tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 19, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on our broadcast tonight from los angeles, tylenol connection. is it possible the unabomber could also be the tylenol killer from years ago? the fbi is looking for ties between one man and the biggest product tampering case ever. getting out. the powerful bankers accused of trying to rape a hotel housekeeper. getting out of jail, the reason why and what's next? drawing lines. the president's big speech today on the middle east and the wave of revolt in the arab world and how what he said is going over tonight. and an nbc exclusive. a powerful and dangerous drug smuggling operation in the u.s., with a new pipeline, and our cameras are there. also, making a difference
for women and girls half a world away. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. it was the biggest product tampering case ever. in fact, it's the reason medicine containers are so hard to open to this day. if you were around back then, you remember the tylenol tampering case that killed several americans. the product survived and thrived but the case went unsolved. you may also remember ted kaczynski, the convicted unabomber. a reclusive homegrown american terrorist and killer. now, we have learned the fbi, after all these years, is looking to see whether there's a connection between the two. our justice correspondent pete williams starts us off in washington with more on this story tonight. pete, good evening. >> reporter: brian, this is a strange one, admittedly a leap for investigators.
they want a dna sample from kaczynski. who has been serving a life sentence in the supermax prison in colorado. officials say it's part of an effort to pursue any avenue that might help solve the tylenol mystery. it was a brazen attack on something in millions of medicine cabinets. seven people in the chicago area died in 1982 after taking pills from bottles laced with cyanide. the poisonings alarmed the nation and led to new tamper-proof packaging for all kinds of items. >> anyone could be a victim, which made it extremely frightening in 1982 and today, it would be what we call domestic terrorism. >> no one was charged with poisoning the tylenol, but in recent years, the police and fbi have re-energized their investigation. now infbi wants a sample of dna from ted kaczynski, convicted of being the unabomber and serving a life sentence for his 18-year series of attacks that killed three people and injured 28 others.
he has chicago connections, born and schooled there. kaczynski revealed this development himself in handwritten documents filed in federal court. i have never even possessed potassium cyanide, he said, using the chemical's full name. he asked a federal judge to delay a government auction now under way of items taken from his cabin in montana, including his journals. they're being sold to raise money for his bombing victims. among the ideas, a hooded sweatshirt and dark glasses that were depicted in a wide ly give sketch after witnesses saw him at a bombing scene. he said his journals written in code will show whether i ever committed any illegal acts involving cyanide, he wrote. one man, james louis, of new york, was convicted of trying to extort $1 million from the maker of tylenol. authorities concluded he was an opportunist, not responsible for the poisonings. law officials describe asking for kaczynski's dna as part of effort to pursue all potential avenues, but so far, they have found nothing tying him to the potential attacks.
>> big interesting case in washington tonight. pete williams starting us off from there. another big case, a media frenzy in lower manhattan as the now former head of the international monetary fund, dominique strauss-kahn, the man known by his initials, dsk, was brought into court to face sex crime charges. late today, he got good news, at least for his team, when the judge granted him bail. he can get out of jail, but with strict restrictions. jeff rossen with us from outside the courthouse in lower manhattan. jeff, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you. this is basically house arrest in many ways. his wife flew in from france, and she's rented an apartment here in new york city, the defense told the judge, and they will live there together. under the veiled condition, though, it's not that simple. they will have to have extreme surveillance. he'll have an ankle bracelet on that's electronic, monitoring his every move. there will be an armed guard posted outside the door, and video cameras watching every move he makes.
wearing a crisp blazer and shirt, dominique strauss-kahn appeared in court today, asking for bail for a second time this week. his defense team told the judge, despite his money and power, he's not a flight risk. in fact, they said, he wants to stay in new york to clear his name. >> this man has a right to be released from custody. >> reporter: but prosecutors argued against bail, saying strauss-kahn has a propensity for criminal behavior and could flee to france. >> he has the personal, the political, and the financial means to flee and evade law enforcement. >> during today's hearing, it was revealed a grand jury had indicted him on seven charges, including attempted rape and sexual abuse in the first degree. last weekend inside his expensive suite at this luxury manhattan hotel, prosecutors say he sexually assaulted a hotel maid twice. he's been living in a small cell on rikers island ever since, placed on suicide watch. but today, he got a break.
