tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC September 16, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT
tonight, gloves off. who is coming out swinging in round two of the republican debate. donald trump claiming he may tone it down. even as his rivals take aim for some of them tonight it is do or die. a false alarm. a muslim team cuffed at school. his home maid 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 gm with a fine over half a billion dollars for failing to disclose an ignition flaw that led to over 100 deaths. and no turning back. our journey to the inferno. a wildfire suddenly erupting all around and the only way to safety is through a gauntlet of flames. nightly news begins
right now. y is a 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 stage. this evening they are going at it in the second debate of the season, being held at the reagan presidential library in california. and there is growing sentiment this could be a make or break moment for some of them who are in desperate need of a breakout moment. to date donald trump has taken up most. oxygen in the race but even he's feeling heat from ben carson and base pd obd predebate jockeying, it could produce interesting moments. we are in semi valley, california. >> the gop undercard is under way. tonight's main event coming up. this time an 11 candidate face-off.
donald trump usually jabs his opponents but today hinted at pulling his punches. >> because we have to hit back hard. we have to fight hard. because we're not going to have a country. but, i think i could tone it down a little bit. >> his challengers vying for attention. rand paul upping the ante at a gun range with models. and all tonight in a showdown for 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 thouftful size. >> jeb bush has to fight hor candidacy and fight his way into the presidency. >> 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 won't get a third look. >> a bad performance could dry up donor dollars. >> the worse thing you can do is to strike out multiple times. just ask rick perry about that.
>> strategists say debates are divided by talking points but for listening for the best opportunity to strike. >> every debate where the big moment has happened, it always happens on the counter punch. >> like ronald reagan taking down jimmy carter in 1980. >> there you go again. >> and lloyd benson dismissing dan quayle in '88. >> senator, you're no jack kennedy. >> and this is expected to be a combative debate. and the stage and the podiums will be about 20 inches apart, half of the distance in the first debate and so if you want to make a point, you may whack the candidate standing next to you. and they are standing for nearly three hours and one bathroom break and that is enough time to tire you out, laster, and could cause interesting moments tonight. >> let's bring in moderator of "meet the press," chuck todd, for some of the stanley cup it could be make or break. who can't afford to have a bad or mediocre showing. >> i think it starts
with ben carson. this is the first time he is center stage. he is a cofront-runner with donald trump. how will he handle the bright lights. and so here he is. people are assessing him. is he the alternative to donald trump. he melted the first half of the last debate. he a good moment at the end. he admitted he had stage fright. and then rubio, paul and these guys are struggling with an important fundraising deadline at the end of the month. if they perform poorly, they might see money dry up. >> everybody has to be compelled to make some noise. >> they are. and i think trump will be an easy punching bag. if i'm jeb bush, i'm nervous that some candidates may flex their -- hay, i don't like washington either and therefore i don't like bush. using him as a foil as well. so i think bush and trump need to be prepared to take a lot of incoming tonight. >> chuck, thanks very
much. 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 somehow terribly twisting, leaving a muslim high school student handcuffed and humiliated over an innocent science project. janet shamlian has a story that touched off a national conversation. >> reporter: a high school freshman who dreams of being an in venter. 14-year-old ahmed mohamed took his home made digital clock to show his new engineering teacher. >> i took it to school to show my teacher this talent that i had. i went to show him. in my perspective, it didn't look like a bomb. >> but several teachers thought that is exactly what it looked like. police were called. the muslim student was handcuffed in the hallway. his sister tweeting this photo. later fingerprinted and questioned. >> i brought something to school that wasn't a threat to anyone. it didn't do anything
wrong. i just showed my teacher something and i end up getting arrested. >> it lit up the internet. the #, i stand with ahmed trending nationwide, with clocks in a show of solidarity. mark zuckerburg saying 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 who are muslim. >> tonight school officials are defending their actions. >> we were doing everything with an abundance of caution to protect all of our students. >> and police are denying that a nonmuslim student would have been treated any differently. >> that is a very suspicious device. we live in an age where you can't take things like that to school. >> he won't face charged.
