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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  February 28, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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it's where we begin tonight, starting with anne thompson, who was there for it all today. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the papal apartment is sealed, and st. peter's chair is vacant. tonight the catholic church looks for a new leader as benedict xvi pope emeritus begins his new life after a transition unlike any other in the modern church. benedict left his home to a rousing ovation. the papal staff at the vatican saying goodbye to the man they served for the last eight years. the first leg of his final journey as pope. in st. peter's square, tourists gathered around jumbotrons to watch the momentous event. >> it would be a shame to be here and miss it. >> reporter: the 85 year-old pontiff got into a helicopter to fly off into an italian sunset. as bells rang across rome. he flew over this eternal city, passed the ruins of the
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coliseum, where christians were persecuted 2,000 years ago. his destination, the papal retreat, castel gandolfo, 20 miles to the south, where 10,000 people waited to greet him. >> reporter: speaking without a text, benedict said he will no longer be pope. simply a pilgrim, beginning the last stage of his life on earth. >> i think he needs those prayers right now, because it's such a big step. >> reporter: earlier in the day, benedict met with the cardinals. and promised his successor will have his unconditional reverence and obedience. he urged the cardinals to work together like an orchestra, telling them, among you is the future pope. the cardinals mentioned as
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potential successors, luis antonio tagle and he shared a laugh. sean o'malley got a warm reception as did new york's timothy dolan. >> he said i know you. and he said my name. now, that's great when the boss remembers your name. that moved me very much. >> reporter: now dolan and his fellow cardinals will get down to the business of selecting the new pope. >> you look for a man who has a depth to him theologically. you look to a man who has probably some sound governance skills. you look to a man who has got some pastoral compassion to him. >> reporter: this man, who took to twitter cautiously had one last message. thanking his 1.6 million followers for their love and support. tonight, the papal twitter feed says sede vacante. the seat is vacant. at 8:00 p.m. rome time, benedict became pope emeritus at castel gandolfo. a historic moment. for the catholic church and the
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world. now, while benedict gets to stay at the papal summer retreat, he will not get any heads up as to who will be his successor. benedict will learn with the rest of the world when he steps out onto the loggia basilica of st. peter. brian? >> anne thompson at the vatican where we were reminded they do ceremony very well. and we go over to castel gandolfo, about 15 miles to the south, where the now former pope will stay for the next couple months until his new home is ready. nbc's keir simmons is there tonight with a look at what happens now. keir, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the man who until a few hours ago was pope benedict xvi is spending his first night as a former pope in the residence behind me, while at the vatican they are sizing up the challenge he has left them. the papal ring. unique to each pope.
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a symbol of his authority. with benedict now pope emeritus, the seal on his ring been destroyed, so there can be no pretenders until a new pontiff is chosen. that election will be the talk of the papal conclave, the cardinals meeting in complete secrecy in the grandeur of the sistine chapel under michelangelo's image of god himself. the man they choose will have his work cut out for him, leading and managing a very rich, secretive, and at times corrupt organization. just this week, cardinal keith o'brien of scotland resigned amid charges of improper contact with priests. the church has been plagued by scandals in recent years, stories of children sexually abused by priests, cover-ups, allegations of financial mismanagement, the pope's butler leaking secret documents, some taken from the pope's own apartment. >> of course the charges are atrocious. also, the problem of communication was very tough for
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pope benedict. anything he was doing was not communicated in the right way to the press. >> reporter: after those leaks, pope benedict formed a commission which delivered its report just before christmas. the pope ordered the report sealed, said it would remain secret, to be seen only by he and his successor. but some of the cardinals who must now choose that successor want to know more, including today in rome, cardinals from boston, houston and chicago. >> it won't be given to us as a report. what we talk about, however, will be certainly the governance of the church and in that context, there may be questions to the people who made the report. >> reporter: pope benedict is now gone from the stage, but he has left serious, unsolved problems the next pope will have to confront, starting on day one. many of the cardinals who will choose the next pope are already in rome, with more on the way. they'll meet monday to schedule
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a conclave as they prepare to make the most important decision any cardinal can make. brian? >> reporter: keir simmons winding up our coverage in castel gandolfo in italy tonight. keir, thanks. back in this country this evening, it's the eve of the so-called sequester, when the big across-the-board federal budget cuts start kicking in. some said this was unthinkable just a few weeks back. we have been told by the attorney general our country will be less safe because of it starting this weekend. and yet congress has left for the weekend, and there is no fix in place. nbc's kelly o'donnell with us from capitol hill in washington. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. there is something different about where we are tonight. when you think of the eve of fiscal deadlines past, there was always a frenzied rush of meetings and negotiations. but not this time. washington is pretty quiet, and both democrats and republicans appear dug in. no sign of crisis here.
