tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 22, 2014 7:00pm-7:31pm EST
on our broadcast tonight, olympic insecurity, with just 16 days to go. new concerns today as some american athletes and their families say they're worried about going to the games. tonight, richard engel is there. crackdown, another crisis on russia's door, as a big uprising takes a violent turn. and sudden impact, how safe are the cars all over the american road? tonight, the answer for some makes is unsettling. and flying high, after years of fighting to compete, the american women finally get their chance to shine. nightly news begins now. good evening, all those
warnings about security and fears of a terrorist attack appear to be taking something of a toll tonight, with 16 days to go now until the opening ceremony of the winter olympics games in sochi, russia, while the modern olympics are a relatively television event and few get to attend the games in person, those who will attend, ranging from athletes to families and media and spectators are watching it closely as russia continues to promise a heavily defended fortress around these games. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has more from sochi. >> reporter: good evening, brian, now we're inside that fortress, inside the ring of steel around sochi. today, the u.s. olympic team confirmed that it had received a threatening e-mail in broken english, warning athletes not to come here.
the threat, however, is not considered credible. but it is getting some attention because there are real security concerns. security in sochi is out in full force. looking for trouble, before it happens. and hidden in the mountains, the russian army has deployed artillery and rockets to shoot down a 9/11-style attack. in public, russian officials have expressed nothing but confidence. but they may be more concerned than they let on. otherwise, why the discussions at high-level u.s. russia meetings about lending moscow high-tech american equipment to stop remotely detonated bombs. but it is too late for that. u.s. military officials tell nbc news they don't have enough time to install the anti-bomb technology before the games. so what exactly are the russians trying to protect? the olympic games are spread out over two main sections. there is the coastal cluster around the black sea, built around a tight circle in the
stadiums for the city, ice hockey. nearby, nearby is the athlete's village, the area is connected to a train station and airport. 30 miles away up a winding road is a mountain cluster, where the skiing events are spread out over slopes and valleys. we're now inside the coastal cluster, the park of olympic stadiums and it is not easy to get here. it took us two hours of having our bags checked and x-rayed. you can't go anywhere without a badge. we've seen police carrying portable weapon detectors. the area certainly feels tightly controlled. still, all the talk about security has some american athletes and their families worried. this freely free-style skier's mother, carrie herman, is still coming. but she is worried. >> i don't get a lot of confidence from the u.s. government. they seem like they question whether or not the russians have a handle on this or not. >> reporter: family members of other athletes have said they are cancelling, in part because of security. brian? >> richard engel starting off
our coverage from sochi, thank you, and for more on this, we're joined in studio by michael lighter who served as director of the national council of terrorism center under president bush and obama. michael, we always assume and hope guys in your line of work know more than we do. based on what you know, what is your agree of being optimistic? >> well, i am optimistic that the venues themselves, the closer you get to those venues, the official sites within sochi will be safe. because the russians have done so much and they're very hard targets. i worry about beyond the sites, places like volgograd, the mass transit leading to sochi, that is vulnerable for the russians. >> i'll put it this way, forgive the personal terms, if your wife and children were ticketed to go
to the olympics, how would you feel about that? >> i feel pretty good about that as long as they were staying in sochi, but if they were taking the train throughout russia, places like volgograd, they are vulnerable. i think moving towards the olympics, the terrorists who probably launched that attack have every incentive to try to do so again. >> are you at all optimistic about the cooperation between the u.s. and russia? is it improving? >> i think it is better, especially after the boston marathon bombing. the russian and u.s. officials have gotten closer to the fbi and their security services. that being said it is nothing like the cooperation we had in previous olympics, like london and vancouver. and that is making the u.s. officials a little bit more nervous. >> we'll talk later on that, michael lighter, thank you. and the russians are watching neighboring ukraine, where anti-government protests exploded again today with a violent crackdown by the government on the former soviet republic. at least two people were killed today. parts of the capital city of
kiev were turned into a war zone. we get our report from nbc's ayman mohyeldin. >> reporter: today, the streets of kiev became a battlefield. riot police, shield and batons in hands, moving in to break up an anti-government protest camp. after days of violent clashes, the fighting turned deadly. the first fatalities since these troubles began months ago. police were seen beating protesters, firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd. in the chaos, an orthodox priest stands between the two sides and prays. but the protesters were prepared. they fought back, throwing fire bombs at police who at times could barely be seen through the smoke. the protests began in december, when the government decided to abandon an economic deal with the european union. instead, they want stronger ties
with russia, who has consistently backed him. in kiev last month, the anti-government protesters told us they were worry that the police would use violence to break up their peaceful protests. tonight, their fears are a reality, as occupancy leaders warn crowds not to give up control of the square. weeks of talks between the two have gone nowhere, and now, the fight for the future of kiev will now play out in the streets. ayman mohyeldin. nbc news. they had a meeting but that was about the only achievement today as members of the syrian government and the opposition both attended the start of what is billed as a peace conference in switzerland, along with delegates from 30 other nations. the opposite -- opposition said the departure of assad is a
start for the talks, while the government says that is not happening. assad is staying, more talks are scheduled for friday. and comingp, the snow that blew through leaving a lot of snow tonight. nbc's ron mott rode it out in long island, new york, good evening. >> reporter: hey, brian, good evening to you, as you can imagine trains are running a little slower today. last night's commute, simply a mess, and now a better story. and now it is this bitter cold that has got everybody's attention. tom canon has rolled out heat for long islanders for 20 years. tell me how the work is when the wind chill is five or ten below. >> you are going to think i'm crazy, but it doesn't really bother me, the cold. it is the snow that kills you, walking through it. >> reporter: with roads in mh better shape than yesterday, canon was able to get heat into more homes, with the cable guy out, as well. and both will likely be busier in coming days as the arctic front rips into the area.
