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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 15, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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we'll be back at 6:00. hope you can join us then. >> see you then. tonight, t tonight, the fight over health care is back on after a federal judge declares obamacare unconstitutional. president trump claims victory. democrats promise action. and all of this as the enrollment deadline is just hours away. so what happens now? whoa! >> state of emergency out west. triple threat along the pacific coast as lifeguards on high alert and surfers waiting for more massive waves. a tight-knit community once contro b polygamous warren jeffs now divided as it seeks a way forward. the battle of the sexes on campus. are the odds being stacked against male students? those annoying pings and dings your car makes are getting a symphonic makeover.
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that will shift the sound of the open road forever. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with jose diaz-balart. good evening. it was a crowning achievement of the obama administration. a medical insurance system that millions of americans rely on. but a federal judge has ruled that obamacare is unconstitutional. it comes just hours before millions have to sign up for coverage for next year. and tonight, that ruling is sparking new debate over how we access and pay for medical services that are often the difference between life and death. white house correspondent kelly o'donnell brings us the latest. >> reporter: a downpour did not dampen the president's reaction. >> it's a big ruling. it's a great ruling for our country. >> reporter: following a solemn visit to arlington national cemetery, today president trump spoke for the first time about a texas federal court overturning obamacare, anticipating a higher
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court showdown. >> we'll sit down with the democrats if the supreme court upholds. we'll be sitting down with the democrats, and we will get great health care for our people. >> reporter: that sudden call for cooperation at odds with years of raw political conflict. >> and we've decimated obamacare. >> health care was on the ballot, and health care won. >> reporter: but friday a texas federal judge upended the volatile obamacare debate. a 55-page ruling declared the key requirement, to buy health insurance, the individual mandate, unconstitutional after congress eliminated the mandate's tax penalty last year. without it, the judge ruled, the entire law is now invalid, threatening many popular provisions like protection for pre-existing conditions, free preventive care screenings, young adults covered on parents' plan until age 26. a new dose of anxiety. >> it adds uncertainty to people who now aren't sure that thet they
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have and the insurance that they have is going to remain. >> reporter: but no changes happen immediately. insurance contracts are locked in through next year, making time for an extended legal fight. >> this is an enormous law, and if the entirety were to be found unconstitutional, it would really cause major chaos in the health care system. >> reporter: after the president and congressional republicans failed to deliver on their promise to repeal obamacare, republican state attorneys general picked up this case and seized on the change in the tax penalty to try to undermine the law. now, the affordable care act has been reviewed by the supreme court twice. this would be a different argument this time if the justices take it up a third time. jose? >> kelly o'donnell at the white house, thank you. tonight, as a matter of fact just hours from now is the deadline to enroll in health insurance on the affordable care act for 2019. and so far, just 4.1 million people have signed up. that's about 9% less
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from the same period last year after the trump administration slashed the budget for outreach. but one state is pushing to change that and seeing more people signing up. nbc's rehema ellis has that story. >> reporter: in rhode island with the deadline looming, business is brisk. >> shoot over to the dental plans. >> reporter: here, state-sponsored enrollment fairs have been helping people navigate through the health care choices. >> i'm 34. i'm getting older. i need health insurance. >> reporter: in rhode island, enrollment in the affordable care act, also known as obamacare, is now up around 12%. but across the country, numbers are down. some possible reasons, the individual mandate is gone, meaning there's no tax penalty prompting people to sign up. unemployment is down. more people might have insurance through their jobs. and people may not know about the deadline because the trump administration cut the advertising budget by 90%. >> find the right plan for your family.
