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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  December 7, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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prevagen. healthier brain. better life. tonight, breaking news on two fronts. president biden, vladimir putin, the high stakes call over ukraine. our team on the border tonight. the other major news breaking now, what the doctor for the world health organization just said about this new variant, omicron, the severity. and what dr. fauci just said today about the new variant here in the u.s. it all comes amid the rise in new cases. the u.s. now averaging more than 1,100 deaths per day. a 57% increase since just last week. but this was important, what dr. fauci said just today about the new variant in the u.s., how transmissible, how severe, what they're seeing so far. and tonight, now a doctor for the world health organization saying something very similar. and we have the latest. also tonight, president biden speaking from the white house situation room.
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putin at his home in sochi. president biden's warning to putin, do not invade ukraine. what he said would happen if putin does. our cecilia vega then asking, would this involve u.s. troops? and our ian pannell with the flash point on the ukraine border already. and what ian witnessed on the ground there today. amazon tonight reporting a major server outage. what this means for amazon delivery trucks. some halted weeks before christmas. and streaming services, amazon, netflix, disney plus. and how some of your devices at home have been effected, too. the state of emergency in hawaii tonight. the major storm battering the islands. mudslides slamming into homes. power knocked out to thousands. the dramatic call for help tonight. the plane in trouble in florida. smoke in the cockpit. the engine failing. and you will hear the pilot. actor jussie smollett takes the stand in his own defense. what he now claims about his alleged attackers, those brothers who he claims shouted
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racist and homophobic slurs. was there a prior relationship? were there sexual encounters? one of the brothers, when pressed, said, "i don't recall." the defense has now rested. and america strong tonight. 80 years since the attack on pearl harbor, the survivors, the american heroes going back. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy tuesday night. that high stakes video call between president biden, vladimir putin over russian troops amassing on the ukraine border. president biden's warning tonight. but we are going to begin with the other major headline unfolding just as we come on tonight. one of the chief doctors with the world health organization saying just a short time ago that preliminary data does not indicate that this new variant, omicron, is more severe than delta. of course, while early, this is very encouraging.
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and dr. anthony fauci just today saying the same thing about cases that they're seeing so far in the u.s., that this appears to be highly transmissible, but again, it's early, and it's anecdotal, but so far, preliminary data doesn't show this is as severe as the delta variant, even here in the u.s. now, all of this comes amid the new numbers tonight. we're still fighting the delta variant and look at the map at this hour. 13 states, the ones right there in red, with cases rising more than 50% in just a week. 29 states in orange and red up between 10% and 50%. and the alarming number. deaths rising 57%, about 1,100 people now dying every day in this country. and so, as we battle this newest surge, still from delta, this developing news as we come on, welcome news on the new variant, the omicron variant. abc's steve osunsami leading us off tonight from the cdc in atlanta. >> reporter: the new numbers
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tonight are getting health officials more worried about 1,100 people, the size of a large high school, are now dying every day. that's 57% more death than just last week. and more american children are getting sick, too. close to 200 children a day are now needing to be hospitalized, up nearly 37% from a week ago. >> because we have still substantial numbers of people unvaccinated, they will continue to be important vectors for the spread of the delta variant, which is still wreaking havoc in so many parts of the u.s. >> reporter: it's been a tough few days for the desell family, north of boston. two of them are still sick. the mother and their oldest daughter were vaccinated and only had mild symptoms, but the father and their youngest daughter, who is 12, were not vaccinated, are still hospitalized tonight, and need machines to breathe. >> i would say, just like, please get vaccinated, even if you think that you don't need it, like, this could happen to anyone. >> reporter: public health officials blame the delta variant of the coronavirus for almost all the new cases in america and say that most of the people sick are unvaccinated. but dr. anthony fauci has
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encouraging news tonight on the new variant, omicron, saying that so far, it appears that it leads to less severe disease. >> it's too early to be able to determine the precise severity of disease, but inklings that we are getting and we must remember, these are still in the form of anecdotal, but hopefully in the next few weeks, we'll get a much clearer picture. but it appears that with the cases that are seen, we are not seeing a very severe profile of disease. >> reporter: dr. fauci still underlines, however, that this new strain spreads faster, and they've now identified people sick with the strain in 20 states. >> the almost vertical inflection of this clearly argues towards a high degree of transmissibility. >> reporter: late today, the world health organization came out and agreed with dr. fauci. >> at the moment, at least the preliminary data doesn't indicate that this is more severe, in fact, if anything,
