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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 22, 2022 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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they said it's in honor of her life long support of zoos and love of animals and she had that. it's a cool thing to do. >> they look beautiful. >> thank you for watching, "nightly news" is next. >> see you soon. tonight, fire and ice. dangerous weather across the country a massive ice storm crippling parts of the south. cars skidding off roads. a plane sliding off the runway power lines down now an arctic blast set to freeze out millions while out west, hundreds evacuated as a wildfire bears down on big sur brink of war a u.s. shipment of military aid lands in ukraine as russian fighter jets arrive in a bordering country, and the possible russian plot just revealed signs of hope. case numbers plunging in areas hit first by omicron. >> we're starting to see the downward trend
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in covid infections. >> but it comes as deaths hit the highest number nationwide in a year and those free at-home covid tests from the government have started to arrive in the mail. city on edge after two police officers are shot, one killed, in new york. arnold schwarzenegger involved in a major accident his suv ending up on top of another car who's to blame for the skyrocketing price of meat? the president accuses four big companies of driving up the costs we investigate. and turning the tables the woman who refused to become a victim and took down a phone scam >> grandma 1, bad guy 0. this is nbc night lie news good evening millions are battling two very different weather extremes tonight. some meteorologists are calling what's happening down south a once in a decade ice storm. thousands temporarily lost power state troopers are
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warning residents to stay off roads out west, another unusual weather event, a major wildfire in january. this is just outside big sur, a popular destination in northern california. a section of the famed highway 1 is shut down, and hundreds of residents were forced to flee their homes. we are covering it all tonight for you, and we begin with kathy park. >> reporter: ice, sleet, and snow piling up and taking a treacherous turn in the carolinas. >> we just came through here a few minutes ago and there was no ice on the roadway. and within a matter of minutes, it changed, just like that now we have three wrecks in this area. >> reporter: at raleigh-durham international airport, icy conditions also sent a plane sliding off the runway. >> rj-9 reynolds runway, into the grass area -- >> reporter: overnight the freezing rain coated trees, cars, and bridges as power outages climbed into the thousands. coastal communities stretching from the south to the mid-atlantic took a
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direct hit too virginia beach picked up more than 5 inches of snow. the wintry weather moved out, but the bitter cold is hanging on the arctic air stretching from mississippi to maine one-third of the country is at least 10 degrees cooler than normal this morning clayton lake, maine, plunged to minus 36 degrees. new york city dropped into the teens >> i'm in a sweatshirt i tried to bundle up as much as possible but i'm headed to the gym right now. i figured if i rushed pretty quickly i wouldn't feel it but it's still pretty cold now >> how long are you out and about right now? >> heading home right now. >> too cold? >> yeah, definitely. >> reporter: out west, a wildfire along the big sur coast is keeping residents on high alert flames exploded to 1,500 acres, forcing hundreds to evacuate high winds up and down california knocked out power to tens of thousands and toppled trees. this surveillance video captured a century-old pine falling onto a home, trapping people inside. >> my bed was sitting right there. if i was if my room like i usually am,
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playing games, i would have been -- yeah, i would have been not here. >> reporter: tonight, both coasts dealt a damaging blow from mother nature. >> kathy park joins me from new york city kathy, how long are these low temperatures expected to last >> reporter: jose, it will still be a few days before we get a break from the cold. millions will still see freezing temperatures tonight even portions of florida have freeze alerts extended until monday morning jose >> kathy park in new york, thank you. now to the tense situation unfolding in ukraine amid fears of a possible russia invasion both the u.s. and russia ramped up their military support today. monica alba has more from the white house >> reporter: ukraine armed and anxious tonight, ready to defend itself with $200 million worth of u.s. weaponry delivered by cargo planes late friday nearly 200,000 pounds of lethal aid and ammunition to support frontline defenders on the border with russia
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as president putin appears poised to invade, despite diplomatic talks between russia and the u.s. this week designed to lower the temperature. >> we united in our commitment to finding a way forward through diplomacy and dialogue. >> reporter: later warning -- >> if russia wants to begin to convince the world that it has no aggressive intent toward ukraine, a very good place to start would be by de-escalating. >> reporter: and again vowing a swift and severe economic response if the provocation continues. the u.s. has committed more than $650 million in security assistance to ukraine in the last year, pledging to send more defensive material if russia does move forward. president biden huddling with his national security team this weekend at camp david, monitoring the buildup of more than 100,000 russian forces, including some troops and fighter jets seen today arriving in neighboring belarus. russian foreign minister lavrov said
