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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  July 17, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening, the drought of 2012 affects about 55% of this country, 26 of our 50 states. tonight it's clear, all americans will pay for it. one scientist said we're moving from a crisis to a horror story. there are fields of grain in this country that will produce zero crops this year. there's no rain in the forecast in the affected area until the middle of next week. and the relentless heat again today acrossp of this country did not help. more on that in a moment. first tonight the impact on one crop and how we'll with all pay for the enormous damage being done to corn fields across this country. this is how americans will pay the price for the worst drought in half a century. we begin our coverage tonight with nbc's kevin tibbles in waterloo, iowa. kevin, good evening.
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>> reporter: brian, this is about as dry as it gets. the farmer who planted this crop says he can only expect to get about 30% of the corn from this field than he did last year. in dunkerton, iowa, the baked fields tell it all, the worst drought in history is taking its toll. just ask the farmers pulling in their crop. what does your crop look right? >> right now it's withering. >> reporter: bob is delivering last year's corn just to fulfill this year's contracts, as the yield on his and other farms plummet. >> 33 years we've always had a crop. but it's not looking good right now. >> reporter: and yet farmers were so optimistic. this year's corn crop was the largest planted in 75 years, 96.4 million acres. now the nation's midsection is reeling, with 94% of kentucky's corn crop in trouble. mirrored in missouri, indiana, illinois and kansas. >> we were set out to raise what
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we thought was probably the largest corn crop in the history of american agriculture. and yet now we're in a challenge of looking in some cases at no crops. >> reporter: and a reduced crop or no crop ripples throughout the economy. >> we're going to have to ration corn usage for feed, ethanol, livestock usage and everything. >> reporter: already the price of corn has shot up on the chicago futures market. >> it's probably the one most important thing to just like -- life on the planet next to water. >> reporter: and the price of corn affects almost everything. >> we use corn as a feed for livestock, as a feed for poultry. so when the price of corn goes up, that pushes up the price of just about everything that we buy at the supermarket. >> reporter: and lots of other corn products we buy too, from crayons to car tires to shampoo and make-up. the consumer will pay the price. >> at this particular time, with
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a weak economy, a weak job market and weak wage gains, any increase in price is something that's going to hurt more than it normally would. >> reporter: but for now, life on the farms of america's heartland is just plain tough. life for many farmers as they sit and watch their crops dry up, all they can do is look to the heavens and pray for rain. but, brian, for many of them, rain just isn't coming. >> what a sad story there for those family farms. kevin tibbles in waterloo, iowa tonight. for more on the worst of it, where it's headed next, eric fisher is with us from washington, d.c., tonight where, by the way, the temperature reached a high this afternoon of 101. eric, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. at the risk of sounding like a broken record, heat again. a huge story. take a look at where the core of it was during the day today. anywhere from the plains to the northeast to the mid-atlantic. many cities reaching 100 degrees, including indianapolis, detroit and right here in the
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nation's capital. when you start to talk about temperatures like that breaking records, drought comes into the conversation. as it is right now, over half the nation in at least moderate drought. we'll get a new look at this drought monitor thursday morning. we'll see if things got worse from last week, i'm afraid they probably have. we're watching a multibillion dollar disaster in progress as we speak. some of the same spots, middle of the country looking at heat continuing. we'll see a break here in the capital. i'd like to end with a silver lining, usually this time is the hottest of the year, and it gets cooler from here. hopefully that's the case. >> eric fisher in washington, d.c., thanks. it is a big deal to get served food on an airline flight these days, it's something else entirely when it contains a dangerous foreign object. specifically the needles discovered in some of the inflight catering served on board several delta airlines flights from amsterdam to the united states. the fbi has now joined the investigation.
