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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  October 1, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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injury. luckily no one hit it as it was trying to cross 101. that could have been not good for the sea lion. >> the marine mammal center does excellent work. >> thanks for watching. we've got "nbc nightly news," area at 6:00. target: terror -- hours after a direct strike on one of america's most wanted, tonight the capture of another major terrorist leader behind a string of deadly attacks. running mates. as the leaders of the republican pack barn storm the campaign trail, their wives, including a self-described she-lion, step out into the spotlight. at her side. days from a verdict that could set amanda knox free, tonight lester holt in italy with her anguished family. sign of the times. how some schools are going commercial to deal with brutal budget cuts. and back in the game. after a life-altering tragedy,
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an emotional return to the after a life-altering tragedy, an emotional return to the ballpark for a 6-year-old boy. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. the state department is warning u.s. citizens tonight of potential anti-american attacks worldwide. the travel warning about potential retaliatory attacks comes one day after the killing of an american-born al qaeda leader. and tonight more news on this front, reports that nato forces in afghanistan have captured another key figure. this time the target was an elder in a militant group operating on the border between pakistan and afghanistan. it's a group we heard a lot about this week as u.s. officials again questioned pakistan's commitment to fighting terror. nbc's adrienne mong is in kabul tonight. >> reporter: it's considered one of the biggest threats to u.s. forces in afghanistan.
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and today it may have suffered a major blow. the haqqani network, a crime family that operates on the border of afghanistan and pakistan with ties to al qaeda and the taliban. known for brazen attacks like the 20-hour siege of the u.s. embassy and nato headquarters in kabul last month. today, nato forces said they captured hajik kahn. in a joint operation with the afghan military in southeast afghanistan. nato called kahn one of the highest-ranking members of the network and a revered elder. in addition to managing haqqani bases and operations in both afghanistan and pakistan, kahn was said to be responsible for managing finances and sourcing supplies for the network. for their part, the taliban denied that kahn had been captured, although afghan police and defense officials insisted it was true, saying his arrest will disrupt the haqqani
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network. senior u.s. officials have accused pakistan's government of having ties with the haqqanis. >> they are making a serious, grievous strategic error supporting these groups. >> reporter: the afghan president pointed a finger at pakistan as well today. in a videotaped speech he said talks aimed at ending the violence in his country should be held with pakistan, not the taliban. karzai said he can't find the taliban leadership in his country, it's next door. senior afghan officials have also accused pakistan's spy agency of being involved in the assassination ten days ago of karzai's chief peace broker. strong words reflecting a growing tension between afghanistan and pakistan, which one analyst called a very serious crisis that could further complicate america's role in the region. adrienne mong, nbc news, kabul. >> and for more on these fast-moving developments in the middle east let's bring in nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. andrea, what are we seeing here? >> reporter: well, fast-moving
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indeed. u.s. officials tonight say the capture of that senior haqqani leader is a very big deal because his duties included finding ways to get terrorists across the border from pakistan into afghanistan and also choosing targets to kill americans, targets such as the u.s. embassy, nato headquarters, but also the intercontinental hotel which was bombed in kabul last june. the importance of capturing him alive is that he may have had cell phones or other communication devices which could now lead to other suspects. interestingly, kate, the pakistanis tonight are saying that it's not a big deal, that he was not such a major leader. they are trying to downplay someone who was obviously operating out of pakistan. also of course the tempo of u.s. and nato moves against key terror targets is really increasing. this is the reason for the state department travel warnings specifically u.s. officials are very concerned that death of that al qaeda leader, al awlaki in yemen, will inspire others to retaliate against american targets. kate? >> andrea mitchell in washington tonight. thank you. staying overseas for a
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moment, in libya today, residents fled muammar gadhafi's hometown of sirte as fighting there continued to rage between gadhafi loyalists and revolutionary forces. hundreds of cars lined up at checkpoints leading out of that city. meantime, in spite of that fighting, the u.s. commander for africa says the military mission in libya is largely complete and could begin to wind down after a meeting of allied leaders next week. back now in the u.s., the republican candidates for president are on the trail again this weekend with just three months until the first primary voters go to the polls. but, as romney, perry and company stump for support, some party leaders and deep pocket donors are holding their breath waiting to hear from a certain governor. nbc's mike vaqueira in washington tonight. mike, will he or won't he? >> reporter: chris christie has said no too many times to count, has said his heart isn't in it. but tonight chris christie is said to be giving the race a
