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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  July 5, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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president obama heads to a crucial summit, but who is really calling the shots in russia? and nbc news gets an inside look at the battle to control loose nukes. murder mystery. new clues in the death of a super bowl star. what's next for sarah palin? from wasilla to washington, that's the political question tonight. and grand slam. one for the record books at and grand slam. one for the record books at wimbledon. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. president obama is on his way to russia tonight where shadows of the cold war will loom over his
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summit meeting in moscow tomorrow. like east/west sum mitts of old, the control and reduction of nuclear weapons arsenals will be on the table, and then there's a question of just who is really in charge in russia. president medvedev or prime minister and former president vladimir putin? it's a a question that could complicate mr. obama's mission to repair a tattered u.s.-russian relationship. chief white house kornlt chuck todd sets the scene for us from moscow tonight. >> reporter: president obama arrives in moscow tomorrow morning to begin his fourth major trip overseas, but inlike his previous european stops, there aren't going to be throngs of people in the streets to greet the president. there are no posters, banners or flag denoting this visit by the maerp president, and the local media has barely made mention of the president's pending arrival. since taging office, the obama administration has sent not so subtle signals it wants to reset america's relationship with its one time cold ar enemy russia. secretary of state hillary clinton with her russian
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counterpart in march. >> i wanted to present you with a little gift. we want to reset our relationship. we worked hard to get the right russian word. do you think we got it? >> you got it wrong. >> you got it wrong. >> reporter: america's once good relationship with russia has recently been lost in translation with the american public as well. half the country, 49%, view russia as an adversary. just 29% see the country as an american ally. seven years ago it was quite different with 52% of americans viewing russia as an ally. any reset with russia is complicated by the fact that it's unclear who president obama's true counterpart is. on paper mr. obama's equal is russian president medvedev. the two met face to face briefly in london in april. but it's generally accepted that former president and current prime minister va lood mere putin is the real power. mr. obama is hoping his newly warm relationship with medvedev changes putin's attitude, which has been more adversarial. >> i think that it's important
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that even as we move forward with president medvedev that putin understands that the old cold war approaches to u.s./russian relations is outdated. >> reporter: the business of this trip is something right out of the cold war. meet a december 2009 dlooin to come up with a new arms restriction treaty known as s.t.a.r.t. or as some are wanting to symbolically call it, new s.t.a.r.t. then the president heads to the g-8. when in rome, mr. obama will also have an audience with the pope. the last stop is ghana, a west african country that u.s. presidents have showcased recently as a model of democracy and for its symbolic importance to african-americans recalling the history of the slave trade there. but the success of this trip depends on whether the dippic reset the u.s. seeks here takes place as mr. obama signaled on russian television. >> nuclear super powers, with
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that comes special responsibilities that are very different from the positions of many other countries around the world. >> reporter: lester, tonight in moscow u.s. representatives hinted that the two presidents would announce some progress on these s.t.a.r.t. weapons talk. there is one sticking point, the russians want missile defense as part of the negotiations. the u.s. believe it's a separate issue and it's about protecting allies from a nuclear threat from iran or north korea. >> chuck todd ou waiting the president's arrival in moss can you. the issue of nuclear weapons is about keeping them out of terrorists and rogue states. here is jim maceda. >> reporter: containers of weapons-grade uranium leaving romania under cover of darkness, and in secret flown on a russian plane back to russia for storage, all paid for by the u.s. government. it's just one example of u.s./russian cooperation in
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nuclear safety, even when relations are strained. the joint program dates back to the fall of the soviet union and the threat of uncontrolled or loose nukes, weapons, materials, or know-how. >> we know people are trying to get their hands on this material. we get it through our intelligence community. >> reporter: russia has made strits in recent years and with u.s. help to secure its thousands of nuclear weapons and tons of materials held in dozens of major sites across russia's 11 time zones. but according to a report by harvard university's nuclear threat initiative b a quarter of russia's nuclear sites lack security upgrades. other reports cite more than 100 case of nuclear smuggling since 1993. >> they found people trying to sell nuclear materials or offering to divert nuclear materials from various sites. >> reporter: what to do? some argue that a new start or a strategic arms reduction treaty is the next best start to nuclear safety. >> because it's so much in the
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mutual interest of both countries, it's something the russians want. it's something we want. >> reporter: but despite today's reported progress, the sides remain miles apart. russia wants to link at the deal with the ban on anti-ballistic missile shield. the u.s. rejects that. the current treaty expires in december. still, nuclear arms experts hope there's enough political will on both sides to reach a compromise warning that the consequences of not replacing the s.t.a.r.t. treaty would be catastrophic. >> if that happens, we can say good-bye to strategic arms control, and that means we'll have to say good-bye to nuclear nonproliferation. >> reporter: with other nations no longer under pressure to protect against terrorists acquiring an explosive device. >> it's not a question of whether. it's a question of when and where. >> reporter: russians insist their system is safe, showing nbc news this high-tech anti-terrorist convoy used to transport nuclear materials by land.
