tv PBS News Hour PBS May 27, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> now we're finishing the job we started. >> ifill: president obama unveiled his new road-map for drawing down american troops in afghanistan pulling all but 98,000 of them out by the end of this year, and the rest out by 2016. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this tuesday, the deadly fighting in ukraine's east escalated as battles between government forces and pro-russia militants stretch into a second day. >> ifill: plus, the push to save louisiana's westlands, as it's coastline crumbles into the gulf of mexico at an alarming rate.
>> towns are going to disappear. cities, small cities are going to disappear. new orleans itself is going to become almost too dangerous to live in. >> ifill: those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's p.b.s. newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> at bae systems, our pride and dedication show in everything we do; from electronics systems to intelligence analysis and cyber- operations; from combat vehicles and weapons to the maintenance and modernization of ships, aircraft, and critical infrastructure. knowing our work makes a difference inspires us everyday. that's bae systems. that's inspired work. >> i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved,
staying engaged. they are not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is, "how did i end up here?" i started schwab with those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. >> united healthcare-- online at uhc.com. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: egypt today
extended it's presidential election to a third day, in the face of low voter turnout. the military-backed government had already declared a public holiday and kept polls open later to boost the number of voters. islamists are boycotting the vote in the wake of an army crackdown that's left hundreds dead or jailed. former army chief abdel fatah al-sissi is all but certain to win, but he'd wanted a strong show of support. >> ifill: the islamist militant group boko haram has struck again in nigeria. officials say gunmen killed at least 54 people last night in the north. 45 of the victims were soldiers and police killed in yobe state. nine others were shot to death in two villages in borno state. the militants are still holding 270 school girls kidnapped last month. >> woodruff: in iraq, a suicide bomber killed at least 19 people when he blew himself up in central baghdad. the attacker set off his explosives inside a shiite
mosque as worshippers arrived for noon prayers. in addition to the dead, dozens of people were wounded. >> ifill: pope francis is going ahead with plans to meet with people sexually abused by priests, but a u.s. group says it will be "meaningless." the head of s.n.a.p., "the survivors network of those abused by priests," argued today the church still needs to institute real reforms. the pope addressed the issue monday, on his flight home from the middle east. >> a priest who does this betrays the body of the lord, because he has to guide this young girl or young boy, this child, to sanctity, and the child trusts him, but instead the priest abuses him. that's as terrible as, and i'm doing just a comparison, a satanic mass, for example. on this issue we must go forward, forward. zero tolerance. >> ifill: the pontiff will meet with six to eight abuse victims at the vatican, early in june. the sessions being arranged by cardinal sean o'malley, the archbishop of boston.
>> woodruff: president obama's top lawyers are looking into how the c.i.a. station chief in afghanistan was accidentally identified. the officer's name was on a list released to journalists when the president visited afghanistan sunday. the white house spokeswoman said late today the president's chief counsel will investigate and make recommendations. >> woodruff: china charged today it's been made a major target of cyber-spying by the united states. the state news agency said a lengthy investigation found the u.s. flagrantly violated international laws with its hacking. the report came a week after u.s. prosecutors charged five chinese military officers with stealing commercial secrets. >> ifill: back in this country, authorities near grand junction, colorado have called off the search for three men missing in a huge mudslide. the slide stretched for nearly three miles and was estimated at half a mile wide and several hundred feet deep in places. the side of a ridge gave way sunday, and today, officials said the ground is just too unstable to risk. >> we are not able to do what we
would like to do. what we would like to do is have every inch of this being covered with people if we could. but we don't want to create more of a tragedy than we already have. >> ifill: the slide occurred after two days of heavy rain. a smaller mudslide in washington state killed 43 people in march. >> woodruff: for the first time, the median pay of top corporate executives in the u.s. has hit $10 million. an associated press study finds that in 2013, half of all c.e.o.'s, at s-and-p 500 firms, made more than that figure, and half made less. a c.e.o. now makes about 257 times the average worker's salary. that's up from a multiple of 181 times, in 2009. >> ifill: home prices are also on the rise. the standard and poor's case- shiller index reports homes cost 12% more in march than a year ago. and on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained
69 points today to close at 16,675. the nasdaq rose 51 points to close at 4,237. and the s-and-p closed at a record high for a second straight session, adding 11 points to finish near 1,912. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: president obama's roadmap for withdrawing troops from afghanistan; escalating violence in eastern ukraine; the supreme court weighs in on an i.q. threshold for the death penalty; louisiana's crumbling coastline; today's historic meeting between the leaders of pakistan and india; plus, the pitfalls of portable classrooms. >> ifill: in the white house rose garden today, president obama declared 2014 a pivotal year in the march toward pulling nearly all u.s. troops out of afghanistan by the end of 2016. >> at the beginning of 2015, we
will have approximately 9,800, 9,800, u.s. service members in different parts of the country, together with our n.a.t.o. allies and other partners. by the end of 2015, we will have reduced that presence by roughly half and will have consolidated our troops in kabul and on bagram airfield. one year later, by the end of 2016, our military will draw down to a normal embassy presence in kabul, with a security assistance component, just as we've done in iraq. the bottom line is, it's time to turn the page on more than a decade in which so much of our foreign policy was focused on the wars in afghanistan and iraq. when i took office, we had nearly 180,000 troops in harm's way.
