tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 4, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
3,500 feet. positive news. "nbc nightly news" is coming up next. more local news at 6:00. >> see you then. on this saturday night, new threats from the extremist group responsible for the massacre at a university. an incredible story of survival from a young woman who hid from the attackers. daring rescue after an rv becomes engulfed in flames. tonight, the good samaritans who jumped in to save those trapped inside. water for sale. california's drought has gotten so bad they're now paying big bucks for water, forcing some farmers to choose between crops and cash. thin line. a controversial measure that would ban super skinny models in the fashion capital of the world. and help from above. shepherds in the sky protecting one of the world's oldest creatures from the threat of poachers. this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt.
substituting tonight peter alexander. good evening. just days after storming a university campus killing 148 people, most of them students, the somali terror group behind this week's deadly assault in kenya is threatening a long gruesome war. the islamic extremist group al shabaab today warning kenyan cities will run red with blood. that threat coming as that country's president is vowing a fierce response. the victims were singled out because they were christian. and tonight for the first time we're hearing how one young survivor escaped the carnage. we begin tonight with nbc's bill neely in nairobi. >> reporter: after the shock, anger. relatives fighting at a mortuary desperate to see if their brother was among the dead. they soon find out. another victim of kenya's massacre identified. for nearly 150 families this is agony. and this is the third day.
kenya is on high alert fearing another attack, arresting five suspects in connection with the killings. to add to the pain of the bereaved, the somali based al shabaab terror group that did this has once again threatened kenya with more attacks and with a long war. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: like the massacre itself, al shabaab says this is retaliation for kenya's war on islamists in somalia. kenya's president, who dismissed fears of an attack before it happened, is under fire. >> we shall employ all means at our disposal to bring the perpetrators to justice. >> reporter: one survivor emerged today after hiding in a closet for two days terrified the gunmen were still killing. near the site of the massacre anger at a government many kenyans believe is failing to stop islamist attacks. the surviving students left their university town, many vowing never to return. >> i'll never come
back to garissa university. what i saw scared me. >> reporter: some had seen friends shot, christians singled out for murder by the four gunmen. tonight, they arrived in the capital nairobi to be reunited with their parents. some still traumatized. the ordeal they had survived written on their faces. >> a friend of mine, i used to pray with him every morning, he was killed when he was going to pray. then others also shot when they were praying. >> reporter: one student had been shot twice. and you saw everything. >> i saw everything. the gunmen, i saw them. >> reporter: they were wounded. they were witnesses to mass murder. it is a national trauma, but for these survivors it's a personal horror. bill neely, nbc news, nairobi. tonight there are concerns about home grown terror in this country, what appears to be a growing number of americans looking to join the terror group isis.
the latest case involves a philadelphia mother of two. nbc's ron allen has our report. >> reporter: keonna thomas stood in court only her eyes visible, the 30-year-old philadelphia mother of two accused of planning to travel to turkey and then syria willing to fight and die for isis. that would be amazing, a girl can only wish. she allegedly messaged an isis fighter. thomas, whose home displayed american flags, had purchased an airline ticket days before her arrest according to prosecutors. but now she's among at least 25 americans charged with supporting isis. how dangerous is what we've been seeing, do you think? >> i think that you can't answer that question how dangerous it is. i would say that there's a heightened level of attention by the authorities. i think what they're really trying to say is there's a danger and we're paying attention to it. >> reporter: earlier in the week noelle, 28 and asia siddiqui, 31, faced a new york judge. the two women accused of plotting to build bombs in the u.s. court documents say
noelle told an fbi agent she didn't understand why people were traveling overseas to wage jihad when there were more opportunities of pleasing allah in the united states. >> it's a scary feeling, yeah, especially when you have children. it's a scary feeling. >> reporter: court papers say their homes contain gas tanks, a pressure cooker, recipes for bomb making. and she'd been obsessed with pressure cookers since the boston marathon attacks in 2013. >> i know it's a serious case, but we're going to fight it out in court. >> reporter: thursday authorities indicted an army national guard soldier and his cousin for allegedly supporting isis. guard specialist hasan edmunds, arrested as he was about to board a plane from chicago bound for the middle east. and jonas edmunds accused of planning to attack a military facility using his cousin's uniform as a disguise. relatives have spoken out against the
