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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 21, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> vans. >> pump up the air. >> those are really cool. see you back here at 6:00. thanks for joining us. >> bye. tonight, new terror suspect -- the target of a europe-wide manhunt is identified on the loose and considered armed and dangerous. what authorities knew about him before the deadly attack on christmas shoppers. fireworks disaster -- the death toll rises in a massive explosion. tonight the devastation inside the blast zone. and enormousas explosion destroys a restaurant and firefighters must scramble to shut off the leak fueling the flames. what sparked it? kids and antibiotics, new answers for parents worried about doctors overprescribing drugs to their children for a common illness. and precious gift, the next chapter for a boy who made medical history, inspiring so many of our viewers
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"nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news," with lester holt. good evening, police in berlin tonight have a name and a face of the man believed to be the prime suspect in the truck attack on a christmas market full of shoppers monday night. it turns out he's no stranger to anti-terror investigators. a police commando raid on two berlin apartments this evening failed to find the suspect. a tunisian asylum seeker who german officials warn could be violent and armed. investigators revealing the man had previously been under surveillance over suspicions he might be plotting an attack with accomplices using firearms. 12 people died and nearly 50 more were injured in this week's truck attack. hans nichols remains in berlin for us and has the latest on the manhunt. >> reporter: this is the face plastered across germany. tonight, anis amri, a 23-year-old tunisian
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national called armed and violent, associated with islamic terror networks. police say his i.d. papers were in the cab of the truck that barrelled through a crowded christmas market at 40 miles per hour. now, we're learning his trail across germany was a possible tale of missed opportunities. amri arrived in germany in july 2015 at one point living in this home for refugees in the southwest. his asylum application rejected back in june. he was suspected of plotting an attack. even put under surveillance for months. scheduled to be deported in july, but it never happened. because he didn't have a valid passport. and in august, he was reportedly arrested, but then released by a judge after presenting fake documents, and then disappeared. >> the ability for law enforcement and the intelligence agencies to identify every single person who poses a threat -- it's impossible to do. >> reporter: still at berlin's police headquarters, officials tell us they
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have matters under control. i asked him if berlin is safe? yes, he answers, it is secure. but some security here is still a work in progress. like the famous christmas market at alexanderplatz, which just reopened today. a busy street is right here and as you can see, the market's entrance has no barrier. as darkness fell, authorities lowered concrete blocks almost 45 hours after the attack. now the manhunt sparking fresh criticism of german chancellor angela merkel, under fire for her decision to open german borders to nearly a million migrants, many fleeing the civil war in syria. the crime scene tonight? not protected by concrete, but guarded by candles. officials tonight say tunisia initially declined issuing that passport, questioning if he was a citizen. they ended up approving it but that passport arrived today. lester? >> hans nichols in berlin tonight, thank
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you. the death toll is rising from the massive explosion at a fireworks market in mexico. the search continues for several still missing after the powerful blasts reduced the market to rubble. some survivors have now been transported to the u.s. for treatment. and tonight, our kerry sanders brings new images of the devastation. >> the initial explosion came without warning. witnesses say the first fireworks set off a chain reaction. in all, at least six major blasts that leveled the san pablito outdoor flea market, today with a view from a drone, an area the size of four football fields decimated. by the mind-boggling you power of thousands of explosives. this is what it looked like when opened for business, before and now after. the fireworks flea market, the largest in the country crowded this time of year as families were buying for holiday celebrations that always include pyrotechnics.
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a block away this 12-year-old boy said he could feel the vibrations through his body as wounded victims ran to safety. with the death toll rising, families now handing out posters of the missing. praying for miracles. juan carlos saldana didn't run away but rather towards the explosions to help his family. tonight 8-year-old oscar, 15-year-old juan anton and 50-year-old ar maddo are still missing. he's saying that he hopes that somehow it's possible that they survived. at least 32 are dead, 59 wounded, the youngest victim only three months old. this flea market is the major industry in tultepec, but not without problems. in 2005, and again in 2006, other major explosions. the government here says since then, new safety measures had been put in place. but clearly not enough to prevent another tragedy.
