress gets back into town and does its job. >> reporter: but today, congress appeared stuck in the blame game. >> unfortunately republicans continue to practice the politics of confrontation and hostage taking. >> reporter: republicans are insisting that any bill to temporarily fund the faa also cuts subsidies for flights to rural airports. the government has had to subsidize every ticket to keep service running to many small airports. >> it is as if someone puts a gun to your head and says, give me your money. >> reporter: republicans charge that democrats have only themselves to blame. house speaker john boehner said,
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the only reason so many jobs are at stake is senate democratic leaders chose to play politics. yesterday, the administration had urged senate democrats to just give in to the house. they refused. today, the pressure was on both sides. >> come back to washington. leave your vacations. just for a couple of hours, come back, congress! >> reporter: for 4,000 furloughed faa workers, all this is tough to swallow. >> that's very scary. i got a mortgage payment. i got two kids in college. i got student loans to pay. >> it seems the political party games are getting in the way of real people. >> reporter: and unless something gives, tens of thousands of workers will be without jobs for at least five weeks. and the government stands to lose more than a billion dollars in airline ticket taxes. brian? >> lisa myers starting us off at national airport tonight. lisa, thanks. we got another indicator of
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the extent of the jobs problem across the country today. a stunning jump in layoffs, which is the last thing you want to hear if you're unemployed or in a small business struggling to get by. nbc's john yang has our report from chicago. >> reporter: the more than 66,000 new job cuts announced in july were the most layoffs since march 2010 when the impact of the recession was hitting full force. more than half came from just five companies including defense giant lockheed martin, merck one of the world's biggest drugmakers and electronics giant cisco systems, all industries that had been going strong. >> these big layoffs are putting more fear into everybody that is reducing job security, consumer confidence, and that's not good for the economy. >> do you need some help, sir. >> reporter: things aren't much better at small businesses like brownie's hardware in san francisco. it survived the 1906 earthquake and fire, but second generation owner steve cornell worries about surviving this economy.
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>> sometimes i lose sleep at night wondering will i be able to fund my payroll tomorrow and how can i do it? i don't want the checks to bounce. >> reporter: a new survey out today from the national small business association found that 88% of business owners expect the economy to be flat or in a recession over the next 12 months. only 29% say they expect to hire in that time. >> because they're not hiring individuals don't see the chances for them to get jobs in the future, so they're not spending. >> i got a great resume. >> reporter: sharon tatra has been out of work since january 2010. her unemployment benefits run out in six weeks. >> i have to remain positive, and be able to write cover letters and promote myself and try to get a job and not be in the fetal position on the floor crying my eyes out like i'm tempted to do. >> reporter: without her benefits, she doesn't know how she'll pay her rent or buy food. >> you kind of grow up thinking if you're a good person, and you
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work hard, and you're honest, that things will work out. >> reporter: analysts say there is growing evidence that this economy is at a tipping point, and it could continue on this two steps forward, one step back recovery or it could slip back into a recession. brian? >> john yang in chicago tonight. john, thanks. we saw some astounding new numbers that came out today. they showed the number of americans relying on food stamps has hit another all-time record. these numbers would come as a huge disappointment to president lyndon johnson, who launched his war on poverty back in 1964. nearly 46 million of your fellow citizens are receiving food stamp assistance. that represents 21 million american households. numbers went up in 49 out of 50 states. nowhere more than alabama, which saw 120% surge in food stamp use. listen to this, 36% of the state's population now receiving government food aid, over a third of the people in that state. the department of agriculture suspects the increase can be
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attributed at least part time to the tuscaloosa tornado. and we are continuing to track the path of tropical storm emily tonight. it has now brushed past puerto rico, targeting the dominican republic and haiti where more than half a million people, remember, are still living in makeshift shelters after last year's earthquake. as for florida, portions of which are in emily's possible projected path, latest forecast from the national hurricane center tells us any impact from emily won't be felt there until saturday afternoon. problem for much of the country tonight continues to be extreme heat. a deadly heat wave now in its second month with excessive heat warnings in effect across the country tonight and 18 states hitting temperatures above 100 degrees today alone. nbc's lee cowan is in blisteringly hot phoenix, arizona, tonight, with more. >> reporter: phoenix knows hot. but with a predicted high of 115
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today, even the desert loving ostriches at the zoo had to be hosed down. >> i lived here my whole life and even for me it gets hotter and hotter every summer. >> reporter: arizona joins at least 17 other states today that topped the century mark. 12 are in excessive heat warning tonight, all putting a drain on power grids burning up from overuse. >> drinking close to 90 ounces of water a day. a lot. >> reporter: the suffering was everywhere. in dallas, the heat wave logged its 33rd day in a row with temperatures over 100. >> it feels like the worst one so far. i've been here 15 years. >> reporter: but misery over the mercury is more than just a physical discomfort here in arizona and texas and oklahoma. it is just contributing to one of the worst droughts since the 1950s. >> nothing can grow. everything is dying on the vine, in the fields, and ranchers are setting their cattle to market early because they don't have enough grain and water to feed them. >> reporter: in georgia, it has been so hot they're holding
