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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 28, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> sreenivasan: good evening, i'm hari sreenivasan. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight... >> the two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between israelis and palestinians. >> sreenivasan: secretary of state john kerry warns israeli prime minister netanyahu that his continued support of settlements in the west bank undermines peace in the region. also ahead, donald trump's promise to drain the "special interest" swamp of washington. can the president-elect succeed where previous politicians failed? plus, a banner year for television, from a story of young rappers trying to make it in atlanta to louis c.k.'s surprise web series. >> i haven't even heard of some of these shows and it's my job to watch television, that's how
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much great stuff is out there. it's ridiculous! >> sreenivasan: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> we can like many, but we can love only a precious few, because it is for those precious few that you have to be willing to do so very much. you don't have to do it alone. lincoln financial helps you provide for and protect your financial future because this is what you do for people you love. lincoln financial-- you're in charge.
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>> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention. in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> sreenivasan: from president- elect trump today, an announcement of new jobs coming to the u.s. they're from telecom giant sprint and one-web, a satellite firm that plans to offer low- cost internet access around the world. mr. trump spoke at his mar-a- lago resort in florida, and said it's all part of a japanese billionaire's pledge to invest $50 billion dollars in the u.s. >> we have a combination of sprint for 5,000 jobs, and that's coming from all over world, and they're coming back into the u.s. which is a nice change, and also one web, 3,000 jobs, it's a new company. >> sreenivasan: separately, the president-elect accused president obama of making "inflammatory statements" and throwing up "roadblocks." he tweeted: "thought it was going to be a smooth transition -- not!" later, though, he told reporters that it's all going "very, very smoothly." president obama has designated new national monuments in utah and nevada this evening. the bears ears monument in utah, covers more than 1.3 million acres of tribal lands, with an
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estimated 100,000 archaeological sites. in nevada, the gold butte national monument will cover 300,000 acres. it's near where rancher cliven bundy led a standoff with federal agents in 2014. there was talk today of a nationwide cease-fire in syria, worked out by turkey and russia. the state-run turkish news agency reported it's happening, but the two governments would not confirm it. syrian rebel leaders called such talk "premature." meanwhile, turkey said again it is still opposed to keeping bashar al-assad in power. russia supports the syrian president. russian search teams have recovered the second flight recorder from a russian military plane that crashed into the black sea. all 92 people on board were killed in sunday's disaster. crews pulled the second recorder from the water today, and investigators voiced hope that its data is intact. >> ( translated ): the handles are not broken, which is the first sign showing that probably, it isn't damaged inside, if there wasn't any impact of the saltwater, then
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the tape will be in a good condition. >> sreenivasan: two russian news outlets reported that just before the crash, a cockpit crew member yelled about a problem with the wing flaps and then shouted that the plane was falling. german authorities have detained a second suspect in the attack on a berlin christmas market last week. prosecutors say the tunisian man was a contact of anis amri. he is believed to have driven the truck that killed 12 people. amri was shot dead last week by police italy. it's unclear what role the new suspect might have played in the berlin attack. greece says it plans to build smaller detention centers, to improve living conditions for migrants on outlying islands. the greek migration minister the goal is to reduce crime and speed up the asylum process for some 15,000 people. meanwhile, another 48 migrants were rescued today between the greek island of chios and the turkish coast. they were packed on to a rubber dinghy. back in this country, the man convicted in a church massacre in south carolina says he will not present witnesses or evidence, as he faces a possible death sentence. dylann roof spoke as his own
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attorney at a hearing in charleston today. the punishment phase of his hate crimes trial begins next week. the jury already found roof guilty of killing nine black worshippers in 2015. wall street sold off today, after a sharp drop in home resales for november. the dow jones industrial average lost 111 points to close at 19,833. the nasdaq fell nearly 49 points, and the s&p 500 dropped almost 19. still to come on the newshour: the increasingly complex relationship between the u.s. and israel. what will it take for donald trump to keep his promise to "drain the washington swamp?" a look back at 2016 through the lens of science, and much more. >> sreenivasan: tensions flared again today between the obama administration and the israeli government of prime minister benjamin netayahu. the verbal fireworks came after the united states abstained from voting on a united nations
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security council resolution which condemned the continued construction of settlements on the west bank. today secretary of state john kerry joined the fray. margaret warner begins. >> warner: it was a parting warning-shot that pulled no punches: >> friends need to tell each other the hard truths, and friendships require mutual respect. >> warner: secretary of state john kerry today blamed israel's "most right wing government ever" for expanding jewish settlements into palestinian areas in a way that will make a two-state solution impossible to achieve. >> here is a fundamental reality: if the choice is one state, israel can either be jewish or democratic, it cannot be both, and it won't ever really be at peace. >> warner: that, he said, is why the obama administration chose not to veto last friday's u.n.
