tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC January 15, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
in about 30 minutes with abc 7 news at 6:00. tonight, breaking news as we come on the air in the west. a hostage situation at a texas synagogue. a young man taking multiple hostages including a rabbi and three others inside congregation beth israel near the dallas/ft. worth area. he has released at least one male hostage uninjured. s.w.a.t. teams, the fbi, and hostage negotiators responding to the scene. authorities say the suspect is demanding the release of a terrorist now in federal prison. the white house closely monitoring the situation. another major story we're following tonight, the entire u.s. west coast facing a tsunami threat after a massive undersea volcano erupted near the pacific nation of tonga. satellite images show the resulting plume of ash, steam,
and gas rising 12 miles into the air. tonight, the advisories crossing the pacific. water levels rising in california. miles of coastline closed. a dangerous winter storm set to impact 100 million americans. the midwest already getting slammed. the massive system now taking aim at the south and up the east coast. multiple states expecting up to a foot of snow. dangerous driving conditions and widespread power outages, several governors declaring states of emergency. the record omicron surge pushing some hospitals to the brink. 5.5 million new infections just this week. in massachusetts, some hospitals pausing elective surgeries. and in southern california, ambulances forced wait in line to drop off patients. but also some encouraging news tonight -- cases dropping in several of the early hard-hit states. late breaking news on novak djokovic. his final hearing in front of a three-judge panel in australia.
will he be deported or stay in play in the australian open? grocery shortages worsening nationwide as covid and bad weather pile on to existing supply chain issues. and finally tonight, "america strong." the extraordinary acts of courage and the emotional reunion. good evening. it's great to have you with us on a busy saturday. i'm whit johnson. and we begin tonight with that breaking news as we come on the air in the west coast. there is a developing hostage situation at a synagogue near ft. worth, texas. just moments ago, one person was released unharmed. the incident happened during a sabbath service that was being live streamed. authorities say a rabbi and at least three others were taken hostage. the fbi and atf are on the scene now with local officials.
according to a law enforcement source, the armed suspect is demanding the release of a convicted terrorist. authorities say he was carrying backpacks and claimed to have explosives but authorities don't know yet if that's true. president biden has been briefed, and the white house says he is monitoring the situation. abc's mireya villareal leads us off tonight from texas. >> reporter: tonight, a dangerous hostage situation in north texas, drawing a massive response from fbi, s.w.a.t. teams, and several local police departments. the situation unfolding at the congregation beth israel synagogue in a suburb outside fort worth. >> the entire jewish world understands and knows about this incident. i have had many calls from israel, and we are here to support the community in any way we can. >> reporter: the suspect interrupting services on the sabba sabbath. >> the absolute key in hostage negotiation is gathering information. how much information can you gather, either through the hostage taker or through other means? how many people are in there?
is there anybody that's hurt? and what is his state of mind? >> reporter: sources familiar with the investigation telling abc news they believe four people, including a rabbi, are being held inside by a man demanding the release of a known pakistani terrorist being held behind bars in a federal prison, sentenced to 86 years for trying to kill u.s. soldiers and fbi agents in afghanistan. late tonight, police saying one hostage, a man, was released unharmed. the white house, atf, and department of homeland security now closely monitoring the situation. >> there is a limit how long this can probably go before law enforcement may have to make a decision about whether to go in or not. >> reporter: leaders at the local islamic association condemning today's actions, standing in support of the rabbi and other hostages inside. >> when somebody is acting as a criminal, the person has no faith, be it muslim, jewish, or
kristian. a criminal is a criminal. >> mireya villareal joins us from near the scene tonight. mireya, what more are we learning about this terrorist who the hostage taker is demanding be released? >> reporter: whit, we understand her name is aafia siddiqui. she is a former pakistani neuroscientist. she's at the crux of the demands being made. they're trying to find out what his connection is to this woman. meanwhile, synagogues across the country remain on high including several in the dallas area. whit? >> mireya with those fast-moving developments. we'll stay on top of it. thank you. we turn now to the rare tsunami advisory for the entire north american west coast from alaska to california, following this massive underwater volcanic eruption in the pacific. take a look. caught on satellite off the
islands of tonga. take a look at these images from pacifica, california, showing waves crashing into the shoreline. miles of beaches along the coast closed today as residents were told to stay away. and a top seismologist calling this a once in a decade event. here's abc's zohreen shah. >> reporter: tonight, a massive underwater volcanic eruption triggering tsunami advisories up and down the entire west coast of the united states. the national weather service's tsunami warning system urging residents to move to high ground and away from the shore. 14 million people under alert, the eruption creating stronger waves from alaska to california. these massive waves crashing close to a home near pacifica, california's, pier. orange county beaches closed, officials in helicopter warning people to get off the sand. this satellite image from space shows the sheer force of the eruption 40 miles from tonga. waves hitting the island nation and flooding in nearby fiji. seismologist dr. lucy jones telling us this is the largest
tsunami from a volcano she has seen in her decades-long career. >> having it be underwater and large enough to really displace enough water to be a tsunami is a much rarer event. >> reporter: whit, as doctor jones said, tsunami alerts along the west coast are very rare. about once every decade. the last one here was in 2011. that one caused a lot of damage up and down the coast, and two people in northern california died. whit? >> zohreen, thank you. we turn now to the major winter storm sweeping across the country. more than 100 million people on alert. residents from the south into the northeast bracing for dangerous weather conditions, heavy snow, freezing rain, along with strong wind gusts that could bring down power lines. georgia and surrounding states are getting ready. officials urging against travel tomorrow and into monday. that system has already brought more than a foot of snow in parts of iowa as several governors are now declaring states of emergency.
