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

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on the broadcast tonight, closing time in the michael jackson manslaughter trial. lawyers on both sides plead directly with the jury and paint very different portraits of the superstar himself. out of control. a night of confrontations with police in oakland and dozens of arrests when a day of peaceful protest takes a violent turn. damage control. herman cain. who's he talking to now? and will he hear the other side of the story? reducing the risk of cancer and why we are being told, "don't just sit there, do something." and fallen giant. a national monument comes crashing down. so if a tree this big falls in the forest, what do you do with it? the forest, what do you do with it? "nightly news" begins now.
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captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. it may not take long now until we know what the jury decides. is a southern california physician guilty in the death of a latter day american pop icon? no amount of legal action, of course, can bring michael jackson back to life and during the course of this trial, we certainly have learned the sordid details of his life and death that his family would no doubt have preferred to keep private. but now comes the weighty decision at the crux of this case. did death come because of the doctor hired at great cost to take care of him or did michael jackson himself administer his own lethal dose of drugs? jeff rossen has been covering for us throughout. he's in l.a. tonight. jeff, good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. good evening. here we are six weeks into this
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trial. 49 witnesses on both sides. more than 330 pieces of evidence. and finally the jury of seven men and five women are getting this case. today impassioned closing arguments by both sides and now we go on verdict watch. >> ladies and gentlemen -- >> reporter: conrad murray barely even looked at the prosecutor today. >> conrad murray gave him propofol and abandoned him. conrad murray is criminally liable. justice demands a guilty verdict. >> reporter: within two minutes of starting he brought the whole case back to michael jackson's kids. >> that conrad murray left prince, paris and blanket without a father. they do not have a father because of the actions of conrad murray. >> reporter: the prosecutor spent more than two hours breaking down the evidence piece by piece, audiotape by audiotape. >> for reasons completely unknown and unexplained conrad murray sits by his side and records him on his iphone.
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>> when people leave my show, i want them to say, "i've never seen nothing like this in my life. go, go." >> reporter: in court duelling portraits of michael jackson himself. the jury left to decide who he really was -- the hardworking crowd pleaser or a desperate conniving drug addict using dr. murray to score medicine. >> to some degree the trial has denigrated into kind of character assassination of michael jackson. decided not to testify. >> they want you to convict dr. murray for the actions of michael jackson. they just don't want to tell you that. >> reporter: instead today his lawyer did the talking. >> the prosecution during these six weeks have absolutely failed to prove a crime. >> reporter: dozens of witnesses, hundreds of pieces of evidence.
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now the fate of conrad murray -- ♪ >> reporter: -- and the legacy of michael jackson are in the hands of seven men and five women. >> somebody's got to just say it. if it were anybody else but michael jackson, anybody else, would this doctor be here today? >> reporter: when the jury reaches a verdict the court now says they will give everyone two hours' notice before reading it. the jackson family was in court today. they have actually been here every day, brian. they will be in court to hear the verdict whenever that happens and it could come at any moment. >> jeff rossen starting us off from l.a. tonight. jeff, thanks. now to politics. the campaign saga of herman cain continued today as he continued to push back against the sexual harassment allegations swirling around him. and we may be close to hearing more of the story from one of the women who accused him of improper behavior. our report from nbc's lisa myers. >> reporter: just when you
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thought this story couldn't get more unusual, herman cain showed up on a conservative website this morning being interviewed by ginni thomas, the wife of supreme court justice clarence thomas. the message -- another black conservative is being mistreated by the media. >> that is the d.c. culture -- guilty until proven innocent. >> reporter: clarence thomas was accused of sexual harassment by anita hill during his confirmation hearings and in the eyes of many conservatives was badly treated by the media. >> there are lots of conservative journalists he could have sat down with, but only one would have reminded people of clarence thomas and the anita hill affair. >> reporter: amidst the media frenzy cain's fund-raising has actually soared. advisers say he's collected more than $1 million online in four days. cain was pressed by conservative sean hannity about the reports this week that three women complained in the 1990s about cain's inappropriate sexual conduct. >> sean, this is absolutely
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fabrication, man. i don't know what else to say? how many more ways can i say this stuff is totally fabricated? >> reporter: earlier this year cain assured a conservative blogger he had no skeletons in his closet. >> i can assure you, i have an original copy of my birth certificate. i don't have any illegitimate babies. i don't have any mistresses. >> reporter: cain's campaign manager is calling on all his accusers to stop hiding behind anonymity. >> i would challenge anybody that has these statements to be made to come forward with the person making the statements. face mr. cain. >> reporter: one accuser who said she wanted to get her story out now said she's decided to let her lawyer, joel bennett, do the talking because she doesn't want to become another anita hill. >> she's an intelligent, highly educated woman trying to live a normal life.
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>> reporter: today, politico reported this woman received a $45,000 settlement larger than cain had suggested. today, bennett provided the national restaurant association with the statement reflecting her version of events which he hopes the group will agree does not violate the confidentiality agreement and could be released to the public as soon as tomorrow. he says the statement does not reveal unpleasant and sensational details of the incidents, brian. >> lisa myers in d.c. tonight, thanks. back out west we go. in oakland, california, it was early this morning before dawn that police in riot gear moved in, broke up a protest that had been peaceful all day long even when it shut down the nation's fifth largest port but then at the end took a violent turn. nbc's miguel almaguer is in oakland again for us. miguel, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. the port is re-opened. it was a sour ending to what was, for the most part, a peaceful day.
