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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  March 29, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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officials. he called yesterday's u.s. show of force reckless, b-2 stealth bombers in exercises over south korea and said the time had come to, quote, settle accounts with the u.s. state television reported that kim had ordered his forces on standby to strike the u.s., south korea, guam and hawaii. in one photo targets appear to include austin, texas. experts doubt he has the ability to hit the u.s. but they fear a provocation here in the yellow sea disputed waters where south korean ferries skirt around north korean territory. baengnyeong island is home to 5,000 south korean civilians and many soldiers. it sits just ten miles from the border. kim jong-un, seen recently peering at this island through binoculars, threatened to turn it into a sea of flames. so he was on that island there? >> yes. >> reporter: does that worry you?
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this man has lived here for 49 years. he's heard the threats before but never like this. the island is a fortress lined with fencing and mine fields. the fortifications stretch all the way down the coast here. 30 foot wide wall and on top layers of razor wire. locals say the army is tense. a network of underground bomb shelters is being made ready. these are all over the island and have been freshly stocked up with supplies. still most islanders seem determined to stay while keeping a nervous eye on their neighbors to the north. in spite of all the rhetoric against the u.s., it's places like this which are most vulnerable. but any local skirmish or miscalculation could easily escalate. brian? >> ian williams in south korea tonight just over the north korean border, as you saw. let's talk more with our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, with us from our washington newsroom tonight. andrea, you've been following
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this back-and-forth for years. and again in plain english as we posed at the top of the broadcast, doesn't it make a huge difference between figuring out whether he's serious or not, this 28-year-old? >> exactly. that's the problem, brian. because the real danger area is that you have basically a man-child with a finger on nuclear weapons. he has to prove himself to some in his own military, and he's only in his late 20s. he was made a four-star general and president overnight of a nuclear nation that is hermetically sealed. he doesn't know much about how the world works. that's why we saw him in ian's piece today meeting with his generals in front of a map showing u.s. cities that he couldn't possibly target, but clearly this is for domestic reasons. the real worry is miscalculation, and you've got a newly installed south korean woman president, their first woman leader, and she will be forced to respond. and that's the real problem we've got. their army, and we are faced off against them.
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and there could be a new state. >> 28,000 americans in uniform tonight in south korea. andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom. andrea, thanks. back in this country, a major health scare for thousands of dental patients in oklahoma. 64-year-old scott harrington has been an oral and facial surgeon in tulsa for decades, but tonight, many of his current and former patients are living in fear of what they may have been exposed to, hepatitis, perhaps even hiv, in an office that investigators say made them physically sick to visit. our report tonight from nbc's gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: oklahoma health officials are calling this dental clinic a perfect storm for infection. it's where joyce baylor says she had a tooth pulled a year and a half ago. >> it's frightening. it's scary. you don't know if there's anything wrong, and i've been wondering. >> reporter: today the state health department sent letters to about 7,000 patients who had visited the clinic over the past six years. urging them to get tested for hepatitis and hiv.
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>> it's certainly unnerving to know that a dental office was practicing in this way. >> reporter: in a 17-count complaint, the board of dentistry accuses dr. scott harrington, seen here in an earlier photo, of being a menace to public health after one of his patients tested positive for hepatitis c. inspectors say his clinic had rusty equipment, illegally allowed dental assistants to perform i.v. sedation and reuse needles and drug vials. according to the complaint, one of those vials expired 20 years ago. and a device used to sterilize instruments had not been tested in at least six years. >> he said, i don't handle that. talk to my assistants. sterilization questions, i don't handle that. talk to my assistants. >> reporter: tonight the tulsa clinic is closed. the centers for disease control is consulting on the case, and neither dr. harrington nor his attorney have responded to calls from nbc news. >> the likelihood that someone will actually become sick from this particular exposure in this dental office is very small.
