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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  January 17, 2022 3:30pm-4:00pm PST

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tonight, tracking that deadly winter storm moving up the east coast. snow, ice, freezing rain, and severe storms from georgia to maine. white outconditions. more than two feet of snow in some areas. hundreds of car accidents on the highways. tornadoes touching down in florida. including a confirmed ef-2. strong winds gusting up to 40 miles an hour. and a new cold blast on the way. wind chills down to 40 below zero. ginger zee tracking it all. america's major airlines sounding the alarm over stronger 5g service set to begin on wednesday. airlines and cargo carriers warning the new wireless system could cause catastrophic disruption to passenger flights and the supply chain. the omicron surge grip. ing hospitals across the country. the u.s. now reporting more than 1,800 deaths every 24 hours.
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hospitals admitting nearly ly 21,000 new patients every day. but signs of progress. states first hit with the surge now say they're turning the corner. dr. anthony fauci asked if omicron will mark the final wave of the pandemic. how he is responding tonight. and what a new study is now saying about the effectiveness of a possible fourth shot. new details about the tense 11-hour hostage standoff at a synagogue in texas. the rabbi describing the moment he threw a chair at the gunman to help the hostages make a run for the door. what authorities are now saying about the suspect, a british national. and tonight, homeland security and the fbi with a new warning to faith-based communities about the potential threats of more violence. on this day, celebrating dr. martin luther king jr., his family issuing a call to action for voting rights with the senate set to debate the issue tomorrow. dr. king's 13-year-old granddaughter calling out two democratic senators by name.
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rachel scott standing by. overseas tonight, growing concern over russia's possible invasion of ukraine. ian pannell with american senators in ukraine's capitol today delivering a tough message to vladimir putin. and celebrating betty white on what would have been her 100th birthday. fans taking up one of her biggest causes, her love of animals. good evening on this monday, martin luther king jr. day. it's great to have you with us, i'm whit johnson, in for david tonight. and we begin with that massive winter storm. days of snow, ice, even tornadoes, turning deadly. snow and wind alerts from north carolina to maine at this hour. and as temperatures plummet overnight, the growing danger on the roads all the way to the south. more than two feet of snow in ohio. drivers stranded in whiteout
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conditions. strong waves and icy wind in hampton beach, new hampshire. in raleigh, north carolina, drivers sliding on the ice, struggling to remain control. other caring scrambling out of the way. a weekend of stretch courthouse dri treacherous driving. a tractor trailer dangling off an overpass. the storm spawning tornadoes in florida. a couple there driving right into the dangerous winds. tonight, heavy snow still falling in parts of new york and new england. and now the bitter cold across the east. abc's trevor ault leads us off in buffalo tonight. >> reporter: tonight, all kinds of dangerous winter weather wrecking havoc for americans. east of cleveland, in the bulls eye for whiteout conditions. >> over a foot of snow has already fallen and it's still coming down. >> reporter: and they got more than two feet. first responders there
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struggling just to reach stranded cars and trucks. in buffalo, shattering their daily record by 6:00 this morning. neighbors are trying to free this bus right now. it got stuck trying to back up on this side street. if you look up just a block ahead, there's another bus that was already stuck. in niagara falls, stephen michaels shoveled six hours to get to work. >> more than what we expected. definitely. haven't seen this winter in a long time. >> reporter: where there wasn't snow, there was ice. watch as driver after driver loses control on this icy road near raleigh's airport. in durham, this tractor trailer sliding off a frozen overpass. the driver taken to the hospital. and at least two people were killed when their car skidded off i-95 in nash county. the same system spawned tornadoes on florida's west coast, including this ef-2 in fort myers. >> holy [ bleep ]. >> reporter: winds up to 118
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miles an hour destroying this trailer park. and after snowfall rates of four inches per hour here today, now lake effect snow is a big possibility through the morning. even without it, with temperatures falling below freezing into the south, tonight, black ice is a big threat. whit? >> quite the picture behind you. trevor, thank you. let's get right rigto ginger ze. where is the most significant snowfall hitting right now? >> reporter: oh, my goodness, whit, we've seen some flakes here but it's all west of us. you know what else is remarkable about this storm? we started the day in the single digi digits, then had a severe thunderstorm warning within 24 hours. that is a rare event at any point for january in manhattan. but look at this storm. now it is moving fwu western new york, so, binghamton, up to syracuse. two to four inches through new england tonight. then it will be moving east. i think the next noticeable part will be the wind. and you have wind advisories from pennsylvania right down through about la what. 20 to 50-mile-per-hour gusts.