by the end of this year, we will have less than 10,000. >> ifill: the president's approach boils down to two sets of numbers, how many troops should remain, and how long they should stay. joining us to discuss the remaining u.s. footprint in afghanistan are two people who played key strategic roles in overseeing america's longest war. michele flournoy was the undersecretary of defense for policy during the first obama administration, the number three civilian leader at the defense department. she's now chief executive officer of the center for a new american security. and retired general jack keane was army vice chief of staff from 1999 to 2003. he was a prominent advocate of the military surges in iraq and afghanistan. he now runs his own consulting firm. michele flournoy, now at 32,000 troops on the ground. the president is talking about 9800. why is that a magic number? >> well, i think the commanders post-traumatic stress disorder on the ground asked for 25 hub
troops to continue advising and assisting afghan forces as they develop and taking the lead to secure the country and the second is to support joint counterterrorism operations. the 9,800 number is close to what commanders on the ground recommended to the president. >> ifill: jac jack keane, is tht about the number? >> not close. the commanders wanted $3,500. they wanted a conditions, not arbitrary exit date. the president just changed withdrawal from 2014 to 2016 and not much of a residual force will be in place. 9,800 troops will only be there one year to be cut in half at the end of 20145. smooth, gwen, this president has never accepted a forced level recommendation from the commanders. not from crystal.
in afghanistan, they wanted a minimum of $40,000, got 30. in iraq at the conclusion in 2011, they got nothing. and not here with this recent recommendation of 13,500 troops, and make it condition-based as opposed to an arbitrary timetable. >> ifill: michele. think the 13,500 recommendation, you have to look at the nato force as a whole and i think this commitment of nearly 10,000 u.s. troops will elicit that additional support from our key nato allies and the total will be very close to that. >> ifill: that's part of the plan or just the hope? >> no, i think there have been active discussions with our nato allies and have confidence they will contribute alongside us to the ongoing mission. i think the most controversial part of this is the timeline, but i think one thing that needs to be clarified is at the end of
2016, the president talked about an office of security cooperation, which is sort of the normal model for security assistance to various allies and partners around the world. some of those offices can be quite robust including several hundred trainers on the ground doing regular work. so the question of whether it's there, whether it's several hundred, what that number will be in the construct is still an open question and how they will be informed by positions on the grounder, presumably. >> ifill: do you think the timeline, having it by next year and drawing it almost completely down in two years, does that sound right to you? >> no, that's not a serious proposal. we'll have 9,800 troops beginning next year, 2015, and that force will only remain at 9,800 for one year. that's not a residual force, a military partnership with the afghan national security forces
to assist them and also to be able to conduct counterterrorism missions. anybody that's ever looked at the map of aflg afghanistan knok you can't conduct counterterrorism missions from a single base. that is impossible given the scale of that country and the challenges that are there. we'll risk squandering the games we have made just as we did in iraq. we're about the repeat the same mistake again. >> ifill: part of the argument at the white house that the president made and his senior officials made are things are better in afghanistan. are they better? >> there's been tremendous progress on the security front, certainly on the elections they just had very successful elections which continue under a second round on development, but the fight for afghans is not over. there's still an insurgency, security problems and other development problems on the ground, so they have been continuing their efforts for
quite some time. but the nearly 10,000 troops will allow us to cover down on all the afghan diversions where they are deployed on the four corners of afghanistan, if you will, at least as long as the force is that big. as the force comes down in sides, yes, it will have to constrict to a smaller footprint. i think the real question is how do the conditions evolve on the ground? i think today we can't know if it's going to be enough or not enough because we won't know until we see how things evolve on the ground over the next two years. >> these numbers are just a goal? >> i think it's the president's plan but i hope as we execute the plan we're informed by how conditions on the ground actually evolve. what happens with the insurgency and security at large and that should be taken into consideration as we actually execute and if our assumptions aren't holding the changes should be made. >> ifill: jack keane, talk
