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tv   Early Today  NBC  March 14, 2018 4:00am-4:31am PDT

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world renowned physicist and best-selling author stephen hawking died early this morning. and the outpouring around the globe is already overwhelming. a pennsylvania special election in a largely republican district is still too close to call. perhaps a bellwether and reaction to dald trump. a 70 character tweet announcing rex tillerson was out as secretary of state, just months after a moron comment and multiple differences. >> really, it was a different mind-set. it was a different thinking. i think rex will be much happier now. and a united airlines flight attendant orders a passenger to put her pet dog in an overhead bin, and the dog dies in flight. this morning, the reaction. "early today" starts right now.
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>> good wednesday morning to you. i'm frances rivera. breaking overnight, the science world loses one of its brightest stars. nobel prize winning physicist stephen hawking has died at 76 at his cambridge, england home. hawking authored several science books including "a brief history of time," helping us to better understand the universe. he is survived by his three children who say his legacy will live on for many years. neil degrasse tyson tweets that hawking's passing has left an intellectual vacuum. and the cast of the popular show "the big bang theory" thanking him for inspiring the world. here is nbc's ron mott. >> i study the marriage of space and time. >> reporter: long before eddie redmayne's oscar winning portrayal of him in "the theory of everything" -- >> my name is stephen hawking. >> it's american. >> is that a problem? >> reporter: and playing himself on the big bang theory.
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>> professor hawking, it's an honor and privilege to meet you, sir. >> i know. >> reporter: british physicist stephen hawking exploded on to the world stage with some big theories of his own. in "a brief history of time," a 1988 runaway best-selling book and scientific staple, turning scientific matter for the masses. >> he united two great theorys of the universe, relativity and the quantum theory. >> reporter: born in 1942 in oxford, england, sharing a birth date with galileo, hawking wasn't a whiz kid in the classroom growing up, despite the nickname einstein, and didn't really get serious about his studies and physics until his college years. it was in graduate school at the university of cambridge where his life would change dramatically. he immersed himself in cosmology and astronomy. during that time he was
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diagnosed with als, lou gehrig's disease, a debilitating disorder confines:00 his body to a wheelchair, his voice eventually to a machine. >> my illness has meant that i cannot use pencil and paper. so i have to do things in my head. >> reporter: his mind by then boundless. his quest to explore and experience insatiable, including this 2007 zero gravity flight. hawking concluded our universe began about 15 billion years ago with a big bang. time starting simultaneously. ultimately, the universe will collapse, he argued while time marches on until the end. >> there is nothing like the thrill when you discover something no one knew before. >> reporter: given just two years to live after falling ill at age 21, stephen hawking packed an incredible lifetime of achievement in the decades that followed, beating the odds, making history, if only briefly. ron mott, nbc news, london. now to democrats who are
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declaring victory in pennsylvania's special election. that despite the race still being too close to call by nbc news. with 99% of precincts reporting, democrat conor lamb and republican rick saccone each have about 50% of the vote, with lamb holding a slight lead of about 600 votes. the race has gained nationwide attention as a referendum on president trump, who won the district by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016. let's get right to nbc's tracie potts for the very latest. tracy, good morning. >> frances, good morning. let's take another look at that graphic, because the numbers are quite telling. this race is being called by nbc too close to call. each just about a 50% of the vote. but there are still a thousand absentee ballots yet to be counted. and that could swing this race. nevertheless, conor lamb, the democrat, declared victory last night. he was introduced as congressman-elect. >> we fought to find common ground, and we found it. almost everywhere.