allegations. as the u.s.-led coalition launched more air strikes against isis today, the battle continues against new recruits here at home. ron allen, nbc news, new york. in florida tonight two people are alive this evening thanks to a daring rescue by some quick thinking good samaritan. they sprang into action saving a mother and her daughter who were trapped inside a burning rv. here's nbc's kerry sanders. >> get your car off of it! >> reporter: an rv engulfed in flames on the side of a florida highway. ross thompson, known to locals as the rv doctor, just happened to be driving by. his son capturing the drama as it unfolded. >> i looked over and i saw there was a car attached to it. i was concerned saw one man running around the outside, so i didn't think there was anybody else there because it was so engulfed. >> reporter: but the driver wasn't alone. two were still trapped inside. >> i noticed when i was yelling there was a foot sticking out the back window. so i stopped, we ran across, right away we ran up to the back window. >> reporter: with the fire blocking the exit to the front door, thompson along with the help of another good samaritan pulled
the two passengers to safety, a mother and daughter. >> anybody else? >> certainly appreciate his help. >> reporter: turns out joe riley was driving the rv. he along with those rescued passengers were en route to michigan when the flames inexplicably erupted. >> it seemed like the tire was on fire ignited almost within milliseconds. the flames came up, i ran out the door with the fire extinguisher trying to put the tire out and i got burnt all over. >> reporter: fears were it would get a lot worse. flames working their way towards a 100-pound propane tank. >> i was yelling at people to get away. >> reporter: fortunately the fire was put out before another disaster unfolded. >> that tank blew it would have been a lot worse. >> i'm just glad i was there. >> reporter: but for the three survivors who escaped, nothing but thanks that strangers passing by did more than just watch. kerry sanders, nbc news, miami. faced with a punishing drought, water agencies in
southern california are now offering to buy water from farmers in the northern part of the state. that's presenting them with a unique dilemma, should they keep growing their crops or cash-in? nbc's hallie jackson explains. >> reporter: this dust will turn to mud in a couple weeks when charlie matthews floods his rice fields with millions of gallons of water. but some of his fellow farmers may stay dry. choosing instead to sell their water south for more money than they'd make growing rice. doesn't this create an interesting dilemma for you? are you a water seller or a rice farmer? >> we're primarily want to be a rice farmer, but in order to be a rice farmer, we have to have the water. >> reporter: matthews took us to the reservoir supplying his northern california district, which just struck a deal to sell some of its water to the los angeles area. not an easy decision for him, but he says a necessary one. >> if we don't find a way for the people in the south to get water when they desperately need it, we're afraid they'll change our
water rights. so if we don't sell it to them, they'll find a way to take it. >> reporter: farmers like matthews stand to make $700 an acre foot by not farming some land and selling allocated water 400 miles south to jeffrey's district. give me some context there. >> this is two and a half times more the normal market rate for water this year. >> reporter: his metropolitan water district imports two-thirds of its water from central and northern california. >> that is water-rich territory. and here's the people-rich territory. and we're trying to match the two up. >> reporter: but some folks worry that's a short-sided solution that could eventually leave northern reservoirs high and even drier. >> we have drought conditions here as well. somehow there's this belief that they're not going to drain it. like there's so much water up here that they can't possibly destroy it. >> reporter: this year with the drought so bad northern california farmers may have to call off their deals any way if the low snow pack and
recent heat waves mean they don't get the water they need for any of their crops. >> even a small amount of water may just evaporate. >> reporter: still, with no end in sight. >> there's 2,000 rice growers, there's 38 million other folks in california. we want to make sure we get along with the 38 million. >> reporter: water for sale, a strategy for survival. hallie jackson, nbc news, marysville, california. fidel castro made a rare public appearance in cuba, his first in more than a year. state-run media showed photos today of the former president who's now 88 greeting a delegation of venezuelans through the window of his vehicle this week. it's castro's first known appearance outside his home since relations improved between cuba and the u.s. next week president obama and president raul castro are expected to meet in person at the summit of the americas. we have more tonight on this week's historic agreement between the u.s., its allies and iran. it took 18 months to hammer out the deal designed to limit iran's nuclear capabilities. but for president obama that may have
been the easy part. the challenge now making the hard sell to skeptical members of congress including many democrats. nbc's john yang is at the white house for us tonight. john, how do they plan to get critics on board? >> reporter: well, peter, white house officials tell me we should expect to hear a lot from all corners of the administration in the coming days including tomorrow from the president himself. today, mr. obama sat down with "new york times" columnist thomas freidman, who's the middle east expert. officials here appear to realize they do have a lot of selling to do, but they say they're confident that the facts are on the president's side. they believe the democrats are skeptical while the talks were going on will have a different reaction now that there are details to look at. as one official told me, the closer you look at the deal, the more you'll like it. they're arranging classified briefings for lawmakers when congress returns in a couple of weeks. peter. >> john, you say the white house is confident, but what gives them so much confidence they can turn these lawmakers around? >> reporter: well, in