about how things seem to be on the ground right now. there has been much discussion over the years about if afghan forces are ready to take over protecting with their forces on their own. has that changed? >> yes, there has been significant improvement in the afghan national security forces and particularly with the stability and security we were able to achieve in the south, that is where we put the 30,000 surge forces largely in the south, and we truly drove the taliban out of there. they have tried theo come back, but the security forces, by and large, have been able to hold their own in that area. the concern has always been in the east. we were never able to put in there any of the surge forces because the president over the objection of general petraeus withdrew those surge forces after 18 months as he announced at his previous west point speech. so that is an unstable situation
where the accounting network operates and the afghans have really got their bands full in that area, and this is where the counterterrorism mission would be largely applied from kabul to the pakistani border and also where a lot of the security assistance for the afghan security forces would have to take place. and i think we're going to put a lot of that at risk. >> ifill: there's a big "if" in today's plan where the bilateral agreement has to be signed and karzai refused to sign up till now. are you optimistic it can be signed by two gentlemen in the runoff? >> yes, i think both candidates are in the runoff. they indicated that as one of their first acts they will sign the d.s.a. if elected president. they've given strong assurances. i think the president positioned
his statement today on the d.s.a. signed and i think it will be after the elections are completed. >> ifill: is it realistic? they don't like it but i think they will sign it. i don't think they'll argue with the administration over the number. i do -- i'm son vinceed either one of those who is elected president would, in fact, try to get that timeline extended beyond 2016 with the 10,000 number, not with the 5,000 number, so it can truly make a difference. >> ifill: which is the more crucial number moving forward, the time line or the troop level? >> i think the troop level is very important to reassure the afghans and stop some of the hedging behavior induced by people talking going immediately to zero. so i think that is important. but, over time, i do think that we need to make sure that
whatever drawdown time line we have, we keep checking that against conditions on the ground and if necessary make adjustments. >> ifill: michele flournoy and jack keane, thank you bother ary much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: the casualty count among separatists rose in eastern ukraine today as government forces continued to step up their offensive following the country's presidential elections. chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner reports from ukraine. >> warner: smoke billowed over eastern ukraine the airport at donetsk, and the main road leading into it, as ukrainian troops and pro-russian rebels battled for a second day around it. but government forces were back in control of the airport after calling in air strikes and paratroopers yesterday to rout the separatists who'd seized it.
the leader of the breakaway donetsk people's republic said today more than 50 died in fighting region-wide, both rebel fighters and civilians. the donetsk mayor said 40 people were killed, only two of them civilians. dozens of bodies piled up at local morgues, and townspeople braced for even more killing. >> ( translated ): all the separatists who still remain in the city of donetsk await the same fate, unless they lay down their arms, they all will be destroyed, all of them. if they lay down their arms those whose hands are not covered in blood would be spared, all the others will be destroyed. >> warner: in the city itself, unidentified men stormed and burned the main ice hockey rink in donetsk. the site was supposed to host world championships next year. and in another contested region, luhansk, ukrainian border guards said they seized vehicles and weapons from gunmen who tried to bring in munitions from russia overnight. the ukrainian offensive intensified on the heels of billionaire petro poroshenko's claiming victory in sunday's presidential election. russian president vladimir putin called today for ukraine to end
its offensive against the separatists. and foreign minister sergei lavrov warned ukraine and poroshenko to reconsider their strategy. >> ( translated ): if they are counting on suppressing resistance in the southeast with before poroshenko's expected inauguration and enabling him to go there as a victor, i don't think this will create good conditions for a warm welcome in the donetsk region. the military action has to be stopped immediately. >> warner: still, in kiev, ukraine's first deputy prime minister insisted the operation in the east will continue until, in his words, "not a single terrorist remains." a member of ukraine's national security staff told me today that as bloody as this counter- offensive is, it could get even more so once the new president takes charge.
