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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 19, 2018 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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ptioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm ghdy woodruff. on the newshour to another hike-- the federal reserve raises interest rates, signaling confidence in the , leaving syria: president trump's surprise announcement to withdraw u.s. troops halts the fight against isis, upending plans to stabize areas once controlled by militants. us, building a life from the ruins of war. we travel to mosul, iraq, to see what is left once the fighting stops. >> this is the best they can hope for. there is no running water, no electricity. lley just hope to be able to build the up enough to be able to take shelter and sleephe re. >> woodruff: all that and more ononight's pbs newshour.
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation ford public bsting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the federal reserve interest rate to the highest level in a decade. today's increase was the fourt this year, in a bid to prevent a strong economy from fueling inflation. president trump has sharply criticized the ctral bank, but fed chair jerome powell dismissed the tacks today. >> political considerations have played no role whatsoever in our discussions or decisions about monetary policy. ways going to be focused on the mission that congress has given us. we have the tools to carry it about.
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we have the independence which we think is essential to be able to do our jobs in a non- political way. and, you know, we at the fed are absolutely committed to that mission and nothing will deter us from doing what we think is the right thing to do. >> woodruff: the fed projected two more rate increases next year, one less than before. but, wall street took it badly. the dow jones industrial average dropped more than 350 points to. close at 23, it had been up 380, before the fed's announcement. the nasdaq fell 147 points, and the s&p 500 slipped 39.s leke a closer look at what fed chair jay powell said today and the market's big slump. david ssel is the director of the hutchins center on fiscalic and monetary pat the brookings institution. and he's a contributing columnist to the "wall seet journal. d wessel, welcome back t the newshour. so why did the fed do what it did? >> i think the fed is looking at
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the economy and feels that it's pretty strong, and they think that unless they connu razeeing interest rates, it is, as you suggested, on risk of overheatin and i think the market was surprised by that as we saw. the market expected them to at least in their languagf back little more than they did. >> woodruff: what do they base it on?he how do know the economy isst inherently song, that they need to keep raising rates, putting the brakes on? >>hey don't. they have a forecast, and what chair powell satoday was, "we are"-- we kept using this phrase "data tpendent." wht means is, if the economy performs as we anticipate, if the stock market doesn't throw sings upside down, if the rest of the world doesn't fall intno some d of global slump, then we expect the economy to conw,tinue to grond we are going to raise interest rates, as you said couple of times. but he also said that if the economy doesn't perform as we
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expect, we're not going to do that. so i think he was trying to show that they have so resolve. they're not afraid of donald trump. emey're not going to let the market push th around. but he was also trying to say we're flexible. and we're at this pont in the business cycle where there's a lot of judgment going on. >> odruff: so "threading the needle"-- it's an overused phse but is that kind of what's going on? >> i think so, i think so. >> woodruff: you mentroned presidenp, and we mentioned that he's been critical of chairman powell, whom he appointed to this job, and chairman powell, could jay, went out ofis way today that we're not influenced by pol fingz we'reenindnt. why did he need to say that? >> well, he said that in answer to aio que that was clearly an answer he had prepared because he knew that some reporter was going to ask it. i think the fed believes that it's really important for their credibility with theest of the world, and particularly with the
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financial markets that people think they're doing what they single right and not being pushed around by the president. so ironically, i think if it ever really comes to a rea clly closl-- do we raise interest rates in march or not-- i wonder whether the fed will be inclined to raise them just soo show the president and the markets that they're being independent. >> woodruff: so the fed is obviouslaware of the financial markets. they had to assume the markets were gog drop after this w nouncement today, one would think. ch do the markets factor into the health of the economy? >> right. my guess is, i don't know, but i guess they were a slitle surpriseed by how much the trket dropped today. i think they weying to be measured in the way that central banks are. what happens is the ksd looat financial conditions generally, and when the stock market falls as much as it has-- it's fall ben 8% so far this month-- thato means people wwn stocks have less money, spend lsreadily, businesses will be elsz likely
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to invest, and that act as a brake on the economy, and the fed knows that. that almost substitutes for an interest rate hike. so they can afford to be patient hikes because the market is tightening for them. we don't know what will happen tomorrow. th 5market could be up00 points tomorrow. they can't aim at the market. they're trying to aim at the economy. i think one difference between the fed and some of the people who follow this disuf is does the market see something that the fed doesn'the isarket telling us that the economy really is slowing down or that president tump's trade war is really doing damage to the economy? they don't seem to be veron focusehe market as a predictor of the economy. >> woodruff: and that historically-- hath historically been proven to be smart for the fed to pay less attention to the market? >> i think historically, it's proven to be ght usually. and the question always is, "is this time different?" and we don't really know. >> woodruff: are there-- david wessel, are athere others--
