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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 21, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> nice, green grass everywhere you drive. thank you for joining us here at 5:00. lester holt joins us next from cuba. >> we'll see you at 6:00. breaking news tonight. history in cuba. the american and cuban president side by side. an angry raul castro challenged over human rights, later raising president obama's arm in an awkward embrace. trump's secret meeting with top republicans as hillary clinton and elizabeth warren go on the attack against him. airport st. 60 pounds of cocaine found hidden in carry-ons after a woman ran from screeners. you won't believe who investigators are looking for. hitting back. serena williams leading the charge against a powerful tennis executive who says women players should get on their knees and thank the men. and getting money. even with bad credit or debt piling up, how people are getting the loans they need at rates they can actually afford. "nightly news" begins right now.
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>> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt reporting tonight from havana. good evening. it has been a day rich in historic symbolism, brass tacks diplomacy. president obama, who reminded us today he was born the year of the bay of pigs invasion, met face to face on cuban soil with 84-year-old president raul castro. it's their first meeting on cuban soil since diplomatic ties were re-established. afterwar afterwards, they emerged from what turned out to be a tense give and take with the press, ending with this awkward clasping of the hands, showing this relationship is still very much a work in progress. our andrea mitchell was among the few called on at that press conference and joins me here now. andrea, it was uncomfortable to watch at moments. >> reporter: it was uncomfortable, and it's clear raul castro
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does not do press conferences. the two leaders agreed to disagree on big differences between the u.s. and cuba. chiefly the u.s. trade embargo, which president obama would like to end, and cuba's treatment of dissents, testing the boundaries of a new relationship. it was a day of historic firsts. the handshake on cuban soil. ♪ >> reporter: the cuban military band playing "the star spangled banner." >> this is a new day between our two countries. >> reporter: but raul castro's criticism of the u.s. trade embargo does not feel new. >> translator: we find it inconceivable that a government will not defend and ensure the right to health care, education, equal pay. >> after pressure from president obama, castro did take questions from the press, a rare occurrence. but when a cuban-american reporter asked about cuba's political prisoners --
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>> give me a name or names. >> reporter: it is an issue overshadowing the visit. >> there were dramatic arrests of peaceful protests, the ladies in white. what signal does that send? >> if i engage frankly, clearly, stating what our beliefs are but also being clear that we can't force change on any particular country. ultimately t has to come from within. >> president castro, what is the future of our two countries given the different definitions and the different interpretations of profound issues like democracy and human rights? >> translator: it's not correct to ask me about political prisoners in general. please give me the name of the political prisoner. and i think this is enough. >> reporter: the exchange fueling criticism by some dissidents, who say mr. obama is
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normalizing relations too quickly. antonio rodiles was detained briefly during sunday's protest. >> the president's argument is if i come, if we talk, i can make progress. >> the american government is giving too much to the regime, and the regime is telling clearly we are not going to move. >> reporter: clearly this is a relationship that is a work in progress, but there are new business deals. today in the works for american firms here. starwood today. carnival cruise lines expected soon. a lot going on. >> the two will be at a state dinner later on. >> as events continue to unfold here, it is a very busy day in the race for president. donald trump convening a secret meeting of top republicans in washington. speculation swirling as hillary clinton unleashes a stinging attack on trump over support for israel, and elizabeth warren unleashes an attack of her own, using trump's own words against him. we have it all covered starting with nbc's katy tur. katy, what's the
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latest? >> reporter: hey there, lester. donald trump is on the stage here in washington behind me, addressing the country's largest pro-israel lobbying group. it's his chance to prove that he has international credibility after a day spent trying to prove that he has political credibility in the town he wants to call home. mr. trump goes to washington, spending the day in the nation's capital. this morning attending an off-the-record meeting with, quote -- including former representative bob livingston. >> he's getting most of the votes. for me, that's very, very important. i want to see the people heard, and i want to see donald trump president. >> reporter: the gathering was hoped to mend fences with the establishment, but house and senate leadership like mitch mcconnell and paul ryan tell nbc news they were not invited. >> paul ryan didn't know about the meeting. they said they weren't invited. was that on purpose? >> no, not at all. we're very inclusive, and frankly jeff and some of the other
