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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 11, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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recording of two black holes colliding a billion miles away. it sounded like a chirp. they say space and time are able to bend and stretch. coldest air of the season. al roker is here warning of a dangerous. 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 back, speaking out and wondering why the captain sailed right into a ferocious storm. "nightly news" begins
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right now. >> 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 that has captivated the nation's attention for weeks has reach aid dramatic conclusion. in the woods of oregon, the final anti-government protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge have surrendered to the fbi. it comes after tense all-night negotiations heard live by tens of thousands of people across the country who listened to every heart-stopping moment play out. nbc's 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 will die a free man. >> reporter: before finally, peacefully
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giving up. >> if everybody said hallelujah, i'll come out. >> he ate a cookie, asked everyone to say hallelujah. when they said hallelujah, he came out. >> reporter: the fbi closed in on the occupiers last night, a dramatic development that was also live-streamed with tens of thousands listening. >> come out with your hands up. >> no, we're not! you're going to have to kill us! >> let's be clear. armed occupation of federal property is a crime. it is not a peaceful protest. >> among those negotiating with the group, reverend franklin graham, and assemblywoman michele fiore. armed militants took over the malheur national 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 arrested, including ammon and ryan bundy. last night, their father, cliven bundy, was also taken into
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custody after landing at the portland airport. he was not part of the occupation. rather, his arrest stems from an armed standoff with law enforcement two years ago in nevada, a battle over unpaid grazing fee. now bundy faces several charges and joins his sons behind bars. well, the occupation is over. the refuge will still be closed for weeks. the sheriff calls it a crime scene. the fbi says 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 criminal battle under way for african-american votes in south carolina. the february 27th democratic primary there will be bernie sanders' first test in the south, and before a large number of black voters. today clinton, who polls show holds a substantial lead among black voters, got an important shot in the arm from a civil rights icon, who to
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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. >> let's talk about issues. >> reporter: 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, but it was civil rights icon 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 rides, but i met hillary clinton. i met president clinton. >> reporter: the sanders campaign responding, bernie is a great admirer of congressmanewis and drawing a sharp contrast today, releasing this endorsement video featuring the young daughter of eric garner, who died after police put him in a choke hold in 2014. >> to go up against
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the criminal justice system, that's why i'm for bernie. >> reporter: all underscoring the importance of the african-american vote, key to winning states like south carolina, where clinton leads sanders among african-americans. 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. >> and you don't think president obama has successfully closed that gap? >> no, i don't. i mean i think he has made the effort, but i think what we need -- 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'd be giving leadership lectures to president obama is absurd. >> reporter: our latest poll shows president obama's
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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 demes, 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 credentials. 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, so i can't get another country. >> it's a risky move, though, matt, in this economy, quitting your job to come out and campaign. >> the economy in iowa is not bad. i'll go back to iowa
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and go back to work but try and help ted win here first. >> reporter: wells part of the organization cruz is depending on. making some 25,000 phone calls a day to topple trump here like he did in iowa. >> in 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. >> 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. >> i see what's happening. 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 ]. >> reporter: the bloomberg focus group found. >> it's crass. it's not professional. >> it's not how you want your president of
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the united states -- >> i mean you turn on the tv. you have a leading president al candidate saying profanity from a stage. >> reporter: marco rubio and jeb bush meanwhile taking shots the at front-runners. >> how do you think donald trump going to washington is going to solve anything? >> 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. reports of nasty new robocalls. in a 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. 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 details. >> it will be a potentially deadly weather coming in. the polar vortex as
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you said always there. the next couple of days, it's going to shift over to the northern atlantic. the jet stream dips to the south, and 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. 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. >> 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.
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but u.s. olympic officials are taking their own precautions as we hear more from a star athlete casting doubt on whether she'll compete. and 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, warned the head of 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. >> reporter: the soccer teams will compete in areas even
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more vulnerable to zika than the olympic headquarters in rio. one stadium is near the amazon rainforest. another in an area where the number of zika cases are especially high. >> i don't think the soccer venue should be so close to the rainforest where there's more mosquitos. 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 medalist kerry walsh jennings. >> we will be awaiting to hear what kind of steps are going to be taken to make sure everything is safe and secure. >> reporter: with women making ip half the american team, the count down to the olympics is on. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. a california utility company now says it has finally stopped the leak from a ruptured well that has been spewing massive amounts of natural gas into the air near los angeles,
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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 wart 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 airstrikes is clearing the way so syrian troops are advancing and destroying the city in the process.
