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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 16, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

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update on breaking news, all lanes closed on the tacone bridge. tonight, gloves off. who is coming out swinging in round two of the debates. for some of them tonight it is do or die. a false alarm. a muslim team cuffed at school. his home made clock mistaken for a bomb. the case hitting a national nerve, everyone from mark zuckerburg to the president weighing in. breaking news, the fed slapping general motor with a fine over half a billion dollars to failing to disclose an ignition flaw that led to over 100 deaths. and no turning back, our journey to the inferno. a wildfire suddenly rerupting all around and the only way through safety ty is a
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gaunt let of flames. nightly news begins right now. good evening. tonight could be the last time the top republican presidential contenders need so big a statement. they are going at it in a debate at the reagan presidential library in california and there is a growing sense this could be a make or break moment for some of them that are in desperate need of a breakout moment. to date donald trump has taken up most of the oxygen in the case and he is feeling heat from ben carson and today's showdown could produce memorable moments. peter alexander is in simi valley, california. >> fighting to stay in the ring. the gop undercard is now underway. >> our goal is to have a true debate. >> the main event coming up.
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this time an 11 candidate face-off. donald trump usually jabs his opponents but today hinted at pulling the punches. >> we have to hit hard. but i think i could tone it down a little bit. >> his challengers vying for attention. some anteing up. and tonight connecting with a massive viewing audience. >> for trump, can he show that he has another speed. we know that he can be bombastic. can he show a more thoughtful side? >> jeb bush has to fight for candidacy and fight his way into the presidency. >> reporter: for some candidates, tonight could be do or die. >> the stakes are very high. people will get a second look over the course of a campaign once they have fallen. but they wone get a -- won't get a third look. >> a bad performance could dry up donor dollars. >> the worst thing you can do is strike out multiple times.
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just ask rick perry about that. >> it is about listening for the best opportunity to strike. >> every debate that you can think of where the big moment happens, it always happens on the counter punch. >> like reagan taking down jimmy carter in 1980. and lloyd benson dismissing dan quayle in '88. >> and this is expected to be a combative debate. the podiums will be about 20 inches apart. half of the distance apart they were in the first debate. that means if you want to make a point, you may whack the candidate standing next to you. and they will be standing for nearly three hours, allowed one bathroom break but that is enough time to tire you out and could cause interesting moments tonight. >> peter thanks. let's bring in chuck todd from "meet the press." it could be make or break tonight. who can't afford to have a bad showing.
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>> i think it starts front and center with ben carson. he is a cofront-runner with donald trump. that is somebody that the country is not familiar with. how will he handle the bright lights. here he is. people are assessing him. is he the interesting alternative to donald trump. he sort of melted in the first half of the last debate. he had a good moment at the end. he admitted he had stage freight. and then everybody else, scott walker, marco rubio and rand paul, a year ago we were talking about those guys as potential front-runner and they are struggling with an important end of the month deadline. they may see money dry up. >> everybody is compelling to make some noise. >> they are. and trump is an easy punching bag. if i'm jeb bush i'm worried that some might flex. and i don't like washington and therefore i don't like
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bush. so they need to be prepared to take a lot of incoming tonight. >> if you see something. >> say something. that is the mantra in this age of terror. but a troubling story out of texas. has many wondering whether the lines of vigilance and caution weren't terribly twisted, leaving a muslim high school student handcuffed and humiliated over a science project. janet shan lynn has the story that has touched off a national conversation. >> a high school student, ahmed mohamed took his home made digital clock to show his new engineering teacher. >> i took it to the teacher to show the talent i had and in my perspective it didn't look like a bomb but several teachers at macarthur high in irving, texas, thought it looked like. he was handcuffed in the hallway. his sister tweeted this photo. later fingerprinted and questioned. >> i brought something to school that wasn't
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a threat to anyone. i didn't do anything wrong. i just showed my teacher something and i end up getting arrested. >> reporter: the incident lit up the internet. the #i stand with ahmed. and the clock showing solidarity. mark zuckerburg showing if you want to come by facebook, i would love to meet you. and president obama issued this invitation. cool clock, ahmed. want to bring it to the white house. >> they went after this young man and treated him like a terrorist and we know what people think terrorists are. that they associate that with people that are muslim. >> reporter: tonight school officials are defending their actions. >> we were doing everything what an abundance of caution to protect all of our students. >> reporter: and police are denying that a nonmuslim student would be treated any differently. >> our reaction would have been the same. >> reporter: the ninth
