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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  May 19, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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moment and put the camera down a little bit. >> that's exactly right, put your hands up and enjoy the ride. >> thank you for joining us, lester holt is next. on this tuesday night, the biggest recall in history. 34 million vehicles on american roads with dangerous air bags that can violently explode. now linked to at least five deaths. is your car on the list? cancer charity scam. shocking allegations, charities that raised $187 million for cancer patients accused of spending almost all of it on lavish vacations, cars and salaries. held hostage. disturbing new twists in the murder mystery near the vice president's house in washington. would you want to know? your risk of getting certain kinds of cancer. a brave new world of medicine giving patients early warning years in advance, we're there as a mom gets the news. and is your dog a genius?
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turns out there's a way to find out. "nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this the "nbc nightly news." reporting tonight, lester holt. >> good evening. we start tonight with the biggest product recall in american history. it affects tens of millions of cars on the road with a potentially deadly defect. ironically involving something designed to save lives. japanese air bag manufacturer takata acknowledging a defect with its air bags one that government safety experts say could cause them to explode with too much force, sending shrapnel flying into drivers and passengers. tonight the government is nearly doubling the size of an earlier recall. our tom costello is working that story for us tonight. he has important information now. >> reporter: the size of the recall is stunning. nearly 34 million vehicles nationwide
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now involved. 11 different automakers. roughly one out of every four cars on the road. after five months of insisting its air bag deflators are not defective, the takata corporation now admits that's not true. >> takata has agreed to declare that air bag inflaters are deflecting. it is recalling these inflaters and these recalls are nationwide. >> reporter: the government says five people in the u.s. have been killed by defective air bags including 1-year-old ashley parham who died after a minor fender bender when the air bag exploded. >> i got there wfr seconds and watched an 18-year-old girl who had her whole life in front of her literally die in front of me inside that vehicle. >> reporter: brandy brewer lost an eye. >> it makes me angry. angry that this has been an ongoing problem, and it's still going on now. this is something that should have been fixed years ago. >> reporter: government investigators believe
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the defective air bags are more dangerous in humid climates. the defective air bags are moisture can cause the inflater to explode. to find out if your car is on the expanded recall list, locate your vehicle identification number right under your wipers. then go to go to search for recalls then recalls by vin, type in that vin number, and whatever recalls are affecting your car, including the air bag recall, should pop up. >> it's not enough to identify defects. to save lives and prevent injuries, defects must be prepared. >> reporter: in al statement takata said we're continuing to work closely with regulators, and the our motte-maker customers to do everything we can to advance the safety of drivers. but fixing all 34 million vehicles may take years, and if your air bag has already been replaced guess what you? may have to do it again if those replacement parts were defective. model years are 2000 through 2011. the d.o.t. will prioritize who goes first. lester? >> tom costello starting us off,
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thanks. turning to the campaign trail now where until today hillary clinton had not answered a question from the press for four weeks while controversy mounted over her family's foundation and her private e-mails as secretary of state. today at last she faced the press, and nbc's kristen welker was there. >> reporter: after 28 days of methodically avoiding direct questions from reporters, hillary clinton finally faced the press in iowa today, and once again her state department e-mails from her private server were at issue. >> i want those e-mails out. nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than i do. >> reporter: late last night the department said it wouldn't be able to review and release all 55,000 pages of e-mails until january. >> i want them out as soon as they can get out. >> reporter: today a federal judge ordered state to release the e-mails sooner in a series of batches. we asked if mrs. clinton will push her former colleague. will you demand it? >> well they are not mine. they belong to the state department. as much as they can
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expedite that process, that's what i'm asking them to do. >> reporter: republicans refused to let clinton put the politically toxic issue to rest slamming her for deleting e-mails she says were personal. >> i think the server at home business is just absolute lyly incredible that you would be secretary of state and working off a private e-mail and then be debleating and destroying that stuff is just incredible to me. >> reporter: clinton also waded into a issue that's tripped up some of her republican rivals, iraq. >> i misstepped for sure. >> reporter: she punted when asked if iraq is better off wowed saddam hussein but reiterated she regrets investigate for the war. >> i've made it very clear that i made a mistake, plain and simple. >> reporter: former secretary of state also denied any conflict of interest in her paid speeches and dismissed criticism that she's out of touch after earning $30 million over the past 16 months. >> well, obviously, bill and i have been blessed, and we're very grateful for the opportunities that we had, but we've never forgotten where we came from.
