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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  July 23, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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the death toll sores to nearly 100 in a deadly rampage that lasted more than an hour. what we're learning about the young victims and the alleged shooter. deal or no deal, back at the table after a heated and public showdown, but are they any closer? and amy winehouse. dead at the age of 27. her meteoric rise and tragic dead at the age of 27. her meteoric rise and tragic fall. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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good evening. norway and the rest of the world woke up this morning to the stunning news that what we already knew to be a horrible tragedy in that largely peaceful country had turned far, far worse. the toll of dead from yesterday's twin attacks in and around oslo has climbed to at least 92. most of the dead, teenagers who were systematically executed in a 90-minute-long massacre at an island summer camp. the shooting attack and fatal bombing of oslo's government center are now thought to be an act of domestic terrorism. we also learned today it took police almost 40 minutes to reach the island camp as an apparent single gunman waged his withering attack. with more on the attack and the suspect now in custody, here's nbc news correspondent martin fletcher from oslo. >> reporter: norway is in mourning today, trying to understand. photos of the youth camp taken just before the shooting, as
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norway's prime minister said a paradise island that turned into hell. desperate survivors pulled to safety. at least 85 murdered. >> he was just like going around killing people like it was nothing. >> reporter: police today said the suspect hunted the victims, aged from 12 to 19, shooting them for 90 minutes. but when police finally arrived, this is his moment of surrender, no resistance. he had no police record. >> we have not arrested him before or anything like that. >> reporter: police say in may the suspect bought six tons of fertilizer, similar to the kind timothy mcveigh used in oklahoma city. it may have been used to make the bomb. after setting off the car bomb that killed seven in oslo's central square, the suspect drove to the island less than an hour away, dressed as a policeman. he told the teenagers he needed to protect them after the oslo bombing.
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he gathered them close and opened fire. as they fled through the woods and swam for their lives, he picked them off one by one. >> there's a guy with a gun, he was standing there and he was shooting at us. if i start to swim a bit later, we would have been shot. i think we would have been dead now. >> reporter: the suspect's name is anders behring breivik, 32 years old. just last week he updated his facebook page, called himself a christian, a conservative, likes hunting. facebook friends, zero. a right winger but with no signs of potential violence. how strong is the right wing here, how big is this pool of people that could produce such a person? >> that pool of people i would say is very, very limited. what we see here is a rather extreme single instance rather than something representative. >> reporter: the maximum punishment in norway for any crime is 21 years in prison. if convicted, the 32-year-old
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suspect will be back on the streets when he's 53 years old. the suspect's lawyers said that the suspect is willing to appear in court here in oslo on monday, and explain why he did it. and the lawyers said that the suspect will say that what he did was, quote, atrocious, but necessary. lester? >> martin fletcher in oslo tonight, thank you. norway hasn't known this kind of terror since world war ii. it's a place where gun violence is rare and bombings are virtually unheard of. now oslo takes its place in a long list of places forever scarred by large scale mass murder. tonight, michelle franzen with the survivors' stories. >> reporter: as the search for victims continues, a very different search is under way at the place where families have come to identify victims or wait for news of those still missing. here they are looking for answers.
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initially the teenagers thought it had to be a prank. >> he came and started to shoot and we all thought it was a joke. >> the reason i thought it was a game or, i don't know, something else, was -- it was like not high sound shootings, it was like silencer or something. so it sounded like fireworks. >> reporter: the reality was horrifying. >> he just was like shooting everyone. he wasn't thinking. but it feels like a nightmare. i don't believe this is true. >> reporter: as the massacre continued to unfold, hundreds of teenagers literally ran for their lives. >> everybody was around the island, hiding behind cliffs and woods and in the trees and all over. >> reporter: when the shooting finally stopped, the echo of gunfire was replaced by the frantic sounds of survivors struggling to try and save their friends. >> i tried to save those i could, but there were people there that i couldn't do anything for.
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>> reporter: a haunting reality for those who somehow walked away. michelle franzen, nbc news. back in this country now, you could have probably cut the tension in the room with a knife at the white house where president obama summoned congressional leaders for a crisis meeting on the debt ceiling fight. but 24 hours after republican house leaders said they were done negotiating with the white house, there are hints a deal may finally be near. nbc's mike viqueira is at the white house to bring us up to date. >> reporter: good evening, lester. congressional leaders are now taking charge, meeting here throughout the weekend, scrambling to find a way out of this mounting crisis. and today there's at least some hope that they can announce at least a framework of a deal by tomorrow night. on the morning after the collapse, house speaker john boehner was on his way back to the white house. summoned by the president and seated beside him.
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the leaders met for just under an hour, returning to the capitol to try to find a way out of a looming disaster. >> it went well. we're here to work. >> reporter: now racing the clock, hill leaders huddled late today and are now working on a scaled down deal. republicans want spending cuts in the range of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion and a special committee charged to deal with the volatile issues of social security, medicare and taxes. as congress takes the lead, the white house said in a statement, congress should refrain from playing reckless political games with our economy. instead it should be responsible and do its job, avoiding default and cutting the deficit. boehner pulled the plug last night on what would have been a massive deal to reduce debt. that drew an angry response from the president. >> it is hard to understand why speaker boehner would walk away from this kind of deal. there doesn't seem to be capacity for them to say yes.
