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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 6, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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details coming up at 6:00. >> back to back to back to back to back. >> exactly. >> thanks and thanks for joining us. nightly news is next. tonight, nuclear scare. new u.s. intel as north korea claims it set off a hydrogen bomb, far more powerful than an even atomic weapon. tonight the world scrambling amid a potentially dangerous escalation. trump's warning. ted cruz hits back as his rival trudges up the birther argument, questioning whether he is legally able to be president. chipolte crisis. the food-bourne outbreak the focus of a federal investigation as some customers stay away and sales take a plunge. toxic water. a new state of emergency amid a growing crisis. city residents in fear, children poisoned by dangerous levels of lead. and a brazen bandit on the run. a young woman on a multi-state jewel heist caught on camera making off with millions.
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what the fbi has just revealed. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening. the world felt considerably more dangerous amid north korea's claim it detonated a hydrogen bomb overnight. more powerful than any nuclear weapon. it had tested before. the blast so powerful it registered as an earthquake on asian seismographs but it was military and political shock waves they felt in washington over what message the defiant country was trying to send. tonight north korea is facing broad diplomatic condemnation, while the u.s. skeptical of claims, figures out what, if anything, it could do to contain the north and the unpredictable leader. chief foreign correspondent richard engel reports. >> reporter: they lined up in pyongyang for the surprise announcement.
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the news anchor enthusiastically telling them that north korea successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb. everyone cheered. a few on cue, were moved to tears. the united states is waiting to invade our country so having a hydrogen bomb is the right thing, said this man. in south korea, the blast felt like a 5.1 earthquake. the tremors reached china 60 miles away. japan scrambled jets to test the air. the u.s. ambassador to japan, caroline kennedy, called the blast a provocation. kim jong-un signed the order just a few days before his 33rd birthday. north korea set off an atomic bomb three times before. but was today's blast really something far more powerful and dangerous? it a hydrogen bomb. the white house seems to doubt it. >> the initial analysis that has been
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conducted of the events reported overnight is not consistent with north korean claims of a successful hydrogen bomb. >> reporter: but north korea certainly isn't sitting still. >> they are trying constantly to build the most modern survivable and lethal nuclear weapons force that they can. and so even if they were not a hydrogen device, that is clearly their intention. >> reporter: and it is proving hard to contain. extensive sanctions are already in place. there are still 28,000 u.s. troops stationed in south korea. but north korea's standing army is a million strong and the country is working on improving missiles, like the ones we saw paraded through pyongyang in 2012. the worry is that as north korea nuclear weapons get more advanced they could be launched in warheads. kim jong-un, some say, seeking attention, thumbed his nose at the world today, reminding everyone he rules a nuclear power. a senior u.s. military official told nbc news
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washington was aware of north korea's test preparations for two weeks and even sent drones to collect air samples from near the test site. but as of tonight it is still unclear exactly what kind of nuclear device was detonated. lester. >> richard engel, thank you. and back in this country now, senator ted cruz is firing back after rival republican donald trump tossed questions into the mix over whether he's actually eligible to be president. donald trump raised the so-called birther argument about cruz just as he did with president obama, trying to sew seeds of doubt about cruz who happens to be leading trump in iowa. which is where we hear from nbc's hallie jackson. >> reporter: the birther reborn. donald trump insinuating ted cruz is not eligible for the white house because of his canadian birth. >> everybody is talking about it now that he is doing better. >> i would go and seek a declaratory judgment if i was ted. >> what does that mean? >> you go to court. >> which court? >> federal court to
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ask for a declaratory judgment. >> reporter: cruz, leading trump in iowa, first laughed off the attack with a tweet featuring fonzi, now turning more serious. >> people will continue to make political noise about it but as a legal matter it is quite straightforward. >> he was born in calgary and his mom was born in delaware. an american citizen. making cruz one. the constitution requires the president be natural born. >> the constitution doesn't define natural born. the supreme court never ruled on it, but most agree it means citizen by birth and that would include ted cruz. >> here is trump himself in september. >> i hear it was checked out by every attorney every which way and i understand ted is in fine shape. >> reporter: trump is dipping a toe in the rocky water, testing the temperature of his supporters who also like cruz, he scores higher with potential trump voters than any other republican. but trump is getting the green light from influential radio hosts. >> have at it, boys.
