tv NBC Nightly News NBC August 9, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
on the broadcast tonight, too much too soon. a new study shows girls are showing signs of puberty earlier than ever -- as young as 7. what's behind it and what can be done? soft target. humanitarians vowing to stay in afghanistan despite a deadly attack that left ten dead including six americans. the stealth bailout. mortgage giants fannie mae and freddie mac back for more money in one taxpayer bailout that never seems to end. and web jam. a huge internet sensation. an owl named molly and her brand new brood. why is watching birds in a box so addicting? why is watching birds in a box so addicting? "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. i'm ann curry in for brian williams tonight. as a new study published today reveals stunning and alarming findings about the health of our daughters. according to the study of more than 1,200 children, a significant number of girls are now showing signs of puberty as young as 7 years old. with these findings, the researchers are raising concerns that our girls will be at greater risk for behavioral problems, perhaps even breast cancer in the future. in a moment we'll talk to a leading pediatrician about what parents can do. we begin now with nbc's rehema ellis. >> reporter: the results are startling. more than 1,200 girls between the ages of 7 and 8 from new york, cincinnati and the san francisco bay area were part of the study. the findings reported in today's journal of pediatrics revealed that while the average age of the onset of puberty is 10 or 11, 15% of the girls showed signs of puberty at 7 years old.
among them, 10% of white girls, twice as many as in a 1997 study, but 15% of hispanic girls and 23% of african-american girls. >> early development is a risk factor for chronic disease including breast cancer but also cardiovascular disease and diabetes. >> reporter: doctors worry that children are not emotionally prepared for puberty at such a young age. no one knows the exact cause of early puberty in girls. theories range from exposure to chemicals in plastics, hormones in food, declining physical activity and the epidemic rise in childhood obesity. >> so if that's the case, you have to make sure your children are eating whole diets, they are exercising regularly and that their weight gain is not too fast. >> reporter: and there are other concerns. >> puberty can be normal in some girls -- early onset of puberty, but in some girls it can be a sign of serious disease.
>> reporter: this mother of two isn't ready. >> no, i don't think so. i don't think emotionally that they are ready to go through the changes that your body goes through. it's just scary to young children. >> reporter: young children showing signs of adulthood much too soon. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. >> and joining us now is dr. alanna lavine, a practicing pediatrician and spokesperson for the american academy of pediatrics. good evening. good to have you here. >> thank you. >> you say that this is, while shocking, not surprising to you. why? >> it's true. i'm seeing it in my practice. i'm seeing young girls coming in not knowing what their breast buds are. they are not realizing what it is because it is earlier than it was in the past. >> it is said to be found as young as 7. what are parents to do? what is your best advice based on your experience? >> the first thing parents need to do is understand this is happening so they can talk to their children beforehand so before breasts start to develop
the children know what's happening to them. the second thing parents can do is really encourage a healthy lifestyle for children. we are not sure 100% of all the causes but clearly they are multifactorial but weight plays a role, genetics, the environment plays a role. as parents we really want to do our best to provide a healthy lifestyle. >> you're talking about exercising, eating healthy, staying away from junk food, those kinds of things. >> that's right. >> thank you so much for joining us tonight. clearly, we need more research on this so we can have the answers as to what's causing this. thank you. there is a major development tonight in predicting alzheimer's disease. it is a spinal fluid test and researchers say it could be 100% accurate in identifying patients with memory loss who will go on to develop alzheimer's. the study published in the archives of neurology involve more than 300 patients in their 70s. their spinal fluid was analyzed for proteins that form the characteristic plaque in the brains of people with alzheimer's. two breaking crime stories tonight. an escaped prison inmate accused of two murders while on the
loose has been captured in the west. a suspected serial killer is still at large in the midwest. nbc's justice correspondent pete williams is covering both of these stories. he now joins us from washington. pete, good evening. >> reporter: ann, federal marshals launched a western manhunt fearing two inmates in arizona were on their way to yellowstone park. one was arrested today when a woman recognized him from news reports. federal marshals say tracy province was arrested early this morning in the small wyoming town of meeteetse east of yellowstone park. the search is on for john mccluskey and his fiance casslyn welch. >> we have learned that they consider themselves bonnie and clyde. they joke about it. >> reporter: she's accused of tossing wire cutters over the arizona prison fence for the escape in late july. investigators suspect all three were involved in the killing last week of a couple in new mexico.
