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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 3, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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t also authorize each other to use each other's debit or credit cards. >> that's no fun. >> thanks for joining us here at 5:00. lester holt is next. tonight, getting out alive. dozens of homes destroyed. thousands more threatened as families in california scramble to escape an unpredictable wildfire now double the size of san francisco. and in the south dramatic high-water rescues in an historic flood emergency. shake-up in the race for the white house. new details coming in about a potential run by the vice president. is he about to challenge hillary clinton? a call to action from cheed comedienne amy schumer. her emotional plea after a tragic shooting during a showing of her new movie and the powerful family member she's teaming up with. and what's in the water? one year out from the olympics, a troubling report about what lies beneath in rio. we're on the water with american athletes. is it safe? "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. right now fires are burning from one end of california to the other. the worst of them northwest of sacramento, where at least 24 homes are destroyed. 6,000 structures are threatened. and 13,000 people have been urged to gather up their belongings and head to safety. in all an incredible 9,000 firefighters are working more than 20 fires across the state. but the so-called rocky fire has proven the most dangerous and confounding, tripling in size over the weekend. nbc's joe fryer is there with the latest. >> reporter: good evening, lester. you can see we are surrounded by smoke from the rocky fire. 2,500 firefighters are now on the ground here, and we've heard from veterans who've been doing this 10, 20, even 30 years who say they have never seen a fire behave like this one.
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the villain of northern california is a massive agile wildfire that refuses to be contained. >> conditions that we're seeing on this fire are unprecedented. >> very much a challenge for firefighters to try to predict when you have such erratic winds, winds that are changing throughout the day, and that's always going to be something that we're concerned with. >> they call it a dirty burn. these are backfires that aren't quite finished yet. firefighters are intentionally lighting all this dry brush on fire. so if the big rocky fire comes over the hill, well, then there's nothing left to burn. >> reporter: with so much unpredictability -- >> i am scared. i really am scared. >> reporter: -- more than 13,000 people have been evacuated. >> they told us that this was an unprecedented fire. it was everywhere. huge. >> reporter: last thursday the fire perimeter looked like this. but over the weekend it tripled in size. the fire has now burned 94 square miles. that's almost the same size as california's capital, sacramento.
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time lapse video taken last night from a vineyard shows the fire huffing and puffing, flames and smoke growing with every passing minute. across california 9,000 firefighters are now battling more than 20 large wildfires. four years into the drought that's fueling these flames, there's hope an el nino winter will bring much-needed rain, but there's no guarantee. >> most of the rain that gets impacted by el nino falls in southern california but we really need it to fall in northern california where all of our reservoirs are. >> reporter: for now all eyes are on the rocky fire, which won't go down without a fight. late today the fire jumped over highway 20 which firefighters have been trying to avoid. that road was the northern containment line for the fire which is now expected to spread. lester? >> all right. joe fryer, thanks. from fire we go to floods and an emergency situation unfolding right now at the opposite end of the country. floodwaters so eeer is severe that
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mandatory evacuations have been ordered. neighborhoods near tampa are underwater. some people rescued from their homes by boat. the weather channel's mike seidel is in new port richey, florida. >> reporter: central florida is drenched. pounded by incessant rain caused by a series of stalled weather fronts. >> in 12 hours we picked a month's worth of rain. >> reporter: here in new port richey the river has spilled into the streets. this neighborhood underwater. the only way out by boat. officers helping residents get to drier ground. >> i'm glad they got us out before the big flood comes in. >> reporter: there were mandatory evacuations including this palm harbor rv park where authorities rescued families with military-style vehicles. this pool literally popped out of the ground because it was so wet. >> there is no ability for the earth to absorb this. so it stays on the streets. can we fix it? no. all the money in the world will not fix this problem. >> reporter: meanwhile, farther north cleanup continues across the midwest, where outside chicago
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high winds toppled a tent at a town festival, killing one and injuring nearly 20. in iowa a huge tornado touched down near the town of lennox. >> there goes the barn. >> reporter: and in michigan emergency crews worked to clear downed trees and restore power to more than 90,000 customers. back here in the tampa bay area it has rained every day but one over the past three weeks. over 47 inches so far this year. in miami, where it's usually wetter, they've had 26 inches less rainfall. they're in an extreme drought. back here, lester, dry weather and some of that florida sunshine that everyone's looking forward to returning in the next couple days. >> mike sidle, thanks very much. breaking news out of memphis right now where authorities say a suspected cop killer is now in custody. tremaine wilbourn had been on the loose after allegedly gunning down officer sean bolton on saturday. our kerry sanders is on the story for us. kerry, what's the latest? >> reporter: well, lester,
