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tv   Today  NBC  May 24, 2010 7:00am-9:00am EDT

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good morning. bubbling over. temperatures rising over bp's inability to plug that massive oil leak in the gulf as president obama's top environment official hints it may soon be time for the government to take the lead. pay to play, the duchess of york, sarah fergusson, apologizes after being caught on tape trying to sell access to her ex-husband, andrew. >> 500,000 pounds when you can, to me, open doors. >> is that a deal? >> yeah. >> was it an isolated incident? how much did prince andrew know
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and how will the queen respond to this latest mess? hollywood mystery, late actress brittany murphy's husband, found dead five months after her tragic death. police are searching for a cause after her tragic death. police are searching for a cause "today," monday may 24th, 2010. captions paid for by nbc-universal television and good morning. welcome to "today" on a monday morning. i'm matt lauer. >> and i'm meredith vieira. top obama administration offici officials are flying over the louisiana marshland today with the senate delegation, and they are hearing an earful from those who say bp and the government 'll talk to a top bp official about that and much more, coming
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up in a couple of minutes. then a shocking crime we've been following, the florida teenager accused of beating and stomping a fellow teenager nearly to death all over some text messages. what were they saying to each other that set off the violent confrontation? those texts revealed for the very first time this morning. we'll also catch up with rocker bret michaels, who won the "celebrity apprentice" last night after he suffered a brain hemorrhage, a stroke and also learned he has a hole in his heart. >> he has been through a lot. it had to be a pretty good moment for him last night. let's begin with this gulf oil spill and whether federal officials and bp are doing enough to stop it. ann thompson is in venice, louisiana, with the latest. anne, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, matt. federal and state officials here say bp is telling them that that attempt to cap the leaking oil well may not happen until wednesday now.
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and, as you can imagine, that is not making people here very happy. today, a bipartisan group of senat senators will come to the region to get a firsthand look at this disaster and what they're going to see are plenty of oil stained marshes and beaches and what they're going to hear is plenty of anger. this is a picture of helplessness. louisiana's state bird, the brown pelican, coated in oil. governor jindal says it's clearly not enough to protect the wetlands. he wants bp to come in here and do more. >> to come in and burn the ma h marshes afterwards that's not good enough of a plan. >> reporter: the president of hard hit plaqeusmannes parish wants the president to come in. >> demand that somebody take charge. >> reporter: ken salazar on the way to the region today slammed bp's response. >> we have 33 days into this effort and deadline after
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deadline has been missed. >> reporter: the oil will keep coming. over the weekend, we found giant rivers of oil and dispersant 16 miles from the coast, the waves a disgusting reddish brown color. 26 miles out, the gulf is a toxic soup with a bile aroma. the oil is everywhere. even three miles from the leak site, you can see the natural gas being burned off as it comes up with some of the oil suctioned from the sea floor. in louisiana, this spill is personal. 25 years ago, dave belet has built the marina, trying to buoy the fishermen. now even he is discouraged. >> what are they going to do? two of those captains are my n sons. so that's -- i can really
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relate. >> reporter: and that is a question you hear more and more down here, what are we going to do? especially if bp can't cap this well and has to rely on the relief wells that won't be completed until august, meaning this spill would drag on through the summer. matt? >> anne thompson, thank you very much. doug suttles is from bp. good morning to you. >> good morning, matt. >> we're 35 days into this, since the well started spewing into the gulf at a rate none of us can be sure of. your company has received increased criticism over missing deadlines and lacking a credible plan to stop this. on this monday morning, does bp have a plan that you, yourself, are confident in, in terms of stopping the oil flow? >> matt, we do. our next attempt at stopping this flow is going to be with the top kill procedure. the current schedule shows it happening on wednesday morning.
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clearly, that's a few days later than we said a few days ago. the challenge there is doing these things in 5,000 feet. we do have alternatives if that doesn't work and those are currently be progressed because as we've seen and as we've said, actually, it's hard to guarantee these will work because they haven't been done before at these depths. >> i know, but when you say you're confident -- i hate to do the scale of one to ten thing, but ten you're sure this will work, one being anyone's guess, where is your confidence level on this? >> matt, i would probably put it somewhere around a six or a seven at this point. i wish it was a ten, but there are certain things i can't know. but i do think it has a very good chance of succeeding and if it doesn't, as i said, we have plans to both improve the containment and to attempt to kill it again. >> killing it again with what's called a junk shot. what's your level of confidence on something like that? sixes and sevens aren't going to put the fears of people in the gulf to rest.
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>> i realize that. but what we've tried to do, all along, is be as open as we can on this and be as straightforward as we can on this. i want to tell people a ten. i want it to be a ten but i don't know that and what i want to do is share with you and others my best judgment on what that will be. i can tell you, we're doing everything we can, everything i know. and, in fact, even secretary salazar yesterday referred to all of the experts who are help ing us. >> secretary salazar also said if your company is found to not be doing what you're supposed to be doing, quote, we'll push them out of the way. end quote. do you feel, mr. suttles, you're reaching that point, that you've lost the confidence of federal officials and the people in the gulf of mexico? >> i think what i do know is everyone is frustrated. i think the people of the region are frustrated. i know we are. i know the government is. and i know that everyone wants this thing to come to an end. and the fact that it's taking
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this long is painful to everybody. most particularly to the people who live here. so, i do understand why he says that. and i can assure you, we are doing everything we know to bring this to closure as quick as we can. >> i would like to get, in closing, your reaction to some comments made by your company's ceo, tony hayward recently in an interview. in talking about the oil spill, he said that, quote, the environmental impact of this spill would be, quote, very, very modest, end quote. when you take a look at the images we're already seeing from the gulf coast region and when you consider that the bulk of this spill has not actually hit land yet, do you agree that the environmental damage here is going to be, quote, very, very modest? >> i think what it's going to be, it's going to be quite -- it already has been and will be quite significant to the people who live here. i mean, there are people who are not doing their normal jobs here, people here who are scared about what the future is. and that is significant. it is very, very significant.
