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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  April 2, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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>> to finally confront kevin owens. you can stream wrestlemania on peacock this weekend. the two-night event now, night one started a few moments ago. i saw wrestlemania in like 2015. >> thanks for watching. tonight, russia's retreat. forces pulling out of the capital city of kyiv but leaving death and destruction behind ukraine claims they've left mines and booby traps. as ukraine says they're getting closer to a peace deal. a meeting between presidents putin and zelekyy may be coming together and the pope says he may go to kyiv himself long lines at u.s. embassies across eastern europe >> you can't get an appointment until june 27th how is she going to survive? showdown in space. russia threatens the
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space station. what does it mean for the astronauts there now? breaking his silence. denzel washington speaks publicly for the first time about what happened with will smith at the oscars as smith resigns from the academy. and netflix reportedly backed out of his movie. supermarket sticker shock. a new report how grocery prices are set to go even higher. the fleecing of america. scammers going to extremes to steal hundreds of billions from the u u.s. government, even wearing masks. >> it's likely the largest fraud in american history and american dreaming the moment these teens dreams came true >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with jose diaz-balart. good evening there are signs tonight the dynamics of the war in ukraine are changing and changing fast. on the diplomatic front a possible break through. ukraine's chief negotiator says peace talks are advancing to the point where
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presidents putin and zelenskyy may actually meet in person to hammer out the final details. on the ground, ukrainian officials claim much of the area surrounding kyiv is now free of russian forces, a sign of russia's shifting strategy and falling fortunes, but in what may be another example of the brutal way russia is conducting this war they're accused of leaving land mines behind as they exit. many are warning that russia has used peace talks and false retreats as diversions in the past. we begin tonight with molly hunter inside ukraine. a warning, some of these images may be difficult to watch >> reporter: tonight a potential break through. the stage may be set for a face-to-face meeting between president putin and president zelenskyy. the lead ukrainian negotiator saying russia has verbally accepted all of ukraine's positions except on crimea nothing in writing yet, but he says according to turkey the intermediary, russia may now be open between a meeting
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between the two leaders in the near future but this comes as russia is on the battlefield at least for now. the crew ukrainian minister of defense declaring the whole kyiv region is liberated from the invader but the carnage they left is grim president zelenskyy says russian forces are leaving a total catastrophe as they fall back. they are mining the whole territory, he said they are mining homes, mining equipment and even the bodies of people who were killed and there are so many on the streets lying here on the sidewalk, everywhere you look human rights watch saying tonight they've documented cases of russian military forces committing laws of war violations against civilians near car keeve. in the town of irpin once connected to kyiv by the now infamous bridge people coming
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above ground for the first time in weeks. the russians took our cellphones oleg says it was impossible to get a signal mikhail says his father died on march 6th, his nephew on march 11th he was helping to evacuate people, he says, and came under mortar fire. we buried him here but there is some relative good news out of mariupol. ukrainian officials say about 1,200 people were evacuated from the besieged city in private transport. 300 more in buses. across the country today ukrainian officials say 4,217 people were evacuated to safer grounds and elsewhere tonight pope francis condemning war in ukraine and saying a visit to kyiv is on the table. >> and molly joins us from lviv. molly, what more are we learning about these peace talks? >> reporter: jose, the ukrainian president says turkish president erdogan called yesterday to talk in the near future. >> molly hunter in
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lviv, thank you. for ukrainians who make it across the border their agonizing j journey is just beginning. tonight we look at the desperate struggle to get the documents they need it's a wait in some cases almost a yearlong josh letterman reports from the u.s. embassy in warsaw, poland. >> reporter: they wait and wait and wait some more hoping to be among the 100,000 ukrainians refugees the biden administration has vowed to take in where are you from >> kyiv. >> reporter: they're sisters trying to make it to relatives in new york after life in a war zone became too much >> we're sleeping and our babies are so small and we need to get dressed and run to more safe place. >> reporter: the sisters already have visas but their 4 and 6-month old babies do not. the husbands left in
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ukraine. >> we don't want to go without them >> reporter: everyone in line has a different story but they all share one goal, to make it to the united states. what's your biggest fear right now that my visa will be declined, she says this is the third day americans from florida have waited in line trying to get a visa for her 84-year-old mother, hannah >> she's in a wheelchair and walker and alone, and we have a flight back to the united states in a week and we can't get an appointment until june 27, 2022. how is she going to survive? >> reporter: in countries bordering ukraine u.s. embassies are inundated. in poland the wait time for a visitor visa appointment is 125 calender days. in moldova, at least 10 months. not everyone with an appointment will get approve. those with u.s. relatives are more likely to get an immigrant visa those applying to come as visitors may get
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rejected if they can't prove they plan to return inside the embassy the ambassador tells me the u.s. is working to speed up the process right now a big effort is being made to see which program is applicable and appropriate for which particular refugee and which particular family >> reporter: for a lucky few today's the day. so how'd it go >> thank you, embassy. you allowed our babies to come. >> reporter: josh letterman, nbc news, warsaw russia's war against ukraine has put the u.s. squarely in the middle of a potential showdown in outer space. the head of russia's space program is threatening to pause its partnership with american astronauts aboard the international space station until sanctions against russia are lifted. anne thompson has the story. >> reporter: a shining symbol of u.s.-russia cooperation. the international space station has orbited the earth for 23 years tonight how much
