tv PBS News Hour PBS October 18, 2010 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: good evening. i'm gwen ifill. political candidates and party leaders shift into high gear as republicans raise money, and democrats try to raise enthusiasm. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we get the latest on the shifting political landscape from analyst stuart rothenberg, 15 days before the midterm election. >> ifill: and judy woodruff profiles what is perhaps this year's marquee race, the nevada senate showdown. >> i'm here in the silver state where the most powerful man in the u.s. senate, majority leader harry reid is
locked in a down to the wire battle with tea party favorite sharron angle. neither side is confident of the outcome. >> brown: then "wall street journal" reporter geoffrey fowler outlines new breaches of privacy for users of the social network facebook. >> ifill: from pakistan, two months after the floods, special correspondent jeffrey kaye reports on the continuing malnutrition and disease. >> people are not having that much good nutrition. they're not having shelter. they are facing stagnant water. >> brown: and with the threat of renewed conflict in sudan, margaret warner talks to u.n. ambassador susan rice. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by ctributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: with election day closing in fast, both parties are ramping up their efforts to drive their voters to the polls. one part of the strategy: getting top political heavyweights out front and center. >> thank you so much. god bless you. >> ifill: the final push for money and momentum is underway. >> nevada! >> ifill: today sarah palin was on the campaign trail part
of a 15-day tea party bus tour rallying republicans. >> you're tea party americans. you're winning. you're winning. and the left doesn't know what the heck to do with you and to do about you. this is beautiful. you're turning this country's political landscape upsidedown and inside out. it's all good. it's a beautiful thing.ñi this grass roots movement of the people for the people. it's we the people again. the left just doesn't know what to do with you so keep up the good work. november 2 is coming. >> ifill: yesterday the president and first lady were in ohio trying to excite lagging democrats. >> the last time barack and i campaigned together was two days before that little election, and we were right here in ohio. >> the biggest mistake we could make right now, ohio, is to go back to the very same policies that caused all this hurt in the first place.
i mean, think about it for a second. it just doesn't make sense. the other side is counting on all of you having amnesia, just forgetting what happened here. we can't return to a philosophy that nearly destroyed our economy and decimated the middle class right here in ohio. i say this not to relitigate the past. i say it because we can't relive the past. >> my two grand kids. >> ifill: in polling and fund raising republicans appear to have an edge. the wall street journal reported today that in the top ten closest senate races and 40 most competitive house contests, republicans have out- raised democrats by $15 million in three months. and they're using much of that cash to tell the flip side of the president's story. arguing that democrats have ruined the economy. house republican leader john boehner released this new web video today. >> where are the jobs?
>> that is the single most important question right now. >> the american people are still asking the question, where are the jobs? >> ifill: in the closest races the cdidates are getting sty. in ktucky democratic senate nominee jack conway is airing this critical ad targeting republican rand paul. >> why was rand paul a member of a secret society that called the holy bible a hoax, that was banned for mocking christianity and christ? >> jack, you should be ashamed. >> ifill: their dispute spilled over on to a debate stage this weekend. >> he still hasn't answered the two fundamental questions. why did he join a group that was known for mocking christianity and christ. why did he join it? >> you just out and out lie because you have nothing to stand on. run a race as a man. stand up and be a man instead of just calling me names. >> ifill: when the debate ended paul walked off the stage without shaking conway's hand. >> san diego.... >> ifill: and arizona senator john mccain campaigning in california for republican
senate nominee carly fiorina took a direct shot at her opponent who is also his senate colleague. >> barbara boxer is the most bitterly partisan, most anti-defense senator in the united states senate today. i know that because i've had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with her. >>fill: as the campaign entered this final week, at least a dozen senate races and 100 house races are still considered competitive. for a closer look at those competitive races, we are joined by stuart rothenberg, editor anp publisher of the "rothenberg political report." let's start with those 100 closest house races. which ones are you watching most closely? >> gwen, i generally break them off into different categories because there's so many. we're looking at democratic members who are in their first and second terms, people who came in in the waves of 2006, 2008, haven't seen any kind of neutral environment let alone this kind of environment. to see whether they can survive. many of them can't and won't.
