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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  October 24, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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what's the truth about the president's new plan to help folks who are desperate to keep their homes? coming to america. a massive island of trash and debris from the earthquake in japan drifting across the pacific. tonight, new pictures and the question -- how long until it reaches our shores? we'll tell you what the crew of a passing ship had to report. women at risk. new research tonight about the link between the cancer-causing virus hpv and heart disease in women. it turns out the danger is widespread. and making a difference. one very determined kid racing to help others in the fight of their lives. to help others in the fight of their lives. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. under pressure to fix the economy and help those americans who have been dragged under water by it, the president today
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offered a fix for the housing crisis and those americans who are struggling to stay ahead of the game and keep their homes. the president says he's going to put out pieces of his economic plan instead of one big package because of the gridlock in washington. the election season backdrop is, of course, unavoidable and the president's choice of a backdrop today was notable. nbc's kristen welker traveling with the president in nevada tonight and starts us off from there. kristen, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the unemployment rate here in nevada is above 13%, so this state is up for grabs in 2012. earlier today president obama announced help for homeowners. here in this las vegas neighborhood. president obama on the road again, accusing a divided congress of foot dragging. >> we can't wait for an increasingly dysfunctional congress to do its job. >> reporter: the president used the power of his office and the optics of a suburban street to
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sidestep lawmakers, announcing the expansion of a mortgage refinancing program. >> now, this is a painful burden for middle class families and it's also a drag on our economy. when a home loses its value, a family loses a big chunk of their wealth. >> reporter: the plan, starting december 1, specifically targets homeowners with underwater mortgages who owe more than their homes are currently worth. those who have mortgages owned or guaranteed by government lenders fannie mae and freddie mac, loans made on or before may 31, 2009, and are current on their payments for the past six months with no more than one late payment in the last year. the program would allow homeowners to refinance, no matter how much they owe, eliminate appraisals and many underwriting requirements and waive many expensive up-front fees. government officials were hesitant to say how many homeowners are eligible. unestimated as many as 4 million
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while independent economists estimated as few as 250,000. the government acknowledges the program will not help 6 million americans already facing or in foreclosure. >> we've got to do more to help the communities that have been hardest hit that are struggling with vacant and foreclosed properties. >> reporter: las vegas resident dennis smith is nearing retirement but feels trapped by his mortgage. he thinks he could save as much as $500 a month with this program. >> it's a very, very stressful situation for my generation who has always looked at the home as a safe investment, only to find out that today it isn't. >> reporter: while some believe the program is a step in the right direction, they also say it doesn't get at the heart of the housing crisis. >> it doesn't really help people sell their homes. and that's a big part of the problem that we have right now. >> reporter: now, administration officials here admit this program doesn't get at the far-reaching and complicated housing crisis in its entirety. they say they will be unveiling new economic initiatives in the
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coming days and weeks. brian? >> kristen welker in las vegas starting us off tonight. thanks. we are joined now by cnbc's diana olick. you cover the housing market pretty much full time. what are people to make of this today? >> reporter: well, what they are finding really, brian, is that this is a very limited program targeting certain underwater borrowers who were previously unable to take advantage of the record low mortgage rates because they owed so much more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. this will help those borrowers but it's limited and those borrowers must be current on their payments. they may be struggling, may be on the edge, maybe even thinking of walking away, but that will help. they must be current. this does nothing to help 4 million borrowers who are currently behind on their mortgages, 2 million borrowers in the process of foreclosure.
