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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  March 31, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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an atari? >> everyone had an atari. >> old-school. >> lester holt joins us next. thanks for joining us at 5:00. >> see you at 6:00. on this tuesday night, fixing it. bowing to pressure, indiana's governor promising to rework the law that was billed as ensuring religious freedom but viewed by many as a license to discriminate as a backlash threatens to hit the state's bottom line. wild manhunt for an escaped prisoner. how he got away an evaded capture. imagine driving to work and someone is hiding in your trunk and starts kicking his way to the back seat. no secret. turns out the airline was previously told about the co-pilot's treatment for severe depression. and treating back pain. prizing news about the pain reliever many reach for first and why it may not be the right pill for your aching back. "nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news
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world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news." reporting tonight, lester holt. good evening. facing a growing opposition from inside and outside the state and a threat to its economy, indiana's governor in an apparent response to blaring headlines like this in the "indianapolis star" has called for a change to the controversial law that some believe is worded in such a way it opens the door to legalized discrimination. while arguing that critics and some in the media have gotten it wrong, governor mike pence says he wants legislation on his desk this week that clearly spells out that the religious freedom law does not allow businesses to discriminate. as indiana rushes to calm the uproar tonight, another state may be about to step into the fray with its own law. nbc's gabe gutierrez is on that story for us again tonight. >> reporter: today indiana governor mike pence blasted his critics saying indiana's new law is about religious freedom not discrimination. >> this law has been
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smeared. >> reporter: the front page of the indianapolis "star," fix this now. the governor said he's working with a lawmakers to clarify the law's intent by the end of the week. today pence answered a question he had repeatedly dodged over the weekend. >> under this law, as it's written, is it legal for a florist to deny services to a same-sex couple citing their religious beliefs? >> this law does not give anyone a license to deny services to gay and lesbian couples. >> reporter: that's a different interpretation from eric miller, one of the bill's proponents who stood next to the governor at thursday's bill signing. miller wrote online the bill would help christian bakers florists and photographers who should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage. since then -- >> was i expecting this kind of backlash? heavens, no. >> reporter: nine ceos have sent a letter to state officials demanding the law be changed. >> the notion that you can tell businesses
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somehow that they are free to discriminate against people based on who they are is madness. it's bad for business. >> reporter: indianapolis' republican mayor wants the law repealed unless protections for sexual orientation are yaded to state law. >> indianapolis will not be defined by this. indianapolis welcomes everybody. >> reporter: other states now considering similar bills. >> 1228 please do not discriminate. >> reporter: late today the statehouse passed its own religious freedom bill. >> my bill is designed to protect people's civil liberties when it comes to religion. >> reporter: now on its way to the governor's desk. >> not in god's name. >> reporter: tonight the debate also heating up in georgia and north carolina. now even more fallout from the business community. this time in arkansas. the governor of that state had previously said that he would sign a religious
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freedom bill but late tonight retail giant walmart weighed in urging the governor to veto it. lester? >> all right, gabe gutierrez, thank you. a major development tonight in the investigation into the crash of that germanwings plane in the mountains of france. germanwings parent company lufthansa said it knew six years ago that the co-pilot who investigators say deliberately crashed the plane had suffered from severe depression. nbc's bill neely has details. >> reporter: in a statement titled lufthansa helps investigation progress, the airline confirms for the first time that andreas lubitz had a previous episode of severe depression. it says he wrote this in a 2009 e-mail to the flight training pilot school, so he could resume his training after dropping out for several months. lufthansa said it has now given this e-mail to prosecutors after further internal investigations. the key question is, when did it know about the e-mail. once lubitz revealed his depression as a
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past issue, he resumed training and qualified as a pilot with lufthansa. the statement doesn't address how the airline followed up his past severe depression. two days ago a lufthansa spokesman told nbc news the airline, quote, had no knowledge of medical problems during lubitz's employment. for days, lufthansa and its subsidiary germanwings has tried to leave no room for doubt about its pilots and its procedures, saying this two days after the crash -- >> we have complete confidence into our pilots. we have a world-renowned flight school which all our pilots go through. >> reporter: lufthansa's boss repeating the same 100% assurance about lubitz. a hundred percent fit to fly without any restrictions, he says. lufthansa faces a risk of multimillion dollar lawsuits for compensation over the crash. the fact that its officials were aware
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that lubitz had suffered from serious depression, then later certified him to fly passenger jets, will come under intense scrutiny. tonight, french authorities are dismissing the claims of a french magazine and a german tabloid newspaper that a reporter has seen a cell phone video of the final seconds of the flight, a video that somehow it's claimed was recovered from the debris. a french police spokesman tells nbc news tonight, this is false. it is a fake. back to you, lester. >> bill neely in france. bill, thanks. to a wild manhunt and a day of high anxiety in the virginia suburbs of washington, d.c. for the better part of nine hours, hundreds of police and federal agents chased an armed bank robbery suspect. the chase included two carjackings and put a hospital on lockdown. then in the middle of that pursuit, another dramatic chase that shut down some of d.c. area's busiest highways during rush hour. nbc's tom costello was there.
