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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 18, 2021 2:06am-2:41am PDT

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how soon they could go into arms. also, the governor of texas who banned mask mandates testing positive with a breakthrough case. and the covid crisis for children -- cases up 300% in a month we're on the front lines. the death toll rising in the haiti earthquake survivors evacuated on choppers as flooding from tropical storm grace slows the response tropical depression fred on the move report of tornadoes. 20 million under flash flood watches from georgia to new york. and celebrating one of the world's ultimate puzzle masters. good evening tonight, the last vestiges of american military might in afghanistan restored control for more what is the only way out. troops are firmly in charge of the military side of the kabul airport where flights
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have resumed today, fewer scenes of complete chaos, but no less amount of fear and desperation among those who once called americans colleagues and now are asking for recognition and help to start a new hief far from the taliban. it was a country holding its breath tonight, weighing lofty statements from the taliban against searing memory of who the taliban are and what they are capable of richard engle and his team are in kabul tonight with details. >> reporter: today we made it on to the military side of kabul airport. this is where the u.s. is carrying out its final withdrawal from afghanistan. the american flag still flies here this side of the airport has long been an american and nato base, and it's full. with extra troops brought in to protect the evacuation this has become effectively the last u.s. military base in afghanistan, the last presence of american troops in this country after 20 years they're only focused on one thing -- wrapping it up
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the evacuations are mainly bringing out americans and other foreign nationals. lo along with afghans who managed to get visas and are happy to be leaving. hundreds packed into one cargo jet. the biden administration promised to expedite visas for afghans who worked for the u.s. military become you ten of thousands are still waiting. i spoke to a group of afghans. they've all work on this base for over five years not one has a visa what did you do on this space what was your job? >> i work in visiting office. >> reporter: in the visiting office. finding people places, so rooms if you go back home, are you worried? >> if we go outside, of course, they will kill us. >> reporter: you're here, you all have badges, you're on the space and can't get up that seems like a total collapse of bureaucracy or seems like they just don't care. >> they don't care, i think. >> reporter: so what is it like for all of
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you to watch these planes take off in front of you and know that you can't get on one? >> we're crying. we worked so hard. >> reporter: do you feel betrayed? >> yeah, yeah. >> reporter: even worse than the lack of action, they say, is the lack of concern. >> this is the first time that somebody about our lives. nobody feel to ask, what's your problem -- nobody. >> reporter: just us talking to you. >> yeah, this is the first time. >> reporter: outside the airport, there's utter desperation. afghans pushing and fleegd get in and board a flight away from taliban rule. they don't believe the taliban, which today promised to be different, that women will have rights, a free press, and a general amnesty for translators who helped the u.s. military. men like tom, which is what u.s. troops called him we have been following his story for months he went on combat
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missions and helped american troops find and kill taliban fighters he's been waiting for his visa for four years and asked us to blur his face because today he's in hiding >> they will kill us they will kill us tomorrow or today. our children, what are going to be their future >> reporter: afghans say they were wrong to u.s. american plomss as the u.s. is leaving afghanistan in the hands of extremists and leaving so many allies behind. >> yesterday you're at the kabul airport. what's it like now >> reporter: it is much more secure those people have been cleared out. planes are able to take off and land. there are jets in the sky. many more troops here. the biggest danger is the platform with afghans still trying to push their way into the airport. lester >> richard, thanks to you and your team. pressure mounting on the biden
