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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 19, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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so, yeah, check it out. >> so pretty. >> gorgeous. thanks for joining us at 5:00. we get to see you back here at 6:00. >> bye-bye. test test. breaking news tonight. christmas market horror. scores killed and injured as a driver plows a massive truck through a packed holiday crowd in berlin. was it terrorism? tonight, stepped-up security at home. assassinated on camera. shocking images as russia's ambassador to turkey is gunned down by a killer caught lurking from behind. tonight what the gunman was screaming. how will putin respond? road rage manhunt. a toddler fatally shot in the car while out shopping with his grandmother. are women doctors better? provocative new research that will have you talking about patient care and the difference between life and death.
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and magic bag full of surprises, carried by a librarian on a mission. inspiring america along the way. "nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. lester holt. good evening. much of the world is holding its breath tonight after two horrifying and deadly acts overseas. in berlin, police are asking people to stay home after a truck plowed into a christmas market this evening, killing at least nine people and injuring as many as 50 more, and sparking a new round of terror jitters from europe to this country. the white house calling it an apparent terror attack, and new york city police tonight increasing security at public events. and in ankara turkey, a gunman shouting, don't forget aleppo, shot and killed russia's ambassador to that country in a brazen assassination caught on camera, being called by russia, an act of terror. we have full coverage of both these developing stories, starting with berlin, where there's late word of a suspect in custody. nbc's hans nichols has the latest.
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>> reporter: tonight, witnesses describing the horror as a truck jumped the curb and plowed through a crowd in central berlin. a magical christmas market, turning to mayhem. >> it went just past me, past my girlfriend, i think it missed me by three meters, missed her by five. >> reporter: it happened around 8:00 p.m. as one of the -- at one of the city's christmas markets, near the famous church, in one of berlin's most fashionable shopping streets. >> i saw one guy being dragged away with blood on his face. >> reporter: emergency responders rushing to the scene, finding chaos. the damage to the truck, severe. testifying to the carnage it created. the front window smashed. police say a man suspected of being the driver, in custody. but they aren't releasing his identity. a passenger in the truck died at the scene. german police not yet calling this a terror attack. but it follows a state department warning about the possibility of attacks at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets. and tonight's incident comes after that isis-inspired attack
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in nice, a truck tearing through a beach side avenue, 85 killed. the rampage ending when the suspect was shot by police. but in berlin, the driver survived and will now be questioned. >> when did it pick up fuel, and exactly when did it go into that market and how did it go into that market. because that will determine whether it's an accident, or whether it was deliberate. >> reporter: tonight, authorities in berlin say the danger has passed, but germans still on edge. hans nichols, nbc news. now to the other shocking attack we're following tonight in turkey where russia's ambassador was assassinated as cameras rolled. there are questions tonight about how vladimir putin will respond. our chief foreign correspondent, richard engel is in turkey. we want to warn you, the images in this story are disturbing. >> reporter: the russian ambassador was speaking at a photography exhibit and never saw his killer. that's him standing calmly
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behind the ambassador moments before he shot him in the back. with the ambassador down, the killer shouted in arabic and then turkish. we are those who swore loyalty to muhammad and the jihad, he said, as journalists tried to hide, including hassam. >> first he shot two or three times up, and then she shot directly to ambassador. i hide myself behind a table. >> reporter: the assassin was an off-duty turkish policeman. witnesses say he used his badge to get into the russian-sponsored event. the gunman said this was revenge for russia's participation in attacks on aleppo, where evacuations of civilians continue tonight. russia and syria have been widely criticized for their brutal military campaign against the city. it's unclear if the gunman was sent by a terrorist group like isis, or was just angry and plotted on his own. in moscow, vladimir putin promised to avenge his
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ambassador's killing. the bandits will feel it, he said. russia is not likely to respond militarily against turkey. but it can and probably will escalate the war it's already fighting in syria. russian air strikes there already described as indiscriminate could get more intense now. lester? >> richard engel, thank you. now to more nbc news exclusive reporting on russian cyber tampering in this country. we've learned that eight days before the election, the white house used the so-called red phone, a direct and rarely used crisis line to moscow, established during the cold war, to issue a stern warning to the russian government. tonight nbc news senior investigative correspondent cynthia mcfadden has exclusive details. >> reporter: by the afternoon of october 31st, halloween, when ghosts and goblins were welcomed to the white house, another kind of drama had already played itself out. two senior intelligence officials, both non-partisan career officers, tell nbc news, that morning began with a highly
