tv Today NBC December 28, 2013 5:30am-7:01am PST
good morning. conditions getting worse. incoming storm further hampering efforts to get to that russian strip strand inside a sea of ice at the bottom of the world. another attempt to reach it as they reassure family and friends they are pok. safe and sound. four u.s. personnel in libya okay. a&e makes an about-face that phil robertson will return to the tv show after he was suspended for making anti-gay
comments. from nbc news, this is "today." with lester holt and erica hill live from studio 1a in rockefeller plaza. good morning. welcome to "today" on a saturday morning. i'm lester holt. >> i'm erica hill. alongside jenna wolf and dylan dreyer. good morning, everyone. we have been watching the stalled ship at the bottom of the world and fascinating to see what is happening. we are learning the latest on the slow recovery efforts in the south pole and really the efforts focused right now in getting everyone safely out of there. martin fletcher has been following this for us from london. martin, good morning. >> good morning top. >> reporter: so near, yet so far. now the chinese eyebreaker six northern miles from the trapped ship is all but stuck itself and can't move forward in ice.
australian icebreaker is on its way but shirts are said to be high. the people on board are a research team from the australian yuveuniversity of so wales and telling their families not to worry and save they have enough fresh food on board for another two weeks and dehydration too for two weeks. if worse comes to worse the chinese ship has a helicopter right now. the chopper can't take off because of snow and cloud. they say the modern equipment systems you can't beat antarctica. all they can do now is wait for the weather to improve. >> wait and watch, martin, thank you. dire news for many americans. their long-term unemployment benefits are gone.
part of benefits package from 2008 that is no longer being funded. joe fryer is in los angeles to tell us more. >> reporter: good morning. at one point, unemployment aid lasted nearly two year, and most recently over a year but as of this morning, benefits are back to prerecession level and maxing out at six months with average payment 300 a week. starting today 1.3 million americans lose their long-term unemployment aid and 9.8 will lose their benefits in first first half of 2014. in california, nearly 215 thousand will lose benefits and in new york 125,000 and in new jersey it's about 90 thousands which is 1% of the state's population. we spoke with a couple of job hunters who have been out of work now more than six months. >> i thought it would be easy. i thought i would be employed within a month. didn't think for a minute i would be sitting here today, a
year later, no job. >> there seems to be the impression that the people of unemployment benefits are just kind of sitting around enjoying the money and nothing could be further from the truth use with the ends of the these long-term benefits, many economists say the unemployment rate could drop but not for desired reasons and some will stop working for work and won't be counted and others might take lower paying jobs. >> joe, thanks very much. there is more severe weather in the forecast which is the last thing the tens of thousand of people across the northeast and middle east still in the da dark. the latest numbers in michigan 29,000 customers without power and in maine the number tops 4,000. the good news is those numbers are actually an improvement. kevin tibbles has more now on the progress being made. >> reporter: in freezing cold temperatures, crews are working around the clock.
>> we got hit at about sunday at about 3:00 in the morning and we have been working 16 hours straight since. >> reporter: in charlotte, michigan, they have come from as far away as north carolina, ohio, and maryland. missing christmas with their own families. >> kind of tough being away from home? >> it is, but they understand. they got a better christmas because of it. >> reporter: how appreciative are the people? >> we have so many christmas cookies i don't think we care to have another one. >> reporter: residents are left without electricity nearly a week but the crews work fast. much to the relief of homeowner tom nicket. >> my christmas tree lights are on, so that's a good sign. >> reporter: but not the case 12 miles away in lansing. frustrated residents david benji has been without power since last weekend. >> we could consider ourselves in the forgotten zone and monday morning will hit the fan if i don't have power. >> reporter: in maine, crews are
working hard and keeping spirits high. >> they are getting ready to energize the fuse that will actually allow the customers to have electricity. i would suspect in the next few minutes, these customers will be re happy. >> reporter: liar kara rollee whose power turned on late friday afternoon. >> when the power came o i called my mom. i know she is excited to come on home and take a hot shower and eat some food. >> reporter: the good news power is expected to be restored throughout the day. the bad news, more frigid temperatures are on the way. for "today," kevin tibbles, nbc news, charlotte, michigan. >> another arctic blast could be along the way to hit the new year and dylan is here with more that. >> unfortunately, it's coming in time for the new year. hopefully, the power can get on before then. by tomorrow, it will be 4 below in minneapolis and that is the cold air that is going to move right back through michigan by monday, it's 20 degrees in detroit and tuesday 23 in