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grader won't face charg charges. still suspended until thursday, he is planning to transfer schools. janet sham lynn, nbc news, houston. >> >> it was a car defect that led to the deaths of over 100 people and one gm knew of and kept to it self-for a very long time. tonight nbc news has learned that gm has reached a settlement with the feds over the faulty ignition switches and pete wiems has late detailed. >> nbc news has learned the agreement announced tomorrow settles charged that the company failed to obey federal laws requiring prompt disclosure of safety problems. last year gm began recalling 2.5 million cars with ignition switches that could suddenly shut off the engine, cutting off the power to the airbags and disabling the power steering and brakes, causing crashes. but prosecutors say the company knew about the problem for more than a decade before reporting it. good morning has since determined that the
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switches caused accidents that led to 124 deaths and 273 injuries. the family of nursing student sadie john sud saw who died in her chevy cobalt said it has been an ordeal. >> quite frankly, i just want this to be over. it is very painful. >> reporter: officials familiar with the settlement say gm will pay the government a fine of over half a billion dollars. that is far less than the $1.2 billion toyota paid last year for concealing acceleration problems in its cars. but officials say gm under the ceo mary barra has been cooperative with federal investigators, admitting that the company concealed the problem. >> repeatedly, individuals failed to disclose critical pieces of information that could have fundamentally changed the lives of those impacted by the faulty ignition switch. >> gm gets credit for cooperating with federal prosecutors, reducing the potential fine.
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>> reporter: officials familiar with the case say no current or former gm employees will be charged. separately 308 victims and family members have accepted compensation from gm of at least $1 million each. lester. >> pete williams in washington, thank you. in europe, the crisis took an ugly turn as hungarian police turned tier gas and water on migrants, including women and children desperate to cross the border. many escaped wars. all survived a long and dangerous journey to see the door to a better life violently slammed in her faces. richard engel was in the middle of it all today. >> reporter: they made it this far but got here too late. hundreds of might rants and refugees are now stranded on the wrong side of the hung -- hungary border. dreams of a better life in western europe blocked by riot police. today a group of young
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man tried to push across the border. police pushed back. tempers flares and when bottles started to fly, the cops let loose the pepper spray and teargas. clouds of it. the frustration and disappointment that the people feel because they are not allowed to go further has just boiled over. this woman just collapsed in front of me. this woman just collapsed. she is breathing. they are calling to bring her some water. she is breathing. she's waking up. she's waking up. whoa! i try to keep her head up. leaning her against her back. it's clear she's pregnant. people carry her off to a make-shift infirmary. aid workers try to help. but as she comes around, teargas came into the infirmary. volunteers take the woman outside.
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she can barely walk. she's carried off for care. so are some of the children. hours later, we manage to find the woman again. smiling, reunited with her husband. her name is zanib and she's 19 years old. her baby is due in two weeks. she told me her husband defected from the syrian army. if they go back, she said, he'll be executed. even if we wanted to go back, we don't have any money left. she said. i asked her how she felt before, in the gas? >> translator: efrpg was burning, she said. my eyes, my skin, my stomach was hurting. she doesn't remember falling. she's more worried about what happens next. no way forward, no money left. and a baby on the way. richard engel, nbc news, serbia. >> a difficult and heartbreaking story. in northern california, the so-called valley fire is a volatile force tonight, continuing to explode. and it is now 30% contained, the fire has now spread to more
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than 70,000 acres. our nbc news team experienced a ferociousness firsthand with firefighters when the flames reached incredible speeds. our national correspondent miguel almaguer is with crews on the ground. >> reporter: traveling out of middletown, we could see flames in the distance. but quickly without warning, we face a tunnel of fire. >> this fire has burned for several miles and it is still so intense. and there is so much brush in front of us, it looks like it will never end. it was too danger to turn back. burning debris was falling on the road. you could hear the fury. and feel the intensity. crews, who were just in front of us, tell us the flames are shooting at 40-50 miles per hour in some places. and even here in the vehicle you can feel the heat. >> everything became a blowtorch, an in furno on the road. >> no controlling it.