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democrats, republicans, independents, each of us americans. >> reporter: now, his opponent not declaring victory, but not conceding this race either. >> you know, we're still fighting the fight. it's not over yet. we're going fight all the way, all the way to the end. don't give up, and we'll keep it up. we're going to win it! >> reporter: we'll see what happens. there is no provision for an automatic recount in pennsylvania, but either party can request it. and it's likely to happen here, as you said, frances. the key here is that this district race is being looked at because president trump won this area by 20%. and now, as of this morning, nbc says it's too close to call. >> all right. tracie potts for us. tracie, thank you. now another massive shake-up in the trump administration. president trump firing his
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secretary of state rex tillerson in a surprise twitter announcement after an often contentious relationship. in a news conference, tillerson said he was grateful to have served the country, and issued this message to his fellow foreign and civil service colleagues. >> we are automatic bound by that common commitment, to support and defend the constitution, to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and to faithfully discharge the duties of our office. >> undersecretary of state steve goldstein was also fired just hours after confirming tillerson did not know about his own ouster before the president's surprise tweet. tillerson turned over his responsibilities to deputy secretary of state john sullivan and officially leaves his post on march 31st. nbc's kristen welker has more on this stung development. >> reporter: secretary of state rex tillerson learned he was fired at the same time the rest of the world did, on twitter. the president tweeting mike pompeo, director of the cia will become our new secretary of
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state. he will do a fantastic job. thank you to rex tillerson for his service. for months, tillerson's ouster was the topic of speculation after he called the president a moron. two sources tell nbc news it was a slight the president never got over and exacerbated their policy differences from north korea to tariffs, russia, and the iran nuclear deal. >> when you look at the iran deal, i think it's terrible. i guess he thought it was okay. >> reporter: the president insisting -- >> really, it was a different mind set. it was a different thinking. i think rex will be much happier now. >> reporter: the two spoke by phone at noon when the president called from air force one as he flew to california. there were warning signs on friday when tillerson was traveling in africa, an apology tour of sorts for the president's s-hole comments. according to two white house officials, chief of staff john kelly called to tell tillerson the president intended to ask him to step aside.
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kelly called tillerson again in the middle of the night saturday to stress his departure could be imminent. hours after arriving back in washington, the secretary of state appearing in the briefing room, solemn and somewhat stunned. >> i'll now return to private life, to private citizen as a proud american, proud of the opportunity i've had to serve my country. >> reporter: sources say tillerson tried to keep his job and now feels angry and mistreated. >> rex and have i been talking about this for a long time. we -- we got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things. >> reporter: the white house says the president wanted his new secretary of state in place ahead of his planned north korea talks. it caps a contentious relationship that at times boiled over. the president publicly chiding tillerson, and in one instance this past summer, tillerson denying reports he was planning to quit. >> there has never been a consideration in my mind to leave. >> reporter: tillerson now becomes the latest in a long list of high profile trump administration departures with the president's inner circle becoming ever smaller.
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>> thanks to kristen welker for that report. and as she mentioned, president trump has nominated cia director mike pompeo to replace tillerson as secretary of state. he also nominated cia veteran gina haspel to head up the agency if pompeo is confirmed. but some lawmakers are raising concerns about both nominees. andrea mitchell has the latest. andrea, good morning. >> good morning, frances. it was an earthquake here at the state department. the sudden firing of rex tillerson, replaced by cia director mike pompeo, if he is confirmed. an emotional rex tillerson thanked everyone but the president, especially his state department aides. they have been extraordinarily dedicated to our mission, which includes promoting values that i view as being very important, which means treating each other with honesty and integrity and respect for one another. >> reporter: unlike tillerson, cia director mike pompeo, a former kansas congressman, graduate of west point and harvard law gets along famously
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with the president, having more facetime than almost anyone, delivering the daily intelligence briefing in person. if confirmed, pompeo would give the state department a fresh start. but would he be willing to challenge the volatile commander in chief, something that got tillerson in trouble? >> i am concerned about mike pompeo's hard-line positions on a number of issues, such as on iran, potentially north korea, and so he needs to as secretary of state also stand up to the president. >> reporter: and facing a may deadline on the iran nuclear deal and the talks with kim jong-un, pompeo will be home alone. tillerson's legacy a hollowed out state department. 38 key ambassadors not appointed. 16 vacancies as assistant secretaries. and all six undersecretaries will be vacant. >> i think pompeo is someone who understands the need to work on the morale of the organization he is leading. and i think in that sense, it could be a welcome change. >> reporter: the other big change, cia veteran gina haspel, who would be the first woman to
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lead the agency. highly respected there, but as the former head of covert operations, likely facing a controversial confirmation because she carried out bush white house orders to water board detainees in secret prisons. just like tillerson, mike pompeo is going to, at least for a while, have to share diplomatic duties with the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. but unlike tillerson, veteran diplomats believe that pompeo will be much better at navigating the complicated politics of this white house. frances? >> all right, andrea, thank you. students at more than 2500 schools across the nation are uniting for the national student walkout to fight for changes in gun legislation and protest gun violence. the event marks the one-month anniversary of the deadly mass shooting at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. students plan to walk out of their classes at 10:00 a.m. today for 17 minutes, each minute representing the victim of the mass shooting.
