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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  June 27, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on our broadcast here tonight, fire and water. twin chririses, here, tonight, threatening three nuclear facilities. michelle bachmann gets into the gop race for president and stakes out her ground. making a difference for some children living in very tough situations it. and two amazing moments from the field and the stands that you've got to see. the field and the stands that you've got to see. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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good evening. tonight in this country, three separate nuclear facilities are in danger, two of them because of floodwaters, one of them because of fire. at the los alamos national lab in new mexico, there's now a mandatory evacuation of the city in effect. 12,000 people are on the move because of the fire burning less than a mile away from the facility, which as you may know has always been shrouded in secrecy. and the flooding in the upper plains which has shattered records dating back to the 1800 has surroundsed now a nuclear power plant in nebraska and threatens another, all this while the suffering and the high water remain in minot, north dakota. we have all the fronts covered tonight, we want to
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begin with this situation in los alamos. janet shanlian is there to start us off tonight. janet, good evening. >> reporter: this situation has become much more serious just within the last few hours, within striking distance of this town and the wind has picked up considerably. earlier cars were bumper to bumper trying to get out of here and the evacuations have now become mandatory for everyone. the fast moving fire swelled overnight into 63 square miles and threatening structures. late today a mandatory evacuation was ordered and traffic was bumper to bumper as people tried to get out of town. los alamos laboratory is shut down. all radioactive materials are protected and secure from the wildfires for now. >> i will not say it is not going to go in the lab. we're doing our best to keep it off the laboratory floor. >> reporter: but a worst-case scenario loomed in the mind of residents scrambling to evacuate. >> it will make you nervous with all this nuclear stuff around. >> it's a little close for comfort. >> reporter: los alamos is home
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to the manhattan project, where squin it ises developed the first atopic bomb. los alamos includes 2,000 buildings spread out over 36 square miles. >> obviously our priority is to protect the national assets here, protect the facility, but also we're concerned about the welfare of our 10,000-plus employees. >> reporter: the lab is going to stay closed for a second day tomorrow, and at this point, authorities say this blaze is 0% contained. >> all right, janet shanlian, keeping an eye on things at los alamos. thanks. again, there are two other nuclear facilities in the news tonight, but in the northern plains, the problem, the threat to the plants comes from water and not fire. it's important to remember first of all, there are over 100 active nuclear facilities in the united states. these two plants are under threat because of flooding an along the missouri river, water broke through a barrier at ft.
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calhoun nuclear power plant in omaha, and downriver, waters are also rising along the cooper station plant. mike tiabbi is at ft. calhoun, nebraska tonight. >> reporter: this is not the biggest threat just from flooding that a nuclear power plant has ever faced in this country, actually it's two plants, this one at ft. calhoun which was shut down earlier this year and one at cooper station about 80 miles south of here near the town of brownsville. but federal and local authorities believe that neither plant is in danger. >> the ft. calhoun nuclear plant is now an island. an aqua berm that had been built to shield the plant from the surrounding river. floodwaters would have to rise an unlikely eight feet higher for key buildings to be threatened. and if that happens, additional
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emergency measures are in place. >> despite some of these challenges, fundamentally, we don't believe that the plant is posing an immediate threat to public health and safety. >> reporter: 80 miles down the river, the cooper nuclear station continues to operate at full capacity. nrc officials toured this facility yesterday and say it's safe, but the floodwaters only began to recede after coming within inches of the level that would have required a plant shutdown. but most of the concerns have been about ft. calhoun which was nrn cited last year as mailing to maintain procedures for a significant flood. additional walls and barriers were added and pumps and sandbagging equipment were positioned on site. >> this is not business as usual. you don't build these aqua berms in order to have them destroyed. that said, i think the prospect of a significant release of radiation into the environment are still very slim. >> reporter: the reactor, one of
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the country's smallest is now on safe, cold shutdown mode. and this plant might have to stay in shutdown mode for weeks and maybe even months until the floodwaters recede. nearly a million people live within 50 miles of this plant, nearly half of those in the city of omaha, 20 miles south of here. so far, there's been no evacuations. brian? >> mike tiabbi tonight at ft. calhoun in nebraska. now to minot, north dakota, where the swollen souris river crested yesterday more than four feet above the highest ever previous you record. it's slowly starting to recede, but just in tiny increments, it's going to be a long time before things get to normal and water is out of there. nbc's john yang is there for us tonight. john, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. this is what one-quarter of minot looks like tonight, under water and forecasters do say it will be weeks before all this water is back where it belongs.
