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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  July 31, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on a team from utah and professionals from both teams supported the player during the match. the goal is to teach them sportsmanship and encourage inclusion, and it sure looks inclusion, and it sure looks like they achieved that.story on tonight, another round of rain soaking parts of kentucky, still reeling from this week's floods residents bracing for the chance of more flooding through the night. the death toll rising as aid finally gets to some of the areas hardest hit. our exclusive interview with the national guard general leading the efforts. in california, thousands evacuating from a massive wildfire that exploded in size this weekend homes and businesses destroyed. dramatic new pictures from above dozens of hikers rescued from its path. china threatening the u.s., warning house speaker nancy pelosi to not stop in taiwan she's on the way to
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asia, and she's not ruling out a visit all eyes on kansas, the first state to ask voters to weigh in on abortion rights since roe v. wade was overturned. and polls suggest the vote will be a close one. mystery in the sky. why did this co-pilot jump or fall to his death out of a plane as it made an emergency landing? >> number two jumped from the aircraft, did not have a parachute >> his family opening up to us and we lost two people today who shattered racial barriers -- bill russell, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and nichelle nichols, who brought equality to the final frontier. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with kate snow >> good evening. from water to fire, we have two very different natural disasters to update you on tonight in northern california, extreme temperatures and bone-dry conditions fueling the mckinney fire
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2,000 residents have been evacuated the fire expanding this weekend to cover 50,000 acres now and then to the east in kentucky. it was raining again today after historic flooding caused by a once in a 1,000-year rainstorm on wednesday. the death toll has reached at least 28, but the governor is warning the number will continue to grow. we have two reports tonight, beginning with jesse kirsch in lost creek, kentucky >> reporter: tonight, eastern kentucky hit again. up to three more inches of rain and isolated flood threats plague the region still reeling from devastating floods >> we'll make it through that, too. >> reporter: the governor of kentucky visiting the disaster zone as new storms get in the way of rescue operations in an area where some homes are tucked into hillsides. kentucky's governor says more than 600 people have been rescued by air alone since the flooding began. that means help from helicopters like this
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black hawk the national guard says this chopper can get a boat inflated and dropped into the water in just about two minutes. but again, help came too late or even more people tonight, the official death toll, 28 killed. the governor promising the state will pay for funerals, admitting the death toll is merely a formality >> we do know of additional bodies that have been recovered but we cannot confirm those deaths at this time >> reporter: survivors cleaning up from storms, now facing another one. >> it doesn't bother me because there's nothing else left for us to lose we've lost four houses, a couple of vehicles, all our farm equipment. i mean, technically there's nothing else left for us to lose. >> reporter: that devastation rallying help from around the country and state. 70 trailers bought during september's destructive tornadoes will now house those displaced from the floods the governor asked about the role of climate change in the two massive disasters in his state in less than a year. >> the reason you
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haven't heard me talk about something that i believe in is that we've got hundreds, if not thousands of people with nothing at the moment >> reporter: america's top national guard general visiting mission control. >> we learn from this as much as we can, so that in the future, we're as prepared as possible and then working with the local emergency managers to help identify those indicators because at the end of the day, we're there to save as many lives as possible and mitigate as much disaster as we can >> jesse joins me now from the flood zone. jesse, when are residents there going to get a break >> reporter: well, kate, the rain continues here until tomorrow then there's the concern about excessive heat in the area the governor worried about how people will two with power and water knocked out for some residents kate >> jesse, thank you. now to the blistering heat out west, fueling that massive fast-growing wildfire on the california/oregon border thousands have been evacuated, and with more heat on the way,
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it could get harder for firefighters gadi schwartz has the latest >> reporter: along forest roads in northern california, hillsides of roaring flames turn day into night. the mckinney fire now raging during a heat wave stretching across the pacific northwest. the blaze exploding in size over the weekend from one mile to 62 square miles in just over 24 hours. >> thunder cells rolled in and the fire kind of got pushed down into the canyon it got wind driven and that's where we're at now. >> reporter: homes and vehicles lost, thousands evacuated. vina swinson and her daughter, jada, live inside the fire zone at this point, you have fire burning north, south, and along your sides >> yeah, it could come from any angle at this point. it's just a matter of where the winds take it >> reporter: just north, over 60 hikers on the popular pacific crest trail extracted from the back country. >> they had about 20 feet of visibility on the trail at the time that they chose to call in and try to get some help. >> reporter: while across the west, more fires flaring up with erratic weather
