tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 6, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
this past week. the rain is continuing to move. >> nightly news is next. we'll be back at 6:00. are celebrating nelson mandela in the streets of south africa and across the globe. special coverage tonight including our conversation with former president clinton. also this evening, the dangerous storm heading across a huge part of our country. tens of millions of americans in its path and another right behind it. great expectations. after a surge in jobs, unemployment drops to its lowest level in five years. a work in progress, but can it be sustained? and once in a lifetime. mandela's visit to this country. those who were there reflect on the power of that moment in time. "nightly news" begins now.
good evening. in london last night they chose to wait until the end of the premiere of the film "long walk to freedom," the story of nelson mandela, before breaking the news to the audience that nelson mandela had died. it brought a stunned reaction from the crowd which included prince william and his wife kate. the evening had been hosted by two of nelson mandela's daughters. and while the entire world knew this day was coming and the life of this 95-year-old man has come to an end, it marks the passing of a giant of the modern era, a transformative figure who play adieu neek role in world history. nelson mandela has now started a ten-day journey home to his ancestral homeland as world leaders and citizens alike prepare to say farewell. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel is outside mandela's home in johannesburg tonight. richard, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the wall of flowers and tributes
in front of the home where mandela died just about 24 hours ago is growing. and this country is in a ten-day mourning period until mandela is buried in the remote rural village where he was born. they sang for the man who forgave his oppressors and healed a nation. songs of hope, struggle, and equality. the same ones they sang when mandela was released from prison, almost a quarter century ago. >> we are sad about nelson mandela's loss. >> he's been a father figure the to us. >> reporter: the crowds in front of the house grew all day. there were flowers and notes, many left by children. thank you, we love you, rest in peace. as they danced for the activist who became a prisoner and then a president -- >> so help me god. >> reporter: perhaps mandela's greatest legacy is
reconciliation and that's represented in this crowd. there are white south africans and black south africans here, both celebrating. at the end of apartheid this country could have seen racial violence. instead it's the most prosperous nation in africa. and few people could have accomplished that. amy and catherine said they are only friends because of mandela. their school was desegregated when apartheid ended. why was mandela important to you? >> he united a nation. i can have white friends, black friends. i can go to anywhere i please. >> he changed the south of south africa. >> reporter: nelson mandela never called for revenge after decades of oppression. his message of forgiveness made him one of the most respected men in the world. now honored by the leaders of the u.s., russia, and china. by the queen, the dalai lama, muhammed ali. india's prime minister compared him to gandhi. >> we are not likely to see another of his kind for a long time to come. >> reporter: martin luther
king's daughter compared him to her father. >> he chose to take the high road. he chose to set an example of true moral and ethical leadership. >> reporter: nelson mandela remembered today for overcoming hate with humanity. mandela transformed south africa. but this country still has a long way to go to fulfill his legacy. crime and corruption are rampant. so is poverty and many blacks and whites continue to live in separate communities. brian? >> richard engel in johannesburg to start us off tonight. richard, thanks. this morning in new york i spoke with former president bill clinton about the loss of his friend nelson mandela, and the legacy he leaves behind for the rest of the world. >> mandela lived in a global age of communications. he basically lit up the world
with the fact that he seemed to move effortlessly through life with a smile on his face and a genuine concern for ordinary people along with his heavy duties. every day he got up and found the strength to leave his anger, hurt, and his regrets behind. >> reporter: what's the most indelible time of all the personal time -- and you had some intense personal time with him. is there any one that you can separate out? >> yes. one day when i was having all this conflicts with republicans in congress we were talking. i was glad to see him. i said, you know, it was a good thing did inviting your jailers to your inauguration and the reconciliation stuff, but how did you get there? he said, i remember it clearly. one day i realized that they had taken ab everything they could take from me. they had abused me physically
and emotionally. they had kept me from seeing my children grow up a eneventually destroyed my marriage. i realized they could take everything except my mind and my heart. he said, those things i would have to give away. i decided not to give them away. then he smiled at me and he said, neither should you. >> reporter: where do you rank him perhaps through the towering figures of the last hundred years? >> i think he and gandhi and in america martin luther king are in a category by themselves. gandhi and king were martyred. but the agonizing ordeal of nelson mandela for 27 years and how he came out of it a better man than he went in captured the imagination of people as nothing else had. his enduring power is that he showed us that there is true freedom in forgiveness. and in the mental and emotional discipline to live in the present and think of the future.