linda and gary haas, both 61. their camper was destroyed by fire. meantime in the midwest, police in flint, michigan, say a single serial killer appears to be responsible for 15 stabbings since may. five people killed, ten others hurt. all were black but one, attacked early in the morning. >> the victims have been on foot and approached by the suspect from his vehicle. oftentimes the suspect is asking for directions or assistance. >> reporter: the suspect is a white man said to be muscular, about 6'0" wearing a baseball cap. police in virginia believe he may be responsible for three attacks there last week. while nearly all the stabbing victims were black, michigan police declined to say that the attacker is racially motivated. one investigator said no one knows what's in his mind. ann? >> all right. pete williams tonight. pete, thank you. four days after the killings of ten aid workers in afghanistan including six americans, secretary of state hillary clinton had harsh words today for the taliban which has
claimed responsibility. clinton says the massacre was yet another example of just how far the taliban will go to advance what she called their twisted ideology. from kul tonight, nbc's tom aspell has more on america's lost humanitarians. >> reporter: despite the murder of ten members of its medical aid team, the christian relief agency, international assistance mission, said today it would not close down operations here. >> we will, god willing, continue to stay and serve the people of afghanistan. >> reporter: team leader tom little from new york had been providing eye care here for more than 30 years. he trained abdul raheem majad and hundreds of other afghans to be optometrists. >> he was trying to train people of afghanistan to be a good source of help for other afghans. >> reporter: thomas grams quit his dental practice three years ago to offer free dental care to
afghan children. dan terry from wisconsin had lived in kabul for 30 years while working with poor people from different ethnic groups. cheryl beckett from knoxville, tennessee, spent six years here teaching, impressing her father with her desire to help others. >> her passion and faith, she really did walk with the lord. >> reporter: glen lapp came from lancaster, pennsylvania, as a nurse two years ago and decided to stay as manager of a provincial eye care program. lisa shirk, a professor from the eastern mennonite university which lapp attended saw him in kabul last month. >> he understood the risk and was willing to take that in order to serve others. >> reporter: brian carderelli from harrisonburg, virginia, was a freelance photographer accompanying the medical team to make a fund-raising film. some bodies of the medical team will be going home in the coming days. the families of five of the victims have requested their loved ones be buried in afghanistan. tom aspell, nbc news, kabul.
a deadly combination of fire and water is still taking its toll today in parts of europe. moscow's top health official said the number of deaths each day has gone up substantially because of acrid smog from dozens of wildfires around the city. the forecast calls for no break from the most intense heat wave there in more than 130 years. at the same time flooding is a problem in europe. one of the hardest hit areas was in southwestern poland. germany and the czech republic are also suffering. at least 11 people have been killed. hundreds of homes and businesses have been damaged. in pakistan there is no end in sight to the unprecedented flooding in that country with millions in danger of dying from hunger or disease. the government is appealing for more international assistance. nbc's stephanie gosk has made her way to the flood zone in southern pakistan. >> reporter: water as far as the
eye can see. the unrelenting monsoon rains have unleashed the worse crisis in pakistani history. with more than 13 million people struggling just to stay alive, the fight is especially desperate in sindh province where army helicopters are trying to rescue victims and deliver aid. but most people had to fend for themselves, grabbing whatever they could -- livestock, beds and now useless electric fans. home is the side of the road. that is where we found neme. she's been here for four days along with the rest of her village, but it is not safe. the bridge under them is straining against the raging water. >> we have no food, no water. the government is not helping us. >> reporter: seeing the desperation, some pakistanis are doing whatever they can to help. for more than a week makbub ali has been out on his boat searching for the stranded. >> translator: these people belong to our village.