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classified and unusual event at 8:30. using the so-called red phone system, a direct link to the kremlin, a message was transmitted, telling the russians that the u.s. would consider any interference on election day a grave matter. why was the administration so concerned? they believed the widespread attack on the internet on october 21st, blocking millions of americans from popular websites, was a possible dry run for a massive attack by the russians on election day. maybe even pulling down the electrical grid. it spooked the white house, so a week later, they used the red phone system, as is done in moments of crisis, like 9/11 and the day the u.s. entered baghdad. numerous intelligence officials say the very use of the red phone, the nuclear risk reduction center line communicated via secure satellite communicated how
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serious the situation had become. >> it's extremely unusual, and it doing so, sends a signal unto itself. so it's a dramatic step to pick that phone up and use. >> reporter: a teletype link dubbed the red phone was put in place 53 years ago in the wake of the cuban missile crisis, when the u.s. and russia came to the brink of nuclear war. this hotline was used to prevent misunderstanding in a nuclear age. the call came a month after the president's face to face with vladimir putin at the g20 in china. a senior intelligence official tells nbc news, he believe message to the russians in that final halloween transmission ended up muddled, containing no bright line, and no clear warning about the consequences. the russian response, said the official, was non-committal. >> based on what we know now, i would say that our response was insufficient to achieve the
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objective of ensuring that we do not receive further attacks. in other words, when someone tries to bully you, you have to push back, or you invite further response. >> the intelligence community is still not certain who orchestrated that massive internet denial of service on october 21st. but intelligence sources tell us they now believe it was not the russians. this much is clear, there is no intelligence suggesting that the russians or anyone else mettled in any way in the voting systems or critical infrastructure on election day. lester? >> all right, cynthia mcfadden, thank you. it's now official, the electoral college late today formally selected donald trump to be the next president of the united states, this despite protests erupting in state capitals around the country as anti-trump activists urged electors to change their votes. ultimately, as our kristen welker explains, their hopes were dashed. [ applause ] >> reporter: texas delivering
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the final votes tonight, giving president-elect donald trump the 270 electoral votes needed to officially win the white house. but throughout the day, a divisive backdrop. demonstrators out in force, from arizona, to north carolina, and pennsylvania. >> stop trump! >> reporter: all hoping to dump trump, energized by charges russia tried to interfere in the u.s. election. but once again, mr. trump couldn't be stopped. >> donald trump and mike pence will be working to make america great again. >> reporter: what was perhaps most striking today, more democrats breaking away from hillary clinton, like in washington state, where colin powell got three votes, and native american activist faith spotted eagle got one vote, although two texas electors did defect from trump. all underscoring trump's win was decisive, and now official. >> it would have been a divided country no matter who won this election. and so it's incumbent on our leaders to be able to bring the country more together. >> reporter: in a statement just moments ago, president-elect trump reacted to the attack in
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berlin, calling it a part of a global jihad. then in a separate statement, he praised the electoral process today and thanked the american people for voting him into office. lester? >> all right, kristen welker, thanks. and from palm beach where you are, we move to the frigid north, an arctic chill that has a good part of the country caught in its grip. temperatures well below normal for this time of year as we get set for the start of winter. here's nbc's blake mccoy. >> reporter: the windy city, covered in ice today, a seven-day polar plunge, bringing its coldest air yet. 13 below. >> you say the key to working outside in this, keep moving? >> keep moving and helping everybody. in and out all day long. >> reporter: commuters braving the elements also as transit officials used fire to warm up the tracks and keep trains running. much of the nation's mid section seeing temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below normal. little rock, arkansas, hit a new record low. outside st. louis today, school buses wouldn't start.
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class, canceled. in denver, hometown airline frontier, still struggling after snow crippled operations this weekend. since the arctic blast began, 22 weather-related deaths have been reported across ten states. the majority of those killed on icy roads. >> today was the last day of this cold snap. by tomorrow, we are going to see temperatures that are getting close to normal. and by the latter part of the week, we're at or above normal. >> reporter: a welcome chance to thaw out, with winter's official start still two days away. improving weather, good news for holiday travelers. here in the midwest, though, we are keeping an eye on the potential for more snow and wintry mix over christmas weekend. lester? >> blake mccoy in chicago, thank you. an urgent manhunt is under way in arkansas for a driver who shot and killed a 3-year-old boy in what police call a deadly case of road rage. late today investigators released the gripping 911 call.
