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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  May 5, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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70s inland. >> there's that fog on the bridge. thanks for joining us at 5:00. on our broadcast tonight, the outcry around the world to save hundreds of school girls who've been kidnapped by terrorists. and now there's been a chilling new threat from the man who has them. church and state. the supreme court rules in a battle over public prayer in this country. what went wrong. that terrifying fall at the circus. tonight what investigators believe is to blame. and an aspirin a day. it's part of life for millions who've come to rely on it, but now the feds are saying it's not for everyone. "nightly news" begins now. >> from nbc news world headquarters, this is "nightly news" with brian williams.
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good evening. if they had been taken from a school in this country, it would trigger nonstop, around-the-clock news coverage. but as we first reported here last week, this drama is taking place in nigeria. hundreds of school girls were taken on april 15th in a remote village, taken by terrorists who have since admitted to it on video, bragged about it, and taunted the girls' families and loved ones. the terrorist group in question is against western-style education and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of nigerians in recent years. and in nigeria and around the world, there were protests today. the story of this mass abduction has now spread with a big assist from social media focusing a lot of attention on the effort to find them and get them back. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's ann curry. >> reporter: the leader of the militant islamic group boko haram bragging that he was behind the kidnappings. i abducted your girls, he said. i will sell them in the market by allah. i will sell women. more than 300 girls ages 15 to 18 were taken by force from
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their government boarding school in northeast nigeria three weeks ago. some escaped, but well over 200 are still missing. defense officials in neighboring cameroon tell nbc news that some have already been sold across the border. their disappearance triggered outrage across nigeria and now the outrage has gone global with women rallying in europe, washington, new york, and today in san francisco. >> what else could be more visceral? girls going to school, their boarding schooling with doing their final exams being kidnapped. >> reporter: and the issue has exploded across social media. #bringbackourgirls has gone viral. joined by hillary clinton, mary j. blige, and malala yousafzai, the pakistani student shot by the taliban. today for the first time a christian group released what it said were the names of many of the missing girls. nigeria's government seems powerless to take on the militants who have been
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terrorizing the country since 2009, killing thousands. >> they operate like their own country within a country. and they do not care. and they have more power in some ways than the government at this point. >> reporter: and the boko haram leader's comments and actions in this video suggests he cannot be easily reasoned with. western-style education should end, he said. girls, you should all go and get married. the u.s. calls the kidnappings an outrage and a tragedy but is not involved militarily and is not providing overhead surveillance saying nigeria hasn't asked. >> the state department has been in regular touch with the nigerian government about what we might do to help support its efforts to find and free these young women. >> reporter: for now many worry where the missing girls are, what their fates might be, and when, if ever, they might be seen again. it is unclear how many of the missing girls are still in nigeria. there are reports they've been split up and moved into neighboring chad, niger, and cameroon.
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to be sold as child brides for about $12. boko haram, by the way, actually stands for western education is forbidden. and brian, this has touched a nerve for women worldwide. and you can bet the protests will simply grow. >> certainly has. we'll stay on this story. ann curry, thanks for starting us off tonight. in this country, a divided supreme court today weighed in on a matter of church and state and it's a big one. ruling that local governments do not violate the constitution by starting their meetings with mainly christian prayers which has long been a tradition in cities and towns across this country. not to mention the u.s. congress. we get our report tonight from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> we now have a moment of prayer. led by the deacon. in the name of holy jesus parish. >> reporter: the ruling is a victory for a rochester suburb where local clergy start monthly board meetings with a prayer that's nearly always christian. in a country with god on its currency, many government
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meetings open the same way. >> father god, we thank you for this new day. >> and we ask all this through christ our lord. >> in jesus name, amen. >> reporter: voting 5-4, the supreme court said the founding fathers approved of opening sessions of congress with a prayer. >> almighty god who has ordained -- >> reporter: justice anthony kennedy said the government cannot censor religious speech or require only the most generic reference to the sacred. as long as the prayer doesn't denigrate nonbelievers or religious minorities, threaten damnation, or preach conversion, he said it's acceptable. >> it's beyond even religion. it's a freedom of speech. it's reaffirming what our country was found on. >> reporter: unlike in public schools where prayer is still banned, the court said people are free to come and go at public meetings. but the court's dissenter said the town's prayers were steeped in one faith. justice elena kagan says every
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citizen regardless of religion owns an equal share in the government. >> the country's religious diversity is expanding. yet here comes the supreme court with a decision that says it's okay for a city to impose majority rules prayer on the entire community. >> reporter: legal experts say the ruling gives local governments a green light to do more in recognizing the role of religion in american public life beyond just prayer. pete williams, nbc news at the supreme court. now we go to the west. record heat is quite literally helping to fuel the fires tonight north of oklahoma city after a controlled burn as they like to call it got out of hand igniting dozens of homes. now they're fighting to save more from going up in the flames. nbc's janet shamlian is in guthrie, oklahoma, for us tonight. janet, good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. it is a hot and windy day here. those conditions are like kindling for wildfires which kicked off again tonight. conditions are so dry, it just doesn't take much to get them going. new wildfires tonight.
