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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 12, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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>> thank you for joining us. lester holt is next with nightly news. breaking news tonight. the new tropical storm warning the threat gaining strength in the caribbean. the bahamas still reeling from the devastation of hurricane dorian bracing for impact new concerns tonight in florida and along the southeast and gulf coasts al roker is here with the track. also tonight, the breaking headline of the deadly boat disaster the ntsb just revealing all crew members were asleep when the flames erupted the coast guard working to lift the ship from the water. tonight, the new warning about charging phones on boats the fertility clinic accused of a shocking mix-up a father stunned to discover he's not his child's biological dad. >> it shuts you down your whole everything, your life this is not my daughter. whose is it? >> the parents suing the clinic.
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nbc news investigates the staggering number of prescription drugs imported to the u.s. from china why officials warn it is a major health and national security threat the felon on the run found posing as a surgical assistant accused of stealing identities and money from hospital patients how was he allowed inside the operating room and growing outrage. millions vanishing from personal bank accounts across the country. the mystery about where all the money went >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt >> good evening, everyone. the storm devastated bahamas as well as parts of florida are staring down at a new tropical threat tonight just a week after hurricane dorian, forecasters are keeping a sharp eye this hour on a disturbance expected to become a tropical storm
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a tropical storm warning has just been issued for the bahamas where heavy rain and winds may hit as soon as this evening. much of florida is in the possible path of the storm nbc's gabe gutierrez has the very latest. >> reporter: less than two weeks after hurricane dorian pummelled the bahamas, the same devastated area is under a tropical storm warning. tonight, forecasters are watching this system closely saying it could develop into tropical storm umberto right now its path is tough to predict since it is so disorganized but it is expected to dump heavy rain on the northern bahamas, the same area pummelled by hurricane dorian. the official death toll there from dorian remains at 50, but the government expects it to rise sharply about 1,300 people are still listed as missing. all week we have spoken with evacuees struggling to leave the country. >> i don't know how long i'm going to stay here for, but they don't tell us nothing here. >> reporter: dorian stayed just off the florida coast before weakening and making landfall in north carolina if it develops, umberto could impact the same area
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gabe gutierrez, nbc news let us bring in al roker now for the very latest track of this storm al, what are you seeing? >> this potential tropical cyclone would become umberto right now 30 miles per hour winds. it is moving northeast at 8. 80% chance of formation. here's what we look for. assuming it continues this track from the national hurricane center, landfall in florida saturday sometime in the afternoon. look at the european track it keeps it off the florida coast, but it rapidly strengthens. the american model tracks it into the gulf of mexico as a weak storm 500-mile difference. significant differences in tracks and intensity what we do know, we are looking for heavy rain with lots of wind, anywhere from three to five inches of rain from charleston down to fort pierce more rain, tropical storm warnings for the bahamas all right, al. thank you. in southern california authorities started to raise the dive boat that caught fire killing 34 people. safety investigators released a preliminary report revealing all six crew members were asleep
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when the fire broke out. molly hunter has late details. >> reporter: the charred remains of the ship were lifted out of the water two weeks after the deadly fire killed 34 people on board. the national transportation safety board confirming all six crew members were asleep according to the preliminary report a roving watchman required by law to stay awake and walk the decks overnight was asleep when the fire began at 3:14 in the morning. the boat owner's attorney said a safety check was completed at 2:30 a.m a criminal probe has been launched and investigators now looking at lithium ion batteries found in smartphones and most electronics. just this week, the coast guard recommended boat operators consider limiting the unsupervised charging of those kinds of devices the 75-foot boat had three levels the night of september 2 five crew members were asleep on the top deck when the fire broke out on the second deck where the 33 passengers and one crew member were asleep and where investigators say they could
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have been charging their electronics. the sleeping quarters had an entrance and a safety hatch. questions about whether the hatch was big enough to escape and if passengers knew it even existed. investigators asking witnesses to come forward and urging previous passengers to share their experiences. in a statement to nbc news the company said it passed every annual safety inspection and this tragedy was not caused by operators, the boat, or the crew the cause may not be known for months molly hunter, nbc news in el paso, texas, a grand jury indicted the suspect in last month's mass shooting at a walmart. the 21-year-old was charged with capital murder 22 people were killed and dozens of others were wounded in the rampage. the district attorney plans to seek the death penalty. been fn a major city the 20th child killed by gunfire this year in st. louis we get more from ron allen.