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activists known as the white helmets dig through the rubble for survivors. they provided us with this footage to show us what 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 will lose all the war. >> so the russian involvement changed the game? >> yes. you can say this. absolutely. they changed everything. >> reporter: aid agencies say 70,000 people have already escaped aleppo in the last few weeks. the syrian army is closing in, so panic is spreading in aleppo that the regime plans to starve the city into sub mission. it's a tactic they've used in other places. >> that's why we are saying this to you, we need help. >> what kind of help do you need? what are you looking for? >> now we need just to stop the russians --
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>> >> we don't have any -- they're just helping aassad forces in killing us. >> reporter: the u.n. says 300,000 people are still stranded inside aleppo and fears that an unprecedented wave of refugees may be leaving the city in the next few days. making the world's worst refugee crisis far worse. richard engel, nbc news, new york. >> there is a lot more to tell you about. still ahead, new details about that nightmare cruise. we hear first hand from those only board as 30-foot waves battered the ship. one newlywed says she feared she'd die on her honeymoon. also they could be the first astronauts on mars, and they're still room on the team if you have the right stuff. we'll tell you about it when we come back.
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we are back now with the passengers thankful to be back on dry land avenue one person called a cruise from hell. their cruise rocked by hurricane force winds and 30 foot waves. many wondering why the ship set sail with that storm coming in the first place. nbc's janet shamlian has details. >> reporter: passengers describe it as terrifying. the chaotic hours, the anthem of the seas sailed in the middle of a massive storm. >> i just thought, wow, this is it. i'm going to die.
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i'm going to be drowning in the ocean. it was very scary. >> lee writhe was on her honey money. kyle le vehicle was with his mom. >> do you question the cruise line's judgment? >> absolutely. >> royal caribbean said the storm became worse than predicted. two days before the cruise even started, the national weather service you shoulded a warning predicting waves as high as 31 feet in the same area anthem battled the storm. >> this is a system that was well forecast days in advance, and there were even hurricane wind warnings out the day that the cruise ship left for the area where they hit those hurricane force winds. >> reporter: passengers say the ship felt like it was tilting from 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. >> probably the scariest day of my entire life. >> reporter: tonight the ntsb is part of the investigation into what happened, and the coast guard reports the ship needs more
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repair before it can sail again. royal caribbean says 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 credits for a future cruise, few regret this vacation is over. >> i'm just very grateful that 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 final been proven right. next at 6: the fate of an
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apartment building threatened by crumbling cliffs. ===jess/vo=== a new expert weighs in with different and potentially good news for families. ===raj/vo=== plus, "no vacancy." it's tough to crack the bay blame.ousing market. who's to ===next close=== next. ==take sot==n dian's p: we're not going to ge up finally tonight, a help wanted sign of sorts that's getting an astronomical number of applicants. nasa is hiring its next generation of astronauts, the first new class in four years, and some could ultimately be bound for mars.
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nbc's tom costello has more from johnson space center in houston. >> reporter: for nearly 60 years, they've been america's heroes. >> that's one small step for man. >> reporter: the men and women with the right stuff. now, nasa's next generation is suiting up. jessica mear, ph.d. in marine biology, astronaut class of 2013. in your dream world, do you think about what kind of a mission you would love? >> i think i'd like to go back to the moon. that would be a great first step to getting to mars eventually as well. >> reporter: today, she is in the water, training for a mission to the space station. it's one of the biggest indoor pools in the world, the equivalent of 60 olympic pools, deep enough to hold 6 million gallons of water and every new astronaut will spend considerable time here getting wet. >> i'm the first person to be alone on an entire planet. >> reporter: the movie "the martian" has
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rekindled the public's fascination with mars, but a real mission could be 20 years away, nasa is now accepting applicatio applications. certainly good communications skills, the ability to work successfully on a team both as a leader and a follower. >> reporter: critical since a mars mission could last two to three years. would you want to go camping with somebody that 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. >> to get to that phase where we can send people there and bring them back safely, i'd be up for it. >> reporter: two to three years far from home. for some, the stuff dreams are made of. tom costello, nbc news, houston. that will do it for us on this thursday night.
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i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. runs ==raj/vo== human remains fond gilroy. poli say they don't belong to we're never going to give up looking for sarah. >> human remains found in gillroy. police say they don't belong to sierra lamar. but the prosecutor on the case was still on the scene. good evening and thanks for being with us. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. those remains were found yesterday. since then -- damian trujillo
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was the only reporter there when that prosecutor arrived. >> caller: jessica, david boyd spent about an hour here at the scene. a half hour up with investigators. then he wanted to go down and look at those remains down in a ravine area. he was here for a good hour. meanwhile, the sierra lamar search team says they remain undeterred. doug hollis wanted to see for himself. he came to the crime scene to see if the remains found in this gillroy ditch were those of sierra lamar. she's a 15-year-old who police was kidnapped and murdered in 2012 while on her way to school in morgan hill. deputies told doug hollis the remains were not sierra lamar. >> it's a little bit of a relief. but then yet again, you still have hope. and we're never going to give up looking for sierra until we bring her home. >> reporter: but in an unusual twist, the prosecutor in the sierra lamar


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