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>> ted cruz is very disciplined in not getting into the personal attacks of a campaign. instead, he's been drawing policy distinctions with his opponents and it has worked for him. >> reporter: like pointing out donald trump would allow some deported immigrants to later apply for legal citizenship, something cruz opposes. >> i will talk about my record. voters could assess donald trump's record. >> what is important to draw extinctions for them. >> they are making a determination who has the experience. who has the knowledge. >> reporter: the candidates have stayed strategically friendly but tonight donald trump is amping up attacks against cruz on immigration. if there is a full on fight, it might be on that more than than cruz' allergy eligibility.eligibility. birther attacks have been around since the days of chester arthur, not new to politics and not new for trump. >> hallie jackson,
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thank you. a new crisis for the restaurant chain chipolte after recent scares over e-coli. norovirus has sickened customers and damaged the bottom line. the company revealed today it is the target of a criminal investigation in the very first foodborne illness outbreaks in a restaurant in california last summer. nbc's tom costello on what customers should know. >> reporter: the news tonight, the denver-based chipolte mexican food chain under grand jury subpoena to turn over internal documents. part of a fda criminal investigation into the events at this restaurant in simi valley, california, last summer where a noro virus outbreak sickened 18 employees and then spread to 189 customers who ate there. >> this is the receipt. >> reporter: among them cindy vasquez and her sister. >> she felt horrible. we were throwing up, we were going to the bathroom. had really bad chills. >> reporter: this attorney represents 24 of the customers who became ill. >> most of the time noro virus doesn't require hospitalization. but in this instance, there were several people who i represent who were hospitalized
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>> reporter: the fda and u.s. attorney's office will not say what potential criminal matter the grand jury is investigating. most norovirus cases begin when someone who is sick fails to practice good hygiene. the virus could spread fast. but with 207 total people sickened, simi valley was only the start of chipolte's problems. from october through november at least 58 people sickened across 12 states with various e-coli bacteria linked to products. then in december, 141 students sickened again with the noro virus linked to a chipolte near boston college. >> first i have to say, i'm sorry for the people who got sick. >> reporter: last month, the ceo told matt lauer he's implementing new food safety steps. >> practices that are so far above industry norms today, we'll be the safest place to eat. and that is our commitment. >> today they did not comment on the grand jury investigation but did offer more gloomy news, announcing december sales are down 30%. the stock falling to a two-year low.
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down 5% today but down 43% since october. lester. >> tom, thanks. soaking rains fueled by el nino are hammering much of california for a second day. it is triggering a whole new set of problems as millions face the threat of flooding and mudslides. nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer has the latest. >> reporter: on one of southern california's busiest freeways, i-5, you may have had better luck with a boat than a car today. it is not just the rain coming down, the earth is giving way. hills are eroding, threatening to bury homes and highways. communities recently scorched by wildfires, now face rivers of mud. >> we worry. but we've done a lot of preparation. there is a whole bunch of sandbags around the house. >> reporter: tonight 19 million along the california coast face flash flooding. trees are down. the surf is up. storm drains are gushing. the warm waters from el nino helping to
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fuel a parade of storms. one after another, moving east. it helped trigger the deadly flooding in the midwest. new images along the mississippi river before and after some 150 homes destroyed. for many in california, it is too much, too soon. whipping winds have peeled back roofs. >> it ripped the roof off of three commercial structures and damaged five others. >> reporter: in san diego, 911 is swamped. >> we're getting inundated and our dispatch center is taking on heavy volume of calls. >> reporter: rescues, flooding, kayaking down the street. in northern california, they are expecting 15 inches in 16 days. in the mountains, a white-out. two feet of snow. >> make sure you have a full tank of gas in case you get stranded. extra blankets, extra food. you never know. >> reporter: now
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tonight, more snow, rain and flooding is on the way. with a tornado warning in san diego, and heavy rain here in los angeles, the goal has always been to protect communities downhill. this area was built, this debris basin because this area is prone to mudslides. the mud is already several feet deep but the big question is over the next several days, could it hold back all of the mud from hitting the communities just on the other side of us. lester. >> miguel almaguer, thank you. even as he faces charges of sexual assault in pennsylvania, tonight prosecutors in california have declined to file charges against bill cosby over allegations he sexually assaulted a woman at the playboy mansion in 2008. they cited the statute of limitations and insufficient evidence. cosby has been accused by dozens of women, though he maintains his innocence and has denied all allegations. a texas state trooper is indicted for perjury for his account of the arrest of sandra bland. a dash cam caught the confrontation between the trooper and sandra bland in july. bland was charged with assault and later
