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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 30, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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i'm promising a better forecast as we head into the new year. >> we'll take it. thanks for joining us. "nightly news" is next. a second deadly bombing in two days. tonight, fears of more terrorism in russia just weeks before american athletes head to the sochi olympics. up in the air. the government's new plan to test drones at sites around the country. how they may soon be coming to the skies near you. the cold facts. a new blast of arctic air, the most frikd of the season, about to hit a wide part of the country just in time for the new year. fighting lung cancer. the new guidelines for people at high risk. dr. nancy snyderman on who should be tested and when. and "making a difference." how you have helped so many young people get their wishes. "nightly news" begins now.
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good evening. i'm lester holt in tonight for brian. two bombings in two days have killed more than 30 people in the russian city of volgograd striking fears of a terror campaign in the lead-up to the sochi olympics. today' suicide bombing aboard a bus follows on the heels of the attack inside the rail station at the city once known at stalingrad. it comes just five weeks before american athletes begin arriving for the games. we begin our coverage tonight with correspondent jim maceda in moscow. jim, good evening. >> reporter: lester, as islamic militants seem set to carry out their bombings up to and during the sochi olympics, russian
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president vladimir putin who spent a fortune and staked his reputation on the games has yet to find a way to stop them. all that was left of the bus that had been packed with people during morning rush hour. the explosion leaving twisted metal and mass carnage. the second suicide bombing to strike volgograd in as many days. sunday's train station blast was caught on security camera video. in all, more than 30 killed, a hundred wounded and a city of a million terrified. we're afraid that could be one of us or one of our family or friends, says this man. it's frightening especially around the new year's holiday. vladimir putin has ordered a crackdown, beefing up security at train stations and airports across the country. investigators now believe both bombings and a third attack in october by a female suicide bomber, also on a soelg --
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volgograd bus killing seven were inspired by this man. doku umarov, known as the russian bin laden, the current leader of a long, bloody uprising including two wars in chechnya. accused of carrying out a school siege where hundreds died including many children. he's anyway ordered fighters to disrupt the winter olympics in sochi by killing civilians. volgograd is the prime target just 400 miles from the olympic venue in sochi and near the north caucus us, a haven for them. putin turned sochi into a fortress, a 1500-square-mile security zone with some 40,000 security forces patrolling what is called a ring of steel. >> basically you won't be able to move in sochi without somebody knowing you are moving and knowing where you are going. >> reporter: that leaves targets like volgograd vulnerable. to islamist insurgents who hate putin. >> it is my fear this is the beginning of a concerted series
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of terrorist attacks that are going to take place essentially to bring russia to a much higher state of terror. >> reporter: today the head of the international olympic committee said he is, quote, fully confident russia will deliver a safe and secure olympic games. many others aren't so sure. and also today, the u.s. government concerned that islamist militants may strike during the games extended an olive branch to russia offering closer cooperation between the two rivals on matters of security. lester? >> jim maceda tonight, thanks. for more on the threat we are joined by the former director of the national counter terrorism center michael lighter, and a counter terrorism analyst for nbc news. michael, the u.s. has a keen security interest here. there are thousands of americans traveling to the games in sochi. but what help can u.s. intelligence officials offer? >> lester, the u.s. is not a cure-all for the threats. there are some things that the
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u.s. could do. first, the u.s. could be very helpful in identifying militants who may have traveled to pakistan or syria and are returning to engage in terrorism in russia. second, as we saw in boston, every thread of information might lead to uncovering threats. so any bolder and broader sharing with the u.s. would really be critical to giving us an opportunity to help with russians. >> i think a lot of minds went back to the boston bombings. the alleged attackers there had connections to northern caucuses in northern russia. should u.s. officials have even deeper terrorism concerns based on what we're seeing overseas? >> people around the u.s. will undoubtedly sees cities like new york and los angeles take heightened precautions because of these threats. but i really don't think in this case we see a homeland nexus.