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winds have picked up the last few hours re-kindling an already scorched landscape. >> this is the main area of concern right now. >> reporter: national guard blackhawks are dropping water on hot spots, but it's hard to keep up. >> this is not becoming a very good situation as it continues to advance in. >> reporter: as soon as one fire is contained, there's another. smoke and flames a few hundred yards away. it's happening less than 24 hours after the first group of fires lit up the night sky north of oklahoma city. a thousand people were evacuated. more than 30 structures burned. one person died. >> it came in real fast. we weren't prepared for it to be this fast. >> reporter: today it's all hands on deck. colby keagle is a middle schoolteacher, but right now he's on the fire's frontline. conditions are worsening throughout the day as the humidity level drops. you can see this fire behind us now. authorities are asking us to move out of this area. oklahoma's governor says they're struggling to stay ahead. >> we are doing flyovers right now to determine where the fire
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is going and to continue to watch time by time, moment by moment. the winds, of course, have changed at different times. so the fires may go different directions. >> reporter: fueled by temperatures in the high 90s and a drought blanketing much of oklahoma, texas, new mexico, arizona, and california, there's more to come. >> the forecast we've seen for the next several days calls for the same type of ingredients. high winds, low humidity, high temperatures. and dry conditions. >> reporter: these wildfires started when a controlled burn got out of control. winds were at 33 miles an hour today. tomorrow they are expected to be even higher. brian, officials fear this is far from over. >> what a nasty situation out there. janet shamlian out in oklahoma for us tonight. janet, thanks. more violence in ukraine today adding to fears that nation could split in two. in fact, the former u.s. ambassador to moscow says this is real and what we're witnessing here is war. pro-russian separatists have taken over buildings in at least a dozen cities in eastern
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ukraine and the unrest has now spread to the key port city of odessa in the south. with crimea already in russian hands, vladimir putin has raised the specter of what he calls new russia. a band of territory that would give moscow some prime black sea real estate and leave ukraine landlocked and divided. nbc's keir simmons has more for us tonight from eastern ukraine. keir, good evening. >> reporter: hey, brian. good evening. another military helicopter was shot down over the eastern ukrainian city of slavyansk today. these pictures unverified by nbc news appear to show it being targeted. it is the third such attack in just a week. while four ukrainian soldiers were killed as the government here tries to wrestle control back from pro-russian militia. meanwhile, a mob of 2,000 stormed a military prosecutor's office smashing doors and throwing files on the floor as divisions deepen and spread.
