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tv   America This Morning  ABC  December 15, 2021 4:30am-5:00am PST

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right now on "america this morning, breaking news, new travel bans being considered because of the omicron variant. health officials warn omicron is spreading at a rate they've never seen and now from the nba to the nfl, to college campuses, the evidence of a major surges and when it could peak. weather alert. just days after a string of deadly tornadoes ripped through kentucky and eight other states another line of historic storms is on the move with tornadoes possible today as far north as minnesota. what's fueling the wild weather. breaking overnight from capitol hill, the house votes to hold former trump chief of staff mark meadows in criminal contempt for not cooperating with the january 6th investigation, so what's next? plus, one of the organizers of the january 6th rally speaks out. what he just told investigators.
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completely free, why o.j. simpson is now free to make plans for his future after serving time for armed robbery. plus, why drivers in one part of the country are leaving their trunks wide open even though crime is skyrocketing. and later from the lights to the parades to the jolly atmosphere, which state has the best christmas spirit, the new number one this morning. good wednesday morning, everyone. we begin with some breaking news. canada is considering new limits on travel to the u.s. because of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus. >> health officials warn the variant is spreading at a rate they've never seen before. 800,000 americans have now died from covid, and even though this new variant is apparently more mild than others, it could easily overwhelm our health care system. at cornell university final exams are moving online because of an outbreak. many of the infections are
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among vaccinated people. this morning travel bans are now being considered along america's borders with canada as concerns grow over the highly transmissible omicron variant. reports say the canadian government will advise its citizens against nonessential travel outside the country and in the u.s. federal health officials are now warning of a fast-moving new wave of coronavirus infections fueled by omicron. data reviewed shows a massive wave possibly peaking at soon as next month. >> it is going to be dominant in the united states given its doubling time. >> reporter: the u.s. has seen a sevenfold increase in omicron cases in the last week now making up 3% of all cases and 13% of cases in new york and new jersey. erly data suggests omicron causes less severe illness than other variants, but doctors are concerned about what appears to be omicron's ability to evade vaccines. >> one dribble, yes. >> reporter: the number of vaccinated professional athletes testing positive is seemingly growing by the hour. last night the brooklyn nets had
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only eight players for their game, the minimum amount allowed before a game is postponed and espn reports 75 nfl players have tested positive in the last two days. the coach of the los angeles rams says all nine of his players who tested positive are vaccinated. >> the scary thing about all of this to me is every single person is vaccinated that we're talking about. you know, like that's the thing that's the most concerning about all of this is everybody has done exactly what they could. this covid thing has taken over. >> reporter: health officials insist booster shots are the best protection against the virus hoping to slow the spread of omicron and the delta variant, new york university is now requiring booster shots for all students and faculty. and grocery store chain kroger will now require unvaccinated employees to pay a $50 health insurance surcharge each month. the chief medical officer of moderna warns if someone is infected with both the omicron and delta variants, it could lead to the formation of a new variant. president biden will tour the tornado damage in kentucky today with more storms on the move.
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a new storm system will be fueled by unusual warmth and could spawn tornadoes today as far north as minnesota, which has never recorded a december tornado. meanwhile back in kentucky a vigil for the lives lost in last week's storm. more than 120 people remain unaccounted for, but as survivors try to rebuild, we're seeing acts of good faith between total strangers. abc's ike ejiochi is in kentucky with more this morning. ike, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, andrew. you know, it's been a tough time for people here trying to move forward. thankfully there's one man who's been through a similar tragedy that's doing whatever he can to make things a little bit easier. overnight in mayfield, kentucky, the recovery and healing. ♪ praise the lord ♪ >> reporter: the community reeling after a swath of tornadoes left this town of 10,000 devastated. >> i still expect that we will find at least some more bodies. there is just so much destruction.
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>> reporter: governor andy beshear says 122 kentuckians are still unaccounted for. 74 people have lost their lives in kentucky with 88 dead across 5 states. residents without power up to 24,000. president biden will visit some of the hardest hit areas of the state today. >> he will be surveying storm damage firsthand. making sure that we're doing everything to deliver assistance as quickly as possible. >> reporter: ever since the storms hundreds of kind souls came into town with the simple mission to help. ask any of the countless volunteers here, and they'll tell you their town is unrecognizable. but for one man it's a scene all too familiar. that's jeff carnie. after seeing the destruction the tornado left behind, he, a few friends and his food truck traveled hundreds of miles to mayfield just to serve free meals. >> i sent a couple of pictures to my wife and she said it breaks her heart because it reminds her of what we all went through. >> oh, man. >> reporter: what they went through was one of the deadliest
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tornados in american history, carnie is from joplin, missouri. and back in 2011 the ef-5 that altogether claimed the lives of 161 people there nearly took his own. >> it was crazy for, you know, months things weren't normal. >> reporter: now more than a decade later he took to social media to tell his community about his own chance to give back, and residents gave him money, food and clothes to take with him. >> i just kind of feel like this is joplin's time to pay that back. >> reporter: now, carnie says he and his food truck will be here for at least a week feeding anyone who needs a meal. mona. >> ike, thank you. southern california is drying out after a major storm dumped several inches of rain. at least three cars were swept into the flooded los angeles river. elsewhere heavy equipment is being used to clear streets of debris from mudslides. we'll have your forecast in just a few minutes. now to the breaking news from washington overnight, a major step into the investigation into the january 6th riot. former president trump's top white house aide is now being held in contempt.