particular they think that the scientific details of this deal are what's going to turn this around. and to sell that they're counting on energy secretary ernest moniz, a little-known member of the cabinet with a much-noticed head of hair. he's one of the world's top nuclear physicists and officials say he played a pivotal role in negotiating this deal in switzerland going up against iran's experts. back here in washington administration officials hope he'll be just as influential dealing with members of congress. peter. >> all right, john. thank you very much. of course chuck todd will have much more tomorrow on "meet the press" when he speaks with israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu. france is famous for its fashion and now it's taking a bold stand on how the industry presents itself. lawmakers have approved a measure that would ban ultraskinny models from the runway. here's nbc's kelly cobiella.
>> reporter: from runways to fashion spreads, thin has always been in. but in france the picture of haute couture may be about to change. french lawmakers have approved a measure to make hiring a model deemed underweight a crime. the politician behind it said models are under ever-increasing pressure to be thinner. the move is meant to protect women like french model isabelle caro, and ana carlina reston, both died and both were severely under weight. victoria quit modeling after her agent told her it was good to be almost anorexic. she says the skinnier you are the more work you get. the french law would require models to prove they have a healthy body mass index to get a job. a 5'7" model would have to weigh at least 121 pounds. anyone who hires an underweight model could face six months in prison and an $80,000 fine. >> how could it not be a good thing that people come down a runway who look more like people that we
can relate to, that women can relate to especially. >> reporter: do you think they're too skinny? >> too, too, too skinny. not reality. >> if that's the norm, then young girls think they would have to be that. >> reporter: not everyone agrees. in my opinion says one head of a modeling agency, there's no problem with the size of models. these girls are tall and thin and young. israel passed a similar law in 2013. models in spain and italy follow voluntary codes of conduct. the french law would be the toughest yet, even requiring magazines to disclose when a model is made thinner with photoshop. the measure goes to another vote next week. and soon the french runway could have a new, slightly fuller look. kelly cobiella, nbc news, london. when "nightly news" continues on this saturday, how modern technology could hold the key for one of the world's oldest creatures now fighting for survival. and later, a program that's bringing a dose of happiness to children
they're among the world's most endangered species. rhinos are being killed by poachers in africa at an alarming rate. the black rhino in particular is facing the highest risk of extinction. but now a team of scientists here in the u.s. is exploring a new way to stop poachers in their tracks from the air. our chief
environmental affairs correspondent anne thompson has our report. >> reporter: weighing up to 8,000 pounds, the powerful rhinoceros can trace its lineage back 55 million years. but preserving the rhino's future may depend on 21st century technology. drones, those unmanned aircraft. can i pick this up? >> you can pick this up. >> reporter: oh, my gosh, it's so light. what dr. thomas snitch and a team at the university of maryland think will protect rhinos from deadly poachers in southern africa. >> in the past six months where we've been operating in africa we've arrested a lot of poachers there's not been one single gunshot. >> reporter: africa is a vast continent. poachers use its size and cover of night to their advantage. but in this test program drones like this armed with infrared cameras act as shepherds in the sky to spot poachers. how do you decide where to fly the drone? >> i don't decide. the computer decides. >> reporter: and that's the key. their innovative technology crunches data about where the rhinos eat, drink and mate, to predict where
the poachers will strike. >> every rhino taken in this area was killed within 160 meters of this road. >> reporter: the drones are launched from a mobile command center. they send back live video, which is used to deploy rangers to intercept the poachers. the stakes couldn't be higher. >> we're in the middle of a poaching crisis, and it is a crisis. >> reporter: the world wildlife fund says in 2007, 62 rhinos were killed in africa. last year the number jumped to nearly 1,300. fueled by an insatiable demand in east asia for rhino horn, rumored to kill everything from cancer to a hangover. one horn can go for as much as $250,000 on the black market. >> this is a global problem and it needs global solutions. >> reporter: now a group called air shepherd is partnering with dr. snitch to raise money so african game reserves and parks can use this technology to help one of nature's oldest and most fascinating creatures survive for millions of years to come. anne thompson, nbc news, college park,
some early risers were in for a rare treat this morning getting a glimpse of a so-called blood moon. the moon took on a reddish glow like you see thanks to a total lunar eclipse. stargazers, they had to work quick. it lasted just under five minutes, making it the shortest lunar eclipse this century.