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security council condemning settlement building as illegal. >> the vote in the u.n. was about preserving the two state solution. that's what we were standing up for: israel's future as a jewish and democratic state, living side by side in peace and security with its neighbors. >> warner: kerry, who spent years trying to broker israeli- palestinian peace, firmly denied israel's charges that the u.s. helped draft the resolution. kerry pointed to the relentless growth of jewish settlements east of the 1967 border into formerly palestinian territory of the west bank captured by israel in the six day war. there are 270,000 more jewish settlers in the west bank today than in the early 1990's, he noted-- 100,000 more than when president obama took office. >> it's not just a question of the overall amount of land available in the west bank; it's whether the land can be
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connected or is broken up into small parcels like swiss cheese that could never constitute a real state. >> warner: israel's prime minister fired back that the speech focused "obsessively" on settlements. >> i must express my deep disappointment with the speech today of john kerry, a speech that was almost as unbalanced as the anti-israel resolution passed at the u.n. last week. >> warner: earlier, his government delayed approving nearly 500 new israeli homes in disputed east jerusalem. today's exchange closes out a rocky eight years between the obama administration and netanyahu's government. the u.s. has given israel the most military aid ever. yet last year netanyahu went around the white house to try to get congress to undercut the iran nuclear deal. he's now counting on the next u.s. administration.
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last week, president-elect trump called for the u.s. to veto the u.n. resolution. and before kerry's speech, he tweeted: "we cannot continue to let israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. stay strong israel, january 20th is fast approaching!" mr. trump has pledged to move the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. and, he plans to nominate david friedman, a firm supporter of expanding settlements, as ambassador to israel. >> sreenivasan: for more on kerry's speech, the u.n. security council vote and the state of u.s. israel relations, we get the views of two men with extensive diplomatic experience in the middle east. retired ambassador james jeffrey was assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, and was u.s. ambassador to iraq from 2010 to 2012. he's now at the washington institute for near east policy. ilan goldenberg was part of secretary kerry's negotiating
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team during the 2013-2014 final status talks. he's now at the center for a new american security. gentlemen, i want to ask you boitd, ilan goldenberg, i want to start with you, what's your reaction to kerry's speech today? >> i think it would be a more meaningful speech perhaps two years ago, and at the it of the day, it's a swan song at the very end, but there are still some very valuable things in it. kerry led what was only the third time ever that we've had final status negotiations between israelis and palestinians over the entire course of the history of the conflict. so i think he had things the add. i think it was important in the context of the incoming administration that, you know, openly questioning whether or not we'll continue to actually support this two-state solution given who they have nominated to be the next ambassador to israel. and in this context, i think more than anything what shown through is somebody who worked for kerry on these issues both in the senate and at the state department was the man clearly deeply cares about the issue.
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he clearly cares about the future of the jewish state. and he was really willing to go out there, despite a lot of criticism, and say this. and i also thought the other thing i'd say about the speech was it was much more balanced i would argue than the u.n. security council resolution really did address both the question of palestinian incitement and support for violence, which is a key problem and a key obstacle in the future of the two-state solution, but it also gave the most eloquent explanation we've seen of what the problem with the settlement enterprise. is you can't have a situation where you have 90,000 israeli settlers now living outside areas that even israel acknowledges will be part of a future palestinian state, and you try the remove just a few hundred of them as israel did a couple months ago and is still debating, and it causes a huge political crisis. how are you ever going to get to a situation where you can
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actually get to a two-state solution or move the types of populations you're going to have to move to get to that. >> sreenivasan: jeffrey, your reaction? >> let me start with the good. kerry finished with a six-point way forward which reflectings long standing u.s. policy, but it was done in a balanced and comprehensive way. so that's on the good side. less good is the language of his explanation of what the united states was doing in the u.n. and what our basic policies are. ilan is right. kerry was much more temperate than that frankly crazy u.n. resolution, but he still made the same error, which is to blame the entire problem in the peace process on israel and these settlements, and that isn't the only problem, and secondly, to elevate this israeli-palestinian dispute to one of the key threats to security in the middle east. good grief. we just saw what happened in
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syria with aleppo. we have isis still on the road. we have russia intervening in the region. this is not on anybody's top-level priority list in the middle east. why the administration at this late hour went into this thing the way it did, totally exasperating the israelis is beyond me. >> sreenivasan: james jeffrey, there have been u.n. security council resolutions that have come and gone for years and years, why did this have the diplomatic ripple effect it's been having in. >> good question. i've been back all the way to 1947 and u.n. resolution 181. never have i seen language like this that the u.s. let go through. illegal acts by the israelis, flagrant violation of international law and on and on and on, imperilling peace. i went back to resolution 660, which was what the u.n. did when saddam marched into kuwait. that resolution is not as strong as this one. it's that kind of blaming israel for everything thing that is emotional, has launched this
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reaction in israel, and it will not help the cause of peace. when palestinian leader abbas gave his reaction to kerry's speech, he gave the usual boilerplate about how if israel stops the settlement, we will continue to work together under international lawful now that resolution is international law, and it basically condemns the major israeli negotiating point, trading land for peace, into the category of illegal occupation totally. >> sreenivasan: ilan goldenberg, is there a significant change in the relationship between the united states and israel, as margaret pointed out in her tape, we just approved $38 billion in military aid. >> i want to go back to the last point jim made. i agree with a lot of what he has to say. but i don't think this resolution fundamentally changes international law or standing. i think the language in it comes directly from the u.n. security council resolution 465, which used the exact same language when discussing settlements.
