tv NBC Nightly News NBC October 3, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
on alert. the threat of a terrorist attack triggers new caution for american travelers overseas. under fire. an american couple on vacation attacked near the mexican border. rescue mission. nearly two months, more than 2,000 feet down. now hope for the trapped miners. and take two. from empty lot to studio lot. detroit gets a hollywood remake. captions paid for by nbc-universal television from news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt.
>> good evening. we start with that travel alert issued earlier it today. cautioning americans to exercise increased vigilance while traveling in western europe. as we reported last night, the state department is reacting to intelligence reports that al qaeda may be planning attacks against tourist spots and transportation hubs in europe. security across the continent has been ratcheted up in recent days. the lack of specifics, including which countries are at risk is potentially frustrating to the thousands of americans who make the journey to europe each day. we get the latest now in london. >> reporter: tonight, the threat of terrorism looms across europe. the state department has alerted americans to the potential for terrorist attacks by al qaeda and affiliated organizations. >> i've been told by senior counter terrorism officials this is among the most significant plots that they have seen in quite some time. they believe that the plot has
already begun. >> reporter: in spite of the alert, many americans are continuing with their travel plans. >> i don't worry about these things. i don't think we should be in a fear-based society. >> alerts come and go. i live over there so i have to go back. >> reporter: today's alert comes after a week in which such plots came to light. germany intelligence said there were coordinated attacks in several european cities on direct orders from osama bin laden. in france, officials believe a female suicide bomber was about to strike the metro suicide. the trains came to a standstill. the eiffel tower was evacuated twice. nbc has learned there is an increased level of chatter, phone calls and coded messages, similar to those interaccepted before previous terror attacks. this weekend, bin laden himself resurfaced in two audio recordings. instead of talking about
attacking the west, he spoke about climate change and aid for flood victims in pakistan. >> almost as if bin laden is going positive on the airwaves, at the same time, he's instructed a deadly plot take place against targets in europe. >> reporter: in the uk, security services say they thwarted an attack in the early stages of planning. the british government upgraded its traveler requirements to europe. they are saying there is a high threat. across europe, officials have tightened security. france raised its terror threat level to red. in sweden, they raised their level to the highest it's ever been. experts warn everyone should be on alert. the threats are not specific, but officials say they are credible and the message is clear, be vigilant. >> we want to get some
perspective on this from nbc terrorist analyst roger cressey. this is an alert to simply be cautious. what's the practical effect of such a statement? >> this news with the united states government has been on record saying there is a threat. they're telling people they should be aware of their surroundings, such as transportation hubs or tourist sights are the targets that al qaeda and other like to attack. until there is additional information, it will stay at the alert level and not go into a travel warning. >> you're a former white house counter official, what are your sources saying about the credibility of the threats? >> it's very incredible. there are three questions they're asking. is it credible, is it specific and is it imminent. the u.s. government didn't say france, italy or the united
kingdom. is it imminent? they believe the answer is no. until there is more evidence, you're not going to see the u.s. government go to a higher level. >> roger cressey, thank you very much. a serious warning remains in place for americans traveling much closer to home in mexico. that country's violent drug war is increasingly being felt across the border. authorities in texas believe an american couple may have become the latest victims. mark potter reports. >> reporter: during their eight-year marriage, david and tiffany hartly loved adventure vacations and last week rode jet skis in south texas to photograph a church on the mexican side of the lake. on their way back, they were attacked by gunmen in three boats. only tiffany escaped to call 911. >> yes? >> are you sure that your husband got shot? >> yes. he's hit in his head. yeah.