tonight, millions of sports fans will be glued to their screens as the undefeated kentucky wildcats try to claim a spot in the ncaa national championship game to be played monday night. with two more wins the wildcats would seal a perfect season. the first men's college basketball team to do that in 39 years. still is not the only school on an unforgettable win streak. as "the wall street journal" first pointed out, trinity college squash team has gone 252 straight matches without a loss. texas wesleyan table tennis has won last 11 national championships. don't forget boise state speech and debate team, they are fierce, the so-called talking broncos just argued their way to a third straight national title. someone who hasn't been at the top of his game in a while is tiger woods. despite dropping out of golf's top 100 for the first time in almost two decades, woods announced that he will play in the masters next week. the former world number one looking to capture his fifth masters title, a tournament that he
>> reporter: young voices and a joyful sound in a place where happiness can sometimes be hard to find. these children are in music therapy at the jackson pediatric center in miami. all playing instruments donated by lifelong musician corey bergman who heads the ukulele kids club. >> it's a fun club. it's not a sad club. we aren't curing any diseases, we're just making everybody feel good. >> reporter: to help heal himself after his son died from a viral disease, he began playing guitar at childrens hospitals but soon realized a small ukulele is a better fit for kids stuck in bed. >> you can't help but smile or laugh when you hear this instrument. >> reporter: with help from donations, he and his wife have given 500 ukuleles to kids and teens for music therapy in more than 85 hospitals around the country. >> that's kind of cool. i've never had like an
instrument like that. so it's cool. >> reporter: stephanie epstein, a music therapist at holt's children hospital loves the ukuleles and music's proven ability to make smile. >> they become children again. they're not a patient in a hospital. they're not a patient with cancer. >> reporter: 8-year-old isabella perez is so good with her ukulele now that she can teach others to play her favorite selena gomez song. >> a minor, c, f, c. >> okay. >> a minor, c, f, c. >> reporter: okay, let's do. ♪ >> reporter: and just like that the hospital melts away for a moment of joy and magic for her and her friends in the ukulele kids club. mark potter, nbc news, miami. >> that's some good music. that's "nbc nightly
news" for this saturday. i'm peter alexander reporting from new york. for all of us here at nbc news, have a good night. nbc bay area news starts now. right now, at 6:00 watching the skies for our next chance of rain folks, it's coming. a look at the golden gate bridge, overcast skies right now. and desperately needed snow on
the way to the sierra. good evening, i'm terry mcsweeney. good evening, this comes after the governor announced the historic water restrictions but it will not likely make a decision in our water supply. first, we want to check in with meteorologist rob mayeda who is watching this storm, what will we get? >> well right now we see the outer fringe of the clouds in the bay area with increasing clouds tonight and then as you get started on easter egg hunts tomorrow morning you may want to water proof the eggs a chance of scattered showers the rain comes out of the first of two systems, generally about a quarter of an inch for these spots, but winter-like driving conditions through midnight tomorrow. the snow levels down to 3500 feet. the storm develops as we get into monday and tuesday, gusty winds, 35 miles an hour gusts, a