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friday he doesn't expect a breakthrough, though russia does expect, quote, concrete answers to concrete proposals next week, the u.s. will formally respond to the kremlin's concerns in writing, making clear washington won't concede to moscow's demand to forbid ukraine from joining the nato military alliance >> there are several steps we can take that are being discussed. all of us, russia included, to increase transparency, to reduce risks, to advance arms control, to build trust. >> monica joins us from the white house news out of the uk about a secret russian plot inside ukraine? >> reporter: that's right, the british foreign office released a statement late tonight saying they've uncovered a russian plot to install a new pro-russian government in ukraine, but they did not release details of how the russians plan to carry it out jose >> monica alba at the white house, thank you so much. covid and new signs of home as omicron cases fall quickly in some northeast states but a different story
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in some parts of the west still under the pandemic's grip. sam brock tonight on what these trends could tell us about what happens next. >> reporter: the marathon battle against omicron may finally be showing signs of a letup like in new york city where cases have plummeted nearly 60% in two weeks, and the state just notched a daily positivity rate below 10%. >> it is a very good day to be able to say that we're starting to see the downward trend in covid infections. >> reporter: still, there's a coast-to-coast contrast that's emerging northeastern states like new york, new jersey, and massachusetts are seeing a significant infection drop-off while the west is still getting hammered oregon just broke its daily covid record, with idaho and california struggling severely so what can reeling states learn about an omicron wave that took three to four weeks to peak in places like new york and miami is it reasonable to expect that life cycle to play out elsewhere in the u.s. too?
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>> i think we'll start to still see those trends i think the one thing that will be very different in one area versus another is the rate of full vaccination and boosting. >> reporter: the president's efforts to protect more americans with vaccines just hit another hurdle a federal court in texas blocking a mandate for some 3.5 million federal workers which the biden administration is expected to appeal. >> 98% of federal workers are vaccinated we are confident in our legal authority. >> reporter: a boost did arrive tonight for the administration. >> i actually received two sets of covid tests. >> reporter: ryan gelena received his free at-home test kit today in dallas. he says it gives him peace of mind after ordering them on tuesday. testing and vaccines in tandem curbing transmission even as oklahoma state lawmakers advance a bill to ban the promotion of shots as there's a shortage of beds for covid patients. >> if you go to our emergency room, it's full there are people in the hallways. >> reporter:he t frustration over medical guidelines
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hitting a fever pitch this week in virginia when a woman threatened to bring loaded guns to school if her child was forced to wear a mask. >> my children will not come to school on monday with a mask on. all right? that's not happening and i will bring every single gun, loaded and ready to -- i will call every - >> that's three minutes. >> reporter: that threat later leading to a criminal charge and an apology >> sam brock joins us live from tampa. sam, a lot of encouraging news with cases and hospitalizations, but we hit a new awful benchmark for deaths >> reporter: jose, that's right on friday the united states recorded 3,860 deaths from covid. jose, that is the highest total that that daily figure has been since december 30th of 2020 of course, deaths do tend to lag hospitalizations by a couple of weeks. jose >> sam brock in tampa, thank you. a young new york
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city police officer is dead, another fighting to survive, after both were shot last night 22-year-old jason rivera was killed and officer wilbert mora critically injured while responding to a domestic violence call first responders lined the route to the hospital to support their colleagues the suspect was injured in the shoot-out. rivera and mora are the fourth and fifth new york city police officers shot so far this year. we're learning more tonight about a serious multi-car crash involving actor and former california governor arnold schwarzenegger guad venegas reports from los angeles. >> reporter: aerial video shows the intersection where hollywood superstar and former california governor arnold schwarzenegger was involved in a serious traffic accident with three other vehicles. >> yes, it is, sunset and allensberg. >> reporter: photographs obtained by tmz show schwarzenegger's large suv sitting on two wheels after the collision. the air bags deployed inside the front of his
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vehicle bearing down on the hood of a red prius. another image captured schwarzenegger's friend and actor jake steinfeld present at the scene as they stood next to an officer. the accident took place in an upscale residential neighborhood of west l.a. the los angeles fire department/paramedics responding to the scene where one adult female was injured in the crash. the woman was taken to a local hospital with an abrasion to her head a representative for schwarzenegger confirmed his involvement in the crash and stated, his main concern is for the woman in the other vehicle. authorities also say neither alcohol nor drugs are suspected as a factor in the collision. with schwarzenegger unharmed but concerned as he waits to hear news of the injured woman's recovery guad venegas, nbc news, los angeles. still ahead tonight, who's to blame for the high price of beef? the president is blaming just four companies for the price spikes. also, a takedown caught on camera
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how one grandmother tricked a phone scammer.
