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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 11, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> looks nice. thanks so much, jeff. thanks for joining us. we'll see you at 6:00. on the broadcast tonight, fatal decision. stunning new video of the plane crash in san francisco and what was happening in the cockpit. trouble in space, what nasa is calling a ur jebts situation on the international space station. keys to survival. the family of six being rescued after being stranded in sub zero temperatures for days. what they did right? and no more shots? big news for allergy sufferers. no needles involved. fewer trips to the doctor. nightly news begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york. this is nbc nightly news with
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brian williams. >> good evening, i'm ann curry in for brian who is still in the air after reporting in south africa. and we begin with stunning new details. we're learning for the first time about what may have contributed to a plane yash in san francisco last july. now expert witnesses say it may have been an example of a pilot relying too much on computers. it's what they call ought make addiction. nbc's tom costello has been following this closely and joins us with details. >> reporter: this was a veteran airbus pilot at the controls of a boeing triple 7. he may not have understand with his superior in the cockpit, they didn't real ease they were flying 40 miles per hour too slow and didn't take action until just seconds before the crash when it was too late. from the ntsb, new video showing
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the plane crashing into the sea wall, cartwheeling around and slamming onto the runway. >> we offer our condolences to those who lost loved ones. >> reporter: today they laid out a fatal combination before the crash. pilots failing to notice their airspeed was too low. confusion over how the automated systems worked, even korean cultural sensitivities. the training pilot thought they were still maintaining his speed, even though he'd switched off auto pilot to land manually. >> translator: he was a very serious pilot. >> reporter: they suggest add design law confused the crew. but boeing insists the system is widely used and flying the plane is up to the pilot, not the computer. >> the pilot is the final authority for the operation of the airplane. we try not to put in design elements that can override the
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pilot. >> reporter: lee kang kuk was the pilot. he failed to acknowledged four separate warnings. and he said with his superiors watching his low-level position would make it very hard to abort a landing and go around. veteran pilots say there's a lesson on relying too heavily on ought make. >> you have to keep up with basic airmanship in order to make the systems work on behalf of safety instead of work against safety. >> reporter: the faa last month called for much more simulator time to beef up skills. they brought me into the sim. >> it's important to see this in a simulator so if they get in that situation in an aircraft they know how to recover. >> reporter: a lot of focus on
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whether the pilots at asiana are taught how the systems work. >> meantime, late this afternoon, we heard about an urgent situation aboard the international space station. >> reporter: nasa saying it's urgent that may require a spacewalk to do a repair. earlier today one of two cooling systems stopped working. engineers believe there is a problem with a flow control valve, they're now turning off non-essential systems and rerouting systems to another cooling loop. the question is whether they can fix this with a software patch or whether they will, in fact, need a spacewalk. on board right now, three russians, two american, one japanese astronaut. spacewalks have not been allowed
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since an italian astronaut's helmet filled with water. >> thank you so much. we're also learning new details tonight about the family, including four children rescued in good shape after spending two nights in sub zero temperatures in the mountains of nevada. nbc nbc's reporter has this report. >> reporter: what's been dubbed the miracle in the mountains. the six survivors aren't speaking tonight, but the. >> who treated them is. >> drive around playing with the snow and they started sliding down the hill in slow motion. >> reporter: we take tout rugged and remote high desert. this is where james glanton, christina mcintee and three
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children spent two nights trapped in negative 20 degree weather. we had to offroad for about 35 minutes. this is where you can see the footprints in the snow, and just up the hill here, here's the overturned jeep. it's amazing anybody could have survived this crash. we found the jeep still leaking garks smelling of fuel. the family was dressed for the snow, but they had bottles of water, a machete, flashlight, and they used the interior of the jeep for shelter at night. they stayed together and kept with the vehicle. >> he did one hell of a job keeping those kids saechlt not a lot of people would have been able to do that for two days in sub zero temperatures. >> reporter: the family gathered sagebrush and burnt a spare tire down to the bone to keep warm. they heated up rocks like this
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one and put them in the vehicle at night to keep the kids warm. suffering from dehydration, in a statement, the family asked for privacy, thanking search and rescue teams for their dedication, a happy ending few thought they'd ever see. lovelock, nevada. and now to the nation's capitol and that budget deal we told but last night. while the agreement avoids a government shutdown next month, it sidesteps the crisis of the americans who have been out of work. that means their unemployment benefits will stop at the end of the month unless congress takes action. nbc talks to some of the families who are worried about what happens next. >> reporter: for la shawn, much of her morning ritual remains the same, getting her kids up and ready for school. but this time she's supporting her family with her unemployment
