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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 8, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT

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>> well, apparently not. >> jessica gary assures me she is going. that is our news for tonight, and we will see you at a special time, 11:30. see you then. nbc nightly news is next. fina olympic celebration and the hard-earned victories. the united states on top of the medal count with historic golds for women's basketball and volleyball and the closing ceremonies that celebrates the world coming together to defy the odds. state of emergency. hospitals pushed t the brink by covid cases. austin activating its emergency alert system. new mask mandates in big cities, and some hospitals seeing more children now than ever before. new covid rules for schools. texas will not inform parents about classroom outbreaks as
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families sue florida to stop the governor's mask mandate ban. many classes there start tomorrow. the battle against california's biggest single wildfire ever. 30,000 people out of their homes. our exclusive interview with the governor. taliban forces take over multiple cities in afghanistan just weeks after most u.s. troops left. the american embassy warning all citizens to get out now. we're on the ground. and a hero' welcome. the epic homecoming as america's athletes return home. >> i just feel so honored and blessed to be able to represent this amazing country. the emotional reunions weeks in the making. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news with kate snow." >> good evening. i'm hallie jackson in for kate. as we come on the air, the covid cries sis deepening in parts of america. hospitals in some places overwhelmed again. we will get to all of it tonight, but we
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very least a reason to exhale with the olympics coming to a close today. athletes from around the world pulling off what at times seemed impossible in the shadow of a global pandemic. the olympians themselves, especially those from team usa, delivering under the most challenging of circumstances. keir simmons starts us off tonight from tokyo. the closing ceremony bursting with pride and gratitude for athletes who overcame the odds just to take part. a japanese drummer center stage. each beat a prayer to remember those no longer with us. the games, organizers said, symbolizing triumph and hope. the women's usa basketball team winning 90-75 against japan, their seventh consecutive gold medal, a record, and the u.s. women's volleyball team beat its longtime rival brazil for their first
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olympic gold. sprinting start alisyn felix becoming the most decorated american track and field athlete in u.s. history after the women won the four bye 400 relay relay. how has this differed for this olympic games? >> it's usually about running and winning and today it's about overcoming and women. >> the women red the way, claiming 25 more medals than the men, solidifying the u.s. lead with 113 medals to china's 88, and curveball. japan's baseball team managed to beat the u.s. at its own game. president biden praising team usa. >> beyond the medals and the results, you remind us that we're stronger than we ever thought we were. >> each and every athlete competing in these challenging games, true olympic champions. >> keir joins us now
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from tokyo. keir, no major outbreak inside the olympic bunt. have you to think that the japanese organizers feel pretty relieved at this point. >> reporter: i think they really are, hallie, and it is impressive. just think. of the 50,000 folks involved in staging these games, just 430 positive tests. but hallie as we prepare to leave tokyo infections rising. worthied attention turning from celebrating human excellence and fighting this virus that threatens us all. >> keir simmons live for us in tokyo. thank you. here at home we're once again breaking record for daily covid cases, and in a disturbing new twist in, some places kids are being hospitalized at a higher rate than at any other time during the pandemic. kathy park has the latest. >> tonight cities across the country sounding the alarm as covid cases explode to dangerous less. austin act vagt its emergency alert system, warning residents the
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situation is dire. just six icu beds available. and for the third time this week florida broke a record for daily covid cases as doctors say more kids are getting sick. >> there are more children in the hospital today than we've had at any point in the past 18 months. >> in just four days more than 3,000 kids in louisiana tested positive for the virus and due to the ongoing health emergency, jazzfest in new orleans is cancelled for the second year in a row. this weekend hospitalizations in the u.s. topped more than 66,000, a grim milestone we've crossed twice in just six months. to keep the pandemic under control, indoor mask mandates are coming back from baltimore. >> baltimore's new case count has risen 374%. >> to durham, north carolina, where they have declared a state of emergency starting monday n.arkansas an about face from the governor who signed a law in april banning mask mandates. >> and so it was an
