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The president is, of course, eager to deliver these benefits to americans and red states and blue states that theyve long been waiting for seeing momentum. The white house has high hopes the debate on the bipartisan infrastructure bill is come in. What more were hearing from the white house and fired the director of the tokyo olympics opening ceremony ousted over an insensitive joke that he made during a comedy show back in 1990 able have the latest from tokyo. And this is going to and its a result the more what we keep calling in a perfect storm. Factors. I think the u the cuban people.  Is on the front lines. Demanding change in the communist country. We have a preview of tonights fight for freedom. Special right here on news now. News now.  

We start today, though, with the rocky road, of course, to infrastructure. Thats where we find news white house correspondent mike meme leaders joined now, my great to see this afternoon. Thanks for joining us on as we well know, the president, the vice president meeting with union business leaders on this bipartisan infrastructure just one day. Of course, after the first procedural vote failed in the senate. Talk us through mike, whos in the room with them and is the white house at this point still comment. They can get something done. What has been the white house hasnt said who is going to be part of this meeting specifically. 

But it is an interesting pairing, isnt it. We dont often talk about union members, labor leaders and business executives in the same room. But this is a pairing that the white house and the biden campaign and the transition before it really love to bring together to try to make the argument as it has throughout this process that what the president is talking about here. What hes proposing with both some of the elements of the bipartisan infrastructure deal, but also some of american families plan and that reconciliation measure are popular with both parties. Both a traditional in a way that we dont typically see in washington. 

And so as weve saw the failed test vote yesterday and in the senate. The white house has really been reacting with a collective shrug downplaying the significance and really maintaining that theyre confident about what throughout this process is moving forward. We heard that confidence this morning from the secretary of transportation, pete buttigieg. It feels as things are still headed in a good direction. You are witnessing all of that procedural complexity of the united states congress that can be messy. But over the coming days will cost a minimum of 5 reaching the point where this can get to the floor and the sooner this can get to the presidents desk signature the better president positive bipartisan moment for this. 

As weve seen again and again in washington, nothing moves in a straight line and theyre going to be more twists and turns to get the stop. Other thing i find interesting hearing has been remember for weeks were talking were looking at the president who was engaged bringing lawmakers to the white house. He was appearing with that bipartisan group when they announced that deal, we really havent seen him rolling up his sleeves, getting his hands dirty in terms of that kind of internal washington game trying to move this process forward. And instead i spoke with some white house officials this afternoon who said they really are moving much more into this kind of public pressure campaign. 

They are supremely confident that the politics here are on their side and thats more effective in view of trying to pressure lawmakers to get to a deal here than anything the president might be doing behind the scenes. Hey, mike, lets talk. Why have you about covid funding here in the administration. Obviously announcing that theyre going to increase funding for testing across the country as we are seeing cases spike now with this new delta variant. This point is teams over 80% of the cases covid positive cases in this country are from that delta variant. 

How much money are we talking here and wheres the focus going to be. Yeah. The white house announcing that a 100 million dollars in funding will go to 2000 rural health clinics across the country. The goal here is to both increased testing but also help with those vaccination efforts in these parts of the country where we have seen the vaccination rates lag, but it was so interesting to me as the white house covid relief team was speaking to reporters earlier today. They talked about the 5 states that have had the highest case rates in the past week. 

Also have the highest vaccination rates in the last week. Surpassing the national average. I thought that was so interesting because perhaps we talk about all the incentives that have been offered to try to get people vaccinated maybe in the states they arent really seeing the delta variant increased hospitalizations and cases as a real specter and reason to get vaccinated after all. Maybe thats whats turning the tide here. The other part that was interesting today. The white house was really a little bit on the defensive as there was a report in the washington post. They are may be reconsidering some of the masking guidance for the public. White house press secretary jen psaki hall. That report breathless. She said you would you should be concerned if members of the federal government here.

Were not talking about these kinds of things at all times. But she insisted there has been no change to this idea that if you are vaccinated, you do not would need to wear masks in public. It might. Before i let you go, i do want you to touch on something else for us. The president signing a to boost funding for the victims of the crime act. Explain to us what this program does and what the president actually had to say about at the signing ceremony. Yes, but i have to admit i wasnt familiar with this program. And as the more i learned about it, the more interested i was be and why it was running out of money here. 

