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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 9, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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on our broadcast here tonight, day of rage. a car carrying prince charles and camilla is attacked tonight in london by protestors who today turned parts of that city upside down. women's health. a new report card full of failing grades. one big surprise tonight. what the report says about women and drinking. burning down the house. you never know who's living next door. why police set fire to an ordinary looking house in a typical american suburb. the field trip of a lifetime. inside the world's most famous house with the young stars of a movie that's been the talk of the nation. an update from the white house on president obama's
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struggle to stop smoking. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television . good evening. tonight in london, prince charles and his wife, camilla, were attacked by protestors in their car en route to a show in london's west end. they were traveling in a lavish and highly visible rolls-royce limousine, and the protestors apparently knew they were coming. the car was dented, hit with a paintball gun, a window was broken. tonight's attack was part of something much larger, massive cutbacks in great britain that could triple college tuition, and cut way back on social services. and something even larger still. a growing wave of economic downturn across europe, including here and the discontent that can often bring. we begin tonight with our own stephanie gosk in our london bureau. stephanie, good evening.
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>> reporter: good evening, brian. today, the future king of england was subjected firsthand to the back hash over budget cuts. demonstrators pelted prince charles' limousine and smashed a window while he and his wife camilla made their way to an event in central london. this video captures the moment of the attack. the duchess was visibly rattled. an eyewitness spoke to nbc news by phone. >> she looked quite shocked and quite scared, really. it leaves you the question why they didn't have enough security protecting them and why the car wasn't safe enough to withstand the people breaking the glass. >> reporter: the couple was up harmed but the message was clear. british students are angry. the attack occurred in a busy commercial section of london just over a mile from the main demo, outside parliament. students gathered there all day while the government debated
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nearly tripling university fees, part of sweeping and drastic new budget cuts. while the politicians deliberated, students and police clashed. the skirmishes led to injuries on both sides. the proposed fees passed by a narrow margin, but they passed. and that triggered even more violence. at one point, protestors used metal barriers supposed to contain them as weapons. a lot of the hopefulness that these students had that they could do something about it has been replaced with anger. we're now seeing protestors throwing rocks at windows and attacking the police. the teenagers say a university education is now impossible. >> the banks have caused this and we have to pay. >> reporter: the new government led by prime minister david cameron, says they have no alternative. the budget deficit is just too high. financial crisis has left economies sputtering and deficits surging from greece to ireland.
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austerity packages are triggering protests across the continent. today in london, the police prepared for violence, but it was impossible to protect everyone. prince charles' security detail was overwhelmed by protestors. in a "dateline" interview this past august, the prince of wales did not seem overly concerned about his safety. >> and you don't have terrible security compared to our president, but at least you can walk around. >> no, no, no. but it's a difference. i think the president, it must be a nightmare with the amount of security. >> reporter: tonight, prince charles might have welcomed some extra protection. the current government could be hoping for some themselves in the next election. brian? >> a wild day in london today. stephanie gosk covering it all. stephanie, thanks for your reporting tonight. in this country, news tonight about health. first, the big headlines about the state of women's health in america. it is dismal in a word. that's what a new report says tonight. more women than just a few years
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ago are too heavy, have bad blood pressure numbers that are too high and are throwing back too much alcohol. our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman has our details. >> reporter: in a ten-year look at women's health in this country, the national women's law center reports that when it comes to meeting government goals to keep woim healthy, the united states is failing. >> it's disconcerting that we have seen so little change over the last ten years. and i think we really need to pay more attention and do more in the coming decade. >> reporter: while no state is given an overall satisfactory grade, 37 states are found to be unsatisfactory, 12 considered outright failures, getting a grade of f. >> what the worst states did so wrong was not put into place policies that could actually help women get healthier. they did not do campaigns, education campaigns to help women know what they could do to get healthier. >> reporter: there has been some
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progress reducing deaths from heart disease, stroke, breast and lung cancer. but more women are obese and suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes. >> certain states make an effort to help their women become healthier, and it shows. >> reporter: more than 33% of women in mississippi are obese. the highest rate in the nation. and 13% of women in west virginia have diabetes. also the nation's highest percentage. experts are concerned by the marked increase in the number of women who report binge drinking, and fewer women are getting pap smears, the screening test for cervical cancer. but there is some good news. fewer women are dying from heart disease, stroke, lung and breast cancer. more women are getting mammograms, and even visiting the dentist more frequently. there are a lot of reasons why this report card is so dismal. women take care of everyone else, and put themselves on the back burner. there is a lack of access to
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good care in some parts of the country, insurance issues and now, of course, the recession. among the bad news, a little silver lining. women seem to be smoking less. >> and on that same subject, one more moment here, nancy. president obama has made no secret of his struggle to quit smoking, as you know. and today, at the white house, his spokesman, when the attorney general's latest report on smoking was released, a reporter asked the press secretary at the white house if the president has, in fact, been able to fully quit. >> i've not seen or witnessed evidence of any smoking in probably nine months. this is not something that he's proud of. he knows that it's not good for him. >> he has not seen or witnessed any evidence of smoking for nine months. the job of a spokesman, we could
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point out, a crafty and creative answer about the smoking habits of his boss, the president. nancy, what else did we learn on this front today? >> the first report came out in '64, but today, our surgeon general came out and said there is no such thing as any exposure to cigarettes. in fact, just one puff can cause immediate damage to your body. this report focused on how smoking causes diseases and one important statistic, if everybody in this country stopped smoking right now, one out of three cancers would disappear and brian, i think the number is even higher. if you look at heart disease and stroke. there are 7,000 chemicals in one cigarette. at least 700 of them can cause cancer. so there is no safe limit whether you're the president or not. >> one in three, very high number. nancy, thank you very much. now we turn to the president's tax plan. negotiated with republicans and presented to members of his own party as practically a done deal.
