tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 28, 2013 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
work. fighting the flu. the virus spreads across the country and is now widespread in ten states. you might be surprised who is being hit hardest. the about-face that some are making on facebook. a new study adds weight to claims that many young people no longer like it and are moving on. and all in the family. they're on the fast track for the sochi olympics and we're on the ice as they try and follow in the footsteps of mom. >> from nbc world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. hard times just became a lot harder for many of this country's chronically unemployed. the clock ran out on an extension of government unploit benefits 1.3 million americans depend on to get by. people still searching for work and still waiting to be lifted
by the rising tide of an improving economy. congress passed the extension in 2008 at the height of the recession. but this time it doesn't look like a lifeline will be coming from washington in time to prevent some people from going under. nbc's kristen welker has been listening to some of their stories. she's here now with us in new york with more. >> this has been a very stressful holiday season for those losing their unemployment insurance benefits and economists say that could have a big impact on individual families, but also the economy as a whole. >> terrified. devastated. >> reporter: overwhelming emotions as dolores and fred wake up without unemployment insurance benefits today. the new york couple says their $375 weekly check was a lifeline and now there is only uncertainty. >> how do i feed my four children? how do i feed the dogs, my husband, everything? it's so overwhelming that you
don't know where to start. >> reporter: a year ago dolores was laid off from her sales consultant job while battling breast cancer. soon afterward, fred was forced to give up his construction company when a freak accident left him with serious brain damage. now he receives disability checks. >> we both worked too hard. loved what we did, loved our families, took care of them, did everything for our family. it just pulled the rug out from underneath us. there's nothing left. >> reporter: 1.3 million americans are losing their long-term unemployment insurance benefits today because congress left for vacation without renewing them. tens of thousands impacted in new jersey, pennsylvania, massachusetts, and nevada alone. some economists warn the loss of benefits could drain billions in consumer spending and more than 300,000 jobs could be lost. >> it is a ripple effect. we have a very modest recovery that's been struggling for the last five years. and this is the sort of thing that could tip us back. >> reporter: but republicans say
extending the benefits will cost $25 billion and they won't approve an extension unless that price tag is offset. house speaker john boehner's spokesperson writes, why didn't democrats offer a plan that met the speaker's requirements? fiscally responsible with something to create jobs. but democrats in favor of the benefits are turning up the heat. one liberal group released this cable tv ad. >> you know who had a merry christmas in the richest 1%. that's who. >> and president obama vacationing in hawaii placed calls to two senators who are working on the three-month bipartisan deal. >> prospects are better for a short-term extension than a longer term. but in either case, it's very difficult to see how congress is going to identify the money to pay for this. >> reporter: meanwhile, folks like dolores and fred wonder how they will survive in 2014. >> how stressful is this sort of mountain of unpaid bills? >> mt. everest. some people have climbed to the top, so here's my mt. everest.
that's my mission, i guess. >> dolores says she's been consistently looking for jobs but just hasn't found anything permanent. 4 million americans have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. that's the highest long-term unemployment since world war ii. lester? >> all right, kristen, thank you. i want to turn overseas where at least 21 people were killed today in an air strike by the syrian government on a rebel-held area that's been under siege for two weeks. activists say more than 400 people have been killed since assault began, the latest in that country's long and brutal civil war. we get more across the border in lebanon. >> reporter: daytime who are error in the city of aleppo. carnage, destruction, chaos. survivors struggling to carry the wounded to help after a syrian air assault on a vegetable market early this morning. nbc cannot independently verify this video, posted online by
syrian human rights organizations that support the opposition. activists say this is part of a two-week reign of terror by the regime. cities showered with incriminal barrel bombs. the war in syria has triggered a humanitarian crisis to neighboring countries including here in lebanon. and if that wasn't enough, the international community now has one more concern. a key deadline for the destruction of syria's chemical weapons has now been delayed. in a statement to nbc news, u.n. weapons inspectors say the transportation of the most critical chemical material before december 31st is unlikely. syria says it's fighting a war against radical terrorism. as political leaders prepare to meet in switzerland in january to try to find a solution to the war, the assad regime today defended its actions on the international stage, sending a representative to carry a message to pope francis.
while the vatican has not said what that message was, the pope continues to pray for an end to the war. prayers that seem so far unanswered. those talks that are scheduled to take place at the end of january, they are already in jeopardy. it is nearly impossible, according to some analysts, to get all the syrian opposition rebels to agree on anything, let alone to come attend these talks. >> before we let you go, what can you tell us about the growing unrest in egypt? >> reporter: well, supporters of the muslim brotherhood there, students took to two campuses across the capital cairo. they really overran those universities in protest against the military-installed government. police moved in with armored vehicles firing rubber bullets and tear gas. as a result of those clashes two students have been killed as we understand it. but at the end of the day police were able to regain control of those universities. it is only adding more fuel to the fire because the muslim brotherhood says it will
continue its demonstration until president mohamed morsi is reinstated. here in this country, there is growing concern about the flu. the cdc says the flu is increasing across the country. it has now become widespread in ten states, mainly in the northeast and south. almost two dozen more states are dealing with a high number of cases. for more on this, we're joined by dr. mika roberson, chief of emergency medicine at carepoint health in hoboken, new jersey. can you tell us who's most at risk? typically we hear it's the old and the young. is that holding true in this case? >> that's not holding true in this case. in the past during the flu season it's the chronically ill and elderly. but this season it's young adults and middle aged. >> in the winter here, right in the flu season, is it too late to get the vaccination? would that be of help? >> it's never too late to get the vaccination in flu season. it's hitting october, november, through about april. but the height of it is the end of december to february.
