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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  September 9, 2010 3:00pm-3:30pm PST

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on our broadcast tonight, breaking news. the florida pastor who vowed to burn the koran on 9/11 backs down after a day of intense pressure from washington and around the world. and is there a new york connection here? also tonight, game day here in new orleans where it's not just a football team. to many here, they really are the saints who helped them get back up. plus, good neighbors making a difference in difficult times. plus, good neighbors making a difference in difficult times. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening from the banks of the mississippi river. we are back here in new orleans
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tonight. we'll have a word about why a bit later on in the broadcast. but first we must begin tonight with some fast-moving events regarding the pastor from florida who was threatening to burn the holy koran on saturday to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11. tonight it apparently took a phone call from the secretary of defense to make the pastor back down. he said late today he realizes now this is not the time to burn a koran. while initially this was reported to be part of a deal that would also include moving the location of that controversial planned islamic community center near ground zero in lower manhattan in new york, well, that part of this is being denied tonight. we'll sort this all out. we have it covered beginning in florida where the announcement was made this afternoon. we want to begin with nbc's kerry sanders, who's been covering this story in gainesville, florida. kerry, what can you tell us?
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>> reporter: well, good evening, brian. yes, nbc news has confirmed that secretary of defense robert gates late this afternoon phoned pastor jones. then a short time later, pastor jones came out here with all the world's eyes looking at this field in rural florida. they heard the pastor announce that he no longer plans to build a bonfire with more than 200 korans. pastor terry jones says he no longer plans to burn the koran. >> we have been in very much thought and prayer over this whole period. a lot of times we were asked what would it take to call this thing off. we have thought it over many times. >> reporter: the pastor now says burning the koran was directly linked to plans to build an islamic cultural center and mosque in lower manhattan near ground zero.
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>> if they were willing to either cancel the mosque at the ground zero location or if they were willing to move that location, if they were willing to move it away from that location, we would consider that a sign from god. >> reporter: flanked by an imam from central florida jones claims imam feisal abdul rauf says the two sides should accommodate each other. >> the imam has agreed to move the mosque. we have agreed to cancel our event on saturday. >> reporter: imam mohammed musry who has been negotiating for days to end this was less definitive. >> i have made this morning contact with the office and got a commitment to fly up to new york and meet with him in the company of pastor jones to
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discuss and come to a decision on relocating the mosque in new york. we are committed to dissolving the situation here and there. >> reporter: while the owner of the building in new york tells nbc news there are no plans to move the proposed islamic center, pastor jones says he has no reason to doubt what he's been told by the florida imam who he sat with today. >> he told me three times that the imam in new york said he would move the mosque. that is what he told me three times. i have witnesses. i only have this man's word that supposedly only has the imam's word but that's good enough for me. >> reporter: a representative for the imam in new york says he never spoke to pastor jones
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today and would not because today is the last day of the holy month of ramadan. meantime, pastor jones says he plans to fly to new york on saturday. he tells us he doesn't know who he's meeting with, what time he's going to meet or where he's going to meet. when i asked him in a late afternoon press conference whether he felt he had been hoodwinked or tricked. he said, tricked and lied to if he's not meeting and if the mosque and cultural center near ground zero in lower manhattan is not moved. brian? >> forgive me for saying this all sounds a little shaky and like it could fall apart. is that your impression? >> reporter: yes, although i would say based on what the pastor has said here, he will not be here on saturday. so the planned burning that he was in charge of is not going to take place. if there is a semantical