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the groups that attacked here are very focused on russia, on putin, and on the olympics. although we saw in boston there can be some links, that is really the exception rather than the rule with terrorist organizations. >> michael, good to have you on tonight. thank you. a developing story tonight in north dakota where two freight trains derailed and caused a big fire this afternoon. it happened near the town of casselton, where a train carrying grain was the first to derail. it was then hit by another train carrying oil from the other direction causing several explosions and a large fire. officials say as many as a dozen cars jumped the tracks. smoke from the fire could be seen 15 miles away. residents were told to stay indoors as a precaution. there have been no reports of injuries. the faa anonsed a critical new step today in getting drones into the skies. naming six test sites in six states to guide the future course of the growing part of aviation. we get more tonight from our
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pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. >> reporter: internet retailer amazon gave us all a glimpse of the future, working on plans to use remote-controlled drones to deliver packages straight to your front door. but who is going to regulate that and ensure it is safe? the federal aviation administration is working on plans of its own. >> if we want to ensure the highest level of safety we have to have a very complete understanding of how the aircraft operate. >> reporter: so today the faa chose six different test sites, each with unique challenges for drone operations. from the bitter cold of fairbanks, alaska, to the heat of corpus christi, texas, back up to rome, new york, where drones will be test flown in the heavily congested air traffic in the northeast. all with an eye toward opening the skies to commerce. >> this is a kitty hawk moment in the history of aviation. the integration of unmanned aircraft is the next big step. >> reporter: here at the pentagon and up the road at the
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cia, they've relied on drones for more than a decade to wage war against enemy forces overseas. drones flown remotely by trained, experienced pilots. but for now, any civilian with no training is free to fly drones as long as it's below 400 feet and away from populated areas or airports. and what about those drones equipped with video cameras? >> that's going to raise all kinds of privacy concerns for people whose homes and yards will be invaded by drones delivering packages to their neighbors. >> reporter: it could take years before the necessary safe guards and regulations are in place. but it's clear that drone technology has taken wing and the sky's the limit. jim miklaszewski, nbc news, the pentagon. much of the northern part of the country is getting ready tonight for another big arctic blast. it comes after utility crews worked all weekend trying to get the power back to tens of
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thousands in michigan and maine after a big ice storm a week ago. only a few thousand remain without power tonight. for the latest on this next blast of cold and what's in store for new year's eve, we turn to weather channel meteorologist kelly cass. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: hi, lester. it's going to be too cold for any extended period of time outside, especially in the northwest. we are talking about dangerous cold air. temperatures not even above zero for a high. in parts of minnesota, wisconsin, back into the dakotas as well. in fact, take a look at our high temperatures barely above 0 in minneapolis. minus 13, that is your temperature in international falls. too cold for ski resorts in duluth, having to close due to safety from the cold air. wednesday isn't must have better. we're still talking brutally cold temperatures even here in ann arbor, michigan, for the nhl winter classic. over 100,000 fans will be cold out there. we're talking temperatures in the upper teens at 1:00 for that game. and also a lot of cold air hanging back towards
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minneapolis. 6 degrees. we're not expecting any records from this cold blast of air, but temperatures running 15 to 20 degrees below average. then the system heads to the east and could become a classic nor'easter. we're talking possibly over a foot of snow for some parts of the northeast. >> we'll be hearing more on that. kelly cass, thank you very much. speaking of ice and cold tonight, still no end in sight more than six days after that research ship became stuck in thick ice off antarctica. more than 70 people are aboard that ship. we get the latest tonight from nbc's martin fletcher. >> reporter: weather changes quickly at the end of the earth. looking good when a helicopter from a chinese ice breaker flew over the trapped ship, checking out the ice. but in the expedition's newest report posted on youtube -- >> a total whiteout. there's snow blowing every ya and it's dam cold outside. >> reporter: stuck since christmas eve, 74 passengers and crew. the ship is undamaged. at least inside it's snug and warm.
