tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 2, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
i'm renee chenault-fattah. >> and i'm jim rosenfield. the news continues with "nbc nightly news." on our broadcast tonight, knocked out. who turned out the lights in detroit? a huge power grid suddenly goes dark, a city-wide emergency focusing attention on a crumbling infrastructure nationwide. mandatory evacuations in california as the nasty and sprawling storm moves on shore. too much rain way too fast and in a drought-stricken region that now means floods. sounding the alarm about what's in the cargo hold on commercial flights. tonight the product that could bring down a plane. also our nbc news investigation on a potential health risk in certain playgrounds. why some doctors warn against it, some parents won't let their kids near it. and plunge at the pump. gas prices continue to dive, and we learn where they might be
about to dip under 2 a gallon. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. when the power went out in our 18th largest city today, the city we used to call the engine om democracy, a lot of people, especially those paying attention to the news of late, suspected the worse, perhaps even an outside entity. then the investigation zeroed in. the question became not so much who turned out the lights in detroit today but what. tonight the probable cause speaks to the aging pipes and wires and girders in so many american cities. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's john yang in detroit. >> reporter: a massive power outage in downtown detroit today. >> no power on this end of downtown. >> reporter: it started at about 10:30 this morning. a major cable failure at the
masturski power generation plant. courthouses, fire stations and schools all went dark. hospitals forced to rely on generators moved some critical care patients. students and staff at 90 schools dismissed early. firefighters rushed to downtown high-rises to help free those trapped in elevators or too weak to climb down stairs. more than 700 stop lights went dark, snarling traffic. people used flashlights in darkbles to get through the stairwells in safety. and at the local courthouse, a high profile murder-for-hire trial was interrupted. here you can see the lights flickering while court was in session. attorney christopher quinn was one of the people who had to get out. >> i was just leaving court, jumped on an elevator and all of a sudden it just shook and stopped, then the power went out and me and another individual were stuck on that elevator. >> reporter: at joe louis arena,
home of the detroit red wings, lights out for the second time this week. detroit's in the midst of a four-year $200 million upgrade to its aging power grid, something the mayor says has been neglected for too long. >> what you have is a power grid across this city that the city has not modernized in decades. >> reporter: as you can see, all the power has been restored and ahead of schedule. but still, this was a big blow to this once-proud city struggling to rebuild. brian. >> john yang starting us off from detroit tonight. john, thanks. awful news late today out of knoxville, tennessee, where two school buses collided this afternoon. sadly, there are fatalities to report. authorities say two children, one adult were killed, 23 others injured, three seriously. most of the other injuries were minor. the students range from kindergarten age up to third grade. one of the buses flipped on its side during the crash. the cause is under investigation.
though they're saying there locally weather might have been a factor. of immediate concern on the west coast this evening, a powerful storm unleashing potentially record amounts of rain and bringing with it flooding and mud slides. california, a state that's parched with drought badly needs rain, but as they say, not like this. our report from nbc's jacob rascon. >> reporter: northern california was hit first and hit hard. the storm toppling trees and power lines, causing accidents and four-hour flight delays at sfo. >> yes, we had to rebook our flight. >> reporter: in southern california -- >> it's coming. >> reporter: this is more than just a storm before. >> the house could go. damage, severe, lives are at stake here, yeah, it's a big deal. >> reporter: the last time a strong storm hit, his home was buried. >> 14 days to clear the mud out from the back of the house.
>> our concern is it could be worse this time as the rain intensifies. >> right now, here it is. >> reporter: up to six inches of rain are expected in the foothills in areas recently scorched by wildfires. >> those recent burn areas have denuded hillsides and there's nothing to hold the ground together. so we really could have a flash flood and a mud flow situation. >> reporter: downed power lines closed the pacific coast highway. the usually dry los angeles river actually became one. just north in cam rhea springs, the threat of mud slides, crews struggled to keep water away from homes. in glendora concrete rails and sandbags stand guard. >> it's safer to be away from your home than at your hope. it's not the steady rain that we're worried about. it's that high volume of rain in a short amount of time.
