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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  February 18, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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on the broadcast tonight, the uprising at home. another day of fury in wisconsin. workers angry about what they call a plan to balance the budget on their backs. bloodshed in the streets overseas. the cameras roll as a barrage of live fire is aimed at peaceful protesters. at local hospitals they're overwhelmed. breast cancer in the news tonight, specificay biopsies that may be unnecessary. the woman on the web, and what was happening to her during that moment that millions saw straight from live television? also tonight, making a difference. how a big name in racing is helping kids and making a lot of other lives better in the process. "nightly news" begins now.
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captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. from the mideast to the american midwest tonight people are rising up. citizens uprisings are changing the world. as we witnessed from tunisia to egypt and tonight from libya to bahrain, where today there was a violent crackdown. our reporters and cameras were there when shots were fired. tonight we're going to begin in wisconsin. the state capitol has been taken over by the people. unions say the governor is out to bust them. democratic lawmakers have left the state. and tonight the governor has now spoken. nbc's john yang is right there in the middle of it in madison, wisconsin, tonight. john, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. just a little bit ago republican governor scott walker came out. he defiantly compared the tens of thousands of state employees who are protesting here at the
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state capitol with what he said were the hundreds of thousands of workers who stayed on the jobs. he made it clear he is not budging. >> show me what democracy looks like. >> this is what democracy looks like. >> reporter: at the wisconsin state capitol thousands of students, teachers and union members joined for a fourth straight day of mass protests. they're denouncing governor scott walker's plan to attack a projected $3.6 billion budget deficit. >> he's not thinking. he could sit down and rationally discuss this, but he's a chicken. >> we're not here for money an salary, it's for rights. >> reporter: the most controversial parts of walker's proposal would limit state workers collective bargaining rights and increase how much they pay for their pensions and health insurance. it would exempt police, firefighters and state troopers, groups that endorsed walker in last year's election, but not teachers or prison guards, who did not back him. >> people say i can't live with an 8 or 9% cut in take-home pay.
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i say my goodness, you should be happy to have a job. >> reporter: senate democrats who lost the majority last year are blocking a vote by fleeing the state. they hope to force the governor to the bargaining table. a senator spoke on msnbc's "the daily rundown." >> the governor has to bring us to the table, get everybody to sit down and come up with a better idea to repair the budget. >> this may look and sound like a sports arena, but this is the rotunda of the wisconsin state capitol. tens of thousands of public workers have come here to make their voices heard. >> reporter: hundreds of teachers called in sick to join the protests. with so many here, at least 16 districts across the state were closed, including milwaukee, the state's biggest, much to the dismay of parents. >> i'm stunned. we arrived here, ring the doorbell, no answer. >> reporter: milwaukee high school teacher jim o'brien blamed the governor. >> we were kind of forced into this by our governor not allowing us to have a voice in government.
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>> reporter: at his news conference, the governor rebuked a proposed compromise put forward by the head of the biggest union representing public workers here in wisconsin. he made clear he is not interested in negotiations. >> what a scene in madison, wisconsin. john yang starting us off from there tonight. john, thanks. now as promised, to the middle east. the chain of nations where uprisings are under way both large and small, meaning mubarak of egypt might have been the first of several big leaders to be shown the door by the people. the latest nation in play is bahrain, where authorities are now cracking down hard to crush the uprising. our reporters were there for it. when security forces today unleashed live fire on hundreds of unarmed young people who had been at the funerals of protesters who were killed in an earlier crackdown by police and were then marching to the capital's main square. we have two reports tonight, beginning with nbc's john ray who witnessed the crackdown.
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>> reporter: this was the moment bahrain's ruler sent the army against their own people. what had been an apparently peaceful protest ended in panic. [ horns honking ] >> reporter: sustained bursts of gunfire rattled across the capital, and not all were fired in warning. ambulances raced to help those who had been hit. for some, it was already too late. >> my friend, people kill him. one bullet. i see his head bleeding. it was bleeding. >> reporter: witnesses told us some of the shots seemed to come from snipers in a tower block overlooking the street. >> the shooting began when protesters tried to reach the
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round-about. we heard volley after volley of shots. at first we thought the army was firing over the protesters' heads but it is now clear they were shooting into people. there were at least five injured here, an unknown number of dead. >> reporter: this is richard engel at the salmaniya hospital where many of today's casualties were taken. the staff appear overwhelmed. many of the injured struggled to breathe from inhaling tear gas. others have contusions from rubber bullets to the head and body. they're still coming in here. now almost every bed is full. the injured tell us when the security forces began to fire in pearl square, some protesters dropped to their knees, opened their shirts and dared the army and police to shoot. but they did shoot. >> you can't believe what is happening here? >> no, i cannot believe it. it's something like a shock. >> reporter: the injured say
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they will continue to protest, more determined now than ever. he's saying that it was a peaceful demonstration. they were even carrying the flag of bahrain and as they approached pearl square, they were confronted by security forces. this man was hit by rubber bullets, inhaled tear gas and there are many cases like him. an ambulance driver insists he saw a protester hit by live ammunition. >> the gunshot, one in his chest and one in his head. >> reporter: this was live bullets as far as you know? >> yes. >> reporter: medical officials say at least three people were killed and 50 injured. 60 people are also reported to be missing since unrest began here this week. a woman searches the hospital beds for a relative, but she never finds him. today the crown prince of bahrain appealed on television for dialogue and calm, but bahrain is taking a hard line against the demonstrators.
