tv NBC Nightly News NBC February 19, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
$50,000 a year for that radio station. "nbc nightly news" is next. and more local news at 6:00. state of chaos, tens of thousands on the streets again in wisconsin. over a fight that could be coming to your state. rage and revolution. new bloodshed folk a brutal crackdown in libya. while in bahrain, the day protesters have been waiting for. hijacked, four americans captured by pirates while sailing around the world. and league of their own. women hitting the ice and going pro. but wait until you hear about the pain. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening, in this season of people power being demonstrated around the world, the extraordinary political revolt close to home at the wisconsin state house reached a new level today. in the largest turnout yet, an estimated 70,000 people marched on madison over a republican backed bill that would limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees. this incendiary budget battle which has sent some democratic lawmakers into hiding is being closely watched in plenty of other cash-strapped capitals. for the first time today, it forced a huge stand-off between labor and supporters of the bill. >> reporter: for the first time, supporters of this bill turned out today, security was very heavy as both sides shouted to
make their voices heard. this crowd as many as 70,000, the largest yet. many protesting the governor's plan to close the budget deficit. the state's largest public employee unions now say they will pay more for their health and retirement benefits, but are refusing any limits to their collective bargaining rights. >> this is not about money. it's never been about money. it's about the republican party trying to squash democrats, trying to squash union rights. >> reporter: for the first time today, the governor's supporters joined the demonstrations in madison. >> i'm out here, because i work -- just graduated this spring, and i'm trying to save my money, i think it's about time the state does the same. >> reporter: the bill is stalled because all 14 democratic state senators left the state thursday and are holed up in illinois, without a quorom the senate can't vote on the bill. and the fugitive senators say they're prepared to stay away for weeks if they have to.
>> this is chipping away at our middle class, at what our people have as a life in wisconsin. >> reporter: republicans aren't bulging. >> there was a time for debate. and the democrats in the senate decided they would rather go to illinois than be here and debate this bill. >> reporter: ohio and indiana are considering bills similar to wisconsin. ohio's legislature is considering a bill to limit collective bargaining for the state's 400 employees. what happens in madison could set the tone for what happens around the country. >> collective bargaining in the public sector began in this town. if it happens there, it possibly could happen in many other states. >> today's demonstrations were peaceful, no arrests reported. there was some shouting and taurnting from both sides. monday is a holl day, so probably nothing will be done on this until after the holiday.
leaving two more days of g demonstrations. the house of representatives pulled an all nighter last night, before approving a spending plan that slashes some $60 billion from the budget at the expense of several government programs and offices. mike baquero is at the white house to tell us more about it. >> reporter: it's what they were sent here to do, republicans say. the treasury secretary says it could cost jobs and slow the recovery. it all adds up to a fight over spending that could lead to a government shutdown. by the time it was all over in the predawn hours, a divided house had voted to slash $161 billion from this year's budget. >> the massive debt burden on our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren cannot be afforded. >> reporter: the bill would shrink programs geared to low
income americans, like assistance for food, education and community health centers and roll back regulations and slash funding for environmental cleanup. many argue it's too much, too fast. >> this is an approach on top of a meat axe approach. >> i hear the word meat axe and draconian. what's draconian is leaving every american in this country with $43,000 of national debt. >> the bill also blocks funding for the president's signature effort. the health care bill he signed into law last spring. and it would zero out support for planned paers ened parentho. on the house floor, chris smith read a graphic account of the procedure. >> the doctor goes in with foreaccepts. >> leading jackie speer to throw out the speech she planned to give. >> i had a procedure at 17 weeks. >> and tell her own story. >> i lost a baby.
