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tv   America This Morning  ABC  December 8, 2021 4:30am-5:00am PST

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right now on "america this morning," new data on the omicron variant of the coronavirus. how the strain compares to the delta variant and what we're learning about the pfizer vaccine's effectiveness. instagram in the hot seat. the ceo testifying today about social media's impact on teen girls and now word the app is adding new parental controls. will they be enough? we talk to an expert. workers say no deal. the strike at kellogg's drags on and how the company is fighting back as workers demand higher pay. car thefts on the rise. the new warning for drivers about which cars are being targeted and the technology allowing thieves to get away with your wheels.
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a real life-treasure is found high in the mountains. will it be finder's keepers? the karaoke machine that got a schoolteacher fired to new red wine that's just for oreo cookie fans, it's wednesday, december 8th. good wednesday morning, everyone. i'm mona kosar abdi. >> i'm ike ejiochi. andrew is off. we begin with mixed news about the omicron variant of the coronavirus. >> first the good news. dr. anthony fauci now says that the omicron variant is almost certainly less severe than the delta variant, but omicron appears to spread faster and could be more successful at evading the pfizer vaccine. >> still experts say vaccinated people are likely to be well protected. meanwhile, covid deaths across the country are surging. >> abc's 'em nguyen is here now with the very latest. em, good morning. >> reporter: good morning. the world health organization is almost certain omicron is not more severe than the delta variant. but studies are still ongoing to
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figure out vaccine effectiveness. this morning, covid-19 cases surging. about 1,100 people dying every day. that's up 57% in just the last week. and children are getting sick too. more than 1,400 american children hospitalized. 37% more than a week ago. >> you are going to see increases in cases. we still have substantial numbers of people unvaccinated. >> reporter: in los angeles, as many as 34,000 students have not yet complied with the vaccine mandate in the los angeles unified school district. "the los angeles times" reports that may not leave enough time for students to get fully vaccinated by the january 10th deadline, this as the omicron variant spreads across the country, now found in at least 20 states. but some promising news from the who is w.h.o. preliminary data does not indicate omicron is more severe than the delta variant and while it may be highly transmissible, it appears to lead to less severe illnesses.
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>> 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 pictures, but it appears that with the cases that are seen, we are not seeing a very severe profile of disease. >> reporter: the biden administration faces another blow to its covid-19 response strategy after a federal judge in georgia blocked its vaccine mandate for federal contractors. the white house pushing back. >> and our implementation sends a clear message to businesses including federal contractors that similar measures will protect their workforce, protect their customers and protect our communities. >> reporter: with the federal judge's ruling all three of president biden's vaccine mandates including for private businesses with more than 100 employees and health care workers have been put on hold by courts. we can expect more legal challenges to come, mona. >> em, thank you. tensions surrounding ukraine remain high this morning
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even after president biden's critical call with vladimir putin. during the two-hour call biden warned putin that russia will face severe economic consequences if it invades ukraine. abc's ian pannell is on the front lines where 100,000 russian troops are gathered at ukraine's border. russian backed separatists are already exchanging gunfire. >> 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 we're on the front lines, and it's really active. every few minutes another gunshot there. we hear the sound of rapid automatic gunfire there. >> russia says putin warned biden that western military activity in the region is threatening russia's security but in response, national security adviser jake sullivan says biden told putin the u.s. is prepared to take more action than it did in 2014 when russia invaded crimea. >> there is no finger wagging but the president was crystal clear about where the united states stands on all of these