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difference the two sides have, the one thing that appears clear is that there will not be this event here with the piling up of more than 200 korans and setting them ablaze. >> you're right, kerry. that is the central event here. kerry sanders in gainesville has been covering the story with three prongs. the florida angle, official washington and around the world and lower manhattan. let's get to the other two by bringing in first andrea mitchell from our washington bureau. there is nothing like this. you have been around washington a long time. this has now involved a four-star general, the secretary of defense and, after all, let's not forget a preacher who, depending on estimates, has a flock in florida of between 24 and perhaps 50 members, attracting all this attention because of tensions being what they are. >> reporter: it's extraordinary. i have never seen anything like it, but they had to take it seriously. they had protests around the
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world, u.s. troops on alert, a worldwide travel warning because of protests in pakistan, in afghanistan, in a war zone where we have upwards of 100,000 men and women. with all of that on the line and all the progress they hoped to make toward the muslim world, the initiatives from the president to the state department to everything that david petraeus is trying to do in afghanistan and before that in iraq, they had to take it seriously. the decision was made early today from my conversations with people that the white house would not reach out, that the state department would not reach out, that they would have the pentagon reach out and it went to bob gates, the secretary of defense, because he could clearly call the imam and put it to him that men and women in uniform were in danger and that was the key factor. >> and that decision certainly lent this a different kind of weight. let's go to mike taibbi in lower manhattan. just trying to sort this out, is it possible -- we had two prongs
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of this that weren't talking to each other. is it possible a deal was cut in florida involving a promise to move the controversial planned location of that islamic center that is to contain a mosque without checking or getting the approval of the folks in new york? >> reporter: well, brian, apparently, thinking back to the famous movie line, what we have here is a failure to communicate, from the new york end in this, there were no negotiations and there is no deal. that both from the owner of the building and more importantly from imam rauf who is behind the planned cultural center and mosque. he released a statement a short time ago saying, "i am glad that pastor jones has decided not to burn any korans, however, i have not spoken to pastor jones or imam musry. i am surprised by their statements. we are not going to toy with our religion, nor are we going to barter. we are here to extend our hands and build peace and harmony." a denial that there have been
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any conversations at all. but if the korans aren't burned that's the central point of today's developments. >> that's right. we'll keep dwelling on that point that the saturday event will not happen apparently. for tonight our thanks to our correspondents covering our lead story, changing story tonight. now to some movement in the case of those three american hikers who have been in a tehran prison for more than a year. we have covered it on this broadcast. today the iranian government said this saturday, one hiker will be freed in honor of the end of ramadan. an iranian diplomat said it would be sarah shourd who, with her two male traveling companions, was accused of spying when they were arrested near the iranian border. back in the country texas governor rick perry issued a disaster declaration for 40
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separate counties in texas battered by tropical storm hermine. this was a rare sight last night in a u.s. metropolitan area. four tornadoes in and around dallas, texas, all of them spawned by this same vicious storm system. knocked down walls, tore off roofs, overturned trucks, mostly in low-lying industrial outskirts. only minor injuries reported. nasty conditions today for the teams fighting those wildfires around boulder, colorado. so far, the fire, fed by high winds, has consumed at least 169 homes. more than any other wildfire in the history of that state. possibility of wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour have made it too dangerous to allow folks to go back home. and now to what brings us back here tonight to this city that has come to mean so much to us. it is hard to find anyone here in new orleans tonight who isn't wearing some form of the saints' logo, even a few local news
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anchors had game jerseys on this morning under their usual on-air blazers. the saints are just one nfl team, it's true, but they mean the world to this town. playing tonight in the superdome, their first game as defending super bowl champions when they meet the vikings tonight on nbc. our report on what the saints have done to and for this city from janet shamlian down near the superdome. janet, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good ening. if it is possible to close up shop in an american city, that is the feel in new orleans tonight. just about everything has come to a standstill in anticipation of this game and this team that has really come to represent the city's own hard fought recovery. even in a city known for great parties, the frenzy of this day in new orleans was unprecedented. >> that's a breakfast of champions there.
