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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 26, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

5:30 pm and on facebook and twitter. tonight, winter blast. millions hit by ice, snow, and high winds, as a powerful storm moves east, while in the west, an incredible story of survival. one mother's heroic effort to save her stranded family. war of words. president obama claims he could have beaten donald trump if he'd run against him. as the men also battle er that u.n. resolution condemning israeli settlements. city under siege. more than 40 shot, 11 killed, as chicago's gun violence surging this holiday weekend. remembering a superstar, the tributes tonight to george michael, as the music world and millions of fans remember the '80s pop icon. and inspiring america. how some were able to make it home for the holidays thanks to the spirit and generosity of one man going the extra mile.
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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 peter alexander, in tonight for lester. for millions of americans at the end of the long holiday weekend, the weather is a top concern tonight. already the post christmas rush is off to a slow start after whiteout conditions and fierce winds in parts of the plains and upper midwest. and freezing rain that could complicate travel in the northeast. tonight for the first time, we're also hearing one mother's incredible survival story, hiking 26 miles in the snow after her family's car got trapped near the grand canyon. dave gutierrez is tracking the worst of the weather tonight. >> reporter: tonight the upper midwest is digging out after a relentless christmas blizzard. >> how the heck am i getting out of here?
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>> reporter: many roads in the dakotas, impassable. 240 miles of i-94 shut down. a foot of snow blanketed bismarck. while treacherous wind, snarled air traffic. >> we pulled up to check our bag and they told us our flight was canceled. >> reporter: more than 300 u.s. flights canceled, 2,800 delayed. >> it's a little frustrating, but what are you going to do? they can't control it. >> reporter: in arizona, an out of control situation near the grand canyon. is now an incredible survival story. >> if i don't find shelter, i'm not going to make it another night. >> reporter: from her hospital room, karen klein is speaking publicly for the first time after being rescued. she hiked for 30 hours, over 26 frigid miles to find help when her family's car got stuck in the blinding snow. >> i pulled a muscle in my leg and one of my shoes got packed with snow. so i had a sock. in order to move my leg, i had to physically pick it up to move forward. so it could only move ten steps at a time. >> reporter: near detroit, warmer temperatures today, but the town of fraser, michigan is
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under a state of emergency after this sink hole expanded, forcing families to evacuate. >> the good news, the weather now moving into canada. blizzard conditions end for the dakotas, and the rain working towards the east coast is losing its steam. tomorrow is going to be a much better travel day. >> unseasonably warm temperatures are forecast over the next few days. the city of chicago is finishing a another year marked by endless and increasing gun violence. there was no let-up this weekend when dozens of people were shot, 11 of them fatally. the epidemic has only gotten worse this year, as we hear from nbc's ron mott. >> reporter: christmas night, unseasonably mild. >> i'm going to need
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another ambulance. >> reporter: with another round of unrelenting gun violence in chicago. >> felt like i was in a war zone. it wasn't a normal gun. i mean, 15, 20, 25 shots. >> reporter: outside this southside home, seven shot, two dead, brothers. a holiday weekend with at least 43 people struck by bullets, 12 losing their lives. >> this is the sickening reality. it shows yet again that our penalties for carrying and using guns here in chicago are just not an effective deterrent against repeat gun offenders. >> reporter: the nation's third largest metropolitan area has been besieged this year by shell casings and death. more than 4,300 shooting victims. at least 763 homicides, both stark increases from a year ago, more murders than new york and los angeles combined. >> police officer kevin mccarthy. >> reporter: in the next two years, mayor rahm emanuel who has come under fire for the continued violence, has pledged to hire nearly 1,000 new police officers, targeting the 1,400 mostly documented gang members authorities say are responsible
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for much of the bloodshed. >> if you pick up a gun and shoot somebody, you should go to prison, period. >> reporter: the strategy comes too late to keep this 11-year-old from being caught in the crossfire. >> i heard it hitting the porch. i didn't know where it was coming from. >> reporter: he was shot in august, enduring eight surgeries since. no arrests have been made, his mother demanding justice. >> you shot my baby for no reason and you still living life like it's no big deal. >> reporter: ron mott, nbc news, chicago. a war of words is picking up steam among president obama, donald trump, and the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, over a u.n. resolution condemning israeli settlements and the u.s.'s willingness to let it pass. that's not the only clash tonight between the president and the president-elect. hallie jackson has the latest. >> reporter: tonight, new fall-out after a flash point in u.s.-israeli relations. a united nations security council resolution, reprimanding israel for west bank settlements seen as a
