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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  November 8, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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at 6:00. on our broadcast tonight, direct hit from perhaps the most powerful storm ever to make landfall. and tonight we don't yet know the full extent of the death and the damage in the philippines. the promise from the president to fix health care after his apology for a promise not kept. an innocent man who spent decades in prison for a murder he didn't commit. now the prosecutor who put him there is facing jail time for keeping evidence a secret. and it's here. the once-far-off notion of space flight for us civilians. now they're taking reservations and window seats are going fast. "nightly news" begins now.
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good evening. we find ourselves tonight in that period between landfall of a monster storm and then learning how bad it was when communications are back up. there is reason to believe, though, that entire portions of the philippines are cut off tonight and under water after a storm made landfall that's being described as the most powerful on earth ever to hit land. wind gusts at the core were predicted at over 200 miles an hour. at that speed, nothing can remain attached to the earth. waves were reported at 50 feet and higher. and after passing through the philippines, the storm that has emerged on the other side is still more powerful than katrina was. this powerful explosion of nature is where we begin tonight. our report from correspondent angus walker in manila. >> reporter: winds topping 230 miles an hour. houses were torn apart. huge waves crashed ashore.
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a tidal surge flooded coastal areas. crew members on this barge had to abandon ship and struggle to get to shore. 12 million people live in the path of the storm. hundreds of thousands were forced to evacuate. that almost certainly saved many lives. but with power out and communications cut, an accurate death toll and the true scope of the devastation may not be known for days. do you think there are villages along the coast which have been completely destroyed? >> yes, i think so. hopefully nobody died there. >> reporter: the philippines is no stranger to big storms. it has seen two dozen this year. but nothing like this. the images have been spectacular. a composite photograph of the view from space. the sharply defined eye of the storm at its peak. the gigantic pin wheel hurtling across the philippines towards southeast asia. a storm big enough to cover much
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of the united states. are giant storms like this one the shape of things to come? spawned by global warming. >> climate models have shown that warming could make these systems stronger. we don't know that was the case with haiyan, but this is the most powerful system to have ever made landfall on record. >> reporter: a storm more powerful than katrina, andrew, even superstorm sandy. angus walker for nbc news, the philippines. in this country there is more to report on the news. we begin here last night chuck todd heard president obama apologize for the first time to those americans who cannot keep their insurance like he had promised. there was more on this front today and czech todd is with us again from the white house. good evening. >> reporter: good evening. the day after my interview with the president, white house aides are scrambling to come up with a fix to fulfill the president's
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newest health care promise. in new orleans today, the president again discussed the troubled health care rollout. >> we've had this problem with the website. i'm not happy about that. but we're working overtime to make sure it gets fixed. >> reporter: yesterday the president apologized for this promise. >> if you like your current plan, you will be able to keep it. you can keep your plan. you'll be able to keep your health care plan. >> reporter: it turns out, that's not true. in my interview, though, he pledged he's going to fix it. >> i've assigned my team to see what can we do to close some of the holes and gaps in the law, and i am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me. >> reporter: republicans pounced on the apology. speaker boehner issued this statement. an apology is certainly in order, but what americans want to hear is that the president is going to keep his promise. white house aides are scrambling to do just that. but it's complicated.
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>> well, there isn't, i would say at this point, a specific plan. >> reporter: the white house will have to negotiate with state insurance commissioners, insurance companies, and federal regulators to come up with a solution. at a minimum, the white house hopes to figure a way for folk who is like their insurance to keep it at least through the end of next year. all these glitches have raised questions about the president's health care point person, kathleen sebelius. >> i think she'd be the first to admit that if we had to do it all over again, that there would have been a whole lot more questions that were asked in terms of how this thing is working. >> reporter: today in atlanta, sebelius was asked about her standing with the president. >> do you feel the president has your back? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: and while they don't have that specific fix yet to announce, i'm told they want to have it by next week. because if they don't, brian, congress will take over and the white house doesn't want that. >> chuck todd on the white house lawn this friday night. thanks. and there's more to report
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on this health care law. it has to do with mental illness. the new law requires health insurance companies to cover mental illness and substance abuse the same way they cover physical diseases. it's a big deal because it's estimated only a fraction of those people who need those services are getting them currently. we get more from correspondent rehema ellis. >> reporter: 20-year-old chris valdez was diagnosed ten years ago with bipolar disorder. an illness that could lead to dramatic mood swings. even with health insurance as a police officer, his mother says her costs have been overwhelming. >> if you need treatment, you can go to the doctor. you have a selection of hospitals. when my son is suffering or in a crisis, i don't have those options. i have to go where the insurance company tells me to go. >> reporter: in the wake of the school tragedy last september in newtown, connecticut, the president promised to bridge
