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

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breaking news tonight. trump's abortion bombshell on msnbc. calling not only for a ban on abortion but saying women should be punished for having one in it's outlawed. tonight pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion advocates slamming him, and late today trump with a rare reversal. violent night. a major outbreak of severe weather threatening tens of millions. tornado warnings and flash floods sweeping across the country. hospitals held hostage. filled with patients and paralyzed by hackers creating chaos, demanding ransom to gain back control. tonight another hospital giant hit. and headlights surprise. how well do the lights on your car work? you might be stunned about many of the most popular cars on the road. "nightly news" begins right now.
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>> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. we begin with a rare about-face for donald trump. in full retreat tonight after he ignited a firestorm on both the right and the left by saying women who undergo abortions should face punishment if abortions were outlawed. his comment to msnbc's chris matthews made even some well-known anti-abortion advocates wince. to be clear, all the republicans running for president favor a ban on abortions, but none has gone so far as to suggest legal action against the women who have them which may be why trump has quickly backed away from the remarks and adapted the establishment line. nbc's katy tur has details. >> you have to ban it. >> reporter: donald trump dropping a political bombshell telling chris matthews in an msnbc town hall that if abortion was banned, the woman who gets one should be
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punished. >> the answer is there has to be some form of punishment. >> for the woman. >> has to be punishment. >> ten cents, or ten years, what? >> that i don't know. >> you said you want to be president of the united states. tell me what the law should be. >> i have not determined -- i am pro-life. >> what does that mean? >> i am pro-life. i have not determined what the punishment would be. >> why not? >> because i haven't determined it. >> a fine on human life which you call murderer? >> it would have to be determined. >> imprisonment if a young woman who finds herself pregnant? >> it would have to be determined. >> reporter: his comments setting off a firestorm of criticism and creating a rare moment of unity from both sides of the abortion debate. planned parenthood president cecile richards denouncing the candidate on twitter. the march for life, a group that wants to overturn "roe v. wade" agreeing. >> we would not advocate any form of punishment for a woman who has made such a desperate and sad choice as abortion. >> reporter: donald trump virtually alone on the issue politically, from his republican rivals.
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>> i don't think that's an appropriate response, and it's difficult enough situation and to try to punish somebody. >> reporter: to his supporters like hardline anti-abortion rights conservative mike huckabee. >> from a standpoint of pro-life i don't see any value in punishing the woman, and i have to believe that as he thinks through this, we're going to hear a very different answer. >> reporter: trump himself says he's, quote, evolved on the issue, telling tim russert in 1999 -- >> i'm very pro-choice. >> reporter: hours after the chris matthews exchange, the trump campaign issued a full walk-back trying twice to clarify his words stating if abortion was illegal the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. the woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. the gop front-runner who is closing in on the republican nomination faced harsh words from both democratic rivals. >> but to punish a woman for having an abortion is beyond comprehension.
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>> what donald trump said today was outrageous and dangerous. >> reporter: right now 70% of female voters nationally say they have an unfavorable view of donald trump, a gap that republican strategists worry could kill trump's chances of getting into the white house, especially if he faces off against hillary clinton. with ted cruz leading in wisconsin, donald trump can't afford to alienate conservative voters, but when it comes to those who already support him, they already support him because he is not a traditional politician. they give him the benefit of the doubt, evenhen he doesn't always say the right thing. lester? >> katy, a lot of news coming out of that conversation. that's not the only major headline trump is making this evening. he's also turning heads with recent comments on foreign policy, including what he just told chris matthews about the use of nuclear weapons. nbc's andrea mitchell has those late details. >> reporter: donald trump with chris matthews today refusing to rule out using battlefield nuclear weapons
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against isis or europe. >> can you tell the middle east we're not using a nuclear weapon. >> i would never say that. i never would take any of my cards off the table. >> how about in europe? >> i'm not going to take it off the table in europe. >> you going to use them in europe? >> no, i don't think so. >> just say it, i'll never use a nuclear weapon in europe. >> i'm not taking cards off the table. >> reporter: trump was first asked about using nuclear weapons against isis by "the washington post" last week and gave a rambling answer. >> i don't want to use -- i don't want to start the process of nuclear. remember the one thing that everybody has said, i'm a counterpuncher. rubio hit me. bush hit me. >> this was about isis. >> can i do one thing? >> this is a very good-looking group of people. can i go around and see who the hell i'm talking to. >> sure. >> reporter: trump then shocked cnn saying he was okay with south korea and japan getting nuclear weapons and even saudi arabia. >> at some point we have to say, you know what, we're better off