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football practice before sunup. a precaution after a player collapsed and later died. from a mother's loss to losses in the field to a simple loss of patience, the heat is taking its toll. lee cowan, nbc news, phoenix. now overseas, to what is by any measure a breathtaking fall from power, hosni mubarak was egypt's longest-serving ruler, 30 years until he was toppled in the people's revolution in february. it was just this past february 1st when we arrived in cairo to cover what was at first a joy-fueled protest, the start of arab spring. then it turned violent and ended up, though, turning mubarak out of office, into exile in his own country. well, today he was wheeled into a courtroom in cairo to face justice, accused of conspiring to kill his own people and from the start, he was defiant. nbc's martin fletcher has our report. >> reporter: it is so hard to imagine hosni mubarak on trial, but outside the court this
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morning, egyptians began hurling stones in anger, assuming the military wouldn't bring him. but the helicopter flew in from his hospital, and an ambulance, and then this shocking historic image, hosni mubarak, 83 years old, once america's great ally, called the modern pharaoh, helpless on a stretcher, locked in a metal cage. his two sons also charged with corruption, using their bodies to block cameras from filming their father. the key charge today read, mubarak is accused of killing demonstrators during the uprising against him. mubarak's response, he said, all these accusations, i deny them all. if he is found guilty of ordering the shooting that killed 850 protesters, mubarak could face the death penalty. good, this man said, watching the trial on tv. mubarak's men shot him in the leg. he says if i could strangle them, i would. mubarak will die in the end.
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just about everybody with a tv now is watching it. we're being taken now to the home of ahmed. your friend, yes, he's 21 years old. he was killed by mubarak's people. but his mother wouldn't talk to us, she said it is too painful. another victim's mother did outside the courthouse. she said, i didn't expect to see mubarak in a cage, humiliated. now i thank god. now i can sleep. mubarak, behind bars, may warm the hearts of many egyptians, but it sends a chilling message to arab leaders, like moammar gadhafi in libya who says he'll fight to the end and bashar assad in syria who said the same. each has killed and wounded thousands of his own countrymen and could one day face the same fate as hosni mubarak. martin fletcher, nbc news, cairo. now to our ongoing coverage of the largest human tragedy on earth now, the drought and growing famine in the horn of africa, especially somalia, where three more regions were officially designated famine
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zones just today. this disaster has triggered a tide of refugees and of people responding to help. nbc's kate snow is covering this story from dadaab in kenya. >> reporter: it is an unforgiving place, the baron land where 70-year-old halima hussein muhammad built this hut herself. every night she worries about her seven grandkids. every morning she sees footprints. you're worried about hyenas, lions. last night, they heard a thief approaching their food supply. i chased him off with a stick, he tells me. it is life on the fringe. this is the outer most edge of one of the camps and out that way, 60 miles of nothingness, all the way to the somalia border. the u.n. is struggling to move refugees out of this area to safer settlements, giving out firewood so women and children won't have to roam the desert. these little girls tell me they're happy they don't have
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chores like that any more. they come from a part of somalia controlled by the militant islamic group al shabab. he says men with guns threatened to kill him if he tried to leave for kenya, so they fled in the middle of the night. the first thing they did was they looted our property and stole our animals and took our farms, he says. inside somalia, only a small trickle of aid is allowed in by al shabab, mogadishu's government-controlled hospital is packed. back in kenya, the director of this hospital says one of the hardest things is convincing parents who have never seen an iv to trust the doctors. this ward is filled with children who have just started to respond to treatment. ibrahim sometimes has nightmares about them. how will they be tomorrow? but saving a child like lulu ali is what keeps the staff going. she may be tiny, but her dad
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says his 4-year-old is looking much better. kate snow, nbc news, dadaab, kenya. and we had early warning of this last night. now it is an official government recall in this country. 36 million pounds of cargill ground turkey, some contaminated with salmonella, believed responsible for at least 76 illnesses nationwide and one death in the state of california. up next, as we continue along the way here on a wednesday night, a father's fight for justice after what happened to his son was captured on video. tonight, the outrage is growing. later, the worries that a crucial part of a morgan freeman film classic may die of natural causes. cc1:ti
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this next story started out with a video posted on youtube. it didn't show much, but we later learned it showed the story of how a homeless man apparently died at the hands of police in fullerton, california. and the incident now has an entire community in an uproar. the report tonight from nbc's george lewis. >> reporter: kelly thomas was a 37-year-old homeless drifter who liked to hang out around the main bus station. after being beaten by police last month, he died. >> citizens are being beat to death. >> it was murder. >> reporter: at a contentious city council meeting last night, people called for the police involved in the incident to be criminally charged. >> game's over. >> reporter: they're riled up over videos of the incident posted on youtube. on a bus security camera, witnesses can be heard commenting on the six officers hitting thomas. >> they're pulling his hair, kicking the [ bleep ] out of him. >> reporter: this one shot by a witness is indistinct, but thomas can be heard calling out