>> was he thrown out of the jet ski? he's in the water? >> he was thrown off the jet ski and i couldn't pick him up to get him on mine. >> reporter: authorities feared david was killed although his body has not been found. tiffany barely got away. >> bullets came very close to her. she was not hit. >> reporter: falcon reservoir was created by damming the rio grande between laredo and mcgowan, texas. >> that's what signifies to sports men they're on the u.s. side or mexican side. >> reporter: authorities believe the attack is linked to mexico's vicious drug war in which nearly 30,000 people have been killed. the sheriff says the gunmen are teenage pirates working for one of mexico's most violent drug cartels. in four other incidents this year, americans have been
confronted or robbed. richard drake, a fisherman, got away in a high-speed chase after a heart-stopping encounter. >> two of the people stood up and started waving machine guns at me. >> reporter: boaters are warned to be very alert and steer clear of mexico. >> now to politics. immigration has become a flash point this election season, including in the race for governor of california. there is some heated exchanges in last night's debate. with elections a month away, mike viqueira takes a look at some of the races. >> reporter: last night in california, the fight over immigration got personal. >> jerry, you should be ashamed. >> she's talking out of both sides of her mouth. >> reporter: republican candidate for governor meg whitman said she was surprised to discover the truth about her housekeeper. >> we hired someone who i thought was here legally. she was not. we unfortunately had to let her go. >> reporter: the housekeeper
alleged whitman knew of her illegal status for years. with latino support vital for both candidates, her point, jerry brown, attacked. >> let's be sympathetic and really empathize with the millions of people in the shadows. and you want to keep them in the shadows and are trying to evade responsibility. >> reporter: brown holds a slight edge over whitman in recent polls. with elections less than a month ago, california is one of the few bright spots for democrats. >> i think we'll have a good day on november 2nd. i don't know how high or how wide that tsunami will be. i think it will be significant. >> reporter: in kentucky, republican rand paul is ahead in polls. >> really, he has to -- what he needs to do is he needs to either defend his president or run away. so far he's running away from president obama and the agenda. >> reporter: in the senate, republicans would need a net gain of ten seats. that's considered possible but unlikely. in the house, the gop number is
39. many believe it is a goal well within reach. >> jobs now. >> reporter: democrats are not conceding. president obama plans more campaigning. >> hello wisconsin. >> reporter: trying to light a fire under disaffected democrats, which with time running out may not be enough. >> the fundamental dynamics are the same. voters seem to want change. >> reporter: lester, one more note from the white house. it was only last friday when in the east room, rahm emanuel last his post as white house chief of staff to pursue a bid as mayor of chicago. today he's up with a new video telling chicagoans he's preparing to run for mayor and leading the city would be a privilege for launching what he calls a tell it like it is tour around the city of chicago. >> mike viqueira in rainy washington tonight, thanks. tomorrow is the first monday in october, the start of a new
term for the supreme court. it promises to be a busy one. first up, a controversial case involving the rights of protesters at military funerals. joining us is pete williams. >> reporter: for the second year in a row they have a new lineup with elena kagan bring to three the number of women on the bench. some of the most prem nant cases of this term test the limits of free speech. one of the biggest involves protesters that claim u.s. deaths are punishments from god. when they brought that message to the death of matthew snyder they carried signs that read, quote, thank god for dead soldiers. >> how could anybody to this to another human being? they're animals is what they are. >> reporter: matthew's father said it permanently tarnished his member of the funeral. >> we had to have a s.w.a.t.
team, fire engines, a command central set up in a winnebago. they turned it into a circus. >> reporter: he sued the ro test organizers. a federal court declared it constitutionally protected speech. phelps and his family say they'll continue picketing. >> god is punishing these soldiers and their parents really. the parents ought to be very thankful for me to tell them this. >> reporter: california urges the court to rule that it can block minors from buying violent video games. advocates saying playing them makes children aggressive. >> they tend to live in fear of the circumstances around them unnecessarily. they tend to resort to violence as a solution for conflict. >> reporter: the courts have never upheld limits on violent expression and video game makers say the law is unnecessary. >> the state is claiming to be the power to the super nanny in
telling parents what to do. this is a very dangerous concept. >> reporter: for the court's newest member, elena kagan will set out a third of the cases this term to avoid conflicts from her time in the justice department. >> with only eight members, there's the chance of a tie. if that happens, the supreme court will not decide the issue and will have to come back probably in another year. >> reporter: here's how much this court has changed in the past five years. four new justices. assuming no big health problems, no retirements are expected this coming term, lester. >> in pakistan today, militants attacked a nato fuel convoy. the third such attack in three days. gunmen fired on the tankers, then set them on fire. the tankers were taking fuel to coalition forces in afghanistan. militants say the attacks are in response to recent incursions into pakistani territory. when "nbc nightly news" continues this sunday, rescuers
close in on those miners trapped for almost two months in chile. later, a city in need of a comeback gets some help from hollywood. what had happened in central harlem was failure became the norm. the schools were lousy... the healthcare was lousy... gangs were prevalent. violence was all over. families were falling apart. you can't raise children in a community like that. people had been talking about things, but not doing anything. hi, mr. canada... how are you? i'm doing great, how 'bout you? right here on 119th street. if we could fix this block, then we could fix the next block, then we could fix the next block... we promised parents, if your child stays with us, i guarantee you that child is going to graduate from college. failure is simply not an option. the sixty...the seventy... the eighty... the ninety-seven blocks which ends up being 10,000 children. we start with children from birth, and stay with those children until they graduate. if you really want to have an impact that is large, you will get there going one step at a time. there is no act that is too small to make a difference.
no matter what you want to do, members project from american express can help you take the first step. vote, volunteer or donate at membersproject.com. i couldn't sleep right. next day it took forever to get going. night after night, i sat up. sprayed up. took a shower... or took a pill. then i tried drug-free breathe right advanced. and instantly, i breathed better! i slept better. it felt...better. thank you, breathe right! [ male announcer ] breathe better, sleep better, feel better. now try new breathe right advanced for free... at breatheright.com. [ woman ] it's my right to breathe right. isn't it your right, too?