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talk about a needle in a haystack, minot city workers searching for a water main break in the midst of the worst flood in more than a century, until they find it, all water use is banned. that comes as national guard helicopters continued air lifting one-ton sandbags to shore up temporary dikes, even though the souris river finally stopped rising. the river crested sunday two feet below forecast levels, but about four feet above a record set in the 1880s. >> we'll get back in and begin to assess the damages that have occurred. >> reporter: forecasters say it will take at least two weeks for the river to return to its banks, longer if there's a lot more rain. for homeowners like sarah and jason hicks, that seems line an eternity, they have only seen their house on tv, the tops of the first floor windows barely peeking above the water.
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>> we thought we would get some seepage, we would get some damage, but that's all. now i'm hoping we have an attic. there's nothing in it, but it would feel good to have is something. >> reporter: they made the rounds today in the recently opened fema disaster center, in the minot city auditorium, applying for a low interest federal disaster assistance loan to try to rebuild. they did much of the work in the house themselves, only to see it inundated with water. >> we are going to be all right, but it's going to be a long time. >> reporter: of those 4,000 homes that are under water right now, only 375 are covered by flood insurance. brian? >> what an unbelievable chain of events, all of it having to do with either too much water or too little. john yang, in minot tonight. john, thanks. big news out of chicago today, former illinois governor rob blagojevich convicted this afternoon of 17 out of 20 corruption charges against him.
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most of the charges related to his attempts to benefit from choosing a replacement for president obama in the u.s. senate, in effect trying to sell a senate seat. jurors said fbi wiretaps of his phone conversations were the key here. and as he met with reporters after the verdict today, blagojevich told them he was trying to learn his lesson about talking too much. >> i frankly am stunned. there's not much left to say, other than we want to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and then try to sort things out. >> jurors added they wanted the verdict to send a message to public servants about the line between deal making and corruption. blagojevich will become the fourth illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. his predecessor george ryan is still in federal prison, also for corruption. now we turn to the supreme court and to paraphrase one court observer today, thomas jefferson didn't have an x-box, but when it comes to violent
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video games, no matter how graphic, the government cannot ban their sale to kids because, of course, what jefferson stood for also protects video games. it may not have been the ruling some parents had hoped for, so what the rationale here? justice correspondent pete williams is at the court for us tonight. >> reporter: the court said banning the sale of violent video games to children violates the constitution's guarantee of free expression. by a vote of 7-2, it struck down a 2005 california law signed by then-governor arnold schwarzenegger that made it a crime to sell or rent video games depicting violence to anyone under 18. advocates of ban called them all try violents. saying their graphic nature justified keeping them away from young children. >> in the past we have protected them from alcohol and cigarette ads and pornography and we felt that this was on that level. >> reporter: they said the game showed explicit violence, often
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with women or police as victims. but the court's majority opinion written by justices antonin and scalia said states from no free throw-treating plour to prestrict the ideas to which children can be exposeded. besides, scalia said, children's books are full of gory violence, hansel and gretel baked their captor in the oven. scalia said states have also tried unsuccessfully to limit access by minors to violent movies or even to action hero comic books. today's video games he said may be disgusting, but he said, quote, disgust is not a valid basis for restricting expression. supporters of the ban say children become aggressive after playing violent video games. but scalia said studies show buggs bunny cartoons elicit a similar response. >> today's ruling by the court
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is a clear statement that video games are entitled to the same degree of first amendment protection as motion pictures, music and books. >> reporter: in the past the supreme court has said that only a few kinds of expression can be banned like obscenity or fighting words and the justices today refused to add violence to that list. but this legal battle has prodded the industry to put more prominent labels on video games packages to advise parents on what's inside. brian? >> pete williams at the court tonight. pete, thanks. in news from outside the confines of earth, if you felt something strange earlier today about 1:00 in the afternoon eastern time, it's explainable. we had a close call today with an asteroid, the size of a small house, and by close call, we mean just 7,500 miles over the atlantic. again, in space terms, that's close enough to muss up your hair. it passed so close to the earth it was within the orbit of communications satellites and spacecraft. and it was close enough to earth that our gravity actually pulled
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it toward us enough to change its route as it passed us by. astronomers who only saw this one coming five days ago now tell us, of course, there was nothing to worry about all along. when we come back here tonight, meet the woman tied for the gop lead in iowa, which is exactly where she kicked off her campaign for the presidency today. and later, marshaling what resources she can, one generous american making a difference for some very grateful kids. aking ar some very grateful kids. because they have care 1on1. it's where the pharmacist stops and talks to me about safety and saving money with generic prescriptions. laura, let's talk about possible side effects. it's all about me. love that. get care 1on1 and talk savings, safety, and side effects when you transfer or fill a new, ongoing prescription. i'm laura, and this is my cvs. it's all mine.
