tv NBC Nightly News NBC February 9, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
. >> we're going to transfer it to the next one. >> thanks for joining us. >> see you at 6:00. on the broadcast tonight, snow bound by another relentless winter storm. so much snow in boston they've run out of places to put it. and there's another big one on the way. dangerous skies as drones get way too high and way too close to passenger planes. a frightening new series of incidents posing serious risks near some very big airports. marriage fight. same-sex weddings begin in the deep south amid cheers protests and controversy in alabama. did the supreme court just tip its hand to how it will rule nationwide? and car hacking. modern technology making vehicles smarter but not necessarily safer. a new warning about what criminals can do while you're behind the wheel but not necessarily in control. "nightly news" begins now.
from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. i'm lester holt in for brian. we're glad you're here. it is the winter of boston's discontent. they've picked up more than 5 1/2 feet of snow over the last 17 days. right now as yet another storm blankets parts of new england, that snowbound city has run out of places to put it all. busting snow removal budgets, snarling transit not to mention stretching the patience of a lot of moms and dads as school kids are now looking at their eighth snow day of the year. we begin today with ron mott near boston's beacon hill who will show us what that much snow looks like. ron, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. good evening to you. tonight governor charlie baker has declared a state of emergency because of all this snow. you mentioned beacon hill. one of the charming things about this area is that you have a lot of narrow side streets. charming that is, until you have five or six feet of snow to
deal with. look at this car, the only thing showing is a side view mirror. the mayor says today the city will get this cleaned up, but in the meantime he's asking residents to be patient. it's a sight that's become all too familiar. boston battered again today, car after car buried under mounds of snow. for those who are attempting to get around, dangerous conditions. >> it's way more slick. way more slick. when you slide, you slide, no matter what. there's no way to control it. >> reporter: these morning commuters forced to get off their train and walk in frigid temperatures when it broke down south of boston. unrelenting snow has tested the mettle of even hardy new englanders. in the past 30 days there have been major multiple snow events. january 27, upwards of 22 inches. another 16 inches less than a week later. then nearly 7 1/2 followed by about a foot of snow today. in total a record 60-plus inches and counting, paralyzing parts of the region. with historic amounts of snow on
the ground, there's not enough space to put it all. melters, which use flame burners to dissolve the snow, can't keep up. so the city may be forced to dump snow in the harbor, which is normally off limits. so much snow has been removed across the state 10,000 dump trucks all in boston alone, it would fill the home of the super bowl champions new england patriots stadium 90 times with nonstop plowing, shovinging and blowing, many have had enough. >> i think we're all kind of on our last run. and there's more to come. >> reporter: boston public schools are closed again tomorrow. officials are discussing whether to tramp april vacation to get the required number of school days in before the union mandated last day of june 30th. winter budgets are also stretched thin and in some cases wiped out. >> by the end of this week we will more than have doubled what our snow budget was. it was $18 million in the beginning. >> reporter: winter doesn't officially end for roughly six more weeks.