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obviously there's problems with the language and the fact that, you know, the resolution does not differentiate between east jerusalem and settlements that are deep in the west bank. i think ideally it would be good to have that kind of language, but it's just not true, that language does not exist in any u.n. security council resolution. you can't get the security council to agree to it. that's why you have kerry alternatively coming through and laying out the american position afterward, which very clearly talks about swaps that are agreed upon between the parties and addresses that concern. and actually even the resolution itself, to some extent, addresses that concern. it says that swaps will be part of... will have to be agreed to between the parties. i really question the notion that this resolution fundamentally reorients overall the negotiating terms of the two-state solution, but i agree that the u.n. security council is ultimately and has been quite anti-israel in its various
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positions over the years. the reasons to abstain is because the language wasn't american policy and because the venue is not as credible as it could be if it were more balanced in its approach and actually dealt more seriously with other issues that jim mentioned, like syria and didn't single out the israelis. so i would argue that the language doesn't fundamentally change anything. settlements are still a huge problem. but at the same time, you know, yes, settlements are still a huge problem, but still this is better than any of the alternatives i saw out there. >> sreenivasan: james jeffrey, this is the strongest alliance that's existed in the world for decades. how does what happened in literally one couple of sentences at the u.n. security council with only about three or four weeks left in an administration change that alliance? >> it won't change the alliance fundamentally because we'll have a new administration that gets to start from zero, but it will start with a new international
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status. here's where i would disagree with ilan. he's right about 465. he forgot to add that has passed 36 years ago. since then we haven't seen any language like this. that language does have an impact at the international level as israel tries to formaggioal and informal alliances on things like the might against isis in the sinai with egypt, one of the countries that sponsored the resolution, and deacon flyckt our operations in syria and lebanon with russia. these things do count in international relations. this is a very bad steph. >> sreenivasan: james jeffrey, ilan goldenberg, thank you both. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: we turn now to domestic politics and potential changes ahead under a president trump. specifically, changes in washington, where mr. trump has pledged to "drain the swamp." lisa desjardins reports.
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>> desjardins: he repeatedly rallied supporters with around the promise, as candidate and as president-elect: >> my contract with the american voter begins with a plan to end government corruption. and to take our country back from the special interest. i want the entire corrupt washington establishment to hear and heed the words. we're going to drain the swamp of corruption in washington, d.c. >> desjardins: and as president- elect, donald trump has laid out some specifics. consider trump's "contract with the american voter," the blueprint for his first 100 days as president. amending the constitution to put term limits on members of congress, six years tops for house members, 12 years for senators. a little further down: there's a five-year ban on white house and congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government.
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and just under that: a lifetime ban on his white house officials from ever lobbying for foreign governments. mr. trump is not the first to make with this cry. consider then-candidate obama in 2008... >> the key is whether or not we've got priorities that are working for you, as opposed to those who have been dictating the policy in washington lately. and that's mostly lobbyists and special interests. we've got to put an end to that. >> desjardins: president obama banned former lobbyists from serving in his white house, but also gave some waivers. as for mr. trump, some of those he's picked to help him "drain the swamp" also happen to be long-time washington hands: mick mulvaney, his pick for budget director, is a three-term congressman. and his health secretary choice, tom price, has been in congress for more than a decade. meantime, some question if mr. trump is serious about his pledges, especially after former house speaker newt gingrich said this to npr last week about the "drain the swamp" motto: >> i'm told he now disclaims that.
