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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  April 20, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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going to happen. and we will see upper 70s to lower 60s. on this monday night, the mysterious death of a man dragged into police custody. how was his spinal cord nearly severed? tonight new video surfaces as officers are suspended in baltimore, a city on edge. chasing iran. u.s. war ships on the move tonight prepared to intercept a convoy of iranian ships suspected of carrying weapons to yemen. disaster at sea. a humanitarian crisis unfolding in the mediterranean. another rescue mission tonight as nearly a thousand people are presumed drowned on a desperate voyage for a better life. and a cancer blood test. a promising new way for doctors to find out if your cancer treatment is working. "nightly news" begins now.
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from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news." reporting tonight, lester holt. good evening. baltimore police are the latest to fall under the harsh national spotlight over the death of a suspect. a short time ago officials there released security video of the arrest of a 25-year-old man whose death from a partially severed spine has raised questions about police actions. like cell phone video, it shows 25-year-old freddie gray being taken into custody and placed in a police van a week ago. some time between this moment and his arrival at the police station gray's spine was nearly severed. but tonight police still can't say how. gray died yesterday. tonight, as the community demands answers, police are taking action. tom costello was on the story for us. >> tell the truth and stop the
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lies. freddie gray didn't have to die. >> reporter: for a second day in baltimore, a demand for answers into how 25-year-old freddie gray suffered a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody. it happened just after 8:40 a.m. on sunday, april 12th. >> get off me, yo. [ bleep ]. >> reporter: cell phone video provided by the victim's attorney purports to show officers arresting gray, then loading him into a van. police say at 8:42 a.m. mr. gray asked for an inhaler. and about 8:46 a.m., the van's driver radioed that gray was becoming irate. the van stopped and gray was placed in leg irons. at 8:59 a.m., the driver requested another officer come check on gray. and at 9:24 a.m. police called for paramedics who rushed him to the hospital where he remained in a coma until he died yesterday. >> our information is that he basically had his neck broken and his spine was almost completely severed. >> reporter: friends describe freddie gray as a jokester who grew up in a rough neighborhood but not someone who was violent. >> freddie was a nice
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person. it's sad he had to go out like that, what they did to him. >> reporter: this is only the most recent case of alleged police brutality here. a "baltimore sun" investigation found that over the past four years more than a hundred people have won court judgments or settlements related to police brutality or civil rights violations. today the mayor was deliberate in her comments. >> he received significant injuries and succumbed to those injuries. >> reporter: this could be homicide at the hands of police. >> we will go where the information takes us. >> reporter: late today baltimore police released video of the arrest from street surveillance cameras but they don't appear to capture the moment that mr. gray was injured. >> to mr. gray's family, i extend my condolences. to the citizens of baltimore, we will get better. >> reporter: police say that they were not wearing body cameras. they initiated the chase with mr. gray after they made eye contact with him and he took off. he had a switchblade on him, no guns, though, no drugs.
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they say they'll turn over the full investigative results to the state attorney next week. lester? tom costello, thank you. now to a potentially dicey situation playing out right now in the middle east where american war ships including an aircraft carrier sailing off the coast of yemen positioned to intercept a convoy of iranian freighters suspected of carrying weapons bound for yemen. the possible showdown comes at a sensitive time in american/iranian relations. jim miklaszewski is monitoring developments for us at the pentagon. >> reporter: the aircraft carrier "theodore roosevelt" arrived today in the north arabian sea and, along with seven other u.s. war ships, is prepared for a possible high seas standoff with iran. senior defense officials tell nbc news that a convoy of freighters suspected of carrying weapons appears headed from iran to yemen to arm iranian-backed houdi rebels engaged in all-out war with yemeni military forces. the convoy is escorted by war ships from the iranian navy and revolutionary guard. in addition to the u.s., a coalition of war ships from
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egypt, saudi arabia and united arab emirates have a blockade in place to interdict any armed shipments. a military confrontation between the u.s. and iran could not come at a worse time, as the u.s. is prepared to lift sanctions against iran if iran halts its nuclear weapons program. there's also fear that any miscalculation by military commanders on either side could lead to deadly consequences. >> test the waters too far, shots across the bow end up actually damaging a ship or killing someone, and we can see how these things could spin out of control. >> reporter: officials here suspect or at least hope the iranians are playing a game of cat and mouse, that the suspected arms shipment is only some kind of diversion or a test of u.s. resolve, but nobody's taking any chances. according to one defense official, the iranians are watching us and we're watching them. lester. >> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon, thanks.
