tv PBS News Hour PBS September 30, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: a government shutdown is now just hours away, and the budget battle in congress continues. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead, shutdown or not, the new health care exchanges roll out across the u.s. tomorrow. we look at a push in california to get latinos to sign up. >> ifill: and in pakistan, a recent wave of violence has targeted the country's christians. >> we feel most of the time we are not equal.
but the grand feeling that we are not even wanted. >> woodruff: those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: our lead story
tonight, it was a long day of wait-and-see, as the federal government headed toward potential shutdown. it remained unclear whether congress would pull back from the brink. house speaker boehner did speak tonight. democrats still insisted on the straightforward bill bill to fund the government. republicans kept demanding that any bill also target the president's health care law. >> the house will be in order. >> in fact, disorder mostly prevailed as the hours ticked down. speaker john boehner defended the house which was in session this weekend and blasted senate democrats. >> the house has done its work. we passed a bill on saturday night, sent it to the united states senate that would delay obamacare for one year and would delay permanently the medical device tax that are costing us tens of thousands of joshes that are being shipped overseas. senate decided not to work yesterday.
my goodness if there is such an emergency where are they? >>ifill: the senate returned this afternoon. they rejected the plan. the chamber's democratic majority leader harry reid says it's time to stop playing political games. >> so our negotiation is over with and i've said that for two weeks. they should pass us here. they are closing down the government. i don't know what in the world is wrong with them. either fixated on obamacare, it is the law. we are not going to wait until they pass rcr or otherwise the government is going to shut down. >>ifill: without even a partial compromise, the government will close down at midnight. among its most recent effects:
many federal employees would be forced to stay home without pay. national parks across the country and popular tourist sites would be shuttered and first time home buyers could face delays in the government backed mortgages. services would include uninterrupted, including military law enforcement and intelligence activities and border patrol and air traffic control operations. in addition, social security beneficiaries would still receive checks. with the ball back in the house's court leaders of both parties huddled with their members this afternoon then top republicans emerged with a new proposal to individual mandate to buy health insurance for one year and eliminating exemptions. >> special treatment and carveouts and exceptions under obamacare for big interest, special business, and yes it has provided a carve out for members of congress. our position is very clear: no special treatment for anyone.
we all live under the laws equally applied. >> president obama weighed in saying he is not at all resigned to a government shut down. >> it does not have to happen. all of this is entirely preventable if the house chooses to do what the senate has already done. and that's the simple act of funding our government without making extraneous and controversial demands in the process. >> ifill: but with pressure mounting as the hours slipped away spieker boehner said that house will not yield, asked they would have a clean funding bill one with no additions he said that's not going to happen. we'll have more on the shutdown showdown, after the news summary. the brinksmanship in washington did little to reassure wall street today. stocks fell amid fears the government might shut down, and that congress might also fail to
raise the debt limit next month, triggering a national default. the dow jones industrial average lost 128 points to close at 15,129. the nasdaq fell 10 points to close at 3771. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu warned president obama today to keep sanctions in place against iran, despite a potential diplomatic warming. the two men met at the white house. the prime minister said it will take more than words to resolve his concerns over iran's nuclear ambitions. more on this, later in the program. the justice department has filed suit against the state of north carolina over alleged racial discrimination in voting rules. a new state law scales back the period for early voting, and imposes strict voter identification requirements. in washington today, attorney general eric holder said it's clear the law's main target would be black voters. >> we stood here today to announce this lawsuit more in sorrow than in anger. it pains me to see the voting
rights of my fellow citizens negatively, rationale that is tenuous at best and on concerns that we all know in fact are not real. >> ifill: north carolina, texas, and other states have moved to tighten voting laws since the supreme court struck down part of the voting rights act this year. bank of america will pay $32 million to settle charges it made thousands of debt collection "robocalls" to cell phones. under a 1991 law, the calls are illegal without the customer's consent. the bank denied the allegations, but said it settled to avoid paying more legal fees. it faced multiple class action lawsuits involving nearly eight million customers. in iraq, the latest spate of bombings left more than 50 people dead. nearly a dozen car bombs went off around mostly shiite neighborhoods in baghdad over the weekend. the explosions left streets and markets littered with rubble. iraq's interior ministry blamed insurgents linked to al qaeda.