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he now says it was cute but he doesn't want to use it anymore. >> desjardins: but gingrich issued a full reversal the next day, saying he was wrong and the president-elect trump is indeed serious about "draining the swamp." i'm joined by two guests with careers focused on how washington works. paul miller is founder and president of the national institute for lobbying and ethics and sheila krumholzm is executive director of the center for responsive politics. welcome to you both. paul miller, let's start with you. clearly vote verse a message for washington. they feel those in power may not be connected to the rest of the country. donald trump is responding with some of these ideas, like a lobbying band. do lobbyists understand that argument, and how do you react to what mr. trump is proposing? >> we understand it. i'm not sure the rest of washington gets it, i.e., congress. this election wasn't about banning lobbyists. this was about gridlock in washington, and members of congress have the ability to vet on or pass legislation. we do not. we do get that.
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the things mr. trump is talking about, one, i would deem several of them unconstitutional. and the others just unworkable based on the system that we have in place today. >> first, lobbyists aren't without influence. to put all of washington's problems on the elected, is that completely fair? >> i would say yes. i don't have a voter card, unlessed i missed it the day it was handed out. i don't get to sign legislation into law. i'm not the one sending myself fund-raising notices asking for money. so members of congress and the straight could just this their thing, and they don't have the say, hey, it's the lobbyists' fault. it's their fault. >> what is the problem with saying, if you choose to work for government, you must for five years after that not become a lobbyist for government? why is that... what problem is there with with that? >> we haven't seen all the details of what mr. trump is proposing. it's always the devil in those details, but some legislation is
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being proposed by members of the house, this five-year ban is for executive... members of the executive branch. it doesn't say a member of congress who leaves, you have to have a five-year ban, there's only a two-year cooling off period for current members of congress. now for executive branch officials it's five years. >> sreenivasan: do you have a problem with that on its own? >> i do on the five year, yes. the two year is fine by my standard. this is an honor system program anyway. my issue with this whole thing is that, one, where else in america, what profession do you tell them they cannot practice their craft? we talk about voters today. they don't want career politicians. so you should want people coming in and out of government, and today the ban prohibits that. >> sheila krumholz, what do you think about what donald trump is going here? is it time to restrict lobbying activities? what do you make of this? >> we've overdue for the
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conversation. it's one we had in the first term of the obama administration when he campaigned in 2008 in particular. but it's easy to score points on bashing washington. that's just a perennial on any presidential campaign. and lobbyists come in for most of the slugs. i see paul reacting. it is an industry that i think bears more scrutiny because their whole job, their mission is to buy and trade influence. they have access, so if you want to sell a product and you need to navigate the halls of power and you're not familiar with washington or how legislation gets passed or how regulations get stopped, it is helpful to hire a lobbyist to help you navigate. >> you're saying they play an important role in washington. >> absolutely they play a important role, and they provide
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information. more information is good. >> my question to you both, though, is clearly do you play all the blame with washington on only our elected officials? what else in washington culturally needs to change? you know, donald trump says draining the swamp, but he's tapping into something here about how voters feel toward all of washington. from your point of view, sheila, what needs to change culturally in washington? >> i think we need to have a conversation about what how things really work in our democracy and from our perspective. of course, i've studied campaign finance, so a major part of the problem from my perspective is money in politics. so how money is raised, the role of lobbyists in raising it, and how the system is kind of mutually beneficial between candidates, members of congress, and lobbyists who help them both with legislation, crafting legislation, as well as with raising funds for their reelection. >> paul, one other idea donald trump says he will launch on day
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one is a constitutional amendment to term limit politicians. you say that elected officials are the problem. i did some research and looked over the past year, it turns out if you look at the data that members of the house and senate generally 87 to 89% of them return each year. that's not a lot of turnover. that's not a lot of fresh views necessarily in congress. what do you think of this idea for term limits? you're critical of elected officials. is this a way to solve that problem? >> let me correct something. lobbyists aren't hired to buy people or buy members of congress. we provide a valuable role in the system of government. we provide information. you go to any house or senate office today and look at the staff they have there. you're talking about 20 something folks who don't have expertise in all areas that they're responsible. they may handle four or five different issues, but to say we're buying them is again one of those... >> you're saying you have expertise they do not? >> we do, that they need. to your other question about term limits, we already have
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term limits. if people voted in larger numbers, you could take people and say, okay, we want them out, but since 2010, the turnover rate has been higher. we have i think three-quarters of the congress has turned over since 2010 if my numbers are correct. so we do have the ability to vote people out. there's your term limits. you have to get more people the want to vote. >> all right. a conversation about term limits and lobbying and government that will continue. paul miller, thank you so much. sheila krumholz, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: stay with us, coming up on the newshour, a new york city principal who's finding solutions within new york's segregated schools. and two television critics with their picks for the top programs of the hot 2016 season. but first, 2016 has been a wild ride-- one that we're not likely to forget anytime soon. much of it focused on politics
