tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 23, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm EST
on our broadcast tonight, double threat. not one but two winter storms bearing down on some big population centers from west to east with over 60 million americans bracing for a mess. solving the mystery that continues to overshadow the super bowl. what nfl investigators have revealed tonight. packing heat, a record number of firearms being found in carry-on luggage. thousands of them, most of them loaded. and the feds don't like what they're seeing. and skyfall, our farewell to the people who convinced captive audiences to buy a whole lot of stuff we didn't want or need. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. just in time for friday night
travel and the weekend, a huge and messy storm large enough to straddle both sides of the mississippi river as it heads from west to east is tonight on the move with a second weather system right behind it. tonight's storm has triggered watches and warnings from texas where it left a foot of snow clear to new england. it's one of those storms big enough to be given a name by our friends at the weather channel, they call it iola. but for upwards of 60 million americans in its path it's just going to make a mess of transportation. it's where we begin on this friday night with meteorologist dylan dreyer. >> reporter: up and down the east coast today salt trucks are filling up and heading out. plows on the move as ice, snow and wind push north. much of the eastern part of the country's gearing up for this saturday's storm. the storm left texas blanketed in record breaking snow. in amarillo it piled up in a matter of hours, as you can see in this time lapse.
fourteen inches the past few days. in fact, amarillo got more snow this month than juneau, alaska, boston and st. louis combined. pouring rain in biloxi and thick fog in atlanta made for a travel nightmare. >> this moisture will be thrown into the cold air in the northeast and that's going to cause big problems with snow, sleet and freezing rain. >> reporter: in the carolinas colder temperatures turned rain to ice coating windshields and streets in boone, north carolina, and closing major roads to the virginia state line. a group of hurricane hunters aboard this c-130 took off from air force base in mississippi this afternoon to get ahead of this storm and see just how fast it will intensify. now, this storm is going to move in from the south, but watch the northern edge of it. that's where we're going to see mostly snow as it moves from new york city back to tennessee. then as we go into the morning
we turn over to rain across new england, but on the backside that's where it's going to stay mostly snow. because of that we'll see most of our highest accumulations across parts of new england. as much as six to ten inches of snow. lesser amounts as you head south. philadelphia about two to four inches. on the backside of this storm another system sunday night into monday morning, perhaps another six inches. that makes a mess of the monday morning commute. brian. >> dylan dreyer finally in from the cold and here in the studio to report on all of it. dylan, thanks. tonight, we turn now to what's become something of a national fixation. the nfl said today the new england patriots did in fact use underinflated footballs in last sunday's playoff game. also nfl investigators have spoken to dozens of parties, but at least as of yesterday they hadn't yet talked to veteran patriots quarterback tom brady. nbc's ron mott remains on assignment in foxborough, mass. hey, ron, good evening. >> reporter: hey, brian, good evening. the patriots played about half
of that game with those deflated footballs and now the lee #league will pore through videotape and other evidence to see exactly how that happened. perhaps not business as usual, but business nevertheless as the new england patriots hit the practice field amid a sprawling controversy. >> i think this is about playing great and being a great group next sunday. >> reporter: today, the nfl broke its days' long silence announcing ted wells will help lead the investigation, the man who handled the probe into bullying. nearly 40 interviewed, personnel and game officials and others with more to go and the investigation is ongoing, will be thorough, objective and being pursued expeditiously. >> i don't have an explanation. >> reporter: a day after coach bill belichick and quarterback tom brady told a crush of reporters they had no idea how the team's footballs ended up deflated in the colts game, that team's general manager pointed the press in indianapolis to the nfl front office. >> it's not appropriate for me to talk about it. i can't do that. it's in the league's hands.
>> reporter: meantime, deflate gate has become a late-night punch line. >> the amount this week that the inflation or deflation of balls is in the news i wake up every morning still wishing i was 9 years old. it'd be the greatest. >> reporter: it's even made it into the white house. >> for years there was going to be no risk i would take tom brady's job as quarterback of the new england patriots, but i tell you as of today there's no him taking my job either. >> reporter: kidding aside the nfl season's challenge continue the showcase showdown the super bowl just nine days away. >> the nfl probably came into the super bowl breathing a sigh of relief and now all of a sudden it's like here we are again. >> reporter: now, bob craft, the owner of the patriots said when he first heard about this he told his organizations to cooperate fully. brian, as you mentioned investigators spent three days here and that the patriots take this process very seriously. >> of course there's no football this weekend.