This is actually a reagan era program that was initiated to basically take money. That was collected as far part of criminal penalties for domestic abuse, child abuse cases and then make that funding available to state sonic brand. Basis to make available to clinics to health centers that provide services for the victims of child abuse for the victims of domestic abuse. And interestingly, as we saw during the pandemic, unfortunately arise in these kinds of incidents. The funding was really running out. And so that was the legislation that the president signed into law to help replenish that funding. 

And as we know, the violence against women act. This has been a cause of the president throughout his public career. Take a listen to him talking about the significance of this bill.   Going to enable us to provide more help and support to victims of domestic violence sectional saw child abuse, trafficking and other crimes all across america. In order provide more access and safety and services for victims of gender-based violence. Its long past time and strengthen the protections to the violence against women act. Please.   Please worth noting at a time when were often talking about washington gridlock. 

This was an overwhelmingly bipartisan piece of legislation and republicans joined democrats at the white house for the signing ceremony today has been. And as you emily of the timing for this could not be better considering the increase in violence against women during this. A pandemic in the year and a half lockdown that we all just went through my memory for us. Thanks, mike. Great to see this afternoon. Thanks. Theyre there to get a truce, not to get tru that seems to be. But the other side is obsessed with. 

So on capitol hill, house speaker pelosi vowing that partisan politics will not stop a panel of lawmakers from getting to the bottom of the january 6 attack. Pelosi is looking to fill 5 spots on the select committee after rejecting to republicans for the job on wednesday. Nbc news capitol hill. But slightly uncalled was running with this. Leanne, good to see pelosi given some more details today about that decision also saying she didnt necessarily disqualify representative jim banks and jim jordan because they voted against certifying the 2020 election results. What you learning about some of her reasoning here. 

Hey, and thats right. Thats not the reason she says, because theres another member on that committee appointed by mccarthy who was on that committee who also voted against certifying election results. Now is representative nails and is what she is saying is that its about use the word antics. I referring to statements that both members have made about january 6 about the election, talking about how the election was not legitimate theres also been a lot of talk about how representative jordan met with the former president in december leading up to january 6 to talk about january 6 and theyre saying that he could be a material for the so hes just unable to serve. 

They she also talks about the facts that there she is also denying the fact that this is a partisan move. Lets listen to what she said. These people dont act up cause a problem and people said put him one and then when they act up, you can pick them off. Nobody saying that its all should be one point of view going on the committee. But it is when statements ridiculous and fall into the realm of all. You must be kidding theres no way that theyre going to be on the committee. Speaker pelosi also says that its the republicans to put them in that position because they voted to object to the creation of an independent several months ago. 

And thats the reason the select committee was formed. So but speaker pelosi is standing by her decision and it looks like shes going to not have any of mccarthys choice is moving forward so so what does that mean when it comes landis on those. 5 spots. Well, theres a lot of talk now about perhaps adding more republicans on the committee that speaker pelosi chooses and there is discussions. Our sources are saying about representative adam kinzinger he someone who you know, come down very harshly against the former president talks about how the election was not stolen that it was legitimate and that january 6 was a very horrible day in our countrys history as speaker pelosi said that theres a lot of people and her caucus. 

And theres a lot of people who are already serving on the select committee who are recommending adam kinzinger to serve in one of those people recommending is representative liz cheney so we could see another republican on this it just wont be the choice of leader mccarthy yasmin. Liam, before i let you go, want to talk infrastructure for a moment. I was just discussing this a over at the white house. Talk me through where were at with another procedural vote. She were indicating he may want to have another one next week after sailing.

This week. Thats right. Vote failed theres another opportunity perhaps next week. If this vote comes up again, just to open debate. This is not a vote on the final package of legislation. Were still waiting for that. And you know what, late today were finding out there is a very, very big complication that republicans and democrats have not agreed to in this bipartisan infrastructure bill and that has to do with the breakdown of how much money is spent on highways compared to how much money is spent on transit like mass transit. 