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but many things happened in the world of science and technology as well. william brangham starts our review for our weekly segment, "the leading edge." >> brangham: indeed. we wanted to look at some of the more remarkable discoveries and innovations, and setbacks, that we saw in the scientific world this year. and so we welcome back our very own science correspondent, miles o'brien. welcome. >> good to be here, william. >> brangham: so everyone is doing their year-end, best-of list for 2016. scientifically, what's top of your list? >> let's start with basic research, the real, hard-core science. the biggest one by far was an historic find in february, the detection of gravity waves. the laser interferometer gravitational wave observatory or ligo. the merging of two black holes should send gravity waves across space. >> ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves. we did it. [cheering and applause]
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>> brangham: excited scientists there. >> ligo scientists managed to find those waves measuring tiny contractions and expansions of waves themselves. they did this with two massive laser facility, one in louisiana, one in washington state, a pair of the most precise rulers ever built, if you will. >> brangham: so why is this scientific discovery so high on everyone's list? >> it's as if scientists discovered a new language and learned it. they can determine much more fundamental sources of nature, which opens up a whole new realm of experiments in precision. it's like they used to be able to see the puddles. now they can see the whole rainstorm. it adds fidelity to their quest. >> brangham: let's stay in space. what other big innovations and discoveries did we see out there? >> i'm always watching for the possibility that there might be life out there. nasa's kepler space telescope
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added over 15 planets, planets around another solar system, and right around a dozen of them are in a so-called habitable zone, the goldy locks sites where there might be the conditions for life. the total catalog now is 3,500 planets, a smaller handful in the habitable zone, no one has checked in yet, no aliens so far. closer to home, nasa's juno spacecraft entered orbit around jupiter. they collect data on the gas giant up close in hopes of understanding how jupiter formed and evolved. >> brangham: these are all unmanned missions. there has been a lot of effort in putting humans into space. how has that been going? >> the road to mars is long and winding to say the least, william, private companies are running resupply missions to the space station while testing technology. the results have been mixed frankly among the thrill of victory high life in april, a spacex falcon 9 rocket booster landed upright on the remote
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barge at sea. it's a spectacular picture, and they sunk it. but there were some agony and defeat moments, as well, spacex most notably in september, an explosion occurred during an engine test on the launchpad. it destroyed the rocket, its satellite payload, and a lot of launch facilities. it was the second falcon 9 failure in 15 months. so whether spacex can deliver on its promise of providing cheaper access to space without compromising safety, that remains an open question at the end of this year. >> brangham: let's talk a little bit about human health. we've seen this year scientists talking ever so cautiously about ending epidemics like the h.i.v. epidemic, but insect-born diseases came roaring back with a vengeance this year. >> they certainly became in the realm of household lexicons when you start talking about things like zika. it became a household term because of the global outbreak that occurred. scientists in brazil linked this
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mosquito-born virus to a rise in microcephaly. there were more than 90,000 zika infections reported in the first few months of 2016. the u.s. about 5,000 known infections. the numbers on birth defects are still rolling new york but so far in the u.s. 11% of the zika cases in pregnancy have resulted in birth defects while brazil's rate is closer to 40%. now, scientists are trying the find some solutions to all this, a vaccine of course would be great, but also in brazil they're using genetically modified mosquitoes, deploying these insects that are tweaked in such a way that they have a fatal gene that would spread in the wild, sort of a suicide gene. we'll see if that works. >> the but aty about this technique is it can reach the mosquitoes where no other technique can find it. they're using mosquitoes to fight themselves. >> brangham: on the subject of genetic modification, where are we with the technique known as
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crispr? >> it's a technique using proteins extratded from a type of bacteria. researchers are able to target specific d.n.a. sequence, snip them and replace them with whatever they want. this year scientists in china used crispr for the first time to modify a human cell. they moved immune cells from a cancer patient, disabled the gene which makes them less effective against cancer and reinjected them back into the patient. that's an exciting prospect to have these super duper immune cells going after cancer. we don't know yet if it's working. so we'll watch that in 2017. >> sreenivasan:>> brangham: letk technology. computers are getting smarter and faster. there's a lot of talk about a.i. are we seeing this play out in the world today? >> right in front of us on the road, william. we're seeing self-driving cars appear much faster than i think we are probably ready for. in parts of pittsburgh now, you
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can order up a self-driving uber. the human being is there to grab the wheel just in case, but basically we are well on our way to a world where we're not necessarily driving our cars anymore. this past year we had the first death of a person using a self-driving component of the tesla model s. so that's a little piece of history and a reminder, what tesla will tell you is it's still on a per-mile basis much safer than human beings drives. >> sreenivasan: before you go, the world of astronomy this week lost a luminary, vera rubin. can you tell us about her? >> she was an astronomer who forced the scientific community to realize the way it treated women. in the 1970 she realized the galaxies were spinning too fast. they would fly apart if they relied simply on the gravity of the things we can see around them. she knew there had to be something else there, a lot of something. this is what led to the discovery of what we now call
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dark matter. we don't know exactly what it is yet. there is a lot of ideas about it, but we haven't seen it just yet. but vera rubin was right there at the beginning, among the first vale astronomers. blazed a trail for many others. and many great astronomers today stand on her shoulders. >> sreenivasan: miles o'brien, thanks so much for being here. >> a pleasure. >> sreenivasan: new york city has many distinctions, but one of its more dubious ones is that it has one of the most segregated school systems in the country, with schools with predominantly black and brown students falling way behind majority white schools in achievement levels. but special correspondent charlayne hunter gault in her year long series on solutions to racism talks with a principal in the brownsville section of brooklyn who is attempting to defy the odds. >> reporter: nadia lopez, thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me.
