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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 19, 2018 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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captioning sponsor by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the n hike-- the federal reserve raises interest rates, signaling a:nfidence in the economy. then, leaving syriresident trump's surprise announcement to draw u.s. troops halts t fight against isis, upending plans to stabilize areas oncero coed by militants. l plus, buildinge from the ruins of war. we travel to mosul, iraq, to see what is left once the fighting stops. >> this ishe best they can pe for. there is no running water, no electricity. they just hope to be able to bued the walls up enough to able to take shelter and sleep here. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newour.
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>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's post pressingroblems-- >> the lemelson committed to ing lives through invention, in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at >> supported by the john dt.and catherinacarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at w
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>> ah 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 le you. thank you. >> woodruff: the federal reserve has raised its benmark interest rate to the highest level in a decade. today's increase was the fourth this year, in a bid to prevent a strong economy from fueling inflation. president trump has sharply criticized the central bank, but fed chair jerome powell dismissed the attacks today. political considerations have played no role whatsoever in our discussions or decisions about monetary policy. we're always going to m focused on tsion that congress has given us. we have the tools to carry it about. we have the independence which we think is essential to be able to do our jobs in a non-
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political and, you 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 projectedat two moreincreases next year, one less than but, walet took it badly. the dow jones industrial average dropped more than 350 points to closat 23,323. it had been up 380, before the fed's annocement. 39e nasdaq fell 147 points, and the s&p 500 slippe let's take a closer t what fed chair jay powell said today and the market's big slump. david wessel is the direor of the hutchins center on fiscal and motary policy at the brookings institution. and he's a contributing columnist to the "wall street urnal." david wessel, welcome back to the newshour. so why did the fed do what it did? >> i think the fed is looking at ane economy and feels that it's pretty strong they think
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that unless they con razeeing interest rates, it is, as you suggested, on risk of ovthheating. and k the market was surprised by that as we saw. the market expected them to at least in their language, back off a little more than they did. >> woodruff: what do thbase it on? how do they know the economy is inhereeyly so strong, that th need to keep raising rates, putting the brakes on? >> they don't. they have a forecast, and what chair powell said today was, "we are"-- we kept using this phrase "data dependent." what that 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 int gsome kind ofobal slump, then we expect the economy to continue togrow, and are going to raise interest rates, as you said, another couple of times. but he also said that ifth economy doesn't perform as we expect, we're not going to do so i think he was trying to show
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that they have some resolve.'r thnot afraid of donald trump. they're not going to let the market ph them arod. but he was also trying to say we're flexible. and we're at this pointn the business cycle where there's a lot of judgment going on. >> woodruff: so "threading the needle"-- it's an overused phrase but is that kind of what's going on?>> think so, i think so. >> woodruff: you mentioned president trump, and we mentioned that he's been itical of chairman powell, whom he appointed to this job, and chairman powell, could jay, went out of his way today that we're not influenced by pol fingz we're independent. why did he need to say that? >> well, he said that in answer to a question. that was clearly an answer he had prepared because he knew that some reporter was going to aseit. i think fed believes that it's really important for their credibility with the rest of thl and particularly with the financial markets that people think they're doing what they single right and not beingb
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pushed arounthe president. so ironically, i think if it ever really comes to a really close call-- do we raise interest rates in march or not-- i wonder whether the fed will be inclined to raise them just soto show the president and thes markat they're being independent. >> woodruff: so the fed is obviously aware of the nancial markets. they had to assume the markets were gog drop after thisme announ today, one would keink. how much do the ma factor into the health of the economy? >> right. my guess is, i don't know, but i guess they were a slitleri sued by how much the market dropped today. i think they were trying to be measured in the way that central banks are. what happens is the fed looks at financial condions generally, and when the stock market falls as much as it has-- it's fall ben 8% so far this month-- that means ople who own stocks have less money, spend lesreadily, businesses will be elsz likely to invest, and that act as a brake on the economy,the
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fed knows that. that almost substutes for an interest rate hike. so they can afford to be patient on interest rate hikes becauserk the is tightening for them. we don't know what will happen tomorrow. the market could beup 500 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 folloiw s disuf is does the market see something that the fed doesn't? is the market telling us that the economy really is slwing down or that president trump's trade war isageally doing dam to the economy? they don't seem to be very focused on the market asa predictor of the economy. >> woodruff: and that historically-- has that historically been proven to be heart for the fed to pay less attention tomarket? >> i think historically, it's proven to be rightus ually. and the question always is, "is this time different?" and we don't really ow. >> woodruff: are there-- david wessel, are are there others-- the fed was clearly under some pressure not to raise rates. >> right.
