tv NBC Nightly News NBC September 29, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
out of nowhere, the political unknown who has up theed into voter anger but can he pull off the biggest upset of the political season? best medicine. can a drug for pain relief actuallyork too well? a question about a new medication for aching joints. and "education nation" a place where teachers and students have stunning success. so what's their secret? also tonigh something y should know before heading to vegas. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. we haven't had to talk about terrorism for a while now, though in this new post 9/11 era it's never that far from our thoughts, especially in big cities. tonight in parts of europe, it's evident that officialselieve something might be up. there's a lot of intelligence floating around, so-called chatter from various sources indicating various people might belanning something.
as far as how far this reaches, why now? well, that gets a little bit tougher. we're going to begin, however, in paris where they have raised the alert status. our own jim meceda is there. hey, jim, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, first off, we have to say that this alleged simultaneous terror plot across europe does not effect the united stes. but that's little comfort to europeans who are reading these tea leaves and feeling extremely unnerved. high anxiety in the streets of paris. since french authorities raised the terror threat level to severe two weeks ago based on increased intelligence chatter. that al qaeda was planning a major attack since then, several bomb threats with thousands of additional police and military, evacuating train and subway stations. even iconic land marks like the eiffel tower. >> every time you tried to get close, they routed you back away from it. so we knew something was up. >> reporter: the tower shut down
twice now in just two weeks. even as the french are dealing with the terror threat here, there are reports in germany warning of coordinated terror attacks inside germany and other european countries. this coming from a 36-year-old german-afghan source being interrogated by americans inside bagram prison in afghanistan. according to german intelligence sources, dozens of germa jihadists who fought alongside the taliban and al qaeda in afghanisn and pakistan, are returning to continue the fight back home. >> the german authorities are concerned that these people can build sleeping cells ready to make bombing in germany or somewhere else. >> reporter: then on tuesday, new reports quoting british intelligence suggesting a plot by a trorist commando team had been foiled. similar in style to the mumbai massacre where ten gunman attacked twondian hotels,
killing at least 170. despite all the speculation, sources say there have been no specific or imminent threats. still, counterintelligence experts are connecting the dots. >> put all those things together, that gives me the feel this was a credible threat that was thwarted by the authorities. >> reporter: what's really disturbing intelligenceable lists tonight is that this plot, even if it's intercepted, may not have been completely stopped. that's really upsetting them. back to you. >> jim, thanks forhat. meanwhile, here at home, there's a new videotape that federal prosecutors released today, showing what they say could have hpened had the man who tried to set off a bomb in times square last may actually succeeded at it. we get more on that now from our justice correspondent pete williams in washington. pete, a law enforcement source called me today so that we
imfa size had he known what he was doing, perhaps this would have been the result. >> reporter: absolutely. they showed what kind of damage the bomb in his car might have caused if it had gone off as he intended. this video, made by the fbi, shows agents detonating a bomb that the government says was identical to the cponents that were assembled in the car rked in times square. prosecutors say he told the fbi he wanted to kill at least 40 people. vestigators say it's impossibleo predict what the effects might have been, though it would have been devastating to the surrounding area. he also told the f he wanted to set off a second bomb two weeks later. his car bomb was built in three parts and all three failed to go off after he lit the fuse and walked away. he pleaded guilty in june and will be sentenced next week. >> pete williams in our washington newsroom. pete, thanks.
perhaps the toughest job of all tonight falls to richard engel here in new york. you get the task of bringing all these disparate parts together. what is going on here, homany pieces do have? >> if you look at it globally, the overall threat level, th to europe, the united states, is according to one senior counterterrorism official, the most severe that he's seen it since 9/11. there is a great deal of chatter out there. chatter means e-mails, phone conversations, tngs that are floating around in the cyberspace that can be picked up by organizations like the nsa. lots of militant groups are talking about doing attacks against america and against other countries. why now? and i think that's what you have to focus on. al qaeda has made decision that it's not going to wai around for a big attack. there were many people within al qaeda who thought after 9/11, they can't do someing else
unless it's bigger than 9/11. after the last attack that failed in new york times square and the one that also failed christmas day when they tried to bring down an airliner, both of those attacks failed. but from al qaeda'perspective, they were successful. they tied uphe u.s. security services, they cost a great deal of money. and al qaeda decided we got a lot of bang for a iled attack. let's keep them going. that's what has people concerned. >> we keep calling the new normal, keeps changing all the time. richard engel, thanks as always. now to what was a breaking domestic story late today. a terrible bus crash in maryland. at least one person wakilled when a charter bus carrying children and their parents fell 45 feet off a sky ramp on the d.c. beltway. it landed along a stretch of interstate 270, backed up traffic 15 miles and we're told that won't be cleared for hours.