syracuse and caribou, maine, 9 below by we get to the new year and that will flood areas without power. unfortunately, we are going to see more snow before that cold air gets here. you can see by sunday evening, there's a big storm that is going to make its way into the northeast from the southeast. now it is going to be mostly rain through southern new england but in the areas hardest hit is where we are going to see the snow overspread parts of bangor maine, up into caribou and 3 to 6 inches of snow and maybe icing across southern maine so that is not going to help the crews out there trying to get the power back on. as soon as we get into early next week, that cold air surges back in. >> dylan, thanks. the petition hundreds of thousands of signatures on it just may have paid off. the hit reality show "duck dynasty" will not go off the air after all. aerks&e had originally suspended one of the show's stars phil robertson after comments he made
surfac surfaced earlier this month. this is getting a lot of attention. >> i guess no big surprise a show worth 400 million in merchandising is back on the air. "duck dynasty" is not going anywhere. this is about-face for a&e who suspended phil robertson last month after comments in "gq" magazine. it was announced the duck dynasty would be back in the pring spring and a move follows a bit of a stand offgroup and fans of the hugely popular show mounted protests of their own insisting that a&e bring the rest of the show out and the cast would not proceed without robertson and a&e final blinked and then expressed the disappointment with his statements and said his views are not the views they hold. robertson said his views are based on religious views and
later if -- aerso a lot of peop on both sides talking about this. expect that to go on for some time. >> just a little while longer. update and new information about that massive security breach that affected millions of customers. the retail giant target says some encrypted pin numbers were in some cases stolen and reassuring customers that hackers can't use the information. gabe gutierrez is in atlanta to explain more about this. gabe, good morning. >> reporter: lester, good morning. the nation's third largest retailer says the encrypted pin data can no longer be unlocked. some security experts worry it's possible. this morning, the investigation into one of the largest data breaches in u.s. history is deepening and customers remain
nervous. >> just makes me very leery about going there. >> reporter: at first, target had said up to 40 million of its customers credit and gat credit card numbers had been stolen around the start of the shopping season. now the retailer confirms that encrypted personal identification numbers were also taken in the massive security breach. but it says that hackers can't crack the codes. we remain confident, target says, that pin numbers are safe and secure. >> when you go in and make a purchase with your debit card, target never sees your pin number in the clear. it's immediately encrypted and all they possess is the encrypted number. >> reporter: it unlocks a pin with a digital key. target says since that digital key is not within its sim, the hackers didn't steal it. >> that would take decades for them to crack each pin independently. it's just not worth their time to go after that those encrypted pins. >> reporter: but other cybersecurity experts aren't so
sure. >> target may be understating the significant because, in the past, the past the criminals have decrypted the pins and used it to steal cash from consumers use some feel target's offering of free credit monitoring isn't enough. >> we weren't aware that target wasn't protecting this information and as a consequence we have to flip the bill for all of this extra effort. >> reporter: all this has come at a crucial time for target. the holiday shopping season, its shares have dropped 2.3% since news of the cyberattack broke. >> gabe gutierrez, thanks very much. time for a look at the rest of the morning's top headlines. >> jenna is here with those. good morning. >> good morning, everyone. four americans service members are free today after being detained in libya. the state department says the personnel were surveying evacuation routes on friday when they became involved in some sort of incident and security
checkpoint west of triply and held there until early this morning. new details paint a picture of exactly what happened during the sandy hook school tragedy last year, but they still can't answer why it happened. police relieved thousands of documents, pictures, videos, and eyewitness accounts on friday. chilling videos as police respond to the elementary school where 20 children and six adults were killed just over one year ago. there was also a view of the home where adam lanza, the gunman, killed his mother. a new judge has ruled on the nsa's intelligence program in a legal victory for the obama administration. a federal judge in new york says that it is constitutional for the national security agency to collect information on virtually every phone call in the united states and opposite of a ruling two weeks ago by a federal judge in washington. how about this? unbearable conditions continue with one of the world's biggest cities. a searing heat wave and no power
and buenos aires has extreme conditions that people there say it's unablivable. if you're able to brave times square on new year's eve, you're better than i am. everything is in place for the big night. workers installed the thousands of waterford crystal panels that make up this year's ball including one very special panel designed by 12-year-old coreless, martinez, a cancer patient and a single rose meant to represent the single gift of imagination. i have lived in new york many years and i have never braved times square. >> i did it a number of years working in the crowd. great people, so excited to be there. >> but? >> so cold. you get home and you can't unclench your muscles.
