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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  August 27, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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the fire continues to spread through the neighborhood near fairfield high school. we'll follow the story and the other headlines at 6:00. thanks for joining us at 5:0037 on the broadcast tonight, ready to go. the military signals its forces are in place and able to strike syria at a moment's notice should the president issue the order. .>> the measles outbreak linked housing surge, prices are rising fast. we'll tell you how much more it will cost you today than if you had bought just weeks ago. is now the time to make your move? and the dolphin mystery. along the east coast. why are so many of the beloved creatures turning up sick? tonight there's finally an answer. "nightly news" begins now.
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good evening, i'm lester holt in for brian. there are a number of indications tonight that a u.s.-led military strike against syria could be launched before the end of the week. momentum for punishing action against the assad government has been building throughout the day, and as we begin here tonight, there are several new developments to report. the white house says it will release solid evidence that the syrian government ordered a mass chemical weapons attack on its own people last week. on the diplomatic side, international support for an attack is growing. and from the pentagon, word that u.s. war ships are in place and ready to launch when the order is given. this fast moving chain of events all touched off by those horrific images of dead and dying civilians that shocked the world. nbc's andrea mitchell begins our coverage tonight from washington. andrea, good evening. >> good evening, lester. brushing aside assad's denial, the administration's goal is to punish him and stop him from ordering another chemical attack. hoping to prevent more deaths
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from devastating weapons not seen in decades. and lester, fair warning, these latest pictures are very hard to watch. this is a different kind of war. a war that kills babies silently, suddenly, bathing them not in blood, but in the tears of a doctor. ghastly images of last week's attack. most too horrifying to show on television. emerging only today. this infant apparently barely a month old. and a new horror near aleppo, the opposition claims phosphorous bombs and napalm dropped on civilians monday, killing at least ten, wounding dozens. a report that has not been independently verified. in texas today, speaking to veterans, the vice president continued the drum beat to punish bashar al assad. >> there's no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in syria. the syrian regime.
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>> reporter: the white house is not waiting for a report from the u.n. chemical weapons team that finally got to the attack site monday. officials tell nbc news they have intelligence intercepts, tying the attack to the regime. plus physical evidence. >> we know that the regime maintains custody of the chemical weapons in syria, and uses the types of rockets that were used to deliver chemical weapons on august 21st. the opposition does not. >> reporter: british prime minister david cameron cut short his holiday to call a special session of parliament thursday. >> what we've seen in syria are appalling scenes of death and suffering because of the use of chemical weapons by the assad regime. i don't believe we can let that stand. >> reporter: russia's vladimir putin interrupted a meeting to take a call from the british prime minister. putin is still blocking u.n. action. but today the arab league, led by the saudis denounced the assad government for the chemical attack. when the order comes, the pentagon has four destroyers,
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submarines, plus the nato base in turkey. >> we are ready to go like that. >> reporter: military intelligence is updating targets to teach assad a lesson. >> he values his military command and control nodes, his communications nodes, his military air field. we'll probably crater runways so planes can't take off. we'll try to hit planes on the tarmac. >> reporter: what about unintended consequences? the u.s. military plan is not to get in the middle of the civil war and try to topple assad. but opposition leader general lee just told richard engel they will seize the chance to try to defeat assad. >> i think there is a very good chance to fall the assad regime. >> reporter: and will one of syria's allies, iran or hezbollah retaliate against israel? israel says it's ready for anything. the administration will give a classified intelligence assessment to congress this week and make a declassified version public. officials have delayed the anticipated release for a day or
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so, to make sure there are no mistakes. fully conscious of the false claims about iraq's wmd a decade ago. lester? >> andrea mitchell tonight, thanks. as the obama administration amps up the rhetoric for possible military action against syria, a lot of americans are focused on other things, like the dwindling days of summer. but is there support for a military strike? nbc's kevin tibbles went to the minnesota state fair today to see how all this is playing far from washington. >> reporter: as the late summer heat wave beats down, folks head for the midway, the cotton candy, corn dogs, corn on the cob, ice cream, even pickles on a stick. but today is also military appreciation day, and many vets and their families now worry about alleged chemical attacks in syria. >> now, what to do with syria, that's the question nobody has the answer. >> chemical weapons? >> that's awful. nobody should use that.