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sources tell nbc news after an extensive manhunt 29-year-old wilbourn is now in custody with the u.s. marshals. witnesses had identified him as the trigger man, who as you said shot and killed memphis police officer sean bolton. >> call an ambulance. call an ambulance! >> reporter: killed saturday night, memphis police officer sean bolton as he approached a car during a traffic stop. the driver jumped out and ran, but the passenger stayed behind and police say opened fire on officer bolton. >> ambulance is already en route. >> reporter: as officer bolton lay dying in the street saturday, an alert bystander grabbed his police radio and pleaded for help. >> please, please hurry up. >> reporter: the driver who'd taken off running says he heard gunshots. >> while my client's running, he hears six to eight gunshots. >> reporter: that driver whose identity is being shielded is not charged with any crime. he turned himself in, helped police identify the suspect as convicted bank robber
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tremaine wilbourn, a memphis native who was on parole from federal prison. as a federal parolee tremaine wilbourn was not allowed to have a gun. police sources say that's why they believe he allegedly shot and killed officer bolton, because the gun would have been found during the traffic stop. lester? >> kerry sanders in memphis. thank you. nbc news is learning new insight about the potential political stunner that could shake up the battle for the white house. word that vice president joe biden, still mourning the death of his son beau just two months ago, is actively considering making a late entry into the democratic race to challenge hillary clinton, a challenge that beau biden strongly encouraged. andrea mitchell has late details. >> reporter: at his home in delaware today joe biden was out of sight. friends say taking care of his family, dealing with his own grief, and sources tell nbc news tonight still undecided about whether to take on the political fight of his life.
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the dying wish of his son beau. >> my hero, the next vice president of the united states, joe biden. >> reporter: a hope echoed by his surviving son, hunter. biden supporters telling nbc news he's long felt better qualified to be president than hillary clinton, with whom he clashed over the use of force in libya and afghanistan. and tonight in a new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll clinton is facing her worst numbers yet of this campaign. just 37% of those questioned view her positively. 48% see her negatively. a sharp 15-point swing since june. but the poll was taken after inaccurate reports that she was the target of a potential criminal investigation. all untrue. supporters say a biden challenge could even help clinton. >> she was at her best in 2008 when she fell behind and then she came into ohio, texas, pennsylvania and she was the underdog. and she rolled up her sleeves and let everyone know exactly what she believed in. >> reporter: to soften her image
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clinton will start airing gauzy tv ads in iowa and new hampshire tomorrow. >> and now a new title, grandma. >> reporter: getting in this late would be a challenge for biden. he ran twice before and failed. he's never been a good fund-raiser. and many of his former aides have already signed with clinton. there's also those biden gaffes. >> this is a big [ muted ] deal. >> reporter: but now there's an outpouring of sympathy. in a year where his middle-class appeal could trump campaign glitz. >> he's genuine, he's real. he's a person of authenticity in a year that craves authenticity. >> reporter: how would the president choose between biden and clinton? >> hillary clinton or joe biden. >> love them both. >> biden and president obama are very good friends, and i'm told the president has been frank in their weekly private lunches about how difficult running against clinton who's way ahead of the other democrats would be. lester? >> andrea, thank you. on the republican side the candidates are now on a collision course in new hampshire. nearly a dozen of them are in the battleground state tonight as they hurtle toward
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the first real test, the inaugural debate this week. our peter alexander is in new hampshire tonight. hi, peter. >> reporter: hey, lester. good evening to you. donald trump is skipping this voter forum here in new hampshire tonight, confident he's going to be center stage at that first official republican debate this thursday in ohio. it's his brash style that has fueled his surge in the polls, but it's also backfiring. here's our latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll that shows 61% of registered voters say they believe trump is hurting the republican party's image, among registered republicans nearly half say trump is hurting the party. trump has also repeatedly vowed he will win the latino vote, but 75% of latinos say they have a negative view of him after those controversial comments he made about undocumented mexican immigrants. so who will join trump on stage? right now the battle is for those final two spots. down to the wire between chris christie, rick perry and kasich, john kasich of ohio. perry right now the odd man out. the line-up will officially be set tomorrow night.