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longer is in doubt after the head of russia's space program linked the project's future to the west's sanctions over the invasion of ukraine. posting on social media i believe that the restoration of normal relations between iss partners and other joint project partners will be possible only in the case of full and unconditional lifting of these illegal sanctions. kelly was a three time commander of the space station. are you surprised by these comments >> i've been aware of his comments for years, and he often is full of hollow threats and bluster. >> reporter: rigoesen, a close ally of russian president vladimir putin with a reputation for outrageous comments. recently saying he'd left the space station fall to earth asking who would save it. elon musk immediately had a one-word answer,
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spacex his rocket has taken american astronauts to and from the space station. this new threat comes just days after nasa astronaut mark van duhay returned on a russian spacecraft now there are three americans, three russians and a german onboard. >> crew members can always leave, but the space station, this investment that we've made, you know, billions and billions of dollars >> reporter: investments made by the u.s., russia, canada, japan and the european space agency including the u.k. a high-flying symbol of progress that could be brought down by problems on earth. jose >> anne thompson, thank you. now to our series the price you pay. the sticker shock is going to get worse especially for household staples like eggs and poultry jessie kirsch explains why. >> reporter: tonight your food is getting more expensive again
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>> i have a big family, so, yeah, you feel it and it's frustrating. >> reporter: u.s. department of agriculture says grocery price increases outpaced overall inflation skyrocketing 8.6% in february year over year and notching a bigger month to month bump than dining out >> now for two people it's like you're feeding four or five >> reporter: and while wages are going up, inflation is moving faster a growing number of americans struggling to provide for their families >> i have her and i have a newborn at home and then the similac formula that's another story. it's crazy how they expect for us to feed our babies >> reporter: 1 in 5 american workers are running out of money between paychecks. >> food is getting hit harder than other products for one reason most of our foods are pe perishable >> reporter: usda expects prices to go even higher mostly driven by bird flu 11 states had outbreaks just this
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week as some farmers brace for more >> we're just at the beginning of the migratory season for birds, so it's likely we're going to see more cases as we move forward. >> reporter: the usda predicts data from march shows poultry prices jump with egg prices going up as much as 3.5% >> it's kind of scary to think about it getting worse. this is pretty bad already. >> reporter: super market check out already painful heading into the easter and passover holidays if you do see products on sale which has become less pervasive than ever before, you know, buy it, stock up, put things in the freezer because prices are not going to go down >> and jessie joins us live how is the war in ukraine factoring into the increase in food prices we're all seeing >> reporter: jose, the usda expects that conflict to pressure global wheat markets estimating we could soon see the price of
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wholesale wheat flour jump as much as 15%. jose >> jesse kirsch, thank you. still ahead tonight, breaking his silence. denzel washington speaks out about what he and will smith did in the moments after that slap at the oscars also the extremes crooks are going to extreme identities and hundreds of billions meant for americans.
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>> test test test. test test test.
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the fallout from will smith's violent outburst at the oscars
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is raising new questions ability the star's future. and now actor denzel washington is talking about what happened the night smith slapped chris rock steve patterson reports from hollywood. >> i make this look good >> reporter: for decades will smith conquered hollywood. >> welcome to earth. >> reporter: but now damage control as for the slap that shocked the world. >> wow >> reporter: last night will smith announcing his resignation from the academy of motion picture arts and sciences in a statement smith calling his actions shocking, painful and inexcusable. with the resignation he'll no longer be able to vote on academy awards or attend academy screenings, but for now he could still be nominated for and win another oscar. smith says he will accept any further consequences from the academy who last night issued its own statement saying it would, quote, continue to move forward with disciplinary proceedings against mr. smith. do you have any idea what sort of actions the academy may take now that smith has
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resigned >> it is possible the academy could ban him from being nomfritted for future awards. >> reporter: and with more than a dozen projects as both actor and producer in the works and now with apple and a drama with netflix is rumored to be on ice after the infamous moment. hollywood insiders wonder who would still want to work with smith. >> everything is at risk when you do something so extreme in the public eye especially in today's media climate. at the same time you can't just flip a switch and destroy 30 years of reputation overnight. denzel washington now speaking out saying he prayed with smith at the oscars following the incident according to variety saying where don't want to say what we talked about, but there for the grace of god go any of us who are we to condemn? soul-searching for one of hollywood's brightest stars. >> i think people are sympathetic to just how fragile this industry is, how quickly one screw up can spiral out of
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control. >> and steve patterson joins us from los angeles. steve, what's a time frame for when the academy could take the next steps >> reporter: jose, the academy's board of governors scheduled to meet april 18th. it should by then have what additional actions if any it will take against smith jose >> steve patterson in los angeles, thank you. up next the new lengths crooks going to steal billions from the u.s. government.