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>> reporter: you started a school in one of the poorest and also one of the most violent areas of new york city, brownsville. why? >> pretty much the department of education decided that the area of need was brownsville and my proposal fit the bill. >> reporter: what kind of proposal was it? >> so my proposal was really a stem focused school at the time, science, technology, engineering and math. so i wanted to empower children of color to be in represented in industries that are under represented by people of color. >> reporter: you described your early days at this school as insane. >> i literally had a child set fire to the bathroom. i would have children choke each other out to the point that the eyes would start rolling back. i had parents come to my office, put down their bags and ready to fight. just because they thought i might have said something to their child that was what they considered out of pocket or inappropriate.
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there was challenges in terms of the academics, and so these children were made to feel as though they weren't going to accomplish much and unfortunately they came from households where parents weren't as educated. >> reporter: but you also talked about teachers that you had to work with because they were not engaged. >> one of the things that i had to do with my teachers was actually walk them around the community for them to see what we're up against every single day. and so once my teachers were able to see it from the ground, by us actually walking through the housing developments and seeing for themselves the lack of employment, lack of resources, so many young men who are on the streets at 12:00, 1:00 in the afternoon who are doing nothing. this is drawing our kids every single day. so when they leave us at 2:30, 3:00 in the afternoon, that's all they know, to hang out on the streets and have no other purpose.
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>> reporter: so actually having the teachers see where these young people come from helped them to be more engaged. >> we have to start engaging in the solutions to combat the other problems that exist here in brownsville. when you sit with a child who's been misbehaving and they talk about the anger they've had since they were six because their father left, or you speak to a child who themselves have had children, right, in middle school. or you have a child who's competing with seven other kids in the household and they live in a two bedroom apartment. again the judgment people pass is like, well, their parents could have made better decisions. but lack of education, lack of resources, can cause history to repeat itself and so sometimes these children just need
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somebody to listen to them. sometimes they just need a safe space where they can be distracted with something good. because all they see in the media is someone like them dying. all they know is that prison is an option. >> reporter: so what, in your experience, is relevant and replicable, especially inner city schools being, you know, >> i literally take all of my sixth graders every single year, we walk over the brooklyn bridge. i want them to understand that there is a connection between their past, their present and their future. so their past is fifth grade, their present is while they're here with us in middle school, but their future is as we walk across this bridge, seeing what is lying ahead. >> reporter: what's been some of the experiences? because you've talked about the fact that these kids have never been across a bridge. they grab onto you. >> they do, they are fearful. they are fearful that the bridge will collapse. they are fearful that they won't make it over, and these are some of the toughest kids who can be
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the most challenging, who teachers will say they are disrespectful and will grab onto a teacher and say please don't let me fall. we've taken them to the south street seaport and they just sit and watch the water because they've never just seen boats or never just had opportunities of that experience, so for hours when i first started doing it as just a special needs teacher, the kids sat for two or three hours and it was the most peaceful and serene scene that you've ever seen. and shouldn't every child have that opportunity to not hear gunshots, to not feel that they're not safe? >> reporter: so what do you think the systemic solutions are to this? >> first off you need to have a conversation. there are a lot of people making decisions at the top and they're not willing to sit with us in the trenches and look in our classrooms and ask the questions.
