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tv   News Nation  MSNBC  March 22, 2011 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT

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the latest on the only confirmed american death in japan. and thearents of a rutgers student who committed suicide after police say he was taunted for being gay don't want harsh punishment for those accused. and could it be true? does cbs want charlie sheen back on his t ho >>anhepo enti's ltwnthela yi on to the streets of new york. what sent chris brown into a frenzy? i'm tamron hall. the newsmation is following the latest developments in operation odyssey dawn in libya. crew members are back safe in american hands after the f-15e fighter jet crashed overnight. video of the wreckage. two airmen ejected after the plane developed mechanical problems. the fighter jet was on a strike
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mission against a libyan missile site. the on-scene commander of the international coalition for libya told a news conference, civilians are under attack by moammar gadhafi's forces in misratah and libya's third largest city. the admiral say the coalition is, quote, considering all objections but did not elaborate. among the coalition targets hit todayç libyan naval base in tripoli. looking at the destruction after bombarded. much more from nbc's jim miklaszewski -- jim maceda in tripoli. >> reporter: let's start with the american f-15 eagle that happened to the east of benghazi, about 24 miles, and it landed in a rebel-controlled area in a u.s.-friendly area, luckily for two pilots who successfully parachuted from that plane after it crashed. it was completely destroyed.
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two pilots landing in a field and were picked up by local rebels forces and were brought to a safe place where they are now in u.s. hands. ajdabiya is a town that we're talking more and more about, it's becoming the battlefield for the future of the country. it remains in gadhafi hands. the rebels are on the outskirts of that town in the east. they have tried on a number of occasions to penetrate the town. they've been pushed back each time by pro-gadhafi forces. rebels have pleaded for more air strikes to do the job. there have been a number of coalition strikes but not enough so far to seriously degrade the pro-gadhafi forces. on misrata, another town active today, like yesterday, and the day before, held by rebels still. the pro-gadhafi forces went in with tanks, artillery, snipers,
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nine more killed there. the no-fly zone active in the east has yet to become as active in places in the west like over misrata. gadhafi and his forces are trying to take advantage of that and consolidate their gains there. we've returns from the site in tripoli last night. this was at the tripoli naval base. we were shown by our government of handlers some astounding destruction in a warehouse that looks like a -- looked likeç it could have been a repair facility with a lot of military materiel, including four multiple rocket launch ofs with massive weapons and weapon pods pointing toward the sea that had been destroyed through a pinpoint accuracy by these cruise missiles. we were told by libyans there it was not a serious target, however. they said this was a training
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facility for students learning about the military. jim maceda, nbc news, reporting from tripoli. >> thank you, jim. an ohio congressman, dennis kucinich, pushing back of u.s. involvement in libya. he plans to offer up a measure that would defund u.s. efforts there. this follows a series of complaints who say president obama is waging war without congressional consent. others say the decision to attack in libya is necessary. >> there's always risks involved here, but to have gadhafi remain in power and carry out the kind of brutality that he's already shown he's capable of, i think, is unacceptable. >> and senator john mccain has been critical of the president for not acting sooner in libya. meantime, a new cbs news poll out today shows mixed approval ratings on the president's handing of the mission in libya.