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one more shot of arctic air, of course, is coming at us, as if that's the end of winter, but at least this week. that starts with 28 below, the feels like in des moines. 11 below, whit, in kansas city. >> all right, we know you'll be tracking it for "gma," as well. ginger, thank you. next, the ceos of major u.s. airlines sounds the alarm about the implementation of 5g wi wireless technology set for wednesday. warning that signal conflicts could lead to disruptions at dozens of american airports. here's abc's gio benitez. >> reporter: tonight, a stark warning from airline and air cargo ceos, urging u.s. officials to clamp down on the launch of stronger 5g frequencies set for wednesday, hoping at&t and verizon will keep those signals at least two miles away from america's airports. the ceos sounding the alarm, saying in a letter, "immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption." >> this is unsafe. let us be clear -- this is
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unsafe. >> reporter: planes have a device called the radio altimeter, measuring the distance between them and the ground. pilots use it to land. the faa says pilots will not be able to use that radio altimeter to land at 88 airports closest to those 5g towers, so in bad weather, when pilots can't see the ground, they'd have to land somewhere else. the airlines say this will trigger a slew of cancellations and delays. while other countries have successfully launched similar 5g signals, the faa says there are key differences. in france, the signals are permanently blocked near airports, protecting the final minute and a half of flights as they land. in the u.s., the signals will only be blocked for the next six months, and for just the final 20 seconds of landings. so, whit, u.s. officials now have less than 48 hours to make a decision on this. otherwise, the airlines say, we will be seeing those cancellations. whit? >> all right, gio, thank you.
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next, the fbi and dhs now warning faith-based whcommuniti about the potential threats of more violence after that hostage standoff in texas. tonight, the rabbi describing the moment he and other hostages got away, saying he threw a chair at the gunman so they could make a run for the door. a cameraman catching them getting out. authorities releasing this image of the attacker, malik akram, saying he was not on any u.s. government watch list. abc's mireya villarreal is in texas. >> reporter: tonight, new details emerges about that terrifying hostage standoff in texas. a british national allegedly armed with a gun holding four people hostage for more than 11 hours. rabbi charlie cytron-walker describing the moment he and two congregants escaped. >> the exit wasn't too far away. i told them to go, i threw a chair at the gunman and i headed
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for the door. >> reporter: in this video from our affiliate wfaa, two hostages and the rabbi are seen leaving from a side door, followed by a man holding a gun. less than a minute after the man moved back inside the building, gunfire erupts. and the fbi hostage rescue team quickly rushes in. tonight, investigators say that akram, who was not on any u.s. government watch list, arrived in new york from london more than two weeks ago before traveling to texas. the incident in colleyville unfolding saturday morning when the rabbi says he answered a knock on a synagogue window. the rabbi saying he and akram spoke over tea. >> at 10:45 a.m., akram interrupting th iing shabbat se. >> he said he had a gun. it's a nightmare. >> reporter: for hours, fbi crisis negotiators speaking to the suspect, who allegedly threatened to kill the four
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hostages if aafia to released from prison. just after 9:00 p.m., the other three hostages making that daring escape. the suspect was fatally shot and a gun was recovered. and whit you tonight, a new warning from the fbi and dhs to communities of faith, given this volatile environment right now, say they they will likely be the continued target of violence and terrorism. so, their advice, stay vigilant. >> raising a lot of concern. mireya, thank you. next tonight, american hoepts in crisis, squeezed between the omicron surge and the shortage of staff. an average of 21,000 patients admitted with covid every day. a growing number of hospitals now delaying elective surgeries. the cases are tapering off where omicron struck first, down 17% in new york city and new jersey. home testing getting easier, as well, to find. insurance companying now
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reimbursing up to eight at home tests a month. and the government's website launches wednesday to distribute four tests per household. and what is now being said about a study from israel about patients who got a fourtd vaccine shot. here's abc's stephanie ramos. >> reporter: despite covid cases receding in parts of the northeast, tonight, hospitals from coast to coast are warning they are in the middle of a crisis. >> it's just perfect storm for emergency departments being overcrowded, backed up, and not being able to move admitted patients out of the emergency department into hospital beds. >> reporter: from massachusetts to central california, where short-staffed hospitals are pleading with the public on social media to get vaccinated. and patients without covid are impacted, too, as hospitals are postpones thousands of surgeries to care for covid patients. in milwaukee, eddie says his surgery for prostate cancer was delayed two weeks because of concerns about hospital beds and
