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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  January 18, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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political earthquake in washington. president obama says no to a massive pipeline project, and is immediately charged with having said no to thousands of new american jobs. gone blank. tonight the big fight behind what happened to some big names on the web today and why they went away. a new twist in the cruise ship captain's story. how he ended up in a lifeboat while thousands of passengers were stranded and tonight why the search for the missing may be over. and snow day, a city more accustomed to rain practically shut down tonight by something different, and that storm is moving east.
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plus what are the absolute worst airport terminals in this country? see if the one you're thinking of made the new list. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. it would have stretched from canada to texas, and all along the countryside in between, and it still might someday, but for now, president obama has said no to a massive oil pipeline project, a $7 billion job that would create a lot of jobs in this country. the president says he has his reasons. he feels rushed into a decision by congress, and there are questions about a lot of things, including the environment, and his decision now to put this on hold has angered a lot of people from canada on south clear to congress and washington, and as of today, you can be sure, as the campaign season enters the home stretch, we'll be hearing a
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lot more about this long stretch of pipe. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's andrea mitchell in washington. andrea, good evening. >> good evening, brian. this sure was a no win situation for the president. on one side, environmentalists fighting the pipeline which would have added to an existing pipeline and run from canada all the way to the gulf of mexico. on the other side, union members wanting construction jobs, plus in an election year, all those republican candidates accusing mr. obama of passing up all that canadian oil. it would have been the longest pipeline outside of russia and china, nearly 2,000 miles from canada to the gulf coast, designed to deliver 700,000 barrels of oil a day. within minutes, republican candidates pounced. >> this is a stunningly stupid thing to do. there's no better word for it. these people are so out of touch with reality, it's as though they were governing mars. >> even some democrats objected. >> so i think the president made
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the wrong decision here. i think the keystone pipeline is a good jobs opportunity. >> reporter: president obama had wanted to delay a decision for another year which would have put it beyond the november election, but congress forced his hand demanding he decide now. in a written statement today mr. obama called it a rush and arbitrary deadline, preventing a full assessment on the pipeline's effect on health, safety and the environment. oil industry lobbyists claim thousands of jobs will now be lost. >> the president repeatedly said he wants to see new jobs and be a job creator yet today he rejected the largest shovel-ready job in america today. >> reporter: how many jobs at stake that's debatable. the industry says at least 20,000, the state department says 6,000 and a cornell university study says at most 2,000 to 4,650 temporary construction jobs for two years.
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today environmental groups who protested against the pipeline for months warned it could even cost jobs if disaster struck. >> far from being a job creator this is a pipeline if it had a disastrous oil spill in america's heartland would mean loss of jobs for thousands of farmers. >> the president called canada's prime minister to tell him of the decision. the prime minister reportedly said that canada will now send its oil to china especially because the state department said the pipeline company cannot amend its application to take care of environmental concerns. it has to start all over again and that could take years. >> andrea mitchell starting us off tonight, thanks. with just two days to go to the south carolina primary, newt gingrich seized on mitt romney's revelation he pays a lower tax rate than the average middle class worker and pounded away our political director chuck todd from rock hill, south carolina, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. newt gingrich definitely feeling
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his oats with less than 72 hours to go before the voting. on that tax issue, newt gingrich has a flat tax proposal that's 15% and he joked today he wants to call it the mitt romney flat tax proposal to talk about that 15%, but there's something more going on here. this coronation of mitt romney that appeared to be in place 48 hours ago appears to be erased. gingrich getting huge crowds all of a sudden here. you've got romney's campaign clearly deciding they're in trouble. they did a conference call attacking gingrich today and launched a new web ad and romney is going after him on the campaign trail. something is happening here, you see a shift in polling. this thing is not over, brian. >> stay on the story, chuck todd in south carolina, thanks. today in washington the secretary of defense addressed what some are calling an epidemic, rape inside the u.s. military. he promised new steps to fix one of america's shameful secrets just two days before a new
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documentary on the subject premieres at the sundance film festival. we'll get more from jim miklaszewski at the pentagon. >> reporter: it's a startling statistic, women in the military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than attacked by the enemy. a powerful new documentary "the invisible war" captures the horror of military sexual assault. >> i remember holding the closet thinking, what just happened? >> a month later, i found out i was pregnant. >> reporter: there were more than 3,000 reports of military sexual assault last year. since many go unreported the pentagon estimates the actual number is a staggering 19,000. defense secretary leon panetta. pledged today protecting service members from sexual assault is a top priority. >> we have a moral duty to keep them safe from those who would attack their dignity and their honor.
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>> reporter: the pentagon has taken several steps to make it easier for victims to report assaults and seek protection, but the military's record remains dismal, only 8% of sexual assault cases have been prosecuted, and only 2% end in convictions. panetta argues that military judges and prosecutors must be more aggressive. >> in order to make sure that the signal is sent that anybody who does this is going to be held accountable. >> reporter: but that will require a major shift in the military's mind-set and male-dominated culture, while thousands of military women suffer in silence. jim miklaszewski, nbc news, the pentagon. now we go overseas to italy and the disaster at sea. tonight, five days after the accident aboard the "costa concordia," search and recovery efforts around the shipwreck for the more than 20 still missing are on hold because of safety concerns, and a big european weather system is moving in.