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for his father. >> screaming, begging for his life, telling the officers, i'm sorry, i'm sorry. god, help me, please. and then, of course, the end of it, last thing in his life were dad, dad. >> reporter: kelly thomas' father ron, a former orange county sheriff's deputy has been an active participant in all of the protests over his son's death. this security camera mounted near the bus station could provide the best view of what happened between kelly thomas and police. it has a clear perspective of the area where the incident took place. but because the incident is under investigation, neither the district attorney nor the fbi will release the video. the mayor is urging everyone in fullerton to calm down. >> it almost has gotten to a lynch type of mob. and you can't do that. >> reporter: the six officers have been placed on administrative leave. a lawyer hired by them says thomas was resisting, and says
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police were not using excessive force. as the sorrow continues, and the anger builds here. george lewis, nbc news, fullerton, california. and when we come back here tonight, an update on last night's drama in new york city. :
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couple of items here tonight beginning with late word from l.a. of the death of former nfl great bubba smith.
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he played for the super bowl champion baltimore colts, later for the raiders and oilers. turned to acting later in life, including the role of hightower in the "police academy" movies. bubba smith was 66 years old. if you were flying the low cost all coach airline flybe in scotland a while back and thought you saw william and catherine a few rows away, well, that was them. they flew the airline back from their cousin's wedding. their tickets were around $60. william's brother harry flew the decidedly no frills easy jet, though he reportedly paid $16 to check his military duffel bag, proving the royals are just like regular people. the people of pittsburgh are being told tonight if they hear gunfire or explosions or other mayhem, it is just batman. the latest sequel is being filmed in that city, using the skyline as a backdrop. they are expecting, though, some calls to 911.
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and a modern day hollywood classic is in the news. there it is. if you saw "the shawshank redemption," you remember the tree. if you haven't seen the movie, we won't give anything away here, but it is a critical part of the story. sadly, the real tree in a state park in mansfield, ohio, has been badly damaged in a severe storm. it is 175 years old, and it may not make it. the old oak tree, turns out, was full of decay in the middle, suffered a bad split in high winds. and we left you hanging last night with the plight of the peacock who escaped from the central park zoo, sat on a window ledge on fifth avenue in new york for the longest time. our flying logo, as we refer to the bird, eventually got hungry, went back home because you can't beat the peacock menu at the central park zoo. when we come back here tonight, if you don't think construction workers can be highly entertaining, you haven't met this construction worker.
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finally tonight, every now and then something happens in the big city to surprise you. take new york. there is this massive construction project going on here in manhattan. they're building a new subway
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line on the east side. great for jobs, but the mess and the noise have made life difficult for the neighbors. but from this big dig, a hidden gem has emerged to cheer the local folks at the same time every day. his story tonight from nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: it is four years and counting for this cacophonous assault on manhattan's genteel upper east side. >> walking down the street like this. >> reporter: an urban symphony known as the second avenue subway project. a headache-inducing chorus of cranes, generators and sirens. until this iron worker puts up the mike and turns on his karaoke machine. this sound soothes the savage new yorker. ♪ hey, baby what's your hurry ♪ >> reporter: foreman gary russo turns grimaces into smiles on his lunch break. ♪ how i longed >> i never knew the power of the smile.
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honestly it is such a great gift. >> reporter: even his crew sitting in what they call the orchestra section is impressed. do you have a favorite song he sings? >> yes. >> mac the night. ♪ the shark bait >> reporter: in two weeks, russo has gone from a shower singer to a quarter million hits on youtube, talking to reporters about his frank sinatra-like sound. >> the comparison is overwhelming. >> reporter: building a fan base in the worst acoustics imaginable. and how much longer do they have to listen to this? at least until december 2016, another five noisy years. for russo, this isn't about money or fame, but realizing at 50 he needs to do what he loves. >> don't worry about getting paid. don't worry about, you know, is it hard and just do it. >> reporter: his job and his passion moving new yorkers. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. >> ever hear the expression,
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only in new york? that's our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- right now at 6:00, a rescue mission in the bay aft boat capsize. what we're learning about the men on board. >> downtown san low day restaurant is it violating the u.s. constitution? we'll take a look, only on nbc bay area coming up. an east bay teenager accused of faking his own kidnapping. police are on his trail, after he pretended to be abducted. what they say his motivation was.


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