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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  April 8, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on the broadcast tonight, countdown. a government shutdown could be hours away. tonight in the final hours, two words at the center of the debate. planned parenthood. hitting home hard. many americans already ticked off about a possible shutdown and the many military families who fear what it would mean for them. manhunt for a possible serial killer. what his female victims had in common. and making a difference. a man that knows getting people jobs is really giving them a chance. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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good evening, i'm kate snow. in tonight for brian williams. with the clock ticking toward a government shutdown, there are signs at this hour that there may be a deal in the works, but still no specifics, and unless that agreement comes, the federal government will stop operating at midnight eastern time. if that happens, here are some of the biggest issues. u.s. military service members would not be paid. while congress and the president would still get their paychecks. and it is tax season, but refund checks would be delayed for taxpayers who filed paper returns. take a look at the web cam shot. these are some othe treasured places in the nation that will be off limited if the government shut down. the statue of liberty, the national zoo, and sequoia and yellowstone national parks.
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let's begin with nbc's kelly o'donnell on capitol hill with the very latest. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: good evening. the final hours of the budget mess have been filled with hints of optimism and lots of finger pointing. there had been some discussion that democrats believed they had a deal for somewhere around $38 billion in cuts this year. republicans rejected that and it's been several hours since we have seen the leaders come forward. at the washington monument, the last tourists have filed out and the first signs to arrived that it's not business as usual. while only a few have been in the negotiating room, the fight belonged to everyone with news conferences all over capitol hill. >> frankly, it's an embarrassing moment for the congress of the united states. an embarrassing moment i think for the american people. >> it's not fair for the american public to be held hostage to a senate that is unwilling to work with us. >> reporter: today, democrats framed the budget disagreement
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with two words, women's health. >> what is this over? it's over women's health. >> the fact that republicans have made this about women's health and not about money or anything controversial is really a shame. >> that's all about the republican demand to eliminate federal funding for family planning clinics, including planned parenthood. which performs some abortions. democrats argue that taxpayer money can not be used for abortion but provides medical and preventative care. >> we're not going to throw women under the bus to give them an agreement to keep the government open. >> the republican strategy has leveraged the importance of planned parenthood to democrats to get the biggest spending cuts possible. john boehner even avoided saying the word abortion and insisted that was not the sticking point. >> most of the policy issues have been dealt with, and the big fight is over the spending. >> republicans say their battle is about where to make cuts and how deep. >> we're not going to roll over
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and sell out the american people like it's been done time and time again here in washington. >> with just a couple hours until the deadline, both parties say they have contingency shortterm plans to get through the weekend that they could pass but both sides only belieonly iy believe a real deal is close. >> kelly o'donnell on capitol hill tonight. the people who may bear the brunt of this shutdown are the ones who least deserve it, the millions of military servicemen and women and their families. on top of being stress out be repeated deployments to afghanistan and iraq, now word they may have to worry about their next paycheck. ron motte joins me now from ft. bragg, north carolina. good evening, ron. >> reporter: kate, good evening to you. ft. bragg is home to the 82nd airborne division. and thousands of service members and their family. at this post and other posts and bases around the country and around the world, a lot of military families knows if the government closes, their paychecks stop.
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this man is in the 82nd airborne at ft. bralg and his wife is a government contract worker. married last summer, their savings are small, and a government shutdown will put a big strain on their wallets. >> my feeling is scared and worried. where i am, i'm not sure what to do. >> and they're far from alone. with more than 5 million people, armed forces members, their spouses and children headed to financial uncertainty. defense secretary robert gates tried to clear up any confusion over military pay. >> the good news is you will get paid. the bad news is you may not get paid on time. >> it's a kick in the teeth. >> this woman's husband was a national guardsman wounded in iraq. she said their finances took a hit when he was deployed and now this. >> you think about your family has a paycheck and health insurance and a place to live and you think it's okay and then all of a sudden it's not okay. and then you wonder what you
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have been doing all these years. it's a slap in the face. >> frustration and fear are in ample supply in military towns across the country. >> in texas. >> we stand to lose our house or everything if you hold our bay pack for two months or a month or two weeks. it's not right. >> in michigan. >> just because we don't get our paycheck, we still get bills that come. >> in florida. >> i really don't care about afghanistan right now because i'm wondering if my wife and kids are being fed at home. >> back near ft. bragg, richard fontenot is retiring from active duty soon with newfound regrets for the comrades he leaves behind. >> being there's still work and there's still an operation in iraq and afghanistan, we should be exempt from all this. >> one military operation that will be left unaffected by a government shutdown is the v.a., the veteran's administration which treats more than 8 million vet at more than 100 million hospitals and clinics over the countries, but family members of service members who die will not
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be paid until after a shutdown ends. >> across the country, americans were talking today about disrupted spring vacations, lack of needed services, and a whole lot of uncertainty. kevin tibbles is in chicago tonight. >> reporter: kate, there is a lot of confusion. will i get my passport in the mail? will my tax refund turn up on time? that confusion is turning into a anger directed at the nation's capital. if it's iconic and american, chances are it will be closed. from the statue of liberty. >> it's devastating. this is a major symbol which we should always be able to see. >> to washington and its monuments. >> it's terrible they're going to shut down. >> to the revered yellow stone national park. >> i want them to settle the budget mess and act like adults. >> what is becoming clear as the seconds tick away is many people like chelsea sharp may be left in the lurch. >> i might not be able to get my
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passport to go on my mission trip this summer. >> 40% of americans seeking mortgages apply for federal loans. those, too, will be frozen. >> april, may, and june are the three biggest months of the entire year, and this is not the time to challenge the mortgages out there. >> and if you're waiting for a tax refund, your patience should be tested further. >> it could be if you recently paper filed your return, there may be a delay. >> we drop by a chicago seniors cafe where the talk over cards and coffee grew quite caustic. >> what do they need to shut down for? they're leaving everybody up the creek without a paddle. >> i think if the average american did their job the way congress is doing theirs, they would be fired. >> the government should be for us and it isn't. >> no, it is not the way to run a country. >> at least one patron want to do whatever it takes to balance the budget. >> even if it means shutting down the government? >> yes. >> shutting it down? >> shutting it down. >> shut her down? >> yep.