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people just invited a small group. >> you have a lot of people out there that you think are against me, and it's just politicians. they want to make a deal. >> reporter: addressing reporters at his under construction hotel, trump who's been criticized for being out of his depth internationally was trying to clarify his positions. >> this is how we're going to get our wealth back. >> reporter: outlining a noninterventionist platform, even questioning the country's long-standing involvement in nato. >> i think we have to reconsider, keep nato but maybe we have to pay a lot less toward the nato itself. >> it's not a theory. it's proposal because we want friends. we want allies who are legally committed to come to each other's self-defense. >> the gop front-runner addressing aipac tonight as his campaign continues to address ongoing violence at his rallies. another protester sucker-punched over the weekend, this time in arizona. katy tur, nbc news, washington. >> reporter: this is peter dpand in washington, where
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donald trump today faces one of his toughest challenges yet. >> as a lifelong supporter and true friend of israel. >> reporter: aipac bills itself as america's bipartisan pro-israel lobby. it seams today come together, but some blame trump for inciting violence and hatred. >> this is not who we are. as people of faith, we don't believe in divide and conquer. >> reporter: trump has previously raised concern. saying he wanted to be unpredictable in his approach to pursuing middle east peace. >> let me be sort of a neutral guy. i'm going to give it a shot. >> reporter: hillary clinton today slamming that strategy without mentioning trump by name. >> we need steady hands, not a president who says he's neutral on monday, pro-israel on tuesday, and who knows what on wednesday. israel's security is non-negotiable. >> reporter: another leading democrat, elizabeth warren, on
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twitter branding trump a loser, citing him for petty bullying, attacks on women, and cheap racism. trump this afternoon accusing warren of dividing the country. here today's attendees want more details from the front-runner. trump this evening looking to silence his skeptics. eight months until november, this primary season already beginning to feel like a general election. peter alexander, nbc news, washington. a manhunt is on for a newly named suspect allegedly linked to the paris terror attacks. he's identified as a possible accomplice of salah abdeslam, who had been on the run for four months after the attacks. now we're getting a striking new look at the moment abdeslam was taken down last week. nbc's keir simmons has more. >> reporter: stunning new images of the moment europe's most wanted terrorist was captured. this is salah abdeslam, a senior belgian judicial source confirming to nbc news. the dramatic video shows his safehouse
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surrounded by police. he bursts out, runs down the street. officers open fire. shot in the leg, he is led away. and tonight police launching a new manhunt for another suspect, najim laachraoui, described as dangerous. his dna reportedly found during recent raids at locations housing explosives. belgian officials admitting that despite arresting abdeslam, who helped drive suicide bombers to the paris city stadium, they are far from solving the puzzle of how isis pulled off the paris massacre. abdeslam reportedly telling interrogators he was preparing more attacks. filmed from a rooftop, the arrest of abdeslam fleeing from this doorway, shot here on the sidewalk, raises multiple questions. why did it take four months to find him, and how many others are planning attacks? intelligence failures before the paris attacks include allowing known isis
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operatives to return to europe, buy guns, and prepare explosives. the agencies that failed to track him now scrambling to find other isis recruits. >> to my mind, this does strike me as an intelligence failure. abdeslam has been able to hide out for roughly four months in the middle of belgium. >> reporter: abdeslam's lawyer says he is talking, but he is fighting extradition to france. last time he was there, he was orchestrating a massacre. lester. >> all right. keir simmons tonight, thank you. back in the u.s. to an investigation at los angeles international airport where a person thought to be a jetblue flight attendant took off running after being selected for a random secondary screening. it happened on friday, and investigators said today she left behind her shoes and a bag with 60 pounds of cocaine. nbc's tom costello has the details. >> reporter: in police custody at l.a.x., neatly wrapped and stacked bricks of cocaine.
