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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  December 24, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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tonight, several developing stories as we come on the air. the holiday travel chaos on the roads and in the sky. hundreds of christmas eve and christmas day flights canceled. major airlines blaming staffing shortages due to omicron and bad weather. holiday plans across the country ruined. the tsa screening more than 2 million passengers today. more flight cancellations expected throughout the weekend, and as long as covid cases climb. the deadly winter storm striking the west tonight, bringing a relentless slam of snow and rain from western washington to southern california. amid the rain, this deadly pileup on i-5. california on alert tonight for possible flash flooding. authorities issuing evacuation orders there. in san bernardino, heavy rain triggering this mudslide. the threats continue right through christmas. also breaking tonight, the deadly christmas eve shark
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attack on the central coast of california. what we're learning about the victim. the urgent race to get tested ahead of the holidays. long lines growing while supplies diminish. in new york, crowds swarming covid testing sites as cases skyrocket across the country from the rapidly spreading omicron variant. the cdc now shortening the covid isolation period for health care workers as many hospitals are pushed to the brink. so what can families do to gather together safely? the hurried scramble to get presents under the christmas tree. some last minute deals for all the procrastinators out there. overseas in afghanistan, defying taliban rule. a look at the women and girls fighting back to keep their education alive. ian pannell reports from kabul. and "america strong" tonight. a community coming together this holiday, sharing their wishes for better times ahead.
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good evening, everyone. thanks so much for joining us on this busy christmas eve. i'm linsey davis, in for david. we have a lot to cover tonight, as many americans prepare for their second holiday season with the pandemic looming large once again. airports are packed, but hundreds of flights canceled today. with more cancellations scheduled for tomorrow, christmas day. shortages are caused by a surge of omicron cases nationwide. many trying to get tested, but finding a test is proving difficult for many. and sometimes chaotic. these images from queens, new york. in the west, weather is further complicating the holiday. slick roads may have contributed to this fatal crash in los angeles. and higher elevations getting up to ten feet of snow, making travel difficult. we have team reporting. but we begin with elwyn lopez from atlanta. >> reporter: a nightmare before christmas for thousands of travelers across the u.s.
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hundreds of flights suddenly grounded ahead of the holidays. >> aggravation. there's really nothing you can do about it. >> reporter: united canceling nearly 200 flights. delta, more than 160. and jetblue halting dozens. sending passengers scrambling from l.a. -- >> i guess it's sad, really sad. >> reporter: to atlanta. >> the whole trip has been canceled. we don't know how that happened. we don't know why that happened. >> reporter: weather partially to blame for some, but airlines citing a nationwide rise in covid-19 cases impacting staff and crew as the omicron variant continues to spread. >> i called delta, three-hour wait to get through. >> reporter: this all comes as more than 2 million people made their way through checkpoints on thursday, reaching its highest peak of travel this holiday season. >> lots of frustration at airports. elwyn, joining us from atlanta. there are a lot of hectic travel days ahead.