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they would like to know how the needles got there. our report tonight from nbc's pete williams. >> reporter: on board delta airlines planes from the netherlands to the u.s. on sunday the strange and disturbing discovery was made on four flights, one to minneapolis and seattle, two to atlanta. inch long needles were found in turkey sandwiches served to three passengers and an air marshall. delta itself discovered them in two other sandwiches. a needle stuck one passenger in the roof of the mouth. >> i bit into it, and it was like something jabd me in the top of my mouth. my first impression was, it was like a club sandwich and there was a toothpick, that type of thing. >> reporter: he was treated for the minor injuries and advised to take the anti-aids drug truvada as a precaution, in case the needles had been contaminated. no sign of that so far. the sandwiches had been loaded on to the delta planes along with other meals at the airport
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in amsterdam, prepared there by gategourmet, a global provider of food and other services to airlines. dutch police say it appears this was done deliberately. >> reporter: the tsa said when it heard about this on sunday, immediately notified all u.s. airlines flying out of amsterdam. delta apparently the only airline affected says it takes this matter extremely seriously, and is working with gategourmet to ensure the safety of the food it serves. there's no sign that anything similar was done to any other flights or airlines. who did this and why is so far a mystery? pete williams, nbc news, washington. and tonight, skywest airlines tells nbc news it's investigating how a murder suspect was able to get access to one of their aircraft. a regional jet sitting on the ramp in st. george, utah, sometime after midnight. the suspect identified as brian hegland was a suspended skywest
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pilot himself. he got the aircraft rolling but clipped a wing, crashed the plane into some parked cars and killed himself. he was wanted by police in colorado springs for allegedly killing his girlfriend last week. and in tuscaloosa, tonight, the hunt is over for a man police say opened fire overnight in a crowded bar near the university of alabama campus there. 17 people were wounded, at least one of them critically. the alleged gunman turned himself in today. police think he may be responsible for a second shooting now in the area. overseas, the crisis in syria is playing out for a third straight day. notably now, in the heart of the capital city of damascus. the syrian army is fighting the rebels, an ominous development in a civil war that so far seems to have no end. nbc's ayman mohyeldin is following the developments from cairo. ayman, good evening. >> reporter: brian, it was 12 years ago today that president assad took power in syria. tonight his fight to stay in power is playing out in syria's
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capital. the violence and bloodshed that has ravaged other parts of the country has reached damascus. activists say that government tanks and armored personnel carriers backed by helicopter gunships have been deployed in key parts of damascus, pounding opposition rebels and protecting important government installations. it's the most intense fighting to hit the capital since the conflict began a year and a half ago. the opposition says it intends to expand its operations in the coming days, while syria's minister of information tries to downplay the fighting saying the military has repelled infiltrators and the government remains firmly in control. but clearly that fight has now come to damascus itself. >> ayman mohyeldin, thanks. ten days to go now until the olympic games get underway in london. and today, the man whose company was hired to provide security at all the olympic venues admitted his company screwed up. and now they're working overtime
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to make it right and they're going to need a lot of help. our report from nbc's stephanie gosk in london. >> reporter: at london's olympic park, british soldiers are doing a job very few imagined when they enlisted. manning metal detectors and searching bags. the private company g4s hired by the government was supposed to provide 10,000 security guards, but last week admitted they were at least 3,500 short. and on any given day, they don't know how many of the employees they do have will even show up. the british military and police are filling the gap. today the head of g4s got a grilling in parliament. >> it's a humiliating shambles for the company, yes or no? >> i cannot disagree with you. >> reporter: the problem continues to grow at olympic venues around the country. 180 local policemen had to fill in today at this hotel for olympic soccer players north of london. members of parliament want to know how this could have happened. >> day by day we started to