it's been almost two months since a mine cave-in in chile trapped 33 miners underground. rescue workers appear to be close to getting the men out. kerry sanders is there tonight. kerry? >> reporter: lester, today was a busy day as weekends are. family members get a chance to visit with their family members trapped below via video conference, talking to them for about eight minutes. while nobody wants to get
overconfident, some families on the surface are starting to plan parties, celebrations, because after almost two months, they sense a rescue is close at hand. in chile, there is a growing sense prayers are about to be answered. anxious families waiting for a rescue say they've already had one miracle. all 33 trapped miners survived the cave-in. now, a remarkable 59 days later, norma is waiting for what she calls that second miracle. getting her son, 19-year-old jimmy, and everybody else to the surface alive. when do you think he's getting out? soon. officials say she may well be right. three drill teams are getting close. the chileans teamed with
canadians are drilling a shaft 59 feet from the men. team b is teamed with south africans. when they punch through to the men below, they will be widened to 28 inches. the 12-inch shaft is still almost 400 feet away. plan b is the most complicated but so far the most successful. chileans teams with the united states, first drilled a five-inch vent to the men, then widened to 12 inches, which is how those on the surface deliver food, water, electricity, fiber optics and fresh air down below. that shaft is now being widened to 28 inches. it's 460 feet away from the men and could be completed by the end of this week. down below, the miners are also working in three 11-man shifts, clearing debris as it falls from the drilling, upwards of 20 tons of rock a day. top side, one of the three escape pods has now arrived.
it's designed to slide down the greased shaft. the miners will then escape one by one to the surface. is it a matter of when, no longer if you reach them? >> no, it is present every day. of course, of course. we are dealing with problems every day. they know that. >> reporter: late word today, the drill bit on plan a, that's the one with the chileans and the south africans, it got so dull it wasn't making progress. they'll have to replace it but won't be able to do that until wednesday. plans b and c are still hard at work. >> thanks, kerry. when we come back, picking up what everybody else throws away. one small town weighs the risks and rewards.
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nia reports. >> reporter: there are 2,300 landfills across the country. while most towns ship garbage out, some agree to take it in. and the cash that comes with it. a windfall that can come at a cost. that area where the trees stop -- >> that's where the landfill bottom is. we used to refer to it as a mountain of waste. >> reporter: this is the town supervisor for fox township, pennsylvania, a small town of 7,000, seven miles from the little league field of main street is the green tree landfill, a growing mountain of garbage that adds to the local economy. how much? in this working class town, try a life-changing $2.5 million a year, half of the annual budget. >> every organization in our township has been positively
affected by the money. the fire halls got some new equipment. we've done a lot of roadwork. and a traffic light. that was the first one, by the way. >> reporter: so the additional incremental benefits that the town receives, is it worth it for the potential environmental risks that you face every day? >> that's a difficult question to answer. because you have two perspectives there. the immediate perspective, there doesn't appear to be any immediate risk. in the long term, we don't know. >> reporter: long term to barbara means living with uncertainty about the tap water, the health of his neighbors and the well-being of his home town. >> these are the latest and greatest things to take care of the garbage. down the road it's not been 100% proven what is being put in there. it's always a concern to everybody. i have a concern that the long-term exposure to dust landing on our watershed up here might have is some impact on the quality of our water. when something happens, there
may be no turning back. >> there is more on the big business of garbage across the world and in our oceans. tonight on "trash inc." the secret life of garbage. up next, lights, camera and action come to a great city that could use a break. being a leader means moving fast. across the country when the economy tumbled, jpmorgan chase set up new offices to work one-on-one with homeowners. since 2009, we've helped over 200,000 americans keep their homes. and we're reaching out to small businesses too, increasing our lending commitment this year to $10 billion... and giving businesses the opportunity to ask for a second review if they feel their loan should have been approved. this is how recoveries happen. everyone doing their part. this is the way forward.
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detroit has seen its share of bright lights of glamor. think motown or the car business. now comes the squeak equel. detroit is attracting a new industry. the story from nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: think of it as hollywood on the set of lake huron. this scene is being shot in las vegas but it's being shot in a less glitzy location, detroit. >> we are dream weavers. that's what we do. if storytellers can't bring home, i'm not sure who can. >> reporter: the motor city physical is cast in its first primetime drama and it's rolled out the red carpet for many other productions, including "up in the air." >> to know me is to fly with me. this is where i live. >> reporter: and the hbo series "hung."
why michigan? film and tv makers have been attracted by the nation's most generous financial incentives. for every dollar studios spend, they get up to 42 cents back from the state's government. critics argue it's a losing proposition for mitch tchigan taxpayers, but supporters say it's helping improve the state's image. >> people are coming back from l.a. and new york and moving back to michigan, calling it home again. it's incredible all the way around. >> reporter: downtown detroit has doubled as manhattan, paris and prague in recent pictures. "transformers 3" wrapped her last week. it has aggressive tax incentives, before that, they had three productions filmed here. this year they're expecting more than 50 and will bring in more than $300 million. the state's entertainment industry created 7,000 new jobs. chris dor etty is now a lighting
technician. producers say despite a bad rap, detroit hasn't seen it its final act. >> detroit is in a resurgent period. it's coming back. we're happy to be here and be part of it. >> reporter: detroit has gone hollywood to give its residents new optimistm and hope. >> that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. football might in america is next followed by sunday night football. the bears versus the giants tonight. brian williams will be here tomorrow. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com