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tonight three children severely injured in the explosions are headed to the burn unit at the had viners hospital in gavel texas, this as a dozen other people hoar are unaccounted for. >> kerry sanders, thank you. another fiery scene at home where an explosion rocked a neighborhood in columbus, ohio. workers had only moments to flee a pizza shop before a gas line rupture ignited into a ball of flames destroying the building. we get the terrifying details from nbc's blake mccoy. >> relentless flames shot up from the ground for hours today. following a gas explosion in west columbus, ohio. >> i heard a boom, boom, boom and a big explosion, a lot of fire. >> it sounded like a bomb going off. >> a domino's pizza flattened. nearby residents evacuated, as firefighters struggled against the gas-fueled flames. it was 2:30 p.m. when officials say a construction crew
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digging in the parking lot hit the gas line. pizza workers smelled gas and evacuated minutes before the explosion. >> i got everything out the building, then i seen everything else evacuating, thank god it's just buildings, instead of people. it could have been worse. >> this is the latest in a series of recent gas explosions, some deadly including this one in canton, illinois, last month. back in ohio tonight, word of just one injury, a man who fell while running to safety. blake mccoy, nbc news. a case of alleged road rage nearly turned deadly in portland, oregon. police arrested a man for allegedly opening fire on a kid full of kids, grazen an 8-year-old girl. it comes days ago after an eerily similar case that left a toddler dead and a driver on the run. we get more from nbc's miguel almaguer. >> arrested after the shooting, portland say joshua constantine could have killed an 8-year-old girl,
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firing a single shot into a car loaded with three children and two mothers, an apparent case of road rage during a holiday shopping trip tuesday afternoon. >> very aggressive and angry. >> tina suarez was in the car when the little girl was grazed in the foot. >> the wet weather thing to hear as a mother is him saying, mom, he shot me. >> this comes just days after a toddler was shot. tonight local police are trying to find the road rage gunman who murdered little acen king. >> a growing number of americans pack the roads and parking lots. while aaa says 80% of drivers experience some sort of road rage this year, statistics show deadly encounters are on the rise. 425 deaths in 2014. tonight, the holidays
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may be here. but the christmas spirit is not a given on the road. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. with 30 days to go, donald trump waded in today on a range of issues, including this week's attacks in turkey and europe and staying the course in what he has said about tracking muslims in this country. and the cost of a new air force one. we get more tonight from nbc's kristen welker. >> president-elect donald trump tried to put on a show of strength as his inauguration fast approaches. emerging from national security meetings today, and casting the acts of terror in europe and turkey as an attack on everyone. >> it's an attack on humanity. that's what it is. it's an attack on humanity and it's got to be stopped. >> thumping his chest when asked whether he would re-evaluate his plans to create a muslim registry or ban, a policy his aides have continuously tried to walk back. >> you know my plans.