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realize that the pipeline and the people we thought we were going to be able to deliver, we couldn't. >> reporter: with just ten days before opening ceremonies, olympic organizers say this is not what they wanted to be talking about. but they insist the security of the games will not be compromised. >> our venues are safe and secure, we have the number of people we need. >> reporter: on a separate security issue, the tsa is sending over a small group of representatives to advise the british government. they won't be in uniform or conducting any searches. their real job is going to be to assist with the large number of americans that will be arriving here for the games. brian? >> ten days and counting. stephanie gosk in london for us tonight. stephanie, thanks. on the campaign trail in this country today, mitt romney opened up a new line of attack on president obama, accusing him of insulting business leaders. and one romney supporter went
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even further than that. our report tonight from nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: an unusually animated mitt romney today seized on some of president obama's own words, charging they reveal an anti-business bias. >> if you want to understand why his policies have failed, why what he has done has not created jobs or rising incomes in america, you can look at what he said. >> reporter: what did the president say? while outlining his vision of american progress, a partnership between business and government last friday, he included this line. >> if you have a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen. >> reporter: with both sides angling for any advantage, romney today pounced. >> to say something like that is not just foolishness, it's insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in america, and it's wrong. >> reporter: and he added this about the president's view of the role of government services and economic development. >> we pay for those things, all right? the taxpayers pay for government. >> reporter: the romney campaign is fighting to redirect the
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debate, away from his tax returns and tenure at bain capital. >> tax havens, offshore accounts, carried interest. mitt romney has used every trick in the book. >> reporter: romney surrogate john sununu changed the subject today, but not the way he intended. >> i wish this president would learn how to be an american. >> reporter: challenged by reporters, sununu later tried to clarify. >> the president has to learn the american formula for creating business. >> reporter: still, an obama campaign spokeswoman weighed in, writing the romney campaign has officially gone off the deep end. and late today, the conservative magazine "national review" complicated things for the romney campaign, echoing obama campaign calls for romney to release more tax returns. and rick perry said candidates should be as transparent as they can, leaving the romney campaign right back where it started the day, on the defensive. >> peter alexander in our d.c. newsroom tonight. peter, thanks. and still ahead for us as we continue along the way, the terrifying video that luckily
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ended happily. a new york city bus driver is being hailed as a hero as a little girl was in big trouble. a woman, a rescued dog and an emotional reunion hundreds of miles away.
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well, talk about being in the right place at the right time. a new york city bus driver was walking home from work when he heard a commotion. and what happened next has made him a hero in the city where he lives. the story tonight from nbc's katy tur. >> reporter: 30 feet up in the air, her hand on the building, her legs swinging off to the side, a 7-year-old girl stood, swayed and seemed to dance on top of an air conditioning unit. three stories below, steve saint bernard stretched out his arms and waited for what looked like the inevitable. >> it was like everything went in slow motion.
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that's it, i looked up and it's like -- everything just pounding, pounding. >> reporter: heart pounding, but he caught her. and the child suffered only a few bruises. the 52-year-old father was just coming home from his shift as a new york city bus driver when he heard screams from outside the building. >> reporter: you were the only one with the presence of mind to stand right beneath her. why do you think you did it? >> i have a 7-year-old. >> reporter: police sources tell nbc news the child has autism and she may not have fully understood the consequences of jumping. >> thank you so much. >> reporter: as the young girl's family thanked their new hero, tahani saint bernard told us this was just her dad doing what he does best. >> the child is almost my age, so he always carries me, so i guess probably he'll be able to catch her. >> reporter: st. bernard tore a tendon in his shoulder. an injury he says is well worth the life saved. everyone's calling you a hero. >> that's the instinct, that's from the heart.
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and any parent or anyone who loves kids like me, would have done the same thing. >> reporter: katy tur, nbc news, brooklyn, new york. >> how about that. up next here tonight, the kisscam moment from last night that involved a well known couple at a basketball game.
