tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 11, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
on our broadcast tonight, set free why did a prominent governor on his last day in office set criminals free with full pardons, including the killer of a young mother and a gristly case? tonight there is no explanation but there is outrage. assassination in iran. a murder like something out of a spy movie. iran is blaming the u.s. andhe tension just got tighter. state of play. coming off his second win, mitt romney and the men who want to stop him head to south carolina. already it's getting rough. and the wrong move. for some folks to tried yoga for all the right reasons, tonight the warning about those who might be pushing their luck. "nightly news" begins now.
captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. haley barbour is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate. he's a prominent politician, one of the best known governors in the u.s. he's the former chairman of the republican party. what he did as he left office as governor of mississippi has left a lot of people stunned and outraged, and some of them now actually fearing for their lives. he pardoned over 200 criminals, including some hardened criminals, murders guilty of gristly killings. there's been no explanation. the now-former governor isn't commenting, after using the sweeping power of the pardon for his personal reasons, and now the people of the state of mississippi deal with the consequences. it's where we begin here tonight with nbc's mark potter in jackson, mississippi. >> reporter: on his last days in
office, haley barbour, the powerful and highly-regarded mississippi governor ended up angering and confusing so many constituents. without explanation, he granted pardons or early releases to a long list of more than 200 convicts, including 21 murderers and many others spending time for violence crimes. >> pardon means this individual can grab a school bus, go to law school, move in next to you. >> reporter: among those were five prison trustees, who because of good behavior worked at the governor's mansion in jackson. four were convicted murderers. among them david gatlin sentenced to life for 30 years for shooting to death his estranged wife tamly who held her 6-week-old son and her friend. tiffany is tammy's sister and says her family is furious with barbour for releasing gatlin,
causing them to live in fear. >> he is a cold, calculated murderer. why wouldn't he finish what he started, you know? being a trustee at the governor's mansion does not change a murderer. >> reporter: in the past, other mississippi governors have pardoned convicts, but a relative few. the question of why barbour would release so many is unanswered. late this afternoon, the mississippi attorney general said he was seeking an injunction to prevent any more prisoners from being released. >> it's a slap in the face to me as a prosecutor, after serving 20 years, we have to try to round up all these convicts that have been turned loose. and try to fix the messes's created. >> reporter: tonight here at the state capitol, some of the law makers have been talking about proposed legislation, to limit the governor's ability to pardon violent criminals. >> mark potter on this amazing story out of mississippi.
mark, thanks. americans woke up to an amazing story this morning from overseas. now the tension between the u.s. and iran has been heightened further, after the assassination of a nuclear scientist in tehran, in broad daylight during this morning's commute, like some of what we've seen in action sequence necessary movies. tonight, it is by no means clear who did it, but iran is accusing the u.s. and zionists, how they refer to israel. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel with us in the studio. >> reporter: good evening, brian. today's assassination is part of a long and ongoing secret war against iran's nuclear program. around 8:00 a.m., an iranian nuclear scientist on his way to work. witnesses say two attackers on a motorcycle eased up behind him, slapped a small bomb to his car with a magnet and slipped away in traffic. the scientist and his bodyguard
driver were both killed. the target, 32-year-old mussafa who worked at the uranium enrichment site. five have been killed including a missile expert at this test facility, which mysteriously blew up last november. iran today blamed israel and the united states. >> i want to categorically deny any act of violence inside iran. >> reporter: israel never said it's behind these killings, but former intelligence officials clearly expressed satisfaction. >> everything short of a full-scale war is better than a full-scare war. >> reporter: today james bond style attack comes amid enormous growing tensions over iran's nuclear program.
last month, washington approved strict sanctions against iran, already its currency dropped 20%. iran called it an act of war. responding with a show of force. test-firing missiles, a sign to back off. and iran threatened to close the oil corridor, the strait of hormuz. the u.s. fifth fleet says it will make sure the strait stays open. nbc's tehran bureau chief says iran is on edge. >> the mood is tension. sanctions are starting to bite and the government is warning the enemy is at the gate. tehran feels it's being subjected to an undeclared war. >> reporter: iran says it will continue its nuclear program, which it insists is peaceful. but brian, as tensions increase, so do the risks, specifically the risks that the united states could get involved in a war with iran, another war because of an
alleged nuclear program and oil, which may sound very familiar. >> a lot of people would love to know how this ends and when. richard engel, thanks for your reporting. the uprising in syria killed more than 5,000 people. today it claimed its first western journalist, a french cameraman killed by grenade fire while covering the uprising in the city of homs. in damascus today, a rare appearance by president assad rallied by thousands of his supporters. back at home the u.s. marine corps is investigating video posted on the web today that could spark a global scandal and outrage. we are going to keep it to this small still photo over my shoulder. we have blurred out the offensive parts, but the pictures show four u.s. marines believed to be part of a sniper team operating in afghanistan urinating on the bodies of the dead along with commentary along the way.
