tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC June 17, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT
doing space walks and working on the space station. china is barred from sending its astronauts to our space station, which is why they developed their own. now, "nightly news." see you at 7:00. breaking news tonight as we come on the air. the tropical storm warning just issued. the gulf coast bracing for up to a foot of heavy rain and flash floods. the strengthening system also bringing the threat of tornadoes. the new track and al roker timing it out. also the heat dome scorching the west. record-breaking temperatures for the sixth straight day. 45 million under alert. the sun so intense doctors are warning about burns from superheated surfaces. the major supreme court ruling. the justices rejecting the third gop challenge to obamacare
since it was enacted. president biden praising it as a major victory. how the justices appointed by former president trump sided. and the legal questions still unanswered. the u.s. investing billions to develop anti-viral pills that could one day treat covid. and the concerns over the delta variant. why the early symptoms can cause confusion. plus, companies turning up the pressure to return to the office. president biden signing a law to make juneteenth a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery. tonight we're in the city where it all began. and ahead of father's day, our nbc news dads with some fatherly advice. >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. i'm jose diaz-balart in for lester. we begin tonight with severe weather affecting much of the country and a double threat. a tropical storm warning has been issued for part of the gulf coast including metropolitan new
orleans as a tropical system gains strength in the gulf of mexico. and in the west a brutal and dangerous heat wave affecting tens of millions is not about to end anytime soon. but we start with al roker on the tropical threat. al, what's the latest? >> reporter: jose, we are looking at potential tropical cyclone number 3 right now south of morgan city, louisiana moving north at nine miles per hour. it will organize itself friday spreading heavy rain into the central gulf. more flash flooding sunday into monday into the mid-atlantic states. we have tropical storm warnings up for the louisiana coastline into mobile, alabama. we're also looking at flood alerts stretching for louisiana all the way into florida. rainfall amounts anywhere from 5 to 12 inches of rain. if it becomes a storm, it will be claudelle. jose? >> al roker, thank you very much. let's get to the heat emergency in the west. it's been going on for
days with triple-digit temperatures affecting tens of millions. more records being shattered. miguel almaguer has late details. t'not just one of the hottest starts to june on record out west. tonight the oppressive heat wave baking 45 million people is also one of the most dangerous. >> trying to stay hydrated and stay cool. >> reporter: with tens of millions facing triple digits again today, the national weather service in arizona says it's likely nearly every square inch in the state set a new record high yesterday. in sweltering phoenix doctors warning the public touching a doorknob, a car handle or standing barefoot on asphalt could lead to severe burns. >> working on this asphalt, the black asphalt, really brings out the heat in everything. >> reporter: as salt lake city flirts with triple digits and vegas shatters an 80-year record, the only thing rising as fast as the heat in dallas are the calls for help. >> anyone in the city who's working outdoors
not ney climate-controlled environment is absolutely at risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion. >> reporter: as extreme temperatures blanket the west, southwest and parts of the plains, new records are being shattered by 10 degrees. some cities at 30 above average. according to the epa, our nation is now suffering through more heat waves than ever before. many starting earlier and going later in the year. not only are they longer but more intense than the past. >> we're looking at driving our world to a climate where lots of places are going to be a real challenge to live. these heat waves are going to be more common, more intense and more devastating. >> reporter: tonight our changing planet and a blistering threat across the west. >> miguel, these temperatures are really stressing power grids across the region. >> yeah, jose. from texas to california power companies are asking anyone who can conserve energy to do
so to avoid rolling blackouts. and keep this in mind. it's not yet the official start of summer. jose? >> miguel almaguer in burbank, thank you. the supreme court today rejecting a legal challenge to obamacare brought by a group of red states, keeping the affordable care act alive for the roughly 30 million americans who depend on it. pete williams has details. >> reporter: the ruling is a victory for angela eilers of southern california. she worries what would happen without obamacare to her daughter who's twice had heart surgery. >> what happens next? what will happen to her coverage? what happens not just immediately but in the long term? >> reporter: the supreme court today spared president obama's health care law, the third time the court rejected a republican challenge. the vote this time 7-2 with justices samuel alito and neil gorsuch dissenting. clarence thomas, who voted against obamacare twice before, was in the majority this time. so was amy coney barrett, ws considered a grave threat to the law during her confirmation. obamacare originally