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>> reporter: now clinton also met with small business owners here in iowa today and discussed ways to improve economic opportunities for them. part of her pitch to prove she understands average americans. next up stops in new hampshire. lester? >> there's word tonight about the health of vice president biden's son beau biden. andrea mitchell in washington. what can you tell us. >> reporter: tonight beau biden is hospitalized at walter reed national medical center. the 46-year-old is the offspring of vice president biden and served in 2009 with the delaware national guard. he's had medical issues in recent years, a mild stroke in 2010 and surgery in august of 2013 at the cancer center in texas to remove what doctors described as a small brain lesion. last year he did not seek a third term as attorney general, said he had been given a
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clean bill of health and planned to run for governor in 2016. sources close to biden say he's had continuing treatment and monitoring of his health since his surgery. lester? >> andrea mitchell in washington tonight, thank you. now to what's being called one of the largest charity fraud cases ever. in fact it's four cancer charities being tarted by the feds and all 50 states accused of raising $187 million in donations for cancer patients but instead nearly use all of that money for big salaries luxury vacations and cars. nbc's stephanie gosk has a report. >> the names sound charitable, children's cancer fund of america, breast cancer society, but a lawsuit filed by the ftc in all 50 states calls these four charities shams. donations were allegedly used for cars, luxury cruises and college tuition, jetski outings and concert tickets. the rest went to fund-raising costs and inflated salaries. >> if you didn't know better, would you
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think someone was making up the most deplorable scam they could imagine. >> reporter: complaint says that the charities, run by james reynolds his former wife rose perkins and their son, james reynolds jr., raised $187 million between 2008 and 2012. the ftc says only 3% actually went to cancer patients. claire contreres a breast cancer survive herself gave a donation. >> we gave more than $2,000 to the organization and we thought it was going for -- to help women get mammograms. today when i heard about it, i was completely disgusted by it and completely floored and in disbelief. >> reporter: the "tampa bay times" first questioned the organization two years ago. reynolds responded giving a tour of his tennessee facility. >> i would like to hear that it goes to charity and realistically and working on it now i know that that's not real. >> reporter: reynolds former wife and son have settled, closing two of the charities. the websites are down with only this letter posted.
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it does not help those that we seek to serve and for us to engage in a highly publicized, expensive and distracted legal battle. the ftc says that this is a reminder. before giving know where your money is going. stephanie gosk nbc news, new york. overseas now now that the iraqi city of ramadi has fallen to isis and the iraqi army has run from the fight despite u.s. training and airplane support, there is growing concern about isis and growing despair among veterans of the iraq war who sacrificed so much in that country only to see it fall into chaos. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has covered iraq then and now and has this report. >> reporter: for the hundreds of thousands of u.s. troops who fought in the iraq war, the loss of ramadi is painful and personal. >> we're about 300 meters east of dogwood. >> reporter: back in 2004, brian iglasius was one of many marines who made
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ridding ramadi of islamic radicals his life, his mission, risking everything and losing friends to do it. we were there with him. >> we need the iraqis to cooperate here a little bit more. >> reporter: back then it worked. ramadi was hard fought and won. but today the city is in isis hands and iglasius now a businessman in new york, is heartbroken, wondering what is it worth the sacrifice? >> for us it's a big blow. i mean we fought for that city for a reason. if it was that important for us to fight and die for, it should be important to keep, important not just for americans but for the iraqis as well. >> reporter: and with ramadi gone, what's to keep isis from baghdad less than 70 miles away? the answer could be these men, shiite militias backed by iran. iraq is imploding, and washington is trying unsuccessfully to manage it by remote control through groups with competing agendas. a decade ago hundreds
