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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 23, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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thanks so much, jeff. see you at 6:00. bye. tonight, let it be an arms race. president-elect donald trump ratchets up his nuclear rhetoric, vowing to out-match any country in a push for global weapons dominance. plus, a new trump versus obama controversy erupts over israel. breaking news, legendary actress and writer, carrie fisher, princess leia from "star wars" suffers a massive heart attack on a flight to los angeles, rushed to the hospital. we have late details. isis church threat, stepped-up security around u.s. houses of worship amid a new advisory from the fbi. dramatic takedown of the suspected berlin truck attacker, killed by police in italy. how was he able to travel so far? and family surprises. bringing the 12 days of christmas to life and inspiring america.
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"nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. i'm kate snow in for lester tonight. four weeks from today, president trump will officially take the oath of office. but in the past several days, the president-elect has inserted himself into high profile and controversial foreign policy issues. today he went even further than his previous comments about nuclear weapons, and we learned that trump made a phone call to egypt's president last night after the israeli government asked trump to weigh in on a u.n. resolution involving israel. all of it breaking with past protocol for a president in waiting and angering the obama administration. we begin tonight with our chief affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell. >> reporter: even as vladimir putin was ruling out
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an arms race in a marathon four-hour news conference, donald trump was saying, let there be an arms race in an off-camera call. >> the president-elect told you what? >> let it be an arms race, we will out-match them at every pass. >> and outlast them all? >> and outlast them all. >> reporter: trump today escalating his stunning reversal of decades of u.s. nuclear policy. first announced on twitter thursday that instead of cutting weapons, the u.s. should strengthen and expand nuclear capabilities. on "today," trump's new press secretary reinforcing the harder line. >> we're not going to sit back as a country and allow other countries to expand their nuclear capability with the u.s. sitting idly by. this president is going to take action. >> reporter: but despite sounding like a warrior, trump was also sending softer signals today, releasing what the president-elect called a very nice letter putin sent him last week. while putin was telling reporter, if trump
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invites him to visit america, of course, i will go. a sharp contrast with president obama's threat to punish putin for russia's hacking for interference in the u.s. election. a charge putin mocked today, saying, losers always look for ways to accuse somebody else. they should look at themselves first. and putin wasn't the only dispute today. at the u.n., the fight was over israel, the white house letting a resolution pass, condemning jewish settlements in east jerusalem and the west bank. obama refusing trump's and israel's demand to veto it. for decades the settlements have been preventing a two-state solution, a palestinian state. trump immediately tweeted, as to the u.n., things will be different after january 20th. so who's in charge now, obama or trump? >> it's confusing the rest of the world, which is hearing two very different messages from the president and president-elect. >> what is alarming critics is the unpredictability of trump's twitter pronouncements on complex issues that can shake the globe even before he takes the oath of office.
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kate? >> andrea, thank you. tonight, as so many americans prepare to celebrate christmas and hanukkah, the fbi and homeland security are reminding the nation's police to remain vigilant over the holidays. their new message follows an internet posting by isis supporters, calling for attacks on churches. our justice correspondent pete williams has more. >> reporter: police have posted extra security around prominent churches and synagogues in new york, something they do routinely this time of year. it's a good idea, federal officials say, advising local law enforcement in a new message, to remain vigilant over the holidays. earlier this week, it says, a pro-isis social media account posted a link to a website listing thousands of u.s. churches and calling for attacks on them. it also called for attacks on coffee shops, hotels, markets, streets, and other public places in the u.s., canada, france, and the netherlands. for the past two years, isis has issued similar lists, none resulting in a successful attack. but this one isn't even from the terror group itself. >> it's important to put this in context.
