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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 22, 2013 6:30pm-7:01pm EST

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on this sunday night. going to extremes. snow, wind, ice and heat. a large dangerous storm paralyzes part of the country, causes havoc for holiday travelers and sets record highs. targeted. after that massive security breach. why you may be in for a big
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surprise the next time you go to use your bank card. looming deadline. the final push to get people to sign up for health care and still confusion one day before the key enrollment date. and christmas surprise. how a woman's carefully planned wishes for her family were finally granted two years after her death. good evening. extreme weather is causing an odd mix of misery and delight depending on where you are in the eastern half of the country. that powerful storm system we've been watching for days now has spawned floods and rare december tornadoes in the south and spread crippling ice and snow from the midwest into new england leaving hundreds of thousands without power and snarling air travel. all just three days before christmas.
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elsewhere in places like philadelphia and new york city, holiday shoppers hit the streets in shirt sleeves on this second day of winter as record breaking temperatures soared into the 60s and even 70s. the weather channel's mike seidel is in a colder and snowier wisconsin to start us off. hello. >> reporter: hello, lester. from wisconsin, we have a snowstorm. a wild weekend, everything, snow and ice, tornados and floods and at least six deaths attributed to this extreme weather. an emergency declared in parts of new england and upstate new york. thick ice, freezing rain and high winds prompted the governor of new york to activate the state emergency center. more than 1,000 plows deployed to clear roads of up to two inches of ice. downed power lines knocked out electricity to more than 300,000 customers in michigan and tens of thousands more in new york, maine and vermont.
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>> about 2:30 this morning, we awoke to the house shaking, transformers exploding, the skies lighting up, trees falling. >> reporter: the storm stretches north to toronto. hundreds of thousands of residents remain without power. utility companies there describe the damage as catastrophic. the highest level emergency situation. back in new york city, a very different scene. visitors at rockefeller center shed heavy coats on this spring-like sunday. >> fantastic. i'm in a t-shirt. >> this is what people in florida must feel like. >> reporter: in baltimore, christmas shopping in the sun. across the region, record high temperatures. new york city, a balmy 71. breaking its old record of 63 degrees. in philadelphia, 68 degrees. from 66 degrees, the previous record. augusta, georgia, 79 degrees. overnight the same storm produced powerful tornadoes and straight line winds. in arkansas, severe structural damage. in monroe, louisiana --
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>> we saw the sides of the wall falling and then i saw the transformer over there blew up and flashed everywhere. the glass started shattering. >> reporter: just south of louisville, kentucky, fallen power lines sparked a fire. nine cars ablaze forcing a highway to be shut down. in indiana, rain fell hard and fast flooding streets and homes. >> a couple more inches and i think we would have been really in trouble. >> reporter: almost 600 flights canceled today. 4500 delayed. most of those holiday travellers were flying through chicago and philadelphia. while snow in parts of the midwest guarantees a white christmas. >> as far as i'm concerned, i've had enough. >> reporter: the cold front is heading to the east coast tonight. that will cut off the record warmth. highs tomorrow drop 10 to 20 degrees but still near 60 in new york and washington. then christmas day, back to 30s and 40s. no snowstorms lurking on the weather map into the last weekend of the year. >> all right.