And this is something that republicans and democrats have not been able to agree on. And so this could be a major complication moving forward despite the fact these bipartisan group of members have been insinuating that they are close. But this is a big one overcome yasmin. And caldwell. Thank you as always. Good to see you. Yet. All right. A veteran intelligence officer who helped to hunt down osama bin laden will lead the cia task force on the havana syndrome. The mysterious illness affecting hundreds of american diplomats around the world and whether they are being targeted in attacks. News chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell joins me now. 

And my friend. So good to see you. On the talk us through some of the details as to what you know. Of course, we know obviously the officers name has not yet been revealed because this officer is under cover. This officer and the role they have in the task force. Hes going to be heading the task force year. She i should point out because we dont know the identity of this veteran cia officer. And its significant that he was is so experience. So will a guarded. Critical for this rigorous hunt for years and years for bin laden. That was successfully cheat because this signifies the importance. But cia director bill burns is putting on this. 

This whole mystery of so-called havana syndrome, something that started at our embassy in havana back in 2016 was mysterious. It was the cause for all us diplomats spies and other personnel from havana. Virtually all. Its just a show right now at with that, a handful of people they cant do. The says they can to other consular work and that has led to worse. The situation where relations under president trump for president trump are downgraded significantly by mike pompeo and others at first because of this mystery disease. But we now know so many years later that it is extremely unlikely that cuba was the cause began in cuba. 

But you believe russia is probably the most likely suspect. No hard evidence of that. The russia back in the 1970s was working on this direction. Microwave energy. The kind of radiation that. Could conceivably be what is use of national academy of science. Its science for the panel last year saying that that is the most likely cause and this is something that russia is must most experienced and anywhere in the world. The other fact is that it popped up in russia in china all over the world. Now an  news reported this week that there have as many as 200 possible cases in every continent except antarctica. So now the state department again confirming today. 

They are considering sending some diplomats back to havana. All right. Well. A lot of things we dont know. But a lot of things we do as well. Obviously this investigation ongoing andrea mitchell has always good to see you, my friend. Thank you   welcome back. Lets go to nbc news now correspondent symone voice. Shes following the latest headlines from nbc news, dot com heisman. Good to news, dot com heisman. Good to see you.   Hey, has been great to see you as well. Unfortunately, start with a pretty scary story out of kentucky where an explosion at a dippin dots facility left 10 people injured so it happened while the truck was unloading liquid nitrogen, which is that secret ingredient in those dippin dots. 

The company saying their primary focus is the recovery of the employees who were injured. Now back in 2019. 4 people were injured in a different building with an explosion that happened there actually at the same facility and some sad news from california and nevada man was found dead after he didnt return from a weekend hike in yosemite national park 61 year-old fred zalokar was actually an experience indoors athlete and his death is still under investigation and former florida state legendary football coach bobby bowden releasing a statement saying he has a terminal medical condition. 

So the announcement coming after a bad leg infection that left him hospitalized as well as a battle with covid-19 about him saying, quote, ive always tried to serve gods purpose for my life on and off the field and im prepared for what is to come. Well, chinas top health officials rejecting plans will world health organization world health organization to dig deeper into the theory that the virus might have leaked from a chinese lab in wuhan the organization already looked into the lab earlier this year and concluded that the coronavirus most likely jumped from animals to humans.

However, since then calls for more transparency have grown louder as some think its time to revisit the lab leak theory and daimler mercedes-benzs parent company aiming to become a fully electric by the year 2030. The german carmaker is planning to invest 47 billion dollars over the next 8 years to develop battery powered vehicles. Their plan includes a new production plans by 2025 that will produce electric vehicles only. Yeah. And ill send it only. Yeah. And ill send it back to you. Thank you. Smile. The state reporting over 1400 coronavirus cases yesterday alone. The governor says the delta variant now accounts for more than 80% of cases there. And officials there. 