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the fed was clearly under some pressure not to raise rates. >> rigf:. >> woodro how much does this outside pressure affect what they do? >> think they say it doesn't affect them at all, but it has to affect them some. after all, president trump is not the only rson telling the not to raise rates in december. the "the wall street jonal" editorial page, larry summers, the former treasury secretary-- there are a number of people who think there is no need to raise interesinterest rates now. the world economy seems to be slowing. there still isn't much inflation. why not hold off? so i think ave to be aware of that, but i think they rely very much on the fofecashe economy and try to justify it to themselveses that we're doing the right thing, regardless ofpo thitical pressure. >> woodruff: well, we will watch. i know you'll be watching, bu 'll see what the consequences of this move to increase rates today is. >> right, for now it means people who borrow will be paying a little more, and people who i have mon money market funds will have a little more
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>> woodruff: david wessel, thank you again. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: our other lead story tonight, the president has declared it's time for the roughl2,000 u.s. troops in syria to leave. they had been fighting the islamic state group, but trump d today that isis has now been defeated. the announcement drew quick s.iticism in the u.s. congress and among u.s. all we'll have a full report, after the news sumayry. in the other news, bingress labored to pass a short-term spendin and avert a partial government shutdown friday night. the bill would fund much o government into early february. naparately, a sweeping cri justice reform bill went to the house, after passing the senate on a rare bipartisan vote. the speaker of the u.s. house of representatives, paul ryan, made his farewell speech today, lamenting what he called america's "broken politics." the wisconsin republican is retiring after 20 years in
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office, including three as speaker. in his final speech, given at the library of worried about the atmosphere in washington. >> too often genuine disagreement quickly gives way to distrust. we spend far more time trying to convict one another than develop our own convictions. being against someone has more currency than being for anything. >> woodruff: ryan touted last year's tax cut law as a major achievement, but said reforming social security and medicare is the nation's greatest unfinished business. we'll have a closer look at all of today's developments in congress, later in the program. facebook faced new disclosuresit today abouhandling of users' personal data. "the new york times" reportednt tech glike spotify, netflix, and others acceived speciass to facebook data, including, users' private messages. facebook says no infor was given away without users'
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consent.t also says most of the special sharing arrangements have been shut down. in yemen, clashes between a saudi-led militaryoalition led rebels aligned with iran impea new cease-fire. sporadic shelling rattled they port c hodeida, where a truce was supposed to take effect yesterday. the saudi coalition warned that u.n. monitors must step in quickly, or the cease-fire might collapse. and, back in this country: federal officials say sign-ups for coverage under the able care act were better than expected. as of last saturday's deadline, some 8.5 million americans enrolled, with about a dozen states still to report. that's down 4% from a year ago, but earlier estimates had warned the drop could be 10%. still to come on the newshour: the white house intends to withdraw troops from syria, ciming victory over isis.
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we unpack the last minute deals in congress before the holiday, and much more. >> woodruff: we return to our other top story: the president's decision to withdraw american forces from syria. as john yang reportsame as an unwelcome surprise to u.s. lies, and to many of bot parties on capitol hill. >> yang:hroughout the year, president ump has promised a change in syria strategy. >> and, by the way, we're knocking the hell out of isis. we'll be coming out of syria, ke, very soon. >> yang: today, it appeared "soon" could be here. first, a tweet: "we have defeated isis in syria, my only reason for being there." then a white house statement: "we have started returning f oops home as we transition to the next phase ois campaign." but the shift appeared at odds
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with many of his top aides. in octer, national security adviser john bolton said the 2,000 u.s. troops in syria will stay, as long as iran and its allies are there, supporting bashar al-assad, the syrian president. last month, jim jeffrey, the u.s. special representative for syria. >> their mission right now from the president is the enduring defeat, and the enduring defeat means not simply smashing the last of isis's conventional military units holding terrain, but ensuring that isis doesn't b immediately cok and sleeper cells come back as an insurgent movement. >> yang: and just last week,m this fett mcgurk, special envoy to the coalition fighting iis. >> i this fair to say americans will remain on the p ground after tsical defeat of the caliphate, until we have the pieces in place to ensure that that defeat is enduring. nobody is declaring a mission accomplished. >> yang: the u.s.-led campaign against isis began in 2014 with limited air strikes. while isis fighters have been cleared from most population