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error to sign that law. i admit that. >> the divide is deepening over vaccines, too. in texas a large crowd of health care workers protested outside baylor university medical center where they are requiring staff be vaccinated. as the pap deckic presses on the sturgis motorcycle real does, too. >> i'm a realist. if it's my turn, it's my turn. i'm not going to worry about it. >> well, i'm very concerned, chuck, that we'll see another surge related to that rally. >> and kathy, what's the latest now on the need for boosters? >> reporter: well, hallie, dr. anthony fauci believes that boosters are highly likely for certain populations including those with underlying conditions and the elderly. they believe they will likely be the first in line when the data says it's time. hallie. >> kathy park for us in new york, thank you. the rise in hospitalizations for children has many parents worried as school starts tomorrow in some state, but
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there is a growing divide over what to do about masks in the classroom. vaughn hillyard reports from florida on families and teachers caught in the middle. >> reporter: thousands of students are preparing to go back to school this week while covid runs rampant. >> it really concerns me. it really does. >> as parents square off with lawmakers and school officials over masks. >> it's a parent's choice, family choice, physician choice. >> reporter: texas will not have to contact trace positive cases in their classrooms napped florida governor ran desantis banning school districts from requiring masks and six other states are doing the same. >> let parents make the decisions and let the kid breathe. take yourself back to elementary school. did you want to run around on a playground wearing a mask. >> forcing some families to make hard decisions. >> i'll be home schooling this year because multiple open heart surgeries,
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currently have a pacemaker. >> the governor threatening to cut funding to schools that buck his order. >> i want the school districts to stand up against the governor and make a stand based on the health and well-being of our children. >> several parents now filing a lawsuit. >> to what extent are you arguing that a school has a responsibility to stop a communicable disease from spreading? >> to a very high extent. let them exercise that oversight and that obligation to ensure schools are safe. >> reporter: but at least two school districts are working around the governor's order requiring masks unless the student's parent explicitly opts out and teachers elsewhere preparing. >> we just have to have conversations, rely on the science. >> reporter: and the kid caught in the middle in the fight over masks. >> if i get covid then everybody else would. >> and then the teachers would have it, too. >> reporter: but you like wearing your mask, don't you? yeah. >> what can you tell us about any court rules on these school
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mask mandates? >> reporter: yeah, hallie. a judge ruled that schools in arkansas can require masks overruling the state. there are several lawsuits slated to be argued on this in the coming weeks. hallue? >> vaughn hilliard, thank you. now to the historic wildfires burning out of control in northern california where the destruction is staggering. matched only by the heartache of those who lost their home. more from the state's largest fire burning outside greenville, california. >> reporter: overnight the dixie fire exploding to almost half a million acres. over twice the size of new york city. driving more than 30,000 people out of their homes, the inferno has destroyed nearly 600 structures threatening another 13,000. four firefighters injured during a desperate firefight to cut flames. >> people are displaced and many will never return and
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that's a tragedy. you're seeing here not just a loss of homes and housing. you're seeing entire communities wiped off the map. >> the myers family opened their doors to many fleeing the flames. >> he comes and hangs out. >> sheltering displaced neighbors and offering food and water. >> we're lucky so far because we're still here. >> reporter: bob johns one of the many now homeless. >> it came through so fast that you just couldn't do anything but run. just devastation just killed me. >> he's grateful for the support. >> someone gave you this trailer. >> yeah. >> after you lost yours? >> right. >> reporter: but rebuilding is going to be tough. >> at my age i think how am i going to start over again? >> reporter: what do you feel when you see this happening? >> this is literally about tradition, sensing of play, culture, lifestyles, identity, memories, about kids and families. >> reporter: and an uncertain future in another relentless