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thanks. the weather notwithstanding, millions of americans headed out to do some last-minute christmas shopping. for some there was something they hadn't bargained for. a limit on purchases and cash withdrawals using their bank cards. it come after that big security breach at target. cnbc's sharon joins us with more. >> reporter: tonight some major banks are now administration limits on deblt cards if your account was potentially compromised by the target breach. and just as holiday shoppers are last-minute purchasers. chase said customers whose credit cards are at risk will face a 100 limit on cash withdrawals and a $300 limit on purchases. the limits will be in effect until chase is able to replace the card. customers who show proper i.d. at the branch may be able to have those limits lifted. city is also monitoring its cards for activity and if detected, it may limit, block or reissue cards. anyone who shopped in a target store from november 27th to december 15th should monitor their accounts and immediately
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report any fraud lent transactions. >> all right. thank you. we now know why nasa decided to delay a second space walk by two american astronauts making those critical repairs to the international space station. it is because of a problem with one of their space suits. we get details from nbc's kerry sanders. >> this is a good stopping point. >> reporter: after a 5:28 space walk, astronaut rick returned to the space station's air lock and discovered something that wasn't supposed to be. water had entered his space suit sublimator. a design to dissipate excess heat. >> there's always been water in the suit. the difference is they had devices that got rid of it. this time it accumulated. they really don't know why. >> reporter: nasa postponed a second space walk tomorrow until tuesday so a spare space suit can be reconfigured for him. meantime colonel mike hopkins reported no problems with water
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which is especially notable because he was wearing the same space suit an italian astronaut wore last july when a malfunction filled the helmet with water. the helmets now have makeshift snorkels and absorb dlenlt pads in case the water reappears. nasa says the water that developed inside the space suit in july that the water detected yesterday are not the same problem. >> okay, rick, pull back. >> reporter: on tuesday the astronauts will continue their repair mission to replace a cooling pump that malfunctioned. >> the space station is running with only a single cooling system which means it is vulnerable to that one cooling system having a failure. >> reporter: tonight the astronauts look forward to the next space walk. they're preparing for what they hope is routine and dry. kerry sanders, nbc news, miami. the state department says an unspecified number of americans were safely evacuated today from the african nation of south sudan where there is a growing
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conflict between government and rebel forces. the americans along with other foreigners were air lifted on u.s. and united nations helicopters. the evacuations come amid worsening violence and a day after three u.s. military aircraft were hit by rebel gun fire as they tried to evacuate americans. four american service members were injured in that attack. let's turn to that looming deadline that comes tomorrow for president obama's health care law. it is the final day for most americans to sign up for coverage that begins january 1st. more on this tonight from our white house couldn't peter alexander who is traveling with the president in hawaii. >> reporter: ahead of tomorrow's deadline for coverage beginning january 1st, a final push is online. this reminder from and frs detail exchange, instead of regifting, why not give the gift that keeps on giving. health coverage. as anticipated, a last-minute spike in demand when we called today, close to a two-hour wait.
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>> thank you for calling d.c. health link. your estimated wait time is 105 minutes. >> reporter: in maryland this weekend, oliver mitchell breezed through. >> i got a call yesterday saying i was approved. and i came in today to finish the application. i'm covered now. >> reporter: threatening to complicate the process, a series of late administration changes. >> these constantly changing the rules at the last minute causes tremendous amount of confusion for consumers and it creates uncertainty for a health plan. >> reporter: meanwhile the heated political debate grows. >> i think they ought to talk about health care and what we're for rather than continuing to talk about what we're beginning. look. obamacare right now causes people to spend more money, have less choice, have a higher deductible and have less freedom. >> the president is working to fix it. we are working in the senate to fix it. we urge our republican colleagues to join us in fixing
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it. >> reporter: while vacationing in hawaii, president obama is also considering fixes to how the u.s. gathers intelligence reviewing an independent panel's critical 300-page report. ? it is time to fundamentally reform the way they operate. the president's panel made that very, very clear. >> reporter: today one panelist defended parts of the program. >> we don't think we have significantly undermined the government's ability to protect the country. while at the same time we think we've enhanced privacy and civil liberties. >> reporter: as for the proposals, president obama has said he will make a definitive statement about any reforms once he returns to washington early in the new year. >> all right. peter companioner in honolulu tonight. thanks. in colorado, a steady stream of mourners has been visiting a memorial for shooting victim claire davis. the 17-year-old died of her injuries eight days after being shot by a fellow student at