now, at 7:00 tonight mass transit effectively is going to be shut down. it will remain shut down all day tuesday with very limited bus service. while the mayor is asking companies to allow workers to work from home tomorrow, some may have to drive. >> ron, thanks. it's not over yet. there's another storm on the way. meteorologist dylan dreyer's also in boston tracking the forecast for us. dylan, what are we looking at here? >> reporter: good evening, lester. nearly two feet of snow has already fallen here in boston, and some light snow is still falling right now, but this is the tail end of the storm. we're going to see it wind down overnight. then it pulls away. there's no snow or even cold to talk about for tuesday or wednesday, but then thursday we're looking at another blast of arctic air to start working into the midwest where temperatures will be about 15 degrees below average. we'll start to see that spread into the northeast by friday. it stays cold for saturday. and then we'll bottom out with some of the coldest temperatures we've seen so far this season by sunday morning with temperatures running about 15 to 30 degrees
below average. but before we get to the weekend, we could be talking about another potential big storm for new england with parts of the area seeing this clipper system moving through and strengthening off the coast of new england. that goes thursday night into friday. and then possibly even bigger storm possible for sunday. either one of those storms should hit this area hard. and that's something we'll have to watch as we go through this week, lester. >> all right, dylan. in the west that big pineapple express rainstorm has come and gone bringing flooding to several states. but tonight the floodwaters have mostly receded and for the most part power has been restored. the storm didn't do much to make a dent in the historic drought. and a very different problem in central california. a wildfire destroyed dozens of homes along the eastern slope of the sierras and prompted hundreds of people to be evacuated from their homes. four firefighters suffered minor injuries while fighting those fires. the faa is investigating a series of close calls between passenger planes and unmanned drones flying very high near
some very big airports. the incidents happened over the weekend in los angeles, chicago, dallas and atlanta. it's an increasingly dangerous situation up in the air. and we get our report tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: it's happened in some of the nation's busiest air space. sunday afternoon a southwest boeing 737 was on final approach at l.a.x. when the pilot told controllers they just had a close call, not near the ground but at 4,000 feet. >> there was one of those radio controlled helicopter things went right over the top of us at 4,000. >> over the top of you at 4,000? roger that. >> one of those remotely piloted deals. >> got ya. drones? >> yep, little bitty one red in color. >> reporter: a day earlier saturday in chicago controllers warned pilots that a drone had been spotted at 9500 feet. >> use caution. a drone was reported on runway 27 right, i'm not picking up anything on radar. >> reporter: a few hours later
in dallas a private plane reported a drone at roughly 1300 feet. and in atlanta sunday another drone flying very high at 8,500 feet. in each case the drones were well above the faa limit of 400 feet. the concern? a collision with a plane could crack a cockpit window or seriously damage an engine. >> the thing that we have to avoid is any opportunity for aircraft to come into contact with one another, because that is an extremely dangerous situation for everyone involved. >> reporter: it's illegal for anyone to fly a drone above 400 feet or within five miles of an airport. meanwhile, the faa still hasn't decided which companies will be allowed to fly drones and where. tom costello, nbc news, washington. we have an update on the measles outbreak that continues to spread across the country. today the government reported there are now at least 122 cases across 18 states. some lawmakers are now calling on congress to require all children in the head start program be vaccinated. tonight, same-sex marriage is officially legal in the state of alabama.
the 37th state to allow it. amid cheers and celebrations there today there were also protests and a new fight brewing as the chief justice of the alabama supreme court leads a resistance. we get our report tonight from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: gay marriage came today to the heart of the deep south. same-sex couples began getting licenses in alabama after a federal judge two weeks ago struck down a state ban on gay marriage there. justices antonin scalia and clarence thomas said today the supreme court should have granted alabama's request to put that ruling on hold out of respect for the state until the court rules on gay marriage nationwide in a few months. the failure to grant alabama's request, thomas said may well be seen as a signal of the court's intended resolution of that question of gay marriage nationwide. roughly two-thirds of alabama counties today refused to grant the marriage licenses.
>> i'm sorry. >> reporter: after roy moore, chief justice of the alabama supreme court, urged local officials to ignore the federal court ruling. in 2003 he defied a federal court order to remove a ten commandments monument from the state supreme court building. he was removed from office but was re-elected three years ago. the supreme court takes up the marriage issue in april with a decision by june. it seems unlikely the justices would allow same-sex marriages to go ahead in alabama now if they're just going to stop them a few months from now. lester. >> pete williams tonight, thanks. german chancellor angela merkel visited the white house today to push for more time to reach a deal to ease tensions between ukraine and russia. president obama's under pressure from republicans and some democrats in congress to provide military assistance to ukraine. while he publicly backed diplomatic avenues, the president did hold on to the prospect of sending arms. days after isis told the world that american hostage kayla mueller was killed in a jordanian air strike, the
terrorist group has offered her family and her country no proof of its claims. what it has offered is yet another propaganda video featuring yet another hostage under duress. the report tonight from our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. >> reporter: kayla mueller's home town of prescott arizona, is closing ranks around her family. >> these are our kids. kayla is, you know, our young person. >> reporter: her parents' vigil continues waiting for her captors to answer their latest appeal three days ago. so far silence. nothing since isis claimed kayla had been killed in a coalition air strike, a fate the family refuses to believe. >> the family right now is in a very fragile state, as you can imagine. they're worried. >> reporter: her parents' desperate plea to the terrorists -- you told us that you treated kayla as your guest. as your guest her safety and well-being remained your responsibility. at this time we ask you who are holding kayla to contact us privately.
