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tv   Early Today  NBC  April 23, 2014 4:00am-4:31am PDT

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good wednesday morning. coming up on "early today," comforter in chief. the president gets up close and personal, supporting the families and workers in washington's devastating mudslide. military buildup. today, the pentagon is sending 600 u.s. soldiers to poland and baltic nations as a show of force against the russian troops along ukraine. irs foul? the folks at the irs foul, the folks at the tax service handed out almost $3 million in bonuses to employees who failed to pay their own taxes. plus, georgia's governor will sign a wide-ranging gun law that has critics, including police, very upset. why this kick in the head could result in big bucks for advertising for the victim. and when old meets news. it's wednesday, april 23rd. "early today" starts right now.
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good morning, i'm richard lui. we begin with the president's trip to asia. moments ago he arrived in japan, the first stop of his four-nation tour. later this week he'll visit south korea, malaysia and the philippines. the hope is to reassure these alleys of u.s. support. now, the president's last three scheduled trips to asia were canceled because of domestic issues here at home including government shutdown. nbc's tracie potts is in washington, d.c. good morning to you, tracie. why does the president here need to reassure u.s. allies? >> reporter: well, because if you look at the region, richard, there's one really big, powerful, growing country in terms of the economy, that's china. and then we have several smaller allies who want to know that the u.s. is behind them economically. in some cases militarily as well. that's part of the president's agenda in heading to this region. first he made an emotional stop
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on the west coast. president obama met first responders and toured damage in oso, washington the site of last month's deadly mudslide. >> we're going to make sure that we're there every step of the way. >> reporter: this morning the president landed in tokyo for a seven-day visit to japan, south korea, malaysia and the philippines. the u.s. trade team is already in japan, working on the trans-pacific partnership, a deal that would erase trade barriers between the u.s. and 11 asian countries. >> resolution of that agreement will mean real job growth, real economic prosperity. >> reporter: it may not happen before president obama meets japan's president this morning. his message from the u.s.? we've got your back. >> we do need to reassure our allies in asia that america's commitments and security commitments are rock solid and we are not going to allow a situation where a bigger nation can push around a smaller nation in a territorial dispute.
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>> reporter: note the president is not visiting china. a growing economic power but not part of the asian trade deal. and experts are split, but the u.s. is watching to see if north korea will try its fourth nuclear test during the president's visit. and even though the president's hoping to go to asia and focus on asia and the economy and u.s. ties, there's really nowhere he can go at this point and get away from the issue of ukraine and russia. japan's been trying to warm up to russia on some economic, some energy issues, while the u.s. and the europeans have been trying to push for stronger sanctions against russia. so that could certainly come up in those discussions today. >> tracie potts, thank you so much. in a powerful response to russia's actions in ukraine, the united states is sending around 600 soldiers to several baltic nations for training and exercises. around 150 soldiers from the 173rd airborne brigade are
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arriving in poland today. a pentagon spokesperson said that's since russia's aggression in ukraine began, the u.s. has constantly been looking for ways to reassure its allies. it is a big boost to opponents of affirmative action. the u.s. supreme court rules michigan did not violate the constitution when it banned race from being used as a factor in college admissions. civil rights groups say this could encourage other states to do the same. more from nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: it's a big victory for the state of michigan, which had affirmative action in school admissions until 2006 when 50% of state voters passed proposal two, amending their constitution to ban it. >> it's become corrupt and unfair. >> reporter: civil rights groups sued, saying the ban amounted to discrimination making it harder for minority students to push for favorable admin policies. voting 6-2, the court upheld the right of michigan voters to pass the ban, just as anthony kennedy wrote that while the debate on the issue may be emotional, it
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should not be beyond the reach of voters. michigan's attorney general says the ruling favors political fairness. >> it is a victory to the citizens of michigan who overwhelmingly voted in 2006 to require equal treatment in admission to our outstanding colleges and universities. >> reporter: but in a passionate dissent, justice sonia sotomayor who often said the system changed her life said the amendment rigged the political system against minorities. while the constitution does not guarantee minority groups victory in the political process, it does guarantee them meaningful and equal access to that process. >> nbc's pete williams with that for us. to the irs. it is getting backlash this morning after a new report saying that the agency handed out bonus to thousands of employees who did not pay their very own taxes. according to a government investigator, the irs shelled out $1 million to employees who owed back taxes. between 2010 and 2012, more than
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$2.8 million in bonuses were paid to employees with conduct issues. this doesn't violate any federal regulations, but doesn't quite reflect the irs's mission here, to enforce tax laws. georgia's governor is scheduled to sign a controversial gun deal into law in about five hours. it is the safety carry protection act. but many are calling it guns everywhere bill. it would allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons in more public places than ever before. under the law, gun owners would be able to take their weapons into a bar, churches could decide whether their congregations could carry firearms. schools would get to vote on whether certain staff members could be armed. gun owners would be also allowed to bring their weapon into airport common areas and unsecured government buildings. the law wouldn't go into effect until july 1st. no pockets of air have been found on the sunken south korean ferry. a government official telling anguished family awaiting news of loved ones on wednesday.