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>> all right. get up there on this house. we're going to try and track this guy. >> reporter: high drama in a northern virginia neighborhood this morning. a suspect considered armed and dangerous, bare foot and wearing a hospital gown. it started just before 3:00 a.m. hospital patients and nurses hid in their rooms as s.w.a.t. team members searched for an escaped prisoner. 42-year-old wossen assaye had allegedly overpowered a female guard at the hospital, taken her gun and fled. suddenly, adding to the confusion, police were pulled into another high-speed chase close by at rush hour. was it assaye? no it was a female suspect in a pickup wanted for credit card and identity theft, crashing into a median and into pursuing police cruisers before they managed to box her in and smash the window to arrest her. then they were back searching for the first suspect. >> this guy just did a
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car jacking. >> reporter: he hid in the woman's trunk and crashed into the back seat. she then clashed the car. >> heard a big slam. and i heard a lady screaming like crazy. >> reporter: but he took off and dumped the first car and changed clothes. suddenly the suspect came running out of the woods. he found a car with a key in it right there, then took off right down the street. >> crazy. it was wild. i've never seen nothing like that. >> reporter: finally after nine hours, police arrested him without incident in southeast washington. wossen assaye with a long rap sheet dubbed the suspected is bicycle bandit for 12 area robbery tonight back in the custody of federal marshals. tom costello nbc news, annandale, virginia. tonight after just two days of testimony, the defense has rested its case in the boston marathon bombing trial. the case will soon be in the hands of a jury. but as our justice correspondent pete williams reports, the final witnesses brought some surprises. >> reporter: the jury learned today that after the fbi scoured
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the scene for all the bits and pieces of the two pressure cooker bombs set off at the marathon, 500 separate pieces in all, fingerprints were found on only two. a remnant of cardboard from the first bomb, and a portion of the backpack that held the second. and all the fingerprints on those parts belonged to dzhokhar tsarnaev's older brother, tamerlan. two of dzhokhar's prints were found on an unexploded tupperware bomb found after the shoot-out on laurel street. six other prints on it were tamerlan's. defense lawyers claim the major steps in preparing for the bomb attacks were taken by the older brother. but the government says it's not surprising so few prints were found on bomb pieces and a former senior atf investigator agrees. >> fingerprints are fragile. when a bomb detonates, heat, flame and blast pressure can all destroy the fingerprints. >> reporter: also today a defense computer analyst said the al qaeda online magazine with bombmaking instructions was transferred from tamerlan's computer to dzhokhar's. the younger brother
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never went hunting for it online, the expert said. that's it for this week. on monday, the lawyers give their closing arguments and the jury starts deliberating. then once there's a verdict, a second trial will begin a short time later on the penalty. lester? >> pete, thank you. the initial deadline has come and gone to nail down a framework for a nuclear deal with iran, but the talks among the u.s. iran and five other countries are going into overtime. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell has more from the site of the talks in lausanne switzerland. >> reporter: they had the weary look of college students pulling an all-nighter. the world's top diplomats missing their own midnight deadline but making enough progress they said, to justify keeping at it till tomorrow. president obama had said they wouldn't go past march 31st. now they are. >> if we are making progress toward the finish line, then we should keep going. >> reporter: iran said it's in no hurry to quit. >> so we do not have
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any artificial deadline. 6:00, 7:00, 9:00. for us the whole day, it can end in the next morning. >> reporter: russia's foreign minister sergey lavrov left the talks yesterday saying he would only return if there were progress. tonight he came back. in this final phase, the u.s. and iran are leaning heavily on their nuclear experts. energy secretary ernest moniz, and iran's nuclear chef ak bar al is a leahy, both from m.i.t. but it may take more than two nuclear physicists to solve these problems. what kind of nuclear research will iran be allowed after the first ten years of an agreement? will the u.n. sanctions be lifted in june as iran demands or just suspended so they can be slapped back on if iran cheats? john kerry doesn't give up easily. but if he doesn't get a nuclear deal, he has made his mark here. a local restaurant has named a pizza after him.