>> now it is about the cold. across the freeze zone, all-time records fell with the plunging mercury, five cities along the upper ohio valley re-wrote history with the coldest january on the books, several hitting double digits below zero. while it is plenty cold, there is plenty of snow. as much as 15-plus inches in places, a record 13 inches in philadelphia, creating a dangerous mix with ice on new york city streets. apple's flagship store in manhattan sports a bruise. in a 32-foot high panel, the result of a snow blowing incident. the workers are digging out. >> reporter: even the veteran weather channel operator mike seidel were involved.
some took to social media. people took the slushy trek home, some took nearly six hours, in new york city, what is normally a half hour trip turned into a nearly five-hour bus ride for one unlucky child. now trains around new york city were on weekend schedules this week, and as you can see, one is now past due. more on this big area cold east of the mississippi. al roker is here in the studio with us for that tonight. good evening. >> well, brian, thank you so much. again, the polar vortex, the main parts are still up around the north pole, but little areas of clipper's coming around, this piece that is broken off will keep reinforcing this cold air. look at what we expect tomorrow morning for overnight lows, international falls, 29 below, thursday morning, nine below in cleveland. 15 in roanoke, going all the way down to atlanta, 24, charleston, 29. and you can see by friday morning we get another big jolt, 13 in atlanta, four below in
chicago, five in boston, seven in philadelphia. four in international falls. then we moderate for a bit on saturday so temperatures are not quite so bad. but then the next really strong jolt comes in. atlanta, 21, by tuesday morning, look at atlanta, 19, cleveland, one below, boston, four, chicago, six below. international falls, the big winner or loser depending on how you look at it, brian. 25 below, and that will be our pattern for at least the next ten days. you had to know on a year that the super bowl falls on the same day as groundhog's day, it will be bad. >> yes, we still have that to come in the jersey meadow lands, al roker, here with us, thank you as always and president obama called for new attention today on the . problem of sexual assault on our college campuses. he announced the creation of a task force, pointing out sobering facts, one in five college students sexually assaulted but only 12% of the victims reporting the attacks.
both the president and vice president joe biden called on men to do more. >> i want every young man in america to feel some strong peer pressure. in terms of how they are supposed to behave and treat women. that starts before they get to college. >> men have to step up to the bar here. men have to take more responsibility. men have to intervene. >> this new task force will have 90 days to recommend actions that colleges can then take to prevent sexual assault. short distance from the white house on capitol hill, a huge turnout today in the bitter cold as thousands of anti-abortion protesters took part in the annual march for life, calling for an end to legalize abortion, each year on the anniversary of the roe versus wade decision, the march starts on the mall and ends on the court steps, where the
decision came down on this day 41 years ago. and still ahead for us tonight, how safe are some of the smallest and most heavily advertised cars on the road? the new crash tests are out and the results may worry a lot of drivers on the road. and later, a secret last edition, a hidden message that no one noticed until now. later edition, a hidden message that no one noticed until now. first,p minimize my blood sugar spikes. then, a way to support heart health. ♪ and let's not forget immune support. ♪ but now i have new glucerna advance with three benefits in one. including carbsteady ultra to help minimize blood sugar spikes. it's the best from glucerna. [ male announcer ] new glucerna advance. from the brand doctors recommend most. advancing nutrition for diabetes. from the brand doctors recommend most. we've crafted our power bowls to help you power your day. start with protein-packed egg whites and savory roasted turkey for breakfast. or power up your lunch with antibiotic-free chicken and our flavorful cilantro jalapeno hummus. power bowls from panera bread -
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mini-subompacts. we get our report from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: the latest crash tests involving the smallest cars in the market did not go so well. the insurance institute for highway safety said that none of the so-called minicars earned an overall good rating, and only the chevrolet spark earned a good score. >> many cars are the worst performing of those we tested, ten of them are in marginal or poor ratings for protection. >> reporter: at 40 miles an hour, the protection test measures how well a car holds up when the front corner collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or a pole. earning marginal scores, the mazda, the ford fiesta, earning poor scores, the mitsubishi, nissan versa, the honda accent,
and the honda fit. in nearly every car, the vehicle structure collapses, in some cases the dummies' heads hitting on impact. >> i have a 2-year-old daughter, and frankly we are very concerned about how protected we really are. >> reporter: of course, what makes the cars attractive, is they're inexpensive, they're easy to park and they get great gas mileage. but safety experts warn that could come with a tradeoff. >> in eight of the cars we tested, the air bags did deploy, but were too short to fully protect the head. >> reporter: many say their cars exceed or meet government standards, honda says the 2015 fit has been redesigned to fit the scores on the next test. as the insurance industry suggests new car shoppers consider buying bigger, heavier models. tom costello, nbc news, washington. and a heads up on a potentially disturbing video, recorded by infrared cameras in aspen, colorado, on january