you're so cold. >> my thing is the bathroom situation. these people are there from the morning! >> i know. >> what is it? >> the way to do is it with a press pass. when you're in the pen, you can't get out. you can't drink something warm to keep you warm because then you have to go to the bathroom. >> if you have a press pass, you don't get to go? >> they let you in. the hotels let you use the bathroom. >> i've heard people use diapers. >> adult diapers? >> that's what i've heard. i've never done it. >> doesn't that make for a great night? >> look for extra bulk when you watch it on tv. >> warm and cozy everywhere! on that night, we will look at rain moving into the southeast. heavier rain through new orleans and slowly spread into the southeast today and eventually into the northeast by tomorrow. this is going to be a rain event, despite the fact that it is extremely chilly in the northeast right now, but i time this moves in it takes the gulf moisture with it and the rain. heavy rain perhaps 2 to 3 inches
of rain through the southeast and dry through the middle of the country and a few lighter snow showers but very, very windy, especially near minneapolis so that blowing snow could create blizzard-like conditions even though good morning at 5:45. we are talking about another bright day. yesterday had a lot of cloud cover. temperatures go up just a little bit, into the mid 60s across the valley, low 60s in san francisco. have a great saturday. that is your latest forecast. as president obama wraps up 2013 with his family in hawaii he is likely to move forward after this year which will be remembered by a government
shutdown and a health care debacle. >> reporter: it was a year that started with great expectations but a few months later, a trio of controversy quickly threatened to detail president obama's second term agenda. revelations the irs was targeti targeting conservative groups. plus the ongoing fallout from the attacks on the u.s. consulate in ben gansghazbengha >> we had -- what difference at this point does it make? >> reporter: one of president obama's biggest policy goals enacting stiffer gun laws in the newtown tragedy failed to go nowhere after a bipartisan bill was defeated in washington. >> it was a shameful day in washington. >> reporter: but it was the
president's significant achievement health care reform that ended up becoming his biggest headache. the president forced to apologize over and over. >> i am sorry. i don't write codes. we did fumble the ball on it. >> reporter: and for telling americans. >> if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. >> reporter: we now know that not true and that infamous comment along with the revelations of the nsa's massive surveillance program eroded the public's trust in the president. meanwhile, republicans didn't fare any better in between. the gop watched their poll numbers plummet after the public blamed them for shutting down the government. it was a failed effort in defunding the president's health care law led by tea party reasons like ted cruz who faithed a filibuster that will go down in history. >> i do not like green eggs and ham. >> reporter: a deal struck a few weeks ago, could it be a sign 2014 could be better for washington and the american
people? the president almost sounded hopeful at his year-end news conference. >> i firmly believe that in 2014 can be a bright year for america. >> reporter: as the president has learned the hard way, achieving breakthroughs in washington is easier said than done. for "today," kristen welker, nbc news, new york. >> john har wood is cnbc chief washington correspondent and made his way here this morning. good to see you. >> good to be here. >> the president thinks 2014 will be a big year. health care was a big part of this new term. can he turn it around? is there hope that once they get past the computer issues and some of these other snafus that things will actually turn around for him? >> sure. there is three months left in the sign-up period and that is critical for figuring out whether these new exchanges, both on the federal and state level can work and provide health care at good quality, affordable prices. so that is the most important thing for his long-term legacy.
but you've also got an economy that is strengthening and a stronger economy, economic growth can improve -- >> he made a better narrative as we move on, in other words? >> no question about it. his persuasive power is diminished and his credibility took a big hit because of the problems with the affordable care act but he's at a point in his presidency he doesn't need that much. he is not transacting a whole lot of business with congress going forward. what he has really god to do is to work on the things within his power to do within his executive authority and implement what he has already done. >> you don't want to become a lame duck too soon. but you look at immigration reform and gun control and two issues that fell short in between. does he need another significant issue? >> i think the one that he has the greatest possibility of achieving is immigration reform and the reason is that republicans have a very strong self-interest for making that happen politically speaking. it is not certain that that is going to happen.
the senate has passed it. the house has sort of slow walked this debate but still a chance that they are going to look at what they need to thrive as a political party in the long term and make this happen in 2014. if not, democrats are pretty happy to run on that as an election issue. this election is important for the president. he needs to hold on to the senate to have a beach head in the congress and not have republicans controlling the entire legislative aejgenda. >> how might it affect the republicans what we see in the white house and congress playing nicely together in the coming year? >> that is one of the hopeful things for the president. you just had a budget deal whose principle effect was not to change the long-term trajectory on the budget but call a budget wars on the economy. if you can have calm waters and let the underlying economic growth assert itself and let the americans feel a little bit
better off without government getting in a way is a positive for the president and may lift him a little bit after the low points of 2013. >> john harwood, thank you very much. still to come, you know the phrase google it? you use google to search everything from nelson mandela to miley cyrus. we will look at the top internet searches of 2013 when we come back. first, this is "today" on nbc.