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threatening to bring dry thunderstorms with dangerous lightning but little to no actual rain. but the devastating oak fire that burned over 100 homes, crews have finally gotten the upper hand heat alerts have been issued in washington state and oregon, where authorities are investigating seven deaths that may have been heat related. kate, this heat is once again expected to quickly spread east, bringing record breaking highs to the midwest, great plains and as far away as boston and new york by as soon as midweek kate >> gadi, thank you tonight, we are remembering bill russell, who passed away today he was one of the greatest basketball players ever but he didn't just break barriers on the court. george solis has more on his remarkable life >> there's a difference between being proud and having pride. >> reporter: it wasn't just because of his height that bill russell towered over everyone else. he was a force to be reckoned with both on -- >> the only really important thing is to
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try and win every game >> reporter: -- and off the court. >> i was here when martin luther king made this speech >> reporter: decades after retiring, he still dominates the record books with more championships than any other player in any sport. two ncaa championships. one gold medal and an astonishing 11 nba titles in 13 years with the boston celtics. >> in the lane, russell dunks. >> reporter: winning the last two as the team's coach the first black coach in any major u.s. sport. he used his stature as one of the first black superstar athletes to fight for change in 1961, boycotting a game after he and his black teammates were denied service at a restaurant he also participated in the march on washington in 1963 in the audience as dr. martin luther king jr. delivered his "i have a dream" speech >> for us that were deeply involved, the changes were very slow >> reporter: moments highlighted by barack obama in 2011 before
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awarding russell the presidential medal of freedom. >> i hope one day in the streets of boston, children will look up at a statue built not only to bill russell the player, but bill russell the man. >> reporter: two years later, that would become a reality nba commissioner adam silver today called russell the greatest champion in all of team sports. magic johnson saying he is heartbroken over the passing of the greatest winner the game of basketball has ever seen and friend and mentor of the last 30 years his family said he passed away peacefully his wife at his side bill russell was 88 years old. george solis, nbc news china is warning the united states there will be consequences if nancy pelosi visits taiwan this week. the house speaker is on her way to asia and has not ruled out a visit to the self-governing island, which china claims as its own. monica alba has more >> reporter: speaker nancy pelosi overseas this weekend, confirming a trip to four asian countries but making no mention of a potential visit
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to taiwan. chinese president xi jinping warned president biden in a call last week about the u.s. meddling in the contested territory. with chinese officials reportedly communicating, those who play with fire will perish by it. a source close to the speaker, who reviewed her itinerary, tells nbc news the stop is still considered tentative. >> i don't ever talk about my travel because as some of you know, it's a security issue. >> reporter: if pelosi visits, she would be the highest ranking american official to touch down in taiwan since then-speaker newt gingrich in 1997. the possibility already escalating tensions with china, which claims the self-ruled island as its own. beijing flexing its military might with drills in the south china sea over the weekend. the "uss ronald reagan" ready to respond. the speaker is leading a congressional delegation in asia to address other thorny issues, including trade, the covid
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pandemic, and climate change the u.s. has remained steadfast in its commitment to taiwan, and the biden administration has been clear that u.s. policy has not changed. >> the united states strongly opposes any unilateral efforts to change the status quo or to undermine peace and stability across the taiwan strait. >> monica joins me now from the white house where president biden is once again isolating, monica, because he tested positive for covid again. what's the latest? >> reporter: that's right. the president is on day two of isolation after that so-called rebound case, in which he did test positive yesterday. his doctor says he continues to feel well and will keep working from the white house residence until he tests negative officials have identified six close contacts, but so far, none of them have tested positive. kate white house for usthe since the supreme court overturned roe v. wade, the battle over abortion rights has been fought out in courts and legislatures