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this means the likelihood of finding more survivors is extremely low. at least 150 people are confirmed dead. around 100 missing. this a week after the ferry sank with mostly high school students on board. divers searching for victims right now have to feel for bodies with their hands because the water is so dark. he's gotten millions of views after being kicked in the head by a train conductor. and now a selfie-taking student could be making big bucks. jared frank went viral on youtube. remember this? 23 million hits so far. now at least one licensing company is offering him a deal. the canadian broadcasting corporation estimating frank could earn up to $250,000 for letting companies advertise on the video's youtube page. frank saying he'd like to use the money to go to film school. bill karins, he should use the money to learn how to tell when trains are coming to step out of the way. for him, more than $250,000, i think.
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>> i'm surprised. and i hope no one tries to copy it or do anything like it. >> no, don't do it. let's talk about weather. you've got a little bit of everything, i think. >> they're even talking snow in the cascades. >> holy moly. >> not with this system but over the weekend. >> thank you, bill karins. talk to you later. >> in mid-april, we did get the rain as expected and it's raining again this morning. we're kind of stuck in this weather pattern. you can see the white on the map. it's the highest of elevations. that white is snow in the cascades from portland up to olympia to seattle. there's more on the way as we go throughout the upcoming week into the weekend, too. maybe even some of those passes, you'd better check the temperature and make sure you don't need any chains. here's what we're dealing with. we had one system move out. one right off the coast. and then there's another one back behind it. they're just lined up one after another. that's why we haven't been calling for any sunshine in the northwest. high pressure protects california. although still a little cooler than we had been. temperature today in the 70s, in southern cal, 80s in arizona.
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that's your low 50s. and i have more where that came from. >> okay. i'm heading west later this week for some events. >> you are? >> i'll be sitting around waiting for bill karins. a woman busted for selling heroin from her intensive care hospital bed. plus, with unrest escalating in ukraine and criticism mounting against russia's putin, guess what his approval rating is right now. details in two minutes. huh, fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. everybody knows that. well, did you know bad news doesn't always travel fast? (clears throat) hi mister tompkins. todd? you're fired.
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[ female announcer ] we eased your back pain, you turned up the fun. tylenol® provides strong pain relief while being gentle on your stomach. but for everything we do, we know you do so much more. tylenol®. welcome back. we are learning more about that 15-year-old who hitched a ride in the wheel well of a plane. new photos from our nbc affiliate in honolulu appear to show the stowaway's hand and
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footprints. nbc has been unable to independently verify those photos. other security footage reportedly shows the boy spent seven hours hidden in the aircraft before it took off. the flight ended up in hawaii. but police sources tell our affiliate he may have been trying to get to relatives in africa. fedex has a new lawsuit on their hands following a fiery crash that took place in northern california earlier this month. the family of a 17-year-old killed in the crash argued fedex trucks have a history of catching on fire. the truck crashed into a bus full of students and chaperones headed for a college tour. back to russia, president vladimir putin's approval rating continues to soar in the 80th percentile. and just 18% disapproving. a man from portland, oregon, fatally shot by police last month had been stalking young women in a van that he had converted into what authorities are calling a movable dungeon.