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we've been reporting on the high cost of meat, something you see every time you go to the market but tonight there are accusations from president biden that four big meat companies are unfairly driving that price surge. jacob ward investigates those
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claims. >> reporter: the price of beef is up 20% from this time last year. ground sirloin is more than $5 a pound. why? well, from the cost of packaging to the cost of growing feed, every part of the supply chain is more expensive. but president biden also blames industry consolidation. >> you end up with an industry like the meat processing industry where four big companies dominate the market. >> reporter: those big four tyson, cargill, jbs, and national beef, who together control roughly 85% of all beef production in america and saw their profits triple during the pandemic >> why isn't the market correcting itself in this case? >> so when there's no competition in a market, you're not going to get some of those dynamics that allow prices to ease. >> reporter: and consumers have little choice in the matter >> when we walk into the grocery store, you see dozens of different brand names for meat but the reality is, about four companies own all of those different brands and that doesn't give the consumer the ability to vote with their dollar
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>> reporter: of course, the pandemic raised prices in many industries. >> but in the meat industry, those effects were exacerbated by the lack of competition up and down the supply chain. the takeaway message should be clear. a concentrated food supply chain is a vulnerable food supply chain. >> reporter: executives say the industry, hit hard by covid and inflation, couldn't keep up with americans consuming more meat during the pandemic. >> the present divide between live cattle and box feed prices is not the result of a consolidated industry, lack of competition, or the cash markets. the concentration of ownership within the meat processing industry is virtually unchanged over the past 30 years. >> reporter: and meat processors argue their size keeps meat affordable. >> when you have large players who can operate at scale, it means we can help keep prices lower for consumers. >> industry consolidation alone is concerning enough. but there is ample evidence that these companies have engaged in illegal practices to hype prices.
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>> reporter: in october, jbs agreed to pay over $110 million to settle price-fixing allegations. and tyson, which agreed to a $221 price-fixing settlement, faces lawsuits from several major food sellers but the big four maintain there is no collusion. meanwhile, cattle ranchers like scott stone are getting only 39 cents for every dollar shoppers spend on beef, compared to 60 cents 50 years ago. >> both the livestock producer and the consumer and the store are getting what we call the short end of the stick. >> reporter: now the white house says it will put $1 billion toward building regional slaughterhouses, work with congress to make the meat industry more competitive, and get all of us a fairer price. >> capitalism without competition isn't capitalism, it's exploitation. >> reporter: jake ward, nbc news, san francisco. up next, one self-described bored grandmother and the revenge she got on a phone scam artist.
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plus the monkeys that broke free after a truck accident in pennsylvania the search under way tonight.
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arizona senator kyrsten sinema has just been censured by the state's democratic committee. in the purely symbolic vote, the state party denounced her unwillingness early this week to endorse senate rule changes to eliminate the filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation. sinema is the first democrat to win an arizona senate seat in a generation.