a senior u.s. official said washington's advice to kiev is, "don't be seen as the side causing blood to flow, but the side restoring order." >> warner: we caught up with the just-elected mayor of kiev, vitali klitschko, the former heavyweight boxing champion, after he toured city hall, badly damaged in last winter's maidan uprising. we asked if he supports the more aggressive military moves, and his answer echoed what president-elect poroshenko said yesterday: >> we have to do everything to find the way to discussion. to find the way to not use the weapon. the main point for ukraine is to bring peace back to the country. >> if the separatist unrest were to continue in the east, how will it affect what you are doing here in kiev? >> ( translated ): we have to
show that we are going towards normalization, towards normal life. a mirror reflection in both places. no barricades here, no barricades in the east. how to develop this potential, the first step is to return peace to ukraine, and have business return. >> warner: returning peace will be a daunting task. even some russian-speakers from the east, like this luhansk woman we spoke with in kiev, seemed conflicted. hairdresser natalya zabet said she didn't agree with separatists who are trying to split ukraine, but she understood why some easterners voted three weeks ago to declare their own republic. >> ( translated ): we didn't have any other ways to present ourselves. we never could express our opinions in a democratic way. we from the east have never counted here in the west, >> warner: president obama today expressed support for ukraine's efforts to quell the eastern uprising, the white house said, in a congratulatory phone call to president-elect poroshenko. they plan to meet when mr. obama travels to europe next week.
>> ifill: you can see all of margaret's reporting from ukraine, on our world page. >> woodruff: the u.s. supreme court today declared a florida rule used to determine if a person is mentally fit for execution to be unconstitutional. the court has previously ruled that states cannot execute individuals deemed to have an intellectual disability. florida had been using an i.q. score of 70 as it's determining factor. but the justices, in a 5-to-4 decision said that was too rigid. for more on the decision, we turn, as always, to marcia coyle of "the national law journal." >> hi, judy. >> woodruff: great to have you back. mamarcia, what is the case abou? >> freddie lee hall has been convicted of murder in 1978.
he and another man add abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered a woman who have 7 months pregnant to steal her car in connection with a robbery and shot and killed a police officer. he'd been on death row since 1982. he brought the challenge to supreme court today, that the court decided today in which he said florida's rigid 70i.q. score cut off violated the eighth amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. >> woodruff: he scored just above that. >> he scored 71 and it's 70 or less. >> woodruff: and the justices 5-4 ruled it's unconstitutional to have a specific cutoff. >> exactly, justice kennedy wrote for the majority. first of all he said the medical and scientific communities generally look at the i.q. score as being imprecise and, in order to account for that imprecision,
they use as what is known as the standard error of measurement which produces an i.q. range in. mr. hall's case, he would have fallen within the range, 66 to 76. florida did not consider the standard error of measurement. it was a rigid cutoff. he also said that a majority -- a substantial majority of the states now use or consider the standard error of measurement. florida does not. finally, he said that every state legislature since the supreme court ruled in 2002 barring execution of the intellectually disabled, every state legislature that has considered this issue has acted in a way contrary to florida. put that together. the standard error of measurement, the substantial number of states use that, the number of states that are opposite to florida shows strong proof of the evolving standard of society, a national consensus
that a rigid cutoff is inhumane. >> woodruff: and in the centers, the opinion written by justice alito, wrote they disagreed. >> exactly. justice alito questioned justice kennedy's statistics on what the states were doing and said there was no consensus in 2002 or now that would justify invalidating florida's rule and also said the court was basing its decision primarily on the standards of a small group of professional, elite organizations such as the american psychiatric association. >> woodruff: so, marcia, you were telling me this was going to have both immediate and longer-term -- >> the immediate impact will be for mr. hall and others in approximately nine states that have either rigid cutoffs or laws that did could be interpreted to have rigid i.k. cutoffs. they will get a chance to show
additional evidence they are intellectually disabled. i think it also dig nails, jude y, this is the first time since 2002 that the court delved deeply into intellectual stability and the death penalty and sends a message, i think, to the states that sentencing courts have to be open to additional evidence in order to make a very difficult decision here. >> woodruff: so it's more than just florida, it's a number of other states that became close. >> yes, i agree. >> woodruff: marcia coyle, my thank you. >> my pleasure, judy. >> ifill: next, the coast of louisiana is crumbling into the gulf of mexico at an alarming rate. over the last 80 years, it's lost nearly 2,000 square miles, that's as big as all of rhode island. now, a political fight has broken out in the state legislature over who's going to help pay to try and repair the damage. hari sreenivasan has our story.