in colorado, in florida, in ohio, they're having a tough time. the second kind of category we're looking at is some veterans, people who have been around a long time, who haven't had close races in years if ever. and now their longevity is proving to be a problem not an asset. in many years it's an asset. they brought home the bacon. they're powerful and influential. they're senior members. john spratt, chet edwards. congressman pomeroy and these are names that are never on our lists. and then there are a number of democrats in the south. these are democratic incumbents and democratic open seats that opened up in louisiana and arkansas, for example, but also jim marshal in georgia. jean taylor in mississippi who we never talk about. these are southern districts that have lots of conservative voters, republican voters. in the past these members have been able to personalize their races, localize them. it's about them. they've been moderate enough to hold republican voters. and this cycle those republican voters are saying i don't care.
voters who want the change in 2006, 2008 still want change. now the republican party has become the party of change. it's interesting. looking at the package that we opened with, the president is talking do you want to go back? if you look at national polling, first of all people don't blame the president primarily for the current economic circumstances. on the other hand, they think that if they vote republican, they won't be going back. they'll be getting something different. but if they vote democratic, they'll be getting more of barack obama's economic policies. those policies haven't turned things around. >> ifill: in fact i wonder if that's what is driving souch of e discussion not only the president's campaigning schedule but also what we've seen in the belt and the great lakes states where so many of these toss-ups are. >> exactly. take a state like wisconsin. again it has been a reasonably good democratic state.
>> ifill: russ feingold. >> long-term democratic incumbent a long time. known as a quirky independent democrat. his longevity is now a problem. republicans are saying, look, you want change? if you really want change, even russ feingold has got to go. they have a candidate who is a businessman, never run for office before. ron johnson. he is extremely good at articulating a message of change. >> ifill: how dangerous is it especially in these kinds of vulnerable places, how dangerous is it to be peggeded as a pelosi democrat? >> it's a huge problem particularly in the south. the south is where democratic pollsters tell me they're worried about the surge of voters. travis childers in the first district of mississippi. bobby bright in alabama. jim marshal in georgia 8th congressional district. if you're in the south and if there is a drop-off in the african-american vote and democrats are concerned about young voters and african- american voters dropping off after 2008, you combine that
with independent-voting republican and a surge, strong turnout among conservatives and republicans, you have big problems. >> ifill: flip side. does it help to linkeded to sarah palin or john boehner if anyone knows who he is? >> i don't think it helps to be linked to either one necessarily. i was amused or confused actually when the president went after john boehner a number of weeks ago because people just don't know who he is. setting him up as the straw man as the opponent seemed to me to be a strange kind of strategy. i think the democrats are trying to get mileage out of this idea that the republicans have nominated extreme candidates but also kooky candidates. what we saw in kentucky with rand paul being attacked, whether you believe the attack or not, it is a very strong attack about character and integrity andvalues. we areeeing this in a number of districts both state races
and house races around the country. >> ifill: we'll see you tonight. it's going to be a long night. >> i hope so. >> ifill: thanks. >> brown: there's more on politics 2010 coming up, as we highlight the reid-angle race in nevada; new privacy breaches at facebook; flood victims still suffering in pakistan; and u.n. ambassador rice on sudan. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: strikers in france today defied a government order to stop blocking the country's oil refineries. about 1,500 gas stations have nearly run out of fuel. french oil workers were demonstrating against cost- cutting pension reforms that would raise the country's retirement age to 62. students also torched cars and tires, blockading themselves from riot police. the reforms have already been approved by the lower national assembly. the senate is set to vote wednesday. french president nicolas sarkozy insisted today the proposal will pass, in spite of the protests. new al qaeda terror threat has emerged in france.
