tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 27, 2013 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
on this sunday night no way out. dread dead in a nightclub fire, the worst in years after the band set off a fire works display. tonight, survivors recall moments of desperation. on the agenda, immigration reform and signs that democrats and republicans could be headed toward an agreement. plus, the fight over guns heats up. passing the buck the new surcharges that retail kers tack on when you pay today by credit card. we will take a look at the fine print. parts of the midwest still caught in a dangerous, icy grip.
we will look at where it is all headed. and the reunion, old friends pulled apart by hurricane sandy now back together. ♪ thanks to a little help from the next generation. good evening, much of the world's attention today was focused on a horrific tragedy in brazil, the death toll tonight at least 230 after a fast-moving fire broke out in a crowded nightclub. officials say too many people and too few exits turned the club into a death trap after a rock band's pyrotechnics apparently ignited the ceiling. many patrons were left unable to get out, overwhelmed by the smoke, and in some cases, the flames themselves much the circumstances are eerily similar to some other deadly nightclub fires the past several years,
including one in this country. today's tragedy happened in the southern brazilen university town of santa maria. nbc's mike taibbi reports. >> reporter: the kiss nightclub was packed with the usual saturday night crowd when at 2:00 in the morning, a disaster. the ground floor was filled with smoke. club security initially blocked several emergency exits, thinking patrons were leaving without paying and that left only a few ways out. in the ensuing panic, many victims were trampled, others died of smoke inhalation. witnesses told police the fire was sparked by a pyrotechnics show on stage, according to nick ravenskroft of itv news. >> the stunt on stage with the flare made the ceiling catch fire. >> reporter: whatever the precise cause, the fire spread incredibly quickly as the crowd struggled to find ways to safety. some clubgoers who did make it out, joined firemen and
onlookers in their attempts to open new escape routes using sledge hammers and axes, but it was too late for many inside. does of victims were carried to arising ambulances, if they survived. santa maria's major trauma hospital was quickly overwhelmed. >> translator: the injured are scattered around the hospital. those waiting for news outside are desperate. >> reporter: they were desperate, too, outside the club, as more and more bodies of those who hadn't survived were laid on the ground. the numbers of the dead rose so quickly that the city morgue ran out of room. the bodies of scores of victims were brought, instead, to a local gymnasium. eat merging details of this disaster, a packed club, too few escape route and a fire triggered by on-stage pyrotechnics brought to mind several other similar nightclub tragedies. there was a 2003 inferno in west warwick, rhode island's, station nightclub that claimed 100 victims much the 2004 blaze in ba when knows aires with 200 victims. but as brazil's president
consoled relatives of the victims here, her country, soon to host the world cup and the olympics, remains in shock at one of its worst modern tragedies. mike taibbi, nbc news, los angeles. now to the middle east, an angry egyptian president took to the air waves tonight to announce tough new measures aimed at ending the violence that has claimed at least 50 lifts the last three days. the violent protests in cairo and several other industries been the biggest challenge yet toz mohamed morsi's government. let's go to cairo for the latest. >> reporter: it is mohamed morsi's biggest test as president of this country. on one hand, an increasing security vacuum across the country, on the other, a political crisis with the country's political parties. tonight, in an address to the nation, he delivered a strong warping. even burying the dead in egypt is now deadly. today in port sayyid, a day after 37 people were killed in
protests, thousands walked to mourn them. the grief and prayer turned into fear and chaos. this amateur video, which we couldn't independently ver, if i reportsedly shows the moment the clashes with police turned deadly. meantime, as thousands mourned in port said, others fought in cairo, alexandria and suez. tonight, the country's embattled president, mohamed morsi, addressed the nation, declaring a state of emergency and imposing a curfew in the cities with the worst fighting. the country's powerful military is back on the street guarding government buildings recently attacked by protesters. and the military wants more power. today, the military requested the right to arrest civilians who break the law, this general said. two years ago, egypt's street full of optimism and hope as united people toppled a dictator. today, stifling tear gas and plumes of smoke filled the air of a divided country.