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but we are just days away from voters deciding the issue in one critical state, kansas dasha burns reports. >> reporter: it's the final push in the first state to put abortion on the ballot since the supreme court overturned roe v. wade. in kansas, activists on both sides working around the clock ahead of tuesday's vote that could determine the future of abortion rights here. it's impossible to avoid the abortion debate here in kansas. everywhere you look, there are signs of the ballot battle ahd. from the streets -- >> voting yes on both amendments >> reporter: to the airwaves >> vote no >> reporter: in 2019, the kansas supreme court ruled the state constitution protects the right to an abortion if kansans vote yes, on the value them both amendment, that protection would be removed. the power to take action on the issue would be in the hands of the heavily conservative state
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legislature. that could mean more restrictions or a possible ban if kaine -- kansans vote no, the constitutional right to an abortion would remain in place, making further restrictions much more difficult to pass. polling shows a tight race with 47% planning to vote yes, 43% planning to vote no. and 10% undecided. >> we have a limited right to access abortion care in our state right now. but this constitutional amendment will mandate government control over our private medical decisions and pave the way for a total ban on abortion. >> reporter: but anti-abortion activists here say it's about putting the power in the hands of the people does this amendment pave the pathway to a ban potentially? >> it paves the way for future conversations to be able to happen i want to see a future where kansans are involved in the discussion, where unelected judges don't decide for the rest of us the right kinds o limits on abortion in our state. >> reporter: experts say it's a pivotal vote, one the whole nation will be watching >> a yes vote probably
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doesn't tell us a lot, because kansas is a conservative and republican leaning state. but a no vote, or even a narrow loss by the "no" side, will tell us that abortion rights supporters have a lot of strength in the elections of 2022. >> reporter: for those on both sides, the stakes couldn't be higher dasha burns, nbc news, kansas city, kansas. when we come back, mystery in the sky why did a co-pilot fall to his death while another pilot landed this plane safely plus, the groundbreaking kiss that made history. we're remembering star trek"'s nichelle nichols.
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we're back with a mystery in the sky and the new questions surrounding the strange case of a co-pilot who died after somehow falling or jumping out of the plane. pricilla thompson reports. >> emergency, we've lost our right wheel >> reporter: for the first time, audio from inside the cockpit during an emergency landing near raleigh, north carolina >> how do you intend to land at raleigh durham >> get as low as we can, and i guess we're going to put it on the belly. >> reporter: the plane seen barreling past emergency vehicles before skidding off the runway and spinning to a stop the plane took off with two pilots. >> we have two persons on board >> reporter: but landed with only one inside >> we do have one subject who is not on the aircraft >> soul number two
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jumped from the aircraft, unknown location, did not have a parachute. >> reporter: police say charles hew crooks, the 23-year-old co-pilot, either jumped or fell from the plane mid-flight and without a parachute. now a deepening mystery over what happened to crooks there's no mention of the pilot exiting the aircraft on the recordings after an hours-long search friday, his body found in a backyard roughly 30 miles from where the plane landed >> we had officers responding in the area for the search and were flagged down by a resident they had heard something in their backyard >> reporter: crooks' family tonight reeling from their loss. >> we are totally devastated >> charlie was born to fly. from the time he was a little kid, it just lit him up it was always his passion. >> reporter: the other pilot, whose identity is still unknown, was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries the faa and national transportation safety
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board are still investigating. do you feel like you need answers in order to have closure? >> no. i mean, as a family, the only thing that matters unfortunately is that he's gone. he was the best. yeah >> reporter: priscilla thompson, nbc news up next, remembering a tv trailblazer. the actress who inspired so many both on and off the screen. plus, the new million-dollar royal scandal involving prince charles
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prince charles is at the center of a new controversy. the royal is facing questions tonight about a million-dollar
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donation his charity received nearly ten years ago from the half-brothers of 9/11 mastermind osama bin laden. representatives for prince charles say it was the foundation's trustee, not the royal, who accepted that money tonight, we're remembering a trailblazing actress best remembered for her pivotal role in the original "star trek" series and for a kiss that broke barriers molly hunter has a look back at the life and career of nichelle nichols. >> reporter: tonight, relatives say nichelle nichols, the ""star trek" icon has passed away from natural causes in a statement, he son kyle johnson said his mother died last night, but her life now being seen for the first time will remain for us in future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration. >> these are the voyages of the starship enterprise. >> reporter: nichols busted through hollywood barriers in the 1960s in the original "star trek" series >> mr. spock, we will be able to retrieve the captain at that