>> i have considered all of this, and i have decided that i will grant a bail. >> reporter: there are strings attached. strauss-kahn must put up $1 million cash bail, a $5 million insurance bond. at his new apartment, electronic and video surveillance along with an armed guard at the door. estimated cost, $200,000 per month. strauss-kahn will pay for all of it. here to support him, strauss-kahn's wife and daughter. >> it's a great relief to the family to be able to have him with them. >> reporter: but before the family reunion, strauss-kahn will spend one more night in jail, released tomorrow to a manhattan apartment. the location still undisclosed. >> granting the bail was the correct decision in these circumstances. there's a presumption of bail in the constitution when the charges don't involve a death. >> reporter: earlier today, strauss-kahn resigned as head of the international monetary fund. the imf.
in his resignation letter, he strongly denied the accusations against him, saying in the letter, i want to devote all my strength, all of my time, and all of my energy, brian, to proving my innocence. >> jeff rossen with the big story in lower manhattan back in new york today, thanks. >> if you have been following our broadcast, our coverage, you have heard us talking about the so-called arab spring. the upheaval in egypt, bahrain, syria libya, and it's still going on at this moment and will continue. today, president obama had a speech laying out his vision for the middle east, and his main message is already proving controversial. we have it covered from all angles with ron allen from the white house. good evening. >> reporter: the president tried to put the u.s. squarely on the side of the people in the arab world, demanding their rights, but all of that may have been overshadowed by his most direct comments perhaps about how he thinks israel and the palestinians should make peace. president obama held the
so-called arab springs as an historic opportunity. >> there must be no doubt that the united states of america welcomes changes that advances self determination and opportunity, but after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be. >> saying the u.s. has a stake not just in the stability of the nation but also the freedom of people. >> our message is simple. if you take the risks that reform entails, you'll have the full support of the united states. >> reporter: the president had blunt words for dictators for syria's bashar al assad, accused of killing hundreds in a brutal crackdown on protesters wanting change. >> president assad now has a choice. he can lead that transition or get out of the way. >> reporter: many in the arab world have doubts about mr. obama's commitments, as we saw firsthand in tahrir square, where many expected more support from the president, and today,
it was his very direct language to israel that was perhaps most striking. >> the dream of a jewish and democrat state can't be fulfilled with permanent occupation. >> calling for an exchange of land for security and peace. >> we believe the borders of israel and palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed slots. >> israel's prime minister, netanyahu, rejected that, saying israel would be indefensible. and major u.s. settlements would be outside israel. however, mr. obama said he's convinced the majority of palestinians and israelis no longer want to be trapped in the past. >> that is the choice that must be made. a choice between hate and hope. between the shackles of the past and the promise of the future. >> reporter: the president also said all palestinians including the militant group hamas, which is now part of the government,
must recognize israel's right to exist. the israeli prime minister is here tomorrow for talks with the president. there's certainly a lot more to talk about now, brian. >> ron allen at the white house tonight with our report on the president's speech. let's go to a couple of the veterans who cover that part of the world. richard engle in is cairo. andrea mitchell is in washington. richard, considering you and i walked right behind you there through the square, the height of the first of the uprising, how is this going over there? >> reporter: people have not been terribly impressed. they didn't think president obama was nearly specific enough. they wanted a concrete plan of action to advance on the israeli/palestinian front. they didn't think they heard anything new, frankly, brian. >> and andrea mitchell in washington, understandable, i'm guessing, you're going to report kind of a different view. >> reporter: the white house view is there's a grim landscape right now for accomplishing anything on the peace front. egypt brokered the deal between the palestinian
government and hamas declaring hamas part of the talks, and hamas is an enemy of israel. they won't recognize israel's right to exist. george mitchell, the middle east negotiator has quit. so one argument would be why take the political heat to launch something now that's not going to go anywhere? that said, the president is under a lot of pressure from saudi arabia and jordan to do something. the region is in turmoil, so he did take one new step. he explicitly called on israel to withdraw to it original borders before it won the 1967 war or give up some of their land in exchange. land swaps have been suggested before, but not those explicit borders. the president did pledge to do something and offered to oppose efforts in the u.n. that would recognize palestine as a country next fall. that's something israel does want. he pushed it along a little bit. he didn't go as far as people in the region certainly would like. >> richard, you and i were e-mailing back and forth last night.