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administration to get americans and allies out safely and growing criticism of its overall handling of the withdrawal. >> reporter: facing pressure to accelerate, the biden administration relying on the taliban to clear the way. >> the taliban have informed us they were prepared to provide the safe passage of civilian to the airport, and we intend to hold them to thanchts unclear if it can be done by the president's end of the month deadline >> we believe that this can go till the 31st. >> reporter: notably, senior white house officials did not commit to evacuations after that date. today also conceding state of the art american military equipment, including blackhawk helicopters have been lost. >> certainly an amount of it has fallen into the hands of the
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taliban, and we don't have the sense they're going to hand it over to the airport. >> reporter: in recent weeks the cia began to warn in increasingly clear terms the about the potential for a rapid collapse of the afghan government and military, but it's unclear whether that warning was a factor in the president's deliberations. >> the buck stops with me. >> reporter: critics are slamming the administration for a lack of preparedness. >> it has been impotent and incompetent and is a strategic catastrophe for america. >> reporter: tonight for the first time since kabul fell, president biden spoke with british prime minster boris johnson and agreed to meet last week with the g-7 leader on the strategy going forward. >> peter alexandriat white house, thank you. the biden administration also dealing with the worsening covid crisis more than 1 million new infeks in just the last eight days and tonight it appears many americans will soon be able to get a vaccine booster. kate snow has those details. >> reporter: the biden administration ready to announce its plan for booster shots. >> you can expect to
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hear from the president on this top you can as well. >> reporter: according to administration sources, the white house covid-19 team on wednesday will make the case for boosters eight months after people received the second shot of pfizer or moderna with fda authorization, the shots could be ready as soon as september. >> people should expect that they do not have to return to their original site of vaccination, but they should stick with the same brand of their vaccine. if you received pfizer get pfizer if you circumstantial evidence moderna, get moderna. >> reporter: nursing home residents and health-care workers could likely be first in line, followed by seniors. the government is tentatively scheduled to release more information about vaccine effectiveness on wednesday. >> there's more data that the cdc has collected that supports that your immunity decreased over time and could potentially be a point of vulnerability for some of these new variants like the delta variant. >> reporter: the israeli government posted data showing for those over 65 who received their pfizer
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second dose in january, the vaccine is now only 55% effective against severe disease are there limits to that data? >> right, there was not enough people in the sample, but it still points to an important trend -- that our immunity decreases over time. >> reporter: our phones again for blowing up we have about 300 people scheduled for today. >> reporter: tad in detroit, some of the 7 million american adults who are immunocompromised began getting their third shot. >> there was no hesitation. >> this is extra protection that we need, that everyone needs. >> kate, does any of this impact people who got the johnson & johnson single dose vaccine? >> reporter: lester, it's too soon to tell. the government is waiting for data from a study of people who received a second dose of the j&j vaccine the company tells us it expects to have that information in the coming weeks. >> in just 06 seconds more children getting sick from covid. hospitals filling up we'll hear what it's like inside one of them
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as the debate ralk rages over mask and vaccine requirements children are playing a price. while experts expected a rise in cases with the delta variant, few anticipated the troubling numbers we're now seeing. >> reporter: there is perhaps no rise more troubling than the spike in covid cases among children inside some pediatric units, beds are nearly full, and kids are sicker than ever in just the past week, there's been 121,000 new child cases. the stunning explosion in hospital admissions spiking some 300%. >> i've seen some of the sickest patients i've ever careder if in the unit over these last couple of weeks. >> reporter: at arkansas children's hospital, every number is a name. the tenfold increase in weekly cases nationally is measured one family at a time doctors say low vaccination rates, the delta variant, and loosening restrictions