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today house members headed out of town, doing nothing to avoid sweeping cuts. that leaves house speaker john boehner to wait out the deadline and the political heat. >> i'll be here tomorrow. i'll be here in the white house, and accept the president's invitation to meet. >> reporter: senators stuck around, knowing they would not fix the mess today. >> what we're about to go through is in some respects a charade. >> reporter: even the senate chaplain tailored his daily prayer to fit the dysfunction. >> let us rise up, oh god, and save us from ourselves. >> reporter: $85 billion in automatic across-the-board cuts begin tomorrow, split between defense and domestic spending programs. last-minute alternatives were dead on arrival today. one by democrats with new taxes to protect domestic programs. another from republicans who want to rework cuts to soften the blow to defense. both failed. >> we're ready to work. but at this stage, we can't -- we don't have the partners.
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>> reporter: not a good enough answer when you talk to a butcher shop owner in nebraska. >> the people in washington, they don't know what goes on out here. there's somebody sitting behind a desk and thinking, well, here's one of the ways we can cut. >> reporter: or visit schools in arkansas that rely on federal grant money. >> we're hitting those people that really need those funds. so we're hoping congress and the president can work something out. >> reporter: and in towns that count on business for military bases where defense cuts could have a ripple effect. >> you have people who run daycare centers, you've got teachers, you've got professionals in the medical field. >> reporter: so what happens next? president obama and congressional leaders will meet at the white house tomorrow. no longer in the mode of trying to prevent these cuts, maybe just trying to deal with reducing the most harmful effects. and right now, it appears the divide is wide. brian? >> kelly was all right there in the opening prayer. save us from ourselves. kelly o'donnell covering everything on the hill for us tonight. thanks. now to the big news we first
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reported here last night. a major policy shift from the white house, which will for the first time provide direct aid to the syrian rebels fighting the assad regime. we learned today it's not the weapons they really want. our report tonight from our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell. >> reporter: meeting for the first time today, the new secretary of state and the opposition leader, the u.s. hopes can lead a coalition to oust bashir al assad. >> the simple fact is, assad cannot shoot his way out of this. >> reporter: while the rebels have been gaining on damascus, they are still outgunned by the regime's air power, including a devastating scud attack on aleppo last friday. today, the opposition leaders spoke directly to assad. >> translator: i'm saying here and now bashir assad, you have to behave for once as a human being. stop killing and massacring these people, arresting and torturing their children. >> reporter: the white house still won't provide weapons, fearing they could fall into the hands to more radical elements.
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fighting alongside the rebels. but britain and france are expected to fill the gaps with military equipment. and u.s. officials don't deny a "new york times" report that the u.s. is already secretly training small units of rebel fighters in a military base in the region. >> we can't risk letting this country in the heart of the middle east be destroyed by vicious autocrats. or hijacked by the extremists. >> reporter: they say there needs to be a lot more. >> pummelling civilian neighbors from the air. another possible down the road alternative here is a no flight zone. >> reporter: but there are risks. >> there are a lot of different groups there, and some of those groups, you do not want to be giving weapons to or ammunition to. >> reporter: privately, the syrian opposition is not happy with what it got today. but hopes this is a sign of more to come. even if the white house tries to avoid getting involved too deeply in another civil war. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington.
