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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  May 8, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> thanks. "nightly news" is next. we'll see you at 6:00. on our broadcast tonight, fire storm at the va, hours after we heard from the man in charge, subpoenas that are flying but for some families of veterans it's already too late. the agony at the school where their daughters were abducted. mothers wait for word and demand answers. tornado threat again tonight for a big part o our country. 50 million americans watching the sky. and it's football night in america and nfl events second only to the super bowl. big money at stake, red carpet treatment and millions set to watch it live. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening.
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just 24 hours ago we heard from the secretary of foreign affairs, eric shinseki there are calls for him to resign. he's trying to hang on and keep his job while the va has a very big problem. charges of a shameful record of medical care for some of our returning vets including neglect and mistreatment and in some cases veterans have died as a result. the families want answers, so do investigators. today subpoenas were issued for e-mails and correspondence surrounding the phoenix va hospital. there is an audit underway and shinseki will testify before congress next week. it's where we begin tonight with our correspondent jim mickly chef ski. >> reporter: she lost her father in law thomas breen to cancer last november and blames his death on the va hospital in phoenix. >> i'm sorry i'm shaking, but they were quick to dismiss my pop, right?
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>> reporter: she says when he went to the hospital for urgent care, the staff refused to treat him and told him to see his primary va doctor. he waited months but died before he could get an appointment. >> all the people that are a part of this, they should be held accountable because it's a crime. you know, delayed care is denied care, and it's just not fair. >> reporter: his death occurred during the same period when 40 other veterans died while waiting for medical treatment at the phoenix hospital. dr. samuel foot works for the va and was the first to allege in an effort to improve records, hospital officials kept a secret unofficial list of veterans that sought medical care. >> this was basically an elaborate scheme to coverup patient wait times and coverup patients that we didn't have providers for. the main problem was a huge demand and relatively limited supply of service. >> reporter: on capitol hill today, the house veterans
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affairs committee voted to subpoena all va e-mails and correspondence regarding the phoenix hospital scandal and the possible coverup after the va refused to provide them voluntarily. >> the last few weeks have been a model of va stone walling, which precipitated the need for this subpoena. >> reporter: in an interview with nbc news, eric shinseki promised a thorough investigation and says he ordered a review of all va hospitals. >> my responsibility is to ensure that a review is done quickly and thoroughly and then something is done about it. >> there is clearly a problem here. >> reporter: veterans gathered in san diego today to send a strong unified message. >> i'm disappointed, frustrated and angry. >> reporter: former marine aaron menkin was severely burned in a roadside bomb blast. he says his medical care while on active duty was excellent, but he worries about those veterans who have to rely on the va system.
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>> what's worse, to have someone lay wounded in battle ignored or to come home and have to struggle alone? >> reporter: pending the va's investigation, administrators at the phoenix hospital have not publicly responded to the charges. secretary shinseki has been called up to capitol hill to testify about the scandal before a senate committee next week, brian? >> jim starting us off with his reporting from the pentagon tonight. jim, thanks. now to the spring weather patterns in the news tonight. it's that time of year and again tonight the threat of severe storms and tornados returning across a huge part of our country. 50 million people currently in the watch zone. it cuts the country pretty much in half from north to south and already tonight, we had confirmed tornado sightings at least one on the ground in minnesota and in the dallas, texas, area torrential rain triggered flooding. several swift rescues including five children trapped in a drainage tunnel.
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all kids emerged okay. meteorologist jim cantore watching it all from weather channel headquarters. jim, good morning. >> reporter: good evening, brian. a possible tornado in dallas, we understand, with that, too. so a lot of big metro areas impacted tonight. it appears dallas' worst threat is pushing to the east but very heavy rain, two to three inches. they need the rain but not all in one evening. look at the storms lined up to the west of kansas city. a two-hour threat away from hail and possible high winds and then here is a tornado we've already had confirmed as you mentioned around st. james. that will push north of mankato and in the next couple hours threaten the minneapolis metro area. tonight, you mentioned it 50 million from houston to little rock, st. louis later on and tomorrow our threat slides to the east. more of the hail and high wind threat but, brian, as we know, we can never rule out a tornado even when you're under a severe
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thunderstorm watch. >> jim cantore watching it all from weather channel headquarters tonight. jim, thanks. to news from overseas, starting in nigeria where the president of that country promised today to find hundreds of school girls who have been held by terrorists for more than three weeks now. he thanked the u.s. and other countries that are supporting this effort to rescue them as their loved ones grow more and more desperate. we get the latest from nbc's ann curry. >> reporter: inside nigeria's northeast plagued with islamic militants, loved ones arrived at the school where 300 girls were taken. on day 25 of the kidnapping, they couldn't hold back the anguish. [crying] >> reporter: ester, the mother of a missing 15-year-old is desperate. >> they should go into my house, burn my house, break everything inside of my house if they give me my daughter. that would be better for me than taking my daughter. even they take my life at that moment, i think i'm satisfied
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more than when they take my daughter away. >> reporter: the islamic extremist called boko haram recently stepped up terror putting half a million people on the run. a girl who barely escaped, her face obscured to protect her says they chased us but we kept running. devastated, people here are grateful to know the outside world is now responding. secretary john kerry today. >> our inner agency team is hitting the ground in nigeria now to do everything that we possibly can to return these girls to their families and their communities. >> reporter: at the world economic forum underway in nigeria's capitol, a bold prediction from the nation's president who's been slammed for his government's slow response. >> i believe that it will be the beginning of end of terror in nigeria. >> reporter: world outrage, today people were still gathering to protest.