but they haven't. today the terrorists did release another propaganda video of british hostage journalist john cantlie claiming to show the destruction in aleppo. >> hello. i'm john cantlie. in the last film in this series we're in a city that's been at the heart of the fighting since the summer 2012. >> reporter: this as jordan continues to strike isis. 56 combat missions in the days since learning their pilot was burned alive, but none they say, near where kayla was believed held. and kayla's family disputes a report that they asked the white house to delay a rescue mission. they only asked for advance notice. when special forces did try to find kayla and the other hostages in july, they found strands of her hair but not kayla. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. a jury has now been seated in a murder trial connected to the hit movie "american sniper." it concerns the death of chris kyle, the former navy s.e.a.l.
whose autobiography inspired the oscar-nominated film. jacob rascon has our report tonight from stephenville, texas. >> reporter: it's hard to find anyone in erath county texas, who hasn't heard of chris kyle. the welsh family lived across the street from him. >> kept asking, chris, what are you going to do the rest of your life? you going to be a cowboy the rest of your life? he said, no, i'm going to join the navy and be a navy s.e.a.l. >> reporter: kyle served four tours in iraq earning the title america's deadliest sniper. what is now the top grossing war movie of all time sold out for weeks in stephenville. in 2012 kyle sat down with lester holt. >> if i could figure out a number of people i'd saved, that's something i would brag about. >> reporter: one year later kyle and close friend chad littlefield took former marine eddie ray rout to a shooting range. they wanted to help him cope with post-traumatic stress, but rout turned on them. that night routh confessed to killing both men. here he is today inside a stephenville courtroom charged with capital murder, expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
800 people were summoned to court for routh's trial including clifford sexton who was dismissed. >> i feel like possibly out of this many jurors they can find a fair panel, but i think it's going to be pretty tough. >> reporter: retired texas judge mike sykes. >> ultimately whether the trial's in stephenville or the bronx or beverly hills, people are people. and you're supposed to be able to find fair impartial jurors wherever the case might be. >> reporter: the real-life sequel to "american sniper" coming soon. jacob rascon, nbc news, stephenville. we want to take just a moment to tell you where brian is tonight. in a message to his colleagues over the weekend brian told us he's taking several days off this broadcast amid questions over how he recalled certain stories he covered. in a career spent covering the news, brian told us it's clear he's become too much a part of the news. he'll be off while this issue is dealt with.
we're going to take a break right now. and still ahead, car hacking. is all that technology behind the wheel making you more vulnerable to criminals? questions tonight about whether automakers are doing enough to protect you. and later, name that town. for anyone who lives anywhere that people constantly mispronounce, wait until you see what the folks in one city are doing.
keyless entry make our lives easier, they're also making it much easier for cyber criminals to track us steal from us or in the worst case take complete control of our cars away from us. our report tonight from nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: you're not the only one who knows where you're driving. today's cars are computers on wheels loaded with software controlling everything from your brakes to your steering to your navigation system. >> you don't need a crowbar to break into a car. you just need an ipad to hack into the computer system to take control. >> reporter: today, a new congressional report tracking and hacking warns your car has significant security and privacy gaps and the drivers are at risk. car hacking's been glamorized in hollywood action movies, but experts say the potential danger for the rest of us is real. >> the hacker can unlock the car's door, they can turn on the engine, they can change the brakes so they work or don't work the way the operator wants to do. basically they can take over any functionality that's controlled by software. >> reporter: here's how it works.