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the direction is towards less severity, but again, that's early days and we have to be very careful. >> reporter: the ceo of pfizer says his company could have a vaccine for the new variant by the spring. >> i think that if there is a need for the vaccine, we will have a vaccine in march. i don't know if there will be a need for a vaccine. we will know that in a few weeks. >> so, as we await word on that, let's get back to the breaking headline tonight. steve with us live from the cdc. we heard dr. fauci say omicron appears to be highly transmissible, but likely less severe than delta. the world health organization saying the same thing, just as we come on tonight, steve, and of course, the outstanding question here is whether or not the vaccines, how effective they'll be against this new variant and dr. fauci indicated we could know in the coming days and weeks? >> reporter: that's right. they're looking at how this new variant stacks up to the current vaccines that we have and they're telling us that we'll
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have some early answers by the middle to end of next week. david? >> and perhaps if they're saying less severe, that's a sign the vaccines are working already. we'll see. steve osunsami leading us off with the developing news tonight. and now, that high stakes virtual meeting between president biden and russian president vladimir putin, focusing, of course, on ukraine, as russian troops mass near its border. president biden setting out to warn putin that the u.s. and its allies will impose strong economic sanctions if russia continues to build up its military presence around ukraine. tonight here, the tale of two images. the white house photo showing president biden and his advisers in the situation room with president putin on a monitor there. president putin seated alone at a long wooden desk there at his vacation home in sochi, speaking to president biden on that monitor. these satellite images show the concern tonight. tens of thousands of russian troops amassing near ukraine's border, even as the video meeting was under way, troops were trading gunfire. our team witnessing it on the
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ground. ian pannell there, where ukrainian troops are posted less than 100 yards from russia-backed militias. tonight, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general mark milley also calling this troop buildup near ukraine, quote, serious. abc's cecilia vega asking the white house, could american troops be involved in any of this? >> reporter: the high stakes secure video call lasted more than two hours. president biden in the situation room, flanked by top advisers, including the secretary of state. >> good to see you again. >> reporter: the kremlin releasing this video of vladimir putin joining alone from his residence in sochi. when it was over, national security adviser jake sullivan calling the meeting useful, saying president biden delivered a clear message, do not invade ukraine or else. >> there was no finger wagging, but the president was crystal clear about where the united states stands on all of these issues. >> reporter: the white house threatening strong economic measures, saying the u.s. is also prepared to send more weapons to ukraine and military supplies to help allies in the region. is sending u.s. troops to the
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region on the table here? >> our baltic allies, they will be seeking additional capabilities and potential additional deployments and the united states will be looking to respond positively to those things in the event that there is a further incursion into ukraine. >> so, let's bring in cecilia vega live at the white house tonight. cecilia, the president's national security adviser there jake sullivan saying that the white house doesn't believe that putin has yet decided whether or not to invade ukraine. that was interesting. >> reporter: right, david. they still don't know that he's made this decision. so, this is where things stand right now. both the white house and the kremlin say that both sides, on both sides, aides will continue this dialogue. president biden after this phone call with putin spoke with european allies today to reassure them. he will speak with ukraine's president on thursday. i asked the white house today if this phone call relieved some of the tension in the region. they say that depends on what happens next, so, david, the bottom line tonight, there is still a lot of work to be done. >> all right, cecilia vega, our thanks to you. and as cecilia tracks this from the white house, even during this high stakes video call today between the president and vladimir putin, we noted that ukrainian troops and
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russian-backed separatists were already exchanging gunfire. abc's senior foreign correspondent ian pannell witnessing this on the front line there, the border, already a flash point. >> reporter: tonight, our team went into the battle at the heart of this crisis. you hear that sound? that's the sound of small arms fire. and we're hearing it every few minutes now. the soldiers are trying to keep us moving forward, but here on the front lines, it's really active. every few minutes -- another gunshot there. the lines have barely moved in eight years, but suddenly, as many as 100,000 russian troops are believed to be assembled across the border. and here, russian-backed rebels and ukrainians exchange fire daily. we've just been told we have to move back through the trenches. they heard the sound of gunfire coming from the rebel positions and said they're going to open fire more and the area's become too dangerous to stay here. the kremlin denies it wants to invade. and no one knows what vladimir
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putin is planning. but this is one of the places he would come through if russia attacked. walking through bombed-out defenses, ukrainian forces showed us their positions. less than 100 yards from russian-backed militias. a military source here telling us ukrainian forces have been getting more help from america and other nato nations recently. and that's a red line for vladimir putin, who doesn't want ukraine moving any closer to the west. but as both the u.s and russia try to navigate these tensions, one thing is clear here at the front lines -- the ukrainians are standing firm. ready to fight? >> ready to fight, yeah. >> reporter: ready to die? >> yeah. >> what you witnessed, ian, really driving home the tension that's growing there on the ukraine border. i'm curious, and i gather that these soldiers have plenty to deal with already. are they aware of this high stakes conversation between president biden and vladimir putin, are they hopeful that they're going to be able to ease tensions on the border or are they simply too busy with the issue at hand that they're facing?
