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tv   Today  NBC  December 31, 2018 7:00am-9:01am PST

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get that cleared out and everybody is okay. >> well, enjoy your day, enjoy tonight, but let's be careful out there! a live look at san francisco and times square. we're back at 11:00 a.m. for our midday show. have a wonderful monday. good morning. new year's eve soaker. powerful storm set to put a damper on celebrations across the country. tens of millions facing heavy rain, high winds and even snow, to usher in 2019. while police heighn security for tonight's countdown. al has the forecast so you can plan your night. let's make a deal? with the government shutdown entering day ten, a top republican signals trump could be willing to compromise. >> he's very open-minded about combining wall funding with other things to make it a win-win for the country. >> so, what will it take to end the stalemate? we're live at the white house. horrific attack. a 22-year-old intern, killed by
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a lion at an animal park in north carolina. >> any sort of incident like this is devastating to everyone. >> the animal, shot and killed by police. so, how did it manage to escape from a locked enclosure. the latest on the investigation just ahead. those stories, plus stop the presses. the search for answers after cyber attacks targeting major u.s. newspapers. netflix and thrill. inside the streaming service's record-breaking weekend that had millions glued to their devices. and massive jackpot. the new year's day mega millions drawing approaches $500 million, with a lot of people wanting to start the year off a whole lot richer. monday, december 31st, 2018. >> from nbc news, this is "today," with savannah guthrie and hoda kotb, live from studio 1a in rockefeller plaza.
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good morning. welcome to "today" on this final day of 2018. i'm sheinelle jones, alongside kristen welker. savannah, hoda and craig all have the morning off. it is packed outside this morning. i'm wondering, are these folks going to run out of steam? >> it's packed and they have a good day for it. it's relatively tepid here. >> it is tepid, but we'll see what happens. we have our eyes on several trouble spots across the country, including a massive system from the south to new england. it means that millions in times square will be watching the ball and the rain drop tonight. we'll go there in a moment. but first, al roker is in california for the rose parade and has the first check of the forecast. good morning, my friend. >> good morning, everybody. thank you for getting your first weather from us. we're in the rosemont pavilion, the place where we put the floats together. it will be colder here in
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pasadena for the ball drop than it will be in new york city. but a big storm is getting itself together and this one packed a punch. a wintry punch out west. a big, severe weather punch, as you get down to the south. 6 million people are under threat for severe weather today. greatest threat for damaging winds but can't rule out isolated tornadoes. here's what we're looking for as far as storm impacts with this system. the flooding rain, in the midwest, rising creeks and streams. strong winds will cause problems, too. air delays and road delays. i-55, i-40, and i-76. out west, snow in the rockies. slippery roads, hazardous travel, airport delays for denver. chicago may see some delays, as well, as well as minneapolis. and i-70 will be a problem. i-90. billings to madison. and i-95, casper to albuquerque,
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it will be a big one. and the rain is going to come tonight, for the big ball drop in times square. we'll look at that. but we have a mess on our hands for new year's eve, guys. >> i don't think they're allowed to have umbrellas, either. >> people will be watching the forecast closely. >> thank you, al. all of the rain al mentioned, will only add to issues for police in times square. stephanie gosk is there to see what is being done to keep everyone safe tonight. stephanie, good morning. happy new year to you. >> reporter: happy new year to you, too. it's quiet but that's going to change. people will start pouring in here later. as you mentioned, it's not that cold. there's been some years where it has been frigid out here. but there's weather problems. the rain that al mentioned is going to come in. the rules, security rules, include no umbrellas. long before the new year even
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begins, law enforcement officials in new york city are working on their resolution to keep times square safe. while millions of revelers look up at the crystal ball in times square, the nypd will have eyes everywhere else. >> the new york city police department will have the largest contingent of new york city police officers ever seen at any event in new york city. >> reporter: that increased police presence, reenforced by bom bomb-sniffing dogs, 200 blocker vehicles and 200 cameras that will include drone technology for the first time ever. >> we're using drones to go in, lower than a helicopter can go in and concentrate on an area. >> reporter: detectives will take positions inside new york city hotels, in an effort to prevent an attack from the 2017 mass shooting in las vegas. this new year's eve, vegas officials are leaving nothing to
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chance. >> security will include strike teams in the strip, and sniper overwatch on the strip and fremont street. >> reporter: the hollywood sign will have extra security, after pranksters targeted the sign in 2015. there's no known specific or credible threats, they're urging revelers to remain vigilant as they ring in 2019. >> everyone has to be ready, if they see something. if something doesn't feel right, you have to tell an nypd officer so they can act on that information. >> reporter: the ball drop this year will be honoring journalists and celebrating press freedoms. there will be a bunch of journalists onhand, including our buddy, lester holt, who will have the best view of the night. >> well deserved for lester. no question about that. >> thanks, stephanie. we're joined by commissioner james o'neill. i know it's the start of a busy day. >> good morning, sheinelle.
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good morning, kristen. >> you have people from all around the world. some people will be out there 13, 14 hours. what's your greatest concern this morning? >> this is something that obviously happens every year. we got it down to a science. road closures in the beltway area will start at 4:00. the other road closures will be closed at 11:00. we have 13 access points. i have concerned about any large event. but we do this how many times a year? we just came off the marathon, the halloween parade, the treat lighting, and now, today, new year's eve. >> there's a first this year. you're using drones. is that a game-changer? talk about the significance of that and how that's going to improve your ability to secure the area. >> the drone gaves us perspective from a greater height. it won't be tethered. it is the first time we're using it. we have a responsibility to make sure that whatever technology is
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available, that we use it. we have counterdrone technology, which is important also. >> i was going to ask you. how about others trying to get their drone up? >> we're working with private companies and partners in the fbi. we have counterdrone technology. don't bring alcohol or large bags, backpacks, don't bring umbrel umbrellas. >> i heard that. >> don't bring drones. >> don't bring drones. >> right. >> and bottom line for the ra l revelers, we say this, but if you see something, say something. >> there's thousands of police officers out there today. if you're from new york or wherever you're from, and people come here, you see something that makes you uncomfortable, see something that doesn't look right, there will probably be a cap close to y cop close to you. >> do you remember how cold it was last year? >> i remember exactly how cold it was. >> yes, sheinelle. i couldn't feel my face.
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>> i heard the news coming in, it was 9 degrees. it was 4 degrees. >> commissioner, thank you. >> i should say all of the officers and the men and women away from their families and friends. thank you to them. >> i want to thank the men and women of the nypd and the agencies helping us tonight. >> commissioner o'neill, thank you. >> we thank them, as well. another major story we're following on this new year's e eve, the partial government shutdown as it enters day ten. one lawmaker sees the potential for a deal to end the stalemate. geoff bennett has more. >> reporter: good morning, kristen and sheinelle. a turbulent year in washington is coming to a close, with no signs of progress, as the government shutdown stretches into a second week. president trump has not reached out to democratic congressional leaders in nine days. that's as one top republican is now signalling the president may
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be willing to strike a deal. this morning, the partial government shutdown is heading into its tenth day, with both sides stuck in a standoff over the proposed border wall, talk of new optimism on the part of the president. >> he was in a very good mood. and i think he's receptive to making a deal, if it achieves his goals of securing our border. >> reporter: frutrump ally, liny graham, strategizing with president trump over a two-hour lunch. >> the wall has become a metaphor for border security. >> reporter: graham suggesting mr. trump might consider a compromise that would extend work permits and temporary legal status to qualified undocumented immigrants, in exchange for billions to build border barr r barriers. the private meeting capping trump's fourth-straight day with
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no public events. the president out of sight but active on twitter, leveling a stunning accusation, after two migrant children died in federal custody earlier this month. any deaths of children at the border are the fault of democrats and their pathetic policies. mr. trump arguing that migrants wouldn't make the journey if we have a wall because they wouldn't try. democrats say a wall is a deal-breaker. >> he wants $5 billion from the american taxpayer to build something that would be ineffective. >> reporter: adding his voice to the debate, outgoing chief of staff john kelly, saying the long-promised border wall is not what he has portrayed. to be honest, it's not a wall. and blaming former attorney general jeff sessions for the policies separating undocumented immigrants from their children at the border.