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>>oodruff: so how muh does this outside pressure affect what they do? >> i think thesay it doesn't affect them at all, but it has to affect them some. after all, president trump is not the only person telling them not to raise rates in cember. the "the wall street journal" editorial page, larry summers, the foer treasury secretary-- there are a number of people who think there is no need to rase interesinterest rates now. the world economy seems to slowing. there still isn't much inflation. why not hold off? so i think they have to aware of that, but i think they rely very much on the forececast of e omy and try to justify it to themselveses that we're doing the right thing, regardless of the political pressure. >> woodruff: well, we will watch. i you'll be watching, but we'll see what the consequences of this move to increase rates today is. >> right, for now it mea people who borrow will be paying a little more, and people who ha money inney market funds will have a little more intef:st. >> woodravid wessel, thank you again. >> you're welcome.
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>> woodruff: our other lead story tonight, the president has declared it's time for the roughly 2,000 u.s. troops in syria to leave. they islamic state group, but mr. trump tweeted today that isis has now been defeated.nt the announcerew quick criticism in the u.s. congress and among l s. allies. weve a full report, after the news summary. in the day's other news, congress labored to pass a short-termpending bill and ert a partial government shutdown friday night. the bill would fund much of the government into early february. separately, a sweeping criminal justice reform bill wento the house, after passing the senate on a rare bipartisan vote. the speaker of the u.s. house o, representatiaul ryan, made his farewell speech today, lamenting what he called america's "broken politics."wi thonsin republican is retiring after 20 years in office, including three as speaker. ain his final speech, giv the library of congress, ryan worried about the atmosphere in
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washington. >> too often genuine disagreement quickly gives way to distrust. we spend far more time trying t convict other than develop our own g 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 unnenished bu. 's'll have a closer look at all of todevelopments in congress, later in the program. facebook faced new disclosures day about its handling o users' personal data. "the new york times" reported tech giants like spoti netflix, and others received special access to faceata, including, users' private messages facebook says no information was given away without users' consent. but it also says most of the
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special sharing arrangements have been shut down. in yemen, clashes between a saudi-led military coalition and rebels aligned with iran imperiled a new ceas. sporadic shelling rattled the port city of hodeida, a truce was supposed to take effect yesterday. the saudi coalition warned that u.n. monitors must step in quicklthe cease-fire might collapse. and, back in this country: federal officials say sign-ups t r coverage under the affordable care re 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 towi draw troops from syria, claiming victory over we uthe last minute deals in congress before the holiday,r
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and much >> woodruff: we return to our other top story: the president's decisi to withdraw american forces from syria. as john yangeports, it came as an unwelcome surprise to u.s. allies, and to manof both parties on capitol hill. >> yang: throughout the ar, president trump 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, like, 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."ou then a white statement: "we have started returning troops home as we transition to the nextcahase of this mpaign." but the shift appeared at odds with many of his top aides. in october, national security
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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, thes. pecial representative for syria. >> their mission right now from president is the enduri defeat, and the enduring defeat means not simply smashing thef lastis's conventionalni military holding terrain, but ensuring that isis doesn't immediely come back and sleeper cells come back as an insurgent movement. >> yang: and just last week, onis from brett mcgurk, special envoy to the coaliighting isis. >> i think it's fair to say americans will remain on the ground after the physical defeat of the caliphate, until we have the pieces in place to ensure that that defeat is enduring. nobody ideclaring a mission accomplished. >> yang: the uag.-led campaign nst isis began in 2014 with limited air strikes. while isis fighters have been cleared from most population centers, an estimated 10 to 15,000 remain in the
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countryside. moe of the american troops deployed in northern syria working with kurdish forces. thousands of other islamist militants, in addition to the last of the anti-assad rebels, are northwestern corner of the country. pro-government forces have a regained centr southern syria. the remaining isis pockets are near the syria-iraq border. some in the president's ownsa party a u.s. withdrawal could give isis new life. south carolina senator lindseygr am: >> 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 syriao ntially america if isis comes back and projects forcend again,ur allies. >> yang: but at least one republican, kentucky senator. rand paul, bactrump. >> i'm very supportive of the president's declaration, i'm very supportive of bringing the troops home.