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>> reporter: should the united states do anything about this? >> i would like to see them do something, because i think if we don't do something, it's going to continue. >> somebody's got to do something about it. >> to me it should be with the allies, otherwise we're going to get involved with something we don't want to get involved in. >> reporter: many fair goers say they're torn about what america should do. >> we get involved in so many places we really don't belong. >> reporter: others are dead set against any involvement. >> we have plenty of our own battles to be fought. we shouldn't be getting into a middle eastern conflict right now. >> i think we're involved in enough stuff overseas, you know? trying to bring the troops home and let someone else deal with it. >> reporter: as minnesotans celebrate the troops, many worry about what might lie ahead. >> i pray for those guys every night. they're in my prayers. >> many here have either served or have loved ones serving overseas. they are patriotic, but they are also concerned about any future military conflict.
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lester? >> kevin tibbles, thank you. now to the massive air and ground war in the west against one of the largest wildfires in the history of california, continuing to explode out of control tonight. nbc's miguel almaguer spent much of the day in a helicopter high above that battle gaining a unique perspective in just how highly coordinated this firefight is. >> reporter: so we're about 15 miles away from the heart of the fire. we're down wind, so the smoke here is socking in the airport, we're not able to leave the airport it's too dangerous to fly. as soon as we find a pocket of strong winds that clears out some of this smoke, we'll take off. so it looks like we have a window here, and we're going to take off. hopefully we can make it up before the smoke comes back into the airport. >> looks good to go, we're safe. we're good to go. >> reporter: this fire is roughly 230 square miles bigger than the size of the city of chicago. and all along these ridges we can see fires. there's no doubt this fire is growing, it's certainly quickly on the move.
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you can see from the fuel load down here, there's just hundreds of thousands of acres that can still burn. >> we're going to make our way down to the south side. for better visibility. it looks like everything is blown up to the north. >> reporter: this fire has been burning for a week and a half. and there's no doubt this fire could burn for weeks longer. crews may not be able to accept access so much of this terrain down there. it is very rugged, it is very rocky below. from the air here, you get that unique perspective. you can understand why they can't drop firefighters into the burn zone. if they put crews down on the ground down there, there's nowhere they would be able to run. there are no escape routes. so on this flank of the fire, they simply have to attack it from the air. the dc-10 is one of the biggest assets crews have on the ground. this plane can drop nearly 12,000 gallons of fire retardant. it can stop flames dead in its tracks. you can see just how hot this fire is burning. behind all of this smoke and ash in the air, you can see there are hotspots, there are flames
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towering hundreds of feet into the air. the blaze is still very active. still burning very quickly, and, of course, very, very dangerousi from 10,000 feet above the rim fire, i'm miguel almaguer, nbc news. >> amazing perspective of what they're up against there. also, along the eastern seaboard tonight there's been a troubling mystery, what's been killing so many dolphins? tonight, scientists believe they have figured it out. our chief environmental affairs correspondent anne thompson reports. >> reporter: they are some of nature's most beautiful and graceful creatures. but the bottle nose dolphins along the eastern seaboard are ñ in trouble.ko from new york to north carolina, federal scientists report 357 dolphins died between july 1st of this year, and august 26th. a sudden and dramatic increase during a period that typically sees 36 deaths. federal officials say the cause is the morbillivirus. the human strain of the disease causes the measles.
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unlike people, there's no way to vaccinate wild dolphins. >> we're expecting, because of the migration of the dolphins, that the virus and the impact of the virus is going to spread southward. >> reporter: however, scientists say the strain killing the dolphins, cannot be passed to beach goers and swimmers. in dolphins, the morbillivirus weakens their immune systems, causing the mammals to lose weight, and making them susceptible to other diseases. this is the biggest die-off of east coast dolphins in 25 years, when the virus killed at least 740 dolphins. today, the source of the virus remains a mystery. scientists will look to see if contributing factors, such as man-made pollution, make the dolphins more vulnerable to this fast-moving disease. anne thompson nbc news, new york. if you've been shopping for a new home or thinking about selling one, you have probably noticed the prices have been going up. in some cases we learned way up from just a year ago.