abc's elwyn lopez in charlotte tonight. >> reporter: tonight, a dangerous winter storm on the move, putting more than 100 million people on alert. the system already pummeling parts of the midwest with more than a foot of snow. sending cars sliding off roads. now taking aim at the southeast, threatening the region with damaging and even crippling ice and snow. >> this storm is a menace. >> reporter: at least four governors declaring states of emergency. here in the carolinas, crews are pouring in from out of state as they brace for widespread power outages that could last days. duke energy, the largest utility provider here, now estimating as many as 750,000 customers may be impacted. >> we hope it's not that bad, but when we look at history, we think it could be that bad, especially with the wind and the ice and the sleet. >> reporter: and in nearby tennessee, shoppers racing to stock up on food and other supplies, clearing out shelves. >> getting some groceries, some supplies before it gets bad and we get snowed in.
>> reporter: road crews working around the clock, gearing up ahead of tonight. that winter blast already grounding flights for tomorrow, at least 2,000 nationwide, including more than 1,000 here in charlotte. >> elwyn lopez back with us now from charlotte at a staging area for the largest utility provider there. we know power outage is a huge concern tonight, and resources from other parts of the country are pouring in to help out as they brace for this storm. >> reporter: that's right, whit. hundred of these trucks are fueling up to make sure they can roll out as soon as the storm passes. and of the 10,000 responding, 4,000 came from other states as far as texas and oklahoma. whit? >> elwyn, thank you. let's get to meteorologist danielle breezy from our afill why the in nashville. danielle, good evening. walk us through the timing on this dangerous weather system. >> reporter: whit, this is a high-impact and dangerous winter storm targeting a large part of the country. take a look.
we've got weather alerts stretching from texas all the way to maine. a winter storm warning from little rock to buffalo, and wind alerts in effect for the east coast, including the new york city area. the snow and ice really get going early tomorrow morning from mississippi to georgia and the carolinas. travel will be impacted in several major southern cities all day sunday. the winter storm races up the east coast sunday night into monday, bringing snow, quickly changing to rain along the i-95 corridor from d.c. to boston. heavy accumulating snow inland. and we're bracing for our third snowstorm here in nashville. whit? >> danielle, good to have you tonight. thank you. we turn now to the pandemic, the omicron surge pushing cases to record highs. 5.5 million new infections just this week. nearly all counties in the country reporting high transmission, pushing health-care facilities and workers to the brink. but there are some signs that some places may be reaching a plateau. new york city, washington, d.c. and puerto rico, all seeing a drop in new infections. this comes as the cdc is revisiting its guidance on
masks, telling americans that loosely woven cloth masks provide less protection than n-95 and kn-95s. but tonight, the warning on how many of those could be fake. here's phil lipof in new york. >> reporter: tonight, covid cases surging to record highs. the u.s. reporting more than 5.5 million new infections in just one week. hospitals across the country feeling the strain. >> not only are you physically exhausted, you're mentally exhausted and sometimes your heart hurts. >> reporter: in 40 states, icus now at or above 80% capacity, levels not seen in a year. a record 158,000 americans are battling the virus in the hospital, though experts say some of those patients testing positive after being admitted for other health reasons. >> our hospital is absolutely full. >> reporter: at this hospital in southern california, a half dozen ambulances waiting to offload patients. staff struggling to keep up. >> we've expanded into every
possible area of the hospital to treat patients just like we did with delta. >> reporter: in massachusetts, in an effort to deal with the patient overload, hospitals are pausing elective surgeries. kayla st. pierre is 32 and waiting to have kidney surgery there, a surgery now considered elective. >> kayla is terrified. she's been through over 200 operations. the waiting game can be a real struggle emotionally. >> reporter: and amid this surge, the cdc now updating it's mask guidance, saying loosely woven cloth masks provide the least protection. higher quality masks, like n-95s and kn-95s, are safer options. the agency stopping short of urging all americans to upgrade their masks, drawing immediate criticism from some health experts. >> the approach that the cdc is taking right now with masking, i think, just adds to the confusion. we should be making it loud and clear that the n-95 respirators are really the only thing that will really protect you. >> reporter: but an alarming statistic tonight -- the cdc says roughly 60% of kn-95 masks