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if japan protects itself against this maniac in north korea and we're better off in south korea is going to start to protect itself. >> saudi arabia with nuclear weapons? >> saudi arabia absolutely. >> reporter: trump's comments about letting other countries becoming nuclear powers instead of controlling the spread of nuclear weapons . contradicts decades of american nuclear policy. >> this would be a reversal of policy under every democratic and republican president since ice haar and i think it would be very dangerous. >> reporter: trump's comments about nuclear policy were called shockingly ignorant this week. lester? >> all right. andrea, thanks. let's bring in our political director and moderator of "meet the press" chuck todd. chuck, donald trump isn't shy about making provocative statements and sticking to them, but on abortion why this one? why did he back off so quickly? is that not stunning in itself? >> reporter: it is stunning and because the pro-life community criticized him as harshly as folks in the pro-choice community did and that's why he had to backtrack. look, he does come across as somebody who
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is a convert on this issue because he didn't know how to talk about it. he hadn't -- frankly, it looked like he hadn't studied the issue very deeply or spoken to folks in this movement on the issue, so i think that's why he quickly walked it back. that said, we are entering a dangerous phase here if you're donald trump. you've got to be very careful. the republican party and its leaders are looking for reasons to get into the not trump bandwagon. this coupled with what he's been saying about nukes and coupled with some of the other stuff, if he also loses wisconsin, there could be real momentum that actually does stop him, lester. >> chuck todd, thank you. a big night ahead over on msnbc, a lot more fireworks from donald trump and his rivals. four jam-packed events. a very interesting night of politics ahead. a lot of nervous eyes on the skies this evening. millions of people under the threat of tornadoes and flash floods as a big storm pushes its way across the country. watches and warnings have been issued. nbc's steve patterson is in the storm zone tonight.
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>> reporter: tonight the fury of spring storms slamming into the south. the thunderstorm threat, whipping winds, torrential rain, powerful gusts packing pounding pounding hail, already wreaking havoc in arkansas and missouri. now, 27 million people in the path of severe storms, a possible twister touched down near linndale, texas. tornado watches have already been issued in four different states, with the threat stretching from kansas to mid-mississippi through the night. >> this storm may have quarter-sized hail or larger, could even be golf-ball sized. >> reporter: anoer threat, flash flooding. heavy rains in arkansas making for a dangerous evening commute, so bad it swept away this dumpster in a nearby park. the ground in much of the mississippi valley already saturated from days of flooding in early march. communities in the south already taking several severe weather punches. the fear, a hay-maker is coming with the potential to be thrown from any direction.
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and tomorrow that threat area expands. 37 million people from the gulf coast to the great lakes at risk for possible tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds. meanwhile, heavy rain and flooding expected in the southeast until friday as some areas can see up to four inches. lester? >> looks rough out there. steve patterson, thank you. tonight, a big chain of hospitals serving hundreds of thousands of patients in the washington, d.c., area is struggling to get back to normal after it was hit with what's known as a ransomware attack. the latest example in a string of such attacks on hospitals, hackers gaining control, causing chaos and demanding a big payoff or else. we get more on the story from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: this suburban washington woman was furious when the hospital cancelled three days of her husband's radiation treatments. >> other people worse than my husband. god love them. i hope they get it
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faster and get the treatment somewhere. >> reporter: a cyberattack forced medstar health to shut down computers monday at ten hospitals in the washington area, and many patients got this voice message. >> our computer systems are still down, so we need you to bring a list of your current medications. >> reporter: medstar now says with backups it's returning to normal and that overall patient care has not suffered. medstar calls its computer malware, but investigators say it's the latest example of ransomware, locking up a computer remotely and holding it hostage. james lyne is head of research at a computer security firm. >> they are quite literally holding data to ransom on your computer and demanding that you pay money to get access to your data once more. >> reporter: a los angeles medical center hit last month paid $17,000 to get its system going again. a short time later similar attacks on hospitals in canada and just last week in kentucky and two more in southern california. james trainor, the fbi's top cyber crime official, says it's spreading.