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gaps in mental health coverage. today the administration made good on that pledge. >> good evening, everybody. there's no question we need to expand access to treatment, services, and support. and in this vein, it's my great pleasure to share some big news with you today. >> reporter: under the new rules, insurance must cover mental health treatments the same way they cover physical ailments. including copayments, deductibles, doctor visits, and hospitalizations. today's announcement is good news for nearly 85% of americans. whether their policies are employer based, individual market plans, or obama care. but many are still left out. millions of low income people on medicaid and medicare are not covered under today's new rules. the agency representing the insurance industry responded saying health plans have long supported the new law and have worked to implement these requirements. some doctors welcome what they
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call long-overdue equality. >> there's no reason why if you have a disorder of the brain that causes you to become psychotic, that should be treating any differently than if you have a disease of the brain that causes a seizure. makes no sense. >> reporter: the new regulations take effect next year. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. there was news on the jobs front today. there's been a lot of speculation that last month's government shutdown would make for an ugly jobs report. but a surprise there. employers added 204,000 jobs in october. far more than economists had expected. as for the rate of unemployment, it ticked up slightly to account for all those government workers who were furloughed for 16 days. and the market liked the numbers today. dow hit a high. nasdaq and s&p were also up today. they could be close to an agreement with iran about its nuclear capability. a major push now as john kerry unexpectedly traveled to
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switzerland where talks are being made to save the deal. broke this news that the secretary was on his way there. she is with us tonight from geneva. ann, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. that's right. a dramatic day in geneva where talks with iran got on the fast track with first signs that a deal could be signed within hours. one by one they came. secretary state kerry and his counterparts from britain, france, and germany. it all raised expectations that kerry felt obliged to lower. >> there are still some very important issues on the table that are unresolved. >> reporter: but for the first time since the hostage crisis of the '70s, the u.s. and iran are really talking at the highest level. making progress toward a first step to curtail iran's nuclear program. and be turned for a temporary reprieve from some economic
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sanctions. but distrust of iran runs deep especially in israel. >> iran got the deal of the century, and the international community got a bad deal. this is a very bad deal. >> reporter: netanyahu called the proposed deal a mistake of historic proportions. prompting a sharp rebuke from iran. >> it's a mistake of historical proportions to try to trade in fear to create an atmosphere of tension. and i believe it would be an even bigger historical mistake to listen to him. >> reporter: president obama insists any deal with iran would be subject to verification. >> so we don't have to trust them. what we have to do is to make sure that there's a good deal in place from the perspective of us verifying what they're doing. >> reporter: but any deal could be a hard sell including in iran. where hard liners this week denounced the negotiation.
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and adding to the drama here, the two-day negotiations are spilling into a third day. and now word that russia's foreign minister lavrov will join tomorrow. that's six foreign ministers focused on breaking this impasse. brian? >> ann curry live from geneva for us tonight. ann, thanks. tonight the cbs broadcast news "60 minutes" has apologized about an report it aired on the attack in benghazi. a report they now say they got wrong. this happens in journalism, and there's no joy in reporting it. as long as stories hinge on people and when people change their stories, it can happen. and in this case the network is taking back its story. our report tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: on cbs this morning, "60 minutes" correspondent laura logan apologized to viewers. >> you know, the most important thing to every person at "60 minutes" is the truth. and today the truth is that we made a mistake.
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>> reporter: the sunday evening broadcast, a staple for millions of americans, is respected in part for very rarely making mistakes. >> it harms the reputation of all mainstream journalists whether they were involved in this story or not. it just adds more fuel to the public critique of whether or not they can trust what they hear on the air. >> reporter: the mistake cbs says was airing an interview with a man billed as the first eyewitness to speak publicly about the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya. >> morgan jones scaled the 12-foot-high wall of the compound that was still overrun with al qaeda fighters. >> one guy saw me. he just shouted. as i got closer, i hit him with the butt of the rifle in the face. >> reporter: the security contractor dylan davies who appeared under a pseudonym also claimed he saw the body of ambassador chris stevens that night. it is the subject of a book he recently coauthored published by
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a subsidiary of simon & schuster owned by cbs. cast doubt on his version of events. at first cbs news continued to defend its reporting until it was revealed davies told the fbi he was not at the compound during the attack. >> that was the moment for us when we realized that we no longer had confidence in our source and that we were wrong to put him on air. >> reporter: the benghazi attack has been a political lightning rod from the beginning with the white house coming under fire for its version of events. reacting to the story, senator lindsey graham threatened to block every presidential nominee. >> the bottom line is 14 months a the attack, the congress has never had access to benghazi. >> reporter: with date of events in doubt, they are suspending the publication and sale of its book. "60 minutes" will air another
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apology this sunday. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. still ahead, an innocent man in prison while the killer stayed on the street. and something new atop a storied city skyline.