here in the u.s. are counterfeit. to know if yours is real, the national institute for occupational safety and health says look for distinct markings like an approval number, model number, and the institute's name or logo. >> important to look out for that information. phil lipof, back with us in new york city where officials are seeing encouraging signs -- new cases dropping 15% citywide. phil, there's also a new rule taking effect today to make those at-home rapid tests reimbursable. >> reporter: right, whit. starting today, private health insurance plans are required to cover up to eight at-home tests per person. that means a family of five could be reimbursed up to 40 tests per month, though insurers tell us it could be a while before that system is up and running. whit? >> all right, phil, thanks. be sure to watch "this week" tomorrow morning. martha raddatz goes one-on-one with surgeon general vivek murthy. we move on to australia, where a high court is deciding as early as tonight whether unvaccinated tennis star novak
djokovic will be allowed to stay and compete. the australian open starts on monday with or without the defending champ and world number one. here's abc's britt clennett. >> reporter: court proceedings are underway this morning, melbourne time, to determine whether australian immigration officials can revoke novak djokovic's visa and send him packing. djokovic moments ago seen being driven to his attorney's office after spending the night in detention. >> let him play! >> reporter: djokovic fans and anti-vaccine protestors gathered outside the australian open venue in support of the serbian tennis champ. australia's immigration minister getting personally involved in the legal battle, using his special authority to cancel djokovic's visa on the grounds of health and good order, adding, it was in the public interest to do so. djokovic's lawyers arguing it's patently irrational to say that his presence in australia may foster anti-vaccine sentiment. djokovic's first round match is to be played in less than 36 hours. he's won the last three
australian opens. he and longtime rival, rafael nadal, both seeking a record 21st grand slam title. >> if he's playing finally, okay. if he's not playing australian open will be a great australian open with or without him. >> reporter: whit, djokovic should hear very soon a decision from this panel of three australian federal court judges. if deported, he could be facing a ban from entering australia for up to three years. whit? >> long-lasting implications. britt, thank you. now to your money and the empty shelves americans are finding at the grocery store. tonight, from covid to the weather, one expert calling it the perfect storm of reasons behind what we're seeing. here's abc's victor oquendo. >> reporter: tonight, the new round of grocery shortages sending some stores across the country scrambling to restock shelves. >> the shelves are pretty bare. >> there's no meat, no toilet paper. it's crazy. >> reporter: experts blaming issues, including omicron-related staffing shortages for stores and
suppliers, supply chain backlogs due to the pandemic, more people eating at home, and soaring freight costs from a lack of truckers, and recent extreme weather. >> all of these factors happening all at once is a perfect storm. shortages and headaches for the consumer that's going out there. >> i just went in to get mayonnaise, and i've been actually trying to get one jar for the past month, and it hasn't been there. every time i come, it's never there. >> reporter: the consumer brands association finding american grocery stores typically have 7% to 10% of their items out of stock at any given time. right now, that number is at about 15% for food and beverage products. >> smaller may be better when it comes to getting the product that you need. the smaller grocery stores are very nimble. they get more deliveries at a more frequent rate. >> reporter: and aldi, a major supermarket chain, apologized to customers this week because several items were not in stock. the company is blaming shipping delays.