>> i'd like to introduce to john barry. >> hi john-- >> sreenivasan: john barry, the award-winning historian and writer, and a man who's normally holed up in a book-lined office by himself, has lately become one of the busiest men in louisiana. >> this is no just another piece of legislation. >> sreenivasan: he's been talking to rotary clubs. >> i'm john barry. >> sreenivasan: testifying before the state legislature. >> there is no debate, scientifically, about that fact. >> sreenivasan: why? barry is fighting a controversial legal and political battle to try and force the powerful oil and gas industry to pay billions for the role their dredging and drilling has played in the erosion of the coast of louisiana. >> sreenivasan: barry is best known for his book "rising tide," an account of the devastating 1927 flood in louisiana. that bestseller made him something of a local celebrity, and has given him a platform to sound the alarm about the current land-loss crisis in the state. >> we've lost close to 2,000 square miles of land, that loss continues every minute.
towns are going to disappear. cities, small cities are going to disappear. new orleans itself is going to become almost too dangerous to live in. >> sreenivasan: nearly everywhere you look in coastal louisiana, the landscape is crumbling. in the town of leeville, 80 miles south of new orleans, structures meant to last for generations are falling apart. what was once dense farmland is now gone. the main road through town now dead ends in the water even the local cemetery can't hold onto the ground around it. >> and what's happening is, it's like a cancer. >> sreenivasan: fisherman and businessman bobby lynn has been here 25 years, and he's seen dramatic changes all around him. >> you can see those little bitty islands, well 20 years ago that was just one solid piece of lush, fertile marsh, and now it's just little bitty islands and very little island left now, because every year we lose so much of it. >> it's not like losing a few
acres of beachfront property in maryland or north carolina, we're losing square miles a year. >> sreenivasan: gene turner, one of the pre-eminent coastal scientists in the region, says louisiana's coast is disappearing for several reasons: >> sreenivasan: first, the levees and dams built along the mississippi to stop floods also stop crucial dirt and sediment from replenishing the wetlands. second, not only are sea-levels rising, but these wetlands naturally sink down a bit every year, bringing in more saltwater and further damaging the marshes. and third, ever since oil was discovered here, energy companies have dredged an estimated ten thousand miles of canals through the wetlands to move their drilling rigs into place. these canals degrade the marshes on either side of their banks, further weakening the wetlands so when a big hurricane like katrina comes through, the wetlands are torn up even more.
virtually every coastal scientist here says dredging these canals has been a major contributor to louisiana's land loss. >> where there's a lot of dredging, there's a lot of land loss, where there's a little bit of dredging, there's a little bit of land loss, where there's no dredging, there's hardly any land loss. it's an inescapable conclusion. >> sreenivasan: these marshes are not only a valuable ecosystem for the entire gulf, but for hundreds of years, this huge network of wetlands has defended the city of new orleans from major storms. i'm on a levee in new orleans. these are the city's last line of defense. as the wetlands disappear along the coastline, it puts hundreds of thousands of homes here at greater risk for a catastrophic storm surge. after hurricane katrina, john barry was appointed to sit on a new regional flood protection authority board. it's job was to oversee and monitor the various flood protections being built in a part of metro new orleans. >> we recognized the danger was
increasing... >> sreenivasan: last july, alleging that the oil and gas industry's damage to the wetlands made flooding in the city more likely, the flood protection authority sued 97 oil and gas companies. >> sreenivasan: the suit argues the companies were negligent in how they operated in the wetlands, and it points to numerous permits requiring companies to repair and fill-in the canals when they were done. >> they promised in their permits, which are negotiated like contracts, that they were going to do certain things. they broke their word. they didn't do them. the law requires them to do certain things. they didn't do them. they broke their word. and they certainly haven't taken responsibility for fixing these things >> this is about billions of dollars, billions of dollars that will be put on for attorney's fees, it's not really about coastal restoration.