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the armored vehicles programmed to shut down an attack and protect their cargo for at least three hours, enough time for help. thank god we've never had to use it, he's said, an they may never have to. some nuclear experts if a new s.t.a.r.t. treaty is signed. jim maceda, nbc news, moscow. police in nashville, tennessee, are offering new details about the death of former nfl quarterback steve mcnair. while questions remain about how he died, fans and fellow teammates remembered a player admired on and off the field. nbc's ron mott is in nashville with the latest. ron? >> reporter: hey there, lester. good evening. this is the stadium where steve mcnair dazzled those home fans all those years. tonight this city is in shock and disbelief that one of its favorite stars of all time was found shot to death early yesterday. for 13 seasons he was called air mcnair, a former nfl star
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quarterback whose team famously came up inches short in the 2000 super bowl. but this weekend in tennessee 36-year-old steve mcnair is being called a fallen titan, vkt of a suspected murder/suicide inside a downtown nashville condo he rented. today police say the married mcnair was shot multiple times. the body of a 20-year-old friend and a handgun were found nearby. authorities were not searching for a suspect. >> as a result of the autopsies rtion we know steve mcnair was shot four times, twice in the head and twice in the chest. mr. kazemi was shot one time in the head. it is clear mcnair's death is a homicide. mr. kazemi's death is not going to be classified until the right people make a final determination based on everything that's available to us. >> reporter: officials say the pair had been in a dating relationship for a few months. police also confirmed earlier the two were together thursday in a luxury suv registered in both their names that was stopped by police for speeding.
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kazemi, the driver, was arrested for suspicion of dui. word of mcnair's death spread quickly. >> at the super bowl i remember we just hugged each other, said we're here. i love you, man. and he said, i love you, too. >> reporter: mcnair was renowned for his grittiness on the gridiron and his great off the field. mcnair, who ended his playing career a year ago in baltimore after 11 seasons with the tennessee franchise was a league mvp and four-time pro bowler. some of his collegiate passing records still stand today. the father of four whose wife is said to be very distraught at the couple's home was widely devoted as a family man leaving many questions about the circumstances of his final moments. a public memorial is scheduled for tonight in nashville for steve mcnair and a very large crowd is expected drawing big numbers in death as he did in life, lesser. >> ron, thank you. alaska governor sarah palin is keeping a low profile this
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weekend after leaving both her con stit wents and fellow republicans to figure out exactly why she is stepping down. trying to fill in some of the blank sincerely our own andrea mitchell who joins us from wasilla, alaska. hi, andrea. >> hey, lester. even here in wasilla, where you can hear the planes on the lake right by the palin house, even here where people know sarah palin best, they are wondering why she is quitting and what it means for her political future. a holiday weekend in wasilla. people were enjoying the good weather, and outside the trout house cafe still trying to figure out the latest surprise from their governor. >> disappointment. i think sarah has done a great job for the state of alaska, and i'd like to see her finish it out. >> to me it's a blessing. you know, i'm hoping that whoever comes in will be a little more sympathetic. >> reporter: sarah palin showed
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up briefly saturday to watch the july 4th parade in juneau, but ignored invitations to lead it, and after friday's rambling and somewhat confusing resignation announcement. >> it would be apathetic to just hunker down and go with the flow. we're fishermen. we know that only dead fish go with the flow. jur she went on facebook to explain. writing, and though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course, we know by now for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions i make. her lawyer flatly denies any federal investigation or other legal problem. >> she did not step down for any kind of scandal or wrongdoing which has been alleged. >> reporter: palin allies say she wants to become a national leader for social conservatives leaving alaska to her lieutenant governor. >> she has a wider opportunity to advance our core values. i think she's going to take that opportunity. >> reporter: but by quitting before finishing her first term, palin has damaged any future run for the presidency say most