they say that they're working around the clock to fix it. whit. >> victor oquendo, our thanks to you tonight. there's much more ahead on "world news tonight" this saturday. catastrophe averted in new jersey. first responders containing a massive fire at a chemical plant. and the cdc's covid guidance for cruise ships expires today. what's next for the industry? if you have this... consider adding this. an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan from unitedhealthcare. medicare supplement plans help by paying some of what medicare doesn't... and let you see any doctor. any specialist. anywhere in the u.s. who accepts medicare patients. so if you have this... consider adding this. call unitedhealthcare today for your free decision guide. ♪
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11-alarm fire erupting near a chemical plant in new jersey. it started overnight, consuming multiple buildings in the passaic complex and coming dangerously close to where chlorine was stored before it was contained today. no one was in the building when the fire broke out, but at least one firefighter injured while battling the flames. officials telling residents to stay away and keep their windows shut as a precaution. and cruise lines will no longer have to follow the cdc's covid guidance on ships. that's because that cruise ship guidance expires today, making any further adherence voluntary. this comes as cruise lines are calling off trips due to the surging number of covid cases nationwide. when we come back, football's a go despite the chill. will tonight's game be the cldest on record? with dupixent, i can du more....beginners' yoga. namaste... ...surprise parties. aww, you guys. dupixent helps prevent asthma attacks...
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now to the "index." tonight's playoff game between the patriots and the bills will be among the coldest in nfl history, with temperatures in buffalo expected to plunge into the single digits tonight. but the coldest game on record remains the 1967 matchup between the cowboys and the packers. it was negative 13 degrees. brutal. when we come back, a follow-up to a story we brought you earlier in the week. the emotional reunion with a girl rescued from an icy pond. maybe it's another refill at your favorite diner... or waiting for the 7:12 bus... or sunday afternoon in the produce aisle. these moments may not seem remarkable. but at pfizer, protecting the regular routine, and everyday drives us to reach for exceptional. working to impact hundreds of millions of lives... young and old.
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finally tonight, the heartfelt reunion between a hero neighbor, first responders, and the child they rescued. >> come on, honey. >> there you go, honey. >> come on. >> reporter: we first showed you these dramatic moments earlier this week. >> press, press, press. >> reporter: body camera video from first responders performing cpr on a 6-year-old girl. >> i just kind of put some shoes on and ran out. >> reporter: and the hero neighbor, dusti talavera, who jumped into a frozen pond to pull that girl and two others to safety after they fell through the ice. >> she's crying. >> reporter: the 6-year-old rushed to the hospital in serious condition. but just two days later, zakiyah williams was back home in the arms of her grateful parents. >> they saved my baby, and i just want to tell them -- i really want to thank them for saving her. >> it was like a puzzle. every piece had to go together for it to work, and the puzzle got put together so fast, it saved my daughter's life. >> reporter: then, this emotional reunion with that neighbor and those first responders. >> hi, baby! hi!
i'm so glad you're okay. are you okay? >> when i seen them on the video you could see the passion and the emotion by what they were saying. "come on, baby! come on, baby, come on, sweetheart." like they were talking to their own children. >> i'm so glad she's here. >> reporter: the rescuers greeting zakiyah with big hugs. >> you scared me. >> a lot of quick reaction from everybody's part. it boggled my mind. >> reporter: recognition for extraordinary acts of courage. >> thank you, everybody saving me. >> it is a happy ending. it's a very happy ending. it doesn't always work out that way, and i'm so glad it did. >> we're glad, too. stepping up in a big way. thanks so much for watching. i'm whit johnson in new york. i'll see you on "gma" in the morning. linsey davis will be back here tomorrow night. have a great night.
>> building a better bay area. >> tsunami waves hit coast following interruption near the tonga causing damage here in the bay area. we are following a developing story out of texas where a man is holding hostages at a synagogue demanding a convicted terrorist be freed from prison. thank you for joining us. we know one hostage has been released in texas. first, look at satellite showing the underwater volcano you option near the islands of tonga that triggered the tsunami advisory on the west coast. all internet connectivity has
been lost. we are getting a whole lot of information on the extent of the damage. there are reports people are having trouble breathing. some boats have been damaged. the tsunami advisory got the attention of thousands of -- in the bay area today. a surge of water poured into one waterfront community. cornell barnard has the story. >> holy [beep] holy [beep] cornell: this was the scary movie -- moment, ripping the front off of her home casting two boats and her dog adrift. >> the water came in and took the back out. started pulling it to see right there. i ran inside and grab my daughter. packed up my car.