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>> after weeks of private meetings, long phone calls, even teaming up for a round of golf, the aftermath of collapse ended with each man attacking each other on personal terms. >> dealing with the white house is like dealing with a bowl of jell-o. the white house moved the goalpost. there was an agreement on additional revenues until yesterday when the president demanded $400 billion more. >> reporter: a major deal now appears to be out of reach, but all sides do agree default must be avoided at all costs. and the asian markets and their jitters and how they will react to this collapse in the talks last night is a major concern. i'm told secretary geithner brought it up at the meeting today at the white house and congressional leaders, one of the things that's driving them, their motivations is to get the framework done so they can announce it before the markets open late tomorrow afternoon eastern time. >> so officially they have this ten-day window, but what's the practical deadline, the point you come to agreement, print it up and signed and make it a true, done deal?
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>> reporter: i'll tell you, it's going to take every bit of that ten days if this agreement, this framework they're moving on moves forward in a way that would be fast by congressional standards. it has to be written, you're right, but the white house signaled early last week that if a deal were in the offing that everybody could agree on, that august second deadline is something they could extend by a few days or weeks while all the ts got crossed and the is got dotted. >> much more on this tomorrow morning, bill daley is among david gregory's guests. the first foreign born chairman of the joint chiefs of staff has died, retired john shalikashvili held the job during the clinton administration. he was born in poland and immigrated to the u.s. as a teenager. he suffered a stroke, a severe stroke in 2004. he was 75. there wasn't much in the way of relief today from the heat that's been baking a large part of the nation for the past week. a heat advisory extended over 28
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states, including new york, where the weather channel's eric fisher joins us now from jones beach. eric? >> reporter: good evening, lester. the hottest time of the year is certainly living up to its name this time around. today was another day of record setting heat, places like new york city, philadelphia, newark, new jersey, atlantic city and many others along the eastern seaboard. we're certainly not alone in our plight. take a look at the temperatures across the country, we're talking 103 degrees in tulsa, oklahoma. 105 degrees in raleigh, north carolina. you factor in the humidity, you get that heat index, what it actually feels like on our bodies, it felt like 109 degrees in st. louis. that is dangerous territory. it felt like 108 degrees in the nation's capital. the question is, when will we see relief? fortunately e answer is soon here. from new england to new york, we'll go back to seasonal temperatures tomorrow, eventually by monday, that will trickle down towards d.c. however, much of the country, places like the heartland through the deep south continuing to see these above-average temperatures, relentless heat that doesn't seem to show any signs of
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slowing down. thanks. in the south, the heat wave is only adding to the misery of the droughts. crops are withering away, and for animals, the scorched earth means a struggle to survive. nbc's janet shamlian has our story. >> you've got yours, here's yours. >> reporter: these are the orphans of the drought. wild fawns abandoned by mothers too dehydrated to produce milk. for every animal taken in by volunteers at this texas wildfire center, dozens, if not hundreds will die of thirst in the wild. >> we've never had anything this severe, the drought and the heat and lack of food. >> reporter: even for some of the rescued, it may be too late. >> it's survival of the fittest and we're really seeing that right now in all species. >> reporter: texas is at the epicenter of a savage drought that was already bad back in february. and in the months since has grown and worsened.
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now affecting some 15 states. burning crops worth millions of dollars. baking cities. >> he's emaciated. >> reporter: and taking a toll on wildlife. dry river beds and cracked earth are sending hawks and other predators into neighborhoods in search of food. it's even more dire for livestock. sale barns are overwhelmed as ranchers rush to sell their starving livestock, if they can get there. with barren pasture, thousands are dying right in the field. >> it's a vicious cycle. the heat is terrible and it's making the drought worse and the worse the drought gets the worse our heat wave is getting. >> reporter: even some reservoirs are drying up. along some stretches of lake travis here in austin, there is no lake. waterfront property is now high and dry, and boat docks like this one are landlocked. mike hutchins and dottie wagner can't believe it's the same body of water they swam and boated on
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last summer. this is lake travis then and now. >> i mean, we knew that lake travis would go up and down, but we didn't know that it would be dry in front of our house. >> reporter: boat launches are closed and marinas sit atop rocks. just when drinking water and the relief of a cool dip in the lake are needed most. janet shamlian, nbc news, austin. still ahead on this saturday night, it's as close to the royal wedding as most people will ever get. how the palace is cashing in on princess kate. ♪ tried to make me go to rehab, i said no, no, no ♪ and coming up next, the talent and tragedy of amy winehouse, dead tonight at the age of 27. we'll be right back. er
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you are looking at the scene right now outside the london home of singer amy winehouse where fans gather tonight as word spread of her unexplained death at the age of 27. winehouse was the first british singer to win five grammy awards. but her musical success was matched by her very public struggles with substance abuse. nbc's peter alexander has our report. ♪ >> reporter: with her mastery of soul and jazz, amy winehouse sure didn't sound like a white jewish woman who grew up in the suburbs of london. ♪ i tell you i was troubled
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>> reporter: in 2008 winehouse won five grammys, critics and fans loved her with that unmistakable black beehive hairdo and old-fashioned sailor tattoos. her career soared and her influence on other singers, including british performer, adele, and lady gaga was almost immediate. >> there were elements of jazz, of motown, soul, all mixed up in something that was almost unearthly. >> by winehouse found herself powerless over her struggle with drugs and alcohol. she acknowledged her addiction in the song rehab. last month appearing to be high on something, winehouse was booed by an audience in belgrade, serbia, as she stumbled across the stage, unable to remember the lyrics of
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her songs, forcing her to cancel the tour. tonight fans gathered outside winehouse's north london home, stunned by her sudden death. >> we all saw her become destructive and eventually fall. so it's really sad. >> reporter: now with her sudden death, winehouse joins what many rock fans call the 27 club. jimi hendrix, janice joplin, kurt cobain. and now amy winehouse, all died when they were just 27 years old. and in a recent interview, amy winehouse's father said she'd been going through some rough stuff of late, but he said in the last few weeks, she was absolutely fantastic. those were his words. sadly when paramedics arrived today they said there was nothing they could do to help winehouse. police tell us an autopsy could be completed within the next 24 hours. lester? >> peter alexander in london tonight. thank you.