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>> reporter: the time honored tradition, tailgating, started at sunrise. >> there were people here with the grill going at 5:30. this is what new orleans does. >> reporter: city hall shut its doors and schools closed early, all blamed on a fast-spreading football fever. tonight's game, the nfl season opener puts new orleans back on the national stage and not for a storm or oil spill or any other tragedy. >> everybody's excited. it's saints mania. >> reporter: after a super bowl win that gave the city an emotional boost, now comes another fresh start, in the superdome representing so much of what new orleans has been through. >> this is fantastic. this is incredible. >> reporter: a lifelong saints fan who lost his home to katrina and watched his oyster business crumble after the oil spill but never once considered parting with his season tickets. >> it's about the happiness. it's about where we have come from that point to now. i think we are over the hump
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with the katrina story. >> reporter: for the love of black and gold, bragging rights belong to the saints as they begin a new march toward super bowl dreams and another step in the city's recovery. talk about an economic shot in the arm. the hotels here are booked solid and saints merchandise, if stores have any left, have lines out the door. brian? >> janet shamlian in the thick of it tonight in new orleans. might just run into you in the crowd at the superdome tonight. janet, thanks. when our broadcast continues on this day of dramatic developments over those threats to burn the koran, the inspiring story of one community where people of different faiths have reached out and come together to help each other. and later, the kids' photos that are making a difference by telling a whole new story of the trina.f new orleans after telling a whole new story of the city of new orleans after katrina. expresso tampers, filt it can get really complicated.
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we are back and in light of so many of the stories we have been covering in the news lately -- the fracas over the muslim community center in new york, the threatened burning of the koran in florida -- now subsided. tonight we have a story about a different kind of community and a different kind of relationship. our report from nbc's ron mott in suburban memphis. >> reporter: last night's call to prayer outside memphis was answered by the muslim faithful at usual. shoes removed, all bowed toward mecca, singing allah's praises. what makes this year's ramadan is different is where they are worshiping. a christian church called heartsong, a sort of welcome to the neighborhood gift while a new mosque is built nearby. >> we have seen people throw coins in it. >> reporter: pastor stone instructed his members how to respond to naysayers. >> if they ask why are you doing that, get a puzzled look and say, we're loving our neighbors.
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>> reporter: neighbors, ever since the memphis islamic center bought 30 acres in the heart of the bible belt. unlike other parts of the country there have been no signs of protest. when these doors open, muslim leaders hope the folks down the street they call their christian brothers will fill -- feel at home here as much as those who practice islam. >> hello. we're glad you're here. >> reporter: it's a feeling they wanted to share during the holiest month of the islamic calendar. >> i will grow learning about their culture and respecting the fact that they embrace a faith, even if it's not the faith i embrace. >> you see people for people and not for what they may believe. >> reporter: some say it was a place to do more than kneel in prayer. >> we have broken down stereotypes. broken down questions people had about each other's faith. >> thank you for showing the spirit of god's love.
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>> reporter: with ramadan ending these muslims thanked their hosts. >> together as two faith-based communities i think we can definitely live and hopefully show america just an example of living together peacefully. >> reporter: one nation, two faiths under god and the same roof. [ applause ] >> reporter: ron mott, nbc news, cordova, tennessee. when we come back, why so many grandparents are being forced into a role from their past. grandparents are being forced into a role from their past. heartburn that keeps coming back? then you're ready for new zegerid otc. zegerid otc is the first 24-hour treatment ever with two active ingredients: prescription-strength medicine plus a protective ingredient that shields the medicine from stomach acid so it's effectively absorbed. just one zegerid otc capsule a day can relieve your heartburn all day and all night. if you have frequent heartburn, try dual-ingredient zegerid otc. heartburn solved.
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no oil has flowed into the gulf for weeks, but it's just the beginning of our work. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. my job is to listen to the shrimpers and fishermen, hotel and restaurant workers and find ways to help. that means working with communities. we have 19 centers in 4 states. we've made over 120,000 claims payments, more than $375 million. we've committed $20 billion to an independent claims fund to cover lost income until people impacted can get back to work. we'll keep looking for oil, cleaning it up if we find it and restoring the gulf coast. i was born in new orleans. my family still lives here. bp is gonna be here until the oil is gone and the people and businesses are back to normal... until we make this right.