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slap to israel, one the u.s. chose not to block with its veto. israel, furious. now accusing the u.s. of orchestrating the resolution itself. >> we have proof. i don't believe that we know it, and we'll share it with the incoming administration through the appropriate channels. >> reporter: the israeli ambassador echoing the allegations of prime minister benjamin netanyahu. >> as i told john kerry on thursday, friends don't take friends to the security council. >> reporter: but it's egypt who pushed the resolution. senior white house aide ben rhodes insisting friday, we did not draft or introduce this resolution. do you not believe, do you not trust the u.s. government when they deny having anything to do with this? >> ben rhodes is an expert at fiction. >> reporter: donald trump far from staying out of the fight, tweeting this weekend, quote, the big loss for israel and the united nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. and late today, slamming the u.n. as just a club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time. so sad.
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the escalating tension, underscoring netanyahu's chilly relationship with president obama, and his warm one with president-elect trump. previewing potential changes in this diplomatic alliance and a break in some ways, with decades of u.s. policy. >> we will move the american embassy to the eternal capital of the jewish people, jerusalem. >> mr. trump seems to be a different kind of a president. will he want to really be -- play the role of a responsible president once he's in office or does he want to keep shaking things up? >> reporter: here at home, the president-elect's taking exception to new comments from president obama, who said in a podcast, if he ran again, and articulated his vision for a diverse, tolerant nation, he'd win over a majority of americans. donald trump tweeting today, that's not the case. citing isis, jobs leaving, and the health care law. peter? >> hallie jackson in palm beach, florida, tonight, thank you. in hawaii,
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president obama carried out a christmas tradition one last time. the president and michelle obama taking time out during their vacation to visit troops at a marine base on oahu. mr. obama telling them it was the privilege of his life to serve as their commander in chief. one day after the crash of a russian military plane, killing all 92 people on board, the kremlin said today, the investigation will focus on technical problems or pilot error, not terrorism. more debris was recovered today from the site of the crash in the black sea. nbc's tom costello has the latest on this day of mourning in russia. >> reporter: on the black sea today, a national priority, to recover the plane wreckage and the bodies of the country's beloved red army choir.
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♪ >> reporter: a symbol of national identity and pride known around the world. early sunday, 64 members of the choir, accompanied by tv crews and the russian doctor known for humanitarian work, were on their way to syria, to perform for russian troops. their plane, a russian-built tupolev 154, a work horse of the soviet union, now mostly only flown by the military. the plane was built in 1983. the pilot, experienced with 1,900 hours in the craft. the plane took off from a military airfield outside moscow in the early morning hours and then stopped for a fueling in sochi before taking off again for syria. but only a mile off the coast, the plane went down in the black sea, no warnings, no distress calls. because it was a military plane leaving from a secured base, moscow is downplaying the possibility of terrorism. >> translator: so we think that the reason for the crash could be a technical fault or a pilot error. >> reporter: terrorists have hit
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russia before, bringing down a passenger plane over egypt in 2015. the clues to this crash may be in the plane's black boxes, now 200 feet under water. did the plane break apart? was there bad fuel, or a sudden explosion? >> one of the early things they'll look for is what's the size of the debris field. that will tell them if the airplane came apart in flight or not. >> reporter: tonight with russia in mourning, vladimir putin is promising to get answers. tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> tonight celebrities and fans are mourning the loss of music icon george michael who died of heart failure sunday at his home in england. today elton john remembered the pop superstar as the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. michael's sound was unmistakable, in a career that spanned nearly four decades, selling more than 100 million albums. ♪ if i could touch your body ♪ >> reporter: the tight jeans, the leather, those looks -- ♪ >> reporter: -- george michael commanded the stage.