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>> there are some 75,000 federal employees in chicago alone. many of them tonight are worried at the stroke of midnight, they will be furloughed without pay. >> kevin tibbles in chicago, thank you. a lot of outrage out there. at this hour, exactly where do things stand in washington? our chief white house correspondent chuck todd joins me now. what's the very latest? >> we're this close. they basically have the outlines of a deal at this point. they're now looking to dot some is and cross some ts. they have agreed to drop the controversy rider, as it's called, about planned parenthood, no money going to planned parenthood or any medical clinic that did abortions even if it was paid for with private funds, and at this point, they're arguing over about a billion dollars. the deal could mean additional cuts of $39 billion.
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the white house moved their number to $38 billion to drop the rider, essentially. the republicans wanted to extract $1 billion more in cuts, and now they're arguing or debating and negotiating where to do those cuts. are they going to come from some pentagon budget? where in the budget are some of the cuts going. a deal could be announced within the hour, and if one is reached, we will expect to hear from the president giving us the outplins of it. >> tlaung so much. >> turning overseas to the rebellion in libya and the growing attention between the anti-gadhafi rebels and nato. nato acknowledged they hit a rebel convoy killing several rebel fighters. it was the second friendly fire instant in weeks. but as stephanie reports, an appaology was hard to come by.
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>> reporter: friday prayers turns to friday funerals. the jet fighters hit oil tanks outside of brega on thursday morning, killing at least five and wounding more than a dozen. today, nato blamed confusion on the ground and said they didn't even know they were using tanks. >> i'm not apologizing. the situation on the ground, as i said, was extremely fluid and remains extremely fluid. >> but the commander of the rebel forces said they had told nato of the tanks. their first real use of heavy armor since the fighting began. >> translator: it is difficult to strike by mistake 20 tanks deployed in the desert. >> nato did eventually offer up an apology this afternoon, but the damage was done, and perhaps some lessons learned. rebels painted bright stripes on their vehicles, hoping nato wouldn't make any new mistakes just before the shelling began again. for the second day in a row,
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gadhafi loyalists hit the western edge of the city with artillery. this is the last major town on the road to the rebel capital of benghazi. it has come under attack twice in the last two weeks with the latest round of shelling, streets are completely deserted. this family had just returned thinking their city was safe. >> translator: we came back a couple cdays ago. we managed to wash and get a change of clothes. >> now the family of eight is leaving again. rebel forces stay behind to keep this town from gadhafi's hands, still hoping nato will help them do it. the situation in libya was one factor adding to a shocking jump in the price of oil today. it rose $2.49 on the day to close at $112.79 a barrel. gas prices are surging as well with the national average for regular unleaded hitting $3.74 a
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gallon today. on wall street, the dow was down more than 29 points. when we come back, the search for one missing woman leads to a hunt for a possible serial killer. and later, good jobs at good wages for some workers who have shown just how able they are. it's our "making a difference" report. "making a difference" report. i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer. if you have painful, swollen joints, i've been in your shoes. one day i'm on p of the world... the next i'm saying... i have this thing called psoriatic arthritis.
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here is peter alexander. >> reporter: what started as a hunt along long island's south shore, an effort to find a missing prostitute named shannon gilbert, has quickly evolved into a gruesome murder mystery. the first discovery last december when investigators found four bodies in three days, then late last months, another body, then this week, the remains of three more. >> we're doing as thorough a search as we can. a diligent, systematic, and thorough search. >> detectives say the first four women found were the victims of a serial killer, all of them prostitutes in their 20s who advertised for clients on craig's list, including kimberly's sister, amber costello. >> it's sad, and i just wanted to get a chance to see where my sister was. >> these grim discoveries mark the third serial killer murders involving prostitutes here on long island in more than two decades. for now, the scenic beach-front communities are deserted, their residents stunned.