but for you to stand on this floor and to suggest as you have, that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous. >> the president has threatened to veto the entire bill. but the government runs out of money on march fourth, and many believe that neither side will blink before then. >> a couple weeks ago, i would have said, we're not going to go through that again, we're not going to have a government shutdown. it seepz we may well be headed in that direction. >> by the time the gavel came down early this morning, many members were wheels up on anywhere way home for a week-long president's day recess. that only gives them five days when they return to town to avoid a government shutdown and come to an agreement. >> thank you. with all these budget battles in mind, we turn tonight to one
beleaguered american city we reported on recently, camden, new jersey. which has been forced to cut to the bone with drastic reductions in its police force. peter alexander tonight with the new effort to get officers back to work. >> reporter: ranked the country's second most dangerous city, camden is crippled by poverty, crime and an overwhelming budget deficit. police face the task of patrolling the streets with nearly half its old force. 168 officers were laid off last month. police line their boots in protest. dozens of officers from camden and nearby cities are now setting their sights elsewhere. rapheal martinez was forced to turn in his badge less than a year into service. >> it may be what is meant for us. >> leonard keeler is recruiting here in camden, part of an
effort to hire 200 new officers over the next 18 months. >> for us, the bottom line is, it's simple. they need jobs, we need officers. >> reporter: they are veterans with varying years of service, but every one of these men and women faces the same recruiting process, and each new hire will have to begin again at nashville's police academy. >> i'm still waking up every morning and looking at what would have been my schedule, okay, would i have been at work today. >> reporter: the city's crime rate has spiked, 15 shootings, the police union says, nearly a 50% jump over the year before. >> the ultimate solution would be the city, the mayor getting their act together and bringing back all the police officers that they've laid off. >> camden's mayor says the officers wouldn't accept lower salaries, the charge the union disputes. >> is that going to help? >> if he's hired, rapheal will
leave his mother's home. >> you have to make certain changes. do something for yourself. i want him to have a future. >> reporter: for now, martinez' future is uncertain. much like the city he once took an oath to protect. peter alexander, nbc news, new york. we turn overseas to what has been an extraordinary and violent day in the arab world with at least 15 people killed in libya. in bahrain, something far different. and a symbolic victory for the people. richard engel is there again for us tonight. >> reporter: this is what the protesters have been waiting more than a week to achieve. a victory simply by arriving at pearl square in the center of bahrain. it's been the epicenter since the movement began. thousands gathered peacefully here last week. a demonstration meant to replicate egypt's formula for revolution. but before darn on thursday,
police and soldiers were sent in for a brutal crackdown. four protesters were killed. the next day after funerals, the demonstrators returned defiantly. again they were attacked. even as some protesters opened their shirts, exposing their chests to bullets. but the police and soldiers did fire. at least 50 people were injured, sparking international condemnation and a call from president obama to bahrain's royal family. today the government's posture was radically different. in the morning, the army pulled out of the city, protesters gathered at the edge of pearl square in a stand-off with police. but this afternoon, the police also pulled back. the crowd suddenly rushed forward. men and women carrying flowers. >> it's extremely rare for women to be out protesting here in
bahrain. now they're saying, this is peaceful and they want the public to leave. thousands gathered. their shouts and cries were emotional. the message was of peace. some men dropped to the ground in tears. their arrival a highly symbolic victory. and now the protesters tell us they're ready to negotiate. >> i don't know what's wrong with us. there's peace everywhere in the world, why not with us. >> reporter: bahrain ordered the security forces to withdraw. it's time for dialogue. not all arab leaders seem interested in compromise. libya continues to take a hardline. dozens have been killed in the last three days. today at least 15 died when security forces fired on crowds of mourners. there are reports of defections in the army.