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>> so you would disagree with your company's ceo on that? >> i think tony is actually showing his commitment to this by what he's doing, by what we're actually doing to fight this thing. i don't think he thinks this is insignificant. i don't. i know the 23,000 people out there don't either. so, we're not treating it as insignificant. >> i'm not trying to create an internal dispute here, but one more time, do you think that the impact is going to be very, very modest? >> you know, matt, it won't be very modest. it's not modest today. it's significant today. it's very, very real to the people who live here. it's very, very real to me and the team who is helping me fight this thing. >> mr. suttles, thanks for clearing that up. i appreciate it. thanks for your time, as always. >> all right. now here's meredith. >> matt, thank you. now to the duchess of york, sarah fergusson, caught on tape, trying to sell access to her ex-prince andrew. while the royal family is not talking, everyone else is. stephanie gosk is outside
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buckingham palace. >> reporter: good morning, meredith. the reporter involved in this thing has made a career out of entrapping celebrities and royals. it's an old trick, but it seems there is always someone ready to fall for it. the trap set, sarah fergusson, duchess of york, fell right in. >> 500,000 pounds when you can, to me, open doors. >> it would be prince andrew? >> yeah. >> is that a deal? >> yeah. >> the handshake seals the deal. fergie sells access to her ex-husband, prince andrew, british business envoy and queen elizabeth's second son, for nearly three quarters of a million dollars, not knowing that the man posing as a businessman is actually a reporter for the british tabloid "news of the world." >> it's essentially saying that her ex-husband, prince andrew, who let's not forget, is fourth in line to the throwne, is up fr
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rent. he can be bought and sold for anyone who wants to meet him and she's going to pocket the cash. it couldn't be more damaging for her. >> reporter: the duchess who lives beyond her means is reportedly drowning in debt. as the sting unfolds, fergusson asks for money upfront, in cash. >> $4,000. >> yes. >> which is in my safe. but how am i going to give it to you? i haven't got a bag. >> reporter: splashed across the tabloids, as were other similarly indelicate moments. this time the fallout directly implicates prince andrew and indirectly the queen, the grandmother of fergie's two daughters. >> he's going to be kind enough to want to play, then andrew
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will play. >> that's correct. i don't want to get into any kind of trouble, obviously. >> but he meets the people and throws them my way. >> reporter: fergie herself in a statement, it is true that my financial situation is under stress. however, that is no excuse for a serious lapse in judgment and i am very sorry. the duke of york was not aware or involved in any of the discussions. the duchess flew to los angeles sunday night to receive an award for charity work. she also received some support. >> to be fair to her, you know, she's a trouper. she didn't need to be here tonight. she's very passionate about this kids' charity work she does. >> reporter: upon accepting her award, she made no reference to the exploding scandal other than to say i've had a heavy day. prince andrew and fergie have
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referred to themselves in the past as the happiest divorced couple in the world. many here think that that amicable agreement could come to an abrupt end. meredith? >> stephanie gosk, thank you very much. front page scandal all across england. robert, you've covered sarah fergusson for the past 17 years or so. in that time you've gotten to know her. what was your first reaction to seeing this video, apparently trying to sell access to her husband? >> reporter: i have known sarah about 17 years, but my view of this, it's totally outrageous. it's brazen. and this wasn't the first time that this happened. one must remember she set up this meeting. she had had another meeting with the undercover reporter in new york and she also had a meeting with a real businessman that she set up. it's not a question of entrapment here. this is a question of proper
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investigative reporting to check out a story and find out it was true. clearly by the apology of sarah ferguson this morning and the website, it is true. >> obviously she didn't know that this reporter was not a businessman. what led up to this story? scotland yard says what she did might be appalling but it is not illegal. >> reporter: well, we know the news of the world that she had a meeting with a real businessman and had her modus operandi similar to this. she met a reporter in new york in the mark hotel beforehand and she set, at that meeting, the figures she wanted for eventually turning up to this meeting, which was filmed. that's why i would say it is not entrapment. it's checking out a story, to make sure it's done properly, to dot the i's, across the t's and when they put out stories that
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are not true, the journalist involved here proves the voracity of the claims we were making. >> at one point on the tape she speaks about her ex-prince andrew and she says, quote, he never does accept a penny for anything. he is, as she puts it, whiter than white. but does she affect his reputation is suggesting he can be bought? >> reporter: absolutely. prince andrew was talking very proudly about the job that he does as an envoy for trade. what this does, without his knowledge -- clearly had no knowledge of it, it jeopardizes the integrity of this job, of british trade, the monarchy and basically sarah ferguson has sold the woman she says she respects, the majesty of the queen, down the river. >> she did release a statement last night saying it is true my financial situation is under stress. however, that is no excuse for a serious lapse in judgment. she says that she is very sorry for what she did. do you believe that -- given the fact that she would jeopardize
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her husband's reputation the way that she did, does this suggest to you -- does this mean she must be under dire circumstances right now? >> sarah ferguson has made millions and millions of pounds over the years trading under the name of the dutchess of york. the last duchess of york, by the way, was majesty queen elizabeth, the queen mother, who would be appalled of what's happened here. the reality is she had millions of pounds. she blew it. she came back home, moved in with prince andrew, because he was good enough to look after her, and she's betrayed him. it is as simple and as cold as that. >> i understand, i had read that her relationship with the royal family was beginning to get a little bit better. right now it's being described as permafrost. do you think she has destroyed any reconciliation with the royal family? >> reporter: i think the duke of edinborough, who is 90 pretty soon, and still the head of the
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family and family matters will do his very best to ensure that the ghost of sarah ferguson will not come back and haunt the house of windsor anymore. >> what does that mean, will do his best? >> i think she's completely ostracized. one of the headlines was out cast. i would say absolutely she's an out cast. frankly if you're going to sell your family, your ex-husband -- these are, after all, the family of her children, down the river in such an appalling and money-grasping way, you deserve everything you get. >> very quickly, do you think her husband -- her ex will consider this the end of their relationship? >> reporter: prince andrew, the man that i know, is a very honorable man. he has done his best to support his ex-wife since they divorced in 1996. knowing him, he loves her as the mother of his two children. he will do his very best to make sure that she's okay. >> all right. robert jobson, thank you very much for your perspective this
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morning. now let's get a check of the top news stories with ann curry at the news desk. >> good morning, everybody. hillary clinton has said north korea has created a highly precarious situation with the sinking of a warship in march. the u.s. military is on alert to prevent any further provocations and south korea proposed harsh financial sanctions on the north which could trigger a retaliation. a popular tourist spot, according to officials there, a couple was kidnapped. travel advisory for americans in jamaica. police on sunday battled a drug lord who is wanted in the united states. bruce beresford-redman has defied authorities and left that country where he is the only suspect in his wife's murder. miguel almaguer reports now. >> reporter: after monica
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beresford-redman's body was discovered at a resort, officials took his passport and told him not to leave the country. but now he is back in los angeles to, quote, be with his children and tend to personal matters. i wonder if you could tell us where he might be. at the couple's home, no sign of the hollywood producer and no explanation for how he might have entered the u.s. without his passport. mexican authorities must now decide whether to charge him with murder and bring him back to cancun. >> he very well could be home free. the ball is in the mexican authorities' court. >> reporter: since he hasn't been charged with a crime, his attorney says bruce had no legal obligation to stay in mechanixi. on sunday, the attorney general in cancun told nbc news he couldn't even say for sure whether bruce had, indeed, left the country. the victim's family has feared all along that beresford-redman could give local police the slip and urge them to seek help from
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fbi. >> we beg that all the requests made by the family to the mexican authorities be granted immediately. we cannot wait anymore. >> reporter: but in this high-profile case from mexico, now more than six weeks old, the prime suspect remains out of sight. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. world markets were mostly higher overnight. melissa lee is at the new york stock exchange. did friday's showing restore investors' confidence? >> it has to some agree. may 6th, we managed to bounce higher and saw some pretty wild swings in the stock market. traders are still expecting a lot of volatility ahead. we have good news for drivers ahead of the memorial day weekend. gas prices have dropped nine cents a gallon and could fall further. this drop comes as crude oil prices have dropped by about 20% in the past two weeks. ann? >> melissa lee, thanks so much this morning. there were hugs and
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handsha handshakes all around on sus sunday as the crew of the space shuttle "atlantis" left the international space station for the three-day journey home. you never get tired of looking >> we are off to a drizzly start here in maryland. that is going to stay with us through the morning. things will improve as we head
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to the afternoon. we will drop the chance for rain we will drop the chance for rain to >> and that's your latest weather. meredith? >> thanks, al. coming up, the late actress brittany murphy's husband discovered dead five
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host: could switching to geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance? host: does elmer fudd have trouble with the letter r?