i'm doing this on my own. we have not taken any help from the government. >> reporter: today he found mohammad sali. he was wading through the flood waters where the home he shared with his wife and five children once stood. the family lived here for 20 years. they didn't evacuate because they didn't think there was a danger. last night while everyone was asleep the river rose quickly and their house crashed down on top of them. sali said his wife made it to dry land but all of his young children drowned. he refuses to leave until he finds their bodies. stephanie gosk, nbc news, pakistan. in this country, tough economic times have prompted robert gates to announce a number of spending cutbacks including a plan to close a major military command, the joint forces command in norfolk, virginia, with a budget of $240 million. in addition, the number of generals and admirals as well as private contractors will be reduced. former vice president dick cheney was released today from a suburban washington hospital after heart surgery last month. cheney had a pump installed to
help his heart work. he will continue his recovery at home. when "nightly news" continues in just a moment, millions of mortgages going bad and taxpayers are on the hook in the bailout that never seems to end. and later, the birds in a box that has the internet all aflutter. en, a busy man. his day starts with his arthritis pain. that's breakfast with two pills. the morning is over, it's time for two more pills. the day marches on, back to more pills. and when he's finally home... but hang on -- just two aleve can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is steven, who chose aleve and fewer pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels.
i'm from the gulf coast. i vacation here, my family spends a lot of time here. i have a personal, vested interest in ensuring that we get this job done right. i'm keith seilhan. i'm in charge of bp's cleanup on the gulf coast. bp has taken full responsibility for cleanup in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. you may have heard that oil is no longer flowing into the gulf. there's less oil coming ashore every day, but we still have thousands of people ready to clean it up if it does. when oil is spotted, we get right to work. we're working with the coast guard and many other government agencies. summer is the busiest time on the gulf, so every day, we're working with residents and local business owners to make sure beaches are clean and that they can stay open. and our efforts won't come at any cost to taxpayers. the work's not over. we're not going anywhere. it may not be perfect every time,
but we're going to be here as long as it takes to make this right. introducing total plus omega-3 honey almond flax cereal. all the nutrition of total, plus 10% daily value omega-3 ala, and a delicious honey almond crunch. new total plus omega-3. when president obama signed the financial reform bill last month, he told americans it would mean no more taxpayer
bailouts, but there is one bailout that just keeps getting bigger. mortgage giants fannie mae and freddie mac have asked for $3 billion more in the last couple of days. some experts are predicting this already huge bailout could get much bigger. our report tonight from nbc's senior investigative correspondent lisa myers now. >> reporter: joseph wabinger's arrival means the end is near. his job is to coax families out of homes they have lost and monitor foreclosed properties for big lenders. >> i need to post this note. >> reporter: these days, most of his business comes from the government's mortgage company, fannie mae. >> i presently have approximately 35 properties that i'm handling for fannie mae. >> reporter: today, more than half the mortgages in this country are owned or guaranteed by fannie mae or freddie mac which were taken over by the government two years ago. that means taxpayers are
ultimately picking up much of the tab for continuing defaults and foreclosures. so far, the bailout has cost taxpayers $150 billion. and according to one congressional estimate could cost as much as $390 billion. but there is no limit. last christmas eve the treasury department quietly removed a cap of $400 billion. >> it is the mother of all bailouts. it will be the largest bailout the taxpayers have ever seen up to this point. >> reporter: expensive, says economist mark zandi, but necessary. >> without that bailout the financial panic, the great recession would have been worse. >> reporter: but this man says people should be outraged that they are picking up the tab. >> people who made bad mortgage loans knowing they were taking risk are not being expected to ans. a loss whatsoever on the >> reporter: critics wonder why
fannie mae is now purchasing mortgages in states for first-time home buyers who put as little as $1,000 down. >> it's perpetuating the problem. people are getting into houses and they have no skin in the game. >> reporter: a fannie mae spokesman says the buyers have high credit scores and are carefully screened by state housing agencies. fannie and freddie officials also say they are helping to stabilize the housing market and that losses are slowing. lisa myers, nbc news, washington. when we come back, remembering an oscar-winning actress whose real life was even more dramatic than her movie roles. even more dramatic than her movie roles.