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time, won't we >> reporter: the first black woman cast in a role in prime-time television, starring the no-nonsense communications officer lieutenant, nyota uhura. premiering on nbc in 1966, the show's multicultural, multiracial cast made a powerful statement >> i am not afraid >> reporter: one of the many groundbreaking moments, the first interracial kiss on tv with co-star william shatner. in 1967, she almost didn't return for a second season. and then met martin luther king, jr., a "star trek" fan himself, at a civil rights gathering >> he said, don't you understand that for the first time, we are seen as we should be seen you don't have a black role you have an equal role >> reporter: calling that moment a lightning bolt in her life but off-screen, pushing other frontiers. she served as a nasa recruiter, inspiring
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generations of women and minorities, encouraging them to join the astronaut corps. nichols was 89 years old. molly hunter, nbc news >> she will be missed. when we come back, how one woman started a selfless movement to give others the wedding dresses of their dreams
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there's good news tonight about sharing and how one bride's big idea has sparked a movement to help other women on their special day. >> i pronounce you husband and wife >> when gwen stulgis got married to the love of her life in
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ohio this spring, she was wearing the dress of her dreams. you saw that dress, and you fell in love with it. >> like started getting tears in my eyes because i'm like, this is really it. this is the dress i want >> but the gown was expensive at nearly $3,000, and she hated that it would only be worn once. so gend gwendolyn got an idea. you wanted somebody else to enjoy that dress the way you knew you were going to enjoy it >> yes, 100% >> she posted on facebook, i've decided to give away my wedding dress. i want it to go to a woman who deserves the dress of her dreams that can't afford one. from over 70 replies, ga wend lynn show this woman, margaret hyde, because of her dedication to community. the only catch, dry-clean the gown and keep passing it on for free gwendolyn a gesture has since sparked a movement her facebook group, shared dream dresses, has over 9,000 members. sue ann henry is one of them.
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she dedicated the gold dress from her pittsburgh steelers themed wedding six years ago. >> that dress had been in a closet. >> it was in a closet, yes. >> sue ann gave it to gloria ponteus, and were a few difficult years now behind her, gloria will celebrate by wearing it down the aisle this fall. what did you say from the heart? >> your dress is gorgeous, and if you would please consider me >> she was so sweet. >> it was absolutely easy to say absolutely yes. >> this network of women paying it forward, all giving new meaning to the phrase "something borrowed." what does this chain of women say about who we are >> i only see all the ladies on here really encouraging. you're beautiful you know, you look gorgeous on your day >> is that making you cry, gwen? >> yeah, i get teary eyed i don't like when people talk about me too much i just look at it as helping other people we shouldn't even have to think about things
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like a dress to give away i mean, kindness goes a long way it doesn't have to be some expensive dress >> kindness goes a long way gwen is hoping to expand the movement to include bridesmaids and other special occasion gowns as well and before we go, i want to tell you about the latest in my digital series "the drink with kate snow" about how people make it to the top of their field. i had so much fun with one of the most popular peloton instructors around cody rigsby. we talked about how he went from backup dancing to be a superstar in the world of fitness it's all at find it on the "nbc nightly news" podcast. that is "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. i'm kate snow. for all of us here, stay safe. have a great night
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when i make decisions as a leader, it's not about me or the folks that are here. it's about the next seven generations coming behind us, making sure that they have the ability to move forward. prop 27 will help small rural tribes like mine get a seat at the table will be transformational for my tribal members. taxing online sports betting gives us an opportunity to really enhance the lives of our tribe and strengthen the future of our people. vote yes on prop 27.
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right now at 6:00, remembering an nba legend and the country taking a moment to remember bill russell. his achievements on and off the basketball court as a prolific player and a voice for rights. and could a popular event lead to a big outbreak. people from all over the united states came to san francisco for a festival right as the city braces for a monkey pox emergency. and the oregon border a wildfire


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