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>> reporter: yeah, david, i think it's a mix, really, of all those three things. i think uppermost in their minds is yes, of course, many of them were aware of this crucial phone call today. but i think their expectations would have been lowered by the events over the last eight years. but they're more acutely aware of the tens of thousands of russian troops that are gathered on the other side of the russian border inside russia itself. and they've had to live eight years of this conflict. and i think when you look at the readouts from the kremlin and from the white house, there's not much there to give them hope that this conflict will end any time soon. david? >> we're grateful to you, ian, and the crew there, giving us the picture on the ukraine border tonight. thank you. back here at home this evening and to the other news tonight. amazon's web servers suffering a crippling outage today, delivery trucks halted for the time and taking parts of the internet with it. the problem not only effecting amazon, but reportedly many other major services including netflix, disney plus and some of the smart devices right in your own home. here's our chief national correspondent matt gutman now.
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>> reporter: tonight, that massive amazon server outage temporarily crippling some of the world's most popular online services. potentially impacting millions of people at home, hit with slowdowns trying to use smart devices like alexa, buy airline tickets, and stream movies and tv shows. even amazon package deliveries temporarily halted. >> due to the centralization with the administration of some of these services, when there is an outage that takes place, it can have wide-ranging impact. >> reporter: those outages apparently effecting streaming services like netflix, roku, and disney plus, owned by the parent company of abc. but also airlines like southwest and delta. even mcdonald's and the video game company behind fortnite. amazon saying many of its services have already recovered. now the company and analysts with whom we've spoken indicate that this is likely not the result of a cyber attack, but more likely the kind of error that can happen periodically in
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a computing system this big and this complex. david? >> shows just how interconnected everything is these days. matt gutman. matt, thank you. we are also monitoring the state of emergency unfolding in hawaii tonight. major flash flooding after nearly four times the monthly rainfall in just the past two days. tonight, the mudslides crashing into homes. road closures and power outages effecting thousands. here's will carr. >> reporter: hawaii under a state of emergency. a powerful storm system drenching the island chain, triggering days of damaging winds and relentless rounds of heavy rain. >> we continue to get rainfall rates coming in at one to two inches per hour. >> reporter: honolulu hit with just under eight inches of rain in 24 hours, marking the city's wettest day in more than 60 years. all of this rain has triggered mudslides, slamming trees and debris right into homes. laryn bardenas's family home inundated. >> they're just trying to gather whatever belongings that cannot be replaced. >> reporter: falling trees narrowly missing drivers.
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on maui, dan coleman's van washed away. >> we heard the roar and the water was coming down the road. >> reporter: david, in a normal december, honolulu only gets two inches of rain a month. over the past 48 hours, we've seen four times that much, leading to this damage. there's still rain in the forecast and a threat of more landslides like this in the coming days. david? >> will carr tonight from hawaii. will, thank you. we turn now to chicago, actor jussie smollett taking the stand in his own defense. what he now claims about his alleged attackers, those brothers who he claimed shouted racist and homophobic slurs, calling them liars, smollett said. and was there a prior relationship, were there sexual encounters? one of the brothers when pressed said, "i don't recall." the defense for smollett has now rested, and abc's alex perez from chicago tonight. >> reporter: tonight, defense attorneys for actor jussie smollett have rested their case. it will soon go to the jury. nearly three years after
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prosecutors say smollett staged an attack where two men allegedly yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him and put a noose around his neck. smollett, charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. prosecutors say smollett's story started to crumble when investigators began scrutinizing the details and smollett declined to fully cooperate. smollett taking the stand in his own trial, testifying the ordeal was not a hoax, calling the osundairo brothers, who say they were hired to carry out the attack, liars, and contradicting their testimony. then, smollett himself testified that he and one of the brothers had sexual encounters. abimbola osundairo on the stand saying, "i don't recall." smollett on the witness stand for a day and a half testified the osundairo brothers tried to extort $2 million from him to, quote, go away, but during cross examination, then said the brothers never directly contacted him for the money. and david, if convicted,
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smollett could face up to three years behind bars, but that's unlikely. because he does not have a previous criminal record, he would likely just face probation or community service. closing arguments are set to begin tomorrow. david? >> all right, alex perez following the case for us in chicago. alex, thank you. and when we come back here tonight, the dramatic call for help. the plane in trouble in florida. smoke in the cockpit. the engine failing. and you will hear from the pilot.