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we've seen it before, migrants risking it all for a new life, but what is playing out in the mediterranean right now may be beyond anything seen there before. europe-bound migrants from the middle east and africa facing death and tragedy on a massive scale. two major accidents in the past 48 hours, one today off the coast of greece, the other late saturday off libya's coast that may have claimed nearly a thousand lives. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel reports tonight from the italian island of lampadusa. >> reporter: as the first bodies recovered off libya's coast were brought ashore in malta, disaster struck again, further east. a ship packed with syrian refugees ran aground off the greek island of rhodes. at least three were killed but more than 90 rescued. many dragged from the surf close to shore. those lost off libya this weekend had no such luck. their ship sank in deep water at night miles from shore. only a few dozen survivors have been found.
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a tiny fraction of the 950 one survivor claims were on board. survivors say when this cargo ship approached, many thought they were being rescued and rushed to one side to be seen. their boat capsized, reportedly with hundreds locked below. just last week 400 migrants drowned when their ship capsized off libya. why so many now? conflicts in iraq, syria and libya and across sub-saharan africa are pushing people to escape economic and political hardship. many are running for their lives. >> people fleeing in desperation aren't fleeing out of choice, they're fleeing because their lives depend on them finding safety. >> reporter: with libya in chaos, its coast has become a springboard for migrants desperate to escape to europe. thousands of them. this past week alone some 1500 have died trying. equal to the number who perished on the
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"titanic." nearly 10,000 migrants have been rescued from the mediterranean just this week. and today there were two more distress calls from boats in trouble. and tonight, aid workers say around a hundred migrants rescued from a rubber dinghy are being brought to safety on this small italian island. lester? >> richard engel tonight. thanks, richard. six men from minnesota are in federal custody tonight planning to go to syria to fight with isis. they're all somali americans ages 19 to 21. four were arrested in minneapolis, two others were picked up in san diego where investigators say they were trying to get fake documents to get into mexico then make their way to syria. tonight millions are keeping a close eye on severe weather with tornado watches in effect across nine states in the east, the threat of severe storms from the northeast all the way down to the gulf. meteorologist dylan dreyer is monitoring it for us. dylan, what are we looking at here? >> reporter: there are major east coast
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cities under these tornado watches tonight. that includes philadelphia, washington, d.c., baltimore. it stretches all the way back down into atlanta. the situation is setting up like this. we have this cold front moving into some very unstable air. so even after midnight tonight we're still looking at the chance of some strong storms, then by tomorrow morning mainly just rain across new england. but in this orange area, that there's an enhanced chance of seeing not only isolated tornadoes but also large hail, damaging wind gusts up near 70 miles per hour and also dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning. if you're anywhere up and down the east coast tonight, you want to make sure to stay tuned to your local nbc station as these storms fire up. be on the alert. >> dylan, thanks very much. dangerous weather being blamed for a horrific pile-up on a highway in wyoming. this chain reaction crash involving as many as 40 vehicles including a tanker carrying hazardous material that erupted in flames. authorities say dense fog and slushy conditions played a role. tonight battle lines are being drawn
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in the critical 2016 state of new hampshire where hillary clinton arrived today to a slew of questions about her family's charitable foundation and where some of its money is coming from. nbc's andrea mitchell is on the trail. >> reporter: trying to run from a spring storm, hillary clinton ran into a political storm. her coffee klatch campaign sidetracked by campaigns about foreign donations to her family foundation. in a new book "clinton cash" by a conservative author. republican candidate rand paul talked about it this weekend in new hampshire. >> there's a lot going on. there's more coming, too. the clinton foundation has been involved in a lot of things, so have their donors. there's going to be a lot of conflict of interest. >> reporter: today "the new york times" wrote about peter schweizer's upcoming book claiming foreign entities hired bill clinton to speak and
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donated to the family foundation to get favorable treatment from hillary clinton's state department. in new hampshire today she try to brush it off. >> well, we're back into the political season and, therefore, we will be subjected to all kinds of distraction and attacks, and i'm ready for that. i know that that comes, unfortunately, with the territory. >> reporter: the campaign says the example cited of free trade agreement for colombia and reconstruction for haiti were obama priorities not clinton's. but before she was confirmed as secretary of state, the white house insisted the clinton foundation dispose all foreign money for ethics approval while she held office, although in one case, algeria, it didn't. and bill clinton signed an agreement to disclose his speaking fees. hillary clinton resigned from the foundation when she announced for the white house, and last week after criticism the foundation said it will no longer accept money from arab countries which discriminate against women. lester? >> andrea mitchell, andrea, thanks. tonight marks five years since one of the worst environmental