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43% of republicans and independents approve while 66% of democrat as prove. joins on the phone by barbara lee of california. congresswoman, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. glad to be with you today. >> 66% of democrats approve of the president's handling but you have questions of your own. you're not fully behind the action here. what is your issue with the way this was handled? >> of course i'm concerned, first of all that any military engagement in libya or anywhere in the world should have beenç debated and voted on by congress. we all know there's a serious crisis in libya. but the united states military intervention could really exacerbate the humanitarian crisis, it could heighten instability in the region. i think whenever -- i think the public naturally is ambivalent about this because there's no
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way anyone wants to see innocence human beings being killed. point is the public should have a right to voice opinion through members of congress. the constitution requires that. and so i am extremely concerned about the bombing of libya, and i believe that the united states must immediately shift to end the bombing and allow the arab and the coalition partners to move forward with our -- the type of logistical support and other humanitarian assistance we should provide. >> the constitutional authority, the obama administration's team says that there's a -- they were r. distinguishing between a full war and limited military operation which the president reiterated yesterday while in chile. >> i have to respectfully disagree. i think the public sees missiles being fired into libya. i think we recognize there is a
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potential for a protracted civil war in libya. and in fact, when we look around the world, there are similar circumstances of unrest, such as on the democratic republic of the congo and yemen and elsewhere. we can't afford to continue to rely upon the deployment, more guns, bombs, possibly troops. i hope not. i believe the president when he says he does not want to send ground troops into libya. but this -- if this continues, we don't knowç where it's goin. we don't know what the exit strategy is. i haven't seen one. we don't know what the time frame is. of course the administration says it's a matter of days. i think we should begin to extricate ourselves. >> the white house, congresswoman, says the president met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers before taking any action in libya. again, stressing the wores of
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the president yesterday around this time when he spoke at the news conference in chile, it is a humanitarian effort, this will not, according to military leaders, be an event of weeks. they hope it will be days. dennis kucinich wants to put out a vote on defunding the effort. would you support that? >> let me say, there's a big difference between the president meeting with leadership and the house and the senate versus a full debate by members of congress to make a decision whether or not to authorize the use of force or if you ask me, to declare a war, because whenever we put forth other human resources and the taxpayer dollars into firing missiles and into military engagements, we have to talk about is this a war or not? and so i believe that you know, the president was correct in talking to leadership but also a big mistake was made by not coming to the congress, to have a full debate on this.
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>> but it's unprecedented for a leader not to go to congress. we've seen this time and time again. >> new york it's not unprecedented but that does not mean that this is the correct way to proceed when you're going to commit guns and bombs and missiles and human lives into what could possibly turn into an all-out civil war. and i think it's very important that the public recognize that and insist on a debate. i mean, it's after the fact but i think that we need to be called back into congress and we need to have a serious discussion and debate aboutç this. and i'm very concerned about where this could lead. again, we have no exit strategy. we don't know how many days, how many weeks, we don't know what this means in terms of dollars.p as the third war. we're in iraq, we're in afghanistan. we can't afford to be in another
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costly war with no exit strategy. >> congresswoman barbara lee, your questions are being echoed by so many others today as we're in the third night of bombings there. i greatly appreciate you making time. thank you. >> glad to be with you. >> joining me now, "time" magazine deputy international editor bobby gauche. let's talk about what's happening on the ground. you have heavy artillery raining down on libya but this ragtag group of people, set aside the debate happening in congress regarding the constitution. the end game, possible stalemate, what do you see happening now in this third night as we pass it? >> what we have among the rebels is a mixture of professionals and amateurs. a small group of soldiers, military units, who defected from gadhafi very early on in this and surrounding them are a lot of young enthusiastic but essentially inexperienced and undisciplined soldiers. >> how are air strikes helping
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them? if they don't have it together, how is this helping them. >> it's simply helping them from being slaughtered because they were taking quite a heavy beating last week. all of the towns that they were initially able to gain they had lost, most of them, and they being driven back and back to benghazi and a likelihood a huge siege of ben benghazi with more than 500,000 team, could have been massive casualties. all theç prague operation is d preventing them from being slaughtered. >> richard engel's report last night. here what happens he reported. >> there are two groups of rebels, brian. there are the volunteers, the people without any military experience, and they seem to be heading to the front lines with limited success and there are the units from gadhafi's army that defected. today in tobruk we tried to find the commander ofne ho dectni.