Theyre sounding the alarm about this uptick in children. Testing positive for the virus children. 15% of infections during the past week were kids 14 and younger up from percent just last year. Here in durham county. Those under the age of 17 make up about a 3rd of in the last month. And this is top timing for schools as theyre trying to plan for the fallen here in durham county. Theyve had this year round school program where they just brought kids back to school like the one behind me here this week right around the time of this increase in cases, the governor made an announcement yesterday giving new guidance to schools saying that middle schools and elementary schools should require masks regardless of vaccination status, but he did say that for a high schools for those who are vaccinated. 

They dont have to wear the mask. Now, this work was strongly recommended. But yes, but, you know, at the end of the day, this all does come down to the local and district level in force. And its not clear at the state level, whether or not they and how they were planning in force this in districts where maybe folks are a little bit more hesitant to to mask up. And so these are all of the conversations that, you know have been flash points nationally and theyre going to be tackling in the next several weeks of the school year really is coming up here. And as i said, some of these kids are already in classrooms. Yasmin.   I to talk to me about how theyre planning on getting more kids vaccinate obviously kids under the age of 12 cant get vaccinated as of yet. The timeline for that. 

We dont necessarily know when thats going to approved. But there is kind of a sweet spot between 1214 in which kids can get vaccinated. What are they doing to encourage kids and parents at that to get their parents at that to get their kids ahead of the school year.   I mean, everyone been talking to here is thinking about safety and protocols and how to make this work because it is so important to have kids in the classroom and you know, the governors announcement around masks will here in durham county. Theyre actually requiring masks for high schools as well. 

So it could be mass across the board, at least as of now here. And they say thats because those kids that are not eligible to get vaccinated but also yasmin because the vaccination rates among kids 12 to 17 that are eligible are quite low in the state about 24% fully vaccinated. I talked to the county public health director about this, take a list of what he had to say.   Our younger students cant get vaccinated. So of course, were continuing with sking. Every staff member will be vaccinated not every older student will be vaccinated and it is simpler. 

2 deal with the inconvenience of wearing a inconvenience of wearing a mask and 2 try then to try to identify how whether every single person in this school. Single person in this school.   Is vaccinated.   And has been at that. That was the chief communications officer durham public schools on their decision require masks across the board. I do want you to hear, though, from the county public health director about how to get more of these kids who are legit eligible vaccinated. Take a listen.   Lets say the clock is certainly ticking far state trends. We know that the state is seeing a lot of defections in the cereal to 17 year-old age range and those are all students. So as it stands right now, we certainly as many people to get vaccinated as possible. 

Were delighted kid girls to know that theres a lot of back to school campaigns back to school events and which they want to promote vaccinations are hopeful that families who are on the sidelines or a crest. They may be take the time to get back   and has been at the end of the day, the message from the district is 12 year-old who is eligible get vaccinated. Theyre helping to protect those younger kids who are not yet eligible. Thats something theyre hoping that families well, take into account has been.   Yeah. A lot of parents me being one of them. Certainly worried about sending my back to school, especially when theyre under the which they can get vaccinated. Currently this thing is not over. That is for shores. Were hearing from the cdc.

Dasha burns for us. Thanks so much. Good to hear from you. So we have an urgent warning from the surgeon general about vaccine misinformation, that its exploding online at the dangerous false claims, putting more pressure on social media companies to stop bad actors from undermining public health efforts as new covid cases spike among the on vax new nbc news investigative and consumer correspondent vicky wynn takes a look at the problem and what the big tech giants are doing to stop the spread.   An intense push to vaccinate as covid numbers rise across the country. 

Vaccine misinformation is also spreading online on facebook, twitter and instagram. We easily found dozens of posts promoting theories. The vaccines alter your dna diminish fertility and even make you magnetic them. According to multiple public health agencies and doctors. That information is false. Its so bad. The surgeon general issued a rare formal advisory usually reserved for warnings on tobacco drugs and obesity. Agreed with the surgeon generals advisory tweeting as the covid-19 pandemic evolves around the world will continue to do our part to elevate authoritative health information how is it possible that we can all look at the same facts and arrive and radically different conclusions. 