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elmer: shhhh, be very quiet; i'm hunting wabbits. director (o/c): ok cut!!!!'s i'm hunting "rabbits," elmer. let's try that again. elmer: shhhh, i'm hunting wabbits. director (o/c): cuuuuut! rabbits. elmer: wabbits director (o/c): rabbits. elmer: wabbits. director (o/c): rabbits with an "r." elmer: aw...this diwector's starting to wub me the wong way. vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more. coming up, the first doctor to suggest a possible link between a popular vaccine and autism speaks out about getting his medical license revoked today. plus bret michaels wins the
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some i-95, 12th miles per hour on average. in the sparks region, we have a downed wires blocking some alliance. 19 miles per hour on the west side. this delay extends to reisterstown towards if edmondson. back up towards the owings mills region. 31 minutes is your drive time on the outer loop northeast side, because of the disabled tractor trailer. eight-minute ride on the inner loop ports the j.f.x.. we can give you a live view of traffic in the area of the west side. 83 north of the beltway. looks good on the harrisburg expressway. a significant delays. no -- significant delays. >> we are dealing with low clouds, fog, and drizzle, and that will be the case through the middle of the morning, and
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after that things will improve. 64 in catonsville, 62 in parkton. as we go through the afternoon, the clouds will break up a little bit. the chance for rain will go down a 20%. we will break out of this pattern on tuesday and wednesday. could be some rain at the end of the week. >> be sure to check the bottom of your screen for updated news and traffic information. packets of o'clock 55. packets of o'clock 55.
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7:30 on this monday morning, the 24th day of may, 2010. unofficial start of summer just a week away, but these folks seem like they got a jump-start on the party. inside studio 1a, i'm meredith vieira, alongside matt lauer. >> the beating that shocked the nation, one it teenager nearly killed another over angry text messages. what exactly did they say to each other? in just a moment for the first time you're going to find out. the man who has been at the center of a firestorm of controversy, dr. andrew
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wakefield, who first suggested the link between autism and the vaccine mmr lost his license today. he is in our studio and will speak out about that in an exclusive interview. and a little later, he stared death in the face but rocker bret michaels wouldn't let a brain hemorrhage bring him down. last night he won the "celebrity apprentice" and will be here to talk about it all and talk about how he is doing, healthwise. tragic news out of los angeles, the husband of the late actress brittany murphy was found dead in his home at the age of 39, just five months after murphy's passing. our national correspondent, g t natalie morales, has the latest on this. good morning, natalie. what happened? >> good morning to you, matt. simon has been a screenwriter, photographer, but best known as a grieving husband after the tragic loss of his beloved wife last december. >> hollywood is a village and once you upset the villagers, they talk and they gossip and
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they rumor and they have blood on their hands, and i hope they wash them with very hot water because the way they treated brittany miv whurphy when she w alive was terrible. >> after the tragic death of his wife, actress brittany murphy. and now tragedy has struck their hollywood hills home once again, as the lapd responsibded to a 9 call for aid, this time monjak was pronounced dead, all too similar when paramedics responded to a 911 call. >> tell me exactly what happened. >> oh, somebody's passed out! >> gone too soon, the hollywood starlet's sudden death was ultimately ruled an accident, a combination of pneumonia, iron deficiency and intoxication from legal drugs. >> you guys talk like grown-ups. >> while best known for her roles in "clueless" and "eight
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mile," the 32-year-old murphy was about to stage a comeback. >> i'm not going to be there long. >> shortly after his wife's death, simon appeared on "today" with brittany's mother and spoke with matt. >> what do you think made her a star? >> made her a star? she -- >> she was born a star. >> the cause of monjak's death is unknown. an investigation is under way. and hollywood now looks to honor this couple, whose futures had once looked long and bright, just as monjak would have hoped. >> what's more important now is her legacy, the legacy of a young woman who dreamed of changing the world. >> only about a month ago, simon monjak and brittany murphy's mother, sharon, talked about getting out of hollywood hills and starting over here in manhattan. matt? >> natalie, thanks for that. let's get a check of the weather now from al. >> thanks a lot, matt. we are outside, little bit of drizzle out here. nothing too horrible. let's check your weather, see
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what's going on. for today, the week ahead, show showers along the southeastern atlantic coast. pesky system could become a tropical system. below-normal temperatures out west with mountain snows. midweek, we are looking for more hot weather for two-thirds of the country, below-normal temps along the west coast with rain there. as we move on into the latter part of the week, below-normal temperatures spread into the >> we are off to kind of it would start on this monday. conditions should improve as we head through the afternoon.
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>> and that's your latest weather. meredith? >> al, thank you. now to that awful case we've been following out of florida. one teenager slowly recovering from brain damage, another behind bars, charged with trying to kill her. it was all over some text messages. now we know exactly what they said to each other. the story from nbc's michelle kosinski. >> what's your favorite class? >> probably japanese. >> reporter: at 15, wayne treacy has seen his father go to prison, his older brother commit suicide. but wayne was a good student, well liked, on the right path, until one march day. he admits he beat and kicked eighth grader josie ratley over text messages while he was trying to reach her friend. >> i remember she said something about my dead brother and that really set me off. >> reporter: now his lawyer has released those texts. josie calls wayne a rapest,
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repeatedly, for liking a 13-year-old girl. it escalates. i will find you. i will mess you up, wayne types. he insults josie's father, not knowing he's actually dead. josie responds just go visit your dead brother and from wayne you're dead. i swear i'm going to kill you. josie, you make me giggle but he texts other friends claiming he will kill josie ratley, stomp her. he stomped and kicked josie nearly to death. >> usually when i get angry, it goes away but i couldn't get the feeling to subside. >> reporter: he sounds almost nonchalant but later he breaks down. his attorney says here was a traumatized boy who kept everything bottled up until that day. he has plead not guilty to attempted murder, intending to show though nearly three hours
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passed between those texts and that attack, that he simply snapped. while today, josie, after brain surgery, must learn again to walk and speak. for "today," michelle kosinski, nbc news, miami. >> russell williams is wayne treacy's attorney and michael brandon is the court-appointed psychologist who evaluated him. good morning to you both. >> good morning. >> mr. brandon, if i can start with you, wayne treacy has been charged as an adult with attempted murder, been portrayed as a cold-blooded kid. you spent 20 some hours evaluating him. what's your impression of him? >> he's a very sad kid. that's the first impression you have. he's very tearful, very remorseful. he can't understand how he could possibly do something like this. so, whenever the incident is discussed, he is very, very tearful. it's hard to get him through any discussion about this actual event. it's almost like he speaks about it as if somebody else had conducted this behavior. >> yet as michelle pointed out,
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he seems so calm on the police video in his confession. >> only on the piece that you saw. right before that, he's crying. and right after it, he cries. and he's especially tearful and sobbing when his mother comes into the room. there's a very emotional exchange. and that's the way i have usually seen him, as that young man who is crying and feels so badly about what happened. >> what is your diagnosis, doctor? do you think that he snapped? >> i do think he snapped in kind of a nonclinical way. in a clinical way, he has post traumatic stress disorder and he has an earlier diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. matter of fact, at the age of 4, it was recommended to his mother that he be placed on medication, stimulant medication called riddlin in order to help him with his hyperactivity. he was overwhelmed with emotions at this particular time about his brother, who he found hanging from a tree, along with his mother. he never dealt with that and one