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h ten tdaof noan encouraging sign. >> what do you make of the report from richard? >> as i said, this is an odd mixture of people. the commander taking the day off is certainly a disturbing sign but the fact that you have all of these volunteers who are willing to put lives on the line and go out there, that's the glass half-full. >> how much time ordinate and not heavily depend on the coalition forces led by the united states at this point? >> i don't think they have a also of time. the best hope now is for more defections. if the coalition continues to keep pressure on gadhafi, the hope is that other military commander who are currently loyal to him will make the calculation we need toch ls g he >>ob ghh,thky. still ahead -- body of the first american killed in the japan tsunami and earthquake has been found.
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we'll have her touching story. plus, workers hook up power lines to all six of the crippled reactors. but what does that mean? a live report. yemen's president says he'll step down at the end of the year but is it enough time to stop the fighting? (laughing through computer) good night, buddy. good morning, dad. (announcer) oreo. milk's favorite cookie.
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welcome back, everyone, to "news nation." the latest out of japan right now, workers have connected new power lines to all six reactors at the crippled nuclear plant. reactors do not have electricity yet and scientists are conducting the final checks on the equipment before flipping the switch, you might say. and damage to the cooling systems mean it could be days before they're back online. there's new anxiety over food safety. after japan halted sales of spinach and other greens from
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areas up to 160 miles from the plant, there are reports of elevated radiation levels in seawater near fukushima. officials are confirming more than 9,000 people lost their lives after the devastating earthquake and tsunami more than 12,000 people are again still missing. rescue crews in japan have found the body of a 24-year-old virginia woman, the first american known to have died in the disaster. taylor anderson taught english and died trying to help her young students. after the earthquake hit she waited for the kids whose parents had not shown up. minutes later the tsunami slammed into her çschool. >> she loved it. she loved the culture. she loved the people. she loved teaching japanese children. she was living her dream. >> taylor's family released a statement asking people to continue praying for the miss and everyone in japan. coming up -- former football legend lawrence taylor sentenced for having sex
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with an underaged prostitute. one step closer to announcing a run for the presidency. other news on potentials as well. >> we know what we need to do. where are the republicans running for president in 2012? ryan grimm from "the huffington post" is back live. what dyoseself dng teyodoet client comes in and they have a box. and inside that box is their financial life. people wake up and realize. "i better start doing something." we open up that box. we organize it. and we make decisions. we really are here to help you. they look back and think "wow. i never thought i could do this." but we've actually done it. [ male announcer ] visit ameriprise.com and put a confident retirement more within reach.
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january that killed six and injured 13 others, including the critical injury sustained by arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords. the testing is due to be completed by april 29th. former nfl star lawrence taylor has been sentenced to six months probation for having sex with a teenage prostitute. the ex-giants football star cut a plea deal. part of the deal to register as a sex offender. the parents of a rutgers student who committed suicide after allegedly being bullied are speaking out on the first time on share son's death. he killed himself six months ago after two fellow students used a webcam watch him have a sexual encounter with another man in the dorm room. now the clementes want his classmates prosecuted for invasion of privacy which they're charged with butthe cles
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important to prove this was not a college prank. the gop's crop of 2012 presidential hopefuls is boasting one top tier name announced and he did it yesterday in the form of an explorer to committee, that is, minnesota governor tim pawlenty. news of the campaign that may not happen that's grabbing the headlines. ron paul considers another bid for the white house with son tea party star rand paul also flirting with the idea of running to for the oval office. the younger paul says, quote the only decision i've made is i won't run against my dad. ryan grimm joins me live from washington washington, d.c., good to see you. we haven't had you on in a while. >> good to be back. >> you've got rand paul saying the only thing he's decidedç o he wasn't run against his dad.