egypt's police are struggling to cope with the protesters. they, too, have suffered losses and are angry. when the country's interior minister came today to pay his respects to fallen policemen, he was hackled by grieving colleagues and their families. and as it has for the past three days, night fall brought more violence. tonight, outside a luxury five-star cairo hotel. with a predictable-like precision, police charged the crowd, firing tear gas but minutes later, protesters returned, lobbing stones and setting fires to block roads. there are few words president morsi can say to calm these protesters. this man tells me that the president must resign and a new constitution must be written. another says only protests work with a regime that kills its people. president mohamed morsi has invited members of the leading opposition political forces tomorrow for emergency talks on the way out.
many people are hoping there will be a breakthrough that could end the four days of deadly violence that have engulfed the country. >> thank you. in this country, the weather remains a big concern for many people in the midwest, where a deep freeze is bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain. the weather channel's mike seidel is in davenport, iowa, tonight with the latest. mike, good evening to you. >> reporter: good evening, lester. it was an icy day across many part its of the midwest. the hardest hit areas were the roads and the airports. at chicago's o'hare, just over 200 flights have been canceled so far, but despite the ice, there wasn't a lot of it there wasn't many power outables. tonight, the temperatures on the way up that will change the freezing rain to rain in chicago in chicago and many areas, like it has here. monday, the snow, sleet and ice will head to the northeast during the day you reaching boston by late afternoon. any snow totals will be on the light side. but for millions that have been in the ice box, the jetstream is our friend. southwest winds from texas to the great lakes will produce a huge warmup. we could see our first 90-degree
day in the lower 48 this year in deep south texas. temperatures elsewhere more than 20 to 25 degrees above average. subzero windchills will be replaced by highs in the 40s and 50s on monday. and by tuesday, d.c. cracks 60 and atlanta pushes 70. but many of us will get another shot of frigid air following this fall and that cold front will have lots of wind energy that will help to fire up some big thunderstorms, possibly severe, from houston and dallas to little rock and st. louis on tuesday. there could be some tornadoes but more than likely, quite a bit of straight line wind damage. and then after that, the bottom falls out on temperatures. for example, lester, chicago will drop 45 degrees between tuesday and thursday. so enjoy the thaw while you can. back to you. >> all right, we will take what we can. mike seidel, thanks. national transportation safety board tonight says further examination of batteries on boeing's new 787 has yet to point to the cause of the january 7th fire on board a japan air lines jet at boston's
logan airport. that fire followed days later by a smoking battery aboard another 787 in japan led to a worldwide grounding of the revolutionary new planes. lack of progress in both investigations has raised concerns the planes will remain grounded indefinitely. in washington, the battles over guns and immigration reform are taking center stage this week, as president obama pushes his second term agenda. nbc's peter alexander is at the white house and has more on that. hi, peter. >> reporter: lester, good evening to you. the president isn't wasting in i time in his second term, tackling two of his top priorities. specifically on immigration, one democratic senator said measures formerly off the table are now back up for discussion. barely a week into his second term, president obama is preparing to dive into the contentious issue of immigration, with a major speech set for las vegas tuesday. the president is expected to push for improving border security you expanding the system for employers to verify
their workers a legal status and perhaps most controversially, creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. >> we can't go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in an illegal status. >> we are committed to a comprehensive approach to finally in this country have an immigration law that we can live with. >> reporter: a bipartisan group of six seine stores planning to unveil its immigration reform proposals this week. last november, president obama won more than 70% of the latino vote, a new political reality forcing some republicans to reconsider their past opposition. >> first of all, americans support it in poll after poll. secondly, latino voters expect t third, the democrats want it and fourth, republicans need it. >> reporter: senator marco rubio in a nevada newspaper today insisted illegal immigrants must earn their new citizenship. we can't round up millions of people and deport them but we also can't fix our broken immigration system if we provide incentives for people to come here illegally.