state police say rescue crews had to cut free four people who were trapped inside the bus. some of the survivors we're told tonight have sadly life-threatening injuries. much othe east coast is under a serious flood watch tonight, and take a look at why. it's a weather system that stretches between two major cities very far apart. miami, all the way north to new york, as if traveling along i-95. it's already dumped 17 inches of rain in delaware. it's set to merge with what remains of tropical storm nicole. heavy rain, dangerous flooding, high winds, all expected from the south florida coast all the way up through new york and then western new england before we say goodbye to this on friday. we'll be keeping a close eye on the system, which could bring eight more inches rain to some areas, and throw travel along the east coast into chaos. now to politics and the candidate who has taken the race for new york governor by storm.
he's running as a tea party favorite from upstate buffalo, and despite various controrsies swirlingll around him, some people think he's in a position, given the crazy dynamic of the electorate this year, to upset a member of new york's political fst family. our own kate snow is here with a look at one of the races to watch this november. kate, good evening. >> reporter: new york is a blue state, but it's also a very diverse state. upstate new york, a lot more like ohio, rust belt town with high unemployment and that's where a guy nam carl paladino has found his base. >> i'm carl paladino. and i'm mad as hell. i'm a businessman. not a politician. i'm being falsely called a racist and worse. >> reporter: he's all over youtube. >> new yorkers are fed up. >> reporter: a wealthy developer who owns a good chunk of buffalo, new york, and never held any political office. >> this is going to be o hell of a year. >> reporter: for opponents, he's the stereotype of a renegade outsider.
with tea pty support. you're angry, you're loud, you're brash. you've said you're not politically correct. >> i'm not intimidatab, either. but i am angry, and that's okay. it's all right to show people that you're angry. it sort of gets the discussion going. >> reporter: who are you angry at? >> angry at government that took advantage of the people. a government that is self-sustaining. >> reporter: in the suburbs and small towns that dot upstate new york, they've run out of paladino lawn signs. even his own people didn't anticipate he would have this much traction. most polls still show paladino bend his docratic opponent by double digits. but one showed him within striking distance of new york attorney general andrew cuomo. >> nobody expected carl paladino to be where he is today. new york is the bluest of blue states. yet there's a sense that carl paladino would present a real challenge to andrew cuomo and
become the governor of new york. >> carl paladino isn't part of the solution in albany, he's part of the problem. >> reporr: this week, cuomo started attacking paladino by name. >> mr. paladino's agenda is an extreme agenda. and i thk now that the voters will be able to look at that clearly. >> reporter: cuomo cites his position opposing abortion and his suggestion that welfare recipients enroll in a digni core with housing in old prisons. on the new york city subway, most don't even recognize paladino, although that's changing with daily headlines like the one today revealing some of paladino's aides have criminal records. he readily admits he too has made mistakes in life. last year he revealed to his wife of 40 years what his chdren already knew, that he fathered a child with another woman. he sent around racist, sexist and pornographic e-mails. >> i didn't mean to offend anybody. i sent it to a select group of friends.