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centers, an timated 10 to 15,000 remain in the countryside. most of the american troops are deployed in northern syria slrking with kurdish forces. thousands of otherist militants, in addition to the last of the anti-assad rebels, are in the northwestern corner of the country. pro-government forces havere ined central and southern syria. the remaing isis pockets are near the syria-iraq border. some in the president's own party say a u.s. withdrawal could give isis new life. south carolina senator lindsey graham: >> if we do in fact withdraw, the biggest winners are going to be iran, isis, assad. the biggest losers i think are going to be the people of syria, potentially america if isis comes back and projects force again, and our allies. >> yang: but at least one republican, kentucky senatornd paul, backed mr. trump. >> i'm very supportive of thees
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prent's declaration, i'm psry supportive of bringing the trooome. >> yang: the decision will also likely please turkish president recep tayyip erdogan, who is threatening to attack the u.s.- backed kurdish fighters in syria. >> ( translated ): until the last terrorist in the region is neutralized, we will comb through syrian territory inch by inch. >> he said they're tied to a kurdish separatist group in turkey. late today, white houses officiid that would be up to the pentagon. now, two views on president trump's decision to withdraw forces from syria. retired general john allen served as the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter isis during the obama administrion. he's now the president of the brookings institution. and steve simon also served in the obama administration as the natial security council's senior director for middle eastern and north african affairs. he's now a visiting professor at
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amherst college. gentlemen, thank you to you both, and welcome. mr. allen, i want to start with you. the president, as we heard, has declared isis has been defeated . there is no reason for. troops to be in syria. do you agree? >> i ink we'd be very careful about using the word "defeat" with respect to theslamic state. we may have defeated its largeen coations, but there are still thousands of islamic state operatives and fighters still on e ground in syria. we've got to be very careful. i think while all of us belatiee our troops would come out eventually, coming out too quickly could create an opportunity forhe islamic state to backflash, which not only would put at ri those elements of the syrian population that we supported in being liberated. it could also threaten the western flank of the work that our iraqi allies did and pay such a huge price forin the defeat of the islamic state. so we've got be verycareful
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about using that word "defeat," and understand that the islamic state is still an extraordinarily danger organization, not just in syria yd iraq but moe so globally as well. g: steve simon what, do you say to that? he says pulling out too quickly could trigger a backflash that cowed threaten thsyrian people. >> it's possible. the united states was gog have to pull its forces out sooner or later. the fact that there are remaining isis sympathizers or isis militants on the ground, not organized as military units or controlling territory, iso probablything that would have vexed any u.s. withdrawal at an point because the goal of actually exterminating everyone in syria who has isis ideology ricochetinaround his or her
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brain is simply going to be impossible. i think, you know, the administration-- two administrations, really-- working in series, uein seqe, have put an end to the islamic caliphate. that's a major achievement, and it was an achievement that was widely expected because the correlation of forces was so skewed in favor of the alliance that wasighting isis. but the ideologyn ca't be extermated. it will be around and getting rid of that ideology is not going to be a military mission. d e fact is the uniates has dropped its aid program for the reconstruction of syria in areas where isis had been operating. unless those people get the support they need to rebuild their lives and thir towns, thel
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isis iy will remain a serious problem. it the always be there. >> yang: so, mr. same orange i justant to make sure i'm clear on what you're sawing. the support the withdrawal now ops?.s. tro >> yes, yes, i do. i think the mission has largely been accomplished. the way in which the administrati has gone about announcing it was, you know, really rather clumsy, andpe aps even dangerous because our major partners had no idea that this was ming down the pike. so there hasn't been ato time coordinate with the kurds, with the french-- who are also operating in tat area-- or even as a practical matter with the turks or te russians. so, you know, this-- this kind of way of doing business can be ex but as-- but as a matter of
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principle, i think, ye, it's probably a good idea to be bringing our troops out at this stage. >> yang: mr. allen, let's pick up that point that this w of business can be destabilizing. you talked about the effect on the syrian people. what's the effect-- or could be the effect on the kurdish peopla inicular? >> all of us believe that those troops would have to go home at some point. the question is, is that pulation sufficiently stable to prevent a backflash our a re-radicalization? the other issue here is this kind of confusion in washington by virtue of how this wasd promulgated ay, and the apparent disagreements within the administration on how-- on how this should be executed has, i'm sure, had a negative effect the kurds. and i'll make another point: no one exept the united states could lead this process. and it's very important that in this city, we remember that a large coalition of international
