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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 2, 2014 7:00pm-7:31pm EST

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on our broadcast tonight, knocked out. who turned out the lights in detroit? a huge power grid suddenly goes dark. a city-wide emergency focuses 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-stricn 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'll learn where they might be about to dip under $2 a gallon.
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"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 across a big section of the nation's 18th largest city today, the city we used to call the arsenal of democracy, a lot of people, especially those paying attention to the news of late, suspected the worst, 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
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plant triggered a blackout to the municipal power grid. 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 stoplights went dark, snarling traffic. people used flashlights in dark buildings to get through the stairwells to safety. hundreds were evacuated at a municipal center. 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,
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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, 3 of them 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
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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 breaking amounts of rain and bringing with it the threat of major 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 toy are book the flight. >> reporter: in southern california -- >> the storm is really coming. it's coming. it's coming. >> reporter: -- this is more than just a storm. >> 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, ed's home was buried. >> it took 14 days to clear the mud out from the back of the house and from the basketball court here.
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our concern is it could be worse this time as the rain intensifies. yeah, 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 in the moisture and 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 camarillo springs, the threat of mud slides kept crews struggling 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 home. it's not the steady rain that we're worried abt. it's that high volume of rain in a short amount of time. >> reporter: and we will break
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records today. almost all daily rainfall totals in southern california are expected to fall, and another storm is on its way tomorrow. but brian, even with that, the rain this week isn't expected to put a dent in the drought here. >> jacob rascon in glendora, 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 nbc's janet shamlian. >> reporter: from america's highways to its new car showrooms, lower pump prices are helping to gas the economy and put some extra cash in family piggy banks. just since june, oil prices have
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fallen 34% to a five-year low. while $2.70 a gallon is the national average 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. >> they're cheap. and 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 oil in 30 year. that's an international price war. 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 gas go up $2 a gallon in texas, oklahoma, missouri and south carolina. for a typical family buying 1200 gallons of gas a year, it could
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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 from ground-up tires being used on football and soccer fields all across the country. after our initial reports aired, it elicited a huge response. some cities are now debating whether to remove artificial turf fields. we also heard from parents concerned about similar materials being used on playgrounds and what they fear it might be doing to their children. we get our report tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: just off the windswept shore of bandon, oregon, a family plays at a park. the swings and slides are off limits. how many of your children still play on this playground? >> none. >> reporter: these mothers have concerns about the playground surface. recycled car and truck tires known as crumb rubber mulch.
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>> we would come here and i just couldn't stand the smell. and my kids would be tainted in black. >> they were sitting in it, playing with it, putting it in their mouths and on their faces. >> reporter: shayla deberry osborne learned that it is made of the same material found in most tires. this is part of their play, it's deep, too. >> yes. 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 of her own players were diagnosed with cancer. in a statement the rubber manufacturers association writes, numerous scientific studies show there's no indication of adverse health effects due to exposure from
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crumb rubber derived from tires and used in athletic fields and playgrounds. but this epidemiologist and pediatrician 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 tires. my position is we shouldn't be putting the crumb rubber into places where little children can come into close contact with it. >> reporter: he believes children under the age of 10 shouldn't be anywhere near it. >> they're biologically more vulnerable to carcinogenic chemicals than adults because their cells, their organs are going through such rapid development. they're not yet fully formed. they're more sensitive. >> reporter: but the consumer product safety commission doesn't mention toxicity levels in its playground safety handbook. in fact, it maces rubber mulch on the list of appropriate surfaces. a task force created by the epa to promote tire recycling also recommends the use of rubber
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mulch, even using a photo of a rubber mulch playground on its website. the epa did not respond to questions from the task force but says the decision to use recycled tires on playgrounds is a state and local one. they declined repeated requests for interviews. last year 20 million tires were spread on playgrounds nationwide. it's even used on the white house playground. in bandon, 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. >> reporter: deberry-osborne and her friends are in the minority. >> what they really want is a government agency to say that it's definitively bad before they go through the expense of removing it. >> reporter: dr. landergan 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.