the prime minister of greece vowed today to do "whatever it takes" to eradicate the extreme- right golden dawn party. half a dozen of its neo-nazi leaders were taken into custody over the weekend. paul mason of independent television news has this report. >> the leadership of the greek far right including six mp arrested and indicted for organized crime. christop papov is the strategsts of golden dawn. it's changed the political situation here overnight. police say they found weapons in his villa and some photos of adolph hitler. and here is the prosecution report. seven pages, 32 charges and one chilling word.
the fuehrer princep, the which golden dawn followed to the letter. golden dawn won 7% in the last greek election. violence against migrants but free food for greeks. meanwhile the police seemed unwilling to react. but when this man, pavlos fisas, an antifascist rapper, was murdered, police came to organized criminal gang. the greek parliament today moved to cut off golden dawn's state subsidy. and it's been a lesson learned. >> violence in greece is over. we don't care who makes the action, but the law will rule, and whoever is violent, he will face the law.
>> tonight three police officers have been assigned as close protection to golden dawn mps was suspended for illegally possessing >> ifill: the rise of golden dawn has tracked greece's descent into financial crisis in recent years. the "new york times" reported today that a leaked al qaeda terror plot may have damaged counter-terror efforts more than disclosures by n.s.a. leaker edward snowden. the report found there's been a marked drop in al qaeda leaders' use of major communication channels since the plot became public in august. word of the plot led to temporary closures at 19 u.s. embassies and consulates. the 20th century's two most influential popes, john paul ii and john xxiii, will be canonized as saints next april 27. the vatican set the date today, and officials said retired pontiff benedict xvi may join pope francis in the ceremony. still ahead on the newshour, two
takes on the possible shutdown, from the white house and a house republican. the push to get latinos to sign up for the new health insurance exchanges; israel's prime minister visits president obama; plus, violence against christians in pakistan; and tracking religious persecution around the world. >> woodruff: we return now to our lead story with two takes on the showdown here in washington over funding the federal government. first, the obama administration's view. dan pfeiffer is a senior adviser to the president. he joins me now from the white house. newshour dan pfeiffer. let me just cite to you what republican leaders in the housing are saying this afternoon. they've modified their position somewhat. they're no longer insisting on a full delay or defunding of the health care law. they're now saying only if the president will only agree to
delay the individual mandate, because they say after all, he's already delayed the business mandate. would the president consider that? >> my apology, we are not able to hear dan pfeiffer, can you hear me now? >> can you hear me now judy? >> there we go. i had a long winded question about whether the president would consider what the house republican leadership is now saying which is delay the individual mandate. >> no, the president will not consider that. the house is continuing to pass legislation they know will never become law. they know it will never pass the united states senate. it will never be signed by the president. they are trying to use the threat of shutting down the
government to extract things that they don't want to become law. pass the majority house and senate stop letting the stay party conservatives controlling the house and senate. it should be very easy. >> woodruff: they say it should be a matter of fairness, equal treatment and they say they want to take away the subsidy that the law now provides for members of congress and their staff and for white house staff members. and they say again, it's just a matter of fairness. would the president consider that? >> absolutely not. i think it's important to understand exactly what they're proposing. this so-called amendment has nothing to do with obamacare. they are referring to subsidies that members of congress and their staff and all members have been getting for years, long before obamacare was even something that was considered it makes no sense. i'm very confused with why they want do that.
all of this is just getting if the way of what they should do which is keep the government open. let's not hurt the economy, let's not hurt the middle class families, let's do something very simple here, has majority support in the house and the senate, but they have veto power over everything that comes in the house. >> dan pfeiffer is there any flexibility in the president's position? >> no. we have to break this cycle where the house republicans use the threat of shut down or default to try to extract some sort of ransom list of policy concessions that are unable to win through normal order through passing it in both houses or through election. that has to happen now. >> woodruff: do both sides have to give somewhat to get to common ground? are you not creating bigger problems down the road by insisting that all the accommodating has to come on the other side?
