tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 7, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on the broadcast tonight, rattled. another powerful earthquake rocks japan. tonight, new fears it may make things worse at the nuclear plant. countdown to a government shutdown. talks down to the wire. and an nbc news investigation into the mexican drug war. a serious corruption problem on the american sidof the border. a reality check tonight on some of the surprising things donald trump said to meredith vieira on his interview. >> and embracing life. a proud mother, her new baby daughter, and a fight she refuses to lose. "nightly news" begins now.
good evening. i'm ann curry in tonight for brian williams as today a major aftershock, a 7.1, the strongest yet, and not far from last month's 9.0 quake and tsunami struck off the coast of japan, and after the shaking, again, the fear of another tsunami and worries about whether the nuclear plant was further damaged. if you're wondering just how much japan can take, you're not alone. lee is in tokyo. good evening. >> reporter: this certainly was a powerful quake, and it hit along the same stretch of battered coastline hit so hard from the earthquake and tsunami last month. there weren't a lot of people left to evacuate, and so many places, the damage there had been done, but the big question is what happens to the stricken power plant that so many fear is
already hanging on by a thread. it struck nearly four weeks to the day since last month's massive quake. a grim reminder japan is hardly out of the woods yet. >> people near the coast should immediately evacuate to higher ground. >> the magnitude 7.1 centered 41 miles off the coast of sendai triggered more tsunami warnings in japan, but they were canceled about an hour later. still, the quake was hardly gentle. it injured dozens, cut off power to millions, burst water pipes, and ignited fires. rattling the nerves of those already near the breaking point. and experts warn there could be more. >> on average, we would expect to see an aftershock sequence to a magnitude nine for a decade or two. >> at the power plant, experts were quick to reassure the public that the quake had not interrupted the water flow
around the reactors to keep them cool and there had been no increase in the level of radiation. but with the structures already so heavily damaged, any aftershock is risky. >> it was a very worrisome thing because if they had a catastrophic failure with all of the radioactive water in the containment, they would be starting to run out of options. >> adding to the worries, it knocked out external power to two other nuclear plants along the coast, but emergency back-up generators have taken over. still, for the tens of thousands of weary residents looking for a break, the ground just doesn't seem willing to give it. now, ann, just to give you an idea of scale lehere, this aftershock was larger in terms of magnitude than the earthquake that struck kobe, japan in 1995. it left more than 5,000 people dead. but in terms of the energy, it was 700 times less the amount of energy as the quake that struck
hire last month. >> lee, thank you so much. now to the other big story tonight. congressional republicans, democrats, and obama trying to resolve their differences over the federal budget deficit before the government shuts down. we have two reports. first, kelly o'donnell joins us from capitol hill. hi, there, ann. three times in 24 hours, the president, speaker boehner, and leader reed all in the same room, trying to strike a budget deal. a fight over money, the troops, and social issues like abortion. shuttling between the white house and capitol hill. >> all of us sincerely believe we can get to an agreement. >> we're going to continue to work to get this done. it's -- um, not easy to do, but it's doable. >> reporter: polite standing together, but earlier, open hostility over who is to blame. >> this is the time, we don't have the time to fight over the tea party's extreme social agenda. >> reporter: democrats claim this fight shifted away from the
size of spending cuts to divisive social issues. >> there's a fight here about values. this is a fight about what you value. >> policy changes related to the abortion and environment, known as riders to the bill. >> it's the riders who have nothing to do with the deficit that are standing in the way. >> one example, republicans want to strip $300 million federal dollars from planned parenthood which provides medical care and family planning services including some abortions. >> we're looking for not just the most spending cuts possible, but also common sense on how taxpayer dollars are spent. >> reporter: with a shut-down looming, frustrations boiled. >> ms. speaker, we're trying to do the business of the american people. >> reporter: house republicans turned to their plan b and quickly passed a one-week budget extension that also funds the defense department for six months.
>> the real fact is that if you vote against this bill, you are voting against the troops who are engaged in three wars. >> reporter: the president called that extension a distraction and promised to veto it, which claims some republicans say he's not supporting the troops. >> kelly, thanks. now to chief white house correspondent chuck todd at the white house. what is the biggest sticking point? >> the white house will say and even though on capitol hill say it is abortion. it's not the number anymore, is it going to be the $30 billion or $60 billion number. it's the issue with planned parenthood. it's already against the law for federal taxpayer dollars to be used to fund abortions, but this is about taking money away from any institution that even privately performs abortion procedures, and they can't figure out how to rework that. aides to the speaker and
president are trying to come up with language that will satisfy both bases, but these are the same culture wars the two parties have been fighting for 25 years and it's brought us to this point. >> given that, chuck, how likely is a shut-down? >> folks at the white house believe there's about a 70% chance there's going to be at least a weekend shutdown. at this point, you look at the politics of this, our own wall street journal poll, and republicans don't -- wouldn't pay a political price with their base for not shutting down. they might pay one if they didn't shut down. that's what the -- the way the white house is looking at this, and what does this mean this weekend? there's a lot of spring break trips. this is a weekend where all over washington kids from across the country are coming here to look at the declaration of independence and the constitution, and if that shut-down happens, those doors are going to be locked. >> a lot of sad kids. chuck todd tonight. to libya where the anti-gadhafi rebels unhappy with nato went from bad to worse today.