>> reporter: and we will break records today. almost all daily rainfall totals in southern california are expected to fall, and another storm is on its way tomorrow. brian, even with that, the rain this week isn't expected to put a dent in the drought here. >> jacob rascon, where sadly it's just getting started. we learned today officially something we've been seeing on the roads a lot lately. that is auto dealers haven't seen these kinds of sales in over a decade. one of the reasons being credited for the surge in new vehicles is the steep decline in gas prices which continue to plunge all across the country. experts are saying the trend is likely to continue down to levels many thought we'd never see again in terms of prices. we get our report tonight from janet shamlian. >> reporter: from america's highways to its new car showrooms, lower pump prices are helping to gas the economy and put extra cash in family piggy banks. just since june, oil prices have
fallen 34% to a fine-year low. while $2.70 a gallon is the national anch for gas, in st. louis it's down to 2.37, cheapest in the country. >> i think it's fantastic. i have more money to do something else with. >> reporter: in texas, the average is now 2.53. >> i can fill my car up for 25 bucks. >> reporter: it's all about supply and demand. the u.s. produces 9 million barrels a day, the most in 30 years. opec, led by saudi arabia, keeps pumping, hoping to drive prices lower to force competitors like the u.s. out of the game. >> the saudis becoming insecure about the boom in u.s. shale production looking to cut prices and win that market share back. and it's certainly benefiting everyone that's filling up at the pump. >> reporter: analysts say we could see it in two weeks. for a typical family it could mean hundreds in savings.
janet shamlian, nbc news, houston. now to our nbc news investigation tonight. a follow-up on our own reporting about the potential health risks of certain artificial turf made about ground-up fires being used on football and soccer fields all across our country. after our initial reports aired, it elicited a huge response. some cities are thinking about removing artificial turf fields. we talked to some parents about it being used on playgrounds and what it might do to their children. stephanie gosk. >> reporter: a group of moms and kids play at the local park but the swings and slides are off limits. how many of your children still play on this playground? >> none. >> reporter: those mothers have concerns about the playground surface. recycled car and truck tires known as crumb rubber mulch.
>> i couldn't stand the smell and my kids would be tainted in black. >> they were sitting in the mulch and putting it in their mouths. >> reporter: shayla deberry osborne learned that it is made of tires. this is part of their play, it's deep, too. >> they play in this, they sit in it, they roll in it. >> reporter: the international agency for research on cancer labels four carcinogens while adding that at low levels of exposure they are considered safe. >> i really just feel fearful about them being exposed to this. >> reporter: recycled tires are also used in artificial turf fields. >> something a lot of parents and athletes are going to want to see. >> reporter: an nbc news investigation profiled a college soccer coach who started asking questions after two were diagnosed with cancer. numerous scientific studies have shown there's no indication of adverse health effects due to
exposure from crumb rubber der ivd from tires and used in athletic fields and playgrounds. but this doctor at mt. sinai hospital in new york says the studies are insufficient. he worries about children's exposure to even low levels of carcinogens. >> my position is not against grinding up tire, but we shouldn't be putting it in places where little children can come in close contact with it. >> reporter: he believes children under the age of 10 shouldn't be anywhere near it. >> they're more vulnerable because their cells are going through such rapid development. they're not yet fully formed. >> reporter: but the consumer product safety commission doesn't mention toxicity levels in its handbook. it places rubber mulch on the list of appropriate surfaces. a task force to promote tire recycling recommends rubber
mulch, even using a photo of a rubber mulch playground on its website. the epa did not respond but says the decision to use recycled tires on playgrounds is a state and local one. they declined repeated requests for interviews. it's even used on the white house playground. in bannen, town leaders denied a request to tear out the surface. >> we were considering removing it or looking into the possibility of removing it. now we've got more parents coming to the commission saying, no, we want you to leave that. >> deberry-osborne and her friends disagree. the doctor doesn't believe we should wait. >> i would say that the first priority for the existing playgrounds, get rid of crumb rubber where little infants come
into contact with it. >> so pull it out? >> pull it out. >> reporter: some are being kept off the swings. the doctor tells us he's not worried about the rubberized mats that are often used in playgrounds because they're contained and not use. he's worried about the rubber mulch that's loose, kids can pick it up and play in it. >> stephanie gosk thank you for your reported reporting on this. a woman believed to be the wife of the leader of isis is under arrest in lebanon tonight. abu bakr al baghdadi is said to have multiple wives. the woman under arrest is reportedly detained while trying to cross using a fake identification. one of baghdadi's children was taken into custody along with her. nbc news has learned president obama could announce his choice for new defense secretary as early as tomorrow.