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kelly said the move took him by surprise. >> geoff, as a reminder of the real-life implications of this shutdown, the new york police commissioner warns us that the fbi and secret service are working to secure times square and are not getting paid tonight. this comes as the president is tweeting about his predecessor, barack obama, what's he saying, geoff? >> he said president and mrs. obama built a ten-foot wall around their d.c. mansion/compound. i agree. the u.s. needs the same thing, slightly larger version. the obamas bought their home in 2017. and the website reported that the couple was building this wall around their property. a spokeswoman for the obamas declined to comment in all of this. in her new book, "becoming," michelle obama wrote that donald trump's embrace of false conspiracy theories about her
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husband made her fear for her family's security. >> thank you for that point. appreciate it. also this morning, an investigation is under way into a deadly lion attack at a wi wildlife conservatory in north carolina. gabe gutierrez has that story. >> reporter: good morning. the animal park in burlington, north carolina, is closed this morning. authorities say the attack happened after the lion somehow escaped from a locked space. this morning, the family of 22-year-old intern alexandra black is heartbroken. authorities say she died sunday, after a lion somehow escaped from a locked space during a routine enclosure cleaning, during a conservative center, a wildlife sanctuary in north carolina. deputies shot and killed the lion after efforts to tranquilize it failed. >> it's sad because it's a loss of life. and then, it's the loss of a
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majestic animal. but we had to do what we had to do. >> reporter: black was a recent graduate from indiana university. she started working at the center as an intern ten days ago. her family saying in a statement, she wanted to make a career working with animals, adding, she was a beautiful young woman, who had just started her career. she died following her passion. the north carolina chapter of the humane society has identified the lion, mathai, featured in one of the center's videos. the photo that says he is shy and nervous has been removed from the website. the sanctuary includes more than a dozen lions, many rescued from ohio in 2004. the animals are featured on the center's social media profile and youtube page. the center says it's devastated by the loss of a human life and will be closed until further notice, as the investigation
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moves forward. >> working with wild animals like this, this is a highly skilled profession. and it's something we take very seriously. any incident like this is devastating to everyone. >> reporter: park officials say there were visitors on-site but they were escorted to safety. it's not clear how that lion got out. >> heartbreaking. thank you. there is more to get to this morning, including a new wave of lotte lottery fever, spreading coast-to-coast. the jackpot for the mega millions drawing is 5$515 million. kerry, i hope you can get all of us some tickets. >> reporter: well, good morning. as we enter the new year, we're going to hear so many people with their resolutions. they're going to go on a diet to lose weight. then, they're going to go to the gym. going to quit smoking. if there's one sure way to
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change your life in 2019, it would be to win $415 million-plus in the mega millions. >> can i get the winning lottery ticket, please. >> reporter: this morning, the mega millions registers are ringing. ticket buyers hoping to ring in the new year, $415 million richer. >> we could spare a couple pubus for that. >> reporter: the drawing new year's day has a lot of people dreaming. >> vacations, vacations, vacations. >> student loans. >> pay off my current house and probably buy some more. >> reporter: if one person wins the jackpot and takes the cash option, they would go home with nearly $250 million. >> security. and travel around the world. >> reporter: maybe it's a diamond cartier bracelet you've been dreaming about. the white gold one with 624 diamonds. you could afford more than 2,800
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of them. or the porsche 911 gt2 rs, you've had your eye on for $293,000. you could get 848 of them. but save money for gas. or you could snag the most expensive house for sale in america, this bel air mansion, listed at $245 million, but there wouldn't be much left for furniture, would there? the jackpot has been rolling over since october, when one ticket worth $1.5 billion was sold in south carolina. who that lucky winner is, still a mystery. they have until april to come forward. the long odds, 1 in 302 million. no deterrent when the jackpot is this big. >> i hope it's the winner. >> reporter: i asked my cpa, lenny miller, would it have been better to maybe have won this year, versus next year, because of all of those trump tax cuts.
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he said you would still pay the same amount. guys, to have such problems. >> a girl can dream. >> indeed. winning any time sounds good for me. let's head back to al in california for the rest of the forecast. al? >> hey, guys. not a lot of winners out in times square, because we're talking about a soggy ball drop in the northeast. any festivities, you're going to have big problems. we'll be looking at that and we're looking at a really soggy di day. it will be warm. 49 degrees. that's 40 degrees warmer than last year when it was 9 degrees. and a gorgeous day in pasadena. 47 degrees and a little on the breezy side. breezy side. we're at carmax? breezy side. we're that's a great question. if you'd stop in a monsoon to help someone change a tire, save a whale that had beached itself... you're gonna be ok big guy. push! lend a hand in an old-timey barn raising...
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you got it, jebediah! and if the middle school dance group was down one member and you'd step in and lead them all the way to glory... yes! then carmax is for you, because helping people is what our people are all about. and right now, 49 degrees in san francisco. we are under a microclimate weather alert because of that wind advisory. we're already seeing gusty conditions in the hills. we can expect to see increasing winds by mid morning. in fact, the mountaintop areas have seen wind gusts of 60-plus miles per hour. today's temperature also top out into the mid-50s, so it's going to be windy with expected cold overnight lows dropping down into the 30s for new year's eve. >> that's your latest weather. coming up in the next half hour, guys, we'll look at amazing weather stats from 2018. back to you. >> thank you, al. still ahead this morning,
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new developments in the mysterious disappearance of a colorado mother. her fiance accused of murder, set to speak in court today. we'll have the latest. plus, the cyber attack that almost stopped the press at major newspapers across the country. was your private information exposed? first, this is "today" on nbc.
