tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC February 11, 2016 7:00pm-7:31pm EST
tonight, dramatic surrender after a 40-day siege, anti-government protesters now in federal custody, as tens of thousands listened to every heart-stopping moment. it's getting personal. clinton and sanders battle for the black vote as the civil rights icon slams sanders. and a republican brawl takes shape in the south. the polar vortex, tens of millions bracing for the coldest air of the season. al roker is here warning of a dangerous freeze. high anxiety. u.s. olympic officials take action to calm fears over zika, after a big star says she's not sure she'd go. and cruise nightmare. passengers who thought they were going to die. now, speaking out and wondering why the captain sailed right into a ferocious or
>> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. it's over. the armed siege captivating the nation's attention for weeks has reached a dramatic conclusion. in the woods of oregon, the final anti-government protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge have surrendered to the f fbi. it comes after tense overnight comments. joe fryer is in oregon and starts us off with late details. >> reporter: tense moments on the 41st day of the wildlife refuge occupation, all of it broadcast live online. after three holdouts turn themselves in, the fourth and final occupier, david fry, refuses to surrender. >> i'm a free man, i
>> reporter: before finally peacefully giving up. >> if everybody says hallelujah, i'll come out. >> when they said hallelujah, he came out. >> reporter: the fbi closed in on the occupiers last night, a dramatic development that was live streamed with tens of thousands listening. >> let's be clear. armed occupation of federal property is a crime. it is not a peaceful protest. >> reporter: among those negotiating with the group reverend franklin graham, son of billy graham, and nevada state assembly woman michelle fiori. >> never lost faith. i came here with a mission, and the mission was accomplished. >> reporter: armed militants took over the wildlife refuge nearly six weeks ago protesting federal ownership of western lands. two weeks ago one occupier was shot and killed in a confrontation with law enforcement, and several others were
the bundys. last night clive bundy was taken into custody after landing at the portland airport. he was not part of the occupation, rather his arrest is from a standoff with armed s forces in nevada. bundy joins his sons behind bars. the occupation is over. the refuge will still be closed for weeks. the sheriff calls it a crime, the fbi said it must be searched for explosives. in all, 25 people linked to the occupation have now been indicted on federal felony charges. lester? >> joe fryer in oregon, thank you. a major endorsement for hillary clinton is spotlighting the critical battle under way for african-american votes in south carolina. a february 27th democratic primary there will be bern i sanders' first cast in the south, and before a large number of black voters. today clinton, who polls show hold a substantial lead among
important shot in the arm from a civil rights icon, who to sanders delivered just a shot. nbc's kristen welker has details. >> reporter: as hillary clinton and bernie sanders prepare to face off in milwaukee tonight, there are already fireworks. >> there's no one else better prepared to be president of the united states of america than hillary clinton. >> reporter: the influential political arm of the congressional black caucus backing clinton today. it was congressman john lewis who delivered a major blow to sanders, questioning how active he was in the civil rights movement. >> i never saw him. i never met him. i was involved in the sit-ins, the freedom ride, but i met hillary clinton, i met president clinton. >> reporter: the sanders campaign, bernie is a great admirer of lewis. drawing a sharp contrast today, releasing this endorsement video featuring the young daughter of eric garner who died after police put him in a
>> to go up against the criminal justice system. that's why i'm for bernie. >> reporter: all underscoring the importance of the african vote, like south carolina, where clinton leads sanders among african-americans 74% to 17%. one challenge for sanders, his complicated relationship with president obama, on display during an interview with nbc's kasie hunt in which they discussed the gap between congress and the american people. you don't think president obama has successfully closed that gap? >> no, i don't. i think he's made the effort. when i talk about a political revolution is bringing millions and millions of people into the political process. in a way that does not exist right now. >> reporter: the clinton campaign firing back. >> considering how little senator sanders has to show for his 25 years in congress, the idea that he would be giving leadership lectures to president obama is absurd. >> reporter: our latest poll shows
approval rating among african-americans in south carolina is at 92%. so expect secretary clinton to again embrace him tonight in what could be the most contentious debate yet. lester? >> kristen, thank you. the republicans face off in south carolina a week earlier than the dems, a week from saturday. tonight much of the fight to take down the high-flying donald trump is taking place on the ground there. ted cruz who won the first contest in iowa is trying to bounce back from his loss this week in new hampshire with an aggressive ground game and a direct attack on trump's conservative credenals. with more, here's hallie jackson. >> reporter: matt wells quit his sales job in iowa to sell ted cruz instead alongside 10,000 volunteers in south carolina. >> i can get another job when i get back. i can't get another country. >> it's a risky move, in this economy, quitting your job to come out -- >> the iowa economy is not bad.