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lester? >> peter alexander in new hampshire. thank you. an emotional plea today from actress and comedienne amy schumer, choking up while speaking for the first time about the deadly shooting rampage that erupted during a showing of her new movie "trainwreck" in lafayette, louisiana. schumer is teaming up with a powerful family member in a call for tighter controls on gun control and the dangerously mentally ill. kate snow reports. >> i was dead sober. i had like two drinks. three max. >> reporter: this is the amy schumer making us laugh in her new movie "trainwreck." but at a press conference today with her cousin, new york senator chuck schumer, a very different amy. >> i'm not sure why this man chose my movie to end these two beautiful lives and injure nine others, but it was very personal for me. >> reporter: schumer's voice faltered as she talked about the two women killed in that movie theater, jillian johnson and mayci breaux. >> when i heard this news i was completely devastated
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and i wanted to go down to louisiana. and then i was angry. my heart goes out to jillian and mayci, to the survivors, to the families, and everyone who's tied to this tragic senseless and horrifying actions of this man who shouldn't have been able to put his hands on a gun in the first place. >> reporter: today both schumers called for legislation that would strengthen background checks required to buy guns by rewarding states that accurately submit information to the background check system and penalizing states that don't. >> the critics scoff and say, well, there's no way to stop crazy people from doing crazy things. but they're wrong. there is a way to stop them. >> reporter: schumer says she expects a backlash. an nra spokesperson said late today while they haven't seen the legislation senator schumer is proposing it sounds very much like existing law the nra supported, adding "we all agree that people who are adjudicated mentally ill shouldn't have firearms." >> these are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but i can promise you they will not be my
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last. >> reporter: a comedienne speaking out on a topic that's deadly serious. kate snow, nbc news, new york. there was a lot of emotion in washington today. in fact, a rare moment at the white house. president obama got unexpectedly emotional as he unveiled a sweeping controversial plan to deal with climate change which he called one of the key challenges of our lifetime. our chris jansing is at the white house for us with more. chris? >> reporter: good evening, lester. president obama today made a passionate case for reducing carbon emissions, especially from coal-burning power plants, arguing that nothing less than our health, safety, and future are at stake. >> i don't want my grandkids not to be able to swim in hawaii or not to be able to climb a mountain and see a glacier because we didn't do something about it. i don't want millions of people's lives disrupted and this world more dangerous because we didn't do something about it. >> reporter: the target of this
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plan is power plants. they produce more carbon emissions than cars, airplanes, and homes combined. thought to cut those emissions by 32% by 2030. and each state will have to figure out how to meet that goal. already many states are gearing up to fight the plan in court. other critics say it will cost jobs and your electric bill will go up, claims the white house disputes. it's a fight that will likely continue after the president leaves office and may well end up in supreme court. lester? >> all right, chris, thank you. one year till rio. still ahead, the startling new report that's raising serious questions. are olympic athletes in danger because of what's in the water? and can it be cleaned in time? we're there live coming up next.
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we are now just over the one-year mark from the start of the summer olympic games in rio. but as the scramble is on to get venues ready, there is growing concern over water quality for the athletes. a new report says the water is rife with viruses that some experts say could pose a health hazard. nbc's miguel almaguer is in rio with an up-close look at the situation. >> reporter: just below the soaring peak of sugar loaf mountain and not far from the world famous copacabana beach there's trouble in the water. this is one of several water venues where some 1400 olympians will compete. biologist and environmental activist mario moscatelli says
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nearly 400 tons of garbage flow into guanabara bay every day. he says raw sewage from 8 million people is turning some stretches of these waters black. oceanographer david zee says in the waters where sailors will compete, researchers found samples of so-called super bacteria that's resistant to antibiotics. >> would you let your children swim in this water? >> no, for sure not. the water's not safe enough. >> reporter: according to an investigation by the associated press a single virus reading in the lake tested up to 1.7 million times what's considered hazardous on a southern california beach. brazilian officials challenged that report's methodology. the international olympic committee also said world health experts found no significant risk to athletes. but neither the brazilian government nor the ioc has tested for viruses, only bacteria.