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arugula, chicken, onion and bacon to go. even if there is a deal tomorrow, the u.s. will not get the specific commitments, all of the specific commitments that it once hoped to get from iran. that will make it harder for critics who fear the administration is making too many concessions just to get a deal. lester? >> andrea mitchell, thank you. a big headline in the fight against isis in iraq. that country's prime minister says iraqi forces have reached the center of tikrit as they move to retake control of saddam hussein's hometown north of baghdad. the white house pointed out today iraqi forces have been able to make that progress with the help of u.s. air strikes. the republican-led committee investigating the benghazi attacks is now requesting a private interview with hillary clinton about the personal e-mail account she used exclusively as secretary of state. her spokesman says she is ready to speak out, but only at a public hearing. clinton has claimed she only used one account for both personal and work e-mails because she only wanted to carry one device. but it was reported today that she
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e-mailed from at least two devices, her blackberry and an ipad. many people just learned the name trevor noah yesterday. the fresh face picked to take over for jon stewart of the "daily show." but already noah has ignited a backlash online over comments he made way before all eyes were on him. nbc's kevin tibbles has more on the controversy. >> reporter: a social media smackdown just 24 hours after comedy central announced south african comedian trevor noah as jon stewart's replacement on "the daily show." his past use of twitter as far back as 2009 has made him the target of critics who claim his humor is inappropriate and even offensive to jews, women and gays. this angry message later deleted from fellow comedian roseanne barr. you should cease sexist and anti-semitic humor about jewish women and israel. the anti-defamation league today released a statement
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wishing noah success, adding we hope he will not cross the line from legitimate satire into offensiveness with jokes calling up anti-semitic stereotypes and misogyny. in his defense, others have tweeted, trevor noah is a maverick. deal with it. comedians give social commentary. >> i think it's way too soon to decide whether or not this will have any lasting impact on the show. there are much more risks involved for comedy central in replacing jon stewart with an unknown guy to american viewers. >> reporter: comedy central today stood by their new host saying his comedy spares no one, himself included. late today the subject of all this controversy tweeted to reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn't land is not a true reflection of my character nor my evolution as a comedian. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. a lot more news ahead on a busy tuesday night, including a surprising new finding about treating back pain. tens of millions of americans suffer through it every day.
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and later, the amazing moment a brave young girl takes a life-changing ride. a heart-warming story you don't want to miss.
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think about this. doctors say 80% of us will experience back pain at some point in our lifetime. and that's why americans spent at least $50 billion a year on medications to help their aching backs. but tonight there's new research that the
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pain reliever many people reach for first might not be as effective for back pain as they've been told. nbc's anne thompson reports. >> roll down as you circle. >> reporter: susan fox is on a mission to stay healthy. one of 31 million americans suffering with low back pain. she runs through the streets of boston. >> nice massage for the back. >> reporter: stretches with a trainer at upward spiral studio. and takes acetaminophen every day for the aches that surgery never removed. >> i take it because it's kind of what they tell you to do. >> reporter: advice that's now called into question. a study today in the british medical journal bmj said acetaminophen is no more effective than a placebo in treating lower back pain and offers only small benefits for those with knee and hip pain. >> at some point everybody has back pain in their lifetime. >> reporter: drflt seth waldman leads the team for special surgery. if it's not
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acetaminophen, what should i choose? >> if i had a muscle spasm today, i would stretch it, i would take anti-inflammatory medicine. i might use heat. i think those are all good things to start. >> reporter: none carry the risk of liver damage that acetaminophen does. let's do it. most importantly, exercise. waldman tells all his patients to plank a minute a day to strengthen the back's small muscles. so this is better than lying on the couch? >> much better. >> reporter: while not directly disputing the study, the trade group for makers of acetaminophen said the safety and efficacy of acetaminophen is well documented supported by 50 years of scientific study and real-world use. susan fox now wonders if it's a pill that she needs, as she builds strength to win over back pain. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. we're back in a moment with a big surprise on the map today that kept a lot of people distracted all day long.