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we're back with more news, including today's high speed rail disaster right after this.
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tragedy in china tonight, a collision between two high-speed trains has left at least 32 people dead. two cars derailed and plunged at least 65 feet off a bridge. one of the trains had lost power after being struck by lightning. the other train crashed into it from behind. and we have more tonight on
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the debt crisis and the big sticking point between the two parties, whether tax increases will be part of the final plan. one of the most influential voices in washington arguing that they can't is the anti-tax crusader gordon norquist. grover norquist. andrea mitchell has his story. >> reporter: grover norquist is a behind-the-scenes power broker who's never held office. a self-described reagan republican who even tries his hand at standup. >> bourbon, neat, no water, my rule, never drink water, dick cheney tortures people with it. >> reporter: but about taxes, he is deadly serious. >> the folks who have fought for tax increases after promising not to, and then down here in blue, across here, are the ones who are defeated. >> reporter: for 24 years he's been getting candidates, almost all republican, to sign a simple pledge. >> read my lips.
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no new taxes. >> reporter: republican lawmakers remember how that worked out, defeated after one term. so 236 have taken the vow. >> grover went around and said, sign this. any guy that would sign something before he or she confronts the issue has really sold part of their soul. >> reporter: this week he told the "washington post" letting the bush tax cuts expire at the end of next year would not violate the pledge. >> not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase. >> reporter: democrats saw a big opening, potentially $4 trillion toward a deal. >> i think mr. norquist has made a very, very important statement. >> reporter: 24 hours later, norquist was in full retreat. in a "new york times" column, and with nbc news. when asked about letting the bush tax cuts expire. >> they're just going out of business, they're disappearing.
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so why does that violate your pledge? >> in changing the 2001/2003 rules you are dramatically increasing revenue. you're increasing the total cost of government. >> reporter: budget negotiators slammed him for closing the door. >> if you insist those people pay their fair share, just like the vast majority of us already do, shame on you, grover norquist. let's have some patriotism. >> reporter: grover norquist's bottom line? he once told npr, i don't want to abolish government, i want to reduce it to the size where i can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. up next, the royal wedding dress and the princess who wore it. great britain's new crown jewel.
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if you were left off the guest list of the royal wedding earlier this year, this could be the next best thing, a chance to check out the dress worn by kate middleton, the royal family's newest, brightest star. >> reporter: her moment of royal glory, kate's official arrival on the global stage. her dress was the other star of the show. today at buckingham palace, crowds waited for hours for a closeup look at a new display opening today. last week the queen and the new duchess got a sneak preview but didn't quite have the planned reaction. >> horrible isn't it? >> reporter: without kate in it,
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the dress appears ghost-like. still half a million fans are expected. >> she seems very sweet and she's very pretty, and she seems very nice. >> kate's memorabilia will raise millions for the monarchy, turning her into a valuable asset. the royals can't help but be impressed, less than three months after the wedding she is officially the hottest ticket in town. the wedding drew more than 1 million people to buckingham palace and was watched around the world. all eager for a glimpse of kate's dress. then came the couple's trip to canada and the united states. kate's every move, every fashion choice making headlines. an icon was born. >> kate's becoming the star of the royal family that everyone wants to have a piece of. >> reporter: the royal family have been quick to capitalize on kate's appeal, realizing the
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girl's family roots might just be its new crown jewel. nbc news, london. that's "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. i'm lester holt reporting from new york. i'll see you tomorrow on "today" and right back here tomorrow evening. and right back here tomorrow evening. good night, everyone. -- captions by vitac -- good evening, i'm garvin thomas in for diane dwyer. an 11-year-old girl is in critical condition tonight


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