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it did not come from isis. most isis sources online have no idea what this is or where it came from. so it's by no means official. >> police in major cities say they've already boosted security, partly in response to the truck attack in berlin, and officials say the website listing churches is full of errors and out of date. kate? >> pete williams, thank you. breaking news about actress carrie fisher who is hospitalized tonight after suffering a serious attack. she's now 60 and best known for her role in the "star wars" saga, was on an overseas flight at the time, and tonight fans and co-stars are sending thoughts and prayers from around the world. nbc's miguel almaguer has the late details. >> reporter: after landing at l.a.x., carrie fisher was rushed to a local hospital according to law enforcement officials. we have some passengers assisting
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the passenger, an unresponsive passenger. passengers say the actress appeared to stop breathing and was taken off the plane by emts after suffering full cardiac arrest. >> i don't know what you're talking about. >> remembered by generations as princess leia, fisher captivated audiences for decades, even when returning to her starring role in "star wars" nearly 40 years later. >> i've always hated watching you leave. >> born in 1956 to famous parents eddy fisher and debby reynolds, the actress blazed her own path to stardom. >> you think that's funny, don't you? >> yes. >> reporter: fisher's hollywood debut came in 1975 in "shampoo." several blockbusters followed. "the blues brothers." "when harry met sally." >> i read that in a magazine. >> reporter: more than 90 credits in television and film, but it was that role in "star wars" that left so many talking for so many years. just last month fisher revealed her on-screen romance with harrison ford -- >> i love you. >> i know.
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>> reporter: -- was, in fact, a real-life love affair with the married, hollywood heartthrob. today co-star mark hamill tweeting, sending all our love to carrie fisher. >> people aren't stars for nothing, you know. or sometimes they are, but we won't talk about them. >> reporter: a prolific author, fisher was returning from london where she was promoting "the princess diarist" when she suffered a massive heart attack. co-star, markhamle tweeting, sending all our love to carrie fisher. tonight, her condition remains unclear but her legacy in hollywood is forever cemented in history. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. tonight the suspected driver who killed and wounded so many in the vicious truck attack in berlin is dead, killed in a shoot-out with police in italy. there are now growing questions about how he was able to travel so far undetected. we get more from nbc's hans nichols. >> reporter: anis amri's four-day run from the law came to an end here in italy around 3:00 a.m., when he was stopped by two officers conducting routine i.d. checks.
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they asked him to empty his backpack. he pulled out a gun, yelling police bastards, and began shooting. police returning fire. one officer was wounded. the bullet going through his uniform. amri was killed by a rookie officer just nine months on the job. police say amri was carrying several hundred euros, but no cell phone. he arrived here in the dead of the night, was confronted by police, responded in italian, and about 40 yards down there, met his end. now questions growing over how europe's most wanted terrorist was able to cross multiple borders undetected. it was around 8:00 p.m. monday when authorities say amri was behind the wheel of the tractor trailer that plowed through a crowded berlin christmas market. he then got a jump on german police who took 24 hours to discover his i.d. card in the truck's cab. amri was able to make his way from germany to france, ending
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up in the french town of chambery. by 9:00 p.m. he had crossed another border, arriving in turin, italy, and proceeding to milan where authorities say he arrived by train at 1:00 a.m. this morning. isis tonight releasing a video of amri in which he pledged allegiance to the jihadi group. >> everything that i see that was found out about this attack, indicates that this man, at some point met people who inspired him to move from his petty crime world and into the jihad world. >> reporter: a transformation that possibly happened in a sicilian prison, where he spent three-and-a-half years becoming familiar with italian language, culture, and law enforcement. key questions for authorities. why amri chose this working-class section of milan, and whether he has a network of supporters in the neighborhood. kate? >> hans nicholsons in italy tonight. thank you. terrifying moments in the sky over libya, when two hijackers seized control of a plane with 118 people on board. the hijackers reportedly