ashton carter. if confirmed, carter would replace chuck hagel, anuns his resignation rather abruptly last month. jeb bush because the first in the republican party to speak truth to power while admitting he's thinking about running for president, he put forth the belief that he'd have to lose in the primaries early on to win the general election noting the missteps past candidates have played in perhaps playing too far to the right in heading into the general election. still ahead tonight, an alarming new look at what's being named for several accidents in the area. also, the show muts go on with or without one of the biggest names in music who called on some other pretty big names to step in for him. .. please, please, please, please, please. [ male announcer ] the wish we wish above all...is health. so we quit selling cigarettes in our cvs pharmacies. expanded minuteclinic, for walk-in medical care.
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which could require hospitalization; skin problems; and severe bone, joint, or muscle pain. remember, the best breaks are the ones we have out there... ...not in here. take action. and talk to your doctor about prolia®. there are serious concerns being expressed tonight about whether it's safe to fly on aircraft that are transporting lithium ion batteries, the same batteries in practically every cell phone, laptop and tablet on the market. new video shows what investigators have long suspected and feared. that when packaged together in large numbers, these batteries could pose a catastrophic risk to an airliner. we get our report on this tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: it's a haunting demonstration of how quickly lithium ion batteries could pose a lethal threat to a modern aircraft.
in this faa test, a cargo container packed with 5,000 lithium bat ris and a cartridge heater. soon the shipment catches fire. then as temperatures exceed 1100 degrees, a chain reaction and a thunderous explosion ripping apart the container that could have been sitting in an aircraft cargo hold. nbc news aviation analyst captain john cox, an international safety consultant, has spent years investigating the risk of lithium batteries. >> it's a growing threat and one of the few in aviation because we're seeing an increase in the number of batteries and we're seeing a large number of them. >> reporter: crash investigators already blame exploding or overheating lithium bat ris for several accidents. september 2010, a u.p.s. cargo plane with more than 80,000 batteries on board caught fire and crashed near dubai. two pilots were killed. july 2011, an asiana cargo plane with a shipment of electronics and car batteries crashed into the strait of korea killing two pilots.
and a u.p.s. cargo plane barely made it to philadelphia after a fire erupted on board. both pilots managed to escape. in a 2010 report the faa found that lithium ion cells are flammable and capable of self-ignition when a battery short circuits or overheats. batteries are supposed to be limited to more than just a handful in single box but shippers can pack many boxes into one shipment. tens of thousands of batteries. the concern is that those bulk shipments could pose a serious risk to a passenger plane. now pilots unions are calling for tougher rules on shipping those batteries. >> very sobering stuff. tom costello, thanks. we're back in a moment with the loss being mourned tonight in the world of music. i'm angela, and i quit smoking with chantix. people who know me, they say 'i never thought you would quit.' but chantix helped me do it. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking.
it gave me the power to overcome the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. some people had seizures while taking chantix. if you have any of these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix or history of seizures. don' take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you develop these, stop chantix and see your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. tell your doctor if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems, or if you develop new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. decrease alcohol use while taking chantix. use caution when driving or operating machinery. common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping and unusual dreams. i'm a non-smoker, that feels amazing. ask your doctor if chantix is right for you. feel like a knot. how can i ease this pain? (man) when i can't go, it's like bricks piling up.