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♪ ♪ feed his kindness, with the fresh roasted peanut taste he loves. where there's jif, there's love. just in this morning -- good morning, everyone. 7:26. i'm scott mcgrew. news just in this morning, senator elizabeth warren will take the next step to launch her 2020 presidential campaign, announcing her run with a video on her social media accounts this morning. she says she's exploring, forming an exploratory committee to consider the white house bid. this makes her the first big-named democrat to formally vie for the party's presidential nomination. it comes just days before she swears in for her second term as senator from massachusetts. let's get a check of your senator of weather, vianey, good morning. >> we've got a beautiful sunrise. this is overlooking downtown san
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jose. current temperature trends showcasing our cool day expected ahead. we're talking low 50s, clear skies, but it's the wind that's going to be kicking up and that's going to bring in a lot of that windchill factor. we're talking upper 50s, the winds will pick up for the lower elevations by mid morning. wind advisory is in place since last night for the higher elevation areas. into the mountainous tops above 1,000 feet. by mid morning we expect to see wind advisories take effect especially for the san francisco shoreline, so plan accordingly as you head out to your christmas eve or new year's eve celebrations. let's get a check of how the roads are doing. you could see we've had no major accidents to report at this hour. let me give you a quick check of your bridge drive times. westbound 80 toward the bay bridge looking at eight minutes. westbound 82 toward the san mateo bridge 12 minutes and westbound 84 toward the dumbarton bridge 10 minutes. as the winds kick up, the bridges will also be a concern, so please keep that in mind. live look at the bay bridge toll plaza, look how smooth that commute is through there. no metering lights have been on
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all morning. >> pretty empty. we'll have more local news in half an hour. we'll see you then.
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♪ i love it. 7:30, now, on this new year's eve eve -- new year's eve morning, i should say, in the states. it's 2019 in other parts of the world. that's the celebration in new zealand a short time ago. now, it's quiet in times square. that will change soon. millions are ready to brave the forecast to watch the ball drop here. we'll get al's forecast coming up. >> happy new year's to new zealand. that was a good one. first, a check of today's other headlines. the partial government shutdown is entering its tenth day. there's talk of new optimism on the part of the president, as both sides remain stuck in a
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standoff over the proposed border wall. lindsey graham spent sunday strategizing with president trump, over a two-hour lunch. >> he was in a very good mood. i think he's receptive to making a deal if it achieves his goals of securing our border. >> graham suggested the president might accept a compromise that would extend work permits and illegal status to immigrants instead of money to build border barriers. democrats say a border wall is a deal-breaker. an apartment building collapse in russia after a gas explosion. rescue crews are digging through the rubble, searching for survivors. a deflective metal bracket is likely to blame for a jet bridge collapse at the baltimore airport. paramedics were helping a
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passenger with a medical problem. four medics, two southwest airline employees and the sick passenger all fell to the ground. they were treated for nonlife-threatening injuries. the remainder of the passengers exited the plane safely using the stairs. the other jackets will be replaced. we're expecting to learn more about the colorado mother who disappeared on thanksgiving and is presumed dead by authorities. this morning, her fiance is appearing in court. joe fryer joins us with the latest. >> reporter: good morning. patrick frazee will be formally charged today and is expected to enter a plea. he was arrested ten years ago, accused of murdering his fiancee, kelsey berreth. but so far, the body has not been found. shackled and silent, patrick frazee said nothing to reporters as he walked into a courtroom before a custody hearing for his 1-year-old daughter. today, he will return to the
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same colorado courthouse, as part of the criminal case against him. frazee is accused of first-degree murder and solicitation of first-degree murder. but officials have provided few details why frazee is a suspect and if someone else could be arrested. >> that's a possibility. but i'm not going to guess about that at this point. >> reporter: police spoke out at a news conference following frazee's arrest. at the time, investigators said they did not believe berreth was alive. >> we have not found kelsey at this time, information is being developed to help our search. >> reporter: berreth was last seen on thanksgiving, shopping at a grocery store with her daughter. frazee said he saw baerreth latr that day when he picked up their daughter. the couple was engaged but did not live together. berreth's cell phone pinged a tower about 700 miles away in idaho. >> her phone did end up in
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idaho. we're working to recover that phone. >> reporter: police in twin falls, idaho, say they helped with the investigation, serving several search warrants and providing evidence. kaley, their daughter will stay with her parents. the county has legal custody. and frazee's mother has filed a motion to intervene, which is necessary to figure out her rights in the case. a judge must consider who will be given custody of the young girl, with her mother missing and presumed dead and the criminal case against her father moving forward. >> has frazee issued any statements since his arrest? >> so far, no. he is represented by the public defenders office. in court filings, frazee's attorneys have sought to limit pretrial activities because of the negative publicity. >> joe, thank you. we want to take a turn and get a check of the weather.
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al is in pasadena, california, getting ready for tomorrow's big rose parade. hey, al. >> hey, guys. one of the great things, besides the flowers on the floats are some of the great vintage vehicles. this was a 1967 fire truck that will be ridden by the mayor of pasadena. chaka khan will be in the grand marshal's car. "i feel for you" that you're not here to enjoy all this. "i feel for you." let's show you what's going on. 2018 has been an amazing year for statistic. we want to take a look back. as far as murk hurricanes are concerned, it was an amazing hurricane season. 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 2 major. first season since 2008, with four storms active at the same time. category 4 michael the strongest to hit the florida panhandle. rainfall has been crazy. wettest years on record, for d.c., roanoke, baltimore,
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raleigh and wilmington. top five years for new york city, dallas, chicago, atlanta, hartford. when it came to tornadoes, we had a record low number of tornadoes, fewest since 2014. only ten tornado fatalities. that's the fewest on record. and the first time since 1950, no violent tornados in a given year. that's good news. and that's what's going on. we're going t prepare for some windy conditions to really start kicking up throughout the day. right now current temperatures as you head out the door this morning, nice and chilly in the 40s for hayward. 40 degrees livermore, 46 san jose, and san francisco 50 but it's going to be wind kicking up especially along the shoreline tonight. our daytime highs will only top out in the 50s. it will be cold overnight, with windchill temperatures dropping down into the 30s.