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but today, house democrats, the president's fellow democrats rejected it. our own kelly o'donnell has more tonight from capitol hill. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. we've got a family feud among democrats. house liberals turned their back on the president over this tax cut deal and there is limited sympathy from the white house and senate democrats. >> it is not acceptable to the house democratic caucus. it's as simple as that. >> reporter: politically, liberal democrats feel ignored and claim the white house cut them out of negotiations in favor of republicans. >> we were told yesterday by the vice president this was a take it or leave it deal. we're saying leave it. >> reporter: substantively, liberals reject changes to the estate tax that would reduce how much wealthy families pay on big inheritances. >> the inheritance tax thing is something that goes far beyond anything that any of us anticipated. >> reporter: that one provision
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would allow wealthy families to save an estimated $70 billion over two years. liberals argue the rich just don't spend that money on the kind of essentials like food and clothes that would boost the economy. >> you know who benefits from the estate tax? the top 0.3 of 1%. 99.7% of families do not benefit one nickel. >> reporter: today, the president held his ground, telling democrats if they don't go along, the unemployed and middle class families suffer. >> americans would see it in smaller paychecks that would have the effect of fewer jobs. >> reporter: but house democrats demand new negotiations. >> we would like to find a bipartisan way forward, but our caucus will not submit to hostage taking, and we will not submit to this deal. >> reporter: today, a cool response from the white house, saying this is the best deal. >> the nature of compromise is taking enough things to get an
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agreement through. and i think in the end we will. >> reporter: senate democrats could get this passed within days, putting more pressure on the house. there's a big development tonight for democrats who wanted to see an end to the ban on gays serving openly in the military. that failed to move forward in the senate. they couldn't push through a giant defense bill that had included the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. >> kelly o'donnell on the hill tonight. as the beat goes on for this lame duck congress. kelly, thanks. in california tonight, the question is how do you deal with a house so packed with explosives that it's essentially a giant bomb? the answer, very carefully, and nbc's kristen welker is in the city of escondido tonight to show us what happened. good evening. >> brian, this neighborhood is safe car after authorities successfully burned down that house without damaging any other nearby properties. and it is a big relief, because this community has been in danger for days.
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>> there it goes. there it goes, guys. >> reporter: flames shot three to four stories high, filling the air with thick, black smoke as firefighters ignited the explosive filled house at 1954 viascott. >> it's like going to watch the fourth of july fireworks. >> reporter: small explosions could be heard for miles. >> that is from the hand grenades we know that were inside there. there was some ammunition in there. >> reporter: officials say burning the property was the only way to ensure the safety of the community and they took every precaution so no one got hurt. overnight, they evacuated 120 homes. not everyone was happy. >> i understand this is for our safety, but this is really ridiculous. >> reporter: authorities constructed a 16-foot firewall, waited for perfect weather conditions and closed a nearby freeway for hours. the news dominated local television. >> we want to show you more pictures from this breaking news
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story. >> reporter: the cache was discovered when a gardner cleaning the backyard and stepped on an explosive chemical. investigators found bomb-making material inside. some of the same chemicals used by suicide bombers. the man behind it all, a 54-year-old unemployed software consultant who was relating the property. he has pleaded not guilty to a litany of charges. his motive? still unclear. >> it's in my backyard. it could be in any backyard in the u.s. of a. >> reporter: it only took about half an hour to burn down the house. air quality control officials will be monitoring the scene. residents are being allowed back into their homes. at this point, there is still no word on a price tag for this. brian? >> kristen welker, thanks. when our broadcast continues in just a moment on a thursday night, why a rock star who died 40 years ago got his day in
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court just today. and later, some kids introduced to the world in a documentary about education are feeling a bit like movie stars themselves right about now.