>> we're not asking for anything. all we're asking is keep the government running for six weeks at the levels that congress has already passed. they're trying to use this as a leverage point for something else. we're not saying, pass immigration reform or we wouldn't sign a continuing resolution, all we're saying is do what you have already done. don't shut down the government. there is a tremendous irony because tomorrow the health care exchanges are going oopen. house members may shut down the government in attempt to to be obamacare but the health care exchanges will open anyway. they are causing damage to the economy for no reason. it's illogical and unnecessary and they should put an end to it. >> woodruff: republicans and even some democrats are saying the white house should give ground on tax on medical devices. because what the companies say make these devices is that it's just causing them to have to move jobs overseas, eliminate jobs.
they're saying there's a business reason, an economic reason to change that part of the health care law. >> well i think -- i think a couple of things. first if they want to have a conversation about anything letle take the fault and shut down off the table first. i think that's the most important thing here is you cannot use the threat of hurting the economy as a way to try to extract concessions so that's not going to happen. we are willing to talk to republicans about anything. as you remember the presiden took them all ought to dinner to talk about a big budgets deal. we are still waiting for a counteroffer many months later. finally there is an irony here which is after spending so much time running their campaigns they want to reduce the deficit, their big play is to repeal the tax on the medical devices which would raise the deficit by about $100 million i bleach. >>woodruff: dan pfeiffer thank you. >> ifill: now, for a viewpoint from capitol hill.
we are joined by republican congresswoman marsha blackburn of tennessee. >> do you see any way of getting past the government shut down knit? >> we certainly hope that harry reid and the president both are going to work with us on this judy. you know we have been at this for quite a while. we know that the american people want the government to stay open. we know that they do not like obamacare and that they want to see some changes made. and we've offered different ways to go about this. we have offered all sorts of bills that would deal with repositioning and reworking different sections of the bill with -- simply inviting once again harry reid and the president to work with us on this so we keep the government open and we address the concerns that the american people have about obamacare, and the impact that it's having on jobs.
dan just mentioned, you know, jobs and the economy. and you can talk to any number of businesses. i have a list of about 311 right now. and can you see where it's having an impact. you can look at the number of given -- have been given, 1200 and the first being the president and his staff and senate and house leadership waiving them out of the law when they were finishing writing the law after it had been passed. all of this is not fair. it is time to address this as fairness. it is time for them to work with us to keep the government open. and to make certain that we do the right thing for the american people, that's what we're committed to. >> woodruff: marsha blackburn, i'm sure you're aware the government has used hostage taking and blackmail and terms like that, using next month perhaps the debt ceiling debate to kill the health care bill? >> judy, i have to tell you, i
find such language to be very sad and very inappropriate for the issues and the severity of the issues that are facing our country. i am every single day talking with and working with people in my district who are seeing their health care insurance cost go up. five times. 105%. 300%. that are getting pay cuts that are losing 40-hour work weeks. that having to work two and three jobs. this is the very real impact of this law. and what we are seeking to do is to soften that blow to the american people, keep the federal government open. soften the blow to the american people. help work through these issues. so that health reform is done in a way that it preserves access to affordable health care for all america and people are not disenfrashed.
