tv America Tonight Al Jazeera September 28, 2013 12:00am-12:31am EDT
>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler. here are the night's top stories. u.n. members voted unanimously on the historic resolution on friday evening. members of the house are unhappy that the senate passed a spending measure that doesn't strip the affordable care act act. more nsa abuse. the agency admits some employees have lifnld in on phone calls and looked at e-mail that had nothing to do with national
security. a letter from the nsa's inspector general documents cases since 2003. in most cases the accused are employees have resigned, no criminal prosecutions have taken place. beginning december 21st, new jersey gays federal tbhafts they could get if they were illegally married. that's the news at this hour. i'm john siegenthaler. america tonight is up next. i'll see you back here monday night and you can get the latest news on aljazeera.com. see you back here later. >> on america - a surprising new connection - the president's speak. could it be the first call in a new relationship between washington and tehran? >> the very fact that this was the first communication between
an american and iranian president since 1979 underscores the deepness between our countries and indicates the prospect of moving behind that difficult history. >> also tonight - speeding into trouble - grand theft auto v rockets into record sales. but critics want to put up brutality. >> you can't be a superhero in real life. fantasy. >> there's not a lot of doubt about who is responsible for climate change, but why is there any?
>> and good evening. i'm joie chen. it has been an historic day in the diplomatic world on a couple of fronts, but it began with a big, although brief phone call for the first time from 1979 that is, indeed, more than 30 years contact between iran and united states was established. president obama's phone call from president obama to hassan rouhani capped off a week of drama at the united nations. president obama said the two men discussed differences over rain iran's nuclear program. >> i spoke on the phone with iranian's president hassan rouhani of iran. we discussed efforts to reach an agreement over the nuclear program. i reiterated to president hassan rouhani what i said in new york, while there'll surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, i believe we solution.
>> indeed, the conversation revealed every sign of a new and quite modern relationship growing between the two leaders. the iranian president didn't use the back channels or media leaks to let the world know of his chat. he logged on to twitter, tweeting to the president in regards to the nuclear issue with political will, there is a way to rapidly solve the matter. we are hopeful about what we see from the p 5 plus 1 and your government in particular in the coming weeks and months. i express my gratitude for your hospitality and phone call. have a good day". >> to under the context we turn to the new america foundation, and an author. and ellen laipson who served at the top levels who is president of the simpson center. we see this as a surprise.
why did it happen? >> i think expectations were so high that president hassan rouhani and president obama would bump into each other in a hallway, and i think the rainians must have been watching that the press was characterising hassan rouhani's visit as a disappointment that there hadn't been the direct contact. president obama comes back to washington and lo and behold the iranian delegation signals that before he leaves america he'd like to have a form of contact. it was rather quickly put together - it's a surprise but an interesting surprise. >> did you see the u.s. was sort of the push on this, had been leaning for - leaning toward it? >> we had been signalling that spontaneously things would happen, but signals a few days earlier had been don't rush the rainians, they are not quite ready. there was a sense in hassan rouhani's delegation that he was
not ready to handle a face to face meeting, but the phone call was a good compromise. rouhani. >> he hads a problem. iran's economy is deteariating. they are losing $5 million is a month as a result of sanctions. he was sent to new york with a breach, and that was to find ways to ease sanctions. his brief was not find a solution to the nuclear file, that's barack obama's brief. the two briefs will come together. the devil will be in the details. when you read the iaea international atomic energy agency report on iran, there's 72 items, 50 of which are disputes. the devil will be in the detail. this is an historic day. it has to be tempered by the reality of the long slog. >> >> all the parties are signalling they can move forward. there has been years of negotiation where we've tested the parameters of an arrangement
that might be minimally acceptable to both sides. >> what would be a short-term change? would that be 6 months, a year? >> i think it will take 6 month to a year to work out the details. in the first meeting, to plan the october recommencement of negotiations the rainians were more forward leaning, and may have signalled the parameters of what they are willing to talk about. whether it's curtailing some of their activities, being willing to export and cap enrichment at a certain level. the details will be worked out, but the p 5 plus 1 were impressed with a different attitude and energy level from the iranian side. >> the tone is different from the ahmadinejad area. minister. >> yes. >> both of these gentlemen you see as being more outward?