>> part of our conversation with the former president from his home this morning. by the way, the clintons will join the obamas along with george w. bush and laura bush at nelson mandela's memorial services in south africa. president bush senior is unable to make the long journey. former president carter has yet to release his plans. in this country for millions of americans tonight, the news is a massive ice storm churning through the center of the country east of the mississippi river, most of it. several deaths are already being blamed on the storm, and it's going to be a big factor on into the weekend. we begin our coverage with nbc's ron mott in memphis for us tonight. ron, good evening. >> reporter: hey, brian. good evening to you. here's what we are dealing with in memphis. freezing rain is coating all the trees, as you can see here. they have a big marathon planned for tomorrow. tonight it's the cars running on the icy roads and they are trying to get home safely from
texas to ohio. getting from point "a" to point "b" has been dicey today as a major winter storm pounded the country with snow and ice, cutting power to more than 3-h,000 who could face at least one cold, dark night. >> winter storm warnings for north central arkansas. >> reporter: in arkansas, fear was a factor on the roads. >> i'm more scared of the other drivers than i am the road conditions. >> reporter: in texas, a broken water main triggered a geyser. heavy snow collapsed carports. this weekend's dallas marathon canceled. in kentucky, windshields were frozen over. a snow plow caught fire in wisconsin. slick going in indiana. >> felt like my car was kind of weaving back and forth just because it was so slick. >> reporter: the system is massive, blanketing a large swath of the nation from texas to new england. >> i better get off here before i run into somebody myself. >> reporter: state of emergencies were declared throughout the zone including jackson county, illinois, where
18 wheelers were left toppled. others were left spinning in snow. in memphis, where the king was frosty, trucks loaded up to fight as much as an inch of ice forcing schools and businesses to close. travel trouble extended to the skies. more than 2,000 flights cancelled today, most in dallas, stranding thousands of passengers. >> what am i supposed to do? >> i guess i'm in trouble. >> reporter: out west another blast of wintry weather is causing havoc. california farmers are burning peach pits and blowing wind to save their sis trus crops. it's as if weather has lost track of the calendar. winter doesn't officially begin for another two weeks. ron mott, nbc news, memphis. the reason folks east of the mississippi need to be concerned is what the storm did west of the mississippi. let's go to weather channel meteorologist jim cantore in dallas. and jim, talk us through where this is headed. >> reporter: well, brian, nothing could come good of this. today if you look at the temperature map, jordan,
montana, was 30 degrees below zero while orlando, florida, was at 85. that's a 115-degree temperature spread. two storms. the first one continues to move up through the mississippi valley and heading into the northeast with ice and snow. but here's the second storm with advisories all the way to the coastline and into california and nevada again. let's take it by piece. saturday, after the storm produces snow on the las vegas strip it comes back out with ice and sleet once again in these same areas that got it today. sunday the snow pushes across washington, d.c., possibly as far north as new york. it will change to rain there, but not before a messy rush hour along i-95. once the storm pulls out the nation is left in the deep freeze with record setting low for the southwest. >> jim cantore for us in dallas on a friday night. jim, thanks. another big story in the news the u.s. economy and jobs. positive news that more than 200,000 jobs were added in november. and the unemployment rate has
fallen from 7.3% to 7%. that is a five-year low, down from a peak of 10% four years ago. wall street liked what it heard. the markets finished up across the board today. nbc's tom costello reports tonight on where the jobs are showing up. >> reporter: 24-year-old eddie christian is one face of an improving economy. after graduating from college and spending nine months searching for a job, he just landed at starwood hotels working in human resources. >> the fact that i have a sense of security o in a full-time job and the fact it's in my field, i feel lucky. >> reporter: employers added more than 200,000 jobs for each of the last four months. in november, many were good-paying jobs. 40,000 in education and health care. 27,000 in manufacturing. 17,000 construction jobs. so they're coming in the right places. they're coming slower than people wanted, but don't forget. we came from a very, very dark
place. and so the light is starting to shine. >> the unemployment picture is encouraging for a lot of people. for men the rate is 6.7%. for women, 6.2%. but really discouraging for african-americans. 12.5% don't have a job. and look at teenagers. nearly 21% are out of work. nationwide, long-term unemployment is not improving. more than 4 million people have been out of work for six months or longer. still, eye glass designer warby parker is hiring. software engineers and retail employees. >> we're currently planning for 2014. looks like we'll hire about 150 people next year. >> reporter: tonight reason for optimism with the unemployment rate the lowest in five years. tom costello, nbc news, washington. and on this friday night, there's much more still ahead for us including the americans touched by mandela during his time in america.