♪ it's been a year of memorable moments like that song that i still don't get. >> you too? >> you don't get it either? i don't know what the fox says. is a fox supposed to say anything? >> i agree with you a hundred percent. >> what does the dog say? ruff? what does a fox say? >> is there that and then a government shutdown and a royal baby and another baby and kinney
and lester doesn't get that. >> kanye. >> jenna is in the orange room. >> you just spent 15 seconds talking about that, what the fox says? we have so little time and let's get started. according to yahoo! website, dah, dah, dah! miley cyrus was their number one search in 2013 and probably because of the haircut and thinking about doing something like that but i felt in many ways it would fail. she is number one search in yahoo!. off to facebook. rounding out the top three. number three, boston marathon bombings. number two, the government shutdown. number one, most buzzed about event on facebook was the super bowl. believe it or not. how about the top tweet of 2013? unfortunately, it came from "glee" star lea michelle who made her first public comment
about the loss of her boyfriend cory monteith. this tweet was shared over 408,000 times. let's switch gears and talking youtube. the top trending video was, be careful, guys. ♪ no one knows what does the fox say ♪ >> i get it now! >> just like my mom. i have no idea what they are talking about either. however, "what the fox said" was the top trending video. how about the most searched for girls name? number one, fallon, chloe, jaden and what to the what? harper, if you're up right now, quit googling your name and go back to your baby feeding. that was it. when it comes to entertainment, we want to know what you think. what was the biggest entertainment story of 2013? was it miley, paula, beyonce, kim and kanye or that lester
this morning. it's a chilly morning but a warmup is expected. >> we are looking at clear skies across the bay area. the haze and clouds yesterday, air quality will begin to improve just a bit today. it still going to be in the moderate category. the haze and air quality issues i was talking about will continue to be a problem. as you saw earlier, looking from the east bay in san francisco, no fog this morning. if you have to do any plans today, return some of those christmas gifts, overall temperatures will be warm. >> very nice. thank you, anthony. for the first time, a family is
asking for donations to more the 13-year-old to a new hospital and the request comes days before the deadline of the court order to keep the 13-year-old on life support. the family is not revealing where she will go. the hospital said they will not release her until they can confirm she is going to a licensed care facility. >> some 1,700 members of the senate voted to reach a deal.
a strike and a mandated cooling off period, spierd on sunday. it calls for a flat monthly health care contribution from employees. >> coming up this morning on "today in the bay," target makes a new admission about its security breach. why the company says the information is safe, even though hackers have pried loots countless pin numbers. right now we'll send you back to the "today" show and see you soon.
we are back on a saturday morning, december 28th, 2013. we have some friends on the plaza looking forward to say hello to them a little bit later. this is apparently called a weekend between christmas and new year's and i've never heard that have term before. >> this is a group not looking at that camera, they are looking at us. >> they are e
little warmer than they've been. have a good saturday. that is your latest forecast. >> dylan, thanks. ahead, the power of persuasion and extreme some companies will go to to get you to buy their products. first, these messages. to buy their products. first, these messages. ♪ [ grunts ] you really seem to be dragging your a-- [ donkey brays ] mid morning slump. [ donkey snorts ] that's why i started drinking this new lipton natural energy tea. come on! it's naturally has more caffeine and theanine than regular lipton. here. you'll thank me. mmmm... tastes amazing, right? i feel better already. [ donkey brays ] [ man ] two minutes! tea time. [ female announcer ] for a little oomph, try new lipton natural energy tea. [ donkey brays ] smoke? nah, i'm good. [ male announcer ] celebrate every win with nicoderm cq, the unique patch with time release smartcontrol technology that helps prevent the urge to smoke all day long.
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infomercials. are those products really worth the more than entertainment value, consumer correspondent janice lieberman got a behind the scenes look as seen on tv production. >> i know they get you. oifrner over the top. extreme infomercials seem even rigged. we were given rare access to an infomercial in the heart of the mohave desert. >> we're facing the power of air and water can do. >> they get your attention. >> it has the strength to pull this fully loaded 80,000-pound tractor-trailer. companies pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the making of a spot that will hopefully make them millions. >> and action! >> the way we look at it, we need to sell a million to break even. we sold 27 million sticks before. this product is better, stronger. i love the purple. kind of pops on tv. >> so how do you make an
infomercial about putty interesting? how do you prove its sticking powers are powerful? naturally, you have to pull a 747 in the middle of the mohave desert. >> high production, infomercials are the future. the reality is we need to see plain stuff, simple stuff to believe it. >> it's a $40,000 gamble for a two-minute commercial. >> do you have to prove that it works? >> we make sure that it works. our motto is if you can't do it in the parking lot, you don't do the demo. >> is it just for entertainment or do people believe it and buy it. >> it has entertainment value, but it has to be real and it translates into sales for us. >> is this demo for real? >> what we did was hooked up the hook to the tow bar. tend to go through two places of putty. this putty is in the seam. >> we're going to lift this up and what you're going to see is the line of the chain straight.
