tv Early Today NBC December 24, 2018 3:00am-3:31am PST
a desperate search for survivors under way after a massive tsunami strikes indonesia without warning. nearly 300 are dead, including members of a popular boy band caught in the wave while on stage. we'll have the latest on the devastation coming up. president trump goes on the offensive against his defense secretary. why james mattis is leaving sooner rather than later. no end in sight to the shutdown showdown. now long officials say the impasse could last. the playoff picture snaps into focus with a wild weekend for football fans. we'll have the highlights. the break dance of the sugar plum fairy. inside the hip-hop "nutcracker." a new twist on a hollywood classic. "early today" starts right now.
good morning. i'm marlie hall. >> and i'm phillip mena. the death toll continues to rise from a disastrous tsunami in indonesia. at least 281 people are dead, and more than 1,000 injured as rescuers search for the missing. the islands decimated after under-sea landslides from the anak krakatau volcano triggered historic waves. and now the disaster management agency is warning of the possibility of another tsunami. we know the krakatoa tsunami struck indonesia at about 9:30 p.m. local time on saturday. it hit several coastal cities on the islands of java and sumatra during the peak of a local holiday there and sent waves crashing onto popular tourist resort not far from the capital. nbc's lucy kafanov has the very latest. >> reporter: this indonesian pop band was performing on the beach in western java when the tsunami wave suddenly hit without warning. sweeping away the stage and audience. in an emotional video message
the lead singer says the bassist and manager both died. three other band members and his own wife still missing. the tsunami rushed ashore on saturday night. "i was sleeping," this woman says. "it hit us at the same time when my son closed the hotel door." no warning. no time to get away. because there was no earthquake. officials say the killer wave was triggered by undersea landslides after the anak krakatoa volcano erupted. the volcano lies in the sunda strait between java and the sumatra islands, link the indian ocean and java sea. >> there's a warning because you've got an earthquake. in this case there was no earthquake as such. so there's little that could have been done in this case and it's just a tragic fact of nature. >> reporter: the scale of the devastation, massive. hotels and beach resorts flattened. roads washed out. vehicles tossed by waves. rescue teams scrambling to reach survivors, but for too many it
was too late. indonesia has been hit by a series of natural disasters. a powerful quake in september triggered a tsunami, killing more than 2,500 people. and 14 years ago, the day after christmas, the dead qulift sliei recorded in history. nearly 230,000 lives lost. hospitals are overwhelmed with victims. while officials fear the death toll could rise even more. lucy kafanov, nbc news. defense secretary james mattis is heading out the door sooner than expected. president trump announced on twitter that mattis will leave on the 1st of the new year, two months earler than previously announced. the decision was possible qi prompted by the defense chief's highly critical resignation letter. nbc's courtney kube has the latest. >> reporter: president trump didn't tell mattis himself. instead according to defense and administration officials secretary of state mike pompeo had to make the call. afterward the president made the
firing public, tweeting "deputy secretary of defense patrick shanahan will assume the title of acting secretary of defense starting january 1st, 2019." mr. trump is frustrated according to several administration sources, specifically at reports which said mattis was "the last adult in the room." the two were increasingly at odds, but the president's decision to withdraw troops from syria was the breaking point for the defense secretary. mattis's resignation letter offered a clear rebuke of the president's world view, particularly the treatment of nato allies. mattis wrote, "the president deserved a secretary of defense whose views were better aligned with his." the president took a swipe at mattis saturday on twitter, mentioning his previous firing in the obama administration. given mattis's popularity at the pentagon, other departures may follow. >> our thanks to courtney kube for that report. day three of the government shutdown, and still no end in sight. hundreds of thousands of federal employees are on furlough this morning as president trump digs in on his demands for border
wall funding. he doubled down on twitter, writing late last night, "everyone knows you can't have border security without a wall." earlier he wrote, "it is only a good fashioned wall that works." nbc's correspondent geoff bennett has the latest. >> reporter: the government shutdown drags on. no truce on the horizon in the battle over funding mr. trump's border wall. acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney offering his prediction on how long it will last. >> i think that is -- it's very possible the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new congress. >> reporter: and who's on the hook to pay? >> none of that is mexico paying for the wall. >> technically you and i both know that it cannot work exactly like that. >> reporter: mulvaney says the white house has dropped down from its $5 billion demand for border security money, hoping democrats move up from their $1.3 billion counteroffer. democrats say they're willing to negotiate on the price tag but want a guarantee on what the money buys.