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how do you categorize or explain what's going on with presidential hopefuls in the republican party? >> you certainly done want to split up the paul vote if you're ron or rand paul. if one of the two does get in, it's similar to 2008, where they -- ron paul was able to raise just an astounding amount of money. i think he raised $20 million in one quarter. what that does, that brings out a lot of passionate republican primary voters who don't necessarily agree with your mainstream chamber of commerce type of republican primary voter. so that could be an interesting dynamic, if rand paul does get into the campaign. >> let's talk about tim pawlenty. he's got this new, gritty ad. i heard someone compare it to the m&m ad that we saw played during the super bowl. he only announced an exploratory committee. you've got herman cane, buddy roamer, former louisiana
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governor who rachel madoff was defeated by david duke and tim pawlenty. newt gingrich waffling there. it's interesting, because you're looking for -- people are looking for the fire here and there seems to be a low, really low simmer, almost line crock pot simmer here. >> yeah, it's almost like, obama's lucky streak just continues. he had alan keyes as his opponent when he ran for the senate and then john mccain and sarah palin. even his primary condition was knocked out by a sex scandal. so far there is no serious candidate that has emerges to challenge phim. i think we ought to think of anybody who is saying as they're not running as they're running. somebody like mitt romney, he's running. if he announces he's not going to run, he's dropping out of the race. for now, he's obviously running. he's hiring people, fund-raise, traveling the country, doing all of the things a candidate çdoe
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>> even if rand paul does not run, he wants the tea party to be a major voice and whoever emerges as their candidate. a great pleasure having you on. see you soon. coming up -- an epic meltdown, is it for another star? this time it is not charlie sheen. we've got the scoop on chris brown and what it has to do with rihanna. tea party activist and wife of supreme court justice clarence thomas has a new job. we'll tell you who's hired guinea thomas. my cream is what makes stouffer's fettuccini alfredo so delicious. my peppers and broccoli... they really make the dish. cream is really what makes it. i think you'll find it's the vegetables. the crunch... the texture. deliciouy rich.decious. fantastic! flavoul. [ cow moo] hey, maybe we could... work together?
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welcome back to "news nation." offer, rejected. yemen's president says he'll resign next year but opposition forces say it's not soon enough. what it's like inside a nuclear power plant. nbc gets rare access to one plant in louisiana. we will show you the video. plus -- major çmeltdown. chris brown, apparently flips
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out after a morning show appearance. what question reportedly sent him off? first, the latest headlines out of libya. the on-scene commander of the international coalition for libya told a news conference this afternoon civilians are under attack by moammar gadhafi's forces in misrata. the last rebel stronghold in western libya. the admiral said the coalition is, quote, considering all options but did not elaborate. despite coalition air strikes, gadhafi's forces are battling for a key rebel-held city in eastern libya. heavy fighting and shelling is reported there. both american crew members are safe after at f15e fighter jet crashed near benghazi in eastern libya overnight. the two airmen ejected after their plane apparently developed mechanical problems. the fighter jet was on a strike mission against a libyan missile site. half of those surveyed support president obama's
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handling of the situation in libya. the cbs news poll found 50%ise,r on her show last night, rachel lv ser power, d how presideaito as a world leader, as a country capable of throwing our weight around when weeehenet itealynhe y tke epac and ke sortof dehioralew tou ale atnef he coeqnc oth elime, th self-concept, is that we end up feeling that need to throw our weight around quite a lot. we go to war all the time. big wars, little wars, medium sized wars, wars, america as a country fights a lot ofç wars. >> the participation of american forces in beirut will, again,
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be, for a limited period. but i've concluded, there is no alternative to their returning to lebanon if that country's to have a chance to stand on its on feet. >> grenada, we were told, was a friendly island paradise for tourism. well, it wasn't. it was a souviet colony. we got there just in time. at 7:00 this evening, eastern time, air and naval forces of the united states launched a series of strikes against the headquarters terrorist facilities and military assets that support moammar gadhafi's subversive activities. >> two hours ago, allied air forces began an attack on military targets in iraq and kuwait. these attacks continue as i speak. >> let me say at the outset, america's role will not be about fighting a war. it will be about helping the people of bosnia to secure their
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own peace agreement. our mission will be limited, focused, and under the command of an american general. >> on my orders, the united states military has begun strikes against al qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the taliban regime in afghanistan. my fellow citizens, at this hour, american and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger. >> you know, those were just the ones they announced. we did those chronologically, starting with reagan in 1982. presidents making oval office announcements about u.s. wars, about u.s. military interventions. some of them amounting to small wars, some of them amounting to very large wars. now that the united states has embarked on libya, i'd love to show you the current president's oval office address on the
