tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS October 5, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT
captioning sponsored by wnet on this edition for sunday, october, 5th: new gains by isis in iraq, despite airstrikes by the united states and its allies. a leading expert weighs in. in our signature segment: the wave of beheadings. it's even more widespread than the recent coverage suggests. and a new push to increase the minimum wage. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided
by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are 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 the tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. this is pbs newshour weekend. >> sreenivasan: good evening. thanks for joining us. the head of the centers for disease control and prevention today offered new reassurances that ebola does not pose a great risk to americans. >> here in the u.s. i remain quite confident we will not have a widespread outbreak. we will stop it in its tracks, because we've got infection control in hospitals and public health that tracks and isolates people if they get symptoms. in africa the story is different. >> sreenivasan: the c.d.c. has investigated more than 100 ebola scares in 33 states in just the first four days of this month.
meanwhile, an nbc news cameraman who was diagnosed with ebola in liberia last week is headed back to the u.s. ashoka mukpo will receive treatment at an omaha, nebraska hospital. in massachusetts, doctor richard sacra, who previously recovered from ebola, is back in the hospital with a respiratory infection. his physician said, it's apparently unrelated to ebola. and thomas eric duncan, the liberian man who became ill with the virus in dallas, remains in critical condition at a texas hospital. president obama honored the nation's wounded servicemen and servicewomen during the unveiling of a disabled veterans memorial in washington today. >> this memorial is a challenge to all of us, a reminder of the obligations this country is under. if we are to truly honor these veterans we must heed the voices that speak to us here. let's never rush into war,
because it is america's sons and daughters who bear the scars of war for the rest of their lives. >> sreenivasan: planning for the granite and glass memorial near the u.s. capitol began more than 15 years ago. the project was organized by two former veteran affairs secretaries and a philanthropist, together, they raised more than 80 million dollars to complete the project. it's monday morning in hong kong and several thousand pro- democracy protesters remain in the streets of the central business district, despite a warning from authorities to disperse before the start of the work week. some demonstrators pulled back from positions outside a government complex in an apparent effort to avert a confrontation, but others held their ground. police have vowed to take all necessary action to restore order. after a four-month hiatus, the search for malaysia airlines flight 370 is set to resume in a remote part of the indian ocean, about 11 hundred miles west of australia. three ships, sent to the area by the governments of malaysia and australia, are expected to scour
the seabed there in a project that authorities say could take another year. the plane vanished on a flight from malaysia to china last march. 239 people were on board. in syria, islamic state militants are continuing their assault on kobani, a town near the turkish border. because of the fighting, an estimated 160,000 syrians have fled into nearby turkey. overnight, u.s. led coalition airstrikes targeted militant positions there. those strikes and the clashes there left at least 16 militants dead. in neighboring iraq, islamic state fighters reportedly executed six iraqi soldiers in a town 85 miles west of baghdad today. we'll have more on the war against the islamic state later in the program. in brazil, voters from the bustling streets of rio to the remote reaches of the amazon cast their votes today in that country's presidential election. the incumbent, dilma rousseff, is favored to win re-election, but is expected to fall short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. the runoff would be october 26th.
brazil, a country of 200 million people, is estimated to be the world's seventh largest economy. in mexico, federal security forces have unearthed a mass grave that may contain the bodies of many of the 43 student protesters who have been missing for more than a week. on saturday, officials secured the site on the outskirts of iguala, 120 miles south of mexico city. more than 20 city policemen have been arrested since the students went missing. federal prosecutors say the city government has been infiltrated by organized crime. and word that within a year the navy will deploy robotic patrol boats to try to stop attacks like the one that killed 17 sailors aboard the u.s.s. "cole" in 2000. according to reports, the patrol 33 foot inflatable hull boats are able to detect the presence of a potentially hostile ship, swarm around it and disable it. the robotic ships are armed with 50 caliber machine guns but lethal force will require the approval of a human being.
