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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 21, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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it's perfect. no one likes to shop in the rain but me. >> lester holt joins us next. >> see you at 6:00. there is developing news about that horror on the vegas strip. the woman authorities say was behind the wheel. what she told police as she's accused of deliberately and repeatedly running down dozens of tourists, sending bodies flying through the air. six americans killed in a suicide attack in afghanistan where thousands of u.s. troops remain in harm's way a year after the end of the u.s. combat mission. "hell no." that is the defiant response from hillary clinton's team to donald trump's demand for an apology. it is getting ugly. gas prices tank. now below $2 a gallon nationwide as car dealers smash all-time records. what americans are buying. and awkward. what really happened. that cringe-worthy moment on live tv that has everyone talking. "nightly news" begins
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right now. good evening. it was apparently no accident. that left a 32-year-old woman dead and some three dozen others injured on the las vegas strip last night. today police tell us there is evidence that the driver that rolled on the sidewalk and mowed through a crowd of pedestrians did so on purpose. amid the unfolding carnage, some banged on the car's window pleading for the driver to stop. the driver, a mother from oregon, is tonight facing criminal charges and is jailed under 24-hour watch. nbc's morgan ratford has details. >> reporter: carnage on the strip. innocent pedestrians mowed down when a car jumps on to a sidewalk out of nowhere. >> the car hit them and it was like a bowling ball hitting pins. >> witnesses stunned
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and then angry. chasing down the driver. >> they were not police officers chasing the car. they were random dudes. >> reporter: behind the wheel, lakeisha holloway with her daughter in the car. >> the video obviously shows intention. her exiting the roadway on to the sidewalk and then obviously plowing through the pedestrians on the sidewalk. >> reporter: holloway swerved on to the sidewalk not once but twice, gaining speed for a quarter of a mile. injuring more than 30 and leaving one dead. a 32-year-old mother of three from arizona. >> we haven't determined to exact fact what the motive was. he believe she had some disassociation e believe some disassociatiowe believe s some disassociation e believe some disassociatiowe believe s some disassociation with the father of her child. we don't know the exact recipient that caused her to snap. >> reporter: she fled the scene, parked at a nearby casino, left
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her daughter in the car and asked a valet to call 911. authorities say she was homeless and living out of her car with her toddler for the last week. but not for the first time. she was homeless in high school in oregon but overcame that. seen here in a 2012 promotional video for a job-training program. >> being homeless and on my own taught me how to stand on my own two feet. >> reporter: in las vegas, standing in front of the paris casino posing just steps away from the scene of the crime. >> she didn't appear to be distressed due to her actions. >> reporter: investigators do not believe this is terrorism but they haven't ruled it out. this busy piece of the las vegas strip just reopened today. police say the driver who is in custody could face charges ranging from child abuse to murder. lester. >> thank you. overseas now to a place that dominated the headlines for years. afghanistan. and a grim reminder that american troops remain in harm's way. today, one year after president obama declared the end of the u.s. combat mission there, six
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americans were killed and two more injured in a suicide attack near bagram airfield. and here at home six families are coping with a terrible loss four days before christmas. our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski is tracking down the details of what happened. >> reporter: the six americans were killed today just as the war for the afghan military had taken a turn for the worst. the u.s. service members had been call called to a meeting with local afghan leaders northeast of the bagram air base. as the americans walked through the village, a lone suicide bomber on a motorcycle drove into the group and detonated his vest. the devastating blast killed six americans and wounded two others. plus an afghan interpreter. it was the deadliest attack on u.s. forces in afghanistan in more than two years. and in his christmas message just last year the president declared the u.s. war in afghanistan was over.
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>> our longest war will come to a responsible end. >> reporter: but today without direct u.s. combat support, afghan forces are engaged in a losing battle with the taliban throughout large parts of afghanistan. this month the pentagon issued a dire report on the afghanistan war saying security has deteriorated. the taliban is now launching 1,000 successful attacks per month and for the first time isis has started mounting attacks in afghanistan. still the president intends to reduce the number of american troops in afghanistan before he leaves office which critics claim could put u.s. troops at greater risk. >> the smaller the american contingent, the more dangerous it is going to be for those who remain. >> reporter: but officials here say it is impossible to predict what the afghanistan battlefield will look like a year from now. or just what kind of war the next president will inherit. lester.