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u.s. sailors tara tankin and helena scut are training in guanabara bay today. while their boat sailed into debris in rio's waters last year, they say that's not uncommon in regattas all over the world. >> i'm not sick. i haven't gotten sick. no problems so far. >> reporter: brazil has stepped up efforts to clean up the water, including adding eco boats to collect garbage. >> we also guarantee that they will compete in safe waters during games time. in swimming, in rowing, and in sailing. >> reporter: rio had pledged to reduce pollution in the bay by 80%. but for next year many experts say the sun has set to make good on that promise. tonight the world health organization has asked the international olympic committee to test the waters behind me for viruses, this as the international sailing federation says they too will conduct their own test for viruses. everyone trying to keep the olympians safe and the
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350,000 tourists who are expected to flock to this area in one year's time. lester? >> all right. miguel almaguer in rio for us tonight. thank you. up next tonight, pieces of history the world hasn't seen until now from a pair of national tragedies.
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there's word tonight from atlanta that former president jimmy carter has undergone surgery to have a small mass removed from his liver, a procedure the carter center describes as elective. the center says the former president, who is now 90, is expected to make a full recovery. it's been hidden away for decades, but now a new exhibit at florida's kennedy space center is unveiling wreckage from two american tragedies. the space shuttle "challenger" which exploded during lift-off in 1986 and the shuttle "columbia" which broke apart on re-entry in 2003. it's the first time any "challenger" or "columbia" remains have been shown publicly. wreckage from the "columbia" has been stored in off-limits
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offices at nasa while the "challenger" fuselage was kept in abandoned missile silos at cape canaveral. families of the astronauts were given a private viewing of the display before the opening. when we come back, the unlikely paradise for green thumbs at the home of the green monster.
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===take vo=== the "rocky fire" burning in lake county - firefighters say it's behaving like no other fire before. what it did just 90 minutes a that helpsrove that point. ===jessica/take vo=== then:ow ieves used zza to
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pull of a home instion ipalo alto. ===next close=== the news is ne. remember that line from "take me out to the ball game," "buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks." the menus now have a lot more options at the oldest ballpark in the majors and the trip from farm to plate is almost as quick as the one from third to home. here's nbc's harry smith. >> reporter: on a rooftop in boston there is a garden. yes, a boston garden. no one would ever mistake the boston red sox for a farm club. but just around the corner from the green monster and above yawkey way is this. peppers, tomatoes, basil, zucchini. this is what you call a farm system. green city growers installed the garden this spring. ceo jesse van hazel says they can't pick the produce fast enough. more than 3,000 pounds already this season. >> a lot of people think their
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gardens don't look very good compared to fenway's farm, and i usually just tell them it's the magic of fenway park. >> reporter: a fly ball away is the kitchen for fenway's upscale dining rooms. here executive chef ron abel has created a lineup of dishes starring produce from fenway farm, including game-changing scallion pancakes. >> ah. that's crazy. did you ever imagine anything like this? >> not at all. i grew up a huge red sox fan. my first memories are my father taking me to this awesome ballpark. now i'm the chef here and now i have one of my other dreams is a farm to table thing, 300 feet away from our restaurant. >> reporter: the produce is a big hit on yawkey way, too, where a number of fans are saying no to dogs and sausages and yes to a wrap. >> it's awesome. >> yeah. you know all the produce in there was grown on the roof. >> shut up. i love that roof garden. our seats are right up there. >> reporter: which made us wonder, considering the red sox's anemic
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performance of late, maybe some of these veggies need to make it down to the clubhouse. just saying. harry smith, nbc news, boston. >> that will do it for us on a monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. ==raj/vo== new problems tonight on the . i haven't seen fire act like this i don't think, ever. one of a kind new problems on the frontlines. this fire has burned 60,000 acres already and we're getting word that it's jumped highway 20 essentially starting another smaller fire. good evening, thanks for being with us on this monday. i'm raj mathai. >> i'm jessica acquire. unpredictable and exceptionally dangerous. the rocky fire continues to frustrate firefighters. even little victories are hard to come by on the frontlines.
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tonight, we have team coverage for you. track being the conditions on the fire lines. ian cole in lake port. that fire took a jump in the last 90 minutes. >> troublesome development. cal fire says it's jumped highway 20. they were hoping to contain the line and let nothing north of that. we've learned it has jumped. it's just west of walker ridge as the fire as you can see behind me those are not clouds. those are plumes of smoke. this 60,000-acre fire continues to spread. winds are pushing the fire north tonight. 5500 structures still threatened. more than 13,000 people evacuated. >> finally smoking us out and we got to get out of here. >> reporter: 2,000 firefighters from around the state cutting fire containment lines. some setting back fires to burn the fuel the drought has provided before the fire reaches it. >> for the most part this fire has a mind

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