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of americans gave their lives in the fight for ramadi. >> not just american soldiers and marine lives and civilians and iraqis fighting with us that lost their lives. >> reporter: now the sense of accomplishment of those who served in iraq is being chipped away one city at a time. richard engel, nbc news. in texas tonight, police now fear they could face retribution from biker gangs after they arrested some 170 suspects over that deadly brawl that killed nine over the weekend. nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer has more from waco. >> reporter: with investigators still analyzing the bullet-ridden crime scene tonight officers are on high alert. police bulletins warn they could become the next targets. >> the intelligence was there were credible threats towards law enforcement. we shared that information statewide. >> reporter: what did the bulletin say? >> that we were at threat of attack. >> reporter: attacks,
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police say, could be retribution. the names of the nine men killed in the twin peaks parking lot all between 27 and 65 years old, many shot in the head, were released today. the bandidos the group behind sunday's shooting, have deep roots in texas with 2,500 members and a global span that reaches into 13 countries and one of their leaders said today they never ordered their members to kill police. >> president obama himself would send out the air force, the army, the marine corps and everybody and take us out. there's no way. >> reporter: with 170 suspected gang members held on $1 million bond, tonight police fear more bikers may be headed to texas. >> they are the mafia on wheels. >> reporter: investigative journalist julian sher has written several books on motorcycle gangs. >> these guys live by blood. they are proud of it. they don't shy away from it. they will boast about their violence. these are violence
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violence gangs. >> reporter: outlaws, many fear will spill even more blood in the days ahead. miguel almaguer nbc news waco texas. still ahead as we continue tonight the simple test so many women are getting to find out their chances of developing certain kinds of cancer and other diseases years before they might appear. would you want to know your risk?
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here's a tough question to ponder. if there's a risk that you'll have a serious
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medical issue later in life would you want to know even if you may not be able to do anything about it? modern medicine can now test your dna for more than 5,000 health risks. sometimes the results are clear cut and sometimes they aren't. nbc news national correspondent kate snow now with a story of two women who like so many others went searching for answers. >> sitting in a waiting room near denver 46-year-old marcella velez is nervous and she's here because of her family. three years ago her mom back in columbia was diagnosed with breast cancer and treated and then last year they found more colon and liver. so today the single mom is talking with a genetic counsellor about her own cancer risk based on a blood test. >> having cancer in the family is okay. >> it's a hard day, right. >> it's hard. but i -- i just want to make sure that i do
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the right thing for my kids. >> reporter: it's what's driving so many women to take a simple test. actress angelina jolie told the world she had preventive surgeries after she discovered she's at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancers. >> have you seen an angelina effect? >> absolutely. they say you know i have known about this for years and my doctors told me i did this for years and it's just been in the news so much and that's what brought me in. >> we were with 37-year-old single mom lori hyde when she met with a genetic counsellor for her results and her mom is also a breast cancer survivor. lori and marcella had a test that looked for permutations in 25 genes including the brca 1 and 2 which dramatically increases the risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. >> any other gene that they know causes increased risk for cancer. >> very good news. >> yeah it is big relief. >> reporter: but for marcella the results are more complicated. the genetic counsellor told her she did not have a brca mutation
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but she does have something else that she wasn't expecting. >> they found a mutation again in the pms 2 gene. >> reporter: that means marcella's risk of developing colon cancer three times higher than most people's. she will need colonoscopies every year. the counsellor explains why she also had a slightly higher risk for uterine canser. >> is there a lot of gray? >> often there is, yes, and that is why we feel genetic counsellors are so essential to this process. >> reporter: marcella is relieved the news isn't worse, but for her kids it's hard to take. >> knowing she can get cancer, sad. >> cancer a real scary word. i'm scared off of that word and my kids it's really hard for them. finding out that i have the propensity to get those types of cancers, it gives me the power to do something about it.