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funerals have been held south of here in odessa where 40 people were killed in that union fire -- that union building fire before the weekend. while here in donetsk down the street at the city hall, it is barricaded. there are men in military uniforms carrying weapons vowing to fight if the ukrainian military come here as ukraine tears itself to pieces. brian? >> keir simmons reporting live for us tonight from donetsk, ukraine. keir, thanks. back in this country, we have an update on the terrifying fall at the circus in rhode island that injured nine performers. some of them critically. investigators say they have zeroed in on what went wrong. we get our report tonight from nbc's ron mott in providence. ♪ >> it's hailed as the human chandelier. eight female aerialists hanging by just their hair. but it turned frightening in a flash. their fall cushioned only by a
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thin rubber mat leaving them and a male performer below with multiple broken bones and in one case internal bleeding. >> shock. they didn't expect their equipment to fail. >> reporter: officials are focusing on the attachment point where the rigging was connected to a cable affixed to the arena's rafters. the providence fire chief said a single carabiner clip about a half inch thick designed to hold 10,000 pounds broke. sending the performers plunging about 35 feet. >> when you get into those kind of heights with people, that's dangerous. it's a dangerous occupation. >> reporter: authorities say the hair-hanging apparatus weighed about 1,500 pounds fully loaded. well within safety limits. the nine performers are mostly foreign nationals. viktoriya medeiros who designed the act and rigging with her husband was also hurt. one of the injured performers, the american samantha pitard trained at this aerialist camp in vermont. >> circus is a big family. and everyone regardless of
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whether they're in the performance who were injured is part of this event. and so our hearts go out to everyone. >> they understand the nature of this industry. >> reporter: the show's producer says the hair-hanging feat is new this year. successfully performed about 150 times before collapsing sunday injuring the performers. >> they're just incredibly, just struck by their strength and spirit and the sense of community and family that we have here at ringling bros. and their determination has been incredible. >> reporter: the show goes on to hartford, connecticut, but without this attraction. ron mott, nbc news, providence. we'll take a break here. and still ahead on this monday night, an aspirin a day. tens of millions take it for heart health. but tonight there's a new word of caution from the fda. and later, hot wheels. the experiment that started in a toy store now making a difference for a lot of inspirational kids.
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our health news story tonight will likely be of concern to all of us who take some form of aspirin every day. and those estimates start at somewhere north of 40 million americans. tonight the fda is warning that a daily dose is not for everyone, and taking aspirin needlessly may actually put them at significant risk. our report tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: for years, thanks in part to heavy advertising, many americans have believed aspirin is just what the doctor ordered to prevent heart disease. but leading doctors have long been concerned about patients without heart disease taking an aspirin a day. >> i think a lot of people think that because it is over the counter, that it has no side effects. and we've often said that if aspirin were invented today, it would actually be much more strictly regulated by the fda. >> reporter: aspirin thins the blood. it also carries the risk of bleeding in both the brain and
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stomach. the use of aspirin strictly as a preventive measure has always been doctor driven. but now the fda is reminding consumers there are risks associated with taking aspirin. a study in the british medical journal "lancet" found it's the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding. bayer has been seeking approval to market aspirin as a medication for preventing heart attacks. but the fda has rejected the latest requests saying the data do not support the use of aspirin as a preventive medication by people who have not had a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular problems. >> if you have a low risk of a heart attack, you're not going to get much benefit from the aspirin, but you will have the bleeding risk. >> reporter: all of it confusing to 57-year-old gwen ellis with a family history of heart disease. her doctor prescribed an aspirin a day. >> take one a day with your other medicines. it helps thin the blood. >> reporter: and now? >> now they're saying you don't have to take it, so who am i to believe? what am i to believe? >> reporter: the makers of bayer aspirin says trials currently underway could change the fda's thinking. but for now doctors say if you've had a heart attack, keep taking aspirin.
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if you haven't, talk to your doctor. tom costello, nbc news, baltimore. and we have an update tonight on the first american diagnosed with that mysterious and potentially deadly virus called mers. the first time a case has been identified here on u.s. soil. doctors say the man who had recently returned from saudi arabia where the virus has infected hundreds of people is improving, could soon be released from the hospital. and despite concerns about the virus spreading, officials in the health field say right now for now it appears to be contained. we're back in a moment with a relic of the cold war being blamed for a traffic jam that went on for hundreds of miles.