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of the thing that is became triggered in this whole incident with josie, the unfortunate victim in this case, is those exact feelings that were being suppressed and pushed down. >> if the trial were held today, mr. williams, i understand you would argue that he would not be held accountable by reason of insanity. if you look at the transcript of the text messages, it appears that he threatened her even before she brought up his dead brother, which would -- i assume would have triggered this immense anger in him. then he waited several hours before he went to the school, texted friends, say iing he was going to go get her. as we pointed out earlier in the confession, at times he seemed very calm. that doesn't sound like somebody who snapped. >> well, you have to go way back with him. first of all, she, josie, is calling him a rapist. he knew several girls that had been raped before. that was the start. then the conversation or text messaging deteriorated from that point forward and you get to the point where he just gets overwhelmed or overcome with his
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emotions and he actually, in what i term sending out flares, he sends out flares to three of his friends, tells them what he's going to do. nobody says anything. nobody calls the police. nobody calls his mom. nobody calls the school. said something to josie and she text messages back, you make me giggle. she doesn't go to anybody in the school. each one of those people is like stop me, stop me, stop me. i need help, i need help, i need help and it never happens. as dr. brandon points out, the ride, three hours in between that time and the ride over to the school, three miles to the school, he was not thinking about those text messages. he was thinking about defending his brother, seeing his brother hanging from the tree. and at that point, it was -- you know, he had a script played out in his head and he just couldn't get back to where he needed to be. >> mr. williams, mr. brandon, we'll have to leave it at that. obviously your psychological evaluation will go to the judge now. thank you both for your help
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this morning. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up, a true fighter. rocker bret michaels on his big win last night on the celebrity aprentice and how he's still going after a nearly fatal brain hemorrhage. a car that stands strong... when you need it most. and expects to handle the unexpected. at chevrolet, we created a team of red x engineers who are obsessed with quality. ♪ red x torture tests every car down to the smallest detail. ♪ we're pushing the limits every single day. and for one reason -- our mission is to build the best cars and trucks in the world. and our 100,000 mile, 5-year powertrain warranty guarantees you'll get the quality you deserve. ♪ because everyone deserves excellence.
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we're back now at 7:43 on "today's" health alert. we're talking about autism, the doctor who touched off an international controversy by first raising a possible link between the mmr vaccine and autism learned this morning that he has now lost his medical license. we'll have an exclusive interview with dr. andrew wakefield in a moment. but, first, a look back at how the controversy started. dr. andrew wakefield's 1998 study, suggesting the possibility of a link between autism and the mmr vaccine gave many parents around the world a reason to stop vaccinating. and parents of children with autism a possible answer to the devastating question of why.
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>> they took their children to be vaccinated and then something happened. their children fell apart. >> in the years following his publication in "the lancet" no large-scale study could reproduce exactly what dr. wakefield's small study found and to investigative reporter, brian deere, that raised more questions than answers. >> he was not an independent researcher. >> deere learned he was working in a class-action suit planned against makers of the mmr by parents who believed their children were damaged by the vaccine. >> dr. wakefield was being paid by a firm of lawyers for two years before he ever published this report. >> no disputing that? >> no disputing that. >> deer says it was a conflict of interest that should have been disclosed in the study, but never was. in an exclusive interview last summer, dr. wakefield disagreed. he confirmed he was paid to conduct research on behalf of the plaintiffs, but said it was for a later study, one that
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never got published. so you'll look at me in the eye and say that at the time you were doing your research, you were guilty of no conflict of interest whatsoever? >> no, not at all. had i been, it would have been disclosed. >> three years ago, the general medical council, which licenses physicians in the uk began investigating dr. wakefield, including looking at the unusual way he got children's blood samples for his research. >> we needed some control blood from children who were entirely normal and so i asked my children and my wife said we've got a birthday party coming up. we've got some medical friends. why not ask them if they would be prepared to let their children do it, too. seven or eight children said sure. >> i don't know why that sounds funny to me, but it does at a children's birthday party, blood samples drawn from children. were they paid for their samples? >> they were rewarded, not paid. >> how were they rewarded? >> they were given five pounds.
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at the time about $8. >> how is that not paying them? >> it's not saying upfront we'll give you money. at the end of it we rewarded them. >> they found dr. wakefield's actions were unethical and acted dishonestly and irresponsibly in his research. still his supporters stand firm. dr. wakefield has written a new book called "callous disregard," details the case against him and insists that, in spite of everything, he will press on. dr. andrew wakefield is here for an exclusive interview. good morning. >> good morning. >> may sound like a strange way to start the interview but do i still call you doctor? >> yes. they can't take away the fact that i have a medical degree. >> you were not surprised by this action, the stripping of your medical license. >> not at all. it was determined by the government board on the gmc to find this ruling. >> you don't think this was an impartial panel.
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>> whether the panel believes they were influenced or not, they were certainly of the opinion when i read their decision, which came out in february, that this decision had been made from the outset. >> is this the final blow to your credibility, doctor? i mean, if you look at the studies that have been conducted since your research was published in the lancet that have all, it seems, disproven your theories, "the lancet" said if we knew then what we know now, we wouldn't have published this study in the first place. you lost your job and now your medical license. is that it? >> replicated in five different countries in the world. this is a bump in the road. that's how it should be perceived, a bump on a very bumpy road. it does not detract from the fact that there are millions of children out there suffering and the fact that vaccines can cause autism. and that is a fact that's accepted by the american government, because they've been settling cases of vaccine-induced autism since 1991. >> you say to me that the
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findings have been replicated. i have seen studies, several major studies. your study involved 12 children. i've seen studies that involve hundreds of thousands of children that do not replicate your findings. today will you sit across from me and tell me you still believe there is a possible link between that particular vaccine, the mmr vaccine, and autism in children? >> not only do i think it, but the american government has conceded that it exists, causal relationship between vaccines and autism exist and they've actually been secretly settling cases as early as 1991 out of court as well. >> as you know, we've talked to people since you've hwe've had to meet you and you were kind enough to sit down for that exclusive interview with us and people in our government say no, we no longer believe this. we went out and checked out the possibilities and we no longer believe this to be true. and every doctor i've spoken to says it's dangerous. it's dangerous to even keep talking about it, because for
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every time you talk about it, parents stop vaccinating their children and some children are dying from preventible illnesses. >> matt, you're missing the point. the point is despite denying it in the public relations campaign they've waged against me and the parents, they're conceding these cases in the court. >> what's your next step? >> these parents aren't going away, the children aren't going away and i'm most certainly not going away. >> dr. andrew wakefield, thank you for joining us. i appreciate your time. >> thank you. 50 minutes after the hour. inside the most dangerous city on earth. first these messages. kly as i would like, i did what came naturally. i threatened to sue. turns out, that's not the best way to keep clients. so i went looking for answers online at it's a place where i can talk with other small business owners like thomas and connie and learn about tools like acceptpay. it's a new way to bill online that can help me get paid much faster, without the need for any legal intimidation,
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coming up, new rules about when your kids should take swim less lessons. bret michaels on his brush with death and his victory on "celebrity apprentice." he'll join us. first your local news. extracare advantage for diabetes is a new program that helps me save money and earn double bucks on over 100 items, so we can stay a step ahead of... all: our diabetes! join extracare advantage for diabetes today and receive a free gift when you enroll. only at cvs/pharmacy. we get double miles with every purchase. so we earned a tropical vacation in half the time. we earn double miles every time we use our card. ( shouts ) double miles add up fast so we can bring the whole gang. ( grunting ) awesome! it's hard to beat double miles.