>> the democracy want to see for real border security, not some medieval wall. >> reporter: the department of homeland security estimates the entire $5 billion would be able to build or beef up 215 miles' worth of barrier along the border. the administration says its top priority is adding about 100 miles of mostly new barrier in the rio grande valley, a hot spot for illegal crossings. with the rest of the money the administration says it would build barriers near laredo, texas, parts of new mexico and yuma, arizona and parts of eastern california. >> it's a spectacle and candidly, it's juvenile. the whole thing is juvenile. >> reporter: it's government workers held hostage in the standoff. >> we're at their mercy at this point. so it's going to be tough for people's budgets to -- when paychecks aren't coming in. you can't be making mortgage payments and other things like that. >> that was geoff bennett reporting. gatwick airport officials are offering 50,000 pounds to anyone with information on the
suspects behind last week's drone scare. a drone sighting led to three days of chaos after the airport shutdown completely, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. investigators have recovered a damaged drone and are testing it for forensics. over the weekend a couple was arrested and later released with no connection to the incident. the airport is back and operating on a full schedule as the investigation continues. the nfl playoff picture coming into focus this morning. the seahawks punched their ticket with a stunning win against the chiefs. patrick mahomes threw for three touchdowns but it was not enough to keep up with russell wilson and seattle's ground game. seahawks win it 38-31. high staxz and high drama in the superdome. new orleans took the early lead but big ben and the steelers would muscle their way back. what a great catch. down four drew brees connects with michael thomas to pull ahead and then it would be a steelers fumble on the ensure
possession. the saints win it 31-28. they secure the number one seed in the nfc. a thriller in philadelphia. the texans fighting to clinch the afc south. darren sproles here in all his old age still doing work. he breaks loose for that 37-yard touchdown. that gave the eagles the lead. thanks to some magic from their quarterback deshaun watson including this bomb here to vincent smith. third and 11. just got a knee in. but in the end it was this field goal that was the difference. philly wins in the final seconds. another big game in the big d. the cowboys looking to clinch the nfc east. dallas swept out to an early lead. up 14-3. that's jalen smith recovering a fumble by jameis winston and taking it right to the house. he's got some wheels there. the cowboys would capitalize on that. they took a 22-17 lead. that was enough for the boys to cement their spot in the playoffs. let's go out to the bay, where the bears, they were hunting for home field advantage in the nfc. a little dance there. the moment that has everyone talking, though, was a brawl
after this late hit on mitch trubisky, the bears quarterback. the refs would eject three players after putting some people in time out. the bears go on to win it 14-9. all right. bonnie schneider is here. it's looking like a white christmas in some places. >> that's true. a white christmas. we want to have that. it means an inch of snow on the ground christmas morning. this is where we're likely to see it. from traverse city to grand rapids all the way to upstate new york. a clipper system um canning in will likely trigger just a quick blast of snow. if you're traveling today on christmas eve, here's what you can expect. snow showers across the rockies but really the rest of the country looking-g fairly mild. no big storm systems that we're watching today. that's a and in the south beautiful weather for florida with highs in the 60s and 70s and nice-looking conditions for
texas. holiday travel looks good for christmas eve. later this week we are going to see some changes. i'll talk more about that coming up. >> sounds good, bonnie. in today's quick hits a spokesman says judge ruth bader ginsburg is up and working as she recovers from cancer surgery in the new york city hospital. ginsberg had two malignant growths removed from her left lung on friday. an early gift for christmas travelers. according to the latest lundberg survey gas prices dropped eight cents over the past two weeks. the national average is now $2.43 a gallon, down more than 54 cents since late october. norad is still planning to track santa's christmas eve journey despite the partial government shutdown. officials tweeted a statement saying 1500 volunteers are going to help make that program possible. we'll be right back. changing from a manual to an electric toothbrush. but my hygienist said going electric could lead to way cleaner teeth. she said, get the one inspired by dentists, with a round brush head. go pro with oral-b. oral-b's gentle rounded brush head removes more plaque along the gum line. for cleaner teeth and healthier gums.