the rebels have been saying nato wasn't doing enough to protect them. it's today what nato did do by accident that stoked the rage. stephanie has our report tonight from benghazi. >> reporter: this hospital in eastern libya sees wounded rebels every day, but today, it wasn't gadhafi who put them here. the rebels say it was nato. for the second time in less than a week, nato fighter jets appeared to have accidentally hit the wrong site. at least four were killed and a dozen wounded. nato made no comment saying they had to investigate the incident. it took place right outside of the oil town brega. word quickly spread east. five minutes ago, this checkpoint was quiet. now they have heard word that their tanks, rebel tanks have been bombed by nato planes. we have seen a steady stream of ambulances going out and heavy arms going in.
the fighters already angry nato wasn't doing enough to help them. now this. they're dogs, this man cries. they're all dogs. back in washington, the general who led the u.s. operation in libya before handing control over to nato acknowledged the battle is looking more and more like a stalemate. >> i would like to know if you think a stalemate is an acceptable outcome of the conflict in libya? >> my personal opinion, that is not the preferred solution. >> reporter: in eastern libya, no solution means more fighting. shortly after the air strikes, gadhafi hit the gates, the furthest east his forces have been in ten days. panicked followed by a quick retreat. this is what they have been doing over and over again, instead of digging in and fighting back, they turn and run. in the center of town, the rebels fired back. guided rockets aimed at an enemy they couldn't even see.
the general's senate testimony raised another alarming issue. there are an estimated 20,000 shoulder-fired rockets that are unaccounted for in libya. it's unclear if they're even in the country at all and they could pose a regional and international threat. ann? >> stephanie, thank you. there's news tonight about the young woman who you might recall burst into an aaa hotel last month, alleging to reporters she had been raped and beaten by gadhafi's soldiers. today, she had her first face-to-face interview with a western journalist, telling cnn she was brutally treated although it was attended by libyan authorities who reviewed it before it was released. she said she is also grateful for all of the support she's received from around the world. the next pictures from brazil are hard to watch. amateur video captures the chaos as a heavy armed man burst into his former school in rio and
opened fire, killing 11 children execution style and wounding 18 people before being stopped by policemen and taking his own life. the shooter was a 23-year-old man with no prior criminal record. they said he left a letter saying he was hiv-positive and wanted to commit suicide. we have an nbc investigation involving the drug war at the mexican border. while much has been reported about the wide spread corruption in mexican law enforcement, we have found there's also a serious problem on the american side of the border. with that story tonight, here is mark potter. >> reporter: in el paso, texas, a major embarrassment for american law enforcement. u.s. customs and border protection officer margarita chrispen is sentenced to 20 years in prison for selling out to mexican drug traffickers. >> it was amazing to us that she received $5 million for her services to allow loads of marijuana to come through her checkpoint along the border.
>> in the mexican drug war, u.s. authorities report a disturbing trend, an increase in american law enforcement officials corrupted by wealthy mexican criminals who pay them to look the other way as illegal drugs and immigrants flow north into the united states. >> it's the single most debilitating factor in successful law enforcement along the border, and we do a horrible job of weeding that corruption out. in the last five years, nearly 80 u.s. border patrol agents and customs and border protection officers have been arrested along the mexican border, and federal authorities say hundreds more officials are under investigation. >> once they cross the line, they are criminals. criminals that are in our uniform. >> and the corruption runs deep. >> the cartels have begun to infiltrate u.s. law enforcement. >> at a u.s. senate hearing, it was revealed during a hiring push that began five years ago to add thousands of officers to
the mexican border, only 10% of the initial applicants were giving polygraph tests. of those, 60% failed, raising concerns about the others hired without polygraph screening. >> a very large percentage of those who they don't test run into trouble, run into problems within a year or two of being hired. >> and here along the border, the federal authorities aren't the only ones facing corruption problems. local officials including sheriffs and police officers have also succumbed to the allure of drug money. in south texas, former sheriffs were jailed for helping mexican smugglers. in a nearby county, this man said corruption is rampant. >> it's greed. that's what it's been all the time, greed. one of the extra $10,000, $15,000, $20,000. >> to try to stem the corruption, president obama recently signed a law requiring
polygraph tests for all border control and customs applicants, and 13 fbi anti-corruption teams now keep an eye on the 2,000-mile-long border, policing the police. >> there is no greater problem we are looking at in this organization. we cannot fail. >> they insist a majority of the border officers are honest, and work hard in dangerous conditions, but they also say the better they become at stopping the smugglers, the more the mexican cartels rely on corruption, even slipping some of their own people into u.s. law enforcement academies. mark potter, nbc news. and when we come back in a moment, a reality check on the reality tv star donald trump who made new headlines today as he tested the presidential waters. and later, a mother-to-be battling cancer. we have the next chapter in her story tonight.