still suspended in thursday, ahmed is planning to transfer schools. nbc news, houston. it was a car defect that led to the deaths of over 100 people and one the government said general motors knew of but kept to it self-for a very long time. tonight nbc news has learned gm has reached a major settlement with the feds over the faulty ignition switches. and our justice correspondent pete williams has late details. >> the agreement to be announced tomorrow settles charges that the company failed to obay 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 an the power steering and brakes, causing crashes. but prosecutors say the company knew about the problem for more than a decade before reporting it. gm has since determined that the
switches caused accidents that led to 14 deaths and 273 injuries. the family of this nursing student 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. >> 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. >> good morning gets credit for cooperating with federal prosecutors, reducing the potential fine. >> officials familiar with the case say no current or former gm
employees will be charged. separately 308 victims of the crashes caused by the faulty switches and family members have accepted compensation of gm of $1 million each. >> pete williams in washington, thank you. in europe, the crisis took an ugly turn as hungarian police turned teargas and water on refugees an migrants, including women and children desperate to cross the border. 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 rans and refugees are now stranded on the wrong side of the hungarian border, sealed off this week. dreams of a better life in western europe now blocked by hungarian riot police. today a group of young men tried to push
across the border. police pushed back. tempered flare and when bottles started to fly, the cops let loose the pepper spray and teargas. clouds of it. the frustration and disappointment that these people feel because they are not allowed to go further has now 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. i tried to keep her head up. leaning her against her back. it's clear she's pregnant. people carry her off to a mc-shift infirmary. aid workers try to help. but as she comes around, teargas wafted into the infirmary. volunteers take the woman outside. she can barely walk.
she's carried off for care. so are some of the children. hours later, we managed to find the woman again. smiling, reunited with her husband. her name is zav anab 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, 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. >> everything 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 though it is now 30% contained, the fire has spread to
70,000 acres. our nbc news team experienced the 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 dangerous 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 ferno leaping the road. >> there is no controlling it >> some fire crews press forward.
we sought safety with veteran firefighters like bill vieras. >> it sounds like a sucking sound that people describe it as a jet plane. >> so it is just pulling in air and kmum -- consuming the fuel. >> fire is shooting embers into the air and it is also the intense feet. and this is what we see another few feet, another inferno set to take off. raining embers sent firefighters scrambling, a vehicle catching fire. these are the epic conditions crews now face every day. >> reporter: and tonight, another extreme. we have had heavy rain here for the last several hours. that certainly is good news for this blaze. as for the flank of the fire that we were covering, it burned itself out and burned into an area that already had a burn scar. nine times out of ten we are following fire and this time it came to us. >> you really showed us what it is all about and what they face out there. miguel, thank you very
much. still ahead, a centuries old way of life in danger of being wiped off the plant. we take you to the northernmost point of america where a battle is being waged to keep a culture from melting away. and the tragedy grows from the flooding in the west. the discovery rescue crews made today in one of our national parks. e 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. live the regular life.
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of people 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 furthest northern tip. >> they are not just poet roling the coast, 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 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 living 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 oil profits from a nearby bay 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 forward 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. 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 spring hunting season. at the edge of town, marty martinson mans the northernmost outpost. 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 they 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 what looms 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 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 mistake on a football team's home turf. 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 to the vaccine.
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the death toll has grown 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. >> let's 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 athletic director called it an honest mistake.
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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 -- his name. but how do those principles compare to those in his legacy. here is andrea mitchell. >> it is the other republican 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 quip, not an attack said his son michael. >> he believed in the 11th commandment, thou
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 angry 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 and immigration. and while today they talk about building walls -- reagan enacted immigration reform. >> you solve a problem in the ronald reagan 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 with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace. andrea mitchell, nbc