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a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. and celebrex is not a narcotic. when it comes to relieving your arthritis pain, you and your doctor need to balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure or when nsaids are taken for long periods. nsaids, including celebrex, increase the chance of serious skin or allergic reactions or stomach and intestine problems,
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such as bleeding and ulcers, which can occur without warning and may cause death. patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers. do not take celebrex if you've had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergies to aspirin, nsaids or sulfonamides. get help right away if you have swelling of the face or throat, or trouble breathing. tell your doctor your medical history and find an arthritis treatment for you. visit and ask your doctor about celebrex. for a body in motion. a lot of people were a lot of people were surprised by a new poll of republicans out yesterday, it shows michele bachmann with a statistical tie with national front-runner mitt romney in that state. and in iowa today, she officially entered the race. our report today from nbc's kelley o'donnell. >> reporter: in waterloo, iowa today -- >> thank you, it's good to be home.
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>> reporter: republican michele bachmann made her biggest point more than two dozen times. this is her hometown. >> it's these iowa roots and my faith in god that guide me today. upheld by the tea party movement and plenty of confidence. >> we can win in 2012 and we will win. >> reporter: the 55-year-old minnesota congresswoman known for her fire brand conservative style -- >> we cannot afford four more years of barack obama. >> reporter: clearly trying to broaden her appeal beyond social conservatives. bachmann emphasized that she was once a democrat. >> our problems don't have an identity of party. they are problems that were created by both parties. >> reporter: bachmann attracts plenty of criticism and it can get personal. she was asked this on sunday. >> are you a flake? >> i think that would be insulting to say something like that because i'm a serious person. >> reporter: chris wallace later
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apologized to viewers. bachmann who has recently begun stressing her background as a tax attorney and small business owner has been embarrassed by a string of factual errors, like placing the battles of lexington and concord in the wrong state. she missed the mark again in our interview, bringing up an unrelated and incorrect thing about her hometown. >> another famous american who was born in waterloo, iowa was john wayne. >> reporter: iowans say it's widely known here that john wayne was born 150 miles away in winterset. bachmann says she has made mistakes and needs to be more careful. >> i will make mistakes, it will happen, but i'll tell you, i promise to the best of my ability, i'll try and get everything right that's coming out of my mouth. >> reporter: and details matter, when bachmann left the state, her campaign played the tom petty hit song "american girl." turns out petty isn't pleased. his manager says they will ask the bachmann campaign not to use that song. they also asked george w. bush
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not to use any of his music, but hillary clinton did use "american girl" throughout her campaign in 2008. brian? >> as they say, when people get in the race, welcome to the nfl. kelly o'donnell in waterloo, iowa tonight. kelly, thanks. up next here as our broadcast continues, the woman arrested in her own front yard and what happened after a video went viral. [ slap! ]
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or if you take aspirin products, nsaids, or blood thinners. tell your doctor about all medicines you take, any planned medical or dental procedures, and don't stop taking pradaxa without your doctor's approval, as stopping may increase your stroke risk. other side effects include indigestion, stomach pain, upset, or burning. if you have afib not caused by a heart valve problem, ask your doctor if pradaxa can reduce your risk of a stroke. the the charges were dropped today against a woman in rochester, new york, who was arrested for videotaping police from her own front lawn. it happened last month. police had made a traffic stop in front of her house when she started shooting it, an officer told emily good to go inside her house. >> it's my right to be in my yard and i'm sorry you don't feel safe. all i have is a camera, i
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i'm clear wear -- i'm clearly wearing nothing, i have no weapons. >> it does not matter. >> she refused. she was arrested for obstruction, when she uploaded the video to youtube, it caused quite an uproar. last week in what was seen as a retaliatory stunt, police with rulers showed up at a rally in the neighborhood and ticketed cars that were parked more than 12 inches from the curbs, a by-the-book standard that's seldom, if ever, enforced. police officials are now reviewing both of these incidents. both williams sisters, venus and serena are out at wimbeldon, both sisters eliminated in the fourth round. serena, you'll recall, was trying make a comeback after a year of health setbacks. there was a very unbritish display in the stands, the wave. even the royals got into it. kate and william showed up in the royal box, along with billie jean king who's a six-time