our pentagon correspondent jim miklazewski is being told they are believed to be based at camp lejeune. the marines promise a swift investigation. if they are positively identified, they could face criminal prosecution. there is a major decision to report tonight from the u.s. supreme court. it's about religious freedom in this country. it's unanimous and affects people who work for churches and other religious institutions. our justice correspondent pete williams in washington with this story tonight. good evening. >> reporter: easily the most important decision on religious freedom in decades. all nine justices said today people who work for churches or religious schools and are involved in furthering the mission or the religious message cannot sue for job discrimination, race, gender, disability, in i kind. the court says the government cannot interfere with a religious institution's decisions about who will carry out its beliefs. chief justice roberts said, "it's undoubtedly important to
enforce the laws against job discrimination, but so too is the interest of religious groups in choose hog will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission." he said government influence over religious decision is one of the country's founding principles. pete williams, thanks for that. a story that could reach into a million of american homes about a potentially dangerous chemical, and government safety officials say it might be the case with orange juice. they've gone as far as stopping all orange juice imports as a precaution. that and some wicked cold weather in florida last week sent orange juice prices soaring wildly in commodities markets, which will hurt where price is concerned at the supermarket, as well. tom costello has more on this. >> reporter: nearly half the orange juice we buy every day comes from brazil.
you have to look closely at the packaging to see where the juice you buy is produced in. a letter to the juice industry, the fda said an anonymous american juice company had found low-levels of a fungicide carbendazim in its own juice as well as a competitor's juice. it is used in brazil to kill a mold that is common on orange trees. while florida may be the orange juice state, you have to look closely at what the label says to see where the juice you're buying comes from. many times the label says contains orange juice concentrate from the usa, brazil and sometimes costa rica. samples of the fungicide were very low and should not cause harm. the fda is sampling imported orange juice at the port. says it will block any juice that has these levels of fungicide in orange juice,
helping to drive the prices higher. tom costello, thanks. last night we came to you from new hampshire where we witnessed mitt romney becoming the first nonincumbent republican candidate to win the new hampshire primary after winning the iowa caucuses. he took the momentum in south carolina, where he is running into a bauz saw of attacks from some of his rivals. last night was about a big second-place finish by ron paul who says he is nipping at romney's heels. ron mott is with us from spartanburg. good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you. south carolina is not for the political faint of heart. the punches here can be hard and painful. all indications suggest we'll see a lot of blows delivered over the next ten days. round three, south carolina. where front-runner mitt romney landed today into an atmosphere saturated by bare-knuckle politics. >> when mitt romney came to
town -- >> reporter: his opponents are hitting him online in a 27-minute documentary and on the air with tv ads, including this attack from newt gingrich on abortion. >> what happened after mitt romney changed his position from pro abortion to pro-life? he governed pro abortion. >> reporter: while the group linked him to that 80 million excess, gordon gekko from "wall street." >> greed, for lack of a better word, is good. >> reporter: fellow republicans were throwing punches about romney's days running bain capital. >> i think companies like bain capital could have helped these companies if they truly were venture capitalists, but they're not. they're vulture capitalists. >> reporter: romney responded to the criticism this morning on the "today" show. >> i think it's been vie, class warfare and something we expected to come from president obama, but we didn't expect that newt gingrich and rick perry would become the witnesses for
his prosecution, if you will. i don't think it's helped them. >> reporter: it hasn't helped perry and gingrich in the polls much. both were distance finishers in iowa and new hampshire. nor did it help win favor with conservative heavyweights like rush limbaugh. >> i don't care what you think the attacks they mounted on romney are not defensible. >> reporter: the former speaker disagreed, almost cringing at the notion. >> i think the american people deserve to know things. i am prepared to have people be irritated on the right and on the left. >> reporter: texas congressman ron paul, second to romney in new hampshire stayed out of the cross fire. >> we thought we sent out a positive message out of iowa. i think we sent out a pretty positive message last night out of new hampshire. and i think south carolina is next on the list. >> reporter: jon huntsman and rick santorum are stumping tonight in the palmetto state. both were critical on the attack
on bain capital. nbc news and bain capital are partners and the weather channel. >> ron paul supporters were fired up today. still ahead, as we continue, the first lady and how she is portrayed in a controversial new book. tonight she is pushing back. >>. >> later, millions practice and enjoy yoga every day to stay fit and healthy, but is it as safe as it seems? a controversial claim is out and it's raising new questions. so i'm glad it's with fidelity. they offer me one-on-one guidance to help me choose my investments. not just with my savings plan here at work. they help me with all of my financial goals. looking good, irene. thanks to fidelity, i can stay on top of my financial future, huh? good one. why, thank you. whether it's saving for retirement, college, or anything else, contact a fidelity investment professional today.