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william raspberry has died. he was a columnist for the "washington post" for 39 years. from 1966 to 2005. his column was also syndicated in 200 papers across this country. he was awarded the pulitzer prize for commentary back in 1994. his views were hard to predict or pin down. his moderate views on subjects like race used to confound some civil rights leaders. his very last column dealt with the crisis of absentee black
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fathers in america. raspberry was the product of small town mississippi. he taught journalism at duke university for ten years. he financed journalism scholarships out of his own pocket. interestingly, in addition to his wife, children and siblings, he is survived by his mother, who is 106. william raspberry was 76 years old. today marks a big anniversary in the life of a product that changed our lives forever. the air conditioner is 110 years old today. it was invented by willis carrier, still of the family carrier business. earning him the nickname the father of air conditioning. the first air conditioner was turned on to cool down a printing plant in brooklyn, new york. nothing was the same after that. it changed living indoors. some say it changed the outdoors forever too, especially with so many emerging nations burning coal to make electricity to power air conditioners. if you've been to a big time
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indoor sporting event or just watched them on tv, you know kisscam, the cameras in the arena find an unsuspecting couple and put them under relentless public pressure to kiss each other. last night's couple happened to be the first couple, who passed on their first smooch opportunity at the exhibition game of the u.s. men's olympic basketball team. but then, later in the game, when given a second chance and egged on by daughter malia, they planted one and the crowd went wild. tonight bruce springsteen gently got back at the folks in london who pulled the power and stopped his concert with paul mccartney in hyde park because of a noise curfew, playing in dublin tonight. the e street band took the stage with their own generator. bruce opened by finishing the song "twist with and shout," continuing what they started in london, as he put it, before they were so rudely interrupted. and then he played "i fought the law." tonight we're happy to report the power stayed on for all 31
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songs, in the 3:21 concert. when we continue here this evening. a road trip to make a difference for a family that had lost its best friend.
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finally tonight our "making a difference" report. this one is about a woman who did a good deed. she rescued a dog she thought was a stray. then things took an unexpected turn. soon a woman and dog were on the road for another big deed. one that made a big difference for a family miles away. nbc's mara schiavocampo has our story. >> reporter: though she seems like within of the pack, this is not really home for savannah. found wandering the streets in georgia, the husky wound up in a shelter that found a new jersey foster family to take her in, just before she was going to be put down. >> two hours to live? >> two hours left. >> reporter: julie ogden, a lifelong animal rescuer, quickly realized this affectionate pup was no stray. >> i said to myself, somebody really loved this dog. >> reporter: 800 miles away in hinesville, georgia, terrell stevenson came across savannah's picture on a rescue group's facebook page.
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he instantly knew it was his family's dog. >> savannah's eyes are one of a kind. >> reporter: for more than a month, the stevensons had searched for savannah after she ran away during a storm. her disappearance making another recent loss even more difficult. >> my husband loved to be outside. they were always outside together. >> reporter: belinda's husband and savannah's best friend was johnny, nicknamed pop, a 20-year military veteran who served in iraq. though retired, stevenson left for afghanistan in january as a civilian contractor. one month later he died of heart failure. >> there will never be nobody else that can take my husband's place. >> reporter: stevenson's wife of 30 years e-mailed julie ogden to thank her for saving savannah. and shared the story of pops and his dog. >> she's very special to us. >> the night she got out of the yard, i felt like another piece of him was taken from me. >> reporter: ogden knew savannah belonged at home. she packed up the car and drove 14 hours with a caravan to
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georgia. bringing back more than just a pet. >> i'm getting a little piece of pops back. >> reporter: one dog's unlikely homecoming, and a family reunited. mara schiavocampo, nbc news, westwood, new jersey. that is our broadcast on this tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. right now at 6:00, the growing influence of drug cartels in the south bay. >> good police work and potential racial profiling. angry protests over a controversial new police policy.
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good evening and thank you for joining us. >> we begin with a story you'll see only on nbc bay area. the mexican drug war being fought in our own backyard. santa clara county is a big draw for many people looking to build their business. problem is, the drug dealers are also building and expanding in the south bay. nbc bay area's kris sanchez joins us with the increasing influence and power of these mexican cartels here in the bay area. >> gang violence is on the rise here in san jose and the santa clara district attorney's office points to the growing influence of the drug cartels which they say run like fortune 500 companies. >> like a scene out of a movie, an armed gunman in a bullet-proof vest stormed the mexicali nightclub triggering a deadly shoot-out. the santa


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