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issues. >> in addition to economic sanctions, sullivan says the u.s. is prepared to send more weapons to ukraine. amazon says it's working toward a full recovery after a massive outage slowed down service for websites and streaming platforms across the country. prime video, netflix, roku and disney plus were among the streaming services impacted by the outage. smart home systems from ring to alexa also experienced some issues. some airlines even reported problems with bookings and amazon deliveries were impacted. the company says it was a server issue, not a cyberattack. we've been reporting for months here about the impact of social media on teenagers, and this morning the issue is front and center once again as instagram announces new ways for parents to keep tabs on their kids. this morning, hours before his testimony in front of a senate committee, the chief executive of instagram is revealing new parental controls coming to the platform for the first time. >> any time there are new safety
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features, parents are always like is this a little too little too late? >> reporter: instagram's ceo adam mosseri announcing new tools and features to keep them safer on instagram. the features will allow parents to set time limits and see how much time their kids spend on the app. parents can also notify if their kids are reported to instagram. >> we need to give our kids limits. we need to know what they're doing, how they're using social media and help them develop a healthier relationship with it. >> reporter: critics say the new features don't go far enough comparing them to tiktok where parents can lock a child's account. on capitol hill today, senators will question mosseri about instagram's impact on the mental health of teenagers. it comes months after a former facebook employee testified saying the company's own research showing apps like instagram can contribute to emotional problems among teens, especially among girls. >> facebook knows that its
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amplification algorithms can lead children from very innocuous topics like healthy recipes -- i think all of us could eat a little more healthy -- all the way from something innocent like healthy recipes to anorexia promoting content. facebook knows that they are leading young users to anorexia content. >> reporter: the company has pushed back against that claim saying in a statement, it is not accurate that leaked internal research demonstrates instagram is toxic for teen girls. instagram's parental controls will roll out in march. opening statements begin today in the manslaughter trial of the former police officer who shot and killed a black driver near minneapolis. kim potter says she mistook her gun for her taser when she opened fire on daunte wright during a traffic stop. activists say the veteran officer should have known better. wright's mother spoke at a meeting this week where they approved a series of police reforms. >> i wasn't even going to say
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anything tonight to be honest just because i am currently in the battle of my life for accountability for my son, but this resolution is so important, other kids that look like my son could be your children, grandchildren, their children or grandchildren. >> the police reform plan includes the creation of a department for community and violence prevention. no deal. that's what workers at kellogg's are saying to a new contract from the company. they've been on strike two months. the new contract offered a 3% raise. kellogg's is now hiring permanent replacement workers. and here in new york city, the christmas tree outside fox news channel went up in flames overnight. the cable channel reported no injuries while showing live images othe rnintree one person has reportedly been arrested for setting the tree on fire. some terrifying moments for people on this plane. just take a look. it was trying to land in manchester, england. heavy winds across the region
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topping 80 miles per hour in some areas were ossing the plane in different directions, but the pilot managed to overcome the challenge and land safely. back here at home let's check your wednesday forecast. many locations in hawaii are a muddy mess after a day's long storm dumped months worth of rain. flash flooding and landslides have cut off some areas. power is being restored in parts of honolulu after a substation flooded. on the radar right now, snow arrives in the western mountains, two feet could fall in some places. some snow is also expected in the northeast with rain farther suth. checking today's high temperatures, 30s in the midwest, slightly warmer in the northeast, but mild across the south. coming up, the real-life treasure found by a mountain climber, but can he keep it? also ahead, millions of americans are still working from home, so why is traffic so bad? and up next, new clues in
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the search for who murdered two indiana girls nearly five years ago. can social media crack this cold case?