we have been in the situation, not knowing quite where to be for the next pot to boil over, and yet the one unifying theory is so much attention will now be focused on israel, correct? >> reporter: if the u.s. is waiting for the situation in this region to settle down before engaging in an arab/israeli peace negotiation, or israeli/palestinian peace negotiation, that may be too late. already, there's a tremendous amount of frustration being directed at israel. if the united states doesn't show leadership and take ownership of the process, there's a very good chance that militant groups could try to divert attention, again, and divert anger toward israel, and the u.s. could lose control of the process. >> all right, again, two of our veterans of that region. coverage of what's going on there. richard engle in cairo. andrea mitchell in the washington bureau, thanks to you both. the flooded mississippi river crested at 57.1 feet in vicksburg, mississippi, today. that's five inches below what was predicted.
sadly, there's a death to report. the first of this great flood, which has turned into a kind of history-making, slow-moving natural disaster. a 69-year-old vicksburg man drowned. he was found clinging to a fence, but rescuers couldn't get to him in time to save his life. here in california, talk about scorched earth. a refueling tanker, an old 707, flown by a navy contractor, crashed on takeoff last night, sparking a massive fire. took hours to put it out. the three crew members up front were not badly hurt. a spokesman at the navy base called that a miracle. also news here in southern california today about the big story here of late, arnold schwarzenegger put out a statement today saying he's putting his planned return to the movie business on hold. earlier this week, the former governor admitted he fathered a child with a member of his household staff. in the statement today, he said he's focusing on personal matters now and will not commit to any movie production schedules.
when we come back from los angeles after a break, an nbc news exclusive. we're there as the bust takes place. and we'll tell you why what you're about to see is unique. and later, "making a difference" with safe places for girls who have few opportunities to survive and thrive. to surviv. with an irregular heartbeativ. called atrial fibrillation, or afib, that's not caused by a heart valve problem. today we have pradaxa to reduce the risk of a stroke caused by a clot. in a clinical trial, pradaxa 150 mg reduced stroke risk 35% more than warfarin. and with pradaxa, there's no need for those regular blood tests. pradaxa is progress. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding, and seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising.
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for a mexican drug cartel that allegedly smuggled hundreds of tons of marijuana to native american land. the tohono reservation sits on the mexican border near tucson, arizona. it's the size of connecticut but is sparsely populated. for most of the remote 75-mile long border there, this fence is all that separates mexico from the united states. >> typically, a smuggler, a smuggling group will move dope through this desert in either a vehicle or in a human smuggling train. >> reporter: authorities say mexican traffickers increasingly use tohono oodham land now to enter the u.s., forced to do so by law enforcement crack downs elsewhere. agents say on most of the mountaintops in the area, within the united states, from the border to phoenix, mexico's drug cartel hides its surveillance team in caves to spy on american law enforcement below.
>> we estimate at any given time, there are 200 to 300 scouts working in these positions. >> reporter: and this is one of those mountaintop caves called spider holes where the mexican scouts will hunker down day and night. this one is so fresh, they left behind shoes and sleeping gear. in smaller caves, the scouts store water, food, tarps, and equipment. >> here, we have a base plate for a radio. >> the mexican spotters use encrypted radios to direct heavily camouflaged vehicles loaded with marijuana and other drugs across the arizona desert. >> it's almost like a military operation, handoff to handoff to person to person. >> reporter: high above the desert, they're the eyes and ears of a powerful and dangerous mexican drug smuggling cartel operating deep inside the united states. mark potter, nbc news, near tucson, arizona. up next here tonight, if you were in on the deal we're about to tell you about, you made a lot of money today. root cause .