>> sreenivasan: and now the second installment of the weekend newshour's series, the war on isis. extended conversations with leading experts to try to make sense of what's occurring on the battlefield in syria and iraq. tonight, we are joined from washington by douglas ollivant. he served as a director with the national security council under presidents bush and obama. prior to that, he was a military planner in iraq and a counterinsurgency advisor in afghanistan. he is now a partner with mantid international. partner with so first, let's talk turkey because of its location and its membership in nato. it looks like a crucial partner on this war on i.s.i.s. this week turkish parliament says they will authorize the use of force in syria. is that the key to defeating i.s.i.s? >> i doubt they're going to send ground troops and the key to fighting i.s.i.s. quite frankly what the coalition would really like from the turks
is more action in shutting their borders. turkey has been the conduit for most of the foreign fighters coming in to fight with the islamic state, and it would really be helpful, were they to shut that border down very effectively. it's been talk that much of the money flow is coming through turkey so more help shutting down these black markets for antiquities, oil, et cetera will be asked of the turks shortly. >> if they don't send ground troops who does? >> both the iraqi army, the iraqi police and the kurdish peshmerga forces. those are the bulk of the forces that will do the heavy lifting. >> kobani, the fight has been continuing there for quite some time. why is this fight significant? >> kobani is an important border town. one, kurd pushed out of this
area yet kurds pushed out of this area, it gives the islamic state yet another important crossing with turkey that it would control. >> is the air campaign from america and its allies working? >> it is certainly helping. getting accurate reporting from this area, despite having correspondents just across this area is murky. the air attack is having some effect yet the attack is pushing very heavily towards this town. >> the anbar province, i.s.i.s. continues to make gains this week, hit and kubisa, these gains are jeopardizing an important military base in the area and the chrome of a nearby dam. tell us more. >> these hits are important and
the islamic state seems to be making effective moves in anbar. in short we see the battlefield in flux. the islamic state is being pushed back in some areas, we saw minor gains by the iraqi army and iraqi kurds, we have yet to see a full campaign and we're seeing minor fluctuations in the front lines so to speak, throughout iraq. >> how significant is the control of the base, and the dam? >> the control of any base is significant. any time you lose a large piece of infrastructure, that's very, very hard to get back. and frankly that's when we see things like the islamic state getting large quantities of trucks, large quantities of other military equipment, missiles. so we definitely do not want the islamic state to take over the space. >> what's the significance of the dam that we are nearing control of? >> you can use a dam positively. you can get the power that's coming from from it.
you can divert the water to where you want it or conceivably you can use it as a weapon of mass destruction were they able to flood this ñae they could -- control this dam they could flood the downe towns below thi. >> are they close to getting control? >> i don't think they're close. they are certainly threatening it but most of us believe that that remains fairly certainly under iraqi control. >> we have also heard reports in the past few days about the ambush and killing of iraqi government troops just north of the capital city. is there any real threat that i.s.i.s. could take the capital? >> no, there's no real threat to baghdad. the number of troops that are in baghdad is very impressive. and were the islamic state to get close the citizens of baghdad themselves i think would rally against the islamic state. this is not like the north, where there were sunni
co--religionists, some of whom gave aid and assistance to the islamic state. as they pushed into baghdad with its predominantly shia population, they would encounter a very, very hostile environment and probably be thrown out fairly quickly. >> are i.s.i.s. troops able to go freely from syria to iraq to get reenforcements and move troops and supplies? >> i don't think they are moving as freely as they were before we started air strikes. and that's bulk of what we want the air strikes to do on the syrian side, we're dropping bombs or destroying targets but it's less about destroying things on the syrian side of the border than making them unable to act freely to be able to reinforce in the manner you've been talking about, push resupplies, be it material or troops across the border. they are still coming, you can't close that border but they can no longer come in convoice of 50
suvs flying the black flag. that's not happening anymore. >> is there any evidence that any of this pressure is applied to mayor financial infrastructure -- their financial infrastructure how they are funding these moves into iraq? >> it doesn't appear we have found a way to fundamentally choke this off. their funding sources are so dispersed, they do get external funds which we continue to try to cut off. but they are self-funded, they tax the villages that they've taken over. we've had a lot of as i've discussed earlier, there are black market oil sales. they have taken a large almost industrial antiquities market, they are looting antiquities on a grand scale and moving them onto the gray and black market as well. stopping sha is hard because it's so disparate. >> thank you douglas.