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that could mean big waves, and another satellite view to show you tonight, the incredible photo of the wreck as seen from space. nbc's michelle kosinski has our report from the scene tonight. >> reporter: all the work today had to be above the waterline, dropping huge hoses onto the ship, preparing to pump out half a million gallons of fuel which can't happen until searchers finish, the plan is to blast four more holes into costa concordia's hull and find more bodies of the missing. yesterday they were able to plunge into the decks of the ship. today, the dangerously shifting vessel would not let them. perched on rocks above a slope that drops 200 feet, the families of the unaccounted for, their photos hung in town, must also wait. >> i'm looking for my brother russel. >> reporter: russel rebello,
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a waiter from india, last seen helping passengers escape on lifeboats. >> i'm very proud of him. >> reporter: the captain, called the most hated man in italy, francesco schettino, seen greeting passengers before the voyage, he says he hopes it will be an unforgettable journey for them. friday night after he took the ship off course, hit rock and left before desperate passengers did, he insisted to the furious port authority he did not abandon ship and reportedly told prosecutors he tripped and fell right into a lifeboat. >> he will go one day in a prison for a long time. >> reporter: still industry analysts using satellite data say schettino took a virtually identical route last year which they say was authorized and charted. >> must have come perilously close, within touching distance. >> reporter: schettino may have had reason to believe this path was safe.
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tonight it was really threatening the search, the stability of the ship and the fuel situation are waves, tonight expected to reach six feet high, storms on the way. it's been tough for everyone to look at this day after day and know they're losing time. brian? >> michelle kosinski on the italian coast with the wreckage behind her thanks. now to the middle east, inside syria where we're on the ground tonight after ten months of protest and more than 5,000 dead in the uprising, the government crackdown there, and the hope for a solution is dwindling, nbc's eamon mohidine, one of the few damascus journalists, good evening. >> reporter: brian there was real hope from arab league observers they'd find a solution to the conflict but today as the fact-finding mission wraps up
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it work, there are doubts whether it made any difference at all. it was their last chance to hear firsthand what is happening inside syria. arab league monitors turning the country speaking to witnesses and victims. >> we don't need this regime. you can understand me? they are killing us. >> reporter: this is what the people wanted to show them, the violence inflicted by the syrian military on neighborhoods captured on amateur footage like this. the head of the mission will present his team's findings to an arab foreign ministers meeting in cairo on sunday. >> no comment. >> reporter: already many say the mission has been a failure since they arrived last month to ensure syria's compliance with a promise to end the violence, activists say as many as 600 people have been killed. >> they don't prevent the daily killing and they fail to do anything to help the syrian people. >> reporter: several arab league monitors tell nbc news their
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movements have been restricted by government security for forces and they were threatened and attacked. a few quit in protest. the syrian government says it is waging war on armed gangs terrorizing the country and says more than 2,000 of its security forces have been killed. the government claims to be complying with the arab league agreement releasing prisoners, allowing foreign media into the country to report freely but today when we tried to film long lines at a gas station to show the impact of economic sanctions, we were stopped. after we were taken to the police station we were questioned briefly but ultimately released highlighting the kind of nervousness that the government has about foreign media operating here in the country. back to you. >> ayman hohyeldin, thank you. back in this country the winter storm that hit seattle was not the apocalyptic disaster some were predicting and fearing but for that part of the country
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five inches of snow in one shot is a lot. our report from nbc's miguel almaguer. >> oh, yeah! >> reporter: across washington state a good day to stay home. streets became neighborhood playgrounds. >> look at all of this stuff and it's still snowing right now. >> reporter: in olympia, the state capital some found new ways to get to work. downtown seattle where nearly a year's worth of snow fell in a single day, most streets were deserted. >> i came from chicago and we experience heavier snow than here, but everyone is having problems driving. >> reporter: five inches paralyzing a community used to rain. sights like these are rare. snowmobiles in the streets, smartcars wearing chains. the winter blast left many hillside roads closed, schools shut down and airlines canceled flights. >> we're ready to go home. i'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.
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>> he took his day off with his dog, panda. >> if i get stuck i hook him up and let him pull me out. >> reporter: mountain passes were shut down because of avalanche danger, a storm on the move. >> it's going to shift to the south and give northern california, utah and colorado some much needed snowfall. they haven't had a good storm like this since november. >> reporter: already in oregon, rain turned to slush and hammered portland while along the coast, hurricane-force wind gusts knocked out power to 30,000. brian the good news, snow in seattle is expected to turn to rain. they're used to that in these parts. the bad news it's headed in your direction, first chicago then the northeast. >> miguel, thanks for that. a bad night in seattle. still ahead, why so many internet searches came up empty because of the fight we'll tell
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you about tonight. later, it's happened before. getting a giant ship righted and after a disaster. tonight, how it's done, from the man who does it.