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what are the airlines saying? >> reporter: we're seeing a flurry of cancellations tomorrow. and although christmas day is the lightest travel day of the season, the issue might be getting that flight back. cancellations expected to continue into the weekend. linsey? >> elwyn, thank you. parts of the west are being battered by a deadly winter storm system. millions on weather alert from california to wyoming. days of heavy rain causing flooding and mudslides, making travel difficult in parts of california. will carr reports. >> reporter: tonight, rivers of mud closing roads and forcing evacuations from an atmospheric river fueling powerful storms. dumping torrential rain. >> look at the damage there. >> reporter: northeast of l.a., fast moving flood waters, tearing off this section of a highway. >> it just shows the power of the rain that we had. >> reporter: in los angeles, one person was killed in this multi-vehicle pileup on the interstate 5 freeway. firefighters working to extract trapped drivers. in san bernardino county, this
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car flipped over in the mojave river, the driver able to escape. and on interstate 80 in soda springs overnight, drivers trying to make it over mountain passes were stranded for hours in heavy snow. what's going through your mind? >> well, it's the biggest fear is how long we're going to be here because two kids in the back. we have three quarters of a tank. >> reporter: avalanche warnings for the high sierra, now extending into the rocky mountains of utah and colorado. linsey, with these plows working around the clock, there's more snow expected here and more rain expected in southern california for some dangerous conditions throughout the holiday weekend. linsey? >> will, thank you. now let's get straight to the forecast. greg dutra is with us from our chicago station wls. time this all out for us. >> reporter: the relentless snow in the mountains and the rain on the west coast continues for days. millions are underneath weather alerts from california to wyoming. avalanche danger from the sierras to the continental divide. in the east, a system that
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brings rain will sweep into the northeast. it will mostly be a chilly rain, but could start out with snow. in the south, a warmup. 60 in d.c. for christmas day. records are falling, 83 in dallas, 78 in nashville. here in chicago, it was 53 today. that bests our normal temp by about 20 degrees. linsey? >> greg, thank you. we turn now to that breaking news. a fatal shark attack off of a california beach. here's kaylee hartung with the latest. >> reporter: it happened in morro bay, north of los angeles, in an area of the beach known as "the pit." police and fire crews getting the call just after 10:30 this morning after the male surfer's lifeless body was pulled from the water, first spotted by a fellow surfer. >> morro bay, morro bay harbor patrol, unresponsive, north pitt and embarcadero road. >> reporter: the surfer's identity unkknown at this time. the director of the harbor patrol telling abc news the bite
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appeared to be consistent with that of a great white. authorities quickly posting signs warning families to stay out of the water. the last fatal shark attack in san luis obispo county was nearly 20 years ago. a woman was swimming with sea lions when she was attacked by a shark. >> kaylee, thank you. we turn now to the pandemic. omicron cases rising at an exponential rate. the country seeing more than 176,000 new infections each day. an increase of 45% in just the past two weeks. nationwide, many are struggling to find tests. here's trevor ault. >> reporter: tonight, the last minute rush for covid tests in the final moments before christmas. >> can't find it any place. cvs, shop rite, walgreens, walmart -- everybody's out of them. >> reporter: in queens, new york, dozens desperate for at-home tests devolving into chaos and disorder. >> those people are not in line! don't give them one! >> reporter: hundreds of cars in los angeles county snaking their way to a testing site.
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in georgia, this church offering tests hours before christmas eve service after months of promoting the vaccine. >> i would say, "do you want to save your life? you want to save the life of others?" >> reporter: with the omicron variant already dominant, the biden administration announcing it will lift its travel ban on eight african nations. the u.s. now averaging 176,000 cases a day. los angeles had just 3,000 on tuesday. today, 10,000. >> we could be looking at case numbers we have never seen before. well over 20,000 cases a day by the end of the year. >> reporter: and new york is enduring the most rapid spread. shattering its daily infection record again with 44,000 cases, up 53% in 48 hours. >> this is not the same situation we had in march of 2020, or even last winter's surge. we've had more testing and we've had more opportunities, but also we know that hospitalizations are continuing to rise. >> reporter: and with omicron crippling staffing, new york now shortening the isolation period
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for asymptomatic essential workers to just five days. that comes a day after the cdc says health care workers can cut their isolation period to seven days. the nation's largest nurses' union now blasting the move, aying it "will only result further transmission, illness, and death." president biden saying his advisers think the general public should keep isolating for ten days. >> i just listen to my team, the docs, and they think we should keep it the way it is for now. >> reporter: but tonight, much of the country will finally return to a safe christmas together, thanks to vaccines, boosters, and negative tests. >> it's our first flight since 2019, and we're triple vaxed at this point and we felt like it was okay. >> reporter: experts continue to stress, the best way to protect yourself is to get a booster shot.