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for a time today, if you looked at the ticker on wall street, it's like they set the way-back machine to the dot.com craze of 1999. the initial public offering for that business focused social media site "linkedin" you see all over the web soared to nosebleed heights, closed at $94 and change after the stock was offered at $45. that's a one-day gain of 109%. nice if you were in on the deal. nothing that dramatic on the rest of wall street. dow finished up 45 points. big announcement in our company. dick ebersol is leaving. his title is chairman of nbc sports group. in plain anglish, he's the guy who executive produced all the hours of olympic coverage over the years that has had countless american families sitting on their couches, staring at their
televisions for hours on end, wondinging how the luge was going to end up or how the romanian gymnast was going to stick the parallel bars. he's been at the network for 33 years. he was among the founders of "saturday night live." he brought "sunday night football" to nbc. he's a friend and legendary figure to so many in the television industry. when we come back, helping girls who have very big dreams. helping them dream big, and for a lot of them, that's a first. are smiling... es you're smiling. and when they're laughing... you're laughing. be kind to your eyes... with transitions lenses. transitions adapt to changing light so you see your whole day comfortably... and conveniently while protecting your eyes from the sun. ask your eyecare professional which transitions lenses are right for you.
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by the way, we're here in l.a. tonight for an nbc news "education nation" gathering here tonight. and we'll show you a bit of that tomorrow night. we'll also introduce you to the new education sheriff in town here in los angeles these days. now, however, our making a difference report. tonight, it's about the 600 million women and girls in places around the world where they don't have what we have. developing countries with vast needs being helped by organizations like c.a.r.e., setting out to help make their lives better. maria menounos reports from kenya on one program helping girls to recognize their own strength.
>> reporter: it may look like any other girls' basketball game, but it's more than sports for the players here. it's a refuge. >> what are the young girls mostly facing? >> rape cases. early marriage. early pregnancy. >> reporter: these girls are part of safe faces, a program supported by the global charity, c.a.r.e. >> we want to help the kids find solutions. they go with the lineup, then go with the dribbling, the two steps, and then the scoring. the scoring is what you really want in life. >> reporter: friends florence and mamu are two of the first members and know firsthand the challenges for girls are here are extreme. girls are four times more likely than boys to contract hiv. a quarter lose their virginty by four, and more than a quarter are child brides. in a majority of homes, school goes to the boys. mamu was forced to drop out of
school at 13. there was only enough money for her brother, and her parents needed the money her early marriage would provide. it's not easy to dream big when you grow up in a place like this. but these programs actually give these girls the confidence to think beyond these slums. how do you take girls from trash pits like this and convince them that they're worth more? >> it's not easy, really. there are so many metaphors that can bring you back to real life. how to be persistence and persevering. >> in every girl, there is something big. >> reporter: florence encouraged mamu to go back to school with a scholarship from the program. and maum convinced her parents school instead of marriage was worth it. >> challenges that still i face, but i know how to tackle them. >> reporter: turns out basketball gives these girls a shot both on and off the court. maria menounos, nbc news, nairobi, kenya.
a great story. more of it on our website, nightly.msnbc.com and in the june issue of "self" magazine. and for ourselves, that's our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams reporting tonight from the nbc news los angeles bureau. as always, we hope you can join us tomorrow night. good night. can join us tomorrow night. good night. right now at 6:00, for the first time the transportation secretary of the united states tours the devastation in san bruno. the changes that could be in store to protect your home. >> reporter: i'm scott budman where a red-hot ipo leaves silicon valley investors and companies wanting even more. also, why our recent rain could make your trip to the supermarket more expensive. the news at 6:00 starts right now.