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there's word tonight we're watching closely from venezuela. hugo chavez is fighting for his life more than two months after his latest cancer surgery. it came from venezuela's vice president who is expected to provide a further update on his condition. possibly as soon as this evening. chavez has been in failing health for months, but this new announcement was particularly dire. u.s. army private bradley manning pleaded guilty to 12 charges in the case of the biggest leak of classified military information in our history. he also pleaded not guilty to the serious charge of aiding the enemy, which could bring life in prison if he's convicted on that charge. at the hearing today, manning said he was trying to gain attention and start a public debate over what he saw as abuses and wrongdoing during the war in iraq. he leaked thousands of documents and videos, mainly to wikileaks. a judge accepted ten of the guilty pleas tonight. manning could face up to 20 years on those charges alone. still ahead for us this evening, something we've never seen before now. the amazing way doctors are
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giving hope to women who thought they would never have a child. and later, a wild gold rush in the rockies. millions in buried treasure really up for grabs. a lot of folks are getting in on the thrill of the chase.
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for couples who want to become parents but have troubles conceiving, in vitro fertilization, for those who choose that route, can make the dream of having a family come true. but there are high failure rates and costs to contend with. now amazing new technology like we have never seen before is helping to take some of the guesswork out of ivf. our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman, reports. >> ed and caroline mark started dating in college. >> this is 1999. >> yeah, sophomore year, beginning of sophomore year. >> they fell in love and got married, bound by common goals and shared values. >> we knew we wanted to settle down in the midwest and raise a family. >> after moving to ohio, the couple tried to get pregnant and when it didn't work, they went
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to the cleveland clinic for in vitro fertilization. there, they were among the first to use a remarkable new technology called an embryoscope, allowing researchers to monitor the development of fertilized eggs around the clock. >> the embryo is extremely dynamic. it changes constantly, so there is a lot going on behind the scenes that if you just had a single static observation per day, you would miss. >> traditionally, embryos are removed from the incubator once a day for a few minutes of observation. giving researchers limited chance to track changes prior to implantation. the embryoscope takes high-resolution pictures every 20 minutes for an almost real-time look at the cells which never leave the climate-controlled chamber. that access allows doctors to better see which embryos might have the best chance of becoming healthy babies. >> it's amazing. we are learning a lot about embryos. we're seeing things that would not have been possible before.
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>> while there's no evidence yet that growing cells in the embryoscope leads to a greater number of successful ivf pregnancies, ed and caroline marks, now parents of twins, claire and charlotte, believe it made all the difference. >> you're seeing them go from a fertilized egg to that first split, and it's starting to grow into a baby. and it's just amazing that we actually got to see that. >> the girls were born in december, and while the story of their birth will always be touched by technology, what ed and caroline see now is the family they always wanted. the fda approved this technology in 2011, and it's now in about 15 reproductive centers around the country. the cost of ivf really varies across the country, but at the cleveland clinic, the use of this embryoscope is just part of doing normal business now and it's pretty amazing. >> science is blinding. >> it is cool. >> dr. nancy snyderman, thank
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you, as always. we're back in a moment with the unlikely pair who scored front-row seats to the big game today.
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there have been two poignant images over the past 24 hours, both involving children. first the grandson of general norman schwarzkopf saluting. as his grandfather, the four-star general who commanded the first invasion of iraq was laid to rest today at the cemetery of the u.s. military academy west point. the other image came from yesterday's unveiling of the statue of rosa parks. young relative of rosa parks reaching out to touch the president who gave an emotional speech on the life and times and impact of the civil rights icon. a member of do little's raiders has died. tom griffin was b-25 navigator on the daring bombing raid on mainland japan during world war
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ii. of the 80 men who volunteered to fly, now only four survive. tom griffin who survived getting shot down in china and then two years in a german prison camp was 96 years old. the image of the day from overseas. dennis rodman and kim jong un. the north korean leader believed to be the first meeting with an american since taking over for his father. however unofficial. basketball is big in north korea and rodman is there with the harlem globetrotters for the filming of a tv show. up next tonight, the treasure hunt in the american west and some clues this evening where to find the hidden fortune.