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states. >> but in chicago, the stronghold of a democratic machine, a controversy has triggered a federal investigation. as nbc's ron mott reports, it involves a young democrat taking on another democrat with powerful backers. >> how are you? >> reporter: 19-year-old college freshman david krupa decided to run for chicago's city council. >> i'd appreciate if you'd come out and support me. >> reporter: he collected signatures from about 1700 people, nearly four times the number needed, and filed paperwork to become the firster to get on the ballot in 27 years in his home ward, setting up a face-off against incumbent democrat marty quinn. >> they told me if i get on the ballot they'll vote for me and there were a lot of those people. >> reporter: quinn is backed by illinois house speaker mike madigan who also lives in the 13th ward. so when krupa's petition signatures were contested it was to be expected. what wasn't? his lawyer had found out the party machine had submitted 2,800 sworn affidavits from residents who wanted to withdraw their support of krupa. that's 1,000 more signatures
than he submitted. >> this is a case where it went way past rough and tumble politics and it crossed the line into criminal behavior. this was a clown car fell of felonies. >> reporter: attorney michael dorff says only 187 of the signatures matched, meaning 2,600 affidavits filed with the election board may prove fraudulent, a potential felony. >> you think you've got them rattled? >> well, i think we've proved it. i think we've proved that we've got them rattled. >> reporter: the discovery of what may have been instances of election fraud sent ripples through political circles. the election board referring the matter to the u.s. attorney. the quinn campaign withdrew its effort to shove krupa from the race. veteran journalist carol maureen covers politics here. >> the democratic organization in chicago would swat a fly with a sledgehammer on any given day. i mean, that's just how they think. >> reporter: so are you getting recognized more? >> i think so. >> reporter: with the ballot hurdle cleared, krupa can now focus on converting his sudden
name recognition into actual votes for the february election, furnishing an office, building his message. >> i wanted to make a point of making the ballot to show that we can challenge the machine and make our local democracy function as it was intended to function. >> reporter: an unlikely candidate in a very public political fight waged against the machine. ron mott, nbc news, chicago. just ahead, aquaman makes waves at the holiday box office. and honoring those who spend the holidays serving the nation. we'll take a look at the day in the life aboard a u.s. navy destroyer, next. yeah, it's pretty stressful. this music is supposed to relax me, though. ♪ maybe you'd mellow out a bit if you got geico to help you with your renters insurance. oh, geico helps with renters insurance? good to know. yeah, and they could save you a lot of money. wow, suddenly i feel so relieved. you guys are fired. get to know geico and see how much you could save
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my parents made me what i am. i am the protector of the deep. >> "aquaman" made a splash this weekend, swimming to the top box office spot by earning more than $64 million domestically and $91 million internationally. "mary poppins" returned to theaters, debuting with just over $22 million. and the transformers spinoff "bumblebee" came in third, earning 21 million. >> everybody still loving those transformers. >> mm-hmm. all right. in this holiday season it is worth remembering there's a lot of americans who will not be home for the holidays. tens of thousands of u.s. service members are at work, standing watch, many in remote and in very dangerous places. nbc's kevin tibbles was recently aboard a u.s. navy destroyer on
patrol, and he talked with some of them. >> all stations we'll be conducting swings -- >> reporter: serving off the coast of norway, always ready aboard the guided missile destroyer "forrest sherman." a 500-foot fighting machine so agile it can stop on a dime. >> the ship itself is just a piece of equipment, machinery, you know, wires and steel. without the crew it's nothing. and without it we're nothing. together we come together and make the ship. >> reporter: that crew, 309 men and women from all over. big cities to the heartland. >> i've established my life around the navy. the navy has built my life. >> reporter: working, eating, sleeping, keeping watch. the modern sailor is part engineer, electronic specialist and weapons tech all in one.