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>> guys, coming up in the next half hour, we'll take another look at the big storm that will be coast-to-coast hitting this country here on new year's eve. back to you. >> it's going to be a mess. thank you, al. still ahead, the new kids on the block, not us, sheinelle. we're talking generation z. how the first group to never know life without the internet is taking new approaches to just about everything. taking an uber or lyft tonight? which one is cheaper? our "rossen reports" team took a lot of rides to find out for you. and a look at hoda and kathie lee's toast to 2018. first, cyber attacks against major newspapers. major newspapers. what you have to be
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putting your data at risk. >> nbc's garrett haake has the latest. good morning, garrett. >> reporter: good morning. the cyber attacks on "the los angeles times" and other newspapers is just the latest in a string of high-profile hacks, all raising concerns about the security of your personal information. with a new year on the horizon, this morning, new fears about hacking, after a cyber attack over the weekend caused printing and delivery disruptions at "the los angeles times" and other major newspapers across the country. "the l.a. times" reports the attack appeared to originate outside the u.s. "the times" former parent company, tribune publishing, still shares a platform with "the times." in a statement, tribune publishing continues the diagnosis and remediation of the malware that impacted our systems, used to publish newspapers. it's the latest of high-profile
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hacks of 2018, targeting t-mobile, google and orbitz. facebook revealing 50 million of its users were hacked. attackers getting access to their accounts and accounts linked to them. one of the biggest hacks involved marriott's starwood hotel chain, with information stolen over a four-year period. what should you do if you have been hacked? notify your bank and credit card company. your data is still vulnerable. >> when it comes to your name, date of birth, mother's maiden name, chances are companies have it because they broke into the companies that store it. >> reporter: make sure you have a unique password for every account. and never reuse passwords across sites. download a manager on your phone or desktop to keep track of your passwords. >> you never have to remember
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one but that this opens your password manager. >> reporter: check your bank and credit card statements for sipps of fraud. the risk for getting hacked will only go up because data gets saved in places we never thought of before. as consumers, we have to be that much more careful. >> a lot more places you can be vulnerable. when are people and companies vulnerable to the hacks. >> it's around this time of year. most staffs are fewer. there's fewer people monitoring systems. and consumers using credit card information online at a faster clip and being less careful. the most consistent advice i heard is use a unique password. it's such a hassle but they agree it's worth it. >> talk about a hassle. >> all right. garrett, thank you for that. up next, inside netflix huge holiday weekend. will its first-ever i thought i married an italian. my lineage was the vecchios and zuccolis. through ancestry,
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great crowd outside. we're going to head out soon and say hello to all those folks. in the meantime, though, the holiday season is a popular time to go to the movie theater. this year, a lot of people are choosing to stay home to watch the latest hits. >> netflix is celebrating record-breaking streams of "bird box" and a first of its kind interactive movie. >> reporter: netflix is giving subscribers a role to play in its popular series. >> we're going to be a hit factory. >> reporter: in "black mirror," which debuted friday, viewers choose their own adventure and make choices that impact the film, like deciding on the movie soundtrack. ♪ warm my heart >> reporter: not really a fan of the thompson twins? you can choose another musical option instead. ♪ i want to breathe in the open wind ♪ >> reporter: throughout the film, viewers are presented with
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multiple choices and have ten seconds to make a decision that will map out the course of the story. >> what do you want for breakfast? >> reporter: frosties or sugar pops. it's captivating fans on social media. >> the audience online is going crazy about this. if you go on twitter, people have all kinds of theories. they're mapping this out. >> reporter: the technology is mind-boggling. the movie was shot in just 35 days and has five main ends. but because of the choices left up to viewers, there were over a trillion variations of the storyline. if you make a bad decision, the characters in the film will let you know. >> sorry, mate. wrong path. >> netflix had to develop a storytelling tool that would help them branch the narrative, find the loops and find out which decision leads to which path and map out the different endings. >> reporter: and netflix
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couldn't have scripted a better way to end the year. >> did you hear that? >> reporter: they're reporting that bird box, a horror film starring sandra bullock, has been viewed by nearly 45 million accounts since it premiered on december 21st. the streaming service of breaking its own rule of never revealing viewership numbers. revealing in a tweet, best first seven days ever for a netflix film. it seems netflix is on a roll, leading streaming services with 13 golden globe nominations, including three for the drama "roma." now hoping the success of black mirror is a reflection of things to come in the new year. for "today", miguel almaguer, los angeles. >> once you pick the ending, what are the odds you watch it again later to see if you can change the ending? it's a genius warm lformula. >> this is incredible. i feel behind the times.
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good morning. it is 7:55, we are under a microclimate weather alert, as the winds begin to kick up. we're expecting to see a cold new year's eve. san mateo bridge, beautiful shot there. notice the camera is shaky. we'll see conditions pick up on the coastline as well that could impact your commute for sure along the bridges. current temperatures in santa rosa 39 degrees. we have slow 40s through hayward and san jose and a look at what we can expect for daytime highs. wind advisory already in effect for the hilltop areas. temperatures topping out in the upper 50s for oakland, 56 degrees, here is a quick checklist. overall the wind advisory will remain in place through 10:00 a.m. tuesday. temperature also dip down very, very chilly into the 30s, which is going to make for a cool new year's eve. layer up and bundle up if you're headed out to late night celebrations that could mean possible frost especially for
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the windchill in the valleys. as far as roads go, we have been looking at that. it's been very quiet but it looks like now we have an issue on the bay bridge. it's not a crash. it's a stalled vehicle. this is on the eastbound side of the span near treasure island road. the number five lane is blocked and of course it's already a pretty busy area but thankfully we haven't seen a lot of building traffic. westbound 80 toward the bay bridge looking at eight minutes. westbound 92 toward the san mateo bridge 12 minutes, and here is what the toll plaza looks like, no metering lights on, very smooth commute through there. scott? >> vianey, happening now, senator eliz wet warren taking steps to launch her 2020 presidential campaign, forming an exploratory committee. this makes her the first big-named democrat to formally vie for the party's presidential nomination. happy new year's eve. tens of thousands expected to crowd the embarcadero for the annual fireworks show. we have a reporter on the scene and will keep you updated with the latest new year's festivities on twitter and a
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live report coming up at 11:00. lots of cold wind out there. forecast coming up in half an hour.
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it's 8:00 on "today." coming up, the final countdown. with just hours to go until the times square ball drop, officials are stepping up security around the country. this, as powerful storms with heavy rain and strong winds are set to impact millions, just before midnight. what you need to know ahead of tonight's celebrations. plus, uber or lyft? jeff rossen puts two of the most popular ride-sharing apps to the test. >> order at the same time. three, two, one, order. >> so, which one gives you more bang for your buck? the answer just ahead. ♪ and let's party. as festivities get under aaround
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the wor the world, we'll have last-minute tips to help you ring in the new year right. december 31st, 2018. ♪ >> 15 hours until midnight. >> hi to our friends and family in virginia. >> sending love to our family in alaska. ♪ >> hi to my students at patrick henry high school. >> shachecking off my bucket li on the "today" show. >> today is alyssa's 40th birthday. >> one of my favorite parts of the show. welcome back to "today" on this new year's eve morning. thank you for joining us. take a look at this. it's happening around the world. >> that's right. they are celebrating in sydney, australia, already. you can see thousands turned out for those fireworks there. a huge display. we'll be celebrating here soon.
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sheinelle, my big question for you, are you going to make it until midnight tonight? >> i'm going to take a power nap around nunoon. my first new year's day off in five years. i'm going to force myself to stay awake. we have a lot to get to this morning, starting with your news at 8:00. the holiday season is wrapping up the way it started with severe winter storms. it could pose a challenge forre. al is in pasadena for the rose bowl parade, to tell us what to expect around the country. >> we're going to have a nice new year's here. we have storms through the midwest and into the southeast. we have snow back through the west. here's what we're looking at. severe weather. 6 million people could see severe weather in the south. greatest threat for damaging winds and isolated tornadoes are possible. here's the impacts we're looking at. first of all, we're talking about flooding rains, heaviest in the midwest. 1 to 3 inches possible. we're looking at travel delays.
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airport delays today, chicago, st. louis, memphis, on the roads, i-55, i-40, i-70, st. louis all the way to baltimore. and back to the west, heavy snow blowing and drifting, slippery roads, hazardous travel. we're looking at airport delays for denver, also working our way to minneapolis, milwaukee, flagstaff, albuquerque and on the roads, i-25, i-90, billings to madison, and i-70, moab to denver, going to be strettreach driving. and for the ball drop in times square, it will be the first time in 24 years they have rain. it will be heavy rain. no umbrellas allowed. it will be a real mess. >> bring your panchos. al, thank you for that. police will be using every tool they have to keep the crowd safe, wherever they gather to count down to 2019. stephan stephanie gosk is in times square, in the center of it all.