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morning, 24th of may, 2010. back to work morning. back to school morning for a lot of people. but not these people right here. they're out on the plaza, stretching out the weekend a little bit. we're happy they're joining us. we'll go out there and say hi in a little while. i'm matt lauer, alongside meredith vieira. brett mi michaels, last mone suffered a brain hemorrhage, last week a stroke, but still managed to win the "celebrity apprentice." we'll talk to him about his win, his health and whether he should
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slow down a little bit. i just shook his hand and he seems to be doing really well. >> he's not slowing down. i'll tell you that. the most dangerous city, where al qaeda calls the shots with the help of some americans. we'll talk to caroline kennedy about the winners of her father's profile awards. let's get a check of the top stories of the morning from ann, standing over at the news desk. >> thanks so much. good morning once again, everybody. top obama administrators and senators are flying over the louisiana marshland today to get a look at the oil devastation as it stands now. 65 miles of louisiana shoreline is covered in oil, including its wildlife refuges and is coating the feathers and wings of brown pelicans, leaving them unable to fly and the majority of the oil has not yet arrived. after 29 coal miners' lives were taken in the worst
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disaster, a coalition heads to west virginia. tom beckley joins us with more. good morning. >> reporter: good morning to you, ann. of the two men who survived this disaster, one is still in the hospital with a serious brain injury. it is still not clear what caused this massive explosion. the families of the miners who died want answers. outside tommy davis' home, the uniform that his son, cory, wore into the coal mines still hangs next to the american flag. seven weeks after cory died in the mine, his father can't take it down. >> he was proud of that. he was proud of his orange stripes. he was proud to be a coal miner. he liked it. he enjoyed it. he loved his job. >> tommy didn't just lose his oldest son that day. his brother, timmy and his nephew, joshua, also died. 29 men in all were killed when a massive explosion ripped through the upper big branch mine in early april.
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nearly two months later, the mine is still shut down, the air too dangerous for investigators to go inside. but they have zeroed in on the mine operator, massey energy, which had a pattern of safety violations in the months leading up to the accident and stands accused of putting profits before safety. >> if anyone intentionally allowed something to happen for the sake of production or profit or dollars in place of safety for a human life, the prosecution should go to the highest level and to the extent that they can go. >> 29 men are now dead, dead, dead. >> reporter: at a congressional hearing last week, government investigators accused the company of running an unsafe mine but the company's ceo insisted that despite an unusually high 53 deaths over ten years, massey's mines are
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safe. >> massey does not place profits over safety. we never have and we never will. >> reporter: a central theme in this investigation is ventilation. was the mine properly ventilated? did the feds order a change in ventilation that in any way contributed to this disaster? a lot of questions before the congressional committee here in west virginia today. >> tom costello, thanks. university of virginia commencement ceremonies, yeardley love was awarded a posthum posthumous degree accepted by her cousin. iran has threatened to scrap the deal if the security council moves forward with a fourth round of sanctions which could be adopted as early as next month anchts 13-year-old boy from california has become the youngest climber to reach the highest summit. jordan romero reached the top of mt. everest, more than 29,000
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feet, with his father over the weekend. he is just one climb away from his quest to summit the highest peaks on all seven continents. it is now 8:04. let's get another check of the weather with al. >> hey, ann, we are in triplicate here. who do we have here? >> michelle and lisa clark. we're from california. >> who are these triplets? >> alana, jeremy, and trevor. >> and your beautiful 2 1/2-year-old? >> this is bethan. >> they're so cute. let's check your weather, see what's going on. we'll show you our pick city of the day, manhattan near in new york, nbc 4, morning clouds, afternoon sun, 74 degrees for a high today. as we look at the rest of the country, you can see we have a big storm blowing up through the dakotas, risk of strong storms there later today. we also have a lot of wet weather along the southeastern atlantic coast. that's just ahead of a big low pressure area out in the
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atlantic. look for that risk of strong storms through the plains. beautiful here in the northeast. >> we are off to a kind of the wet start. it should improve as we had through the afternoon. a slight chance for a shower later today, and >> don't forget, you can get your weather any time of day or night weather channel on cable or online. matt? >> thanks very much. rock star and champion bret michaels on his victory of
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bret, i have to tell you, you're hired. >> that is rock star brett michamik michaemik chaels winning the "celebrity apprentice" a month after suffering a brain hemorrhage. suffering a stroke just last week and learning also he has a hell in his heart. bret michaels, good morning to you. >> good morning. it is great and awesome to be here. >> it is great and congrat layings. >> thank you. >> you said you came to new york to win and you did. how important -- obviously it was important. you had a stroke last week. how important was it to be there? >> when i went in there to do the show, i was committed 100%. there's no other way to go on "celebrity apprentice." everyone there is an a type personality. everyone wants to win for their cause. i went in and had no intention to hurt anybody. my intention was to do the best
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job i could do and to be here, to be able to do "celebrity apprentice" when i had the member ranlg, i thought it was over. at that point it was three days until i sort of came out of the semi coma, whatever the condition i was in, and then after -- it was a week later, to be up, moving and walking. i have to tell you, i'm so happy to have been there. i set my goal on it. last week i had that -- this little tia or mini stroke. and i have to be honest, all my life i never thought about hemorrhage or anything like that. the diabetes, obviously, i've had that a long time but -- >> that was your cause, was the american diabetes association. >> sure. >> putting money towards that. did your doctor say to you, not so smart an idea to go to new york? did they give you the green light to be here? >> the doctor said it's not very smart to be here. but i'm not a very smart guy in that capacity. i figured at this point -- i go, look, honestly dr. sabransky said i have to tell you i don't think it's a great idea you go
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there. it's a high risk. i was kidding. i said with the luck i've been having, it seems get iting out a chair is a risk lately. i really wanted to be there. >> you said that essentially to donald trump, because he asked what we were all wondering. you had a little bit of difficulty walking out on stage. it was noticeable. >> yeah. >> you're not quite totally healed yet and trump said to you are you risking your life to be here? you made a joke about it. people laugh. but people are worried about you. how are you doing? >> this is the truth. i'm not back 100% yet. i'm one of those guys that i have to have a goal. i'm very driven. i say this truthfully. i love life. i feel blessed i've been diabetic for 40 years, to have that disease that long and if i can survive it, and i say grace of god and having a guardian angel that whatever reason i'm in the 15 to 20% that actually survive this and have the ability -- >> survive the hemorrhage. >> survive the hemorrhage. forget about the appendectomy,
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mini stroke and all the other things. to survive that hemorrhage and see friends, don jr., a friend of his, had passed away from exactly the same thing i had, not even a couple of weeks before that. >> why do you think you survived? you obviously have shown through this "celebrity apprentice" that you are a fighter for sure. >> for me, i can only say two things. one, great medical attention. that's number one. i reacted immediately. the minute i knew something exploded in my head, i knew i was in trouble. my adrenaline kicked in and i say this. my family, my daughters. and, you know, everything just hit me. >> rain and georgia. >> rain, georgia and christy were so amazing, because i knew something bad had happened. and i immediately -- my adrenaline kicked in. the first thought i had after the pain is i thought i don't want to wake up and be -- i don't want my daughters to see me unconscious on the floor. i didn't want them to wake up in the morning and i'm just laying there. that was my absolute motivation. >> doctors have said to you they
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don't see any connection between the accident at the emmys, and the hemorrhage and the stroke. is it frustrating? would it be easier if they were connected? >> absolutely. here is the scary part for me. i had the emergency appendectomy and thought that's a lot of pain but it's an appendectomy. you move on. the 40 years of diabetes, wear and tear on the body, internal organs and maybe it's just a domino effect. all of a sudden it's one thing, a weak vessel in the base stem of the brain and all of a sudden the -- who knew? i went in for what i thought was a mini stroke because my mouth and my left hand went numb. when i went into the hospital again this last week, the strangest thing, the last test they did was a test for a hole in the heart or pfo. and i'll tell you what. i was joking with them.