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opposition groups here, brian, have already rejected that offer of dialogue by the crown prince. more demonstrations are planned over the next several days. brian. >> richard engel along with john ray by satellite from bahrain tonight. thanks. we want to check back in on the revolution in egypt where the army is in charge officially for now, but don't tell that to the egyptian people, who held what they called a day of victory protest rally today. our own ron allen remains on post in cairo tonight. ron, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, brian. tonight the military has had enough and they have cleared out tahrir square, cleaning things up, after one of the biggest days of protest in celebration that we've ever seen here. mubarak is gone, but the people still have demands and grievances that they want met. at the top of the list, they want the military leaders now in charge of this country to move more quickly to civilian rule and democracy. that has not been happening, they say. tonight the military pushed back a bit issuing a tough new order
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against labor strikes and protests. workers across the country have been demanding better wages and working conditions. it's been all peaceful here, but as we've seen that is not the case across the region. in libya, 46 people have been killed by supporters of moammar gadhafi, perhaps facing his toughest challenge in four decades of power. four people in an oil rich kingdom demanding a better way of life in yemen, the protests grew larger and more violent today. and in amman, jordan, people took to the streets in the seventh straight day of protests demanding king abdullah dismantle the political system and grant more freedoms. here in cairo the plan is for another big event here next friday, same time, same place, tahrir square. brian. >> ron allen in cairo. pretty clear what we're witnessing now in the middle east. ron, thanks. we mentioned at the very top of the broadcast two health stories in the news tonight. one of them will make a lot of
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women take notice when they hear about it. it's about breast cancer and biopsies. our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman, here with more on this. nancy, this is apparently needle biopsies versus surgical. >> right. this pertains to women who have abnormal mammograms or find lumps in their breast and need a biopsy. the study reinforces what they have known for a long time and that is most women can do just fine with a needle biopsy, but a report says more women are getting open surgical biopsies. in fact 30% of women are getting the open procedure and it should be no more than 10%. why does it matter? any time you have a surgical approach, there's a risk of infection, pain, complications. frankly, it costs a lot more. so the take-home message is that doctors are not getting the message that needle biopsies are in fact sometimes better and in most cases just as good and for a woman, if a doctor says we need to biopsy this, ask for a needle biopsy. if the doctor says no, ask why
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not and perhaps a second opinion. >> and while we have you, to the second medical story in the news tonight. a young woman named serene branson, local television reporter in los angeles, after the grammy awards on their late local news, the anchors went to her for a live report. the following piece of video has been seen by far more people on the web this week than saw it originally live on television. here you go. >> well, a very, very heavy -- tonight. we had a very -- [ indistinguishable ] >> so you see what happened there and it's almost difficult to watch as, again, so many people flocked to this video on the web and told friends about it. all of us made our own backyard diagnosis, that it appeared that she was suffering an aneurysm or stroke. we learned more about this today. >> we knew she was having some kind of neurological event, something transient. we kept saying transient
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ischemic attack which just means the blood vessel stops flowing and spreading blood to the brain. the doctors now say she had a complex migraine. it's still a problem with blood flow to the brain and in this case the blood flow, the artery constricted probably in the speech center in the left side of her brain which is why her speech was slurred, the right side of her face was a little droopy. and you can almost see when you watch that, and i know it's difficult for people, she was aware, almost a little panic in her eyes, as to what was going on. but the bottom line, they have examined her. no evidence of stroke, brain tumor. it is a migraine. they will watch her very carefully in the future. but a reminder for everybody, if you see someone having this, please get them to the emergency room and let a specialist make the correct diagnosis. >> dr. nancy snyderman on both stories making news tonight, thanks. a quick program note here. serene branson, the reporter in the video, will be here to talk about all of it live tomorrow morning on "today" on nbc. up next as our broadcast continues on a friday night, the surge the size of texas.
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what the latest snapshot of america is revealing about the new face of the lone star state. then later, how a champion on the track is making a difference off the track for kids and families that he may never get to know.