>> absolutely. when i say he has a big problem, i also don't want to minimise the fact that hassan rouhani is a man who believes that rain's isolation from the world -- that iran's isolation from the world is detrimental. the foreign minister believes that too. there's philosophy. hassan rouhani has travelled to europe and negotiated with europeans, did a ph.d. in sclnd. now, the two men are two men and they are not the most powerful two men in iran. the supreme leader supreme leader khamenei has veto power. >> there's plenty of sceptisise m as well. >> so much is happening, the u.n. security council voting on the syria question, and now ensuring that there is going to be inspection, right? how big a
development is this? >> it's a remarkable achievement happening more quickly than the progress in the u.s.-iran nuclear talks. praise is due to the russians and secretary kerry and his team for working seriously and getting the syrians to agree to this. some are unhappy because they think removing the chemicals does not end the war or give bashar al-assad a new lease on life. i think that having to acknowledge that giving up one of his strategic assets could, over time, contribute to a weakening of his regime. >> last quick word. >> one thing that will be important to watch out for is while the process goes on, does this mean that washington steps back from supporting rebels to bashar al-assad. that will be important to watch. >> we'll see. comments. >> coming up on america
it took three days for grand theft auto v to go from zero to $1 billion in sales. that is faster than any form of entertainment ever. if you are not a gamer it might be hard to understand the attraction of this lawless fantasy world where players are lost in high-speed joy rides and souped up cars, bloody assassinations and disturbing scenarios played out in the game and in our report from america's lori jane gliha. >> the cops are coming. get out of here. take cover. everybody. i don't know where my gun is. vehicle? >> no. i'm going to steal another vehicle. >> even though these a long way from getting an official washington dc drivers licence, 11-year-old nico can cruise anywhere and do anything he
wants as a virtual player in grand theft auto v. >> normally i'm a good driver, but... >> sure. >> i do kind of like doing in this game something that you can't do in real life. in real life you can't kill people like this. in this game you can. >> what do you feel like when you do that? >> that it's - it's not very good. it is kind of fun to do some of the stuff though. kind of like if you are a superhero in a game you can't be a superhero in real life. it's fun to have the fantasy sort of. >> the game is labelled mature and designed for ages 17 and older because of the intense nudity. >> nico's mum says her seventh grater is sophisticated enough to be among the millions of fans to try the game during its first week on store shelves. >> how did you make the decision
to allow him to play the game? >> we spoke with nico. he explained that he knows it's fiction, it's not real life. he is a well-rounded kid. we thought he was mature enough to know that that's a game, and when i apply that in real life. >> developers at rock star games spent five years and more than $260 million fine tuning realistic graphics and developing a story line filled with sex, stealing, shooting and killing. the intense production paid off. it's on track to be the time. >> it is not just unpress dented in the world of video games, it's unpress dented in the world of entertainment. >> what makes the game popular? >> rock star doesn't make a lot of games. when they make games they garner
a lot of attention. this is their crown jewel, their star wars, and they are known for making emissive experiences, you can go into the world and play the game they want you to play and roam around. >> players can follow a story line by accepting violent missions including robberies and >> >> or they can enter an alternate virtual world of free play where they choose their own adventure in a southern california town. >> it's overrated tv. >> a satirical take on the city of los angeles. >> who is this guy? characters. >> we asked new york video game journalist brian to take us inside the critically acclaimed world of grand theft auto v. >> this has a working, you know, like roller-coaster. i'll run up here and i can actually go up the stairs, if i don't run out of breath.
roller-coaster. >> it's so cool. it's not all violent. >> no, no. if you really wanted to, barring the story, if you didn't care about the story, you could exist violent. >> if you could pick out the best thing in this game, what would you say it is? >> i think it's scope. the ability to do what you want in this game is something that people are not used to. you don't go into a movie theatre, watch a movie and say, "i don't want to see the end, i want to check this out." >> characters can swim, play tennis and golf with their friends. they can watch a movie. >> they have created an entire world that is absolutely a sat earical look at the united states. and at politics, at everything that people are into right now. there's a lot of that. i think that is really genius.
>> as enticing as the game is, it would not be recommended for brian's 12-year-old son. >> why do you say this is not a game made for kids? >> it deals with serious topics, and i think that if you look at the satire, for instance, that's the sort of stuff that will go over a kid's head. >> how would you describe the violence in this video game. >> you can't deliver an experience for gamers allowing them to decide what they want to do unless you allow them to decide what they can do. if they decide to be violence, this is a game that says, "okay, be violent", unlike other games. >> this is a sign of how realistic the characters can be. i'm the guy with the club. i can beat someone for no reason and beat him and use the club to hit whatever i want. >> why you keep hanging around this clown... >> the game contains a lot of racial slurs.
and an opportunity for the male protagonist to receive a lap dance and touch a nude woman inside a virtual strip club. innocent bystanders can be punched, kicked beaten and shot to death. violence can be extreme. we wanted to know what effect a game like this could have on a person holding the controller. >> we don't have clear-cut research showing that there is a cause or a causal relationship between violent video games and actions that people take. >> dr michael fraser is a new york city clinical psychologist addiction. >> there are so many factors involved, including psychiatric history, parenting style. >> dr fraser says a child struggling with stress and social pressures might be likely to use emissive video games like grand theft auto to escape from real life. that, he says, could lead
to hours of obsessive playing, bringing problems, especially away. >> it's almost like a withdrawal behavioural cycle. they may not spend as much time paying tapes to hi gen, showers. these are the games that lend themselves to those problems. >> what do you say to the people that say this is not a good game for kids? >> like mum said, it depends on the kid, on what they are like, their personalitiy. >> a bigger question is of all the things we can put in front of our children, why put this image and video game in front of them when there are so many . >> it's about to explode. >> nico says his extracurricular life is balanced and filled with sports and music.