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good morning, stephanie. >> reporter: kristen, right now, it is blissfully mild and not raining. like al said, that rain is going to kick off in the late afternoon and go all the way until the ball drop. people won't be able to bring their umbrellas. that's one of many rules. it will be the largest contingent of law enforcement on the ground here ever for a new york city event. they will be supported by 200 blocking vehicles, the sanitation trucks filled with sand to stop vehicles from ramming into the crowd. there will be 1,200 security cameras, detectives in the hotels that ring times square, as well as metal detectors. for anyone that's been here on new year's eve, all that security fades into the background, as the night builds here. the ball drop will be celebrating journalists and press freedoms. a large contingent of journalists, including our
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lester holt, who will have the best vantage point of the night. >> stephanie, thanks. one of trump's key allies is hinting that the president might be ready to end the shutdown. geoff bennett starts us off. is that changing with a tweet? >> reporter: democrats and republicans are stuck in a standoff over the proposed border wall. there's talk of optimism on the part of the president. trump ally, senator lindsey graham. he was at the white house for a two-hour lunch with mr. trump. graham suggests the president might suggest a compromise that would allow work permits and legal status to qualified undocumented immigrants in exchange for billions the president wants to build border barriers. president trump has been out of sight over the last few days baa he's been active on twitter, including in the last few minutes, as you mentioned. the president says this, an all-concrete wall was never abandoned as has been reported
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by the media. some areas will be concrete. but the experts at border patrol prefer a wall that is see-through so they can see what's going on on both sides. democrats said a border wall is a deal-breaker. it appears the shutdown will drag on. >> geoff, thank you. russia's domestic security service says it had detained an american citizen in moscow on suspicion of spying. it took him into custody on friday and opened a criminal case against him. the security agency referenced a section of russia's criminal code dealing with espionage dbu did not provide specifics. the u.s. state department was not available for comment. a dramatic rescue operation this weekend brought 140 stranded skiers safely down to the ground. a mechanical problem forced a montana ski resort to stop one of its chair lifts. repairs could take too long. so, the ski patrol went into action. they had to lower skiers from
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the lifts, using cables and harnesses. the entire operation took about 2 1/2 hours. that is the news. now, sheinelle, you have "the morning boost." >> this is a good one. a college student in chicago thought she would have to spend her final year because she couldn't swing the tuition. as she unwrapped her presents on christmas morning, one gift from her sister left her speechless. >> oh, it's another little box. >> at the bottom of the box was a note that read, quote, i am paying off your school balance. her big sister said she was not going to let money hold her little sister back from accomplishing her goals. >> her face says it all. coming up next, a special "rossen reports" you'll want to see if you're hitting the town
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tonight. >> hi. good morning. i'm jeff rossen. it's holiday party season. that means we're going to be relying on uber and lyft to get us home safely. you ever wonder which one you ever wonder which one arrives faster, uber or ♪ ♪ hey, buddy! heard you had a hard day. so, i brought you a snack. i had a bad day too. i forgot my briefcase. it had my laptop- all my papers in it. there i was, at work... ♪ ♪ feed his kindness, with the fresh roasted peanut taste he loves. where there's jif, there's love. i am not for just treating my symptoms... (ah-choo). i am for shortening colds when i'm sick. with zicam. zicam is completely different. unlike most other cold medicines... ...zicam is clinically proven to shorten colds. i am a zifan for zicam. oral or nasal.
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this morning on an all-new "rossen reports," a ride share faceoff. we're talking about uber and lyft. >> is there really a difference between the two? "today" correspondent jeff rossen is going for a lot of rides to compare. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. it's the holiday season. that means it's party season. love that. you should never drink and drive, which is why ride sharing services like uber and lyft are so popular, especially now. many of us rely on them to get around. i always wonder, you probably do, too, which one is better? che cheaper? to figure that out, you would have to order at the same time and go to the same place. who has time for that? we do. wherever you look, you see them, ubers, lyfts. this year, more than 60 million people will use a ride-sharing app. which one is cheaper and gets to you faster.
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to find out, i'm taking rides across the country. and i've enloisted the help of conner from my team. i'm going to order uber exclusively. we're going to go to three different cities and take two rides per city to compare. >> exactly. i'll be using lyft and only taking the lyft economy line, which is pretty much the same as uber x. >> reporter: we're interested and curious which car comes first. we're going from the same location, to the same location, hitting the button at the exact same time. which car comes first and the price difference. first stop, new orleans. we both order our rides at the same time. in just two minutes -- conner's is here first. >> reporter: conner is getting into his lift. but i'm right behind him. once inside. i get beads? i love this uber. when i arrive. results time -- my uber cost $16.94. >> my lyft cost $14.97.
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almost $2 cheaper than your uber. >> reporter: that's right. lyft is cheaper. for our next ride -- order at the same time. three, two, one, order. when my uber arrives. uber is here. i tell you to confirm the license plate. we're going to confirm the plate. yes. this is my uber. who are you here for? >> mr. jeff. >> reporter: mr. jeff. that's me. >> yep, that's me. >> reporter: soon, conner is on his way, too. and the price? my uber cost $15.34. but his lyft only cost $12.15. lyft was cheaper for both rides in new orleans. next stop, new york city. we take our rides. >> see ya. >> reporter: lyft is cheaper both times here, too. but there's a problem. on one of the rides, conner had to wait more than 17 minutes for his lyft. but just watch what happens in california. a twist. this time, uber is cheaper. but the very next trip -- three,
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two, one, order. back to the pattern. lyft is cheaper again. this time, by double-digits. our nationwide results, lyft coming in cheaper for five out of six rides, saving conner $20.18, to go to the same places. as for who showed up first, a tie. uber three times and lyft three times. uber telling nbc news, they strive to be the most consistent and reliable. and they are constantly working to deliver an even better, more reliable experience for riders. lyft saying, we're thrilled to provide affordable and reliable rides. happy riding on your next trip. the six rides we took, for uber and lyft, were regular fares. no discounts applied to any of them. here's a couple of money-saving tips, cool stuff that uber and lyft both do. they offer discounts to riders. you want to keep an eye on your account. you may be eligible. and both uber and lyft have
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announced rewards program for all riders, just like the airlines, that will be rolling out across the country in the coming months. back to you. >> not a bad idea. years ago, i linked my uber -- they were doing a trial program with an airline. it was like a dollar a mile. >> those rewards are critical. >> do you use uber and lyft? >> i do. and i switch on and off. >> whichever is faster. let's turn to tonight's all-important forecast. al is ringing in the new year in pasadena. >> here in southern california, uber and lyft have electric scooters that you use an app, get on and ride away. it's crazy stuff. as we're talking weather, let's look at the all-important forecast for the couple million people that will be in times square. it will be a wet one. but it will be warm. probably 40 degrees warmer than it was last year. 49, rain showers, some of the rape cou rain could be heavy. and new year's day, the rose