nothing to do but talk about this some more. ron mott from foxborough tonight. thanks. the tsa revealed it confiscated a record number of firearms from airline passengers in 2014. more than 2,200 weapons and they say the vast majority were in fact loaded. the number of gun confiscations at the airport is up 22% in a single year as more americans choose to carry concealed weapons and then forget they're carrying them as they try to board. our report on that tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: it happens five to six times a day at tsa airport checkpoints, firearms usually loaded, discovered in carried on bags or passengers bodies. in seattle, tucson, hidden inside a play station console at new york's jfk airport, in amarillo, san antonio and cincinnati. nationwide in 2014 a record 2,212 confiscated firearms, up from 660 ten years ago with more states now allowing americans to carry concealed guns. but the vast majority of
passengers claim they simply forgot. john ran the tsa until the end of december. >> one of the common excuses, i'll say that we hear, is that my -- typically my wife or girlfriend packed my bag. well, that doesn't cut it because not only may you be arrested, but you will be fined in almost every instance. >> reporter: it happened to linda henry in ohio who thought the tsa spotted tweezers in her carryon, instead it was a loaded handgun her family misplaced years earlier. >> i was totally humiliated. this is embarrassing not knowing there was a gun in there. >> reporter: the airports with the most gun confiscations, dfw, atlanta, phoenix, houston inter intercontinental and denver. scott johnson is the federal security director at washington dulles airport. a gun at a checkpoint is not an automatic arrest. >> not necessarily, depending on the city or state that the airport is in. it could however mean a significant fine for the individual if the gun is caught. >> reporter: the fines can range
from $1,500 to $11,000. the airlines and the tsa do allow guns on planes, but they must be in checked luggage. they must be unloaded. they must be in a hard shell locked case. otherwise guns don't fly, brian. >> tom costello at the airport for us tonight. tom, thanks. late word from the supreme court in washington. they've agreed to hear a case brought by three oklahoma death row inmates. this concerns the drug combination that is used in lethal injections. and it comes after a botched execution in oklahoma just last year. the inmates here are arguing the sedative being used by the state does not produce a deep enough sleep therefore inflicting unnecessary pain. and that would violate the constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. when we learned last night of the death of the king of saudi arabia, the "new york times" said he represented the muslim establishment. he was a hugely powerful figure,
and tonight our chief foreign correspondent richard engel reports on how his influence can be felt right now across this country. >> reporter: one of the richest, most powerful men in the world, king abdullah of saudi arabia, was laid to rest today in a pauper's grave according to saudi tradition. a symbol that in death all are equal. dignitaries paid respects. tributes poured in. hailing the king as a man of the people, even a reformer. as much as a reformer can be in a country that publicly beheads criminals, sentences human rights activists to lashings and deprives women of the right to drive. the source of the king's wealth and power, oil of course. a fifth of the world's reserves. and it was largely king abdullah who dramatically drove down the price of oil and with it the cost of american gasoline. he didn't do it to help american motorists but to weaken arch enemy iran which depends on oil revenue. the saudis decided they could
afford to earn less from their oil and that their rivals could not. the ripple effect has been enormous, weakening russia's putin and striking a blow against surging american oil production leaving some u.s. wells idle, no longer cost effective. still, the king was a close u.s. ally although famously closer to president bush than to president obama. he didn't trust obama. and was outraged by u.s. support of the arab spring. but as violence swept across the middle east, saudi arabia remained abastian of stability. reinforced with billions in oil money, lavished by his people a king who had the world over a barrel. no major changes, brian, are expected under the new king solmon to oil policy or any other policy, at least in the short-term. brian. >> richard engel on the death of a major world leader this week. richard, thanks.
the white house repeated today when israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu addresses the u.s. congress in march, president obama will not meet with him. the official reason, it's too close to israel's elections which the president doesn't wish to influence, but the white house calls it a departure from protocol from netanyahu to have accepted the invitation from the speaker of the house john boehner to address congress without any heads-up to the white house. in cuba as we reported live from havana just this week, those beginning of so-called normalization talks are now underway. and heading the talks are two veteran women diplomats on both sides, very different players at the same table looking for common ground after five decades of mistrust. our report tonight from our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. >> reporter: the complicated details of the historic opening to cuba being hammered out by two powerful women. assistant secretary of state roberta jacobson.
cuba's top diplomat relations josefina vidal. both trailblazers and risk takers. jacobson meeting today with cuban dissidents. >> it was incredibly important for me to hear from them about their struggles, about whether they agreed or disagreed with the u.s. policy. >> reporter: some disagreed with the opening. >> certainly. certainly. but most importantly was the discussion of what comes next, what they are going to do, how they want our support, what we can do to help them. >> reporter: vidal pushing back hours later. >> this small group of people don't represent cuban society, don't represent the interest of the cuban people. >> reporter: but unlike past disputes today's brush-up hasn't derailed the talks. progress today on banking. mastercard announced u.s. customers can use credit cards in cuba as of march 1st.