required nearly all americans to get health insurance. the individual mandate. or pay an income tax penalty. in 2012 the supreme court upheld the law as a legitimate use of congress's taxing power. then a republican-led congress set the tax penalty at zero, so 18 red states led by texas sued saying what's left is just an unconstitutional mandate. but today's ruling by justice steven breyer didn't weigh in on the larger question, instead saying the challengers have no legal standing to sue because the law no longer requires people to do anything, so they're not harmed by it. and in rejecting this one the court suggested similar lawsuits would also fail. >> the supreme court has slammed the door finally shut on all of the major legal challenges to obamacare. now it's just going to be nitpicking about the details of thousands of little provisions. >> reporter: president biden called the ruling, "a major victory for all americans benefitting from this groundbreaking andling today
religion and gay rights. >> reporter: the court ruled unanimously in favor of a catholic charity that refuses to place foster children in the homes of same-sex parents because that would violate its religious beliefs. but this was a narrow ruling. the court did not say the claims of religious freedom can always trump laws against discrimination, jose. >> pete williams at the supreme court, thank you. in just 60 seconds a new warning about the delta variant of the coronavirus and the effort to develop a new anti-viral pill. plus a at progressive, we love your pets as much as you do, like this guy in a hat. that's why progressive car insurance covers your pets for up to $1,000 if they're ever in a car accident with you. this mini majorette's gonna march her way right into your heart. -i'm sorry. can we stop? i know that we're selling car insurance here, but, you know, all the cute little animals, it's too much. define "too much." what's wrong with cute animals? -so are we doing this or what? -nah, it's over. [ sighs ] well, someone's got to break the news to mittens. [ squeaks softly ] she's a diva.
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over-the-counter pills to treat covid and future viruses at home, keeping people out of e.r.s. meanwhile, the dangerous new covid delta variant is spreading fast. now 10%e the early symptoms can be confused for a cold. head >> if you are vaccinated, you are protected. if you are not, the threat of the variants is real and growing. >> reporter: but vaccination rates are slowing across the country. just 52% of those 12 and older fully vaccinated. states with the most fully vaccinated citizens are in the northeast and the west, while the south and mountain west have the fewest. among latinos only 28% have received just a single dose. meanwhile, many employees working from home seem reluctant to return to work. one report says less than a third of white-collar workers are back at the office in big cities. morgan stanley's ceo told employees this week he expects most of them back by labor
day. >> you can go to a restaurant in new york city. you can come to the office. but labor day i'll be very disappointed if people haven't found their way into the office and then we'll have a different conversation. >> reporter: but after a year of working from home many workers are reluctant to give up that freedom, start looking for child care and resume their normal commutes. jose? >> tom costello, thank you. there is new fallout tonight following president biden's summit with russian president vladimir putin. the white house and republicans offering sharply different views of how it went. here's geoff bennett. >> reporter: tonight president biden back from geneva, the white house touting what it calls a successful trip, punctuated by that summit with russia's vladimir putin. >> i did what i came to do. >> reporter: the president says it was important to set some rules of the road in the relationship with russia that's been eroding for years. especially on cybersecurity. with the u.s. blaming russian hackers for recent attacks on america's food and fuel supply.
president biden presenting putin with a list of 16 critical infrastructure areas he says are off limits to cyberattack. but republicans tonight panning the president's performance, saying he got in concessions from putin. >> this whole thing is absurd. i've got 16 parts of my economy that i consider to be no-go zones. well, what about the rest of america's economy? so this thing was a disaster. >> reporter: democrats insisting president biden met the moment. >> i think that mr. biden made and gave a clear message to mr. putin and a clear message to the rest of the world that america is back at the table. >> reporter: and now the president's attention shifts back to domestic policy, namely infrastructure. i'm told he was briefed today on a new bipartisan infrastructure deal that as senate democrats prepare to move forward without republican support. jose? >> geoff bennett at the white house, thank you. and now to our series "america the vulnerable." the water that comes out of our taps is something many take for granted.