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a jury decided that the killing of him was legally justified. a 38-year-old woman is being accused of selling heroine from her hospital beddy the intensive care unit. police found $3800 worth of heroin, syringes and $1400 in cash. that was one heavy bed. and the corvette museum with the massive sinkhole is now open to visitors again. boy, did they get an eyeful along with that shocking sinkhole that formed right in the middle of the national museum. time to get down to business. the dow closing on the plus side for the sixth straight day, up 65. the s&p up marginally. and the nasdaq rose almost 40. the average price of an airline ticket for travel within the u.s. rose. guess by how much. $1. that's it. the department of transportation reports the average airfare increased to $381. it felt like more. the job market for college
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grads is improving. the unemployment rate 10.9% in 2013. that was almost 2.5 percentage points higher the year before. and don't ever put your money where your mouth is. researchers at nyu found that some dollar bills contain over 3,000 types of bacteria. and they could only identify 20% of those of those non-human dna because so many microorganisms have not even been cataloged yet. now you know what's burning that hole in your wallet. straight ahead, we'll have all your sports highlights including some fun with peyton manning. coming up.
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this morning on "today," the story of a father/daughter duo whose idea for a game helped inspire an international good-deed movement. that's ahead on "today." now your sports headlines. got to start with what was a special night certainly for los angeles angel albert pujols. watch this. >> is this another throw-over? no, it's a high pitch, and there it goes to left center, and that's number 500. >> that's right. 500 home runs. pujols is only the 26th player to ever do that. a nationals fan returned the ball without asking for a single cent. congratulations. major league baseball suspending four players involved in sunday's bench-clearing brawl between milwaukee and pittsburgh.
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carlos gomez for three games and maldonado for five. travis snider has to sit out two and russell martin for one. three are appealing. toronto shaking off the playoff jitters early in game two against brooklyn. derozan led toronto's offensive surgery with 30 points. brooklyn had a chance but toronto holds on there, 100-95. the series tied 1-1. the seattle seahawks traded for oakland starting quarterback terrelle pryor. he'll play second fiddle to the super bowl-winning russell wilson. but when it comes to paychecks, my friend, wilson will play third fiddle. the other two qbs make more than wilson's, shall i say, paltry $600,000 salary. watch the double-juking kid right here. that receiver, he pulls down the pass from none other than future hall of famer peyton manning. that denver kid's got a story to tell.
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get off me! >> on the right, that was boxer shannon briggs. he disrupted a press conference for heavyweight champ wladimir klitschko you see in the center. remind you of what? yes, my friends, "rocky 3" doing the same to rocky balboa. >> tell all these nice folks why you been ducking me. this country wants to keep me down. >> you know, you've got a big mouth, you know? >> come on! >> announcer: "early today" is brought to you by touch of gray mustache and beard. get the look you want. >> remember those hairdos? the mohawks? just ahead, colbert measures the drapes in letterman's studio, and james franco spills the beans about will kim and kanye's wedding. we've got that next. [ male announcer ] at the corner of "where you need us most"
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with five vital nutrients naturally found in healthy skin. where do i wear aveeno®? everywhere. aveeno® daily moisturizing lotion.. and try the body wash too. aveeno®. naturally beautiful results™. welcome back. the forecast isn't going to change much over the next couple days. we're still looking at rainy weather in the northwest once again, even snow at the highest elevations. california and arizona, you're dry. look at thursday, it doesn't change much. a little warmer in arizona. throughout the next five days, we're still looking at all the moisture in the northwest. and very little, if anything, in california. maybe a shower or two coming up in a couple days. >> so bill, good enough for some spring skiing for those of us in the northwest. maybe a smidgen? >> i'd have to look into that. >> half full? >> you're trying.