also front and center, the battle over guns. president obama telling the new "republic" magazine that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes. asked if he has ever fired a gun, mr. obama said, up at camp david we do skeet shooting all the time, like jfk used to years ago. on "meet the press," former vice presidential candidate paul ryan referred to last month's newtown tragedy as a watershed moment. >> it's our worst nightmare, something like this happening. let's go beyond just this debate and make sure we get deeper. what's our policy on mental illness? what's going on in our culture that produces this kind of thing? >> reporter: and for its part, congress will hold its first hearing on gun violence, lester, this wednesday. one other note, by the way, about the president's interview with the new "republic," one one week before the super bowl, the president weighing in on football, if he had a son, we have to think long and hard before letting him play to the game, referring to the violence in the sport. >> peter, thank you. still in washington, the education department is taking
action to make sure disabled school children are not shut out from school sports programs. nbc's chief education correspondent rehema ellis has that story. >> reporter: it was a big week for 13-year-old owen grosser. get in there. >> reporter: sinking not one but two three-pointers the first time he stepped out onto the court this season. owen, an eighth grader, has down syndrome. disabled students like him already have the right to participate in school sports but this week, the department of education released new guidelines on how to incorporate those students onto teams, something some cash-strapped schools have struggled with. >> we have needed more cooperation, more guidelines from the top. and we believe this is going to lead to some standardization and certainly more opportunity for these families and kids. >> reporter: some of the doe's suggestions are simple, a visual cue for hearing-impaired student who wants to run track, the elimination of the two-hand touch rule in swimming so a student with one arm can
compete. but the recommendations also state when existing school programs cannot accommodate those with disabilities, the school district should create additional opportunities for those students, meaning, a new team. although some liken it to title ix, the department of education cautions against that comparison, saying these are guidelines, not a mandate. schools will not be required to dismantel an existing team because they don't have enough disabled students to field a comparable team. >> we have been age to create one or two teams per school district, you're not going to find enough students in one school to necessarily start a team. >> push. push for the basket. >> reporter: adam mcwork, an eighth grader, has cerebral palsy, he lives outside atlanta, an area that has been successfully mainstreaming disabled students in sports for years. >> yes, sir. he used a walker to get around with and we didn't think that sports was something that he could do at all. >> reporter: now, he stands like
every proud dad on the sidelines. >> my son scored his first goal in the final game, so excited about that the g was so loud. we'd good time. shoot it, baby. >> reporter: something more families across the country may soon experience. >> oh, yeah. >> reporter: rehema ellis you nbc news, new york. when nightly news continues on this sunday, your money and the fees that merchants can now charge when you pay by credit card. later, the golden age club, friends for years pulled apart by superstorm sandy and now reunited. you want to see something cool? snapshot, from progressive. my insurance company told me not to talk to people like you. you always do what they tell you? no... try it, and see what your good driving can save you. you don't even have to switch. unless you're scared. i'm not scared, it's... you know we can still see you. no, you can't. pretty sure we can... try snapshot today -- no pressure.
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now permitted to hit with you a surcharge when you use certain credit cards. we get the story tonight from nbc's katy tur. >> reporter: if you felt like you were digging even deeper into your pocket yesterday, keep your eyes open today. businesses can now charge you for using your credit card. >> this is great news for retailers, not very good news for consumers, which have never had to pay theseind of surcharges when they use credit cards. >> reporter: it is the fallout from a class action settlement last july giving merchantance option to tack as much as a 4% surcharge onto your bill if you're paying with a visa or master card. >> it would change my shopping patterns, definitely. >> i would carry cash all the time. >> reporter: you may be familiar with gas stations charging one price for cash and another for plastic but could the same happen in shops, restaurants and even doctors offices? in this highly competitive marketplace among retailers and an economy that is really trying to get the consumer back to spending, i highly doubt that
retailers are going to charge this fee. >> reporter: in fact, the national retail federation polled its members and found that none planned to add the fee. toys "r" us and target told nbc news they would not pass the buck to their shoppers. retail analysts say that's because most big chain stores have the ability to negotiate lower fees with credit card companies. but small businesses don't have the big chain bargaining power. silvia karch is the own other of a vintage clothing store. short of a cash-only sign, she is shoirlgtd the fees. >> in order for me to implement another charge, i would have to discount my prices are, it there is a balancing act. i would wouldn't want to have another charge for my customers. >> reporter: not everyone should be worried. ten states already have laws on the books banning merchant surcharges, including some of the biggest, california, new york and texas. still, the power is in the consumer's hand.