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>> reporter: some fire crews pass forward. we found safety with veteran firefighters like bill vieras. >> it sounds like a sucking sound that people describe as a jet plane. so it is just pulling in air and kmuming the fuel. >> reporter: the fire here is able to create its own weather. it is shooting embers into the air and creating intense feet. and we see another inferno set to take off. raining embers sent firefighters scramble. a vehicle catching fire. these are the epic conditions crews now face every day. and tonight another extreme. we've had heavy rain for the last several hours. that several is good news for the blaze. as for the flank of the fire that we were covering, it burned out and moved into an area that already had a burn scar. nine times out of ten we are following fire, this time it came to us. >> you really showed us what it is all about and what they face out there.
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miguel, thanks very much. and still ahead, a centuries old way of life in danger of being wiped off the planet. we take you to the northernmost area of the planet. and the tragedy grows in the flooding in the west. the discovery rescue crews made today in one of our national technology empowers us to achieve more. it pushes us to go further. special olympics has almost five million athletes in 170 countries. the microsoft cloud allows us to immediately be able to access information, wherever we are. information for an athlete's medical care, or information to track their personal best. with microsoft cloud, we save millions of man hours, and that's time that we can invest in our athletes and changing the world. that reminds me... anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea... ...gas, bloating? yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against occasional digestive issues. with three types of good bacteria.
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of world caught between the ways of the past and the challenges of the future. melting sea ice threatening to send their way of life into extinction. our cynthia mcfadden has the story. >> this is the furthere furthest northern tip. >> they are protecting a way of life. >> there is no costco up here so we eat off the land. >> down below, barrow, alaska is celebrating another successful whale hunt. some over 200 years old and 100 tons had harpooned, carved up and shared with the community. >> everybody gets fed. nobody goes hungry. >> whale has kept us alive for thousands of years. >> reporter: but can the beat that has echoed here for so long survive? >> that is a jaw of
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the whale. >> this whaling captain said climate change is making it harder to pull the massive whales out of the sea and changing the migration patterns of the caribou and the seal. >> we've been seeing it and we know our world is changing. >> earth that has been frozen forever, now melting. threatening their underground utilities. >> our community's sustainability is at risk. >> this whaling captain isn't just worried about the weather, he warned that nearby profits that have fueled this community are drying up. the alaska pipeline is running at a third of the capacity. >> you were growing up here and it was a lot rougher living, right? >> right. we didn't have running water. third world conditions. >> he and his wife laura are trying to move federal while holding on to tradition. >> that is a good caribou skin. 60% of the diet is caribou. >> being able to hunt is important because a gallon of milk costs over $10.