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subject, but there isn't one. president obama did make a public statement on saturday afternoon that we had started that military intervention in libya but he did so from the confines of a convention center in brazil. eight years to the day that george w. bush stared unsteadily into the camera and announced the iraq invague, president obama announced his own military intervention but pointedly declined the opportunity to do that in a way that u.s. presidents usuallydo pridt am tinal sts ctismromheitov thpa few days r not canceling his trade visit to latin america as a result of the military action in libya. of course the white house knew that crit sficism would come. but the decision to forgo the chest thumping commander in chief theat that starts with the military intervention of any kind that in itself is a fascinating and blunt demonstration of how much this presidencies not like that of
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george w. bush. >> that, of course, was msnbc's rachel maddow last night. you can see her show 9:00 p.m. eastern time. michael smerconish, also an msnbc contributor. you also spoke with congressman ron paul. a lot going on. i want to talk to you, first, michael, about the poll, 50% approve of president obama's handling of libya. you heard the dwlash rachel had to say on her show comparing the president to others in the past. what do you make of her numbers and the thoughts? >> i think the mixed read is similar to what i'm getting from telephone callers on my radio program today. to rachel's point about the president not canceling his trip i would say it suits the objective of the white house that he is away and that if he were at home i would thinkç i would be suspicious on their part of scheduling a quick trip to send him out of the oval office. here's why, it fits with the
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mantra that we are not in the lead on this. i don't know how convincing it is, but that's what they're going to great lengths to try to convince people of, that we are a team member and that we are not the captain of the team. >> you don't buy that argument? >> any time the u.s. military is involved we have a preem nantz posture, the african command center is calling the shots so far and we have yet to hand it off. the perception, no matter what's said by the president or secretary of state, is that the u.s. is in control of this operation. i mean, i understand why the president is trying to do this but there's a also of reluctance in the country because of the cost. not the least of which is weather we can afford at the time when we're $14 trillion in debt to incur this battle. >> and it's interesting, there was a debate earlier today on "morning joe," a conversation when we get involved and when we don't and that's in addition to the cost. when do you draw the line? with that said you those who counter and say, listen, we were
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day as way perhaps from seeing gadhafi crush the rebel there and might have seen thousands or hundreds of people killed as a result and then what would be the conversation? >> you know, you made reference to my conversation a few minutes ago with congressman ron paul. this is one of the thing his said to me, there was not a case prompt to the american people that the circumstances justified american involvement. we've all been told that the forces seeking to overthrow gadhafi were being subject to possible slaughter. but did we see evidence of that taking place? i guess someone would respond and say we shouldn't wait for it to take place before we intervene. >> we are still waiting, hopefully we'll be able to play our audience a clip of your interview with congressman paul. in the meantime you have senator mccain, michael, on the "today" show this morning, and he, again, a person who is pushing for thereç to be a no-fly zone pushing for action, but still
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critical of the president. you know, you can't win for losing sometimes. >> tamron, there's a certain group among us, i don't know whether john mccain falls into that category, but a certain group among us, they want to know what side of the fence that president obama is on so they can choose the other team. no doubt that's gotten out of control. there are a lot of critics of what the president has done to me who are the same people if he did nothing would be saying he's a wimp and they'd be questioning his manhood. >> you know, unfortunately, we were not able to turn around that sound with congressman paul but hopefully we'll talk much more with what he had to say to you a short time ago. we want to know what you think, do you approve of president obama's handling of the situation? text one for yes, two for no to 622639, message and data rates may apply. is charlie sheen returning
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to tv after his antics? reports that cbs wants him back. did charlie sheen win this one? courtney hazlett has the scoop. here are some things we thought you should know. presidents, politicians and celebrities came together to honor former h.w. bush last night. former presidents carter, clinton and george w. bush on hand as points of light institute honored the first president bush in his role for promoting volunteerism. >> thank you all very much. i want to particularly thank the other presidents that are here for grateful to president carter, president clinton, president bush and everyone else that participated in this. those who generously gave to make this a big successful evening. >> by the way, the event will air on nbc march 28thth. 4zm%uát(áq" from a hospital in e
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after falling in ill. she's in litry to mark the anniversary of italian reunification. clarence thomas' wife ginni thomas is joining the media. she will work as special correspondent for the daily caller. over the past few years she's become outspoken advocate for the tea party. [ male announcer ] this is james. the morning after the big move starts with back pain... and a choice. take advil now... and maybe up to 4 in a day. or, choose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. smart move. ♪ smart move. how are you getting to a happier place? running there? dancing there? how about eating soup to get there?