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they put all this dye in you. it wasn't so funny when they're sticking all the needles in you. after that, i was sitting there going, there's nothing wrong with my heart. i'm great. and then all of a sudden -- uh-uh know when you look at somebody and their eyes get that serious look? >> oh, sure. >> they were showing me on the ultrasound the air passing through my heart and i'm like, you've got to be kidding me. i've got to tell you that one -- i laugh about a lot of things. it's how i sort of defend myself, but that was pretty scary. >> about 20 secs left. i'm nervous about the fact that you're going on tour. >> right. >> in the summer. you're going down to mississippi this weekend for a concert. are you ready for this? >> i'll say this much. i don't know that i'm ready yet. i'll take it in baby steps. i'm going to do a show, see how it goes. i've had so many amazing fans, generations of fans for great years. the new album "custom built." i have to be honest, i'm ready to get out of the hospital and on the road. i don't want to be back in the hospital. i'm ready to rock. i'll see what happens. >> was it the sympathy vote last
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night? if it was, do you care? >> i told them -- when holly walked out with the hot dress on and she was going to get the hotness vote i was going to take a vote any way i could get it. sympathy, bring it on. up next, keeping your kids safe at the pool. new advice out just this morning. never fear civilians! a postal carrier!! you guys need a priority mail flat rate box. only from the postal service. wha.. it's all over the tv. with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. thanks, mr. postal carrier! hey, fellas! shouldn't that dog be on a leash? disney pixar's toy story 3 only in theaters. priority mail flat rate boxes only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship. what if they change the terms? what if the interest rate... more than i thought? what if i missed something? what if we're not getting what i think we're getting? [ male announcer ] take some of the "what if" out of dealing with your bank. bank of america's clarity commitment summaries tell you key terms for what you're getting with your home loan and credit card in plain language. interest rate... ...what we pay.
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>> announcer: this portion of "today" is brought to you by enfamil premium with triple health guard. we are back at 8:21. this morning on "today's" family, we're talking about swimming safety. before you head to the beach or pool this weekend, there is important new information that parents need to know. "today's" amy robach has more on that. amy, good morning to you. >> reporter: matt, good morning to you. until now, the american academy of pediatrics has not recommended formal swim lessons for children under the age of 4 but that is about to change. they're announcing a big change in their policy that they hope will save lives.
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drowning can happen in an instant. a toddler wonders outside and there's water. it could be your pool or your neighbor's. what would happen if your child fell in? drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in children ages 1 to 4. >> ready? reach for the wall. good job. >> every home that i frequent has a pool. so, for my level of confidence, i wanted her to be familiar with the water. >> there you go. >> reporter: more than a million pools in the state of florida and most parent there is know how important it is to teach water skills to children. >> excellent! >> reporter: now, researchers believe formal swim lessons for children under the age of 4 may actually decrease the risk of drowning. >> for the most part, children are ready somewhere around that 2, 3, 4 age range. and that's because they're mobile. they're adventuresome. they want to try new things.
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>> wonderful job! >> it's all up to the parents, pediatrician and what makes the most sense for you. >> reporter: since all children develop at different rates, the new policy strongly urges parents to talk to their pediatricians before starting swim lessons. and it specifically states there is no scientific evidence that babies under the age of 1 can learn water survival skills. but many parents have seen babies do this on the internet. >> good morning, matt. >> reporter: and on the "today" show and believe that babies should be taught these skills as soon as they can crawl. >> not that i would ever take my eyes off of her, but little things happen very quickly. >> reporter: like lindsay, who enrolled her daughter, emilia in a program. infant swimming resource is developed 40 years ago. he says children under the age of 1 can learn modern survival
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skills. >> the sensation of water over your face means close your mouth, open your eyes, don't breathe until help comes. >> reporter: the academy's revised stance will save lives. >> a nation to keep them safe. >> good job, mateo. >> reporter: now even if your child has had swim lessons or water survival training, there is no better than an undistracted adult being in close contact with those children in the water. matt, back to you. >> a mom with two boys under the age of five and the american academy of pediatrics, good morning. there's no magic number. 2, 3rks 4 years old. it's developmental ability. what are some of the signs that your child is ready for swimming lessons? >> every child will develop at a different rate and show different signs.
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i started my own two boys at different ages. some of the things that i can look for is a child that can follow directions, enjoys being in the water, wants to swim and play games and is very active. >> how do you feel about the difference between swimming lessons and survival lessons? they're not the same thing. >> they're not. there's really no research that shows whether the infant programs can prevent drowning. my concern that i hear every day in my office is that parents may be a little less careful in watching an infant that has some swim training. >> false sense of security? >> yes. >> real quickly, swim lessons are one layer of protection. but there are others that are strongly recommended. fences. you have to have a fence around your pool. >> four-sided fence can cut drowning risk in half and the gate can self latch and self close. >> adult supervision, have a parent in touch reach, touch range. >> we call it touch supervision, a parent who can swim and know cpr. >> no texting. you shouldn't be on a cell phone while your children are in the water. >> the time it takes to answer a
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phone call, a little one can slip under the water. >> do you like those floaties? >> they're cute but not in place of a life jacket. they're not designed to keep a >> live, local, latebreaking. this is wbal-tv 11 news today in baltimore. >> good morning. i am mindy basara. let's get a final check on the morning commute with sarah caldwell. >> we are dealing with an accident on westbound i-1/7 just past 40. you can see that heavy delays leading up to it. you may need extra time. extra time is needed all over the area. southbound 795 all across franklin towards the beltway. once you get a west side, 11 miles per hour on average. southbound j.f.x., but a much at a standstill from approaching
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ruxton all the way down to 28. quicker bonner road and york road, watch for downed wires. at 4 croak, if you travel in baldwin, another accident location for you. it is going to take you about 14 minutes on southbound 895 down to the harbor tunnel tolls. if you are going to travel on the west side, but some delays there as well. 95 almost at a standstill. >> the weather should improve a little bit as we head into this afternoon. for the rest of the morning, there is still a chance for some drizzle and low clouds and fog. temperatures are now in the mid- 60's. 64 degrees and parkton. mixture of clouds and a little sunshine that are on. still a chance for rain showers and drizzle this morning.