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fire season tomorrow. >> reporter: >> are firefighters getting any kind of help from the weather here? >> reporter: yes, they are but it's a double-edged sword. with smoke lifting air support can return but they will have to battle higher temperatures and gustier wind. >> thank you somme so much. the u.s. senate here in washington meeting in a rare sunday session right now. senators are debating the details of president biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. the bipartisan deal clearing a big hurdle yesterday when the senate voted to break a filibuster. that now partially paves the way for the bill to pass later this week before landing in the house. coming up, the landing in the house. coming up, the taliban takeover with (vo) while you may not be running an architectural firm, tending hives of honeybees, and mentoring a teenager — your life is just as unique. your raymond james financial advisor gets to know you,
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when you help heal your skin from within, you can change how your skin looks and feels. and that's the kind of change you notice. talk to your eczema specialist about dupixent, a breakthrough eczema treatment. we're back with breaking news from afghanistan where taliban insurgents are making progress trying to overturn the government now that most u.s. troops are gone. the threat so serious that most americans have been told to get out of country now. kelly cobiella is there. >> reporter: chaos on the streets of canned u.n. the bustling city falling to the taliban today. the police headquarters shown in this taliban propaganda video unverified by nbc news apparently abandoneded a fleet of trucks left behind. it's yet another blow to the country's crumbling security forces who lost
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control of at least three cities since friday. durange in the southeast and a city in the north. the speed of the taliban advance as u.s. troops withdraw ahead of the september deadline has shocked the west. >> the war in afghanistan has entered a new diddleyer and more destructive phase. >> reporter: u.s. forces have provided some air cover to struggling afghan troops but no more than that. >> the president made clear after 20 years at war it's time for american troops to come home. >> reporter: thousands of a gains have fled their homes and they are vows neighbors to the north, uzbekistan and tajikistan are now holding military drills with russia as fears mount that the instability could spread. the taliban has taken cities before. the key question tonight is will they hold them? regardless, the u.s. embassy here is urging americans to leave the country immediately. hallie? >> kelly, thank you. now to china where just six months from now the winter olympics are set to begin. those games coming in a country that faces
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not just covid challenges but criticism over its human rights record. janis mackey frayer reports from beijing. >> the countdown is on. villages are built. venues have been fine-tuned. the water cube where michael phelps swam now the ice cube for curling events. the iconic bird's nest revamped, too. >> we're ready to go. >> reporter: but the pandemic looms large here. the ski jump center, the stands can hold 10,000 people. whether anyone will actually attend will depend on covid. it will mean a winter olympics like no other. for nearly 3,000 athletes. like figure skater nathan chan. >> i would at least like to have my patients there. safety is the number one concern. >> the virus isn't the only obstacle. with growing national calls for a boycott over china's crackdown in hong kong and alleged rights abuses of uighurs and u.s. lawmakers are demanding a diplomatic
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boycott, controversy that beijing owes organize committee is reluctant to address, but in a statement to nbc news china's foreign ministry criticized attempts, to quote, hinder and destroy beijing's plans adding the mistake of politicizing sports is bound to fail. at stake janis mackey frayer, nbc news, beijing. still ahead, terrifying moments for folks stuck in a flooded elevator. plus, our kate snow with the sto re now, we all know progressive offers 24/7 protection, but we also bundle outdoor vehicles with home and auto to help people save more! [ laughs ] ♪♪ [ humming ] [ door creaks ] oh. [ soft music playing ] what are you all doing in my daydream? it's better than that presentation. a lot better. you know, whether it's a fraction
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tonight. that's on top of the torrential rain that flooded parts of omaha yesterday. trapping some people in an apartment elevator. look at this. the water pouring in up to their next before they were finally, thankfully rescued. we are remembering tonight the life of legendary florida state fastball coach bobby boden. the hall of famer has died. he led his teams to more than 350 wins and two national championships. he was 91 years old. tonight we begin a week-long series of reports here at nbc news focusing on our justice system. to start us off, kate snow looks at one prosecutor use the power of her office to not just go after criminals but to right wrongful convictions. >> reporter: in detroit wayne county prosecutor kim prison so it sound surprising three years ago she started a conviction integrity unit. >> letters started pouring in to examine claims of innocence and look for those who