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partners came together under american leadership uultimately the islamic but if we defeat the islamic state-- use our term "to defeat the islamic state"-- if we pull out it too quickly and get a backflash or we leave that population completely unsecure and the retaliation begins as the regime elements the russian firepower begins to be applied to them, th we're going to have to take responsibility for that in the end. >> mr. same son, what do you say to that? >> the kurds can either submit to turkish rule which will be carried out through the turk-sunni arab allies who are not sympathetic to the kurds. or the kurds can submit to rule by the assad regime. but the assad regime is not going to give the kurds the autonomy or the independence that they so badly want, that they have been seeking for so long. it was inevitable that the exwriewts was going to turn its
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ck on the kurds, because in terms of strategic logic, turkey is so much more important to the united states, especially now, than are the kurds. in a gloonbal ctext in which the united states now sees a resurgent russia aneds to wonder how to strengthen nato, of which turkey is a part, and push back against russian provocations. >> yarng: john allen vey quickly. >> steve's right. there's a tragic choice heth the kurds. but this administration has the potential, if it pulls our troops out too kickly, of turning that tragic choice into a humanitarian catastrophe, and we should not do that. we need come out with a timeline that ultimately both protects that population and does a very clear, incremental handover in such a way that we don't put our allies in northern syria at
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risk. >> yang: gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there. steve simon of the brookings institution,teve simon of amherst college, thank you very much. >> woodruff: we turn now to congress. it was a busy day for the house and senate as they negotiate a deal to fund the government before a friday deadline. to bring us up to speed on where things stand, i'm joined by our own lisa desjardins. hello, lisa. so, two days away, they were supposed to vote, we wee told, on some sort of funding measure today. it idn't hppen. what happened? >> well, it looked like it was on the fast track this morning. the were a few hold-ups, one was land bills, that republican senators from rural staliteke republican steve dans want passed. they include the lands, water, and conservation fund. that's something republicans li because it is fundir easements, so loggers can get to public land. but it also has some restriction
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on mining, say, outside of yellowstone park. they're saying this has to go into the c.r., and they're trying to work this out at this hour. >> sreenivasan: "c.r." being the continuing resolution. >> too much in my head. >.>> woodruff: if this is resolved what, would be in thite shor agreement that they would come together on? >> so they're talking about-- let's look at the calendar here anhow this might work. they're talking about february 8, extending funding for these unfunded agencies until february 8. but here's the politics involved, judy. february 3 is when the democrats are scheduled to take over the house of representatives, and a couple wee ks aftat, that's when we expect president trump to announce his state of the union. so some republicans now-- and this is the other problem tonight-- think this timeline is terrible for them, especially conservatives, mark meadows, the head of the freedom caucus, tweeted out that he thinks this is a valentine's da to democrats and that this scenario would mean no chance for wall funding, at least for the next
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two years. so tonight, those conservatives are taking to the house floor and cawrlg for a shutdown. >> woodruff: so a lot of action right now. >> a lot of action. >> woodruff: just a few hours left in this congress, apparently. what else are they looking at? we know you told us a lot canla happen at tht minute? >> there's a large bill about extending some otx her ts. that's a normal process but we'll watch what's in that. i want to call attentn to one bill in particular, savannah's act, something that passed the senate unanimously, and it deals with native american women and the vinsence agthem. jude, "they have 10 times the likelihood of being murdered. 82% of native american women have experienced violence. the senate passed this unanimously in order to help agencieses track violence against them. but one relican, bob goodlatte, has said he will not let it go on a fast track through the house. and right now they are trying to work out language, but it looks ke this one republican is going to hold up this bill. they're negotiate, "but just now
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omgot some information fr sources that say they're not sure they can work out a deal. >> woodruff: but one peson in a position like that can make-- has so much power. >> that's right. this last minute, yes. >> woodruff: just quickly, finally, speaker of the house paul ryan, retiring after some 20 farewellge today. >> he talked about things he hadn't achieved, and i think that why his legacis so interesting. he's very proud of his once-in-a-generation tax cuts, but he wanted them to more sweeping, and he also wanted to do entitlement reform, things he didn't get done. also, he eaves with more debt and a higher deficit than when he came into congress. it's fascinating talking to members of congress, he has around him core beevers, but most republicans, judy, neither love nor haute pal ryan as he's on his way out. so that's an interesting statement about a top leader. 'llwoodruff: well, continue to maybe look back at his legacy. >> and see what he does next.