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second look. today on the trail, republicans on the move and on the hustings. >> we are ready for a problem solver in the white house. >> reporter: but behind the scenes, the party is holding its breath, waiting for this man, new jersey governor chris christie, and his answer to gop activists and donors who are urging him to run. >> he is a straight-talking, matter-of-fact kind of governor who has capped property taxes, has reined in pension costs for teachers and unions, sort of tells it like it is. >> get the hell back on the beach. >> reporter: while his no-nonsense style has won him conservative backing -- >> you don't send your children to public schools, you send them to private schools. so i was wondering why you think it's fair to be cutting school funding to public schools. >> first off, it's none of your business. >> reporter: -- his stance on some core party issues could cost him support. as a federal prosecutor in 2008, christie said on immigration "being in this country without proper documentation is not a
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crime." this week rick perry was heckled by conservatives who see him as soft on immigration. an instant frontrunner and favorite of the right when he entered the race six weeks ago, perry's polls are now sinking. christie's positions on gun control, global warming and even taxes, while far from liberal, are not in sync with conservative orthodoxy. if he does run, christie could be in for a tough primary season. >> if he had gotten in the race eight or nine months ago, he could have had that shakedown cruise. and the thing is, chris christie perry's problems and say, you know, i may not be rick perry, but some of those problems i would probably face in i got in. >> reporter: still, many believe that in the end republicans will show some flexibility if it means defeating president obama next fall. >> what they're looking for is who's the most conservative republican that you can get into the white house. and i think that that's probably the threshold that you're looking at at this point.
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>> reporter: and, kate, if chris christie does decide to run he really would have to make that decision soon, perhaps within the next few days. the primary season is starting earlier than ever this year, just after the new year. that would only give him three months to start to organize and raise campaign cash. kate? >> mike vaqueira in washington tonight. thanks, mike. and as the gop front-runners trade barbs out on the trail we're beginning to hear more from the women at their sides. ann romney and anita perry are quickly proving to be their husbands' most effective defenders. that story tonight from nbc's kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: this republican field is so unsettled and uncertain that two of the ultimate campaign advisers emerged this week. wives of the gop front runners. in iowa, anita perry, the texas first lady, launched a hard sell for her husband of 29 years. >> i think he's the only one that can go toe to toe with obama.
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>> reporter: in south carolina, ann romney dropped off required paperwork -- >> thrilled, mitt and i are, to be able to file these papers and make it official. >> reporter: -- and really put down her own marker. >> knowing how defensive i am about my husband i'm a she-lion. when it comes to people attacking him, you better look out. i get very upset if he's being misrepresented. >> reporter: they may start off with those photo op moments, hoping to project an image. but their real value is to counter harsh criticism like no one else can. ann, mother of 5 sons, grandmother of 16, tries to reflect a warmer, softer side of the usually all-business mitt romney. like recalling her own battle with multiple sclerosis. >> he would put his arm around me, he'd say, look, we got to remember one thing. you're still here. we're still together. everything's going to be okay. >> reporter: for anita perry,
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who did not actively campaign for her husband back in texas, this is all still new. >> we never imagined that one day we would be campaigning for the presidency around our country. >> reporter: mother of two and a former nurse, anita has tried to clean up a few of her husband's self-inflicted wounds after he stumbled in debates. >> he has never had a debate class nor a debate coach in his life that i know of. he's going to be better prepared this time. >> reporter: softening hard edges, filling in gaps, countering voter doubts that their husbands struggle to do on their own. ann romney and anita perry are now in this race, too. kelly o'donnell, nbc news, washington. >> and a program note, tomorrow on "meet the press" virginia governor bob mcdonnell and massachusetts governor deval patrick join david gregory to talk decision 2012 and a whole lot more. what began with a small