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organizers have said their goal is to, quote, demand congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools. in washington, d.c., activists placed nearly 7,000 pairs of shoes on the lawn outside of the capitol building. each pair representing a child killed by gun violence since the sandy hook elementary school shooting in 2012. research from the american academy of pediatrics found that 1300 children die from gunshot wounds in the u.s. annually. that's about three per day, which led to the 7,000 pairs of shoes being displayed. the shoes will be donated when the display is dismantled. for the third time i should say in less than two weeks, another brutal nor'easter raged along the east coast. lashing out with howling winds and heavy snow, burying some areas under two feet. whiteout conditions and snow-covered roads made travel treacherous. hundreds of flights in the northeast are canceled. so here we are now in the aftermath. and we turn to nbc meteorologist bill karins with what's ahead, bill. >> one to two feet from
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connecticut back through areas of maine. and it's still snowing in maine. we're not done yet. along with our friends in new hampshire, vatican and now western new york. well still have winter storm warnings that cover from syracuse to watertown and from erie. you had quite the winner in erie south of buffalo, the south towns. as far as the snow forecast is going to go for this region, where you get the pink colors, that's where we'll get another 6 inches of snow. a lot of ski ears, this is gold. you're going to be skiing into may if we continue with this weather pattern like this. it is going to be warmer in the southern half of the country, and in problems in the northern plains. it's really just the northeast, northern n england with theew o great lakes and the northeast. still stuck in the chill and the clouds.
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it's 3:15. so that means it's p iday. to celebrate the number whose digit goes on forever. and be on the lookout for deals. boston markets around the country are offering a by one get one chicken pot pie. and for the true pie lovers out there, and pizza is transforming their shops into wedding chapels, giving free weddings to lucky couple . >> that's fun. you don't have to get married. just go out and buy a pie. all right, bill, thank you. still ahead, united airlines has apologized, but this morning more fallout over a flight attendant's order to put an ill-fated pet dog into an overhead bin. we have a reaction from that. we'll have details here on "early today" in two. competition. big hype. big price. big deal. olay regenerist hydrates skin better than creams costing over $100, $200, and even $400. for skin that looks younger than it should. fact check this ad in good housekeeping.
