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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  March 8, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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>> reporter: life is suddenly looking brighter. with three kids to feed and her unemployment benefits about to run out, finally a job at lowe's. >> i don't have to stress out about all the finances and bills and worried about if my kids are going to eat or not. >> reporter: the home improvement giant is hiring. 45,000 seasonal positions, and 9,000 permanent jobs across the country. part of an improving employment picture that saw 236,000 jobs added in february, helping to push the unemployment rate lower. so who is hiring? business services added 72,000 jobs in february, mostly professional. and technical jobs. 48,000 jobs added in construction, as the housing market continues to improve. health care added 32,000. nurses remain in high demand. even hollywood added 20,000 jobs with cable tv increasing production. and the 18 to 29-year-olds are finally finding more jobs. of concern, though, more americans gave up looking for jobs in february, and that also
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lowered the unemployment rate. >> today's number was a good number, maybe a great number, but 130,000 americans did drop out of the work force, gave up hunting for a job and we have those federal spending cuts that are going to kick in and that's another headwind. >> reporter: but at the jamba juice company, the blenders are in high gear. it's hiring 3,500 employees and plans to open 1,000 new stores over four years. >> so we actually see great signs of the economy improving. we're seeing our most loyal customers in our shops more frequently. >> reporter: expansion means jobs. back at lowe's, kerry is so grateful. >> i'm very lucky, very fortunate right now. it feels almost like you won the lottery. yeah. high i'm here. really high. >> something to watch for. government jobs decreased by 10,000, mostly at the state level. that number could rise in the coming months, as government spending is curtailed and the
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sequester's effects take hold. brian. >> tom costello in our d.c. newsroom starting us off on a friday night. tom, thanks. when a senior white house aide visiting our studios for an interviewed in another broadcast this week, with six people in tow, including a security detail, it got us to thinking about government spending in the era of this so-called sequester budget cut package. today, for example, tours of the white house will stop due to a lack of funding. while all kinds of other things go on. this has led to charges that the white house is picking its targets. looking to make its point in a big, showy way. our report tonight from our senior investigative correspondent, lisa myers. >> reporter: today was the last day of white house tours for a while, because of budget cuts ordered by the secret service. >> i'm very sad for the people that will not be able to see the inside of the gorgeous white house. >> for a lot of people, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to go in the white house. >> reporter: yet earlier this week, a 20-car motorcade with
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tons of security took the president across town for dinner with senators to talk about the budget. and there could be more of that if the president plays golf this weekend. why is this happening? sequestration. the government officially defines sequestration as a process of automatic, largely across the board spending reductions to meet its budget goals. but it's come to represent the utter dysfunction of washington. today the army announced it's suspending tuition assistance to soldiers, which quickly drew fire on facebook. there are other ways to cut spending than taking away tuition assistance for soldiers. and why not cut the president's vacation funding instead? the federal aviation administration says it may furlough air traffic controllers and close towers. eating delays. yet it's spending more than $20 million a year giving money away to tiny airports like this one, which may get one private plane landing a week. then at the department of homeland security, tsa is
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threatening to furlough screeners and create long lines. critics say the department could save much more by cutting from a grant program, which last year paid for $286,000 armored personnel carrier for keene, new hampshire. >> the sequester may be a stupid policy, but there is no reason to implement it stupidly. so i think people look at it as gamesmanship, and a continuation of political dysfunction in washington. >> reporter: meanwhile, outside the white house, this is what some people are saying. >> i understand budgets. but something needs to be done. they still need to allow tours. that's part of what we have a right of as americans. >> reporter: lisa myers, nbc news, washington. it's been just over a week since pope benedict abdicated, took that dramatic helicopter flight out of the vatican to his temporary new home. today we learned the cardinals will lock themselves in the sistine chapel to pick his replacement and when. nbc's anne thompson with us once