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wimbeldon champion. the dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection today. the owner of the team, frank mccourt blamed the baseball commissioner's multimillion dollar deal just to broadcast the games. this is just the latest awful chapter for the dodgers. the team will continue to play, mccourt says all salaries will be paid, the bankruptcy filing lets the team buy some time to get their footing back. a rare sight in baseball saturday, and the thing about this was no one who saw it in person realized it quite right away. but thanks to slow motion, we can now see what happened. the batter was troy tulowitski of the rockies in a game against the yankees. it looked for all the world like an ordinary garden variety line shot up the third-base line. but when they looked closely, he hit that ball not once, but twice, once in the meat of the
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bat and then again off the bounce on the end. same series, by the way, friday night, another great moment, this one in the stands, combat veteran michael caser who lost his left arm in afghanistan in 2008, give that man a contract. up next, an american woman making a difference for children far away, who remind her of her own. afghanistan in 2008, give that man a contract. ♪
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finally here tonight, our making a difference report about a busy working mother of three from knoxville, tennessee who travels a very long way, halfway around the world, in fact, to take care of other children who badly need her help. you may recall nbc's chris jansing went to vietnam recently for that series of special reports with colonel jack jacobs of our staff. while she was there, she also followed one woman's journey to a northern vietnamese orphanage to see the difference she is making for those kids. >> reporter: tracey foster laughingly calls her fundraising skills a work in process, but she's gained and in a bustling church basement she's organized friends to help pack gifts for
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needy children with her own children pitching in. >> one of the things that got us started is wanting our children to be connected to their birth country, wanting them to know that there is another side to what life could be. >> reporter: it's a commitment that now takes her to the other side of the world. to a remote orphanage in vietnam. two years ago she made what she thought would be a one-time visit here, but her heart keeps bringing her back. >> it's just overwhelming to see all the children and, you know, you want to take them home with you and you know you can't. >> reporter: so she founded project "being there," to help the nuns running the orphanage who have lots of love but not lots of money. on this afternoon, children who would never get candy or crayons or anything new are thrilled with those simple gift bags from
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knoxville. and with more than $4,000 raised back in tennessee, a laundry room was built. tracey's latest project, scholarships so kids can stay in school. she's raised $5,500 so far. in truth it's unlikely any of these children will ever be adopted so these scholarships are critically important and education could change their future. >> reporter: so even learning in unheated rooms, wearing secondhand clothes, they know they are valued. >> she's a very lovely, very good heart. >> reporter: a heart big enough to want to connect her own children to their vietnamese heritage. >> i look at these faces and i see my children. and i think, well, you know, if they were still here, would someone help out? and i would hope so, i would really hope so. >> reporter: giving us all a lesson in generosity. chris jansing, nbc news, vietnam.agenerosity.
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chris jansing, nbc news, vietnamgenerosity. chris jansing, nbc news, vietnaegenerosity. chris jansing, nbc news, vietnargenerosity. chris jansing, nbc news, vietnaigenerosity. chris jansing, nbc news, vietnacgenerosity. chris jansing, nbc news, vietnaagenerosity. chris jansing, nbc news, vietnagenerosity. chris jansing, nbc news, vietna generosity. chris jansing, nbc news, vietnam. >> terrific story to end our broadcast for this monday night, thank you for being here with us as we start off the new week, i'm brian williams, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow i'm brian williams, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening, good night. -- captions by vitac -- right now at 6:00, new information about the driver of the big rig truck involved in the deadly train crash in nevada. fish and game investigating the shootings of two protected birds here in the bay area. a rare rain. a major change in the forecast on the way. the news at 6:00 starts right now. thank you very much for joining us this morning, i'm >>rvin thomas.


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