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he burst onto the scene in the mid '80s, half of the pop sensation wham, the exclamation point punctuating their teen idol image. ♪ wake me up before you go go ♪ >> reporter: their hits included an anthem that stills our play list, and this holiday season seems bittersweet. ♪ last christmas, i gave you my heart ♪ >> reporter: the late '80s michael ventured off on his own, becoming a musical force. ♪ i gotta have faith ♪ >> reporter: the smash album "faith" selling more than 25 million copies and earning him a grammy. he became a celebrated force of social reform, challenging taboos. >> come on! >> reporter: his songs could fill you with energy, and break your heart. ♪ so i'm never gonna dance again the way i danced with you ♪ >> reporter: but in 1998, his career seemed to derail, arrested for exposing himself to an
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undercover officer in a beverly hills rest room. it prompted him to acknowledge his own sexuality. >> i have a relationship with a man right now, i have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost ten years. >> reporter: michael, who had a series of run-ins with the law over drugs, and battled depression, would step back from the limelight, never regaining his past success. while many of his struggles played out in public, his generosity and philanthropy largely remained private. since his death, the stories of money he spent fighting aids, cancer, and many other causes. still it was his first love, that music, that moves us to this day. ♪ but losing everything is like the sun going down on me ♪ >> another big loss in a year filled with them. in the weeks leading up to his death, george michael was working on a documentary to be released in march, chronicling his rise to fame. he was 53 years old. an update now on actress carrie fisher, who suffered a heart attack on a flight from london to los angeles.
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her mother, actress debbie reynolds, said in a tweet that fisher was in stable condition and thanked people for their prayers and good wishes. fisher who is 60, remains in intensive care at ucla medical center. still ahead tonight, the flip side of holiday shopping. the return trip with all the unwanted items. what you need to know before bringing things back. also the queen's health. the latest on that bad cold that kept queen elizabeth home this holiday weekend. on this day after
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on this day after
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christmas, the postgame phase of the holiday shopping frenzy began with many stores offering big sales and millions heading back with their returns. if you're one of them, it's important to understand the fine print. nbc's morgan radford has been reading into the details and she has our report tonight. >> reporter: a record-breaking holiday season. an estimated $1 trillion spent on gifts, selling out in stores. but the reality is, there's some things you just don't like. >> we got finding nemo, instead of finding dory. so sometimes santa makes mistakes. >> reporter: 10% of gifts are returned every year, valued at a whopping $60 billion. >> i'm too old to wear this kind of stuff. it's like leggings with all this stuff. i didn't like it. >> reporter: if you are in the return line, beware. lots of stores have
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new rules. you have just two weeks to return drones to places like target and walmart. kohl's, a january 31st deadline for top shelf electronics, and in some stores, you need to bring your receipt and your i.d. >> loose return policies mean that people will do this buy and return, maybe wear something once and return it, that's actually fraudulent behavior. >> reporter: while we're talking about returns, why not donate, places like give back box, allow you to take any of your old holiday boxes, print a free shipping label, they'll pick up your gifts and take them to goodwill. today is also a great time to buy. >> i've already shopped for some stuff for next christmas. >> reporter: millenials are among the biggest spenders, burning off gift cards they got in their stockings. eight in ten say they'll shop after-christmas sales with some prices cut by more than half. >> 50%, 60% off, the $10 coupon they give you walking in the door, it's like getting it for free. >> reporter: just be sure to pack your patience. morgan radford, nbc news, new york. >> good luck out there. we're back in a moment with a touchdown pass, if you want to call it that, that could be
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football's play of the year. with less than two
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with less than two minutes to go in kansas city last night, the chiefs were up 27-10 on the broncos when defensive tackle dontari poe took the shot. instead of running the ball, poe jumped and tossed it into the end zone for another chiefs touchdown. why all this fuss about dontari poe. because at 346 pounds, poe just became the heaviest nfl player ever to throw a touchdown pass in a regular season game in what was certainly one of the most memorable plays of the 2016 season. in britain, queen elizabeth is still under the weather. she missed the morning church service with her family for the first time in three decades as he continues to fight a bad cold. because the queen is 90 years old, her cold is causing some