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19% in atlanta. nearly 25% in san francisco. and similar pictures in many major cities. so is this the time to get into the market? cnbc's carl quintanilla is here with more for us. carl? >> lester, those are eye popping numbers in some very big cities. even in the heartland we're seeing prices on the rise. that means families who are thinking of buying are under more pressure to make their move. >> how are you doing today, sir? >> good. >> reporter: in a housing market picking up steam. minnesota realtor ryan ness goes door to door every week, trying to convince anyone to sell. >> it's a fast moving market, there's a lot of buyers out there waiting for the right home to come on. you have a giant fridge here. >> reporter: buyers like ellen and george who have been looking for a home since march, unsuccessfully because there's not much for sale. even in their suburb of woodbury, where prices are up 13% in a year. >> my husband constantly reminds me the interest rates are going up, find a house. >> reporter: those mortgage rates have been climbing since may, and are now at a two-year
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high. >> this is the master. >> reporter: threatening some buyers right out of their price range. if they bought this $420,000 home today, with 20% down, their mortgage payment would be $200 more than it would have been just three months ago. >> there really is an impetus to find as much house as you can get for as little money as you can and cash in on the deal that exists right now. >> reporter: some housing experts say the rise in rates and prices has happened too quickly, putting some markets back in bubble territory, just five years after the housing crisis began. >> the confidence that's driving the current boom could evaporate, and more suddenly than many people expect. >> reporter: adding stress to the single biggest financial decision most of us ever make. >> making my wife happy. certainly the most stressful thing about the whole thing. >> reporter: one area where rising rates have already taken a bite, refinancing.
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they're down 16% from may, as some homeowners, lester, decide they may have already missed out on a bargain. >> you hear about location, location, location. there's timing, timing, timing. >> true. >> carl, thanks. good to have you here. still ahead tonight, the outbreak raising a lot of questions and concerns at a texas mega church. what is behind the resurgence of a disease that was once virtually eradicated.
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we're back now with news about measles, a virus declared all but wiped out more than a decade ago in this country but making a troubling comeback. the latest outbreak is centered on a mega church near ft. worth texas, at least 21 cases have originated there, including 14 children, the youngest just 4 months old. why is this happening now, and what do parents need to know? here's chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman. >> reporter: in ft. worth texas, today, 4-year-old julian aguilera is getting his measles shot. a quick pinch to the arm and a lollipop later, he's all smiles. it's a relief to his mom too.
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>> you don't want your kids to get sick. >> reporter: the largely preventible infection is making a comeback, and the latest outbreak in north texas. of the 21 cases originating at this mega church, at least 16 of those were not fully vaccinated. which means two shots as a child and for most adults a booster. >> someone who actually had the disease in july, had come back from a country where measles is more common, incubating the disease, became sick here and thenther people got it. >> reporter: across the country there have been 161 cases of measles in 16 states so far this year. that's nearly triple the number in 2012. while nine out of the ten children old enough to receive vaccinations get them. pediatrician dr. laura popper is concerned about the growing number of families who are opting out for nonmedical reasons. >> it's more middle class, upper middle class, people are deciding they're afraid of vaccines. they bought the idea that autism is connected with mmr, and
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that's a lie. >> reporter: health officials say well intentioned parents who choose not to vaccinate are needlessly putting their children and communities at risk. measles is so contagious that if one person has it, the cdc says 90% of the people who are not fully immunized and come in close contact to that person will also get the infection. >> maybe if they lived remotely on an island somewhere, that would work, but we don't. >> vaccinations have been so successful over the last few decades. for a lot of young couples who forget that these illnesses can have a resurgence and they can kill. a reminder that vaccinations can protect not only your child, but they take care of your community too. lester? >> all right. dr. nancy, thanks. we're back in a moment with a father, a daughter and a dream.