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found hanged in her jail cell. it was ruled a suicide. but her family has filed a wrongful death suit. the turn to a growing crisis in flint, michigan, over the city's water supply. contaminated by toxic levels of lead, poisoning children in the community. tomorrow the governor and the mayor will meet to discuss the new state of emergency imposed months after dangerously high levels of lead were found. nbc's stephanie gosk has new information suggesting health officials could have responded more quickly to people's fears and avert this crisis. >> reporter: everyone who drank the water, an entire u.s. city, is at risk. >> it is just crazy. >> reporter: the most vulnerable in flint are children like april's, 1-year-old kevin has double the level of lead considered acceptable. >> i can't do nothing about it but continue to buy bottle of water with money i don't have. >> reporter: a water quality expert tells nbc news that $100 a day was all it would have taken to avoid the crisis.
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the flint river has a high salt content so it corroded the pipes it flows through and that leaked into the system. experts say that treatment from the beginning could have corrected much of the problem. but city officials never did it. >> the problem began in april of 2014 when city leaders switched from the detroit water supply to save money. in february tests showed alarming levels of lead at a home in the city. and other people worried they were at risk too. nbc news obtained an e-mail from july. the governor's former chief of staff wrote to health officials. these folks are scared and worried about health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us. there were assurances internally that all was fine and that is what the public was being told too. >> anyone who is concerned about the drinking water in flint can relax. >> this pediatrician did not relax. she launched an independent study and discovered that lead levels in children had doubled since the
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water switch and in some areas of town the levels tripled. >> in five years they they will have problems with special education and cognition problems. >> reporter: state and local leaders questioned her science publicly. but would later apologize. just before the water was switched back to a detroit source in october. lead levels are still high. and grandmother jackie pemberton doesn't want to wait for the fix. she wants to move out. >> do you miss your bath? >> reporter: but like most families in this struggling post industrial town, there are no options. >> who would want to buy our home? >> reporter: fixing the water is only part of the problem. the damage for the children will last a lifetime. stephanie gosk, nbc news. the only person charged in association with the san bernardino terror attack has pled not guilty. enrique marquez has pled not guilty to buying the arms. he marquez is a former neighbor and a friend
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of farook's. still ahead. take a close look. who is she? the mysterious woman the fbi is after for a series of daring jewelry heists across five states. we'll tell you what the fbi is telling us this evening. also, they grow up so fast. a big milestone in a young life of prince george.
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the fbi is on the hunt for a brazen jewelry robber whose crime spree is growing, now spanning
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five states. the suspect, a woman, who is not trying very hard to hide her identity. nbc's gabe gutierrez now on how police are trying to catch her before she strikes again. >> reporter: if there is such a thing as a typical jewelry thief, she isn't it. >> to have a lone female to go in is extraordinarily rare. >> this is the woman who has stumped the fbi and police. brazen jewelry heist, mostly at outlet malls in full view of surveillance cameras. the latest, this week at a jared's in mebane, north carolina. she wears gloves to conceal fingerprints but no mask. >> her face is exposed. and so that is very unusual to be that bold and to think that you're going to keep getting away with it. >> reporter: police describe the woman as 5'8", 130 pounds and in her late 20s or early 30s. investigators say she hit up six stores since april in five states. georgia, florida, south carolina,
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tennessee and north carolina. so far a crime spree totaling more than $4 million. >> i believe this is a part of a larger organization. they are taking items and sending them to -- whether it be new york city or one of the larger cities in the united states. >> reporter: the fbi said she holds up employees using a gun she pulls from her handbag and forcing them into a back room and zip tieing them before taking keys and cleaning house. investigators say she often cases the stores beforehand asking about the items she later steals. police are also looking for this man, believed to be an accomplice, who she at times communicates with through an ear piece. >> put on a show for the camera. hopefully that will lead to them getting caught. >> reporter: tonight jewelry stores throughout the south are on alert and offering a reward for her capture. gabe gutierrez, nbc news. we're back in a moment with late word on who just achieved baseball immortality.