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>> jim miklaszewski, thanks. the only person charged so far in the san bernardino terror attacks will stay behind bars for the foreseeable future. a federal judge denied enrique marquez bail saying he is a danger to the community. he is accused of providing the guns used in the december 2nd attack. and helped plan two other attacks which were eventually aborted. >> a war of words between the two front-runners for president. donald trump wants hillary clinton to apologize for something she said in the latest debate. but after a strongly worded statement from the clinton camp, trump shouldn't hold his breath. nbc's katy tur gets to the truth from the claims behind both candidates. >> reporter: after spending the weekend insulting jeb bush. donald trump is demanding an apology of his own. this time from hillary clinton. >> he is becoming isis' best recruiter. they are going to
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people showing videos of donald trump insulting islam and muslims. >> she should apologize. she lies about e-mails. she lies about whitewater. she lies about everything. she will be a disaster. >> reporter: for now intelligence said trump is right. isis has not used videos for recruiting. so will hillary clinton apologize. hell no, her campaign said in a statement. >> the person that needs to apologize in this matter is donald trump. for hateful, bigoted rhetoric against muslim americans. >> this allows each of them to be front and center, to act as if they are the party's nominees and to dominate the discussion and that is what you want when you are in a presidential race. >> reporter: the biggest casualty so far in the 2016 political season, the truth.
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and politifact says donald trump has told the most falsities of any of the candidates. his only statement on the truth-o-meter was about vladimir putin's poll numbers. >> he has an 80% approval rating. >> reporter: the majority range from false to pants on fire. >> something opponents on both sides keep pouncing on. >> i think you have a pathological liar. >> i have to get this off my chest. donald trump is a jerk. >> reporter: even the president is acknowledging trump is tapping into palpable voting anger and fear. >> i think that is what he is exploiting during the course of his campaign. >> reporter: across the country crowds are responding by the thousands. even tonight, waiting for hours in the cold and rain to see the man turning politics on its head. and as the rest of the field toils away in new hampshire, donald trump is here in grand rapids, michigan, filling this arena. that and the attacks on hillary clinton is feeling much more like a general election campaign than a primary. lester. >> thank you. today senator lindsey graham announced he is dropping out of the race. he was lagging behind badly in the polls
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including in his home state, the early primary state of south carolina. and one more note on presidential politics. a surprise announcement from team clinton today. chelsea clinton tweeting that she's pregnant with her second child. a little sister or brother for her daughter charlotte expected to arrive next summer. just maybe around the time of the democratic convention in july. we'll see. tonight an early holiday present for millions of americans and something we haven't been able to say in six years. the national average for gas is now under $2. at $1.99. and a lot of folks are celebrating by going shopping for a new car or truck. pushing sales to record heights. nbc's tom costello has details. >> reporter: and they're off. 91 million americans hitting the road for the holidays. and for the first time in six years, gas is now under $2 a gallon.
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so if your college kid is driving home from syracuse university to providence, the 300-mile trip will cost 23.88 in fuel. a savings of nearly $15 from two years ago before gas started falling. driving 500 miles home from the university of michigan in ann arbor to st. louis, roughly $25 cheaper than two years ago. >> on an inflation-adjusted basis, we're looking at the cheapest gas prices since the early 1970s. >> in july 2008 the gas prices hit the highest, $4.10 a gallon. now under $2 a gallon, it is cheaper than a gallon of milk at $3.34. and a small starbucks coffee at $2.15. bargains at the pump are transferring into car sales. more than 17 million expected this year. a whopping 55% of them light trucks and suvs. this new suv only gets 20 miles to the gallon in the city. but with gas prices so cheap, many customers say bigger suvs are suddenly a lot more affordable to drive.