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staffing. >> i mean, cancer is cancer, it spreads daily. >> reporter: there are promising signs. officials in the northeast point out that fewer people are going into hospitals. in washington, d.c., covid cases are down 25% in the last week. in new york city and new jersey, down 17%. >> still not out of the woods, but very, very good signs. >> reporter: dr. anthony fauci says it is still an open question whether a less severe omicron variant could lead to the end of the pandemic, but even without another variant, fauci says covid will stay with us. >> it's not going to be that you're going to eliminate this disease completely, we're not going to do that, but hope. it will be at such a low level that it doesn't disrupt our normal social, economic, and other interactions with each other. >> reporter: starting over the weekend, americans could start buying up to eight at-home covid tests each month and submit
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receipts for reimbursement to their health insurance plan. and on wednesday, they'll be able to logon to covidtest.gov to order up to four free covid tests per household. >> stephanie ramos back with us tonight. and stephanie, you're learning more about new research out of israel where they looked at the effectiveness of a fourth vaccine shot? >> reporter: exactly, whit. researchers in israel say they looked at how well a fourth dose holds up against omicron, finding that a fourth shot increased antibody levels but not always enough to stop those breakthrough infections. in israel, a fourth shot has already been authorized for those at highest risk, but keep in mind here in the u.s., a fourth shot has not been authorized. whit? >> still more to learn. stephanie, thank you. and on this martin luther king jr. day, a day of service and a call for voting rights. a crowd marched in denver, colorado, today, one of the largest celebrations in the
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country. while in washington, d.c., where the senate is set to debate voting rights tomorrow, members of dr. king's family took part in another march. his 13-year-old granddaughter calling out two democratic senators by name. here's abc's congressional correspondent rachel scott. >> reporter: just one day before a critical vote in the senate, the family of dr. martin luther king jr. marching in the nation's capital to demand action on voting rights. but they know the odds are stacked against them. senate republicans are opposed and two democratic senators, joe manchin of west virginia and kyrsten sinema of arizona, refuse to change the senate rules so democrats can pass the legislation on their own. dr. king's 13-year-old granddaughter calling them out by name. >> senator sinema, senator manchin, our future hinges on your decision and history will remember what choice you make. >> reporter: manchin released a statement celebrating dr. king's
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legacy, but made no mention of vote gt righting rights. >> it's kind of frustrating for people to be releasing statements and you really have not totally adhered to my father's ideals. so, my hope and my message to him would be, senator, you got to go further. >> reporter: the senate is expected to debate voting rights legislation for the first time this congress tomorrow. bottom line, democrats do not have the votes they need to get it passed, whit. >> rachel scott from the mlk memorial for us tonight. thank you. we do move overseas tonight. a critical week ahead for the u.s. and russia. tensions mounting over ukraine. russian troops have been mobilizing along the border and now the u.s. says moscow is now planning covert operations inside ukraine. a group of u.s. senators now on the ground there. and abc's senior foreign correspondent ian pannell speaking with them tonight. >> reporter: tonight, u.s. nators delivering a tough message to vladimir putin, as
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this crisis intensifies. >> we will give the people of ukraine the arms, lethal arms, they need to defend their lives and livelihoods. >> reporter: u.s. lawmakers meeting in kiev with the ukrainian president, promising the american government will take steps to deter russia from invading. >> if russia crosses that border, if it ramps up the pressure on ukraine or europe, what do you want to see? about the possibility of invasion? >> if russia moves any further into ukraine, there's going to be significant, serious, unprecedented, crushing sanctions on russia from the united states. >> it's up to president putin now to decide. >> reporter: 100,000 russian troops massed near the ukraine border. t the kremlin threatening a military response. the kremlin denying it has plans
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to invade, but today not ruling tout deploying military as sets much closer to the u.s., potentially in latin america. whit, both sides saying it's now up to the other one to make the next move. the threat of an escalation now is as high as ever, and the mood from this bipartisan group of senators is determined that they, and the administration, are going to be ready to respond. whit? >> all right, ian pannell, our thanks to you tonight. when we come back, new images coming in following the massive underwater volcanic erupt. and celebrating betty white and what would have been her 100th birthday. adapts to different oxygen levels and starved it. i am here because they switched off egfr gene mutation and stopped the growth of tumor cells. there's a place that's making one advanced cancer discovery after another for 75 years. i am here... i am here.... because of dana-farber. what we do here changes lives everywhere.