>> woodruff: is this intraparty fight, is it the fight with the democrats in the white house,. >> it is very clearly a fight with the democrats and the white house. we are sending back over to them another proposal that says please, join us, work with us. the individual mandate which needs to be addressed is a fairness issue. the president has given 19 delays. many of those to people that are friendly to him in the administration. let's do this for the american people. the second thing is addressing the subsidy issue. and to correct mr. pfeiffer, just so he is aware, the way the sever albert clauses are written in the law -- sever ability clauses are written, an employer cannot do that, so what we are doing is taking that action that we'll go ahead and remove that
opm did not have the authority to make that provision, and to send that memo. so we are addressing that in the appropriate manner tonight. >> woodruff: let me ask yous a d bit of conversation around that. and what we have to realize is that those of us on our side of the aisle were the original co-sponsors, brought forward the no budget no pay. this is important to us and important that we address it. tonight, which is the potential we -- it's -- there is the 27th amendment that affects the pay but i think every member of congress stands and says look, getting this funding issue right, having the house -- the senate work with us, having the white house work with us, these are imperatives.
again, we asked them to meet us. we don't want the federal government to shut down. it is so inappropriate, it is not respectful of the people that sent us here to do our jobs. >> ifill: we'll certainly watch to see what happens. marsha blackburn renewable of tennessee thank you so much. >> woodruff: even with a possible government shutdown looming tonight over the fate of the health care law, one thing won't change: money to implement the law has already been allocated. and tomorrow, the federal government and 16 states are poised to open new online insurance marketplaces. one of the key groups being targeted for enrollment: latinos, who make up a third of the uninsured nationwide. kwame holman reports. >> holman: hundreds of people, young and old, stood in line on a recent morning outside the
cesar chavez civic center in oakland, california. the occasion was a health fair organized by community groups, and the mood was festive as the largely hispanic participants prepared to sign up for programs, including food stamps, free medical screenings, even free healthful food. but the biggest draw was the large area devoted to health insurance. >> what do you think are the chances for me to qualify? >> it just depends on the income. >> holman: here, specially trained staff explained what type of insurance they would be eligible for under the affordable care act, known as obamacare, which requires everyone to be insured. of the nation's 53 million latinos, about ten million are uninsured, four million of them in california. there's a big push to get them enrolled in the state's new insurance exchange, covered california.
lower-income residents may qualify for premium subsidies or be enrolled in medicaid, known here as "medical." undocumented individuals are not eligible. >> you have some gum recession, so you want to take care of your gums. >> holman: erika barnajas is just the kind of person the state is hoping will enroll. she's a 37-year-old mother who doesn't have health insurance. she came to the u.s. 16 years ago from mexico. her infant son abran got his first dental exam at the health fair. >> i don't have insurance. it's a big problem, because when i get really sick, sometimes i don't have money to pay a hundred dollars to a doctor. >> holman: ofelia cisneros, 24, currently has insurance, but is concerned she'll lose it. and, like many there, she wanted to find out more about obamacare. >> i'm confused about how the whole program is going to work out, how you're going to apply, how you're going to get care.
that's everybody's biggest question. is this really going to be affordable? is this really going to work out? >> holman: the event was sponsored by the california endowment, the state's largest private health promotion organization. it's spending $60 million to educate californians about obamacare, much of that targeted at latinos. the endowment is running an ad campaign on spanish language networks. this one features dr. ana maria polo, a popular personality on telemundo. >> 60% of those who are eligible for obamacare in california are latino. so if obamacare is going to succeed in california, it has to succeed among latinos. >> holman: the outreach effort is being spearheaded by the california endowment's daniel zingale. zingale says one of the biggest tasks is combating fear.