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insurance. >> it tough, really, really tough. >> reporter: with her computer now broken she hunts for work on her tiny cell phone screen. she counts every week because the number has never counted more. her benefits could soon disappear. >> i need the benefits so i can keep pushing forward, so i won't need the benefits. >> reporter: up until 2009, unemployment benefits lasted 26 weeks. but today, because of the recession, they can go up to 73 weeks, but if congress doesn't take action, they'll go back to 26 weeks on december 28, and 1.3 million jobless workers will lose their benefits. that includes randy russo who keeps the heat low to save money. >> i don't know what the end game is. i don't know when it will happen, but it's just that. it's hope. if you dwoents have the hope, then it's truly over. >> reporter: while unemployment has gradually improved. job fairs like to continue to draw a crowd, people who say
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they need benefits while they look for work. but some economists argue that a longer stretch of benefits costs taxpayers billions and diskurnls people from looking for jobs. >> there's a consequence of the program. >> reporter: la-shawn says she's willing to take almost any job. >> i'm not beyond working at a retail store or mcdonald's, whatever it takes so my kids are not homeless. there is news about the president's health care law. signups on both the federal and state exchanges are improving, but not fast enough to meet enrollment goals. t the administration says nearly 365,000 people have signed up. but still short of the 1.2 the million goal.
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and it is having an impact on the president's approval rating. political dwrerkt chuck todd joins us. >> it is a weight on the president. he's sitting at 43% approval. that's near his all-time low. his disapproval rate something 54%. which is an all-time high. it is clearly the health care. he has had a bunch of tough things. 58%, health care, is seen as the driver of how the public is shaping their opinion of this president. and we look at it, the health care law now is more unpopular than ever. good idea, bad idea. we've been tracking this for three years. for the first time, a majority say it's a bad idea. but there's a glimmer of hope if you're the white house. that's that 26% think that the law should be scrapped all together. there's a much larker majority
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that would like to see it fixed. they're not good new, but you do have a public who would like to see the law work. now it's up to the white house if they're going to clean up their political problem to make it work. >> thank you for that perspective. an update now on the tense situation in ukraine where demonstrations have been escalating for weeks. protesters want their nation less aligned with russia and are calling for closer ties with europe. ukraine's president has called back for now, but he won't sit down for talks yet. still tonight, dr. nancy sneiderman with welcome news for those who get allergy shots. now there is a new alternative. no needles, just a simple pill. loss in translation. why so many were offended by the
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sign language on stage at the mandela memorial.
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we are back now, and our health news tonight is about allergy, one of the most common ailments in the united states. one in five americans has reactions to pollen, dust and other things we breathe in. and 2.5 million get allergy shots either monthly or weekly. now there's an alternative being considered for approval. no needles, just a pill under your tongue. >> reporter: mornings are always busy, getting her 7 year old ready for school, feeding their dog and packing emergency allergy kits. both mother and daughter have
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severe reactions to ragweed, grass and tree pollen and animal dander and get frequent allergy shots. >> we have run eye nose,i istch throat, cough and hives. >> reporter: today an fda advisory committee met to consider whether to approve two respiratori respiratory allergy drug. >> the two big groups that i see that would really benefit from this therapy are very busy people that can't fit a visit to a doctor's office for a shot into their busy schedules, and those who are needle averse. >> reporter: the doctor is also a consultant for merks. there is a tradeoff, the tablets only cover specific grass
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pollens, while shots can offer broader protection to more allergens and can be personalized for each individual. this doctor says that while the pills would be more convenient, patients might sacrifice the doctor's supervision in an office. >> i think we always have to be extremely cautious when patients start taking a medication at home, since immune owe therapy runs the risk of reactions. you want to make sure the patient is properly educated about the medication and how to take it properly. >> reporter: today the advisory committee reported that it works and is safe for anybody over the age of 10. the other drug is going to be looked at, but i expect these will be the progression in how we treat allergies. and one more health note. the fooden a drug administration is taking new steps to phase-out the use of anti-biotics in meat.
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they are asking for pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop using those. up next, what happens when presidents, their wives and hillary clinton travel together on the same flight? we'll show you.