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it will get even warmer on tuesday and wednesday, with 80 on tuesday, mid-80's on wednesday. a chance for rain coming in on thursday and friday. >> we will have another update at 8:55.
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8:30 now on this monday morning, may 24th, 2010. the crowd seems to have brought the sunshine with them this morning. they also have smiles on their faces. coming up this half hour -- hi, honey. i'm so sorry. >> i brought these for you. >> i'll get to that in one
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second. excuse me. people here are so sweet. one of the gals from "sex and the city," kim cattrall, who plays samantha, we'll be hearing from her. >> sarah ferguson caught on tape, apparently trying to sell action toes prince andrew. this is not a situation the royal family could be too happy about. we'll have the latest on that situation coming up in a couple of minutes. on a much lighter note, do you guys remember this coming monday is memorial day? a nice get together with our family and friends on that important day, we have some ideas from an expert on how to make the day really lovely. >> great. creating a summer look with a little inspiration from some of your celebrities. before we go any further, want to give us a check of the weather? >> i feel inspired to do so. let's show you what's happening for today. a risk of strong storms from
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nebraska all the way up into the dakotas. mountain snows in the pacific northwest. sunny and hot for the west. tomorrow, that risk of storms dissipates. warm weather throughout much of the country. rain along the california/oregon bon >> we are off to kind of it would start on this monday. conditions should improve as we head through the afternoon. where are you guys from? >> san francisco. >> you're not sure, okay.
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san francisco, okay. we'll settle on san francisco. >> okay. >> don't forget, you can check your weather at weather channel on cable or, no matter where you live, online. >> you ask a question that's too hard, al. you have to ask the easy questions in the morning. when we come back, she puts the sex in "sex and the city."
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now more of our countdown to "sex and the city 2." a visit with the gang would not be complete without sexy samantha. when we last saw her she was sing sbl moving back to the big apple. kim cattrall plays samantha. the premiere is tonight. >> tonight. >> in new york city. you were in london, doing a play over there, "private lives." >> exactly, yeah. >> just finished that up and
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realize d you needed some outfis for this thing. >> of course. it was insane. we finished on a saturday night and i was doing a film the same time i was doing a play for channel 4, "human heart," this beautiful little piece with jim broadband. i literally got on a plane monday, arrived monday night and did not have anything to wear. >> which is scary. >> scary, scary. there's a lot of attention being paid on the four of us and what we've got to look like. it's not just for the premieres. it's for the talk shows. it's for the press conferences. so, there was a lot of shopping going on, you know. a lot of like pulling from here, pulling from there, even from the closet, you know. so, it was -- whew, it was -- we're set, though. >> good. >> that's the good news. >> you know you're going to look great tonight. is it harder to play this the second time around, the sequel? >> this is like a second skin now, you know. >> yeah. >> we were just -- even from the moment that we began the series, there was a feeling -- excuse me, i'm getting a cold. there was a feeling of chemistry
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between the four of us. but i never, in my wildest dreams, felt that it was going to go from the small screen to the big screen. i think all of us were a bit nervous whether it was going to make the transition the first time around. the second time around for me, i felt very confident when we were filming. i thought we really successfully had taken it to another level. what i love about this movie, it's the girls alone again, without the boyfriends, without the husbands, without the kids, without the jobs to interfere. it's just them, doing what they do best, which is talking and being a woman in this time and space. >> and they're dealing with serious issues. we'll show a clip of samantha. at this point, you've come back to new york, broken off the relationship and are going through what all women go through at some point. that's right. >> the menopause. >> let's take a look and we'll talk on the other side of this. >> i am leading the way through the menopause maze with my vitamins, biogenetical cream.
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>> she's the hormone queen. >> i have tricked my body into thinking it's younger. >> what was the reaction when they said to you that's going to be your story line? >> i thought how am i going to make this, first of all, funny, real, funny and sexy? how do you make menopause sexy? the script was so funny. that's what's so great about "sex and the city." it has its finger on taboos that people don't want to talk about. to this day people don't call it menopause. they call it -- >> the change. >> -- the change. exactly. tickling everybody's funny bone allows them to talk about it in an open way. >> and that a woman is still sexy. >> before, during and afterwards. >> and i know you know. >> i know all about it. >> you are certainly no shri shrinking violet. you talk recently about a magazine that's aimed for women over the age of 40. they wanted you on the cover but
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they wanted you to pose with a cougar, a symbol of older women with younger men. you said no. why? >> i felt it was very derogatory. i feel there is nothing predatory about a woman of a certain age -- the kind of stereotype that a woman is searching for young men and she's on the prey. and i just don't think that's good enough. i think we've gone way past that. and to really marginalize this character that i play on "sex and the city" to a cougar, i don't agree with it. and i said yes, i would love to do your cover but i'm not doing it with a cougar. that is too limiting. and i felt it was derogatory. so i said no. they took the cover away, which i thought, fine. it has to be in something that i feel good about, that i feel right about, not just for me but for the character i play and representing women of a certain age. >> are you worried about the message that that sends to other
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women? >> it's a desperation really. i don't see -- listen, when i go out, young men are after me. i don't have to look around. they're sniffing, not me. >> i don't get that sniffing, so i don't know about it to be honest with you. do you ever sit back and say to yourself, kim, you know what? i'm in my 50s now and i'm at the top of my game? >> it's a great feeling. first of all to be a leading lady in your 50s is not very common in hollywood, which is a turning 35, 36 and half the amount of scripts that i was getting as an actress, they just -- there were no jobs. suddenly i was playing somebody's mother or crazy aunt. but i wasn't playing the leading lady anymore. i think shows like "sex and the city," and "mama mia" are making people think differently about women of a certain age. they've never thought that way
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in europe. it is changing, and it is gradual. >> "sex and the city 2" opens nationwide thursday. later, hoda and kathie lee will sit down with samantha's one-time love seth jared. can i eat heart healthy without giving up taste? a man can only try... and try. i heard eating whole grain oats can help lower my cholesterol. it's gonna be tough. my wife and i want to lower our cholesterol, but finding healthy food that tastes good is torturous. your father is suffering. [ male announcer ] honey nut cheerios tastes great and can help lower cholesterol. bee happy. bee healthy.