>> beans, fries, and corn dogs, please. >> i'll take some fries. a little bit more than, that yeah. >> reporter: it's at meal time below decks they come together. to caulk family and service. >> that's what we signed the dotted line for. sail the world. in our country's interests. >> what do you think the mission is? >> just to show presence. this shows how far we can reach. ♪ happy birthday >> reporter: as in many an extended family, well, there's the odd squabble. >> we have our brother and sisterly moments. >> five seconds later you're working together, happy again. >> even if you want to get away you can't. >> you've got to work out your problems. >> exactly. >> so why be down and humdrum when we can be positive and excited about what we're doing every day? >> and the sugar cookies are very good. >> the diet of bread and sugar helps a lot for sure. >> reporter: but when the crew stands, they stand as one.
in this case arriving in portsmouth, england. >> we can go and deploy anywhere and be operationally unpredictable and shoip show up unexpectedly. >> is that what you're doing? >> i believe that it is. >> reporter: a ship and her crew forged by the sea. kevin tibbles, nbc news, aboard the "forrest sherman." >> i love that they're celebrating the holidays as well. >> i love the way kevin tibbles addressed the fact you're stuck with the same people for too long there are going to be some quibbles here and there but they're a family and they're serving us well and we thank them. the holiday forecast is up next. plus a new spin on a holiday classic. it's a performance you won't want to miss. you're watching "early today." yg electric could lead to way cleaner teeth. she said, get the one inspired by dentists, with a round brush head. go pro with oral-b. oral-b's gentle rounded brush head removes more plaque along the gum line. for cleaner teeth and healthier gums.
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are you dreaming of a white christmas? well, some parts of the country that dream will come true. especially out west where you'll be waking up to at least an inch of snow. not as likely as you head further to the east. a clipper system will bring some light snow to the great lakes. but it's unlikely to see a white christmas in cities like pittsburgh, philadelphia, and into new york city, unfortunately. we don't really get them that often, but marlie and phillip, it's nice when it does happen. >> they're beautiful but then afterwards you've got to scoop them up. so maybe it's a blessing in disguise. all right, bonnie, thanks. just ahead, the nutcracker performed in a whole new way. plus we've got the first santa sighting of christmas eve. m doey lifting during the week.
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nothing puts across the spirit of the holiday season quite like the nutcracker with its timeless message of goodwill. but now there's a new twist on the ballet that's been delighting audiences across the country. here's nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> a holiday tradition. outing to see a christmas classic in newark, new jersey. >> i definitely think it's going to attract many different groups, many different cultures. >> reporter: but this one has some new moves. >> the twist put onto the show. you're used to seeing the traditional "nutcracker" and these characters played a certain way. it's a complete flip on that script. >> reporter: dancers in the
country's only hip-hop "nutcracker," now in its fifth year, perform breaking, popping and locking to the classic tchaikovsky score. the familiar notes striking a new chord. >> we're representing what we do, not usual to the theater crowd to see hip-hop on stage. there's people in the audience that have never seen someone spin on their head. >> reporter: director and co-creator jennifer weber blends various hip-hop styles and freestyle into the show. >> this is like hip-hop at its purest. the difference is the music is classical. but the execution is from such a place of authenticity. >> reporter: the dancers say it brings more than christmas cheer to audiences. >> to see me being on stage playing drosselmeyer in a male-dominated role and i'm a female, with locks on top of that on stage performing. so that little girl that's sitting out in that has locks, is african-american and is like yo, mom, look. >> reporter: the show wants to
challenge people's thinking and inspire them. >> if anyone in the audience gets really inspired and goes oh, i want to do this, then that's a great feeling. >> especially if they look like you. >> reporter: two worlds seemingly far apart, brought together to create something magical. >> one of the biggest things that i see a lot is just people smiling from ear to ear. and that in itself is enough for me. like we're doing our job. >> reporter: with a new spin on a holiday classic. kristen dahlgren, nbc news. >> i love how one of the performers said it's a complete flip on that script. and it's a good one. the audience seems to enjoy it. >> reminds me of like "hamilton," takes something classic and introduces it to a new generation. i love it. well, santa and his reindeer have begun their annual christmas journey around the globe, and it's no easy feat, leaving from his home inside the arctic circle and braving the freezing temperatures as santa gets ready for his busiest time of year.
a devastating tsunami slams indonesia without warning, leaving hundreds dead. the latest on the search for survivors amid growing fears that it could happen again. clearing out the cabinet. president trump sweeps his defense secretary out the door as he doubles down in the government shutdown fight. the chaotic start to the christmas week on capitol hill. a final launch into the final frontier. spacex ends an historic year with another major milestone. rudolph caught red-handed. colorado police need your heparining in a burglar caught on camera in a festive mask. ar