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disorganized protest on wall street in lower manhattan here in new york has grown today to demonstrations nationwide against corporate greed. from new york to l.a., even up in maine, people took to the streets to express their anger and make sure their message is heard. but what exactly is their message? we sent nbc's michelle franzen to find out. >> we are the 99%! >> reporter: two weeks and counting. several hundred faithful protestors continue to camp out at a park near wall street. their numbers grow each day, fuelled by the power of social media. a few scuffles with nypd and the common threat of discontent over high unemployment and distrust of government and corporations. >> there's something unjust going on right now in this economy, in this society. >> reporter: john drove from connecticut to speak out. >> because we can't pay for big expensive lobbyists to work for what we want. >> reporter: the sit-in has turned into a small community, complete with a food kitchen and media center. but, by design, there is no one
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leader of this group and no organized set of demands. >> we each do our own thing but we're doing it together. we're coming together and we're saying, things need to be changed. how are we going to do this? >> reporter: protestors may still be working to define their message, but the complaints of corporate greed and social inequality are resonating far beyond the streets of new york. in los angeles today, protestors took to the streets to show solidarity. >> i can't travel to dc or to new york so i think it's great that we are doing this in cities across the united states. >> reporter: even in portland, maine, 100 people turned out. the movement, labor experts say, is also gaining the attention of high-profile activists like michael moore and union leaders, backing that could elevate the conversation to the political stage. >> this is a liberal version of the tea party especially with young people who are getting mobilized and expressing their grievances. i think this could potentially carry over into the 2012 elections and get people to the
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polls. >> reporter: so far, the protestors say they are just getting started. michelle franzen, nbc news, new york. ten days now since an execution that sparked an outcry around the world. more than 1,000 family members and supporters gathered in georgia today at the funeral for convicted murderer troy davis. many attending the service said davis' execution was not a defeat but a call to action. davis was put to death for the murder of a savannah police officer in 1989, despite a lack of physical evidence and witnesses who recanted their testimony. when "nightly news" continues on this saturday, days from a verdict in her fight for freedom, how amanda knox's family is holding up under the strain. and later, a touching moment at the ballpark. the story behind a little boy's emotional opening pitch.
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we are now just days from a certified in the sensational appeals trial of amanda knox, the american exchange student convicted of murdering her roommate in italy. an acquittal would bring an end to an emotional four-year deal for knox's family. any other outcome they say they can't even bear to imagine. lester holt is in perugia tonight and has spoken with amanda knox's family and friends. >> reporter: she is far from home, in prison for a horrible crime, but amanda knox is not alone. somebody always has to be in italy. >> yes.
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>> we make it a point to have somebody there for her, to visit her, so that she's not left behind. >> reporter: for this entire four-year ordeal, her family has stood with her, both emotionally and physically. edda, how many trips have you made to italy? >> at least probably five a year, five times, what 20 in the last four years? something like that? >> reporter: amanda's mom and dad are divorced, but they are united and powerful in their determination to clear their daughter's name and end a nightmare that began on a november day in 2007. >> she called me and was talking about how something odd was at her house. three phone calls actually all early in the morning. in the second one she up called they had broken down the door and found somebody and the phone call next was when the police were there. she was devastated. she was beyond upset. yeah, it was horrible. >> reporter: it was one of amanda's roommates, british
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student meredith kercher. she had been viciously murdered. >> and then to learn that your daughter is potentially a suspect. >> i got a call from edda saying amanda has been charged with murder. >> how do you process that? >> you can't. >> you don't. >> reporter: life for the family has been a blur ever since. a trial in a town they couldn't understand, a devastating verdict and sentence as legal and travel expenses soared through the roof. >> it was horrific. there was large parts of it especially at the beginning that i don't remember. i think we were all in shock. >> reporter: back in seattle, supporters have raised money to help the family. edda's husband, amanda's stepdad, a computer consultant, actually moved to perugia to be close to amanda. >> anybody who's a parent can understand, you don't leave your kid alone in a prison the other side of the world. >> reporter: amanda has adjusted to prison life as best she can. >> when you're in perugia and get to see her, what are those visits like? >> they're really nice because you can actually hug her, hold her. >> reporter: this weekend the entire family is in perugia for what could be their last time. >> edda, have you allowed
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yourself to at all fantasize about what it would be like to step off the plane at seatac, to drive to west seattle and walk in the door with amanda? >> no. you want to go there, you want to believe that. but, as amanda told me, she said, you know what? i feel like i can breathe, but i'm still here. i'm still locked up. so until she walks out, i don't -- i try to stay away from those thoughts. >> reporter: lester holt, nbc news, perugia, italy.