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new numbers are out showing more children are being raised by their grandparents these days. researchers analyzed census data and found that almost 3 million american children were being raised by a grandparent in '08. that's up 16% from back in 2000. analysts said there are a lot of reasons for it including single parents being financially overwhelmed in this economy, high divorce rates and long military deployments. two more trends in the news tonight. first, the eventual death of the paper version of the new york times. it's been assumed it couldn't last forever in the web era but it was shocking to hear the publisher of the paper, arthur salzburger, jr., admit to an audience in london, quote, we will stop printing sometime in the future.
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and the folks at the gallup organization are out with the list of the most generous nations on earth. the u.s. has fallen in terms of generosity behind new zealand, ireland, australia, canada, the u.s. is tied for fifth place now with switzerland. education secretary arnie duncan was at a d.c. high school to announce this year's list of blue ribbon schools. they are being recognized for efforts to raise achievement levels of disadvantaged and minority students. 300 schools were named. you can see the full list on our website tonight at we also learned today u.s. fighter jets were nearly launched last month to shoot down an unmanned navy drone that had gone astray in the air space near the nation's capital. the admiral in charge of the northern command said he was in the operations center when controllers lost contact with the drone on radar and it flew into restricted air space. just as the fighter aircraft were about to launch apparently the navy managed to reprogram
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the drone and bring it back. on wall street today, stocks finished modestly higher on a very light trading day. the dow finished up just over 28 points. when our broadcast continues tonight from new orleans, making a difference by helping kids here capture the spirit of this city five years after a big, bad storm. after a big, bad storm. st stopstop. ♪ an accidental touch can turn ordinary into something more. moments can change anytime -- just like that. and when they do men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a clinically proven, low-dose tablet you take every day, so you can be ready anytime the moment is right. tell your doctor about your medical condition and all medications, and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
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here in new orleans tonight, one of the most comprehensive exhibits of the photos taken during the katrina disaster is now on display. a lot of them are those searing images that it's just impossible to forget. instead of just displaying them on the wall the people who took the photos are using them to teach lessons. by doing so, they're making a difference in the process. from here in new orleans here is nbc's kate snow. ♪ >> reporter: 12-year-old kim kaiser got his first camera several years ago. outside cafe du mond he found the type of scene he likes to shoot. >> it feels good. i love jazz.
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>> reporter: kim is in search of the good in the city after living through so much bad. he lost his grandpa in the aftermath of katrina. what do you miss most about him? >> i miss the way that i used to run up to him and kneel on him, knees, and give him a hug. >> reporter: johnny hanson organized a workshop for young people to coincide with the display of katrina photos. after a private viewing the kids would have their turn. >> we want you guys to go out today against the backdrop of where we were five years ago and tell us where we are now. >> you framed it. >> reporter: photo journalists coached the kids on how to capture just the right frame. >> what's your impression of this? >> it's lonely. >> this is cool. let's hang for a while. >> reporter: 20-year-old kaitlyn sullivan lost two friends to suicide after katrina but now
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sees beauty in the new orleans tradition of a musical funeral procession. ♪ >> reporter: their photos telling a new story about their city. >> it is about the people and the culture and not the physical. >> just how hurricane katrina came, i took those pictures to remind them that new orleans is still the same. >> reporter: five years later, images that are refreshingly ordinary, filled with life and hope. kate snow, nbc news, new orleans. >> great story to end on on a thursday night along with our thanks, of course, for being here with us. >> now, a few things to remind you of. nbc sports coverage of the saints versus the vikings. come to think of it somebody did mention a game in town tonight. it begins here at 7:30 eastern time. tomorrow night, thanks to the
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miracle of the jet age we'll be in los angeles for this broadcast and then for the live special benefit broadcast across the network "stand up to cancer." at 8:00, 7:00 central. then "new orleans, an american story" at 10:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. that should do it. i'm brian williams reporting from new orleans. we hope to see you tomorrow evening. we hope to see you tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- i even bought her a computer with my new citi forward card. then one day... have you seen this? she "friended" me. there's a whole album. [ laughs ] [ groans ] and started posting pictures. ♪ and tagging me. publicly. [ male announcer ] you ought to be rewarded for being dependable.


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