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in los angeles and denver. from nigeria the u.s. foreign aid chief. >> reporter: do you see this as a watershed moment in any way? >> i do see this as a watershed moment. i think the world does need to recognize there are girls all around a the planet that are treated unfairly, that are prevented from seeking a better future. >> reporter: but as real international help arrives, many fear it may be too late. senior u.s. officials confirm that u.s. intelligence indicates that the school girls had been split up as many have feared. some of them may be across the boarder, brian. >> continues to be such an achingly sad story, ann curry staying on the story for us, thanks. there are reports tonight that dozens may be dead after a massive explosion in the sierran city of aleppo. it's the rebels that say they've blown up a luxury hotel that's been used as a military base by
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assad's government soldiers. this is the second attack on that hotel. both carried out but tunnelling under the building. vladimir putin was flexing russia's military muscle overseeing a huge exercise by his armed forces and pro-militants took action of their own today. richard engel again for us tonight. richard, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian, just yesterday putin was talking about peace. today he showed how ready he is for war. these were huge exercises, the russian media bragged there wasn't anything like this evening under the soviet union. this was a show of force no one could miss. russia said it mobilized all parts of the military, including the nuclear arsenal. it comes as russia prepares to celebrate tomorrow the allied and russian victory over the
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nazis in world war ii. president putin personally supervised the huge military exercise and warned russia once again faces a fassist threat, this time in ukraine. in europe as you know, bellacost nationalism raises its head again. the nato secretary general had a clear message for russia. >> your behavior doesn't belong to the 21st century, and your rhetoric draws on outdated cliches of the cold war. >> reporter: but so far, nato and washington aren't controlling events in ukraine. these men are from pro-russian militia. today, we witnessed how they are continuing to takeover. when we arrived at a local tv station, there were armed men in the hallway. the station had been occupied by a pro-russian militia just one hour before we arrived. hello? the news director welcomed us
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into his office but clearly afraid to talk. >> what's going on today? >> i don't know. >> reporter: he showed us the last video his reporters filmed freely of masked men pouring into the building. violence or no violence? >> no violence. >> reporter: instead, the militia took position outside the newsroom and delivered a letter to the staff informing them the station is under the control of pro-russian forces. the director didn't want us asking too many questions. >> everything okay. thank you very much. >> all right. i'm not sure if everything is okay but -- >> reporter: and that was the end of our visit but not the end of violence. ukrainian troops fought to defend city hall. but even after a lot of gunfire, they still lost the building. there are fears tomorrow could be a violent day here. the pro-russian community plans to hold parades to mark the end of world war ii. the militias will be out in force. >> richard engel reporting live
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once again tonight from donetsk. in washington late today the house voted to establish a select committee on benghazi put together to investigate how the state department handled or mishandled the attack on the u.s. mission on benghazi, libya september 11th, 2012. the vote was 232-186 republicans overwhelmingly supported it. most democrats opposed. four americans were killed in that attack including the u.s. ambassador christopher stevens. strong earthquakes shook the coast of mexico today. this was a magnitude 6.4, sent people out into the streets, not only in the immediate area but in mexico city about 170 miles to the northeast. there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage. still ahead this evening, is donald sterling's wife preparing for a fight to try to keep the l.a. clippers?
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and later, high drama at one of the biggest sporting events of the year, while no one is actually playing anything, millions at stake and millions watching it play live.
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there is new fallout tonight in the scandal that rocked the nba and the family that owns the l.a. clippers. donald sterling went from being another wealthy nba owner to a household name in the span of just a few days. that was followed by the league pledging to take away the team, but now his wife's attorneys seem to be saying, not so fast. we get the latest tonight from joe fryer in los angeles. >> reporter: the donald sterling controversy started with audio recordings, now the website radar online posted new audio that says is a secretly taped conversation between sterling and a friend. the audio has not been authenticated. >> you think i'm a racist? you think i have anything in the world but love for everybody? you don't think that. you know i'm not a racist.