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sarah palin is running for office again. the former vice presidential candidate and alaska governor announced yesterday she's entering the race for alaska's congressional seat that opened up last month after the death of don young this will be her first run for office since 2008 tonight in our series fleecing america, we're giving you an inside look of hi-tech fight against one of the biggest fraud ever committed in this country. organized crime rings are using identity theft to steal hundreds of billions -- yeah, billions of dollars meant for americans out of work. senior consumer investigative correspondent vikki wynne explains >> reporter: haley andrews was working full time as an account manager when she learned someone tried to claim unemployment benefits in her name. >> i absolutely was not trying to scam i love my job. >> reporter: but then she was laid off eight
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months ago and needed those benefits herself. >> it has been miserable. >> reporter: she hasn't been able to get them what kind of impact has this had on your life >> my life has been ruined i have accumulated so much debt. i've had to max out credit cards >> reporter: it's unknown just how much money meant to help out of work americans went to scammers instead. estimates start around $100 billion with some stretching to $400 billian. >> everyone who's been around this program acknowledges it's like th thebiggest fraud in american history >> reporter: where did some of that money end up overseas? >> china, russia, eastern europe and romania, nigeria >> reporter: but there are alleged organized crime rings cashing in the u.s., too. in february federal prosecutors in brooklyn charged 11 gang members in a multi-million dollar shoours fraud. the criminal complaint
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cited these social media posts of the alleged thieves posing with giant stacks of cash one sitting on top of a labmborghini as evidence >> domestically crime rings realize white collar benefits fraud is more lucrative. >> reporter: those 11 have not yet entered pleas. other scammers use bots to file bogus claims they also setup fake job websites stealing the personal information of americans desperate for work you have people working 24/7 >> we do >> reporter: we visit the virginia office. do you mind showing me the front and back of your driver's license? where they demonstrated how they verify identities for millions of americans. >> okay, great >> reporter: most of it can be done with documents online but about 10% of the time a person needs video verification but some brazen scammers still show up like this guy pretending to be someone else and refusing to show his
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face garith bearens who heads the company's fraud team says some try to hide behind masks. some of these are pretty sophisticated department of labor data found after states started using midway through the mandemic the number of covid related unemployment claims plummeted by 90% in california, 91% in new york suggesting huge numbers of fake applications for haley andrews now working five days a week delivering food with her kids in the back seat because she can't afford child care, the nightmare bay be ending as she re-claims her identity she said she's owed $16,000 in unemployment checks. >> that $16,000 would put me back where i was when i got laid off. it would be life changing for me right now. >> reporter: vicki wynne, nbc news,
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mcclain, virginia. when we come back, the emotional moment teens are finding out they've just been accepted to college.
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there's good news tonight about reaching for the american dream and the high school seniors who have been through so much during the pandemic now getting those college acceptance notices and celebrating their next
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chapters these are the moments of joy -- >> i got in! i got in >> -- excitement and shock caught on camera as high school students across the country log onto find out they've just been accepted to college. honey robinson was with her parents when they got the good news >> i got in! >> honey who was heading to the university of southern california culture and representation on campus mean everything >> there was a lot of defending my background i really use that to fuel me and want to be an example for other children that looks like me. >> kale lulee immigrated to the u.s. from south korea in fifth grade, learned english and will be the first in her family to attend college in america
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she shared this milestone with her mom. what was it like to have your mom by your side during that moment >> it's like the best thing ever because she has been with me through all of it, the one pushing me like don't give up. she's always by my side and having her was just like the best moment ever. now bound for ucla, cay luhas her sights set on teaching music and living the american dream for so many students the journey through high school made even more difficult by the pandemic and challenges on the home front. alabama teen omarian callaway grew up helping mom tiffany care for family. and thou he's the first in the household to attend college. he chose nyu to study film
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>> that was just a very emotional moment. >> grateful for opportunities and the loved ones who help along the way. >> i'm happy, and i know that he's going to make a difference in this world. he really is >> there's been a celebration just like that in my own home. congrats to all the students that's nbc "nightly news" for this saturday i'm jose diaz-balart thank you for the privilege of your time and good night right now at 6:00, where is alexis gabe? it's been more than two months and the search continues. how the community is rallying around her family this weekend. also, you will need one less
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thing to get into concerts and sporting events. the bay area venues loosening those covid rules. plus, thousands of passengers dealing with delays and cancellations. what airlines are saying to frustrated flyers tonight. the news at 6:00 starts right now. thanks for joining us. i am audrey asistio. >> i am terry mcsweeney. it's been two months now since a woman disappeared under strange circumstances. but today, some searched for her while others worked to raise money to keep the search for answers alive. nbc bay area thom jensen reports. >> reporter: in brentwood, a search command post was set up as dozens of volunteers joined family members and others in the search for alexis gabe. >> i am still pretty confident that we'll be able to get some justice for her. um, i guess it's just a matter of being patient. >> reporter: the 24-year-old oakley woman was last seen at her ex-boyfriend's home in antioch january 26th. the next day, her car was

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