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just ask your asthma specialist about dupixent. next, growing fears for the island nation of tonga, after that undersea volcano and the tsunami that followed. a satellite capturing saturday's eruption, a wall of water later slamming ashore, killing one person. a 12-mile high cloud of ash disrupting flights. an underwater cable damaged, severing communications. this satellite image before the eruption, you see the shoreline, a lush green. and then this after. everything covered in saltwater and ash. when we come back, celebrating betty white on what would have been her 100th birthday. your strength can outlast any bad day. because you are greater than your bipolar i, and you can help take control of your symptoms - and ask about vraylar. some medicines only treat the lows or highs, once-daily vraylar is proven to treat depressive, acute manic, and mixed episodes of bipolar i in adults.
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without talking to your doctor. ask your doctor about dupixent. finally tonight, on this day of celebration for martin luther king jr., a nation putting actions to words. on this dr. martin luther king jr. day, in every corner of the country, americans remembering the life of dr. king, and honoring him with a day of service. from portland to new york city, volunteers collecting food, donating clothes and toys. in chicago's south side, at tanner elementary school, volunteers repainting walls and designing murals. and in memphis, at the national civil rights museum, at the lorraine motel, where dr. king's
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life was taken at just 39 years old, they are collecting food, too. and calling on the community to donate blood. and 54 years after his death, dr. martin luther king jr.'s worlds just as powerful in this time. this is the letter he wrote while in a birmingham jail in 1963. >> injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. whatever affects one directly, affects indirectly. >> a year later, dr. king on the powerle of peace and nonviolence. >> nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding, and ennoebels a man
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who wields it. >> and this would be his final sunday sermon at washington national cathedral, four days before his death. >> however dark it is, however deep the angry feelings are and the violent explosions are, i can still sing "we shall overcome." we shall overcome because the ar of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. >> dr. king in his own worlds a wes honor him tonight. thanks for watching. i'm whit johnson in new york. have a great night.
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>> building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> brotherhood and interpersonal living and black-and-white together. we must solve this problem. >> martin luther king's dream is humanitarian. >> we must not be complacent or complicit. we must not give up. >> people across the u.s. remember and honor martin luther king junior and the impact he had on the world. good afternoon. i'm kristen sze. >> are watching -- you are watching abc 7 news. >> te and cavs in the nation to honor the life of dr. martin luther king jr. >> many celebrations highlighted the ongoing fight for equality.
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>> melanie has more on events in el cerrito and oakland. >> a caravan of people celebrated martin luther king jr. in oakland. the theme, one struggle, one fight, one people. >> we are fighting for all lives lost, whether it was someone in the community or someone who works in law enforcement. >> the executive director of the anti-police terror project says -- >> it is a call to do what he said and declare a war on poverty. >> she says with oakland in the middle of a violent crime pandemic along with the coronavirus pandemic and an economic pandemic, it was important to come together in the safest way possible. volunteers plant to henan -- handout food, gift cards and ppe pandemic couldn't stop people from celebrating. >> this is our 33rd year. this is a car parade. we are

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