saudi arabian intelligence services warned european officials an attack is likely, especially in france. but they had no specific information on a time, date, place or target list. it follows an ongoing wider threat to europe that prompted the u.s. state department to issue a travel alert to americans traveling in europe. four men were convicted of plotting to blow up synagogues in new york city and simultaneously shoot down cargo planes. a jury returned the guilty verdicts in a federal court in manhattan today. the four men were arrested last year in an f.b.i. sting operation. a paid f.b.i. informant supplied them with inert bombs to use in the planned attacks. the defense argued the government entrapped their clients. iran participated in a high- level meeting on afghanistan today. the international group met in rome as part of a renewed push to end the nine-year-old war. it included members of the afghan government, nato, the european union, united nations and other key players. richard holbrooke, the u.s. special envoy for afghanistan and pakistan, said the u.s. gave
the go-ahead for iran to attend. >> we were asked whether we had any problems with that. we said no. this is a meeting in afghanistan, and it is restricted to afghanistan what we are discussing here is not affected by nor will it affect the bilateral issues that are discussed elsewhere concerning iran. >> sreenivasan: in afghanistan today, gunmen killed nine afghan workers who were guarding a nato supply convoy on sunday night. it happened in the south, where military supply convoys are regularly attacked. the most powerful typhoon in years hit the northern philippines today, killing at least three people. the super-typhoon is named megi. it is forecast to reach vietnam and china later this week. the cyclone packed sustained winds of 140 miles per hour. its force toppled trees and power lines, creating near-zero visibility conditions. vietnam has already seen more than 31 inches of rain ahead of the typhoon's arrival. heavy flooding has killed 30 people.
chinese officials braced for the worst, ordering the evacuation of 140,000 people who live in coastal communities. bank of america announced today it plans to resume some foreclosures in the u.s. next week. the mortgage lender will proceed with foreclosures in 23 states, and paperwork will be refiled for more than 100,000 cases. bank of america was the only lender to halt foreclosures in all states after evidence emerged the bank filed documents that employees did not read. bank of america is a newshour underwriter. stocks were up on wall street today, led by bank earnings. the dow jones industrial average gained nearly 81 points to closñ the nasdaq rose nearly 12 points to close at 2480.aj those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: now, to the campaign, and that very closely watched race in nevada. judy woodruff reports.
>> woodruff: at night, the dizzying lights of las vegas and its string of casinos are as bright as they ever were. the gambling capital of the u.s. remains a draw for anyone looking for adult fun. but daylight reveals just how hard the recession has hit the largest city in what was the fastest-growing state in the country for two decades running. political analyst john ralston. >> we have an unemployment capital of america. it will get to 15% here perhaps. we have the highest foreclosure rate in america. this was t classic boom economy that's now gone bust. it's hurt a lot of people. >> woodruff: at times like these, all politicians seeking re-election would expect voter frustration and even anger. but it's a double whamy for nevada's senior u.s. senator harry reid who also happens to be the senate's highest ranking democrat. >> harry reid has become a
broker. he's no longer representing the state of nevada. he pretty much is listening to the president. the president creates the programs. harry reid executes the programs. >> thanks for coming out saturday morning. >> woodruff: tea party activist and newly elected republican party leader here frank ricotta capsulizes what motivated him and others who had never been active in politics before to rise up and oppose reed now and down the road president obama. >> this government far overreaches its authority. so we need to start at the local level to elect conservative candidates to support our constitution and make sure we ensure our freedoms. >> woodruff: he and other tea party enthusiasts found their choice to beat reed in a former state assembly woman sharron angle who had been seen as occupying the political fringes. but in the angry atmosphere of 2010 has found support. with his poll rating hitting
new lows and some ready to write him off, reed and his allies were watching closely last june when angle, seen as the weaker g.o.p. candidate, was chosen. >> thank you all. thank you all nevada patriots. >> woodruff: reed quickly launched a barrage of critical tv spots singling out statements angle has made over abolishing social security, doing away with the u.s. department of education, and approving a nuclear waste facility in nevada. >> sharron angle wants to bring all five million pounds here for processing in nevada. but one nuclear spill could endanger our families and kill las vegas tourism forever. >> woodruff: soon polls showed the attacks were doing their job. angle's ratings started to drop. today, four months and millions of dollars worth of negative advertising later, many from outside political organizations, the race is a dead heat.