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jim morrison died almost 40 years ago, but he remains a rock legend. the front man for the doors. he was famous for his music and his lifestyle. he got sideways with the law more than once, including his 1969 arrest in miami on charges of indecent exposure and public intoxication. but tonight, that part of this legend has been forgiven. our report from nbc's mark potter. ♪ >> reporter: with a song that would become a classic, jim morrison and the doors exploded onto the music scene in the mid 1960s. ♪ come on, baby, light my fire >> reporter: they sold millions of albums around the world but
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also found trouble with the law. >> i want to see some action out there. >> reporter: as dramatized in the movie "the doors" a drunken morrison shouted obscenities during a 1969 concert in miami and threatened to expose himself on stage. >> come on up here. >> reporter: while it's been argued for decades whether he actually did that, miami officials filed charges four days after the concert. >> we have taken out two warrants for jim morrison. one of them is for indecent exposure. >> reporter: john densmore the doors' drummer, denies morrison exposed himself and claims he was a political target in the vietnam war era. >> the whole country was polarized, kind of like today. it was for the war or against the war. getting jim would put a dent in that movement, and that's what was going on. >> jim was a nice guy. >> reporter: robert josephberg, one of morrison's attorneys,
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says there was conflicting accounts and no pictures of the alleged incident. >> if the police had seen him publicly exposing himself there should have been and would have been an arrest and no one arrested him. >> there should be complete freedom for the artist and performer. >> reporter: at trial he was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail, which he never served. a year later, while free on appeal, he died in paris at the age of 27. >> i respectfully ask my colleagues today to pardon jim morrison. >> reporter: today, four decades later, the florida clemency board led by governor charlie crist, pardoned morrison, finally clearing one of the biggest names in rock history. mark potter, nbc news, miami. we learned today johnson &johnson has recalled 13 million packages of rolaids soft chews after receiving pieces of wood and metal shards in the products. the problem may have stemmed from a third party manufacturer and cautioned consumers. if you have some at home don't use them. up next, newly released
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tapes of richard nixon and what he really thought about a man who became one of the most popular presidents in the modern era, ronald reagan.
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we are learning more tonight about what went on behind closed doors at the nixon white house during two very busy months, february and march of 1973. there has been a new release of white house audiotapes and documents just out tonight from the nixon library in california. what you're about to hear is president nixon talking to then aide chuck colson about the possibility that ronald reagan might make a run for the white house in 1976.
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>> remember those words, "anybody but reagan." a year and a half later, nixon was gone, gerald ford became president. ronald reagan did run in '76. he challenged ford, a fellow republican for the nomination, but ford won. reagan did have to wait another four years for his next chance. the big show in washington tonight, the lighting of the national christmas tree. first lady michelle obama read a visit from st. nicholas and blues legend b.b. king and the trusty lucille and acts including maroon five entertained up until the big moment. the president and his family flipped the switch, illuminated the thousands of bulbs. officially ushering in the christmas season in the nation's capital. look at that. when we come back, a moment some school kids who have been in the national spotlight lately never dreamed they would have, and now they'll never forget it.
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finally tonight, our "education nation" report and a very special field trip for a group of students who made their star turn earlier this year in a controversial and much talked about documentary out there about america's troubled schools. the film is called "waiting for
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superman" and it's helped spark a national discussion about what's wrong with the nation's schools. it led to a memorable, almost accidental encounter for these five young people. tonight, we have a look behind the scenes. our education correspondent rehema ellis has our report. >> reporter: the struggle for a good education in america comes to life in the film that showcases children's dreams. >> i want to be a nurse. >> i want to be a doctor. >> reporter: and disappointment. in "waiting for superman" the five kids help turn up the heat in the national debate about education reform. >> people are getting engaged again on this issue. people are connecting to it through these kids. >> let's see if we can do this whole interview without smiling, okay? >> reporter: now the kids have been connected to a world they never imagined. they've been on the red carpet for the movie premiere. they're the cover kids on this weekend's "parade," the most widely read newspaper magazine
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in the country. and they got an invite to a world famous house. >> tell me all the different feelings you're feeling. >> nervous, happy, excited. unexplainable. >> reporter: no surprise, the filmmaker made a mini movie about the children's special visit, a visit he says happened because of a chance encounter. >> a friend said i want to meet bianka and i introduced her and i said this gentleman works at the white house. she goes, you work at the white house? i want to meet the president. >> what are you going to say? >> can i play you at basketball? >> hey, how are you guys? good to see you. it's got to come from inside you. you can't just have other people telling you what to do. you've got to want it for yourself. >> i got to meet the president. >> that says it all.
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>> thank you. >> reporter: five kids, dazzled by where a movie has taken them, and what they've done for a cause. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. >> that's our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- . now this doesn't happen every day. a project billions in the making set to open ahead of schedule. a big change for one of the busiest commutes here in the bay area. good evening, everyone. i'm jessica aguirre. >> i'm tom sinkovitz. opening date moved up. caltrans announcing the


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