>> come on. >> can you move it? >> this happens to be a proukt did that can be strength. what we want to do is tell people if it's strong enough to pull a 747, imagine what it can do in your home. >> this is clearly an over the top stunt. they'll use eight seconds of this video. will it fly with consumers? they're banking on it. it's do or die. how mighty is mighty putty? >> it has the strength to pull this. >> his proof will stick with the consumer bringing in mighty bucks for mighty putty. >> and it worked. experts say the that gimmicks go so far when it comes to selling a product. it has to perform. this was something to see. putty pulling a plane in the mohave desert. this was really an unusual -- >> but you were there. you saw it. it was not rigged. it's real. >> that's really cool. some of the commercials aren't always what they appear.
>> the ftc. if they can't do it in the parking lot, it can't be done. >> janice leberman, thanks very much. >> up next, he just turned four and knows more than most people do at 40. wait until you find out what his iq is. first, these messages. [ male announcer ] this duracell truck has some very special power. ♪ [ toys chattering ] it's filled with new duracell quantum batteries. [ toy meows ] [ dog whines ] [ toy meows ] these red batteries are so powerful... that this year they'll power all the hasbro toys donated to toys for tots. want to help power some smiles? duracell. trusted everywhere. it's all your favorites and a whole lot more, like a 20-piece chicken mcnuggets -- just 5 bucks. more choices than ever before.
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or shop wherever you see the st. jude logo. [ bell rings ] [ man ] take five! you really seem to be dragging your a-- [ donkey brays, snorts ] mid morning slump. that's why i started drinking this new lipton natural energy tea. it naturally has more caffeine and theanine. mmmm... i feel better already. [ female announcer ] new lipton natural energy tea. ♪ maybe i'm wrong ♪ ♪ and nobody ever says goodbye ♪ ♪
♪ back now with -- we are all back. >> oh, okay. >> a whiz kid from england might make you question your own intelligence. at 3, he became the youngest person ever to become a member of the high i.q. society. mensa. we have more on the little boy who is stunning psychologists. >> that one is kazakhstan. that one is south africa. that is the democratic republic of congo. >> reporter: he just turned 4 but is certainly not your normal 4-year-old. >> bmw. he has an i.q. 160, that puts him in the same league as albert einstein and bill gates and steven hawking. >> 106 was the highest they could measure. >> he could even be more than that. >> reporter: sherwin's mother
first realized how gifted he is when she was teaching him to count. >> he was only about 18 months old and in one day, he could count from 1 to 50 and he wanted more. what was the first man that went to the moon? >> neil armstrong. >> reporter: the biggest challenge is keeping up with his appetite for learning. >> he is never satisfied with simple answer. when he asks you a question like he is asking me why some clouds are white and some are gray. i just said when they are gray, there is more chances of rain. he said, well, i know that! >> what about that? that is an i. >> what do you think that is? >> silicone. >> reporter: no surprise what he plans to be when he grows up. >> a scientist. >> the aim is basically for him to be a successful person in the future, somebody useful for the society and help mankind with his gift. >> reporter: he may only be 4,
but this little fellow had some great advice for me. >> good -- chocolate is good for older brains. >> reporter: chocolate is good for your brain? that is the secret? >> yes. >> reporter: who taught you that? >> my mom. >> reporter: realizing already mom is never wrong, this is one very smart little boy, indeed. for "today," anna bell roberts, nbc news. yorkshire, england. >> it's not easy to make it into men'sa. to do so at 3 years old is unheard of. that got us to thinking what is on these tests. mensa had some simple questions on its website and i have some. are you ready? >> ready. question number one. >> which vowel comes midway between j and t? you can choose from a, i, e, o, u. >> between j and t? >> high staff? >> you're killing me! >> i'm not using my life line yet. >> here is the thing.
o is the answer because it's the only vowel that comes between j and t so just go through the al alphabet. i'm not as smart as i thoughts. question number two. this had us thinking. >> if two typists can type two pages in two minutes how many typists will it take to type 18 pages in six minutes. >> two typists, two minutes, right? in how many? >> two typists, two pages, two minutes. how many typists will it take to type 18 pages in six minutes? it takes longer to read the question than we have time for. six minutes they can type 12, i would go with three but i know i'm wrong. >> one typist can type two pages in two minutes. >> nine. >> six. >> six? >> i'm not sure how i came to my math equation over there. this is a word question.