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>> reporter: today homicide ats apartment complex in north st. louis county after a still unnamed 3-year-old boy was shot and later died despite efforts by a relative and police who raced the victim to a hospital in the patrol car trying to save him. at least the 20th child killed by gunfire in the st. louis area this year more than half since spring. >> it is tragic. any time we lose somebody and it is certainly beyond the pale and heartbreaking when we lose a child. >> we're losing too many people. >> reporter: this recent town hall erupted with anger and grief. >> we had to bury five people in our family >> yes, we did >> reporter: police say more high powered weapons are on the streets. in most cases adults are the target and children innocent bystanders another grim investigation under way. ron allen, nbc news. it is debate night in america. the top ten democrats in the 2020 race facing off for the first time front-runner joe biden will be on the same debate stage with senator elizabeth warren
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recent polls show what's looking like a three-way race between biden, warren and senator bernie sanders. hours before the debate in houston, a stunning sight. greenpeace activists suspending themselves from a bridge shutting down the houston shipka ship canal -- or channel, i should say deputies have made arrests. tonight actress felicity huffman is bracing to learn her fate hours from now for her role in the massive college admissions cheating scam and now there are questions about how much one school at the center of the scannal knew and when miguel almaguer has details. >> reporter: the admissions investigation launched at ucla five years ago involved coaches of the water polo, tennis and track and field teams. also questioned, rick singer, the admitted mastermind of the college cheating scandal still unfolding today. after a water polo recruit was rejected from ucla, her mother
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appealed the university's decision according to the confidential investigation first reported by the l.a. times, even though her daughter didn't play water polo, the mother stated she was still willing to pay and that she understood from singer that she was expected to donate $100,000 to the program for the admission of her daughter through athletics. it is a striking similarity in the pay to play scheme that led to 51 arrests this year. ucla saying it's implemented a new policy adding there were no allegations of singer's criminal activity at that time. >> payment in some form or another, a wink and a nod to get into college has always been part of the super competitive world of college admissions. >> reporter: with universities under scrutiny for what they knew, tomorrow, huffman becomes the first parent to be sentenced after pleading guilty to fraud the stage now set for this actress to face justice.
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>> miguel joins us right now this week the probation department weighed in on the charges that felicity huffman is facing. what do they say >> the probation department said there was no actual or intended loss from huffman's crime. that could set the stage for no prison time in stark contrast to what prosecutors are asking for, a month behind bars. ultimately it's up to a judge. we'll see what she decides tomorrow >> miguel, good to have you here next, the parent who is say a fertility clinic mix-up rocked their family they have filed a lawsuit and critics are demanding more regulations for the multi billion dollar industry. the parents spoke to nbc's kate snow. >> two years after having their daughter through in vitro fertilization, christina and drew wazaluski started to have questions. >> we realized she had asian features. >> reporter: they say a dna test in 2015 showed wazaluski was not the father >> it shuts you down, everything, your life. your world this is not my daughter. whose is it? >> reporter: in a lawsuit they argue the institute for
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reproductive medicine and science at st. barnabus in new jersey mistakenly used sperm from another man, leading to the breakdown of their marriage. >> we are so happy we have her but at this point you have to put yourself in other people's shoes, too that's not fair. >> reporter: in a statement, the institute said it is thoroughly examining the alleged incident adding the integrity of the treatment processes are paramount. it is the latest in a growing number of lawsuits filed after fertility mix-ups. >> it is hard to explain the shock and agony when you find out that someone you love and care for -- your own daughter -- is not genetically related to you. >> reporter: a home dna test showed he's not the biological father of his daughter a woman in new york gave birth after allegedly being implanted with an embryo from this california couple. they met their baby at 6 weeks old. >> nobody should meet their baby in the lobby of a hotel. >> reporter: wazaluski wants to