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what is the challenge here? what do you need? our budgets aren't made for all of the things they are asking us to do. >> reporter: but what's at stake? >> if we don't show up then we lose generations of children and we're just repeating what i often say is generational genocide. that when our children aren't learning here in our classrooms, then they can't teach the next generation to be better. they can't teach them to aspire to want more. that's why we plant their feet in the places we want them to go. we take them to high schools. we take them to colleges, we bring people in from the outside who have various careers in industries that they're not represented. who look like them because when do those people ever come to brownsville and tell them their stories? and that's the other thing that we fail to do. we fail to share our stories. i think what was significant about mine is that people were like here's this principal who was about to quit because she
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said she felt broken and it got to the point where it felt like i couldn't be the super hero. i can't act like i'm going to show up at work every single day and this is easy and i can do it. no. i'm tired. and it's okay, because all of us hit that wall, right, and what was resounding is that the world, the world, said education is important and was willing to step up and say we want to help these children and i'm so grateful to that. >> reporter: and you said here in the book that you were "moved by the power of education to transform even the most hardened students." there's a lesson there, there's a solution. >> this community has heard the negative for so long, what my team and i are doing is combating that and every day we're telling them that they are brownsville's brilliance, that they are those diamonds and they can shine bright, that they are scholars, they are lifelong learners. we're pouring into them the
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positive that they so deserve so that they can thrive. >> reporter: well, nadia lopez, thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. >> sreenivasan: now, our series on some of the best work in arts and letters this year. jeffrey brown looks back at a big year in television and video. >> brown: a new golden age of television? well, these days we talk more of peak television, and some wonder if there's no too much tv, including too much really good and even great programming. and it comes at us from all kinds of producers and platforms. over the air, cable, streaming, what's a consumer to do? what's a television critic to do? we asked two of them to help us look at the best of 2016. welcome to both of you. good luck sorting this out for
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all of us. eric, let's start with you. out of the hundreds of shows, we asked you to pick a few to run through and kick this off. >> sure. i guess i'm a sucker for new programming. all of my top five are new shows this year. "full frontal" with samantha bee, "daily show" alum who has a potent show about politics. "this is us" on nbc. "people v. o.j. simpson: an american crime story," an amazing retelling of the o.j. simpson trial and verdict. "o.j. made in america," a five-part documentary film made by espn about o.j. simpson, as well, much more extensive than "american crime story," and "atlanta" on fx, an amazing drama featuring three young men trying to make it in atlanta's rap scene. >> brown: we'll come back in
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depth, but first, alan, your pick. >> like eric, i loved the two o.j. shows and was stunned that the tv event of the year was not one by two different retellings of the o.j. simpson story, each focusing on different exciting aspects of it. >> brown: who would have thought that? >> it's not even the 20th anniversary. it just happened and it was wonderful. there's a great musical comedy drama romance called "crazy ex-girlfriend" cocreated by rachel blume that's delightful. "atlanta. " and the best show of the year as far as i was concerned was "horace and pete" which turned up on louis c.k.'s web site of all places. >> brown: you both mentioned "atlanta." this is the main character who is managing his cousin, a local rapper. >> hello, cousin. how are you today? >> listen, man, can you do me a huge favor and put $20 in my account, like asap.
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you got the help me out, man. >> all right. >> really? thanks, man, you're saving my ass. >> okay, man, well i got to go now. >> okay. cool. so what you guys doing right now? you do that deal? >> i do not know what you mean. >> brown: the main character is played by donald glover, also the creator and writer of the series. what do you like so much about it? >> what i love about "atlanta" is it talks about a lot of different things without really talking about those things. we see these three young brothers trying to make it in atlanta. you saw donald glover, an aspiring rap manager. he wants to manage his cousin, who is an up-and-coming rapper. you have an odd friend who is like a black version of kramer, very eccentric, and we see great stories involving race and class and difference told in a way where it's just kind of presented to you, and as a viewer,o have to decide how you feel about it.
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>> brown: alan, you told us about the show "horace and pete." it's set in a dive bar in brooklyn i think. we'll look at a quick clip here to. this is a scene with louis c.k. and steve buscemi. >> i'm saying because you're so great at your job. that's why i'm saying it. >> it's a pyramid of rags. you decided to put a pyramid of rags here. and you're really good at closing. do you understand? that's like a compliment. i'm saying you're so good. why is that like that? that's all. >> brown: alan, it's part of this new distribution, louis c.k. direct to his fans. tell us about that. >> the show arrived without warning. one saturday at the end of january, louis c.k. said, "here's my new show "horace and pete." watch it here. i hope you like it. he had filmed in secret with edie falco, alan alda, jessica lange. no one knew about it. it appeared out of the ether.
