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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  October 8, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> thank you for joining us. we hope to see you at 6:00. >> good night. washington has done. families of fallen american soldiers aren't getting the death benefits they need and were promised. and a new twist after a high speed chase and a beating caught on video that captured national attention. police now say one of their own was seen smashing that suv. our nbc news investigation, one of the deadliest epidemics in the world. and the accusations, the u.n. is now to blame. tonight, dr. nancy snyderman has the report. and getting more dads involved in school. "nightly news" begins now.
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good evening. the president and the speaker of the house fought back and forth verbally today. day eight of the government shutdown. mean chooil, all kinds of people are getting cheated out of salaries, benefits, medical treatment. and now we have learned of what may be the ultimate indignity, having to do with those that fought and died for this country. in the middle of the shutdown, the sad word that five americans were killed in afghanistan, but because of the shutdown, those 5 and 12 others killed in action since october 1st will not get the death benefit that their families are supposed to be guaranteed. we have two reports on this tonight, beginning with nbc's andrea mitchell who broke the story this morning, and is here with us in the studio tonight. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. we have been talking about the shutdown for eight days, but in the middle of all this pain, the fact that families of troops
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killed in afghanistan are not getting their death benefits is truly gut wrenching. 12 years of war in afghanistan, far from of furloughs and fighting in washington, these troops have the most dangerous job in government. marine lance corporal jeremiah collins was on patrol saturday when he was killed. he was only 19 years old. >> it's hard knowing that i'm not going to get a phone call and he's like i love you mom. >> reporter: in milwaukee, as his mother shannon grieves her loss, she and other families of service members killed since october 1st will not get their death benefits. $136,000 usually paid within hours of the death to cover funeral costs or the return of their loved one's flag-draped coffins. >> while that may not be urgent for some, it is urgent for me. the sacrifices that our kids are making at the age they're making them, i can't understand how
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this can be a benefit that's withheld. i won't ever understand it. >> reporter: in kandahar province, four other soldiers were killed sunday. sergeant patrick hawkins from carlisle, pennsylvania, on his fourth deployment in afghanistan, a decorated army ranger killed while trying to help a wounded ranger. jennifer moreno, also 25, a nurse from san diego and part of the command cultural support team. 25-year-old cody patterson, from oregon, on his second deployment to afghanistan, special agent joseph peters, a 24-year-old intelligence officer serving two tours in iraq, father of a 20-month-old son, his wife issued a statement about the delay in benefits saying yes it is upsetting because my husband died for his country and now his family is left to worry.
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my husband always said if something happened to me, they would always take care of us. i am a stay at home mom, he always wanted that. andrea mitchell, nbc news. >> reporter: this is kelly o'donnell on capitol hill where there is outrage. >> i am ashamed, embarrassed, we all should be. >> reporter: as congress deals with the unexpected casualty of the government shutdown. >> i would hate to look those families in the eye and say well, yeah, this is all because democrats and republicans can't agree. >> reporter: outside the capitol, illinois democrat, tammy duckworth, the first disabled woman veteran elected to congress knows the hardship. do you feel it in a way that maybe your colleagues don't? >> yeah, i feel it in my gut, i know exactly what the families are going through. i know just what it is like to get that phone call from the department of the army casual assistance department, because my family got that call. >> reporter: they were allowed
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money for burial costs. "today" show that brought the issue to light put the attention of the majority leader harry reid. >> does not allow the death benefits for the families of the fallen, as told andrea mitchell of nbc. >> reporter: word spread in the house republican's morning meeting. the south carolina congressman mark sanford. how is a death benefit held back in the time of shutdown? >> it is wrong and it will be fixed. >> reporter: late today i asked the house speaker. can you tell us please what you would say to military families who were just denied benefits due to the shutdown? boehner said they believed that all military families were protected with their paychecks last week, when the government signed and promised to pay, through the military act. >> we give broad authority to the department of defense to pay all kinds of bills including this. and frankly i think it's disgraceful that they're withholding these benefits. >> reporter: chairman buck mckeon runs the committee and says lawmakers will fix this tomorrow.
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>> they will get their benefits. >> reporter: can you promise that? >> i promise that. there is no question they will get their benefits. >> reporter: tonight, pentagon lawyers say they simply disagreed with the speaker and lawmakers and believe the department of defense did not have the authority to pay these benefits now. tonight senators from both parties have written to secretary hagel and asked him to look into this. and tomorrow they are expected to pass a new bill that would protect all of these benefits right away. >> kelly o'donnell, thank you, of course the shutdown continues, as we said we heard from both sides, chuck todd was there for it. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. you know, nine days before the country runs out of its ability to borrow money, we don't appear to be closer to a deal, they must be part of it. the president is willing to talk about that but only after the government is re-opened.