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depending on what you searched for on the web today, you either got what you wanted or drove right into a black hole as some sites took themselves down to send a message to all of us wanting to imagine a world without free knowledge. new media on the web ran up against older schooled media in this case, including the company we work for, in a fight over a bill aimed at preventing internet piracy. critics say it will lead somehow to censorship. nbc's kevin tibbles reports. >> reporter: wikipedia pulled the plug for 24 hours to protest the stop online privacy act or sopa before congress. >> this bill puts together the infrastructure for censorship in a way completely unnecessary to combat piracy. >> reporter: those in the industry supporting regulation including nbc universal claim
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online piracy costs $135 billion a year and steals 2.5 million jobs worldwide. >> your father's counterfeit was people selling cheap knockoffs on street corners. today those same criminal enterprises sell these products online, dupe consumers. >> reporter: they aim to block foreign websites that infringe on copyrights from movies and television, music, publishing, software and consumer products, even material on youtube could be affected. not so long ago much of our information came from these, but in the last decade or so the proliferation of the internet has made ownership of this information very difficult to police. but the online revolt against sopa has grown to include some 7,000 websites, including the tech site wired, boing boing and mozilla, maker of the popular browser firefox. google blacked out its own familiar home page adding the message "tell congress please don't censor the web."
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many in congress took note. here's nbc's kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: democrats and republicans have been bombarded with calls and e-mails and many are backing off. >> reporter: ask any group of college kids and they'll tell you. >> a lot of people think why pay for it. >> if the price is too outrageous it will probably get pirated. >> reporter: it didn't take long to discover hitting escape reopens the wikipedia site. these days information travels fast. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. up next here tonight the new list of best and worst airports and an american legend taking on a new challenge.
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the folks at the frohmer's travel guide are out with the list of not their best beach or travel destinations but this time the best and worst airport terminals in the world. the most beautiful according to them, jeddah in saudi arabia and
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there's one u.s. terminal in the top five, the iconic terminal five at new york's jfk but jfk deservedly gets it on the other end as well, worst terminal in the world, terminal three at kennedy, described as dank, crowded and confusing. they say there's evidence "the cleaning crew gave up in despair a while ago." laguardia terminal five is the seventh worst in the world in their top ten. we put the entire list on our website for you. speaking of jfk, perhaps you remember the horror stories from the two different elderly women who claim they were strip searched in separate incidents around the holidays by the tsa. today the feds admitted wrongdoing and apologized to both women. in one case they admitted to examining her colostomy bag, but even after the apology, both women say the tsa is lying in the final report. both say they were asked to remove articles of clothing in a private screening area. now to an image getting a
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lot of attention tonight it shows a couple of prominent american citizens, two people a lot of folks look up to but today it was the secretary of state who was doing the looking up at kareem abdul jabar, nba all-time leading scorer, jazz aficionado. and today he will travel the world as a goodwill messenger for the united states and he will stand out. up next what do you do with a giant crippled ship? one man has a very good idea.
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this week we've been covering the cruise ship disaster in italy, and asking how it could have happened and right about now it's time to ask what happens next? how do you move a cruise ship that is currently lying on its side in the water? our report from nbc's mark potter. >> reporter: even for some with huge of experience the huge ship "concordia" presents a daunting challenge. bob umdenstock of the resolve marine group in ft. lauderdale has worked 40 years in salvage operations. he believes removing the cruise ship could easily take more than a year. >> it could possibly be as difficult a job as anybody's
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ever attempted. >> reporter: the first concerns he says are for the victims, workers' safety and the environment as fuel is removed. then after complex engineering studies an attempt to be made to right the ship, perhaps with a technique called parbuckling. >> parbuckling involves rolling the ship upright. in order to roll it upright you have to apply forces that induce that rolling. >> reporter: if the ship is parbuckled chains attached to the top of the ship would be pulled with tugboats or barges. other chains attached to the bottom of the ship would be pulled in the opposite direction. a third set of chains attached to land would keep the ship from moving away. the next challenge ensure the ship floats, pumping out water, plugging holes if necessary and sealing off damaged compartments. >> i think it's doable but from what i know, it certainly has been done before with other ships in other circumstances. >> reporter: our french cruise ship "the normandy" rolled over in new york city in world war
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ii, just like the "concordia." with a lot of work salvers were able to raise it. 60 years later, moving massive tons of steel, securing gallons of fuel while quietly respecting those who died here. mark potter, nbc news, miami. that's our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being here. i'm brian williams and of course we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. go the governor lays out his plan, and we'll tell you who it affects most. >> good evening, and thank you for joining us. >> the eighth largest economy is on the mend. that's the message governor jerry brown is sending to california

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