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>> that is what brought orlando rodriguez to look at trucks at a ford dealership outside of miami. >> imagine all the money i save, maybe i could buy another boat. >> when you have to fill up the tank and it is $30, it gives you the budget to afford something a little bit bigger. >> reporter: and big savings on heating. $117 for natural gas. $800 for heating oil. with predictions this could be the new normal for several years to come. tom costello, nbc news, washington. the official start to winter kicks off just before midnight tonight. but it is a mixed bag across much of the country. here in new york, and across much of the east, holiday heat, christmas will feel a lot like spring. while the drought-stricken west has been hit with a blast of cold and snow in the mountains. nbc's miguel almaguer reports on the holiday weather extremes. >> reporter: in drought-stricken northern california, the winter is more than welcome. a series of storms rolling in.
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at this tahoe ski resort, 152 inches of snow and counting. no drought buster in the boom for business that has been dry. the boom for business that has been dry the boom for business that has been dryb the boom for business that has been dryu the boom for business that has been dryt the boom for business that has been drya the boom for business that has been dry. boom for bu that has been dry. >> this is fantastic. it is great. it hasn't been like this in four years. >> reporter: in the northwest, they've already gotten more snow this season than last. >> and that's a lot of snow. >> reporter: and there is record rain in oregon too. near the coast, the land is giving way. homes are crumbling. a woman killed in a mudslide. in nevada tonight, high winds toppled trucks. gusts at 70 miles per hour. here in l.a., where it has been in the 30s, it will be in the 60s just in time for christmas. but that's no match for the weather flip flop across the country. in new york city, it will be 72 christmas eve. >> it's gorgeous for december. >> reporter: the spring-like weather in winter back east is driven by el nino. >> unprecedented warmth through christmas.
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looking at high temperatures, 30 degrees above average. dozens of records will be crushed across half of the country. >> reporter: the forecast christmas eve in washington, d.c. and atlanta, 75. boston, 67. in vermont, some bears aren't even hibernating yet. new england ski resorts showing green, not making it. but boston, don't forget last season. tonight marks the start of winter, not the end of it. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. there is more trouble for chipotle. the cdc revealed today another outbreak of e-coli linked to the restaurant chain. five new cases have been identified in three states. kansas, north dakota and oklahoma. it is not clear whether the new outbreak is linked to the earlier one that sickened 52 people in nine states. the cdc said this is a different strain of e-coli. still ahead, fallout from the mistake seen around the universe. the shocking finale to the miss universe
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pageant when the crown was given to the wrong contestant on live tv. also, trapped 100 feet off the ground. the ride that lasted much longer than anybody wanted at sea world today. we'll be right back.
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we're back now with a jaw-dropping moment that so many are still talking about tonight. millions watched on live tv as the host of the miss universe pageant steve harvey crowned a new winner last night. her joy was short-lived because, as kristin dahlgren
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reports, there was just one problem. she wasn't actually the winner. >> miss universe, 2015 is -- >> it was supposed to be the kind of moment little girls dream of. >> colombia. >> the tears and the tiara. but just minutes after she was crowned it all came crashing down for miss colombia. >> i have to apologize. >> reporter: the host steve harvey admitting he read the wrong name. the real winner, miss philippines. >> i will take responsibility for this. >> reporter: in the philippines, where there hasn't been a winner in 42 years -- it was almost like a christmas miracle. it was a gift for the internet, too. social media mocking harvey's mistake. the number one trending topic on twitter. at the offices of buzzfeed today -- >> i feel bad for steve harvey but at the same time, you know, we got something great out of it.