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>> yang: the decision wi p also likelylease turkish president recep tayyip erdogan, who is threening 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 >> he hey're tied to a kurdish separatist group in turkey. late today, white house ulofficials said that be up to the pentagon. t no views on president trump's decision to withdraw forces from syria. retired general john allen served as the special presidential eoy for the global coalition to counter isis during the obama administration. he's now the president of the brookings institution. and steve simon also served in the obama administration as the l'sional security coun senior director for middle eastern and north african affairs. he's now a visiting professor at amherst college.
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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 n for u.s.s no rea troops to be in syria. do you agree? >> i think we'd be very careful about using the word "defeat" with respect to the islam state. we may have defeated its large concentrations, but are still thousands of islamic state operatives and fighters still on the ground in syria. we've got to be very carefuin i while all of us believe that our troops would come out eventually, coming out too quickly could create an opportunity for the islamic state to backflash, which not only would put at risk 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 for in the defeat of the islamic state. so we've got to be very careful about using that word "defeat and understand that the islamic state is still an
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extraordinarildangerous organization, not just in syria and iraq but more so globally as n ll. >> yang: steve siat, do you say to that? he says pulling out too quickly could trigger a bactkflash tha cowed threaten the syrian people. >> it's pos sble. the unitates 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 organed as military units or controlling territory, is obably something that would have vexed any u.s. withdrawal at any point because the goal of actually exteinating everyone syria who has isis ideology ricocheting around his or he brain is simply going to be
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impossible. i think, you know, the administration-- two administrations, really-- working in series, in sequence, have put an end to the islamic caliphate. that's a major achievement, an it was an achievement that was widely expected because theof correlatioorces was so skewed in favor of the alliance that was fighting isis. bu the ideology can't be extermated. it will be around and getti rid of that ideology is not going to be a military mission. the fact is the united states has dropped its aid program for e reconstruction of syria in areas where isis had been operating. unless those people get thepp t they need to rebuild their lives and their towns, the
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isis ideology will remain a serious problem. it the always be there. >> yang: so, mr. same orange i just want to make sure i'm clear on what you're sawing. the support the withdrawal now of u.s. troops? >> yess, i do. i think the mission has largely been accomplished.wh the way inch the administration has gone about announcing it was, you know, really rather clumsy, and perhaps even dangerous cause our major partners had no idea that this was coming down the pike. so there hasn't been a tie to coordinate with the kurds, with the french-- who are also operating in that ara-- or even as a practical matter with the turks or the russis. so, you know, this-- this kind of way of doing business can be extremely destabilibung. but as-as a matter of srinciple, i think, yes, it'
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probably a good idea to be bringing our troops out at this stage. >> yang: mr. allen, let's pick up that point that this way f business can be destabilizing. you talked about the effect on the syrian people. what's the effect-- or could b the effect on the kurdish people in particular? e> all of us believe that thos troops would have to go home at some point. the question is, is thatfi population suently 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 was promulgated today, and the pparent disagreements within the administrati how-- onw hois shouldhae executed, i'm sure, had a negative effect the kurds. and i'll make another point: no one except the united states could lead this process. d it's very important that in this city, we remember that a large coalition of international partners came together under hiamerican leadeuultimately
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to defeat the islamic state. but if we defeat the isamic state-- use our term "tof eat the islamic state"-- if we pull out it too quickly and get a backflash or we leave that population completely unsecure and the retaliationegins as the regime elements or the bssian firepower begins applied to them, then we're going to have to take responsibility for t in the end. >> mr. same son, what do you say to tha >> 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 tourds can submi rule by the assad regime. but the assaregime is n going to give the kurds the autonomy or the independence at they so badly want, that they have been seeking for so long. as inevitable that the exwriewts was going to turn its back on the kurds, because in