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60 pounds of it confiscated after a flight attendant allegedly tried to get through a security checkpoint at terminal 4. police say the suspect, not in uniform, flashed a jetblue id but was randomly selected for a secondary screening. that's when she grabbed her bags and began running from the checkpoint. but she quickly dropped the bags, kicked off her gucci shoes, then ran down ang up escalator. last seen outside the building running towards terminal 5. experts say the fact she got away and the cocaine nearly got through are big red flags. >> today it's employees smuggling drugs. tomorrow it could be an employee smuggling guns. day after tomorrow, it could be employees smuggling a bomb. >> reporter: at l.a.x., known crew members are not required to go through the same full screening that passengers do, but they can be pulled aside randomly. fearing an insider threat like the one that may have brought down a russian jetliner over e gyp, security experts have
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long called for many moran dom of all airline and irport employees. jetblue says it's cooperating with investigators. police are still looking for the suspect and whether she planned to meet anyone on the other side of the checkpoint. meanwhile the l.a.x. airport police union says the case underscores while all airline employees should be required to go through full security. lester. >> all right. to wild story. thanks. there is a late-breaking development tonight in that major fight pitting apple against the fbi. our justice correspondent pete williams has those details just coming in. >> reporter: lester the fbi says tonight it may have found a way to get into an iphone used by one of the san bernardino attackers, a way of getting in without apple's help. the government notified a federal judge late today that over the weekend, someone contacted the fbi with a possible way to unlock the phone without destroying its contents. for now, the fbi says it wants to test this idea to see whether it works. if it does, then it would drop its lawsuit against apple and abandon a court
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hearing set for tomorrow. the company has been aggressively fighting back against the fbi's request that apple write special software that would disarm the phone's security features and allow the fbi to use a computer to guess the pass code. the fbi tonight won't say who this idea came from or what it was, saying it wants to keep all that confidential for now. lester. >> nbc's pete williams, thanks. still ahead tonight, banking on your potential. we're going to talk about the new way people are scoring loans and slashing their bills. also superstar serena williams firing back after a tennis official lobs remarks that many call sexist.
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and welcome back to havana. behind me the museum of the revolution. for people with bad credit or no credit, it can be tough to borrow money at an affordable rate. but there's a new kind of lending based more on your future potential than your credit history. nbc's olivia sterns explains. >> reporter: six months ago, dave collier ditched his job in the sagging oil industry and signed up for computer coding school. >> people always need apps to be built and managed and people who are can do that are going to be valuable. >> reporter: but the tuition put him 16,000 dd deeper in debt. just 26, dave had more than $50,000 in loans and needed to refinance fast. that's when he found upstart. >> i was able to consolidate $22,000 worth of credit card
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debt, cut my rate in half, and accelerate my timeline for getting out of debt by about three years. >> reporter: in fact, upstart brought dave's right from as high as 19% to just 8%, saving him for man 5 now dollars. it's the brainchild of dave gerard, his goal to help people just like dave get cheaper credit. >> we're in the business of seeing signals about a person that others don't see. >> reporter: instead of focusing on your credit history or your fico score, upstart bets on your future. >> fico is inherently backward looking. what you've done with credit in the past, we like to view it as identifying somebody's potential, where they're going. >> reporter: upstart asks where did you go to school, what did you study, how much will you make in the future, and ask this a reliable career? upstart is one of a growing number of companies shaking up the lending industry. but experts warn these new business models aren't proven. >> the jury is going to be out until we're in a recessionary environment and defaults go up. that's where you can really see what form
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of lending was worth the risk and which was not. >> reporter: risk dave gerard is willing to shoulder while dave collier is looking forward to the future. olivia sterns, nbc news, san antonio. >> we're back in a moment with the american hero who president obama paid tribute to here in havana.