Sander van der linden is a professor of psychology at cambridge university in england. He studies how false hood spread online. He also advises facebook to to help the company d bunk misinformation on everything from covid to climate change. What did you think of the u.s. Surgeon generals. What statement was very strong, important statement misinformation about vaccines going from public health several ways. He said although the social networks have taken significant measures to quash false statements. Their algorithms give misinformation more chances to go viral. And in fact, the public finding anti-vaccination groups on facebook is harder than it used to be. 

But look what happens when were on one of these pages. Facebooks formula wants to keep us engaged. So.   It shows us more related pages with groups that have questionable vaccine information and a similar experience here on twitter. When we start on the robert f kennedy junior a prominent vaccine critic. Twitter shows us i like other profiles with people who are critical of vaccines. Multiple studies found polarizing post tend to generate more likes comments and shares. Which means more people will see these types of posts. 

What should they be doing.   Well, one of the things that should be looking into is how people for sharing actually information, but he warns social media companies may not be motivated to erase all misinformation because thats the way the business model runs as they they profit off of engagement and negative content does promote engagement. And thats not going to change every part of the solutions as long as it doesnt the profitability of the platform. So what can you do to reduce junk information, get your news from diverse sources.   Dont engage in online debates which can boost engagement and spread misinformation further instead create a new post and share accurate information while accurate information while addressing the myths. 

News senior reporter ben collins is following the latest on facebooks battle against some of this misinformation is joining us now. Ben, good to see you. Theres so much. I want to unpack on this and first and foremost is the way in which some of these anti-vax groups avoiding detection on social media going so far as to avoid detection. So they continue to new to spread this misinformation. How are they doing that?   Yeah, theyre changing their theyre not out there to not take the vaccine in groups that say dont take the vaccine. The group aims are things like dance party or swim club and once youre in a group, you change the like a legend at the top of the page that says dont say i got the vaccine say i went dancing. 

Or do you dont call moderna column alanna there are code words now all throughout these pages to make sure these people do not. Theres that list right there. You can see a for example, pfizer when they bring that. But i want pizza in these pages. It its a way to make sure not only are they not caught manually by facebook centers. Theyre the bots that automate facebook that search for anti-vaccine misinformation. Never catch this.   So i actually want to read from what facebook is saying because theyre pushing back hard against some critics pan. 

Who believe that theyre not necessarily doing enough. And they say this. Reduce the visibility of more than a 167 million pieces of covid content debunked by network of fact checking partners that facebook has done this. But i cant help but go back to what they could just send her package in in that they dont necessarily have motivation to shut these groups down because its only doing what they were built to do. What the social media sites are built to do that being said, by spreading this had missed misinformation is killing folks.   Yeah. Its really it in part because.

Like people can people go into your friends and going under their post say, hey, you just said iran as point out that thats more engagement set up even further into your news feed. And thats what facebook wants to use of facebook. Want you know, constantly interacting on the platform getting really angry or really happy, really a motive in some capacity. So the more outrageous stuff that you see the better off it is unfortunately anti-vaccine conspiracy theories are incredibly there. Theyre very quick about things they provide you really simple answers to complex complex solution. 

So thats the thats the thats the issue here is that this sort of things that are into what the algorithm would want. Certainly it on facebook extraordinary steps to stop this out and they have. Thats the thing is, you know, facebook has taken down a lot of stuff and they, you know, downright a lot of stuff. But as the actors will persist, they really believe in that stuff.   Is there a way bent identify that youre reading something thats not. Accurate. If you dont necessarily know the facts yourself.   Well, theres a lot of just first of all, you know, personal standpoint, it just just google. 

It does look it up. Something seems way too simple to be true. Sometimes it it often is just that. Facebook has 5 labels and basically were very viral mega viral false claims about covid-19. The issue is it sometimes now started out in time. Actors use that label is sort of like a. Weve been banned. Look at how cool is this labels are working that youre out there hiding the real sure. So thats not what facebook asked him at like stage for 5 of this. Its going to get more and more blacks.   Ben collins for us. Thanks so much for this really important. 