and the two women each the mother of two who helped make this happen, how do they connect? so you get past the political -- >> we have dinners or lunches. and this time we use not only to talk about our work but also to have a normal, civilized conversation between normal people. >> reporter: that is a goal that the world's most powerful democracy and its communist neighbor can have normal relations for the first time in more than a half-century, just like the women who are negotiating the deal. brian. >> andrea, thank you for your reporting down there tonight in havana, cuba. andrea mitchell. still ahead for us tonight, a big name in the air goes under. a victim of changing times in the electronic era. the announcement today that made a lot of people downright buying stuff in the past they didn't want or need. also, the reason behind some spectacular images off the coast, what's making the water actually glow in the dark. actually glow in the dark. if you have medicare part d, walgreens gets that you might be at the corner
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for over a generation in this country if you forgot to bring something to read on the plane, there in the seat back pocket was always the "sky mall" catalog. and then they had you right where they wanted you, almost forcing you to buy stuff. until today when they learned they had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, ending an era really in the sky and on the ground. we get our look back tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles. >> reporter: a treasure-trove of trivial stuff for the captive
audience at 30,000 feet. who hasn't reached for the latest copy of "sky mall" in the seat back. need a self-cleaning cat litter box? a life size king tut coffin cabinet, a glow in the dark toilet seat, or the infamous giant travel sleeping pillow thingy. even the stars in first class admit they're hooked. but alas "sky mall" has gone the way of peanuts and pretzels on planes. >> we have the internet where you can buy everything you can possibly think of, so you don't need to open a "sky mall" and get your pet warmer or vibrating cushion or whatever weird stuff that they sold. >> reporter: you ever read "sky mall". >> i do not. i've been flying for 50 years, i've never bought anything from "sky mall". >> reporter: still, some
frequent fliers lament. >> that's disturbing. >> reporter: disturbing? >> yes. that's part of my shopping portfolio. >> it's a lot of stuff that people need. it's a lot of good quality fun in there that can entertain everyone. >> reporter: for others like the dreyfus, memories. she wrote an ode to "sky mall" for wired. >> "sky mall" magazine was a staple of my childhood because when my brothers and i were little we would travel unaccompanied between my divorced parents and the "sky mall" magazine was there to distract us. >> reporter: who knows who will buy a garden gnome or life size backyard big foot without the ygen depleted airline air to impede their judgment. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. and we're back in a moment with the news tonight that could be a game changer for the way millions of us watch sports on tv. miions of us watch sports on tv. congratulations. you're down with crestor. yes! when diet and exercise aren't enough, adding crestor lowers bad cholesterol up to 55%. crestor is not for people with liver disease or women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant.
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speaking of travel, expedia has purchased travelocity for close to $300 million in cash. they are hoping to gain the 20 million monthly travelers that travelocity claims as its customer base. some stunning pictures along the shore in hong kong where the water is actually glowing in the dark fluorescent blue. the problem is scientists say the water is potentially toxic. the glow is an indicator of something they call sea sparkle. nice name. it looks like algae, but it's actually caused by farm pollution from nearby that can devastate marine life. and the nhl has signed a deal with gopro. it will allow the view from players to be part of live hockey coverage on the ice. while the deal is first of its kind, it's a trend we could easily see coming to baseball and football and more before too long. two major anniversaries in two separate food groups, first, the staple beer can is 80 years old. they have survived all these years including the artisanal
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so it's a friday night with a storm threatening transportation in the eastern half of the u.s., you're running down the concourse to catch the last flight home say at o'hare, quick, can you describe the carpet in the terminal? the truth is it tends to be unmemorable, well-worn airport carpet unless your home airport is in portland, oregon. portland's shall we say specialness has been well chronicled in the tv series "portlandia" and that extends to their beloved airport carpet which starting today i its reward, all 13 acres of it. our report tonight from nbc's harry smith.
>> reporter: there is trouble afoot at portland's airport. after decades of service to millions of travelers, a runway's worth of its quirky aquamarine carpet is about to be retired. portlanders do not approve. >> it's a little bit heartbreaking. >> reporter: the reaction mystified airport authorities. >> we were absolutely surprised. baffled at first, a little bit baffled. and then intrigued. >> reporter: turns out the carpet has a cult following. suddenly it had its own instagram hashtag. 30,000 slefies or footsies showing support for the rug. the carpet even has its own brew. weird perhaps, but portlanders are probably wired that way. >> not to be confused. >> reporter: you won't know where you are. >> i don't know where i am. >> reporter: did you freak out when you heard they were going to tear the carpet out? >> i was super duper bummed. >> reporter: so bummed this
21-year-old emma milkin did this. >> i decided to get it imprinted on my body forevermore. >> reporter: it hurt, she says, but it was worth it. feelings about the flooring run deep here, so deep that michelle bernstein surprised her husband, phil, with a one-of-a-kind birthday present. they made a special trip to the airport this week just so phil could get a selfie before the carpet's gone. how does it feel to have your new shoes on the carpet? >> overwhelming. >> happy birthday, honey. >> thank you. >> reporter: in any other city this would not be a story. harry smith, nbc news, portland. that's our broadcast for a friday night. thank you for being with us. i'm brian williams. lester holt will be with you this weekend. we of course hope to see you right back here on monday night. in the meantime have a good weekend. good night.