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this morning, a second person from former president trump's inner circle now faces possible criminal prosecution after refusing to testify for a congressional committee investigating january's attack on the capitol. >> the resolution is adopted. >> reporter: overnight the house voted to hold trump's former chief of staff mark meadows in contempt of congress for defying a subpoena. meadows has turned over 9,000 documents including emails and text messages from republican lawmakers and even from donald trump jr. sent on january 6th that implored meadows to get the president to do something to stop the violence at the capitol but after turning over those documents to the committee, meadows is refusing to answer questions about them. >> if found guilty of criminal contempt, meadows could face up to a year in prison, but the decision on whether to prosecute him is up to the justice department, not up to congress. >> reporter: the vote to hold meadows in contempt fell
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nosily along party lines, republican jim jordan defending meadows. >> the democrat says, no, not good enough, mr. meadows. you've got to come in and answer any and every question we ask you or we'll try to put you in prison. it's disgusting. it is so disgusting. >> reporter: former white house adviser steve bannon has also refused to testify. he's scheduled to stand trial next summer. as for the committee's investigation into the attack, an organizer of the rally that preceded the storming of the capitol is cooperating. dustin stockton spent seven hours with the committee tuesday. he says he regrets how the rally unfolded, and he blames former president trump for the violence. >> the buck's got to stop at president trump. the fact that he delayed for so long responding i think really speaks ill of what his intentions were. >> mark meadows is now the first former congressman held in contempt since 1832. a legal setback for former president trump as he tries to prevent congress from seeing his tax returns. a judge appointed by the former
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president has dismissed trump's lawsuit which was aimed at keeping his tax records private. he is expected to appeal. former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin is expected to plead guilty to violating george floyd's civil rights today. chauvin is serving a 22-year sentence on a murder conviction for pressing his knee into floyd's neck. it's not clear what's prompting his apparent change of plea in the civil rights case. time now for a look at your wednesday forecast. >> unseasonably warm weather coming our way across much of the center of the nation on wednesday. temperatures will be 20, even 40 degrees warmer than normal feeling more like april in may than december. look at these temperatures, folks. 71 in omaha and temperatures will be below freezing in the northern plains. hey, that means we're going to have a strong storm moving through with lots of wind that could kick up severe thunderstorms, even isolated tornadoes into wednesday and wednesday night for minneapolis
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down to kansas city. i'm accuweather meteorologist kevin coskren. coming up, the historic first for women in the nation's largest police force. but first what we're learning about the decision to free o.j. simpson from his parole early. and later, why diet
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authorities are warning about a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in afghanistan. ian pannell has returned to kabul for the first time since the taliban took power. and he says the country is collapsing. >> reporter: the united nations is warning that as many as 1 million children could die in afghanistan this winter of hunger. there is a wholesale economic
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collapse. the price of bread has doubled just in the last few days we've been in the country. the country is also in the middle of a drought. it had to deal with the pande pandemic. and it had all of its funds frozen. some of that is going to be released. it's too little and for many people, it will be too late. >> reporter: ian also visited a children's hospital where a malnourished 2-year-old patient weighs 11 pounds. o.j. simpson going free. he has been released from parole early. >> reporter: this morning, 74-year-old o.j. simpson is a free man, after spending nine years in prison and another four years on parole, in connection with an armed robbery in las vegas. simpson spoke in 2017, billed the parole hearing of the century. >> i want to get back to my family and friends. believe it or not, i do have real friends. >> reporter: the former football star was convicted in 2008, for
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a confrontation in a vegas hotel, in which a sports collector claimed simpson and a group of men broke into his room and stole memorabilia at gun point. >> you believed the property was yours. >> it's been ruled by the state of california that it was my property. they had given it to me. i had it. >> reporter: after serving 9 of his 33-year prison sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping, simpson spent his patrol living in a gated community in las vegas. often talking football on twitter and speaking boldly about other issues, like getting out of prison early. >> i took a victim impact course that was galling to me because i had to get up and apologize to my victims. i said, i'm sorry i caught you trying to sell my stolen property. >> reporter: now, state officials in nevada have granted simpson a discharge from his parole, two months early, citing good behavior. his lawyer saying, mr. simpson is a completely free man now.