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as kids return to school could turn their crisis into a catastrophe. >> it's not one of those things where you can say, oh, my kid is healthy, so we're going to be fine we can't predict which kid is going to end up in the icu. >> reporter: with less than 13% of children vaccinated it could be months before those under 12 have a vaccine, and just as kids return to school in nashville, some 1,000 students are in quarantine or isolation after an outbreak in infections in florida, one school district has more than 8,000 students and staff also in quarantine or isolation. >> while children are far less likely than adults to be infected and to die from covid, the numbers are trend in the wrong direction. >> reporter: doctors say most kids never get seriously sick, but many of those that do are fighting for their lives. tonight, protecting the youngest americans
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as far too many fall ill every day. >> reporter: tonight texas governor greg abbott, a staunch opponent to vaccine and mask mandates has tested positive for the virus, suffering a breakthrough infection. his staff says he's receiving treatment but not showing any symptoms lester >> miguel, thank you. three days of that massive earthquake in haiti, authorities raise the death toll today to more than 1,900. nearly 10,000 injured. the disaster compounded after tropical storm grace drenched the country gabe gutierrez is there. >> reporter: tonight, the desperation in haiti is growing as if the earthquake weren't enough, these survivors just endured tropical storm grace after punishing wind and rain blew through overnight, the u.s. coast guard rushed in, part of a massive international effort. >> one of the toughest part of this relief operation is getting supplies to those who need it. many roads are shut down, cutting off entire communities
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it's a challenge to get to many part of haiti right now. >> reporter: flight mechanic sara that brewer of alabama served for seven years. >> it's extremely difficult emotionally to see these people and their suffering and injuries. >> reporter: we land in the same town where just yesterday we had seen desperate earthquake survivors in the heat hoping to be evacuated now -- >> we can still feel the rain falling the tropical storm just moved through, and we're about to find out just how extensive the damage was. >> reporter: this young child with a broken leg he and other patients had been waiting for days, some even younger, in their mother's arms. the hospital overwhelmed. >> they're significantly overrun and underresourced right now. med supplies and personnel support is critical. >> reporter: the wounded are carefully loaded into the chopper one by one. >> had a lot of building collapses so that was the majority of what we had been seeing, a lot of broken bones. >> reporter: petty officer brewer cares
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for the young boy. he speaks not a word his eyes tell you everything. >> some of these kids that we've seen, they have had buildings come down on their parents and they're all alone. it really is just so heartbreaking. >> reporter: international aid organizations are now scrambling to the hardest hit areas. unicef estimates the earthquake impacted 1.2 million people, half of them children. lester >> thank you, gabe there's another major weather threat we're tracking tropical depression fred barrelling up the east coast it spawned eight tornados in three states 20 million people under flash flood watches from georgia to new york. up next, the future of work and the new power of employees.
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and now, all smart beds are on sale. save 50% on the new sleep number 360 limited edition smart bed. plus, 0% interest for 24 months. only for a limited time. now our series, the future of work tonight, companies stug struggling to adjust to the pandemic and retain employees. >> reporter: it's being called the great resignation. millions of american res evaluated their lives and moving on. in june record numbers quit their jobs. in san antonio, claire barnett left her consulting job for more work flexibility and time with her kids. >> being home gave me that opportunity to think about it. from a family/life balance perspective, we can make different decisions. >> reporter: nationwide, employers record 10.1 million job openings even in bozeman, montana, soaring home prices made it
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difficult for software company zoot to attract employees. it is now offering onsite daycare, cafeteria, fitness programs, physical therapists, and most importantly flexible working options. >> we're seeing employees that really, when they're outside of work, don't want to be at work. so we are seeing a pretty significant shift in that, where work is something that we do, but it's not the only thing we do anymore. and their lives really do matter. >> reporter: that change of mind set is forcing companies big and small to change their return to work approach, even as a new study finds 38% of employees are seeking new jobs right now >> we're seeing more perks around flexibility, different kinds of schedules but of course in the end what many people care about is their compensation higher wages, bonuses. >> reporter: a pandemic forced power shift. employees gaining the upper hand and making lifestyle demands with employers hoping to keep them happy.