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republican strategists including karl rove on fox news sunday. >> it's not clear what mer strategy is. by exiting the governorship and putting herself on the national stage that she may not yet be prepared to operate in. >> reporter: other republican governors considering a white house run have decided not to seek re-election but not quit midterm. >> it's not the typical path. it is a bit unusual, but i think you have to take her comments at face value. >> reporter: freed of her day job here in alaska, palin is now likely to make millions with her book deal, on the lecture circuit, possibly even a talk show, especially if she keeps speculation going, keeps people guessing on whether she will run some day for president, but now major republican fund-raisers, including some of her own, say that is nearly imponl. lester? >> putting her political future aside for a moment, what practical problems does her sudden resignation create? >> reporter: well, it certainly creates problems for her because she has not proved herself,
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especially by quitting midstream. it could divide the party. she's so popular with the republican base, but the major leaders in the party, and you saw that with what karl rove had so say, really think she's signed her own warrant and that she's not going to be able to be a major player in the party. >> andrea mitchell in wasilla, alaska. thank you very much. there was a death at disney world overnight when could monorail trains crashed on the final run of the day. the collision at the park in orlando killed the driver of one of the trains and sent the other to the hospital. the few passengers on board were not hurt. disney shut down the monorail system to investigate the crash. when "nbc nightly news" continues this sunday, hot ticket. fans vie for access to the michael jackson memorial. and later, history on center court. a day for the record books at wimbledon. decisions, decisions.
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tonight more than 1 million michael jackson fans are learning if they will have a ticket to attend tuesday's public memorial. confirmations are being sent to the almost 9,000 people who will receive two tickets each for the event at the staples center in los angeles. that's where nbc's michael o cue is tonight with the latest on the preparations. mike? >> reporter: lester, the details of that public memorial are still very sketchy, but we understand that performers have been rehearsing behind closed doors here at the staples center while some have remembered the life of michael jackson at sunday mass. ♪ at the city's oldest african-american church, they were swaying in their pews,
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celebrating the life of a fallen star. >> it was because of michael that america got comfortable enough to later accept an oprah, a tiger woods, a barack obama. >> reporter: but al sharpton later criticized the media for focusing on michael jackson's lifestyle. >> we don't disrepresent anyone. we don't want you disrespecting the jacksons. >> reporter: strong words ahead of tuesday's public memorial. a memorial with the makings of a farewell tour. >> this is one of the hottest tickets ever. >> reporter: 1.6 million people put in dibs for the 18,000 tickets up for grabs online. the hopeful who gathered by the staples center today just to get close. >> if you don't try, you don't get any hope at all, so we're hoping for some success. >> there's a lot we still don't know about what's going to
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happen at the memorial. this is a major challenge to put together thousands of celebrities and thousands of regular people. >> reporter: madonna won't be there, but this weekend the singer paid tribute as she opened a london concert. >> let's give it up to one of the greatest artists the world has ever known, michael jackson. long live the king. >> reporter: back home, preparations are under way to accommodate massive media presence and to contain an army of up to 700,000 onlookers. >> i think it's very unusual in the scale of the event. >> reporter: as for the investigation, authorities are now reportedly focusing on five doctors who may have illegally prescribed drugs to jackson. >> physicians have a responsibility, and under the federal law the prescriptions they write need to be for a valid medical purpose. >> reporter: and late word tonight from l.a.x. that some people are flying into los angeles in the hopes of having
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won one of those tickets. some from overseas having spent up to $3,000 on a flight, even though the odds of having won a ticket are only 1 in 183, lester. >> michael in los angeles. thanks. when we come back, an addiction crisis. as parents try to keep teens safe from a silent killer.
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and federer stands alone. oh, what's this? breakfast. it's kind of early, buddy. you've got to need to take some cholesterol off you. honey, have you been reading the cheerios box again? he got that off the box. (announcer) cheerios is made with 100% natural whole grain oats to help lower your cholesterol. that was very thoughtful of you.