>> sreenivasan: gifford briggs is the vice president for the louisiana oil and gas association, which represents all but the biggest oil companies like exxon and b.p. briggs argues that the entire nation benefited from the cheap and abundant energy his industry pulls out of those wetlands. >> sreenivasan: so does the industry say that it's not responsible at all for any of the wetland damage? >> there's no denying that canals were cut, and potentially there may be impacts from the creation of those canals. but those canals were created with the blessing of the state of louisiana. with the blessing of those local governments. and in partnership with those contributed millions and billions of dollars to the state and to local governments for the production of those natural resources. >> sreenivasan: earlier this year, the industry tried to get the lawsuit thrown out in court, but a judge rejected their motion and allowed the suit to proceed. most lawsuits are fought in court, but this case has attracted so much attention, and
opposition from the oil and gas industry, that the fight moved here, to the state capitol. >> sreenivasan: governor bobby jindal, a strong defender of the industry, denounced the lawsuit, saying: and in the hallways of the state capitol in baton rouge, lawmakers who support that industry have been crafting different bills to retroactively kill the lawsuit. a bill was introduced to limit which state agencies were allowed to bring lawsuits, another bill changed how the flood control board was appointed, another even challenged how that board hired its lawyers. >> we have in my view a rogue agency of the state of louisiana benefiting trial attorneys and not working together with the rest of the state to solve our problem. >> sreenivasan: state senator robert adley, who used to run an oil and gas company and now consults for the industry, has
sponsored the majority of the bills seeking to derail the suit. adley argues that a local flood protection authority has no standing to sue an entire industry, especially when state and federal authorities permitted the industry to perform all that drilling. >> to intervene in permits that you were no party to, had nothing to do with, that's a violation of the law in my opinion. you don't have standing to do that. >> sreenivasan: so but why not just let a judge say you don't have standing to do that. why go through, i've heard anywhere from a half dozen to seventeen different pieces of legislation to try to stop a lawsuit. why not just let a judge say you don't have standing? >> their job is clearly to interpret the law, our job is to manage the state. we have that obligation. we should not just abdicate our responsibility to the courts. the people i represent would not like that very much and obviously i don't think the state would like that very much. >> the real goal is not to go to court and spend 15 years before
exxon uses up all the appeals. the real goal is to get the people round a table, solve the problem for the state, and get the money flowing and dedicated to fixing the coast. >> sreenivasan: barry points out that louisiana has spent just two billion dollars on restoration since 2008. four years later, the state drafted a $50 billion master plan for coastal restoration, but it is nowhere near fully- funded. this is why, barry says, the flood authority's lawsuit is a crucial lever. >> no amount of money is going to allow us to rebuild the 2,000 square miles that we've already lost. but we can save a lot of what is left. and you can't do that for free, however. >> sreenivasan: the lawsuit suffered a blow when the state senate passed a bill that would retroactively suspend the flood authority's ability to sue. that bill is expected to be
voted on later this week. >> woodruff: india's new prime minister made headlines this week by inviting the leader of its contentious neighbor, pakistan, to attend his inauguration yesterday. the pair followed up with a meeting today, prompting some to wonder if a mending of fences between the countries is possible in the near future. jeffrey brown reports. >> brown: it was a highly- anticipated face-to-face between nuclear-armed rivals. on his first full day on the job, india's prime minister narendra modi met with his pakistani counterpart, nawaz sharif, for almost an hour. sharif, who took office just last year, described the conversation as cordial. >> i pointed out that we were at the beginning of our respective
tenures with a clear mandate. this provides us the opportunity of meeting the hopes and aspirations of our peoples that we will succeed in turning a new page in our relations. >> brown: india's foreign secretary said modi pressed the issue of terrorism. >> it was conveyed that pakistan must abide by its commitment to prevent its territory and territory under its control from being used for terrorism against india. we also expect that necessary steps will be taken in the mumbai terror attack trial underway in pakistan, to ensure >> brown: the mumbai attack, in 2008, left 163 people dead at the hands of pakistani militants. india has complained that pakistan has slow-walked the investigation, and that the perpetrators must be put on trial. well before mumbai, the two rivals had a contentious, violent history.
they've fought four wars since 1947. and they've consistently battled over the northern region of kashmir. indeed, modi's invitation to sharif to attend his inauguration was also something of a surprise, since modi's hindu nationalist party has long advocated a tough stance on pakistan. many in pakistan remain wary of modi, who was accused of failing to protect muslims during religious riots in gujarat state in 2002, when he was chief minister there. for now, though, the door to rapprochement is open. the two nations plan to continue talks at the foreign minister level. >> brown: to assess these moves, we get two views: husain haqqani was pakistan's ambassador to the united states from 2008 to 2011. he's now a senior fellow at the hudson institute and a professor at boston university. and sumit ganguly, a professor of political science at indiana university. he's author of the book
"conflict unending: india- pakistan tensions since 1947." welcome to both of you. sumit ganguly, let me start with you. how do you read this first meeting, just the fact that it took place? how important is that? >> i think this is quite significant. this is the first time that a pakistani prime minister has been invited to the inauguration of the indian prime minister, and furthermore, mr. modi who has not been known for his warm feelings toward pakistan really broke ground. so this constitutes a very important and useful idea for the future. >> brown: how do you look at the meeting? >> i think it's positive that he liked sharif and sharif traveled to dehli.