>> forward march. >> woodruff: voters are energized. some in organized tea party meetings like this one in me keet, nevada. rick crane founded the tea party group here. i think it's the most important election of my life. if we don't change, if mr. reed goes back to washington, then the change that is happening kind of overtaking the country and moving it to the left so strongly will be out of our control. >> candidly.... >> woodruff: reed supporters like powerful culinary union workers head d taylor has argued reed has done everything he could to create and preserve jobs and help the unemployed. >> when people are laid off and having a tough go, the idea that you would not extend unemployment benefits which
angle said she would not have done is in my opinion unconscionable. frankly immoral. >> woodruff: long-time g.o.p. consultant who advised president reagan and george h.w.bush broke ranks with his party because he says no one has done more for nevada than harry reid. and because of what he calls angle's extreme position, which he says are unacceptable to national republican leaders. >> they cannot stand side by side with someone who wants to eliminate social security. the party can't accept that kind of thought process. or someone who wants to eliminate entirely all mandates for insurance companies. why have insurance. >> we tried it harry reid's way. it didn't work. >> reporter: for her part angle has been airing ti-ed spots like thi one. >wanto kno just how out of touch harry reid is? spending $787 billion on a stimulus that failed.
or voting to give illegal aliens special tax breaks and social security benefits is another big clue. but here's the kicker. harry reid actually voted to use tax payer dollars to pay for viagra for convicted child molestors and sex offenders. what else could you ever need to know about harry reid? >> woodruff: the heavily negative tone of the spots and the fact that they've been blanketing tv has left many nevada voters with a bad taste in their mouths. >> i don't want to vote simply because of all of the bashing that's going on. >> woodruff: but when pressed, voters confirm the ads' messages are coming through. >> i think that honestly it's unbelievable that one party thinks that another party could be responsible for the economic situation with the housing when this problem exists in every city and state. >> woodruff: as election day
draws closer, harry reid is is holding rallies with groups that are working to get out his vote like latinos and this one for unions aimed at senior citizens. >> as long as i'm a member of the united states senate, no one will mess with social security. >> woodruff: afterward he acknowledged he's up against a tough political climate but said angle can't run away from what he says are unacceptable positions she's taken. >> the people of nevada aren't stupid. they know what this woman has stood r, not for a few weeks, not for a few months but years. >> i'm struck by how many people we see in the polls hold you in disfavor. why are they holding you responsible for this? >> they're holding a number of people, me and obama principally. even though anyone logically understands that we had nothing to do with creating the problems. they were there when the new congress started. >> woodruff: we were in nevada for four days and attended two
reid rallies but locating an angle rally was more difficult. one of the earmarks of this campaign is how hard it is to talk to or even find sharron angle. after scores of emails and dozens of phone calls, our requests for an interview was denied. it was only by talking to a tea party activist that we were able to find out she's due to speak at this hotel. after we arrived here and saw the "no press" sign, her campaign said she wasn't coming. the one debate that angle agreed to on las vegas pbs aired statewide. it gave her a chance to go after reid face to face and she did. >> man up, harry reid. >> woodruff: but also put her on the spot about previous positions she's taken. >> before the primary, you used the word "privatize" and now you use the word "personalized." why did you change your position on social security?
>> well, because of the idea that personalized covers both private and public. >> now she talks about and has for years talked getting rid of social security for years. now she's trying to change her tune. >> woodruff: with early voting underway and only 15 days left, both sides are pushing to get supporters to the polls. and both sides have advantages. for reid, more registerd democrats in nevada, a well organized democratic ground game and a divided g.o.p. that has dozens of state republican officials defecting to support him rather than the tea party- backed angle. university of nevada las vegas professor david demore. >> the insider scoop is that angle has made no attempts to reach out to establishment republicans there. harry reid has done a nice job creating the republicans for reed. angle wears that as a badge of honor because as most of the
tea party they're not only just fighting the democrats but they're also fighting the republican establishment. she tries to spin that in her favor but at the end of the day it's made it much more difficult for her to raise money in state. >> woodruff: much of the $14 million raised by angle in the last quarter came from out of state. but into the home stretch, both have about the same amount on hand. for angle the advantage is anger over the economy and the enthusiasm of the right. >> so the central question then is the enthusiasm gap that exists between the republicans and the democrats versus this democratic turnout machine. can they hold their registration advantage which is five points? can they not lose too much of it on election day? >> woodruff: one other wild card is the nevada ballot which includes lines not only for minority parties but also for none of the above. david demore says with both candidates carrying such high negatives, this could make a difference. >> it helps harry reid in the
sense that it gives republicans who maybe can't vote for harry reid but don't really want to vote for sharron angle, it gives them an out. >> woodruff: but that's a guessing game. much of the electorate is expected to vote early. turnout for the first couple of days is described as average. >> ifill: our vote 2010 coverage continues later this week with a report from battle ground state ohio on high employment and disappearing jobs. >> brown: now, what is the app for privacy? we look at some new concerns for facebook users. for more than 500 million people, social networking giant face book is the go-to place for sharing their latest likes and dislikes, photos, dating status, and a zillion other pieces of information. but how private is all that data? once again, facebook is facing that question, this time in a wall street journal investigation that found that some personal information has