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it does not address the millions of foreclosed properties on the books of fannie mae, freddie mac and big banks flooding the depressed market. doesn't help anybody buy or sell a home and, most important, it does not restore consumer confidence in housing because it doesn't put a bottom on home prices. brian? >> a bit of a reality check on all of this tonight from diana olick, cnbc. thanks. now we have to turn overseas to the unfolding disaster in eastern turkey after a powerful 7.2 earthquake centered near the border with iran but rippling across a wide area. tonight, more than 270 people are officially known dead but there are so many people trapped and missing across the countryside. that number is expected sadly to climb sharply higher in the coming days. nbc's michelle franzen has the latest on the search for survivors there. good evening. >> reporter: well, brian, rescue crews have been working throughout the night here looking for signs of life. a short time ago that work stopped. sadly, they found someone that had died beneath the rubble there, this flattened apartment
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building here. but the work continues, not only at this spot in urgis but throughout the hard-hit region. no one is ready to give up hope that they can reach other survivors before it's too late. a young man pulled from the rubble, more than 30 hours after being buried alive. a toddler, freed from a cage of mangled steel and concrete and carried to safety. rare survival stories giving hope to this devastated town which felt the full force of yesterday's earthquake. scores of buildings were flattened in an instant. no one knows just how many people might be alive, trapped in the rubble. rescue workers are racing against the clock to reach survivors in time, clearing debris with heavy equipment, shovels and by hand. right now it's a race against nightfall. this used to be a six-story building housing businesses on ground floor along with families and university students who lived there.
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rescuers have been focused here all day, believing there are signals people may still be alive. the grief here is overwhelming. families have begun making funeral arrangements for loved ones and the full scope of the disaster is not yet known. the quake struck sunday, early afternoon caught on closed circuit cameras as terrified residents ran for cover. many survivors are now too frightened to return to homes that are still standing as aftershocks continue to hit. more than 200 so far. aid workers are doing what they can but there is little relief. turkey's prime minister sent troops to the region and came in person to see the damage and comfort the victims in this largely kurdish part of the country. people here say they just need more help to save those trapped. the work continues here and the aid is also pouring in, including from the united
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states. but there are also questions as to how many buildings could collapse and why, whether it's through faulty construction, especially in areas that are prone to earthquakes. brian? >> michelle franzen on the rescue effort in turkey tonight. michelle, thanks. almost seven months since the devastating earthquake and the resulting tsunami in japan. the numbers are still staggering from there. more than 15,000 people dead, 130,000 people forced from their homes. and tonight an amazing kind of environmental delayed reaction. a huge island of trash and debris from the quake drifting across the pacific ocean toward u.s. shores. nbc's kate snow with us in studio with more on this. kate? >> just after the tsunami hit scientists at the national oceanic and atmospheric administration and the university of hawaii started making models using calculations based on tides and currents to project where all that debris from japan would end up. but now they have proof -- sightings from a ship telling them where potentially millions
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of tons of trash is and where it's headed. march 11. tsunami waves crash over japan wiping out entire communities, sweeping everything that isn't nailed down out to sea. more than 300,000 buildings, cars, boats, refrigerators, furniture, you name it. and this is where it all is today. giant fields of floating debris in the middle of the pacific ocean. >> the area that we are talking about that this debris is floating within is something on the order of twice the size of texas. >> reporter: u.s. navy ships have had to steer around the islands of garbage and now the discovery that it's moving faster than scientists had expected. they now project some of it will hit the midway islands by january. currents would sweep it to the u.s. west coast in 2013 and back to the hawaiian islands in 2014 and 2015. >> i'm very concerned about the impact. the everyday pollution from
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refrigerators and televisions. that's a lot of toxic chemicals that are going to stress our marine life and habitats even more than they already are. >> reporter: last month scientists at the university of hawaii asked the crew on board this historic russian tall ship "the palata" to document what they saw as they sailed from honolulu to vlodivostak, russia. just past the midway islands they couldn't miss the mess. the crew made notes about appliances, boards, buoys, drums, boots. a fishing boat they hoisted up left no doubt about where it all came from. the markings say fukushima prefecture. government scientists stress that it isn't a wave of debris that will hit all at once but the trash could affect coastal habitats, wildlife, boaters as well. they are also asking west coast and hawaii residents to help them track this trash, brian. you can learn more about it on our website, >> really an unbelievable slow motion story.