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"brown sugar" is about as recognizable as any in the western world. we learned the man who played it, bobby keys, has died. he toured and played with the stones for 45 years. lennon, streisand, clapton and more. the pride of lubbock, texas, born on the same day as keith richards who today called him his soulmate. bobby keys was 70 years old. they called it u2 minus one to mark world aids day. u2 performed a surprise concert without bono who is home in dublin recovering from an awful bicycle crash including broken bones and surgery. as you can see, they found some guys to fill in for him. bruce and chris martin took turns on lead vocals, carrie underwood and kanye also performed. when we come back after one more break, "making a difference," why it may seem like you're on every charity's e-mail list today. "nbc nightly news" with
brian williams is brought to you by the salvation army. visit red kettle reason.org to find out how people like you are doing the most good this giving tuesday. kettle reason.org to find out how people like you are doing the most good this giving tuesday. reason.org to find out how people like you are doing the most good this giving tuesday. at panera bread, our hearty all-natural turkey chili is back in season. slow-cooked with turkey raised without antibiotics, tart tomatillos, chilies, carrots, edamame and more. the savory spice of the chili pairs perfectly with the black bean hummus and the fresh crunch of napa cabbage blend in our southwestern chicken flatbread. and it all comes together in a you pick two made just for you. only at panera bread. no question about that. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow.
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after all the focus on profits on black monday, black friday and cyber monday, someone had the good idea a couple years back to make today all about nonprofit giving. they called it giving tuesday. now that we've endured days of sales pitch bombardment and ads, the only thing we're being asked to buy on this day is some good karma. nbc's kevin tibbles has today's "making a difference" report. >> reporter: a tradition of charity, 'tis the season. and along with black friday and cyber monday, the holiday spirit, too, has gone viral on giving tuesday. >> have to pay it forward. >> reporter: are you going to do it? >> i already did. >> reporter: websites and apps designed to streamline and maximize donating that still allow you to pick where your money goes. check out the app from the fund-raising platform crowdrise. you focus in on a dollar bill. and for every dollar donated, you help build a virtual tower of giving.
donations become bricks that may soon surpass chicago's willis tower in height. today new yorkers could watch more than 1,000 organizations help the giving tower grow. >> it's just been incredible to see all of these different charities rally. >> we've seen a 90% increase in online giving on this date year after year since it started. >> reporter: the salvation army funds 70% of its operations with christmas donations, giving tuesdays helps with changing times. >> our red kettles do not have the credit card machines connected. we had to find other ways for people to contribute. >> reporter: the idea was born here at the new york 92nd street y. they were taking unselfies to promote unselfish giving. >> giving is one thing that brings people together. >> reporter: coming together on giving tuesday to remember the true spirit of the season. kevin tibbles, nbc news,
chicago. and finally tonight, speaking of giving thanks, a check of the calendar today revealed we've been meeting like this now for ten years. and my thanks go to you. without you, there'd be no "nightly news" and i'm feeling enormous gratitude today for my family and also for my work family, the people of "nightly news," the people of nbc news. they make the operation go. without all of them, there would be none of this. most nights we wish we had better news to report. i can only promise to continue to do our dead level best at reporting the news. so that is our broadcast on a tuesday night. and after a decade of this, i can't say this often enough. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. of course, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
good evening. i'm first alert meteorologist sheena parveen. quick update for you. we have freezing rain moving into the area. mostly north and west of philadelphia. that's the pink coloring. through the poconos, we're seeing spotty freezing rain here. just be careful if you're out there. temperatures are hovering around the freezing point. below freezing in the poconos. parts of burke county, 78, we could be dealing with quite a bit of freezing rain, even in parts of lancaster county, across 76. some of this starting to change over from rain from freezing rain as our temperatures slowly try to warm up.
but north and west of philadelphia tonight, lehigh valley, poconos, we have the winter weather advisory out for freezing rain which could cause icy spots on the roadways. again, be careful driving. more noise tur down to the south and west. this is slowly moving towards our area. through the overnight hours, we slowly start to warm up and that rain freezing rain changes over to just rain. now, in philadelphia, we have gotten up to now 40 degrees. 38 in horsham. it's the areas north and west we're watching. we're in freezing. freezing in reading. one degree above that allentown, 33 degrees. below freezing in the poconos. this is the area that has the highest risk of possibly seeing freezing rain. not in south jersey or delaware, though. those temperatures well above freezing. future weather shows all the moisture moving in. by 11:00 tonight, we'll be dealing with another wave of rain moving through the area. more updates on nbc10.com. also right here on nbc 10. we now return you to extra.