beenransmitted to dozens of advertising and internet- tracking companies. according to the journal, the issue affects tens of millions of facebook app users including people who set their profiles to facebook's strictest privacy settings. apps, shorthand for applications, are software programs that consumers can access to play games, share common interests with others and much more. according to the journal, ten of the most popular apps on facebook were involved in the privacy breach. >> pele want to go on the inteet and check out their friends so why not build a website.... >> brown: facebook now the subject of a hit fictionalized film has grown phenomenally since its birth in a harvard dorm room only a few years ago. several times even in recent months the company has announced enthusiasm privacy controls amid a barrage of complaints over a lack of proceed techs. responding to the journal report today, facebook issued a statement saying in part our
policy is very clear about protecting user data, ensuring that no one can access private user information without explicit user consent. further developers cannot disclose user information to ad networks and data brokers. we take strong measures to enforce this policy, including suspending and disabling applications that violate it. geoffrey fowler is the co-author of the report. he joins us from san francisco. as i understand it, this centrals mostly on the so-called user i.d. explain what that is and what you found. >> well, at the core of this is a promise that fcebook makes to all of its 500 million users that it will not pass personally identifiable information about us and what we do on the site along to advertisers, marketers and data firms. what we found is that users who were using these apps-- and we checked many of the most popular ones-- they were
having their user i.d., which is a piece of information that can be used to look up the real name of anybody on facebook. that user i.d. was being sent along to a lot of different advertising and data companies. >> brown: what does that user i.d., what infoation goes with that? >> with that is your real name. your gender. the country that you're based in. and then anything else that you've set to public to everybody that you want to share on facebook. so we should be really clear here. we did not find that facebook was allowing advertising companies to access any of your private information. that is, information that you have set to share with only a close circle of friends. what we found was something different. we found that they were giving potentially advertisers and data companies a window into your activities on facebook through these apps but they could tie it to your real name. >> brown: just to continue so we're clear on what it is you found and what kinds of questions it raises. is the sharing of information
inadvertent at this point? i mean, what's known about that? do we know if it was used in any way? >> at this point facebook says, and their response to us is that it appears that most if not all of these cases were inadvertent. in our reporting we found at least one company that was taking this user i.d.- information from apps and linking its to its own database of internet users and selling those facebook userñr i.d.s and passing them along to advertising companies. now advertising companies, on- line companies, tell us that this violates best practices on the internet and they don't want this kind of information. they have no intention to use it. however, this is a case that shows it can actually happen. >> brown: explain for those not so familiar with the world of apps, applications, what is it that consumers think they're doing when they download or start to use an app? >> well, what apps do is let you play games or maybe build a family tree or somehow
interact with other users on the site. you tend to think while you're doing it that it's just limited to the set of of people that you're playing the are building your family tree with. however, there's a lot of advertisers out there that are trying to also send messages inside these apps, and a lot of people would like to know who you are and what you're doing on the sites. >> brown: this whole thing just to broaden the context here. this of course fits into a much larger debate about the internet, right? about consumers out there and marketers and privacy. >> that's true. it is a larger debate. there are many aspects of our off-line lives which marketers want to follow from the cards we swipe at the supermarket to get discounts to all this... the mail we get at home from credit card companies. however, online what the journal has been shining a light on this year is some of these breeches and holes that exist to allow this information that's been
collected about us to be put into the hands potentially of marketers or data companies or other people. >> brown: you started to tell us about facebook's response. tell us a little bit more because as we said in our introduction here, this has been going on particularly this year but especially in the last few months been a number of cases and a number of responses from the company. >> right. let's take them one at a time. in terms of the specific user i.d. leakage that we wanted out in apps, facebook said they would take steps to address that. part of the problem they said and we've heard this from developers choose to be embedded into the ways the web browsers work that they just automatically pass along certain kinds of information. facebook says it can take steps to address some of that. it would be technically challenging but they are going to be working on it. but more broadly in recent months, facebook has been making a lot of changes particularly to the way that users can control what they're doing on the apps. this follows an investigation
by the canadian privacy commissioner last year in which they identified these third-party apps as kind of a hole through users maynot realize how much information third-party organizations and companies could be gathering about them. after that investigation, facebook made considerable changes to the way that it restricts what information apps can collect. and before you or whenever you install an app now on facebook it tells you very specifically which bits of information that app wants to access. earlier this month facebook went a step further. they set up a control panel that every user has which tells you exactly which apps you've installed and which pieces of information it's been accessing and when. >> brown: and as you're following all this and of course this market especially for applications just continues to explode, what are you seeing in terms of consumer attitudes and as you're talking to experts out there, what is the message to consumers?