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concern. we get more tonight from nbc's lucy kafanov in london. >> reporter: a christmas morning tradition for the royal family. church services at their country estate, but this year, her majesty the queen stayed away. she hadn't missed this event, rain or shine, in nearly 30 years. nothing to worry about, the palace says, she's home fighting a heavy cold. her husband, prince philip, looking sprightly at 95, had also been sick, but seemed to shake off his cold as easily as his coat. >> there was a sense that they didn't want the queen's illness to develop into anything more serious, a chest infection, or even pneumonia. somebody in their 90s, it's very dangerous and to be avoided. >> reporter: with more than 300 royal events a year, she's not slowing down. last photographed on december 9th, the picture of health in rose. her popularity, soaring. >> the crown must win. >> reporter: a netflix series didn't hurt, but the monarch is lightening her load, if only somewhat. and she has good genes. the queen mother lived to be 101. it was the first ever christmas church service for prince george and little
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sister charlotte, clearly fascinated by the bells, joining mom, dad, and a newly engaged pippa for a middleton holiday. their attention held by some sugary treats. the prince knew what to do with his, but this princess had other ideas. but even a heavy cold didn't get in the way of the queen's annual speech, recorded before she got sick. >> i often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things. >> reporter: inspiring words from an extraordinary monarch, whom the nation and the world is wishing well tonight. lucy kafanov, nbc news, london. when we come back, our "inspiring america" report on a man who helps others get home for the holidays.
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finally tonight,
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spending precious time with family may be the best part of the holidays, but for some, the cost of simply getting home can be the real obstacle. fortunately in this season of giving, there are those willing to help so others can be with their families. our kristen dahlgren has tonight's story that's inspiring america. >> reporter: for gracie raley, family is everything. >> wait, no, this is bobby. >> reporter: but 2016 pushed hers to the edge.
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>> my mom had a heart attack, and now howard has recently been diagnosed with cancer. >> reporter: howard is her mom's partner, and the reason gracie had to get home. but even working two jobs, she couldn't afford the trip from alabama to louisiana, until -- >> i got my ticket. >> reporter: -- a miracle of sorts. >> i am on my way. >> reporter: a business traveler in new york city she had never met with a big stash of frequent flyer miles and an even bigger heart. >> i just feel that it's really important to be able to share that and to give that back and the miles for me is the best way i could possibly do it. >> reporter: peter shankman came up with the idea four years ago, donate the miles he wasn't using, to those who needed a little help getting home. >> to sort of show the world that maybe there still is a little good. >> reporter: and a way to teach his 3-year-old about giving. >> are you excited? >> yeah. >> reporter: this year, people submitted posts via online sharing communities and the members voted on the winners. like a dad flying to see his son with autism. a woman battling cancer. and gracie. for her mom, it's a gift to last a lifetime. >> i was thrilled to death. i said, i will come get you. i will carry you back home. come on! [ laughter ] >> reporter: a family feeling the love this holiday. thanks to a man and his miles that brought them together. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york. >> what a great way to
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give. that will do it for us on this monday night. i'm peter alexander in for lester. for all of us at nbc news, thanks for watching, have a good night. she made a bad choice. >> right now at 6:00 a christmas morning crash that killed two in the south bay tonight. ♪ the news at 6:00 starts now. thank you so much for joining us. i'm vicki nguyen. >> raj and jess have the night off. a vigil is being held at the site of a christmas morning crash that took the lives of two people. they believe the woman who crashed into another car may have been driving drunk.
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robert handa is live at the crash scene which is now the live of a memorial. >> reporter: the vigil that is just about to take place was organized by family and friends and you can see some of the people arriving now for the vigil that was for the driver of the malibu and here on capital expressway near snell avenue where there has been a constant emotional out pouring of condolences and regret. the morning at the vigil is for both victims of the crash. family members and friends of the 25-year-old san jose woman driving the chevy malibu have been grieving, lighting candles and saying prayers today at the memorial where the crash took place. the driver was identified as jessica, often going by the nickname indian. she crossed over the


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