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it was the confrontation oakland wanted to avoid. a small crowd of vandals threw molotov cocktails and chunks of concrete at police. >> today was a peaceful day. this could jeopardize people's lives right now. >> reporter: officers fired back with teargas and bean bags to clear away the rioters. more than 80 were arrested. >> we consider them anarchists and provocateurs. people intent on causing problems, damage. >> reporter: the clash shattered what had been a noisy but mostly peaceful citywide strike. some 7,000 demonstrators marched and successfully shut down the nation's fifth largest port. at nightfall most left. the port re-opened this morning. >> i understand them trying to make a point or whatever. it seems to me that they're hurting the little guys. >> reporter: in seattle occupy protesters blocked hotel doors where the ceo of jpmorganchase was scheduled to speak.
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police used pepper spray to move them. >> i'm sick and tired of the wealth inequalities in this country. >> all day, all week, occupy wall street! >> reporter: in new york today, 17 were arrested when protesters blocked the entrance to goldman sachs. back in oakland, yesterday demonstrators helped with today's cleanup. >> they do not represent what occupy oakland or any movement in solidarity with occupy wall street is about. >> reporter: vandals shattered bank windows, defaced walls and even stormed a whole foods store. >> went from a peaceful march and went haywire when they started throwing paint, attacked customers that came out of our store. >> reporter: the occupy oakland protesters remain camped out on the steps of city hall. they say they are re-energized by the citywide strike and despite the bay area rain, brian, they say they have plans to go nowhere. >> miguel almaguer in the bay area for us tonight. thanks. overseas, the world's attention is again on greece
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tonight where the potential economic time bomb is sending shock waves around the world. under pressure the prime minister has refused to resign but he has backed down on a proposal that angered a lot of people. our report tonight from nbc's michelle kosinski in athens. i imagine it feels rather dicey right now. >> reporter: hi, brian. right. greece has been in political and financial turmoil. tonight it hit a tipping point. the prime minister amid high level calls for him to resign called off his plan to put last week's massive crucial european bailout of greece to a popular vote. now the thing is if this did go to a referendum and people voted no on the bailout that would likely mean economic collapse here, a default on huge debt and abandonment of the euro. it left other european powers saying what are you doing? we agreed to bail you out, you institute reforms. the alternative is more economic
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instability that, of course, threatens to resonate across europe and even into the u.s. now prime minister george papandreou says, okay, if all parties work together, agree to the bailout and the unpopular austerity measures there won't be a referendum. however, he now faces a confidence vote in parliament tomorrow. he has a one-person majority. tonight analysts see his government as on the brink of collapse. >> michelle kosinski in athens for us covering the story tonight. michelle, thanks. now to france where president obama is at a meeting of the world's economic heavyweights, the g20 at what everyone agrees is a crucial moment in the world economy. our chief white house correspondent chuck todd traveling with the president in the riviera resort town of cannes and is with us from that gathering. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, look, this is no ordinary summit.
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normally these things are precooked. they already know the big deals they are going to announce. not so here. all of the world leaders were gathered -- president obama, french president, the german chancellor. they were watching events unfold in greece. they were trying to figure out who was in charge of the government, was there going to be a referendum. they have been reacting in the moment. you talk to obama administration officials here and they say tomorrow there will be a unified statement of financial support for these european countries to come up with this bailout plan that begins with greece but there are of course worries that it could spread to italy and all of this has hurt, of course, the u.s. economy. all of this with the backdrop of where we are on the french riviera at a time of all this austerity and here we are in one of the most posh resort towns. it's an uncomfortable place to be watching all of this, brian. >> i was going to say, a city better known for the film festival every year than the g20 meeting. chuck todd from france tonight. chuck, thanks. the stage is set tonight for a potential constitutional showdown between the obama white house and congress after a
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congressional vote to subpoena internal white house e-mails including those sent from the president's own blackberry related to that controversial half billion dollar taxpayer loan to solyndra, the solar company that went bankrupt. senior administration officials are signalling the white house is prepared to invoke executive privilege to keep those high level e-mails private. connecticut light and power is saying by tomorrow they hope to reduce the number of homes without power in just that state to 300,000 still in the dark and cold tonight because of last saturday's freak prehalloween snowstorm. it's been an awful week for millions in the east. many of the same places that went without power for a week after hurricane irene. and now the same wires are getting strung up on the same wooden polls right next to big trees that will no doubt come down in the next storm. still ahead as we continue tonight, there is actually
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something you can do to reduce your risk of cancer, but for starters, you have to get up and out of your chair. and later, when a giant tree falls in the forest and when it's this tree, what should be done about it?