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kate snow with us here tonight. kate, thanks, as always. we want to report a combat death in the war in afghanistan. sergeant first class christopher domeij was one of four americans killed over the weekend, one of over 370 that lost their lives this year. what stood out about this army ranger was this -- he was on his 14th tour of duty. the san diego native joined the army two months before 9/11. he hasn't stopped fighting since. he's been at war ever since. the bronze star and purple heart recipient leaves behind his wife and two children. when our broadcast continues here on a monday night, women's health. a new risk factor for heart disease that a lot of women don't yet know about. also, a red flag for pregnant women. this time it's about exposure to certain plastics. and later, a 7-year-old boy using speed in this case to help other kids and to make a difference.
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we have heard a lot lately about the link between hpv and cancer. and tonight a new study sheds some light on another really more widespread risk that may be linked to hpv. our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman is here with us with more. nancy, good evening. >> hi, brian. good evening. this study comes from the university of texas galveston and suggests there could be a link between hpv, the common sexually transmitted virus we talk about a lot, and it may be linked to more than cancer. in this case, heart disease in women. you have seen the commercials about hpv. >> i chose to get my daughter vaccinated because i want her to be one less -- >> reporter: and families are listening. millions of girls received the vaccine to prevent hpv and cervical cancer. in a report out today, surprising new research links hpv to the number one killer of women -- cardiovascular disease. >> the risk of cardiovascular
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disease for women with hpv infection is almost two times higher. >> reporter: dr. quo and his fellow researchers studied nearly 2,500 women in the united states. for women infected with hpv one in 55 are at risk for heart attack or stroke. for those infected with specific cancer-causing strains of hpv, their risk is even higher. the theory is the infection causes inflammation of major arteries in the body, contributing to cardiovascular disease. this seems to be true for women without known risk factors of smoking, obesity, diabetes and family history. according to dr. laurie maska, a cardiac scientist not involved in this study, hpv could be a potential missing link. >> there's been an alarming increase in the rate of heart disease in young women aged 35 to 44 over the last decade that we can't explain.
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so hpv infection may potentially be something that we need to be looking into further. >> so imagine if the vaccine on the market now for hpv could prevent not only cancer but in the future heart disease. that could be a game-changer. right now researchers are talking about, brian, following people long term. people who are vaccinated, people who are not vaccinated and looking at the rates of cancer and heart disease. tomorrow the centers for disease control is going to get together and i predict that they are going to now suggest this vaccine for boys as well as girls. >> another story on your beat and we have some visual aids about bpa. the plastics that are the liners of cans, soda cans and make up so many plastic bottles. >> bisphenol a has been in the news for years with concern that it may be linked to certain cancer. you can't get away from it. it's everywhere. a lot of them have now been off the market. we could not find a container with a 7. you look for a 3 or a 7.
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we couldn't find anything with 7. the reason why this is important is because of a new study that came out today in the journal of pediatrics. it has shown that women who are exposed to bpa have, in fact, increased behavioral problems in girls at the age of 3 -- hyperactivity, aggression and anxiety. that's important because especially in girls bpa is known to act like synthetic estrogen. it's not a perfect study. none of them ever has been, but it's important to look at the bottom of these containers and then you have to decide as a parent. is it worth it to use these containers and certainly don't heat them because that's when things leech out. >> nancy snyderman, thank you. >> up next after a break, mourning the loss of a man behind the song that's been sending losing teams to the exits for years.