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again tonight from the vatican with that news and what happens next. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the race to 77 begins tuesday afternoon. 77, because that's the number of votes a candidate needs to become the next pope. that's a two-thirds plus one majority of all the cardinal electors. now, before the cardinals begin filling out their ballots, they will celebrate mass here at st. peter's basilica tuesday, and then they will process into the sistine chapel where they will sit in two rows on each side of the chapel and fill out their ballots. if no one gets to that 77 vote mark on the first ballot, then every day that follows, the cardinals will vote twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. they will vote for three days, and then they will get a day off, a day of prayer, and then they will resume voting. all of this is going to happen as the cardinals are shut off from the rest of the world. no tv, no radio, no newspapers, no cell phones, no blackberries, no computers, nothing. now, benedict, pope emeritus, he
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was elected on the fourth ballot after a day-and-a-half in 2005, but given the fact there's no front-runner, nobody expects it will go that quickly this time. brian? >> anne thompson at the vatican for us tonight. anne, thanks. this latest winter storm that made its way across a good part of the country this week is finally blowing itself out over the northeast coastline tonight. but not before doing some pretty serious damage and leaving behind a massive amount of snow in some spots. the damage, by the way, includes some breeches and a shoreline that didn't need anymore. weather channel meteorologist eric fisher is with us tonight from plum island, mass, near the new hampshire border. eric, we've been watching that home behind you all day. >> reporter: just a sad story here, brian. it's been a battering season for winter storms in the east coast, anywhere from delaware to maine, flooding, coastal erosion, snow, they have all been calling cards. and this storm has been no exception. more than 20 inches of snow fell
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on parts of new england. in massachusetts, major coastal flooding as waves pounded the shoreline. this oceanfront home on plum island came off its foundation. fortunately, no one was inside at the time. several other homes nearby suffered significant damage. on long island, a slushy mix made for a messy morning commute. >> a little rough out there today. >> reporter: even rougher in connecticut where a tractor-trailer jack-knifed on i-95, closing the highway for several hours, leaving early-morning drivers stranded. >> i think it's a mess. that's what i think it is. >> reporter: in sea bright, new jersey, high tide brought floodwaters 2 feet deep in some places. no homes were flooded but it was a stark reminder of the beach erosion left by hurricane sandy. >> you can see the sand rising up, you can see the flooding that is still going on. sandy has not been remedied here. >> reporter: a last gasp of winter, leaving residents on the east coast weary and ready for change. >> i'm done with it.
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i'm done with it. i want spring. i've had enough. >> reporter: understandably so. but if you are thinking spring, you might want to think again. next storm is rolling to the west as we speak, denver expecting blizzard conditions, and that starts tonight. brian? >> eric fisher, plum island, massachusetts. eric, thanks for your reporting today. in a federal courtroom here in new york today, osama bin laden's son-in-law, an accused plotter in the 9/11 attacks, pleaded not guilty to charges to conspiracy to kill americans. u.s. officials say he was captured in the middle east last week. prosecutors say he's been talking, giving a lengthy statement, perhaps. his court appearance not without controversy. some republicans say bringing him to stand trial in the u.s. is a mistake, because he's an enemy combatant, should be sent to guantanamo instead. a sea of mourners turned out today for the funeral of hugo chavez in venezuela. among them, high-profile world leaders and a familiar face to a lot of americans. our report tonight from caracas
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and nbc's mark potter. >> reporter: the funeral drew presidents and diplomats from around the world. chavez ally castro of cuba, mahmud ahmadinejad from iran and leaders from just about every country in latin america. the u.s. sent a small, low-level delegation. the reverend jesse jackson spoke on his own. >> let there be peace between nations. >> reporter: chavez will lie in state for another week. already, hundreds of thousands of venezuelans have paid their respects. chavez body will lay in a special tomb honoring him as chavismo. when chavez was in power in this plaza, the relationship between venezuela and the united states was often strained to the breaking point. in fact, just this week, hours before chavez died, venezuela expelled two u.s. military attaches. analysts say relations are unlikely to improve especially if nicholas maduro wins the
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presidential election next month. but the extensive oil trade between the u.s. and venezuela is likely to continue unchanged with little impact on u.s. gas prices. >> we'll continue to buy their crude oil. and venezuela will continue to buy gasoline and diesel fuel from the u.s. and we both will continue to need each other. >> reporter: what no one knows is how long chavismo will survive without chavez himself. mark potter, nbc news, caracas, venezuela. still ahead for us on a friday night, all this bad weather got us to thinking, why have the europeans been more accurate about predicting our weather than our own forecasting models of late. al roker is here to talk about that tonight. and later, the new controversy this evening over an old family favorite.