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locals?ç welcome back to "news nation." yemen's embattled president a key ally of the united states, announced he would step down at the end of the year but protester say it's not good enough. tens of thousands of demonstrators packs the streets of the capital again. protesters have surged since riot police opened fire on an anti-government rally last friday. ron allen joins us cairo on the phone. in addition to libya, ron, it is yemen that so many experts say we need to be watching developments happening in that country. >> reporter: indeed. that is a place where the united states has a very, very keen interest in what's going on because it's a very active and very threatening al qaeda affiliate that's there that's been linked to a number of plots in the united states, including the failed christmas day underware bomber plot a couple of years back. that is the american concern in the chaos al qaeda might thrive
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there that that country. there is chaos. the president, president saleh, went on tv today and he urged the plmilitary to back him and true to their oath and defend the security of the nation. a number of top military leaders, generals, defected to the protester side. today the president sent an open invitation to leaders of the youth movement opposing him to come in for an open dialogue. i would think both of those gestures are going to be met with a flat rejection and please leave now, leave yesterday. the protests continue. the turning point in this situation after a month-long protest, probably happened friday when there were 50 people massacred in the streets by government forces, by government snipers. that's what forces a number of generals to come to the other side. since then, support for the president seem to be deteriorating by the hour and continuing more so today.
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back to you. >> ron, regarding the military and the defections, there is a divide even within the military, though. >> reporter: there are reports of stand-offs and confrontations between militaryç units in the streets and around the capital today squaring off essentially. the military's divided. loyalties divided. the defensemen said that the military's supporting the president. earlier top generals including one of the most influential generals and ally of the president said, everybody's supporting me, or come and support me. it's a real muddled and chaotic situation that's very dangerous. and as i said at the top of this a concern to america because of al qaeda's presence there. >> thank you, ron, with the latest on what's happening with yemen. update on two stars troubled but maybe on the comeback, at hee least of one of them, charlie and a meltdown of chris brown.
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courtney hazlett, good to see you. let's start with charlie sheen. it's unbelievable if it is true, but there are reports he could be going back to work after everything he's done. >> i'm going to take a hard line on this story and say the chances of this happening are slim to none. it might be true that somebody has offered charlie sheen his job back but the issue is, people actually write charlie sheen's checks, that would be the people from warner bros., have not offered charlie sheen his job. >> what about less moonves -- >> les moonves counts for something. i've spoken with cbs and warner bros., comments on the record are no comment. sources say, yes, we listened to les moonves, sure, his vote counts for something. however they are moving forward with the luawsuit. i it's going to take moving mountains, in other words to get warner brothers to say we're going to put the show back on the air. charlie sheen, you've got your
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job back, we've got one speed, go, i don't think that's going to happen. charlie sheen's going back to the show. >> he's going back on television. >> that show. >> you heard it here. i'm not going with it. >> the other story, chris brown, i saw the picturesç online. he's melted down again. >> he's had a complete meltdown again. he was on another morning show, where he was asked about his lawsuit with rihanna and what happened with his life after that, he was not happy about this. >> on "good morning america" questioned by robin roberts. >> several sorts approached chris beforehand about this saying would it be okay if we asked you this. chris brown reportedly consented to that. after his appearance he went back to the dressing room, broke a window. >> glass fell down. >> tore his shirt off, pictured on streets of new york without his shirt. >> angry. >> it's a disaster. chris brown is pretending like it didn't happen. he's been on twitter talking about his album as if it's
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another release day. his people have no comment. what six plus hours after this indent happened. i don't think you can pretend this one away. i don't think we can pretend this person with obvious anger issues is behaving in a way that's anyway responsible. >> logon to scoop.todayshow.com or be a fan of the scoop on for bettutrition. that's what they do with great grains cereal. they steam and bake the actual whole grain while the other guy's flake is more processed. mmm. great grains. the whole whole grain cereal.