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but not disclosing o.j.'s future plans. he reportedly still owes $60 million in civil judgments stemming from the 1994 killings of his ex-wife nicole brown simpson and her friend, ron goldman. he told the associated press, quote, life is fine. and he revealed that he and his children do not discuss the death of their mother. a sign of the times in california, with crime on the rise. some drivers are leaving their car trunks open to show they are empty and prevent thieves from smashing their back windows. this may be more of an invitation to criminals ths tha deterrent. nasa's historic visit to the sun. and the emotional moment as and the emotional moment as steph curry is ♪
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with mucinex nightshift you've got powerful relief from your worst nighttime cold and flu symptoms. so grab nightshift to fight your symptoms, get your zzz's... and get back to your rhythm. ♪ the relief you need. the cash you want. ♪ here comes the sun ♪ time ever a nasa spacecraft has just touched the sun. the probe flew through the sun's upper atmosphere where the temperature is said to be 2 million degree. the goal of the mission is to increase our understanding of how the sun impacts our solar system. one of two men recently exonerated in the assassination of malcolm x is now suing new york state for $20 million. muhammad aziz says the trauma of being branded the convicted killer of the civil rights icon cannot be overstated. history is being made in new york city. the incoming mayor selected a woman to be the next politician
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commissioner. she will be the first black woman to lead the nation's largest police force. she is a 22-year veteran of the force on long island. history also made in the nba with steph curry getting emotional after being crowned the new three-point king. first he tied it. >> curry lets it fly. there it is, one down. one to go. >> reporter: then in front of a sellout crowd at madison square garden, he broke it. >> here's curry for the record. it's good. there it is, stephen curry, the all-time three-point king in the nba. >> reporter: steph curry hitting this difficult shot from behind the arc to become the nba's all-time leader in three-pointers cementing his legacy as the greatest shooter of all time. >> and now he stands alone at the top of the three-point list. >> reporter: the garden coming to a standstill after the baby faced assassin hit his 2,974th
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shot from downtown giving the new three-point king a standing ovation. curry sharing an emotional hug with his father dell and giving him that record-breaking ball. also in attendance, previous record holder ray allen embracing curry and telling him, i'm so proud of you. everyone from lebron james to tom brady sending their congratulations on social media. brady saying, what an accomplishment, and lebron tweeting, wow, congrats, brother, incredible. after the game curry presented with a special jersey with that record-breaking number. >> i've been thinking about this number for a long time. i even got it on my shoes, so basketball history, this is pretty special. >> reporter: an emotional celebration on the court, but in the locker room, pure joy. and curry wasn't finished. he made three more threes last night as the warriors beat the knicks. he wasn't the only one making waves at the game. that is pete davidson. hard to miss wearing a pink sweatshirt. >> wonder who was on there. could be a lot of people. coming up, the state with
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the most christmas spirit, the new rankings. also ahead, after months on the loose the saga of the getaway zebras finally comes to some people have joint pain, plus have high blood pressure. they may not be able to take just anything for pain. that's why doctors recommend tylenol®. it won't raise blood pressure the way that advil® aleve® or motrin® sometimes can. for trusted relief, trust tylenol®. welcome to allstate. where you can pay a little less
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instead, start small. with nicorette. which can lead to something big. start stopping with nicorette. ♪ time to check "the pulse," and we begin with the saga involving those runaway zebras in maryland. >> after four long months on the run, the two zebras are finally returned home to their herd. the pair captivated the washington, d.c. area as they eluded capture. every sighting was documented where else but on social media. authorities said catching zebras is harder than you think. >> clearly. the farm where they live insist they're healthy and well cared for. well, next, you may be smarter than a fifth grader,
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but are you brighter than a brain surgeon? >> neurosurgeons and rocket scientists are apparently no more intelligent than the rest of us. researchers who tested hundreds of aerospace engineers and brain surgeons found few differences in their cognitive abilities when compared to the general public. >> their research shows everyone has a range of skills that can be put to good use. motivating. >> all right. next, is diet soda a thing of the past? it's quickly disappearing from store shelves. >> it's being replaced with zero sugar. diet has fallen out of fashion with millennials and gen-z. the new rankings are out. >> this year's winner is new hampshire. it was followed by maine and montana. rankings were based on several factors including google searches for christmas movies online shopping, music and charitable donations. >> i'm pretty sure those are the states where every hallmark movie is filmed, but guess what, new york was ranked dead last. not surprised. i saw the grinch on fifth avenue the other day. >> i'm kind of surprised. we have the tree, lighting.
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this is abc 7 news. >> in the last 24 hours, i've gone from tears of disappointment to tears of joy. reggie: a new indoor mask mandate is in effect across the state, but there is a twist to the story. an update on what that means for the bay area. kumasi: it comes amid a nationwide warning about a fast-moving wave of covid infections. dr. fauci talking about what we need to do better. reggie: another winter storm warning in the sierra. mike is tracking snow totals. kumasi: and also this, the three-point king. steph curry's historic night. reggie: he looks really happy and we are happy for him. you're watching abc seven mornings. kumasi: we want to start with a check of the forecast with mike. mike: the tears of joy from staff after he did that, that was really cool.

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