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tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> reporter: back to afghan now and american war veterans trying to reconcile the inglorious end of this conflict. tonight, the reflections of an airman i met at the height of the war after a harrowing mission as we bring back a segment familiar to longtime viewer of the broadcast, in their own words. >> reporter: my name is jimmy settle and i was a para rescueman in afghanistan whenever somebody was hurt, we were going to go get them and get them out i was hungry to make a difference two weeks into the deployment we were tasked to support an operation called bulldog bite we're flying over the coordinates for the americans who were hurt, and we call over the radio, ey, pop your smoke so we can identify you and i saw three muzzle flashes. we were being shot at. the bullet struck the bottom, the aircraft fragmented and went
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right under my helmet. ak-47 hole almost got me. while in afghanistan i got credited 38 saves and 27 assists i got the purpt heart. the very last sentence of the creed, these things we do so that others may live. it's a creed i still hold close to my heart. i'm of many minds on the current events and the way they're unfolding in afghanistan. my first thought is i'm happy we're no longer sending young healthy bodies to be chewed up in the machine of war however, i am really sad for the folks who are in afghanistan and the way they're being treated. i saw a picture of a taliban guy wearing the helmet i wore in afghanistan and when i wore it it was a very special, very unique helmet, so it's like, wow, how did that happen i'm wrestling with a
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lot of emotions. on the other hand of the coin, i also kind of see it as, like, well, the government of afghanistan fled the country and left it to the taliban, and my hope is that they step up and care for their people in a little bit more modern ways than they were before the 2001 attacks. i can understand why people would feel this is an all for nothing, but it was definitely not for nothing, because we were able to do some of the things we set out to do we killed osama bin laden, and he was the face of terror i'm grateful for the security we feel here at home today. >> jimmy settle in his own words. up next, we'll remember a man who inspired the world
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finally, he brought countless hours of brain teasing fun to so many rehema ellis with the puzzle master who inspired the world. >> reporter: it is a puzzling game loved by millions sudoku, a centuries old numbers puzzle turned into a brainy challenge by maki kaji >> solving puzzles i think just became a little more cool. >> reporter: the university dropout passed away in tokyo at the age of 69
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he coined the term sudoku, which means single number, saying he wanted to create a japanese name. today, his name is remembered as the godfather of sudoku. when some criticized his puzzles as too his puzzles as too complicated, kaji embraced the concerns, creating more puzzles for children and older people it became a worldwide sensation. over the years, attracting 200 million people in 100 countries, competing to figure things out >> 45 minutes begins now. >> reporter: there's an annual global championship. nick baxter is the captain of the u.s. sudoku team. why is sudoku so fascinating to so many >> that's a puzzle in and of itself in a crossword puzzle, things you do at the end are words you can't get. but in sudoku, engulf is almost filled in. it's like dominos falling. the last numbers just go in, boom, boom, boom so i don't know.
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an endorphin rush perhaps. it's just a good feeling. >> reporter: a good feeling thanks to the puzzle master >> he gave us exercise for our minds. that's nightly news. thanks for watching. i am lester holt please take care of yourself and each other. good night ♪ ♪ ♪♪ you're picture-perfect blue ♪ ♪ sunbathing on the moon ♪ ♪ stars shining as your bones
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illuminate ♪ ♪ first kiss just like a drug ♪ ♪ under your influence ♪ ♪ you take me over you're the magic in my veins ♪ ♪ this must be love ♪ ♪ boom clap the sound of my heart ♪ ♪ the beat goes on and on and on and on and ♪ ♪ boom clap you make me feel good ♪ ♪ come on to me come on to me now ♪ ♪ boom clap the sound of my heart ♪ ♪ the beat goes on and on and on and on and ♪ ♪ boom clap you make me feel good ♪ ♪ come on to me come on to me now ♪ ♪ like you are the light and i will follow ♪ ♪ you let me lose my shadow ♪ ♪ you are the sun the glowing halo ♪ ♪ and you keep burning me up with all your love uh ♪ ♪ boom clap the sound of my heart ♪ ♪ the beat goes on and on and on
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and on and ♪ ♪ boom clap you make me feel good ♪ ♪ come on to me come on to me now ♪ ♪ boom clap the sound of my heart ♪ ♪ the beat goes on and on and on and on and ♪ ♪ boom clap you make me feel good ♪ ♪ come on to me come on to me now ♪♪ [cheers and applause] >> kelly: welcome to "the kelly clarkson show," give it up for my band y'all! that was "boom clap" by charli xcx. i love that song it puts you in a great mood. we have someone in house seats who requested it. why did you want to hear that song? >> hi, kelly. i'm a huge fan, first of all, i have to say thank you, because your music help me get a medal