was willing to die for his principles. he served 27 years, 18 of them at the notorious robben island prison. and a lot of that time was hard labor like breaking rocks in the hot sun. tom brokaw recently traveled to robben island and met with some of those who came to know mandela then. including a man who became a most unlikely friend. >> reporter: robben island, once the most notorious prison in south africa now is a national shrine. the hard, hard place where nelson mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. tourists leave the comfort of cape town for the choppy ride to this reminder of cruelty and courage. they are guided by ex-political prisoners. >> june 1986, i was sentenced 14 years. >> reporter: through the cold corridors. >> this is number 7. the cell of mr. nelson mandela.
>> reporter: and into the tiny cells. this is where mandela spent almost two decades. a cold stone cubicle. no plumbing. a thin mat for sleeping. hard labor in the prison rock quarry. a hard life day in and day out. ahmed muhammed cusrata was a fellow political prisoner but now a retired member of parliament. one of mandela's closest friends. >> we were sentenced to life in imprisonment, and we knew that for political prisoners, life meant life. >> reporter: but he said mandela never asked for special treatment. in fact, he refused it. >> he could have been exempted from work at the quarry. he refused. 1977, 13 years after we were in prison, he was offered release. he refused. >> reporter: over the years in prison, mandela developed a unique friendship with this man. one of his guards, crito brand.
>> i don't know at all who mandela was when i started at robben island. >> reporter: a warm friendship began to develop and one day brand broke all the rules for madiba as mandela was called by his friends. mandela's wife winnie was visiting with their first grandchild. but no children were allowed. >> she told her husband she brought his grandchild to robben island. immediately he looked at me and asked sit possible to see the child from a distance. the answer was no because it is monitored. >> reporter: but brand decided to risk it and takes the baby to mandela out of sight of he monitors. >> he came to the baby and he was emotional, got tears in his eyes, kissed the baby twice. from that moment we become in a way friends. >> reporter: in that tiny cell brand, the young prison guard, had a life changing experience.
he helped his new friend learn the language of the white minority so mandela could communicate with them as well as his own people. >> to bring your enemy closer to you speak the tongue of the people. i also never thought he would be the president of the country. i was proud of him. >> reporter: brand and cusrata are now joined in their grief. mourning the passing of their friend. but they are also joined in the triumph of their long journey. >> trom brokaw with that report tonight. we're back in a moment with something millions of people in this country heard and saw all at once last night.