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supporters of late libyan leader moammar gadhafi forced the flight to divert and the lapped land in malta. they asked for political asylum and threatened to blow up the plane, but after a stand-off, they released all the hostages and surrendered. switching gears on this eve of christmas eve, a very busy day on the roads and in the skies as millions race to get home for the holidays. the good news tonight as we take a look at what they call the misery map. not a whole lot of misery there. a lot of green on the map. meaning that things are smooth sailing at most airports across the country. one of the things that's helping that is the weather. meteorologist janice huff is monitoring all of that. a lot of folks hoping for a white christmas. do we have that anywhere? >> yes, of course, there will be a white christmas for a lot of the west, the interior west, especially over the mountains and even the northern plains, but we're tracking two storm systems that will produce great effects across the country. the first one is moving through the midwest right now, towards the east coast. that storm system will bring rain. a threat of rain and slow delays from the northeast
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corridor, from boston, all the way down to washington, d.c. that's for tomorrow. the west coast storm system will be moving in and tracking eastward on christmas eve. there's a threat of flooding for southern california and heavy snow from the sierra into the rockies, where they will have that white christmas. and into sunday, that storm spreads into the northern plains, producing a late day blizzard on christmas day for the dakotas where they may see as much as 18 inches of snow. blizzard warnings are in effect already for much of the dakotas. that's all day on christmas day. they're expecting as much as 18 inches. across the interior west, as much as 16 inches of snow. they will have a white christmas, great for the skiers, but not great for the travelers. >> maybe a little too white. janice, thanks so much. if the roads aren't packed enough for you, how about the malls? a mad dash as retailers are pulling out all the stops to lure last-minute shoppers into the stores. the stakes are high, holiday spending accounts for 20% of retail sales for the year. here's nbc's jo ling kent. >> reporter: the holiday shopping season that came in
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with a roar is going out with a bang. in fact, today could be the biggest shopping day of the year, beating black friday and cyber monday in sales. 2016 was the year online shopping surged. retailers have already brought in more than $79.2 billion in online sales. 11% more than last year. and thanks to wintry weather across the country, analysts expect americans to spend $350 million more on clothing this december. versus last year. boots up 15%. hats, gloves, and scarves, up 11%. now with less than two days to go, time is up for many e-tailers to deliver, so shoppers are flocking to malls to check off their list. >> why are you out here shopping two days before christmas? >> because we need more presents. [ laughter ] >> what's it been like out here shopping today? >> pretty crazy. but i love it, i love craziness and i love a lot of people. so this is right up my alley. >> reporter: stores are responding with deep discounts. target and toys r us rolling out 11th hour deals to
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clear their shelves. kohl's and walmart offering last-minute ordering with in-store pickup. >> even if you haven't started your shopping yet, last-minute sales and deals are still out there. strong offers on everything from electronics, toys, and even beauty gift sets. >> reporter: here at the mall of america in minnesota, procrastinators are searching for the last-minute bargains. according to the national retail federation, 12% of americans waited until today to buy their final gifts. kate? >> we'll be right back.
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back with prove that there is strength in number for fighting cancers. it is so hard to know if they are getting the latest or the best. there is a place online where they can save life-saving information instantly. >> every time we go and see the doctor, i take notes. >> kristin tabling says her mission feels impossible, finding a cure for her husband, chris, diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at age 44. >> the girls deserve to grow up with their dad. i deserve to grow old with him. he deserves to be alive. >> reporter: chemotherapy is not working. his only hope to survive, a clinical trial testing a new therapy. >> i don't know how you sort through 3500
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clinical trials with words that you don't even know what they mean. >> we learn these in medical school. >> then, kristin and chris found a facebook community of cancer patients and their loved ones called colontown with 40 so-called neighborhoods focusing on different issues. it is a private group sharing fears and the latest medical advances, information so new patients often learn about it before their doctors do. the clinic is where tom marcelia posts information about clinical trials. he is a scientist specializing in cancer drugs. he is also a stage 4 cole lon cancer patient himself. >> they can get information even a month sooner. it could be a life or death impact. >> reporter: thanks to the clinic, chris is about to start a clinical trial he never would have found on his own. his wife has the support of the 2500 members of colontown. >> i can get online and somewhere is there to talk to me, to
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listen to me, to tell me that i'm not alone and that we are going to be okay. >> reporter: patients banning together online to create their own cancer moon shot. dr. john torres, nbc news, colorado springs. we're back in a moment with the controversy being kicked up over the world famous rockettes.