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>> reporter: but rhode island, like several other states, is doing its own marketing, including social media. >> rhode island has dropped the uninsured rate since the implementation of the affordable care act from nearly 12% in 2013 to 4.5% today. >> sign up for health insurance at healthcare.gov. >> reporter: this week, former president barack obama tweeted out a reminder for everyone. >> you can do it right now. >> reporter: with a family, health insurance has got to be critical for you. has it been one of your biggest worries? >> it has been. >> reporter: affordable care is a me-changer for susan lemay, a mother of two. >> i've picked my jobs based on the health coverage. and now that i have the affordable care act, i can have some freedom. >> reporter: but for most, the opportunity to choose ends tonight. rehema ellis, nbc news, providence, rhode island. in a tweet this morning, president trump announced another member of his cabinet is leaving the administration. interior secretary ryan zinke has
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resigned and will leave by the end of the year. zinke, who notably rode to his first day of work in washington on a horse, was accused of numerous ethics violations and was expected to be subpoenaed when democrats take control of the house next year. zinke has denied any wrongdoing. after a 7-year-old guatemalan girl died in federal custody this week, democratic lawmakers headed to the u.s.-mexico border to pressure the trump administration to change its policies. their focus, a camp where thousands of young people are being held. our cal perry is at the border with the very latest. >> i am shocked and outraged by what i saw in there. >> reporter: congresswoman judy chu is part of a delegation of democratic lawmakers in texas today for a tour of a camp which currently holds some 2,700 children. >> i think that we need to shut tornillo down. >> reporter: congressman beto o'rourke is part of
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the delegation. what do these places say about the way america is treating migrant children? >> yesterday, we were in juarez, where people who tried to lawfully petition for asylum at our ports of entry are turned away with a number in permanent marker written on their wrists. we're turning our backs not just on these people but on our best traditions. >> reporter: they're forced to wait in mexico before their applications for asylum can be started. officials say they'll likely wait at least a week before they take a short ride to the border, their long journey towards refuge in america remaining uncertain. cal perry, nbc news, tornillo, texas. it's been a wet start to the weekend for millions. flash flood watches and warnings today from the south through parts of the midwest and mid-atlantic. tomorrow, more rain expected to make its way up the east coast with a risk of roadway and river flooding. meanwhile, wild weather is also hitting the west coat. our kathy park has
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details. >> whoa! >> reporter: this washington ferry ride almost washed away. >> oh, my goodness! >> reporter: a 30-minute trip across the puget sound took much longer when strong wifnds and waves gave riders a show and a scare, one man holding on dodging the waves. these pacific storms a triple threat. with 60-mile-per-hour winds, up to 30-foot-high surf, and continuous rain through wednesday. north of seattle, a state of emergency as down power lines andtrees, cru, even playgrounds. in eastern oregon, a semi blown over, blocking the interstate for hours. and in san francisco, a high surf warning as folks are told, stay away from the water. >> the force of the water is going to be so strong that it could actually suck a person into the bay. >> reporter: still, the world's best
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surfers on standby. >> guys and girls are flying in from all over the world. >> reporter: the mavericks challenge only happens with a massive swell, giving new meaning to the wild west when you add extreme weather. kathy park, nbc news, los angeles. the grieving family of a young man who fatally shot himself is making an urgent plea tonight. they used part of his obituary to argue for a so-called cooling off period for gun purchases, and now some legislators are taking notice. matt bradley has more. >> reporter: it was 24 minutes that changed one family forever. and we had no warning. >> reporter: the mother of 23-year-old andrew blackkentonight. >> we know that h walked into a gun shop at 11 o. 2. they ran a background check on him. the credit card receipt from the gun was 11:26, and
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somewhere between 3:00 and 4:00 that afternoon, he shot himself. >> reporter: andrew's parents say a wait time of 24 hours rather than 24 minutes could have saved his life. so they tucked a political call to action into his obituary. we ask that you work for legislation that imposes a reasonable waiting period between firearm purchase and possession to guard against impulsive acts of violence. nine states and washington, d.c. require a mandatory waiting period. vermont isn't one of them. >> it was way too easy for this 23-year-old kid to go down and buy a gun. if nothing but 24 hours to just cool down and realize that wasn't the answer. >> reporter: andrew's parents pleading for change before another family shares their grief. matt bradley, nbc news. british prime minister theresa may is in the political battle of her life as she transitions her nation out of the european union. a key sticking point, what to do with the once volatile irish
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border and fears that brexit could reignite tensions there. bill neely reports. >> reporter: angry and humiliated, prime minister theresa may confronting european leaders after failing to win a deal she can sell at home. a brexit deal to take britain out of europe. the deal-breaker is here in ireland, what will be the new land border between the uk and european union. once it was a battleground until peace in northern ireland made it open and free. the violence here claimed 3,500 lives, and there is a real fear here that a chaotic british exit from the european union could rekindle conflict. they're afraid here of a so-called hard border, militarized by britain with checkpoints. >> you put a physical infrastructure that people can protest at