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all along and it's i've been proven to be right, 100% correct. >> but mr. trump also aiming to look tough on another recent promise, getting boeing to lower its price for making two new 747 air force one planes. earlier this month he threatened to cancel the order saying it would cost $4 billion. after meeting with mr. trump today at mar-a-lago, the boeing ceo vowed the price will be lower. >> we're going to get it done for less than that. >> emerging later, flanked by generals, mr. trump also weighed in. >> we're looking to cut a tremendous amount of money off the price. >> and earlier today, mr. trump took to twitter to flex his muscles with hillary clinton leading by nearly 3 million votes in the popular vote, trump insisting i would have done even better in the election, if that is possible if the winner was based on popular vote. but would campaign differently and moments later touted he spent far less money on the win than hillary on the loss. and tonight, we're learning that more americans voted for hillary clinton than
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any other losing presidential candidate in u.s. history for a point of comparison, she netted about five million more votes than mitt romney. lester? >> kristen welker, thank you. another big challenge, the president-elect will face, deteriorating relations with russia. which used the word "frozen" today to describe official interactions between the two countries. this comes amid tension over syria, e-mail hacking and other issues. the kremlin weighed in on our exclusive reporting about the u.s. warning to russia on cyberhacking before the election. we get more on all this tonight from nbc's cynthia mcfadden. >> it may not be the cold war, but there is a freeze sweeping u.s./russian relations, at least according to the russians. dialogue with the u.s. is frozen on almost all levels, says vladimir putin's spokesperson today. we're not communicating with each other or just doing the bare minimum of that. but the obama administration pushed
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back hard on that. the state department noting john kerry spoke to the russian foreign minister only yesterday. >> i don't know exactly what to make of that comment. obviously we don't agree and have issues with russia on a variety of issues. but dialogue has not been broken. >> at the pentagon, touting discussions with the russians on syria today. so, why would the russians paint such a dark picture? >> they're preparing for president trump and his administration. they want to contrast the moment now with what they expect to be a better set of circumstances. >> mcfall says relations with russia are more strained than they have been in the last several decades. >> there is a lot of mistrust in u.s./russian relations and i would say principally because of what russia has done. they've annexed crimea. they've supported separatists in ukraine. they are fighting a war to support assad in syria. and then punctuating it all, they've interfered in our presidential
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elections. of course americans should distrust the russians right now and it's incumbent upon the kremlin to change that dynamic moving forward. >> lester, the kremlin also reacting in the wake of our report earlier this week about the administration's use of the so-called red phone just days before the election, warning the russians not to meddle on election day. the russians confirming there was a message sent on the secure system, but once again insisting the white house failed to provide a quote cohesive explanation for these accusations or any concrete facts. something the white house strongly disputes. one more turn of a very complicated and dangerous wheel. >> cynthia mcfadden. thank you. there are new concerns about the health of queen elizabeth, after she and husband prince philip abruptly delayed their annual christmas trip. buckingham palace said both have come down
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with, quote, heavy colds. it comes a day after the palace announced the queen, who is now 90, is stepping down from over 20 charities and other organizations. still ahead tonight, new guidance for parents on the use of antibiotics from one of the most common childhood illnesses.
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you i'm gabe gutiers with late breaking news in north carolina. lawmakers have just voted not to repeal the state's controversial bathroom law. it became a flash point nationally for lgbt rights, because it banned people from
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using public rest rooms that don't correspond to the gender on their birth certificates. a back lash caused sporting events to be canceled and major corporations to pull business from north carolina. the governor here had just narrowly lost reelection and called the special session, but the deal to roe peal the law fell apart. now back to lester in new york. back now with news about something a lot of parents worry about. when your child gets sick, should your child get an antibiotic? and for how long? now a new study on ear infections which three out of four kids get by the time they're a year old, may finally provide parents some answers. nbc's kristen dahlgren has details. >> like most parents, joslyn maines knows that helpless feeling when her son has an ear infection. >> i feel awful, i want to do something for him. >> ear infections are the number one reason children are prescribed antibiotics. but parents and doctors worry about over-prescribing them.
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>> we know that too many antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance. >> so researchers wanted to see if reducing the length of time a child gets antibiotics would be a safe way to cut down on their use. the answer is no. in a new study researchers looked at children under two with ear infections. half given ten days of antibiotics, the others, five days. so many children in that group failed to get better the study was stopped early. so that all children could get the ten-day dose. dr. tanya altman isn't surprised. >> whenever we try to shorten it, i find that more often than not that the ear infection bounces back. >> so how do you tell if your child needs antibiotics? guidelines say if they have frequent ear infections, a fever higher than 102.2 lasting longer than two days and a bulging eardrum. otherwise the earache could be caused by a virus, allergies, even teething. for joslyn, the new research means answers to help bronson feel better.
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music to a mother's ears. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york. >> what a well-behaved little patient. back in moment with a list of words that have worn out their welcome in 2016.
