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tv   CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell  CBS  December 17, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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>> i'm sure they have. think of are watching tonight at 6:00. th news cont ♪ ♪ ♪ captioning sponsored by cbs >> o'donnell: tonight, covid threatens christmas cheer as more than 100 million americans head home for the holidays as cases skyrocket across the country. packed airports and long covid testing lines stretching blocks as health officials send a warning. >> for the unvaccinated, you're looking at a winter of severe illness and death. >> o'donnell: the important news for parents: a setback for vaccinating kids under age 5, and the plan to prevent schools from shutting down. plus, with more than 100 n.f.l. players testing positive this week, tonight, the league postpones multiple games. police manslaughter trial: the former minnesota officer apologizes, saying she meant to pull her taser instead of her gun.
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>> i'm sorry it happened. i'm so sorry. >> o'donnell: schools on alert: how unspecified threats of violence on tiktok force some to cancel classes. >> america's education system is under attack right now. >> o'donnell: paid family leave: tonight, meet the small-business owner giving paid family leave to all her employees. but she's the exception, not the rule. why that's pushing american mothers out of the workforce. tiger woods tees it high and lets it fly. plus the incredible putt from his 12-year-old son, charlie. and "on the road," with the story of a mother's grief that you won't soon forget. >> this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell reporting from the nation's capital. >> o'donnell: good evening to our viewers in the west, and thank you for joining us. well, what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year
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has become a season of worry for many americans, with the u.s. facing what might be the most severe wave yet of covid infections. in fact, that wave is expected to be so big, a former head of the c.d.c. calls it a tidal wave. in more than a quarter of the country, cases are surging, and we learned today that new york saw its most new covid infections ever in a single day. experts blame the dangerous delta variant for the spike, but today, the c.d.c. warned that the highly contagious omicron strain is expected to become the dominant strain now within weeks. long covid testing lines are stretching around the block as americans rush to get tested before holiday gatherings. meanwhile, the sports world is reeling tonight. the n.f.l. moved three games this weekend due to outbreaks. and the n.h.l.? well, they're postponing all games for two teams through at least next weekend. there is also breaking news out of new york tonight: the rockettes canceled the rest of their 2021 christmas season. cbs' elise preston is in busy
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midtown manhattan tonight with all that news. good evening, elise. >> reporter: good evening, norah. three surges are happening around the country tonight. there's a surge in the number of omicron cases, a surge in covid testing, and a surge in holiday travelers. this all has health officials concerned. along with packed airports comes fears of packed hospitals as the omicron variant spreads at an alarming rate. the number of people traveling is approaching pre-pandemic levels, with 109 million americans expected to leave home for the holidays, a 34% jump from last year. more than six million of them will be flying. long lines are also at covid testing sites in new york, miami, and rockford, maryland, where the drive-through testing line stretched for several blocks. >> this is not a moment to panic because we know how to protect people. >> reporter: the c.d.c. says omicron is expected to surpass delta as the dominant variant in just weeks.