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arapahoe high school in centennial, colorado. our report from ron allen. >> reporter: for eight days, this community near denver had hope. today at a memorial, for claire esther davis, they shared their grief. >> and i just hope she's at peace because every one was hoping she would get better. >> reporter: a hospital statement said the most advanced medical treatments could not prevent this tragic loss of life. davis had been in a coma on life support. her parents at her side when she died wrote, the grace, laughter and light she brought to this world will not be extinguished by her death. >> you want to be able to say something to somebody that will fix this. and unfortunately, this isn't fixable. >> several civilians coming out the south side. >> reporter: davis was the only student killed, shot randomly at point blank range when classmate karl pierson open fire with a
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shotgun at arapahoe high. then he killed himself. it was all over in 80 seconds. late today in a statement his parents said, we are heart broken to hear of claire's passing. last night as word of davis' death spread, an outpouring of emotion at the high school. many there every night hope this night would never come. >> it is really not fair that it happened to her. i'm just speechless. >> reporter: classmates rallied around davis. raising money for her medical care. asking for the nation's thoughts and prayers. #pray for claire trended on social media. being remembered now as a great student and equestrian, an innocent victim of a senseless attack. ron allen, nbc news, new york. now to the civil war in syria where government aircraft bombard rebel areas in the northern city of aleppo for an eighth straight day. at least 32 people were killed.
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nbc's reporter is inside syria. he filed this report from damascus. >> reporter: more deadly air strikes in northern syria this weekend. a man searches for loved ones in the rubble. among the dozens killed were six children. an entire generation growing up amid this chaos. all this play fight at this government-run school, many with fathers at war. others have witnessed horrors. gunmen came to this 10-year-old aus house. >> reporter: who did they kill? >> a man. >> in front us. >> reporter: they killed a man in front of you. how did you feel? >> so scared. >> reporter: children learning of war while many schools in syria have been reduced to rubble. >> the children in syria are paying the heaviest price. they are paying it in terms of their lives. they are paying it in terms of the opportunity for education. >> reporter: children's health is at risk.
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polio is threatening. and starvation, fighting for scraps of food, millions made refugees. ♪ jingle bells >> reporter: in this children's school they're trying to celebrate christmas. a month ago they were holding funerals. >> three mortar attacks. >> reporter: three. >> yes. >> reporter: four students were killed. the youngest just 7. >> a most difficult part is that their friends, other children, they witness this. this tragedy. >> reporter: back at the school, they hope for a safer future. how many of you would like to see peace in syria? >> reporter: millions of syria's children are not in school with no sign of peace. nbc news, damascus. when "nbc nightly news" continues, tension between the u.s. and india after the arrest of a diplomat for allegedly
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mistreating her housekeeper. and later, a dying woman's three secret wishes come true for the husband she left behind just in secret wishes come true for the husbathis islthe quicksilver in cash back card from capital one. it's not the "limit the cash i earn every month" card. it's not the "i only earn decent rewards at the gas station" card. it's the no-games, no-signing up, everyday-rewarding, kung-fu-fighting, silver-lightning-in-a-bottle, bringing-home-the-bacon cash back card. this is the quicksilver card from capital one. unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere, every single day. so ask yourself, what's in your wallet? ♪ [ female announcer ] may your holidays be merry and bright. merry pringles. so here's to the bride and... [ coughs ] [ all gasp ]
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strip searched. an action considered a cultural taboo and an affront to the entire country. >> american authorities have behaved atrociously with an indian diplomat. and obviously, america has to make good for its actions. >> reporter: u.s. prosecutors stay diplomat lied to the state department to get a visa for a woman from india to work as a baby sitter and housekeeper by claiming she would pay roughly 9.75 an hour for 40 hours a week. but prosecutors say she made the woman sign a contract for agreeing to work for $3.31 an hour and the woman's lawyer said she actually got about $1.30 an hour working more than 100 hours a week. >> they said the diplomat was strip searched as is everyone taken into federal custody to make sure no one smuggles in anything dangerous. her lawyer said it should not be a federal case. we don't believe she was treated any worse than any person but she was certainly not