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an unusual story out of texas tonight. this one began decades ago, came full circle today after an innocent man spent 25 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit. now the prosecutor who sent him there is paying the price. apparently the first time is prosecutor is going to jail for doing what this one did. our story tonight from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: inside this texas courtroom, a dramatic end to an outrageous case of justice denied. ken anderson pleaded no contest to charges that when he was a prosecutor in 1987, he failed to disclose evidence that seriously undercut the case against
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michael morton. accused of murdering his wife christine who was beaten to death in bed. morton was released from prison two years ago when dna evidence proved he was innocent. >> i prayed for it, and i had faith it would arrive. >> reporter: prosecutors are required by law to share any evidence they collect that would be helpful to the defense. but in this case two critical things were withheld. witnesses reported seeing a man park a green van nearby and walk into the woods near the mortons' house. and michael morton's mother said his son heard a monster with a big mustache. the recent dna test also led to the real killer. app drifter named mark allen norwood convicted in march and also accused of killing another central texas woman debra baker a year after morton was sentenced to prison. morton serving 25 years in
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prison. now the sentence for the prosecutor just ten days in jail for contempt of court. a harsher penalty unavailable because of the statute of limitations. michael morton was in court today to watch the prosecutor who put him in prison for a murder he didn't commit. >> my number one motivating factor here is that what happened to me will not happen to you. what happened today, we succeeded. >> reporter: anderson also loses his law license and two months ago as the misconduct case against him built, he stepped down from his most recent job. state court judge. pete williams, nbc news, washington. and we are back in a moment on this friday night with a special delivery that happens every year just about this time.
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in tall building news tonight, a couple of developments. here in new york there's something newly visible on the skyline. the so-called freedom tower built on the side of the world
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trade center. it's getting its spire lit up for the first time. though it's just a test tonight. it may be the tallest building in the country if a committee of architects diseases it is. they will decide if the spire counts as part of the structure. if it doesn't, the sears tower in chicago, now officially the willis tower, will remain the nation's tallest building. well, you may recall joe biden called marty walsh of boston to congratulate him on his election night victory for mayor of the city of boston. the problem was he called the wrong marty walsh, left a voice mail. now "the huffington post" reports he again called the wrong marty walsh and left a message for a woman called tony. the word is the veep has now talked to the actual mayor of boston. but if there are any marty walshs left in boston that has not heard from the vice
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president, they'd like to hear from you. we got a delivery out back today. the rockefeller christmas tree. which was the tallest thing in the neighborhood out in shelton, connecticut. it was donated for the enjoyment of all. it will spend tonight in its natural state all alone there. then the scaffolding goes up, thousands of lights go on, then they will throw the switch the night of december 4th. when we come back, a first class ticket to go where few have gone before.
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finally tonight, if you go back a few years, then you remember those issues of popular science magazine that told us we would all some day have the ability to enjoy space travel. and, indeed, that era is about to begin. while the price needs to come down before everybody can enjoy it, it appears that billionaire richard branson is going to be the first to offer a ride. our report from our national correspondent kate snow. >> reporter: at the american museum of natural history today, we asked kids about their space travel dreams. >> well, i know about space travel. >> it would be like a roller coaster a little. >> like, there's no ground for you to stand on.
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>> i'm flying. woo! >> reporter: richard branson says he could deliver the dream. >> we're going to inspire people to experience something that they would never have had the opportunity to experience. it's awesome. >> reporter: the carrier airplane would take the spacecraft up to 50,000 feet, then release it. that's when rockets kick in and you're jolted back in our feet hurtled to an altitude up above space. >> look out of the seat, just gently float around. zero gravity. look back at the earth. >> reporter: at least nine companies, several billionaires included are fighting for the same turf. but branson is confident virgin galactic service will start first. nbc universal has partnered to chronicle the leadup to the first launch. more than 600 people have
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already bought seats. a whole list of celebrities. like stephen hawking, leonardo dicaprio, justin bieber, and ashton kutcher. $250,000 for a two and a half hour ride. sir richard and his son sam will be on the first flight. >> did you have a choice? >> i hope i still do have a choice. >> reporter: do you have any dreams about going into space? >> i did, but i think what it's, like, something bad happens and then, like, i'm like the movie "gravity." >> reporter: the bransons haven't seen that film yet. >> maybe it's best not to watch it. >> we'll watch it after we've been to space, i think. >> reporter: kate snow, nbc news, new york. and that is our broadcast from earth this friday night and for this entire week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. lester holt will be with you here this weekend. we, of course, hope to see you
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right back here on monday night. in the meantime, have a good weekt. good night. good evening, thanks for joining us on this friday. i'm raj mathai. >> i'm jessica aguirre. new at 6:00 tonight, a family trying to turn a brutal attack on their child into a teachable moment tonight. by talking about the attack and taking action. sasha fleischmann was lit on fire while sleeping aboard an ac transit bus on monday. prosecutors say that attack was a hate crime. during a family visit at the ac transit line where it happened. nbc bay area's cheryl hurd tells us what they left there as a show of support for sasha. >> reporter: jessica, we are
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live an macarthur boulevard. this is the 57 bus line. this is the same bus route that sasha was on when the 18-year-old's skirt was set on fire on monday. we spoke to sasha's mom a short time ago, and she is smiling because sasha is on the road to recovery. after suffering second and third-degree burns. the rainbow ribbons that you see here, family and friends put them up there. along the bus route in honor of sasha. >> sasha is a gender. which means that his preferred pronouns are they, them, their. they prefer -- they to not identify with either male or female. they don't want to be -- they don't want people to make assumptions based on, oh, he's male or he's, you know, so -- >> or what he's wearing. >> or what he's wearing. you know? it's like he