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were wrongfully imprisoned. this project takes on your own prosecutions. it takes on your own work. >> it does. these are sometimes investigations that take months and sometimes years to make sure that we've turned over every corner, to make sure that we've done full and fair investigations. >> even if it might make your team look bad or the police here look bad. >> it's not about us. it's about justice. >> the units had more than 1,700 requests but only has the resources to focus on about 50 investigations at a time. it's one of more than 80 conviction integrity units across the country, part of a growing movement led by progressive prosecutors. yet most haven't exonerated anyone. wayne county's efforts stand out. how many people of has your unit been able to give relief to? >> 29, 29. that includes exxonorees and people we've given new trials to, that their trial was so flawed they didn't get a good shake at justice. >> someone was killed
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right over there. >> someone was killed right over there. >> most those they have helped is black men. >> my maximum was life without parole and my minimum was life without parole. >> reporter: what did that feel like? >> it's a crushing blow for zug didn't do. >> reporter: kevin harrington was a 20-year-old college student was a body was found in inkster, michigan in droid. >> where were you? >> out of the state of michigan. >> reporter: not in the state. when he was arrested, he thought he'd be released right away. >> like they will realize that they got the wrong guy. >> they will realize they got the wrong day and that day didn't happen until 17 years plus later. >> reporter: the main witness was coerced. detectives told her she could lose her children if she didn't cooperate. >> the top investigator engaged in all sorts of misconduct in that case. >> the detective? >> yes. >> reporter: last summer harrington walked out of prison and began rebuilding his life.
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>> reporter: what was it like since you got out? >> heaven on earth. >> reporter: he's sued the city of inkster and detectives in his case and lawyers for the city did not reply to our question for comments. detectives denied coercing the witness to fabricate a story. what does this say about the criminal justice system? >> no one is safe. it doesn't matter what zip code you have, how much your paycheck reflects, what is your skin color. >> reporter: kim worthy is confident kevin harrington doesn't belong in prison and believes there are likely other kevin harringtons in every state. >> this work is worth it. it must be done. it must be done because we know the criminal justice system is imperfect. we can never give a person's life back but make sure they have one outside prison walls if we find there's credibility to their claim. >> reporter: kate snow, nbc news, detroit. when we come back, th when we come back, th e was that your great-grandmother, keeping the family together?
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there is good news tonight on coming home emotional reunions for athletes as they finally get to celebrate after making their olympic dreams come true. after an olympics like no other, athletes coming home to people who helped them going. for gymnast sewni lee a reunion on the "today" show heading back to her hometown in minnesota as an olympic medalist. >> we love you. >> and as annies operation. >> i'm just so proud of her that she made it to the olympics and
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got a medal. i'm just so proud of her. >> today is crista palma day. >> named in the honor of the bronze diving medalist. >> y'all are what brought me to the point. >> the homecoming emotional like in harriman city, utah where fans lined the street for silver medal swimmer ryan white. >> i appreciate you guys supporting me and watching me swim. and i just feel so honored and blessed to be able to represent such an amazing country and my family so well. >> reporter: flags, balloons and sirens at that parade, and at this one in spring, texas, signs simone biles has already motivated the next generation. from the world's biggest stage to the world's biggest hug pro skateboarder jake
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with the family who supported him. >> he wouldn't be here. >> and discus thrower valerie almon knows what that is like reuniting with her parents. >> they were there in spirit but oh, gosh to come home and to have them here, that was so nice. [ applause ] >> reporter: for these athletes the world's most powerful, it's where they find strength. home once again reminding each olympian how many people were always on their team. >> when you're at the game and you're in the moment, you know, you're just taking it moment by moment but i think that this is the first times it really hit me and being able to celebrate with the people that mean the most to me is so special. >> and a big welcome home to all our olympians. that's it for tonight's "nightly news." stay tuned for coverage of thech stay tuned for coverage of thech closing c
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