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we are back now at 8:43 with a trip inside the most dangerous place on earth, mogadishu, somalia. richard engel traveled there to take a look for himself. good morning, richard. >> good morning, matt. it is an al qaeda sanctuary, attracting a surprising number of americans. flying into mogadishu isn't for
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the faint of heart. we arrived on african express, one of only two airlines still operating in somalia. it is soon clear why there are so few flights. sitting on the runway is the wreckage of a crashed plane. it's a fitting first impression in this country, which hasn't had a functioning government in 19 years. as is baggage claim. it's anarchy. no belts, customs or x-ray machines. just getting your bags is something of a free-for-all here. finally, we meet our host, african peacekeepers. there are about 5,000 peacekeepers in somalia. their mission is to try to prop up the somali government, which is so weak, it only controls a few square miles of mogadishu and in this lone pocket of authority is somalia's version of the white house, the nicest building in town.
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the u.s.-backed president can't go much further than his palace gard gardens. >> translator: what we need to do is build our institutions, he says, the basic framework of security and law and order. that's our first priority. it must be, because most of this large coastal city is controlled by the shabaz, a ruthless, local branch of al qaeda. and most people here live in fear. even at one of mogadishu's only health clinics. among hundreds lining up for treatment, fatma brought her 9-month-old daughter, m tichlt tsky but only after the girl's face had become covered with painful, infected boils. i almost never go outside, she tells me. i'm too frightened. like most somalis, she is afraid of the shabath.
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mi militants have made somalia their newest safe haven and impose an unusually strict form of islamic law. women are stoned from adultery and must veil but bras are forbidden. they've ripped the fillings from people's teeth, banned music, movies and even school bells. anyone who can leave has left. there were 1.45 million people in this city a few years ago, only several hundred thousand remain. mogadishu today is the most war-torn dilapidated city i've seen, but what's happening here is far worse than the buildings, the militia men terrorizing the city are under 16 years old, teenagers empowered by the chaos to enter people's homes, lash women for dressing inappropriately and chop off the limbs of accused thieves. under a thorn tree, i meet
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20-year-old and 18-year-old boys, both claim they were falsely accused of theft. their punishment was amputation of their right hand and left foot, their parents forced to watch. i tried to call out to my mother and say please, somebody save me, he says. one woman had a miscarriage as she watched. the young men showed me how the shabath stretched their wrists and ankles before slicing them off with a butcher's knife. but for him, the punishment kinned. they returned 15 days later and sawed off more of his leg just to make him suffer. the leader put three fingers on me and said we have to cut off this much more, he remembers. the u.s. military and intelligence services are aware of al qaeda's growing presence in somalia, but there's little desire to come here to fight. in 1993, u.s. troops invaded somalia to stop clan warfare
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that was causing mass starvation. american helicopters were shot down. and soldiers' bodies dragged through the streets. the events retold in the film "blackhawk down." >> we've got a blackhawk down. we've got a blackhawk down. >> today, the u.s. involvement is mostly from afar. washington backs the peacekee r peacekeepers in somalia who tiptoe around the shabath. the spokesman showed me on the map but says his troops don't go there. >> we don't leave the main road that much. this is a peacekeeping mission. you try to minimize the casualties. >> peacekeepers say they don't have the mandate to the fight the shabath or the troops to do it. but now the united states secretly is increasing its involvement in somalia, gathering intelligence under the
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cover of darkness. at night, we've been hearing the unmistakable sound of american drones circling in the sky over mogadishu, seem to be flying very low and make passes every ten to 15 minutes. >> there are drones flying over mogadishu on a regular basis, really a nightly basis. i think that intelligence has its eyes pealed. >> eyes pealed because some of the top commanders of shabath are americans, including a 26-year-old from alabama. he has become one of their leading recruiters of fellow americans. using internet videos ♪ gonna knock america down to their knees ♪ >> and rap songs. ♪ establishing law >> has attracted for the first time ever american suicide bombers. 17 peacekeepers were killed when this headquarters was attacked by a suicide bomber last
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september. but what happened here has direct ties to the united states. milita militants identified the bomber as a somali american who had been living in seattle. u.s. counterterror officials say americans, most of them from somali origin, have come here to fight, raising the eyebrows of the fbi and the cia. >> the reasons are simple. the number of times you get a substantial of american kids, i don't care whether they're somalis or from lincoln, nebraska, traveling overseas to train with people connected with al qaeda in these kinds of numbers, that is very rare. >> rare and dangerous because the shabath is expected to attract more. it is a large number, especially in the world of terrorism where every individual matter. >> an unsettling story, richard.
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thank you very much for bringing it to us. i appreciate it. it's 50 minutes after the hour. we're back on a monday morning. this is "today" on nbc.
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this morning, we're kicking off a new series "what do you care about today"?
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they wanted to help deserving groups and they've allowed matt, al, hoda and kathie lee and me to choose charities. starting with my choice, a group in chicago making a difference to the lives of those with disabilities. at aspire, it's play time with a purpose. families and therapists cooking up new ideas together, to help people with a wide range of developmental disabilities learn, grow and aspire. >> nice sharing. >> wendy morton's triplets were 8 weeks premature and they have some delays. >> it's kind of like play time for them even though they're getting so much benefit out of it. >> aspire started 50 years ago. its goal, to provide all the therapies, counseling and nurturing needed to help everybody reach their potential. >> it's helping children and
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adults of all abilities to reach for their dreams. >> margie doyle's 22-month-old son, colin, started at aspire shortly after he was born. since then, he has learned to walk and use sign language. >> he lights up when he comes in the door here. >> aspire has also partnered with a local coffee roaster, making its own brand and putting its adult clients to work. >> thank you, bruce. >> giving them on-the-job training, and important life lessons. and while we couldn't sum up in one sentence what this amazing organization is all about, the people we met could. >> what aspire means to me is building futures for everyone and helping people to grow to the best of their abilities. >> aspire means everything. >> aspire, to me, is priceless. >> bye. >> i love that it's everybody from toddlers to adults, providing skills they need, and dignity as well. >> but also what's nice, i think we all know the names of the big
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charities out there, the big organizations, but these are smaller organizations, grassroots organizations and the work they're doing is every bit as important. we'll introduce you to, what, five or six more? >> that's right. >> over the course of the week, which is very important. >> and we saw so many. trying to pick those, it was so difficult because there are so many great, as you said, organizations out there doing wonderful work. coming up on a monday morning, the latest on the situation involving sarah ferguson, the duchess of york. first your local news and your local weather.
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>> live, local, latebreaking. this is wbal-tv 11 news today in baltimore. >> good morning. i am mindy basara. city police are investigating an early-morning shooting in east baltimore. it happened after 12:30. police say they found an unidentified man lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest. he was taken to hospital and later died. no word on a suspect or possible motive. another man is recovering in hospital after he was shot in northwest baltimore. he suffered gunshot wounds to the arm and shoulder. the arm and shoulder. no other
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>> good morning, everyone. at the weather should improve as we head into the afternoon. we will see a mixture of clouds and sunshine. still a mixture of sunshine and drizzle will break out of this pattern tuesday and wednesday. 80 on tuesday, mid-80's on wednesday. at this point, it does look like we will see up dry start the holiday weekend. >> we will have another update at 9:25.
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