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nbc's gabe gutierrez has details. >> acen has been shot, oh, my god! >> reporter: these are the horrifying moments when an arkansas woman realized her 3-year-old grandson has been shot. >> i was at the stop sign and the guy blew the horn at me and i blew it back. and he shot but i thought he shot in the air, he shot at the car. >> reporter: the newly released 911 call comes as little rock police urgently search for the gunman. >> it should shock all of our conscience. >> reporter: it appears acen king's death of a random act of road rage after a driver became upset the boy's grandmother wasn't moving fast enough at a stop sign. >> young people are dying at the hands of violence, specifically gun violence, and that's happening far too often. >> reporter: she told authorities a black chevy impala drove up behind her in the pouring rain. the driver of the impala honked his horn, she honked back. that's when he got out and fired at her car.
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only after she drove to a department store parking lot did she realize the bullet had hit her grandson, who was in the back seat. a bystander called 911. >> she was getting him out of the car, and that's when she realized he was shot. >> reporter: this is the second time in just four weeks that a toddler has been shot dead in little rock. last month, 2-year-old ramaya was killed in her aunt's car. >> what makes it so bad, is they're unanswered murders. that's what's the hardest part about it. to know that these villains are out there, carrying guns, is scary. >> reporter: so far investigators don't have a suspect in this latest case, but hope a $20,000 reward will bring new leads. lester? >> gabe gutierrez in little rock, thank you. still ahead, men versus women, which are better doctors? why experts say your doctor's gender might have a life or death impact on your treatment. we'll be back.
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we're back now with a provocative new study about who's a better doctor, a man or a woman. according to the findings of a new study, the gender of your doctor could matter, even making the difference between life and death. and researchers say women doctors have a clear edge. nbc's kristen dahlgren explains. >> reporter: the viral hash tag, what a doctor looks like, shows us female physicians fighting for more respect. tonight a study says they deserve it. researchers at harvard looked at more than a million medicare patients in the hospital. they found those treated by
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female physicians less likely to die and also less likely to be re-admitted. >> this study makes very clear that women physicians are achieving not just the same outcomes as men, but actually doing better. >> reporter: researchers estimate if male doctors got the same results, it would save 32,000 lives a year. the authors point to previous research which shows women may be better at communicating, providing preventive care and sticking to clinical guidelines. dr. shaw, an emergency physician at northwell health wears a name tag, making her title very clear. >> i'm the attending physician. >> reporter: but not every patient sees her that way. >> i took care of an elderly gentleman. i performed a procedure on him, and he asked me if i was doing it as part of a high school volunteer project. >> reporter: many hope the new study pushes hospitals to promote and pay women equally. >> women practice medicine a little differently and in ways that really seem to make a
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difference for patient outcomes. >> reporter: maybe not a reason to ditch your male doctor, but there might be lessons to learn from his female colleagues. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new hyde park, new york. up next for us tonight, the tributes pouring in for a glamourous hollywood star.