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or god forbid somebody can attack, the genie gets out of the bottle very quick. >> reporter: the border here is invisible. i'm now crossing from ireland into the uk. easy. and that's the way people here want it to stay. >> today already i was across the border maybe five times. >> reporter: you've been across five times today? >> yeah. >> reporter: and that's perfectly normal? >> perfectly normal. >> reporter: reimposing it would be tough. this church is in the uk. the graveyard's in ireland. in one border village where dead gunmen are memorialized, a threat in britain forces a hard border. >> i would say let's go back to war. >> reporter: for now, brexit just means one thing here. >> it's a total mess. >> reporter: a mess and its aguered prime minister. bill neely, nbc news, on the irish border. in the american southwest, a community called short creek is now undergoing a major cultural shift. the town's on the
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arizona-utah border were once controlled by polygamist warren jeffs but since his imprisonment for child sex crimes in 2011, his followers have been left without their prove ephet, and the community has any leader trying to bring change. tammy leitner visited to find out about this fundamental shift. >> reporter: it's thursday night at edge of the world brewery. the busy bar's mere existence was unimaginable just a few years ago in colorado city, arizona, where alcohol was once forbidden. >> just in the town that it's in, it's hard to gauge what it would be like opening in such a everything's better. it's changing. >> reporter: a big part of that change is donny, ajesa, the new mayor of neighboring hilldale, utah. >> we want to open the doors. we want to share our community with the world. >> reporter: jessica's the town's first mayor who doesn't belong to the fundamentalist church of the latter-day saints, the polygamous faith she left years ago.
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so this is really a community in transition. >> absolutely. >> reporter: since the 2006 of polygamist prophet warren jeffs, his church and in turn the community have struggled to find their identity. >> i'm going to watch you. >> reporter: jessup estimates some 90% of residents have been evicted for not paying their taxes, taxes the faithful claim they gave to church leaders to pay for them. >> we hate to say them and us, but in a way, i guess it is. >> the flds feel like they've been driven off their land. part of the people who come back to repair and rebuild, they see destroy. eone comingo >> reporter: jessup wants to bring short creek into the 21st century. but norma richter and esther bice line vow to hold on to their beliefs. >> why are you speaking to me today? >> because i feel like it's wrong. it hurts to have my family and my friends
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and everybody just ripped away from me. >> i lived in salt lake. i went to the university of utah. i've traveled the united states over with my jobs, but this is home, and this is where i want to be. and this is who i want to be. and i don't care what anybody else wants me to be. it's what i want to be. >> reporter: a community once built solely on faith now searching for its way forward. is god still here in your community? >> well, he's in our home. >> he's in our heart. >> reporter: in short creek, tammy leitner, nbc news. still ahead tonight, the battle of the sexes on campus. a surprising shift in the fight for equal rights at colleges across the u.s. also, what caused this shocking explosion on a los angeles highway? angeles highw. but you're still moved by moments like this. don't let psoriatic arthritis take them away. taltz reduces joint pain and stiffness and helps stop the progression of joint damage. for people with moderate to severe psoriasis,
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the department of education is investigating four universities in response to complaints that they are discriminating against male students. the question, now that women are the majority on campuses, are female-only scholarships and programs still needed? nbc's katie englehart meets with a student who has made it his mission to end the practices. >> >> reporter: last ye this graduate student filed a nt of education. he arpged that the university of southern california was violating title ix, a 1972 law that prohibits discrimination in federally funded education programs on the basis of sex. originally intended to provide equal opportunities for
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women, he says it's working against men at a time when women are almost 57% of college students. >> it's really incomprehensible to me that with men being the minority, that all these like female-only scholarships are still going on in colleges. >> reporter: now the department of education is investigating. it's looking into his allegation that by funding women's-only programs, usc is discriminating against male students. women's rights lawyer defends title ix in part because women are still underrepresented in many science and technology fields. >> what we've seen is that affirmative action works and that women have seen their participation and enrollment in college go up. you cannot ignore how it got here because if you do, we'll probably end up back there. >> reporter: meanwhile, the student is filing more complaints. why is it your business to file title ix complaints against yale and princettyou don't go . whots there decide how they want their campus to operate? >> i guess i mainly
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like to inspire others, i guess. >> reporter: and in a way, he has. >> hey, do you have just a couple minutes? >> reporter: university of michigan-flint professor mark perry has filed more than 20 title ix complaints of his own. all focus on science camps for girls. >> i saw that as blatant discrimination. >> reporter: how these and similar cases are decided could send a signal to schools across the country. is it the time now to be re-evaluating women's only scholarships programs and policies? >> there might be a time, but we're not there yet. >> in fact, like we may eventually have to discuss implementing affirmative action for men in colleges because, like, that imbalance is not going to disappear anytime soon. >> reporter: now as the department of education considers his title ix complaints, he says he's hearing from sympathizers who want to file their own. >> i just want to say first i'm so proud to be one of your students, and, second, you are the man. >> reporter: katie englehart, nbc news, los angeles. we are back in a moment with the greatest show off earth. you will not want to miss this.