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it's now in at least 41 states. in new york city, hospitalizations are up 64% in just two weeks. >> the rapid growth is-- is frightening. >> reporter: columbia university medical center's dr. david ho is advocating for boosters because being fully vaccinated with the pfizer, moderna, and johnson & johnson vaccines is proving to be less effective against omicron. >> well, they all take a huge hit in terms of the antibodies they induce against omicron. >> reporter: this comes as pfizer announces it's testing a third vaccine dose in children under 5 because two doses failed to give enough immunity to kids ages 2-4. and two new c.d.c. studies are showing the effectiveness of the so-called "test to stay" strategy in schools. the studies found that kids exposed to covid can safely continue in-person learning if they are regularly tested at school. meanwhile, there's concern over how some tests will hold up
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against omicron. dr. anthony fauci says some of the antigen tests may not detect the variant. and as christmas approaches, doctors have this dire warning: >> i think we need to be prepared for a surge in the coming few weeks. the wave that's coming will likely be the biggest one. >> reporter: and one reason for concern here in new york: the state just hit 21,000 daily cases, the highest it's been since the pandemic began. and half of them are in new york city. norah. >> o'donnell: incredible to think about those numbers. thank you. well, today in minnesota, former brooklyn center police officer kim potter took the stand in her own defense, emotionally recalling the moments that she meant to pull her taser but instead fired her gun at duante wright during a traffic stop. jennifer mayerle from our cbs station in minneapolis is covering the trial. ( crying ) >> i'm so sorry. >> reporter: kim potter sobbed
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as she described what happened at the traffic stop that ended with duante wright's death. >> i remember yelling, "taser, taser, taser!" and nothing happened. and then he told me i shot him. >> taser, taser, taser! >> reporter: potter's defense insists she made a deadly mistake. >> i just shot him! >> oh, no. >> yes! >> reporter: pulling her glock pistol when she thought she was grabbing a taser, and then firing a single bullet into wright's chest. the defense says wright was resisting arrest and about to drive off, and potter had to do something to protect the other two officers involved. under cross-examination, potter broke down when the prosecution asked why she didn't try to help either wright or the other officers after the shooting? >> you didn't run down the street and try to save duantee e wright's life, did you? wright's life, did you? >> no. >> you were focused on what you had done because you had just
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killed somebody. >> i'm sorry it happened. oh, my god! >> reporter: body camera video captured potter's reaction in the moments after the shooting. she was grilled about her extensive training on firearms and tasers over the 26 years she was an officer. >> you would have had taser training year after year for at least the last 19 years, right? >> yes. >> reporter: and the prosecutor tried to poke holes into the defense case that potter was justified with using deadly force. >> you didn't plan to use deadly force that day, did you? >> no. >> because you knew that deadly force was unreasonable and unwarranted in this circumstance. >> i didn't want to hurt anybody. >> reporter: potter testified that she never fired her weapon or used her taser during her nearly three decades on the force. the jury will hear closing arguments on monday. norah. >> o'donnell: jennifer mayerle, thank you. well, school districts across
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the country were on alert today some even canceling classes in response to vague threats of violence posted on social media. as cbs' jeff pegues reports, police tracked down some of the threats and were quick to make arrests. >> reporter: in south florida today, three students ages 13-15 arrested for allegedly making violent threats on social media. >> if you think you're going to post a threat, fake or real, i can promise you, you're not only going to get out of school-- because you will-- but you're going to jail. >> reporter: in connecticut, a 13-year-old was arrested after sharing a post warning of what he might do. there was an increased police presence at schools nationwide after a vague, unverified tiktok challenge went viral, encouraging students to call in threats. >> they're just all a bunch of threats, like, all over the place. >> reporter: law enforcement does not believe the threat are credible. still, at least 176 schools across 18 states closed out of an abundance of caution. >> america's education system is
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under attack right now. we are under attack by a social media platform that will not intervene when it was necessary. >> reporter: tiktok said it searched the platform but didn't find any threats, just this rumor of violence and warnings to be careful. >> there is a threat. stay safe, everyone. >> reporter: the school closures and arrests come almost three weeks after four students were killed at a michigan high school where warning signs from the shooter were overlooked. experts say any social media threat should be taken seriously. you have to act like it's credible. >> every threat, every threat is real until we disprove it. >> reporter: late today, at least seven students arrested in texas in connection with alleged threats to schools. in salt lake city, police say they arrested a student who brought a gun and bullets to a high school. norah. >> o'donnell: that's a lot of arrests. jeff pegues, thank you.