i'll go back to iowa and just go back to work and all that. try to help ted win here first. >> reporter: wells is part of the organization cruz is depending on. making some 25,000 phone calls a day. part of the organization cruz is depending on to topple donald trump here, like he did in iowa. >> the state of south carolina, i don't think people are interested in someone, a republican candidate who's pushed partial birth abortion, who won't defend marriage. >> reporter: cruz's strategy, paint trump as too liberal, with more ads like this one on the way. >> he pretends to be a republican. >> reporter: for his part, trump seems to be playing a more positive political game than before. >> it's going to be such an unbelievable week and a half. >> reporter: but in the more mannerly south, his more colorful language may be a big turnoff. >> he gets the nomination they're going to sue his [ bleep ] off. >> reporter: as the bloomberg focus group found. >> it's crass. >> it's unprofessional.
>> it's not how you want your president of the united states. >> you turn on the tv, you have a presidential candidate saying profanity from a stage. >> reporter: marco rubio and jeb bush, meanwhile, taking shots at the front-runner -- >> how do you think donald trump going to washington will solve anything? >> reporter: and at each other. >> jeb bush has no foreign policy experience, period. >> reporter: trying to prove south carolina isn't simply a two-man fight. underscoring that point, a new cruz ad slamming rubio for being nothing more than a pretty face. this race getting rough-and-tumble already, with nasty new robocalls. and in a new twist, jeb bush is getting some backup on the trail from his brother, former president george w. bush making his campaign debut on monday. lester? >> hallie, jackson, thank you. it's always there, lurking, and now the dreaded polar vortex is heading south, bringing with it the coldest air of the season for tens of millions of us. al roker joins us with the details.
dangerous. >> yeah, lester, it will be potentially deadly weather coming in. the polar vortex is already there, but it will shift over to the northern atlantic. the jet stream dips to the south. that means that cold air spills south of the canadian border, into the northeast, and the midwest, bringing some of our colder temperatures that we have seen yet. bismarck tomorrow will feel like 7, minus 7 in minneapolis. 13 in cleveland. as we get into saturday morning, you'll see those temperatures single digits and below. and we bottom out sunday morning, records possible in boston with minus 5, 2 in new york city, 4 in rochester, 1 in pittsburgh, roanoke 10. yet, lester, the irony is, you get out west, it's going to feel like a different season. from seattle all the way to roswell and down to san diego, it will actually feel like temperatures in april and may. so we've got two different countries depending on where you live. >> al, thanks. good to have you here. the international olympic committee tried to reassure the world today that all measures are being taken to fight the zika virus ahead of
the summer games in rio. but u.s. officials are taking their own precautions as we hear more from a star athlete casting doubt on whether she'll compete. the outbreak has led to an emergency appeal from top u.s. officials, health officials. as our rehema ellis reports. >> reporter: puerto rico could be the next hot spot for the zika virus, warns the cdc, testifying before the senate today. >> at some point we may well see tens or hundreds of thousands of zika infections in puerto rico. >> reporter: this news as the u.s. olympic committee announced it's hiring two infectious disease experts to advise the 500 athletes hoping to compete in brazil. including soccer star hope solo. >> if i had to decide today, i would not go. fortunately, the olympics are about six months away. so i believe that we have time to get some of our doubts and questions answered. >> rep
compete in areas even more vulnerable to zika than the olympic headquarters in rio. one stadium is near the amazon rain forest. another in an area where the number of zika cases are especially high. >> i don't think soccer being so close to the rain forest where there's more mosquitoes. i take my health very seriously. we all do. >> reporter: new research has found more evidence linking zika to babies born with microcephalus. olympic athletes have competed while pregnant. there were five during the london games in 2012, including gold medalest kerry walsh j jennings. >> we'll be waiting to hear what steps will be taken to make sure everything's safe and secure. >> reporter: with women making up half the american team, the countdown to the olympics is on. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. a california utility company now says it's finally stopped the leak from a ruptured well that has been spewing