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tonight, thousands of south africans are lining up to view nelson mandela's flag-draped casket as he lies in state in pretoria, inside the same amply theater where he was sworn in as president almost 20 years ago. there will be two more days of public viewing before he is laid to rest on sunday. and in south africa, controversy around the sign language interpreter.
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some in the deaf community are saying he's a fake whose gestures weren't sign language at all. nbc's ron allen has been looking into this story and reports from south africa. >> and finally, mandela understood -- >> reporter: he was there, even when president obama spoke. today, outrage from deaf and hearing-impaired south africans who say that the interpreter was a complete fraud. >> i couldn't bear to watch what he would create out of it, so it was zero percent accuracy. >> reporter: she said the only legitimate sign she saw was for the word help. on south african television, the difference was apparent. angry viewers pounced on twitter. please get rid of this clown interpreter. he is making up the signs, have no idea how he got the job. the man at the center of it all is not talking tonight.
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but he's been used as an interpreter before, including last year, with south african president jacob zuma, professionals who have reviewed his work insist he is not using any known sign language. they are looking into the matter but they've been dealing wh arrangements with mandela's funeral. today the white house weighed in. >> it would be a shame if a distraction about an individual who's on stage in any way detracted from the importance of that event and the importance of mandela's legacy. >> reporter: we asked for an interpretation. >> he is making, making it up. there is no sense to what he's doing. i can't see any meaning to what he's doing. >> reporter: a moment in history, lost in translation, with the whole world watching. ron allen, nbc news, pretoria. and one more note on the
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president's trip to south africa. some remarkable images from inside air force one as mr. obama and george w. bush traveled to south africa along with their wives and secretary of state clinton. president bush is showing some of his artwork on his ipad. and when we come back, he made news when he posed for a selfie in st. peters. tonight, why he's making news all over again.
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as you may have heard, time magazine announced pope francis as its pick for person of the year. he is the third pope to be given that honor, the first in 19 years. time says it chose him because, quote, rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly. anne thompson who has traveled with this new pope reports on the game changer in the vatican. >> reporter: in nine short months, pope francis has captured the world's attention simply by being himself, a papacy marked by small, uncrypted moments.
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this is how dominick's family captured the moment, with the pope kissed the boy with cerebral palsy. it remains the greatest gift of the year. >> it felt like a little kiss from heaven. of all the people that were in st. peter's scare, my son, who is a person many people would just look over, was kissed. >> reporter: the leader of the faith steeped in mystery, he is approachable. snapping a selfie, sharing a stage with a scene stealing little boy or washing the feet of those in a youth prison. humility is his hallmark. this is a leader who pays his own hotel bill, rides in a used car and always asks, pray for me. from the moment of silence the night he was elected to greeting people. i asked him to bless my notre
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dame medal. he asked me to pray for him. are you kidding me? but his most famous words came on the flight back, when speaking about a gay priest, the pope said, who am i to judge? his words resonate far beyond the walls of the vatican to the halls of power. putin noted the pope's opposition to missile strikes in syria. earlier this month, president obama quoted the pope in a speech about income inequality. >> it is pope francis saying this is how i know how to be a christian, and i'm going to live it large. >> reporter: with the simplest of acts. >> and we'll ask him what the pope said and he'll say secret. >> reporter: nbc new, new york. and that is our broadcast for this wednesday evening. brian will be right back here tomorrow night. i'm ann curry, and for all of us here at nbc new, thank you, and
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good night. . >> right now at 6:00, actions and the failure to act. the focus of a federal hearing on the plane crash at sfo. good evening. thanks for joining us. >> details emerging from an ntsb hearing in washington, d.c. looking into the cause of the asiana crash at sfo over the summer. we've been following this stor .
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we begin in washington, d.c., covering the hearings. stephen? >> jessica, one of the last witnesses to testify in this marathon day that lasted more than 12 hours was assistant fire chief dale carns from fran fire department who admitted under oath to ntsb investigators that a fire res crew truck knowingly ran over the body of a person who firefighters deemed to be dead lying there in the foam. papers filed as evidence as part of the hearing show that that was the same teenager, the 16-year-old girl who had been truck and killed by another fire truck 1 1 minutes earlier. >> in this case, it was a matter of my personnel recognizing that they had an obviously deceased victim and

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