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we're seeing rare footage
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tonight of former president gerald ford calmly and carefully remembering the attempt on his life in september of 1975 in a park in sacramento. it's largely unseen footage from the trial of charles manson follower lynnette "squeaky" froome. ford remembers seeing froome pushing her way through the crowd. >> as i stopped, i saw a hand come through the crowd in the first row. and that was the only active gesture that i saw. but in the hand was a weapon. >> the gun, you'll recall, was never fired and ford was not hurt. froome was released from prison in 2009. tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the march on washington and martin luther king's landmark "i have a dream" speech. dr. king's youngest daughter bernice was just 5 months old
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that day in 1963. we sat down with her recently at historic ebenezer baptist church in atlanta where her father was pastor. she talked about the speech and memories of her father. here's bernice king in her own words. >> him lifting me up is exactly what i remember growing up with my father. you know, as i grew up, i had a range of emotions. i became, you know, angry. angry that he left, angry at god for not protecting him. angry at whites at the time, because i felt they were responsible for his death. angry at blacks because i felt we weren't doing enough to continue his work. and so i think at that moment, i realized the importance of his contribution, but at the same time, i realized the magnitude of my own loss. in the sense that, you know, why my dad?
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>> because i have a dream -- >> every time he speaks, you know, he's challenging us to be better, to do more. >> -- that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. i have a dream. >> the whole purpose of remembering and commemorating is not to be satisfied with just the accomplishments that we've made, but it's also to further inspire us. because my mother says trouble is a never ending process. freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation. >> free at last. free at last. thank god all mighty, we are free at last. >> it doesn't matter how many times i listen to it, it's always, wow! i wish he were here. >> bernice king in her own words tonight.
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we'll be broadcasting from washington tomorrow. you can join the nbc news dream day project using the #dreamday. we'll be right back.
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our final story tonight is about a small but extraordinary ray of hope in a place where there's far too little hope. that syrian refugee camp in jordan. nbc's ann curry has the story of one young boy in desperate need of medical attention, and a doctor who's making a difference to help him. >> reporter: on the move through zaatari camp, a doctor leads us to one of the most vulnerable here. suleman, a refugee himself, was determined to get help for a boy who desperately needed it. >> when i saw him, the life in my eyes died. >> reporter: the life in your eyes died when you saw him? >> when i saw him. >> reporter: suleman took us to the boy's mother. may we see your son? she led us down unmarked roads to a place we could not have found by ourselves, into her small shelter. and there he was, his face gaunt, his arms like twigs. his name is ibrahim. he is 10 years old, born in
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syria with a condition that causes his muscles to atrophy. physical therapy had helped him walk, his mother says, but syria's war has changed that. in the past six months, he's lost more than 20% of his body weight, can no longer stand, and won't eat. why can't you eat? he says "my stomach feels funny." his mother fears for his life. she says, i'm very sad about my son. his father was killed. since they fled here, she's trying to get help as her son's condition worsens. but she says local clinics turned her away. we suggested a clinic she didn't know about, in this sprawling camp and offered her and ibrahim a ride there. 15 minutes later, at the gates of doctors without borders, a young physician admitted ibrahim, and soon doctors were giving him a checkup. they say they'll refer him to a specialist who might one day help him walk again. in the meantime, they offer nutritional supplements and weekly checkups to help him gain weight and get stronger. today, that's enough to give a worried mother and her son hope
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far from home. ann curry, nbc news jordan. that's our broadcast for this tuesday night. thank you for being with us. i'm lester holt in for brian. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. nbc bay area nahs begins with breaking news. that breaking news right now over fairfield, a neighborhood ravaged by fire. the pd tells us at least five homes have burned, and at one point at least ten others were threatened, including an apartment complex. as many as 50 people have been evacuated. this is what it looked like just after it broke out around 3:30 this afternoon. roofs on fire, intense flames shooting out, and thick, black smoke. now crews at this moment are still working to contain the
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fire, but it looks as if they've gotten a handle on it. want to show you exactly where that fire was burning. it's in fairfield, not far from the fairfield high school on marigold drove. it's east of i-80. now a live look from our nbc chopper which has been on the scene since this fire broke out around 3:30 or 3:45 this afternoon that's eastbound 80 at the bottom of your screen, and the small a good news here is that 80 has been open throughout this ordeal. smoke has been going the other way into the community and away from 80. so the commute, though it's sluggish, 80 remains open. we want to bring in gail spears, a spokesperson from the city of fairfield. are you with us? >> caller: i am. >> at this point, it's 6:00. can you tell us the very latest? >> caller: we've opened an evacuation center over at fairfield high

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