but for millions of americans getting clean water is an everyday struggle. here's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: in gallo county, west virginia where coal was once king there are lots of mountain springs. what makes this one so good is berlin cooper can drive right up to it. he fills these jugs once or twice a week because back at home their well has gone bad. >> what does it smell like? >> rotten eggs. >> really? >> mm-hmm. >> and that's the water that's coming out of your well. >> it's water coming out of my well 37. >> reporter: the coopers suspect nearby natural gas drilling. >> that's the problem. there's no good water. >> reporter: up on bradshaw mountain the stacys have to rely on water from the sky. burl built this system himself. >> you're dependent on the rain. >> yeah. >> itoell the time. >> no, it don't. bottled. >> how much do you end up paying for water a month? do you know? >> i'd say on average
$100. >> $100 a month. >> yeah. >> is that money that you guys have? >> not really. >> reporter: about a mile up the hill is where the public water ends. >> why did they have to stop right here and not go down the road if there are people who live down the road? >> it was my understanding they run out of funding. >> no more money? >> no more money. >> reporter: cody eastep is the mcdowell county commissioner, born and raised on this mountain. would you say people are worrying about water here on a daily basis? >> yes, ma'am, i would. yes. there's lots of people in this country that does not know what it is that takes it for granted to go over to their spigot and turn that water on. you never miss the water till the well goes dry. >> reporter: cody, if they invited you to capitol hill, what would you tell congress about your situation here? >> i would have to just say politely, hey, look, what day can y'all come down in
southern mcbell county? we need a tour bus to bring a whole bunch of you people down here. >> just bring them in. >> and plan on staying now. >> reporter: the underlying causes of the water challenges here fueled by economic decline may be unique, but the struggle is not. at least 2.2 million americans live without basic access to safe drinking water and sanitation. >> we invest hundreds of millions of dollars solving this problem for people in countries halfway around the world. but the fact that we're not putting that same level of intention into solving this problem in our own back yard is i think shameful. >> reporter: george mcgraw's organization dig deep is one of the only non-profits dedicated entirely to domestic water infrastructure. among their projects, helping the homeowners in kyle bottom connect to a new system built by the public utility. what was the water situation when you were a kid here in this house? >> we didn't have a problem. i don't know what happened. all of a sudden. i guess the pipes
corroding. crumbling. lots of places. >> reporter: elizabeth mason spent the whole pandemic without reliable clean water. soon she is going to get it. >> imagine for a moment that day when your pipes get turned on and you're able to turn that faucet on. what's it going to feel like? >> excitement. >> reporter: because when you don't have water, water is everything. stephanie gosk, nbc news, mcdowell county, west virginia. and next, lessons ♪♪ if you have moderate to severe psoriasis... or psoriatic arthritis, little things, can become your big moment. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream... ...it's a pill that treats differently. for psoriasis, 75% clearer skin is achievable... ...with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques. for psoriatic arthritis,
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creating opportunity and a better planet. now, that's making a difference. america has a new national holiday. president biden signing a law today establishing june 19th as juneteenth national independence day, commemorating the end of slavery in the u.s. the president saying it will go down as one of his greatest honors. >> by making juneteenth a federal holiday all americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history and celebrate progress. >> juneteenth's roots go back to galveston, texas where our morgan radford spoke to those commemorating its history. >> reporter: this year reginald adams wanted to do something special for juneteenth. >> it's absolutely critical that these moments in time are
spoken out loud. >> reporter: he created a mural to honor the day the last american slaves were freed, more than 150 years ago, right here in galveston, texas. why now? why is the message of this mural so important to share? >> i say why not now? for decades people even in galveston didn't know about the history of their own city. >> reporter: he even created an interactive digital code that visitors can scan to learn more. >> we really looked at this project as an outdoor classroom. >> reporter: and got students involved in the project. even someone who doesn't know what juneteenth is sees this and they're like wow, what is this? >> reporter: many here say now is the time to honor a history too often overlooked. >> enslaved people -- >> reporter: samuel collins is a historian with galveston's juneteenth project. where are we right now? >> wee here at pier 21, where many enslaved africans would have arrived here in galveston. >> reporter: he says on june 19th, 1865 mostly black union