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but three-fourths of american adults have still not gotten one. >> trevor, thank you. and we know a lot of you have questions about whether it's safe to gather. let's turn now to dr. patel. happy holidays to you, doctor. here we are on christmas. so many families preparing to gather. in terms of when to test, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated, what are the simplest steps to take? >> happy holidays to you as well, linsey. first of all, have a good, open dialogue, know people's vaccination status, and think about the rapid tests that should be taken right before going to a gathering. ventilation is also a good idea. not everyone can have an outdoor event. but air purifiers and open windows are a great idea as well. and think about how many people will be gathering. try to limit the amount of people, maybe split it to a couple of days, push some tables aside. do anything you can to limit that exposure.
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>> some good advice. we're seeing reports of out south africa that omicron may have peaked there. do you have concerns that the holiday gatherings will prolong omicron here? >> i do. i think people gathering together, especially during winter, is a reason that covid cases could spike up. people should assume that omicron may be visiting your holiday gathering as well. and think about everyone coming. if there is a positive case, you want to be able to do your own contact tracing, and get a test a few days after any gathering to know your status as well. >> doctor, thank you. just a few hours to finish up that last minute christmas shopping. and if you've waited this long, your options are limited, but there's still some gift options out there. here's mireya villareal. >> reporter: tonight, that mad dash to get presents under the tree before christmas morning. >> i feel like everything is already picked out. all the good stuff. >> reporter: but for some, waiting could mean big savings. old navy offering up to 75% off items in store or curbside. best buy holding a last-minute
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savings event. deals on tvs, laptops, and appliances. some items available curbside within an hour. and there's always old reliable. >> my advice to the late christmas shopper is, number one, don't panic. there is always the gift card route. these days you can just email those gift cards right to the person you're trying to give it to. >> reporter: this year, a $50 doordash gift card will cost you just $42.50. proof procrastination may pay off this holiday season. if you had advice for shoppers, what would it be? >> wait till the day after christmas and go shopping. >> reporter: she's right, if you're not seeing your family until after the holidays, you can possibly wait and get a better deal. save yourself some stress and consider waiting an extra day or two. >> thank you so much. mireya, your first time on "world news tonight." welcome to the team.
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we turn now to afghanistan. more than eight months after kabul fell to the taliban, some of the worst fears of women and girls are being realized. their dreams of education now shattered. but many are not giving up. ian pannell recently visited the country. >> reporter: tonight, the women and girls fighting back against taliban rule in afghanistan. this protest in kabul calling for bread, work, freedom, and political rights. the latest in a series of demonstrations, often met by a brutal taliban response. the militants have banned most girls from attending high school. but in a rare act of defiance some underground schools are springing up, classes being held in secret. this is an incredible thing to witness. there are a dozen girls here, all teenagers. at the moment, they are doing math and they're also learning english. a whole bunch of other subjects. the kind of things that everyone's kids take for granted. that every parent takes for
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granted, the rights for their children. but they only way they can do it is in secret, in private, and risking the wrath of the taliban. this is illegal. why are you running a school and risking everything? our girls were just sitting at home, the teacher says. i was shocked, i felt like i'd lost part of my body and i thought, i have to do something. are you worried about coming to school? >> a little. a little. >> reporter: you're worried a little bit. >> yes. >> reporter: why, because of the taliban? >> because of taliban. >> reporter: but why do you come? >> i want to become a good doctor in the future, and i want to continue my education. >> reporter: but for most women and girls here, their dreams are now dead. and working and studying remains out of the question. this was your show? >> yes. >> reporter: setara was a news
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anchor until the taliban came to town, when her station was shut down. one day you will do this again. i don't think so, setara says, because of the situation, i think i won't be able to do this again. her 13-year-old sister, zahra, no longer attends school. it was also shut down by the taliban. what would you say to children your age elsewhere in the world? they should study, and achieve, and help their country, zahra says. why is that your message? because we know what it's like not to have school. we're so stressed, zahra says, we can't even leave our home. today, they're trapped at home. rarely venturing out anymore. playing with friends now a thing of the past. the mural on the wall outside the now closed ministry for women's affairs says it all. the taliban spraying black paint over a woman's mouth who's proclaiming freedom. this is what's become of the women and girls of afghanistan.