[000:11:59;00] making people sick and forcing thousands of families from their homes in porter ranch. it's been leaking for nearly four months. invisible to the naked eye, but the giant cloud apparent in infrared images. the plug is a temporary fix, but if it holds, it will be cemented closed. southern california gas is facing multiple lawsuits and investigations over all this. for the first time nato is intervening in the massive refugee crisis sparked by the war in syria. it's deploying patrol boats to intercept migrant smugglers. as many flee syria, others are trapped, including hundreds of thousands in syria's largest city. nbc's chief foreign correspondent, richard engel, shows us the desperation inside aleppo. >> reporter: the syrian regime has been fighting rebels in aleppo for years now. but a recent wave of russian air strikes is clearing the way, so syrian troops are
advancing, and activists in the white helmets dig through the rubble for survivors. they provided us with this footage to show the world what they say is happening in aleppo. one of the volunteers told us by skype that he fears the city's fall is near. >> we are so worried, because if we lose aleppo, we lose all the war. >> reporter: the russian involvement changes the game? >> yes. absolutely. it changes everything. >> reporter: aiding, he says, 70,000 people have already escaped aleppo in the last few weeks. the syrian army is closing in, so the panic is spreading in aleppo that the regime plans to starve the city into submission. it's a tactic they've used in other places. >> that's why we are sending this to you and all the world. we need help. >> reporter: what kind of help do you need?
what are you looking for? >> now, we need just >> reporter: the russians say they are bombing isis targets in aleppo, but ismael said that's just an excuse. >> we don't have any isis in the city. they just helping the attack forces and killing us. >> reporter: the u.n. said 300,000 people are still stranded inside aleppo and fears an unprecedented wave of refugees may be leaving the city in the next few days. making the world's refugee crisis far worse. richard engel, nbc news, new york. there is a lot more to tell you about tonight. still ahead, new details about that nightmare cruise. we'll hear firsthand from those who were onboard it. 30-foot waves battered the ship. one newlywed said she feared she would die on her honeymoon. they could be the first astronauts on mars, and there's still room on the team if you have the right stuff. we'll tell you about it when we come back.menopa usal osteoporosis and a high risk for fracture...
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of a massive storm. >> i thought i'm going to die. [000:17:59;00] drowning in the ocean. it was very scary. >> reporter: lee wright was on her honeymoon. kyle leveque was with his mom. >> absolutely. i think 5,000 people lives were at risk. >> reporter: royal caribbean say the storm became worse than predicted. two days before the cruise even started, the national weather service issued a warning predicting waves as high as 31 feet, in the same area anthem battled the storm. >> this was a system that was well forecast days in advance. there were even hurricane wind warnings out the day that the cruise ship left for the area where they hit the hurricane-force winds. >> reporter: passengers say the ship felt like it was tilting side to side in hurricane force winds. waves crashing as high as the fifth deck. inside, passengers
scrambled for cover amid shattered glass and flying furniture. >> one of the scariest day of my entire life. >> reporter: tonight the investigation into what happened, and the coast guard reports the ship needs more repairs before it can sail again. royal caribbean said anthem is scheduled to cruise the same waters starting saturday, when there's a possibility of yet another storm. with the 4,500 passengers getting refunds and credit toward a future cruise, few regret this vacation is over. >> i'm grateful i'm alive. >> reporter: janet shamlian, nbc news, new jersey. when we come back, it's taken a century, but one of einstein's famous theories has finally been proven right. finally been proven right. ♪ (toilet flush) if you need an opioid to manage your chronic pain,
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>> i'm the first person to be alone on an entire planet. >> reporter: the movie rekindled the public fascination with mars. a real mars mission could be 20 years away. nasa is accepting its next class of astronauts. minimum requirements, a bachelor's degree in math, science or engineering, with experience or a military background. >> communication skills, to be able to successfully work on a team, both a leader and follower. >> reporter: a mars mission could last two to three years. >> would you want to go camping with somebody you can't get along with, spend a week in the woods with them, let alone two years in a tent with those people? >> reporter: nasa only needs 8 to 14 new astronauts, but already more than 6,100 people have applied online. future missions could include a rendezvous with an asteroid, even mars. >> we can send people there and bring them back safely, i would be up for it. >> reporter: two to three years, far from home, for some the stuff dreams are made