and that libya has brought in foreign mercenaries to back up the regime. these are the first images of protests spreading to moammar khadafi's strong hold, the capitol of tripoli. the government is currently offering $2,000 payments to keep citizens loyal. libya has banned western journalists, the only images have come online. today even those were rare are as the state cut the internet for several hours. bahrain today opted for dialogue. libya for violence. richard engel, nbc news. >> make no mistake, the demonstrations in the arab world are having an impact here in the united states. an impact you have felt if you filled up your gas tank this weekend. tom costello explains. >> reporter: from the streets of cairo to bahrain to yemen even iran and libya, the events half a world away are now reaching
america's gas pumps and pocketbooks. nationwide, regular unleaded is averaging $3.16 a gallon up 55 cents from a year ago. the cheapest gas in the lower 48 wyoming and missouri at $2.96. >> i've had to sacrifice food, rent just so i can go to work. >> reporter: while egypt, bahrain and yemen have very little oil to export, the fear is that unrest will spread to the countries on which america's economy dependses. >> there's a ton of i'll in saudi arabia, that's of greatest concern. we're going to see these protests erupt in saudi arabia. >> it's not just the middle east factor, only 9% of our oil comes from the persian gulf. the world's economies are also showing signs of recovery, with strong demand from china, india,
even latin america, helping to drive gas prices higher. the forecast is for .330 a gallon by memorial day, with a worst case scenario of $3.75 to $4 a gallon later in the year. those are levels we haven't seen since 2008. that would make everything more expensive. already food and clothing prices are climbing. with jet fuel up 43% in one year, airline ticket prices have jumped 20 to $60 in the last few weeks. >> if gas prices would rise to $4 a gallon, that is certainly going to be a drain on the economic recovery, because there's just less money for the consumer to spend. >> a fragile economy with a keen eye on events a world away. tom costello, nbc news, washington. when "nbc nightly news" continues on this saturday night, americans captured by pirates on the high seas. and high winds causing big trouble in washington tonight. bringi bringing down a national
u.s. military officials say they're considering how to respond to an act of piracy. the capture of four americans on a yacht in the indian ocean. the quest is owned by a california couple who have been on an around the world voyage. they were headed from india to the african coast, when they were intercepted by pirates off the coast of oman. their yacht is believed to be
headed toward somalia. here's john lewis. >> reporter: these photos show the couple on the adventure of a lifetime. sailing around the world aboard their 50 foot slope. as they travel, they handed out donated bibles. ironically, jean wrote we expect this trip to hold some unexpected surprises. at the del ray yacht club in los angeles where they competed in boat racing events they have lots of friends and there's plenty of concern here about their safety. . last night as news of their capture broke, people were following the story closely. >> we got an e-mail from them about a week ago, they said they were about to take off into where it was going to be dangerous and there wouldn't be any more radio contact. >> because they didn't want the bands of pirates off the somali coast to know their location. somali officials said the adams were among four americans captured by pirates, the other
two hostages were not identified. last year, 49 vessels were hijacked by pirates and 116 crew members were taken hostage. a total of 28 vessels and 638 hostages are still being held for ransom. this despite stepped up patrol by the fifth fleet and the navy's other countries. on wednesday, one man was sentenced to almost 30 years in the u.s. prison for his hijacking of the freighter mesrk alabama in 2005. two others were killed in a navy seal operation in which the captain was executed. >> i'm happy to be alive. >> i love my wife, i love my life. >> now, friends of scott and jean adam are praying for their rescue or release.
one stretch of i-95. in washington, the winds blew down the blue spruce that becomes the annual christmas tree each season. in auburn, alabama an update on a sad tale involving other historic trees. thousands came uni s came out t imminent loss of two oak trees that have stood for more than 130 years. a fan of the rival football team has been charged with poisoning those trees after auburn beat alabama in december. how many parents have found themselv themselves being asked to jump in for their children's coach. today it was president obama's term. up next, they've skated their way to the pros, we'll tell you what these women have yet to earn.
for those of us who watch big time sports, it usually means watching men play the game. the fact is, women's sports don't get much attention or provide the players the same big paychecks. that isn't stopping some of the best female hockey players from getting into the game. clare duffy has the story. >> reporter: in the 1992 film "a league of their own" 1940s women's baseball didn't get a
lot of respect at first. >> dozens of people are waiting for the game to start. >> reporter: they eventually won over the fans with their skills. and the women of the boston blades hockey team are hoping they'll do the very same thing. the first american team in the semipro women's canadien hockey team -- >> they're getting on the bus, making ends meet however they can so they can change the sport they love. >> reporter: making ends meet is a priority. they don't get paid, so everyone on the bus has a day job or juggles road trips with school. >> i think i have a leg up on my colleagues, i get to come out here and exercise some demons, throw bodies into the wall. >> what did you guys think of the game? >> loved it. >> yeah. >> awesome.
>> yeah? >> reporter: after each game, they make sure everyone who wants an autograph gets one. their reward for a dramatic shootout win? pizza on the bus ride home. when she's not sharpening her game, annie hogan is getting her tv career off the ground, but she's proudest of being a hockey player. >> when i tell people i play on a pro hockey team they say, that's so cool, how much do you get paid? i have to back pedal, it's not that kind of pro. >> i've been involved since i was a little kid. it's hard to walk away from that. >> reporter: a league of their own perhaps they won't have to. clare duffy, nbc news, boston. coming up tomorrow, nbc's sports coverage of hockey day in america begins at noon eastern here on nbc. a day of special coverage. that's nbc nightly news for this saturday. i'm lester holt, reporting from