>> that's another great debate. i've certainly heard from a lot of facebook user today's who are concerned about this. that said despite all of the discussions and the problems that facebook has faced with privacy over the past half a year, their number of users continues to go up. the amount of time that people spend on the site continues to go up. there's also a debate out here in silicon valley over how much this is an issue that the regulators and media are concerned with versus everyday people. certainly facebook is giving folks a lot of utility. they enjoy spending time on the site. they get a lot out of it. the question becomes, you know, at what point will some of these concerns about privacy start to cut back on what people are getting out of the site? >> brown: geoffrey fowler of the wall street journal, thanks very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: next, pakistan after the floods, where many are still in need of food, medicine, and economic aid.
special correspondent jeffrey kaye reports from a small town in the northwest part of the country. >> reporter: the village is slowly coming back to life. when we visited here in late august, the town had been underwater for a month, but survivors camped in the graveyard, clinging to a narrow strip of high ground. now the water has been pumped out. villages are trying to reconstruct their livelihoods here in the province, an area already troubled by insurgent attacks. roads that were underwater are now dusty. classes have resumed, even though the school is housed in a tent. a water tanker makes twice daily deliveries to the tent. and latrines provide sanitary
facilities to people who recently had none. this man and his family of 12 still live in a tent. he's back in biscuiting hair with the one pair of scissors and one comb he salvaged from the flood. >> at the moment we have nothing and my business is in very poor condition. i'm making just enough to feed my children. i have no money to reconstruct my home so i'm looking to god for help. >> reporter: even though some reconstruction is underway, the economy is in tatters. many villagers lost jobs after floods destroyed the local sugar mill. 11 million pakistanis are still in need of immediate humanitarian assistance according to the u.n. aid organizations are pleading for more financial support. medical experts worry that as winter approaches, residents particularly those who are still homeless will be more vulnerable to illness and
disease. each day a mobile team of health workers sets up in a different location. today they've taken over a madrassah, a boys' religious school. as patients wait to be seen, a health worker teaches about basic hygiene. keeping clean to avoid skin and eye infections. >> people are not having that much good nutrition. they're not having shelter. they are facing stig nant water. they are facing a lot of other things. that's why the disease is becoming more common. >> reporter: the doctor sees patients, old and young. he prescribes medication that is dispensed on the spot. even though the flood has receded, water-born diseases continue, and other infections spread as the weather gets colder. >> skin infections are very much dominant and.