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over half a
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century since their first u.s. tour, the rolling stones say they're starting up again, announcing a 15-city north american stadium tour, their first since 2006. the zip code tour kicks off may 24th in san diego. and with an average age older than the justices in the supreme court, mick, keith and company are hitting the road to show they've still got it. a great new perk for moms who love the cincinnati reds. now if their little one is getting fussy at game, they don't need to miss a single out. the reds are opening a new deluxe nursing center, complete with gliders, diaper stations, toys to keep older kids busy and flat screen tvs to keep watching the game. if you're using google maps tonight, you may notice an extra road hazard like red and pink ghosts chasing you down main street. google maps has a button that for now can change any location you search into a game of pacman. it's google's april fool's joke, and you'll never get there on time if you start playing it. when we come back
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the little girl who is now able to high five from her bike thanks to some pretty amazing technology.
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parents, think about how much you've spent on things as your child grew out of them. how much on shoes
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alone. well, some kids have needs that go far beyond a larger pair of pants, and fulfilling them can be awfully expensive. as hallie jackson reports technology is knocking the price down to a fraction of the cost. >> reporter: who needs two hands to hang ten? certainly not faith lennox, who's doing okay with just one. >> we knew that she was going to be unstoppable. i just never knew she would be this unstoppable. >> reporter: when faith was born, her hand didn't work. a rare circulation problem. and after three surgeries in her first three months, an agonizing decision. >> they did start talking about amputation and if we amputated she could get a prosthetic later in life. it was a really tough choice. it was not like cutting your child's hair where it's going to grow back. >> reporter: nicole lennox found peace with the choice to amputate her daughter's arm. so did faith, who also found the humor in it. but what they haven't found was a prosthetic hand that fits. until now. this 3-d printing lab
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is making prosthetics for thousands of dollars less than the traditional kind. good for kids who outgrow them fast. >> if you have something good for five years, but in a year or so you need to replace it, why spend so much? >> reporter: here engineers design a mock-up and send that blueprint to a 3-d printer, that builds a hand by plastic, layer by layer, all of it assembled for about $200. >> they're so much more cost effective especially on a child as wild as faith. >> reporter: today with her new hand fresh off the printer, faith trice it on. >> good job. >> reporter: and tests it out. two hands make it easier to ride, but you still only need one to high five. >> it's really awesome. >> she's so inspiring to us. we're blown away every day that we get to be her parents. >> reporter: faith's always had plenty of heart, and today she's showing just how big it really is. halle jackson, nbc news, los angeles. that will do it for us on this tuesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for
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watching, and good night. nbc bay area news starts now. right now at 6:00 firefighters battling flames in southern california. on the right, in the bay area firefighters training for what is expected to be a difficult season. the drought can bring hot, dry conditions months ahead of schedule. i'm janelle wang in for jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. let's begin with our developing news. the fire season is here. we expect an active and destructive season. right now a fire threatening homes in southern california. let's take you there.
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crews are busy in apple valley. take a look down below. this is about 50 miles north of is an burn. they're battling this from the air and the ground. one building has been damaged so far. another seven are being threatened by the flames. no word yet on any injuries. we're keeping an eye on it. we'll update you with any development. there is the fear in the bay area. already firefighters have started training for this fire season. chief meteorologist jeff ranieri is tracking our conditions here. but robert handa begins our coverage in milpitas. robert? >> reporter: cal fire says the outdoor fire training that began here in the foothills in milpitas usually begins in may. but the drought has changed everything in terms of the timetable for hiring training and what we think of as fire season. the training for these 35 firefighters is familiar. the timing and circumstances are not. cal fire's academy for seasonal firefighters began outdoor training today two months