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bp said today the cost of its response to the gulf oil spill has now exceeded $6 billion. the expenses included the static kill and cementing operation that stopped the oil spill and the drilling of the relief well. that operation could be completed by the end of this week and seal the well for good. president obama made a campaign trip to texas today, raising money for democrats and slamming his predecessor in his home state. the current president said the policies of the former president, george w. bush, are responsible for the economic mess we are now in and it would be a mistake to give republicans control of congress in the fall. the democratic governor for -- candidate for governor in the heavily republican state skipped the president's appearance. the white house said president obama did not take that as an
insult. the president's trip comes on the eve of two big primaries in colorado and connecticut. we'll have more on both of those races tomorrow here on "nightly news." patricia neal, the oscar and tony award-winning actress has died. she worked on broadway and in a series of films including "a face in the crowd" before landing a role in "hud." she won a best actress oscar for the performance but after a failed romance with gary cooper and marriage to author roald dahl, she was beset by a series of tragedies. one child severely injured in an accident, one dying of measles and she suffered a series of strokes that left her paralyzed. she eventually recovered enough to resume work and a full life in new york in martha's vineyard where she died yesterday at the age of 84. up next, why millions of people are so fascinated by a bird's eye view. ♪ who are you
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family of owls. that's right. there is something about watching owls, including baby owls hatching, that has caught imaginations all over this country. it's a sign of the times in more ways than one. we have nbc's mara schiavocampo. >> reporter: in san marcos, california, a barn owl named molly waits for her eggs to hatch. though all alone in this nest, she's got plenty of company. >> there are 1,628 viewers on there right now watching molly. >> reporter: call it bird watching for the internet age. >> it's interactive tv. it's reality tv. it's comedy. >> reporter: molly's home is an owl house overlooking carlos and donna royal's backyard. fitted with six cameras, it streams live video to devoted fans worldwide. self-described owl-caholics. >> people don't get to see this in real life. >> reporter: the video stream has gotten 15 million views. fans watching molly and her
partner's first set of eggs hatch one by one. seeing them grow and fly the coop. and now, waiting for the next set of owlets to come out of their shells. >> what is it that's so mesmerizing about them? >> we have a lot of bad things going on in the world. we have molly which has been nothing but good. >> reporter: it's not the first time the call of the wild has been heard online. millions have taken a break to observe nature, marveling at how similar we all are -- playing with siblings, sneezing unexpectedly, snuggling with a friend, and now, welcoming new babies. two of molly and mcgee's eggs hatched over the weekend bringing life to the empty nest and a tiny bit of happiness to a world that can't stop watching. mara schiavocampo, nbc news, san marcos, california. >> they are fascinating. and finally tonight, the passing of gordon williams. you may remember him from a profile brian williams did about his dad, just as i did about my own father for a series we
called trading places on this broadcast a few years ago. gordon was a member of the greatest generation, a world war ii veteran who also worked with helen keller to he habitate soldiers blinded in battle. he endured the death of his wife, cancer, a heart attack, two broken hips and more, he rarely ever complained. a great grandfather six times leaving a lasting legacy, gordon williams was 93 years old. a life that could teach us all a little something. and that's our broadcast for this monday evening. in for brian williams, i'm ann curry. for all of us here at nbc news, curry. for all of us here at nbc news, thank you and good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
some breaking news to start off this evening. an earthquake located near watsonville according to the usgs. a 4.0 erm quake on the san andreas fault. >> we have had people who called the newsroom to say they felt it. this is near the san andreas fault, whether there is a link is premature. we'll find out from the usgs