soldiers rode into texas to tell slaveholders they had to respect the emancipation proclamation signed two years earlier. >> if the union soldiers and the united states colored troops had not arrived here in galveston i don't think they would have enforced it to this day. >> reporter: which is why residents here say this history still matters. what do you hope that people take away when they walk by and see this work of art? >> i want people to be inspired and hopefully learn something they didn't know before they saw the work of art. >> reporter: a work of art hong the past. morgan radford, nbc news, galveston, texas. china took a leap forward today in the new space race. nbc news was the only international broadcaster at today's historic launch. janis mackey frayer with an inside look. >> reporter: tonight a first. china sending astronauts to its new space station, blasting off from the gobi desert. 6 1/2 hours later docking 242 miles above the earth. this is a milestone
for china. it's poured billions into becoming a space power, and it's getting there fast. the chinese station, called tiang-gong, or heavenly palace, is a quarter the size of the international space station but a rival. china frozen out of the iss by u.s. security concerns. but with the iss getting old china could have the only space outpost. >> this phase of the chinese space program is something they've been champing at the bit to do for a decade now. >> reporter: the unusually public fanfare, timed for the communist party's 100th anniversary next month, shows china's growing confidence, having also just landed a rover on mars. are china and the u.s. now technical equals? "the u.s. is more advanced," says the mission's chief designer, "but china develops space programs for its own needs." despite a ban on cooperation, nasa sent congratulations while tonight high above the earth chinese astronauts smiled, waved and took their place in history. janices mackey frayer,
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and we're back with a programming note. tomorrow nbc "nightly news" with lester holt is pre-empted for nbc's coverage of the 2021 u.s. open golf championship. lester will be back with you on monday. and before we go it's been an emotionally grueling 15 months for everyone. as we approach father's day, we asked some of the dads who bring you those daily
realities to pen a letter to their kids about coping with it all. >> to courtney, leila and nick. >> to my girls. >> katrina and sabrina. >> there were so many days and nights while covering a story about the pandemic or protests about race and policing where i felt down and anxious. your smiles, spirits, curiosity about what was happening around us lifted me. >> my job reporting on the pandemic was putting me into contact with too many different people. even though it was difficult, it was safer for us to separate for a while. those times apart were the hardest of my life for sure. i honestly hope you don't remember. but the three of you stayed strong with your mom, and you relied on each other. >> when you think about this time, i hope it reminds you how fortunate we are as a family, how important it is that we cherish our loved ones, and how we must always do everything we can to take care of other people. >> our family is
committed to service, and seeing you carrying on that tradition brings me such joy. it's not just what you do during your life but the people you touch by doing it. >> i could not be prouder of each of you. for the amazing human beings you have become. >> my own boys are now grown men and while they occasionally take advice from me, this letter is for my 2 and 3-year-old grandsons. by the time you're both able to read and understand this, the world around you will have changed in dozens of ways. my years as a news person have taught me these things i want to share with you. we are far more resilient than we know. we manage to find our way out of the dark. and while bad often writes the headlines of the day, good ultimately writes the full course of history. >> thank you for being strong, for being loving and for adapting to our new world. >> i want you both to know how lucky i am to be your dad. >> i love you.
dad. >> love you both. to the moon and back. love, daddy. >> love, papi. >> love always,daddy. >> love, day to all dads. that's "nightly news" o the new "nightly news" kids edition, now online. i'm jose diaz-balart. thank you for the privilege of your time, and good night. -great idea. [gasps] look at the little cutie. -he's coming for a visit. -hi. [chuckles] aww! oh! he's leaving! -nice work, guys!
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