>> fear and anxiety among mixed immigration families about immigration and deportation is a major hurdle. you may have a parent who doesn't yet have legal status, but is the parent of children who are here legally, born in the united states. so we want to get those children enrolled in obamacare. we need to assure people that the government won't offer them health coverage assistance with the one hand and then deportation or immigration enforcement with the other. >> holman: zingale and his colleagues also are using the high profile of the new health care law as an opportunity to also reach out to members of the state's latino community who don't qualify for it, the undocumented. the endowment is sending out a health promotion message via radio programs in california's central valley, targeting a growing number of indigenous mexican agricultural workers who speak only mixteco and triqui. there are more than a million undocumented and uninsured californians. it's a population that traditionally hasn't been able
to access many health services except in emergency rooms and community health clinics, such as this one in hayward, california. the tiburcio vasquez health center serves 15,000 low-income patients a year. about 70% are latino and a mix of undocumented and legal residents. >> we are dealing with a lot of chronic problems, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and a lot of geriatric populations. >> holman: dr. deepika jannapureddy is a family practice physician who says the affordable care act is going to improve the health of the community she serves. >> people who don't have insurance, they may need to wait, like if they need to go and have a colonoscopy done, or if they need to go and see oncologist. but once they get insurance, we have more access to a lot of
referral people. we can call the hospital, and we can send right away. >> holman: but not everyone in the state is happy about the coming implementation of obamacare. harmeet dhillon, vice chair of the california republican party, opposes the health law, and says she's concerned how it will impact all residents. >> it's going to be the biggest tax and burden on american business in history. i think across the board, people are feeling very uneasy and uncertain about it. that's going to escalate rapidly on oct 1, when people start to sign up, fill out these forms, and then a month later when they start to get the bills. >> there's no question that the toxic politics around obamacare has kind of poisoned the air for this conversation. but one of the things we pride ourselves on here in california is, we're very comfortable getting ahead of washington, d.c. so they may be debating this for the next 100 years-- as they have for the past 100 years-- but our governor, our people
here in california, we're pretty clear that we're moving forwarso communities, who may hold the key to the success of obamacare in the nation's biggest state. >> ifill: an important postscript to kwame's report. the spanish-language version of the federal website for exchanges won't be ready tomorrow. but the obama administration says people will still be able to get help on the phone to enroll and can find spanish- language guidance on the english website.s the spanish-language website is expected to fully open in mid- october. individuals who want coverage beginning in january can enroll until mid-december. >> woodruff: after last week's historic phone call with the president of iran, president obama received a visit and a warning today from israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. margaret warner reports.
>> woodruff: the israeli priemghts came to the oval office today intent in delivering a message. >> iran is committed to israel's destruction. >> warn the u.s., do not be swayed by what some israelis have dubbed are iran's smiley campaign. aimed at loosening economic sanctions. >> i believe that it is the combination of a credible military threat and the pressure of those sarchtions that have brought iran to the negotiating table. i also believe that if diplomacy is to work, those pressures must be kept in place. and i think they should not be lessened until there is a certifiable success. >> president obama, says to keep iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability all options remain on the table.
>> we enter into these negotiations very clear eyed, they will not be easy. anything that we do will require the highest standards of verification, in order for us to provide the sort of sarchtions relief that i--sanctions relief that i think they are looking for. friends and allies in the region during this process. >> woodruff: all this followed a flurry of renewed interest of negotiating an end to the stalemate over rawn's nuclear program, including a speech to the united nations on tuesday and speaking with reporters on friday. >> speaking with senior european officials and hearing mr. obama, the president of the united states, it seems as if they sounded different, compared to the past.
and i view that as a positive step in the settlement of the differences between the islamic republic of iran and the west. >> warner: later that afternoon, hassan rouhani and obama conversed by telephone. several uranium mines, plutonium are strictly for civilian use. echoed that message but held firm on teheran's right to enrich. >> negotiation are on the table, to discuss iran's right to enrichment program. our rights to enrich is off the table.
>> but you do not need to enrich it above 20%. >> we do not need military grade uranium that is a certainty and we will not move in that direction. >> negotiators from the u.s. and five other powers are set to meet with in october. secretary of state j.k. will address the issue again when he goes before the u.n. general assembly tomorrow. >> margaret, this was a meeting that a lot of officials were waiting for. >> what struck me judy was even though prime minister he said of course, israel is going to insist that iran not acquire nuclear weapons capability but president obama and i are in agreement on that.