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parade, pasadena, california, mostly sunny and breezy. chaka khan will be the grand marshal. hoda kotb will be joining me at 11:00 a.m. eastern. let's look at what's going on right now, as far as the floats are concerned. pam knapp is the float chairperchairper chairperson. nice to see you. >> nice to see you. >> you have millions of flowers being put on the floats. this is dreamworks "how to train your dragon." what goes into this? everything has to be covered by a natural ingredient. >> every float has to be covered by 100% natural ingredients. we start this week, everything is covered. you see volunteers here, putting flowers together, covering all these floats. by the end of the day today -- >> all these little individual flowers, with glue on them. they have to stick them on the float. >> you see seeds and rice and
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grains. >> i'm hungry. >> you can smell it in here. it smells so good. by tomorrow morning, every float, every surface will be covered with all kinds of natural materials. we're going to have so much fun with this. this float is covered with dragons. it will be beautiful. just will be beautiful. >> pam knapp, again. a gorgeous day tomorrow. have a great parade. >> thank you so much. >> 130th tournament of roses parade here on nbc. coverage begins at 11:00 a.m. eastern, 8:00 out here on the west coast. and hoda kotb, live from studio that's what's going on around the country. here's what's happening in your neck of the woods. >> do not forget your coat as you head out the door this morning or that new year's eve outfit. we got clear skies but the temperatures will be chilly. the afternoon especially when the winds begin to kick up. 39 degrees in santa rosa. 49 in oakland. san jose at 42. under a microclimate weather alert because of the windy
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conditions. we'll be topping out into those upper 50s. here's what you can expect into the afternoon. wind advisory through tuesday morning. and that's your latest weather. ladies, i brought you something. >> aw. >> will they live by the time you get here? >> so sweet, al. >> they will. i won't. >> oh, al. >> thank you, al. >> yes, you will. carson is busy. he's getting ready for tonight. you have "pop start." >> i'm going to "pop start" it today. first up, lady gaga. a new star was born over the weekend when the performer was propelled from the ceiling to the stage. the show brought out celebrities including adam lambert and katy perry. but it was celine dion that outshined the crowd of fans, as she danced and sang along with gaga. the show came to an emotional end, when gaga got choked up
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while performing the song "shallow" from "a star is born." take a look. ♪ i fall in and all the good times i find myself longing ♪ ♪ for change [ cheers ] ♪ and in the bad times i feel myself ♪ ♪ i'm on the deep end watch as i dive in ♪ ♪ i'll never meet the ground >> gaga, as you heard there, broke down in tears during the performance but composed herself to finish the song. you can hear the crowd singing with her. her second residency show, "jazz
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and piano" kicks off january 20th. kathie lee and hoda will celebrate a toast to 2018. a star-studded special that highlights the biggest pop culture moment. here's a preview of what's to come. >> this is awesome. >> hmm. >> uh-oh. >> what was that? ♪ >> oh. >> i don't think that's right. >> oh. >> why do we do that? >> why? >> it's just fun. >> wow. >> here's to you. >> hoda and kathie lee. >> that was awesome. >> it's going to be a good time. a lot of familiar faces in that clip. to watch the special, tune in 8:00 eastern, 7:00 central. and stick around to watch carson da daly, hosting new year's eve
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with chrissy teigen. >> that looks like a fun show. everyone's laughing. meantime, parents, you want to pay attention to the next story. do you feel like you aren't understanding your kids? nbc's savannah sellers is with us to help everyone better understand generation z. good morning, savannah. help us out. >> reporter: good morning, guys. there's the boomers, there's gen-x and millennials. but gen-z is the next wave. and that's quite a bit that makes them uniquely them. the new kids on the block or in your office, aren't just millennia millennials. >> reporter: the freshest faces are those of generation z. millennials are those defined born between 1981 and 1995, those in gen-z, are born from 1996 on.
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it's more than the birth years that set these generations apart. we went to the source and talked to four people that we found the gen-z way, on snapchat. >> i think it's internet engagement. >> we were born with it. we don't know a world without it. >> reporter: while most millennials can remember life before smartphones and media, gen-z have always had a phone in their pocket. >> snapchat. >> reporter: they are seen the job market in a new day. what does success mean to you guys now? >> people in our generation are looking for the success in the way of living on your own terms. >> reporter: that means looking to social media platforms for viable career opportunities, causing some to think about education differently. do you think that, given social media opportunities, that going to college is necessary anymore?
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>> i really think that we're moving towards a time where a degree isn't necessarily important. >> reporter: they multitask with ease. their digital fluency allows them to take on a lot at once. sometimes coming across as unfocused. they say it's focus, the gen-z way. >> you're not only one social media for a time. you are on snap chchat and you t to go on instagram. >> reporter: short attention spans mean trends evolve fast. when your parents know about it, we're on the downhill. >> when it leaves the generation, it's not cool anymore. >> reporter: access to social media and technology has made gen-z more global. >> we're the first generation that's grown up with the tools that make us able to connect with anybody across the world. >> reporter: they are all under 20 and founded and run a consulting firm, helping fortune 500 and others reach gen-z successfully. they want you to know they're ready for a seat at the table,
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especially since gen-z is the largest percentage of the population, at over 25%. and it represents up to $143 billion in buying power. >> we're overtaking millennials as the largest generation by 2019. if you don't work with us, you're going to miss the boat. >> reporter: and don't underestimate what they're up to on their phones. give me a short answer to older people saying to you guys, you're always on your phone. >> you have no idea what i'm doing. >> we're not just ignoring the world around us. we're interacting with hundreds of people. >> reporter: this generation wants you to know, just because they care about followers, doesn't mean they don't care about friendships. and it doesn't mean they're disconnected from what happens in the world. >> we as a generation, we're so diverse. we're the most inclusive generation. we know what we want to see in our leaders. >> young people have always been standing up for things, always disrupting the status quo, always rewriting trends. what's unique is the tools we have access to, allow for
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disruptions to become mainstream. >> reporter: and with the tools, they plan to do big things. 60% of i )m ... just in this morning -- senator elizabeth warren is good morning, everyone. just in this morning, senator elizabeth warren taking steps to launch her 2020 presidential campaign announcing it with a video on her social media account. in it, she says she's forming an exploratory committee for the white house bid. this makes her the first big name democrat to formally vie for the nomination. it comes just days before she swears in for her second term as senator from massachusetts. >> wind speeds already gusting. current temperatures in san francisco 50. look at the wind speeds, 28 miles per hour. wind gusts 35-plus miles per hour. we're expecting those winds to continue to kick up into the
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midmorning and afternoon. our temperature trend by the afternoon, top out only in those 50s. look at your microclimate highs. wind advisory in effect through tuesday morning. a cold bliftry night dropping down into those 30s. now, a look at the roads. a couple of minor fender benders but all in all it's been a fantastic quiet morning. your bridge drive times, bay bridge, eight minutes. there have been no metering lights on at all all morning for the bay bridge toll plaza. >> another local news update coming up in half an hour. of course we'll see you at 11:00 a.m. for our midday news.