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the radio city rockettes have high-stepped into a bit of controversy. the dance troupe is now scheduled to perform at donald trump's presidential inauguration and their union is disputing reports that some will be forced to perform over their objections. the union says a small number of rockettes are contractually obligated to perform at events, but their management company agreed to make all participation in the inauguration voluntary. now to a lost and found tale that captures the spirit of the season tonight. a reunion that anybody who's ever had a best friend they take
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everywhere or a kid who has one will understand. here's nbc's harry smith. >> eleanor and teddy are as close as a girl and bear can be. >> he's my best friend and, um, it makes me sad not to be with teddy. >> reporter: maybe more so after what happened this week. back home in michigan, after a family trip to texas, eleanor realized teddy was missing. teddy, through no fault of his own, was lost. >> i made the promise that any mom would make to their little girl who was missing their best friend, i will do everything that i can to bring teddy home. >> reporter: but from a posting on facebook, an old family friend made it his mission to track down the vanished bear. steven lauderdale works at the detroit airport, he canvassed the can vernous bowels of dtw, there on top
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of a trash can lid waited teddy. >> luckily it was there. a christmas miracle. >> reporter: teddy, lucky to be found, helped steve all day at work. bears are good that way, you know. steven sent pictures to eleanor's mom, so eleanor would know teddy wasn't lost. teddy was having an adventure. instead of her sitting at home worrying about where the teddy bear was, maybe she can look online and see, he's having a bunch of fun. >> the funniest picture i saw was when teddy was in the cockpit. >> reporter: that evening, steven brought teddy to eleanor. >> it was pure relief honestly. >> i'm very happy that teddy is home and that i get to be with him again. >> reporter: joy is what happens when a girl and her bear are reunited. and when it's time for bed, who better to snuggle with? bears are good that way, you know. harry smith, nbc news, new york. >> so wonderful. when we come back, bringing the 12 days of christmas to life for a family that needs a little extra holiday cheer. >> thank you. thank you so much. next at 6:
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we're tracking a developing story in los angeles. ===take vo=== star wars star - carrie fisher is in the hospital tonight after suffering a heart attack. ===jess take vo=== and they're back on the road - a fleet of uber self drivig cars --just not in califrnia we'll show you where. ===next close=== finally tonight, 12 different presents on 12 different days, a christmas carol brought to life to make one family's holiday a little brighter. our joe fryer has tonight's "inspiring america" report. ♪ on the first day of christmas ♪ >> reporter: no doubt you've heard this holiday tune.
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♪ a partridge in a pear tree ♪ >> reporter: but the mirallas family can say they've lived it. it all started when the family found a basket of pears at their front door. inspired by the infamous partridge in a pear tree. >> and then we read the note and we knew it was going to happen for 12 more days. >> reporter: on the second day, two turtledoves in the form of inflatable turtles and dove chocolates. on the sixth day, instead of geese a laying, they got a goose pinata. on the ninth day, nine ladies dancing seemed to magically appear outside their window. >> why? why us, you know. >> reporter: the reason, emily's husband died of a heart attack in january, leaving her alone with five kids. so the las vegas community responded with 12 days of gifts. >> we received one of the gifts and it has a ornament in it. i'm like, okay, i guess we'll put up the tree. because i wasn't even thinking about even decorating. but as you see, we did, a little
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bit. >> reporter: they were picked by a charity called in 12 days, started by suzanne lee. when she lost her husband, friends showered her family with 12 days of comfort. >> we felt something in our hearts that was completely free of pain. and we hadn't been without pain for nine months. >> reporter: now she's paying it forward, orchestrating complex surprises for 12 different families each year. like this school assembly. >> we love you. the school loves you. >> reporter: dedicated solely to the mirallases. what was your reaction? >> i felt like there are going to be way more laughs around the house now because of that, like way more smiles. >> reporter: the last day begins with a parade, and yes, those are 12 drummers drumming. >> for me, personally, joy has been put back in my heart. >> reporter: a dozen days that will linger for a lifetime. joe fryer, nbc news, las vegas. that's going to do it for us on this friday night. i'm kate snow in for lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank
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you so much for watching, happy holidays, merry christmas, and goodnight. the beloved princess leah ...suffering a heart attack while on a flight from london to los angeles. tonight how passengers around her swung into action to try and help. ==jess/2-shot== the news at 6 starts now. thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. ==janelle/2-shot== and i'm janelle wang... in for raj mathai tonight. =janelle= she's a hollywood icon. actress "carrie fisher", most famous for the role of princess lea in star wars - was rushed from lax to ucla medical center. we've learned her daughter has a she is a hollywood icon. kari fisher was rushed from lax to uc medical center.
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live outside lucas films where employees and fans were just learning about what happened late this afternoon. tom. >> reporter: they were really shocked. afterall they had just seen carrie fisher. witnesses say carrie fisher went inhad to cardiac arrest. they captured a cockpit flight where pilot said there was a medical emergency on board. >> they have passengers/nurses assisting the passengerer. they're working on her right now. >> reporter: the nurses reported that she had had been unresponsive for 15 minutes. fisher is only 60 years old and besides fighting drug addiction and mental health issues, she had no reported medical health issues. she rose to stardom

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