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it's the nfl moment that has a lot of folks still talking when the cowboys' ezekiel elliott celebrated a touchdown by jumping into an oversized salvation army kettle, during last night's win over tampa bay. not only has the nfl declined to fine elliott over it, the salvation army says it saw a 61% increase in donations afterwards. though it did land the cowboys' a 15-yard penalty. tonight, remembrances are pouring in for zsa zsa gabor, the glamourous jet-setting celebrity famous not so much for her film roles than for being famous. she made headlines with her many
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husbands and her quotes on love and marriage, delivered with that famous hungarian accent. she passed away at the age of 99 and nbc's joe fryer has a look back. >> listen to me, darling. >> reporter: her name exuded luxury, with a voice to match, especially when she said that one iconic word. >> hello, darling. >> darling. >> darling. >> reporter: born in 1917, the hungarian beauty queen would become known as zsa zsa. >> other women find love and happiness, i find only -- >> reporter: her break-out role came in 1952 with "moulin rouge," with an acting career that ran the gamut, from "touch of evil," to the campy "queen of outer space." >> what sort of men are they? >> reporter: but ultimately it was her real life that stole the spotlight, her fame fueled in part by talk show appearances and gossip column headlines. to many, zsa zsa paved the way for modern-day, reality stars like kim kardashian. among the spectacles, gabor's trial for slapping a police officer, which she famously mocked during the opening
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credits of a "naked gun" movie. one of three famous sisters, she married nine times, and once quipped, "i'm a marvelous housekeeper. every time i leave a man, i keep his house." her final marriage, spanning the last 30 years of her life. >> as long as i live, she will not be forgotten and i'll make sure people will not forget her. >> reporter: with such a glamourous legacy, perhaps it's zsa zsa who will be remembered as the darling. joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles. up next, a beloved story-teller giving kids a gift that lasts a lifetime. next at 6: san jose records its
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46th homicide of the year. ===jess/vo=== the concerns these crimes can't be stopped ... even with more officers on the streets. ===raj/vo=== also -- the germany consulate in san francisco reacts after the christmas market attack in berlin. ===raj/next close=== next. ==take sot== outcue=...one sided finally tonight, a lot of us have a favorite childhood book, that if we were fortunate enough a grown-up used to read to us. maybe it's the book that inspired us to become readers later in life. tonight i want to introduce you to a man that has made his whole life about books, and for almost a decade now, has literally walked into the lives of children who could really use a good story. inspiring them, and inspiring america. >> reporter: colbert nemhard tells a great story. >> kiss baby's boo boo. >> reporter: but none better
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than the story of what takes him on this weekly walk from the bronx library branch he manages -- >> hi! >> reporter: -- to a shelter for homeless families, with a suitcase full of children's books. >> it started about 8 years ago, i received a phone call that there's a shelter close by to the library and if i could go there and do outreach. >> reporter: for him, this is what outreach looks like. >> what do you see? >> reporter: he is part story-teller, part entertainer. ♪ >> reporter: collaborating with daycare staff to share the joy of reading and learning with some of the shelter's youngest residents. >> yes! >> reporter: so this is really the magic moment that you could begin to give the spark? >> oh, yes. >> reporter: and make them want to learn to read. >> and make them want to learn to read. >> reporter: in the temporary world of a shelter, nemhard said the faces change, but the eyes don't. >> it's a spark. their eyes lit up. to see the book. because most of them don't even come in contact with a book.
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>> reporter: as a library manager for 25 years, nemhard's got plenty of books. so this is your magic bag. >> that's my magic bag. >> reporter: and lots of other surprises he packs in that magic bag. [ applause ] >> reporter: he came to this country from jamaica as a child and brought with him a passion for reading. >> in my house, it's like no television. we had to do our homework and to read. >> reporter: his reading sessions have inspired a pilot project to introduce libraries at family shelters elsewhere in new york city. >> when mr. nemhard comes, they're excited to see him. they know him instantly. >> four little monkeys jumping on the bed -- >> reporter: you can read it all over his face. colbert nemhard is having the time of his life. i don't know who's having more fun, you or them. [ laughter ] telling stories and maybe setting the plot for many happy endings ahead. >> in this time and age, there's no reason why a child should not
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be able to read. i don't want anyone to be left behind. >> reporter: you want these kids to know that they're important. >> exactly. they're important. >> hello, lesley. >> they're important. >> and that's going to do it for us on a monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and goodnight.o right now at 6: the judge who sentenced former stanford swimmer brock turner is cleared of judicial misconduct. what this means for the people trying to recall this judge... ==raj/2-shot== the news at 6 starts now. good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm raj mathai. ==jess/2-shot== and i'm jessica aguirre. =jess/cu= you may not like the sentnce ...but the judge did nothing wrong. judge aron persky , who drew outrage for sentencing former stanford swimmer brock turner to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting a young woman, has been formally cleared of judicial misconduct. ==2 box== nbc bay area's thom jensen is live on the stanford campus where reaction to that ruling was swift.from those looking to recall the judge.
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thom. ==raj/cu== that it was all done behind closed doors. >> we don't know what evidence was considered. we do know there were serious factual errors in the final report. >> reporter: an analyst said the judge followed probation department

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