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>> the only thing that i will say is that we're thought going to pay a ransom for america paying its bills. we're willing to pass at least a short-term budget that opens up the government at current fundi funding levels. >> reporter: hours later, speaker boehner dismissed that option. >> the president said today if there is unconditional surrender by republicans he will sit down and talk to us, that is not the way our government works. >> reporter: an exs a per rated john mccain has been there before, so he pleaded with colleagues to work something out. >> how is this going to end? we know how it is going to end. sooner or later the government will resume the functions, sooner or later we'll raise the debt limit. the question is how do we get there? >> reporter: one way out would be to take a straight up and down vote in the house on a spending bill without any amendments like health care. boehner says the votes are not there, but according to our math they are. the house currently has 432
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members and three vacancies. a majority to pass anything is now 217. all the house democrats are on record supporting a temporary clean spending bill. and we've identified these twenty house republicans who told us they, too, would support a clean bill. that brings the total to 220, three more than necessary. and brian, a little breaking news tonight. tomorrow the president will formally announce that janet yellin will be his choice to replace the current federal reserve chairman ben bernanke as the next chair. his term ends at the start of next year. she would have to get confirmation by the senate, but it would make history if she's confirmed. >> chuck todd from the white house tonight. chuck, thanks. after eight days of this, the ripple effects keep rolling in. the cdc has been effected.
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much of staff furloughed. now, there is a recall of chicken that has now made 300 people sick in different states. wall street is reacting to the possibility of defaulting on the debt with next week fast approaching, the dow slid nearly 160 points today. it's now wiped out all of its gains on the last month. there's concern about the s&p numbers. tonight cnbc's maria bartiromo is talking about the default and what could happen. here in new york, there is late word tonight an undercover police officer has surrendered to authorities in connection with that motorcycle gang attack on the driver of a range rover nine days ago. the detective was seen in the video of the attack smashing the back windshield of the vehicle with the man and his family inside. our report tonight from stephanie gosk. >> reporter: in the final
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moments before the motorcyclers beat mr. lien, the wife was calling 911. that officer not only stood by, he may have taken part. the video posted online and now viewed by millions and just before lien is pulled from the car. in the moments following, a bystander was videotaping the scene with an ipad. sources at the nypd tell nbc news they have that video and it shows the undercover cop smashing the rear window of the suv, getting on his bike, and driving off. the detective who se nypd says was part of a sensitive undercover operation didn't come forward until three days later saying he was there but not involved. before the video was uncovered, the head of the new york detective's union explained the challenges of working undercover. >> it's very difficult to lead a double life. especially for those that are in those deep, sensitive undercover positions.
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they must keep their assignment to themselves. >> reporter: former new york city police commissioner bill bratten says the police officers never should have taken part in the unauthorized rally. >> the activities of these type of motorcycle rides are certainly nothing that a new york city police officer or any police officer should engage in. >> reporter: an undercover detective who investigates the biker gangs in another state spoke to nbc news. >> the job is very unpredictable. we try to plan, and you try to coordinate for the safety of everyone involved. and sometimes things don't go exactly as planned. >> reporter: back in new york, the criminal investigation is focused on the bikers believed to have beaten lien. police released photos of several more persons of interest. while revelations of an undercover detective remains the most sensitive operation.
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stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. still ahead for us tonight, dr. nancy snyderman with an investigation. one of the worst outbreaks on our planet. thousands are dead because of it. the question is, could the united nations itself be to blame? later on, the revelation of tom hanks that made national headlines within minutes.
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we are back as promised with our exclusive reporting about who is responsible far man yumtal health crisis going on not far from our shores. an epidemic of cholera that went on almost four years ago outside of haiti. nbc learned that lawyers will file a class action lawsuit tomorrow accusing the u.n. of causing the spread of this disease. our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman recently traveled to haiti to report on the epidemic. >> reporter: this is 5-year-old christina. a cholera victim who remembers
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her manners, christina is one of the lucky ones. she is going to make it. but others vnts been so fortunate. this woman lost her family members to cholera. >> translator: i'm sad. i'm really sad. >> reporter: the epidemic has compounded the suffering i witnessed after the devastating earthquake in 2010. since then it has become one of the world's biggest health crises. sickening more than 160,000 people and killing more than 8,000. it appears to have began with one fateful event. boarded a plane for haiti. according to a scientific panel convened to study the outbreak, one of the peace keepers was likely carrying cholera. this is the site where they
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dumped cholera laden water for the supply for all of haiti. introducing cholera to a country that hasn't seen it for hundreds of years. but the u.n. has refused to respond to allegations it is responsible for the epidemic citing diplomatic immunity. there has been no apology. american and haitian lawyers will file a class auction lawsuit in u.s. court tomorrow. >> the u.n. is there to fight disease and poverty, but it's a major contributor to disease and poverty in haiti. and refusing to take responsibility for it. >> reporter: that's the stance on the u.n. taking responsibility for that? >> i can't answer that question. >> reporter: she is one of the top officials in haiti. when there is blame to be made, isn't it important for them to accept that blame and in the case of the u.n. to say yes, it was us? >> well, unfortunately, i can't answer that question. i think here in haiti what's more important is to deal with
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the situation that we're in. improving the health system and the water and sanitation, we're also improving other elements. >> reporter: little reassurance for her who says her family has received no help from the u.n. >> it means the victims are entitled to their day in a national court if the u.n. won't give them justice within their country. >> reporter: the plaintiffs are counting on tomorrow's lawsuit hoping that u.s. courts will finally bring justice for their families and force the united nations to be accountable. the lawsuit also accuses the united nations of a coverup saying it willfully delayed the investigation into the outbreak and obscured the source. the u.n. says it does not give information on claims. >> thank you for your reporting. when we come back, the iron woman of her time is back in the water tonight and will be for a long time to come.