the one sort of discordant note if you read between the lines or looked at one line had to do with sanctions. he said not only should sanctions not be lifted during the negotiating phase as long as iran was still producing, running its program but in fact should be further toughened and there is move on the hill to do that, that is not what the administration wants to see at this moment. but prime minister netanyahu went to move with the senate foreign relations committee to discuss it. going on now. >> woodruff: you told me there are clear points of agreement between the united states united states and israel so far. >> 1, and 2, breakout capability, which they are so close and have so much sophistication now, that they
could quickly jump to creating bombs, before the world could ready and before either israel on the u.s. could act. and they're very much in agreement. it's just at the point at which military action becomes unfeasible is different for each country. >> woodruff: all right then pick up on that. what are the principal sticking points between the two? >> warner: i figure two differences. one is israel has said it will never subcontract its securities to the united states for historical reasons. the point that israel because it mass less military capability than the u.s., bombers and heavy weaponry and overall military capability comes allot sooner. so at what point does israel have to act or preclude the possibility of acting? that's always been a difference and it remains one. the other one is, the whole question about whether or not iran gets to continue to enrich.
netanyahu's position has been to satisfy israel no enrimpment and halt all enrichment and move all out of the country. that is one of his tenets. the right to earn troich some level is a nonnegotiable right of iran, and they acknowledge that in a give and take there's got to be some accommodation on that. where is the line that would be enough to satisfy israel that whatever program iran has is under real iaea sprchtion, so it cannot be converted to military use quickly. >> not just between the two of them, prime minister netanyahu has additional leverage in the form of congress. >> warner: he certainly does. tonight's meeting shows he's not afraid to use that leverage. he ran on the promise of moderating the tone with the u.s. and negotiating over the
program. the house passed 400 to 20 a bill to further toughen economic sanctions on iran as long as the program continued. and teheran reacted incredibly ageily. 46 senators signed an open letter to president obama saying the same thing. as long as work continues we should keep toughening the sanctions. i'm told there is a bill that they agreed to hold off until the fall. but there is one close to being introduced and that would further penalize companies in allied countries that don't reduce their dependence on israeli oil. they're behind the diplomacy track but more skepticism on capitol hill. >> hard to believe it was exactly a year ago when he gave the famous red line speech. >> that's right and had the
crude drawing of a bomb, 20% enriched uranium, interestingly, iran did take note and sort of converted some of that 20% uranium back to lower percent for nuclear reactor purposes. in fact i think we'll see a tougher tone from prime minister netanyahu than we heard today in the oval office. >> interestingly, the united nations listening to the israelis, margaret warner, thank you. >> ifill: we turn to pakistan, where a church bombing last week took the lives of nearly 80 people. as special correspondent fred de sam lazaro reports, many in the country's christian community are living in fear.
>> reporter: pakistan was founded as a muslim nation, but there are christians here, too. churches like st. patrick's date back to colonial days, this one built for irish catholic soldiers in the british army. today's christians are less than 2% of pakistan's population, descendants of converts from hinduism or islam long before pakistan became a country. they consider themselves fully pakistani, but often, catholic bishop joseph coutts says that's not how they're perceived. >> because of our colonial past, christianity has been... is being identified with colonialism. >> reporter: with the west. >> with the west in general. we are sort of linked with being products of the west. >> reporter: it's made christians in pakistan targets
for all kinds of grievances against the west, whether a nato drone strike close to home or an anti-islamic pronouncement in florida. >> i can give you a very dramatic example. we had, i think about two years back, a pastor-- or he claimed to be a pastor, but if he was, i don't know-- terry jones, an american pastor who wanted to burn the holy koran. and of course, there was the sort of a backlash on the christians. and we had to make it very clear that we are not to be identified with this reverend terry jones. >> reporter: last week's suicide bombing that killed at least 78 people in a peshawar church compound was the worst ever, but not the first against christians this year. in march, two churches and 100 christian homes were attacked in the eastern city of lahore. >> we see an increasing form of islam which is much more militant, which is much