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back now with a headline that got a lot of attention around here today. it was in "usa today" and it read, "prolonged sitting linked to breast cancer and colon cancer." it's not news that being active is part of good health, but is there really a link between sitting and cancer? our report from nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: our car-centered culture, desk-bound workplaces, and couch potato habits make americans an increasingly sedentary people. but there is a powerful reason to get up and move. >> there is quite consistent evidence that the more physically active people were the lower their risk of cancers.
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>> reporter: the doctor found increased physical activity decreased the risk for breast, colon, endometrial, prostate, lung and ovarian cancers. for the first time researchers put a number on how many u.s. cancer cases are linked to physical inactivity. 49,000 cases of breast cancer, 43,000 cases of colon cancer. putting some pep in your step can help lower key indicators including body fat, inflammation and insulin resistance. >> just doing walking on an ongoing basis for at least 30 minutes a day five days a week is the minimum we are recommending. >> reporter: in addition researchers say you also have to get out from behind the desk. break up long periods of sitting, they say, by standing or walking, even for a few minutes. >> i totally believe it. i personally try to get an hour a day if i can. >> reporter: other doctors call the study reassuring but
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question that just moving around more won't prevent cancer. >> it's probably no guarantee that you won't get cancer. but you can reduce the risk. >> reporter: this is the latest in a mind-boggling barrage of cancer studies that often seem to create more conflict than clarity. >> i weed through it and use what i think is helpful. but it can be confusing at times. >> reporter: what is clear is that we are more sedentary and here's food for thought. the average adult spends more than nine hours a day sitting, and most of that happens at work. that's almost two-thirds of his or her waking hours, brian. >> getting up is good but perhaps not right now. >> not at this moment. >> anne, thanks. up next as we continue, can the day be far off when even the cheap seats cost extra? ♪ [ ukulele strumming ]
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♪ [ folksy whistling ] [ man ] quitting is a fight you can't let yourself lose. it can take many tries. but keep trying, you will beat smoking. honey, you okay? yeah, i'm fine. ♪ [ ukulele ] ♪ see the usa ♪ in your chevrolet >> the late, great dinah shore helping us tell you chevrolet turned 100 years old today. and while not what it once was,
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it's still an iconic brand name, the only make of car mentioned in 700 separate songs. while it admittedly rhymes easier than kia or hyundai there is something about the brand. for a century now, over 200 million americans have been driving their chevys to levies and seeing the usa in their chevrolet. they invented the suv and the corvette and chevy lived long enough to see the electric volt. they are now half of gm's sales and two-thirds of their sales are overseas. well, the day may be coming when the airlines ask us to put album covers on our hands and flap our arms up and down to help get the plane to the destination. they now charge for everything but actually flying the plane. today's wall street journal published a takedown of the new trend toward seat fees just to get a preferable seat in coach
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up to a third of all seats are now in some sort of preferred seat category allowing them to charge more money so you can avoid, say, a middle seat. stooiss -- and scientists on a flyover of alaska discovered an iceberg larger than the island of manhattan. they came upon a huge crack in a glacier. they say when this fully separates it will mean the smallest ice shelf at the south pole since the 1940s. this particular shelf is 1,600 feet thick. speaking of new york, it is shrinking according to new data that show it's going from 304 square miles to 302. they say most of the land mass shrinkage is in brooklyn and queens, so residents there, you have been warned. and we have been covering this increased whale activity during feeding season along the california coast, but this video from santa cruz is almost unbelievable to watch. the woman who shot it e-mailed us, said it's for real.
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it's just an insanely close encounter between a whale and the people in the water nearby. up next here tonight a national treasure has fallen down and now the question -- now what?
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a giant has fallen in the american west. there was nothing anyone could do about it, but now the debate is under way over what to do with it. here's nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> reporter: they are the giants of legend, the world's largest living organism. here long before the first settlers or today's tourists. >> they have been here 1,500 to 2,000, 3,000 years. >> reporter: the giant sequoias so significant they are a national monument. along the trail of a hundred giants history hit a roadblock. that is two giant sequoias fused at the base and incredibly captured on video by a german tourist at the exact moment. >> giant sequoias do fall in the woods. most of the time they don't fall on a recreation trail that's visited by 5,000 people a week.
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>> reporter: to give you perspective i'm about 5'8". the base of the trees, some 17 feet wide. the branches are as big as most average trees. and the length? more than a football field. the forest service still doesn't know why. >> perhaps the saturation of the wet winter and the soil, the soil gave way. >> reporter: how do you move something this big? >> that's a good question. >> reporter: they asked the public for ideas on balancing environmentalism and emotion while keeping the path accessible to all. >> take a section out just big enough for the trail and leave the rest of it where it lays. >> reporter: others say build a bridge, a tunnel or even firewood. many say the only solution is to
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do nothing. >> the trees should be left just as they are. >> wow. >> with the fallen branches left as a classroom for people to understand what nature does. >> reporter: the massive trunks have already taught one lesson. if a tree falls in the forest, it turns out it really does make a sound. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, sequoia national forest. >> that is our thursday night broadcast. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- good evening, everyone. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. another form of protests tired of wall street. some south bay residents are turnpiking to a local nonprofit credit union. >> the credit union is funded by another nonprofit made up of a group of high-tech executives. >> we bring in damian trujillo who's live outside the microbranch, a


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