Sporting, appreciate it. All right. Your vaccine card. It could be in your office or or the glove compartment of car or maybe that pile of papers on your kitchen counter. But what if you cant find it. Nbc news now correspondent more barrett shows us what exactly to do.   Hes jack lew. While it got   hes jack lew. While it got it.   Vaccine card.   Vaccine card.   Vaccine   as things get back to normal around the country. Places like concert venues, universities and even some workplaces are requiring you to show proof of vaccination but the better vaccine for a few months now, you may have misplaced this little 3 by 4 in acc vaccine card just be on facebook. 

I lost my vaccine card one tonight new that is our number one question on our frequently asked questions right now. The cdc says if youve lost your card, your first stop should be contacting the provider of your vaccine, whether that was a local pharmacy or a mega site. Theyre not going to give you a new those are held tightly, but they will a printout and something that will be valid where you are needing to year near proof you can contact or vaccine, provider directly. Maybe because it was a pop-up shop thats no longer there reach out to your state health departments, immunization information system. All of the contact information is organized on the cdcs website. 

Most states will give you a copy of your immunization records and sends vaccination providers were required to report covid-19 vaccinations to the state. It should be on the record. They give you states have apps or websites where you can access your proof of immunizations pretty quickly like in california. The other someones going a 50 per he had covid-19 vaccine record by the convenient but it may take a few business days and other states. If you know your card is nowhere to be found. The its best to start the process sooner rather than later. So you dont have that card take a deep breath youre not really are shot. 

If you just need to take a few extra steps to get that   the bottom line, our daily look at whats going on in the business world and be on weekly jobless claims are out and the numbers theyre disappointing 419,000 americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits just last week. A significant job from the week before nbc news senior business correspondent stephanie ruhle explains why.   Hey there, yasmin. Its thursday. So the weekly jobless report is out. 419,000 americans filed new unemployment claims in the last week. Now that number is ticking up from where it was a week ago which is surprising to many because over the last couple of months since we become vaccinated and the economy has reopened. 

Weve seen more more people go back to work and those jobless numbers go down so why is it on up in the last week. Well, this one is something special in a couple states, michigan and kentucky a few major auto plant shut down for several weeks now. They do this every year to retool the plant and put it in better shape. And during his period of time, some of their workers are eligible to file for unemployment. Thats why we saw the numbers go up. The good news in a few weeks when the plans to reopen those back on the job now overall, the jobs picture is getting better in this country. And for those without jobs, wages are improving as employers in all sorts of industries specifically low-wage jobs are looking for workers. Theyre continuing to offer better and more incentives that are paying more flexibility.

Paying more flexibility. Thats good news. There has been the argument that because of expanded unemployment benefits tied to covid some states believe that people have not gone back to work because theyre getting paid so well with their benefits so we have seen a number of states terminate those benefits early. But the data shows that hasnt brought more people back to work, at least not yet. Were seeing people go back to work at the same pace across many states and its taking time because covid isnt behind us. Many people are still home. Their kids are home and theyve got issues to work out over the next few months. 

As for now, the picture is looking good, but were not back to where we were pre pandemic, at least not yet. For companies agreeing to a settlement to resolve thousands of lawsuits for their role in the the opioid epidemic, the price tag.   26 billion dollars.   An important step to confronting the scourge good addition across connecticut and across the country.   Nbc news investigative producer laura strickler has been following the story for us and shes joining us now. Lauren, great to see this afternoon. This settlement is actually be in the works for quite some time. Breakdown. This major agreement, this major settlement for us. 

Mean, basically this is the 26 billion dollar between 4 separate companies. You have 5 billion dollars coming from johnson and johnson and the rest are split between 3 drug distributors. I think one thing the highlighted that this deal is that its very bipartisan in an era of you know, fierce partisanship. This is an agreement that was hashed by a bipartisan group state attorneys general from around the country and its very significant because companies amerisourcebergen and cardinal health. They were the ones that funneled opioids to communities around the country. They are the middlemen in terms of distributing. 

Drugs to pharmacies and the accusation here is that they working attention to the extreme amounts of opioids separate being distributed to communities around the country. Now they will have to pool their data. You have to identify any suspicious orders become and this is really critical because we have just last year 93,000 americans died from the epidemic. Now he said. 30,000 person increase over the year before.   Such a huge and troubling number. 