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[ cheers ] we have a fantastic crowd out here, outside of "today." for this new year's eve. it's 8:30, now, on this monday morning, december 31st. it's early but our crowd is revved up and ready to celebrate only this big holiday. a lot of them probably heading over to times square for
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tonight's big party. and you can watch it all right here. >> yes. carson and chrissy teigen are hosting nbc's new year's eve. and ooet keith urban will be li nashville. jennifer lopez, blake shelton, just to name a few. and our own lester holt, host of "nbc nightly news," has the honor of pushing the button to lower the ball. he's big-time. >> that's going to be so cool. >> it will be fun. so many of you are up so early this morning. so, it's time for our "crowd moment." where is emma? emma? here she is. i hear that it is emma's 10th birthday. emma, you have emma hats. you're emma. how are you? >> good. >> where are you from? >> southern california. >> are you going to be awake at midnight? >> yes. >> can we sing happy birthday to emma? one, two, three. ♪ happy birthday to you happy birthday to you ♪
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♪ happy birthday, dear emma happy birthday to you ♪ yay. >> what a fantastic way to celebrate your 10th birthday. congratulations. >> happy birthday. that's a nice way to kick off 10. >> so many of you are celebrating, obviously, the new year. show of hands, how many of you will be at times square tonight? >> wow. >> that's impressive. >> whoever sells ponchos on the corner is going to be rich. that's what i know. >> that's dedication. up early, up late. better than we can do, sheinelle. just ahead, we have simple yet festive recipes for cocktails and oftize e appetize watch the ball drop. and we'll speak to the first lady of tequila, why she's one of the first ladies of
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innovation. and what to watch for in 2019. first, let's get back to pasadena and get a check of today's forecast from mr. roker. al? >> i'm in the midst of a bunch of hobgobblers, this is from dreamworks "how to train your dragon." this is how they actually -- this is what they use to cover the hobgobblers. they take flowers, put them in a blender, pulverize them and decorate them. that's crazy stuff. let's look at new year's eve and new year's day across the country. today, new year's eve. rainy and windy in the midwest. intense chill through the plains. mountain snows in the pacific northwest. sunshine out west. for new year's eve midnight, heavy rain in the northeast, with snow in new england, light snow around the great lakes, mountain snows in the rockies, clear along the west coast. and then, new year's day, wet weather moves out of the east
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coast. showers through the southeast. frigid cold back through the plains. and we're looking at snowshowers through the rockies. sunny skies from southern california into the pacific northwest. that's what's that's what's going on around the country. cute. here's what's happening in your neck of the woods. >> we will also have sunny skies. we have wind already kicking in in san francisco. 50 degrees. the camera's a little shaky. that's because of the sustained wind speeds right now. 20 miles an hour wind gusts. 35 miles per hour. over the next several hours, you'll notice an increase in the wind speed. tonight, cold night. temperatures into the 30s. here's how to plan out your day. wind advisory will remain in effect through tuesday morning, possible frost overnight. >> and that is your latest weather. coming back in a little bit with some birth days on the smucker's jars. >> take it. >> thanks, al. now, to our special series "leading the way," showcasing
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innovators who are shaping the world. >> this morning, a woman who is changing the way you think about tequi tequila. here's nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> everything matters. the care that goes into the fields, when we harvest. >> reporter: she's been dubbed the first lady of tequila, a master of the spirit and one of "fortune" magazine's most innovative women. >> my love of tequila started when i started to work in the industry. >> reporter: a veteran of the industry, 40-year-old gonzales is stirring up more than margaritas. >> it's a male-dominated industry. i didn't want to be a woman in the tequila category. i wanted to be a professional in the tequila category. >> reporter: in 2008, she left the big guys to go back to the basics. >> i heard, you are crazy, so many times. and i was so and am still, enamored by the industry, that
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is not something i thought was an obstacle. >> reporter: joining forces with media mogul bob pitman, to launch a small-batch, hand-crafted sipping tequila. >> we saw an opportunity in the marketplace, where we could bring a unique style of tequila, sipping tequila. >> reporter: born and raised in mexico city, before attending grad school at northwestern, she has been an entrepreneur since the get-go. >> as a child, i had a lot of different ideas. i had a poinsettia landscaping business. imported clothing from the u.s. my parents never stopped me. >> reporter: that's a good thing because tequila is on the tip of everyone's tongue, with americans drinking more than ever before, 200 million bottles just last year. >> if you travel throughout mexico, tequila is part of the social fabric. how we socialize and celebrate. we want to seduce international chefs to be edadventuroure adve create pairings. >> reporter: no longer just a
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party drink on college campuses. with savvy marketing, it's become a multibillion category. it has celebrities like diddy, justin timberlake, and george clooney getting in on the game. they are following suit and creating their story around mexico's elite cavalry, who masterminded their independence from spain in the 1700s. >> these were heros that were perceived as rebellious. and with their actions, it changed the history of mexico. we want to be part of tequila producers that are pushing tequila into the future. to showcase mexican craftsmanship in everything we do. when you're an entrepreneur, there's a balance between the structure that you're building, people believing in you and the belief that you can do this. you have to have passion and dedication. it was and is a dream come true. >> reporter: for "today," kristen dahlgren, nbc news,
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new york. >> she went to northwestern. she must be a genius. up next, did you get one of those popular dna test kits for christmas? how they're making discoveries about the original cave men. about the original cave men. a drink with friends can turn into two, and a prescription can be stronger than you thought. stop! there are a lot of ways to get a dui. and a lot of ways to go-- text a friend, call a cab, share a ride. whatever you choose to do, go safely, california.
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hebreakfast makers, takers, step counters, outdoor explorers, faith restorers, appointment keepers, fantastic creatures. farmer's market goers, cholesterol lowerers cell phone silencers. the new lease on lifers, and the positive thinkers. here's to you all that see every day as an opportunity to thrive your way. a drink with friends can turn into two,
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and a prescription can be stronger than you thought. stop! there are a lot of ways to get a dui. and a lot of ways to go-- text a friend, call a cab, share a ride. whatever you choose to do, go safely, california. welcome back. dna tests were one of the holiday season's hottest gifts. >> that's right. they can reveal a lot about who you are. apparently that includes details about our ancient ties to the original cavemen. keir simmons has the latest. keir, good morning. >> reporter: good morning. this in ancient times was known as the end of the world. and it's thought this, is the last place that neanderthal died out. but why did they disappear? the cavemen that once lived here could be your long lost
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ancestors, passing on blue eyes and red hair, an increased risk of diabetes and crohn's disease. lighting this campfire here about 40,000 years ago. >> this was home for them. probably one of the last homes on the planet, the last ones that lived in these caves. >> reporter: they died out mysteriously around the time we arrived on the scene, some 35,000 years ago. some experts think we wiped them out. some say, they couldn't adjust to the changing climate. >> europe was getting covered in ice. it was not a world for ambush hunting. >> reporter: but the latest evidence suggests they interbred with us. their dna, still alive in many of us today. manage the features we may have inherited, a strange bone, some folks, including me, has behind their skull. this could be my brother from another mother. or my sister, from another
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mister. to find out, i sent some of my saliva -- you don't want to see me do this -- to be dna tested. the knneanderthals were a mysterious creature. >> they had brains sometimes larger than ours. they weren't dumb creatures. >> reporter: perhaps creating the first cave art. discovered back here and never filmed before. it looks a little like a hash tag. >> an indication of the symbolic capacities and the abstract thinking these people had. >> reporter: is it art or a message? >> that's the mystery. >> reporter: how about the dna test i did? i discovered i'm 2.6% neanderthal. perhaps that explains a lot. neanderthal man survived for 300,000 years. we modern humans have a ways to go before we reach that milestone. so, guys, maybe, just maybe,
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from are some lessons for us in what happened to them. >> okay. by the way, that backdrop was stunning. >> gorgeous. >> great assignment. >> now, we have to get our dna test. still planning your new year's eve party? we have great ideas for fun and festive drinks and foods to serve later tonight. first, this is "today" on nbc.