real estate developer donald trump has considered runner for president before. after last night's showing in our nbc wall street journal poll, he finished second in republican challengers, more people are looking at his possible candidacy more seriously. that mean s taking some of the more incendiary things he said in interviews more seriously. lisa meyers checks the facts. >> reporter: having rocketed to second among republicans in the latest nbc news poll, he's
already stirring controversy. in an exclusive interview with meredith vieira, his pronouncements ranged from the bold -- >> i say we take over. >> to the exaggerated or just plain wrong. on the 9/11 terrorists. >> the terrorists, almost every single one of them sent their families back a day early. they all went to saudi arabia. >> there is no evidence that families of the 9/11 hijackers were ever in the u.s. the 9/11 commission found some bin laden family members were flown out of the u.s. days after the attacks, after being screened by the fbi. trump also again called on president obama to produce his birth certificate, saying after sending his investigators to hawaii, he has real doubts obama was born in this country. >> it's not a birth certificate. it's a certificate of live birth. that's totally different. if you look at it, it's not even signed by anybody.
doesn't have a serial number. >> it does have a serial number and a stamped signature, and hawaiian officials say it carries the force of law. an official also has said the original records on file in hawaii verify the president was born there. once more, the local newspaper carried a birth announcement nine days after obama was born. information the paper says came from the hospital. >> the hospital where he was born, his own people in hawaii, his family don't know which hospital it was. >> the president said he was born at a medical center in honolulu, which looks look this today. as for his own candidacy, trump said he will decide by june whether to run. the last time he flirted with running for president, trump was asked why. his response, it's a good way to raise the rent. i spoke with donald trump this afternoon, and he said he stands by all of what he said here. he dismissed evidence to the contrary claiming none of it definitively proved the
big news tonight on the education front. cathy black, a former magazine executive with no education experience, is out after just three stormy months on the job at head of the public schools here in new york city, the nation's largest school system. mayor michael bloomberg stunned just about everybody when he appointed black. today, he took full responsibility for the fact his choice didn't work out. oil prices continued their march higher, rising $1.47 to $110.30 a barrel today. on wall street, the dow bounced back from a nearly 100-point loss to close down 17 point on the day. new york's latest instant celebrity has a new name today. she's a deadly egyptian cobra missing from her home at the
bronx zoo for a while. though she turned up hiding in a corner. her fame was rammed up a notch when a twitter account of her supposed escapades around new york city surfaced. well, as for the name, decided via popular vote, mia, mia, as in missing in action. up next, a pregnant woman diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. what happened since we first told you her story? shake up at
epicenter of the san bruno explosion. plus, the rape charges against two former de anza baseball players are dropped. why one juror consoled t he imvida ctto>> d mke> icea w wderth esov through the bay area. it's all coming up. finally tonight, a story that teaches all of us something about overcoming adversity. an update on the story first reported on our website last month about lisa bender who was pregnant with her first child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. for expectant parents ryan and lisa bender, a phone call from the doctor confirming a diagnosis of stage two breast cancer changed everything. >> i was yelling in the car, no, no, no. this can't be happening. >> according to the national cancer institute, 1 in every 1,000 women in the united states is diagnosed with cancer during their pregnancy. some 3500 each year. in the past, doctors recommended
terminated pregnancy or waiting on treatment. but that has changed. many cancer drugs are considered safe to women to take while pregnant. >> so the idea that women can carry the pregnancy through is a very good option for them. >> lisa chose surgery, a lumpectomy and chemo in her second trimester. on march 13th, a happy birthday for alice virginia, and a precious reminder to her mom of everything she fought for. >> this experience of having cancer especially while i was pregnant has made me appreciate every single second i have with my daughter. >> now, with the chemotherapy, we're going to start today. >> lisa will continue now with additional chemotherapy and radiation through the summer. >> we went through so much to get her here safe and sound, and i'm going to do everything i can to be here for every minute of her life.
>> and lisa's doctors say they expect her cancer to respond well to treatment. you can get more on this story if you logon to nightly.msnbc.com. that our broadcast for this thursday night. i'm ann curry. for brian williams and all of us at "nightly news," thank you and good night. it's sick. >> a witness to the bold attack that put a giants fan in the hospital says it's no surprise. why he thinks more security is not the answer. and one of the most controversial rape cases in south bay history draws closer to a close. two former de anza students were cleared of charges. why one juror says justice was not served. and we've been tracking in the afternoon re