>> this is my kind of thing. which word of four letters can be added to the front of the following words to create other english words? >> that was easy. >> you guys! >> am i supposed to write it? >> cheaters! >> in the interest for full disclosure, we all got the questions on our desk first and none of us could figure out the math question. >> the last one, i got right away. >> >> you mean right away by 20 minutes? >> oh, no, right away. you had this formula on the other one. i moved it. >> two typists, two pages in two minutes. you need 18 pages in six minutes. so this is times 9. that is times 3. 3 divided by 9 is three and times two is six. >> dylan is a meteorologist. i mean this seriously. she is really smart and she is a scientist and has a degree in the weather stuff. she is not just pointing to the map, right? >> it took me five minutes to figure out what this thing was!
what do i do with this? >> that is the next segment. i didn't know -- >> it makes sense in my head somehow some way. >> i think a cold front is on the way. >> it's going to be cold. >> it means that still ahead, we are letting you in on a little known secret that could save you big bucks on something you've already bought. but first, this is "today" on nbc. ♪ ho ho ho [ female announcer ] at 100 calories, not all food choices add up. some are giant. some not so giant. when managing your weight, bigger is always better. ♪ ho ho ho ♪ green giant tomato florentine soup,
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i'm sam brock. a child morning but a warmup is expected. anthony slaughter joins us with a look at your forecast. >> today might be a good day to take a trip out because it is warm. right now is chilly. in san francisco, visibility is clear, no fog this morning. so once we do see our sunrise in an hour, we're going to see conditions warming quickly. we're talking about more sunshine across the board today. yesterday was a cloudy, cool day. our warmest locations today will be the north bay and east bay. temperatures will be back into the upper 60s, above average for this time of day. for the first time the
family of jahi mcmath's is asking for your donations to move her to a new facility. >> we're going to have to do this by any means necessary. >> the county coroner said he will not interfere with the efforts to move her out of that hospital. the hospital said they will not release her until they can confirm she's going to a licensed facility. >> transit workers ratified a new contract. last night the government
mandated a cooling off period which expired on sunday. it gives operators and mechanics a 10% raise over three years and a flat rate monthly contribution for health care. all your top stories coming being up at 7:00. right now we'll send you back to the "today" show and we'll see you in about 30 minutes.
good morning. it's saturday, the 28th of december, 2013. here is a look at today's top stories. safe and sound. four u.s. service members are free this morning after held for hours overnight by the libyan government. a tengs coming at a high during high tension more than a year after the benghazi attack. on ice. to pull a trapped ship in the frozen sea of the antarctica is stalled. the dramatic effort to free them all this morning. ducking out. cable network a&e makes about-face saying phil robertson can go back to work had his hit relate show less than a week
after he was suspended for making controversial comments about homosexuality. good morning. i'm lester holt. >> i'm ericaill alongside jenna wolf and dylan dreyer. did you have a nice christmas? >> we did. you? >> i did. i was off. i grew a beard. >> where is it? >> that was in november. >> i know. i didn't do it then. i had five days off during the week. >> it was hideous. >> no documentation whatsoever? no one took a picture? >> i said no one needs to see that. >> did you scare your family? >> no. it's all a little gray stubble there. it wasn't happening for me. >> tmi! >> but harper had a nice first christmas? >> she did. she doesn't know it's christmas other than tuesday. >> hold up a picture of her smiling. do you have it? >> it's pretty sweet. >> it's a great little shot. >> i do. we have to go quickly? here we go. >> come on, come on! come on! >> it's not a commercial.
>> i know. this is embarrassing. >> no, it's not. >> it's cute. there she is! >> look at that! >> that looks like a tuesday. >> exactly. we all love our kids. thank you. we begin this morning, this hour with that capture and release of four american military members in elaboraliby. they were captured this morning and we have more for you this morning. what can you tell us? >> reporter: good morning. we have now confirmed from u.s. official that these four american military personnel have been relieved after they were taken into custody by libyan government forces. it occurred 40 miles west of the capital tripoli. it's not clear what the four american military personnel were doing at that time that they were taken into custody an, more importantly, not yet clear whether there was any type of altercation between these four individuals and the security
forces that were manning that checkpoint. now according to u.s. officials, it seems that the american military personnel were perhaps engaged in some type of security preparedness mission and that is perhaps considered planning out evacuation roots for diplomatic officials in case they had to get american officials out of the capital tripoli at an accelerated rate, so it underscores the tension between the two countries as you mentioned earlier that this does come a year after the benghazi attacks in which four american diplomats were killed. the relationship between the two countries and following the yesterday's capture of these four american personnel will somewhat be intense. >> thank you. we want to get the latest on that russian ship stuck in the ice near the south pole. another icebreaker is on the way this morning to help free it. this after a chinese rescue vessel that was on the way to save the 74 people on board could move no further.