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well, the 12 remaining hostages kidnapped by a criminal gang in haiti are back on american soil tonight, flown to safety by the u.s. coast guard. they are the last of a group of 17 people, including five children, who were captured two months ago. here's cbs' manuel bojorquez. >> reporter: ordeal over: there were hugs and smiles at christian aid ministries headquarters in haiti thursday, then a convoy to the airport, where the 12 freed hostages boarded this coast guard plane bound for miami. there was also jubilation at the organization's ohio base. >> god is good. god has answered our prayers. we are rejoicing. a great load has lifted. >> reporter: half of those finally released were from one family in michigan. at least five children were among the group held captive for two months. >> we're very anxious to hear their stories. >> reporter: a gang known as 400 mawozo kidnapped the 17 in october outside an orphanage the group had visited and initially demanded a $17 million ransom. the incident underscores the
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dangers haitians face every day at the hands of those gangs as the country descends further into economic and political chaos. the freed hostages, including five prevld help authorities in haiti, says former f.b.i. negotiator james gagliano. >> you want to certainly take care of their physical needs, their medical concerns, and then you want to get as much information as possible. you want to find out as much as you can about who these perpetrators were and where they are right now. >> reporter: tonight, cbs news has learned those freed hostages were dropped off at a police station in haiti by locals there. christian aid ministries has not revealed so far exactly how that release was secured or whether a ransom was paid. norah. >> o'donnell: manny bojorquez, thank you. a florida man has received the toughest punishment so far in connection to the january 6 riot at the capitol. a federal judge sentenced 54-
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year-old robert palmer to more than five years in prison for assaulting police officers with a fire extinguisher. palmer apologized in a handwritten note and said trump supporters were lied to about the election. also today, longtime trump ally, roger stone, pled the fifth in response to every question asked by the january 6 select committee. all right, president biden is conceding that his $2 trillion "build back better" plan won't pass by a year-end deadline. and now a key provision of the bill for working parents appears to be headed for the chopping block. cbs' nancy cordes has a look at the real-life concerns behind the issue of paid family leave. >> reporter: molly moon's is an ice cream chain in seattle. it's named after its founder, who had an epiphany after giving birth in 2013. >> oh, my gosh. i needed to stay home for about 12 or 13 weeks. >> reporter: it was then and there that molly decided to provide paid family leave to all
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200 of her employees. >> the first person to take paid family leave to have a baby was my-- actually, my executive assistant. and i've retained her and so many other moon crew members for far longer than they thought they would stay at an ice cream company because of paid family leave. >> reporter: but her business is far from the norm. just 23% of u.s. workers get paid leave from their employers. just six states and d.c. guarantee it, and nevada, where kelsey daniels lives, isn't one of them. >> i don't have any paid parental leave at this point. >> reporter: daniels had a baby boy last month and is depleting her savings in order to stay home for 12 weeks, time she says she needs to heal. >> i do have a very physical job as a physical therapist. the quality of work i would provide to the families wouldn't be the same. >> reporter: more than 180 countries now guarantee workers between four and 12 weeks of
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paid leave. the u.s. is an outlier. >> the united states is falling further behind other high economies in terms of the number of women working, in terms of women's salaries and earnings. >> reporter: the president's "build back better" plan initially included 12 weeks of guaranteed paid leave. senate democrats pared it back to four weeks to try to win support from holdout joe manchin, but he wants it cut out completely. >> paid leave i think should not be in this piece of legislation. i've been very clear. >> reporter: now president biden is signaling he might be able to live without it. would you sign it if it doesn't contain paid family leave? >> i will sign it, period. >> reporter: democrats are still hoping they can convince manchin to come around, but paid leave is not his only sticking point with this bill. and with republicans universally opposed to it, the white house needs manchin's support, which is why he and the president are
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now in near-daily communication. norah. >> o'donnell: nancy cordes on that very important issue. thank you. well, still ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news," the new information about an alleged serial killer, called the shopping cart killer, in virginia. and tiger woods is back in the swing of things. virginia. and tiger woods is back in the swing of things. namaste... ...surprise parties. aww, you guys. dupixent helps prevent asthma attacks... ...for 3!... i can du more of the things i love. dupixent is not for sudden breathing problems. it's an add-on-treatment for specific types of moderate-to-severe asthma that can improve lung function for better breathing in as little as two weeks. and can reduce, or even eliminate, oral steroids. and here's something important. dupixent can cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. get help right away if you have rash,