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in the past couple of years. every time i travel and go to competition venues on the plane, on the van anywhere i listen to music. and this song in particular i remember listening to it when i was in the netherlands. and i love female power anthems, of beet, emotional music, anything that gets me into the mood before competition i just love it. and this music does that. >> kelly: i just think it's a funny thing to really appear inside of what people are like at a gym, everybody is on the treadmill what they are listening to, because mine is always like jay-z. i'm always like yeah! it's amazing to see what everybody listens to you to amped themselves up or working out or doing anything athletic. this is the first year that the sport of karate will be in the olympics. what does that mean to you? >> it's exciting. i've been practicing karate for 20 years now and i never thought that it would be in the olympics. this year is going to be in
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tokyo with karate originating from and it's exciting to show people what we do u.s. athletes, as martial artists, every kid deserves to dream and compete at the olympics. so i'm just excited to represent usa and my sport and these past few years has been hard for everybody i think that covid has affected all of us, so sport is something that brings people together and i just hope that people will be inspired of our sacrifices that we put in and at the end you know, we are all going to see the human side of things at the olympics, so i'm super excited. >> kelly: i'm stoked for you as well, and we say karate, how did you say it? >> karate. i like that. i'm going to stay like that from now on. i feel cool. i'm just super southern, my bad. thank you so much, good luck at the olympics. i'm so proud and excited for you. i can't wait to watch. >> thank you so much, thank you. >> kelly: don't forget to tune into nbc for your tokyo olympics
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coverage, this hour we are going for the gold as well. you see what we did there? mom jokes all day. a comedian, emmy award-winning actress and author, yvonne orji is in the house! so funny, and we have a man who thinks he is a finalist for an award from our friends at pilot pen, he has no idea that he will be the pilot g2 overachiever and get a check for $100,000. i'm super stoked about that. he's going to freak out. if he doesn't, we will take the money back. i'm just kidding. [laughter] plus he is a super talented actor and singer starring in the new movie "dear evan hanson" he is the most incredible singer ever, ben platt is joining us! but let's jump right and with our first guest. i'm so excited, he is a two time oscar-winner and one of my favorite actors ever, i literally thought i was going to marry him after seeing his movie when i was a child, it didn't work out. but you can see him in "the
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kaminski method" on netflix. the third and final season is streaming right now, give it up for michael douglas! [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ >> michael: thank you! >> kelly: oh, my gosh, i'm so excited! i am literally, my sister and mother somewhere like she is going to be beaming the rest of the day. i love you. i love every move you are in. i think you are so talented. thank you for doing my show. >> michael: kelly, you are so sweet and kind, congratulations on the emmy nomination. >> kelly: thank you. >> michael: right out-of-the-box. >> kelly: we are so excited, thank you, where you calling from? >> michael: i am calling from spain. >> kelly: that is very fancy. i think that's where catherine was calling from when we talk to her. >> michael: it's a funny thing, i don't know how that happened! >> kelly: you live together, that's right. >> michael: hey, honey! >> kelly: it just hit me that when we called she was in spain
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too, what do you miss from the states when you are abroad? >> michael: first of all, excited to be over here and we have had a house over here for about 30 years so we come back a lot. but i must say that the thing that i miss the most is sports. i can't see my games because of the time changes and because may be like football for instance is not very big in europe, so even with the time change, sometimes you hear and can record basketball games in the middle of the night and hear them in the morning, but i have the playoffs going on now and i can't find any of the games, so it has me a little frustrated. to be on the opposite for me. spain is for me. i won't miss sports. i would be fine. but you just celebrated your daughter's graduation, that's amazing, are you and catherine ready to be empty nesters? >> michael: i think so, i mean, we had a lovely experience, it was a virtual graduation and we could not actually be in the same room that she was in


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