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>> reporter: the master of media, donald trump, the former owner, tweeted this would never have happened if he was still running things. as for steve harvey, misspelling both philippines and colombia in his tweet didn't help. in the end miss colombia showed the grace of a winner. >> everything happens for a reason so i'm happy. >> reporter: while the real winner summed it up like this. >> this is very -- very 2015. >> reporter: and very likely to be remembered as the year's most cringe-worthy moment. kristin dahlgren, nbc news, new york. >> not to mention the perils of live tv. we're back in a moment with what you are now required to do by the faa to do if you are getting one of these holiday gifts. thousands of people
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came out today to run the race for retirement. so we asked them... are you completely prepared for retirement? okay, mostly prepared? could you save 1% more of your income? it doesn't sound like much, but saving an additional 1% now, could make a big difference over time. i'm going to be even better about saving. you can do it, it helps in the long run. prudential bring your challenges
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high drama in orlando tonight. dozens of guests got stuck on the sky tower at sea world. news helicopters circling as it all played out live. the theme park said the ride malfunctioned, stopping the cabin a quarter of a way up the 400-foot pole with dozens of people stuck inside. it took two hours but everyone got down safely. and high drama. reminder about one of the hottest gift this this holiday season. if you own a drone, starting today the federal government said you have to register it with the faa. all drones purchased before today must be registered by february 19th. while drones bought later should be registered before the first flight. operators caught using a drone without registration could face fines up to $27,000. we have more information on our website about how to register. nasa has successfully completed a previously unscheduled space
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walk. a pair of astronauts, including scott kelly, who is almost nine months into a historic year, a year-long mission, ventured outside of the space station. they had to move a stalled mobile transporter four inches so a russian cargo ship could dock there later this week. an nfl superstar is suspended. the league said odell beckham, jr., will have to sit out one game. he drew three personal fouls in a very physical match-up with panthers' cornerback josh norman yesterday. at one point he dove to hit norman helmet-to-helmet but he was never ejected from the game. beckham does have the right to appeal his suspension. when we come back, the inspiring story that led these men from a life on the street to a command performance at the white house. next at 6: new answers after a
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sudden closure of a south bay gun store ===take vo=== only on nbc, the criminal charges that forced the owner to shut down his store. ===raj/take vo=== also -- this rain is a good for our drought but it's causing serious problems for a peninsuala church. ===next close=== the news is next. finally tonight, a special event that has filled the white house with music. the entertainment included a group of men so often regarded by society as among the voiceless. but as kristen welker reports, thanks to one person making a difference, these men have found a song in their hearts.
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[ singing ] >> reporter: a christmas concert in atlanta city hall that these men could have once never imagined. >> it gives recognition. because a lot of times these people are invisible. >> reporter: invisible, because the singers are all homeless. like william augustine. for the past four months he has lived on streets, sleeping in this shelter most nights. >> it is a hard life. it is a really hard life. >> reporter: this man, the music director at the church that houses the shelter, started the choir three years ago. >> i was brought up to believe that if somebody needs your help, you help them. and i hope that people will recognize that in these men. >> the choir rehearses two nights every week. marvin coin still remembers his first
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concert. >> we were like rock stars. that is how you feel. >> reporter: the choir performs locally but this year noonan pushed to get to the group to washington, d.c. >> i said i wonder if we could pull off the white house. >> and he did. and they were invited to sing for holiday visitors. their voices in the east wing tonight matching the mood of christmas cheer. >> it was everything i hoped for. it was everything i dreamed of. >> reporter: these men without homes of their own, lifting their voices together. in it a house that belongs to everyone. kristen welker, nbc news, the white house. >> we'll all be humming on the way home tonight. that will do it for us on this monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. flooded roads and slick
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highways. right now at 6:00, kicking off christmas week with more rain. it's a wet mess out there. flooded roads and slick highways. let's take a live look at our radar. a lot of green. the storm isn't going anywhere, so buckle in. good evening, thanks for being with us on this monday. i'm raj mathai. >> i'm jessica aguirre. the bay area soaked and soggy. a string of storms delivering nonstop rain all day. in some places, it started raining 24 hours ago, and it hasn't let up. want to show a live look at downtown san francisco. that's on your left. you see it is hard to even see
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it. the 101 in palo alto on the right, wet but slow going, not too bad. we'll begin our coverage with meteorologist rob mayeda. >> we're seeing a break north of san francisco. worry of mudslides due to the rain the past 24 hours. two to three inches around mill valley. san francisco, almost two inches of rain. the wettest day going back since last december when we had two inches-plus. almost 3.5 inches of rain. san francisco, december 11th of last year. you see a half inch, san jose, .9 inch so far. in the santa cruz mountains, closing in on four inches of rain. the peninsula and south bay seeing most of the action, around sunnyvale into palo alto. san francisco north, catching a little break in the action here. from the hilltop to the s

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