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very early, but very thoughtful. (announcer) cheerios. good for the heart. tonight, the growing problem of prescription drug abuse among teens. authorities say prescription drugs can be too easy to get and a hard habit to break. nbc's mark potter reports on one state that's struggling to protect young people from addiction and accidental death. >> reporter: at a cemetery in moorhead, kentucky, karen shay mourns the loss of her 19-year-old daughter, sarah. sarah shay struggled with prescription drug abuse and died from an overdose. >> when you lose somebody like that, it puts a hole in your soul that something else will ever fill. >> reporter: a few miles away
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lynn and sam kissig are suffering their own devastating loss. their daughter, 22-year-old savannah kissig also died from abusing prescription painkillers and sedatives. >> she was full of spirit. she had a lot of spirit. she was a beautiful young girl. she could have done anything in the world. >> there is a whole generation of children that are dying because of this. >> reporter: federal officials say prescription drug abuse is a growing problem nationwide. an estimated 7 million americans abuse prescription drugs, mostly painkillers, which actually kill more people than cocaine and heroin combined. authorities say the problem is particularly acute in kentucky, where 485 people died from prescription drug overdoses last year alone. in greenup county half the cases scene by coroner neil wright were drug-related. >> i would say 85% to 90% of those calls were prescription
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pill calls. >> reporter: even a chief deputy sheriff here was arrested for alleged conspiracy to distribute prescription painkillers. pastor wayne ross runs a drug rehabilitation clinic in mt. sterling, kentucky. >> how many people are involved in prescription drug abuse? it's epidemic. i would say it's totally out of control, out of hand. >> clinic precedents say prescription drugs are easy to buy on the streets and are horribly addictiaddictive. at districts clog the courts and jails. >> i see good kids, doctors, lawyers, teachers. >> officials are urged to do a lot more to crack down on illicit pill suppliers. >> something needs to be done. it's killing our kids every day. >> reporter: leaving more and more grieving families behind. mark potter, nbc news, moorhead, kentucky. when "nightly news" returns this sunday, a new king of tennis. their doctors about cialis.
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ask your doctor if a cialis option is right for you because in addition to 36-hour cialis, there's another dosing option: cialis for daily use, a low-dose tablet you take every day so you can be ready anytime the moment is right. man: tell your doctor about your medical condition and all medications and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. don't drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed back ache or muscle ache. to avoid long term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision... stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. announcer: 36-hour cialis or... cialis for daily use. so when the moment is right, you can be ready. [ thinking ] burning, itching... but the pain's the worst. i shoulda used... [ bump ]
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finally, a marathon finish at wimbledon today as roger federer and andy roddick battled for five close sets. in the end after the longest fifth set in any grand slam, federer claimed the trophy and a piece of tennis history. here is nbc's john yang. >> reporter: it was one for the record books. the most games played in a wimbledon men's championship match, 77.
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>> i hope he didn't hurt himself there. >> reporter: the most fifth set game of any major tournament. 30. >> and federer stands alone. >> reporter: and after four hours, 16 minutes of shifting momentum, missed chances and courageous comebacks for switzerland's roger federer the most major tournament titles ever, 15. >> it feels amazing, you know, but this is not why i'm playing tennis, to break all sort of different records, but it's definitely one of the greatest ones to have. >> reporter: pete sampras, the previous record holder was a surprise guest in the royal box arriving from california shortly after the match began. >> thanks very much for coming. thank you. i know it's a long way, but, you know, you remember, man. we like to see you here. >> reporter: it was a long journey for federer, today. american andy rod dick played him again and again playing one of the best matches of his career.
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>> sorry, peet, i know i tried to hold him off. >> reporter: federer and roddick played out their epic bottle in front of their families, tennis legends, and hollywood stars. federer's win puts him back in the top spot in the world rankings. he replaces rafael nadal, the man who interrupted his reign as king of center court last year. now comes the question, is federer the greatest player of all time? >> roger is a stud. the guy is an incredible athlete. 15 majors and counting. it's incredible. >> reporter: the only man to win all four major tournaments in a single season. >> if you're the best in your era, i mean, that's certainly the first thing, and he's certainly that. >> reporter: and one again the king of center court. john yang, nbc. >> that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. brian williams will be here tomorrow. i'm lester holt reporting from new york. from all of


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