it could stuck in the ice as well. martin fletcher is in london now with the latest. martin, good morning. >> reporter: lester, good morning. if anything, the weather there is getting worse meaning no early rescue for the research ship and not only that, the chinese icebreaker, the snow dragon is all but stuck and it may need help. >> as you can see, the weather is closed in! >> reporter: the latest youtube report from the leader stuck in ice since christmas eve acknowledges they may be stuck for a few more days yet. imts-of- -- >> it's our fourth day now trapped. to let family and friends know everyone is okay. >> reporter: they could see the snow dragon about six nautical miles away but snow has closed in. after a french icebreaker gave up, an australian one is now heading in to help and it sent these stills from its web cam showing frigid waters as it moves toward the coldest and
windest spot on earth. >> the two were hoping to break in. >> reporter: if not the snow dragon, a helicopter that could ferry the passengers off the research ship but even that could be a problem. right now, the chopper can't take off because of the snow. and the longer it takes, the more the wind pushes ice against the trapped ship. they say the ice gripping his ship is ten feet thick but they are become the intimate two. >> stuck here and any passing ships, please pay us a visit! >> brilliant! >> they have enough food and water for two weeks but nobody thinks it will come to that. while stuck, they are continuing with their scientific experiments and apparently having fun with the internet. >> it's nice they still have a sense of humor about this and it will be a story to tell at some point. martin fletcher, thanks. this morning more than a
million americans are facing the prospect of a lot less money coming in because of unemployment benefits benefits. >> up until this morning, unemployment benefits could last more than a year but congress decided not to extend those benefits one more time. as of today, they are back to prerecession levels maxing out after the six months. >> reporter: when dale lost his job after 36 years of gainful employment he thought it would only take a few weeks to find a new one. that was june. this married father calls unemployment insurance 300 dollars a week before taxes a life saver but that money will now disappear next month because benefits for anyone out of work within six months are going away. leaving sexton with some tough choice. >> i'm going to have to either look for a temporary part-time job or i'm going to have to seriously consider giving up the
house. >> starting today unemployment benefits will vanish for 1.3 million americans who have been out of work longer than six months. in the first half of 2014, another 1.9 million americans will lose their benefits. some in congress want to extend the long-term help but opponents question if it's even helping. >> i am worried about the workers. not that i think they become bad people by becoming unemployed but the longer they are unemployed the less likely they will ever find a job again. >> reporter: it could be hard to find a job within six months. >> three unemployed workers for every single job opening, so the odds are against unemployed workers in the labor market. >> why dale sexton would like to see an extension of benefits noting he would still prefer employment pay over unemployment pay. >> it's a fraction of what the majority of people make, so i would not want to stay on these benefits long term, no way. >> reporter: a bipartisan group is working on a plan to extend the long-term benefits whether
congress returns next year, but to get enough support, they will need to find a way to pay the annual cost which is about $25 billion. >> large price tag. joe fryer, thanks. time for a look at the rest of the top stories and jenna wolf is here with the latest. >> good morning. new details from target about that massive data a breach today. the retail giant now says pin numbers were stolen but customers are safe from hackers. the company says the pin numbers are heavily encrypted and the information cannot be unlocked but some experts are stilling suggesting that pin numbers should be changed. hackers stole credit and debit card information from million target customers in the weeks before christmas. the power outages that have left people in the dark in michigan and maine and 29 million customers are waiting for the lights to come on this morning. crews worked through christmas to fix the downed lines and in maine less than 5,000 customers
still need their electric service. for the first time in over three decades, couples in china can have more than one child. leaders made the new policy formal today. they say in one fahrenheit is an only child, then that couple can have two children. do that math. the one child policy was instituted in 1979 to curb overpopulation but has been extremely unpopular ever since. china's population, you ask? 1.3 billion people. to the cabbie whose cab i left my iphone in last year and who chose not to return it to me even though hi a thousand pictures on it and i called it no less than 700 times, this story is for you. we told you about girardeau jimboa who found $300,000 in his car and returned it without hesitating. the gambler who left the money in that cab has decided to cut him in on his winnings and giving him a 10,000 dollar reward. >> i love it. >> let me be clear about something. it's not like i would have given
you $10,000 but i was going to compensate you in some way and maybe like take you out for dinner or whatever it was, i know this is not about me but i'm just saying, let's all return phones. fantastic story out in vegas and makes you feel so good when people do things like that. >> jenna, thanks. dylan dreyer is out on the plaza are wa check of the forecasts. >> temperatures are going to be above average across the country but a bigger storm system moving in from the south and that will produce rain but bring with it warmer temperatures. watch what happens on sunday. we still be about 5 to 10 degrees above average but look at this cold air waiting in the wings and moves through the upper midwest on monday and spreads eastward to the last day of the year and we start off the new year with temperatures across the northern half of the country about 15 to nearly 25 degrees below average. so the cold air is moving right back in.