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entertainment news. justin bieber is looking to push back the trial date for one of his recent run-ins with the law. it's not the egging his neighbor's house. it's not the assaulting a toronto limo driver. it is his impaired driving and drag racing escapade in miami. it's that one. lawyers say they need more time to prepare his defense. drew berrymore welcomed her second baby girl into the world yesterday. the couple's rep says that frankie barrymore is healthy and happy. john bon jovi gave new emphasis to his song "who says you can't go home" yesterday. the rock star helped fund the almost $17 million housing project, the jbj soul homes include 55 units where low-income and formerly homeless will live. great, great idea. kim and kanye may have a sense of humor after all. appearing on "the view," james franco said he received a call from kanye west requesting that he and seth rogen perform their spoof for the "bound 2" music video for
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the couple's wedding in versailles. franco may have spilled the beans. kimye have yet to announce the location of their wedding. this could be the red herring. it will be one year until "pitch 2" hits the silver screen. fans have a reason to get excited. star rebel wilson tweeted this photo on the first day of rehearsal. last night on "the late show," david letterman told stephen colbert not to follow exactly in his footstepses. listen. >> i'm going to do whatever you have done. >> oh, no, no, no, you don't want to do that, no. >> really? no? it seems to have gone pretty well, dave. >> it's gone on. >> for many years. i'm richard lui. this is "early today," we hope just your first stop of the day here on nbc. oh! the name your price tool! you tell them how much you want to pay, and they help you find a policy that fits your budget.
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leading the news in "time," cowboys and indians descend on washington to protest pipeline. a coalition of ranchers, farmers and natives are staging protests competence the keystone excel pipeline on the national hall. the protests are complete with teepees, horses and a sacred fire that will burn for days. and "the washington post," the little dictator. north korea reveals kim jong-un's childhood photos. these never-before-seen pics of a young kim were showed at a concert to raging applause. an american in vietnam has been sentenced to death. state media there says that the man was convicted of heroin trafficking. the 41-year-old allegedly tried to carry more than two pounds of heroin onto a plane in june. a network that tracks nuclear tests is giving us some new
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information about explosions in space. according to documents released by the b-612explosions. four of those released more energy than the atomic bomb that leveled hiroshima. the nypd recently asking followers to share pictures of them with new york cops. take a look. the result not exactly what they had in mind perhaps. so what if food actually rained from the sky? maybe we could end world hunger, some might say. in slow motion, cue the dramatic music, comedian steve cardinal had an entire day's worth of food rain on his head. that's a lot of pasta. this was to raise money for action against hunger. broadcast on youtube. the contributions help to make therapeutic food kits. he doesn't eat very healthfully. that's what he eats in one day? >> that was a pretty good video. >> but the idea is good. >> the camera work.
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>> media attention and great camera work. chris brown's trial on an assault charge is scheduled to begin in washington. the singer and his bodyguard were arrested last october for allegedly punching a man who tried to photo bomb him. 26 years ago today, the beginning of the end for smoking on airplanes. >> this was the day a lot of smokers had had been dreading. >> as of today on the 23rd of april, there will be no smoking on any flights that are less than two hours. >> equal rights. >> this is wrong. this is not fair. i mean, we're just people. >> reporter: the new law comes with stiff penalties. try lighting one of these up in flight, and you could be socked with a fine of up to $1,000. >> 26 years ago. happy birthday to pro wrestler john cena, 37. george lopez, 53. valerie bertinelli, 54. i'm richard lui along with bill karins. for the entire team, thanks for watching "early today." have a very good wednesday.
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well good morning everyone. it is 4:30. lots to get to this morning. let's check the forecast. >> good morning. welcome back. temperatures this morning are chilly. but we will see a spring like finish to this wednesday and more rain comes into the picture as we head into your friday. today, good idea to do so today. lots to go in your forecast.

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