many said it would be humiliation for him to attend the inauguration of a prime minister in indian. they have made new beginnings many times and failed. >> brown: remind us of the tension force everyone who hasn't followed it that closely even over the last few years, where are the key barriers right now? >> well, the official view in pakistan is the key barrier is the resolution of the issue over an area disputed between yaind and pakistan. pakistan walked away from india in 1947 and since then every pakistani child is stuck in school that indy is pakistan's eternal enemy. until that attitude is changed and the fact that pakistan has the world's sixth largest military but yet can still not put all its children in school which creates internal problems
in pakistan, allowing pakistan leadership to use india as the boogie man. until that's resolved, india and pakistan will go through dialogue without necessarily resolution. >> and from the indian side, where are the domestic tensions that play out and affect relations with pakistan? >> the principle issue -- principal issue from india is twofold. there is o scone stitch wednesdayy that one believes they don't need to negotiate with pakistan. that when pakistan decides it wants to come to the bargaining table and talk in sensible ways, then we can afford to negotiate with pakistan. related to this, obviously, the same con search wednesdayy would focus upon pakistan's involvement with terror, support for a whole host of terrorist organizations which are operating from its soil and have struck at india on a number of
occasions, most notably in november 2008. so that remains an important stumbling block. the other is india's own fraught relationship with the terrorist that it controls, the two-thirds of kashmir it controls where a significant portion of the population remains alienate from indian rule, and this remains also a stumbling block in any negotiations with pakistan. but the principal impediment, frankly, is most independence cans you would argue particularly, those of a more hawkish disposition, is pakistan's involvement with terror, unless it eschews that relationship, it remains a major barrier towards a normal relationship with pakistan. >> brown: we noted both of the leaders are relatively new, though they have been on the scene for some time. does that newness suggest the
possibility that the domestic tensions and bars years we talked about can be overcome? >> mr. modi certainly has an advantage, a huge mandate, he just won it, and india has consistently been a democracy. mr. sharif's position is a little more delicate. he has been elected, elected for a year, but the fact remains that pakistan has a long tradition of the military affecting itself against rulers trying to make peace with india. much to have the hawkish force in pakistan is being fed by the military and intelligence service in pakistan which everybody around the world knows to be involved with terrorist groups attacking inside india. so mr. sharif will have great difficulty overcoming resistance. >> brown: which goes further to whether he should have gone to the meeting. >> i feel he should have gone. but there are a lot of people in
pakistan using this argument against him. the fact remains in pakistan the hawkish elements uses the indian means of establishing hawkish identity. that is what liberals in packston dispute because it's not necessarily good for pakistan either. >> brown: you mentioned prime minister modi's past does not suggest a lot of -- well, he said harsh things and his party have been harsh about pakistan, but you still think there's chance to get past that now? >> i think there is a real opportunity to ge get past that now and particularly because no one can really question his credentials in terms of being too forthcoming towards pakistan or too concessionary towards pakistan in his approach. consequently, most people will report sufficient faith in him that any agreement that he reaches with pakistan will be a
considered one and one based upon the sound advice proffered by his national security team. >> brown: sumit ganguly and husain haqqani, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: finally tonight, what was seen as a temporary fix to overcrowded schools in the u.s. now appears to present unintended, long term costs in dollars and children's health. special correspondent katie campbell of k.c.t.s. seattle has this report. she works for the environmental public media project earthfix. >> reporter: when you think of a school, you might imagine something that looks like this. but many students actually spend a lot of time in buildings that look like this, this, and this. >> portables are definitely a problem. i've been in portables for around seven years. >> reporter: these pre-fab structures are the go-to, quick fix when school populations surpass a school's capacity.