hackers can connect to your car's computers from anywhere, breaking in through bluetooth or built-in cell phone systems designed to connect you to an operator in an emergency. in a pbs "nova" series computer security researchers demonstrated how they could hack a car and control it remotely. >> we'll be applying your brakes shortly. right about now. yeah, that worked. >> reporter: so far there's no record of any car being maliciously hacked into on the road in the real world. but there's also concern about a mountain of information automakers are routinely collecting about your driving habits. your location, the time you travel and where you parked. tonight, automakers tell nbc news strong data privacy protections and vehicle security are essential to maintaining the continued trust of our customers. a race to plug security holes before the next generation of cars hits the road. peter alexander, nbc news, washington. when we come back, about last night. what happened after the grammys
sam smith may have dominated the grammy awards winning record and song of the year as well as best new artist, but it was kanye west who dominated the conversation. when beck won album of the year, west rushed the stage in what looked like a repeat of his mike-jacking of taylor swift in 2009 only to back off like he was joking. later west said beck should give his award to beyonce. beck was polite about the whole thing even saying he also thought beyonce was going to win. if we're not careful pictures are all we're going to have left of the monarch butterfly. that's a fear of the u.s. fish and wildlife service which today announced a $3.2 million campaign to save the monarch from extinction. most of the funding will be used to restore 200,000 acres of habitat. the estimated monarch population
has gone from a billion in the mid-'90s to fewer than 30 million now. it's been nearly 46 years since neil armstrong took one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. and tonight almost three years since he died we're learning about some hidden mementos from a mission that he kept for decades. his wife found the artifacts in a white cloth bag in his closet including utility lights, a wrench and a camera that recorded the lunar lander's final approach and buzz aldrin's walk down the ladder before touching the surface of the moon. when we come back here tonight, the thing driving people crazy in bangor, maine. or is it bangor, maine?
the good people of la jolla, california, know the frustration. so do the folks in boerne, texas. don't even get them started in kissimmee, florida. all cities with names outsiders routinely mangle. tonight a picturesque town in maine is going to set the record straight. is it bangor or bangor? the story tonight from nbc's harry smith. >> reporter: they call it the queen city of the northeast straddling the penobscot river. it is maine at its best. bangor has a lot to be proud of.
did you know paul bunyan was born here? or so they say. but sadly, this is a town with a problem. does it make people who live here nuts when outsiders mispronounce your name? >> you may see a little eye rolling. you may see a little, oh, okay. >> reporter: right. >> we're glad they're here, but wish they'd say it right. >> reporter: say what right? >> bangor. >> reporter: sensitive issue. >> i think it's a sensitive issue. >> reporter: many of us have been pronouncing it wrong. >> people ought to get it right. it's real simple to do. it's not potatoes, potatoes. it's bangor. >> reporter: not satisfied to suffer in silence, these mainers found a way to fix our problem. ♪ we are bangor ♪ ♪ we are not banger ♪ >> reporter: a song that seemks to gently correct decades of pronunciation malfeasance. a hit on youtube. ♪ so the least you folks could do is say it right ♪
>> reporter: this reporter went to blueberry broadcasting in maine to hear and learn. bangor. >> bangor. >> reporter: bangor. >> yes! >> reporter: by jove i think he's got it. but once more, for the record. harry smith, nbc news, bangor, maine. >> that's our broadcast for a monday night as we begin a new week. thank you for being with us. i'm lester holt in for brian. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night everyone.
right now, 6:00. two jewelry heists in a week. they are worth a lot of bling. armed burglars striking in the day. i'm raj mathai. >> i'm jessica aguirre. three armed robbers rush into a store, order employees to the floor. it's clearly carefully orchestrated. it happened near union square friday just before the noon hour. michelle roberts joins us from
san francisco. it sounds like the tiffany heist, too. >> reporter: that's right. the display case is empty tonight. they are closed for the night. outside the front door they have signs saying temporarily closed. they are sorry for the inconvenience. three people armed with a gun stormed into the store and ordered employees to get on the ground. they stole jewelry from the safe and display cases before taking off in a light colored suv. business owners are very worried about the situation. they are closing their doors and increasing security. one woman says she's worried crimes like this will deter shoppers from spending money in her store. >> i have been in the neighborhood for 21 years. i always open the door for the customer. now, i closed the door. it's too scary. you don't know when they come in