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>> reporter: the test these women got cost up to $6,000 and insurance does cover women with a certain family history and everyone should have access. tomorrow night we'll explore that and, lester, what might be the downside. >> a scary road to travel. kate thanks very much. up next chilling new clues in a murder mystery that's gripped the nation's capital.
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there are disturbing new clues tonight about the murder mystery that has a neighborhood on edge. a family found dead inside their burning home on a street lined with ambassadors' homes, and now we're learning their horrifying ordeal may have begun long before the fire. peter alexander reports. >> today investigators scoured the grisly crime scene at the $5 million washington, d.c. home. expecting a series of surveillance cameras that may have been disabled. >> we have a lot of
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evidence to collect, it's going to take some time. >> sources close to the case tell wrc that sabba, his wife, their son and housekeeper were likely held captive in their home overnight, bound and threatened through thursday afternoon when they were viciously murdered the adults beaten and stabbed and the house set on fire. >> that's absolutely stunning, nothing like this has ever happened. >> reporter: investigators now suspect more than one person was likely involved in the murder. there were no signs of forced entry at the home and sources tell wrc it's likely that the killers had knowledge of the family hand how they lived their day-to-day lives. >> reporter: he was a high-powered executive, a member who built the verizon center international business dealing. police found his porch four miles from his home four miles away from the american headquarters. a second housekeeper says figueroa's husband went to the
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savopolous house. nobody answered the door and then his phone rang, a cool from mr. savopolous who said figueroa was not there. tonight a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest. peter alexander, nbc news, washington. >> when we come back we'll switch gears. if you always thought your dog was smarter than the average pooch, now there's a way to prove it.
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finally tonight, a question you may have thought about more than once. while staring into your best friend's eyes. wondering what's inside that head what they are thinking and understanding. nbc's hallie jackson ponders the question is your dog a genius? >> they are more than just a pretty face. these dogs are geniuses, all of them at least according to brian hare. >> the question really is what is the type of genius your dog has? we're going to help you measure all those things. >> find a treat. >> reporter: his dogmission program tests canine iq but there's no number score. instead, dogs fall into one intelligence types. take lassie, for example, a gifted problem-solver, he
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could be an ace. beethoven, that friendly mischief maker might be a chairman, and how about my guy, decentraly de distractible dachshund. communication and reasoning. yellow. it's play with a purpose. especially for service animals. >> it helps where you can kind of better assess the dogs. >> reporter: shelters are using doing nation to help adopt out a dog. >> reporter: and with dog mission getting ready to publish its first research paper the pet profiles may help us learn more about ourselves too. >> many of the things i'm describing about dogs are about people. >> reporter: whether on two legs or four we probably all know an einstein or a maverick or even a socialite. like dawkins, who knows how to use his humans to get what he wants. still, as any dog lover will tell you there's only one label
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that matters, not genius. >> hi five. >> reporter: best friend. hallie jackson, nbc news, los angeles. >> that will do it for us on a tuesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. breaking news along the coast. a pipeline dumped barrels of oil into the ocean. this is happening near santa barbara. we're live as crews try to contain the spill. good evening and thanks for being with us i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. let's take you back there so you can take a good live look at this. this slick of oil or sheen is about four miles wide. you're looking at a live picture from our sister station in los angeles. their chopper is flying over it. this oil spill about 20 miles from downtown santa barbara.
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oil ruptured from a pipeline and gushed down the bluff to that beach today. within the last few minutes we've learned it's estimated 21,000 gallons of oil that spilled. that's according to the coast guard. you can see the wide berth of that spill around the clear parts of the water. workers discovered the leaking pipeline just before noon today but it took them about four hours to seal it and contain it. we apologize, you can see the signal right there. work is now under way to clean up all the oil which stretches out at least 50 feet from the shoreline. the cleanup crews are securing the oil slick with booms right now and buoys that they use to try to contain it. a company called plains all american pipeline lp owns that pipeline that ruptured. the beach is about, as i mentioned, 20 miles from downtown santa barbara. there is a campground there that's completely booked for memorial day. at this point it's unclear if visitors will be impacted by this spill, since it is


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