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some emotional text traffic has come to light after the tornadoes that tore through the south last week. a young man named jeffrey hunter in arkansas knew that an f-4 tornado was bearing down on him and he seemed to know it was the end. he texted his mother, good-bye
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momma, it's heading right for me. she was 20 miles from him and out of danger herself. her repeated text back to him went without reply. his body was later found in the wreckage. jeffrey hunter was 22 years old. two prominent departures to note tonight. the ceo of target is out. gregg steinhafel has been removed by the company unable to survive the data breach of 40 million card numbers at christmastime that badly damaged target's profits and reputation and led to congressional hearings. he was a 35-year target veteran. he's been replaced from within. and craig robinson has been fired as head coach of the oregon state men's basketball team. he's the brother of the first lady and the brother-in-law of the president. he took over a troubled program, but the team did not crack .500 in his six years as head coach. he has several million dollars remaining on his multi-year contract. millions of americans who fly have had stories to tell of late about the volatile spring air over parts of this country. many passenger flights have experienced severe extreme
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turbulence including a u.s. air flight from philly to orlando where things went south in a hurry. there were six injuries requiring treatment, including one woman who hit the ceiling so hard she left a sizable and visible crack in the overhead compartment above her seat. and the last time u2 appeared in l.a., it was in concert. this time it's u-2 the spy plane making news. nbc news was the first to report over the weekend that a u-2 spy plane a being blamed for the air traffic control outage at los angeles center last week. there's been some speculation its electronic warfare systems did what they were designed to do and fizzed out the system on the ground. but that shouldn't happen against friendlies, of course. whatever the cause, it led to a ground stop, hundreds of delays, diverted and canceled flights. while flying may have started out as a glamorous business and while too many planes have simply become buses with wings, one airline is coming out with some astounding in-flight accommodations
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presumably to be enjoyed by the wealthiest customers in the air. etihad airways based in abu dhabi has unveiled what they're calling the residence. they're basically three-room apartments in the sky. living space, bedroom, bathroom with shower, butler, concierge, and chef available. all fully tricked out. there are smaller first class and business state rooms. they are using the massive two-level air bus 380 aircraft. when we come back tonight, making a difference on the road to a better future for so many young kids.
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our final story tonight is about how a trip to a toy store combined with one man's ingenuity is making a difference in so many young lives, simply by putting them in the driver's seat, as you'll see. we get the story tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> reporter: 5-year-old zander was born with a spinal cord disorder. so his mom barbara says playtime with the other kids isn't always easy.
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>> it is a little sad sometimes seeing him not be able to keep up with his friends. >> reporter: but now four wheels and one man -- >> are you muscles getting stronger? >> reporter: -- is changing everything. >> we took zander and said what if we make a stand-up car? >> reporter: cole galloway is a scientist at the university of delaware. but his greatest experiment started a few years ago in a toys r us store. frustrated by expensive wheelchairs, galloway decided there had to be a better way. >> anyone can build these in a matter of hours. >> reporter: a little pvc, a few modifications -- >> open this baby up. >> reporter: -- and for about $200 he and his colleague sam logan were soon giving disabled kids not just a way to get around, but a way to fit in. >> there's been a few times we've watched where he looks like the pied piper with a crowd of kids following him along. >> reporter: the kids just think it's play. what they don't realize is the
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vehicles are physical therapy too. >> i can't hold my head up. how about putting a switch up so i have to have a reason to hold my head up. and once i'm good at sitting, how about put the switch somewhere else like under my tush to be able to stand up. >> reporter: zander's atv moves when he stands helping him explore his world while building valuable leg strength that may some day mean he can walk without crutches. galloway has posted how-to videos on his website so families around the world can build their own custom cars. and the program he calls go baby go has taken off. a simple idea driving change. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, newark, delaware. and that's our broadcast on a monday night as we start off a new week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. of course we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
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nbc bay area news begins with breaking news. that breaking news, an investigation unfolding in south san jose after two bodies are discovered inside a home. good evening, and thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. two bodies, one home and a lot of questions at this hour from police and neighbors. this is off highway 85 at the corner of marlene court and cherry view lane. kris sanchez is in that neighborhood. we know the victims knew each other. what else do we know? >> reporter: police told us they
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found that out just a few minutes ago but we don't know how they knew each other. we can say they died of gunshot wounds. they were each shot at least one time. and right now it appears that they were both grown men. neighbors tell us that they heard some sort of ruckus last night. they heard something that sounded like fireworks. and then this afternoon a 14 year old girl returned home and heard a woman screaming "there are two bodies inside there, two bodies inside "! . >> we're confident at this time that we have the people that are responsible. and that there's no public safety issue at this time. >> reporter: we do know that the homicide unit is hided out here. detectives are just starting to get on the scene, but they are

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