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>> reporter: so pull it out? >> pull it out. >> reporter: for now some kids are being kept off the swings. dr. landergan tells highs not worried about the rubberized mats that are often used in playgrounds because they're contained and not loose. he's worried about the rubber mulch that's loose, kids can pick it up and play in it. >> so urgent for so many parents clearly. stephanie gosk, thank you for your reporting on this. a woman believed to be the wife of the leader of isis is under arrest in lebanon tonight according to that country's defense ministry. abu bakr al baghdadi is said to have multiple wives. the woman under arrest was reportedly detained while trying to cross using a fake identification. lebanese officials say 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. he's ashton carter.
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a man who once served as second in command at the pentagon. if confirmed, he would replace chuck hagel, who announced his resignation rather abruptly just last month. jeb bush became the latest in the republican party to speak truth to power or try to while admitting he is thinking about running for president, he put forth the believe that he would have to lose in the primaries especially early on to win the election. noting the missteps past candidates have made in perhaps trying to play too far to the right before hding into the general election. still ahead tonight, ab alarming new look at what's being blamed for several accidents in the air. the cargo that could pose a catastrophic risk and is a possible explanation. also the show must go on with or without one of the biggest names in music who called on some 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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enjoy your break! thanks. i love being on stage. but when i get time off, i take advantage of it. i have postmenopausal osteoporosis and a high risk for fracture... and i know the best way to enjoy a break... is to help reduce my risk of having one. that's why i take prolia®. it's different. it's two shots a year. prolia is proven to help make bones stronger... and help increase bone density. do not take prolia® if you have low blood calcium, are pregnant, are allergic to it, or take xgeva®. get medical help right away for a serious allergic reaction causing low blood pressure; trouble breathing; throat tightness, fa, lip, or tongue swelling; rash, itching or hives as they have happened to people taking prolia®.... tell your doctor about dental problems, as severe jaw bone problems may happen, or new or unusual pain in your hip, groin or thigh, as unusual thigh bone fractures have occurred.
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prolia® can cause serious side effects, including low blood calcium, serious infections, 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
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container packed with 5,000 lithium ion batteries 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 from lithium batteries. >> it's a growing threat and one of the very 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 batteries 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 both pilots.
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february 2006, 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, overheats or is defective. shipments of rechargeable batteries on a passenger plane are supposed to be limited to no more than a handful in a 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. brian? >> very sobering stuff. tom costello in our d.c. bureau tonight. tom, thanks. we're back in a moment with the loss being mourned tonight in the world of music. 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)
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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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i wish i could find some relief. (announcer) ask your doctor about linzess-- a once-daily capsule for adults with ibs with constipation or chronic idiopathic constipation. linzess is thought to help calm pain-sensing nerves and accelerate bowel movements. it helps you proactively manage your symptoms. do not give linzess to children under 6, and it should not be given to children 6 to 17. it may harm them. don't take linzess if you have a bowel blockage. get immediate help if you develop unusual or severe stomach pain especially with bloody or black stools the most common side effect is diarrhea, sometimes severe. if it's severe, stop taking linzess and call your doctor right away. other side effects include gas, stomach-area pain and swelling. bottom line, ask your doctor about linzess today. during its first year, a humpback calf and its mother are almost inseparable.
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she lifts her calf to its first breath of air, then protects it on the long journey to their feeding grounds. one of the most important things you can do is help the next generation. at pacific life, we offer financial solutions to accomplish just that. ask a financial advisor about pacific life. the power to help you succeed. the the saxophone solo from
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"brown sugar" is about as recognizable as any in the western world. we learned the man who played it and so much else, bobby keys, has died. he played and toured with the stones for 45 years. recorded with lennon and streisand, harrison, ringo and clapton and more. he was 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 yesterday to mark world aids day. u2 performed a surprise concert in times square 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. difference," why it may seem like you're on every charity's e-mail list today. "nbc nightly news" with
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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 -
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after all the focus on profits on black monday, 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 tonight'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. do something for somebody else. >> 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
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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 tuesday 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 new york's 92nd street y. where people were doing good works and taking unselfies to promote unselfish giving. >> at a time when so many things in the world are feeling like they're coming apart, 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.
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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.
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my wife is an angel. one thing you learn, is that -- >> he's saying all the right things, but is it enough? i'm billy bush. as ray rice attempts to move forward, does he have gionet's father on his side. >> zero tolerance.

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