>> sreenivasan: and now to our signature segment. isis' release friday of yet another videotape showing the beheading of a western hostage once again has drawn international condemnation and refocused attention on the very practice. in fact, beheadings date back to ancient times. and today, they are hardly limited to what isis is doing in iraq and syria. the newshour's ivette feliciano tells us where else they are occurring and talks to a religious scholar about whether the koran offers any justification for the act. >> reporter: in rapid succession, isis' recent beheadings of american journalists james foley, steven sotloff, and british aid worker david haines, shocked and outraged the public, and prompted an american military response. >> if you threaten america, you will find no safe haven. >> reporter: and now another british aid worker, alan henning, has suffered the same fate. a story that prompted another
round of intense coverage. despite the widespread coverage of the four recent isis beheadings, dr. dawn perlmutter, an author and scholar who for years has studied ritualistic crimes and religious terrorism, says video-taped beheadings are nothing new, and that these recent events are actually just the tip of the iceberg. she told us just yesterday, it would be safe to say there have been at least two dozen beheadings around the world since the start of september. among them, four people killed by mexican drug cartels, four by an extremist group in the sinai peninsula, and another person beheaded by boko haram militants who posted their own video just this past friday. few, if any, of those incidents even made the news in this country. >> there's hundreds of them. hundreds of videos of-- easily accessible online for anyone to view. i get alerts on at least four or
five beheadings a day-- in-- in different parts of the world. >> reporter: she says the beheadings that have occurred after isis fighters overran villages in northern and western iraq and in syria, have taken violence to a level that even al-qaeda has chosen to distance itself from. >> the one consistency in all of the formal beheadings of the different al-qaeda linked groups has been that they have never formally beheaded a woman. what differs with isis is that they are beheading women and children and sticking their heads on pikes. >> reporter: why is the way you choose to kill someone, especially publicly, so important? why beheadings of all the ways? >> beheading is the ultimate sign that you're in power. it is so-- i think just organi-- primal of-- offensive and frightening that it's effective.
ñykíhtening that it's effective. cellphone technology have led to what she calls a "beheading epidemic" over the last ten years. hundreds of videos have been uploaded to the web by groups such as the taliban and al-qaeda in afghanistan and iraq, al- shabaab in somalia, and those drug cartels in mexico. >> isis has taken that technology further because now, we have twitter. we have instagram. it's sort of this unbelievable new phenomenon of primal warfare combined with modern technology. >> reporter: in fact, beheadings in the form of punishment for crimes goes back centuries. it was common in the greek and roman empires. henry the viii had both anne boleyn and catherine howard beheaded, and the french guillotine remained france's standard method of judicial execution until 1981. even today, beheading as a form of punishment is still allowed in several countries including
saudi arabia, yemen and iran. yet, saudi arabia is the only country that actually continues to behead offenders. there were reportedly 80 public executions there last year, most of them beheadings. >> as far as countries like, you know, western countries, including, the united states, who have expressed their horror over the executions by the islamic state group in iraq and syria, we haven't seen the same horror over just regular beheadings that take place in saudi arabia, several a month on average. >> reporter: adam coogle is the middle east researcher for human rights watch based in jordan we spoke to him via skype a few days ago. >> when you talk to saudi officials about this they will usually tell you that their use of public beheadings is rooted in islamic law and islamic tradition. if saudi arabia were to try to reform their practices on capital punishment they would face a considerable resistance and they would be accused by the core constituency of you know basically going back on their
islamic roots. >> reporter: some analysts say muslim extremist groups like isis choose the act of beheading because they're also aligning themselves with what they think is an authentic islam, pointing to koranic passages they believe condone the act. >> that's why they have to always have this reading of offenses, identifying-- having the person confess, having the person in front of them, kneeling. it is an execution ritual. >> therefore when you meet the unbelievers-- presumably in a battle-- smite at their necks. >> reporter: yet, islamic scholars, like professor khalidi, dispute that the koran offers any justification for beheading. he cites the lines coming immediately after one of the two used to justify beheadings. >> at length when ye have
thoroughly subdued them, bind the captives firmly. therefore is the time for either generosity or ransom. i've just read sura 47 verse four. if you cut off their heads you're not going to bind them, and you're not binding them to cut off their heads, you're binding them to either be generous to them, release them, or hold them for ransom. so there is nothing about cutting off their heads in this passage. the people who are doing this act claiming this as justification for this practice. it is not. and it just shows that they know nothing about islam and they don't know how to read this properly. >> sreenivasan: for more about what's been called the islamic state's "tactic of terror," watch interviews with our experts online at newshour.pbs.org. >> sreenivasan: some of america's biggest, and most expensive, cities are acting on their own to increase the minimum wage. for some insight, yesterday i spoke with matt flegenheimer, a