in response to the crash of a commuter train in new york city this past sunday morning, the federal government has ordered the metro north rail line to take immediate steps to obey speed restrictions including improving its signal system and adding a second qualified driver in the cab on specific trains. the train in the fatal crash was
traveling at 82 miles an hour, more than double the safe speed. europeans have been dealing with a major winter storm system. in the uk it's meant flooding and high winds. cameras captured an attempted landing by an emirates jet at the airport in birmingham. crabbing into a stiff wind before thinking of landing, it intend diverted. notice the vehicles in the distance there. those are plane spotters. folks who had parked to watch attempted landings in some seriously sported weather. hundreds of flights have been canceled in china due to record levels of air pollution. officials there have issued the highest level of health warning there is urging citizens to stay indoors, urging factories to curtail or halt production entirely. turns out a lot of people heard "the sound of music" last night. this network had its biggest
nonsports thursday night of programming since the finale of "frasier" back in 2004. the three-hour broadcast was seen by an estimated 18.5 million viewers. many no doubt curious to see if the cast and crew could pull it off. and while the critical reviews were mixed, it was the first time in over 50 years that a television network has attempted a live musical broadcast. when we come back here tonight, the americans who spent today looking back at an experience they'd never forget.
finally tonight, just months after his release from prison, nelson mandela traveled to this country and electrified crowds. in eight different u.s. cities. that was 23 years ago now. for many, seeing mandela was the experience of a lifetime. among them back then was our own rehema ellis who has our look back tonight with some of those mandela touched. ♪ >> reporter: nelson mandela's visit began in new york with a ticker tape parade. [ cheers ] >> reporter: and a hero's welcome at yankee stadium. >> i am a yankee! [ cheers ]
>> reporter: mumombo, then 18 years old, remembers that hot summer day. >> there were literally people hanging from negates. >> reporter: he was there when mandela visited brooklyn where racial tensions were high. >> i run into people to this day who talk about how that experience transformed them. >> reporter: in boston people were excited -- >> reporter: i was reporting at madison park high school when mandela arrived. >> mr. nelson mandela. [ cheers ] >> reporter: inside the school, pure excitement. >> you all have filled our hearts. >> reporter: this man was a student there. >> 23 years later i still remember that day as if it were yesterday. you heard about this guy in history and suddenly, you know, he's coming to your high school. it was a surreal moment. >> reporter: in detroit --
♪ >> reporter: -- tens of thousands flocked to tiger stadium. owen beaver was in the motor city. >> i met him for the first time. i got to tell you, we embraced. >> reporter: it was a whirlwind trip. 8 cities, 12 days. stops in miami, los angeles, washington, d.c., and atlanta. >> to be so young and to meet a leader as great as mandela was a really big moment. >> reporter: this woman was just 10 years old at the time, on the tarmac in atlanta. >> i just remember looking in his face. even as young as i was, i remember thinking just what a kindness there was about him and his eyes thinking how amazing it was for somebody who had been through so much to not have a hardened heart. >> reporter: nelson mandela, a man who survived prison to become president, inspiring countless people, changing how so many view the world and themselves. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york.
and that's our broadcast for this friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. lester holt will be here with you this weekend. we, of course, hope to see you right back here on monday evening. in the meantime, have a good weekend. good night. good evening, thanks for joining us. i'm diane dwyer. >> i'm jessica aguirre. raj mathai has the night off. we begin with the developing weather we're experiencing. bitter cold claimed four lives in santa clara county. all four of the victims are homeless, found dead of hypothermia on the streets. marianne favro joins us live at a san jose homeless shelter with a look at what's being done to prevent more deaths tonight because it's going to be very, very cold again. >> reporter: staff at this
shelter in san jose is adding 50 additional beds to accommodate more people during this cold snap. and this afternoon, they sent out teams to homeless encampments throughout san jose to hand out 1,000 blankets. michael brennan is homeless and has rheumatoid arthritis. on cold nights he does whatever he can to stay at this ehc life builders shelter in san jose. >> i had to wear my thermals, you know, i had to wear my thermals and coat all the time. wore my hood. it's so cold out here. you know, it's, i mean, it hasn't been this cold in a long time. >> reporter: that bitter cold claims the lives of four homeless people in santa clara county. one of them was discovered in a garage. sadly, they may all have been p preventable deaths. this shelter in san jose wasn't even full last night, despite temperatures in the high 20s in some areas. tonight, the staff is preparing to increase a number of beds available from 50 to more than 100. ehc shelters in