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know if his donated sperm were used to father another child >> i would like to be part of thlife if i can. i want them to know who , what amazing things happened in my family that's part of you >> kate, this is heartbreaking a lot of families use these fertility clinics. what guardrails, what safeguards are in place >> reporter: according to the cdc, 78,000 babies in just one year were born using reproductive technologies. nbc news found there is no single government agency empowered to crack down on these clinics if there are mistakes or malfunctions one expert called it the wild west. >> all right kate, thank you. tonight, there is new alarm over the massive control china has over our nation's supply ofm heart disease to depression to cancer concerns rising among u.s. officials that it threatens our health and national security stephanie gosk has our nbc news investigation. >> reporter: there is a little
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known fact about some of the most common drugs americans take, from antibiotics to heart medicine to anti-depressants 80% of the key ingredients used to make them come from overseas. mainly from china. >> china's stated aim is to become the pharmacy to the world. >> reporter: rosemary gibson is the author of "china rx" how much of our drug supply is controlled by china? >> we are so dependent on china that if they shut the door on sending medicines to us, our hospitals would shut down within a couple of months. >> reporter: in the case of some drugs like antibiotics, china has a total stranglehold >> we can't make penicillin anymore. the last penicillin plant in the united states closed in 2004 >> reporter: in march, a prominent chinese economist suggested his country's control of the market could be used to send a message if exports are reduced, he said, the medical systems of some western countries will not run well >> basically, we have outsourced our entire industry to china that's a strategic vulnerability in and of itself.
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>> reporter: john adams is a retired brigadier general. how are pharmaceuticals turned into weapons of war? >> pharmaceuticals are necessary for our war fighters, necessary for our population to remain healthy, to cure diseases. if those are either toxic or they are not available, we are going to get sick and we will die. >> reporter: the u.s. and china are not at war but there are tensions over trade. china's state-run paper said this week there is little chance the government would deliberately harm innocent americans by cutting off the flow of antibiotics. >> trust is everything and do we trust? >> reporter: there have already been problems with contamination. in 2008 there were dozens of deaths tied to batches of the the past year, more than 50 recalls of some of the most popular blood pressure medicines contaminated in china and india with chemicals linked to cancer. how did we get here? how did this happen?
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>> we got here because it's cheap. we looked at the next quarter's profits. >> reporter: pe ve to reinvest g medicine in the united states. >> reporter: an expensive proposition that could drive drug prices up. >> for commodities like oil and food, we would never put all of our production, all of our eggs in one basket in china we shouldn't be doing that with our medicine >> stephanie, the fact that we rely on china for drugs that americans take and need every day is alarming. what can be done >> the only way to regain control is to move manufacturing back to the u.s. experts tell us private companies aren't going to do that on their own. they need the federal government's help. lester, that means money. >> all right stephanie gosk, thank you much in maryland a dramatic crash landing on a busy highway. a small plane coming down
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shortly after takeoff and hitting a car. two people in the car suffered minor injuries as did two people aboard the plane the cause of the crash not yet known. there is much more ahead including the man now under arrest in a shocking case of identity theft police say posing as a surgical assistant and stealing from patients also the fbi is now investigating why and how millions of dollars in people's paychecks have vanished from their bank accounts. and the big surprise for the young boy teased after wearing a homemade t-shirt supporting the college he loves stay with us
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we are back with disturbing news from southern california. a man under arrest tonight police say he posed as a surgical assistant in the operating rooms of several hospitals and stole from patients and employees our steve patterson has the shocking details >> reporter: it is a stunning case of stolen identity. a felon allowed unchecked access to hospital patients at their
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most vulnerable moments.s shnong identities, cash, and financial data while working under a false identity at several prestigious hospitals in southern california his true identity still unknown. a top concern, whether he was even qualified to perform medical procedures. >> we were not able to find any type of schooling, certification, licensing or credentials. >> reporter: shannon was already wanted for identity theft in san bernardino county. using a forged driver's license to rent an apartment, and obtain a job at a hospital as a surgical assistant officials say the hospital fired him after they learned of his arrest he was a no show in court and has been on the run until now. lapd arrested him after he used a stolen credit card to buy $17,000 season tickets to the clippers leading officials to a trove of fake identities and found he was a contract employee at a number of l.a. hospitals.