those friends, okay, treated them privately, except for obviously one. >> reporter: but republicans are lining up behind him. >> carl paladino is a lot like some of the tea party candidates we're seeing around the country, but he has a particular edge here. and that is he's got a lot of money. >> reporter: and he is officially the republican candidate on the ticket. paladino told me he won't sitate to spend as much of his fortune as it takes, and that is what worries democrats, brian. a last minute barrage of cash could put him within striking distance. >> this year throw out everything you know about polics. kate snow, thanks for that report. jimmy carter hopes to be out of the hospital by his birthday, this friday when he turns 86. e former president is in cleveland. tonight will be his second night in the hospital after falling ill on a delta commercial flight from atlanta to cleveland yesterday. say they he's in good spirits, aback and in charge. that his color is good, but they want to observe the form
president further. when our broadcast continues in just a moment, can a pain medication work too well? tonight, how that can possibly be a problem. and later in our series "education nation," inside the classroom in the one country on earth that gives its children the best education on rth. best education on earth. 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 ove families were falling apart. you can't raise children in a cmunity 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, tn 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 ubeing 10,000 children. we start with children from birth, and stay with those children until they graduate.
if you really want to have impacthat is large, you will get there going one step at a time. there is no act that is too small to make a fference. 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 love my grandma. i love you grandma. grandma just makes me happy. ♪ to know, know,now you grandma is the bestest. the total package. grandpa's cooooooooool. way cool. ♪ grandpa spoils me rotten. ♪ to know, know, know you ♪ is to love... some people call us frick and frack. we do finger painting. this is how grandpa and i roll. ♪ and i do [ pins fall ] grandma's my best friend. my best friend ever. my best friend ever.
♪ [ laughing ] [ boy laughs ] ♪ to know, know, know you aft this we're gonna get ice cream. can we go get some ice cream? yeah. ♪ and i do ♪ and i do ♪ and i do back now with health news. almost 27 million of us suer from osteoarthritis, a chronic condition that makes hips and knees and backs he. so what if there was a drug designed to relieve chronic pain but not only works but in some ses works too well and that may keep it off the market? it's explainable. it's a dilemma surrounding new and experimentaledications or osteoarthritis. our report tonight from our chief science respond robert bazell. >> reporter: 63-year-old matiah is one of millions of americas who suffer from osteoarthritis.
her worst pain was in her knees. >> my life was compromised. i did not comfortably move around at all. remember how i couldn't even get down these stairs? >> reporter: she was one of hundreds of volunteers in a clinical trial of a new drug. >> within one to three days, i was pain free. and i had gone back to playing tennis. i had gone back to walking. and i was pain free. >> reporter: it's a biologically engineered protein that blocks a body chemical critical for pain and flammation. such drugs can be very expens e expensive. some doctors say for certain patients, it could be worthwhile. >> i have not seen anything like this particulabiologic medication. in fact, i would call it a game changer. >> that's the telltale sign of osteoarthritis. >> reporter: most of the patients in the study experienced very few side effects. but a few patients had a very serious prlem. their joints wore out faster when they were taking the drug, offer requiring surgical
replacement. as a result, the fda ordered a halt to most trials of the drug whilit analyzes the data. some doctors thi the drug enabled patients to become too active too quickly, pushi their physical limits without feeling pain. >> let's face it, pain tells us to be careful. it alerts us that something is wrong. you reduce that anthen you don't have the same precautions. >> reporter: some experts argue the trials should continue with patients counseled about the possible risks. but most agree this showhow drug development should proceed. identifying potential dangers before a drug is approved. robert bazell, nbc news, new york. when we come back re tonight, something in las vegas you might want to avoid. that is until they get it fixed. xed. boss: and now i'll turn it over to the gecko.