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tonight, that pilot's call for help before crashing in tallahassee. the small plane going down this morning. the pilot telling air traffic control there was smoke in the cockpit, his engine was failing. he was losing power. and still trying to land. >> get to the airport, there's a field kind of right in front of me. i just lost complete engine power. >> do you want to try to land in that field? >> the pilot unbelievably calm. the plane then crashing four miles from the airport. the pilot did survive and is being treated for minor injuries tonight. when we come back here, the news this evening on gas prices as we head into christmas. and we go back to pearl harbor with the heroes. people everywhere living with type 2 diabetes are waking up to what's possible... ...with rybelsus®. (♪ ♪) rybelsus® works differently than any other diabetes pill to lower blood sugar... in all 3 of these ways... increases insulin when you need it... decreases sugar... and slows food.
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finally tonight, 80 years later, the heroes going back to pearl harbor, reminding us all what it means to be america strong. it was 80 years ago today. >> the japanese have attacked the pearl harbor, hawaii, from the air. >> the japanese attack on pearl harbor. more than 2,400 americans killed. 1,100 injured. president franklin roosevelt. >> we will gain the inevitable
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triumph, so help us god. >> tonight, the extraordinary journey. 60 world war ii veterans traveling back to pearl harbor together, with the nonprofit best defense foundation. the police escort to dallas-fort worth international airport. inside the terminal, the signs, "we love our veterans." boarding an american airlines flight, flying them free of charge. documenting their journey. and on the "uss missouri," they tell us why they are determined to make this trip. >> hi, david. >> david russell, navy seaman first class, now 101. he was there that day. >> sad about the loved ones i left behind. that effects you more. >> hi, david. >> navy aviation machinist mate first class jack holder, 99. pointing out his former barracks. >> my barracks, the farthest
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building away, with the big wide windows. >> tonight, jack honors the americans back home who helped in the fight. >> without them, we would have had a tough time during this battle. >> and today, the solemn ceremony. the veterans saluting. >> hi, david. >> allen chatwin, navy petty officer third class, on the importance of all of us remembering. >> the importance of remembering. this is the heart of the country. and -- pardon me. i was just 15 when it happened. i sat by the radio all day. and it's a real honor to be here. >> we are grateful for that message and all of the messages. we salute them all and their families. good night
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>> building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions, this is abc 7 news. >> motion passes with the vote of six ayes and one no. >> minutes ago the oakland city council voted in favor to increase police staffing amid the spike in violent crime. >> you are watching abc7 news at 6:00. thanks for tuning in. the council voted on two items voted to support two more police academies in a 6-1 vote. that same vote tally led to the passage of a plan to expand recruiting for officers. leslie brinkley has a look at these possible crime-fighting solutions and not debate over them. >> violent crime. that is what was top of mind for oakland residents who urgently testified at this virtual city
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council meeting. >> i'm disheartened that we have lost so many people in the last year. there is a murder on my block a month ago. the police respond after the fact. >> i would like to drive down the street during the day without worrying about being shot o attacked for my vehicle. >> on the table is a proposal to ad twoo polic academies, meaning there would be seven police academies in 2021 through 2023. to address the fact that only 676 of 737 officer positions are currently filled. that void is occurring at a time in homicides and gun violence are spiraling out of control. >> this is not about increasing the number of officers. it is really about filling those position and improving the graduation and retention systems. >> instead of adequately addressing at our police chief and our mayor are using it as an opportunity really

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