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soothe your cough naturally. there are many reasons for waiting to visit your doctor right now. but if you're experiencing irregular heartbeat, heart racing, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue or light-headedness, don't wait to contact your doctor. because these symptoms could be signs of a serious condition like atrial fibrillation. which could make you about five times more likely to have a stroke. your symptoms could mean something serious, so this is no time to wait. talk to a doctor, by phone, online, or in-person. >> o'donnell: all right, a suspect dubbed the shopping cart killer is under arrest tonight in virginia. anthony robinson has been linked to four women whose bodies were
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discovered across the state. police believe robinson found his victims on dating web sites, met them at motels, and after killing them, moved their remains in a shopping cart. police believe there could be other victims. all right, now to golf. tiger woods is roaring back to competition this weekend for the first time since his near-fatal accident in february. he'll be teeing off at the p.n.c. championship in orlando, alongside his son, charlie. today, the 12-year-old showed once again, that he's a chip off the old block with this shot in pre-tournament play. oooooh! that was for eagle. charlie also dazzled with this putt. his proud dad says he's overwhelmed by the support of fans and just wants to have fun. >> no, it's been good, good to be out here and playing again and to be out here with my son like this, it's the best. >> o'donnell: woods, who is 45, has said his full-time career as a pro golfer is behind him, but he'll play in select tournaments like this one. all right, it's friday, so cbs'
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>> o'donnell: the holiday season is all about giving: giving back and giving kindness. cbs' steve hartman found the perfect example "on the road." >> presents. >> these are your presents, yeah. >> reporter: at first blush, this may look like another one of those viral videos, a soldier surprising her family after months apart. >> mommy! >> reporter: but our story isn't about this reunion. it's about the woman who made it possible. maddie mitchell is the unseen hand behind an untold number of joyful surprises here in nashville, tennessee. >> hey, babe! >> reporter: this stay-at-home mother of two with a third on the way got started make other people's days after her worst day.
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a fourth child, liam, a preemie, died at just six weeks. >> i felt like my son can't just come in this world just to suffer and then die. >> reporter: you found his purpose. >> and it's helped so many kids. >> reporter: how many good deeds has your group done? >> hundreds. >> reporter: hundreds? maddie started a nonprofit called "liam changed the world," and in the 10 years since, he has. >> we've paid medical bills for children. >> reporter: from planning a parade for a kid with cancer, to collecting supplies for flood victims, if kindness is needed, liam's mom is there. her most recent effort: to help army private first class harmony jackson surprise her family. >> i love you. >> reporter: harmony hadn't seen her kids in person... >> i said i love you! >> reporter: seven months. maddie found harmony on facebook and offered to orchestrate the reunion. she lured the dad, telling him he'd want a photo shoot for the family, then showered them with gifts, and finally, the ultimate
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present. ( applause ) of course, for maddie, the moment was tinged with irony. a hug like this is something she and liam will never know. but maddie insists that every good deed she does reunites her, too. >> i feel my son, because i always say that's him doing that from heaven, that he's still working his purpose from up there. >> reporter: nice work, liam. >> cheese! >> reporter: you're raising a hank youmuch. >> i just want to do good. >> reporter: steve hartman... mission accomplished. >> thank you. >> reporter: ..."on the road," in nashville, tennessee. >> o'donnell: how big is her heart? what a beautiful tribute to her son. we'll be right back. son. we'll be right back. what is... an overpass? come on!
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right now at 7:00 -- a family tragedy in contra costa county reveals a hidden danger out home when it is so cold outside. >> the symptoms are somewhat like the common cold or flu. clear skies, dry air, another chilly night. i am tracking that and another chance of rain in the forecast. these organized retail mobs are expressing themselves in a way that has a profound impact on our feelings of safety. >> tonight, the governor's $250 million plan to crack down on scenes like this all over the bay area. would you be shocked if this ended in a hung jury? >> the answer from one legal
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analyst tonight after the closing arguments in the elizabeth holmes fraud trial. right now at 7:00 and streaming on cbsn bay area , smoke the coldest temperatures we have seen in a while on the way tonight. >> waistcoat right to chief meteorologist paul heggen tracking the numbers for us. >> a few spots drop below freezing tonight. it won't be record-setting, but it is called. let us take a look at the forecast, low temperatures compared to normal low temperatures. we are about 5 to 10 degrees below average. 40 degrees in san francisco. 29 degrees in santa rosa. these numbers aren't records. the record in separate san francisco is 36. santa rosa, 24 degrees. we will see a bounce back from the chilly start, but below average high temperatures as well. low to mid 50s. we will send in for a closer look at the high temperatures in a few minutes. the cold weather may have
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