narrower. even islamic sects that are not considered orthodox are also being targeted by those who have this extremist way of thinking. it is a form of islam which is not the islam of the majority, which is a very moderate open- minded islam. >> reporter: he says a moderate islam shaped early pakistan, created in 1947 by the departing british to be a home for muslims. but it began to erode in the with growing islamization. christians-- long subject to social and economic discrimination-- became constitutionally second class. non-muslims are ineligible to be president or prime minister. in the late '70s, a militant resistance-- today's taliban-- grew to the soviet occupation of neighboring afghanistan, with strong u.s. support, coutts adds. >> so the policy was stop the darn communists, stop them at any cost. and that's the time this brand
of islam was the madrasah, which is a centuries-old institution in islam to teach the koran. many madrasahs became sort of centers for a religious kind of brainwashing for jihad, with american blessing and support and training and money. the economy became strong. the worst military dictator we had, zia-ul-haq, was kept in power. >> reporter: zia supported the jihadists, and also imposed a conservative interpretation of muslim sharia law. most frightening for many even today is a blasphemy law. anyone accused must be imprisoned without bail and-- at least on paper-- faces the death sentence. this law is commonly used against non-muslims, often to settle personal grudges or business disputes, says roland de souza, partner in a karachi engineering firm. >> somebody comes and accuses
someone of either burning a page of the koran or having said something against the prophet of islam, and before anybody can actually be arrested under the law, vigilante justice takes over. the news is spread in the neighborhood, and most of these neighborhoods are either slums or rural areas, and people come out wanting to lynch the accused. >> reporter: since the late '80s, some 250 blasphemy cases have been brought, and an estimated 52 people lynched or killed after being accused of blasphemy. why would somebody believe me if i ran out into the street and said you are burning pages of the koran or doing something else that was insulting of the religion? >> i can see coming from america... just on the road here, if somebody stood in the middle and said a mosque has
been burned someplace-- whether it's jordan or saudi arabia-- let's go and burn st. patrick's cathedral, he could probably collect 5,000 to 10,000 people within 15 minutes. if i was in new york city and i were to stand up there and say the muslims have destroyed st. peter's cathedral, let's go and burn that mosque three blocks down, somebody would probably slip out to the nearest telephone and call the police and say, there's a crazy guy who standing out here, and can you come get him. that is the difference. >> reporter: that crazy guy in new york, why does he become the credible guy on the street here? >> that's a good question. i'm not sure that i can answer entirely. one is the level of education. the second is the level of frustration. so you want to hit out against somebody. a big bogeyman is the west, america, and by consequence, the religion, christians.
>> reporter: despite the relatively small number of christians, several christian institutions-- orphanages, hospitals, and especially schools-- remain strong and open to all faiths. many of the country's muslim elite attended christian schools. principal irene pearl says trinity methodist girls school is committed to admitting children from poor families, many of them from the christian minority. but there's no hint of christ in the morning prayer. >> we do not talk or quote the holy bible or anything. we say, "let us be good human beings, let us be good daughters, let us be good pakistanis, but above all let us be good human beings." >> reporter: it is illegal in pakistan for a muslim to convert to any other faith, and pearl wants to dispel any notion that the school is trying to convert muslims, who account for about
60% of her students. >> sometimes, you know, like, we have a christmas concert, the children want to participate, the muslim children want to participate, but i say, no, they have to get a permission letter from their parents, because you never know. >> reporter: although she thinks muslim parents are mostly satisfied that their children are receiving a good education, with patriotic values, she fears few would come to her support in a pinch, for their own safety. just two years ago, a prominent moderate political leader was gunned down after calling for mercy for a christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. his assassin was hailed by crowds as he entered court, where dozens of lawyers offered to defend him for free. >> we feel most of the time that we are not equal-- not only not equal, but the growing feeling that we are not wanted. >> reporter: whether driven by better economic prospects or fear for their security, he says
many christians-- and other people from other minorities-- who could afford it have left. >> a version of fred's story, his reporting is a participate of the untold stories, and in addition to last week's church bombing christians have recently been targeted, is there a wider trend? to explore that i'm joined by u.s. international ambassador at large, susan cook. welcome ambassador. >> thank you. just about pakistan, is this something that's a worldwide problem? >> it is a world wide program. my portfolio is 199 countries of the world and so we see it frequently.