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>> reporter: state health officials have started offering free screening tests to dr. harrington's patients. he's voluntarily surrendered his dental license and is cooperating with the investigation. he faces a hearing next month. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, atlanta. in atlanta tonight, that city's former superintendent of schools has been indicted along with 34 other administrators and teachers charged with racketeering related to that huge standardized test cheating scandal in the atlanta schools. a state investigation found that teachers operated in a culture of fear that forced them to change answers on students' tests in order to push up scores. higher scores were tied to more money through the no child left behind law. many of those implicated in the state report which came out in 2011 were fired or have since resigned. there is another scandal playing out tonight of a different kind in washington. a longtime member of congress is under fire from all sides after
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he made a racial slur during an interview on the radio. it ignited an instant firestorm. our capitol hill correspondent, kelly o'donnell, with us from washington with details on this tonight. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. you know this is a real political mess when the congressman's first attempt to fix it wasn't enough. and the timing couldn't be worse. as republicans are in desperate need of attracting more hispanic voters. republican don young who has been alaska's only member of the u.s. house for 40 years made a derogatory comment about mexican migrant workers in a radio interview in alaska. >> my father had a ranch. we used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks, and uh, to pick tomatoes. you know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. it's all done by machine. >> reporter: young later tried to explain that he meant no offense, but that wasn't good enough. a flood of top republicans including speaker boehner and the party chairman condemned what he had to say. so late today he tried again, writing "i apologize for the insensitive term i used. there was no malice in my heart
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or intent to offend. that word and the negative attitudes that come with it should be left in the 20th century." and the congressman said that he's sorry his comments are a distraction from the real immigration debate. brian? >> kelly o'donnell in washington tonight. kelly, thanks. now to the economy and the environment could be on a bit of a collision course tonight with the obama administration's new proposals for tighter emissions controls for cars that could, in turn, raise the price of gas. our report tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: at this rest stop in new jersey, the verdict is clear. cleaner air is good. >> everyone wants cleaner air. >> reporter: high gas prices are bad. >> it's ridiculous. i drive for a living. it's ridiculous for me. >> reporter: but can drivers have one without the other? the epa announced a clean air proposal today that would reduce sulfur emissions by two-thirds and impose new tailpipe emissions standards for 2017 cars and later. the federal agency says that by 2030, the regulations would
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prevent as many as 2,400 premature deaths and help 23,000 children avoid breathing issues per year. but the proposal would also raise gas prices. by just 1 cent per gallon says the epa. >> most health benefits of the premature deaths and the respiratory illnesses avoided, that's going to amount to $23 billion of health benefits a year. and if you think about it, paying a penny a gallon for $23 billion in health benefits is a pretty good deal. >> reporter: critics put the increase at more like 9 cents. >> 9 cents doesn't sound like a lot. you multiply that by all those billions of gallons sold, it's billions of dollars we're talking about. >> reporter: reducing sulfur levels could be difficult and expensive for refineries. >> the refineries will break down more often because of using this technology, especially in the beginning. and that's going to impact gasoline inventories, driving prices higher. >> reporter: california has already gone through this debate. the state has been rolling in stricter standards for years. since 2003, smog levels have
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dropped 50%. california also has some of the most expensive gas in the country. >> i don't mind paying a little more if it's better for the air here. >> reporter: right now the average national price of gas is $3.64, down 28 cents from last year. but still high say some drivers. >> it's quite a hit on the pocketbook. >> reporter: even without new emissions standards, gas under $2 a gallon is a distant memory. aaa says it isn't sure whether or not gas prices have peaked this spring, but when it does peak, they say, it will be lower than it has been in years. the silver lining for people heading out this holiday. brian? >> stephanie gosk along the fabled new jersey turnpike. stephanie, thanks. there is word from south africa tonight that nelson mandela is in good spirits, continuing to recover after a health scare that had a lot of folks concerned. doctors say 94-year-old mandela is making steady progress in the hospital where he is being treated for this recurring lung infection. and on this good friday in
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rome, pope francis led his first way of the cross procession that reenacts the crucifixion of christ. the procession at night at the colosseum is one of the more dramatic moments each year during holy week. the pope used the opportunity to reach out to the muslim community this year amid a time of deep turmoil, of course, across the middle east. still ahead for us tonight, a major new report about vaccines and the risk of autism. tonight, doctors try to reassure a lot of worried parents across this country once and for all. and later, in their own words. what marilyn monroe wrote to a friend in her darkest days and a big fight among divas on paper.