good morning. at 6:40 waking up to clear skies. in the 20s in the north bay, even the 30s in the south bay. as we look at the east bay into san francisco we are looking -- eventually we'll take a look at that. we're taking a look at highs right now. expecting to see a warmer day and more sunshine from what we saw yesterday. have yourself a great saturday. let's head on down for florida for our top spot of the day. this comes to us from wptv news channel 5 in del ray beach. it is a craft festival. they work of local crafters is on display all weekend long. so head on over there.
big news for fans of a hit reality show "duck dynasty." a little more than a week after the a&e suspended phil robertson about his comments for ho homosexuality, the network said now they will include robertson in future tapings. kristen dahlgren has the latest on this. >> we are hearing a huge reaction from this this morning. from the time of robertson's comments about gays people on both sides of the issue have been outspoken. in the end a short-lived suspension for the star as a&e announced the show will go on. >> reporter: for the hugely popular relate show. >> don't ever do! >> reporter: now controversial comeback. >> well, i guess we know what bradshaw means. >> reporter: a&e announcing it will renew "duck dynasty" this spring and launching a public service campaign promoting unity and tolerance they say are core values of the company. the move is a reversal from last
week's suspension of star phil robertson following his good enough with gq magazine in which he compared gays to drunks and terrorists and said african-americans were perfectly happy before civil rights. the interview had outrage but the suspension also triggered duck dynasty fans to organize protests of their own. standing up for the beloved family patriarch by mailing rub ber du -- rubber duckies to a&e. >> everybody seemed to be talking about this. >> reporter: robertson did say last week, i would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. i love all of humanity and in a statement he and his family regret the coarse language he
said and a&e saying the following. overnight, twitter lit up with comments. fans thrilled the colorful family will be back. but opponents worry that robertson may have "ducked" any punishment. "duck dynasty" is the most popular reality show on cable with hundreds of millions of dollars in merchandise. a&e said they [ male announcer ] mcdonald's dollar menu & more is all about getting more.
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get some of that money back. regina lewis is a personal financial expert and contributor to "usa today." you have fantastic tips. this is not about a price match guarantee or something you see at the store and you bring in your flyer. this is your credit card giving you a price difference back? >> yes. they have up the ante. normally, stores offer price protection and the window is short and you have to go back to that store. the credit card companies are saying it can go down at any store or online and they will reimburse you the difference. >> there has to be a catch on two here. it sounds too good to be true. which cards are offering them? >> not all of them. discover hat most liberal policy. you see the list here. they will give you 500 dollars back. let's say you buy a 200 dollar television and goes down 70 and you get money back. sometimes you have to ask your bank. whoever you're banking with say do i have price protection? and if you're in the market for
a card, this is the number one thing i would ask for. >> you have a limited window as we just said. amex cards are no comrepgs. is there a limit on eligible items? >> yes, there are pr fine jewelry or pets or one of a kind items and that may mean something that is extreme close-t or limited quantity. when i talked to the companies they said the items that people are taking advantage of this on are clearly electronics. designer jeans. shoes. the things we buy all time! >> i know! >> i'm so into this. i need to look this up. in terms of the process is it a real pain? >> it takes a little doing. so the program is great because you buy the items and enter them and they will track it for you and they will send you an e-mail if the price goes down. to put this in perspective, they told me for items over a hundred dollars, 1 out of 4 of them will end up qualifying and the average refund people get back, 80 bucks. not chump change.
>> this all sounds so great. but i don't see -- if it's so great for us, why would any credit card company want to do this? what is it it for them? >> we think loalike. i asked that question. people have multiple credit cards and they have choices to make and if it's a big ticket item they want you to pick their card and if you're buying a washer and dryer, why wouldn't you pick a card with price protection knowing they could drop a thousand dollars? >> in their own mind they hope you won't pay to have and still make some money. >> they assure against people filing these claims so they have that in place. plus have you together website and call them and you'll run into other things. the next thing you know you're taking out a college savings plan. >> you're getting money back. >> i got off the phone with discover and i got transferred six or seven times but i got there and they are sending me a form. >> a little perseverance goes a long way.
♪ we have a great energized crowd out here today. >> i know. >> we don't want to fall down. tomorrow on "today," everything you need to know to start off four-three on the right foot and everything from your health to your money. >> plus a fun look back over the times we have had over the past year, maybe including our math problem. year, maybe including our math problem. i'll see you back turn to roc® retinol correxion®. one week, fine lines appear to fade. one month, deep wrinkles look smoother. after one year, skin looks ageless. high performance skincare™ only from roc®. take skincare to the next level with new roc® multi correxion® 5 in 1, proven to hydrate dryness, illuminate dullness,
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