so this is a great time to get it. it lasts about three months and it starts becoming effective in two weeks. so this is a perfect time if you've not gotten the vaccine, to get it. anyone over the age of s6 month is recommended to get it by the cdc. >> in terms of the matchup of this vaccine, i know it's kind of a guessing game, trying to figure out what the virus will be for the next season. did they get it right? >> we hope they did are this is the height of the season so they'll find out a little bit more later. but what they're seeing this season is that it's the h1n1, very similar to what they saw during the swine flu epidemic in 2009. so they're hoping that the vaccine they used then and made after then is going to be the one that will take care of everybody this season season. >> dr. roberson, good to have you on, thanks so much. this has been a dangerous and deadly week for some of those who are drawn to back country skiing where the thrills can be great but the risk of getting caught in an avalanche is high. we get more from nbc's joe
fryer. >> reporter: at first, the video camera mounted in davis la mer's helmet documents a glide through back country. he races down the hill to find his brother, edwin, swallowed by an avalanche. >> help! >> reporter: nearly every part of his body buried beneath a heavy coat of snow. were you afraid for your life? >> yeah. when i was deep under the snow, right before it stopped completely, i was really worried that i was going to be buried completely and suffocate to death underneath the snow. >> reporter: la mer knows he's lucky. two others were killed this week by avalanches including 29-year-old skier mike kazanji, buried by a slide near jackson hole, wyoming. there were a few close calls this month thanks to recent snow storms. >> we've got weak snow that was on the ground, heavy snow is starting to stack up on top of that. and that's always a perfect
recipe for human-triggered avalanches in the back country. >> reporter: last season avalanches killed 24 people in the united states, nearly all in the west. to stay alive, experts say backcountry skiers should carry a beacon, shovel and probe so they can rescue themselves. >> otherwise it's trying to find a needle in a needle in a haystack, virtually impossible. >> reporter: as an experienced back country skier, edwin had all of that equipment. the best thing he brought with him was his brother who dug him out. >> i'm extremely thankful that everything turned out the way it did and i didn't sustain any worse injuries or die. >> reporter: after escaping with only torn ligaments he promises to return to the slopes next year with an even greater respect for the dangers of the back country. joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles. from though to thick ice, thick ice still has a scientific research vessel in its grip if
antarctica. just as frustrating has been the effort by several countries to get that ship free. nbc's martin fletcher reports how breaking the ice is harder than it seems. >> reporter: they've been stuck in eastern antarctica since christmas eve. today team leader chris tourney still has his sense of humor. >> the shocking movement of choir practice, i hope we get out soon. >> reporter: it isn't looking great. the choice niece ice breaker "snow dragon" can't get through, blocked seven miles away by ice ten feet thick. a french icebreaker turned away with a faulty engine. two more icebreakers or the way to help, a web cam showing their progress. the first won't arrive until sunday night at the earliest, if it gets through. the scientists on board the trapped ship are keeping themselves busy with experiments. while their families back home hope to see them safe soon. will tourney is the team leader's brother. how does he look? >> he looks tired.
we're all obviously concerned. but very proud of him and know that he will make it home. >> reporter: wind depends on the weather, especially the wind which packs the ice even more densely, making it harder to free the ship. forecasts show a cyclone on the way. but then average wind speed here throughout the year is an icy 30 miles an hour. winds so strong the plan b evacuation by "snow dragon's" helicopter also depends on a break in the weather. the passengers and crew have enough fresh food for two weeks and dehydrated foodor longer. their main challenge, boredom. their only company, the few curious fellows getting closer and closer. marvin fletcher, nbc news, london. when "nbc nightly news" continues on this saturday, should facebook be worried? a new study says more and more young people find facebook not cool. the sound of the season and
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ruby carp posts a picture on facebook -- >> i want my friends to like it, i want my crush to like it. >> reporter: but lately? >> what really happens is all my relatives decide to tell me how much i look like my mother and that's not what i'm going for. >> reporter: the teen says her facebook circle isn't teens but older families. it's the same conclusion in an eight-country study by a british academic who says teens say facebook just isn't cool. prompting those researchers to declare, facebook is not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried. the study found teens are instead using other apps. >> we are on instagram. we are on snapshot. we are on vine. we are on -- some of us are on tumbler and twitter. >> reporter: all seeing explosive growth. and designed to be more mobile than facebook. so could the internet juggernaut with more than 1 billion users really are so last year?