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we're back with new clues and a cold case dating back to 2017, when two girls were found murdered. police are turning to social media. >> reporter: this morning, indiana police are openihoping on social media can solve nearly 5-year-old mystery. who killed two girls in delphi. authorities are asking for help tracking down who is behind the fake profile anthony shots. it was between 2016 and 2017 on
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snapchat and social media platforms. >> he portrayed himself as being wealthy and having sports cars. >> reporter: he said the person behind the account tried to lure young girls. police say they questioned the male model whose images were used. and he is not related to this case. but a person in custody is believed to be linked to the accounts. keegan anthony klein, who is charged with 30 felonies, including child pornography and child exploitation. but he has not been charged in connection with the delphi murders abby and libby were seen in 2017. libby recorded part of her encounter of a man on her phone, including this grainy picture. and a voice telling the girls to move down a hill. >> guys, down the hill. >> reporter: their bodies were
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found nearby the next day. all these years later, despite multiple sketches of suspects, police have yet to make arrest rests related to the murders. police have set up an e-mail and hot line for anyone associated with the account. that was used to obtain 100 illicit photos and videos of girls. a mountain climber who found a real-life treasure in europe will get to keep some of the loot. the climber found nearly $170,000 in jewels, including emeralds and sapphires on montblanc in france. a search for the owners failed. the authorities say the climber can keep half of what was found. the other half is headed to a museum. if you noticed more traffic on the road these days, you're not alone. traffic is still below prepandemic levels. but congestion is rebounding
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quickly. not in materially morning or late afternoon, but in the middle of the day. the two worst cities for traffic this year, are new york and chicago. washington, d.c. has seen one of the biggest drops in traffic since the pandemic, while las vegas has seen a major increase, as workers return. coming up, getting a raise the average pay increase that americans are getting. ahead, a new warning about car thefts on the rise. car thefts on the rise. the vehic woman: i have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. now, there's skyrizi. ♪ things are getting clearer ♪ ♪ yeah i feel free ♪ ♪ to bare my skin, yeah that's all me. ♪ ♪ nothing and me go hand in hand ♪ ♪ nothing on my skin that's my new plan. ♪ ♪ nothing is everything. ♪ woman: keep your skin clearer with skyrizi. most who achieved 90% clearer skin at 4 months had lasting clearance through 1 year. in another study, most people had 90% clearer skin at 3 years. and skyrizi is 4 doses a year, after 2 starter doses.
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here's a hungry visitor caught on a doorbell camera in colorado. the elk rang the doorbell with its antler. no one answered. and the elk wandered off. a victory for starbucks workers trying to unionize. the labor board has dismissed the request to stop an ongoing vote by workers in buffalo. the union will hurt the company's relationship with workers. americans can expect to see their biggest raise in more than a decade. a new survey finds the labor shortage is driving up salaries by 3.9% next year, the biggest jump since 2008. inflation is eating it up. a warning for more drivers. more cars are being stolen. and two particular car brands may be especially vulnerable. as police departments across the country report a dramatic increase in car thefts, one city
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may sue two automakers whose vehicles are a favorite among thieves. milwaukee is on-base to pass 10,000 vehicle thefts this year, more than triple the number in 2016. and more than 68% of the vehicles are kia or moneydhundr >> it is having an impact on the quality of life of thousands of citizens. >> reporter: the suspects are 16 and under. teens have glamorized the crime. targeting a certain year. a design flaw allows them to be stolen without an alarm. >> you don't need to be a fancy tool to get it started. >> reporter: the two car companies handed out steering wheel locks this summer. they failed a lawsuit, claiming the vehicles were equipped with sub par measures.
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meanwhile, other car thieves are going high-tech. police say criminals are now attaching air tags to cars to track a vehicle so they can steal it later. >> they can tell where the vehic vehicle's location is. and they can wait and commit the theft on their watch. >> reporter: police have a new tips for drivers. park in a garage. inspect your car regularly. if you have an iphone, make it's on. that way, you get a notification if an air tag is moving with you. >> kia and hyundai meet safety standards. number one, mackenzie scott, the most powerful woman. she was noted for her charitable donations, giving away nearly $3 billion. kamala harris is number two. oprah and taylor swift made the list. coming up, a surprise for fans of "national lampoon's
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time to check "the pulse." we begin with people playing video games behind the wheel. >> tell me about it. tesla added a feature to its vehicles, allowing video games to be played while the car is in motion. >> there's a safety feature. users press a button that says i'm a passenger. next, a bizarre moment for students in austin, texas. >> they were shocked when a substitute teacher brought a karaoke machine to class. take a look. ♪ >> oh, boy.
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the video shows the substitute belting out "toxic" by britney spears. he was relieved of duty. >> the school spokesperson says i heard worse covers but the lights are a bit much. a special treat for fans of "christmas vacation." >> they were visiting a location and were shocked to see chevy chase working at the pickup window. >> he was in town for a screening of a movie. he grabbed a bite and helped the workers. next, an expensive display in raleigh, north carolina. >> it's a house dripping in diamonds and other precious stones. it features 94 ka rcarcarats diamonds and a rolex of the clock tower. the number one wine and chocolate pairing. >> the team behind oreo cookies, is teaming up with barefoot
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