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gangs were prevalent. violence was all over. families were falling apart. you can't raise children in a community like that. people had been lking 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 coulfix 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 aduate 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 fm birth, and stay with those children until they graduate. if you really want to have an impact that is large, you will get there goi 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. amtrak has unveiled a plan
for a high-speed rail line along the east coast from boston all the way to washington. it would require new tracks, new tunnels, new trains. the plan would take 30 years and would require $117 billion. there is not a scent of funding in place, and it wldn't begin until 2015. in ironic news tonight, the chinese have announced that a new high-speed train there has set a new speed record, 258 miles an hour. china, by the way, has 4,300 miles of high speed rail line. in two more years, they'll have 8,000 miles of high speed rail line. if you're thinking of taking road trip to vegas, be warned. the new mgm hotel there called the vadara has been found to contain an extra you definitely don't want. it turns out when the sun's rays hit that curved building, it
creates a 15-foot wide hot spot onhe ground that is so brutal, it can burn hair and skin and even melt plastic. some unlucky hotel guests have been sent running from the pool area after being caught in what they are calling the death ray, a burning sensation from above. the hotel is rhing to fix the problem. we learned today arthur penn has did. the younger brother of erving penn, he was a director best known for "bonnie and clyde" and "little big man." he got his start in television and even advisedohn f. kennedy on his televised debate with nixon. but he was with bonnie and clyde that he changed the genre of the crime caper movie. >> i'm ms. bonnie parker and this is mr. clyde barrow. we rob banks. >> faye dunaway delivering the iconic line during her life of crime.
arthur penn died a day before turning 88. when we come back, a stunning education success story. could it work here? cation success story. could it work here? if you have, you struggle to control your bloodugar. you exercise and eat right, but your blood sugar may still be high, and you need extra help. ask your doctor about onglyza, a once daily medicine used with diet and exercise to control high bod sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. adding onglyza to your current oral medicine may help reduce after meal blood sugar spikes and may help reduce high morning blood sugar. [ male announcer ] onglyza should not be used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. tell your dtor if you have a history or risk of diabetic ketoacidosis. onglyza has not been studied with insulin. using onglyza with medicines sucas sulfonylureas may cause low blood sugar. me symptoms of low blood sugar are shaking, sweating and rapid heartbeat. call your doctor if you have an allergic retion like rash, hives or swelling of the ce, mouth or throat.
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incendiary words last night from new jersey republican governor chris christie who lit into teachers unions at a meeting as he unveiled a plan to let schools strip tenure from failing teachers and allow merit pay. >> your performance was awful. you didn't do what we asked you to do, you didn't produce the product we wanted you to produce. but we don't look at tt. all we look at is, are you still breathing? >> governor christie is in the midst of a big education battle in the most deely populated state inhe union, which brings us to "education nation." our summit, our series of reports on our schools in this couny. for days we've been hearing about the ideal education system in the world.
finland. educators talk about finland all the time. so much son fact we decided to go there and see what makes eir system so good. here tonight, our education correspondent rehema ellis. >> reporter: finland. population 5 million. about the size of the atlanta metro area. t don't let size fool you. finland is global success. home to cell phone giant nokia, fins are known for their love of coffey, state supported health care, and the best education system in the world. 15-yr-old olni olson is a typical student, he balances school work with play. but school time is very focused and it shows. internationally, finnish students rank number one overall in science and math. u.s. kids rank 17th in science and 24th in math. can you say what percentage of your students drop out? >> in our school? nobody.
>> reporter: nationwide, the high school dropout rate is 2%. versus 25% in the u.s. but it wasn't always this way. 40 years ago, finland was a poor nation, dependent on agriculture. its leaders envisioned a brighter future in technology. the nation decided the way to get there is with a better educated workforce. it took a generation to do it. finland's blueprint included a tough national curriculum, masters degrees for all teachers, wi up to three teachers per class. two focus on instruction, the third works with students who are struggling. the result -- thers no such thing as a failing school in finland. officials say finland has a collective national will to educate all students. and a plan to succeed. there's a relaxed atmosphere in the classroom and continuity. >> i can be a better teacher when i teach them for a longer period. >> reporter: many students stay with the same teacher for
several years. >> use english as much as possible. >> reporter: the average student speaks four languages, including english. and finland spends about $3,000 less per pupil than american schools do. so how do they achieve more? education experts credit involved parents. you push your son? >> perhaps sometimes, yes, to honest. >> reporter: equally important, they say, is the finnish culture that values education. >> teaching has been always, and it is still is an appreciated profession. >> reporter: a report out this month says 47% of america's teachers come from the bottom third of college graduates. finnish teachers come from the top 10%. just like doctors and lawyers, finlans best and brightest are chosen to teach. rehema ellis, nbc news, helsinki, finland. >> that's it for us i'm brian williams. thank you for being with us. we hope to see you back here