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back now with some incredible pictures from australia where an ultralight plane crashed into a ferris
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wheel at a festival north of sydney. after scooping up kids trapped on the ride, it took rescuers three hours to free two men in the plane which was dangling more than 30 feet in the air. amazingly, no one was seriously hurt. at our education nation summit here in new york this past week, we heard over and over again about the problem many districts are dealing with right now, severe cuts to their budgets. and that is leading some to resort to unique and controversial measures to make money. it is a real sign of the times. that story tonight from nbc's janet shamlian. >> reporter: the pep rally at winter park high school packed the auditorium. but along with signs cheering on the football team, banners here support a couple of restaurant chains, a sportswear maker and a local yogurt shop. and at game time, the announcements are no longer just for raffles and bake sales. >> you need the complete sports
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drink -- powerade. >> reporter: call it the new math in education funding. cash-strapped districts like this one outside orlando, have resorted to selling advertising in schools. >> we were looking at serious cuts. it was going to affect teachers and programs and athletics. enough hue and cry came up that we had to do something. >> reporter: seven states now allow ads on school buses. this high school in minnesota is putting them right on student lockers. a blend of education and commerce some object to. >> children are absolutely awash in commercial messages these days out of school, and that's why it's more important than ever to protect some space where children can just be kids and not be targeted as consumers. >> reporter: so what type of money does advertising bring into education? well, here at winter park high school, the partnership with panera bread draws $3,500 a year. the district even created a new
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position, director of sales. >> pizza hut here that sponsored the back of the ticket backs. not only did it pay for these but it brought in another $20,000 to the district. >> reporter: in total, advertising has earned the district $450,000 since it started two years ago. still a drop in the bucket in a $1.4 billion budget. >> but every little bit helps. and it helps preserve some of those things that were in fear of being cut when budgets were being slashed. >> reporter: some easy money in tough times, as schools look for new ways to make ends meet. janet shamlian, nbc news, winter park, florida. up next tonight, an emotional return to the ballpark for a 6-year-old boy.
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throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at game one of an american league division series would be a big deal for any 6-year-old baseball fan. but last night in arlington, texas, that first pitch was about a whole lot more than baseball. >> reporter: for 6-year-old cooper stone, it was a dream come true, throwing out the first pitch to his favorite player, texas rangers star outfielder josh hamilton. but it was a dream moment that only came after a nightmare. back in july, cooper was enjoying a rangers game with his dad, shannon stone. as a nice gesture to a little fan, hamilton had tried to toss a ball up into the stands for the boy. but, as his dad strained to catch it, he fell over the
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railing. the 39-year-old firefighter died later that night. last night's big moment was emotional for the 50,000 fans on hand, but it was something cooper needed. he'd been asking his mom all summer to take him back to the ballpark. she was in constant contact with rangers president and baseball great nolan ryan. >> she told me that she felt like before the season was over that she would bring him back because she felt like that was in his best interest. >> reporter: since the accident, the rangers have raised several hundred thousand dollars for cooper's family, for his future. cooper's mother called their difficult return to the ballpark a once in a lifetime experience. hamilton, the season's mvp, who's had his own struggles, took a moment to talk with her as they embraced. >> i just told her to make sure that the little one knows who his daddy was and what he stood
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for, make sure he understood that. >> by all accounts, shannon stone was a great dad who took cooper with him everywhere he went. more about the rangers' fund for the stone family is at nightly.msnbc.com. and that is "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. i'm kate snow reporting from new york. i'll see you right back here tomorrow evening. i'll see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good evening. i'm diane dwyer. we begin with devoping news out of mendocino co.

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