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they're making the best of it. enough food -- fresh and dehydrated -- for weeks. and a round of activities like lectures and films, books and games. earlier today the expedition leader professor chris turney spoke with nbc. >> we are incredibly lucky. it was a massive blowout of old sea ice and the southeasterly winds blew them in and trapped us. >> reporter: while the action is ten miles away, ice breakers struggle to cut through ice ten feet thick, more than double the capacity. so far three ice breakers from france, china, and australia have tried and failed. they'll keep trying and there's always plan "b," evacuation by helicopter. >> we are having a really nice time hanging out with penguins. >> reporter: before today's snow and wind, the scientists aboard seemed most concerned about their families back at home. >> i miss you so much. i hope so see you soon. >> reporter: but it's hard to stay chipper with rescue likely
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only in the new year. turney's first tweet today, a disappointing day but hopefully the ice breakers will get through to us tomorrow. disappointing for the ship's owners too. they could have to pay the rescue costs. and that's quickly adding up. martin fletcher, nbc news, london. there's more ahead tonight including important new guidelines on screening for lung cancer. doctors say tens of thousands of people could be saved each year. we'll have that. later, the latest on lindsey vonn as she tries to overcome her latest injury just weeks before the olympics.
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we are back with the new guidelines from the federal government out tonight on screening for the most dead lie kind of cancer. the new testing recommendations for lung cancer could save tens of thousands of lives each year. we get more tonight from our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman. >> reporter: leslie kingon had his first cigarette in a fox hole during world war ii. >> it was a particularly bad day. and it was in france. and things had not been going very well for us. and i think i was nervous and upset. and one of the guys said to
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light up, it will settle you down. so i did. >> reporter: decades later this former high school english teacher developed lung cancer picked up in 2007 on a ct scan. >> they showed me the picture and said you better see your doctor. >> reporter: fortunately, leslie's cancer was caught early and doctors were able to save his life. he's one of the lucky ones. overall, lung cancer statistics are grim. lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the united states. killing nearly 160,000 people a year. but today, a government panel released guidelines that could improve those numbers. healthy adults between the ages of 55 and 80 who are heavy smokers, meaning they have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years, should get an annual low dose ct scan to detect early signs of cancer. those who have quit within the last 15 years should also be screened. dr. claudia henchke is a
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longtime promoter of annual screening. this doctor estimates the new guidelines could save more than 30,000 lives a year. >> we are thrilled with this result. we think this will make a big difference. many people will be able to enjoy a very productive life once they get screened and they find their lung cancer early. >> reporter: leslie believes it saved his life. >> without the lung detection program, the early screening program, i would not be here right now. no question about it. >> reporter: a low dose ct scan has no more radiation than a mammogram and the cost has really dropped in the last couple of years. now to somewhere between $200 and $400. most insurance companies have been covering this procedure. as we move into 2014 increasingly, lester, we'll see screening cts for lung cancer increasingly covered by insurance companies. >> all right, nancy. while we have you here, i understand that flu season is cranking up in a big way now. >> reporter: it seems to have really cranked up in the last
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two weeks. on this map, not only has it cranked up, but several states which seem to have nothing in common except they are scattered all over from alaska to louisiana to the northeast. this is where we have seen spikes over the last ten days. a reminder that as we head into winter and spring, not too late to get your shot. the recommendation is for anyone over the age of 6 months to get your flu shot. and pregnancy women also because a there is good transfer of antibodies to the unborn baby. and this h1n1 that's in this flu shot is attacking healthy young people. so a reminder. >> message received. tomorrow, i promise. >> thank you. we are back in a moment with the latest news about a racing legend.
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michael schumacher, the most successful formula 1 race car driver in history remains in critical condition tonight after a skiing accident in the french alps. he was skiing with his son yesterday wearing a helmet when he fell and hit his head on a rock. he underwent surgery. he's in a medically induced coma. his condition described as critical. his outlook, uncertain. news tonight about lindsey vonn as she continue it is to recover after hurting her right knee again in france nine days ago. her head coach says no date has been set for her return to world cup competition.