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tonight there are people combing the landscape of the rocky mountains armed with big dreams and a few clues and they are looking for buried treasure. the real kind. it was put there by a man determined to give away a big chunk of his personal fortune to the person lucky enough to find it. his story tonight from nbc's janet shamlian. >> reporter: the new mexico mountains have always attracted nature lovers. but the pristine wilderness has never seen so many explorers. you think you're getting close? >> i always think i'm getting close.
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but i -- you know. attrition alone will get me somewhere. >> reporter: mark howard has made at least 20 trips here. a modern-day treasure hunt. hoping like thousands of others -- >> pool like that would be the perfect place. >> reporter: to strike it rich they're looking for this. a 42-pound bronze chest filled with a multimillion bounty. hundreds of gold nuggets, rare coins and jewels. hidden by a man who knows treasure. >> it's home, where i'm most comfortable. >> reporter: for decades, forrest fenn has hunted down and sold art to collectors. collectors. some well-known. >> this is the brandy bottle that jackie kennedy left in my guest house. >> reporter: his passion brought him a fortune and some suspicion. fenn's home was among dozens raided in 2009 by federal agents looking for illegally obtained artifacts. he has not been charged. having survived hundreds of combat missions in vietnam, he felt bulletproof right up until his diagnosis of terminal kidney cancer. >> reporter: so you started filling this chest. but what was the goal?
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>> i said if i've got to go, why don't i let somebody else have as much fun with this as i've had. >> reporter: he wanted to share the thrill of the chase so he hid the chest and wrote a memoir with a poem offering nine clues. >> beginning where warm waters halt. >> reporter: it's been almost three years since he says he stashed the gold and the jewels. thousands have trekked out to the mountains based on his clues. and that treasure remains as elusive as the day it was hidden. hundreds of e-mails about finding not the gold but maybe something as valuable. a son planning a trip with his dad writes, "the real treasure might just be bringing family together." >> i'm not saying it's easy. but i'm saying that it isn't impossible. >> reporter: remarkably, his cancer is now in remission and the adventure he's offering others may be worth more than the gold itself. janet shamlian, nbc news, santa fe, new mexico. >> so if you're wondering, we have posted the full list of clues on our website tonight, and this man, forrest fenn, will reveal another one tomorrow morning on "today."
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for us, for now, that's our broadcast on a thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. and, of course, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. good thursday evening, jefferson, i'm janelle wang in for raj mathai. i'm jessica aguirry. still reeling from the loss. police officers will descend on santa cruz a week from today for a painful and emotional memorial for the two officers killed in the line of duty tuesday. today we're learning more about what led up to their tragic deaths and what may have unhinged the shooter. nbc bay area's damon trujillo is
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back at headquarters, i understand you uncovered new information. >> reporter: late information today. right now the memorial keeps growing outside police headquarters. parents bringing their children to pay their respects. the department says it is still at a loss after two veteran officers were gunned down by a man with a long criminal rap sheet. visitors continue bringing flowers to the place where sergeant butch baker and officer elizabeth butler were gunned down on tuesday. >> just know things are not getting easier for any of us that are associated with this department. >> reporter: police say the officer spent less than ten minutes with jeremy goulet, questioning him through a closed door at his apartment about a recent sexual assault allegation. that's when he came out of a side door and ambushed the officers with his gun. >> neither officer was wearing body armor at the time of the incident. however, body armor would not have helped.
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>> reporter: police say goulet took the officers' guns and unmarked patrol car but later returned to the scene wearing sergeant baker's bulletproof vest. he died in a gunfight. an innocent bystander was grazed at the gun battle. >> this is the slug that came out of the -- actually the middle of the van. this was found in the tool box inside. >> reporter: robert mitchell spent the morning counting the bullet holes on his van from the gun battle. >> the other shot went in the engine compartment. we can't get it started due to the fact that it hit something electronic. >> reporter: investigators say goulet used a .45 caliber handgun registered to his name to kill the officers. two veteran cops who gave their lives questioning a man who police say never gave them a chance. for the last two days, sheriff's deputies and the california highway patrol hav

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