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welcome back to "news nation." we are back with results of our text sur vase question. do you approve of president obama's handling of the situation in libya? so far, 87% of you say yes. 13% of you say no. remember, you can text one for yes, two to no, to the number 622639, message and data rates may apply. we'll bring you the final number tomorrow. the crippled nuclear plant in japan, many wondering if a similar nuclear crisis could happen here in the u.s. which
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currently has 104 plants. be in's tom costello got a very rare, behind the scenes look at one of the nuclear facilities. he has the exclusive story from louisiana. >> reporter: hi, tamron. that's the reactor core right behind me in that containment building. to demystify nuclear power and emphasize how safe it is in the view of the industry, we were given tremendous access here. we saw the control room. also the cement casing around the nuclear core. we saw the pool that holds the radioactive spent fuel rods. the nuclear plant single-handedly cranks out 10% of louisiana's power. getting inside requires passing through layers of security. then, through massive water-tight doors plents to keep the worst of the mississippi out. hurricane and floodwaters 30 feet above sea level. once inside our first stop was the control room that monitors everything that happens inside
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the reactor, cooling pumps and the pool holding spent radioactive fuel. we're the first tv crew ever allowed in the control room here. the concern has been they don't want to do anything to distract operators behind the glass. they're under strict instructions to pay no attention to us. >> what they are doing is the most important thing that we do onnite right now, which is closely monitoring the reactor. >> reporter: in the u.s. there are two types of nuclear reactors, boiling water reactors, the type used in japan, pressurize the water reactors like thisç one. pressurized water reactors, water is pumped to the core where it's heated, flowed to a stem generator where it creates lech trelectricity. boiling water reactor steam is radioactive. enclosed in two inches of steel and three inches of concrete sits the nuclear core. then, up a long, narrow flight
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of stairs given unprecedented access to the massive pool that holds every spent nuclear fuel rod used at this plants, 345,000. this is it. 25 years of spent fuel rods are resting right now in 360,000 gallons of water. . the heat from the rods keeps the water at 90 degrees. up here, 23 feet of water between me and the rods, the risk of radiation exposure is near zero. keeping them submerged in water is critical. >> if we lost cooling to the water it would take about three days for that spent fuel pool to heat up to boiling and it would take 18 days before that would boil down to the point where we would be exposing the fuel. >> reporter: that's the situation in japan, where the backup systems were destroyed by the tsunami. but this plant insists it has multiple backup systems to keep power and water flowing. during hurricane katrina, it ran
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for five days of diesel generators stored at reinforces concrete bunkers, giving time for the electric grid to come back up. if it's done right, there is little risk, but we have to make sure it's done right. >> reporter: these radioactive spent fuel rods are this year going to be moved out of that pool and into cement tasks where they are supposed to be able to stay for a thousand years or even more. to give you a sense of the radiation expose sure here, it's here,ç minimal, if not nonexistent. we were throughout the building, in the pool area, right over those spent nuclear fuel rods, and our dosimeters read zero. back to you. >> that does it for this tuesday edition of "news nation." i'm tamron hall. martin bashir is up next. [ robin ] quality and reliability are more than words here.
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