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back now with a frightening scene on a los angeles highway. that truck exploded on a crowded street on friday. luckily no one was injured. police say a propane tank inside the vehicle likely triggered the blast. it's noto this world. the meteor shower has been lighting up the sky this week. this scene playing out over china. look at that. the shooting stars
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will be visible across most of the u.s. tonight after 10:00. when we come back, how is this for a smart car? one that provides your own personal symphony. i'm ray and i quit smoking with chantix. smoking. it dictates your day. i didn't like something having contrr me. i wanted to stop. the thing is i didn't know how. chantix, along with support, helps you quit smoking. chantix reduced my urge to smoke to the point that i could quit.
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when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions with chantix. serious side effects may include seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking, or allergic and skin reactions which can be life-threatening. stop chantix and get help right away if you have any of these. tell your healthcare provider if you've had depression or other mental health problems. decrease alcohol use while taking chantix. use caution when driving or operating machinery. the most common side effect is nausea. for me chantix worked.boom. end of story. talk to your doctor about chantix.
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(burke) parking splat. and we covered it. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ my dbut now, i take used tometamucil every day.sh it traps and removes the waste that weighs me down, so i feel lighter. try metamucil, and begin to feel what lighter feels like. finally tonight, you know that electronic dinging sound your car makes ts on or forget to take the key out? one automaker thinks it's about time to make a big change to the soundscape of your car. our kristen dahlgren took their idea for a spin.
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>> reporter: to hear detroit's world class symphony orchestra, you used to have to come here. ♪ but now all you need for a front-row seat is a front seat. when you get into lincoln's new aviator, instead of those annoying electronic dings, you'll hear more melodious alerts. ♪ >> we've talked about it for a long time. what could we do differently? how could we elevate it, make it sound more elega elegant? we should just call the orchestra, see if they record something for us. >> and they said yes? >> they did. >> did you ever think you would be playing schiems in chimes in a car? >> they were tasked with composing a completely new soundscape. >> welcome to your vehicle but you left your doorthat chime gets shorter to draw your attention to it. >> that's such a nice
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way to tell you that. >> it's a friendly reminder. >> reporter: when it comes to what a car sounds like, it turns out nothing is overlooked. in ford's sound proof test lab, technicians check every inch of a vehicle. >> every switch. it's what the doors sound like when you open them and when you close them. >> reporter: and at a time when smarter cars are communicating more and more, how they sound is taking on new meaning. for now it's a chime. but someday, self-driving cars may have fully customizable soundscapes, perhaps played by more of the world's top musicians. do you guys get royalties every time i leave my lights on? >> still waiting for that free car. ♪ >> reporter: a car playing a concerto. who knows, it may be right around the corner. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, detroit. and that's "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. i'm jose diaz-balart reporting from new york. thank you for the privilege of your time. we close tonight with a look at arlington
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national cemetery, where volunteers honored fallen veterans, part of the annual wreaths across america tribute. good night. across america tribute. good night. the news at six stat now. good evening and thanks for joining us. i )m anoushah rasta. and i )m terry mcsweeney. an oakland nurse who was deported last year, to mexico, good evening and thank you an oakland nurse who was deported next year to mexico is back home now in the bay area. she has four children in the east bay. she was living in oakland for 20 years as an undocumented immigrant. she landed in sfo a little over an hour ago. this is a live look at a press
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conference set to take place. right now she is being interviewed by customs officials. we're going to share the details with you throughout the night. a micro climate weather alert is in effect and this is how things are looking right now. if you head out to do some shopping for the holidays this weekend, you can expect rain and some strong winds. when is it going to cause a problem? >> you see how large that storm is across the pacific. wind and big waves are the story. this is a moderately strong storm by december standards. heavy rain at times, isolated thunderstorms, wind. but what's unusual are breakers probably above 40 feet arriving on the coast. there's a view of it on the satellite view. 40-foot wave heights offshore. as it approaches the coast, the ba

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