Talks about where this money is going and how its going to be distributed to get a lawyer for some cities and counties calling the settlements a game changer.   Yeah, i think i think whats really important here is a lot of the state attorneys general learned from the settlement from which, you know, decades ago, which basically require tobacco companies to pay money to the state. A lot of that money went to things like potholes and infrastructure. This money will go toward abatement. And with that means is they will go towards prevention treatment and recovery and thats clearly whats needed. 

And thats what the bees attorneys general want to address.   What are you hearing from the companies on this. What is their response?   To the companies are, you know, johnson and johnson has come out saying that they are you know, very to people are dealing with the opioid crisis. And you know, there there importantly, there is no admission of guilt by any of the companies in the but the tennessee state attorney general came out and said he thinks there are, you know, 26 billion reasons why the companies there was some real wrongdoing and certainly you know this is not im not a done deal just yet. 

A lot of the state have to sign on cities and counties to sign on. So well have to wait and see. But it is a very strong indication. Money is going to go in this community. Sen.   Laura strickler, thank you. Thank you.   Welcome back ev-d homeland and life. It is the rallying cry in cuba as historic protests grow in the communist nation tonight and nbc news now and tell them special takes an in-depth look at the fight for freedom. Heres a fight for freedom. Heres a preview.   A cuban american and i was born and raised in this country and all of us that were we dont realize we were born privileged and in the face of whats happening right now. We realize that more than ever. 

And it is our duty and it is our right to exercise that freedom of speech for those that cant. Our parents that immigrated to this country doesnt have to be. You dont have to be the son or the daughter of cuban immigrants just have to be the son and daughter of immigrants. First generation hispanic americans need to understand this is our battle because your dad covid to moms battle and it was your grandparents battle. It is our battle to its our duty to honor their sacrifices in a moment like this. And speak up about these injustices. 

Theres been a.   Strong response by the cuban regime to tamp down whatever may be going on in the streets. Is future for the cuban people. Of course that if you share and that future also needs the support of think an astronaut, a community, the cuban people is is is the man in human rights is a matter and in the man in the end of day, their chips, highest possible which chips, highest possible which kids. And life. And megan but now the 5 day and motion of a given nation that lives outside island. We have the responsibility to make worth at the people had it.

As you know, the people in the streets of cuba now are not saying send us money or send this or send us vaccines although they need all that, of course, and that we should provide that for them. But thats not what theyre saying in the street is saying give me my liberty.   Give me liberty in the life   give me liberty in the life enough with repressive regime. This is it tour to tyranny. Whats been going on there for for now, 62 years. And the people i said that said   do you think its a moment or is it a movement.   And i think its i think its a movement thats created the moment. 

And i think thats its my feeling that its not its not going to go away.   The culmination of decades long poverty and of course the pandemic now ravaging the island of cuba. Joining me now, jose diaz-balart egger on telemundo nbc nightly news saturday and the host of tonights special. Jose, so good to see you on this. Thanks for joining forward to seeing the   seeing somewhat of a preview on it just now the white announcing new sanctions against cuban officials to crack down on protesters. Today the administration has been facing a lot of pressure to take action here. Is this the right first step.   Its a first step and the sanctions im low base me. 

Another secretary or mister of defense as well as this paramilitary group that is part of the armed forces of the cuban regime that has been carrying out these atrocities since the 11th of july. By pointing them out here essentially pointing out part of the infrastructure of repression that exists in cuba. You somebody who we just saw just a second ago was a human rights activist president of cuba. This eat it today. Her father 9 years ago today was killed in cuba. He was a human rights activist in that island. So efforts to ask for freedom have been ongoing for 62 years, but it seems as though no one listens. 

And now because of the advent of the internet. People are able to see with their own eyes. What were seeing right here, which is people going out to the streets asking for freedom and the idea you just mentioned, the beginning of our conversation is a song thats become an anthem, an inside cuba. If you sing that song in cuba today, youre going to go to jail. Though the singer it was that the song was a semi 5 people i i speak today at 8 oclock with the author of that song. But the idea in south florida. But 2 of the 5 singers sang that song in cuba for the video. One of them is in jail. 