malaria and infections especially in children is becoming very much prominent with the passage of time. it is giving them more pain. >> reporter: even before the disaster, pakistan struggled to meet the health needs of a poor population. malnutrition was already a serious problem. now unicef is warning that foreign 125,000 children could... more than 125,000 children could suffer from severe malnutrition this year. at a unicef-supported pediatric wing at a local hospital, every morning patients gather from the flood zone for treatment. this doctor says many of them are repeat patients. >> we have seen cases coming again and again. a case comes to us again and
again. >> reporter: beyond the immediate medical issues are the long-term consequences of the massive flooding. with some six million acres of land spoiled by flood waters, the well being of millions of pakistanis depends on the ability to resurrect the badly damaged agricultural sector. for farmers it's a race against time. they've got to prepare their fields for winter planting. but they also need seeds. if they don't get them, they could lose another harvest. they and their families will be dependent on food aid for at least another year. this man farms ten acres just outside of the village. the floods destroyed his crop and killed his two milk cows. now a thick layer of hard, dry mud covers his fields. >> my family was fully dependent on the corn crop for
our income. so now we have nothing. >> reporter: he has a family of 20 to support. his house is ruined. he needs money to rent a tractor, fix his irrigation pump, and buy wheat seed. >> wheat seed is expensive. at the moment i have no money. i will sell this grass for animal feed to get the money to buy the seed. >> reporter: humanitarian groups plan to distribute free seed and fertilizer to the poorest subsist ens farm hes. these farmers are registering for the assistance. to qualify they need to have fewer than 2.5 acres. but even if they get the seed, many will need help watering their crops. >> irrigation is one of the main challenges we're facing right now because irrigation is crucial to the harvest. and a lot of irrigation systems have been destroyed. there's silt that needs to be cleared. this is a major challenge we're facing. >> reporter: the u.n.'s food and agricultural organization
oversees the seed distribution. this man says the program could feed up to six million people. >> right now people need aid to survive but if we can get them to plant their own food they will not be dependent for so long. the wheat we're looking at now will be harvested in about april. from then they will not be as dependent on aid. that of course only goes for the places where we can plant. right now as we're speaking in the southern province the water still stands this high in many places. it's not going to be possible to plant there yet. but as the water recedes we're hoping that we can distribute to more areas and we will target those. >> reporter: in areas like this one now taking halting steps towards recovery, the unprecedented floods have only compounded a host of problems. as we left town we saw the aftermath of a recent attack. the wreckage of pakistani fuel
tankers headed to afghanistan to supply u.s. troops. potent reminders of the other troubles that remain. >> ifill: we'll have an interview with pakistan's foreign minister tomorrow night. >> brown: finally tonight, an update on the african nation of sudan, where ethnic tensions threaten to erupt once again. margaret warner has the story. >> warner: when people hear of conflict in sudan they tend to think about darfur the western region where fighting since 2003 has killed some quarter million people and forced nearly two million from their homes but another conflict is brew over the fate of oil-rich southern sudan. it could come to a head on or before january 9, less than 90 days from now. that's when heavily christiane south sudan is scheduled to vote on whether to break away from the predominantly muslim
north. the january vote was scheduled under a 2005 peace accord ending a 21-year civil war between the two regions. as a temporary solution southern sudan was given limited autonomy and the promise of a secession vote in 2011. but recently sudanese president and other top officials in sudan's capital khartoum have sent mixed signals about whether they will be ready for the vote, allow the vote or abide by its results. complicating matters further, a tiny oil-producing district along the north/south border has its own plebiscite scheduled the same day on whether to remain in the north or join the south if it votes to secede. the governments of north and south can't even agree on who should be allowed to vote there. president bashir warned last week that failure to resolve other thorny issues like how to share oil revenues before the referenda could trigger a
conflict much more serious than the previous civil war. the rev. daniel, the archbishop of sudan and bishop in the south also sees the danger of renewed bloodshed. >> there is a great fear, a great fear of conflict. >> warner: there were reports last week that the u.n. had deployed some of its 10,000 peacekeepers from south sudan to potential hot spots along the border. president obama said last week a peaceful resolution of this is one of his administration's highest priorities. >> if you have an outbreak of war between the north and the south in sudan, not only could that erupt in more violence that could lead to millions of deaths but solving the problem in darfur becomes that much more difficult. >> warner: at a u.n. meeting last month amid concerns that preparations were lagging, mr. obama warned khartoum to allow the vote to proceed peacefully. he suggested the u.s. might
extend aid and normalize relations with sudan if all went well. last week u.s. ambassador to the u.n. susan rice and a u.n. delegation visited south sudan, darfur and khartoum to assess the situation and urge the parties to prepare for the vote. ambassador susan rice joins us now. madam ambassador, welcome. >> thanks. >> warner: you're just back from sudan. tell us first what you found in the south. what did the leaders there tell you,? how ready do they feel for this vote? >> margaret, there's a huge amount of anticipation, expectation and anxiety about whether or not the referendum will happen on time and whether its results will be respected. the peo of southern sudan have waited for generations to have the opportunity to determine their future. they are determined to have it occur on schedule on january 9. yet the realities are both logistical and political that it's uncertain that this will