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a new warning today about melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. a new study found that more americans than ever are being diagnosed, despite warnings to stay out of the sun and to use sunscreen. more than 76,000 americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and over 10,000 people will die from it, up from 8500 in 2009. in wisconsin, a police officer ended up teaching an usual unusual less ton to a lesson to a college student he stopped for speeding. the student explained that he was in a rush because he needed to get someone to help him tie his tie before presentation. look what happened, the officer came to the rescue.
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tying the tie around his own neck and then giving it to the young man. he actually did it twice to get it right. and by the way, no ticket issued for speeding. and it's that time of year when lots of lists come out. best of, worst of. even the most annoying words. thanks to a marist college poll of about 1,000 adults, the number one most annoying word in their view is the same run as last year -- whatever. the second most annoying is actually a phrase -- "no offense, but." that never ends well. tied for third, "you know, right?" and "i can't even." rounding out the top five. the word "huge." when welcol -- welcome back, inspiring america with a young man whose story has touched so many of you this past year. >> announcer: "inspiring america" is brought to you by new drug-free aleve direct therapy. the power is in your hands. next at 6: growing fears in a
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south bay school district. ===jess/vo=== the reason some students may not be back after the holidays. ===raj/vo=== plus ... developing news in san francisco... uber is pulling the plug on its pilot program for self-driving cars. ===raj/next close=== next. finally tonight as we follow up this week on some of our most inspiring stories of the year, we have an update on a remarkable boy we've gotten to know well over the last year and a half. since his groundbreaking double hand transplant. his name is zion and as rehema ellis reports in tonight's "inspiring america"
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report, he continues to set an example for all of us. >> that's your christmas tree? >> for 9-year-old zion harvey, christmas came early this year. he got a puppy. >> kisses. >> reporter: one more gift in a year full of blessings says his mother patty. >> who didn't get one? >> this is like a fairy tale for me my son got hands and i'm the richest woman in the world now. >> reporter: zion continues his remarkable progress. a year and a half since becoming the world's first child to have a double hand transplant. he lost them and both legs after an infection when he was a toddler. all the grueling therapy hapaidff. zion have grown into the transplanted part and even those fine muscles that are responsible for fine motor movements are now functioning. >> i'm learning how to do this. >> which is to pinch like that? >> yup. >> that's great, zion. and there's something else, i can even hear it, what else happened in your life? >> my voice changed.
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>> and former president bill clinton sent him a letter. what does it say about your mom? >> your mom is a warrior! hold on to her. >> patty has given zion her all. including one of her kidney even before his hand transplant. did you ever think twice? >> never. if he needed the other one, he could have it. >> patty and zion are writing a book about all they've endured. >> me and other people with prosthetics and disabilities have kind of -- a, kind of like a relationship because we all have a story behind it. >> patty has a message for the season. >> this is the best christmas gift that you could ever give a person. become an organ donor? >> you like the bow, too? >> it's a gift of life and now zion has the whole world in his hands. rehema ellis, nbc news, baltimore. >> great to see him
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continuing to do well. that's going to do it for us on this wednesday night. i'm lester hold. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. right now at 6:g at an uber self driving car. those cars were "topic one" in a closed door meeting between uber, the d-m-v and the state you're looking at an uber self-driving car. the state attorney general has been trying to put the brakes on the cars in the city. we learned the meeting ended with uber backing down. >> this is a pivotal point with the future of self-driving cars. the technology is ready, but not the legislation. within the past 30 minutes, uber has announced it's shutting down its pilot program in california
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for those self-driving cars. presumably they will continue their pilot program in other states. we first broke the story tonight on our 5:00 newscast. ironic here, can't test their cars in the city, what happens now. >> this is sudden news. uber's driverless ride sharing program getting a red light from the dmv and the city of san francisco. now, within the last hour, we brought you the statement from the dmv saying, it's taking 16 uber vehicles off the road because uber does not have the proper permits. we're talking about driverless cars here, and a $15 permit that would let uber pick people up in a driverless car. as you mentioned, uber responding saying, we have stopped ourself driving pilot in california as the dmv has revoked our

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