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gilbert, just 24, was seen running away from a home here the night she disappeared last december and then showed up at gus' door asking for help. >> someone screaming and banging on the door, "help me, help me." i said, i'm calling the police, and she bolted out the door. >> next week, investigators will expand their search into a neighboring county and tell the gilbert family they won't stop searching until shannon is found. peter alexander, nbc news. one of the most recognizable names in baseball, slugger manny ramirez is retiring from the game. he's reportedly doing so to avoid a 100-game suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. that positive test result came during spring training. this was the third time ramirez, who signed with tampa bay in january, had tested positive. he was suspended for a time back in 2009. up next, never underestimate the power of youtube. how a desperate plea for help
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> in japan tonight, nearly half a million homes have no power after yesterday's 7.1 aftershock. meanwhile, authorities continued today to retrieve bodies near the crippled fukushima nuclear plant. tonight, though, good news about a japanese mayor whose quiet plea for help is resonating around the world. nbc's lee cowan in tokyo tonight. >> reporter: out of that government imposed no-go zone, a place not even rescuers would enter it retrieve bodies until this week, there came a quiet plea. that's the mayor of a town just 15 miles from the troubled plant. who took to youtube two weeks ago with a simple message. help. his s.o.s. has been seen by more than a quarter million people so
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far, and ever since, he's been deluged by a tsunami of aid. although so much has been lost, those who did escape do have usually their cell phones. here, they depend on these more than their laptops anyway. now more than ever, the phone has become a lifeline. >> we just wanted to help them. >> in this tiny apartment, two college students spend 14 hours a day, working on the smart phone accessible website they created that connects those wanting to donate apartments with refugees in need of a home. >> if we launch this service, maybe we thought it could work. >> and it has worked. this woman and her son survived the quake with little more than a mattress and the clothes on their back, but they logged in and found this 200 square foot apartment that suddenly felt like home. >> i felt very unsettled after the earthquake, the son says, but now, i feel a little relieved. >> the landlord could have rented this space for $600 a
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month, but instead, she's giving it away. i felt this was the only way i could help, she says. it's more than a roof. it offers this mother and son the first private moments they've had since the disaster. in a landscape that has been reduced to sticks and stones, there's plenty of room left for a little digital-aged decency, too. lee cowan, nbc news, tokyo. and when we come back, one ceo who is making a difference by taking a chance on employees other bosses might never hire. when your eyes are smiling... you're smiling. and when they're laughing... you're laughing. be kind to your eyes... with transitions lenses. transitions adapt to changing light so you see your whole day comfortably... and conveniently while protecting your eyes from the sun.
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nothing works faster. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums finally tonight, a man who goes out of his way to hire workers that many others may not consider hiring. but he says they should. it's making a very positive difference for his company and for them. nbc's roger o'neal has our report from chattanooga. >> reporter: it is a most unusual entrance to a factory. lions and bears, palm trees, for goodness sakes, in tennessee.
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want to see the inside? and there's the ceo. eccentric is a badge david morris proudly wears. >> you're working up a sweat? >> yeah, i am. i'm a good worker. >> i can see that. >> he's most proud of taking the dis out of disabled. >> the people we hired have been tossed aside by society. >> 80% of his workers have what morris calls positive distraction. many of the workers will tell you their biggest disability is us because of the labels we put on them. schizophrenic, autistic, downs, cerebral palsy. how can they become able employees if we think of them as disabled? >> all they want is a chance and an opportunity. we're mentoring them, but they're making us better people.
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>> artificial grass is morris' business, but his connection with workers is real. for 30 years, people like robby have gotten real jobs with real wages. habitat international gets no government subsidies, no social workers here, no special equipment except for that light for jeff, who can't hear. this is marty. >> why is it so important to work? >> to have money, self-esteem, and have friends. >> robby relishes the chance to change prejudices. >> it gives people a chance to show what they can do. >> you're doing real well. >> thank you. >> and the boss said they're why he has survived the recession. a host of other companies have fa followed morris' lead who simply says it's the right thing to do. >> and so it is. that's our broadcast for this friday night. thank you for being with us. lester holt will be here this weekend, and brian williams will
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be back on monday. i'm kate snow. for all of us here at nbc news, good night. right now at 6:00, a surprising twist in the barry bonds perjury trial. one of his childhood best friends and one of his biggest supporters is walking free. >> a fitting tribute to the giants' fan attacked supporting his team outside dodgers' stadium. the moment of silence in his honor today at at & t park. >> a nail biting game. the torture in full effect.


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