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two-year anniversary with the dallas fire-rescue station. he was among five killed when a chopper plunged into the east river. leading the news, united airlines is apologizing for a tragic incident aboard a flight from houston to new york monday night. a dog died after a flight attendant had reportedly ordered its owner to store the carrier in an overhead bin. nbc's dan schenamen has more. >> sit. >> reporter: the family is heartbroken after their dog, shown here in this home video, died on a united airlines flight. they boarded the flight from houston to new york monday night with a small dog in a tsa-approved container, and tried to put it under the seat. >> and then the flight attendant came and you can't put him there because it will block the path. and you have to put him with the baggage goes. >> reporter: the owner complied and put the dog in the overhead bin. passengers heard the dog bark during the flight. but when the plane landed -- >> my mom got up and got the back and took him out and wake
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up, wake up, and he didn't. >> reporter: maggie was seated behind the dog's owner. >> it's horrible now because now i'm thinking about hearing that dog and not knowing that it was needing hen. >> reporter: united airlines, along with the president of the flight attendant's union says pets should never be placed in overhead bins. >> there is not a flight attendant in the industry who could ever imagine this being intentional. our procedures are to instruct pet owners to put their pets underneath the seat in front of them. >> reporter: the airline has apologized, expressed condolences, and said it's investigating the incident to keep it from happening again. dan scheinman, nbc news. ♪ never ♪ look into the sky for a momentary high, ♪ ♪ you never even tried till it's time to say goodbye, bye ♪ ♪ everybody fights for a little bit of light, i believe. ♪
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now a look at your wednesday by the numbers. nba all-star russell westbrook scored his 100th career trip triple-double against the hawks. he is the fourth player to ever achieve this milestone, only behind oscar robertson, jason kidd and magic johnson. the number one video on youtube stars a new face as a fan favorite. >> what do you have to say for yourself, dumbledore? >> that's jude law as a young albus dumbledore in the new teaser for "fantastic beasts: the crimes of." we'll be right back.
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breaking overnight, the science world loses one of its brightest stars. nobel prize winning physicist stephen hawking has passed away at the age of 76 in his cambridge, england home. best known for his groundbreaking work with black holes and relativity, hawking offered several popular science books including "a brief history of time" neil degrasse tyson tweets that hawking's passing has left an intellectual vacuum. and katy perry saying there is a big black hole in her heart. his three children say his legacy will live on for many years. democrats are declaring victory after pennsylvania's election last night, that despite the race is still 250 close to call. conor lamb with a razor thin
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lead of under 600 votes over the trump-backed republican rick saccone. still, lamb claimed that we did it late last night, thanking his supporters. the races gained nationwide attention as a referendum on president trump, who won the district by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016. more shakeup in the trump white house. the president's long-time personal aide has been fired. nbc news confirms that john mcentee is under investigation by the secret service for serious financial crimes, according to two federal officials. the 27-year-old was fired monday after his security clearance was revoked. the white house said it would not comment on personnel issues. this movie legend is proving that age ain't nothing but a number. watch. this can you guess who it is? 71-year-old sylvester stallone showing he still has it. posting a video on graham doing pull-ups with a 100-pound dumbbell hang big a belt. it immediately went viral,
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gaining over a million views and over 200,000 likes. in his post, he said another easy workout. you're only as old as you and your joints feel. how is that for making you feel like a big slacker at the gym this morning? >> hi, girls, this is your father. you left me here and this is what i'm stuck spending the left of my life with. >> this is sandy narrating a video of her husband scott, taking a dive in their home at the snow. scott wanted to exercise and go for a little swim. he couldn't wait for the summer months to get here. yeah, i'm just going to go in the backyard. and you could hear the sarcasm there in the wife's voice. look what you got me stuck with. >> she is videoing it. and now she is getting millions of clicks. the best part is he actually dove in and he was under the water holding his breath for a while. >> when you're at this point and a couple of weeks from spring and you still have these northeasters? >> got to have a sense of humor about it. it's either that or cry. >> that's what you do.
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i'll cry. head over to social media and our pages to participate in our march munchie madness bracket. today we head to ta live look oe
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golden gate bridge. wet morning. we're looking live outside at the going at this hear you see that there, that's the radar on the top left and you don't need your glasses to see that there's green on t thanks so much for joining us, i'm kris sanchez in for laura garcia. >> and i'm marcus washington. >> i don't care what the forecast looks like i'm just happy to have kari back. >> thank you. >> welcome back. >> thank you. it's great to be back and great to be tracking some rain, too, because it's going to be a little bit dicey as we go through the day. we're going to start out with some spots of rain and i'm going to show you exactly where it is with storm ranger our mobile doppler radar. you can see not all of the bay area is getting some rain and, in fact, in san jose it has

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