shoppers could pay cash or use a debit card, which doesn't incur a surcharge. >> i would carry cash or stay away from stores that carry the fee. >> reporter: after all, you ultimately, have the choice to pay or walk away. katy tur, nbc news, atlanta. and here is something that's definitely going up, starting today, the price of a first-class postage stamp will cost a penny more, 46 cents. the sixth time the postal service raised the price in eight years as it continues to lose money to the tune of $25 million a day. up next here tonight, a dramatic rescue from raging floodwaters. great year in the gulf,sucha we've decided to put aside our rivalry. 'cause all our states are great. and now is when the gulf gets even better. the beaches and waters couldn't be more beautiful. take a boat ride or just lay in the sun. enjoy the wildlife and natural beauty. and don't forget our amazing seafood. so come to the gulf, you'll have a great time. especially in alabama. you mean mississippi. that's florida.
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tonight in south africa. i want to show you a few of the 15,000 crocodiles that escaped from a reptile farm during a flood this past week. the gates to the farm had to be opened because of fears that rushing waters would crush the crocodiles. while many of them have been captured since, several thousand are still at large. a dramatic rescue this weekend in eastern australia, which has also been dealing with widespread flooding, when a pickup truck carrying two women and a baby washed off a road. a helicopter had to be called in because the child was too small for a regular rescue sling. he was placed in a dive balancing and then hoisted up. the whole thing filmed by the crew of that helicopter on a helmet-mounted camera. they are breathing easier tonight in the city with the distinction of having the dirtiest air in the country last week, we are talking about salt lake city where the pollution prompted officials to declare a health emergency. today, they reported a dramatic improvement that warned that dirty air could quickly get trapped again in the mountain valleys of northern utah. and it's not every day that
someone gets to say thanks a billion and really mean it. and that is what johns hopkins university in baltimore is saying to new york city's mayor, michael bloomberg. this weekend, bloomberg made a gift of $350 million to his alma matter, the large nest the university's history. brought his total gifts to johns hop kips to $1.1 billion t all began with a $5 donation in 1965, the year after bloomberg graduated. it brings new meaning to the term "giving back." certainly bigger meaning to that term. when we come back, how they were finally reunite you had after the storm. we will meet the ladies of the golden age club. 's impressive? a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say?
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finally tonight, the senate is expected to vote tomorrow on the $51 billion sandy aid package. and almost three months after that devastating storm, the stories of loss and hardship are still being told. but there is also this story, the reunion of a group of women whose lives were up-ended by sandy and how they were brought back together. here's nbc's michelle franzen. >> reporter: annie hezlin makes tea in her temporary apartment in brooklyn and sorts through some of her photos, some some of the only possessions she has left after losing her breezy point home in superstorm sandy. >> with he an imagined to survive and we are very grateful for that and that is the thing we have to remember, that lives
are more important than things. >> reporter: the storm devastated the close-knit community and forced residents to relocate. including members of annie's social group, the golden age club. the women used to meet every tuesday at st. thomas more church, still under repair from flood damage. this weekend, annie and dozens of golden age members boarded a bus. >> hi, rose. >> reporter: first time they were able to see each other in three months. >> wonderful reunion. it's greet see every ebb and everybody looks good. >>eporter: their destination, manhattan's nightingale been aford, an all-girls school, where the women prin is righted to share their stories, an exchange between generations. >> and this one house slipped with the wind right over the walk and into the other house. >> reporter: that included emotional stories of survival. >> but the water was coming down from the walls. it was coming into the windows.
>> reporter: lorraine larson says talking with students and reuniting with her friends helped her realize she's not alone. >> all in the same boat, we're all hurting. we all are longing to be back home. >> reporter: students say the gathering is a reminder of the challenges sandy victims still face. >> talking to them, we found out that they still are suffering a lot of the loss. >> reporter: despite their loss, these golden girls are still singing. ♪ i'm gonna let it shine >> reporter: and certainly, their best days are still ahead. michelle franzen, nbc news, new york. that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. brian williams will be here tomorrow. i'm lester holt reporting from new york. for all of us here at nbc news, good night.
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