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the search is under way in pennsylvania for a monkey on the loose. it got away after a truck transporting 100 monkeys to a lab in florida crashed yesterday. four escaped but one is still missing officials are warning people to stay away from the animal. you have surely received your fair share of scam phone calls, but there is one specific scam that is targeting older americans, preying on their love for their children and grandchildren. one woman not only saw through it but turned the tables on the alleged criminal matt bradley has details. >> reporter: this is the moment when a scam artist met his match police in nassau county, new york, tackling a fraudster who had tried to cheat an older woman out of thousands. but he might not have expected jean, grandma of seven, to turn the tables on him. >> i knew it was a scam and i've hung up on these guys a million times, i don't know why i started playing this game with this guy. >> reporter: the
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fraudster phoned jean, demanding she pay $8,000 to bail out one of her grandsons, claiming he had just been in a drunken car crash. the former 911 dispatcher called the police and helped organize something like a sting operation. when the suspected con man showed up to get the cash - >> hello. >> hi. >> reporter: she handed him an envelope filled with paper towels that's whe police nabbed the man, later identified as joshua astrea gomez of mineola, new york. the cops had to tip their hats. >> it was dramatic, and i think the county executive is going to deputize her she did a great job. >> be aware, because they're this, they're not going away double-check before you do anything. don't send anybody money. >> reporter: during the pandemic, scams against seniors are on the rise >> you need to tell us what jail he's in. >> reporter: the fbi's internet crime complaint center received nearly 800,000 fraud complaints in 2020 with losses exceeding $4.1 billion about 28% of those losses were from
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people over 60, totaling about $1 billion. >> our seniors are usually very trusting, polite, not likely to say no and these are the exact characteristics these criminal organizations are looking to target. >> reporter: that's because seniors have a lot to lose. >> when older adults are targeted and they're victimized, they lose so much more money. because they have a lifetime of savings. they're sitting on money, and these scammers know it. >> reporter: even if people like jean make good targets, she won't go down without a fight. >> bored grandma 1, bad guy 0. >> reporter: matt bradley, nbc news. >> don't mess with abuela when we come back, a novel idea how a teenager's passion for books is helping her and so many other kids through tough times.
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there's good news tonight about turning heartache into healing and a teenager now going above and beyond to overcome a difficult time 17-year-old emily batnegart is on a mission. the maryland teenager turning a personal tragedy into a way to help others heal >> so in 2019, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 thyroid cancer and when i put into perspective how many kids there are with cancer who were undergoing the same struggle as my dad, it really hit me. and i was like, no, i need to do something
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to help. >> so she decided to help by starting a book drive for emily, who has always found comfort in reading, it was a way to cope with the fear and anxiety over her father, mike's, condition. so throughout his recovery, that movement has since blossomed. it's now a collection of nearly 9,000 donated books that the family delivers to young people in d.c.-area health care facilities >> whoo, that's your first book >> just last week, handing out 500 books to patients at the national institutes of health children's inn. >> we're extremely grateful, so excited to be able to use them for our educational programs every week. and i'm excited that families were able to take some home with them >> zane elliot is there recovering from a bone marrow transplant >> today was just kind of a breath of hope. younger people that are actually doing things like this it is a good thing to
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see. >> emily's small gesture making a big impression on zane's mom, donna pitt. >> i've got to be honest, i had a little bit of tears in my eyes just to see that giving spirit and heart in a young woman made it feel extra special. >> a young woman spreading joy by helping others escape their pain between the pages. >> my hope is that these kids can dream with these books whatever it is, i want them to know there is such a happy light, like, waiting for them >> and the great news, emily's dad is now cancer-free and helps her with the drive her goal is to collect and distribute 15,000 books by the end of this year. that's nbc "nightly news" for this saturday kate snow will be here tomorrow night i'm jose diaz-balart thank you for the privilege of your time, and good night
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xxxx right now at 6:00, strong winds causing big problems across the area. meteorologist rob mayeda will
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tell us how long it is going to stick around. plus. >> we lost power briefly. >> when the lights might come back on. and something we are not used to seeing a wildfire burning in the dead of winter. we are keeping a close eye on the flames burning near big sur. the news at 6:00 begins right now. thoinls. i'm audrey assistio. >> i'm terry mcsweeney. if you stepped outside, you might have felt it and overnight you might have heard it. strong winds bringing truce down, some the trees snapping power lines. thousands are in the dark right now. >> also caution problems for firefighters. a winter wildfire is burning toward the coast in caramel near big sur. i know the fire is only 5%


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