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families. >> reporter: a popular cause like her fight against childhood obesity. that and her signature style defined her role as first lady. not the meddling spouse portrayed in the controversial new book "the obamas." today mrs. obama challenged that portrait, as she did with gayle king on cnbc. >> i guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here, a strong woman, but you know, that's been an image people tried to paint of me since the day barack announced i'm some angry black woman. >> reporter: white house officials say it is a caricature that first emerged in the 2008 campaign. >> for the first time in my adult lifetime, i'm really proud of my country. >> reporter: opponents ceased on that comment to paint mrs. obama as some kind of radical. the new book by author jodi
kantor says the first lady felt pressured to look perfect because everyone was waiting for a black woman to make a mistake. former chief of staff rahm emanuel and robert gibbs. >> i can count the number of times i go over to the west wing, period. >> reporter: the book suggests mrs. obama did not want to be like hillary clinton, who had her own office in the west wing. according to the book, mrs. obama told an aide, i don't want to be hillary clinton. i can't be that person. white house offices acknowledge moments of tension between the first lady and the president's staff, but they say far less than in past administrations. they say the book doesn't fully convey the personal bond between the obamas. andrea mitchell, nbc news, manchester, new hampshire. up next tonight, what could be the beginning of the end for a classic american guilty pleasure. [ coughing ]
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this was the gulf's best tourism season in years. all because so many people wanted to visit us... in louisiana. they came to see us in florida... nice try, they came to hang out with us in alabama... once folks heard mississippi had the welcome sign out, they couldn't wait to get here. this year was great but next year's gonna be even better. and anyone who knows the gulf knows that winter is primetime fun time. the sun's out and the water's beautiful. you can go deep sea fishing for amberjack, grouper and mackerel. our golf courses are open. our bed and breakfast have special rates. and migrating waterfowl from all over make this a bird watcher's paradise. so if you missed it earlier this year, come on down. if you've already been here come on back... to mississippi... florida... louisiana... alabama. the gulf's america's get-a-way spot no matter where you go. so come on down and help make 2012 an even better year for tourism on the gulf. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home.
more incredible pictures tonight out of that town in alaska that winter clearly hasn't forgotten. why thank god the national guard has shown up, the problem now is they're running out of shovels to get rid of it. that coast guard ice breaker trying to cut a path for the russian tanker in the bering sea, very slow going. when the ice breaker gets through, the ice closes up like a zipper keeping the tanker in place. a lot of us like our products more than we would be willing to admit in public like twinkies and wonder bread. the maker of both including the ho-ho and other products, hostess bakeries is filing for bankruptcy. it will take more to keep a good twinkie down while they restructure. nonstop flights in europe have been forced to stop for
fuel in canada and other places because of unexpectedly strong west to east head winds blowing across the atlantic. this is happening to continental flights, most of all. it's now the world's largest airliner after merging with united. this is happening, in part, because they are putting smaller single-aisle 757s on some intercontinental routes. that stretches them to the limits of their range. they made 43 unscheduled stops on route to the u.s., without which they wouldn't have had enough fuel minimums in reserve onboard to land. talk about cool under fire. this was a hugely popular video on the web last 24 hours. check out the unflinching cool of the 3-year-old at the wellington zoo in new england versus a full-grown male lion with steamy breath who was thinking, perhaps, lunch. 3-year-old sophia walker was having a staring contest and just hung in there. when it was all over, she turned to ask her mom what's he telling
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millions of americans happily turn to to relieve stress. it's in the news tonight and it's yoga. one of the country's best-known yoga teachers touched off a heated debate with a new book called bluntly, "how yoga can wreck your body." that's quite a charge. more from nbc's chris janzen. >> reporter: all around the country, class is in session. far from its ancient origins in india, yoga has become a modern-day antidote to stress. >> om. >> reporter: its growing popularity is raising alarm. >> as a spine specialist i see a ton of yoga injuries. >> reporter: there are no definitive numbers, but a columbia university survey reveals injury to the lower back, shoulders, knees and neck and in some rare cases, yoga led to stroke. >> certain yoga positions put a lot of stress on the blood vessel to the brain.
>> reporter: because of the risks, respected yoga instructor ken black suggest the vast majority of people should give up yoga all together. >> e-mails are saying i wish i could have had the courage to tell my teacher i just got hurt. >> reporter: he says many get hurt forcing themselves into positions they aren't ready to do. would you look at somebody like me and say, you're a classic, you should not be doing yoga? >> what i would say is you need to do a lot of stuff to prepare for a yoga class. >> reporter: black acknowledges that is not what yoga fans want to hear and they are fighting back. >> if something bothers you, you back off or find a different way to ask a question. >> yes there are dangers and risk. there are with everything. there are risks with love. that doesn't mean we don't go forward with something that can be so helpful. >> reporter: the benefits from yoga can be significant, lowering stress and blood pressure, even improving your sex life. still, while experts disagree about the risks, they do advise
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