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>> brown: part of it is the great acting talent. you picked sterling brown, eric. let's take a look at him. hire he is in "this is us" a christmas scene. >> did you mention jesse? >> not to me. >> i think he's a boy in our school, the one with two dads. >> what do you mean two dads in. >> dad, grand ba pa's gay. >> or he's bi. >> brown: tell us about that. >> what's wonderful about sterling in "this is us," he plays a character adopted into a white family, a black man raised in a white family. he's been searching for his biological father and he finds him and welcomes him into his home the find out he's dying. he had always thought that no one knew where his biological father was, but he found out
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that his adopted mother did know and had kept that from him for there is a pivotal scene where they have a holiday dinner. and he begins to react to this knowledge and starts crying. and that just shows you how real, how creative, how amazing this actor is and the fact that he appeared in both this show, which i think is the best drama on network television right now, and also appeared in "american crime story," the people versus the o.j. simpson story playing chris darden, the prosecutor, that's an amazing achievement for an actor. he did a great job in both roles. >> brown: and alan, you picked phoebe wallace. let's take a quick look. >> you know that feeling when a guy you like sends you a text on a tuesday night at 2:00 school if he can come and find you and you open the door for him. oh, hi.
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>> hey. >> brown: alan, tell us about this show. >> fiber waller bridge created "flee bag." she adapted it from a play she did. of then the best parts of the show are her turning to the camera and not even saying anything, just widening her eyes slightly to let her know how her character is reacting to all of those crazy or degrading or downright tragic things that are happening to her. it starts off as a sex farce and becoming something much deeper and sadder and more profound. i had never heard of her. now i want to see everything she does. she's a major talent. >> brown: in our last minute here, i started off talking about the renaissance, the peak television. what do you see broadly speaking, eric, when you look at the quantity versus quality? where are we today? >> well, what's amazing about this moment is not only do we have a lot of quantity, we do have a lot of quality, because that quantity is coming from media outlets or tv outlets that
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are trying to build their brand by creating great television. so we have hulu. we have amazon. we have netflix. we even have crackle, a web site that has jerry seinfeld's "comedians in cars with coffees." now they're doing original television. >> brown: alan, last question for you: that's if you can find those programs. >> what's amazing is we do the television critics poll where we reach out to about 60 tv critics across the country and ask them to name their ten favorite shows of the year. and i get the ballots back, and i haven't seen some of these shows and it's my job to watch television. that's how much great stuff is out there. it's ridiculous. >> brown: all right. alan, go back the watching. eric, thank you both very much. on our facebook page, you find >> sreenivasan: on our facebook page you can find more of our tv critics' recommendations. plus, tomorrow on the newshour,
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our best of 2016 series continues, with "washington post" film critic anne hornaday and mike sargeant of pacifica radio. >> it's a very tender, observant, as mike said, it takes all the kind of tropes of a coming-of-age story and turns them inside out and makes them so intimate and jenkins kind of, his point of view is just a little askance, it's a little say skew so you're -- askew so you're not getting the conventional beats of the person's life. you're getting the in between times, which are sometimes even more meaningful. >> what do you love about arrival? >> it's beautifully shot. it's beautifully acted. the aliens are very powerful and meaningful. and i don't want the give too much away, but the way in which the aliens communicate is such an imaginative and just a beautiful film that to me works
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on every level. >> sreenivasan: there have been questions raised concerning our report that aired on dec. 27, 2016 about a greek inventor who is developing a device that purports to turn water into power without requiring additional energy. despite a team of greek scientists praising the research, and the inclusion of an independent scientist dubious of the work, the newshour acknowledges that our reporting of this segment should have been more skeptical. our reporting and research should always ask more questions and seek greater insight. we are examining each step in our process, and we apologize to our audience for the lapses in this report. the pbs newshour is dedicated to presenting clear and thorough reporting on developments in science and technology, and we will be following up with more reporting on the important subject of clean energy as soon as possible.
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and a news update. actress debbie reynolds was hospitalized in los angeles today of an apparent stroke. it came just a day after her daughter carrie fisher died. reynolds lit up hollywood with "singing in the rain." she went on to star in such films as "the unsinkable molly brown" and "the singing nun." online, actress and author carrie fisher, who died on tuesday, was also admired for her openness about her own struggles with bipolar disorder and substance abuse. in response to her death, fans took to social media in tribute, sharing their personal stories. plus, a look at the pros and cons of choosing original medicare versus a medicare advantage plan. all that and more is on our website. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm hari sreenivasan. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. we have an interview with peter navarro, a strong opponent to trade with china and president elect donald trump's pick to run the new white house national trade council. for all of us at the pbs
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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. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the well-being of humanity around the world by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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