he's too busy to become obsessed but plans to play the most popular video game in the world. >> that report from our correspondent lori jane gliha. we did, by the way, reach out to the games developer rock star games for comment. they did not respond by our deadline. we want to talk about video games and personnel warnings. here is daniel breen burg, a freelance game developer and a member of the international game association and chair of antisocialship committee for that association. you must face this question often when a game like this, particularly one as popular as this is released with this level of violence. have to wonder. since you know the issues will come up, why wouldn't the gaming community self-limit the kind of games? >> well, that's like telling steven spiel berg he needs to self limit what he puts in
movies because some people might be offended. i don't believe in telling video artists - and video game developers are artists - what they can talk about. no one says "breaking bad" is causing a nation of meth dealers, no one says the godfather movies are making a nation of criminals. people are willing to scapegoat, like in the 1950s when batman and wonder woman were the cause of juvenile crime. >> i dispute you. people were critical of the levels of violence in godfather and "breaking bad." people criticise that. it's not exclusive to the video game world. >> it has not caused harm nor being blamed for harm that people are eager to jump to with video games. >> let's agree to disagree. >> okay, certainly. >> the parts that i wonder about is if you have this level of development - i mean, in part it's not so much the level of
violence is worse or is it just because you are better at producing games, more realistic in your industry, your art is better now, perhaps than it was a couple of years ago. is that part of the reason that it draws an emotional reaction. >> movies are more realistic. video games, i think, are criticised because they are new and different. everything new and different undergoes a period of criticism for being responsible for the ills of culture. i have heard that when novels were first created they were blamed for the ills of society. rock'n'roll. all the things that are the touch stones of your culture that we now know are good were at one time blamed for being bad, like video games now. >> there has been criticisms, for example, of elvis presley rocking and rolling, as it were. there is that, and there is the concern about the influence. is there a level of violence that is too much to be depicted.
is there something too extreme. is there an illustration that game? >> trying to contrain people who are creative because of my opinions has been... >> you personally... . >> i have my own limits about what i like to do, what i work on. i have made games with violence in them, depicting violent situations and i have my own decisions about how to make the games. i like to make games where a player has a choice, where the player makes a chaise and faces the commences -- choice and faces the consequences of that joys. a lot of players play games where there's violence, but if a player can avoid the violence and play the game and win anyone. >> as is the case in lori jane gliha's report, in grand theft auto, you can play golf and not shoot anyone. >> there are games where you can
women's prisons. ic of overcrown >> the system is setup to do exactly what it's doing - to break people and to keep them broken. as we reported on the program last night an international panel of scientist is more certain than ever that climate change is caused by us, humans. why, arrives jake ward, correspondent, are they 100% sure? >> i'm jake ward. i'm the editor of popular science magazine. it is about the future. we are pretty much explaining ideas that we think are going to
have a big impact on the next five, 10, 15 years. that could be anything from neponry to a prosthetic eyeball to climate change. we covered climate change for decades at this point. i get letters from readers who take issue with our coverage of global warming. this reader tells me there's overwhelming evidence that global warming is a hoax. to get to the technical solutions that we have to achieve in order to combat climate change, we have to agree that it's happening. the ipcc is an inter-governmental entity composed of over 120-member countries, bringing together an incredible number of scientists to review research out there about climate change. it is the human races defining organization for understanding the causes and implications of climate change. in 1995 they released a report saying there was 50% certainty
that climate change was manmade. in 1997 they were of 66% sure, in 200790% sure, and this year 95% sure. when people here the 95% number, i understand the reaction - 95%, why is it not 100%, is there a 5% chance it's caused by something we haven't looked at. the thing to understand about the notion of scientific certainty is there is no such thing. there is a very vocal small minority that is trying to sort of sow doubt in the findings. for me the role of doubt is crucial. it should be there. to mobilize take these small amounts of scientific doubt and try to use them to up end the whole finding, that is when things begin to become poisonous. as early at the 1950s it was becoming clear to a large number of scientists that tobacco and cancer seemed to be related in some which. >> there is a definite significant health hazard
smoking. >> around that time the tobacco industry began funding biomedical research to not disprove all of these findings, but to raise doubts about this them. it was just enough research to create the impression of debate. the institutes that began with tobacco eventually turned toward global warming and began to use the same tactics of creating the impression of debate in the global warming era as they did back when big tobacco ruled the land. i hope i can play a role in helping people understand the ambiguity is a natural part of this process, when the vast majority of scientists reach a conclusion that it is not like they all liked the same movie. it's science. they did the research. they wouldn't come out publicly in support of this stuff if they it. >> that's jacob ward. that
>> in 1996, sonja marcus was sentenced to a maximum of life in california prison. >> i couldn't believe it. it did not compute, they're taking your life. i was 46 years old. >> her crime: possession of less than a gram of heroine. >> how do you call yourself a judge with the interest of justice and look at somebody and... tell somebody i'm going to take your life because you have an abuse problem against yourself? >> 18 years later, sonja is out because californians amended the state's notorious three strikes law. >> this was how much room there was between my bunk and my lockerpr