compared to permanent school buildings, portables are about a third of the cost to construct. and they only take a few of days to install, compared to many months it takes to build brick and mortar schools. but more than a few children we found are sick of studying in portables. >> it feels like you've got your priorities out of order, and i feel a little bit ignored. >> reporter: portables are supposed to be temporary. something to help schools deal with overcrowding until student numbers drop or new schools can be built. try telling that to billie lane. >> pass this forward! >> reporter: she's been teaching in this portable classroom at kalles junior high in puyallup, washington for 16 years. >> the one advantage of a portable is the walls are like one big bulletin board. you can put it up anywhere and leave it. so the kids have left their mark. >> reporter: her students call it lane's world. >> this one's going on the wall! >> reporter: they say a dynamic teacher helps make up for the shortcomings of portable life. but lane admits: not all portable classrooms are as cozy
as hers. >> in some of the other portables i've been in, smell has been an issue. you walk in and they have a real bad odor in them. the lighting is really bad. it's dark. it's dank. and when it's that kind of an atmosphere, it sets a tone. >> reporter: and it turns out, portables actually can be harmful to student health. dave blake is an indoor air quality specialist for the northwest clean air agency. he's tested air quality in more than 3,000 classrooms in washington state. >> we have a lot of fancy equipment but you don't necessarily need it. you can walk into a classroom and right away, if you can smell the humanity and taste the humidity, you know you have a ventilation issue. >> reporter: blake measures carbon dioxide levels first. >> you've got 1,400 parts per million coming in. fresh outside air is about 400 parts per million worldwide. we like to keep classrooms at or below 800-1,000 parts per million. so if it's above that, we want to know why. >> reporter: high co-2 levels
indicate that students are breathing too much of their own exhaust, taking in germs from coughs and sneezes that hang in the air. other airborne particles are likely building up as well, things like dust and allergens. or volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde. the tacoma-pierce county health department is one of the few washington state agencies with consistent co-2 data for schools. they found that on average portable classrooms did not meet the federal standard for acceptable co-2 levels in spaces used for human occupancy. >> already the co-2 levels are falling with the kids gone. >> reporter: other studies show that as co-2 levels rise, student performance falls. >> as co-2 goes up, so does absenteeism. and it's notable that it's a little worse in portables, but we don't know why. >> reporter: blake also looks for signs of moisture by using infrared cameras and moisture meters. >> 8%, that's essentially bone dry. >> reporter: when a building takes on water, there's likely to be mold, a common trigger for asthma. problems get worse as portables age.
yet schools often use them well beyond their life expectancy. critics say portables should be reinvented to be healthy for they should be made from formaldehyde-free, non-toxic materials. they should have open ceilings, larger windows, skylights. and solar panels to generate electricity. instead of noisy h.v.a.c. units, they should have a natural ventilation systems to exchange more fresh air. but a portable like this is out of reach for most schools. rudy fyles is the chief operations officer for the puyallup school district. 20% of their classrooms are portable. that's four times the national average. >> portables are considerably less expensive than permanent space. >> reporter: but those savings are only short-term. studies show that over their lifetimes, portables end up costing twice as much as typical permanent classrooms. in addition to higher maintenance costs, portables are also highly inefficient and take more energy to heat and cool. and because portables are
independent structures, they often are charged residential electricity rates. >> so it's a double whammy, not only do you use more power, but you pay a higher rate for the power you're using. >> reporter: portable classrooms aren't going away anytime soon. but there might be a solution on the horizon. one of the greenest portables is being installed in a seattle elementary school. in this time-lapse video, we're seeing the first portable classroom built to meet the living building standards, the world's strictest rules in sustainable building. >> what we're trying to do is take something that was previously the weakest aspect of the school and turn it into a true asset. >> reporter: this classroom is designed to generate its own energy and harvest its own water. inside, the classroom looks fundamentally different from a typical classroom. >> you guys wanna start with a little show and tell? >> sure! >> reporter: ric cochrane helped design this classroom. today he's showing it to some
fifth graders for the first time. >> you'll see that all of this is exposed and we do that because we want to show how the structure is made. but also there's the question of where the wood comes from. >> what's that white thing up there? >> that white thing is a carbon dioxide monitor, so we make sure the air quality is good. >> and it has all these gauges and knobs and tubes everywhere that are just really cool to look at. you'd never find that in a building that had that all covered up because it's ugly. >> we wanted to play with the center beam. >> when they see systems like that are in this building that will encourage them to ask questions and poke around. >> we're trying to expose things to make every single part of the building a learning opportunity. >> reporter: right now the price tag is about $200,000, that's more than twice the cost of a conventional portable. over time, they say, lower operations and maintenance costs will more than make up the difference. for the kids who will get to use this space, is difference is priceless.
>> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. president obama announced plans to cut u.s. troops in afghanistan to 9,800 by year's end, and end the deployment entirely by the end of 2016. rebels in eastern ukraine reported they'd lost 50 killed in two days of fighting around donetsk. russian leader vladimir putin called for the newly elected ukrainian president to end the military action. and the military-backed government in egypt extended voting in the presidential election to a third day in the face of low turnout. the former army chief is virtually certain to win. >> ifill: on the newshour online right now, an anonymous group has sent hundreds of thousands of texas voters containing misinformation about that state's tea party candidates. who's behind the campaign? we've got a report from member station k.u.t in austin, plus, more from today's texas
runoff primary, on the rundown. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at president obama's response to critics of his foreign policy in an address at west point. i'm judy woodruff >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill, we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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