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president obama began his historic remarks here in havana today with a tribute to a fallen u.s. marine. staff sergeant louis cardin was killed in an isis rocket attack in iraq on saturday. he was 27 and on the fourth deployment of his decade-long career. tonight a top tennis official is under fire over comments about what he called lady players saying they should get down on their knees and be thankful for the men. now serena williams is leading the charge against what he said. nbc's steve patterson has more. >> reporter: today top tennis in the spotlight. first round of play at the miami open, but the tennis world is
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distracted after controversial sexist comments by california tournament director raymond moore. >> in my next life rs when i come back, i want to be someone in the wta. they ride on the coattails of the men. they don't make any decisions and they're lucky. >> reporter: moore told reporters male stars have carried the sport. >> if i was a lady player, i'd go down every night on my knees and thank god that roger federer and rafa nadal. >> the state's top female player quickly took the offense. >> women have come a long way, and we shouldn't have to drop to our knees at any point. >> reporter: moore later apologized in a written statement, saying in part, quote, i made comments about the women's tennis association that were in extremely poor taste and erroneous. but the damage is done. tennis legend billie jean king, who once defeated bobby riggs in the famous battle of the sexes match more than 40 years ago, tweeted, he is
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wrong on so many levels. every player, especially the top players, contribute to our success. >> these types of comments almost take you back in time to things that i thought, tennis and all of us were way past. and it's very, very disappointing. >> reporter: a sport that has come a long way for men and women, today battling a backhanded comment. steve patterson, nbc news, los angeles. up next, what this historic day means for the sport both the u.s. and cuba call a national pastime. plusthe n goldush.how ogle d otn
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vall compies pn tocapilize ame nextonshiwith ba. =rajext cse= and welcome back from one of havana's famous moving tourist attractions, the old cars like cigars and baseball, famous around here. speaking of baseball, the president tomorrow will attend a game here between tampa bay and the cuban national team. if there's anything that unites our two countries, it is the love of the support of baseball. here as in the u.s., little boys growing up wanting to some day play in the major leagues. >> baseball. it is also cuba's national pastime. they start young, and like 13-year-old noah tortolo, they dream big. what do you want in
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your life? >> for me, i want to be a good baseball player. like i would like to get to the major leagues and play. >> as a kid, tampa bay rays outfielder verona had that same dream, and today following an emotional return to his homeland two years after defecting, he got a hero's welcome, as he practiced for tomorrow's exhibition game. speaking to us through a translator. >> translator: it's wonderful. i'm so appreciative just to be able to be here in my home, breathing in the cuban air. it's a huge deal for me. >> in ballparks and dusty fields across havana -- >> you play every day? >> yeah. >> -- passion for the sport runs deep, often driven by a shot at the majors. >> what's your favorite team? >> yankees. >> we love baseball since we are little boys. we see and watch baseball on tv. we listen to radio.
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we go everywhere and people play baseball, and it's part of our tradition already, you know. >> they are currently around 18 cuban players in major league baseball. until now, defecting was the most common route to the majors. but the u.s. has announced changes that could soon provide a legal path for american teams to directly sign cuban players, putting the next generation of cuban athletes on a whole new playing field. >> it will be great some day, cuban players can play in the major league baseball but legally. >> do you think he'll make it to the major leagues? >> maybe. i hope so. >> noah, who's coached by his father, says when his time comes, he'll be ready. >> how good are you? >> really good, yeah. >> one local baseball expert told us there are 11 million people living in this country, and he expects about 11 million to be watching the game tomorrow between the rays and the cuban national team. that's going to do it for us on a monday
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night. from havana, cuba, i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. ♪the rm." rs :03==je/vo==righte you know, it's difficult to ignore the elephant in the room. >> right now at 6:00, apple's new gadget is up staged by the fight with the fbi and late word tonight, the government may not need apple's help after all. good evening and thanks for joiningicaingjessica. >> i'm raj mathai. the government says it may not need that key to hack a terrorist locked iphone. nbc business and tech reporter scott budman has been tracking
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the late, breaking developments. scott, pretty interesting twist here. >> reporter: yeah, raj, what a day. it started with apple trying to put the focus on its new lineup of consumer products and ended with the focus entirely on the fbi's claim it may be able to hack into an apple iphone. [ applause ] >> good morning. >> reporter: apple ceo tim cook got the biggest cheers of the day not for a new product, although, we did see new products but because he quickly addressed the bigger issue extradition. >> this is an issue that impacts all of us, and we will not shrink from this responsibility. >> it's difficult to ignore the elephant in the room. >> reporter: just hours before the fbi announced that it cancelled a hearing set for tomorrow with apple because it said it's working with an outside party to unlock the iphone, tim cook talked

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