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he says she may not compete at all before the olympics. she had surgery on the knee in february and partially re-tore one of the ligaments in november. for the nfl this is black monday, the day after the end of the regular season. and it's not hard to see why. five head coaches got the news they will not be coming back for another season. jim schwartz of the detroit lions, greg schiano of tampa bay, mike shanahan of the washington redskins, leslie frazier of the minnesota vikings, and rob chudzinski of the cleveland browns. the numbers tell it all. the coaches had a record of 23 wins and 56 losses this season. and here's a number we can all relate to. the census bureau projected today the u.s. population will be 317,297,938 on new year's day. up less than 1% from last year. and consider this, it's projected someone will be born every eight seconds in this
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country while someone will die every 12 seconds. and tomorrow night on new year's eve, a special role for supreme court justice sonia sotomayor as she becomes the first supreme court justice to lower the new year's ball in times square. she'll press the button to begin the 60-second descent of the sparkling ball to ring in 2014. when we come back, "making a difference" for thousands of kids who make a wish.
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finally tonight an update on a program that's been making a big difference in the lives of young people, not just around the holidays but all year long. it's called one simple wish. and since we first told you about this last year, you our viewers have donated hundreds of thousands to the program. but hundreds of wishes still remain unfulfilled. anne thompson has a follow-up in tonight's "making a difference" report. >> reporter: the 2013 ledger is filled with smiles at one simple wish. 35 foster children beaming because they got a doll or a bike from this magic kingdom in new jersey. here the wishes are matched with donors. and danielle delivers the goods.
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all of this did donated? >> yes. every single toy here has been donated by a company or individual. >> reporter: since we met danielle last year her charity's reach has expanded from 28 to 44 states. meeting needs as basic as pens and shampoo, the charity has helped some 30,000 foster kids. so what does all these big numbers translate into? >> lots and lots of kids' dreams coming true. our reach has been expanding. the core of the mission has not changed. it's about one child. >> reporter: like 14-year-old blessing williams. she wants to dance. >> because i get to show people who i am, like, as a person. that's how i describe myself. >> reporter: what do you hope people see about you through your dancing? >> that i'm very talented. >> reporter: her wish? dance lessons. in foster care since she was 3 and now in a group home, blessing says dancing helps her cope. >> if my day was hard and
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somebody told me some bad news, i can go and dance and it will all go away. >> i know what it felt like. i know how hard it is. >> reporter: teen actress cassidy mac fulfilled the wish. >> i want her to know she can do it just by be expressing herself. and if it's dancing, then she should do dancing. she should go after it with full speed. >> reporter: along with the lessons cassie sent a necklace from her foundation. presented by danielle. the message is simple. the impact could be great. yet demand outpaces generosity. at this time of year, the workers at one simple wish end each day with more than 600 wishes unfulfilled. 600 smiles waiting to be added to the ledgers. anne thompson, nbc news, trenton, new jersey. that's our broadcast for this monday night. 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.
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good monday evening. thanks for joining us. i'm janelle wang. >> i'm diane dwyer. in the last two hours, there have been critical new developments in the family's battle to keep their brain dead child on life support. a judge has externded an order keeping jahi mcmath on a ventilator for another week. children's hospital will comply but is also going to court to fight the ruling. nbc bay area's cheryl herd has
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the late ert. >> reporter: this is the restraining order restraining the hospital restraining order until next tuesday, january 7th. this allows jahi mcmath to remain on a ventilator. this has been an emotional day for everyone involved in this case. you have a young 13-year-old girl who's now here at children's hospital who has been declared brain dead. and now you have an extension on a restraining order until next week. >> it's not a corpse up there, it is a pretty 13-year-old girl up there that i gave life to. >> reporter: a mother's emotional reaction to a judge's ruling to grant an extension to keep jahi mcmath on the ventilator. >> i just feel like children's hospital is just not being sympathetic to our needs. my daughter since december the 8th. >> reporter: the family attorney has been working ale day to get an alameda county superior court judge to grant family an extension. the family says there's a facility in new york that will ta


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