reporter with the "new york times." new york is something so did l.a. what did they do? >> so new york at least on tuesday mayor deblasio signed a law that stated on city subsidize ed projects the worker was entitled to a living wage, 13.13, any tenants or subtenants that receive city subsidies, are entitled to minimum wage. >> if it goes through and makes it through city council, right? >> no, this is an executive order. some stoib city council memberse chaifd over that. >> eric garcetti, did something different. >> broader package i believe 13.25 and then for hotel workers in a lot of cases they have gone for a sort of expansive move through council as well. which has been faced by opposition obviously. some opposition groups say this
cost jobs. in the long run, if employers don't want to play this with workers they'll take their jobs to elsewhere. >> most people don't recognize that los angeles has a fuj manufacturing industry there, and this minimum wage increase if it went through, it would affect a half a million people. >> absolutely. there's a factor of l.a. being the biggest income disparity among the large cities of america. costing jobs even higher paying jobs. >> what about those businesses are they planning to push back or move to other towns? that's one of the economic kind of resistance to increased minimum wage is they'll stifle job creation. >> that's the doomsday pre prediction, the l.a. chamber of commerce, particularly l.a. you can move across the street and charge a different wage than you might have, if you were staying
in los angeles. >> seattle got a lot of press for pushing it up to $15 but that's a city that's not nearly as impoverished as los angeles. aviation is the central hub there and they may actually make more than 15 bucks to start with right? >> that's one of the leading cities but very greatly different circumstances as far as the income situation. >> how does this play out, when you look at the overall map, these cities, is this having a ripple effect, perhaps take advantages if these things are uncompetitive for businesses? >> it seems sort of early in this kinds of city level movement i spoke with the labor secretary tom perez earlier in the week. he said movement on this, president obama obviously came out in favor of a 10.10 minimum wage but there hasn't been a momentum in congress. it has to be on a local level. new york, l.a., chicago, being others, but even in new york
city the minimum wage is set at a certain level, that's the minimum, and state workers here. >> and matt flegenheimer, thanks so much. >> sreenivasan: and now to viewers like you: your feedback about some of our recent work. many of you commented on facebook about our piece examining florida's new law requiring low-performing elementary schools to provide an extra hour of reading every day. a common reaction: parents need to do more to help kids read. patricia marshall wrote: i encourage people to read, read, read to their kids. once a child learns to like reading, it becomes a lifelong companion. this should be the responsibility of parents and other relatives, including siblings. sandra miller added this: practice, practice, practice and it begins by reading to infants daily. ed weigandt was much more blunt about it: how about parents actually do some parenting and stop using the television, x-box or other electronic gadgets as a babysitter?
failure of our kids to learn on a global level should never be deemed the fault of the education system alone. as for the program itself, sonji webb wrote: personally, i think kids have too much homework. i think their school days are too long as well. they need more kid and family time. helen marie brady marshall said it made sense: only if the children are encouraged to read books on a subject that interests them. and roberto martinez added this: teachers need to engage in creating the desire to read, not giving extra reading assignments. great storytelling always leaves listeners craving more. finally, this from ellen lesse gershenbaum: as an inner city teacher, the answer is not extra reading time. 24 hours a day wouldn't make a difference! the answer lies in the education of parents so they know how to raise their kids! they are five years behind when they enter kindergarten, and that can never be made up. as always, you can let us know what you think of our stories, on twitter, facebook or at
newshour.pbs.org. >> so more news before we leave you tonight. medical authorities now say the death of a four-year-old new jersey boy last week was the result of enterovirus 68. it's the first death linked directly to the virus. the virus is in 43 states and has stricken more than 500 chin. and jerry mock has died at the age of 38 while a housewife she accomplished the feat of flying around the world with several stops along the way. asked why she undertook the journey she once said it was about time a woman did it. join us on air and online tomorrow.
i'm hari sreenivasan, good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are 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.
♪ >> a graduation recital is kind of like a big farewell and celebration to share with your audience what you learned in here, and you're taking off to your future and to your career. you really feel that connection of, you know, with your audience and saying goodbye to them. it was very memorable for me. >> the greats of tomorrow today "on stage at curtis." ♪ >> so, i chose a variety just because i wanted to try out everything i could for this recital. an