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disasters in u.s. history. the 2010 explosion at the deepwater horizon oil rig which killed 11 crew members and eventually spilled 210 million gallons of oil into the gulf of mexico. as our chief environmental correspondent anne thompson reports, some whose livelihoods depend on those waters still haven't fully recovered. >> reporter: the waters of bay adams are where his grandparents pulled up oysters. >> one, two, three, four, four good-sized oysters on one shell. >> reporter: but this family business is only harvesting a third of what it did before the spill. >> they used to spawn every year but there's no survival. >> reporter: not since bp's crude and its dispersants coated these waters. you've had one good week in five years? >> one good week of spawn. >> reporter: before the oil spill public reefs proud half of louisiana's oysters, up to 7 million pounds a year. in 2011 some 2 million and under a million in '13. five years ago it was
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what he feared. >> like putting a band-aid on a big cut. >> reporter: this is what p & j oyster company looked like in 2010. and this is what it looks like today. >> oyster water runs through my veins. >> reporter: he says this 139-year-old institution is down to five people. >> we're running on a wing and a prayer. >> i care deeply about the gulf. >> reporter: in commercials and interviews, bp insists the environmental and economic impacts were short lived and limited. >> is the gulf entirely back? we have never said so, but we believe the gulf has made a strong recovery. >> reporter: there are fishermen back on captain james peters' charter boat, but he still has questions. >> what damage was done? you know, i just don't feel like that's a priority in anybody's eyes. >> reporter: but like the gulf itself, the people are resilient. do you ever lose hope? >> no, ma'am. you know, just looking at this right here gives you hope. >> reporter: bp, which owned the well, has paid $30 billion in
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claims, cleanup, response and restoration, and there's more to come. lester? >> anne thompson, louisiana, tonight, thanks. another milestone to mark today. this one in boston where the city held its second marathon since the terrorist attack on the race in 2013 claimed three lives along the course. it was a chilly, wet day for a run, but it couldn't stop the crowds from coming out. a number of survivors of the bombing ran in today's marathon. still ahead tonight, fighting cancer. the chemo, the radiation, but how do patients and doctors really know if they're winning that fight? in a moment we'll tell you about what some are calling a cancer blood test. a promising new way doctors can tell if your treatment is working. the big change announced tonight coming soon to a family dinner favorite. we'll be right back.
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for patients in the fight against cancer, the wait to find out if the treatment they're getting is actually working can be an excruciating process. undergoing scans or painful surgical biopsies. and that's precisely what makes a new cancer blood test such welcome news. nbc's rehema ellis has our report. >> reporter: diagnosed with lung cancer four years ago, mary susan sabini knew something was wrong when training for a marathon. a nonsmoker, she had a cough she couldn't get rid of. >> it's very scary when you hear that you have a diagnosis. >> reporter: even scarier wondering if her chemotherapy is working or should
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doctors try something else. now this 55-year-old elementary school teacher benefits from an extraordinary new blood test that some are calling a liquid biopsy. >> because it's noninvasive, you can do it every three weeks, and you get confirmation that your treatment is working. >> reporter: how does it actually work? >> when tumors are in a patient's body, they -- small amounts of them die and they shed dna into the bloodstream. and we now have very sensitive techniques for detecting those shards of dna. >> reporter: the studies so far have been small and limited to particular cancers, including lung, colon and blood cancer. still, doctors are encouraged. a new study published this month involved only 126 lymphoma patients, but it found that the blood biopsy could detect cancer
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coming back more than three months before they were noticeable on ct scans. >> i think it's a potentially major diagnostic breakthrough for our patients. >> reporter: and the goal one day for families and patients -- a blood test detecting cancer cells even before they become a tumor. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. today a government panel that's been attacked for its controversial mammogram recommendation clarified its advice for women with an average risk of breast cancer. the panel says women over 50 should get a mammogram every other year. women 40 to 49 should decide what they want in conjunction with their doctor based on their health history. when we come back, it's been called a real life version of a house from this disney classic, but now its fate is up in the air.