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boston mayor tom menino is
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defending his decision not to close the schools there today despite a snowstorm. he says he got conflicting forecasts. and when severe weather is approaching, when you hear us talk about the european models, we don't mean anyone who wears fancy clothes walking down a runway. those multicolored spaghetti lines on the weather maps when big storms are approaching, those are all computer models, predictions. some are from our government forecasters, but increasingly, the european computer models have been more accurate about our weather. we wanted to know why. we asked the one guy to explain this. you love your computer models, al roker. >> i absolutely do, brian. good to see you. well, weather forecasting was invented in america by benjamin franklin, but meteorologists, especially since superstorm sandy warn we may be falling behind. they were dire warnings that shut down the nation's capital. >> our biggest snowfall in two years. can you believe it?
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>> forecasters promising washington's worst storm in two years. but that didn't happen. >> the question is, tom, do we need the push broom or the great big shovel out here. we really don't need either. >> and the weather channel's jim cantore, known best for braving weather like this -- >> oh, hold on to that camera, brad. >> -- was left in a snowless capital. >> no snow on the ground. there's none in the trees, no piles anywhere here to be found. >> cliff mass is an atmospheric science professor at the university of washington. >> 24 hours out, 36 hours out, there was these differences. that really made a difference between rain and snow. the european was going for less precipitation. >> he says wednesday's storm is just the latest example of the shortcomings of u.s. weather prediction. >> we led the world for decades. but we let that lead slip during the '80s and '90s as we didn't invest enough. >> the europeans have invested heavily in weather forecasting with ten times the computing ability of the national weather service.
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but while meteorologists rely on more than just computer models when making predictions, a rash of recent winter storm in boston and oklahoma have highlighted the superiority of european storm modeling. >> the european model keeps it hugging the coast. >> the starkest example, hurricane sandy. a week before the storm made landfall, the american model was predicting it would continue heading out into the atlantic. but it was the europeans who first foresaw that historic and devastating left hook. >> we have very good numerical models, but there are modeling systems in the world that are considered better than ours. >> which is a devastating admission. the national weather service is in the process of upgrading its computer systems, should have more powerful system online in september. the critics say, even with that, brian, it still is going to lag behind its european counterparts. >> really glad we did this story. we talk about this all of the
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time. al roker, thanks. good to see you. >> you too. we're back in a moment with the hollywood actress on the verge of a big announcement.
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there are increasing signs ashley judd may be running for u.s. senate in what's considered an uphill climb in the decidedly red state of kentucky. mitch mcconnell is the senate minority leader, current holder of the seat. both candidates would have access to big funding. mcconnell is up for re-election in 2014. caroline kennedy will award the jfk profile in courage award to former congresswoman gabby giffords, the survivor of gun violence, mass shooting in tucson, arizona back in 2011. the ceremony is may 5th. a jury in los angeles today awarded $8.3 million to a man who accused a subsidiary of johnson & johnson of knowingly marketing a faulty hip implant that was later recalled. it was the first of an avalanche of lawsuits. there are nearly 11,000 similar cases involving this implant,
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which was pulled from the market two years ago now. jurors found that the all-metal asrxl implant was defectively designed and caused metal poisoning and other ailments. more trouble on a cruise ship. 108 people came down with the norovirus during a caribbean cruise that became something of a gastrointestinal nightmare. tonight, the royal caribbean "vision of the seas" is docked back home in florida. they say kraft mac-n-cheese is the cheesiest and also the orangest, a color worn by road crews. tonight some food bloggers from north carolina, both moms, are pressuring kraft to take the dye numbers 5 and 6 out of the product. they claim it's been linked to hyperactivity in children and other things. kraft says the product is safe and healthy and they offer a multitude of products without added colors. up next, a guy who knows
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what it's like to get knocked down and get back up again now making a difference by passing that little lesson along.