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and we're back with a segment we're most excited for "today food." if you're hosting a new year's eve bash later tonight but you're still putting together the menu, listen up to this. >> you can do something a little different this year. eden is executive chef of dez. she is here with quick and easy appetizers and cocktails to spruce up your last night of 2018. >> thank you for having me. >> tell us why these are some of your favorite dishes. >> i love switching things up.
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i like having variety in different dishes to serve to your guests. >> i like this because this isn't something you would expect. and i think anybody coming over would love to try it. >> this is great, too. in is a vegan option that i'm really aware of. i like to have variety. this is our -- this is actually a variation on one of the most popular dishes, our cauliflower. this is cauliflower that we like to put a lot of extra virgin olive oil on. >> you char it? >> we season it with salt and then toss it and throw into a 450-degree oven. and you get a beautiful, golden cauliflower. >> how long? >> around 15 minutes. >> how do you not burn it? >> if you put it on high for a short amount of time, you don't steam it, you get a nice char. it's the best way to cook the cauliflower. >> you dip it into the tahini? >> first, we're going to work on the chimichurri.
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we have cilantro and garlic and we're going to blitz it and add grape seed oil. >> oh. >> you want to make sure when you put it on -- you slowly add the oil. that emulsifies and comes together and turns into a sauce. so, what we do here is we do a little layering. >> i'm going to try it while you're talking. >> sheinelle is getting in there. >> this is the tahini. >> this is the last day of 2018. seize the advantage. >> exactly. >> raw tahini. we want to add ice water to make a tahini sauce. lemon juice to brighten it up. >> does that cut the flavor a little bit? >> it does. tahini can really be bitter. just the actual sesame paste. so, the lemon juice really brightens it up. you want to add the garlic and the water and the lemon juice and some salt. >> this is excellent. >> yay. >> keep going. >> you mex it and you get this
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beautiful tahini sauce. then, you want to layer over the golden, beautiful cauliflower. >> it's crunchy. >> you don't want it to steam. you want to hold the texture and get the caramelization that has so much flavor in it. >> and it's beautiful to serve. >> this is great for a party and awesome at home as a side dish. >> and the colors are fantastic. we have this chimichurri and some currants in there that adds some sweetness. and we finished with fried capers. and we garnish with dill. >> my gosh. >> picture-perfect. >> exactly. it's a vegan's dream. we have a minikebab burgers. i love this because the kebabs, you don't need to serve it in a burger form. you can serve it on a stick with the tahini, which you saw over here. it's the same tahini. i finished it with a cucumber
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and red onion salad. >> we are using lamb here. but you can do anything? >> i've done it with beef. the spices in there makes everything come together. >> and if you're trying to find something creative, even the presentation, to just stick those in there. it's super cute for any slider. >> absolutely. >> what's next? >> these are great. this is a different direction. this is artichoke dip bites. >> stop. >> it's not messy. >> you don't need to serve it with the bread on the side. you bring everything together. we have the artichokes. we have the thawed spinach. we have sauteed onions with garlic. and you add in cream cheese. you add in sour cream. >> fair amount of cream cheese, looks like. >> that adds the creaminescream. and these are little bites. you don't feel guilty at all. no guilt. >> how long do you stir it for?
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>> until it comes together. try to make sure everything is the same temperature. >> the green is festive. >> you eat with your eyes first. why not make everything beautiful and colorful. >> what are these things? >> that is puff pastry. you can buy it at any grocery store. when you use a muffin tin, you want to butter it properly. you roll out the puff pastry. >> perfect. is that too much? >> that's perfect. >> is that good? >> that's perfect. >> this is easy. i can do this. and parmesan on top. it's simple. i'm all about simple food. 375 another 15 minutes and you're golden. >> easy. >> amazing. >> i'm trying this. and the sandwiches. >> and to garnish with aleppo and chives on there, another way to bring out the spices. beautiful. >> excellent.
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>> this is fun. this is bite-sized foods. they're a fancy ham and cheese sandwich. i love elevating those traditionals. >> what's the difference between this and croc monsieur. this has the bechamel. it gets gold on top. the ham and the cheese. >> however you say it, it looks great. >> the presentation of it. >> and it's fantastic for the morning after. you can whip that up for the 1st. >> heck yeah. >> when you're getting out of bed at 10:00 a.m., a little later. now, it's time for the cocktail. >> okay. >> i'm not great at making cocktails. this is my sure way of making sure you have delicious drinks onhand. >> this is pomegranate. >> this is winter citrus and pomegranate punch. we put a beautiful ice cube in the middle, which is my hack for making it special and festive.
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you take a bundt pan and you fill it with water. you put it in the freezer overnight. >> what a great idea. >> yes. you put it into a clear punch bowl. in here, we have pomegranate, orange. we have gin and champagne, obviously. >> obviously. >> as you do. >> it looks so beautiful. >> happy new year. >> thank you. >> happy new year to you. if you want to try these recipes, trust me, it's worth it. you can find them at today.com/food. back in a moment. this is "today" on nbc.
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we're back with some special birthdays. al, what do you have? >> that's right. the last birthdays of 2018. here we go. first up, a happy 100th birthday as we spin those smucker's jars
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to ms. fern brown, an author from river woods, illinois. she's written more than 30 books for kids and teens. next up, lola hellmann, a baker from florida. celebrating 100 years. rumor has it, she has the best apple cake you will ever try. send one this way, lola. happy birthday to john constan of muncie, indiana, serving as a minister at his church for 30 years. ruth shapiro of newton, mass, loves spending time with her 12 grandkids and great grandkids. helene, worked in retail for over 30 years. and last but not least, happy 100th birthday to robert fathauer, a traveler from ohio, serving our country during world war ii. we salute you for your service,
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sir. i want to salute you ladies. hope you have a great new year's eve and new year's day. we hope everybody will join hoda and me on nbc tomorrow, 130th tournament of roses parade on nbc. >> have a great new year's al. that's all the time we have this morning. just ahead, we'll set down with one of the stars of "aquaman." >> have a safe and happy new year. your local news is ahead. i )m d good morning, everyone, 8:56. a lot of college football today. stanford gets to play in just an hour or two. back here at home, at levi's stadium, the oregon ducks take on michigan state in the red box bowl today. organizers calling the game a dry run for the upcoming college football championship. that's at levi's.
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that's one week from today. parking along the embarcadero already off limits for tonight's new year's eve celebration. tens of thousands will watch fireworks at midnight. bart, muni and cal train offering extended services. bart trains run until 3:00 a.m. san francisco police are going over added security measures as well. happening now, talking with those police and visitors planning to attend the celebration. pete will have a live update midday. if you're looking for something to do tonight, you can go to nbcbayarea.com. we have links for events all over the bay area. and elizabeth warren this morning threw her hat into the ring. she's going to form an exploratory committee. and we'll be watching that. we'll have our big newscast coming up at 11:00.
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from nbc news, this is "today." hey, everyone. craig melvin here. sheinelle jones, jenna bush hager, al roker. as we prepare to enter the new year, we're going to look back this morning. you can look at social media. >> and the hash tag. >> tweet those at us. >> if you follow craig on social media, he points in every picture. >> that is true. >> i point to the other person. >> why do you do that? >> two reasons. you take a

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