5th at the airport. reports of the crash that killed two and injured others, the pilot had aborted a previous attempt to land, reporting winds at 33 knots. the twin engine challenger was coming from mexico. we'll be right back with new places across the country where we all go to have fun that will get a visible increase in security. ♪ legs, for crossing. ♪ feet...splashing. better things than the joint pain and swelling of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. if you're trying to manage your ra, now may be the time to ask about xeljanz. xeljanz (tofacitinib) is a small pill, not an injection or infusion, for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well. xeljanz is an ra medicine that can enter cells and disrupt jak pathways,
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at the height of the snowstorm in washington, d.c. yesterday and in 18 degree weather with blowing snow today, it is so important to remember the vigil goes on at the tomb of the unknowns at arlington national cemetery. just as it did every day around the clock, no matter the weather, going all the way back to 1937. a damage assessment for new jersey governor chris christie, the latest rutger's university eagleton poll shows his favorability dropped 19 points,
erasing the good will he built up, based on his handling of hurricane sandy. while most new jersey residents are skeptical that he knew nothing on the closure of the bridge in advance, most have a positive view of his performance in office, two reminders this week, the thus far. changing times are bringing changes to our sporting events, by the 2015 sporting season, major league baseball will require all fans to go through a metal detector, just like going through the airport, and bags are already common at most stadiums. and you may have heard this week the nfl is considering doing away with the point-after on touchdowns, because to mix the metaphors, it has become a slam dunk for most places. and easily the strangest image of the day. officials in south africa are
asking two sculptors of the 32-foot tall sculpture of mandela to remove the element of the bunny from his ear. they intended it to be a signature of their work since they were not allowed to carve their words anywhere on the massive statue. the massive statue was unveiled in september, and the hidden bunny was not noticed at first, the government wanted it removed without harming the statue. and when we come back, meet the american women who are about to take a big leap into the abyss at the winter olympics. earned, usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection. and because usaa's commitment to serve current and former military members and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve.
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aba by tonight that american skier lindsey vonn is out of the competition, but another athlete named lindsey van is a name we'll hear a lot about. we learned today that lindsey van is among those who will be representing team usa in women's ski jumping, it is a brand-new olympic event for women. it comes after the american women fought a long-hard battle just to compete. we get our report tonight from nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: meet the first women on the ski jumping team,
jessica jerome, reigning world champion, sarah hendrickson, and lindsey van, the first world champion and hendrick's mentor. >> i started jumping at the age of seven, just to be standing next to her in the opening ceremony is the best feeling in the world. >> reporter: they are athletes and daredevils, soaring farther than the length of a football field, before coming to the pull of gravity. women started to jump more than a century ago in skirts, but the international olympic committee refused to let them in the game saying there were not enough female competitors. and as recently as 2005, the international ski official questioned impact on women's bodies. >> it is like jumping down from two meters, on the ground a thousand times a year would seem not to be appropriate for ladies from the point of view. >> reporter: fed up, van and jerome joined our contenders for
the right to compete in the 2010 vancouver games. they fell short, a painful memory van tries to swat away. >> nothing, i got nothing. >> are you done with it? >> yeah, i'm done. all i remember from that is hating the fact that i was in court. we should have been home training. and we were not. that itself just -- sort of annoyed me. >> reporter: the ioc relented in 2011, but the fight united the women. and when hendrickson won the world championship last year, van, jerome, and abbey hughes and alyssa johnson celebrated it as a victory for all. >> when they write the history of women's ski jumping, what do you hope is written about this period? >> you know i hope that they write that we did as much as we could for the sport. and we left it off better than we found it. >> reporter: charting a flight path for women to follow. anne thompson, nbc news, park city, utah. >> that is our broadcast on a wednesday night. thank you for joining us. i'm brian williams, we of course hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. here tomorrow evening. good night.