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♪ na, na, na ♪ hey, hey, hey ♪ good-bye >> as you may know the official name of the song is "na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, kiss him good-bye." that trademark na, na part was written by paul leka who passed away in connecticut. he wrote "green tambourine" and produced "cat's in the cradle." while sitting around with another guy one day in 1969 he wrote down some dummy lyrics as place holders and na, na, na, na became cemented in sports history. later it became an anthemic farewell to the losing team. paul leka was 68 years old. and robert pierpoint has died. he was a 40-year veteran of cbs news. he was a world war ii vet who covered the korean war and reported on six american presidents from eisenhower to carter. he's shown here talking to lbj on air force one. if he's remembered for any one photo, this would be the one. he had plans to play tennis one day with nixon's press
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secretary. then duty called. thankfully the viewing audience at home on tv was spared the legs, but the photo became a big part of his life. his daughter said he'll be buried in tennis shorts, sneakers and a sport coat as a result. robert pierpoint was 86 years old. and a quick word about this broadcast and this studio. while it's still us and things look roughly the same, you may have noticed we are in a brand new beautiful and large new home. our old home for the last 12 years just across the hall, studio 3-c is no more. we have moved into a historic studio and sound stage here at 30 rock, studio 3-b, former home of the "today" show and "nightly news" and countless other shows. it is now our home and one week from tonight we'll debut "rock center" here live, our new primetime news magazine. thankfully the people haven't changed, just our surroundings, but this is where we'll get together on a nightly basis from now on.
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when we come back here tonight, our making a difference report about a little boy who's burning up the track because of his burning desire to make a difference.
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we're back and it's time now for our making a difference report tonight. this one sent to us by a mom whose son saw how a cancer diagnosis affected one of his friends and decided to do something about it. at least in this case when the going gets tough, the tough get going -- all the way around the track at breakneck speeds. our report tonight from nbc's anne thompson with our making a difference. >> reporter: one professional driver describes racing as solving a series of problems, taking a curve, finding the line, beating the competition. but few drivers have attempted what timmy tyrell, jr., wants to do. >> i don't want people to be sick. they can die and i don't want that at all. >> reporter: nicknamed mini, he's particularly concerned about one friend, ella daye. >> i had a bump in my brain that caused me getting cancer. >> she was really, really sick because of the cancer and i really wanted to help her. >> reporter: so this 7-year-old
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started doing what he loves -- racing go carts to help raise money for families of children with cancer like ella. he calls it mini's mission, burning rubber to help another. mini races every saturday night from march to december. each lap one-fifth of a mile around the track. so far he's raised $7,000 and counting. at each contest, mini collects congratulations. >> very proud of you. >> reporter: and cash. the money goes to the jeffrey verastik fund. >> i would like to present a check for a lot of money -- [ laughter ] >> reporter: which helps families with the burdens of cancer that tasha verastik discovered as leukemia claimed her son at age 4. >> there are car payments that need to be paid. there is the mortgage, the rent, the emotional support of having
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someone come in and maybe sit with them. >> reporter: 8-year-old ella's brain cancer is gone, but mini is still by her side. >> he's got the it factor. >> reporter: his mom and dad couldn't be prouder. >> this kid will say, oh, i came in third. can you believe it? i raised $25 for my charity. what is a mom to do with that? i mean, really. it's overwhelming. >> reporter: a young man with a big goal. >> in place of mini we may have to call you giant. >> reporter: working to tackle the problems of cancer with every turn. anne thompson, nbc news, king george, virginia. >> by the way, there is more information on mini's mission and mini and ella and how to help the cause on our website. please note our new web address, tomorrow night here, the book that changed the game in women's health is turning 40. we'll look at the ground-breaker that was and is "our bodies ourselves" here on the broadcast tomorrow night. that is our monday night broadcast as we start a new week in a new home. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
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-- captions by vitac -- good evening and thanks for joining us on this money. i'm raj maathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirry. it was ugly and it wasn't the only recent outburst tinged with hatred towards minorities and gays. tonight the cops in the city say it won't be tolerated. nbc bay area's tracy grant is live where some are wondering if hate crimes may be on the rise or not. has something changed, or just people coming forward? >> well, that's the question. that's what different groups are trying to figure out. a lot of what is going on is drawing more and more attention like what happened here at civic center plaza last week. now, it was the


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