is facebook really dead? >> no. it's the second most popular website in the entire world. i mean, it might not be considered cool by young people, they might be using it alongside a bunch of other services, but everyone still uses it. >> reporter: don't forget, facebook owns instagram, a company whose stock has more than doubled in 2013 isn't likely to go away any time soon. just ask ruby who once wrote an op ed titled "i'm 13 and none of my friends use facebook." >> i don't have anything against facebook. and hope that they don't have anything against me in the future. >> reporter: because it seems the book isn't yet closed on what's in the future for facebook. kristin dalgren, nbc news, new york. up next here tonight, the olympic dream for these americans. it's a family affair. she loves a lot of the same things you do. it's what you love about her. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right.
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compete in relative obscurity until the olympics come around. >> as hard as it is, it is worth it, the dedication. >> reporter: nancy raced in the 2010 games in vancouver. younger brother jeffrey, who gave up college football to commit to skating full-time, is taking his first shot, both trying to make the team heading to sochi. >> all i need is a good race and i can make the team. >> timing is right. >> reporter: their coach is the first u.s. woman to compete in four olympic games. a holder of two world records. she is also their mom. >> when they were old enough to be on skates i put them on skates. never with the intent that, oh my gosh, does he look like he has talent? should i push them in this? >> reporter: but they were upon to be athletes. dad is a football coach at wheaten college in illinois where another brother plays as well. >> somebody's always got a practice. >> somebody's always doing something. >> reporter: this brother and sister go by the name team spider pelts.
they will rise or fall on their own in the u.s. olympic trials going on right now. it's where all the sacrifice comes to bear. >> it's the same amongst speed skaters what the heck am i doing? why am i doing this sport? >> did you ever tell them how hard this is? >> you know, i didn't. i tell you what, i wonder if that would have been a discouragement. >> reporter: the coach in nancy senior trains them to win. the mom in her trains them in life. >> i think if you do the very best that you can and your goals are set, whatever happens, it has made you who you are. >> what is it like having your mom coach you? >> my mom, you look back on history, she has given a lot of other people just an amount of time in the training as she has given to me. and that just goes to show how selfless she is. >> reporter: between mom and daughter, a combined five olympics. and now with jeffrey on skates, a chance to expand the legacy. >> i think i'm considered a long shot. but i've got the best coach in the world. >> perfect position.
it's the road getting there that has really been more of the accomplishment, more of the reward. it's the memories along the way that have really i think shaped us. >> they'll know by early next week if one or both of them will be headed to so much chee. nbc's coverage of the winter olympics begins less than six weeks from now on february 6th. one more notable achievement to report. this week a 9-year-old boy from southern california became the youngest person to scale the highest peak in the americas. tyler armstrong and his father made it to the top of the mountain in argentina, almost 23,000 feet up. and it was for a good cause, to raise awareness for a type of muscular dystrophy that affects young boys. when we come back here tonight, the sound of giving back. how one manhasset an example for almost 60 years. mine was earned orbiting the moon in 1971. afghanistan in 2009. on the u.s.s. saratoga in 1982. [ male announcer ] once it's earned, usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation
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they're hard to miss during the holidays. thousands of salvation army volunteers next to their red kettles, collecting donations for the needy. tonight, we meet a small but mighty part of that army. a family of three generations, led by a man who's been ringing a bell for almost 60 years. from denver, here's nbc's leanne gregg. >> help the salvation army! >> reporter: on this 25-degree day denver with a request he's made countless times. >> help salvation army right here! >> reporter: now 85, he owned one of colorado's oldest businesses and began bell-ringing with fellow ceos in
1956. >> it grows on you. i get my heart warmed when people bring up their children. >> merry christmas! >> reporter: for close to 60 years, merrill has never missed a bell-ringing shift because it makes him happy. >> it's just part of me, part of the season. and, you know, people like to see someone that smiles. >> reporter: to attract donors he uses a swiss cow bell. it was his grandfather's from 1896. it was more than the bell that was passed on. >> his grandfather would give bags of groceries anonymously to those in his community that were less fortunate. >> reporter: generations later, in that same spirit of giving, merrill is joined most years by his two daughters and six grandchildren. >> how we doing, brady? >> good. >> reporter: his wife dory, 87, and visually impaired, also comes out. the family raises $15,000 to $20,000 each christmas for the
salvation army to help the needy. >> first memory, just being really cold. >> it's a tradition. more than the family, more than anything, to keep what my grandpa does going. >> grandpa's taught us the right way. >> reporter: the legacy in denver's longest-serving bell-ringer, still taking to the streets for a good cause. leann gregg, nbc news, denver. >> hey, hey, that's a good one! >> it sure is. that's "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. i'm lester holt reporting from new york. i'll see you tomorrow morning on "today." then right back here tomorrow evening. have a good night, everyone, thanks for watching.