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"making a difference." brought to you by pfizer.
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>> final here tonight, our "making a difference" from detroit, a city that knows about survival in hard times. for young people, there are so many things that can can go wrong. but to avoid them there is a man fighting to make a difference. his story and their story tonight from chelsea clinton. >> detroit's east side. a shell of the neighborhood coach sweeney knew as a boy. >> this was a middle class neighborhood. this was the american dream right here. look at this stuff like this new. >> reporter: it looks post-apocalyptic. >> if you post a tank right here in the middle of the street, you would think it was a war zone. >> reporter: today detroit is one of america's ten most violent cities. so coach cawley opened a safe haven. >> everybody, slow down. normal pace. >> reporter: the downtown boxing gym. here kids learn discipline, confidence and the rewards of hard work. >> it took me a long time to get good at everything. at least two weeks.
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>> reporter: at least two weeks. two weeks is a long time? >> that's a long time. >> reporter: for the last three years, this has been ka'deem anderson's second home. >> when i was younger, i used to get in a lot of fights. >> reporter: the 15-year-old is different now, no longer tempted to stray into trouble. >> i want to thank khalid from the bottom of my heart. i'm serious. when you've got somebody in your life that's willing to help your children that they don't even know, like he helped my baby. >> reporter: because coach cawley got that same help 43 years ago. just a baby, he was taken in by strangers. >> saved me. of course -- they saved me. my life would be nowhere near how it is now. i know i would have had it a lot rougher. >> reporter: the gym makes sure kids get nutritious food. without it, seven of the ten kids we saw wouldn't get enough to eat. warm coats donated by myers super store, and through regular community service, the kids learn you get what you give.
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>> if you go to a place, you need to be pulled back to the right path. >> reporter: the coach believes in tough love. >> you make a mistake in the ring, you end up on the floor. you make a mistake now, you end up on the floor. >> reporter: the gym operates under one golden rule. >> i think you've got homework. >> reporter: the kids must hit the school books before anything else. and the tutoring is paying off with a 100% high school graduation rate. >> went to college, trained, got a job. everything went well for me. >> reporter: coach cawley wants nothing less for his kids. >> boxing is small compared to the big picture. the big picture is education. >> reporter: to give everyone a fighting chance. chelsea clinton, nbc news, detroit michigan. >> that's our broadcast on a friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we're back on the air later tonight for an all-new "rock center" at 10:00, 9:00 central. remember, daylight saving starting this weekend. spring forward.
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one hour overnight saturday. lester holt will be here with you tomorrow night. we, of course, hope to see you right back here on monday. and in the meantime, please have a good weekend. good night. good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm janelle wang. raj and jessica are off tonight. new at 6:00, the accusation was serious and shocking when it first hit the news in february of last year. a redwood city elementary schoolteacher charged with hitting, kicking, and with holding food from two autistic students. now a stunning new twist, prosecutors have dropped all charges.
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cheryl hurd joins us. >> reporter: the teacher here in redwood city is a 20-year v veteran and started working with special needs children about five years ago. she met with nbc bay area late today, sitting down to tell her side of the story for the very first time since these allegations of abuse against autistic children came out a year ago. last february several aides claimed she slapped, kicked, withheld food from two 5-year-old boys in her classroom here at roosevelt elementary school. the accusations led to a criminal investigation. she was charged with nine counts of misdemeanor abuse. yesterday san ma teo district attorney says after a thorough investigation, there wasn't enough evidence for charges to stick. weigh got reaction from the woman and her attorney. >> i had faith the truth would come out, that the ending would
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be a good ending for me. i had good guidance. i kept my eye on moving forward. >> i hope that this decision by the district attorney will help to give people can confidence that there are safety measures in place to protect people, students, anybody from abuse. those systems work especially what followed. in this case the system worked. >> reporter: late tonight we talked with the attorney for one of the families in this case. his name is christopher dolan. he said, unfortunately, these aides that lost their job, lost their courage to file a suit in san mateo county to get their jobs back. again, bogdis says she will be working hard to get her life back together. she is ecstatic the charges have been dropped. meanwhile, we wie

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