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we mentioned health news about a very controversial topic, autism and childhood vaccines. a great many parents in this country believe there is a link and increasingly they are refusing to have their children immunized. but tonight there is brand-new data that adds to the case for
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vaccination on schedule. here with our report, our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman. >> reporter: despite years of research proving vaccines do not cause autism, nearly one in ten parents delays or even refuses to vaccinate their children. >> one of the questions i get asked is, is there any relationship between vaccines and autism? >> reporter: a new report in the journal of pediatrics says there's no cause for concern and that getting multiple vaccinations, even on the same day, is not associated with an increased risk of developing autism. >> there's no connection between vaccination and the development of autism. >> reporter: analyzing records from more than 1,000 children and using data collected in the late '90s, researchers looked specifically at antigens that protein in vaccines that help create immunity. they found no link between the amount of antigen exposure before the age of 2 and later developing autism. while the cdc now recommends more vaccinations than it did in the '90s, the level of antigens
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in today's vaccines is markedly lower than it was when this data was collected. >> the number of vaccines that are in the current immunization schedule are what's needed to protect children. >> reporter: the government encourages parents to vaccinate their children on schedule. >> these are serious illnesses. we're talking about meningitis. we're talking about whooping cough. and it's important that we continue to protect and vaccinate our children. and this study that came out today is just one more piece of evidence to reassure parents that vaccines are safe. >> reporter: not only safe but effective. and critical to protect babies and everyone else against life-threatening illnesses. dr. nancy snyderman, nbc news, new york. and we are back in a moment with a jaw-dropping letter from john to paul during a blow-up period among the beatles.
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look at the size of this storm over the atlantic ocean. while it's far from the continental u.s., it stretches the width of the ocean, links two continents together. it was captured by satellite stretching from newfoundland to portugal. look at its southern tip, stretching from almost north africa back to the caribbean. at its center, the pressure is as intense as a category 3 hurricane. the popular british actor richard griffiths has died. american audiences know him from the "harry potter" films. on stage, he originated the great role of the teacher in "history boys." growing up in england, he cared for two deaf parents when he was young before joining the royal shakespeare company. richard griffiths suffered complications following heart surgery. he was 65. and bob teague has died. he was among the first black tv reporters in this country, hired by nbc in 1963 from "the new york times." he worked mostly in new york local news here on wnbc but often appeared on the network as well.
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generations of viewers remember his stylish delivery, his commanding presence on the air. bob teague was 84 years old. a major collection of letters from a private collector is about to go on the auction market. letters from george washington, jefferson, eisenhower, edison, marx and darwin. but two letters in particular from popular culture figures are getting a lot of attention. in one, marilyn monroe writes to her acting coach and friend lee strasburg, quote, "i still am lost. i mean, i can't get myself together. my will is weak. i can't stand anything. i sound crazy, but i think i'm going crazy. i feel like i'm not existing in the human race at all." in another letter, john lennon writes a scorcher to paul and linda mccartney in 1971 after reading some questionable comments they made about himself and yoko. he writes to mccartney, "i hope you realize what [ expletive ] you and the rest of your
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kind and unselfish friends laid on yoko and me since we've been together." he goes on, "do you really think most of today's art came about because of the beatles? i don't believe you're that insane. paul, do you believe that? when you stop believing it, you might wake up. didn't we always say we were part of the movement, not all of it? of course we changed the world, but try and follow it through. get off your gold disc and fly." that's the part we can read on family television. it goes downhill from there. john tells linda mccartney to get off her high horse. he says she has a perverted mind and is from an insane family. these letters go up for auction may 30th. up next for us on a friday night, good friday night, blockbuster results from "the bible." what's old is new again in hollywood, and millions are coming around to watch.