in fact be able to be conducted time as planned. so the united states and others in the international community are doing all we can to support the parties in their efforts to bring the referendum off on time, to provide the logistical and other support through the united nations and other international entities to enable it to occur, and to deliver the very clear message to the parties that they need to uphold their commitment to hold this referendum on time. clearly the people of the south and the government of the south want this. it's our aim to enable it to occur. >> warner: you met with some of the leadership then in the north, in khartoum. what's your reading of them? what were they telling you about whether they're ready to let this go forward? >> well, what they said was quite clear. and we look forward now to the actions meeting their words. what they said was that they too are committed to holding the referendum on january 9 without pre-condition. so while there are many very sticky outstanding issues that
need to be resolved, thing like the demarcation of the border, how to share oil wealth in the aftermath of the referendum, and other such typical issues, what the government of the south says they want and what the government of the north committed to do is not to put any pre-conditions, not to demand that these issues be thoroughly resolved before the referendum can go forward. we're going to hold them to that commitment. that's crucial because as urgent as it is for these issues to be resolved many of them are very difficult and complex. they've been held off until the lt minute. we're trying to do all we can as the united states to support the two parties to resolve these issues including the complex issue of abiya on the border but frankly time is short and we need as much progress as possible but no pre-conditions. >> warner: yet president bashir gave a speech on saturday. at least it was reported by the sudanese news agency that he did say if the vote went
ahead without resolving these complex issues that there could be a very bloody conflict worse than the last civil war. how did you read that? >> well, i hope and expect that it was not the statement of a pre-condition. but rather the statement of the importance of these issues being resolved. with that we agree. there's clearly a need to resolve these crucial issues of how to demarcate the border, how to resolve the fate of abiya, how to share wealth, among other issues, that have to be resolved if the two sides, regardless of the outcome of the referendum are going to live in lasting peace. >> warner: in leaders in the south have accused the government of the north of already moving troops down near the border in preparation for war. as the u.s. seen any evidence of that? >> we have not had the wherewithal to independently confirm nor has the u.n. evidence of significant troop movements, but those accusations have been made by
both sides. we're watching it very carefully. very importantly, the united nations is taking precautionary steps to ensure that in those areas that are the hottest potential flash points like abiya, there's a beefed-up united nations peace keeping presence both to provide early warning and to enhance the protection of civilians should that be necessary. >> warner: but wouldn't the u.s. have the satellite capability to tell whether troops were moving to the border? >> margaret, i think you know american officials don't discuss intelligence collection matters. that would be inappropriate. but suffice it to say that we cannot independently verify at this point allegations of significant troop movements. obviously there are minor movements all the time. but it's an issue we're paying close attention to. it's one that really we're approaching from a preventive point view. we don't want to come to this after the fact, once another
significant clash has occurred. we are putting all of our effort from the highest levels of the u.s. government, president obama, secretary clinton, special envoy general grayson, myself and many others on the effort to prevent an outbreak of violence and resolve these difficult issues so that they don't become a flash point. >> warner: very briefly you did just confirm that the u.n. has moved some peacekeepers into some of the potential hot spots. do you think more will be needed? and does the u.s. support that? the sudanese army expressed anger at that this weekend. >> well, it's not clear whether more troops will be needed. we'll obviously look to the judgment of the u.n. mission on the ground to make any recommendations to the security council, that would be the normal course. if they need more troops. what they have done is to reconfigure within the troop complement of 10,000 that they have. it's not a buffer zone across the entire border which the government of the north objected to. but rather an augmentation in
particular hot spots just to deter and respond if necessary to any outbreaks of violence. >> warner: ambassador susan rice, thank you. >> good to be with you, margaret. thank you. >> ifill: again the major developments of the day. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. political heavyweights from both parties made their way to the campaign trail, with election day just over two weeks away. there were new breaches of privacy for users of the social network facebook and many of its most popular applications. and fuel supplies in france ran low as strikes against government plans to raise the retirement age continued. and to hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: on the political checklist, gwen and political editor david chalian discuss president obama's campaign stops and the stakes for house speaker nancy pelosi on election night. our global health team is on a reporting trip to mozambique. they check in with a blog post on chronic hunger there. plus, we look at the power of pink during this breast cancer awareness month, from sports
uniforms to political landmarks. watch our slide show of images bathed in signature pink. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and again, to our newshour for tonight. on tuesday, paul solman has another installment in his ongoing look at the growing home foreclosure crisis. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: