tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS September 28, 2013 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
♪ ♪ on this edition for saturday, september 28th, with a possible federal government shutdown looming, the latest from congress. in our signature segment from the west bank, could this planned city lead to economic development and peace? >> it is about throwing stones and terrorism, we are educated and have a future and aim for independent state. and our new obsession with keeping track of ourselves. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs news hour weekend.
made possible by hirshfeld comb ak. the cheryl and phillip milstein family. rosalind p. walter. corporate funding provided by mutual of america, designed and customized individual product. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support is provided by and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from new york, this is pbs newshour weekend. evening, thanks for joining us. because of wnet's american graduate initiative, we are coming to you tonight from a different studio in new york city. we begin with the latest from congress which now has little more than 48 hours to reach some sort of bargain, otherwise parts
of the federal government could shut down as early as tuesday morning. yesterday as you know, the democrat controlled senate approved a spending plan that restored funding for obama care. today the republican controlled house of representatives met to consider its options. for the latest, we are joined by the washington correspondent for the take away from public radio international. todd, what happened in the house today? >> reporter: what happened this morning, house republicans went into closed conference, no democrats allowed, to discuss the next move. the next move is just republicans. they're not going to get any democratic votes for it. here is what they decided, what is on the floor. a continuing resolution, a spending bill that would fund the government through december 15, that's longer than the senate democrats had, they had november 15. then two other things that are important. one, a one year delay of obama care. that's their answer to harry reid and senate democrats stripping that defund effort we heard so much about. the second amendment is a repeal
of a medical device tax that helped to fund obama care. it sounds like a small issue. why are republicans putting that in there? because senate democrats voted to repeal that tax, don't like it, they're trying to put political pressure on democrats not to flip flop on the little medical device tax. if they flip flop, harry reid has procedural problems. they're trying to put on political pressure. they'll do one more thing, pass a companion bill to fund the pentagon and troops in the event of shutdown so troops aren't left without pay. >> we heard from senator harry reid say he is not dealing with any piece of legislation that does anything to obama care. what are you hearing from senate staffers. >> reporter: he said that. they're saying the same thing. procedurally it is pretty interesting, we think we know where this is probably headed based on the arcane procedure baked into this. the way this is structured, harry reid will have a pretty easy time killing the two amendments that i just described, the senate which is likely now to maybe come back
sunday we're hearing instead of the originally scheduled monday. harry reid would only need 51 votes to kill the obama care delay that house republicans want to try again on. he wouldn't need the magical 60 votes ordeal with ted cruz or anything like that. on the medical device tax, same goes. he only needs 51 votes. the only question is would he prevent enough senate democrats from flip flopping. they say they're not voting for this repeal in this context because they're not giving this power to republicans. what does this all mean? if harry reid holds the line on that device tax, what it means is john boehner is going to be left holding the bag on a clean spending bill, the thing they said they didn't want, funding the government through december 15th or more likely november 15th. and then he is going to have to decide. does he kill it, does he go to nancy pelosi and steny hoyer and understand he has to pass it with democratic votes in order to keep the government operating or does he try something else, maybe a one week punt, another
one week spending bill to keep the lights on while they negotiate more. >> all right. thanks so much, todd. >> reporter: pleasure. from arizona, a report released today cites poor communications between firefighters and unpredictable weather conditions for the deaths of 19 men fighting a wildfire northwest of phoenix this summer. that from a special taskforce that examined the tragedy. it was the worst loss of life among firefighters battling a wildfire in 80 years. most of the victims were in their 20s. turning overseas now. new red cross video shows just how violent the al shabaab attack in kenya was. hundreds were rescued, at least 67 were killed after militants stormed the westgate shopping mall. more than 60 others are believed missing. they believe the militants rented a store in the mall prior to the attack, gave them access to service elevators allowing them to stockpile ammunition.
rowhani returned home after his phone call with president obama. the highest level contact between the united states and iran in nearly 30 years. a smaller group of protesters carrying signs declared down with america also turned out. a few of them threw eggs and shoes at the president's car. rowhani said the 15 minute conversation between the two leaders focused on the disputed nuclear program. international negotiations about iran's nuclear program resume in switzerland in a few weeks. from greece tonight, word of a major crackdown against the far right. the leader of the golden dawn party and many of his top aides were arrested on charges of forming a criminal organization. it's the first time in nearly 40 years that elected greek officials have been arrested. they'll retain their seats in parliament unless convicted. turning thousand to syria, you might have missed the news last night that the united nations security council unanimously approved a plan to destroy all of syria's chemical
weapons. ban ki-moon called it the first hopeful news on syria in a long time. but the civil war that has left 100,000 syrians dead rages on, mostly hidden from view and conditions are increasingly desperate. how desperate? john ray recently visited a hospital not far from damascus where supplies and hope are in short supply. a caution now. some of the images are disturbing. >> reporter: in the damascus suburb, they say the lucky can choose their fate. much better to be killed quickly than to die slowly. but for these children, there is no choice. their fate sealed in a makeshift clinic, under siege for ten months. aid convoys cannot get through. malnutrition has become a killer. the doctor caring for these children tell us, we urgently need baby milk or more will die.
>> this is the view outside the hospital. >> reporter: in homs, the destruction of these rebel-held streets is complete. but somehow, a handful of doctors struggle on. >> the entrance of the hospital is controlled by snipers here. so we make another hole in the wall just to take the patients. >> reporter: this doctor has filmed for us this disturbing dispatch from his front line. >> you should go and run very quickly. you can just try to protect yourself. this is the way that we cross with our patient. >> reporter: we enter an underground world where they
operate without clean water and where food and medical stocks are dwindling. >> syria has some irrigation, but most of it should be thrown out. but we should use it because we don't have another choice. >> reporter: the doctor recorded this attack on a hospital last year. both regime and rebels have been accused of making doctors and patients deliberate targets of terror. one of the few functioning clinics before and then after it was visited by the syrian air force. here he often operated, he is among a group of syrians based
in the uk who traveled back to their home country where their skills are desperately needed. >> i would say the medical care is on the brink of collapse. they don't have what they need to give the patients. there's no anesthesia. they lose patients a few days after surgery because they can't give them the post care, they can't give them the food or the medication. >> reporter: in damascus, not far from where this girl lies, there are aid workers with food and medicines. but agonizingly, they are the long wrong side of government lines no one can cross, a distance of less than a mile, the difference between life and death. and now to our signature segment featuring original in-depth reporting from around
the nation and the world. we turn to the middle east, not for the usual dose of conflict. instead, we'll take you to the west bank and introduce you to a man with a grand plan and a very optimistic vision. he's building a new palestinian city there but he has designs on something much bigger. peace in the region. martin fletcher has our report. >> reporter: palestinians tell me that the hair on their arm stands when they see the flag coming from the bottom and see it on top. >> reporter: you can hardly miss it, 1,000 square feet of palestinian pride. among the dry west bank hills about 20 miles from jerusalem -- >> this is the second phase. >> reporter: bashar is fed up waiting for the palestiniolitic build a palestinian state. so this 52-year-old palestinian-american businessman is building the first planned palestinian city. >> and i know most of my people, we would love to see a great
nation for our kids and grandchildren. but we also want to see it for ourselves. >> reporter: masri has raised $1 billion to fund the biggest private investment in palestinian history. that's one big gamble for you. >> it is a large gamble, definitely. however, if we, the palestinians, don't take risks, who's going to do that? and our nation will never be built. >> reporter: the message, get on with it. masri's city is becoming a fact. some 40,000 palestinians will live here. homes here cost between $60,000 and $180,000. you can even get a mortgage. the first two sections, some 650 apartments are almost sold out. >> there's a movie theater, museum, library, there's a hotel, there's a convention center. this is the gate.
this is the one to the west. the one on the other side is gaza gate and then jerusalem gate. >> reporter: there's no tel aviv gate. >> no. >> reporter: it's all political symbolism. this is a palestinian family holding hands, united to protect the palestinian flag. it symbolizes their future and is everywhere on trucks, cranes, sending a message to the world and the jewish settlement about a quarter mile across the valley on land the palestinians call their own. the settlers here have mixed feelings about their new neighbors. >> i hope they'll have this good city and live there happily so maybe they won't be so antsy and so angry and maybe they'll also live in peace with us. that's what i hope for and pray for. but i think that we also should do it. live here without any fear. >> reporter: it sits in areas fully or partially under palestinian control. it's surrounded by land fully controlled by israel. where many of the resources come from, like water.
at the moment you're expecting people to move in early next year. when they turn the tap on in their apartment, will there be water? >> we're working hard to make sure they have water. if we do not, that will delay the project. >> reporter: so far, no permission from israel to pipe in enough water. another problem, roads. this is the only access to the city, a narrow two-lane road suitable for a town of 5,000, not 40,000. so far, no permission from israel to widen it more or for more access roads. in times of trouble, israel could close it with a handful of soldiers, no road in or out. >> the road issue is a big problem. we have a number of outstanding issues. >> reporter: the sales video makes the city look fabulous but so far it's just a shell. they need to attract industry, shopkeepers, build schools, create 5,000 jobs. you'd think the p.a., the palestinian authority which administers matters in the west bank, would back such an
ambitious venture. but not exactly. masri carefully chooses his words. >> they are supporting. >> reporter: financially, morally or -- >> mostly, 99.9% morally. hardly financially. so we're building the public schools. we're putting the wastewater treatment plant, the water reservoir, the access roads to the city, which we did anticipate on when we started the project. >> reporter: you expected the palestinian authority to do it and to pay for it. >> absolutely. this is the right thing. >> reporter: some palestinians like this parliament member thinks that pinning the city only as a success story obscures what he says is a larger palestinian story of occupation and oppression. >> my worry is that there is a [ inaudible ] -- mainly to show things are fine, things are okay, palestinians are normalizing and accepting the system of occupation and they
even have a new city. that's not true. this is not the real story. >> reporter: unemployment in the palestinian territories is more than 20%. government salaries are rarely paid on time or in full. yet in ramallah, the palestinian seat of power six miles from the new planned city, there's a mall for the palestinian middle class, kentucky fried chicken, a well-stocked grocery store and tv on a loop saying, buy in the city of the future. >> this is our first time. we bought it without even seeing it. >> reporter: these people were introduced to us by the staff. they live here with their seven children. their 3,000 square foot apartment costs about $170,000, expensive by local standards. >> this is our living room, four rooms, three shower rooms rsh he's a professor.
she has a masters degree and raises the children at home. for them, the city is more than just a town. >> it's my dream. i wanted to live this life. i did not manage to live this life. so i dream that my children will grow in this life. >> reporter: and you're giving them -- you're fulfilling that dream? >> i hope so. >> it's also to show the world that palestinians are not only about conflict with israel. it's not about throwing stones and terrorism. it's not like that. it's also that we have our kids. we are educated. we have a future and we aim to have our independence -- state our existence in this land. >> reporter: that's exactly what masri thinks, too. >> it's a symbol of the palestinian state and the palestinian state is a big step towards peace.
>> martin fletcher talks with a palestinian economist about the critical role entrepreneurs will play in the economic future of the west bank. visit newshour.pbs.org. have you ever counted calories, checked your weight or kept a journal, maybe even worn a podomter to see how many steps you've taken in a day? technology is inspiring a movement. this is actually how 41-year-old bob sometimes sleeps, with his gadget on his head. so when he wakes up, he can see not only how long he slept but also information so detailed he knows when and how long he was in rim sleep, light sleep and deep sleep. >> i tend to have a pointer on 6:00 a.m. where my dog tends to bark at somebody. >> reporter: and this is just the start of bob's data-filled morning routine.
before he even gets out of bed, bob uses an iphone app to take his pulse. he weighs himself, takes his blood pressure and his blood glucose level. >> i have diabetes. >> reporter: next, a finger-tapping exercise to test cognitive performance. and all throughout the day, a monitor on his chest and a band on his wrist helps him keep his stress levels in check. >> i can see how stressed i am. >> reporter: all the data he collects is stored in a computer program, smartphone app or on a spreadsheet. the point of the data is in addition to keeping diabetes at bay, he just wants to stay healthy. >> as you get older, when i turned 40, for me you start looking ahead. the idea for me is doing whatever i can take to ensure that i have this sort of long,
enjoyable life. >> reporter: bob is tracking and testing is not alone. he's part of a growing movement quauld quantified self. people tracking and modifying all kinds of personal data, often health related. 60% of american adults track their weight, diet or exercise routine. >> every step you take -- >> reporter: and millions are now using technology to do it. there are thousands of health and fitness smartphone apps and it's estimated the wearable device industry could grow to more than $1 billion, including these bands and bits that track everything from steps and calories to heart rate and sleep quality. >> it's about self-improvement. >> reporter: david pogue is a technology columnist for "the new york times" and host of "nova science now." >> any way to give your own brain a boost? >> reporter: self-quantifiers range from the average person trying to lose weight to the hardcore like bob.
pogue says these devices can be powerful motivators. >> it leads you to get more activities. you take more stairs. they reward you with little lights and graphs for doing well. >> reporter: pogue says many devices also let you compare your data with other users. >> there's an almost competitive element to it. it's fitness through shame. >> reporter: there's actually a community for dedicated self-quantifiers like bob. across the u.s. and around the world who gather often to share experiences and data. at this recent gathering in new york city, the main event was a show-and-tell. >> you see a hump there. i was eating of butter. >> reporter: but these self-quantifiers aren't just sharing information with each other. users are uploading massive quantities of personal data to the servers of companies that make these gadgets, programs and
smartphone apps. >> it's going to transmit my data to a server running back bob says there's a lot of discussion in the quantified self community right now about who owns the data and what can be done with it. but at the end of the day, bob says he's not too concerned. after all, the risks are small compared to his goals, everything from preventing diabetes to optimizing his time. >> for me personally, my goal is to be an optimal human being in every aspect of my life. >> if you'd like to see a longer version of our quantified self story, you can find it online by visiting newshour.pbs.org. this is pbs "newshour weekend" saturday. as we said at the top of the broadcast, it's american graduate day, a national call to action on pbs stations around
the country, community organizations in education and celebrities are all coming together to focus on improving graduation rates in america. the labs decided to ask students from across the nation what their most pressing issues in education were. here's a sample. >> when students don't have the motivation to learn and they don't have the motivation to perform well, they don't see futures for themselves and you have more kids that aren't looking forward to graduating and looking forward to going to college. >> whenever they see that their parents don't respect the fact that it is necessary to have an education in today's society, they don't place as much importance on it and they don't reach their full potential. >> a teacher in school can try as hard as they can to try and teach a student and help them learn and progress. but if the student doesn't want to learn, they're just not going to learn. there's nothing you can really do to change that. >> one suggestion that i would have is to do more hands-on work instead of like -- what if i
don't want to read in a book about a volcano? what if i want to build a volcano, make a volcano, a model of a volcano myself? >> you have lawmakers constantly adding new standards, new benchmarks, new standardized tests, curriculum kind of restrictions, teacher mandates, without actually ever visiting their constituents' classrooms. >> the biggest problem in education is the lack of motivation for students. and they feel like they're only going to school because they have to and there's not going to be any real reward at the end. if you say, go to college and get a good job, that's nice to hear, but they don't really know that. that's in the future. it's not something that they can grab onto. it's not a tangible thing. join us tomorrow on air and online. should undocumented immigrants benefit from instate tuition
rates at colleges and universities? >> we also have people struggling that can't make tuition that are hard-working american citizens. where do they fit into this? >> that's it for this edition of "pbs newshour weekend." i'm hari sreenivasan. "pbs newshour weekend." i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com