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terms of strategic logic, turk is so much more important to the united states, especially now, than are the kurds. in a global context in which the united states now ses a resurgent russia and needs to wonder how tostngthen nato, of which turkey is a part, and push back against russian provocations. >> yang: john allen very quickly. >> stve's right. there's a tragic choice here with the kurds. but this administration has the potential, if it pulls our troops out too kickly, of turninoithat tragic into a humanitarian catastrophe, and we should not do that. we need come out with a timeline that ultimately both protectsat opulation and does a very clear, incremental handover in such a way that we don't put our allies in northern syria at risk. >> yang: gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there. steve simon of the brookings
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institution, steve 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 were told, on some sort of funding measure today. it didn't hapn. what happened? >> well, it looked like it was on the fast track this morning. there were a w hold-ups, one was land bills, that republic senators from rural states like republican stens want passed. they include the lands, water, and conservation fund. that's something republicans like because it funding for easements, so loggers can get to public land. but it also has sosme retriction on mining, say, outside of yellowstone park. they're sayg this has to go
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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 this short-term agreement that they would come together on? >> so they're talki about-- let's look at the calendar here and how this might work. they're talking about february 8, extending funding for these unfunded agencies until february 8. but here's the politics y.volved, jud february 3 is when the democrats are scheduled to take over the house of representatives, and a couple weeks after that, tht's when we expect president trump to announce his state of the union. 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 valente's day gift to democrats and that this scenario would mean no chance for wall funding, at least for the next two years. so tonight, thoseconrvatives are taking to the house floor
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and cawrlg foshr atdown. >> 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 uow you to a lot can happen at the last minute? >> there's a large bill about extending some other tax cuts. that's a normal process but we'll watch what's in that. i want to call attention to one bill in particular, savannah's act, something that passed the senate unanimously, and it deals with native american women and the violence against them. jude, "they have 10 times the likelihood of mbeidered. 82% of native american women have experienced violence. the senate passed this unanimously in order to help agencieses track violence against them. but one republican, bo goodlatte, has said he will not let it go on a fast ack through the house. and right now they are trying to work out language, but it looks like this one republican is going to hold up this bill. they're negotiatet "but jusnow i got some information from sources that say they're not
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su they can work out a deal. >> woodruff: but one person in a position like that can make-- has so much power. >> that's right. at this last minute, yes. >> woodruff: just quily finally, speaker of the house paul ryan, retiring after some 20 years. farewell message today. >> he talked about things he hadn't achieved, and i think that's why his lacy is s interesting. he's very proud of his once-in-a-generation tax cuts, but he wanted them to be more sweeping, d he ao wanted to do entitlement reform, things he didn't get done. more debtleaves with and a higher deficit than when he came into congress. 's fascinating talking to members of congress, he has around him coreve belis, but most republicans, judy, neither love nor hate pauryan as he's on his way out. so that's an interesting statement about a top leader. >> woodruff: well, we'll continue to maybe look back at his legacy. >> and see what he does next. >> woodruff: and see what he does next. lisa desjardins, we're glader you're
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>> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: how an iraqi city struggles to recover from theuins of war. 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 american led coalitionhere- capturedity of mosul from isis. the militants took over iraq's second largest city in 2014. the punishing campaign to dislodge isis destroyed vastty swaths of the western sector. special correspondent jane ferguson was recently ul, and as she reports, the process ofw,ebuilding is painfully s and the grim task of accounting for the huge numbers of people lled there may never reach
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closure. >> reporter:hen isis fighters made their last stand in iraq, they chose to make ihere. mosul's old city was surrounded by iraqi government troo 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 sti a tangle of debris-- heaps of smashed buildings stand as monuments to the s destroyed here it's this man's job to make life bearable again: nawfal hammadi, mosul's governor. he took the newshour on a tour of the city's hardest hit areas. an estimated two 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 been tolled out from underneath these ancient lumps of.