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treated with the respect and decorum that a person of her diplomatic stature should have been accorded. >> reporter: in an unusual statement about the case, the u.s. attorney in new york who is from india himself, says miss kobe gadi deserves no sympathy. why is there so much outrage over how she was treated but precious little outrage over the abuse of her employee, the victim. secretary of state john kerry has expressed regret for what happened to the diplomat. the u.s. says employees of foreign consulates do not have full diplomatic immunity and can be arrested. but some legal experts question how she was treated. >> there appears to be no question that the government acted legally but there is a very big distinction between acting within the color of your authority and doing what as a matter of foreign relations and common good sense is wise. >> reporter: as the u.s. works to ease the tension, india insist that's its diplomat be sent home. pete williams, nbc news, washington. when we return, honors for a
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a scary looking scene in johannesburg, south africa, when the wing of a plane hit building a when the plane was taxiing before going to london. this was tweeted by harriet, one of the 189 passengers successfully evacuated from that airplane. president obama called in the son of an american hero who emerged as a great american in his own right. former president dwight eisenhower's son died today. he serve in the world war ii and korea, retired as a brigadier general and became an accompliced writer and historian. and edgar bronfman died. he made his future from seagrams. he was awarded the presidential medal of freedom by president clinton for his work as the long time head of the world jewish
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congress. he was 84 years old. before the philadelphia eagles take on the chicago bears tonight, they'll be honoring one of their form he cheerleaders. in 2009, rachel washburn traded her pompoms for an army uniform. she served as not officer with the combat unit and now she is back from her second tour in afghanistan. what a night on saturday night live as jimmy fallon hosted a special christmas wednesday some help from high powered friends including madonna and a surprise duet with sir paul mccartney. also a memorable moment with musical guest justin timberlake. ♪ >> another snl classic. still ahead, one family's highly unusual christmas surprise. she's always had a playful side. and you love her for it. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right.
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finally tonight, the incredible and touching christmas surprise for a family in iowa. a result of a letter a loving wife and mother left before she died two years ago. in it she spelled out three wishes. nbc's mike taibbi picks up the story. >> granting another christmas wish. >> reporter: all david knew with when the radio station called him was that he had been singled out as part of a popular decades old annual program. >> we got a very special christmas wish. >> reporter: a wish read to him on the air from his late wife brenda who died two years ago.
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>> can you tell us about brenda? >> she was very down to earth, a loving mother, terrific wife. >> reporter: a wife with thoughts for her family when she was gone. >> hello. my name is brenda. when you are in receipt of this letter i will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer. >> reporter: brenda, a mom of four in 2011 asked the friend to send the letter anonymously to the station if and when david moved on and found a new love as she told him she hoped for him. this year he got engaged to jane with two kids of her own. >> i have a wishful first for david's new lifelong partner. a day, or better yet a weekend of pampering in all aspects of her life. she deserves it. make her smile and know her efforts are truly appreciated from me. thank you. i love you whoever you are. >> reporter: for what was now david's larger combined brood? >> a magical trip somewhere
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where they can all enjoy their company and companionship as a family and create those memories that will be with them forever. >> reporter: and brenda had a third and final wish. a night of food and drink and fun for the mercy hospital staff who cared for her during her long battle with cancer. all three wishes granted in grand style. >> we are going to send you and your family on a magical vacation for eight to disney world. the oxford's dictionary's first definition of love is a deem affection or fondness. key word, deep. only the luckiest among us know that version. david does, absolutely. >> thank you. i'm in shock. >> reporter: this extraordinary family, tux by tragedy, elevated beyond the pain of loss two years later by a christmas gift for the ages called love. mike taibbi, nbc news, los angeles. that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. stay tuned for football night in america, followed by the chicago
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bears versus the philadelphia eagles. brian williams will be here tomorrow. i'm lester holt reporting from new york for all of us here at nbc news. good night.


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