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there are new numbers out tonight from the u.s. census. they hold some staggering information about the second largest state in the union, texas. it was big before. it's now even bigger, and there's a reason. in our "we the people" report tonight, nbc's janet shamlian in houston with the story behind the numbers that are in the news tonight. >> reporter: this is the new face of texas, young and hispanic. >> dos, tres, cuatro. >> reporter: ruth lopez turley and her family moved to houston eight months ago after 20 years in madison, wisconsin. >> i got a great job offer from my employer, but i also was really eager to be near family, especially because now i have
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children. >> reporter: families like the turleys are feeling a population explosion in the lone star state. the number of texans has grown a colossal 20% in ten years. that's more than four million new residents. hispanics account for two-thirds of that increase. they're now 38% of the population. while the number of whites is dropping and the african-american population is staying about the same. >> yes, it is certainly significant. >> reporter: according to the experts, as goes texas, so eventually goes the nation. >> the current diversity that you see in texas is the future of the u.s. and that is something we'll be dealing with in decades to come. >> reporter: it's not an influx from across the border, but young families already in the u.s. now growing. >> i have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, and they love it here. >> reporter: the biggest increases are in the largest cities, houston and dallas. and that growth is sliding into nearby rural areas, which are becoming sprawling suburbs, no
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longer predominantly white. it's bound to result in growing pains, say the experts, from housing to health care in a state that's already financially strapped. and it will change politics, not just here but across the country. the state picks up four congressional seats, a louder voice in washington and a host of challenges as a new generation changes the face of texas. janet shamlian, nbc news, houston. when we come back, the warning from our friends at the weather channel. the record-breaking winter of 2011 is about to melt.
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our neighbors to the north can thank the sun for what may be a spectacular show in the dark of night for the next little while here. it's an intense period for solar flares and in addition to occasionally screwing up telecommunications here on earth, they can create fantastic northern lights, already being reported in canada, scotland and northern ireland. now to the midwest and to quote from a report compiled for us today by our friends at the weather channel, record spring flooding is possible, right down the middle of the american midwest, from north dakota all the way down to st. louis because of the deep snowpack from this rough winter. so they and we are watching a lot of areas, especially the red river, the mississippi river. they say when the warmth really
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comes and settles in and the snow melts, it will be like receiving a single rainstorm of 7 to 10 inches. up next here tonight, when he's not behind the wheel, he's putting his name, his time and his money behind the effort to help sick children. tonight a famous driver who's making a difference.
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nascar fans everywhere know this is the weekend of the great american race, the daytona 500 is sunday. but sadly, this also marks the tenth anniversary of the death of dale earnhardt, who died on the last lap of the 2001 daytona 500. dale was a hero to millions of us. he was the last nascar driver to die in competition, due largely to the many safety improvements that were made after his death. dale earnhardt, driver of the iconic black number 3 chevrolet, would have been 59 years old. one of dale's great rivals on the track was jeff gordon. many regard him as a solid favorite to at least finish in the money at this year's 500.
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recently we sat down to talk with jeff gordon about what he does off the track, specifically the millions he's given and the hours he's given to children with chronic illnesses, and by doing so, he is making a difference. >> jeff gordon celebrating. >> he's one of the big rolling brand names of nascar, as well known as any driver behind the wheel today. he's got a nice guy image but has never been a pushover on the track. starting as a kid. and these days the father of two of his own, jeff gordon is looking beyond the sport to help less fortunate families. we're here, of course, to talk about your charity work, which is formidable. >> the jeff gordon children's foundation started back in 1999. i'm just really proud of what we've been able to do with pediatric cancer and pediatric cancer research. i'm getting older, my career is winding down a little bit and
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it's something that i really look forward to spending more time with. >> it was an illness close to home that got him involved. back in 1992, when the son of his friend and crew chief, ray everingham, was diagnosed with leukemia. >> that was my first time that i had been faced with something like this through a friend. >> so far his foundation has given away more than $11 million to charities for kids with chronic illnesses. he's built the jeff gordon children's hospital in north carolina, the cradle of nascar, and a pediatric cancer research facility at riley hospital for children in his home state of indiana. along with money, he donates his time and says it's all been a great blessing. >> how does it make you feel to help folks like this? >> what i get out of it is when one of those parents thanks me because they just saw their child go through a treatment and were either cured or got to go home or they got a smile on their face for the first time in
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months. that's real life. what i do on the weekends, it's great, it's exciting, it's fun. but the work that i'm doing for children and especially pediatric cancer and the research area now, is amazingly rewarding and something that i couldn't be more proud of. >> oh, my goodness, look at that. >> he's also setting an example for the next generation, some of whom have joined in his efforts. we found one of them, 10-year-old cancer survivor, tatum parker, delivering gifts and comforting other sick kids undergoing treatment. >> i made tons of friends. >> on the racetrack, i feel like i can control my destiny to a certain point. but when it comes to your health, you know, you don't always have that much control. and what i've experienced through meeting all these different children is, you know, how humbling life can be and it can happen to anybody at any time. i'm someone who's been able to
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go and live an amazing life and do these great things, and i want to give back to those that haven't been so fortunate. >> we've put more info on the jeff gordon children's foundation on our own website, we wish everybody a safe race on sunday on what we already know will be a very fast track. a quick note about a story we're working on for monday night's broadcast. as you may have heard, they're coming after our light bulbs. the day is coming when we all have to switch to those energy-efficient bulbs by law. it was an act of congress that some say is downright unamerican. we'll look at the debate and the looming bulb deadline on monday night's broadcast. for now for us that's our broadcast for this friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us for all of it. 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 night. in the meantime, have a good weekend. good night. -- captions by vitac --
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