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>> i believe this to be an issue of major public importance. >> reporter: raising questions about how a felon on the run could end up working as a surgical assistant >> hospitals are responsible, not just for their own employees, but for everyone they bring in as a contractor. >> reporter: a con man now behind bars as police try to track down who he really is. steve patterson, nbc news, los angeles. >> we're back in a moment with the paycheck mystery why millions of dollars are disappearing from people's bank accounts next tonight, the fbi is
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next tonight, the fbi is investigating why potentially millions of dollars have vanished from personal bank accooll un ampany shut downit >> reporter: at agape animal rescue tanya willis said the paychecks disappeared without a trace. >> this is devastating for a small nonprofit like us. >> reporter: instead of completing direct deposits for her employees, willis said her
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payroll processor, mypayrollhr, withdrew the amounts for the paychecks and more, totaling $1 million this month, leaving them deep in the red. mypayrollhr shut down last week giving business owners like willis no explanation and leaving companies across the country without millions of dollars in employee pay. >> we had to stop intake when our program stops that means dogs are being euthanized. >> reporter: tonight the fbi tells nbc news it is investigating as is new york governor andrew cuomo who called mypayrollhr's actions reckless in southern california employees say their paychecks were removed from their accounts twice. the owner now paying his staff out of his own pocket. >> if you've got a bank account that has direct deposit or withdrawal we might be a lot more vulnerable than we realize. >> reporter: there is no indication of where the money went my payroll hr and its parent
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company didn't respond to our multiple requests for comment. lester >> thank you a follow up tonight on our story about the florida boy who was teased for wearing a home made t-shirt supporting the university of tennessee. the university printing his design and making an official t-shirt. now it's gone much farther i mean much farther. offering the 4th grader admission to the university when he's ready and a four-year scholarship. how about that when we come back, those who serve. some of the bravest dogs you will ever meet
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finally tonight, our look inside the world of some very brave dogs that work behind the scenes at the white house. here's gadi schwartz.
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>> reporter: in the long history of dogs in the white house, there have been the favorites. the spotlight stealing spot, beau, the chief tail wagger and sunny, secretary of squirrel chasing. every day behind the scenes are the nonpartisan pups you never notice these are the secret service k-9 elite training and patrolling to keep the first family safe from fierce to friendly like toppy whose handler keeps a tennis ball in his hollister >> he knows it's time to work. >> reporter: today a look inside the headquarters in maryland, a place to learn to sniff out explosives, check all cars and visitors pulling into 1600 pennsylvania avenue and stop intruders like hurricane did, recently awarded for chasing down a man who jumped the white house fence in 2014 despite being punched and kicked in the face repeatedly. hurricane rewarded with medals and two cheeseburgers for serving his country like a very good boy gadi schwartz, nbc news. >> cheeseburgers not a bad idea that's "nbc nightly news." i'm lester holt. thank you for watching, everyone have a good night.
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right now 6:00, ai a microclimate weather alert, temperatures spiking in the bay area, even giants fans at the ball park sweltering. we have team coverage on the high heat and the possible rain that might be on the way. >> imagine being able to look into the future to see what crime and economic trends affect your neighborhood. stanford fellowelps the city of san jose do that with an interactive map he says can read the future. a man set on fire in contra costa country.
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we are live on the scene. the news at 6:00 starts right now. >> i'm jessica aguirre. an altercation between some men ended with one man in flames. cheryl, what have you learned? >> reporter: police are telling me they got the call about 230 tum tim this afternoon. witnesses telling me that a man was on fire in front of a business on meadow lane. take a look at the video of the man being air lifted to the davis burn center. when the ambulance arrived, the victim's clothes were burned off of his body. we caught up with concord pd, and he explained what happened. >> we got a call of a male who was on fire. we responded to the scene and located a 39-year-old male with some severe but non-life threatening burn wounds. through investigation, we learned t

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