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and a case of pepsi is near $30. and the warming is getting worst. this past may was the warmest ever in barrow, in the middle of the hunting season. marty martinson mans the northernmost out pest. he said record co2 is driving the dramatic change. >> why is everything happening at two times the rate here than anywhere else in the world. >> if you melt the ice, you are not reflecting light and you are absorbing light and you add more heat and melt more ice. >> and less ice means fewer successful hunts. but through don't just need whales. they need cash. >> we're not asking for handouts. we just want to be heard and have some local input and local control. >> because it is a major gamble made possible by the melting ice could make this region rich for years, the off-shore drilling for oil. >> we still have lives
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to live and children to feed. >> but could it destroy their way of life forever. >> once you have an accident, there is no turning back. >> cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, barrow, alaska. we're back in a moment with a big what if one piece of kale could protect you from diabetes? what if one sit-up could prevent heart disease? one. wishful thinking, right? but there is one step you can take to help prevent another serious disease. pneumococcal pneumonia. if you are 50 or older, one dose of the prevnar 13® vaccine can help protect you from pneumococcal pneumonia, an illness that can cause coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and may even put you in the hospital. even if you have already been vaccinated with another pneumonia vaccine, prevnar 13® may help provide additional protection. prevnar 13® is used in adults 50 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia. you should not receive prevnar 13® if you have had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients. if you have a weakened immune system, you may have a lower response
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this bale of hay cannot be controlled. when a wildfire raged through elkhorn ranch, the sudden loss of pasture became a serious problem for a family business. faced with horses that needed feeding and a texas drought that sent hay prices soaring, the owners had to act fast. thankfully, mary miller banks with chase for business. and with greater financial clarity and a relationship built for the unexpected, she could control her cash flow, and keep the ranch running. chase for business. so you can own it.
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the death toll has growth to six in the flash flood that overcame a group of hikers in utah's zion national park. one is still missing after the rushing waters trapped the group in a canyon. another flash flood south of the park on monday killed at least 12 people from two families. want to tell you about a story in suburban chicago involving a high school football team trying to figure out if it can still play on the home turf after a big mistake. the company that maintains the field put weedkiller on the field instead of fertilizer and it didn't fare well. the anl lettic
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director called it a dramatic mistake. how do the candidates stack up against ronald reagan's legacy. i'm always there for my daughter. for the little things. and the big milestones. and just like i'm there for her, pacific life is there to help protect me and my family so i can enjoy all life's moments. pacific life. helping families for over 145 years achieve long-term financial security with lifelong retirement income. talk to a financial advisor today to grow your future with confidence. take the zantac it challenge! pill works fast? zantac works in as little as 30 minutes. nexium can take 24 hours. when heartburn strikes, take zantac for faster relief than nexium or your money back. take the zantac it challenge.
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the memory of former president ronald reagan is looming large over tonight's gop debate, taking place in the library that bears him name. but how do those principals compare to those in his leg aassy. here is andrea mitchell. >> it is the other race. the candidates racing to compare themselves to ronald reagan. >> he is somebody that i knew and liked and he liked me. >> i remember our wedding anniversary because it is ronald reagan's birthday. >> jeb bush undressed to show his reagan connection. >> reagan and bush. >> he was the great debater. >> i'm not going to exploit for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience. >> but he skewered his opponents with a self-deprecating quib, not an attack said his son michael. >> he believed thou
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shalt not talk ill of another republican. >> and donald trump is trying to make america great again. but reagan has the flip side of today's angory rhetoric. >> he said once, i hope history will say i tried to appeal to people's best instincts, not the worst fears. >> and reagan compromised on taxes ab immigration. and while today they talk about building walls -- reagan enacted immigration reform. >> you solve a problem in the ronald railg way with a wink and a nod and you get together and get things solved. >> reagan saw america as a shining sit on the hill. a country welcoming people in, not shutting them out. >> if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. >> in reagan's words, a shining city teaming
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with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. 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. tyra in tears. her new tv breakdown. >> now on "extra." >> tyra banks' surprise new confessions about her struggles to become a mom at 41. >> you just have no idea what people are going through.
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kylie jenner knocking big sister kick off her throne. >> why the youngest jenner is fast on her way to blowing kim's bank account out of the water. rosie o'donnell and tatum o'neal spotted on a secret lover's retreat? >> are they ready to only out as a couple? donald trump fired up for tonight's gop showdown. round two. >> i changed my flight plan so i jimmy fallon's new watch it. donald spoof. >> i cherish women. then carrie underwood's first words about accidentally locking her son in the car. >> i was like, they locked the door, they locked the door. >> "extra" with the new mom on her incredible post-baby slimdown. >> how do you do it? "extra" inside new york fashion week with proudly curvy serena williams. >> me, you know what, i'm not a stick. plus, does bravo's andy cohen have a thing for tracey? >> i love being spanked by powerful women. now, o

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