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>> woodruff: and see what he does next. lisa desjardins, we're glad you're here. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: how an iraqi city struggles to r.cover from the ruins of what we know about the thousands of immigrant children in u.s. custody and miles o'brien explores the year in science. it's been more than a year since iraqi forces, backed by the amer captured the city of mosul from isis. the militants took over iraq's second largest city in 2014. the punishing campaign to dislodge isis destroyed vast aths of the city's western sector. special correspondent jane ferguson was recently in mosul, and as she reports, the process of rebuilding is painfully slow, and the grim task of accounting
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for the huge numbers of people killed there may never reach closure. >> reporter: when ishters made their last stand in iraq, th chose to make it here. mosul's old city was surrounded by iraqi government troops in 2017 and bombarded by u.s.-led air strikes. buildings were pounded into rubble. rubble was pounded into dust. ground troops fought house-to- house. well over a year later, the area is still a tangle of debris-- heaps of smashed buildings stann as ments to the lives destroyed here. it's this man's job to make life bearable again: nawfal hammadi, mosul's governor.he ook the newshour on a tour of the city's hardest hit areas. an estimated t billion dollars worth of damage was done here. homes, schools, shops, almost everything in the old city has been destroyed. people begged him for help.. thousands of bodies have bee
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pulled out from underneath these ancient lumps of stone. and isis bombs still litter the area. the militants produced explosive suicide belts on an industrial scale, like this one, police officer amjad ibrahim noticedte spas we walked by. >> ( transl is a suicide belt, it's obvious. there is still a lot of booby- trapped stuff like cn's dummies and footballs. we are always telling people to stay away from these h because most of them are booby- trapped. >> rorter: the u.n. pays for teams of men to work together arearing the debris, a chance for a paycheck in a city with little opportunity. just opening paths through the rubble has been a major achievement. yet the offering little help and has not yet given anyone the money needed to help rebuild their homes here. shaima aziz done with waiting.
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rthe only way she can getf over her children's heads is with h own bare hands, one cinder block at a time. she is determined to re-build this home from the wreckage. >> ( translated ): we are cleaning the bricks to make a wall. we will build a wall here and get a door. >> reporter: she can no longer afford the rent where her famils isltering. her husband found work as a laborer at work across town, so she has no choice but to do this all on her own. this is the best they can hope for. there is no running water, no they just hope to be able to build the walls up enough to be able to take shelter and sleep here. they, like thousands of other civilians here, were held by isis as human shields during the fighting, shaima told us. >> ( translated ): the isis soniers were hiding with us the basement, telling us "if you leave we will kill you." we barely managed to escape and sneak out. every minute there were people dying. men, women and children.ei our relatives,ghbors from the area, dead. >> reporte how many of those men, women and children
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relaves and neighbors were killed here will likely never be known, t it's surely much higher than the estimates given by the iraqi government. ntficial figures only takeo account the bodies that have been found saying 260 civilians died and 2500 isis fighters were killed during the offensive to re-take the city which lasted from october 2016 into july, 2017. but investigations by theat associed press and npr estimate anywhere between 5000 and 11000 civilians were killed in the fighting. a former vice president of iraq says kursh intelligence estimates a staggering 40,000 perished here. many of those are still buried deep under this rubble. withdrawing to the old city gave isis fighters a major tactical advantage on t battle field. these ancient, narrow streets were impassable for st of the iraqi army's military vehicles, forcing them to come in on foot. and that in turn created a
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situation where more air strikes were used instead. the whole time, civilians trapped in here were hiding in the old basements lie this one. thttle for mosul was one of the most brutal urban warfare m campaigns ern history. evs.-led coalition war planes dropped bombs thated building after building. toiraqi troops are believe have endured casualty rates not seenince world war ii levels the government banned filming of injured so released the real numbers of its troops killed in battle. but it was civilians, trapped inside this killing field, who paid the highest price. h many are accept automobile to harm and kill during operations and those
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standas were lowered in la 2018. so as a consequence, the military was able to move fast nert mosul operations, but it also increased risk toan civis. >> reporter: larry lewis of the center for naval analysis is a former senior adviser at e state department. >> there's also a strategic argument that the u.s. military moved that by moviny,more quichey could end the occupation and thereby reduce civilian suffering. so-- so it's a complex calculus. >> reporter: teovernor, back in his office b>> woodruff: the governok in his office, pointed out that victims of this war include those killed by isis it its iron-fisted occupation of the city. the mass graves of their victims aretill being discovered. >> ( translated ): during isis rule the numbers of people killed are unknown. isis killed peopleho were in the security forces. they also killed people whoat particip in elections, like candidates. >> reporter: younes hassan is a skilled weer and that ability helped him fix up his own home all alone.
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isis evicted him a his wife and when the battle ended, he says. he found the corpses of igssian isisers, and more than half of his neighbors dead. >> ( translated ): the american government and the iraqis are saying not too many civiliansar dead. no. a lot are dead. all of these houses were filled with all their were destroyed and they died in them. very few managed to escape. >> rorter: his house is by t river, which divided government- controlled territory from isis- held areas. it was at this spot many desperate people tried making it out, only to be caught and executed by the group. >> ( translated ): it was forbidn to leave your house when isis was here. if you left they would kill you. all along the river here people were killed by dusk because they tried to flee. that house there, they dug out 50 bodies stacked up on top of one another. >> reporter: younes's restored me, freshly painted in violet, stands as a remarkable sign ofmo life angst the ruins. life in mosul's east side, the first part of the city freed
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from isis is now getting back to normal. busy markets and traffic are ada part of every life here. but across the river, the west side remains a pile of wreckage, and dangerous, unexploded bombs. soldiers don't like guarding the old ty after dark. they told us they hear the voices of ghosts amid bble e sound of children playing deep in the night and the voices of the innocent, killed in a war they couldn't escape for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson in mosul, iraq. >> woodruff: hundreds ofan immichildren could soon be released from government custody after a policy reversafrom the trump administration. amna nawaz reports on all thisal
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as the fedovernment continues to grapple with large numbers of migrant childrenin kept in shelters along the border.ds >> nawaz: hundf migrant children will be released to their u.s. sponsors, after the department of health aan services announced they will change the way they conduct background checks. the announcement comes as a new report from the associated presm finds marant children are being housed in shelters with more than one thousand other children. michelle brane is the directornt of the migights and justice program at the women's refugee commission, an advocacy group. she joins me now. welcome back to the ne. >> thank you. glad to be here. >> nawaz: so let's talk about this associated press investigation first. there's not a lot of transparency into this shelter system. newe're talking about awork of over 100 shelters that the u.s. government works with to shelter s.grant kid the key finding is just that-- that they're staying in places with hundreds if not thousands of other kids.
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>> we've known for a long time it's problematic. every soci study about the welfare of children who are utionalized shows larger institutions are inappropriate for children. and that's why in the united states for decades now we've been moving towards smaller foster care or small shelters sor the care of children. >> nawaz: we alo know there are more migrant children in our care than evr before about 15,000. they stay longer as well. the average is now up to 90 days in these pla. what's the concern associated with that? do we have any idea what the impact is? >> again, all studies aroundlet world have shown the custody and detention of children is detrimental to their development and their health. so we've known, it's no secret, that this is not a situation for children, and we should be moving in the opposite direction of what we're moving in. you know, 10 years ago we did a study looking at the custody of children, and looked at over 42 facilities, and at that time, our concern was-- one of gour bi concerns was that they were looking at institutions that would hold ovker 250 s at a
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time. we're now well over 1,000 in these facilities. that is simplyhe wrong direction to be moving in. >> nawaz: well there, has been what some people say is progress from the government. just this week they're announcing they're going to roll back some of the requirements for background checks that ey'd placed on people coming forward to get kids out of this system,ight? what do you make of that? >> well, this is definitely a move in the riht direction. this administration instituted a memorandum of agreement between r.r., who cares for children, and ice, the enforcement agency. unfortunately, it's only an partial changeat policy. the real problem is that information submitted by sponsors is shared with ice, and we are seeing, in fact, many families who come forward to get their children who are apehended after coming forward. so i worry that that's going to continue and that will continue to discourage families in coming e,rward. but in the meantor children who have had somebody come forward to claim them, hopefully this will speed up the process of reunifying them. >> nawaz: wellyolet me asu this and the reaction to maybe
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something we'll listen to, thiss senior official at the agency responsible for the care of uncompanied ildren. this is a woman named lynn johnson. this is what she had to say when asked about thichange in their procedure yesterday. >> nawaz: so nme govt makes lousy parents. that's a pretty strong statement, especially when you take into account the fact the government is still running what's known as sort of an emergency influx shelter called torneedo. we call it a tent city becauseca that's bay what it is. are there any checks on the horizon for that? t t was opened as an emergency facility and it was not supposed to be opened for very long.
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d i hope this change in policy will facilitate the release of most of those children and that that facility will be able to be shut dhawn but we'llve to see. aise said, i'm concerned there still will remain may children whose parents are afraid to come forward. >> nawaz: so there'ssunother i wanted to ask you about related to unaccompanied minors. you just came back from the border, children unaccompanied and waiting to entertain u.s. and we have s seen repore of those children are turned away at the border. what did you see yourself when you were >> absolutely, that's exactly what i saw. not just some of the childre amna, all children-- anybody who approaches the port of entry seeking prottion or asylum, are turned away and told to get in a line. l the is not an official line. there's no formal process for it. it is run by migras themselves. and children who are turned away, just like everybody else are, not able to n t this list. they're not able to get in lineo some complicated reasons involving the mexican process. as a result, children are in
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this resolve doing or in this real limbo where they literally can't approach the bor they can't get line for the border. andinary not offered any options in mexico for protectioin the ited states. and very often, offered return to their home countries. hnd so really, in turning children away,united states is violating multiple laws. they're vielgt the international refugee convention. they're violating u.s. immigration law, and they're vielgt the trafficking victims protection act, which wasin part specifically created to address this problem of children seeking protection at o border. this problem doesn't need any law to fix it. it doesn't need any real shift, except forhe . government complying with its obligations under law to accept children who are king protection at our border and put them through a process in the united states. d part of the concern, my understanding is, those are some dangerous situations for thds to be in while awaiting treintre. reportis week we saw aw of two teenagers unaccompanied who were actually murdered on the mexican side of the border. but i want to ask you about
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another tragic story we have been following, death death of a seven-year-old girl in u.s. border patrol custody. >> we needr an inquiy to look at the actions taken or not taken to uerstand whether it me our constitutional standards, not the standards set out border patrol. and that's one of our very, very serious concerns. her life may have been saved very early on in her detenti with a face-to-face screening through a structured questionnaire. and the decision as to what to by with her should be made health care professional, a qualified professional. >> nawaz: mihelle, there are still a lot of questions, right bthe circumstances surrounding her eat but also about our responsibility, our country's responsibility tchildren who come across the border. what is that responsibility? can we expect border patrol to be acting like emergency medical
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personnel? >> you know, it's a very good question because for years now, we have been saying border patrol cannot possibly-- officers who are tasked with the very seouous and dangjobs of protecting our borders are dealing with drug traffkers, organized crime, others crossing for various purposes, should not then have to spe time baby-sitting children. we need child weare professionals. we need people there whose job it is and who have the skills to care for these kids. ilu know, 10 years ago we didn't see this many en and families crossing. and while the numrs, ovrall, of people crossing our border has dropped, the percent afnlg those who are womennd children has gone up to now over 50%. over 50% of those apprehend read families or children who a unaccompanied. it is time to have actual people on staff in those circumstances to address their needs. >> nawaz: michelle brane, a the women's refugee commission,
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thank you for being meenkrp. >> tou upo. >> woodruff: as the year comes to a close, it's always a good time for a retrospective. and we wanted to review some of the more important events in the world of science in 2018. earlier today, william brangha spoke with our science correspondent miles o'brien for a quick review of this remarkableear. it's part of our weekly series on the leading edge of science. >> brangham: miles, i guess we should start with what is arguablythe most ntroversial science story of 2018 and that's e news that, allegedly, two genetically engineered children were born in chna ths past year. you can explain this story and the controversy around it? >> yeah, i think the lead came toes you a little late in the year, william. this is a big science story. it gives me equal doses of skeptici and, frankly, horror. a chinese scientist by took to
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youtube tannounce he used the crispr ngne ediool, which is essentially-- think of it like microscopic scissors, allowing to you take genes, pull things out of a string of d.n.a., and inserting other genes into it, full-fledged gene editing. he used that on some embryos of twin girls. let's listen to him for a moment >> brangham: so can you tell us a little bit more about what it is actually he allegedly did?
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>> allegedly he went after theh gene is responsible for a protein that h.i.v. uses to infect a human beak. so in theory, if what he says is ue, these two young girls would be resistant to h.i.v. now, he didn't really release the full data. he didn't run isby his university. it appears he didn't even tell the parents fully what they were getting into. the thing may have worked, as far as we know. and i should also note that he has not been seen in public since that conference. he did tell uh,, thohat there is another child being carried to term that has bee ited in some fashion, although, we don't know much about that. so suffice say, it's sketchy. we should keep our skepticism levels very high here as to what he's accomplished.l but i will teu this-- it has cause aid huge controversy in the scientific community becae what he has done, if he did what he ys he did has
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crossed a big red ethical line because these changes totheir genes are hereditary. in other rds, they're permanent changes introduced into the body of human beings and that has all kinds of potential consequences and we'll be watching this closely next year for sure. >> brangham: let's shift gears a little bit. this year we see a series of increasing dire warnings about climate change. the u.n.'s intergovernmental report indicated climate change is accelerating. we saw the federal government issue it's own very stark warning. carbon emissions we know are on the expriez are at record levels. and we saw some very tangible m pacts of climate-driven disasters here in the u.s w, you, william, you kno and i have been reporting on thisubject long enough to remember the da we talked about something that would happen in the future and might be affecting polar bears right now. but now it's affecting all of
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us. climate change is here. it's here a ndnow. its impacts are being felt in so many ways,nd one common thme which persists is our slow reaction as human beings to do something about it. let's talk about fires, shall we? in california, they don't talk about a fire season anymore. they talk about a fire year. d this pasyear broke nearly every record for wildfires in california. i found myself in the midst of the epic campfire while shooting a film for nova, which will be coming up in the spring. and more than 80 ppldied there, thousands of structures were destroyed. there is a big key compent that is related to climate change. here's bioclimatologist park williams with more on that. >> since 1984, the area that burns in anven year is up by over 300%. if we look at forests, in particular, the amount of area that burns in any given year is up by over 1,0>>00%. rangham: i saw a lot of that damage in paradise just a
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few weeks ago, ands ay say, it is truly devastating. earlier this year, i was also wn in florida looking at another it's devastaon from another likely climate-driven disaster, and that's the hurricanes that struck florida this year. >> yeah, i guess we've en tag teaming this story. the hurricane florence, which i had the opportunity to fly with the national oceanic and atmospheric administration right at that time, it was just developing right near bermuda, give or take. and one of the things they're very interested in is this ideaa ofid intensification. the models we have right now are relatively good at predicting where a hurricane might hit, but scientists don't really understand why choorkz quickly go from something that's not so strong to something that's really strong, which is what wei sah hurricane florence. the other thing we saw with florence and we saw, of course, with harvey the year before, s this incredible amount of rainfall associated withic
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hues. let's listen for a moment to hurricane scientist hal needham. >>llthe reextraordinary thing about the storm wasn't that the wind category when it ithit the coast. as the fact that it stalled out, enabling it to dump days or endous rainfall in places like north carolina. so there's a growing bo evidence that this may be related with climate change. >> brangham: okay, miles, let's leave this stormy, overheing planet of ours and head to i know one of your favorite places, outer ace. news this year that there was water found on mars. >> yeah, i want totell buthree quick missions that got my interest. number one, mars express, european orbiter, around the planet, used a ground-penetrating radar, discovered u derground liquid aqua fer on mars. wherever we have liquid water on this planet, no matter where you go, you find life. so that's an interesting one. number two, the insight lander landed at the end of november. sa's jet propulsion laboratory pulled it off once than.l
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insight wiuse instruments to also look beneath surface of mars, try to charterize its core, among other things. and then my third favorite mission is cyrus rex. that is a little spacecraft that just arrived at the asteroid benu. benu is about the size of the empire state building. it could potentially collide with us over the next 200 yease. s a good idea to understand what it'sedoing up thre, whats orbit is. eventually the team would like to bring back a sample from benu, to do sophisticated laboratory tests here on the ground. but what's interesting is theyy alreund the presence of water on benu, not the good water, but inside claiz. so, william, if you're thinking about extending out human presence into space, hydrogen and oxygen in water, that'set rofuel. and so that could be a filling station to the stars for us. and i'll leave it at that. >> brangham: miles o'brien, as always, thank you so much.
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>> woodruff: tonight's brief but spectacular episode features franny choi, a poet whose work examines contemporary social issues. her first poetry collection is called "floating, brilliant, goneand is available now. >> there are only so many parallel universes that concern us. in one, he isn'tead, in another, you drink lig with your hands all winter. there is a universe in which no one is lying emptied in the street as the gas station burnsn erse in which our mothers never learned to wrap their bones in each small grief they'd found. ther there is no difference between the past and the ground. another where the oceans pull the moon, and so on. this is an incomplete list. it has been abridged for your
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comfort. i could tell you about theany universes in which bad things happen to people other than the people you love. yes, in another life, it's someone else's sister who climbs to the roof that night. in another life, the boys rise darkly from the asphalt to choke the engines of cruisers, and no one gives birth chained to a hospital bed, and no one's child washes up blue ashore. sure, you can have these worlds, you can warm them in your hands at night. just know that by signing here, you agree also to be responsible for the univease where the glow red, the universe where whate call shadow is lsing with the musk of hooves, and especially the one where humans dexist, but only in the nightmares of small children. will you hold at one too? the version of the story that never learned to consir sound, and the one where sound is only
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the opposite of metal, and the one where not even the sound ofo metal ish to quiet the dead. to me, this poem is one of the scariest things i've ever written because i'm proposing a lot of things that aret i truly don't know the answers to. but i think that as artists and as also people who are thinking and living in the world, that's an important thing for us to do, to ask questions that we truly don't know the answe not just as a stepping point to get to the platforms that we're trying to put into the world. i think that there's no time for poems without stakes because people are literally dying, and i don't have time for a poem that has nothing to say about that or at least nothing to say about the world in which something like that could be possible. my name is franny choi, and this is my brief but spectacur take on imagining alternate
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realities. >> woodruff: you can find additional brief but spectacular epodes on our website, and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again hvee tomorrow ening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thk you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has bn provided by: >> kevin. >> kevin! >> kevin. >> advice for life. life well-planned. learn 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 u. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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hello, everyone. welcome to "amanpour & company." here's what's coming up. >> mr. president! >> as president trump conjures up enemies at home and abroad, we get warnings from the award winning presidential htorian michael beschloss about past presidents at war. then, how can the media win back people's trust in this age of fake news? alan rushbridger, former editor of britain's ground-breaking guardian joins me with his new book "breaking news." gest, the lebanese film maker who f her craft in the fire of the civil war, gden globe nominee nadine lebachi talks about heratest work "casting
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