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>> last year 2015 we saw a big uptick and the first quarter of 2016 very aggressive targeting of this critical sector. >> reporter: the fbi urges victims not to pay the ransom, advice many find hard to follow. pete williams, nbc news, washington. another of the four americans killed in the brussels terror attacks has been identified. gail martinez of texas was traveling with her husband, an air force officer and their four children when she was mortally wounded in the airport blast. one american victim has yet to be identified. meanwhile, as our keir simmons reports, new evidence recovered from the attackers suggest the isis target list might include world leaders. tonight, a new look at the devastation inside brussels airport, an explosion at the check-in desk. the second suicide bomber's blood on the floor and this is where the third bomb blew up after the airport was evacuated. but were the isis terrorists also planning to target a european head of
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state? the "new york times" citing a government official tonight reporting the men behind the brussels' bombings had a floor plan and photograph of the belgian prime minister's office. they were found on ibrahim el bakraoui's laptop computer left in a trash can, the prime minister's office not far from the bombed metro station and that's not the only key location nearby. that's the entrance to the office of the belgian prime minister. this is equivalent to the white house right on the street, and just half a block away the u.s. embassy. during the paris massacre a soccer match attended by the french president was interrupted by the sound of suicide bombers. one had tried to get into the stadium. days later germany's police cancelled the game hosted by their leader angela merkel. >> this is a group that has wild aspirations and ambitions, one that can realize them is a different matter. >> reporter: and tonight french officials revealing an arsenal found in a raid last week on a suspect they say was
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planning an imminent attack, almost three pounds of explosives, thousands of ball bearings, the exact target unknown. lester? >> keir simmons, thank you. a new report, the first of its kind, is rating the safety of headlights on some of the most popular cars on the road with some surprising results. many of the most expensive cars did the worst and all but one failed to be rated good. nbc's miguel almaguer shed some light on results all drivers should hear. >> reporter: with nearly half of all traffic accidents occurring in the dark, tonight a study about headlights by the insurance institute for highway safety, shining a new light on a dark danger, raising concern for allen and nancy hinabush. >> i haven't thought that much about headlights. >> reporter: the institute studied 31 2016 mid-sized vehicles. the toyota prius v with l.e.d. lights and high-beam assist were the only car to rank good and 20 other vehicles are
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acceptable or marginal, one-third ranked poor. the most expensive doing the worst. >> the worst vehicle only lights up the road about 130 feet down the road compared to the best performing vehicle which can see 400 feet down the road. >> reporter: the study found many headlights are for style, not safety. the prius v and the bmw 3 series side by side. the toyota lighting up the fence. in this example the bmw failed to illuminate a mannequin and deer. a night-and-day difference from the prius. automakers say they are within federal guidelines. bmw and mercedes disappointed in the results of the study and confident in their lighting. government standards allow for a wide variation in head light illumination, mostly because the government hasn't been able to keep up with technology. experts say consumers need to do their own homework. >> spending over $50,000 for a car with expensive headlamps and you find the performance is not good, that's a little bit disappointing.
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>> reporter: for shoppers like the hinabushes no longer just kicking the tires but not also flashing the headlights. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. there's a lot more to tell you about here tonight, your biological clock. how much time is left on it? a simple test telling women how long they can wait to get pregnant. also, prince william to the rescue. an accident victim gets quite a surprise when he realizes who flew in to help.