first though i want to send my condolences for those who are the victims of attack, those who lost loved ones. we certainly want to send condolences and sympathy. it is throughout history and it opens up the whole conversation of religious freedom. we have it in our constitution that we have the right to believe what and when we want to believe, how we want to express that, but in many parts of the world that is not true. so we hear stories of people being persecuted even killed for their right to believe. and so what you saw is something not recent, recent in pakistan in terms of what's hitting the news but it's ongoing in many countries of the world. >> and is it just christians that are targeted or other religions as well? >> other religions as well, part of my portfolio is to urge governments to protect religious minorities, promote respect for different faiths. >> how do you do that when you look like maybe you are someone
imposing u.s. values in other parts of the world? >> we certainly don't get to impose but there's the universal declaration of human rights and we make sure that our international agreements are adhered to. so it's not about imposing united states standards but adhering to international standards. we use all the diplomatic tools available to us. we use public diplomacy where i talk here around the country about issues of religious freedom and we have an annual religious freedom report that comes out. >> you have a term of art which is called countries of particular concern. but nowhere in that list is pakistan or indonesia or syria or kenya as we saw last week. so are you speaking to the right flash points?
>> well, there are eight countries of particular concern at this particular time and at any time countries can be designated. that is, the president has given the authority to the secretary of state. what we do in my office is i'm the chief advisor to the president and to the secretary of state and we promote religious freedom but we also monitor religious freedom. in etch country we are always monitoring and give that report to the secretary any time the designation can be made. >> but in some of those countries and in other countries, chinese eritrea ant other countries, you don't have authority to enforce these governments to act. >> one of our long term challenges, impunity of is one of them. laws that need to be suspended or repealed. some place is it's christians being attacked like egypt and the coptic christians, iran and iraq acknowledge you have sunni and shia, pastors who were jailed for their belief.
we were successful -- what is important is lifting up plates that were successful. we were successful in helping one of the christian pastors in iran be able to are freed. there is another pastor pastor said abadini who is being released. >> this religious attorneys and tree dom and global security? >> very much so. where we have found there is religious freedom there is stability. and where there is absence of ldges freedom, there is chance for extremist sproinls. we try to integrate religious freedom into our national policy and national security. >> but we still see the attacks happening.
>> we still see it. i was in television here when i started wjla and i produced a show called head liner, we were able to put people on the front page of every story. religious freedom is an opposite story. people's very lives are at stake. behind the scenes there are sometimes some nonmeasurable means of success. for example, last week i was in liberia which is a success story. ten years ago the muslim and christian women came together and said, it is time for the fighting to stop, war has to stop. this year president surleaf signed the religion freedom. sometimes we see measurable success and sometimes we can't measure it. sometimes we have to continue with our efforts for promoting religious freedom around the world. >> susan johnson cook ambassador for religious freedom around the world. thank you for coming.
>> thank you for having me. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. the battle over funding the government and tying it to delays in the president's health care law went down to the final hours, with a government shutdown at stake. the battle in washington gave wall street the jitters. the dow industrials lost nearly 129 points. and in a white house meeting, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu warned president obama to maintain sanctions against iran, despite a potential diplomatic warming. >> woodruff: online, there's a reason our government forces everyone, regardless of income level, to participate in the social security program. our guru explains why in his weekly "ask larry" column, on the business page. and on art beat, poet gregory orr reads from his latest collection, which focuses on the things we love.
all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at the start of the new health insurance exchanges, regardless of a possible government shutdown. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. newshour has been provided by: moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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chris matthews. >> when you ask a president, any president right or left to give away the one thing, before he even had a chance to really implement, and he wants to implement it, he wants to fix the thing over the next three years, to say oh, well take it away for at least a year and negotiate it again, for him to say yes to that would be extraordinary and i think would kill him in his own constituency. the liberals would say this guy is finished if he gives this away. >> rose: what the possibilities of a geneva conference on syria.