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and isis bombs still litter the area. the militants produced explosive suicide belts on an industrial scale, like this one, police officer amjad ibrahim noticed spotted as we walked by. >> ( translated ): at least this is a suicide belt, it's obvious. there is still a lot of booby- trapped stf like children's dummies and footballs. we are always telling people to stay away fr because most of them are booby- trapped. >> reporter: the u.npays for teams of men to work together clearing the debris, a rare f chan a paycheck in a city with little opportunity. just openg paths through the rubble has been a major achievement. yet the central government is offering little help and has not yet given anyone the money needed to help rebuild their homes here. shaima aziz is done with waiting. the only way she can get a roof over her children's heads is with her own bare hands, one
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cinder block at a time. de is determined to re-bu this home from the wreckage. >> ( translated ): we are cleaning the bris to make a wall. we will build a wall here and get a door. >> reporter: she can no longer afford the rent where her family is sheltering. her husband found work as a laborer at work across town, so she has no choice but do this l on her own. this is the best they can hope for. there is no running water, no electricity. they just hope to be able to tobuild the walls up enouge able to take shelter and sleep they, like tho of other civilians here, were held by isis as human shields during the fighting, shaima told us. >> ( translated ): the isis ith us inwere hiding the basement, telling us "if you leave we will kill you." we barely managed to escape and sneakut. every minute there were people dying. men, women and children. our retives, neighbors from the area, dead. >> reporter: how many of thon, meomen and children relatives and neighbors were killed here will likely never
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be known, but it's surely ch gigher than the estimates n by the iraqi government. official figuresnly take into count the bodies that have been found saying 2600 civilians died and 2500 isis fighters werkilled during the offensive to re-take the city which lasted from october 2016 into july, 27. but investigations by the associated press and n estimate anywhere between 5000 and 11000 civilians were killed in the fighting. a former vice president of iraq says kurdish 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 the battle field. these ancient, narrow streets were impassable for most of the iraqi army's military vehicles,h forcin to come in on foot. and that in turn created a situation where more air strikes
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were used instead. the whole time, civilians trapped in here were hiding in ule old basements like this one. the battle for mosas one of the most brutal urban warfare mpaigns in modern histor u.s.-led coalition war planes dropped mbs that leveled building after building. iraqi troops a believed to have endured casualty rates not seen since world wari levels. the government banned filming of injured soldiers and never released the real numbers of its troops killed in battle. but it was civilians, trapped inside this killing field, who ptid the highest price. >> how many are ac automobile to harm and kill during operations and those standards were loweredin late 2018. so as a consequence, the
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military was able to move fast rt mosul operations, but it also increased risk to civilians. >> reporter: larry lewis of the center for nal analysis i a former senior adviser at the state department. >> there's also a strategic argument that the u.s. military moved that by moving more quickly, they could end the occupation and thereby reduce civilian suffering. so-- so it's a complex calculus. >> reporter: the govnor, back in his office >> woodruff: the governor, back in his office, pointed out that victims of this war include those kied by isis it its iron-fisted occupation of the city. the mass graves of their victims are still being disvered. >> ( translated ): during isis rule the numbers of people killed arenknown. isis killed people who were in the security forces. they also killed peoe who participated in elections, like candidates. >> repter: younes hassan is a skilled welder and that ability helped him fix up his own home all alone. isis evicted him and his wife and when the battle ended, he says.
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he found the corpses of russian isis fighters, and man half of his neighbors dead. >> ( translated ): the american government and the iraqis are saying not too many civilians area dead. no. a lot are dead. all of these houses were filled with people. all their homes were destroyed and they died in them. very few managed to escape. >> reporter: his house is by the river, which divided government- controlled territory from isis- ld areas. it was at this spot many desperate people tried making out, only to be caught and executed by the group. >> ( translated ): it was forbidden to leave your when isis was here. if you left they would kill youl alg the river here people were killed by dusk because they tried h flee. thse there, they dug out 50 bodies stacked up on top of one another. >> reporter: younes's restored home, freshly painted in violet, igstands as a remarkable sof life amongst the ruins life in mosul's easthe first part of the city freed from isis is now getting back to normal. busy markets and traffic are a
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partf every day life here. but across the river, the west sie, remains a pile of wreck and dangerous, unexploded bombs. soldiers don't like guarding the old city after dark. they told us they hear the voices of ghos amid the rubble the sound of children playing deep in the night and the voicet ofhe innocent, killed in a war they couldn't escape. for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson in mosul, iraq. >> woodruff: hundreds of immigrant children could soon be released from government custody after a policy reversal from the trump administration. amna nawaz reports on all this as the federal government continues to grapple with large
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numbers of migrant children being kept in shelters along tho er. >> nawaz: hundreds of migrant children will be released tou. thei sponsors, after the department of health and human services announced they will change the way theouconduct back checks. cie announcement comes as a new report from the ased press finds many migrant children are being housed in shelters with more than one thousand other children. michelle brane is the director of the migrant rights and justice program at the women's refugee commission, an advocacy group. she joins me now. welcome back to the newshour. >> thank you. glad to be here. >> nawaz: so let's tk about this associated press investigation first. there's not a lot of transparency into thelter system. we're talking about a network of over 100 shelters that the u.s. government works with to shelter migrant kids. the key finding is justt- t- cest they're staying in pla with hundreds if not thousands of other kids. >> we've known for a long time it's problematic. every social study about the
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welfare of children who are institutionalized shows larger institutions are inappropriate for children. ted that's why in the u states for decades now we've been moving towards smaller foster care or small shelters for the care of children. >> nawaz: we also know there are more migrant children n our care than ever 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, al studiesaroundlet 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 good situation for children, and we shld be moving in the oposite direction of what we're moving in. you know, 10 years ago we did ao studing at the custody of children, and looked at over 42 facilities, and at that time, our concern was-- one of r big concerns was that they were looking at institutions that would hold over 250 kids at time. we're now well over 1,000 in these facilities. that is simply the wrong direction to be moving in.
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>> nawaz: well there, has been what some people say is progress from the government. just this ek they're announcing they're going to roll back some of the requirements for background checks thato they'd placepeople coming forward to get kids out of this system,? rig what do you make of that? >> well, this is definitely a moven the right direction. this administration instituted a memorandum of agrment between r.o.r., who cares for children, and ice, the enforcement agen. unfortunately, it's only a partial change in that policy. the real problem is that information submitted byrs spons shared with ice, and we are seeing, in fact, many families who come forward to get their children who are apprehended after mi forward. so i worry that that's going to ientinue and that will continue to discourage famin coming forward. but in the meantime, for children who have had somebodyd come forw claim them, hopefully this will speed up the process of reunifying them. ask youz: well, let m this and the reaction to maybe something we'll listen to, thiso is a senofficial at the
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agency responsible for the care of uncompanied children. this is a woman named lynn johnson. this is what she had to say when asked about this change in their procedure yesterday. >> nawaz: so the government makes lousy parents. that's a pretty strong statement, especially when you take into count 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 because at's basically what it is. are there any checks on the d rizon for that? >> that was opes an emergency facility and it was not supposed to be opened for very and i hope thange in policy will facilitate the release of
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most of those children and that that facility will be able to be shut down but we'e ll havto see. aise said, i'm concerned there still will remain many children whose parents are afraid to com forward. >> nawaz: so there's another issue i wanted to ask you aboute ted to unaccompanied minors. you just came bathck fro border, children unaccompanied and waiting to entertain u.s. and we have seen reorts some of those children are turned away at the border. what did you see yourself when you were there?ut >> absy, that's exactly what i saw. not just some of the children,al amnachildren-- anybody who approaches the port of entry seeking protection or asylum, are turned away and told to get in a line. this line is not an official there's no foprocess for it. it is run by migrants themselves. and children who are turned away, just like everybody else are, not able to get on this list. atey're not able to get in line. for some compl reasons involving the mexican process. as a result, children are inve this resdoing or in this real limbo where they literally
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can't approach the border. they can't get line for the border.ot andinaryffered any options in mexico for protection in the united states. and very often, offered reurn their home countries. and so really, in turning childrensaway, the united sta is violating multiple laws. they're vielgt theinternational refugee convention. they're violating u.s. immigration law, and they're vielgt the trafficking victims protection act, which was in part specifically created to address this probl of children seeking protection at our border. this problem doesn'teed any law to fix it. it doesn't need any real shift, except for the u.s. gernment complying with its obligations under law to accept children who areo seeking tection at our border and put them through a process in the united states. >> nawaz: and part of then, concy understanding is, those are some dangerous situations fr those kids to be in while awaiting treintre. just this week we saw awe report of two teenagers unaccompanied who were acally murdered on the mexican side of the border. but i want to ask you about another t wgic sto have been following, death death of a
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seven-year-old girl in u.s. border patrol custody. >> we need ainquiry to look at the actions taken or not taken to understand whetheit met our constitutional standards, not the standards set out by border patrol. ryd that's one of our very serious concerns. her life may have been saved very early on in her det ention with ae- fac-face screening through a structured questionnaire. and the decision as to what to do with her should be made by ta heare professional, a qualified professional. >> nawe,az: michehere are still a lot of questions, right bthe circumstances surrounding her death, but also about our responsibility, our country's responsibility to children ho me across the border. what is that responsibility? can we expect border patrol to be acting like emergency medical personnel? >> you know,t's a very good question because for years now,
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we have been sayinborder patrol cannot possibly-- officers who are tasked with the very serious and dangerous jobs of protecting our borders are dealing with drug traffickers, organized crime, others crossing for varis purposes, should n then have to spend time baby-sitting children. we ne child welfare professionals. we need people there whose job it is and who have the skills te care for se kids. you know, 10 years ago we didn't see th many children and families crossing. and while the numbers,ll ove of people crossing our border has dropped, the percent afnlg those who are women and ildren has gone up to now over 50%. over 50% of those apprehd read families or children who are unaccompanied. it is timeto have actual people on staff in those circumstances to address their needs. >> nawaz: michelle brane, a the women's refugee commission, thank you for being meerp. >> thank you upo.
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>> 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 brangham spoke with our science correspondent miles o'brien for a quick review of this remarkable year. it's part of our weekly series on the leading edge of science. >> brangham: miles, i guess we should start with what is arguably the most controversial science story of 2018 and that's the news that, allegedly, two genetically engineered children were born in china this past yearn you can explis story and the controversy around it? >> yeah, i thinthe lead e toes you a little late in the year, william. this is a bigcescistory. it gives me equal doses of skepticism and, frankly, horror. a chinese scientist byto to youtube to announce he used the
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crispr gene editing tool, whic is essentially-- think of it like m allowing to you take genes, pull things out of a string of d.n.a., and inserting otherto genes t, full-fledged gene editing. he used that on some embryos of twin girls. let's listen to him for a mome s >> branghacan you tell us a little bit more about what it is actually he allegedly didl >> allehe went after the ne that is responsible for a prote that h.i.v. uses to
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infect a human beak. so in theory, if what he says is true, thesetwo yog girls would be resistant to h.i.v. now, he didn't really release the full data. he didn't run thisis by university. it appears he didn't even tell the parents fully what they were getting into. the thing may not 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 us, though, that there is another child being carriedo term that has been edited in some fashion, although, we don't know much about that. so suffice to say, it's sketchy. we should keep our skepticism levels very high here as to what he's accomplished. but i ll tell you thisit has cause aid huge controversy in the scientific community because what he has done, if he did what he says he did has crossed a big red ethical line
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because these changes to their genes are hereditary. in other words, they're permanent changes introduced into the body of human beingsa and t has all kinds of potential consequences and we'll beatching 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 rning. carbissions 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. > yeah, william, you know, you and i have been reporting on this subject lon enough to remember the days we talked about something that would happen in the future and m be affecting polar bears right now. but now it's affecting all of . climate change is here. it's here and now. its impacts are being felt in so
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many ways, and one common theme 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 fi year. and this past year broke nearly every cord 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 people died there, thousands of structurese were dstroyed. there is a big key component that is related to climate change. here's bioclimatologist park williams with moron that. >> since 1984, the area that burns in arany given yes up by over 300%. if we look at fores particular, the amount of area that burns in any given year is w by over 1,000%. >> brangham: i slot of that damage in paradise just a few weeks ago, ands as y,ou s it is truly devastating.
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earlier this year, i was also down in florida looking at another it's devastation from another likely climate-driven disaster, and that's the hurricanes that struck florida this year. >> yeah, i guess we've been tag teaming this story. the hurricane florence, which i had the opportunity to wifly the national oceanic and atmospheric administration right into the eyee, at that tit was just developing right near bermuda, give or take. and one of the things they're very interested in is this idea of rapid intensification. the models we have right now are relatively good at predicting where a hurricane might hit, but scientists d really understand why choorkz quickly go from something that's not so itrong to something that's really strong, whch is what we saw with hurricane florence. the other thitng we saw wih florence and we saw, of course, with harvey the year before, is this incredible amount of rainfall associated with hurricanes. t's listen for a moment to hurricane scientist hal needham. >> thyreally extraordin
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thing about the storm wasn't that the wind category when it att the coast. it was the fact t stalled out, enabling it to dump days of tremendous rainfall in placesor like carolina. so there's a growing body of evidence that this may be related with climate nge. >> brangham: okay, miles, let's leave this stormy, overheating planet of rs and head to i know one of your favorite places, outer space. t nes year that there was water found on mars. >> yeah, i want to tell buthree quick missions that got my interest. number one, mars express, european orbiter, around the planet, used a ound-penetrating radar, discovered an underground liquid aqua fer on s. wherever we have liquid water on this planet, no matter where you go, you nd life. so that's an interesting one. number two, thenght lander landed at the end of november. nasa's jet propulsion laboratory pulled it off once than. inght will use instruments to also look beneath surface of
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mars, try to characterize its core, among other things. and then my third favorite mission . cyrus re that is a little spacecraft that just arrived at the asteroid benu. benu is about the size of the empire state building. it could potenwially collide us over the next 200 years. seats a good idea to understand what it's doing upthere, 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 they already found the presence of water benu,t the good water, but inside claiz. so, william, if you'rethinking about extending out human rogennce into space, hyd and oxygen in water, that's rocket fuel. and so that could be a filatling n to the stars for us. and i'll leave it at that. >> braham: miles o'brien, as always, thank you so much.
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>> woodruff: tonight's brief but spectacur episode features franny choi, a poet whose work examines contemporary social issues. her first poetry collection is called "floating, brilliant, gone" and is availableow. >> there are only so many parallel universes that concern us. in one, he isn't dead, in another, you drink light with your hands all winter. a there niverse in which no one is lying emptied in the street as the gas station burns. a universe in which our mothers never learned to wrap their bones in each small grief they'd found. there is a universe ino hich there isfference between the past and the ground. anotherhe the oceans pull the moon, and so on. this is an incomplete list. it has been abridged for your comfort. i could tell you about the many
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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 yhtr hands at n just know that by signing here, you agree also to be responsible ur the universe where the oceans glow red, tverse where what we call shadow is m pulsing with tk of hooves, and especially the one where humans do exist, but only the nightmares of small children. will you hold that one too? the version of the story that never learned to consider sound, and the one whe sound is only e opposite of metal, and the one where not even the sound of tal is enough to quiet t
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dead. to me, this poem is one of the scariest things i've ever written because i'm proposing a lot of things that are-- that i truly don't know the answers to. but i think that as artists and as also people who are and living in the world, that's an important thing for us to do, to ask questions that we truly don't know the answers to. not just as stepping point to get to the platforms that we're trying to put into the world. i think that there's no time fou poems wistakes because people are literally dying, and i don't have time for a poem that has nothing to say about r at least nothing to sa about the world in which something like that could be possible. th name is franny choi, an is my brief but spectacular take on imagining alternate realities.
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>> woodruff: you can find additional brief but spectacular episodes on our website, for that's the newshou tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been 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 institutionsvi and inals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ncaptioponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> pati narrates: today it's all about the classics. american classics. but i'm gonna "mex" them up, i'm taking 3 beloved american dishes and giving them a new twist. first, maryland lump crab meat dip with roasted chiles. oo you can see how cheesy it is!n then a helping me with an outrageous crunchy sweet and spicy southern fried chicken. oh my gosh, look at this! for dessert, chocolate pecan pie with a mexican favorite - dulce de leche caram. and nothing makes me happier than sharing new recipes with my three boys. >> i'll wait, i'll wait. >> you'll wait? since when do wet ait? >> yeah, we don'wait. ♪