The director of the video in cuba in jail. The director of the civil rights movements. Rdc little in havana jailed. So just for saying that the idea people or go to jail hundreds of them are going to jail. So as i asked and he is in a moment or is it a movement it may be both. It may be that this is the beginning of something big 62 years of silence is a lot of silence and so lets see how you know this. Bears out in the future. But todays statement by president biden is a step. Its a message, but a lot of people are saying that what they really need is more than a message. 

The internet is controlled fully 100% in cuba by the cuban government. They restrict it. They stop it. And make it slow be eliminated altogether. They dont want those images to come out, but theyre coming out and well talk about that tonight at 8 oclock. Why is it if people are willing risk their freedom. Living inside of that to take that haters ship to film something that could come back and has come back to effect and why are they doing it because of their call for freedom is more important than anything else in their lives.   It has. 

Its its interesting because its similar to a story that weve heard around the world and are so many oppressive regimes. But cuba having its own unique story as well and actually been to cuba and seeing kind of what it once was. You can tell in the streets that are now somewhat a bad in certain areas. How vibrant it once was. And now.   How that the doors are shuttered on so many shops and restaurants no longer there remain in business. You spoke about some of the guests that you interviewed for tonights special to talk about the plight of cuba. Who are we going to hear from.   Well, john who actor singer and an we have and you can those who is the c e o. Of i heart. Latino has his nationally syndicated show. Were from laz.

 Alonso is an actor from the award series the boys on on we have from somebody up the activist. Andy garcia. Any guy who was a young lady, a model who taken to the airwaves to talk about what is going on in her country when she was born outside of cuba. But her blood is very cuban and she has been talking about that you know, you talk about how havana when you visited it, you could see what it once was it just recently celebrated 5 100th anniversary and it looks as though in large part of that city. A bomb has gone off well. 

The bomb is 62 years old well. The bomb is 62 years old and its called castro regime.   An important conversation to have. Were all going to be watching. Thank you for your work work. Jose diaz-balart. Its good seeing ate it. Good to see you. Thank you. Good to see you as well. You can watch our special cubas fight for freedom. Tonight at 08:00pm eastern streaming right here on nbc news now.   The director of the opening ceremony for the tokyo olympics out of a job today can kobayashi, who was also a comedian fired over a joke that he made back in 1998 about the holocaust. 

One person who never seems to disappoint olympic gymnast simone biles. She previewed her olympic routine practice given the world a sneak peek. Nbc news senior national correspondent tommy on this is in tokyo.   He has been great to be with you. So today in tokyo, we got our first glimpse at a group that maybe team usa is best chance at winning gold. The u.s. Womens gymnastics team. You can see all these women are fierce competitors with just one day to go before the opening ceremony. Simone biles and team usa drilling down in practice and giving the world a look behind the   biles warming up on the uneven bars and on the balance beam practicing those acrobatic skills and showing off some explosive moves that means with smaller than an iphone. 

Drawing applause from coaches and fist bumps from fellow providing us with this bold even though its a practice run. Why shes the goat session taking place in tokyo with the brand new key gymnastics im kayla skinner pride to see her floor routine going airborne with a perfect landing. And sunni lee showing off her mesmerizing skills of you and even bars. Team usa also posing for photos along with their coaches seeming to be in good even the one of the road alternate care aker now in quarantine after testing positive for covid competition gets underway this and excitement is building here and outside the olympic stadium where the opening ceremony is taking place. 

We found lines of people taking photos by the olympic rings. Photos by the olympic rings. What are you most excited to   want to see the though. Most polls in tokyo show a majority of people in favor of postponing or canceling the games. The fans we spoke to here want to watch the games but understand the reasoning behind a strict covid measures. I wish.   People can watch it for guarding coalition is the wisest one yeah. Was his decision to wait. Just be sure that they meet, i guess   so from that conversation from having talks with other people throughout hokie over the last few weeks that weve been here. People are excited to watch the olympics. Theyre just not happy. Its in tokyo because of the rising covid rates, of course, is pandemic that never seems to end. So definitely to watch. They just wish it wasnt in their wish it wasnt in their backyard.


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