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as we head into easter weekend, it's pretty clear what millions of people will be doing sunday night, settling in to watch the finale of the history channel's mini-series "the bible" which has pulled in over 10 million viewers a night so far. this isn't the first time the good book has made for good entertainment. and hollywood these days is rushing in to produce even more. our report from nbc's chris
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jansing. >> lord! >> reporter: from the parting of the red sea to the baptism of jesus -- >> what are we going to do? >> change the world. >> reporter: ratings for "the bible" mini-series have been inspirational. its stunning success setting off a cinematic stampede with biblically-based movies rushing into production. >> "the bible" is hot when you've got studios and networks clamoring for more bible stories, i don't think we've seen anything like this since hollywood's golden age. >> reporter: oscar-winning director ang li is in talks for one of two moses biopics. >> i'm batman. >> reporter: the second may star christian bale of "batman" fame and be directed by ridley scott. he was at the helm for "gladiator" starring russell crowe who's now playing the lead in the upcoming "noah." and an animated ark story is setting sail from the director of "kung fu panda." of course, biblical inspiration is nothing new in the arts. here at the metropolitan museum of art, pieces date back to the
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third and fourth centuries. but experts say that bible-based movies and tv shows are undergoing a renaissance. >> behold! >> reporter: a popularity not seen since 1956's "the ten commandments" and "the passion of christ" since 2004, two of the most financially successful movies ever made. meantime, "the american bible challenge" is the highest rated program on the game show network. >> everybody knows their bible here. >> reporter: and the faithful are taking to twitter. the handsome actor who plays christ in the mini-series is trending under #hotjesus. neighbors have been hosting viewing parties complete with study guides, boosting viewership. >> i think it's just great. the bible is being spoken of by millions and millions and millions. >> reporter: and with an estimated 88% of americans owning a copy of the good book -- >> i will be with you. >> reporter: -- hollywood has faith in an audience for bible stories. chris jansing, nbc news, new
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york. >> and that's our broadcast on this friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. don't forget, we're back on the air tonight with an all-new "rock center" at 10:00/9:00 central. live from this very studio. i'm brian williams. lester holt will be here with you tomorrow. we will look for you back here on monday night. in the meantime, please have a good weekend. good night.
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right now at 6:00 only on nbc a south bay family is lashing out at the vta after a worker is killed on the job. good evening good evening. i'm terry mcsweeney in for raj mathai. >> and i'm janelle wang in for jessica aguirre. >> worker is killed after getting hit by a bus driven by a co-worker. he's the first vta employee to die on the job. and today we learned it wasn't the first accident involving an employee this week. nbc bay area's stephanie chuang, you spoke with the family of the employee killed and they're not happy with the v it ta. >> reporter: janel, they're not. here at this bus yard is where raul spent nearly three decades of his life. his family telling me they were supposed to celebrate easter and now they'll be celebrating his life. they add they are upset with how
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the vta handled the passing and are demanding answers as to what exactly happened. >> and he was about to retire and actually have a birthday next month. >> reporter: but raul never made it to his birthday. another employee behind the wheel of a bus hit him at the south 7 street. >> i initially heard that he was pinned for about three minutes and in the hospital i found out -- i heard from the doctor it was six minutes. so we have no eidea on the actul details. >> he lost so much blood that he had a heart attack. >> reporter: the family decided to take him off life support last night. >> we really miss him and we lost a really good man. >> reporter: nbc bay area obtained information on the number of accidents at the division yard since 2002. in total we learned there's been at least 63. the vta says the latest one is
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the first accident to turn deadly in company history. the company spokeswoman brandie chill can dress emphasized safety is the company's top priority saying, quote, we have taken this very seriously. no stone will be left unturned so we can understand everything that was involved in this incident, end quote. there's a second internal investigation going on. just the day before raul was hit there had been a separate accident in mountain view. the vta confirmed on monday an employee drove into a pole and had to be taken to the hospital but survived. >> this causes a lot of concern regarding the company and safety measures that they do take. >> reporter: raul's family says there's a bitter taste left in their mouths after they describe caseworkers approaching them the day after the accident in the hospital to get paperwork signed. >> i really felt it was kind of like the company or whoever trying to cover their butt, whatever happened. >> reporter: childress says it was just a formality to make sure raul got his benefits paperwork in order. in the meantime the family vowed to fate for answers to

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