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linsey, some women are back at work and the taliban say more will be allowed to, and that girls will be able to go back to school. but they've also been making those promises since last don't believe them.ghans simply- linsey? >> some heartbreaking realities there. ian, thank you. around the globe, many are celebrating christmas eve. but the pandemic is forcing celebrations in bethlehem to be scaled back for a second year. most international visitors are banned. the pope celebrated christmas eve mass earlier than usual. and in great britain, queen elizabeth has taped her address to the nation. this is her first christmas without prince philip. and the first couple hoping to cheer up some children at a washington, d.c., hospital. still ahead on "world news tonight" this friday, a wild brawl breaks out on a plane during the holiday travel rush. and new details related to the alleged school shooter in michigan.
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of ignoring the warning signs. filing new information in court about the shooter's alleged torture of animals. including keeping a baby bird's head in a jar. we're also hearing the dramatic 911 call that led to the parents' arrest. >> the parents of the shooter that are running away, they're here. it's crazy that people are looking for them. >> the newest details come in response to the parents' defense asking to lower their bond. currently set at $500,000 each. when we come back, a louisiana couple leads police on a 100-mile christmas eve chase. and a man paid $30 for a drawing. you won't believe how much it could be worth. as a professional bull-rider i'm used to taking chances. but when it comes to my insurance i don't. i use liberty mutual, they customize your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. wooo, yeaa, woooooo and, by switching you could even save 665 dollars. hey tex, can someone else get a turn?
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miles before taking them into custody. and one man's trash may be another man's multi-million dollar find. a man purchased this drawing for just $30 in massachusetts back in 2016. a panel at the british museum now says it could be worth tens of millions of dollars. calling it one of the most extraordinary discoveries of renaissance art in recent years. when we come back, "america strong." a community coming together. sharing their wishes for a brighter future. i'm still wowed by what's next. even with higher stroke risk due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin,... i want that. eliquis. eliquis reduces stroke risk better than warfarin. and has less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis has both. don't stop taking eliquis without talking to your doctor as this may increase your risk of stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or aormal bleeding.
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at the corner of wolverine way and beverly drive in vista, california, there is a tree. not an ordinary christmas tree, but a wishing tree set up for the holidays. >> a bunch of people around the neighborhood go and get notes from this drawer and write kind little wishes on it. >> reporter: handwritten wishes dangling on the branches of an ash tree. >> i wrote, for covid to be gone, because covid isn't that great. i've already been quarantined from my class two times. >> reporter: both the young and old writing their wishes. from presents to peace, hopes and health, little cards with big ambitions blowing in the wind. one person writing, "for a new year filled with blessings and love." another, "for a safe delivery and healthy new grandbaby due december 25th." started a few years ago by a neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous. >> when you turn the corner on the street, and you see people
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stop, making a wish, it just warms your heart. a quick recovery for all the tornado victims. >> i hope i can be enough for everyone who needs me. >> wishing for strength as we navigate the holidays without you. rest in peace. >> i wish to be a soccer superstar. >> reporter: this group with this special message tonight. >> merry christmas! and happy new year! >> warm wishes for everyone. thanks so much for watching. for david and all of us here, i'm linsey davis. merry christmas, have a great evening, and good night.
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>> building a better fate bay area, -- building a better bay area, this is abc news. >> we are crossing our fingers. >> fingers crossed. a stressful day for holiday travelers after several airlines canceled thousands of lights because of -- flights because of omicron. officials are warning the worst is yet to come. you are watching abc seven news at 6:00, live. according to flightaware, more than 10,000 flights have been delayed and more than 2400 canceled outright. our reporter was at sfo, where families are stranded and the staff says the worst is yet to come over the holiday weekend. >> call it the nightmare before christmas as omicron fears jet into holiday panic. >> i keep seeing these cael


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