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they are cooperstown bound.
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a late announcement revealing the baseball hall of fame. in the first year in the ballot, outfielder ken griffey, jr., will be inducted with the highest voting percentage ever, 99.3%. also earning a place in the hall, catcher mike piazza. but barry bonds and roger clemens and mark mcgwire failed to get enough votes. the force is strong. in fact, the strongest it has ever been. after just three weeks in theaters, "star wars: the force awakens" is the new champ at the north american box office with an astonishing $758 million in ticket sales by the end of tuesday. disney said it would pass "eave tar's" $760 million at some point today and it is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. and it feels like just yesterday he was born. but look who is growing up so fast. the third in line to the british throne started his first day of nursery school today. mom and dad, the duke and duchess of cambridge, sharing
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some adorable snaps of prince george all bundled up and wearing a light blue backpack nearly as big as he is. when we come back, the fever is building with one of the biggest jackpots in history up for grabs tonight. what would you do with half a billion dollars? ===take vo=== and he's
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forbidden to see her. next at 6 the battle between love and the law. ===janelle/take vo=== and santa clara county's new plan for the fairgrounds. what they want in its place. ===next close=== the news is next.
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==janelle//take vo== we're under a microclimate finally tonight, it has happened again. millions of americans have come down with a serious case of lotto fever. $500 million tonight's powerball jackpot. one of the biggest ever. and that has a lot of people dreaming big. including our own kerry sanders. >> reporter: there is no shortage of dreamers tonight. in california, long lines for the very long odds of winning. one in 292,201,338. you have a better chance of being crushed by an asteroid and becoming president of the united states, being canonized by the pope. >> the odds are crazy, but you might hit it and that is all that counts. >> reporter: at one point today powerball was selling 1300 tickets a second. only electronic billboards could keep up with the jackpot. >> $500 million. this is going to be
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great. >> you haven't won anything. >> i haven't won anything yet. but i'm so happy because i'm going to win. >> reporter: if a single person takes the lump sum winnings after federal taxes the total take home is $229,500 million. most states would then take a cut, taxing the winnings as income. >> give a lot of it to charity. got to give it away to get it back. >> you could get 5 million venti lattes from starbucks. almost 800 astin martins. 353 gulf stream g-150s. >> if you've got a lamb guinea unicorn, come find me. >> reporter: now if you were the sole winner and you decided to donate all of your money to washington, the jackpot would fund the federal government for slightly more than an hour. kerry sanders, nbc news, miami. >> so you are thinking if no one wins tonight, what happens. the powerball will roll over to
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$675 million. that would be a new record. and that will do it for us on this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. we're under a microclimae we are under a micro. >> dale: climate weather alert because of a strong chance of thunderstorms. this is green valley road under water. flooding may be a preview of what's to come. thanks for joining us. >> the el nino-fuelled storms are not done yet. we are seeing a break right now but that could change. severe weather hitting south of the bay area. a photo of the funnel cloud in pruneville. it was taken by a rancher. no damage was reported.
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>> live team coverage tonight. jodi hernandez and ken are oim in the elements. first to jeff. >> the same area of upper low pressure that helped to fire off the funnel cloud to the south of us will also be moving across the bay area. the reason why southern california over the next 12 hours will have the higher risk of more tornadoes is there's a lot of strong uplift in the jet stream and wind sheer that could give rotation to any thunderstorms that develop. we are out of the zone of that. but we still may have isolated thunderstorms. with any of that, we may have small hail and certainly some gusty winds. that's for the next 12 hours. let's get a look at doppler. we have had heavier pockets. it's isolated and scattered. the corridor with wet weather is right here from oakland on the 24 right back to the north on interstate 80 through


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