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it's a question
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that can keep many women up at night, whether there's still enough time to have a baby, but now more women are using an easy test that can take all the guesswork out of how much time is left on their biological clocks. nbc's janet shamlian explains. >> there we go. >> reporter: it's a simple blood test, but for heather and rob it will tell them how long they can wait to have another child. >> our daughter talks to her baby dolls like they are siblings, and we're going to try to give her a real one. >> reporter: that blood test nicknamed the baby deadline test is like a checkup for the ovaries. it used to be for women already struggling to get pregnant. it's now being used to predict infertility problems. >> one of the toughest conversations i have every day are for patients who have waited truly too long. >> reporter: born with 2 million eggs, by age 30 a woman's ovary reserve will decrease 90% and the test measures a hormone released by the remaining eggs to determine the quantity left though not the quality. for alissa gold it was
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a difficult wake-up call. she took the test at 34, before starting business school. >> i had gone into it just thinking this is going to be really easy breezy and, you know, i'm great and i'm in good health, and my results were really below normal. >> reporter: so she froze her eggs. gold is now 38, married and thinking of starting a family. with a recent career change, 34-year-old heather wants to know whether she can wait. >> your amh level is in the top 5% to 10% of all women in your age group. >> that's fantastic. >> yeah. >> i'm really -- >> wow. >> reporter: will you put off having a second child knowing that, you know, you've got time? >> we may give it a go now, but it's nice to know that we have more time if our first go doesn't go. >> reporter: a window into a woman's fertility for those trying to beat the biological clock. >> good job. >> reporter: janet shamlian, nbc news, norwalk, connecticut. and we're back in a moment with a warning about something that most of us do every day which
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may increase the risk of dying early.
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the white house announced today president obama is commuting the prison sentences of 61 people serving time for drug-related offenses. most are nonviolent offenders. more than a third of them were serving life behind bars. the president has now made a total of 248 commutations. that's more than the past six presidents combined. now to some bad news, but you may not want to sit down for it. a new study finds that sitting too much can increase the risk of early death. researchers looked at 54 countries, and they found the average sitting time is nearly five hours a day. the study found that cutting the time by just half an hour per day could have a significant impact. the expert known as the voice of calm after disaster is leaving her post. seismologist lucy jones was honored today for serving 33 years at the u.s. geological survey. known as the earthquake lady, jones is a familiar face in california.
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millions turn to her for information after a quake. there she is in 1992 giving a live interview with her son in her arms after one of the strongest quakes in california history. when we come back here, royal rescue. a man nearly misses the fact that his first responder happened to be the future king of england. coun. ===r/takeo=== what ock tnd
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amou of aentio===nt clo===theew. ==ravo==our eakinn finally tonight, a story about a british man who recently had a brush with royalty, and he nearly didn't realize it was happening, but as our rehema ellis explains, he had a very good excuse. >> reporter: this man on the stretcher got two surprises recently. he was knocked unconscious and look closely to the right side of the picture. the rescue worker in the glasses holding the man's head is the future king of england, prince william. >> at that point i didn't realize it was him. >> reporter: today on british television jim with his arm in a sling explained he was still reeling from medication after being hit by a tree branch and didn't know who
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was on the rescue team. >> it wasn't until they were actually loading me into the helicopter and i said oh, willsie better not be flying this thing. >> reporter: but he was, and the prince told him he had been holding his head for 30 minutes hemp's been a pilot for years. >> doing a job like this is worthwhile, valuable and to me it there isn't anything better. >> reporter: this comes at a perfect time for the president. he and his wife kate have been royally criticized for attending less official engagements than his 89-year-old grandmother, the queen, but this working man has a different view. >> he's doing a good normal man's job. >> reporter: he has high hopes if the prince will check up on him but after being this close to royalty, he says even a text would be nice. rehema ellis, nbc news, london. and that will do it for us on this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news. thank you for watching and good night.
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nbc bay area news begins with breaking news. >> our breaking news stemming from the stanford campus, guilty on all counts. a former swimming star finds out his fate in a high-profile rape case. good evening, and thanks for joining us. >> he was set for stardom at stanford. instead, a former swimmer could be headed to prison. just an hour ago we learned that brock turner was found guilty of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman on campus outside of a fraternity house. nbc bay area's scott budman is live at the courthouse with reaction to today's verdict.
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>> reporter: yeah, ves jessica, former stanford student brock turner found guilty on all charges of sexual assault just about an hour ago. the jury today heard testimony from a sexual assault response team nurse along with a stanford university student who said he saw turner on top of a woman who was not moving. the assistant district attorney says the victim feels vindicated by today's jury decision. >> as you can imagine, this has been a very traumatic experience of her, not just going through it, but reliving the night in court twice. she broke down upon hearing the verdict, but she feels validated that finally her voice has been heard. >> reporter: brock turner left the courtroom today with his parents. he department speid not speak t outside. we have been told that sentencing in the case will be the 2nd of june. turner faces up to ten years in prison. palo alto, scott budman, bay area news. what a difference a year makes. on the left, the snow survey

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