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a staple on the american dinner table is about to change its recipe in a major way. starting in january in the u.s., kraft says its famous mac and cheese will no longer use artificial preservatives and
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dyes, which give it that distinct orangey color. instead kraft says it will use natural spices for coloring. it was marketed as a designer name at affordable prices. but it only took a matter of hours for the lilly pulitzer collection at target to sell out. now some of those items are popping up on ebay at a huge markup, naturally. like this dress that retailed for $34, now the starting bid is listed at 225 bucks. at a big round of bidding under way in seattle tonight for a tiny little house being compared to the one in the movie "up." for years home to a woman named edith macefield, who refused to move or sell, turning down a million dollar offer even as a developer built a giant shopping center all around her. now, seven years since she passed, the house is up for auction, but there's no asking price, and the highest bidder might not be the one who gets the house. the winning buyer needs to guarantee that either the home or some sort of memorial will remain on the plot of land to remember the woman who refused to budge in a classic david versus
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goliath battle. when we come back here tonight, the amazing technology putting a race car driver back on the track after a tragedy.
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the 49ers versus the santa clara youth league. >> and the high-tech glasses that could change the way you drive.
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some of the loudest cheers at a street race course yesterday in long beach, california, were reserved for driver sam schmidt who gave the circuit a test run before the race. the remarkable moment when you consider the very real fear that he would never be in the driver's seat ever again. here's nbc's harry smith. >> reporter: on a practice track in southern california, a modified corvette races down the straightaway. behind the wheel is former indycar driver sam schmidt. schmidt handles the car like a seasoned pro. remarkable because sam schmidt is a quadriplegic. >> driving this car made me feel normal. i'm just in control where i had not been in so long. >> reporter: schmidt broke his spine in a terrible crash 15 years ago. wheelchair bound ever since, he was surprised when technology company arrow electronics contacted him and wondered if he wanted
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to drive again. >> i thought they're out of their minds, but we might as well give it a shot. >> reporter: but you said, it's got to go over 100 miles an hour. >> yeah, that raised some eyebrows. >> reporter: thus began a journey into the future. arrow built a car that schmidt can steer using only head movements, a mouthpiece controls throttle and brake. last year sam drove the corvette around the oval at indianapolis at a speed of nearly 100 miles per hour. >> like walking your daughter down the aisle. it's a huge moment in life that i will never forget. >> reporter: the technology is similar to what's used in video games and animated films. but it's never been used to do something like this before. >> piece of cake. >> reporter: schmidt knows he's blessed to even be alive. but this has given him a new sense of freedom. >> basically having to rely on other people to do 99% of what i do, you know, the ability to get in that car and take control and do whatever i want to do is just unbelievable. >> reporter: sam told us his dream now?
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to get his driver's license again. harry smith, nbc news, fontana, california. that will do it for us on this monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching, and good night. "nbc bay area news" starts now. >> 49ers have not kept their promises. i want to make sure going forward no one is hood-winked in the future. >> a field fight. one of santa clara's most valuable parcels of land is in dispute. some are blaming the 49ers for a broken promise. i'm raj mathai. i'm jessica aguirre. a dispute between the 49ers and youth soccer leagues over a field next to levi's stadium.
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some are calling it a land gram. robert honda joins us from the soccer complex. it's expected to erupt at the city council meeting. >> the 49ers say the team would like to replace the 11 acres of field with a sin thetsynthetic surface to accommodate other events and vip parking. the plan leaves others in limbo. zachary coaches a sporting team in the santa clara youth soccer league. one of many groups that use the youth soccer complex. the neighborhood league thought the 49ers made promises when it was building levi stadium to protect it. >> they have an agreement to relocate us and find us a new place, new facility for all of our young kids. >> reporter: bob lang says the proposal first

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