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>> reporter: sterling was banned from the nba for life accused of making racist comments and recordings posted on a couple websites. the commissioner wants to force sterling to sell the clippers. >> you can't force someone to sell property in america. >> reporter: the team is owned by a family trust. now sterling's wife, shelley, wants to maintain ownership saying the ban does not apply to her or her family. >> she does not want to manage the team. they doesn't she doesn't want to do day-to-day operations. she hopes an investor group comes in and builds it. >> reporter: shelley's attorney says shelley is separated from her husband and considering divorce although she was seen with him after a the controversy broke. >> are you a racist, mr. sterling? >> of course not. >> reporter: for her desire to
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own the team, experts say it could be a big legal battle. >> it could muddy the water. i imagine the nba anticipated this, but nonetheless, i think they are looking at a long fight. >> reporter: last week nba commissioner adam silver said they made no decisions about the family. >> this ruling applies specifically to donald sterling and donald sterling's conduct only. >> reporter: shelley continues to be at clipper's games after asking coach doc rivers for permission last week. >> she just wanted the players to know that -- she told me to tell them that she loved them. >> reporter: for clippers fans. >> it's clear no one wants to associate themself with the sterling name. they need to get away from the nba. >> reporter: with the clippers fighting for the play-offs, shelley sterling plans to attend tomorrow night's game. joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles. we are back in a moment with something to remember before the next family feud. [doorbell rings]
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hey. hey. what's this? it's u-verse live tv. with at&t u-verse... you can watch live tv from your device. hey. hey. anywhere in your home. [doorbell rings] hey. hey. so you won't miss a minute of the game. call now to get a u-verse bundle for the same great price for 2 years. guaranteed. bill dana has died and while
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no one has ever been able to teach courage of bottle it, bill dana had the natural and quiet coverage that makes for a great test pilot. put it this way, a lot of the aircraft he flew are in the air and space museum. he was the last man to fly the x-15, basically a rocket with wings. he took it 60 miles up to the edge of darkness, over 300,000 feet, took the throttles up to 368,000 miles an hour and flew 60 different aircraft over a 48-year career with no assurance ever that he would return safely to the earth. bill dana flew high enough to earn his astronaut's wings and the respect of his peers. he was 83 years old. we talked about weather tonight at the top of the broadcast and here is a related item, the climate prediction center says the chance has gone up just in the last month that a new el nino weather pattern is setting up in the pacific. chances now put at 65% that this will happen by this summer. that's bad news for global crop
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production among other things. at this time of night we once called the dinner hour, if anything is bothering you right now, you might want to be mindful of it, ask yourself why? that's because a new health journal study shows being angry, having frequent arguments with spouses or partners or relatives or neighbors may boost the risk of death from any cause and especially for those in middle age. there is some truth to that old expression, calm down or you'll give yourself a heart attack. the study says frequent worries exact a cost. the unemployed are at significant health risks because of this, and especially men. >> somewhere tonight don draper and his pals are raising the glass to the end of an era. the metro-north railroad in and out of new york city is the last daily commuter railroad to have a bar car, and the last four bar cars are coming out of service.
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they are great relics of the '60s and '70s but these days they don't make enough revenue and the railroad, you guessed it, would rather fill the cars with seats full of paying customers. when we come back tonight after a break, one of the great spectacles of all professional sports and yet there is no field involved. we'll go inside the nfl draft.
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finally here tonight, if we could open a window in the studio, you could hear them. the streets outside this building in mid town manhattan are filled with people. they are loud, being held back by police barricades, but there is in trouble here. most of them are wearing nfl team merchandise. in fact, we all know someone out there. they are just little more passionate about their favorite nfl team than the rest of us are. this is the nfl draft, and tonight nbc's willie geist has a look at how this came to be such a monumental event. >> reporter: at the core, the nfl draft is a simple exercise. >> the st. louis rams select sam bradford. >> reporter: 30 teams gather to submit choices across a crop of college prospects, but what fun is that? there are no tackles or touchdowns, but the draft become a football spectacle second only
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to the super bowl. fans camp out for a seat inside radio city music hall ready to cheer or boo their team's pick. >> get down with johnny. >> johnny super bowl. >> reporter: is it hard to hang in the with the cleveland browns through the years? >> not at all, baby. >> reporter: after being groomed and dressed by their personal stylist, the gq players walk the red carpet like movie stars on opening night, a long way from the look brett favre went with when he was chosen in 1991. jon gruden is a super bowl winning coach and analyst for espn. >> i don't know if it's a good thing or bad thing, but it's a made for tv event now, and these young players are more noticeable than they have ever been before. >> reporter: this draft day comes after an nfl season marked by a $765 million settlement between the league and thousands of retired players over concussion-related brain injuries. by hazing acquisitions from former miami dolphin jonathan
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martin and murder charges against former patriots' tight end, aaron hernandez. are raiders' fans the craziest? >> they are. >> reporter: and the draft experts that spend 12 months preparing for this one night. the god father of this group is mel kuiper jr. in the days before the draft became a highly rated tv show, nfl teams made their picks in smoke-filled rooms with the player's names scribbled on to a blackboard. a quant exercise next to the modern pageant that made football a year round sport. willie geist, nbc news, new york. >> can hear them from here. that's the broadcast on a 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.
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nbc is live outside where a meet and greet with the president goes anywhere from a thousand dollars to $32,000, mary anne? >> yes, but the people i talked to say that they believe it is worth that cost to meet the president of the united states. security is tight here in fropt of the fairmount right now. you can see that a group of about 40 protesters have gathered here in front. they are talking about issues ranging from drones to climate change to workers' rights. inside the hotel, about 250 people where already inside waiting to meet the president at a dnc fundraiser. in downtown, san jose, not business as usual as the city prepares to host obama.