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tom hanks was surprised to wake up this morning and find something he mentioned on letterman last night was getting so much attention. he announced he was joining the ranks of millions americans with type 2 diabetes. part of a national epidemic really. 27 million americans have diabetes. 80 million have pre-diabetes, the highest risk stage before getting the disease. type 2 is controllable through diet and meds and lifestyle changes. he says he's on top of it and already on the fight. after his talk show appearance last night, he's already in london promoting his new film. say good-bye to childhood. a school is banning footballs, baseballs, soccer balls or anything that might harm a child during recess. they say students not wearing protective gear suffered injuries during playtime, this
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started with the dodge ball. targeted children which after all had a lot to do with it being called "dodge ball". diana nyad is now back in the waters after swimming from cuba. she has now set a new goal for herself. 48 hours in the pool. which happens to be in herald square in mid-town manhattan. she's doing it to raise money for victims of hurricane sandy. while some celebrity swimmers will hop in to join her for a few laps, nyad will keep going until 8:30 thursday morning. the lesson appears clear. if you are chosen for the honor of running with the olympic torch prior to the winter games in sochi, russia, bring butane. the torch has now gone out four times during the brief stay in russia so far. they are working on a remedy and thankfully a backup flame from the original is always kept in the nearby caldron. president obama is supposed to be attending the apex summit
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in indonesia. it's the one where they always make the leaders wear wild shirts for the class photo at the end. this year because the government shutdown, john kerry got the nod and the shirt. hardly the worst offender over the years at this conference which has featured some aggressively diminishing designs. enough to make you hope they all go bowling as a group some day. when we come back here after a break, we'll meet the new man and former commander of troops who's the new command as head of the pta.
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not far from here at the new york public library, this was the final day of our fourth annual education nation summit. the gathering we sponsor every year. it gathers together teachers and students and parents and the best minds in education to talk about what so many americans identify as the most important priority faced by our nation domestically. today much of the conversation was about parents and their role. one dad who was present is actively trying to get parents more engaged. that's because he is the new head of the national pta. we get his story tonight from nbc's gabe gutierrez.
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>> reporter: on a soggy field in georgia, these cheers aren't for the football team. >> thank you all so much for coming. >> reporter: but for the new face of the national parent/teacher association. >> that you sign up for pta unit here. >> reporter: before the image of the pta has been suburban mom. you're trying to change that perception? how? >> well, i'm today's pta. i'm a working dad. >> reporter: is the new president and the first african-american male to hold the unpaid position. >> and there are barriers in the way of education. and you have to break down those barriers. >> reporter: no stranger to challenges, thornton is an army lieutenant colonel who earned a bronze star in iraq. now retired, he trains soldiers as a contractor at fort stewart. thornton says that discipline and his own struggles growing up helped him relate to today's most at-risk kids.
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>> when you're in poverty, it can be hopeless. >> reporter: he was 13 when his father disappeared, leaving his mother to care for seven children. >> i didn't know why. and i was angry. >> reporter: but he channelled that anger into education, and when he had kids of his own he joined the local pta and grew it from just seven parents to 400. he now wants every father involved. men make up just 22% of the pta. >> we have family reading nights, and we're targeting communities. >> reporter: the group is now providing some kids free ereaders and holding membership drives like this one. >> if we can draw them in as a whole family unit, it is very tremendous impact. >> it is very important if we sustain our membership. >> reporter: a combat veteran with a new mission. >> i'm here to serve the children of our nation. >> reporter: changing america's classrooms one parent at a time. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, brunswick, georgia.
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and that is our broadcast on this tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we'd love to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. good evening, everyone, thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. >> i'm raj matthai. >> delayed decision making and poor management among the key findings today for a report looking at the state agency that regulates hazardous waste. >> we began exposing problems with the broken system back in january. she joins us with the details and this report outlines a lot of things you had already exposed. >> yes, jess, raj. these are issues sources raised to us months ago talking about the dysfunction in this department. now we're seeing the specific problems when it comes to
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perming. in california 18% of the companies that this pose of toxic materials are working on outdated permits. it's long been a problem for the state department charged with protecting our health and the environment. we get a first look at where the system has failed and what needs to be fixed. it took ten months for reviewers to arrive at several key conclusions about the permitting process. they found it lacks clearly stated objectives and purposes and the standard process when it comes to how toxic regulators issue permits. they also found the department's permitting decisions are not made on a timely basis. reviewers found permit renewals take an average of 4.3 years from start to finish. the results paint a grim picture of the way state regulators keep tabs on the 117 companies statewide that handle 1.8 billion tons of hazardous waste each year. reviewe erers says the departme doesn't have enough staff. in 2006, there were 95 positions in

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